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As I was strolling about the Cemetery, a funeral procession came in; and I followed it to the newmade gráve. The utter heartlessness with which the officiating clergyman read the burial service shocked me.
He hurried away from the band of mourners clustered around the grave, humming to himself a light air, and apparently as little affected with the solemn scene as though death were a dream, and the eternal world a fiction.
This morning, in company with a friend, I went to see the house of Roscoe, “ The Father of Liverpool;" the noble philanthropist, and the elegant historian of the Medicii. Through Irving's SketchBook the name of Roscoe has been transmitted to every hamlet, and almost every house in America.
It arouses the indignation of the man of letters, to think of the ingratitude of the people of Liverpool towards their generous Benefactor. The town whose monuments were associated with his benevolence and genius, and which he had embellished with his own private fortune, saw the home where he had clustered around him everything that could impart happiness to himself or render him useful to others, and from which he came forth every day to cheer and adorn his native city, entered by retainers of the law; and the halls that had been hallowed by the voice of the Muses, desecrated by the auctioneer's hammer.
Some weeks ago I had the pleasure of riding a hundred miles through the north of England, in
ROSCOE'S PARTING WITH HIS BOOKS.
company with a lady who was a relative of Roscoe ; and she related to me many interesting circumstances connected with the history and last days of that illustrious man. She said that the most painful scene she ever witnessed was when she saw him go into his library for the last time. He was deeply attached to his books; and when he was called to part with them, it seemed like giving up his old familiar friends. Several days had elapsed since legal processes had been instituted against him; and during this period he expected that assistance from his friends which would have been so grateful to his heart, and which he had reason to look for in this painful crisis.
When the unaverted stroke of the law at last fell, he went into his library, walked restlessly around it a few times, and seemed deeply agitated. Then seating himself in his favourite chair by the window, which looked out upon the green meadows through which the Mersey winds its quiet way, he wrote these lines :
TO MY BOOKS.
As one who, destined from his friends to part,
For pass a few short years, or days, or hours,
Good Roscoe !-yes, those “ few short years” have passed, and thy pure spirit has gone to the generous embrace of the great and the good who went before thee to that world where “ kindred spirits meet to part no more."
What a cheerless world this has always been for genius, and what a cold reception such noble spirits meet from it, till they have passed beyond the reach of its praise or its censure.
To my friend, who said to me as we left this spot, which was once the elegant home of Roscoe, “Now let me show you some other places”—“No," I answered, “I will see nothing to-day but Roscoe's grave."
Last Monday evening I attended the monthly concert of all the Dissenting Churches in town at the Crescent Chapel. A very beautiful address was delivered by Mr. Birrell, of the Free Baptist Church, on the genius and history of David Brainerd; and on Tuesday evening I met an interesting circle of friends at his house; among others, the lady of the minister of the church where Wickliffe, “the morning star of the Reformation," preached nearly five hundred years ago. That venerable edifice is still standing, with the same pulpit from which Wickliffe
RIDE TO CHESTER.
preached, and the old stone chair in which he used to sit in the vestry.
After tea, Mr. Birrell handed down from the ceiling a picture of Edwards, whose name is cherished on this side the Atlantic with the deepest veneration. I related to him the unpublished history of the affection of Brainerd and Jerusha Edwards, which presents a beautiful illustration of “ love stronger than death."
You remember that it was the desire of President Edwards, as well as of his daughter, that she should be with Brainerd in his last illness. She stood by his sick-bed, and was his ministering angel till he died. In a little while they met again in Heaven.
I think this has been one of the happiest days of my life. I always had a great desire to see the old Roman city of Chester. It is thought to be the most interesting old town in England; and I will endeavour to give you as correct an idea of it as possible. We crossed the Mersey at Liverpool, and took a post-chaise at Woodside to Chester, sixteen miles. It was delightful to get away from the din and smoke of the city, and ride through the garden scenery of England.
We passed several quiet villages and hamlets, and on every side plantations were stretching away, broken into numberless little fields by green hawthorn hedges. One of the sweetest things in English scenery is the irregularity and naturalness of
these hedgerows and fields. They are wholly without plan, and seem the work of chance. The English villages are little sheltered clusters of whitewashed cottages, reminding us, by their appearance, that they were built in troublous times, when their dwellers sought to be near each other for mutual protection : for it is said that there is not a village in England which has not at some time or other been disturbed by the wild and barbarous echoes of war during the days of her civil commotions. Almost all the dwellings stand immediately on narrow, winding streets, their low and moss-grown roofs and projecting casements coming nearly to the groundall overhung with ivy and honeysuckle, and children playing by the door. A little farther on you see some more venerable and spacious mansion, where the great man of the little village lives; and, last of all, in some quiet spot, the abode of the pastor, overshadowed by the lofty and time-worn church; and all around it “the rude forefathers of the hamlet” sleeping. Oh! you would not believe, to ride by these English homes, that this beautiful island could be the abode of so much heart-breaking wretchedness. But many of those little children are hungry; and many who once dwelt here were glad when they could lie down by that old church to their final sleep.
In two hours we had passed fifteen miles over the smooth road from Woodside, and before us lay the venerable city of Chester. We felt strange emo