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goes on very regularly, each week much like the last. And, on the whole, it is very happy. You saunter for a little in the open air after breakfast: you do so when the evergreens are beautiful with snow as well as when the warm sunshine makes the grass white with widelyopened daisies. Your children go with you wherever you go. You are growing subdued and sobered ; but they are not: and when one sits on your knee, and lays upon your shoulder a little head with golden ringlets, you do not mind very much though your own hair (what is left of it) is getting shot with grey. You sit down in your quiet study to your work : what thousands of pages you have written at that table! You cease your task at one o'clock :
: you get on horseback and canter up the parish to see your sick: or you take the ribbons and tool into the county town. You feel the stir of even its quiet existence : you drop into the bookseller's: you grumble at the venerable age of the Reviews that come to you from the club. Generally, you cannot be bothered with calls upon your tattling acquaintances : you leave these to your wife. You drive home again, through the shady lanes, away into the green country : your man-servant in his sober livery tells you with pride, when you go to the stable-yard for a few minutes before dinner, that Mr. Snooks, the great judge of horse-flesh, had declared that afternoon in the inn-stable in town, that he had not seen a better-kept carriage and harness anywhere, and that your plump steed was a noble creature. It is well when a servant is proud of his belongings : he will be a happier man, and a more faithful and useful. When you next drive out you will see the silver blazing in the sun with increased brightness. And now you have the pleasant evening,
before you. You never fail to dress for dinner: living so quietly as you do, it is especially needful, if you would avoid an encroaching rudeness, to pay careful attention to the little refinements of life. And the great event of the day over, you have music, books, and children: you have the summer saunter in the twilight: you have the winter evening fireside : you take perhaps another turn at your sermon for an hour or two. The day has brought its work and its recreation : you can look back each evening upon something done : save when you give yourself a holiday which you feel has been fairly toiled for. And what a wonderful amount of work, such as it is, you may, by exertion regular but not excessive, turn off in the course of the ten months and a-half of the working year!
And thus, day by day, and month by month, the life of the country parson passes quietly away. It will be briefly comprehended on his tombstone, in the assurance that he did his duty, simply and faithfully, through so many years. It is somewhat monotonous, but he is too busy to weary of it: it is varied by not much society, in the sense of conversation with educated men with whom the clergyman has many common feelings. But it is inexpressibly pleasing when, either to his own house or to a dwelling near, there comes a visitor with whom an entire sympathy is felt, though probably holding very antagonistic views : then come the good talks' with delighted Johnson : genial evenings, and long walks of afternoons. The daily post is a daily strong sensation, sometimes pleasing, sometimes painful, as he brings tidings of the outer world. You have your daily Times : each Monday morning brings your Saturday Review: and the Illustrated London News comes not merely for the children's sake. You read all the Quarterlies, of course : you skim the monthlies: but it is with tenfold interest and pleasure that month by month you receive that magazine which is edited by a dear friend who sends it to you, and in which sometimes certain pages have the familiar look of a friend's face. You draw it wet from its big envelope: you cut its leaves with care : you enjoy the fragrance of its steam as it dries at the study fire: you glance at the shining backs of that long row of volumes into which the pleasant monthly visitants have accumulated: you think you will have another volume soon. Then there is a great delight in occasionally receiving a large bundle of books which have been ordered from your bookseller in the city a hundred miles off: in reading the address in such big letters that they must have been made with a brush: in stripping off the successive layers of immensely thick brown paper : in reaching the precious hoard within, all such fresh copies (who are they that buy the copies you turn over in the shop, but which you
would not on any account take?): such fresh copies, with their bran-new bindings and their leaves so pure in a material sense: in cutting the leaves at the rate of two or three volumes an evening, and in seeing the entire accession of literature lying about the other table (not the one you write on) for a few days ere they are given to the shelves. You are not in the least ashamed to confess that you are pleased by all these little things. You regard it as not necessarily proving any special pettiness of mind or heart. You regard it as no proof of greatness in any man, that he should appear to care nothing for anything. Your private belief is that it shows him to be either a humbug or a fool.
In this little volume the indulgent reader will find certain of those Essays which the writer discovered on cutting the leaves of the magazine which comes to him on the last day of every month. They were written, as something which might afford variety of work, which often proves
the most restful of all recreations. They are nothing more than that which they are called, a country's clergyman's Recreations. My solid work, and my first thoughts, are given to that which is the business and the happiness of my life. But these Essays have led me into a field which to myself was fresh and pleasant. And I have always returned from them, with increased interest, to graver themes and trains of thought. I have not forgot, as I wrote them, a certain time, when
little children must go away from their early home: when these evergreens I have planted and these walks I have made shall pass to my successor (may he be a better man!); and when I shall perhaps find my resting-place under those ancient oaks. Nor have I wholly failed to remember a coming day, when bishops and archbishops shall be called to render an account of the fashion in which they exercised their solemn and dignified trusts ; and when I, who am no more than the minister of a Scotch country parish, must answer for the diligence with which I served my little cure.
CONCERNING THE ART OF PUTTING THINGS:
BEING THOUGHTS ON REPRESENTATION AND
ET the reader be assured that the word Representation, which has caught his eye on glancing at the title of this essay, has
nothing earthly to do with the Elective Franchise, whether in boroughs or counties. syllable will be found upon the following pages bearing directly or indirectly upon any New Reform Bill. I do not care a rush who is member for this county. I have no doubt that all members of Parliament are very much alike. Everybody knows that each individual legislator who pushes his way into the House, is actuated solely by a pure patriotic love for his country. No briefless barrister ever got into Parliament in the hope of getting a place of twelve hundred a year. No barrister in fair practice ever did so in the hope of getting a silk gown, or the Solicitor-Generalship, or a seat on the bench. No merchant or country-gentleman ever did so in the hope of gaining a little accession of dignity and influence in the town or county in which he lives. All these things are universally understood; and they are mentioned here merely to enable it to be said, that this treatise has nothing to do with them.