Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

to the ridicule of his neighbors, who did not scruple to call him "the fool of the parish."

Be that as it may, without stopping to pronounce an oration on the fallen, the fool slung the hide over his shoulder and started at a trot to the manse. Arrived The following anecdote illustrates the there, he knocked loudly at the door, and peculiar twist in Mansie's mental organon the appearance of the servant, de-ism. A farmer had intrusted him with a manded to see the minister. That was commission to buy a couple of pigs and quite out of the question, he was informed; some fowls in the island of Rousay, and the reverend gentleman had retired for bring them to his house in the neighbor. the night, and could not be disturbed. ing parish of Evie. The farmer's boat But Sandy was not to be balked. With was placed at his disposal; and one fine an impatient" Haud oot o' my way, lass," morning Mansie started for Rousay, arhe pushed past the girl, made his way to riving at his destination without any misthe minister's bedroom, knocked at the hap. In a short time the pigs and pouldoor, and without waiting for an invita- try were on board, and Mansie set off on tion to enter, marched in. The minister his homeward voyage. But alack and had been reading in bed; but on the ab- alas! in the hurry of departure, he had rupt entrance of his visitor, threw aside neglected to make fast the mouths of the his book, exclaiming: "Why, Sandy, man, sacks in which the grunters were stowed what brings you here at this time of away. Being descendants of the "wise night?" pig," these animals quickly discovered that egress from their prison was possible, and with a simultaneous grunt of delight, "What news?" asked the pastor, catch-rushed from the sacks, and capsized the ing something of his visitor's excitement. "Have the French landed?"

"Great news, minister cried Sandy.

great news!"

"French indeed!" quoth the fool contemptuously. "I ken naething about thae frog-eaters."

"Well, what is your great news?" erated the minister impatiently.

"It's just this-I've killed the deil; and there's his hide;" and flinging the skin on the bed, our friend stalked with injured dignity from the room.

boat.

Had Mansie been minding his business, such a catastrophe might have been averted; but as usual, his thoughts were far away, and he only realized his dangerous reit-position whan he found himself struggling in the water with the pigs and poul try floating around. Fortunately, the upset occurred within a couple of hundred yards of the shore. But our friend could not swim, and there were no straws to clutch. Necessity, however, is the mother of invention," and Mansie clutched the tails of his pigs! There is reason to believe the animals rebelled at such a liberty; but nevertheless they eventually landed both themselves and their burden.

Sandy remained unconvinced to the end of his life that he had not in very truth slain the arch enemy, and declared in confidence to the laird, that the minister wasn't so grateful as he might have been for the good turn he had done him. After the supposed decease of the ene my, Sandy became more settled in his habits, but continued to plume himself not a little on his gallantry, complacently adding that "it wasn't everybody had taken the deil by the horns, as Sandy Macintosh had done."

Somewhat akin to Sandy was an Orkney contemporary of his, one Mansie of Queenamuckle. Mansie's particular craze was implicit belief in the presence of supernatural beings, with whom, he declared, he had long and interesting conversations. It is possible had Mansie lived in these enlightened days of tableturning and spirit-rapping, that the spiritualists might have discovered in him a powerful medium. But fortunately, or unfortunately, for him, spiritualism was as yet unborn in the beginning of the century, and he was consequently exposed

66

. for

Mansie was soon surrounded by a small crowd of sympathizers, who condoled with him on the loss of the poultry the fowls were drowned and put many questions regarding the upsetting of the boat. But our friend was deaf to every question; "his eye had fallen into a trance," and such a trivial matter as the loss of his employer's property troubled him not. Presently he opened his mouth and said: "Ken ye, my frien's, what happened to me when I was far doon at the bottom o' the mighty ocean?"

"What was it, Mansie?" asked one of the bystanders.

[ocr errors]

Weel, when I was haudin' on to the tails o' the beasties, thinkin' my last hour had come, there was a sound o' wings above my head, and I heard the birds o' paradise singing, 'Come, Magnus, come." A burst of derisive laughter greeted

this extravagant statement, and one of the younger members of the group sug. gested"whaups" (curlews) as the original of Mansie's birds of paradise.

