« PreviousContinue »
A VERY absurd and preposterous notion has been entertained of London intellectuality, etiquette and taste. As it regards the Christian ministry, it has often been said “ that men who do for country towns, won't do for the Metropolis.” This, to some extent, is true; and to some extent, or with regard to some men, utterly false; for London has fairly and fully tried those men, and asserts that they will do, and wonders why it should be deprived of their services. London is not without its ignorance and squeamishness; and the country not without its intelligence, refinement, mental superiority and admirable taste. London has numerous excellencies, and among its people are to be found the hospitable, the generous, the companionable and polite. Many of its pulpits are supplied with godly ministers of long standing, and well ascertained superiority. Made comfortable too (as many of them at least are) by adequate salaries, and treated by the people with respect and affection, they can go smoothly forward in a career of unimpeded usefulness as preachers and authors, and extend the kingdom of Christ, in various directions, and through the press
to the ends of the earth. But London has also among its natives and perpetual residents, peo
ple of another sort, -equivocal in their friendship, haughty in their manners, and in some instances, as I have known,-deliberately insulting. It would be a charity to recommend some of these geniuses to go into the country for a year or two, to learn politeness and good manners. I do not say that the faults of which I complain, and which I have witnessed, are a characteristic peculiarity in London, but this I do say, that as the great metropolis of the British Empire stands pre-eminent in many important respects, it should seek to excel in courtesy to country people and to country ministers. London is the residence of royalty, the seat of government, the great emporium of trade and commerce : every body seems to do homage to London. Every man who wants to publish a book, must secure a London publisher. All the world, in one sense or other, bows and scrapes to London ; and in some country villages every visitor from London, from the Queen herself down to Mr. Snip, the tailor's apprentice, is looked on as a person of some consequence. Besides this, immense sums of money from all quarters find their way to London : yet some of the Londoners joke the country people, and turn the laugh upon them.
How would they like this ? Let us see. Sir Simon Slippery“ vunders however any country minister can be so persumshus ás for to go for to think he is qualified for London pulpits. He is completely struck at the vanity of the man in entertainin the hideer for vun moment. Vy he vears thick shoes, and he aint got no
gold votch guard ; and he is orkard in his manners as compared vith our reglar city ministers. No, no, it vill never do; no, nevar !" Lady Slippery is “percisely of the same opinion. She cordally concurs in the views entertained by her spouse, Sir Simon. “ Besides” (says she) “how could we, vithout gross impropriety, inwite a country minister's wife into our drawing room. They can't play on the arpsichord !-and then the country hair, that people say is so fresh and balmy, and that surrounds them with
hoderifferous hatmospere - vy, its all fudge. Country ladies, indeed! Vy, they all smell o' cows and haystacks.”
" Permit me, dear mamma," says her ladyship's beautiful and accomplished daughter, “respectfully to differ from you as to your opinion of country ministers, and their wives and daughters. The ministers may not be elegantly attired—(except the very few among them that have private property) nor their wives and daughters able to play on the harpsichord, and they may smell of cows instead of Paris perfumery; but their good sense, gentleness of disposition, and conversational powers, are in my poor estimation, qualities far more estimable than the little things in which, I grieve to say, some of us metropolitans are apt to pride ourselves. You know you kindly allow me to visit . the country from time to time: and I assure you that the excellent sermons I hear there, and the intercourse I have had with these ministers and their families, serve to convince me that they are
the right sort of people. Somehow or other, (though perhaps it is a sin in me to say so) I seem to love the Lord Jesus Christ more in the country than in the city; and even, as to mental improvement, I have felt myself better for my visits. A thousand times over have I wished these country ministers were our ministers. However, papa ought to know best. I remember very well, that before we grew rich, and kept our carriage, and servants in livery, how respectfully and affectionately papa used to speak of country ministers. But I do fear,-oh, forgive me, if I am wrong,—I do fear that what we esteem the polish and refinement and etiquette of city life, are, after all, no great acquisitions either to our piety or mental improvement. Before papa became Sir Simon, he used to think it an honour and a luxury to welcome country ministers to our house,
-but now when they call, unless they happen to be men with diplomas, or more or less celebrated,—the servant is ordered to let them wait in the little cold damp parlour, and in winter, without a fire; and after detaining them, like prisoners, twenty minutes or more, we send to them to say, Sir Simon is engaged, and cannot see them; and this has been done, when we have all known that he was quite at leisure, and could see them without difficulty. They then go away with a firm resolution never to call again without a special invitation. This, I fear, gets us a bad name in the provinces, and what we gain in stiffness and aristocratical dignity, we lose in the want of that respect and friendly attachment which many have felt towards us !"
· Amelia,” says her ladyship, “this here sermonizing and lecturing from you is unendoorable, you are but a gal. If your papa was here, he'd order you out of the room, Vot should a young creeter like you know about the affairs of the churches ? Sir Simon has had long experience in these things; he has a hie like a hork, and can penetrate rite through a man in a minnet, and his judgment as to who will do for our London pulpits is inwalleable and worth more nor untold gold.”
Amelia.—"Mamma, if I have offended, I beg pardon, and I won't mention the subject again, except to say, once for all, that whimsical, capricious, and unreasonable remonstrances against the appointment or private recommendation of accredited and efficient ministers, are now looked upon as sinful in a high degree, and it is even rumoured that persons who encourage them will be shunned and avoided, as not worthy of a name or place in respectable Christian society.” [Exit Amelia.]
Lady Slippery's soliloquy." And is it for this, that my dear Sir Simon guy this gal a first rate heddication ? O my nervish system! I shall swoon away. I shall go into hextatics ! (hysterics) Alas ! this comes of the gal visiting the sick and the poor among chimbly sweepers and the rabble! She gets low radical notions of things. Not respectable, indeed, because Sir Simon, in his official capacity,