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found that it was late : I therefore breakfasted in haste, and struggling hard against my feelings, which seemed to be more like those of a little child* than a man, I hastened to the appointed place. It was in the large apartment appropriated for the use of the doctor, whose office it was to read the Master's letters to the assembled household ; a very convenient room for the purpose in agitation. At one end of it was a sort of platform or stage; and at the other were convenient seats, ranged in a sort of semicircle; the seats nearest the platform being appropriated for the superior members of the household; and those more remote for the inferior. Madame Le Monde and her daughters were in the first row, all handsomely dressed, and looking very graciously; immediately behind them sat the females next in degree, among whom I distinguished the meek and modest Mistress Grace, with some others, and so on according to the different ranks; for I saw in the ranges behind many of the very inferior servants and tenants, with others from the village. Now the persons on the platform were these :-first, Mr. Fitz-Adam in the chair, which, by-the-by, he filled well, being, as I before said, a comely personage at a distance, though not so well on very near inspection, and he comported himself with great dignity, his features being set to a becoming gravity, only that I thought there was something of a knowing twinkle now and then in that eye which was turned towards the company, and more especially when directed towards Madame le Monde and her daughters. Besides Mr. Fitz-Adam, there were on the platform the doctor, Father Peter, the librarian, and two or three more of the elders of the household, whose names it needeth not to repeat, though I should not omit to mention one in particular who attracted much of my attention, being a plain elderly man, in a sad coloured suit, whom I understood to be a respectable tenant on the estate ; the doctor addressed him during the meeting by the name of Master Simon. The mass, however, of those on the platform, was made up of the young men, for the most part nephews and cousins of Mr. Fitz-Adam.
*“ Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." Mark
So when we were all seated, the doctor opened the business of the meeting in a long and eloquent harangue, the substance of which was as follows.
First he spoke of the house and estate being the property of a Master, such as there is none other; and the good man enlarged on his Lord's merits till his eyes ran over with water, and I perceived that many were touched by his ardent and heartfelt expressions of love. And next he went on to give a short outline of the history of the estate ; how the people had fallen away from their first path, and sold themselves to another; and how they had been redeemed from this bondage-for which part of the speech I refer my reader to a conversation which took place between me and my uncle on my first arrival at this place.
He then proceeded to speak of the letters which the master had left behind him for the comfort and instruction of his servants, and showed how far the people had wandered from the right way, by neglecting the study of these letters; and now coming closer to the point for which this meeting had been called, he explained his motive for calling this assembly, viz. that every person there present might be induced to afford his assistance, either by money or personal labour, for the multiplication and dispersion of the Master's letters, in order, he said, that there might not be a little child on the estate who should be without a copy.
It appeared that this speech gave general satisfaction, for even Madame le Monde smiled, and remarked that the excellent doctor had a charming flow of eloquence, and Mistress Grace said softly, that this thing ought to have been done years ago, and that she hoped now that it would be effected without loss of time.
So the doctor stepped back, and a nephew of Mr. Fitz-Adam came forward, a smart-looking young man, and one who much favoured his uncle in the expression of his conntenance and general carriage. What he said was not however greatly to the purpose, his speech running much in a complimentary strain. First he spoke of the times as being so far superior to those which were past, inasmuch as the interests of the poorest occupied the thoughts of the highest, in a degree never known before. It was a pleasure to him, he said, beyond the power of expression (and he laid his hand upon his heart as he spoke), to hear the cause of the children of
poverty thus pleaded by wisdom and piety (and he bowed to the doctor), and to see beauty (and he looked at the young ladies), and elegance (and his eye fell on Madame le Monde), and erudition (and he motioned to the librarian), and above all, dignity and consideration in society (and his eye rested a minute on the chairman), all bound together, all united, all associated in one work, of love, of charity, of philanthropy; and at every separate sentence which he uttered, he raised his tone, he lifted his hand, he stamped his foot, and he went on a long time in this style, and was, I saw, much admired by many present, who evidenced their admiration by loud clappings at the close of the speech; but being myself little accustomed to hear declamations of this kind, I must own that I felt it rather a relief when his oration was concluded; however, I was afraid of expressing my opinion, lest I should betray my ignorance of what is really excellent in the art of public speaking.
