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Scotch Stories and Lectures, Humorous and Amusing
Lecture — Words in Season


My Lecture this evening will assume something of a dramatic character, inasmuch as it will be a Lecture in Five Acts. At each Act the Scene will change; and I will thus speak to five different audiences, giving to each, I trust, “words in season.”

ACT L

Scene,—The Interior of a Country Church during a half-yearly fair for the hiring of farm servants. Audience,—Country Ladi and Lassesy Farmers and their Wives. A large Landed Proprietor presiding, supported by the Gentry qf the District,

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Since I promised to take part in this meeting, I have had many serious thoughts as to what I should say to you on this occasion. I, having been bom and bred in a city, am not quite sure on what subjects you country people require advice. In my difficulty I appealed to several friends, and asked them what I should speak to you about. My first Mend said, “Give them plenty of amusement, Mr. Roy, and you won’t go far wrong;” my second friend said, “Give them a good lecture about the dram,—that is sure to fit them;” while my third friend said, courtship should be my theme; and, said he, “Be sure and give the young people plenty of tether.” He went further, and told me he was sure I would please if, by way of a flourish, I could introduce—

"Come all ye jolly shepherds that whistle through the glen,
I'll tell yon o* a secret that courtiers dinna ken,
What is the greatest bliss that the tongue o’ man can name,
'Tis to woo a bonnie lassie when the kye come hame—
’Tween the gloamin* and the mirk, when the kye come hame.”

To him who bade me give you plenty of amusement, I said, “For my own part, I think very little of speakers whose chief aim is amusement;” to him who bade me give you a good lecture about the dram, I said, “I do not think that country servants, as a class, consume a great quantity of ardent spirits : they may occasionally take a dram at a fair; but they are not, like some of their betters, always drinking.” I said I could not say much to you about the dram; and, as to speaking about courtship, I told my friend I could hardly give you the same length of tether as you got here on former occasions. “Well,” said ray friend, “do not touch on the subject at all; for if you do not give them all their own way on that matter, you will not please them.” “Oh, yes,” said I, “I will please them, and I will not give them all their own way. I will neither give servant nor master, tenant nor landlord, all their own way, and yet I will please them;” for I had resolved, after due consideration, to give you a few words of common sense on the duties we owe to one another as servants and masters, tenants and landlords; and as this is peculiarly a meeting of servants, I will give them the preference, and speak first to them.

What, then, is the first thing I have to recommend to plain, simple, hard-working country servants? I have, my friends, just the same principle to recommend to you that I would have to recommend were I to speak to an assemblage composed of nobles, princes, and kings. In your every action in life I would have you to be guided by the strictest honour. Yes, my friends, honour is the word. Some shallow people may ask, what have poor, hard-working lads and lasses, who, from morning till night, are constantly employed attending to torses and cows, cleaning byres, hoeing turnips, and the like, what have they to do with honour ? I answer, everything; and add, in the words of the poet—

“Honours from no position rise;
Act well your part, there all the honour lies.”

I know something of the ways of life in the great world, and I have no hesitation in saying that there is no employment under the sun more honourable than that of the tillers of the soil. Why, then, my friends, should you not aim at the highest honour in all your actions? A true appreciation of this noble principle will teach you to despise everything that is unjust, untrue, or impure. The servants who have a true love of honour will be as diligent in the absence as in the presence of employers—will fearlessly speak the truth to employers, and will comport themselves so purely that they will be an honour to the cottage-homes of Scotland. A true love of honour will make servants ever kindly and courteous to one another. You have all observed how circumspect gentlemen of rank are in the presence of high-born, ladies: no rude word is heard when the ladies are present. He who would give voice to aught impure in the hearing of the fair would be banished good society. This is found necessary in high circles for the protection of female honour. And why should not the peasant’s daughter have equal protection? The servant-man who is at bottom a gentleman will treat as modestly his fellow-servant-women as he would treat titled ladies; and the servant-girls who have clear heads and pure hearts will submit to no other treatment, for they will understand that the bad man, often from design, with lewd and impure words, breaks down the protecting barriers of virtue, which having done, he finds his victim an easy prey. Act, then, in all your intercourse with one another, with true modesty. Never forget that a servant-man may, and should be, as pure and chaste as any man; and that a servant-girl may, and should be, as modest and virtuous as any lady in the land.

A love of honour will lead to a love of independence, which will lead to thrift and economy. A man or woman who would be independent will make an effort to lay something past for a “rainy day.” Some of you will think, I have no doubt, that it is not easy for servants to save money. Well, I admit it; and more, I can tell you it is not easy for any one to save money,—even wealthy lords have often a struggle to get ends to meet; at the same time, if you would arrive at an honourable independence, you lads and lasses must save a little money. And that it can be done, I can give you proof.

In a certain house in Glasgow, a cowfeeder’s, where I often call to get a “piece” and a drink of milk, there were lately two servants, a young man and a young woman. They had been in the same place for a number of years, and to my certain knowledge the girl had £24 in the bank and the young man had £54, all saved off moderate wages. The young man left some time ago for another place, but comes back now and then to see “ Christinaand I am very much mistaken if the intercourse does not end in a wedding; and the £24 and the £54 put together would be a very snug sum to begin the world with. Now, what these young people have saved any of you may save, if you set your minds to it; but y*u will never manage it if you keep shifting about from place to place every half-year. The servant who does so, I would think, rarely saves money; for every term a new rig-out is required, and every penny goes. I know of nothing so hurtful to both servants and masters as frequent changes : it makes both servants and masters get completely careless about the interests of one another; whereas an old servant comes to be regarded in a measure as one of the family, and, in return, looks with increasing interest after his employer’s welfare. I know enough of human nature to suspect that there is a charm about the excitement of change. A girl is on a farm where she has not met with a sweetheart to her mind; well, she resolves to see what a change will do; she gives up a good place, and takes her chance in the market; she finds her next place no improvement on her last, and so she makes another change, and gets latterly so unsettled that she changes every term; and, if nothing worse comes of it, she, or he—for the men are as bad in this respect as the women—gets into that state of mind that they might appropriately sing—

"I care for nobody—no, not I,
And nobody cares for me.”

Servants who understand their own interest will keep their situations as long as they can. If their master and mistress are not so good as they would like, they should remember the old proverb, “Better the ill kent than the guid unkent.’ And so they will sit still, and by and by they will begin to think more of their employers, who in their turn will think more of them; for certainly respect begets respect, just as surely as love begets love.

I do not know what you servants think of the feeing-mar-ket; you have got accustomed to it, and you know the man got accustomed to the nail that stuck up in the sole of his shoe. People get accustomed to anything; but I will tell you how I felt when I first saw a feeing-market,—the long rows of men and women standing to be hired, and being carefully examined by the farmers and their wives. I passed silently through the scene, and when I had done so, I turned into a quiet street and wiped the tears from my eyes. I could not help it. I am not at all sentimental; but the sight of that feeing-fair made me weep. It reminded me of the slave-market ; and I thought it degrading to the sons and daughters of honest toil. If I were a servant I would certainly patronize the register, and would only on urgent necessity go to the feeing-market. In such a place a virtuous young woman may be hired by a designing blackguard, and once hired, she must fulfil her engagement; and in such a place a good master may hire a very disreputable servant. In the registration system both parties can be informed as to the character of those with whom they engage, and thus honourable servants can find honourable masters; and when such have the good fortune to meet, if they take my advice, they will not part in a huriy.

