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Thomas John Oldrini - My Biography - Beeston Vicarage, 4th December 1876
Thomas John Oldrini was the Vicar at Beeston from 1854 until his death there in 1885. While it is already known that, despite his busy life, he found time to write - a
transcription of his history of Beeston dated 1873 may be found here
and there was an as-yet undiscovered follow-up - this
autobiography, written between 1870 and 1876, has not previously been available outside of his family. Now, a copy held by descendants in Australia
has come to light and, thanks to its painstaking transcription - which continues - by William Cooper, a 3rd gt-grandson, we are now able to learn much more of his
remarkable life and times.In his preamble, Oldrini maintains that his life was 'not very eventful'. As we will see, this was certainly an understatement !
This autobiography was begun on the 27th August, 1870
Introduction - I am going to write my life - a life not very eventful, but still interesting to my children. It is, indeed, for
their amusement and instruction that I write. It is pleasant to know something of one’s people’s history - of ancestry, not to voluminous.
Still, I shall tell all I can, and that all will be a series of domestic facts, seldom, I am afraid, rising above the dead level of mere
commonplace. But even commonplace, when concerning father or mother, has in the eyes of children an attraction almost sensational, at least
I judge so from my own feeling and experience. I shall endeavour to gratify not an impertinent, but loving curiosity, and throw light upon
matters, which hereafter, they might desire to ascertain. There is, alas! Much to deplore, much to mourn over, much to regard with affectionate
leniency in the days already spent of my earthly pilgrimage. My children will, I trust, take warning from their sire’s shortcomings, for the
aspirations of my soul have almost always fallen short of their object in the exercise of my will. Must I be teacher then, as well as a
biographer? This will be my endeavour. It remains for my children to determine how far I have succeeded in either of these capacities.
Chapter I - BIRTH AND PARENTAGE - I was born at 50 Holywell Street, Westminster on the festival of St. Bartholomew 1825
1 at about 4.20am. That the hour of my birth was so accurately and carefully
observed, is, I believe, attributable to the astrological predictions of one of my father’s greatest friends. From him I learnt that the heavenly
body which presided at that particular moment “was the glorious sun and that the sign was Leo” being neither entirely sceptical on the one hand, nor
the other a thorough believer in the occult sciences, I merely mention the fact for what is worth. It is at any rate sufficient for the purposes of
this biography that on that day and that hour I came to existence. I was described as a tall thin child, with one eye, owing to a cold, somewhat larger
than the other. I find that I was christened at St. Margaret’s church, Westminster 2
on Sunday October the 19th in the same year, my sponsors being Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, N.C.B 3.
Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod 4, John Perceval Johnson
5, and my paternal grandmother, Agnes Oldrini. Of the first-named Godfather I shall, by and bye,
have to much to say, for he exercised no little influence over my own and my family’s destiny, but at this point of my history I shall only
observe, that he was our great benefactor and that we have always cherished his memory. His becoming my Sponsor was only the first of an
innumerable series of kindnesses, which so long as he lived were lavished upon me. And, here, perhaps, it is natural that I should say
something about my Father and Mother - their lineage and position in society. In primis, then, their names were respectively Gerard John
Oldrini and Elizabeth Stofer. Of my Father’s Italian origin the very structure of his surname is proof. He was the son of a Milanese, whose
Christian name was “Coesar”. We have still a pencil miniature, taken in Switzerland, from which we discover him to have been a very handsome
man - with delicate, beautifully chiseled features - his hair long and dressed after the prevailing fashion of his age and time. He died when
my father was, yet, in his adolescence, and he had, therefore, a very important knowledge of him. From what I can gather, he was a man of
gentle but rather feeble disposition - easy natured to a fault. Though, I believe, not habitual gamester, yet, on one memorable occasion, he
lost £300 at a sitting to some of his countrymen at the Italian game of Mora. He frequently was away from my grandmother and died at Milan of
inflammation of the bladder on the ninth of February, 1818, his death being registered in the register of the Parish of Santa Maria di Servi.
A favourite song of his was the old French one “Au Clair de la Lune”. Being a foreigner none of his kith and kin were known to any of the family
here. He was, as you may imagine, in religion a Roman Catholic, and at one time held some post in the service of Sir George Cockburn
6 and afterwards of the Count Piozzi 7,
who married Dr. Johnson’s Mrs. Thrale 8. These are but very meagre outlines,
but literally all of my information, regarding my paternal Grandfather. It seems strange that so few traditions concerning him have lingered in the family.
But of my Grandmother Agnes Oldrini we have fuller particulars. She was a Scotch woman born in Dumfries on Saturday, 28th August, 1768 and
died in London on the 9th of October 1827 - her remains being interred in Islington churchyard. She was rather small in stature, but good and
comely looking - was much attached to my mother, and resided with her at the period of her death, which was from apoplexy. There is quite a
romantic legend connected with her history, which I must not fail to record. It appears that she claimed descent from a certain James Douglas,
who was the natural son of William, first Duke of Queensbury and some lady unknown 9.
He was born in 1674 10 in the reign of Charles II, and married on the 10th June,
1700, Isabella, daughter of Sir Patrick Hume by Jeane Dalmahoy 11.
His manner of introduction to the lady was extraordinary. He was leaning on the bridge of Ayr, engaged in mediation, when a carriage containing
Sir Patrick and his daughter drove by, (we can realise what a lumbering old coach of the seventeenth century must have been like, especially in
Scotland) and the tradition is, as related to me by an old Scotch woman, a connection of the family, that mutual affection sprung up on the spot,
which terminated in marriage, as above described. The bar however, did not, it would seem, prove any impediment and they had issue of eight children.
He died on the 22nd of February 1738, aged 64 years, and is buried in Whitborn Kirkyard, Galloway, where a flat stone with inscription and ornamented with the Douglas arms, marks his
resting place. It was his second child Mary Douglas, whose second husband was David Douglas, a writer, who was my grandmother’s grandmother.
Her mother’s name was Margaret 12 (reputed to have been very beautiful) who was
married to James Robertson 13, a Burgess of Dumfries, and which was
a kind of mesalliance resented by the family: and she (my grandmother) was the eldest of nine children. I may mention here that my father was
her fourth and youngest son - the others being, Louis Frederic, born in London November 1789, then James, also born in London, who was afterwards
a lieutenant in the R.N. and died on board H.M. Frigate “Hebe” off Jamaica in 1809, and later on a third son who was stillborn. She was a
Presbyterian, but always conformed to the English Church which in the country. I have a very faint and shadowy recollection of her. We have
ever felt an excusable pride in our descent from the Douglas and Robertson families, and especially from the former. My aged informant, to
whom I have already alluded and who furnished me from her family bible with most of the above details, was no stranger to such a feeling. She
described to me, how when nursing my uncle when a babe, he would lull him to sleep with singing “Chevy Chase”, particularly those stanzas,
which refer in glowing language to the valiant deeds and death of the Douglas. She spoke, too, of the bright piercing glance peculiar to the
descendants of this most warlike and ancient race. When in Scotland I was taken by my uncle to visit the ruins of Lincluden Abbey, which stand
on a slight eminence at the tomb of Archibald the Grim, Earl of Douglas, surnamed Bell-the-Cat, and, where, also, numerous other Douglasses are
buried including many of our own relations. My father himself was born at four o’clock a.m. on St. Thomas’ day 14
1796 in London. He was, was believed christened, as too my poor mother at old St. Marylebone Church. He was married at St. Margaret’s, Westminster
(where Caxton and Sir Walter Raleigh lie) on the 28th September 1824 by the Rev. Joseph Nussey, who was assistant minister at the church.
I am afraid that the notice of my Mother’s parentage must have been briefer and more unsatisfactory than that of my grandmother Oldrini. I
only know that she was the child of Robert Stofer and Mary Clarke, and that her birth took place on the 29th April 1797 and that she was christened
at the before mentioned church on May 28th of the same year. Her parents were both Suffolk people, though her father’s family was of German
extraction. I have often heard from her lips that her grandfather was a large agriculturist, having six sons, of whom Robert was the youngest
and shortest (he being, at least, six feet in height). Of her mother’s early history we are completely in the dark. I am aware, however, that
on the death of my grandfather she married a person of the name of Harris. This marriage was an unfortunate one. He appears to have been a
worthless character and to have caused her great misery and anxiety. Other troubles too she seems to have had on my poor mother’s account who
was stolen away from her when a very little girl by an unprincipled aunt and lived undiscovered for some time at Bedford. My mother used to
tell two rather striking incidents of the life while there. On one occasion having strolled into the church she sat down and fell into a very
profound slumber. On awakening what was her alarm to find that night had set in and that the church doors were locked. In the midst of her
terror she had not quite lost her presence of mind for she ran up into the belfry and began to toll the bell. The unwonted sound at such an
hour soon attracted attention and it was not long before the affrighted child was delivered from so unpleasant a predicament. The next incident
is also connected with the church, from which I should conclude that she must have dwelt in its immediate vicinity. One day she and some other
children were playing in the churchyard, when by accident jumping on some old tomb, the surface gave way and precipitated her into the midst.
A cloud of dust rose up nearly blinding her and she found herself moreover in the closest contact with the bones of the deceased person whose
remains she had so rudely disturbed. The poor little girl was indeed terribly frightened and it was some time before her shrieks could be hushed
and her terrors dispelled. I am not about here to enter upon her character and disposition or that of my father. These will be naturally developed
as my story proceeds but I will at this point take the opportunity of mentioning that she had received an excellent education for that time and
for her position. She was at a school kept by some French emigrants and learnt not only something of their language as well as her own but
painted flowers very prettily specimens of which my sister has still in her possession and also learnt worsted work, a specimen of which too
is still in existence. She wrote an excellent hand, was a clever needle woman and was never so happy as when reading one of the Standard
authors of the day. My grandmother Harris I will remember. She was even when old, a handsome woman. To her own child, and only child, my
mother, for she alone of many had survived, she had been, though loving, yet severe and unbending, but to me, her grandchild, she was to a
degree fond and affectionate. Whenever she came to visit us her pocket was always filled with Bonbons, which she distributed with no stint
measure. I particularly recollect her velvet boots, which had a great attraction for my infant mind. I also have a dim notion of the sorrow
caused by her husband, which she used to confide to my poor mother’s sympathising attention. In the great cholera year -1832 - she and her
husband were both carried off within a few days of each other. This was an intense grief to my mother. We were at Margate at the time, and I
can vividly call to mind her first burst of weeping, when the sad intelligence reached her. I have not yet mentioned one touching trait of my
grandmother’s love for me. Day by day the poor old creature used morning and evening to kiss a bust of me, which had been presented to her,
and which she seemed to value more than all her earthly possessions. I am in total ignorance of the churchyard in which her body lies, but I
was told by my uncle, that it is somewhere in Surrey. It is a strange omission that I never ascertained the fact. She was a woman of the
highest principle, but had a life of many griefs. I pray that she is now in that place of waiting, where happy souls find rest. I will now
close this chapter with the brief record of the kindness of an old friend of my grandmother in leaving my mother, when very young, heir to
her few goods and chattels. A picture of the Madonna and her dear son after Raffael, a few old books and some china my sister and I have still
between us. Her name was “Blyth” and she was the relict of some old “salt”, a captain in the merchant service.
Chapter II - CHILDHOOD - My grandmother Oldrini had a very good, kind friend in Sir Thomas John Tyrwhitt Jones of Stanley Hall,
a Shropshire baronet. It was through his letter of introduction that my father first became acquainted with Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt, afterwards,
as I have already mentioned, one of my sponsors. Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt appears at once to have taken to my father. I do not indeed wonder at it,
for he was not only a fine looking man, but had a particularly suave conciliatory address. He had been previously apprenticed to a business
which he cared little about, and the respect with which Sir Thomas immediately began to regard him was fully reciprocated by himself. It was
the ill fortune of my godfather to be surrounded by sycophants, who were continually leading him into trouble and praying upon his good nature.
My Father’s high character for strict integrity and honour under the most trying circumstances presented therefore you may imagine a very
striking contrast. It was something to have about him one honest trustworthy man and his gratitude and confidence thereupon knew no bounds.
Sir Thomas Tyrwhitt was so far as I can recollect a very lovable man - short in stature, but decidedly handsome, he looked every inch the
gentleman he really was. His family of the Country of Lincoln was very ancient (descending from Sir Hercules Tyrwhitt lineally who was living
anno 1067) and I have a genealogical tree, which traces a relationship to King Edward III. He was son of Edmund Tyrwhitt, prebendary of St.
Paul’s and cousin to Thomas Tyrwhitt, the learned commentator on Chaucer and great grandson of Edmund Gibson, bishop of London, a portrait of
whom is in hall of Queen’s College, Oxford. He was also a relation of Dymoke, the hereditary champion of England. He moved in the very first
society, and had profited much (unlike so many) from the education furnished by Eton and Christchurch. For years he was confidential private
secretary to the prince regent, afterwards George IV, and at the same time colonel in the militia; M.P for Okehampton in Devonshire (one of the
boroughs which the first Reform Bill extinguished) and later on representing Plymouth. It was through the interest of the above Monarch that in
June 1812 he was offered and accepted the office of Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, succeeding Sir Francis Molyneux and in due course received
the honour of knighthood. He had also from the same Royal patronage obtained the part of an Estate in Dartmoor for 99 years, dating from 29
September 1795, and I have still in my possession a coloured sketch of Torr Royal, the mansion connected with it. But this proof of the Prince’s
generosity was in reality the origin of many of the difficulties which harassed his later years. For his endeavours to fertilise and cultivate to
perfection what was naturally barren and unpolitic, induced immense expenses, which his moderate fortune scarcely permitted. The formation of a
railway line (Plymouth and Dartmoor railway) to convey the granite for the erection of New London Bridge was one of his favourite schemes in which
he embarked much capital and which turned out unfortunately. In fact ill luck generally attended his speculations, as for, instance, that of
Hungerford market, in which he was a large shareholder and to the last a sincere believer in. The utilisation of the turf of the Irish bogs
for iron smelting purposes was another of his theories which he fully developed in a letter to the Earl of Devonshire of the day. He was not
therefore you see a mere idle cadet of an ancient house but was an elegant scholar and a man of intelligence and thought, and in idea rather in
advance of the age in which he lived. In politics he was a pronounced Whig as most of the Prince’s set were and not only the Prince but all
his Royal brothers were sincerely attached to him and treated him with the most friendly familiarity and affection.
This then was the patron to whom my father’s success in life became an object of the deepest interest and who in all possible ways forwarded
it to the utmost of his power. He appointed him in the first place a supernumerary officer of the House of Lords at the period of Queen Caroline’s
trail and from time to time advanced him as he could till on the 7th June 1831 he enabled on a vacancy occurring, to place him by warrant on
what was called the Old Establishment, which insured him an average income of about £500 per annum. Meanwhile, ever anxious for my father’s
welfare and happiness he had pressed on his marriage, which took place on the date I have already mentioned and on my birth 11 months after he
appears to have extended to me the same real and affectionate regard which he had so substantially manifested towards my father. As I gradually
emerged from babyhood into childhood this interested assumed a more demonstrative character. Presents flowed in the form of silver spoons - a
sponsical cup - endless toys for which the neighbouring shops were ransacked - a small library of books from Hare’s of St. Paul’s Churchyard,
the well-known publisher of children’s books, and this before I could even attempt to read, and pretty birds intended to be my pets. Moreover,
when my powers of locomotion were necessarily very limited he would take me for walks in the neighbouring streets and in St James’ Park and
answer with the utmost patience all my childish questions. Every was to be done to make “the boy” as he called me, happy and “Tommy” to quote
the affectionate appellation by which he always addressed me, was in his eyes a great institution. He wanted me, which was so amusing, grown
up all at once and to please him I was what they called then “breeched” at a very early age. But his love sometimes assumed rather an injudicious
form. He indulged me for instance to such an extent in the good things procurable at the confectioner’s, that a rather sharp fit of illness ensued,
to his and my dear mother’s great anxiety and dismay, and further than this she was so conscious that the continual petting and indulgence to which
I was subjected was making me very selfish and giving me a notion that everyone was to give way before my foolish fancies and desires. As a
good excellent mother she did her best to avoid the shoals upon which her child’s real happiness seemed about to be wrecked. But it was a difficult
and delicate task for it would scarcely have done to have thrown cold water upon the wonderfully kind though unintentional dangerous attention
shown me by my godfather. A favourite enjoyment of his was to embark with me in a wherry at the Westminster stairs and row as far as old London
Bridge (which I well remember) and if the tide permitted, to shoot one of the narrow wooden arches to my intense delight.
But my childhood recollections do not take a very definite shape till I was about 4 years old, when events occurred which fastened themselves
on my memory. Sir Thomas had hired for the season, 24 Marine Parade, Dover, being very much out of health, and insisted on my accompanying him
thither. In accordance with his usual custom we posted from London the whole distance and I was much struck with the Post-boys at the end of
every stage touching their hats for the customary “tips” which my godfather bestowed on them. In my childish impatience I counted every venerable
looking milestone and was not a little pleased when we reached the journey’s end. My father and mother after a time joined us and the earlier
period of my sojourn there was very enjoyable. I was wonderfully impressed with the bold fine sea and the shingly beach fronting our residence,
and then the daily arrival of steam packets from Calais with their pale sea sick passengers had for me a great attraction. Then there was little
narrow Snargate Street to be explored and Shakespeare’s Cliff and the castle on the heights to be visited. During our stay an enormous piece of
rock had fallen on the before mentioned street crushing two houses in it’s descent, and which ever after invested it in my imagination with an
indescribable awfulness. Sometimes too we went out on the sea in one of the huge boats, which were then used for the purpose, when my poor mother
and I proved ourselves on more than one occasion excellent sailors. But the pleasant part of our visit was soon succeeded by numerous disagreeable.
My mother had returned to town, leaving my father behind with the nurse, who had me in charge, when I suddenly sickened of measles, to be followed
in rapid succession by scarlet fever, stiff neck and dropsy. I am sure that I was very ill from the instinctive shrinking, which to this day I
experience when I cast my thoughts backward to that unhappy period. Away from my mother, left for the most part to the care of servants you will
understand how miserable I was. But there is no cloud without a silver lining and it pleased God in due time to restore me to perfect health.
I have then a recollection of being removed to some other house in one of the side streets of the place. Here, I believe, the attempt was first
made to teach me reading and writing. The nurse, whose name was “Hannah” was my earliest preceptress - I can perfectly recall her face, which
was far from a pleasant one - I do not think I liked her, and this perhaps intensified the resistance which I sometimes offered to her endeavours
in realising what was the desire of my Godfather rather than that of my parents. It was perhaps natural that I should prefer playing with my
toys, especially one representing a little town with church, streets etc. In my out of door rambles I was often accompanied either by the groom
or a good natured butler named Anthony Allen, for whom I entertained a certain affection. He used to carry me on his back up the high cliffs
and chat cheerfully to me. Frequently we would saunter up to the Preventive Station where was a semaphore, belonging to the old telegraphic
system, for the purpose of asking news of the health of the king (George IV) who was then declining. It was while at Dover too that I fell off
a large rocking horse, which fact I should not have mentioned, had not the great affliction which a few years afterwards befell me, been, whether
rightly or wrongly, attributed to it. I had also at this time a narrow escape from being burnt to death. It was during my illness, while the
watchers and myself were one night fast asleep, the candle slipped over on a little table which stood by my bedside (I have it now) and fairly
set it on fire. Happily the smoke aroused (I think it was) the nurse who at once succeeded in extinguishing it, but not before I was nearly
suffocated and a great hole had been burnt in the table.
But now the time arrived for my return to London and I was full of childish glee at the very notion of the change. The next chapter will
carry us deeper into all the varieties of incidents, which chequered at this period my earliest years.
Chapter III - CHILDHOOD (cont.) - We, that is, the Nurse and myself, returned to town by coach on the 26th June, 1830, and reached
it in the evening. On our way we had heard the intelligence of the King’s death and on our arrival at home I found my father and mother full
of agitation and excitement. We had just begun to reside, at the earnest request of Sir Thomas, in “Parliament Place”, a house belonging to
the Crown in Cotton Garden in close contiguity with the Palace of Westminster, and, which as Black Rod had been placed at his disposal by a
Committee of the House of Lords. He had however, apartments in the House itself in addition, and chose rather that we should live in the
official residence, principally I believe that I might be within easy reach. We had previously been very comfortably settled in an excellent
and roomy house, No.4 Smith St, Westminster, which to speak truly my mother left with great reluctance and at considerable pecuniary sacrifice.
“Parliament Place” was nevertheless to me perfectly charming. It had been originally erected for himself by a somewhat eccentric man whose name
has escaped me and build upon an antique model, it just harmonised with my feeling and taste, albeit such a child.Imagine a large stone mansion with the water frontage entirely covered with luxuriant jasmine. The porched, paved with black and white
marble, had three sedilia of beautifully carved wood. Thence through a crimson baized door was reached the hall, out of which branched the
dining room and kitchen offices respectively. But you can scarcely conceive the romantic beauty of this dining room. The ceiling was conclave,
painted blue, with golden stars to represent the heavens. The walls were wainscoted, and over the lofty chimney piece the Black Rod’s coat of
arms was emblazoned. A section of the rooms was partitioned off from the rest by three Gothic arches enriched with numerous curious images,
and it was within the interior that on passing through two doors - the inner one of iron - we entered a small cell like apartment, intended to
be used as a place of confinement for persons in the Black Rod’s custody. Large glass doors at the end of the dining room led into the small
but trimly kept garden on the very banks of the Thames. But perhaps one of the most striking features of the whole house was the staircase,
which consisted of a flight of broad stone steps with a skylight of coloured glass overhead, and the walls, as with the dining room, of
marvelously carved woodwork, with niches, equidistant from each other, filled with statued of either armed knight or mitred bishop. A fantastic
twisted tope, painted stone colour, served for bannisters, and on the first landing was an elaborately ornamented door leading nowhither. The
drawing room was fine and spacious, with extensive bay windows - a small door therefrom admitting to the library, which was very perfect in its
appointments. I remember with great clearness the well-stocked book cases, lining it’s walls, and the oaken chairs and table, which were it’s
appropriate furniture. I will conclude my rapid and meagre sketch of the more quaint and uncommon aspects of “Parliament Place”, by mentioning
that the roof was flat and battlemented, and from which you may readily fancy that the view of the surrounding objects was interesting in the
This then was the residence which received me on my return from Dover, and which in itself and from its position on the river side caused
me great and various amusement. It seems but yesterday, when from the windows on the garden, I used to watch either the Westminster boys taking
boat from stairs hard by (for “Searles” was opposite us at Lambeth) or the Richmond steam boats passing (notably the Diana), or the fishermen
casting their nets into the river from their odd looking canvas-covered craft, and sometimes approaching close to the iron railings of our garden,
to offer for sale either flounders, roach or eels; or the numerous wherries, crowded with handsomely dressed ladies and gentlemen, which darted
up and down the river highway. At this distance of time it is like some pleasant dream. Then about this period or perhaps a little antecedent,
my father’s dear friend Robert Moody took up his abode with us. He also was on the Black Rod’s staff, and his studious habits and love of the
fine arts were not without their influences on the formation of my tastes. He was an amateur sculptor himself, and Sir Thomas, who was delighted
in fostering talent, had gained him admission to Sass’s studio in Newman St, an excellent school of design for young and rising artists. So
much did he profit by the teaching and experience gained there, that on Sir Thomas’s submitting one of his drawings to the great “Chantrey”,
Sir Francis observed, after taking a huge pinch of snuff, as was his wont, “Well! Sir Thomas! I can only tell you, that at his age, I could not
draw so well.” He afterwards gained admission as a student to the Royal Academy devoting all his spare time to the exercise of his art. He was
very successful in his likenesses, and I believe his busts of Lord Eldon, an ex-Chancellor (who sat to him) Lords Lyndhurst and Shaftesbury, Sir
Robert Peel, and Colonel Dyson, were much admired. That, however, which I appreciated most, and a caste of which he presented to me on one of my
birthdays, and which, still, is one of the ornaments of my drawing room, was a bust of Tasso, modelled from the best engraving he could obtain,
at the suggestion of a literary friend. He also, was the sculptor of my own bust when a child, and that of my poor father, which latter was
accidently broken, and no copy of which is extant. Mr Moody’s studio was a spacious room in the upper storey of our house and he would often
let me bear him company whilst modelling. The walls were hung round with drawings in crayon, and the intermediate spaces almost filled with
plaster castes, and grouped about were also busts, life size, standing on pillars. This room had a strange fascination for me and almost awe.
It was here I became acquainted with some of the well-known masterpieces of ancient Art and learnt to distinguish the sculptor’s ideal of
Zeus, the Apollo Belvedere, the Farnesian Hercules, Hermes, Clyte etc. There was another protégé of my godfather to whom I will here allude.
His name was Henry Trust, the son of a very poor musician, and whom Sir Thomas had fallen in with, whilst playing the harp on one of the
river steam boats. Through my godfather’s instrumentality he was placed under the instruction of the celebrated “Bochsa”, and on one occasion
Bochsa and Trust were invited to the Black Rod’s apartments in the House of Lords that Sir Thomas might judge of what degree of proficiency
the latter had attained to, and to afford me, who was one of the party, a musical treat. They were asked to partake of what seemed to me then
a very luxurious dessert. I can still picture to myself the whole scene. The grand “get up” of the Maestro - the rather threadbare, but
scrupulously clean appearance of the nervously anxious pupil - the guitars upon which they were playing - and dear Sir Thomas, seated
smilingly on the sofa with his little godson beside him. Ordinarily at the desire of Sir Thomas, Trust was accustomed every night to bring
his violin for my amusement, and his hint when about to depart, was his playing to my great chagrin the old lively tune of “Go to bed, Tom”.
Sir Thomas afterwards assisted Trust and his family to emigrate to America, and, where after some struggles and losing his father and mother,
he rose high in his profession, and became Leader of the Band at the Italian Opera House at Philadelphia. He married a Miss Phillips - sister
of the renowned actress of that name. In later years he returned to England, and is recently deceased. I have merely introduced him into this
narrative as only another illustration of the benevolence of my godfather.
So many circumstances crowd into my mind, connecting themselves with this period of my history, that I can hardly tell where to begin. You
may like to know, however, that I once had the opportunity of seeing George the IV. He was in his Royal robes, and was passing through the Long
Gallery of the House of Lords in Procession at either (I scarcely know which) an Opening or a Prorogation of Parliament. I quite remember his
sandy coloured wig - his loosely hanging cheeks, and his jaded, discontented air. He then resembled in appearance Wilkie’s full length portrait
of him in Highland costume, rather than Sir Thomas Laurence’s beautiful picture. Anything that would gratify me, I was, of course indulged in by
my godfather, and so, you will not be astonished to hear, that I was taken to be a spectator of the proceedings outside the Abbey at the Coronation
of King William IV, his brother George’s successor. My mother and I were on a platform outside an ironmonger’s shop at the corner of Parliament
St. The merry pealing of the joy bells of the Abbey and of St Margaret’s Church - the marshalling of the Troops forming the Guard of Honour -
the enlivening strains of military music, and the booming of the Artillery - the continual stream of carriages containing the Peers and the
Foreign Ambassadors - all in their Court array - excited in me feelings of never-to-be-forgotten interest.
But I was brought into close contact with the new Monarch and his Queen, Adelaide, some short time after, and it occurred in the following
manner. There was between Brentford and Windsor a pretty little village called Crawford Bridge, which boasted of a very commodious hotel. Sir
Thomas was fond of the spot and, frequently, when in attendance at Windsor for some Installation of the Order of the Garter of which as Black
Rod he was one of the officials would bring with him my mother, myself and the maid and leave us at Crawford. There were good gardens attached
to the hotel, where I used to play, amusing myself with collecting fir cones. Close by was one of Earl Derkeley’s seats, and wandering one
evening further than expedient in the direction of the House, we attracted her ladyship’s attention, who in the distance vigorously shook at
us her parasol, and proceeded to despatch one of the gardeners to forthwith eject us, which however we saved him the trouble of doing by
speedily withdrawing from the grounds. Lady Berkeley was the daughter of a butcher and was a person whose character had been notoriously bad.
We acquainted Sir Thomas with the incident, who made some remarks, not very complimentary to the great lady. While speaking of Crawford, I
will mention an anecdote, connected with this locality, which my godfather himself related. Hounslow Health, the celebrated resort of highwaymen
was not far from hence: and one night Sir Thomas and a friend were posting across it, when they were to their alarm stopped by foot-pads. One
rotter had seized the horses’ heads and was threatening the postboy, and two others, one at either window, presented their pistols, and in the
usual stereotyped phrase, demanded of the startled travelers “their money or their life”! The hand of the fellow at Sir Thomas side shook so
violently that he begged him to withdraw his weapon, lest unwittingly he might do him an injury - request which was immediately complied with:
and then, upon their delivering up their watches and pocket books, they were suffered to proceed. Sir Thomas pointed out to me a little brook,
where the next morning his pocket book, rifled of course of its contents, was discovered. All the men implicated were afterwards arrested, but
Sir Thomas, believing one of them had his life by dropping when desired the muzzle of his pistol, and learning moreover that it was his first
offence, refused to swear to his identity and accused therefore escaped from what would undoubtedly have been the extremist penalty of the law.
Subsequently he became a reformed character, feeling most thoroughly grateful to Sir Thomas for his forbearing kindness, never failed to tough
his hat with the deepest respect, whenever he saw him. But I have rather wandered from my object in taking you to Crawford, which was for the
purpose of describing, how I obtained for the first time a very distinct view of their Majesties, King William and his Queen. Being so close
to Windsor, Sir Thomas proposed, on one such an occasion as I have mentioned, that my father who chanced then to be with us, should accompany
my mother and myself to the Royal Borough. I know we were there on a Sunday for it was just on leaving St George’s Chapel and getting into
their carriage, that I had what was more than a peep at the then reigning Sovereign and his Consort. My father held me up on his shoulders to
the carriage windows, so that my curiosity was fully gratified. The King was short in stature, but very good natured looking, and the Queen
had an amiable expression, but was much facially disfigured by a cutaneous eruption. At the same time I was permitted to lionise the chapel,
and had specially my attention called to Princess Charlotte’s tomb, which Sir Thomas could never look at without emotion. Whether it was at
this time or not I am not thoroughly certain, but I was introduced at Eton to his Dame who, you may conclude, was a most venerable personage.
I can also recollect the Eton boys at play - especially at cricket. Whilst on the subject of William and his Queen, I must not omit relating
when I next saw them, and it was under very different circumstances. The Whigs, who were then in power, had induced the House of Commons to
vote the Queen (I fancy) as large a sum of £100,000 per annum: and at the close of the Session, she accompanied the King in person in order to
make her curtsey for this exorbitant allowance. My mother and I occupied the Black Rod’s box, below the Bar of the House of Lords and thus saw
the whole of the ceremony. I remember that it was a very graceful curtsey and I also call to mind that the morning was so very dark, that the
Sailor King after stumbling over a few sentences of his speech, had fairly to stop, till some lighted wax candles were procured and held near
him by some of the high officers of state. He, thereupon, commenced his speech anew and got through it very creditably. Years after I frequently
observed the Queen, when she had become “dowager”, at the Opera, with two of the Ladies Somerset, the Duke of Beaufort’s daughters, in attendance.
Of the remaining sons of George III, I only remember the Dukes of Cumberland and Cambridge. Often times I have followed the former up the
Peer’s staircase of the House of Lords. He was a tall and elegantly built man, with a grand military walk; his features handsome but with
rather a sinister aspect, owing to his having lost an eye and he wore a large white moustache. He was inimical to my father and on one occasion
condescended even to sneer at him, the rock of offence being, that Sir Thomas had prompted my father instead of one of the proteges of His Royal
Highness. He afterwards, as everyone knows, became King of Hanover. The Duke of Cambridge, the decidedly best in every point of view of the then
Royal family and, who outlived them all, I have seen on numerous occasions. He was a magnificent man, very princely in appearance, most kind and
affable, but not too clever. In the House of Lords, and at the Opera and walking in the streets, I have been very near him. I, also, once beheld
King Leopold of Belgium, and his Queen, who was a daughter of Louis Phillippe, King of the French. He was in uniform of a Cavalry officer, and I
was much impressed with his sensible and manly expression of countenance, though my dear godfather likened it to that of “an assassin”. His first
wife had been our Princess Charlotte, to whom it was said he was tenderly attached. There was nothing much to remark in the face and figure of
his second consort, except perhaps that she was tres petite, and took the tiniest of steps, as les francaises often do, contrasting
strangely with King’s long cavalry strides.
The wonderful affection of Sir Thomas for myself, led him to make me his companion when visiting his most intimate friends. One of these was
the Marquis of Wellesley, brother to the Duke of Wellington, and who had been Viceroy severally of India and Ireland, and who was besides a most
elegant scholar and at Eton had been particularly renowned for the polish and perfection of his Latin verses. His Lordship was singularly gracious
to me on more than one occasion, and on driving over to make a call at one of his place, (Marble Hall, Twickenham) he insisted on our staying
luncheon and seeing my childish interest in the numerous peacocks strutting about the grounds, directed that a large handful of Argus-eyed feathers
should be collected and given me. More than this, on my way home, in the midst of my prattle, Sir Thomas and I were astonished at a loud “quack!
quack!” proceeding from beneath the carriage seat, and where on inspection we discovered a very fine duck, which his Lordship had caused to be
placed there for my amusement. I recall, too, a visit, we paid him at his mansion, S. John’s Lodge, in Regent’s Park, and where we got some
fishing in the Ornamental Water. Here it was I got a glimpse of Marianne, second Marchioness of Wellesley. She was a widow of Robert Patterson
Esq. and one of three sisters, daughters of Richard Caton Esq. of the United States of America, all of whom were married into noble British
families. She was without issue and I fancy not a very great favourite either of my godfather or the Noble Marquis her husband.
