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grave face, not to venture myself in it after sunset, for that one of the footmen had been almost frighted out of his wits by a spirit that appeared to him in the shape of a black horse without an head; to which he added, that about a month ago, one of the maids coming home late that way, with a pail of milk upon her head, heard such a rustling among the bushes, that she let it fall.
I was taking a walk in this place last night between the hours of nine and ten, and could not but fancy it one of the most 10 proper scenes in the world for a ghost to appear in. The ruins
of the abbey are scattered up and down on every side, and half covered with ivy and elder bushes, the harbours of several solitary birds, which seldom make their appearance till the dusk of the evening. The place was formerly a churchyard, and has still several marks in it of graves and burying-places. There is such an echo among the old ruins and vaults, that if you stamp but a little louder than ordinary, you hear the sound repeated. At the same time the walk of elms, with the croaking of the
ravens, which from time to time are heard from the tops of them, 20 looks exceeding solemn and venerable. These objects naturally
raise seriousness and attention; and when night heightens the awfulness of the place, and pours out her supernumerary horrors upon every thing in it, I do not at all wonder that weak minds fill it with spectres and apparitions. Mr. Locke, in his chapter of the association of ideas », has
very curious remarks, to shew how, by the prejudice of education, one idea often introduces into the mind a whole set that bear no resemblance to one another in the nature of things. Among
several examples of this kind, he produces the following instance. 30 The ideas of goblins and sprights have really no more to do with
darkness than light; yet let but a foolish maid inculcate these often on the mind of a child, and raise them there together, possibly he shall never be able to separate them again so long as he lives; but darkness shall ever afterwards bring with it those frightful ideas, and they shall be so joined, that he can no more bear the one than the other.
As I was walking in this solitude, where the dusk of the evening conspired with so many other occasions of terror, I
observed a cow grazing not far from me, which an imagination 40 that was apt to startle might easily have construed into a
black horse without an head; and I daresay the poor footman lost his wits upon some such trivial occasion.
My friend Sir Roger has often told me, with a good deal of mirth, that at his first coming to his estate, he found three parts of his house altogether useless; that the best room in it had the reputation of being haunted, and by that means was locked up; that noises had been heard in his long gallery, so that he could not get a servant to enter it after eight o'clock at night;
that the door of one of his chambers was nailed up, because there 10 went a story in the family that a butler had formerly hanged himself
and that his mother, who lived to a great age, had shut up half the rooms in the house, in which either her husband, a son, or a daughter had died. The knight seeing his habitation reduced to so small a compass, and himself in a manner shut out of his own house, upon the death of his mother, ordered all the apartments to be flung open, and exorcised by his chaplain, who lay in every room one after another, and by that means dissipated the fears which had so long reigned in the family.
I should not have been thus particular upon these ridiculous 20 horrors, did not I find them so very much prevail in all parts
of the country. At the same time I think a person who is thus terrified with the imagination of ghosts and spectres much more reasonable than one who, contrary to the reports of all historians sacred and profane, antient and modern, and to the traditions of all nations, thinks the appearance of spirits fabulous and groundless. Could not I give myself up to this general testimony of mankind, I should to the relations of particular persons who are now living, and whom I cannot distrust in other matters
of fact. I might here add, that not only the historians, to whom 30 we may join the poets, but likewise the philosophers of antiquity,
have favoured this opinion. Lucretius himself n, though by the course of his philosophy he was obliged to maintain that the soul did not exist separate from the body, makes no doubt of the reality of apparitions, and that men have often appeared after their death. This I think very remarkable; he was so pressed with the matter of fact, which he could not have the confidence to deny, that he was forced to account for it by one of the most absurd unphilosophical notions that was ever started.
He tells us, that the surfaces of all bodies are perpetually 40 flying off from their respective bodies, one after another; and
A COUNTRY SUNDAY.
that these surfaces or thin cases that included each other whilst they were joined in the body like the coats of an onion, are sometimes seen entire when they are separated from it; by which means we often behold the shapes and shadows of persons who are either dead or absent.
No. 112. Sunday in the country; Sir Roger at church.
