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Title: Springtime and Other Essays
Author: Darwin, Francis, Sir, 1848-1925
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Springtime and Other Essays" ***

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                             AND OTHER ESSAYS

                          BY SIR FRANCIS DARWIN

                        AUTHOR OF “RUSTIC SOUNDS”
                             AND OTHER ESSAYS

                                * * * * *

                            WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

                                * * * * *

                    JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.


                          _All rights reserved_


SPRINGTIME                                          1
THOMAS HEARNE, 1678–1735                           29
RECOLLECTIONS                                      51
OLD INSTRUMENTS OF MUSIC                           71
SIR JOSEPH DALTON HOOKER                          115
A GREAT HOSPITAL                                  137
SIR GEORGE AIRY                                   161
SYDNEY SMITH                                      175
CHARLES DICKENS                                   199
A PROCESSION OF FLOWERS                           201


                                                     _To face page_
PSALTERY AND DULCIMER (_By kind permission of                       72
Messrs Cornish_)
THE CRWTH                                                           79
THE TROMBA MARINA                                                   81
RECORDERS                                                           84
PIBCORN OR HORN-PIPE                                                89

_The above illustrations are all taken from_ “_Old English Instruments of
            Music_,” _by the kind permission of Canon Galpin_.

                                 F. C. C.


    “Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year.”

                                                       —_Autolycus’ Song_.

Governesses used to tell us that the seasons of the year each consist of
three months, and of these March, April, and May make the springtime.  I
should like to break the symmetry, and give February to spring, which
would then include February, March, April, and May.  It has been said
that winter is but autumn “shyly shaking hands with spring.”  We will,
accordingly, make winter a short link of two months—an autumnal and a
vernal hand—December and January.  It is a little sad for autumn to have
to make room for chill November alongside of the happier months of
September and October.  But autumn is a season of decadence and cannot
justly complain.

The autumnal flowers, which may be allowed to figure as a prelude to
spring, are few in number.  My favourite is lady’s tresses
(_Spiranthes_), so called from the spiral twist in its inflorescence,
which suggests braided hair.  _Gentiana amarella_ I should like to
include, but its flowering-time is from 12th August to 8th September, and
summer has the stronger claim on it.  Other autumnal flowers are
laurustinus and ivy.  If we go by the mean date nothing flowers in
October or November, and in December only the Christmas rose (_Helleborus
niger_) is recorded by Blomefield.

But the autumn months have a glory of their own which may vie with the
brightest hues of flowers.  This great and beautiful panorama begins with
the yellowing of the lime-leaves, which may occur as early as 17th
August, but on the average is seen on 14th September.  It is followed
towards the end of September by a brown tint, showing itself in the
leaves of the horse-chestnut.  It is appropriate that these two species,
which are not indigenous, {2} should be the first to fade into glory.
But I must not insist on the point, for we see wych-elm leaves fall 24th
September, while the date for the common elm is 28th October; and the elm
is a foreigner compared to the wych-elm, and retains a mark of its alien
origin in not setting seeds.

The syringa (_Philadelphus_) is another foreigner, which early shows
autumnal tints—yellowing on 27th September.  Then follow some native
trees: the beech and birch both turning yellow on 1st October, and being
followed by the maple on 7th October.  I like the motherliness of the
half-grown beech, who refuses to drop her dead leaves in autumn, hoping
(as I imagine) that they will shelter her tender leaves in the chilly
springtime.  The older beeches give up this anxious care, and doubtless
laugh among themselves over the fussiness of young mothers.  They forget,
no doubt, that in the scrub at the feet of their own boles the habit

With regard to the fall of leaves, the sycamore begins to lose them 2nd
October; birch and cherry, 8th October; maple and walnut, 12th October;
aspen, 13th October; beech and elder, 13th October; ash, 14th October;
Lombardy poplar and Virginian creeper, 18th October; honeysuckle, 22nd
October; hazel, 26th October; elm, 28th October; whitethorn, 30th
October; plane, 3rd November.  Judging by a single observation of
Blomefield, the larch is the last performer in the drama of autumn.  It
turns yellow on 8th November, and its leaves fall 15th November.

Blomefield {3} records that on 29th November the trees are “everywhere
stript of leaves,” so that some sort of colour-drama has been in progress
from the middle of September to the end of November.  It may be objected
that what has been said of autumn is but a catalogue of names and dates.
And this is true enough; but when we realise the glory of autumnal
decadence, it seems (however baldly recounted) to be a fitting prelude to
the great outbreak of new life—green leaves and bright flowers that
spring gives us.

In Blomefield’s “Calendar” the difference between December and January is
exaggerated.  For, as it stands, it suggests that plants know that a new
year has begun, and all burst into flower on 1st January.  But that
careful naturalist points out {4a} “all those phenomena which are
referred to 1st January, as the earliest date, may be considered as
occasionally showing themselves in December of the previous year.”

The plants that bloom in winter, _i.e._ December and January, are few
enough.  The Christmas rose gives us its white or pink flowers in
December, and the primrose may flower in the first days of
January—indeed, I seem to remember it in Kent before Christmas, but I
will not answer for it.  According to Blomefield, the honour of being the
first plant to awake must be given to the honeysuckle (_Lonicera
caprifolium_), which unfolds its leaves between 1st January and 22nd
February, _i.e._ on 21st January on the average.  This bold behaviour is
all the more to its credit since it is said by Hooker {4b} to be a
naturalised plant.

Then follow in order the flowers of furze, hazel, winter aconite
(_Eranthis_), hellebore (_H. fœtidus_), daisy, and snowdrop; so that the
winter flowers make a most pleasant show, and tempt us to raise January
to the rank of the first month of springtime—but we must allow the credit
to be justly due to winter.  In winter, too, we must be grateful to the
ivy of the bare hedgerows shining in the sun, its leaves glistening like
the simple jewels of a savage.

With February, we are agreed that spring comes in, but it is a springtime
that keeps something of the graveness of winter: though, when the silver
sunshine begins to be decorated with the singing of birds, we must call
it spring.

In February, too, the roads are no longer edged with dead white grass,
but show the fresh green of wayside plants—cow-weed, nettle, dock, and

The trees still stand naked, their leaf-buds waiting for a better season.
I like to think of wintering plants not as being asleep, but rather as
silent.  They sing with all their green tongues when spring releases them
from the cupboards (which we call buds) where she has kept them safe.

The service-tree is a hardy creature, for its buds are naked and
unprotected, like Pampas Indians who are proud of sleeping uncovered, and
of seeing, as they rise, their forms outlined in the hoar-frost.  I have
only recently noticed the purple tint of alder-buds; {5} and I am
reminded of the character in _Cranford_, who needs Tennyson’s words
“Black as ash-buds in March” to teach him the fact.  Some trees show
their flowers early.  For instance, the hanging tassels of the hazel,
from which the dusty pollen can be shaken out, and the tiny red tufts
which are all the female flower has to show.  The alder, too, has a brave
crowd of lambs’ tails.  The elm should flower about the middle of March,
and its pink stamens make a pleasant sight.  These plants are called
anemophilous—that is, _wind-loving_, as though grateful to the wind for
carrying their pollen without payment.  I can imagine that the plants
employing insects to carry pollen from one to another feel superior to
the wind-fertilised clan.  We may fancy the duckweed (speaking of the
pine) to say: “Of course, he is very big and of an ancient family, but
for that very reason he is primitive in his habits.  I know he boasts
that he employs the winds of heaven as marriage priests, but we are
served by the animal kingdom in our unions—and that, you must allow, is
something to be proud of.” {6}  But duckweeds grow so crowded together
that they are probably fertilised, to a great extent, by contact with
their neighbours, without aid from the animal kingdom.  We may also
imagine the duckweed reproving the pine for his extravagance in the
matter of pollen production.  This, however, is necessary, because the
pollen being sown broadcast by the wind, it is a matter of chance whether
or not a grain reaches the stigma of its own species, and the chance of
its doing so is clearly increased by multiplying the number of
pollen-grains produced.  Enormous quantities of the precious dust are
wasted by this prodigality.  We read of pollen swept from the decks of
ships, or coating with a yellow scum lakes hidden among Tyrolean
pinewoods.  Pollen is so largely dispersed in the air that it has been
supposed to be a cause of hay-fever.

Blackley found, by means of a sticky plate, which could be exposed and
covered again, when raised high in the air on a kite, that pollen is
dispersed to considerable altitudes.  Wherever vegetable _débris_
collects, pollen-grains may be found.  Kerner found them, together with
wind-borne seeds and scales of butterflies’ wings, sticking to the ice in
remote Alpine glaciers.

Another characteristic of wind-borne pollen is dryness or dustiness; the
grains are smooth, not sculptured like the pollen meant to be carried by
insects; nor are they sticky or oily, as is often the case with
entomophilous pollen.  The advantage to the plan is obvious; the grains,
from the absence of the burr-like quality, or of any other kind of
adhesiveness, do not tend to hold together in clumps, but separate easily
from one another, and float all the more easily. {7}

Several adaptations are found to favour the dispersal of the pollen.
Wind-fertilised plants are generally tall; thus in Europe, at least, the
commonest representatives of the class are shrubs or trees—witness the
fir-trees, yew, juniper, oak, hazel, birch.  And where the plants are
lowly—_e.g._, grasses and sedges, and the plantains—the flowers are more
or less raised up on the haulm.  An exception must be made of some
water-plants—_e.g._, the Potamogetons, where the flower-stalk is but
slightly raised above the surface.

Wind-fertilised plants have many characteristics which favour the
dispersal of the pollen.  The grasses have long pendent stamens, and
versatile anthers, from which the pollen is easily shaken out by the
wind.  There are, of course, exceptions to these generalisations.  Such
plants as Hippuris and Salicornia have no particular adaptations: the
filaments are short, and the plants themselves are not of sufficient
height to be able to scatter forth their pollen efficiently by the mere
bending of their stems.  The need for exposure to the wind is shown in
another way—namely, by the habit of the Cupuliferæ (oak, hazel, etc.), of
flowering before the leaves appear; this not only favours the start of
the pollen on its flight, but is probably still more useful in increasing
its chance of reaching the stigma.

If the pollen is exposed to the wind it will be liable to be wetted and
injured.  Catkins—such as those of the walnut or hazel—give some
protection to the pollen, since the stamens are covered in by tile-like
scales; but where—as in the grasses and plantains—the anthers hang far
out of the flowers, the pollen is easily injured.  Some of the cereals
protect themselves against injury by means of a remarkably rapid growth
of the filaments; thus the anthers remain hidden within the flowers until
the last moment, and, under the influence of a warm sunny morning,
rapidly protrude themselves.  If the scales of the flower are
artificially separated, the growth can be produced by warmth and
moisture; Askenasy describes a trick of country children, who put ears of
rye in their mouths and thus produce a miraculous growth of stamens.  The
growth or rapid turgescence takes place, according to the same writer, at
the pace of one millimetre in three minutes.

The explosive male flowers of the nettle have a somewhat similar meaning.
The young stamen is bent so that the upper end of the anther touches the
base of the filament.  On the inner concave side of the stamen are large
cells, whose turgescence tends to unfold the filament: I do not know by
what means the unfolding is prevented, but whatever the cause may be, it
is at last overcome and the stamen uncurls with a jerk, and scatters
forth the pollen.  Here, as in the rye, the pollen is protected until the
actual moment when it starts on its voyage through the air.

Another of the Nettle tribe, _Pilea serpyllifolia_—a plant often
cultivated in our greenhouses—is also explosive, and its little puffs of
smoke-like pollen have gained for it the popular name of the artillery
plant.  Its power of explosion must be of value to it as counterbalancing
the disadvantage, to a wind-fertilised plant, of such a lowly habit.

The adaptations found in the female organs are chiefly such as increase
the surface capable of receiving the pollen, and therefore increase the
chance of fertilisation.  A big stigmatic surface is common: not only is
the receptive part of the style large, but it usually bears very large
stigmatic papillæ, which gives a velvety hoary look to this type of
stigma.  In the grasses the three divisions of the stigma are always more
or less conspicuous; and reach a climax, in this respect, in the huge
beard-like tangle of the maize.

Some of the most interesting cases of wind fertilisation are those in
which an isolated instance occurs in a Natural Order otherwise served by
insects.  Thus in the Rosaceæ, _Poterium sanguisorba_ is wind fertilised,
and has long pendent stamens, and a tufted stigma; while the closely
allied _Sanguisorba officinalis_, although it secretes nectar (and this
can only mean that it hopes to attract insects), retains the tufted
stigma of its anemophilous relatives.

In the case of the Kerguelen cabbage (_Pringlea antiscorbutica_), the
cause of its degeneration seems to be the want of winged insects on the
wind-blown shores on which it grows.  It has acquired some anemophilous
characters—_e.g._, increased stigmatic surface and exserted anthers.  Its
flowers are inconspicuous like those of wind-fertilised plants in
general, and it seems in fair way to lose its petals altogether—many
flowers only retaining a single one.  The entomophilous ancestry of
Pringlea is clearly shown by the occasional remnants of coloured markings
in the petals, like those which in other flowers serve as finger-posts to
visiting-insects, and are called nectar-guides.

But these are digressions—sidepaths of tempting detail which have lured
me from the straight highway.  However, they have brought me back to the
main road.

In Blomefield’s _Observations in Natural History_ (p. 332), he points out
that “however much the seasons may differ in different years, the
phenomena generally follow one another in the same order.  And it follows
that those which occur together any one year, will occur at or nearly
[at] the same time every other.”  This indeed is what we might expect,
from the circumstances of any interruption in the time of their
occurrence, due to seasonal influence, necessarily affecting them all
equally.  One of the examples by which he supports his view is the
parallel behaviour of the ground-ivy (_Nepeta Glechoma_) and the
box-tree, whose flowers appear simultaneously on 3rd April, as an average
date; while in a certain backward year they flowered later, but still
close together—namely, 20th April and 19th April.  There is to me an
especial charm in these duets.  Thus I like to imagine that the larch is
waiting to put on its new green clothes till it hears the black-cap.  Or
is it that the larch rules the orchestra, and with his green baton
signals to the songster to strike into the symphony? {11}

Shakespeare is right to make the daffodil come before the swallow dares,
since according to Blomefield the average of seventeen annual
observations gives 12th March for the daffodil’s flowering-day, and the
swallow does not appear till 9th April at the earliest.  Browning, too,
is scientifically safe in letting his chaffinch sing now “that the lowest
boughs and the brushwood sheaf round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf.”
Indeed, the most dilatory chaffinch must have been singing since 19th
February, and in fortunate seasons might have been heard on 7th January.
A floral calendar may be useful as an interpreter in antiquarian
problems.  Thus Blomefield {12a} says that “the _flos-cuculi_, or
cuckoo-flower of the older botanists, was so called from its opening its
flowers about the time of the cuckoo’s commencing his call.”  The
botanist referred to may have been Gerarde, and the flower seems to be
_Cardamine pratensis_, known as lady’s smock, also as the cuckoo-flower.
Now the cuckoo begins his song (as the average of Blomefield’s seventeen
years’ observation near Cambridge) on 29th April, {12b} and lady’s smock
blossoms 19th April. {12c}  The coincidence is but moderate, but it is
cheering to find in Gilbert White’s _Calendar_, with its earlier South
Country dates, that the events occur together: lady’s smock, 6th to 20th
April; cuckoo, 7th to 26th April.

Wood-sorrel (_Oxalis acetosella_) was known as cuckoo-sorrel by the
Saxons.  In Stillingfleet’s _Calendar of Flora_ (1755), it is said to
flower on 16th April, and the cuckoo to begin his song on 17th April.  It
is pleasant to find, in a Swedish calendar of flora, that the cuckoo
sings on 12th May, and the wood-sorrel flowers on 13th May.  _Lychnis
flos-cuculi_, the ragged robin, flowers on 19th May, and seems to have no
kind of right to the name of a cuckoo-flower, though Gerarde remarks that
it “flowers in April and May, when the cuckoo doth begin to sing her
pleasant notes without stammering.” {12d}

I remember being told by a physician that a celebrated Polish violinist
in his old age could not bear the sound of concerted music, but he would
weep over a musical score of which he said, “These beggars don’t play out
of tune.”  This is also true of the great symphony of colour which the
springtime unfolds.  The trees are double-basses, and doubtless some are
contra-fagotti, though I confess that I cannot speak positively on this
point.  Then come a mass of beautiful shrub-like plants which make up the
rest of the string-band.  As one who loves wind-instruments, I like to
think that the flutes, oboes, and clarinets are the flowers of my vernal
orchestra, decorating the great mass of stringed instruments with streaks
and flames of colour.

In real music, we cannot say why certain sounds make an appropriate
opening for a symphony; nor can we understand why the chorus of flowers
should (as above pointed out) be led by mezereon (_Daphne mezereum_),
followed by furze, hazel, the daisy, and the snowdrop.

Of course, their dates are not rigorously fixed: the plants just referred
to vary in their dates of flowering in the following way:

  Mezereon, 11th January to 2nd February;

  Furze, 1st January to 4th April;

  Hazel, 1st January to 20th February;

  Snowdrop, 18th January to 16th February;

the mean dates being: mezereon, 22nd January; furze, 24th January; hazel,
26th January; snowdrop, 30th January.  One cause of variation in the date
of flowering is temperature, and in the early months of the year this is
probably the principal cause.  Temperature must in the same way affect
the flowering of summer plants, though the result is not so striking as
in the springtime.  In my article “A Procession of Flowers” (in this
volume) I have given the range of the dates of flowering for different

The spring is the happiest season for those who love plants, who delight
to watch and record the advent of old friends as the great procession of
green leaves and beautiful flowers unwinds itself with a glory which no
familiarity can tarnish.

I cannot resist giving the names of some of the flowers that make this
familiar show that February and March give us.  Field-speedwell
(_Veronica agrestis_), butcher’s broom, _Pyrus japonica_, primrose, red
dead-nettle, crocus, dandelion, periwinkle, celandine, marsh-marigold,
sweet violet, ivy-leaved veronica, daffodil, white dead-nettle,
colt’s-foot (_Tussilago farfara_), dog’s mercury, buttercup (_Ranunculus
repens_), hyacinth, almond-tree, gooseberry, wood-sorrel, ground-ivy,
wall-flower.  The order in which they occur is taken from the mean dates
of flowering given by Blomefield.  To a lover of plants, this commonplace
list will, I hope, be what a score is to a musician, and will recall to
him some of the charm of the orchestra of living beauty that springtime


To some readers the personality of the characters in fiction is
everything, and the names under which they appear of no importance.  This
is doubtless a rational position, but to me, and I think to many other
novel-readers, the names which our imaginary friends and enemies bear is
a matter of the greatest interest.  To us it seems unbearable to have a
Mr B. as a principal character, and the same objection applies to the
names of places—“the little town of C. near the cathedral town of D.” is
too depressing.  Trollope, who does not rank high as a name-artist,
entirely satisfies us with his Barchester and its Bishop Proudie and
Archdeacon Grantley.  George Eliot, too, has been able in the case of
Stonyshire and Loamshire to give convincing names to counties, and never
offends in the names of her characters, though they have no especial

In some cases it is hard to say whether or no a given name is
appropriate.  In Jane Austen’s books, for instance, we have grown up in
familiarity with the characters and we cannot associate them with others.
It would be unbearable to have Emma’s lover called Mr William Larkins and
his servant George Knightley.  And this is not merely the result of old
acquaintance; there is, I cannot doubt, a real dignity in one name and a
touch of comedy in the other.  For this statement one can but rely on
instinct, but a real William Larkins (and I must apologise to him if he
exists) will doubtless take a different view of the matter.

But Jane Austen, like George Eliot, makes no pretence to be an artist in
nomenclature.  She merely aims, I imagine, at names which, without being
colourless, are free from meaning and in every way possible.

Thackeray is the outstanding instance of a novelist who makes a fine-art
of nomenclature.  With him there is an obvious delight in coining names.
Thus there would be no harm in Clive Newcome going to Windsor and
Newton’s shop to buy paint brushes, but Thackeray sends him to Messrs
Soap and Isaac—a parody of that highly respectable firm which always
pleases me.

I have with some little labour made a rough index of _Vanity Fair_, and I
find in the second volume (which is probably a fair sample of the names
in the whole book) that there are 247 names.  The author evidently takes
a delight in their invention.  For instance, at one of Becky’s great
dinner parties (vol. ii., p. 172), the eminent guests who come in after
dinner are principally cheeses {16}—Duchess (Dowager) of Stilton, Duc de
la Gruyère, Marchioness of Cheshire, Marchese Alessandro Strachino, Comte
de la Brie, Baron Schapzuger.  The list also contains the name of
Chevalier Tosti, who, I take it, is toasted cheese.

The titles he gives to business firms are not always complimentary.  For
instance, we have (vol. ii., p. 283) the case of poor Mr Scape, who was
ruined by entering the great Calcutta house of Fogle, {17a} Fake and
Cracksman.  Both Fogle and Fake had left the firm with large fortunes,
“and Sir Horace Fogle is about to be raised to the peerage as Baron

A similar type of name is the title of Becky’s solicitors, Messrs Burke,
Thurtell and Hayes, {17b} who forced the Insurance Company to pay the
amount for which poor Jos Sedley’s life had been insured (vol. ii., p.
391).  It is interesting to find (vol. ii., p. 341) that the author
introduces himself in the person of Mr Frederick Pigeon, who “lost eight
hundred pounds to Major Loder and the Honourable Mr Deuceace.”  This may
remind us of Thackeray’s own loss of £1500 in a similar way (_Dict. of
Nat. Biog._).  In some instances the author evidently could not take the
trouble to coin effective names, as for instance in his reference to the
firm of Jones, Brown and Robinson {18} (vol. ii., p. 130).  A member of
this firm became 1st Baron Helverlyn, when he altered his name to Johnes.
His unfortunate daughter became the wife of Lord Gaunt.  The subsidiary
titles of this nobleman are pleasant—Viscount Hellborough, Baron Pitchley
and Grillsby.

Other firms are represented as purely Jewish, _e.g._, Mr Lewis
representing Mr Davids, and Mr Moss acting for Mr Manasseh, who
complimented Becky “upon the brilliant way in which she did business”
when she was making arrangements for Rawdon’s debts (vol. ii., p. 10).

There are many good names of shady people, _e.g._, Lady Crackenbury (vol.
ii., p. 140), whom Becky cut, and Mrs Washington White, to whom she “gave
the go-by in the Ring”; Mrs Chippenham (p. 160) and Mme de la
Cruchecassée are of the same type.  There is also Lady Slingstone, who
said that Lord Steyne was “really too bad,” but she went to his party.

Among the virtuous folks, I am particularly fond of Sir Lapin Warren
(vol. i., p. 207), whose lady was about to present him with a thirteenth
child.  A variant occurs in vol. ii., p. 286, where we read of “thirteen
sisters, daughters of a country curate, the Rev. Felix Rabbits.”

One might quote names for ever, but I must be satisfied with but a few

Among the professionally religious folks we have Rev. Lawrence Grills.
Among the fashionables Lady FitzWillis of the Kingstreet family;
Major-General and Lady Grizzel Macbeth (she had been Lady G. Glowry,
daughter of Lord Grey of Glowry {19}); and Mrs Hook Eagles, who
patronised Becky.

Names that seem to me bad are Fitzoof, Lord Heehaw’s son, Mrs Mantrap,
and Lord Claude Lollypop.  But there are innumerable other good ones:
Macmurdo, who was to have been Rawdon’s second in a duel with Lord
Steyne; Captain Papillon of the Guards, attending the young wife of old
Methuselah (a bad name); young May and his bride, “Mrs Winter that was,
and who had been at school with May’s grandmother.”

Viscount Paddington was a guest at Becky’s “select party” in May Fair.
Finally, the Earl of Portansherry and the Prince of the house of
Potztausand-Donnerwetter are good although obvious.

In _Pendennis_ are many good names.  Major Pendennis was proud of having
made up the quarrel between Lady Clapperton and her daughter Lady
Claudia.  Lady John Turnbull, who spoke such bad French.  Mr Kewsy, the
barrister.  Mr Sibwright, the luxurious young man in whose vacant chamber
Laura Bell slept during Pendennis’ illness.  The best of all names must
be given in Morgan’s own words, “Lord de la Pole, sir, gave him [a valet]
to his nephew young Lord Cubley, and he have been with him on his foring
tour, and not wishing to go to Fitzurse Castle, etc., etc.”

I must reluctantly leave Thackeray and consider a very different maker of
names, namely Dickens.  It is sometimes said that his names are not
invented but discovered by research.  In my son Bernard’s _A Dickens
Pilgrimage_ (_Times_ Series, 1914), he writes, p. 22: “Other people have
been before us in seeing that Mr Jasper keeps a shop in the High Street
of Rochester,” and that “Dorretts and Pordages are buried under the
shadow of the cathedral.”  He claims as his own the discovery that in the
churchyard of Chalk (near Rochester) there are “three tombstones standing
almost next door to one another and bearing a trinity of immortal names,
Twist, Flight, and Guppy.”  He adds that “the lady in _Bleak House_ spelt
her name Flite.”  I fail to believe that anybody was ever called
Pumblechook, and there are others equally impossible.  But the great name
of Pickwick is not an invention.  Mr Percy Fitzgerald {20} gives plenty
of evidence on this point, in a discussion suggested by the sacred name
being inscribed on the Bath coach, to Sam Weller’s indignation.  There
was, for instance, a Mr William Pickwick of Bath, who died in 1795.
Again, in 1807, the driver of “Mr Pickwick’s coach . . . was taken
suddenly and very alarmingly ill on Slanderwick Common.”  One member of
the family “entered the army, and for some reason changed his name to
Sainsbury.”  The object, as Mr Fitzgerald points out, is obvious enough.
Mr Fitzgerald mentions (p. 16) the curious fact that Mr Dickens (the son
of the author) once had to announce that he meant to call Mr Pickwick as
a witness in a case he was conducting.  The Judge made the characteristic
remark, “Pickwick is a very appropriate character to be called by

With regard to the name Winkle, I cannot agree with Mr Fitzgerald {21}
that Dickens took it from Washington Irving’s _Rip Van Winkle_.

Among the few names taken from real people is that of Mr Justice
Stareleigh, who is generally believed to be Mr Justice Gaselee.

Sergeant Buzfuz in the same trial is believed on the authority of Mr
Bompas to be Serjeant Bompas, the father of that eminent Q.C., but there
seems to be no evidence that it is a portrait.  In _Pickwick_ some of the
best names are those of various business firms, _e.g._, Bilson and Slum,
who were Tom Smart’s employers.  In the Judge’s chambers (which “are said
to be of specially dirty appearance”) was a crowd of unfortunate clerks
“waiting to attend summonses their employers had taken out, which it was
optional to the attorney on the opposite side to attend or not, and whose
business it was from time to time to cry out the opposite attorney’s
name.  For example, leaning against the wall . . . was an office lad of
fourteen with a tenor voice; near him a common law clerk with a bass one.
A clerk hurried in with a bundle of papers and stared about him.

“‘Sniggle and Blink,’ cried the tenor.

“‘Porkin and Snob,’ growled the bass.

“‘Stumpy and Deacon,’ said the newcomer.”

These are fairly good names, though they have not the touch of Thackeray.
I like the names of the chief heroes in the cricket match at Dingley
Dell.  Dumpkins and Podder went in first for All-Muggleton, the bowlers
on the other side being Struggles and Luffey.  These names are so
familiar that it is hard to judge them, but on the whole they seem to me
fairly good, as being slightly comic and not impossible.  But when we
come to Horatio Fizkin, Esq., of Fizkin Lodge, and Hon. Samuel Slumkey,
of Slumkey Hall, we are indeed depressed.  But there are worse names in
_Pickwick_.  When Mrs Nupkins and her daughter have discovered Captain
Fitz-Marshall to be a scamp: “How can we ever show ourselves in society?”
said Miss Nupkins.

“‘How can we face the Porkenhams?’ cried Mrs Nupkins.

“‘Or the Griggs?’ cried Miss Nupkins.

“‘Or the Slummintowkens?’ cried Mrs Nupkins.”

This last seems to me about as bad a name as any writer ever invented.
But Nockemorf, the name of Bob Sawyer’s predecessor in the apothecary
business, is almost equally tiresome in a different style.

Why he chose such names it is hard to say, since he certainly could
invent improbable names which are nevertheless appropriate.  For
instance, Smangle and Mivins are quite good names for the offensive
scamps on whom Mr Pickwick is “chummed” in the Fleet Prison.

Daniel Grummer, the name of Mr Nupkins’ tipstaff, is roughly of the same
type, and Wilkins Flasher, as an objectionable stockbroker is called, is
quite a passable name.  The only name in _Pickwick_ which is comparable
to those of Thackeray is Mrs Leo Hunter, while Count Smorltork, who
occurs in the same scene, is unbearable.  On the other hand, Captain
Boldwig is quite a good name.

I now pass to Sir Walter Scott.  It must be confessed that in the two
books chosen for analysis—_Guy Mannering_ and _The Antiquary_—he is
disappointing as an artist in nomenclature.  To begin with _Guy
Mannering_, it is impossible to imagine why he gave such a name as Meg
Merrilies to his magnificent heroine.  It suggests “merry lies,” and
makes us suspect that she was originally intended for a comic character.
{23}  And why, as she grew into a tragedy queen, he did not rename her I
cannot understand.  Fortunately he gave the colourless name Abel Sampson
to another great character—the immortal Dominie.  Again Dirk Hatteraick
is a passable name.  I cannot pretend to say whether it is a Dutch name,
but as Dirk uses German (of a sort) when not speaking English, we may
leave the question open.  Among the names which are clearly bad are: Sir
Thomas Kittlecourt, John Featherhead, Sloethorn (a wine merchant),
Mortcloke the undertaker, Quid the tobacconist, Protocol the lawyer, and
lastly the MacDingawaies, a Highland sept or clan.

The following seem to be bearable or fairly good, but I must confess to a
want of instinct as to Scotch names: MacGuffog, a constable, Macbriar,
Dandy Dinmont (although a _dinmont_ is the Scottish for “a wedder in the
second year”), MacCandlish.  On the whole, as far as _Guy Mannering_ is
concerned, the author gets but few good marks and many bad ones.

The same is, I fear, true of _The Antiquary_.  We find such bad names as
Rev. Mr Blattergowl of Trotcosey (vol. i., p. 208); Baron von
Blunderhaus; Dibble the gardener; Dousterswivel, the German or Dutch
swindler; the Earl of Glengibber; Goldiword, a moneylender; Dr
Heavysterne, from the Low Countries; Mr Mailsetter of the Post Office;
Sandie Netherstanes the miller; Jonathan Oldbuck, the hero of the book;
Sir Peter Pepperbrand of Glenstirym.  Of the name Strathtudlem I cannot
judge; it does not strike me as good, though possibly better than the
immortal Tillietudlem of _Old Mortality_.

There are, of course, a number of names which do not offend, but there
are few which are actually attractive.  Among the last-named class are
Edie Ochiltree, Francis of Fowlsheugh, Elspeth of Craigburnfoot, Lady
Glenallan, Francie Macraw, Ailison Breck, but among these Edie Ochiltree
is the only name which is undoubtedly in Class I.