It was on 1st August 1831 that I witnessed the opening of New London Bridge. Sir Thomas had taken a room, where we might view the spectacle,
in one of the river houses close to the Bridge, and where luncheon was provided (I clearly remember the lobster salad). The houses on the bank
and the innumerable ships, barges and pleasure boats, looked very gay with flags and streamers, but the King, who was himself to take the prominent
part in the inaugural ceremony, entirely disconcerted the programme of the authorities, by sailor-like preferring making his arrival in a simple
wherry, rather than in embarking as was intended, in one of the gilded state barges.
There was a melancholy duty imposed upon Sir Thomas at this time, which I often shared with him, and which ought not to be forgotten. The Sir
T. Jones, who had so kindly by his recommendation forwarded my father’s interests, had been accidently shot in the head at one of his shooting
parties on his own estate. At first no danger was apprehended, but afterwards a certain flightiness of manner was observable, which finally developed
into positive insanity. He was placed under the care of Dr Sutherland, whose treatment of such cases had made him so deservedly celebrated, and
who had him at once removed to one of the many small villas in Alpha Road, St. John’s Wood, rented by him for the reception of his patients. In
this quiet out of the way neighbourhood, Lady Jones also took up her abode, that she might watch over her poor demented husband. Here then it was
we frequently drove, and I can recollect the lively sympathy, which Sir Thomas used to display, when hearing from her lips the sad progress the
disorder was making. We sometimes even ourselves heard his ravings and incoherent cries. Lady Jones was a very lovely woman, vivacious and fascinating
in her manner (if my memory does not deceive me) and wrote that fine Italian hand which the ladies of that age affected and excelled in. I
suppose it was being the fair curly headed little boy which miniature I have still and which represents me, and as his godson that I received
from so many of Sir Thomas’ friends such as frequent and agreeable marks of attention. I seldom saw Lady Jones, for instance, without her setting
fruit before me (apricots I remember) which she had evidently preserved for my special delectation. Her Ladyship also presented me with a beautiful
writing desk, which stands as I write before me. From the Rev. T. Thurlow, too, Rector of Boxford, near Colchester, I received a small silver
knife and fork and spoon in case, as a birthday present. In a letter of his to Sir Thomas dated 9 October, 1829, he says, “your little Godson
estimates too highly the small present, and I hope he will live not only to cut up, but to eat many a good English round of beef”. It would not
interest you much to hear of the plays I was taken to see at the various theatres or the exhibitions which I visited. Of the former however,
“Mazeppa” and the “Battle of Waterloo” at Ardley’s Amphitheatre, delighted me most, and the wild beast show then in existence at Exeter Change,
Zoological Gardens in Regent’s Park, and later on the Surrey Zoological Gardens, and the skeleton of a huge whale, shown in a shed near Charing
Cross (for the National Gallery was not then erected) all had their interest for me. But was to my childish mind a cream of superlative pleasure,
was a night’s amusement at Vauxhall. This was then a most popular resort for the Nobility and Gentry, as well as for the Middle-classes, and Royalty
itself often condescended to take part in its diversified recreations. The fairy like appearance of the Gardens by moonlight, ornamented with
thousands of variegated lamps - the concert and the orchestra - the laughable performances in the Rotunda - and last but not least the splendid
Pyrotechnic display, one of the greatest attractions of the place, always raised my admiration to a pitch of enthusiasm. But Vauxhall, like “Ranelagh”
its predecessor, sadly degenerated in later times - being gradually shorn of aristocratic patronage. A few years ago the gardens were sold in building
lots, and I believe a beautiful church now stands on the very site of the orchestra of this once celebrated rendezvous of all the rank and
fashion of London society. But the action of my story must now move on a little quicker and a new chapter will unfold another but sadder phase
of my childish life.
Chaper IV - CHILDHOOD STILL CONT. - Change of air again becoming necessary for Sir Thomas’ health, he this time resolved to take up
his quarters at Ramsgate and a house in the Royal Crescent on the summit of the principal cliff, and not far from the chief bathing-house, was
hired for his accommodation. My mother and I, my sister and a sick servant, joined from Gravesend (where we had been staying) the steam boat in
which he was, and had rather a rough passage on our way to Ramsgate. Here our capital sailing qualities stood us in good stead, and when almost
everyone was ill about us, especially in rounding the North Foreland, we felt little else than the inconvenience, produced by the wind and the
beating rain. When we landed (which was much to my mother’s relief) at the harbour, it was pitch dark, and I thought, we should never have got
to the end of the broad flagstone pavement, to the spot where a carriage was waiting to convoy us to the Crescent. I remembered that I was
terribly hungry, and very pleased to be ushered into a well-lighted comfortable dining room where an excellent meat tea awaited us. I have spoken
of the sick servant, and I do so, as quoting a still further instance of the kind heartedness of our patron. She was an exceedingly valuable
person, and as the doctors pronounced her consumptive, and that, humanly speaking, there was no hope, but in the very forlorn one of the bracing
sea breezes, Sir Thomas permitted my mother to bring her with us, and thus give her at any rate the change. It was unfortunately of no avail,
and she died in a very few weeks, happy and most grateful for the generosity and sympathising care shown her on all occasions by Sir Thomas and
my dear mother. Shortly after her decease, it became necessary that my mother should return to town, which doing per steamer, she well-nigh met
with a very serious accident. A large brig came athwart the bows of the steamer, and was within an ace of running her down. My mother always
spoke most thankfully of her deliverance from this great danger.
I was now left entirely to the charge of Sir Thomas who allowed me to accompany him in his walks on the sand, and in his drives and calls
in the neighbourhood. I had a maid to wait upon me and recollect the valet (Charles Lethbridge) who was often sent out with me, for illness
sometimes detained Sir Thomas at home. I am confident that my godfather had a deep sense of religion. I vividly recall his prayer book and his
Bible (bound in red morocco with gilt edges) which he diligently used, when inclement weather or sickness detained him within doors. I can see
even now his lips moving whilst repeating the prayers in a kind of half whisper, and, here, is the proper place to confess with much shame and
confusion of face the ebullitions of temper, which about this time I displayed to the sorrow of my best of friends. I can remember when playing
at a child’s game called “Mother Goose”, hurling a teetotum at him in my silly petulance - angry because I did not always win. Indeed I had
become so dreadfully self-willed that the maid could do but little with me.
A few doors higher up in the Crescent lived Mr Clemenstone, Deputy Sergeant at Arms, and I remember going to a juvenile party at his house.
I was also permitted to give myself what Sir Thomas called “a rout” to a number of little boys, amongst whom were the sons of the Commodore of
the Harbour, whose name I forget. We had a merry evening, and Mr Moody who happened to be staying with us, did his best to amuse the laughter
It was at this period that my great affliction began to manifest itself. In running my hoop in the Crescent Gardens my father observed that
I was a little on one side. Thereupon, he rated me soundly attributing it to an indolent habit: but it was subsequently discovered that a large
abscess was forming. I was then quickly hurried up to London, and the best surgical advice obtained. I believe it was Mr Taunton, a celebrated
physician (who had on a previous occasion attended me) who suggested that at present no operation should be performed, but that much should be
left to nature. I was of course tenderly watched over. My general health was good, but periodically I had to endure excruciating pains. At last
while out for an airing with Sir Thomas in the carriage, the abscess, without the slightest pain, broke of itself. A sad time was set in for me.
A bed was placed in the library that I might be near my mother, whose bedroom adjoined, and though numerous toys were purchases to amuse me and
distract my attention from myself, yet I was very uncomfortable, and would hardly let my mother stir out of my presence. To make a somewhat long
story short, there was a consultation on my condition between Sir Benjamin Brodie and Mr Taunton, who eventually came to the decision, that
nothing short of the best nursing, and good sea air with bathing (they recommended Margate as the healthiest place of sojourn under the circumstances)
could possibly save my life. The examination took place in Sir Thomas’ apartments, and somehow or other I was allowed to hear the physician’s
opinion. You may believe that the advice given was speedily acted upon. Sir Thomas engaged two small house in Cliff Terrace, Margate, one for
himself and one for us, and where we within a few weeks were located. Only some paces off were the Clifton baths, so there was every facility
for carrying out the physician’s directions to the very letter. I was at first dragged about by Sir Thomas’ footman in a bath chain, but the
exertion of guiding it, while the man propelled, was too much for my enfeebled spine, which began to grow out towards the middle of the vertebrae.
Dr Price - the most experienced surgeon in the place - was summoned to consider my case, and he at once condemned me to life in a recumbent
attitude on a hard deal board all the day through. A reclining carriage was promptly procured from Griffin’s, in Leicester Square, and a chair
of similar kind for home also, and so behold poor me! Reduced to a life of total inaction, having no amusements in common with other children
of my own age, and compelled to look on only whilst others played.
Meanwhile, Sir Thomas, ever anxious for my welfare, had appointed as my tutor a young man, named “Gwynn”, so that my education should not
be completely neglected. The very circumstances of the case induced in me the love of reading, and so acting upon the maxim - “What can’t be
cured must be endured”, I bore with tolerable equanimity the trouble laid upon me. I remember that a monstrous deal of superfluous pity was
lavished on me by visitors in the place, who happened to encounter the carriage in which I reclined. For I really had my pleasures - watching
the archery which went on in the neighbourhood, or the ships sailing on the broad ocean hard by or dimly seen in the offing. Then my tutor
would take me in my carriage long distances, and sometimes we drove out to the prettiest places discoverable in the Isle of Thanet. But I had
also my frights - one of which was a terrible storm. The hail was tremendous - smashing in all the windows at the back of the house, and the
lightning literally scorched a towel in one of the bedrooms. A sea-flight between Smugglers and Preventive men below the cliff on which we
lived, also haunted me for many a long day. Especially, as I learnt that under our very house was a subterranean passage communicating with a
wooden cottage at the back, made use of for their illicit purposes. The uncle of one of our servants was wounded in the fray, and cast into
Let me here bear record to the unwearying kindness and devotion of my mother during my long illness. Without such a nurse I am sure I could
not have recovered. But the merciful God blessed her unceasing efforts, and my constitution though rather a frail one successfully withstood
the ravages of pain and disease.
Chapter V - BOYHOOD - It was now that Sir Thomas' ill health assumed a more dangerous phase. Weakened by repeated attacks of his
malady and intensity worried by the involved condition of his private affairs, his resignation of the office of black rod became inevitable.
An arrangement was therefore entered into with his successor Captain Clifford R.N (afterwards Sir Augustus Clifford Bart) who was to allow him
out of emoluments of the office (which annually amounted to at least £4000) £1400 per annum for his life, and it was at that time Sir Thomas
determination to restrict his yearly expenses to £400, devoting the remaining £1000 to the payment of his honourable but not usurious debts.
It was sent up with great haste from Margate that he might see me before his departure from Westminster for the continent--a step which for
his personal comfort was deemed necessary. It was my last interview with him. And I distinctly remember, how pale and changed and emaciated
he looked. He seemed undergoing the greatest bodily pain, and I missed the cheerful smile with which he was wont to greet me. After being but
a brief interval in his presence, he exclaimed to my father, “take the boy away”! I do not think he liked me to witness his sufferings..
Accordingly the next day I returned to Margate, and resumed my former habits. I afterwards learnt that they had immense difficulty in
accomplishing his removal from the House of Lords. His office had hitherto secured him from arrest, but the fact of his resignation oozing
out, he was beset by importunate creditors, and many writs were issued against him. A great effort, nevertheless, was made, and on a Sunday
(for Sunday is a dies non in Law) he was carried to Parliament Place, and embarked from the garden in a large wherry, which quietly conveyed
him and luggage to London Bridge, where a Calais steam packet received him. I cannot bear to recall these most unhappy events which befell our
benefactor. So far as I can judge they occurred through his mixing himself up in unfortunate speculations, his kindness in assisting others
(mostly unworthy characters) and his general carelessness and want of business habits. To be in debt, too, was the normal condition of the men
of his time and set, notably including his royal master George IV. In looking over his papers I have found literally heaps of notes of hand
and bills to which he had put his name, and which he had necessarily in due time to take up. No marvel was it that my father was so earnest in
pressing upon me, never to give a bill, however hardly pressed, or under whatsoever difficulty; for it fell to him to do his best to arrange
Sir Thomas’ circumstances, and it was these bills transactions, which occasioned him endless trouble and annoyance.
Sir Thomas’ safe arrival at Calais gave us all a sense of relief, and for some time his health appears to have improved. He lodged at
Dessin’s, the celebrated hotel, mentioned so far back as in “Sterne’s “Sentimental Journey”. He, here regained his strength and spirits sufficiently,
as to be able to write me several letters, which he had taken the pains to print with his own hands in Roman type, that I might myself read
them. He also transmitted a silver chain and numerous boxes of cardboard soldiers. So you see he did not forget me, though sick and unable from
circumstances to return to England. And now the autumn approaching and having sojourned for five months at Margate, it became necessary to wend
our way homewards. Of course my godfather’s resignation had caused a great change in all our domestic arrangements; for, to begin with, we were
compelled at once to vacate Parliament Place, over which Sir Thomas no longer possessed any authority. My father thereupon hired No. 6 King’s
Parade, Chelsea, which was pleasantly situated and had a long strip of garden attached to it well stocked with fruit trees, shrubs and flowers.
Just opposite our residence dwelt in a spacious mansion, Mr Cuuran, son of celebrated wit and member of the Irish Bar, but who was unfortunately
insane. It was a bright autumnal day, when we comfortably accomplished the journey from Margate and took possession of new abode. I was delighted
with everything, and the nursery facing the street, afforded to the children endless variety and amusement. In a few months, however, more
trouble came, for it pleased God on 24th Feb. 1833 to take the soul of my godfather to Himself. He died at Calais and was buried in the old
Cemetery, my father, the valet (Charles Lethbridge) and Dossin, the proprietor of the hotel, being the only mourners. No stone marks his resting
place which seems a strange omission: but a handsome memorial tablet was erected at Prince Town Church, which is near Torr Royal, and which I
visited in the spring of 1860. A description of it and the laudatory epitaph which will be found in the appendix to this Autobiography.
Only on the January 23rd previously Sir Thomas had made his will. It was written his own hand after commending his soul to the care of his
Creator, trusting He would pardon his sins through the remission in His pity He has given to all mankind through Jesus Christ. He appointed
James Pulman Esquire, Deputy-Usher of the Black Rod and my father, his Executors, and the former refusing to serve the whole of the business
devolved upon my father. After leaving to his valet all his “wearing apparel” and “gold watch”, he bequeathed to my father “all Articles of
furniture then in his possession belonging to him” and “all other articles of what kind whether pecuniary or otherwise to me his godson, son
of his executor”. Thus did his love to me continue to the last, and had he been rich, I should have had inherited his riches. As it was, there
were only a few articles of jewellery to receive including a gold repeater and a little more than £200 in reduced 3% Consols, which was only
paid over to me in the form of a bequest on my father’s decease in 1869 and which sum I appropriated to the education of my two eldest boys.
Torr Royal(which was heavily mortgaged) had previously been sold for £9000 to George Nicholson Esq. of Hertford and the actually liabilities
of my godfather on his decease amounted to about £7000 or £8000, while the assets could only be reckoned at the most at £1400. My father himself
was a creditor to the amount of £400 which he had lent Sir Thomas on 4th June 1831 but which he had had to borrow of Williams & Co., Bankers,
on the security of his life policy. The trouble and annoyance which this executorship cost my father was immense and the jealousy (very needless
in reality) which my being left heir occasioned, subjected him to many insulting remarks. Several times bills were paid in chancery against
him - particularly one on 17th July, 1833 (which caused him more than ordinary trouble) by Moses Davies, a money lender of Fenchurch Street,
for three Bills of Exchange, amounting in all to £544 drawn by an unprincipled man, named J. W. Bennett, (who was one of Sir T’s harpies) and
alleged to be accepted by him. I think it was on this occasion that my father was under arrest for a few hours. I can clearly recollect how
fagged and worried he often looked just about this time, and what anxious conversations he held with my mother. His enemies, indeed, did their
worst, not contenting themselves with spreading viva voce false reports, but propagating them through the medium of “a Satirist” - a vile
newspaper which prostituted itself to such base purposes. I do not recollect mentioning before that Sir Thomas had appointed my mother “Necessary
Woman” to the House of Lords, and that her Warrant dates 28th May, 1830. This office had been always held by a lady, and the emoluments were a
moiety of the amount of my father’s annual income. The actual duty was always performed by a deputy, and latterly indeed the post had become a
complete sinecure. This appointment had dragged my poor mother into the mire, and my father’s enemies did not scruple to subject her to their
abominable slanders. My father’s character, however, for the strictest probity, enabled him to weather the storm, which spite and jealousy had
raised. He did his best to satisfy, so far as the estate would allow, the claims made upon it, and though some interval elapsed, before the
various law proceedings were set at rest, and the creditors satisfied, or at any rate quieted, yet at length the unpleasantnesses came to an
end, and he had the satisfaction of feeling that he had acted conscientiously and with no arriere pensee throughout. His attorney indeed (Mr
Shuter of Milbank Street, Westminster) used often to rally him on the extreme sensitiveness he displayed in relinquishing everything that was
of sufficient value to produce money for the good of the estate.
It was just about now that a barrister, named Phillips, residing next door, went out of his mind, in consequence of some unfortunate drinking
bet. His ravings and riot were so formidable, as to cause a great shock to my mother’s nervous system, which in a few weeks developed itself
in a bad attack of fever, and had also such an effect upon me, that for years after I was sadly afraid of anything in the shape of insanity.
It must not be forgotten that all this time I was compelled to preserve my recumbent attitude, and it was not until I had done so for two and
a half years that I was sufficiently recovered to walk and join in children’s sports. During this period my mother in a moment of weakness had
submitted my case to one Richies, a quack doctor, of some reputation. He of course immediately undertook my cure, but his treatment of vapour
baths, herbal medicines and plaisters, far from benefiting me caused a re-gathering and re-breaking of the abscess besides retarding my recovery
for some length of time.
How I, then, loved reading and have ever since! It was my only recreation. Going to rest at an early hour, I used to waken with the lark,
and abstracting one of the many books I preserved in the looped up curtains of my little brass bedstead was at once busied with its perusal. We
have still the bedstead, and its striped white and blue furniture. I also was accustomed to make extracts from favourite authors with my pencil,
and indulge even at that early age in original composition. During our sojourn in King’s Parade, we on two separate occasions were taken into the
country. On the first of these we had rooms in a cheerful cottage at the little village of Chalke, near Gravesend: and on the second we again visited
Margate and under very sad and gloomy circumstances. We had all been suffering from severe whooping cough, and it unhappily proved fatal on
April 6th 1835, in the instance of my younger sister Ellen, who was only 20 months old. She was a charming little girl, and her death was an
intense grief to my mother and father. I see her now in her tiny coffin looking so like a beautiful piece of sculpture. She was buried in the
churchyard of St Luke’s, Chelsea. Miserable and dejected, we found at the seaside a renewal of the health and spirits we lacked so much.
On our return to town my mother began to seek for a larger and more commodious residence, and she finally fixed upon 42 Cheyne Walk as a house
likely to suit her purpose. It was accordingly taken on a lease of (I think) seven years, and having been put into a state of thorough repair,
we moved into it and once more became dwellers on the banks of the Thames.
Chapter VI - SCHOOL DAYS - I need scarcely mention, that owing to ill health my education had been greatly neglected. My mother, it
is true, had herself done what she could, and I can recollect reading to my father out of “The Speaker”, but I was now about 11 or 12 years old,
and ought to have made some progress in Latin and French, although in general information, I acknowledge, by reason of my own desultory studies,
I was perhaps better instructed than most children of my own age. I was now, however, thought strong enough to go amongst other boys and was therefore
(on 17th August 1835) put under the charge of the Rev. Mr Morris, one of the curates of the Parish Church, who only took “a limited number of
young gentleman” for instruction in the rudiments of a classical education. This step, though intended to be one in the right direction, proved
a monstrous mistake. Mr Morris’ parochial duties so continually interfered with his hours of tuition, that almost 4 days out of the 6 I was relegated
to the care of his wife, who if I proved dull or negligent over an ill-conned task, used to rap my knuckles with her thimbled finger or with the
ruler. At the end of the quarter I was therefore very properly removed, and after a brief interval became one of the alumni of the Pimlico Grammar
School, which was about half an hour’s walk from our residence. Alas! This only turned out mistake No 2 for the school, I soon discovered, was
going rapidly to the dogs and quite on its last legs, both in point of numbers, and in the quality of the teachers. I was very wretched there -
placed on a long empty desk by myself and continually snubbed instead of encouraged by the second master, who toadied the elder boys and bullied
the younger. I don’t think I profited in the slightest degree while here, and was heartily rejoiced when my father announced his determination
of transferring me to a private school in Cook’s Ground kept by a Mr Jones, and not more than 200 yards distant from my home. At first, however,
even this change seemed to be drifting into mistake No 3, for the Usher, whose name was “Robinson” treated me so cruelly as to make one’s school
days a perfect penance instead of a pleasure. He was a thin, half-starved looking man, with a fiery, sanguineous face, produced by hard drinking.
It was said that he was a first rate Classic, but I had no means of judging. For the slightest fault he would buffet me so sharply, as to drive
every idea out of my mind. I could not have stood it much longer, nor should, when to the delight of the whole school his received his conge,
and a good natured Welshman, named “Evans” was appointed in his stead. Then, what a transformation! Worthy of a harlequin’s wand. I now loved
school as much as I hated it before, and became one of the most promising and diligent of the boys. With his kind help and that of a Mr Pigott
who after a time succeeded him, I had acquired a fair knowledge of my Latin grammar and could construe Eutropius very decently. Indeed my progress
had been so satisfactory that my father came to the conclusion that I ought to be promoted to a superior place of education and on the strong
recommendation of Mr Goss (afterwards Sir John Goss) the organist of S. Paul’s, with whom we had become acquainted, purchased a share in the
Western Proprietary Grammar School in Alexander Square, Brompton, so that I had in future a wider field for my exertions. One remark I may here
add in regard to the dismissed usher - Robinson. Unable to obtain another situation, he sank at last into the most squalid poverty. For years at
intervals we used to receive his begging letters, and almost always relieved him, either with money or cast off clothing. But he continued incorrigible,
and even so far on as 1854, when he must have seen my preferment in the newspaper, did one of his fawning epistles come to hand.
It was a bright fine morning - 16th Jan. 1839 - when I made my first appearance at the Brompton Grammar School. My father accompanied me,
and I was in a few moments introduced to the various masters. The head master was Dr Mortimer, of whom I have every reason to speak well, for
his treatment to me was always kind and considerate. The second in command was the Rev. Mr Sharpe also very friendly and the third a layman -
Mr Cockayne, not a University man as the others, but excellent at Grounding the lower classes in their rudiments, and under whose charge I was
promptly placed. The French Master was Monsieur Delille - author of a French grammar and several other educational works. There were to new boys
besides myself, Viz: Tom Saumarez, son of Captain and nephew of Lord de Saumarez, and Bob Gunter, son of the well known confectioner of Berkley Square.
De Saumarez and I were put into the same class, but of Gunterbeing in a lower one and a small boy, my knowledge was always slight. I believe he
afterwards went to Rugby and finally obtained a commission in the army.
It would be tedious to trace my school career step by step. Suffice it to say that I worked very fairly and every half year was promoted to
a higher class. Nevertheless in mathematics I was always a failer, and never was able to conquer my aversion to this American slang phrase there
was quite “a skedaddle” - a little army of boys following their old master to his new sphere of labour. When we assembled after the midsummer
holidays our ranks were miserably thinned and it was almost like the commencement of a new school. The Rev. Robert Lamb M.A of St. John’s College,
was Dr. Mortimer’s successor, and was a fine handsome man, and a polished scholar, but unfortunately rather deficient in discipline and administrative
ability. He lacked the sternness and authority of his predecessor. We all loved him, but those of us who were inclined to indolence shirked our
work to shameful degree. I am afraid that I must plead guilty to being one of those who took advantage of his easy good nature. I cannot indeed
look back on my later school days with any satisfaction, but rather the reverse. True it is that I was constrained to admire and appreciate the
great Greek and Latin authors, and gained a smattering of Thucydides, Herodotus, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides, Virgil, Horace, Livy, Terence,
Tcitus etc., but I was defective in the drudgery part of my education: my Latin composition, for instance, either prose or verse, was very poor,
and I took little pains to improve myself in this particular. The fact was, that just then I was deeply interested in English Literature and was
pursuing for the first time the magic pages Shakespeare, Byron, Moore and Spencer. I had indeed become passionately fond of Poetry and Romance
and had begun to attempt original composition. I am inclined to think that it was sad stuff, though some of the rhythm flowed smoothly enough. I
tried for the prize for English verse but failed - in fact I so disliked the subject (it was Afghanistan) that my production was very inferior.
Here let me remark, that I was singularly unlucky in the matter of prizes. Once only in the year were they given away, and it almost always happened
that at that particular period, I had only recently got up a class and had not had sufficient time to work myself to the top. During the whole
therefore of my school life, I only received two - one for “good conduct” in 1841 and the other for “History and Geography” in the second class
at midsummer 1842: although year by year, my quarterly card sent to my father, testified that in every subject (barring mathematics) I had been
“highly Satisfactory”. Hitherto in this chapter, I have confined my self to speaking of my school proceedings, but I must now say something about
my general life. It was during my residence in Cheyne walk that William IV on 20 June, 1837 breathed his last and was succeeded by the princess
Victoria, only child of the Duke of Kent. I remember being in old Chelsea Church on the following Sunday when I was much amused by the old Rector
(Mr. Rush) praying for “our most gracious Queen and governous”. I mention the accession of her Majesty that I may describe the coronation at
which I was actually present. It is an occasion not to be forgotten and I was then old enough to be greatly impressed. I had witnessed the
outside procession as detailed in a previous chapter of that of King William but the interior solemnities far surpassed all that I could have
conceived. Early in the morning of June 28, 1838 my father, Mr. Moody and myself set off the house of lords. Irecollect standing in the first
place for a long interval in the Lobby of the House of Commons, watching the ingress of the egress of the Members: but I only clearly recall
to mind the countenances and figures of two of them viz. Daniel O’Connell, the great irish agitator, “the big beggarman” as he was wont to be
styled, and the Lord Castlereagh of that day, who had his arm in a sling having recently fought a duel with the husband of Grisi (the Prima
Donna of the Italian Opera) and who had wronged him. We afterwards crossed over to the Abbey by the carpeted covered way, Lord Willoughby d’Gresby,
one of the hereditary Lord High Chamberlains, Kindly permitting me at my father’s request, to follow in his train. I was then admitted to that
part of the glorious old Minster, where seats had been provided for the peers of the realm. These great magnates of the land all wore their
crimson velvet robes, and sat with their coronets in their laps. It was here Lord Shaftesbury (father of the present Earl) shook hands with me,
for he knew me well, and always took some notice of me. Unhappily not being in court dress I was soon compelled to withdraw from this excellent
position, not however before I had been permitted to have a close view of the high Altar, which literally blazed with golden, be-jewelled patens,
chalices and alms dishes, My father now placed me in a gallery, contiguous to the choir, which was composed of men and women - the former surpliced
and the latter in plain white muslin dresses. Sir George Smart presided at the organ ( he had married a Miss Hope, sister to the Rev. Richard
Hope, afterwards one of my friends) and I recognised amongst the singers “Philips”, an excellent basso of that period, and Miss Sheriff, another
well-known star of the English Opera. It is impossible to describe the whole long and imposing ceremony at this length of time. I Remember, however,
the Westminster boys exercising their privilege of thrice calling out ‘Vivat Victoria Regina” at some pre-arranged time, also the sermon preached
by Dr. Blomfield, Bishop of London, which sounded to me (I was so far distant) like a low murmuring. Then I was hurried to another end of the
gallery, where I witnessed the all-important feature of the days procedure - the actual crowning of the Queen by Dr. Howley - Archbishop of Canterbury
: and I can recollect the flash of the brilliant jewels in the coronets of the Peers and Peeresses, when simultaneously with the crowning of
her Majesty, they as it were, crowned themselves. The gorgeous uniforms of the Ambassadors - especially that Prince Esterhazy, the Austrian
Envoy, also attracted my attention, and boy-like I was much amused with the scramble for the gold and silver medals which now ensued - thrown
promiscuously amongst the assembled throng of the highest and noblest of the land by the Heralds attired in their quaintly emblazoned vestures.
My godfather had given me coronation medals of George IV and William IV, which I now possess, but I did not succeed in procuring one of our
present sovereign. And now came the act of doing homage to the newly crowned Queen, and peer by peer approached in order of seniority and rank
to kneel and kiss her hand. Poor Lord Rolle, however, very old Devonshire Baron, when his turn came, stumbled and fell, when the Queen immediately
stooped down and gracefully assisted in raising him from the ground. It was quite evening before we left the Abbey, and having stayed some time
outside, admiring the splendid equipages of the various nobility and ambassadors (particularly that of Marshall Soult, the French Ambassador)
as they drove off, we proceeded home, so far as I was concerned terribly fatigued. I cannot now help remarking on the good nature of Mr. Atwood,
then Member for Birmingham, who took charge of my father’s hat, while he held me on his shoulder that I might see the more readily the more
carriages and their occupants.
CHAPTER VII (Supplementary) - This is to be a brief chapter supplying some domestic particulars hitherto omitted, in order that what
follows after, may be more intelligible. In the first place, I have already mentioned that Mrs Piozzi, formerly Thrail, was godmother to my uncle
“Louis Frederick” but the godfathers I have not mentioned and I find that they were “the Honourable Frederick Byng” and “Signor Marchesi” the celebrated
Italian Opera singer. My grandmother used to relate that when after the ceremony my baby uncle was presented to his godmother, she made the sage and
incontrovertible remark that “he now possessed a French and German name”. My uncle James’ sailor life may be summed up as follows : his battle was in
the Minerva frigate, commanded by Captain (afterwards Sir George) Cockburn, who made two French frigates strike - Lord Nelson happening to be a passenger
on board her bound for Naples. Next he was in “the Magnificent” (74 guns) when she sunk off the coast of France. He afterwards fought at Trafalgar,
being in Colinwood’s ship. But his most exciting adventure, and that in which his individual power comes out strongest, was in the engagement between
“the Rock Schooner” and the French. This ill fated vessel was bringing home Specie from the West Indies, when she was suddenly attacked and completely
riddled by the enemies’ shot. Commander Lawrence was killed by my uncle’s side, and the command devolving on him as next superior officer, he gallantly
continued the fight until compelled to surrender. The French, it appears, generally gave him and the rest of the crew their liberty, and on arriving at
Jamaica, he was tried as the surviving officer by Court Martial for the loss of the ship but I need hardly say honourably acquitted and recommended by
Lord Malgrave, (then First Lord of Admiralty) for promotion. he was indeed a brave and daring boy and one cannot help lamenting that yellow fever should
have cut short what would doubtless have been a very noble career.
I have barely alluded to my sisters and brother, of the former I had three, but only one brother. My eldest sister “Mary Agnes” (named after her two
grandmothers) was born on Wednesday the 12th December 1827 at about a quarter before one o’clock in the morning. She was baptized on Ash Wednesday, 1828
(almost extraordinary day for such a solemnity!) at St. Margaret’s, Westminster. At the time I write, she of all the family alone survives. She had good
abilities and whatever she attempted - whether in painting, wax modelling or music--was done well, far exceeding the mediocre. At the early age of five
she was placed at school with a Mrs Pugh in Cook’s Ground, Chelsea, and though so young, attained a fair proficiency in Music and Dancing. She was later
on under the care of a Miss Wisby in Cheyne Walk, but finished her education with Mrs Noakes of Sloane Street. My second sister “Jessie Elizabeth” was
born on Monday the 27th December 1830 at 3.15am and was baptized on S. Bartholomews’ Day 1831 at the same St Margarets’. I was myself present at the
christening. She was, also, at Miss Wisby’s, and was a child of considerable strength of character and though not brilliant, was most persevering. I,
now, come to the birth of my brother, which took place on the 8th February, 1832 at 2.32am and here comes in a confession of a grievous neglect on the
part of my people. He was never baptized. The name given to him was “Frederick Louis” after my uncle. On his decease had the clergy had any knowledge of
this inexplicable omission very painful consequences might have ensued. They would of course have been bound to have with-held the rites of Christian
Sepuitre. The supervision, however, of large Town Parishes was at that time so amazingly lax, that no questions were asked, and we escaped therefore,
what would have been a very great misery for us all. My youngest sister “Ellen” came into the world on Saturday 27th July 1833 at 7.11pm (bright beautiful
weather I recollect). She was baptized at S. Luke’s (New) Church, Chelsea on Wednesday 4th September 1833.
CHAPTER VIII - My mother’s health, which had for some years been delicate, now became distressingly bad, and a great necessity arose for
change of air. We had on one occasion visited for some weeks the ancient Town of Reading, and had taken quite a fancy to the green lanes and quiet fields
of Berkshire. It was, therefore, determined to hire a small house there - keeping on however, our Town residence - my father and I only going into the
country in vacation times. The railway had just been opened as far as Reading, when my midsummer holidays commenced, and this was the first journey I
ever made by rail. I remember that I was delighted with everything, especially with the pretty little cottage in Prospect Street, which was our home,
with it’s garden full of pinks and damask roses. There was only one cloud over my joy and that was my poor mother’s pale and anxious face. We used to
have long chats together, for she was accustomed to confide much in me, and acquainted me with all her troubles and sad anticipations. After a while,
however, she grew somewhat stronger and a larger and more commodious house was taken, and in a better situation. It was in the Parish of Whitley (which
was much higher ground than Prospect Street) and was surrounded by a fairly extensive garden. Our great friends here were a Mr and Mrs Hubbard with whom
we had accidently become acquainted. They were both very pleasant persons and we delighted in their society. He was a cousin to the Mr Hubbard, the
founder of the celebrated St. Alban’s Church, Holborn, who represented Buckingham and afterwards the City of London for so many years on Conservative
principles. Our associate was at this period much reduced in circumstances, and indeed, was never successful for any length of time in any of his
undertakings. But he was for all that the pleasantest and brightest of companions and thoroughly knowing the neighbourhood was a most excellent cicerone.