I need not say a word about truth and honesty. I have been speaking of honour, which includes all virtues—truth, honesty, temperance, and purity of life. Permit me to tell a little incident in my own life, which shows how clearheaded honesty tells upon one’s after-fate. When I was a boy I worked for some time in a cabinetmaker’s shop. Well, one day, when cleaning out under the desk, where the floor was giving way with dry rot, I turned up a large mush* room, right in the centre of which I found a shilling. I entered the workshop, and let all the men see the curiosity; I then took the shilling and presented it to my master, saying, “ I found it, sir, under the desk.” When I returned to the workshop, my neighbour apprentice saluted me with, “ What a fool you was to give the master the shilling! Did you not find it?” “Yes,” said I, “I found it under the desk: I found it where the Highlandman found the tongs.” I added, “I would just as soon have thought of stealing a shilling as keeping that one.” An older apprentice was appealed to. He was asked if I should not have kept the shilling and divided it. He shook his head, and said, “Honesty is the best policy.” Well, twelve years of my life had gone by; I had got into business; my business was growing faster than my capital; I was in want of money. I knew my neighbour apprentice had money he did not require—I mean the one who said honesty was the best policy. I called upon him; it was early in the morning; he was still in bed. He asked me what I wanted; I answered, “ Money.” “How much!” said he. “As much as you can spare,” was my reply. My friend rose from his bed, and wrote me a bank cheque for £650—all he had in the bank. The shilling in the mushroom had something to do with the establishing that man's confidence in me. The boy who thought I should have kept the shilling would have had more difficulty in borrowing £1 that morning than I had in getting, without bill or bond, £650.

I mention this trifle that servants may learn to attach great importance to the strictest honesty in the merest trifles. Of course, the man who is honest will be truthful. I know of nothing more contemptible than a lie. I once saw a whole shopful of men questioned about some wrong that had been done. All equivocated or told lies to the master. At last one was called out who, it was known, would tell the truth. When asked to say what he knew of the matter, he answered—“It is of no consequence for you to know, and I am not going to tell you anything about it.” He added— “Although I am not going to tell lies, I am not going to clype,” The master could have trusted that boy with anything. It is impossible to calculate the evil a servant may do to himself or herself by the telling of even a white lie.

On the subject of temperance I will only say, I have been an out-and-out teetotaler for more than twenty years; and I mean to stick to the simple principle. I was as poor as any one in this meeting when I joined, and now, if I am not very rich, I am, as far as man can be, quite independent. My father and mother went down the vale of years surrounded by every comfort. I think that what has fitted me so well will tit every one in this meeting. Take my example and precept for what it is worth.

With regard to purity of life I will quote the sinning, suffering, ploughman bard:—

"The sacred lowe o' weel-plac’d love,
Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt th’ illicit rove,
Tho’ naething should divulge it:
I waive the quantum o’ the sin,
The hazard of concealing;
But, och ! it hardens a’ within,
An' petrifies the feeling!”

Yea, my friends, remember the words, “petrifies the feeling;" for it is a fact that the slaves of this vice soon become so hardened that they care not although their victims go to destruction, if they accomplish their purpose.

I conclude then, as I began, by counselling you in all your doings to observe the strictest honour, which you must love for its own sake. I must give you a few more lines from Burns:—

“The fear o’ hell’s a hangman’s whip
To haud the wretch in order;
But where ye feel your honour grip,
Let that aye be your border:
Its slightest touches, instant pause—
Debar a* side pretences;
An’ resolutely keep its laws,
Uncaring consequences.”

In speaking to masters and mistresses I will not require to detain you so long, for my counsel to servants is somewhat applicable to employers. The master and mistress who are truly honourable will ever set their servants a good example. I remember once being peculiarly placed with a servant of mine. I had purchased a new shop: I bought stock and trade, and got the shopman into the bargain. Well, as soon as I had gone behind the counter a woman entered and bought from my man a boll of meal, which I thought he sold too cheap: the woman left, and the meal was to be sent. Well, my new man got a bag, and proceeded to weigh the meal, and he took one scoopful out of the bag he had sold to the woman, and took his second scoopful out of a bag of inferior quality. “Hold on!” said I; “what is that you are doing?” He said, “I sold it at such a price, and it needs this to make it payhe added, “ this is the way we always did.” “Well,” said I, “if that is the way you always did, that is the way you shall not do any more; for while you are with me you must give my customers what you sell them.” Now, I do not tell this story because I think I deserve credit for my honesty: my opinion is, that if I had become art and part with my servant in such a piece of roguery, I would have very soon learned him to steal more from me than he would have stolen for me. The master is a blockhead who does not check his servant on the slightest departure from principle. You all know the story that is told about the grocer who cried down the stair to his man—“ John, have you got the meal mixed, the sugar sanded, and the whisky watered 1 if so, come up to prayers.” If there ever was such a grocer, he was certainly a fool; for John would very likely go up to prayers with his full share of the plunder in his pocket. To have honest servants, it is absolutely necessary that we have honest masters.

If I say anything about courtship, I must say it here, and say it to the farmers’ wives. I think it is your duty to look upon the female servants of your households, as nearly as possible, with the same feelings as you look upon your own daughters; and when a worthy young man comes after any of your maids throw no obstacles in his way; let him come into the house quite openly, and when you get a chance, slip in a bit word in the girl’s praise. Ask, if you can do it gracefully, what his prospects are, and advise the girl accordingly. If you think him a fool—that is, merely bent on “ dafiin,” and so is losing the girl’s time—advise her to pin the dish-cloth to his tail, and send him about his business. With regard to letting girls out to court, I am not very much in with that. Shakespeare says—

"The chariest mud is prodigal enough If she unmask her beauties to the moon."

There should be as little moonlight work as possible. Some will say, The young folk must certainly have opportunities to court Oh yes; and, if they are honest lovers, very little secret opportunity will serve them; and the young men and young women present may take my word for it, that far more love matches are spoiled by too much opportunity than by too little opportunity. As a general rule, an old “giming” wife knows far better when a braw young lass should come in at night than the lass herself knows. If the mistress who is strict in these matters with her maids would reason with the girls, much good might be done and much evil prevented.

While I counsel as much strictness as possible in affairs where there is danger, I would have employers study how they can give their servants as much innocent recreation as possible. They must never forget that their servants have the same feelings and desires as themselves, and that hard, heavy labour requires to be sweetened with occasional blinks of innocent enjoyment. All the good books in the household should be freely lent to servants, and they should be encouraged to read; and if it so happens that they are not great adepts at reading, the master or mistress, the son or daughter of the family might, with great profit to all, read aloud by the kitchen fireside in the long winter evenings;—The Heart o’ Mid-Lothian, The Cottagers o’ Glenbumie, and, if you please, Generalship, would be very good books to begin with. There are no pleasures more exalted than those derived from good books; and yet I have been told that in some houses it is accounted a crime if servants are seen with a book in their hands. Country people should take a hint from the fact that the first gentlemen in our country are now proud to read our best authors to the poor people of our great cities. But I need not dwell on these matters. The present meeting is a clear proof that employers in the country districts are taking a deep interest in the elevation of their servants. Every such effort repeats, as with an angel’s voice, "Excelsior.”

