ePub 版




ABOUT the year 1760 there lived in the Grassmarket, Edinburgh, a worthy man of the name of Grant, who followed the occupation of a brewer on a small scale. He was married, but had no family, and his wife, though a good wife and a religious woman, was apt to run after novelties in the way of her devotions. Any new preacher or fresh doctrine was sure to find Mrs. Grant among the followers.

The restless yearning after something or other--they hardly know what-is often observable in married women, who are childless. Their natural instincts have no vent in maternal duties, so they take up with some hobby or other to distract their attention. Some make pets of dogs, cats, and birds, others give themselves up to visiting, gossip, and scandal, while many turn to religion as a solace, and are noted as indefatigable workers at church bazaars, excellent collectors of subscriptions, and energetic members of Dorcas Societies. Among this latter class we must place Mrs. Grant.

At the time of our story, the famous.preacher, George Whitfield was in the zenith of his popularity, and was in the habit of making an annual visit to Edinburgh with the double object of making converts and collecting subscriptions for an Orphan's Home he intended starting at Georgia, Carolina,

Mrs. Grant was one of his numerous admirers, and one of the most regular attendants on his ministrations. She was very anxious to contribute something handsome towards his laudable purpose, but unfortunately for her well-meant intentions, her husband's business was not in a very flourishing condition at the time, and the brewer had enough to do to make both ends meet.

In vain his spouse endeavoured to prevail upon him to accompany her to hear the famous divine, feeling sure his eloquence would loosen her husband's purse; but no, the brewer would neither go to hear, nor, what was even worse in the eyes of his wife, would he contribute a farthing towards the Orphan's Home

in America. In fact, the honest man was so annoyed at this latest fad of his wife, that in his anger he did not scruple to call the eminent divine a cheat, little better than a pickpocket, inducing silly women to give him money which they had much better apply to domestic uses. Mrs. Grant being a woman of great spirit, resented these outspoken views of her husband; but finding that her angry recrimination only had the effect of making him more stubborn in his refusal, she determined that if he would not give her a subscription willingly, she would manage to get some money unknown to him, quieting her conscience with the old axiom that the end justifies the means.

She had not long to wait before an opportunity occurred to put her new-formed project to the test. One day her husband, while sitting at his desk counting over some money, was called away, and meaning to return immediately he merely closed his desk without locking it.

Here was the opportunity Mrs. Grant had been waiting for ; so, hastily going to the desk, she saw a small heap of guineas, which her husband was going to pay away for barley. Quickly appropriating ten of the shining coins, she closed the desk and resumed her seat as if nothing had happened, as her husband returned, and, after working at his desk for a little while, locked it, and left the room without apparently having missed the money.

Mrs. Grant was now in a hurry to present her ill-gotten subscription to Mr. Whitfield, so, going to her room, she wrapped the ten guineas in a piece of paper and laid it on the dressingtable, while she donned her outdoor habiliments. Before she was quite ready, she remembered some directions she wished to leave with the servant, and went into the kitchen for that purpose. In the meanwhile her husband, whose suspicions had been aroused, stepped into the bedroom, and seeing the small packet lying on the table, opened it, and found, as he expected, the ten guineas, which he at once conveyed to his own pocket, and substituted 10 coppers in their place. Leaving the packet seemingly untouched, he quietly withdrew to watch the result.

Mrs. Grant returned, finished her toilette, took up the packet of coins and went direct to the lodgings of her favourite minister.

Arrived there, and, being shown into Mr. Whitfield's presence, she made a neat little speech, assuring him of the great benefit she had received from his administrations, and begging his acceptance of the accompanying subscription as her mite towards his great and good undertaking. The flattered minister thanked her heartily, and placing the little packet in his pocket, without opening it, he accompanied his visitor to the door, with many expressions of goodwill and gratitude.

Hardly had he closed the door, when he opened the paper, and his astonishment was only equalled by his indignation at seeing only a few worthless coppers instead of the handsome sum he expected. In his annoyance he jumped to the conclusion that the whole affair was meant as a deliberate insult, and, the old Adam getting the better of him, he opened the door and called loudly after the retreating figure of the lady.

