« PreviousContinue »
And, lastly, how a dog is taught to smoke :-
A whine was heard from the kennel of the politician, but he presently made his appearance, and stood sadly watching his master. His master took from his pocket the same little black pipe that I had seen between the dog's lips the day before. This time, however, ilerr Welter dispensed with the nonsense of filling the bowl with tobacco; he just placed the stem between the bars of the fire-rate, where he allowed it to remain for about half a minute, by which time the bowl was so hot that Mr. Welter was fain to use the corner of a towel in taking it up. "Now, sir,” said he to the dog, “come here and catch hold.” The dig, slinking down on its haunches, hesitated. * Do you hear ?" exclaimed the man passionately, and at the same time applying the scorching pipe to its nostrils. The dog, in an agony of pain and terror, snapped at it with his teeth, and began to "talk politics” in the most pitcous way.
" Drop it if you dare," said Herr Welter, balancing the loaded end of the whip over the dog's head.
• * He'll burn his tongue, won't he?” mildly remonstrated Mr. Cracknell.
""He will, if he puts it in the way,” replied the canino schoolmaster, laconically.
The argumentative powers of the poor brute failed him as the pipe gradually cooled, and Mr. Welter finally took it from his lips.'
We dare say the engravings form a very powerful source of attraction to the class of readers for whom the penny journals are designed. In the estimation of the proprietors we know them to be generally indispensable, of which we need no further proof than the fact that it is not an uncommon thing for nearly £100 to be spent upon a single number. One is astonished at the correct drawing, good taste, and fine skill, displayed in most of the cuts which embellish these periodicals, and more especially the "Welcome Guest' and Mr. Cassell's Paper.
Nor is poetry quite neglected. Professor Longfellow, Mr. Bayard Taylor, and other writers, are laid under regular contribution. The editors have the good sense and the regard for their readers not to insert much original matter of this kind, and if the poetry that reaches the table of the editor of the · Welcome Guest' is a fair example of what is usually sent, they spare the public a heavy infliction by their forbearance. The following is a gem which the editor of that publication once received:
Whate'er our position may be,
It may be truthfully said,
If we are but contented."
Spectator' giving directions for the removal of piggeries and grease spots, or the “ Tatler ' discoursing learnedly on ‘British port! Alas, what a descent from the ancient dignities of the editorial chair!
Allow us, dear reader, the privilege of presenting you, as a first sample of the contents of these interesting columns, with the following sentimental budget :
'Rosebud and Lily would be glad to know the first symptoms of love. We presume they are something of this kind-to dream of the person by night,' &c., &c.
There! We really can't go on, but in eight or nine of the journals we have read there are at least thirty answers of this description.
More mildly drawn is the following :
"You should, of course, be polite to the daughter of your employer, but it is enough to bow to each once a day!
Slightly different :
'You should have the finger marks removed from your white satin braided waistcoat by rubbing with the crumb of stale bread !'
And still more different:-
An injured editor's lament :
* Little-minded people alone find fault with journals which not only advocate, but do all in their power to assist the self-education of the people: and those of the clergy who join in the cry against cheap literature are, to say the least, subject to the charge of acting from sinister motives--perhaps because they are only half-educated themselves; or, it may be, because they would usurp a priestly authority in secular matters, which the Reformation most wisely deprived them ot.'
A flattered editor's vanity :"Our fair correspondent begs to assure us that now she has given “Reynolds's Newspaper" a trial of one month, she shall continue a “constant subscriber," and never take any other. She thinks there is no greater treat than to plunge into the review department and enjoy an intellectual revel amongst all the choice quotations from the many excellent and interesting works therein noticed. Then she likes the “ literary miscellanea,” in which there is always so great a rariety of interest that she is quite astonished how it can be sustained week after week. Finally, she has come to the conclusion that “Reynolds’s Newspaper" is the best family newspaper that is published.'
