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1875. June 8. — In a hundred years we shall 
ull be dust. All over — ^the sunshine and rain of 
•our smiles and tears. Our successors will peer into 
this record of a lovely June day — ^some other 
June day — ^with curiosity; every little scrap of 
paper which has escaped destruction will be 
-eagerly perused — will be read as a solemn 
message from a far-off, mysterious world. They 
will inquire of each other, and ask of old, worm- 
eaten books, what our nineteenth century habits 
and costumes were ; what we thought and said 
-and did. Some of them will, perchance, wish 
that they could have lived in the wonderful time 
^ of romance, as they will consider it — ^this dull, 
IQ miserable time, as we often call it. As a corpse, 
00 when embalmed, has an extrinsic, purely material 
Ci VOL. n. B 


2 A Legacy. 

worth imparted to it, and becomes honoured with 
a place in some vast museum to the awe of 
thousands, so this monotonous time, whose life 
our descendants can never see, will present a 
vivid and interesting picture to their minds — 
ourselves the figures, whether happy or wretched, 
wise or foolish, in the foreground or in the 

It behoves us, then, as we are making history 
and biography every hour for those who live 
after us to read and profit by, to fill up this 
period with as useful, if not noble, acts as we can. 
To blot out bad old laws, to introduce good ones, 
to place on higher platforms those classes that 
we call lower, so making our grandchildren 
to revere the nineteenth century, solely because 
we lived and suffered and died in it. 

Jwm 9. — What can the blackbird next door 
' be singing about all day long? Just as I am 
putting these words down come the monotonous, 
sad, yet sweet notes of the poor prisoner; for I 
suppose he regards his cage as a prison. Does 
be mean to express joy ? I know not. Very 

A Legacy. 3 

likely, at diflferent times, he means to give vent 
to feelings of both. Perhaps the plaintive notes, 
'' long drawn out^' sometimes, may come while 
the pathetic mood is upon him. But what is he 
singing about ? There he is again ! Eating, 
drinking, and other material wants take up so 
much of our time, have so much labour bestowed 
upon procuring them, that we seldom abstract 
ourselves from bread-and-cheese surroundings^ 
and allow ourselves to gaze mentally, as 
strangers, at our individual selves, at the 
human race generally, and at the swarm of 
dumb (to us) creatures which tenant the earth. 
When we do, at rare intervals, put ourselves in 
the position of spectators, what curious thoughts 
crowd our minds ! How we long to know 
something more about nightingale, cat, frog, 
rat, and spider — how we ponder the question 
whether they can think — what they think about 
— whether they can convey by speech their 
thoughts to each other — ^what the effect of those 
communications are ! Yet all in vain are our 
speculations. Though we live so very near 


4 A Legacy. 

them; though we cage them^ pet them^ watch 
them never so comfortably, tenderly, and 
minutely ; they might as weU be silent clods of 
earth for all the information we or our fore- 
fathers have ever been able to get from them. 

JtUy 11. — ^^ Study not so much originality as 
Nature,*' says good Mrs. C. But how hard to 
take her advice I Without that subtle element 
of genius, all studyings of Nature end in weari- 
ness, all pictures of Nature become mere photo- 
graphs. We lose in minuteness and fidelity of 
detail by choosing to have the painter's repre- 
sentation instead of the photographer^s, but we 
gain in colour, in life, in poetry, in splendour. 
Yet Nature must be behind the efforts of the 
last as of the first, else it is nothing but colour. 
The truth is, that to stick to Nature leads us in 
the predicament of Wordsworth ; to depart from 
Nature subjects to the string of dictionary words 
thrown haphazard together by such a man as 
Browning, our course must be a mean. 

July 15. — ^Although I have put down the 
date, I have really nothing to write about* 

A Legacy. 5 

■* ■ ■■■^■■11 ^— ^^■^■^^■^—^^^ ■ ■ I ■■■———■—— I M^»^p^— p 

'^ Happy is the land that has not a history/* 
I have read ; but I should not say^ from expe« 
rience^ happy is the man who has nothing to 
write about. The truth is, I am intolerably dull 
and solitary in this place. In London there 
was every day something fresh to see. There 
was also, best of all, the contact with sharp wits^ 
the intellectual conversation, the news-room, the 
lecture, the faces of acquaintances, if not friends ; 
aU these I am deprived of here. I am afraid 
that in spite of my love of natural objects, I am 
a thorough Londoner. It is to me almost an 
entombment to live here. The same thing day 
after day, month after month, year after year. 
Of course, with friends, one can put up with 
anything, live anywhere and anyhow; but want- 
ing these, what can the poor heart do ? I think 
sometimes, when I see the tired working man 
crawl home, of the welcome he receives from the 
dear ones at home, of the bright fire, the cheer- 
ful tea, the inspiriting conversation which are 
his, and I almost envy him ; but I take, as is 
my disposition, the next moment, the view 

6 A Legacy. 

which is most likely to be correct, the dirty 
house, the ill-tempered wife, the squalling 
children, and I congratulate myself that I am 
all alone. 

For, when I mentioned friends just now, I 
said that with them we could endure anything, 
and I had in my mind the best of all earthly 

friends ; but when this one that we have selected 
to live with us till death is not to our taste — 
becomes positively nauseous to us, is alien to us 
in temper, manners, thoughts, aspirations, and 
conduct, what state can be worse? What worse? 
It is a living death. So, after all, I have 
managed to get over a page. 

July 18. — ^The day has been very lovely. For 
some weeks past we have had scarcely anything 
but gloom and rain, but to-day changed all 
into sunshine. I have just returned from a 
walk in the meadows strewn with the new-mown 
hay, and what a delicious sensation one ex- 
periences after having been caged in by un- 
avourable weather ! It is a paUngenesia to 

A Leyacy. 7 

stretch one's limbs^ to inhale Nature's odours, to 
listen to the birds. 

The common sun, the air, the skies, 

^re indeed '^ opening Paradise/' 

I took with me Wordsworth, and read some 
of the verses to the accompaniment of a musical 
brook, or rather river — the Chelmer. Words- 
worth is a riddle. It is one of my schemes to 
study, and critically examine, his poems ; but the 
task is hard, and may never be undertaken. 
Opinions are always various as to the relative or 
individual merits of writers who have managed 
to attain a fame-basis, but in these days, 
especially, estimates seem to come into conflict 
more and more. There are two or three who 
seem, of our poets, so firmly established in the 
hearts of men as to suffer no lessening of their 
fame, even at the hands of splendid and piercing 
<jritics; but the majority tremble on their 
pedestals. Pop^, who can prevent his being 
ciragged from the lofty height which he still 

8 A Legacy. 

occupies ia the minds of a few ? Southey^ who- 
mentions him? Scott, will his poems survive 
except as curiosities of literature ? Campbell, 
Rogers, Montgomery, who will be bold enough 
to predict any life for them in the countless years- 
of posterity ? 

Here, with the date of "July 26th'' 
comes another paper or essay, " Rough 
Notes on my School Kingdom," evidently 
drawn from life, most vivid and natural 
Accounts have reached me from outside 
sources, universally agreeing as to Martin's 
enormous influence over his boys, very 
" bucolic" boys, drawn out of an essentially 
agricultural population, which, in spite of 
the poetic fictions about Damon and 
Thyrsis, is rarely equal to a manufac- 
turing population in either quickness or 
capacity of brain. Possibly, even his little 
East London roughs, I will not say ruffians, 
tried Martin less than the dense-brained> 

A Legacy. 9 

one-idea'd faimer lads of Great Eaeton, 
with whom, or their parents, it was evi- 
dently so difficult for him to establish the 
slightest rapport And from the grade of 
society above these, where perhaps he might 
have found some sympathy, the worldly 
position of the poor schoolmaster completely 
shut him out; for the division between 
class and class is more sharply drawn in 
the country than in town. That " School 
Elingdom," which he governed so well, and 
where he is to this day regretted bitterly 
by both scholars and parents, must have 
been his only world, and have included aU 
the interests he could find, except his 

Bough Notes in my School Kingdom. 

I am in the mood to say, ^^ bother Wordsworth 
and the whole pack of writers, whether of prose 
or verse ?*' I am in want of a holiday, and, till 
I get it, " man will not delight me nor women 

10 A Legacy. 

either/' to slightly vary Hamlet's words. For 
the past nine weeks it has been one monotonous 
roimd of work, eat, drink, sleep, and read — 
nothing but newspapers. No sight of friends, 
no pleasant books, no conversation, no walks, no 
anything ! I gaze wearily ahead, and can see 
little prospect of a holiday, for four weeks at the 
Tery least, the weather being at the present 
against the chances of an early harvest. Every 
clay there is the kingdom of the school to 
manage, to teach, to govern; and to do these 
things effectually requires all the best powers one 
possesses. I don't think any writer has por- 
trayed, at any rate in prose, the school kingdom, 
and, in my opinion, only a genius could do 
justice to the theme. Let me just note one or 
two things. 

My kingdom numbers seventy subjects, all 
males. The land which we occupy is contracted 
in area, and reaUy insufficient for the main- 
tenance of the population ; but, thanks to foreign 
supplies of food, we manage to exist, though 
floured somewhat in temper by the continual 

A Legacy. 11 

treading upon each others' toes, and by the 
elbowing which we are forced to resort to. The 
population is semi-barbaric ; we are just crawling 
into the light of civilisation, and that is all. 
My royal predecessor held the sceptre (the cane, 
I mean) of power for about three years, but 
relinquished it, as I believe, on account of the 
paltry civil list, which his subjects could barely 
afford. His predecessor was not of royal blood, 
but was taken from the ranks of the people, and 
•exercised merely a chieftain's rule over the 
barbaric hordes which peopled the country. 
After a turbulent rule of twenty-five years, he 
submitted to the rule of the great black monarch, 
in 1870, and lies buried in the churchyard 
opposite, with this beautiful inscription engraved 
xipon his tombstone : — 

A boys' schoolmaster of no great fame, 
Yet loved to teach them his Saviour's name ; 
And though his body is beneath the dust, 
His spirit is in heaven, we trust. 

I entered upon, or rather ascended, the throne 
of this realm just over a year ago. The popula- 

12 A Legacy. 

tion was then about fifty. That it has risen to 
seventy^ shows that there is vitality in the 
people, however uncivilised they may be. This- 
state of Nature shows itself, as in larger kingdoms^ 
by a disposition to make forays on the corn, 
firuit, and nuts of other people; by a tendency ta 
sleep, to lounging, to listlessness, all charac- 
teristic of inferior tribes, when anything not in 
the shape of food is brought under notice. They 
are given also to the extremely savage plan of 
having "an eye for an eye,'' or a blow for a 
blow, and consider that such conduct is " quite 
the thing.'' Sometimes I say, " Why did you 
begin fighting with Tom?" or, "Bill," as the 
case may be. The answer is almost sure to- 
come out : " He hot (hurt) I, and then I hot 
he." In short, not to mention long, dirty nails,, 
which might bring them near to the Chinese^ 
only that we might really injure the latter by 
reckoning my population as of the same class; 
they present, in their speech, behaviour, appear-^ 
ance, and habits, or would present, if any 
stranger of distinction visited our territory, a. 

A Legacy. 13 

spectacle of barbarism^ just whitewashed^ with 
the three '^R/s/' very thinly laid on in some 
places, and kept in fairly decent ways, mainly by 
the strong right arm of authority. 

I am obliged to be not only the king of this 
^eat nation^ but Prime Minister, Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, Archbishop, Judge, and Execu- 
tioner. We do not have any capital punish- 
ment, else the latter office would be very 
impleasant for me; but all other methods we 
have more or less used. Banishment is very 
rarely resorted to, and then only iu the case of 
«ome powerful noble who threatens to subverse 
the monarchy. I might correctly say that I 
«tand ready to banish, for hitherto my De 
Montford, or Warwick, has not presented himself. 
Imprisonment, which in some countries extends 
to life, rarely is ordered by me for more than 
two hours — generally an hour makes a great 
impression, when preceded by a few strokes laid 
on rather severely. In fact, " I am monarch of 
^1 I survey,^' as absolute as the Czar, and 
almost as inflexible as Nicholas himself was ; for^ 

14 A Legacy. 

as those who know boys will readily agree, the 
rule must be, however tempered with kindness^ 
strict, impartial — nay, stern — in order to manage 
those who are allowed to do at home almost aa 
they like. My kingdom is divided into three pro- 
vinces or classes, over which, when I am not 
superintending personally, I appoint prefects or 
governors. These governors are, as a rule, 
totally inadequate to their work. Like the 
governors of more ambitious provinces, they 
regard the office assigned them as mere opportu- 
nities for idling, and displaying power more 
or less arbitrary. Nay, some have even ac-^ 
cepted bribes, in the shape of buttons or marbles, 
from criminals anxious to avoid being sent up to 
me. It is creditable to some that, instead of 
taking the bribe, they have, as soon as the state 
of the roads would permit, made a journey 
expressly to inform me that their integrity had 
been assailed, the result being huge punishment 
to the assailer. The bulwark of my power is 
formed by the nobles — in other words, the first 
class. They constitute a barrier against the 

A Legacy. 15 

tide of democracy represented by the other two 
classes. Although permitting no legislative or 
judicial power to them^ yet I^ as the kings of 
greater countries do^ allow them a little more 
freedom than the others. I constitute them also 
the guardians^ out of doors, of their inferiors. 
They see that no excesses are indulged in ; they 
oflTer their warnings and advice ; at any rate, I 
have given them full power to do so. 

On the whole, they conduct themselves as the 
members of such an aristocratic body generally 
do. Except when a dispute arises, followed by a 
fight, or when they forget, in the matter of com, 
&c., aforesaid, the distinction between other 
people's property and their own, I have very 
little to complain of them. They certainly strive 
to uphold the laws better, and do their work in 
a quieter way, than the lower classes. 

The diflFerent types of character presented to 
one's notice in this kingdom are not numerous ; 
or, at any rate, I may say that there is small 
chance of analysing the natures of my subjects 
individually. Like most country boys, they are 

16 A Legacy. 

:alike in being dull, heavy, and awkward. Still 
I notice exceptions. 

There is a merry black-eyed boy in the 
first class, whom I always mentally call ^^the 
humorist/* Considering the general inability of 
boys to perceive a joke, it is refreshing to hear his 
— ^ha, ha ! — when anything very funny is said by 
me or others. Of course, this laugh of apprecia- 
tion is no breach of discipline. It only takes place 
when something extravagantly funny has been 
said, and really we do get some ridiculous an- 
swers and expressions sometimes. On other 
occasions the humorist can be as serious as a 
judge. In addition to the words of the boys, which 
often irresistibly suggest jokes more or less good, 
isome absurd notes from parents find their way 
to me very often. To-day, a boy who had been 
absent without leave brought a note from his 
mother, in which she, after stating the cause of 
his absence, said — '^ I hope you wont punch him, 
-as I was forced to send him.*' I have taken no 
pains to give the bad spelling in the other words, 
but have underlined a word which she meant to 

A Legacy. 17 

put down as " punish/' What a ludicrous idea 
arises in the mind ! Fancy my punching the 
boy ! There is another boy in the same class — 
a farmer's son — ^who is a regular mud-lark. It 
is his greatest delight to be always tumbling on 
the ground — muddy or dusty, all one to him* 
He luxuriates in a fall. Last winter his joy 
was, not to get to the bottom of the slide, but to 
accomplish as many safe tumbles as he could* 
He never hurts himself; but then he is only a 
little fellow, eight or nine years old, and more 
nimble than the majority of his fellows. 

Next him is a tall, heavy lad — also a farmer's 
son — whose behaviour is very good, but who is 
an awful dunce. His voice is like that of a 
little girl, and he constantly seems to be in a 
girlish state of blushing bashfulness. Perhaps 
some of this is due to his elevation above his 
schoolfellows — ^being, although not thirteen, tall 
enough for a boy of fifteen ; and this stature may 
make him conscious of his inferiority to boys 
much smaller and younger — the boy before men- 
tioned being above him in the school. 

VOL. n. c 

18 A Legacy. 

Then^ nearly at the bottom of the class^ is a 
fellow who is incessantly winking. All day long 
his face is being twitched in a most annoying 
manner ; giving him the appearance of a monkey 
— his small black eyes helping this impression. 
In vain I appeal to him to cease the hideous 
writhings which his features undergo. He stops 
, or a moment or two, and then — lo ! his face is 
nervously at its old tricks again^ making the eyes 
wink as rapidly as possible. In London the 
boys would never cease noticing such a curious 
fellow^ and would be always laughing at him^ but 
here they take little notice of anything not in. 
the shape of bread and cheese. It is only right 
to add that this boy is in every sense fairly be- 
haved, and tries to do his work in a proper way. 

There is only one more who seems to have a 
distinct individuality, and that is a pestiferous 
urchin of six years. He has an immense mass 
of red hair — the thatch to a freckled face, pierced 
.with cunning eyes. He has endeavoured to 
bribe, on more than one occasion, my functiona- 
ries ; he will lose no opportunity of playing 

A Legacy. 19 

-when nobody is Apparently looking ; lie is always 
on the grin, always being sent up for punish- 
ment. On an average, not less than three times 
a day does he put in an appearance before my 
desk — ^my throne, I mean — and his howls can be 
heard at all these times, only lasting till he gets 
to bis seat again. His shirt is generaUy trying 
to scramble through his trousers, and his boots 
are large enough to fit me comfortably. I be- 
lieve he is a bom humorist. There is nearly 
always a twinkle in his eye, and the slightest 
smile on my part at anything sends an expanding 
grin over his features. He is, however, a much 
less mischievous boy than he was a year ago. 

With all their faults — and who can expect 
Tcry good qualities from chUdren, many of whose 
parents are careless, ignorant, and vicious ? — my 
subjects are more tractable and easier to be 
pleased than London boys. Some of them are 
•even good hojB as far as behaviour in school 
goes, and try to do their work creditably. The 
work of managing, single-handed, in summer 
months, and with no social intercourse in the 

C 2 

20 A Legacy. 

evening to give relief, grows — after the lapse of 
nine or ten weeks — very monotonous, and, in a 
manner, tiring. I started this paper with no 
premeditation, just putting down in ink my long-^ 
ing for a holiday, but I have suffered it to grow 
into a few notes on my school boys. 

July 25. — To-day is really Sunday. I am 
writing with the glorious sunshine streaming' 
over the book, dazzUng my eyes, and sending 
thrills of thankfulness and joy through my veins. 
Above there are a few white clouds, thin and 
scattered — the rest of the sky is of a deep blue. 
A continuance of sunny days would greatly 
benefit the com, and no doubt rapidly ripen it 
after the deluge of the past fortnight. 

July 27. — I have before this often wished 

for — 

A lodge in some vast wilderness, 

when subject to much noise and bustle in 
London; but really this wilderness in which I 
am now located, though not vast, is, for any 
society it affords, as silent and monotonous as 
^ny desert. Opposite me as I write is the 

A Legacy, . 21 

<jliiircliyard, with no special characteristics of 
quaint epitaphs^ or graves of distinguished per- 
sons. In the midst is the church — a dilapi- 
dated, barn-like building, with a wooden tower 
and a rickety turret— which the parishioners ex- 
pect will topple down some day. There is a 
Norman arch on the north side, bricked up. In 
the iaterior is a gaUery at the west end, in 
which the children sit with their teachers. 
Above our heads the arms of the Maynard 
family, whose estate embraces this and several 
parishes adjoining. Below us, on each side of 
the church, horse boxes, in which the labourers 
nap on Sundays without risk of being perceived 
by the minister. 

A few doors to the right of ray house stands 
the village inn; lower down, the post-oflSce (a 
very primitive affair) ; still further down, at the 
bottom of the hill, is the river Chelmer. In the 
centre of the village stands the pump. On my 
left the girls^ schoolroom; further on, in the 
«ame direction, a farmhouse, called the " Hall ;'' 
and opposite the pump an individual who farms 

22 A Legacy. 

a few acres of land^ and is^ besides^ uodertaker^ 
carpenter^ and proprietor of a horse and cart 
whicli is let out on hire. In these few words I 
have mentioned everything of importance in the 

Three miles away is the ancient town of 
Dunmow^ and that is really the distance 
between me and semi-civilisation ; for Dunmow 
is a railway town. In the other direction — 
viz., north — there is no town or village at all 
for four miles, and that, when reached, is a 
rained place named Thaxted — ^prior to 1832 a 
municipal borough. It is doleful to see its 
decayed condition ; the air of listlessness which 
pervades the inhabitants. It has no trade at 
all, is at least six miles £rom the nearest station,. 
and has many of its houses actually falling ta 
pieces ; yet there is in it one of the finest 
churches in the county, with a tall, magnificent 
spire, which can be seen from this village. 

We all go on in a humdrum manner. I say 
^^ we,^^ for I begin to reckon myself as almost a 
native. When people in London begin to ga 

A Legacy, 2S 

out for a walk^ or comfortably take their seats 
for the concert or the lecture, we are yawning 
and preparing to go to bed. Early to bed is a 
very good thing if one is obliged to rise early, 
or is in a mood to work hard when he does rise ; 
but to me, who am not subject to the first, nor 
disposed to do the second, going to bed so early 
is irksome. Very often I canH get to sleep for 
two or three hours. Why go to bed ? may be 
asked. Merely to dispel the ennui which must 
steal upon one who has no books, no compa-> 
nions, a good deal of time, and a head that will 
not stand too much brooding or studying at 
once. Oh ! for a holiday, I often say — but 
patience, patience, patience. The weather has 
been very fine since Saturday. Let^s hope it 
will quickly bring on the harvest. 

Aug, 1. — ^We are having most beautiful weather 
at last, and the corn rapidly ripens. Yesterday, 
had a long walk from Dunmow home, by way of 
Stebbing, and was delighted to see the promising 
appearance of the crops, maugre the deluge of 
the month just gone by. Sad reflections will 

34 A Legacy. 

arise though in the mind^ when we perceive 
Nature's blessings gradually growing for us, 
getting fuller, riper, ruddier; bearing aloft 
blossoms and flowers of dazzling hue and exqui- 
site beauty ; while we — ^if we examine ourselves 
— are like weeds, yea, poisonous plants, growing 
to no good, shrinking at the slightest suggestion 
that the harvest of our lives is at hand. It is 
no joy to be assured that we are growing and 
growing, having all the best things of life— air, 
sunshine, rain, and good soil — and yet are 
benefiting neither ourselves nor our neighbours, 
and are far more profitless than a few ears of 
corn. What can we do? The pjayer must 
come from many hearts, seared with passion, 
cold with doubt, dry with worldliness, throbbing 
with intermingled sorrows and sins, as it comes 
too often with little result from mine — ^Miserere 
Domini ! — Miserere Domini ! If Thou, Lord, 
wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, I 
may not abide Thee. 

Aug, 3. — It is in some respects a misfortune 
for me, perhaps, that I grew up to manhood 

A Legacy. 25 

powerfully influenced by the stoical^ proud 
portion of Emerson's teaching. Although con- 
vinced that in it there is much for the mind 
and little for the heart ; assured that the hopes^ 
the comforts, it puts forward are worthless reeds> 
I still experience something of the old glamour 
which enthralled me for at least ten years ; I 
still revere the Concord teaching — I still have 
for him a filial affection, though convinced that 
the Divinity of the Blessed One, and His sacri- 
fice, afford our only hope. 

What I was going to say is this : Emerson 
has had this hold upon me, that I have tried to 
cultivate a philosophical temper in the midst of 
adversity, and a calm disposition in this " pushing 
age.^^ This latter has made me look coldly on 
two or three good ^^ openings'' which have been 
presented to me. I now almost regret that I 
have been swayed by Emerson to such an extent. 
I regret, because I find myself with no position 
in life, no* home comforts^ no friends, and no 
money— things which, if I had worked my cards 
properly (as the expression runs), would have 

26 A Legacy. 

been mine before this, or, at any rate, by this- 

At^. 5. — ^The view from my window as I am 
writing is gloomy enough. The trees are sway- 
ing in a sharp, cold wind; above, all is of a 
leaden colour; rain drops down at intervals. 
Eight o'clock (evening) is just striking, and, as. 
night descends gradually to wrap everything in 
darkness, a denser gloom steals over my mind^ 
This sounds like would-be poetry, but, God 
knows, I am in no mood to write poetry, unless 
it be that which I want, not the mood, but the 
power of words to express — sickening weariness^ 
and despair. I am weary of myself and of 
everything around me, and despair of ever doing 
anything in this world or of gaining happiness in 
the next. The past has not one hour of real, 
happiness, nor do I dare look forward to any 
bliss in the future. The fact is, I am growing^ 
older and no better. I am never satisfied with 
myself, spiritually or mentally. At this age, 
after all I have endured, domestic comfort, inde- 
pendence, the honour and admiration of my 

A Legacy. 27 

fellows, ought to be mine \ instead of which, I 
cat and drink — nothing more — nothing more. 
Almost ruined ambition on the one hand, and a 
selfish, worldly, indolent nature on the other — 
the grave ever before my eyes — ^Miserere 
Domine ! 

I have given this piteous outburst just 
as it stands. The man was human — Uke 
all the rest of us — and not an angeL In 
his cruel humility he paints himself in 
the very blackest colours, since of that 
" selfish, worldly, indolent nature" to which 
he confesses, I can find no trace in any 
description given by those that knew him. 
Most likely the slowly-creeping disease and 
death were producing in him that morbid, 
mental condition only too common among^ 
such sufferers. I present him here exactly 
as he presents himself — no better and na 
worse. Some may blame, but all must 
surely compassionate him. 

28 A Legacy. 

Aug. 6. — A great magiciaa has just gone. He 
always used his magic powers for the further- 
ance of good ; and although he was an old man 
(seventy-one), the world would willingly have 
kept him in the flesh. As for dying, or being 
dead, that is out of the question. 

Dead he is not, bat departed ; for the artist never dies ; 

and an artist in its highest sense was Hans 
Christian Andersen. His short fables, or fairy 
tales, are delicious. There was, through every 
one of them, the subtle web-spell of their 
creator. Words can hardly do justice to the 
tender, imaginative way in which old shoes, 
leaden soldiers, and other inanimate things are 
made, by genius the most exquisite, to speak, 
act, and convey lessons, sometimes homely, 
43ometimes sublime, but always beautiful and 
true. There is delight in the magician^s pages 
for the child, and profound lessons to be learnt 
by the wise man. The great merit of these 
tales is that there is always wrapping them an 
Oriental glamour — always inlaying them a pecu- 

A Legacy. 29 

liar riclmess of expression which beggars the 
efiForts of many who are styled poets. Some of 
the more serious fables are sad to tears^ in the 
gloomy, though truthful, view of life and its 
course which they present. 

How fine, how true, is the story of the man 
who lost his shadow. What delicate satire lurks 
in the story of the men who pretended to be 
clever women. What a noble lesson is afforded 
by the ^^ Ugly Duckling V^ I have not any of 
Andersen^s productions by me at present, but I 
can recall with pleasure the outline of some of 
his most beautiful tales. His '^ True Story of 
My Life'^ is worth reading. 

I have slipped once more into a sort of diary 
style ; Mrs. C. is partly the occasion. Nature 
she insists upon, and, with some modification, 
she is right. To write from the heart is the 
beginning and the end of all authorship ; it is, in 
fact, genius— that quality so much talked about, 
so seldom understood. Labour, labour, labour — 
goad the jaded brain — string splendid words 
together, and be scrupulous about grammar. 

so A Legacy. 

The result is a mosaic that auybody can do> 
given time and a dictionary. Act as the traveller 
who has lost his way (to borrow Emerson's 
thought), throw the reins on the mind's steed^ 
the projecting, impulsive power of the intellect, 
and those latent forces behind every man's 
inertia, or dumbness, will assert themselves, 
though not always, perhaps, in the safest or 
proper path. ' 

The most homely things around us await 
their epic. Cowper has dignified the sofa with 
only a touch; and thousands of things — living, 
•and devoid of organic life — mutely, appealingly 
await the poet who is capable of petrifying them 
into — prosy, perhaps, at the time — ^but certainly 
•everlasting song. 

This earning of fame, if the all-sufficient mind 
Jbe there, sometimes wants little apprenticeship, 
or study, or waiting, on the part of him who 
aspires to utter from his own heart, to draw 
from his own inward or outward experiences, 
the feelings and experience of all men. With- 
out that mind be present, active, and susceptible 

A Legacy. 31 

to the influence of the heart in almost every 
expression^ your work may be clever, not natural 
— a photograph of everything around you — and 
yet have nothing of Nature in the sense in 
which we understand it; for a painting and a 
photograph are both the work of art, but the 
latter is art only ; the former is vivified by the 
^n'eative, the poetic mind, tinged with the deepest 
feelings of the heart. 

Aug, 13. — ^^I paint for eternity/^ said a 
painter of old. In the same spirit I may say 
that I write, if not for eternity, yet to posterity. 
I will be at all events. a unit in the numbers of 
mankind. I will endeavour, if life be given me, 
to record my hopes, my experiences, my thoughts, 
which, poor though they be, and barren of 
stirring incident, stand a chance of being read 
by somebody in the next century, or — who 
knows? — in the century a thousand years from 

Let it not be thought that I consider these 
words deserving of fame — ^tisn^t likely — no such 
foolish thought has entered my brain. What I 

82 A Legacy, 

mean is that this book^ and other, books which 
may yet be written, will probably not be 
destroyed, but will be read by some person as a 
message from a buried generation. To that 
person I write j before him I place my opinions ; 
in his ear I whisper my hopes and fears. This 
is a stirring time, full of life and activity, great 
plans, great realisations ; but it will vanish away 
as suddenly, as scenes in a panorama or a dream* 
Hey, Presto ! it is gone — its only record graves, 
old tombstones, printed books which portray it 
feebly, and books like these which should, if 
they do not, mirror it clearly and largely. I 
hold it as a gift, second only to genius, the 
power to look ahead; the mind^s eye which 
already sees the grand time gone, and which 
hopes to place in this book some token of its 
influence upon the mind of one who is proud^ 
and yet sad, that his life was cast in it. 

If I cannot, as I once hoped to do, carve my 
name upon the annals of this century; if ad- 
vancing years do not bring in their train noble 
thoughts, rich experiences, and the power fuUy^ 

A Legacy. 3S 

yet simply, to express what I think and feel; yet 
in a diary I have means to reach the ears of a 
limited number of the men of the future. I 
can, at all events, vindicate myself from the 
charge of never having striven to burst the 
bonds of Fate (or rather the bonds of irresolution, 
indolence, and indifference, which make up what 
we call Fate). Indeed, as time progresses, and 
if only will be there, keeping the future strictly 
in mind, I may note in my books things, 
events, persons, and experiences, which may 
give not only curiosity, but instruction and 
interest to future times. The keen, subtle, 
inquiring mind, and the feeling heart, are 
required for this task, and perhaps they may be 
forthcoming before long. This book and others 
may stand a much better chance in their manu- 
script state, than if it, or they, were printed a 
thousand times over. 

Aug. 16. — On every side the com is falling. 
This morning I took an early ramble across the 
fields, and was glad to perceive indications of an 
approaching holiday in the sheaves which dotted 

VOL. n. i> 

34 A Legacy. 

the landscape. My holiday does not commence 
until the gleaning begins. The country looks 
lovely — ^very lovely ; and although the year has 
attained its full strength and beauty, and will 
soon begin to age, no symptoms of decay are 
there yet. When, in a month's time, I return 
to this place, I shall see the fields all bare, alas ! 
and patiently awaiting their evening of snow — 
for, to my mind, after September is out, pleasure 
and sunshine fade, and vegetation seems to 
await in chill suspense the icy winter. 

Aug. 19. — I shall soon be left to the contem- 
plation of bare walls and empty forms and 
"desks ; that is, if I stay — which I sha^n^t. My 
boys have gone to the gleaning, nearly all of 
them. There are this morning only twenty- 
seven of them here, and if I await their coming 
to-morrow, probably I shall see twenty only. 
I shall not. Please God, to-morrow morning I 
shall leave this dull scene for three weeks or a 

But it did not "please God" that this 

A Legacy. 35 

poor fellow, to whom the world and its 
pleasures — ^small enough they had ever 
been for him ! were growing smaller day by 
day — should get the holiday he planned. 
Possibly he planned it imwisely ; — ^we 
often blame Providence for miscarriages of 
fate for which we should only blame our- 
selves; and perhaps he tried to carry it 
out with equal unwisdom, for a sickly and 
worn-out man ; but anyhow, the record is 
sufficiently pathetic. Read it — ye who 
start with fuU pockets on Alpine rambles or 
Continental tours, grumbling all the way 
at the least failure or contretemps which 
diminished the '* pleasure" which, earned 
or unearned, you think you have a right to 
expect, and remember in your next holiday 
that of the poor Essex schoolmaster. 

Sqpt, 10. — Three weeks ago to-day I started 
for tke Peak of Derbyshire, intending mostly to 
walk. On the first day, however, found such 


36 A Legacy. 

an oppression at my chesty that I could scarcely 
crawl along. This oppressive weight continued^ 
and seemed to get worse^ necessitating railway 
travelling to Derby. Here no chance of allevia- 
tion, without rest, appearing possible, I made up 
my mind to abandon my tour, and did so on 
the fifth day from leaving Easton, returning 
from Derby to London by rail. Thus the holiday 
to which I looked forward for months, as being 
likely to afford me healthy exercise, excitement, 
and extended acquaintance with English scenery, 
was, from its commencement to its premature 
end, a species of torture. Ah, well, "man 
proposes,^' &c. Spent a fortnight in London 
(ten days of which I was unwell), and returned 
to this place Sept. 7. 

1^/ day. — Elsenham to Cambridge by rail. 
Cambridge to Huntingdon on foot. 

2nd day, — Huntingdon to Thrapston by rail. 
Thrapston to Market Harborough by rail, vid 

Ztd day, — Market Harborough to Leicester 
on foot. 

A Legacy. 87 

Wi day. — ^Three-quarters of the day in Lei- 
<;ester. Leicester to Derby^ vid Loughborough^ 
by rail. 

6th efoy.^- Derby to London by rail. 

S^t. 29. — I shiver as I walk to my work. 
'There is a constant threnody kept up amid the 
branches of the trees; a wailing^ monotonous 
430und^ which tells that summer is gone, that 
autumn is fast fading away, and that wintry 
days are at hand. We get twenty, or thirty, or 
sixty of these mournful times, according to the 
number of years we manage to dodge death ; but 
ihey always present themselves as mournful 
times. If beauty is visible, how sad is that 
beauty ; if there be calmness, it is in reality tired 
'decay, death resting a moment from its work. 
A moment! Nay! Here comes a shower of 
withered leaves; we tread upon what were the 
^een messengers of beauty, sunshine, and 
summer splendour, only a few months ago. 
Through the bare branches and boughs presses 
-down upon us a cold, sullen sky. Well, well, 
we shall see the leaves come afresh if we live ; 

88 A Legacy. 

if we do not, God grant the resurrection morn- 
ing may find ns fit for its fragrance and beauty^ 
and everlasting fresbness. God grant it ! 

