« ПредишнаНапред »
stood in his shirt-sleeves before a little looking-glass in the corner, engaged in the anti-patriarchal occupation of shaving. Everything went on so socially, so quietly, so harmoniously, in the great kitchen—it seemed so pleasant to everyone to do just what they were doing, there was such an atmosphere of mutual confidence and good-fellowship everywhere—even the knives and forks had a social clatter as they went on to the table ; and the chicken and ham had a cheerful and joyous fizzle in the pan, as if they rather enjoyed being cooked than otherwise ; and when George and Eliza and little Harry came out, they met with such a hearty, rejoicing welcome, no wonder it seemed to them like a dream.
At last, they were all seated at breakfast, while Mary stood at the stove, baking griddle-cakes, which, as they gained the true exact golden-brown tint of perfection, were transferred quite handily to the table.
Rachel never looked so truly and benignly happy as at the head of her table. There was so much motherliness and full-heartedness even in the way she passed a plate of cakes or poured a cup of coffee, that it seemed to put a spirit into the food and drink she offered.
Father, what if thee should get found out again ?” said Simeon the second, as he buttered his cake.
“I should pay my fine,” said Simeon, quietly. “But what if they put thee in prison ?"
“ Couldn't thee and mother manage the farm ?” said Simeon, smiling.
“Mother can do almost everything," said the boy. “But isn't it a shame to make such laws ?”
“ Thee mustn't speak evil of thy rulers, Simeon,” said his father, gravely.
“Well, I hate those old slaveholders !” said the boy, who felt as unchristian as became any modern reformer.
“I am surprised at thee, son,” said Simeon ; "thy mother never taught thee so. I would do even the same for the slaveholder as for the slave, if the Lord brought him to my door in affliction."
“I hope, my good sir, that you are not exposed to any difficulty on our account,” said George, anxiously.
“ Fear nothing, George, for therefore are we sent into the world. If we would not meet trouble for a good cause, we were not worthy of our name.”
But, for me,” said George, “I could not bear it.” “Fear not, then, friend George ; it is not for thee, but for God and man, we do it,” said Simeon. “And now thou must lie by quietly this day; and to-night, at ten o'clock, Phineas Fletcher will carry thee onward to the next stand—thee and the rest of thy company. The pursuers are hard after thee; we must not delay."
“If that is the case, why wait till evening ?” said George.
“ Thou art safe here by daylight; for everyone in the settlement is a Friend, and all are watching. Moreover, it is safer to travel by night."
Uncle Tom's Cabin.
SPEECH ON THE CRIMEAN WAR, DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, DEC. 1854.
JOHN BRIGHT. Now, sir, I have only to speak on one more point. My hon. friend the member for the West Riding, in what he said about the condition of the English army in the Crimea, I believe, expressed only that which in all in this house feel, and which I trust every person in this country capable of thinking feels. When I look at gentlemen on that bench, and consider all their policy has brought about within the last twelve months, I scarcely dare to trust myself to speak of them, either in or out of their presence. We all know what we have lost in this house. Here, sitting near me, very
often sat the member for Frome, Colonel Boyle. I met him a short time before he went out, near Hyde Park Corner. I asked him whether he was going out ? He answered, he was afraid he was ; not afraid in the sense of personal fear-he knew not that; but he said, with a look and a tone I shall never forget, “ It's no light matter for a man who has a wife and five little children. The stormy Euxine is now his grave; his wife is a widow, his children orphans. On the other side of the house sat a member, with whom I was not acquainted, who has lost his life, and another of whom I knew something, Colonel Blair. Who is there that does not recollect his frank, amiable, and manly countenance ? I doubt whether there were any men on either side of the house more capable of fixing the goodwill and affection of those with whom they were associated. Well, but the place that knew him shall know him no more for ever. I have specified but two; but there are one hundred officers who have been killed in battle, or have died of their wounds ; forty have died of disease; and more than two hundred others have been wounded more or less severely. This has been a terribly destructive war for officers. They have been, as one would have expected them to be, the first in valour as the first in place; they have suffered more in proportion to their numbers than the commonest soldiers in the ranks. This has spread sorrow over the whole country. I was in the House of Lords when the vote of thanks was moved. In the gallery were many ladies, three-fourths of whom were dressed in the deepest mourning. Is this nothing? And, in every village, cottages are to be found into which sorrow has entered, and, as I believe, through the policy of the Ministry, which might have been avoided. No one supposes that the Government wished to spread the pall of sorrow over the land ; but this we had a right to expect, that they would, at least, with becoming gravity, discuss a subject the appalling consequences of which may come home in this terrible way to individuals and to the nation. I recollect when Sir Robert Peel made a speech on subjects which threatened hostilities with the United States. I recollect the gravity of his countenance, the solemnity of his tone, his whole demeanour showing that he felt, in his soul, the