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a sort of fatherly interest in them from Many years ago, when the Oxford movehaving officiated on the afore-mentioned ment was first stirring men's minds, and occasion, though they were not far short the old Prayer-book services were begin. of half a century my seniors.
ning to be used again after the lapse of A great many people do not know the many years, my father was the incumbent difference between an ordinary license, of a country parish in Oxfordshire. Ash which can be procured without difficulty Wednesday came round, and he thought through any surrogate or at Doctors' he would read the Commination Service, Commons, and a special license, which but, as his doing so was a decided novelty, can only be procured with considerable and the services of the clerk were not difficulty through the Archbishop of Can. available on a week day, he was in some terbury; and at a cost of some thirty trepidation as to whether such congregapounds. I have several times officiated tion as was likely to assemble would be in private houses, where, of course, such equal to the proper saying of the responses special license is necessary, though in in that unaccustomed service. So he Scotland at all events, until quite re- carefully coached up his butler in the cently — a large proportion of the wed- necessary responses, and took him with dings were celebrated not in the churches him to the service to officiate as clerk. or kirks, but at the home of the bride. But unfortunately, when the man got there, Some time ago I granted an ordinary he could not find the service in his Prayerlicense in the ordinary way. But the book, but thinking he remembered the part people most closely concerned did not that appertained unto him, he said consider it an ordinary occasion, for I saw “Amen," not only at the proper places the marriage described in the Times “by after the denunciatory sentences, but special license from the surrogate of the whenever he could manage to get one in diocese."
right down to the very end of the service. Most of my comical reminiscences cen- I once knew a very eloquent clergyman, tre themselves round weddings, but occa- who could do and say pretty nearly any. sionally the comic side will obtrude itself thing you could ask him, except give out at more sombre times. On one occasion, a notice. Of these he always made such when I was waiting at the cemetery chapel a terrible bungle that at last his wife used to commence the service, the undertaker to write them out for him before serstepped up to the sexton and said, in a vice, and he used to read them from her very audible aside, “Trimmings allowed, paper. But one Palm Sunday, when the John." This I afterwards discovered was notices for Holy Week were of course unhis polite way of making known the fact usually complicated and voluminous, the that the mourners were anxious to present paper in question somehow went astray. the officiating clergyman with a hatband. However, thus suddenly thrown upon his
One's duty sometimes leads one into own resources, he resolved to make the strangely contrasted scenes. On one oc. best of things, and with a serious face he casion, after officiating at a wedding, I had nerved himself to his task, and began de. to hurry up to the cemetery to take a fn- tailing the various services which were to neral before presenting myself as a guest be held during the week. He got on at the wedding breakfast. This made me a pretty well during the first three days, and trifle late, and I kept them waiting for a gave us a tolerably coherent account of few minutes. A little later I found myself what was going to happen on Monday, on my legs, in for a speech. I remember Tuesday, and Wednesday. But here his that I was unusually hard up for something patience seemed exhausted, or his presto say, but it did not occur to me to apol- ence of mind gone, for he went on to ogize for my apparent rudeness in keeping astonish his congregation by announcing them waiting by telling them where I had in stentorian tones, “and on Thursday been in the mean time. Talking of these next, being Good Friday, there will be odd juxtapositions reminds me of a speech divine service," etc. When we got into made by an old lawyer in Lincoloshire the vestry I said to him, “ I declare I be. who came to supper one Sunday night lieve you will give out some day, on the with a clergyman with whom I was read. first Sunday in the middle of the week, ing before going up to Oxford. After there will," etc. But he did not take it supper my fellow-pupil and I politely well. So I collapsed. escorted him to the door, when he took I do not personally remember anything leave of us as follows: "Well, my boys, comical happening to me when reading good-night. God bless you. Where the the churching service; but we have probdevil's hat?"
