Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

9 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



A VACATION AT MERTRYR. (BJI the Sauntercr.)—No. 4. SUNDAY RECREATIONS. A strange man in a strang3 place on a Sunday is always considered to spend the day gloomily enough. The shops and offices are all closed up the crowds of people generally hovering about on business days have dissappeared for the wbile; thecars, cabs, "nys" and han'soms which ply quickly about during the week have deserted their proper stand and gone to the stand still; Bibles, chapels, churches, and preaching houses are the only things in requisition and although some may dash about and visit the country on excursions (0, most unholy wights !) still those who think of the other world turn their faces against such amusements, and would become quite horrified if asked to join in them— blessed souls I have known men who get half—and sometimes whole-" tight" on Monday, Tuesday, Wednes- day, and nearly every night in the week, and yet, on a Sunday, they seem to be the most exemplary people in the world. After breakfast, they produce their Bible, and read themselves almost blind for about an hour,—but whether they think of, or endeavour to understand, the passages they read, I really could never ascertain. Then, when the time comes, they go to church, occupy their usual seat in their usual pew, join—to all appearance—in the prayers being said, and listen with the most profound attention to the sermon of the Rector or his Curate. They return, take dinner, read their Bible again, gotochucrhagainintheeven ing; but, for the matter of taking too much intoxicating drink —as they often do—they relinquish that practice for the day —or if they do imbibe the alcohol, they at least, do so within their own houses, where no one can see them, and by which means they will still thus have the reputation of being ex- cellent Sabbath Day observers. But, on the following Monday, and from that till Saturday night the holy mask is cast aside, the austere countenance and modest, up-turned eyes of the pious man are thrown off, and the jolly fellow appears instead, his hand ready with the cash to pay forthe brandy, his appetite willing to imbibe it, and-bis Bible remaining at home on the shelf till the next Sunday Well, some of those people are all good enough in their way, but, upon my life, I think they would do better by enjoying even a little pleasure on a Sunday, and curtailing their amount of alcohol during the week. They might then, perhaps, serve their God, their constitutions, and their purses better—althoueh, no doubt, they would not be such good customers to their friend, the landlord of the hotel, in which their large bill is outstanding I have also kown many young ladies who go to church on Sunday just to hear the frosty-imported young Curate preaching, and not so much for the matter of hearing the word of God expounded But, then it is so nice and so entertaining, and so awful to see that pretty young gentleman—who, during the week, is all smiles and witticisms and caresses—to see him step- ping up into the pulpit with his loose tunic thrown over his shoulders, and first begining in a low serious tone to speak on such—and—such a passage in Scripture, then becoming gradually warmer with the theme, till finally he waxes into a terrible passion with this wicked world "—the congrega- tion present, being, of course, excluded from the wicked ones ''—and looses for a time, all his sweet smiles and win- ning dimples! Yes, this is great sport in many a young lady's eyes—and, 'pon my word, I think many of those arch females would sooner see a handsome man in a passion—so long as it was not with themselves—than in the mildest mood imaginablp. for it is "so romantic!" However,! don't mean to say there are men or women of the kind I mention in Merthyr. In fact, 1 could not say such a thing for I know scarcely any one here but I want merely to show you, that in Merthyr a Sunday can be spent by a stranger, m a manner quite different to that in which it can be whiled away in many another town—indeed, that it can be spent quite in pleasant manner. At least, I found it so, and 1 (ion't see why every one else should not do the same. Une has need only t) be a goocl observer of human nature 301 d every other nature, to be able to find novelty enough in Merthyr every day. But, to begin-yes, really to begin,— for I don't call the above a beginning. It is only a passing thought that came into my brain as I was sitting down to write, and I thought it as well to let it flow forth on paper, and see how it looked It is always my rule to tire away once I begin—saying everthing that comes into my head, stopping at nothing and—leaving it to the reader afterwards to accept my thoughts for what they are worth. I suppose I need not tell you how I slept on Saturday night. We all, I believe, sleep in something about the same manner, and I venture to say my sleep was not a bit different tn that of any one else within a radius of thirty miles around me I got up in the morning—there's an item of news However, its down now, and as I must not break through my rule of writing impromptu I must leave it so. Still, I don't believe thtre was any one in Merthyr who got up in as queer a manner on that particular Sunday morning as did this child. Dnar reader, did you ever awakesuddenlyafteraheavy sleep, andfind yourself in a very strange room, with very strange things around you, and a very confused idea of your present position ? If so, then you may remember the queer sensation that floated through your brain, and the idea you had for sometime that you were not awake at all, but were only still dreaming on and imagining to yourself A'hile you were really asleep that you dreamt you were awake Surely, this is a queer idea, but if you then pinched your ear or made an etfiJlt to cry out, you might soon find that your wakeful dream was not—as dreams generally are—a mere vision This was something like my feeling when I awoke on Sunday morning. I could not, for the life of me, tell where I was. I think, too, that the people of the house must have laid a snare for me, for they hung a couple of very grim looking pietures on the walls immediately around my bed, and when I endeavoured to look about me, these were the very first things that caught my eye. Upon my life, 1 was frightened I imagined 1 was surrounded by a posse of