Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 5/Ana (November 30, 1861)

Once a Week, Series 1, Volume V
Ana. Can a clergyman marry himself?; Russian discipline

The second paragraph, and probably first as well, were contributed by Edward Henry Michelsen.


Can a Clergyman Marry Himself?—This question came recently in due legal form before one of the courts, if we remember right, in Ireland, and was strictly ruled in the negative, the judge deciding not by precedent but by common sense. Had they known it, however, they might have called in a precedent to their aid. The same appeal was once made to the late Bishop Majendie of Bangor, by a young clergyman, a popular preacher, who had become enamoured of a singer, a lady more than twice his own age, and scarcely his equal in position—in a word, such a person that his friends, one and all, declined to tie the wedding knot for him. In his difficulty the clerical Adonis went to the Bishop, and asked him “whether, if all his friends refused, he could marry himself?” “Young man, can you bury yourself?” was the bishop’s instant reply, in his deep, sepulchral voice, as he rose hastily and left the apartment.

Russian Discipline.—Having found a German friend in the head-physician of the military hospital at Riga, I accompanied him one morning on his visit thither. On the way he told me how difficult it was to elicit from the men the real seat of their complaints, as every ailing in the upper part of the body, whether in the head, back, or stomach, they call pain in the heart; and those in the lower parts of the body pain in the leg. Having arrived at the hospital, all the patients that were able to do so arrayed themselves in a row, dumb and stiff as if on military parade. “How do you feel to-day, old man,” asked the doctor, of the first. “My heart pains,” was the expected timid reply. “Tongue out,” said the doctor, and out it was. Turning to the next, the same question, same reply, and same tongue operation. More than thirty in the row underwent the same medical inquiries and process. I was about leaving, when my friend told me to look round. To my utter astonishment I saw the whole lot still standing in military attitude, with their tongues wide out. We looked on for a while, when the doctor loudly gave the word, “Tongues in,” and all the articulating organs vanished in an instant. My risible faculties were so excited by the ludicrous scene, that it was some moments after we were in the open street ere I could, rather reproachingly, ask my friend how he could play such a trick on the poor fellows. “You must not judge,” said he, “by exceptions. I merely wanted to show you to what extent the blind spirit of discipline prevails among the Russian troops. Nor are the fellows,” added he, “the worse for the joke; on the contrary, they believe that the cure is greatly promoted by keeping the tongue out in the presence of the doctor, the longer the better.”—M.