« PreviousContinue »
there to be met in their professedly sober historical records, only heighten by their contrast the value of divine revelation.
We have said enough to show to all who would study the English Apocrypha the great advantage henceforth afforded them by the Revised Version. It represents, as the preface informs us, the labour of years, by some of the most competent Biblical scholars—different parts of the work being assigned to small committees, as for instance the Book of Wisdom and the Second Book of Maccabees to the late Professor Hort, Professor (now Bishop) Westcott, Dr. Moulton and Dr. Roberts. The effect of this subdivision of labour has been altogether good. In the style of the translation there is less of the “
company” and more of the individual; and the peculiar difficulties of the work have been happily met by this arrangement. At the same time there is undoubtedly some inequality in the several parts; and, as a minor point, it is not quite easy to understand why the proper names are not uniformly rendered. “In some books these names appear in their familiar Old Testament forms, after the Hebrew, whilst in others the forms of the Authorised Version are usually retained, or are but slightly altered, in accordance with the Greek.” (Revisers' Preface.)
The text is of course a difficulty, especially in cases (1 Maccabees and Ecclesiasticus, and perhaps Judith) where we have the Greek version of a lost Hebrew original; also in 2 Esdras, where the Latin is our chief guide. The attempt is sometimes necessary to reproduce the original, in order to make sense ; and now and then the sense is not made. “A list of Greek and Latin readings adopted by the committees will shortly be published.” Here and there a felicitous conjecture is admitted. Thus, in 2 Esdras xiv. 42, “ They wrote the wonderful visions of the night that were told, which they knew not” (A.v.), gives a somewhat perplexing sense. In the Revised Version we have “They wrote by course the things which were told them, in characters which they knew not," i.e., in the newly-introduced Chaldee alphabetical characters (the familiar square
Hebrew” now used). The change, so greatly simplifying the passage, was suggested by the eastern versions; and the conjecture is that
in the Latin notis was originally written instead of noctis. The change of one letter makes all the difference. In 2 Macc. vii. 36, we read in the ordinary version, “Our brethren, who now have suffered a short pain, are dead under God's covenant of everlasting life.” Change one letter of the original Greek, and the meaning becomes, “Our brethren. have now drunk of over,"owing life under God's covenant”; a really fine emendation. There are, again, passages in the three books translated from the Hebrew, where similar suppositions have almost the force of certainty. Thus, Ecclus. vi. 22, “Wisdom is according to her name,” is difficult to understand ; an alteration in just two Hebrew letters gives “ Wisdom is hidden,” a perspicuous and apposite statement. And in ch. xxxvii. 5, we read, “ There is panion which for the belly's sake laboureth with his friend.” Change the Hebrew word for “belly," by the alteration of a single vowel, to that for “battle," and we read, “A comrade helpeth his friend in battle,” which gives a good and even certain sense. The Revisers have not indeed noticed these last two instances, which we cite only as illustrations of the questions and difficulties which arise in the translation of a translation, Many other such illustrations will be found in the valuable “ Variorum” edition of the Apocrypha (edited for the Queen's printers by the Rev. C. J. Ball, M.A.), which contains the Authorised Version, with a multitude of various renderings and readings most aptly selected. The two books together will afford an assistance such as English Bible students have never heretofore enjoyed in the exploration of these most fascinating yet often bewildering fields of Jewish literature.
S. G. G.
1 Thus, in the “Continuation of Esther” xvi. 10, Haman is made a Macedonian, perhaps a side-thrust at the Grecian oppressors of the Jews at the time when the chapters were written. In 1 Maccabees xii. 21, the very doubtful statement is made that the Spartans and the Jews are brethren, both being “ of the stock of Abraham." In Judith i. 1, Nebuchadnezzar is said to have reigned over the Assyrians in Nineveh. The writer of 2 Maccabees (an abridgment of the annals of Jason of Cyrene) tells a story of the altar-fire hidden in a pit during the Captivity, and brought forth “after many years” by Nehemiah (i. 19-23); also of the concealment, in a hollow cave, of the tabernacle, the ark, and the altar of incense, until the time of future restoration (ii. 5–8). The alleged apparition, in the midst of the sky, of horsemen in swift motion, wearing robes inwrought with gold, and carrying spears, equipped in troops for battle (ch. v. 2), may be classed with similar portents, imagined at other critical sieges.