It is disappointing to a lover of Sir Walter Scott to be obliged to show
that as an artist in names he ranks low.  But his sense of humour
occasionally fails in other matters.  I remember being reproved (when a
young man at Cambridge) for saying that Scott showed a want of humour in
Jeanie Deans’ letter to her father, in which she tells him that Effie has
been pardoned.  The author introduces in brackets: “Here follow some
observations respecting the breed of cattle, and the produce of the dairy
which it is our intention to forward to the Board of Agriculture.”  I
still think I was right, and that the eminent person who snubbed me was

Among the works of more modern writers I have analysed one of
Trollope’s—the _Small House at Allington_.  The names on the whole are
harmless and normal, such as Christopher Dale of Allington; Adolphus
Crosbie, the bad hero; Montgomerie Dobbs, his friend; Fothergill,
factotum to the Duke of Omnium, and many others.  Some names are only
saved by our familiarity with them, _e.g._, Lady Dumbello or the
above-mentioned Duke of Omnium. {25}  Among the fanciful names Mr
Fanfaron and Major Fiasco are in the bad rather than in the good class,
though if they had more appropriateness they might be passed.

The positively bad names are numerous enough—the Marquis of Auldreekie;
Basil and Pigskin, who keep a leather warehouse; Sir Raffle Buffle;
Chumpend, a butcher; Lady Clandidlem; the Rev. John Joseph Jones is
damned because he, an obvious Welshman, is described as of Jesus College
at Cambridge instead of Oxford.  Kissing and Love, two clerks in Johnny
Eames’ office, might have been passed had not the author gone out of his
way to refer to the lamentable jokes made in the office about them.  Mr
Optimist is an incredibly bad name, and the same may be said of Sir
Constant Outonites.  The physician, Sir Omicron Pi, {26} may have a
meaning of which I am ignorant.  I think Thackeray would have spelled it
Sir O’Micron Pye, which would have given a touch of reality.

There is one class of books which I have not noticed, namely, those in
which all or nearly all the characters have names with an obvious
meaning.  The great instance of this type is Bunyan’s _Pilgrim’s
Progress_, in which occur well-known names such as Mr Worldly Wiseman,
Faithful, Mr Facing-both-Ways, Lord Desire-of-Vain-Glory, etc.  There are
two exceptions in _The Pilgrim’s Progress_, namely Demas, which is taken
from 2 Timothy iv. 10, and Mnason (Acts xxi. 16).

An author of this type, with whom Bunyan would have objected to be
classed, is Sheridan.  In _The Rivals_ we have the immortal names of Sir
Anthony Absolute, Sir Lucius O’Trigger, Mrs Malaprop, and Lydia Languish.
Bob Acres has not so obvious a meaning, but is clearly meant to imply
rusticity.  The chief exception is Faulkland, and there are also David,
Julia, and Lucy.

In _St Patrick’s Day_ we have Dr Rosy, Justice Credulous, Sergeant
Trounce, Corporal Flint.  The hero, Lieutenant O’Connor, is the principal

Finally, in _The School for Scandal_, we have Sir Peter Teazle (which
suggests a prickly irritable nature), as well as names with a more
obvious meaning, _e.g._, Joseph Surface, Sir Benjamin Backbite, Snake,
Careless, Sir Harry Bumper, Lady Sneerwell, and Mrs Candour.

The other characters have names without meanings, _e.g._, Rowley, Moses,
Trip, and Maria.  The fact that the very different characters, Charles
and Joseph Surface, necessarily bear the same surname shows how difficult
it is to carry out a system such as that on which Sheridan’s nomenclature
is based.

THOMAS HEARNE, 1678–1735

To the everyday reader Thomas Hearne, if at all, is chiefly known by the
Diary which he kept for thirty years, viz., from 1705 when he was
twenty-seven years of age, until his death.  This, in 145 volumes, is
preserved in the Bodleian Library, and is, I believe, in course of
publication.  What I have to say is founded on Bliss’s _Reliquiæ
Hearnianæ_, {29a} which consists of extracts from the above-mentioned
diary.  Mr Bliss naturally selected passages referring to well-known
books or persons of note; but he was wise enough to include what a
pompous editor would have omitted as trifling.  It is these which are
especially valuable to one who tries to give a picture of Hearne’s simple
and lovable character.

The following account of Thomas Hearne, written by himself, is from the
Appendix to vol. i. of _The Lives of John Leland_, _Thomas Hearne_, _and
Anthony à Wood_, 1772. {29b}

Thomas was the son of George Hearne, Parish Clerk of White Waltham,
Berks.  He was born at Littlefield Green “within the said parish of White
Waltham.”  Thomas, “being naturally inclined to Learning, he soon became
Master of the English Tongue.” {30a}

Even when a boy Hearne was “much talked of,” and this “occasioned that
Learned Gentleman, Francis Cherry, {30b} Esq., to put him to the Free
School of Bray {30c} in Berks on purpose to learn the Latin Tongue, which
his Father was not entirely Master of; this was about the beginning of
the year 1693.”  “Not only the Master himself, but all the other Boys had
a very particular Respect for him, and could not but admire and applaud
his Industry and Application.

“Mr Cherry being fully satisfied of the great and surprising Progress he
had made, by the advice of that good and learned Man Mr Dodwell (who then
lived at Shottesbrooke), he resolved to take him into his own House,
which accordingly he did about Easter in 1795 {31} and provided for him
as if he had been his own Son.”

In the Easter Term 1696 he began life at Oxford as a Batteler of Edmund
Hall, where he was soon employed by the Principal in the “learned Works
in which he was engaged.”

“As soon as ever Mr Hearne had taken the Degree of Batchelor of Arts [in
Act Term 1699] he constantly went to the Bodleian Library every day, and
studied there as long as the time allowed by the Statutes would admit.”

This led to his being appointed Assistant Keeper of the Bodleian.

“Being settled in this employment, it is incredible what Pains he took in
regulating the Library, in order to which he examined all the printed
Books in it, comparing every Volume with Catalogue set out many years
before by Dr Hyde.”  It seems that this was very imperfect, and Hearne
supplied a new catalogue.  He afterwards dealt with the MSS. and the
collection of coins.

In 1703 he took his M.A., and was offered Chaplaincies at two Colleges,
but was not allowed to accept either of them.  In 1712 he became “Second
Keeper” of the Library.  This position he accepted on condition that he
might still be Janitor without the salary attaching to that position.  He
desired to retain the office because it gave him access to the Library at
all hours.  In 1713 he declined the Librarianship of the Royal Society.

In January 1714/15 his troubles began with his election as
“Architypographus and Superior or Esque Beadle in Civil Law.”  But after
he had been elected, the Vice-Chancellor appointed, as Architypographus,
a common printer, and Hearne resigned the Beadleship, but “continued to
execute the office of librarian as long as he could obtain access to the
library; but on 23rd January 1716, the last day fixed by the new Act for
taking the oaths to the Hanoverian Dynasty, he was actually prevented
from entering the library, and soon after formally deprived of his office
on the ground of ‘neglect of duty’” (_Dict. Nat. Biog._).

It is not necessary to follow in detail the ill-usage he received.  He
was afterwards treated with more consideration.  Thus in 1720 it appears
that he might have had the Camden Professorship of History, but again the
oaths stood in his way.  He also declined the living of Bletchley in
Buckinghamshire.  In 1729 he refused to be a candidate for the place of
Chief Keeper of the Bodleian Library.  In his own words “he retired to
Edmund-Hall, and lived there very privately . . . furnishing himself with
Books, partly from his Study, and partly by the help of friends.”

It is evident that his literary work was well remunerated, because a “sum
of money amounting to upwards of one thousand Pounds was found in his
Room after his decease.”  This statement, together with the date of his
death (10th June 1735), are clearly part of the design to conceal the
authorship of the biography.

In the following pages I have chosen what seem to me to be interesting
extracts from Hearne’s Diary, which begins 4th July 1705, and concludes
1st June 1735.  I shall give what especially illustrates the conditions
of life at Oxford from the beginning of the eighteenth century until the
date of the author’s death.

There was plenty of barbarism remaining in Oxford life, for instance, 4th
September 1705:—

“The Book called _The Memorial_ was burnt last Saturday at the Sessions
house, by the hands of the common hang-man, and this week the same will
be done at the Royal Exchange and Palace-Yard, Westminster.”  In the same
month, however, we find pleasanter record, _e.g._, the first mention of
one who (though I think they never met) became his most valued

“Last night I was with Mr Wotton (who writ the _Essay on Ancient and
Modern Learning_) at the tavern. . . .  Mr Wotton told me Mr Baker of St
John’s College, Cambridge, had writ the history and antiquities of that
college; and that he is in every way qualified (being a very industrious
and judicious man) to write the hist. and antiq. of that university.”

Thomas Baker, b. 1656, d. 1740, was a Fellow of St John’s College,
Cambridge, but on the accession of George I. he would not take the oath
of allegiance and lost his Fellowship.  The College, however, treated him
with consideration and he was allowed to remain as a _commoner-master_
until his death.  He worked indefatigably, and gained the deserved
“reputation of being inferior to no living English scholar in his minute
and extended acquaintance with the antiquities of our national history”
(_Dict. Nat. Biog._).

There is often a pleasant irrelevance in Hearne’s Diary.  For instance:—

18_th Oct._ 1705.—“Mr Lesley was in the public library this afternoon,
with some Irish ladies.  He goes under the name of _Smith_.”

I like the following outburst on the value of books:—

2_nd Nov._ 1705.—“Narcissus March, Archbishop of Armagh, gave 2500 libs
for Bishop Stillingfleet’s library which, like that of Dr Isaac Vossius,
was suffered to go out of the nation to the eternal scandal and reproach
of it.  The said archbishop has built a noble repository for them.”

6_th Nov._ 1705.—“Mr Pullen, of Magd. hall, last night told me that there
was once a very remarkable stone in Magd. hall library, which was
afterwards lent to Dr Plot, who never returned it, replying, when he was
asked for it, that _’twas a rule amongst antiquaries to receive_, _and
never restore_.”

This was the more reprehensible in Dr Plot (1640–1696) inasmuch as he had
been bred at Magdalen Hall.  He was the author of _A Natural History of
Oxfordshire_, and also of Staffordshire.  The latter is apparently the
better of the two, but it does not speak well for his sources of
information that it should have been “a boast among the Staffordshire
squires, to whom he addressed his enquiries, how readily they had
‘humbugged old Plot.’”  He was appointed Secretary to the Royal Society
in 1682.  He was also the first custos of Ashmole’s Museum, which could
not have been an easy office since “twelve cartloads of Trades cant’s
rarities” arrived in Oxford to form its nucleus.  (_Dict. Nat. Biog._).

18_th Nov._ 1705.—“When sir Godfrey Kneller (as Dr Hudson informs me)
came to Oxon, by Mr Pepys’s order, to draw Dr Wallis’s picture, he, at
dinner with Dr Wallis, was pleased to say, upon the Dr’s questioning the
_legitimacy of the prince of Wales_, that he did not in the least doubt
but he was the son of King James and queen Mary; and to evince this he
added, that upon the sight of the picture of the prince of Wales, sent
from Paris into England, he was fully satisfied of what others seemed to
doubt so much.  For, as he further said, he had manifest lines and
features of both in their faces, which he knew very well, having drawn
them both several times.”

18_th Nov._ 1705.—“After Mr Walker was turned out of University coll. for
being a papist, he lived obscurely in London, his chief maintenance being
from the contributions of some of his old friends and acquaintance;
amongst whom was Dr Radcliff, who (out of a grateful remembrance of
favours received from him in the college) sent him once a year a new suit
of cloaths, with ten broad pieces, and a dozen bottles of the richest
Canary to support his drooping spirits.  This, Dr Hudson (from whom I
received this story) was informed by Dr Radcliff himself.”

9_th Dec._ 1705, p. 78.—“To show that the Dutchess of Marlborough
(commonly called _Queen Zarah_) has the ascendant over the queen. . . .
When prince George (who is lookt upon as a man of little spirit and
understanding) sollicited the queen, his wife, for a place for some
friend of his, Zarah, who happened to be by at that time, cryed out,
_Christ_! _madam_! _I am promised it before_!”

30_th Jan._ 1705–6.—“Mr Thwaits tells me that the dean of Christ Church
(Mr Aldrich) formerly drew up an epitome of heraldry for the use of some
young gentlemen under his care. . . .  He says ’twas done very well, and
the best in its nature ever made.”

26_th April_ 1705–6.—“Mr Grabe created D.D.; Dr Smalrich presented him
with a cap, and after that with a ring, signifying that the universitys
of Oxford and Francfurt were now joyned together, and become two sisters;
and that they might be the more firmly united together, as well in
learning as religion, he kissed Mr Grabe.”

This is of interest as showing that the custom of giving rings at the
conferring of honorary degrees existed in England, as it does to this day
at Upsala.

The following extract illustrates what we should now consider great
license in the matter of smoking:

“When the bill for security of the church of England was read . . . Dr
Bull sate in the lobby of the house of lords all the while, smoking his

31_st March_ 1708–9.—“We hear from Yeovill in Somersetshire by very good
hands of a woman covered with snow for at least a week.  When found she
told them that she had layn very warm, and had slept most part of the

A well-known case of the same sort is described in Gunning’s
_Reminiscences_ (1854).

22_nd April_ 1711.—“There is a daily paper comes out called _The
Spectator_, written, as is supposed, by the same hand that writ the
_Tatler_, viz. Captain Steel.  In one of the last of these papers is a
letter written from Oxon, at four o’clock in the morning, and subscribed
_Abraham Froth_.  It ridicules our hebdomadal meetings.  The _Abraham
Froth_ is designed for _Dr Arthur Charlett_, an empty, frothy man, and
indeed the letter personates him incomparably well, being written, as he
uses to do, upon great variety of things, and yet about nothing of
moment.  Queen’s people are angry at it, and the common-room say there,
’tis silly, dull stuff; and they are seconded by some that have been of
the same college.  But men that are indifferent commend it highly, as it

17_th Nov._ 1712.—“On Thursday last (13th Nov.), duke Hamilton and the
Lord Mohun being before Mr Oillabar, one of the masters of Chancery,
about some suit depending between them, and some words arising, a
challenge was made between these two noble men, and the duell was fought
on Saturday (15th Nov.) in the Park.  My lord Mohun was killed on the
spot, and the duke so wounded that he died before he got home.  This lord
Mohun should have been hanged some years agoe for murder, which he had
committed divers times.”

24_th Nov._—. . .  “The duke having given Mohun his mortal wound, and
taking him up in his arms, as soon as Makartney saw it, he and col.
Hamilton fell to it; but Hamilton, though he was wounded by Makartney in
the leg, disarmed Makartney, and threw his sword from him, and
immediately went to Mohun to endeavour also to recover him.  Mean time
Makartney (who is a bloudy, ill man) runs and takes up his sword, comes
to the duke, and gives him his mortal wound, of which the duke dyed
before he could get home.”

It is of some interest to compare the above with Thackeray’s account of
the duel in _Esmond_, book iii., chap. v.—

“’Twas but three days after the 15th November 1712 (Esmond minds him well
of the date), that he went by invitation to dine with his General
(Webb).”  At the end of the feast Swift rushes to say that Duke Hamilton
had been killed in a duel.  “They fought in Hyde Park just before

When I read the story in _Esmond_ I was naturally struck by Thackeray’s
making the duel occur three days after 15th November instead of on that
day.  I applied to my friend Dr Henry Jackson, who pointed out that the
apparent error arises from the absence of a comma.  The above passage
should run:—

“It was about three days after, the 15th of November 1712 (Esmond minds
him well of the date), that he went, etc.”  This makes Thackeray’s
account agree with Hearne’s.  Dr Jackson has pointed out to me that the
duel was fought at 7 A.M., not just before sunset as Swift is made to
declare.  The evidence is in Swift’s Journal to Mrs Dingley, of which
extract Charles John Smith gave a facsimile in his _Historical and
Literary Curiosities_, 1840:—

    “Before this comes to your Hands, you will have heard of the most
    terrible Accident that hath almost ever happened.  This morning at 8,
    my men brought me word that D. Hamilton had fought with Ld. Mohun and
    killed him and was brought home wounded.  I immediately sent him to
    the Duke’s house in St James’s Square, but the porter could hardly
    answer for tears and a great Rabble was about the House.  In short
    they fought at 7 this morning the Dog Mohun was killed on the spot,
    and wile (_sic_) the Duke was over him Mohun shortening his sword
    stabbed him in at the shoulder to the heart the Duke was helpt
    towards the lake house by the Ring in the park (where they fought),
    {39} and dyed in the Grass before he could reach the House and was
    brought home in his Coach by 8, while the poor Dutchess was asleep. .
    . .  I am told that a footman of Ld. Mohun’s stabbd D. Hamilton; and
    some say Mackartney did so too.  Mohun gave the affront and yet sent
    the Challenge.  I am infinitly concerned for the poor Duke who was a
    frank honest good natured man, I loved him very well and I think he
    loved me better.

                                                             JONAT. SWIFT.

    “LONDON, 15_th Nov._ 1712.”

I insert the following extract as it records what was of great importance
to Hearne personally, since he refused to recognise George I. as the
legitimate monarch.

3_rd Aug._ 1714.—“On Sunday morning (Aug. 1st) died queen Anne, about 7
o’clock.  She had been taken ill on Friday immediately before.  Her
distemper an apoplexy, or, as some say, only convulsions.  She was
somewhat recovered, and then made Shrewsbury lord treasurer.  On Sunday
last, in the afternoon, George Lewis, elector of Brunswick, was
proclaimed in London King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, by
virtue of an act of parliament, by which those that are much nearer to
the crown by bloud are excluded.”

The following extract illustrates the feeling in Oxford under the first
Hanoverian sovereign.  Very few, however, showed Hearne’s consistent and
courageous Jacobinism:—

29_th May_ 1715.—“Last night a good part of the presbyterian
meeting-house in Oxford was pulled down.  There was such a concourse of
people going up and down, and putting a stop to the least sign of
rejoycing, as cannot be described.  But then the rejoycing this day
(notwithstanding Sunday) was so very great and publick in Oxford, as hath
not been known hardly since the restauration.  There was not an house
next the street but was illuminated.  For if any disrespect was shown,
the windows were certainly broke.  The people run up and down, crying
_King James the third_!  _The true King_!  _No usurper_!  _The duke of
Ormond_! and healths were everywhere drank suitable to the occasion, and
every one at the same time drank to a new restauration, which I heartily
wish may speedily happen.”

I give the following extract as a record of the dinner hour in Oxford in

24_th April_ 1717.—“On Sunday morning last (being Easter-day) Dr
Charlett, master of University college, sent his man to invite me to
dinner that day.  I sent him word that I was engaged, as indeed I was.
Yesterday he sent again.  I sent word I would wait upon him.  Accordingly
I went at twelve o’clock.  When I came I found nobody with him but Mr
Collins, of Magdalen coll., whom he had also invited.” {41}

Here is an interesting scrap of history:—

19_th April_ 1718.—“. . .  King William the Conqueror’s beard alwayes
shaven, for so was the custome of the Norman.  Thus were the Englishmen
forced to imitate the Normans in habit of apparell, shaving off their
beards, service at the table, and in all other outward gestures.  The
English before did not use to shave their upper lips.”

11_th Nov._ 1720.—“Dr Wynne. . . .  This worthy doctor was the man also
that put a stop to the selling of fellowships in All Soul’s college, as I
have often heard him say; and I have as often heard him likewise say,
that he always voted for the poorest candidaters for fellowships in that
college, provided they were equally qualified in other respects; a thing
not practised now.”

Here is a pleasant inversion of the relation between boy and

21_st Jan._ 1718–19.—“I remember that I heard formerly Tom Rogers, who
was yeoman beadle, say, that when he was that year, when the plague
raged, a school-boy at Eaton, all the boys of that school were obliged to
smoak in the school every morning, and that he was never whipped so much
in his life as he was one morning for not smoaking.”

27_th Feb._ 1722–23.—“It hath been an old custom in Oxford for the
scholars of all houses, on Shrove Tuesday, to go to dinner at ten o’clock
(at which time the little bell, called _pan-cake bell_, rings, or at
least should ring, at St Maries), and at four in the afternoon; and it
was always followed in Edmund hall, as long as I have been in Oxford,
till yesterday, when they went to dinner at twelve, and to supper at six,
nor were there any fritters at dinner, as there used always to be.  When
laudable old customs alter, ’tis a sign learning dwindles.”

I hope that modern Oxford has returned to pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.

There is a pleasant touch of mediævalness in the following:—

10_th July_ 1723.—“There are two fairs a year at Wantage, in Berks, the
first on 7th July, being the translation of St Thomas à Becket, and the
second on the 6th of October, being St Faith’s day.  But this year, the
7th of July being a Sunday, the fair was kept last Monday, and ’twas a
very great one; and yesterday it was held too, when there was a very
great match of backsword or cudgell playing between the hill-country and
the vale-country, Berkshire men being famous for this sport or

The following account makes one inclined to sympathise with Hearne’s
avoidance of travelling:—

21_st Sept._ 1723.—“They wrote from Dover, Sept. 14, that the day before,
col. Churchill, with two other gentlemen, arrived there from Calais, by
whom they received the following account, viz., that on Thursday morning
last, Mr Seebright and Mr Davis being in one chair, and Mr Mompesson and
a servant in another chaise, with one servant on horseback, pursuing
their way to Paris, were, about seven miles from Calais, attacked by six
ruffians, who demanded the three hundred guineas which they said were in
their pockets and portmanteaus.  The gentlemen readily submitted, and
surrendered the money; yet the villains, after a little consultation,
resolved to murder them, and thereupon shot Mr Seebright thro’ the heart,
and gave the word for killing the rest: then Mr Davis, who was in the
chaise with him, shot at one of them, missed the fellow, but killed his
horse; upon which he was immediately killed, being shot and stabb’d in
several places.  Mr Mompesson and the two servants were likewise soon
dispatched in a very barbarous manner.  During this bloudy scene, Mr John
Locke coming down a hill within sight of them, in his return from Paris,
the ruffians sent two of their party to meet and kill him; which they did
before the poor gentleman was apprized of any danger; but his man, who
was a Swiss, begging hard for his life, was spared.  This happening near
a small village where they had taken their second post, a peasant came by
in the interim, and was also murdered.  They partly flead, and otherwise
mangled, the horse that was killed, to prevent its being known; so that
’tis believed they did not live far from Calais.  The unfortunate
gentlemen afore mentioned, not being used to travel, had unwarily
discovered at Calais what sums they had about them, by exchanging their
guineas for Louis d’ors, which is supposed to have given occasion to this
dismal tragedy.”

27_th July_ 1726.—“This is the day kept in honour of the Seven Sleepers,
so called, because in the reign of Theodosius the second, about the year
449, when the resurrection (as we have it from Greg. Turon.) came to be
doubted by many, seven persons, who had been buried alive in a cave at
Ephesus by Decius the emperor, in the time of his persecution against the
Christians, and had slept for about 200 years, awoke and testified the
truth of this doctrine, to the great amazement of all.”

In the following passage Hearne shows (as in some other instances) a
certain antagonism to Sir Isaac Newton.  I hope, however, that he was
impressed by what he quotes from the _Reading Post_, viz. that “six noble
peers supported the pall” at the funeral.

“Sir Isaac Newton had promised to be a benefactor to the Royal society,
but failed.  Some time before he died, a great quarrel happened between
him and Dr Halley, so as they fell to bad language.  This, ’tis thought,
so much discomposed Sir Isaac as to hasten his end.  Sir Isaac died in
great pain, though he was not sick, which pain proceeded from some inward
decay, as appeared from opening him.  He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
Sir Isaac was a man of no promising aspect.  He was a short well-set man.
He was full of thought, and spoke very little in company, so that his
conversation was not agreeable.  When he rode in his coach, one arm would
be out of the coach on one side, and the other on the other.”

25_th April_ 1727.—“Mr West tells me, in a letter from London of the 22nd
inst., that being lately in Cambridgeshire, he spent two days in that
university, both which times he had the pleasure of seeing my friend Mr
Baker, who was pleased to walk with him, and shew him his college, the
library, etc.  What hath been given to the library by Mr Baker himself,
is no small addition to it; Mr Baker being turned out of his fellowship
for his honesty and integrity (as I have also lost my places for the same
reason, in not taking the wicked oaths), writes himself in all his books
_socius ejectus_.  His goodness and humanity are as charming, to those
who have the happiness of his conversation, as his learning is profitable
to his correspondents.  The university library is not yet put into any

25_th June_ 1728.—“The Cambridge men are much wanting to themselves, in
not retrieving the remains of their worthies.  Mr Baker is the only man I
know of there, that hath of late acted in all respects worthily on that
head, and for it he deserves a statue.”

3_rd Aug._ 1728.—“Yesterday Mr Gilman of St Peter’s parish in the east,
Oxford (a lusty, heartick, {46a} thick, and short man), told me, that he
is in his 85th year of age, and that at the restoration of K. Charles
II., being much afflicted with the king’s evil, he rode up to London
behind his father, was touched on a Wednesday morning by the king, was in
very good condition by that night, and by the Sunday night immediately
following was perfectly recovered and hath so continued ever since.  He
hath constantly wore the piece of gold about his neck that he received of
the king, and he had it on yesterday when I met him.”

I hope that Oxford, which had treated poor Hearne so ill, was impressed
by the facts recorded on 10th June 1730:—

“On Thursday, June 4th, the earl of Oxford (Edw. Harley) was at my room
at Edm. hall from ten o’clock in the morning till a little after twelve
o’clock, together with Dr Conyers Middleton, of Trin. coll. Camb., and my
lord’s nephew, the hon. Mr May of Christ Church, and Mr Murray of Christ

7_th Aug._ 1732.—“My friend the honble. Benedict Leonard Calvert {46b}
died on 1st June 1732 (old stile) of a consumption, in the _Charles_,
Capt. Watts commander, and was buried in the sea.  When he left England
he seemed to think that he was becoming an exile, and that he should
never see his native country more; and yet neither myself nor any else
could disswade him from going.  He was as well beloved as an angel could
be in his station; (he being governour of Maryland); for our plantations
have a natural aversion to their governours, upon account of their too
usual exactions, pillages, and plunderings; but Mr Calvert was free from
all such, and therefore there was no need of constraint on that score:
but then it was argument enough to be harrassed that he was their
governour, and not only such, but brother to Ld. Baltimore, the lord
proprietor of Maryland, a thing which himself declared to his friends,
who were likewise too sensible of it.  And the same may appear also from
a speech or two of his on occasion of some distraction, which tho’ in
print I never yet saw.  I had a sincere respect for him, and he and I
used to spend much time together in searching after curiosities, etc., so
that he hath often said that ’twas the most pleasant part of his life, as
other young gentlemen, likewise then in Oxford have also as often said,
that the many agreeable hours we used to spend together on the same
occasion were the most entertaining and most pleasant part of their
lives.  As Mr Calvert and the rest of those young gentlemen (several of
which, as well as Mr Calvert, were of noble birth) used to walk and
divert themselves with me in the country, much notice was taken thereof,
and many envyed our happiness.”

5_th July_ 1733.—“One Handel, a foreigner (who, they say, was born at
Hanover), being desired to come to Oxford, to perform in musick this Act,
in which he hath great skill, is come down, the Vice-Chancellor (Dr
Holmes) having requested him so to do, and, as an encouragement, to allow
him the benefit of the Theater, both before the Act begins and after it.
Accordingly he hath published papers for a performance to-day, at 5s. a
ticket.  This performance began a little after five o’clock in the
evening.  This is an inovation.  The players might be as well permitted
to come and act.  The Vice-Chancellor is much blamed for it.”

16_th Sept._ 1733.—“Mr Sacheverel, who died a few years since, of
Denman’s Farm (in Berks) near Oxford, was looked upon as the best judge
of bells in England.  He used to say, that Horsepath bells near Oxford,
tho’ but five in number, and very small, were the prettiest, tunablest
bells in England, and that there was not a fault in one, except the 3d,
and that so small a fault, as it was not to be discerned but by a very
good judge.”

3_rd Oct._ 1733.—“I hear of iron bedsteads in London.  Dr Massey told me
of them on Saturday, 29th Sept. 1733.  He said they were used on account
of the buggs, which have, since the great fire, been very troublesome in

17_th Jan._ 1733–34.—“Mr Baker of Cambridge (who is a very good, as well
as a very learned man, and is my great friend, though I am unknown in
person to him) tells me in his letter of the 16th of last December, that
he hath always thought it a happiness to dye in time, and says of
himself, that he is really affraid of living too long.  He is above
seventy, as he told me some time since.”

10_th March_ 1733–34.— . . .  “On the 7th inst. Ld. Oxford sent me the
chronicle of _John Bever_.  He lends it me at my request, and says he
will lend me any book he hath, and wonders I will not go to London and
see my friends; and see what MSS. and papers are there, and in other
libraries, that are worth printing.  I could give several reasons for my
not going either to London or other places, which however I did not
trouble his lordship with.  Among others, ’tis probable I might receive a
much better welcome than I deserve, or is suitable to one that so much
desires and seeks a private humble life, without the least pomp or

2_nd May_ 1734.—“Yesterday an attempt was made upon New college bells of
6876 changes.  They began a quarter before ten in the morning, and rang
very well until four minutes after twelve, when Mr Brickland, a
schoolmaster of St Michael’s parish, who rang the fifth bell, missed a
stroke, it put a stop to the whole, so that they presently set them, and
so sunk the peal, which is pity, for ’twas really very true ringing,
excepting five faults, which I observ’d (for I heard all the time, tho’
’twas very wet all the while) in that part of the Parks which is on the
east side of Wadham college, where I was very private; one of which five
faults was the treble, that was rung by Mr Richard Hearne, and the other
four were faults committed by the aforesaid Mr Brickland, who ’twas
feared by several beforehand would not fully perform his part. . . .”

2_nd May_ 1734. . . . “When I mention’d afterwards my observations to ye
said Mr Smith, he told me, that tho’ he rung himself, yet he minded the
faults also himself.  Upon which I asked him how many there were?  He
said three before that which stopp’d them.  I told him that there just
five before that, at which he admired my niceness.”

14_th Oct._ 1734. . . .  “Dr Sherlock, now bp. of Salisbury, was likewise
of that little house (Cath. Hall), and they look upon it as very much for
the honour of that little house, that it has produced two of our
principal prelates (Dr Sherlock and Hoadly, at Salisbury and Winchester).
The last has usually (and regularly) gone to an Oxford man, as Ely to

31_st Dec._ 1734. . . .  “But having been debarr’d the library, a great
number of years, I am now a stranger there, and cannot in the least
assist him, tho’ I once design’d to have been very nice in examining all
those liturgical MSS., and to have given notes of their age, and
particularly of Leopric’s Latin Missal, which I had a design of printing,
being countenanc’d thereto by Dr Hickes, Mr Dodwell, etc.”


    “To entertain the lag-end of my life
    With quiet hours.”

                                                      —_Henry IV._, Pt. I.

I was born at Down on 16th August 1848: I was christened at Malvern—a
fact in which I had a certain unaccountable pride.  But now my only
sensation is one of surprise at having been christened at all, and a wish
that I had received some other name.  I was never called Francis, and I
disliked the usual abbreviation Frank, while Franky or Frankie seemed to
me intolerable.  I also considered it a hardship to have but one
Christian name.  Our parents began by giving two names to the elder
children; but their inventive capacity gave way and the younger ones had
each but one.  It seemed, too, a singular fact that—as they afterwards
confessed—they gave names which they did not especially like.  Our
godfathers and godmothers were usually uncles and aunts, but this tepid
relationship was deprived of any conceivable interest by the fact that
the uncles were usually represented by the parish clerk.  This, of
course, we only knew by rumour, but we realised that they gave no
christening mugs—a line of conduct in which I now fully sympathise.  My
brother Leonard did indeed receive a silver spoon from Mr Leonard Horner,
but I fancy that this came to him on false pretences.