The next person who came forward was the gentleman in the sad coloured suit, as plain a sort of person as I ever saw, and one of a somewhat uncouth manner. I saw at once that he was not to the taste of the young ladies, for one turned to another and said, “ Pshaw, and the second whispered to the third, and then all three began to converse with each other in an under tone, as if they were determined to let every one see that Master Simon might speak as long as he chose, though they were not going to listen; but this gentleman's speech was much to the purpose, and exhibited a mind accustomed to business, and prompt in execution. He opened his speech by acknowledging his decided and warm approbation of the measure proposed, regretting that it had not been thought of before, and felicitating the doctor, whom he called his friend, in having been permitted to be the first to propose a measure which, he trusted, would be pleasing in the sight of the Master; and, having finished this part of his oration in a few plain words, not one of which could be spared, he proceeded to what he called business, and asked what was proposed as it respected the original manuscripts from which the letters were to be copied, for it seems that the language in which these letters had been first written, had become obsolete.
The doctor replied, that he proposed to form a committee to collate the oldest manuscripts, one of which it
seems was in the hands of my uncle, another in that of Father Peter, and several more in different places.
The question then followed, would the secretary join the association ? and it was agreed that he should be applied to when he returned; but the doctor being asked why he had not applied to him before he called the meeting, he seemed much embarrassed, and at length replied,--that he would rather prefer that his friend the secretary would speak for himself, than repeat any thing that might have passed in private conversation with him. I observed an interchange of looks at that moment between the chairman and the librarian; nevertheless, the thing passed off, and the next person who came forward was the librarian, and I could not help observing, that Mr. Fitz-Adam, who had hitherto sat in a sort of listless attitude, with his legs stretched out, so as to be seen by all the company (for he prides himself on the comeliness of his legs,* and is thought to do so not without reason), started up in his seat and sat bolt upright, and was all attention. There were some others also in the room who seemed much excited, and I heard whisperings running along the seats occupied by the inferior servants, for the librarian it seems is a great favourite with this class. So as I said, he got up, and stood forward on the platform, and I only wish that I could make my reader see him as he stood there, and just as he is painted on my mind's eye.' The librarian is a little man, long bodied, but uncommonly short from the waist downwards, his face and the upper part of his body being particularly long in proportion to the rest of him, and the forepart of the head, to wit, that portion in which the brains are found, being unusually low, which, as I have heard those who are curious in such matters say, is no token of a strong understanding; but . I myself do not presume to be a judge of these things. His features are large and ill formed, and the lines of his face uncommonly strong; yet with all this he is one whom some call interesting, for his eye is as sharp and piercing as that of a hawk, and he has a manner which bears down all before it, so much so, that in all the house there is only my uncle who can withstand him when he is set on any thing. But I should not forget one of his especial qualifications, which is this, that he cannot be
*"He delighteth not in the strength of the horse ; he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.” Psalm cxlvii. 10.
made to blush; and this total absence of the perception of shame gives him much readiness as a public speaker, for there are, it is well known, but two sorts of men who are naturally fitted by the qualifications of their minds (I do not allude to the qualifications of a fine voice, or of a commanding presence, which some have by nature) to excel as public orators,—the man who, being entirely pleased with himself, is not liable to have his self-satisfaction disconcerted—and the man who thinks little of himself, and can plead the cause he has in hand, with little or no reference to what the world may think of him as an individual.
But to return to him from whom I started. As soon as the doctor had drawn back, he stepped forward, as I before said, and standing near the edge of the platform, he took up an eye-glass which hung suspended from his neck, and eyed the company all round, rising on his toes for the convenience of seeing some of them the better; a motion which set the young ladies to smile, for he is a particular favourite with them, and which mightily excited the disdain of some others who sat behind them. So after having gazed his fill, for I dare say he stood there more than a minute, a long while I should think to be in such a situation, he dropped his glass, and commenced his oration as follows, just as he would have done had he been talking to a particular friend on his own hearth:-"My friends, and fellow-members of this household, and you my worthy brethren on the platform, must be prepared to pardon me if I utter some truths which may not be altogether agreeable to the ears of those who are in the habit of entertaining and cherishing ancient prejudices. I wish, in the first place, that you, my brethren, should thoroughly understand that I am willing and ready-nay, more than ready, anxious, most anxious, most earnestly anxious to unite in any measure which may conduce to the general good of the family, and not of the higher denomination of members only, much as I respect them (and he bowed to the chairman), but of the inferior brethren also; or rather,” he added, “ of those whom ancient prejudice has hitherto branded as inferior," -and his eye traversed the ranges of the most remote benches, and as if taking fire from the view of his friends and partisans there packed, he began to pour forth such a tirade of long unconnected phrases and high-sounding words, as I should despair of giving