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gypsies, and trampers, and that low train of mendicants which may be called the houseless poor, adopt, they are not far from vice. The very inactivity of such a state leads gradually to immorality. Those who respect not themselves rarely respect others, and the very extreme indifference to appearance meets the extreme care of it, and confirms the old adage, that extremes are dangerous.
Michael was passing through all the offices in his parish, and fulfilling them all under the influence of that text, “ Whatever thy hand findeth to do, do it heartily.” As churchwarden, he was particularly careful of the neatness and cleanliness of his church. It had been a rule to have the windows cleaned once a year, and a glazier was hired for the purpose, and this cost the parish nearly a pound, as it was lit in many corners, being an old-fashioned place. Michael proposed that each farmer should spare a man to clean one window, and so gradually get the whole done, and this once a quarter; he stood by himself at the operation, that he might see the ladder fixed to prevent breaking; and now, instead of the clouds that hung over the house of prayer, all was neat, clean, and pleasant. He had determined, should any pane be broke, he himself would stand to the expense; but this was a measure which delighted the whole parish, the change which cleanliness effects is so visible, that it is readily felt and acknowledged, more especially when it saves the pocket, as it did in this instance; and Michael took an opportunity, while he watched the fellows, (who were the class employed in this service,) to say some word of the pleasure and the honour of any way contributing to the decent worship of God.
“ We should be ashamed to have our own houses dirty, and surely we should pay this respect to that place where we assemble to seek favours at his hand, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain.” This little plan of Michael's gave him an opportunity of saying a word to those whom otherwise he would never have known; and in all these addresses, he lifted
his heart, and said, “ Strengthen me this once, I
pray Every little repair was attended to; the fastenings on the pews; if any of the hassocks were worn and littering, he called upon the proprietors, and begged they would be so kind as to have them mended; the walls were regularly swept down once a month, and during Michael's churchwardenry, Westrip gave up his clerkship. James Brown applied for it,
and was appointed; and these good young men went willingly hand in hand, delighted in the promotion of every thing that is good and excellent. But no office gave him so much trouble as surveyor of the roads, and in this he was obliged to influence others by the power of example. He performed all his statute work with a scrupulous fidelity, and he found all the farmers were performing more than they had ever done in a former year: some of them were obliged by the statute to give ninety teams, and though they would pretend to acquit themselves of this engagement, it was so imperfectly done as not to be worth thirty. He proposed that they should all combine to bring a given quantity together, and they had a sort of gala day for the road mending. “ Let us do our part thoroughly,"
proposal, is and instead of throwing the materials into the pit, let us thoroughly clear it; and then, gentlemen, if you please, you will bring us your stores all together.” By these means, putting his whole strength into it, and never suffering a rut to remain unfilled, keeping all the ditches open ; by means of fair words and good example, he, left the roads in perfect repair when he went out of office. He was succeeded by Mr. Henry Jennings, who very ungene
rously observed, “ I think, gentlemen, last year you had a sixpenny rate made for your roads, but you see I have brought you through without any additional expense.” Ah, Mr. Jennings, this will not do, this must not pass,” said one of the farmers; “ in what state did you find the roads? For my part,” said this honest farmer,“ if Mr. Kemp would be content, I would make him surveyor for ever. I like my money as well as any man, Sir, and I am sure Mr. Kemp did not lay out an unnecessary shilling. “ You are right, Mr. Sturges,” said old Jennings. No, no, give every dog his due,” and the worthy assembly laughed at Mr. Jennings's wit, and we may safely add, Mr. Jennings laughed with them.
We have said that Michael was churchwarden, and the year we have spoken of he was parishwarden; and in this parish, as in many others, the warden for the parish and that of the clergyman perform different services, taking care that each had their rights. Thus, for instance : when he became Mr. Lascelles' warden, he turned his particular care to his convenience; he engaged the grave-digger, for a small sum, to keep every little mound in the nicest order; and at the suggestion of the youngest Miss Las
celles, who was passionately fond of ivy, and the whole tribe of creeping plants, he planted ivy all round the low wall of the church-yard; and as the little Michael Meredith had heard the story how uncle Michael used to sweep the paths at P-, this sweet boy was often found with his basket picking off the dead leaves and watering the fresh shoots by the side of Miss Lascelles; and how delighted the warm-hearted Fanny would be, when her dear boy seemed treading in the steps of his uncle, we can hardly tell the reader. Let those who have young ones accustom them to hear all interesting anecdotes of their religious friends, and even their early infant habits; but let them beware how they talk of sin, especially if that sin be accompanied by wit, cunning, and childish contrivance to cheat or deceive. These are winged seeds, which are sown by every highway-side; they need no culture, they ask no care, they, alas! but too well accord with the soil found in every heart. It was found that the books at church were much worn; Michael proposed new ones. Mr. Lascelles observed very sensibly and very kindly, “ I must be careful that
you are not too good to me, lest your kind consideration should bring you into disgrace. You have given me a new sur