Our hopes, which hang upon lifers tree, do 
they not resemble leaves ? They get blown from 
ns by despair, that biting wind, keener than any 
Nor'-easter, and are trodden under our feet. 
Yes, we walk humbly every day over schemes 
and wishes which once were all in all to us. 
Some, some ? — ^himdreds of these old hopes we 
have entirely forgotten. Now and then it hap- 
pens that the realisation comes when its parent 
nope has long been detached like a rotten leaf 
from us. Thus, may we not imagine our bless- 
ings, or rather those we once regarded as bless- 
ings, coming back to ns with fary-like faces. 
We wail and lament our ill-luck when the very 
thing is at hand, though late, for which we 
prayed and implored with such earnestness in 
days of old. Beware of asking for blessings 
which time may change into curses ! The only- 
thing which does not undergo this change, does 
not undergo this rusting process, is the prayer 

A Legacy, 39 

that we may be purified from all grossness^ and 
be made fit for heayen. 

Thought Sentences. 

Sept. 80. — To believe in the healing virtue of 
sorrow — ^life^s medicine — ^is to have the only 
sweetening of the potion which God, the physi- 
cian, allows. 

'Tis wise not to be too precise in pointing out 
the exact source of our knowledge, or the manner 
and time of its acquisition ; for when the house 
is finished we take the scaffolding away. 

Joubert says : '' Age, neighbour of Eternity, 
is a kind of priesthood/^ . Yes, too often of 

When we earnestly pray for clean hearts and 
heavenly minds, our prayers answer our prayers. 

Nov, 5. — The composition of a play, which for 
the past fortnight has engaged me, must be an 
apology for the non-appearance of anything in 
this book. Indeed, what have I to write of? I 
rise in the morning at 7.30, descend to breakfast 
at eight ; reading with it takes up three-quarters 

40 A Legacy. 

of an hour. I reach the school at nine, thence 
till 12.30 work, or rather breadwork; dinner at 
12.45; breadwork (let me coin this word) till 
6.30, reading generally the newspaper; then 
comes tea. I then at six return to my room 
for the night. Three hours are devoted to read- 
ing newspapers, novels, essays, history, biography 
— anything that comes in my way. Some even- 
ings I take a turn at composition when the 
whim seizes me, or do a little French, or sketch 
plans for schoolwork, or write my letters, or 
post up my private accounts, if I may dignify 
them by that name. 

On Saturdays I walk into Dunmow, unless 
prevented by illness or very rainy weather; have 
a glass of ale and a chat with the landlord of 
the inn I patronise; afterwards look in at the 
Literary Institute, scan the papers, select a 
readable book, return home, read or write till 
bedtime. Thus it will be seen that there is no 
society for me. I am thrown in upon myself 
entirely, and have no experiences to boast of 
save inward ones, and they cannot always be 

A Legacy. 41 

gauged or thrown upon paper so as to be under- 

The most silent life has its growth^ its alter- 
nations of hope and despair^ of joy and sadness ; 
but the boundaries cannot always be perceived — 
they glide insensibly into each other like the 
hues of the rainbow. I. note in my individual 
experience several moods to which I am subject; 
in me, I think, these moods have their bounds 
more clearly defined than in most people around 
me. I pass from gloom very quickly to sunny 
thoughts^ and find most of my states of mind 
pure evil or pure good. Sometimes I have what 
I may call the complacent mood. I see nothing 
but good in everything around me, and of course 
in myself often a sorrowful mood comes, when 
a graveyard aspect seems imprinted upon the 
iace of all natural things. A defiant mood some- 
times makes me rigid when I think I am being 
-depreciated, and then I am most arrogant in 
mind and behaviour. I appear somewhat of a 
buUy then. This is often succeeded by a gentle 
onood, which makes me perhaps appear childish. 

42 A Legacy. 

There are also the mood mirthful and the mood 
studious — the mood Mammon-loving and the 
mood sensual. Now and then comes the solemn 
mood^ which tells me that all these contradic- 
tions of character exhibit my weakness^ my 
proneness to sin, my instability — yea, my evil- 
doing — as merely parts of a nature that is low 
and worthless and heaven-forgetting in common 
with that of all men ; that I, as well as they^. 
must tone down all these diversities by Grod's 
help; must blend them, depressing some and 
elevating others, together into one harmonious, 
whole — a character. 

Nov. 22. — I have finished Act I. of my play, 
or rather my attempt at a play, and have nothing 
to write about. The absolute stagnation of a. 
country village is here seen in perfection. 

In the great world there are no events occurring 
of any great importance. The Prince of Wales- 
is in India astonishing, and being astonished^ 
by the natives. Turkey seems in a depressed 
condition, financially and politically. In Spain, 
the Carlists and Alphonsists are emulating the. 

A Legacy. , 48 

Kilkenny cats. In our own country all conver- 
sation is absorbed by the inundation topic. 
Bain^ rain, rain — ^nothing but rain. The Thames, 
rose higher than it has ever been known to rise 
before ; great damage has been done^ and^ as a 
consequence^ a subscription has been opened at 
the Mansion House. Everything everywhere 
seems duU^ ominously dull. We really want 
something to rouse us out of this apathetic^, 
listless condition^ son^ event which will stimu- 
late our yet unknown poets^ give a healthier^, 
breezier tone to society, and afford outlets for 
superfluous energy and talent. Here, in this 
land^ we are treading upon one another^s heels. 
It is as much as an energetic man even can. da 
to buy mere necessaries. 

Nov. 27. — ^The eve of another birthday. Every 
year I seem to grow more worldly. I feel like 
a miser, from whose fingers are slipping a rich 
treasure. And truly, time is a treasure, gliding 
away from our grasp, '^ never continuing in one 
stay.'' To be sentimental is to be ridiculous; 
yet who can help feeling solemn at the thought 

44 A Legacy. 

that the time which our imagination filled with 
so much splendour^ so much happiness and love^ 
is not passing away^ but is already gone^ only 
leaving us sad memories. I must record it that 
I value a good dinner^ or a few pounds^ more 
than I did ten years ago. Then I had generous 
enthusiasm; then I cared not a scrap whether 
I offended or whether I didn^t^ so that I spoke out 
the feelings which then swayed me ; now I have 
little enthusiasm for anything^ and possess no 
opinions worth speaking about. I suppose every 
man must arrive at the stage when this idea be- 
comes prominent^ that time is slipping past^ that 
honour is but a shadow^ that eating And drinking 
are tangible good things ; in shorty that '' a bird 
in the hand>^' &c. 

\ ' Various thoughts are dimly irradiating my mind 
at this moment. Up to the present I am at a 
loss what to say. I am sitting by a capital fire; 
ihe night is very cold^ I have just had tea^ and 
"^' Pendennis/' by Thackeray, awaits me. It has 
been a practice of mine these last three or four 
years to note the recurrence of my birthday; 

A Legacy. 45 

therefore^ mechanically, I have seized the pen, 
and have scribbled the foregoing lines without any 
effort of the mind. 

I endeavour to keep my entire past in the full 
Ught of the memory. Every act of importance 
stands legibly written on that tablet which is the 
law of the intellect. The past twenty years, with 
their pubHc and private history, I see at a glance, 
— ^that is, their salient features ; a little scrutiny is 
requisite to see the minor events, but of that I 
am capable. The bread riots during the Bus* 
sian War of 1854-6, I distinctly call to mind. 
Down the street in which we lived at that time, 
there used to come two or three times a day a 
rather disreputable mob cryinig out for bread. 
At these times the word would be passed on in 
advance, ^' The moVs coming !^' and it was won- 
derful to see the quick way in which the shutters 
of the shops would go up. What a fuss Tom 
Sayers created in 1860 u after his fight with 
Heenan. At that time prize-fighting had a 
temporary blaze of splendour; pugilistic en- 
counters were of daily occurrence ; but soon 

46 A Legacy, 

the damaging blow was given by the law^ backed- 
by public opinion. The great fire at London 
Bridge I saw from the Custom House ; this was^ 
I think, in '61. In '63, the Prince of Wales 
was married. The procession of the Princess 
through London was very grand, but I did not 
see it. I fully intended to go, but was besought 
not to do so on account of the anticipated crowd. 
I was treated to the play on the preceding night, 
and my parole was given that I would not 
attempt to see the pageant. As I had had a 
holiday and half-a-crown given me in honour of 
the occasion, I walked abroad, but in a contrary 
direction. The next Tuesday, however, was the 
marriage-day. I started early in the morning, 
walked up Oxford Street, and saw all the prepa- 
rations for the illumination. Thence into Hyde 
Park, down Piccadilly, the Haymarket, and into 
the Strand, where I began to see the lighting-up. 
I may say that I was luckier than thousands, for 
that night the crush and multitude were immense ; 
several people were trodden under foot on Lud- 
gate Hill. I got out of the crowd early. 

A Legacy. 47 

From '61 to '65, the grand subject of conver- 
^sation and discussion was the gigantic Civil War. 
From the first, owing to the influence of the 
Morning Star, which came in my way daily, I 
sided with the North. I began an essay on the 
^laye power, and wrote a dozen sentences or 
more in denunciation of slavery, and in the 
praise of those who sought its abolition. Those 
with whom I associated were zealous for the 
South, and very often we nearly came to blows 
as a result of argument. In 1866 I did battle 
for Austria, against whom were Prussia ai;d 
Italy. Prior to that, in 1864, I denounced 
Prussia and Austria for their attack on Den- 
mark. In '66 I rejoiced at Isabella's downfall. 
In 1870 I hardly cared three straws whether 
Germany or Prussia won the victory in France. 

In '66, '67, and '68, the Reform agitation was 
in full swing. I made a point of attending 
meetings and witnessing demonstrations. What 
a noisy fuss there was about nothing at all ! 
Mr. Beales I heard several times. I took a wild 
delight in the demolition of the Hyde Park rail* 

48 A Legacy. 

ings in 1866 ; and later in the same year walked 
to Knightsbridge and back in order to see 
"Marshal'' Potter's army of trades-nnionists* 
It is needless to say that I was not interested in 
the upshot of these agitations. I was not pre^ 
sent at the Biots. I did not help to swell 
the procession of 40,000 '' Reformers/' but I 
exnlted in the life, the stir, the excitement, which 
the contention abont Reform caused. It was a 
relief from the dull monotony of every-day life. 

Nov. 28. — Enough of gossip. In a little while 
I shall have entered upon my twenty-ninth year. 
A solemn strain played to day in church runs in 
my mind ; upon that strain my thoughts of the 
past and of the Aiture seem to float. My heart 
last night, dry as the desert itself, now seems to 
have springing up within it a tremulous pool^ 
limpid and sweet, of passionate regrets, of tearful 
memories, of wailing for the dead ; sorrowful, yet 
tender past, and of poor, weak resolutions for 
the future. Heaven help me! I am like the 
goblin in Andersen's story, who loved the student 
and poetry^ but could not give up the huckster 

A Legacy. 49 

who • used to give him jam. The body in me 
wars against the spirit, making me ready to cry 
out with St. Paul, " O wretched man that I am V^ 

I may echo Emerson's words, and say — 
^' A wonderful time I have lived m" Success- 
fully within the past sixteen yearsi various men 
of genius have been installed as objects of re- 
Terence and imitation, and have passed into the 
cooler chamber of the mind, have been petrified, 
as it were, by the intellect, or have lost altogether 
their importance in my eyes. Emerson, just 
now mentioned, threw a glamour over my 
thoughts, and ideas, and feelings, for several 
years, and made the things around me endurable 
by the philosophical poetry of his teaching. 
Longfellow too was raised to a high pedestal. 
Wordsworth became my oracle during '71—8. 
Poe I was enraptured with. Hawthorne was 
-extolled to the skies. Dante was in '73—4, my 
companion. All these are now tenants of my 
memory, and enjoy my affection and reverence. 
Others that I have not named have ceased to be 
regarded with either of the latter feelings. 


50 A Legacy. 

Thus "we love, and thus we hate or view coldly, 
or merely with friendly eyes. Well, it is Kfe. 
If we could but shake off, upon our entering a 
fresh mile of lifers road, a portion of the weight 
of sin and sorrow which encumbers us, with 
what light hearts should we step out from the 
milestone.. Alas ! we cannot. Every year sees 
us stooping more and more. Every birthday 
beholds the good angel, even with all our 
struggles and prayers, even with all these I say, 
blushing at our evil thoughts, wondering at our 
earth-born, inherent, perverse, natural, unnatural 
(what word can describe it ?) perversity. 

It is time to leave off scribbling. May I 
attain to higher levels before my next birthday 
comes ! by the grace of God, without which I seem 
to have no more strength than the weakest child. 

Dec. 7. — ^The only news, excepting that of a 
note, or rather a couple of notes, to Mrs. C, 
and a letter to R. H. with an answer thereto 
after a twelvemonth's silence, is that we are re- 
gularly snowed up. A fall of snow like one of 
those old-fashioned heavy falls we read about in 

A Legacy. 51. 

Christmas books has taken place rather several 
falls have come. The fact of a bunion on my 
toe, coupled with that of my having to make 
the first tracks in the virgin snow of mornings^ 
makes me regard the feathery flakes with any- 
thing but pleasure. What is that to the clerk of 
the weather ? Nothing ! So hobble on, shuiSe 
on, and long for a change. 

Dec 11. — R. H. paid me a visit last night and 
returned to London this evening, being the first 
occasion we have seen each other since July> 
1873, at Richmond. He came from Ireland to 
London a week ago, and returns to Ireland on 
the 30th inst. I think one of the greatest plea- 
sures in this disappointing life of ours is to meet 
one with whom we have passed pleasant hours 
and days in bygone times, but from whom we 
are separated by long distance and by opposite 
pursuits. These moments are almost without 
aUoy. The firm grasp of the hands, the long 
afiectionate look into each other^s faces to note 
any changes that have occurred, the preparation 
of good things for the guest-friend, the inquiries 

E 2 

52 A Legacy. 

about Tom or Bill — all these incidents and things 
are remembered, half regretfully, half delight- 
fully, long after the visitor has gone far away to 
resume his old occupations, and to mix with his 
new found — ^though never so much loved friends — 
perhaps never to see us again, or to see us when 
we have all grown old and half indiflferent to the 
heroes of our romantic boyhood. Oh, dear ! It 
•does not do to have our friends always with us, 
but it is hard not to see them more than once or 
twice in half a dozen years. 

Jan. 10, 1876. — ^Now to post up. 

19/A to 24dh Dec — Unwell — invalided— 

27th Dec. — To London. Met at station 
by R. H.— T. T. to Ben — to Wrighfs— to 
Nelly^s — evening altogether — slept at R. H.'s. 
28th day with R. H. entirely — ^West-end — slept 
at Ben's. 29th morning with Tom — to R. H.'s 
— dinner— tea at Nelly's — evening with R. H. — 
T. T.— Wright, afid George— slept at T. T.'s.— 
morning with T. T.— to NeUy's— adieu to R. H. 
return to Easton. 

A Legacy. 53 

Jan. 10. — MS. of the play " Placidio/' and a 
note to Mrs. Craik. 

Jan 24. — This day week, 17th, received a 
letter from Mrs. C, together with the return of 
" Placidio.^' 

This is all lie says of what must have 
been a sore blow to such a passionately 
ambitious nature. On " Placidio " he had 
evidently built aU his hopes. These few 
lines, in which the careless nervous hand- 
writing, so different from his usual firm and 
bold caligraphy, is the only indication of 
how keenly he felt, are to me very sad to 
look upon. And yet that " Placidio '* 
(which will be given hereafter) should have 
found readers, or even the preliminary 
chance — a publisher, was a probabiUty so 
remote that I cannot feel I was justified in 
giving more encouragement "than the warm, 
hopeful praise which I know I did give, 
urging him still to pause, and to begin his 

54 A Legacy. 

literary career with something more popular. 
Of that grim Shadow which had so long 
heen closely foUowing him, whose icy breath 
he must have felt coming nearer and nearer 
every day, I was in total ignorance. What- 
ever his pain and disappointment, the brave 
feUow neither protested or complained. His 
journal, after a pause, goes on as foUows :— 

Feb. 14. — Nothing to write about. The keep- 
ing of this book is a tedious job ; it is neither 
one thing nor the other. I don^t want to make 
a diary of it, yet it must degenerate into that. 
A record of events personal I cannot make it, 
for my life is thoroughly uneventful. It must 
either be a note book, par excellence, or become 
a mere record of morbid feelings, the worst kind 
of diary keeping. But then I intended it for 
original composition. When I finish this book, I 
must, all being well, have a book for rough notes, 
and a book for finished prose exercises or essays. 

Most miserably plagued this winter with 
bunions and chilblains. 

A Legacy. 55 

Feb, 18. — The end of another working week. 
Outside the wind howls^ though what care II 
Thank the heavens there is a good fire and a 
good bed^ but is there much satisfaction to be 
derived from their possession ? Not over much. 
The bread most nicely buttered tastes somewhat 
chafiy on the reflection that many a man and 
woman is toiling^ perhaps even now^ along the 
country road homeless and foodless; or^ pent 
in some nauseous^ air-poisoned den^ is slowly 
perishing for lack of the commonest, commonest, 
commonest 1 heavens I the rarest, the hardest- 
to-be-got food. The more one experiences of 
life, the harder one finds it to reconcile, or to 
attempt the explanation of, the why, the where- 
fore, of these two opposite things — the ought to 
be and the is — the ideal and the real. 

After all, in spite of the tall talk about 
freedom of will, we are almost absolutely the 
prisoners of circumstances — to outward view — to 
inward perception. I am chained, you are 
chained, we all are chained. Chained, pent up — 
not merely as regards our bodies, for that is an 

56 A Legacy, 

absolute necessity of our earthly being (we can't 
be prince and peasant at the same time) but a» 
regards our dispositions^ our spirits^ our thoughts^ 
our conduct, and aspirations for the future. I 
often think when I hear solemn denunciations- 
of worldliness addressed to rude, hard-working,, 
hard-faring men, that the shots are being aimed, 
if not too high, at any rate almost too cruelly .^ 
Who can get at the mind of the agricultural 
labourer? To all outward appearance, as far as> 
he is known, he has scarcely an idea beyond this^ 
life — has no desire for, no hope of the next, 
though perhaps he may have a dim faith — very 
dim I should say — ^that there is to be a hereafter. 
He gets 125. a week ; out of this he has to pay 
1«. 6rf. for rent. There is then the magnificent 
sum of 10^. 6rf. weekly to keep himself, his. 
wife, and half a dozen children. Taking the 
most favourable estimate, not giving figures an 
opportunity to lie, there are thousands, tens of 
thousands of men in this country who entirely 
support themselves and large families on 16^. a 
week. Here is a stubborn fact to start with.. 

A Legacy, 57 

Into this condition, be it remembered, they were 
through no will of their own, bom. Out of this 
state they have never had a chance to emerge. 
There has been no mainspring within them to 
enable them to conquer adverse circumstances 
(they cannot help that) there have come no pos- 
sibilities of advancement in social prosperity 
from outside (the world is not to blame) ; whose 
then is the fault? Man, it is true, does not 
subsist on bread alone, but food constitutes a 
considerable factor in any question relating te 
life. The brute creature has little, or nothings 
to do but to grub ; men, therefore, who have to 
devote nearly all their energies to the gaining or 
earning of food-money, must necessarily become 
somewhat brutal. Although then, at first 
glimpse one might say that as long as a man 
has enough to keep body and soul together, he 
should abandon all thoughts of fine food or of 
riches, and give himself to contemplation, to 
learning, to acts and thoughts of goodness; a 
little afterthought will clearly show that he whe 
works like a brute, and as persistently as a brute> 

58 A Legacy. 

for purely ammal wants^ must^ unless cheered by 
the society of the good and the intellectual^ sink 
to the level of the brute^ and forget and ignore 
the fact of God and heaven altogether. 

But^ as a consequence of this daily^ yearly^ 
lifelong grubbing — ^bordered constantly by starva- 
tipn — the wolf always howling at the door, 
scarcely any heavenly-minded men, and no intel- 
lectual ones, are to be found amongst this class. 
They nestle among those higher classes which are 
not under the urgent necessity of working every 
-day in the year for bare life — nothing more — 
and hence have opportunities of reflecting upon 
God^s providence, upon His power, upon His 
:great designs, of observing His wonderful crea- 
tures and ways, that the other unfortunates have 
not. But cannot they, the lucky ones, pour out 
their treasures to the mental view of the toilers ? 
A caste, as rigid in England as in India, forbids 
the blending in sympathy in outward acts of 
<ilasses ever so little dissevered by birth, by 
wealth, by education. We cannot help it. I 
cannot help it. Indeed, how is it to be helped ? 

A Legacy. 59 

but there is the truth. The labourers and their 
families have no ideal before them^ associate with 
nobody better in education or goodness than 
themselves, have few pleasures, and those more 
like pains — no rational pleasure for leisure half 
tours when they come, nothing but a good-day 
or a lecture from anybody above them, no goal 
but the workhouse and the grave. What is to 
prevent their getting, or. aiming to get as much 
43ensual gratification out of this life as possible ? 
Will a sermon heard now and then make them 
abandon a substantial pleasure for remote and 


•doubtful joys (for do not the preachers paint 
heaven as a place where there is nothing but 
•dressing in white and singing?) Can they at all 
understand why in this world some should ride 
and some should walk barefoot ? Will it tend to 
make them holier men to tell them that by-and- 
l)ye they shall have all the good things as a 
«et-off against the bad things of this life ? Does 
it not imply that one rich man, however good, 
has any right to, or stands a chance of eternal 
iappiness ? Are not these considerations fraught 

60 A Legacy, 

with much fear, much gloom, much doubt ? But 
it is now time to go to bed. 

Feb, 21. — Letter from B. with sad news of S. 

This brief line, recording another most 
piteous domestic tragedy — his Ufe was all 
tragedy — I am bound to let pass without, 
comment or explanation. 

March 3. — How the days glide away! In 
human life we seem to be just like straws or 
feathers borne irresistibly along a rapid foaming 
river, and thrown, powerless to help ourselves,, 
into the great gulf, Eternity^s ocean, for na 
better figure than that of a silent, mighty, mys- 
terious ocean can characterise the hereafter. In 
part we see, but in very small part. It only 
seems a few days since the new year commenced, 
and already we have let glide two months.. 
^Twas not merely a necessitous, but a poetical 
idea which measured Time's duration ^ and lapse 
by sand in a glass. So imperceptibly, yet so 
quickly, so unobtrusively and softly, yet so per- 
severingly slip our moments, days, and years away^ 

A Legacy. 61 

We have no grasp upon them. Tinged with our 
goodness or our badness^ there they slip and run 
— golden as the poets describe them truly to be, 
yet mere grains of sand to us — portions of our- 
selves—our blood corroded into minute parti- 
cles^ — fleeting angels ascending with momentary 
records — ^leaves of fate on which sad and noble 
omens are inscribed. 

It has been noticed by thinking men that just 
.as our bodily growth is unperceived except at 
long intervals and after due comparison, so our 
mental progress is thus quiet and slow. Yet as 
we are quite conscious of bodily and mental 
:growth, as we constantly recognise an intel- 
lectual advance after long periods of time, an 
insight into, an appreciation of the preciousness 
of moments is aflFbrded us. Slowly, laboriously, 
is the brain built up, fact of one moment under- 
lying thought of another ; experience and suffer- 
ing of many dreary hours giving eventually the 
poem, the oration, the great novel ; or walking 
in more modest, yet not less useful, channels ; 
the influence, the advice upon and to inferior^ 

62 A Legacy. 

, — * , .^ — . 

that is^ less thoughtful^ people ; those who con* 
sider that their duty is simply to watch the hour- 
glass^ not to work hy it ; who light the lamp in 
order to be dazzled by its brilliancy, not to profit 
by its beams in the pursuit of their proper busi* 

March 5. — Some early primroses have been 
gathered for me, and now adorn my mantel- 
shelf. Sweet emblems of the Resurrection f 
George Herbert greets the early flowers as the 
direct messengers of God, and institutes a com- 
parison between the winter of Nature and the 
moral death or stagnation of the hearths best 
feelings — linking also the revivification of 
physical beauty and freshness with the re-welling 
up in the desert, or the thorn-choked heart, of 
hopes, of holy thoughts, of earnest aspirations. 

For the last two months of the year, as I 
know from experience, fit and proper are fdnereal 
chants of low, wailing, inexpressibly sad solemnity. 
Part of the gloom enshrouded that portion of the 
year is due to the short, gloomy days ; part to 
the sombre time of Advent ; part, in my case, to 

A Legacy. 63 

the fact that misfortunes have mostly come to 
me at that period. One of those old Gregorian 
chants has^ at such a time^ and indiscribable in* 
fluence upon one. 

Many of these chants are weirdly pathetic i 
there is a richness of colour saturating them^ 
which at first thought would appear suggestive 
of equally warm emotions ; but though the en- 
semble is dazzingly rich^ there is an under coat- 
ing of hard, rigid colours, a simplicity in design; 
a suggestions of woes unutterable, as greatly to 
remind us of some of the pictures of the Italian 
school. It is a luxury — for we are told that 
there is a luxury in grief — to listen to one of 
these melancholy chants. On its waves of sound 
float intermingled suggestions of joyful pain, of 
painful joy. One seems to be dissolved from 
bodily fetters and to be gliding along that 
majestic river. At such a moment nothing^ 
in life seems worth the having, whatever we 
think becomes tinged with a mournful hue 
Ambition, love, wealth, friendship, comfort — alL 
these things we would willingly surrender all 

64 A Legacy, 

ideas of haying or pursuing — till- — till — the music 
ceases^ and the speU is withdrawn. Some echoes 
of the spiritual voice, for without doubt there is 
something heavenly in music, haunt us; but 
these are like voices of the night. We think 

•as little of them as we do of dreams, which, all 
absorbing at the time of their occurrence, flit 
like bats from the great calm eye of day. 

March 8. — What is there to write about? 
Little, unless it be that the wind is howling like 
■an unquiet spirit round the house — that I have 
been rea^iiig this evening one of Trollope's ' 

novels ('^Can you Forgive Her ?^^) ; that I have ' 

-also just finished spelling out two pages of '^ Les 
Jumeaux de rH6tel Comeille /^ and that I have 
seized the pen thinking to write down something, 
but have really nothing to say. 

There is something indescribably touch- 
ing in this picture, self-painted, with a sad 
simplicity in which is some of the egoism 
created by a life of total solitude, but 
certainly no vanity — of the young school- 

A Legacy. 65 

master — young yet so old in the experience 
of suffering — ^working away, after his bread- 
winning work was done, at those intel- 
lectual studies which could never bear fruit 
in this world. How carefully he employs 
every hour of those sad days of his, which 
he must have known and felt were running 
away so fast! How pathetically he tries 
to build for himself a little memorial of 
the unfulfilled life, of which absolutely 
nothing was known outside. In going 
.ve. these pages, it has been to .a a kind 
of satisfaction to think that I am doing 
exactly what John Martin would have 
wished done— not only to keep alive his 
own memory, but to give consolation to 
many another sick and silent soul who 
may have thought the same thoughts, 
wrestled through the same struggles; 
perhaps also died, with sealed lips, un- 
complaining, and gone to the Eternal Love, 

VOL* IT. p 

66 A Legacy. 

to find there everything that which on 
earth was never found. 

March 11. — ^There are those who would bid 
us not to think so much about the past or the 
present; as of the future. In their estimation^ 
or according to their teaching, the foture is the 
vast volume of which we are merely reading the 
title page — the stupendous mansion, whose ante- 
chamber we and our forefathers expectantly fill 
— the life, the happiness of which only the 
faintest exhalations have ever come to humanity. 
I do not allude to those who speak and write 
thus of the spiritual world, but to those who 
have a purely material, earthly state of things 
in their thoughts. Look not back on the past 
is their cry — eat, drink, work, sleep, and be 
happy in the thought, be religious in the con- 
viction that, at some distant period, to be 
counted by thousands of years, men — your 
posterity — shall live in brotherly love, that the 
lion shall lie down with the lamb. I have not 
had access to the works of those who insist upon 

A Legacy. 67 

this negation of the present and the past — ^these 
hiuts that the present is scarcely worth grieyin^ 
or exulting over have come to me in a random 
way ; but I am not far from the truth in saying 
that something like a new religion has been 
based on this tenet — that we are to live in the 
life of posterity. 

I am very willing to go down to the grave 
with a certain joy that hereafter millions will 
breathe the air above me joyfully, and perhaps 
smell portions of my body transformed by 
Nature's alchemy into flowers ; but tens of mil- 
lions will sigh, and wail, and weep, and despair, 
as I have done. It will be perhaps a source 
of faint pleasure that great men will teacn and 
charm the world in the future ; but equal, at all 
events, must be the pain to think that Dante, 
Shakspeare, Milton, have crumbled into dust — 
more than equal in poignancy must be the 
belief that no greater men are likely to arise in 
any age, unless the conditions of life be sensibly 
altered. Where is the comfort to be derived ? 
If I feel pleasure, surely the pain will pre- 

r 2 

68 A Legacy. 

dominate. No— ingenious seekers after light 
from glowworms^ while the clear moon fills earth 
and heaven with its rays — no I there is no com- 
fort to be derived by me from your teaching. 

,0f course this edifice is one of those that are 
partly built on the ruins of the old. Bather it 
is like one of those shabby frail dwellings which 
prop themselves against the awful columns of 
the Parthenon. Its idea of love to man is akin 
to the Christian idea. It leaves out the idea of 
love to God. Having left Him^ and a spiritual 
hereafter^ out of its teachings it would have us 
go down to our graves in peace and joy, feeling 
quite sure that at some indefinite epoch our 
great great grandchildren will have perfected 
civilization, and that a golden age of love, and 
happiness, and knowledge, will have set in. 
We are to rejoice in this expectation, and no 
other comfort is afforded. I believe I have 
indicated one or two, at any rate, of the 
doctrines, or new propositions advanced by 
those who teach Comte^s religion of Humanity. 

March 19. — ^There is the inward pressure 

A Legacy, 69 

which I have several times alluded to, making- 
me seize the pen, but I don't know as I am 
writing these words what the next sentence will 
be about. I have come to it, however, and 
partly written it, in the same way that Lope de 
Vega composed his sonnet upon writing a sonnet^ 
but must go on to a few more sentences as I 
have begun. 

This desire to say something is somewhat of a 
moumfol one. It is the cry of pain from a 
wounded heart — the upward striving of a wing, 
less bird — the yearning look into the dim future 
of the dying man— the wish to have from the 
mouldering grave a voice in the direction of 
the destiny of man — a warm place in the fire- 
side of their hearts. The wish is very great, 
perhaps presumptuous, in appearance, but I 
doubt not that it has substantial foundation in 
latent, and perhaps never-to-be developed powers. 
One last thing is required for high enthralling 
genius before it can be published — ^tbat is 
adequate expression — that granted, the world 
would be astonished at the fecundity and rich- 

70 * A Legacy. 

ness of thought which the obscure^ the most 
prosy-looking have. The power of properly 
expressing one^s ideas^ one^s every shade and 
tint of thought, one's rainbowed imaginations — 
is the highest triumph^ but not the only one, of 
genius; it is the painty the richness of colour, 
the soft, yet firm, hand, the drapery, the 
indescribable glamour — but it is not the canvas^ 
it is not the subject ; they, with the sentiment, 
the figures, the suggestive grouping, are the 
work of native poetry, in short, what we call 
talent — ^high talent is amateur genius, wanting 
often the flood of words only, in order to express 
its better nature — to display its highest powers. 

March 22. — I shall be very glad when the 
winter is over. It has been a long and severe 
one. The first fall of snow took place at the 
very beginning of December, and was an 
extensive one ; and only this morning, on going 
out, I had to walk over a light carpet of snow, 
which the sunbeams, later in the day, dissipated. 
Thus nearly tour months have elapsed since the 
first and the last fall — if I am not too premature 

A Legacy. 71 

in writing about the last — we may have two or 
three more yet. 

It would not be a bad plan to write a series 
of papers, humorous, pathetic, cynical, chatty — a 
blendiug of these four styles — purporting to be 
by an invalid, whose only permitted recreation 
was derived from observing and reflecting upon 
the passers-by. The '^Voyage autour de ma 
Chambre^^ of De Maistre, suggests this idea. 
Thus the first paper might be upon the visit of the 
doctor, his cautions, suggestions. Other papers 
might follow on — the policeman, the blind beggar, 
the conjuror, the costermonger, the drunkard, a 
funeral, a fight. An intermediate visit &om the 
doctor, flowers in the window, a person reading 
in the street, with reflections upon genius. Lost 
opportunities of doing good, suggested by the 
passing of an appealing face. Books, as friends, 
consolers, teachers, medicine. A last visit, &c., &c. 
There should be a delightful confusion and uncer^ 
tainty in these papers — ^perpetually flying off at a 
tangent &om the subject named, and perpetually 
xetuming. In addition to the four styles men 

73 A Legacy. 

tioned; mucli abstruse knowledge put in in a 
very light and easy way. I think I could carry 
the idea out. The policeman should come on 
after the fight (between boys). The fight should 
take place as a freshener after a rhapsody on 
genius or the like. In the intermediate visit 
£rom the doctor there should be a humorous- 
incident respecting the non-taking of his medi- 
cine; its being thrown^ phial and all^ in a 
moment of anger^ into the coalscuttle. Efforts 
of the doctor to put coal on the fire— torture 
consequently of the patient. Doctor^ fussy^ lite- 
raiy, dogmatical. 

March 28. — ^The story of the French Revo- 
lution is always interesting, it is so intensely 
dramatic. From the moment when the States- 
Oeneral assembled^ to the ending of the Beiga 
of Terror, the stage is always thronged with, 
characters vehement^ eloquent^ courageous^ 
blood-thirsty^ impious, detestable, and heroic. 
There is a succession of stirring scenes. Always, 
we hear the sound of the tocsin, the cries of the 
sanguinary monsters of the faubourgs, the 

A Legacy. 73 

thunder of the cannon^ the groans of excruci- 
ating anguish ; perpetually we see the hideous, 
faces^ the loathsome forms^ Gorgons of the 
French monarchy. One set of orators^ revolu- 
tionary at firsts become^ in the onward march 
or sweep^ to anarchy^ the aristocrats of a later 
period. Nothing is stable — society rushes to 
dissolution. Mirabeau dies only in time to save 
himself from being executed. Danton himself 
at last is thought to possess a little of the milk 
of human kindness. Bobespierre at last i» 
engulphed. Not antiquity^ nor the middle ages^ 
nor modem times, can furnish five such years of 
exalted hopes, of dawning despair, of such 
defiance to the laws, of such irresponsible and 
atrocious tyranny. 

