« EelmineJätka »
whom I have records had an average age of seventy years, while the five Greenells had an average of seventy-six. Of our own family, my brother John reached seventy-seven, and my sister Fanny eighty-one. My brother William owed his death to a railway journey by night in winter, from London to South Wales in the miserable accommodation then afforded to third-class passengers, which, increased by a damp bed at Bristol, brought on severe congestion of the lungs, from which he never recovered.
I will now give a short account of my father's appearance and character. In a miniature of himself, painted just before his marriage, when he was thirty-five years old, he is represented in a blue coat with gilt buttons, a white waistcoat, a thick white neck-cloth coming up to the chin and showing no collar, and a frilled shirt-front. This was probably his wedding-coat, and his usual costume, indicating the transition from the richly coloured semi-court dress of the earlier Georgian period to the plain black of our own day. He is shown as having a ruddy complexion, blue eyes, and carefully dressed and curled hair, which I think must have been powdered, or else in the transition from light brown to pure white. As I remember him from the age of fifty-five onwards, his hair was rather thin and quite white, and he was always clean-shaved as in the miniature. He continued to wear the frilled shirt and thick white neckties, but never wore any outer clothing but black, of the cut we now term a dresssuit, but the coat double-breasted, and the whole rather loose fitting. He also wore large shoes and black cloth gaiters out-of-doors. This dress he never altered, having at first one new suit a year, but latterly I think only one every second or third year; but he always had one for Sundays and visiting, which was kept in perfect order. The second was for everyday wear; and when gardening or doing any other work likely to be injurious to his clothes, I think I remember him wearing a thin home-made holland jacket and a gardener's apron.
In figure he was somewhat below the middle height. He
was fairly active and fond of gardening and other country
being sometimes a straw hat for use in the garden in Summer,
- In character he was quiet and even-tempered, very religious "...the orthodox Church-of-England way, and with such a *iance on Providence as almost to amount to fatalism. He was ind of reading, and through reading clubs or lending libraries we usually had some of the best books of travel or *graphy in the house. Some of these my father would read to us in the evening, and when Bowdler's edition of Shakespeare came out he obtained it, and often read a play * the assembled family. In this way I made my first *quaintance with Lear and Cordelia, with Malvolio and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, with the thrilling drama of the Mer*ant of Venice, with Hamlet, with Lady Macbeth, and other masterpieces. At one time my father wrote a good deal, and we were told it was a history of Hertford, or at other times some religious work; but they never got finished, and I do not think they would ever have been worth publishing, his character not leading him to do any such work with sufficient thoroughness. He dabbled a little in antiquities and in heraldry, but did nothing systematic, and though he had fair mental ability he possessed no special talent, either literary, artistic, or scientific. He sketched a little, but with a very weak and uncertain touch, and among his few scrap
and note-books that have been preserved, the “ *** WOL. I.
anything original except one or tw
o short poems in * special merit. these that my the best h written
“As on this archéd pile I lately strolled
ON THE CUSTOM observed IN WALEs of DRESSING To
“The sounding bell from yon white turret calls