Oh! The endless drives and walks we ventured under his guidance. The charming explorations into out of the way villages and quaint old fashioned towns! The
cheerful luncheons at wayside inns and the picnics amidst quiet and lovely scenery! As I write, I live again those cloudless days. I conjure up to memory
the venerable borough with which we soon became well acquainted. There was the ruined castle and gateway - the Forbury hard by Dr Valpy’s School (little did
I then think that one of his grandsons would in later life become one of my greatest friends) - the old grey churches of St Mary and St Nicholas. Not far off,
too, was “White Nights” - a deserted seat of the Duke of Marlborough, with its beautiful and spacious gardens, filled with rare American shrubs, and its summer
houses and lakes with acquatic fowls. Nor were conservatories wanting, in one of which I for the first time beheld a specimen of the Mimosa or sensitive plant.
I remember, also, so well the tiny rural village of “Three Mile Cross” where Miss Mitford dwelt and which she has described so inimitably in some of her
writings. A more ambitious expedition was to Mederham Abbey, situated on the banks of the Thames in Buckinghamshire. This ancient building enjoys the
unenviable notoriety of the detestable orgies of the Hall Fire Club having been held there. They showed us a portion of the cradle, wherein were placed
those who fell from their chairs, overcome by the fumes of wine, while others of the party danced round in fiendish revelry: there were writings, also
on the low ceilings, traced unsteadily with the smoke of candles. Scandal whispers that the Prince of Wales (afterwards George the Fourth) was a member
of this club. Then I must not forget to mention “Shathfieldsaye” - the mansion and estate purchased by a grateful country and presented to the Duke of
Wellington, just as in Queen Anne’s time “Blenheim” had been to the first Duke of Marlborough. It is a long rambling edifice - all the rooms on the
ground floor and running one into the other. The sleeping chamber of the Duke I was much struck with - it was so simple in its furniture and appointments.
The walls were papered with picture scraps - the representation of a noble specimen of the swine species, keeping guard at the head of his Grace’s narrow
camp bedstead. We had, also, pointed out to us in either dining or drawing room (I forget which) the chairs which had originally belonged to the great
Duke of Marlborough. Part of a small paddock near the house - surrounded by post and rails, marked the resting place of “Copenhagen” - the valued charger
of our Waterloo hero: and a rustic summer house with a sliding panel for window, was described to us as the locale whence the late Duchess was accustomed
to feed with bread her husband’s old favourite, when alive. We saw in the village Inn, (then kept by the Duke’s groom) several paintings of this faithful
companion of his on many a hard and well fought field.
But we were not fated to remain very long at dear old Reading. The divided family and separate establishments caused so much inconvenience and expense,
that the cheerful country cottage was relinquished and we returned once more to town. It was determined, however, to seek a residence in a different quarter,
for my mother imagined that the waterside was injurious to her health. After much difficulty 158 Sloane Street was taken and 42 Cheyne Walk sublet by my father
(the lease not being yet expired), to Mr Pugin, the eminent architect, who may fairly lay claim to have galvanised into existence that love for the “Gothic”,
which has produced such astonishing results in the edifying and restoration of so many churches and Cathedrals. Augustus Welby Pugin was a very eccentric man
- costumed more like a lighter man than anything else - very brusque in his address and conversation, but with a wonderfully bright and piercing eye. He had
turned Romanist (I fancy) principally from his passion for ecclesiastical art, and had collected a house of antiquarian curiosities. He fitted up a
beautiful little oratory in that which had been our drawing room.
My mother did not derive much benefit from the change of abode. The house was not so good: we were closer to the street traffic and no garden behind
only a miserable yard - backed by a mews. On one side however we had nice neighbours - a Mr and Mrs Morris with their two daughters. He was a retired officer,
having been in the 33rd (Duke of Wellington’s Own) but owing to some unfortunate speculation was half ruined. At the same time his health having given
way (a slow paralysis stealing over him) his wife, perforce, became a miniature painter, in which line she was very talented and successful and thus kept
the home together and the wolf from the door. A Major Mackenzie and family lodged with them, so that we young people formed together quite a pleasant
coterio. For some months of our residence here there is but little of interest to record. We were all at school and the monotony of our existence was
only occasionally broken through by visits to Brighton and sometimes to the Hubbards at Reading. But when I had reached my 15th year two great calamities
befell us. My brother who was at a private day school in the neighbourhood and who was making very fair progress, became gradually exceedingly ill. It
turned out to be enteric fever which affecting the brain and rendering him insensible eventually proved fatal, and within a month from his decease my sister
Jessie whose health had from that time caused us grave apprehensions and who had been under a physician’s care, was also taken with the same complaint,
and after a few days of suffering succumbed. They were both buried in the same grave with dear little Ellen in St. Luke’s Churchyard, Chelsea. I need
hardly remark on the deep grief into which we were all plunged. I thought it would have killed my mother. She could not weep and would walk about the
room for hours together. They were very dear children and promised to be so good and clever. We have castes of them taken after death, but no other
representations. To her last moment my mother never ceased to mourn for and lament her departed children.
CHAPTER IX - My father had often pressed me to choose some profession, to which my future life might be devoted, for I was now about 17 years
old: but I found it impossible to make up my mind and was in fact singularly destitute of either likes or dislikes on the subject. My Father therefore
having failed in getting me a Government appointment made all arrangements with Messrs. Grahame & Weems, Scotch Parliamentary agents of 30 Great George
St. Westminster that I should enter their office, with the view of acquiring a knowledge of Parliamentary practice. They were both nice - handsome in
person and very kind and friendly to myself. Mr Grahame was a relative of Grahame, the Scottish poet, author of “The Sabbath” etc. He was a gentleman by
birth, but Mr Weems a Dumfries man had simply risen through his own talent and exertions. Behold me then having left school, snugly ensconced in a lawyer’s
office and entering with a good heart into all the drudgery of such an occupation. There was a good fellow, a senior clerk, one Adam Blyth. We only
disagreed on a single point and that was - religion. He was a rigid Presbyterian and I thought at that time with not very strongly defined Church opinions
yet detested Presbyterianism. From my earliest years indeed in reading history I was a cavalier, a Jacobite and a Tory and so far as I had thought out
religion at all was more Romanist than anything else. I had indeed been confirmed by Dr Blomfield, Bishop of London, but my preparation had been so trifling
and so unimpressive, that the opportunity for settling my views had slipped by unimproved and unheeded. When I remember the careless and irreverent spirit
in which I and other youths of my own age approached the holy rite, I feel overwhelmed with shame and remorse. Still Blyth and I were excellent friends
and on one occasion I consented to accompany him to some Scotch Conventicle to a meeting of some of the leading supporters of what was afterwards called
“the Free Kirk”. The question of Lay patronage was then shaking to its very foundation the established religion of Scotland and was just in the act of
producing the violent schism which a few months after rent it in twain. Dr Cunningham, Dr Guthrie and other champions of the Free Kirk School addressed
the meeting with considerable fluency and eloquence but with as I considered a remarkable lack of Christian charity. In fact the harsh terms in which
they enveighed against the Moderates ie those who supported the status quo, quite prejudiced me against their cause, with which however now I think I
should be more inclined to sympathise. My fellow clerk did not long remain I am sorry to say, after my entering the office, but sought to him the more
congenial position of a Presbyterian Minister. He was a great hand at writing tracts and years after when I was just a curate I found to my amusement and
astonishment several of his tracts circulated in my Parish by the Dissenters.
The work in which I was now daily engaged interested me from one point of view very considerably. It consisted principally in passing Private Bills
through both Houses of Parliament and in attending to the Scotch appeals to the House of Lords which was then the High Court of Judicature. I was then
brought into contact with many of the greatest, the noblest and most prominent men of the time and knew by sight almost every Peer or Member of Parliament
of any celebrity. The Duke of Wellington with his white stock and silver buckle slowly riding down to the House and punctual to the moment, taking his
seat in the cross benches and then correcting his watch by the House clock - the Earl of Derby, afterwards twice Prime Minister, called by O’Connell
“scorpion Stanley” and by others “the Repert of Debate” - the Earl of Cardigan, the noted martinet and duellist - a splendidly handsome man. Earl Russell,
small and plain, known better as “Lord John” - the celebrated Law Lords of the day “Lyndhurst” with his brown wig but still rich voice and rounded periods
- “Mongham” with his ugliness and mercurial temperament but ready of speech and of ringing tones with strong scotch accent and trousers of striped bar
pattern, immortalised by Punch - “Campbell” “plain sock” as he once was wont to call himself, heavy looking and in speaking as heavy - “St Leonards”
formerly Sugden called by Mongham in derision “Bugden”, “Cottenham” and afterwards “Cranworth”, “Chelmsford”, “Truro”, “Westbury” and “Cairns” - the
notorious Ld Fitzhardinge, formerly Colonel Berkeley - the Duke of Richmond and Earl of Anglesey both having been at Waterloo and the latter with a slight
limp having a cork leg and amongst the Commons “Sir R. Peel”, then Prime Minister (almost always followed by a Policeman) with his satiric look and habit
of throwing his blue coat back when speaking. Sir James Graham of Netherby, the Home Secretary - “Macaulay” the Historian - a rather small stout man but
with fine eye and full mellow voice - “Fitzroy Somerset” with one arm, afterwards Lord Raglan and General of the Crimean army - “Hudson” the railway King,
very common looking and riding a grey cob - “Mercitz” the M.P. for Birmingham with heavy moustache and beard - a rarity then for a civilian. “Spooner” the
Banker, his coadjutor, the ugliest man in the House - “Disraeli” and “Gladstone” who is still living I need not describe. “Lord Palmerstone” well dressed
with his sharp active gait - “Sheel” small of stature with a very small voice but one of the most eloquent of the Irish members - “Smith O’Brien” afterwards
convicted of High Treason - with heavy lowering brows and discontented air. “Admiral Sir Charles Napier” who commanded the fleet sent against Russia in
1853 - these are just a few, whose names occur to me on the instant, of the celebrities whom I have constantly seen and whose physiognomies I have had
the opportunity of studying & most of whom I have heard speak in the debates.
I think it was in the second year of my parliamentary life that our firm’s professional services were retained on behalf of the “Caledonian Railway”
which was a scheme for uniting England and Scotland together via Carlisle and Dumfries. The railway mania was at this period at its height and there was
a rival plan the “North British” which opposed us tooth and nail and which was within an ace of being accepted in lieu of our own. After, however, a
desperate conflict, the Committee pronounced the Preamble of our Bill proved and we had the intense satisfaction of passing it triumphantly through both
Houses of Parliament. This great success led to an immense accession of business, and we had all had to work very hard - almost I might say (certainly for
the Principals) night and day. Hereby I acquired very rapidly an excellent knowledge of the practice and became thoroughly familiar with all the various
stages of passing Bills through Parliament. There was a certain amount of excitement in the life which at first much interested me. The service of notices
on the owners and occupiers of land through which the railways were to pass and the charge of the contracts for signature and the consequent issuing of
scrip to the Subscribers, involving a great degree of responsibility, led me to visit many of the chief towns and cities of England and bye places besides.
In this way I had a peep and generally not more than that at Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York, Lancaster, Kendal, Worthing, Canterbury, Loughboro,
Southampton, Northampton, Bristol, Banbury and Cowes. Amongst these secluded little spots which I had to explore was Lyndhurst - the village from which
the great lawyer Copley assumed his title. To reach it we had a long drive through the New Forest, where of course the scene of the Red King’s untimely
end was pointed out. Altogether though however delightful these scampering through the country might be I use to be heartily glad when the session was
over and the six weeks’ vacation allowed me. We then almost invariably went to some seaside sojourn to recruit our health and spirits. On one such occasion
my father determined on giving us a greater treat than usual. We were to visit my uncle, then domiciled near Dumfries and afterwards to accept an invitation
of Mr Weems to view an estate called “Kirkennar” which he had recently purchased. My mother being again a great sufferer it was hoped so thorough a
change of air and scene would once more re-establish her health. Indeed so weakly was she at this time, that our journey into Scotland was only accomplished
by very short stages. We went first by rail to Birmingham, and thence to Lancaster, afterwards by coach to Carlisle: and finally posted to Dumfries via
Annan, getting a glimpse of Gretna Green, so celebrated for its clandestine marriages. Here we were met by my uncle who had secured lodgings for us with
a certain Mr Blount. The Dumfries people treated us with great kindness and hospitality and many a cheerful pleasant evening we passed amongst them. A Mr
Smith, an intimate of my uncle’s asked us on one occasion to an entirely national dinner, only Scotch dishes were on the table and of course “the haggis”
was not omitted, nor sheep’s heads, kidney soup etc. A lively young lawyer or writer as they called them on that side the Tweed and who sat next to me
did nothing but quote “Burns” on all subjects and here I would mention that we lionised the house in which that celebrated bard used to reside when in
Dumfries and also were shown the picturesque churchyard (the Pere-la-charge of the South of Scotland) the statue erected to his memory. Here too, peacefully
rest many of our Scotch relations, as well as in Linaladen Abbey as already mentioned and which charming spot I also visited. I was taken one gloriously
fine afternoon by old Mr Hamilton, another writer, to call on a cousin of his of the same name, the Minister of New Abbey. I enjoyed the drive immensely
and was astonished to find such beautiful ruins almost I should imagine equal to those of Melrose so immortalised by Scott. The village is just at the foot
of Criffel, a mountain facing Skiddaw in Cumberland. We were received very kindly at the Manse by the Minister and his wife and daughter and after spending
some hours with them returned to Dumfries, my old friend reciting the while in the intervals of pleasant chat, some of the gems of Scottish poesie. I learnt
that some of the old Roman Catholic families of the neighbourhood still buried within the precincts of the ruined abbey. A picnic to Caer Larroek Castle
too I shall never forget. Our route lay for some miles along the Solway Firth and reminded one of the scenes described in “Red Gauntlet”. the castle
surrounded by a moat was reached by a drawbridge and within one of its most spacious rooms a cloth was spread for our repast. After we had done ample
justice to the generous fare provided (including I well recollect black cock and other game) some of the ladies were asked to sing and the words of a
pathetic Scotch ballad were soon echoing through the empty vastness of the castle. A visit to the little church of Irongray situated amidst amphitheatres
of hills was also very interesting for here was buried “Helen Walker” the “Jeanie Deans” of the Heart of Midlothian and to whose memory a simple tombstone
has been erected by the author of Waverley.
But I must hasten to conclude this chapter. Suffice it to mention that after completing our sojourn at Dumfries, we proceeded by coach to Edinburgh
putting up first at the “Waterloo” and then hiring rooms. The castle and mons meg, the Canon gate and Holy rood, Rosslyn Chapel and the romantic banks
of the Esk, the old Scottish Parliament House, the Irongate church, George Herrits Hospital, the Roman Catholic church, shown me by the priest in charge,
to whom I had a letter of introduction, given by Mrs Miacourke, the wife of a Polish officer - a refugee - all were carefully inspected. Nor did we forget
to visit Leith, Portobelle, Ioppa, Granton, with its fine pier built by the Duke of Buccleuch and New Haven, where dwelt the fish wives in their
picturesque parti-coloured garments. Here we had a fish dinner with considerable variety but little refinement, and now turning southwards we took coach
to Newcastle which struck me as being a dirty town and nothing to interest one in but the fine old church of St Nicholas, the columns with Earl Grey’s
statue on its summit and the numerous slop shops. What a long journey it was! From 8a.m. to 9p.m. We passed through Morpeth when it was quite dark. Next
morning the train conveyed us to York where we lionised the grand old cathedral etc. and thence to Scarborough where having remained a fortnight in very
wet weather I at length left my father and mother and returned to London and my official duties.
CHAPTER X - CHANGE OF PROFESSION - It is astonishing from what trifling causes great events spring. Sometimes a word, a wish, spoken carelessly
by another it may be has completely revolutionised for good or evil a whole life. So at least it was with me. For although I do not deny that I had become
somewhat ennuied with parliamentary work yet in all human probability had it not been for the suggestion of a dear friend of mine I might have still
continued in the profession to this day. George Frederick Bullock an old school fellow and class-mate, and my greatest intimate, called on me one morning
at Gt George Street and we agreed to lunch together at the Newton Hotel, Leicester Square (commonly called “Beetolini’s” and Italian House). My friend
had a short time before entered the University of Oxford, with the intention of going to the Bar and was therefore full of the plans, success and interest
of such a career. In the course of conversation he happened to say “Why don’t you come up to the University? It is such a jolly life”, and then he
proceeded to enter into further particulars as to what was required for matriculation and the expenses etc etc. Now this almost casual observation turned
my thought completely into another channel and set me a-thinking. I felt of course that if I went “up” it must be with the view of ultimately devoting
myself either to Law, Physic or Divinity, for I knew that my Father would never consent to my taking such a step without some practical end being involved.
Now of “Law” I had had quite enough, and thoroughly disliked the notion of “Physic”, so that there only remained “Divinity” for my consideration. But
was I fit to take Holy Orders? Was it a vocation that I could conscientiously enter upon? This naturally led to much self-examination. What had my life
been hitherto morally and religiously? Well ! It had been bad enough, but never I am bound to say so bad as that of other men of my set. I was, it is true,
careless and indifferent in Holy things - fond of the Opera and Theatres - and as dancing was almost a passion with me, frequenting places where I could
indulge in it, and then, alas! encountering persons, whose characters did not bear looking into. Still I never rushed into the wild excesses of some of
my companions, and though I am not apologising for my worldly and sinful career at that time, yet I cannot help thinking, that if I had been better
grounded, and encouraged in purer and more spiritual aspirations, I should have avoided many of the pitfalls into which I fell and the snares with which
I became entangled. My deep and ever deepening love of music compels me to still look back with delight on my visits to Her Majesty’s Theatre and Covent
Garden. I had had the pleasure of listening to the ravishing strains of those Queens of song - Grise “Persiani”, “Albani” and those veritable masters of
their arts - “Rubini”, “Mazio” “Mariani” “Lablack” “Fornasase” “Marini” “Tagliafico” - and I had enjoyed ballets in which “Fanny Elsoder” “Cerito”,
“S.Leon”, “Perrot” and “Lucili Graham” took part. On the English stage I had witnessed the performances of “Charles Kean”, “Macready”, “Phelps”, “Anderson”,
“Webster”, “Farren”, “Wright”, “Harley”, “Paul Bedford”, “Buckstone”, “C. Matthews Keeley, Madam Vestris, Mrs Glover, Helen Faucit (now Lady Theodore
Martin), Miss Tree, (afterwards Mrs C. Kean) Mrs Keeley, Madame Celeste, Miss Woolgar and many many others. So that you may conclude that much time was
given up to light amusements. On the other hand I had systematically employed a certain portion of my leisure in literary pursuits. I read a good deal and
wrote not only poetry but prose. The pecuniary presents I annually received from Messrs Graham and Weems enabled me to enrich my library with many standard
and valuable works and also procured me to the means of getting one of my books printed for private circulation. It was called “The ancient Times of
England”, consisting of four stories, illustrative of different periods of English History and was only part of a plan on a more extensive scale which I
had projected in my own mind. To see himself in print is to a young author an intoxicating delight and you may therefore imagine how elated I was. I
wished I could sacrifice my whole time to original composition. In the long drive from Edinburgh to Newcastle which I have described, we passed specially
in Durham, many a snug and cosy Parsonage, one’s very ideal of calmness and retirement and the thought had momentarily flashed across me of the joys of
a life of literary ease spent in some such quiet spot. This though now recurred to me with redoubled force. I reflected that I had now as it were sown my
wild oats, that I believed I could relinquish without much struggle all the dissipations of a town life and there would be open before me the full
indulgence of my love for the pleasures of literature. I honestly confess that this desire weighed much in influencing my determination. All this time
I was missing or entirely overlooking the only true motive which ought to guide a man in taking Holy Orders - a desire to save souls. At any rate I resolved
to consult my Father and Mother and could their consent be obtained, I would, God helping me, at once begin to work for the befitting myself for the most
exalted profession man can take upon himself. I was much solemnized by the prospect before me and was deeply thankful when after some little demur and
natural hesitation on their part, I received my people’s full permission to take the preliminary step of going to the University. Through the obligingness
of G.F.Bullock I was, at once, put into communication with the authorities of Queen’s College, of which he was a member, and, which I, therefore, resolved
upon entering, and having bid adieu to Great George Street, Westminster, and received from the Firm a flattering Testimonial, I settled down to work hard
to prepare myself for Matriculation.
CHAPTER XI - PREPARATION FOR COLLEGE LIFE AND MATRICULATION - I was now just of age, and having left school for some years, discovered that
my Latin and Greek needed much furbishing, for I had already forgotten more of it than I could have imagined. It was necessary that I should at once “put
on a coach”, and was immediately recommended to me by my friend. His name was rather grand and sonorous, being “The Rev. Orlando Haydon Bridgeman Hyman,
M.A. Fellow of Wadham”. He had taken a first in classics and I know no man more qualified to inspire the young with a real love for the old Greek and Latin
lore. His free and easy manner (for he was not a bit of a don) gave confidence to his pupils, and he was so generous, that we frequently exceeded the
prescribed limits of the lesson. His step-father had been the talented but unfortunate Haydon, the painter and critic in the fine arts, who in a moment
of frenzy had destroyed himself. Haydon was a man no doubt of immense powers of imagination but thoroughly unable to represent on canvas the creatures
of his thought. This connection probably helped my quondam tutor to many of his apposite illustrations in the study of classics. He lived at that time in
a street just leading out of Cambridge Square and as our residence was in Salisbury Place, New Rd. I had not very far to go. I was soon very busy beginning
on the 25th Jan. 1847, in getting up the Electra of Sophocles, the first book of the odes of Horace, St Marks Gospel and Latin writing. I applied myself
very steadily to these tasks and having a study of my own (for the house we then resided in was large; though with rather an unsightly frontage) I could
so do without interruption. I look back with pleasure at my long séances in my prettily furnished room which was hung round with religious pictures - one
of them Albert Durer’s Crucifixion, and thus the continual new matter which my mind was acquiring through my intercourse with Hyman was to me exceedingly
amusing and interesting. Even his very eccentricities delighted and I shall never forget his consoling himself for the loss of a pet dog with the alternative
of five and twenty canaries and some love-birds, whose shrill notes do materially interfered with our reading that they had promptly be banished to the
back drawing room. He called them his “Menagerie”, and was shocked to find his purchase, that they were subject to an unlimited number of diseases. But
now the time approached when I was to become an alumnus of Alma Mater. In the spring of 1847 I took my ticket per Great Western for Oxford and soon found
myself in “Bullock’s" rooms. I was to be examined by one of the Tutors ( Johnson afterwards Dean of Wells) at 8 o’clock p.m. and so having much leisure
time before “Hall”, we went to a billiard room hard by the college, where my friend and “Tony Thorold” (since a Prebendary of York Minster, Vicar of St
Pancras, Rural Dean, and now Bishop of the see of Rochester) engaged in a game of billiards. I was afterwards introduced to “Mapean”, “Murray”, “Letchmere”,
and “Sharpe”, and other men who composed what was called “the joint table set” and which corresponded to some extent with that of the Gentlemen Commoners
of Other Colleges. The special privilege in our case was simply dining in a more civilized manner and not off mere “Commons”, as the Taberdars, and other
men, and for which of course there were extra dues. We wined that night with Mapean and I remember that I was far from happy as 8 o’clock drew nigh and
the time for examination approached. Meanwhile lots of sparkling conversation had been going on, mostly of a “horsey” nature, but my inward trepidation
did not permit me to enjoy it. At length the hands of my watch pointed undeniably to the hour of my trial, and with a beating heart I left the scene of
the wine party and ascended Johnson’s staircase. I was admitted to his august presence in the twinkling of an eye and was soon construing to the best of
my ability the passages of Greek or Latin he placed before me. I was tolerably successful, but he told me, what however my own common sense had already
convinced me of, that I should have to read very hard. I then returned much relieved to my friends - received their warm congratulations - and was able for
the rest of the evening to enter fully into the spirit of the college songs and lively witticisms of the assembled company.
Next morning, having, as Johnson expressed it, ”provided myself with cravat and cap and gown”, I called on Mr Hunt, one of the Fellows, who conducted me
to the Convocation House, where, after taking certain oaths, paying fees, and receiving a copy of the University Statutes in Latin, I was on the 11th March
1847 duly matriculated by Mr Symons, Warden of Wadham, the then Vice-Chancellor, and who was known amongst the undergraduates by the sobriquet of “Big Ben”.
It had been arranged that I should not go into residence till after “the long”, that is, at the commencement of the October Term. Some months before I had
visited Bullock and had pretty well lionized the colleges and Public Buildings. I now accompanied my friend to the river and a row on the Chersell in spite
of the cold (for I remember a thin coating of ice which the skiff had to cut through) was a great enjoyment. The next day I returned to Town with a resolution
to read harder than ever, and I at once renewed my “coaching” with good old Hyman, who was not a little pleased at my first success.
CHAPTER XII - UNIVERSITY LIFE - Oxford is a dream of beauty to the young and imaginative. Rich in varied architecture of church and college and
library, the eye feasts on treasures which in such combination it has never found before. The College walks and gardens, beautiful and yet venerable, enhance
the interest of the general scene, and there is besides a grave and sombre appearance about the streets, down which are to be seen pacing at all hours, Dons
and Undergraduates alike, in their tasselled caps and various black gowns, which make it somewhat remarkable to the stranger and foreigner. “Queens” to which
I had now the honour of belonging, was one of not the least splendid of the colleges which adorned the “High”. It was of “the Italian style” and therefore formed
a lively contrast with “University” to which it was exactly opposite and which on its part is a fine specimen of the early Gothic. Every “Queen’s” man knows that
his college was founded by “Robert Eylesfield”, Chaplain to Queen Phillipa, wife of Edward 111 and that both the Black Prince and Henry V had at one time been
enrolled amongst its members. But though boasting architecturally of two fine and spacious quadrangles, a magnificent hall, chapel and library, two wealthy
foundations (the old and “the middle”) yet at the period I matriculated it ranked low amongst the colleges and the reason for its declension one had not far to
look for. It was principally a north country college and being connected with the Cumberland and Westmoreland schools which in lapse of time had sadly deteriorated,
its Fellows, Taberdars, i.e. Scholars and Exhibitioners, were men of a not very gentlemanly type, some of them indeed extraordinarily rough specimens. These men
unfortunately gave a far from exalted tone to the college, which the refinement of the south country set was unable to overcome. Yet even with these disadvantages
there was much to love and venerate in “Queen’s”. The old customs still observed - such as “the trumpet sounding for Battell” i.e. for Hall - the procession of
the Boar’s head on Christmas day with the fine old song with the refrain “caput apri defero reddus laudes domino” the quaint old practice (scarcely explainable),
on New Year’s Day, of the Burser’s delivering to each guest three needles threaded with different coloured silk, saying the while, “Take this and be thrifty” - the
passing round on “Gaudy” days the grace cup (poculam caritatis) which was a huge horn mounted in silver with the representation of a toad at the bottom - all these
attracted and delighted such lovers of mediaevalism as myself. I must not omit mentioning a dominant privilege of the members of the college conferred by Charles
1 - it was the wearing of silver tassels to their caps. This was accorded in consequence of the load (?loan) of the college plate to his Majesty at a season of his greatest
difficulty and which was melted down for money purposes.
You may imagine that I was not a little excited when the October term was about to commence and I was in sober earnestness to go into residence in so
celebrated and time-honoured a university. I had never before left my father's roof (I mean for any lengthened period)
and it was not without some trepidation and feeling that I bid my people farewell on the 16th October, 1847 and turned over quite a new page in my life’s history.
On reaching college I found that “rooms” had been allotted me in what was called “the Back Quad” and that they had been formerly occupied by “Toddrell” who
afterwards by the death of his elder brother succeeded to a Norfolk Baronetcy. My scout’s name was Jones and I found him rather more honest and less guilty of
imposition than most of his confraternity. I was speedily engaged in unpacking my books and clothing and ornamenting the walls of my sitting room with pictures I
had brought with me. But in spite of my occupation I was rather solitary and felt very strange especially when after “hall” and “chapel” “I sported my oak” and
was left to my own devices. My “rooms” were very close to the church of St. Peter’s in the east and overlooked the churchyard and methought that the gravestones
bathed in the moonlight had a very grim and ghostlike aspect. After some time, however, which for the first time I had to make for myself I retired to my bed, being
at last fairly launched on the waters of university life. Sunday over, for we had come up on Saturday, my “lectures” were seen arranged for me and I knew what was
required by the college authorities. There were then 3 tutors, some of whose lectures it was compulsory on us to attend. Johnson of whom I have already spoken - Thompson,
the present Archbishop of York, and James, now holding the valuable College living of Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight. I am bound to say that I experienced nothing but
kindness at their hands. But what I needed much in my earlier terms of residence and what I did not meet with, was someone who would have given me good counsel and
would have formed my tastes and habits on a more scholarly and a more religious scale. It was here these tutors signally failed. Their personal supervision was so
slight and insufficient. They were all broad churchmen and therefore took but little pains in raising the religious character of the College or deepening the religious
life in individual souls. The chapel services were miserable in the extreme - no organ or chanting - the “prayers” slovenly read by priests who looked upon or presence
there “as a mere matter of discipline”, and worse, far worse than all was the once a term celebration of holy communion, when all the men were compelled to communicate
without regard to fitness or inclination. These were great scandals and had a proportionately unfortunate effect on the men. There were few of us who served God as
we should and many in the college were shameful debauchees. Since 1833 there had been such a revival of Catholic life in the Church and specially in Oxford from which
indeed it had emanated that this confession will seem to many, strange. But such was my own experience. Though theoretically a High Churchman, I took no steps to
intensify my convictions. My leisure reading was of a very desultory character and had rather a rationalising tendency. I perused a good deal of “Nishbuhr” and “The
Schlegels” and my study of logic (Aldridge’s Latin Treatise) inspired me with a taste for metaphysical speculation. I gave considerable attention too, to the ancient
faith, and was not slow in discovering the germs of truth and deep hidden meaning which the beautiful Greek myths concealed from the vulgar view. “Grotes” first
volume of the History of Greece was in this kind of study of infinite value and as the result of much thought I arranged a tabular systematized description of the
God worship in those remote but highly poetic epochs. The fragmentary remains of the lyric poets and poetesses of the Egean Islands such as Alcoeus, Sappho etc. deeply
interested me, and I lived for the most part in a world of fancy, revelling amidst all that was beautiful and mysterious in art of nature as developed in Egypt, Greece
or Rome. I believe at that period of my life these dreams were even dearer to me than the awful verities of the Christian Church. It is true that in the dim and shadowy
distance I realised my future profession and always attended the Church of St Mary the Virgin (University Church) or the Cathedral, whenever a great mind was expected
to hold forth. In this way I had listened to the utterances of Dr Pusey--Stanley of University, afterwards Dean of Westminster - “that viper in the Church’s bosom”,
as a friend of mine used to call him - Sewell of Exeter, brother to Miss Sewell the celebrated writer - Dr Goulbourn, Hampton lecturer (now Dean of Norwich) - Archdeacon
Wilberforce, who shortly after joined the Roman obedience but died abroad before taking Holy Orders, and many others whose names at the present moment I do not recall,
but I was not sufficiently earnest in gleaning facts which would by and bye have been useful to me or in giving up my mind to theological studies. My special affection
though it had not stunted my growth nor my general health, yet effectually deprived me of any amusement, which involved violent exercise. This boating, riding and even
cricket were prohibited.
As a matter of necessity therefore I became great at “constitutionals” and many a long ramble on Sunday or weekday was the result. In this way
I visited the finely restored church of “Littlemore”, so renowned as having been “Newman’s” and afterwards “Wards”. It was in this period that Newman established a king
of “Monastery” which created much excitement at the time and parsonage was shown me in which Ward used to reside when composing his “Ideal of a Christian Church” before
he relinquished his connection with Anglicanism. I recollect too, going to Iffley Church and accidentally discovering a black letter copy of “the service for touching
for King’s evil”, which was last practised by James 11. About this period died Vernon Harcourt, the courtly and lavishly hospitable Archbishop of York and was interred in the Church of Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire, the burial place of his race. I chanced to meet the funeral cortege in the “High” and having “capped” it hastened back to college and joined a part of men who determined to walk over to the ceremony. We were well rewarded for our exertions for we not only inspected many painted effigied tombs of the Harcourts of olden time, so many of whom were ecclesiastics but through “Hope” one of our men, who chanced to know the Vicar (Mr. Walsh) we were admitted to the octagonal wainscoted room in which “Pope” translated the Iliad and which formed part of the building close to the vicarage house. It was on a very fine Sunday morning that another and myself, took rather the “long stretch” to the village “Camner” so celebrated on account of “Mickles‘” ballad or elegy, and Walter Scott’s “Kenilworth”. We lunched at our own old “Hostelrie of the sign of “the Bear and the Ragged Staff” (the Leicester badge) and talked of poor “Amy Robsart” and her tragically fate. Afterwards we listened at the church door (not having time to stay for evensong) to the rustic performances of the village choir, accompanied by a full hand of wine an string instruments-- the first time I had heard such used in church.