Sample of the variety of answers to the same question from various correspondents of one journal :
• As to his hand-writing, it is what is called a good commercial hand.' • As to the hand-writing, your own is the best,' &c.
Cynthia wishes to know whether her hand-writing is like that of a gentleman! It is, to some extent; but it would be less so if she were to omit flourishes.'
• Your writing is good.'
A plain receipt, not less plainly spoken :Charles wants to know how to impart a swarthy tinge to his complexion. Try a bottle of Day and Martin's blacking.'
There, good reader, you have some fair average samples of the condescension and gravity of editorial wisdom in this nineteenth century.
On a general review of the publications we have selected for notice, we gladly confess to a feeling of encouragement with regard to the character of this great portion of popular literature. The latter are, as a rule, much better than the earlier, and the earlier have been improved by the improved tone of the latter. The working classes of this country have now, notwithstanding all the deficiencies of their periodicals, a better and a superior literature to that enjoyed by the highest classes a little more than half a century ago. But it is still a glaring and disgraceful want in the whole of this vast field of letters, that so far as any direct or indirect recognition of the Christian religion is concerned, they could all have been printed two thousand years ago. They have neither religion of sentiment nor religion of thought, nor is the spirit of religion breathed through any one of them. The only relations they recognise are relations to princes and robbers ; to‘lovers' and friends; or to soap, hair-wash, and blacking. Such a thing as a Christian tone of writing is unknown to them.
The cause for this defect we need not go far to seek. The proprietors must believe that religious writing of any kind would not pay and in one sense we believe them to be right. Religious essays would be avoided by all the readers of these publications, but would they avoid reading a popular life of some of the early martyrs, or a welladapted life of Buxton, Wilberforce, or Brainerd? Would they shun Bunyan and his ‘Pilgrim's Progress ? Would they sneer at Livingstone ? If they read with avidity the ‘Pirate,' would they not read, if they could get it to read, Never Too Late to Mend,' or 'John Halifax,' or My Novel ?' We are no believers in the inferior tastes of the working classes. Their rough vices are usually not one-hundredth part as vicious as the politer vices of the upper circle.' We believe that they have good sense enough to prefer good literature to bad, and virtue enough to admire good great men before bad great
But there is nothing to create the taste for such reading. Neither the Leisure Hour' nor the ‘Sunday at Home' does it; they circulate mainly amongst the middle classes, and they are branded with the mark of the Religious Tract Society. This work has to be done by an enterprising Christian tradesman, who would, we believe, find a better periodical to be a good investment, and to be a fine field of Christian usefulness. Until some one moves in such an enterprise, the comparatively empty trash of the "Guide,' and the Weekly Novelist, must be the garbage on which some millions of readers will be compelled to feed.
A general suggestion which we would make is, that it would be well for Christian preachers and pastors to look a little at this literature.
It is a common habit to turn away from it in disdainful and supercilious contempt; but power is never contemptible, and any one of these journals has far more power with the masses than any twenty preachers that could be named. Perhaps it would be easier to reach the hearts of the more uncultivated if we studied a little more closely their favourite literature, as, for the reason that it is their literature, it deserves to be studied. If we had procured some knowledge of it in the past we might earlier have thought that it would be quite possible to improve it.
We do not, however, want strictly religious journals for the working classes. They would not read them. We want publications such as those before us, but imbued with a religious spirit, or such as Arnold described to his friend Hare when he wrote, “I want to get up a real Poor Man's Magazine, which should not bolster up abuses and veil iniquities, nor prove to the poor as to children, but should address them in the style of Cobbett, plainly, boldly, and in sincerity, speaking the very whole truth in love.'
A Christian Common-Place Book.
