Passages in the Life of a Radical (2)
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CHAPTER VII.

A NEW GOVERNESS: PLAYMATES—STRIKING CHARACTERS— DIETARY.


WHILST my father was recovering from his illness, a new governess was appointed in the place of my deceased mother.  She was the wife of a Mr. Rose, who had been recently unfortunate in the grocery business.  She was a tall, fat, heavy-footed woman, about fifty years of age, I should think, and had once, no doubt, been a fine-looking person.  She was well acquainted with all kinds of cookery, and was industrious and managing enough in her way, but that way was quite a different one from the simple housewifery of my mother.  She was, however, I believe, good at heart, since she was generally kind and considerate towards us children, whose waywardness at times would probably be quite sufficient to try even a mother's temper, much more that of a mere friendly stranger.  When her husband's affairs were arranged, he took the situation of schoolmaster in the house, and as such had his meals at the governor's table with his wife, my father, the superintendent of the manufactory, the apothecary or dispenser of medicine, and sometimes the governor's three children.  Mr. Rose was a quiet, mild, elderly person, inclined to corpulence, and apparently satisfied with an easy life.  The dispenser of medicine was a little cheerful old man, dressed in black, with thin grey hairs on his head, a white cravat, and a dusting of snuff on his waistcoat; his walk was almost a kind of dance, it was so lightsome, and he went tripping round to his patients, as he called them, every morning, with a small saying or a cheerful word for every one.  He was a native of London, and had moved there in a respectable mercantile sphere, but being suddenly ruined and abandoned by those on whom he thought he had claims of gratitude, he left the place in disgust of mankind, and almost of life, and having, scarcely knowing how or why, wandered into Lancashire, he took a humble situation in a tea warehouse at Manchester, when, his health failing, he was transferred to the workhouse, and on his recovery became the attendant on the physician, and a kind of house apothecary, in which situation, having a small salary and comfortable maintenance, the old gentleman seemed to have become quite happy, and forgetful of his former condition, seldom indeed even alluding to it.  The superintendent of the manufactory was the young man I have before mentioned, a native of Middleton, and on his leaving after a short stay, the place was filled by John Haworth, a native of the Forest of Rossendale, who, having in the hey-day of his youth enlisted into the dragoons, had spent the best part of his life as a soldier in the Flanders wars.  John was quite an original in his way; he was huge in stature, massively bony, with but a small portion of fleshy texture to round off the sharp points of his frame.  He was very serious and staid in his manners, superstitious in his notions about witches, apparitions, and beings of another world, and equally sincere and credulous in his religious opinions.  Yet at times, when something very adverse and unexpected amongst the workmen tried his patience, he would rap out a round regimental oath, and as instantly call it back, as it were, with a "Lord, help us!"  "God, forgimmi!" and then he seemed to suppose all was right again.  Poor John—he was a true specimen of the fearless, sword-hewing English dragoon, engrafted on the simple, credulous, ineradicable rusticity of the old Lancashire moorlander before the hill-streams were poisoned by dye-vats, and the valleys were studded with smoke funnels.  Besides the persons I have noticed who formed my father's more immediate associates, he had a stout assistant also, who helped him in the management of the lunatics, and the refractory paupers, when there were any; and who also brewed, and did the other cellar and porter's work of the house; so that  on the governor's side there was no lack of power for coercion when lien it was necessary, but that was seldom the case, except with the unfortunate insane.

    My father's health having been re-established, he resumed the duties of his situation, and the management of the house was carried on with regularity and mutual satisfaction betwixt my father and the governess, who was very kind and attentive to me.  I continued in a weakly and a feeble state, and that was probably the reason why I was more indulged than I otherwise should have been, and certainly more than was conducive to my quick recovery.  I was allowed to run about the place, almost when and where I chose, and I was not long in selecting a few especial playmates from amongst the pauper children.  The big boys carried me on their backs; with the girls I played at ball, or at hide-and-seek, or the old-fashioned game of "Blackthorne;" and when a group of girls came around me as I sat to recover breath, the conversation would often be allusive to my mother, and then to parents generally, and next to such parents or relatives of the children as had died, or had deserted them, or were unknown.  And thus we often chatted in our childish way until our young hearts got too full, and, forgetful of our play, we sat in tears.  With these poor children I was an immense favourite; a kind of little brother to those who had none other in the world.  Besides, I always divided amongst them any trifle or choice bit of delicacy which I happened to be pampered with at the time.  Pip Brown, who was my big horse, thus got my toasted cheese; Bill Jordan, who ran races, and leaped furthest, had my buttered toast; little Nelly, whose father had been pressed and sent to sea, came in for my pie crust or my currant dumpling; whilst the pale and desolate-looking Alice, who was always alone, and who had not a relation in the world, was often cheered by my kind word, and was sure to get a share of my custard or my plum cake.  The women also would confide to me some little message to Mrs. Rose when they wanted a trifling favour: the old men would get me to mention their being without clogs, or their want of a new doublet for the winter time, whilst if any punishment was to be inflicted, any penance undergone, I was ever a pleader for the suffering party, and was often in some degree successful; perceived that neither my father nor Mrs. Rose were displeased with my interference; and I had, consequently, friends in every part of the house.  The old women would tell me strange stories of ghosts and hobgoblins; the old men narrated shipwrecks and battles, or they would chant the song of the famous outlaw, how

"He blew so loud and shrill;
     Till a hundred and ten,
     Of Robin Hood's men,
 Came tripping over the hill."

And I was quite delighted with the idea of a free life in " the merrie green-wood."

    Even amongst the lunatics, where I would sometimes prevail upon the keeper to let me accompany him, unknown to my father, I felt very little apprehension, and had several acquaintance.  Some who were fierce and dangerous towards all others would permit me to approach them, and seemed pleased by my confidence.  Others would be entirely mollified and disarmed of their frenzy by a trifling kindness, or a soothing word; and for such as these I generally had secreted some little present, such as a pinch or two of snuff, a quid of tobacco; or for the women some female ornament, with a word or two of hope and persuasion that they would soon return to their friends.  Some were unmitigably mad, and untamed as wild beasts; and from these I was kept at a proper distance.  One who had been an extensive trader in Manchester, but was ruined by gross dissipation, was loathsome to behold, and frightful to hear; whilst another, old Sally T., whose sons were then in business, and have since retired with princely fortunes, was invariably lamenting, and shedding tears; she was beyond the reach of consolation in this world.  But there was one who, having been once seen, was not soon to be forgotten.  She was a young girl, an Irish girl I think, of perhaps seventeen years of age.  Whilst her features were of the most beautiful outline, her person appeared to be of faultless symmetry, and whilst her face and neck were pale without a streak, her hair, which hung over her bosom and shoulders, was black as jet; her head, and the upper part of her bust, were mostly bare; and at first glance, she looked like one who had come amongst us from some unknown sphere—so strange, so unearthly, so hopeless, so deathful, seemed the very life within her.  Her features were immovable as the marble from which they seemed to have been chiselled.  If pressed into a seat, she sat, if lifted to her feet, she stood, mute and motionless from sunrise to sunset would she have so remained if permitted.  No tear fell from her eye, no sigh broke from her heart, no word escaped from her lips, save once, and that was "Edward!" the name of him who had betrayed and abandoned her.  The poor thing lingered in this state some weeks, taking no food except when compelled to do so.  All the natural functions were suspended, and at length the only indication of life which she had retained ceased also, and she no longer breathed.

    Amongst the harmless lunatics who were suffered to go about the yards, was one who imagined himself to be the Duke of York.  My father rather humoured his innocent whim, and he soon appeared in a cocked hat, and with various coloured stripes and shreds on his shoulders and across his breast, to the great amusement of the boys, whom he enlisted, and formed into a regiment to conquer the French; a business almost as feasible and wise as some of those in which the real Duke was at the same time engaged.  Paddy Hamilton was another lunatic, who, though not so entirely harmless as "the Duke," was allowed the run of the yards.  The boys used to tease and irritate him, when he would sometimes turn upon and chase them, striking such as he caught unmercifully, and as they durst not complain, for fear of further punishment, my father was kept in ignorance of these proceedings.  On one of these occasions, the boys had teased the poor young fellow until he seemed to have become all at once conscious of his wretched condition, and instead of throwing stones, or running after the children, he sat down on the edge of the stone pump trough and burst into tears.  We were all surprised to see him sitting so quiet—for I was one of the party —and on going near cautiously, we found him weeping bitterly, and exclaiming, "Why did you do this, boys?"  "Oh, what did I do to you, that you thus ill-use me?"  The other lads stood around, some laughing, some inclined to be sorry; but as for me, my heart smote me instantly; I felt that I had been committing a great wrong, and going up to the poor fellow, I took his hand, and cried with him for company, telling him we would never do so any more, inducing also the other boys to promise the same; and to make the peace lasting, and somewhat satisfactory to my own conscience, I went into the kitchen and asked for some bread and cheese, as if for myself, and coming out again I gave the whole to Paddy.  Ever after that I was Paddy's protector, and he was my devoted friend.

    Such was the sort of life which I passed amongst these poor children and poor people.  It is true I saw and heard some things of which it perhaps would not have been any disadvantage had I remained ignorant for the time.  But my heart was never corrupted, never beguiled of its childish simplicity.  Nor did any of these poor people, and I will do them the justice to state it, ever by word or deed, throw in my way an inducement that might lead to vice.

    The great mass of the poor and unfortunate are not, in my opinion, so vicious as by the "well-to-do" multitude of the world they are supposed to be; and judging from what I have seen of them, from my childhood to the present time, which has not been a little, I should say they are more entitled to pity than condemnation.  Some, we know, are thoroughly vicious and debased; but that the main body of them, struggling as they do, daily and hourly, with want on one hand and the allurements to vice on the other, still lean, nay, hold strongly, by "virtue's side," and cast from them temptations of which those who judge them severely know nothing, appears to me a truth so undeniable, that although my humble testimony may increase its acceptance, I cannot expect that it will add to its force.