57

of relinquishing the prize, so he put his best foot foremost, and made for the Nab a high rock some little distance from Lerwick. Gnawing the goose as he ran, "Whaups, indeed!" snorted that indi- he occasionally turned round to shake it vidual. "I tell you they were the birds insultingly in his pursuer's face, whom he o' paradise. It's no the first time I've invited to catch him if she could. Cook heard them." And Mansie in high dudg. was asthmatic; moreover, she foolishly eon at the scepticism of his auditors, spent her breath in calling the marauder proceeded to secure his four-footed friends all manner of uncomplimentary names; in their respective sacks which, with consequently, she lost ground, while Wilthe boat, had drifted ashore and once lie gained it. Still, she kept up the chase, more embarked on his homeward voyage. goaded to unusual energy by the heartVery different from Sandy Macintosh rending spectacle of the impending deand Mansie of Queenamuckle, was Sham-struction of her master's dinner. At bling Willie. A Shetlander by birth, length Willie reached the Nab; farther Willie lived some fifty years ago near the he could not go unless he took a header town of Lerwick. Of respectable parent- into the sea. Cook came puffing along, age, he had received a fair education, vengeance in her eyes; but just as she loved reading, and was always to be seen, thought she had the thief in her grasp, he with head very much on one side, shuf- eluded her, tossed the remains of the fling along the streets of his native town goose over the cliff, snapped his fingers carrying three or four of his favorite au- in the old dame's face, and took to his thors secured by a strap. Willie's eccen- heels, chuckling gleefully. He had cirtricities were rather trying to his neigh- cumvented Madam Cook, secured a good bors. He was in the habit of entering dinner, and was triumphant. their houses surreptitiously, and made nothing of pouncing on anything eatable and carrying it off. A favorite time for such raids was New Year's day, as he was sure to secure something particularly savory at that festive season. He had a fine nose for the good things of this life, though he wasn't extra particular whether the viands were underdone or overdone.

One New Year's day, when prowling in the vicinity of a Lerwick gentleman's house, he was attracted by the odor of roast goose. Now, Willie fairly doted on roast goose, so he immediately began revolving in his mind ways and means of securing the object of his desire. Stationing himself near the kitchen window, he had the pleasure of observing the noble bird slowly turning on the spit, tenderly basted by a buxom old dame, whose soul was evidently in her task. From his coign of vantage our friend could perceive the exits and entrances of the cook, who flitted to and fro, but never absented herself long enough from the kitchen to permit of Willie carrying out his intentions. Patience, however, had its reward at last. The dining-room bell rang, and the old dame vanished. Willie's opportunity had come. Dashing into the kitchen, he seized the goose, and made off with it. But he was hardly a hundred yards from the house, when the cook returned, discovered the theft, and catching sight of our friend from the window, started in hot pursuit. Willie, however, had no idea

[ocr errors]

Shambling Willie had yet another adventure at the Nab which is worth relating. A West Indian negro, a professor of mesmerism, had come to Lerwick to deliver a series of lectures, and on the evening of his arrival had gone for a walk in the direction of the Nab. Now, Willie had heard of the mesmerist, and as he had never seen a black man in his life, was exceedingly anxious to make the professor's acquaintance. With this object in view, he had been prowling round the outskirts of the town ever since the negro's arrival, and when he saw him walking towards the Nab, started in pursuit. The professor was for some time unaware of Willie's approach, until he heard hurried steps behind him; and turning round, beheld what he believed to be an escaped lunatic tearing after him, and shrieking in the squeakiest of voices: "Stop, man, stop, or I'll be the death o' ye!" Terror laid hold on the mesmerist, and he fled; but what was his horror, on reaching the Nab, to find that unless he jumped over the cliff, he could not escape his pursuer. In his dilemma, the professor thought he would try the effects of mesmerism on the lunatic. Willie was but a few yards distant, when he turned and confronted him with folded arms and wild, rolling eyes.

