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there. I have ranged among the tombstones,-read the epitaphs she used so often to read,--and noticed some of a later date than 1777, which are now looking old and green, though they had not been erected at the period to which I refer.
The reader will excuse this apostrophe to the memory of an excellent parent; and in resuming the thread of our story, in reference to the clergyman of Woodhorn, and his rural congregation of fifty years ago, our charitable feelings might lead us to adopt the glowing language of a female writer (Mary Anne Browne, author of “Mont Blanc," &c.) of much pathos and fluency, who has already furnished us with a motto:
“Where are they then ?--Oh! past away,
And 'tis our hope that they are there!” How short and uncertain is the tenure upon which human life is held ! What a train of important changes takes place within the period we have named! How small the remnant who now survive of the cheerful population of Woodhorn half a century ago! The young of that day, who may yet be living, how altered! whilst of the old it may be asserted, that, without exception, they have gone down to the grave, or have been engulphed in the ocean. Some of the Vicar's family are amongst the survivors, though long since removed from the scene of their youthful enjoyments. I have been gratified by a correspondence with one of his daughters, though scarcely less altered in circumstances by misfortune, than changed in person by the lapse of time. Her letters are now before me, in some of which she feelingly alludes to the period of juvenile and innocent pleasure, spent under the roof of indulgent parents, and amid the endearments of an affectionate family.
“There” she says, “how often, on a fine evening, have I enjoyed from the vicarage windows, the soothing prospect of a tranquil sea, with a fleet of merhant ships sleeping on its breast ;-or the orb of night rising from her oozy bed, and shedding her mild lustre on the glowing main ; and at other times, sauntering on the beach, have marked the flowing or receding tide, and have been pleased with the rippling of the murmuring waters,” And when at other seasons, as would frequently be the case, the watery element, roused by storms, put on a frowning aspect; and the yawning deep engulphed the hapless mariner, or the resistless billows dashed his little bark upon the rugged shore ;—when the neighbouring beach presented to the agonised view of humanity the appalling prospect of wrecked vessels and dead carcases ;—thsee disasters afforded an occasion for the exercise of hospitality towards survivors, and sympathy for suffering fellow-creatures: thus whilst the father was endeared to his family by acts of beneficence, home was rendered more than usually comfortable, by contrasting with an exposure to the boisterous elements, the snug enjoyments of the parsonage-house.
The vicar was descended from an ancient and honourable family; his ancestors were amongst that band of warriors who assisted in placing William of Normandy on the throne of England ; and in the church of — in Surrey, where most of them have been interred, a number of their monuments may still be seen. His father, about the year 1752, was ambassador from this country to Algiers; a bishop stood sponsor at his own baptism; and the living he afterwards enjoyed was in consequence of a promise made at his christening!
Though vicar of Woodhorn, and minister of St. Michael's, Felton, Mr. Latton's situation, considering the rank of his family, might be deemed humble enough ; and his not enjoying more of the affluence in which he had been brought up, was owing to his having forfeited his father's good-will by marrying without his consent, and in consequence losing his fellowship at college, and ruining his prospects of dignity in the church.
A minister in the established church is a highly influential character. What comes from the accredited clergy of the country, is accompanied with a sanction which the best disposed ministers out of the pale of episcopacy cannot command. They may always be respected ; and if inclined to do good, almost uniformly useful.
But unfortunately Mr. Latton was one of those, who, whilst they give moderate attention to their official duties, and secure the good-will of their parishioners, indulge in worldly amusements to an extent which is inconsistent with their sacred functions. Often have the horse and hounds waited at the vicarage gate, whilst the master went through his morning devotions ; and in greyhound coursing, the elder daughters were sometimes permitted to accompany their father, and participate in the sports of the field. Hunting was not the only amusement in which the vicar delighted; he was also unhappily fond of horse-racing.–Newbiggin-near-the-sea is within a mile of Woodhorn ; and, as may be inferred from its appellation, lies close to the
On the moor adjacent to the former village, Newbiggin races used to be held ; and it was here that poor Mr. L. literally “finished his course,” for whilst, accompanied by some of his family, he indulged in a visit to the turf, he was either knocked down on the race-course, or seized by a mortal disease: the former I believe was the fact, and a very few days terminated his existence.
