Page images

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

[merged small][ocr errors][graphic]

was fairly active and fond of gardening and other country
occupations, such as brewing beer and making grape or elder
wine whenever he had the opportunity; and during some
years at Hertford he rented a garden about half a mile away,
in order to grow vegetables and have some wholesome exer-
tist. He had had some injury to one of his ankles which
often continued to trouble him, and gave him a slight lame-
mess, and in consequence of this he never took very long
Walks. He was rather precise and regular in his habits,
Wit and rather dignified in manners, and somewhat of what
* termed a gentleman of the old school. Of course, he
always wore a top-hat—a beaver hat as it was then called,
before silk hats were invented—the only other headgear

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
usual didactic style of the period, but of no
I will, however, give here the only two of
mother had preserved, and which are, no doubt,
products of his pen. They were evidently bo'
at Usk.

o short poems in * special merit. these that my the best h written

[ocr errors]

“As on this archéd pile I lately strolled
And viewed the tide that deep beneath it roll'd,
Eastward impetuous rushed the foamy wave,
Each quick ingulph'd—as mortals in the grave ;
All noisy, harsh, impetuous, was the roar,
Like the world's bustle—and as quickly o’er.
For when a few short steps I westward made
The river here a different scene displayed,
Its noisy roar seemed now a distant hum,
Calm was the surface—and the stream was dumb,
Silent though swift its course—and such I cried
The life of man In youth swoll'n high with pride,
The passions raging, noisy, foaming, bold,
Like the rough stream a constant tumult hold.
But when his steps turn towards the setting sun
And more than half his wayward course is run,
By age, and haply by religion's aid,
His pride subdued, his passions too allay’d,
With quiet pace—yet swiftly gliding, he
Rolls to the ocean of Eternity 1"


“The sounding bell from yon white turret calls
The villagers within those sacred walls,
And o'er the solemn precincts of the dead,
Where lists the church its grey time-honoured head,
That place of rest where parents, children, sleep,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap
Affection's hand hath gaily decked the ground
And spring's sweet gifts profusely scatter'd round.
Pleas'd memory still delights to linger here
And many a cheek is moistened with a tear.
The wife, the child, the parent, and the friend
In soft regret by these sweet trophies bend.
Nor let the selfish sneer, the proud upbraid,
The tribute thus by love, by duty paid,

« EelmineJätka »