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Come sudden death, come flood, or flame,
Long shall I remember Fairlight, and Fairlight Church; and many things shall I forget before my sunny Sabbath will be blotted from my memory.
OLD HUMPHREY AT HASTINGS.
Bear with an old man's prattle, for his heart
“STANDS Hastings where it did ?" said I, trying to be cheerful, as I hobbled along with difficulty, supported by two porters, from the railway to the vehicle engaged to carry me to my place of destination. But no, it would not do. I was too much subdued and exhausted by my transit from “the mart of all the earth,” to be cheerful. I had been carried, on account of extreme weakness, from
my cab at the London Bridge Station, to the carriage that was to bear me onwards; and some feared that I should sink by the way, and never reach Hastings. It pleased the Father of mercies that it should be otherwise.
But, if not cheerful, I was at least grateful, for I was not unmindful that, in all my preceding visits to this delightful locality, the sea and land breezes had gathered round me with healing on their wings, and I was sanguine enough to hope and trust that I should again be benefited with a like result. I looked around with a thankful heart to the great Giver of all good, and with kindly feelings for my fellow-passengers, as well as for the porters bustling about me, and the driver and his horse waiting for my accommodation.
As I moved onward in an open carriage, the fresh, gentle breeze much revived me, and familiar objects presented themselves. Two of the three windmills near the West Hill were at work; the old castle, in ruin, reminded me that, like my own, the best of its days were passed. The sea was rolling along its sparkling billows, as it was wont to do thousands of years ago; bathing-machines stood on the shore, their wheels partly in and partly out of the water. The Marine Parade was peopled with visitors; the great dial, hanging over High street, pointed to a quarter-past five; the magnolia, for such I take it to be, covering the front of the house of Earl Waldegrave, was adorned with magnificent flowers. All things appeared as I had before seen them, only that the old man, the knitter of nightcaps, who for so many years had occupied a corner at the entrance of the London road, was no longer an inhabitant of the world.
For the first few days of my sojourn at Hastings, I could not go from one room to another, even with help, without difficulty; but now, with a stick and a friendly arm, I can walk a hundred yards, and perhaps two hundred. This is to me a source of great enjoyment and thankfulness, and it has suggested a thought to me that would afford me much
satisfaction if it could be rendered practical; and I see no good reason why it should not.
What is the use of our feeling grateful, unless we embody our emotions in useful or benevolent action ? Deeds of love to man are the very soul of thanksgiving to God. When Simon Peter declared that he loved the Saviour, the latter required some proof of his assertion : “Feed my sheep,” and “Feed my lambs.”
The number of visitors to Hastings is great, and it is not unreasonable thence to conclude that the greater part of them must derive health or pleasure from their temporary residence. For this they are, or ought to be, grateful; why not, then, make manifest their gratitude by some act of kindness to a place that has so largely contributed to their benefit? Some opulent visitors have the means of doing good on a large scale, while most of us can do it only on a small one. It is not, however, the amount, but the motive of the giver, that ennobles the gift. Hastings bas charities whose funds are low; schools that require support; poor fishermen, who, from shipwreck, want of success, and other causes,
suffer much; and sick and poor people standing in need of assistance. Now, if every grateful visitor, in a spirit of thankfulness, would do ever so little in the way of philanthropy, the aggregate would be very considerable. Were a moiety only of those in the long lists of visitors that
in the newspapers to act upon this suggestion, what a desirable accession it would prove to the cause of humanity, and what a noble number of good Samaritans might thereby pour oil and wine into the wounds of the afflicted!
It is said that on the overland passage across the desert to India there is a tree covered with fragments of dress, and other articles, hung there by pilgrims and travellers, to show their gratitude for the protection and safety vouchsafed them; and in Roman Catholic countries, it is a common thing for such as profess to have been cured by miracles to leave behind them their crutches or other manifestations of past infirmity, by way of thankfulness. Let us not, then, be outdone by Mohammedans and fanatics; but, as a Christian people, show our thankfulness in a Christian manner.
In one of my walks in the Hackney Fields, Lon. don, before my illness, I found a poor beetle in my pathway, on his back, vainly struggling and striving to recover his feet. “Friend Sable-coat,” said I, playfully, “the proverb has it, that “a friend in need is a friend indeed,' and I have arrived just in time, it seems, to verify the adage ; but as thou art really down, there will be no harm in my profiting by thy fall.” So, taking out my glass, I attentively examined his curious formation; after which I gently laid across him a blade of grass, which enabled him once more to get on his legs and hide himself in a