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as neighbours were generally selected to be sponsors, "My Gossip' got to mean - My neighbour.' I have seen a sermon by an old writer, in which the Good Samaritan was called the 'Gossip’of him who fell among the thieves. When people began to speak of gossiping, they meant talking as neiglıbours and intimate friends do talk, that is to say, of the every day matters which are mutually interesting. And so, in a great measure, is the case now.
You speak of science and politics as what you would like to hear the people you visit talk of. These things are very important, no doubt; but they never will be the staple of daily friendly conversation, except among statesmen and philosophers.
Now I am going to put a home question. What do you and 'Augustus,' as a general rule, talk of when you sit by the fire in the evenings? Is it not of the past day's work? Where you have been—whom you have scen—what they said to you, and you to them—what has grieved you—what has cheered you-what you forgot to do yesterday—what you mean to do to-morrow? Of course it is so. And it is natural. Our daily talk will be of our daily life-of the things that are ‘sib' to us. Now, you have been brought up in a different way from your young neighbour, the brewer's daughter. Her subjects of interest are not 'sib' to yours. If you wish they should become so, as it is desirable for both your sakes they should, you must (instead of keeping up the distinctions of class, as (excuse me) you appear to do, and to desire that she should feel that you do,) try to come together on a common ground; try to become, as far as in you lies, 'sib’to her. And that will not be done by showing her that you regard her as your mental inferior, by lending her magazines with only what you consider the 'improving' papers cut open, or by looking contemptuous if you find she has read only the story, which you never read.' Why do you not read it? If it be a good magazine, the story will have no harm in it. It is natural for your young neighbour to read it. It is a fair ground for mutual interest. If you and she can become 'sib’over the story, it is a point gained, and then in time you may become so over the solid articles. The more people try for points of unity, the more they will find; and the more people look for points of diversity, the more a thousand-fold will they discover.
Do not think too much about 'raising' other people's 'tone.' Wait and see, first if it really wants more raising than your own does. In some respects you may have the advantage, in others they may. Those who have had most to do with Parish Visiting, find that they learn full as much as they teach. And even in extreme cases, where things are really very bad, remember what good George Herbert says of sermons—it applies to many other things :
If all want sense,
And now for my second head.
We may here take for granted that the 'gossip'is of a very paltry kind, such as it is desirable that your young neighbours should be broken of. “How,' you ask, 'am I to pull them out of it?'
Let us think a little what is meant by pulling a person out of anything, (out of a ditch, for instance,) or up anything, (such as a steep hill.) We will suppose you to be on the top. It is not helping your neighbour, either bodily or mentally, to stand and look down on him, saying, 'See how much better off I am than you are! My clothes are not soiled. I am not heated and breathless, as you are. Why are you not as I am ?' No! If you mean to pull your neighbour up, you lean down towards him; you take him by the hand, and you draw him to you, not by jerks, but steadily and heartily.
Now, just consider a moment. If any of your neighbours read the Monthly Packet, will they think you are extending a friendly hand to them, when they find you stigmatizing them as belonging to an inferior class,' and telling them they are not of your society,' because they read novels, call you 'Mrs. Montgomery,' and do not habitually sit in their drawing-rooms. Let me ask you why they should sit in their drawing-rooms if they do not like it. I know it would make you or me uncomfortable not to sit in ours. But tastes differ. And they are in their own houses. "An Englishman's house is his castle.'
I wonder if you will forgive me for saying that I fear your first parish experience was too pleasant to wholesome. That model village owned entirely by your father—where all the floors were sanded, and all the dressers were of shining oakwhere the squire employed all the men, and the lady clothed all the children, and 'made a fine rout' if the houses were not kept tidy, or the little ones were irregular at school. All this was pleasant for you, as I said before; but believe me, it was not wholesome, either for squire, or lady, or parson, or parson's wife. Nor am I sure it was so for the cottagers themselves. The rich should respect the poor, as well as the poor respect the rich. For they are brethren, sib' in God.