The men to whom is chargeable the guilt of 
this terrible convulsion afPected, or in some 
cases, really did believe in the inherent good of 
mankind, but what folly ! what a babe-like 
condition to be in ! K they had looked into their 
own hearts, proof would have been given that they,, 
the exalters of human nature, were ambitious^ 


74 A Legacy. 

proud^ vain^ cruel. They signalised their acces- 
sion to power by acts of spoliation and cruelty^ 
yet they pretended to believe that the mob to 
whom they gave higher power than they claimed 
for themselves^ would be sure to use that power 
moderately and justly. The consequence was 
that they overturned a monarchy^ which had 
conceded all reasonable demands^ and substituted 
for it the rule^ the iron despotism^ the variable^ 
but always oppressive, never just, sway of a 
ragged, ignorant, brute-beast mob. They had 
the reputation (these promoters of the Revolu- 
tion) of vme men or philosophers, they acted 
with the rancour of criminals let loose &om 
punishment, with the besotted stupidity of 
inebriated fools. No words can stigmatise too 
strongly (for in every country, in this, the 
elements of revolution exist) the conduct of 
those who hurled humanity — ^its intellect, beauty, 
goodness, industry, refineinent, and bravery, 
under the swine-like feet of those who resembled 
human creatures less than they resembled foxes, 
wolves, tigers, apes. 

A Legacy. 75 

I give vent, rather strongly perhaps, my con- 
victions npon this matter, becanse I know that 
in London thousands of men hold np to the 
xespect of those with whom they converse the 
names of these revolutionary ruffians. One 
evening some three years ago, a man who had 
been railing against religion, at the mention of 
Bousseau, lifted his hat, and said — " The greatest 
man that the world has ever known V* We 
may acknowledge that the Revolution was partly 
the consequence of a system of selfishness and 
extravagance in the French rulers; we may 
concede that ultimately good has been the issue, 
but evil, if it proceeds by evil methods, is never- 
theless evil, and must get no credit for the good 
that Providence eventually brings forth. There- 
fore let infamy, or at least let no praises be 
given to those who deluged France with blood, 
chiefly to gain a selfish personal ascendancy, to 
;gratify passion, or to indulge private revenge. 

I give all these passages from the journal, 
not merely to show with what a vivid 

76 A Legacy. 

interest the solitary schoolmaster followed 
all that was passing in the outside world from 
which his lot so completely shut him out ; 
but also as an instance, necessarily rare, of 
how political and social questions are viewed 
from the usually speechless lower class ; 
viewed upwards, rather than downwards, sa 
to speak. Had Martin had life and health 
to rise to a sphere, high enough to make 
his voice heard, it is easy to see how 
valuable would have been the opinions of 
such a man, who added to the experiences 
of the very lowest class, the education and 
power of expression, which, ordinarily, be- 
long exclusively to the upper ranks. His- 
entire absence of class prejudice, likewise^ 
and his power of abstracting himself and 
his feelings from the topic which he dis- 
cusses, and judging it with the calm im- 
partiality which is only given by the wide 
experience of a cultivated mind, make all. 

A Legacy. 77 

he says, at any rate, worth reading, though 
others may have said and thought the same 
before him. 

April 1. — ^While waiting for Vol. IV. of Ali- 
«ou^s " History of Europe,'^ let the fact that the 
first three months of the year are gone, and 
that at last there is a prospect of mild weather^ 
he chronicled. Vol. IV. having just come^ 
there is no need to hold the pen any longer^ 
especially as I have nothing particular to say. 

April 6. — Storms clear the aur, war brings 
profound peace. I think I know that it is 
necessary to the production of any intellectual, 
masculine work, that the producer should be in 
the midst of a crowd, or subject to the influence 
of stirring or great events. I live in an age 
which is intensely prosaic in this sense — ^that 
the people who form it are rich, and think 
mainly of riches — are secure, and dream not of 
insecurity, are free and know not the heart- 
stirring troubles of imprisoned nature — are well 
fed, and are in consequence a little asinine, or 

78 A Legacy, 

bovine, or a mixture of both these qualities^ 
Oh I dull^ dull^ dull ! where are the Englishmen 
who have put a girdle round the earth, have 
colonised so extensively, have conquered so per- 
sistently, have kept themselves from foreign 
hordes for 800 years ? Where are they ? I sefr 
them not. I perceive around me in the labour- 
ing classes, shiffclessness, indecision, unthrifty 
apathetic indolence. I see in the higher classes^ 
pride of wealth, ignoble ideas, no wit, little: 
ability, few — ^if any — of those qualities which 
have helped to make this nation. 

We have not got over the winter yet. At 

any rate we experience just now thorough win- 


ter weather. To-day snow-flakes spectralise 
the air, and the atmosphere is intensely cold. 
I have been sitting by a good fire all the 
evening, yet my feet are quite cold. Well, 
Providence has not been unkind to us; doubt 
not the piercing east and turbulent north wind, 
have their counterparts to our English nature — 
that they act as trumpets, and array against 
themselves, as enemies over pestilence, and stormy 

A Legacy. 79 

.1 — ■ — > 

spirits. Our English winds assailing £rom all 
quarters^ are continual calls to arms. Those 
who can answer the call^ brave the winds^ and 
survive, may safely be entrusted with the 
country, may hope to throw into fiiture time 
their own spirit and energy. Having thus 
philosophised, I will now get to bed in order to 
warm my feet. Philosophy must end thought 
thus ignobly. 

A'^l 13.— This morning, on getting up and 
pulling aside the curtain, was, not exactly sur- 
prised, but sorry to see the ground covered with 
a mass of snow, which only yielded to the noon- 
day sun. The landscape now, this evening, 
is most drear — ^the weather cold, snowy, and 

A'pril 19. — ^Most miserable is the outlook to- 
day. A dull grey sky teeming with rain ; water, 
water, everywhere. The few bundles of clothes 
I have met with on my way from school this 
afternoon seem to be hopelessly drowned and 
dejected. Who would venture abroad such a 
day as this, or rather, who would not venture 

80 A Legacy, 

abroad — abroad to sunny skies and transparent 
air — abroad to Italy or Spain^ out of damps and 

No, no, discontented one; content yourself 
as well as you can without Italy— without the 
Eternal City. They are costly sights, that 
irould take up a dozen such purses as yours. 
You have not even money enough to become 
one of Cook^s tame animals, although they 
{Cook's) would take you, with a string of others, 
for half-a-dozen guineas. No, no; you are 
anchored or chained, or bound to a rood or two 
of earth ; make the best of your position. 

April 26. — ^If, before writing, we follow 
Sidne/s advice, by looking into* our hearts, let 
the results apparent in our expressed thoughts 
be bad or good — doubt not that they mirror 
faithfully the writer's heart — that is to say, in a 
roundabout manner, that humanity is a mixture 
►of good and bad. Which predominates? It 
would be easy to echo the oft-repeated cries of 
the preachers. The good Book tells us that the 
heart is '^ desperately wicked." On every side 

A Legacy. 81 

we behold hate, envy, impurity, falsehood, greed, 
ignorance, stupidity. We not merely behold 
them, we feel them ; we are ourselves nursers 
of these passions, all or any of them ; evil is 
acknowledged, is felt, is seen, occupies our 
thoughts, our conversations, influences our 
actions. If we were to look at human nature 
more closely, perhaps we might discover evil 
with huger and more extensive ramifications; 
we should possibly find goodness veining the 
base ore of earthly corruption, often springing 
like a fountain from the depths of the heart. 

Who is good ? Ah ! there is a puzzling 
question. It is a remarkable characteristic of 
the Bible that it does not screen human nature. 
All faults are openly displayed, not extenuated, 
not put for imitation, but as evidencing calmly 
the earthiness of our nature. The inspired 
writers form no impossible ideas of what man 
may become. They praise a man if he is honest, 
prayerful, obedient to God^s will, hospitable, 
brave ; they don't seem to expect, they don't get 
those airy virtues, possible only for aerial beings, 


82 .A Legacy. 

nrhich our modern preachers ask for and never 
get (not from themselves even)^ but stamp David^ 
the murderer, the adulterer^ as a good man — 
xind doubtless they are right. The character of 
David is perfectly human and unheroic. A 
^consideration of the fact that the Holy One did 
hold him up to reprobation is most precious to 
lis. Men of freethinking tendencies have argued 
from this the false pernicious teaching of the Bible. 
They rather should have perceived a clear in- 
stance of the Divine Love, which makes allow- 
ance for all frailties, which weighs well every 

motive, which fans chaff from wheat, which asks as 
an essential from erring natures, hearts of recog- 
nition, which weeps with joy if it can perceive 
the salt of repentance in the basest soul. 

May 1. — May-day, and a very cold one. 
^^ Denmark's a prison,'^ said Hamlet, and not 
Denmark alone, but the whole world itself 
becomes narrow and constrictive when our 
thoughts feed on the stars above, or make 
eternity their subject. The mind makes its own 
prison walls. To be tied down to one place by 


A Legacy. 83 

•duty, or by the necessity of earning bare breads 
is not far different from the lot of the man 
whom a tender country limits to a few square 
roods of earth. I am thus limited — a few roods 
more or less make no great difference ; as regards 
the reality of the bondage, none at all. 

I see now the same horizon, bounding the 
:same fields as that which I have seen without 
intermission of a single day for the p^t four 
months. Wordsworth truly says that the prison 
unto which we doom ourselves is no prison ; but 
then how few of us do doom ourselves to 
absolute solitude, to the same patch of earth, 
the same strip of sky? As regards choice, we 
are little better off than the mauvais mjet him- 
self. We must confine ourselves to one spot, 
we must behold the same not too intellectual 
faces, must have the same harsh, or complaining, 
or tattling tongues day after day. Well, there 
is balm in Gilead. Communion with the mighty 
dead is always possible, is always refreshing. Hea- 
vens ! if it were not so, could I live I Dreary 
this old world is. Little vivified by love — vapid, 


84 A. Legacy. 

insipid — ^but the shadows^ nay^ the realities of 
the past can be evoked^ can be called np^ and 
inll respond readily to the summons. 

May 3. — May is a poet^s month. Open any 
book of poems if you will, and ten to one you 
will find references to the laughing May, the 
merry, the jocund, the blithesome maiden of the 
months. Does not Willis joyfully exclaim — 

The Spring is here, the delicate-footed May, 
With its slight fingers full of flowers and leaves. 

Bryant is inspired equally by this month of 
pleasant associations — 

The May sun sheds an amber light 

On new-leav'd woods and lawns between. 

The whole tribe of poets lose their senses over 
this month, which has come in bitterly cold, 
suggestive of January, and which, I believe, 
always comes in cold and continues so. No 
delusion like that of a poetic one. One thing 
I am certain of, and that is, a good fire is 
burning before me, and that for the past week I 
have been almost frozen in school. This speaks 


A Legacy. 85 

clearly enough against the pleasantness of May. 
However, all in good time. We can afford to 
be humbugged a little by the bards, so great is 
our obligation*to them. Summer will burst on 
ua at last^ and give us the ripened fruits, the 
long halcyon days. We need them. 

May 9. — Very fine weather just at present, 
but rather windy. The birds begin a concert 
early in the morning, and keep it up with vigour 
till late in the day. Bloom on the apple trees^ 
flowers by the wayside, and in the fields apprise 
us that we are having, or are about to have, the 
best time of the year. When spring ^s gliding 
into summer, when there is a wealth o fohage, 
^ constellation of flowers, a flood of melody, 
without any suggestions of decay or of sadness. 
Like an echo, like the voice of some spirit 
heralding this beauteous time, comes every now 
and then the cuckoo's monotonous, but not un- 
musical notes. This month brings up vividly 
the thought of life's May — ^life's time of hope- 
blossoms, of unpremeditated song, of beauteous 
words and deeds. It departs, it must depart. 

86 A Legacy. 

Hot Summer-will come — ^Autumn — ^at last Winter^ 
The cycle of our lives is as the cycle of the year. 
In our case there is no second spring upon this, 
earth. To us are very applicable Hhe words, the- 
entreaty of Herrick — 

Gather the rosebuds wlule ye may. 

Surely it behoves us — me, you, all — ^who thinks 
who know, who hope, who trust, to make as much 
of these delightful moments as we can. Alas !. 
there is no aftermath in life. The bloom once 
shed is shed for ever. 

May 12. — ^To-night finishes the nineteenth, 
week of uninterrupted work. Oh, for a change ! 
This work of a teacher gets to be in these days- 
most killing. The trial to the temper, the 
vigilance requisite to maintain authority and 
order, the sheer hard work — drudgery — of open- 
ing the minds of the pinchbrained rustics, th& 
close atmosphere; all these conspire to make- 
the work of teaching one of the hardest in the 
land. If health permitted, I would gladly work 
on the farm, emigrate, do anything rather than 


I I 


A Legacy. 87 

be overworked in body and in spirit by this^ 
most honourable^ most important, most interest- 
ing^ yet most toilsome and harassing of pursuits. 
Why is it so toilsome ? The answer must be 
that the teaching staff is insufficient. People 
clamour for the rudiments of education, yet will 
not pay enough to ensure these rudiments being 
properly taught. There are too many pupils 
allotted to every teacher. "Whereas twenty or 
thirty would exercise the cleverest, most indus> 
trious teacher sufficiently, it is taken for granted 
by all those who know nothing of practical 
teaching, that forty, fifty, sixty, nay more, can 
be managed, disciplined, taught by him without 
the least difficulty — nay, most galling of all 
suppositions, it is assumed that the office of a 
schoolmaster is almost a sinecure. 

Would to Heaven it were more so than it 
is ! In my case it is not. For the past year 
(twelve months) I have been instructing an 
average of sixty boys daily, an average strictly. 
During that time I have not had the slightest 
assistance. No monitors have I. No one 

88 A Legacy. 

coming to take a regular class ; ' the whole 
superintendence, work, account-keepinjg, every- 
thing has devolved on me. There are four 
classes going on at one time. It is obvious 
that I cannot be quartered, or eyen halved, 
therefore the other classes have to be taken by 
the schoolboys, scarcely one of whom is fit for 
the task. I cannot blame those who hire me. 
It is the result of a general ignorance pervading 
^ classes; they kill the teacher, retard the 
progress of the scholars, simply because they 
believe that a boy taking a class is as good as a 
man — by assuming that the teacher has simply 
to set the machinery in motion, when it will 
work itself; the fact being, that the teacher 
himself is the motive power, and the machinery, 
only unlike machinery, he very soon wears out. 
If he does not wear out, under the conditions I 
have pictured, it most assuredly must be said 
that the work of instruction lags, that the main- 
spring feels itselfji in self-defence, obliged to go 
at a slower pace than the necessities of ignorant> 
knowledge-hating, or loving children require. 

A Legacy. 89 

One finds somewhat of a consolation in the 
fact that we are strangers and pilgrims in a 
melancholy world. All paths^ whether strewn 
with flowers or with thorns^ have their ending in 
the churchyard. . Let us work while there is an 
opportunity. The struggle for success^ for 
friends^ for fame^ what is it but the desire at 
bottom of being better able to build up that life 
-day by day in the future, which now we almost 
regard with disgust. I take comfort &om my 
sorrow ; I draw music from this harsh, practical, 
"daily English life which everywhere surrounds 
me; I summon from the past shadows of old 
hopes, of old despairs, and I learn that the more 
•one works the more one is free from temptation, 
from care, from fears. I hope I have not studied 
lifers book in vain, though most of the pages 
liave been hard. Let us put on a gay aspect, 
and march bravely on in the great battle of life ; 
-but let us not forget that it will be no unhappy 
^ moment which summons us from pain, doubt, 
•misery, sin, fears, wants, cravings for sympathy 
and love, the desire of knowing, to boundless 

90 A Legacy. 

Time and space^ let us hope^ to knowledge fixed 
and complete. 

May 13. — To-day (Saturday), not feeling very 
well^ have remained indoors all day. The weather 
is that of May — sunny, but with rather keen 
winds ; yet above all, as I now write, loom dark 
clouds, we shall soon have some rain. I have 
alternately read and dozed the time away. 
Began the day with my school papers over my^ 
breakfast, to both of which succeeded the- 
Standard (Prince of Wales returned from India). 
Next came on a vol. of the Comhill Magazine 
for 1861, containing the end of Trollope's 
"Family Parsonage.^^ Then a few pages of' 
" La Dot de Suzette.'^ Dinner. More of the 
Cornhill} and a nap. A little writing and 
posting up of personal accounts have brought 
me up to 5.30, at which time this is being^ 

May 15. — " We are strangers and pilgrims 
in a melancholy world.^^ These words of mine 
from the opposite page form a fitting com-- 

A Legacy. 91 

mentary on, and are illustrated by, the 
news that poor S. is dead (last Wednesday,. 
10th May), aged twenty-four years seven 

This is the ending of a story so sad that it 
is best to leave it in the shadow of silence, 
as Martin himself leaves it (the only refe- 
rence being a few pages back : "Letter from 
B., with sad news of S."). The absolute 
and noble reticence which the poor feUow 
maintains concerning his family affairs 
— which in truth must have been to him 
one long agony — ^is an example which I 
feel compelled to foUow ; with regret, for 
the revelation would present him and his 
short life in a light more than pathetic — 
heroic. But I have promised, and it must 

Every death hrings closer to our view the fact 

92 A Legacy. 

that we must die. Sad^ inexpressibly dreary as 
is at times this fact^ there is yet a somewhat 
selfish feeling of satisfaction pervading it. We 
must die — all die. From this doom neither 
knowledge nor ignorance^ neither wealth nor 
poverty, neither virtue nor vice, can exempt us. 
Though we afiPect to stop short on the road of 
life, though we shut up ourselves in narrow 
domestic virtues, or abandon ourselves to licen- 
tiousness of thought and deed, we are striding, 
as if with seven-league boots, to the gate of 
death. I tremble often to think that as year 
after year slips away, I seem to be the same 
being, to have lived in the past solely for self — 
to have no idea beyond self in the present, to be 
merely planning for self in the future. Intellec- 
tual self it may be, and yet I cannot reconcile it 
with the teaching and example of the Just. 
There is something elevated in Goethe's idea of 
culture, but perhaps there may dawn upon our 
consciousness by-and-by a conviction that there 
may be a wealth of mind as dangerous as mate- 
rial wealth — that to spare no expense in filling 

A Legacy, 93 

our minds with knowledge — ^to seek the orange 
of love, and to throw the despised remains away ; 
to use the passions, the hopes, the fears, the 
generosities, the crimes of those around us as 
tests of our corresponding vices or virtues, is to 
have, in scarcely a higher atmosphere, the spirit 
of the monopoliser, of the forestaller, of the 
miser. We may come, in short, to regard the 
man who grows wise in beholding the struggles 
of humanity, who educates himself with the 
penny that should be given to the needy, as no 
more than an intellectual millionaire. The 
devil himself is only a sort of Dives ; his feast, 
that of reason— his robe, imperial pride. 

I moralise, yet am in danger of thinking too 
highly of culture, too little of those around me. 
I do not certainly purchase dozens of books, or 
go into society in order to add to my resources ; 
for, imhappily, or otherwise, I have not the 
means nor the opportunity. But this fault, or 
virtue, might in me easily be carried to excess, 
if circumstances permitted. It is, therefore, 
good that now and then the skeleton should 

94 A Legacy. 

sternly frown upon me — ^that a voice like tliat of 
Robespierre should utter now and then in stem 
accents, " Thou shalt die 1'^ 

May 19. — To-night finishes the twentieth week 
of continuous work. There is nothing to chro- 
nicle beyond the fact that the weather is cold^ 
though fine^ owing to east winds that cut through 
one like a knife. The boys and I have been, 
barking all the week ; in fact^ I have not had 
such a cold this year as I have at present. 
Nothing to write about. Rusting for want of 
contact with sharp wits^ and from the barrenness 
pervading this place. No varied diet. The 
butcher's meat is simply atrocious^ the bread 
chaffy, the vegetables, especially potatoes^ 
rascally. No fruit, no fish, nobody to talk to, 
nowhere to walk to, nothing to see — No anythinff. 
Sooks alone keep me alive, and them I read out 
too fast. One must accept one's lot, but it goes 
against the grain. Eh? Yes — ^not only with 
this grumbler, but with the doctor who wants 
more practise, the clergyman who wants a better 
living, the earl who would like to be a duke, the 


A Legacy. 95 

'Qaeen who must possess the title of Empress. 
By the way, why should she not? Empress has 
an arbitrary sound — has it ? It is just suited to 
India. We gained that vast peninsula by force. 
Let us have no humbug about the matter. 
There are some who would deprecate the idea 
that we are a conquering race, who would apolo- 
gise for our annexations or conquests, who would 
extend the ballot-box and the schoolboards to the 
Hottentot equally with the artisan. I thank the 
heavens that I am not such a person. The ques- 
tion as to whether or not the Queen should 
assume the title of Empress has created a great 
-deal of discussion, and a little bitterness ; but it 
is very easy to get up an agitation against any- 
thing, or for, among some Englishmen. They 
run just like a bulldog against anything they 
don't happen fully to see. They are very like 
sleeping dogs — ^bulldogs always. If you pass 
them gently, you may do anything you like — 
tickle or rouse them in any way, and you have 
Cerberus up and barking and biting all at once. 
Xiet's pass on — to sleep — perchance to dream. 

96 A Legacy, 

Well, bed is the best place, so I will say good* 
night to myself — my fire is nearly out and I have 
nothing to read — then to bed — ^maugre the 
dreams that Hamlet speaks of. 

May 20. — ^We seem to have come into the 
world purposely to get married, beget children, 
and die. The people around us by their lauda* 
tion of the married state, by their perpetual 
allusions to it, and by their ignoring the fact 
that a man or woman may now and then manage 
to exist uncoupled, would make one think so with 
a vengeance. A man's years, a woman's good 
looks, are measured with relation to the married 
state. Success in life means at the preselit day^ 
the power of supporting a wife — ^the yoked man, 
unhappy though his coupling may be, is always 
contrasted favourably with the bachelor. One 
hears constantly that the woman halves a man^s 
cares and doubles his joys ; that though cares of 
course will come there is always balm in Gilead, 
always a sweetness in the cup. On the other 
hand, a lonely, wretched life is gleefiilly assigned 
to the unlucky or perverse fellow who has not 

A Legacy, 97 

mated^ generally besides, a death pitiful and un- 

It is, of course, well for the preservation of 
the species that these ideas have strong possession 
of the minds of men and women. The annoy- 
ing thing is that with a calm assumption of 
superiority, nearly every one aflfects to believe 
that sooner or later you must yield to nature and 
to art (feminine) that you are presumed not to 
be a unit, but a fraction, too often a cipher, 
unless some Polly or Dorothy condescends to 
make your tea and look after your pocket- 

I could not be a woman hater if I tried ; but 
with regard to the fair sex, much of the glamour 
of youth and early manhood has passed away. 
There is a fascination, an attraction in women 
just as we affirm that there is an inherent 
nobility in man ; but it only shows itself in the 
first named, as in the second, rarely. When 
this quality is patent to our senses, whether we 
call it beauty or goodness, we admire, adore, its 
possessor. Then only do we love; then only be- 

VOL. n. H 

98 A Legacy. 

comes it manly and expedient to clasp such 
virtues in our arms and make them part of our- 
selves for ever. 

Such a union as this takes place perhaps once 
in a thousand times. All others are half brutal 
ties formed lustfully or for convenience. It 
cannot be otherwise, for women are as a rule far 
from being divinities. They have not the gross 
hell-fire sins and passions of men^ as a rule^ but 
they have often fully developed the Satanic sins 
of pride, deceit, envy, uncharitableness. I write 
from experience when I say that many a man 
curses his folly in marrying half a dozen days 
after the life-knot has been tied. I have known 
men whose homes were real infernos to them — 
who, work hard as they might, had nothing to 
look forward to every evening but an uncom- 
fortable home, and a vapid, unlovely wife. 

Unless a man and woman possess ideas in 
common, have something of a kindred hope> 
earthly and heavenly ; unless the man be honest, 
industrious, sober — ^the woman, modest, good- 
tempered, clean in addition — ^how can a marriage 

A Legacy. 99 

turn out otherwise than unhappy ? The wonder 
is^ not that so many divorces take place^ that so 
many wives are beaten and killed^ that so many 

hnsbands "absquatulate/' but that the whole 
fabric of society is not uprooted — that monas- 
teries and nunneries do not spring up like towns. 
Suppose that a man is not gifted with the small 
proportion of good mentioued above, and that the 
woman has only the two gifts which generally 
form the onlv dower of all beneath the rank of 
ladies — ^viz., a sharp tongue and a smooth face ; 
what guarantee is there that before a month, nay^ 
a week, is out, the husband and wife will not be 
at each other's throats ? Will good looks last as 
long as a sharp tongue ? Alas ! the latter is as 
good, or as bad, at ninety as at thirty — in fact 
gets bitterer as wrinkles appear. In such a 
marriage, surely entered upon with heaven's 
curse, because with impure motives, the wife be- 
comes very soon a cook installed for life — one 
who has the privilege of cooking your food 
atrociously, of finding fault incessantly, of run- 
ning counter to your tastes at every oppor- 



100 A Zeffacy. 

tuaity. She is nauseously familiar 'with you, 

and knows your faults by heart ; your virtues 

have never struck her. They are, as Emersou 

says of the manners of superior people — " like 

the light of stars which has not yet reached us." 

Then, with regard to sharing your sorrows. This 

has almost grown into a maximj but is clearly a 

fallacy. Half the sorrows of life, what do they 

spring from ? In civilized countries, nay, in all, 

from loss of material wealth. It is only once or 

twice, may-be, in life, that we are overwhelmed 

by the death of one whom we truly, passionately 

love. Our sorrows come from our failures to 

succeed in life — from misery, which is only lack 

of money; from loss of friends, which is only 

loss of wealth; from sickness, which springs 

from the heavy toil of sustaining the battle for 

J, which is the same as bread. When we 

■eak down, when starvation stares us — wife, 

ren, and all, in the face — where is the com- 

Tonr wife, in nine cases out of ten, puts 

blame upon your shoulders — if not, she 

08, mopes, grows fainter and weaker, and 

A Legacy, 101 

dies. What could she do? Could she get 
work? The market is full already. Is she 
willing to cheer you? perhaps yes — but the 
cheer you and the children want is good cheer, 
and that she is not able to procure. In few 
words — are you better conditioned in days of 
starvation by having six or seven mouths to fill 
instead of one? All the talk about comfort, 
and sharing one's sorrows^ is clear cant when 
viewed in this Ught— taking this one trouble, 
which is the trouble or sorrow meant in nine 
cases out of ten, and asking oneself what would 
the woman do placed thus — ^remembering also 
that if the man had remained single, there would 
in all probability be no starvation for himself, 
with due care, most certainly no children to 
encounter starvation. 

If all goes well materially with a couple, mar- 
ried life is at best, in too many cases^ a compro- 
mise of hatreds, of disgusts. Out-doors, where 
the mask is worn ostentatiously^ one sometimes 
sees a glance, or hears an expression which gives 
room for conjecture ; often one is able even to 

102 J Legacy. 

lift a corner of the veil, and behold the real state 
of the case with a lightning glimpse. The cup- 
board opens to the stranger now and then, and 
displays the fleshless bones. Bluebeard^s cham- 
ber door has more than one key. 

I knew a man and woman who appeared just 
to suit each other; the husband, industrious, 
«ober ; the wife, pretty, clean, intelligent. Yet, 
they wore their masks but carelessly. He 
affirmed to one I knew well, that his life was a 
heU upon earth by reason of his wife^s causeless 
jealousy. She declared, knowing nothing of his 
plaint, that his temper made her life wretched. 

Yet, when I went to their house, everything 
seemed pleasant and calm. 

It is absurd for me to mention one case, 
for I could speak of scores, and have the dim 
remembrance of hundreds. I have also not 
seemed to press as hardly upon the men as upon 
the women, but I must have my masculine bias 
to a certain extent. The poor women are no 
more to blame than the men — perhaps not so 
much. Often are they yoked with brute beasts 

.A Legacy. 103 

of men. Often have I seen them felled to the 
^ound by drunken ruffians ; often have I seen 
the black bruise upon their eye, borne cheerfully 
for days, with scarcely a thought of resentment 
against the fellow who inflicted it. 

May 1. — ^Then, again, looking to the number 
of human beings brought into the world with 
scarcely any provision for their maintenance 
made, seeing how our country villages and towns 
are swarming with children ignorant, vicious, 
diseased, uncared for, it is enough to make one 
look into the matter closely, and not to take it 
for granted that marriage is always a blessing, 
and that single life must necessarily be miser- 

The conclusion to be arrived at after consider- 
ing purely material questions alone is this — that 
no man has any right to enter the married state 
unless he is assured of an income for, at any 
rate, two or three years fairly certain, which 
will keep him and his wife in comfort, and leave 
a margin. Furthermore, his life ought to be 
reasonably insured, and he ought to have a small 

104 A Legacy. 

sum of money in the bank for contingencies. 
A man who cannot come up to this^ especially 
one who is not particolarly strongs ought not to 
enter into matrimony, however, desirous he may 
be of possessing that domestic happiness^ which 
has such a fine sounds but which it would puzzle 
many to define. 

I know that to many^ nay, to nearly everybody, 
these sentiments would savour of youth, of sel- 
fishness, of sordid motives, of a low estimate of 
the female sex. With regard to youth, we are 
always young on earth ; there is, besides, a per- 
petual revolution in our moods ; from the vicea 
and virtues of old age we pass rapidly to those 
of childhood. He is no expert, as far as human 
nature is concerned, who does not see that it is 
principally the shell of humanity which changes. 
The tenant of the house is the old one, who may 
have learnt many new truths but perhaps ha» 
forgotten old ones. The school in which I have 
studied, perhaps imperfectly, a few of the ways 
of men, is a good one; rather, I may say, that 

A Legacy, 105 

I have graduated in three of the best schools- 
open to one who has not travelled — London^ 
misfortune, and books. Prom these I draw the 
following maxims, which, for the present, must 
end this protest against the implied idea that 
every one ought to marry : — 

I. If a man can afford to keep a wife and 
children comfortably, also educate the latter and 
help them to start in life, and if he sees a 
woman whom he really loves, it is a good thing 
for that man to marry. 

II. If a man has only the prospect of being 
able to do this at some future time, don^t let him 
marry tiU that time arrives. 

in. If a man principally wants a cook, a 
laundress, or a brusher of clothes, don't let him 

IV. K a man cannot aspire to the hand of 
one who is good, educated, and neat, don't let 
him choose some inferior divinity or inferiority 
just because he must have a companion. 

V. It was not good for a man to be alone in 

106 A Legacy. 

the wide world, neither is it now; but, in my 
sense, St. Paul says it is good for man to be 

VI. ^' A man who has wife and children/' 
«ays Lord Bacon, ^'has given hostages to for- 
tune/' A man with a wife does not, cannot 
feel disposed to study, to perfect himself in his 
profession. Ambition is gone. There is neces- 
4sity's spur; but how tired, how jaded is the poor 
4steed. He no longer has the spirit for great 

VII. With every fresh family comes an in- 
crease of that exclusive spirit, that proneness to 
consider the four or five individuals in your care 
as forming, as far as regards yourself, humanity. 
Hence, ^' charity begins at home ;" hence preju- 
dices, ignorance, and indifferences — virtues that 
are akin to vices. 

VIII. Children brought into the world, and 
allowed to grow up as sparrows, picking up their 
food where or how they can. 

The great majority of men and women must 

A Legacy. 107 

many. There is such a thing as human nature^ 
disguise or shirk the fact as we may. The 
greatest number must, in the present state of the 
world, have so few tastes or pleasures that it is 
necessary for them to enter into the state that 
i;hey look upon as one of unalloyed pleasure. 
Who would grudge them this delight, bare and 
liard as their lives are. Not I, if proper pre- 
cautions be taken to prevent the world being 


flooded with idiots, paupers, thieves. What I 

contend for is this-that there are many men 
and many women also in the world who can be 
happy apart &om each other ; that it is the duty 
of those who marry to do so soberly and looking 
ahead ; . that it is annoying and fallacious to sup- 
pose that a man is such a poor, aimless being as 
to be perfectly wretched without a wife; that 
high ambitions and achievements are nearly 
always nipped in the bud when single life 

Perhaps with me the grapes are sour. To a 
certain extent, yes. Two things principally hold 

108 A Legacy, 

me from abandoning a bachelor life, nay, three — 
the want of means, as I have described, thfr 
absence of the ideal person, the certainty that 
the spirit which prompts me to plan and to, at 
the least, dream of executing intellectual work 
would, in all probability, disappear with the 
cares of housekeeping. I, with the master minda 
of every age accessible to me, with a rich, sor* 
rowful experience, with the hope of inscribing 
my name in feeble characters upon the roll of 
English literature, surely I can plod my way^ 
though perhaps not without a little sadness, yet 
cheerfully and hopefully. Under fine looks,, 
the mind's eye perceives the parchment skin 
of age — sweet words suggest the idea of 
bitterness by-and-bye. Is this cynicism? I 
hope not. 

Nevertheless I find, dated " 1876" (the 
same year), this touching poem, which may 
or may not have been wholly one of imagi- 
nation. The silence of death, in either 
case, covers all. 

A Legacy. 109 


She hastens past, she never speaks. 
But keenly views the golden sky. 

Two tiny roses stain her cheeks. 
Bud, blossom, quickly fade and die. 
Even while she passes by. 

Her widely-opened eyes reflect 

The sunny^ cloudless sky above, 
Now in its peaceful splendour decked : 

Theirs is the softness of the dove — 

Its pitying, gentle love. 

Often, when dewy twilight steals 

With shadowy steps the landscape o'er, 

A rustling silken dress reveals 

That graceful form, which, as before. 
Will pause not at my door. 

Yet when the goblin fire-flames chase 
The lengthening shadows everywhere, 

She sits with wifely, tender grace. 

Her eyes Love's glass, her breath Love's air. 
Within my easiest chair. 


110 A Legacy. 

The tea-things make a merry sound — 

Two cups ! This mom there was but one : 

I've leapt with one gigantic- bound 
From grief to joy, from shade to sun. 
And now my lifers begun ! 

Ah, soon delusion^s glittering veil 

Down falls, and shows the thorny way 

Of Life, in which, with torturing bale, 
Alone, my bleeding feet must stray 
For many and many a day. 

I clasp my hands in prayer that she 
May never know the inward smart. 

Lovers thirstful, speechless agony. 

Which rends with ruthless force apart 
The tendrils of the heart. 

May flowers, those waving censers, fling 
Around her holy perfumes rare ; 

For her may years advancing bring 

No withered hopes, no loathsome care — 
No poisonous, stem despair. 