I have no idea at what age we began to go to church, but I have a general
impression of unwillingly attending divine service for many boyish years.
We had a large pew, lined with green baize, close beneath the clergyman’s
desk, and so near the clerk that we got the full flavour of his
tremendous amens.  I have a recollection of entertaining myself with the
india-rubber threads out of my elastic-sided boots, and of gently
tweaking them when stretched as miniature harp-strings.  The only other
diverting circumstance was the occurrence of book-fish (Lepisma?) in the
prayer books or among the baize cushions.  I have not seen one for fifty
years, and I may be wrong in believing that they were like minute
sardines running on invisible wheels.  In looking back on the service in
Down church, I am astonished at the undoubted fact that whereas the
congregation in general turned towards the altar in saying the Creed, we
faced the other way and sternly looked into the eyes of the other
churchgoers.  We certainly were not brought up in Low Church or
anti-papistical views, and it remains a mystery why we continued to do
anything so unnecessary and uncomfortable.

I have a general impression of coming out of church cold and hungry, and
of seeing the labourers standing about the porch in tall hats and green
or purple smock-frocks.  But the chief object of interest was Sir John
Lubbock (the father of the late Lord Avebury), of whom, for no particular
reason, we stood in awe.  He made it up to us by coming to church in a
splendid fluffy beaver hat.  My recollection is that we often went only
to the afternoon service, which we preferred for its brevity.  I have a
clear recollection of our delight when, on rainy Sundays, we escaped
church altogether.

A feature that distinguished Sunday from the rest of the week was our
singular custom of having family prayers on that day only.  When we were
growing up we mildly struck at the ceremony, and my mother accordingly
dropped it on finding that the servants took no especial interest in it.

On Sundays we wore our best jackets, but I think that, when church was
over, we put on our usual tunics or blouses of surprising home-made fit.
But I clearly remember climbing (in my Sunday clothes) a holly-tree on a
damp Christmas Day, and meeting my father as I descended green from head
to foot.  I remember the occurrence because my father was justly annoyed,
and this impressed the fact on me, since anything approaching anger was
with him almost unknown.

In our blouses we might with impunity cover ourselves with the thick red
clay of our country-side, and this we could always do by playing in a
certain pit where we built clay forts, etc.  We used also to run down the
steep ploughed fields, our feet (grown with adhering clay to huge balls)
swinging like pendulums and scattering showers of mud on all sides.  Then
we would come cheerfully home, entering by the back door and taking off
our boots as we sat on the kitchen stairs in semi-darkness and surrounded
by pleasant culinary smells.

In later years, when we used to take long winter tramps along our flinty
winding lanes, this unbooting on the back stairs was a prelude to eating
oranges in the dining-room, a feast that took the place of five o’clock
tea—not then invented.

In the early days of which I was speaking, we had schoolroom tea with our
governess, while our parents dined in peace at about 6.30.  We came down
after our tea, rushing along the dark passage and descending the stairs
with that rhythmic series of bangs peculiar to children.  I do not know
that we were really frightened at passing certain dark doorways, but I
certainly remember enjoying a sort of sham terror.  One of these doors
led into my mother’s room and also to a store-room; I cannot think that
this had any “night fears” for us, because it smelt so strongly of such
everyday earthly things as soap and tallow candles.  Why it was placed
next to the bedroom I do not know.  I have no clear remembrance of what
we did in the evenings, but I seem to see a round table and a moderator
lamp, such as occurs in John Leech’s pictures in _Punch_.  I have also a
faint recollection of black-coated uncles sitting by the fire and not
unnaturally objecting to our making short-cuts across their legs.  It was
no doubt a pity that we were not reproved for our want of consideration
for the elderly, and that, generally speaking, our manners were
neglected.  One of our grown-up cousins was reported to have called our
midday dinner “a violent luncheon,” and I do not doubt that she was
right.  We were fortunate in having a set of simple, kindly,
old-fashioned servants with whom we could be on friendly terms.  Thus it
happens that recollections cluster about the kitchen and pantry.  I have
a vague remembrance of a Welsh cook, Mrs Davis, who was very kind to us
in spite of constant threats of “tying a dish-cloth to your tail,” which,
so far as I know, remained a threat, and was indeed never understood by
me.  We certainly could generally extract gingerbread and other good
things from Daydy, as we called Mrs Davis.  The butler, Parslow, was a
kind friend to us all our lives.  I do not remember being checked by him
except in being turned out of the dining-room when he wanted to lay the
table for luncheon, or being stopped in some game which threatened the
polish of the sideboard, of which he spoke as though it were his private
property.  He had what may be called a baronial nature: he idealised
everything about our modest household, and would draw a glass of beer for
the postman with the air of a seneschal bestowing a cup of malvoisie on a
troubadour.  He would not, I think, have disgraced Charles Lamb’s friend
Captain Burney, who welcomed his guests in the grand manner to the
simplest of feasts.  It was good to see him on Christmas Day: with how
great an air would he enter the breakfast-room and address us:—“Ladies
and Gentlemen, I wish you a happy Christmas, etc. etc.”  I am afraid he
got but a sheepish response from us.  Among the outdoor servants there
were three whom I remember well.  There was Brooks, the general outdoor
man, who acted as gardener, cowman, etc.  He had dark eyes and a
melancholy, morose face.  Of him I have told elsewhere {56a} the
following anecdote:—

Brooks had been accused by the other gardener of using foul language, and
was hailed before my father to be judged.  I, as a little boy, standing
in the hall, heard my father say, “You know you are a very bad-tempered
man.”  “Yes, sir” (in a tone of deep depression).  “Then get out of the
room—you ought to be ashamed of yourself.”  At this point I rushed
upstairs in vague alarm and heard no more.

Brooks lived in a cottage close to the cow-yard, with his wife, in whom I
took an interest because her name was Keziah, and because she was the
best smocker in the village.  I have a vague recollection of a private in
the Guards to whom I was introduced as a son of Brooks—a statement I
regarded as surprising.  Mrs Brooks was as melancholy as her husband, and
I remember many years later, when the pair were pensioned off in the
village, hearing Brooks say in her presence, “She ain’t no comfort to me,
sir.”  To this she made no retort, though a _tu quoque_ would have been
most just.

The under-gardener, Lettington (the man who objected to being sworn at),
was a kindly person and a great friend of mine.  It was he who taught me
to make whistles {56b} in the spring and helped me with my tame rabbits.
He also showed me how to make brick-traps for small birds, and a more
elaborate trap made of hazel twigs.  In this last I remember catching a
blackbird: I imagine that I must have been rather afraid of my captive,
for the unfortunate bird escaped leaving its tail in my hands.  I do not
think I ever wanted to kill the few other birds caught in traps, but let
them go free.  I clearly remember looking with envy and admiration at
Bewicke’s woodcuts of traps, _e.g._ that of the woodcock springe, and
another of a sieve propped up over grain sprinkled as bait.

To return to Lettington.  It was he who helped my father in his
experiments on the crossing of plants: he lived to a great age, dying as
a pensioner many years later.  My father used to tell with amusement how
Lettington never failed to remind him of a bad prophecy:—“Yes, sir, but
you said so-and-so would happen.”  The third outdoor man was Thomas
Price, generally known as the Dormouse on account of his somnolent manner
of working.  We, as boys, believed him to be a deserter from the army on
account of the military set of his shoulders, and because he had arrived
in the village an unknown wanderer.  He was a bachelor and spent more
than was wise on beer.  For the last few years of his life my mother made
him save money by the simple process of retaining part of his wages in
her own hands.  In this way he unwillingly acquired some £20 or £30, but
as he refused to leave it to those who took care of him in his last
illness, it went to the Crown, to whom I hope it made up for the loss of
T. Price’s very doubtful military services.

In later years it occurred to us that the methods of gardening at Down
were antiquated, and we persuaded our parents to engage an active young
Scotchman whom I will call X, and who was placed in command of Lettington
and the Dormouse (the gloomy Brooks having been pensioned).  The two old
servants were dreadfully bustled by X, and I well remember their flushed
faces after the first morning’s digging in the serious Scotch manner.
After a time, finding that matters were very little looked after, X began
some mysterious dealings in cows with a neighbouring farmer, and it was
suddenly discovered that a cow had disappeared.  I remember my shame at
finding I did not know how many cows we ought to have, nor could I swear
to their personal appearance.  But by dint of cross-examination I was
enabled to draw up a statement of how cow A had been sold, cow B bought,
and cow C exchanged for cow D, etc.  Finally the ingenious X was
discharged, and the rejoicing Lettington and Dormouse reinstated.  But
before this fortunate conclusion, I had at my father’s bidding taken
steps to obtain a summons against X.  I remember thinking what a fool I
should look when cross-examined before the magistrates.  Another
circumstance is impressed on my mind.  The affair occurred in that
remarkable October in which the trees were greatly injured by a
snowstorm, and as I drove in a dog-cart through Holwood Park in search of
the summons, I thought, as the trees cracked like pistols, that it was
hardly worth while being crushed to death for the sake of any number of
cows.  Finally X was not prosecuted, and departed in peace.

To return to my childhood: I came between George and Leonard, and was a
companion to both of them, but I do not think we made a trio as Leonard
and Horace and I did more or less.  I have a clear recollection of
Leonard in a red fez, and bare legs covered with scratches, but I cannot
distinctly call up images of the others.  I seem to remember a great deal
of purposeless wandering with my younger brothers; but with George,
playing was an organised affair in which I was an obedient subordinate,
as I have described in _Rustic Sounds_.  Our chief game was playing at
soldiers; we had toy guns to which home-made wooden bayonets were fixed,
knapsacks, and I think shakos—whether we had any uniform coats I cannot
remember.  In the cloakroom under the stairs our names and heights were
recorded, and George conscientiously constructed a short foot-rule so
that our height should come to something like six feet.  I had to keep
sentry at the far end of the kitchen garden until released by a
bugle-call.  George being a sergeant was exempt from sentry work, and was
merely responsible for the bugle-blowing.  Indoors there was much playing
with tin soldiers.  I remember a regiment of dragoons whose coats my
mother had laboriously reddened with sealing-wax to convert them into
British soldiers.  The troopers were in a ferocious charging attitude
with swords raised, but the blades were mostly broken, and I innocently
believed that they were all raising crusts of bread to their mouths.
Another indoors game was the hurling of darts at one another in the long
passage upstairs; we had wooden shields on which the javelins used to
strike briskly enough, since they were weighted with lead.  On these
occasions we were knights or men-at-arms, but out of doors we were
savages.  George could hurl hazel-spears, using the Australian
throwing-stick, an art I never acquired, but I was fond of slinging
stones.  To make a sling a bit of leather was necessary, and this meant a
visit to the village cobbler, Parker by name, who was a short, sallow man
with the bristling chin which, according to Dickens, {60} is the
universal attribute of cobblers.  I remember the pleasure of sending,
with my sling, a pebble crashing into the big ash-tree in the field from
what seemed to me a great distance.

Another pursuit was walking on stilts, of which we had two kinds; on the
smaller ones even girls had been known to walk, but of the larger (which
I remember as of imposing height) only the male sex was capable.  The
garden at Down was originally a bare and windy wilderness, but our
parents constructed mounds of raw red clay on which laurel and box
finally grew and made shelter.  One of these mounds, covered with dwarf
box-trees, was known to us as the Pyrenees, and our pleasure was to
traverse the passes on stilts.  There was a slight sense of danger and a
certain romance in climbing the heights from the lawn and descending in
what was legally a part of the orchard, where the last of the limes grew
and a particular crab-tree of which I was fond.

Then there were two swings, one of the orthodox kind between those twin
yew-trees that gave a special character to the lawn, and one consisting
of a long rope fixed high up on the tall Scotch fir that grew on the
mound.  The rope of the latter had a short cross-bar at its lower end
which served as a seat or a handle.  There were various tricks, some of
which were almost sure to bump the head of a strange child against the
tree trunk, to our private satisfaction.

A similar rope hanging from the ceiling of the long passage at the top of
the house supplied a more complicated set of tricks, which all had
special names.  Of these, I remember that _spangle_ meant a method of
sitting on one side of the cross-bar at the end of the rope.  The stairs
leading to the second floor jutted out into the passage; we used to stand
with one foot on each banister-supporting post and make it a
starting-point for a swing on the rope, also a landing-place, and if we
succeeded in getting back into position with a foot on each banister-post
we were pleased with ourselves, especially if it was done at night
without a light.  The rope, working on the hooks fixed into the ceiling,
made a grinding or squeaking noise which must have been annoying to
guests, especially when mixed with much crashing and banging and

In later years we played stump cricket and lawn tennis, but in the early
days of which I am thinking the only game I clearly remember was the
practice of the village cricketers in our field.  It seems improbable,
yet I am decidedly of opinion that the pitch was the footpath, the unmown
condition of the grass making bowling elsewhere an impossibility; on the
other hand it made fielding an easy affair.  I remember clearly the runs
being recorded by notches cut on a stick, a method of scoring which has
its place in literature in the match between All Muggleton and Dingley
Dell. {62}

It is curious to remember how solitary our life was.  We had literally no
boy-friends in the whole neighbourhood; there were plenty of boys within
reach but we never amalgamated with them, and were, I imagine, despised
by them as outside the pale of Eton-dom.  No opportunity was made for us
to learn to shoot; I used to wander with a gun and shoot an occasional
hare and various blackbirds, but I never had even the meanest skill, and
after suffering miseries of shame at one or two shooting-parties I am
glad to think I gave it up.

Fishing there was none in our dry country, and it was only very much
later, on the beautiful Dovey in North Wales, that I learned something of
the art.

Riding we did learn in a casual, haphazard way, and some of us hunted a
little with a mild pack (the Old Surrey) in our bad hunting country—but
all this was much later and hardly concerns my present subject.

The best practice I had as a boy was riding twice or thrice a week (from
perhaps my tenth to my twelfth year) to Mr Reed, Rector of Hayes, to be
taught Latin and a little arithmetic.  Our ponies were shaggy, obstinate
little beasts, who had the strongest possible dislike of their duties.  I
remember well how my pony turned round and round, and at last consented
to proceed till a new excuse occurred for a bolt towards home.  It was a
secret delight to me when one of my brothers was beaten in the pony-fight
and was brought ignominiously home.

Mr Reed was the kindest of teachers, and after a short spell of Latin he
used to give me a slice of cake and allow me to look at the wonderful
pictures in an old Dutch Bible.  Even under the mild discipline of this
kindest of men I used to dissolve in tears over my work.

When I was twelve years old, _i.e._ in the summer of 1860, I went to the
Grammar School at Clapham kept by Rev. Charles Pritchard.  I was two
years under Pritchard, and when he left {63} I remained under his
successor, Rev. Alfred Wrigley, until I went up to Trinity College,
Cambridge, 1866.  Wrigley had none of the force of Pritchard, nor had he,
I fancy, his predecessor’s gift of teaching.  Mathematics formed a great
part of our curriculum, and for these I had no turn.  I am, however,
grateful to Wrigley for having made me work out a great many logarithmic
calculations which had to be shown up (as he expressed it) in a “neat,
tabular form.”  As I have said in my article on my brother George in
_Rustic Sounds_, my “recollections of George at Clapham are coloured by
an abiding gratitude for his kindly protection of me as a shrinking and
very unhappy ‘new boy’ in 1860.”

From school I went to Trinity College, Cambridge.  I lodged first with a
tailor called Daniells in Bridge Street, nearly opposite to the new
chapel of St John’s—the slow rise of which I used to watch from my
windows.  Afterwards I moved into rooms on the ground floor to the left
of the New Court Gate that leads out into the Backs.  Why the architect
made the sitting-rooms look into the Court and all its mean stucco
decorations I cannot imagine.  My bedroom looked out on the Backs and its
avenue of lime-trees, where the nightingales sang through the happy May

I hardly made any permanent friends till my second year, when I had the
good fortune to become intimate with Edmund Gurney and Charles Crawley,
both of whom died early.  Crawley was drowned in a boating accident in
which he tried in vain to save the women of the party.  Edward Stirling,
an Australian, has only recently (1919) died.  I am glad to think that my
undergraduate friends (except those removed by death) are still my

Among the Dons who were friendly to students of natural science the first
place must be given to Alfred Newton, the Professor of Zoology, who most
kindly invited us to come to his rooms in Magdalene any and every Sunday
evening.  There we smoked our pipes and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.  We
had the advantage of meeting older members of the University.  It was in
this way I became acquainted with G. R. Crotch, of St John’s, who was an
assistant in the University Library.  He was a strikingly handsome man
with a long silky beard and wonderful eyes.  His passion was Entomology,
and he had a great knowledge of the Coleoptera, and used sometimes to
take me out beetle-catching, but I never became a collector.  He was
eccentric in his habits; for instance, he dressed entirely in black
flannel—shirt, coat, and trousers—which were made for him by Brown, the
tailor, who was a brother entomologist.  He finally gave up his
librarianship and went off beetle-catching to the United States, where he
died in what would have been miserable conditions but for the tender care
bestowed on him by a complete stranger, whose name I have unfortunately
forgotten.  There, too, I occasionally saw Clifford, the well-known
mathematician, who died early—also Kingsley on at least one occasion.  I
remember him, too, at the New Museums (where I was dissecting some beast
or other) reproving me for my white shirt, and telling me that flannel
was far more suitable for dissections.  John Willis Clark (who afterwards
became Registrary of the University) was then Curator of the New Museums,
and encouraged me to work in his department, and I well remember my pride
when my preparation of a hedgehog’s inside was added to the Museum.  J.
W. Clark was the kindest of men, and I, like many another undergraduate,
used to dine with him and his mother at Scrope House.  There some of us
were introduced for the first time to good claret.  I remember Mrs Clark
(rather a masterful old lady) saying, “Drink your wine like a good boy
and don’t talk nonsense,” as though these precepts contained the whole
duty of undergraduate man.  J. W. Clark was the patron and director of
the undergraduates’ Amateur Dramatic Society (the A. D. C.), and
occasionally took a part himself.  I have a clear recollection of hearing
him (attired in red tights) exclaim in his peculiar pronunciation, in
which the letters _l_ and _r_ were indistinguishable, “I am the srave of
the ramp.”

I had left to the last the man whose kindness towards me as an
undergraduate I valued most highly, and whose friendship it is still my
good fortune to possess—I mean Henry Jackson, now Professor of Greek, but
at that time a Trinity lecturer.  I have an image of him walking up and
down his room in Neville’s Court with a pipe in his mouth (which burned
more fiercely than did the pipes of other men), and talking with a humour
and enthusiasm which were a perpetual delight.  A literary venture, _The
Tatler in Cambridge_, originated among undergraduates under the
editorship of the present Canon Mason.  To this I contributed a paper _On
the Melancholy of Bachelors_, which was accepted, chiefly, I think,
through the kindness of E. Gurney.  I shall never forget my delight when,
on the day of its publication, Henry Jackson came round to my rooms to
tell me that he liked it.

I must now return to my more serious employments.  It was at the
suggestion of E. C. Stirling that I became a medical student and began to
work for the Natural Sciences Tripos.  In order to get more time for the
last-named examination I kept my small stock of mathematics simmering as
it were, and managed (without giving much time to the subject) to get a
mathematical degree as fifth among the Junior Optimes in 1870.  I had the
pleasure of being coached for this examination by James Stuart—the only
man, I imagine, who ever made mathematics entertaining and even amusing
to an unmathematical pupil.

I then had a clear year in which I could devote myself to Natural
Science.  I did not succeed in finding a coach who was of any use to me.
But in Comparative Anatomy I did a fair amount of undirected work: in
this way I dissected a good many creatures such as slugs and snails and
freshwater mussels, dragonflies, etc.  I have a dim recollection of
catching the mussels in the Cam with Gordon Wigan, the son of the
celebrated actor—and indeed that kindly personage joined us in one of our
boating expeditions.

On leaving Cambridge I went to St George’s Hospital with the intention of
becoming a practising physician.  But happily for me the Fates willed
otherwise.  The late Dr Cavafy of St George’s Hospital urged me to learn
something of Histology, and sent me to Dr Klein, whose pupil I had the
good fortune to become at the Brown Institute.  I have elsewhere {67}
said something of my debt of gratitude to Dr Klein.  Under his guidance I
produced a paper which served as a thesis for my M.B. degree.  I had
another interesting experience during my time at St George’s.  I used to
go to the Zoological Society’s dissecting-room, where the late Dr Garrod
(the Prosector) allowed me to investigate some of the daily quota of dead
animals.  But it was not of any real educational value, I fancy.  Still
it may have helped the impetus of Klein’s teaching to suggest that
medicine {68a} should be given up and that I should become the assistant
to my father.

The old nursery at Down had been turned into a laboratory, and when (on
the death of my wife) I came to live in the house of my parents, they
converted the billiard-room into a sitting-room for me.

During the following years I went to work under Sachs at Würzburg and
afterwards under De Bary at Strassburg.  Sachs was most kind and helpful,
and under his direction I contributed a small paper to his _Arbeiten_.  I
made some good friends at Würzburg—Stahl, who is now Professor of Botany
at Jena; Kunkel, the Pharmacologist, who died young; the Finlander
Elfving, who is now Professor of Botany at Helsingfors; and Goebel, now
the well-known Professor of Botany at Munich.  He and I walked side by
side to receive our degrees at the 1909 meeting in Cambridge. {68b}  I
had the great pleasure of seeing Elfving on the same occasion, and we
have never ceased to correspond, though at irregular intervals.  I had
once the satisfaction of receiving Stahl as my guest at Cambridge.  He is
still Professor of Botany at Jena, and in spite of rather weak health has
published a mass of good work.

I am sorry to think that my relationship with Sachs came to an unhappy
ending.  I published what seemed to me a harmless paper, in which I
criticised some of his researches.  I wrote to him on the subject but
received no answer.  Partly on account of his silence and partly to pay a
visit to a friend, I travelled to Würzburg.  I found Sachs in the Botanic
Garden; he seemed to wish to avoid me, but I went up to him and asked him
why he was angry with me.  He replied: “The reason is very simple; you
know nothing of Botany and you dare to criticise a man like me.”  I had
no opportunity of replying, for at that moment one of his co-professors
addressed him, asking if he could spare a moment.  “Very willingly, Herr
Professor,” said Sachs, and walked off without a word to me.  And that
was the last I saw of the great botanist.  I was undoubtedly stupid, but
I do not think he showed to advantage in the affair.

I continued to work with my father at Down, and in spite of the
advantages I gained by seeing and sharing in the work of German
laboratories, I now regret that so many months were spent away from him.


Mr Galpin has written an admirable book on old musical instruments.  His
knowledge, which is first hand, is the harvest of many years’ research;
and, like the best type of learned authors, he has the power of sharing
his knowledge with the ignorant.

His book begins with a study of stringed instruments, which occupies
about half the book, the remainder being given up to the wind band.

My own experience of instruments of music is confined to the latter
division.  I remember as a small boy at school struggling with an
elementary flute: or was it a penny whistle?  I believe it was a flute,
for I have a dim recollection of pouring water into it before it would
sound.  I tried to teach the instrument—whatever it was—to a friend, and
wrote down the fingerings by a series of black and white dots, in the
manner quoted from Thomas Greeting’s _Pleasant Companion_, 1675, by Mr
Galpin (p. 146).  Then when I was about fifteen or sixteen years old I
began under that admirable teacher, the late R. S. Rockstro, to work
regularly at the flute.  As a Cambridge undergraduate I remember playing
flute solos at the University Musical Society’s concerts.  And I can
still recall the pleasant sound of the applause which on one occasion
called for a repetition of my performance.  Since those days I took up
the bassoon under the guidance of another admirable teacher, Mr E. F.
James.  But nowadays my chief interest is the recorder, which is best
known to the unmusical world from the well-known passage in _Hamlet_.  Of
this instrument I shall have something to say in the sequel.  I give
these personal details to show how small a right I have to do more than
give an abstract of Mr Galpin’s admirable book.

The first instrument dealt with is the harp, the essential feature of
which is that each string gives but one sound. {72}  It is not clear to
me why the psaltery and dulcimer are separated from the harp, since they
also have unstopped strings and therefore unalterable notes.  Whereas the
interpolated chapter ii. is concerned with instruments—the gittern and
citole—whose tones are alterable in pitch by “stopping,” _i.e._, altering
the length of the vibrating part of the string.  I can only suppose that
the author considers that the fact of the gittern and citole being
sounded by plucking the strings, brings these instruments into alliance
with the harp.  I confess that I should like to have seen Class I.
(strings unalterable in tone) including the harp, the rote, the psaltery,
dulcimer (Plate I.), the æolian-harp, and the piano.  Then would come a
class of instruments some at least of whose strings produce a variety of
tones by stopping, _i.e._, shortening the vibrating region of the string,
and this would include gittern and citole, lute, etc.  But doubtless the
author has good reason for his arrangement, and I have not knowledge
enough to be his critic.

                [Picture: Plate I.  Psaltery and Dulcimer]

At p. 4 (Galpin) is represented the simple Irish harp or lyre which was
known as the cruit or crot; it is essentially a harp, although it seems,
in its infancy at any rate, to have had but five or six strings.  The
name cruit or crot afterwards developed into rotte, and under this name
is described a remarkable instrument apparently dating from the fifth to
the eighth centuries, which is figured at p. 34 (Galpin).  It was found
in the Black Forest in the grave of a warrior, together with his sword
and bow, and seems to have been clasped in his arms, as though he had
especially valued it.  The true harp, which in its simplest form (Galpin,
p. 8) chiefly differs from the rote in shape, {73a} is characterised by
the picturesque triangular outline that is so familiar.  It was of
Teutonic origin, and Mr Galpin tells an admirable story of a Saxon who
disguised himself as a Briton, by playing the rote instead of the harp,
which would have revealed his nationality.  In spite of its Saxon
parentage the Irish adopted the harp, and a beautiful instrument of the
early thirteenth century is preserved at Trinity College, Dublin (Galpin,
p. 12).  The Irish for _harp_ is _Clairsech_, {73b} a word that reminds
me of an Irish friend who used to quote—

    “Old Tracy and old Darcy
    Playing all weathers on the Clarsy.”

Mr Galpin tells a pleasant story of St Ealdhelm, who was Bishop of
Sherborne in the year 705.  When he was about to preach he found the
church empty; he therefore took his harp, and “standing on a bridge hard
by, soon attracted a considerable crowd by his playing.  Then he
delivered his sermon.”

Chapter ii, p. 20, is devoted to the gittern and citole.  In the
first-named instrument we have the ancestor of the guitar, which it
resembled in its flat back, and in the curving inwards of the vertical
sides. {74a}  It has generally been believed that the “waist” thus
produced was an adaptation to the use of the bow, but, as the author
points out, this form occurs long before the existence of bowed
instruments. {74b}  At p. 22 (Galpin) is given an early fourteenth
century illustration of a gittern-player, holding in his right hand the
plectrum with which he sounds the strings.  The most curious point,
however, is the depth of the neck of the instrument, which is pierced by
a large hole to admit the left thumb; without this curious device it
would apparently be impossible to stop the strings.  On the same plate is
given an illustration of the precious gittern at Warwick Castle, believed
to date from about 1330, in which the thumb-hole is more clearly shown.
The guitar, which may be considered a descendant of the gittern, is said
to have completely eclipsed its ancestor in the seventeenth century.  And
at the present time it, together with the mandoline and the banjo, are
the only representatives of the type in every-day use.

Mr Galpin places the citole in the same class as the gittern.  He says
that this instrument has been much misunderstood, and since I do not
desire to add my quota to the injustice under which this unfortunate
instrument suffers, I shall pass on to the mandore and lute.  The
essential characteristic of these instruments is that their bodies,
instead of having the flat back of the guitar, are rounded.  Though the
body is now built of strips of wood or ivory, its form is “reminiscent of
the time when the body or resonator consisted of a simple gourd or
half-gourd covered with skin.”  In this they resemble the instruments of
Oriental races, and the author traces the form of the rebec and mandoline
as well as that of the mandore and lute to Persian, Arabic, and Moorish
influence in the Middle Ages.

The European lute had at first only four strings, but in the “elaborate
instruments of the seventeenth century there were twenty-six or thirty
strings to be carefully tuned and regulated.”  No wonder that a lutenist
should have been said to spend three-quarters of his existence in tuning
his instrument.  The mandore was a small form of lute, and is chiefly of
interest because in a yet smaller form it still survives as the
mandoline, which, however, usually has both wire and covered strings, and
is played with a plectrum.  To return to the lute, its most obvious
characteristic is that the head (in which are the pegs for tuning the
strings) is bent at right-angles to the general plane of the instrument.
It is not clear what is the meaning of this curious crook in the
instrument, but it is some comfort to the ignorant since it enables us to
recognise a lute when we see one.  Henry VIII. and his daughters Mary and
Elizabeth are said to have been good lutenists.  The smaller gut strings,
called by the pleasant name of _minnikins_, were easily broken, and a
gift of lute-strings was considered a present fit for a queen, and one
which the great Elizabeth did not disdain.

There was also an archlute, which in its largest form—six feet in
height—was known as the chitarrone.  It had not the rectangular bend in
the neck of the ordinary lute; it was also characterised by having four
or five free or unstopped strings.  A fine reproduction of Lady Mary
Sidney and her archlute faces the title-page of the book.

Mr Galpin (p. 46) quotes from Thomas Mace’s _Musick’s Monument_, 1676,
the proper method of “fretting” a lute or similar instrument.  The frets,
or horizontal strings or wires which make cross ridges on the neck of
lutes, viols, etc., I had ignorantly imagined to be guides to the
beginner as to where to stop the string; but it appears (Galpin, p. 46)
that they “add to its tone and resonance by keeping the string from
touching the finger-board too closely.”  The word “fret” is said to be
derived from the old French _ferretté_, _i.e._, banded with iron. {77a}

            [Picture: PLATE II.  Various stringed instruments]

In Mace’s {77b} book above referred to he discourses with a child-like
enthusiasm on his favourite instrument.  He does not follow the elder
lutenists, whom he describes as “extreme shie in revealing the _Occult_
and _Hidden Secrets_ of the Lute.”  He gives the following examples of
“_False and Ignorant Out-cries against the Lute_”:—

  (1) “That it is the _Hardest Instrument_ in the _World_.

  (2) “That it will take up the Time of an _Apprenticeship_ to play
  _well_ upon _It_.

  (3) “That it makes _Young People_ grow _awry_.

  (4) “That it is a very _Chargeable Instrument_ to keep; so that one had
  as good keep a _Horse_ as a _Lute_ for _Cost_.

  (5) “That it is a _Woman’s Instrument_.

  (6) “And lastly (which is the most _Childish_ of all the rest), It is
  out of _Fashion_.”

The following extracts from Mace will give some idea of his style and of
his method of treating the subject:—

“_First_, _know that an Old Lute is better than a New one_: _Then_, _The
Venice Lutes_ are commonly _Good_.  There are diversities of _Mens Names_
in _Lutes_; but the _Chief Name_ we most esteem, is _Laux Maler_, ever
written with _Text Letters_: _Two_ of which _Lutes_ I have seen
(_Pittifull Old_, _Batter’d_, _Crack’d Things_) valued at 100 l. _a
piece_ (p. 48).

“When you perceive any _Peg_ to be troubled with the _slippery Disease_,
assure yourself he will never grow better of _Himself_, without some of
_Your Care_; therefore take _Him_ out, and _examine_ the _Cause_ (p. 51).

“And that you may know how to _shelter your Lute_, in the worst of _Ill
weathers_ (which is _moist_) you shall do well . . . to put _It into a
Bed_, _that is constantly used_, _between the Rug and the Blanket_; but
_never_ between the _sheets_, because they may be _moist_ with _Sweat_
(p. 62).

“Strings are of three sorts, _Minikins_, _Venice-Catlins_, _and Lyons_
(for _Basses_).