A favourite walk was to “Shotover” which is high ground and commands a fine and charming prospect. Here, tradition relates, that a Taberdar was suddenly encountered
in olden times by a wild boar, and having nothing to defend himself with, thrust a “Logic”, which he was studying, down the brute’s throat, and thus defeated his potent
adversary. And here it was we met one afternoon Bishop Wilberforce with his son and daughter, gaily cantering - doubtless forgetting for a while the responsibilities of
his important diocese. I “mind” as the Scotch say, that this happened to be a gloriously fine day, and on our return homewards we could see the lofty spires and towers
and cupolas of Oxford, shimmering in the brilliant sunshine and looking a very miracle of loveliness.
Sometimes however my walks were varied with pleasant drives. I would occasionally join “A team” bound for Henley, Hanbury or elsewhere. In doing so there was
a certain amount of risk and excitement for on detection, Undergraduates were liable to a fine of £5 and on a repetition of the offence to actual rustication.
The university rules in this respect were very absurd and were deservedly set at nought. The “leader” was put on about a mile out of the city, and even if the fact
came to the knowledge of either one of the Proctors or their myrmidons, it was seldom taken notice of, for most shrunk from the unpopularity which would inevitably
ensue from proctorising under such little circumstances. A little outing of this kind did one a
world of good, and a fish dinner at Henley-on-Thames, eels stewed, fried or “spitchook”, or salmon trout - followed perchance by duck and green peas - was a symposium
fit for the Gods themselves. Water parties also were not infrequent especially to Newnham, the seat of old deaf Mr. Harcourt, one of the County Members but since
deceased. He had married a daughter of Braham the singer, who had previously been the wife successively of two Lords Waldegrave, and had afterwards taken a 4th husband
in which the person of the Honourable Chichester Fortescue, since created my Lord Carlingford. To reach it, we chartered a barge - towed by horses, and to enliven us on
our way a band of musicians were engaged. We carried with us also our own servants and provisions. The delightsomeness of the whole thing consisted in the rich and
varied scenery, which on either bank of the Isis met our view in its meandering course: and then the happy picnic on the green slopes of Newnham. Another little expedition
(but this time on the Cherwell) I well remember. I was rowed up by a friend in a dingey (a kind of small boat) as far as Islip. This benefice is generally held by the Dean
of Westminster, being in his patronage and that of the Chapter and Dean Huckland, the eminent geologist, was then Rector. Long years after, Mr. Trench, the present
Archbishop of Dublin was made Dean and he appointed his brother to the living, who had been formerly incumbent of St. John’s Reading. This rather eccentric priest’s
panacea for the immorality of the young men in his parish was a brass band. He wrote a long letter to the “Guardian” on the subject and seemed quite proud of the discovery
representing it to others as almost infallible. I have thus endeavoured to give a brief sketch of the studies and recreations which occupied me during the first few terms
of residence. I was spending my time, you will perceive, if not quite in a satisfactory manner, yet very pleasantly, and though missing what should have been the great
aim of my life, yet incidentally acquiring much amusing if not entirely profitable information.
CHAPTER XIII - LITTLEGO AND GRAND COMMEMORATION - The year 1848 was remarkable for the political and dynastic convulsions which shook Europe to its very depth.
The dethronement of Louis Philippe, who reached our shores with his whiskers shaved off and under the name and style of “Mr. Smith”, served as the signal of a general
upheaval of democratic life, and kings and grand dukes were on all sides packing up their portmanteaus and escaping they scarcely knew whither. I, too, was profoundly
agitated, but in a much more peaceful and les turbulent arena. The summer term was to witness my going in for “Smalls” and I was grinding hard with that view. I had put
on a coach - little “Roberts”, one of the Michel Fellows, principally for Latin writing, which is always a man’s weak point who goes up late, and I found “Roberts” useful
in other ways for happening to hint at my religious principles having become in a slight degree shaken, he gave me some excellent service and wanted me to ask “Johnnie
Barrow” a thorough good churchman, one of the Fellows and afterwards Principal of St. Edmund’s Hall to read with me “Butler’s Analogy”. This however I declined doing, but
being brought into contact with an earnest churchman was not without its beneficial effect. I found indeed much difficulty in working at this time. It happened to be
glorious weather and there are so many outdoor attractions during the summer term, so many veritable temptations for young men, that it needs a strong will to resist.
You may imagine me if you like sitting by the widely thrown open window with my “Sophocles” or Horace” in my head listening rather to the dreary cawing of the rooks in
the neighbouring gardens of “New” than making myself perfect in my task. Well the deed had nevertheless to be done and I strove hard for its accomplishment. To the
junior proctor in due time I paid the necessary visit to put down my name as candidate for “responsions” and to be mulcted of the usual fee and behold me on 4th July,
1848 with white choker and little bands, seated in the “School” we familiarly styled the “cockpit” awaiting the pleasure of Messrs. Basil Tickell Jones (not Bishop of
St. David’s) and Tweed of Exeter, the examiner of that day. We were admitted into the schools and examined alphabetically and as “O” is pretty far down in the alphabet,
it was the first day of the Grand Commemoration before I went in. This was rather perplexing - specially as every now and then, some don or other would enter the school,
escorting a bevy or brightly dressed “Lionesses” who looked curiously yet somewhat compassionately on the poor victims under examination. The two “Merewethers” (sons
of the brave Dean of Hereford who disputed Lord John Russell’s appointment of “Hampton” to the See of Hereford on the grounds of supposed heresy) stood just before me,
I being the last in on that day. It was almost 4 O’clock (I could hear Miss Barwick’s ringing voice beginning the Oratorio in a large room hard by when I was called up
for viva voce. Happily I was not detained long, my work having been almost entirely on paper so that in about half and hour’s time to my great delight Bullock had fetched
my “Testamur” and I was being congratulated. How I enjoyed walking down between two friends to the boats that night. I felt I had now a status in the University and had
not disappointed my people.
I could now thoroughly enter into the enjoyment of the few next days and they were real enjoyments to me from their very freshness and novelty. The conferring Honorary
degrees in the Sheldonian Theatre is the most prominent feature at the “Encania” on Grand Commemoration. The undergraduates occupied a gallery and amused themselves with
expressions of like or dislike for either the leading statesmen of the day, the University professors, heads of houses, proctors or even ladies present, who by their dress
had made themselves conspicuous. It may be called indeed the “Undergraduates’ Saternalia” so unlimited is the licence permitted. The proceedings are commenced by the
National Anthem being played on the organ while a stately procession moves into the Theatre consisting of the Chancellor (if present) the Vice Chancellor and Heads of
houses, proctors Tufts, i.e. the noblemen in their handsome gowns and velvet caps with golden tassels, the future D.C.L. and all kinds of University functionaries. The
Latin and English prize poems are then recited and the public orator holds forth in Latin, alluding to the public services or genius of those upon whom the Hononary degrees
are to be conferred. I can only remember the names of 3 of this particular occasion, but two of them are very celebrated, viz, “William Ewart Gladstone” afterwards Prime
Minister, “Guitzot” then an exile, the eminent French statesman and historian, and Mr. Masterman, the banker, M.P. for the City of London, but whose title to any such honour
seemed very doubtful and whose presence accordingly gave much umbrage to the Undergraduate gallery. Procession of the boats in their racing order: “Show Sunday” when everybody
from the Vice Chancellor to the scout appears in Christchurch Walk: and some public balls to which I did not go and concerts, closed the enjoyments of the Oxford week. We
then started in a four horsed dray for Henley Regatta - T.W. Murray one of our set towing - and considering that the horses had never before been in harness together, it was
little short of a miracle that we escaped scot free of accident. As it was through the horses swerving while entering the archway at “The Red Lion” at Henley, one of the
wheels and axle tree were injured. That night we slept at Reading at the “bear” (received in all state by Miss Tagg in white muslin, the proprietor’s daughter) and returned
the next morning for the second day’s races. The “Dark Blue” was to our great joy victorious, and having dined we remained for the theatrical performances by the University
amateurs. The plays were “Ion” by Sergeant Talfourd (one of his sons who was at the Christchurch personating the female role of Clemanthe) and the screaming farce called “Box
and Cox”. Literally “about four o’clock in the morning” we had the horses put in and started for Oxford which we reached about 7 and having breakfast at the “Angel” which was
almost opposite “Queen’s”, I hastily packed up my traps and was soon at the Great Western on my way home, which I duly reached without voice, which through much shouting at
Henley had unfortunately left me.
CHAPTER XIV - A LOVE EPISODE - It was fated at last that I should seriously fall in love and that other imaginations then those of “Alma Mater” should occupy my
brain. I am afraid I must plead guilty to having always been an incorrigible flirt but it was not now simply pour passer le temps that I became absolutely engaged to a young
Norfolk lady. Her father was an agriculturists on rather an extensive scale (he farmed 800 acres) and hailed from Coxford Abbey, East Rudham, Rougham, but she was staying at
the time I first knew her with her brother-in-law, a surgeon, then resident in the Harrow Road. She was not beautiful, but I thought I discerned in her just those qualities
which ought to make a man happy in his passage through life. She seemed amiable, loving, good natured, and with a vigour of rather original thought, which pleased and interested
me. Not highly accomplished but shrewd and naturally clever she possessed powers of mind just fitted, as my dream was, for a poor parson’s wife. These were the days of delicious
romance and I unreservedly abandoned myself to their full enjoyment. We used to saunter amidst the sylvan shades of Kensington Gardens or sitting near that most unsightly of
Palaces built by that “Usurper”, William of Orange, schemed a thousand plans of prospective felicity. Every bright flower in the gay parterre had for us then a joy and a history
and I never can behold an evening primrose without a certain heart beating and sensation of the supermost bliss. But there were stormy billows to be passed over, stern
difficulties to be encountered. My father and mother were shocked beyond measure at the engagement and it was to them a cruel blow. They had desired me to enter upon my
ministerial life, unshackled by connubial ties and their notion of marriage, if at all, was fortune and good position. No doubt they were wise in their generation but I could
not then see it. I believe I even prized the more the affectionate heart I had won, because that her worldly expectations were not high. I lamented that parents could not
understand the sweet magnate of lovers and impediments only added gusto to the pursuit. If my catholic principle had only then been stronger, the chances are, humanly speaking,
that the adventure would have melted into thin air and never have assumed substantial proportions. I should have better appreciated good old Jereme Taylor, when he tells us, that
“celebrate like the fly in the heart of an apple, dwells in perpetual sweetness but dwells alone”. But I was at the time exceedingly “gregarious” that I shrank from hermit like
solitude and only dreamt of the domestic comforts of a quiet country home, brightened by the presence and smile of a beloved help meet. At last a somewhat reluctant consent was
extorted from my people, it was looked upon as une affaire jsune and my will had triumphed. We visited now together various places of amusement such as the English Opera,
Exhibitions or various kinds, Zoological Garden in Regent’s Park on Saturdays when the Guards Band played and were charmingly happy. Time indeed now was as a golden steam, down
which we glided all too rapidly, but we had faith that it would land us at last at the Elysian Haven of our hopes which were only as yet faint shadows in the distance.
UNIVERSITY LIFE CONTINUED - “GREAT GO” & DEGREE - “Moderations” that middle term in the syllogism of University life and abominable modern innovation did not in my
day exist. I was therefore looking forward to “Greats” and it was for a short time a question if I should not go in for “Honours” instead of the mere “Pass”. During the “Long”
I had again “put on” Hyman and made some valuable advances in careful and accurate scholarship. He used occasionally to read to me some of his own translations of the Homilies
of Chrysostom and portions of Plato. He generally succeeded in hitting off that exact meaning of the writer but I would decline to agree with a lady to whom he once submitted
some of his English renderings that the Vernacular he made use of was decidedly “vulgar”. I read now the whole of “Aeschulus” and all “Sophocles” but the “Oedypus Coloneus”. I
was working too at the first form book of “Herodotus” and the “Bucolics” and “Georgics” of “Virgil”. On my return to the University I put myself into Johnson’s “ethics” lecture,
Thompson’s “Plato’s” republic and James “Juvenal”. I tried also to dip deeper into Logic and went through “Whateley’s” Logic besides “Mansel’s” “Artis Logicae Rudimenta”. I took
greater pains with the weekly essay which was set for Undergraduates and on one occasion (the subject was Aristotle) received same back from Johnson who was then Dean, with the
gratifying remark as coming from so profound a scholar “I like this essay better then any, “but”, he added “the Latin is not good”. This was quite true and here was the “crux”
which stood in the way of more ambitious designs. I managed to write a fairly grammatically but never elegantly.
I had recently been ballotted for at “the Union” and in addition was a member of “the Oxford Amateur Musical Society” and there were two Societies in College itself of an
almost cognate nature with them - ”the Queen’s debating” and “the Queen’s Musical” Societies, both of which I also joined. Not that I myself spoke or sang but I liked to hear
others do both. The debates at “The Union (the Oxford House of Commons) were often excellent and many of our present prominent statesmen such as the Marquis of Salisbury, Earls
Beauchamp, Shrewsbury, Brackbull, Hughessen (who has since gone over to the Whigs) and others, were then its greatest lights and sometimes I have heard them make speeches of fair
average merit. I often now went for Evensong to “Magdalen” and used to kneel in the lofty ante-chapel. Dr Routh was then still “Principal”. He was nearly in his 100th year having
been born in George 11 reign and was, they say, a Jacobite to the very last. His wife was a very plain woman, with almost a moustache and was frequently to be seen in the “High”
in a donkey cart led by a little hump backed man and accompanied by some poor girl very humbly attired who was evidently a protégé.
Frequently at this stage of my career I was invited by one or other of the tutors to parties in the common room. This was a great compliment for few of the Undergraduates were
asked. On one such occasion Mansell of St. John’s, late Dean of St. Paul’s was present. He was a queer looking little man with spectacles but most cheerful. Taylor, one of the
Michel Fellows, who was a democrat, had favoured the company with a marsellaise: when Mansell suddenly volunteered a song and as an antidote to a republicanism sang without much
voice but very drolly “Awa Whigs, Awa Whigs”.
I had now obtained a suite of rooms in the front Quad - better furnished and much pleasanter than my old ones. A little inner room looked on to the green centre of the Quad, and
here I usually lunched. I have said but little hitherto about my hospitality. It was sufficient but not excessive for I never suffered myself to run into debt. My “Littlego” wine
was a large one, and always (though the comparison is anything but respectable) I used to have a breakfast party of about 40 on the Sunday previous to the Derby when sweepstakes
were drawn for and arranged and “Bell’s Life” became the popular literature of the day. Not that I gambled for at whist I would never play for more than silver threepences and
seldom took part in Van John, Ecarte in all forms, which were the popular games. There was a peep from my back sitting room windows at the Provost’s garden. He was a tall man but
not very polished in his manners. There was one thing that he doted on and that was his tulips. They were carefully placed under a small marquee and in the season were quite a show.
I can see him with pardonable pride pointing out their bounties to groups of assembled ladies. His name was “Fox” and it was whispered that the old doctor at Whist would occasionally
revoke and otherwise misconduct himself in the most smiling manner in the world.
I have omitted to mention one or two of our musical celebrities - Sir Francis Onselly, whose impromptus on the piano were always a feature at our concerts (he always took part in
madrigal singing) and “Chandros Pole” a pupil of Lablache, who afterwards married Lord Harrington’s eldest daughter, a tall girl with white teeth. His “non pier andrac” was much applauded.
The last summer term I was in residence I was visited by my mother’s father and sister. They first took up their quarters at the “Angel”, but I afterwards secured them rooms in
the “High” at the Cook of “Teddy’s” i.e. St Edmund’s Hall. My mother was specially interested in all she saw but was not a little astonished at the cheering of cricketing parties
returning in open drays and the row at wine parties at untimely hours in the immediately adjacent college of “Queen’s”. Talking of Cook’s I am reminded of our Cook who was so imposing
a character that I must mention his belongings. He was a brother of Lokey the Oratorio singer - was more than 6ft in height and of a handsome presence and who in his white square cap
and white suit waited for orders, then one could not have snubbed him for one’s life even if his particularly respectful demeanour had not rendered such impossible.
And now in my turn I had become a scion amongst the Undergraduates and one by one all my old friends had gone down. G.F. Bullock after “eating his dinner” at the Temple was
travelling on the Continent - Murray and Nepear were at Wells Theological College under good old Pindar - Lawrence, Sharpe and Latier were ordained and poor “Bell Letchmere” after
taking temporary refuge at St Mary’s Hall on account of not getting through “Smalls” at last as he would himself have said “went to Megiddo and died there”, i.e. he returned to his
father’s house (Sir Anthony Letchmere of the Rhydd near Worcester) and soon killed himself, it was said, through excessive drinking. I now began to prepare in earnest for my final
examination. Again I had recourse to tutorial aid and read with “Pocock” a genial little man and good Catholic, one of the Michel Fellows, but now superannuated, and who had been
frequently in the Schools as examiner. Many a constitutional I took with him and learned much in conversation. The best of a good coach is that he regulates your work - that last
“Long” before I went up I had read 10 hours a day - in fact I had surreptitiously left my people at St Leonards and returned to the empty house in town (it was a picturesque little
house my father had bought in Finchley Rd, St John’s Wood) that I might give up my whole time to the grind without interruption. For some weeks I entirely eschewed dining in Hall
and took instead long solitary walks when I was accustomed to think over my subjects for examination and chop logic with myself. Pocock advised complete relaxation for some days
previously to going in and the rest I think somewhat invigorated me. For “Greats” we have two days examination - the first for paper work only (logic, Latin writing and perhaps some
History translation) and the second for viva voce. I believe it was Jowett, afterwards one of the essayists and reviewers, and now Master of Balliol, who took me in Greek Testament
and Divinity and Wilson of St John’s in History. The latter thanked me when I had answered all his questions, which I did very successfully and between 12 and 1 o’clock on the 6th
November, 1850 the whole thing was over - the clerk of the School was helping me off with the junior hood (of plain black stuff which is provided for you to wear at Great Go examinations)
and in a few minutes more I was within College walls in the room of one of my friends. I remember that the mental tension for so many weeks now culminated in a headache but I regarded
it little, I was so joyous and relieved. On receiving my Testamur I at once scribbled off a few lines to my father and my future wife.
After Hall knowing that the morrow was a Degree day, I waited for Johnson and begged that I might take mine without any delay. He was exceedingly kind and compliant: congratulated
me in getting through so nicely (he as one of the examiners had been present the whole time) and requested me to wait on him the next morning to read the Thirty Nine Articles. The
convocation House was then Vice Chancellor - tall thin and dignified - and it happened that a variety of degrees were that morning to be conferred. First, Edea, Bishop Moray and Ross
(now the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church) was by accommodation made B.D. and D.D. Then a number of M.A’s and B.A’s - some of whom as grand-compounders appeared in their flimsy
loud looking red gowns (a grand Compounder has 300 pound per annum in his own right and has therefore the privilege of paying extra fees and wearing a distinctive gown) I was not a
little proud and happy when on the ceremony being concluded I assumed my B.A. gown (I had hired a silk one) and was guilty of the weakness of most young bachelors of immediately swelling
the “High” to exhibit my “sleeves”, I now asked for and obtained permission to go down for a fortnight to see my people. You may be sure that I was received with open arms. I was hailed
as a victor triumphant from the fight and became quite a hero in the family circle.
CHAPTER XVI - EARLY NORFOLK REMINISCENCES - It was now arranged that I should run into Norfolk for a few days to be introduced to those to whom I was so soon to become allied.
In jubilant spirits I started per Eastern Counties Rly and in the course of the afternoon arrived at Lynn. From its very dreariness, especially after leaving Cambridge, I could not help
being amazed with the route. I have never seen anything like the unbroken flatness of the Isle-of-Ely, unrelieved by trees or even hillocks. I was met at the station by Mrs Royston, a
married sister of my fiancee and was in a very brief interval chatting away with old Mr Drage. He was a small, cheerful middle aged man but looked a little sedate and serious at first,
for we had never met before. By and by, after a meat tea we sallied forth into the town and besieged a great part of it by gas light. I can only remember the two fine old churches of St
Nicholas and St Margaret’s, the Athenaeum recently established - the Custom House with figure of King John and the Quay. We soon however started for Rudham which was a drive of 15 miles
and one of the mirkiest drives (for there was no moon that night) that ever I remember. I was not sorry when having driven up to the Homestead door and almost blinded by the light in the
hall, I was busy disembarrassing myself of my wraps. Soon “she, the inimitable she” appeared and there was at first nothing but smiles and welcomes and introductions.
The whole visit here had for me the charm of novelty. The people of East Anglia are such a different race. Their dialect and accent are peculiar even the meanest aspirates his h’s. The
Drages spring originally from the Isle-of-Ely (claiming a Danish extraction) and some of their “forebears” as the Scotch say, lie buried in Ely Cathedral Yard. The name itself is of ancient
structure though not euphonious and is said to mean the “creative principle”. Their family place was “Sohm Moat” in Cambridgeshire but had passed into other hands at that period. All
endeavoured to make my visit a pleasant one. Sometimes we walked to Houghton Hall one of the seats of the Marquis of Cholmondeley - a magnificent structure, raised by Walpole, Prime
Minister to George 1 in 1722, and surrounded by a spacious deer park, with two beautiful meres in the distance: or perhaps to Syderstone (pronounced Syston) where was a nice old Church
and a parsonage, said some few years since, to have been haunted by a ghost, scaring the whole neighbourhood, and awaking superstition, even in the breast of Puritan Lord Henry, brother
to the Lord of Houghton, so that the Syderstone ghost was almost as celebrated as the “Fakenham” one (it turned out to be a clever practical joke of one of the parson’s Stewart’s sons).
Then we drove one fine autumn morning to a great coursing meeting at Westacre, Tony Hammond’s place - a fat heavy looking squire and a Whig to boot. I admired the splendid dogs and horses
but pitied the poor unfortunate hares who seldom escaped their swift footed persecutors. Another time we made a call and lunched at Field-Dawling Parsonage with the old rector Upjohn,
whose son Frank, the doctor, had married Mr Drage’s eldest daughter. He was himself a fine example of the old fashioned Evangelical, but his church was unrestored, cold and desolate looking.
I made a good deal of talk with his wife and 3 daughters,(two of them are now deceased) and they pointed out to me in the “Ecclesiastical Gazette” my name duly figuring in the list of
newly made B.A.’s. On our way we had passed many fine old ruins - especially “Binham Abbey”, which parish was also Mr Upjohn’s, for Dawling and Binham went together: and many gentlemen’s
seats, such as “Sir Charles Chad’s and Sir Willoughby Jones’” - and I have neglected noticing before the only remains of Coxford Abbey still existing, which were in the pastures close by
the residence and consisted only of the walls and of one well proportioned Gothic window in a fair state of preservation. Then there was Rudham Church, about a mile from Coxford, which
is a huge rambling pile with peculiarly large clerestory windows, but had the barest nakedest aspect at that time in its interior, that one could possible conceive. With excellent
intention but with the singularly hideous taste in matters architectural of the commencement of this century, Mr Drage’s father and his co-adjutor church warden, had erected a gallery
over the North aisle and re-pewed the church with deal. Their names together with the date of the so called restoration were inscribed over the chancel screen, the panels of which were
still highly illuminated with the representation of saints and if it had not been for he pews would have had a very handsome and ecclesiastical appearance. The portion of the churchyard
close to the porch, surrounded by iron railings marked the burial ground of the Drage family. It had years ago been purchased by “Faculty” - the fee I am told was 30 pound - and contained
a very large vault, but now at the moment I write, quite filled up. Their mural tablets in marble are outside the church - Alas! That such vandalism should have been permitted. As a bit
of an antiquary I cannot pass by the fact of the name given to a little cluster of cottages between Rudham and Coxford. They are called the “Anchorage” and evidently denote the spot where
was the cell of some ancient Anchorite or Hermit in the olden times. But now my furlough was well nigh expired and I had to hurry up to keep the remainder of the term - parting was of
course rather miserable work, but we were buoyed up with the well founded expectation of our approaching union at no distant day.
CHAPTER XVII - IN SEARCH OF A CURACY - With all England before me I nevertheless experienced much difficulty in discovering an eligible curacy. There was a vacancy at “Mortimer”
a lovely little village on the borders of Berkshire and Hampshire and Harper the incumbent (since consecrated the Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand) was a very good man, but I was
unhappily forestalled in my application. Then at the instigation and desire of my Norfolk friends, I bustled off to Ilfracombe, North Devon, only again to be disappointed: for Charter,
the vicar, was almost obliged to give the preference to another applicant, the son of a parishioner, who most unexpectedly had entered the field. I however stayed several days with Smith,
one of the curates, who had married Emma Upjohn, a nice little person who dabbled just a wee bit in poetry and music, and to whom I had been introduced whilst in Norfolk. The visit much
interested me and compensated somewhat for the loss of the curacy. Though midwinter, yet the walks and views were positively delicious, and the extensive outlook from the “Capstan” rock
over sea and land was thoroughly enjoyable. Mrs Charter (herself an authoress) was the sister of Charles Kingsley. I spent one lively evening at the vicarage, and recollect playing at
whilst with the vicar for my partner against his brother-in-law (who they said had recently been driven mad by Tract 90) and little “Colby”, the retiring curate, who was a Fellow of Exeter.
I returned to London on Christmas Eve, and had rather alarmed my people by my long absence, for I had quite forgotten to write.
Within a few days more I was again on the wing - this time into Derbyshire. Somewhere between 11 and 12 o’clock a.m. I arrived at Sawley station, and was met by arrangement by Mr H. B.
Hall, incumbent of Risley-cum-Breaston, who just then required a fellow helper. Mrs Seahouse, widow of the Saltey parish priest had advised my application. Ye parson was of middle stature,
but handsome and very gentlemanly, and seemed so essentially kind and friendly I had made up my mind to regard everything as couleur de rose, and this time at any rate not to fail, so I
was far from dismayed at the squalid wretchedness of the village to which I was now introduced and the poor little pewed up church dedicated to St Michael in which it was decreed I was to
make my ministerial debut. The lodgings however were really good and quite a redeeming feature. I acquainted Mr Hall with my matrimonial expectations, which happened entirely to coincide
with his own views, for as mine was to be a sole charge, a clergy man’s wife was considered a valuable adjunct. We then walked up to Risley to church, and on the way it was agreed that I
should prolong my stay for at least four and twenty hours. The ugliness of Breaston was, I found, more than counterbalanced by the beauty of Risley - a charming village with neat little
church and venerable hall and grounds. The aged squire, one of the old school (also in Holy Orders) was father to my prospective incumbant. He was deaf, but most intelligent, and his
perfect politeness strikingly reminded me of that of a past generation. He was very proud of his pretty place, and pointed out to me the ancient terraced walk on the banks of the moat,
which, one might have fairly expected to find haunted with the bright and graceful toilets, so immortalised by Watteau. The country dinner party was delightful - it was hospitality of the
old fashioned type. The squire himself - ye parson’s wife (she - nice looking but a confirmed invalid) - Mrs John Hall (widow of the eldest son) a barrister, and daughter of Judge Gaseler
- Captain Hall R.N. a jolly pleasant man - Mrs Seahouse (still so pretty but often lachrymose) - her niece Sophy, and a Mr and Mrs Gill (then recently married and strange to say afterwards
parishioners of my own - these formed the Company. I felt that I was being trotted out, and therefore exerted myself to please and think that I succeeded. Even satirical Mrs John (I
believe) expressed her commendation. A final interview in the old study on the morrow completed the arrangement, and I had at last obtained a title to Deacon’s Orders, and a curacy with
the enormous stipend of 50 pound per annum. The Bishop of Lichfield was immediately to be written to, and I trusted to be ordained at the forthcoming Lenten ordination.
CHAPTER XVIII - READING FOR DEACON’S ORDERS - ORDINATION - Having to “keep my masters” it seemed prudent to do so at once while opportunity served. I therefore returned to
Oxford and through my father’s liberality was enabled to renew my reading with Pocock with a special reference to theology. I had relinquished my old room and was therefore relegated to
the back Quad where I found myself in rather too close propinquity for study with the tower and bells of St Peter’s in the East. I now resigned the Treasury ship of the Queen’s Boating
Club, which I had held for some time, leaving their affairs financially in a tolerably prosperous condition. During the period of my holding the office we had had built for us by “King”
a new “Eight” at an expense of 70 pound. Dining with the bachelors I did not much relish for we were there reduced to “Commons” and one used to look wistfully across to the old joint table
where we had sat so long. The dons were just now wonderfully civil for scarcely a day passed without my being asked to Common room. To speak truly I began to feel rather don-ish, myself,
and gradually avoided all I could the society of the more careless and ribald of the undergraduates. Indeed I was trying hard to fit myself for my new position and conscience told me that
I need much deciphering and self examination. I now regularly went to the University Church and sometimes to St Thomas’ where Chamberlain was vicar, who was one of the most advanced at
that time in his views. (He was once assailed by a mob and stoned, barely escaping with his life). I was now attending the lectures of the Regius Professor of Divinity, (Dr Jacobson,
afterwards Bishop of Chester). They were held in St Frideswide’s chapel in the Cathedral. I could not help liking him personally but the lectures themselves being for the most part a mere
catalogue of learned books which one would do well to master but would have to attain Methuselah’s age to have time to do so in, struck me as singularly inappropriate. I had formed the
acquaintance of Blackburn, a great eccentricity, who was also attending Jacobson’s lectures. He was an immense friend of Hartley Coleridge, the irregularly constituted but talented poet,
and for many years had been a reporter to the “Morning Chronicle”, owing to his having left the University from conscientious scruples about signing the Thirty Nine Articles. Give him weeds
and any kind of beverage and a continuous stream of anecdotes and poetry would enliven the conversation. His after life was as strange as it was melancholy. He was ordained, married Madame
????'s daughter, the eminent pianist, and after a few years miserably ended his career by cutting his throat, leaving his wife and two or three children behind him.
Having sent in my papers to the Bishop’s secretary, viz. Testamur - College certificate - Jacobson’s ditto and Mr Hall’s title, in the first week of Lent I found myself up at Lichfield
for examination. The Bishop’s country residence was Eccleshall Castle, but he was now at the “Abnally”, a house in Lichfield itself. I arrived there late in the afternoon, put up at a dull
little inn, ordered dinner and went out to reconnoitre. What a sleepy old city it is! Nothing much to see but the status of Dr Johnson, (who was born here) and the Cathedral. But this last
I grant to be very fine. I have not yet forgotten the splendid west front - the gloriously tinted stained glass in the apse of the choir, brought from abroad, and Chantry’s pathetic monument
of the Robinsons’ children. My impressions, remember, were formed before the Cathedral’s restoration.
Next morning a little group of Oxford, Cambridge, Dublin and St Bees’ men were assembled in the Bishop’s dining room, anxiously engaged in answering questions on paper; the examining chaplain
being James Lonsdale of Baliol, the kindest and most amiable of men. Soon my turn came for the Bishop’s private interview and there imagine me tete-a-tete with a tall benevolent looking prelate,
with hair as white as snow and gentle eyes that smiled encouragement. How good and holy and sweet tempered was this bishop! A sound divine of undoubted scholarship and learning, conciliatory
to his clergy even to humbleness and yet I am inclined to believe that his overseership of his large and populous diocese was a complete failure, and that principally from a timidity and lack
of vigour, which were perhaps constitutional. I construed for him several passages from the Greek Testament without a fault, and then came some questions of Biblical criticism, terminating
with much fatherly counsel and exhortation. I thought it better to acquaint his Lordship with my father’s position and how for so many years he had held office in the House of Lords: and
on the Bishop’s return to Town shortly after, he was good enough to summon him into his presence and speaking very flatteringly and kindly of myself, promised to “prefer” me as soon as it
was possible. The good bishop was “given to hospitality” more than any of his co-suffragans at that time. We not only lunched, but also dined with him and his family. At the former meal, I
remember sitting next to Mr Lonsdale, and about what think you we conversed! Twas of all things burglaries - one having been committed in the immediate neighbourhood. I had the honour of taking
the Bishop’s daughter into dinner, who was a very nice person, though small and not distinguished in appearance. The Bishop himself sat at the side of the table - the guests being only the
candidates, and one of the Canons of the Cathedral - a pompous, loud talking man, and his better half. I record these trivialities for this occasion may be called one’s first introduction into
clerical life, as distinguished from collegiate. There was a rule which then obtained at Lichfield of coming out according to one’s marks in examination, and thus I found myself second in the
list - a Wadham man being the first.
The Bishop having himself no Lenten ordination, transferred his candidates to other Bishops by “letters demissory”. for what reason I chose to go to Worcester is now to me a mystery. For
the heaviest of all the “fathers in God”, was Dr Pepys - his charges the dullest and his ordinations the most slovenly. For a day or so after my return to Oxford I was at once most busy and
most happy. Nevertheless in my packing up for my final exit from the scene of so many delights, I confess to a kind of reluctance, which ever and anon cast a shadow over my joy. I was now about
to face in earnest the realities of life and to make a place for myself amidst the suitors for the world’s favours and distinctions. What would be my fortune? Why could I not always have
tarried in dear old Oxford? But the die was cast: and having cordially bid the tutors farewell I was soon on my journey to Worcester - staying an hour at Gloucester that I might pay my respects
to its grand old sombre cathedral. Dining at Worcester I had lamprey soup, for which this ancient city is celebrated, and at the next table sat Hampden, of New Inn Hall, late of Christchurch,
son of the lately appointed Bishop of Hereford, and who was a candidate for priest’s orders. I cannot help mentioning the scandalous behaviour of the Worcester candidates. Unto a late hour on
Saturday night there was nothing but smoking and noise and laughter - a band close to the hotel playing the liveliest and most secular of tunes, a strange preparation this indeed for the Holy
ordinance of the morrow! I shrink from imagining the disastrous effect such a proceeding must have had upon the city folk or at any rate on the attendance of the Inn.