There are few, if any, whose course of action in any particular matter has produced the effect they had in view, or has yielded all the fruit they expected to gather from it. There are few, if any, whose prosperity, whose comfort, whose safety, has grown out of their own carefully planned and deliberated measures; few, if any, who do not know that their advantages have proceeded from circumstances which they never had in view, which formed no part of their own plans, and over which their own course of action had no conceiv. able influence. Many of us may have been enabled to do something wiser, greater, better, than ever entered our minds — but this has not only often been without the consent of our own judgment, but upon strong compulsion and contrary to the tendencies of our will.
What shall we say to these things? There is nothing better than that a man should live in the feeling that it is not to be his purpose, but the purpose of God, that must stand sure. have plans and designs — indecd the business of life cannot well go on without them; but he must know that God
is not bound by his plans, and is under no obligation to bestow his prospering blessing upon them. God has a plan of his own for every one of us. If our plans agree with his, well — he may bless them; but if not, he will either make them promote the purpose which he intends, and which we did not intend, or will try our faith by blasting our beloved plans altogether — that he may bless us in his own way, and lead us to safety, to usefulness, to blessed. ness, by paths that we know not of, and by ways that never did enter or could enter our minds. Let us nos therefore, be discouraged if our plans do not answer to our minds—if every. thing turns wrong upon our hands. We know that he is not unkind; we know that he does not forget us; and we have reason to hope that he only brings our own small plans and devices to nought because he has something of his own-something larger, something far better-in store for us. How many are they to whom God has not spoken comfortably until he lured them into the wilderness, where the soul, wi drawn from amid the ruins of its broken plans and frustrated hopes, is alone
with him, sees him alone, leans on him slow to claim the rights thus given to only.
us, and which we ought to regard as inOh, for the blessedness of that man cstimable privileges. Yet how few are who has been enabled to realize the they, known to any of us, who do truly most entire conviction-and that not realize the many precious promises and as a theory, but as a practical truth- gracious invitations to do that which that God doeth all things well, and can alone make this life tolerable. How that his work is perfect! The grinding few are they who realize experimentally and low cares of this life have no place the declaration of the prophet: 'O Lord, with him. He knows that all his I know that the way of man is not in affairs are guided by One who cannot himself; it is not in man that walkeih err--that he is watched over for good to direct his steps.' Or this: 'Except by One who is never weary. Human the Lord build the house, they labour friends may weary of him, and shake in vain that build it ; except the Lord him off, if he becomes toublesome by keep the city, the watchman waketh his wants; but he heeds it little--his but in vain. It is in vain for you to God invites, solicits, is gratified by the rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the entireness of his dependence, and by bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his tlic full and undivided burden of his beloved slecp.'-- Dr. Kitto. cares. Strange is it that we are so
Record of Christian Itlissions.
What is the present state of the missionary cause in India, and what is to be its future? are the two questions which those who take the most active interest in missionary work are now asking. We are enabled, from the correspondence addressed to two or three of the larger missionary societies, to give some information in answer to the first, and, from a letter to the London Missionary Society by one of its agents, to cast a little borrowed light over the future plans for labour. God be thanked that, notwithstanding the terrible darkness that has hung over that land for the last two years, His cause has not suffered one iota! Cheerful news now comes in from all quarters, and the missionaries are bracing themselves for labour with unabated zeal and unabated confidence.
There is a singular omen of future success in the very first news that we quote. The mutiny, as we all know, broke out at Meerut, and at Meerut the first manifestation of the power of the gospel has taken place. The circumstances are narrated in the ‘Panjaubee' newspaper as follows :
*During one of the raids frequently rendered necessary in the neighbourhood of that station, a vernacular Bible was left in the village we allude to, whether by design or accident we do not know. It fell into the hands of a man who could read, and he began to study its contents. One of his neighbours noticed his attention, and bade him throw the book away, as the Feringhi Raj was at an end, and he need not trouble himself about books. The reader replied that he found it written in the book that “heaven and earth shall pass away, but his (my) word shall not pass away,” and persisted in his researches.
• On the district settling down into a more peaceable condition, our friend had not only resolved on himself knowing some of the doctrines taught by his book,