The History of Leith

December 10, 2010

The Old Time Sunday

Few contrasts strike me more than that of the new Sunday and, what to me is, the old-I wonder how much more striking it would be were I double my present age. My great grandmothe— well do I remember her wrinkled features and her blue lips — used to assure me that the Sabbath was not “now” kept as it ‘*was ” wunt to be.” How it was possible to keep it more soberly, solemnly, and seemingly— -if these be the outward and visible signs of.- holiness — I could not even then see. How quiet were the summer mornings; the very houses of the quaint weaving village in which she and her old man dwelt seemed to wear a semblance of solemnity. People who moved: out of doors before church time saluted each. other almost in whispers. If an invalid was inquired after, the talk had a funereal air about, it ; it was brief as if words ought to be few on that day. Should the morning airing extend to the open fields, great grandfather, kneebreeched and round-shouldered, and leaning on a staff, would in soft tones say an admiring:
word about the grandness of the crops. I remember on such an occasion meeting a village boy with whom I had formed some acquaintance, returning from the spring with a pitcher of water. I shyed at saying anything to him,, seeing the company I was in, and contented myself with a smile of recognition. The old; man saw it and broke forth on the lad — ” Whatfor did ye no lead the water ye want yestre’en ? WHaur does yer mither and laither think ye’lL gang till?” Ah! Sheol was a stern reality with us all long ago. We conjured up visions
of blistered heels and wild pains on the soles of our feet that would find no rest, upon the ” burning marble.

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