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PARISH BROILS.

HELP! help! fire! fire! water! water!
But there is no help, and little water; not all
the water of our little brookthe pastoral,
the winding, the beautiful Wallastonnot
all the showers that fall in a thousand years
upon our undulating, romantic Peverton
Hillno; nothing that man can do will ever
extinguish the dreadful conflagration. A
metaphorical conflagration; not vulgar flame
and heat, but internal, mental, scorching-up
thought and feelinga frightful incremation
of Christian charity, which goes on blazing,
crackling, smouldering, night and day, and
gradually reducing us all to dust and ashes.
If all the extinct volcanos of Auvergne were
suddenly to break out at once, and send their
conical flame-floods forth in all directions
splitting the solid earth with wedges of
inexhaustible fire, drying up the rivers with a
hissing heat, and charring all the forest with
a suffocating smellthey would be but a
faint image and presentiment of the devastation
at this moment raging in our parish.
And what a parish it was! Talk of Tempe!
we beat it all to nothing. Did houses ever
let in Tempe at ten and twelve guineas
a-week? Were there hot baths at Tempe?
and a nice little subscription library? and
poney-chaises to be had at a shilling an hour?
and an omnibus that took you into a
Thessalian Harrowgate, in less than forty minutes,
where there were excellent shops, and
sometimes a concert at five shillings a-head, where
you heard the best London performers? No,
I believe not. And Enna; people talk of
Enna, and the flowers that Proserpine was
gathering when Pluto (under the alias of
gloomy Dis) made off both with her and her
bouquet. Hadn't we flower-shows every
year, with geraniums, and cactuses, and
fuchsias far finer than Proserpine ever saw?
And Plutohad they no police in those days?
Imagine a man carrying off any of our young
ladies by main force, and G 34 not having
him in the lock-up before he got over the
bridge! Such a place, indeed, as Silverton
Spa was never heard of before. There were
about twenty familiesall very genteel; in
fact, we set our faces so entirely against
anybody that wasn't genteel, that nobody that
wasn't genteel ever thought of settling
among us, and we were as united as a "happy
family." If there were falcons among us, we
never found it out; they sat on the same
perch with the doves, and behaved delightfully.
The proverb of a cat-and-dog life lost
its applicationthat is, if there were any
cats and dogs among usfor they lived
together in perfect comfort; and, in short, a
great artist could have painted us all as a
frontispiece to that exquisite hymn of Dr.
Watts, which describes the bliss of those in
unity who dwell. Yes, we dwelt in unity,
and drank tea together all the summer, and
made pic-nics, and had little evening dances,
and all went gaily as a marriage-bell; and
plans were evidently in progress for the
future. Mr. Baskins had only one sonMr.
Welford Jells had only one daughter; the
mothers were always togetherso were
the boy and girl. It seemed quite an arranged
thing from the time the young people were
twelve years old; when they were respectively
nineteen and seventeen, I believe the
only reason they had not proposed and
acceptedalso respectivelywas that they
considered it a useless ceremony, and that it
was quite as well as it was. Then there was
Mr. Jollico who had written a book, and was
looked up to accordingly. None of us knew
what the book was about; he was modest,
and never mentioned its name; but we had
no doubt it was about natural history
perhaps, a monograph of a wormfor he was
always talking of vertebræ and developments,
and other points of anatomy, and gave admirable
dinners, and looked so complacently
down on the affairs of the parishnever seeming
to interfere, but, somehow, always knowing
everything better than anybody elsethat
we deferred to him on all occasions, and he
acted as a sort of magistrate in the moral
commission of the peace, and gave universal
satisfaction by the wisdom and kindness of
his decision. Our clergyman was one of the
finest old gentlemen I ever saw. It seemed
as if he had intended in his youth to be
prime minister, and, perhaps, commander-in-
chief, and never could get quit of the dignified
manner befitting those exalted positions. He
seemed to do the duties of the church out of a
sort of a gracious condescension, and visited,
and taught, and gave charities to the poor like
a nobleman in disguise; inculcating humility,

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