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LETTEES MD EEMINISCENCES 



OP 



THE KEY. JOHN MITFOED 






WITH 



H Sftetcb of bl0 Corre6pon5ent'6 Xifc* 



By C. M. c ^ ^ 



LO:CTDON: 
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE, & RIVINGTON, 

LIMITED, 

%u 2)uns(tan']!t l^oujete, 
Fetter Lane, Fleet Street, E.G. 

1891. 



PROLOGUE. 



-♦♦- 



A CONSIDERABLE number of letters, written long 
ago by the Rev. John Mitford, Rector of Ben- 
hall, Suffolk, and for many years editor of the 
Gentleman's Magazine, having unexpectedly 
fallen into my possession, it occurred to me to 
incorporate the biographies as well as some of 
the writings of a " pair of friends *' (such as 
were my father, Mr. Edward Jesse, and John 
Mitford, whose mutual love of Natural History 
drew them together), in one small volume, 
which might perhaps prove interesting to a 
portion of the reading public. 

Being well aware that the letters above 
alluded to form by far the more generally at- 
tractive contingent in the biographies which I 



VI PROLOGUE. 

proposed to myself to amalgamate, and being 
also cognisant of the fact that the Rev. John 
Mitford, nephew of the Spanish historian, 
and, as he is styled in biographical notices, 
** naturalist and miscellaneous writer,'' ranks 
far beyond my father in scientific and general 
knowledge, I would gladly have placed a sketch 
of his life before that of his friend and follower. 
One objection, however, to this course stared 
me hopelessly in the face. I was, and am still, 
almost totally ignorant of any events connected 
with Mr. Mitford's early career, and am there- 
fore reluctantly obliged to yield to my father — 
whose love, and that alone, for the works of 
Nature, obtained for him the title of "naturalist " 
—the place of honour, if any such exists, in my 
little book. The annals, from the age of nine- 
teen to that of quasi ninety of a life which, both 
in public and private, was as blameless as it 
was uneventful, can hardly possess many of the 
elements which, as a rule, awaken the reader's 
sympathies ; nevertheless I am willing to hope 



PROLOGUE. vii 

that the truthfulness of the narration, together 
with the accompanying notices of public men, 
with many of whom my father in his long life 
became acquainted, may arouse an interest in 
the following pages which a simple memoir of 
his life might fail to elicit. 



) 



I 



r 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 



ERRATA. 

Page I, lines 5 and 6, for "emigrated after the Edict of Nantes," 
read " emigrated after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes." 

Page 4, /or "Dr. Ford's son was the author of the * Handbook 
to Spain/ and his grandson is Sir Clare, Ford, British 
Minister in Madrid," read "Dr. Ford's nephew was the 
author of the * Handbook to Spain,* and his grand-nephew 
is Sir Clare Ford, Ambassador in Madrid." 

Page 60, line 7, for " aetemium,'* read "aeternum." 

Page 191, line 2^, for "gentle heart," read "gentle voice." 

Page 223, line 5, for " Oxford," read " Orford. " 



VXMtjxj jLJUfKO iMiuixj aixoxr jL*i«aa.wo uiciaoivu va vuvxm. vVdllCVbiUI:! Wlbll blJU 

Marquis de Churleval, who on one occasion wrote to my brother 
requesting (but in vain) some information regarding the Huguenot 
branch of the De Jess^ family. 



SYLVANUS KEDIVIVUS. 



-M- 



CHAPTER I. 

** Man hath his daily work of body or mind appointed." 

— Milton, Paradise Lost, 

My father's family, as indeed his name would 
almost imply, is of French extraction. The re- 
presentative of a younger and Protestant branch 
of . the Barons, de Jesse Levas* one of the 
oldest families in Languedoc, emigrated after 
the Edict of Nantes to England, and purchased 
a small estate in the county of Wilts. This 
estate, on. which is situated the village of Chill- 
mark, remained until the beginning of the 
present century in the possession of my father's 

* Vide LAnnuaire dt la NoUesse de France {^&r M. Borel d'Haute* 
reve, archiviste-paleographe). The same record of the Barons de 
Jess^ lidvas family also makes mention of their connection with the 
Marquis de Churleval, who on ene occasion wrote to my brother 
requesting (but in vain) Bome information regarding the Huguenot 
branch of the De Jess^ family. 
 - ^ A ' 



2 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

family; — the said family, hpwever, when they 
became English country gentlemen, dropped, 
like sensible people, not only the distinctive 
de, but the accent on the final 6, which marked 
their Gallic origin, 

Chillmark Church contains some interesting 
memorials in the shape of brasses, &c.~ (some of 
the earliest bearing dates a year or two after 
that of the Edict of Nantes— 1685), of my 
father s ancestors ; and when, about the middle 
of the present century, the late Lord Herbert of 
Lea, then the Honourable Sidney Herbert, con- 
ceived the idea of repairing and beautifying the 
old church, he, with characteristic courtesy, in- 
vited a member of the former Chillmark land- 
lords to Wilton Abbey ; the object of the visit 
being that of enabling the latter to superintend, 
during the necessary changes, the removal of 
his ancestors' remains and that of the tablets 
placed over their ashes to another portion of the 
sacred edifice. 

"Your family were landowners in Wiltshire 
long before mine had any interest in the 
county," remarked to his guest one than whom 
no man living possessed in so great a degree the 
art of saying charming things ; and my cousin, 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 3 

an unworld-taught infantry soldier, went on his 
way, a flattered and nothing doubting man. 

My father was the third son of the Rev. 
William Jesse, who during the latter years of 
his life w^as the incumbent of the then only 
Episcopalian church of West Bromwich in Staf- 
fordshire. Of my paternal grandfather . I have 
no personal recollection, but I have reason to 
believe that his value, both as a good man and 
a learned divine, was duly recognised. Bishop 
Home, author of Commentaries on the Psalms, 
was at one time his curate* 

I must now make mention of one who in 
his generation was, especially in the sporting 
world, a somewhat remarkable character. : Dr. 
Ford, my father's uncle by marriage, was for 
many years Rector of Melton Mowbray, and was 
distinguished for his wit and erudition, but still 
more by his passion for fox-hunting, and his 
reputation as one of the most forward riders 
to hounds of his day. It was reported of Dr. 
Ford that he made the hours of his occasional 
Church Services subservient to those of the 
"meets," and that often, when engaged in 
marrying a couple at the altar, or of consign- 
ing to the grave the remains of a deceased 



4 SYLVANUS BEDIVIVUS. 

parishioner, there might be detected beneath 
the sacerdotal garment either the sheen of well- 
polished hunting-spurs, or a betraying strip of 
enlivening scarlet. Dr. Ford's son was the 
author of the *' Handbook to Spain," and his 
grandson is Sir Clare Ford, British Minister in 
Madrid. 

The living of West Bromwich is in the gift 
of the Earls of Dartmouth, and as, like many 
other family possessions of the kind, it had been 
customary to bestow it on a relative of the 
patron, it followed that both the house and the 
grounds were better suited to the demands of a 
country gentleman than to the requirements of 
a clergyman's family. The gardens and shrub- 
beries were extensive and well laid out, whilst 
in two large ponds which were within the 
Rectory boundaries were fish of the coarser 
kinds, galore. It was on the reedy margins of 
those ponds that my father in his schoolboy 
days, when bobbing (probably with a crooked 
pin) for roach or dace, acquired his lifelong 
appreciation of, and love for the gentle art. 

After my grandfather's death, the then Earl 
of Dartmouth presented the living to the Rev. 
Charles Townsend, who had previously marriecl 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 5 

my father's sister. He, the new incumbent, 
was a cousin, and heir-entail of Chauncey Hare 
Townsend; but of him, I regret to say, that, 
although as a child I must have frequently seen 
him in my uncle's house, I have no recollection 
whatever. I can, however, boast of a hazy 
memory of the famous philanthropist, William 
Wilberforce, of whom in his unflagging efforts 
to effect the freedom of the West Indian negroes 
my aiint w^as a zealous as well as able coad- 
jutrix. In her own person, Mrs. Townsend, who 
was a handsome woman, six feet one in height, 
owned, to my thinking, a decidedly tyrannical 
disposition. PossiUly, however, my opinion may 
have resulted from the fact that, after thevisit 
of the great emancipator, I owed both him and 
my aunt a grudge ; for every article of food 
dear to the childish palate was strictly tabooed. 
Cakes and plum-puddings contained West India 
sugar, and therefore to partake of them was a 
sin. 

This, however, is a digression, and I must now 
return to the early history of my father — ^to his 
marriage and to his career in life, which latter, 
although neither brilliant nor exciting, tended 
eventually, to the development of his taste for 



6 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

natural history, and to his keen appreciation of 
country pursuits and pleasures. 

At the age of twenty, my father (who was 
born in the year 1782) was chosen by Lord 
Dartmouth, the latter being, I believe, at that 
time in the Ministry, to be his private secretary ; 
and about four years later the said secretary, 
being at that time Colonel of the Birmingham 
Volunteers (which corps, like many others of a 
similar description, was called into existence by 
reason of a national panic, having for its cause 
a threatened invasion by the French), experienced 
at the hands of his kind and influential Chief 
a further proof of favour. That proof was the 
procuring for my father an appointment in the 
Royal Household. The duties which his post 
as "Gentleman of the Ewry" entailed were of 
the slighest, consisting merely of an attendance, 
in full court dress, at coronations and . such-like 
ceremonies, on which occasions the oflSce of the 
"gentleman" in question was to present on his 
bended knee a golden ewer or basin filled with 
rose-water to the sovereign. Into that rose* 
water the royal fingers were dipped, and sub- 
sequently wiped on a fine damask napkin fringed 
with gold, which the " Gentleman of the Ewry," 



SYLVJLjffUS REDIVIVUa 7 

for the j^arly pay of ;^300, independently of 
"perquisites," carried, in hotel- waiter fashion, 
upon his arm. 

This absurd and useless office has been happily 
long since done away with, but whilst it existed 
its influence over my father s prospects in life 
was very considerable. For at the period when 
his appointment took place, he had fallen deeply 
in love, and being of a hopeful temperament, 
he saw in this accession of income a chance of 
obtaining the object of his worship. The lady 
on whom his affections were fixed was the 
beautiful daughter of a Welsh Baronet, whose 
estates in Glamorganshire, together with his 
extensive coal-mines, and a fine country-seat in 
the neighbourhood of Swansea, to say nothing 
of a town-house in Portman Square, would natu- 
rally lead him to look down with anger and con- 
tempt on my father and his small pretensions ; 
but the latter, nothing daunted by this more 
than possible eventuality, continued suh rosa 
to urge his suit, and in process of time he 
obtained the object of his wishes. 

One of the show places in the neighbourhood 
of Birmingham was, at the time when this 
century was in it-s youth, Aston Hall. It was 



8 aiTLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

the property of my mother's uncle, Mr. Heneage 
Legge, a near relation oi Lord Dartmouth's, and 
has now, as is well known, become a recreation 
ground or park, for the Birmingham people. 
It was at Aston Hall (a fine old structure, which 
had suflfered much, as appearances plainly testi- 
fied, in Oliver Cromweirs wars) that my father 
met his future wife. 

They led for some time after their marriage 
a somewhat unsettled life, for the fear of Bona- 
parte's threatened attack on England had not 
as yet subsided, and the Volunteer regiments 
were kept near the coast, in expectation of 
an attack which in all ^probability had never 
been, by the French Dictator, seriously contem- 
plated. Whilst the Birmingham Volunteers were 
quartered at Horsham in Sussex, a frightful epi- 
demic of fever broke out amongst the men ; 
and I have often heard my mother speak of her 
dismal first experience of soldier life, when, with 
the sounds of the **Dead March in Saul" resound- 
ing through the air, she listened during the 
live-long days to the measured tramp of soldiers' 
feet as they bore to their last resting-place the 
remains of their comrades in arms. 

These anecdotes, being of. a somewhat ghastly 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 9 

turn, possessed for my childish ears a singular 
attraction, and the discovery in a garret of a 
hideous shako, the once scarlet feather apper- 
taining to which had been disrespectfully treated 
by the rats, remains in my memory as the sole 
record of my father's military career. That 
mutilated feather served us children for a play- 
thing ; yet methinks that we looked with some- 
thing approaching to awe at my father, in that 
he had in his more youthful days worn it in 
soldier fashion on his head. 

It is not my purpose to dwell in detail on 
early memories of one in whose biography there 
can be recorded no striking incidents, and who 
was that comparatively rare being — only a good 
and simple-minded man. Nevertheless, in order 
to convey to the reader some idea of my father's 
tastes and character, I will mention the follow* 
ing facts. 

. My first clear recollection of the subject of 
this memoir dates from the time when he rented 
a small house, farm-like and picturesque in 
appearance, which was situated in the prettiest 
and most retired quarter of Richmond Park. It 
must have been from a sheer love of country 
sights and sounds that this choice of a residence 



to SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 

was owing, for at that period of my father's life 
there existed more than one reason why a widely 
different course would have been advisable. His 
daily presence in London was at that time a 
matter of necessity, for he not only held a clexk- 
ship in the Woods and Forests Oifiee, but was 
one of a board of genilei&en whose duty it was 
to keep lOfsder in the ranks of the hackney-coach* 
men (or "Jarvies," as in those long-ago days 
they were in ragamuffin parlance called). The 
Government Offices of *'Hackney-Coach Com- 
missioners" were situated at the river-end of 
Essex Street Strand, and thither on every 
Friday, my father, together with his four col-^ 
leagues, had to betake himself. In the days 
of which I write, public conveyances between 
London and the locality in which our home 
was fixed were unknown, so that my father, 
who was a great lover of equestrian exercise, 
was accustomed, as regularly as nine o'clock a.m. 
came round, to either ride or drive himself in a 
*' gig " from our door to the uncongenial haunts 
whither his official duties called him. 

Very dear, although tinctured with a cloud 
of sadness, is the memory of my childhood's 
home. It was there that I first learned to 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. ii 

appreciate the " loveliness that is in all things 
living found ; " there that I delighted in watch- 
ing the "truant disposition" of the yellow, 
newly-born chickens, as they wrung the maternal 
heart of the hen, who from her coop on the 
sunny lawn distractedly watched their proceed- 
ings ; and there, too, that, with a blind belief in 
lay &ther s dictums, I learned from the domestic 
fowls the duty of gratitude to Providence ; fe, 
according to his simple guidance, the lifting up 
after every beakful of water of the said fowls* 
heads was a sign of thankfulness to Heaven for 
the tender mercies vouchsafed unto them ! 

One more anecdote, illustrative both of my 
father's simplicity of character and also of the 
rigid watch which he kept over the morals of 
his child-daughters, I will venture to relate, and 
tben the chapter of my juvenile recollections 
being closed, I will pass without mention over 
the years which — until such time as a change 
in his official appointments enabled my father 
to devote a larger portion of his time to the 
pursuits he loved — contain little of interest to 
the reader. 

At the immature age of six, one of my most 
valued pleasures was a drive in the " gig " with 



tl SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

my father to London* On looking back at it, 
however, methinks it could have been but a 
doubtful joy, and that but for " the honour of 
the thing," I should have been happier amongst 
the bees and birds at home. For the order of 
the day was this. After a few minutes' stay in 
Whitehall Place, in the neighbourhood of which 
Government Office our good horse *'Yorick" 
enjoyed an hour or two's hait, my father took 
me by the hand, and together we started at a 
good round pace along the Strand to Essex 
Street. What I endured during those walks 
it fails me adequately to describe. My father, 
with his Anakian height and proportionate 
length of limb, apparently forgot how limited 
were the pedestrian powers of the small child 
who clung to his strong hand so closely. Breath- 
lessly, and at a reeming trot, I held on my way, 
preferring, in my childish fashion, death itself 
to the dishonour of confessing myself beaten. 
Great was the relief of finding myself at last 
in the big dingy board-room, where, seated be- 
tween a grey-haired Indian Colonel (Gwatkin 
by name) and a Mr. Marrable, who afterwards 
developed into Sir Thomas, I listened, totally 
unamused, to the various weekly charges which 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 13 

were brought against as dirty and discreditable 
a set of men as it was possible for the imagina- 
tion to conceive. On two occasions, greatly to 
my relief, I was summarily, and without any 
reason given, dispatched by my father from the 
room. The change was a delightful one, for 
Mrs. Quaife,* the housekeeper, to whose care I 
was consigned, literally stuffed me with good 
things. She made no allusion to the reason for 
my exile, but I hftvei since learned that it was 
fear on my father's part lest my six years' old 
ears might be contaminated by the sound of 
a coarse or indecorous word, that occasioned 
my dismissal from the presence of the Commis- 
sioners. 

* A singular name, which has clung to my memory when more 
important ones have been forgotten. 



CHAPTER 11. 

'* Howjdoth the little busy bee 
Improve each shining hour, 
And gather honey day by day 
From every opening flower ! " — Dr. Watts. 

My father was a tender lover as well as pro- 
tector of more than one class of helpless animals, 
and not a few of these owed him thanks for 
services which he had rendered to their kind ; 
but amongst the small creatures whose wrongs 
he had endeavoured — and that successfully — to 
right, those untiring labourers, the bees, stood 
first and foremost. He had for a long time 
commiserated their fate, in that, after spending 
every shining hour of their little lives in work, 
a cruel death at the hands of tyrant man was 
their reward, and plans for the amdioration of 
their lot flitted oft-times through his brain. 
Leisure, however, in which to bring his project 
to perfection failed him, and it was not until the 
change in his official duties to which I have 
before alluded, took place, that he was enabled, 



SYLVANUS EEDIVIVUS. ts 

owing to the greatly increased amount of his 
leisure hours, to perfect his scheme for the sav-» 
ing of insect life that he had devised. 

When the salutary alteration which divorced 
my father from his London official duties took 
place, I had not long entered upon my teens, 
and great was my joy (so true it is that in pros- 
perity we are apt to forget the services of for- 
mer friends) when I found that *' Scrattle," the 
honest little Welsh pony on whose strong back 
I had for years been in the habit of riding about 
alone, was to be exchanged for a horse, on which 
animal 1 looked forward to occasionally accom- 
panjdng my father when he rode on his daily 
tours of inspection to the Koyal Parks. 

The appointment which was given in exchange 
for the two abolished offices of Gentleman of 
the Ewry and the Commissionership of Hack- 
ney-Coaches was entitled " Deputy- Surveyor of 
the Eoyal Parks and Palaces." What were the 
emoluments of the newly-created appointment, 
I cannot now say, but the fact that they in- 
cluded the keep of two horses was one which 
too nearly aflfected my own interests to be easily 
forgotten. In order to be near his work, my 
father at that time rented a small cottage which 



16 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 

stood on the outskirts, or I might almost say 
within the boundaries, of Bushey Park. The 
front windows of the small whitewashed abode 
had a view upon the gnarled old hawthorns 
which at one time grew thickly upon the well- 
cropped greensward, and in the spring-time 
the scent — bitter-sweet — of millions of snowy 
blossoms came wafted to the open windows, and 
mingled with the rich perfume of gigantic red 
double stocks, a flower in the culture of which 
my father took especial delight. 

A turf and ha-ha fence extended from ^ 
ladder-stile in the close vicinity of our cottage 
to the Park gate which stood at the Teddington 
terminus of the " Chestnut Avenue," the use of 
that fence being to protect a belt of young trees, 
planted at my father's suggestion, from the 
incursions of deer and cattle. The width of the 
plantation varied from twenty to a hundred feet, 
and a narrow path having been cut through the 
midst of the plantation, a pleasant shrubbery 
walk of upwards of a mile in length was the 
result. Through the kindness also of the then 
Ranger, the Duke of Clarence, my father wag 
permitted to mulct H.M.S. Park of a. few hun- 
dred feet of what eventually became a delight- 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUSi 17 

ful lawn, dotted with the flowers which bees in 
the pursuit of their daily avocations, are known 
to love the best. 

We could watch the busy little creatures now, 
at the ceaseless labour in which they seemed to 
take such keen delight. The days of suflFocation 
by gunpowder were over for them at last ; for 
instead of destroying the bees in order to take 
from them the results of their toil, the necessity 
for performing an act of cruelty worthy of Field- 
Marshal Pelissier was prevented by the erection 
of an upper storey or work-room, which room, 
being partially glazed, the operations of the 
little factory-hands were visible to the naked 
eye. When the work-room was full of exqui* 
sitely pure honey in its snow-white comb, the 
upper story was, without the loss of a single 
life, removed from the hive. By this arrange* 
ment, not only was the cruel process of suffoca- 
tion avoided, but the honey, instead of being, 
together with the comb, brown of hue, and 
disfigured by the mutilated remains of dead 
corpses, was, as I before said, white as the 
driven snow. The product of my father's bees 
was greatly esteemed by our friends on account 
of the delicacy of its peculiar flavour, an advan- 



B 



i8 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

tage which owed its existence to the proximity 
of the famous lime trees, that stretch, four rows 
on either side of the ancestral chestnuts, from the 
Hampton Court to the Teddington gate of the 
Park. The tiny toilers did their work right 
well, sealing up the orifice of every cell with her- 
metical precision ; an operation which was very 
interesting to watch. 

During the winter, the bees were fed by my 
father with moistened brown sugar placed at the 
entrance to the hive, and he laid, dear good man ! 
the flattering unction to his soul that the crea- 
tures knew him, and were grateful for the boon. 
If it were a delusion on his part, it was certainly 
an innocent one, and he adduced, moreover, ex- 
cellent reasons for his belief. For instance, it was 
an undeniable fact, that although he, trusting to 
their good qualities, ventured at swarming times 
and other occasions of popular bee-excitement to 
take considerably more liberties with the irascible 
little creatures than did any other person present, 
never once was he punished by a sting ; and yet 
it was with face and hands unprotected by gloves 
or veil that he fearlessly handled the small com- 
munity, and watched them gathering like loyal 
subjects round their newly-elected queen. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 19 

I confess that I could never quite reconcile 
my father's devotion to fishing with the love of 
animals, and the desire to prevent the suffering 
to which all flesh is heir, that characterised his 
nature. His exercise of the gentle art was, in fact 
— although at the time I write of I was ignorant 
of it — an extremely mild form of the pastime 
that he loved. A pike or *' jack," call it which 
you will, is, however considerable may be his 
weight, an ignoble specimen of his kind, and to 
fish for him by the side of a reedy pond, with a 
float bobbing in the still and weedy water, with 
a dead gudgeon dangling before hia voracious 
maw, appears to me, on looking back to it, as 
the poorest of all imaginable sport. But in my 
g^wa^i-childish days— days before le mieux had 
become Vennemi du bien — I saw things under 
a different aspect. Amongst my most sunny 
memories are the summer evenings when carry- 
ing the tin bait vessel in which lively minnows, 
ignorant of their doom, played in their Watery 
prison, I looked forward with infinite delight 
to the moment when a voracious monster of a 
fish would seize upon his prey, and when the 
float that I watched so eagerly would momen- 
tarily disappear beneath the surface of the water. 



20 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

They made a fight for their liberty sometimes, 
poor things. Not as a fresh-run salmon does, 
with leaps and bounds and maddened rashings 
to be free, but slowly, doggedly, and with a 
steady drag upon the line, which, if the capture 
were a big fish, needed to be strongly made. My 
father's theory, that fishes, being cold-blooded 
animals, are therefore not susceptible of bodily 
sufiering, was belied by the fact that previous 
to baiting his hooks he invariably rendered the 
minnow insensible to the torture of impalement. 
How this process was effected remained for me 
a mystery, as I invariably turned away my head 
when the moment for opening the tin can which 
I, at the expense of a well-wetted frock, had 
carried, appeared to be imminent. 

There can be, I think, little doubt of the fact 
that a boy, say of thirteen years, even were he 
a comparatively tender-hearted one, would have 
looked on with eager interest at the euthanasia of 
those helpless victims ; and this fact is confirma- 
tory of a frequently alleged truth, that man is 
by nature a destructive animal, and that he is, 
in consequence, when in pursuit of prey, dead to 
the instincts of humanity. Some years later, I 
had, even in my father's case, a proof that love 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 21 

of what is called ** sport " will, for the moment, 
render the most merciful of men deaf to the 
sufferings of the creatures which they pursue. 
We were out with the harriers on the Brighton 
Downs, it being my first hunting experience, and 
I confess to following the hounds with a keen 
desire that their destined prey might not escape 
them. In the excitement of the run I had quite 
lost sight of the tortures which the harmless 
small animal which we pursued was undergoing, 
when suddenly a cry, dreadfully human, for it 
closely resembled that of a tortured child, broke 
upon my ears. I was, though unaware at the 
time that this was the case, within a hundred 
yards of the spot where the most timid of God's 
creatures, closely followed by the hounds, sent up 
to heaven its death-cry — a protest truly against 
the cruelty of man. 

That was my last as well as my first day with 
the harriers ; and my father, after hearing my 
description of the child-like scream, which he 
had been too far a-field to hear, followed my 
example, and abandoned the sport in which he 
had previously delighted. He had never before 
realised what must be the agony of the heavily 
handicapped little animals when the hounds. 



i22 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

open-mouthed and panting, are closing on their 
prey. Truly, as tender-hearted Tom Hood has 
told us — 

" Evil is done from want of thought 
As weU as want of heart." 

We did not remain more than two years at 
Bushey Cottage, and ray recollections of that 
time would have been all pleasant ones, were it 
not that two crumpled rose-leaves rendered my 
bed of childish bliss less soft. One of these 
minor miseries, as in truth they might be called, 
was the prohibition by my father of the delight 
which listening in Hampton Court Gardens to 
the music of the cavalry band would have 
afforded us. Unfortunately, it was only on 
Sundays that the enlivening sounds rang out, 
and it having been apparently part of my dear 
father's creed that to "make the Sabbath an 
exciting delight" is contrary to the Canons, it 
was our lot to listen discontentedly (when the 
wind chanced to blow that way) to the joyous 
strains which across the flowering hawthorns 
broke upon our rebellious ears. 

The other alloy in my pleasant cup (Heaven 
forgive me, however, for associating it, even for a 
moment, with a petal of the " Garden Queen ! ") 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 23 

was the introduction into our household of an 
elderly governess. Mrs. L was a Welsh- 
woman, plain of feature, and doubtless an excel- 
lent as well as trustworthy instructress of youth. 
Nevertheless, " distance,'* which is supposed to 
''lend enchantment to the view," fails to convince 
me that she was otherwise than detestable. That 
qivelle rCavait que ce dSfaut la was, I suppose, 
proved by the circumstance that she had in her 
earlier days been selected by the then Lord Chan- 
cellor as guardianess to one of his wealthy female 
wards. Probably it was to envy of this flattering 

choice that Mrs. L 's general unpopularity 

was owing ; her chief cause of offence was, how- 
ever, in my eyes, her abstracting from my posses- 
sion the only works of fiction, viz., "Evelina" 
and the " Vicar of Wakefield," which I had ever 
read. They were, she said, unfit for the perusal 
of well-brought-up young ladies. Perhaps she 
was right, but the act was one which I did not 
find it easy to forgive. 



CHAPTER III. 

" The man resolyed and steady to his trust, 
Inflexible to ill and obstinately just. 
May the rude rabble's insolence despise.'* 

— Addison. 

The days before the Duke of Clarence became 
King were very pleasant ones for the many in 
the neighbourhood on whom H.R.H. bestowed the 
light of his countenance. The Sailor-Prince was 
not a gentlemen, but then, on the other hand, he 
did not pretend to be one, and he certainly 
showed himself to be, as a rule, one of the most 
good-natured of men. The Duke often joined 
my father and me in our rides about the Park, 
and on one of these occasions he, moved by the 
spirit of curiosity which is indigenous in the 
Guelphic race, inquired of my father concerning 
the future of his only son. 

"What are you going to do with him?" 
asked H.R.H. 

" Well, sir," was the reply, when my father, 

feeling slightly taken aback, had replaced his 

24 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 25 

snuff-box in his pocket, ** he has been ten years 
at Eton, a rather expensive education, as your 
Royal Highness may have heard ; so, though he 
failed in getting ^ King's,' I entered him yester- 
day at Brazenose »" 

" Going to make a parson of him, eh ? Got 
any interest in the Church ? " 

"None whatever, sir " 

** Might as well cut his throat. Why not put 
him into the Admiralty ? TU see he gets a 
clerkship. Anything better than being a devil- 
dodger, with a house full of children and only a 
hundred a year to feed them with." * 

In the years of which I am writing, an old, 
tumbledown inn, called the "Toy Hotel," dis- 
figured the approach to Hampton Court Barracks. 
It was, however, a noted hostelry in its day, for 

* I shonld not have repeated this conversation in detail, but for 
the circumstance that Mr. Louis Jennings in his ** Groker Memoirs*' 
attributed the good-natured act above recorded of the Duke, to the 
then Secretary of the Admiralty. Mr. Jennings, at that time an 
apparently strong Conservative, accused me of the sin of ingratitude, 
in that, forgetful of the obligation which my brother had incurred 
towards Mr. Groker, I had in my " Woman's Memoirs of World-Known 
Men '* given unreservedly my opinion of the editor of the Quarterly. 
With some difficulty I obtained from Mr. Jennings a written refuta- 
tion in the Morning Post of his accusation — a refutation which I 
should doubtless have found it more easy to obtain had I not, at that 
time, mislaid the volume of my diary in which I had scribbled down 
my father's conversation with the Duke. The little volume has since 
been forthcoming, and the result is now given to the reader. 



26 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

not only were subscription balls given in the 
dingy, unsafe upper floor, but once a month a 
club, called the " Toy Club," of which the Duke 
of Clarence was president, and of which most of 
the neighbouring gentlemen were members, held 
high revel within the walls of the old inn. From 
what I have learnt concerning those gatherings^ 
half-crown points whist, together with a dish 
greatly favoured by the Duke, called ** marrow 
puddings," were the standard pleasures of the 
guests. H.R.H., however, evidently enjoyed the 
laisser aller of the " Toy " dinners immensely. 
Amongst the members were several of his old 
naval friends, but I have heard my father say 
that the individual whose conversation he ap- 
peared to delight in the most was a certain 
rough but jolly old merchant- captain, with 
whom he often dined, and before whose after- 
dinner euphemisms those employed by the bo^sun 
whom Captaiu Marryat has immortalised, would 
have paled their ineffectual fires. 

The cause which led to our removal from 
Bushey Cottage was the necessity — one which 
cropped up very suddenly — for our taking a 
larger house. It fell about that an unmarried 
first cousin of my mother's, by name and title 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 27 

^* Mrs. Charlotte Mordaunt," took it into her 
elderly head to make our house her home. She 
had lived with her uncle-in-law, Mr. Heneage 
Legge, till his death, and having conceived an 
affection for ray unworthy self, the idea of pro- 
moting iny interests by increasing my father's 
income occurred to her mind. The realisation 
of this plan, involved, as I have said, the 
necessity of our removal to a larger abode ; for 
"Cousin Charlotte's" possessions, in the shape 
of books, classically valuable, were large, to say 
nothing of an exquisite " Sir Joshua," her 
mother's portrait, which would of course be 
hung in her private sitting-room. She was not 
the least exacting, that wealthy old maid, who, 
beneath the simplest of manners and of dress, 
was without exception the proudest as well as 
the most fastidious of her sex. She had from 
her childhood been accustomed to dwell in rich 
men's houses] nevertheless, her domiciliation 
in our unpretending habitation was effected 
without eliciting on her part the faintest mur- 
mur of disapproval. In our pretty villa at 
Molesey, where we became the near neighbours 
of my father's old friend, the editor of the 
Quarterly y " Cousin Charlotte's " little sitting- 



28 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

room, with, on three sides, its well-filled dwarf 
bookcase, and over the chimney-piece the pre- 
cious *' Sir Joshua," speedily became, for me the 
most valued of refuges. In that small square 
library (if such it could be called), the one 
window of which tad view upon a paddock, 
whereon our three cows " fed like one," I 

passed, after Mrs. L 's departure, some of 

the pleasantest as well as the most profitable 
hours of my life. I had always, no uncommon 
taste, by the way, loved flowers, but it was 
in that quiet, bookworm-smelling boudoir that 
I, under my cousin's tuition, learned some- 
thing of the science of botany, and that my 
love for gardening in all its forms grew and 
strengthened. 

I have not as yet mentioned that, in addition 
to the royal parks and palaces, the gardens 
appertaining to those palaces were under my 
father s surveillance, and this being the case, he 
w^as fortunate in securing the services as head 
and landscape gardener, of a man as remark- 
able for taste and practical knowledge of his 
profession, as he was for his morose disposition 
and singular bearishness of manner. Between 
this man, whose name was Johnstone, and our 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 29 

new inmate there soon existed a very excellent 
understanding* The former was quick to per- 
ceive, as well as ready to show respect to the 
possessors of real and incontestable knowledge ; 
and therefore Miss (or rather Mrs. Mordaunt, 
for the dear little woman had lately assumed 
brevet rank) was always treated by him with a 
deference which he never accorded either to his 
employer or to the Ranger, who seemed to 
enjoy, when accident threw him in the way of 
the surly Scotchman, a chat with that invalu- 
able functionary. It is needless to say that the 
treatment meted out to " Cousin Charlotte " was 
due to her botanical acquirements, and to her 
love of trees and flowers, which Johnstone was 
quick-witted enough to perceive had the merit 
of being genuine. 

The near neighbourhood of our home to that 
of my father's old friend, John Wilson Croker, 
w^as the means of our becoming acquainted 
with several literary and world- famed characters* 
Amongst these I may mention Theodore Hook, 
James Smith, Sir William Follett, the poet 
Moore, Sir Francis Chantrey, and Sir Thomas 
Lawrence. The two latter were, I recollect, 
especially introduced . by their host to Mrs. 



30 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Mordaunt, and this professedly on account of 
the ownership by our cousin of the " Sir Joshua " 
which adorned her sanctum. I can see Sir 
Thomas's tall figure before me now, as he stood 
admiringly in front of my grand-aunt s portrait. 
He had a pleasant face and a courteous manner, 
which contrasted agreeably with Mr.. Croker's 
short stature, and fussy, self-important demea- 
nour. The successful man did the honours both 
of the portrait, the Mordaunt family generally, 
and of the artist, one of whose exquisite works 
was of course the theme of his lecture, with an 
air of patronage which, as I could plainly see, 
was irritating beyond measure to my cousin. 
Beneath the homely dress she wore, the old 
Norman blood of the Mordaunts evidently rose 
up in silent protest against the pretentious off- 
handedness of the Mayo ganger's son. 

In order to account for, and in some degi^ee to 
excuse, the bitterness of feeling which, strive 
against it as I may, invariably influences my 
pen when writing of the brilliant and successful 
Irishman in question, it is necessary to record 
an anecdote concerning my father, which, whilst 
it is illustrative of his high principles and strict 
sense of duty, certainly places the conduct to- 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 3j 

wards him of the " old familiar friend in whom 
he trusted," in a far less pleasing light. 

Mr. Croker's intimacy with my father com- 
menced when they were both very young men, 
and arose in the beginning from their being fellow- 
dwellers in a London West-End boarding-house. 
No characters could diflfer more essentially than 
did those of the friends who were at that time 
commencing their respective careers in public life. 
Greatly superior to my father in intellect, as well 
as in the audacity which is to intellect the most 
invaluable of helping hands, the Irishman soon 
shot a-head of the man whose simple tastes and 
straightforward honesty of purpose were barriers 
against, rather than assistants to, his success; 
and, in the arrogance which too often follows 
upon good fortune, the former gradually assumed 
towards the friend whom he had distanced in 
the race for Fame a tone and manner which, 
when I became old enough to draw conclusions, 
awoke a rebellious spirit in my breast. Through 
the force, as I supposed, of early habit, my father 
was still in writing addressed by his quondam 
chum as the latter's " Dear Ned," a token of 
friendship of which the guileless recipient of the 
M.P.'s occasional naissives was touchingly proud, 



32 SYLVANUS BEDIVIVtJS. 

The period of which I am now writing was, 
in e political point of view, a stormy one ; for 
the Keform Bill of 1832 was under discussion, 
and the passions of men, and more especially of 
those who sat on the Tory side of the House 
of Commons, were, through an insane dread of 
an impending and purely imaginary revolution, 
worked up to fever heat. The editor of the 
Quarterly y an excitable man at all times, was 
driven to a perfect frenzy of fear by the antici- 
pated *' revenges" which the *' whirligig of Time " 
was he believed bringing with it. Nothing but 
ruin could, in his opinion, follow on the pass- 
ing of a Bill so iniquitous, so utterly shameless 
as the one which the House of Commons were 
now discussing. 

"If it should pass, which God forbid! you 
and I, Ned, will be breaking stones upon the 
parish roads next year." 

This, together with jerSmiades of a similar 
description, were being constantly poured by 
the Secretary of the Admiralty into his friend's 
responsive ears, and then, during the very height 
of the contest, an event occurred of which, but 
for my theti tender years, I should not have 
been permitted to become cognisant. This event 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 33 

was no other than th6 sudden change of political 
sides taken by the then mightiest of London 
journals, i.e.y the Times newspaper. First and 
foremost amongst my father's many attached 
friends, I must mention Mr. John Walter of Bear- 
wood, the father of the present (part) proprietor 
of the journal in question 5 and Mr. Croker, being 
desirous of a satisfactori/ introduction to the 
kindly autocrat of Printing House Square, gladly 
availed himself of my father'fi intimacy with 
Mr. Walter ; an invitation to Bearwood beihor 
the result of the proceeding. * 

. Well do I remember the departure, in a post- 
chaise, of the Member for Sudbury and his com-* 
panion on their diplomatic mission ; and were it 
not that I fear to be inaccurate, I would name 
the number of thousand pounds sterling which I 
believe. to have been given by the Tory Govern- 
ment for the goodwill of the Times newspaper. 
Had the negotiation proved in its result suc- 
cessful, and had the detested Bill not passed 
through Parliament, it is possible that Mr. 
Croker might have shown more after gratitude 
to the friend of whose kindly aid he had gladly 
availed himself] but defeat had embittered a 
naturally sarcastic spirit, and the circumstance 



34 SYLVANUS BEDIVIVUS. 

which I am about to relate having recently 
occurred, an opening for the display, at my 
father's expense, of the M.P.'s satirical wit was 
one of which he did not hesitate to take advan- 
tage. As I have before said, the Duke of Clarence 
was on terms of good-natured familiarity with aU 
the members of the Toy Club, but there came a 
time when, in my father^s case, a stern sense of 
duty was at war with the subservient spirit 
which individuals in H.RH/s position (however 
kindly they may be disposed) imagine that their 
inferiors in rank should adopt towards them. 
The Duke, who was subject to what, in nine- 
teenth-century jargon, are known as *^fads/* 
took it, on one inauspicious day into his some- 
what empty head to commit an act of vandalism. 
This act was no other than that of destroying at 
one fell swoop the magnificent old elms which 
have for several centuries past and gone, stood, 
showing no single symptom of decay, on the mile 
and a half of public road that lies between 
Hampton Court and Kingston -upon -Thames. 
The road, which is a very wide one, Ues, as all 
the world knows, between the high walls of 
Bushey and Hampton Court Parks. It is Crown: 
property, and would, in its dull uniformity, be 



J5YLVANUS REDIVIVUa 35 

extremely uninteresting as a promenade, were it 
not for the grand old giants before spoken of, 
and a broad belt of ornamental trees and shrubs, 
such as scarlet thorn, sumachs, gueldre rose, and 
copper beech, &c., &c., which, with the consent 
of the Commissioners of Woods, my father had 
had planted by the roadside. The masking by 
this pretty shrubbery of the Bushey Park wall 
was an innovation that met with very general 
approval. The trees grew apace, and in the 
spring and summer season were so replete with 
beauty, that my father, enchanted with his suc- 
cess, made quite a hotby of that whilom un- 
inviting road. 