    I may, before closing this chapter, observe that the dietary of the paupers, according to my best recollection, was water porridge and milk for breakfast, and sometimes drink porridge: boiled beef and vegetables, broth, hash, pea-soup, stew, and bread for dinner; the dishes in succession, of course, or as convenience might require—the bread at dinner always.  The suppers were water porridge and milk, or drink porridge, except on Sunday evenings, when each adult had a pint of good ale, with a slice round a loaf and a decent lump of cheese, served to them.  The sick and very aged and infirm had bread and butter, or buttered toast, with tea or coffee, morning and evening; their dinners were cut from the neat on the governor's table.  The spade-men working in the grounds had bread and cheese and ale every afternoon, and the smokers and snuff-takers were each gratified every Friday with an allowance of their favourite luxury.  Married couples did not live together; they were separated; they could not be otherwise, unless a separate apartment could have been found for each family, and that was out of all question.  The men, therefore, lived in the men's ward, and the women in that of the women, taking with them infants at the breast, and perhaps one of the very youngest of the children, if they had a number.  The men and their wives might see and converse with each other in the day time, especially when going to or returning from their meals in the public eating room; it was not considered an offence to do so; they were not, however, to remain conversing, but to depart to their respective wards, or avocations, when the other paupers did the same.

 
CHAPTER VIII.

BAD HEALTH-WORSE DOCTORING—A TIMELY RETREAT- SCHOOL, MASTERS—THE FREE GRAMMAR SCHOOL.


I CONTINUED in a very lingering condition, and my health having been consigned to the care of the worthy apothecary, who undertook my cure with the utmost confidence, he almost finished me by continual doses of a nauseous and sickly drug, called syrup of buckthorn, which the cheerful old gentleman, whom I almost began to hate, prevailed on me by coaxing or threats to gulp down every other morning.  I scarcely need to say I got no better; the physic I took, such was my disgust towards it, would have made me ill had I been in health.  I had a feeling of tightness or weight upon the chest, with a lowness and weariness of mind and body, which increased as it continued; I had also an ever-present wish to be at Middleton, an earnest longing to return to what I considered my true home, and to play once more with my earliest comrades.  This longing, no doubt, had more to do with my illness than either my father or the apothecary had ever dreamt of; it was, in fact, the "home-sickness" which has carried multitudes to the grave.  On one fine Sunday afternoon, as I well remember, my father took me to have a walk in the country.  Our course was up Strangeways, and across Cheetwood to Cheetham Hill, where, with a relish I had not experienced for a long time, I partook of bottled porter and biscuit and butter.  After having rested, my father would have returned through another part of Cheetwood, but learning that the highway we were upon led to Middleton, and that the field-road to that place turned off a little further down, I prevailed on him to go past that spot, that I might once more behold the path that led to my Paradise on earth.  We accordingly returned by the end of Smedley Lane, past the "Eagle and Child"—I hobbling as well as I could—and coming to Butter Stile, I prevailed on my father to go over it, and let me rest on the sweet green grass of those meadows, which to me appeared more brilliantly green than any I had seen during a long time.  Here I luxuriated amongst the buttercups and daisies, and the glent of a little peeping primrose or two cast a whole stream of sunny thoughts and pleasant feelings into that happy moment.  The trees seemed to wave a broader and richer foliage; the air was balmy and refreshing; the sun itself was more life-fraught than when I felt it shining against the high walls and the flagged yards of the workhouse.  Here, also, were birds the very same in appearance with those I had seen at Middleton; the bonny white wren, whose nest I so often found; the golden wagtail, and the lark too, singing just as he used to do during the field rambles of myself and play mates.  I was now in a happy mood, and I made known to my father how very agreeable this country walk was to me; how much better I already felt, and that I was sure I should soon be well if I might only go to Middleton for a short time.  My indulgent parent listened with attention: he seemed struck for the first time, with an idea of one cause, at least, of my illness, and he promised that I should go to Middleton, as soon as he could make arrangements for my reception in the family of his sister, or that of his nephew.  Blithely then did I rise from the grass, though sadly tired, and very weak.  My father was not forgetful of what he had learned with respect to my illness, and the Saturday following I was committed to the care of Betty o' Booth, an old neighbour of ours who kept a shop at Middleton; she took me to the apple market, and stowed me away in a manner which, above all others, I should have chosen, namely, on a cart, amid hampers of apples, pears, and other fruit, which to me was not forbidden.  By her I was safely delivered into the hands of my relatives, one of whom, a second mother, was more dear to me than all the rest, and this was Sally Owen, who had become the wife of my cousin William, before we left Middleton.

    I need not dwell longer on this passage of my life than to say that the habits of this family were strictly regular, my cousin was a Methodist of the old primitive earnest cast.  Every morning a portion of Scripture was read, after which followed extempore prayer.  Blessing was asked and thanks returned at every meal; and the day closed with another prayer.  Other concerns were transacted with the same regularity which governed the devotions; and though the family was a rather large one, everything was carried on with the exactitude of clockwork, I alone being allowed some indulgence with respect to my incomings and outgoings, for as I had a home at Betty o' Booth's, as well as here, and only the brook divided them, there was less need of my keeping a strict attention to the meal times.  But though I was happy myself, enjoying former scenes and associations with relish, I found I did not inspire others with the pleasure I hoped to have done.  My "trindled shirt," which lay all white and nice with the collar and ruffles on my shoulders, was a cause of envy to one or two of my comrades.  Neither did my speech, which during my twelve-months' absence had become a little polished, entirely meet with their approval.  "Yerthe," I could hear them whispering to each other, "Yerthe, he ses yis, an' no."  Some shyness was at first caused by my altered appearance and speech, but we soon became friends, and after a month of unrestricted freedom, and of continual action in the open air, with a diet at once simple and nourishing, I returned to Manchester with roses on my cheeks and quite restored to health.

    I was now sent to school, and my first essay was with a master in Hanover Street, from whom I learned nothing, save a knowledge of the severe chastisement to which he subjected his unhappy scholars when they chanced to arouse his ungoverned anger.  John Holt, who kept a school near to the Methodist Chapel, in Oldham Street, was my next tutor.  He was a Methodist local preacher, and opened school every morning with singing and prayer; he was a person of low stature and quick action, and wore a full-bottomed grey wig, and a "cock and pinch'd hat."  I attended his instructions a considerable time, without much advancement, for, notwithstanding all he could do—and he was an industrious and ingenious teacher—I only got to spelling and reading words of one syllable; in fact, I must either have been very dull, or so taken up with play, with objects of mere feeling and impulse, that the faculty of thought and attention had remained inactive.  After a time I was sent to the Free Grammar School, with the almost forlorn hope that at a place of such high repute something would be done, or would accidentally occur, to awaken my dormant faculties, if faculties at all for the acquirement of book knowledge I had.  The house apothecary, who could assume a most polished address, undertook to introduce me to the respected master of the lower school, at this venerable and useful institution.  All the rules and customs of such occasions the old gentleman would, of course, be careful to observe.  He first, therefore, took me to a confectioner's shop in Smithy Door, where, having purchased a couple of pounds of the best gingerbread, he toddled, and I after him, across the churchyard and down Long Mill Gate, to the school; and having gained admittance, he respectfully presented me to the master, with a request, on behalf of my father, that he would be so kind as to afford me the benefit of his instruction.  The master, receiving us courteously, asked what were my present requirements, also my name, age, and place of residence, which latter replies he entered in a book; and my conductor, depositing the gingerbread in a parcel on the table, together with a shilling, bowed and withdrew, leaving me abashed and confused amid the gaze and observation of the scholars, which I did not expect would be much in my favour, as I was weakly and ill-looking enough, and the more so from wearing a white linen cap, which tied under my chin.  On a sign from the master a boy approached, and, taking me with one hand and the packet of gingerbread with the other, he led me to his class, which was that of the spellers, into which I was joyfully received.  The boy who led me hither, and who was the head one of his class, now went round and delivered to each boy of the class sitting in his place a cake of the gingerbread, and continued so doing until the whole I had brought was distributed.  This was a very acceptable introduction to the boys; it was the invariable custom of the lower school, and was always productive of a friendly greeting towards the fresh comer; for my part, in five minutes I had a score or two of new acquaintance, asking questions, giving me information, and ready to lend me a helping hand in anything, especially so long as my gingerbread was sweet in their mouths.  Such was my introduction to, and thus I became the lowest scholar in the lowest class of, the Free Grammar School.