“I us’d to compare . . . _Tossing-Finger’d Players_ to _Blind-Horses_,
which always _lift up their Feet_, _higher than need is_; and so by that
means, _can never Run Fast_, or with a _Smooth Swiftness_” (p. 85).

He says, “You must be _Very Careful_ (now, in your first beginning) to
get a _Good Habit_; so that you _stop close to your Fretts_, _and never
upon any Frett_; _and ever_, _with the very End of your Finger_; except
when a _Cross_, _or Full Stop_ is to be performed” (p. 99).

                     [Picture: Plate III.  The Crwth]

Bowed Instruments.

Mr Galpin (p. 75) gives a figure of a man playing a Crowd with a bow,
instead of plucking the strings with the fingers as shown in sculptured
Irish Crosses.  What makes the figure so especially interesting, is that
there is clearly no means of _stopping_ the strings, _i.e._, of altering
the length of the vibrating region, and therefore altering the pitch.  No
one, I fancy, would have guessed that the bow was of more ancient lineage
than the fiddle.  The finger-board, which transforms the instrument into
an undeniable relative of the violin, is known to have existed in the
thirteenth century.  It is a striking fact that what is practically a
cruit or rotte survived in use until the nineteenth century in this
country, in the form of the Welsh _crwth_ or crowd shown on Plate III.
There is a specimen dated 1742 in the Victoria and Albert Museum.  The
crwth here figured was made last century by Owain Tyddwr of Dolgelly, an
old man who remembered the instrument as it was in his younger days, and
took great pleasure in its reconstruction.

The crwth is followed by the rebec, which most of us know better from
Milton’s lines—

    “When the merry bells ring round
    And the jocund rebecks sound”—

than in any more practical manner.  It had a certain resemblance to the
lute in its pear-shaped outline and its convex or rounded sound-box, but
differs from that instrument in being played with a bow.  Mr Galpin
quotes very appropriately the name of one of the country actors in _A
Midsummer Night’s Dream_—Hugh Rebeck—as suggesting that an everyday
audience was familiar with it.

_Viols_.—The only surviving instrument of this class is the double bass,
which is “still frequently made with the flat back and sloping shoulders
of its departed predecessors.”  The bass viol was also known as the Viola
da Gamba, and this was Sir Andrew Aguecheek’s instrument, who was said to
play on the “Viol de Gamboys.”  These instruments—bass and treble—had six
strings, and were provided with frets like the guitar.  Their tone is
described as “soft and slightly reedy or nasal, but very penetrating.”
It seems that the smaller viols disappeared in England towards the end of
the seventeenth century, but the type of viol corresponding to the
violoncello “held its own for nearly another hundred years,” when it at
last yielded to the more modern instrument.

Under the heading “Concerning the _Viol_ and _Musick_ in general,” Mace
writes (p. 231):—

“It may be thought, I am so great a _Lover of It_ [the Lute], that I make
_Light Esteem_ of any other _Instrument_, besides; which _Truly_ I do
not; but _Love the Viol_ in a _very High Degree_; yea, close unto the
Lute. . . .

“I cannot understand, how _Arts and Sciences_ should be subject unto any
such _Phantastical_, _Giddy_, or _Inconsiderate Toyish Conceits_, as ever
to be said to be _in Fashion_, _or out of Fashion_.

                 [Picture: PLATE IV.  The Tromba Marina]

“I remember there was a _Fashion_, not many Years since, for _Women in
their Apparel_ to be so _Pent up by the Straitness_, _and Stiffness_ of
their _Gown-Shoulder-Sleeves_, that _They_ could not so much as _Scratch
their Heads_ for the _Necessary Remove of a Biting Louse_; nor _Elevate
their Arms scarcely to feed themselves Handsomely_; nor _Carve a Dish of
Meat at a Table_, but their _whole_ Body must needs _Bend towards the

And here we must leave Thomas Mace (who with all his oddities is a
lovable and genuine writer) and pass on to the “scoulding” violin—to use
his own phrase—an instrument he considered as only suitable for “any
extraordinary Jolly or Jocund Consort-Occasion.”

The violin, which finally ousted the treble viol, seems indeed to have
had a humble beginning in fairs and country revels: but six violins were
included in Henry VIII.’s band, where they were played by Italian
musicians.  Violins did not rapidly make their way to popularity, and
Playford (1660) describes these instruments—rather condescendingly—as “a
cheerful and spritely instrument much practised of late.”  He speaks,
too, of a bass violin, _i.e._ the violoncello.

The chapter ends with a description of the tromba marina, which is not
marine trumpet, but a curious elongated box-like instrument with a single
string, which is sounded with a bow and wakens the harmony of the
sympathetic strings within the body of the instrument.  Mr Galpin’s
instrument was discovered in an old farmhouse in Cheshire (Plate IV.).

Chapter vi. is chiefly devoted to the organistrum or hurdy-gurdy (Plate
V.).  This is a stringed instrument which differs from the rest of its
class by being sounded neither with fingers like the lute nor with a bow
like the viol, but by means of a rotating wooden wheel.  The melody
string (or strings) is not stopped directly by the finger as in the
violin, but by a series of keys manipulated by the performer, who need
not necessarily possess a musical ear since the stopping is arranged for
him.  The Swedish nyckel-harpa—which I remember to have heard in
Stockholm—is the only other instrument in which the strings are stopped
by mechanical means.  This instrument differs from the organistrum in the
fact that it is sounded by the ordinary fiddle-bow, and not by means of a
wheel.  The organistrum is remarkable for having been “in constant and
popular use” from the tenth century up to the present day.

Clavichord and Virginal.

The clavichord, the earliest progenitor of the piano, originated in an
instrument in which the _tangent_ which struck a given string also acted
as a bridge to mark off the length of the vibrating portion and therefore
to determine the note produced.  It is remarkable that (p. 115) this type
of instrument remained in use until the time of Sebastian Bach, when the
principle of “one tangent one string” replaced the more ancient system.

Of the clavichord Mr Dolmetsch (p. 433) writes that its tone is
comparable, as regards colour and power, “rather to the humming of bees
than to the most delicate among instruments.  But it possesses a soul . . .
for under the fingers of some gifted player it reflects every shade of”
his “feelings like a faithful mirror.  Its tone is alive, its notes can
be swelled or made to quiver just like a voice swayed by emotion.  It can
even command those slight variations in pitch which in all sensitive
instruments are so helpful to expression.”

  [Picture: PLATE V. I. Viola d’Amore. 2. Cither Viol. 3. Hurdy-gurdy or

The best known among the group of instruments to which the clavichord
belongs are the spinet and the harpsichord.  I think that Browning’s
musician who “played toccatas stately at the clavichord” must have
performed on one of the last-named instruments.  In the spinet and the
harpsichord the strings are plucked, and therefore sounded, by small
points made of leather or of quill which are under the control of the

Mr Galpin (who is always interesting on evolution) points out that the
progenitor of the spinet is the plucked psaltery, whereas the piano forte
(the earliest form of which appeared about 1709) is a descendant of the
dulcimer in which the strings were struck.

Wind Instruments.

One of the most ancient of wind instruments is the panpipe, which used to
be familiar in the Punch and Judy show of our childhood, when it was
accompanied by another ancient instrument—the drum.  The panpipe consists
of a row of reeds of graduated lengths which are closed at the lower end
and into which the performer blows, much as we used, as children, to blow
into a key and produce a shrill whistle.  It is illustrated in an
Anglo-Saxon Psalter of the early eleventh century, which is preserved in
the Cambridge University Library.  The whistle which we have all made in
our childhood by removing a tube of bark from a branch in which the sap
is rising, is an advance on the panpipes, since it includes a method of
producing a thin stream of air which impinges on a sharp edge, whereas in
the panpipes we depend on our lips for the stream of air.  These whistles
are closed at the lower end, and yield but a single note.  But in the tin
penny whistle the tube is pierced by six holes for the fingers, and on
this instrument one may hear the itinerant artist perform wonders.  An
instrument of this type, known as the recorder, played a great part in
the early orchestra.  It differs from the penny whistle in being made of
wood, and in having eight instead of six finger-holes; the additional
ones being for the left thumb and the little-finger of the right hand.
The recorder seems to have been especially popular in England, indeed it
was sometimes known as the _fistula anglica_, _i.e._ the English pipe.
The instrument was made in different sizes; and I shall not easily forget
the astonishing beauty of a quartette of recorders played by Mr Galpin
and his family.  In Plate VI. are shown the great bass recorders, in
regard to which the author is careful to point out that the bassoon-like
form shown in No. 1 and No. 5 does not alter the pitch of the instrument,
which depends on the length of the tube measured from the fipple.

                     [Picture: Plate VI.  Recorders]

Mr Dolmetsch, in his book _The Interpretation of the Music of the XVIlth
and XVIIIth Centuries_, p. 457, writes:—

“At the first sound the recorder ingratiates itself into the hearer’s
affection.  It is sweet, full, profound, yet clear, with just a touch of
reediness, lest it should cloy.”

“The intonation . . . right through the chromatic compass of two octaves
and one note is perfect, if you know how to manage the instrument; but
its fingering is complicated, and requires study.”

The flageolet is the nearest living relative of the recorder.  What is
known as the French flageolet is especially reminiscent of the ancient
instrument in having a thumb-hole, or rather two such holes.  It has the
pleasant archaic feature of its lowest note being produced by thrusting
the little finger of the right hand into the open end of the tube.  The
most curious development of the flageolet is found in the double or
triple pipes which were made in the closing years of the eighteenth
century.  I remember Mr Galpin demonstrating the truth of his assertion
that duets and trios can be played on one of these curious instruments.

A much simpler instrument known as the tabor pipe {85} was in general use
in the twelfth century.  Its essential feature is that it has but three
holes, so that it can be played with one hand, thus leaving the other
hand free to accompany the melody on the tabor or small drum hung round
the neck of the performer or from his wrist.  Its working compass is an
octave and three notes, though two shrieking higher notes can be
produced.  The French form of three-holed pipe is known as the galoubet.
There was also a bass galoubet, which is known from the figures in
Praetorius (1618), and from one solitary instrument which has escaped
destruction.  Mr Galpin has a copy of it in his great collection, and I
have had the pleasure of playing on it.  The instruments of the genus
recorder have been finally beaten in the struggle for life by the
flageolet, and perhaps especially by the true flute, which Mr Galpin, for
the sake of clearness, distinguishes as the cross flute.  It seems to be
a mistake to consider the flute as a modern instrument, as it was popular
about the year 1500, and is shown in an illuminated MS. of 1344 preserved
at Oxford.

The flute as used about 1600 had but six holes, but the D# key for the
little finger of the right hand came into use about the end of the
seventeenth century, and about 1800 several keys had been added to enable
the performer to play with less cross-fingering.

Dolmetsch, _op. cit._, p. 458, claims that although the one-keyed flute
of the eighteenth century has a weak tone, it is more beautiful than the
modern flute.

He adds that a flautist has recently studied this instrument, guided by
Hotteterre le Romain’s book (1707), and can play more perfectly in tune
than “he ever did before upon a highly improved and most expensive modern

The concert-flute of the present day is an elaborate instrument covered
with keys, and it has, I believe, been suggested that its tone is injured
by this elaboration.  Bass flutes have been made, one 3 ft. 7 ins. in
length is mentioned, whose lowest note was an octave below middle C.

Shawms. {87}

The next class of wind instruments dealt with by the author is that of
which the oboe and bassoon are typical.  Mr Galpin refers to a reed-pipe
with which I am very familiar; it is made from a dandelion stalk pinched
flat at one end.  Its principle is that of the oboe.  I well remember
admiring its tone as a child, and lamenting its very brief life, for it
soon got spoiled.  The reed of serious musical instruments is made of two
pieces of cane which are flat at the free or upper end and terminate
below in a tube which fits on to the instrument.  This is an ancient type
of instrument, for the Roman _tibia_ is believed to have been played with
the “double reed,” _i.e._ of oboe-type.  I may here be allowed to quote
from my _Rustic Sounds_, p. 5: “The most truly rustic instrument (and
here I mean an instrument of polite life—an orchestral instrument) is
undoubtedly the oboe.  The bassoon runs it hard, but has a touch of
comedy and a strong flavour of necromancy, while the oboe is quite good
and simple in nature and is excessively in earnest; it seems to have in
it the ghost of a sun-burnt boy playing to himself under a tree, in a
ragged shirt unbuttoned at the throat.”  A figure is given (Galpin, p.
159) of a goat playing on a shawm {88} from a carving of the twelfth
century at Canterbury.  The name is believed to be derived from
_calamaula_, a reed-pipe, which was corrupted to _chalem-elle_ and then
to _shawm_.  Shawms were made of various sizes, from the small treble
instrument, one foot long, to the huge affair, six feet in length.  The
name Howe-boie, _i.e._ probably Haut-bois, was applied to the treble
instrument as early as the reign of Elizabeth; while the deeper-toned
instruments retained the name shawm.  The bassoon is only a bass oboe
rendered less cumbrous by the tube being bent sharply on itself.  A tenor
bassoon, known as the oboe da caccia, or teneroon, also existed, and if
my memory serves me right, Mr Stone rescued one of these instruments from
the band of a London boys’ school.  A teneroon of Mr Galpin’s is shown at
p. 168 of his book, where it appears to be about seven-tenths of the size
of the ordinary bassoon.

               [Picture: Plate VII.  Pibcorn or Horn-pipe]

The next class of wind-instrument is that of which the clarinet is the
modern representative.  It has a rich but somewhat cloying tone, and, to
my thinking, none of the mysterious charm of the oboe.  It is
characterised by a single vibrating plate or reed, and the current of air
from the performer’s mouth passes between it and an immovable surface of
wood.  In our country this type of reed was found in a most interesting
instrument, the horn-pipe {89a} or pibcorn, which is said to have existed
in Wales as late as the nineteenth century.  One of these curious
instruments is in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries, and is
shown in Plate VII.  It was given to the Society by Daines Barrington,
who describes it in the Society’s _Archæologia_ for 1779.  In a Saxon
vocabulary of the eighth century the word _Sambucus_ (_i.e._ elder-tree)
is translated _swegelhorn_.  Now the word _swegel_ was applied to the
_tibia_ or leg-bone; it is therefore of remarkable interest to find that,
according to an old Welsh peasant, the tibia of a deer should be the best
tube for the pibcorn. {89b}  This name, which means pipe-horn, is very
appropriate, since the tube of the instrument bears at either end a cow’s
horn.  To the upper one the performer applied his mouth.  He had no means
of regulating the reed as a clarinet or oboe-player has; the reed was
left to its own sweet will, as is also the case with the reeds in another
ancient instrument—the bagpipe, to which a few words must be given.

Mr Henry Balfour believes that both these instruments came to us with the
Keltic migration from the East.  Or, as Mr Galpin suggests, we may owe
the bagpipe to Roman soldiers, “for the _tibia utricularis_ was used in
the Imperial army.”  It is quite a mistake to suppose that the bagpipe is
in any special way connected with Scotland.  Illuminated missals of the
thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries show how common the
bagpipe was in England.  But the Scots must at least have a share of the
credit of preserving the bagpipe from extinction; and the same may be
said of another Keltic race, the Breton, in whose land I have heard the
bagpipe accompanied by a rough kind of oboe.

Mr Galpin tells me a pleasant story of a bagpipe hunt in Paris.  He
discovered, in a shop, an old French musette (bagpipe), the chanter or
melody-pipe of which was missing.  He did not buy it until in a two days’
hunt all over Paris he discovered the lost chanter, when he returned to
the first shop, triumphantly carried off the musette, and thus became the
owner of this rare and beautiful instrument.

The drone, which forms a continuous bass to the “chanter,” was not an
original character of the bagpipe, but appeared soon after the year 1300.
A second drone “was added about the year 1400, for it is seen in the
ancient bagpipe belonging to Messrs Glen of Edinburgh,” which bears the
date 1409.

The Horn and Cornett.

The horn takes its name from the cow’s horn, out of which the instrument
was made.  The resemblance includes the tapering bore of this instrument,
and also the fact that it is curved. {90}  In the metal instruments, made
in imitation of the natural horn, we find a curvature of about a
semi-circle, as in the seventeenth century hunting horn (Galpin, p. 188).
While in the horn of the early seventeenth century shown on the same
plate, the tube is curved into many circular coils.

 [Picture: PLATE VIII. I, 2, 3, 4, 5. Cornetts. 6. Serpent. 7. Bass Horn.
                      8. Ophicleide. 9. Keyed Bugle]

The cornett, {91} which was blown like a horn or trumpet, seems to have
been successful in mediæval times, because a workable scale was so much
more easily attainable with it than in the ordinary trumpet.  In Norway a
goat’s horn pierced with four or five holes stopped by the fingers is
still in use as a rustic instrument.  This is in fact a cornett which, as
early as the twelfth century, was made of wood or ivory, and had a
characteristic six-sided form.  It seems to have been popular, and Henry
VIII. died possessed of many cornetts.  We hear, too, of two _Cornetters_
attached to Canterbury Cathedral; and the translators of the Bible gave
it a place in Nebuchadnezzar’s band.  But the cornett was doomed to
destruction in the struggle for life.  In 1662 Evelyn speaks of the
disappearance of the cornett “which gave life to the organ.”  Lord Keeper
North wrote, “Nothing comes so near, or rather imitates so much, an
excellent voice as a cornett pipe; but the labour of the lips is too
great and is seldom well-sounded.”  The cornett was given a place in the
chorales of Bach and the operas of Gluck after it had become extinct in

The bass cornett was known as the serpent from its curved form, and this
character was in fact necessary in order that the performer’s hands might
be nearer together.  Mr Galpin writes:—“If not overblown it yields a
peculiarly soft _woody_ tone which no longer has its counterpart in the
orchestra.”  He quotes from Thomas Hardy’s _Under the Greenwood Tree_,
where the village shoemaker remarks, “There’s worse things than
serpents.”  Dr Stone (_Dictionary of Music_, 1883) wrote:—“There were
till a few years ago two serpents in the band of the Sacred Harmonic
Society, played by Mr Standen and Mr Pimlett.”  The serpent {92} was
driven out of the orchestra by the Ophicleide, which again has been
extinguished by the valved Tubas of Adolphe Sax.

Trumpet and Sackbut.

“The story of the trumpet is the story of panoply and pomp,” says Mr
Galpin, and goes on to explain how the trumpeters with drummers formed an
exclusive guild.  Trumpets served as war-like instruments, but also for
domestic pomp.  Thus twelve trumpets and two kettle-drums sounded while
Queen Elizabeth’s dinner was being brought in.  That monarch had
certainly no excuse for being late for her meals.

The trumpet was originally a long straight cylindrical tube, but as early
as 1300 the tube was bent into a loop, thus combining length with
handiness.  This form of the instrument was known as a clarion, a word
which has degenerated in our day into a picturesque word for a trumpet.
It was for the clarion that Bach and Handel wrote trumpet parts which, I
gather, are almost unplayable on the modern instrument.  The clarion
seems to have been soon beaten in the struggle for life by the clarinet,
“which, as its name implies, was considered an effective substitute for
the high clarion notes.”

The sackbut, _i.e._ trombone, is an important offshoot from the trumpet.
The essential feature of this splendid instrument is that the length of
the tube can be altered at will.  Thus the performer is not—like the
trumpeter—confined to one series of harmonics, but can take advantage of
a whole series of these accessory notes.

The Organ.

This is one of the most ancient of instruments.  Thus in the second
century before our era Ctesibius of Alexandria had a simple type of
organ, in which the wind from the bellows was admitted at will into
whistle-like tube by keys which the performer depressed with his fingers.
It is a remarkable fact that keys should afterwards have been replaced by
cumbersome _sliders_ which had to be pushed in and out to produce the
desired note.  But so it was, and the keyboard had to be rediscovered in
the twelfth century.  The keys were first applied to the little
portatives, {94a} one of which is figured by Galpin, p. 221, where the
organist works the wind supply with one hand and manipulates the keys
with the other.  In Galpin, p. 222, a monk is shown playing a simple
organ of apparently two octave compass, while another tonsured person is
blowing a pair of bellows, one with the left and the other with the right
hand.  Another artist is shown by Galpin, p. 226, from a thirteenth
century Psalter, who is accompanying a player of the symphony
(hurdy-gurdy).  The bellows are blown by the feet of an assistant.

The regal, figured by Galpin at p. 230, was a simple form of organ in
which the pipes were not of the whistle-type, but consisted principally
of reed-pipes.

Tabors and Nakers.

In my essay on war music {94b} I wrote of the band of a French regiment
at the beginning of the war: “When the buglers were out of breath, the
drums thundered on with magnificent fire, until once more the simple and
spirited fanfare came in with its brave out-of-doors flavour—a romantic
dash of the hunting-song, and yet with something of the seriousness of
battle. . . .  As I watched these men, so soon to fight for their
country, I was reminded of that white-faced boy pictured by Stevenson,
striding over his dead comrades, the roll of his drum leading the living
to victory or death.”  I have ventured to quote the above passage in
illustration of Mr Galpin’s striking remark that the drum has probably
entered more largely than any other instrument into the destinies of the
human race.

The historian of musical instruments in the far north has an easy task,
since it appears that the Eskimoes confine themselves to the drum, which
they sound on all possible occasions, from prosperous huntings to the
death of a comrade.

The instruments of the class here dealt with are divided into three

  (i.)   The timbrel or tambourine, which is characterised by having only
  one membrane stretched on a shallow wooden frame.

  (ii.)  The drum with two membranes, one at each end of a barrel-shaped

  (iii.) The naker or kettle-drum, with a single membrane stretched over
  the opening of a hemispherical frame.  The tambourine is an extremely
  ancient instrument since it was known in Assyria and Egypt as well as
  in Greece and Rome, and it is especially interesting to learn that the
  Roman tambourine had the metal discs which make so exciting a jingle in
  the modern instrument.  The mediæval tambourine also had what, in the
  case of the drum, is called the _snare_, which is a cord tightly
  stretched across the membrane, and gives a certain sting to instruments
  of this class, but now only exists in the drum proper.


An ancient Egyptian drum was discovered at Thebes.  It was a true drum
having a membrane at each end of the hollow cylinder which made the
frame, and, what is more remarkable, it had the braces or system of cords
by which we still tighten the drum-membranes.

The drum “suspended at the side of the player and beaten on one head
only” became, with the accompaniment of the fife, the earliest type of
military music. {96a}  Mr Galpin concludes {96b} by quoting what Virdung
(1511) had to say of drums: “I verily believe that the devil must have
had the devising and making of them, for there is no pleasure nor
anything good about them.  If the noise of the drum-stick be music, then
the coopers who make barrels must be musicians.”

Kettle-drums. {96c}

Anyone who has seen the band of the Life Guards must have admired (as I
do) the splendid personage who plays the kettle-drums.  These are not of
the ordinary drum-form, being hemispherical instead of cylindrical, and
having but a single membrane.  They have a right to be called musical
instruments since their pitch is alterable: {96d} I have often admired
the drummer in an orchestra tuning his instrument at a change of key.
One sees him leaning over his children like an anxious mother until he
gets his large babies into the proper temper.

The earliest record of kettle-drums in this country is in the list of
Edward I.’s musicians, among whom was Janino le Nakerer.  Henry VIII. is
said to have sent to Vienna for kettle-drums {97} that could be played on
horseback in the Hungarian manner.  In England, Handel was the first to
use the kettle-drum in the concert-room, and he used to borrow from the
Tower the drums taken from the French at the battle of Malplaquet in

Cymbals and Chimes.

The cymbals are of a great antiquity, being depicted on ancient Assyrian
monuments, and “in the British Museum may be seen a pair of bronze
cymbals which once did duty for the sacred rites of Egyptian deities.”
They are figured in English MSS. of the thirteenth century, and Mr Galpin
gives a figure of a cymbal-player (as shown in a fourteenth century MS.)
vigorously clashing his instrument.  There was also an apparatus known as
a jingling johnny, figured by Galpin at p. 258.  It was a pole bearing a
number of bells, hence the name which it doubtless deserved.  The
crescents with which it is decorated are an inheritance from its forbears
of the Janizary bands.

Mr Galpin ends his book with a very interesting chapter on the _Consort_,
_i.e._ Concert, which, however, does not lend itself to that abbreviation
to which the rest of the book has been mercilessly subjected.


I do not pretend to be a specialist in the study of plant-names.  But
there is something to be said for ignorance (in moderation), since it
brings reader and writer more closely together than is the case when the
author knows the last word in a subject of which the reader knows
nothing.  But we need not consider the case of the blankly ignorant
reader, and I can undertake that (for very sufficient reasons) I shall
not be offensively learned.

The fact that language is handed on from one generation to the next may
remind us of heredity, and the way in which words change is a case of
variation.  But we cannot understand what determines the extinction of
old words or the birth of new ones.  We cannot, in fact, understand how
the principle of natural selection is applicable to language: yet there
must be a survival of the fittest in words, as in living creatures.
Language is a quality of man, and just as we can point to big racial
groups such as that which includes the English, Dutch, Danish, Swedish,
Norwegian, Icelandic and German peoples, so their languages, though
differing greatly in detail, have certain well-marked resemblances.  Of
course I do not mean to imply that language is hereditary, like the form
of skull or the colour of the hair.  I only insist on these familiar
facts in order to show that the wonderful romance inherent in the great
subject of evolution also illumines that cycle of birth and death to
which existing plant-names are due.

In the case of living creatures we can at least make a guess as to what
are the qualities that have made them succeed in the struggle for life.
But in the case of the birth and death of words we are surrounded with

In some instances, however, it is clear that plant-names were forgotten
with the growth of Protestantism.  The common milk-wort used to be called
the Gang-flower {100a} because it blossoms in what our ancestors called
Gang Week,—“three days before the Ascension, when processions were made . . .
to perambulate the parishes with the Holy Cross and Litanies, to mark
their boundaries, and invoke the blessing of God on the crops.” {100b}
Bishop Kennet says that the girls made garlands of milk-wort and used
them “in those solemn processions.”  As far as dates are concerned the
name is fairly appropriate, for Rogation Sunday is 27th April, _i.e._
10th May, old style, and, according to Blomefield, {100c} from eight
years’ observation, the milk-wort flowers on 15th May.  The milk-wort is
a small plant, and the labour of making garlands from it must have been
considerable.  There must have been a reason for using a blue flower, and
I gather from a friend learned in such matters that blue is associated
with the Virgin Mary, to whom the month of May is dedicated.

In this case we can perhaps understand why the name should have all but
died out with the disappearance of these old ceremonies.  But why should
the name _milk-wort_ have survived?  Its scientific name, Polygala, is
derived from Greek and means “much milk,” and the plant was supposed to
encourage lactation.  It is an instance of names being more long-lived
than the beliefs which they chronicle.

There are, of course, many plants called after saints.  Thus the pig-nut
(_Bunium_) is called St Anthony’s nut, because, as quoted by Prior, “The
wretched Antonius” was “forced to mind the filthy herds of swine.”  The
buttercup (_R. bulbosus_) was called St Anthony’s turnip from its tubers
being said to be eaten by pigs.

St Catherine’s flower (_Nigella_) (generally known as love-in-a-mist or
devil-in-a-bush) is called after the martyr from the arrangement of its
styles, which recall the spokes of St Catherine’s wheel.  I do not mean
the well-known fireworks but the instrument of torture on which the saint
died.  St James’ wort is the yellow daisy-like flower _Senecio Jacobæa_,
known as rag-wort.  It is said to have been used as a cure for the
diseases of horses, of which he was the patron.

In the old herbals the cowslip is called St Peter’s wort from the
resemblance of the flowers to a bunch of keys—no doubt the keys of
heaven, of which Peter is custodian.

A number of plants were called after the Virgin Mary: these were
doubtless known as Our Lady’s flowers, but their names have been
corrupted in Protestant days by the omission of the pronoun.

Lady’s fingers (_Anthyllis vulneraria_) is a common enough plant bearing
a head or tuft of yellow flowers.  Each has a pale swollen calyx, and
these are, I suppose, the fingers on which the name is founded, though I
find it said that it originates in the leaflets surrounding the flower

Butcher’s broom is known in Wales as Mary’s holly, the latter half of the
name referring to its red berries and prickly leaves.  It was used to
clean butcher’s blocks.

Lady’s slipper is so named from the strikingly shoe-like form of the
flower.  It is excessively rare in England, but in Southern France one
may see great bunches gathered for sale, over which, by the way, I have
often mourned.

Lady’s tresses (the orchid _Spiranthes_) is so named from the curious
twisted or braided arrangement of the flowers.

Lady’s smock (_Cardamine pratensis_) bears a name immortalised in
Shakespeare’s song:—

    “When daisies pied and violets blue,
    And lady’s smocks all silver white,
    And cuckow-buds of yellow hue
    Do paint the meadows with delight.”

I suspect that the poet called them _silver white_ to rhyme with
_delight_, for they are distinctly lilac in colour.  Nor are they
especially smock-like—many other flowers suggest a woman’s skirt equally
well—but this is a carping criticism.

Lady’s bedstraw seems to have been so called from the yellow colour of
one or more kinds of Galium.

Lady’s bower is _Clematis vitalba_, now known as traveller’s joy.  Anyone
exploring Seven Leases Lane, which runs along the edge of the Cotswolds,
will travel in continuous joy, for the lady’s bower converts many hundred
yards of hedge into continuous beauty.

_Pulmonaria_ has been called the Virgin Mary’s tears, from the pale
circular marks on its leaves.  The blue flowers have been supposed to
typify the beautiful eyes of the Virgin, while the red buds are the same
eyes disfigured with weeping.

Many plants are named after the devil; there is, for instance, a species
of _Scabiosa_ called devil’s bit, because that eminent personage bit the
root short off, and so it remains to this day.  His object seems to have
been to destroy the medicinal properties the plant was supposed to

We now pass on to plants flowering on certain dates, such as Saints’ days
or other church festivals.  The snowdrop has been called the Fair Maid of
February, because it was supposed to flower on Candlemas Day, 2nd
February, which would be 15th February according to the modern calendar.

The name St John’s wort, which we habitually apply to several species of
_Hypericum_, is correctly used only for _H. perforatum_.  Its English
name is said to have been given from its flowering on St John’s Day, 24th
June.  This would be 7th July, new style, and I find that Blomefield’s
average of eight annual observations is 4th July.

I had been wondering why there seemed to be no name for St John’s wort
suggested by the glands, which show as pellucid dots when the leaf is
held up to the light.  And in Britten and Holland’s _Dictionary of
English Plant Names_, 1886, I found that _H. perforatum_ was called Balm
of Warrior’s Wound, which must refer to the innumerable stabs it
exhibits, though they are more numerous than most warriors can endure.  A
closely related plant is _Hypericum androsæmum_, known as Tutsan, said to
mean _toute saine_, as curing all hurts.  In Wales, as I well remember
forty years ago, the leaves were kept in bibles.  They are, as I learn
from a Welsh scholar, known as Blessed One’s leaves.

The common yellow wayside plant _Geum urbanum_ is known as Herb Benet,
because, like St Benet, it had the power of counteracting the effect of

The sweet-william is said by Forster to be so named from flowering on St
William’s Day, 25th June.  But Blomefield’s date is 17th June, which
would be 4th June, old style.  A much more probable explanation is that
William is a corruption of the French name _œillet_, a word derived from
the Latin _ocellus_, a little eye.  So that the ancestry of the name runs

Oxalis, the wood-sorrel, was known as hallelujah, not only in England but
in several parts of the Continent, from its blossoming between Easter and
Whitsuntide, when psalms were sung ending in the word hallelujah.


Some plant-names take us back to historical personages.  The Carline
thistle is named after Karl the Great, better known as Charlemagne.
There was a pestilence in his army, and in answer to his prayer an angel
appeared and shot, from a crossbow, a bolt, which fell on the Carline
thistle with which the Emperor proceeded to conquer the pestilence.