responsibility that rested on him. I have seen this, and I have seen the present Ministry. There was the buffoonery at the Reform Club. Was that becoming a matter of this grave nature ? Has there been a solemnity of manner in the speeches heard in connection with this war ; and have they become statesmen and Christian men speaking on a subject of this nature. It is very easy for the noble lord, the member for Tiverton, to rise and say, that I am against war under all circumstances ; and that if an enemy were to land on our shores, I should make a calculation as to whether it would be cheaper to take him in or keep him out, and that my opinion on this question is not to be taken either by parliament or the country. I am not afraid of discussing the war with the noble lord on his own principles. I understand the blue books as well as he ; and, leaving out all fantastic and visionary notions about what will become of us if something is not done to destroy or to cripple Russia, I say—and I say it with as much confidence as I ever said anything in my life—that the war cannot be justified out of these
documents; and impartial history will teach this to posterity if we do not now comprehend it. I am not, nor did I ever pretend to be a statesman; and that character is so tainted and so equivocal in our day, that I am not sure that a pure and honourable ambition would aspire to it. I have not enjoyed for thirty years, like those noble lords, the honours and emoluments of office. I have not set my sails to every passing breeze. I am a plain and simple citizen, sent here by one of the foremost constituencies of the empire, representing feebly, perhaps, but honestly I dare aver, the opinions of very many, and the true interests of all those who have sent me here ;—let it not be said that I am alone in my condemnation of this war, and of this incapable and guilty Administration. And, even if I were alone, if my voice were the solitary one raised amid the din of arms and the clamours of a venal press,
I should have the consolation I have to-night-and which I trust will be mine to the last moment of my existence the priceless consolation, that no word of mine has tended to promote the squandering of my country's treasure, or the spilling of one single drop of my country's blood.
GATHER a single blade of grass, and examine for a minute, quietly, its narrow sword-shaped strip of fluted green. Nothing, as it seems there, of notable goodness or beauty. A very little strength, and a very little tallness, and a few delicate long lines meeting in a point—not a perfect point neither, but blunt and unfinished, by no means apparently a much cared-for example of Nature's workmanship; made, as it seems, only to be trodden on to-day, and tomorrow to be cast into the oven ; and a little pale hollow stalk, feeble and flaccid, leading down the dull brown fibres of roots. And yet, think of it well, and judge whether of all the gorgeous flowers that beam in summer air, and of all strong and goodly trees, pleasant to the eyes or good for food-stately palm and pine, strong ash and oak, scented citron, burdened vine—there be any by man so deeply loved, by God so highly graced, as that narrow point of feeble green. It seems to me not to have been without a peculiar significance that our Lord, when about to work the miracle which, of all that He showed, appears to have been felt by the multitude as the most impressive—the miracle of the loaves -commanded the people to sit down by companies “upon the green grass." He was about to feed them with the principal produce of earth and the sea, the simplest representations of the food of mankind. He gave them the seed of the herb; He bade them sit down upon the herb itself, which was as great a gift, in its fitness for their joy and rest, as its perfect fruit for their sustenance ; thus, in this single order and act, when rightly understood, indicating for evermore how the Creator had entrusted the comfort, consolation, and sustenance of man, to the simplest and most despised of all the leafy families of the earth. And well does it fulfil its mission. Consider what we owe merely to the meadow grass, to the covering of the dark ground by that glorious enamel, by the companies of those soft, and countless, and peaceful spears. The fields ! Follow but forth for a little time the thoughts of all that we ought to recognize in those words. All spring and summer is in them—the walks by silent, scented paths, the rests in noonday heat—the joy of herds and flocks—the power of all shepherd life and meditation—the life of sunlight upon the world, falling in emerald streaks, and failing in soft blue shadows, where else it would have struck upon the dark mould, or scorching dustpastures beside the pacing brooks—soft banks and knolls of lowly hills—thymy slopes of down overlooked by the blue line of lifted sea-crisp lawns all dim with early dew, or smooth in evening warmth of barred sunshine, dinted by happy feet, and softening in their fall the sound of loving voices : all these are summed in those simple words; and these are not all. We may not measure to the full the depth of this heavenly gift, in our own land ; though still, as we think of it longer, the infinite of that meadow sweetness would open on us more and more, yet we have it but in part. Go out, in the spring time, among the meadows that slope from the shores of the Swiss lakes to the roots of their lower mountains. There, mingled with the taller gentians and the white narcissus, the grass grows deep and free; and as you follow the winding mountain paths, beneath arching boughs all veiled and dim with blossom,—paths that for ever droop and rise over the green banks and mounds sweeping down in scented