Page images

this. And isn't it a shocking thing to consider that the poor man may look at Bishop So-and-so with a grudge in his eye, saying to himself, "Yes, you've built yourself a fine house-you've got your fine cedars, and all that King Solomon talks about, in your own palace; but where's my sittings in the church ?—where, bishop, is my bench in the middle aisle?"

This is so dreadful to think of, that I can't write any further upon it—and so no more from your affectionate grandson,


LETTER XXI.-To Sir F. B. Tyrell, Bart., M.P. for North Essex.

SIR, As I consider every gentleman that I have had the pleasure, or the honour, or the ill-luck as it may be, of driving, a sort of acquaintancefor where money passes, it in a manner binds men -I make no difficulty in sending you these few lines.

You have been dining with the Conservative Maldon True Blue Club. True Blue, I suppose, means heaven's blue-that is, blue as true as heaven. All the speeches were printed in the Essex Standard, and afterwards, where I saw 'em,

in the Morning Post. Your speech, Sir James, or Sir John (for, upon my life, I forget which it is, so I'll call you Sir James upon chance)—your speech drenched me, as a Christian cabman, quite over. You rose to drink the health of the Duke of Wellington. Well, I don't object to that. But, I'm sure of it, never once thinking of your Testament, you went on in this manner-and mind, it was only just after dinner

"It had been said of the noble Duke, that he was not only the conqueror of Bonaparte-but the greatest man SINCE THE TIME OF THE SAVIOUR!"

You thought if that language was "too strong to apply to him as a man, his claims upon the country could not be overrated." Now, Sir James, IF the language was too strong (for you said "if"), why did you use it? Why make any comparison between the Saviour of the world and the colonel of a Grenadier Guards? The Duke, no doubt, has claims upon the country; though some of these claims, by-the-by, are regularly settled by the country every pay-day, and come in regularly with his rents of Strathfieldsaye. Nevertheless, whatever claims he may have outstanding against us, I don't think he can enforce any of 'em in the spirit of Him who said, "Love your enemies; bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate

you; and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you." The Duke of Wellington never talks in this way in the House of Lords; but do we expect that he should? His business of life, Sir James, has been to fight; and though I think the trade a very bad one, nevertheless he made the best of the wickedness. But, Sir James, you, it seems, would bind up the Sermon on the Mount with the "Wellington Despatches;" and seem to think the battle of Waterloo a finer acted thing than that small incident rehearsed at the words, "Take up thy bed and walk."

Sometime ago, the son of a Christian judge, passing through a London street, saw, as he thought, a blasphemous representation of the Deity exposed in a window. In a trice he smashed the glass and tore up the offensive picture. Right glad am I, for the sake of the convivial True Blues, that young Mr Bruce was not at the Maldon dinner; otherwise, where the chairman found a companion picture for Jesus in the Grenadier tenant of Apsley House, Mr Bruce might have forgotten Sir James Tyrell in what he might have thought the blasphemer.

"Our Saviour" and the Duke of Wellington ! And among the company, "which was upwards of seventy in number," were members of Parliament, captains, esquires, and-my ink turns almost red

with shame as I write it-and clergymen! There were pious Christians, teachers of Christian flocks, "their eyes red with wine, and their teeth white with milk," who sat quietly upon their seats, and heard the British Grenadier paralleled with Jesus Christ! Answer, Reverends Leigh, Williams, Bruce, and Henshawe-was it not so? O Conservative clergymen! O True Blue disciples of beeswing port! O knife-and-fork apostles! when, mute as fish, you consented to the speech of Tyrell, and so forgot your Master, did you not, in your souls, hear "the cock crow"?

Well, Sir James, I do recollect what my old grandmother taught me of the New Testament; and although I'm but a cabman, I hope I do feel, if I'd ever had the presumption to compare anybody to the blessed Saviour, I couldn't have gone to the barracks for him.

I think the Duke of Wellington has said that "no man who's nice about religion should be a soldier!" Perhaps you never heard of this, and thought that to hunt the French out of Spain was almost quite as great as to cast out devils.

"The greatest man since the time of our Saviour!" And there have been no other men, Sir James, sent into the world to pick their fellowcreatures, as I may say, out of the mud? There have been no Shakspere? No Newton? No


No! Ball-cartridge has been the true manna of life; and the words "Feed my sheep" are nothing to "Make ready, present, fire!"

But, Sir James, I've done. I know you didn't mean what you said. No: the truth is, you're a regular Conservative, and so-like other darkened folks you must make an idol out of something. Rather than have none at all, you'd set up the Duke of Wellington's bootjack. Still, among the True Blues, you overshot the mark, and must be by this time perfectly ashamed of yourself. Nevertheless, your wickedness ought not to go unpunished and because, in a port-wine moment, you compared the Iron Duke to the Lamb of the world, I'd make you undergo a month's penance. You should be covered all over with pipeclay, and eat parched peas off a drum-head.


LETTER XXII.-To Mrs Hedgehog, New York.

DEAR GRANDMOTHER,-As I don't think you have any liking for railways-being, like Colonel Sibthorpe, one of those folks loving the good old times when travelling was as sober a thing as a waggon and four horses could make it-I really

« PreviousContinue »