Another magical arrow-shot is described in well-known lines in _A
Midsummer Night’s Dream_ (Act ii., scene I).  Oberon speaks of Cupid
loosing his “love shaft smartly from the bow” at “a fair vestal throned
in the west.”  Cupid missed his mark, and the poet continues:—

    “Yet marked I where the bolt of Cupid fell:
    It fell upon a little western flower,
    Before milk-white, now purple with love’s wound,
    And maidens call it Love-in-idleness.”

The name Love-in-idleness should be Love-in-idle if the metre could have
allowed it.  This means love-in-vain: witness the Anglo-Saxon bible,
where occurs the phrase to take God’s name “in idle.”  The flower
referred to by Shakespeare is doubtless the pansy.

Some names recall the work of more modern people.  Thus the wild
chamomile was known in the Eastern counties as _Mawther_; and this, as
all lovers of Dickens will remember, means not a mother but a girl; and
the name is in fact a translation of the Greek Parthenion into the
Suffolk dialect.

The elder used to be known as the _bour-tree_.  I fear that the name is
extinct in England, but a Scotch friend tells me that he was familiar
with it in his youth.  I love this name because it is associated in my
mind with the words of Meg Merrilees {106} in _Guy Mannering_, the first
English classic in which I took pleasure.

“Aye, on this very spot the man fell from his horse—I was behind the
bour-tree bush at the very moment.  Sair, sair he strove, and sair he
cried for mercy; but he was in the hands of them that never kenn’d the

The actual origin of the name is, however, not romantic; it is said to
mean _bore_, and to refer to the fact that tubes were made from it by
boring out the pith.  It seems possible that such tubes were, in
primitive times, used to blow the fire, and this would explain the name
elder, which seems to mean _kindler_.

The dwarf elder, a distinct species, though not connected with an
individual, commemorates a race, being known as Dane’s blood.  It grows
on the Bartlow Hills, near Cambridge, where tradition says that Danes
were killed in battle.

I add a few names as being picturesque, though without any literary

There is an old name for the shepherd’s purse, viz., clapperde-pouch,
which is said to allude to the leper who stood at the cross-ways
announcing his presence with a bell and clapper, and begged for pennies
to put in his pouch, which is typified by the seed capsule.  Another name
for the plant is mother’s heart, {107} and is no doubt referable to the
shape of the seed pod.  Children in England, also in Germany and
Switzerland, used to play at the simple game of asking a companion to
gather a pod, and then jeering at him for having plucked out his mother’s

The name columbine comes from the flower’s obvious resemblance to a group
of doves, and its Latin name _aquilegia_, meaning a collection of eagles,
is a nobler form of the same idea.

Dead-man’s fingers is a fine uncanny name for the innocent _Orchis
maculata_, and refers to its branching white tuber.

Garlick is a very ancient name, being derived from the Anglo-Saxon _gar_,
a spear, and _leac_, a plant; in the name house-leek the word still bears
its original meaning of a plant.

_Tragopogon_, the goat’s beard, which closes its flowers about mid-day,
was once known as go-to-bed-at-noon.

The pansy has been called Herb trinity from the triple colouring of its
petals.  In Welsh, and also in German, the pansy is called stepmother.
The lower petal is the most decorative, and this is the stepmother
herself.  On examining the back of the flower it will be seen that she is
supported by two green leaflets, known as the _sepals_.  These are called
her two chairs.  Then come her two daughters, less smart, and having only
a chair apiece.  Lastly, the two step-daughters, still more plainly
dressed and with but one chair between them.

Polemonium, from its numerous leaflets arranged in pairs, has received
the picturesque name of Jacob’s ladder.  I remember the pleasure with
which I first saw it growing wild in the hayfields of the Engadine.

Polygonatum, _i.e._ Solomon’s seal, has been christened _Scala cœli_, the
ladder to heaven, on the same principle.  The name Solomon’s seal is not
obviously appropriate till we dig up the plant, when the underground stem
is found marked with curious scars, which, however, should be pentagonal
if they are to represent Solomon’s pentacle.

Herb twopence (_Lysimchia nummularia_) is so named after the round
leaflets arranged in pairs along its creeping stalk.  I do not know why
_Inula conyza_ is called ploughman’s spikenard, but it is a picturesque

Everyone knows the garden plant touch-me-not, so called from the curious
irritability of its pods, which writhe in an uncanny way when we gather
them.  This quality is expressed twice over in the Latin name _Impatiens
noli-me-tangere_.  But there is a forgotten old English name which
pleases me more, viz., quick-in-the-hand, that is to say
alive-in-the-hand.  This use of the word survives in the familiar phrase
“the quick and the dead.”

The English name of _Echium vulgare_ is viper’s bugloss—this I had always
imagined referred to the forked tongue (the style) which projects from
the flower.  But it is said to be so named from the seeds resembling a
viper’s head.  This is certainly the case, and what can be the function
of the little knobs on the seed, which represent eyes, I cannot imagine.
The name bugloss is derived from the Greek and means ox-tongue—no doubt
in reference to the plant’s rough leaves.

_Corruptions_.—Another and greater class of names comprises those which
are corruptions of classical names or of those unfamiliar in other ways.

A well-known example is daffodil, which was originally affodyl, a
corruption of asphodel, a name of unknown meaning, originally given to
the iris, and transferred to narcissus.  A very obvious corruption is
aaron, which has been applied to Lords and Ladies, whose scientific name
is Arum.  An incomprehensibly foolish instance is bullrush for pool-rush,
_i.e._ water rush.  This name has at least the merit of supplying
material for that riddle of our childhood in which occur the words “when
the bull rushes out.”

Carraway is another obvious corruption of its Latin name _Carum carui_.
In the ancient _Schola Salernitana_, as I learn from Sir Norman Moore, is
a punning Latin line, “Dum carui carwey non sine febre fui” (“When I was
out of carraway I was never free from fever”).

Dogwood (_Cornus sanguinea_) was originally dagwood, so called because it
was used to make _dags_ or skewers: doubtless the same word as dagger.
According to a Welsh tradition dogwood was the tree on which the devil
hung his mother.  I cannot resist the pleasure of quoting this fact,
although it does not bear on anything in particular.

Eglantine, a name used for the wild rose, is with much probability
derived from the Latin _aculentus_, prickly, which became in French
_aiglent_.  Hence came the French names of the plant _eglantier_ and our

Gooseberry is believed not to have anything to do with a goose, but to
come from the Flemish _Kroes_, meaning a cross, a comparison said to be
suggested by the triple thorns, though of course a fourth thorn is needed
to make this simile accurate.  It is hard to see why a plant which grows
wild in England, and seems by some botanists to be considered indigenous,
should have a Flemish name.  Prior, our chief authority, asserts that the
early herbalists constantly took names from continental writers, and I
think his judgment may be trusted.  The problem of the derivation of the
word gooseberry may at least serve to illustrate the difficulty of the

The name _Hemlock_, which nowadays has a wicked poisonous sound, has in
truth a very innocent origin.  It is compounded of _hem_, _i.e._ haulm, a
stalk, and _lock_, or leac, a plant, thus signifying merely a plant with
a stem.  Jack of the Buttery, a name applied to _Sedum acre_, is said to
be a corruption from _bot_, _i.e._ an internal parasite, and _theriac_,
by which was meant a cure for that evil.  The last-named word has turned
into “Jack,” and _bot_ has grown into “buttery.”

Lamb’s tongue is said to be a name for _Plantago media_; but this must, I
think, be a corruption of land tongue, which is highly appropriate to the
tongue-like leaves lying so closely appressed to the soil that no blade
of grass grows under them, as though they were determined to spite any
one who should root them up by disfiguring his lawn with naked patches.
But still better evidence is forthcoming in the fact that my old
Cambridgeshire gardener always called them land tongues.  Why the
Anglo-Saxons used the name _way bread_ for the plantain I do not see: the
fact is vouched for by Cockayne in his book entitled _Leechdoms_.

In Gloucestershire the plantain is called the _fire-leaf_, a name which
records the belief that plantains are a danger in the way of heating

The word madder, _i.e._ the name of the plant which supplies the red dye
for the trousers of our French allies, has a curious history.  Madder is
derived from _mad_, a worm, and should therefore be applied to cochineal,
the red colouring matter produced by the minute creature called a coccus.
But still more confusion meets us: the word vermilion which is now used
for a red colour of mineral origin, is derived from _vermis_, a worm, and
should therefore also be applied to cochineal.  The word pink, one of the
most familiar of plant-names, has a curious origin, being simply the
German _Pfingst_, a corruption of Pentecost, _i.e._ the fiftieth day
after Easter.

The tendency to make some kind of sense, or at least something familiar,
from the unfamiliar, comes out in name service-tree (_Pyrus torminalis_).
It has nothing to do with _service_, being simply a corruption of
_cerevisia_, a fermented liquor.  The fruit was used for brewing what
Evelyn in his _Sylva_, chap. xv., declares it to be, an incomparable
drink.  Prior says that the French name of the tree, _cormier_, is
derived from an ancient Gaulish word _courmi_, which seems to suggest the
modern Welsh _cwrw_, beer.

Tansy (_Tanacetum_) is believed to be simply a corruption of _athansia_,
immortality.  I gather that we got the name through the French
_athanasie_, in which, of course, the _th_ is sounded as a _t_.  In all
probability it was originally applied to some plant more deserving of
being credited with immortality.

A few miscellaneous names may here be given.  _Thorough wax_ is a name
for _Chlora perfoliata_, also known as _yellow wort_.  Its leaves are
perfoliate, _i.e._ opposite and united by their bases so that the stem
seems to have grown through a single leaf.

_Kemps_, _i.e._ warriors, was a name of the common plantain, with which
children used to fight one against the other.  I remember this as being
an unsatisfactory game because one so constantly killed one’s own kemp
instead of the enemy.

_Herb Paris_ is simply the plant with a pair of leaves; it should,
however, have been described as having four leaves.  Thus the name has
nothing to do with Paris, the capital of France.  But some plants have
names of geographical origin; the currants or minute grapes used for
making cakes are so called because they come from Corinth.  So that we
are quite wrong in applying this same name to the familiar companion of
the gooseberry in our gardens.  In the same way damsons are so called
because they are said to have come originally from Damascus.

The name Canterbury bell has a very interesting origin, namely, that
bells were the recognised badge of pilgrims to the shrine of St Thomas at
Canterbury.  One of these bells was found in the bed of the Thames when
old London Bridge was pulled down.  It is said to be “about the size of
an ordinary handbell, with a flat top, on which is an open handle,
through which a strap could easily be passed to attach it to a horse’s
collar.”  This bell is known to have been associated with Canterbury by
the inscription _Campana Thome_ on the outer edge.  The pilgrims seem to
have journeyed cheerfully.  It is written that some “pilgrims will have
with them bag-pipes; so that in everie towne they come through, what with
the noise of their piping, and the jangling of their _Canterburie bells_,
etc., they make more noise than if the king came there away.”

Dutch mice is a name for _Lathyrus tuberosus_.  Gerard says that the
plant is so named from the “similitude or likeness of Domesticall Mise,
which the blacke, rounde, and long nuts, with a peece of the slender
string hanging out behind do represent.”  From this description one would
expect to see mouse-like pods, but it is the tubers which give the name
to the plant.  This is clearly visible in Bentham’s illustration; {114} I
hope the artist was unaware of the name when he made the drawing—but I
have my doubts.  The specimen from Cambridgeshire (which I owe to the
kindness of Mr Shrubbs of the University Herbarium) are not especially

The names shepherd’s needle and Venus’ comb have been given to an
umbelliferous plant, _Scandix Pecten_.  The teeth of the comb are
represented by what are practically seeds.  These are elongated
stick-like objects covered with minute prickles all pointing upwards.  I
do not know how the seeds germinate under ordinary conditions, but I
learn from Mr Shrubbs that they are dragged into the holes of earthworms,
as my father describes in the case of sticks and leaf-stalks.
Unfortunately for the worms, the prickles on Venus’ needles do not allow
the creatures to free themselves, and they actually die in considerable
numbers with the needles fixed in their gullets.


    “Few, if indeed any, have ever known plants as he did.”


Joseph Dalton Hooker was born in 1817 and died in 1911; and of these
ninety-four years eighty-one included botanical work, for at thirteen
“Joseph” was “becoming a zealous botanist”; and Mr L. Huxley records
(ii., 480) that he kept at work till a little before his death on 10th
December 1911, and that although his physical strength began to fail in
August, yet “till the end he was keenly interested in current topics and
the latest contribution to natural science.”  So far as actual research
is concerned, it is remarkable that he should have continued to work at
the Balsams—a very difficult class of plants—at least till 1910.  Mr
Huxley has wisely determined to make his book of a reasonable size, and
the task of compressing his gigantic mass of material into two volumes
must have been a difficult one.  He has been thoroughly successful,
{115b} and no aspect of Sir Joseph’s life is neglected, the whole being
admirably arranged and annotated, and treated throughout with conspicuous
judgment and skill.

In an “autobiographical fragment” (i., p. 3) Sir Joseph records that he
was born at Halesworth in Suffolk, “being the second child of William
Jackson Hooker and Maria Turner.”  He was not only the son of an eminent
botanist, but fate went so far as to give him a botanical godfather in
the person of Rev. J. Dalton, “a student of carices and mosses and
discoverer of _Scheuchzeria_ in England.”  It was after Mr Dalton that
Hooker was named, his first name, Joseph, commemorating his grandfather
Hooker.  In 1821 the family moved to Glasgow, where Sir William Hooker
was appointed Professor of Botany.  It was here that Sir Joseph, at the
age of five or six, showed his innate love of plants, for he records

“When I was still in petticoats, I was found grubbing in a wall in the
dirty suburbs of the dirty city of Glasgow, and . . . when asked what I
was about, I cried out that I had found _Bryum argenteum_ (which it was
not), a very pretty little moss which I had seen in my father’s
collection, and to which I had taken a great fancy.”

While still a child his father used to take him on excursions in the
Highlands, and on one occasion, on returning home, Joseph built up a heap
of stones to represent a mountain and “stuck upon it specimens of the
mosses I had collected on it, at heights relative to those at which I had
gathered them.  This was the dawn of my love for geographical botany.”

Sir Joseph records that his father gave him a scrap of a moss gathered by
Mungo Park when almost at the point of death.  It excited in him a desire
of entering Africa by Morocco, and crossing the greater Atlas.  That
childish dream, he says, “I never lost; I nursed it till, half a century
afterwards, . . . I did (with my friend Mr Ball, who is here by me, and
another friend Mr G. Maw) ascend to the summit of the previously
unconquered Atlas.”

In 1820 William Hooker was appointed to the newly founded Professorship
of Botany at Glasgow.  Of this his son Joseph writes, “It was a bold
venture for my father to undertake so responsible an office, for he had
never lectured, or even attended a course of lectures.”  With wonderful
energy he “published in time for use in his second course, the _Flora
Scotica_ in two volumes.”  Sir Joseph’s mother was Maria, daughter of
Dawson Turner, banker, botanist and archæologist, so that science was
provided on both sides of the pedigree.

It would seem that Sir Joseph’s mother was somewhat of a martinet.  When
Joseph came in from school he had to present himself to her, and “was not
allowed to sit down in her presence without permission.”

In 1832, Joseph, then fifteen years of age, entered Glasgow University,
being already, in the words of his father, “a fair British botanist” with
“a tolerable herbarium very much of his own collecting”; he adds, “Had he
time for it, he would already be more useful to me than Mr Klotzsch” [his

It was in 1838 that Hooker got his opportunity, for it chanced that James
Clerk Ross, the Arctic explorer, was in 1838 visiting at the Smiths of
Jordan Hill.  In order that Joseph might meet Ross, both he and his
father were invited to breakfast.  The meeting ended in Ross promising to
take him as surgeon and naturalist.  There seems to have been a little
innocent jobbery with folks in high places, and it fortunately turned out
that the expedition was delayed so that Joseph had the opportunity of
spending some time at Haslar Hospital.

The expedition seems to have been fitted out with astonishing poverty.
Seventy years later he wrote, “Except some drying paper for plants, I had
not a single instrument or book supplied to me as a naturalist—all were
given to me by my father.  I had, however, the use of Ross’s library, and
you may hardly credit it, but it is fact that not a single glass bottle
was supplied for collecting purposes; empty pickle bottles were all we
had, and rum as a preservative from the ship’s stores.”

It is interesting to find Ross, in his preliminary talk with Hooker,
saying that he wanted a trained naturalist, “such a person as Mr
Darwin”—to which Hooker aptly retorted by asking what Mr Darwin was
before he went out.

I imagine that Hooker was lucky in being taken on Ross’s voyage _as a
naturalist_, since the primary object of the expedition was to fill up
“the wide blanks in the knowledge of terrestrial magnetism in the
southern hemisphere.”

It seems like a forecast of what was to be the chief friendship of his
life, that Darwin’s _Naturalist’s Voyage_ should have been one of the
books that inspired him to join in the voyage of the _Erebus_ and
_Terror_.  Hooker “slept with the proofs under his pillow, and devoured
them eagerly the moment he woke in the morning.”  Much earlier he had
been stirred by Cook’s voyages, and, like Darwin, was fired by Humboldt’s
_Personal Narrative_.  While at sea his work was largely zoological, and
the tow-net was kept busy.  But on 24th August 1841, he writes to his
father of his great wish to devote himself “to collecting plants and
studying them . . . but we are comparatively seldom off the sea, and then
in the most unpropitious seasons for travelling or collecting.”  He
speaks, too, of his wish to see the end of the voyage, in order that he
might devote himself to botany.

The voyage had its dangers: in March 1842, during a storm, the _Terror_
collided with the _Erebus_, and for nearly ten minutes the interlocked
ships drifted towards a huge berg: the _Erebus_ remained rolling and
striking her masts against the berg, but managed by the “desperate
expedient” of “sailing stern first down wind” to escape destruction.

Hooker writes to his father, 25th November 1842: “The Barrier, the bergs
several hundred feet high and 1–6 miles long, and the Mts. of the great
Antarctic continent, are too grand to be imagined, and almost too
stupendous to be carried in the memory.”

In a letter to his mother he describes seeing at Cape Horn “a little
cairn of stones raised by the officers of the _Beagle_.”  And again he
writes, “Clouds and fogs, rain and snow justified all Darwin’s accurate
descriptions of a dreary Fuegian summer.”  He speaks of Darwin’s
_Naturalist’s Voyage_ as “not only indispensable but a delightful
companion and guide.”  There is plenty of interesting matter in the
account of Hooker’s voyage, but the above fragments of detail must here
suffice.  The _Erebus_ and _Terror_ reached Woolwich on 7th September

Having safely returned to England, the next problem was what was to be
Hooker’s permanent occupation.  Nothing, however, was fixed on, and in
the meantime he fulfilled “his intention of seeing the chief Continental
botanists, and comparing their gardens and collections with those of

His first visit was to Humboldt, at Paris, who turned out “a punchy
little German,” whereas he had expected “a fine fellow 6 feet without his
boots.”  Of the great man he says, “He certainly is still a most
wonderful man, with a sagacity and memory and capability for generalising
that are quite marvellous.  I gave him my book [_Flora Antarctica_],
which delighted him much; he read through the first three numbers, and I
suppose noted down thirty or forty things which he asked me particulars
about.”  Humboldt was then seventy-six years of age.  Hooker’s impression
of the Paris botanists was not favourable; he speaks of their habit of
telling him of the magnitude of their own researches, “while of those of
their neighbours they seem to know very little indeed.”  Of Decaisne,
however, he speaks with warm appreciation.  He would have been surprised
if a prophet had told him that he was to be instrumental in bringing out
an English version of Decaisne’s well-known book.

In 1845 Hooker acted as a deputy for Graham, the Professor of Botany at
Edinburgh.  In May he wrote to his father, “I am lecturing away like a
house on fire.  I was not in the funk I expected, though I had every
reason to be in a far greater one.”  Finally, when Graham died, Balfour,
the father of the present holder of the office, was elected professor,
and Hooker was fortunately freed from a post that would have been a fatal
tie to his career.

But happier events followed; he became engaged to Frances, daughter of
Professor Henslow.  Sir William spoke of the affair with a certain
pomposity: “I believe Miss Henslow to be an amiable and well-educated
person of most respectable though not high connections, and from all that
I have seen of her, well suited to Joseph’s habits and pursuits.”  Their
engagement was a long one, and their marriage could not take place till
after his Indian journey, which was the next event of importance in his

On the voyage out, he was fortunate in becoming known to Lord Dalhousie,
and the friendship built up in the course of the journey and afterwards
in India “showed itself in unstinted support of Hooker.”  It was,
however, “a personal appreciation of the man rather than of the
scientific investigator.”  Indeed, Lord Dalhousie, “a perfect specimen of
the miserable system of education pursued at Oxford,” had a “lamentably
low opinion” of science.

At Darjiling began Hooker’s “lifelong friendship with a very remarkable
character, Brian Hodgson,” {122a} administrator and scholar, who had “won
equal fame as Resident at the court of Nepal and as a student of Oriental
lore.”  Mr L. Huxley points out that “if the friendship with Lord
Dalhousie provided the key that opened official barriers and made
Hooker’s journeyings possible, the friendship with Hodgson more than
anything else made them a practical success.”

I shall not attempt to follow Hooker through his wanderings—only a few
scattered references to them are possible.  It is pleasant to read that
when Mr Elwes visited Sikkim twenty-two years after Hooker, he found that
the Lepchas almost worshipped him, and he was remembered as a learned
Hakim, an incarnation of wisdom and strength.

The most exciting adventure of Hooker and his fellow-traveller was their
imprisonment in Sikkim, where their lives were clearly in danger, and
they were only released when “troops were hurried up to Darjiling” and
“an ultimatum dispatched to the Rajah.” {122b}

For the rest of his botanical journeyings he had the companionship of
Thomson, who had been his fellow-student, and, like himself, was the son
of a Glasgow professor.  A letter to his father (undated) gives an idea
of the wonderful success of his Indian travels: “It is easy to talk of a
_Flora Indica_, and Thomson and I do talk of it, to imbecility!  But
suppose that we even adopted the size, quality of paper, brevity of
description, etc., which characterise De Candolle’s _Prodromus_, and we
should, even under these conditions, fill twelve such volumes at least.”

The usual shabbiness {123} of governments towards science is well
illustrated (p. 344) in the case of Hooker:—“His total expenditure was
£2200; the official allowances were £1200: the remainder was contributed
from his own and his father’s purse.”

In 1855 Joseph began his official life at Kew on being appointed
assistant to his father.  And ten years later, on Sir William’s death, he
succeeded as a matter of course to the Directorship.

Shortly before this, _i.e._ in 1854, he was the recipient of an honour
greatly coveted by men of science, namely the award of the Royal Medal.
He is characteristically pleased for the sake of the science of Botany
rather than for himself, and refers to the neglect that botany has
generally experienced at the hands of the Society in comparison with
zoological subjects.  His own success characteristically reminds him of
what he considered a slight to his father, viz., that he had not received
the Copley Medal of the Royal Society.  This, the highest honour which
men of science can aspire to, is open not merely to Britons but to all
the world, and I should doubt whether Sir William had ever been high in
the list of possible recipients.

We are now approaching the great change wrought in the scientific outlook
of the world by the _Origin of Species_.  In November 1856, after reading
Darwin’s MS. on geographical distribution, Hooker wrote that though
“never very stubborn about unalterability of specific type, I never felt
so shaky about species before.”  It must be remembered that throughout
the companionship of Hooker and Darwin the latter was a convinced
evolutionist.  He writes in his autobiography that in 1838, after reading
Malthus on Population, he was convinced of the origin of new species by
means of natural selection.  Throughout the close intercourse which
subsisted for so many years between Hooker and Darwin, in which the views
afterwards put forth in the _Origin of Species_ were discussed, Hooker
seems not to have been a convinced evolutionist.  His conversion dates
apparently from 1858, when the papers by Darwin and Wallace were read at
the Linnean Society.  This has always appeared to me remarkable, and T.
H. Huxley {124} has said with regard to his own position:—“My reflection,
when I first made myself master of the central idea of the ‘Origin’ was,
‘How extremely stupid not to have thought of that!’”

After the publication of the _Origin of Species_ Hooker wrote to Darwin,
{125} “I have not yet got half through the book, not from want of will,
but of time—for it is the very hardest book to read, to full profit, that
I ever tried—it is so cram-full of matter and reasoning. . . .  Somehow
it reads very different from the MS., and I often fancy that I must have
been very stupid not to have more fully followed it in MS.”

Whatever Hooker may have been he was not stupid, and though nowadays it
is easy to feel surprise that his long-continued familiarity with
Darwin’s work had not earlier convinced him of the doctrine of evolution
by means of natural selection, we must ascribe it rather to his early
education in the sacrosanct meaning of the word _species_.

I think it must have been roughly about the time of the publication of
the _Origin of Species_ that my earliest memories of Sir Joseph Hooker
refer.  I clearly remember his eating gooseberries with us as children,
in the kitchen garden at Down.  The love of gooseberries was a bond
between us which had no existence in the case of our uncles, who either
ate no gooseberries or preferred to do so in solitude.  By a process of
evolutionary change the word gooseberry took on a new meaning at Down.
Hooker used to send Darwin some especially fine bananas grown in the Kew
hothouses, and these were called Kew gooseberries.  It was characteristic
of my father to feel doubts as to whether he ought to receive Royal
bananas from a Royal garden.  I wish I could remember Hooker romping with
us as children, of which he somewhere speaks.

It was about this time that Darwin had a fancy to make out the names of
the English grasses, and Hooker wrote, “How on earth you have made out 30
grasses rightly is a mystery to me.  You must have a marvellous tact for
appreciating diagnosis.”  It was at this time that one of Darwin’s boys
remarked in regard to a grass he had found:—“I are an extraordinary
grass-finder, and must have it particularly by me all dinner.”  Strange
to say he did not grow into a botanist.

Hooker’s letters at this time impress me with the difficulty he met with
in adapting his systematic work to the doctrines of evolution.  He gives
the impression of working at species in a puzzled or discontented frame
of mind.  Thus on 1st January 1859, he writes to a fellow-botanist:—“What
I shall try to do is, to harmonise the facts with the newest doctrines,
not because they are the truest, but because they do give you room to
reason and reflect at present, and hopes for the future, whereas the old
stick-in-the-mud doctrines of absolute creations, multiple creations, and
dispersion by actual causes under existing circumstances, are all used
up, they are so many stops to further enquiry.”

A few days later he continues to the same correspondent: “If the course
of migration does not agree with that of birds, winds, currents, etc., so
much the worse for the facts of migration!”  On the whole it seems to me
a remarkable fact that Hooker’s conversion to evolution was such a slow
affair.  As Mr Huxley points out, “The partial light thrown on the
question in fragmentary discussions was not enough, and until 1858–59,
after the consolidation of Darwin’s arguments in the famous Abstract
[_The Origin of Species_], Hooker . . . worked avowedly on the accepted
lines of the fixity of species, for which he had so far found no
convincing substitute.”

It is pleasant to read Darwin’s warm-hearted words: {127a} “You may say
what you like, but you will never convince me that I do not owe you ten
times as much as you can owe me” (30th Dec. 1858).

Hooker’s importance in the world was ever on the increase, and this had
also its usual concomitant drawbacks.  Huxley wrote to him {127b} on 19th
December 1860: “It is no use having any false modesty about the matter.
You and I, if we last ten years longer—and you by a long while first—will
be representatives of our respective lines in the country.  In that
capacity we shall have certain duties to perform, to ourselves, to the
outside world, and to Science.  We shall have to swallow praise, which is
no great pleasure, and to stand multitudinous bastings and irritations.”
And this was doubtless a true prophecy for both the friends.

Hooker’s work—both his botanical research and duties of a more public
character—was ever on the increase.

In the first category comes the _Genera Plantarum_, a gigantic piece of
work begun with the co-operation of Bentham in the ’60’s, and continued
until 1883.  The aim of this celebrated publication was no less than to
give a revised definition of every genus of flowering plants.  If this
had been the only publication by the two friends, it had been enough to
found a high and permanent place in the botanical world.  But as far as
Hooker was concerned, it may almost be said to have been carried out in
his spare moments.  It should be remembered that for part of this period
he was aided in the management of the Gardens by Sir William
Thiselton-Dyer, who began as Hooker’s Private Secretary and was then made
Assistant Director. {128a}

The Presidency of the Royal Society, which Hooker held 1873–78, was
clearly a great strain, but he carried out the work (which is in fact
that of a ministry of science) with conspicuous success.

In January 1873 he wrote to Darwin:—“I quite agree as to the awful honour
of P. R. S. . . . but, my dear fellow, I don’t want to be crowned head of
science.  I dread it—‘Uneasy is the head, etc.’—and my beloved Gen.
Plant. will be grievously impeded.”  It gives some idea of the strain of
his work as a whole when we find him writing {128b} to Darwin (Jan. 14,
1875): “I have 15 Committees of the R[oyal] S[ociety] to attend to.  I
cannot tell you what a relief they are to me—matters are so ably and
quietly conducted by Stokes, Huxley, and Spottiswoode that to me they are
of the same sort of relaxation that metaphysics are to Huxley.”

He speaks, {128c} too (1874), of the annual conversazione as “a
tremendous affair. . . .  How I did pity the President of the United
States.”  I am reminded of an American caricature of the President of the
United States with red, swollen fingers, inscribed:—“The hand we have
shaken so often.”  With regard to other honours, he declined at once the
K.C.M.G.; he then began to dread a K.C.B.; finally he was trapped into
the K.C.S.I., an honour which most men would desire quite as much as
Hooker longed to decline it.

In 1873 Hooker made a series of experiments on the digestion and
absorption of food by certain insectivorous plants, notably Nepenthes,
with the object of helping Darwin in his work on that subject.

We must return a year or two to deal with a matter which, as Mr L. Huxley
remarks, “ravaged and embittered” the period 1870–72—namely, his conflict
with Ayrton, the First Commissioner of Works in Gladstone’s Government.
Mr L. Huxley, like a clever musician, gives a touch of Ayrton’s tone in
the opening phrases of his composition.  At a grand festivity in honour
of the Shah of Persia this sovereign was unaccountably anxious to meet
the Commissioner of Works.  Ayrton was at supper, and bluntly responded,
with his mouth full of chicken, “I’ll see the old nigger in Jericho

He began to show his quality by sending an “official reprimand to the
Director of Kew.”  This, the first received in twenty-nine years’
service, was based “on a misapprehension.”  Ayrton’s aim seems to have
been to compel Hooker to resign and convert Kew Gardens into a public

In 1871 Hooker casually discovered from a subordinate “that he himself
had been superseded . . . in one of his most important duties—namely, the
heating of the plant-houses.”  It would take too long to enumerate the
endless acts of insolence and folly which marked Ayrton’s treatment of
Hooker.  A full statement of the case was drawn up and signed by a small
body of the most distinguished scientific men of the day, and after a
debate in the House of Commons, Mr Ayrton was kicked upstairs “from the
Board of Works to the resuscitated office of Judge Advocate General.”  I
remember an anecdote which illustrates Ayrton’s stupendous ignorance of
the great department over which he was called to rule.  Hooker was taking
Ayrton round the Gardens when they met Mr Bentham, who happened to remark
that he had come from the Herbarium.  “Oh,” said Ayrton, “did you get
your feet wet?”  For the official ruler of Kew there was no difference
between a Herbarium and an Aquarium.