The project of the Eoyal Kanger caused liim, 
as was but natural, an unpleasant shock. The 
fine old trees, which were coeval — so said tradi- 
tion — with the Palace, and which, at a distance of 
about a hundred yards from each other, spread 
their branches across the road, were, unless he, 
the surveyor of royal property, interfered to save 
them, doomed to destruction. The admiration 
as well as veneration for old trees was with him 
so deeply ingrained a feeling, that had he pos- 
sessed an imaginative turn of mind, he would 
probably have endorsed Hood's fanciful theory 



36 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

that the trees which for centuries had stood 
side by side were capable in mystic tongue, of 
*' talking each to each." 

" Mayhap rehearsing ancient tales 
Of greenwood love or guilt, 
Of whispered vows 
i^eneat}] their boughs, 
Or blood obscurely spilt, 
Or of that near-liand mansion-house 
, A Roval Tudor built." 

The first step towards the saving of tree life 
which my father took was the writing of a re- 
spectful letter of remonstrance to the Duke ; but 
this proving of no avail, he was reluctantly com- 
pelled to send an official report of the intended 
sacrilegious act to the First Commissioner of 
Woods, &c. The effect of this measure was 
an immediate stop to H.R.H.'s proceediiigs-an 
interference with his will and pleasure which he 
had neither the magnanimity, nor the sense of 
justice to forgive. From that time hot only did 
his amicable relations with my father entirely 
cease, but later on, when the death of George 
the Fourth placed on the throne of EnglancJ 
^;he ci'devdnt president of the Toy Club, that 
monarch, whose kindly recognition of former 
good-fellowship led to the performance by him 



STLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 37 

of many flattering as well as solid instanceii of 
his regard, the only member of the Toy Club 
who was left out in the cold was my father. To 
say that he did not feel the slight would be un- 
true. It is all very well to talk of virtue being 
its own reward, and that regret for the loss of a 
Prince's favour is unworthy of a right-minded 
and sensible man ; but it is left for the " fault- 
less monster that the world ne'er saw" to be 
proof against the deplorable weaknesses of poor 
humanity ; and consequently my father did feel 
it somewhat hard that his act of duty should 
by the popular Sailor- King,, have been so ill 
rewarded. Although my conscientious parent 
was of royalty no blind and ignorant worshipper, 
vet the sudden and marked alteration in., the 
good-natured Ranger's manner was to him. so 
manifestly a source of regret, that his old friend 
and neighbour, Mr. Croker, under whose tongue 
there lurked the poison of asps, was wont to 
aggravate the evil by playful jests, of which the 
uncertainty of royal favour was the frequent 
theme. As a proof, however, that regard for his 
own interests was not always powerful enough 
to check the venom of his pungent repartees, I 
may mention the following anecdote. 



3« SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

At one of the Toy Club dinners, of which Mr. 
Croker, being an honorary member, was par- 
taking, the Duke of Clarence asked the Secre- 
tary of the Admiralty whether there had ever 
been an English king who was also Lord High 
Admiral of the realm. 

" Yes, sir," was the prompt reply, " and that 
one wa;s James the Second, who was the first and 
also the last British sovereign who took upon 
himself that office." 

Although it was scarcely noticed by my father, 
Mr. Croker's manner towards him had become, 
to my thinking, since the withdrawal of the 
Duke's favour, in a slight degree both. patronis- 
ing and unfriendly ; and this being the case, 
there was joy in my heart when circumstances, 
the nature of which I never fully understood, 
led to our departure from the Molesey Farm. 

It was not, however, without something of 
regret that we migrated to the other side of the 
Thames. We, i.e., my father and I, felt, our 
natures being in some respects similar, that we 
were leaving things animate and inanimate 
which custom had rendered dear to us. The 
birds that we should find at Hampton would 
difier from the trusting ones which during the 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 39 

winter season had depended on our care; nor 
should we hear in our new home such nightin- 
gales as those that in the Hersham and Molesey 
lanes had warbled to us. The " sullen river," too, 
the " mole that runneth underneath," was to us 
as a rural streamlet when compared to the busy 
Xhames, near to which our habitation stood ; but, 
on the other hand, close by was a royal park, to 
gain access to which there was no bridge-toll 
to pay, and then — oh ! gloriouQ possibility — my 
father might, fortune befriending him, be so 
happy as to land a heavy Thames trout from 
the (at last) well-preserved old river. 



CHAPTER IV. 

^ - ** Me right divine of kings to goyem wrong." — Pope. 

**Wbat a piece of work is nian ! How noble in reason! how 
Infinite in faculty I "— Suakespeabe, 

I WAS still very young, probably not more than 
seven years of age, when an event which, strange 
to say, boje fruit after the lapse of nearly half 
a century,*, occurred in our family. The d^ath 
of my fathers uncle, the Eev. Charles Jesse, 
Kector of Newbury, Berks, resulted in the legacy 
to him of an old family servant, William Butler 
by name, who for the period of twenty years 
had been my great-uncles tried and faithful 
attendant. He was a married man and the pos- 
sessor of a large family, most of whom were now 
grown up, and on whom their father had been 
careful to bestow a sound religious education. 

* Namely, the publication of a novelette entitled " Only a Woman's 
Life/' the writing of which proved successful in obtaining the release, 
after twelve years of convict life, of an innocent woman, who had been 
originally condemned on circumstantial evidence for the murder of 
her chilcL Of the death-sentence I was so happy, at the eleventh hour, 
as to obtain a commutal. 



SrLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 41 

The youngest of his belongings were twin boys, 
who, for some reason best known to their taci- 
turn parent's self, had received at their baptism 
the names of Elisha and Elijah. The former, a 
good, steady lad, was at the age of sixteen ap-» 
prenticed to an important and still existing firm 
of floor cloth manufacturers. 

Of the social status occupied at that period by 
Elijah I have no recollection j but of the lads 
themselves, honest-faced, simple young fellows^ 
and devoted to one another, I entertain a very 
distinct memory. Their father was both proud 
and fond of them — facts which by a casual 
observer escaped notice, for William Butler was 
the most reserved and silent of his sex, con- 
tented with treading calmly the plain path of 
duty, and requiring from his children an eqiial 
amount of steadiness and blameless conduct. 
It was in the month of November, and William 
had been about six months in our service when 
a startling event occurred. The huge premises 
known as D 's works were one night dis- 
covered to be in flames, and the. fire, which 
proved to be a very disastrous one, was with 
reason believed to be the act of an incendiary. 
Now, at this distance of time, it is impossible, 



42 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

child as I then was, for my memory to carry me 
back to the reasons which induced, in the minds 
of the authorities, the belief that the fire was 
not accidentally caused. Equally impossible also 
is it for me to recollect why and wherefore it was 
that one of the most innocent of young human 
beings was fixed upon as the perpetrator of a 
crime so odious. Such, however, was the case, for 
Eliaha Butler, the twin son of my great-uncle's 
faithful retainer, was, on "circumstantial evi- 
dence " only, committed to prison in order to take 
his trial for the crime of arson ! The punishment 
of death for that offence was in the year 1823 
one of the many which have since been merci-* 
fully modified, and therefore the grief and horror 
of Butler at the news of his boy's arrest is 
easier to imagine than to describe. It was on 
the night of the fifth of November that the 
fire took place, and on the following day poor 
William Butler, with as sore a heart as ever beat 
in human breast, wended his way to Newgate 
Prison, where, on the stony floor of his cell, 
stood the lad he lov^d so well, with tearful eyes, 
and " gyves upon his wrists." , 

During the terrible weeks which followed, the 
unhappy father drew his sole support from the 



S^LVANUS REDIVIVUS. 43 

strength of his religious convictions, and from 
the certainty of Elisha's innocence. This belief 
was shared by the general public, who found it 
hard to believe that a youth of sixteen, well 
brought up, and of excellent character, could, 
without any apparent motive for the deed, have 
committed the crime in question. The face of 
our poor serving-man, never remarkable for 
cheerfulness, grew sensibly sadder as the day 
appointed for the trial of his boy drew near. 
He attended family prayers in the .morning 
with his usual punctuality, and I felt sure that 
when my father improvised a petition for the 
release of all prisoners and captives, the parent's 
heart went tip to the God who alone has power 
to save. 

Yjcs, those wfite gloomy days, but the worst 
was yet to come. As I have already said, I can 
remember none of the particulars of the trial, 
or how it came about that suspicion rested on 
the young apprentice, who to the last declared 
his innocence of the crime. It is suflScierit to 
say that, though ably defended by counsel pro- 
vided for him by my father and his friends, the 
unfortunate lad was found guilty and condemned 
to death. 



44 SYLVANUS REDlVlVua 

The scenes of which, duriog the three weeks 
that followedj I was an occasional witness, made 
a lasting impression on my mind. The despair 
of the boy's mother was an awful sight ; and as 
memorial after memorial, although extensively 
and influentially signed, failed to produce their 
hoped-for effect, the broken-hearted mother 
feank by degrees into a state that bordered on 
idiotcy. Meanwhile the efforts made by my 
father to obtain a remission of the boy's sen- 
tence were unremitting. It was for a time hoped 
that the extreme youth of the condemned lad 
would plead in his excuse ; but alas I those were 
days when capital punishment was too frequent 
to exoite any very strong feelings qf compassion 
for the unhappy victims of a merciless code, and 
therefore it was that, On the third Monday after 
his condemnation and sentence, *the hapless twin 
brother of heart-stricken Elijah Butler suffered, 
in the face of thousands of his fellow-creatures, 
the extreme sentence of the law. That his 
punishment was totally undeserved was by 
many persons believed, and it is possible that 
this cruel execution hastened the repeal of many 
unjust and merciless penal laws. 

The privilege which my father in his official 



SYWANUS REDIVIVUa 45 

capacity enjoyed of taking with him a friend 
or two to " inspect " the private apartments at 
Windsor Castk was the remote cause of our be- 
coming acquainted with the Rev. John Mitford , 
the editor of the Gentleman*s Magazine, and 
one of the most delightful companions as well 
as the most intellectual man whom it has ever 
been my lot to know. Out intimacy with Mr» 
Mitford came about after this wise. It chanced 
that three authors of note, namely, the historian 
of the Middle Ages, William Wordsworth, and 
Samuel Rogers, were simxiltaneously seized with 
a desire to see the interior of the private apart- 
ments at Windsor Castle. This harmless wish 
having been gratified, the trio returned with 
my father to dine with us in ' the charming old 
Elizabethan home in which we had taken up 
our quarters. The day was a warm one in Mid- 
July, and it is possible that the heat as well as 
the fatigue of sight-seeing might have had a 
depressing effect upon the spirits of our guests ; 
but whatever the cause, certain is it that they 
were far from realising any ideas regarding the 
conversational gifts of distinguished literary men 
which I in my ignorance had formed. Of the 
three, Rogers, as we sat after dinner under th^ 



46 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

• - - - • 

shade of a spreading cedar tree, was the most 
inclined to be talkative, for, speaking of Windsor 
Castle and the sights which they had seen there, 
he mentioned the Queen as having been so , 
gracious as to allow them to obtain a glimpse 
of her royal person. 

" I saw Her Majesty," Rogers said, " peeping 
^•ound the corner when we were in the corridor. 
I suppose she was anxious to catch a sight of 
the Poets." 

This remark, which I thought savoured greatly 
of vanity, created a prejudice in my mind against 
one whose refined and delicately finished poems 
I had always so greatly admired ; but amongst 
his other few and far between remarks, there 
was one which, inasmuch as it related to Mr. 
Mitford, has clung as one of importance to my 

< 

memory. 

The remark in question arose out of my 
father s tastes being so much in sympathy with 
those of Wordsworth, and with the latter's ap- 
preciation of Nature's ever-varying charms. My 
father's love for the trees and flowers which had 
been placed, as it were, under his guardianship, 
caused the conversation (if anything devoid of 
exciting interest could be so called) to turn 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 47 

more than once upon the veneration which trees 
that have for centuries past played their silent 
parts in life ought to inspire in the human 
mind. One so- entirely devoid of imagination 
as Mr. Hallam could hardly be expected to enter 
into the ideas which this community of tastes 
in the great poet and his host conjured up. To 
him it mattered nothing that Queen Elizabeth 
might have sat « in maiden meditation " beneath 
the spreading branches of Heme's oak; whilst 
Samuel Rogers, whose love for the ** sweet shady 
side " of Pall-Mall was as great as that of Madame 
de S^vign^ for the ruisseau in the Rue du 
Bac, was one of the last men living to see in an 
ancient tree an object of reverence, or one that 
afforded food for thought. 

Notwithstanding, however, this absence in the 
banker-poet of congenial tastes and feeling, I 
hold his memory, as regards that summer's day's 
repast, in gratitude and respect, for apropos of 
trees, he made the remark which led to our after 
friendship with the editor of the Gentleman's 
Magazine. 

" You ought to know Mitford, Mr. Jesse,'* he 
said ; " he has as great an affection for old trees 
as you have. Trees and butter, those are what 



48 SYLVAN US EEDIVIVUa 

he lives for, it seems to me. He is in town just 
now ; so if you will meet him some Tuesday at 
breakfast in St, James's Place, I shall be glad to 
make you acquainted with him. Poor fellow I 
his going into the Church was a great mistake. 
He is no more fit to be a parson than I am to 
be the Angel Gabriel." 

I quote the words as they appear in a rough 
diary which in early life I used to keep, and 
methinks I can see before me now the sneering, 
cadaverous face of the speaker. It was niy first 
as Well as last opportunity of forming a judg* 
inent, such as it was, of Samuel Kogers, and 
that he was vain, selfish, and cynical was the 
opinion concerning him to which in my old rela- 
tion's cosy little sanctum I gave voice. I have 
since that time become acquainted with several 
poets, and, strange as the assertion may appear^ 
not one of them has on a *' nearer view" con-* 
veyed to me the impression that tendeniesa of 
heart was amongst his mental gifts. I am glad 
that neither Tom Hood nor Charles Kingsley 
are amongst the poets I have knowjn, "for, aa 
regards their genuine powets of sympathy,- 1 
should indeed regret to have my belief disturbed* 

My father returned from the breakfast in St* 



SYLVANUS REDIVrVUS*: 49 

James's Place in a state of enchantment quoad 
all he had seen and heard. Mrs. Norton, the 
beautiful sister of two handsome lads who 
were always thrice-welcome to our house, was 
one of the guests; but great as was my father's 
admiration for that gifted woman, he could, on 
the present occasion, discourse of no one save 
Sylvariiis Urban. 

Nor, when I came to know the remarkable 
man to whose memory I am about to dedicate a 
large portion of these pages, can I feel surprised 
that so it was. His was not one of those inscrut- 
able idiosyncrasies to fathom which, is a work of 
time and labour; and for all that this was so^ 
the nature of the man was, as I speedily dis- 
covered, full of seeming contrasts. The vast 
amount of varied knowledge with which \ns 
mind was stored aroused in many of those who 
only skimmed the surface of his character a 
feeling of wonder, not only at the flow of animal 
spirits which showed itself in clever nonsense, 
but at the interest which he took in the nest 
of a water-ouzel, and the existence in dogs (one 
of my father's favourite themes) of noble and 
hereditary instincts. And then— a circumstance 
in his -favour which our fastidious kinswoman 



50 SYLVANUS KEDIVIVUS. 

did not fail to note and comment iipon — tte fact 
that he came of gentle blood was evident both 
in his words and manner. 

Had not our new friend possessed a large 
share of the tact, as well as the generosity of 
feeling, which are alike the outcome and the 
result of what may be called, for want of a 
better term, " high breeding," there could have 
existed between him and my dear father no real 
friendship. Although both were imbued. with 
many, of the same tastes, yet the superiority, in 
respect to real acquaintance with the subjects 
which were of interest to both, was in one case so. 
evidently great, that, but for the exercise of the 
social gift to which I have before alluded, a 
sense on the other of inferiority must have 
greatly lessened the enjoyment in each other's, 
society of this " pair of friends." As an example 
of the pleasant footing on which, in relation to 
each other, these two ardent lovers of Nature 
speedily stood, and also with the hope of convey- 
ing to the reader a better idea of John Mitford's 
character than descriptive words can give, I have 
transcribed, as correctly as a most difficult to de- 
cipher calligraphy will permit, one of our friend's 
earlier letters from his Suffolk JB.ectory ;r- , 



. S YLVANUS BEDIVI VUa 5 1 

" My dear Jesse, — I was so influenza'd when 
your letter came, that I thought of nothing but 
flannel stockings, warming-pans, and seidlitz 
powders. All this came of going to church. 
Had I not gone to church, I hadn't caught my 
cold. Had I not, on coming home, ate a spare 
rib of pork, my cold would not have been so bad. 
Now, we have had a fall of snow — the heaviest 
fall, in the space of time it was coming, ever 
known. The same night it was a foot deep on 
the level. I came home covered with white 
things like feathers, looking like a Canada goose. 
The only comfort is that I am well supplied 
with teal and woodcocks. The shipes are over 
in shoals, and the Bishop of Norwich is after 
them. We have also 'flocks of wild-geese going 
seaward, and altogether there is more of this 
kind of wild-fowl over than has been known for 
long. A man might make his fortune by shoot- 
ing them. I spend mine on rock- whitings and 
grey mullet. Did I ever tell you there is a Mr. 
Kirwan living here, with a Mr. Theobald, both 
Newmarket men, and very sporting characters 
indeed in every way. They too are ornithologists ; 
and by the bye, I must tell you that a fine golden 
oriole was shot lately on our green. A very rare 



5a . SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

bird here. A few days ago my gardener shot a 
yellow wagtail, and, what is curious, this day I 
saw and ieaught a fine, and rare butterfly on the 
stiow. There is a batch of natural history for 
you ! All this time I am as mopy and miserable 
as a shepherd's dog. Wishing I was at Eogers' 
breakfast-table eating Rogers' his butter, or any- 
where V^hete social and civil life exists ; for the 
parsons here can tialk of nothing but double 
duty, the XXXIX. Articles, and the Bishop of 
Exeter. Fare thee well 1 Where are you now, 
and where to be ?— Yours very truly, 

" J. MlTFORD. 
•^ February lothJ' 

Very early in our acquaintance with the writer 
of this characteristic letter, the "mystery of the 
butter joke " (as we, after the allusion made by 
Samuel Rogers to that esculent, had called it) 
was cleared lip. It was simply this : It had 
reached the ears of Sylvanus Urban that the 
banker-poet frequently complained aloud to his 
friends of the too large consumption by Mr. 
Mitford of the butter, which in St. James's Place 
formed a necessary portion of the breakfast- table 
supply ; and the idea of this really serious griev- 



SYLVANUS REDIVlVtJS; 55 

ance — for as such Samuel Rogers evidently con- 
sidered it — so greatly tickled our friend's sense 
of absurdity, that he took a playfully malicious 
pleasure in watching the lowering brow of his 
host as the fresh country butter, on which the 
latter prided himself, was spread with aggravate 
ing prodigality on the thin slices of toast that 
formed the staple of Mr. Mitford's morning meaL. 
To one who, like my father, was deeply imbued 
with the vital importance of religious faith, and 
whose respect for the duties which that faith 
inculcates neither slumbered nor slept, the 
unfitness of Mr. Mitford for the profession on 
which he had entered was a source of great and 
constant regret. The Rector of Benhall, excel- 
lent "company" albeit he was, and, as a rule, 
possessed in appearance of a cheerful and cpn^ 
tented spirit, could not at all times disguise 
the fact that he was subject to fits of gloom, 
which rendered his solitary life at Benhall a pen- 
ance which it was difficult to endure. He and hid 
wife had long been separated, and with his only 
child, a son, he was not on speaking terms. 
To neither of these circumstances was he ever 
heard to allude, whilst, on the subject of religion, 
to which my father very gently and cautiously 



54 8YLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

sometimes endeavoured to direct his attention, 
he showed himself equally reticent. I have 
heard it hinted, but with what truth I know not, 
that some act of indiscretion committed in the 
days of his hot youth, and probably since sorely 
repented of, could alone account for the non- 
advancement in his profession of a man so highly 
gifted as was the brilliant scholar, who in the 
comparative obscurity of a Suffolk Living wore 
his uneventful life away. Whether or not there 
was any foundation for the vague reports which 
from time to time cropped up concerning him, 
my father never took the trouble to inquire. 
His affection for his friend and his appreciation 
of that friend's rich fund of varied lore were 
inexhaustible, whilst to them was joined a tender 
pity for the man who perhaps did not enjoy, as 
was his own case, the inestimable blessing of a 
peaceful conscience. 

Mr, Mitford took a great interest in the hor- 
ticultural improvements which my father, with 
the saturnine Scotchman for his prime minister, 
effected in the various royal parks which it 
was his pleasant lot to embellish. The quaint 
and now exquisitely beautiful gardens apper- 
taining to Hampton Court Palace were to our 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 55 

visitor a source of endless delight, and many 
were the hours spent by him on a bench under 
a yew tree's shade, the while he conjured up 
visions of fair ladies, attired as their dironicler, 
gossiping old Pepys, has painted them, "flirt- 
ing " their fans along the terrace- walk, or. 

With singing, laughing, ogling, and all that, 

gazing from out the "structure of majestic 
frame" in which "great Anna" and her atten- 
dant j^at«5, held, at rare intervals, her Court/ 

I have often thought that the gift which is 
possessed by the imaginative, of peopling solitude 
with persons who centuries perhaps before, have 
fretted their little hour upon the "stage of 
fools " is one of the most enviable that can by 
Nature be bestowed ; and this fact has been 
especially brought home to me when I have 
watched Mr. Mitford's thoughtful face as he 
stood in mute contemplation in Cardinal Wol- 
sey's Hall. In the restoration of that most 
valuable portion of Hampton Court Palace to its 
original gorgeous and artistic beauty, my father 
had taken both delight and pride, but I doubt 
— " labours of love " as the renovation had been 
to him — whether the great Cardinal, who had 



56 STLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 

*^ sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,** 
and who must so often in his robes of state have 
paced the echoing floor of the hall which now 
bears his name, ever appeared before his (my 
parent's) mind'd eye after the vivid fashion in 
which, ;more than three centuries after Wolsey's 
death, a Protestant priest half realised the mystic 
presence there of the mighty prince whose " high- 
blown pride at length broke o'er him," 
' As a matter of course, and **pair of friends" 
although they were, they sometimes . differed in 
opinion, and amongst other causes of disagree- 
ment was the opposite ideas regarding the char- 
acter and merits of the poet Shenstone which 
they severally entertained. Mr. Mitford, who held 
Crray and Pope to be the first of English bards, 
took very miich the sam^ view of Shenstone's 
genius and proclivities as did Dr. Johnson; 
In his opinion, the author of " The Village 
Schoolmistress " was a vain, self-concentrated 
man. There was no reality — Mr. Mitford in his 
arguments with my father urged — in William 
Shenstone's assumed love of Nature's works. 
Under no circumstances could he have distin^ 
guished himself in the profession (one on whidi 
Sylvanufi Urban set -a high value) of landscape- 



SYLVANUS REDlVIVUa 5? 

gardening. Bis taste, as was evidenced By his 
adornment of the " Leasowes," was vulgar and 
meretricious ; and as to his poetry, no man, Mr. 
Mitford would add, could jingle so many rhymes 
without occasionally producing a couplet which 
had to the ear a pleasant sound. : 

I believe that but for my father's enthusiststic 
admiration for the poet in question— an admira- 
tion which Mr. Mitford, with his grave yet comic 
manner, ascribed to the bees that buzzed about 
±he Leasowes banks, — it is doubtful whether he 
would have spoken so mercilessly of one whose 
predilections in many respects resembled his 
Dwn. Possibly, however, it was that very resem* 
blance which, unknown to himself, aroused a 
sense oi irritation in Mr. Mitford's breast. An 
article in which Shenstone and his merits was 
the theme, written by my father and published 
in Once a Week, met with very scant approval 
from his friend's playfully sarcastic pen ; for that 
the said pen could be so wielded, even against 
pne whom he loved and valued, is proved by the 
following letter, one which is also of value as 
demonstrating the interest which the writer took 
in all that appertained to the memory of a great 
and good man who had passed away : — . 



58 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

"My dear Jesse, — I have been for the kst 
week reading and reviewing the Life of Sir 
William Temple, and I am very desirous of find- 
ing out his house at Sheen. Do you know it ? 
It is now inhabited by Dr. Pinkney. If you do 
not, pray find out and show it to me. 

" I forget whether I informed you of the ter- 
rific rage in which Dr. Arster is. I believe, if 
Knightly had not interfered, he would have 
chaUenged me. He breathes fire and brimstone, 
end desires to know the reviewer. Lord have 
mercy on you, say I, if: ever he finds you out. 
You will never survive to enjoy your new 
house — your double drawing-room — ^your glazed 
lobby — your airy attics, or your rez de chaussie^ 
As for Mr. Talbot, he will reduce him to the 
flatness of his own fresco. 

" Having been lately in the habit of attending 
Hampton Court Chapel, partly for the excellent 
sermons, and partly to see Miss Bayley, I can*? 
not help admiring your prudent economy in not 
having a clerk. It does you all great credit, 
and the expense is very properly saved. By 
the bye, could not you manage to do without a 
clergyman ? 

"With many apologies for taking up the time 



SYLVANU& REDIViVUa 59 

which you bestow on the pubKc, believe me, 
very sincerely yours, J. Mitford. 

''Benhall, IZ^ December 1836. 

"P./S.— Don't forget Sir W. Temple's house, 
and then you shall know what you can write. — 
* I am your Highness' dog at Kew,' &c." 

The answer to Mr. Mitford's inquiry regard- 
ing Sir W. Temple's house was found in a work 
entitled ** Beauties of England and Wales," vol. 
xiv., in which is written concerning it as follows 
— "Temple Grove, formerly called Shene or 
Sheen Grove, was the residence of the celebrated 
Sir W. Temple. ... Sir Thomas Barnard pur- 
chased the estate from Lord Palmerston, and 
later on sold four acres of the land to the 
Countess of Buckinghamshire, who cut down 
several of the large trees and the greater part 
of the avenue. The house and remaining por- 
tion of the land was purchased by the Rev. 
William Pearson, late of Parson's Green, for a 
boys' school, he being succeeded by the Dr. 
Pinkney, of whom Mr. Mitford * in his letter to 

* From information given me by a friend, I find that Temple 
House is to this day a thriving and excellent school. '* Of course," 
writes my correspondent, " Dr. Pinkney was nicknamed * Yellow Legs ' 



66 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Mr. Jesse, recently inserted, put the queries con- 
cerning it which I have just quoted. 

by the boys. He was succeeded by Mr. Thomson (under whose mild 
ferule I was myself during five or six years educated), then followed in 
succession Dr. Rawdon, Mr. Waterfield, and Mr. Edgar, the present 
very successful headmaster. Boys have always had a Tei^ happy 
time there. Templa qtiem ddeetajhreat artorntum."— D. F. C. — Ed. 



. > 



CHAPTER V. 

" Satire's my weapon, but I'm too discreet 
To nm a-muck, and tilt at all I meet." — FOFK. 

** Satire should, like a poL'sh'd razor keen, 
Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen." 

— Ladt M. W. Montagu. 

I HAVB always entertained the idea that my 
father 8 great affection ' for his own dogs had 
much to do witb his " unorthodox " opinions as 
regarded a future state in which four-footed 
animals generally, and the canine race in especial^ 
would be made amends to for the su^rings 
which during their short Uves upon earth they 
had been called upon to endure. He found it 
difficult, as many a right-minded man has done 
before him, and as many will do again,, until 
such time as the curtain which veils the "mys- 
terious ways " of Omnipotence shall be uplifted, 
to reconcUe the bodily tortures and the mental 
miseries which' fall to the lot of unoffending 
creatures with the Mercy as well as the Justice 



62 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

of the Great Being by whose will they have 
been created. 

" We are told," he would in his simple fashion 
argue, " that not a sparrow falls to the ground 
without His knowledge, and we are led by im- 
plication to conclude that the life of the said 
insignificant * fowl of the air ' is not without 
value in the eyes of its Creator. How then can 
we, excepting by a belief that compensation will 
be' meted out to them hereafter, assimilate the 
martyrdom of so many of what are called the 
^ lower animals ' with the goodness of God as it 
has been revealed to us in Holy Writ ? " 

The amount of brain-power, call it by the 
names of instinct, or mind, or what you will, 
which has been given to dogs, was a theme on ' 
which my father was never weary of holding 
forth, while instances which he brought forward 
of canine cleverness and wisdom were as nume- 
rous as they were interesting and well authenti- 
cated. Why, he would ask, had they, been given 
hearts to feel, and capacities which enabled them 
to act and think, if those faculties were only 
available for the purpose of rendering their short 
space of life unhappy ? The grief of a dog for 
the loss of a master or mistress whom he has 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 6j 

loved is a. terribly real thing ; and who that has 
watched the agonised expression of a small help- 
less creature when, in a crowded street, he has 
lost sight of the human friend with whom he is 
wont to take his walks abroad, can deny that 
he is cursed with those terrible things called 
nerves^ and that he therefore possesses in an 
intense degree, the power to suflFer? That the- 
dog who has been treated as a rational creature, 
and whose sorrows have met with human pity, 
can sympathise with the afflictions of others, none 
can doubt who have, when in trouble of mind, 
felt themselves the objects of a dog's mute 
sympathy. 

- Inheriting, as is the case with myself, the 
affection for dogs which formed a part of my 
father's idiosyncrasy. I could repeat many an 
anecdote of the tenderness of feeling and the 
wondrous sensitiveness of which dog nature is 
capable. Of their long-continued grief when an 
angry word has been addressed to them I have 
had many proofs, and also of the tenacity of 
canine memory in this respect ; but I will refrain 
from mentioning more than one instance of this 
noticeable peculiarity. I related the little story 
to my father, whose belief in the possession by 



64 



8YLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 



dogs of " consciences " and a sense of the dlflFer- 
ence between wrong and right doing, was thereby 
confirmed. 

* The little hero of iny story was the smallest; 
as well as the pluckiest of Yorkshire terriers that 
ft was ever my lot to see. His great and ex- 
elusive devotion to myself had for me a powerful 
charm, but, like other pleasant things, ft had its 
counter-balancing evil side, and I found myself 
one day compelled to rebuke "Nip" severely for 
the fault of having shown his teeth at a visitor 
who approached to shake hands with me. Un- 
i^sed to what he doubtless considered the unjust 
treatment which he had received, the delinq^uent 
retired beneath my sofa, and refused his mid- 
day meaL No especial notice was taken of that 

9 

occurrence, and as it happened that I was en- 
gaged by visitors during the afternoon, it was 
not until some hours later that news of Nip's loss 
of appetite reached iny ears. By that time the 
slight rebuke which I had given him had en-^ 
tirely escaped my memory, and in the belief that 
a brisk run through the grounds would restore 
his lost appetite, I called to him to follow me. 
He came, but was such an altered Nip ! Slowly,: 
and w^ith lowered ears and tail, he slunk in 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 6s 

Spiritless fashion at my heels. " What could be 
the matter with the small creature?" I was 
beginning, somewhat anxiously, to ask myself, 
when I suddenly recollected that some hours 
previously, poor little Nip's feelings had been 
wounded, and that a formal " making up " had 
never taken place between me and my canine 
friend. The ceremony, long delayed, and doubt- 
less, through weary hours, longed and waited 
for, was then, with many a caress and peni- 
tential word on my part, performed, and the 
rapturous joy displayed by the then happy dog 
was to me a touching sight. I had forgotten 
Nip, but the little terrier s memory was more 
tenacious than mine, and he, the offended one, 
was more than ready to forgive. 

Whilst expatiating, which he was perhaps 
overmuch given to do, on his favourite subject, 
I have heard my father point out to his listeners 
the innate courtesy as well as the spirit of for- 
giveness evinced by even brutally used dogs 
when accidental injury is by the hand or foot of 
man inflicted on them. On those occasions how 
frantically desirous are they to show, by gentle 
barks and mad waggings of tail, that in their 
opinion the injurer is not to blame; that the 

E 



66 SYLVAN US REDIVIVUS. 

pain is a mere accident, and that such being the 
case, the whole aflfair is unworthy the notice of: 
a sensible dog or man. " I wonder," my father 
would wind up his eulogium by saying, " of how 
many men and women it could be truthfully 
averred that in powers of self-abnegation such 
as these, they could stand a comparison with a 
noble-natured dog." Amongst my father's arti- 
cles of belief quoad the canine race, was one 
in which I have reason to suppose that the great 
naturalist who has lately passed away, coincided. 
After my father's death, Mr. Darwin addressed 
a few lines to me which had reference to the. 
former s conviction that in what are called dumb 
domesticated animals, and notably in the case 
of dogs, not only moral qualities, but habits, 
as well as "ugly tricks" (as the same, when 
indulged in by human beings, are called), are 
distinctly hereditary. 

Mr. Darwin's question was simply this, namely, 
**Had my father a breed of dogs, the juvenile 
members of which, when asked to * shake hands,' 
gave, without any previous instructions, their 
right hand to the visitor?" I regret to add that 
I could not answer this question in the aflSrma- 
tive, and still more do I deplore the loss of Mr. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 67 

Darwin's note, which, in a moment of sorely re-' 
pented of generosity, I presented to an amateur 
collector of autographs, by whom, however, the 
one in question is greatly valued. 

Than my dear father there was no easier man 
living to deceive and to overreach. Being him- 
self wholly devoid of guile, any suspicion of 
wrong-doing in another was slow to enter his 
mind ; and as a proof of this peculiarity, I will 
relate a circumstance which early in our removal 
to Hampton took place in our household. Now, 
how it came about that the acquaintance of ia 
certain zealous and devoted home-missionary to 
the careless ones who did not give all their goods 
to the poor and needy was suddenly sprung 
upon my father, I cannot, at this distance of 
time, remember. The name also of this chosen 
vessel has escaped my memory. It is sufficient 
to say that his credentials being apparently satis- 
factory, and his own appearance and demeianour 
being greatly in his favour, my father, with his 
accustomed impulsive generosity, made his new 
acquaintance as welcome to his home as though 
the possibility existed that he might unawares 
be ^tertaining a. angel ander 1 root And 
truly a most accomplished actor must ' our 



68 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

"Reverend" guest have been; for even my 
mother, whose tastes were as fastidious as hor 
judgment was, as a rule, clear, fell to a certain 
degree under the charm of the good man's earnest 
manner, and his evidently disinterested and fer- 
vent zeal in the cause which he had adopted. 
The only doubting spirit amongst us was my 
brother, who had uot from the first, hesitated to 
pronounce our visitor to be a "humbug," and 
who refused to be present at the Sunday-even- 
ing prayers, at which the said " Humbug " was 
to offer up supplications for the conversion of 

souls to Grod. Mr. had, on that especial 

Sunday, been for two days our inmate, and 
during that time had been both in season and 
out of it, earnest in promoting the cause in which 
he was engaged. There was certainly a slight 
tendency to monotony in his utterances, but on 
that eventful Sunday he varied his discourse, or 
rather his extempore prayer, in a manner which 
I considered too personal to be pleasant. For 
instance, he pleaded in turn, and by name, for 
each member of the kneeling household — ^a pro- 
ceeding which caused my brother, on hearing 
of it afterwards, to remark that he wondered 
the, " fellow " pulled up when he did, and that 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa €9 

he had refrained from including "Judy," my 
mother's pet Skye terrier, in his supplications 
to the throne of grace. **I only hope," my 
brother wound up by saying, "that he wont 
succeed in victimising my father before he gives 
you all his farewell blessing. The * governor ' is 
just the man to be taken in by that kind of 
plausible scamp." 

" Oh," I said in response, ** you need have 
no fear on that score. Mr. is always talk- 
ing about the empty scrips and purses of the 
Apostles. I verily believe that the idea of being 
rich positively frightens him. He thinks that 
the possession of wealth would close against him 
the gates of heaven." 

When, some days later, the fact was permitted 
to leak out that this perambulating saint had 
asked for and obtained from my father a cheque 
for five pounds, I remembered the suggestive 
smile and shrug of the shoulders with which 
my attempted justification of the good man had 
been received. 

But, previous to that effort of memory, an 
event occurred which fully justified my brother 
in the scepticism which, with regard to this 
zealous apostle, he had manifested. On the 



70 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Monday following the day when, with touching 
Christian fervour, he had interceded, somewhat 
to my annoyance, for the youngest daughter of 
his friend's household, dwelling especially on 
the sins of youthful vanity and love of worldly 
pleasures, from which he prayed that the weak 
vessel in question might be preserved, the good 
man, after eating a plentiful luncheon, set off, 
with my father's cheque in his pocket, for a 
walk. From . that " constitutional " he never 
returned, but, in lieu of his dignified form and 
benevolent countenance, there rang at the door- 
bell an individual of sinister aspect, who having 
been ushered into my father's business-room, 
briefly announced the fact that a person in 
clerical garb, of whom he (the detective, for 
such he proved to be) gave an accurate descrip- 
tion, was "wanted" by the police for the offence 
of obtaining money by false pretences. Our 
saintly visitor was, in fact, a rogue and a vaga- 
boiad of the first class, his craft and cunning 
being only equalled by the amount of villainy 
of which he was capable. 

My father bore with exemplary fortitude the dis- 
covery that he had beeix deceived, but the atrocity 
of the delinquent's guilt filled him nevertheless 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. " 71 

with dismay. Of all sins, that of systematic 
hypocrisy was the one which he found the most 
difficult to pardon, and this especial scoundrel 
had done worse than deceive his fellow-men. 
For the love of gain he had adopted the garb of 
sanctity, and had added profanity to the sin of 
mendacious greed. " It is well it was no worse," 
said my father to me, after he had owned to 
the folly of thus throwing away his cheque. 
" If he had remained longer, and described 
the invented sufferings of his poor at a greater 
length, I might have thrown away still more 
money on a rascal." 