Mrs. Latton long survived her lamented husband; but under different circumstances from those to which she had been accustomed. No longer the mistress of the parsonage house, with an ample provision for her numerous family, she occupied a less congenial habitation: and though by no means destitute, felt herself more dependent upon her friends, and was destined to bear an accumulation of personal affliction, and the infirmities incident to old age, during a lengthened widowhood. Yet it was in this period of her life that she had the stisfaction of proving more than ever, the unbounded affection of her eldest daughter.
Whilst her other children, one after another, were married, and settled at a distance from the paternal roof, Sarah Latton remained the constant nurse, and only guardian, of her beloved mother ;—and that mother was at once the subject of corporeal and mental affliction, being blind and infirm in body, and also visited with imbecility and aberration of mind ! There is something peculiarly affecting in that last sad stage of human life which is called dotage, and which may be termed second childhood. So utterly helpless was Mrs. Latton become, as to require the incessant attendance of her affectionate daughter, and so much was she the prey of mental disease, as sometimes to forget her relationship to her own child, and even to call her "mother!”—at length she expired in her arms.
When this event took place, Miss Latton found her utmost exertions necessary to accomplish her mother's request to be buried by the side of her husband; for the place was distant. She, however, availed herself of an occasion for visiting the spot where the dust of her ancestors had been deposited,--and while viewing their pompous monuments, felt the contrast between their former circumstances and her present condition ;—but she enjoyed the grateful reflection that she had impoverished herself in supplying the wants, or in augmenting the comforts, of an aged parent :—she felt also, that she was the last of the LATTONS,—and the name, as regards that family, has now become extinct !
Reader, thou hast been perusing a tale from real life ; expect not, then, a romantic catastrophe. Nothing perhaps very wonderful attended the subject of my story, yet certainly enough to furnish some useful morals. We have already had occasion to contemplate human life as precarious; we may also be led to view old age as calamitous; and when we see (as I have seen) the grand-daughter of a British Ambassador, and the child of a beneficed clergyman,
reduced to a state of almost destitution, one may learn not to be too much in love with the transitory honours of this world, “nor trust in uncertain riches."
JOSEPH RIDLEY. Hexham, Oct. 17th, 1829.
The antiquity of the Lumley family is very great: according to Camden, Dugdale, and other writers, it has descended from Liulph, a nobleman of high rank in the time of Edward the Confessor. King James being once on a visit at Lumley castle, a relation of the house proceeded to give his majesty a genealogical detail of Lord Lumley's progenitors, and attempted to deduce their origin from a period so remote as to exceed all credibility. The king, whose patience was quite exhausted, stopped short the genealogist by saying, “O mon, gang no farther; let me digest this knowledge I ha' gained; for, by my saul, I did no ken that Adam's name was Lumley."
The motto of the house of Lumley is worthy of a race of undoubtedly remote descent: Murus aneus conscientia sana ;-a guileless conscience is a wall of brass.-Rose's Top.
SIR ARTHUR AND CHARMING MOLLEE.
A Worthumbrian Ballað.
HE following ballad has been obligingly communicated to our pages, by Robert Chambers, esq., of Edinburgh, one of the editors of Chambers' Journal," and author of " Traditions of Edinburgh, and several other deservedly popular Antiquarian works. It was taken down by his sister, from the recitation of a Northumberland lady. Our correspondent,
Mr. James Henry Dixon, of Tollington Park, Middlesex, is of opinion that the composition is not older than the time of the Commonwealth, and that the “Sir Arthur” is no less a personage than Sir Arthur Haslerigg, the Governor of Tynemouth Castle, and of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, during the protectorate of Cromwell. The “sword by his side," seems to imply that the hero was a military personage. As Sir Arthur was one of the "Bray' school of politicians, it is not improbable, (if Mr. Dixon's conjecture is correct), that after he turned Royalist, some of his old Cromwellian friends, well acquainted with his private life and amours, may have written the ballad as a jeu desprit.
S noble sir Arthur one morning did ride,
He saw a fair maid sitting under a tree,
“Oh charming Mollee, you my butler shall be,
I'll give you fine ribbons, I'll give you fine rings,
you will but love me, my charming Mollee ? ”