But now the second Sunday in Lent (16th March) 1851, had brightly dawned, and after a hasty breakfast, I for the first time assumed the clerical garb, and in cassock, bachelor’s gown
and hands, with college cap, joined the long procession of embryo priests and deacons which was wending its way to the Cathedral precincts. Soon the service was proceeding and in no long
space I was in Deacon’s orders. Oh! It was the solemnest moment in our lives, if we could only have thought so - the dedication of all our powers and talents to the glorious work of saving
souls, the receiving on the imposition of hands the grace of Holy Orders. For myself I experienced a sort of confused and stunned sensation, as I strove to realise the greatness of the gift.
A celebration followed, and then having called on the Bishop’s secretary, paid my fees and received my “letters of Deacon’s Orders”, I was at liberty to go my way. That night found me in an
express train, hurrying to London, which I arrived at between 4 and 5 on the next morning and having gone to bed for a few hours, at 8 o’clock I reached St John’s Wood to the infinite
satisfaction of my father and mother.
CHAPTER XIX - MARRIAGE AND HONEYMOON - My wedding had been arranged to take place directly: for though recently united to a celestial bride, I was seeking in addition a terrestrial
one. My people had given way on this point also - God knows, poor souls, at what expense of feeling, and my imperious will was again triumphant. For months my future spouse had been busying
herself with her trousseau, and like a veritable spinster, (though spinning wheels were things of the past) she had been amassing heaps of bed and table linen and all things necessary for
domestic life. On the Wednesday after ordination I was steaming down to Norfolk, but this time not to Lynn but Fakenham, a clean bright looking old town, but 7 miles from Rudham and where I was
met by Mr Drage. We then drove to the Surrogate to obtain the license and I laugh when I picture to myself the queer little old parson, full of smiles and bows - with his pumps and black silk
stockings, to whom I now addressed myself. Cake and wine were brought in by his daughter and then Mr Goggs (did I ever hear a funnier name?) took my affidavit but informed me that for license
itself I must go to the Archdeaconry office at Norwich. So on the following day with one of the sisters of the bride elect I was viewing that ancient city and admiring the neat and modest
looking Cathedral. St Andrew’s Hall - the castle and market place and the exterior of some of the fine old churches (there are 36) built of flint, as most churches in that neighbourhood are.
We lunched in a back room at the “Norfolk” where my inartistic carving of a fowl caused merriment in which you may be sure I joined myself, so thoroughly light hearted and buoyant were my spirits.
I had caught a bad cold at ordination (the Cathedral there was like a well) and warm drinks that night (my last night of bachelor existence) were laughingly administered to me.
How did I feel on the morrow? Well! Not as if I was going to execution as they say some men do under similar occasions but calm and quietly composed. I was full of thankfulness that another
step in my life’s programme was about to be taken, and that my vision of future happiness was about to be tested. I stayed not then to meditate on the lottery that marriage is and that while the
blanks are numerous the prizes are few. Myself and bridesmaids (there were but 2 for the wedding was to be as quiet as possible) drove down to the church and there were joined by the bride and
her father. The officiant was the new vicar, a Christchurch man, with so sonorous a name that I shall quote it - “Valentine Henry Barry Blacker”. He was very tall and thin with a half cracked
voice - was still though a fair churchman, attached to sport, took in Bell’s Life and was even said to study it on Sundays. There was “an ugly rush” when the service commenced and I found that
a mob of grinning roughs had even taken possession of the pulpit and prayer desk. We signed our names on the altar - what say you to Norfolk reverence? And then with “no flowers strewed on
our path” but with the good kind wishes of many of the poor, we entered the carriage and returned to Coxford. “Happy is the bride the sun shines on” but the sun had been very coy this 21st of
March 1851, frequent showers had drizzled and it was only at the last moment that he broke full through the watery clouds and cheered us with his brilliant rays. Was there an augury in this?
Was it an acted prophecy? Pray God it may be so - that the struggles and heart-renderings of mid-life may be lost and forgotten amidst the bright peacefulness and quietude of a venerable old
age. The breakfast party was rather numerous - though after all but a family one, excepting always the Vicar and curate who as a matter of course were present. Good Mrs Drage looked flushed
and alone of them all somewhat sorrowful and thoughtful. I am a parent now and can well understand her feelings. There was much lively chat, and old Mr Marson, the curate, was greatest at
anecdote. Poor old man! He had made some time before a mesalliance under disgraceful circumstances and had lost caste accordingly. His deathbed wish was most pathetic from its very humility.
He desired that not even a mound should mark the resting place of the sadly fallen but penitent priest - and now the health of the bride and bridegroom was proposed by Mr Blacker in kind and
much too flattering terms, and duly honoured. Other toasts followed, and then the bride retired in conventional fashion to dress for the journey that was before her. I was then called aside
by my father-in-law and I shall never forget his broken accents as he besought me to take care of his daughter (now my wife) and who was one of his greatest favourites. In the excitement of
such moments one scarcely realises until afterwards the importance of words so spoken. I often think of them now and my heart overflows with pity. Have I fulfilled my promise so glibly made
on the instant to that affectionate old father? Nay at my very best scarcely no. Men’s natures are so very essentially selfish, unless more sanctified than mine has been, and we forget that
we ought to bear with “the weaker vessel” and not expect very paragons of perfection.
We were to proceed first to Cambridge, not only as a convenient spot for a haunt but because I desired much to view the sister University. It was dark and late when we arrived and put up
at the “Bull”. Here for some days we remained - and though the weather was singularly unpropitious we managed to lionise most of the objects of interest. King’s College Chapel is indeed very
fine - so too the Trinity Library with its elaborate carvings by Gibbons. I also admired the College Gardens but there was much to disappoint one. The Colleges, for the most part of red brick,
are most dirty and seedy looking and Trumpton Street will not for a moment bear comparison with our Oxford “High”. As for the Cam it is so very narrow that one marvels how they manage their
boat races at all.
Stopping only a day in London we now pushed on to Hastings with my mother and sister for companions. Of all seaside resorts this my mother loved best and she was therefore very desirous
that my wife should visit it too. It was just early Spring and the wild primroses and anemones were blossoming in the dells and on the banks. I need scarcely express how we enjoyed it -
specially myself after so much hard reading. One day we ran over to Brighton (that London upon sea) and drove from one end to the other of the wondrous esplanade. We walked too on Chain
Pier, delighting in the sea breezes and then looked at the shops. It was at Hastings I composed my first sermon of which the text was “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availed
much” (St Jas.c.v.v.16). A fortnight soon ran past and we required a few days in London for purchases before finally proceeding into Derbyshire. Many useful presents meanwhile had reached
us: and after buying plate etc. at last the day was fixed for my actual commencement of the duties of clerical life.
CHAPTER XX - THE BREASTON CURACY AND DERBYSHIRE SOCIETY - Though I was now in Deacon’s Orders and wrote B.A. after my name, yet I could not help feeling that I was so far after
all but an untried man and had still to be judged by the standard of Public Opinion. When therefore we arrived at the Sawley Station, and actually on the scene of my future labours, I
experienced an anxiety which I could not repress. There was of course no one to meet us and we had to make our way up to our lodgings as best we might. The distance was about a mile and
the poor little bride tired with her long journey was rather dispirited. The village too had a shabbier appearance than ever, as I thought, and to speak the truth I was a little ashamed at
the home to which I was conducting her. The pleasantness of our lodgings, however, reassured us both, and when sitting at our tea-dinner with a view of a pretty lawn and green fields beyond,
we plucked up our courage and began to conclude that things would not be so bad after all. By the bye we feasted that evening on so recherche a dish, that I shall record it, and thus hand it
down to remote posterity - it was a mutton pie! Our landlord having kept a London eating house had naturally brought with him his Lares and Ponates, that is, wretched daubs of himself and
wife and children, all executed after the most approved sign board fashion and these adorned the walls of our apartment. It was a delicate matter to ask for their removal, but having engravings
of our own, furnished us with a legitimate excuse. We soon succeeded in getting about us an air of much greater refinement and with my library chairs for use, and old Oxford pictures meeting
one’s eye, we lost our sense of strangeness and felt quite at home.
But Sunday was approaching - twas April 13th when the new parson was to be scanned, criticised and judged. Ah! In the sight of an unfledged deacon even a congregation of a handful of
chaw-bacon farmers and their wives with their blue smocked labourers, is a dread tribunal. How he trembles when walking to the prayer desk, and how he imagines himself “the cynosure of
neighbouring eyes” (which indeed he is) when he opens the big prayer book and commences matins! Kind soul as he was, Mr Hall called on the first Sunday to accompany me to the church and to
introduce me to the Sunday School teachers. Alas! We had not yet finished breakfast! Avaunt the omen! For me thought mine encumbent looked not best pleased. But slipping on my boots I was
quickly at his service, and in a low crowded room, paved with common bricks was soon what they call in the Midland counties “teaching school”. O! It was sad drudgery: for of all miserable
work commend me to driving ideas into your farming lad whose very birthright seems stupidity. I was that morning to say or rather read prayers and my chief to preach. Well! I did not hesitate
and though in slight trepidation yet God helped me through. My beneficed superior was pleased to compliment me on my success and it was something that my nerve had not failed me. But oh! The
singing, or rather roaring which passed for it in that church - it was beyond conception dreadful. There was no instrument but an old Bass Viol, and the choir consisted of four noisy men and
a few school children. There was no chanting whatever and the tunes to the metrical Psalms (New Version) in vogue there, were of the wildest description, abounding in endless repetitions of
the last line. I registered an “inly vow” that my first work should be to improve and re-model the musical portion of the service and I had not been there long before the Bass Viol was
ignominiously dismissed - an harmonium substituted and chanting the Canticles introduced. But “the Evensong” was on that first occasion perhaps a greater trial for here I was left entirely
to my own devices. When I mounted the old pulpit stairs, my dear little wife squeezed herself into a corner of a huge green baize pew and felt as nervous as you like. But the novice got on
better than he expected. Far from being a Massillon or a Liddon, yet he went on smoothly and stumbled not at his fences. And so the day’s work came at last to an end and the young Deacon
gained confidence, having felt his way.
We had nothing to complain of in lack of hospitality. Our callers were indeed most numerous since all the best people of the neighbourhood thought it their duty to show us attention.
Dinner invitations flowed in and ne’er did week pass by without a visit somewhere. They were good enough too generally speaking to send their carriages to fetch us. We were indeed quite
“the rage”, and seldom methinks, has a poor curate met with heartier kindness and greater goodwill than on my early residence amongst old fashioned Derbyshire folk. We were soon thoroughly
settled and I grew quite accustomed to the ordinary routine of a country parson’s life.
CHAPTER XXI - PARISH WORK & CHURCH PRINCIPLES. THE GREAT EXHIBITION OF 1851 - As a layman I had not been in the way of acquiring any experience in parochial work and was now
driven entirely on my own resources and ideas. But I was full of zeal, and had determined with God’s help to do my duty as thoroughly as possible. I soon found out for myself that I had
tw0 meeting houses to contend with (New Methodists and ranters respectively) and up to that moment, sooth to say, I was in perfect ignorance of their tenots and system. Another difficulty
which required careful manipulation was the unpopularity of the Hall family, which had been a stumbling block to the church’s progress for more than half a century. My wife and I therefore
began to visit diligently from house to house, and made some kind of favourable impression on my rather stolid and far from intellectual parishioners. By and bye too I gained my incumbent’s
permission to put on a week night service, and having collected a few pounds, we furnished the church with the ugliest set of chandeliers which ever had taste produced. Furthermore, we were
very attentive to the “sick and needy”. I had always a kind of theory that the parents could only be got at through the children and therefore that a great work was to be done in the schools.
Thus experimentalising I originated a Monday night school for yung men and women without respect to creed, and on Saturday night one for the Sunday scholars. The people were I think grateful
for these advantages. They felt at any rate that the church was a little waking up from her very respectable slumbers and was taking the lead in the education of the masses. All nevertheless
was not quit fair sailing for my church principles, though hitherto developed in the mildest form, yet were violently attacked and made matter of suspicion. A Mrs Huyser, wife of a Dutch lace
manufacturer - a bitter nonconformist, had even before I came into residence spread the report that I was “a Puseyite”. I was an Oxford man and that was enough. Preaching as time progressed
on the Catholic doctrine of baptismal regeneration on which as a young man I was particularly eloquent she went about exaggerating my views and endeavouring to stir up the parishioners against
me. No doubt she partially succeeded, for Mr Hall, becoming alarmed from something I suppose that he had heard (he was nervous to a degree) asked for an explanation. A perusal of the sermon
however set all to rights. He strongly approved of my teaching and thanked me for setting forth the doctrine so clearly. Here let me observe that the baldest ritualism was in use at my church
and I smile as I now recall it to my mind. The black gown predominated, only superseded by the surplice on Sacrament Sundays, of which, alas! There were only six in the year. The altar cloth
and pulpit hangings were of the gloomiest black made out of the mourning habilements provided for the church at the parish’s expense at the decease of His Most Gracious Majesty King William
1V. The pulpit was a “three decker” placed against the north side of the nave, and the parson and clerk duet still flourished in all its glory. We turned, it is true, to the east in reciting
the creed, but this was literally the only indication of anything like good churchmanship. And here I had been content to take up my quarters - I - burning with a love for Catholic truth in
it’s even extremist and most aesthetic development -I - passionately admiring the beautiful, the poetical and the symbolical -I - to whom sweet music was an entrancing charm - I was, truly,
in a false position and felt that I had sacrificed myself to a worldly expediency. Was not this a penance laid on me for my careless sinful life?
And as summer passed on, my mother and sister paid us a short visit, and on their returning to town insisted on our accompanying them that we might visit the Great Exhibition, which all
the world was at that time mad about. On a sultry afternoon, having been detained long on the line by a succession of “Specials” we at last reached Finchley Rd and had afterwards the pleasantest
week’s excitement that was possible.
It was a graceful and fairylike structure this Exhibition, which, as it were, on the wave of an enchanter’s wand had sprung into existence. What a dream of splendour burst upon one’s view,
as traversing court after court, the eye rested on the riches, luxuries and curiosities of the most civilised nations of the world. The crowds of well dressed persons were in themselves a
sight; and indeed any defined description of what we saw is positively baffled by multiplicity of detail. This little expedition was a real relief and refreshment, being a thorough change
of scene. Relations and friends were called upon and chatted with - new ideas imbibed and village rusticity partially rubbed off. We were most thankful to my people for so charming a
CHAPTER XXI - THE IVY HOUSE, SICKNESS, BIRTH OF TWINS - I have always regretted our migration to the ‘IVY HOUSE’ - separated only from our old lodgings by a somewhat scrubby hedge. It
turned out neither beneficial for health or spirits. We had been in the enjoyments of large and airy rooms were now to be "cabined, cribbed, confined" in one of the prettiest, though the tiniest
of mansions. Our one sitting-room opened by a french window on the little flower garden which describing a semi-circle jutted out into the canal. When our furniture arrived from London we were
thus enabled to land it as I have facetiously remarked on "our own wharf". The house was below the surface of the road--which did not contribute to its freedom from damp - and a large kitchen
garden on the other side, was reached by the rather uncommon contrivance of subterranean passage. What business it was making the little hole comfortable and homelike! My mother had come down
to help and I that the two ladies together were tolerably successful. So long as the fine weather lasted, we appreciated the independence of being to ourselves and go to love the
little parsonage. But it happened that year the winter set in early and with great severity. Numerous cases of sickness cropped up on all sides and the young parson was agitated by having to pass
through scenes of distressing suffering. He was now as it were, serving his apprenticeship to his new trade and had scarcely learnt to control his feelings. Plainly I was worried by the work - felt
deeply my responsibility in preparing poor souls to meet their God and thence as I think somewhat predisposed to take cold and as I did, to eventually knock up.
I don't like to look back at this time - it was so utterly wretched: for to multiply trouble upon trouble, my sister who was now with us had also fallen ill and not having "hospital" accommodation
and only one domestic, my poor little wife had her hands very full. Fat podgy Dr. Cade was however, a good fellow and for a country practitioner skilful. He was a great sportsman and not only sent
in medicine but when 'twas necessary - snipe and bird and land-rail - nevertheless I had become so weak and languid and debilitated that no fillip of good living seemed to rouse me. A run away for a
fortnight was then suggested and promptly acted on. It was not without a pang that this first separation from my wife took place. It was only for a few days but it was a sharp grief to leave her. She
however bore up bravely at whatever sacrifice and cheerfully packed all three of us off. Left to herself and maid she had a thousand finishing touches to put to adornment of the little home, with which
to surprise me on my return.
Complete rest and relaxation together with the bracing air of St.John's wood, soon did wonders for me and set me again upon my legs. I returned to Breaston on Saturday the 13th of December and was
received with hysteric joy by her I loved best in the world. She had been ill I found and her spirits overwrought and only three days after on the morning of the 16th about 6 o'clock to my astonishment
I found myself a father and that of twins. "By gemini", as said afterwards quaint Mr.John Hall, it was too much of happiness. I remember when the intelligence was brought downstairs, my half comical
dismay. "£50 per annum and twins". I kept murmuring to myself. "What will happen next"? "He is a nice lad", quoth the Dr. "But the little lass is no bigger than a cat", and it was the truth - for one
had seldom seen such specimens of humanity, and yet such darlings. There, side by side they lay, as pink as the pink lining of the bassinette - little miss the elder, dark as far as could be judged,
but the boy brown and fair. These were to be our playthings; and the poor young mother was looking so smiling and so proud I wrote at once (and it was well I did) for Mrs. Drage, for far from
satisfactory at first, dangerous inflammation set in at the end of the month, and my wife’s condition caused me great anxiety. On the very evening of the birth, I had been requested by old Nurse Newhouse
to baptise the twinlings (what a cloud overcasting our sunshine) for "they were so small" she said, "that they might not live". Not yet perfectly recovered from my illness - excited with the events the
night - and apprehensive of the worst, the solemn ceremony moved my sensibilities to the utmost. But I managed to get through it pretty steadily and baby "Jessie Elizabeth" and baby "Frederick John" were
numbered amongst the "elect people of God". and had become members of Christ Jesus our Lord. But the scene was very touching: I have never forgotten it. I can even now see the pale wistful mother in her
blue curtained bed - the aged but placid looking nurse with the babies in her arms - the tall maid holding the candle, and the inexperienced deacon tremblingly baptising his own. After a hasty goodnight
and affectionate embrace I rushed up to my own room and bursting into tears threw myself on my knees beseeching the dearest Lord to preserve to me my loved ones.
CHAPTER XXII - PRIEST'S ORDERS - M.A DEGREE - THE CHRISTENING - DEATH OF FREDERICK JOHN - My prayer was graciously answered: the clouds rolled over for a time, and though the children were
sickly and delicate beyond measure, yet they were still spared to us, and were full of hope. I was now turning my serious attention to priest's Orders which i might have gone in for at Christmas, but was
hindered by my illness, which had quite put a stop to reading and study. Striving to make up for lost time, I was working away with great spirit at the "Epistles", "Butler's Analogy" etc. The Bishop kindly
gave me my pick of examiners, mentioning either Archdeacon Allen of Praos, Salop, or his son John Lonsdale, Secretary to the National Society in Broad Sanctuary, Westminster. Without hesitation I chose the
latter, for this I should not only get a peep at my people, but save some expense by staying with them during the time of examination.
In a tolerably quiet room at the secretary's office I was soon answering a quantity of papers. I say "tolerably quiet" because I had to suffer interruptions from callers, I remember especially Lords
Harrowby and Redesdale. I did not like the Bishop's son John half so well and his brother James, the examiner at Lichfield. He was such a furious Whig and was so angry that Lord Derby had just come into
power. (it was you will recollect now the year 1852). However, he approved of my work though we rather differed on some points connected with pastoral visitation. Having had an interview with the Bishop at
the House of Lords, I selected for this time to be sent for ordination to Peterboro', which indeed was geographically of all Cathedral cities nearest my home. My papers including "testimonial signed by three
beneficed clergymen" and the "siquis" had been previously sent in. So off to Peterboro' I went and was received with marked kindness by the bishop. Dr. Davis had been the Queen's tutor and was still
distinguished by many marks of Royal favour. Of numerous engravings of herself, Prince Albert and the other members of her family, she never failed to send the bishop copies and - so that as the Secretary
told us - he had enough of them to paper a fairly sized room. The Bishop had two sons, one the Bishop of Peterboro', slightly lame and an extreme Puritan, but thoroughly conscientious - when an undergraduate
at Cambridge he walk about the College Court Bible in hand, which few men would have had the moral courage to do and the other, Owen, a candidate for Deacon's Orders, now rector of Wheathamstead and married
to one Mrs. Stanley of Cumberland, cousins to my Lady Byron. I was present at the Bishop's charge, delivered in the palace dining rooms and afterwards lunched with him. On leaving the table for Evensong he
mentioned the coldness of the Cathedral and suggested that I should wear my Great coat. In fact he seems rather to have taken to me and for myself I have always retained of him a most grateful impression.
The ordination at this small but charming cathedral was conducted with much greater reverence than at Worcester. We wore surplices and the musical accessories were calculated to intensify the solemnity of
the rite. The bishop himself preached the sermon - the subject was that of the Sunday. "the Syro-Phoenician Woman". Webb of Trinity at whose rooms I afterwards dined (we had many mutual University friends)
discanted feelingly on the sense of unworthiness which we experienced when the hands of the Bishop and those of Presbyters present were laid on his head. Similar too, were my mediations. What was I that the
power of the "keys", the "binding and the loosing" should be committed to me? Was my soul really fitted for the indelible impress of the priestly office? We had much talk to the same effect and closed our day
(March 17th 1852) by attending service at the huge Parish Church, where Owen Davis read the prayers and his brother preached an extempore sermon, feeble and colourless.
Until the M.A degree is taken one is still in statu puplillari. I was anxious therefore at the earliest opportunity to don the crimson hood - the handsomest mark, as I think, of all academical distinctions.
I found Oxford much as I had left it, save only that almost all of our friends had gone down. I succeeded nevertheless in finding "Falcon", who was now Fellow and Tutor and who was the first in Classics, a
second in mathematics, and the Dean Ireland Scholar. He and Sergeant of Merton were lazily lounging and smoking in the Prince's room, just as usual, when I knocked loudly at his oak and in my ecstasies was
received with a shout of welcome. I declined that night as my old place at the bachelor's table, was asked to the Common room by Thomson, and the next day after taking my degree and getting my hood altered,
travelled back as fast as I could. What a relief that I had got through all my examinations - was in Priest's Orders and a Master of Arts.
And now we were well advanced into summer and the dear little children were so much stronger that we thought it right that the christening should no longer be delayed. The sponsors were for Jessie our old
friend Mr. Moody, Mrs. Seahouse and Miss Moore (a parishioner) and for dear Freddy my father, G.F. Bullock, and Mrs. H.B. Hall. The event caused quite an excitement in the little church (it was the first Sunday
after Easter 1852). What a bevy of godfathers and godmothers surrounded the front after the second lesson, for lieu of those unable to be present there of course proxies. We had quite a party that afternoon at
the Ivy House and the miniature dining room was filled. This was our first attempt at entertainment and our humble symposium was a decided success. It was the Dr. who proposed the health of our "little Christians"
and we indeed vainly trusted that for them the bitterness of death was past. What gifts these babies had received - a carriage, two table chairs, money from the old black squire and silver cups from two
of the sponsors, elaborately worked frock from my mother. What a fuss good nature makes with helpless infancy! Is not the birth of a child a gleam of sunshine in the house? But who would have thought that in a
few months more the scene would shift and so entirely change. Now for joy we had mourning and for christening bereavement. Our poor little son with big brown eyes and bright auburn curls was taken from us on the
29th August, 1852 to bloom forever as a flower in Paradise. He was attacked by diarrhoea and his frame had been so shattered by thrush when the veriest baby, that he quickly succumbed to this second illness. it
was a terrible blow to us - "the beginning of sorrows" for 8 months he and his diminutive sister had been our greatest solace. They would play with each other on the couch, intertwining there little fingers and
looking so wise. He died on my poor mother's lap, who fondly loved him and was buried just under the East window of our Parish Church. A green mound surrounded by an iron railing now marks the spot. My Father and
I were the only mourners and my incumbent the officiating priest.
CHAPTER XXIII - THE YEAR 1853 - BIRTH OF A SECOND DAUGHTER - OUTING TO BLACKPOOL - DISTRESS IN THE PARISH AND AN UNPLEASANTNESS - There is something of monotony in the life of a parson in a small country
parish for the events of one day bear a strong family likeness to those of another. But having shelved for a while my theological studies I now partially realised one of my early dreams that of devotion to literary
pursuit. My wife who was an excellent and fluent reader with the clearest of voices would read aloud for hours and thus could have mutual intellectual enjoyment. The American poets Longfellow, Willis, Whitttier,
Leigh Hunt's pleasant translations from the Italian of Dante, Arisoso, Birardo, Liamond's literature of Southern Europe - these I remember we revelled in and were never tired of perusing and even the birth of dear
fat old Edith interfered but little with these evenings at home. It was on Sunday the 30th of January in the afternoon that my second daughter entered this bad world. Her advent gave us much consolation for she seemed
sent to supply the void which the death of Freddy had caused. Unlike the twins she was a very giant of a baby - the picture of health and happiness. When partially recovered I left my wife under the watchful care of
Mrs. Drage and ran over to Rudham for a brief little holiday - a week it was to be - but which was eventually extended, even to a longer period, owing to heavy snow drifts make the Norfolk roads almost impassable.
On my return "Edith Maria" was christened and my incumbent himself became on the sponsors.
No event of importance now occurred for some months, save only a visit which my wife and baby paid to her people in Norfolk towards the late summer and which was somewhat shortened on account of an invitation to
Blackpool, Lancashire, from my father and mother who were to meet us there. It was a terribly long and fatiguing journey and poor little Jessie was almost knocked up. Starting in the early morning it was not till quite
in the dusk that we reached our destination. Accustomed to the refinement of the southern watering places, we were far from appreciating the roughness and uncouthness of this Lancashire resort. The sea was rather bold and
fine - but we neither admired the place nor the adjacent country. Excursion trains from Blackburn used to flood the place with roughs and I only remember with any pleasure Lytham which we thought somewhat pretty. My father
and I returned alone to Breaston and after staying some weeks longer my wife and Edith followed, but my good mother took charge of Jessie and for some years she resided with her at St. John's Wood and was most carefully
watched over and attended to.
The winter of 1853 exceeded in severity even those of the two previous years. There were heavy falls of snow and the labouring portion of the population was reduced to great straits. My wife and I felt much for the
unfortunate people and almost our daily occupation was the visiting the cottages and relieving with bread tickets the people where we could. It was just at this anxious time that an unpleasantness occurred between ourselves
and my chief - which very nearly led to a complete rupture of the friendly relations which had hitherto prevailed betwixt us. The casus belli was the absurdest under the sun. We happened to meet Mr. Hall on our way down to
the village - when he in a very imperious manner ordered the position of an old chair (which we had ourselves purchased from the schoolmistress) to be changed in accordance with the whim and desire of the churchwarden's
daughter, who was one of the Sunday school teachers. His tone was so objectionable, that we at once resented it and some rather high words ensued. Indeed I was so hurt by his conduct which seemed to be indefensible, that
very night I sent in my resignation of the curacy. I could perceive that on succeeding Sunday he was ill at ease (there happened to be a Celebration) while I was perfectly calm and collected, for my conscience told me that
I was in the right. After service he asked me if I would come up the next afternoon and talk over the whole matter - a course to which I rather reluctantly agreed. My wife accompanied me to call upon Mrs. Hall: we had a
lengthy conversation which at last terminated in an apology from Mr. Hall and in my consenting to withdraw the resignation. His kindness from that time to this has been so invariable that I have always deeply regretted
the little fracas which nevertheless his behaviour on this particular occasion rendered unavoidable. Meanwhile a scene of mad violence had been taking place between the two ladies - poor Mrs. Henry (since deceased) whose
brain already began to show abundant signs of gradual softening, threw herself into an extraordinary passion and uttered a thousand uncalled for vituperations. My wife thought it best to leave her to herself and had quitted
the parsonage before the chief and I had finished our business. I found her promenading the High Road perhaps more amused than agitated, the next morning, having received a note from me which under the circumstances I felt
myself compelled to write, Mr. Hall called, full of excuses and apologies and the whole matter was henceforth forgiven and forgotten. Poor thing! She imagined that somehow or other we had ill treated Henry to whom she was
tenderly attached and than whom a better husband never existed.
CHAPTER XXIV - 1854 - PREFERMENT - DEPARTURE FROM BREASTON - I had a call one very hot morning from Mr. John Fellows of Risley. He had shown repeated acts of kindness and though a Unitarian, had always proved
himself a true friend. His business was soon told and it was this. He had received private information that Mr. Woolley, the vicar of Beeston, Notts, was on the point of resigning his benefice. Mr. Fellows therefore suggested
that I should induce my father at once to go to the Patron (the Duke of Devonshire) and ask for it before the secret at all oozed out. I need hardly say that I promptly acted upon this valuable advice. It fortunately chanced
that Sir Augustus Clifford, brother to the Duke, was the head of my father’s department in the House of the Lords and to him therefore my father went and solicited his co-operation. Sir Augustus himself graciously undertook
the matter, "never" as he said "having asked the Duke for a living", and the Duke's promise was ultimately obtained, in the event of the vacancy actually occurring. Not however till the "day of humiliation" in consequence
of the Crimean War did Mr. Woolley publicly announce his resignation. Then, having just previously furnished the church with a fine organ and having in 1854-5 been the instrument of thoroughly re-building the church itself,
the chancel only excepted, he thought he might with a good grace retire from taking any further active part in ministerial life - his excessive deafness making such very difficult.
CHAPTER XXV - AUGUSTUS CYRIL - PARISH WORK - MY FIRST CURATE - WIFE'S ILLNESS AND VISIT TO NORFOLK - We had not been very long really settled when upon All Saints day 1854 a son and heir was born to us. He was a
queer little black headed fellow and owing, I think, to his mother's feeble health at that time, was particularly cross. We called him Augustus in recognition of Sir Augustus Clifford's kindness but Cyril was a fancy name,
adopted principally from the love I had for the name itself, and also from admiration of the celebrated bishop of Jerusalem of that name, who flourished in the 4th century. I had at this early beginning of my work much to
encourage me. The house to house visits and the establishment of good day and night schools - the matter of conducting the services - my loud clear voice and very plain preaching -the improved singing choir, had the effect
of attracting large congregations. Indeed just now all people spoke well of me - not alas, the healthiest of signs. One dissent even then, nevertheless, I had met with - for the churchwarden thought it better to give up the
church rate in consequence of violent opposition and to fall back for the sake of good quietness on the quarterly collections which averaged mostly a dead failure. I was at this period working having given his conge to Stewart,
Woolley's old curate on the ground of impecuniosity. The value of the benefice was indeed very small - only £250 per annum, the land being then very much underlet. Though this was a great advance on the £80 to which my stipend
had been raised during the last year by Mr. Hall (my father allowing me £60 in addition) yet it was insufficient to justify the keeping of curate with ever so trifling an income. Some of the influential parishioners however
generously came forward and offered to annually subscribe towards such an object, so that I found myself in a position towards the commencement of the new year seeking out a co-adjutor. Bishop Jackson was good enough to send
to me for approval William Henry Fox B.A of Sidney Sussex, Cambridge, and I had much pleasure in providing him with a title and stipend of £70 per annum. He came from Stamford and for the last year had been nursing a poor sick
father. His sister was married to Mr. Browning, an architect of some celebrity in that neighbourhood. Ordained Deacon on Trinity Sunday 1855 (his father in the interval having deceased) he at once came into residence and a most
valuable fellow helper he proved to be. I now established the third Sunday service - an evening one - began to observe the saint's days and had regular Evensong on Wednesdays. The church was at first lighted with solar lamps:
for it was not till the 13th Sunday after Trinity 1857 that we succeeded in getting gas.
I have mentioned my wife's feeble health since the birth of Cyril and in spite of rest and good nourishment it became still feebler. At last change of air was recommended - specially her native air, and one of her sisters being
installed in the Vicarage to take charge during our absence - my wife started for Norfolk. I following her in a few days. This was a very delightful outing and soon began to tell beneficially on the weakly constitution. We had
placed at our disposal by Mr. Drage a pony chaise, wherein we lionised almost every church in the neighbourhood and the weather being very fine and the air most salubrious and uninfected by the smoke of manufacturies, it is no
wonder that she rallied so speedily. On Sundays I used to assist the curate in charge and many a preachment have I made in the desolate E.Rudham Church. By and by when sufficiently recovered we paid a visit to the Bullocks at
Aylsham in E. Norfolk. Thornton and Stanley had recently purchased an extensive mill there and also the private residence attached and their mother and Frederick were living with them. We were treated by all with overflowing
kindness and genial hospitality. There were staying in the house as well a Major Nesbitt and "old Webster" retired parson and as they were both characters, we much enjoyed their society. Sometimes there was rifle shooting (my
wife made one famous shot) sometimes quoits or cricket, and as in west so in east Norfolk we were continually scouring the country after church seeing and were often rewarded by discovering rate specimens of ecclesiastical
architecture: I remember well "saul church" with N. and S. porches and over each a Parvise - a magnificent canopied font - spacious transepts, large rose east window and the remains of polychrome still on the beams and walls.
It was a splendid wilderness - for amid so much that was extraordinarily beautiful we found the trumpery little altar and wretched pews painted sky blue, and an air of the most painful neglect visible on all sides. I learnt
afterwards that the parish priest of this little church attended Norwich market every week - wearing a butcher neckerchief - blue with white spots and having the very cut of a fast young farmer. Norfolk alas! At that time was
full of clerical scandals even in places the highest: for bishop Hind had then or subsequently married a greengrocer's daughter who had I believe (been) one of his domestics. Another church (Worsted) was remarkable for an
east and west screen richly painted and a Stone altar. In this little parish was that useful material first fabricated which still bears the name of the village.