    My present instructor was a gentleman of probably thirty years of age, well-formed, above the middle height, with his powdered hair turned back from his free open countenance, and his face somewhat coloured by irruptions.  His dress was such as became his station, that of a curate of the Church.  His coat, vest, and breeches were of fine black cloth, the latter article of dress being held below the knee by a brace of small silver buckles, his stockings were dark grey speckled, his shoes were also fastened with silver buckles, and his cravat and linen were neatly adjusted, and very white.  Thus did the Reverend John Gaskell appear on that well-remembered morning when he took me under his care; such was also his general mode of dress on other ordinary occasions.  The school was a large room of an oblong form, extending north and south, and well lighted by large windows. At the northern end was a fireplace, with a red cheerful fire glowing in the grate. The master's custom was to sit in an armed chair, with his right towards the fire and his left arm resting on a square oaken table, on which lay a newspaper or two, a magazine or other publication, a couple of canes with the ends split, and a medley of boy's playthings, such as tops, whips, marbles, apple-scrapers, nut-crackers, dragon banding, and such like articles.  The scholars were divided into six classes, namely, accidence, or introduction to Latin, higher Bible, middle Bible, lower Bible, Testament, and spelling classes: the accidence class sat opposite the master's face, and the higher Bible one was at his back.  Each class sat on a strong oaken bench, backed by a panel of the same, placed against the wall, with a narrow desk in front, so that all sat around the school in regular gradation.  The spellers only had not a desk, they sat on forms outside the desk of the higher Bible class, they being considered as children amongst the boys.  The boys of each class were placed according to their proficiency, and the first and second boys of the class exercised considerable authority over the others.  The school hours were from seven to half-past eight at morning, from half-past nine to twelve at noon, and from two till five afternoon.  The master was seldom more than five minutes beyond the time, and on coming in, he first pulled off his hat, and his extra coat or handkerchief, if he brought such; he would then probably give his hands a warming at the fire, stamp the wet from his shoes, and turning his back to the pleasant warmth, he would take a survey of the muster already arrived.  Every boy who now entered the school was bound to go up to the table and present his shoulders for a correction, and they in general got off with a slight cut or two of the cane, except frequent defaulters, and those were hit more severely, being often sent to their class writhing, to the amusement of their more orderly comrades.  The mustering and flogging being over, the classes were severally called up, arranged round the table, and went through their lessons, the boy who in spelling or reading could readiest make out a word when those above him were at fault, moving up to their places, and thus the quickest spellers and readers were always towards the upper end of their class.  When a boy had been at the head of his class some time, and especially if he happened to have some acquaintance amongst those of the next class above him, and they wished to have him amongst them, their head boy would take him by the hand, and leading him to the master, would say, "If you please, sir, must — (mentioning the surname) go into my class?" when a brief intimation, as a nod, a "yes," or "no," would decide the application, and the parties withdrew either elated with success or abashed by failure.  The boys of the accidence class had a singular, I may say an anomalous, privilege at this school.  Betwixt their lessons, and when, as one might suppose they should have been, studying their books for another lesson, they were allowed, two or three at a time, to perambulate round the school, in front of the other boys, when if they saw any one playing with a top or a ball, or other trifle, or showing one to a comrade, the privileged scholar would seize it and deposit it on the master's table; or if the boy who had it were more than a match for the other, he would inform the master that so and so was at play with a top, or other thing, when the offender would be called up, compelled to lay down the toy, and would perhaps get a cut or two with the cane for his contumacy.  These articles of plunder lay on the master's table until the school broke up, when, the moment the master put on his hat and stepped towards the door, the boys being previously all ready for a start, a rush was made from every corner of the school, a regular scramble ensued, and he who could fasten on a prize and keep it had it for his pains.  Thursday and Saturday afternoons were play-times, and at Easter, Whitsuntide, and Christmas we had holidays of longer duration.  Such were the customs of the lower department of the Free Grammar School, and the manner of conducting it at that time.  What were the systems of the middle and upper schools—which were in other parts of the same building—I never knew, and consequently cannot describe. I may as well say, however, that it was understood amongst the scholars that the system of the lower school, with all its irregularities, was such as had prevailed a long time, and that our instructor was not at liberty to depart from it in any material degree.

    At that time the Rev. Joshua Brookes [4] lived at the house adjoining the school.  He was not a very great favourite with the scholars, or with any one that I ever heard tell of, though, excepting a little uncontrollable irritability of temper, I never knew why he should not have been so.  His father, however, was still less esteemed than himself. [5]  He was a little old deformed cripple, with his features as crumpled and knitted as if he were a living alegar cruet.  His up-cast face was a clear healthy brown, and on his head he wore a little old round hat, with a broad girdle and buckle in front of it.  His knees were rigid, and his legs were doubled backward, so that when he stood upright he was on his knees; and in that posture, with a pair of short crutches under his arms, his knees protected by thick leathern sockets, and the toes of his buckled shoes by plates of brass, he used to hobble about the streets, dragging his feet after him.  On fine sunny days he would often be sitting at his son's door, when woe to the boy at play who chanced unthinkingly to get within the reach of his crutch, especially if at any former time the youth had not treated him with that respect which he thought was his due.

    My especial companions amid the varied crowd of these scholars were John Pilkington, son to the clerk at the old church; Jim Torkington, whose parents kept a hat shop in Church Street; Dick France, whose father kept the "Sir John Falstaff," in the Market Place; Henry Woodhouse, whose father kept the "Bull's Head"; and Dick Lyon, the occupation of whose father I have forgotten.  Jim Torkington I respected because I had beaten him once and he did not get me flogged as he might have done.  Henry Woodhouse was agreeable, being always willing to do as the others did.  Dick Lyon, with his bold, honest face, would undertake anything, and stand by any cause that I did.  He it was also who first got me advanced in the school by "asking" me from the spelling into the Testament class; and poor Dick France I was partial to because I thought he was rather severely treated, being flogged more than any other boy in the school, not because he was more vicious than other boys, but because he was more thoughtless and unlucky—inattentive, not having the power to be otherwise, and continually in scrapes for which others deserved the punishment.  He was a fine, good-looking lad, however, as brave as he was thoughtless, and as kind-hearted as he was brave. Many and many were the rambles I took with this gang on our holiday afternoons.  Cheetwood, Kersall, Crumpsall, and Broughton, were most frequently the see scenes of our wanton frolics—our runnings, and leapings, and tumblings, and boxings.  For in those hilarious outbreaks we were all life, laughter, and kindly joke.  The sweet breath of the earth, coming up through the sod, we felt and inhaled, as we rolled over each other amongst the flowers: then the gusty wind blew our wild hair into each other's faces; when the sun broke we sung aloud; when the rain came we uncovered our dewy foreheads to cool them with the welcome drops.  Then there was bird's-nesting to be done, and stick-cutting, and flower-culling, and earth-nut digging, and cress-gathering,—and when gnawing hunger came, as it did full soon, we sat down by the first clear rindle or dimpling spring that fell in our way, and each one pulling out his store of eatables, we fell to and feasted as joyously as if our fathers were the kings of those sweet solitudes.

    Sometimes I and my companions would visit the "Giant's Castle" at Castle Field, after which we generally made the afternoon away by watching the boats on the Duke's Canal, or rambling around Hulme Hall, or on the dangerous brink of the Irwell, leaping like young kids.  The remains of the ancient fortress at Castle Field embraced a level plot of ground almost of a circular form: the turf was quite smooth, and the grass where not trodden was very green.  The centre of the plot was lower than the circuit, along which, here and there, might be seen grey stones and lumps of mortar.  In one part of the area was a spot elevated above the rest, a small green mount, and around this also at intervals, foundations and ruins were seen jutting above the surface.  But even these small remains of old Mancenion, hoary in tradition of untold years, are not now to be found.

    Sometimes we would spend an hour or two in going through the College (the Old Baron's Hall), in playing in the pump-yard above the Irk, here all sadly metamorphosed and defiled; and in ever-recurring astonishment at the vast length and bulk which the fish must have been, which opened and shut—awful idea—the huge jaw-bones which spanned the arch of the eastern gateway.  Or we would climb the tower of the old church when the bells were ringing a peal, and the more daring would grasp a comrade's hand and stand upon the edge of the parapet, the steeple vibrating at the time almost like a stout oak in a breeze.  This feat was done by more than one of our party; and in truth, if there were a place to which we ought not to have gone, or a feat we ought not to have attempted, to that place we were nearly sure to stray, and that exploit was almost certain to be tried.

    And now, as is often the case, for the most important thing last, namely, my progress in learning at this celebrated school.  When I entered the school, as already stated, I was one of the spelling class, and when the day for, general promotion came at Christmas I was the first scholar in the first Bible-class, and consequently was the first English speller and reader in the school.  I first discovered that I had made some progress in learning one Sunday morning at home, when conning, as usual, a chapter in the Testament, I unexpectedly found that I could read slowly verse after verse, almost without spelling a word.  This was a joyful event to me; I read to my father when he came into the room; I read to the old apothecary, and the latter, patting me on the head, gave me a silver sixpence, and encouraged me to get on with my learning.  I had some time before made myself master of the awful tale of "Brown, Jones, and Robinson," in the spelling-book, but then I had only got through it by the help of numerous spellings; whereas, now, being able to read, I had almost continually the Testament in my hand.  I read all the wondrous accounts in the Revelation, and my father, not a little pleased, would at times sit down, and in his way explain the meaning of the strange things about which I read.  After I had gone through the Revelation, I began with the Gospel of St. Matthew, and was deeply interested by the miracles, sufferings, and death of our Lord.  The New Testament was now my story book, and I read it all through and through, but more for the interest the marvellous passages excited, than from any religious impression which they created.  The gentle and benign character of Christ filled me with admiration and awe: His sufferings excited my deepest sympathy, His persecutors my strongest hatred, and I only wished that Peter had chopped off one side of Judas's head, instead of merely cropping "the servant of the high priest's" ear.

    And now a wider range was opened to my assiduous quest after the wonderful.  At the corner of Hanging Bridge, near the old Church yard, was a book shop kept by one Swindells, a printer.  In the spacious windows of this shop, which is now "The Wedding-Ring" coffee-house, were exhibited numerous songs, ballads, tales, and other publications, with horrid and awful-looking woodcuts at the head; which publications, with their cuts, had a strong command on my attention.  Every farthing I could scrape together was now spent in purchasing histories of "Jack the Giant Killer," "Saint George and the Dragon," "Tom Hickathrift," "Jack and the Beanstalk," "The Seven Champions of Christendom," tale of "Fair Rosamond," "History of Friar Bacon," "Account of the Lancashire Witches," "The Witches of the Woodlands," and such like romances, whilst my metrical collections embraced but few pieces besides "Robin Hood's Songs" and "The Ballad of Chevy Chase."  Of all these tales and ballads I was soon master, and they formed the subjects of many a long study to me, and of many a wonder-creating story for my acquaintance both at the workhouse and elsewhere.  For my part I implicitly believed them all, and when told by my father or others that they were "trash" and "nonsense," and "could not be true," I, innocently enough, contrasted their probability with that of other wondrous things which I had read in books that "it were a sin to disbelieve."  So I continued reading, and doubting nothing which I read, until many years after, when a more extended acquaintance with men and books taught me how better to discriminate betwixt reason and unreason, truth and falsehood.  When I first plunged, as it were, into the blessed habit of reading, faculties which had hitherto given but small intimation of existence, suddenly sprung into vigorous action.  My mind was ever desiring more of the silent but exciting conversation with books, and of whatever was conveyed to it from that source, small was the portion that did not remain.  My attention was quick, and my memory was very retentive of what I read.