A Legacy. Ill 

But blithe and pure^ as from the hand 
Of Lovers great king she eame^ may she 

Enter the holy^ radiant land^ 

Happy with singing saints to be 
For all eternity. 

May 22. — We have had a little rain this 
afternoon^ and the birds seem to be out of their 
senses in consequence. They are like children, 
darting from one place to another, and all the 
while keeping up their chatting, or chirping, or 
singing. The bloom falls in bright flakes from 

the fruit trees. May is getting older and older. 
In this month one thinks of Macarthy's lines, 
always sad, always sweet, always suggestive of 
life's May — come and gone — of life's bloom shed. 
May 25. — ^The weather for the past few days 
has been, and is at the present, very chilly. I 
shiver, and feel as if January were the month 
instead of the poets' May. I left off my great- 
coat at the beginning of the month, and have 
been miserable ever since. Nothing but shiver-^ 
ing and coughing from morning till night. At 

112 A Legacy. 

the present I am reading " The Vicar of Wake- 
field/' which is almost new to me except hj 
hearsay and through criticism^ for it was cer- 
tainly not later than the year 1860 that I read 
it^ or skipped it I suppose. A simple^ yet not 
uninteresting story it is, but we live in an age 
which is, par excellence , the age of the novel; 
ttnd all our enthusiasm for the past is needed to 
get up a real interest, an absorbing interest for 
the tales of our forefathers ; pathetic, life-like 
though they may be, after reading the novels of 
Scott, Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, Mrs. 
Craik, Trollope, Marryat, Cooper, Hawthorne^ 
Dumas, Hugo, and the score or laore of novelists 
possessing more or less of real genius, belong- 
ing to this century. It is wonderful to think 
of the marvellous literary and artistic talent 
•employed on these tales. What the age of 
Elizabeth was in relation to the drama, surely 
the Victorian age has been with regard to the 
novel — an epoch which will stand out vividly 
before the eyes of our genius-loving posterity. 
May 27. — Dull clouds reach from sky to 

A Legacy. 1 1 5J 

earth, and every now and then the rain fall* 
listlessly down; wind N.W., I think. A ride 
into Dunmow and back again with Mr. B. has 
relieved the monotony of the day a little. As 
for walking such a day as this it is out of the 
question, besides, I have a cold that will not 
be east out in spite of nursing. Read this 
morning the newspaper and school paper. 
At Dunmow just glanced at the Times, 
Saturday Review, Punch, and Fun ; this afternoon 
four pages of " La Dot de Suzette.^' Am 
just glancing through^ not thoroughly reading, 
George Eliot^s " Romola/^ also TroUope's 
*' Small House at Allington^^ — ^the last is being 
really read. 

Finished yesterday " The Vicar of Wakefield.^* 
Good Mr. Burchell is the presiding deity, the 
dispenser of justice in the pieces, and is well 
drawn. Jenkinson, the rascal, brings, or helps 
to bring about the final catastrophe in a very 
clever manner. The parson, though rather long- 
winded in his orations, stands vividly out ; in fact, 
most of the characters do. It is a most interest- 


114 A Legacy. 

ing tale — clear as crystal in language and senti. 
ment, having simplicity, not without art, of the 
highest kind. The way in which misfortunes 
accumulate in unexpected ways upon the poor 
family is managed with much skill. The episode 
of the discovery of George in the prison, the 
restoration of Olivia, are strokes of that great 
talent which no lover of English literature will 
•deny to Oliver Goldsmith. 

8 P.M. — Perhaps I may one day look back 
upon this quiet life with regret — ^regret that it 
has all passed away like a dream. Who cau 
tell ? Often I persuade myself that life in the 
great city is alone worth the having ; that this 
village life is akin to stagnation, to death; and 
yet now and then comes the thought that this 
may after all be the most happy, as it certainly 
is the most uneventful period of my existence. 
Unhappily, we are happy mostly by retrospec- 
tion and anticipation; seldom do we extract 
pleasure from the immediate present, seldom 
perceive that around us, no matter where we 
may be placed, is hourly being enacted the 

A Legacy. 115 

great tragi-comedy of human existence in wliich 
-we are actors^ of which each of us may easily 
•become a spectator. 

Alas ! that until our happiest time is gone for 
'Cver^ we discern little difference between it and 
the most wretched hour that we have experienced. 
I suppose it is to be taken for granted that here 
on «arth we cannot, must not, be wholly happy, 
spite of what philosophical optimists may say. 
Strangers and pilgrims, it is not to be supposed 
that of the halting hour of life we can make an 
eternity ; that to halt and to stay fixed in the 
one place are necessary conditions which we are 
impelled to observe. Well, well. Ever our 
thoughts must project themselves onward to the 
abode of thought ; ever we must understand that 
the grief which good and bad alike experience 
always and in every station of life is the ennui of 
the spirit, the burden of years, of misgivings, of 
remorses, under which we stumble on to the final 
city. The knowledge of earth will not content 
us; friendship is incomplete, has no strength. 
Love is but a poor makeshift for the Divine Love, 


116 A Legacy. 

which asks repentance and fully embraces the 
penitent. Riches are but the gorgeous flowers 
of the landscape^ which we may behold but 
never gather; sensual pleasures a brute mad- 
ness^ which cripples our limbs^ and gives us no 
strength to move^ takes from us the desire of 

July 14. — ^I have been ill from June 4th. On 
June 8rd went to London for my Whitsun 
holiday^ having at the same time a cold. That 
cold developed into congestion of the left lung, 
and thence passed into pneumonia. Returned 
home on the 9th June^ and have during all this^ 
period (five weeks to-day) been under the 
doctor's hands, at one time dangerously ill. 
Thank God, I am now better, though weakened, 
but hope to recommence my work next Monday 

The weather is most summer-like. The eye 
is met on every side by vegetation, luxuriant 
and green. It seems, indeed, like a new life to 
me, to rise from the bed of sickness, and 
behold this glorious time. I might, but for the 

A Legacy. 1 J 7 

mercy of God, be now under the ground, food 
for worms. 

A feeling of thankfulness therefore animates 
me, in addition to the joy I experience at seeing 
the cold unfruitful days gone, and the time of 
haymaking, flowers, and fruits, set in. 

July 27. — ^Thank Heaven, I have been per- 
mitted to renew my bread-work. Till I reach 
the end of life, I desire strongly to earn my 
bread independently and honourably. God gives 
me the power to do it in both ways still. I 
have found, what with the hot weather, and my 
weakness, some difficulty in going on with the 
•duty, but I feel myself gaining in strength, and 
my spirits are in nowise depressed. Although 1 
Am solitary, I am not without society ; that, 
namely, of the great spirits of the past, who, to 
me, almost exist. At all events they are nearer 
to me than my contemporaries, for my position 
takes from me, or, rather, prevents me from 
gaining the society, the conversation, the friend- 
ship, of the wise, the learned, and the good ; and 
there is in me no inclination for any acquaint^ 

118 A Legacy, 

ance iritli^ or friendsliip with the general run of 

Sent a letter to Mrs. C.^ a few days ago^ 
asking for leave to issue a modest volume of 
verse. Her answer is decisive : *' Gro on with 
courage. Send the result from time to time. 
When I see anything likely to suit a magazine^ 
it shall be ventured. Never despair. So much 
has been done that the rest is sure to follow.'^ 
I am therefore not to publish. This fiat must 
be accepted. " The rest is sure to follow.*' Yes^ 
if I live long enough, 

I gain every day^ and lose nothing. But 
what avails all progress to a far-off goal^ if a 
barrier is met with at the outset, which cannot 
be surmounted ? Death is to me that impassable 
barrier. Good Mrs. C, doesn't perceive this. Her 
mind is masculine in its shrewdness and common, 
sense, although she is a very woman at heart. I 
hint at the possibility, I mean the probability, or 
my life abruptly terminating at no distant date, 
but I daresay she treats that as sentiment — a 
morbid feeling. The result most likely will be 

A Legacy. 119 

that^ though I have written thousands of lines^ 
some of them reaching to poetry^ I shall never 
see any of them printed. She wants me to 
wait and wait till I have written something verjr 
far superior to what I have yet done. She won't 
allow what all would-be poets have had — a first 
venture. She mentions the magazines^ but I 
don't care about them. Good poetry they very 
seldom contain. Verses, descriptive of society, 
of mawkish love, or of sentiments drowned in a 
mass of verbiage, form their chief approach to 
poetry. However, if I can overcome inertia, I 
shall try, but where's a subject ? 

I am reading the Life, by Boswell, of that 
sturdy Englishman and genius. Dr. Johnson. It 
does me good. I don't think I have read a 
work with such genuine pleasure and profit for 
years. I admire the uncouth, irritable, perse- 
vering scholar, who had to make his way un- 
aided through the world. I admire the Church- 
man — staunch, but not bigoted. Good heart, 
great mind, spite of dogmatism and rough 

120 A Legacy. 

Aug. 3. — ^Poor Padre (his father) died, aged 
sixty-five years. I might use the words of Bums^ 
and say — 

With such as he, where'er they be. 
May I be saved or damned ; 

But that I cannot perceive the possibility of 
endless punishment being assigned to one so 
meek^ so unfortunate, so regardful, though ia 
a, rather superstitious way, of his obligations to^ 
and dependance upon, the Almighty. May he 
rest in peace ! 

Aug, 10. — If this weary world were not 
illuminated now and then by acts of kindness 
and sympathy, how miserable we should be ! 
On every side of us, death, sin, and misery are 
seen, a mantle that almost shuts out heaven 
appears to be thrown over the face of nature. 
Well for us that the hope, the belief, in an after- 
world is strong within us, and that good hearts 
bear their testimony in good deeds to the divine 
origin of our race. A succession of days of 
forebodings, of mental and bodily pain, of that 

A Legacy. 121 

dryness of heart which is so devilish, so earthy, 
is followed now and then by holy thoughts, by a 
feeling that our hearts are softened, and ready 
to take any good impression that the Divine 
Spirit may desire to stamp upon them. God be 
thanked for these spiritual moments. 

I gain strength but slowly. The weather is 
most beautiful, the com is being cut down on 
•every side, the landscape presents nothing but 
loveliness and radiance. My appetite is good, 
^nd, under such favourable conditions, I ought 
to progress faster than I do. But then five or 
^ix days in the week, I am shut in a close room 
with fifty or sixty boys, and feel no strength nor 
inclination to ramble about in the evening. 
Health is wanted to enjoy the beauties of 
Nature. One can^t sit on a fence for several 
Lours watching the landscape. One needs a 
^certain amount of strength so as as to wander 
£*om one sweet place to another, and strength I 
Lave not. Besides, a friend is needed, full of 
^he poetic spirit; eager to perceive on every- 
thing around the "stamp of God,'' and such 

122 A Legacy. 

a friend is wanting. However, we can't have 

Aug. 19. — For the past week, a severe cold,, 
leagued with my weakness and the intense heat 
of the weather, has prostrated me bodily and 
mentally. I have crawled down to the school,, 
have remained there all day, with no appetite for 
the mid-day food I have brought with me, and 
rendered half-suffocated with the children^a- 
breaths. Thank Heaven, the cessation from 
labour has come ; for the next three weeks, at 
least, I shall be free from the grinding for daily 
bread. As I now write this, my cold, though 
broken, is still strong upon me ; an oppression 
at the pit of the stomach, which has been my^ 
pest ever since my illness, remains, and shows, 
no symptoms of a change. However, the kindly 
Providence may, in this interval of freedom from 
bread, work, strengthen me for the resumption of 
my daily task. 

This was not to be. The two pages that 
follow are written in a feeble, utterly 

A Legacy. 123 

changed hand-writing, which sufficiently 
shows how neax the end was approaching. 
It was in the midst of this iUness that he 
begged the curate, Mr. Blenkame, to 
write to me ; but I find no reference 
made to this or any other outside things. 
His physical sufierings must have been 
very great, too great for any thing beyond 
the mere endurance of them. 

Sept. 8. — Prom Monday, the Zlst August, up 
to within the last three or four days, has been 
for me a time of anguish unutterable. Took to 
my bed on the Tuesday, 22nd, and am now writ- 
ing this in it. Have been in a state bordering^ 
on madness, and have escaped death by the skin 
of my teeth, as Job says. God's divine mercy 
has alone snatched me from the jaws of deaths 
which I yearned and longed for in my suf- 

My profession I shall, if I get over thia 
illness, have to renounce. A long period of rest 
and careful treatment is what I want. These 

124 A Legacy. 

God may mercifully grant me. Above all may 
He put into me holy desires. May He help me 
to offer a contrite hearty broken with the 
thoughts of my unworthiness. May He forgive 
me all my offences and grant me eternal life^ 
through Jesus Christ, the loving and the good. 
His Son and my Saviour. 

Sept. 21. — ^Not yet permitted to breathe the 
outdoor air, though I am not confined to 
my bedroom. My progress is but slow, but 
it is sure. My appetite slowly improving, 
9& also my strength, though I am very weak 
yet. My stomach is altogether deranged, and 
my nights are troublesome. Added to these 
discomforts, I am like a hermit all day long. I 
«it, and brood, and read, but I have nobody to 
bear me company. Mr. B. looks in now and 
then for a little while — ^the doctor only comes now 
twice a-week, and there is only another person 
who gives me a call. Always used to the bustle 
and stir of school as I was, it is a real affliction 
to me to be condemned to sit in a little room 
all day long, from ten till ten, sometimes, or 

A Legacy, 125 

mostly with very insipid reading, constant indi^ 
gestion, and nothing to see through the window, 
except a cart rattling past now and then. But 
patience — patience. 

These are his last written words. Im- 
mediately after he must have left Great 
Easton for London, to visit his sister 
"Nelly" and her husband, en route for 
Dover, which he was fated never to reach. 
How I heard of his being ill, went to see 
him, and found him dead, has been already 
told. Of his last illness I have in vain 
tried to get particulars, the family having 
already " drifted away." The nearest re- 
cord attainable is a few words from his 
faithful friend Mr. Linklater, which I 

" You have asked me to tell you of poor 
John Martin's last illness and deatL I 
thought at the time how strange it was — 

126 A Legacy. 

the awful contrast between the scenes I 
then witnessed — the streets, full of infamy 
and riot, which I had to pass in visiting 
him, and the religious quiet of that poor 
room, where, laid along on the floor, his 
brave young life waa fighting with death. 
But with the incessant cares of the living 
and the dying upon me, I was unable at 
the time to write down facts or thoughts ; 
and in the whirl of life they have passed 
from me and are forgotten. 

" But John Martin himself we could never 
forget ; his life was too remarkable. It was 
a great shock when the messenger came to 
fetch me to his sister's ; but even that did . 
not prepare me for his condition. Terrible, 
and yet beautiful, it was to see the ema- 
ciated frame which enshrined that heroic 
-spirit, for he was a real hero. As I write 
I seem to see him sitting up, wrapped in a 
blanket, his long thin neck — as long and 

A Legacy. 127 

thin as St. Bernard's — (you will see it 
in the little sketch I made of him, the 
only portrait extant) — stretched out in eager 
watching for me, and his bright eye, as 
bright as ever, burning with the fire of 
intellect, for to the very last his mind was 
vigorous and clear, as if no decay of nature 
€Ould affect the soul. 

" I wish you had seen how patient he . 
was in his great sufferings, how gratefiil 
for all the care and kindness he received, 
how thoughtful for others, how humbly 
penitent concerning himself aad his own 
Ufe— that Ufe which to him seemed so 
faulty and misused, but to us and all who 
knew him most grand and noble. You did 
see his poor remains, the body from which 
the soul has fled, with the little pile of 
manuscript on a chair beside it— the Legacy 
which it had been such a consolation to 
him to leave to you. And that is aU he 

128 A Legacy. 

has left behind, except an influence which,, 
wherever it extended, was too strong soon 
to pass away." 

That it may not pass away, but may do- 
something of the good which he so longed 
to do, and died without doing, has been 
my hope in thus arranging and writing 
this book. 

As before said, Martin's poems, on which 
he set such store, are not by any means 
equal to his prose writings in the " Note 
Book." But I have chosen what seemed 
to me the best of them, which, with 
" Placidio" (his only complete work), follow 
here. I end this by what I conclude is the 
last poem he ever wrote — ^the final one in a 
new MS. book into which he had begun 
to copy what he evidently thought his best 
eflforts, with a view to publication. It is 
entitled " A Sonnet," and seems to refer to 
some new-bom babe — ^what child I know 

A Legacy, 129 

not, as his sister's infant, bom three weeks 
before his death, christened Johanna after 
him, and speedily following him to the 
other world, could not have been in exist- 
ence at the date of the sonnet. 

Meantime, as the last expression in verse 
of the spirit who knew not how near was 
its departure, to the little spirit unknown 
just entered into Ufe, the sonnet makes a 
fit conclusion to this simple, true, and 
unexaggerated histoiy. 

Balm in a bitter atmosphere of sighs ; 

Thou precious, fragile leaf on Adam's tree. 

Through tears mine eyes are contemplating 
thee, — 
Creature, whose greetings are low, piteous cries 

To creatures in Life's house of misery ; 
What canst thou utter of the starry skies. 
Whence thy pure, trembling spirit had its rise ? 

A river destined for a shoreless sea ? 

Alas I that knowledge may not ever be 

130 A Legacy. 

Till golden gates unbar^ and fill onr eyes — 
Earthly no more — ^with gleams of Paradise ; 

WLere, journeying to its dazzling centre, we 
The Primal Cause, supreme, and good, and wise. 

With holy adoration e'er shall see. 

As I write this last page,-being by 
chance away from home, but in a lovely 
and luxurious house, where the inner pea<5e 
is greater even than the luxury, — what a 
cruel, almost ghastly, contrast do they 
seem to make — such plenteous homes, such 
happy lives ! — to a life like this I am now 
recording ! So that, for the time being, our 
faith in the "Supreme and Good and 
Wise" almost totters to its foundation. 
And yet, thus thinking, with exceeding 
bitter thoughts, I hear rising up at this 
moment, from the chamber organ in the 
hall below my room, the music of Men- 
delssohn's wonderful heavenly song, " O 
rest in the Lord !" — A strange, almost 

A Legacy. 131 

staxtling coincidence ; — ^I take it as a 

So does lie rest — ^he to whom was never 
given his "heart's desire^' — ^who in vain 
"committed his way unto the Lord" — 
whose whole existence was " fretted with 
evil-doers," yet who did righteously and 
valiantly — ay, and pitifully and lovingly — 
among them all, to the bitter end. In 
this world he found no rest ; yet we must 
believe, if we believe anything, that now, 
in the fullest and divinest sense, John 
Martin " rests in the Lord." Amen. 




j^lN original, play. 



JBagatine. All I Imow about this coin is tbat it is 
mentioned as a Venetian coin, yalue one-tlurd of a 
£Eurthing, in Ben Jonson's ** Yolpone." I put it in here 
chiefly to suit the measure. 

PJaddio. I intended to represent Placidio as a Chris- 
tian, manly — cabn in the face of danger— resigned to the 
loss of worldly goods — ^kind, generous to the poor — ^not to 
the lazzaroni ; to be a model of placidity, in fact, without 
becoming spiritless. I am afraid he has degenerated in 
my hands. 

Maldenzio and Ambrose were meant to be two un- 
mitigated ruffians. I have moderated them — ^mindful of 
the last attempt. I hope they are not too blackly 



PiACiDio A Distressed Oentleman. 

Ambbose A Miser, 

Clemsnt A OoldsmUh— friend to Phxculio. 

Maldenzio .... Son to Ambrose. 

Claude Servant to Pladdio. 

-. > Two Poor Men. 


Thbee Magistbates. 

Three Officers. 

Bbenda Wife to PlcuMio, 

IsoLA. Niece to Pladdio, 

Guards, Attendants, Populace, ^& 
Scene : Albbnga ik Italy. 

Ante-chamber in Placidio's House. 

Enter Placidio with Coaso and Durano. 

Durano. Is't really so ? 
Corso. The noble Signor jests. 

Placidio, Alas I my honest friends^ I do not 

136 A Leffacy. 

From that high pedestal on which my wealth 
Nor virtues nor abilities did place me 
Above the sufFring brotherhood of men — 
Never in *heartfelt sympathy, as ye 
Can witness for me — I must soon descend. 
Men work and live, and I can work and live. 
Duroao. Alas, alas I 

Corgo. Can this be true ? 

Placidio. I am 

Beggar'd in fortune, not in health or honour. 
The heavens be thank'd I 

Duratw. Oh, this is doleful news. 

Corso. So ill I have not heard for many a 
*lacidio. 'Faith, you will see me in the market- 
ing an alms ere long ; till that time come, 
me distribute part of that which e'en 
liters moat exacting cannot claim, 
ive no right to hoard — what heav'n bestows 
uld be reflected, not absorbed — that makes 


A Legacy. 1 37 

Of tV sun's rays white — ^tliis black.* So every 

E'en as God's golden mercies strike it^ seems 
Or good or bad ; so friends enjoy with me. 
If but for one short month, what I can spare ; 
Take this, and this [gives them money), for ye 

are honest men. 
Durano. O, Heaven preserve you, sir ! 
Corso. The saints be bounteous to you, noble 


And thousandfold repay your kindness to us. 
Pladdio, No thanks; I am repaid because I 
Ye are not bearers of rehearsed tales. 
Hunger glares from your eyeballs ; send for 

At midday for your children, and my cook 
Shall pack a basket of good nourishing things 

* " What heaven bestows 
Should be reflected, not absorbed — that makes 
0' th' son's rays white— this black." 
This may appear far-fetched; the allusion is to the 
absorption of the sun's rajs causing the surface into 
which they are absorbed to appear black. 

188 A Legacy. 

For your sick wife^ Durano. Gro not hence 
Till ye have tried my meat and drink; my 

Will treat you as myself. You're shivering, 

Corso ! 
Why, man, you've but a dozen worn-out threads 
Hanging 'twixt you and this inclement weather. 
CoTBO. Observe it not, good sir ; Fm used to 

Placidio. Nay, nay, I have a cloak that's 
somewhat worn, 
Superior far to this — ^wilt please you wear it ? 
Corso. Aye, aye, and angels bless you for it, 
In truth, 'tis somewhat cold to-day. 

Placidio. Stay here. 

Anon I'll be with you. Pray seat yourselves. 

Corso. What think you of the gen'rous 

Signor's news ? 
Durano. Oh I sad, sad, sad I 
Corso. If he be ruined, then a hundred 

A Legacy. 139 

Suffering and mute^ will scare the public gaze^ 
Who now by careful toil and his assistance 
Life's heavy chain drag on. If this be true^ 
A thousand poor will lose the gentle father 
Who daily gives them bread. 

Durano. In truth they will. 

Ctyrso. 'Tis that overreaching blear-ey'd villain^ 
I do regard him as the author of 
The troubles of the good Flacidio. 
His breath's a plague — ^he has an evil eye. 

Durano. An evil eye I The saints be tender 
to usi 

Corso. Day after day Fve seen him crawling 
This house with heaps of papers. He's the mischief^ 
Depend you on't. 

Durano. Tet he's of gentle birth. 

Corso, Good birth^ base blood. 

Durano, His son^ Maldenzio^ 

He lodges at your house ? 

Corso. Aye, aye, but ne'er 

A ducat have I had since Peter's day. 

140 A Legacy. 

Durano, What is his disposition ? 

Corso. To encroach 

On others' slender store — with empty parse 
To act as thongh the town were all his own. 
A sponge, a cheating thief — will drink and fight. 
Make the whole street resound with hideous 

noise — 
Dire day when I did entertain him first. 

Durano. Rid yourself of him, then. 

Corso. He goes, and I 

Am ruin'd ; if he stays, I am undone ; 
In either case he is my plague. 

Durano {to Coeso). Placidio ! 

Re-enter Placidio. 

Placidio. Corso, the cloak {gives him cloak) ; 
no words — 'twill keep you warm. 
On with it, man, at once. And now descend — 
Claude will his guidance give— spare not the food; 
Hunger and cold are friends. Good-bye, good-bye. 
Corso. What shall I say for your great kind- 
ness, sir? 
Placidio. Nothing to me. 

A Legacy. 141 

Durano. My grateful thanks are due 

Placidio. To that Almighty Father who hath 
made me 
Almoner of His bounty — channel mean, 
Through which a stream of temporal blessings 

To Him raise thankful hearts ; assign to Him 
All earnest praise^ for He alone suggests 
The impulse good, the holy deed. We lack, 
Leaning upon our reed-like earthly strength, 
The wish, will, power to do what best Him 

friends, if ye would serve me, pray for me ! 

1 ask your prayers. 

Corso. Most fervent shall they be, 

O noble sir ! 

Placidio. Remember me, if need arise. 
Durano. The holy angels guard you, Signor I 

[Exeunt Cobso and Dubano. 
Placidio. What now I told these honest 
hearts is true. 
If help do not arrive from men or Heaven, 

142 A Legacy. 

I must relinquish plenty^ ease, and quiet ; 
Fare hard, lie hard, drink water, dress in rags ; 
Walk through the town with downcast eyes; 

None of my old companions, guests or friends ; 
Be seen by none i' th' broad noonday ; consort 
With those who eat and live and sin, and go 
Wailing into the night of horrible dreams ; 
♦Cursings for blessings hear. Yet is't not sin 
To paint so drear a landscape of my future ? 
And to imagine that heaven's golden sunshine 
Streaks not the gloomiest sky? Oh, 'tis in- 
Besides, 'tis nought but folly to be merely 
Slaves to our servants ; fixed in abject bondage 
To certain hours for food, to certain dresses. 

* " Cursings for blessings hear." 

The melancholy lines from Macbeth ran in mj mind 
while penning the above, so let me pnt them here : 

" That which should accompany old age — 
As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends, 
I must not look to have, but in their place 
Curses not loud but deep." 

A Legacy, 143 

Purple and silken^ to outstare our clocks^ 
"Waiting the coming of some tedious guest ; 
Our time^ our houses not our own ; our manners 
Settled before our coming into th' world, 
By menials base. 'Twere worth a dozen for- 
Freedom from custom's fetters, but for this — 
That scores of needy people whom we help 
To th' endurance of life's load, must now 
(Saying the interposing kindly hand 
Of Providence inscrutable) succumb ; 
Sobbing, lie down in th' broad highway and rot, 
Spum'd by men's hard and cruel feet. Supreme 
Father of aU, O pardon my presumption ! 
Let me not selfish be ; let me not ask 
Por a continuance of Thy gifts to me ; 
Sut to the sick and poor whom we have 

Mov'd thereto by no power but love divine. 
Bounteous as ever be. Thy messengers 
Only we are, ^nd Thou hast myriads more. 
Waiting Thy word to run on Mercy's errands 
To vile or good — ^to thankless souls and thankful. 

144 A Legacy. 

If Thou dismiss me from my stewardship, 
Grant that my actions past may front the sun- 
That come from Thee^ O radiant Son of Truth ! 

"Enter Claude, ushering in Ambrose. 

Ambrose. Where is your master ? 

Claude. Signor, I could have sworn that he 

was here. 
Ambrose. Do not protest. (Aside) Is't trickery ? 

Does he mean 
To shun me ? Fellow, I must see Placidio — 
Must ! Hear you that ? Art deaf ? 

Claude. I hear you, sir. 

Ambrose. Summon him hither; say a friend 

is waiting. 
Claude (aside). Ugh ! 'tis an ugly, withered, 

gum-ey'd miser I 
Friend ! An old wolf that's waiting for a 

Ambrose. Not gone I Away, thou villain ! 

Patience, patience I 

A Legacy, 145 

Claude, I will assure my master of your 

presence. \Ex%t. 

Ambrose, A friend — yes, that will bring him. 

He delights 
To hear the beggars call him friend. Oh, 

Oh, crown of folly ! Fool — ^he^s worse than 

!B^en now two sturdy knaves did pass me 

One had a cloak of slightly faded silk 
Given him by Placidio. ^Twould have fetched 
Ten ducats in the market-place ; in fact. 
If all his kindness was not given to beggars, 
He might have made the cloak a gift to me ; 
I need one sorely. But 1^11 sting him yet. 
Egyptian plagues the monks do drone about 
Were never worse than those 1^11 send. 1^11 

The utmost ducat ; his ancestral acres 
1*11 seize and portion ^mong a hundred servants. 
Reaping a harvest of revenge and gold. 
Hunger shall dog his footsteps everywhere. 
VOL. n. L 

146 A Legacy. 

♦Scorn's marginal finger with precision ever 
Shall point to his thin quivering form. IT-l 

All covering from him save foul rags — ^the ban- 
In Destitution's army— and expose him 
To icy wind and drenching rain. I hate him ! 
Yes, let those words have air, for pent they^ll 
choke me — 

I hate him I 

Re-enter Placidio. 

Placidio. Sir, you seem unwell. Be seated. 
Ambrose, Signor Placidio, if your memory 
serve you. 
To-day a sum of money changes hands. 
I have the parchment here. The full amount 
(Received by you from me at various times) 
Attains the sum of ju9t two hundred thou- 

Placidio. Alas, sir ! 

* This and the next line drawn partly from Shakspeare 
{Othello) ; partly from Massinger. 

A Legacy. 147 

Ambrose. Just two hundred thousand ducats. 
Then there^s the interest which on separate sums^ 
Advanced at diflPrent times within the year, 
I have computed. Here's the estimate 

\Gwes him paper. 
To reach the total, seventy thousand ducats. 
Is all correct ? 

Placidio. O Heaven be good to me I 

Ambrose. Now, Signor, I am ready to receive 
My money ; mark ! my money. FU not beg, 
Though this is Beggar's Hall. I'll ask no 

Nor batten on your leakings and your crumbs. 
My only business here is to receive 
The sum of money mentioned, lent in days 
When, as you said. Necessity did pinch you ; 
Lent on condition that to-day I should 
Have it returned with interest, or if not. 
The right was mine to squeeze from your 

My debf s last coin, you bearing all the charges 
"Which might in that just process be incurred. 
Now for my money, sir. 


J 48 A Legacy, 

Placidio, No days of grace ! 

Is not this sadden^ Signor? 

Ambrose. In tV agreement 

Is mention made of grace ? 

Placidio, Perhaps His not; 

Yet, knowing me so long — my late misfortunes, 
The value of my large estates — my honour. 
Which Fortune^s breath, tho^ foul, shall never 

stain — 
I did suppose that for a week or two 

Ambrose, O patience ! 

Placidio. Till I could make a last appeal for 
To distant friends, you would display some mercy. 

Ambrose. Is mercy in the bill ? 

Placidio. Ah, no, but I 

Ambrose. You'd trick me ! — never. Mercy to 
the winds I 
Oh I I did have some inkling of this when 
I first arrived to-day. And this is honour ! — 
This virtue ! — ^to make promises and break 'em. 
New-fangFd honesty is this, to squander 
With jaunty air the gold of other people 

A Legacy. 149 

On cut-throat thieves; and then to prate of 

mercy ! 
O patience, patience I 

Placidio, Will you hearken to me ? 

Ambrose. No, ^tis a monstrous plot I 

Placidio, Pray do not shriek. 

Ambrose. Not shriek ! Fll please myself. I 
am your master — 
Lord of this mansion. Pll dismiss the servants ; 
A beggar wants no slaves. Why, I am rich — 
Not over rich — and Vye no servants. You 
Own not the shoes you wear, yet you must have 
Your cooks, your man, your maids, your lackeys, all 
Sucking the life-blood of my ducats. Cheat ! 
Bobber ! I'll have you whippM through all the 

town ! 
Look to it. I 

Placidio. Will you have patience, sir ? 

Nay, but I will be heard. Pray calm yourself. 
Give me your hearing. If you^ll not, these walls 
Shall be the dull recipients of your threats. 
'Tis true I have not scraped the sum you name. 
But I have quite two-thirds. 

1 50 A Legacy. 

Ambrose. Yon nam'd not this 


Placidio, Your violence did prevent me, sir. 
Malice will stir up Anger e'en to deeds 
That Anger's -self would blush at. Listen to me. 
Ambrose. I did not dream of this. He must 

have friends (aside). 
Placidio. I am in hopes that by the disposition 
Of my estates I shall be barely able 

To settle all your claims ere long, and then 

Ambrose. What hope you, then ? 

Placidio. I shall have scarce a ducat. 

Ambrose (aside). He underrates the value of 

his lands. 
Placidio. And shall be forced to toil for daily 

Ambrose. This comes, Placidio, of your thrift- 
less folly. 
Placidio. But life is more than food, the Lord 

has said. 
Ambrose. Your reckless giving has this ruin 

Placidio. Not reckless, Ambrose. I did but 

A Legacy, 151 

Treasures which Heaven ne'er meant for me alone. 
Gold is not all in all. 

Ambrose, ' To me it is — 

My food and drink^ my clothes^ house^ friends, 

and pleasure. 
What's there to live for but to gather gold ? 
'Tis bright as sunshine^ smooth as silk ; and when 
You let a thousand ducats gently glide 
From purse to chest, what sweeter music is 

there ? 
Placidio. In loving words more dulcet music 

And in th' eternal realms of glory where 
Love radiant sits upon his ivory throne. 
Such rapt'rous strains in perfumed ripples float 
As drown the memory of all earthly griefs. 
Would I were there 1 

Ambrose. Your vision must be keen 

To penetrate the ceiling and the clouds. 
Come, let's to business. 

Placidio. Aye, to business. 

One minute, sir, and I will be with you, and 
Your papers will peruse. [Exit. 

152 A Legacy. 

Ambrose. I marvel much 

Whence all this gold did spring. He must have 

Yet I was told that those to whom this mansion 
Open at all times was^ had him denied 
The smallest aid — ^had passed him in the streets ; 
Traduced his honour in the highest places. 
Bah, I have heard myself their whisperings — 

He has been parsimonious in his household, 
Else friends mysterious have their help afforded ; 
Perchance the fortune of his niece has swollen 
The sum prepared for me. I did expect^ 
At highest computation, not one-tenth. 
A wall confronts me. Shall I take the gold ? 
Or make demur because 'tis but a part ? 
His lands would pay me hugely, and would 

My hatred ; but these ducats once refused 
Might ne'er be offered more. Strange things do 

Ill take the portion on the understanding 
That by this time to-morrow the remainder 

A Legacy. 153 

Will wait my pleasure^ else the lands are for- 
Not one day more I'll give. 

Re-enter Placidio. 

Placidio. Compute these bags. 

Ten are there^ each contains one thousand ducats. 
This is a bill on Clement. 

Ambrose. Oh, the goldsmith ! 

{Aside) He is the fount of gold. I mark you, sir^ 

Placidio, For thirty thousand ducats, here are 
Which I from time to time have placed aside 
For the extinction of my debt ; they make 
The balance of the sum I proflFer you. 

Ambrose. Clement the goldsmith ! 

PlacidiOi He's my creditor 

For that large bill, but he's a man will wait 
The turn of Fortune's tide. 