Our poor friend stared for a moment at the negro, then, unable to bear his pierc ing glance, rushed away, shrieking: "It's the deil himsel; he'll be the death o' me." The pursued now became the pursuer.

Willie ran, and the professor ran after him. There are people still living who remember seeing our friend and the black clattering down the principal street of Lerwick, and hearing the agonizing cry of the former: "It's the deil himsel; he'll be the death o' me."

Presently Willie dived through an open door, taking care to bolt it after him; while the negro professor returned to his hotel highly delighted at what he considered a striking proof of the omnipotence of his art.

Shambling Willie has been dead these thirty years, but his memory is still kept green by the older inhabitants of his native town.

From The Spectator.

ORGANIZED CHARITY IN SWITZERLAND. THE Charity Organization Society has given expression to a sense of dissatisfaction with the desultory, haphazard character of our benevolence, which had long been a growing one in many minds. But it is somewhat humiliating to us Englishmen, who boast of being practical, to find that what we have only been talking about, and trying to do, within the last few years, has been actually done in a Swiss city for more than a century. There has been no talk about charity organization in Bâle, but since the year 1777, the canton has possessed a society (Gesellschaft zur Beförderung der Guten und Gemeinnützigen), established on so simple and broad a basis as to afford room for the organic development of every form of benevolence, so that at the present day (or at least at the end of 1881) it can provide at once for forty-five different objects, which in practical England would have required forty-five offices, forty-five paid secretaries, forty-five separate subscription lists, and forty-five separately published yearly reports. It has over seventeen hundred members, over £8,000 funds, and an income of over £3,000. Its objects include the improvement of the dwellings of the laboring class, public eating-rooms, baths and washhouses (including men's and women's swimming baths), athietics, a skating rink, public lectures, Sunday schools for girls, choral singing, various libraries, kindergarten, infant schools, drawing and modelling schools, musicschools, sewing-schools, assistance of various kinds to clever or to poor scholars, provision for orphans, the maintenance of

apprentices, help to discharged prisoners, the care of young deaf mutes, the protection of the insane, the prevention of cruelty to animals, the embellishment of the environs of Bâle, a savings-bank, sick and burial societies, an asylum for the aged, the furtherance of domestic industry, the providing of appliances for the relief of the sick, the maintenance of the city museum of natural history and of its medieval collection. The machinery of the Society consists, besides a directorate (Vorstand) of nine persons, for the most part of separate committees for the sev eral objects, ranging from three to seventeen members; in other cases, where particular undertakings have passed out of the hands of the Society, or are simply contributed to by it, of from one to four delegates for each of such. In one or two cases, companies or societies which have sprung out of it report directly to it. For it has repeatedly happened in the history of the Society that it has served as pioneer to the State, and has seen objects taken up as of public obligation which it had originally sought to compass by private effort; whilst in other cases, the work which it has initiated has either so developed itself as to require an organization of its own, or from its costliness has required this from the first. Hence, its forty-five present objects represent nearly seventy which it has had in all, although new ones are frequently added, in place of those which have passed out of its hands. In a few cases, indeed, it has had simply to give up what it had undertaken. In other cases, where a first attempt had failed, another has succeeded in later years. Thus, instead of the senseless, sickening, intolerable competition of charity with charity which fills the advertisement columns of the Times and the wastepaper baskets of every person who has a discoverable address, these Swiss burghers have made it a practice, for now these one hundred and six years, to bring their benevolence to a focus, to set it to work in a manner which is at once the most practical and the most scientific, and which at the same time answers best to the spirit of true Christian fellowship. No political or religious differences have ever been suffered to exclude from its membership; it has been found wide enough for men of the most various characters, sympathies, and tendencies.