This confession on my father's part reminded 
me of an anecdote concerning his mother which 
I had heard him relate. She, the best and most 
delightful of old ladies, was the widow of the 
previous incumbent of West Bromwich, and lived 
in a charming cottage situated at a distance of 
half a mile from the Eectory-house. Excepting 
on Sundays, she was waited on at meal-times 
by one of the two "maidens" who composed 
her household, but on the seventh day of the 
week, one John Taylor, a septuagenarian retainer 
of her late husband, was privileged, at his own 
request, to "bring up the tea-things." This 



72 SYLVANUS EEDIVIVUS. 

trifling service was for a long while performed 
well and safely ; but alas ! there came at last 
a day when, tray in hand, John stumbled and 
fell. The ruin was complete 1 Of the beautiful 
and highly-valued Wedgwood service not a 
piece remained unbroken, whilst only a worth- 
less glass sugar-basin was left whole upon the 
board. Then, " mistress of herself though china 
fell," and wholly bent on sparing the feelings of 
her greatly distressed old serving-man, my kind 
old grandmother said cheerily, ^' Never inind, 
John. It is well it*s no worse." 



CHAPTER VI. 

" Had I the choice of sublunary good, 
What could I wish that I possess not here ? 
Health, leisure, means to improve it, friendship^ peace." 

— CJOWPBB. 

Amongst our frequent and ever- welcome visitors 
was Mr. John Murray, '* the prince " — ^as I have 
heard him named — "of publishers." Between 
my father and the liberal as well as popular 
dispenser in Albemarle Street of world-known 
hospitalities, there existed a warm friendship. 
At the social gatherings — which at No. 5 1 were 
frequent^ — some of the most celebrated of the 
writers of the day were wont, as is well known, 
to bear a part, and my father had the good for- 
tune to be no rarely-seen guest at Mr. Murray's 
hospitable board. 

The comparatively large sums — as, on looking 
back through the vista of years, I now know 
them to have been — which were paid by Mr. 



74 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Murray to my father for the unpretending little 
volumes which the latter from time to time 
ventured to publish, were due, I am inclined to 
believe, more to the innate generosity of the 
publisher than to any striking merit of which 
the works thenaselves could boast. That they 
were by a certain, and that not a small class 
of readers, purchased and appreciated, was, I have 
no doubt, *he result in part, of a certain truthful 
simplicity of style, which, together with those 
"touches" of Nature which "make the whole 
world kin." pervaded my father's unaspiring pro- 
ductions. That the writer also was one whose 
wont it was to " look from Nature up to Nature's 
God" was a truth which in his written pages 
those who ran might read, and I, his daughter, 
on whom devolved the task of correcting those 
pages for the press, can add my testimony to 
the fact that their author, whose chief aim in 
life was to benefit his] fellow- creatures, never 
indited a single line which could give either the 
weakest of human brothers, or the smallest of 
God's "little ones" cause of "offence." To say 
that in his generation, the author of " Gleanings 
in Natural History " fulfilled in any degree his 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 75 

life's desire, namely, that .of doing lasting good to 
his fellow- beings, would be too much to assert ; 
but of one whose happiness it was — 

" To see a God employed 
In aU the good and ill that chequer life," 

it can truly be averred that his little books pos- 
sessed the merit — a comparatively rare one in 
these less scrupulous days — of containing none 
of the elements of evil.- 

In the Sloane Street apartments which, when 
in London, Mr. Mitford occupied, he could enjoy, 
as he could not do amongst the " Suffolk Squires," 
the society of his literary friends. It was also 
in London that, in conjunction with the Kev. 
Alexander Dyce, he published the Aldine edition 
of the British Poets, and it was from his second- 
floor lodgings that he was wont to take his 
departure for occasional country excursions — 
"outings" that were frequently shared by my 
father and myself— to Burnham Beeches, St. Ann's 
Hill, and notably to Stoke Pogis, which spot, in 
consequence of his worship of the poet Gray's 
genius, had for our friend an especial charm. 
The author of "Rogers Table-Talk," i.e., Mr. 
Dyce, was once our fellow-pilgrim to Stoke. He 



76 I SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

shared to the full Mr. Mitford's veneration for 
the place, which by the two men was evidently 
felt to be a sacred shrine, haunted by undying 
memories of the poet, whose sweetest lays had 
in them a ring of sadness. The day was a lovely 
one in early June, and the excursion made even 
on my girlish mind a vivid as well as lasting 
impression. 

As will be evident from a letter which I am 
about to transcribe, Mr. Mitford was far from 
sharing my father's taste for angling ; and this 
being the case, it seems difficult to account for 
the deep interest as well as the share which 
he took in the production of a new edition of 
the Life of Izaak Walton. In that edition as 
much as is known of the lives and writings 
of the angler's friends, Donne and Wootton, is 
embodied. Sir Nicholas Harris was one of his 
coadjutors in the work, and the task of publish- 
ing it was intrusted to Mr. Pickering. 

But for his sympathy with the love of Nature, 
which was characteristic of the contemplative 
angler and his friends, I doubt whether Mr. 
Mitford would have found the editing of their 
lives and lucubrations a labour in which he 
delighted. He, however, frequently varied the 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. ^*f 

serious business of the hour by writing in 
doggerel rh3mies, letters to his absent friends. 
One of these effusions, scribbled without previous 
thought, as was the case with all — ^whether grave 
or gay — of Mr. Mitford's poetry, I will here, as 
a specimen of his " lively " style, transcribe. The 
lines were addressed to me, and were written 
soon after his return to Benhall, after a longer 
stay tian usual in London : — 

^ The changes and chances of this cheqner'd life, 
Its joys and its sorrows, its peace and its strife, 
Come so, swiftly, that I in bewilderment feel 
I am sore let and hindered 'twixt Evil and Weel. 
Anon, baying bidden farewell to the smoke 
Of London, I find myself wandering at Stoke, 
Amidst meadows, wild flowers, and sheltering trees, 
Whilst the earol of thrushes and murmuring of bees — 
Emblems of Innocence, whisperers of Peace — 
Command the wild tumult of Passion to cease. 
Then comes the return by the moonlighted way 
To the home where wit, friendship, and grace have their 

swav. 
Whilst I — weU-a-day ! have forsooth to go back 
To Walpole and Mason,* and old Molly's clack, 
And forget, as I list to the sounds of her patten. 
How trip little feet in their slippers of satin." 

That the " Contemplative Man's Eecreation " 
possessed no charms for the writer of these lines 
is, as I before said, shown in a letter, the latter 

* Mr. Mitford was the editor of the "Correspondence between 
Walpote and MmoUi" to which work be {Nrobably here allades. 



7? SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

half of which calls for an explanation which I am 
totally unprepared to give. Whether its "mis-^ 
cellaneous author," as Mr, Mitford is in bio- 
graphical notices designated, indulged during his 
sleeping hours in dreams of dark women, and the ^ 
manifold attractions of polygamy, or whether he - 
contemplated giving to the world a work on the 
subject of a plurality of wives, must remain a 
subject of conjecture alike to the readers of the ^ 
letter, and the chronicler of the writer's amusing 
eccentricities : — 

'* My bear Jesse, — I have requested Pickering 
to present you with a copy of his book on fish- 
ing, just published, in which you will find all 
the information you want ; and as Picky is an 
angler, and has got several books on that sub- 
ject, he will be most happy to send you any. 
* Not to know him, argues yourself unknown ; ' 
so pray make his acquaintance, and he will 
doubtless ask you to 'pippins and cheese.' I 
have no fishing-books but old Walton in various 
shapes. As for the sport, I should like it ex- 
tremely if my life were 450 years in extension, 
and if some very pretty girls would sing to me 
all the. time : without this it has always appeared 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS.. 79 

to me rather dull. I daresay, however, that you 
think a great deal, which makes all the differ- 
ence. Now / never could think, but am very 
fond of talking, and this loquacity is of no use 
in the company of fish, who seem to be very 
profound thinkers, and who probably question 
the rationality of so many tall, thin gentlemen 
standing on the banks of rivers, pools, meres, 
estuaries, and reservoirs, with a long stick in 
one hand, and a piece of bread and cheese in the 
other. When I shall see you again I cannot 
tell, for I am at this moment in Ethiopia, and 
have married two handsome Abyssinian ladies, 
with whom I have got a large fortune in ivory, 
peacocks, capuchin monkeys, and gold dust. To 
be sure, my two wives don't agree very well, 
and they use too much mutton-suet for their 
toilettes, and the weather is a little too hot for 
married men, and I can get nothing to eat but 
asses' flesh and sour milk ; yet, by the blessing of 
God, and the use of the bastinado in one case, 
and abstinence in the other, I hope to be a 
prosperous man. One of my wives already 
flatters me with the hopes of a family, and I 
have sold my charcoal at Cairo to great advan- 
tage. I shall be happy to see you at my town- 



8a SYLVAN US REDIVIVUS. 

house at Shendy, and will send a camel to meet 
you at the first cataract. Beware, when you 
come, of crocodiles and Alm6 girls. — Yours ever, 

"J. MiTFORD. 

^^ February 13, 1836. 

*^ P.S. — Pickering will give you a day's fish- 
ing in the West India Docks, which abound in 
roach and eels. Also he will show you his 
beautiful edition of Walton. You will know his 
house by the learning in the windows." 

In the above-named edition there appears a 
poem which never ought to have found a place 
iu its pages. The only merit, if merit it can 
be called, of which the verses can boast is the 
fact that both Samuel Kogers, James Smith,* 
Mr. Dyce, and others amongst the literati be- 

* Jamea Smith, the moat brilliant and popular of the anthors-of 
*' The Rejected Addresses," was a frequent and ever-welcome guest at 
**RoBe Villa." It was his habit twice in every summer month to 
spend the time between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning at 
our house. He was a delightful companion, always cheerful and ready 
of wit, notwithstanding the chronic rheumatic gout and chalk-stones 
from which he suffered. He invariably brought with him a small 
book about niue inches square, which contained in MS. the many 
favourite songs, the words written by himself for Charles Matthews, 
and which he (James Smith), although he had passed his sixtieth year, 
sung with gpreat verve and expression. I was his unfailing accom- 
panist, and be has more than once told me of the difficulty he found 
in teaching the same songs to Charles Matthews, and in making him 
cateb ami illustrate viva voet the spirit of the words he su&g. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. Si 

lieved them to be the bona Jide production of 
one or other of Walton's friends — a precious 
antiquarian relic, in short, which Mr. Mitford, 
who laughed "consumedly " (but in his sleeve) at 
their credulity, had had the good fortune to 
rescue from obscurity. But for this singular 
instance of intellectual blindness, I, having been, 
with Mr. Mitford's knowledge, the insignificant 
author of the imitation, should not have ven- 
tured to insert in this place the unstudied 
coinage of my juvenile Muse :-~ 

" Good Izaak, let ub stay and rest us here. 

Old friends, when near. 
Should talk together oft, and not lose time 

In silly rhyme, . 
Which only addles men's poor hrains to write, 
And those who read bless God they don't indite. 

There is a tree close by the river-side ; 

There let's abide. 
And only hear far off the world's wild din. 

Where all is sin. 
Meanwhile our peaceful rods we'll busy ply 
Where trout spring upwards to the tempting fit. 

Our sports and life fuU oft contemndd are 

By those who spare 
No cost of time, health, wealth, to gain their ends 

And often spend 
Their all in hopes some happiness to see 
In what they are not, but they wish to te. 



82 .SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

AVe will not seek for that We may not find, 

But closely bind 
Our heart's friend, Izaak, in a tightened knot, 

And this our lot, 
Here long to live together in repose, 
Till Death for us the peaceful scene shall close.** 

As I find amongst Mr. Mitford's letters another 
written in his liveliest strain, and in which he 
again makes my father and Mr. Pickisring the 
themes of his amusing banter, I cannot, I think, 
do better than conclude this chapter with its 
insertion. It hears date the nth of June, and 
it afibrds proof that during the last few months, 
my father,- having followed his friend's advice, 
had made good progress in intimacy with his 
fellow-fisherman : — • 

" My dear Jesse, — You are indeed immortal 
in the last* Gent's. You will outlive all the 
Ba-o-babs * and taxodiums in the world. You 
will see the dragon-tree of Tenerifie moulder 
away. You are preserved in our amber-covered 
cover. Time has no power over you. You 
will live countless anniversaries of the fishing- 
dinners in Queen Street and Hampton. I called 

* Baobab, an African tree, the largest known. It is called the 
"monkey bread-fruit tree." It is to be found in Madras and its 
neighbourhood, grown frotn seeds bTougbt over from its native land. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 83 

on you to acquaint you with your new per- 
petuity, and left a symbol of myself at "White- 
hall. Thus : J^y which means John Mitford 
perpetually united to Sylvanus Urban. How 
is Johnstone ? and how is his Missil-toe ? and 
how are the flowers at Hampton ? I am going 
to Dorking on Monday to drive myself, as you 
can't drive me. Pickering delights in your 
society, and says you are very superior to his 
dinner- table of authors, i.e., Dyce, myself, and 
some more hacks. He thinks Whitbread a great 
fishing genius, and Sir C. Taylor deserving of all 
the woodcocks he can springe in June. I dine 
with him to-morrow to meet Dr. Metcalf, an 
American naturalist, and to eat a pdtS of wild 
turkeys from the Alleghany Mountains. I kiss 
my hands to Mrs. Jesse, and am, as ever, your 
obliged, &c. John Mitford. 

"From my Symposium, 

27 Park Walk, Saturday. ^^ 

It did not often happen that Mr. Mitford and 
the author of "The Kejected Addresses" were 
fellow-guests at our house, which was perhaps 
fortunate, as although both were in their several 
ways delightful, their idiosyncrasies did not 



-< 



«4 SrLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

happen to amiilgamate. One anecdote, however, 
of Home Tooke, which was repeated by James 
Smith, met, I remember, with cordial approba- 
tion from Mr. Mitford. It was this. One night, 
during a heated discussion in the House of Com- 
mons, in which Home Tooke bore a principal 
part, his chief antagonist said, **1'11 take the 
sense of the House^'' "And I'll take the non* 
sense," retorted Tooke, ** and I'll beat you." 



CHAPTER VI r. 

''^Boughs are daily rifled 

By the gasty thieves, 

But the book of Nature 

GetteCh short of leaves." — HoOD. 

In the rough notes of what can hardly be called 
a diary which I, in a kind of fitful fashion kept, I 
find the following remarks concerning the poet 
Wordsworth, with which. On the occasion of an 
excursion undertaken by us to Burnham Beeches, 
Mi:. Mitford and my father enlivened our some- 
what lengthened drive. 

. "I always," said the former, " think better 
of a man's heart and taste when I have quite 
persuaded myself that he is a genuine lover 
of Wordsworth's poetry. He never has been, 
and never will be, a popular poet. His writings 
abound in gems, but it is the condensation 
of exquisite bits that everyday readers like. 
The pearls must be found for them, and even 
ready strung for use. To fish for them in the 
long-drawn-out couplets of the * Excursion ' is a 



86 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

labour which not one reader in a thousand cares 
to take." 

" A feeling," rejoined my father, ** in which I 
fully sympathise, but have never yet cared to 
own, I am partial to short pieces ; not sonnets, 
which always seem to me rather laboured, but 
pieces with a ring in them, and that one knows, 
after twice reading them, by heart. I confess, 
at the risk of falling in your estimation, that I 
never could make any hand of Wordsworth's 
'Excursion.'" 

'* You have had a loss — Has he not ? " address- 
ing himself to me, — " in not having learnt by 
heart the *01d Cumberland Beggar.' In the 
English language, take it for all in all, there is 
no grander eclogue. There is not a line that 
it contains which has not a beauty of its own. 
But I agree with you that, as a rule, long poems 
are a trial of human patience. How few of us, 
comparatively speaking,, have read in its entirety, 
Milton's * Paradise Lost ' ! Perhaps, however, an 
interest in that great eflfort of human genius 
may yet be revivified. If it could be satis- 
factorily proved that Oliver Cromwell, and not 
his secretary, w^as the author of the finest epic 
which in the English language has been written. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. ^f 

Johnny Russell and some of his Radical crew 
would. take to learning it by heart." 

Three days after this expedition — one to 
which I cau still look back with feelings of 
regretful pleasure — I received from Mr. Mitford 
the following poem, which had for its heading — 

BURNHAM BEECHES. 

Scathed by the lightuing'a bolt, the wintry storm, 

A giant brotherhood ye Btand sublime ; 
Like some huge fortress, each majestic form 

Still frowns, regardless of the power of Time. 
Cloud after cloud the storms of war have rolled 
Since ye your countless years of long descent have toW. 

Say, for ye saw brave Harold's bowmen yield, 
Ye heard the Norman's princely trumpet blow. 

And ye have seen upon that later field 

Red with her rival's blood the rose of snow ; 

And ye too saw from Chalgrove's hills of flame 

When to your sheltering arms the wounded soldier came. 

Can ye forget when by yon thicket green 
A troop of scattered horsemen crossed the plain, 

And in the midst a statelier form was seen ? 
A snow-white charger yielded to his rein ; 

One backward look towards Naseby's field he cast, 

And then with onward flight and speed redoubled pass'd. 

But far away these shades have fled, and now. 
Sweet change ! the song of summer birds is thine ; 

Peace hangs her garlands on each aged bough, 
And bright o'er thee the dews of morning shine ; 

Earth brings with grateful hand her tribute mute, 

Wild-flowers and scented weeds to bloom around thy feet ' 



S8 SYLVANUS EEDIVIVUa 

Here may unmftrked the wandering poet mnse, 
'Mid these green lawns the lady'd palfrey glide, 

Nor here the pensive nightingale refuse 
Her sweetest, richest song at eventide. 

The wild deer browse at will from glade to glade, 

Or conch'd in mossy forms each antlered brow is laid. 

Farewell, beloved scenes 1 Enough for me 
Through each wild copse and tangled dell to roam, • 

Amid your forest patlis to wander free. 
And find where'er I go a sheltering home. 

Earth has no gentler prayer to man to give 

Than ^* Come to sweet Nature's arms, and learn of her to live." 

— J. MiTFORD. 

It is to be regretted that the dates of our 
friend's letters were not of a more explicit and 
satisfactory character than was in most instances 
the case with them. But for the post-mark on 
the outside of the one which is now given to the 
reader to peruse, I should not be able to state 
that it was written on December 3, 1838. Mr. 
Mitford was— at least so say his biographers — 
born in the year 1780, consequently at the 
period when the following letter was Ti^itten 
he must have about reached his fifty-eighth 
year. That he was young, as the saying is, 
of his age, is apparent from the fact that he 
was still lissome enough of limb to engage in 
rival cricket-matches, while that from the occa- 
sional illnesses to which flesh is heir he was not 



SYLVAITUS REDIVIVUS. 89. 

exempt, the closing words of the letter clearly 
prove :-^ 

" My dear Jesse,— Did you tak^ care at the 
Strawberry Hill sale to secure the curious pic- 
ture of Rose the gardener and his pine-apple for 
Government, and where is it ? Your friend Peter 
Parley is an excellent fellow, and will be still 
better when he comes to understand that to- 
morrow does not mean the day before yesterday ! 
He had better seek shelter in Suffolk, or, if he re- 
mains where he is, he will be ravished some night 
by the ghost of Lady Mary. Tell him that 
Mrs. Jermyn is very grateful for his advice. But 
what an ass you will think me ! An ass ! Alas ! 
alas ! I didn't recollect that Saturday is the 
Chiswick fSte, to which I am going, so can't 

come to E d. Will Tuesday suit you? or 

do you wish me at old Nick for bothering you 1 

"Had I been well, I should have known long 
Ago who the Quarterly Reviewer is, but I have 
not been able to call in London. It arises from 
his suggestion entirely. He first asked me to 
write it, but I not having time, he found some 
other friend : it is one of his set, and assuredly 
not Croker. I shall be able to tell you in a few 



ga " SYLVANUS BEDIVIVUa 

(Jays, The fact is, the * Arboretum ' has not sold,.^ 
and Loudon is anxious to have it known* 

*' I am afraid I can't say much in favour of 
sperm-whales, which would be too strong for 
the old gentleman's stomach ; but if John Gough 
will admit it, I am most ready. 

" A thousand thanks for your kindness about 
the ticket for the Palazzo. I never meant to 
give you half the trouble. I thought Lord 
Duncannon could give orders, and if so, I knew 
you could get in without difl&culty. Lord 
Lansdowne has most handsomely sent me per- 
mission to see the statues, &c,, at Lansdowne 
House when I like. Those are my best enjoy- 
ments. I hope to spend a couple of days chez 
vous in the summer. The lawsuit has termi- 
nated against the East India Company. It was 
settled last week by the Chancellor, and the 
Times paper last week called on the next of 
kin to appear. What think you now ? 

"I am sure that old poets whose works are 
now little read had a true feeling for the various 
beauties of Nature, and have given pretty fan- 
ciful turns of expression to their descriptive 
sketches — as in Phineas Fletcher's 'Purple Island,' 
as in canto vi. stanza 68 : — ' 



4 
i 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 91 

* The flowers that, frightened with sharp Winter's dread, 
Retire iato their Mother Tellus womb, 

Yet in the Spring in troops new mustered 
Peep but again from their unfrozen tomb. 

The early violet will fresh arise ; 

Spreading his flower'd purple to the skies, 
Boldly the little elf the winter's spite defies.' 

Again, canto x. st. i— 

* The shepherds to the woody mount withdraw, 
Where hillock seats — shades yield a canopy. 
Whose top with violets dyed, all in blue, 
Might seem to make a little azure sky. 
And that round hill which their weak heads maintained 
A lesser Atlas seemed, whose neck sustained 
The weight of all the Heavens, which sore his shoulders 
pained.' 

Again — 

* And here and there sweet primrose scattered, 
Spangling the blue, fit constellations make ; 
Some broadly flaming, their fair colours spread, 
Some other wink'd, as yet but half awake : 

Fit were they placed, and set in order due. 
Nature seemed work by Art so lively true, 
A little Heaven on earth in narrow space she drew. 

And in the ' Piscatory Eclogues,' v. st. 4 — 

* Algon, what luckless starre thy mirth hath blasted. 
My joy in thee, and thou in sorrow drowned. 

The year, with winter storms all rent and wasted. 
Hath now fresh youth and gentler seasons tasted. 
The warmer sun his bride hath newly gowned. 
With fiery arms clipping the wanton ground. 
And gets an Heaven on earth, that Primrose there. 
Which 'mongst those vi'lets sheds his golden hair. 
Seems the Sun's little son, fixed ou his azure sphere.' 



9^ S YL V ANUS RED! VI VUS. 

" There — so I return your constant hospitality. 
These passages from a poet who is rarely met 
with or read in these days are charming. 

" I am pleased to hear that Mrs. Jesse is getting 
well. I want so to ask her to tell . me in the 
plainest way what joint a brisket of beef* is," and 
how my pook should dress it as yours did. 

** I shall be so obliged. We are all at sea, and 
want clear language and clear advice, so that 
when I return home, I may enjoy something like 
a good imitation of your excellent dish. — I am 
yours (though in the dumps), J. Mitford. 

"200 Sloane Street, Monday, ^^ ' ' 

• '' — I . 

* An allusion to a certain dish, of which, during a visit to Hampton, 
he had paftaken and praised. It was tender, which, I recollect, led to 
some sensible remarks on the subject of sandwiches in general, and to 
the circumstance that sufficient attention was not, as a rule, paid to the 
confection of those useful, and sometimes excellent, articles of food. A 
portion of the brisket so lauded by our friend had formed the staple 
of some sandwiches which were partaken of on one petfect autumn 
afternoon on the summit of St. Ann's, a lovely and lonely spot in the 
neighbourhood of Weybridge, and the charm of the locality may have 
tended to impress on Mr. Mitford's memory* the excellenoe of the 
brisket regarding which he wrote» 



CHAPTER VIII. 

** Little said is soonest .mended." — Old Pbovebb. 

My father's love for the game of whist almost 
amounted to a passion, and no dooner had both 
my elder lister and myself reached the period of 
life when we might be supposed capable of in 
some degree comprehending the diflSculties of 
that fascinating game, than we found ourselves 
installed as assistants at the nightly rubber, 
without the mild excitement of which my 
father, from force of habit probably, found his 
weekly evenings somewhat long. In the bosom 
of his family we played, as the saying is, " for 
love," and when, in the absence of a chance guest 
(a rare occurrence, for my father s hospitality 
was only bounded by the lack of means for its 
indulgence), we were reduced to the necessity of 
playing a dummy-rubber, he consoled himself 
with the reflection that three-handed whist was 
the best school in which a tyro in the noble 



94 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

game could become initiated into its mysteries. 
Seeing that he was acknowledged by such ex- 
perts as Mr. Clay, the late Member for Hull, as 
being at the head of second-cldss players, he must 
besides, methinks, have been considered a safe 
one, inasmuch as men who indulged in far higher 
play than he ever consented to do, were always 
well satisfied to have him for their partner in 
the strife. 

My elder sister never took kindly to the 
game, and consequently never attained the pro- 
ficiency which I, who enjoyed mastering its 
difficulties, was not long in arriving at. It was 
this circumstance, among sundry others, which, 
I think, went far to account for the slight and 
wholly unmerited preference for myself which my 
dear father made only too plainly evident* The 
superior fearlessness of my nature to that of 
my gentler sister, caused me to be my fatlier's 
favourite companion in his rides^ and led, as will 
shortly be seen, to no little mischief in the days 
that were to come. Of my precocious skill as a 
whist-player he was unduly proud — a parental 
weakness on his part which was also not with- 
out its evil consequences. 

In my early, girlhood, there were certain 



.SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 95 

hahituis of Hampton Court Palace who, like my 
father, greatly enjoyed a nightly rubber. Their 
stakes were half-crown points, and a sovereign on 
the rub. My father, however, invariably declined 
the bet, and always averred that, playing con- 
stantly the same stakes and with the same per- 
sons, he at the end of the year, neither lost nor 
won. The Hampton Court whist-playing coterie 
-consisted of Sir Horace Seymour, the father of 
Lord Alcester, whose sobriquet in the days of his 
youth was " Pop," but who is now better known 
as the " Ocean-swell." Then there was Admiral 
Sir George Seymour, the father . of the late Lord 
Hertford, and one of the handsomest as well as 
the bravest and most delightful of England's 
naval heroes. He had received in action when 
a midshipman, a severe wound in the lower 
jaWy and the discomfort which its results occa- 
sioned must have been great and unceasing ; yet 
. his high-bred, genig,l cheerfulness never for a 
moment forsook him, and until the day of his 
death he remained one of my father's most 
attached and appreciating friends. His brother, 
Sir Horace, was a man of a diflferent stamp. He 
too, in common with my father and the Admiral, 
was of lofty stature, measuring six feet three 



96 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

inches iu Height, and it was reported of him that 
after the battle of Waterloo, in which, as an 
oflBcer of the Life Guards, he had **done the 
state good service," he had on the field of battle 
committed a gruesome deed. Walking with some 
brother officers amongst the as yet unburied 
slain, he had, in proof of his great strength, 
decapitated with one blow of his sword, a dead 
private as he lay in his last sleep upon the blood- 
stained field. Many a year had, when he became 
our friend, elapsed since that reported episode 
in his life occurred, and at the period to which 
I am referring, namely, the years 1831 aiid 
1832, handsome Horace Seymour was a very 
^'gentil knight" and much-admired squire of 
dames. He was one of the so-called ** Elegant 
Extracts," the said extracts being young officers, 
the cr^me de la crSme of society, who, for 
some breach of discipline, the nature of which 
has escaped my memory, were drafted into 
various crack cavalry regiments, the 10th Hus- 
sars being, if I recollect rightly, the one in 
which Sir Horace Sejonour gained during a few 
years, some experience of home service. Another 
of the habitual whist-players was one Sir Henry 
Wheatley, who inhabited a good-sized house 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS; 97 

upon the Green, and who, together with the two 
Seymoursi was knighted when William IV. 
ascended the throne. These, including an inha- 
bitant of the Palace whose years were as ripe 
as his temper (when '*luck" deserted him) was 
irascible, formed the quintette which, either in 
the private apartments of the Palace, or mbr^ 
frequently at nay father's bous^, met* together 
in order to 6njoy what Mrs, Battle was' wont tq 
call the ^*[ solider '' game of whist 
' One of the customs, noW happily extinct, 
which in the days of my youth prevailed ainongst 
whist-players, was that of pkcing, before the 
game commenced,' a dea-tain amotint of what 
^vas called '' card-money '^ uftder the caiidlestick^ 
which held "the necessary Jight^. Wh4t Was th^ 
amount of silver coin which by each player was 
there deposited, I canfiot^ at this distance of time 
remember, bat th^ usage was deemed by my 
father so altogether unworthy of encouragement 
by gentlemen, that, owing to hi^ mfluenee, it fell 
into disuse. " T . ; 

I must now relate a circumstance, trivial per-r 
haps in itself, but which filled tiie mind of my 
sensitive parent with temporary regrfet In that 
^e had so early initiated me into, the fnystpriei^ 

G 



98 BYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

of the game he loved. It chanced that amongst 
his old friends were certain plethorically rich 
men, who, sharing as they did his penchant 
for whist, were not content without the excite- 
ment of higher stakes than the modest ones 
which afforded to my father much innocent, as 
well as wholesome amusement. One of these 
wealthy individuals possessed a charming villa 
at Wimbledon, and occasionally, when }mjidus 
Achates — one Frank Mills — chanced to be his 
guest, the two, with the incentive of a rubber 
to wind up the evening's festivities, would accept 
my father's invitation to one of the "little 
dinners " which it was his chief delight to offer 
to his friends. And during the continuance of 
the simple meal, few men could have made 
themselves more agreeable than did the man-of- 
the-world banker, who had once taken Deacon's 
orders, but had perceived in time that the 
pleasures of the Turf and of high play were 
more congenial to his tastes than sermon-writ- 
ing. He was a good raconteur ^ and quick at re- 
partee, that gambler at heart, who was known as 
*' Frank Mills " to all the world of " Sport ; " and 
I, who had laughed during dinner at his amusing 
talk, looked forward to a continuance of his 



SYLVANUS EEDIVIVUa 99 

genial sallies when, under a spreading walnut tree 
upon the lawn, the remainder of the delicious 
summer evening would, according to our time- 
worn custom, be whiled away. But in this ex- 
pectation I was fated to be disappointed. Mr. 
Mills, as well ns the friend, in whose house at 
Wimbledon he was a guest, had not undertaken 
a journey of some half-dozen miles, and par- 
taken of what they doubtless considered a very 
inferior dinner, in order to be sent rubberless 
away, and great was their evident consternation 

when old Mr. L , who had promised to look 

in, and make himself useful as a fourth player, 
sent instead, a note of excuse for his non- 
appearance. What, in such an emergency as 
this, was to be done? They detested dummy 
whist, and there remained for these men, who 
played guinea-points, with heavy bets upon the 
*' rub," no other alternative than that of accept- 
ing me, who had sat at the feet of a whist-loving 
Gamaliel, as the substitute for the defaulting 
veteran. The proposal aflfiorded me anything 
but pleasure ; with my father, however, the 
case was different* His belief in my powers, 
even of whist-playing, was unbounded, and I 
could read in his kind face the wish that his 



^oo SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

pupil should, on this occasion, give proof to his 
guests that she had profited by his instructions, 
yery reluctantly, and undBr protest, did I, stand- 
ing by the card-table, go through the customary 
ceremony of cutting for partners. Before how- 
ever, I relate what followed on that prelimi- 
nary act, I think it expedient to record the 
circumstances which gaver rise to my rooted 
objection to playing for money. As I have 
already said, my father never indulged in what 
he considered high play: indeed, he would, I 
think, have preferred, could such an innovation 
have been possible, playing sixpenny-points to 
half-crown ones. " I do not know," I have heard 
him say, ** which I dislike most — losing my own 
money, or winning that of other people ; " and 
such being the case, it may seem surprising that 
I, and possibly others, were* perfectly aware 
whether^ — after a few hours spent at the whist- 
table-^he had won or lost. Not being the ^' faults 
less monster that the world ne'er saw," and enter-^ 
taining, moreover, the dislike to being "beaten" 
which is inherent in his sex, my. dear father'^ 
usually placid countenance was apt, after a rui^ 
of ill-luck, to betray the fact that fate ha^ 
.b^en against him; and the truth that so it was 






SYLVANUS REDIVI VUS. ioi 

* 

inspired me with a foolish bat an wnconquerable 
dislike to card-playing in general, aiid td the 
staking of money cm the cards, in especial. "If,'* 
I said to myself, "even a good man cannot 
remain, under the influence of Fortune's frowns, 
indiflFerent to her caprices, where, under similar 
circumstances, might the ungodly and the sinner 
be ? " The octogenarian Hampton Court whist- 
player, who, when a loser, was so little capable of 
self-command that strong language was uttered 
by him, and the cards hurled to the other ex- 
tremity of the room, should also have acted as 
a terrible warning to those who, not being en* 
do wed with the skill to "possess their souls in 
patience,*' had better abstain altogether from 
dealing with what the ** unco-guid," who are 
given to the perceiving of had in every* 
thing, have stigmatised as the " devil's picture- 
books." 

But it is time to return to the too long 
delayed sequel of my adventure as the partner 
at the green table of one of the wealthiest of 
London bankers, whose serious countenance, as 
I took my place in front of him, betrayed to me 
the alarming fact that to him, at least, the busi< 
ness on hand was not without its solemn side. The 



I02 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

stakes for which our guests were playing were, I 
knew, very heavy, and I confess that, albeit 
I at least had nought save honour at stake, a 
sense of responsibility, as the cards were being 
cut, weighed somewhat heavily on my mind. 
Now, let the authorities who have written on the 
principles of the " solid game " say what they 
will, my opinion that a retentive memory is of all 
things the one which is most conducive to success, 
cannot be lightly changed. Now, as a rule, my 
recollection during a game, of the cards which 
had or had not been played, was a rather re- 
markably clear one, but I had not been many 
niinutes face to face with the saturnine features 
of "Frank Mills," before a spell — the result 
partly of the awful silence which reigned,. in 
the room— seemed to hold my powers of memory 
as in a paralysing vice. Then, too, I could read 
in my father's face his keen anxiety that I should 
do credit to his teaching, and that circumstance 
was not without its share in bringing about 
a catastrophe which from the first might have 
been foreseen. During one rubber, I contrived, 
although with difficulty, to steer clear of rocks 
and shoals, but the tension was too great, and 
when the climax came, and the last cards which 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 103 

• 

vould decide the conquering rubber had been 
dealt, the painted faces of those hideous queens 
and knaves became blurred before my eyes, and, 
in defiance of all rules, I trumped, second-hand, 
a card on which I ought to have thrown away 
a worse than useless King! My mistake lost 
the hard-fought game, and in the dead silence 
which followed, the voice of my rebuking partner 
sounded cold and harsh. 

" That card," he said, *' cost me forty pounds," 
and his sharp, fox-like countenance betrayed no 
sign of anger as he spoke, a circumstance which 
rendered his reproach the more impressive. 

In a moment I was on my feet, and words, 
hot and angry, rose to my lips, 

*' It was by your wish, not mine, that I made 
up your rubber, and it is unlike a gentleman to 
taunt me with my mistake." 

What more I might, but for my father's re- 
straining words, have said, I know not, but his 
quiet remonstrance fell like oil upon the troubled 
waters of my wrath* 

" Hush, my dear," he said gently. " Mr. Mills 
spoke, I am sure, without thought, and the best; 
of us might have been provoked as he was." 
Then addressing the delinquent, who sat alone, 



io4 ISYLVANUS REDIViVUa 

a 

and with an unmoved countenance at the whist- 
table, ho added, "My daughter was right. Mills, 
in reminding you that it was at your own re- 
quest she made herself of use, and certainly if I 
could have supposed it possible that her good- 
nature would have been so ill rewarded, I should 
not have allowed the child to risk incurring the 
reprimand she has received." 

The mild remonstrance had its desired effect,- 
for ** Frank Mills'' was a gentleman at heart, 
and made both to my father and myself an^ 
ample apology for his lapse of good-breeding. 
We parted as good friends should, but I never 
forgot the lesson I had received, whilst my con^ 
viction — a foolish^ one as it w^ill doubtless be 
considered — that the games which were originally 
invented for the amusement of an idiot king are 
endowed especially, when played for money, with- 
aBubtle influence for evil on the minds and char- 
acters of both men and women. I should feel, 
were it not for the light which it throws upon 
my father's disposition, that some apology is 
due to the reader for the insertion of an anecdote 
in which the principal part is played by myself, 
but the self-command evinced by my father on' 
the occasion of my Jiaseo and its punishment^ 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 105 

made at the time so vivid an impression on my 
mind, that, as a trait of character, I have not been 
able to resist its insertion in this place. Atiger 
was with him at all times a short-lived passion, 
but being of a nervous temperament, he had 
often, as be sometimes regretfully, and as a warn- 
ing to bis children, confessed, to struggle against 
fits of impatience and irritability. That this 
had been the case with him when his friend 
Frank Mills permitted his temper to get the 
better of his savoir /aire, I could plainly see, 
for the effort to control his owii Vrath was 
great; and sorely did I reproach myself in that 
my own shortcomings had added their quota to: 
the annoyance which he was enduring. J h^A 
escaped all censure for my blundering, and after 
receiving his nightly kiss, I retired to my bed, 
happy in the conviction that to few of my age 
and sex was there granted so kind and forgiving 
a parent as the one with whom Providence had 
blessed my life. 



CHAPTER IX. 

** Alas t for the rarity 
Of Christian charity 
Under the sun." — Hcx)D. 

The following letter is so eminently characteristic 
of the Writer's turn of mind, now grave, now 
fanciful, now philosophical, and alas 1 anon sadly 
deficient in reverence for sacred subjects, that I 
give it to the reader, d propos^ as the French 
saying is, de hottes : — 

''My deae Jesse, — It is very true I have 
been chewing wormwood for the last quarter, 
dry, bitter stuff enough, but not for any of the 
philosophical reasons you have been pleased to 
tickle your fancy with. I take it, there is a fly 
in every man's pot of ointment ; mine is about 
the size of my neighbour's, — no bigger, yet a kind 
of bluebottle, growiiig corpulent certainly, but 
easily subdued. A week at Upton would reduce 
him to a skeleton. He buzzes and puffs a good 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 107 

deal in London, ,but I know ^how to tame him ; 
therefore don't alarm yourself any more about 
him. He is at present fast asleep. Pauvre 
mouche ! restez tranquille ! . Vous avez mangS 
trop de Sucre. Dieu ! qui vient id ? VSritahle^ 

nient, madame, je crois 

"*I have often told you, Adam,' said Eve, 
looking very uuamiable, * that I . don't under- 
stand French. I don't like it. Speak plainly 
and properly.' 'Well, then,' said Adam, 'I 
take it that this marriage of yours and mine, my 
dear, does not portend any great good. All 
depends on making a good marriage. Suppose 
we have a son — he, of course, as our eldest, will 
be Prince of Wales, and he will take to climb- 
ing forbidden trees, associating with unclean 

animals, and' 'Nonsense,' said Eve; 'you're 

always putting such sharp corners into one's 
head. The child will do very well, I don't 
doubt.' * Then,' said Adam, ' if he has a 
brother, he will of course be Duke of York, and 

then ' ' Take the candle, I say, and go to 

bed, and stop talking in this way. To-morrow 
you have to get up and give names to all the 
animals.' ' True,' said Adam, * and I mean to 
do it systematically, I shall first divide them 



lo8 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

into classes after the manner of Linneus — thel 
solid hoof, the cleft hoof, the ruminating, those 
that have incisors' — * What are incisors ? ' -said 
Eve. * I never heard the word before ; has it 
anything to do with scissors ? ' Lord ! if you 
had seen Adam's look. * Scissors ! Wiiew ! 
Pooh ! Nonsense 1 Scissors ! Incisors mean 
cutting teeth. Eve, you are a good woman, an 
excellent wife, an admirable cook,- but certainly 
you are no scholar. You were taken from the 
ribs, and not from . the head of man. You are 
bone of my bone, but you have no partnership 
with my intellectual organs, and your descen- 
dants will be all the same. If one of them were 
to write an account of a voyage she had made, 
she would express surprise at seeing the Neem 
tree in Bermuda, though the streets of Ne\^ 
Orleans are shaded with them. And just .so of 
the rest. But as I said, I shall then take the 
horned animals. • I shall make a decided division 
of the horned cattle.' — 'My dear Adam! my 
good man ! this will never do I Horned cattle ! 
Animala cum cornehus! Do take the candle 
and come to bed 1 Whoever saw cattle without 
horns ? ' At that instant, as Juck would have 
it, a beneficed and benevolent clergyman. passing 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 109 

by, and taking off his Lat, assured them that ia 
his county the cattle had no horns. Horns were 
there unknown, even as a sign to a public-housej 
* Thank you, doctor,' said Adam. — But, my dear 
Jesse, I must put off telling you the end of the 
conference, which afterwards consisted of a trio, 
and will doubtless interest you extremely. 