Ambrose. Placidio, grace 

You did entreat just now. I'll give you grace 
Till noon to-morrow ; at that time expect me. 
Have every ducat counted out; no more. 

1 54 A Legacy. 

Move Etna if you will, but I am fix'd ; 

No words, no sighs, no tears. FU have my own. 

Only on this condition I renounce 

My instant right to seize this house, your lands. 

Your goods, your body even : nay, speak not. 

For stipulated 'twas that on this day 

("Tis in the bond), my money not forthcoming, 

You lost the title to your lands ; became 

A slave, a chattel ; yet relenting, I 

Grant mercy, grace — [ande) two words that 

cover weakness. 
He takes the bait. I'll store these words for 

use — 
(Aloud) Till next noonday this signature renew. 

[Placidio siffns. 
'Tis shaky, Signor, but 'tis legible. 
Now let me cage afresh these tiny coins 
That far surpass all b.irds in music sweet. 

ICounts money. 

Placidio comes forward. 

Placidio. 'Tis done, and we are beggars ; if 

A Legacy, 155 

He did present himself — another coin^ 

Had it the power to stop his threats and curses^ 

I scarce could find. Yet I am nearly free 

Of debt, foot-haunting and nerve-weak^niug 

spectre ! 
The sword, suspended by a single hair 
(To which mine eyes have been in voiceless 

Fastened in midst of mirth and pleasant feasting). 
At length has fallen, and, the Heavens be praised. 
Has left me life and hope — ^but Brenda, she. 
My poor affectionate, I grieve for her. 
'Tis I who should have interposed my prudence. 
My love as barriers Against keen boisterous winds ; 
Yet I have left her to the ruthless blasts. 
I have withdrawn from her the gifts of Fortune, 
Misfortune's nauseous cup to her I bring, 
And she, my sweet, will meekly drink and cast 
No looks reproachful on me. For the rest. 
Those suffering friends of mine excepted, whom 
God will provide another patron for, 
I have no care ; my arm is worthless if 
It cannot carve a way to honest bread. 

156 A Legacy, 

Ambrose. Signor Placidio. 

Placidio. Find you all correct ? 

Ambrose. 'Tis, to the bagatine. 

Placidio. My servant will 

Assist you in the carriage of these bags. 

Ambrose. Nay, nay ; no help. 

Placidio. You will be sorely weighted. 

Ambrose. Gold is no burden on its owner^s 
But mark, to-morrow ! I'll be punctual ; be you 
Ready for me. 

Placidio. I will endeavour, Signor. 

Ambrose, Endeavour fits the mouths of feeble 
The strong use sturdier words. Howbeit I 
Care not a jot which is th' alternative. 
Ducats are welcome ; land is welcome too ; 
Be you prepared. [Eunt* 

Placidio. On which side succour lies 

I can perceive no sign. 'Tis sorrow^s gall 
To forfeit my estates ; what help is there ? 
Alas, with straining eyes I see none; dark 
As jet the future is upon this matter. 


A Legacy, 157 

Where can I best retrench ? Luxurious living 
Some time we have eschewed ; we have dismissM 
A score of servants, yet what help ? I cannot 
At moment's notice gather money enough 
To satisfy the claims of Ambrose. Time 
Is what Fve ask'd to mend in my estates 
The ravages of servants whom I trusted 
Too long, too long ; but this he will not give 

Else in a year I could discharge all claims. 
He seems to hate me. Why I know not, for 
I hardly dreamt of his existence till 
I found myself encumberM. Let me think : 
Whom have I tested ? Innocenzio, who 
Did taunt me with almsgiving ; he's unmask'd 
For ever to me. Also proud Bertroni, 
Who made no sign of recognition when 
I passM him yesterday. There's Pazzo too, 
Whom I esteem'd as noble as his house ; 
He must descend from Friendship's height ; his 

Was icy cold ; he did anticipate 
My sad appeal by lamentations o'er 

158 A Legacy. 

Losses unreal^ unreal ; or Heaven forgive me ! 
Well, I must not lose heart. 

Enter Bbxnda. 

My darling, heap 
Reproaches on my head. 

Brenda. Wherefore, Placidio ? 

Placidio. To penury I drag you down ; dis- 
I strew along your future path of life ; 
Hunger I make attendant on your footsteps. 
Too fair you are and tender to be yok'd 
With me in Misery's fetters. 

Brenda, O my husband ! 

Let me implore you to have faith in me. 
You wound me by your self-reproaches, His 
As if my flame of love were cooler grown. 
Or burnt less brightly in these sombre days. 
I am not changM ; you are my greatest treasure^ 
Dearer to me than aught that gold can buy. 
The honour and nobility of soul 
Which helpM to centre all my love upon you, 
I still perceive in all their primal splendour. 
Darling, I have been sharer in your pleasures. 

A Legacy, \ 59 

Put upon me a portion of your trouble, 

With Kght and wiUing spirit I will bear it. 

Trust to me, my Placidio. 

Placidio. Providence ! 

I thank thee for this noble creature's love. 

Sweet, you are generous to me. 

Brenda. Nay, my love. 

Placidio, Ambrose has just departed. 

Brenda. I beheld him. 

Placidio. He gives but one day's respite. 

Brenda. . Surely he 

Must be a cruel man. 

Placidio. That time expired, 

Unless a hundred thousand ducats wait 
His coming, he'll have right by our agree- 
To seize this house, my lands, and whatsoe'er 
Be wanting to make up the balance due ; 
What disencumber'd floats above the wreck. 
Will not be ours but Clement's. 

Brenda. Well, Placidio, 

Now is the time to prove the value of 
Those holy lessons we have conn'd together. 


160 A Legacy. 

A power exists above us, full of mercy. 
Showered like sunshine through the gloomiest sky. 

Placidio. They^ve not been learnt in vain. 

Brenda, You mentioned Clement, 

Kind-hearted Clement. He's been absent lately. 

Placidio, Progresses he in favour with Isola ? 

Brenda. She will not entertain his love pro- 
posals ; he 
But mentions what he has at heart, and pride. 
Anger, disdain, do make an ugly mask. 
Which hides her beauty while he's in the room ; 
She looks most loathsome then; when he with- 
The evil vizor fades beneath her smiles. 
And by the contrast she more lovely seems. 

Placidio. Strange girl she is. 

Brenda. Aye, full of contradictions ; 

Proud, yet submissive to severe rebuke 
When conscious of her fault. She walks as if 
This house a palace were, and she a queen; 
Yet gossips with the servants. Jewels rare 
She loves to fasten in her splendid dresses 
Only when in the house — abroad she'll wear none. 

A Legacy. 161 

Placidio. Yes, yes, she is a riddle; but to 
Good Clement — 'tis more Sphinx-like — rich he is. 
Brenda. Well-favour'd, young, accomplished, 

brave, and good. 
Pladdio. The prop of our declining house ; the 
Friend we have found in our adversity. 
These might possess no weight with her, but, 

The sight of so much loving true devotion 
Should passionate love inspire ! 

Brenda. She may relent ; 

May with clear vision see his manly virtues ; 
Feel in her heart Love's sunbeams. 

Pladdio. Time brings all. 

Our hopes, the buds of sorrowful years, will grow 
To flowers of texture rare and golden hue ; 
TheyTl float towards us on Life's circling stream ; 
Patience their air and sunshine. I must out^ 
Dear wife, in search of help. I've not exhausted 
My list of friends ; I'll visit Pilippo, 
Though I mistrust him. Grave Fabricius, 
VOL. n. M 

162 A Legacy. 

Surely, will help me ease this falling weight — 
Keep heart, my Brenda. 

Brenda, Trust me, husband ! May 

The saints remove all obstacles, and speed 
Your errand. Heaven be with you ! [Exit. 

Placidio. O my darling ! 

Thy love has made me strong. Misfortune^s 

Shall still retain their venom — upraise the giver 
Of this most virtuous woman. What is Sorrow ? 
A phantom seen through childish tears. What 

Could touch me like the loss of virtue ? She 
Is virtue incarnated. I can welcome. 
Cheered and sustained by her, all earthly ills. 
Now for more testing of these worldly friendships, 
Which have foundation on the grasp of hands. 
The eating of a score or two of dinners, 
Smiles all constrained, speech insincere and 

foolish — 
Yes, let me test them ; His as well to know 
Whom I maylove as friend or shun as foe. 


A Legacy. 163 

SCENE IT.— ^ Street. 

Enter Clement. 

Clement. I wonder how the good Placidio fares ; 
Hardly, I fear, with Ambrose. Oh, His sad 
That noble natures so depress^ should be ; 
Should hold so low a place in Fortune^s favour 
As to be scorned by meanest of her thralls. 
Enough it were to sever the allegiance 
Which Heaven on us imposes, and to make 
Our spirits wildly free in their despair ; 
But for the knowledge that our thoughts and 

Evil or good, become attendant angels : 
Stem fates, unswerving ministers of justice. 
Leading us imperceptibly but surely 
*To glorious vindication or to torture. 


' * "To glorious vindication," Ac. 
This and the four preceding lines form an amplification 
of the noble truth contained in the following lines — 

" Our acts our angels are, or good or ill 
The fatal shadows that walk by us stilL" 

" jTfee Honest Man* 8 Fortune" of Beaumont and Fletcher. 

M 2 

164 A Legacy. 

Joy is there for Placidio in this truth ; 

For he's a man whose calm integrity 

Is flower and crown and angel of all virtues ; 

This thought contents me. Now one glance at 

thee — 
O most sweet pride I bewitching arrogance ! 

\Tdkes picture from his pocket. 
Thus will I serve thee {kisses it), aye, thy breath- 
ing self, 
Not merely this dull shadow of thy features. 
Win thee I will ; in spite of thy rejection 
Of my pure fervent love. I'll ne'er resign thee 
To spendthrift, vicious, dull Maldenzio. 
A hero thou dost picture him ; thy fancy 
Has wrapped him in most gorgeous golden threads ^ 
But he's poor stuff in spite of all. The devil 
Appears! — perchance to vindicate himself; 
His majesty looks haggard ; dress and aspect 
Give token of wild revelry, prolonged 
Till dawn did streak the sky with trembling gold. 

Enter Maldenzio, 
Maldenzio. Well, Master Goldsmith I 


A Legacy. 165 

Clement, Is't well ? Art sure ? 

Look, look around you ! Buy a mirror ! Listen 
To wasplike words that buzzing fill the air. 

Maldenzio. What mean you? 

Clement. I did give you metal ; make 

Coin to suit your fancy and your purse. 

Maldenzio. This sounds like insolence. 

Clement. Your ear is good. 

Maldenzio. And merits chastisement. 

Clement. Ah, if we all 

Received what we did merit, much I marvel 
How one of us has 'scapM the gleaming axe. 

Maldenzio. All plagues thy portion be ! — I 
see thou^rt bitter. 
The cause I guess. Placidio^s beauteous niece 
Upon me streams the sunshine of her smiles, 
Bestows on thee chill frowns, d^ye mark ? 

Clement. Proceed. 

Maldenzio. Thou hadst a pride inordinate to 
That she, descendant of a noble house. 
Aye, in its day most princely and most strong. 
Second to none e^en now in all Albenga, 


1 66 A Legacy, 

Would from her lofty height of birth descend 
To mate with thee. 

Clement. You have not finished yet. 

Maldenzio. 'Tis good, you understand me — 

still be sour ; 
Be liberal with your groans — theyTl form my 

music ; 
Still vent your spleen upon the empty air. 
Avert thine eyes in future from Isola ; 
She likes thee not — thou'rt odious to her. I, 
Besides, may this demand of thee, for mark, 
She's mine I She loves me with entire devotion. 
I pierce you there ; this information will, 
I doubt not, -sicken your aspiring boldness. 
And purge you of conceit. In future youTl 
Be meek and humble as befits your state. 

Clement. You'll die an advocate, Maldenzio, 

I wear no prophet's mantle, yet will swear 
One day you'll need your utmost pleading 

Practise your art meanwhile — thus, ''Noble 


A Legacy. 167 

I am a poor^ but honest gentleman^ 

Whose life has always blameless been and 

useful^' — 
Then roughly dash a dozen tears away. 

Maldenzio. This is outrageous folly ! 1^11 be 

Clement. Stay, stay; or bend your shoulders 
as if Fortune 
Had weighted you beyond your straining 

And feebly smile, and speak in falt^ng accents, 
Or thrill the court with fiery eloquence ; 
Deny the awful charge with solemn gestures. 
That seem to fan the air like eagle's pinions — 

Anger's keen lightnings streaming from your 

Maldenzio. Oh, I am mock'd ! [Offers to go. 
Clement. Maldenzio, if you'll go 

Let these words linger in your ear ; dost know 
What galls one in thy news about Placidio's 
Most tender lovely niece? 

Maldenzio. I know it well. 

Clement. That she has scorn'd my offers of 
affection ? 

168 A Legacy. 

Maldenzio, What else? what else? thy dis- 
appointment makes 
For me a sweeter comfort than her love. 

Clement. No, virtuous, brave Maldenzio, thou'rt 
I will reveal the source of my regret : 
'Tis that so fair a lady should be dazzled 
By such a glittering worthless toy as thou. 

Maldenzio. My malediction on thee I All 
Come thronging to thy body on the instant ! 
Clement. Oh, you are good at cursing. 
Maldenzio. I will thrust 

This dagger in your knavish mouth ; I'll 

Your insolent red rag forth, and consign it 
To scorching fire ! 

Clement: 'Tis tragedy ! You will 

An advocate and player be, O Nature ! 
I did not dream that thon hadst hidden fire 
In watery clay like this, 

Maldenzio. Dog, cease your insults ! 

[Offers to stab Clement. 

A Legacy, 169 

Clement, Return that plaything to its sheath. 
I wear a dagger ; it has been used ; a goldsmith 
May be a man of honour and of courage. 
I claim both titles. Do not doubt my claim ; 
I've made it good by fighting for my towns- 
And can confirm it here. Put up your dagger^ 
Or, by the heaven above, 1^11 trample on you ; 
Aye, in the public way, and leave a token 

[Maldenzio sheathes the dagger. 
Traced by my dagger's point, in crimson letters. 
Of my goodwill upon your scowling face. 
Me tempt not to this act retributive ; 
Let once the floodgate of my anger open 
I know not when 'twill close. Beware ! beware ! 
Vaunt not your conquest of that lady's heart, 
Gain'd, if 'tis gain'd, by dark insidious means ; 
Let not your wine-parched Ups, whence execra- 
Steam forth upon the putrid air thou breathest, 
Utter her name — one word respecting her — 
If thou dost value life. 

1 70 A Legacy. 

Maldenzio. Then I am threatened ! 

Clement. Silence ! Where is your reason to be 
wrathful ? 
^Tis noble souls alone feel righteous anger ! 
And you are base and earthy. Pah ! I shall 
Swoon if I longer breathe this air ; a thing 
You are to be despis'd, avoided, laughed at, 

Hated by all who know your history. 

Maldenzio. And must I tamely all endure ? — 
threats, taunts? — 
A horrible revenge shall follow this. 

Clement. Now ponder well my words : make 
no more boasts 
That you've been favoured by Placidio's niece. 
Exult, if you have reason, silently ; 
My. friends are numerous — be you sparing then 
Of haughty vauntings and of murderous threats. 

Maldenzio. O hate ! ni choke ! What shall I 
do ? Perdition ! 
Ill after him and stab in the back ; 
His carcass hew into a thousand pieces 

A Legacy, 171 

And toss them to the birds. There's danger in't ; 
Xet me be calm and cool. TU make revenge 
My work, food, drink, and sleep ; 1 will employ 
The surest^ keenest dagger in Albenga. 
I stung the vile mechanic sorely with 
The mention of Isola. He's persuaded 
That 1 have gained her love. Well, let him think it, 
'Twill add an anguish to his death. In truth 
She's given me small encouragement, tho' I 
Have had my best adornment on, when access 
To her proud presence has been gain'd. Her 

Simple Placidio and his wife, their guest 
In happier times did make me ; many a song 
Of love impfission'd sang I to Isola. 
Sometimes her eyes would glisten, fiU with tears ; 
The music was so sweet, she said. How gracious ! 
How lovely seem'd she then ! One day I 

To speak of my affection for her ; dark 
Her face did grow and threat'ning ; higher grew 
Her stature ; hard and chilling were the accents 
In which she bade me cease my childish ravings. 

172 A Legacy. 

Lately I have not seen her^ but 'twould be 
The crown of my revenge if I could win her. 
She has a fortune — small — but very rich 
'Twould make me till old Ambrose poisons^ 

Or drowns himself, and — wonder ! here he comes. 

\Beitres behind. 
Enter Ambrose. 
Ambrose, Ambrose exult, all things go well 

with thee ; 
More gold to add to thy rich store — prospect 
Of lands which at low estimate will yield 
A large and certain fortune — add to these, 
The glutting of the hate thou bear'st Placidio. 
Why, man, thou'rt Fortune's kinsman I Yes, 

ni leave him not a ragged cloak for covering ; 
A mouse shall starve for any crumbs that I 
Will leave within the house ; the idle rogues. 
His servants all, shall starve, or beg, or steal; 
Placidio, Brenda with them. Not a finger. 
Though Ruin's gulf beneath them yawn, will I 
Stretch forth to their deliverance — precious gold ! 

A Legacy, 173 

I must not thee display. Oh, pleasure rare 

FU have to-night in th^ counting ! Saints 

preserve me ! 

Maldenzio (coming fortvard). Father, I startle 


Ambrose. I flutter yetj 

Knows he the costly load I bear ? 

Maldenzio, Art well ? 

Ambrose. Aye, sturdy ; full of health ; wince, 

wince, shed tears j 

Bemoan thy fortune ; curse thy star malignant ; 
Conjure up visions of all plagues ! Thy fancy 

Wildly thou mayst indulge, for aught I care. 

Yes, I have ta^en another lease of life. 

Since from thy presence Fve been freed ; thy ^ 

Thy drinking songs, thy gluttony and waste. 
Were poison to me. 

Maldenzio. If it had stranger been, 

I now were master of his oaken chest. 
{Aside) Most bravely deckM, a blaze of 

jewels; purse. 
CrammM e'en to bursting with all sorts of coins — 

^ I 

174 A Legacy. 

Crowns, ducats, bagatines. Oh, wretched life \ 
That intercepts my view of so much splendour. 
What I Shall I kUl ? Oh, torture ! 

Ambrose. "lis thy anguish 

To know that I am healthful ; quit my path. 
For I have instant business, dost thou hear ? 
Obstruct me not. 

Maldenzio, O worthy father, hear me ! 

Ambrose, Mischief is in^t. 

Maldenzio. I am sorely straitened ; 

My money spent, my credit gone ; starvation 

Will gnaw my heartstrings speedily, if help 

Come not from thee. . 

Ambrose. Away, away, then, thief! 

Die, rot, no help 1^11 give thee ; I have sworn it. 

This oath I'll keep. Hence, loathsome prodigal ! 

Off to thy gambling and thy drinking. Beg 

A paltry diicat from thy vile companions ; 

Swill, steep thy muddy brains, then reel away 

To rags, to crusts, to straw, to dirt. I hate thee ! 

For thou hast brought dishonour on me*. Quit 

My sight, abhorred villain, ere I strike thee. 

Aside, aside ! \Exit. 

A Legacy. 175 

Maldenzio. 'Tis madness^ or a dream 

Of hell and all its tortures I Why, why, can 
This be Maldenzio ? Clement, then, my father, 
Spum'd, threatened, treated like a foolish child — 
My dagger ! No, no, no ! The witnesses 
Are many. Oh, I dream, I dream, I dream ! 

A Legacy. 

ACT 11. 

Scene I.-:— itoont in Placidio's Hotise. 

Enter FiACtDto. 
'acidio. Ambrose 'will soon be here, and I 
mnst uerre 

:lf to bear tmfliiichingly bis threats, 
e not for chill jntverty, but bitter, 

stinging, irould the thought be that my 

stain'd by thriftless wasteful acts. He'll 


been regardless of my creditors ; 

; spent, ignoring lawful claims upon me, 

ey in helping poor and aged persons 

m he persists in calling idle beggars. 

istly he will charge me, for the Power, 

views serenely all the storms of life 
1 seat secure and high, vill me acquit 
(ty act dishonest. Noble Clement 
er did hasten yesterday to learn 

A Legacy. 177 

"What was to be my fate at Ambrose' hands ; 

He comes again to cheer me. Strange 

That those on whom we've raised our highest 

Of sympathy and help, in days of sorrow 
Should like weak things of air collapse and 

bring us 
To depths of poignant anguish. I have tried 
The remnant of my friends without success ; 
Either &om lack of will or power they all 
licave me to struggle with unpitying foes. 
Poor Brenda ! poor Isola ! Well, I must 
Not seem unduly anxious, but must carry 
Through all this weary day a cheerful presence, 
Why not a hopeful heart ? Oh, 'tis the devil ! 
(Made by a superflux of food and drink. 
Pictures, luxurious wrappings, and soft couches. 
Sleek, pamper'd horses and gay chariots) 
That binds us down to earth with fleshly 

Oh, this it is that makes the unseen heaven 
To us insipid as th' invisible air. 
This devil that renews itself each day, 

178 A Legacy. 

Growing with growth, and strengthening with 

our strength, 
Is that for whose destruction imminent, 
I almost seem to sorrow, not to pray. 
What can we lose ? Not life — for poorest fuel 
Sufficient is for that small subtle fire ; 
Nor queenly honour, for in humblest heart, 
As in a palace, she herself enthrones. 
If it be void of evil, nor respect. 
From those who walk the earth as hidden 

Let down on viewless wings from happy heaven : 
For they have spiritual eyes that pierce all 

Let me no more be downcast. Providence — 
Whatever Thou orderest, let me own Thy wisdom. 
Nor seek to question Tliy supreme decree. 

"Enter Isola. 

Isola. I know not what to think. My uncle 
A brave face on, and talks of Heaven^s will ; 

A Legacy. 179 

Says honest breads however coarse, will nourish ; 
Declares that gold is dross. All this should 

Sure ruin, abject beggary. Oh, I 
Do wish this day were over ! Ambrose comes 
This hour to claim his own ; how will it end ? 
Has he the power he vaunts, to seize this house, 
Casting us forth into the cheerless street 
Without a coin or garment ? O sweet saints. 
Expose us not to this calamity. 
So sudden, so severe. The goldsmith comes, 
He has been liVral to my uncle. Well, 
'Twill be investment safe, he thinks ; my eyes 
Are keen enough to pierce the gilded goodness. 
But Pll sav little. Does he love me ? Yes ! 
One whispered word from me (but 1^11 not give 

Would His overweening confidence repels 

He's not so handsome as Maldenzio, 
Yet looks he noble. There's a kindly smile 
Ever within his eyes — ^brown eyes. His voice 
la melody, but then his words are sweeter. 



180 A Legacy. 

I do forget myself; he^s but an upstart — 
Nothing but gold to brag of. All my jewels 
Last eve I gave Plaeidio ; nothing's left 
Of all my beauteous treasures and my fortune 
But this small ivory cross. I'll dress myself; 
Clement — O thoughtless girl ! — will enter soon. 
What dress ? The purple one he most admires ; 
But I'll not wear what pleases him. The saints 
Above be guardians of our lives and fortunes ! • 


Enter Placidio and Clement. 

Plaeidio, No, no, brave, noble heart, ni hear 
no more. 
'Twould be an act most infamous to drag thee 
Beneath the toppling fabric of my fortunes. 
It is intensity of grief that in 
Impending ruin two fair delicate creatures 
Should be with me involved. Oh, there's my 

sorrow ! 
Deeper that sorrow than if to a friend. 
Constant and full of sympathy as thou. 
Like trouble I should bring. 

A Legacy. 1 S I 

Clement. O sir, my wealth 

Chiefly consists in power to help the good. 
We^l have no writing. Listen ! I am willing 
To put my future in your hands. ^Twill not 
Be given, but lent. Retrieve your land ; dismiss 
The miser to his cobwebVd den ; appoint 
Trustworthy men to manage your affairs. 
Accept this bill for ninety thousand ducats, 
And make me humbly happy. Pray you take 

No bond shall be between us. 

Pladdio. O my friend, 

It is an act unwise ; indeed, words fail me ; 
But I Thy hand again. [Takes his hand, 

Clement. Most worthy Signor, 

I do rejoice that I can serve you now. 
Let Ambrose come ! You are prepared, thank 
Heaven ! ^ 

Placidio. Why, you have scarce a ducat more 
than this. 

Clement. A thousand honest ways there are of 
The air and sunshine are a common portion ; 

182 A Ligacy. 

Food, wine, costs little. Good Placidio, you 
Will see that I am treading in your footsteps. 

Placidio. Thou wilt descend to wretchedness 
and want. 
Despoil thyself of life's gay ornaments— 
Which not phUosophy, nor pride heroic, 
Nor Christian calmness without pain surrenders— 
For me, for mine. Oh, never ! 

Clement. A refusal 

Will grieve me sorely. 'Tis no loss. I know 
Your honourable virtues ; all your past 
Stands like an open book, in whose clear pages 
Nobility of mind and soul is written. 
When you have freed yourself of debt to others, 
Why, then I know you'll think of me. Indeed 
I am indebted to you largely for 
Success in my vocation. But for you 
My wealth were not so great. Your patronage. 
Praises, wise counsels, friendly greetings, have 
Dull lethargy expell'd, bright hopes awakened. 
High resolutions in my mind fix'd firmly. 
Suflfer me, then, of these great obligations 
To now discharge a few. 

A Legacy. 183 

Placidio, I did not know thee 

In my most palmy days^ unselfish spirit ! 
I can but ofifer thee a worthless friendship. 
Which by-and-by the meanest will despise. 
Too late thy virtues like rare flowers expanded, 
Too late for me to meet them with like virtues. 

Clement. You praise above desert. O sir, 
This tribute to your virtues. 'Tis but little, 
But yet it is offerM with a willing heart. 
Once more resume your wonted dignity ; 
Once more disperse your sunny smiles abroad. 
And gladden honest hearts that droop and pine 
In the chill atmosphere of your misfortunes. 
Do not reject this offer — think again. 

Placidio. I have well thought. It cannot, 
must not be. 
'Tis late in life to brand myself as thief. 
Which I should be to use your wealth, believing. 
As I believe, that all I have will only 
Suffice to meet the claims of creditors. 
The margin must be small — thank Heaven for 

184 A Legacy. 

Why have I found such friends? Small my 

Isola yesterday her jewels gave ; 
Three days ago she forcM me to accept 
Her little fortune. ^T 'as, alas ! all gone 
To swell the chests of Ambrose. Not a word, 
Clement, my friend. I will not rob thee quite. 
Pray Heaven that &om the ruin of my house 
I may emerge, though stripped of Fashion's- 

With honour clear as crystal. 

Clement. That's assur'd. 

Ambrose across the square is shuffling. 

Placidio. Wait, 

And see what's destined for us. 

Clement. O sir, pardon 

What seems presumptuous in my speech ; but in 
Your dealings with that man of stony heart 
Remember that a humble friend is near. 

Placidio. Can I forget that thou art gen'rous 
to me. 
Too free, aye, most unjust towards thyself? 
Here is my hand again ; my heart already 

A Legacy, 185 

Has opened to receive a noble tenant. 
I can but thank thee^ and I must entreat 
That thou wilt cease to think of thy undoing. 
Our troubles pierce thee keenly. Oh, keep heart ! 
Lifers road most hilly seems at distance. Pain 
Weeps herself feebly into Pleasure's arms. 
The heavens are over all. Illusions are 
Our griefs as well as joys, if we will wait 
And view them calmly with keen Wisdom^s eye. 
I will return to thee. Observe these pictures. 
And now for Ambrose. \Ex%i. 

Clement, O thou princely heart I 

Thou hast the Roman dignity and courage ; 
The hostile earth assaults thy soul in vain. 
Thou seest unmoved the eager race for wealth, 
Thy spiritual eyes transfixed by forms celestial, 
Fall not to sordid earth. {Chanting heard.) The 

saints forgive me 1 
Forgetful I, ^tis holy Thomas* day (Goes to the 

Below the monks with chilly feet pass on. 
Attended by angelic choristers, 
A solemn strain pervades the &ozen air, 

186 A Legacy, 

The holy sign precedes. {Comes forward.) Life's 

a procession 
Which wise men have the privilege to leave ; 
They have a seat by Contemplation's side ; 
Thence view the onward march triumphal, and 
The dangerous rush^ the panic, and the halt. 
Oh, what a scene of Oriental splendour ! 
Oh, what a masquerade of crime and folly ! 
To what can be compared this mighty army ? 
A mirror, and a rainbow, and ap ocean. 
Wide-strewn with spars of many a gallant ship. 
Are separate things that it by turns resembles ; 
Keflecting foul deformity and beauty. 
Blending with skill the hues of joy and sadness. 
Flux and reflux — a ceaseless undulation — 
Tossing up fragments of dead hopes and fears. 
Kissing the air with dreamy pride, float on 
Ten thousand gorgeous banners, richly hu'd. 
Crimson and azure blue, and paly gold. 
Snow-white and purple, leafy green, emblazoned 
With records of historic chivalry. 
And words that gild themselves on Memory'swalls. 
Hark to the silver trumpets I List the strains 

A Legacy. 187 

Swimming upon the heavy odorous air. 
Like drowsy bees that glide from flowers delicious. 
See Laughter hand-in-hand with Woe ! See Fear 
Treading upon the heels of martial Valour ! 
Beggars most foul in aspect bend beneath 
The weight of that huge golden throne, inlaid 
"With precious gems, with silks o'ercanopied. 
In which the proudly-smiling Monarch sits. 
O life, thou art a problem which the wisest, 
The best, the oldest, have no skill to solve ! 

Re-enter Isola. 

Isola. I left my pictures here. I greet you, sir, 
Clement. And I return the greeting, lady ; you 
Are well in health ? 

Isola. I thank the saints and you, 

Signor, I am ; the mind alone is sick ; 
Anxious about the troubles of my kinsfolk, 
Which are indeed my troubles ; for I fall 
To poverty with them, or rise to plenty. 
As suits the humour of old Ambrose ; he 
Surely will not be stringent with my uncle ; 
He mustj he will relent. 

188 A Legacy, 

Clement. I feax not^ lady. 

{Aside) How well that purple dress becomes 

her ! He 
The reputation long has borne of being 
A man insensible to pity. Gold 
Is all he cares for. Not the Power Supreme, 
Nor guardian angels, nor the pitying saints 
Weigh in his estimation as a feather 
Against a dozen ducats ; he's been tested, 
Sued to, reproached, implored, by thousands, who 
Have gone to death with maledictions on him. 

laola, IVe heard strange rumours of his greed 
and crimes. 
I know of late his sternness to my uncle. 
But yet I thought the sight of our distress. 
The lustre of our name, my aunt's sweet temper. 
The unrepining calmness of Placidio, 
Might move him to withhold the rigid hand 
Of iron justice, and to act with mercy. 
Oh, if he will be stem, what hope for us ? 
Where shall we shelter seek? — on what exist ? 
How linger out a squalid starving life 
In grimy haunts of woe and pestilence ? 

A Legacy. 189 

An awful gloom hangs o'er our future pathway ; 
No ray of comfort breaks its dismal blackness ; 
No hands stretch out to lead us from our danger. 
Better it were to die than suffering live 
Devoid of home, wealth, friends. 

Clement, Nay, not of friends; 

My love, my sympathy, my life, my wealth. 
Are all at the disposal of your kinsfolk; 
Believe me, gentle lady. 

Isola. You have acted 

Most friendly to us. Signor, pardon me 
The seeming slight, 'twas not intended. Lately 
Sorrow has made me petulant, forgetful ; 
Bais'd up appalling visions to my mind ; 
The air seems poisonous ; every object near me 
My soul invests in its own gloomy colours. 
Thou hast alone befriended us. I know 
Our obligation's full extent. My thanks. 
My grateful thanks, I give thee, 

Clement, Dearest lady, 

I count it as a privilege that I 
Have been permitted by your noble uncle 
To sympathise, however feebly, with him ; 

1 90 A Legacy. 

No thanks I merit. O Isola^ pardon 
The tender boldness that my love gives birth to 
In letting fall the garments of cold courtesy ; 
Will you for ever be indifferent to me ? 
Will you not gild that marble haughtiness 
With sunny smiles of love ? 

hola. Avoid the subject I 

It well becomes you now to speak of love. 
But it is due to selfish calculation. 
This seeming sudden rapture, Master Goldsmith. 
Your thoughts are raised too high ; what would 

you have ? 
I marvel much that you have not ere this 
Allied yourself with the imperial house ; 
Ambition is not wanting, and ■ 

Clement. You affect 

To treat me as a menial. Nay, reply not ; 
You wrong. yourself and me by such behaviour; 
For saving your transcendent loveliness. 
The sterling goodness of your disposition. 
Which — I must give this medicine — you conceal 
Beneath proud looks or patronising smiles, 
You have no room for any exultation. 

A Legacy. 1 9 1 

Your edifice of scornful pride is raisM 
Upon a mouldering heap of dead men's bones ; 
Your station is an unsubstantial things 
Dragged from the mists of a bewildering past, 
To awe the common folk. My honour springs — 
Thank Heaven ! — from worthy deeds and aspira- 
Its music is the throbbing of my heart. 

Isola, Your language is extreme, sir! Your 
Bas'd on the consciousness of mean descent — 
Of that behaviour which is native to me. 
Prompts this disparagement of noble birth — 
We spoke the other day upon this theme. 

Clement, I offer'd you an honest man's 

Isola, I did refuse the precious gift, you know. 
Clement, In words which left me hope. Oh, 
strengthen it ! 
Arm'd with thy love, the giddy heights thou 

Shall be attained by me — wealth, dignity. 
The willing homage of a himdred servants. 

192 A Legacy. 

Shall all be thine. My energies are equal 
To all I promise, if thou'lt smile upon me. 

Isola. ni hear no more ! It is not love, but 
Elaborate insult, which you oflfer ; well, 
'Tis safe, quite safe, sir, to reproach and threaten 
A feeble woman. 

Clement, Threaten ! Nay, Isola, 

'Tis fervent love that makes me passionate. 
Love maddens me at times and clouds my 

I have been harsh — too harsh with thee ; forget 
My bitter words. 

Isola, I cannot, sir. 

Clement Forgive them ! 

Know thou the thorniest one but seemed to 

The blushing fragrance of my love ; forgiveness 
I ask if they have stung thee. 

Isola. 'Tis no matter. 

Re-enter Placidio. 
Placidio, A crisis in our history approaches. 

A Legacy. 193 

(7b Isola.) Fair niece^ attend your aunt ; 

convey to her 
My love, and say that I'll be with her soon. 
She will anticipate the news I bring ; 

[Exit Isola. 
'Tis written in my features, is't not, Clement ? 
Clement I know that Ambrose is a churl ; his 
A bag of paltry coins. 