    Whilst I thus made myself acquainted with the New Testament, the Bible, and all the other books that fell in my way, the day had come round when, previous to the Christmas holidays, a general promotion took place of such scholars as were qualified for higher classes, and I being the first boy in the first English class, should have been promoted to the "accidence."  But, alas! when called upon I could only inform the master, with blushes on my cheeks and tears in my eyes, that my father did not wish me to go into the Latin class at present, but desired that I might remain in the class to which I then belonged.  My master, I can recollect, looked at me incredulously; studied, questioned me again, and, with an expression of disappointment, motioned that I should return to my place.  This was a sore humiliation to me.  My comrades Pilkington, Woodhouse, and others, passed over to the Latin side, whilst I remained in a class lower than theirs, and consequently stood in a situation inferior to that of those whom I had been in the habit of leading.  Henceforward I thought meanly of my position, and never glanced at my former comrades without a feeling which lowered the zest of my future school-life.

    This as it regarded my welfare was probably the most momentous and ill-advised step which my father could have determined upon.  Had the threshold of the classics been once crossed by me, great must have been the difficulties indeed which would have prevented me from making the whole of that ancient lore my own.  I was just at the right age, and in the right frame of mind, with faculties as it were newly come to life, and with an instructor who I have since had many reasons for supposing would have done all he could towards helping me forward into the upper schools; and, had I once got fairly introduced to the learning of the ancients I should not have stopped short on this side of the university I think.  But my father had more humble views, founded on serious and conscientious reasons I have no doubt.  He said Latin should be learned by such only as were intended to become doctors, or lawyers, or parsons; and as I should never be any of these, the time spent in learning it would only be thrown away.  A knowledge of English grammar, he said, was worth more than Greek or Latin to an Englishman, and he wondered why, in the name of goodness, English grammar was not taught at this English grammar school; and so he concluded he would not buy me an "accidence."  Such were the homely views and the determination resulting from them, which kept me at my English rudiments another year, and thrust me from that portal of knowledge which I never afterwards had an opportunity of approaching.  Had my mother been living, such would probably not have been the case, and a course of life, far different from the one I have pursued, would have been marked out before me.

 
CHAPTER IX.

 ANOTHER GREAT CHANGE.


MEANTIME Mr. Rose, the schoolmaster at the workhouse, died, and his place was filled by a Mr. Pickering, who, like his predecessor, had been in business and failed.  Mr. Pickering was about fifty years of age, a quick and rather haughty kind of man, who endeavoured to maintain a remnant of the authoritative manner of his former state, though it was greatly out of place in the situation he then occupied.  My father, I recollect, was under the necessity of setting him right once or twice, after which, as he came round to understand his position better, he was not an unpleasant associate.  His wife had died some time before, leaving him two children, a son and a daughter, to provide for.  The latter, who was a sweet-looking, affectionate young woman, probably from sixteen to eighteen years of age, lived in the family of a Mr. Richardson, who kept a large glass and china shop at the top of Smithy Door: and the son, Samuel, who was a fine lad about my own age, and had a great resemblance of his sister, came to live with his father at the workhouse.  Sam and I were, of course, inseparable companions; we ate together, and when not at school, played together from morning to night.  He was as great a blockhead in books as I had ever been, and in our walks outside the gates, which were not unfrequent, I read to him my twopenny histories, and narrated all my stories, until he was as great an enthusiast as myself.  At length, "Robinson Crusoe," that ever exciting day-dream of boys, fell in our way.  I read it to him, as I had done the others, and for a long time both Sam's ideas and mine were awed and fascinated by the descriptions of sea-dangers, shipwrecks, and lone islands with savages, and far-off countries teeming with riches and plenty.  In a field close to the gates was a large and deep reservoir of water which accumulated from a small rindle which came through the wood I have before mentioned, and supplied the extensive brewery below, which afterwards belonged to Messrs. Fray, Hole, and Potter.  In one part of this reservoir was a small island covered with willows and other shrubs, and Sam and I had often explored this island when the water was sufficiently low for us to wade it—our reward being sometimes a couple or so of duck-eggs.  We had also taken a goodly number of fish, chiefly perch and bream, with which we stored a circular pond in the garden of the workhouse.  Now, however, we assumed other characters than those of mere idling schoolboys: we were henceforth "Robinson Crusoe," and his "Man Friday."  The cock-clod was our "desert island"; the brushwood was our means of concealment; the duck-eggs and the fish were as much our lawful right as was anything which Crusoe possessed in his place of solitude; we had "savages" also, whose "footprints" made us pause and look around; those savages being the men from the brewery, who sometimes discovering us when they came up to let off the water, gave us chase and made us carry our heels quickly towards the wood.  Nor were we without our perils and "shipwrecks"; for getting some old planks and a split board or two, we made a raft, on which, whenever we found it necessary to "go on a voyage," we paddled the length or breadth of this our "ocean," often getting ashore, only just at the time when our timbers were dispersing, and our craft was "a total wreck."  Poor Sam!  I had a great affection for him.  I sometimes went with him to see his sister; and I could perceive that she was not at ease, for her employer looked very crusty when he found her otherways employed than in dusting glasses or arranging china.  Both Sam and his sister often shed tears at parting after their brief interviews.  He stopped not long at the workhouse; his father, I think, sickened and died there.  But however it was, Sam went to sea, and in a voyage or two news came that he was lost.  I was years and could not believe that he was dead.  I had a notion that he had been sold to slavery in some foreign land, and would certainly return.  But poor Sam never came back again; he was lost sure enough.

    It must have been about this time that I was taken to see that unfortunate youth, George Russel, pass through Manchester, on his way to the place of execution at Newton Heath.  The impression left by that sad spectacle will never be eradicated from my mind, unless reason fail. [6]

    My father, judging it expedient, as I suppose, to enter again into the married state, took to wife a widow with four children, who earned a frugal livelihood by doing needlework for saddlers.  Her children were three sons and one daughter, and the oldest son was at sea in the African slave trade.  After this event, the business of the workhouse was conducted in a less agreeable manner than it had heretofore been betwixt my father and the governess.  It is only reasonable to suppose that my father had been induced to take this decided step by the persuasion that his wife would fill the situation held by Mrs. Rose; he probably had some grounds for a supposition of that kind; promises and pledges to that effect were probably given by the parish officers, or some influential portion of them, but however that might be, disagreements betwixt my father and the governess became of almost daily occurrence.  Crimination and recrimination followed; the parish officers became partizans in the dispute; we children were sent away—my sister to a friend in town, and I and my brother to our relations at Middleton.  From that time I never resided with my father, and soon after both he and Mrs. Rose were discharged from their situations.

    My father had lost a wife, a brother, two children, and nearly his own life and that of a third child, in the service of the township of Manchester; and though, as I have good reasons for supposing, no valid impeachment was made against either his capacity or his integrity, he got nothing by way of "indemnity," when a party in the town's office thought fit to dispense with his services.  There was no "retiring pension" for him; no "compensation" for his irreparable losses.  If this was scarcely just towards himself, as an individual, it was still less so towards his children who were turned into the world, "shorn to the quick"; fatherless now, as well as motherless; for in most essential matters he was no longer a guardian to them.  Two of the three never afterwards had a home under the same roof with him.

    It was a cold winter's afternoon when my brother and I, with our bundles under our arms, took our way up Red Bank on the road to Middleton.  We had been instructed to keep on the high road, for there had been a heavy fall of snow followed by a strong wind, and the snow was now drifting in clouds.  Over Cheetham Hill we hobbled along, knocking the thick snow-clogs from our shoes, our hands thrust into our pockets, and our jackets buttoned up to the chin.  Coming to the summit of Bowker Bank, where the wind swept fast and cold, I asked my brother why he kept wiping his eyes?  He said it was only the snow he was wiping off, but I knew better, and though not exactly in a joyous mood myself, I endeavoured to rally him out of his gloomy bodings of the future.

     It was towards the close of the day when we arrived at the house of my uncle William, which was in High Street in the town mentioned.  We presented a letter from my father, and were received with kindness by the worthy couple, whilst their three children looked on us with a bashful and pleased reserve.  We joined the circle at their homely meal, and my uncle and aunt not having convenience for lodging us, we were accommodated temporarily at the house of another relative.

    The row of houses in which my uncle lived faced the morning sun; a neatly paved footpath, and a causey for carts, lay in front of the houses from one end of the row to the other; and separated from the houses by the causey and footpath was a large green, used as a playground.  My uncle's domicile, like all the others, consisted of one principal room called "the house"; on the same floor with this was a loom-shop capable of containing four looms, and in the rear of the house on the same floor, were a small kitchen and a buttery.  Over the house and loom-shop were chambers; and over the kitchen and buttery was another small apartment, and a flight of stairs.  The whole of the rooms were lighted by windows of small square panes, framed in lead, in good condition; those in the front being protected by shutters.  The interior of this dwelling showed that cleanly and comfortable appearance which is always to be seen where a managing Englishwoman is present.  There were a dozen good rush-bottomed chairs, the backs and rails bright with wax and rubbing; a handsome clock in mahogany case; a good chest of oaken drawers; a mahogany snap-table; a mahogany corner cupboard, all well polished; besides tables, weather-glass, cornice, and ornaments; pictures illustrative of Joseph and his Brethren, and various other articles indicative of a regard for convenience as well as ornament.  And though last enumerated, not the least to be regarded by a hungry youth of my age, was a large bread-flake well stored with oaten cakes.