I have now to say a few words to the " lairds.” I have no doubt many of my hearers are saying in their hearts— “ You must be very judicious now, Mr. Roy.” And so I will; for although I seldom get credit for it, I am always judicious. The first thing, then, I say to the landlords present is—Stay as much at home as possible. It is great folly for people in your position to be running constantly away to London, Paris, or Rome, where you are just one in the fashionable crowd. It is far more sensible to stay at home, where you are well known and much thought of. I have seen all these places, and must say I saw very few attractions about them. It did not seem to me any great diversion to go driving up and down between long, straight hedges of chestnut trees; to go sauntering through long galleries, twisting your neck staring at old brown pictures, or cracked statues; or sitting two hours at a dinner, where you had no idea what you were eating, and were afraid to ask and show your ignorance. I never was one day on the Continent without thinking I would have been better at home. If I were a landlord, in place of going constantly to see all the world, I would do my utmost to make my own estate such a Paradise that I would have all the world coming to see me. I would, like the late good Prince, rear model cottages for my labourers. I would give them garden plots, and I would encourage them to cultivate them. I know some estates—I won’t say where—the cottages on which are not fit for pigs to live in, let alone honest working-men and women. I never pass such hovels without feeling a contempt for the lord of the soil. And when, as I have done, I see an old man at the door going two-fold with rheumatisms got by lying in the damp den, I feel—but I had better not say what I feeL I was saying what I would do if I were a landlord. Well, I would have all my model cottages dad with roses and honeysuckle. I would have my farm-stead-ings as near perfection as possible. If 1 built a very fine house for myself, it would only be if I could well spare the money to pay every farthing of it. I would not have my tenants say I had run myself ashore building a castle, and so could not afford to build cottages. You know, if I had an estate, perhaps I would be no better than my neighbours. But I think a landlord should give much of his time to the study of the way in which the people under him can be made most happy; and I think he ought to study, if possible, “ the greatest amount of happiness to the greatest possible number.” I mean, he ought not to set himself to having on his estate as few human beings as possible. I don’t think it good that all our poor people should be driven into large towns. It is just possible that this may be overdone; for with our present great facilities for emigration, labourers may become scarce, and if the present struggle in America was over—the murderous war having made able-bodied men scarce—landlords may even require to coax workmen to stay at home. But I am getting too metaphysical. A good landlord will, in some measure, look upon himself as the father of his people, and will do all in his power to promote their weal for time and for eternity, and in all his efforts he will, or should, be well backed up by his better half. Much may be done by the lady to elevate and refine a district of country. All such ladies have a noble example in our sovereign lady the Queen.

My dear friends, I have done. I have spoken to you honestly and earnestly, and in parting with you, my prayer is, that Heaven may aid us all in our efforts to obey the golden rule,—“Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.”

ACT II

Scene,—One of our City Haifa, gaily decorated with the flags of att nations. Audience, The various Employes of a large Shipping Firm, with their Wives and Sweethearts. The Chief Partner of the firm presiding, supported right and left by about Twenty of his Ship Captains.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Amidst the bustle, toil, and trouble of a city like Glasgow, we sometimes look back with longing to the primitive simplicity of ancient times, when the patriarch was wont to gather around him his sons and his daughters, his manservants and his maidservants, his shepherds and his goatherds, and all his other retainers, and, as one family group, feast and make merry. We are inclined to think that our own city can furnish no scene akin to this ancient homely grandeur. In rural districts we know that the lord of the manor may, and does, on great occasions, bring together the members of his household, his tenant-farmers, and his cottars, and sits down with them at one common board; but, sir, we are apt to think that in the great city the lofty and the lowly must dwell for ever apart This, we know, is far too much the case. The present meeting is, however, an exception to this rule, and a beautiful exception it is. Here, it seems to me, we have a restoration of the ancient patriarchal style. Here we have the head of a famous firm very properly seated in his “ain meikle chair,” presiding over his numerous employes, doing, I know, his very best to make you all happy. I must confess I look on this scene with great pleasure; and feel proud in playing my humble part at this your great family party.

I am aware I am a stranger to many of you; but we will be better acquainted by and by. I shall speak to you briefly of a few of the fundamental principles which we must all comprehend and appreciate in order that we may make a good voyage on the sea of life; and, so far as I know your various circumstances, I shall endeavour, in the course of my remarks, to “have at you all.” I shall observe the “line of beauty” in my arrangement, by speaking first to the gentlemen of the pen connected with your firm; then to the sons of harder toil, who load and unload your vessels; and bring 1 up the rear with a few words to your jolly sailors.

My friends of the counting-house, then, will excuse me for reminding them of what they all know—namely, that the first great requisite for success in this department is thorough integrity of principle. The clerk or cashier in whose character there appears the slightest flaw would do well to change his profession. With the horse (excuse the simile) whose knees have once given way, it is very difficult to regain a surefooted character; but it is still more difficult for the mercantile servant, if once he make a slip, to regain the confidence of an honest employer. In fact, my friends, it is impossible. Such a one may not be dismissed,—he may be forgiven; but he can never again be trusted—that is, in the full sense of the term. How eminently important, then, my fnends, in your position, is scrupulous honesty in the merest trifles, and thorough openness with your employer! Here, for instance, is a cashbook that refuses to balance; some trifling entry has been omitted ; it looks stupid; the alteration of a single figure will make it all seem right; it will never be detected. The pen is lifted; the ink is on the paper—hold, I say! let that figure stand as it is. Simple as the act may seem, it is not honest, and may blast all your prospects in life. Write down your deficiency, be it great or small, as a deficiency.

It may come to your mind how the error occurred; and if it never should, it will stand before you as a reminder to be more careful in future. Your employers do not expect perfection. They will excuse a blunder, but cannot excuse a deception. Any such deception discovered in a set of books renders them entirely worthless, and sinks the perpetrator of it in the estimation of his employer. You must be equally open when your error furnishes you with a surplus of cash. I do believe a surplus of cash is more difficult to deal with, inasmuch as it furnishes a more dangerous temptation. Not long ago I was told an incident which illustrates the danger of a surplus. A friend of mine was returning from business on a very stormy winter night, when a hand was laid upon his shoulder. Turning round, he recognized a young man who several years before had acted as his clerk. The youth had something of a confidential nature to communicate. My friend invited him to his house. He answered—“I am ashamed to go to your house.” He then took his old employer into a more secluded place, and informed him that once, while acting as his clerk, he had one pound of a surplus in his cash, and had been tempted to put it in his pocket. Since then, night and day, he had never ceased to remember his dishonesty, but never before could he muster courage to confess his fault. “My mother,” he added, “died last night; and as I stood by her deathbed, listening to her last words, that pound lay like a crushing weight upon my heart.” The pound was restored, with interest, and the young man restored to self-respect. How different would have been the case had that youth silenced in his breast the voice of conscience! As it was, all was latterly well. Let, then, open honesty, in small matters as in large, be your guiding principle.

