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Notes Pertinent and Impertinent on London Society.
psalms the casuals' cannot be admitted.
Now the choristers, men and boys, stream in from the vestry, not exactly 'in order due,' but straggling wise, some here some there, and walk up to their places. The venerable master, with a head like Mont Blanc, takes his seat by the communion-table, and the reader goes to his desk. From the recess in which lies the organ bursts forth a full volume of sweet sounds, each one plainly articulated yet blended with its neighbour, till the whole church is full of music, that seems to sanctify each pillar and stone, and to attune the minds of the listeners to the service which is now to commence.
But it is doubtful if the music pervades the souls of all. 'Behold yon simpering dame,' is she not absorbed in a sort of unholy triumph at having a pleasant place among the benchers' ladies, while her cousin 'who is always boasting of her friend -who can at any time get an order,' is standing without, in the position of the man who was told to sit under the footstool of his rich neighbour? Mr. Quiller, regardless of the music, is signalizing to his friend Tompkins on the other side of the church; recognitions of a less demonstrative kind are going on all around; and I fear that young Mr. Salt, grand-nephew of Mr. Salt, the Bencher, who was immortalized by Charles Lamb in his essay on the Benchers of the Inner Temple-who came up from Norfolk last night, in order to spend Sunday quietly with his family, is discussing with an unbriefed colleague the merits of the great case of the circuit' in which he is engaged.
It is difficult to find a full and satisfactory reason for the separation of men and women in churches. Authorities in ecclesiastical matters will tell you that the practice was common in a certain century far away back in the history of the church; others will tell you substantially that the practice exists because it does exist, while others will support it on the ground of expediency, averring that unprotected women can come in and out and
find their own special pasture, without being incommoded by the attention or neglect of men. There are some men who refer to the separation of the sheep and the goats, and suggest that this practice is founded upon that promise, forgetting apparently that their place as one enters a church is to be found on the left. Finally, there are others who will have it that the reason is because men and women, especially young men and young women, are possessed by nature with an irresistible tendency to laugh, and joke, and talk when seated together, which they have not when separated, and that it is with the object of insuring a more devout and more decent behaviour that the separation is enforced during divine service. Crossexamination has not been directed with the view to ascertaining whether married people fall into the same condemnation, or whether the conduct of the unmarried is so intolerable as to render personal sacrifice necessary on the part of the married in order to check them. Neither has it been shown how many of those unmarried who would have behaved ill if allowed to sit together have behaved better now they are separated; how many glances, inattentions to service, &c., which erewhile were confined to the pew, now flaunt themselves over the whole church. But the inquiry, however interesting, is foreign to the subject of this paper; indeed, it would never have been mooted but for the fact that at this Temple Church, whereof we are writing, the separation system is in force. Is it? Yes; but let not any upholder of the system elsewhere think to quote the example as a precedent. The reason for the separation is a historical one, differing entirely from any of the reasons suggested above. The church or chapel was built for the use of military monks, who of course had no womankind to bring, and after these decayed through pride' there came successors who preserved the traditions of the place, and made provision for men to the exclusion of women. Students of law were not supposed to have any female relations, and those 'serjeants of the law
Notes Pertinent and Impertinent on London Society.
ware and wise,' who might be supposed to have them were known not to have them living on the spot, even in early Temple days, so accommodation for ladies was not provided. Tradition and custom, founded on these bases, have caused lady Templars to be somewhat scantly treated. In that block of seats next the entrance, to which the eyes of Mr. Wynn of the Southern circuit, and the eyes of many more are turned, behold the ladies of barristers and students, and yonder, in the best block of seats in the church, are the fair belongings of the elder brethren, the Benchers of the Inn.
'Does this lady belong to you, sir?' said the porter to Gaff, when Gaff took his friend Wallis and Wallis's bride to the morning service.