Since our earthly life is spent, as it were, in the ante-room of the House
Beautiful of the heavenly life, should we not adorn it with the bright trophies of spiritual victories, and keep it continually filled with the sweet fragrance of kind words and deeds ?
Is it not a fact that the majority of descension people show by their acts of condes
cension that they have never really considered what the word implies ? To very many amongst us it suggests patronage. From cur fancied superior height we are nothing loth to look down-in all good nature, it may be-on those in a different position from ourselves. And so we often do more harm than good, and are left wondering why this is so. Surely our efforts to benefit others would be more successful if our condescension took the form of coming down instead of looking down ! Standing shoulder to shoulder, side by side, with those whom we wish to help, we shall be better able to see things from their point of view, and thus can enter into their feelings and difficulties, and assure them of our sympathy.
“ NO CONNECTION WITH THE SHOP NEXT DOOR.”
remarked, at least they should not have the excuse of pretending that they thought the new emporium was a kind of extension of the old premises, as that fellow next door would like to make out, I daresay," thought Mr. Simmonds, wrathfully. In point of fact, the new-comer, Pegram, had attempted to make friendly advances to his neighbouring fellow
trader ; and had sugWELCOME HELP.
gested that they might
amicable understanding not to " run” the same kinds of goods against each other. But Simmonds, angry at the appearance of a possible rival at his doors, had so rudely rebuffed all conciliatory advances,
that old Pegram, piqued in turn, determined to UCH
the “ do the best he could for himself," regardless
of his neighbour. So war was declared between played in large the two shops, and their owners scowled at each
capitals in the win- other as they took down their shutters; and, as dow of a small oilshop in a suburban street; "next- time went by, were even foolish enough to begin door” to which an equally modest-looking grocer's to undersell one another in certain articles in had been recently opened. At first sight this which both purveyors dealt. It is needless to say protest scarcely appeared to be needed, as every that these tactics benefited the exchequer of neither housekeeper is aware that the oilman and the shop: while they increased the acerbity with which grocer supply distinct “ lines” of domestic articles ; each dealer regarded his rival. tea and coffee, for example, not being procurable “ If that fool of a Simmonds were out of the at the former establishment, while the oilman's way, we'd have the whole trade of the place, such shop usually ofers a wider choice in the way of as it is, in our own hands," old Pegram would chandlery than does an average grocer's emporium. remark to his son; while Mr. Simmonds, in the But though the oilman does not intrude upon
seclusion of his back parlour, was never weary of many of the grocer's special provinces, the grocer, demonstrating to his wife and daughter that, but if enterprising, will “extend” himself into some for the intrusion of the rival shop, he would be on branches of the oilman's trade; and this was the high road to fortune. In their hearts the exactly the grievance now rankling in the mind of rival dealers laid all business misfortunes to the the owner of the oilshop we are describing. credit of the "other shop,” and hated each other Pegram, the new grocer, sold firewood, also accordingly. The feuds of the Montagues and candles, of which articles the little oilman's had Capulets are to be found in all ranks and at all hitherto enjoyed a local monopoly; and Mr. eras; and, as in mediæval Italy, the retainers of Simmonds, the owner of the oil-store, had once the families share the feelings of their superiors. actually overheard a customer of his own order a The Simmonds maid-of-all-work tossed her head, shilling's-worth of firewood from his rival, whose if she did not "bite her thumb,” whenever she bundles were certainly larger than those supplied encountered Mr. Pegram's housekeeper in the by Mr. Simmonds. This circumstance, added street; and when the grocer's cat confidingly to other
of provocation, induced Mr. strayed into the next door' establishment, the Simmonds to place defiantly in his own window Simmonds' dog set upon it. Yet, as of yore in the announcement, whereby he utterly disclaimed old Verona, one individual in each of the rival