This period has pleasanter memories, for it was in 1873 that Huxley, much
out of health and “heavily mulcted” by having to pay the costs of an
unsuccessful action brought against him by a man of straw, was persuaded
to accept from a group of personal friends a sum of £3000 to clear his
financial position, Hooker wrote to Darwin, “I am charmed by Huxley’s
noble-minded letter.”

In 1874 Mrs Hooker died, leaving six children, of whom three still
required care.  Hooker wrote later to Darwin from Nuneham (ii., p. 191):
“I am here on two days’ visit to a place I had not seen since I was here
with Fanny Henslow [Mrs Hooker] in 1847.  I cannot tell you how depressed
I feel at times.  She, you, and Oxford are burnt into my memory.”  Here
occurs, in a letter from Mrs Bewicke, some account of Hooker’s method of
dealing with his family.  She gives the impression (though clearly not
intentionally) that Hooker rather worried his children.  She speaks of
the many questions he asked them at meals and the pleasure he took in
their success in answering.  She adds, “When we drove into London with
him, he would tell us the names of the big houses and their owners, and
then expect us to know them as we drove back.”  This confirms my
impression that Hooker was not quite judicious in his manner of educating
or enlightening his children.  I have a general impression of having
sympathised with them in their difficulties.

In 1876, Hooker was happily married to Hyacinth, widow of Sir William
Jardine; and about the same time Sir William Thiselton-Dyer married Sir
Joseph’s daughter.

The _Index Kewensis_, which unites the names of two friends, was carried
out at Kew, with funds supplied by Darwin.  It was in fact a completion
of Steudel’s _Nomenclator_, and was published in four quarto volumes in
1892–95.  The MS. is said to have weighed more than a ton and comprised
about 375,000 entries.  Hooker, with wonderful energy and devotion, read
and criticised it in detail. {131}

In 1885, Hooker resigned his position as Director at Kew, and
henceforward lived at the Camp, Sunningdale, his “Tusculum” among the
pine-woods as Mr Huxley puts it, where he remained, ever hard at work,
for twenty-six years.

He was still astonishingly vigorous; at eighty-two he was “younger than
ever,” though at ninety-three he confessed to being lazy in his old age.

In 1885 and subsequent years he was, as I gratefully remember, employed
in helping me in the _Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_.  I could not
have had a kinder or wiser collaborator.

Hooker’s unaffected modesty came out again about this period.  In 1887 he
was awarded the Copley Medal of the Royal Society, an honour which is the
pinnacle of scientific ambition, and is open to foreigners as well as
British subjects.  He wrote in regard to the award, “I never once thought
of myself as within the pale of it.”  And in a letter to W. E. Darwin,
“The success of my after-dinner homily at the R. S. is to me far more
wonderful than getting the Copley.  You . . . can guess my condition of
two days’ nausea before the dinner, and 2 days of illness after it.  I am
not speaking figuratively.”

We find Hooker here and there slashing at contemporary methods of
education.  For instance, in regard to the mass of public school boys:
“Not one of them can now translate a simple paper in Latin or Greek, or
will look into a classical author, or listen to the talk about one.”
Mathematicians fared no better.  He wrote in 1893:—“What you say of A, B,
and C does not surprise me.  They are _ne plus ultra_ mathematicians, and
have not a conception of biological science, and in fact are only
_half-intellects_ (I suppose I deserve to be burned).”

It is pleasant to find that Hooker allowed himself time to indulge his
love of art.  He was especially fond of old Wedgwood ware, and
corresponded with William Darwin—a fellow amateur.  In 1895, he allowed
the same friend to become the owner of some old Wedgwood ware; and when
the sale was completed Hooker speaks of its being a relief “to feel that
the crockery is going back where it should have gone by rights.” {133}
Elsewhere (ii., p. 360) Hooker discourses pleasantly on the perfect
adaption to its end of the old Wedgwood ware.  An old teapot, for
instance, avoids all the faults of the modern article, in lifting which
“you scald your knuckles against the body of the pot”; then the lid
shoots off and you scald your other hand in trying to save it; the tea
shoots out and splashes over the teacup; lastly the “spout dribbles when
you set the pot down.”  All these sins are provided against in the old
Wedgwood teapot.

The _Flora of British India_ having been finished, he was asked to
complete the handbook to the Flora of Ceylon, interrupted by the death of
Trimen, and this occupied him for three years.  He was then led to what
was to be his final piece of work, namely, a study of the difficult group
of the Balsams (_Impatiens_), and he certainly was not coloured by what
he worked in, for the whole stock of his admirable patience was needed
for this difficult research.  His perseverance was a by-product of his
noble enthusiasm.  In 1906, when he was eighty-nine years of age, he
writes enthusiastically to a friend in the East expressing his longing
for more Balsams, and concluding, “I do love Indian Botany.”  And in 1909
he hears that the Paris Herbarium had overlooked forty sheets of
Indo-Chinese specimens—and writes, “This is like a stroke of paralysis to
a man approaching his ninety-third year, but it is no use grumbling, my
eyes are as good as ever, and my fingers are as agile as ever, and I am
indeed thankful.”

The _Life_ of Hooker is enriched by a striking essay from the pen of
Professor Bower.  He points out (ii., p. 412) that “few, if indeed any,
have ever known plants as he did.  Such knowledge comes only from growing
up with them from earliest childhood.”  Professor Bower adds that Hooker
“shared with Darwin that wider outlook upon the field of Science that
gave a special value to the writings of both”; and he adds, “The
_Himalayan Journals_ ranks with Darwin’s _Voyage of the_ ‘_Beagle_’.”

When _More Letters of Charles Darwin_ was in preparation, Hooker was
appealed to for assistance, and wrote a characteristically kind letter
(1st Feb. 1899) to one of the editors:—

“I will gladly help you all I can; so have no scruples. . . .  You are
right to make the book uncompromisingly scientific.  It will be greatly
valued.  I am getting so old and oblivious that I fear I may not be of
much use.”

And a few weeks later (24th Feb. 1899):—

“I had no idea that your father had kept my letters.  Your account of 742
pp. of them is a revelation.  I do enjoy re-reading your father’s; as to
my own, I regard it as a punishment for my various sins of blindness,
perversity, and inattention to his thousand and one facts and hints that
I did not profit by as much as I should have, all as revealed by my

In 1907 he received the Order of Merit, the Insignia being conveyed to
him by Colonel Douglas Dawson from the King.  I had the honour of being
the only person present on the occasion, though why Sir Joseph allowed me
this pleasure I cannot guess.  I remember Colonel Dawson in vain trying
to persuade Sir Joseph not to see him to his carriage at the door.  I
have, too, a picture of Sir Joseph fidgeting round the room afterwards,
unwillingly wearing the collar to please his family.

In 1908 he took the chief part in the fiftieth anniversary of the
Darwin-Wallace papers of 1858.  He characteristically begged the Darwins
to tell him if they entertained “the _smallest_ doubt of the expediency
or propriety of telling the public the part” which he took on that
historic occasion!

He was also the chief guest at the 1909 celebration at Cambridge of the
centenary of Darwin’s birth.  I recollect him wandering about at the
evening reception, quite unconsciously the object of all eyes.
Unfortunately, Hooker was not present at the banquet, where, as Mr L.
Huxley says, “Mr Balfour’s historic speech was only eclipsed by the sense
of personal charm in Mr W. E. Darwin’s reminiscences of his father” (ii.,
p. 467).

It is delightful to find Hooker in 1911 vigorously corresponding with Dr
Bruce, a “brother Antarctic.”  He writes to Bruce, 20th February 1911, “I
return herewith the proof-sheets, which I have perused with extraordinary
interest and an amount of instruction and information that I never
expected to receive at my age” (_Life_, ii., p. 478).  It is touching
that in extreme old age the first work that occupied his youth should
still find so clear an echo in his vigorous old age.

Mr Huxley records (ii., p. 480) that though Sir Joseph “kept at work till
but a little before the end,” his physical strength began to fail in the
late summer; but his mental powers were undimmed.  He died in his sleep
on 10th December 1911, and was buried (as he had desired) near his
father’s grave at Kew.


Dr Moore writes in his preface: “The History is a gift from me to St
Bartholomew’s, and I hope that the labour of investigating historical
events, of meditating upon them, and of finally writing the book in such
hours as my profession allowed during more than thirty years, may be
taken as a proof of the gratitude I feel to the noble hospital with which
my whole professional life has been connected.”

The book seems to me eminently worthy of its subject and of its learned
author. {137b}  As a record of the 800 years during which the Hospital
has existed it naturally contains an enormous mass of detail, and this
means that the book is physically very big.  The first volume is of 614
quarto pages, and the second of 992 pages.  The index contains at least
20,000 entries.

The Hospital and the Priory of St Bartholomew were the first buildings
erected on the open space of Smithfield.  The foundation took place in
1123, and Rahere, the founder, was the first Prior.  He is said to have
been of lowly race, and to have made himself popular in the houses of
nobles and princes “by witcisms and flattering talk.”  Then he repented
of such a mode of life and made a pilgrimage to Rome to obtain
forgiveness.  On his way back he had a vision of St Bartholomew, by whom
he was directed to found a church in Smithfield.

It seems that “no part of the hospital as built by Rahere is now
standing, but within the present building, which covers the original
site, there still remains one thing which was there in his time.  It is a
legal document which his eyes beheld, and which was sealed in his
presence.  This charter is written on vellum in the clear hand-writing of
the first half of the twelfth century.”  The seal shows a “turreted
building, which is probably the Priory of St Bartholomew’s as it looked
in the first twenty years of its existence.”

The two parts of an indented chirograph have been preserved in the
hospital, which give (i., p. 239) a view of the state of agriculture in
Essex in the reign of King John.  Mention is made of fields of wheat,
rye, barley, oats and beans; of oxen, horses, of brew-house and barn.
Rent was paid in kind and sent by water to the hospital quay, which may
have been on the River Fleet and therefore nearer to the hospital than a
landing-place on the Thames.  The Fleet river, as Dr Moore happily points
out (i., p. 246), is now shut up in a tubular dungeon, “as if to remind
it of all the unhappiness it had passed by in the Gaola de Flete from the
time” when the prisoners watched “the ships passing up it with corn for
St Bartholomew’s Hospital . . . to the days when the body of Samuel
Pickwick was confided to the custody of the tipstaff, to be by him taken
to the Warden of the Fleet Prison, and there detained until the amount of
the damages and costs in the action of Bardell against Pickwick was fully
paid and satisfied.”

The author never fails to make interesting use of the driest of charters.
Thus in the reign of King John a person with the pleasant name of Adam
Pepercorn grants to the hospital ten shillings quit-rent for some land in
Grub Street, a region full of unhappy memories.  Dr Moore quotes passages
from Johnson, Swift, and Goldsmith to show that the name Grub Street
should have been protected by such associations from any change; but
nothing is sacred, and Grub Street is now known as Milton Street.

The author (i., p. 279) asks whether the brethren of St Bartholomew’s
made any medical studies, and points out they may well have read parts of
the _Liber Etymologiarum_ by St Isidore of Seville, who flourished A.D.
601.  The book is a general summary of knowledge in Isidore’s day, and
few religious houses in England were without a copy.

I like the facts in the region of domestic economy which are given.  For
instance, that in 1229 Richard of Muntfichet was ordered by Henry III. to
give “six leafless oaks for the hospital fire.”  We want to know whether
they were the King’s oaks, or was Muntfichet forced to supply the wood?
If Dr R. W. Darwin (father of Charles Darwin) had then been King of
England he would have ordered apple-trees, for these he considered much
superior to all other fuel.  The reader is constantly meeting interesting
stories.  Thus Bishop Roger Niger was, in the year 1230, celebrating mass
in St Paul’s when a great thunderstorm burst over the church and the
congregation fled in terror.  But Roger and one deacon were not to be
frightened, and went on with the Mass.

In the 13th Century John of Marsham (i., p. 390) made oath that he would
carry through the affairs of Alan of Culing at the Court of Rome.  Did
John die on his journey, or did he fail in his suit?  He never claimed
the charter which he left at the hospital, where it may still be seen.

A charter recording a grant by the Master of St Bartholomew’s to the
Bishop of Bath is preserved in St Paul’s; Sir Norman Moore says (i., p.
392), “It was pleasant to find this original document in the charter room
of the cathedral, where mine was probably the first hand from St
Bartholomew’s Hospital which had touched it since it received the seal of
William the master and the brethren, six hundred and seventy years ago.”

I cannot resist quoting (i., p. 412) one more of the many touching and
interesting episodes with which the history of St Bartholomew’s abounds:—

Cecilia, a widow, devoted herself to the altar of St Edmund and received
a wedding ring.  When she was dying (1251), a Dominican father, giving
her the last sacrament, noticed the ring and said, “Take off that ring,
lest she die so decked out.”  Cecilia roused herself and said she would
offer the ring “before the judgement seat of God my betrothed.”

It is interesting to find that surnames were beginning to be established
in the reign of Henry III.  Thus a certain Thomas Niger is described as
the son of Walter Niger. {141}

There are innumerable facts given in the history of St Bartholomew which
illustrate the permanence of the London streets.  Thus in a document of
1256 is mentioned a little lane going towards the church of St Mary
Staining Lane.  The little lane is easily found at this day leading from
Wood Street to a small churchyard, on a stone in the wall of which is cut
“Before the dreadful fire of 1666, here stood the church of St Mary
Staining” (i., p. 441).

A document quoted (i., p. 454) is of interest in regard to the value of
money in mediæval times; the following extract shows what in the reign of
Henry II. was considered a serious sum.  The hospital owed the butcher
eleven pounds, and the master and brethren agreed to pay it in eight
years and a quarter by a rent charge on a house.

The reader of Sir Norman Moore’s book is continually coming across
unexpected facts.  For instance, that St James’ Palace is on the site of
what, in the reign of Henry III., was known as the Hospital of St James.

On 15th June 1253, St Bartholomew’s Hospital obtained from Henry III. two
important charters, one confirming them in their possessions, the other
in their rights and privileges.  The gift was made, among other reasons,
for the soul “of King Henry my grandfather.”

The author succeeds in conveying to his readers the personal interest
which he evidently feels in the writers of the deeds of which he makes
such good use.  Thus (i., p. 477) he quotes Maelbrigte, who made a copy
of the later Gospels at Armagh in the time of Rahere, as writing “at the
foot of a very small page of vellum in a minute and exquisite hand, ‘If
it was my wish I could write the whole treatise like this,’ thus handing
down to succeeding ages a scribe’s pride in his art.”  Again in a charter
copied into the hospital cartulary the last witness is “Master Simon, who
wrote this charter.”

The author (i., p. 485) has occasion to refer to a grant by Stephen of
Gosewelle of certain lands.  And this reminds him how he heard Dickens
read the trial in _Pickwick_.  He says, in “almost every part I can
recall his emphasis and the tone of his voice.—‘Mrs Bardell shrunk from
the world and courted the retirement and tranquillity of Goswell Street.’
. . .  Very few know that this thoroughfare was the street of a hamlet,
extra barram de Aldredesgate.”

In a charter probably belonging to the earlier half of the reign of Henry
III., a witness, Sabrichet, “has a name which survives in Sabrichetestead
or Sabstead, the native pronunciation of Sawbridgeworth.”  In the
out-patient room a patient said that he came from Sawbridgeworth.  The
physician, {142} who had been instructed by Henry Bradshaw, remarked that
the patient did not know how to pronounce the name of his own home.  On
this the patient exclaimed, “Oh, I know it is Sabstead, but I thought the
gentleman would not understand.”

Names have a fascination for me, and I cannot resist quoting the name of
Henry Pikebone, who, I hope, pronounced it Pickbone, and might well have
been one of Falstaff’s men.  We meet (p. 510) with a reference to John of
Yvingho, which is said to have suggested Ivanhoe to Walter Scott.  I
regret to say that John was a fishmonger.  Elsewhere we meet another
pleasing name, Cecilia Pidekin, but unfortunately she is not known in any
other way than as the recipient, by a will of 1281, of a chemise and a
little brass pail.  There are innumerable points of interest in the
matter of names.  Thus the author points out that Shoe Lane has nothing
to do with shoes nor indeed with lanes; it is a corruption of the
_solanda_ or prebend through which it passes.

The author often helps us to realise the appearance of the inhabitants of
St Bartholomew’s.  Thus (p. 551) the Bishop of London in his ordinance of
1316 settled that “those of the brethren who were priests were to wear
round cloaks of frieze or other cloth, the lay brethren shorter cloaks;
the sisters tunics and over-tunics of grey cloth, these not to be longer
than to their ankles.”  This last regulation is curious.  We should have
expected the limitation to have been applied to shortness rather than to

Walter of Basingbourne {144} was Master of the Hospital during the
greatest epidemic of plague which “the Western world had experienced
since the time of Justinian.”  It is generally known as the Black Death,
and was the same disease as that which terrified London in 1665, and the
epidemic which has destroyed nearly nine millions of people in India
since 1894.

Speaking (i., p. 584) of the Charter House, Sir Norman says: “Our
hospital . . . saw the noble foundation of Thomas Sutton built, and
became familiar with its brethren in their black cloaks and with the gown
boys.”  He quotes appositely enough Thackeray’s well-known words on the
death of Colonel Newcome:—

“And just as the last bell struck, a peculiar sweet smile shone over his
face, and he lifted up his head a little, and quickly said ‘Adsum,’ and
fell back.  It was the word we used at school when names were called, and
lo he, whose heart was as that of a little child, had answered to his
name, and stood in the presence of his Master.”

In 1381 Wat Tyler and his mob sacked and burnt the Temple and the Priory
of Clerkenwell.  A few days later the brethren could see from their walls
the blow struck by Walworth the Mayor, the fall of Tyler from his horse,
and the courageous behaviour of King Richard.  Wat Tyler was carried into
the hospital, but the Mayor went in and brought him out and had him
beheaded.  Simon of Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury, was beheaded by
the rebels.  Sir Norman Moore once asked a patient whence she came, and
she answered “from Sudbury in Suffolk.”  Dr Moore told his students the
story of Simon’s death, and added that his head is said to be “preserved
to this day at Sudbury.”  The woman raised herself in bed and said, “My
father keeps it.”  Simon’s tomb at Canterbury has been opened, and was
found to contain a headless body.

During the mastership of William Wakering, who died in 1405, and that of
Sutton, John Mirfeld flourished in the priory of St Bartholomew and wrote
his _Breviarium Bartholomei_, which may “fairly be regarded as the first
book on medicine connected with St Bartholomew’s Hospital.”

The brethren had no watches, and had to measure “the time for heating
fluids or making decoctions by reciting certain psalms and prayers.”  I
remember to have heard Sir Norman say how he demonstrated to his pupils
the efficacy of the words which our ancestors prescribed for the cure of
epilepsy.  Their magic depended on the fact that they required some
minutes to recite, and this allowed the patient to recover from his fit.

I did not expect to find any evidence in regard to Falstaff, but the
following passage (ii., p. 2) shows that he must have been damped (in two
senses) on a memorable occasion {145}:—“In the year 1413, on the ninth
day of the month of April, which day was Passion Sunday, and a very rainy
day, the coronation of Henry V. took place at Westminster, at which
coronation I, Brother John Cok, who have recorded that royal coronation
for the refreshing of memory, was present and beheld it.”

Sir Norman says (ii., p. 40):—“I was present at the coronation of King
George V., and watched the splendid assemblage gradually filling
Westminster Abbey, . . . and heard the shouts of ‘God save King George!’
. . . and saw the King in his crown, with the orb in his left hand and
the sceptre in his right, walk in solemn procession down the nave. . . .
It was a solemn as well as a splendid sight.  More than once during the
day I thought of John Cok, the brother of St Bartholomew’s beholding five
centuries ago within the same walls and under the same noble vault, the
coronation of the future victor of Agincourt. . . .”

John Cok is a valuable witness as regards the history of the hospital,
especially as to the mastership of John Wakeryng, who held office for
forty years.  Cok became Rentar of the Hospital, and the chief work of
his life was the writing of the Cartulary (which he called a Rental),
recording rents due to the hospital, deeds of gift, papal bulls, and
other documents.  Cok’s book (dated 1456) is a large volume written in
Latin on 636 leaves of vellum and enclosed in an ancient binding of oak
boards covered with leather.

In a transaction of 14th June 1423 is the first appearance of the arms at
present used by the hospital (ii., p. 16), namely, party per pale argent
and sable a chevron counter-changed.  It was probably Wakeryng’s coat of
arms, but ended by being regarded as that of the hospital.  The author
suggests that the chevron “might symbolise the hospital roof, while the
equally divided and counter-changed argent and sable suggested that each
patient admitted had an even chance of recovery or of death.”

In 1432 arrangements were made for a water-supply to the hospital from
Islington (Iseldon); and the “waste of water at the Cisterne” was to be
conveyed “to the Gailes of Newgate and Ludgate for the reliefe of the

Cock Lane, near the hospital, has, I fear, no connection with brother
John Cok (ii., p. 53); it was so called from the shops of the cooks who
prepared refreshments for the crowds who came to Smithfield.  It was at
the end of Cock Lane that the fire of London stopped in 1666, but it is
better known as the scene of the Cock Lane ghost.

Sir Richard Owen, who had been a student at St Bartholomew’s, told Dr
Moore (ii., p. 54) a grim story of Cock Lane.  It was there that the
hospital authorities hired a house for the reception of the dead bodies
of criminals hung at Newgate.  “Owen was in a room on the first floor
with Sir William Blizard, the President, who was attired in court dress
as the proper costume for an official act.  They heard the shouts of the
crowd and then the noise of an approaching cart, which turned down Cock
Lane and stopped at the door.  Then came the heavy steps of the
executioner tramping up the stairs.  He had the body of a man who had
been hanged on his back, and entering the room, let it fall on a table. . . .
Sir William Blizard with a scalpel made a small cut over the
breast-bone, and bowed to the executioner.  This was, I suppose, the
formal recognition of the purpose for which the body had been delivered.
The rumbling of the cart, the contrast between the stiff figure of Sir
William Blizard in his court dress and the executioner in coarse clothes,
and the thud of each dead body on the table remained in Owen’s memory to
the end of his days; and his skill in telling the story has made me
remember it nearly every time that I have walked down Cock Lane.”

On 1st March 1711, a piece of literature destined “to be famous as long
as English is read, was published near the end of Duck Lane in Little
Britain.”  This was the first number of the _Spectator_, and “all London
read it and enjoyed it, from the motto to the end.”  The author (ii., p.
63) imagines Mr Addison walking down Duck Lane the Wednesday evening
before its appearance, from Mr Buckley’s in Little Britain where he had
corrected his last revise.

Sir Norman Moore adds: “For me . . . Duke Street, Little Britain, has
innumerable memories of twenty-one happy years.  I lived there as a
student and as house physician, and then as Warden of the College of St
Bartholomew’s.”  He adds that his election as Warden was his first
professional success, which was followed by a place on the permanent
staff of the hospital.  It was the home of his early married life, and
here his eldest child was born.  He need not have apologised (as he
does); such details will surely please all sympathetic readers.

There is an interest in even the modern inhabitants of Little Britain.
We hear of dealers in gold lace and gold leaf, and also a representative
of that rare genus the teapot-handle maker.  These handles could not be
worked on a lathe, and had to be sawn out of the ivory.  Dr Moore learned
that in all London there was but one other teapot-handle maker: he felt
what a favour it was when the great man mended a fan for Mrs Moore.

It is pleasant to meet with the well-known lines from Wordsworth’s poem
of “Poor Susan”:—

    “Bright volumes of vapour through Lothbury glide,
    And a river flows on through the vale of Cheapside.”

I regret to say that our author quotes only to criticise, since he denies
that the mists of Lothbury are visible in Cheapside.

In 1535 the hospital estate was valued at £305, 6s. 7d. according to one
authority, and at £371, 13s. 2d. by another.  St Bartholomew’s was then
the third hospital in London in order of wealth.  Henry VII.’s Hospital
in the Savoy and the New Hospital of Our Lady outside Bishopsgate were
richer (ii., p. 125).

The Act of Dissolution was passed in 1536, and the property of the
hospital was given into the King’s hands in 1537.  Thus the “old order,
which had existed for more than four hundred years, was at an end, and
the hospital was in the eye of the law vacant and altogether destitute of
a master, and of all fellows or brethren” (ii., p. 126).

“Augustinians, Benedictines, Carthusians, Gilbertines, Franciscans,
Dominicans, and more, all were banished from their ancient homes. . . .
St Bartholomew’s Hospital was one of the few places where the injured
tree of charity began to put forth new branches, and soon flourished
again” (ii., p. 148).

The King, after five years’ delay, granted, on 23rd June 1544, {150}
letters patent reconstituting the hospital for its original uses.
William Turges, the King’s Chaplain, was the first Master, and “the body
corporate was to be called ‘The Master and Chaplains of the Hospital of
St Bartholomew in West Smithfield, near London.’”  The grant did little
for the poor, but it prevented the destruction of St Bartholomew’s and
carried on its existence.

The figure of Henry VIII. is above the Smithfield Gate of the hospital.
A full-length portrait of him hangs at the end of the Great Hall.  He is
also represented in a window of the hall handing the letters patent to
the Lord Mayor and citizens.  “Thus,” says the author, “do we commemorate
this destroying King, who might have taken away all the estate of St
Bartholomew’s, but only took a small portion of it” (ii., p. 161).

The constitution under which the hospital is ruled was established in
1547, and confirmed, with an alteration in but one important particular,
in 1782.  “Most of the offices created by the Deed of Covenant of
December 1546, and the letters patent of January 1547, exist at the
present day.  The treasurer, the almoners, the physician, the surgeon,
the rentar, the steward, the matron and sisters, the porter bearing a
figure of St Bartholomew on his staff of office, and the beadles with
silver badges engraved with the hospital arms, are all parts of the
present life of the hospital” (ii., p. 191).

Beside the grave benefactors of the hospital we hear of serio-comic
personages who remind us of the curious lunatics recorded by de Morgan in
his _Budget of Paradoxes_.  Thus in 1774 Mr W. Gardiner offered £2000 to
St Bartholomew’s “as a sacrifice for God’s having put it in his power to
overturn Sir Isaac Newton’s system” (ii., p. 245).

From 1547 the treasurer was “a very important officer, but the president
also took an active part in the affairs of the hospital.”  But now the
treasurer is the responsible head of the administration.

In 1518 the College of Physicians was founded by Henry VIII. (ii., p.
408) on the advice of Dr Thomas Linacre.  Its active existence began in
his house in Knightrider Street.  The most pious and the most learned men
of England were Linacre’s intimate friends, and the “example of his life,
as felt in the College of Physicians, continues a living force to this
day” (ii., p. 411).

Dr John Caius (ii., p. 412) was a devoted follower of Linacre; he was
born 1510, went to Cambridge in 1529, and in 1533 was elected Fellow of
Gonville Hall.  In 1539 he went to Padua, where Vesalius, the founder of
modern anatomy, was Professor.  In 1547 Caius was admitted a Fellow of
the College of Physicians, and not long after he came to live within St
Bartholomew’s Hospital.

Caius wrote on the sweating sickness in 1552, and his work was printed
near St Bartholomew’s.  “Thus were the proofs of the first medical
monograph in the English tongue, and, indeed, the first book written by
an English physician . . . on a particular disease, corrected in St
Bartholomew’s” (ii., p. 418).

Caius was in 1555 elected President of the College of Physicians, to
which he presented their silver caduceus with four serpents at its head,
a book of statutes, and a seal.  In 1557–69 he was engaged in the
refoundation and building at Cambridge of what was to be known as
Gonville and Caius College.  On his death his viscera were buried in St
Bartholomew’s the Less, while the rest of his body was placed in an
alabaster tomb in the chapel of his college with the inscription: “Fui

We meet with many proofs of the consideration shown by the authorities
towards the patients.  For instance (ii., p. 279):—

13_th March_ 1568.—“This day it is graunted by the courte that Griffen
Davye shall departe forthwith into his countrye, and also that he shall
have 20s. in his purse to bringe him home in consideracion that he is
lame and impotent.”

Again (ii., p. 293), “30_th April_ 1597.—Ordered that curtaynes be
provided for certain beds of the poor.”  The author adds that “moveable
curtains hang over the beds to this day, and are of great use in
providing privacy when patients are washing and dressing.”

We meet with some trifling records of great events.  Thus on 7th May 1660
it is ordered that “the shield of the States armes being the Redd Cross
and Harpe be taken downe in the Court Hall and the King’s arms put in the
Roome thereof.”

But even the King could not impose on the hospital.  Thus in 1661 there
was a vacancy for a surgeon at the Lock.  The King wrote in favour of
John Knight, but John Dorrington was elected (ii., p. 316).

In 1666 the great fire of London was only prevented from reaching the
hospital by pulling down houses.  The consequent loss to the hospital may
be set down as £2000 per annum.  We are constantly meeting in the history
of St Bartholomew’s interesting lights on the natural history of the
patients.  An entry as to the supply of beer (of which, by the way, the
patients were allowed three pints daily) pleases me:—“Sir Jonathan
Reymond, Knt. and Alderman, is to serve the matron’s cellar.  Alderman
Lt.-col. Freind is to supply small beer” (ii., p. 339).  These personages
doubtless belonged to the established church, for dissenters were not
allowed to serve the hospital with any commodity.

An entry under 26th February 1704 throws a sinister light on the
condition of the wards:—“Elizabeth Bond did propose to kill and clear the
beds and wards of bugs within this house for 6s. per bed.”  I hope
Elizabeth Bond was more careful in her work than was the writer of the
resolution (ii., p. 352).

It is interesting to come across the following:—

21_st July_ 1737.—It was resolved “that the thanks of this Court be given
to William Hogarth, Esquire . . . for his generous and free gift of the
painting of the great staircase. . . .”

5_th Jan._ 1758.—A committee considered the subject of visiting prisoners
in Newgate, but the plan was apparently thrown over because prisoners
were found entirely destitute of clothes, bedding, etc.

Even in the history of Mr Pickwick (chapter xlii.) we read that “not a
week passes over our heads, but, in every one of our prisons for debt,
some . . . must inevitably expire in the slow agonies of want, if they
were not relieved by their fellow prisoners.”

It is curious to find that in 1821 the function of the hospital as a
school for students of medicine was something of a novelty.  The reform
seems to have been due to Abernethy.

In 1845, on 13th May, a unanimous resolution against female governors was
carried.  Dr Moore adds that “about half a century later they were
admitted, and no disastrous consequences have ensued.”  In 1851 Miss
Elizabeth Blackwell was actually admitted as a student, and strange to
say with satisfactory results.

The author relates {154} how he was walking back to St Bartholomew’s one
hot summer afternoon when he saw at a small second-hand book shop Paulus
Jovius’ history of his own times, printed in 1550.  Within it Woodhull
the collector had noted that he bought it at the sale of Dr Askew’s
books.  Next day Sir Norman met Robert Browning and mentioned the book to
him: “He had read it, and recalled passages in it, and told most
pleasantly how the bishop had concealed the manuscript in a chest . . .
when the Spaniards took Rome, and how a Spanish captain found out that
Paulus Jovius valued the manuscript, and so only gave it up on receiving
a promise of the emoluments of a living in the gift of the church” (ii.,
p. 539).

Sir George Burrows became physician in 1841:—“He did not hesitate to
express censure where he thought censure required.  A clergyman at St
Bartholomew’s rather aggressively invited his criticism on a sermon which
he had just delivered.  ‘Let me tell you, sir,’ said Burrows, ‘that many
a man has been put in a lunatic asylum for much less nonsense than you
preached to us to-day’” (ii., p. 561).

