« AnteriorContinuar »
CURE FOR RHEUMATISM.
Shepherd. What's the maitter-my dear sir—what's the maitter ? North. Racking rheumatism.
Shepherd. It's a cruel complaint. I had it great pairt o' the wun. ter-first in my head—then in my
North. Oh! oh! oh! oh! oh! oh!
Shepherd. I'll gie ye a simple and infallible receipt for’t, sir, if you hae courage to ack on't. The morn's mornin' take a dose o' drogs:then get Mr. Nibbs—Mr. Mapplestone's successor—to cup you atween the shouthers—he's maist expert wi' his box o’lancets; then tak the shoor: bath-no, that's an anachronism—tak it the first thing in the mornin' afore the drogs ;—then get an auld woman-be sure she's an auld ane, sir-no Mrs. Gentle—to nip your arms, and legs, and back, wi' her finger and her thumb—to nip you severely, sir, and you mauna mind the sairness—for at least twa hours; then get in twa cawdies* and gar them beat a' the same pairts wi' swutches as if they were dustin' carpets-say for twenty minutes ; then get the above auld woman again to rub and scrub your naked body, frae head to heel, wi' ane o' the hard brushes that John polishes the tables wi’-say for half an hour; then a change o instrument or weapon--for hard brush coarse towel-and ten minutes o’ dichtin’; then—the receipt's drawin' to a close-gar the gardener flog you a' ower, and smartly, wi' a succession o' fresh bunches o'nettles, that'll burn your skin as red's red curransand mak ye dance, aiblins, up and doon the floor witbouten mindin' the want o' music ;—then cover your limbs and trunk wi' a peculiar pastey plaister that you can get at Duncan and Ogilvie's,--the princes o’ apothecaries,—then on wi' your leathern and your flannel waistcoats, and your nicht-shirt, and in atween twa feather beds in a room wi’ a roosin' fire; if the barometer out o' doors in the shade is at auchty sae muckle the better; and if your rheumatism stauns that, there's nae houp for you on this side o' the grave, and you maun e’en lay your account wi' bein' for life a lameter.
North. To-morrow, James, I will assuredly try your receipt. Will you step down to the Lodge, and help to administer the medicine ?
Shepherd. Wi' a' my heart. But I'm wearyin' to hear Mr. De Quinshy taukin. Tak up some coffee, my dear sir. I wish you may Da burst yoursel' wi' swallowin' sic coontless cups o' coffee. But what's this I was gaun to ask yemou aye-what's your idea o' education ?
Opium-Eater. The over-anxiety of improvement, Mr. Hogg, introduces into education much perilous and injurious innovation. An anxiety for particular objects of minute regard often urges on the understanding of those who do not understand properly the single and great ends which alone make education important; and they are not
• Cawdies,-caddies ; Edinburgh messengers, who are described in one of the notes to “The Tont" in Vol. 1.-M. | Lameter,-a lame man or woman.-M.
aware that the prosecution of those pursuits injures and weakens the mind itself, diverting its powers from their proper aim, and disturbing their silent and spontaneous growth.
Shepherd. I like that weel-silent and spontawneous growth--like a bit blade o' grass, or a bit flower, or a bit buddie po the size o' my nail unfaulding itsel' to the dew and sunshine into a leat as vraid's my haun—or a bit burdie, the beginnin' o' ae week a blin' ba' o' puddock bair, at the beginning o' the neist a mottled and spangled urchin hotchin restlessly in the nest, and ere three weeks are ower, gliptin' wi' short, uncertain, up-and-down flichts in and out amang the pear-blos. soms o' a glorious orchard—sic an orchard, for example, as in spring makes the bonny town o' Jeddart a pictur o' paradise in its prime. Silent and spontawnevus growth—a wise expression !
Opium Eater. The primary objects of education are few and great; nobleness of character, honourable and generous affections, a pure and high morality, a free, bold, and strong, yet a temperate and wellgoverned intellectual spirit.
Shepherd. Hoo many miss these great ends a'thegither! Perhaps frae bein' a' huddled thegither under a general system.