Now, why should the lady fancy she has a right to lecture the poor man's wife if her house is not nicely kept ? The squire's income may be numbered in pounds, and the labourer's in pence. There is that difference between them, it is true; but did it never strike you, that even in earthly matters, there is one aspect in which they are equals ? Each is mistress of her own house. And there is no doubt that the person lectured remembers the fact. But for conventional habits, she would shew that she did. The removal to St. Philip's must have been like a plunge into cold water, startling, but bracing; and your first lesson on the free-born British spirit was not long in coming. You "told a shabby child to take a flower out of its hat,' and the answer was, 'Father says it be to bide.' To be quite frank with you, I should say • Father' was right. Not right in wishing the flower to “bide, but right in asserting his claim to be master of his own family. The child came to school to be taught; and in the matter of her lessons, you and the school-mistress had authority over her. In the matter of her bonnet you had none. Advice as to a child's dress requires to be given with the greatest delicacy. I am not sure that, except where cleanliness or absolute decency are in question, a clergyman's wife is entitled to offer even advice; anything more than advice, even when given directly to the mother, is a liberty, and no one likes liberties. An order sent to the parent by the child is an insult. No wonder the man resented it.
Then again, as to those in a rank above your Sunday scholars. Your position as a clergyman's wife does not entitle you to settle what rooms people ought to occupy, or what subjects they may choose to read of or to talk about. You cannot, I fear, "pull' your husband's new parishioners. Some persons can stand that process, if it be done with judgement, and if the hand that pulls is a well-known one. stranger ought never to make the attempt. It
a failure. Your last question is, “Whether there would be any use in trying to be more intimate with such uncongenial people ?'
As long as people are uncongenial there can be no intimacy. I am by no means sure that it would be desirable, were it possible. But there may be—there ought to be--mutual good-will, mutual respect, and mutual interests. If you seriously wish to bring about such union, and from your inexperience do not know how to set about it, may you not find the missing link in the wife of your husband's fellow-labourer and brother-priest ?
My dear young friend, (if you will allow me to call you so,) it gave me great pain to read your allusion to the Curate’s wife;' the 'cheap furniture,' put in ‘by great effort, into her drawing-room. What causes people to buy cheap furniture rather than what is costly? The answer is obvious. Now, wealth never made a true lady yet. Nor can the want of it unmake one. Mrs.
may be a gentlewoman in mind, although her tables and chairs be not handsome, and though the inexperienced servant whom she has kindly taken to train may forget to open the drawing-room windows.
You are fond of reading standard books, you say. Of course you know the Essays of Elia. Remember that on ‘Old China.' Should it not teach you to make allowances for those whose luxuries are hard bought and slowly won. And as you yourself seem rather to over-rate what money procures, can you wonder at some of Mr. Montgomery's parishioners over-valuing the money itself? It is difficult for those who are still working for their wealth to realize that they are in fact only stewards of it. Men who are prevailed on by your husband to give their money for good purposes, cannot always see that they are receiving, not doing a favour.
My sermon has been a long one. It is time it was ended. Do not mistake my meaning. I am far from wishing to prevent your keeping up the cultivation of your mind. Only, have patience with those who have not been taught as you have been. And do not over-estimate trifles. Remember what is the main business of a clergyman; to win souls for his Master; to be in all unimportant matters, all things to all men,' for that end. By this I mean he should study to enter into the feelings of his flock; to sympathize in their sorrows; to allow for their hindrances. In one word, to have fervent charity towards them—that charity which “is not easily provoked ;' which “vaunteth not itself; which “hopeth all things, endureth all things.'
And you are a clergyman's wife. Being so, you must be one of two things. Either your husband's greatest earthly help, or his greatest hindrance.
I am, Madam,
THE HAVRE EXPOSITION. My dear
It is time now that I say something about the Exposition, which was originally intended only for the display of maritime objects, but has gradually been expanded into one of those miniature world-fairs of which we have seen so many in various countries, since the first great Exhibition in Hyde Park, in 1851. The building at Havre is one-storied, and of wood; the ventilation is defective, though it is well lighted from above. The shape is an irregular parallelogram, if I may make use of such an expression; and within the enclosure is a large plot of ground, laid out partly as a garden, and partly occupied by models, machines too unwieldy for the interior, kiosks, pagodas, and ornamental summer-houses; there are several aviaries, and a large white pavilion in the centre, painted white, intended for a club and reading room, and containing a handsomely decorated hall to be used on the occasion of the Emperor's visit, and-chief source of attraction-an aquarium, the finest and largest ever constructed.