'Yes,' said Gaff, white lie like, to the dismay of poor Mrs. Wallis, and that lady was forthwith conducted to a seat of honour, while Wallis, ignorant of the rules of the place, was hurried away from her with whom he had a week before sworn to abide till death them should part. 'Did Judge Jeffreys really choose the organ?'
"'Tis said so, and that he was selected to decide between this and one almost equally good which is now at Wolverhampton.'
'But the Judge Jeffreys, the "western campaign" man?"
The same, sir; he of the" Bloody Assize."
"Then I don't believe he could have been the bad fellow Lord Campbell and others make him out to have been. "Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast;" and I can't believe that the man who could appreciate that organ could have sentenced Lady Lisle to be burnt.'
'Both are reported of him nevertheless.'
"Then I almost pardon him the one for the sake of the other. Hark how it pours out its music! Charmed organist ever so wisely? Even the solemn marble busts up there seem to feel it, and the eyes of the little lamb who bears his flag on the groined arches of the roof seem to twinkle with pleasure. The men
There let the pealing organ blow
And bring all heaven before mine eyes!"
An anthem book? No, thank you. Offer it to the lady sitting there under my footstool. What do I want with an anthem book? Are not they singing that same sweet song which I remember among my earliest recollections, as being sung on High Sundays at Kitcaster Cathedral? Are not the words known to me, every syllable? Is not the music scored in 'the book and volume of my brain, unmixed with baser matter?' By your leave, sir, your offer is an impertinence.
Where are your manners, my friend? Stand up, not sit, while the bidding prayer is said before the sermon. Hear, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the precepts of the preacher, who exhorts you yet once more to pray for the Queen's most excellent majesty,' 'for the great Council of the nation,' for all schools and seminaries of sound learning,' 'for the prosperity of all institutions set apart for the study and practice of the law,' and,' especially for the two honourable and learned societies of this House,' 'for the clergy,' and 'for all the commons of the realm.' Listen attentively, and by no means look too often during the delivery to those attractive benches, neither say you to yourself that the bidding prayer is merely a recapitulation of what has been prayed for in the morning service; and do not go away with the notion that it is only introduced because lawyers being accustomed to summings up, cannot dispense with them even in their prayers.
For your guidance during the sermon I can offer you no suggestions-of course you know how to behave-but as a friend I would warn you that the side seats are more comfortable than those in the
nave for certain purposes, and that you may have to guard your mind, if you want to attend to the preacher, from the magnetic influence the place has to draw your thoughts historically backward, backward, through long vistas of years when other men attended here, and other
men preached, and sang, and prayed, until the chances are you are drawn so far away from things present as to require the full force of that grand organ's grand 'Voluntary' to bring you back again from the land of Nod. FRANCIS W. ROWSELL.
TRUTH IN WINE.
WHEN the history of civilisation as illustrated by the use of beverages comes to be written, it will be difficult to assign a very definite place to England during the middle of the nineteenth century. We seem to be in this, as well as in some other respects, in a transition state, partly brought about by altered modes of living, by changes in physical constitution resulting from the new conditions imposed on those who strive to leave their mark upon society, and still more by a wider range of experience, and the freedom of commercial intercourse which has been the great aim of recent legislation.
From the time when Bishop Still wrote in praise of ale, and the glories of John Barleycorn were supposed to be betrayed by the introduction of hops, and especially of sulphurcured hops into the malt wine of the old Saxon period, even England has possessed a literature in relation to beverages. Of course in the old classical times the praise of wine was the continual theme of the poets; and though, in all probability, nobody would now be found to relish any but the choicest Falernian, and would perhaps object to pay even a guinea for a dozen amphoræ filled with the drink that inspired some of the best Anacreontics, there is still a popular notion that the wines of the old world were rare and delicious extracts, the method of making which is now lost; while the vines themselves that bore the purple and golden cluster perished somehow in the age of barbarism, and have never been cultivated since.