Placidio, He would not listen 

To any compromise ; to any plans. 
By which afresh my fortune I might build. 
The law's machinery he will set in motion, 
Todrag mywife and niece — ^poor tender darlings! — 
From health and comfort to disease and misery. 
I pray'd that he would gently use his power, 
'Twas all in vain, 

Clement. Alas, the sordid villain ! 

Placidio. Entreaties were of no avail. He 

laugh'd — 
Clement. Laugh'd ! 

Placidio. Laugh'd — Heaven help me ! — in my 
face and jeer'd ; 

194 A Legacy, 


Cried that my downfall pleasM him hugely; 

That he could call me slave and debtor ; swore 
That overwhelming ruin was my portion ; 
Paced up and down the room with maniac 

Threatening and cursing ; then departed, saying 
That he would seek the law^s full aid at once. 
He must be mad. 

Clement, Aye, mad with wickedness. 

Signor, why did you refuse my aid? 
Placidio. For this good reason: I am ignorant. 

As I at present stand, of my affairs; 
They are, I fear, entangled hopelessly. 

1 placed myself entirely in the hands . 
Of my late steward, who betrayed his trust 
And fled the city ; therefore all's uncertain. 
With care, I know my debts will be discharged. 
But have scant hope of any surplus wealth. 
Friends with their millions have been cold 

towards me. 
Shall I be then so reckless as to take 
From thee thy all, merely to patch my fortune ? 

A Legacy. 195 

No ; let me rather perish, generous friend. 
What Heaven permits, let Ambrose do. I shall 
Bear calmly all. 1 wait the darkest hour, 
Then I shall be endued with giant strength ; 
My veins shall surge with vigorous blood; my face 
Shall &ont a thousand foes and shame them all. 

Clement. This Heaven-sent courage I rejoice at, 
Now I will take my leave. 

Pladdio, Why, wherefore haste you ? 

Clement. I have some business calls me hence ; 
'tis pressing. 
With your permission, I will come this evening, 
And scrutinise the memoranda which 
You keep of your affairs ; some glimpses of 
Your real condition may present themselves. 

Pladdio, 'Tis what I wish sincerely. Thanks, 
fail not. 

Clement. I will not fail, sir. [^Exeunt. 


196 A Legacy. 

SCENE 11. 
Street near Ambbose^s House, 

Enter Ambbosx. 

Ambrose. Respite I gave him, yet he mur- 
mured, said. 
You have the law, not justice y on your side ; 
Nor mercy. Fool ! A beggar argues thus. 
'Twas like a beggar to bemoan his fate, 
Almsgiving to defend with heat, to carp 
At others' prudence. Well, 'tis over now. 
I'd give a ducat — no, a bagatine — 
To see the faces of his ragged friends, 
When like a thunderbolt the news drops down. 
That no more soup will be expressly made 
To scald ,their frozen palates ; no more bread 
Be thrust into their yawning, hideous mouths. 
Nor cloaks adorn their scarecrow carcases. 
Mirthful would be the sight and sound I Oh, oh ! 
Dismal the turning up of hungry eyes. 
What lamentations loud ! What groans and 
curses I 

A Legacy. 11)7 

What blinding tears ! In faith ^twould make me 

laugh ; 
But laughing seems to pierce me keenly;, like 
A dagger^s thrust. Oh, oh ! 

'Enter Clement. 

Clement. Signor, a word with you. 

Ambrose. A word ? Yes, yes, proceed. 

Clement, Vouchsafe to me 

A minute's converse. 

Ambrose. Stop I A word, you said. 

You rather should have said a flood of words ; 
A frothy torrent. Time is precious ; quickly 
Unfold the meaning of this interruption. 
What is the purport of your minute's converse ? 
Be brief. 

Clement. In simple words I do entreat 
That you will not deal harshly with Placidio ; 
But act as man should act with brother man. 
Not covering Pity's dewy eyes with mask 
Tom from the face of Justice ; not exacting 
Placidio's last and smallest coin ; nor mov'd 
To the assertion of your lawful rights 

198 A Legacy. 

By hate accursed ; but through gentle acts. 
In this most troublous time^ some token giving. 
That in the great hereafter you believe. 

Ambrose, Placidio sends you on this errand ? 

Clement. No ; 

He dreams not of it. One thing more, and I 
Await your final will. My ardent wish 
Is to befriend in this great trial the man 
Wh;m I am debtor to for spiritual things, 
But who is now for gold your suflPring debtor. 
Pray you, good Signor, shift the burden. Cancel 
The bond you hold, and take my fortune, which 
Slightly exceeds the balance of the sum 
You did expect to-day. As for the parchment — 
Destroy it here at once ; I want it not. 
My aim is to avert entire disaster 
From an exalted house. Let me implore, 
Signor, your kind concurrence in this plan. 

Ambrose. If thou wilt crawl, lick dust, a 
deluge weep. 
Wring hands in agony of prayer, 1^11 not 
Afford thee such delight as thou demandest ; 
No, not for twenty fortunes ! 

A Legacy, 199 

Clement, You refuse? 

Ambrose, Wilt hear me swear ? 

Clement, Offend not Heaven with oaths 

That are the impious seals of a decision 
Most villainous and cruel. Have you heart 
To work this monstrous wrong ? 

Ambrose. Away, away, 

Thou rude officious knave! — thou prating meddler! 
By all the saints I will remember this ! 
Look to thy safety well, thou busy fool ! 
Shall I assign my motives in this matter ? 
Shall I lay bare my secret springs of action, 
That thou mayest peer and pry ? To thee 

yield up 
What I have gain'd with toil ? Never ! Begone ! 
Cross not my path again if thou wouldst not 
Stir up revengeful hatred in my heart. 
Think'st thou thy face of dull simplicity. 
Thy protestations loud, thy tragic mien. 
Have blinded or can blind my keen perception. 
That thou dost wish to reap my golden harvest ? 
So thou wouldst help Placidio ! Aye, to ruin. 

Clement, By Heavens, you judge me wrongly 

200 A Lfigacy. 

Ambrose. Go ! We work 

In different circles^ but our centre is 
Self — whether gilded with the name of love 
Or left exposM as hate. 60^ preach no more ! 

Clement. And is there no appeal ? 

Ambrose. YouVe heard my answer. 

Talk to the winds ; impede me not. O ruffian ! 

Clement, You shall not pass till I have spoken. 

Ambrose. Villain I 

Clement. Let us be friends ; consider weU 
my offer ; 
Do not be ruthless with this family. 
Come, sir, let gentler feelings sway your breast ; 
Make me your lifelong debtor. 

Ambrose. Oh, for power 

To strike you dead, abhorred mechanic ! You 
Shall be engulf d by hate. This outrage shall 
Ne'er be erased from memory. Here's my 

To all requests — no ! no ! I'll plague Placidio 
Tenfold for this. 

Clement. High Heaven will not permit you. 
It shall set shores to your great tide of hate. 

A Legacy, 201 

Closely confine it, make it foul and stagnant, 

Raise from it pestilential vapours that 

Shall putrefy your soul ! There^s woe before 

you ! 
Remorse with clanking chain shall make hell's 


In ghostly dreams \ for not this crime alone 

Asks justice from the skies, but many more. 

I tremble for you. To your prayers ! Repent 

Ere Death creep on and hurl you into misery. 

Now go and ponder all Fve said. 

Ambrose, I hate you ! 

Look for the reckoning. [JS^/. 

Clement. Greed and malice sway 


This mean old man ; he^s bent on deadly mischief. 

He rivals burning hell and all its fiends 

In hate vindictive. Base in early youth; 

In manhood stained with great offences Against 

His Maker and his fellows — here*s the end : 

Old age most sordid and most despicable. 

Into the dungeon darkness which invests 

Death's awful gate, he brings, alas ! no lamp 

Of hope, of memories pure, of lofty thought. 

202 A Legacy, 

Who is to check him in his headlong coarse ? 
Who has the power to pierce that heart of flint ? 
Whose trumpet-voice shall rouse that guilty soul. 
And bid it rush to judgment ? 

(Voice heard — Help, help, help !) 
It is the voice of Ambrose ! Wherefore calls he ? 
Why, what is this? A figure cloaked and 

Holding a bloody dagger ! O great Heavens ! 
It cannot be; I dream ! and yet these thoughts 
That fly like poison^ arrows through my mind. 
What is their mark ? Placidio ? Saints forbid 
Their fatal flight ! Disperse these Vile suspicions. 
Yet who is this that bears his semblance ? ^Tis 
A cunning trick of hell ! I will unmask it 
Though Gorgon terrors strike me dumb. Stay ! 

stay ! [Exit. 

{Clen^enfs voice) Unmask ! unmask ! Wouldst 

murder me ? Oh, oh ! 

Enter Maldenzio, disguised. 

This is the safer road. Detested goldsmith, 
Lie there and rot with Ambrose 1 

A Legacy. 203 

Re-enter Clement, wounded. 
Clement, Have I strength 

To make the eflFbrt 

[Tears the mask from Maldenzio. 
Ah ! the saints be praised ! 
It is Maldenzio ! Curst assassin, hold ! 
I will pursue thee. 

Maldenzio. Payment of my debt ! 

[Stabs Clement. 
Now for the interest ! [Stabs him again. Exit. 
Clement, O unnatural villain ! 

[Ea^it slowly. 

Chamber in Placidio^s House. 

Enter Isola. 

Isola, I have not looked in mirror, yet I know 
. My eyes are red with tears ; still all's not sadness. 
Forgive, sweet saints, the pleasant gratulations. 
Which my poor kinsfolk cannot share ; this woe. 
So stern to them has gladdening smiles for me. 

204 ,A Legacy, 

How's this ? Dear Clement ! May I whisper of 

Your declaration to me ? Yes, and I 

But it shall yet a secret be. O love ! 

Nestle, thou tiny trembling bird, within 

My heart's most secret chamber, and enchant 

With tender, hopeful music. 

Enter Bkenoa. 

Brefida, Why, Isola, 

You have been weeping. 

Isola. Yes, dear aunt, but now 

YouVe brought the sunbeams with you, and I 

Brenda. Dearest, I need some warmth and 
light myself. 
If only 'twere to keep in countenance 
Your good and tender-hearted uncle ; he 
Loses much more than you or I, and yet 
Behold his trust in Proyidence ! 

hola. 'Tis great. 

Brenda. Clement has not returned ? 

Isola. I have not seen him. 

A Legacy. 205 

Brenda. Oh, what a generous nature ! Save 
There is no man in all Albenga like him, 
So kind, so self-forgetful ! 

Isola, Men are rare. 

Brenda, Ah, well, you may ere long regret 
the sneers 
You've been so liberal with. 

Isola. Now you are angry. 

Forgive and kiss me, aunt. 

Brenda. I am not aijgry ; 

But I confess that often with disgust. 
Always with sorrow, I have watched some maidens 
Who, beauteous as they were to outward view. 
Were in this ugly, wicked, that they seemed 
To laugh at love ; to spurn with scoffs the hearts 
Of men in heavenly attributes above them. 

Isola. Dear aunt, I am perverse, I know, but 
kiss me; 
Perhaps I soon shall be transform^. 

brenda. I cannot 

Resist your pleading eyes and these sweet lips. 

[Kisses Isola. 

206 A Legacy. 

Enter Claude. 
Well, Claude ! 

Claude. Some officers of justice wait, 

DesiriDg speech with you or my good master. 
Brenda. What is their errand ? Stay with me, 

Claude, Shall I admit them, madam ? 
Brenda, Yes, at once. 

What can they want ! [Exit Claude. 

Enter Officers and Attendants. 

1*/ Officer, We do desire, lady. 

To have a minute's converse with your husband, 
Signor Placidio. 

Brenda, He is absent, Signor ; 

Few moments have elapsed since of the servants 
Anxious inquiries I did make about him ; 
They had not seen him for an hour or two. 

2nd Officer, Madam, we were assured of this 
at first. 

Isola. Perchance he is at prayers. 

Brenda. That cannot be, 

For as I passed just now along the passage 

A Legacy. 207 

I paus'd before the chapel door and knockM 
With no result ; I knoek'd again, but all 
Was silent as a tomb. 

Isola. Here is my uncle ! 

Enter Placidio. 


Placidio {to the officers). Pray you be seated ; 

have you business with me ? 
1^/ Officer. Yes, Signor, most important. 
Know you this ? 

{Shows a picture to Placidio. 
Placidio. Aye, as I know myself. Why this 
To me ! My mother — faint presentment of 
Thy face now petrified in endless beauty ! 
These iaire thy pure and budlike lips, sweet 

saint ! 
And these thy loving eyes; they seem to 

Upon me, as in childhood's simple days. 
This is a portrait I do greatly value ; 
Indeed, none else exists of my dear mother. 
How came you by it ? 

208 A Legacy. 

\st Officer. I arrest you, Signer ! 

Guard all the doors ! 

[Attendants post themselves. 

Brenda. Ye heavenly powers, defend us ! 

Isola. O cruel Ambrose ! 

Placidio. Has he then obtained 

So soon the law's assistance ? 

2nd Officer, He is dead. 

Brenda. Dead ! 

Isola. This is sudden ! 

Placidio^ May his crimson soul 

Be sprinkled with the healing dews of mercy ! 
Let not this evil which survives his death 
Be plac'd before the Judge's awful eye 
In that great day of trial. 

1*/ Officer. Now, sir, we wait. 

Placidio. Maldenzio follows in his father's foot- 
He will not let that shrunken form get cold. 
Before this great distress is brought upon 
Those whom he feign'd to love in bygone days. 
It is an act unfilial to pursue 
A father's path of hate to Torture's verge ; 

A Legacy. 209 

Reckless that in some scene of fiery anguish 
That parent's shade may moan its earthly malice. 
It is unseemly haste. 

1st Officer, Enough, enough, sir ! 

Justice, not Ambrose' son, moves in this matter. 
Murder concerns us all. 

Placidio. Murder ! 

1^/ Officer. You force 

The formar proclamation of my errand; 
Yet you must know it well. I do arrest you 
For the assassination of old Ambrose. 

Placidio, Oh ! 

Isola, Is Ambrose murder'd ? 

Brenda {to the Officers), You shall rue this 

outrage ! 

\st Officer. Madam, I pray you calm yourself. 

Placidio. O Heaven ! 

Brenda. It is a vile conspiracy against 
My suffering husband ! He a foul assassin I — 
Whose life so pure and self-forgetful is 
That even worthy men with envy sicken. 
While he scales heights of goodness which with all 
Their pious deeds they never can attain. 



210 A Legacy, 

Charge him with murder, who has been a haven 

For every shipwrecked soul within the city ! 

Why, sir, although his mind is most heroic. 

Tender his heart is as a little child's ; 

Yet you come hither eager to affix 

The brand of Cain upon that open forehead ! 

For shame ! for shame ! Placidio, husband, 

speak ! 
Assure these men that you are innocent. 

Placidio^ This accusation almost makes me 
Can it be true that Ambrose has been murdered ? 
That I am looked upon as his assassin ? 

1^/ Officer, I charge you with the crime. 

Placidio. But I am guiltless ! 

There must be some mistake. 

Ist Officer. The dying man 

Declared that you had stabbed him in the back! 
Near him, upon the ground, we saw this portrait. 
Which you acknowledge as your own. 

Placidio. Despite 

These things I did not see old Ambrose 
After he left the house* 

A Legacy. 211 

Brenda. Oh, wretched day ! 

Trouble on ev^ry hand. First loss of wealth, 
Friends, comfort, station ; now this heavier woe. 
Kiss me, my husband ; thou art innocent. 
The holy saints themselves will next be charged 
With fiendish deeds. What wonder ! — when ^tia 


For myrmidons to blast good reputations ; 
To smirch the whiteness of a virtuous life. 
With fingers dipped in others' crimes ; to pass 
With vacant eye the thief, and shouting seize 
The honest man ! I lately thought that sorrow 
Had spent its bitter strength. Oh, fond delusion ! 

Ist Officer. Madam, take leave. 

Brenda, Nay, FU bear company. 

I will go with thee to thy gloomy dungeon ; 
If they condemn thee I will be condemned. 

Placidio. Darling, be calm. Suspicion points 
to me 
Persistently just now ; but Providence 
Shall soon direct it to its proper object — 
The hateful murderer of that poor old man. 
The consciousness of innocence is mine ; 

P 2 

212 J Legacy. 

Besides a firm conviction that from this 

Most threatening danger years of peace shall 

Exert your utmost courage ; be prepared 
Against the day of trial with evidence 
That shall repel this dreadful charge. Isola^ 
Sustain and cheer your aunt. One last embrace. 
Now, sirs, conduct me hence. 

hola. We are abandoned 

By Heaven to Hell's devices ! 

Brenda. O my husband ! 

Great Heavens ! they lead him from me I He is 
gone ! l^Swoons, 

[^Exeunt Placioio, Officers, and Attendants. 

Curtain falls. 

A Legacy. 218 

Scene — The Hall of Justice. 

Enter Brenda and Isola. 

Isola, Oh, what a .stilly, awful place ! Dear 
Lean on me still more heavily. I'm not 
As fragile as a rose, but you are tender. 
Poor dear, you look as wan and tearful as 
A ghost that's come from th' other world with 

Most horrible and strange. 

Brenda. My poor Placidio ! 

Thou liest in thy sombre prison breathing 
Most nauseous exhalations ; on the ground 
Thy feeble limbs thou stretchest, vainly hoping 
That dove-like murmuring sleep will light upon 

Thou hast scant sustenance and filthy drink ; 
Thy hands when they a circuit make find naught 
But creeping noisome things and sickly slime I 
O Heaven ! 

214 A Legacy. 

hola. It is monstrous I Justice here 

Seems to be fiendish cruelty disguised 
In solemn looks and stately rustling robes. 
Yet, aunt^ do not succumb ; the innocence 
Of my poor uncle surely will be proved ! 
Nay, must be proved ! 

Brenda. You shame me, dearest ; I 

Have yielded my weak heart to griefs dominion. 
UnmindM for the time that there are saints 
In heaven with earthly sympathetic hearts ; 
Angels that wait on man with wondering awe ; 
Nay, more, the Mother Holy, and that Being 
Whom it were almost sin to name except 
In wrestling prayer; the Mighty Three in One; 
Ruler, Sustainer of the universe. 
Lord of the mighty starless realms of air, 
Let me take heart ; but, oh ! your uncle's 

sufferings I 
They come before my eyes in terrible dreams ; 
They murmur dark suggestions in my mind ; 
My noble husband ! \Weeps. 

Isola. For his sake attempt 

To concentrate your utmost energies 

A Legacy. 215 

Upon each scene that passes. Is there not 
In all this town some honest man to speak 
In the behalf of outraged innocence ? 

Brenda. None, none ! We have no fee exor- 
To proffer. Six or seven advocates. 
You know, we have solicited in vain. 

Isola, This is a selfish avaricious age ; 
Each one attempts to rise above his neighbour, 
Who can display most gold gets most respect ; 
All are infected with this yellow plague. 
The grand heroic virtues of the past, 
Alas ! have taken leave of us. We now 
See tinsel new and vulgar take precedence 
Of that which ancient is, or beautiful. 
Crime from her chariot steps and looks with 

On humble virtue shiv'ring and forlorn. 

Enter Guards and Attendants. 

Brenda, The trial will soon begin. 
Isola. Dear aunt, endeavour 

To bear yourself as calmly as you can 

216 A Legacy. 

Through this dread ordeal for my uncle's sake. 
Do not unman him in the presence of 
These dull unfeeling men. 

Brenda. The saints assist me I 

Isola. He now approaches. 

Enter Flacidio^ guarded^ 

Brenda. Heayens ! how pale and haggard 

His features are ! His dress all disarranged I 
{They pause) Let me have speech with him ! O 

my Flacidio ! 
Would I could take thy place and suffer for 

I should deserve to suffer more than thou^ 
For Heaven above is not more free firom taint. 
Dost still retain thy cheerful confidence ? 
I see thou dost^ the holy saints be praised I 

Placidio. Darlings let faith and hope sustain 

thy heart; — 
Thou look'st not well. Do not give way to grief ; 
Ficture the joyous hour of my acquittal. 
Kiss me, Isola. Art thou well and hopeful ? 
Isola. Yes, dearest uncle. 

A Legacy, 217 

Placidio, Well, what sayest thou, Brenda? 
Brenda. Thy innocence will save thee ; but I 
To see thy woeful face and dress ; to know 


That thou art vilely treated by rude hinds. 

[Guards force him away. 
Do not with roughness use him. I will not 
Further obstruct. 

Placidio. Brenda, dearest wife, 

On high the Advocate and Judge exists ! 
Do not forget ; be brave. 

[He is led to the front of the tribunal. 

Enter three Magistrates. 

Isola. The magistrates ! 

[Magistrates seat themselves. 
\st Mag. Silence proclaim through all the 
court ! Attendants 
Will make exclusion of the curious. 
Let the accused stand forth. Where is the son 
Of the dead Ambrose ? Surely he does not 
Care aught about his father^s doleful fate, 
Nor wish to bring to justice the assassin ! 

218 A Legacy. 


\8t Officer, I am entrasted by him with a 
For your dread worships' ears to the effect 
lliat anguish has prostrated him^ and made 
Such havoc with his feeble frame that scarcely 
A breath he draws with ease. He prays that 

Will in his absence nerve the arm of Justice, 
Letting it sternly fall in retribution 
Upon his father's murderer. 

2nd Mag, We will. 

3rrf Mag. Poor youth I This has overwhelmed 

\8t Mag, • We perforce 

Must make commencement now {to \st Officer) 

You are prepared 
With all your evidence ? 

1*/ Officer. Yes, noble Signor. 

Tsola. Where Clement is I marvel more and 
His advent would be like the letting in 
Of warm bright sunbeams to this dismal court. 
He would be worth a dozen advocates. 

A Legacy. 219 

Can he be ill ? {Aside) The holy saints watch 
o'er him I 

Brenda, Doubtless he has abandonM us. 

Isola. Oh, never ! 

T know you wrong him by the thought. 

Brenda. Hush ! hush ! 

Ist Mag. The awful business which has brought 
us here 
Requires solemnity of heart and mien ; 
Strict concentration of the thinking powers 
For its entire discharge. We therefore must 
Fix firmly in the vision of our minds 
The gloomy point where proofs of guilt converge, 
Then blast the guilty one ; or note each fact 
Which tends to clear the accused. If doubts 

They must be nicely weighed with scales impartial. 
In every act we must ourselves acquit 

As honoured fidends, not slaves, of silent Justice. 

Isola. This is a righteous judge I 

Brenda. The other two, 

Fazzo and Innocenzio, are no firiends 
To your poor uncle ; they are cruel men. 


220 A Legacy. 

\8t Mag, The case is briefly this. The dead 
man Ambrose 
Four days ago, while walking near his house. 
Was cruelly stabb'd, and soon expired in anguish. 
Dying, he charged with this atrocious crime, 
A man of noble birth and stainless life ; 
For years esteemM by all. What says he now 
To this most dread arraignment ? Speak, 

Placidio, The honoured Signors will forgive 
me if 
My speech be not so loud that all may hear. 
My voice just now is weak ; but from my heart 
Boldly shall come this true asseveration, 
That I know nothing of the death of Ambrose, 
Save what Fve heard. I am entirely guiltless 
In thought and deed of his assassination. 
I mourn that in the blossom of his sins 
He has been hackM into eternity 
From earthly stalk by secret ruflSan hand. 
I touched him not ; I saw him not a moment 
After he left my house upon that day. 

2nd Mag. Was he not there in anger ? 

A Legacy. 221 

I — — — — — - I - — ' 

Placidio. Yes, he seemed 

Incensed against me. 

Srd Mag. He did hold a bond 

Which gave him lordship over your possessions ? 

Placidio. Yes. 

1*^ Mag. What period of the day did he 

depart ? 

Placidio. Soon after noonday, noble Signor. 

1^^ Mag. He 

Did then possess the bond ? 

Placidio. Most certainly. 

1*/ Mag. {to 1st Officer,) You searched the 
body and the premises ? 

1*^ Officer. We did, most noble sir. 

Ist Mag. Did you perceive 

The bond now mentioned ? 

1*/ Officer. Not a trace of it. 

1*^ Mag. Relate your story. 

Ist Officer. Noble worthy Signors I 

Four days ago I happened to be in 
A street adjoining Ambrose^s house. I heard 
Suddenly cries for help ; they seem'd to issue 
From a small street at hand. I rushM at once 

222 A Legacy. 

To th^ spot^ and found a wounded man ; he lay 
Delug'd in blood upon the ground. 

Zrd Mag. You caught 

No glimpse of any one retreating ? 

1*/ Officer. No. 

1^/ Mag. Did he assign a reason for the 

attack ? 
Xst Officer. No, noble Signor. He had barely 
Or breath to utter ere he died these words — 
'^ Flacidio is my murderer V^ 

Placidio. Heaven forgive him ! 

1*/ Officer. On looking round I spied a 
Which I produce. {Gives Magistrate a portrait.) 
2nd Mag, We knew the original. 

3rd Mag. Proof piled on proof ! 
1*/ Mag. Continue your narration. 

1*^ Officer. Ere this, attracted by the cries for 
Some of my men appeared upon the scene ; 
To them the murdered man I did entrust. 
Then with attendants and an oflScer 

A Legacy, 223 

I went to Ambrose' silent gloomy house, 
Which in the city^s name I promptly seiz'd. 

%nd Mag, Judicious work. 

3rd Mag, A deed of resolution. 

1^/ Officer, I then proceeded to Placidio's 
And on the threshold was informed that he 

# • 

Had not been seen for hours. I ask^d to see 
His wife, and this request was granted; she 
Said that his whereabouts was all unknown. 

Placidio, Pardon me, worthy Signors, if I stop 
For one brief moment this narration. 'Twas, 
As you remember, good St. Thomas^ Day ; 
I in my chapel was at my devotions 
When this foul deed was done, nay, at the 

When all these men trooped into my apartment 
I was engaged in prayer. 

1*/ Officer. The lady said 

That but not a moment sooner she had knocked 
Repeatedly and loudly at the door 
Of this small chapel, but received no answer, 
Nor heard the slightest sound. 


224 A Legacy, 

Srd Mag. 'Tis very strange. 

Ist Officer, Almost at once Placidio entered; I 
Showed him the portrait which he own'd as his, 
Saying he prized it highly ; that there was 
Not such another in existence ; asked 
How came I with it. Upon which I seized 
1*/ Mag. Know you the time when Ambrose 

met his doom ? 
1*/ Officer. An hour after noon, most honoured 

Ist Mag. When seized you iV accused ? 
. Ist Officer, An hour later. 

I at Mag. Did you put questions with a view 
to find 
Where he had spent the two preceding hours ? 
1*/ Officer. Yes, noble Signor. 
1*^ Mag. How did he reply ? 

Ist Officer. As now, he answer made that in 
the chapel 
All intervening time had passed in prayer. 

1^/ Mag. He knew not that his wife had just 

A Legacy. 225 

That she had knocks and pausM outside the door 
Of the small chapel, but had nothing heard ? 
\st Officer, He did not know. 
2/wf Mag. Why, this is most convincing ! 

[7b third Magistrate. 

Placidio. If I may speak 

3rd Mag. Just now you interrupted. 

[Magistrates confer 
Brenda {to Isola). Do you observe the spleen 
of Innocenzio? 
Too lafe it shows itself in all its blackness. 
Pity that in our days of splendour we 
Suffered ourselves to call him friend and guest ; 
Unconscious that a serpent we were warming, 
That by-and-by would turn and cruelly sting 
Ist Mag. You shall have hearing in due time, 
At present, silence keep. 

2nd Mag. How looked the prisoner. 

When you denounced him as a murderer base ? 
Ist Officer. He spoke not for some moments , 
then denied 
Feebly the accusation. 

VOL. n. Q 

226 A Legacy. 

\Bt Mag. This is all 

That came within your scope ? 

\8t Officer. All, noble Signer. 

1*/ Mag. (to Placidio). Is aught of error in 
this testimony ? 

Placidio. I have no knowledge of what hap- 
pened ere 
I saw this ofBcer. 

\8t Mag. The picture you 

Claim without hesitation ? 

Placidio. Yes, 'tis mine ; 

A relic much esteemed. 

1*/ Mag. {to Ist Officer). The officer 
Who did assist you — he has evidence? 

\st Officer. Yes, noble Signor. 

1^/ Mag. Let him then advance. 

2nd Officer comes forward. 
What know you of this business ? 

2nd Officer. Honoured Signors ! 

Four days ago, on hearing cries unusual, 
I hurried to the place whence they proceeded ; 
In doing so I caught a glimpse of one 
Who seemM in feverish haste. Ere I could raise 
M^ voice to bid him halt awhile, he vanished. 

A Legacy. 227 

2nd Mag. Have you beheld him since ? 
ind Officer. I now behold him ! 

1*/ Mag. Art sure ? 

^d Officer. Aye, as I live and breathe ! 

3rrf Mag. His name '- 

2nd Officer. Placidio ! 
Brenda. ^Tis a falsehood ! 

Placidio. Thou'rt mistaken. 

1st Mag. This puts a serious aspect on the 
(To 2nd Officer) Hast thou thyself unburdenM 

fully ? Speak ! 
Lurks there within thy vizor'd thoughts sus- 
Certainties, whisperings, that we know not of? 
2nd Officer. I have disclosM the whole of what 
I know, 
Saving that I have heard reports of threats 
Us'd by the murdered man to the accused 
At noon upon the fatal day. 

1*/ Mag. Those rumours, 

Flying on wings of air through all the 

Q 2 


228 A Legacy. 

Have pierced the ears of Justice. On tbese 

Signers^ there nothing is of consequence. 
(7b Officer) You may retire. (Officer retires.) 

The case seems fully ready 
For calm deliberation and for judgment ; 
But first, speak out, Placidio ; be prepared 
With your defence against this dark indictment. 
Placidio. I shall against this fearful charge 
The holy truth, naught else. I will not strive 
To plead with friends who sit in judgment on me, 
For overshadowed by unpitying Justice 
They do forgot that friendship. But I ask. 
What is the weight of evidence against me ? 
Dust that the breath of sense will blow away. 
There are a hundred men within the city 
Who at a distance might resemble me. 
As for the declaration made by Ambrose, 
He did mistake the assailant, or his malice 
Prompted what I must call a fiendish lie. 
Next for the portrait ; frankly 'tis a riddle ; 
How such a treasure as to me it is 

A Legacy, 229 

Should have been found close to the scene of 

But there are thieves 

%nd Mag, They do not value portraits. 

Unless there's gold about them ; this has none. 

Placidio. Then how or when it left my house 
I know not. 

Brenda. Heaven gives him strength. 

Isola, How well he speaks ! 

Brenda, Oh, listen ! 

Placidio. Next I would ask you not to build 
Upon the fact that for an hour or two 
My wife and servants saw me not. To prayer 
That hidden time was consecrate. I heard 
The knocking at my door, but did not heed it. 

2nd Mag, We cannot this believe. 

3rd Mag. These words are strengthless. 

Placidio. I earnestly commend them to your 
thoughts ; 
For as I wish salvation they are true. 
Signers, my life is known; I am no stranger. 
Nor has my lot been lowly and obscure. 

230 A Legacy. 

In the full blaze of public life IVe lived, 
GainiBg what reputation well you know. 
Boasting detracts firom merit, yet I may 
Ask if firom Honour's fount comes poisonous 

If Truth breeds Falsehood? If firom humble 

To raise myself and my poor fellow-men 
To the pure level of the suffering Lord, 
Deeds such as this are likely to arise ? 
No, you will justly say ; then quickly strike 
These fetters firom my limbs ; they weary me. 
\8t Mag, Do you protest your innocence ? 
Placidio. Before 

That Sovereign Lord who knows the human 

heart — 
Its darksome cells and secret winding ways ; 
To whom the dreamiest thought is like a picture — 
I stand with trembling hope. He shall defend 

For though He sees those evil thoughts and 

Lurking where heavenly sunbeams rarely come; 

A Legacy. 231 

He also sees that I am innocent 

Of the atrocious crime with which ye charge 

This is mv sole defence. 

Brenda. But I will speak ! 

2nd Mag. Nay, nay ; this must not be. 
1*^ Mag, Can you support 

With plain convincing proofs the affirmation 
Of innocency which your husband makes ? 

Brenda. Signor, no proofs I have, no proofs I 

It is enough for me to know that sooner 
I would believe that you had done this deed, 
Than that my husband could descend to crime 
Prom heights of heavenly goodness. Proofs, you 

ask I 
I have them safely treasur'd in my heart. 
Whence all the efforts of unworthy men 
Ne'er shall dislodge them, nor abate their 

They have substantial basis ; springing from 
The memory of a pure and generous life ; 
A thousand words and deeds of loving kindness 

232 A Legacy. 

Fallmg around my path like God^s bright sun- 
shine — 
These do convince me that my dearest husband 
Is undeserving of your dark suspicions. 

[Magistrates confer. 

Enter Claude. 

Isola, Good Claude^ what tidings? 
Brenda. Saw you Signor Clement ? 

Claude. Madam^ his house seems tenantless : 
the neighbours 
Say that for three days past they have not seen 

him ! . 
His workmen knock in vain. 

Isola. Ohy what has happen^ I 

Claude. Some say^ perchance on business he's 
Yet think it strange that he should leave no 

Behind for friends and those who trade with 
Brenda, Affairs of trade no doubt have calFd 
him hence. 

A Legacy. 233 

Isola {aside). Pray Heaven he may return in 
strength and safety I 

1^/ Mag. The task assigned to ns of stripping 
Of its hell-woven wrappings is no light one ; 
Yet-ever as necessity arises 
Wi^'h' willing heart and minds we must obey, 
Maugre all other claims upon our labour. 
The case before us now in some respects 
Presents no puzzling features : First, we have 
As undisputed fact, the awful murder; 
Then comes within our vision certainty 
That no goodwill existed 'tween th' accused 
Placidio and the murdered man. We next 
Arrive at facts which lead to stern conclusions : 
First is the dying evidence, to be 
Received by us as from th' invisible world 
Whence Falsehood never breathes her noxious 

blasts ; 
These words alone do constitute the scales. 
Next come the sword of Justice, and her heart 
(Steeled against saint or devil^s friend, sweet 


234 A Legacy. 

I mean the finding of the portrait^ and 
The recognition by onr oflScer 
Of him who now confronts ns ; then^ besides^ 
We have assurance full that the accusM, 
Unseen of all his friends and servants was 
During the time that this foul deed was done. 
What can we argue from these separate truths 
But this portentous drear conviction, namely. 
That he who stands before us chargM with crime 
Merits his standing room. We therefore now 
Proclaim that after keen judicious thought 
We travel to this verdict — ^he is Guilty ! 