“ connection with the recently opened households did not share the unfriendly sentiments grocer's. If customers chose to forsake an old- of their elders. Pegram was a widower with one established tradesman, “who had served the son, the Simmonds' had also an only child, a neighbourhood honest and faithful these ten daughter. As both these young folk were comely years and more,” as Mr. Simmonds pathetically and pleasant to look upon, and as both had been
strictly charged by their irate parents “never to think of each other," it is needless to say that a mutual interest had been awakened between the youth and the girl, even before they had exchanged a word. Joe had noted Dolly's bright face in the shop-Dolly had not been unobservant of her handsome young neighbour, before the prohibition against "picking up acquaintance" with each other was uttered by the parents on either side. Chance however threw the young folks together. Dolly had gone to visit a cousin at a seaside resort, and, strangely enough, young Pegram happened to be taking a summer's holiday at the same place. An excursion together on a steamer brought the young scions of the rival families into “speaking terms,” and the acquaintance ripened very rapidly during their few weeks' stay at Margate; although, after their return home, they only ventured to exchange a nod, when their parents were out of the way ; and Mr. Simmonds, once observing even this slight civility pass between the young folks, as he and his daughter returned from a Sunday walk, and met young Pegram issuing out of his own door, had demanded fiercely " what she meant by nodding to that fellow Pegram's son?”
“Well, it's only neighbourly to be civil, father," said poor Dolly, not daring to confess how much she and Joe had walked together at Margate the month before.
“ Neighbourly to be civil to the son of a man who's a-tryin' to ruin your father ?” roared Simmonds furiously; and Dolly stifled a sigh. The
young folk were not exactly as Romeo and Juliet yes; but Dolly often thought that it would be pleasant to have Joe “calling in” in the evenings as he had done at her cousin's; and Joe, in the long winter nights, often wished himself on the other side of the partition wall which divided the two shop parlours.
It was a hard and bitter winter that year, and trade not particularly flourishing ; particularly with the Simmonds'. The oilman possessed less capital, perhaps also less business capacity than his rival, who was a shrewd old fellow; and when Simmonds made up his accounts at Christmas the audit was not satisfactory; as was to be expected with that serpent next door stealing away all my best customers," cried Mr. Simmonds, with some confusion of mataphor. While in the next door parlour old Pegram was saying to his son : “ I've not done what I might if that old fool next door would have come to terms, and worked in with me, instead of running against me. • No connection with next door,' indeed. Well, it's my belief both of us would have done better if there had been a connection, though I fancy that fool Simmonds has felt it worse than I”; which was true enough. The better business man with the larger capital, was making the larger profits; and Simmonds guessed this, and was not the more kindly disposed to Pegram.
a misfortune now befell the two shopkepeers. At the Pegrams' the housekeeper was taken so ill that she insisted on being removed to a married daughter's to be nursed ; then Joe Pegram was also attacked by the malady; while next door Dolly and Mrs. Simmonds, who at present had escaped the visitation, had their hands more than full with attending to Mr. Simmonds and the maid-of-all-work, who were both confined to their beds, and neither of whom were the most tractable of patients. As all who had occasion to seek for extra help during the “influenza visitation” know too well, nurses and charwomen were at premium, and their services scarcely procurable for “ love or money." Doctors hurried off their attendants from protesting convalescents, under plea of more urgent cases wanting their services ; households which once proudly boasted that “they never employed charwomen sought these useful "odd helps" as eagerly as (too often) vainly; and the members of the family not. enjoined to "keep in bed” found themselves converted into hardworking “jacks of all trades.” Old Pegram found it difficult to supply his housekeeper's place, and Joe suffered greatly from the lack of due attendance. The old man was deeply attached to his son, and it was with a heavy heart that he opened his shop one morning after passing an anxious night with the invalid.