ably all of us heard of the parish clerk
who was so much shocked at hearing the back, I think there is some
room for curate describe the titled wife of the great doubt whether it would have been chrisman of the parish as “this woman." He tened on that day. The recollection of knew his manners better, and promptly re- that scene in the little country church replied, “who putteth her ladyship's trust minds me of a lusty ejaculation I once in Thee.” My fellow-curate at a London made in the same place — fortunately church where a fee of eighteenpence was quite a clerical one - just before I comcharged for the use of the churching ser- menced my sermon, which must at the vice, once told me that a poor woman time have greatly surprised my rustic hearing of the charge, and alluding to the audience. The fact was, the floods were brevity of the service, replied, “What ! out, and, as I had to ride through some of Eighteenpence for that bit. It's an im- the water on horseback, 1 deemed it only position. Read some more ?"
a prudent precaution to affix to my heels a The following is an exact transcript of pair of sharp spurs. I forgot to take them a paper still in my possession, which was off when I put on my surplice, and when I sent into the vestry one Sunday afternoon: got into the pulpit, which was a very awk. “ Miss Patching, wife of John Patching, ward little place, 1 squatted firmly down
I to be church and cursing baby.”
I once, on coming into the charge of a It was in the same pulpit that I preached large town district which had been for my first extempore sermon. I had no idea some time previously somewhat neglected, that I had any gifts that way (very likely I discovered that there were a very large was quite right), and I always used to number of children unbaptized. I accord provide myself with the necessary manuingly determined on holding a great pub. script. On one occasion I put that docu. lic baptism service, and invited the people ment into my tail coat-pocket, and then to bring their children on a week day even-jogged comfortably down on my cob to the ing in their working clothes. More than church. Somehow or other the sermon a hundred babies were brought in re- jogged out of my pocket, and fell into a sponse to this invitation. On seeing so ditch, where I found it on my journey large a number of parents and god-par- home. I never discovered my loss till I ents assembled, I at once came to the was in the pulpit. We wore no cassocks conclusion that the opportunity was far too in those days, but simply pulled an allgood to be lost, and I therefore ascended enveloping surplice over our riding gear. the pulpit stairs with the view of instruct. I put my hand behind me to bring forth ing them in the meaning of the Holy Sac- my treasure. Horror! It was not there. rament which was about to be adminis- I grasped the situation in a moment. Two tered, and what duties devolved upon them courses seemed to lie before me. I could in connection therewith. But I reckoned not even console myself by thinking of entirely without my host. The babies Mr. Gladstone's proverbial three. One were determined to have their say on that was to explain the mishap which had besubject, and I had no sooner commenced fallen me, and to add the remark, " Theremy remarks than I was surrounded by a fore I am a dumb dog, and cannot bark," perfect “ Lamb Fair.” I at once saw the and then beat a hasty retreat. I could not necessity of giving up the unequal con bring myself to adopt this alternative. flict. I surrendered at discretion, and Therefore I chose the other, which was to beat a hasty and undignified retreat. make a bold dash for it, pick up the Bible, That was not the only occasion on which give out a text, and proceed to rebuke my I was in some danger of being worsted by hearers for their backslidings. I got a baby. One of about two years old was through somehow, and my uncritical audi. once brought to me to be baptized. It ence expressed themselves so delighted had its own ideas on the subject, and when with the change, that I never used a manI picked it up for the purpose of perform- uscript in that little church again. ing the ceremony it plunged its little hand A lady once sent me a message that her into my beard and whiskers, and gave footman had not been confirmed, and that them such a thorough good and unmistak: she would like him to join some confirma. able pull, that I was in great danger of tion classes which were just being formed. calling out with the pain. Another baby One of my colleagues went to call on her was just old enough to run, and run very with the view of making the necessary quickly too. When I came near it, off it arrangements. Just as he was leaving, it went, and, had it not tumbled over a foot- suddenly occurred to her that she had a stool, and thus fallen ignominiously into groom, and very likely he was the hands of its enemies, and been brought firmed either. So she rang the bell, and
told the butler to go over to the stables, | old parish clerk, is still sometimes guilty and find out whether James had been con- of a stroke of unconscious humor. One firmed. In a few minutes the man re- of my curates, who had previously offiturned and stolidly announced, “Yes, ciated at a very famous London church, miss, it's all right. He's been done twice." where the sexes were divided, the men Of course he meant vaccinated.