The following passages from the rules of the Society, which were adopted on Easter Day of 1777 by the seven original members, may seem to explain the large

No

An Andreas Merian was another original member, and a Hoffmann-Merian was president for 1882, besides thirty-eight subscribers. Thus, out of the seven orig. inal names, four appear after the lapse of one hundred and six years in the Directorate of the Society, and only one seems to have died out of the list of members. There is surely something very fine in this hereditary benevolence, generation after generation devoting themselves to the furtherance of a common work. doubt, the S. P. G. in this country and a few local charities, might afford similar instances out of their subscription lists; but few amongst us would be disposed at the first blush to connect such fixity of purpose with republican institutions. And there is something touching to note that, although the area of the Society's operations is local, it has many members not only in other cantons, but in foreign countries. One subscribes from Heidel berg, another from Milan, a third from Naples, two from Havre, another from Weimar, another from London, another from Troyes, another from Marseilles, another from New York, another from St. Alban's. (Be it observed that the report gives simply a list of members, not the quota of individual benefactions.)

ness of its aims: "Object of the Society. | director for 1882, besides ten subscribers. The furtherance, encouragement, and extension of all that is good, praiseworthy, socially useful, all that can raise and increase the honor and welfare of the community, the happiness of the citizen, and of mankind at large, has a right to the attention of the Society. Choice of Members. - Admission to the Society must therefore be open to every friend and furtherer of that which is good. Duties of Members. - Every member, in the same manner as he will strive for himself to make that use of his knowledge, his gifts, his position, his fortune, which he considers most conducive to the general happiness, so will he also have always this principle before his eyes in reference to the aims of this Society." The Society thus presupposes active individual benev. olence as a many-sided duty, and then proceeds to make it collective. Hence, whilst it has not disdained to spend money freely on occasional commemorative festivals (more particularly that of its centenary, in 1877), it has been able to do its quiet work without any grand yearly dinners, and, above all, without any voting machinery; and yet it has grown almost uninterruptedly, though slowly at the first. Its income during its first year was only 2,126 francs (say, £85). After 1809, it was never under 3,000 f.; after 1815, never under 5,000; after 1816, never under 6,000; after 1821, never under 7,000; after 1829, never under 8,000; it was over 9,000, in 1830; over 10,000, in 1831; over 14,000, in 1834; over 15,000, in 1838; over 34,000, in 1851; over 42,000, in 1863; over 47,000, in 1874. Its lowest number of members was 121, in 1784; in 1804, it was over 200; in 1813, over 300; in 1823, over 400; in 1827, over 500; in 1845, over 600; in 1853, over 700; in 1861, over 800; in 1868, over 900; in 1869, over 1,000; in 1870, over 1,100; in 1871, over 1,200; in 1872, over 1,300; in 1874, over 1,400; in 1876, over 1,500; in 1881, over 1,700, being more than three per cent. of the whole population. What is still more remarkable is that the same names remain connected with it during its century and more of existence. Its founder was one Isaac Iselin, and a Major Rudolf Iselin was its treasurer in 1882, and twenty-one Iselins are among the subscribers. A Peter Burckhardt was another of the seven original members, and three Burckhardts were members of the Directorate for 1882, besides over seventy subscribers of the name. A Jacob Sarasin was another original member, and a Sarasin-Stehlin was a

It may, indeed, have been noticed that among the various objects of the Society there are none of a directly religious character, although the Protestant Union for Church-singing (Kirchengesangverein) reports to it, as well as the Klein-Basel Choir (probably Roman Catholic), and a delegate from the Church Choir (Kirchengesangchor, apparently a different body from the first-named). That the existence of the Society has in no wise quenched religious zeal in Bâle, nor its restriction to local objects narrowed the range of Bâle benevolence, is shown clearly by the coexistence in the same city of the wellknown Bâle Missionary Society, almost the pioneer among such institutions, and which has rendered signal services to Christendom. Many clergymen are members of the Gesellschaft zur Beförderung der Guten und Gemeinnützigen, and it is obvious that its position is in no wise that of antagonism to the Christian faith, but rather of friendly, but wholly unsectarian, co-operation with it.

