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and it begins thus : “A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth
And he divided unto them his living." Our readers will find this Eastern story in Luke xv. 11 to 32. Heaven alone can tell us how many trembling souls have learned from this story to rely upon the tender mercy of God, our heavenly Father. Of course I did not expect to find any such noble lesson as this in modern literature; but again I say I did hope to find in this holiday number some food for thought, and some indications of the way in which men and women may walk uprightly without the teacher parading in gown and bands in a gothic building.
These are some of the things I found. The picture of “ The Greek Play” shows a part of the stone seats of the auditorium of a theatre. On the front seat is the figure of a female, a wreath of olive leaves encircles her head, and in ber hand is an immense peacock feather fan, painted almost black; her figure is large, awkward, gaunt and bony, and her limbs are like those of a gladiator; she is clad in a white garment, which, to English eyes, looks like a night-shirt with the sleeves cut off ; but is supposed to represent a Grecian garment of ceremony. Other figures of women and men are behind, mostly clad in the same fashion, and their faces and figures do not certainly give us any idea of the celebrated beauty of the Greeks.
The strange title of the number, “ That Beautiful Wretch,” is said to have been given to the heroine by a kind old relation, a famous Admiral in the British Navy ; “ and that partly because she was a pretty and winning child, and partly because she was in the habit of saying surprisingly irreverent things." A more unlikely title to be given to a favourite little relative by a kindly and gentlemanly sailor it is almost impossible to conceive. The title-page shows us the • Beautiful Wretch ” depicted as a tall girl, with great length of limb, in a tight dress, as narrow as a corn-sack, right down to her heels. How in this dress she could get through the mixture of high grasses, ferns, gorse and brambles shown in the picture, is a puzzle for any observer. But during this stroll the Wretch makes the acquaintance of a wandering girl, called Singing Sall, a character introduced apparently without any object, except to make the reader ask, whoever met with, or heard of such a girl ?
“ The Wretch " is really named Ann Beresford, and is the daughter of the late Sir Beresford, K.C.B., of the Indian service. Lady Beresford survives, and has, besides Ann, or Nan, four other daughters and a son, the youngest daughter being fifteen years old, and the eldest being married and living in India. Lady Beresford is thus described : “An elderly, sallow-faced, weak-looking woman. She had a nervous system that she worshipped as a sort of fetish ; and in turn the obliging divinity relieved her from many of the cares and troubles of this wearyful world. For how could she submit to any discomfort or privation; or how could she receive objectionable visitors, or investigate cases of harrowing dis
tress, or remonstrate with careless livery stable-keepers, or call to account extortionate milliners, when this precious nervous system had to be considered ? Lady Beresford turned away from these things, and ordered round her Bath-chair, and was taken out to the end of the pier, that she might be soothed by the music and the sea air,” The author does not tell us who bore the “ cares and troubles of this wearyful world” which Lady Beresford thus escaped; and so a difficulty is suggested by himself which he has not answered.
The hero of the tale is a naval officer named King, the second son of an old English gentleman who resides in one of the ancient mansions which characterise Old England. The eldest son is described as one who, in the sowing of his wild oats, had done his best to impoverish his father and disgrace his name. He marries at last a lady of more than questionable reputation, brings her to the old house at home, where the pair are kindly received, and both drink themselves drunken in their room the first night. The young bride then goes wandering about the house in search of more brandy. Eventually this eldest son disinherits himself in favour of the second son, out of regard for the reputation of the old name, the mansion, and all the belongings of an old country family. If any one can believe that such would be the conduct of such a character, let him believe it.
