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I was tempted by the hope of seeing a glorious prospect of the ocean, in which, though so late, I was not altogether disappointed, for I could plainly see its white foam, and hear the roar of its surge."
Mr. Fairbrother seemed not displeased with this, for he said, “I honour you, sir, for this love of the grandeur of nature, which is here, indeed, magnificent; and I am only sorry you have missed its perfection for want of light; but I am still more concerned respecting your fate for the night. You surely will not attempt to go down the hill again in the dark, and there will even then be no rest for you except at Scarborough or Whitby.
Here the landlord, who had hitherto abstained from joining the talk, so deferential was he to his rector, could contain no longer; but, advancing to the parley, “You forget, your reverence,” said he, to Mr. Fairbrother, “The TRAVELLER's Rest.' The rector smiled, and replied: "Why true, Tim; and if you can accommodate the gentleman, I am sure I ought not to prevent it, for you deserve every thing from your good-will; but I doubt your power.”
Mr. Johnson made a sort of bow for the compliment, but by no means implying his assent to the doubt. “ You know, sir,” said he, still very respectfully, “I have excellent stable-room, and should have plenty for the gentleman himself; only, unfortunately, the best chamber has all the window-frames taken out to be repaired; but the nights (here he hesitated a little), the nights are fine, and we could nail
“ No, Tim,” observed Mr. Fairbrother, but kindly, “that wo’n't do; I cannot let you expose a fellowcreature to the risk of the night air in autumn, though your supper would, I know, be good, and you could do ample justice to his horse."
“ If so,” said I, stepping out of my chaise, “and if my
steed can be taken care of, and the supper good, there will be no difficulty, for I can easily pass the night in an elbow-chair."
“ That you shall not do,” said the benevolent rector, who, as he afterwards told me, had been much struck with my enthusiasm for a view of the ocean, his own favourite pleasure, “ that
shall not do, while the parsonage is so near at hand; and, as I am allowed by my good people here to do much as I please in this little domain, I must beg to extend my privilege to the stranger within its gates: so I shall use my power by making you come home with me, while Tim shall charge what he pleases for your horse's bed and supper instead of your own.”
Tim, somewhat mollified by this latitude as to his bill, made a bow of acquiescence; and I, though rather overpowered with this unexpected incident, yet never backward at a new scene presenting itself, and charmed with Mr. Fairbrother's manner and seeming sense, allowed him to conduct me, nothing loth, to his comfortable rectory.
What passed, however, with its amiable master must be the subject of another letter. Meantime, I remain, your old friend,
" That churchman bears a bounteous mind, indeed!”
SHAKSPEARE : Henry VIII.
Having found, rather to my surprise, that the subject of
my last number has not been disrelished by my readers, I resume it by introducing my friend Vivid's second letter, which arrived soon after the first, and which contained what he calls
THE RECTOR'S STORY.
As we proceeded down the hill to the parsonage, says my correspondent, I was struck with the beauty of the little dell in which it was situated, and which contrasted most pleasingly with the surrounding wildness. The dusk did not prevent my observing several little streams which gushed from the summit, creating a freshness in the green pastures around us delicious to the sense. There were rocks, too, in the fissures of which, among many other shrubs, projected a number of mountain ash, in all the glory of their
But this wildness yielded in beauty to a well-kept garden within a clipped hedge, the gate of which the rector opened with a key, leading me through a path lined with fruit and flowers to where
“ The village preacher's modest mansion rose." I could not help complimenting him upon his retreat, and wished I had just such a one to roost in.
The place is loveliness itself,” said I, “but surely not alone in it ?”
If you think," answered he, “that I am married, except to my parish (where, indeed, I have a plurality of wives, with some shrews among them), you are mistaken."
“Yet I am surprised that, in such an Eden, there should not be an Eve."
“All very good,” replied he, “and the time may come; but at present I am so absorbed in healing divisions and reconciling creeds, that, being very much in earnest in this, which I conceive to be the holiest of objects in a gospel minister, I feel like Bernard Gilpin amidst his dalesmen and mountaineers, and put off matrimony for a time when I can more devote myself to its duties.”
This made me recollect what the yeoman who had directed me up the hill had told me of the religious dissensions that had agitated the parish under the late rector, and the improvement which had taken place under the present. I observed, therefore, “ You must have had a difficult card to play, for to settle religious disputes seems, I know not why, more difficult than to reconcile the interests of Europe after a twenty years' war.” "I
agree with you,” said Mr. Fairbrother, "for I have found it so to my cost. I had, however, one advantage, without which I never should have succeeded (if I have done so)-I had not an intolerant nature.”
“Which your predecessor, perhaps, had ?”
He is dead," said Mr. Fairbrother, “and we will not inquire whether his high consciousness of being right in his intolerance (in which he was sincere) might not have done much mischief. Waterland was his oracle, and, like him, he carried his orthodoxy to such a height, that he thought it even enjoined by the mildest of all religions to refuse society and communion with what Waterland calls “impugners of fundamentals ;' that is, with all who differed from himself in opinions.”
“You have said enough,” observed I, “ to account for the schisms you found on your arrival; and, as I am curious in these matters, I should be glad, if it is not disagreeable to you, to hear something of them in detail."
“They were quite as ridiculous as lamentable, yet as amusing as instructive," said the rector. “But I see supper coming on table, so we will defer it till afterwards, when, if you are so disposed, I have no objection to tell you my impressions upon my first arrival.”
I was thankful for the promise of what I expected would be a mental treat, meantime did not neglect the corporal one, which, in the shape of a roast chicken, parsley and butter, and artichokes, smoked upon the board. This we attacked, while a steady civil person in a Duffield coat, whom the rector called Matthew, administered to our wants at the sideboard.
After our repast, and we had sat a few minutes, the rector thus began:
“I own, when I see the good effects upon my flock