Opium-Eater. Just so, Mr. Hogg. The means which nature has provided for attaining the great ends of education are indefinitely various. To each she has assigned individual character. According to that character must be his virtue, his happiness, his knowledge. The feelings and affections, which are different to different minds; desires which reign powerfully in one heart and are unknown to another; faculties of intelligence infinitely diversified, springing up into glad activity, and by their unseen native impulses, -all these make to each, in his own mind, a various allotment of love, joy, and power,-a moral and intellectual being, individual and his own. In the work of education, then, we look on one who has not only a common nature which he shares with us, but a separate nature which divides him from us. Though we may understand an infancy—and that is not easy which reflects to us the miniature of our own mind, it is difficult indeed to understand that of any mind which is unlike our own, which in intellect, in imagination, and love, has faculties and affections with which our own mind does not acquaint us. This is a circumstance which peculiarly exposes us to the danger of thwarting the providence and bounty of nature, and of overruling, in our rude, unskilful ignorance, the processes she is carrying on in her wisdom for the happiness, the virtue, and the power of the human soul she is rearing up for life."
Shepherd. Oh! but you're wise, sir, Mr. De Quinshy-oh! but you're unco wise !
Opium-Eater. Look at a child on its mother's breast.
TO-DAY IN TO-MORROW.
of sense-or of a sentient being living in sense are the first matter of understanding to a high intellectual nature.
Shepherd. Mr. Tickler, nae yawning-hearken till Mr. De Quinshy.
Opium-Eater. By these touches of pleasure and pain it is wakened from the sleep of its birth. By sounds that merely lull in it the sense of pain, or reach it with emotions of delight, it is called to listen in that ear which will one day divide with nicest apprehension all the words of human discourse, and receive in the impulses of articulated sound the communicated thoughts of intellectual natures resembling itself.
Shepherd. The bit prattler!
Opium-Eater. That eye which watches the approach or departure of some living object yet unknown, which traverses its little sphere of vision to look for some living toy, is exercising that vision which shall one day behold all beauty and read wisdom in the stars of heaven. And that hand, with its feeble and erring aim now so impotent and helpless, shall perhaps one day shape the wonderful fabrics of human intelligence—shall build the ship, or guide the pencil-or write down wisdom-or draw sounds like the harmonies of angels from the instruments its own skill has framed. And what are the words to which those lisped out murinurings shall change? Shall senates bang listening to the sound ? Shall througed and breathless men receive from them the sound of eternal life? Shall they utter song to which unknown ages shall listen with wonder and reverence ? Or shall they orily, in the humble privacy of quiet life, breathe delight with instruction to those who love their familiar sound—or the adoration of a spirit prostrate before its Creator in prayer ?
Shepherd. That's real eloquence, sir. Fu' o' feelin'--and true to nature, as the lang lines o' glimmerin' licht-streamin' frae the moon shinin' through amang and outowre the taps o' the leafy trees.
Opium-Eater. Let us hear with scorn, 0 gifted Shepherd ! of the mind of such a creature being a blank, a Tabula Rasa, a sheet of white paper.
Tickler. Like Courtenay's.*
Opium-Eater. On which are to be written by sense, characters which sense-born understanding is to décipher. If we must have an image, let it be rather that of a seed which contains a germ, ere long to be unfolded to the light, in the shape of some glorious tree, hung with leaves, blossoms, and fruit; and let it be “Immortal Amarantii, the tree that grows fast by the throne of God.”
Shepherd. Beautifu'--philosophical and religious !
• The Right Honorable Thomas Peregrine Courtenay (author of several able works) had declared, on accepting the office of Vice President of the Board of Trade, that his “mind was like a blank sheet of paper," --so utterly ignorant was he of the subject on which he was paid tu ac - M.
to Him who framed this spirit and this its natural life ; and through the intervention of sense, and from the face of a material world, discovered to that intelligent and adoring Spirit, the evidences of his own being, and the glory of his own infinite perfections !
Shepherd. Baith sound asleep! That's shamefu.
“That strain I heard was of a higher mood.”