    My uncle's family consisted of himself, my aunt (Elizabeth), their son Thomas, and their two daughters Hannah and Dolly.  Thomas was a rather thoughtful and clever lad, a year or two older than myself; Hannah was a neat, good-looking girl of my own age; and Dolly was a fair, delicate, and sadly spoiled child.  My aunt, that sister of my father whom I have before mentioned, was rather tall for a woman; dark complexioned, middle aged, somewhat corpulent, fresh coloured, intelligent looking, and with an arch and penetrating manner of conversation.  She took snuff, wore a mob-cap, a bed-gown, a stiff pair of stays which stood out at the bosom, a warm woollen petticoat, white knitted hose, and shoes with patten clogs to keep her feet warm.  She was asthmatical; and consequently often in delicate health, but as her chief employment was to sit at the wheel winding bobbins for the weavers, her complaint was less embarrassing than it would have been had she been necessitated to do the heavy drudgery of the house, much of which her daughter Hannah performed.  My uncle was of the middle height, rather corpulent, about fifty years of age, good looking, a quiet, sententious, equable tempered man, who took his work, his meals, his pipe, and his repose regularly, and seldom troubled himself about affairs out of his own house.  Not but he had opinions and wishes, both religious and political, and they were all on the right liberal side, but he did not make a parade of them.  He was both in theory and practice a Christian patriot of the old, simple, unpretending class, who not being gifted with a multiplicity of words, gave lessons to his family by example.  His mind was, I believe, as intentionless of wilful offence as that of an infant; but he possessed a sturdy resistance to wrong or menace, which would have verily held him to be martyred sooner than give way.  This worthy couple were Methodists of the old John Wesley caste, which prevailed in those days; their children were brought up in the same religious tenets, and with this family of humble but respectable condition my lot was cast thus once more in the place of my birth.

 
CHAPTER X.

A NEW LIFE.


MY brother was now set down to the loom at once, whilst my employment was to fetch milk every morning, to run to the well for water when wanted, to go errands generally, and to assist my aunt at times in the bobbin-winding department—all of which suited my disposition and habits most pleasingly, except the latter piece of bondage, which on account of its monotonous confinement soon became abhorrent to my feelings; and had not my frequent escapades in the way of errand running allowed me many sweet snatches of freedom my situation would have been far from happy.

    In the performance of my task of fetching home the milk every morning I soon became acquainted with several children of my own age who attended the same place on the same errand.  During my loitering perambulations to and from Hollin Lane, where the milk-house was, I had sometimes the attendance of two or three such companions, who caught every word I spoke, as I described the strange things to be seen at Manchester, and the still more wondrous ones of which I had read, and which accounts I was quite sure were true.  But soon my most constant attendant on these occasions was a little smiling, rosy-cheeked child, who was almost certain to be found standing alone by the highway side, or loitering slowly until I appeared.  I took not any particular notice of the girl; I was a tall, straight, pale-looking boy, whilst she appeared to me nothing more than a kind of little human cherry-bud, who was always the first to join my company, and the last to leave it.

    At the milk-house we often found an assemblage of a dozen married women, two or three young ones, an old man or two, and some half-score or so of children, all come on the like errand as ourselves, and waiting until the milk arrived.  Meantime there would be some snatches of scandal turned over—sly insinuations respecting "this body's character" and "that body's conduct."  Some would treat themselves and neighbours to snuff; others would take a whiff or so of tobacco, "just to keep the wind off," whilst the woman of the house, "Owd Beet wife," sat croning at her wheel, and her daughter, a flashy lass, was on her loom weaving napkins, and singing love ditties like a nightingale.  When the milk arrived, all the persons waiting surrounded it, and there was much pressing and entreating to be served early by those who were impatient; at such times I was often useful to my little cherry-bud, and my other youthful companions, in making a way for them through the crowd, and when they had got served with milk they would retire, and wait until I joined them; and then we all returned together, interchanging our childish observations as before.  But the little cherry-bud was nearly always on the road with me, going and coming, whilst I had the company of the others only incidentally.

    Her name was Jemima, but I knew her only by that of Mima, and by that alone shall I distinguish her.  Like myself she lived with an uncle and aunt, who had taken charge of her when only an infant.  What I was virtually also, she was in reality, an orphan, and when I became aware of her condition in that respect, I felt a greater interest in whatever concerned her—I was more desirous of pleasing her, and of rendering her any little service which lay in my power.  Nor was she indifferent to anything which affected me; when in moments of sadness I sometimes reverted to my mother's well-remembered fondness, or the kindness of my uncle Thomas, or to my father's tender regard, whose absence I deeply felt, and whom I now seldom saw, she, who had never known either father or mother, would often be moved until her full heart overflowed from her eyes.  She became a very agreeable and always welcome companion on the road—a child to whom, because she had no parents, I felt bound to be kind, but nothing more.

    The mode of living at my uncle's was of the simplest country style.  At breakfast, a brown earthen dish being placed on a low beaufet [7] near the middle of the floor, a boiling of water porridge was poured into the dish, hot from the pan.  A messpot of the same material as the dish was placed for each one about to partake of the breakfast, a quantity of milk and a spoon were placed in each pot, my uncle took a seat and asked a blessing, each of the children of the family standing around; we then took our several messes of milk, and helped ourselves to the steaming porridge as quickly as we chose, and mixing and eating in the manner we liked best, not a word being spoken all the time.  The porridge being scraped up, which they [8] in general were rather quickly, each would take a piece of hard oaten cake and eat it to the remainder of his milk, after which a little butter, or a small piece of cheese, with more oaten bread, would finish the meal, and in a few minutes work was resumed.  My aunt would shortly after make her appearance, her face red, and herself distressed with coughing; the kettle would then be set on for her, and when the asthmatic paroxysm had sufficiently abated she took her breakfast and sat down to her wheel.  Our dinners consisted generally of butcher's meat and potatoes, or potato-pie, or meat and broth, or barm dumplings, or drink porridge, or hasty pudding, and in each case the food was partaken in the same primitive manner.  When we had meat and potatoes each had an allowance of the meat on a piece of oat-cake, and the potatoes being poured into a dish placed on the beaufet as before, we all stood round, and with spoon or knife, as we chose, ate from the dish so long as the potatoes lasted, after which we stole out to play, eating our remnant of butcher's meat and cake the while.  There was not a word heard until we got out of doors, and then we were as noisy as others.  When we had potato-pie for dinner an allowance of the crust was given to each; the potatoes were then eaten out of the dish as before, and the crust, as being the most dainty, was eaten afterwards.  When we had broth each received a mess for himself, to which he added as much oaten cake as he chose; the potatoes were eaten out of the dish, and the meat being served in portions, each ate it with cake at his leisure.  When we had dumplings they were set on the beaufet in the same brown dish, or one of the sort; a little dip was made from the water the dumplings had been boiled in, a lump of butter and a little sugar or treacle being added; the dip was then poured upon the dumplings, and we fell to and ate as we liked, the only restriction being that there was not to be any talking at meat.  How different was this sententious and becoming manner at table from the one which now prevails around fashionable boards, where, if a person cannot, or will not, both gabble and gobble at the same time, he is looked upon as vulgar, and where the highest test of good breeding is to keep both chin and tongue—the latter especially—in motion, it matters not on what subject if it only elicit not a thought.  Such is one of the puerilities by which insane pride seeks to be distinguished from the thoughtful and earnest portion of society.  Our bagging, or afternoon lunch, consisted of half an oaten cake, with butter, treacle, cheese, or milk, as circumstances rendered most convenient, and our supper was generally the same as breakfast. On Sunday mornings we had mint or balm tea, sweetened with treacle, and oaten cake and butter; on Sunday afternoons we had tea of the same kind, and a slice of buttered loaf was added, which was an especial dainty.

 
CHAPTER XI.

SCHOOLING—CORRECTION—PRAYER.


AT this time the Methodists of Middleton kept a Sunday school in their chapel at Bottom of Barrowfields, and this school we young folks all attended.  I was probably a far better speller and reader than any teacher in the place, and I had not gone there very long when I was set to writing.  I soon mastered the rudimental lines, and quitting "pot-hooks and ladles," as they were called, I commenced writing "large-hand."  For the real old Arminian Methodists, the immediate descendants of the Wesleys, the Nelsons, and the Taylors, thought it no desecration of the Sabbath to enable the rising generation on that day to write the Word of God as well as to read it.  Had the views and very commendable practice of these old fathers been continued in Sunday schools generally, the reproach would not have been cast upon our labouring population, as it was on the publication of the census of 1841, that a greater proportion of the working classes of Lancashire were unable to write their names than were to be found in several counties less favoured by means of instruction.  The modern Methodists may boast of this feat as their especial work.  The Church party never undertook to instruct in writing on Sundays; the old Arminian Wesleyans did undertake it, and succeeded wonderfully, but the Conferential Methodists put a stop to it; other religious bodies, if I am not mistaken, did the same, and in 1841 it was a matter of surprise to many that our working population was behind that of other counties in the capability of writing names.  Let the honour of this stoppage be assumed by those who have earned it, by the "ministers of religion," so called, generally, and by those of the Conferential Methodists especially.