Next to integrity comes sobriety. This virtue, I know, is not practised so much as it should be by the gentlemen of the desk: and without it the most honest fellow that ever lifted a pen soon becomes a poor worthless creature. This, I know, would have been strongly impressed on your minds if you could have overheard a conversation I hti a few days ago with the young wife of a gentleman who a few weeks ago held a good situation as clerk in a most respectable firm in this city, from which situation he was dismissed through intemperance. Knowing his late employer, I asked his wife if she thought I could intercede with him in his behalf. She said it would be of no use, as this was not the first offence, and the diimiissa was final. I inquired if he had any prospect of another situation. Her answer was, “No; he is so ashamed of himself that he has never been out of the house since he was dismissed. He sits from morning till night with his hands on his face. He does not even look or speak to the children.” This is not a solitary case; you have all known such cases; and the moral to be drawn from such clearly is, to keep entirely away from the tempting power of strong drink. Every such wreck we witness on the sea of life is the voice of God and nature saying, Beware of that dangerous rock; keep clear of it altogether.

The third and last virtue that I shall mention as essential to success in the counting-house is diligent application, and a desire to make yourselves generally useful. With one who would advance in any establishment there must be no stinginess in the performance of any duty that has a tendency to promote the good of the concern. I need not tell you that there is nothing more common than for a young man to enter a great firm as an humble clerk, and arrive ultimately at a partnership. This can never be the case with any man who is not willing to serve his employer, when occasion requires, by night as well as by day.

Take, then, with you, my friends, as three important points in your compass for direction—honesty, sobriety, and activity.

In coming to the second branch of your firm—those who ship and unship your cargoes—I must tell them that all my preceding remarks apply with equal force to them. Yes, my friends of the blistered, or I should rather say, of the hardened hands, working as you are daily among valuable goods, watchful honesty is the first requisite of fitness for your situation. If you have this quality you will be valuable to your employers^ and will be prized by them accordingly.

If you have it not, you are far from being “ the right man in the right place.” You know that packages are often insecure, and goods are quite at your mercy. It is, therefore, not only your duty to be honest yourselves, but to watch well that none of your casual assistants take any liberty with any of the goods entrusted to your employer’s care. I have known men, very clear-headed on other matters, who thought it would be shabby in them to report to their employer any little delinquency committed by a fellow-workman. Now, my friends, although I hate a talebearer, if I were working side by side with any man, and knew him to be guilty of the slightest dishonesty, I would at once report him at headquarters. If I did not do so, I would know that I was art and part in his crime,—just as bad as himself. I would know that in convicting such a man I was doing him a good service; for one petty crime passed over leads to another, and the delinquent goes on from bad to worse, until he is utterly ruined; whereas, if the evil had been nipped in the bud, he might have seen his error, and turned to the right path.

I lately heard of a case which very well illustrates this matter. A young man employed as you are, one day, while unloading a cargo of oranges, observed that at the meal hours one of his fellow-workmen had his pockets all filled with the oranges. The young man who saw this knew that it was wrong, but thought it best to say nothing about it. Not long after a small parcel went amissing, and no trace of it could be found. The young man had his suspicions about the appropriator of the oranges, but did not think it proper to mention them. Well, the result of this silence was, that shortly after goods to the amount of £70 went amissing, and suspicion fell upon the young man who had been guiltily silent. In self-defence he now told all that he knew about the man of the oranges. Guilt was at once brought home to him, and he was ruined for life. Now, had the first petty offence been exposed and punished, the graver crime would likely never have been committed. Remember, then, my friends, you do your neighbour an injury by concealing any trilling dishonesty he may commit. A prompt exposure and reproval may save him much future misery.

I must tell you, likewise, of the importance of sobriety. Valuable goods, handled, as they sometimes are, by men half drunk, are not very safe. I am not so very well acquainted about the quay, but 1 know that at many of the railway stations goods often receive beastly usage through the intemperance of the men. Not long ago I had a parcel of goods returned to me rendered almost worthless. So bad was the case that the manager of the railway at once agreed to pay the damage. 1 was at a loss to conceive how any set of men could have been guilty of such destruction. I got a cue to the cause when I heard several carters, who were looking at the damaged goods, say, “ They must have been broaching the casks.” I will say nothing, further on this matter, only, that if such a practice is anywhere carried on, those who are guilty of it condemn themselves to the most laborious drudgery, from which they shall only escape when they fill a criminars or a pauper’s grave.

You all know the personal risk you run in being at work while under the influence of drink. I see on the streets of Glasgow a man walking two-fold. I remember that man when he was stalwart and handsome. He was what is termed “ steam up,” slipped from a gangway, fell into a boat, and was picked up a cripple for life. Speedy advancement in your position is, no doubt, difficult; but, if you are honest, sober, and persevering, it is certain. You may never even be more than honest working-men;—you can never be aught more honourable;—but, by and by, you may have an educated son, and I know that nothing could give the heads of the firm more pleasure than to receive into their office the son of their humblest labourer, if he were fit for the place, and thereby open to the whole family the door of advancement.

I need say nothing to you about application to your work. Few of your class are ever charged with laziness. The work must be done, and you do it in style.

Now, then, a word or two to the sailors. My father sailed the seas for many years, and I had an uncle who was fifty years at sea, so I know something of the sailor’s life. " Honour to whom honour is dueyour common seamen will hold on for their yarn until I say a word or two to the captains.

To be captain of any vessel is a position of honourable trust, but to be the commander of one of your magnificent steamboats is an exalted office indeed. To be thought worthy of the charge of so much valuable property, and so many still more valuable lives, is, I think, one of the highest honours which can be conferred on a human being. Thiere is no office more exalted, if we except those of the great Minister of State, who holds in his hands the peace and prosperity of nations, and the great military commander, whose word decides the fate of armies. Next in importance, sir, to these, I think, stands the commander of your floating palaces. How important, then, is it that the duties of such an office should be discharged with scrupulous conscientiousness! How important is it that the mind on which so much depends should be kept ever clear and vigorous, ever ready for any emergency! This mental vigour can only be maintained by the constant practice of self-denial and self-discipline. It is true to a certain extent that the landsmen in high position may indulge a little, and no apparent ill come of it. Not so with the sea captain. The slightest indulgence on his part may, and frequently does, lead to the most disastrous results. A wrong order given by one whose word is law may prove the destruction of all on board. Let, then, your commanders practise the most rigid self-discipline while at sea, and this will be rendered very easy if they constantly practise the same virtues while on shore. They will then he certain proof against any temptation when at sea. A captain of experience once told me that, when he carried passengers of worldly distinction, he was frequently, in their condescension, invited to join them in a tumbler. This, however, he invariably declined, simply answering—“ I am on duty.” The captain told me he knew quite well, whether his passengers were landed aristocrats or merchant princes, that they did not look upon him as their equal. He knew that were he to meet them in certain circumstances they would not recognize him. He was therefore proud to decline their condescending offer. He told me of one scene which I think worthy of special notice. His passenger, a jolly parson, asked the captain to join him in a glass of grog, as it was a very stormy night. The captain’s answer was, “ Don’t interrupt me, sir, I am in my pulpit,—I am preaching, sir!”