sitting on the one side of the aisle and the The offertory occasionally yields its women on the other, once told me a very humors. I can see no fun myself in drop- amusing story of their official. The serping into the plate buttons or peppermint vice was just about to commence. The drops or gilded farthings. But these, and long procession of the surpliced choir was other such-like votive offerings, occasion. drawn up in the vestry, just about to march ally come our way. On one occasion a into the church. The vicar was com. mild hint was given to a dirty-looking mencing the words of the vestry prayer, verger, when a small coin was carefully when the official in question popped his wrapped up in a bit of paper, inscribed, head through the door and remarked, “ For a baih for a prominent church offi- Please, sir, there's a bishop got in among cial.” On another occasion, when the offi- the ladies. Shall I have him out?” ciating clergyman had been somewhat I will conclude these disjointed clerical bungling through a difficult litany, a sim. reminiscences by recounting what hapilar piece of paper was marked, “For a pened to me once when I was still in deasinging lesson for the curate." After a con's orders. The clerk of a neighboring somewhat rambling discourse from one of parish came over to inform me that the my colleagues, who shall, of course, be parson had been taken suddenly and seri. nameless, the church warden told me that ously ill, and that he would be greatly a man at the bottom of the church, when obliged to me if I would take his service he offered him the plate, took out a six. for him on the following Sunday morning. pence and looked at it ruefully, and then The man was much delighted at my con. cast it in with the remark, "Well, you senting, and was profuse in his thanks. shall have it, old fellow, but it's a deal Just as he was leaving the room he casumore than that sermon was worth.” It ally remarked, “Oh, by the way, it is Safell to my lot for some Sundays to take crament Sunday." I then explained to him the service at a once famous proprietary that I was unable to do what he wanted, chapel, where shillings used to be charged for I was only in deacon's orders, and that for seats at the door. When I was there, he must get some one else. He seemed the place of worship in question had been much distressed at the failure of his efmade free and open, but one morning a forts, and at last, like one trying his last lady arrived, and on taking her accustomed chance, he turned to me with a most inplace, and missing the usual impost at the sinuating smile, and said, “Couldn't you door, sent a shilling by the verger to me do it, sir, just for once ? " in the vestry. On my suggesting that times were changed, and that she would have an opportunity by and by to deposit the coin in question in the offertory bag, she utterly declined to give way to any
From The Nineteenth Century. such new.fangled invention, remarking A JOURNEY TO ENGLAND IN THE YEAR that "she always had paid a shilling to sit in that seat, and she always would."
I. I was somewhat disconcerted one Suo
THE TRAVELLER INTRODUCED. day, when the vicar's Easter offerings were being collected, by a mad woman AMONG the familiars of the French Em. who brought a basket of stinking fish, bassy in the year 1663, when the Comte which she insisted on personally offering de Cominges represented the Grand Monat the altar. She was not such a pleasant arch at the British court, was a thin, lean person to deal with as a colonial farmer I person, who belonged partly to the Church was once told of by a friend who looked and partly to the world, a Protestant by very much distressed at passing the plate birth and a Catholic by trade, named on a similar occasion, but explained his Samuel Sorbières, or de Sorbières as he apparent shortcoming by remarking in a preferred to be called. He was travelling loud aside, “ You'll find a pie on the ves in England to see the sights, to improve try table.”
his knowledge, and to become better acThe modern church verger, though by quainted with the famous philosopher no means so interesting an animal as the Thomas Hobbes, of Malmesbury.