    Every Sunday morning at half-past eight o'clock was this old Methodists school open for the instruction of whatever child crossed its threshold.  A hymn was first led out and sung by the scholars and teachers.  An extempore prayer followed, all the scholars and teachers kneeling at their places; the classes, ranging from those of the spelling-book to those of the Bible, then commenced their lessons, girls in the gallery above, and boys below.  Desks which could either be moved up or down, like the leaf of a table, were arranged all round the school, against the walls of the gallery, as well as against those below, and at measured distances the walls were numbered.  Whilst the Bible and Testament classes were reading their first lesson the desks were got ready, inkstands and copy-books numbered, containing copies and pens, were placed opposite corresponding numbers on the wall; and when the lesson was concluded the writers took their places, each at his own number, and so continued their instruction.  When the copy was finished, the book was shut and left on the desk, a lesson of spelling was gone through, and at twelve o'clock singing and prayer again took place, and the scholars were dismissed.  At one o'clock there was service in the chapel, and soon after two the school reassembled, girls now occupying the writing desks, as boys had done in the forenoon, and at four or half-past the scholars were sent home for the week.

    My readers will expect hearing that the school was well attended, and it was so, not only by children and youths of the immediate neighbourhood, but by young men and women from distant localities.  Big collier lads and their sisters from Siddal Moor were regular in their attendance.  From the borders of Whittle, from Bowlee, from the White Moss, from Jumbo, and Chadderton, and Thornham, came groups of boys and girls with their substantial dinners tied in clean napkins, and the little chapel was so crowded that when the teachers moved they had to wade, as it were, through the close-ranked youngsters.

    My father having been appointed to the situation of governor of the workhouse of Salford, with his wife as governess, I was placed as a half-day scholar under the tuition of the Rev. James Archer, at the Middleton Free Grammar School.  I soon began to improve in writing.  This indulgence of schooling lasted, however, only during a very brief space, for my aunt, in consequence of her own ill-health, becoming more and more exacting in the hateful drudgery of the bobbin-wheel, I was not able to perform my allotted task in time for school attendance, which, therefore, soon became irregular, and was next discontinued.

    As before intimated, my connection with this school was brief, and then, with the exception of Bible lessons at the Sunday school, all my reading was done at home, after the daily task was finished.  When not strongly tempted to play I was almost certain to be reading by the summer's twilight, or by the red embers of the winter's fire, my books being chiefly " Wesley's Journals," and " The Arminian Magazine," wherein I found "Maundrell's Travels from Aleppo to Jerusalem," which I was very much interested by; "An Account of the Inquisition in Spain," which filled me with a dislike of Popery; "The Drummer of Tedworth;" "Some Account of the Disturbances at Glenluce;" "An Account of the Apparition of the Laird of Cool"—and other most marvellous narratives, which excited my attention, and held me poring over the ashes until the light was either gone or I was sent to bed.  I also got hold of an old superstitious doctoring book, which gave me some unexpected information relative to the human frame, and equally surprised me as to the occult powers of certain herbs and simples, when prepared under supposed planetary aspects.  A copy of Cocker's Arithmetic soon after set me to writing figures and casting accounts, in which I made but slow progress; and part of a small volume of "The History of England," which I found in rummaging an old meal ark, gave me the first insight into the chronicles of my native country.

    Whilst my life at the bobbin-wheel was wretched on account of the confinement, my poor old aunt had generally a sad time with me.  It was scarcely to be expected that a tall, straight, round-limbed young ruffian like myself, with bare legs and feet, bare neck, and a head equally denuded, save by a crop of thick coarse hair, should sit day by day twirling a wheel and guiding a thread; his long limbs cramped and doubled under a low wooden stool.  For I may observe that the clothes with which I left Manchester having been worn out, I went in the week-days of summer time never hosed, and but scantily draped, except Sundays, when a decent suit was at my service.  I accordingly at times, from a sheer inability to sit still, played all kind of pranks, and threw myself into all kinds of attitudes, keeping my wheel going the while, lest my aunt should have it to say I was playing and neglecting my task.  I generally sat near her at work, and I must confess that I sometimes exhibited these antics from a wish to provoke rather than amuse my observant and somewhat irritable overseer.  On these occasions I frequently got a rap on the head from a weaver's rod which my aunt would have beside her, whereupon I would move out of her reach and continue "marlockin" until I got either more correction, or was despatched on an errand, or banished into the "loom-house " amongst the weavers.  Then, when my uncle went into the house to smoke his pipe, which he generally did in the forenoon and afternoon, my aunt half diverted, half provoked, would give him the history of my pranks and my "flitting," as she would call it, when he would laugh until tears filled his eyes, or his pipe snapped in twain—for he used to sit quite at his ease, with the tube pendant from his mouth—and on his returning to his loom, he would admonish me sharply, or more commonly would question me as to the cause of the rupture—pretending not to know about it,—and would conclude by advising me to be submissive to my aunt, and by all means to keep on good terms with the Mistress of the house wherever I dwelt.  I was certainly so good tempered and cheerful they scarcely could be long displeased with me for all my faults, and so these little darkenings passed like cloud spots, and presently all was bright again.  The most serious rupture which I had with my aunt was occasioned by an act of wilful disobedience on my part.  She dealt out to me a certain number of hanks and cops which I was to have wound by "bagging-time," in the afternoon, or beaten I certainly should be.  I sat at my wheel and made not any reply, determining not to wind them, as I thought the task unreasonable, and that she was, in this instance, acting arbitrarily.  I continued, therefore, to turn the wheel very deliberately, indeed, rather carelessly, until the time appointed had expired, when my aunt, laying hold of a stout rod, began to lay it upon my back and across my shoulders, which she did until she was spent for breath, I but little flinching all the time; she seemed rather puzzled by my coolness, whilst I was equally diverted by her embarrassment; at length, being quite exhausted, she stood looking at me with an air of vexation, and suddenly began to hit me on the legs, which set me a capering, and made me run out of the house, and remain away until the storm was blown over.  With a determination to incur the beating, and a knowledge that I should have it, I had got two thin boards, part of an orange box, which I put under my waistcoat, so as to cover each shoulder blade, and buttoning waistcoat and jacket over them, I was well encased against my poor aunt's weak blows, so long as they were applied to the defended parts.  My comical expedient caused more suppressed laughter in the family than anger; and when I returned into the house again, looking rather dolorous of course, I could perceive that my aunt had got quite enough of the beating as well as myself, whilst my uncle at his next smoking bout,—I being banished as usual into the loom-shop, where I could see but not hear him,—sat and laughed until his corpulent frame shook as if he would have fallen out of his chair, and then he came to his work without reprimanding me.

    About this time I had a sincere desire to become religious; and I earnestly prayed, in my way, that God would awaken me to a strong sense of my "sinful and lost state," and would make me cry out as in agony for my "manifold transgressions"—amongst which losing my Bible once, when I went a bee-hunting instead of coming home from school, covert disobedience to my uncle and aunt, and carelessness after prayer, were to me the most prominent.  I wished, like Saul, to be convinced and converted whether or not; to be "arrested in my career " by an irresistible arm, for I felt almost certain that if I never forsook sin until I did so voluntarily, and from my very heart, there was great danger of my never doing so.  I was as sincere, however, as I could be—as I well knew how to be, and often I expected to have "a call," like my name-sake of old, when I would reply, "Lord! Thy servant heareth."  But there was no call for me; my obdurate heart remained "unbroken by the hammer of the word," and somehow it happened that my longest and most fervent prayers were made on my visits to the little chamber upstairs, when instead of being on my knees, I ought to have been looking out cops and hanks to wind for my weavers.  Thus it was, I would have either sung, or prayed, or I believe, I should have done any other thing, sinful or devout, that would have kept me from the hated wheel.  I came to the conclusion that God never did nor ever would take the trouble to convince one of my condition, and that there was no religion in the world that could ever make a bobbin-winder content with his lot;—and so ended, at that time, my efforts for obtaining grace.

 
CHAPTER XII.

A HOME-BEARING, A DINNER, AND A MASTER INDEED.


AS I was getting rather too unmanageable for my aunt at the bobbin-wheel, fortunately in this respect for both her and myself, my brother went to reside at Manchester, and a vacancy thus occurring on one of the looms, I was transferred to it, and became a weaver.  At the Sunday school also I was promoted from being a scholar to a ruler of copybooks, a cutter of pens, and an attendant generally on the writers; one of whom being Mima, "the little cherry-bud," I took care she should always have a clean copy and a new pen.  She had become a frequent visitor at our house, and a close companion to my cousin Hannah, who for some time had slept with her at her uncle's.  Having now become an active lad, and, from my good temper and willingness to perform any service, now that the abhorrent wheel was not in the way, had made some advances into the kindly feelings of my aunt and uncle, I was at times chosen to assist the latter when he took the work home to Manchester.  The family were, at that time, chiefly employed by Messrs. Samuel and James Broadbent, of Cannon Street, and as the work was for the most part "pollicat" and " "romoll" handkerchiefs, with a finer reed, occasionally, of silk and cotton "garments," or handkerchiefs, the "bearing-home wallet" was often both bulky and heavy; and when it happened to be too much so for one person to carry, a neighbour's wallet would be borrowed, the burden divided into two, and I would go with one part over my shoulder, behind or before my uncle.  He being, as already stated, rather heavy in person would walk deliberately, with a stick in his hand, his green woollen apron twisted round his waist, his clean shirt showing at the open breast of his waistcoat, his brown silk handkerchief wrapped round his neck, a quid of tobacco in his mouth, and a broad and rather slouched hat on his head.  So would he appear when setting out on a "bearing-home" journey; whilst I, with my smaller wallet, with my rough jacket, my knee breeches, my strong stockings and shoes, my open collared shirt, and pleasure and glee in my heart and countenance, footed the way as lightsomely as a young colt.