The parson, nothing daunted, said—“Well, you will be the better of a glass to inspire you.”

“No,” said the captain; “it might put me off my course. You may go a good way off your theological course, and a sleeping congregation be little the worse; but if I go off my course, my sleeping people may all go to the bottom.”

For a captain to accept any such invitation might be attended with very fatal results, and would, in the most charitable view of the case, be a very pernicious example to all on board. Let, then, your captains know the dignity and responsibility of their office. If they know this aright they can never go wrong. Your mates must look upon themselves as very soon to be captains, and daily, on sea and land, practise all those virtues which will make them captains of distinction.

Now, then, for your sailors, engineers, firemen, and all the rest of you, the simple virtues I have recommended to the other branches of your firm will be found to work equally well in your positions. Without them, you can never rise in the world; with them, you can attain all that is really important in life—namely, an honourable position among your fellow-men. You may never be rich, but you can all be happy. Were I now addressing “ long-voyage sailors/’ I would take it for granted that, for all you had seen of “foreign parts,” you were still somewhat “verdant,” and would therefore have a good deal to say to you; but I know right well that you who trade between Glasgow and England and Ireland have very little of that sweet colour “ green ” about you. I shall therefore merely give you a passing hint or two. Well, then, if you wish to get on in your profession, you must be sober, thoroughly sober, or it will be no go. You must spend what little leisure time you have in improving your education, or it will be no go. You can be neither captain nor mate unless you acquire a knowledge of navigation; and this you cannot acquire unless you husband your time, and devote your leisure hours to study. There ia nothing so apt to prevent such study, or to interrupt it when begun, as your getting too well acquainted in the ports to which you sail. I should say that the sailor who can navigate all the wynds and lanes in Liverpool, Dublin, and Belfast, in the dark, is not likely soon to be troubled with the navigation of the ocean. I think you understand me. I would have you avoid the acquaintanceships to be found about the public-houses in the ports to which you sail. I would have you avoid these houses altogether. No matter though they may be called “The Glasgow Arms,” “The Thistle Tavern,” or “ The Scottish Blue Bells.” If you are really knowing fellows, you will avoid the embrace of all such Glasgow Arms; you will keep clear of the “stinging ” of any Thistle Tavern; and you will take good care that you don’t set such Scottish Blue Bells a-ringing. If you don’t avoid such places, it is all up with your getting on. You will be poor Jack to the last; not only poor in purse, but poor in spirit If you are really ’cute ones, and keep “ Steady, boys, steady,** and save all your spare cash, and take a while now and again at school, you are in a profession where you are certain of speedy promotion.

My parting words must of course be to the heads of your establishment. Such a position, sir, is one of great responsibility. In your hands, to some extent, are the fortunes of all your employes. It is therefore your duty, as far as possible, personally to watch their various claims to promotion, and to give the worthy that encouragement which will stimulate them to increased exertion—ever, as a post of honour becomes vacant, filling it, if possible, from your own ranks, and so stimulating all to aspire.

One word, ere I sit down, to the ladies. They have much in their power. To them is handed over the hard earnings of their lords. If they turn these earnings to the best possible account, in making home comfortable and happy, they will do much towards keeping their husbands “all right,” whether on land or sea; for there is no beacon seen on the sea of life that so well directs the course of the voyager as the light that is lit by a loving wife, and shines from a happy home.

ACT III

Scene,—Our City Hall. Audience,—Upwards of Four Thousand Children, many of them belonging to the various Bands of Hope. The President qf the Glasgow Abstainerd Union presiding.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I was invited to take part in this meeting I felt proud of the invitation. I knew it would give me an opportunity of speaking to several thousand fellow-immortals launched on the sea of time, having before you the choice of good or evil, for time and for eternity; and I thought that if I could say aught that would in any degree aid in inducing you to shun the evil and embrace the good, mine would be indeed a noble task. I am going to tell you a story.

I was walking in a strange land, when I came to the shore of a great sea. Over this sea hung a thick vail of mist. So very dense was this mist that it concealed all distaut objects from view. As I stood wondering what like the opposite shore might be, there came sailing into view a large and beautiful ship, and, to my surprise, the great ship was laden from stem to stem with beautiful little boys and girls— bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked, curly-haired, laughing little boys and girls. As I gazed in wonder the ship came close up to a jutting rock, and the whole band of merry children were landed on the shore. I asked at a number of them where they had come from, and got for answer, “ We neither know where we have come from nor where we are going;” and away they went scampering over the beautiful fields—some pulling, as they went, the ripe fruits, some chasing the bees and butterflies, and some listening to the song of birds, as they gathered sweet posies of lovely wild flowers;—all were happy and heedless, when the deep tones of a silver trumpet sounded in their ears. This trumpet was blown by one clad in the livery of the King: his robe was of golden cloth, and it was richly embroidered with diamonds and pearls, and his face shone with the radiance of “good news.” All the boys and girls at once drew near the herald who sounded the “gospel trumpet.” When all was deep attention the herald spoke. He said,—

“Boys and girls, I come from the palace of the Great King, by his royal orders to give each and all of you a cordial invitation to come and dwell with him in his Palace of Beauty, which stands in his City of Wonders, on the distant mountains of the Better Land. The direct road to the City of Wonders is by the narrow path of duty, which goes right through the hills of difficulty. The pass-word by which the golden gates are opened is the name of the King’s Son,”

This said, the herald vanished from view, and the boys and girls were standing lost in wonder at the thought that the Great King should have invited them to the Palace of Beauty, in the City of Wonders, on the distant mountains of the Better Land, when a very reverend man approached them. He had a very long beard, a very lofty brow, and very sweet thoughtful eyes. He gently raised his hand, and said,—

“Boys and girls, my name is Experience. I know you have all received a glorious invitation from the Great King, to come and dwell with him in the Palace of Beauty, in the City of Wonders, on the distant mountains of the Better Land. You go by the path of duty, and you find entrance at the golden gates by pronouncing with faith the name of the King’s Son.” There were tears in the old man’s eyes as he added—“ Oh that I could impart to you, children, my knowledge of the dangers you will encounter by the way! I cannot do so as I would. I will, however, give you a few counsels which I would have engraven on every young heart. You must, for your comfort and security on your journey, take with you three things,—First, the telescope of knowledge; second, the compass of principle; and third, the pledge of self-denial, all of which you will find necessary in keeping you on the path of duty.”

The sage went on,—“As you proceed on your journey to the mountain land beautiful scenes will be unfolded to your view, strange and wise inscriptions, written by former travellers, will meet your eye—all of which will be entirely lost to you if you take not with you the telescope of knowledge. As you ascend still farther on your journey mists and darkness will overtake you, so that unless you have, and hold by, the compass of principle, you will certainly lose your way and perish on the mountains. The pledge of self-denial you will find all-important during your entire journey; for at every stage you will be beset by cunning tempters, who will by every device seek to entice you from the path of duty. Beware, especially, of the pleasant ones you will meet, who, with softest smiles, will offer you a sparkling draught, which they will tell you will cheer your heart, brighten your wit, and drive away your cares. Beware, I say, of these; call up your self-denial, and touch no drop of their drink; for thousands who have partaken of it have, when scaling the lofty peaks of difficulty, right over which the path of duty goes, grown giddy and, even in sight of the golden gates of the City of Wonders, have fallen from the fearful height, and been seen no more.”