While at Bullock's an accident happened, which but for God's mercy, might had had a fatal result. It was about to have some fishing with my friend, when attempting to get into the boat, which was very dark, it slipped from
beneath me and for a moment I found myself engulfed in the stream. Happily my friend was hard by on the bank, so that catching hold of his hand, I was immediately extricated from my perilous position. Like a half drowned rat
dripping wet I ran upstairs and sought my room to change my humid clothes, encountering on the staircase my wife who at first was a little alarmed.
After a fortnight's visit we returned to Rudham attending Matins at Norwich cathedral on our way through. I had almost forgotten to speak of our drive to Cromner on the coast which is certainly situated in the prettiest and
pleasantest part of the country. We there had pointed out to us the Earl of Suffield, Master of the Norfolk foxhounds and his countess and mother. Altogether our holiday invigorated and refreshed us and we were prepared for renewing
with spirit our parish on our return home.
CHAPTER XXVI - 1856-57 - BIRTH OF BASIL - THE GILL'S FATE - MR FOX'S TESTIMONIAL AND EXIT - ARRIVAL OF A NEW CURATE - Though still extremely moderate in ritual advances yet neither my curate nor myself escaped the accusation
of Romanism. The people were so thoroughly unused to anything like church principles that even the bowing at the sacred name or a cross on a book mark, were thought to be significant developments of ultra High churchism. Three
rather influential members of the congregation carried the objections so far as to gradually secede from the church and join the Wesleyan body. They had all however originally been dissenters and though I was not a little grieved
at the loss yet I was not much surprised. My curate and I however continued to work steadily and undauntedly and with the most perfect sympathy and singleness of aim. A school debt having accrued, owing to my having had to carry on
the school for half a year without funds with the additional expense of a boarded floor in the boy's room, the Bishop kindly preached two sermons, the offerings amounting to £33. His lordship was entertained by Mr. Wolley - this event
taking place at the beginning of 1856. I had previously been making some little additions to the church which were decided improvements. Encaustic tiles at the sacrarium and enlarging the same. Two Glastonbury chairs, an alms dish, carpet
to prayer desk, chalice and paten of electro plated silver, surplice, closet in vestry and cocoa nut carpet and prayer and hymn book for sacrarium, handsomely bound. owing principally to the generosity of Mr. Watson the full number of
stops to the organ, including "the tremelo' had been supplied and we had a good opening service on the 13th August, the Rev. G. Bramsed, Vicar of E.Markham being the preacher and Dr. Dixon organist to Grantham Church presiding at the organ.
We had at this time a very pleasant circle of friends and were never without callers - alas! In a few short years they have all, from one cause or another, passed away. As 1856 drew to a close, on Nov. 25th (Basil Henry Montagu) my
second surviving son was born--acquiring his two last Christian names severally from his sponsors Messrs Fox and Valpy. I have good reason to remember this birth for it well nigh cost my wife her life. A day or two after the little fellow
came into the world she was seized with puerperal fever and had not God been very merciful could not possibly have recovered. For two days I scarcely left her room and administered myself her medicine and beef tea.
I find that Basil was baptized on the festival of St.Thomas which that year fell upon a Sunday. During tea time a chimney at one of the cottages at the back was discovered to be on fire vomiting forth, showers of sparks in the direction
of our "thatch". Mr. Valpy and I rushed into the yard and by dint of firing a gun up the obnoxious chimney and heaping salt on the fire in the grate we managed to subdue the flames.
The year 1857 was remarkable in our parish and domestic annals for some severe losses and drawbacks. Mr. Fox not being very strong just then announced his intention of resigning the curacy at the end of his two years. This was a great
blow to me for his assistance had been invaluable. He was much loved by the working classes and appreciated by the wealthier. A subscription was made amongst ladies and a pocket communion service presented to him by Mrs. Gill and Miss Cheetham.
I have occasionally mentioned the Gills who showed us during their sojourn in the parish most substantial marks of kindness and favour. They too were now preparing to leave us - a very fine house being in the course of erection for them in the
Park at Nottingham. Previous to their departure however, they determined upon giving a grand Fete to the church people and schools. There was a large marquise provided - the yeomanry band - and refreshment for all classes on a most extensive and
Most unfortunately there was an inter regnum of 3 months between departure of the old curate and coming of the new and during this interval I had managed to keep up all services as usual that the parish would not suffer. I say unfortunately
for reasons which will be developed in the succeeding chapter. Mr. Stocker my new co-adjutor was ordained deacon at the September ordination 1857. He was an "Exeter" man and had distinguished himself on the river at the University. He had a small
table in his rooms covered with cups and pewters he had won in various aquatic contests and he had pulled in the annual race at Putney and Mortlake between the two Universities in the year 1856 when Cambridge was the victor by about half a length.
His people had been parishioners of the Bishop when rector of St. James’, Piccadilly and it was on the lordship's recommendation that I had given him a title. Previous to ordination he had been tutor to Lord Charles Fitzroy's children. He had a
good voice - preached fairly and did a considerable amount of work but he was very ignorant of real church principles and so unguarded in his conduct and expressions that he was rather a stumbling block to me than anything else. His free manner
however fell in with the humour of most of the leading parishioners and he therefore continued curate over his two years at no advance of stipend. It was only a miserable £50 per annum on which the poor fellow somehow or other contrived to exist,
for I discovered afterwards that he had no additional income. Thus you may father that though the new curate had some excellent points in his character, yet that in his whole tone he was the very antipodes of his predecessor and was
personally a source of continual mortification and discomfort to his vicar.
CHAPTER XXVI - 1858 - ILLNESS AND THREE MONTHS REST - MABEL - Journeying to London just before the exit of my old curate Fox, I chanced to have "ware", late St. Peter's, Nottingham, for my companion. Understanding that my intention
was to let no work fall through, though alone in my glory, he rather seriously observed that if that was to be the case "he hoped that I had insured my life". Though I felt at that time perfectly strong yet the hint was not thrown away and with
my Father’s consent I immediately insured for £500 in "The Clergy Mutual Assurance". It was indeed well that I took this step for the winter of 1857 told a tale - that my constitution was not of iron and that I had really overdone it. A
succession of colds produced a general debility and a racking cough. Early in January, 1858 I resolved to try a fortnight's change at Rudham taking with me my little rosy Edith. Mrs. Drage was now a widow - my wife's father having deceased rather
suddenly in November, 1856, just previous to Basil's birth. A fatal complaint - carbuncle on the neck followed by bronchitis had serious consequences. He was buried in the family vault and I, representing my wife, was one of the mourners. A Mr.
Jekyll, the curate, was the officiating priest. No doubt the rest rather strengthened me but it was not sufficient and the cough continued with unabated violence. Mr. Butler thereupon advised a warmer climate and complete cessation from all work.
I made an arrangement with Mr. Cusins, second master of the High School, Nottingham, to assist Mr. Stocker during my absence, and about the beginning of March my wife and I found ourselves snugly located in Carey Parade, Torquay, where we remained
for two entire months.
I can confidently affirm that this little oasis in the wilderness of our life was the pleasantest we had ever enjoyed. The glorious sparkling sea at Torquay with Brixham - a fishing town - on the coast where William of Orange first landed, the
extensive views - quite Tyrolean scenery - the numerous walks and drives, the pretty Devonshire lanes had a freshness about them which charmed the eye and pleased the imagination. "Babbicome" Watcombe - the Bishop's palace - St. Mary Church, held
then by the Rev. Harry Newland, the author of "lectures on Tractarianism". (There is a lych gate here and at Paignton near Torquay - also I found one at Aylsham Norfolk) are places never to be forgotten. Our drivers were taken in "Midges" drawn
by Exmoor or Dartmoor ponies. A great pleasure here was the leisure one had for reading. We subscribed to a library on "the stand" and read no less than 40 volumes during our stay. Novels, history, biography, alike enchained our attention. We
passed our Lent very profitably for in one's weak and delicate state the Catholic teaching of St. John's church was invested with a rare impressiveness. Parks Smith("flower pot Smith") was the parish priest but the attractiveness of the services
consisted in our eyes principally in the wonderful preaching the Rev. G. Yard (since gone over to Rome) who had the secret of painting practical religion in most glowing colours and moving one's devotional feelings to their very depth. We also
heard T. Yard, a clever preacher but inferior to his brother. Dr. Harris, incumbent of Tor Church and his curate Mr. Hill had called upon me. At the invitation of the former I said the Litany and assisted at the second celebration on Easter Day
at his neat little church and took a long "constitutional" with latter who pointed out to me "the bishop's walk" which extended in some parts along most precipitous cliffs, a prospect making thoroughly dizzy weak brains like mine. But "Harry of
Exeter" was a brave and able man in more senses than one - a young priest - a friend of mine who had occasion to call on him only a year or so before his decease found the patriarchal bishop even at his years, reading one of the Greek fathers.
While at Torquay we had a fine view of the eclipse of the sun from St. Mary's churchyard. The remaining month of our absenteeism we spent at St. John's Wood and the bracing air of that quarter of London strengthened me much that I resumed my
work at Beeston with my health much improved though not quite re-established. I returned just in time for Whit Sunday and was glad once more to be amongst my people. It was on the 3rd July that we welcomed the birth of Mabel Agnes who was
christened on St. James’ day, Mr. Mrs. E.J. Lowe being her sponsors. I must here remark on the good services which I experienced at Mr. Lowe's hands. He is the "E.J. Lowe" who for years contributed to the Times a weather paragraph. His honorary
degrees are very numerous, including F.R.S. He acted as my church warden at this period and during my absence - received the rents and collected the school's subscriptions. I now took dear little Mabsie and her mother into Norfolk for a change,
returning myself the next day.
CHAPTER XXIII - 1859--1860. COMMENCEMENT OF OUR NEW VICARAGE - ELEANOR CONSTANCE - CLYDE HOUSE, HOLLINGTON - DEPARTURE OF STOCK - AND ARRIVAL OF PENNETHORN - The bishop had again been solicited to preach for our schools - this time
by Mr. E.J. Lowe on his own responsibility. His Lordship on the 2nd Sunday after Epiphany therefore again came amongst us, being entertained by Mr. W. Needham of Lenton House and the result was, an accession to the school funds of upwards of £23.
My family had now so greatly increased that the question of a new Vicarage became in a manner compulsory. The two eldest girls had indeed for some months lived in London with my mother, we lacking accommodation for them at Beeston. With this
object I began to ask for subscriptions and succeeded to the extent of nearly £400, of which the patron lay rector (Lord Middleton) and Mr. Gill contributed £50 each. Of course the remaining £800 had to be borrowed in the usual manner of Queen
Anne's bounty. Our architect was Mr. Bakewell, recommended to us by our good doctor and a man named Wilmott of Nottingham was the contractor. The foundations were begun about the 2nd week and Cyril laid the first stone. I had been visiting for
a few weeks in London and Norfolk, when my wife's increasing illness I hurried home and on 3rd August 1859 Eleanor Constance was born. Her sponsors were our kind friends Mr. & Mrs. Gill and my poor mother, and the christening took place on the
31st of the same month.
Just at this period my people determined on the rather important step of leaving London altogether. My father accordingly sold his house in St. John's Wood, and in the first place rented and afterwards purchased a recently built residence
at Hollington, 2 miles from Hastings. The speculative builder had in honour of Sir Colin Campbell given it the Cockneyed name of Clyde House and so it is described in the title deeds. It commanded some splendid views and was very roomy and
commodious. The change it was imagined would be advantageous for health and my mother had at last obtained one of the darling wishes of her heart, that of residing near the beloved Hastings. To this day I regret the step and believe principally
at any rate it was a great mistake. My father afterwards bought the two adjacent meadows at the back and side of the house so that it became a very comfortable little property. What the greenhouse and shrubberies cost no one can imagine - but
a great deal of money was in this way expended. The transaction was supposed to be an excellent investment but I am confident that it turned out to be the very contrary.
At length Mr. Stocker determined upon seeking a more advantageous curacy. He preached his farewell sermon on Trinity Sunday 1860 having been previously "teapotted" by his friends in the parish to the amount of £40. I now engaged Mr. Cusins as
a kind of Sunday curate for my recent lesson of ill health had not been quite lost upon me and I dared no longer work as before. Cusins was more broad than high in his views but we nevertheless agreed well on almost all subjects and his help
was of immense value.
This year on Rogation Monday we had perambulated the parish "beating the bounds" which had not been done for about 60 years. I carried, as Vicar, a large white flag, looking for all the world, like the knight in Longfellow's Excelsior. We
dined in the evening at the White Lion, the two churchwardens, Messrs. Lowe & Watson presiding. There was of course much speechifying and poor Rawson (Mr. Broughton's solicitor) and Hawkridge (then a parishioner) the Archdeacon's registrar,
contributed much to the liveliness of the party. They are now both deceased though comparatively young men. While on the subject of entertainments I may mention that on the completion of the Vicarage at the beginning of July, 1860 I had a
supper at the same old fashioned place of resort for the workmen who had been employed in the premises. The architect, builder, churchwardens etc., were present. There was much conviviality and some capital songs were sung. One amusing
incident was my wife's health being drunk with "Kentish fire" well sustained. Through a clerical registry office I had become acquainted with Gregory Walton Pennethorne of Trinity Cambridge, and had accepted him for my curate. He was a son
of Sir James Pennethorne, the government architect - his best work is one of the wings of Somerset house - was a senior optime and a very nice gentlemanly man. He had been named "Walton" in commemoration of his being a lineal descendant of
quaint old Isaac Walton of piscatorial celebrity. He took Deacon's orders on St. Thomas' day, 1860 and first assisted at church on the 4th Sunday in Advent immediately after. We all liked him so much but he was very inferior to his predecessor
in his public ministrations and had rather without meaning it a standoff way with him which was rather a broad contrast to Stocker's free and easy deportment.
CHAPTER XXIX - 1861 - EXTRAORDINARY SEVERITY OF WEATHER AND CONSEQUENT PARISH DISTRESS - ILLNESS - PENNETHORNE'S PREFERMENT AND MARRIAGE RENEWED - ILLNESS AND NON RESIDENCE - TEMPORARY CURATE - Of all years in my life this was
the most unprofitable and wretched and which was has the most gloomy retrospect. It opened with weather such as in this climate we of late years have seldom had to encounter. Intenser frost and snow I do not remember: and trade happening
simultaneously to be at a low ebb the distress in a week or so became overwhelming. This was all painful enough but in addition one of the dangerous colds to which I am subject came upon me and I had no alternative to take to my bed. What
was to be done? Just when I was wanted most I could do least: and the new curate was necessarily raw and inexperienced. A parish meeting however was called, over which he presided, and the remedy of soup kitchens as a means of relieving the
distress was proposed from doctors. A committee was formed to collect subscriptions and eventually 4 kitchens were established in different quarters of the village. We thus contrived to stave off actual starvation which was grimly threatening
the people. On my recovery, I took part in these good works and wrapped up in two great coats went about with the curate and his brother, a young barrister who was staying with him. Afterwards when a milder season set in I interested myself
in introducing Pennethorne to the parishioners, accompanying him in his first essay at parochial visitation. But shall I tell the truth, that I was not animated as heretofore with the same warm zeal and that a change "had come o'er the spirit
of my dream", domestic troubles were distracting me, and, as consequence, my duties were only slavishly and mechanically performed. Nothing seemed to flourish: our schools, clothing club and even I recollect the Sunday school festival at the
Wakes, a withering blight seemed to have fallen. Like Samson I was shorn of my strength and fast bound in misery and iron. Pennethorne, too, who had only been 9 months in the curacy now left me, having through the interest of Dr. Hook obtained
the small benefice (£80 per annum) of St. Andrews, Chichester. The church is a small plain nave and only notable as the burial place of the poet Collins. The fact was that the genial curate was engaged to a Miss Kate MacGregor, daughter of the
M.P. of that name who was many years chairman of the S.E. Rly and had therefore moved heaven and earth to get beneficed that he might marry at once. He preached his last sermon at Beeston the 13th Sunday after Trinity, still being in Deacon's orders.
Once more I was left alone and now feeble health supervening, in an evil moment I resolved on the cowardly expedient, of leaving my wife and children in the Vicarage house and seeking health and strength elsewhere. One of the Vicar (of) St.
Mary's curates was at this moment disengaged and with him an arrangement was immediately entered into. His name was Robert Allen, a very tall fine man, with a deep rich voice, and a talent above the average. I had known him before as a friend
of Pennethorne's. So exactly a month after the "rector of St. Andrew's" departure, Allen his successor entered upon his duties (19th Sunday after Trinity) and I at the same time became a resident. Previously I had quite wound up the Vicarage
accounts and paid a balance of £50 to the bad out of my own pocket. This was an unexpected loan and caused me to leave my poor wife with her purse but slenderly provided, besides having become responsible for the curate's stipend. The children
too were all at home - Jessie and Edith now day pupils at Miss Barker's school. Only one servant was retained - but a sister of my wife's came to bear her company. Alas! What "confusion worse confounded" my wilful obstinacy cost and what
shifts to live we were all put to. I was now for 2 months of waif and stray - away from home and wandering hither and thither. My old tastes nevertheless still clung to me and I remember the gusto with which I lionised Canterbury and Rochester
cathedrals. Of the former I had a boyish shadowy recollection, but the reality a thousand and ten times surpassed it. Three things I shall record as most interesting me - the night of Sir Thomas a Beckett's shrine with the tesselated
pavement worn by the knees of the pilgrims (it was at the back of the high altar), the chapel of St. Benedict where St. Thomas' martyrdom actually took place (they point out where the stone was taken which stained with his blood was transmitted
to the Pope and is still preserved in the Vatican) and the chapel in the Crypt where the saint was first entombed (the hooks being still visible from which the silver lamps were suspended). Many of the effigies especially of the Dean's are made
of bog oak as is the roof of the chapter house not then restored.
I had never been to High Mass at a Roman Catholic Church and now had the opportunity of gratifying my curiosity. I was marvellously impressed with the reverence of the worshippers as contrasting with so much coldness and carelessness in the
churches of our own communion. "The elevation" when the sacring bell is rung, is indeed a supreme moment. The cloud of incense the breathless silence, the bowed heads of the kneeling multitude, the unearthliness of the whole scene, inspire the
soul with the adoring awe. The music at Vespers and Benediction was most solemn and devout. I recognised Mozart's Twelfth Mass and on other occasions some of my old friends the Gregorians. As the only worship in Christendom for many centuries
one could not help regarding it with feelings of the profoundest and liveliest interest.
At the end of November after returning home for less than a week I again took flight but this time with Cyril for my companion and took my abode at Hollington with my own people. I was happier now and got daily stronger. But gloom still
seemed to pursue one for the fearful news by and bye reached us of the sudden death of Frank Upjohn, the Doctor, brother-in-law to my wife. The matter was hushed up as much as possible and the verdict brought in, and I think, "accidental
death" or "death of misadventure". This however was followed almost immediately by what one must call a national loss, viz. the unforeseen decease of the Queen's consort Prince Albert.
Just then I received a note from Pennethorne, who hearing that I was in Sussex, invited me to stay with him, asking me at the same time to take his duty on the day of his Priest's ordination. I waited on him at Brighton on my way through
and had the chance of seeing Wagner's celebrated church in West Street. I much enjoyed my Chichester visit - liked Mrs. Pennethorne and her sister - went to the Cathedral for evensong, seeing there Dr. Hook, the Dean (the noble spire was
just then being rebuilt) and took a long walk to "Goodwood", the seat of the Duke of Richmond. On the Sunday I officiated for my late curate and service over hurried off, getting just in time to witness his ordination. We had a long
chat after the early dinner and having preached for him at Evensong, the next morning (the day after Prince consort's funeral) I journeyed back to Hollington. During my sojourn here I several times assisted at "the little church in the wood",
the rector, whose name was "Rose Fuller Whistler" being a very good fellow. My Father had consented to act as his Churchwarden and helped him in every way with his accustomed liberality.
CHAPTER XXX - 1862 - TUITION - RUN INTO NORFOLK - INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION - G.F. BULLOCK - 1862 opened with a little more sunshine and which as the year advanced grew brighter and brighter. I was now in stronger health and
anxious to "redeem the time". Allen helped for the last time on the III Sunday after Epiphany and was presented at a Tea party with "the inevitable Bible" subscribed for by some of his admirers with a "neat and appropriate speech" from
myself. Why will well intentioned folk present Priests with Bibles, the very book of all others they may be supposed to possess. I myself in my career have received two - one from my old parishioners at Breaston in 1853 and the other on
February 1st 1857 from "the first class Sunday Scholars, as a mark of their gratitude (as they were pleased to express it) for my earnest labours among them".
We were at this time quite free form debt but still suffering from straitened means and had not my good Father given me a cheque for Allen's stipend, I know not what I should have done. (here let me mention that immediately on leaving
Beeston, Allen was married to a Miss Uniake, an Irish lady).I therefore determined to try "tuition" as a means of eking out one's income - especially as Cyril was now old enough to require instruction. But "tuition" implies "pupils" and I
only succeeded at first in a single instance - Lawson Lowe, now a Captain in the Sherwood Foresters. Afterwards I had the two sons of Mr. Orton, the Doctor, to read with me for matriculation at Dublin University. The time thus occupied
abstracted sadly from that which should have been devoted to my Parish duties and I had, you may fancy, to work very hard to keep things going at all.
In the midsummer holidays taking "Jessie" with me, we had a pleasant run in Norfolk and having to stop at Ely for an hour and a half, were able to inspect the wonderfully restored cathedral. The reredos is very splendid and much of the
roof had been painted by an amateur "Styleman l'Estrange" the Squire of Hunstanton, Norfolk and a man of very refined taste. He did not unhappily, live long enough to complete his task but about this very time while on the continent,
prematurely deceased. Passing through the Cathedral Close I saw for the last time Dr. Turton, the Bishop, who was just about getting into his carriage.
While still the beautiful summer weather lasted, we received an invitation from my Father to visit the great International Exhibition. We had scarcely expected it and so the pleasure was the greater. An excursion train conveyed us to
town, in which in the midst of the confusion my wife and I found ourselves in different carriages and afterwards different portions of the same train which at Leicester had been divided. We however reached Charlwood St. Primlico where my
people were staying quite safely. In my opinion the prominent feature of the 1862 Exhibition was the Picture Gallery which qua Gallery whether for light or ventilation was as near perfection as possible. The pictures were classified
according to their nationalities. Amongst the English I specially recollect Gainsborough's "Blue Boy" and Holman' Hunt's "I am the Light of the World" and "The death of St. Francis d'Assisi". Spanish School was only characteristic of
horrors: The work of a certain Norwegian artist pleased me much. He had depicted with touching tenderness and exactitude a private celebration. As for the rest of the Exhibition it was in many particulars a repetition, but without the
same beautiful effect of that of 1851. There were of course literally heaps of things to admire - for instance the jewelry of Harry Emanuel and the wonderful Koh-I-Noor diamond, but there was such a confusedness in the arrangements as
to detract from one's otherwise enjoyment. Gibson's coloured statue of Venus (an experiment) fresh from his Roman Studio, deserves from its very curiosity a passing observation. I do not think I liked it. The harmonising of bright colour
with marble hues, scarcely proved a success. I saw too what was quite new to me - specimens of vegetable ivory. While in London on this occasion, we went to Albert Smith's entertainment of Switzerland at the Egyptian Hall. It was very
amusing and I was glad to have seen him, who as an author though far from profound, yet has helped to many a hearty laugh and wiled away joyously many idle hour.
The next thing to knowing celebrities is the seeing them: one enjoys a man's book all the more if one can recall his features, attitude, demeanour. I once heard Dickens read at Nottingham the "Christmas Carol" and now when perusing
him always have that author before me. Years since I met at Thrumpton the sister to Miss Freer, the talented authoress of numerous biographies of the Kings and Queens of France and afterwards the authoress herself at Mr.
Charlton's of Chilwell. She had then married Mr. Robinson, rector of Widmerpool, a lively little man with antiquated shirt frills and rather deaf. His pet weakness was the cultivation of peers. As for Mrs. Robinson you must imagine a
rather big woman in spectacles - plain but good natured looking and enormous arms.
This autumn G.F. Bullock paid us a visit. As a layman he had done so twice before but this was his first appearance since in Orders. How wonderfully God works! Who would have expected such a transformation in my dear old friend!
He had been called you know to the Bar shortly after leaving Oxford and fully intended to follow his profession. He had duly made his bewigged and begowned first appearance in Court and had often made us laugh by his imitation of Judge
Alderson's scanning him up and down through his eyeglass, evidently smelling out his freshness. He was in a special pleader's office, I believe, for a year and had even so far practised as to have taken some fees for signing certain
formal documents. But he did not take kindly to the work and his health being very indifferent, he cast his law books to the moles and to the bats and took to travelling. For two successive years he was in Spain tarrying sometimes for
months together either at Seville or Cadiz: Malaga or Barcelona. In 1857 however his poor mother died after a long and distressing illness and this event so far solemnised him that he resolved to seek a title for Holy Orders. He went
at once into residence at Oxford to attend Jacobson's lectures, having secured the curacy of Widdecombe on the Moor in the country of Devon. A most curious coincidence was the fact that Mr. Mason the rector was well known to my father
and on calling on us when residing Chelsea, when I was but a small boy, had administered to me a tip of 5/-, quite a fortune as it seemed to my infantile mind. Poor Bullock was very wretched here - he underwent an extremity of penance.
Not only was Mason a very worldly man with a character blown upon for well known immoralities, but his niece Mrs. Drake who kept his house was a perfect virago - a woman of fiendish passion - called about there "Queen of the Moor". He
worked therefore under the greatest difficulties and perplexities and having stayed at his curacy about 2½ years very thankfully accepted the vicarage of Buckastleigh, near Ashburton, which he agreed to hold till the young man to
whom the living belonged should be in condition of presentation. In 1860 I had invited him here, staying a fortnight and driving on one occasion with Gokayne formerly one of the masters of our old Grammar School who by the strangest
chance had married a Lady Littler and now resided in my friend's parish. Another curious circumstance was that at that moment Crawford who had succeeded Lamb as the Head Master of the Brompton Grammar School was on a visit to Gokayne.
"Bigadon" was the name of their place - a perfectly lovely spot with extensive landscape, views from the garden terraces. One of the prettiest rooms in the world was the nicely carpeted library with an oriel window quartered with the
arms of a former family and a fairly carved dark oak chimney piece. Her Ladyship's boudoir too where we had kettledrums was luxurious and charming and in the Hall there was a life sized picture of Sir Henry Littler K.G.B. her
late husband in uniform and mounted on a charger. Lady Littler had fine eyes, was very vivacious, fond of pets from her monkey and her cow up to her husband and treated me with greatest hospitality. I was delighted to have Bullock
to preach in my church, but this time he was no longer vicar of Buckfastleigh which he had had to resign in favour of the real Simon Pure but had accepted the curacy of Mr. Hogg at St. Matthias Torquay so that the clerics of Torquay
then numbered amongst them a Bullock, a Hogg, a Lamb and a Wolfe.
CHAPTER XXXI - 1863 - LOSS OF VOICE - 1864 SCARLET FEVER - BEESTON CHORAL FESTIVAL - WEEKLY CELEBRATION - My record of events for 1863 is of the most meagre kind. I continued to work on and in addition to my parochial
ministration had accepted the post of Mission Secretary to our Rural Deanery. This office involved a considerable amount of correspondence - the entertainment of S.P.G. deputations and the preaching of sermons myself where pulpits
were offered. For years I had been on the Committee of the C.E.S. and N.S. at the depot in Albert St. Nottingham and rather valued myself on my regularity of attendance. With a view too of gaining an influence over the working classes
I had suffered myself to be initiated into the mysteries of "Oddfellowship". This last privilege had like to have cost me very dear for the excessive heat of the room in which the Albion Lodge was held had such an effect upon me on
Saturday night when I chanced to be present that my voice perfectly went. All kinds of remedies were at once applied to rehabilitate it but without the slightest alleviation so that the Sunday morning service was a work of superhuman
difficulty. I ventured to omit the sermon but managed somehow or other to celebrate. By evensong my active churchwarden Mr. Kirkland after a hard chase had secured assistance. This occurred on the 4th Sunday after Easter and so
reduced in strength did I become and my voice still continuing so wretchedly bad that I went to Hollington for 8 or 9 weeks to try what rest would do--my father graciously paying for Hack parsons, during my absence from the Parish.
It was at the Christmastide of this year that we adopted the elaborate style of decoration since common in our church. The wire foundations of these emblems were at the churchwarden's factory. My sister who had spent Christmas with
us took back with her Jessie and Edith who afterwards for some time remained at Hollington under her instruction. This was a great help to us and the beautiful air of Sussex contributed much to their continued good health.
In the early autumn of 1864 my wife and I were invited to join them. How we enjoyed our railway journey! What spirits we were in! We took with us a lot of ivy cuttings and as Pepys would say, it was "pretty" to hear the "sposa"
hold forth on their characteristics to a carriage full of people - amongst them was a Dr. Wilkinson from the diocese of Salisbury. For many weeks we were as gay as larks and as bright as the glorious autumn weather. I had preached
at the Parish Church the harvest Thanksgiving sermon to an overflowing congregation: for if strong enough I always liked to assist brother priests and recollect very shortly after I was very busy preparing a sermon on "Freedom of
Worship" - a subject which was simultaneously to be brought before the people in as many parishes as possible on the 17th Sunday after Trinity. We had had a luncheon party at which the parish priest (Mr. Whistler) and his wife had
been present and the very next morning were to have departed when poor Edith was suddenly seized with scarlet fever. It was a fearful business and for weeks she was in great danger. Of course her mother stayed behind but I being at
the extreme tether of my holiday, had at once returned home and there was the greater reason for this because a choral festival of the choirs of the Deanery was to be held at Beeston Church on the eve of St. Michael's Day.\,/p\.
Meanwhile Mabel and Nellie both showed signs of fever and I obliged myself to turn nurse and treat them as well as I could. We always described 1864 as the scarlet fever year, as general was it all over the country and in Beeston
it proved so fatal amongst the children as to swell up to 80 deaths our usual average of about 55. In the face however, of such trying circumstances I continued to carry out my arrangements with considerable success. The church was
prettily decorated. "We praise Thee O God" extending across over the Chancel arch. It was simply Evensong, Pincott, Murray Wilkins' curate singing the service, I reading the lessons and the rural dean being the preacher. There were
about 30 priests in the procession and the church was crowded. A tea was afterwards provided for the choir at the National School room and at the Vicarage for the clergy and ladies. The surpliced train much astonished my dear
parishioners and the "no popery" cry began to be reiterated. What a compliment to the Romanists that whatever is decent and comely is not down as popish.
This autumn I preached Harvest sermons not only in my own parish on the 21st. Sunday after Trinity but also at Colwick, Cotgrave and Long Eaton. Of late I had endeavoured so far as my strength would allow to do more for Christ
year by year. Acting upon this principle the Advent of 1864 witnessed the commencement of weekly celebrations which have been continued without cessation to the date I am writing. Twice in the month they were "High", i.e. choral
and twice "Low". This was not affected without a great outcry from the Puritan section of the congregation. In fact the more strenuous efforts on my part for raising the standard of religious life among my people the louder and
more vehement the opposition. Is it not always so? The dead fish swims with the stream, the lively fish against it.
CHAPTER XXXII - i865 - "CYRIL" - PENNY READINGS - 1866 - ANOTHER CHORAL FESTIVAL - "BLANCHE MARY" - It would have been quite beyond my purpose to have enumerated all the minute of my Parish work. I have only jotted
down the more remarkable incidents. So is it that I have passed over in silence the triennial confirmations when we always entertained Bishop Jackson at luncheon and invited some of the county people to meet him. I shall however
particularly mention the confirmation which took place this year on the 6th March - in the first place because of the rather large number of the Beeston candidates. There were 80 and in the second place because of the commotion
which arose in the Parish owing to the circulation amongst the confirmed of the little green catechism on Holy Communion published by Palmer. I thought I should never have heard the last of this matter. The Misses Wright (Puritan
busybodies) of the adjoining parish of Lenton, were kind enough to forward a copy of it to my Diocesan, who thereupon asked me to come to Riseholmne and talk it over. This was just after Eastertide and Bullock happening to be here
accompanied me to Lincoln. The Bishop was courteous and kind and having lunched and been introduced to Mrs. Jackson (a plain uninteresting woman) and two or three of the daughters ("the sacred nine") we had a long chat. On my
taking leave, could I have foreseen the disturbing consequences, I would not have introduced the catechism complained of, but the subject collapsed and his Lordship accompanied me to lionize Riseholme Church, of which Archdeacon
Kay, his son-in-law, was the vicar. This was altogether a great annoyance and the consequences of it for a long time clung to me and were a kind of millstone about my neck.
I had indulged the dream of one or other of my boys becoming a chorister of Christ Church, Oxford. When on the Foundation the salary is £40 per annum and often leads to scholarships. Having an introduction to Dr. Corfe, the
organist, who I recollected as frequently present at the Union Debating Society I took both boys to Oxford at the beginning of October. Alas! My baleful star was then in the ascendant. I ought to have had them coached previously
to have given them confidence, for Cyril's attempt proved a croak and Basil's a complete failure. We however, made ourselves as happy as we could. I showed them all the "lions" and not having been up since one very wet day when
I had gone there, to vote for the Marquis of Chandon against Gladstone, I was myself glad to have a peep at the lately erected chapels of Baliol and Exeter and the new buildings of Christ Church. Most Catholics would I think prefer
the work of Butterfield to that of Scott, so that you can understand that I gave a decided preference to Baliol chapel over Exeter. It was so much warmer in its detail and furniture, and so much more instinctive with the true
beauties of ecclesiastical art. We stayed at the "Mitre" and who should recognise me in the coffee room but my old scout Jones. By the way the boys were greatly taken with the museum lately built in the park, the ironwork pillars
representing forest trees and underwood were executed by Skidmore of Coventry who had supplied Beeston Church with its gas standards. (He is an intelligent man - I also happened to know Hart in the same line). The present reading
rooms and theatre of the Union were also inspected. In the train on our return I fell in with Norris, the inspector of schools. Buckingham church was just then undergoing restoration by Scott, who was born in the town and who was
therefore working con amore at his task.