Sorbières was then between forty and | and, what was more to the purpose, a forty-five years of age. He was born at pension of a thousand livres; from ClemSt. Ambroix in the diocese of Uzez; his ent IX. he obtained a trifling gratuity, father, his uncle (the then well-known Pe- given once for all, and many kind words. tit), all his family, were staunch Protes. His déboire on this last occasion was great. tants, and so was Sorbières himself, to all “ They give lace cuffs,” he said, to a man appearance, during many years. He lived without a shirt!” As his disappointment for a while at Paris, then in Holland, then lasted long he had time to circulate this at Orange, where he was appointed pria.consolatory witticism, to improve it and cipal of the local college. His easy man. remodel it; several of the variantes such ners, easy speech, easy style in writiog as, “I wish they would send me bread made him an agreeable correspondent and for the butter they kindly provided me companion, and he became early in life with,” have been preserved by his friend acquainted with several of the best men of Graverol.* the day, exchanging letters with Gassendi, Before his journey to England, SorFather Mersenne, Hobbes, Saumaize. A bières was known to literary men princi. number of epistles addressed to Saumaize pally by his translations. He had turned are preserved in the National Library, from Latin into French Sir Thomas Paris (MS. Fr. 3930); they treat of learned More's “ Utopia," Hobbes's “De Cive,” questions; they contain copies of re- Bates's." Elenchus motuum nuperorum in cently discovered inscriptions; they are Anglia.”+ He had also written a few full of friendly assurances and respectful essays, letters, and discourses, on philo. compliments to both M. and Madame de sophical, medical, theological, and other Saumaize.
subjects. Hobbes had been greatly Sorbières had, while young, studied the pleased with Sorbières's translation. ology, then medicine; then he had devoted - The book " (i.e., the “De Cive '), he himself wholly to the making of his for- said in his “ Five Lessons to the Protune, for the improvement of which he fessors of the Mathematics," 1656, “ transallowed himself to be converted in good lated into French, hath not only a great time to the Catholic faith.
testimony from the translator Sorberius, I have heard [Guy Patin writes in 1653] He began with
Sorbières a correspondence
but also from Gassen and Mersennus." that our old friend M. Sorbières, master of the college at Orange, has proved a turncoat, in Latin, in which he apostrophizes him and has become a Roman Catholic. He was as "clarissime charissimeque, amicissime, requested to do so by the Bishop of Vaison eruditissime," etc. And he went even and by the Cardinals de Bichi and Barberin. farther, as he dedicated “viro clarissimo et
Here are miracles such as are witnessed amicissimo Samueli Sorberio," his “ Diato-day; miracles, I say, of the political and logus physicus de natura aeris," address. economical, rather than the metaphysical, ing to him a very characteristic and order. He is a widower* and a clever fellow, but, sharp as he is, I wonder whether, with pungent letter in which, according to his that new shirt of his, he will succeed in making and everybody, but concludes with the
wont, he loudly complains of everything his fortune at Rome, for the place swarms with hungry and thirsty people.
kindest appeal to his correspondent, say.
ing: “Let us live as long and as well as The thirst and hunger of Sorbières we can, and let us love each other were of the keenest, and he took immense Vale." pains to assuage both. He journeyed to The desire of having some talk with Rome, appealed to the king, wrote against Hobbes was among the main motives the Protestants; but his want of character which induced Sorbières to undertake the was against him; he only got temporary journey that was to make him for a short favors, small allowances, and unimportant while famous all over Europe in the liter. livings. He did his best from year to ary and diplomatic world, and to give him year to ingratiate himself with cardinal, his minute d'immortalité. king, aod pope; he neither failed nor succeeded entirely: from Mazarin he got
• In the biography he published as a preface to the little ; from Louis XIV. he received the Sorberiana, Toulouse, 1691. empty title of historiographer royal (1660)
| Les vrayes causes des derniers troubles d'Angle terre, abrégé d'histoire, où les droicts du Roy et ceux
du Parlement et du peuple sont naifvement représentez. Sorbières had married, while in Holland, a French Orange, 3653: 8vo. This is often given as an original woman called Judith Renaud; they had a son, Henry, work of Sorbières, though in his dedication he himself who, after the death of his father, caused a part of his states that he translated it at the request of the Count papers to be published.