Αθανάτους μεν πρώτα θεόυς, νόμω ως διάκειται,
Worship th' immortal gods. I am always very well pleased with a country Sunday, and think, if keeping holy the seventh day were only a human institution, it would be the best method that could have been thought of
for the polishing and civilizing of mankind. It is certain the 10 country people would soon degenerate into a kind of savages and
barbarians, were there not such frequent returns of a stated time in which the whole village meet together with their best faces, and in their cleanliest habits, to converse with one another upon indifferent subjects, hear their duties explained to them, and join together in adoration of the Supreme Being. Sunday clears away the rust of the whole week, not only as it refreshes in their minds the notions of religion, but as it puts both the sexes upon appearing in their most agreeable forms, and exerting all
such qualities as are apt to give them a figure in the eye of 20 the village. A country fellow distinguishes himself as much
in the churchyard, as a citizen does upon the Change, the whole parish politics being generally discussed in that place either after sermon or before the bell rings.
My friend Sir Roger, being a good churchman, has beautified the inside of his church with several texts of his own chusing; he has likewise given a handsome pulpit-cloth, and railed in the communion table at his own expence. He has often told me, that at his coming to his estate he found his parishioners very
irregular; and that in order to make them kneel and join in the 30 responses, he gave every one of them a hassoc and a common
prayer book : and at the same time employed an itinerant singing master, who goes about the country for that purpose,
to instruct them rightly in the tunes of the psalms; upon which they now very much value themselves, and indeed outdo most of the country churches that I have ever heard.
As Sir Roger is landlord to the whole congregation, he keeps them in very good order, and will suffer nobody to sleep in it besides himself; for if by chance he has been surprised into a short nap at sermon, upon recovering out of it he stands up and looks about him, and if he sees anybody else nodding, either
wakes them himself, or sends his servants to them. Several other 10 of the old knight's particularities break out upon these occasions :
sometimes he will be lengthening out a verse in the singingpsalms, half a minute after the rest of the congregation have done with it; sometimes, when he is pleased with the matter of his devotion, he pronounces Amen three or four times to the same prayer; and sometimes stands up when everybody else is upon their knees, to count the congregation, or see if any of his tenants are missing.
I was yesterday very much surprised to hear my old friend, in the midst of the service, calling out to one John Matthews 20 to mind what he was about, and not disturb the congregation.
This John Matthews it seems is remarkable for being an idle fellow, and at that time was kicking his heels for his diversion. This authority of the knight, though exerted in that odd manner which accompanies him in all circumstances of life, has a very good effect upon the parish, who are not polite enough to see any thing ridiculous in his behaviour; besides that the general good sense and worthiness of his character makes his friends observe these little singularities as foils that rather set off than blemish
his good qualities. 30 As soon as the sermon is finished, nobody presumes to stir till
Sir Roger is gone out of the church. The knight walks down from his seat in the chancel between a double row of his tenants, that stand bowing to him on each side; and every now and then inquires how such an one's wife, or mother, or son, or father do, whom he does not see at church; which is understood as a secret reprimand to the person that is absent.
The chaplain has often told me, that upon a catechising day, when Sir Roger has been pleased with a boy that answers
well, he has ordered a bible to be given him next day for his 40 encouragement; and sometimes accompanies it with a flitch
SIR ROGER AT CHURCH.
of bacon to his mother. Sir Roger has likewise added five pounds a year to the clerk's place; and that he may encourage the young fellows to make themselves perfect in the church service, has promised, upon the death of the present incumbent, who is very old, to bestow it according to merit.
The fair understanding between Sir Roger and his chaplain, and their mutual concurrence in doing good, is the more remarkable, because the very next village is famous for the differ
ences and contentions that rise between the parson and the 10 'squire, who live in a perpetual state of war. The parson is
always preaching at the 'squire, and the 'squire to be revenged on the parson never comes to church. The 'squire has made all his tenants atheists, and tithe-stealers; while the parson instructs them every Sunday in the dignity of his order, and insinuates to them in almost every sermon that he is a better man than his patron. In short matters are come to such an extremity, that the 'squire has not said his prayers either in public or private this half year; and that the parson threatens him, if he does not
mend his manners, to pray for him in the face of the whole 20 congregation.
Feuds of this nature, though too frequent in the country, are very fatal to the ordinary people; who are so used to be dazzled with riches, that they pay as much deference to the understanding of a man of an estate, as of a man of learning : and are very hardly brought to regard any truth, how important soever it may be, that is preached to them, when they know there are several men of five hundred a year who do not believe it 1.-L.
No. 115. Labour and exercise : Sir Roger in the hunting-field.
Juv. Sat. x. 356. A healthy body and a mind at ease. Bodily labour is of two kinds, either that which a man submits to for his livelihood, or that which he undergoes for his pleasure. 30 The latter of them generally changes the name of labour for that
of exercise, but differs only from ordinary labour as it rises from another motive.
A country life abounds in both these kinds of labour, and for