I resolved now to send Cyril to Hurstpierpoint and a few days after this Oxford rebuff conveyed him into Sussex. It was not with a sharp pang that having dined in the Visitors' Parlour I left him with Dr. Lowe, the Head Master,
and hurried back to London, remaining the night with Mrs. Drage, who since 1864 resided in Holloway. Poor little fellow! He had to fight his way amongst 300 boys.
Penny Readings had at this time created throughout the neighbourhood quite a furore and our parish was no exception to the general rule. Our talent was not very first-rate, but the schoolroom was inconveniently crowed every
night of the performance and numbers turned away from the doors. Of course I was often reader. A religious Penny Reading which took place at Wollaton in the Lent of 1866 and in which I took part, pleased me however more than
anything of the kind. The programme consisted of overtures, anthems and readings - the performers being Mr. Chas. Willoughby and his brother Percival. Mr. Willoughby, the Wollaton organist and another and myself. My contributions
on the occasion were Tennyson's St. Simen's Stylites and the last moments of Archbishop Laud.
I had again volunteered to hold a church festival in my church: but this was much more ambitious project and on a more extensive scale: for I selected with the assistance of Mr. Croft the choirmaster my own music, anthem, hymns
etc. It came off on the 24th May in Whitsun week. The services were Holy Communion at 9:30 a.m. where we mustered 40 communicants. The Matins, Litany and sermon by the Rev. G.J.Willoughby and finally evensong and sermon by
Chancellor Massingberd (since dead) one of the Proctors of Convocation and author of the History of the Reformation. The offerings amounted to £13.14.7. I was very pleased with the whole of the day and thanked God and took courage.
Murray Wilkins sung the Litany very effectively. Lunch was provided at the schoolroom by Fanands and there were the usual complimentary speeches, daily reported next day in the local papers.
I must not terminate this chapter without recording the birth of my darling little "Blanche Mary" which occurred on the vigil of Purification of B.V.M. (Feb. 1st) 1866. Previously my wife had been so ill with gastric fever that
Mr. Butler had called in for advice Dr. Ransome. The baby was christened on the festival of St. Perpetua (7th March) her sponsors being Mrs. Bury, the vicar of Bramcote's wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Whittaker - he a son of the late Dr.
Whittaker, rector of Blackburn, and she a daughter of Sir Henry Feilden, Bart. of Fenniscowles, Lancashire.
CHAPTER XXXIII - 1867 - BASIL THE CHORISTER - DEATH AND FUNERAL OF MRS. DRAGE - CONFIRMATION OF JESSIE AND EDITH - A VERY SERIOUS ILLNESS - REST - SCHOOL DIFFICULTIES - BIRTH OF GERARD - VISIT TO GRACE DIEU MONASTERY -
At the good natured suggestion of Mr. Croft I had asked for Basil's admission into the All Saint's Margaret St. Choir. The dues only amounted to £12 per annum and if desirable the boys could obtain a classical education. Not this
time to run into the same mistake, I had got the Choirmaster to give him some singing lessons that he might feel at home in his work. A vacancy unexpectedly occurring at the beginning of the year and he having already "passed the
organist" on a bitterly cold day I took him up to town and introduced him to Mr. Hoskin, the priest in charge of the choir. Each boy had a pretty little dormitory to himself and they dined in the Hall with the priests, quite
university style. Basil looked very well in his blue cassock and took bravely to his calling. Alas! at the end of 8 months having caught at some illuminations, which the choristers were taken into the streets in the night air to
see, whooping cough ensued and the poor boy was returned to our hands to our great disappointment.
When in London with Basil I found Mrs. Drage, who had visited Beeston in 1865 extremely ill of Bronchitis. I prayed with her twice that night and though she was somewhat better in the morning yet I was not very much surprised
when a few days later we received a telegram announcing her decease. She died on the Festival of the Epiphany, aged 73. We mourned her as a good and affectionate wife and mother, wonderfully even tempered, strict in her religious
duties and a thorough church woman, quite in advance of the people of her parish and neighbourhood. She was buried at East Rudham in the family vault by the side of her husband. It was a drearily cold day and flakes of snow were
falling as the little funeral procession moved towards the church. The oaken coffin having the shell inside was very heavy and rustic bearers placing it clumsily and insecurely on the tressels at the West end of the nave it
suddenly fell down with a loud crash just as the curate had begun to read the Psalm. This was a most painful circumstance and no wonder that my wife's eldest brother uttered a deep grown. A more unimpressive service was never
conducted, the curate whose name I forget being a most indifferent cleric.
I remained over the Sunday at Wootton with the Roystons the funeral happening on a Saturday. In the afternoon we walked through the snow to Castle-Rising Church which is, I believe Anglo-Norman, beautifully restored and
dedicated to St. Laurence. The Christmas decorations were up making the interior bright and glorious. The Bede House women with their black beaver peaked hats, ruffs round their necks and scarlet cloaks, occupied some of the
open house benches reminding one of the days of King James I in whose time the founder of charity, Henry Howard, earl of Northampton flourished. Evensong was choral and the choir surpliced. Mr. Bagot the rector is a son of a
defunct Bishop of Oxford and nephew to Lord Bagot. He has an impediment in his speech which strangely interferes with his distinctness of utterance. There is also a fine village cross here and the ruins of the castle (founded
by William de Albini,son of one of the followers of William the Conqueror) where the unfaithful Isabelle, queen of Edward II, was imprisoned. Though the population is only 377 yet Castle-Rising formerly boasted of a Mayor and
Corporation and two Members of Parliament.
I was now preparing Jessie and Edith for their confirmation - the Bishop having very kindly on my solicitation granted me a special one. It took place on the 29th January, the decorations in the church not yet having been
taken down. There were 31 other parish candidates and 57 in all. At the luncheon besides the Bishop there were present Lady Byron and Mr. Douglas, Mr. Bruce, Alfred Monk, the Rural Dean, and as many of the sponsors as
we could get together, viz., Mr. Hall and Miss Moore. Poor Mrs. Seahorse was lame and rheumatic and could not come but sent her godchild a Bible. It was a happy day for me. I was full of thankfulness and gave praise to God.
My dear girls made their first communion on the 4th Sunday after Epiphany.
But now from an apparently small cause my work again came to a standstill and I received a sharp check. A small abscess on the side of my foot caused exceeding lameness and having to wear an open boot at a funeral in the
midst of a hailstorm, I managed to catch a cold - the cold striking up my leg. I shall never forget my agony in saying prayers and celebrating on the 1st Sunday in Lent. During the night I had been suffering from shivering
and fever and in crossing over to church in the morning found was very wrong with me. The difficulty in kneeling became intensified as the service proceeded and towards the end of the celebration almost intolerable. Mr. Butler
was immediately sent for and at once ordered me off to bed. I was carried up stairs on Croft's back who was presenting for us on this particular Sunday - we having just adopted Redhead's Psalter and Canticles with Ancient Tones,
i.e. Gregorian. Mr. Bury came to the rescue for Evensong and for the next 4 Sundays my churchwarden provided for the services as best he could. I was sufficiently recovered to Officiate on Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Day
and Low Sunday, and then still continuing partially lame and weak thought it wise to go to the sea and indulge in a 6 weeks' sojourn at Hollington. This illness was a thorough break up to my multiplied and multiplying parish
work for I have never been able to resume my frequent weekly services. Oh! It needed much grace at that time to say "Thy will O Lord be done". Saints' days early celebrations were to have been the special development of 1867.
The parish schools are a crux to almost every priest with an extensive cure of souls. To me they had always been an anxiety and though I had contrived to rub along, yet because of them my private means were often
distressingly cramped. Just now however things were brought to a deadlock by an opposition school having been established by the Wesleyans. Down at once went our numbers and consequently school pence and amount of Government
Grant. The schools got rapidly into debt and owing the Treasurer already more than £30 I literally stopped payment, refusing to find any more money for school purposes. Unhappily I was responsible, which the people well knew,
and refused help so much needed out of ill feeling to their poor devoted pastor. Nay more - it was confidently asserted that my connection with the schools was the cause of their diminished numbers and the actual impediment
to their financial prosperity. Knowing as I did how impoverished my family and self had so often been because of advancing funds the schools - that under my management the Government reports had been most excellent and
encouraging - that the January subscriptions with the annual sermon had for years been made to cover the expenses of Sunday and night schools as well as day, besides providing out of it the interest for the school clothing
club, I was much pained by such false accusations and determined upon resigning all connection with the day schools. A committee with Secretary and Treasurer was therefore appointed and my responsibility ceased on the 1st.
September. They however refused to take to the existing debt with which I was still left to grapple, but certain contributions towards it were promised in the room which were to be paid over to the new Secretary. Thus affairs
remained till one Saturday afternoon I was electrified by a writ being served on me signed by Sir William Borill of the Court of Common Pleas at the instance of the school mistress Miss Nannie Trewzeela. You may judge my
annoyance and disgust, especially as sufficient means for the liquidation of the arrears of salary due to this designing woman were at that very moment in the hands of Mr. Bathwell the Secretary. To prevent further litigation
and expense we, without more delay settled the account through Mr. Everall, the solicitor. It was not however till just before Lady day 1868 that by hook and by crook I had scraped together sufficient money not only to wipe
off the Schools entire liabilities but with the exception of £4 even the balance that was due to me personally and which I had given up for lost. The tide indeed had now turned - a feeling of sympathy had sprung up and
donation after donation had rolled in with excessive liberality. But I had passed through a most disagreeable ordeal which inexpressively worried me and was a severe trial of my patience and Christian feeling.
Let me now turn to a pleasanter subject and pass from under the cloud of school difficulties. On the 17th of September the festival of St. Lambert, Gerard Douglas Louis was born a fine little fellow reminding me of our
poor departed Freddie. His names are family ones and his sponsors are dear old Fred, my father and Jessie, who as a communicant was eligible for the office. Only the two last were present at the christening which occurred
on the 19th Sunday after Trinity 27th October 1867. Bullock's gift to his godson was a silver pectoral cross.
My foot still rather failing me I had been compelled to decline Lady Byron's annual invitation to the Thrumpton School feast, but later in the year went to meet at dinner Bishop of Dunedin, accompanying a party
the next morning on a visit to the Grace Dieu monastery in Leicestershire. Dr. is a fine tall man with handsome beard and is most amusing and pleasant. He is thorough Catholic and as the author of the touching tune set to
"We love the place O Lord" and others, he deserves a place amongst the worthiest of Catholic revival. One sympathises with him too as the victim of unprecedented bigotry - the Dunedin Synod afterwards rejecting him on his
presenting himself amongst them as their Bishop. At Thrumpton he made a most favourable impression - even some of the Evangelicals there confessing to Lady B. that they liked her great high priest. I had long desired
to visit one of our English monasteries and so was rejoiced at this opportunity. Was I disappointed? Well I think I was - my ideal was so much more magnificent and here everything was on such a small scale. The refectory,
the chapel and cloisters and chapter house - the museum — the guest parlour, the dormitory, though interesting yet were not impressive. Amongst themselves (it is the silent order of La Trappe) in their tawny coloured gowns
and cowls meditating in the cloisters or in the chapel gave one a notion of listless indolence which rather jarred on our more active sensibilities. I was told that one of them had been a curate at St Paul’s Knightsbridge
and the Guest Master a watchmaker in the Strand. They themselves cultivate the monastery land. We saw some of their bread which looked coarse but wholesome. The Reformatory almost close to them was striking for the
opportunity it afforded of bringing one into contact with the criminal classes. I observed here what I had done previously at the Convict Establishment at Princes Town, Dartmoor, that crime unmistakably stamps itself in
the human countenance. Though decently dressed and of course well fed (query too well fed) busily employed in learning trades, yet the expression of face almost without an exception was vile. Some of them (boys) in the
playground asked us for tips, which we declined giving. Their chapel (R.C.) is roomy and has a devotional appearance, but other portions of the Reformatory had a dirty untidy and squalid look, which we all agreed in thinking
very unadvisable in a place where order cleanliness and neatness are expected to be taught and exemplified.
CHAPTER XXXIV - 1868 – CHURCH SOCIETIES – ILLNESS – ST PAUL’S STONEY STRATFORD - CONSERVATIVE DINNER - I shall here give the list of the Church Societies which during my ministerial career I have belonged to, but
from some of which from various reasons I have withdrawn long since
Clerical Book Club (The Rev. the Hon. C.J. Willoughby, the secretary)
Christian Knowledge and National Societies (on the legal committee)
S.P.G. and Central African Mission (Ruri-decanal Secretary)
Freedom of Worship (Joint secretary)
Clergy charity for Notts.
Notts choral union (on committee)
Confraternity of B.S. (admitted Priest Associate by Lyall, then Secretary in the Oratory of All Saint’s Margaret St. London
Association for promoting Unity of Christendom
Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire Church Union
Church Union (on the Local Council — read at one of the meetings a paper on “Extension of the Episcopate”)
Nottingham Literary and Scientific
Guild of St Albans (Priest Associate)
The workings of these Societies and participating in their privileges was part of my recreation and afforded me considerable amusement.
Here it seems the proper place to mention frequent efforts I made to permanently establish Reading rooms and lectures for the working classes. Somehow or other all such attempts at that period proved abortive, or were
very short lived, so that at last I gave them up in disgust. The Sunday school library seemed the only institution which contained the elements of vitality.
This year I was again compelled through debility to take rather a long holiday from the 6th Sunday after Trinity I was away till the 12th. While in London we were all seized with diarrhoea (the weather at the time was
tropical) and I was fearfully weakened. That very Sunday I had been at St Alban’s in the morning and at St Barnabas for Evensong. As soon as possible Mary, Jessie and I went down to Hollington leaving my mother behind, who
in a few days had so serious a relapse that my sister was telegraphed for. I now grew daily better and was strong enough to mix in the society of the neighbourhood. I remember a very pleasant school feast given by Mr Brassey
at Beauport (he was son of the great contractor and is now the M.P. for Hastings) to which Jessie and I were invited. Admiral Williams drove us to the Hall, for I chaperoned his daughter on the occasion. I had much political
conversation with Brassey who though a Liberal seemed a fair churchman. Beaufort is a fine place, belonging to Sir Archibold Lamb.
I now on the 11th September took Basil to school at St Pauls’ Stoney Stratford. The school was founded by Mr Sankey the vicar of the Parish, principally for the education of clergymen’s sons at a moderate cost. The expense
was at first only £30 per annum but gradually was increased to £40 with books included. My mind was more at rest for both the boys were in the course of being educated — my dear father supplying the ways and means.
This was the year of a general election and my neighbour Mr Frederick Smith of Bramcote being fortunate enough to wrest one of the seats of our division of the County from Whig domination and on the 8th December
celebrated his return in this Parish by a Conservative dinner held at the White Lion. The health of the Bishop and clergy was of course coupled with my as vicar of the Parish, I returning thanks in a neat speech. One
would not like to be called a political parson but still there are occasions when one must show one’s colours and the threatened disestablishment of the Irish Church seemed just such an occasion.
CHAPTER XXXV - 1869 – A VERY GREAT BLOW – DEATH OF MY FATHER – THE FUNERAL AND WILL ADJUSTMENT OF AFFAIRS – CYRIL’S CONFIRMATION - My father during the last week of December 1868 had suffered severely from
bronchitis and indeed he was in so dangerous a condition that my sister at the desire of my mother had pressed me at once to come to Hollington. At the beginning of the new year and auguring the worst, I reached Clyde
House and found him fearfully prostrated but still on the road, though slowly, to amendment and convalescence. I stayed a fortnight with him, Messrs Ricketts and Aston taking my Sunday duty (2nd Sunday after Christmas).
It was well I was there for there were some business papers to be made out and correspondence to be conducted of which at that moment he was quite incapable. His memory had indeed so far failed him that he was often very
sore perplexed. Nevertheless he rallied amazingly and was able, contrary to the expectation of us all, to go up to Westminster, shortly after the Session had commenced and resume his official duties pretty much the same as
usual. Still as I find from his letters he was continually complaining of his cough which he appears never to have got rid of and in a letter dated July 31st, mentions that he “was miserably low in spirits”. It had been
arranged that he should pay us a visit at the termination of the Session before returning to Hollington and in the same letter he goes on to say “I should be very pleased to see the children once more, but I cannot at
present name the day”. He had sent Cyril a silver watch, who had written to express his acknowledgement and on August 4th (alas! His last letter to me) he says “give my love to Cyril, thank him for his letter and say how
happy I am to hear that he was pleased with his watch”, and in reference to his journey into Nottinghamshire he again remarks “I shall be most happy to join you at Beeston previous to my return to Hollington, but I must
defer a definite answer”. Later on however he felt so fatigued with the labours of the Session that he was compelled to postpone his visit for a few weeks. Mary in the meantime, at his suggestion, inviting Mabel and myself
to Sussex. On the vigil of St Bartholomew, 23rd of August, we started full of fun and happiness and reached safely our destination. It was Mabel’s first visit and my dear old father had made such a point of her coming. I
found him looking very pale and haggard, but a little rest and country air seemed to revive him. His books owing to his illness had not been posted up and strange to say I had an inevitable feeling which induced me to urge
him, immediately to set about them. For some days I diligently sat by his side dictating the various sentences and at last had the unspeakable satisfaction of seeing them completed. It cost him much pain and labour which I
was most grieved to observe. He had insisted on taking Mabel to see Fairlight Glen and Lover’s seat, and actually descended with her the precipitous side of the cliff. Two days before making our way home he had been very
poorly but thinking the attack had passed off he accompanied myself, Mabel, Jessie and Eleanor, who had for a long time been sojourning at Clyde. He was delighted with the two babies on our arrival at the Vicarage on the
11th September, but the shaking railway journey had again produced ill effects and we thought it desirable on Sunday afternoon to send for Mr Butler. But the great joy of joys was that in the morning he had been to church
and received at his son’s hands in company with his daughter-in-law and three of his grandchildren “the most comfortable sacrament and body and blood of our Lord”. Mr Butler recommending great quiet he began to occupy the
chintz room almost entirely, only coming downstairs for meals. I used to be in the parish all the morning and devote to his amusement the afternoon and evenings. He was in fair spirits and we had a most serious conversation
about the resignation of his office which he agreed to send in on the 1st day of the ensuing year. His annoying complaint, though very obstinate, seemed about the 20th and 21st to be somewhat diminished, and we grew hopeful
that a few days more would work wonders towards his perfect recovery. On the 23rd however his pains became worse so that my wife deemed to remain all night in his room, but rather against his own wish. Thursday found him
partially revived, indeed so much so that he desired to hire the cab and attend the re-opening after restoration of Attenboro’ church, which of course we would not hear of. Jessie, Edith and I went however, taking his
offering, but my wife stayed behind to watch over the poor invalid. All this time we never dreamt of danger and it was only on the next day when he showed signs of not only bodily agony but extreme feebleness accompanied
with bronchitis that the sad fact dawned on us. On his second visit the Doctor suggested that I should telegraph for my mother and also desired the assistance of Mr Thompson, the eminent surgeon of Nottingham. From that
moment I confess I gave up all for lost — still never anticipating so rapid a consummation. The Doctor’s consultation took place about 7 o’clock — the physician’s opinion being unfavourable — but ordering us not to relax
in the continual ministrations of stimulants and nourishments. Between 10 and 11 Mr Butler accompanied by Dr Frederick Orton again visited him in order to perform an operation which for several days had become necessary
but which was most disagreeable and painful. This time it was very much more so than usual and after it was over he was terribly exhausted. On coming downstairs both Doctors expressed their astonishment at his rapid decline
and feelingly warned us that in his sinking condition they feared he had only a few hours to live. In the afternoon I had ventured on telling him that he was very ill and asked if he had any requests to make. He replied
that he had but was too weak to express them. I was sure now that he was beginning to die — and therefore knelt down and prayed for him — using a little later on the Commendatory prayer. His mind however seemed to be
wandering and I could only catch a word here and there. My wife and I were continually busied in administering brandy and water—wiping the perspiration from his dear forehead and holding his hand. It was an agonising
night - every incident of it is indelibly stamped on my recollection. At last the hard convulsive breathing began to relax and at 5.30a.m. on the 25th September my dearest father breathed his last. The Doctor’s certificate
states the cause of his death as hecmaturia - 14 days bronchitis - 36 hours.
We immediately dispatched a messenger to Trent to telegraph to my dear mother, but through a sad negligence at St Leonard’s office the telegram did not reach Clyde House until she and Mary had started for Beeston. I met
them at our station at a little past 3 and had to break to them in the cab the heart rending intelligence. These are very painful memories and writing as I am in 1871 all too fresh to me. A more loving affectionate and
forebearing father than mine surely never existed. He was a man of the strictest probity and integrity, generous and liberal to a fault — very courteous and winning in his manners and respected and loved by all who happened
to know him. His public character stood deservedly high — his almost over-nice attention to business and beautiful keeping of his books and making out of his accounts can never I am sure be outrivalled. His writing was like
copper plate — if possible too minutely perfect. Nevertheless strict justice compels me to add that with so much that was loveable and delightful he was intensely jealous and suspicious as my poor mother knew to her cost.
An imaginary grievance he would often allow beyond measure to fret and worry him and so often he read a person’s disposition crookedly and set down to their account things which had never entered into their minds. This was
not always — for he was in general lively, cheerful, fond of innocent jesting — but like Saul he had his dark and gloomy moments. In person he was about the middle height — handsome as most acknowledged — with especially
good teeth and a charmingly benevolent smile. His hair which even when quite young had been iron grey was a silvery white setting off his bright and clear complexion. In politics and religion he manifested but little force
of character — his opinion being colourless either one way or the other. Neither did he take the slightest interest in literary amusement, though he loved Shakespeare and the Opera and for some years devoted himself to the
study of French and Italian, especially the former so that “Gil Blas” was seldom out of his hands. Latterly from the force of circumstances he had given up more time and thought to church matters. As rector’s churchwarden
he was on the Building committee of the new church (St John’s) and not only contributed £50, but taking a collecting card begged of his friends at the House of Lords nearly £40 more. In his decease the charities of
Hollington and its neighbourhood lost a cheerful and liberal giver.
But I must now proceed with my description of his funeral and the incidents connected with it, and here the painful part of my story is far from ended. About 9.30 when admitted into the solemn presence of the dead, I
had found him looking so peaceful and beautiful that one could scarcely believe that his spirit was fled. Alas! In an inconceivably short space of time the work of corruption and had begun and decomposition had set in
with frightful rapidity. The making of the shell had to be hastened but owing to an unavoidable accident it was past midnight before it arrived. My poor widowed mother therefore was not permitted to enter the room and
funeral was appointed for so early a day as the Tuesday following. Here let me mention a most trying circumstance which befell me on the Sunday. Aston had been so detained that a funeral had arrived at the church gate
before he was enabled to get here to take it as promised, so that with my own dead lying in the vicarage I was compelled to begin the Office which he soon galloping up was just in sufficient time to finish. Meanwhile
through a misunderstanding of the old clerk’s, Evensong was thrown upon my hands, unprepared and unfitted as I was. Thankful was I that God gave me strength to officiate calmly and composedly.
The 28th Sept., the anniversary of his wedding day, witnessed my dear father’s funeral. His coffin of oak with a Latin cross on the inscription plate and covered with a violet pall borrowed from the Nottingham branch
of the Guild of St Alban was born by the vicarage tenants. The mourners were but a slender train — myself and uncle — Mr Moody and the Doctor and my predecessor, Mr Woolley, who in a kind and sympathetic spirit had
volunteered his attendance. The service was quite plain — there was no opportunity to do more — read by Aston — and then the bright flowers knit deftly into a garland by the loving hands of my wife, were placed by the
chief mourner before lowering it on the coffin. In a very brief space all was over and hollow vault contained the remains of him we had loved so dearly and so deeply regretted.
Perhaps it is wisely ordered that business even when our wound is so green has on these occasions to be attended to. Were it otherwise there would be the danger of our sorrow degenerating into a mere morbid feeling. My
sister Mary had had the painful task entrusted to her of “fetching the will” and did not return till some hours after the funeral. Mr Moody and my uncle were the executors and the former opened it and read it in the
presence of the whole family. Considering all things it was I think a just will. My poor mother besides £50 left absolutely was to have during her lifetime the enjoyment of the personality as well as house and freehold
property with the exception of £268.6.5 in reduced consols left to me, but which was really mine before, being the residue of Sir T.T’s estate and which sum my mother told me my father desired me to devote towards
carrying on the boys’ education. On my mother’s decease Clyde House was to be sold and the amount realized by the sale to be invested in the British Securities, my sister and self sharing the interest of all monies in
Consuls, barring a legacy of £200 bequeathed to her and furniture of her bedroom. Further, on my demise my share was to go to my dear wife and on hers, to be divided equally amongst the children. And should Mary depart
this life unmarried and without issue the moiety of the property was to revert to us. There was one rather unfortunate omission in the will, for there was no little recognition of the services of the executors either
in the shape of a ring or pecuniary bequest and which we discovered afterwards gave great umbrage to my uncle. I am sure it was inadvertence on my father’s part — his lawyer ought to have suggested it.
There were so many affairs to be looked into that it was thought advisable that I should accompany my mother to Hollington. Poor thing, she was bearing up energetically as she deemed her duty and I was glad to be with
her all I could. It was a week’s very hard and tiresome work. There were innumerable papers to pore over and much awkward correspondence. My mother now handed to me a number of Sir T’s trinkets belonging to me which are
very curious and which I intend to be heirlooms. We were well pleased just to hear that our friend Mr Noody had been appointed successor to my father. When returning home on Saturday I appointed meeting at Charing Cross
station with him and uncle handing over to the former all the House of Lords books and visiting with the latter our Lawyer, Mr Conventon of Grays Inn Fields, whom we intended to take out Probate. Then having lunched with
my uncle at his rooms in Islington I made my way to St Pancras and in a few hours reached Beeston.
Before the year closed my father’s few debts had been settled and there seemed a prospect of my dear Mother being long spared to us. She was left comfortably provided for, in as much as besides her private means she
had an income of £225 derived from her office as a necessary woman of the House of Lords.
As may have been gathered from the preceding remarks my boy Cyril had this year been confirmed. He had so in the College Chapel of St John’s Hurstpierpoint on the 9th June, 1869 by Dr MacDougall, the ex Bishop of
Labuan, acting for the Bishop of Chichester, and made his first Communion the next day.
CHAPTER XXXVI - 1870 – NEW PEAL OF 6 BELLS – THEIR DEDICATION BY THE SUFFRAGAN BISHOP OF NOTTINGHAM – HOLLINGTON – BASIL’S CONFIMATION – MY MOTHER’S DEATH AND BURIAL – DIVISION OF HER PERENNALTY – SALE OF CLYDE
HOUSE – DANGEROUS ILLNESS AND RECOVERY OF MY UNCLE – FAREWELL VISIT TO THE SUSSEX PROPERTY - Towards the end of 1869 a very successful attempt had been made to provide our church with a fine peal of bells in lieu
of the 3 cracked ones we then possessed. The Parish was almost unanimous on the subject and nonconformists vied with Churchmen in contributions and lively interest. My appeal too to the non-resident landowners was
singularly successful — the Duke of Devonshire a patron, Mr Broughton, Mrs Sherlock, Mr Hurst, Miss Evans etc. etc liberally subscribing. I had much curious correspondence with Mr Becket Denison Q.C. the great authority
on bells, which eventually induced me to select Messrs. Taylor of Loughbora for our Founders.
On Christmas Eve I was summoned to Archdeacon Mackenzie’s at South Collingham to make arrangements for the dedication of the new peal. He was then Bishop Suffragan Designate, but would be consecrated in the earlier
portion of the New Year. It was finally agreed that firstly he would preach for us at Evensong on Hospital Sunday (the last Sunday in January). Secondly would give us a special confirmation on the 28th February, and
thirdly on the succeeding day, Shrove Tuesday, would dedicate the bells. I found him a very agreeable man and after lunching with Mrs Mackenzie and 10 of his children travelled back in the midst of a rather heavy
snowstorm. He had given me directions to prepare a form of dedication of bells, which after some additions from himself, and corrections from the Bishop of Lincoln finally received our Diocesan Imprimatur.
I was present at the Suffragan’s consecration at St Mary’s Nottingham when there was much to impress one and much to deplore. The procession from the County Hall where we robed was a mere skidaddle, the streets (for
it had rained) being like pea soup. There was an unfortunate lack of organization – the fault not lying in the arrangements as they were put upon paper, but in the carrying them out. I felt ashamed that the Archbishop
of Syra and Tenos with his attendant archimandrite should witness such confusion: for when he appeared in his gorgeous vestments at the west door there was literally no one to receive him. The Bishop of London “Jackson”
acting for the Primate, and the Bishops of Lincoln, Lichfield, Hereford, St Andrews and Wellington were the consecrators. Prebendary Morse, the Vicar, preached the sermon making allusion to Candlemas, for the consecration
took place on the Festival of the Purification of St Mary the Virgin (2nd of Feb). Veni Creator was very sweetly sung by the choir and the Litany was finely intoned by some Minor Canon, whose name I did not catch, but
I grieve to put on record the irreverent disorder which characterized the communicating of the clergy who instead of going up to the Altar rails were expected to form in lines in the Chancel whereby a most painful scene
of crowding and jostling occurred. After the “function” there was a lunch at the “Mechanics” where the speeches were excellent, notably those of the Bishops of Lincoln and Lichfield, which were warmly applauded and the
Greek Archbishop received quite an ovation. He spoke in the Romaic i.e. Modern Greek and though his words were unintelligible to most of us, yet their sound was so soft and melodious and flowed so smoothly from his lips,
accompanied by such graceful gesticulation that he made a wonderful impression on his hearers and I hope kindled a desire in many minds for reunion with the great and Holy Eastern Church.
The Suffragan bishop stayed at the vicarage during his 2 days work in the parish. To my intense satisfaction he confirmed singly, sitting in the Episcopal chair at the Chancel step. The Church was crowded in every
part and there is no doubt that this was the most solemn and thrilling confirmation that my parishioners had ever witnessed. We dined that night at Mr Watsons and the next day was ushered in by a joyful peel from the new
bells, which all pronounced of a most superior quality. Beeston was literally as the French call it en fete, gay flags and bannerets were to be seen floating not only on the Church Tower, but from numerous windows and at
all the corners of the streets. The Silk Mill and most of the shops were closed for the greater part of the day and in their interest in the bells I believe that my good parishioners almost forgot their pancakes. A procession
started from the Vicarage at 11 o’clock consisting of the Bell Committee, the surpliced choir, the Bishop Suffragan and myself walking behind as his chaplain. The Dedication service was said in the Porch and then singing
the Processional “Onward Christian Soldiers” we entered the church, where Matins was proceeded with and Holy Communion celebrated, the Bishop preaching a very good sermon on the history and the use of bells. We entertained
at lunch rather a large party amongst whom were: the Suffragan Bishop, Lady Byron, and P. Douglas. The Hon. Mrs Hudson and the Hon. J. Vernon and C.J. Willoughby, Bruce of Barton, the Rural Dean, Bury, Atkinson, Yeld, etc.
etc. There was also a dinner provided at the “White Lion” for the choir and ringers presided over by the churchwardens and a monster tea at 5 o’clock in the beautifully decorated schoolroom, which was attended by a large
body of the congregation. Evensong was said at 7.30, Willoughby preaching, but the rain coming down heavily prevented many from coming. It was a day much to be remembered with exceeding thankfulness. The whole expense of
the bells, fittings etc, amounted to nearly £600.
Quite knocked up with my late exertions I was glad the next week to run away into Sussex for a few day’s visit to my dear Mother, and I was the more anxious to do so because of her suffering at this time with a very bad
foot, a sign, I believe as the Doctors considered it, of her constitution giving way. I spent a happy and loving week with her — with no shadow of disagreement — she insisted (packing them with her own hands) in sending my
wife a beautiful service of rare china and agreed to continue my father’s allowance to me of £50 per annum, for Queen Anne’s Bounty and Assurance. I brought Edith away with me who had been on a long stay with her — indeed
ever since my poor father’s decease. Sometime in June my wife and Jessie paid her a visit, helping to entertain the Moodys, Jessie remaining behind.
Since the beginning of the year both the elder boys had been at Stoney (for there was so much to disgust one with Hurst) and Basil was confirmed at the Parish Church there by the Bishop of Oxford (Mackarness) on the 9th
July, 1870 and made his first communion on the Festival of St James (25th July). I must mention an act of liberality on the part of Mr Sankey. He offered for the first term to excuse their school dues that they might go to
St Paul’s at once—the dues at Hurst having of course to be forfeited.
And now another black cloud appeared on the horizon of our domestic life. A telegram arrived on the 26th July from my sister summoning me to Hollington to my mother’s side in consequence of a severe attack of bronchitis.
Not very well at the moment this news seemed to overwhelm me. I had difficulty in calling up sufficient resolution to undertake the journey. My calculation too of reaching Clyde House that night was falsified owing to the
Midland train being behind its time, for I discovered to my misery on dashing up in a hansom to Charring Cross station that I was late by about 5 minutes. Conceive if you can my wretchedness for there was no other train to
St Leonards that night. I had no alternative but to secure a bedroom at the Hotel (it was so high up that I reached it by the hoist) and having had a meat tea sauntered down to Westminster to forget a little if I could my
oppressive anxiety. The turning by the Embankment I now again sought my elevated quarters and after gazing down at the lighted up streets beneath and at the Thames still dimly visible resolved at once to retire to rest — but
alas not to sleep. That night was indeed a purgatory to me — the disturbing noise of bands playing tunes far from in keeping with my melancholy thoughts — the rush of cabs and other conveyances, specially between 11 and 12
o’clock — the street cries — the confusion in the busy hotel itself — all seemed to drive away the slightest inclination to those slumbers which nature required, and which I eagerly desired. I was delighted when morning broke
and when after a light breakfast I was seated in a railway carriage hurrying by the earliest train on my way to Sussex.