agitation is considered indiscreet; they
deem it ridiculous and they show it as I SORBIERES'S JOURNEY.
have said. Our bebavior is the very reSORBIERES spent the summer of 1663 verse of theirs ; they are phlegmatic and in England. He had long conversations quietly suffer everybody to do exactly as with Hobbes; he went to the play, dined they like.” This being once understood, at the French Embassy, was presented at no unpleasantness need be expected if court, visited Oxford, drove to Hatfield, no notice be taken. Sorbières himself was present at a sitting of the Royal met with a better treatment at Dover than Society, and, when he had come back, it had been his fortune to find anywhere wrote at the request of the Marquis de else. But his companions were greatly Vaubrun Nogent an account of all he had déconcertés. For
they The book appeared in 1664* and appeared on the wharf, the noise they raised a storm; the author was re made with their servants drew a mob, futed, confuted, and exiled; diplomatic which accompanied them to their lodgings despatches were exchanged on his ac. with strange howls. They took it un. count and apologies offered; the English kindly; dogs took part in the fray; stones court and the Danish court and the French were thrown, and the militia had to intercourt were in a state of commotion; the fere." literati on the three sides of the North From Dover to London, by way of Can. Sea few to their pens and made a stand terbury and Rochester, Sorbières is conagainst the invader; even gentlemen be- stantly on the lookout, and writes in longing to the Church wrote in unchristian praise of the English landscape, and language on the subject.
especially on the beauty of the English The book and man which created so grass, words which ought to have mollimuch uproar have fallen since into ob. fied the heart of his censors. livion. Whenever by any chance they are alluded to, it is always with a remem- The country is undulating, and rises and brance of the quarrel, and the “Relation falls into hills and little valleys covered with d'un voyage en Angleterre " is usually men- an evergreen mantle. It even seemed to me tioned as being a book of slander on the that the grass had a finer hue than elsewhere, English nation and nothing more.
and was thinner. For this cause it is well But it
fitted for the making of those parterres and is something more. Sorbières's first impressions on landing on them as comfortably as they would on the
sheets of grass so even that people play bowls had not been very good; his companions' cloth of some great billiard-table. As this is luggage had been stormed, it seems, by the usual amusement of gentlemen in the intrusive porters, and street arabs had country, they have large stone cylinders which pestered them with uncomplimentary they cause to be rolled on the grass to keep apostrophes. The same thing, he philo- it down. All the country is full of parks, sophically observes, happens in all coun. very pleasant to see, with large herds of deer tries; in England it happens thus: As pacing them. . : : There are so many trees soon as Frenchmen land, boys run after that even the cultivated land has the appear
ance of a forest when seen from some height, them, shrieking: A mounser, a on account of the orchards and hedges with ser !' i.e., au monsieur ! by way of insult. which the meadows and the fields are sur. Little by little, as travellers 'excite the rounded. boys by their very efforts to push them away or to stop their noise, the said boys This will surely be considered an appre rise to: 'French dogs, French dogs!' ciative account, though of course a BritishSuch is the honorable name by which we born subject - such a subject, for examples are known in England – in the same way as Thackeray — might have spoken more as we go by the name of moucherons warmly, as the author of " Vanity Fair' (goats) in Holland; both being less hard did in his famous description of Dobbio's than the matto Francese (mad French) return from India ; when the soldier passed with which the rabble favors us in Italy.” by pretty roadside inns, where the signs For such inconveniences Sorbières con- hung on the elms, and horses and wag. siders that the travellers themselves are oners were drinking under the chequered in a great measure responsible. "We shadow of the trees; by old halls and make too much noise,” he says; "our parks, rustic hamlets clustered round
ancient grey churches, and through the Relation d'un voyage en Angleterre, où sont charming friendly English landscape. Is touchées plusieurs choses qui regardent l'estat des sciences, et de la Religion et autres matières curieuses, there any in the world like it?
To a Paris, 1664, in 8vo.
traveller returning home it looks so kind