It may be taken for granted, how
ever, that we could not relish those rough, cloying, sweetened potations, any more than we could enjoy deep draughts of that new, clammy ale, which, in conjunction with a feast of peaches, undermined the robust constitution of one of our early English monarchs. Ale itself only kept its place through the improvements brought about by the introduction of the once detested hops; and the importation of that strange flower nearly brought about a revolution, for it was an un-English and unconstitutional innovation, not to be tolerated by the brewing monopolists. Ale would have gone, as mead went, but that it changed its character in accordance with the habits of the people. The wines of France, and even one or two of the wines of Greece, were brought into more common use, until claret became an ordinary beverage, and held the place of honour with sack and ale, in those days of England's history, to which we mostly refer with pride and satisfaction, when we speak of 'Old England.' There may be people even now who are hardly aware, or will not bring themselves to believe, that our Elizabethan heroes often put sugar or honey into their claret, and that sack, or, at all events, Sherris sack, was only sherry negus, that is to say, warm wine and water sweetened. Canary has ceased to be a favourite, or at least a common wine, long ago. The greater relish of the people of that day for wine, and especially for the lighter wine, or a strong wine well diluted with water, arose from the fact that so little ardent spirits were in use. It was only on the importation of the Dutch
schiedam from Holland, and the discovery of usquebaugh during the rebellion in Ireland, that the Elizabethans began to make much use of spirits, even as frequent stimulants, and then their progress in popular favour was comparatively slow. It would have been well for us, and for the generation that is to succeed us, if that progress had never been accelerated.
There can be no doubt, however, that the craving for alcoholic stimulus was greatly promoted by the introduction of port wine, and larger quantities of sherry, and the cultivation of a depraved taste by the government of Queen Anne, which devised the Methuen treaty, and at once put claret beyond the reach of the common people, by saddling it with a prohibitive duty. The declension in the public taste was as rapid as the increase in habits of gross intoxication; and the convivial literature of the period was degraded to the gross sensuality of the confirmed drunkard. It was necessary, too, to provide for the increased demand of these protected beverages; and sherry, as well as port, was prepared for the English market; poor and inferior vintages were alcoholized to a pitch that would conceal their imperfections; and the manufacture of wines became a necessary and a thriving trade, not only at Oporto and Cadiz, but at Cette, where all kinds of wines are still made to order, and on the Elbe, whence we still derive the dreadful compound known but not always detected as Hambro' sherry. The result of the Methuen treaty was that the common people, unable to obtain cheap wine, or to afford to drink even the vile adulterations sold as low-priced port and sherry, found consolation in ardent spirits. In 1700, the average consumption of wine in England was about a gallon per head, and fifty years after it did not exceed a fourth of a gallon, while, although the duty on French wines had been equalized in 1831, they could not regain their former place in the popular estimation. They were still out of the reach of ordinary consumers, and a gallon to every sixty people represented the
demand for what had once shared the place of ale, as a common beverage. There is no need to refer to the habits of the period represented by port and sherry, succeeded by arrack and punch. The caricatures of Gilray, the pictures of Hogarth, the plays, and poems, and novels; the very court records and state history of that time, 'are filled with the savour of low debauch, and the fumes of the fiery orgies may be detected in parliamentary debates and national councils. The only real safety was in beer,-we trust total abstainers will not misunderstand us. Ale was the family beverage; ale and the newly-devised brown-coloured beer, called porter. The decanters containing the red and white wine, as conscientious people called port and sherry, were only brought out on state occasions, and dispensed in small glasses, or were turned into bishop, or negus, by means of hot water, lemon-peel, and sugar. The celebrated port at one and nine, alluded to by Mr. Dickens, and the sherry which the late Mr. Albert Smith made one of his characters call 'Cape of Good Hope, because he hoped it would be better some day,' were the last resource of gentility, which was too poor to pay for the genuine 'black strap,' and yet too grand to make the household beer into 'egg-flip,' or 'purl,' or 'dog's-nose.'