"It ia scarcely an hour since I returned fron^ 
the Bishop's Visitation, and his charge has given 
me an indigestion. He ought to read it on the 
stage at Co vent Garden. It ^ould be as good 
as 'The Love Chase.' I placed myself under 
the care of all the Soly Virgins whom I could 
remember, who lived for virtue and who died 
for honour s sake^ as Saint Perpetua, Saint 
Honoria,^ and Saint Eustachia, who are now 
blooming in immortal youth, and enjoying the 
rewards ti inviolable chastity. You are very 
^ind in asking nie to Uptpn, but I am like a 
8paa:r6w orn the:hoi(s^-tpp, who, I sui>pose, finds 
a difficulty in getting dov^n, or an owl in the 
deselrtj who is ad much trouble in procuring mice 

fit to eat, dr But that is enough in the way 

of si|nilrtu<les, especially as they are not very d 
propos, and' do not exactly describe wh'at T re- 
semble.* However, here I am, and wheti I ShalJ 



Iio SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

cease to be here I know not, but it is quite as welt 
for my friends that I should be here, for a more 
unsociable, uncommunicative, unreasonable, and 
unpleasing kind of two-legged creature don't at 
present exist in the pale of good society. Please 
give my kind remembrances to Mr. Rogers, and 
tell him that I think it is neither in good taste 
or good scholarship to do a& Jortin (whose 
writings he well knows) has, I see, done, 
namely, in his famous Sixth Dissertation, to hash 
up, transpose, and add to the beautiful invoca- 
tion of Book Third in * Paradise Lost/ The fol- 
lowing are Jortin's lines : — 

* Hail, holy Light ! Offspring of Heaven's first-bom ! 
Thee I revisit, and thy vital lamp, 
Escap'd the Stygian Pool, and realms of flight 
Are taught by thee a hue to re-ascend,' 

" The lines of the poet are not applicable to 
the writer's purpose ; let him look for others, as 
this invocation is spoilt, and I am surprised that 
Jortin is the offender. 

" And now let me congratulate you on hav* 
ing got your house so full of agreeable society. 
What a combination of female charms ! What 
a delightful clack of tongue — wheels never 
ceasing t moment-hand ticking of feminine con^ 



;SYLVANUS EEDIVIVUS. m 

gratulations ! "What delicate air-pumps continu- 
ally at work I It must be charming ! Click ! 
clack! What refreshing showers of giggles! 

Miss B meditates an account in Bentley's 

Magazine of a voyage up the Kiver Amazon 
to ascertain the aborigines of America, which she 
supposes to be originally Jews of the Tribe of 
Keuben or Red men. The}'-, being also a very 
maritime nation, doubled Cape Horn, having 
never seen land since they left Joppa, collected 
a great number of araucaria trees on the coast 
of Chili. Then settling in the country, they 
intermarried with the native women, whom 
they found, as Dr. Robertson wrote, exceedingly 
accomplished, and, in compliment to their wives, 
adopted their language, as the American ladies 
found it difficult to pronounce Hebrew because 
of the want of vowels. But gracious me! I 
shan't have time for the Magazine ! Well, good* 
bye. ^ Excuse this scrawl. — ^Ever yours, 

"J* MiTFORD.'* 

And now, in justice to my father's friend, and 
for the satisfaction of such of my readers as may 
have failed to appreciate the erratic character 
pf the above epistle, 1 think it expedient to 



uz SYLVANUS BEDIVIVUS. 

transcribe a very different 'description of'missiye» 
the BQrious nature of which will,; I hope, mak^ 
amendB for the flight iness which is observable in 
its predecessor : — 

. "JTeimafy 17, 1853. . 

"My DEAK Jesse, — Are you going to town 
BQon ? rU tell you why I ask. I have been writ- 
ing very good and necedsary notes and remarks 
on Lord John's edition of Moore's Memories^ such 
as must be printed when a iiev\^ edition eome^ 
put, as 'much that id obscure is elucidated and 
exjilained, and I have introduced 60me curiot&s 
matter from MSS, 

"I want you to get me ;^.2o for the notes, 
which are well worth it. Ask BeAtky. They 
would suit his periodical, but I should like a 
pamphlet better, as I mean ;to put in . [niimes:. 
If .hell give you the money, FU take a bill iait 
tbree months. : If he w6nt do this, ask Murray. . 

" The book is in grea.t want c$ notes, and part} 
I tvjll supply, Murray and Bentley know me 
enough to trust me when I say that the notes are 
iubstdntially' good. I am getting on very fast 
with them. You haveii't got an answer tdthfe 
eea teriM of Swift* : v : ' ' . 

, ; ":Eine> change of .wie^tUei:. Ne^tarin^s getting 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 113 

ripe. Melons in the open ground coming '^dn. 
Thermometer some degrees above freezing. In 
another month the trees will show leaves. Baltic 
opening, and rain instead of frost, and veal 
with kidneys coming in. The poor . people who 
were starved to death this winter all safely 
buried ; no need to talk about it. The women 
cry when they speak of their hungry children ; 
no one seems to mind them. Two said to me 
yesterday, 'Daresay the restaurateurs get on 
well. They don't feel the famiue at Very's or 
the Troi3 Fr&res— gate's dJanguilles as usual, and 
epigrammes dagneau aux asperges — excellent 1 
Cry on, my poor Benhall wives ! There's nothing 
for you in the Kue de Sainte Charity. Do as 
the Jilles des rues do when there's nothing to 
eat. They lie in bed.' 'But, sir, Tve sold 
my bed.' ' Oh, Lord ! Well, then, I've nothing 
more to say. Dear ! dear ! ' * Oh, yes, 'tis very 
dear indeed,' says another woman. ' Well, my 
good creature, Mr. H. Drummond says every- 
thing wall be set right.' * Well, sir, I hope it 
may, but ' — —Hark ! The Bishop is conaing, I 
hear his carriage and four ! 

"P.5.— Get me my money, for the MSS. is 
worth it 

H 



114 SYLVANUS EEDIVIVUa 

** P.S. — Since yesterday at noon tliere Las been 
nothing but snow. Where are you abiding 1 On 
Snow Hill or in Spring Gardens? for I don't 
know what climate you are having in the South 
of England. Ours in the east is such that I 
have built a pyramid of snow in the meadow, 
six feet high and eight feet at the base, and 
thatched it over with straw. I mean it to last 
till July. Come and see it. It is the wonder 
of the bumpkins. Next to that, I have to 
inform you that I live on teal and red-legged 
partridges (stewed), also gingerbread nuts and 
Southwold soles. By way of amusement, I go 
about the garden with Pratt, making him 
explain to me all the different footprints of 
animals in the snow. Do you know them ? A 
squirrel's and a small rabbit's footprint are 
much the same, a hare's quite different ; water- 
rat's very curious. We have no lynxes or 
hyenas in this part of Suffolk, so can't tell you 
about them just now. Ask Professor Owen, as 
I asked Pratt just now, which bird suffers most 
in this weather. He said the thrush (not the 
blackbirds). He has found many thrushes 
dead, but never recollects a blackbird. He and 
I have been talking, with the snow up to our 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 115 

knees, on the comparative paucity of wrens and 
robins. We have a dozen or two of robins 
about the house, but not a sign yet of a wren ; 
and yet the wren lays from two to ten eggs. 
What becomes of them ? Does she in winter 
go into the woods ? Do you know the differeut 
footprints of the stoat and weasel ? Because I 
do. You see what snow-lessons I am taking. I 
shall be a second Gilbert White* You'll find 
me as worth having (as Pirdis) some day or 
other; but you must wait. The parsons are 
getting up a petition to open the Crystal Palace 
on Sundays. What do you think on the sub- 
ject ? Will it be for good or otherwise ? Do sit 
down and write me a letter about this ; and pray 
tell Mr. Croker that in Boswell's ' Johnson/ vol. 
iii. p. 144, the words, *He did not care to 
speak ill of any man behind his back, but he 
believed the gentleman was an attorney,' seem 
very like Murphy's Guy's Inn Journal, No. 17, 
1752, *I overheard a sober-looking man say- 
ing to his friend, *' I am not fond of giving 
anybody an ill word, but I believe he is an 
attorney." 

" In Mr. Lennox's ' Female Quixote,' the last 
chapter, called the best in the whole book, was 



ii6 8YLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

written by Johnson, though I do not find that 
any of his commentators are aware of it. 

" I printed the whole chapter in the Gent.'s 
Mag. about two years ago, and Mr. Crossley of 
Manchester wrote to me that he had made the 
same remark, and noted it in his copy. — ^Yours 
ever, . J. Mitford. 

" P.iS. — I'd give many a little stiver 
To be walking with you ia the fields of Iver ; 
rd give some pence from out my poke 
To be strolling with you in the park at Stoke ; 
But I should like best of all to see 
The foolish virgins — one — two — three, 
For l*d sooner talk to those silly queens 
Than be bothered to death with rural Deans. 

" J. Mitford." 



CHAPTER X. 

** Nature, through all her works, in great degree 
Borrows a blessing from variety.'* — Churchill. 

In the year 1 83 1 an event which had the effect 
of causitig my father to seek another home, 
occurred in our family. My dear old kinswoman 
elected to end her days, as she phrased it, in the 
companionship at Leamingtpn of a frieiid of her 
9wn age, and who was, like herself, a spinster. 
As a matter of course, she took with her, to our 
great regret, the " Sir Joshua " * which had so 
long ornamented her sitting-room, and her place 
looked douhly empty in that it no longer con- 
tained the gem of art, wbi^h more than one 
distinguished man had mad^ a pilgrimage to 
gaze upon. The old red^brick house, also, which 

* The beautiful portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds of my great-annt, Mrs. 
Mordaunt, is now in Walton Hall, the seat of Sir Charles Mordaunt, 
whilst the companion pfcture, also by Sir Joshua, of my grandmother, 
Lady Morris, sister of Mrs. Mordaunt, was bought a few years ago by 
Mr. Beaumont, M.P., for the large sum of ;£^50;05o, and now adorns the 
walls of the wealthy purchaser's Northumberland home. 



ii8 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

we were about to quit, was endeared to me by 
many a pleasant memory of days gone by. Its 
spacious rooms — spacious, id est, as compared to 
those to which in our previous habitations I had 
been accustomed — were peopled by me with 
the " spirits of friends departed." Of the young 
and joyous ones who had brightened by their 
presence, their laughter, and their quips and 
cranks, those otherwise gloomy-seeming rooms, 
nothing of youth's spring-time of bloom remained. 
They had become men, those sliin and beautiful 
lads, the grandsons of the immortal Sheridan, 
whose wont it was — when I too was young — to 
make merry in the old rooms, and, clad in their 
boyish attire of short jackets and out-grown 
trousers, to amuse themselves by relating to my 
kind and too credulous parent, fictitious and 
thrilling anecdotes of dogs, on the veracity of 
which, they; until the eleventh hour had struck, 
continued to insist. 

The memory of those handsome, brilliant 
Sheridan lads was intimately connected with 
the many excursions which on fine summer 
evenings we, during those cheerful days at 
Hampton, occasionally took, both up-stream 
and down; now to Richmond, where we would 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 119 

sometimes land, and, to the infinite delight of 
Mr. Mitford, who was often one of our party, 
would enjoy a delicious hour in that paradise of 
trees and flowers, the Eoyal Gardens at Kew, 
Then came the row homewards, it might be 
by moonlight, and, with the glorious voices with 
which Nature had gifted our joyous young 
companions, singing in concert, some sweet and 
stirring love-ditty. But pleasant as were those 
domn-stieajR excursions, there floated around 
them an atmosphere of Cockneyism which all 
but neutralised their charm. From the pretty 
little aity fringed with its weeping willows, and 
vulgarised by its very name (that of Eel-pie 
Island), sounds suggestive of rude laughter and 
of ruder love-making greet the ear, and disen-^ 
cbant the scenes which Nature has made so fair ; 
and therefore it was that the prow of our slow, 
roomy boat was far more often turned towards 
the quieter and more rural waterways of the 
Upper Thames. Past Sunbury and Walton, with 
its pretty bridge, and on to Shepperton, sleepiest, 
in those days, of river- villages, till Maidenhead 
was reached, aud then, beneath the trees of 
exquisitely lovely Clifton, we " rambled a-field 
to brooks and bowers." 



ia<j SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

I remember especially one hot day in August, 
when our boat was moored under the hanging 
woods, and the boys had been singing our chief 
favourite amongst their duets, namely, "Fare- 
well I but whenever you welcome the hour." Tii e 
talk, between the intervals of ducks-and-drakes 
pastime, turned on the manners and mental 
capabilities of the canine race. It was among 
my father's crotchets, as his opponents termed 
his dogmas, that but for the selfishness and in- 
humanity of mankind tliere would be amongst 
four-footed animals, no such thing as a natural 
enmity. " A dog does not naturally hate a cat, 
or a cat a dog," said my father, as he leant back 
luxuriously on the stem cushions, and took from 
out an old-fashioned silver box a big pinch of 
(" Pontet's mixture " ) snufi*. 

*^ Oh, don't they, though ? " exclaimed Charlie, 
Nvho, having brought on board a good supply of 
flat round stones, had just hurled one of the 
most likely-looking of the number, skimming 
along the surface of the water. " Just you look 
at a kitten. Why, as soon as she can see, if a 
dog comes within a yard of her, up goes her tail, 
her eyes glare, and she outs with her claws, 
spitting and swearing like a mad creature/' 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 121 

" Ah I that is because her mother did it before 
her," rejoined my father. " I do not pretend to 
deny that there exists now a great amount of ill- 
feeling between the races* I spoke, however, of 
natural, not hereditary tendencies, wbicb, as 
well in four, as in two-footed creatures, it is 
diflScult to disprove. It has been for too many 
generations the evil habit of cruel, unmannerly 
boys to encourage cat-and-dog fights, for any- 
thing short of absolute hatred to be, as a rule, 
the sentiments of those hot-blooded creatures 
towards each other. Still, I could give you 
more than one instance to the contrarj''." 

" Exactly ! when they have been brought up 
from their birth together ; and so could I," put in 
one of the boys. But my father having an anec- 
dote illustrative of his opinion, ready to hand, 
" kept the floor," commencing as follows : * — 

" A friend of mine, old Everard (he is dead 
now, but his daughter would answer for the truth 
of my story), having had the irremediable mis- 

* I am indebted. for the chief part of the conversation here recorded 
to the rough and intermittently written notes to which I have before 
alluded. The Colonel Everard spoken of by my father was a fellow 
dog-lover and brother of the angle ; but during the short period that the 
intimate relations between the two continued, I was absent from home, 
and therefore was unacquainted with the owner of the terrier ** Bob," and 
with the eccentricities of that remarkable animal. ^ ' 



tit SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

fortune to lose a small Yorkshire terrier which 
he valued as the apple of his eye, was minded, 
although no dog could make up to him for the loss 
of ' Tim/ to huy himself anotber terrier. Well, be 
found one— ra sharp, knowing little fellow, well 
bred and handsome, but in character and dis* 
position as different from Tim as an eagle from 
a vulture. Tim had a noble nature, exclusively 
devoted to one person, but kindly to all, neither 
greedy nor selfish — a dog, in short, of a thousand. 
He learned his lessons and performed his daily 
duties, such as carrying in. his smaU mouth the 
letters to. the post, &c., without even a harsh 
word being said to him, or a promise of reward 
being held out. I attribute, as did also hig 
master, the beauty of Tim's disposition and be* 
haviour (for he was a thoroughly well-bred dog) 
as much to the fact that he had always been 
treated as a rational being, as to the circumstance 
that his i^lmediate ancestors had not been sub* 
jected to the painful and humiliating process of 
bullying. 

" It very soon became apparent that * Bob,' for 
such was the name borne by the successor of 
poor stolen Tim, was a dog who, although he was 
only ten months old, had already made intimate 



SrLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 125 

acquaintance with the ills to which canine flesh 
is heir. It was clear that he looked upon the 
entire human race as his enemies, for he was 
as ready with his teeth as a trained-for-fighting 
bull-terrier, and on the slightest imaginary pro- 
vocation would show in very suggestive fashion 
that he knew how to defend himself. That his 
education had been conducted on King Solomon's 
principles, and that with his former owner it 
had been * Spare the slick and spoil the dog,' 
was very certain ; and the poor little animal, feel- 
ing that every one's hand was against him, had 
grown savage and morose. When he had been 
three days in his new quarters, he began, how- 
ever, to slightly frateruise with the ibotman, 
a commencement of intimacy which, but for 
Master Bob's own cleverness, might have led to 
disastrous consequences. The first day," con* 
tinned my father, after he had refreshed his 
memory with another pinch of snuff, " that old 
John, who was rather deaf, took him out to walk, 
the dog was lost Great was the dismay of the 
delinquent, who, in the dusk of an autumn even* 
ing, had promenaded the little fellow in the 
Strand, and all too near to the Seven Dials — ^a 
neighbourhood with which * Bob ' must have beeci 



124 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

well acquainted. The man's first inquiry was 
at the dog-dep6t, where his late companion had 
passed his miserable puppyhood, either seated ou 
a chair, to which he was attached by a chain, or 
exposed to view in the window, where passers-by 
could admire, behind the iron bars of his cage, 
as perfect a living likeness of Landseer's * Im- 
pudence ' as could well be seen." 

^^ He was not such a fool, I should think, as to 
go back there 1 " broke in one of the party, who 
having gained possession of my father's fishing- 
book, was languidly engaged in futile efforts to 
obtain from some unwary chub or gudgeon the 
mild excitement which a "bite" is capable of 
affording. 

This flippant remark, implying, as it did, a 
doubt of the dog's sagacity, was treated with de- 
served contempt, and my father, like the Eastern 
princess of old, went on with his story. 

" When old John found that * Bob ' had not 
returned to his old haunts, he, in much pertur- 
bation of mind, endeavoured to console himself 
with the thought that the dog^s inherently pug- 
nacious temperament would preserve him from 
capture. * Why, Lord bless you, sir,' he, when 
the panic was over, said to me, *Bob is that 



SYLVAN us HEDIVIVUS. 125 

ready with Lis teeth, that I defy any one to lay a 
liand on liim. He hadn't been in our place six 
hours afore he took a 'olt of a big dustman by the 
trousers, and frightened him half out of his wits/ 
"The fact, however," continued my father, 
" that Bob * delighted to bark and bite ' was no 
guarantee against his having the misfortune to 
fall amongst thieves, and Everard, in common 
with his whole family, retired to rest with the 
painful conviction that they would nevfer see 
Bob's wicked little face again. In the dead of 
night, however, the occupier of the first-floor 
front bedroom was roused from her slumbers by 
piteous howls and entreaties for admission, sucb 
as a dog in distress alone can utter. No time 
was of course lost in giving admittance to the 
wanderer, who must have spent seven or eight 
hours in search of his new home. To the surprise 
of all who heard the story, he was found, not on 
the pavement, or the door-step, but inside the 
area, to which haven of safety he had found 
entrance through the hars^ between which he 
was enabled, being one of the smallest of his 
kind, to force himselt Now, when one considers 
that his new home was one of which he had next 
to no experience, that the street to which he 



126 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

returned was a comparatively insignificant one, 
and so situated that human wayfarers not un- 
frequently found it somewhat difficult to find, 
it is certainly surprising that little * Bob,' after 
his lengthened pilgrimage, should have recognised 
not only the street, but the very house (all those 
of which the said street was composed being 
as alike as so many peas), which during that ex- 
tremely short space of time he had inhabited. 
His sides, poor little fellow, were evidently sore, 
owino^ doubtless to the efforts he had made to 
force au entrance into a place of safety — one, 
namely, to which strangers in the shape of dog- 
stealers would not dare to follow/* 

" Well,"- said Mr. Mitford, who had returned 
from his saunter through the woods in time to 
appreciate the large demand upon his auditors* 
credulity which my father s anecdote had called 
forth, "I see nothing impossible in the story. 
Bob had, of course, thought the matter out, and 
had decided that it would be safer to howl forth 
his prayer for admission inside the area railings 
than on the pavement or the door-step, where 
his capture might have been easily effected. As 
for a dog's moral qualities, I quite agree with 
you/' turning as he spoke, to me, " that the worst 



SYLVANUS KEDIVIVUS. 127 

dog is born with better, nobler instincts than is 
the best man " 

**But/' asked Frank Sheridan, "how about 
the cat-and-dog platonics? From your account 
of * Bob,' he scarcely seems the kind of terrier that 
would be on speaking terms with any of the 
pussy cat race/' 

"I will tell you how it happened," said my 
father, who was too good-natured, and also too 
well accustomed to the Sheridans' boyish chaflf 
to take umbrage at the laughter with which 
they had greeted his account of * Bob's' intellectual 
gifts. *^ Colonel Everard's little terrier proved in 
every respect a dog of remarkable character. 
He gradually became more humanised ; but for a 
considerable time he would resent, by a refusal 
to eat, even an angry word ; and would growl 
savagely at any one who ojBFended him. He learnt 
almost instinctively the art of ^begging,' and 
would ^ sit up ' of his own accord for anything, 
let it be what it would, that he had set his mind 
upon. He never entirely lost the habit of taking 
npon himself the defence of both his person 
and property which he had acquired in St, Mar- 
tin's Lane, and he was always observed to be 
especially pugnq^cious when any one presumed 



128 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

to toiich the small basketwork kehuel in wLicK, 
when the weather was cold, he delighted to 
ensconce himself. Well, one day after he had 
gone for exercise into the small yard at the back 
of Everard's house, he was accompanied on his 
return by a large and very beautiful jet-black 
cat. She was well known as the property of the 
next-door neighbour, and was evidently a petted 
favourite, for she wore a collar with the owner's 
name and address, and a tiny silver bell adorned 
her neck. The cat was in the habit of airing 
herself on the party wall between the premises, 
and ^ Bob ' seeing her there, ^ she became his sun.' 
The feeling was evidently reciprocal, for *with 
love's light wings she did o'erperch the walls/ 
and, led by her adorer, made her entree into the 
kitchen. She was a very gentle cat, and it was 
pretty to see the two creatures, ' Bob ' with his 
paws round her neck, and she patting his face 
with the velvet glove, from out of which never 
a claw appeared, while nothing that she could 
do — no, not even the taking possession by her of 
his little kennel — had the effect of rousing him. 
to anger* The affection of the pair of friends 
was something wonderful ; less strong, however, 
on the cat's part than on ' Bob's ' ; for when, having 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 129 

grown too familiar with the household, it became 
necessary, for the sake of Mrs. Everard's pet 
canaries, to give her a hint, in the shape of a 
sprinkling of water, that her presence was not 
desired in the kitchen, she took dire offence, 
and. notwithstanding ' Bob's ' piteous appeals, his 
tender whines, and * begging' attitudes, she 
tacitly refused to leave the summit of the 'wall. 
For several weeks the despairing Jidus Achates 
watched, whimpered, and entreated. Puss's 
dignity had been too deeply wounded for any 
reconciliation to be possible. At last, and just 
when it was beginning to be feared that the sick- 
ness of hope deferred was telling upon * Bob's ' 
health, the object of his platonic attachment 
suddenly disappeared, and was seen in the neigh- 
bourhood of his home no more." 

On our return that evening, Mr. Mitford 
gave us a curious account of a small fox-terrier, 
which, either from native pugnacity, or from a 
sense of humour (but to the last idea our friend 
decidedly leant), was in the constant habit, when 
presented with a biscuit, a piece of sugar, or 
any valued gift, of dropping it on the floor, and 
then, with savage growls and much showing of 
sharp white teeth, standing over his property, and 



130 SYLVAN US REDIVIVUS* 

daring any one present to take it from him. Of 
course, he being a general favourite, the challenge 
was responded to, and the jest allowed to be 
successfuL " It was a case like that of the row- 
loving Irishman," continued Mr. Mitford, ''who 
trails his coat on the street, and then shouts to 
those about him to 'come on and trid upon 
that/ The fun of the thing was evidently as 
thoroughly enjoyed by the dog as the chance of 
a head-breaking shindy is duly appreciated by 
Paddy." 

Yes ! those days of which I have been call- 
ing back the memory might in truth be called 
'* halcyon." I was then in the " May-morn of 
my youth." The time for me had yet to come 
when — 

" Woe succeeded woe, as wave on wave ; '* 

and happily no " shadow before " gave warning 
of the '' coming events " which, for a time, dark- 
ened the horizon of my life. Enough, how- 
ever, for the present of the ego, which, but for 
its intimate association with my father's life, 
would have found no place in these pages. 
From the time when he fixed his home at 
Hampton Court, many events that were for him 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 131 

fraught with remarkable consequences, occurred, 
and we must therefore return to the subject 
with which this chapter opens, namQly, his de- 
parture from our old Hampton home to the 
more modern one on Hampton Court Green, 
which during a longer period than usual (for 
he had, I am bound to confess, a mild mania 
for change of residences) was destined to become 
his abiding-place. 



CHAPTER XL 

" I wonder you will magnify this madman ; 
You are old, and should understand." 

— Beaumont and Fletcher. 

From the French windows in the rear of my 
father's new abode, Bushey Park, with its grand 
old avenues, its well-cropped turf, and the deer 
that browsed thereon, formed a pleasant ^^ look- 
out" Nevertheless, the gardens and shrub- 
beries appertaining to the big Elizabethan 
villa we had quitted were greatly missed, 
especially by my mother, whose then failing 
health caused her to value the privacy which at 
" Kose Villa " she had been able to command. 
It was by means of a ladder-stile only that at 
Hampton, Bushey Park could be reached, but 
once within the portals of the royal property, 
a section of it was gained, which, owing to its 
comparative remoteness from the Palace, might 
almost lay claim to be called a "retired" spot 
The same praise could certainly not be given to 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 133 

that portion of the park which was visible from 
the drawing-room windows of our Hampton 
Court residence. Although the town of Hampton 
is only a mile distant from the Green, the very 
deer which browsed on their respective localities 
conveyed to us the impression that our new 
friends had been subjected to human, and there- 
fore to contaminating, influences. They were no 
longer the timid creatures, with the graceful, half- 
frightened movements which their kind usually 
evince when retreatino: from the near neighbour- 
hood of man, and which convey the idea that they 
are still " wild," and therefore fitting inhabitants 
for sylvan haunts ; for familiarity with the Cock- 
ney visitors who on Sundays and Mondays were 
wont to hold high revel under the chestnut avenue 
trees had emboldened, and, so to speak, vulgarised 
them. The said individuals, who, on " pleasure 
bent," desecrated by their disorderly behaviour 
the royal manors that once were kingly hunting- 
grounds, and who, as a rule, " brought their 
nose-bags " * with them, w^ere in the habit, after 
strewing, with remnants of greasy paper and 

* The Blang term by which the '^ baser sort" (as James L desig- 
nated those who are now spoken of as the *4ower orders") alluded to 
the baskets of provisions which the London visitors brought with them 
to ^an^pton Court. 



134 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

still greasier bones the spots on which they had 
elected to enjoy their al fresco repasts, to feed 
with bread, the deer, which they had contrived 
in some degree to tame. This proceeding on 
the part of the London sight-seers fully ac- 
counted for the boldness with which the pretty 
creatures looked through our open windows, 
and accepted what to them were evidently 
highly-appreciated dainties at our hands. So 
tame indeed were they, that on one occasion I 
foolishly placed a pair of my mother's spectacles 
across the forehead of a beautiful big-eyed deer, 
which protruded itself, apparently from motives 
of curiosity, across the low window-sill of the 
drawing-room. For a moment or two she 
seemed too much astonished to move away, 
but then, with the glasses still on her nose, off 
she bounded to the shelter of the tall bracken, 
where possibly some searchers after ancient relics 
may, a century or so later on, light upon the 
remains of my poor mother's broken spectacles, 
and idly speculate on the use to which in bygone 
times those queer-looking fragments of steel may 
have been put. 

Having touched upon the subject of the royal 
hunting-grounds, and upon the ** rascal deer," 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 135 

which we have the authority of history for say- 
ing that King James First " loved better than 
men, seeing that he was more tender over the 
life of a stag than of a man," I may as well make 
further allusion (inasmuch as they are connected 
with my father's official position) to the ani- 
mals in question. In addition to his salary, the 
Deputy Superintendent of His Majesty's parks 
and palaces was legally entitled to receive yearly 
half a buck (or doe, according to the season) 
from every one of the royal parks. The quality 
and flavour of the venison was pronounced by the 
many to whom joints of the official perquisites 
were by my fiither dispensed, to vary, greatly 
according to the respective parks in which 
the animals had grazed. By the frequent 
guests invited by my father to discuss the merits 
of the choicer portions of the deer, it was, I 
remember, decided that those fed in Hampton 
Court Park were the best, whilst those which, in 
the beginning and middle of the present century, 
beautified Hyde Park by their presence were, 
as venison, inferior, fat although they were, in 
taste and flavour, to the others. 

Amongst those guests, Mr. Mitford was often, 
as I need scarcely mention, one. The attacks of 



136 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

low spirits, consequent in part on weakened 
health, to which he was subject, had of late 
increased, and he gladly hailed the change of 
residence to Hampton Court on which my father 
had decided. The following short note is, I 
think, suggestive alike of dyspepsia, and of the 
longing for mental as well aa bodily variety 
which was a part of the writer's idiosyncrasy : — 

" My dear Jesse, — I wish NicoU * would get 
in type the Darwin article. I have now the 
book to correct it by, and shall not have it long, 
I also wish to add a note from Darwin on Dugald 
Stewart, 

*' The little poetical scraps from Fletcher I 
hope you will love like your own eyes. They 
are unknown by the vulgar. 

." You tantalise me about Bearwood, as I can't 
come up just now. And yet I like your house 
and home better than any others. It is quiet 
,and gentlemanlike, two things indispensable to 
my comfort. I wush I were with you, far from 
this, for I am diabolically hipped here ; and to 
improve my temper I lost a tuytle-dinner to-day 

* Printer and antiquary, who eventually succeeded Mr. Mitfprd as 
editor of the OenUeman's Magazine, 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 137 

because I bad no eveniug dress clothes. I send 
you a note, that you may judge of our SuflFolk 
Squires."*^ All my coojfort is tbinkiug of the 
agreeable sights I have had with you, and 
hoping for some more, for here everything is 
a black, monotonous, and miserable existence, 
without even a well-dressed lady to stimulate it 
to a momentary appearance of satisfaction. My 
curate also has departed, and my only comfort is 
in my garden, where I am to be seen in a robe 
de chambre looking at the gold-crested wrens. 
Farewell. Write soon. Write often to yours 
truly, J. MiTFORD," 

The extremely small amount of knowledge 
quoad the history of Hampton Court Palace 
which I, at the period of my abode in its 
immediate vicinity, possessed, has often (and 
especially since the appearance of Mr. Law's 
interesting and analytical History of the great 
Cardinal's magnificent abode) been to ma a 
subject of keen regret. My father's official 
position rendered, on his part, a certain amount 
of acquaintance with the previous history of one 

* The enclosure here spoken of has unfortunately not been pre- 
served. 



138 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

of the most important of the royal palaces 
absolutely necessary, but it was to Mr. Mitford's 
exhaustless fund of varied knowled2:e that we 
were chiefly indebted for the insight into its 
interesting Past that we were so fortunate as to 
possess. But for him, and for his love (although 
no sharer in the " sport ") of accompanying my 
father on his fishing expeditions to the Longford 
River, the latter would probably have remained 
in ignorance of the origin, if I may so call it, of 
that river, and of the fact that it was in the 
reign of Charles the First that a portion of the 
River Colne was diverted from its course, and 
carried across Hounslow Heath "for the better 
recommendation of the Palace, and the recrea- 
tion and disport of His Majesty." The channel 
thus artificially made, and which was eleven miles 
long, was called the "King's or Longford River," 
and the fountains in Hampton Court Palace 
and gardens owe their supply of water to the 
river, the origin of which our antiquarian friend 
was the first to make us acquainted with. 

It was doubtless to the great interest in all 
subjects connected with horticulture which was 
taken by Mr. Mitford, that his search after facts 
with which Hampton Court gardens had to do 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 139 

might be traced. It was from Lim I learned 
the mindfulness displayed by Charles the First 
to this embellishment of those gardens, and also 
that to the better taste of Charles the Second is 
due, not only their conversion to their present 
style and form, but the planting therein by the 
then head-gardener of the Palace grounds, of the 
famous yew-trees, beneath which Mr. Mitford so 
dearly loved to contemplate the infinite variety 
of Nature's works. For, as he on one of such 
occasions quoted to me — 

" Who can paint 
Like Nature 1 Can imagination boast, 
Amidst its gay creations, hues like hers ? 
Or can it mix them with that matchless skill, 
And lose them in each other, as appears 
In every bud that blows ? " 

My father was in the Commission of the Peace 
for the county of Middlesex ; and that being the 
case, it followed that his time during the belle 
saison — a short one in our unsatisfactory climate 
— was on every Monday and Tuesday of the week 
fully occupied. The reason why * * cases for hearing " 
were — especially on the first days of the week — 
numerous and urgent, was this. On those days, 
large numbers of omnibuses, crowded inside and 
out with London pleasure-seekers, were wont to 



I40 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

take Busliey Park, together with the neighbouring 
Palace and gardeus, almost literally by &torn]. 
The advent of these, it must be confessed, some- 
what " rowdy " visitors was the signal for keeping 
within the walls of the ** quality poor-house " (as 
Hampton Court Palace was irreverently termed), 
of the aristocratic dwellers therein. And for this 
fastidious display of exclusiveness there was 
certainly some excuse, for the profanum vulgus 
paid but scant respect either tp things or persons. 
Through what is called the ** Wilderness Gate," 
the joyous Cockneys, in their thousands, thronged. 
From the adjacent Maze,* wherein the cheery, 
giggling fair ones elected, with their attendant 
swains, to lose themselves, proceeded shouts and 
screams of the laughter which, when it is under 
no wholesome control, jars like a discordant 
note in music on the ear. Thence they sped 
into the Palace gardens, the multitude being 
meanwhile jealously watched by the saturnine 
head-gardener, Johnstone, and by the constables, 

* The chief popular attraction of Hampton Court is the Maze, which 
is near the Lion Gates in the Wilderness. Its walks are half fk mile 
long, though the space it covers is merely half an acre. The Maze is 
first mentioned in the reign of William III., and it was probably made 
at that time. Vide New Guide to Hampton Court Palace, by Ernest 
Law. The British Magazine for 1747 contains an account of it, and a 
moral poem on it. 



SYLVANUS KEDIVIVUa 141 

as well as under-gardeners, whose business it was 
to guard the safety of the shrubs and flowers. 
During the entire summer, and when the work 
oiher which my father had with infinite skill 
atid care presided was at its full flush and prime 
of beauty, those inroads of barbarian hordes 
continued, and during all that period, Johnstone's 
condition of mind, especially on the holiday-mak- 
ing days I write of, was something approaching 
to the infernal. He was a married man, having 
(unfortunately, as matters for the object of his 
choice turned out) espoused, in the days of his 
elderly bachelorhood, a cheerful, fresh-coloured 
little woman, who, having been during seven 
years in my mother's service as housemaid, was 
liked and appreciated by us all. Poor Martha 1 
She never could have loved the hard-featured, 
taciturn man, whose every thought and feeling 
was centred in his vocation, and whose only 
object in taking to his home a wife, was that 
of providing himself with a useful femTne de 
mSnctge ; but the poor foolish woman, elated — 
the case is no uncommon one — with her rise in 
the social scale, entered with a light heart upon 
her new duties," and had only too soon, ample 
reason to regret the step which she had taken 



142 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Instead of becoming, as she had hoped and 
expected, the mistress of a small household of her 
own — ^for Johnstone was a well-to-do man, and 
could well have afforded to give, his wife the com- 
fort, to say nothing of the pride, of a young maid- 
of-all-work — Martha found, to her mortification 
and disappointment, that she had only, by her 
marriage with the canny Scot, exchanged one 
state of servitude for another. She was, however, 
a sensible as well as a good-tempered woman; 
so she accepted without a murmur the, in that 
respect, non-fruition of her hopes ; but what 
the once cheerful, comely creature could not 
grow accustomed to was the companionship, if 
such it could be called, of the cold, unsympathetic 
man to whom she had linked her fate. Under 
that infliction her ruddy, cheerful face grew pale 
and worn, and although her thirtieth year had 
not long been passed, she might have been taken 
for a woman of fifty. We were all, including Mr. 
Mitford, very sorry for her, and could well under- 
stand a reply made by her aged mother to our 
friend's inquiries regarding her daughter's changed 
appearance and melancholy expression of face. 