While taking down his own shutters, the grocer's attention was attracted by Mrs. Simmonds, who issued forth on a like errand. Since her husband's illness a lad had been hired to perform the task of grappling with the heavy shop shutters night and morning; but a little sister had just called in to state that her brother was “a-bed with the influenzy.” and Mrs. Simmonds was perforce obliged to attempt to open the shop herself. But a heavy shutter is a difficult load for a woman; and Pegram watched Mrs. Simmonds' breathless exertions, until in common humanity he was compelled to step forward with an “allow me, mum," and lend a hand to opening his rival's premises.
“ Thank you kindly, sir, I'm sure,” panted Mrs. Simmonds, grateful for the narrow escape she had had of the shutter's abrupt descent on her toes, “'tis a terrible heavy thing for my arms, but the lad who should call is laid up, and Simmonds a-bed too”– here the good woman's eye fell on the legend in the shop-window, and she remembered that she was gossiping thus freely to her husband's enemy, and checked herself, turning the conversation into the safe general remark of “ bother this influenzy, I say."
" Aye, so do I,” responded Pegram, gloomily, “ with my poor boy sick a-bed, and the servant away, and me never able to lay hand on a woman to light a fire nor make him a cup of tea. I had a charwoman for a couple of days, but, bless you, she wasn't much good, and last night she sent to say she was too busy to come again this week.”
“Charwomen ain't much comfort,” replied Mrs. Simmonds, sympathetically, “and, unless you get hold of a very scarce kind, their waste in the house is something cruel. I've known 'em cut off slices of good hot meat to give to the cat, and use
If the results had not been in too many cases so tragic there would have been something almost ludicrous in the manner in which the “influenza epidemic” of the early “nineties” often seized a whole household simultaneously in its grip. Such
a couple of bundles of wood at once to light a fire. * No,' I said to my daughter, ‘you and I ’ull manage somehow together till Peggy's well enough to take up her work again’; no outside helping for me, thank you.”
Ah, it's well for them as has women folk in the house to do their work,” said Pegram, with a sigh, turning back to his own door. What a capable, sensible sort of body Mrs. Simmonds seeme, he reflected ; and how lucky was his neighbour in possessing such efficient help in this hour of need. Mrs. Simmonds hesitated a minute, consideration of her husband's wrongs struggling with her natural kindliness of disposition; but another glance at her neighbour's sorrowful and anxious face caused the latter to triumph ; and after all, had not Pegram, with all his sins, saved her from a nasty accident with that shutter, and was she not bound to repay this civility, even if the feud still raged between the shops.
“Maybe you've not lighted your fire yet,” she remarked, " I'm just going to take up a bit of breakfast to my good man; if you'd like a cup of tea for your son, Dolly's making it now for her father.”
“ Thank 'ee, thank 'ee, indeed, ma'am,” cried the old man eagerly, forgetful of his grudge against the Simmonds’, in his consideration for his son's comfort ; and kindly Mrs. Simmonds, never happier than when doing a good turn" to some one, smilingly vanished into her back parlour, and presently emerged again with a tray, on which was arranged a tempting-looking little breakfast.
“Oh, this does look something like," exclaimed Pegram, gratefully, “my poor boy hasn't had such a breakfast since Mrs. Hallis went away. My thanks and best service to you for your kindness, ma'am, I'm sure.”
“ I'll take the tray upstairs for you,” said Mrs. Simmonds, now fairly committed to the cause of benevolence; and Pegram accordingly ushered her to the apartment where lay poor Joe.
Mrs. Simmonds was not only a kindly woman, she was also a very capable housekeeper and an excellent nurse; and the aspect of that bedchamber, which had been for several days under the sole charge of old Pegram and an Irish charwoman, * went through her," as she afterwards said to Dolly. The spectacle of the ill-nursed invalid stirred all the good woman's motherly sympathies, and the sins of the father were wholly forgotten in view of the straits of the son.
“It don't look very comfortable, I know,” said old Pegram, meekly, noting his visitor's horrified glance round the apartment, “but I'm not much of a hand at woman's work."
" Comfortable !" echoed Mrs. Simmonds, with a whole volume of expression in the one word, “that poor young man a-bed here !-well, I'm glad I came in," and the kindly soul proceeded to adjust Joe's pillows and place the tempting meal before him. Then she quietly removed her bonnet and shawl.
