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is no mellow, gentle light to shed its cheering influence at home. Such persons, by their splendid actions, may excite great admiration and applause abroad, and if, as is too often the case, the honour that cometh from man is the stimulus of their zeal and liberality, verily they have their reward. But there is little to call forth the respect, gratitude, and esteem, or to promote the happiness, of those most nearly connected with them ; perhaps there is much to repel, and disgust, and render uncomfortable. Dear Uncle Barnaby ! it was not so with him. Those revered and loved him most heartily, who knew him most intimately; and many
had reason to be thankful for him, who never saw his face nor heard his name. His was Christian benevolence on a right scale. It commenced in a point, and extended to a circle wide enough to encompass
the whole world. His beneficent actions formed a circle as complete, though not so extensive: it was limited only by his ability. No person who came within the reach of his influence was willingly suffered to escape being benefited by him. Shall I be accused of expressing the partial judgment of a near relative, if I affirm my belief, that no one was injured by it? At least, I never saw an instance, or heard a complaint, that led to a contrary suspicion.
And yet Uncle Barnaby was not always successful in his efforts. Some people in the world are amazingly ingenious in the art of self-tormenting. I have known more than one such, who completely defeated my uncle's kind endeavours to do them good and make them happy. This was sometimes a source of vexation to my good uncle ; and his remarks on these occasions I hope did
something towards impressing me with a sense of the folly and sin of making ourselves and other people uncomfortable by our hasty, selfish tempers.
Among the many forms in which selfishness displays itself, is that of petty jealousy. I will give a few instances.
My uncle, as it may be readily supposed, was much beloved among his servants; and I do think he was blessed with as steady, trusty, respectable a set of domestics as could be found in any one household : most of them old standards. Indeed, it was a rare thing for a servant to leave the family, except on occasion of marriage or old age; when, it need hardly be said, they were comfortably provided for by their own carefulness and my uncle's liberality.
My uncle had a severe illness. On this occasion, not one of the household was behind another in testifying their attachment to their master by willing endeavours to serve and please, and promote his comfort : indeed, all were ready to complain that their services were not sufficiently required ; for my uncle liked to have things done in a quiet way; and gave no more trouble than was needful. It was quite a matter of contrivance with Mrs. Rogers, the housekeeper, to give every one a turn of night-watching, or other service, that none might feel themselves neglected, or excluded from the privilege of waiting on so good a master. It happened that the old cook had lately married away ; or at least, that my uncle had been so long highly favoured in point of health, as to have had no occasion to call into requisition the skill of his new cook in sick cookery. In the ordinary preparations for the table, she had acquitted herself well, and
given great satisfaction: but I suppose it is quite a different branch of the art of cookery to prepare simple and delicate messes for the sick, from that of mingling palatable dishes for the hearty. So it was, that though not the slightest doubt was expressed or entertained of Lydia's good-will and desire to please, my uncle did not relish his gruel and panada. Mrs. Rogers suggested a little difference in the proportion of the ingredients, the method of mixing, and the time of boiling; and cook tried again, but without success; the basin was carried down, with only a spoonful or two gone. Next time, Mrs. Rogers ordered the saucepan and ingredients into her own room, and prepared the mess herself. My uncle knew nothing of what had passed, but he relished the mess. When Lydia saw the empty basin brought down stairs, she burst into tears, and said it was very hard she could not please master, so many gallons of gruel as she had made for other people ; and she was sure she did it exactly as Mrs. Rogers told her. Mrs. Rogers was quite disposed to conciliate, and only anxious to consult the sickly appetite of her honoured master ; so, with a little soothing and humouring, sometimes doing the mess herself, and sometimes standing by, and seeing Lydia do it precisely according to her directions, the days of gruel and panada were got over without further collision of the rival powers. But, alas ! the introduction of beef-tea occasioned a new fracas.
No sooner had the physicians authorized this improvement in the diet of their patient, than a discussion arose as to the proper
preparing the nutritious meal. One party-I forget
which—insisted, that to draw out the goodness of the meat, it must be set on in cold water, and kept simmering for at least two hours ; the other contended that tea was not a decoction, but an infusion, and that the goodness was to be extracted by simply pouring boiling water over the meat, and letting it remain a given time. Each appealed to anthority to settle the controverted point, and Glasse and Kitchener were placed in hostile array against each other ; Mrs. Rogers, the housekeeper, and Lydia, the cook, avowing themselves the respective partisans of each. The rattling of the fire-irons, and the jar of the basin, indicated that it was not with thorough good humour that Lydia set about preparing the broth on Mrs. Rogers's plan, observing to the housemaid, that “it was fit Mrs. Rogers should have her own way, being the housekeeper, and that she should give up, being only a poor servant; however, the proof of the pudding was in the eating, and it would be seen whether master relished beef-tea made in that way.” It happened that master did not relish it; and for the next meal Lydia enjoyed the triumph of preparing it her way, but succeeded no better. My uncle sipped a spoonful or two, and then returned it, saying, “ I suppose it is the fault of my own whimsical palate ; but beef-tea does not seem the same thing that it used to be when old Sally made it.” My uncle's own man, to whom this remark was made, promptly resolved that old Sally's skill should be called into requisition. He posted off to old Sally (now Mrs. Dobson) to beg a written recipe for making beef-tea. “ To think that master should remember any thing that I did for him!” exclaimed the delighted ex-cook :
“ to be sure, I will write it down with the greatest pleasure; or I know what I would rather do, if I thought Mrs. Rogers and Lydia would not take offence-I am sure master would not-I would step up to the Hall, and make it myself, just as I used to do." " Oh, they will not be offended, I will answer for it,” returned William ; “ they are so concerned for master to have what he can fancy. I am going now to order a set of calf's feet, for Mrs. Rogers to make some jelly, which she says she is sure he will like better than beef-tea.” Thus encouraged, Mrs. Dobson proceeded to the kitchen, where she was kindly welcomed by her old associates. Before she could introduce her special errand, Lydia opened the subject herself, appealing to her, as we are all too apt to appeal to the judgment of others, in the hope of having our own sentiments or practices confirmed, rather than with a simple desire to learn the right way. “Do tell me, Mrs. Dobson, will you be so good, how long beef-tea ought to simmer ? for I want to do it exactly your way.” Before she could answer, in came Mrs. Rogers, to inquire whether the calf's feet were come, as she wanted to begin her operations ; but seeing Mrs. Dobson, she too took the opportunity of inquiring her method; “for,” said she, “none of us can hit master's fancy in it just as you used to do.
I think you do not simmer it at all, do you ?” “ No, ma'am ; I first chop up the meat as fine as sausage-meat, and pour boiling water to it.” “I thought so,” exclaimed Mrs. Rogers : for even she, though a person in authority, and of considerable experience, was pleased to have her way confirmed, as she thought ; "and how long do you let it steep? ”
“ Not at all,