Dr Frederic John Farre was elected physician, 1854.  Farre was captain of
Charterhouse School during Thackeray’s first year there.  And in _The
Adventures of Philip_ the author tells how one of the boys laughed
because Firmin’s eyes “filled with tears at some ribald remark, and was
gruffly rebuked by Sampson major [_i.e._, Dr Farre], the cock of the
whole school; and with the question, ‘Don’t you see the poor beggar’s in
mourning, you great brute?’ was kicked about his business.”

Percivall Pott was elected assistant surgeon at St Bartholomew’s in 1745
and surgeon in 1749, holding office till 1787.  There is in the hospital
a fine portrait of him in a crimson coat, by Sir Joshua Reynolds.  A very
old lady, whose mother’s medical attendant had been dresser to Percivall
Pott, told Dr Moore, on the authority of the above practitioner, that
Pott often came to the hospital in a red coat, and sometimes wore a

Occasional teaching in medicine had been carried out from the seventeenth
century onwards, but the originator _par excellence_ was John Abernethy,
who was born in 1764 and became a pupil at St Bartholomew’s in 1779.  He
taught anatomy in a really scientific manner, but he did not succeed in
permanently raising it from the region of cram which in my day at
Cambridge it shared with Materia Medica.

Many stories are told of his abrupt manner with his private patients.
Charles Darwin used to tell us of a patient entering Abernethy’s
consulting room, holding out his hand and saying, “Bad cut,” to which
Abernethy replied, “Poultice”; the patient departed, only to return in a
day or two, when his laconic report, “Cut worse,” was answered by “More
poultice.”  Finally he came back cured and enquired what he owed the
surgeon, who replied, “Nothing; you are the best patient I ever had, and
I could not take a fee.”

Sir James Paget was assistant surgeon at St Bartholomew’s in 1847; he
became surgeon in 1861; he resigned the position in 1871, and died in
1899.  He was the chief surgeon of the Victorian age, and his success may
be estimated by the fact that his professional income rose to £10,000 per
annum.  He freely gave of his store of knowledge, for instance in Charles
Darwin’s _The Expression of the Emotions_.  William Morrant Baker was
elected a surgeon of St Bartholomew’s in 1882.  He was noted for the
neatness of his dress, and Dr Francis Harris, who sometimes wore country
clothes, told Dr Moore that he occasionally hid in the porter’s lodge to
avoid Baker’s critical eyes.  He warned Dr Moore (who was a candidate for
the Wardenship of the College) that those same eyes were on him in the
matter of dress.

Sir William Church, who wrote on the Hospital Pharmacopœia, gives some
astonishing facts.  From 1866 to 1875 the annual consumption of sulphate
of magnesia was 42½ hundredweights, _i.e._, about two cart-loads.  “In
1836 8¾ tons of linseed meal were used, while from 1876 to 1885 the
annual average was 15¾ tons, but in 1911 the poultice was so nearly
obsolete that 3 cwt. sufficed.  In 1837 96,300 leeches were used; . . .
in 1868 the number had sunk to 2200. . . .  It is now (1911) about 700”
(ii., p. 714).

Chloroform first appears in the apothecaries’ ledger on 22nd November
1847, just one week after the publication of Sir James Y. Simpson’s

A pound of pure carbolic acid was used in 1865, in 1911 the quantity was
2½ tons.  Nurses have increased from a “matron and eleven sisters in the
reign of King Edward VI. to the matron, assistant-matron, thirty-eight
sisters, and 268 nurses who form the highly trained nursing staff of the
present day” (ii., p. 778).

I cannot resist quoting a reminiscence of Mr Mark Morris, the Steward of
the Hospital, who was born early enough to remember “several cases . . .
of wives who had been sold in Smithfield.  A rope was loosely thrown
round them, and as the seller handed the end of the rope to the buyer,
the buyer gave him a shilling.  The new marriage was regarded . . . as in
every way reputable and complete” (ii., p. 789).

We have space for but a few of Dr Moore’s pleasant reminiscences.  A
woman came from South Wales whose only language was Welsh.  Her husband’s
native language was Irish, and he had learned Welsh, but could speak no
English.  A scavenger came into the Casualty Department named Michael
O’Clery.  “An illustrious name,” said the physician (N. M.?) remembering
a certain famous chronicler.  The scavenger explained accurately to which
part of the family of hereditary historians he belonged.

“Another patient, a shoemaker . . . gave the name of Conellan.  ‘Have you
ever heard,’ said the physician, ‘of Owen Conellan, who wrote a grammar?’
‘My relation,’ replied the patient, ‘historiographer to His Majesty King
George IV.’  Thus was the physician instructed in the biography of the
grammarian” (ii., p. 873).

A mountebank, who gained his living by thrusting a sword, about a foot
long, down his gullet was admitted to a surgical ward.  The treatment
consisted in putting probangs of india-rubber down the gullet, and in
this the patient was more adroit than the highly skilled surgeon who
attended him (ii., p. 874).

I like, too, the case of a patient who was described as an “arrow-maker,”
and on being asked whether he did not call himself a fletcher, said,
“Yes, but I thought you would not know.”  We read, also, of ruler-makers
with “their hair turned green by the resin dust produced by their
lathes.”  Also of “secret springers and piercers,” who suggest murder and
sudden death to the imperfectly informed.

The following incident (ii., p. 883) is interesting from the point of
view of history:—A negro, Jonathan Strong, had been brutally beaten by
his master, and was admitted to the hospital in 1765.  On leaving he got
work at a chemist’s in the city; all seemed well, when he was recognised
by an agent of his former master, and seized as “the property of Mr
Kerr.”  Granville Sharp, who happened to be present, at once charged the
agent with committing an assault.  An action brought against Sharp
lingered on for some time and was finally dropped.  Strong remained free,
but the general question of slavery in England was not settled till 1772.
It is pleasant to know that in 1877 Dr Moore told the story of Jonathan
Strong to William Lloyd Garrison.


In attempting to estimate this book, it is necessary to avoid first
impressions, for what strikes one on opening its pages is its dullness.
It is edited by his son, who, in a _Personal Sketch_, gives certain facts
about his father without succeeding in being graphic or interesting in
any way.  There is too much detail of an unexciting quality, _e.g._, p.
272 (1867): “There was the usual visit to Playford in January.  In April
there was a short run to Alnwick and the neighbourhood in company with Mr
and Mrs Routh.  From 27th June to 4th July he was in Wales with his two
eldest (_sic_) sons, visiting Uriconium, etc., on his return.  From 8th
August to 7th September he spent a holiday in Scotland and the Lake
District of Cumberland with his daughter Christabel, visiting the
Langtons at Barrow House, near Keswick, and Isaac Fletcher at Tarn Bank.”
When this kind of thing occurs often it is intolerably wearisome.

The same criticism applies to the extracts from Sir George Airy’s diary,
which his son publishes.  For instance, p. 172 (1845): “On 29th January I
went with my wife on a visit to my uncle, George Biddell, at Bradfield St
George, near Bury.  On 9th June I went into the mining district of
Cornwall with George Arthur Biddell.  From 25th August to 26th September
I was travelling in France with my sister and my wife’s sister, Georgiana
Smith.  I was well introduced and the journey was interesting.  On 29th
October my son Osmond was born.  Mr F. Baily bequeathed to me £500, which
realised £450.”

This is a class of facts which a man may like to record, but their
publication when so often repeated is surely unnecessary.  There is,
however, this to be said—that minute accuracy was a marked feature in
Airy’s character, and must therefore be made prominent; and it may be
argued that the right degree of prominence can only be given by avoiding
all suppression.  I cannot think that this is so in the case of an
editor.  Nor can I believe that Airy would have approved of one detail in
his son’s method of printing the book, namely, that the diary is enclosed
in inverted commas throughout, while the editor’s occasional remarks are
without them.  It would surely have been simpler to say once for all that
what is printed is an accurate copy of the diary, and to have given the
editor’s remarks within square brackets.

George Biddell Airy was born at Alnwick on 27th July 1801.  He seems to
have belonged to a Westmoreland family, but his forbears for several
generations were small farmers in Lincolnshire.  His father, William
Airy, was clearly a person of energy and forethought, who laid by his
summer’s earnings “in order to educate himself in winter.”  He gave up
farming as a young man and found employment in the excise, a profession
not without danger in those early days when contraband trade was common.
He is said to have had many fights with smugglers, but did not suffer the
fate of the gauger in _Guy Mannering_, for Dirck Hatteraicks were not so
common as youthful readers might desire.

In 1810 William Airy was transferred to Colchester, where, if there were
fewer smugglers, there was more opportunity for education; and George was
sent to a school in a street bearing the attractive name of Sir Isaac’s
Walk.  Four years later Airy went to the Colchester Grammar School, where
he remained until 1819, when he entered Trinity College, Cambridge.  The
only point of interest connected with his school life is the record (in
his own words) of Airy’s remarkable verbal memory.  “It was the custom
for each boy once a week to repeat a number of lines of Latin or Greek
poetry, the number depending very much on his own choice.  I determined
on repeating 100 every week. . . .  It was no distress to me, and great
enjoyment.  At Michaelmas 1816 I repeated 2394 lines, probably without
missing a word.”

On 18th October 1819 he went to Cambridge “on the top of the coach,” and
was installed in lodgings in Bridge Street.  A reputation for mathematics
had preceded him, and he was kindly received by Mr Peacock {164} and
Professor Sedgwick.  It will be remembered that some twenty years later
both these personages interested themselves in another Cambridge
undergraduate—Charles Darwin.

Airy (p. 23) showed Mr Peacock a manuscript book containing “a number of
original Propositions” which he had investigated.  This increased his
reputation in the University, but he was destined to be eminent in quite
another direction.  On the recommendation of Clarkson—who, as the chief
Abolitionist, ought to have been more revolutionary—he followed the rule
almost universally neglected—that undergraduates should wear drab knee
breeches.  Though Airy must soon have discovered that the reign of
breeches was over, he continued, like the careful youth he was, to wear
them for three terms.

In the winter of his freshman’s year, he did some original research in
mathematics.  This praiseworthy undertaking was characteristically
treated by two of his advisers: Mr Peacock encouraged him to work out his
problems; but his tutor (who bore the appropriate name of Hustler)
disapproved of Airy’s employing his time on such speculations.

He describes with characteristic precision his way of life as an
undergraduate.  He never failed to keep the four statutory morning
chapels.  Then came breakfast, and College lectures occupied him from
nine till eleven.  He then went back to his rooms, and instead of at once
getting to his mathematics, he wrote a piece of Latin prose.  At two
o’clock he “went out for a long walk, usually 4 or 5 miles, into the
country: sometimes if I found companions I rowed on the Cam (a practice
acquired rather later)”; College Hall was at four, after which he
“lounged” until it was time to go to evening chapel (five-thirty).  About
six he had tea, and then “read quietly, usually a classical subject, till
eleven; and I never, even in the times when I might seem most severely
pressed, sat up later.”

In his second year he was asked to coach one Rosser, a man of his own
year, for which he was paid at the rate of £14 per term.  “This occupied
two hours every day, and I felt that I was now completely earning my own
living.  I never received a penny from my friends after this time.”

His undergraduate life ended triumphantly in his being Senior Wrangler.
He refers (p. 39) to the hardships of the examination: “The season was a
cold one, and no fire was allowed in the Senate House, where the
examination was carried on . . . and altogether it was a severe time.”
His reference to the ceremonial of degree-taking has a little
self-glorification which is not characteristic of him:—“I, as Senior
Wrangler, was led up first to receive the degree, and rarely has the
Senate House rung with such applause as then filled it.”

In January 1823 he came back to Cambridge and started business as a coach
with four pupils, each of whom paid him twenty guineas a term. {166}  By
this time the great series of his published papers had begun—indeed No.
1, “On the use of Silvered Glass for the mirrors of Reflecting
Telescopes,” had already been published in 1822, by the Cambridge
Philosophical Society.

It was in 1824 that “came one of the most important occurrences” of his
life, namely, meeting the beautiful girl Richarda Smith, who was to
become his wife.  They were engaged in 1824 and married six years later.
I venture the guess that her health was never very strong, for she seems
not to have been much with Airy in his holiday wanderings.  Wilfrid Airy
speaks of “their deep respect and affection for one another.”

On 1st October 1824, in his twenty-third year, he was elected to a
Trinity fellowship.  Macaulay, who was elected the same day, speaks
somewhere of the especial value he placed on this most pleasant honour,
but he was thinking of the life of a resident Fellow, and Airy at once
told his tutor of his intention of going out into the world.  He began,
however, in the October term to give mathematical lectures in Trinity.
The reader is not surprised to find that Airy now gave up the custom
which he “had followed with such regularity for five years, namely, that
of daily writing Latin.”  I wonder what other Senior Wrangler wrote Latin
prose while reading for the Tripos?

We have seen that the great stream of his original work had been
established.  In 1822 he wrote one paper, in 1824 three, in 1825 two, in
1826 three, and in 1827 five; and this stream was to flow for sixty-five
years, _i.e._, until 1887!

On December 1826 he was elected to the Lucasian professorship, and thus
became a successor of Sir Isaac Newton.  The salary when Airy was elected
was but £99 a year; the present holder is more adequately paid, and
receives £850 annually.  His prospects in 1827 were, however, not very
good.  He had to resign his tutorship when he became a professor, and
thus lost £51 of income.  As he would not take orders, his fellowship,
according to the atrocious system of the day, would come to an end in
seven years.  But he surely judged wisely in accepting the poorly paid
office.  He had to lecture in a room, not intended for the purpose, in
the old Botanic Gardens.  This region is now occupied by science
buildings, but bears a memory of its former history in the great
_Sophora_ tree flourishing there.

He was soon to obtain better paid work, for in 1828 he was elected
Plumian professor, and giving up his college rooms he moved into the
Observatory, where his official career as an astronomer began.  During
the following years, up to 1834, he was busy with professorial work and
his duties at the Cambridge Observatory.  He began to receive public
acknowledgments of his character and his work.  In 1835 he was elected a
correspondent of the French Academy.  In the same year Sir Robert Peel
(p. 106) offered him a pension of £300 per annum, with no terms of any
kind, and allowing it to be settled, “if I should think fit, on my wife.”

On 11th June 1835 the First Lord of the Admiralty wrote offering Airy the
office of Astronomer Royal, which was accepted.  Another honour—that of
Knighthood—he declined in the same year.  In 1863 the same honour was
again offered and declined with dignity, on the ground that fees of
“about £30” were demanded.  Finally, in 1872 he was offered the K.C.B.
and knighted by the Queen at Osborne.  In reply to the congratulations of
a friend, Airy wrote: “The real charm of these public compliments seems
to be, that they excite the sympathies and elicit the kind expressions of
private friends or of official superiors as well as subordinates.  In
every way I have derived pleasure from these.”

With regard to other honours, it is pleasant to discover that Airy, one
of the most accurate of men, could make minute mistakes.  Thus in 1863 he
speaks (p. 254) of the academical degree of D.C.L. held by him in the
Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.  But at Cambridge the degree in
question is known as LL.D.

It may be well to give here, irrespective of dates, some of the other
honours received by Airy.

In 1867 he (in company with Connop Thirlwall) was elected to the newly
instituted Honorary Fellowships of Trinity—a distinction which seems to
have given him especial pleasure.

In 1872 he was chosen as “Foreign Associate of the Institut de France”
(p. 297), and wrote a strongly worded letter of thanks to Elie de
Beaumont and J. B. Dumas, the Perpetual Secretaries.  In the same year he
wrote (p. 299) to the Emperor of Brazil in acknowledgment of the Grand
Cross of the Rose of Brazil.

In 1851 he was President of the British Association at Ipswich.  He
showed his sense of duty in a characteristic way (p. 207).  “Prince
Albert was present, as [a] guest of Sir William Middleton; I was engaged
to meet him at dinner, but when I found that the dinner day was one of
the principal soirée days, I broke off the engagement.”  In 1871 Airy was
chosen President of the Royal Society.  He wrote to a friend (p. 293):
“The election . . . is flattering, and has brought to me the friendly
remembrance of many persons; but in its material and laborious
connections, I could well have dispensed with it, and should have done so
but for the respectful way in which it was pressed on me.”  He resigned
the Presidency in 1873 (p. 303), giving his reasons as follows:—“The
severity of official duties, which seem to increase, while vigour to
discharge them does not increase; and the distance of my residence. . . .
Another reason is a difficulty of hearing, which unfits me for effective
action as Chairman of the Council.”

It is quite beyond my powers to estimate the value of Airy’s work as
Astronomer Royal; I therefore quote from Schuster and Shipley’s
_Britain’s Heritage of Science_, p. 165:—“In astronomy he proved himself
to be equally eminent as an administrator and investigator.  He
introduced revolutionary reforms in the practice of observatories by
insisting on a rapid reduction and publication of all observations.
After his appointment as Astronomer Royal, he set to work at once to
reduce the series of observations of planets which had accumulated during
eighty years without any use having been made of them.  This was followed
up by a similar reduction of 8000 lunar observations.  He was equally
energetic in adding to the instrumental equipment.  When Greenwich was
first founded, the longitude determination at sea depended to a great
extent on measuring the distance between stars and the moon.  Hence
accurate tables of the position of the moon were essential, and the
preparation of these tables has always been considered to be the chief
care of Greenwich.  The observations were made with a transit telescope
which could only be used when the moon was passing the meridian, until
Airy in 1843 persuaded the Board of Visitors to take steps for
constructing a new instrument which would enable him to observe the moon
in any position.  In 1847 this instrument was at work, and other
important additions to the equipment were made as occasion arose. . . .

“Among his theoretical investigations in pure astronomy, one of the most
important resulted in the discovery of a new inequality in the motions of
Venus and the earth due to their mutual attraction, and this led to an
improvement in the solar tables.”

Nor should it be forgotten that Airy “originated the automatic system by
which the Greenwich time signals are transmitted each day throughout the

With regard to the celebrated case of the planet Neptune, “which Adams
predicted would be found—as it was found by the Berlin observer Galle, to
whom Leverrier indicated its position,” Messrs Schuster and Shipley
“cannot absolve either Airy or Challis [the Cambridge Astronomer] from

Airy writes (p. 181): “The engrossing subject of this year [1846] was the
discovery of Neptune.  As I have said (1845), I obtained no answer from
Adams to a letter of enquiry.  Beginning with June 26th of 1846, I had
correspondence of a satisfactory character with Leverrier, who had taken
up the subject of the disturbance of Uranus, and arrived at conclusions
not very different from those of Adams.  I wrote from Ely on July 9th to
Challis, begging him, as in possession of the largest telescope in
England, to sweep for the planet and suggesting a plan.  I received
information of its recognition by Galle, when I was visiting Hansen at
Gotha.  For further official history, see my communications to the Royal
Astronomical Society, and for private history see the papers in the Royal
Observatory.  I was abused most savagely both by English and French.”

Having been Astronomer Royal from 1835, Airy, being eighty years of age,
resigned his post in 1881, receiving (p. 340) a “retired allowance of
£1100 per annum.”

His son writes (p. 346), “On the 16th of August 1881 Airy left the
Observatory,” which had been his home “for nearly 46 years, and removed
to the White House.  Whatever his feeling may have been at the severing
of his old associations he carefully kept them to himself, and entered
upon his new life with the cheerful composure and steadiness of temper
which he possessed in a remarkable degree.”

His son continues (p. 347): “The work to which he chiefly devoted himself
in his retirement was the completion of his Numerical Lunar Theory.  This
was a vast work, involving the subtlest considerations of principle, very
long and elaborate mathematical investigations of a high order, and an
enormous amount of arithmetical computation.”  Of this work Airy wrote,
p. 349 (apparently in 1886): “The critical trial depends on the great
mass of computations in Section ii.  These have been made in duplicate,
with all the care for accuracy that anxiety could supply.  Still I cannot
but fear that the error which is the source of discordance must be on my
part.”  The work was continued until October 1888, but without success.

He continued to show his characteristic fearlessness in what he considers
to be his duty.  Thus in 1883 (p. 355) he refused to sign a memorial in
favour of the burial of Mr Spottiswoode in Westminster Abbey, on the
ground that he had not conferred “great and durable” benefits on society.
In 1883 he wrote (p. 356) to the Vicar of Greenwich protesting against
choral service in the church.  I shall quote his words as almost a
solitary example of his use of picturesque English:—“For a venerable
persuasion there is substituted a rude irreverential confusion of voices;
for an earnest acceptance of the form offered by the Priest there is
substituted—in my feeling at least—a weary waiting for the end of an
unmeaning form.”

In 1887 his son records (p. 361) that Airy’s private accounts gave him
much trouble.  It had been his custom to keep them by double entry in
very perfect order.  “But he now began to make mistakes and to grow
confused, and this distressed him greatly . . . and so he struggled with
his accounts as he did with his Lunar Theory till his powers absolutely

In 1889 he had the satisfaction of knowing that his system of compass
correction in iron ships had been universally adopted.  Whether the
Admiralty ought to be proud of the fact that fifty years had elapsed
since Airy’s discovery was made known is another question.

Sir George Airy died 2nd January 1892.  It is recorded that before the
end came he had been lying quietly for several days “reciting the English
poetry with which his memory was stored.”


    “I thank God, Who has made me poor, that He has made me merry.”


Sydney Smith was born in 1771, the son of an eccentric Mr Robert Smith
and his wife, who was the daughter of a French _émigré_.  Robert Smith is
said to have bought and re-sold something like twenty houses in the
course of his life.  This may help to account for Sydney being early
dependent on his own resources.  When he was engaged to be married, he
threw six silver teaspoons into his fiancée’s lap, saying: “There Kate,
you lucky girl, I give you my whole fortune!” {175b}

The only one of Sydney’s brothers who need be mentioned was Robert,
commonly called Bobus {175c} (an Eton nickname).  He once spoke of his
mother’s beauty in the presence of Talleyrand, who, “with a shrug and a
sly disparaging look,” said, “Ah! mon ami, c’était donc apparemment
monsieur votre père qui n’était pas bien.” {176a}

Sydney went to Winchester on the foundation, where he had to endure
“years of misery and positive starvation.”  He used to say that he had at
school made about ten thousand Latin verses, “and no man in his senses
would dream in after-life of ever making another.”

Sydney passed from Winchester to New College, Oxford, where his rank as
Captain of the School apparently entitled him to a fellowship.  In spite
of this he seems to have been poor and to have lived in consequence very
much out of society.  Between Winchester and Oxford he was sent to Mont
Villiers in Normandy to learn French, in which he succeeded admirably.
The revolution was then at its height, and he had to be enrolled in a
Jacobin Club as “Le Citoyen Smit, Membre Affilié, etc.”  It speaks well
for Sydney’s self-restraint and powers of self-management, that after he
became a Fellow {176b} of his college he never received a farthing from
his father.  On leaving Oxford he was _faute de mieux_ ordained, and
became a curate at a small village in the middle of Salisbury Plain.
Here he made the acquaintance of the neighbouring squire, Mr Beach.  He
became tutor to the squire’s son, and it was arranged that they should go
to the University of Weimar; but this turned out impracticable, and (says
Sydney) “in stress of politics we put into Edinburgh,” where he remained
five years.  Here he came in contact with a number of interesting
people—Jeffrey, {177a} Horner, {177b} Playfair, Walter Scott, Dugald
Stewart, Brougham, Murray, Leyden and others, many of whom were life-long
friends of Sydney.  Another eminent person whose acquaintance he made
later, may be mentioned here.  Sydney wrote to Lady Holland in 1831 (ii.,
p. 326):—“Philosopher Malthus came here last week.  I got an agreeable
party for him of unmarried people.  There was only one lady who had had a
child; but he is a good-natured man, and if there are no appearances of
approaching fertility, is civil to every lady.”

Sydney’s housekeeping difficulties at Edinburgh proved an unexpected
difficulty; his servants “always pulled off their stockings, in spite of
my repeated objurgations, the moment my back was turned.”  I cannot
resist quoting, _apropos des bottes_, the following story.  The reigning
bore at Edinburgh was X, his favourite subject the North Pole.  Sydney
met X, indignant at Jeffrey having darted past him exclaiming, “Damn the
North Pole.”  Sydney tried to console him: “Why, you will scarcely
believe it, but it is not more than a week ago that I heard him speak
disrespectfully of the Equator.”

In 1799 or 1800 he was married to Miss Pybus, and in 1802, when a child
was about to be born, Sydney hoped it would be a girl, and that she might
have but one eye so that she might never marry.  Part of the wish was
fulfilled; the baby was a girl, but, unfortunately, quite normal in every
way.  Saba, for so she was called (a name {178a} invented by her father),
ultimately became the wife of Sir Henry Holland, the well-known

About this time Sydney suggested to Jeffrey and Brougham the foundation
of a Liberal Quarterly—in those days a contradiction in terms—which was
named the _Edinburgh Review_ after the town of its birth.  Sydney
proposed as a motto, “_Tenui Musam meditamur avena_,” _i.e._, “We
cultivate literature on a little oatmeal,” but this was too near the
truth to be admitted. {178b}

Throughout his life literature was combined with vigorous activity as a
clergyman.  Speaking of two or three “random sermons” which he
“discharged” in London, he says he believed that the congregation thought
him mad.  “The clerk was as pale as death in helping me off with my gown,
for fear I should bite him.”

He made many friends in London.  Among these he specially valued Lord and
Lady Holland, with whom he often stayed.  They agreed in gaiety, humour,
and political opinions.  And it must be remembered that a Liberal parson
was a rare bird in those days.  Dugald Stewart (i., p. 127) said of
Sydney Smith’s preaching, “Those original and unexpected ideas gave me a
thrilling sensation of sublimity never before awakened by any other
oratory.”  But his most celebrated triumph was a charity sermon which
actually moved old Lady C. (Cork?) to borrow a sovereign to put in the

Sydney lectured on Moral Philosophy at the Royal Institution.  Many years
afterwards, in 1843, he wrote to Whewell: “My lectures are gone to the
dogs, and are utterly forgotten.  I knew nothing of moral philosophy, but
I was thoroughly aware that I wanted £200 to furnish my house.  The
success, however, was prodigious; all Albemarle Street blocked with
carriages, and such an uproar as I never remembered to have been excited
by any other literary impostor.”

Leonard Horner wrote: “Nobody else, to be sure, could have executed such
an undertaking.  For who could make such a mixture of odd paradox, quaint
fun, manly sense, Liberal opinions, and striking language?”

He used, like Charles Lamb, to give weekly suppers.  Sir James Mackintosh
brought to one of these parties “a raw Scotch cousin, an ensign in a
Highland regiment.  On hearing the name of his host he . . . said in an
audible whisper, ‘Is that the great Sir Sudney?’”  Mackintosh gave a hint
to Sydney, who “performed the part of the hero of Acre to perfection,” to
the “torture of the other guests, who were bursting with suppressed
laughter.”  A few days later Sydney and his wife met Mackintosh and the
wonderful cousin in the street, to whom Sydney introduced his wife.  The
Scotch youth didna’ ken the great Sir Sudney was married.  “Why, no,”
said Sir James, “. . . not exactly married; only an Egyptian slave. . . .
Fatima—you know—you understand.”  Mrs Smith was long known as Fatima.

With regard to Sydney’s talk, his daughter speaks of “the multitude of
unexpected images which sprang up in his mind, and succeeded each other
with a rapidity that hardly allowed his hearers to follow him, but left
them panting and exhausted with laughter, to cry out for mercy.”  When he
met Mrs Siddons for the first time she “seemed determined to resist him,
and preserve her tragic dignity,” but finally she fell into such a
“paroxysm of laughter . . . that it made quite a scene, and all the
company were alarmed.”

In 1807 Sydney’s first _Letter from Peter Plymley to his brother Abraham_
appeared.  It was on the Irish Catholic question, and made a great
sensation—Government trying to discover the author, etc.  Lord Murray
said, “After _Pascal’s Letters_, it is the most instructive piece of
wisdom in the form of irony ever written, and had the most important and
lasting effects.”

About the year 1806 he was presented to the living of Foston le Clay in
Yorkshire through Lord Holland’s interest.  He had to build a parsonage
“without experience or money,” and to make a journey with family and
furniture “into the heart of Yorkshire—a process, in the year 1808, as
difficult as a journey to the back settlements of America now.”  He had,
moreover, to turn farmer, since the living consisted of 300 acres of land
and no tithe.  The local Squire was shy of him as a Jacobin, but finally
they became fast friends.  He used to “bring the papers, that I might
explain the difficult words to him; actually discovered that I had made a
joke, laughed till I thought he would have died of convulsions, and ended
by inviting me to see his dogs.”

He was advised to employ oxen on his farm, which, however, turned out a
failure; but their names deserve remembrance, for they were christened
Tug and Lug, Haul and Crawl.  He looked after his men through a
telescope, and gave orders with a speaking-trumpet.  He records “that a
man-servant was too expensive” for him, so “I caught up a little
garden-girl, made like a milestone, christened her Bunch, put a napkin in
her hand, and made her my butler.”  She became “the best butler in the
county.”  Bunch is described as pacing up and down before her master’s
door, saying, “Oh, ma’am, I can’t get no peace of mind till I’ve got
master shaved.”  This meant “making ready for him with a large painter’s
brush, a thick lather in a huge wooden bowl.”  A visitor at Foston
records:—“Mr Smith suddenly said to Bunch, who was passing, ‘Bunch, do
you like roast duck or boiled chicken?’  Bunch had probably never tasted
either the one or the other in her life, but answered, without a moment’s
hesitation, ‘Roast duck, please, sir,’ and disappeared.  I laughed.  ‘You
may laugh,’ said he, ‘but you have no idea of the labour it has cost me
to give her that decision of character.’”

Poor Bunch used to be told to repeat her crimes, and gravely recited,
“Plate-snatching, gravy-spilling, door-slamming,
blue-bottle-fly-catching, and curtsey-bobbing.”  The blue-bottle crime
was standing with her mouth open and not attending.  Curtsey-bobbing was
“Curtseying to the centre of the earth, please, sir.”

One little fact is worth recording.  In 1825 a meeting of clergy was held
in Yorkshire to petition Parliament against the emancipation of the
Catholics.  Sydney’s was the only dissentient voice.  No doubt in those
days it was hard for a Liberal parson to get preferment, and George III.
was right in his prophecy that Sydney would never be a bishop.  But in
January 1828 the Chancellor, Lord Lyndhurst, bestowed on Sydney a stall
then vacant at Bristol.  This was not of much importance from a pecuniary
point of view, but it broke the “spell which had hitherto kept him down
in his profession.” {183}  In the autumn of that year he preached
toleration to the Mayor and Corporation of Bristol, the “most Protestant
civic body in England.”  About the same time he exchanged his living in
Yorkshire for that of Combe Florey near Taunton.

In 1831 (i., p. 290) Lord Grey appointed him to a Prebendal Stall at St
Paul’s in exchange for the inferior one at Bristol.  With regard to
ecclesiastical preferment, he wrote to Lady Holland (8th October 1808):
You “may choose to make me a bishop, and if you do I . . . shall never do
you discredit, for I believe it is out of the power of lawn and velvet,
and the crisp hair of dead men fashioned into a wig, to make me a
dishonest man; but if you do not, I am perfectly content, and shall be
ever grateful to the last hour of my life to you and to Lord Holland.”
And to Lady Mary Bennett, July 1820, p. 200: “Lord Liverpool’s messenger
mistook the way, and instead of bringing the mitre to me, took it to my
next-door neighbour, Dr Carey, who very fraudulently accepted it.  Lord
Liverpool is extremely angry, and I am to have the next!”

And to Murray: “I think Lord Grey will give me some preferment, if he
stays in long enough; but the upper parsons live vindictively.  The
Bishop of --- has the rancour to recover after three paralytic strokes,
and the Dean of --- to be vigorous at eighty-two.  And yet these are men
who are called Christians!”