My dearest mother was so pleased when the intelligence of my arrival reached her I was immediately called into her room and soon arrived at the sorrowful conclusion that her hours were not now many for this world. She was
very calm and placid and told me that she did not fear to die — only she would have desired to live a little longer, if it had been God’s will, to do more for me and mine. In broken accents and the tears streaming down my face
I besought her to forgive all the anxieties I had caused her. She replied that she did — that I was a good man now and that she had every confidence in me. I then asked if she had any special wishes she would have me fulfil and
she referred me to a memorandum which my sister Mary had drawn out at her desire. All that day I remained at her side — listening to her occasional remarks which gradually became almost unintelligible. Towards night she grew
worse and yet insisted on myself and servants going to bed, which only to pacify her I did. My sister roused me however about 5 but it was not till 12.16 that the change came over her and she breathed her last. It was Thursday,
the 28th July, I was alone with her at that awful moment for it seemed too much for my sister to endure. She was a dear good affectionate mother and I know loved me with all her heart. In her own way she was very religious and
conscientious and had great decision of character. She was a bad churchgoer which to some extent had arisen from her almost continual ill health. A strange anomaly was the difference of opinion which existed between us in both
politics and religious views — she being inclined to Radicalism and Lowchurchism and I of course to the direct contrary. Indeed she would get so warm on such subjects that in later years I used to endeavour to avoid them. Reading
was her chiefest delight — not mere novels but works of a more substantial nature. Her newspaper was the Daily Telegraph and in the slashing leaders of which she used to revel. On Sundays you would find her seriously perusing
either Jerome Taylor’s Holy Living and Dying, James’ Collects or Neander’s Church History. Latterly her eyesight had much failed her and even with spectacles reading became painful. A slight deafness also troubled her which was
a great denial for she was so fond of conversation. Inheriting it I believe from her mother, she had a very sharp hot temper when annoyed and was sometime before softening down. She was very fond of her grandchildren especially
Jessie who had been her charge for so many years. When young she must have been very pretty — with auburn hair — straight nose — oval face but its otherwise beauty rather detracted from by a long upper lip. She was a very little
woman and rather bowed in her later years. I should say that cheerfulness and sprightliness were originally her characteristics.
On the decease taking place I telegraphed to my wife and on consulting together we determined on burying her at Beeston with my father. Though ordering everything perfectly plain yet the appointments of the shell and coffin
were of a very handsome description. The cross being floriated, which I had not desired. The funeral was on Wednesday the 3rd August and was to a great extent in its arrangements a repetition of my father’s — only the mourners
were in this instance merely myself and 2 eldest boys and Bury vicar of Bramcote the Officiant.
On examining the memorandum referred to by my mother I found it a perfectly informal document neither signed nor attested and having no legal authority though in our eyes we determined it should have a moral one. After specifying
certain things she wished specially my wife, sister and self to possess, she directed that all else should be sold and the amount realized equally divided between her son and daughter. Dying intestate it happened that this was
exactly what the law required. The division of the spoils was a most disagreeable process for we so far deviated from her intention as to each take a moiety of the goods and chattels instead of their actually being sold, a plan
which if carried out we shrewdly suspected would have turned out a ruinous loss. We therefore received our share, having been previously packed up by my wife, on August 12th, with the exception of some carpets etc., which arrived
on the 12th November, after my sister had quitted Clyde House. We found as much as £161.16.11 in my mother’s private drawer for she had just recently had transmitted to her, her quarter’s income and dividend. My lawyer in London
took out for me “letters of administration” on 25th Aug. 1870 and on the 1st Sept. I signed the residuary account — Inland Revenue. Mr J. Watson junior gave me much valuable advice administering oaths to me etc., and most generously
refused to take any fee, and now in accordance with the terms of my father’s will Clyde House was to be sold. It was put up for sale on the 26th Sept. at the Castle Hotel, Hastings, but the reserve bid was unfortunately not reached.
I augured badly from this and was afraid that the property would remain in an unproductive state in the Executor’s hands. I was therefore greatly relieved when on the 3rd Oct. I was advised by Mr Coverton, that Gansden, our auctioneer,
had found a purchaser for it at the price of £2350.
My wife had gone through so much excitement and actual hard work that she had quite a little illness after her return to Beeston and just at the beginning of November Mr Moody begged me at once to come to town because of the illness
of my uncle, which it was thought would prove fatal. The poor old man, now an octogenarian, was suffering from a kind of combination of jaundice, cold and diphtheria and yet wonderful to say rallied and though delicate continued to
live on. He knew me and was glad to see me. I prayed with him and was pleased to find that the curate of the parish attended him, and that the person with whom he lodged had some respect for spiritual concerns. Tarrying that night
at St John’s Wood with the Moodys, I, after receiving some dividends at the Accountant General’s Office, in order to do which I had to trouble my lawyer to identify me which at the same time he did for old Lord Westmeath, who looked
the very ideal of Shakespeare’s “Lean and Slipped Pantaloon”, again visited the poor invalid and after dining with my friends took train for St Leonards. It was a wet night and my sister and Jessie were rather startled by my unexpected
arrival. We had much to talk over and arrange for my sister had just taken a small house in the neighbourhood, having determined to remain at Hollington. She informed me that the Ciprianis who had purchased the house were nice people
and had acted most politely towards her. We were amused that our successors to the property should like ourselves have an Italian name and origin and many a turn did I take in the garden and shrubberies which it had been my dear
father’s pleasure to create. I was bidding them a long farewell and should I behold them again, it will be with widely different emotions. The nightingale may warble amidst the branches of the old elm in the hedge but her note will
for me have lost its sweetness. Oh what a wondrous change a year had wrought!
My sister had sketched a cross to mark my dear father’s resting place even in my mother’s lifetime and she had much approved the design. I therefore now entrusted its execution to our local statuary, who very fairly carried it out
in Hopten stone, which is only inferior to granite in hardness and durability. In wintertime snowdrops and crocuses girded the green mound with the enclosure, and in summer mignionette and scarlet geraniums and my dear children so long
as the roses and dahlias lasted wove a bright cross and placed it lengthwise on their grandparents’ grave. No fulsome imagination disfigures the Calvary — only the names and dates of birth and place of decease of the departed and the
brief Christian aspiration of “Jesu Merci”.
CHAPTER XXXVII - 1871 – RESTORATION OF BREASTON CHURCH – DIOCESAN SYNOD AT LINCOLN – NOTTINGHAM CHURCH CONGRESS, RE-CONSECRATION OF ALL SAINTS, THRUMPTON – ILLNESS - The earlier months of 1871 passed by without any incidents
of importance worthy of recording. I was very well and did a fair amount of Parish work. Business was very flourishing in the entire neighbourhood and though the census taken I think in April showed a slight diminution of numbers as
compared with 1861 yet the houses empty for so long began to get rapidly occupied and within a few months it was almost impossible to discover a vacant habitation.
We were invited during the summer, the latter part of which was very wet, to be present at the opening after restoration of my old church of St Michael’s, Breaston. My wife, two eldest daughters and myself gladly accepted the invitation
(it was for July 12th) and the weather holding fair we had a very pleasant day. The restoration was a vast improvement, but scarcely bore criticism for some of its features were highly objectionable. For instance the pulpit and chancel
stalls were sadly wanting in symmetry and full proportion. One must not however I suppose be hypercritical only a local architect having been employed — a proceeding which I always set down as monstrous mistake. Matins were said by Waltby
the curate in charge — the lessons being read by Messrs Jones and Cancellor, former curates. The Litany was said by Henry Hope, Mr Hall’s co-adjutor at Risely and the ante-communion service by Bishop Abraham, Suffragan to the Bishop of
Lichfield. Mr Hay the Rural Dean and myself being respectively the Gospeller and Epistoler. Poor Mr Hall, my Qundam incumbent was in such feeble health that he was unable to take any part but the Offertory sentences. The offering I am
pleased to say amounted to £56. A public luncheon followed and a school feast service in the afternoon with an address from Cancellor. We then returned with Mr Hall to Risely in the wagonette and enjoyed a very happy reunion with many
I had long looked forward to the Lincoln diocesan synod now revived after an interval of 300 years. It took place on the 20th September. One had to rise very early, breakfasting at 7 and reaching Lincoln by 9.30. the clergy were to
assemble at the old Palace, so thitherwards we all went our way. It was the brightest charmingest of mornings and the greetings of old friends was a very pleasant feature in the day’s enjoyment. By 11 o’clock 530 priests were duly surpliced
and having been arranged according to the seniority of their letters of order and walking 4 abreast followed the guidance of dear Bishop Wordsworth and soon reached the great west door of the Cathedral. The order of procession it will be
observed was thus for some reason inverted — dignitaries according to the ordinary rule coming last. We were met at the entrance to the Minister by the Dean (Dr Jeremia, a very aged bowed man) and the Canons, Prebends and Cathedral choir,
and we entered the sacred building chanting the “Exurgat Deus” and afterwards the “Quam Dilecta”. You may imagine the size of the choir when I mention that it fairly contained so numerous a body of clergy as on this occasion assembled within
its screens. Now came a very solemn moment for when all were kneeling the “Veni Creator” was softly sung, one of the trebles taking the first verse. The Holy Communion was then commenced, the Bishop being Celebrant. His monotone was distinctly
heard (for the acoustic properties of the Minister are marvellous) but his address on the subject of Synods in lieu of the sermon and delivered sitting in his chair in front of the Altar was very inaudible, even half way down the choir, and
therefore was to many of us rather a painful business. The communicating the priests was also almost as great a scene of confusion as at the Consecration of the Suffragan at St Mary’s. There were many acts of course unintentional irreverence,
and one groaned in spirit that in the mother church of the diocese something like perfection should not have been attained to. The old Dean had forbidden the choir to remain after the prayer for the Church Militant, so that the celebration
was only partially choral. The Episcopal blessing having been reserved to the conclusion of the Synod and the consecrated species having been consumed we proceeded again in solemn procession through the Cathedral down the cloisters to the
ancient Chapter House, where we were seated in semi-circular rows facing the Bishop, who with the Dean on his right, the precentor on his left, and the Canons and Prebends around, occupied the Sedilia. Immediately in front of the Bishop was
a small table covered with a violet cloth, and further in front, another table at which sat the three Chapter clerks, who were three beneficed priests. I mention here that there in a beautiful pillar representing a palm tree in the midst of
the Chapter House, and that neither Chapter House nor cloisters were at this date restored. I am not going to enumerate the subjects that were discussed or the resolutions arrived at, which have become historical, but I will simply observe
that it was approaching 6p.m. before having sung “Te Deum” and been duly blessed by the Bishop. We quitted the Chapter House and returned to the Palace. Altogether I am inclined to conclude that the Synod was a success and as well regulated
as a body which had lain dormant for so many centuries could be expected to be. It is true that but scant time was allowed by the Bishop to enter into some of the subjects brought before us and of which we had not the slightest knowledge
before reaching Lincoln that morning, and that Messrs Norman, Blenkinsolp and Smith, members of the Catholic School, were in a quiet way very considerably snubbed and sat upon by the Bishop, but it is difficult to see how the proceedings of
the Synod could have been compressed into the limits of one day if the Right Rev. Prelate had not been resolute in pushing matters on and restraining too much talk. I had some dinner at the Assembly Rooms and then happening to meet Jowitt
formerly organizing Secretary of the A.C.S. I accompanied him to call on Mr Foy, the Vicar of St Martin’s, where I remained till it was time to join my train, which was to start at 8.10. The Lincoln streets were well lighted and thronged
with people and I was much struck with an ancient gateway, which with the busy street beyond looked for all the world much like Temple Bar and Fleet St in London.\,/p\.
It had been arranged that G.P. Bullock should stay with us during the Church Congress at Nottingham, but that we should previously meet for retreat at Cowley St John’s, near Oxford. I had accordingly written to Father Grafton in the absence
of Benson, who had not then returned from a mission in America, and had asked him to put down my name. I had never been in retreat and was anxious for the blessing. It was therefore a matter of deep regret and disappointment that a carbuncular
spot appeared on my leg. Others afterwards following on other parts of my body, needing so much surgical treatment that I was compelled to allow myself almost entire rest and had to give up all idea of leaving home. Dear G.F.B. however was
more fortunate and was one of 54, Father Grafton conducting the retreat, though it had been expected that that duty would have devolved on White of St Barnabas. On the Saturday my old schoolfellow B.F. Bullock arrived and on Sunday it happened
to be our Harvest Festival, helped with the prayers and celebration and at Evensong preached a very forcible and eloquent extempore sermon. We gave the offerings to the Sunday School which were more than £10. The Congress Days were the 10th,
11th, 12th 13th October, and on the morning of the 10th we went to a breakfast in the E.C.U. rooms in High Pavement. Here Bullock and I encountered many friends, and I had pointed out to me Dr Littledale, Sir Charles Young, secretary to the
E.C.U. and several leading members of the Catholic School. After breakfast grace having been said, we retired to a temporary oratory upstairs, where I was glad to see a fine crucifix and proceeded to secure speakers to represent our opinions
on the various subjects. In this, Lowder seemed naturally to take the lead, we having first knelt down and said the prayer for spiritual communion beginning with the words “Soul of Christ Sanctify Me”. We then proceeded to St Mary’s, where the
Bishop of Manchester preached a sermon which gave to many great dissatisfaction and which was afterwards answered by the Bishop of Derry (Alexander) on the Wednesday night. Bullock was obliged to leave us on Thursday morning. I find he belongs
to the S.S.C., i.e. Societas Sacrae Crucis. It is a society exclusively for priests, originated I believe by Lowder. There are 3 rules, the green, I think the red and the white, each intensifying in degree — the third implying celibacy and to
the last he has advanced. As many as 50 men met daily to say the Office together at the Oratory.
I must say that the congress with which I was prepared to be disappointed did me much good and gave me much encouragement. I had the opportunity of seeing and hearing a variety of men of all schools of thought and I could not help feeling that
the points of divergence were gradually diminishing. But there were a few violent and uncharitable speakers, but these were the exceptions. It was my good fortune to listen to Wilkinson of St Peter’s Eaton Square, Maclagen of St Mary’s Newington
Butts, Furse, son-in-law to Dr Monsell, Dr Littledale, Archdeacon, Body, Hildyard, Canon King, Farrar, Master of Marlborough School, Benson of Wellington, Barry of King’s College, London, Ryle, Emilius Hayley, Cadman, Prebendary Thorold (at
College with us), Clarkey and amongst laymen, Earls Nelson and Harrowboy and Beresford Hope. The Bishop was excellent throughout and his brave allusion to Archbishop Laud was cheered to the echo. A matter too for devout thankfulness was the quiet
way in which confession and retreats were talked of as living realities. The conviction left on my mind is that Catholic truth and Catholic practice are rapidly making their way amongst priests and laity alike, and that a brighter day will dawn
for the English Church.
As fruits of the glorious movement which since 1833 has been gradually gaining ground I must record the re-opening after consecration of Thrumpton Church. This took place on All Saints day, the church being thus dedicated. Lady Byron kindly sent
her omnibus to convey my wife and daughters and Hutton of Sneinton from the Midland Railway Station to Thrumpton. Here we found a large party assembled of all the gentry of the neighbourhood, and I was delighted to make the acquaintance of several
clerics whom I had only known by repute, such as the Hon. Mr Douglas of Hanbury, Walsham How, Errington, rector of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, Erskine Clarke, Hillard of Costock, etc. Her Ladyship after having built model cottages for her labourers and
a pretty school in the Park, has now nearly rebuilt the Church at an expense of £2000. All the adjuncts and accessories are beautiful. The reredos representing the scene of the crucifixion is of alabaster, and above it is a painted window by Hardman
in memory of her Ladyship’s father and mother. There was nearly a hitch about the reredos, but it was happily got over. The choir is surplice and cassocked. The Suffragan preached in the morning after consecration. There were some good parts in the
sermon, but the courtier and the cautious churchman seemed always struggling for the mastery. While praising the liberality of Lady Byron and describing the church as a gem of ecclesiastical architecture, he lugged in all illusion to the Marian
martyrs. It struck one too as rather comic, his comparison of her Ladyship to Huldah the prophetess, and Douglas the parish priest to Hilkiah and Shaphan the scribe. Walsham How preached in the afternoon a good practical extempore sermon. We returned
home by Keyworth, again sent in the omnibus and having for company one of the sisters of Hedley Vicars and her husband, who is Archdeacon Fearon’s curate, the rector of Loughboro’.
On the Sunday succeeding I preached in the afternoon to a large congregation, stayed all night at the Hall and the next day was driven by Lady Byron in the open landau to Derby. The day was bright and fine and I was pleased to have a peep in passing
at the villages of Shardlow, Elvaston, Alverston and Osmaston. We lunched at the Railway Station and with Philip Douglas, Miss Douglas and Miss Barkley made our way up to the new church of St Luke’s, erected in memory of Bishop Lonsdale and
were afterwards joined by Lady Byron. I am bound to quote this Church as one of the most remarkable in the country. In fact it is a reproduction of a continental one somewhere near Strasburg. Its peculiarity consists in English eyes from the absence
of pillars dividing into aisles — its magnificent pulpit of various marbles and spacious apsidal chancel with the most gorgeous of altars and Bishop’s throne behind. A novel feature too in this church is a second church in the crypt with altar, small
organ, stalls and everything complete, used ordinarily for the daily service and early celebration. Mr Lyall is the priest in charge, formerly a curate of Erskine Clarke. I omitted to name that the offerings at Thrumpton amounted on All Saints’ Day
to £61, and on the Sunday following to between £6 and £7.
After all I think I ought to mention two indulgences I allowed my two eldest girls and their mother. On the 23rd May we went to the great Church Festival at Newark, meeting in the train my much respected friend and former curate Fox, now Vicar of
Thixendale, Yorks, and on the 27th June we allowed ourselves the extravagance of visiting on the first day the show of the Royal Horticultural Society held this year at Nottingham.
During the early weeks of October being much confined to the house, I made out the roll of the priests of the Church of St John Baptist, Beeston, from the year of grace 1560 and have had it printed. I also busied myself in drawing out my own and wife’s pedigree.
On the 16th November my wife and self went to the hospital service at St Mary’s, principally that we might hear the preacher, Bishop Magee of Peterboro’. The sermon (extempore) was excellent and practical in its gist, the text being St. Luke VI,36
“Be ye therefore merciful as your father also is merciful”. The contrast between divine and human mercy was well worked out: but nevertheless I confess to a certain measure a disappointment, expecting greater eloquence and a livelier style.
I had not yet mentioned that my dear little girls Mabel and Eleanor commenced going to school for the first time after the midsummer vacation of this year, the Misses Barker having kindly and generously offered them as the children of the parish priest,
On the 2nd Sunday in Advent (Dec.10th) I was rather startled by the telegram arriving from the Privy Council, just before the litany, of prayers for the recovery of the Prince of Wales and for the Royal Family, and which i immediately offered up. His
Royal Highness’ illness caused the greatest excitement and all classes of Her Majesty’s subjects, including the Jews at the Holy places in the East and the Parsees at Bombay, joined in united supplication on his behalf. The prince’s recovery is generally
looked upon as a marvellous answer to prayer.
Christmas Day was this year extraordinarily wet and mild, the decorations which were exceedingly effective were all put up by 9 o’clock p.m. on the previous Saturday, and on the eve of the nativity (falling on a Sunday) there was a very large congregation.
We had 28 communicants on the Festival and new altar vases which we procured from Jones and Willis of Birmingham, were then used for the first time. We dined at 5 and all my children this year were at home. I was full of devout thankfulness that they were
in such perfect health, and that my dear wife and myself were tolerably strong. The evening was spent most happily with pleasant conversation - music and the singing of carols, rounds, anthems and hymns. We were not forgetful of the two absent Oldrinis, my
uncle and sister, and drank their health. After prayers at 10 o’clock we retired to bed with light hearts and feelings full of gratitude to our dear Lord for all his mercies.
CHAPTER XXXIII - MORE GOSSIP ABOUT CELEBRITIES - Besides having had the opportunity of seeing her Majesty on her Coronation Day in the Abbey, I had been in her presence on various other occasions. I was once in a box in Drury Lane directly over
her, and when she stood up during the singing of the National Anthem, observed that the playbill placed for the Royal use was printed in white satin, and that her gloves fitted but badly, her hands resting on a chair before her. The Opera that evening, I
recollect, was “The Pirate”. Another time in the pit at the Covent Garden I was separated from her by only a few yards: and the Court having gone in state that night an immense box had been fitted up immediately opposite the stage. Her Majesty and Prince
Albert and the Lords and Ladies in waiting were all in full dress, and the Guard of Honour consisting of a detachment of Beefeaters with their halberds, stood just under on either side, the scene was exceedingly brilliant and imposing and the Opera (which
was the “hugenots” bought out that night for the first time with Albani for the Prima Donna) was enjoyable to the last degree. A third opportunity for observing her Majesty was either at an opening or prorogation of Parliament (I forget which), when the Duke
of Argyle (father to the present red headed Duke) clumsily dropped the crown which he was bearing in procession on a crimson velvet cushion, and many of the jewels were scattered on the ground. In older and more superstitious times this would have been regarded
as a terrible omen, but it was now looked upon by the Royal persons as rather a good joke than otherwise, and the Queen and her Consort laughed heartily at the accident.
You may perhaps desire to hear from an eyewitness some description of Her Majesty’s appearance with a younger person. She was low in stature, but having a good bust, had altogether rather a commanding mien. But it was often remarked that the Duchess of
Sutherland, who as the Mistress of the Robes, immediately followed her on such occasions, was a hundred times more queenly in her bearing and demeanour. Her Majesty at that time was intensely pale and had rather, I used to think, a strained and nervous
expression about the mouth. Her nose slightly tending to the aquiline was her best feature, and she might have been set down as passably good looking. Her voice in reading her speeches was said to be distinctly melodious, but I have never been in the house
at such times to judge for myself.
As to Prince Albert there was no doubt as to his being a fine handsome man of the German type. Making all allowances however for his intellectual and refined tastes and numerous domestic virtues, we must deeply regret as churchmen his religious opinions,
and with which he seems to have imbued Her Majesty herself. His views so far as one can learn were of a dreamy, colourless, indistinctive character. Dogma I should believe her completely eschewed and disliked, as manifested in his direction as I was told to
one of the Chaplains (Mr. Courtenay) to omit in the Royal Chapel the Athanesian Creed, but which that priest nobly declined doing, serving a higher master than any German Prince, Albert the Consort of the Queen. It was but with indignation too that the clergy
of the English Church witnessed a kind of preference given to Presbyterian worship and to Presbyterian teachers. A Mr. Caird happening to preach at Craithie Church in Scotland a sermon on “common things”, it was so highly approved of by the Queen and the
Prince that it was ordered to be printed by Royal authority - a compliment which has been paid never to Bishop or Priest of our own communion. I took the pains to read the sermon and came to the conclusion that it might have been the composition of Plato or
any other heathen moralist, so little distinctive Christianity was to be found in its pages, and the proof of what kind of sermon it was is to be discovered in the fact that it was preached over and over again in Meeting Houses of the Socinian persuasion.
I have always considered the conduct of the Prince undignified in not at once withdrawing from his candidature for the Chancellorship of Cambridge University when he understood that an opposition was threatened. He certainly was extremely unpopular there and
was within an ace of being defeated by his antagonist, the Earl of Powis. His interference with the uniform and specially the hate of some of the regiments of the British army also exposed him to a merciless fire of raillery, particularly in Punch, which was
then at the zenith of its popularity.
Not having for 20 years been a resident in London, my chances of coming across the Prince of Wales have not been so great as they would have been formerly. Happening however, in one of my trips to town to visit the House of Lords, I observed him for some
time from the Strangers’ Gallery. He was sitting in what are called the cross benches and was chatting away very affably to the Peers about him. The Prince of Wales however I am bound to say is very insignificant in appearance and very inferior to the members
of the old Royal Family - the children of George III. I also once had a glimpse of him in uniform, riding behind a carriage containing the Princess of Wales and some other ladies on his way to a review in Hyde Park. Of the Princess I only saw a very pale sweet,
but rather melancholy countenance.
This is all I can tell of present royal parsonages - excepting perhaps a remark of two about the Duke of Cambridge, the commander-in-chief of Her Majesty’s forces. For fineness of person he was not for a moment to be compared to his late father. He has a
broad German face with rather a good natural look, His morganatic wife, if a wife, is Miss Farebrother, the celebrated columbine and actress. I have seen her both dance and play, notably in the last capacity, in the extravaganza of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
at Lyceum Theatre, she acting the part of the captain. He has a large family by her, some of them grown up and in the Army and Navy, under the name of Fitzgeorge.
Talking of actresses, I on one occasion witnessed the dancing of Lola Montes, who became remarkable in after years from her connection with and absolute authority over the late King of Saxony.
I had often studied with delight the lovely features of the Hon. Mrs. Norton, the poetess, as delineated in an engraving in Churton’s portrait and landscape gallery for the year 1836, and at last had the satisfaction of beholding the original. She was seated
in the House of Lords waiting for carriage, almost at the feet of Lord Charlville, who was chatting to her with much animation. She was dressed in la Crecque and looked supremely beautiful. She was one of three sisters, daughters of the celebrated wit and M.P.
Sheridan - the others marrying respectively the present Duke of Somerset and the father of the present Lord Dufferin. The former of these when Lady Seymour was the queen of beauty at the Eglington Tournament in 1839, and the latter’s son (for some time in the
ministry of Mr. Gladstone) is the author of “High Latitudes”, a book descriptive of Ireland, and written with no inconsiderable talent. Poor Mrs. Norton has been most unfortunate in married life, being separated from her husband, who sought for and failed in
obtaining a divorce at the time when Lord Melbourne was Premier, and whom indeed he endeavoured to implicate as a principal in the affair.
The delightful Lord Eglinton, whose name I have mentioned above, I have frequently seen. He was tall, handsome and most agreeable looking with an imperial but no moustache. He was a most popular Lord Lieutenant of Ireland when the Earl of Derby was for a
short time in power.
At Wollaton Rectory I met at dinner Lord James Stewart, brother to Lord Dudley Stewart, the great patron of the Poles and uncle to the young Marquis of Bute, whose perversion to Rome has caused so much curiosity and excitement, and who is supposed to be
“Lothair” in Mr. Disraeli’s latest novel. I had a good deal of chat with him and found him very courteous. So too at Thrumpton Hall with old Lord Byron, cousin and successor to the poet, and who took my wife into dinner.
When the British Association visited Nottingham there was a great Review at Bestwood Park of the Robin Hoods. My wife and I were there and saw not only the Falcons but the hereditary Lord High Falconer himself - His Grace the Duke of St. Albans, who is also
the Honorary Colonel of the volunteers. He was smoking a cigar when mounting his horse and struck me as having a very weak and rather silly look and an extremely nervous way with him. At the time I am writing he is suffering a cruel bereavement: his poor young
Duchess, Sybil Grey, vide Marmion, having just deceased. I never saw her, but believe her from all accounts to have been a most loveable character. It was owing to her gentle counsels that the church was built at Bestwood, and she was indefatigable in visiting
the poor and afflicted. Who shall chide me if we utter the pious ejaculation “Requiescat in pace”. It was on the fine terrace at Bestwood that I had pointed out to me Sir Roderick Marchion, the eminent savant, whose name has so lately appeared in the obituary,
and also Lord Amberley, Earl Russell’s eldest son, who was very plain, of sallow complexion, and even smaller than his father. We were with General Cotton, who was staying with the Butlers and who had the pleasure of unexpectedly meeting his brother, Sir Sydney
Cotton, a fine old Indian officer, who assisted at the Review.
Several years since we had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Colonel Wildman, then the possessor of Newstead Abbey. A pleasanter man I never met. He was extremely small, with a brownish wig and good tempered twinkling eyes. His love and pride in
Newstead were immense and the privileges he allowed the public in lionising it were most generous. He has been known even to leave the lunch table for the gratification of some sightseers who happened to call at an untimely hour. The last time I saw him was at
a grand entertainment at Wollaton Hall, just after the present Lord had succeeded to the title. He was then much changed and looked very ill, and it was not very long after that his death was announced. Mrs. Wildman is a very amiable person, said to be the
natural daughter of the late Duke of Sussex. She suffers from St. Vitus’ dance, which sometimes is excessively annoying. On her husband’s death Newstead was sold and came into the possession of Captain Webb. Mrs. Wildman then took Lenton Hall, where my curate
Pennethorne and I called upon her. She has now migrated to Brighton - the last time I met her being at the wedding of Mrs. Riddle nee Lizzie Fellows.
It has chanced that in my time I have seen a few, and only a few, of our musical celebrities. For instance at a Harp Matinee given by Trust (whose history will be found in one of the earlier chapters of this autobiography) I met Wallace, the composer of
Maritana and several other English Operas and much agreeable music. “Balfe” too of “Bohemian girl” celebrity, I not only saw but actually heard sing in an Opera written by himself called “Diadeste”. He had not much voice, but humoured it cleverly and acted with
vivacity. In London you often find singers and players engaged at dinner parties to entertain the guests. So was it that dining with Mr. Lucas, a friend of mine, at Hook’s Villa, Fulham, I sat at dessert next to Lazarus, the celebrated clarionet player. We
talked much together, having a mutual friend in the aforesaid Trust. By the way Hook’s Villa is called so after Theodore Hook, the novelist, who formerly resided there. He was man, as may be judged from his works, brimful of fun and with a weakness for practical
jokes. A lady who had known him told me that being in a carriage with him in the summer, going out to dinner, their amusement was who could make the ugliest grimaces. I should think that the witty writer must have carried off the palm, for my friend was so pretty
that I cannot imagine her looking ugly if she tried ever so perseveringly.
I must here mention Sir William Molesworth, who for a short time was First Commissioner of Her Majesty’s Works. Owing to some disease in his ears he wore his hair long to cover them, which gave him rather an eccentric appearance, something like a representation
we have of our own King John. I recollect seeing him in his carriage in Portman Square. He was a man of cultivated intellect, but you may guess at his opinions when I remark that he had re-edited the work of the freethinker Hobbes. Before his very premature decease
he had projected a tour of inspection to all the capitals of Europe to obtain material for a design of a new National Gallery in the place of the present one, which was erected by Wilkins, brother to the late Archdeacon of Nottingham. Sir William was to have been
accompanied by Sir James Pennethorne, the official architect.
I fell in with, on a variety of occasions, one of our local literati, Mr Chas Wright, the Nottingham Banker. His translation of Dante and Homer are considered among the best. I judged him for a genial man and one difficult to get on with. He had married Lord
Deadman’s daughter, who was an exceedingly nice person, but a very great invalid. Only a few months ago he died of bronchitis in 1871. His eldest son is acting Colonel of the Robin Hoods and was for sometime M.P. of the town. I knew him fairly well.
Many of the leading clergy I have naturally from time to time had many opportunities of seeing and knowing. Archbishop Howley, unfortunately I never came across, but have admired his beautiful Effigied Tomb in Canterbury Cathedral. I recollect it was at a
breakfast party at College in 1846 to which I was invited by the present Archbishop of York, that I first heard the name of his successor. Dr Sumner was before his translation Bishop of Chester. On one occasion I had heard him preach and a heavier sermon one had
seldom listened to. The Primacy, it was rumoured, had just been offered to his elder brother Ep. of Winchester, but declined. Dr C.R. Sumner had been appointed to the See of Winchester so far back as 1827 through the interest of the Conynghams, whose tutor he had
been, and who was all powerful through the Marchioness of that day with George IV. The new Archbishop had written and published, but was a decidedly low Churchman, and though a kind man had done his best to retard the progress of the Oxford School.
In 1862, however, he was succeeded by one very superior — Archbishop Longley, who had been rapidly translated from Lincoln to Durham, from Durham to York and now from York to Canterbury. He was a most holy and revered man. I remember seeing him from the gallery
of the House of Lords. When Charles Robinson, a cousin of Wordsworth, and a friend of mine, was seeking Deacon’s Orders in the Diocese of Ripon, a preliminary interview was required by the Bishop. Poor Charlie, as we had to call him, was always rather nervous and
became particularly obfuscated on so serious an occasion. So that when Dr Longley asked him what he would consider his principal vocation when ordained, hurriedly replied “to preach”, which for a high churchman was a most extraordinary answer and which the dear old
Bishop rebuked with the solemn words “young man! — is it not to save souls”. The whole church mourned when in 1868 the good Archbishop was summoned away almost unexpectedly.
It was in the “High” at Oxford that I first was shown Dr Tait, who was appointed by Mr Disraeli successor to Dr Longley. He and Dr Tait were standing chatting with Warburton of Baliol, who was brother to Captain Warburton, the great novelist (I once saw him in our
Quad. He was the author, amongst other works, of “The Ship on Fire”, and strange to say met his death by a like calamity. The embryo archbishop was then Master of Rugby, and I recollect asking my private tutor Pocock what he thought of him. His reply was characteristic,
“O” said he, “he is a good Presbyterian enough”. When Dean of Carlisle, diphtheria carried off three of his children. It is said that this melancholy bereavement so interested her Majesty that in Dr Blomfield’s retirement in 1856 she requested that Dr Tait should be
advanced to the Metropolitan See. He began his episcopate by severely bullying the Catholic schools and preaching to Cabmen.
Transcription of this autobigraphy - which extends to over 400 pages - continues and will appear here in due course.
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