“Forget not,” continued Experience, “that the golden gates only open when you pronounce in faith the name of the King’s Son.” The old man bowed gracefully and went on his way, and the boys and girls started on their journey. They had not gone far until they discovered how important were the words of Old Experience, for with the telescope oi knowledge they had a very pleasant time of it. By the use of it they could not only see near and distant lands, but they could even scan the distant heavens and count the rolling worlds; they could read the strange and wise inscriptions, written in all languages, by the travellers of note who had gone before them. This they found a charming and profitable pastime; but, would you believe it, some of the boys and girls had paid no attention to the words of Experience, and had started on their journey without taking with them the telescope of knowledge, and so were entirely shut out from all the rich treats which their wiser companions enjoyed. Poor children! they really walked in darkness, and many of them very soon strayed from the path of duty.

As the merry band proceeded up through the mountains they soon discovered the very great importance of the compass of principle; for they found that, in mid-life, mist and darkness were very frequent, and they would certainly have lost their way but for their never-failing compass. Many, however, even of those who had brought with them the telescope of knowledge had forgotten or lost by the way the compass of principle, and so were soon struck off from the band, and were lost in the mountains. How the wise ones learned to prize the compass! for they invariably found, however dense the fog might be with which they were shrouded, if they kept on by the direction of the compass, they never foiled to reach a higher altitude, where, for above the clouds, they had a full view of the path of duty, and could even get occasional glimpses of the City of Wonders.

As Experience had told them, all along the way they were ever and anon met by cunning tempters, who sought to decoy them from the path of duty; and many were simple enough to believe their lying stories, and were caught in their snares, and so perished by the way. Very many, indeed, were lured by the sparkling cup—presented often by lovely maiden hands; and, forgetting both knowledge and principle, rushed by the most direct road to utter destruction,—down they went over the loftiest peaks, and were dashed to atoms. Often it was the favourite of the band who first yielded to this temptation. He laughed and sung for a brief space, and then, at some dangerous turning of the road, he was missed from the company, and the ciy resounded, “Lost, lost, lost!” —and the distant echoes repeated, “Lost, lost, lost!”—and the voice of parental sorrow rose on the air, “ Oh, my son Absalom, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee ! O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Onward and upward went the faithful of the band; their path was smoother now; they had in full view the sparkling domes of the City of Wonders; they had reached the golden gates; they pronounced with faith the name of the King’s Son; the gates unfolded, and they entered, to dwell for ever in his glorious presence—

“In the sweet fields of Eden,
Where the tree of life is blooming.*

1 think you understand my story. You, my children, are the merry band of boys and girls landed on the shores of time; to you has come the glorious message from the King of Heaven; you are invited to dwell for ever in the new Jerusalem; your way to that city is by the path of duty. Experience bids you take with you knowledge, which you can all get freely by giving due attention to your lessons at school; he bids you take with you principle, which you can all freely get by reading often and carefully your Bibles, and by treasuring the counsels of your parents, your teachers, and your pastors; and Experience urges you to take with you self-denial, for you will all be sorely tempted. Shun especially the cup of death—strong drink; and forget not the name of King Jesus, and assuredly the golden gates will be unfolded to you.

Is it not a blessed thought that I, who am now speaking to you, if I accept the terms of the generous offer, will, at the longest, in a very short time, in the company of your parents, your Sabbath school teachers, and your pastors, stand within the golden gates, to bid you welcome as you ascend the heavenly heights! James, with his manly look, will be there; Julia, with her loving eyes, and Arthur, with his merry smile, and Clara, with her golden curls. Willie will be there, Maggie will be there, and all good children will be there,—all bringing with them, as prized treasures, the telescope of knowledge, the compass of principle, and the pledge of self-denial. How cordial will the greeting be to all from Him who said aforetime—“Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven 1 ’*

ACT IV.

—The Great Hall in Gartnavd Royal Lufiatie Asylum.

Audience,—About Three Hundred Patients of the Institution.

The Chief Medical Superintendent presiding.

Mr. Chairman and Friends,

I have very great pleasure in being amongst you on this occasion. My absence from your former meetings this season was occasioned by imperative business engagements. I account it both an honour and a pleasure to be privileged to take part in your entertainment. When I receive an invitation from our esteemed friend, Dr. Mackintosh, I have the flattering thought that one of the first judges of mental qualities looks upon me as a very sensible, judicious man. Now, this is one of the honours I relish. My pleasure in being present arises chiefly from the fact that I have found you one of the most appreciative audiences I ever addressed. I, therefore, on all occasions, in speaking to you, put my very best oratorical foot foremost, knowing as I do that Demosthenes himself might have been proud to have commanded your attention and approbation.

Our lamented friend, the late master of ceremonies, called this noble institution “ The Palace of the Mind,”—a most appropriate appellation. Well, in speaking to you now, I shall aim at exhibiting to you a few of the privileges you enjoy as occupants of the Palace of the Mind. On the threshold of my subject I ask all the Muses to assist me with thoughts and words that shall be both pleasant and profitable to you. I shall ask permission to speak as one of the great family of the Palace.

Our first privilege, then, as inmates of this noble institution is, that we do in reality live in a stately and splendid palace. In looking abroad over the world we see the great mass of mankind, in both town and country, living in miserable hovels. It is only one man in a thousand who has really a comfortable home, and there is not one in ten thousand who has such an abode as ours; no, not one in a hundred thousand. And there are still fewer who have such an abode as ours and the sense to live in it. At rare intervals a very successful merchant builds for himself a princely mansion on some lovely spot; but before the great toy is finished—so weak is human nature—the owner leaves its rural charms for the vanities of some great city, and his huge castellated pile becomes a lonely, dusty place. Now, we have not only a palace, but we live in it. Perhaps the greatest man the world ever saw—William Shakespeare—when he had taken the correct measure of all the world had to exhibit, sat down to live as we do, in a fine house on the bank of a beautiful river, where he spent his time, as we spend ours, in pleasant musings, as he sauntered through his garden. In the Palace of the Mind our government is truly paternal, and is, I believe, the very best government in the world. Where was there ever a king who watched over his subjects with the same fatherly solicitude that Dr. Macintosh watches over us? There is no red tape about our government. If the humblest inmate of the Palace has any communication to make to our sovereign, he may at once approach the royal presence and unfold his tale, certain of both a patient hearing and an honest judgment; and if, after the decision of our royal Doctor, the subject still holds another view of the matter which has been discussed, he is at perfect liberty to do so, for our Palace is in the full enjoyment of “freedom of opinion.” It is this perfect law of liberty which prevails amongst us which prevents revolution amongst the Doctor’s subjects. In the Palace of the Mind revolution was never known, while we have seen Prance, Naples, Rome, and even America, shaken to their very centres. We, who freely permit every man and woman to think and to say what they please, have remained in perfect security.

