Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

step, and an air of grandeur, to the place

of execution, followed only by two of his brother's servants; when he ascended the scaffold with the erect posture and bold brow of one

who came to command rather than to suffer, Eng. lishmen wept not for him as they had done for Lord Russel. Taught by this noble example that death was only painful to cowards and the guilty, their nerves were strung and forti

. fied—they felt an unusual grandeur and elevation of mind; their pulses beat high, and their hearts swelled indignantly within them as they looked upon him.

“But the spirit of religion and liberty has not died with him," said the old

“ there be men even yet living, men who have fought and bled in the war of the Parliament, and the good old cause, who inherit his opinions, and have taught their children that Israel must be a republic if its sons are ever to enjoy peace, freedom, and the true faith."

Reuben was well aware that the speaker might be set down as one of those sturdy and staunch republicans who had stuck to his political as inflexibly as to his religious creed,

man;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

at that

through a long and disheartening course of od years, and he thought to himself that if the poet the Milton might be said to typify the intellectual Emrt spirit of the Puritans, their constancy, valour, one piety, and dauntless love of liberty could not

be more aptly and honourably represented than

in the person of the venerable old soldier, 10: Malachi Wardrop. That they should both be

blind seemed to render them the more fitting
personifications, for their cause was
moment dark, and trampled down, like them-
selves, and labouring under evil days and heavy
afflictions.

Just as Malachi had finished his narrative,
his son-in-law entered the room, and happening
to mention something that was to be done at
Christmas, the old man indignantly interrupt-
ed him by exclaiming, “Christ-mass ! let it be
Christ-tide, Sir, I pray you. To unite two such
words is to marry a Seraph to a fallen angel.
We have masses and mass-houses enough

"; ay, and the land will be covered with them if the tyrant be not smitten in his career. Even to profane our mouths with such abo

already;

perfect fashion, indeed, but still sufficient to it. Matthew, the idiot boy. It was the office of pahl

minations is to imitate the crime of Belshazzar, de mi who drank to his idols out of the holy vessels alzheli brought from the temple of Jerusalem.”

To beguile the long and heavy hours of top the gefa blindness, or, perhaps, in his sturdy love of independence, that he might be less indebted to the time and attentions of others, he had been the taught himself to spin ; after a rude and imoccupy him, and even to earn a few pence, which were ever the perquisite of his poor

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

the latter to bring him his wheel, which he now placed before him, and his venerable father presently set it in motion, looking like a Hercules at the distaff; but as he was free from that hero's effeminacy of motive, he seemed to ennoble even a housewifely employment by the solemnity of his look, and the elevation of his sentiments. With whatever topic of discussion he might start, his ruling passion still brought it round eventually to the maintenance of Sydney's and his own favourite doctrine—the necessity of a republic. Speaking upon

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

this

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

subject, he alluded with admiration to the behaviour of Rumbold, recently executed for his participation in the Rye-House Plot, who declared upon the scaffold that he would never believe in the necessity of Monarchy until he saw that the many came into the world saddled and bridled, and the few with whips and spurs to ride them ; adding, that if every hair of his head were a man, he would venture them all in the good old cause.

While the old man was most energetically declaring his full participation in these sentiments, his two daughters prepared and brought in the supper, a homely though sufficing repast, wherein no luxury was to be seen but that which is the greatest of all—a perfect cleanliness, and such a scrupulous neatness of arrangement as imparted to the frugal board an air that might almost be termed elegant. At this meal were assembled the whole household, with the exception of the little boy who was in bed ; and after its conclusion had been sanctified by a thanksgiving from Malachi, the party betook themselves to prayers. These were

and offering their prayers together, and sending an I
190
generally performed by Grace on the nights for te
when she was at home, and to Reuben's eyes
there was something touching in the spectacle
of this united family falling upon their knees

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

up their voices to Heaven out of a deep pit in
the midst of the wild and lonesome downs. In
this act of devotion the

poor

idiot decorously joined, although perhaps ignorant of its import; while the sheep-dogs, of which there were now four or five in the same room, seemed to be perfectly aware that they were to couch quietly down, and not disturb the proceedings of the little congregation. After having read a chapter in the Bible, Grace prayed extemporaneously, stringing together perallel passages from Scripture in an exclamatory style, and without any very apparent aim, until she implored protection for the stranger and sojourner within their gates—that he might escape from the snare of the fowler—that he might not be afraid for the terror by day, nor for the arrow that flieth by night; when she spoke as one inspired, pouring forth her inter

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »