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By the late Bishop Horne.
SHAT conversation may answer the ends for which it I was designed, the parties who are to join in it must come together with a determined resolution to piease, and to be pleased. If a man feels that an east wind has rendered himn dull and sulky, he should by all means stay at home till the wind changes, and not be troublesome to his friends; for dullness is infectious, and one sour face will make many, as one cheerful countenance is soon productive of others. If two gentlemen desire to quarrel, it should not be done in a company met to enjoy the pleasures of conversation. Let a stage be erected for the purpose, in a proper place, to which the jurisdiction of the Middlesex magistrates doth not reach. There let Martin and Mendoza mount, accompanied by Big Ben and Johnson, and attended by the amateurs, who delight to behold blows neatly laid in, ribs and jaw-bones ele+ gantly broken, and eyes sealed up with delicacy and address. It is obvious, for these reasons, that he who is about to forin a conversation-party should be careful to invite men of congenial minds, and of sinilar ideas respecting the entertainment of which they are to partake; and to which they must contribute.
With gloomy persons gloomy topics likewise should be (as indeed, they will be) excluded, suchras ill healıb, bad weather, bad news, or forebodings of such, &c. &c. To preserve the temper calm and pleasant, it is of uns speakable importance that we always accustom ourselves through life to make the best of things, to view them on their bright side, and so represent them to others, for our mutual comfort and encouragement. Few things (especially if, as Christians, we take the other world into the account) but have a bright side: diligence and prac. tice will easily find it. Perhaps there is no circumstance beiter calculated than this to render conversation equally pleasing and profitable.
In the conduct of it, be not eager to interrupt others, or uneasy at being yourself interrupted; since you speak either to amuse or instruct the company, or to receive those benefits from it. Give all, therefore, leave to speak in turn. Hear with patience, and answer with precision: Inattention is ill manners; it shews contempt; and contempt is never forgiven,
Trouble not the company with your own private con: cerns, as you do not love to be troubled with those of . others. Yours are as little to them as theirs are to you. You will need no other rule whereby to judge of this matter.
Contrive, but with dexterity and propriety, that each person may have an opportunity of discoursing on the subject with which he is best acquainted. He will be pleased, and you will be informed. By observing this rule, every one has it in his power to assist in rendering conversation agreeable; since, though he may not choose, or be qualified, to say much himself, he can propose questions to those who are able to answer them."
Avoid stories, unless short, pointed, and quite a propos. He who deals in them, says Swift, must either have a very large stock, or a good memory, or must often change his company. Some have a set of them strung together like onions; they take possession of the conversation by an early introduction of one; and then you must have the whole rope; and there is an end of every thing else, perhaps, for that meeting, though you may have heard all twenty times before.
Talk often, but not long. The talent of haranguing in private company is insupportable. Senators and barristers are apt to be guilty of this fault; and members who never harangue in the House, will often do it out of the House. If the majority of the company be naturally silent, or cautious, the conversation will flag, unless it be often renewed by one among them who can start new subjects. Forbear, however, if possible, to broach a second before the first is out, lest your stock should not last, and you should be obliged to come back to the old barrel. There are those who will repeatedly cross upon, and break into the conversation, with a fresh topic, till they have touched upon all, and exhausted none. Economy here is necessary for most people.
Laugh not at your own wit and humour; leave that to the company.'
When the conversation is flowing in a serious and useful channel, never interrupt it by an ill-timed jest. The strean is scattered, and cannot be again collected.
Discourse not in a whisper, or half-voice, to your next freighbour. It is ill-breeding, and, in some degree, a fraud; conversation-slock being, as one has well observed, a joint and common property.
In reflections on absent people, go no farther than you. would go if they were present." I resolve,” says Bishop Beveridge,“ never to speak of a man's virtues to his face, nor of his faults behind his back :”-a golden rule! the observation of which would, at one stroke, banish flattery and defamation from the earth.
Conversation is effected by circumstances which, at first sight, may appear trifling, but really are not so. Some, who continue dumb while seated, become at once loquacious when they are (as the senatorial phrase is) upon their legs. Others, whose powers languish in a close room, recover themselves on putting their heads into fresh air, as a Shrovetide cock does when his head is put into fresh earth. A turn or two in the garden makes them good company. There is a magic sometimes in a large circle which fascinates those who compose it into silence; and nothing can be done, or rather nothing can be said, till the introduction of a card-table breaks up the spell, and releases the valiant knights and fair dam
sels from their captivity. A table, indeed, of any kind, : considered as a centre of union, is of eminent service to
conversation at all times; and never do'we more sensibly feel the truth of that old philosophical axiom, that nature abhors a vacuum, than upon its removal. I have been told that, even in the Blue-stocking Society, formed solely for the purpose of conversation, it was found, after repeated trials, impossible to get on without one cardtable. In that same venerable society, when the company is too widely extended to engage in the same conversation, a custom is said to prevail (and a very excellent one it is), that every gentleman, upon his entrance, selects his partner, as he would do at a ball; and, when the conversation-dance is gone down, the company change partners, and begin afresh. Whether these things be so or not, most certain it is, that the lady or the gentleman deserves well of the society who can devise any method whereby so valuable an amusement can be heightened and improved.
Vol. VII. Churchm. Mag. Sept. 1804.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHNAN'S
BEG to be allowed to contribute my mitè of inform
ation on the notorious subject of briefS. I am an Essex farmer; I live in the parish of DAGENHAM. So long ago as the year 1798, our antient Gothic Church became very ruinous; how it was suffered to fall into such a state of utter decay, I cannot tell. A brief was then obtained for repairing it; the sum certified as necessary being 11761. ios. Upon the strength of this, we set about preparing to take down the tower. After incurring considerable expense in these preliminary operations, the tower, whether shaken by erecting scaffolding, or whether it wanted no impulse to tumble into ruin, fell suddenly; and, in falling, beat down nearly the whole edifice, except the chancel. This was a terrible blow to us. However, we hoped that our brief would prove productive, and that by and by we should be able to re-build, and set all to rights. But behold! when the produce of the brief reached the parish, it amounted only to SIXTY-EIGHT POUNDS, TEN SHILLINGS AND EIGHT PENCE! 'But what is still worse, the damage done by the fall of the tower was such, that the estimate of restoring the Church has now risen to 2431l. 98. 4d. which is the very sum stated in a SECOND BRIEF obtained in 1801, the produce of which is not yet ascertained.
Gentlemen, I have read your publication from its first appearance; and I well remember seeing in one of your numbers, a statement of the expenses attending the proçuring, dispersing, collecting, &c. of a brief for the Church at Ravenstondale, transcribed from Burn's Ecclestiastical Law, being no less then 3301. 16s, 6d. Now, is it not a sad thing, that, whereas upon the collecting of the first brief for Dagenham Church, we received no more than 681. 103. 8d. the sum of 3301. 16s. 6d. went into the pockets of some people, who, I will venture to say, were not in the contemplation of those who contribuited to one brief?
A brief is solicited on the ground of CHARITY; I do not envy the feelings of those persons who can stoop to feed, if not fatten, on what is substracted (legally no doubt) from the pittance called for by charity, and the alıns given for very different purposes, by benevolence.
I am, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient humble Servant, ***** *, Essex,
PIERCE PLOWMAN, Sept. 10, 1804.
FURTHER ACCOUNT OF THE ELECTION
TO THE EDITOR OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S.
MAGAZINE. SIR, T CONCLUDED my last letter by informing you that 1 Mr. Lendon had demanded a scrutiny of the votes given at the poll, which requisition was granted by the churchwarden. At a subsequent meeting of the parishioners in vestry, August the 29th was fixed for exchanging the lists of objected votes, and the 3d of September for the scrutiny. Penalty bonds were entered into by the candidates, at the churchwarden's desire, to indemnify such expenses as might be incurred by him, as presiding officer at the scrutiny. The lists having been exchanged, all other preparatory arrangements settled, and notice given by the churchwardens on Sunday, the 2d inst. in the churches of St. James's and St. John's, and in Pentonville Chapel, of the place where the scrutiny was to be held, the parties met, at the tine appointed, to proceed on the investigation. Mr. Serjeant Sellon, attended as counsel for Mr.Lendon; Mr. Dauncey, for Mr. Foster; and Mr. Reader, as assessor to the churchwarden. The senior churchwarden, who had acted as returning officer at the poll, being prevented from officiating through indisposition, bis place was supplied by the junior church warden, who, as well as his colleague, had from the beginning of the canvass, taken an active and decided part on the side of Mr. Foster, The court was opened by the churchwarden's formally declaring the business for which it had assembled.