very suspicious looking customers, and, then again, I thought I was only dreaming I was about to pinch my ear, but I was soon saved the trouble of performing that painful operation and was made concious of my habitat by very different means. Just as I was plunged amongst the most bewildered of my thoughts, a cat gave a most villianous scream or squeel or whatever you call it, immediately outside of my bed-room door The evil sound was so much in accordance with the Strange room and the grim figures, that I was terribly startled and I really did cry out—aye. and loudly Almost instanter I heard a pattering, as of slippered feet coming up the stairs, and, in a moment, some one rushed into my room It was boots Yes the real indentical boots with his black visage and dirty hands, and his tight waistcoat and thin bandy legs, and in his hurry he had run up with his" coat of arms in his hands -1 mean the hard brush He came to know what was the matter and to see whether I had half committed suicide and then repented of my rashness— the emblem of my repentance being the wild scream I had just given He was surprised, however, to find me inpropria persona standing in the middle of the room in my night dress, and when 1 told him the cause of the alarm, the fellow laughed most uproariously, and forgot his place so far that I was strongly tempted to shove my hand down his throat! I satisfied my passion, however, by throwing the fellow out of the room, and then I myself laughed, and began to think how it was I had got out of bed In truth, I could'nt remember how that happened, but I supposed that in the fritiht occasioned by my own queer thoughts and the very opportune—or inopportune, perhaps—scream of the cat, I had jumped from beneath the sheets, and was thus found by boots Gracious goodness it might as well have been the parlourmaid or housemaid that came up at the time, and what a deuce of a fix I'd then have been in Fortun- ately, however, I was saved from this mishap, and you, 0 modest reader, forgive me if in alluding to it, 1 have outstep- ped the bounds of decorum. It was down, however, before 1 thought of it a second time, and—you know my rule. Well, when I had sufficiently satisfied myself that I was quite safe, unhurt, and in a proper house, I began to think of dressing. This bore of a task occupied me not a very long time, and when I had duly arranged my Prince of Wales cravat, I stepped down to the breakfast room. Here I found the maid-servant arranging the breakfast things, and she, too the sly wench !—must have already heard the full history of my discomfiture in the bedroom, for she apparently had great difficulty in withholding her laughter when she saw me enter. She busied herself about the arrangement of the cover on the large arm chair for the space of about two minutes, during which time I could notice that she was chuckling to herself, and, on my word, I was tempted to make some droll remark which would give the poor creature an opportunity of discharging the load of merriment that oppressed her. However, my spirit of piety checked me. I remembered that it was a Sunday, and I forbore from committing any act of levity on that day I could not help, notwithstanding, vowing vengeance against boots," f ™ I am sure he must have already made the entire household or hotel-hold, if you wish aware of my adventure above stairs I also felt a great inclination to go in search of the villainous cat which was the origin of all my shame, and see how a few applications of the cane, or a duck in a tub of cold water, would tend to cure her of her propensity for screaming. These, however, were merely thougnts, and I dismissed them with the resolve to limit very considerably my par- ting donation to boots," and, in fact, cut him down to an angry shilling." Well, I dispatched my breakfast in due time, and then sat for about five minutes thinking of how and where I would spend the day. I first bethought me of going to church, but, as I did not come to Merthyr expressly to go to church, I thought I might as well postpone that part of the day's programme till evening. Once, I think, is often enough to visit church on a Sunday, and the best time to do that is in the evening, for then there are the most people there, and, you know, a ceremony never looks more imposing than when there are a large number of persons at it Accordingly, I stretched myself on the sofa immediately under the front window, and rang the bell to have the table cleared of the debris of my morning's meal. The same blooming little servant-maid re-appeared, but she had now assumed quite a solid caste of countenance, and, although I first scanned her very suspiciously, she did not evince the least inclination to enjoy another "chuckle" at my expense. Perhaps she might have divined some of my thought* in the first instance, and thought the best means of saving herself was to compose her mirthfully-inclined visage. While she was removing all vestiges of the morning meal, I enquired from her several things about Merthyr, and especially where 1 might while away this day. to the best advantage, and where the greater number of townfolk generally strolled on the Sabbath. She at once suggested the Park," and really, I was quite delighted to hear that you had a Park in Merthyr. Not that I imagined you had no Park here. No, I could not for a moment think that the people of Merthyr would be without that great acquisition. It would be so absurd to imagine such a thing !