"Well, sir," the good old creature said," John- 
stone ain't a drinking man, no, nor he ain't a 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 143 

wife-beater, nor one of them swearing, passionate 
fellows, but he makes her a tedious husband^ 
so he does — just a tedious husband," she added 
with a sigh ; and Mr, Mitford, fully entering into 
the appropriateness of the description, often after* 
wards repeated the epithet as one that was 
singularly, as well as neatly suggestive of what in 
married life is not a wholly unprecedented fact. 
Something worse, however, if possible, than 
tedious was Johnstone on the days when his 
treasured gardens were being desecrated by the 
excursionists; and I verily believe that if the 
rifler of even a single flower had been sentenced 
by my father to three months' imprisonment 
and a severe flogging, Johnstone would have 
considered the punishment scarcely adequate to 
the enormity of the offence committed. There 
existed, however (a circumstance of which 
Johnstone was happily ignorant) a still more 
dangerous intruder into those sacred precincts 
than was even the liveliest of the Cockney plea- 
sure-seekers, who, to borrow a phrase which I 
overheard from the lips of a *' Toy" Inn hanger-on, 
brought his " nose-bag " with his sweetheart to the 
Palace gardens, and lost himself with that presum- 
ably nothing loth demoiselle^ in the bewildering 



144 SYLVANUS REDIVI\TrS. 

windings of the Maze. The daring depredator 
of whom I speak was one who certainly should 
have been amongst the last to take undue liber- 
ties with the property of " his Liege Lord the 
King/' for the oflFender was none other than a 
gay young officer of Hussars, a troop of whose 
regiment was quartered at Hampton Court, 
and who should have deemed it his duty 
to protect, rather than tamper with the pro- 
perty of the Crown. This young soldier, how- 
ever, entertained apparently somewhat con- 
fused notions of the rights of meum and tuum, 
added to which failing, the maiden whose 
youthful coquetries had fired him with the 
spirit of adventure which is inherent in every 
youthful breast, happened to have an especial 
weakness for clove carnations. The result of 
this combination of circumstances was unfor- 
tunate, for nightly raids were made upon the 
flower-beds from which the odorous blossoms 
sent forth their welcome fragrance, and it was 
in vain that Johnstone and his myrmidons kept 
nightly watch and ward over the spot on which 
the now rapidly diminishing cloves had whilom 
dazzled with their crimsom glorias the eyes of 
the passers-by ; for no trace of the marauder 



gJTLVANUS REDIVIVUa 145 

could tliey discover. But en revanche, I, tb6 
foolish maiden who bad owned to a predilection 
for clove carnations, had my own suspicions 
regarding the identity of the delinquent. By 
whom, I asked myself, save and except the boy- 
officer who so frequently brought with him for 
my acceptance, blossoms galore of my favourite 
flower, could those daring thefts be perpetrated ? 
It was true that be declared to me (remember, 
kindly reader, that I was the seventeen-years 
old spoilt child of a tender-hearted father) that 
the carnations which he tendered for my accept- 
ance were plucked from the garden of* his aunt, 
whose homes was in Sunbury village, some three 
miles' distance from Hampton. I could not 
bring myself to quite believe tbe beardless young 
goldier's word. And yet, how almost impossible 
it seemed that he, that slip of a lad, could scale 
those lofty walls, and overcome all the many 
diffiqulties which lay in the way of his ultimate 
success ! He was acting very wrongly, and the 
more so as he was one of iny unsuspicious 
parent's most frequent dinner-guests. But I, 
girl-like, found something akin to chivalry in the 
3'oung fellow's proceedings, and many a day 
^lapsed before I could summon sufficient courage 



146 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

to warn Lim that if he did not tell the whole 
truth to my father, I must myself betray him 
as the culprit whose detection had been for a 
lengthened period vainly sought for. 

Poor young fellow ! He was only nineteen, 
and looked younger still. At the age of seven- 
teen I felt ten years older than the lad M^ho, 
after the lapse of more than half a century, I 
can see before me now, looking, as he leant 
against the gnarled trunk of an old walnut tree, 
both indignant and ashamed. 

" You ! " he exclaimed, ** Impossible I Why, 
it was for you I got the confounded — I beg your 
pardon — flowers, and now, by Jove ! you talk of 
turning upon a fellow as coolly as if he were a 
cockchafer on a pin." 

He was terribly in earnest — so terribly indeed, 
that the facile laughter of seventeen was checked, 
and that I could and did very seriously reproach 
him for the sin of which he had been guilty. In 
what manner, and by what arguments I suc- 
ceeded in inducing the delinquent to do penance 
for his past transgressions, I cannot, after so 
long a lapse of time, remember. One fact, how- 
ever, I must be allowed, in justice to myself, 
to record, — the fact, namely, that I could not 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. Uy 

accuse mj'self of the slightest complicity with 
the lad in his acts of daring folly. He was at 
the age and of the temperament when the imagi- 
nation is so fired by ' deeds of dering do/ that 
the desire to excel his fellows by silly perform- 
ances such as that by which this young Hussar 
had distinguished himself, are not uncommon. 
The spice of danger which the boy incurred 
threw also a^ glamour as of chivalry that was not 
without its charm, over the affair ; and then there 
was the fun of the thing — the delight of out- 
witting old Johnstone, and the intoxication — . 
delicious whilst it lasted — of success ! Well, 
there must have been good in the lad at bottom, 
for after some little delay, and the gruesome 
declaration on his part that he would rather put 
a pistol to his head than perform the task which 
I had imposed upon him, he knocked, with an 
evidently hesitating hand, at the door of my 
father's study. 

Poor young culprit ! I confess that, badly as 
he had behaved, I felt sorry for him then. As 
an officer and a gentleman, the huiniliation 
which I had called upon him to undergo must 
have been terribly great, and for his sake I more 
than half regretted the step which a sense of 



148 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

duty had caused me to take. Later on, however, 
and after listening to my father's account of the 
interview, the compassion with which the culprit 
had ilispired me was transferred from him to the 
recipient of his confession. The young soldier, 
who from his good looks and lightness of heart 
had been an especial favourite with my father, 
Imd told his tale after a fashion which caused 
the listener thereto to say, with genuine depth of 
feeling, that rather than it should have happened 
he would have paid fifty pounds from his own 
not too Well-filled purse. The difficulty also of 
reconciling his. duty as a magistrate with his 
pity for the oflfender weighed Tieavily upon his 
conscience. The offence of the educated gentler- 
man greatly exceeded, in his estimation, that of 
the ignorant Cockney, who, emancipated for a 
day from, the smoke and thraldom of the cit)^ 
had found the temptation of appropriating a 
single flower from the rich and varied store 
before him, too mightj to be resisted. But the 
penalty for Such a deed,i.^., fi,ve shillings per 
flower, was a heavy one, and my father well 
knew that if the delinquencies of the impecunious 
cornet were to be visited in like manner .'on his 
guilty head, the payn^eut of .the fine, would be a 



S7LVAN(JS Ri: 3iV£VJ3. 149 

trying demand upon the youHg soldier's resource?. 
Tbe ** boys/' as my father called them, who ate his 
dinners, and were ever^ welcome to the best he 
had to 'give, had one and all of them a kindly 
feeling for the grey-haired tnan who judged their 
juvenile escapades so leniently, and who, when 
at the whist-table they even went the length of 
trumping his (their partner's) best card, never 
lost his temper, or rewarded their carelessness 
by an oath. The respect in which they held the 
** beak," on whoae good nature and guilelessness 

of heart young Arthur N had successfully 

traded, had invited confidence, and the kindly 
magistrate had not now to learn that the boy- 
soldier was deeply, and almost hopelessly in debt. 
It is — so the saying goes — " the last feather that 
breaks the camel's back," and my father could 
not bring himself to impose the fine of even five 
pounds upon the foolish young spendthrift, each 
one of whose fragrant bouquets must have con- 
tained a dozen at least, of the much-prized 
flower ; so the interview ended, as I afterwards 
learned, by a few words of kindly advice from my 
father, and by the imposition on the culprit of 
a forty-shillings fiiie. Nor was this all. The 
lad's secret was well kept, and from my father's 



I5Q SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 

purse the remainder of the forfeit-money found 
its way, as did all the fines which on the London 
pleasure-seekers were imposed, to the dwellings 
of the poor. 

Truly, the *' one human heart," which Words-* 
worth tells us that we all possess, beat strongly 
in the breast of the good man to whom that 
foolish young soldier found courage to confess 
his fault ; and if it be true that " best men are 
moulded out of faults," the penitent, of whose 
future career I am in ignorance, may eventually 
have become the better, forasmuch as he had 
been " a little bad." 

I cannot close this chapter — the last in which 
I record the events of my not unhappy girlhood 
— without mention of some more of the friends 
and acquaintances who assisted in rendering that 
girlhood a still brighter time. Amongst these 
was one ^* Sophy Armstrong," who, together with 
her father, Colonel Armstrong, were frequent 
guests at my father's house. The latter, who had 
fonnerly been A.D.C. to H.K.H. the Duke of 
York, w^s at that time an elderly man, and the 
father of two cLildren — the girl Sophy, with 
whom I became very intimate, and a popular son, 
George Armstrong, a clerk in the Colonial OflSce, 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 15 1 

whose health was delicate, and who died of con* 
sumption not long after our acquaintance with 
the family had been formed. The mother of 
these children was generally supposed to be dead, 
and it was only by a curious concatenation of 
circumstances that I discovered her some years 
after, living, a married woman, under another 
name, in a retired village in Wales, She 
became my friend, and when I had heard her 
story, I told myself that a sadder revelation never 
fell from human lips. 

Colonel Armstrong was one of those agreeable 
profligates who, in society, can be the most 
charming of their sex, but who in domestic life 
are simply hrutes. The friend and favourite of 
the royal family, he had passed his life amongst 
the wits and kindred spirits of the day, and his 
flow of lively anecdote was inexhaustible. In 
private, however, he proved himself a cruel 
tyrant, and the hapless mother of his children at 
length found her burden too heavy to be borne. 

Another of the friends to whom we were 
indebted for many pleasant hours, was Baron 
Knesebeck, the equerry of the Duke of Cam- 
bridge, My acquaintance with the courtly 
Hanoverian soldier commenced after this wise. 



153 SYLVANUS KEDIVIVIIS. 

It chanced on one occasion^ when I Lad ridden 
with my father to Kew Green, that he, having 
business as well as gossip to transact with H.R.H., 
left me at the entrance to Cambridge House 
with the charge of his horse as well as my own 
upon my hands. Now this was a proceeding to 
which I had a strong objection. I could manage 
my own horse, but in the heat of summer, when 
flies innumerable are holding high revel over 
the nose and sides of a thin-skinned, well-bred 
chestnut, the chances of his breaking aw«y are 
too many to be overlooked. Already was Ali 
Pasha, after half-an-hour's patient endurance of 
the ills that horse-flesh is heir to, showing signs 
of insubordination, when the Baron, seeing my 
dilemma, came kindly to the rescue. Taking 
the reins of power into his own hands, he led us, 
nothing loth, to the shade which a few trees 
afibrded, and from that moment the Duke's 
equerry and I were friends. 

Another short but characteristic anecdote of 
the pleasant branch of the royal family of which 
I am writing may as well be quoted here. It 
took place several years later, and a few weeks 
previous to my second marriage. I was riding 
on Wimbledon Common the second charger of 



• SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 153 

my betrothed, an oflScer in the loth Hussars, 
when the old Duke, with whom curiosity was an 
especial failing, joined, on his stout bay, our 
riding-party. My engagement had not at that 
time been announced, and I therefore parried 
as best I could the Duke's questions as to the 
horse and its owner. At last, however, the 
climax came, for, with a wink of tlie eye that 
was more suggestive than regal. His Eoyal 
Highness put the following leading question as 
we sauntered on, " Sweetheart, hey ? " There 
was no resisting this point-blank query, and the 
soft impeachment had to be owned at last. 



CHAPTER XII. 

** Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues : 
Let every eye negotiate for itself, 
And trust no agent." — Shakespeare. 

I NOW come to a period of my father*s life in 
which I, strange as the fact may appear, saw 
cause to modify the remark concerning my rela- 
tions with him which at the close of a previous 
chapter I gave utterance to. The cause of that 
modification was far from being an uncommon 
one, it having for its origin certain conflicting 
views regarding an offer of marriage, which at 
the early age of seventeen, I received. 

My father was, during several years, in the 
habit of passing, with his belongings, a portion of 
every winter at Brighton. To this temporary 
migration I, as the season for it came round, 
looked forward with intense anticipations of 
delight. We always occupied a house in the 
King's Road, and the mere pleasure of seeing 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 15 J 

the crowd of carriages and equestrians, as they 
rode and drove in the bright sunshine before 
the windows, was one which by repetition was 
never for me bereft of its exciting charm. Little 
did I think, however, that on the last occasion 
when my father and his belongings visited 
Brighton, that the first great event in my life 
was soon after our arrival, to take place there. 
That event was no other than my fiirst ball, to 
which I, together with my sister, were in the 
following fashion, bidden. 

I was riding at a foot-pace, for the crowd was 
considerable, along the West Cliff, when my 
father was unceremoniously hailed by Lord Errol, 
who, on our coming to a halt, said, "I have 
orders from the King, Jesse, to say that you are 
to bring your daughters to the Pavilion Ball to-* 
morrow night." " But," remonstrated my father, 
" they are too young. This one" (meaning me) 

" is not out, and " But he was allowed to say 

no more, for Lord Errol, after reminding him 
with a laugh that the invitation was a command, 
hurried away, leaving us to discuss the wonder- 
ful event which had taken place. As a matter 
of course we went, and when the rather dreaded 
presentation to gracious, kindly Queen Adelaide 



IS6 SYLVANUS REDIVIYUa 

was over, I thoroughly enjoyed, in what appeared 
to me a scene in fairyland, " my first ball." 

Brighton was not only a gay but a suhahiuy 
town in those days, for the rage for building 
bad not extended northwards, and consequently, 
when the wind hailed from inland, the demon of 
smoke did not, as is the case at present, spread 
its baleful wings over the South Parades, 

At the period of which I write, the meets 
of a capital pack of fox-hounds were frequently 
within a reasonable distance of the town, and 
great was my delight when, owing to a proximity 
which — by the impecunious non-possessors of a 
second horse, was of course felt to be a boon — my 
father and myself were enabled to ride to covert, 
and see something of the anticipated sport. I 
was well mounted, for my father, thanks perhaps 
to his Yoikshire birth and raising, was a good 
judge of a horse, and the short-jointed, half-bred 
old hunter which I rode, was admirably suited 
for the Down country. His shoulder, lying well 
back, was perfection, and he was more than 
equal, as a woman's horse should be, to my 
weight. As much could not be said for my 
father's monture. He was a magnificently made 
dark chestnut,. and had been a right good horse 



8YLVANUS EEDIVIVUS. 157 

in his day, but that day was nearly over now, 
or he would not have been in the hands of an 
owner who could not aflford to give long prices 
for his nags. The necessity which existed for 
sparing tke legs of his old favourite led in the 
sequel to certain wholly unlooked-for results. 
In the first place, I unfortunately very soon 
lost sight (amongst the ups and downs of the 
rolling country) of my father; for my horse 
being young and fresh, was ready to follow 
wherever lioiirids were leading, the consequence 
of which not unfrequently was, the return of 
myself and steed, minus my legitimate chaperon, 
to the paternal roof. 

Under these inclegible circumstances, it is 
scarcely surprising that I should have met^ on 
my homeward way, more than one substitute for 
tbe protector who had so evidently missed his^ and 
also tbat one of those substitutes, the youngest 
and the best-favoiired, proved eventually the 
cause of almost the first difference of opinion 
which with my fatter I ever had the misfortune 
to experience. " [ '. : 

Well aware was I, whilst listening to my- first 
offer of marriage, that the threatened loss of niy 
companionship would cause mj? tind^ parent to 



IS 8 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

view with distaste any proposal for my hand 
which might be made for me ; and under these 
circumstances it was only natural that he should 
seize upon any reasonable excuse for the veto 
which from the first I had anticipated. And 
yet, beyond the fact that my pretendant could 
boast of but little of this worlds goods, there 
existed nothing concerning him to which excep- 
tion could be taken. He had lately left Cam- 
bridge, and having chosen the Church as a pro- 
fession, had been oflFered, as a title for orders, 
a curacy by the incumbent of one of the largest 
parishes in Sussex. With the exception of his 
adopted calling, which I, like. the wicked, foolish ^ 
pleasure-loving girl that I was, objected to, I saw 
in Lionel Fraser every good and perfect gift by 
which the love of a young girl could be gained. 
He was young and handsome, well-bom, and 
oh ! so much too good to be the husband of a 
frivolous child like me ; for although he was full 
of energy and life, and rode as forward to hounds 
as any member of Mr. Craven's Hunt, his heart — 
at least as much of it as could be spared from 
me— ^and the mental powers with which he was 
plenteously endowed, were centred in the per^ 
formance of the duties of his calling. 



SYLVAN us REDIVlVUa 159 

My betrothed, for such, disregarding my 
father's opposition, I considered the man I had 
learned to love to be, was the youngest son of 
a member of the diplomatic corps, who having 
married en second noces the daughter of Mrs. 
Dorset, authoress of the " Peacock at Home," 
and sister of Charlotte Smith, the novelist,^ was 
one day found dead on the beach at Hove* In 
the churchyard of that parish there is a monu- 
ment to his memory, ou which it is recorded that 
at the time of his death he was *^ Her Britannic 
Majesty's Plenipotentiary to the Courts of Lower 
Saxony." Unfortunately, the circumstances at- 
tendant on his decease aSbrded my father a 
fresh, and, in his opinion, a still more cogent 
excuse than he had possessed before, for his 
refusal to ratify my engagement. He had 
always both felt, and openly expressed his uncon- 
querable objection to marriages with members 
of a family in the veins of which the fell taint 

* The sisters were co- heiresses, the beautiful property known as 
Bigner Park in Sussex being theirs. Charlotte Smith's share, however, 
was soon made away by an unprincipled husband, and she was reduced 
to the necessity of trusting to her pen for a livelihood for herself and 
family. The late General Sir Lionel Smith was her eldest son, and 
after her death a memorial stone relating to her was inserted in the 
wall of the house, which in the town of Storrington, Mrs. Charlotte 
Smith had for many years resided. 



i6o SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

of insanity was ieven suspected to lurk ; and see- 
inor that the cause of Mr. Eraser's death remained 
a mystery, the possibility of its being due to 
suicide was an argument against my marriage 
that was too important not to be made use of; 
The shadowy nature of this suspicion would, 
however, I think have beea of less importance 
in my father's eyes, had not some singular 
revelations regarding the Fraser family, which 
about that period came to his ears, strengthened 
his belief in the hypothesis tbat it was neither 
by accident, nor an attack of illness that Mrs. 
Dorset's son-in-law had met his end. 

It had frequently been a subject of some little 
surprise that, although the crest and arms of 
those whom I may call the Sussex Frasers were 
similar to .those of the Saltpun family, the' 
name of the former branch was nowhere made 
mention of in the Peerage. This anomaly was 
after a while, in the following manner, accounted 
for. In the reign of George the Second, a young 
mail bearing the name of Fraser is mentioned 
in contemporaneous histories as having risen 
rapidly in political and public life, till at an 
unprecedented early age he became an Under- 
Secretary of State, for what department, however,^ 



SYLVANUS REDIVIYUS, i6i 

1 am ignorant. Whether or not the signal 
favour with which this young man was treated 
by the sovereign excited at the time the curio- 
sity of King George's subjects, cannot now be 
known, but after a while, the fact leaked out 
that it was his own son by a lady of the noble 
house of Fraser that His Majesty had delighted 
to honour, and to whom he had given legal 
permission to bear, in common with his de- 
scendants, the arms, crest, and motto of the 
Saltoun family. The grandsons of the second 
Guelphic sovereign were the father of my 
future husband. General Fraser, who was killed 
at the siege of Deeg in India, and Admiral 
Percy Fraser. There was also a grand-daughter, 
who by a second marriage, became Lady Doyle, 
and the stepmother of Sir Hastings, and of the 
diplomat Percy Doyle. The discovery of this 
direct kinship with the line of Guelph ren- 
dered my father more than ever adverse to an 
union which clashed against one of his strongest 
and most deeply-rooted prejudices : his kindly 
nature, however, induced him at length to give 
a reluctant consent to a marriage which the pos- 
session by me of a few independent hundreds — 
the legacy of a godmother— rendered financially 



.162 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

realisable. Before those few hundreds would be 
exhausted, it was our sanguine hope that some 
judicious possessor of Church preferment would 
reward my husband for the zealous discharge of 
his duties,' for which he had already, at the age 
of twenty-five, rendered himself known. We 
were married in June, and before the winter set 
in, I had begun to take an interest in parish 
work, and was in truth as happy as youth and 
health (together with the absence of all antici- 
pations of evil) could cause a wife of my age 
and temperament to be. The pride that I took 
in my husband's talents was only equalled by 
that which I felt in his untiring efforts to 
convert ** sinners from the error of their ways." 
The quiet life, so different from what had been 
my ideal of a bright existence, was, therefore, 
until the Spring came round again, I repeat, a 
very happy one ; but alas ! with that Spring, 
a cloud, that was at first no bigger than a 
man's hand, made its appearance in the horizon 
of my sky. : I began to perceive, slight as were 
at first the signs I noticed, a change in my 
husband's moods, and a certain restlessness that 
was foreign to his character. His temper also 
became variable, and although his love for me 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 163 

remained unlessened, the tender gentleness by 
which it had once been characterised had under- 
gone what to me was an alarming change. 

I was at that time looking forward to becom- 
ing, in a few months, a mother, a fact which 
may perhaps account for the unreasoning dread 
with which these changes filled my mind. Was 
my father, I asked myself, about to be justified 
in his objections to the marriage, and was it my 
lot to undergo the most awful of punishments 
for the sin of undutifulness of which I had been 
guilty ? Could it be that the brain that was so 
swift to engender ideas, which, whether grave 
or gay, were always, to my thinking, worthy of 
being listened to, was about to be visited by the 
direst calamity to which God could subject His 
creatures? By terrors such as these my mind 
was so perpetually haunted, that at length, 
unable to endure my mental sufferings alone, I 
wrote confidentially to my kind friend, Mrs. 
Charlotte Mordaunt, J^hat I was miserable ! She, 
who had always admired and appreciated my 
husband, responded to my appeal at once. 
Almost as soon as post-horses could bring her, 
she arrived at the pretty Shropshire Vicarage, 
which was then, with an improved income, our 



i64 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

home, and during the fortnight of my dear rela* 
tion's stay, I perceived little cause for uneasi- 
ness. . The object of my solicitude was absent 
throughout the greater portion of each day in 
parish work, and more especially in the engross- 
ing eflfort to awaken to a sense of his soul's 
danger a certain sick and old, and apparently 
hardened sinner, whose cottage was situated at 
the farthest extremity of the village, and who 
for a long time, had resisted every eflfort on my 
husband's part, to make him see the danger of 
dying while upon his head lay the burden of 
unrepented-of sins. From day to day it was 
my husband's wont to tell me how his work was 
speeding, and at last, on one never to be for- 
gotten evening in late October, he returned with 
the joyful intelligence that " Kempshall," whose 
end had been, for several days, hourly expected, 
had expended his latest breath in fervent prayers 
for pardon to the God whom he had oflfended. 

"I wonder," added my dear one solemnly, 
"whether old Kempshall and I will meet each 
other in heaven ; " and then, with his accustomed 
bright manner, he proceeded to amuse his guest 
with spirited sketches (for he was a clever 
draughtsman) of some of the figures, male as well 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 165 

as female, whom he had met with in his rounds. 
Feeling somewhat tired, I retired early to rest, 
and was too drowsy to make any response to the 
loving words, "God bless my boy," which were 
whispered over my pillow. Ah 1 how little did 
I then anticipate the bolt which from the blue 
of my sky (for my former fears were lulled to 
rest) was about to fall upon me 1 In the early 
morning I was awakened by a short yet agonised 
cry, one which, even before I could call for help, 
was followed by a heavy stertorous breathing — a 
sound which, once heard, it is difficult to forget. 
He never spoke again, and had it not been for 
my unborn infant's sake, I believe that in the 
agony of my grief I should have died. They 
took me back to my father's house, and there, 
three months later, the " boy," who had already 
received his father s blessing, was born. 

And now, having perhaps at too great length 
recorded the melancholy story of my early 
widowhood, I will revert to the share in this 
affliction which my dear father, with a patience 
worthy of his generous nature, bore in my great 
grief. Indeed, but for that share, and for 
my earnest wish to record a striking proof of 
Christian-like forgiveness of ingratitude and of 



i66 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

wrong, I should feel that many, as well as hum- 
ble apologies, were necessary for the intrusion 
of my private sorrows into these simple annals 
of a good man's life. Most unworthy did I at 
that tinde show myself of the parent of whose 
too partial affection I had always received such 
abundant proofs ; for remembering only the ob- 
jections of my father to the marriage which had 
terminated in such terrible suddenness, I con- 
ceived a morbid prejudice, which amounted even 
to a dread, of seeing his face again, I enter- 
tained at first a perfectly unwarrantable fear 
that he would rejoice in that his anticipations 
of disaster had been justified by results, and the 
first gleam of consolation which in my affliction 
was vouchsafed to me, resulted from the ascer- 
tained cause of my dear husband's death. It 
was know.n that a few months before he left 
Cambridge, when a bevy of reckless spirits were 
holding, after a wine-party, high revel in the 
hall of their college, the tallest and strongest of 
those wild youths threw, for very wantonness, 
and in his pride of strength, the most popular 
of the undergraduates over his shoulder on to 
the stone pavement of the hall. He fell upon 
his head, and was taken up, as was imagined — 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 167 

dead ! He recovered, however, and was to all 
appearance the same " good fellow," than whom 
none could sing a better song, whether its theme 
were the joys of hunting, or the torments of the 
tender passion. . 

But although to outward appearance no harm 
had resulted from tjie fall, a fatal injury had 
been inflicted. A hidden evil had been slowly 
but surely working, and at last the rupture of 
a tiny vessel in the brain did its deadly work 
For my boy's sake it was a relief to hear that 
the injury was amply sufficient to account for 
the symptoms which, previous to my cousin's 
visit, had so much alarmed me. All fear 
of hereditary insanity being now removed, I, 
although feeling thankful that my father's fears 
had not been realised, I for a time closed my 
heart more firmly than ever against him, for he 
had, I told myself, been unjust to the dear one 
I had lost, and to see and speak to him was more 
than I could bear. 

And how good he was, and how patiently he 
endeavoured to obey the fiat of the doctors, who 
were of opinion that, in the then condition of 
my nerves, a meeting with him might produce 
disastrous consequences, were truths which until 



i68 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

some months after the birth of my child had 
elapsed, I never knew. In a small house such as 
ours, it must have been a work of difficulty to 
avoid a meeting which I so foolishly and ungrate- 
fully dreaded, and it was only, as I was after- 
wards told, by untiring efforts on my father's 
part that the doctor's orders were carried out. 
And during all that weary time he was yearning, 
as I could well believe, not only to be near me, 
but to endeavour by prayer and gentle reason- 
ings to bring me to a more submissive frame 
of mind than the one, in which he could not 
but fear I was indulging. His own belief in the 
existence of a beneficent and superintending 
Providence was unbounded, and I own with 
shame the truth that one reason why the thought 
of meeting my father was to me painfully re- 
pugnant, had its rise in my conviction that the 
stereotyped Scripture phrases which counsel un- 
questioning submission to the Divine will and 
pleasure would, by one who had never experi- 
enced the agony of bereavement, be brought 
to bear upon my rebellious spirit. In truth,' I 
was in no mood to see the hand of Divine Love 
in the blow which had been dealt to me. My 
dear father, however, was, I am happy to say. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 169 

spared the knowledge that I did not inherit his 
immutable faith in the dogma that a merciful 
God is the directing agent of every awful 
calamity which befalls His creatures. Fortu- 
nately, when, after many months of the strictest 
seclusion, I awoke to the fact that I was making 
a cruelly ungrateful return for the untiring 
tenderness which from childhood upwards had 
been my portion, the time had gone by when 
the religious consolation which from my father's 
lips I shrank from, would be in season. I was 
safe too, thanks to his singularly forgiving nature, 
from any reproaches on his part for the selfish 
indulgence in sorrow of which I had been guilty. 
He was too thankful for the doubtful good of 
having me again for his companion, and the 
sharer by degrees, in his walks and rides, for 
the memory of the long months of gloom which, 
like a darksome pall, my presence therein had 
thrown over his home, to be remembered by 
my dear kind father in the days that were to 
come. Very often has the thought crossed my 
mind how well it was for him that the Book of 
the Future is hidden from human ken ! Had 
some " good angel oped " its pages for his inspec- 
tion, he would, methinks, instead of rejoicing over 



1 



i7o: SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa ; 



the prospect of my return to worldly interests 

and pleasures, have felt his heart sink within 

him at sight of the ills which, one by one, I / 

should, in the course of my earthly pUgrimage, 

be called upon to endure. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

" And every mother loves, yoa know, 
To make a pigeon of her crow." — Gat. 

It is, I imagine, seldom that " infants in arms " 
are objects of attraction, even to their nearest 
male relatives. Even a grandfather, tottering 
on the verge of second childhood, will be found 
ready to inform his friends that he never cares 
to notice children until they are old enough 
to be amusing. This general prejudice against 
babyhood in its earliest stages, my father was 
very far, in the case of my little son, from shar- 
ing. From his very birth he, metaphorically 
speaking, fell down and worshipped the father- 
less child, which, in its white robes and mourning 
ribands, was brought to him to bless ; and later 
on, when the little one had reached the mature 
age of eight months, it was with exceeding pride 
that he related an anecdote concerning his small 



172 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 

grandson, in which, singular as it may appear, 
the poet Wordsworth bore a part. 

It had reached my parent's ears that during 
his last long vacation, my husband had spent 
some weeks in the neighbourhood of Windermere, 
and that whilst there, he and the poet had grown 
very near to becoming — 

" A pair of friends, though one was young, 
And th* other seventy- two." 

Many were the hours which the passionate 
admirer of the Laureate's poetry, spent, either 
in taking long walks with the author of the 
" Excursion," or in lounging with him on the 
brae-side, and listening with rapt attention to 
the recital of such passages as the poet deemed 
the worthiest — where all was beautiful — to be 
listened to. Now, whether it was the genuine 
admiration of the undergraduate for the beauties 
of thought and of versification, of which he 
himself was so ready to estimate the value, or 
whether the aged poet was capable of appre- 
ciatiDg at their just worth the character and 
endowments of his new friend, cannot now be 
known. Certain however it is that Wordsworth 
not only gave the undergraduate a cordial wel- 
come to Eydal Mount, but presented him, when 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 173 

the hour for separation arrived, with his own 
beautifully bound copy, in four volumes, of his 
poetical works. His knowledge of these facts 
induced my father, when his little grandchild 
was, as I before said, old enough to "take 
notice," to invite Wordsworth, together with 
a few other friends, to dinner, the intention 
being to introduce the poet to the orphaned 
child of his old acquaintance. Of this project 
I had, unfortunately, received no previous warn- 
ing ; consequently, when the guests, including the 
Laureate, had arrived, my little son was in his 
bed asleep. Now, as every mother, as well as 
child's nurse, must be well aware, the awaking 
from his first slumber (to say nothing of his 
being suddenly brought in unexpected contact 
with strangers) is likely enough to produce on 
the infant mind the reverse of a soothing efiect. 
Fortunately, however, for the success of my 
father's project, ^the little one in question did 
not happen to belong to the class of "infants 
clamorous," who, whether " pleased or pained," 
are always ready to indulge society with a howl. 
A '* jolly little chap," one of the young Hussar 
officers quartered in Hampton Court Barracks 
had called the boy, when, instead of bein«>" 



174 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

frightened at the sight of a drawn sabre, he had 
endeavoured with his tiny hands to gain posses- 
sion of the weapon; and such being the little 
fellow's nature, I fearlessly lifted him from his 
cot, and carried him, flushed and rosy, to the 
drawing-room, in order that he might make 
acquaintance with his dead father's friend. Now, 
although William Wordsworth is well known to 
have been overflowing with the milk of human 
kindness, his appearance, stern and rigid, with 
" high top bald with grey antiquity," like some of 
his own mountains, was ill calculated to inspire 
the mind of a newly-awakened infant with con- 
fidence, and the child's stare of bewilderment 
when the tall form of the Laureate towered 
majestically before his wondering gaze, was not 
altogether encouraging. If, however, the recluse 
of Rydal Mount had only abstained from any 
display of individual interest, a scene might 
have been avoided ; but to act on even the least 
important of stages a subordinate part, did not 
chime in with our guest's estimate of his own 
importance, and the result of this peculiarity 
was, that the good old man, holding out a pair 
of long black arms towards the sleepy child, 
said kindly — 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 175 

^' He will let me take him! I have grand- 
children of my own, and know their ways." 

Then, to my dismay, the little underlip began 
to droop, whilst the look which portends an out- 
break, spread over my darling's face. 

"What! " exclaimed Mr. Wordsworth, whose 
susceptible vanity even a half-scared infant 
possessed the power to wound, ** make such a 
face as that at an old man and a poet ! " and he 
retreated in haste, whilst I, with a murmured 
apology for the babe's ungracious reception of 
his advances, was glad to escape with my charge 
before the audible proof of lung power, which I 
could perceive was not unlikely to occur, had 
been produced. 

As my fatherless child increased in intelligence 
and beauty, for he was in truth a very bright as 
well as handsome little fellow, so did the delight 
and pride which my father took in his grandson 
grow day by day more evident, and my eflforts 
to prevent the spoiling by over-indulgence of 
the child, were constantly called into requisition. 
It was a curious, and to me an interesting sight, 
that of the six-feet high grandfather and his (say) 
three-feet nothing descendant, walking hand in 
hand, and very slowly, in order to accommodate 



176 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

-the pace to infant feet, across the *' Green." Often 
from my bedroom window have I watched the 
pair, praying the while, with tearful eyes, that 
.the little one might eventually become as good 
a man as the grandsire whose hand his little 
fingers clutched so closely. Alas ! I was in 
later years fated to learn how inimical to the 
fulfilment of my wishes was the system of over- 
indulgence to which my boy was early subjected. 
The melancholy circumstances attendant on his 
birth* were probably answerable for much of the 
pettiug and inaking-much-of which fell betimes 
in his young life to the bright, handsome little 
fellow who was born fatherless. 

It was to the Barracks generally that my 
father led his small companion, for the child 
doated on the sights and sounds which accom- 
pany military life, whilst the amount of elabo- 
rately adorned toy instruments of warfare which 
by those thoughtless young warriors, who cor- 
dially welcomed the ill-matched pair of pedea- 
.trians to their quarters, were presented to their 
child- visitor, woUld have supplied with bendabk 
^words, and harmless pistols a whole regiment 
ordered upon foreign service. 

And thus it was that very gradually, I emerged 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 177 

ftoni the seclusion in which I had for nearly two 
years been buried, and partook again of the 
pleasures which were suited to my age and dis- 
positioji. With renewed zest I accompanied 
my father in his rides and fishing expeditions, 
whilst my enjoyment of the excursions, in which 
Mr. Mitford was our frequent companion, had by 
dint of abstinence therefrom, rather increased than 
diminished. .And now d propos of our old and 
highly, valued friend, the charm of whose society 
Was perhaps enhanced by my long avoidance of 
his companionship, a letter from him to my 
father, in which he (Sylvanus Urban) alludes to 
an article on "Instinct" which he had written 
for the Gentleman's Magazine, shall, as the letter 
is to ^.musing one, be transcribed here. My 
fathers theories regarding a future life for 
animals were not only unshared by his Jldiis 
Achates, but were usually treated by the latter 
with a playful raillery, at which it would have 
been captious to take offence : — 

"My dear Jesse, — I am sorry to hear of 
your illness, and trust that you will again revive 
to drive me to 'fresh fields and pastures new/ 
As to your being flat, why, a man who is so fond 



178 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

of fishing in troubled waters cannot expect high 
spirits. You remind me of broken promises and 
perjured vows. Woe is me ! I lose all method, 
industry, fidelity, and all other virtues, small 
and great, as long as summer lasts. I live out 
of doors like a wild man, an Ouraug-Hurry- 
skurry, never at home. To-day wicketing at 
Woodbridge, to-morrow boating at Ipswich. I 
drop Urban. I am all Sylvanus. But your 
tender rebukes have called me to mvself. Me 
recolligo. I ponder on my past ways, and amend. 
You shall hear. My Prime Minister, to whom I 
pay twelve shillings a week, my Reis Effendi, 
my ktiTTOTvpajuLjjLoi, Jouathau Pratt, will get the 
cuttings to-morrow, and they will go up by the 
mail the same evening. May they thrive ! And 
may you live to have gum-trees of your own, 
and sit under the shadow of your own Euca- 
lyptus, as Fitzroy did under his sweet chestnut, 
for such is the Fagus, and not a beech. Talking 
of trees, I have lauded you in the Gentleman's 
Magazine of next month, in a note to my review 
of Edrby's Bridgwater Treatise, where you will 
see what I say of * Instinct,' and also you will 
see the richest list of pines and firs ever given 
to an uno:rateful world. Your new volume I 



SYLVANUS BEDIVIVUS. 179 

shall read with delight, when old Nick lets it 
out of his Pandemonium. As to the motto to 
the Wyattville portrait, it ought to be pithy, 
saying a great deal in little compass ; but that 
is not so easy. Ask Mr. Hallam, consult Mr. 
Croker, question Mr. Bayley,* turn over Sir H. 
Halford's Harveian oration, written with the fear 
of Dr. Copplestone before his eyes. My parish 
clerk, who is a bit of a satirist, thinks that the 
following would do — 

NOVA . MAIBSTATE . DEOOBATYH . 
OASTELLYM . BBGIYM . AVCTVM . ADOBNATVM . EFFIOIEH . ABCHITEOTONIS . 

LVBENS . CONSEBVAT . 

" Do you mean to have a translation for the use 
of the Maids of Honour ? or will you have an in- 
terpretatio beneath it, like a Delphin Classic? 
Then Wyattville or Villa Wyatt or the Chateau 
Wyatt — how will you romanise that? Would 
Viaticus do for Wyatt? But who, except Dr. 
Parr's ghost, will divine whom you mean by 

* Mr. Bayley, the husband of Lady Sarah Bayley, inhabitants of 
Hampton Court Palace. The former, a rather exceptionally dull per- 
sonage, was usually to be seen fishing for pike in " Diana Water." His 
ledest daughter married Dr. Allen, the Warden of Dulwich College. 
Sir JeflErey Wyattville, concerning whose motto Mr. Mitford wrote, 
was an architect, who, having been employed in works at Windsor 
Castle, was knighted there by George the Fourth, on which occasion he 
changed his name from Wyatt to Wyattville. 



]8o SYLVAIJUS RED1VIVU& 

Geoffridus Viaticus or Villa Viaticus ? Lord I 
you don't know what you hare undertaken. 
Tbey will have to send to Sir Robert Peel to 
translate it. Mr. Hudson will be dispatched to 
Tarn worth. You had better leiaveit alone. Con- 
sult those interested in your welfare. If John- 
stone's countenance falls when you. mention it to 
him, the thing's decided. You are riskiug too 
much. If you break PrisciarCs * head, by the 
soul of Sir John Cheke you will be gibbeted ; if 
you succeed, you will be oflfered the second master- 
ship of some endowed grammar-schooL Talking 
of grammar reminds me of Skelton and his future 
editor.. I am much obliged to you for endeavour- 
ing to assist him. It would be most desirable 
to see this edition, as the text of Skelton is 
mighty worm-eaten, and old editions very scarce.. 
Furthermore, he is a most curious and valuable 
poet, and Mr.Dyce is a mo&t valuable editor. 
As for the loss of the book at Ham, nulla manus 
furior est quctm mea. I hold no unchristian 
practices of purloining my neighbour's goods. 
Nullum librum furtim carpsi. 