Mrs. Grant returned at once, though somewhat surprised at the peremptory tone; but her surprise was quickly turned to indignation when Mr. Whitfield, with a severe look and solemn voice, rebuked her for her ill-timed levity, and asked how she had dared to insult him by offering sạch a paltry sum, at the same time showing her the coppers. The astonished lady in turn asked him what he meant, as she was sure she had given him ten good guineas. This assertion only incensed the divine the more, and, in no very measured terms, he denounced the lady's conduct, and insisted that when he opened the paper he only found the coppers.

Mrs. Grant being, as already said, a high-spirited woman, was not slow in defending herself, and, remembering how often her husband had warned her against Mr. Whitfield, she came to the conclusion that he was indeed the cheat he had been represented to be, so, giving reins to her passion, she poured fourth such a volley of abuse and accusation, that the discomfited mirister, after a vain attempt to withstand the onslaught, had at last to fairly turn tail and retire into the house and shut the door on his infuriated antagonist, who, finding she had had the best of the encounter, and had succeeded in routing the enemy, began to smooth down her ruffled plumage as well as she could, slowly wending her way home, a sadder if not a wiser woman.

To her agreeable surprise, her husband did not appear to have missed the money, as he never mentioned the subject, nor did he evince any surprise at the sudden cessation of the frequent attendances at Mr. Whitfield's meetings. Like a wise man, the honest brewer kept his own counsel as well as his money, and had many a quiet chuckle to himself on the way he had outwitted his wife. He had also the satisfaction of seeing that the lesson he had given her, though sharp, was permanent, for ever after she was content to go with him to their own church, and ran no more after strange preachers or new doctrines.


THE CELTIC LYRE: A Collection of Gaelic Songs, with

English Translations. By “ Fionn," Part III. Edinburgh :
Maclachlan & Stewart, 1886.

A great deal of most excellent work has been done in recent years to rescue from decay and to place in permanent form the lyric music of the Highlands. The pages of Highland magazines and newspapers, our own among the number, have been freely given to the good work of preservation to which we have referred. The recent labourers in the field have been numerous, and, in the main, intelligent. It was not always so, for while, in former times the collectors were not scant, the canons and habits of Gaelic music were very imperfectly understood, and, consequently, much of what was published was in forms quite repellent to the lovers of Gaelic song, who, though they might not have been able to state precisely what was amiss, could not help feeling that the music of the books was not the singing of the people. By the popularising of music in recent years, juster and more correct principles have been applied to the work, and the result is that we have now growing up on our hands a very valuable and substantial collection of genuine Gaelic music, in singable form and correctly noted, in many cases, from the singing of the most popular of our Highland singers. In

this good work no one has taken a more prominent and successful part than “Fionn (Mr. Henry Whyte) the compiler of the work before us. This is the third part of Lyre, and we are glad to see that more is promised. It contains 16 of our Gaelic songs set to music in both notations, with an English translation to enable our Saxon friends to judge of the quality of our song. The pieces given are edited with great care, and the set of the airs are melodious and pure. Of course, these folk-songs differ in different localities, and thus each person may not meet with the precise form of any given melody with which he himself was familiar; but we can at least say that, as given in this work, they are familiar in some district or other of the Highlands. We cordially commend the Celtic Lyre to our readers, and thank “Fionn" for his patriotic and valuable efforts to give permanency to one of the choicest treasures of the Celts —their music and song.

SALAMMBO of Gustave Flaubert : Englished by M. FRENCH

SHELDON, 1886. Saxon & Co., London and New York. The story of “Salammbo," which has been well named the Resurrection of Carthage,” has been almost unknown to English readers until the publication of the present masterly translation by M. Sheldon. The tale is based upon the revolt of the slaves and mercenaries against Carthage, and the principal interest of the story is woven around the lives of Matho, the Libyan leader, and Salammbô, the daughter of the Suffete Hamilcar. The various characters in the book are portrayed with a power and knowledge of mankind which rivet them upon the mind of the reader. The fierce, leonine love of Hamilcar for the little Hannibal, the burning passion of Matho and his mysterious fascination over Salammbô, the fanatical devotion of the priest Schahabarim to the goddess Tanit, all bear the impress of the hand of an ardent and faithful student of human nature, The great scenes in the book, the feast and riot of the Barbarians, the preaching of the revolt by Spendius, the nocturnal entrance into the Temple of Tanit, the arrival of Hamilcar from Sicily, the Carthaginian

« 上一頁繼續 »