Tickler. Let us two leave Mr. De Quincy and Mr. Hogg for a time to their metaphysics, and have a game at chess.
(North and TICKLER retire to the chess-board niche.) Shepherd. Pronounce in ae monosyllable—the power o' education. Praise ?
Opium-Eater. Love! Look on the orphan, for whom no one cares for whom no face ever brightens, no voice grows musical; who performs in slavish drudgery her solitary and thankless labours, and feels that, from morning to night, the scowl of tyranny is upon her-and see how nature pines and shivers, and gets stunted in the absence of the genial light of humanity.
Shepherd. Like a bit unlucky lily, chance planted amang the cauld clay on a bleak knowe to the north, where the morning sun never, and the evening sun seldom shines, and bleakness is the general character o' the ungenial day. It struggles at a smile-does the bit bonnie stranger white lily—but you see it's far frae happy, and that it 'll be sune dead. The bee passes it by, for it's quite scentless; and though some draps o' dew do visit it-for the heavens are still gracious to the dying outcast-..yet they canna freshen up its droopin' head, so weak at last that the stalk could hardly bear up a butterfly.
Opium-Eater. Even the buoyant—the elastic—the airy—the volatile spirit of childhood cannot sustain itself against the weight of self-degra: dation thus bearing it down with the consciousness of contumely and contempt. The heart seems to feel itself worthy of the scorn it so perpetually endures; and cruel humiliation destroys its virtue, by robbing it of its self-esteem.
Shepherd. God's truth.
Opium-Eater. Look on that picture-and on this. See the child of the poorest parents, who love it, perhaps the better for their poverty
Shepherd. A thousan'—a million times the better—as Wordsworth nobly says
“A virtuous household, though exceeding poor.”
Opium-Eater. With whom it has been early made a partaker in pleasure and in praise--and felt its common humanity, as it danced before its father's steps when he walked to his morning labour--or as it knelt beside him at morning and evening prayer; and what a contrast will there be, not in the happiness merely, but in the whole nature of these two beings!
Shepherd. A rose-tree full in bearing, balming and brightening the wilderness-a dead and withered wall-flower on a sunless cairn !
Opium-Eater. Change their lot, and you will soon change their nature. It will, indeed, be difficult to reduce the glad, and rejoicing, and self-exulting child to the level of her who was so miserably bowed down in something worse than despair; but it will be easy—a week's kindness will do it—to rekindle life, and joy, and self-satisfaction, in the heart of the orphan-slave of the workhouse—to lift her, by love, and sympathy, and praise, up to the glad consciousness of her moral
Shepherd. Aye-like a star in heaven set free frae the cruel clouds.
Opium-Eater. So essential is self-estimation, even to the bappiness, the innocence, and the virtue of childhood; and so dependent are they on the sympathy of those to whom nature constrains it to look, and in whom it will forgive and forget many frowning days for one chance smiling hour of transient benignity!
Shepherd. I defy the universe to explain the clearness and the cawmness, and the comprehensiveness, to sae nothing o' the truth and tenderness o' your sentiments, sir, in spite o' metapheesics, opium, and lyin' in bed till sax o'clock o' the afternoon every mornin'. You're a truly unaccountable cretur.
Opium-Eater. I have read little metaphysics for many years—and I have reduced my daily dose of laudanum to five hundred drops.* My chief, almost my sole study, is of the laws of mind, as I behold them in cperation in myself, and in the species.
Shepherd. And think ye, sir, that sic a study-pity me, but it's something fearsome—is usefu' to men o' creative genius, to poets, and the like, sic as me and
Opium-Eater. The knowledge acquired by such study alone can furnish means to execute the enterprises of nobler art and spiritual genius.
Shepherd. I houp, sir, you're mistaen there—for I never, in a' my life, set mysel doon seriously to human nature, and to commit ony on't to memory, as I hae often tried, always in vain, to do the multiplication tableOpium-Eater.
“Impulses of deeper mood
* Mr. De Quincy used to call for “a tumbler of laudanum punch, hot and strong."-M.