* PriBcian, a great grammarian of the fifth century. The Latin phrase 
Diminucre PrUeiani esrput has for its meaning to violate the rules of 
grammar* 



.SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa i8i 

** If Milady* wislies for an" Aldine, she shall 
have it ; that is more than you have had, bat 
you shall have one. To-morrow's post shall waft 
3,n order from Benhall to Chancery I^ne; and 
Mrs. Fraser, she too shall be constrained to say, 
* After xiH, the man means well, I daresay, though 
he certainly is very disagreeable compared to 

CaptaiQ and has forfeited liis word, which 

in a parson is unpardonable. Pray don't have 
him any more. He is remarkably dull, and can't 
even write a sonnet when he is ordered. I don't 
believe, he wrote that epistle to Parnell, but 
bought it of some one, ready-made, and changed 
the names. At any rate, if he comes, he shan't 
sit next to me. Let him preach his sermons to 
Miss Mordaunt ; and yet he wishes to be civil, 
only, living out of the world, and writing for that 
horrid magazine, he is as old-fashioned and 
frumpy as if he had never been out of college. 
Then did you observe how shy and modest he is ? 
Never ventured to look in my face, and blushed 
when I spoke to him. I don't think he is much 
used to ladies' society. Ah ! poor man! he 
cant have much pleasure in this world. No 

* Probably Lady Dacre, the accomplished sister of Mrs. Talbot, the 
wife of the translator of ** Faust/* who occupied apartments at the top of 
Hampton Court Palace. 



1 82 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUR 

wonder he complains so in his poems. I daresay 
it is all his own fault. I could see his disposition 
and temper in an instant* I believe he spends 
most of his time playing one-handed cribbage. 
I expected at least to have seen a natural man 
when you brought him down, but' . » . * . 
Here it is said Mrs. Fraser became very ener- 
getic, and an eloquent and powerfully drawn 
portrait was expected, when she was calL d out 
of the room to receive a visitor, and I am told 
that she still retains her opinion, which she 
has most carefully and candidly formed. It is 
believed that the gentleman's opinion of her is 
much more favourable, and he has been heard to 
mumble something to himself of * Very agree- 
able' — * Clever person' — * Should like to know 
more of her' — *Hope soon to meet her again,' 
and so on. Perhaps you will hear of him as 
soon as he can compose a sonnet. In the mean- 
time, I, Lis friend and confidant, remain most 
truly 3'oursj J. Mitforp. 

'^ P.S. — I play at Bury on Monday against the 
West Suffolk. Drink to our success. 

" P,S. 2nd. — Here is a happy motto for you — 

* And thou, Imperial Windsor, stand enlarged.' 

— Prior's Garm, Seeularie, st. xxviii« 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 183 

*' I defy Mr. Croker to give you a better, 

Though he's head Reviewer in the Quarterly^ 
And cuts up ladies very naughtily." 

The rapidity with which Mr. Mitford wrote, 
and this, whether the emanations from his brain 
were " nonsense verses " or what might have 
been imagined to be a carefully composed sonnet, 
caused him to experience not a little wonder at 
the length of time which other writers bestowed 
previous to publication on their works; and I 
remember that on one occasion, and when allud- 
ing to this circumstance, he spoke of his having 
once said to S. Rogers, '* Is it possible that you 
have passed six years of your life in bringing 
* Italy ' to perfection ? " The answer of the poet 
to the query was in the aflGlrmative.* 

The following extract from another of Mr. 
Mitford's short letters is indicative not only of 
his willingness to oblige his friend, but of his 
own keen sense of the ridiculous, a faculty in 
which Samuel Rogers seems to have been totally 
wanting : — 

" I shall be happy to insert the article on 

* Since writing the above, I have been told that in a valuable work, 
lately published, entitled ** Rogers and his Contemporaries," the above 
anecdote is also narrated* 



184 .BYLVANUS BEDIVIVUS. 

Heme's Oak whenever you send it. The sooner 
the better if for the next magazine. Mrs. 
Fraser thinks that instead of answering the re- 
viewer, you had better break off a small branch 
from the oak itself, and force conviction to your 
argument on his shoulders. This also is my 
opinion. Mrs. Fraser says she learnt the efficacy 
of this kind of argument from seeing how suc- 
cessfully it was used by Mr. (Hadji Baba) 
Morier, who was her friend.* 

• #*•••••" 

I now come to an episode in my father's life^ 
on which, inasmuch as it caused him infinite 
paio, I almost shrink from commenting. It i^ 
this selfish sparing of my own feelings which 
induces me to narrate, in my father's own truth- 
ful and simple words, the circumstance to which 
I have alluded. 

" Shortly after the marriage of the Queen, J 
was infornded by the First Commissioner of Woods 
and Forests that Her Majesty intended to visit 
Hampton Court, and he requested me to be 
there, to show her over the Pjxlace. I had 
lately published a small handbook of Hampton 
Court, and had a copy especially bound for, 
and presented to. Her Majesty on her arrival. 



.SYLYANTJS EEDIVIVUS. 185 

I was accompanying her through the picture 
gallery, when Her Majesty especially called 
the attention of Prince Albert to a portrait 
of Michael Angelo, the Queen at the same 
time remarking on the great merit of the pic- 
ture. Turning to me, she then expressed a wish 
that I should express my opinion of the work 
in question, and I, seeing that Her Majesty held 
in her haud my handbook, which she was con- 
sulting, could hardly avoid (inasmuch as the 
portrait of Michael Angelo was there described 
as a copy) saying to the Queen that it was a 
copy, And a very excellent one, of some other 
master. Whether or not the Queen was annoyed 
by my outspoken words, I had of course no op^ 
portunity of discovering. 

^' One of the most stringent orders issued by 
the Woods and Forests Board was to tho effect 
that no repairs or alterations should be executed 
at Windsor Castle unless authorised and certified 
by me. One day, whilst I was paying an official 
visit to the Castle, I found workmen employed 
on an alteration for which I had given no order, 
and it was clear to me that the alterations they 
were making as regarded chimneys, flues, &c., 
were likely to endanger by fire the safety of the 



186 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Castle. On inquiring Low it came about that 
the work was being executed without my know- 
ledge, I was informed that it was by Prince 
Albert's directions that the changes were being 
made. Under these circumstances, it was my 
duty to report to the Commissioners what 
was going on, and furthermore to express my 
opinion regarding the danger to the Castle by 
fire if the work were carried on. On receipt of 
my official report, the said work was at once 
stopped, but tbe First Commissioner showed — 
which I think he ought not to have done — my 
report to the Queen and Prince Albert. The 
consequence of this indiscretion was, that shortly 
afterwards, F. Seymour, whom I had known from 
his boyhood, called on me, saying that he was 
charged with a communication to me, which 
lie hoped I would believe was made by him 
with great regret, the duty being a most un- 
pleasant one, namely, that he had been directed 
to intimate to me that it was the Queen's desire 
that I should not again enter the Castle." 

The sympathy which, far and wide, was felt 
and expressed by my father s many friends for 
this summary expulsion from the scene of his long 
oflScial duties was very keen, and it was empha-^ 



SYLVANU8 REDIVIVUS. lif 

 

sised by the manner in which the sufferer bore the 
injustice that had been done to him. His forgiv- 
ing spirit, as well as the high respect for the 
powers that be, in which he had been brought 
np, were never more, than in this patient sub- 
mission to an unmerited wrong, made manifest. 

Soon after the event, Mr. Mitford sent the 
following amusing and characteristic letter to 
his friend : — 

** ist June 185$. 

"My dear Jesse, — Nothing could exceed the 
beauty, the grace, the elegance of the Preface, 
and also of the capon, which arrived together. 
I devoured them with equal eagerness. The 
capon was perhaps a little the firmer of the 
two. The Preface I hope to see again, for it is 
immortal, but the capon has gone into eternity. 
I broiled his left leg to-day, his right was digni- 
fied with curry-powder and pickled mushrooms. 
Our turkeys are but sparrow^s compared to it — I 
mean the capon, not the Preface. The cook, 
housekeeper, and gardener all assembled when 
its naked beauties were exposed to view. Eliza 
was in raptures. I had a friend to dinner, and 
added some whitings, sausages, ham, and apple- 



i88 BYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

piidding. Suflfolk never before saw such a fowl; 
nor did I ever before have such a present as 
the Preface. 

" A stray parson called in this 'morning with 
Fraser^s Magazine, The review is either by 
Murray, or his friend Peter Cunningham, that 
is quite clear. I . expqct a revise of - ' Hever,' 
and then all is finished. When does the birth 
take place ? You should keep within doors, like 
newly married persons, for a week or so, till you 
can appear with propriety, to receive the praises 
which will be lavished on you with a mixturef of 
firmness and modesty. How Murray's dopr will 
be besieged, and I — 

* Shall see mv little bark attendant sail, 
Partake the triumph, and pursue the gale ! ' 

^^ We have had a heavy fall of snow to cool our 
vanity. Talking of that, will you ask Cutting, 
the nurseryman, if he could get me some bulbs 
of the * Lilium Japonicum/ and if so, to send me 
about four or five ? I have just finished a stove 
for foreign plants, and lighted the fire first to-day, 
I mean .to sit under my own palm-trees, like sad 
Judea, only I shan't weep. . 

"I want to know how Mistress Jesse is, and I 



SyLTA:NUS KEDIVIVUS. i8g 

send my love. What is done for the woman and 
the idiot girl ? Have you called Prince Albert 
out ? Give me some of your pension, will you ? 

**I must ijot forget to thank you for other 
favours received. I got the card for the Lion at 
Charing Cross, and the letter from Kew. Which 
is best, the Lion's queue or the other, I don't 
know, but the Lion's they say has a sting at 
the end. I have been gardening lustily. My 
rhododendrons are fine, and my Judas trees 
might be eavied by their brethren at Jerusalem. 

"To-morrow I "go to Sir H. Bunbury's and 
Lord Bristol's gardens, and return crammed with 
vegetable knowledge* .On Wednesday I pre- 
sume you are surrounded with floral and forestal 
beauty, but suspect you have a Sucedia gratis-- 
sima on the Green that beate them all. The 
Hon. Mr. Harcourt — Lady Waldegrave's Mr. 
Harcourt — is going to bring me Mason's Letters 
from Nuueham, which I expect to find very 
interesting. 

" If any one wants to see Chinese pansies, purple 
magnolias, and yellow roses, it will be advan- 
tageous for him to come here,: for the distance 
does not exceed two hundred miles. Asparagus 
and. cucumber to order — ducks, young rabbits 



190 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

comiog in with parsley — gooseberry dumplings 
ready at six o'clock, fourpence each." 

" In spite of flowers and musicians, I should like 
to find myself at Eogers' breakfasts and your 
dinners, which I hope to enjoy speedily, that is 
to say, Saturday, to stay Sunday. Sir Joshua 
is in high favour with me just now. I have 
been to Barton to see Sir H. Bunbury's, which are 
glorious.^ How great a man may be with great 
defects ! Lord Clarendon could not write English 
and Reynolds could not paint hands ! 

" I presume — that is to say, imagine, or rather 
think — that the Roses at Hampton Court are 
passable good just now. I have formed mine 
into a beautiful cradle, in which Cupid is lying 
fast asleep. 

Lie there, lie there ! sweet God of Love, 
Though eeldom in my garden seen, 

But mourning like a silver dove 
You nestle upon Richmond Green. 

Yours trulv, 

J. MiTFORD. 

" P.S. — had a visit yesterday from two red 
mullets. They called in before dinner. I under- 
stood they came from the seaside. They were 



SFLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 191 

particularly agreeable. Beiog strangers in tliese 
parts, they rather blushed on seeing me." 
• ••••••• 

The year of which I am writing closed for me 
with the sad intelligence, during my absence 
at Scarborough, of my dear mother's death. 
The event, though long anticipated, was not the 
less a shock when it took place, and deeply did 
I grieve that I should see her dear face no more. 
After my father's death her portrait in chalks 
fell into my possession, and I was touched to 
the heart to find that there were pasted at its 
back, a few childish lines which, at the age of 
ten, I had written on my mother's wedding-day. 
Had not my father prized them they would not 
have found a place in these pages : — 

" As wife so gentle, kind, and tnie, 
She made the cares of life seem few ; 
As mother, let her children raise 
Their loving voices in her praise. 
In all their griefs she bore a part, 
Their pleasures cheered her tender heart, 
And ev'n when suffering racked her frame, 
Her gentle heart was still the same ! 
Mother ! when j'^ears have passed away. 
And many another wedding-day. 
Though Time perchance has shed its snow 
O'er thy dark hair and dimmed thy brow- 
Though some may deem thy face less fair, 
No charm shall we find wanting there, 



n 



192: SJLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

' But feel that love still lingering lies 
Within thy deep and earnest eyes, 
And that when earthly ties are riven, 
That heart will watch o'er us in heav<}n. — M.,J." 



CHAPTER XIV. 

" When I waa at home I was in a better place, 
But travellers must be content." — SHAKESFSASSt 

My second marriage, which took place four 
years after our migration to Hampton Court, 
was an event which, for a time, considerably 
interfered with the pleasant as well as instruc- 
tive intercourse with Mr. Mitford, which I had 
so greatly enjoyed. During a voyage to Texas 
and the Gulf of Mexico, which in my husband's 
yacht I, by medical advice, undertook, I, how- 
ever, frequently received tidings of my old 
friend ; and the following letter, which my father 
enclosed for my amusement, and which reached 
me during a dismally wet day at New Orleans, 
produced, I am free to confess — unclerical as is 
its tone — the desired effect : — 



•' My dbar Jesse,— Why were not you amongst 

V 



194 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

the literati and other personages of distinction 
at yesterday's f6te ? All the world too was at the 
Horticultural Lecture. Old Nic was there with 
his seven daughters, who stood there with their 
spectacles on, looking like so many cucumber 
frames. My dear Jesse, you have no idea of my 
extreme simplicity, which, in fact, is only just 
beginning to be known to the world. In a book 
which came out last week called ' Selections from 
Milton,' in the index is the following reference, 
page 103. Milton's wives all virgins — amiable 
simplicity of Mr. Mitford! He says of me, 
* Good, unsuspecting old man ! He little knows 
the wiles and artifices of the female sex,' which, 

in fact, is very true, including Mrs. N- n 

and Mistress Honey, whom till last week I took 
for Miner vas, Dianas, and such like. But I 
must not encroach on that time which on Sun- 
day you doubtless devote to a chapter of the 
Psalms in the original Hebrew, and in the after- 
noon to reading to your assembled family the 
Book of Enoch. If you persevere in this right- 
eous course, and repeat the responses pretty loud 
in church to prove your piety, you will find your- 
self, like me, living for ever in the index of an 
admiring critic. I will call and see you bu 



. SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 195 

Tuesday, as I leave town on Friday. Till then I 
am, yours faithfully, J. Mitford. 

'^ChelsbIa, Saturday, 

" P.S. — Gracious me ! You have turned Pick^ 
ering's head. He says you are so affable. I told 
him it was born with you, and that you were 
noted for it from an infant. I believe he is 
going to ask you to supper : at least he meditates 
some mighty project in your favour/' 

The letter from my father in which the above 
was enclosed contained, as may be supposed, 
matter of a very diflFerent character, and, as an 
antithesis to the flighty effusion of his friend, its 
merit may I hope be appreciated by the reader: — 

"My dear Daughter, — I have, in the first 
place, to thank you for the excellent guava jelly 
which, with the turtle, you sent to us from 
Barbadoes. The former being genuine, which 
no bought guava jelly is, we greatly enjoy, while 
the London Tavern has engaged to give us three 
quarts of soup in exchange for the turtle, which 
arrived in excellent preservation at the docks. 
Mitford is looking forward with much satisfacr 



196 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

tion to the turtle-feast wliicli there is in store for 
him. Your dear mother is, I am sorry to say, 
very far from well. Her headaches are more 
frequent, and it is touching to see the devotion 
of poor little Judy* to her suffering mistress. 
The faithful dog will not leave your mother's 
room on the days when the pain she bears so 
patiently, obliges her to remain alone, and its 
sorrowful eyes are constantly fixed, even when it 
seems to be asleep, on your mother's face. The 
whistling mouse t is alive and well, but I am 
sorry to say that his wife has devoured a second 
family of eight, which three days ago she brought 
into the world. It is not hunger which drove 
her to this unnatural act, for she devoured every- 
thing that was put into her cage. Perhaps it is 
captivity that has altered the animal's nature ; 
but whatever the cause, we must get rid of her. 
Your mother will not have her put to death, so 
she is to be carried to a distance in the country, 
and allowed to go free. There is no doubt that 

* Judy, a very smftU Scotch terrier, of which my mother was extremely 
fond, and which returned her affection with interest. 

-t* The whistling or singing moase was a small specimen of its kind, 
the small twittering of which we once heard behind the wainscot in a 
Brussels Hotel. We afterwards, on its venturing into the room, caught 
it in a trap. It took very kindly to captivity, and was afterwards pre- 
by me to my father; 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 197 

little Jacky's whistle is caused by some malfor- 
mation in his throat, but as he always seems in 
good spirits, I hope he does not suflFer. He has 
grown very tame, and makes his way into my 
pocket in search of biscuit crumbs. I hope 
that, when this letter reaches you, you will be 
safe on dry land. You are constantly on my 
thoughts, for the dangers you must incur are 
necessarily great, and I am glad to hear that you 
have prayers on Sunday mornings for yourselves 
and the crew. When, on your last evening in 
England, I accompanied you on board the yacht, 
I was glad to find that the men with whom I 
spoke appeared to listen with attention to 
the few words of aflfectionate advice which I 
addressed to them. I bade them remember, as 
indeed we all should do, that in the midst of Life 
we are in Death, and that their calling being one 
in which the time given for repentance is but too 
often short, they should not put oflf till the last, 
the repentance of which we all stand in need. 

" We had a visit from kind Mrs. Talbot yester- 
day, and she sends her love to you. Captain 

T e is engaged, it is said, to Lord G e's 

daughter. He is, as you know, a young man 
of whom I entertain a high opinion. As for 



198 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Mitford, he is, I fear, incorrigible. If I did not 
believe, which I truthfully do, that he is a far 
better man than he makes himself appear to be, 
his condition of mind would give me greater 
cause than it does for uneasiness. Neither his 
health nor spirits have lately been at their best, 
but his sense of humour is so keen, that even 
when, as in the letter I send you, he is himself 
made fun of, he can never resist putting his 
experience of the joke upon paper. He always 
inquires kindly after you. Believe me ever your 
affectionate father, Ed. Jesse." 

A considerable time elapsed, the spring was 
far advanced, and the yacht was on her way 
home, before I again saw the handwriting, 
(namely, that of Sylvanus Urban,) which I knew 
so well. The schooner was at anchor among 
the Bermudas, and lying under the lee of 
Admiral Sir Charles Adams' flag-ship, the 
UlustriouSy when letters from home, including 
one addressed by Mr. Mitford to my father, were 
put into my hands. The one which I now tran- 
scribe tells in a great measure its own tale, 
and methinks that the good and grateful senti- 
ments which it contains are corroborative of my 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. I99 

father's opinion, that the writer was too apt to 
hide under very heterogeneous, and sometimes 
harmful matter, the good that was in him. 
The girl, aged about twelve, who at Mn Mi t ford's 
request, and under circumstances into which it 
is unnecessary to enlarge upon, had been taken 
for a while by my parents under their protec- 
tion, was by many persons supposed to possess 
stronger claims than that of mere compassion 
on his good offices. Into the truth or falsehood 
of these whispers my father did not think it 
necessary to inquire. If rumour in this in- 
stance had not, as is too often the case, erred 
in its surmises, all the more was the child, 
who had done no evil, a fitting object for the 
charity which ought to be, yet is not, the con- 
cern of all mankind. So the child " Eliza " was 
received as though she were a relative of his 
own under my father's roof, and while she 
remained in her new abode she was treated by 
him as though she had been a daughter of his 
own. Mr. Mitford's gratitude for the sheltering 
kindness which this poor waif — for such by his 
own account she was — met with from his old 
friends is clearly evinced by the characteristic 
letter which, in the midst of coral reefs and on 



30O SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

the classie ground of "vexed Bermootlies," I 
gratefully received : — 

" My dear Jesse, — I beg your kind acceptance 
of the enclosed verses* for a chapter for your 
book. I have taken great pains with them, and 
they are in my best style, being intended for a 
slight return of gratitude for you and Mrs. 
Jesse's kindness to that dear child, whom I 
would not have trusted in any hands but yours. 
I can make an. introduction to the chapter. 
The original Greek poetry is most beautiful. 
I have been very close in the first and the 
fourth, tolerably so in the second, and have 
added most in the third. Helas ! 

" I will send in the beginning of the week au 
order for Gray. I hope you will like what I 
have sent, for of course it has cost me more 
labour than a hundred chapters in prose, 

" Your anecdote of the black swan is excellent, 
and I send it to-day to an Evangelical parson. 

*' Our partridges about here have paired,, the 
thrushes sing, the crocuses appear, and the 
peach-buds are bursting. The farmers are 
giving away their turnips. When you can spare 

* The verses mentioned ate unfortunately misBing. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. loi 

the TimeSy do send it to me. What is said of 
Dickens' new paper? I long to know. Is 
Walter epileptic ? 

" Ah ! what a debt of gratitude I owe to Mrs. 
Jesse and you, for there is no human being I 
regard as I do Eliza, whom I took out of the 
fields keeping cows, and for whom I mean to 
provide when I am no more. — Ever, ever yours, 

J. MiTFORD. 

" Benhall, Sunday J* 

It was not until the summer following our 
return from the yacht voyage that I had the 
pleasure of receiving my father and mother 
under my own roof. The house in which I wel- 
comed them was an ancient and somewhat 
dilapidated abode situated on the banks of 
the Wye, and which, as was the case with many 
such like tenements in Wales, went by the 
proud name of a " castle." One wing of the 
house had been, about half a century before, 
burnt down, and what remained was (at least 
such had always been the popular superstition) 
haunted by the ghost of its owner — a man of evil 
life, who had been, by his own desire, buried 
toofether with his favourite horse in the uncon- 
secrated ground of the " Llangoed " woods. 



ao3 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

The salmon-fishing season was at its height; 
and I had indulged in eager hopes that my 
father would, during his stay, realise the acme 
of a fly-fisher's delight, viz., the landing with his 
own rod more than one big, fresh-run salmon. 
My expectations were, however, fated to be disap- 
pointed. In that portion of the Wye on which 
we had the right of fishing, the sport could only 
be successfully followed by wading over the half- 
hidden rocks, which near the banks, are beneath 
the surface of the water, and, as may easily be 
imagined, several circumstances combined to 
render, on his part, so adventurous a course as 
that of putting on wading-boots, &c., unadvis- 
able. To fish from the wooded banks was there- 
fore all that remained for him to do, and seeing 
that the difliculty of throwing deftly and lightly 
over the surface of a stream, is greatly increased 
by the branches with which the said stream is 
overhung, my father's success was, I regret to say, 
not commensurate with the zeal and patience 
which he from day to day, during the fortnight 
of his sojourn with us, displayed. He had never 
in his more youthful days enjoyed many oppor- 
tunities of practising the higher branches of the 
art he Joved, and therefore he was fated to learn 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 203 

by experience that the throwing deftly and 
lightly of an artificial fly upon either loch or 
stream is an accomplishment that is not to be 
acquired in a day. The skill and science also 
which (as he was told by veteran anglers) was 
a sine qua non as regarded success, of " striking " 
when a fish is hooked, was one which entirely 
eluded his powers of comprehension. If he lost 
a salmon he had hooked, he was told either that 
he "struck" too soon or " too late," as the case 
might be ; whereas the fact, in my opinion, at 
least, really is, that all depends on whether or 
not a fish is, or is not luell hooked. If the hold 
on him is but slight, no striking in the world 
will, as a rule, prevent a heavy fish from getting 
away. 

As a proof of the danger which unconscious 
anglers, when fishing in wading-boots, may run, 
I will here mention a melancholy accident which, 
immediately after our departure from Llangoed, 
occurred to Mr. Holmes, a son-in-law of the late 
Lord Valentin, who, after being our guest for a 
week, took the remainder of the lease ofl^ our 
hands. During his stay with us, he had unfor- 
tunately failed, even in the famous pool, far 
into which a sunken, smooth-faced rock ex-» 



304 STLVANUS EEDIVIVtra 

tended, to land a fish ; but on the third morning 
after taking possession, he succeeded in landing 
a fresh-mn 14 lbs. salmon. So elated was he 
by this performance, that after dinner he donned 
his wading-boota, and, accompanied by Evans, 
our old keeper, and two men guests, he proceeded 
iu eager haste to try his luck at the rock pool 
again. Alas for him I In his excitement, poor 
young fellow, he took one step too many along 
the treacherous water-covered slab of rock, and 
falling into the river, was at once sucked into 
the hollow beneath the ledge ! The high water- 
proof boots he wore rendered all hope of rescue 
impossible, nor was it till a fortnight lat«r that 
the river, which bad been almost ceaselessly 
dragged, gave up its dead. The scene after the 
accident by the river-side was described to me 
as having been heart-rending, the lately-married 
wife being on her knees beside the tranquil 
stream, frantic with grief, and calling vainly, 
in her pretty evening dress, on the husband who 
could never listen to her voice again. 

But although 
as an angler w< 
my father thorc 
various excursli 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 205 

tains which for his pleasure, we undertook. My 
dear mother also, whose failing health had long 
given us cause for anxiety, seemed to revive under 
the influence of what might almost be called her 
native air. The reposeful quiet of the country 
suited her tastes and habits far better than had 
ever done the mode of life which my father, who, 
with all his love for Nature's works, was essenti- 
ally of a social temperament, had always elected 
to lead. 

During the stay of my father at Llangoed, he 
received one of Mr. Mitford's short doggrel notes, 
which, seeing that it is the last of the kind that 
to his old friend he ever addressed, I will give 
a short space to here : — 

*'My dear Jesse, — I have been waiting for 
your book arriving here, filled with trees and 
flowers. Where has it stopped? Why tarry 
the wheels of your chariot ? Why is Mr. Murray 
asleep ? I don't know an oak from an elm till I 
gefyour volume. 

*^ In Suffolk, for six months we are a great deal 
too dry, and now we are a great deal too wet. 
We have the 'former and the latter rain' all 
together, and as I can't walk in my garden, I am 



^0$ SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

contented to swim in it It is lucky that four 
rivers don't run through it, as they did through 
the garden of Paradise. Has not the Thames 
got atop of Kichmond Hill yet ? 

'' I am growing fastidious, and can't do without 
injrrtles in the open ground, so have transplanted 
a border of them. At present, I prefer them to 
Victoria Reginas or Pauloneas, or other things 
with hard names and gigantic leaves. That is 
all I have done in the department over which 
Adam first presided, and has been succeeded by 
Sir William Hooker and yourself. 

" I hope that G. Kitson goes on rightly in his 
vocation. Man is born to labour, at least so are 
all but you and a few others of the cream of 
the earth, whom Providence has crowned with 
happiness and leisure. 

Mon jardin est fid trie, 
Et tout le jour je crie 
La pluie, la pluie, la pluie ! 

La pluie est tombd sur ma terre, 
Sur mes fleurs et ma parterre, 
Oh oui ! Oh oui ! Oh oui I 

We have many rare birds, as witness the goosander, 
- - And others which we know not whither they do wander. 
Or whence they come ; and I do often wish 
, That birds and beasts, and even fish, 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 207 

Could write, and stranger stories pen 
Than ever yet were known to sons of men. 

** So no more at present from your poor suitor 
and humble servant to command, 

J. MiTFORD. 

'' P.5.— Where is Mrs. Houstoun ? Which 
does she, land or sea, condescend to roost on ? " 

It may perhaps be objected by the more 
serious of Mr. Mitford's critics, that these lines, 
proceeding from a brain which, as the author 
tells us, was "full of cobwebs," are unworthy, 
alike from their absence of musical merit as for 
the unclerieal expressions they contain, of being 
copied into these pages. In excuse, however, for 
my insertion of the rhyming letter in question, 
I venture to plead, that even in the apparently 
least thought-out of Mr. Mitford's doggrel lines 
there is always to be found some suggestion, 
some pearl amongst the refuse, which may 
afford to the reader food for thought. The con- 
cluding lined of almost the last nonsense rhymes, 
which Mr. Mitford ever wrote, will, I hope, be 
accepted as an apology for the insertion of the 
entire letter. 



2o8 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Since writiDg the above, I have had an oppor- 
tunity, through the kindness of Mr. Clayden, 
the author of " Samuel Sharpens Life," of reading 
the following extract from the diary of Samuel 
Rogers' nephew, and most frequent guest in St 
James Place : — 

'* December 22, 1847. — Breakfast at St. James' 
Place : Mr. Dyce, Mitford, Harness, Spedding, 
Gould, &c, &c. Harness was against Dr. Hamp- 
den ; everybody else seemed against the Bishops. 
Mr. Dyce was alarmed at the news of some more 
going to be published from Gray's note-books. 
Nothing can equal the pleasure of these con- 
versations. Dyce, Mitford (nephew of the his- 
torian of Greece), and Spedding are simple, un- 
affected men, learned, full of conversation and 
literature. Dyce and Mitford are very little of 
clergymen, Harness more so." 

Another extract from the same volume I also 
venture to copy, and I do so the more willingly, 
as the extract in question contains not only a 
tribute to Mr. Mitford's kindness of heart, but 
a specimen of the doggrel rhymes of which so 
many were written to my father and myself. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 209 

" As my uncle's infirmities increased, the circle 
of visitors lessened, and after a time it was 
limited to those few whose good sense and good 
feeling enabled them to make allowance for an 
old man's deafness and occasional forgetfiilness. 
Mr. Mitford, the editor of Gray's works, in some 
doggrel lines addressed to hiitf when removing 
to Brighton for the winter, thus describes the 
reduced list of Tuesday-morning visitors :— 

Happy the man, and happy he alone, 

Who passed the winter months at Brighthelmstonei 

He who, secure within, can say, r 

I've 'scaped from all my London friends away. 

From Robinson the loud, and Dyce the gay, 

And Henderson, who gives the best Tokay, 

And Mitford, ever prosing about Gray, 

And Sharpe, who rules all Europe like a Dey : 

Now, my friends, do your worst, for I have lived to-day.*' * 



* Parodied from one of Dryden's imitations of Horace, 29th Ode, 
Third Book, beginning " Tyrrhenu regum progenies.' 



it 



CHAPTER XV. 

** But looking back, we see the dreadful train* 
Of woes anew, which were we to sustain, 
We should refuse to tread the path again/' — Pbiob. 

As the owner of our soi-disant castle had been 
in the habit, for the last half-dozen years, of 
letting his ancestral home to the lovers of fish- 
ing, and of such mild grouse-shooting as the 
Welsh moors afforded, the care of the gardens 
appertaining to the house had not been altogether 
"neglected. In the old-fashioned flower parterres 
there blossomed many an old-world perennial 
favourite. The dazzling crimson of the Lobelia 
cardinalis contrasted well with the dark blue 
lupin, which, in spite of floricultural neglect, 
cropped up year after year by its tall neighbour's 
side ; whilst the scarlet Lychnis and the tall 
white "Mary" lilies grew in profusion, and 
flowered bravely under the rough surveillance 
of a journeyman gardener. 



.SYtVANUS REDIVIVUS, ^it 

Beneatli the slia<Je of a spreading walnut tree 
-wliich stood on one side of the jasmiue-coVered 
porch my mother had loved to sit The blessed 
freedom both from household and company 
cares was by her thoroughly appreciated, whilst 
little bouquets of the flowers she loved the best, 
i.e., mignonette, clove'Carnations, and the white- 
starred jessamine, which were daily freshly 
gathered for her from their native stems, recalled 
to her memory, with a vividness of which only 
floral . perfumes possess the gift, the joya and 
sorrow^ of the long since past. 
' The necessity, real or imaginary, of returning 
to his oflBcial duties, had the efiect, to our great 
regret, of curtailing my father's stay at Llangoed. 
I was glad, however, to realise the fact that during 
his short visit he bad enriched his repertoire of 
"anecdotes" which were illustrative of animal 
sagacity and tender-heartedness. He had amongst 
^ther specimens of its kind, made acquaintance 
with my tiny short-legged terrier, ** Dacjdy," 
and had been an eye-witness of that animal's 
ingenious method of overcoming at difficulty. 
"Daddy" had the tnisfortune to be lame. His 
shoulder had been injured by $, fall from the 
foot of my bed, and he. consequently found, his 



iii SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

powers of jumping impaired. One day, whilst 
showing my guests over an unfurnished por- 
tion of the old house, we came, accompanied by 
*' Daddy," to a higher door-step than (however 
ancient may be the tenement), between two rooms, 
it is customary to meet with, and the little dog, 
finding his efforts unavailing to surmount in his 
usual fashion the barrier which checked his pro- 
gress, adopted (we watching his proceedings the 
while) the following ingenious plan. He re^ 
treated for a few yards, backwards, -and then 
taking a run, his impetus carried him, as he 
doubtless felt sure that it would do, to the van* 
tage-ground where he desired to be. - 

Now this action on the part of ^^ Daddy " could 
only, remarked my father — and who could gain- 
say him ? — have been the result of a reasoning 
faculty on the small creature's part which ap- 
proached very nearly to what is usually called> 
in the case of human beings, sense. Call it, how- 
ever, by what name we may, it is clear that 
*' Daddy's " instinct enabled him at a pinch to put 
" two and two together." 

Of the intense maternal love which the most 
timid animals are capable of feeling, my father 
iad the gogd fortune whilst he was at Llangoed 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 113 

of witnessing a striking proof. He had one day 
in the early morning, left his bed in order to 
examine the weather prospects which the sky 
held out, when the noise of strife upon the lawn 
below attracted his attention, and he beheld 
for a few minutes a dec|)Iy interesting fight 
between two unequally matched combatants* 
The animals thus matutinally engaged were 
no other than "Daddy" and a full-grown hare, 
which, seated on its haunches, was with her 
vigorous fore-paws defending 33 best she could, 
a tiny leveret crouching behind her, from the 
dog's attacks. The issue of the combat was not, 
although fierce, of long duration. The devoted 
mother was forced, maimed and bleeding, to 
retire from the field, whilst "Daddy," flushed 
with conquest, bore away his prize — its feeble life 
having been put an end to— and laid it trium- 
phantly outside the larder door. . 

Mr. Mitford's inquiries after my whereabouts 
produced after a few days, the following letter to 
myself : — 

" Dear Mrs. Houstouk,— I have not a notion 
where you are, on the Wye. I was there last 
year, and saw Godrich Castle and Sir J. Meyrick's 



2 14 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

housekeeper^ the two great sights at that time ; 
and further, I had no notion you were in Brecon- 
shire, or anywhere else. Jesse lost me my visit 
to the Island, for which I have grieved ever 
since froni the bottom of my heart. I had set 
my mind on going there, and even now dream 
of its green delights. 

" Talking of castles, I saw a love of a castle the 
other day in Kent, He ver Castle, and the room 
Anne Boleyn slept in — her bed — her chairs — her 
toilette — her little turret staircase. Oh, what a 
charming, thought-suggesting thing it was ! A 
person shows it very like Anne Boleyn, excepting 
that she has not five fingers. I think she rouges, 
or is it innate modesty displaying itself in the 
capillary vessels of the cheeks ? She is perhaps 
more like Madame de Maintenon, Her cheve^ 
leure is engaging, her hair (whose hair ?) falling 
in long houcles. .Oh, she's a widow, the /pride 
of the valley/ I heard of her twenty miles ofi*. 
I am not talking of Anne Boleyn, but of Mrs. 
Fielding. Sir Robert Peel says that she — No — 
he says that ' the castle is the most interesting 
thing in England.* I think so too, with the ex- 
ception of yours. Had you any one belonging 
to your castle who had his or her head cutoff"? 



,* 



SFLVANUS REDIVIVUa iij 

That would be a great inducement for visitors. 
It makes a sensation. On second thoughts, I take 
Mrs. Fielding to be more like Katherine How- 
ard than Anne Boleyn. Her skin is fairer. Let 
us ask Professor Tytler; he knows all about 
it. As for Henry VIII. (excuse the transition), 
there is this to be said in his favour, that his 
knowledge of music and civil law was very 
considerable ; but I am obliged to refer you to 
Hume and Rapin for the detailed account, and 
believe me, dear Mrs. Houstoun, very sincerely 
yours, J. MiTFORD. 

''BflNHALL, Saturday. 

" P.S. — The enclosed four lines are on a charm- 
ing little girl, Blanche Sandby, whom I loved 
dearly. She lies at Kensal Green, and I wrote 
her epitaph. She is before me all day long : — 

Pare and «weet as lilies fair, 
Blanche lived amongst us for a day, 
Then angels came from realms of air 
And bore the blessed flower away." 

From the *' Sister Island," in the Far West of 
which unhappy country it soon after became my 
fate to be a lengthened sojourner, I made for 
some time, on account of my dear mother's 
rapidly declining health, frequent visits to Eng- 



2i6 5YLVANUS KEDIVIVUS. 

land. She bad been induced, contrary to ber 
own wisb — ^but self-abnegation was amongst bef 
many virtues — to try tbe effect of tbe cold- water 
cure, gjid it was in tbe Hydropatbic Establisb-; 

ment of Dr. at Petersham, and whilst 

slowly taking ber prescribed exercise in tbe 
Doctor's extensive grounds, that I last saw tbe 
one who was to me " tbe holiest thins: on earth." 
That the promised " cure *' was proving, as I bad 
feared would be tbe case, even worse than an 
ineffectual one, I felt at tbat time painfully con- 
vinced, and the result only too soon proved that 
I was right in my forebodings. My father, bow- 
ever, as is the custom with those who have been 
during a lengthened period, accustomed to tbe 
gradual fading away of a chronic, and invariably 
patient invalid, pursued bis normal course, un- 
witting of the end, which was, in truth, almost 
" within measurable distance." A letter, moreover, 
from bis old friend and fellow-searcber after the 
beauties, alike of nature and of art, whicb about 
tbis period be received, bears sufficient evidence 
that their pleasant pOgrimages had not as yet, 
either by tbe sbadows which are cast by coming 
events, or from any other cause^ been seriously 
interrupted. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 217 

" My dear Jesse, — Many thanks for the 
tickets, I propose to come up on Monday next, 
and I will go with you to Dropmore, or any 
other place. I should like to go to St. Anne's 
Hill very much. It is easy of access by getting 
out at Chertsey. . 