It would, of course, be idle simply to imitate such a body in this country, or even in this metropolis, this "province covered with houses," of which the Canton of Bâle City would form but a frag

ment. The field is long since preoccu- | tinguished for the abundance and choicepied, the vested interests of hundreds ness of its fish so much so that the

of charities would no longer allow of the local proverbial equivalent for our modgrowth of a body capable of combining so ern "carrying coals to Newcastle," was many important objects as the Bâle So-"bringing fish to Acco" (Acre, the nearciety. But it is a question whether some inspiration might not be derived from its example. It is possible to conceive of a group of friends, united, perhaps, by the influence of some precious memory, bringing together their efforts, in whatever direction, for what is right and good, and instead of trying to set up separate societies (a benevolent nobleman is reported to have said that he sometimes lay awake at nights for thinking what new societies required to be formed), resolving themselves into committees only, all acting in harmony with each other. What might grow out of such an attempt at co-operation in benevolence, time alone could show. But our present competition in benevolence is as odious as it is wasteful.

From The Jewish World.
FISH IN THE TALMUD.

est port to Gennesaret). The southern portion of the lake was a noted fishing. ground, and the whole district teemed with busy communities of fishermen, and fish-curers and picklers. It does not seem that the traffic was regulated by any specific laws except one, reputed to be as old as Joshua, and which insisted that fishing should be quite unrestricted in order that the people might enjoy the full measure of the food yielded by the generous waters. This is an early solution of the "Harvest-of-the-Sea" question that should commend itself to the genial president of the International Fisheries Exhibition. Markets for the sale of fish seem to have been plentiful in Palestine. A gate on the north-east side of Jerusalem was called the Fish Gate, probably from its being in the neighborhood of the spot where the fish salesmen laid out their stock. This market was, of course, closed on the Sabbath; but we learn that the fish-loving Jews did not hesitate to buy on Of the very few references to fish in the that day of Phoenician fish-peddlers who Bible, the most significant is the verse in perambulated the city much in the same Numbers xi. which tells how the Israelites way as the "Fish, all alive 'O" men of in the desert hungered for the finny deni- the present day. At Sidon was another zens of the deep they had enjoyed in very large market, where, says a someEgypt. From this we gather that fish what hyperbolous passage in Shekalim, was, as it is yet, a favorite article of food no less than three hundred kinds of fish with the Hebrews. The sacred narrative, were daily on sale. The species highest however, has nothing more to say on this in public favor was called tris or thrissa, subject. It is silent as to the trade which considered by Herzfeld to have been a so pronounced a taste must have stimu- kind of anchovy, but by other authorities lated, inexorably dumb on the all-impor particularly Lewysohn and Schwab tant question of cookery; and if we want ordinary tunny. In Berachoth 44, R. to know anything more, we must search Dimi relates that the fig-gatherers to Althrough the weary pages of the more exander Jaunæus consumed every week voluminous Talmud. Fortunately for six hundred thousand baskets of this fish. piscatorial literature, the rabbins were From a remark in Aboda Sara it would domesticated, men who devoted no small seem that the great Jehuda Hanassi - the amount of attention to the questions in- first editor of the Mishnah-did not disvolved in the supply and preparation of dain to speculate in this delicacy, for we creature comforts. Hence we have in are told that he owned a ship carrying their discussions ample materials for as- more than three hundred barrels of thriscertaining the part played by fish in the sa. Probably a large portion of the wealth economy of Palestinian society at a very of the great patriarch was due to astute early age. The yearning which expressed dealings in this favorite fish; but if, unitself so wailingly in the wilderness had like the apostles, he preferred such a suffered no diminution in the period asso- wholesale trade to the humbler netting ciated with the Talmudic doctors. From and angling, it will be remembered to his the seaboard, lakes and rivers of the Holy credit that he expended the greater porLand, the supply of fish was plentiful, the tion of the riches so acquired for the internal trade active and prosperous, and benefit of students and the assistance of the consumption very large. The Sea or the poor. Notwithstanding the plentifulLake of Gennesaret was particularly dis-ness of native fish a good many foreign

« VorigeDoorgaan »