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impression upon a good part of the congregations which dozed peacefully in the old horse-boxes, now almost without exception discarded in favour of open seats.

The old three-decker pulpit has also become a rarity. The late Mr. Spurgeon, I remember hearing, used to be very sarcastic about these wooden boxes, as he called them. The only use, he declared, he could imagine for pulpits was to remind the people of their latter end, by keeping before their eyes the whole time of the service a man half buried in a wooden box. He [thought they must have been invented for the benefit of some one whose legs were deformed. He believed the power of oratory lay very much in the legs, and he liked to see a man, when preaching, walk about, as Hermes did, and roar out the truth like a lion. He himself preached from a railed-in platform, on which he had plenty of room to move about.

To-day, only in a very few village churches can one find the box-like pews (often of deal, but sometimes of fine old oak and good workmanship) and old-fashioned galleries, in which, as I can remember, local instrumentalists supplied the music, now furnished by organs. All these things, to simple village souls, were inseparably connected with the ideas of worship; and when they saw all the old woodwork carted out like so much lumber, and the church gutted before being handed over



to some architect from town, no wonder that a link with the past seemed to have snapped. No amount of elaborate modern work and glaring stained glass could produce just the same atmosphere as they had known, when as children they were first taken to church.

The Nonconformists were not slow to realize how advantageous what the rustics called "the new-fangled ways" were likely to be to them. The advance of Ritualism, whatever it may have done in great towns, has not been popular amongst agricultural labourers, to a vast number of whom the services held in the dull, dreary chapels are far more attractive than the ornate services of the modern village church, in which they feel themselves out of place.

It is a pity that in past days—things, I believe, are better now-there so often existed an antipathy between the Nonconformists and the parson.

"But Dissenters are connected with it, and I can't work with Dissenters," said a clergyman asked by a lady to participate in a fête got up for some charitable purpose. "But do you not expect to meet some good Dissenters in heaven?" The clergyman replied, with an air of condescension, that he believed he should. "Then how will you be able to associate there if you will not meet them here?" The clergyman paused a moment, and then replied, "Well, you know, we are told there will be many mansions."

In one church where an unusually good choir had

been introduced it was allowed to monopolize the musical portion of the service. A man who had only just returned to the village after several years entering the church joined in the hymn. A verger waddled up to him, and exclaimed, "Stop, sir, stop! We do all the singing here ourselves, sir."

To an inquiry why he preferred chapel to church a Norfolk labourer gave the following reply, which explains why so many of his class are Dissenters :—

"When I goes to hear paarson," said he, “I must sit mum and take the jaw, but in chapel you can jaw back."

In many cases the modern High Church clergymen does not seem to realize that a village congregation is entirely different from a London one, a large proportion of which, attracted by an elaborate ritual, attends service almost as much to listen as to pray.

The old rustics were very peculiar people who lived entirely out of the world. Mr. Roebuck used to tell a story of their extraordinary ignorance.

Reading a paper in his garden not a hundred miles from the metropolis one morning, he found the announcement of the death of the great Duke of Wellington. A labouring man-a shrewd, clever fellow he rather liked-passing, asked, "Any news, sir, this morning?" "Yes," Mr. Roebuck replied, "rather bad news." "Bad news, what's that, sir?" Why," Mr. Roebuck said, "the Duke of Wellington is dead." "Ah, sir," he remarked, "I be very sorry for he; but who was he?"

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More than half of the rural population could neither read nor write. In the middle of the last century, education began to be much talked about, but in practice it was strictly confined to the higher and middle classes; it is true that "mechanic " institutions were instituted, but the little good they ever accomplished was postponed for many years.

Profound ignorance existed about ordinary things, and the labourer's vocabulary was very limited.

A Sussex clergyman having been inducted into a living, took occasion during his first sermon to introduce the word "optics." At the conclusion of the service a farmer who was present thanked him for his discourse, but intimated that he had made a small mistake in one word, softening down at the same time the severity of his criticism by saying: "Yet we all knew very well, sir, what you meant.' On the clergyman's making further inquiries about this word, the farmer replied: "What you called hopsticks in this part of the country we call hop-poles.”

Notwithstanding their ignorance, many of the oldfashioned rustics were fine characters. The honest hard-working labourer, who from morning till night toils to provide coarse food for a wife and children whom he loves, is raised, by his generous motive, to true dignity; and though wanting the refinements of life, is a nobler being than those who think themselves absolved by wealth from serving others.

Such a man has little time to gather much knowledge of the outer world, and before the days of the

cheap newspaper he troubled himself little about anything which happened out of his immediate neighbourhood.

Even the farmers knew almost nothing about the great world outside.

A gentleman who had been partaking of the hospitalities of a farmer's house, having heard his host say one day that he would like to taste turtle, as he supposed it was very good, on returning to town sent him a turtle. On a subsequent visit he heard that the present was not productive of satisfaction; for, said the farmer, we boiled 'un in the copper, wi' cabbage for a matter of seven hours, and then he warn't done!"

Village people were very blunt and bluff, and though kind-hearted enough, quite devoid of those niceties of speech and feeling which are the product of urban civilization.

A lady in advanced age and declining state of health went, by the advice of her physician, to take lodgings in a farm in a peculiarly healthy district, the owner of which let rooms to invalids. Going down to look at the place, the lady when coming downstairs observed that the balustrades were much out of repair. "These,” said the lady, "must be mended before I can think of coming to live here."

"Oh no, madam," replied the landlady, "that would be only wasting money, as the undertaker's men, in bringing down the coffins, would break them again immediately."

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