To see this only, it would be worth while to pay a visit to Havre. The aquarium is built of wood and stone, in imitation of Fingal's Cave in the Hebrides ; squared blocks painted black, represent the peculiar columnar form inside and out, and a composition is used as a substitute for the basalt. The entrance and exit are at either end; the opening is however hidden from within by a projecting pillar. Outside it is surrounded by water, in part of which three or four seals can be seen playing about very contentedly or coming out to bask in the sun. They form an unceasing source of amusement to the crowds standing on the banks, which are prettily planted with reeds, rushes, and other water loving things. Aquatic birds are paddling about, and some tame sea-gulls are perched upon a buttress of rock, gazing calmly upon the people swaying backwards and forwards below them. You cross a little wooden bridge, and from the heat and glare without find yourself in the dim cool light of the cave. The sides are lined from end to end with plate-glass cases, divided from each other by stone-work: there is a means of communication between VOL. 6.
of it ;
every two cases generally, and you see the fish availing themselves of this wider space, and swimming to and fro. These miniature sea caves are strewn with sand and small pebbles, and the back-ground is filled in with irregular pieces of rock, madrepores, and branches of coral, while sea-weeds and algæ are growing abundantly. You can see numberless tiny shrimps and prawns chasing one another in and out among the feathery sprays, or hanging in rows by their feelers from the huge sea-fans. The rocks are full of tiny caves and holes, out of which the fish dart, either in play or pursuit ; or else they lie asleep-turbot, soles, mackerel, and plaice, all in closest proximity, seemingly unconscious of each other's presence. The happy family principle seems carried out among these creatures, for dog-fish appear on confiding terms with smelts and such small fry, lobsters and cray-fish of considerable dimensions seem to confine their appetite to preying on dead brethren, and sucking any remaining juice out of the pallid shrimps or prawns that one sees occasionally lying toes up among the sea-weed and pebbles. Gazing into the cool opal coloured water, one may fancy how it would feel to be a denizen of the sea; a far from unpleasant life among all those shiny glossy creatures at the bottom of the ocean, provided always that one were supplied with a similar breathing apparatus to that which you can watch so accurately in the body of that very ugly skate, or be able to move through the dense mass of water as elegantly as yonder red gurnet with rainbow fins expanded like wings, and sapphire eyes. Two or three large conger eels are curled up side by side, their fat coils speckled like a leech, and above them an airy little sea-horse rides up and down, curving his neck and carrying his long tail-like body gracefully behind him. A singular looking creature is the seaelephant, with his long proboscis, and fleshy tusk-shaped appendage on either side
his back is iridescent, and beautifully marked with tiny brown spots. In another case, where the water is artificially heated by currents of hot air, one can see the coral insect at work; and most curious it is to see the slow but regular progress, a perceptible difference shewing itself after the lapse of two or three days in the milk-white mass. But what a sense of time it gives, when one thinks of reefs and islands produced by these tiny beings working on and on in that eternal twilight, till what began as a soft sponge-like substance, ends by forming a continent.
