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the grand philosophical, poetical, and per- consciously perhaps, by the good man who says chance in part heretical, liturgy, now com- the grace. I have seen it in clergymen and piling by my friend Homo Humanus, for the use others—a sort of shame-a sense of the coof a certain snug congregation of Utopian Rabe- presence of circumstances which unhallow the læsian Christians, no matter where assembled. blessing. After a devotional tone put on for a
The form, then, of the benediction before few seconds, how rapidly the speaker will fall eating has its beauty at a poor man's table, or into his common voice ! helping himself or his at the simple and unprovocative repasts of neighbour, as if to get rid of some uneasy sen. children. It is here that the grace becomes sation of hypocrisy. Not that the good man exceedingly graceful. The indigent man, who was a hypocrite, or was not most conscientious hardly knows whether he shall have a meal in the discharge of the duty ; but he felt in his the next day or not, sits down to his fare with inmost mind the incompatibility of the scene a present sense of the blessing, which can be and the viands before him with the exercise but feebly acted by the rich, into whose minds of a calm and rational gratitude. the conception of wanting a dinner could I hear somebody exclaim,- Would you have never, but by some extreme theory, have en- Christians sit down at table, like hogs to their tered. The proper end of food—the animal troughs, without remembering the Giver :sustenance—is barely contemplated by them. no-I would have them sit down as Christians, The poor man's bread is his daily bread, lite- remembering the Giver, and less like hogs. rally his bread for the day. Their courses are Or if their appetites must run riot, and they perennial.
must pamper themselves with delicacies for Again the plainest diet seems the fittest to which east and west are ransacked, I would be preceded by the grace. That which is have them postpone their benediction to a least stimulative to appetite, leaves the mind fitter season, when appetite is laid ; when most free for foreign considerations. A man the still small voice can be heard, and the may feel thankful, heartily thankful, over a reason of the grace' returns-with temperate dish of plain mutton with turnips, and have diet and restricted dishes. Gluttony and surleisure to reflect upon the ordinance and feiting are no proper occasions for thanksgiving. institution of eating ; when he shall confess a When Jeshurun waxed fat, we read that he perturbation of mind, inconsistent with the kicked. Virgil knew the harpy-nature better, purposes of the grace, at the presence of when he put into the mouth of Celæno anything venison or turtle. When I have sate (a rarus but a blessing. We may be gratefully sensible hospes) at rich men's tables, with the savoury
of the deliciousness of some kinds of food soup and messes steaming up the nostrils, and beyond others, though that is a meaner and moistening the lips of the guests with desire inferior gratitude : but the proper object of and a distracted choice, I have felt the intro- the grace is sustenance, not relishes; daily duction of that ceremony to be unseasonable. bread, not delicacies; the means of life, and With the ravenous orgasm upon you, it seems not the means of pampering the carcass. With impertinent to interpose a religious sentiment. what frame or composure, I wonder, can a It is a confusion of purpose to mutter out city chaplain pronounce his benediction at praises from a mouth that waters. The heats some great Hall-feast, when he knows that of epicurism put out the gentle flame of devo- his last concluding pious word—and that in tion. The incense which rises round is
pagan, all probability, the sacred name which he and the belly-god intercepts it for his own. preaches—is but the signal for so many impaThe very excess of the provision beyond the tient harpies to commence their foul orgies, needs, takes away all sense of proportion be- with as little sense of true thankfulness (which tween the end and means. The giver is veiled is temperance) as those Virgilian fowl! It is by his gifts. You are startled at the injustice well if the good man himself does not feel his of returning thanks for what?—for having too devotions a little clouded, those foggy senmuch, while so many starve. It is to praise suous steams mingling with and polluting the the Gods amiss.
pure altar sacrifice. I have observed this awkwardness felt, scarce The severest satire upon full tables and
surfeits is the banquet which Satan, in the practicaliy I own that (before meat especially) Paradise Regained, provides for a temptation they seem to involve something awkward and unin the wilderness :
seasonable. Our appetites, of one or another A table richly spread in regal mode
kind, are excellent spurs to our reason, which With dishes piled, and meats of noblest sort might otherwise but feebly set about the great And savour ; beasts of chase, or fowl of game,
ends of preserving and continuing the species. In pastry built, or from the spit, or boiled,
They are fit blessings to be contemplated at a Gris-amber-steamed ; all fish from sea or shore,
distance with a becoming gratitude ; but the Freshet or purling brook, for which was drained Pontus, and Lucrine bay, and Afric coast.