    The warehouse of Messrs. Broadbent was nearly at the top of Cannon Street, on the right-hand side.  We mounted some steps, went along a covered passage, and up a height or two of stairs, to a landing place, one side of which was railed off by the bannister, and the other furnished with a seat for weavers to rest upon when they arrived.  Here we should probably find some half-dozen weavers and winders, waiting for their turn to deliver in their work and to receive fresh material; and the business betwixt workman and putter-out was generally done in an amicable, reasonable way.  No captious faultfinding, no bullying, no arbitrary abatement, which have been too common since, were then practised.  If the work were really faulty, the weaver was shown the fault, and if it were not a serious one he was only cautioned against repeating it; if the length or the weight was not what it should be, he was told of it, and would be expected to set it right, or account for it, at his next bearing-home, and if he were a frequent defaulter he was no longer employed.  But very rarely indeed did it happen that any transaction bearing the appearance of an advantage being taken against the workman by the putter-out was heard of in those days.

    It would sometimes happen that warp or weft would not be ready until after dinner, and on such occasions, my uncle having left his wallet in care of the putter-out, would go downstairs and get paid at the counting-house, and from thence go to the public-house where we lunched on bread and cheese, or cold meat and bread, with ale, to which my uncle added his ever-favourite pipe of tobacco.  This house, which was the "Hope and Anchor," in the old churchyard, was also frequented by other weavers; the putter-out at Broadbents generally dined there in the parlour, and when he had dined he would come and take a glass of ale, smoke his pipe, and chat with the weavers, after which, my uncle would again go to the warehouse, and getting what material he wanted, would buy a few groceries and tobacco in the town, or probably, as we returned through the apple market, to go down Long Mill Gate, he would purchase a peck of apples, and giving them to me to carry, we wended towards home, I, by permission, making pretty free with the apples by the way.  Before leaving the town my uncle would probably call at the "Queen Anne," in Long Mill Gate, to see if there were any suitable company going our way; if there were, we took a glass until all were ready, and then we walked on together.  Another calling house was Schofield's, at Scotland Bridge, and the last in the town was the "Flower Pot," on Red Bank.  In winter time, and especially when day was closing, the weavers preferred thus returning in groups, for the road was not altogether free of foot-pads any more than at present.  In hot summer weather, the weavers would sometimes indulge themselves by a ride in a cart, or they would leave their heavy burdens at the "Three Crowns," in Cock Gates, to be forwarded by Abraham Lees, the Middleton carrier.  When a party of weavers returned in company, they would generally make a halt at Blackley, either at the "White Lion," or at Travis's, the "Golden Lion," over the way.  There the wallets, or "pokes" as they were mostly called, were piled in a heap, ale was ordered, seats drawn round the fire, pipes were soon lighted, news interchanged with the host or some of his company; half an hour, or sometimes more, was thus spent, when the shot being called and paid, the travellers took their wallets and climbing the Hill lane, were soon at home.  Such was "a bearing-home day" to Manchester in those times.

    But even those days, advantageous as they certainly were when compared with the present ones which are devoted to a similar errand, were considered as being greatly altered for the worse since the days which could be spoken of from remembrance.  The two classes of workmen and employer were already at too great a distance from each other, and it was a subject of observation that the masters were becoming more and more proud and uplifted each day.  Some had seen the time when, on taking their work home, and material not being ready, a dialogue like the following would take place.


Master.—Well, William, there will be no piece for thee till afternoon.
Weaver.—Very well, I'll wait for it then; wot time munni come, think'n yo ?
Master.—Why, it's nearly dinner time now, and if thou'll go an' have a bit o' dinner wi' me, th' work will, mayhap, be ready when we come back.
Weaver.—Thank yo, mester, I'll goo wi' yo then.


    So master and man would walk together to some decent-looking house, in some decent, quiet street, where the master, his wife, his children, and the guest, would sit down to a plain, substantial dinner of broth most likely, with dumpling and meat, or roast beef and baked pudding, or a steaming potato-pie; after which, master and workman would sit with their ale and pipes, talking about whatever most concerned themselves; and it were no undue stretch of imagination to suppose that a conversation somewhat like the following would take place—the lady of the house also being present with her knitting.


Master.—Well, William, an' how are you going on at your side o' th' country?
Weaver.—Pratty weel, mester, only they're begun a screwin op rents, and ar reyther niblin' at wages.
Master.—Aye ; who's screwin' up rents?
Weaver.—You new felley ats comn to th' Hoe ses he mun ha' three shillin' a acre moor fro his Middlet'n tennants th' next hawve yer.
Master.—That's a bad beginnin'; but I always thought yon Norfolk landlord would alter th' strip of old Sir Raphe's cloth.  An' what do the tenants say about that?
Weaver.—Wot con the say? they're ill enoof obeawt it yomay besure.  They grumbln confoundedly, an' sen iv Lady Mary had nobbut wed Sir Asht'n isted o' yon Sir Hury Byert, Middlet'n had nere ha lookt behind it agen.
Master.—And who has been nibblin' at wages, as thou wert saying?
Weaver.—Why, Snidgers yonder, at th' Hedgelone.  They sen, at-te bated a hawpenny a peawnd th' last Setturday, at ther broad-ribb'd fustian; an' Hook-thum an' Son, o' Hollinwood, bated sixpence a cut th' Monday afore.
Master.—These are two very bad moves i'th' way o' business, and I hope the examples will not be followed, William; it's not the way to "live an' let live," which ought to be the rule always betwixt master and workman.
Weaver.—It ought so to be, indeed, mestur ; yo sen true, an' I only wish at o' mesters wurn o' yore mind; th' warkman wud then be sure o' havin' a just consideration for his wark.  An' iv th' mesturs did'n but know wot a peawer they han for makin' bad things an' marrin' good uns, they'dn stop, an' look afore 'em, ere they gan way to sitch a grabbin' o' money.
Master.—What thou says is right; William; and I am glad to hear that one of my weavers has so much good thought in him.  "Live an' let live," is accordin' to Jesus Christ's rule, and whatever master gets his money by a rule different from that-rich, beyond measure, though he become—happy he never can be either in this world or the next; an' that is an awful consideration, is it not, William ?
Weaver.—It is, mester ; it's awful to think that a mon shall be tryeadin' o' carpets an' ridin' in coaches to-day, an' tryeadin' o' brimstone an' rowlin' i' hell foyer to-morn.
Master.—And yet it must be so, with unjust employers, or truth in God's Holy Word there is none.  Hitherto, however, we cotton masters and our workmen have gone nearly hand in hand together.  There have been blamable characters on both sides certainly, but generally speaking, they have acted pretty fairly towards each other. Has it not been so, William?
Weaver.—It has bin mostly as yo sen, mester.
Master.—And I do greatly wish it may so continue. But I am afraid, William—I am afraid this insatiable thirst after money and power, which is now making great progress amongst mankind, will, in the end, divide the masters and workmen of this country, making the former into a set of tyrants, and the latter into a fearful multitude of moody, hateful slaves:
Weaver.—I hope thattle not be i' yore days, nor mine noather, mester.
Master.—I hope it will not come to pass soon, William; but I fear it will come eventually. I hear almost every day a new dogma quoted, namely, that the great principle of commerce is "to buy at the cheapest, and sell at the dearest, market."  I cannot act upon it. It is not honest—it is not Christian like—it is not wise.  Let us try this vaunted principle, William, by the test of honesty—by the test of "Do thou unto others as thou wouldest they should do unto thee" and there is no better test of right and wrong under heaven. Suppose thou and thy family were distressed from want of employment; and thou came to me asking for work, and I, knowing thy situation, purchased thy labour "at the cheapest rate at which I could get it," and sold it again at the dearest, putting the profit screwed out of thy necessities into my pocket—suppose I did so—should I be acting like a Christian? like an honest, conscientious man?
Mistress.—Dear Thomas, I know you will never act in that manner: it would cover us with self-reproach; and neither you, nor I, nor the children, would ever become rich in the true riches of contentment, whatever were the wealth in gold, which we obtained by such unworthy means.
Weaver.—Kind Madam, yo're very good and considerate tord us worchin' fokes, and God will, I hope, bless yo and yores, for the worthy use 'at yo mak'n o' yore prosperity.
Mistress.—Thank you, William; come take a little more ale, and help yourself to tobacco.  I assure you, I am always glad to see a honest working man or woman at my table.
Weaver.—Yore good yealth, main; and yore good yealth, sir; an' happiness to yursels an o' yur family.
Master.—Thank you, William; and the same to you and your family.
Weaver.—I'm oblig'd t'yo, sir. An' neaw I'm thinkin', Suppos', as yo sed'n afore, 'at yo bought'n my necessitous labour at th' lowest price 'at yo cud'n get it at, an' sowd'n it at th' heeist, an' isted o' puttin' o' th' profit i' yore own pocket, yo gan me th' tone hawve on it—wudno that doo?
Master (laughing).—Why, yes, William, that would do very well, I should think; but then thou knows, the principle of " buying at the cheapest," would be in that case given up, and I should be paying thee more for thy labour; than I bargained for, and there would be an end of the vaunted dogma of trade which we have been talking about. There are other dogmas, however, William, which, though they are not so plausible, nor so much in vogue as the one we have been discussing, are, in my opinion, quite as practicable, and far more just.
Weaver.—I shudbe fain to yer 'em explaint, sir.
Master.—We will say at once, then, that "the labourer should be deemed worthy of his hire," and that he should I have it also.
Weaver.—Good, sir.
Master.—That the hire of the labourer should never be less than what was sufficient to feed him, to clothe him, and to furnish him with the necessaries of a comfortable existence. This should be an inevitable condition of all labour.
Weaver.—Very good.
Master.—The cost of labour being thus immutably determined, all other costs would depend on supply and demand.  With this condition, trade would be an honest and respectable vocation.  Without this condition, fair trade cannot exist, for it ceases to be trade, and becomes spoliation, ruin, and dishonour.
Weaver.—That's graidly true.  A trade 'at dusno pay th' warkmon for his wark is no trade at o, but a robbery an' a disgrace to th' country.
Master.—Just so.  When, therefore, our commercial men talk about "buying in the cheapest, and selling in the dearest, market," they should always except human labour in their calculation.  It is the bread and the means of existence of our fellow-beings, and it ought not, under any circumstances, to be placed in competition with mere money making, nor wantonly exposed to vicissitude. Sacredly inviolable it ought ever to be held.  It is the source of all wealth, of all national strength and vitality, and the least price that should ever be given for it ought to be an ample sufficiency of all the necessaries of life.  "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn."  Now, William, thou knowest what my "cheapest market " for wages will ever be; for if it happens that I can no longer give my workpeople the means for a comfortable subsistence in return for their labour, I will cease to employ them.
Weaver.—I wud 'at that mornin' may never oppen it een, at ony rate.
Master.—Now we will go back to the warehouse; and I will find thee a warp and weft at the old price.
Mistress.—Farewell, William, and give my respects to your good-wife at home.
Weaver.—I will, Madam.  An' mony thanks for yur kyndniss.