Brenda. Great Heav'ns ! — it cannot be ! O ye 
are men 
Not merely void of pity, but unjust ! 

2nd Mag. This interruption cannot be en- 
Madam, restrain your anger ! 

Placidio. Oh, reflect ! 
Ere you outrage Heaven's law ! I am not guilty. 
'Twill be an hourly dream of torture if 
You send a guiltless man to doom. Consider 
That after-proofs of innocency, pil'd 

A Legacy. 235 

In moDumental splendour ne'er can bring 
My erring soul to earth from Death's dark realm ! 
1*^ Mag. We are not reckless in this case, 
Placidio ; 
The signs of guilt so openly appear. 
Wanting th^ erasing hand of Explanation, 
That, but for justice, judgment might be spared. 
There is no need for parley, I do now 
In name, and with the sanction of my colleagues. 

Adjudge that you \Noise heard mthouL 

2nd Mag. What interruption's this ? 

Ist Mag. Attendants, quell this most unseemly 

8rd Mag. Bring the offenders hither. 

Enter Cobso. 
Corsa. I am one. 

But gladly I offend. 

1*^. Mag. Thou insolent knave ! 

Dar'st thou to force these sacred portals ? Seize 

him ! [To Attendants. 

Corso. Stay but a moment, worthy Signors ! 


Upon this garment ! [Holds up a cloak. 


236 A Legacy. 

2nd Officer. "lis the very one 

Which wrapp'd the person of Placidio, 
When I beheld him near the scene of crime. 

Corao. Placidio gave it me six days ago ; 
He could not then have worn it as thou say^st. 

Brenda, O Heaven be praised ! Light breaks 
upon this blackness. 

Placidio, Aye, 'twas the last of all my cloaks 
save this 
Which now I wear. 

2nd Officer, But 't 'as a different colour. 

1*/ Mag. We must defer the sentence. 

Corso. * Noble Signors! 

Full satisfaction soon shall flood your minds. 
If you will calmly wait. With breathless haste 
I've hurried to this Court to bid you pause 
Ere you condemn to death a guiltless man ! 
Others there are behind me who will solve 
All that appears perplexing to your minds. 

2nd Mag. This swerves from rule. 

1*^ Mag. No help is there. We must 

Afford him this one chance; that gone, all's 
^^ gone. 

A Legacy. 237 

Brenda, Oh, here^s some hope at last ! 

Isola. Pray Heaven 'tis real. 

Enter Clement. 

{To Brenda) Look, look ! {Aside) Sweet saints 

accept my heartfelt thanks. 
Do you behold him ? 

Brenda. Clement ! 

Isola. He seems not 

At flow of health. 

Clement. I've hastened, honoured Signors, 

To free this noble man from galling fetters. 
His substitute, the vilest malefactor 
That ever trod the streets of this fair city. 
Will in a moment front your awful gaze ! 

Brenda, O bounteous Father, thanks and praise 
shall rise 
For this Thy sovereign mercy ! 

2nd Mag, Who's the murd'rer ? 

Clement, Hark ! — ^they approach with him. 

Enter Maldenzio, guarded by 3rd Ofpiceb 

and Attendants. 
All, Maldenzio ! 

238 A Legacy. 

\9t Mag, (to 3rd Officer). You have arrested 
him ? 

8rd Officer. Yes, noble Signor. 

Clement. Behold the villain, whose base coward 
Deprived old Ambrose of his life ! 

2nd Mag. You dream ! 

Clement. Then busiest life is sleep. 

Isola. Oh, day of wonders ! 

1*/ Mag. (to Clement). *We have postponed the 
sentence on Placidio 
At the request of one who said that soon 
Full warrant for delay would be forthcoming. 
If now you charge Maldenzio with the crime. 
Speak out ; advance your facts. 

Clement. Then, noble Signors, 

Prepare to hear an abstract brief of aU 
That I have knowledge of concerning this 
Appalling tragedy. Pour days ago 
Ambrose, the murdered man, then hugging life 
E^en as he hugged his gold, came to Placidio 
(I being in the mansion at the time). 
Holding a bond which gave him legal right 

A Legacy. 2^39 

To seize that day Placidio's large estates, 
Unless the debt which it did represent 
The latter could discharge. The murdered man 
Finding his debtor had no means of paying, 
Would not grant respite, but in anger left. 
Doubtless intending instant violent measures. 
I soon departing, quickly followed Ambrose, 
Whom, when once overtaken, I entreated 
To show forbearance towards his ruin'd debtor. 
Signors, my prayer received no kindly answer, 
And he whom I implored went on his way. 
Scarcely three minutes passed, when awful cries 
FilFd all the air. I looked. Aghast I saw 
What seemed to be Placidio — rushM — was stabbM 
By the same hand that laid poor Ambrose low. 
Thank Heaven, I yet had strength to follow 

Upon the murd^rer^s track — ^unmask^d him — saw 
Maldenzio, who twice stabbed me, and escaped. 
1^^ Mag, You yet seem faint and ill. Take 

breath. We have 
Been spared commission of a crime. 

hola. Poor Clement ! 

240 A Legacy, 

Brenda, Courageous, trusty friend ! O dearest 
Thy safety now's assured. 

Clement. My strength then failed me ; 

Brain whirlM, heart sickened, eyes refusM to see, 
A general feeling of collapse came o'er me. 
In this condition I was found by Corso, 
He who did signal my approach to-day. 
He took me to a friendly shelter where 
I lay for three days almost senseless, when 
My faculties retum'd. I secretly 
Took steps to bring the parricide to justice. 
Till I regain my breath, pray question Corso, 
Also your officer, who risk'd his life 
In the arresting of Maldenzio. 

\st Mag. What art thou, Corso ? 

Corso, Once a soldier. Signer, 

Holding no mean position ; now I lie 
Under th' heel of Fortune. 

Ist Mag. Is there reason 

Why thou shouldst lie in tV mire ? 

Corso. Yes, I am old. 

And age is little valued. Virtue lives 

A Legacy. 241 

In aged wine, but not in aged blood ; yet I 
Could strike a blow with th^ very best. 

\st Mag. Well, well ; 

Say briefly what thou knowest of these things. 

Corso. I found the goldsmith in the street; 
convey'd him 
To shelter- — quiet, secure. Delirious words, 
Falling from Frenzy's height, hung on my ears. 
Spite of headshaking, they inspired me with 
Suspicions 'gainst Maldenzio, who lodged 
Till lately at my house. When quite collected 
Clement plac'd confidence in me — I found 
That my late lodger had purloined the cloak 
Which good Flacidio gave me as a shield 
'Gainst stormv weather. 

Ist Mag. Mists of doubt disperse. 

Leaving the guilty one expos'd and bare 
To blinding radiance from Truth's searching sun- 
Surely the hand of Providence in this 
Plainly may be discern'd ! 

CoTso. Your officer. 

If it so please you, will relate the rest. 

VOL. n. R 

242 A Legacy. 

\st Mag. {to 3rd Officer). Unfold to us what 
thou hast done and seen. 

Srd Officer. The witness Corso, nohle Signers^ 


Directed my attention to Maldenzio ; 

Ask'd me to watch his movements secretly. 

This morning Signor Clement did consult me ; 

Laid bare his knowledge of the murder ; said 

That caution, courage were the requisites 

For seizing the suspected ; to prevent 

His sudden flight from justice. We discover'd 

That he had made an entrance stealthily 

Into his father^s house. Six sturdy men 

I posted round the building. I and Corso, 

With Signor Clement, quietly entered — armed. 

We came upon Maldenzio, laden with 

Jewels and gold. A desperate fight ensued. 
But we secured him, not before he had 

Received a dangerous wound. I found upon him 

'Mongst other things this document. 

[Gives parchment to Magistrates. 

1st Mag. The bond ! 

Isola. O vile Maldenzio ! 

A Legacy, 243 

Brenda. Release my husband ! 

2nd Mag, {to Maldenzio), Villain, avow thy 
motives for this crime ! 

Zrd Mag. The torture's meet for thee. 

1^/ Mag, Speak out, Maldenzio. 

Maldenzio. I want no further torture; 'tis 
To know that Clement lives in spite of all. 
Would I had deeper struck ! 

1^/ Mag. Remorseless wretch ! 

Take him away at once ; we will appoint 

Another day for sentence. Lead him hence, 

He does oflfend our eyes. 

{Exit Maxdenzto, guarded. 

{To the attendants,) Remove the fetters 

Prom good Placidio's limbs. Signor, await 

A joyous ending to this troublous scene. 

[Magistrates confer together. 

Brenda, Placidio ! [Embraces him. 

Isola, Dearest uncle ! 

Clement, Noble friend ! 

Placidio, Few words must serve ; I greet you 

all with joy. 

It 2 

244 A Legacy. 

My heart is full^ and, pardon me^ I cannot 
Find full expression for my feelings. 

Brenda, Happy 

This moment is. [They converse apart. 

hola {to Clement). Good Signor, you have 
made ns 
Your everlasting debtors. 

Clement. Ah, sweet lady. 

If I do merit aught, if aught be owing, 
One only brilliant gem I do esteem. 
The treasure of your house. If it be sin 
To covet, daily Heaven I grieve in wishing 
That the most queenly, dainty, beauteous, 

Of all Italians dames were mine. Forgive me ! 
Isola. 'Tis I must ask forgiveness, noble 
For my perverse behaviour, 

Clement. Dear Isola I 

[They converse apart. 
\st Mag, {to Placidio). Signor Placidio, we 
much regret 

A Legacy. 245 

The anguish and privation you\e endured ; 

Crime's shadow cast upon you without cause. 

Accept my sympathy and high respect. 

We have th' undoubted criminal* You stand 

Stainless as ever in my eyes, nay, more, 

You rise in my esteem. A few days hence 

We hold a public court ; pray you attend. 

At that assembly solemnly and loudly 

Shall be proclaimed your freedom from all guilt. 

No more at present, saving this — the town 

Inherits Ambrose's wealth. I therefore give, 

As some alleviation of your troubles, 

{Givei bond) This bond. 'Tis yours, destroy it, 

be released 
From harassing cares. 

Placidio. I thank you, noble Signor. 

1st Mag. Dissolve the court ! Come, Signors, 

let's depart. [^Exeunt Magistrates. 

Placidio comes forward. 

Did I accuse thee, gracious Providence, 
E'en in my faintest thought ? Oh, I repent. 
My heart shall be a holy fount of thanks 

246 A Legacy. 

For Thy remembrance of me. This great trial 

Of hope^ and faith, and patience ; this stern woe 

Was but a potion for my soul diseased 

Put to my lips by Thee, O great Physician ! 

Yes, sorrow is the medicine of life ; 

Cleansing and strengthening all those subtle 

Which are indeed most human^ most divine. 
Come, dearest friends. 

Curtain falis. 





The classic beauty of thy face, 

Those eves that hare the dews of even 

With all the glow of noonday heaven^ 
That rounded form of fairy grace : 

Those lips that are like frozen flowers^ 
Not opening to the snn^s hot rays ; 

Thy royal tent of amber hair, 

Thy sweet and dainty, laughing ways — 

Give me delight — ^because thou hast 
Enshrined a spirit free from guile. 

Which breathes kind words, and prompts 
pure thoughts. 
Dancing in every radiant smile. 


250 A Legacy. 


Each day from green to yellow fades 
A leaf upon my brow, then dies; — 

Its place^ a feeble frosty flower 
Timers pitying hand supplies. 

Ne'er did I think that Youth and Hope^ 
Who wove that vernal garland bright. 

Would glide, like phantoms through the mist 
Of Age^^s lonely night. 

Avaunt, sweet thoughts ! for now my soul 
Distils the crime of other years; 

Pouring it from my sunken eye 
.In floods of burning tears. 

Fair was my darling. Oh, so fair I 

Virtue iq her a rival met ; 
Her cloudless eyes, her sweet low voice, 

I never can forget. 

I know too late that she was pure 
As those around the heavenly throne, 

Yet for a moment dark, I thought 
That she was not mine own. 



A Legacy. 251 

One nighty oppressed with shadowy thoughts^ 
Slowly I left my husiness place^ 

Dreaming the time away^ till I 
Did see my sweet one's face. 

Her eyes sought mine with looks of love. 
Our beauteous babe di^ crow and smile ; 

Satan accursed be ! Thou didst 
My darkening heart beguile. 

I felt her arms around my neck. 

Her ripening flowers did stain my lips. 

Panting, her bird-like heart met mine — 
Then all was dire eclipse. 

For, quick as lightning's flash, a flood, 
Foaming with green and yeUow slime ; 

Twin hateful passions, did overwhelm 
My soul in depths of crime. 

I raised my hand, and struck her down, 
Sighing she fell and wondering died — 

Daily I yeam'd for death, but Ood, 
My judge, that gift denied. 

252 A Legacy. 

He makes His heavy avenging hand 
Her soul which haunts* me every day; 

The air assumes her shape^ as if 
'Twere sculptor's stone or clay. 

She braids the sunbeams for her hair^ 

Through Heaven's blue veil her white face 

She gently sighs in every wind^ 
In tears of rain she weeps. 

I wake in dreams of nighty and through 
The misty anguish of mine eyes^ 

That fragile form accurst by Fate 
I see before me rise. 

She makes no sign^ a perfiime faint 

Floats from her garments and her hair^ 

As from crushed flowers that only live 
In rainless^ balmy air. 

Her eyes seem cool as those small stars 
That nestle 'neath the wings of Night ; 

Her face now sinks beneath^ now swims 
On waves of wat'ry light. 

A Legacy. 253 

And such a frozen horror chills 

My heart ; faint^ sick, and slow by turns. 
As makes me wonder why the lamp 

Of life still flickering burns. 



The embers of the fire I 

Cast some fuel in, 
The greedy flames leap higher. 

Twilight dreams begin. 

Red the flames are leaping. 
Glowing near and far : 

And their tongues are creeping 
'Tween each iron bar. 

Up the chimney glancing 
With fantastic glare; 

And with strong light dancing 
Madly everywhere. 

254 A Legacy, 

Winds are blowing coldly 
Through the open door^ 

And the moon shines boldly 
On the gloomy floor. 

Wind comes round the corner^ 
With a dismal groan ; 

Fasten out the mourner I 
I am left alone^ 

With my heartfelt anguish. 
With each weary sigh, 

With the flames that languish. 
Glitter, and then die. 

With the grim remembrance 
Of my joyous prime. 

Bearing no resemblance 
To this hopeless time. 

Ah ! the world is dreary. 
Dark, and full of strife. 

And my soul is weary 
Of this doleful life. 


A Legacy. 255 

Friends, why have ye wandered 

From my path away ? 
Often have I pondered. 

Each and every day ; 

Bnt no answer gaining 

Prom my stricken heart, 
I must needs, constraining, 

Bid your shades depart. 

Onward, hoping ever 

Your real forms to see 
In that land where never 

Friends shall parted be. 


Oh, that my place among the singers sweet 
In God^s most holy temple I might take. 

Where all good music and all joys do meet ; 
Oh, that I now might all my sins forsake. 

Else I shall never see that cool retreat. 

Upon whose shores the eternal waves do beat. 

256 A Legacy. 

Casting up precious driftwood from the small 
And fretful sea of time — I am a tlirall 

To Satan^ stem taskmaster I I would fain 

Break all his bonds in sunder^ but my strength 

Is unavailing — constant^ bitter pain 

Therefore attends me. The good God at length 

May with one finger set me ever free 

From freezing doubt and selfish misery. 


{From •* Tlie Bead Poet;'* a Poetical Dialogue.) 


Slowly, slowly. 

Let the foul and tainted air 

On his features fair. 
On his snow-white face. 
On his body holy. 

Fall, fall ! 

This is all, all 
That survives of nobleness. 
Truth, and lamb-like gentleness, 
Genius, love, and grace. 


A Legacy. 257 


Sweetly, sweetly. 

Lies he now in dread repose. 

Where are all his foes ? 
Helpless, quiet, and dead. 
Conquered all completely. 

Death, death, 

Takes the poor breath ; 
Gives us e^en a sad success ; 
Crushed is earthly bitterness. 
In our dying bed. 


Weary, weary. 

Grew he of this toilsome life, 
Scarr'd and torn with strife ; 
Yet he proudly went . 
On his journey drear. 
Brave, brave. 
As though the grave 
Was not yawning beneath his feet. 
Said he, ^tis a quiet retreat. 
And no punishment. 

258 A Legacy. 


Briglitly, brightly, 

Comes a supernatural gleam. 

An inspiring beam 
From his spectral eyes. 
Dissipating lightly 

Drear, dread. 

Foreboding fear. 
Now more sweetly smells the air. 
Ah ! strange Death makes all things fair, 
Sadness makes us wise. 


Sadly, sadly, 

We must leave thee, noble heart! 

Quick and dead must part. 
Could we die with thee. 
We would do so gladly. 

No, no ! 

Vanity and woe 
We must witness ere the end 
Cometh as a tender friend ; 
Ere our spirits flee. 

A Legacy. 259 


Saintly^ saintly 

Poet ! offspring of the skies ! 

We with many sighs. 
Anguish-laden, deep- 
While the wind comes faintly, 

Slow, slow. 

Waving to and fro. 
Like a mourner half afraid 
Of arousing the poor shade — 
Leave thee to thy sleep ! 


Pleading, pleading, 

Through our scalding, bitter tears. 

Distilled grief of years I 
That in Heaven above, 
Jesus interceding. 

Soon, soon 

Shall gain the boon. 
Shall open wide the portal. 
Gate of the life immortal. 

Gate of peace and love I 



260 A Legacy. 


Bhino back the days of the past to me^ 

For I am weary 
Of present times^ and I long to free 
My aching soul from the troublous sea 

So dark and dreary — 

That flows round me^ and shuts out the light 

Of the blissful sun \ 
That turns my day into gloomy night 
And conquers me first in lifers rude fight 

Ere the fray^s begun. 

Angel or devil I I know not name 

Either good or bad^ 
To reproach thee with — for thou canst claim 
To be the god of slander and fame — 

Driving all men mad. 

Thou bearest down on thy breast so wide 

Lazarus and Dives ; 
And as thou glid^st with flattering tide. 
Thou tellest them stiU the hour to bide 

Which never arrives. 

A Legacy. 261 

My weary and fainting steps thou'st led 

Through a fragrant clime 
Of fancies bright, which, alas I have fled. 
And left me a poor and worn-out thread 
On the loom of time. 

Yet go thine own way — I know not why 

I should dare to rave 
Against thy ways, since the hour draws nigh 
When I shall banish my cares and lie 

In the cold, dark grave. 

But not for long — I shall rise again 

From the worthless sod. 
Oh ! may I be free from sin and pain. 
And gladness, and peace, and rest obtain 
In heaven with God ! 


262 A Legacy, 


The lovely moming comes with dewy wings. 

Brushing away the darkening webs of Night : 
Upon a swaying branch the blackbird sings. 

The thirsty, opening buds drink nectarous light 
And yet the tender, sweet imaginings 

Which all suggest, give sorrow, not delight. 
A sadness weighs my spirit dpwn — the air 
Inspiring cup of health ! is never fair — 
To me it brings no joy, no mental ease ; 
Though flowers swim in it, and overladen bees. 
It darts its light on dense, appalling gloom. 
The worldly mind, the fleshly heart — its 
Are flowers that strew the pathway to the 

Tom from ill-nourished soil of weak despairing 
brains I 


A Legacy, 263 


Two thousand years have nearly gone since Thou 

Didst tread this Earth in deep humility ; 
Since Thou didst groan and die^ while on Thy 
The thorny crown was fixed in mockery. 
SuflFer Thou didst^ and die, and all for me — 
For this accept my earnest offering now ; 

My heart, all bleeding, torn, and stained with 
Panting like prisoner to be ever free. 

Wishing, though late. Thy cleansing love to 
With many tears and sighs I proffer Thee I 
" Never too late,'' I hear Thee say, " while 
Out of a humble, contrite heart set free 
Godward ascend.'' Oh, then, my sins and 
Dissolve, good Lord, in mercy's crimson sea ! 

264 A Legacy. 


Whin I behold the sapphire skies. 

From whose strange depths the stars look dowu, 
Ah ! with what tender pitying eyes, 

Upon this mighty town, 

I think of those who, in despair. 

Acknowledge no superior mind ; 
LoTe not these lanterns of the air. 

Nor Him who broods behind. 

When in that eoncaye vast I see 

Strange lights that gleam awhile, and fade 
Into the vague and trembling sea 

That the pale moon has made, 

I think of many a noble mind. 

Overwhelmed by hate, and grief, and wrong ; 
In whose recesses heaven enshrined 

The tragic fire of song ; 

Of hearts whose earliest cries arose 

Prom awful cavernous depths of pain — 

They, through this drear expanse of woes. 
No cooling streams shall gain. 

A Legacy. 265 

High up amid the grey-clad even 

What yearning ghosts have lost their way. 

Who now, with thoughts of hell and heaven. 
Do feebly grope for day ! 

Winter departs, and crown'd with flowers. 
Comes tearful, smiling, maiden Spring; 

A chattering noise from leafy bowers^ 
The words with music sing. 

When Summer, like a blushing bride> 
Is kissed by Autumn old and wan^ 

The ripen'd com in golden pride 
Gives thought and food to man. 

The trees are priests of solemn things ; 

Fields, waysides tell of power sublime. 
All nourish Thought, whose eagle wings 

Exhaust the strength of Time. 

Yet all these toilers day by day 

No lessons draw from flower or clod ; 

Their purblind eyes perceive no way 
From Nature up to God. 

266 A Legacy. 

Unlop'd by them, He grandly weaves 

In powerful looms all things that be — 
The beanteona world, the stars, like leaves 

That hang from heaven's wide tree. 
* • * « « 

I wait for that enkindling hour. 

The crowning of my hopeful creed, 
When I may spring as bird to flower, 

From earnest thought to deed, 


ScBOLAK. — Cynic. — Meecans. — Cblu. 

ScENK — A Parish Dead House. 

Cyme (lookinff on a dead body). Throw t 
instrument aside. 
Broken, valueless, and dead I 
'Tis not worth a loaf of bread. 
"Where is now the lofty pride, 
ad the small and aching head, 
ram whose muddy depths there came 
srth a host of idle songs. 

A Legacy. 267 

Full of yearnings, hopes, and wrongs, 

As I^ve heard his lovers say. 

Journeying to Fame ? 

All is rotten — broken, 

And no token 

Lives, except in dreamy pages. 

Speaking to demented ages. 

I know not ; it seems to me 
All as labour thrown away. 
Rhythmic insipidity, 
Growing weaker ev^ry day. 
Well ; the world must have its tools, 
Lovers — Poets — Christians — Fools. 
Wise the man who ne'er can stumble. 
Leaves the world to love and grumble. 
And its prayers, and anthems mumble. 

How I hate your scornful people, 

Book-learn'd, self-reliant, proud ! 

This man looked like some vast steeple. 

Haloed with a golden cloud. 

Of a quaint church, whence come floating 

268 A Legacy. 

Anthems^ chants^ and psalms denoting 
In their rhythmic, dreary motion 
What the world miscaUs devotion. 
We appeared like mice that crawl 
Starvingly between each wall. 

Ah ! he called me fool one day ; 

Twas in jest, he said, but I 

Felt it keenly. *' Never mind ! 

I will see you by-and-by 

Cold, and lifeless, friendless." " Nay, 

I have always friends/' How blind 

Then was he ? Fool ! How that name 

Rankles in my memory. 

Oh ! that he himself could see 

In this vile abode of shame. 

Monstrous, sordid, cheerless gloom I 

Ever fighting 'gainst the sun ; 

In the wormy, earthy tomb. 

Pauper's grave I here cometh one 

Who the race not meanly run. 

With him, yet his heart and mind 

Flings he to the idle wind. 

For he vainly tries to soar. 

A Legacy, 269 

"Enter Scholar. 
Scholar. Tears are filling both mine eyes. 

And ray heart is sick and sore j 

Oh I this fearful, bleak surprise 

Overwhelms me. Nevermore 

Shall we tread the path of Life, 

Hand in hand together. Oh, 

Awful parting I Bitter woe ! 

I possess the pain and strife. 

Thou art happy, great and free. 

Friend, I pray thee, smile on me. 

Has it come to this ? Oh, speak ! 

Tell me is it true ? is he 

Cynic, May I ask whom do you seek. 

That unhappy man so weak. 

Full of speculative dreams. 

Cloud-like castles — dazzling gleams 

Dissipating common sense ? 
Scholar. From his heavenly brain did spring, 

With a great beneficence. 

Many a grand imagining. 

Speak no more ! what is't to you ? 

270 A Legacy. 

He was my true friend. D^e think 
There was e'en the slightest link 
That your dull thoughts could pursue 
To claim kindred with him ? No ! 
To your petty business go ! 

Cynic, You are rash and senseless too ! 

Scholar. Oh my self-denying friend ! 
Would that I could share thine end. 
Gracious God ! look down and take 
Me away. I dare not raise 
My weak sinful hand to break 
The thread of my unhallowed days ; 
No, I dare not rashly flee 
Into the dread immensity, 
Of the strange world beyond the sun. 
To find myself undone. 

Enter Celia. 

Celia. Dearest, sweetest,, best of all ! 
Poet ! Hero I Lover ! Friend ! 
Can this be thy end ? 
Thou who with thy music blended 
Vigorous thought and precepts splendid. 
Sweet! some message send 

A Legacy, 271 

To ine ; help me or I fall. 
Oh, my life ! \She is led out. 

Scholar. Poor child ! her lot 

Is hard, and women are but weak, 

Woo'd and won: — soon forgot. 

Little able to bear the shocks 

And tnmult of life — the shriek 

Of the wild remorseless waves 

As they dash upon the rocks. 

So many moaning graves. 

Women, the sweetest and best. 

Are havens of perfect rest ; 

For the vessels whose cordage and masts 

Are severed in twain 

By the fierce and terrible blasts; 

But oh ! their grief and pain. 

When the gallant ships go down 

Into the briny deep. 

Into the treacherous deep. 

Hurt by the ocean's frown 

To sleep ! [Celia re-enters. 

As the light through window panes, 

272 A Legacy. 

Old, discoloured, dimly falls. 

Casting patches, strange and weird. 

On the dark and mouldering walls. 

Something of the life remains 

Surely, in that temple bright ; 

Has the Angel, so much feared. 

Death, absorbed his spirit quite? 

No I a ray of sunshiny darts 

O'er his features, and a smile 

Seems to warm our mournful hearts 

As in some Cathedral aisle. 

Streams through coloured panes the sun. 

In the midst of solemn prayer. 

Through the stilly, heavenly air. 

On the penitential floor; 

And our cares seem almost done. 

And our scornful doubts are o'er. 

See, the sunbeams seem to raise 
From his noble, placid head. 
Feeble locks of hair. Oh ! praise 
Be to God I he is not dead I 
How they play upon his face. 

A Legacy. 273 

Full of such a quiet grace ; 
Come and help me ! You are wrong ; 
He shall sing another song, 
Grander, sweeter, breathe one breath. 
Oh, my poet ! it is death. 
Oh, my teacher I wise and great, 
I have come too late, too late I 
Cynic, Not too late to act the fool ! \A9ide, 

Enter Mercans. 

Mercans. Ah, he^s dead ! I told him so. 
I knew well, some years ago. 
He would die before his time. 
Why? I have my own opinion; 
I consider it a crime 
For a man instead of giving 
All his energies to living, 
Mounting on a treacherous pinion 
On a voyage, cloudy, long, 
To an atmosphere of song, 
Leaving with an idle mind. 
Lifers realities behind. 

He mistrusted me, when I 
VOL. 11. T 

274 A Legacy, 

Gave him friendly words. I said : 

" Do not place yonr hopes so high. 

Leave your rhyming, and yonr weaving 

Awkward words into a thread. 

Then yonr threads into a song ; 

Yon will in the end be grieving 

Over time misspent, mislaid/^ 

I was altogether wrong. 

He replied : " I'm not dismayed 

At the evils yon are painting. 

Shall I throw my dreams away. 

Dreams which soon may realise. 

Fame and Fortune I Shall I fainting 

Starve and toil through blackest night. 

Watch the advent of the day. 

And disown my offspring bright. 

Journeying from the sunlit skies. 

Led by gentle Poesy, who 

Ever kind is, ever true, 

From the heaven's gateway, she 

Robed in music, silently 

Spite of Truth's alarming dearth. 

Takes her passage down to earth. 

A Legacy, 275 

- ■ - . - "" 

Bringing joy for me, and all 
Who have borne her blessed thrall. 
Shall I brave the anger loud 
Of the undiscerning crowd, 
Hardship, hunger, scorn, and cold. 
Evils that can ne'er be told. 
In the deepest misery 
Keep my head erect ; to die 
When my hour of triumph's nigh V* 

" No, my friend — I thank you kindly. 

Give me work — FU do my best ; 

I care not how I am drest. 

How I'm fed. I rush not blindly 

But collected into days 

That shall fully justify. 

In the world's contemptuous eye. 

All my drifting, aimless ways. 

Neither am I wildly prating. 

There are thousands who are waiting. 

To adorn my head with bays ; 

Give me humble occupation. 

If you will, but never think 

T 2 

I A Legacy. 

That I can precipitate 
All m7 heart, and mind, and soul 
To attain your common goal. 
No t a nobler aspiration. 
And a more refreshing drink, 
Wine, that sordid creatures hate, 
Gives a stimulus to fate ; 
No, I speak not in disdain, 
Ev'ry word gives shame and pain. 
Standing helpless on this brink, 
I must not in weakness shrink. 
From the silent, earnest truth. 
No I bj all my hopes of heaven ; 
By my sad and dreamful youth. 
As I hope to be forgiven. 
Give me work, but do not yet 
Strive to make my soul forget 
Things of beauty ! Time shall bring 
''intry days, as well as Spring, 
'^hen our spirits in disgust 
liogle with the common dust." 

J, thought I, this firm persuasion 

A Legacy. 277 

Of a nobler destiny 
Will but give him great occasion 
To forget my work and me ; 
While he's reading works neglected^ 
While he's writing, he can never 
Give to business his endeavour. 
Then the others are infected. 
Each becoming lazier, till 
Wealth and ease go down the hill. 
Workhouse breaks upon the view 
With its chronic discontent. 
Then too late : " I never meant 
To assist in starving you V^ 

So I sever'd the connection, 

Which existed 'tween us both. 

For I could not give protection 

To impertinence and sloth. 

" Go your way — ^pursue the dreaming 

Fancies that you love to hold. 

If you ever rise, by scheming 

It will be.'' '' You need not scold/' 

Said he, in his scornful way. 

^ I 

278 A Legacy. 

So opinionated^ clever : 
" I am going /^ and I never 
Saw his features from that day^ 
T511 I, passing by the door. 
Of this parish refuge, for 
Homeless, worthless dead, did see. 
Groups of people eagerly 
Peering in, and one I knew. 
Gave me information true. 
Tis a pity ! but if he — 
Bah I Fm talking foolishly. 
Some erect their heads so high 
That they almost touch the sky. 
^Tis not of the slightest use 
Talking over things that ever 
Will resist our best endeavour. 
We cannot new life infuse; 
Ideal — Poet — Poesy, 
Words of vast stupidity. 
I could never bring my mind 
In the least degree to bind 
Any of them to myself. 

A Legacy, 279 

Scholar. No, your thoughts were all of pelf. 

{Aloud) What! shall he who spurns the 

Of a slavish ignorance, 
Gives the people noble yearnings. 
Care for frown or scorn of debtors. 
With their jealous, dull heartburnings 
And their loud intolerance ! 
Never ! Here in peace and quiet. 
Folded arms and placid face. 
Noble e'en in this sad place 
lies my poet ! Nevermore, 
Shall the waves of Life and riot, 
Passion's fierce and angry storm. 
From Hell's lurid, ghastly shore. 
Break upon his yielding form. 
Grandly he fulfilled his duty. 
Till his trembling heart-strings burst. 
And one sigh to Heaven giving. 
He relinquished life and living ; 
Petrified in endless beauty. 

'80 A Legacy. 

Mercana. Better had he died at first ! 
Scholar. Open not your lips so vide I 
You can scoff and sneer an^ chide, 
Know yon not the golden law 
Of forbearance ? Can you gaze 
Without pity, without love. 
Mingled with religious awe. 
On this wreck of hopeful days. 
On this shattered house, whose spirit 
Dwells I trust in land above. 
Will you idly, wrongly ferret 
Into ev'ry small detail 
Of his sad existence rending. 
Mocking ev'ry noble feeling. 
Every truthful, mournful wail 
Up to heav'D our sorrow sending 
For his loss — would you prevent 
Our long, last, and sad lament ? 

ana. I care not — I speak my mind I 
hat I've said before to-day 
y I DOW — I'm not inclined 
I go weeping — to go wailing, 
yi to mourn his loss or pray. 

A Legacy, 281 

A poor rhymester ! whose bewailing 
Or complaining ? Save a maiden 
With some dreary love-tale laden^ 
Or a youth like you whose brain 
Does but little sense contain ! 

[Eant with Cynic. 
Scholar. Oh sweet Heaven ! bend on me. 
Bend on him, commiseration, 
Life is sad — so sad — and filled 
With such terrible temptation. 
That our spirits in despair. 
Love not life, nor worship thee. 
Daily breathing poisoned air. 
And we never rest till we 
Drown ourselves in misery. 

I was poor, and he was poor. 
And our poverty we shared. 
From the world^s bewildering noise, 
We our sorrows and our joys 
Patiently enjoyed and bore. 
From the Heavenly fountain we 
Drank the wine of poesy ; 

282 A Legacy. 

Few delights had we, we read 
Books that other men disdained ; 
Oh I what pleasure we have gained 
From them in the silent night, 
When for hours wanting bread. 
We by turns would sit and write. 
He saw visions — I saw none. 
He, his eager spirit hurled 
Into a mysterious world. 
And he trod that world alone. 
I could write what he had done ; 
I could rhyme — ^but he could place 
Into ev'ry word a grace. 
And a music, and a balm. 
Simple rhymes became a psalm. 
Fainter ! for his scenes all stood 
Like material flesh and blood. 
Great musician I for each word 
Was a wondrous singing bird. 
Poet ! ev'ry poem brought 
Eobed in music noble thought ; 
All, all, all, combined in him 
Whose dear life, alas ! is dim. 

A Legacy. 285 

I had hoped new strength to borrow 
Prom his patience under sorrow ; 
I had hoped from him to gain 
Secret balm for half my pain. 
From his loving heart a bliss ; 
From his vision sight divine^ 
From each self-forgetting song^ 
New-bom hopes and vigour strongs 
And a wild inspiring kiss^ 
Richer than the oldest wine> 
Aye, '' a Palingenesis !'* 
But the Angel zealously 
Smiled on him, and frowned on me : 
Had the Angel smiled on both, 
I had then been nothing loth. 
To have left this earthly air. 
For another, foul or fair. 
(Tb Celia) Oh, bright maiden ! we cannot 
Alter or relieve his lot. 
On the dark and dismal road 
He has gone ! 
Celia. The sharpest goad. 