moment of appetite (the judicious reader will The Tempter, I warrant you, thought these apprehend me) is, perhaps, the least fit season
for that exercise. The Quakers, who go about cates would go down without the recommen
their business of every description with more datory preface of a benediction. They are
calmness than we, have more title to the use of like to be short graces where the devil plays
these benedictory prefaces. I have always adthe host.—I am afraid the poet wants his usual decorum in this place. Was he thinking of mired their silent grace, and the more because I the old Roman luxury, or of a gaudy day at
have observed their applications to the meat and
drink following to be less passionate and senCambridge ? This was a temptation fitter for a Heliogabalus. The whole banquet is too
sual than ours. They are neither gluttons nor civic and culinary, and the accompaniments
wine-bibbers as a people. They eat, as a horse
bolts his chopped hay, with indifference, calmaltogether a profanation of that deep, abstracted holy scene. The mighty artillery of
ness, and cleanly circumstances. They neither sauces, which the cook-fiend conjures up, is
grease nor slop themselves. When I see a
citizen in his bib and tucker, I cannot imaout of proportion to the simple wants and plain hunger of the guest. He that disturbed gine it a surplice. him in his dreams, from his dreams might
I am no Quaker at my food. I confess I am have been taught better. To the temperate
not indifferent to the kinds of it. Those
unctuous morsels of deer's flesh were not fantasies of the famished Son of God, what
made to be received with dispassionate sersort of feasts presented themselves ? - He
vices. I hate a man who swallows it, affecting dreamed indeed,
not to know what he is eating. I suspect his -As appetite is wont to dream,
taste in higher matters. I shrink instinctively Of meats and drinks, nature's refreshment sweet. But what meats ?
from one who professes to like minced veal.
There is a physiognomical character in the Him thought, he by the brook of Cherith stood,
tastes for food. C-holds that a man canAnd saw the ravens with their horny beaks Food to Elijah bringing even and morn ;
not have a pure mind who refuses apple-dumpThough ravenous, taught to abstain from what lings. I am not certain but he is right. With they brought:
the decay of my first innocence, I confess a He saw the prophet also how he fled
less and less relish daily for those innocuous Into the desert and how there he slept
cates. The whole vegetable tribe have lost Under a juniper ; then how awaked He found his supper on the coals prepared,
their gust with me. Only I stick to asparagus, And by the angel was bid rise and eat,
which still seems to inspire gentle thoughts. And ate the second time after repose,
I am impatient and querulous under culinary The strength whereof sufficed him forty days: disappointments, as to come home at the dinner Sometimes, that with Elijah he partook,
hour, forinstance, expecting some savoury mess, Or as a guest with Daniel at his pulse.
and to find one quite tasteless and sapidless. Nothing in Milton is finelier fancied than these Butter ill melted—that commonest of kitchen temperate dreams of the divine Hungerer. failures — puts me beside my tenor. — The To which of these two visionary banquets, author of the Rambler used to make inarticuthink you, would the introduction of what is late animal noises over a favourite food. Was called the grace have been the most fitting this the music quite proper to be preceded and pertinent ?
by the grace? or would the pious man have Theoretically I am no enemy to graces ; but done better to postpone his devotions to a sea
son when the blessing might be contemplated due solemnity, whether he chose to say any.