 

 
CHAPTER XIII.

PRAYER MEETINGS--A BOGGART--CHRISTIAN INSTRUCTION.


MY companions at this time were about half a dozen of as wild and gamesome beings as could be found in our neighbourhood.  Very demure and reserved were we whilst under the eyes of our guardians or parents, but the moment we were beyond their ken our license for gambol and mirth was as great as had been our restraint.  At Sunday school we were regular attendants, and each went away with his crumb of instruction.  At the sermons we were frequently present, but from those meetings we generally departed as unregenerate as we came.  What could our young heads or hearts make of the mysteries and creeds of the pulpit?  They were strange, certainly; wonderfully incomprehensible were these matters which the preachers tried to impress on us; undeniable also as the fact of our own existence appeared to our unreasoning minds--the certainty that we must be either "born again," or damned eternally.  So we sang when others sang, we prayed when others prayed, we sat out the sermon, sang and prayed again, when, hungry and impatient, we ran home to our meals, and then stole out to play.  Sometimes the religious observances of the Methodists were sought by us as opportunities for rude sport.  One place was in particular a favourite resort of ours.  About once a month, a number of the most gifted members of the Methodists' society went over from Middleton to hold a prayer meeting at the house of Samuel Hamer, in Grunsha Lane.  Mr. Hamer was a small farmer possessing some little property; he and his wife had recently become converts to Methodism.  That respectable and very loving couple, with their only child, a son, were constant attendants at the chapel at Middleton, and were as exemplary in their duties as they were zealous in the propagation of their new religion.  Mrs. Hamer was a clever, talented, good-looking woman; one likely to be influential, for she had an uncommon "gift of prayer," and as the house in Grunsha Lane was in a district bordering on Tonge, Alkrington, and Chadderton, where "Satan had as yet many strongholds," these prayers were looked on as so many assaults on "the powers of the Prince of the Air."  The leaders of the meeting generally assembled at Samuel Smith's, who lived at the corner of Union Street, Middleton.  There would perhaps be half-a-dozen of men, a woman or two, and a party of us lads.  With coats buttoned up, lanthorns lighted, and sticks in hand, the men led the way, the women following, and the boys hovering sometimes before, sometimes behind.  When, however, we were fairly in the fields, one of our party of lads would be missing; a whistle would be heard through the darkness, and loitering behind until the men and women were at a distance, we would set off as we could, helter-skelter, over hedge and ditch in quest of the whistler.  This, especially on dark gusty nights, when we could scarcely hear each other's voices, and often became lost for a time, was fine, exciting sport.  A low yell, like that of a hound, would occasionally recall us to the pack, or to some comrade thrown out of the way like one's self.  Then there were particular places where one did not like to be quite alone; lest we fell in with company other than mortal.  Such were Babylon Brow, going up to the heights of Tonge, and Tonge Wood, a thick dark plantation, and Tonge Springs, fairy-haunted, and its brook-bubbling sounds, like human words.  On fine moonlight nights also, during the chase, things would be sometimes seen, and sounds heard, which one could not exactly make out; and as these added to the spirit of adventure, and were seldom of a decidedly terrific character, they served but to increase our excitement and relish of the pastime.  When at the meeting, a hymn having been sung, and a prayer or two made, on a signal being given, we would slip out without exciting notice, and have another hunt over the fields and across the hedges, after which we returned; joined in the concluding devotions, and came home, our good guardians little dreaming of the sinful manner in which we had spent the holy Sabbath evening.  On one of these night adventures I was certainly rather startled by what took place.  My comrades had set out and left me behind, and in order to overtake them, I began to run, and had not run far, when I saw one before me running also, whom I seemed to be gaining ground upon fast.  I soon made him out to be a lad of our party whom I knew I could easily outrun, and I chuckled at the idea of mortifying him by passing him at full speed, as I intended to do.  When I got nearer I called out, but he still kept onward, making no answer.  When close behind him I shouted, "Bill!  Bill! why so fast?" but there was no notice--no reply--which I thought rather strange, and when I came abreast of him, I said in a tone of defiance, "Come on, then; and see whot theawrt short of," and darting past him like an arrow, I turned my head with an air of triumph, and saw a face--not Bill's, but that of one who had been dead many years.  I now ran in earnest to get rid of him; but on looking back, saw he was within a few yards of my heels.  He seemed almost to sweep the ground, whilst I passed the low fields betwixt Tonge Springs and Grunsha Lane, I know not how, but at an incredibly swift pace.  In the lane he was still close behind me, and when I turned towards the door of the meeting-house, there was nothing to be seen or heard, save the tone of one in earnest prayer, and the frequent responses of "Amen, Amen."  The lad whom I had set out to run against was inside on his knees, and I crept beside him and prayed more really in earnest that night than I had done during a long time before.  I never mentioned the circumstance to my comrades lest I should get laughed at by them, or be seriously questioned and admonished by the elder Methodists if it came to their knowledge.  Poor Bill was afterwards killed at Talavera; as good a specimen of dogged straight-forward John Bullism was he, as ever left England.  Mr. Hamer died suddenly in the hayfield; his widow, on a rather short courtship, became the wife of our friend Samuel Smith; and her young son in process of time became a leading character amongst the Methodists, and is now, I believe, one of their travelling preachers.

    Methinks I hear one Sanctimonia exclaim--"And a pretty way of bringing up the rising generation was that of the old Methodists at Middleton."

    To which I reply by asking: "How would you bring them up better?"

    "Oh," says Sanctimonia, "parents or guardians should always accompany their youthful charge to places of public worship, or should commit them to the care of vigilant elders who would reprehend every indication of levity or inattention."

    "But could you govern the eye?  Could you restrain the wanderings of the mind or of the heart?"

    "No, but the bodily positions could be regulated, leaving the rest to God."

    "You would exact 'the outward and visible sign,' then, whether or not I 'the inward and spiritual grace' were present?"

    "I would."

    "A very easy method that, of manufacturing devotees, but let me say that, in my opinion, you would begin at the wrong end, and that the article after all would be spurious.  We have plenty of it nowadays, and I believe it is produced by a process very much like that which you recommend."

    "What sort of an article, as you call it, would you produce?"

    "I would, with God's help, try to produce a genuine one, a true Jesus Christ's own Christianity."

    "And how would you set about it?"

    "In every heart there is at least one germ of goodness.  I would cultivate that by every gentle, and kind, and appropriate means; making its practice and development become a plea sure, not less than a duty.  For instance, a child may be very impatient or drowsy over a sermon, whose heart would leap, and whose eyes would gush with tears on being addressed with words of kindness, or on seeing a fellow-creature or a dumb beast unworthily treated.  Another who is less susceptible of tender feelings would colour with indignation on witnessing an act of dishonesty or ingratitude.  Another would perish sooner than be guilty of an untruth.  A fourth shall battle for the weak in right, against the strong in might, whilst his neighbour shall be lion-brave in the endurance of injuries.  So one is merciful--cultivate that mercy, and other virtues will arise with it.  Another is just--by all means encourage that spirit of justice, and mercy shall be thereby impartially dispensed.  Another shall be indignant of wrong--nurture that young heroism, and both justice and mercy will grow up with it.  A fourth shall be nobly magnanimous, and is he not so far a Christian?  I would, with God's help, train up the tender-hearted child to be just, the just one to be merciful, the veracious one to add graciousness to truth, the heroic one to be moderate in triumph, and the magnanimous one to be powerful as well as endurant.  In every assemblage of youth, all these good qualities are to be found, like gems strewed in darkness.  Why should they be left to be lost?  Precious emanations are they of God's own being.  Let us worship God by deeming His gifts worthy of our care--most solicitous care.  Children would understand this kind of religion better; they would love it better, they would imbibe it sooner, than the present one

"Of sermonising and catechising,
 And bell-ringing, and drone-singing,
 And knee-bowing, and pride-showing,
 Of vain finery, and mock shinery."

I would not have it all lip-worship, and form-worship; but heart-worship, coming from the heart, and heart-penetrative, wherever it was introduced.  I would, in fact, have less of priestianity, and more of Christ's own Christianity; less of creeds and dogmas, and more of the living faith which bringeth forth works, testifying to the reality of a true belief.


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NOTES.

 
4. An eccentric but learned divine and chaplain of the "Old Church," in which capacity he is said to have baptised, married, and buried more persons than any other clergyman in the kingdom.
 
5. According to Mr. W. E. A. Axon ("Nat. Die. Biog.") he went by the name of " Pontius Pilate."
 
6.  See "Passages in the Life of a Radical."
 
7. A low three-legged stool, called in the north buffet-stool.
 
8. Porridge used to be described in the plural number.

 



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