—that in < Merthyr where there are such wealth and prosperity, and such business and bustle, and such a large population, and so many rich people, so many affluent ironmasters and shop- keepers, and all that sort of thing, there should not be a fine Park No, I did not think such a thing, but the reason I felt so delighted at hearing the news was because I had not thought of it myself before, and I was surprised at my stupidity in being anxious about the spending of the Sunday, when I had such a fine place to go to, and such a good opportunity of seeing the people of the town, and judging something of their manners. Of course I thought it should be a Park in the usual meaning of that word, and, from the position and importance of Merthyr, I ex- pected it to be an excellent one. However, it seems that m coming to Merthyr I was doomed to be disappointed in all my hastily formed conclusions as to the nature of the localities around, and certainly I never was more cruelly disappointed in all my life than in this instance. Who would imagine that a wretched field should be called a fork? But—I »u*t acrb anticipate! II next intimated my wish to the fair attendant to pay a visit to the church in the evening, and I asked what kind ,,e an establishment you had here in connection with the Church of England. I was told there was a good one opposite the Bank, that there was a large congregation there, that it was only a few yards from the hotel, and so I re- solved to visit it at the evening service, which, I was told, commenced at six o'clock. When my handsome informant had left the room I arranged myself in the most comfortable position possible on the sofa, and amused myself for some- time by admiring the window curtains, and watching the manoeuvres of an unfortunate fly that had got itself entangled in the meshes of a spider's web, and could not escape. The little insect seemed to know quite well that its hour was approaching," for it struggled very hard to escape its fate, but in vain. The large spider watched above, and seemed not in the least hurry to complete the ruin or its victim, but evidently "gloated "over the vain efforts of its weak opponent to evade its power. What a faithful picture of human life We toil and struggle on from year to year urged by the longing to hoarde up money, and, by that means, gain a shade of power among the weak ones of this world! But it is all vanity and vexation of spirit." The grave must finally be the receptacle of all our wealth and power, and death the anhiliation of all our hopes and strug- gles Like the little fly, we may try hard to escape the web of destruction which the spectral monster at length throws around us, but escape is impossible Die we must, and then ——————" What dreams may come, When ,e have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause." When the struggles of the little By had ended I removed my eyes from the tiny web, and gazed out into the street. Nearly opposite my room was a small inn which, in my eyes, had a very suspicious appearance of being a frequent violator of the rules made for the prevention of Sabbath-day beer-drinkers. Outside the door stood about half-a-dozen dissipated looking customers, who had, however, donned their Sunday clothes." Now, they looked cautiously up and down the silent street, then turned their faces wistfully towards the dingy public," then gave a gentle tap at the door, looked up and down the street again, always with the most apparent caution, and, with what intention I think it may be shrewedly guessed. Finding that no answer came from those inside, or that the door did not seem likely to be quickly opened to them, the worthies next threw some peb- bles up against the parlour window. They were evidently endeavouring to gain admittance into the place, but whether it was that the people inside saw me watching and were afraid I was an Excise officer, or something that way, or whether it was that they had a more substantial fear of the dreaded policeman, they did not at first seem inclined to open the door. After much knocking, and pebble throwing, and whispering, and looking about them. but all to no purpose, the thirsty souls outside at length began to wear very rue- ful looks, and were evidently disappointed at not receiving a more welcome greeting. One fellow, who wore a very flashy silk tie of divers colors round his neck, the ends of which were wafted to and fro by the fresh morning breeze like small flags about the yard arms of a schooner, at length lost all patience, and seemed to advise his companions to try" some other house. However, another of the crew— a very seedy looking fellow, with a battered profile—was opposed to the retreat, and he urged a continuance of the attack for sometime longer. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall tind, knock and the door shall be opened unto you." Now, I don't suppose this passage was never intended to apply to beer-loving souls in search of a "drop on a Sunday morning, but I certainly think the people of this house must have taken that text as their excuse on this occasion, for they at length yielded to the importunate knocking, and opened the door. A nd, such a rush as was then made! The "knockers" jostled confusedly against each other in their endeavour to get inside as quickly as possible, and such a dash did they make forward that one fellow knocked his toes against the edge of the flags, and was thrown to the gronnd with a crash, the one behind him narrowly escaping a similar mishap! Another, who had got on a new cap of sprightly blue velvet, made such a rush that the handsome headpiece was blown off by the wind, and the beautiful shine of the velvet was totally des- troyed by the sink of the gutter into which it fell. Finally, however, all got inside, and then the landlady—for 1 think it must have been her who came out as her face looked very red and fat—poked her dishevelled head a littlejout of the door; gave a glance through the street; satisfied herself that no member of the "lobster host" was adjacent, and then she loudly, and with apparent carelessness,, slammed the door and went inside, probabiy to draw the beer for her illegal customers of the Sabbath-dav. This scene amused me very much, and really I would like, for the moment, to have been a •-bobby"unfavourable as are those animals generally looked upon—that 1 might pop down upon the bousat and catch the entire company in the act of ruthlessly offending the Jaws, at the very time when they should be thinking of preparing themselves for their Sunday devotions, instead of spending their money for the purpose of taking away the very little portion of their senses that still remained to them. Such, however, is man, such the world, and such some of your public house keepers in Merthyr But now, gentle reader, [ must be permitted to make my bow here, and reserve my observations on the park and other things till next week. The night (1 sing by ni<?ht— sometimes an Owl, And now and then a 5\i<htin/ale) -is dim, And the loud shriek of sai<e Minerva s fowl Kattles around me her .1' hymn. Old portraits on old walla upon me scowl, 1 wish to Heaven ihey would not look so grim. The lIym¡ embers dwindU in the I{-ate- 1 think, too, that I have sat up too late." And, therefore, adieu for the present.






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