with which that equivocal wag (but my pleasant application to them, or engross too great a school-fellow) C. V. L., when importuned for a portion of those good things (which should be grace, used to inquire, first slyly leering down common) to our share, to be able with any the table, “Is there no clergyman here,”grace to say grace. To be thankful for what significantly adding, “Thank G—" Nor do I we grasp exceeding our proportion, is to add think our old form at school quite pertinent, hypocrisy to injustice. A lurking sense of where we were used to preface our bald breadthis truth is what makes the performance of and-cheese-suppers with a preamble connecting this duty so cold and spiritless a service at with that humble blessing a recognition of most tables. In houses where the grace is as benefits the most awful and overwhelming to indispensable as the napkin, who has not seen the imagination which religion has to offer. that never-settled question arise, as to who Non tunc illis erat locus. I remember we were shall say it? while the good man of the house put to it to reconcile the phrase "good and the visitor clergyman, or some other guest creatures," upon which the blessing rested, belike of next authority, from years or gravity, with the fare set before us, wilfully undershall be bandying about the office between standing that expression in a low and animal them as a matter of compliment, each of them sense,-till some one recalled a legend, which not unwilling to shift the awkward burthen of told how, in the golden days of Christ's, the an equivocal duty from his own shoulders ? young Hospitallers were wont to have smoking
I once drank tea in company with two joints of roast meat upon their nightly boards, Methodist divines of different persuasions, till some pious benefactor, commiserating the whom it was my fortune to introduce to each decencies, rather than the palates, of the other for the first time that evening. Before children, commuted our flesh for garments, and the first cup was handed round, one of these gave us—horresco referenstrousers instead of reverend gentlemen put it to the other, with all mutton.
DREAM-CHILDREN; A REVERIE.
CHILDREN love to listen to stories about | by a concourse of all the poor, and some of the their elders, when they were children ; to gentry too, of the neighbourhood for many stretch their imagination to the conception of miles round, to show their respect for her a traditionary great-uncle, or grandame, whom memory, because she had been such a good they never saw. It was in this spirit that my and religious woman ; so good indeed that she little ones crept about me the other evening knew all the Psaltery by heart, ay, and a great to hear a bouttheir great-grandmother Field, part of the Testament besides. Here little who lived in a great house in Norfolk (a hun- Alice spread her hands. Then I told what a dred times bigger than that in which they and tall, upright, graceful person their great-grandpapa lived) which had been the scene-so at mother Field once was ; and how in her youth least it was generally believed in that part of she was esteemed the best dancer- here the country of the tragic incidents which they Alice's little right foot played an involuntary had lately become familiar with from the movement, till, upon my looking grave, it ballad of the Children in the Wood. Certain desisted—the best dancer, I was saying, in the it is that the whole story of the children and county, till a cruel disease, called a cancer, their cruel uncle was to be seen fairly carved came, and bowed her down with pain ; but it out in wood upon the chimney-piece of the could never bend her good spirits, or make great hall, the whole story down to the Robin them stoop, but they were still upright, because Redbreasts ; till a foolish rich person pulled it she was so good and religious. Then I told down to set up a marble one of modern inven- how she was used to sleep by herself in a lone tion in its stead, with no story upon it. Here chamber of the great lone house; and how she Alice put out one of her dear mother's looks, believed that an apparition of two infants was too tender to be called upbraiding. Then I to be seen at midnight gliding up and down went on to say, how religious and how good the great staircase near where she slept, but their great-grandmother Field was, how beloved she said “ those innocents would do her no and respected by everybody, though she was harm;" and how frightened I used to be, though not indeed the mistress of this great house, but in those days I had my maid to sleep with me, had only the charge of it (and yet in some because I was never half so good or religious respects she might be said to be the mistress as she-and yet I never saw the infants. Here of it too) committed to her by the owner, who John expanded all his eyebrows and tried to preferred living in a newer and more fashion- look courageous. Then I told how good she able mansion which he had purchased some- was to all her grandchildren, having us to the where in the adjoining county; but still she great house in the holydays, where I in partilived in it in a manner as if it had been her cular used to spend many hours by myself, in own, and kept up the dignity of the great gazing upon the old busts of the twelve Cæsars, house in a sort while she lived, which after-. that had been Emperors of Rome, till the old wards came to decay, and was nearly pulled marble heads would seem to live again, or I to down, and all its old ornaments stripped and be turned into marble with them ; how I carried