With regard, then, to our government, the inhabitants of the Palace of the Mind are highly privileged. Next in order comes the society of the Palace. There is no more tiresome society than when one is surrounded by people who are commonplace—who have nothing remarkable or interesting about them. Now, whatever may be said about the society of the Palace, it cannot be called commonplace. We have every variety of character, every variety of mental conformation, and every shade of temperament and disposition—all continually exhibiting new combinations, which are deeply interesting, and profoundly suggestive of the strange mysteries of human nature. The society, then, of the Palace, has all the charms of change, of originality, and even of humorous eccentricity; and he who looks for more than this from any society in the world is certain of being disappointed.

Having spoken of our abode, our government, and our society, I must glance for a moment at the creature comforts of the Palace. The poor amongst us are far better and more regularly fed with wholesome and nutritious food than the great mass of poor people beyond our walls; while the rich amongst us have an abundant supply of all the dainties the world can produce. It is true that, the Maine Law being in operation in the Palace, none of us have an unlimited supply of strong drink; but this we all know is a blessing, for it keeps this noble institution entirely free of those debasing scenes of dissipation which are the darkest stain on our national character. In the Palace of the Mind, then, we have an abundant supply of all that is calculated best to promote oux health, strength, and comfort. That our brothers and sisters over the length and breadth of the country may be as well off as regards food during the present winter is, I am sure, the sincere wish of all the inmates of the Palace.

The mental food of the Palace is precisely the same as that of the world at large; for all authors of note, both ancient and modem, are ever ready to unfold their treasures of thought to any of us the moment we are disposed to listen to them. Homer and Tennyson are alike ready to sing to us; Plutarch waits patiently to tell us of the great ancients; Shakespeare is ever ready with Nature’s mirror at our service; Milton strikes his mighty harp the moment we listen; and the great Sir Walter will, at a moment’s notice, tell us his wondrous tales for our amusement and instruction.

But I need not enumerate our mental dainties; for from the Bible itself, all the way along to the latest edition of our daily papers, all printed matter is at our service. The amusements of the Palace are of the very highest order; our native talent is great; and then we are regularly visited by Mr. M‘Neil and his wandering stars during their brief stay in our city—so that we can truthfully say we have our men singers and our women singers, our performers on stringed instruments and those who bring sweet sounds from the flute and the viol—all ever willing to do their very best to please us, seeking no reward save the consciousness of having added to our happiness.

After this brief outline of our privileges, I may ask—Have we anything at all to complain of in the Palace of the Mind ?— and I at once answer, Yes; we are restricted to the Palace and its gardens—that is our cause of complaint; but we know full well that restrictions have been ever the lot of humanity even in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were restricted, and required to render obedience. We would like sometimes to have our own way in everything; but the moment we reflect that even in Paradise our first parents were required to curb their desires, we gracefully bow to the rules of the Palace, and uniformly find that obedience and happiness go hand in hand. Let us, then, do our best to extract happiness from all the sources I have enumerated; and, in addition, let us ever cull the sweets of external nature with which we are so lavishly surrounded. In our beautiful garden we may eiyoy in perfection all the seasons in their turn. Let us, then, joyously welcome spring with all her budding charms, summer with her glory of full-blown flowers, autumn with her treasures of ripened fruit, and winter with his grandeur of storms; and as we note the fruits and flowers and gems of earth, let us ever turn with rapture to the glory of the firmament, with its mighty h in, its gentler moon, and all its hosts of stars,

“For ever singing, as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine.’*

And as we contemplate these mighty wonders, all spread out before us for our continuous enjoyment, let us cultivate a feeling of fervent gratitude to the Giver of all good, who, in his wondrous and mysterious providence, has made such ample and luxuriant provision for His well-beloved children who, by the decree of His Divine will, occupy, during His pleasure, the Palace of the Mind.

ACT V.

Scene,—The Glasgow City Hall on 10th March, 1863. Audience,— Two Thousand Ladies and Gentlemen—met to celebrate the Marriage of their Loyal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra. Neil M'Neil, Esq., presiding, and cutting the Bride's Calce presented to the Meeting by the Corporation.

Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I must introduce myself this evening with very hackneyed words, which, however, I do not remember ever having used before. I really cannot begin without saying that I feel proud of the honour you have done me in calling on me to speak on the present occasion—an occasion for which I know you could have commanded the services of any man in the city. I really do not care much for many earthly honours,—they are often bought at too high a price; but to be thus freely chosen, without any effort of my own, by the leading social reformers of this the second city of the kingdom, to give expression to our loyalty on this great occasion, is an honour which, I am sure, I will never forget. I accepted this honour the moment it was offered me, for various reasons. I know that I am as loyal as any man in the city; I know that no man in the city has a more sincere respect than I have for Victoria the True and Albert the Good; and that no man in the city has a more sincere desire for the welfare of their beloved children. I know enough of the world’s history to be quite certain' that we, the subjects of our gracious sovereign, are privileged to live under the best government that ever existed amongst men; and I know enough of the former occupants of thrones to know that Queen Victoria is second to no monarch, ancient or modern; and I know, too, that in no city of her vast dominions are the virtues of our beloved sovereign more sincerely appreciated than in the great city of Glasgow. Therefore do I feel confident that I give voice to the earnest wish of all our hearts when I pray that every blessing may descend on Victoria’s first-born son, the Prince of Wales, and his Royal Bride.

This done, and cordially responded to, little more is required on the present occasion; for, however much may be said of true love when its course does not run smooth, when all goes well, and two faithful young hearts are united in the holy bonds of marriage, nothing remains to be said. Then comes the time for music and the dance, for merry bells and streaming banners, for jolly songs and right good cheer. To dwell in words on a happy marriage would be like elaborating the beauties of a fruitful plain, of a silver sea, or a cloudless sky, all fair, and good, and beautiful, but all seen in their perfection at a single glance. The altar reached, the story always ends. We ask no more when the poet tells us that——

"She's ower the border and awe
Wi' Jock o' Hazeldean.”

I think, however, I can interest yon for a little, if I give you a few incidents of this right royal courtship; and if any of you should feel curious to know how I chance to be possessed of the love secrets of the royal pair, I may tell you in confidence that I have them from the same authority as Milton had his knowledge of the first wooings in Eden’s bowers.

It is now some years since the lovely Danish maiden, while on a friendly visit to the British Court, strayed at leisure through the verdant glades of Windsor:

“Twas in the prime
Of summer time,"

and nature wore her gayest dress; the gentle zephyrs softly whispered through the stately ancient oaks; the streamlets softly murmured; the air was laden with the fragrant breath of flowers; while the soaring lark, far in the brilliant blue, was pouring down its flood of song, which, in the stranger maiden’s ear, ran, “Glory, glory, glory!” On went the maiden: she was silently poring over a little well-thumbed volume, thinking only of the children of the poet, nor ever dreamt but that she was quite alone, when Albert Edward stood before her.

“You are reading,” said the prince.