It is the wide experience of the drugged and adulterated wines of that period which has given some impetus to the reaction of a large class of people against any but wines of known vintages and high price. There was so much vile stuff in the market that the genuine article would always command a handsome profit, and the wine trade was so limited that collusion was more profitable than competition, so that the excessive charges were maintained at the expense of the few who could afford to pay a heavy rate for clarets and hocks, as well as for the heavier and more alcoholic liquors. Port wine came to be recognised by the medical faculty as a restorative; and although it is now often the fashion to represent port as positively injurious, it
may be doubted whether the genuine article, thin, dryish, and with only the natural or necessary amount of alcohol, is not well suited to the digestion of a convalescent, and calculated to supply the needful stimulus in a form highly beneficial in cases of debility. It was the difficulty of procuring really good wine, and the ignorance even of wine merchants as to what should be the peculiar qualities of a sound and genuine vintage, that led to so much confusion as to the relative acidity of port and sherry, and the value of either as a remedy. A literature of wine was not wanting, however, and these questions were amply discussed, as well as the necessary conditions for the growth and adequate preparation of the grape. M'Culloch, Henderson, in his history of ancient and modern wines; Paguierre, Busby, who visited the vineyards of Spain and France; Sutton, Jullien, Bronner, Schams, Graff, and a dozen others, went into the whole question; and the conclusion necessarily arrived at was that insisted on by Mr. Porter, who, in his' Progress of the Nation,' stated pathetically enough that there were wines produced in France better adapted to the English taste than the French wines usually drunk here; and that they could be imported at sixpence a bottle without duty. As it was, the duty alone was not less than a shilling a bottle, so no cheap wines were brought into the market except those that were passed off at a price quite above the reach of ordinary consumers. Still the conviction that a return to pure wine as a beverage would be a national benefit was fast gaining ground, and indications were not wanting that the time must soon come for the introduction of at least a few of the many exquisite products of the vine-growing countries of Europe. In 1850 the total imports of wine was 7,970,000 gallons, of which 6,251,862 gallons were retained for home consumption. Of this only 466,000 gallons came from France; while Spain sent 3,310,000, and Portugal over 3,000,000. In 1859, before the long-delayed reduction of the duty, the total quantity for
home consumption had only reached 7,263,000 gallons, though the quantity from France had more than proportionately increased to 695,913 gallons. In the following year, however, a change came o'er the spirit of the dream, and the statesmen who had for above a century endorsed the policy of Methuen awoke to the fact that a whole nation was clamouring with the impatience of unslaked thirst. The duty was reduced from 58. 9d. to 38. a gallon, and the result was that 1861 showed an increase to 10,787,000 gallons; and of this quantity 2,228,000 were represented by France alone, which at once rose nearly to a level with Portugal.
In 1862 the prophecy of Mr. Gladstone was fulfilled, and good claret was imported and sold in London at 148. a dozen; for the enormous advantage was achieved of distinguishing between wines highly alcoholized, and the light wines which contained less than 26 per cent. of proof spirit. The duty on the latter was reduced to a shilling a gallon, or, practically, to twopence a bottle, while the former were charged 28. 6d. instead of 58. 9d. a gallon, if they contained less than 42 per cent. of spirit.
Dry as these details are-(in spite of their subject, though even wine may be too dry)—the history of the revolution which is slowly being effected in the national tastes and habits will one day be of no little interest. Even now people who have taken advantage of the provisions made by the treaty, in bringing cheap wine to their very doors, scarcely realize the full meaning of this part of the commercial treaty, and the ultra-Conservative, 'oldfashioned' folks, who 'stick to wholesome port and sherry, and won't have your cheap, wishy-washy stuff,' are not always too ignorant to benefit by the reduced prices of wine very superior in quality to that which they could only afford as an occasional liqueur, until old monopolies were broken up, and the removal of a prohibitive duty at once stimulated competition for popular favour.
For it was not in the light wines of the continent of Europe alone