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THE FIRST FIFTY VOLUMES
In Octavo, pp. 588. Price 158.
SHEPPERTON CHURCH was a very which a collector of small rents, difdifferent - looking building five-and- ferentiated by the force of circumtwenty years ago. To be sure, its stances into an organist, will accomsubstantial stone tower looks at you pany the alacrity of your departure through its intelligent eye, the clock, after the blessing, by a sacred minuet with the friendly expression of for- or an easy “ Gloria." mer days; but in everything else Immense improvement! says the what changes ! Now, there is a wide well-regulated mind, which uninterspan of slated roof flanking the old mittingly rejoices in the New Police, steeple; the windows are tall and the Tithe Commutation Act, the symmetrical; the outer doors are penny-post, and all guarantees of resplendent with oak-graining, the human advancement, and has no inner doors reverentially noiseless moments when conservative-reformwith a garment of red baize, and ing intellect takes a nap, while imathe walls, you are convinced, no gination does a little Toryism by the
ment on they are smooth and in- brown, crumbling, picturesque ineffinutrient as the summit of the Rev. ciency is everywhere giving place to Amos Barton's head, after ten years spick-and-span new - painted, newof baldness and supererogatory soap. varnished efficiency, which will yield Pass through the baize doors and endless diagrams, plans, elevations, you will see the nave filled with well- and sections, but alas! no picture. shaped benches, understood to be Mine, I fear, is not a well-regulated free seats; while in certain eligible mind : it has an occasional tendercorners, less directly under the fire of ness for old abuses; it lingers with a the clergyman's eye, there are pews certain fondness over the days of reserved for the Shepperton genti- nasal clerks and topbooted parsons, lity. Ample galleries are support- and has a sigh for the departed ed on iron pillars, and in one of shades of vulgar errors. So it is not them stands the crowning glory, the surprising that I recall min fond very clasp or aigrette of Shepperton sap e rton church-adornment-namely, an or- ir gan, not very much out of repair, on o
VOL. LXXXI.--NO. Ccccxcv.
heterogeneous windows patched with company with a bassoon, two key. desultory bits of painted glass, and bugles, a carpenter understood to its little flight of steps with their have an amazing power of singing wooden rail running up the outer "counter," and two lesser musical wall, and leading to the school- stars, he formed the complement of children's gallery.
a choir regarded in Shepperton as Then inside, what dear old quaint- one of distinguished attraction, ocnesses ! which I began to look at casionally known to draw hearers with delight even when I was so from the next parish. The innovacrude a member of the congregation, tion of hymn-books was as yet unthat my nurse found it necessary to dreamed of; even the New Version provide for the reinforcement of my was regarded with a sort of melandevotional patience by smuggling choly tolerance, as part of the combread-and-butter into the sacred edi- mon degeneracy in a time when fice. There was the chancel, guarded prices had dwindled, and a cotton by two little cherubims looking un- gown was no longer stout enough to comfortably squeezed between arch last a lifetime ; for the lyrical taste and wall, and adorned with the es- of the best heads in Shepperton had cutcheons of the Oldinport family, been formed on Sternhold and Hopwhich showed me inexhaustible pos- kins. But the greatest triumphs of sibilities of meaning in their blood- the Shepperton choir were reserved red hands, their death's-heads and for the Sundays when the slate ancross-bones, their leopards' paws, nounced an ANTHEM, with a digniand Maltese crosses. There were fied abstinence from particularisainscriptions on the panels of the tion, both words and music lying far singing-gallery, telling of benefac- beyond the reach of the most ambitions to the poor of Shepperton, with tious amateur in the congregation :an involuted elegance of capitals an anthem in which the key-bugles and final flourishes, which my alpha- always ran away at a great pace, betic erudition traced with ever-new while the bassoon every now and delight. No benches in those days; then boomed a flying shot after them. but huge roomy pews, round which As for the clergyman, Mr Gilfil, devout church-goers sat during “les- an excellent old gentleman, who Bons,” trying to look anywhere else smoked very long pipes and preached than into each other's eyes. No low very short sermons, I must not partitions allowing you, with a speak of him, or I might be tempted dreary absence of contrast and mys- to tell the story of his life, which tery, to see everything at all mo- had its little romance, as most lives ments; but tall dark panels, under have between the ages of teetotum whose shadow I sank with a sense and tobacco. And at present I am of retirement through the Litany, only concerned with quite another sort of to feel with more intensity my burst clergyman-the Rev. Amos Barton, into the conspicuousness of public who did not come to Shepperton unlifo when I was made to stand up til long after Mr Gilfil had departed on the seat during the psalms or the this life-until after an interval in singing