“Yes,” said the princess, and closed the book.

“May I ask,” said the prince, “who is the author so highly honoured?”

“Shakespeare,” said the royal maiden.

“And you were reading?” said the prince.

“Guess,” said Alexandra.

“‘Romeo and Juliet,*” said the prince.

“It was even so,” said the princess.

“Take my arm, and lend me your Shakespeare,” said the prince.

 With pleasure/’ said the lady.

On went the royal pair, often cheek to cheek as they pointed out their favourite thoughts in the world’s great bard.

“It is very strange,” said the prince, after many passages had been conned, “that you and I should so much agree in our tastes: almost every gem marked in your edition of the poet is likewise marked in mine.”

“A proof,” said the princess, “that we are kindred spirits.”

“Yes,” said Albert Edward, “a proof that we can both appreciate the true and the beautiful.”

“Did you ever observe,” said the maiden, “that ‘beautiful ’ is a charming word to speak? No other word doth give such sweet expression to the curves of the lips or the dimples of the cheeks.”

“The thought was never mine before,” said the prince; “but if you will now pronounce, I will become an ardent student of the curves and dimples.”

With a witching smile the fair Alexandra said—“ Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! ”

“Indeed,” said Edward, “the charming word doth well become thy beautiful lips, thy beautiful cheeks, and is no less becoming to the soft glances of thy beautiful eyes.”

The princess stooped to pluck a single blade of grass: a shaded seat was now in view; Edward and the Danish maiden were now sitting side by side.

“I am glad,” said the prince, “that you so appreciate the world's first poet, Shakespeare. Know you aught of the Scottish poet, the ploughman bard, Robert Burns?”

“I do,” said the princess; “one of my tutors was a Scotchman, and I have often heard him sing Burns’s songs.”

“Do you remember,” said the prince, “these lines, so beautifully expressive of the feelings of a lover in the absence of his idol ?—

"Yestreen, when to the trembling string
The dance gaed roun’ the lighted ha',
To thee my fancy took its wing;
I sat, but neither heard nor saw,
Though this was fair and that was braw,
An’ yon the toast o' a’ the toon;
I sighed, and said, am&ng them a'
Ye arena Mary Morrison."

“I remember them distinctly,” said the lady.

“And these?” said Albert Edward,—

"How gaily bloomed the bonny birk,
How rich the hawthorn’s blossom,
As underneath their fragrant shade
I clasped her to my bosom.
The golden hours, on angel's wings,
Stole o’er me and my dearie;
For dear to me as light and life
Was my sweet Highland Mary."*

“I know them well,” said the maiden, “but never saw half their beauties until now. You speak poetry with such a matchless grace, if ever I become author I will seek no higher honour than that you shall read my works, that all the world may learn how they should be read.”

“Do you,” said Edward, “remember any Scottish song? I would like to hear how you catch the meaning of our northern bards.”

“I can,” answered the lady, “gratify your highness in this little matter; for while you were speaking those sweet lines of Burns, the exquisite charm of your voice recalled to me a very homely Scottish ditty: it is a description given by a country lass of her shepherd lover; but the lines might be spoken of a prince:—

“My 'Patie is a lover gay,
His mind is never muddy, O,
His breath is sweet as new-mawn hay,
Bis face is fair and ruddy, O;
He’s handsome, stately, middle-size,
He’s comely in his walking, O;
The glancing o’ his e'en surprise,
And it’s heaven to hear him talking, O.”

“Beautiful,” said the prince; “I feel it heaven to hear you talking, and so you must speak on. Here, in Shakespeare, is a passage I should like to hear you read. It is a passage you are not familiar with, for it bears no mark: it is one of the speeches spoken by Venus to Adonis; I think it very fine. Here, take the book, and give me that stanza in your best style.”

The princess took the volume, and scanning the passage, said, “I see it’s something about kissing; but as it would be treason to question your taste, I will read it as well as 1 can.

“Come here and sit where never serpent hisses,
And being set, I’ll smother thee with kisses;
I will not doy thee unto satiety,
But rather ravish thee amidst their plenty,
Making thee red and white with fresh variety,—
Ten kisses quick as one, one long as twenty. ”

“Bravo !” cried the prince.

The princess rose to depart.

“You would,” said Albert Edward, “make a fortune in England by reading Shakespeare.”

The maiden blushingly answered, “If your highness think so, why not engage me to be reader to the English Court. I am sure you could well afford to pay me.”

“That,” said the prince, “depends entirely upon the price you may put on your transcendent powers.”

“Oh,” said the princess, smiling, “I would not be greedy. You might engage me to read for life for the moderate sum of—let me see; well, twenty-five shillings.”

“Twenty-five shillings!” said the prince; “you are quite too modest,—twenty-five shillings !”

“Not a bit too modest,” said the princess, stepping over the grass. “You know twenty-five shillings amount to something handsome. On reflection, you will find that it is an English Sovereign and an English Crown.”

Off went the royal maiden; she was scarlet with blushes— a tear was on her cheek; she wished she could recall her words—she thought she had been too bold; but Albert Edward stood transfixed—the little god had lodged a thousand arrows in his heart; for many days and nights he might have sung—

“When I sleep I dream,
When. I wake I’m weary,
Rest 1 can get nane,
For thinking on my dearie.”

The Danish sea kings had hooked Britannia. So dawned the love that yields us this day our Royal Marriage. God bless the happy youthful pair! May kind heaven so direct their steps, in their high and slippery path, that all the afteractions of their lives may prove them worthy of the love which a grateful nation is this day lavishing on them because they are the children of Victoria! God bless our gracious Queen — so great, so young, and yet so lonely! Heaven strengthen and comfort her sorely bruised heart !

Again we say, God bless Edward and Alexandra! May all the world, while looking on a mighty nation strewing flowers in the path of our bridegroom and his bride, learn that the greatest sovereigns are the monarchs of free peoples!

Is there in the heart of any one a single thought of envy at the mighty honours of the royal lovers? If there be in any breast such a thought, let it instantly vanish in the light of common sense, which clearly shows that all that is really good in their lot may be equally enjoyed in any rank of life. The humblest subject of our sovereign may, with raptures equal to the prince, woo and win his bride; and every virtuous maiden in the land may give her lover joys as pure find sweet as Alexandra will give to Albert Edward. JTo doubt, royal robes and queenly jewels will give the princess pleasure; but then the humble cottage maiden is just as happy when

“The wives cam* ben wi' muckle frase,
And wished the lassie happy days;
And muckle thocht they o' her claes,
And 'specially o' her breast-knots."

The high position of the prince is no doubt fraught with lofty joys; but then, it is true that the lowly youth, on whom fortune has never smiled, who woos and wins the maiden of his heart, and leads her in triumph to his humble home, and bravely, with his own right arm, fights the battle of life, providing by his own exertions for the wife of his bosom and the children of his love, has many rapturous feelings which Albert Edward can never know.

Again we say, God bless the happy pair! May they have entered on the enjoyment of a love which will go on brightening throughout the endless ages of eternity I

“God save our gracious Queen!
Long live our noble Queen!
God save the Queen!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long, long, to reign o'er us!
God save the Queen! *


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