"As I hope that Thursday will suit you, I 
shall expect a line to say that this arrangement 
will do, and I shall be at my lodgings in Sloane 
Street on Monday evening. You see J have not 
time, to get up for next Thursday, as I have 
two. churches to provide for (one per pound) on 
Sunday, and in the other case I shall have ^ 
whole week in town. I presume you would 
like to fill up the ticket. I know that Mis? 
Meymott* would like to see Sion. Good-bye, 
my dear Jesse. Ever yours sincerely, 

J. MlTFORD. 

"Benhall, ilf(WMfay 12^^." 

, I —  — — '■ - - 

* Meymott, the maiden name of my father's second wife, a lady 
whom he married in the year 1852, and who by her cheerfulness of 
disposition and care for his comfort contributed largely to the happi- 
ness of his declining yean. . .' 



.A 



CHAPTER XVI. 

* • r 

*' Knov thou thyself ; premune not God to scan ; 
The proper study of mankind is man.'*^FoPi. 

And now, as the sad time, unsuspected by 
ourselves, was drawing near when the well-fur-^ 
nished brain of this marvellously gifted man 
would cease its throbbings, and wben the fingers 
which wrote down his quaintly amusing wordd 
Were about to be almost, of a sudden, rendered for 
ever powerless, I shall, I trust, be pardoned for 
condensing in one chapter some of the last letters 
which Sylvanus Urban ever indited to his old 
friend and fellow-worshipper of Nature^s works. 
In the last letter there is a ring of sadness, which, 
despite its playful tone, tells of an inner warning 
of the end that was so near at hand : — 

"Aston, York, Saturday. 

** My dear Jesse, — I am now leaving Aston, 
having been very ill with influenza this last 



8YLVANUS REDlVIVUS. 219 

Week, tf anywhere there is a paradise of 
content, comfort, and benevolence, this is the 
dwelling. The situation is beautiful, looking in 
the distance on the Derby Hills; the gardens 
charming ; the people all kindness and good- 
ness. The house, inside and out, is just as 
Mason left it seventy years ago. All his books, 
pictures, manuscripts, drawings, furniture^ and 
his favourite chair in its accustomed place* A 
summer-house is dedicated to Gay, and has his 
MSSr in the closets. I have found .such inter- 
esting letters of Pope's, Warburton's, &c., and 
all which are placed here are at my command. 
Mr. and Mrs. Alderson are the guardian angels 
of the place. They support fifty persons entirely 
all the year round. They give away broth, food^ 
coals every Saturday. AH the servants have 
lived here, nearly twenty yearis, and last of all, 
Hamlet, the gigantic mastiff, is my companion 
in all my walks; In short, no one can come 
here without being better for his visit, and I 
leave them with deep regret 

^* 1 unfortunately caught the worst cold I ever 
had, in going to a distaiit church to see the 
chapel of the Leeds family and their monu-^ 
ments, and hurried back when very liot to dress 



220 3YLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 

instantly for dinner, so that I am suflfering under 
a bilious fever. Mr. Alderson has a large farm, 
and has fattened a bullock up to 145 stone, for 
which the Sheffield butchers are all contending. I 
must tell you that we live like princes. In tbe 
evening I read Shakespeare to them, and, the 
young lady sings divinely. There is a seat 
and park in the parish belonging once to the 
Holderness family, which is pretty enough. I 
thought you would like to have a little sketch 
of my visit. I shall be in town next week. 

*^ I have a droll character of a doctor, who is 
visiting the house at all times, and who knows 
himself so accurately that he always drinks tea 
in the housekeeper's ro6m with the bdies'-maid. 
But though he sits there for hours, he is always 
punctual to five o*clock, and never comes at any 
cyther time. He is very clever, but the oddest 
fellow I ever saw. Yours truly, 

"J. MiTFORD." 

The above was, as I have reason to believe, 
not followed, as might have been expected, by 
any of the much-prized notes which from Sloane 
Street my father was in the habit of receiving. 
Mr. Mitford's love of country and of his gar- 



SYLVANUS REDTVIVIJS. 22t 

den, which, uulike that of Shienstone at the Lea- 
sowes, had been a ".labour of love," and not 
the outcome of vanity and rivalship, evidently 
grew daily stronger, whilst his liking for his 
London lodging decreased. Still, in the follow- 
ing letter can still be traced the quaint and 
playful humoUr of the writer : — 

• 

" Lord bless my soul, Mr. John Murray ! 
Wbat 1 Km I to have only one copy of your 
invaluable book ? Why, I have promised one to 
Miss B — — , and then I shall certainly want 
another myself. I shall read nothing else for 
the next twelve months to. come. Oh, Mr. 
John Murray, be generous as well as just 1 Two 
copies at the least. Even Pickering the inexor- 
able gives more. 

" I can't give cuttings. Ten shillings for a 
bulb of the Emperor of Japan's exportation ! 
They are marked in Carter's Catalogue at. one 
shilling each. Mais demandez d Mons. Cutting, 
jardinier^ sHl a regu une lettre dans laquelle 
je lui ai donne un ordre pour les greffes. J^ai 
une grande manie pour les Jleurs. Selon le 
sentiment de noire poke anglais^ I 

*Die of a Rose in aromatic Pakii' 



• • # * ', 

• * - * * 



I 



t 



222 SYLVANUS REDIVIYUS. 

Mats heureusementf comme un autre poete, I 

^ Revive with Nature in the genial Spring.' 

** Therefore I should like, some of those pinks, 
which sound beautiful, in description, and which 
Cutting holds out for sale in his Catalogue. As 
for his hint as reg(]^rds ready-money, what I have 
is alva^s at his service. 

/* There are no family misfortunes just at pre- 
sent, excepting that one of the canaries has! cramp 
in his left leg. One of the goldfishes behaves 
extremely ill to the others, so that I talked of 
sending him back to China, when, after a long 
life of every possible virtue, he expired peace- 
fully on the night of the i8th instant. I am 
writing his epitaph, which shall beat the Queen's 
to dust. I want Mr. Batchelor to send me the 
Greek lines in the title-page of the first edition 
of Sterne's * Sentimental Journey.' Now mind 
that. Those lines are never repeated* I hope 
JJrs. Jesse finds the strait waistcoat I recom- 
mended her to wear, quite comfortable. 

*^ Your beech tree will come back soon. I have 
only to verify quotations. I think, if a man 
wished to discuss the question of the nieaning of 
Fogies^ he had better leave C^^sjir out entirely. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 223 

*' I have enjoyed the weather, but not in the 
garden. I take my drives round the seashore in 
various directions, and have discovered a view 
across a sea-river, worthy of Winandermere^ 
Yesterday I was at Oxford, dining on a grass 
mound near the old Castle, while the Preventive 
Service me,n landed from their cutter, and with 
their officers fired short rifles and pistols at a 
target in a pit close to me, but did not hit the 
mark. I thought them regular dashing-looking 
fellows, and fit for anything. 

** The day before I was at Sta vendor Park, i.e., 
a wood of 200 acres of oaks and hollies of 
immense age and size, every oak surrounded 
with a group of hollies ten feet high. In the 
wood there are as sporting proprietors, first, 
Lord Rendleshain, secondly, the trustees of the 
Eendleshap property, and thirdly. Lord Hertford. 
For. game, you never saw the like. I get the 
keeper to show me about. The wood is beau- 
tiful, and then I gave him a dinner at the ale^ 
house. * Butley oysters.' 

*'The large commons which extend between 
me and this country are now^ covered withy^r^e 
in full bloom, so that yesterday the galee of 
fragrance were every whei;'e delicious. This led 



2^ S YtVANUS' BEDIVIVUa 

me lately to look into the subject, axid I find 
that there are two species of Ulex .fur^e, one 
larger and one less, called h^ere the male 'and 
female whins. The former blossoms in May, the 
latter in September, and the latter is now in 
bloom. I drove over at least eight miles of it 
And of heather, to Stavendor, and part of the 
time the blue sea was not a mile from mei 
Your most illustrious author and friend, ' 

'* J. MlTFOI^D." 

.Whilst copying my old friend's letters, I am 
constantly struck by instances of the good- 
humoured banter wherein are mingled the excel- 
lent literary advice, which, wholly without 
pretension to superior wisdom, he offers to his 
le^s . experienced correspondent. The spirit in 
which the said advice was received may, I think, 
bo judged worthy of that in which it was offered 

\ My father was too well aware of his own infe- 
riority, as regarded learning and grasp of intel- 
lect, to his friend, fop the demon of jealous 
anger to find a place, in his breast. The follow- 
ing lively ^crap is suggestive of complete reco- 

, very, from his lingering illness : — 

"My dear Jesse,— Many thanks for the 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. >t2S 

enclosed. I quite agree in the praise bestowed. 
I know no place more interesting than H. 
Court, notwithstanding old Baily and Lady- 
Sarah. 

** How the d ^1 came your book to be re- 
viewed before it was printed ? The reviewer is 
Walter's curate. 

" I have sent the notice to . Fraser. I am 
building a stove to force plants, and have such 
a darling of a plant in the room — the Daphne 
odora. Oh, its scent must be like that of the 
Houris in Mahomet's Paradise ! And I Jiave 
had a present of six fine hyacinth roots. Won't 
I be gay in the spring ! I hope you are carrying 

your head high. Don't speak to B ^h. .Nod 

to the foolish virgins, and take your hat off to 
Sir W. Whymper. The people will know by 
your change of manners that something great 
has occurred. 

" I shall send you, as the time of the accowcA^- 
ment takes place, fresh instructions for your 
conduct. Be guarded ; much depends on' it 
Dyce is ashamed of his man-mountain, and 
has written to knock under. He has all tiie 
spite of a school-girl who means to tell her 
governess that Miss Tbttileplan in going upstairs^ 



»26 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 

took two steps at once, for which there is a 
heavy punishment at Kensington Gore and the 
Hammersmith seminaries. 

'' Rogers is plunging into the erie regions of 
senile apathy. He cares naught for Greville's 
death, or his own, but gets drunk as usual at 
breakfast. I shall send the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury, to him. 

"Send the capon whenever it suits you and 
Mrs. Jesse, but send love with it. Eliza is living 
on mince-pies and broiled turkey ; I on humbler 
diet. I have had the oflfer of all the Gray MSS. 
at Stoke. There's for you ! Never was such a 
pen ! Pendragon, Penmanmawr were nothing to 
him. .Such a pen is not to be mended, but take 
care he don't get a slit, and show something of 
the goose, his parent. 

" The book to which you allude was written by 
the Rev. R. Graves of Haventon, near Bath, who 
died at the age of ninety, I think. He also 
wrote a novel, which is entertaining enough, 
.called the * Spiritual Quixote.' It is directed 
against the fanaticism of the Methodists, in the 
same manner as the * Bath Guide.'. This book I 
possess, but there is another of the same kind by 
biin and Shenstdne called *Ishenella' and in two 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 227 

volumes. Both are scarce. Mr. Graves' character 
and talent seem much to resemble Shenstone's. 

*' Mr. Saunders, also, a clergyman of Lalesowen * 
is the author of a history of Shenstone, printed 
in ^Bibliotheca Topographia.* Shenstone was 
connected with Dr. Percy in the publication of 
that most valuable work called ^Keligion of 
Instinct Poetry/ which was of great use in 
bringing a pure taste into the school of English 
verse, which had been well nigh driven out in 
the days of Pope. 

** Then arose Collins, the two Whartons, Aken- 
side, Thomson, Dyer, and Mather, who got right 
again, and who put forth good work. There were 
two other poets at that time, intimate friends 
of Shenstone, I mean Jago, the author of * Edge 
Hill,' and Somerville, the author of an excellent 
poem called ^ The Chase.' Both had taste, 
feeling, and poetical talent. You know Jago's 
little elegy on * The Blackbird,' while Somerville's 
* Chase ' is of course familiar to you. Ihad a letter 
with yours this morning from Dr. Beattie, giving 
very favourable accounts of Rogers after his 
severe illness, for which I am very grateful, as 
I have a real regard for him, 

*' I am just writing for the Ipswich journal 



228 SyLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

a short paper on the cholera arising from insects. 
I shall send it this evening. I am very sorry 
for the death of a friend actress of mine, Mrs. 
Fitzwilliam. In her the public has lost much 
harmless amusement. A good actress is difficult 
to replace. 

'* I have been thinking to-day of what you 
write of Mr. Broderick's opinion as regards 
Shenstone. He may be right ; but I must impress 
one thing on your mind, that if you are to bring 
Shenstone back to the public intellect, it must 
be done by a critical view of his poetry, the age 
in which he lived, and the change of public taste ; 
also by an .entirely new memoir of the man. 
This is a large and rather arduous business to 
undertake, and I am convinced it is quite neces- 
sary. Merely adding a few MSS. poems won*t 
do, and won't advance a step. 

"Now I don't say this to discourage you, but 
to prepare you for the work you are going to 
undertake ; and this reminds me to refer you 
to another quarter for information, that is, to 
Campbell's * Specimens of the British Poets' — 
an excellent model for you to study. Old 
Wordsworth, had he been alive, would have given 
you good instruction on the subject. Ask your 



SYLVANU3 REDIVIVUS. 229 

friend Murray what he thinks, or consult Dyce, 
who has a greater knowledge of English poetry 
than any man alive (9 Gray's Inn Square), 
and hear what he says. 

** I forgot to say you had better read Philli- 
more's ' Life of Lord Lyttelton,' in which you 
will be sure to find something useful. And now 
I think I have helped you to enough sources of 
information. The rest must be done by your 
own labours and taste. Parnassus is not as 
steep as Alma. — Yours truly." 

" And now the task which, with a loving heart, 
I set myself, is nearly over, for the last letter 
which my dear father received from his friend 
is, in his beautiful but somewhat illegible hand, 
lying open before me. The truly considerate 
advice which in the last letter I have transcribed 
was so delicately given, produced good fruits, for 
without the aid of his long-tried guide, philo- 
sopher, and friend, my father felt that the edit- 
ing of Shenstone s " Life and Works " was a 
task beyond his powers to undertake. 

"My dear Jesse, — ^Thank you for the en- 
closure regarding cholera. We seem so far 



230 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

removed from it in SuflFolk, that no one seems to 
think of it. I go on eating damson-pies, and 
devouring peaches, and taking calomel as though 
nothing were the matter .with the rest of the 
world. 

*' The fly that injured the bean is well known, 
not a conjecture. The cause of cholera being 
insect poison is very probable, but you can't go 
beyond that. 

"As you are at present so interested in Shen- 
stone, I will tell you all I know that is worth 
telling about him. 

"Shenstone died about 1762 or 3. The Lea- 
sowes were purchased by a Mr. J. Home, who 
improved and added to them very much, and 
made them what they were (not are). He 
erected a monument in them to Shenstone, with 
a pretty inscription thereupon ; and this reminds 
me that you should find out who purchased 
Thomson's place in Kew Lane, and planted those 
beautiful trees, and how long he had it. I 
daresay Lady Shaftesbury can tell you. 

*' Shenstone wrote and printed a poem called 
' The Snuflf-Box,' which, for some reason or 
other, Dodsley did not insert in his edition of 
Slienstone's works. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 231 

** I possess a copy of iEsop's Fables in Greek 
given by Shenstone to Dodsley when he left the 
Leasowes after a. visit, with a friendly Latin in- 
scription to him in the fly-leaves. 

" A selection from Shenstone's poems, with a 
few of some of those of his contemporaries, 
such as Lyttelton, Somerville, Dyer and Jago, 
might be acceptable and usefuL 

*' It is not generally known that Christopher 
Wren, son of the great architect, was a poetical 
friend of Sheustone's, and a great humourist, 
Lord Bathurst informed Daines Barrington that 
he was the first who deviated from a straight 
line in pieces of artificial water, by following the 
natural lines of a valley, or widening a brook, as 
at Eyskins near Colnbrook. Then, upon Lord 
Strafford thinking that it was done from poverty 
or economy, asked him to own fairly how much 
more it would have cost him to make it straight. 

" Mon cher, the above is a very curious anec- 
dote. It is wonderful to think that the little 
water at Eyskins put the first idea of the Ser- 
pentine into folks' heads. Quote it in your next 
immortal volume. — Yours ever, J. Mitford. 

" P,8. — Here I sit forlorn, and poke 

About my now deserted bower, 



232, SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Yeiy like Gray's owl at Stoke 
In his ivy-mantled tower. 

I wish myself at Upton Park, 
Listening to your pleasant speeches, 

How the Romans on the bark 
Carved their names on Bumham beeches. 

I wish — but what's the use of wishing ? 

All things here will end at last ; 
Life A kind of made-up dish is, 

Whereso'er our lot is cast. 

" Pray let la Jille in to hear the service in 
St. George's. Addio, mio caro. Sono molto 
infelice. 

" BXNBALL, Saturday." 



CHAPTER XVII. 

" The beauties of the wilderness are his 
That makes so gay the solitary place 
Where no eye sees them.*' — Cowfeb. 

Amongst the many letters which, written by 
Mr. Mitford, I have copied into these pages, 
there is scarcely one which, whilst bearing testi- 
mony to the writer's love for trees and flowers, 
did not awaken in my breast a keen sense of 
gratitude towards the friend who gave that 
love expression. My cause for gratitude lay in 
this, namely, that having inherited (I imagine, 
from my father) a taste for horticulture, and a 
fervent admiration for such grand old oaks and 
other forest trees as were placed, as it were, 
I under his protection, the tastes which I had 

^ early imbibed, were, by association with .Mr. 

Mitford, stimulated into what may almost be 
called a passion, and to a love for landscape- 
gardening, to which I owe my endurance of an 



234 ISYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

existence which for twenty unhappy years I 
was called upon to endure* 

On taking possession of my newly-built home 
amongst the Connaught Mountains, the "wild 
bog," as the native population style the soil on 
which it is their lot to be cast, reached to the 
very doors and windows of Dhulough Lodge. 
Truly a very wilderness of moist earth, on 
which cotton-grass waved, and bog-myrtle, with 
ditto bean, and stunted heather, together with 
yellow asphodel alone met the eye, was a view 
from which a lover of dainty flowers might well 
turn away, heart -sickened and discouraged ; and 
at first, I honestly confess that the prospect of 
causing the said wilderness to *^ blossom as a 
rose " seemed hopelessly distant. I, however, took 
heart of grace. The lay of the land was favour- 
able, for the house was built in a kind of punch- 
bowl, so that shelter from the most trjring winds 
could be obtained. Towering above and behind 
our roughly-built domicile was a mountain, yclept 
Glenumra, the height of which exceeded 3000 
feet, whilst in front of us rose Muelhrae, or king 
(as it is the loftiest) of the Irish mountains, one 
of whose broad shoulders eflfectually deprived us 
of that most glorious of Nature's spectacles, i.e,^ 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 235 

the nightly setting of the god of day. Still— a 
chief desideratum in this, case — there was at the 
foot of Glenumra, natural shelter to be found. 
Transportable hollies, self-sown and of goodly 
size, grew along the shores of Dhulough, and the 
wetness of the climate was in favour of rapid 
growth. Labour was plentiful, so I set to work 
at once. 

My first proceeding, the month being June, 
was to dig a trench round the roots, about four- 
teen inches distant from the stem, of every good 
holly that I could find, taking care to divide all 
the larger roots ; the cut was then filled up with 
stones, and the tree left for transplanting (young 
roots having by that time formed round the ball 
of earth) in October. 

My next move but one was a foolish act, 
namely, that of covering up all the self-made 
watercourses which lined the mountain-side, I 
had laid out a narrow walk which wound up 
the steep ascent of the mountain, and was already 
begining to see order growing out of chaos, 
when lo ! a few hours' heavy rain burst open all 
my drains, destroyed the labour of days, and 
lineid the mountain-sides with silvery threads 
which in the rare sunshine glistened dazzlingly. 



236 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

Nature had taught me a lesson from which I 
was not slow to profit. Instead of filling up, 
I widened and sloped the sides of the drains, 
planting those same sides with bamboos, the 
Osmunda regalis, and other water-loving plants. 
The edges of my narrow walk were composed of 
cuttings of the small-leaved Cotoneaster, kept 
clipped ; for in truth I was greatly aided in my 
work by the fact that in that humid climate, cut- 
tings of most kinds of plants and shrubs took 
root at once. I had only to insert a few feet or 
inches, as the case might be, of laurel, fuschia, 
veronica, or hydrangia into the soil, and the slips, 
like green bay trees, grew and flourished. 

How often in after days, and when nature- 
loving Mr. Mitford was resting, after his troubled 
life, in the silence of the grave, have I thought 
how he would have worshipped the luxuriance 
of veojetation which the mild climate of the 
West produced. Fuchsias thirty feet high with 
stems as thick as a woman's wrist; hedges of 
hydrangia, both blue and pink (I have counted 
on one bush eighty-five blossoms) ; veronicas 
of various hues, six feet in height, and blossom- 
ing in November 1 It would almost seem, in 
truth, so rapid was the growth both of trees and 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 237 

shrubs, that at no time of the year did they 
cease to increase in size and beauty*; but it was 
only when well sheltered from the winds, which 
blew even from the south so fiercely upon those 
rain-visited mountains, that they thus attained 
such rapid growth. Once passed beyond the 
limits of the small undulating valley, in which 
my exquisite sub-tropical garden displayed its 
beauties, the efiects of the wind became manifest. 
Trees of the fir tribe, which within the " valley " 
had attained twelve feet in height, were con- 
trasted — when the exposed brow was reached — 
by others of the same tribe, which, planted q,t the 
same time, had not added an inch to their stature. 
The Cupressia of all kinds, as w^ll as the Deo- 
doras, were a sight to see. But even from the 
south wind I had to provide artificial shelter, a 
refuge which was secured by means of a summer- 
house, built on the edge of a precipice frowning 
down upon the loch, or rather upon a well- 
wooded walk, in which there was qertain to be 
found the first woodcock of the season. 

In common with Mr. Mitford, a longing seized 
me for a stove-house and small conservatory, 
and these by degrees I secured. In my exotic 
fernery I took intense delight. It was built of 



238 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

unhewn sandstone, and between its walls an 
inner one of chicken-wire was stretched. Between 
the walls, moss was thickly pressed, and peeping 
from between the unseen meshes of the wire were 
small tropical ferns, together with the various 
adiantums, and the broad, variegated-leaved 
Begonias came peeping forth. Two tall New 
Zealand tree-ferns stood in the centre, their 
rough stems covered with tiny parasitical ferns. 
Twice a day the walls were syringed, and here, 
with the wild winds howling without, and the 
rain ceaselessly descending, I spent much of my 
time. But the damp of the climate, together 
with the deprivation of exercise, told severely 
on my health. During a residence of twenty 
years in that distressful country, the blessing of 
health was denied me, and at this day I am 
suffering severely in every joint from the effects 
of an uncongenial climate, and the effects of a 
terrible fall which resulted in hopeless injury to 
both knees. The strain also upon my nerves 
and strength which the total deprivation of 
medical aid entailed upon me was very trying. 
Although paying largely, according to the extent 
(86,ocx5 acres) of our * holding,' for medical assist- 
ance, none nearer than Westport, twenty miles 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 259 

away, was procurable. I could not allow the poor 
creatures, our dependents, to die for want of 
aid, and so, at all hours of the night, I was at 
their beck and call. My reward — an ample one 
for this trying duty — was hearing, after my 
husband's death, an opinion expressed by a 
resident magistrate, our landlord's brother, that 
but for my claims upon the people's gratitude, 
my husband's life would long before have been 
cut short by assassination. Be this, however, as 
it may, to live for twenty years in comparative 
solitude, with a revolver always within reach for 
defence of life, is not a mode of existence 
which, by the majority of my readers, will, 
methinks, be deemed an enviable one. 

The companionship of faithful and intelligent 
dogs was a very decided alleviation to my lot, 
and I cannot resist in this place making honour- 
able mention of one who distinguished herself 
on more than one occasion for signal acts of 
bravery. To my father the records of the small 
animal's deeds were duly transmitted, and re- 
ceived, as they deserved, the full meed and 
measure of his approval. At a distance of about 
three hundred yards from the house, there ran 
along the face of Olenum^a Mountain, an almost 



340 .SYtVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

perpendicular wall, built of unhewn stones, aud 
which was therefore, to use a term common in the 
country, "dry." Mortar being conspicuous by 
its absence, the said wall was but an ineffectual 
protection from the assaults of black-faced sheep, 
and not seldom had I to grieve over the destruc- 
tion caused in the lovely Paradise I had raiised, 
by the acts of the wild animals from whom 
we drew, as the Irish say, our " support." 

Amongst the wild animals in question I may 
name cats of Brobdignagian dimensions, that 
burrowed in the quarries from which stones for 
the formation of the wall, and eke the house 
itself, had been blasted These formidable crea- 
tures having taken to themselves wives from the 
daughters of Heth (i.e., the domestic animals 
of their kind, which did their feeble best to 
-defend our property from the legions of rats that 
found their subterranean way to it from the 
lake), bred and multiplied amongst the sandstone 
boulders^ feeding, it was presumed, upon such 
grouse and young hares as came within their 
clutch. 

One fine August day, I and my small fox- 
terrier "Nell," chancing to be seated in one of 
my favourite shelters, namely, a plot of ground 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 241 

on whicli my only Wellingtonia had made rapid 
growth, when one of the wild cats, which had 
secreted itself under the low-growiDg branches of 
a Cupressus microcarpa, sprang from its hiding- 
place, and catching sight of Nell, ran for safety 
up the Wellingtonia. Nell was on the alert at 
once, and kept watch and ward under the tree 
till such time as my shrill whistle brought a 
man and gun to the rescue. Then a well- 
directed shot caused the savage animal to fall, 
"scotched but not killed," to the ground, and 
the fight for which Nell had been evidently 
longing, began. She was the smallest of her 
species that I ever saw, and a present to me 
from Captain Price of the Orwell gunboat, 
which had been sent round by Government to 
Killery Bay for our protection. She came of a 
famous breed, and at once tackled the wounded 
wild cat. It was for me an awful moment when 
the two animals — one small and snowy white, 
and her fierce black foe — rolled together down the 
grassy slope in what appeared to be a death- 
grip. 

To fire again was rendered, by their close 
proximity and the fear of injuring the dog, 
impossible ; but at length a blow from the butt- 



54i -SYLVANtlS REDIVTVUS. 

•   • . _ 

Bud of n rifle put tlie cat horB de c&mhat, a 
circumstance ^liich, sorely mangled tliougli she 
had been, NeH evidently resented as a grievance. 
' Many a year las passed since that day, and 
the garden 'which I had fashioned ont of the 
^ wild bog " lias become a -wilderness. The tall 
Mediterranean heaths which I had transplanted 
from th« KiHery side are now overrun by the 
heather and ling of the monntain, wbifet the 
beautiful bell-like species, " only to be found m 
some parts of Portugal and the Connaught moun- 
tains," has vanished out of sight. Trampled 
under the feet of Aeep and cattle are the hedges 
of hydrangia, veronica, and fuchsia in which I 
^had taken delight, and the Tiollies 1 transplanted 
have been stripped by the*' boys '* of their stoutest 
branches for the sake of the 'shiHelaghs, without 
which no Irishman can tate his walks abroad. 
And Nell too has long ago fought her last fight 
tboth with cats and rats, "and lies buried under the 
Wellingtonia, which is now alike a ruin. They 
we melancholy yeats vHcli I ^ spent in tie 
Wild West, but I can still think gratefully of 
the friend who, by inspiring me with u taste 
for lanclseape-gaTdenmg, tendered these twenty 
"years endurable. . - 



^YLVANUS REDIVIVUa ^243 

It wai5 not until the latter yearsof Samuel 
Rosers' life that Mr. Mitford became one of the 
moBt frequent guests at the poet's Tuesday breaks- 
fasts, and we find in S. Sharpens Diary, records of 
those who, even in Mr. Eogera' extreme old age, 
and consequent weakness, were wont to congre- 
gate round his hospitable board. Amongi^ those 
guests we find mention oif Alexander Dice, the 
compiler of '' Rogers' Table-Talk," the Rev. W. 
•Harness, Mr. Mitford, Gould the omitVologist, 
and, in addition to others of greater note, my 
father. To him as well iis to myself the death of 
our old friend Mr. Mitford, which occurred in the 
year 1 859, was a source of deep and lasting regret. 
His end, whicb was the result of paralysis, was 
unexpected, and took us painfully by surprise. 
Bis first attack of the malady, to whicb he was 
destined finally to succumb, was, though slight, 
one wbich might have been attended, seeing 
that it seized him whilst walking in a crowded 
street, with serious consequences. Happily, his 
fall — ^for fall he did— was not fallowed by any 
fresh disaster, and he was driven home io Sloane 
Street, helpless as regarded the use df one leg^ 
but with his brain in no wise affected by his 
ftccidenl 



244 SYLVANUS KEDIVlVUa 

Three weeks fiince the occurrence of tliis 
seizure had elapsed, and our poor friend was 
still from weakness, a prisoner in his London 
lodgings, when I, who had been during that 
time absent in Ireland, went to visit him in 
the small sitting-room, which until that time 
I had never entered. It was on the second 
floor, small and low-pitched. The furniture was 
shabby, and of the well-worn kind which in the 
second-floor rooms of tbird-class furnished apart- 
ments is, I imagine, the " rule." It was sad to 
see, in the midst of such surroundings, the man 
whose delight it had ever been to live among 
trees and flowers, and to revel — with the fresh 
air of heaven whispering round him — ramongst 
the thrice-blessed sights and sounds of Nature. 

Seated in a large but very much worn arm- 
chair, and with a book lying open ou his knee, 
my old friend was, as I at once perceived, very 
greatly altered. With the courtesy that was 
with him inborn, he, on my entrance, en* 
deavoured to rise; but with my hand on his 
arm I prevented the attempt, and then, draw- 
ing a chair near him, we began a conversation 
which, if only owing to the contrasting sur- 
roundings of the locality with those amongst 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 245 

which we had formerly beea wont to meet, 
could hardly be otherwise than unsatisfactory. 
Alas ! however, it was, as I only too soon ascer- 
tained, a dialogue for which unsatisfactory is 
far too mild a term ; for after touching lightly 
on one or two unimportant subjects, Mr. Mitford 
suddenly questioned me concerning myself. 
" Had I," he asked, "heard anything lately about 
Mrs. Fraser ? It was a long time since he had 
seen her, and as his landlady was not kind to 
Mrs. Houstoun, he should look out for other 
lodgings." 

To describe the painfully stunning eflfect which 
this wandering speech had upon me would be im- 
possible. That the brain which held so vast an 
amount of knowledge, and the mind so quick to 
perceive and to appreciate at their true value all 
things, whether great or small, that came within 
the range of his mental vision, should be thus by 
some jar, some hidden accident to the fearful and 
wonderful machinery which connects the spirit 
with the flesh, be " like sweet bells jangled and 
out of tune," was a fact very terrible to realise. 
It was with difficulty that I concealed the emo- 
tion with which the words, uttered by a tongue 
on which paralysis had begun to do its work, 



24« SYLVAKUS REDTYiyua 

awakened in me, and I was glad to iravc aiy 
excuse at hand for cutting ahbrt my visit. 
Between tbat day, ioweyer^ aind the one on. 
which he took his departure for Benhall,. I made> 
frequent pilgriniages up the two afceep flights o£ 
stairs which led to the atneken man's small, 
comfortless poom, and trully a sadder dose ta 
the life of a brilliant scholar could not well be 
imiiginied. He had never, ns must have been 
appai^nt to the Teadei,^ atteispted to conceal the 
truths tbat he was ^ot what is called a leligloua 
man. His profession was one for whibh he was 
singularly unfitled, anxi Z^ always imagined him 
as very 'much out of plaee when fulfilling any of 
the duties which' in his sacred calling. he had 
necesswily to perform. Whehy therefore, he, in; 
a confused aord almost incoherent maimer^ first 
spoke to m€ on the sabjecrt which^ to a mind- 
that, is eapabk o£ lOionght^ muail in ci^es of 
sudd'^^n and serious illness ^ciipiy it^: I was 
staJrtled land dia tressed' by the' terror of th« 
ujcikubwn, futuie which Ms' woida disdosed* 
Ootdd it be-4t would almost seem so*— ^th»t be 
was haunted by DemotaeM memoxies, and that 
ghosts of the d£^d pest wrere rimog tip like 
vengeful.' spirits before his ioind s eye ? I could 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 247 

not tell, but the question, in different forms, 
that was ever on his lips was this — ** Will the 
God who made us what we are, who cursed us 
with evil instincts and strong passions, punish 
us in that we were unable to resist their 
promptings ? " 

I could not aBswer him, and as I listened to 
what at times ros^ almost ta the ravings of fear, 
my heart was wrung with compassion for th^ 
unhappy man, who, at the approach of the last 
dread* enemy, had neither armour, nor WQap<ms 
wherewith to confrontf tha foe. Of what use,^ I 
fisked myself^ were: aow to him the stores of 
learning which* in that now duUed and terror- 
stricken mind, had been auia^ed ? Happier far, 
I felt, than he,, was the most ignorant of his 
kind, if at hi& dying hour he could breathe one 
prayer in the liumbla hpjje that in heaven it 
would, be hea«d and answered !' 



CHAPTER XVIir. 

'' ' Never mind/ said Philip ; ' the Macedonians are a blant people ; 
they call a spade a spade.' "— Kbnnkdt's Demotthenes, 

** We never mention hell to ears polite." — Pope. 

The reader may possibly recollect that in the 
earlier pages of this Memoir I have made mention 
of the warm friendsliip which for many years 
existed between my father and Mr. John Walter, 
the creator, if I may so call him, of Bearwood, and 
the editor of the Times newspaper. The latter 
was one of the kindest and most large-hearted 
of men, and he was, moreover— a circumstance 
which naturally led to the cementing of their 
friendship — a brother of the angle. It was by 
my father's advice that Mr. Walter became the 
purchaser of a barren and unattractive-looking 
tract of land, which had once been within the 
precincts of Windsor Forest. That desolate 
region was, in an incredibly short space of time, 
converted from a " howling wilderness " into 



6YLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 249 

beautiful and sumptuous Bearwood, while the 
extensive lake which is visible from Mr. Walter's 
** palace home *' betrays no sign of the fact that 
it owes its origin to art. 

My father was a frequent visitor to Bearwood, 
and his friendship with its hospitable possessor 
continued without interruption during that pos- 
sessor's lifetime ; and I may here allude to the 
fact that to the day of his own death a copy 
of the Times newspaper was daily sent from 
Printing House Square (gratis) to my father. 
Under these concurrent circumstances, it might 
naturally be supposed that the office of the 
leading journal of the day was the last from 
which would emanate the sharpest blow which 
during his long life had hitherto been dealt to 
the peace of one of the kindest and most in- 
oflFensive of human beings. Such, however, was 
unhappily the case, and the particulars of the 
occurrence — one which for my father's sake caused 
me much unavailing sorrow — shall now be nar- 
rated. My sympathy with that sorrow was the 
more poignant, inasmuch as I was myself the 
unwitting and most unintentional cause of his 
long-enduring regret. 

During the early years of my protracted exile 



250 SYLVANUS REDIVLVUS. 

in Ireland, I, partly owing to the lonely charac- 
ter of the life which I was doomed to live, and 
partly for the aaba o£ the repentant '' erring 
Bisters," the amelioration oi whose, lot I had 
much at hearty wrote my first novel ^ and having 
chosen, for its title the suggeBtive one of '' fiecom.-^ 
naended to M^rcy/^ I endeavoured to find a 
pnbh^i^ feu: the work^ im question* But all in 
vain! Que aXtec axuotb^r, the g^xfttle^xen to 
whom. I offered the product of my brain refuse^ 
to tmdertake, under any aircuzastanc^^ i^ intx£^^ 
dnction ta the reading world. Thi& was a bloM* 
indeed ; and had I not been supported by the 
knowledge that ibe^st works of authors wha 
have since taken Oi. foren^ost plac$ in litenary 
circles had been treated with t like contumely^ 
I should prol^ably have given up in despair the 
hopea which I had been cheri&bing* 

On looking bax^k tiO that period of diaa^poji^Q^ 
ment and hmniliatioas^ I am led to conclude that 
theopiniiMx which Irm conjunction w^tk^mthe^ 
person^ had formed ia* private of tiie merits of 
the work, was a tolesrably high one; for had it 
been otherwise,, the. expense of publishing it on 
" my own hook " would hardly^. metUinks^ have 
teen incurredw . 



• ' However, not to dwell longer on a subject 
which for the reader can contain little or no 
interest, I will simply state that the book, with 
all its faults^— and they, afi L can now perceive^ 
yr^re great iand many — proved , whiit: is called 
in presH jargony a "sticcess." The crititia gave 
it,, for the most pairt^ both, in tke daily aud 
the' weekly journals,, their meed of approbatioui 
Evert th^ monthly ma'gazikiea ha<l somethiug to 
say ia ita favour^, while,; to 6rawii all, the Time^l 
that might3r or^ux: and oracle, aa well aa leader 
of public opinion,, found a place in its- all-impor» 
taut columiQs^ibr a efitique oji ^' Beeommended 
to Mercy y' so loalg aiid so eulogistic, tjlat the 
brain, of even a younger and less in^perienced 
author than myself might, x)m reading the flatter* 
ing comments,, have incuirrcd tliie risk of being 
thrown temporarily dff its balance. The nbvel 
was published anonymously, and especial pains 
were taken to prevent the name of its author 
from becomin^^ generally known. My fatherj 
however^ was in the secret, nnd great as wett a^ 
natural was bis satisfaetiou in that tl^e daughter 
on whom he lavislied a large amount of wh<;)Uy 
undeserved fatherly pride had succeeded in 
wiuuiiLg by hses p^D,:n/ot only a eertaio:. amfmiit 



252 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

of kudos, but a "good few" of far from unwel- 
come hundreds * 

At the period of which I write, it was very 
generally believed, but with what amount of 
foundation for the idea I cannot, of course, say, 
that a " good review " in the TiToes would sell an 
entire edition of the lauded pages, and that the 
market value, during the Parliamentary session, 
of a column in the leading Journal was three 
hundred pounds sterling ! My acquaintance with 
this real or imaginary circumstance, together with 
my knowledge of the friendship which between 
my father and Mr. Walter's family had so long 
existed, ought, by suggesting to me that private 
influence had been at work, to have modified 
the self-glorification with which the review in 
the Times had unfortunately filled my mind. 
Such, however, was not the case. I flattered 
myself, like the foolish, inexperienced authoress 

* Unfortunately for me, of those hundreds I never reaped the 
benefit, for Mr. A. Robins, who, trading under the name of *' Saunders 
& Otley^" was the nominal publisher of the novel (receiving, according 
to agreement, 20 per cent, on the sales), quite unexpectedly, and whilst 
leaving in his possession the sum belonging to me of £^00, "put up 
his shutters." He had on the previous day given me a bill at six 
months, for the amount due : ihxit was of course dishonoured, and my 
gains were lost to me and to my heirs for ever. After this crisis in his 
life, the defaulter took holy orders, and is now the Rev. Arthur Rubins, 
Rector of Trinity Churchy Windsor, and Chaplain to the Queen.. 