The names of the inmates are written over the different compartments, and the orders to which they belong. In the middle of the cave, on either side, are two grottoes, in one of which is exhibited a collection of American crustacea and mollusca; amongst others, those extraordinary crabs, covered with a green shield, and encumbered with a long paddle-shaped tail : they are, I understand, considered a great delicacy in some parts of the States. There are land and water tortoises, turtles, chameleons, reptiles of different kinds; oysters in various stages, and a very fine assortment of the lowest forms of marine life; amongst others, those wonderful little bags of opal jelly that pass existence in expanding and contracting, and floating about in rock pools; anemones of many sorts, star-tish, sepia, and barnacles, which, however injurious to the bottoms of our vessels, are exquisite in form and colour. The bivalve opens, and a tiny plume of prismatic colours presents itself, waving hither and thither, then sinking back into the shell, a minute spot of crimson and purple is all that remains visible. You get quite dizzy at last, looking so long and earnestly at the mimic sea-bottom, and catch sight perhaps of a face reflected in some dark part of the plate-glass, whose vacant stare reminds you painfully of that slitmouthed John Dory, who with nose pressed against the case seems returning the gaze! If smoking were not allowed in the aquarium, the air would be cool and pleasant; and there are plenty of seats, the want of which is a great drawback inside the building
There is a monopoly of chairs; they are only to be found in the gardens; these, when we arrived in June, were a wilderness, but a marked improvement shows itself from day to day, and when the much talked of visit of the Emperor comes off in August, they will be in full beauty. The almost total absence of rain ever since the opening of the Exposition, (though there have been thunder-storms occasionally,) has proved a great draw-back to the plants, though as much as possible is effected by artificial watering. The French are remarkably ingenious in transplanting trees of a large size; and there are to be seen rows of espaliers, carefully trained on iron frames, in full bearing, and which seem to have borne removal with little or no injury. The autumn previous to transplanting, the top root is cut off, and the tree throws out a quantity of fibrous roots which adhere to a large portion of earth. A decp hole filled with water is prepared, and into this, when the proper season has arrived, the tree, with a considerable ball of earth adhering to its roots—is plunged. The roses have been very tine, and are now succeeded by a varied show of carnations, geraniums, and petunias, while asters and other autumn flowers are being brought forward to replace them. There is a small arboretum, and in one part of the gardens the beds are botanically arranged according to their natural orders. Hardly a day passes without the introduction of some novelty or improvement. At night the gardens are illuminated with gas, and on the top of the large white building that I have alluded to as occupying the centre of the enclosure, the electric light is always shown from nine to eleven o'clock. Crowds then walk up and down smoking and talking, a band plays, and the ladies sit about in groups enjoying the cool evening breeze. The light is singularly cold and powerful, throwing intensely black shadows and making the moon-beams pale in contrast. The complexion of the upturned faces is very ghastly, and crossed as the brilliance is by the yellow flicker of the gas lamps, the effect on an evening when the wind stirs the flags floating in every direction, and moves the branches of the trees, is very weird and spectral.
The Exposition having, as I before said, been originally intended only for maritime objects, much of the space is devoted exclusively to them. There are huge anchors, cables, paddles and screws, models of many celebrated steamers built either at home or abroad, models of noted yachts; these last, exquisite pieces of workmanship, every curve and line being copied with mathematical accuracy in very hard polished wood. There is in one part, a miniature whale-boat, with all the accoutrements complete; in another, a similar boat full sized thoroughly fitted up, the harpoons, spears, knives for cutting and preparing the blubber, &c., ranged in a semicircle over it. Fire-arms are now much used in the whale fishery, and by some, a combustible material is introduced, which bursts as soon as it enters the body of the animal, causing most frightful wounds, and a death, if not so lingering as in former days, much more painful; on the other hand, human life is not so liable to be endangered by the struggles of the animal in endeavouring to free himself. A little beyond the whale boát, you see a group of divers in full costume, with helmets and air tubes ; some of the contrivances, though very ingenious, are so complicated as to be quite unfeasible. There are India-rubber rafts to be inflated in case of ship-wrecks, which would inevitably get out of order when they were wanted ; and a waterproof coat, which is supposed to include a knapsack, a pillow, and a tent covering !
One of the most interesting sections is that devoted to machinery. In the Internationals of 1851 and 1862 there was so much to be seen, that one could not afford sufficient leisure for studying the annexes in which the machines were at work; but here, all being on a much smaller scale, they can be investigated thoroughly without fatigue. There is always a crowd watching the manufacture of chocolate. A large enclosure contains the apparatus necessary for crushing the beans, huge sacks of which stand open against the rails, they are emptied into a mill, and as the ground powder issues from an open shaft at the side, it falls into another large receptaclo like a churn. Here it is mixed with water, spice, and sugar, and here also I presume that the adulteration with flour or other substances is effected, but though have watched frequently and narrowly, I was never able to discover anything besides the orthodox sugar and spice that are displayed in sacks alongside of the beans! From