which Evangelicalism and the CathoAnd the singing was no mechani- lic Question had begun to agitate the cal aflair of official routine ; it had a rustic mind with controversial dedrama. As the moment of psalmody bates. A Popish blacksmith had approached, by some process to me produced a strong Protestant reacas mysterious and untraceable as the tion by declaring that, as soon as the opening of the flowers or the break- Emancipation Bill was passed, he ing-out of the stars, a slate appeared should do a great stroke of b in front of the gallery, advertising in in gridirons; and the dis bold characters the psalm about to of the Shepperton paris be sung, lest the sonorous announce- nerally to dim the uniq ment of the clerk should still leave St Lawrence, rendered
head. Then followed the migration of the clerk to the gallery, where, in
bohea. You have a vague idea of a Janet Gibbs, who, she knows, exmilch cow as probably a white-plaster pects a large legacy, and whom she animal standing in a butterman's is determined to disappoint. Her window, and you know nothing of money shall all go in a lump to a disthe sweet history of genuine cream, tant relation of her husband's, and such as Miss Gibbs': how it was this Janet shall be saved the trouble of morning in the udders of the large pretending to cry, by finding that she sleek beasts, as they stood lowing a is left with a miserable pittance. patient entreaty under the milking- Mrs Patten has more respect for shed ; how it fell with a pleasant her neighbour Mr Hackit than for rhythm into Betty's pail, sending a most people. Mr Hackit is a shrewd delicious incense into the cool air; substantial man, whose advice about how it was carried into that templé crops is always worth listening to, of moist cleanliness, the dairy, where and who is too well off to want to it quietly separated itself from the borrow inoney. meaner elements of milk, and lay in And now that we are snug and mellowed whiteness, ready for the warm with this little tea-party, while skimming-dish which transferred it it is freezing with February bitterto Miss Gibbs' glass cream-jug. If I ness outside, we will listen to what am right in my conjecture, you are they are talking about. unacquainted with the highest pos- "So," said Mr Pillgrim, with his sibilities of tea; and Mr Pillgrim, mouth only half empty of muffin, who is holding that cup in his hand, "you had a row in Shepperton has an idea beyond you.
church last Sunday. I was at Jem Mrs Hackit declines cream ; she Hood's, the bassoon-man's, this mornhas so long abstained from it with an ing, attending his wife, and he swears eye to the weekly butter-money, that he'll be revenged on the parson-a abstinence, wedded to habit, has be- confounded, methodistical, meddlegotten aversion. She is a thin woman some chap, who must be putting his with a chronic liver-complaint, which finger in every pie. What was it all would have secured her Mr Pillgrim's about ?" entire regard and unreserved good “0, a passillo' nonsense,” said word, even if he had not been in awe Mr Hackit, sticking one thumb beof her tongue, which was as sharp as tween the buttons of his capacious his own lancet. She has brought waistcoat, and retaining a pinch of her knitting-no frivolous fancy knit- snuff with the other-for he was but ting, but a substantial woollen stock, moderately given to “ the cups that ing; the click-click of her knitting- cheer but not inebriate," and had needles is the running accompani- already finished his tea; "they bement to all her conversation, and in gan to sing the wedding psalm for a her utmost enjoyment of spoiling a new - married couple, as pretty a friend's self-satisfaction, she was psalm an' as pretty a tune as any's in never known to spoil a stocking the prayer-book. It's been sung for
Mrs Patten does not admire this every new-married couple since I was excessive click - clicking activity. a boy. And what can be better ?" Quiescence in an easy-chair, under Here Mr Hackit stretched out his the sense of compound interest per left arm, threw back his head, and petually accumulating, has long broke into melodyseemed an ample function to her, and
" she does her malevolence gently.
what a happy thing it is,
And joyful for to see, She is a pretty little old woman of
Brethren to dwell together in eighty, with a close cap and tiny flat
Friendship and unity.' white curls round her face, as natty and unsoiled and invariable as the But Mr Barton is all for th' hymns, waxen image of a little old lady under and a sort o' music as I can't join in a glass-case; once a lady's-maid, and at all.” married for her beauty. She used to “And so," said Mr Pillgrim, recall. adore her husband, and now she ing Mr Hackit from lyrical reminisadores her money, cherishing a quiet cences to narrative," he called out blood-relation's hatred for her niece, Silence! did he ? when he got into th