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in general care less about the spiritual than the conventional. The world is more violent in defending the forms, than the essence of the religion it professes.
I hope that I have made it appear that Everard was neither an atheist, nor, indeed, a follower of Anti-Christ. I have tried to do so. Perhaps I have failed. However, his deeds will speak for him. When they said that Sophocles was mad, he read his Edipus Coloneus to the judges.
"But Everard Sinclair was, at all events, heterodox. He did not belong to the Church of England, nor subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles." There I abandon him,-I give him up. I have nothing to say in his behalf, but that he had some very excellent qualities. Bear with him, I beseech you. Do not condemn him, for he condemned no Deal with him as Isaac Walton did with the frogs. Deal with him as though he were your brother.
He was a man different from other men,
And phantom thoughts unsought for troubled him.
He seemed almost apparitional, suggesting dim reminiscences of him who shot the albatross. He was as a mystery in a winding-sheet, crowned with a halo.
SCHOOL has been rightly called "a microcosm;" it is, indeed, a little world; the argument of a greater work, the sketch of a larger picture, a puppet show, a theatre in miniature. It is a sort of undress rehearsal of the tragedy of life. Life is always a tragedy, for there is death in the closing scene.
What a similarity there is between the greater world and the less! The same struggles, the
same strife, the same friendships, the same enmities, the same all-absorbing selfishness, and very frequently the same actors. Much has been said about the innocence of youth; there is very little innocence in a large school. Look around you: there stands the thief, there stands the liar, there the hypocrite. Do you not see the exacting tyrant, and beside him the fawning parasite? Who, that has ever been at school, cannot call to mind a specimen of each? But on the other side of the picture, there are brighter figures to be seen: the open hand and the open heart, earnest affection, chivalrous generosity, unswerving integrity,— they are all there to vary the group. Time strengthens the lines and colours of the moral painting, but alters not the original conception. "Men palliate and conceal their original qualities," says Montaigne, "but do not alter them." "The child is father of the man."
I have said that very frequently the same actors, who appear together upon the stage of boyhood, mingle the one with the other in the more important relations of after-life. My history exemplifies this perhaps in an extraordinary degree.
There were about fifty boys in the school, of all ages and dimensions, from the tall dandy of seventeen, with his well-brushed coat and polished Wellingtons, to the little slip-shod, ink-bespattered
urchin, with his crownless hat, his rent pantaloons, and his parti-coloured, but joyous-looking visage. Dr. R-, his son, and a certain Mr. Baker, who filled the situation of junior usher, were the potentates, who framed and administered the laws which regulated our little monarchy. It was the business of this Mr. Baker to enforce discipline out of school. He it was who watched over us and controlled us when we were disporting ourselves. He was the most unfortunate specimen of humanity, perhaps, that ever existed.
Uncouth in his person and in his gestures, with a muscular and most unwieldy frame, and a physiognomy strikingly brutal, he moved amongst us, a vast mass of animated matter, such as might be supposed to have been hewn out of a rock, and set in motion by the wand of a magician. He put one in mind of Frankenstein's monster, he was so large and so ugly; or an overgrown Brobdignag boy in a duffle grey robe du matin, and a pair of thricescoured drab inexpressibles, which concealed not the enormous dimensions of a pair of clumsy ankles, which looked as though they had got the elephantiasis, or at all events, an attack of oedema. We used to call him "Edipus Tyrannus," which being interpreted, is "Swell-foot the Tyrant."
Neither was the moral man much more favoured by nature than the physical; Mr. Baker was a
monster of selfishness and cruelty; coarse in his manners, ferocious in his temper, indiscriminate in his judgments. He was unfeeling, arbitrary, rapacious, and exacting. Humanity was never SO degraded as in the person of this man. We hated him one and all, — perhaps Everard Sinclair exepted. He was not fit to govern; he was not even fit to teach. He had a considerable quantity of verbal knowledge; but his understanding was of the most limited order. He knew Ovid's epistles by heart, but he scarcely knew what they were all about. He read an ode of Horace as though it were one of Brady's and Tate's.
But my history, I am happy to say, has little to do with this man. At the end of my first half year at school, we petitioned Dr. R-- in a body, to dismiss this leviathan of ignorance and inclemency. Our petition was unhesitatingly granted: if it had not been, I verily believe that we should have torn the usher into pieces, as the Bacchants tore Pentheus of old. School-boys have very fair notions about resisting oppression and taxation. It fares ill with the usher of a school, if the man is unpopular amongst the boys.
Accordingly, Mr. Baker was dismissed, and another reigned there in his stead. Another! and such another! There could not, in the multitudinous ranks of humanity, have been two beings