away to the owner's other house, where never could be tired with roaming about that they were set up, and looked as awkward as huge mansion, with its vast empty rooms, with if some one were to carry away the old tombs their worn-out hangings, fluttering tapestry, they had seen lately at the Abbey, and stick and carved oaken pannels, with the gilding them up in Lady C's tawdry gilt drawing-room. almost rubbed out—sometimes in the spacious Here John smiled, as much as to say, “ that old-fashioned gardens, which I had almost to would be foolish indeed.” And then I told how, myself, unless when now and then a solitary when she came to die, her funeral was attended gardening man would cross me—and how the nectarines and peaches hung upon the walls, had been to me when I was lame-footed ; and without my ever offering to pluck them, how when he died, though he had not been because they were forbidden fruit, unless dead an hour, it seemed as if he had died a now and then, and because I had more plea- great while ago, such a distance there is besure in strolling about among the old melan- | twixt life and death ; and how I bore his choly-looking yew-trees, or the firs, and death as I thought pretty well at first, but picking up the red berries, and the fir-apples, afterwards it haunted and haunted me; and which were good for nothing but to look at- though I did not cry or take it to heart as or in lying about upon the fresh grass with all some do, and as I think he would have done the fine garden smells around me-or basking if I had died, yet I missed him all day long, in the orangery, till I could almost fancy myself and knew not till then how much I had ripening too along with the oranges and the loved him. I missed his kindness, and I limes in that grateful warmth—or in watching missed his crossness, and wished him to be the dace that darted to and fro in the fish-pond, alive again, to be quarrelling with him (for we at the bottom of the garden, with here and quarrelled sometimes), rather than not have there a great sulky pike hanging midway down him again, and was as uneasy without him, as he the water in silent state, as if it mocked at their their poor uncle must have been when the doctor impertinent friskings,-I had more pleasure took off his limb. Here the children fell a cryin these busy-idle diversions than in all the ing, and asked if their little mourning which sweet flavours of peaches, nectarines, oranges, they had on was not for uncle John, and they and such-like common baits of children. Here looked up, and prayed me not to go on about John slyly deposited back upon the plate a their uncle, but to tell them some stories about bunch of grapes, which, not unobserved by their pretty dead mother. Then I told how for Alice, he had meditated dividing with her, and seven long years, in hope sometimes, sometimes both seemed willing to relinquish them for the in despair, yet persisting ever, I courted the present as irrelevant. Then, in somewhat a fair Alice W-n; and, as much as children more heightened tone, I told how, though their could understand, I explained to them what great-grandmother Field loved all her grand-coyness, and difficulty, and denial, meant in children, yet in an especial manner she might maidens—when suddenly, turning to Alice, be said to love their uncle, John L- because the soul of the first Alice looked out at her he was so handsome and spirited a youth, and eyes with such a reality of re-presentment, a king to the rest of us; and, instead of that I became in doubt which of them stood moping about in solitary corners, like some there before me,or whose that bright hair was ;
he would mount the most mettlesome and while I stood gazing, both the children horse he could get, when but an imp no bigger gradually grew fainter to my view, receding, than themselves, and make it carry him half and still receding, till nothing at last but two over the county in a morning, and join the mournful features were seen in the uttermost hunters when there were any out—and yet he distance, which, without speech, strangely imloved the old great house and gardens too, pressed upon me the effects of speech : “We but had too much spirit to be always pent up are not of Alice, nor of thee, nor are we chilwithin their boundaries—and how their uncle dren at all. The children of Alice call Bargrew up to man's estate as brave as he was trum father. We are nothing ; less than handsome, to the admiration of everybody, nothing, and dreams. We are only what but of their great-grandmother Field most might have been, and must wait upon the especially ; and how he used to carry me upon tedious shores of Lethe millions of ages before his back when I was a lame-footed boy-for we have existence, and a name
and imhe was a good bit older than me-many a mile mediately awaking, I found myself quietly when I could not walk for pain ;-and how in seated in my bachelor arm-chair, where I had after life he became lame-footed too, and I did fallen asleep, with the faithful Bridget une not always (I fear) make allowances enough changed by my side—but John L. (or James for him when he was impatient, and in pain, Elia) was gone for ever. nor remember sufficiently how considerate he