Friend, that stung me was to hear 

284 A Legacy. 

DaU material-minded men 
Ere now, in this loathsome den 
(From which soon he shall be taken) 
Speaking words of cold disdain ; 
I know not where most Pm shaken. 
Where I most experience pain, 
At his anguish-laden loss, 
Ah me I His a weary cross 

I am left alone to bear i 

Through a landscape parched and drear. i 

Scholar. All the bitter awful cries i 

Daily speeding to the skies. 

All our sorrows, all our woes, \ 

All the innocent blood that flows 
Asking heaven, ever, ever 
For a vengeance hard but just, 
All the monstrous sins that sever 
Men from God, are e'en as dust 
When compared, in human eyes. 
With the monster Poverty ! 
Are you poor ? then quickly die. 
Never seek to live or rise. 
Die and end your misery ! 

J Legacy. 285 

Are you poor ? Then are you vile ! 
Are you poor ? then are you slime 
HowiDg from the stream of Time 
Into Lifers elysian isle ! 
Blighting, poisoning all the good^ 
Tainting all the sunny air. 
Blasting. all the flowers fair ; 
Scarcely fit for vile manure. 
To briDg forth ungrateful food, 
You are rotten and impure ! 
He is starved to death, and I, 
Shall in that drear manner die ; 
Scarcely can I manage now. 
By my toil, and speech, and bow, 
Not to speak of meaner things. 
Keep myself alive. Thy wings, 
Poet — ^friend ! thy words of fire. 
Shall they all with thee expire ? 
Let thy mantle fall on me ; 
Let thy spirit breathe divine 
Thoughts and feelings into mine, 
Dull and obtuse though I be ! 
Let my love of truth and thee 

286 A Legacy. 

Plead mjr cause ! Oh^ dead I dead I dead ! 
Celia, Gently lift his frozen head ; 

Oh^ my life ! I cannot stay 

With thee, all the weary day ; 

Quietly place this handkerchief 

Underneath — so he shall sleep 

Much more sweetly. I can't weep 

While my darling like a thief 

In this dungeon lies ! 
Scholar, He is living in the skies. 

Farewell ! farewell ! ere I go 

Let me sing my song of woe. 

Sing my song of misery, 

Thy strange song of liberty, 

What a mournful threnody !* 

* This " Threnody" is already printed, from the un- 
finished MS. book, in which John Martin had apparently 
written ont for publication those of his poems which he 
considered the best. 

A Legacy, 287 



Are they all human ? what a swarming crowd, 
Oh, God of mercy — I behold each day 
Striving and fighting ! Not a single ray 
Of light to pierce this dark and cheerless cloud 
That wraps, as if by demons fell, the loud 
Discordant noises in the public way. 
Young girls and women, sturdy men and grey, 
Gagged by the Devil ; stifled from pure speech, 
To filth and vileness. Yet we daily teach 
The younger children purity and truth. 
Can we not by protracted eflPorts reach 

The elders by the children ? Surely youth. 
Say, babe simplicity, would work a cure. 
In these our brethren, ignorant, impure ? 

They are our brethren ! yea, they^re surely mine. 
For save that I have something in my breast 
Which will not let me ever be at rest, 

2S8 A Legacy. 

But shames me into goodness^ the Divine 

Almighty God knows that I stand confest^ 
A worthless lep^r ! These are flasks of wine, 
Too much fermented hj the lurid sun 
Of primal, present sin ; their lives have run, 
Through weedy pathways into helplessness ; 
Hate, scomfulness, doubt, sickness and distress. 
But something of their better lives remains. 
For mark, to save their children from the street 

They undergo privations, cares, and pains. 
Building themselves in heaven a quiet retreat ! 

18th Sept. 1870. 

" Thy earnest views of life,^' my neighbours say, 
" Prevent thee gaining credit and renown.'' 
So runs the tale in this my little town. 

Made to myself, yet not by me, for day 

Scarce comes, but that I wish myself away. 
Where ? I know not, the same alarming frown. 

Given to all who will not own the sway, 
And bear the heavy-laden, worthless crown 

Of the hand-shaking world ; will follow me. 

A Legacy. 289 

E'en to the end ; Fm sick at heart ! I see 
Nothing to share, no sympathy, but for 

The unassuming ones, whose hearts do crave. 
The never-ending quiet of heaven's shore^ 

Whose lives, e'en now, are nearly in the grave. 

18th Sept. 1870. 

Walks, dinners, meetings, can these satisfy 
The wiser mind ? Besides in these we see 
Nought in the shape of that deep sympathy 

Which soul fipom soul requires, to live — To die— 

These are the tedious watchwords that do fly 
From man to man with hopeless apathy. 

'^ What is to live ?" is ask'd, and all reply 
'' We live to eat and work. Society, 

Songs, taverns, drinks, are each an ornament; 

Books, reading, intellectual thoughts prevent 
Their lovers from enjoying life." So all 

Men separate ways pursue. So trifles sway 
Millions of people on this earthly ball. 

While Wisdom looks in vain for wiser day. 
18th Sept. 1870. 

VOL. n. u 

290 A Legacy. 

Gret^ purple^ golden^ stain the ey ning skj^ 

Slow sinks the sun into a mdd j sea ; 

Thou orb of warmth and poVr and mystery. 
Nurse of sweet nature, thou art ever nigh, 
Strewing thy blessings ! from thy domain high 

Thou dost behold our woeful misery— 
Our hopes, fears, passions — ^thou dost never leave 
Thy sick and dying children ; when our eve. 

Waiting for Night in calm and cool suspense, 
(Like some fond mother, who, sedate and still, 
Lets down her converse wise, and all her will 

To the low level of babe-innocence) 
Strengthens the feeble day ,* thou dost prepare 

To bring thy comfort and delight to all 
Our distant brethren ; thy awakening care. 

Thy freedom to the miserable thrall. 
Thy never-failing spring of health and grace. 

Thy banishment of darkened misery. 

Vast hopes, suggestions, day-dreams, charity. 
To distant members of the human race. 

Pining, despairing, full of grief and care. 

In torrid, balmy, or in frozen air ! 

A Legacy, 291 

There are white bars through which will soon 

look out 
Into a world of sinfulness and doubt 
The tearful stars — When to her short-lived rest. 
The day has slowly journeyed in the West, 
The sad-eyed Twilight comes ; a royal maid, 
Silent and slow, in cold blue dress arrayed. 
Perchance she kneels, and quietly prays, while down 
O^er land and ocean, hamlet, vale, and town. 
Small fragments of her earnest words descend. 
She is my lover ; Contemplation's friend. 
The air so pure and sad on which she kneels 
Covers a chamber wherein God reveals 
His inmost presence. From the lurid day 
I enter slowly, and I cast away 
All thoughts of sin, and now begins to gleam 
The realisation of a happy dream. 
Upon her feet that erst had covering none, 
Rises the evening star ! Like love alone 
Brilliant, its advent an entire surprise. 
Like love it fades too quickly from our eyes ; 
And now like diamonds in a robe of blue. 
Stars after stars their upward way pursue, 


292 A Legacy, 

Until the Twilight's drowned in watery light. 

Faint she expires ; and soon the giant Nighty 

That all day long asleep on this side earthy 

Blinded by sunbeams lay, with freshened birth. 

Seizing a jet black mantle, full of wrath. 

Now throws it o'er the stars. Far to the north 

Where gleams the sailor's guide, the mantle flows. 

An inky sea ; shall it the stars inclose 

And hide their blessedness ? O radiant light ! 

I hail with joy thy presence ! O delight 

Of wand'rers weary— pure and silver moon ! 

Grant me, thy lover, this but trifling boon. 

Give the world light ! She with majestic mien 

Moves on her journey, patiently, serene ; 

Her light is music ! Night with hideous frown 

Attempts to drag her azure garments down, 

Sut she puts on her star-bespangled gown. 

And like a maiden half-afraid, yet strong 

In innocency, the attempted wrong 

Bravely repels, and through the dreamy haze. 

She shames the darkness with her earnest gaze. 

Shout for the queen of heaven ! Fading stars 

Do hide themselves behind the cloudy bars. 

A Legacy. 293 

Scouts of the night ; I, rapt in wonder, stand, 
With face uplifted, by cool breezes fannM, 
Until the silver glory fills mine eyes, 

With liquid from the wells of Paradise ! 

July, 1870. 


There was a time when songs of liberty 

Were all my drink, my spirit^s wholesome air, 
Nothing in life seemed half so good and fair 

As red cap — revolution — sympathy ' 

With men whose utmost merit was to dare. 
Dagger in hand, the tyrant in his lair. 

Filling the world with woe and misery 

By one ensanguined deed ! I would not give 

The whisper of a cheer — approve of, hold 
Myself in unison with men who live 

Treacherous wolves within the lost sheepfold ! 

Buled I would be, if ever, by the bold 
Determined man of action and of mind. 

Albeit heartless, than by idle crews. 

Lawless and brutal, changeful as the wind, 

Whom naught but crimson plunder can amuse I 
19th Sept. 1870. 

294 A Legacy, 


When deep sleep settles on mine eyelids^ and 
Strange murmuring sounds fall on each heed- 
less ear^ 
Resigned and free I roam the mystic land, 

Of shadowed dreams^ with mingled hope and 
And tread with aerial feet the golden strand, 
Where earth and tide and time all dis- 

For in my dreams the sad world hears no part. 
Nor yet doth Time his glass before me hold. 

No wicked slander sends its poisonous dart. 
But soft and pleasant fancies do enfold 

Me in their soft embrace, and to my heart 
Bring back the gladness of the days of old. 

There cometh not to me day^s woe and pain. 
Turning my brightest hopes to black despair. 

But to the measure of a joyous strain. 
My feet oblivious tread the dreamy air 

A Legacy, 295 

Of that strange land where mind alone doth 
Leaving the body to its bed of care. 

Sometimes I ask myself in sad affright. 

Can this strange life be yet the stranger 
Of that dim shadowed life which in the night 
Doth bind my thoughts with golden chain 
Flashing on my enraptured, eager sight 
A host of visions that of heaven seem ? 

O golden dreams ! O visions rich and strange, • 
GHding. my gloomy life with sunny ray. 

Bringing to my sad heart a little change. 
To tear me from the torments of the day. 

That would, but for thy power, me derange, 
Keeping me in their narrow, toilsome way. 

Still raise me in the night to that rich clime. 
Still lead me through thy green and leafy 

296 A Legacy. 

To golden temples^ where the happy chime 
Of silver bells ring out the blissful hours^ 

That are not measured by the hand of time^ 
But laden all with happiness and flowers. 

hearts that sufier I come and taste awhile, 
The blessed raptures of a bright surprise. 

Come ! leave the world, and revel in the smile. 
Of that strange god of dreams who steeps 
our eyes 

In drowsy sleep, and doth our cares beguile ; 
So that they leave us till the bright sunrise. 

9th June 1867. 

With tHs dream of " bright sunrise"— 
the sunrise which in no sense was ever to 
be for him, in this world, I end aU that 

1 have found worth printing of John 
Martin's poetry. It will be seen, as I said 
before, that his prose is, on the whole, far 
the best. There are fine lines, daring and 
beautiful images, here and there ; but very 

A Legacy. 297 

- - , . , . 

little of it can be considered real poetry, 
sustained, polished, artistic work, on which 
a man might found a reputation. There 
is a rough originality about it at times, 
especially in "The Dead Poet'' (which, 
read by the light of his own sad story, 
becomes very touching), and in those verses 
wherein he paints, from nature, the human 
Inferno at the East-end of London in which 
nearly his whole existence was passed. 
Still, his life was the poem, not his writing. 
If I have tried to save both, at least for a 
little while, from the depth of that Lethe- 
stream which is carrying us all so fast away, 
it has done, at any rate, no harm, possibly 
some little good. 

I had intended placing a stone over his 
grave in Plaistow Cemetery ; but found he 
had been buried in a common grave with 
several others, and though the place could 
have been identified, it was so far off, so 

298 A Legacy. 

entirely removed from tlie region of his life 
and work, that Mr. Linklater and myself 
agreed that any memorial of him had better 
be placed there, where all who knew him, 
and especially his "bojrs," could see it 
every Sunday. Accordingly, there will 
shortly be 'erected, iq St. Peter's Church, 
London Docks, a white marble tablet, very 
simple, very plain, so that " he who runs 
may read ;" the inscription upon which 
may fitly end this book — 



Bom at Wapping, Nov. 26, 1846 ; ended there a most 

snffering, patient, and Heroic life, and entered 

into eternal rest, Oct. 13, 1876, 

aged 29 years. 


13, Gbeat Mablbobouoh Street. 



EOYAL WINDSOR. By W. Hepworth Dixon. 

Vols. 1 and 2. Demy 8vo. 30s. (Just Ready. ^ 

CONVERSATIONS with M. Thiers, M. Guizot, 

and other Distinguished Persons, during the Second Empire. By 
the Late Nassau W. Seniob. Edited by his Daughter, M. C. M. 
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Among other persons whose conversations are recorded in these volumes are 
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"This new series of Mr. Senior's * Conversations' has been for some years past 
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fflSTORIO CHATEAUX: Blois, Fontainebleau, 

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MY LIFE, FROM 1815 to 1849. By Charles Loftus, 

formerly of the Royal Nayy, late of the Coldstream Guards. 
Anthor of " My Yonth by Sea and Land." 2 vols, crown Svo. 2l8. 

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thing like a proper appreciation of its value we must refer our readers to the book 
; itself.*'— JbAit BuU. 

I " This work gives evidence of a vast deal of industry and study of the subject, 

and is distinguished by considerable analytical power, and contains many pleasant 
•aeodotea"— i/omcn(ir Pott. 

" A book of the highest mark and character. The literary man, the antiquarian, 
and the historian will combine in pronouncing it worthy of admission into every 
well -selected library."— JVeMOHJvr. 

"These volumes abound with entertainment The book is extremely good 
reading."— /I2i»<ra^ Neat. 

"A most entertaining and instructive work, which we cannot too strongly 
recommend. It should hold a prominent place in every library. Mr. L'Estrange's 
carefully written volumes cannot fail to be amusing, since they are brimming 
with wit and Yaanoxu^^Lloyd^t Newtpaper, 


13, Great MABLBORonoH Street. 

NEW WORKS— Continued. 


OF ARAGON and ANNE BOLEYN. By W. Hbpworth Descn. 
Second Edition. Vols. 1 & 2. Demy 8vo. 30s. 

"In two handsome Toliunes Mr. Dixon here gives ns the first instalment of a 
new historical work on a most attractive subject The book is in many respects a 
favonrabl.e specimen of Mr. Dixon's powera It is the most painstaking and 
elaborate that he has yet written. .... On the whole, we may say that the book 
is one which will sustain the reputation of its author as a writer of great power 
and versatility, that it gives a new aspect to many an old subject, and presents in 
« very strikii]^ light some of the most recent discoveries in English history."— 

*' In these volumes the author exhibits in a signal manner his special powers 
and finest endowments. It is obvious that the historian has been at especial pains 
to justify his reputation, to strengthen his hold upon the learned, and also to 
extend bis sway over the many who prize an attractive style and interesting narra* 
tive more highly than laborious research and philosophic insight" — Morning Post 

" The tiianks of all students Qf English history are due to Mr. Hepworth Dixon 
for his clever and original workj * History of two Queens.' The book is a valuable 
contribution to English history. The author has consulted a number of original 
sources of information — in particular the archives at Simancas, Alcala, and Yenicoi. 
Mr. Dixon is a skilful writer. His style, singularly vivid, graphic, and dramatic— 
is alive with human and artistic interest Some of the incidental descriptionB 
reach a very high level of picturesque power." — DaUy News. 


By W. Hepworth Dixon. Second Edition, Demy 8vo. Price 30b, 
Completing the Work, 
'* These concluding volumes of Mr. Dixon's * History of two Queens ' will be per- 
used with keen interest by thousands of readers. Whilst no less valuable to tha 
student, they will be far more enthralling to the general reader than the earlier 
heJf of the history. Every page of what may be termed Anne Boleyn's story affords 
a happy illustration of the author's vivid and picturesque style. The work should 
be found in every library." — Post. 

" Mr. Dixon has pre-eminently the art of interesting his readers. He has pro- 
duced a narrative of considerable value, conceived in a spirit of fairness, and 
written with power and picturesque effect" — Daily News. 


Pennsylvania. By W. Hepworth Deson. A New Library Edition. 

1 vol. demy 8vo, with Portrait. 12s. 
" Mr. Dixon's ' William Penn ' is, perhaps, the best of his books. He has now re- 
vised and issued it with the addition of much fresh matter. It is now offered in a 
sumptuous volume, matching with Mr. Dixon's recent books, to a new generation of 
readers, who will thank Mr. Dixon for his interesting and instructive memoir of 
one of the worthies of England." — Examiner. 

FKEEKUSSIA. By W. Hepworth Dixon. Third 

Edition. 2 vols. 8yo, with Coloured Illnstrations. 30b. 
"Mr. Dixon's book will be certain not only to interest but to please its readers 
and it deserves to do so. It contains a great deal that is worthy of attention, and 
is likely to produce a very useful ettecV^^Saturday Review. 

THE SWrrZERS. By W. Hepworth DrsoN. 

Third Edition. 1 vol. demy 8vo. 158. 
"A lively, interesting, and altogether novel book on Switzerland, It is full of 
valuable information on social, political, and ecclesiastical qneetions, and, like all 
Mr. Dixon's books, is eminently readable. "'2>a% Soft. 

13, Gbkat Mablborouoh Stbbet. 

NEW WO'RKS— Continued. 


William Pitt Lennox. Second Series. 2 volumes demy 8 vo. 30s. 

Among other persons mentioned in the Second Series of this work are — The 
Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold ; the Didces of Wellington and Beau- 
fort ; the Earls of Durham and Carlisle ; Lords Byron, Clyde, Adolphus Fitz- 
clarence, and Cockbnm; Sirs Walter Scott, Q. Wombwell, A. Barnard, John 
EUey, Sidney, Harry, and C. F. Smith; Count D'Orsay; Dr. Dodd; Messrs. 
Thomas Moore, Theodore Hook, Leigh Hunt, Jerdan, James, Horace, and 
Albert Smitii, Beazley, Tattersall, Hudson, Ude, Qeorge Colman, The Eembles, 
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"One of the best books of the season. Plea&ant anecdotes, exciting episodes, smart 
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COACHING ; With Anecdotes of the Koad. By 

Lord Wh>llvm Pitt Lennox, Author of " Celebrities I have 
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** Lord William's book is genial, discursive, and gossipy. We are indebted to the 
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some of the more famous dragsmea Nor does Lord William by any means limit 
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tinental diligences, with anecdotes of His Grace of Wellington, when Lord William 
was acting as his aide-de-camp during the occupation of Paris, with many other 
matters more or less germane to his subject, are all brought in more or less 
naturally. Altogether his volume, with the variety of its contents, will be found 
pleasant reading."— PoU Mall Oazette. 

LIFE OP MOSCHELES ; with Selections from 

2 vols, large post 8vo, with Portrait. 248. 

"This life of Moscheles will be a valuable book of reference for the musical his- 
torian, for the contents extend over a period of threescore years, commencing with 
1794, and ending at 1870. We need scarcely state that all the portions of Mosche- 
les' diary which refer to his intercourse with Beethoven, Hummel, Weber, Czemyf 
Spontini, Bossini, Auber, HaJdvy, Schumann, Gherubini, Spohr. Mendelssohn, F. 
David, Chopin, J B. Cramer. Clementi, John Field, Habeneck, Hauptmann, EaJk- 
hrenner, Eiesewetter, C. Elingemann, Lablache, Dragonetti, Sontag, Persian!, 
MaJibran, Paganini, Bachel, Bonzi de Begnis, De Beriot, Ernst, Donzelli, Cinti- 
Damoreau, Chelard, Bochsa, Laporte, Charles Eemble, Paton (Mrs. Wood), 
Schrbder-Devrient, Mrs. Siddons, Sir H. Bishop, Sir G. Smart, Staudigl, Thalberg, 
Berlioz, VeUuti, G. Young, Balf e, Braham, and many other artists of note in their 
time, will recall a flood of recollections. It was a delicate task for Madame Mos- 
cheles to select from the diaries in reference to living persons, but her extracts have 
been judiciously made. Moscheles writes fairly of what is called the * Music of the 
Future ' and its disciples, and his judgments on Herr Wagner, Dr. Liszt, Buben- 
Btein, Dr. von Billow, Litolff, Ac., whether as composers or executants, are in a 
liberal spirit He recognizes cheerfully the talents of oar native artists. Sir Stem- 
dale Bennett, Mr. Macfarren, Madame Arabella Gtoddard, Mr. John Bamett, Mr. 
Hullah, Mrs. Shaw, Mr. A. Sullivan, &c The celebrities with whom Moscheles 
came in contact, include Sir Walter Scott, Sir Bobert Peel, the late Duke of Cam- 
bridge, the Bunsens, Louis Philippe, Napoleon the Third, Humboldt, Henry Heine, 
Thomas More, Count Nesselrode, the Duchess of Orleans, Prof. Wolf, &c. In- 
deed, the two volumes are full of amusing anecdotes."^^tAaMBuin. 

18, GiUKAT MiBUBOBonaH Stbxet. 

NEW WOB^KS— Continued. 


PERMISSION TO THE QUEEN. Sixth Editum. 8vo. 30b. 

Fbox thx Tnoa:— "All the civilized world— English, GonUnental, and Ame- 
rican—takes an interest in the Tower of London. The Tower is the stage 
npon which has been enacted some of the grandest dramas and saddest tragedie» 
in our national annals. If, in imagination, we take om- stand on those time-worn 
walls, and let century after century flit past us, we shall see in duo succession the 
majority of the most famous men and lonely women of England in the olden time. 
We shall see them jesting, jousting, love-making, plotting, and then anon, per- 
haps, commending Uieir souls to God in the presence of a hideous masked figure, 
bearing an axe in his handa It is such pictures as these that Mr. Dixon, with 
considerable skill as an historical limner, has set before us in these volumes. Mr. 
Dixon dashes off the scenes of Tower history with great spirit His descriptions 
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at condensation. In conclusion, we may congratulate the author on this work. Botb 
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PERMISSION TO THE QUEEN. Completing the Work. Third 
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"These volumes are two galleries of richly painted portraits of the noblest 
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VILLE. Edited from the French by Chablotte M. Yongb^ 

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MY YOUTH, BY SEA AND LAND, from 1809 to 

1816. By Charles Loftus, formerly of the Royal Navy, 
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THOSE IN SORROW. Dedicated by Permission to The Queen. 
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HIS LAST STAKE. By Shirley Smith, Author 

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it wonld be hard to find, and the refinement of its hnmour and pictnresqueness of 
its descriptive setting cannot fail to be appreciated. There Is not a character 
without individuality from one end of the book to the other.*' — Athenmtm. 

** This is one of the pleasantest stories which have proceeded from Mrs. 01iphant'» 
pen of late years. It increases greatly in power and interest as it proceeds, and 
abounds with humorous touches as well as tender and delicate passages. The 
heroine is fresh and charming." — Morning Post. 


EiNd, Author of ** The Queen of the Regiment," &c. 3 vols. 

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BROTHER GABRIEL. By M. Betham-Edwards, 

Author of " Kitty," " Bridget," &c. 3 vols. 
*' This book may be read with pleasure. It is carefully written, and contains very 
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Banks, Author of " The Manchester Man," &c. 3 vols. 

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'* The author tells her tale with great skUL There is not a dull page in the book.*' 
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" A novel of no ordinary power and intellect" — Simday Times. 

RUBY GREY. By W. Hepworth Dixon. Third 

Edition. 3 vols. 
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MARGERY TRAVERS. By Miss Bewioke, Author 

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VIVA. By Mrs. Forrester, Author of " Mignon," 

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LoDOi*8 PXKBAfli AND Babonxtaoi is acknowledged to be the moat 
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ever stood so high. It is published under the especial patronage of Her 
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munications of the NobiUty. It is the only work of its class in which, ike 
tme being kept constant^ standing, every correction is made in its proper 
puce to the date of publication, an advantage which gives it supremacy 
over all its competitors. Independently of its full and authentic informa- 
tion respecting the existing Peers and Baronets of the realm, the most 
sedulous attention is given in its pages to the collateral branches of the 
various noble families, and the names of many thousand individuals are 
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occupies on the tables of Her Majesty and the Nobility. 


HlBtcrlcal View of the Peerage. 
Parliamentary Boll of the House of Lords. 
BngliBh, Scotch, and Irish Peers, in their 

orders of Precedence. 
Alphabetical List of Peers of Great Britain 

and the United Kingdom, holding sape- 

rior rank in the Scotch or Irish Peerage. 
Alphabetical list of Scotch and Irish Peers, 

holding superior titles in the Peerage of 

Great Britain and the United Kingdom. 
A Gollectiye list of Peers, in their order of 

Table of Precedency among Men. 
Table of Precedency among WomexL 
The Queen and the Boyal Family. 
Peers of the Blood BoyaL 
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Families of such Extinct Peers as have left 

Widows or Issue. 
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Ireland, and the Goloniea 

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ing married Ck>mmoners, rertain the title 
of Lady before their own Christian and 
their Husband's Sumamea 

Alphabetical Index to the Daughters of 
Viscounts and Barons, who, having 
married Ck}mmoner8, are styled Honour- 
able Mra ; and, in case of the husband 
being a Baronet or Knight, Honourable 

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accuracy is a distinguishing feature of this book." — Times. 

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Eaoli in a Single Yolnme, elegantly printed, bonnd, and illustrated, price 5st 

**The first yolnme of BfeBBrs. Hurst and BlacketVs Standard Library of Cheap Editions 
forms a very good beginning to what will doubtless be a very successful uudertaking. 
'Nature and Human Nature* is one of the best of Sam Slick's witty and humorous 
productions, and is well entitled to the large circulation which it cannot fail to obtain 
in its present convenient and cheap shapa The volume combines with the great recom- 
mendations of a clear, bold type, and good paper, the lesser but attractive merits of 
being well illustrated and elegantly bound." — FosL 


" This is a very good and a very interesting work. It is designed to trace the career 
from boyhood to age of a perfect man — a Christian gentleman; and it abounds in inci- 
dent both well and highly wrought Throughout it is conceived in a high spirit, and 
written with great ability. This cheap and handsome new edition is worthy to pass 
freely from hand to hand as a gift book in many households." — Examiner, 



" Independent of its value as an original narrative, and its useful and interesting 
information, this work is remarkable for the colouring power and play of fancy with 
which its descriptions are enlivened. Among its greatest and most lasting charms is 
its reverent and serious spirit" — Quarterly Beoiew. 


" * Nathalie' is Miss Eavanagh's best imaginative effort Its manner is gracious and 
attractive. Its matter is good. A sentiment, a tenderness, are commanded by her 
which are as individual as they are elegant" — Athenteum, 



"A book of sound counsel It is one of the most sensible works of its kind, well- 
written, true-hearted, and altogether practical Whoever wishes to give advice to a 
young lady may thank the author for means of doing so." — Examiner. 


" A Story awakening genuine emotions of interest and delight by its admirable pic- 
tures of Scottish life and scenery. The author sets before us the essential attributes ef 
Christian virtue, with a delicacy, power, and truth which can hardly be surpassed. "-i>off. 



'* The reputation of this book will stand as long as that of Scott's or Bulwer's Novela 
Its remarkable originality and happy descriptions of Ajuerican life still continue th» 
subject of universal admiration."— i/eM«n0«r. 


" A picturesque book on Rome and its ecclesiastical sovereigns, by an eloquent Roma» 
Catholic. Cardinal Wiseman has treated a special subject with so much geniality, that 
his recollections will excite no ill-feeling in those who are most conscientiously opposed 
to every idea of human infallibility represented in Papal domination."— .^IMauBttm. 



" In * A Life for a Life ' the author is fortunate in a good subject, and has produced » 
work of strong effect"— ilMefupum. 




** A dali^tfol book, thftt will be welcome to ell reedera, end moet weloome to fhoee 
who heye a lore for the beet Unde of reeding.**— J^xamMer. 


** We reoommend en who ere In seerch of a feecinetlng novel to reed thie work for 
4hemeelTee. They will lUid it well worth their whilei ^lere ere a freehneee end ori- 
ginality about it quite channing."— t^Menmini 


" The pubUcatlone Inclnded hi thia Library have all been of good qoality ; many give 
Inf onnanon while they entertain,' and of that claee the book before ns la a 8];>edmen. 
The manner in which the Cheap Editione forming the eeriee ii produced, deeervee 

special mention. The paper and print are unexceptionable ; there ie a Bteel engraving 
in eec^ volume, and the outeidee of them will satiBf y the purchaeer who likea to see 
booke in ^w*^"""** unifomL**— AaonnMr. 


**Thie laet prodofBtkn of the author of *The Greeoent and the Oroee * has the eame 
«lemente of a very wide popularity. It will pieaee ite thoueanda.**— <7lote. 


**It were impoeelble to praise too highly this most interesting hook."~-Skmdard. 


**The * Laird of Norlaw * fully sustains the author's high reputation.*'— .SaiKfaf Times. 


** Mrs. Gretton*s book is interesting, end full of opportune instruotioD.**— nmei. 



** * Nothing New * displays all those superior merits which have made * John Halifax • 
«ne of the moet popular works of the day.*'— Poff. 


"Nothing can be more interesting than Miss Freer's stoiy of the life of Jeanne 
D'Albret, and the narrative is as trustworthy as it is attractive.^— PofC 


**If eeked to classify this work, we should give it aplace between * John Halifax ' and 
The Caxtons.' **-~SkmdardL 


u A work of ff\^tr^}^^ interest, which can never fail to charm.'*— /Utiftratoef NewL 


" * Adele * is the best work we have read by Miss Eavanagh ; it is a oharming story 
<u]l of delicate character-painting."— iKtoweiim. 


'* These * Studies from Life * are remarkable for grapliic power end observation. The 
4)Ook will not <nnnfai«h the reputation of the accomplished author.**— «SarfiirdiayiSerMie. 


**We commend * Grandmother's Money* to readers in search of a good novel The 
•oliaracterB are true to human nature, and the stoiy is interesting."— ilMmenMi. 




" A delightful book.'*— ilMaueufn. " A book to be read and re-read ; At for the study 
fts well as the drawing-room table and the circulating library."— loncdL 


''We advise all who have the opportunity to read this book."—- iKAenctnfk 



" A good wholesome book, gracefully written, and as pleasant to read as it is instruo- 
iiva*'— il</k«iuinMn. " A charming tale charmingly tol^''—St<mdard, 


** * Lost and Saved ' will be read with eager interest It is a vigorous novel"— n'mca 
"A novel of rare excellence. It is Mrs. Norton's best prose work.'*— JSxam«n«r. 



"The merits of * Les Miserables* do not merely consist in the conception of it as a 
whole ; it abounds with details of unequalled beauty. 11 Victor Hugo has stamped upon 
every page the hall-mark of genius."- Quarterly Review, 


" It is not often that we light upon a novel of so much merit and interest as * Barbara's 
History.' It is a work conspicuous for taste and literary cultnra It is a very graceful 
and charming book, with a well-managed story, clearly-cut characters, and sentiments 
expressed with an exquisite elocution. It is a book which the world will like."— 2foiea 



" A good book on a most interesting thema" — Timet. 

" A truly interesting and most affecting memoir. Irving's Life ought to have a niche 
In every gallery of religious biography. There are few lives that will be fuller of in- 
struction, interest, and consolation. "--iScrfttrday Beoiew. 

31. ST. OLAVE'S. 

** This charming novel is the work of one who possesses a great talent for writing, as 
well as experience and knowledge of the world. *— ^Menomm. 


**Dlp where you will into this lottery of fun, you are sure to draw out a prizeL"— Poit 


" A more charming story has rarely been written. Even if tried by the standard of 
the Archbishop of York, we should expect that even he would pronounce * Christian's 
Mistake* a novel without a fault"— 2VmeiL 



**No account of this story would give any idea of, the profound interest that pervades 
the work from the first page to the last"— ilMtnonim. 


** * Agnes * is a novel superior to any of Mrs. Oliphant's former works. "-ilCAMianim. 
** A story whose pathetic beauty will appeal irresistibly to all readers."— Poft 



"This is one of those pleasant tales in which tiie autiior of * John Halifax * speaks 
out of a generous heart the purest truths of Ufa**— f ommmmt. 




** A very Interesting book. Mr. Dixon has written thoughtfully and -weW^^Times. 
"We reoommend every one who feels any interest in human nature to read Mr. 
Dixon's Tory interesting book."— iSatordcv Bemeu. 


" * Robert Fftlooner ' is a work brimful of life and humour and of the deepest human 
interest It is a book to be returned to again and again for the deep and searching 
knowledge it eyinoes of hunukn thoughts and feelings." — Athenrntm. 


"*The Woman's Kingdom* sustains the author's reputation as a writer of the 
purest and noblest kind of domestic stories.— iKAcnjetmi. 


"A racy, well-written, and original novel The interest never flaga The whole 
work sparkles with wit and humour." — Quarterlv Review. 


** The work of a man of genius. It will attract the highest class of readers." — Times. 


"A very good novel; a thoughtful, well-written book, showing a tender, sympathy 
with human nature, and permeated by a pure and noble spirit" — Examiner. ' 

43. HANNAH. 


** A very pleasant, healthy story, well and artistically told. The book is sure of a 
wide circle of readers. The character of Hannah is one of rare heAutj.''— Standard. 


**This is one of the most amnsingtwoks that we ever read."— tStondarcL 



"The author of *John Halifax 'has written many fascinating stories, but we can 
call to mind nothing from her pen that has a more enduring charm than the graceful 
sketches in this work."— United Service Magazine. 


** * A Bose in June ' is as pretty as its titia The story is one of the best and most 
touching which we owe to the industry and talent of Mrs. Oliphant, and may hold its 
own with even * The Chronicles of Garlingford.' "— 7¥mea 


" There is a great deal of fascination about this book. The author writes in a clear, 
unaffected stylo; she has a decided gift for depicting character, while the descriptions 
of scenery convey a distinct pictorial impression to the reader." — Time*. 


**This novel shows great knowledge of human nature. The interest goes on 
growing to the end. Phoebe is excellently drawn." — THmes. 



" A work of remarkable merit and interest, which will, we doubt not, become the 
most popular English history of Marie Antoinette."— /9pec<a^or. 
** This book is well written, and of thrilUng interest"— ilcad^yi ly ^ 







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APR/ 7 - 1927 


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