“ Just step in next door, there's a good soul,” she remarked to Pegram, “and ask my daughter to give you my big apron.
We'll have this room looking something different before another hour's over our heads."
Different,” indeed, did the room appear before
Mrs. Simmonds took her leave, leaving behind her a tidy apartment, a bright fire, and a thankful invalid, now dropping into a health-giving slumber. Old Pegram's heart was full of gratitude as he escorted his visitor downstairs, and in the glow of kindliness and thankfulness, both parties forgot for a while that they were rivals and enemies.
Joe was very ill with the influenza, and for several days the doctor was most anxious about
Mrs. Simmonds, however, proved herself a veritable good angel at this crisis. Her own invalids were not in a serious condition, and she was, therefore, able to “run in and out” to her neighbour during his time of trial, until Joe" took the turn” and was pronounced in the fair way towards recovery. Meantime old Pegram returned his neighbour's kindness as far as he was able, by giving help in his rival's shop. Once he had come in to protect Mrs. Simmonds by ejecting a halftipsy customer, who was alarming the women ; and later on the old man proved very useful to Dolly, on whom the task of “keeping the books” entirely devolved.
Pegram was a shrewd man, who thoroughly understood his business, and was pleased to find in Dolly an apt and intelligent pupil.
“If Simmonds is a pig-headed fool, that gell of his has a head on her shoulders,” remarked Mr. Pegram to his son, one evening after returning from an interview with Dolly. “I do believe those two women 'ud carry on the business a sight better by themselves; that little gell takes in an idea as quick as lightning, and has a fine head for figures, and sees her way about the trade surprisely-quite a pleasure to come upon such a sensible young woman of her age," here Pegram stopped abruptly, remembering that he was praising to his son the very girl on whom he had forbidden him ever to " look."
But Dolly's capable ways (and perhaps, also, her bright pretty face) had fairly made a conquest of the old
grocer. The protesting legend in the Simmonds' shop-window had long ago disappeared. Dolly had quietly taken it out and burnt it, and Mrs. Simmonds, though she noted that it was missing, made no remark on the subject. Certainly, with Mrs. Simmonds' nursing Joe Pegram, and old Pegram assisting in the oilshop, there was a flagrant absurdity in the announcement of connection ” between the two househo!ds.
Mr. Simmonds, all this while, lay in bed upstairs, blissfully ignorant of the alliance which his wife and daughter had entered into with his enemy. Though not as seriously ill as his young neighbour next door, the influenza kept Mr. Simmonds a prisoner for some time to his apartment; and his wife wisely decided that it was better not to “worrit him” by informing him of acts of which he might, or might not, approve. As we have said, Mr. Simmonds was not the most tractable of invalids, and his wife was unwilling to give him any subject for “worrit” during the weakness of illness and the fretful period of convalescence.
Circumstances, however, obliged the facts to be revealed at length. Gradually (thanks greatly to Mrs. Simmonds' care, the doctor said) Joe Pegram began to recover, and was allowed to leave his
room and come downstairs. Old Pegram, coming in one evening in the fulness of his joy and gratitude to announce the doctor's last favourable bulletin, found both the women of the next house looking so miserable that he enquired the reason of their melancholy faces. Mrs. Simmonds was reluctant to speak out, but Dolly at length acknowledged that a sum of 501., which her father had borrowed, had been unexpectedly “called in," and that, owing to bad times, and the recent depression in trade consequent on the epidemic, there were no available funds to meet this claim.
“ I ain't breathed a word of this to Simmonds yet," said Mrs. Simmonds, "for it will worrit him out of his life. But where to raise this money, and in a week too, puzzles my brain ;” and the good woman wiped her eyes.
Old Pegram was a taciturn man, and often made gestures take the place of words. He now slowly drew out a pocket book, from which he deliberately extracted a cheque, which he proceeded to fill up for 501., and then silently handed it to Mrs. Simmonds.