The young ladies Beresford go for a continental tour, leaving their mother, brother, and youngest sister at home; but without any one to take care of them except a waiting-maid; and this is said to be the fashionable
Lucerne, and then over the Splagen, when it is cool enough, into Italy." This affords Captain Frank King a nice opportunity to meet with and make himself useful to the young ladies, and especially to Nan, who is now seventeen years old, and whom he has previously met at a ball; which ball requires three long chapters for its description, and for little dialogues, of which the following is a specimen : “Mamma," said Nan to Lady Beresford, “don't you think I've done enough ? England can't expect you to do more than your duty, even with all those flags overhead. Come away, and I will get you some tea; though what would be better for you still would be some B and S.” Nan, how dare you !” said her mother angrily, and glancing round at the same time. “ You may use such expressions if you like when you are with your brother. Pray, don't disgrace the whole family when you are elsewhere." “Mamma, dear," said Nan contritely, “it is madness; pure madness. The excitement of my first ball bas got into my brain.” Into your what ? ” said her mother, with a smile. Nan, and Nan alone, could pacify her in a second. Such talk serves to remind one of the two dashing fashionable ladies in the “ Vicar of Wakefield,” and that is all.
The continental tour of the three Misses Beresford and Captain King of course requires several chapters of description and common-place con
versations, ending in the captain asking Nan to be his wife, and in her refusal of him, although liking him weli.
And then there is an interval of three years, in which Captain King sticks to his ship on a foreign station, and Nan, as her brother says to the captain on his return home," is on the pious lay. High Church, and reredoses, silver embroideries, don't you know, and visiting the poor, and catching all sorts of confounded infection. And then, I suppose, she'll end by marrying that curate that's always about the house. What a shame it is ! she used to be such a brick. And to go and marry a curate."
This brother Tom also informs the captain that his youngest sister, Margaret, “is in a hole. She is eighteen, and uncommonly goodlooking, I think. Have some sherry. Well, the Baby made the acquaintance, at somebody's house, of a young fellow, son of a barrister. Not a farthing but what he picks up at pool. I don't think she meant anything ; I don't, a bit. There's a lot of that kind of nonsense goes on down there. Nan is the only one who has kept clear out of it. Well, the guardians didn't see it; and they went to the court; and they got the Vice-Chancellor to issue an order forbidding young Hanbury from having any sort of communication with Madge ” (she being a ward in chancery). “ Now you know if you play any games with an order of that sort hanging over you, it's the very devil. It is. Won't you have some pickles ?"
Thus enlightened, Captain King calls on Lady Beresford, hoping to see Ann, and to learn whether he or the curate had the greatest share in her affections. He did not see her; but he saw Madge, grown into the likeness of what Ann was three years before. And so, he does not come to any further understanding with the old love, but straightway makes love, and shortly proposes to Madge; who accepts him with as much ease as Ann had declined him three years before. If this is the way affections are transferred—bandied about like shuttlecocks from battledore to battledore—among the upper classes, it shows how far their hearts have degenerated; for we are told by the highest authority that God hath fashioned all hearts alike. But if this is as unusual as it is unnatural, the author is guilty of an impertinence in setting before us such “a dish of skimmed milk.” Worse, however, remains; for Mauge, apparently without cause, suddenly elopes with her old love in spite of the Vice-Chancellor, and leaves the way clear for Nan to cry off from a proposal from the High Church curate, and for Captain King to find out that he has never loved truly any other girl than Nan; and for Nan to acknowledge that she has loved him ever since he proposed to her more than three years before. Of course the ViceChancellor vindicates his authority, and commits Madge's husband to prison. His father then sets him up in business as a brewer, which is supposed to ensure him a good fortune ; and, on proper submission being
made, the young Madge's fortune settled on herself, and all expenses paid, he is discharged. Another daughter marries a soda-water maker of great wealth. And of course Captain King and Nan are happily married at last. Such is the tale. Its main facts are unnatural, its dialogues, when not slang, are prosy and stale enough. And the book ends with a full length drawing of the author, WILLIAM Black, Author of “That Beautiful Wretch," “Sunrise," &c., from a
& Painting by J. Pettie, R.A. He is depicted as a young man with shaven whiskers but full moustache; bareheaded, but clad else in a coat of mail; with a sword in one hand and a roll of paper in the other. Such clothing is about as natural and suitable for this nineteenth century as his tale is to the realities of life.