SYLVANUS KEDIVIVUa 1253 

that I doubtless was, that I might possibly have, 
in some slight degree, done my small part in 
the Christian duty of supporting the feeble after 
they had been — by stronger hands tban mine — 
helped up. And this being the case, I rasbly 
arrived at the conclusion that to improve the 
morals of the thoughtless among my sex was a 
work that had been given me to do. 

Accordiug to the critics, " novels with a pur- 
pose" are rarely successful ventures. In my 
early scribbling days, however, that dictum had 
not been promulgated, and I commenced with a 
light heart, my self-imposed task. The growing 
evil — a very serious one, as I considered it— 
which it was my purpose to stoutly combat, 
was the license of speech and manner in which 
too many of our English girls indulged, and 
which had lately led, unfortunately, in more than 
one well-known instance, to terrible as well as 
irremediable consequences. The subject was 
one which, even when handled by a writer of 
experience, bristled with diflScultiesj but as if 
in illustration of Pope's often-quoted line that 
*' fools rush in wheire angels fear to tread," I, 
without any fear of the perils which beset my 
path, followed on my way rejoicing, Unfor- 



aj^ SYLVANUS REBIVIVTra 

tunately/the art which bo many anthors possess 
of throfwing a half-concealing veil over a distaste*- 
fuHy-sounding word was one which at that time 
-was totally unknown to me; Hidden beneath 
Bweet and attractive flowers, blossoms, in each 
<me of which there Inrks a fatal poison, lies often 
*he not to be named j^c^, on die stubborn nature 
of which the interest aroused 'in the majority of 
•even our more thoughtfiilly-written novels is too 
opt to depend ; but of this truthj I — as I before 
«aid — knew at that tfane, nothing. 

That my plan of proceeding differed essenti- 
5illy from this, was owing entirely to my igno- 
Tance of the niceties of story-writilig. To hmt_ 
^suggestively at a fault, and to conceal the iigli- 
-liess of that fault by idealising the fallen one", 
and attributing to her a loveliness, and even 
purity of thought and feeling,^ which, to my 
thinking, ^ate inconsistent with the truth, was a 
gift which I could not boast of possessing. It 
was part of my "nature'^ plague" to call a 
«pade a spade, nor could I perceive any very 
essential difference between the m,i$fortune 6i 
Mary Ann the scullery^maid, und that of iLe 
Lady Meleora de Montmoreacy. T^e Tesults to 
berth, ^although diffei3Bnt, 2tre as a rule disastroai 



SYLYANUS REBIVrVTJS. 25^ 

la the one case the yielding to temptation too 
<often leads to acts which bring them within the 
reaeh of the law, whilst the well-bom young 
lady, with whose good name the tongues both of 
jnen and women have been bus}% must, I declared, 
throughout her life, and even though some noble* 
hearted man may generously give her the pro- 
'taction of his unsullied name, remain more or less 
under a cloud. 

This long prefscmble, one in which the object 
of this Memoir is apparently lost sight of, can 
only be excused on the ground that without its 
'insertion no fitting amount of li^bt could, on 
the 'subject of my father's wrongs, be thrown* 
The sketch which I haye given of the nature and 
•purpose of the novel which I published under 
the title of " Such Things Are " will doubtless 
prepare its readers for the unflattering welcome 
^ith which in inany quarters it was received 
The TimeSi however, wm 'fffcauuch ! The new 
WOTk by the author of J*' Recommended to 
Mercy'" was, immediately xm its appearance, 
-greeted with a large amount of laudation, and 
just such a modicum of judicious censure as was 
calculated to procure for the novel a satisfactory 
sale. - . 



use SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

For this act of friendly kindness I was at tlie 
time duly grateful, but I bad (and tbat only too 
soon), for my father's sake, to deeply regret tbat 
tbat gratifying notice in the Times newspaper 
had ever seen the light. As will, however, 
shortly appear, the hypothesis tbat to the in- 
sertion of the above article the blow which so 
sorely wounded my father was owing, was far 
from unfounded; but on this poiut the reader 
will, on learning the particulars attendant on 
the said blow, be enabled to form his own 
opinion. 

It was during one of my short absences from 
Ireland that I received from my father, who was 
then making a temporary stay at Richmond, a 
letter entreating my ; immediate presence. He 
was at that time far from well, for Asiatic cholera 
was rife in the lower parts of the town in which 
he had been for some weeks sojourning, and his 
visits and ministrations amongst the stricken 
poor had told upon a constitution which was at 
no time remarkable for vigour. I was, after my 
arrival, greatly struck, on entering his sitting- 
room, by the change in his appearance, and by 
the perturbed and anxious expression of his 
countenance. The story he had to tell was this. 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 257: 

He had on the previous day received a letter 
from Printing House Square, the reading of 
which had most grievously distressed him. In 
that letter the writer expressed, on the part of 
the Times newspaper, extreme regret that its 
columns had ever been "discredited" :by the 
notice taken in them of a work entitled " Such 
Things Are." The article alluded to had beeh-^ 
it was averred— ^inserted through inadvertence, 
md works by the same author would never again 
be' noticed-— so said the writer — ^b'y th^: Times ^ 
the annoyance inflicted upon thpse who were 
answerable for the respectability of the paper' 
being already sufliciently great* 
.' That the above was the substance of the letter, 
which had produced upon my father so evidently: 
painful aneflFect that his voice trembled audibly 
whilst ' hfe spoke of it, I found no' difficulty 
(much as the effort to speak the insulting words, 
evidently cost him) in ascertaining ; but a proof 
to me that far worse remained \insaid was this, 
i.6/y that he pCrsisteiatly refused "either to show 
me the letter, or to "reveail to me the name of 
the writer. It was so eontrary to his habits to 
refuse any request 6f ndine, that I 'could only 
conjecture— what I afterwards ascertained to be 

R 



7Str. SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

# 

the truth — ^that it was owing to his anxious desire 
to spare me the sight of certain coarsely-made 
animadversions which he well knew to be totally 
devoid of truth, that he turned a deaf ear to 
my entreaties. 

The real fact, as regarded the anger of the 
Times authorities, was not long in being brought 
to light, and it was simply this. More than 
one Journal of good standing had, for reasons 
not diflBcult to understand, ventured to " beard 
the lion in his den," and boldly attack the 
Times newspaper for the encouragement (" due 
to private influence ") of what tliey chose to call 
"immoral literature," and the Thunderer, as 
Punch nicknamed the then all-powerful paper, 
not only lacked the courage to stand by their own 
opinions, but were mean and cowardly enough 
to throw, in some sort, the onv^ of their acts 
upon one whose age and character ought to have 
been his safeguards against an attack so violent 
and uncalled for. 

My indignation in that he had suffered this 
bitter wrong knew no bounds, nor would I listen 
to his assertions that the son of his old fiiend 
covJd have had no part in the injury which had 
been iuflicted. His Editor, a man of the wodd, 



SYLVANUS REDIVlVtJS. 1259 

and fllso of high staoding ia that world, would 
not, I urged, have ventured, despite his social 
position, to act in this matter without the 
cognisance at least, of his employer, and there* 
fore it was that on the shoulders of Mr. Walter 
I threw the burden of the oflFence. And a 
cruel offence, to my thinkiug, it was, and as 
unjust as it was cruel. "Surely," I to my 
patient listener argued, **if these people did 
believe that my poor book had an immoral 
tendency "— (" Absurd t " interrupted my father ; 
but without heeding the interpolation, I con- 
tinued hotly) — "they should have- addressed 
themselves either to me^ or to a man who would 
not have been, as you are, wounded to the quick 
by their unmanly and ridiculous accusations." 

" I cannot believe," repeated my father sadly, 
" that my old friend's son can have been a party 
to this insulting proceeding, and if I were a 
younger man " 

" You would," I with a smile put in, " have 
defended your impulsive daughter with your 
bow and spear. Dear," I continued, caressing, 
as I spoke, the large, well-shaped hand, the 
long, aristocratic fingers of which retained, even 
in old age, the hue and symmetry of youth, " do 



26p SYLVAN us REDIVIVUS. 

not let the thought of that ugly letter worry 
you. It will do me no harm, for its origin is 
plainly to be traced^ and no one, I hope and 
believe, will thiiik the worse of me because of 
the cruel words that have been addressed to 3'ou." 
It was in this manner that I endeavoured, 
although with little apparent success, to comfort 
my dear father under one of the most grievous 
trials which, in his hitherto prosperous life, it 
had been given him to undergo. But whilst 
striving with all my power to make light of the 
matter, my own heart was greatly disquieted 
within me. The insult, as' well as the gross 
injustice, with which I had been treated, filled 
me with a sense of shame and anger, which 
was .rendered by the inipossibility of obtaining 
redress, more poignant still, and more difiicult of 
endurance. The fact that the letter was simply 
the outcome of personally angry feeling on the 
part of the Times representativies could not 
undo the circumstance that it had been written, 
and, moreover, that it contained expressions re- 
garding myself of so insulting and objectionable; 
a character, that my father, knowing well how 
greatly they would sligck me, would not permit 
them to meet my eyes. 



SYLYANUS REDIVIVITSt 261 

1 have perhaps dwelt at too great a length on 
this painful episode, but I may perhaps be for- 
given when I add, that throughout the remainder 
of my father s life be from time to time dwelt 
with keen regret upon the rude and unexpected 
affront which from the office of the Thnes news- 
paper had been offered to one whose good name 
was dearer to him than his own. Whether or 
not he made any reply to the obnoxious missive 
I never knew, but as a proof of the rancorous 
and abiding anger with which the heads of the 
"leading journal'' had resented the liberty that, 
by the daring " smaller fry '* of the dailies^ had 
been inflicted on them, I may mention that 
never again has any publication of mine been 
honoured by a notice in their columns. Nay, 
so many were the suns which went down upon 
their wrath, that when, after the lapse of nearl}'' 
twenty years, and when my dear father had 
passed away, his daughter, in aid of a chari- 
table work, ventured, through the intervention 
of a mutual friend, to ask from Mr, Walter the 
assistance in his newspaper of a few encouraging 
lines, no answer was returned to my application. 
Apparently the ghost of John Thadeus Dclane 
was still a power in Printing House Square. 



262 STLVANUS REDIVlVUa 

If there be truth in Pope's pithy saying that 
''no creature smarts so little as a fool/' tie 
extraordinary sensitiveness of a man as wise. in 
his generation as the proprietor of the Times 
to the wound which had been inflicted on bis 
amour propre is less hard to be accounted for. 
Very difficult, however, of explanation his con- 
duct must still remain, for his wrath has endured 
rather more than the twinkling of an eye, and 
the daughter of his father's friend should, me- 
thinks, have been deemed for too slight a butter- 
fly to be wantonly crushed beneath the wheels 
of his ponderous and powerful juggernaut. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

" Friends I have made whom envy must commend, 
But not one foe whom I would wish a friend.'' — Churchill. 

Two years after my mother's death, my father, 
who was then remarried, took up his abode at 
East Sheen, a locality which procured for him 
the inestimable advantage of Professor Owen's 
friendship and companionship. Until the year 
1862, when the subject of the present Memoir 
finally migrated to Brighton, the intimacy which 
was so greatly prized by him with the great 
naturalist continued unabated, and I have lately 
had the pleasure of copying some of the letters 
that from time to time reached the small 
liouse in Belgrave Eoad, Brighton, to which my 
father, on a retiring pension, repaired, from the 
charming residence in Richmond Park, which 
by the tasle of the Professor had been greatly 
embellished. The first of these letters bears 
date — 



264 SYLVANUS REDIVIVU& 

^^ British MasEUir, June i8, 1864. 

" My very dear old Friend, — Your crab is 
the Portunvs scaber of Linneus, a rare British 
species, and it will be preserved in the Museum 
as being of intermediate size to the specimens 
we possess. 

" I have now sent me by the Bisliop of New- 
foundland the mummy of the Great Awk or 
Garefowl (Alca impennis), from beneath a kind 
of guano four feet deep at Penguin Island, off 
the coast of Newfoundland, which used to be 
a * breeding-place of the Great Awk before it 
became extinct. I have got out all the bones, 
and gave an account of the skeleton last Tuesday 
night at the Zoological Society, - and on the 
previous Thursday I read my paper on the 
human fossil renaains from the cavern of Brame- 
guel in the South of France, which I went to 
explore last January, and almost caught my 
death, the snow being a foot deep, although so 
near the Pyrenees, I got hundreds of the flint 
weapons and bone, implements of these ancient, 
people, who lived chiefly on reindeer, but also 
killed the gigahtic oxen, wild horses, bouquelihs, 
chamois, and two or three other extinct kinds of 
deer for their food, crushing every marrow-bone 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 265 

for the marrow it contained. I expect to have 
an entire skeleton of the Great Moa, so my 
hands keep pretty full. Carry and William 
are both well. Mr. Nettleship is very unwell, 
Mr. Bates has much recovered, but has left East 
Sheen for good. We often think and talk of 
you and Mrs. Jesse, to whom my kindest regards, 
•and believe me ever yours truly, 

"EicHARD Owen." 

After making myself mistress of the contents 
of the Professor's interesting letters, I wrote to 
Eichmond, requesting the writer's permission to 
publish them, and at tha same time I inquired 
whether any letters of my father's were in Sir 
Richard's possession. In answer to this query 
the latter wrote as follows : — ^ 

"I have always regretted not to possess a 
note or letter from my dear old: friend, your 
father. Many a long chat we : had together 
when we were near neighbours at East Sheeny 
and while he was fulfilling .valuable duties in 
the Park. I beg to be respectfully remembered 
to surviving relatives, and especially to your- 
self." ... . _ . 



a66 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUa 

The next letter which I here transcribe, alSbrds 
me both pride and pleasure, since it bears testi- 
mony to the esteem in which the world-famed 
naturalist held his less erudite, but thoroughly 
appreciating friend . — 

*' British Muaiuic, May 23, 1865. 

" My veby dear Friend, — Never more so than 
in the recollections which yesterday's anniver- 
sary of thirteen years of added happiness to my 
life brought with them, in reference to the sweet 
abode, the superiority of which over the Kew 
Mansion you first made me acquainted with, 
and pressed upon my attention with good coun- 
sel and encouragement. 

" How many kind acts have you to look back 
upon ! May they bring you all the pleasure 
and peace which are their natural fruit. 

" Your delicate and slender insect is the Ranu- 
lea linearis y an aquatic predatory species. 

'* Caroline and William join in kindest regards 
to Mrs. Jesse and yourself. I admire the style 
of your artist ^, and shall preserve the shading 
with your letter. Believe me, yours ever 
truly^ Richard Owen." 

The letter of the 30th December 1865 is one 



STLVANU3 EEDITITUa 267 

which, as a testimouy . to my fathers worth, as 
well as a proof of the humility of true greatness 
for which it is remarkable, I am especially grate- 
ful for permission to transcribe in this short bio- 
graphy of my father's life :— 

" My dear Feiend, — ^With hearty thanks for 
your kind and good wishes, I send you the same 
from a full heart, and with the memory of much 
happiness added to my life through your true 
friendship, society, and example. May I be 
spared with faculties to impart such knowledge 
of our Maker's works as I possess for as long a 
time as you have l)een privileged to exercise 
them. I shall receive with grateful pleasure the 
testimony of your esteem which you propose to 
give me in the * Dedication ' of the collection of 
your latest writings. 

"I am busy, as you may suppose, with my 
DodOy and hope to have my account of the 
extinct bird ready for the meeting of the 
Zoological Society on January 9, i866. They 
have come at my busiest time, and I often feel 
the longing to be at the repose of *a retiring 
allowance,' for this is a rough world to battle 
with. I will not fail to send you the earliest 



76$ SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

copy of my Doc?o paper. I intend to arrange 
the figures of the bones in an outline of 
Edward's painting of the bird in our gallery, 
which is quite correct. With my best wishes^ 
I remain, yours ever truly, 

"EiCHARD Owen/* 

On re-reading, after the lapse of years, an 
article in the Times newspaper which, conse- 
quent on my father's decease, appeared con- 
cerning him, it occurred to me that I should 
be acting unjustly towards his memory were I 
to omit all mention of his strong aflfection for 
his son, and the pride which he took in my 
brother's literary success. It was not until, com- 
paratively late in life that the author of " The 
Court of England under the Stuarts," together 
with other historical works, turned his attention 
to literature as an all-engrossing employment 
(for such it speedily became) of his few leisure 
hours. After a long continuance in official life as 
a clerk in the Admiralty, he grew so wearied of the 
daily and mechanical routine of office work, that 
he suddenly threw up the then lucrative situation 
which he filled, and became a free man at last. 
Could he have endured the existence that had 



SYLVAinJS HEDIVIVUS. 269 

grown to be so irksome to him, but a few 
months longer, Lis period of service would have 
entitled him to a far larger pension than the one 
on which he actually retired ; but to drag on the 
lengthening chain to its last link liad become 
impossible to him. And so, to the regret of 
many to whom his position — for he stood high 
in the opinion of his/chiefs-^enabled him to 
perform " kind deeds and oflBces of charity," the 
well-worn steps of the shabby old " Admiralty " 
were trodden by him no more. That he himself 
was well satisfied with the winding up of his 
long-standing connection with official life, the 
following short note to my father will prove : — 

" Garrick Club, (>ih May^ 

** My dear Father^— Many thanks for your 
kind note. I am very sorry to find you still 
C9mplaining about your eyes, and to miss your 
admirable handwriting. You are quite right in 
supposing that the Admiralty did all they could 
for me in the matter of my retired allowance. 
I have a great deal more reason to be grateful 
than to complain. The Board also sent me a 
pretty complimentary letter on leaving office. 
I have some very curious materials relating to 



tyo 8TLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

the Princess Charlotte and the Regency, which 
I may perhaps put together, and in that case I 
should be glad to receive from you any parti- 
culars favourable to your old chief, George the 
Fourth, if it would not give you too much 
trouble. I will give your message to my sister, 
who will, I suppose, return to town to-day. 
Yours very affectionately, 

'' J. Henbage Jesse." 

It was my brother's habit, long before he left 
the Admiralty, to pass his evenings at the 
Garrick Club, where, till the small hours came 
round, he sat — a well-known figure, and always 
a welcome one, for he was very popular — at the 
whist-table. Then he wended his way to his 
chambers ia the Albany Court Yard that looked 
out on Piccadilly, and in all winter seasons the 
light in those windows disclosed to the passer-by 
the fact that the occupant of those rooms was. 
still awake and working. He was, as the critics of 
the period remarked, a thoroughly conscientious 
compiler, and untiring were his efforts to pro- 
cure unquestionable proofs of the facts which 
he adduced. In the case of Hannah Lightfoot — 
the ^' fair Quakeress," as she was called, and the 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. Tfx 

object of George the Third's earliest passion — he 
was more than usually desirous of investigating 
every possible detail concerning the intimacy 
and suspected secret marriage between Hannah 
and her royal lover. The interest which the 
writer took in the subject is. evidenced by the 
following letter : — 

"7 Albany Court Yard," 

"My dear Father,— I should have written 
to you some time ago, but for the old rejison 
that I have little or nothing to say. The last 
accounts I had of you from your old Windsor 
acquaintance Gordon, and from one or two 
others, were as good as good could be, or I 
should have written to inquire after you before. 
Your old friend Dr. Blair breakfasted with me 
the other day, and seemed to enjoy the straw- 
berry jam and cream which I took care to pro- 
vide for him as much as he did in old days. I 
was surprised when he told me his age was 
eighty-six, Iot in everything excepting his white 
hair he seems as young as ever. I am going on 
with my curious inquiries about Hannah Light- 
foot, which I am afraid will turn out not a very 
wise specnlatioii^ eit^ m llie way of profit or 



vjt SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

kudos, but which has been a very entertaming^ 
hobby to me, and, I presame, from the. many 
queer letters that have been addressed to me on 
the subject, quite as entertaining to others. I 
hope soon to hear from you telling me of your 
health. — Yours very affectionately, 

''J. Heneage Jesse." 

During the latter period of my brother's ten 
years' stay at Eton College, his intimacy with 
** mad" Lord Waterford was tlie occasion of 
many a wild prank, which more than once 
threatened to bring both into collision with the 
authorities. One of these exploits was the pur* 
loiniog of Dr. Keats' flogging-block, and its 
triumphant conveyance by Lord Waterford to the 
Clarendon Hotel in Bond Street. Its abstrac- 
tion was a work of daring worthy of a better 
cause, aud was followed by the departure for 
Norway in a yacht, of the principal perpetrators. 
In this excursion my brother accompanied the. 
owner, and was present during the night-broil, 
when Lord Waterford received a blow on the head' 
which nearly put a stop to his earthly career. 
During many weeks the ex-Etonian remained 
with his suffering friend, and after his return to 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 273 

London entered upon his career of duty at the 
Admiralty, The ^'mad Marquis" had a kind 
heart and generous nature, and would gladly, 
in days of impecuniosity which followed for his 
old schoolfellow, have put his well-filled purse 
at his friend's disposal, but his ojffers were 
invariably, with many thanks, refused. 

In the last letter of my brother's which I 
shall quote, it will be seen that the mode of life 
which he led was telling on his nerves and 
health. His literary labours were unceasing, 
whilst the only recreation he allowed himself 
was his nightly rubber at the Garrick Club. 
On one of those occasions, Millais, the artist 
(now Sir John), made on the envelope of a letter, 
a life-like pencil-sketch of his neighbour, as he 
(my brother) sat with gravely unconscious face 
at a whist-table near by. On seeing it, I at 
once, both as a memorial of the great artist, and 
as a wonderful likeness of a well-loved face, 
coveted its possession. But alas ! I was too 
late. It had already been asked for by, and 
promised to, another. 

As a proof of the interest taken by my father 
in his son's literary pursuits, I will in this place 

transcribe a letter from John Wilson Croker, of 

" s 



274 8YLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

whom it is apparent that a question having 
reference to those pursuits had, by his old 
friend been asked :— 



'' Alterbank, Gosfort, Sept€mher 22, 1854. 

*'My dear Jesse, — A slight return of my 
disorder has made me leave a question of yours 
unanswered, — that is, to lay your letter aside 
for a few days, for even now I find that I cannot 
answer it. I have no books here but a few of 
the commonest, and none that enable me to say 
anything more distinct than my not recollecting 
any other letters of Lady Hertford but her 
correspondence with Lady Pomfret. 

" You ask me about * letters of Lady Hert- 
ford and also of the Duchess of Somerset.^ Of 
course you know that those letters belonged to 
the same person, though you have worded the 
phrase as if they were difierent. 

*' I thiuk I have seen somewhere a stray letter 
of hers with the last signature, but I cannot 
tell where. I have a faint recollection of some 
tender expression about the loss of her son, 
which, however, happened before she was 
Duchess. 

I fear her correspondence will not be very 



tt 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 275 

interesting. She was an excellent lady, of great 
good sense and piety — most admirable qualities, 
but not likely to lead her to the topics that 
enliven familiar letters. Madame de Sevignd 
had sense and piety, but she possessed a liveli- 
ness of mind which the good Duchess does not 
seem to have had. — Yours sincerely, 

"J. W. Croker." 

" Conservative Club, November 28. 

" My dear Father, — I am distressed at not 
hearing a better account of your eyes, but 
sincerely hope that you will soon be able to let 
me know that they are much better. With 
regard to your kind inquiries about myself I 
think that my general health has been better 
since I have had less work to do, but I cannot 
say much for my nerves. I never, to the best 
of my knowledge, ever even heard the name of 
your friend at whose house my card was left, 
neither do I think I ever left a card on any one 
in Kensington, excepting one on Lady Har- 
rington when she was in distress. I have very 
little to tell you about my book. Since the 
reviews which I sent you, I have heard but of one 
other, and as that was forwarded to me by * a 



276 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

good-natured friend/ you may suppose it was 
not a pleasant one. I have not seen Tinsley 
since it was published, and as I purposely avoid 
looking at the newspapers, &c., I naturally know 
almost as little about how it is getting on as my 
neighbours do. I am told, however, that it has 
been having a success at the clubs and in what 
is called * Society.' — Yours very aflfectionately, 

"J. Heneage Jesse." 

And now, with two more notes from Professor 
Owen, which I venture, for the reason that they 
make pleasant mention both of my father and 
his son, to insert, I shall close this budget of 
letters, all of which must, I think, have given in 
their day, pleasure to the receiver thereof : — 

** British Museum, February 12, 1867. 

"My very dear Friend, — I am glad you 
have received any pleasure from my dry account 
of the Dodo's bones, but they are all that be 
left now of that species of bird ! 

"I am so charged with work at this season 
of annual inspections, stock-taking and reports 
to Parliament, that I have no time to read any 
book for pleasure ; but I see your son's work at 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 277 

the AthenaBum, and from what I hear it must be 
very interesting and instructive. What a crash 
of Overend, Gurney, Chapman & Co. the Vice- 
Chancellors wonderfully able report and judg- 
ment reveals ! 

" I am tired of my work, and if I had my way, 
would start for Brighton to-morrow to have a 
rubber of whist with my old friend, and a hit 
of backgammon with his wife. — Ever yours 
truly, EiCHARD Owen." 

** British Museum, May 8, 1863^ 

" My dear Fkiend, — It is most kind of you 
to give me the expression of your good opinion 
of my dear daughter-in-law, for I value it very 
much, and I feel very confident she will always 
deserve it. I walked over yesterday to play chess 
with David Barclay Chapman at Koehampton, 
and we talked much about you and the good you 
had done at Brighton. With my best regards 
to Mrs. Jesse, believe me always truly yours, 

" KiCHARD Owen." 

And now, the end, so long delayed, was near 
at last ! 

Of no distemper, of no blast he died, 

But fell like autumn fruit that mellowed long, 

Even wondered at because he dropt ho sooner. 



278 SYLVAN US REDIVIVUS. ' 

FaU seemed to wind him up for fonrscore years, 
Yet feebly ran he on eight winters more, 
Til], like a clock worn out with eating time, 
The wheels of weary life at last stood stilL 

Dbyden Edipus. 

And yet, prolonged as was that kindly life, it 
might be truly said of my dear father that his 
days on earth were not weary ones. So few, 
indeed, were his warnings of decay, that even 
when his old friend wrote his last short note, he 
little thought that before another year would have 
gojie by, the power to " do good," of which he 
wrote, would be, for the doer thereof, at an end. 
Of him so many were those who loved and valued 
him, it might in truth be recorded that he knew 
" more friends alive than dead," for though, in 
the course of nature, many of his intimates had 
gone before him to the silent land, yet so 
kindly was his nature, and so warmly did he 
enter into the joys and sorrows of others, that 
for human and sympathising companionship he 
was never at a loss. The close of his long life 
was as peaceful and painless as had been the 
blameless existence which during fourscore and 
eight years he had led. To my great grief I 
was abroad when the end came, and the first 
intimation I received of the fact that my beloved 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 279 

father had passed away was made known to me 
by a notice concerning him in the columns of 
the Times, which in Bruxelles, on our return 
from the Italian lakes, I read. Many of the 
facts which the commemorative notice in (ques- 
tion contains having previously found a place in 
these pages, I fear that their repetition here may 
be deemed blamably superfluous. I, however, 
trust that their insertion in this short biography 
may be excused, on the ground that, as a daughter, 
I cannot but feel proud of the tribute paid in the 
columns of so important a journal as the Times 
newspaper to my father's memory. During the 
course of his useful life he received from every 
member of Mr. Walter's family tokens of affec- 
tion and esteem, amongst the most valued of 
which were the many proofs that his godson, Sir 
Edward Walter, the philanthropic founder of 
that fine body of men known as the Corps of 
Commissionaires, held his own and his father's 
friend in grateful remembrance : — 

"On the 28th inst., much beloved and re- 
gretted, Edward Jesse, Esq., Brighton, in the 
89th year of his age, J. P. for Middlesex and 
Westminster, and formerly Surveyor of Eoyal 
Parks and Palaces." 



28o SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

The late Mb, Edward Jesse. ^ 

In the person of Mr. Edward Jesse, the 
veteran naturalist, whose death occurred on 
Saturday week at his residence at Brighton, at 
the ripe age of eighty-eight years, society has 
lost one of the last links which connected it with 
the Court of George III., and also one of the 
most respected members of the Guild of Litera- 
ture. He was the second son and fourth child of 
the late Kev. William Jesse, who, while holding 
the Vicarage of Wellington in Somerset, had the 
celebrated Bishop Home as his Curate. Mr. 
Edward Jesse was born at his father's Parson- 
age, Hutton Cransweek, near Halifax, Yorkshire, 
on th6 14th January 1780, and received his 
early education, first under a clergyman at 
Leicester, and afterwards under a French Pro- 

* My wish to publish in its entirety the above gratifying notice 
will, I hope, be accepted as an excuse for the repetition which is to be 
found in it of some of the facts recorded in the opening pages of this 
Memoir. I have, however, I fear, a less valid excuse to plead for the 
circumstance that in a book of mine, published some years ago, and 
now consigned to the limbo of things forgotten, I, amongst my 
'* Memories of World-Known Men," gave a short sketch of my father's 
parentage and earlier career. In extenuation for this repetition I can 
only plead my earnest desire to render this short biography, which, at 
the instance of some of my father's surviving friends, I am publishing, 
as complete in a succinct form as those who value his memory are 
desirous that it should prove. 



SYLVANUS KEDIVIVUS. 281 

testant emigrS at Bristol, In 1798, through 
the influence of Mr. Wilberforce, he was ap- 
pointed to a clerkship in the St. Domingo Office, 
where his knowledge of French recommended 
him to the notice of Lord Dartmouth, who made 
him his private secretary when he came to be 
President of the Board of Control. The same 
nobleman, on accepting the office of Lord Steward 
of the Household, recommended Mr. Jesse to the 
notice of the King and other members of the 
Court at Windsor and at Kew. Having held 
for some time a commission as Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the Birmingham Volunteers, under 
his patron and friend Lord Dartmouth, and 
afterwards that of Captain in the Leicester- 
shire Militia, Mr. Jesse was appointed by Mr. 
Sylvester Douglas (afterwards Lord Glenbervie) 
to the post of Deputy-Surveyor of Koyal Parks 
and Palaces. In this capacity the knowledge 
of natural history which he had picked up as 
a child stood him in good stead, and he was 
enabled to effect many useful and permanent 
improvements in the royal residences and 
gardens, more especially at Windsor and Hamp- 
ton Court Palace. Mr. Jesse held under George 
in. and IV. the honorary post of Gentleman of 



382 SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. 

the Ewry at Windsor Castle, and Lord Liverpool 
daring hia Premiership bestowed upon him 
unsolicited, the Commissionership of Hackney- 
Coaches. This post he retained until the aboli- 
tion of the oflBce, when he retired on a well- 
earned pension. Mr. Jesse spent the greater 
part of his long life in the neighbourhood of 
Windsor, Hampton Court, and Richmond ; but 
in 1862 he removed to Brighton, where his tall 
handsome figure and courtly manners will long 
be remembered, and where he took an active 
part in the establishment of '* The" Fishermen's 
Home." As an acknowledgment of his services 
to the town, his bust was placed by subscription 
in 1864-65 in the great room of the Pavilion. 
Mr. Jesse was the author of " Gleanings in 
Natural History," *' Anecdotes of Dogs," " A 
Summer Day at Eton and Windsor," &c., &c., 
and the editor of " White's Selborne," and 
"Walton and Cotton's Angler." He was also 
a frequent contributer in his day to the columns 
of the Times, the Gentleman's Magazine, Bent- 
le\fs Miscellany, and Once a Week. He was 
twice married, and his widow survives him. 
His first wife was a daughter, of the late Sir 
John Morris, Bart., of Sketty Park, Swansea, and 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS. iSj 

a relative of his early friend and patron Lord 
Dartmouth, By her Mr. Jesse has left three 
children, two married daughters, Mrs. Cur wen 
and Mrs. Houstoun, and also a son, Mr. John 
Heneage Jesse, who is well known to the lite- 
rary world as the author of "The Court of 
England under the Stuarts and House of Han- 
over," " Memoirs of the Pretender," " Memoirs of 
George Selwyn," and " Memoirs of the Life and 
Reign of George HI.," published last year, and 
reviewed at considerable length in these columns. 
Mr. Jesse, by observation and experiment, added 
considerably to our knowledge of the animal 
creation. At the time of his death he was one 
of the senior magistrates for Middlesex, having 
been put into the Commission of the Peace in 
order to control the visitors who came to see 
Hampton Court Palace, and were in the habit of 
committing depredations in the gardens there- 
unto belonging. 

I was alone in the twilight of an April even- 
ing when I read, in the nearly deserted park 
at Bruxelles, this tribute to my dear father s 
memory. And whilst I read, my tears fell 
fast, as much from sorrow in that I should 



284 SYLVANUS BEDIVIVUS. 

see his face no more, as from self-reproach 
because that while he yet lived I had not shown 
him all the love that was his due. Few of the 
mourners for their dead who are so blest as not 
to have some shortcomings regarding their lost 
ones with which to reproach themselves, and 
of those few, I alas ! was not one^ And thus it 
chanced that when it was too late, the thoughts 
of all his ^^ little, nameless, uoremembered acts 
of kindness and of love " came back to me, and 
filled my eyes with self-reproachful tears. 

Some few days later, when I read in a Brighton 
journal the following well-deserved testimony to 
my fathers worth, I could have envied — ^inas- 
much as their sorrow was untinctured by re- 
morse — ^the regrets of those who bore him to 
his last resting-place : — 

Brighton Guardian, April 8, 1868. 

" The remains of the deeply-lamented deceased 
were interred in .the extra-mural Cemetery, 
Brighton, on Friday last. Between thirty and 
forty fishermen connected with the Fishermen's 
Home, in the welfare of which the late Mr. Jesse 
had taken a deep interest, and several members 
of the Brighton and Sussex Natural History 



SYLVANUS REDIVIVUS, 285 

Society took part in the funeral ceremony. 
The coffin was carried by six fishermen. At 
the conclusion of the service, but before the 
mourners had left the grave, an interesting 
addition to the obsequies was made by the 
fishermen assembled singing a hymn over their 
lamented friend/' 

Of that friend it might be truly said that — 

** The man who melts 
With social smypathy, though not allied, 
Is of more worth than a thousand kinsmen." 

— Euripides, 



THE END. 



PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO. 
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A Catalogue of American and Foreign Books Published or 

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A 



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Captain Mugford, or. Our Salt 

and Fresh Water Tutors, 
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Heir of Kilfinnan. 
Snow-Shoes and Canoes. 
Two Supercargoes. 
With Axe and Rifle. 



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List of Publications, 1 7 



Low*s Standard Library, 6^r, — continued, 

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Little Loo. 



1 8 Sampson Low^ Marston^ 6^ Co.^s 

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Bee-man of Om. — Tlie Iiate Mrs. Null. — Hundredth Man. 
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Joseph Thomson. Ulu : an African Romance. 
Lew. Wallace. Ben Hur : a Tale of the Christ. 
Constance Fenimore Woolson. 

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French Heiress in her own Chateau. 

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Croker. Some One Else. 
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Edwards. Half-Way. 
Hardy. 

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Oliphant. Innocent. 
Stockton. Bee-Man of Om. 
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Thomson. Ulu. 
Lo7v's Standard Books for Boys, With numerous Illustrations, 

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Heir of Eolflnnan. By W. H. G. Kingston. 
Off to the Wilds. By G. Manville Fenn. 
The Two Supercargoes. By W. H. G. KING^TON. 
The Silver Canon. By G. Manville Fenn. 
Under the Meteor Flasr. By Harry Colli ngwood. 
Jack Archer: a Tale of the Crimea. By G. A. Henty. 



List of Publications, \ 9 



Low^s Standard Books for Boys — continued. 

The Mutiny on Boaxd the Ship Leander. By 6. Heldmann. 
With Axe and Bifle on the Western Prairies. By W. H. G. 

Kingston. 
Bed Cloud, the Solitary Sioux : a Tale of the Great Prairie, 

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The Voyage of the Aurora. By Harry Collingwood. 
Charmouth G-ranse: a Tale of the 17th Century. By J. 

Percy Groves. 
Snowshoes and Canoes. By W. H. G. Kings ion. 
The Son of the Constable of France. By Louis Rousselet. 
Captain Mugrford ; or, Our Salt and Fresh Water Tutors. 

Edited by W. H. G. Kingston. 
The Comet of Horse, a Tale of Marlborouffh*s Wars. By 

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The Adventures of Captain'Sffaflro. By Leon Cahun. 
Noble Words and Koble Needs. 
The King: of the Tig^ers. By Rousselet. 
Hans Brinker ; or, The Silver Skates. By Mrs. Dodge. 
The Drummer-Boy, a Story of the time of Washington. By 

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Adventures in New Guinea : The Narrative of Louis Tresrance. 
The Crusoes of Guiana. By Boussenard. 
The Gold Seekers. A Sequel to the Above. By Boussenard. 
Winniner His Spurs, a Tale of the Crusades. By G. A. Henty. 
The Blue Banner. By Leon Cahun. 

New Volumes for 1889. 
Startling Exploits of the Doctor. Ckliere. 
Brothers Bantzau. Erckmann-Chatrian. 
Young- Naturalist. Biart. 

Ben Burton; or, Born and Bred at Sea. Kingston. 
Great Huntlnsr Grounds of the World. M lu n i er. 
Ban Away from the Dutch. Perelaer. 
ICy Kalulu, Prince, King:, and Slave. Stanley. 

Low's Standard Series of Books by Popular Writers. Sm. cr. 
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Aunt Jo's Scrap Bagr. By Miss Alcott. 
Shawl Straps. By Miss Alcott. 
Little ICen. By Miss Alcott. 
Hitherto. By Mrs. Whitney. 
Forecastle to Cabin. By Samuels. Illustrated. 
In My Indian Garden. By Phil Robinson. 
Little Women and Little Women Wedded. By Miss Alcott, 
Eric and Ethel. By Francis Francis. lUust. 
Keyhole Country. By Gertrude Jerdon. Illust. 
We Girls. By Mrs. Whitney. 

The Other Girls. A Sequel to " We Girls." By Mrs. Whitney. 
Adventures of Jimmy Brown. Illust. By W. L. Alden. 
Under the Lilacs. By Miss Alcott. Illust. 
Jimmy's Cruise. By Miss Alcott. 
Under the Punkah. By Phil Robinson. 



20 Sampson Low, Marston, 6* Co*s 

Z^Ttt/'j standard Series of Books by Popular Writers — continued. 
An Old-Fashioned OlrL By Miss Alcoit. 
A BoB« in Bloom. By Miss Alcott. 
BiffM Oouflins. Illost By Miss Alcott. 
Jack and Jill. By Miss Alcott. 
liolu's Library. lUust. By Miss Alcott. 
Silver Pitohers. By Miss Alcoi T. 
Work and Beffinnin^ Avain. Illust. By Miss Alcott. 
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80,000 Leagnei under the Sea 

Farts I. and II 

Hector Servadac 

The Far Country 

The Sarth to the Moon and a Trip 

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Ifiohael Strogoff 

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