“I was thinking where I could put this out," he said, " and I may as well lend it to you as to another party, ma'am. I'll take a receipt, if you please, and you can pay it back by degrees if it suits you
better so. Interest,” as Mrs. Simmonds began to murmur something, not a word of that, mum, between you and me; when your husband is about again, and the takings of the shop come in better, then you can work the 501. off gradual, say a pound or two at a time-I ain't in a hurry."
“I don't know how to thank you, I'm sure, said Mrs. Simmonds, half reluctant to accept the favour, and yet thankful at such an unexpected solution of her anxiety.
“Didn't you save my boy's life?” said the old man a little huskily, as he rose to go.
stairs, Maria,” he remarked at length, reproachfully.
Oh, perhaps then you'd rather I'd let that poor young fellow-and a fine young fellow he is, and a sight more patient and grateful to nurse than was some folks who shall be nameless-lie down and die for want of a woman's hand about him," retorted Mrs. Simmonds, wisely carrying the war into the enemy's country. “I wonder at your hard heart, William, I do. And how would you have felt if the young man had died, and a
crowner' sat on him, and laid his end to the unneighbourliness of next door ?”
Mr. Simmonds was silencéd-he was really a kindly man at heart- but presently he returned to the attack.
“I ain't a-going to leave this money affair in this loose kind of way: I must talk it over with Pegram, and have a clear understanding in the matter.”
“Run in next door, Dolly, and tell Mr. Pegram that
your father 'ull be glad to see him if he can make it convenient to step round,” said Mrs. Simmonds; reflecting that a personal interview between the quondam rivals might, after all, be the shortest way of settling matters.
Presently old Pegram entered alone.
“Miss Simmonds tels me you want to speak to me about a little business matter, neighbour," he remarked, "so I just left the young folks together, while we talk our affairs over.”
The convenances are less rigid in certain social circles than in others; and Mrs. Simmonds had no objection to Dolly's being left tête-à-tête with young Pegram for a few minutes.
With some embarrassment Simmonds opened the matter; old Pegram listened gravely, then replied
“ As I told your good lady, Mr. Simmonds, she having done me so kind a turn, I'd like to do as good again ; and there's no call to make so much ado about the business. But if, as you say, you'd rather do the thing in a regular fashion, give a promissory note and pay the usual interest; well, I must tell you that the matter is, in a way, out of my hands now. I've given away Mrs. Simmonds' acknowledgment for that 501., given it to my son. “When I took this shop," proceeded the old a pause,
idea of settling down here myself. I've been in business these forty odd years now, and am thinking of retiring altogether-maybe”—and the old man laughed quietly-"I've laid by enough not to be quite a pauper, so to speak. But I wanted to see Joe. my son, comfortably set up in a business, and two heads being better than one, I came here with him at first just to start him, so to speak. He didn't know my mind then, but I've told him now ; and as soon as he marries—and I believe he has a likely-a very likely-young woman in his eye, 1 mean to hand the young people over the shop and the stock, and go and settle down in the country nigh my married daughter.
“I had better see your son then," said Mr. Simmonds. “Wait a bit,” said old Pegram, with a twinkle
It was impossible to keep Mr. Simmonds in the dark any longer, particularly as he was now well enough to come downstairs. So the first day that her husband was established in the back parlour, pleased enough to be “about again,” Mrs. Simmonds relieved her mind of its secrets. She began diplomatically, by informing her husband of the abrupt calling in of the 501. loan, and then, having duly agitated him with alarm and anxiety, informed him of the happy solution of the affair. At first Simmonds was furious, " he'd owe nothing to that fellow next door."
“Oh, you'd rather see the house and shop sold over our heads, would you, William?” asked his wife, sarcastically ; while Dolly struck in boldly with,
“ After all, father, as Mr. Pegram says, 'tis but tit for tat. Mother's been nursing Mr. Pegram's son night and day, and saved his life, the doctor
“What?” gasped Mr. Simmonds, scarcely believing his ears; as his wife and daughter, their confession once began, now poured out full details of the events of the past weeks.
Pretty goings on while I was laid by up