We lay the paper down with a sigh of regret that modern light literature is so poorly represented. Rather let a man take up the humble - Local PREACHERS' MAGAZINE” and follow one of its writers through a picturesque “ Tour.” His time will not be wasted nor his patience tried as ours has been in conning over “ That Beautiful Wretch."
BRIEF MEMOIR OF THE LATE JOHN HODGSON, OF
KEIGHLEY. The late brother, John Hodgson, was born in Wensleydale, but removed to this district while still young. He was convinced of sin and was converted in early life, and was admitted on trial as a Local Preacher in the year 1834, and received on the full plan in March, 1835, after a very searching and exhaustive examination. Having imbibed a love for learning in early life, he became conversant with most of the standard works of the day, both secular and sacred; and, having a retentive memory, he held fast to the last much of the valuable learning thus early stored in the mind. On becoming a Local Preacher, he not only read, but mastered, most of the more important theological works then available to Local Preachers.
But not content with studying for his own pleasure and profit, he endeavoured to assist his less favoured brethren, and encouraged the young men connected with Methodism in Keighley to join him in this important branch of study. For many years he took a very active and leading part in a flourishing theological class, from which there came, in course of time, a goodly number of Local Preachers of more than average ability ; while others entered the ranks of the itinerant ministry, and are doing good work for the Divine Master in distant lands to-day. In such service he found a congenial sphere, and threw his whole energies into the work.
Another sphere in which he loved to labour, and with more than
average success, was pioneer work, or opening out branch places. As illustrations of his success in such work, we may mention Long Lee, Eastwood, Heber Street, and Sun Street. In each of these places he was one of the first and main movers, and his early and earnest efforts will be held in grateful remembrance by those who were his fellow-labourers in these necessary offshoots from the central society at Temple Street.
As a preacher he had a preference for doctrinal discourses, and was always clear and strong in his setting forth the great and fundamental doctrines of our holy religion. Though not a popular preacher, still he had many admirers among the more thoughtful members of our congregations ; and especially in his earlier years of service for the Saviour, he was made the instrument of winning many souls. And, although for some years prior to his death he was in feeble health, and consequently unable to take a full share of work, still he remained in harness almost to the last days of life, until he was called to lay down the warrior's weapons and receive the victor's crown; having received a kind warning from the Heavenly King that his call home would probably be somewhat sudden. He laboured more earnestly to complete life's work here, while preparing more prayerfully for the rest that remaineth hereafter. He lived looking to, and labouring for, Jesus; and died with the holy Bible open before him, his closing eye gazing on the glorious Gospel just before there burst upon his spiritual vision the exceeding and eternal weight of glory before the throne of God. Thus quietly and quickly closed a life of loving labour for the Lord, extending over nearly fifty years.
“ May we triumph so, when all our warfare's past,
And dying, find our latest foe under our feet at last.”
MEMOIR OF MRS. MAWER, OF LOUTH.
SUSANNAH, wife of Mr. W. Mawer, Secretary of the Louth Branch of the Local Preachers' Mutual-Aid Association, was born at Ketsby, near Louth, Jan. 28th, 1818. Her parents being Methodists, she was brought in early life under the influence of those simple but powerful truths which have been blessed to the conversion of thousands.
At the age of fourteen she entered a situation in Louth, and continued to reside in the town until her decease. In 1834 a gracious revival of the work of God broke out, and, under the ministry of the Rev. Charles Haydon, Susannah Cotton gave her heart to the Lord, thenceforth to be His alone. The same year she was received as a member into the society, and so continued until the disruption, now dying out of the recollection of the churches. Becoming acquainted with William Mawer, a Local Preacher and Class Leader, they married in 1848. Two sons and a daughter were given to her; and her influence as a Christian mother will never be