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HINDRANCES-FAILURE OF HIS EYES-GOES ABROAD
CROSSES THE OCEAN-FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF ENG
DURING the latter part of his course of theological study, Righter was afflicted with weakness of his eyes. The usual remedies were resorted to, and temporary repose was tried without benefit. He was advised to spend a year or two in foreign travel, that entire cessation from study for such a length of time might give his eyes a fair opportunity to recuperate. Such a prescription was not disagreeable to the patient. It fell in with his own predilections, and finding in his friend Hill, whose letter has just been given, a congenial companion, he made arrangements at once for a journey into foreign lands.
His journals, during this tour, were kept with great regularity, and a daily record is made of every event of interest that occurred, every place that he visited, every object that he studied, every notable person that he met. But these records are the briefest possible—often mere catchwords; for the use of his eyes, even to make the entries in his diary, was a trial to which he was afraid to subject them. He designed, if it were right for him to do so, to correspond with some newspaper while he was abroad, but after a few attempts at writing he was obliged
to desist, and confine himself to short notes in his journals, and occasional letters to his friends. These manuscript records of travel, going over the same ground that I traversed with him, are now lying around me, and they awaken a thousand pleasing recollections, as I turn over the
pages and find my own name so often among the incidents of that varied year. His parting with his parents at the wharf, with other friends who went with us down the bay, his feelings in view of the separation and hopes of the future, are hinted at in terms that are easily intelligible to the eye of affection, and disclose the warmth of his love. The voyage is to him a succession of joyous days and charming nights. In the morning, he is getting up athletic sports for exercise : in the afternoon, he is reading or talking French with the ladies : in the evening, some literary exercise is on hand for the entertainment of the passengers. Sabbath comes, and he is holding religious meetings with the seamen.
Others are stricken down with sea-sickness, and I find that he mentions me as the first victim, while he flatters himself that he will escape altogether. He does not. A slight attack knocks him over, and teaches him that he is not more than human. But he was speedily on his feet again, and that was the last of his maritime disasters. All the
way over the sea he was rejoicing in the beauty, the grandeur, and glory of the ocean. In the storms he was confident, and delighted to fix himself in the bows of the ship that he might see and feel the power and majesty of the waves. And if he had been compelled to say with the Psalmist, “ All thy billows have gone over me," I think he would have been calm and trusting, for he knew that in the uttermost part of the sea the hand of the Lord would
lead and uphold him. He was not anxious to reach the shores of Europe. Our voyage in a packet-ship, Capt. Hovey, with a pleasant cabinful of passengers, was made in sixteen days, and Righter was one of many who would have been glad to extend it a week longer.
On landing at Portsmouth, on Sabbath morning, he walked to the Parish Church of St Thomas, where we united in thanksgiving to Almighty God for His care over us while on the deep. The next day he was wandering over the Isle of Wight. At Ryde he calls on the Rev. Dr Ferguson, with whom he is greatly pleased, and the gratification would seem to have been mutual, for he acknowledges the gift of a volume of sermons from the Dr as a token of his regard. He admires the lovely scenery through which he passes; the smooth roads, the hedges, and flowers, and green fields,—a vision of rural culture and wide-spread taste in the order of nature, which he had never enjoyed before. The ancient Carisbrook Castle impresses him deeply with its walls and battlements, its remarkable well, its romantic history. But even more does his spirit find refreshment and delight in a pilgrimage to the grave of the “Dairyman's Daughter” in Areton Churchyard. He notes the tolling of the bell and the funeral procession that marked his visit there. He gathers flowers from among the tombs to send to friends at home; for his heart was with them always, and when enjoying things abroad the most, he was always thinking of ways and means to share it with those far
away. He hastens to London, and records his “first impressions” of the great city. Lost in its vastness, he seems, from his brief notes, to be overwhelmed with a sense of the extent and power of the great metropolis, so that it
required time to adjust his mind to the new world by which he was surrounded. But he was soon studying it systematically and thoroughly, visiting its great benevolent institutions, finding access to public men, enjoying the private hospitalities of many kind friends whom he found or made.
He pursued his journey to France and Switzerland, ENJOYING everything with a heartiness refreshing to his companions, and making notes in his journal, giving glimpses of his own character that will present him pleasingly to the reader. We will make a few extracts from his note-books which are before us, to the number of a dozen or more.
EXTRACTS FROM HIS JOURNALS-PARIS-MEETINGS WITH
CHRISTIAN FRIENDS_SWITZERLAND-CHAMOUNI AND
FROM MR RIGHTER'S JOURNAL.
SUNDAY, June 10, 1853.-In the afternoon we receive an invitation to attend a little prayer-meeting of Americans at the house of a good lady resident here, and we hail the opportunity with joy; we go, and find a delightful little gathering and union of Christian hearts there, and it indeed seems like the house of God and the gate of heaven to our souls. It is proposed, as the need is peculiarly felt by those present, to make an effort to establish an American Church in Paris, where service will be performed for their benefit especially ; which shall be attractive to them, and will make them feel at home in their church in a strange land. It meets the approbation and earnest prayer of all present, and I trust may result through the effort and prayer of that little meeting in Rue d'Astorq. In the evening we hear Mr Bridel in his neat little evangelical chapel. The tones of his voice are very touching, and much effect is produced on the audience. The singing in French, by the congregation, is very delightful indeed to us who have been so long from heartfelt devotional worship.