In the following letter to Lord John Russell (3rd April 1837, p. 399) he
is for once in a way egoistic:—

“I defy X to quote a single passage in my writing contrary to the
doctrines of the Church of England; for I have always avoided
speculative, and preached practical, religion.  I defy him to mention a
single action in my life which he can call immoral. . . .  I am
distinguished as a preacher, and sedulous as a parochial clergyman.  His
real charge is, that I am a high-spirited, honest, uncompromising man,
whom all the bench of bishops could not turn, and who would set them all
at defiance upon great and vital questions. . . .  I am thoroughly
sincere in saying I would not take any bishopric whatever, and to this I
pledge my honour and character as a gentleman.”

It came to Sydney’s turn to appoint to the valuable living of Edmonton:
he was allowed to take it himself, but he gave it to the son of the late
parson, Tate.  Sydney said to Tate junior, that by an odd coincidence the
new vicar was called Tate, and by a more singular chance Thomas Tate, “in
short . . . you are vicar of Edmonton.”  They all burst into tears, and
“I wept and groaned for a long time.  Then I rose, and said I thought it
was very likely to end in their keeping a buggy, at which we all laughed
as violently. . . .  The charitable physician wept too” (i., p. 343).  He
wrote to:—

MRS GROTE, 3_rd Jan._ 1844.—“You have seen more than enough of my giving
the living of Edmonton to a curate.  The first thing the unscriptural
curate does, is to turn out his fellow curate, the son of him who was
vicar before his father. . . .  The Bishop, the Dean and Chapter, and I
have in vain expostulated; he perseveres in his harshness and cruelty.”

Towards the end of 1843 he made his well-known attack on the scandal of
the State of Pennsylvania not paying interest to English investors—he
being one.  He declares them to be “men who prefer any load of infamy,
however great, to any pressure of taxation, however light” (i., p. 352).

Sydney Smith died 22nd February 1845 from disease of the heart.  He was
buried at Kensal Green “as privately as possible.”

Macaulay {185} wrote in 1847 to Mrs Sydney: “He is universally admitted
to have been a great reasoner, and the greatest master of ridicule that
has appeared among us since Swift.”  Mrs Sydney adds in a note that there
is not a line in his writing “unfit for the eye of a woman,” a great
contrast to Swift.


In 1807–8 appeared anonymously Sydney Smith’s _Letters on the Subject of
the Catholics to my brother Abraham who lives in the Country_, by Peter

Abraham is said to be a “kind of holy vegetable” and to be a type of
people who were exclaiming:—“For God’s sake, don’t think of raising
cavalry and infantry in Ireland! . . .  They interpret the Epistle to
Timothy in a different manner to what we do!”

Sydney points out (in his character of Peter Plymley) that the “Catholic
is excluded from Parliament because he will not swear that he disbelieves
the leading doctrines of his religion!”

He refers to Perceval in the following passage: “What remains to be done
is obvious to every human being—but to the man who, instead of being a
Methodist preacher, is, for the ruin of Troy, and the misery of good old
Priam and his sons, become a legislator and a politician.”  Sydney
continues: “I say, I fear he will ruin Ireland, and pursue a line of
policy destructive to the true interests of his country: and then you
tell me he is faithful to Mrs Perceval, and kind to the Master

Finally Peter warns his brother:—“Mrs Abraham Plymley, my sister, will be
led away captive by an amorous Gaul; and Joel Plymley, your first born,
will be a French drummer.”

I regret that I have not space to quote more from these admirable
_Letters_, which are full of good things.  On 14th July 1807, he writes
to Lady Holland {186}:—“Mr Allen has mentioned to me the letters of a Mr
Plymley, which I have obtained from the adjacent market-town, and read
with some entertainment.  My conjecture lies between three persons—Sir
Samuel Romilly, Sir Arthur Pigott, or Mr Horner, for the name is
evidently fictitious.”  I presume that Pigott was an eminently serious
person to match the other supposed authors.

JEFFREY, 20_th Feb._ 1808.—“Your Catholic article of the last Review is,
I perceive, printed separately.  I am very glad of it: it is excellent,
and universally allowed to be so.  I envy you your sense, your style, and
the good temper with which you attack prejudices that drive me almost to
the limits of insanity.”

He writes to Lady Holland in an early but undated letter (ii., p. 39)
that he has let his house at Thames Ditton very well, and sold to the
tenant his wine and poultry!—“I attribute my success in these matters to
having read half a volume of Adam Smith early in the summer, and to hints
that have dropped from Horner, in his playful moods, upon the subject of
sale and barter.”

LORD HOLLAND, 1_st Nov._ 1809.—Speaking of his project of publishing a
pamphlet to be called Common Sense for 1810, he concludes: “But what use
is there in all this, or in anything else?  Omnes ibimus ad Diabolum et
Buonoparte nos conquerabit, et dabit Hollandium Domum ad unum corporalium
suorum, et ponet ad mortem Joannem Allenium.”

LADY HOLLAND, _June_ 1810.—“You have done an excellent deed in securing a
seat for poor Mackintosh, in whose praise I most cordially concur.  He is
a very great, and a very delightful man, and with a few bad qualities
added to his character, would have acted a most conspicuous part in

LADY HOLLAND, 17_th Jan._ 1813.—There had been meetings on the Catholic
question, and he says:—“I shall certainly give my solitary voice in
favour of religious liberty, and shall probably be tossed in a blanket
for my pains.”

JOHN ALLEN, 24_th Jan._ 1813.—“My fancy is my own: I may see as many
crosiers in the clouds as I please; but when I sit down seriously to
consider what I shall do upon important occasions, I must presume myself
rector of Foston for life.”

JOHN MURRAY [of Edinburgh], 12_th July_ 1813.—“My situation is as
follows:—I am engaged in agriculture without the slightest knowledge of
the art; I am building a house without an architect, and educating a son
without patience. . . .  My new mansion springs up apace, and then I
shall really have a pretty place to receive you in, and a pleasant
country to show you.”

LADY HOLLAND, 17_th Sept._ 1813.—“Few events are of so little consequence
as the fecundity of a clergyman’s wife; still your kind dispositions
justify me in letting you know that Mrs Sydney and her new-born son are
both extremely well.”

JOHN ALLEN, 13_th Jan._ 1814.—Of Lord Holland, Sydney writes:—“I wish he
would leave off wine entirely, after the manner of the Sharpe and Rogers
school.  He is never guilty of excess; but there is a certain respectable
and dangerous plenitude, not quite conducive to that state of health
which all his friends most wish to Lord Holland.”

JEFFREY, _Mar._ 1814.—“Pray remember me, dear Jeffrey, and say a good
word for me if I die first.  I shall say many for you in the contrary

LADY HOLLAND, 25_th June_ 1814.—“I liked London better than ever I liked
it before, and simply, I believe, from water-drinking.  Without this,
London is stupefaction and inflammation.  It is not the love of wine, but
thoughtlessness and unconscious imitation.”

JEFFREY, 1814.—“I like my new house very much; . . . but the expense of
it will keep me a very poor man, a close prisoner here for my life, and
render the education of my children a difficult exertion for me.  My
situation is one of great solitude, but I preserve myself in a state of
cheerfulness and tolerable content, and have a propensity to amuse myself
with trifles.”

F. HORNER, 1816.—Referring to Dugald Stewart’s _Preliminary
Dissertations_, Sydney says:—“I was amazingly pleased with his comparison
of the Universities to enormous hulks confined with mooring-chains,
everything flowing and progressing around them.  Nothing can be more

LADY HOLLAND, 31_st July_ 1817.—“It is very curious to consider in what
manner Horner gained, in so extraordinary a degree, the affections of
such a number of persons of both sexes—all ages, parties, and ranks in
society; for he was not remarkably good-tempered nor particularly lively
and agreeable; and an inflexible politician on the unpopular side.  The
causes are, his high character for probity, honour, and talents; his fine
countenance; the benevolent interest he took in the concerns of all his
friends; his simple and gentlemanlike manners; his untimely death.”

LADY MARY BENNETT (_n.d._, but late in 1817).—“The few words I said of
Mrs Fry . . . were these:—‘To see that holy woman in the midst of
wretched prisoners,—to see them calling earnestly upon God, soothed by
her voice, animated by her look, clinging to the hem of her garment, and
worshipping her as the only human being who has ever loved them . . . or
spoken to them of God!—this is the sight which breaks down the pageantry
of the world,—which tells us that the short hour of life is passing away,
and that we must prepare by some good deeds to meet God; that it is time
to give, to pray, to comfort—to go, like this blessed woman, and do the
work of our heavenly Saviour, Jesus, among the guilty, among the
broken-hearted, and the sick; and to labour in the deepest and darkest
wretchedness of life!’”

LADY DAVY, _n.d._—“Luttrell, before I taught him better, imagined muffins

JEFFREY, 7_th Aug._ 1819.—There was universal complaint of the dullness
of the _Edinburgh Review_, and Sydney writes: “Too much, I admit, would
not do of my style; but the proportion in which it exists enlivens the
Review, if you appeal to the whole public, and not to the eight or ten
grave Scotchmen with whom you live.”

LORD HOLLAND, 11_th June_ 1820.—“You gave me great pleasure by what you
said to the Chancellor of my honesty and independence.  I sincerely
believe I shall deserve the character at your hands as long as I live.”

MRS MEYNELL, 1820.—“The usual establishment for an eldest landed baby is,
two wet nurses, two ditto dry, two aunts, two physicians, two
apothecaries; three female friends of the family, unmarried, advanced in
life; and often in the nursery, one clergyman, six flatterers, and a
grandpapa!  Less than this would not be decent.”

MRS MEYNELL, 11_th Nov._ 1821.—“My pretensions to do well with the world
are three-fold:—First, I am fond of talking nonsense; secondly, I am
civil; thirdly, I am brief.  I may be flattering myself; but if I am not,
it is not easy to get very wrong with these habits.”

JOHN MURRAY [of Edinburgh], 29_th Nov._ 1821.—“How little you understand
young Wedgwood!  If he appears to love waltzing, it is only to catch
fresh figures for cream-jugs.  Depend upon it, he will have Jeffrey and
you upon some of his vessels, and you will enjoy an argillaceous

This probably refers to Josiah, the grandson of the great potter.

LADY MARY BENNETT, 1_st Nov._ 1822.—“Write to me immediately: I feel it
necessary to my constitution.”

LADY HOLLAND, 1_st Oct._ 1823.—“I think you mistake Bond’s character in
supposing he could be influenced by partridges.  He is a man of a very
independent mind, with whom pheasants at least, or perhaps turkeys, are

LADY HOLLAND, 19_th Oct._ 1823.—“All duchesses seem agreeable to
clergymen; but she would really be a very clever, agreeable woman, if she
were married to a neighbouring vicar; and I should often call upon her.”
(Apparently the Duchess of Bedford.)

MRS SYDNEY, 7_th May_ 1826.—“My two reviews are very much read, and
praised here for their fun; I read them the other night, and they made me
laugh a good deal.”

MRS SYDNEY, _n.d._—In a French diligence was “a sensible man, with that
propensity which the French have for explaining things which do not
require explanation.  He explained to me, for instance, what he did when
he found coffee too strong; he put water in it!”

LADY HOLLAND, 6_th Nov._ 1827.—“Jeffrey has been here with his
adjectives, who always travel with him.  His throat is giving way; so
much wine goes down it, so many million words leap over it, how can it
rest?  Pray make him a judge; he is a truly great man, and is very
heedless of his own interests.”

LORD HOLLAND, _July_ 1828.—“I hear with great concern of your protracted
illness.  I would bear the pain for you for a fortnight if I were allowed
to roar, for I cannot bear pain in silence and dignity. . . . God bless
you, dear Lord Holland!  There is nobody in the world has a greater
affection for you than I have, or who hears with greater pain of your

LADY HOLLAND, _Dec._ 1828.—“I not only was never better, but never half
so well: indeed I find I have been very ill all my life, without knowing
it.  Let me state some of the goods arising from abstaining from all
fermented liquors.  First, sweet sleep; having never known what sweet
sleep was, I sleep like a baby or a ploughboy. . . .  If I dream, it is
not of lions and tigers, but of Easter dues and tithes. . . .  My
understanding is improved, and I comprehend Political Economy.  I see
better without wine and spectacles than when I used both.  Only one evil
ensues from it: I am in such extravagant spirits that I must lose blood,
or look out for some one who will bore and depress me.”

LADY HOLLAND, _July_ 1831.—“I thank God heartily for my comfortable
situation in my old age,—above my deserts, and beyond my former hopes.”

MRS MEYNELL, _Sept._ 1831.—“I am just stepping into the carriage to be
installed by the Bishop. . . .  It is, I believe, a very good thing, and
puts me at my ease for life.  I asked for nothing—never did anything
shabby to procure preferment.  These are pleasing recollections.”

(It was a Prebendal Stall at St Paul’s, given to him by Lord Grey.)

COUNTESS OF MORLEY, 1831.—“I went to court, and, horrible to relate! with
strings to my shoes instead of buckles—not from Jacobinism, but
ignorance.  I saw two or three Tory Lords look at me with dismay.”

The Clerk of the Closet spoke to Sydney, who had to gather his sacerdotal
petticoats about him “like a lady conscious of thick ankles.”

R. SHARPE, 1835.—“You have met, I hear, with an agreeable clergyman: the
existence of such a being has been hitherto denied by the naturalists;
measure him, and put down on paper what he eats.”

SIR WILMOT HORTON, 1835.—“No book has appeared for a long time more
agreeable than the Life of Mackintosh; it is full of important judgments
on important men, books, and things.”  Elsewhere he speaks of travelling
one hundred and fifty miles in his carriage, with a green parrot and the
_Life of Mackintosh_.

MRS ---, 7_th Sept._ 1835.—“I send you a list of all the papers written
by me in the _Edinburgh Review_.  Catch me, if you can, in any one
illiberal sentiment, or in any opinion which I have need to recant; and
that after twenty years scribbling upon all subjects.”

COUNTESS GREY, 20_th Oct._ 1835 (Paris).—“I shall not easily forget a
_matelote_ at the Rochers de Cancale, an almond tart at Montreuil, or a
_poulet à la Tartare_ at Grignon’s.  These are impressions which no
changes in future life can obliterate.”

MISS G. HARCOURT, 1838.—“I have no relish for the country; it is a kind
of healthy grave.”

SIR GEORGE PHILIPS, about _Sept._ 1838.—“Nickleby is very good.  I stood
out against Mr Dickens as long as I could, but he has conquered me.”

MRS MEYNELL, _Oct._ 1839.—“I feel for --- about her son at Oxford;
knowing as I do, that the only consequences of a University education
are, the growth of vice and the waste of money.”

LADY HOLLAND, 28_th Dec._ 1839.—“I have written against --- one of the
cleverest pamphlets I ever read, which I think would cover --- and him
with ridicule.  At least it made me laugh very much in reading it; and
there I stood, with the printer’s devil and the real devil close to me;
and then I said, ‘After all, this is very funny, and very well written,
but it will give great pain to people who have been very kind and good to
me through life.’”  Finally Sydney threw it into the fire.

MRS MEYNELL, _June_ 1840.—“A Canon at the opera!  Where have you lived?
In what habitations of the heathen?  I thank you, shuddering; and am ever
your unseducible friend.”

COUNTESS GREY, 29th _Nov._ 1840.—“You never say a word of yourself, dear
Lady Grey.  You have that dreadful sin of anti-egotism.  When I am ill, I
mention it to all my friends and relations, to the lord lieutenant of the
county, the justices, the bishop, the churchwardens, the booksellers and
editors of the Edinburgh and Quarterly Reviews.”

LADY ASHBURTON, 1841.—“Still I can preach a little; and I wish you had
witnessed, the other day at St Paul’s, my incredible boldness in
attacking the Puseyites.  I told them that they made the Christian
religion a religion of postures and ceremonies, of circumflexions and
genuflexions, of garments and vestures, of ostentation and parade.”

R. MURCHISON, 26_th Dec._ 1841.—“Immediately before my window there are
twelve large oranges on one tree.”  He adds that they are not Linnæan
orange-trees but bay-trees with oranges tied on.

LADY DAVY, 11_th Sept._ 1842.—“I have not yet discovered of what I am to
die, but I rather believe I shall be burnt alive by the Puseyites.”

LADY GREY, 19_th Sept._ 1842.—“I tire of Combe Florey after two months,
and sigh for a change, even for the worse.  This disposition in me is
hereditary; my father lived, within my recollection, in nineteen
different places.”

LADY HOLLAND, 6_th Nov._ 1842.—Asked by her to go to opera, he replies:
“It would be rather out of etiquette for a Canon of St Paul’s to go to an
opera; and where etiquette prevents me from doing things disagreeable to
myself, I am a perfect martinet.”

COUNTESS GREY, 21_st Dec._ 1842.—“I am quite delighted with the railroad.
I came down in the public carriages without any fatigue. . . .  Distance
is abolished—scratch that out of the catalogue of human evils.”

C. DICKENS, 6_th Jan._ 1843.—“You have been so used to these sort of
impertinences that I believe you will excuse me for saying how very much
I am pleased with the first numbers of your new work.  Pecksniff and his
daughters, and Pinch, are admirable—quite first-rate painting, such as no
one but yourself can execute.”

“P.S.—Chuffey is admirable.  I never read a finer piece of writing; it is
deeply pathetic and affecting.”

Miss G. HARCOURT, 29_th March_ 1843.—“My dear G---

   The pain in my knee
   Would not suffer me
   To drink your bohea.
   I can laugh and talk
   But I cannot walk;
   And I thought His Grace would stare,
   If I put my leg on a chair.
   And to give the knee its former power,
   It must be fomented for half an hour;
   And in this very disagreeable state
   If I had come at all, I should have been too late.”

JOHN MURRAY, 4_th June_ 1843.—“My youngest brother died suddenly, leaving
behind him £100,000 and no will.  A third of this therefore fell to my
share, and puts me at my ease for my few remaining years.”

MRS GROTE, 17_th July_ 1843.—“I met Brunel at the Archbishop’s and found
him a very lively and intelligent man.  He said that when he coughed up
the piece of gold, the two surgeons, the apothecary, and physician all
joined hands, and danced round the room for ten minutes, without taking
the least notice of his convulsed and half-strangled state.  I admire
this very much.”

“I much doubt if I have ever gained £1500 by my literary labours in the
course of my life” (31_st Aug._ 1843).

C. DICKENS, 21_st Feb._ 1844,—“Many thanks for the ‘Christmas Carol,’
which I shall immediately proceed upon, in preference to six American
pamphlets . . . all promising immediate payment!”

COUNTESS GREY, 11_th Oct._ 1844.—“See what rural life is:—

                            “Combe Florey Gazette.

    “Mr Smith’s large red cow is expected to calve this week.

    “Mr Gibbs has bought Mr Smith’s lame mare.

    “It rained yesterday, and, a correspondent observes is not unlikely
    to rain to-day.

    “Mr Smith is better.

    “Mrs Smith is indisposed.

    “A nest of black magpies was found near the village yesterday.”

Sydney Smith died 22nd February 1845.


My aim is to give some account of Charles Dickens’ personality, to think
of him as a man rather than a writer.  For the facts of his life I have
to depend largely on Forster’s biography, {199} which is doubtless
trustworthy, but the personality of the author does not tend to make it
attractive.  In this way the little book by Miss M. Dickens is valuable:
it gives in simple and touching words an impression of the affection that
Dickens inspired.

She writes:—“No man was so inclined naturally to derive his happiness
from home affairs.  He was full of the kind of interest in a house which
is commonly confined to women, and his care of and for us as wee children
did most certainly ‘pass the love of women.’  His was a tender and most
affectionate nature.”

When he “was arranging and rehearsing his readings from _Dombey_, the
death of ‘little Paul’ caused him such real anguish, that he told us he
could only master his intense emotion by keeping the picture of Plorn,
{200a} well, strong, and hearty, steadily before his eyes.” {200b}

He took the children every 24th December to a toy-shop in Holborn to
choose their own Christmas presents and any that they liked to give to
their friends.

“Although I believe we were often an hour or more in the shop before our
several tastes were satisfied, he never showed the least impatience, was
always interested, and as desirous as we, that we should choose exactly
what we liked best. . . .”

“My father insisted that my sister Katie and I should teach the polka
step to Mr Leech and himself, . . . often he would practise gravely in a
corner, without either partner or music.”  He once got out of bed having
waked with the fear he had forgotten it, and rehearsed to his own
whistling by the light of a rushlight.

Miss Dickens continues:—“There never existed, I think, in all the world,
a more thoroughly tidy or methodical creature than was my father.  He was
tidy in every way—in his mind, in his handsome and graceful person, in
his work, in keeping his writing, table drawers, in his large
correspondence—in fact in his whole life.

“And then his punctuality!  It was almost frightful to an unpunctual
mind.  This again was another phase of his extreme tidiness; it was also
the outcome of his excessive thoughtfulness and consideration for

Naturally enough Miss Dickens makes no reference to the unhappy
separation of Dickens and his wife, which took place in 1858.  In the
article on Dickens in the _Dictionary of National Biography_, Carlyle is
quoted as saying:—“No crime and no misdemeanour specifiable on either
side; _unhappy_ together, these two, good many years past, and they at
length end it.”

The father of Charles Dickens was not a successful personage.  He was in
the Navy Pay Office; he was generally in financial trouble, and is indeed
supposed to be the original of Micawber.  Like that personage he was
imprisoned for debt, and thus Charles Dickens learned early in life the
misery as well as the comedy of a debtor’s prison, an experience of which
he made brilliant use in Little Dorrit and elsewhere.

Forster points out that David Copperfield, who was in many ways drawn
from his creator, had as a man a strong memory of his childhood; the most
durable of his early impressions were received at Chatham, and, as
Forster remarks, “the associations that were around him when he died were
those which at the outset of his life had affected him most strongly.”

In an essay on travelling, Dickens {201} describes his meeting a “very
queer small boy” whom he takes in his carriage, and as they pass
Gads-hill Place (where Dickens afterwards lived and died) the boy begs
him to stop that they may look at the house.  On being asked whether he
admired the house:—“Bless you, sir,” said the very queer small boy, “when
I was not more than half as old as nine, it used to be a treat for me to
be brought to look at it—And . . . my father, seeing me so fond of it,
has often said to me, _If you were to be very persevering __and were to
work hard_, _you might some day come to live in it_.  Though that’s
impossible.”  Dickens was actually a queer small boy—very small, very
sickly, who was unable to join in the active games of his schoolfellows.
In 1855 we again meet with the house that was to be his home for the
remainder of his life.  He wrote to Wills (Letters, i. 393):—“I saw, at
Gads Hill . . . a little freehold to be sold.  The spot and the very
house are literally ‘a dream of my childhood,’ and I should like to look
at it before I go to Paris.”

One of the many things in _David Copperfield_ which are autobiographical
is the account {202a} of his delight over his father’s little collection
of books.  “From that blessed little room, _Roderick Random_, _Peregrine
Pickle_, _Humphrey Clinker_, _Tom Jones_, _the Vicar of Wakefield_, _Don
Quixote_, _Gil Blas_, and _Robinson Crusoe_ {202b} came out, a glorious
host, to keep me company.  They kept alive my fancy, and my hope of
something beyond that place and time—they, and the _Arabian Nights_, and
the _Tales of the Genii_—and did me no harm. . . .  I have been Tom Jones
(a child’s Tom Jones, a harmless creature) for a week together. . . .  I
had a greedy relish for a few volumes of voyages and travels . . . . and
for days and days I can remember to have gone about my region of our
house, armed with the centre-piece out of an old set of boot-trees: the
perfect realisation of Captain Somebody of the Royal British Navy.”

After a time they moved to London, where they lived poorly in what was
then a wretched enough neighbourhood, Bayham St., Camden-town.  There he
degenerated into a neglected domestic drudge, apparently quite without
education, a state of things he inwardly resented.

In reading George Colman’s _Broad Grins_ he came upon a description of
Covent Garden, and “stole to the market by himself to compare it with the
book.”  He remembered Covent Garden in writing _Pickwick_.  In chap.
xlvii., Job Trotter is sent in the evening to tell Perker that Dodson and
Fogg have taken Mrs Bardell in execution for her costs.  Perker goes back
to his dinner guests, and poor Job has to spend the night in a vegetable
basket in Covent Garden.

Dickens the elder was arrested for debt and imprisoned in the Marshalsea,
and the description of borrowing Captain Porter’s knife and fork, and his
thinking that he should not like to borrow that gentleman’s comb, were
written before he ever thought of David Copperfield. {203}  There is, of
course, much that is autobiographical in _David Copperfield_.  “For, the
poor little lad, with good ability and a most sensitive nature, turned at
the age of ten into a ‘labouring hind’ in the service of Murdstone and
Grinby” . . . was indeed himself.  Dickens described in an
autobiographical fragment the details of the mechanical work of covering
the pots of paste-blacking.  It is interesting to find Dickens making use
in _Oliver Twist_ of the name Fagin, who was one of his fellow pasters.
Another boy was Poll Green, part of whose name appears in that of the
celebrated Mr Sweelepipe in _Martin Chuzzlewit_.  Another of his
characters is connected with this period, for during his father’s
imprisonment the boy lodged with an old lady subsequently immortalised as
Mrs Pipchin.  Afterwards he remonstrated with his father with many tears,
and a lodging was found for him in Lant Street in the Borough as being
nearer to the prison, and here it was that Bob Sawyer lodged.  The little
maid who waited on his father and mother in the Marshalsea was the model
for the Marchioness in the _Old Curiosity Shop_ (Forster, i., p. 39).
After a time his father came out of prison, and Charles the younger got
some schooling at Wellington House Academy, which supplied “some of the
lighter traits of Salem-house” in _David Copperfield_.

Dickens began life as a lawyer’s clerk of a humble sort, and thus gained
the knowledge of which he made such admirable use in _Pickwick_ and

But his energy in learning shorthand and becoming a professional reporter
at the age of nineteen was a much more important step.  Forster quotes
Beard, “the friend he first made in that line when he entered the
gallery,” as saying that “there never was such a reporter.”

Dickens saw the last of the old coaching days, and he describes his
experience as a reporter—work which largely contributed to his literary

“I have had to charge for half a dozen breakdowns in half a dozen times
as many miles.  Also for the damage of a great-coat from the drippings of
a blazing wax-candle, in writing through the smallest hours of the night
in a swiftly flying carriage and pair.”

“I have been . . . belated on miry by-roads, towards the small hours,
forty or fifty miles from London, in a wheel-less carriage with exhausted
horses and drunken post-boys, and have got back in time for publication,
to be received with never-forgotten compliments by the late Mr Black . . .
in the broadest of Scotch.”

We see plainly enough whence came the description {205} of the chase
after Jingle and Miss Wardle.  “‘I see his head,’ exclaimed the choleric
old man, ‘Damme, I see his head. . . ‘  The countenance of Mr Jingle,
completely coated with mud thrown up by the wheels, was plainly
discernible at the window of his chaise, and the motion of his arm, which
he was waving violently towards the postillions, denoted that he was
encouraging them to increased exertion.”

“I never did feel such a jolting in my life,” said poor Mr Pickwick; but
it was under such conditions that Dickens worked through the nights
transcribing his shorthand notes.

While he was still a reporter his career as an author began.

In a letter to Wilkie Collins, 6th June 1856, Dickens relates that he
began “to write fugitive pieces for the old _Monthly Magazine_” when he
was in “the gallery” for the _Mirror of Parliament_.  His _op. 1_ was
_Mrs Joseph Porter over the Way_; and when it appeared in the glory of
print “I walked down,” he wrote, “to Westminster Hall and turned into it
for half an hour, because my eyes were so dimmed with joy and pride that
they could not bear the street, and were not fit to be seen.”

This was followed by several other articles in the _Monthly Magazine_,
the last in February 1835 was the first to bear the immortal signature of
Boz, {206} and in 1836 the series of _Sketches by Boz_ was published.

In the same year, 1836, a notice appeared in the _Times_ of 26th March
“that on the 31st would be published the first shilling number of the
_Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club_.”  The original plan had been to
make Pickwick an essentially sporting book, but to this Dickens demurred
on account of his ignorance of such matters, and poor Mr Winkle remains
as a sacrifice to the idea.

It is curious how important the illustrations of his books seemed to
Dickens; there are constant references to the subject in his _Letters_,
nor does he seem to have been generally satisfied.

Illustrations in fiction are in my judgment only tolerable when a book is
read for the first time in an illustrated edition, _e.g._ Du Maurier’s
_Trilby_.  But when a reader has formed his own idea of a character,
those of the artist jar on preconceived impressions.  Seymour was
selected to illustrate _Pickwick_, but he committed suicide between the
appearance of the first and second numbers; then a single number was
illustrated by Mr Buss; and finally Hablot Browne was selected, and he
was, in Forster’s words, “not unworthily associated with the masterpieces
of Dickens’ genius.”

Personally I feel nothing but astonishment that the illustrations should
have been liked by anybody.  Dickens was, however, saved from a worse
fate—that of being illustrated by Thackeray, who, in speaking of Dickens
at a Royal Academy dinner, said, “I recollect walking up to his chambers
in Furnival’s Inn with two or three drawings in my hand, which strange to
say, he did not find suitable.”

Forster’s chapter on the writing of _Pickwick_ contains some personal
recollections of the author which may find a place here.  “Very different
was his face in those days, _circa_ 1837, from that which photography has
made familiar to the present generation.  A look of youthfulness first
attracted you, and then a candour and openness of expression which made
you sure of the qualities within.  The features were very good.  He had a
capital forehead . . . eyes wonderfully beaming with intellect and
running over with humour and cheerfulness, and a rather prominent mouth
strongly marked with sensibility.”  He speaks, too, of the beardless face
and rich brown hair in “most luxuriant abundance.”  What remained to the
last was the expression of “keenness and practical power,” and the
“eager, restless, energetic outlook” which suggested a man of action
rather than a writer of books.  Leigh Hunt said of it, “What a face . . .
to meet in a drawing-room! . . .  It had the life and soul in it of fifty
human beings.”

A touching proof of Dickens’ sensibility is given by the fact that the
writing of _Pickwick_ was interrupted for two months by the death of his
wife’s younger sister Mary.

The _Quarterly Review_, Oct. 1837, referring to the fact that _Pickwick_
and _Oliver Twist_ were appearing at the same time, said, “Indications
are not wanting that the particular vein of humour which has hitherto
yielded so much attractive metal, is worked out. . . .  The fact is, Mr
Dickens writes too often and too fast. . . .  If he persists much longer
in this course it requires no gift of prophecy to foretell his fate—he
has risen like a rocket, and he will come down like the stick”—a
singularly incorrect prediction.

The success of _Pickwick_ {208} was enormous, but the profits reaped by
the author can hardly share in that adjective.  There was no agreement
about its publication, except a verbal one.  For each number Dickens was
to receive fifteen guineas, and the publishers paid him at once for the
first two numbers “as he required the money to go and get married with.”
Besides these payments he seems at the time to have received only £2500.
In 1839 Dickens wrote to Forster of “the immense profits which _Oliver_
has realised to its publisher, and is still realising,” and “the paltry,
wretched sum it brought to me.” . . .

His friends made an important part of Dickens’ life.  One of the earliest
was Macready, {209} the actor, to whom he first wrote apparently in 1837,
inviting him to a Pickwick dinner.  He here addresses him as “My dear
Sir,” but in 1838 he becomes “My dear Macready.”

In that year Dickens wrote a farce for Macready, which, however, had to
be withdrawn, and its author wrote characteristically, “Believe me that I
have no other feeling of disappointment . . . but that arising from the
not having been able to be of use to you.”  Macready remained a close
friend as long as he lived, and Dickens does not seem to have suffered
from the churlishness referred to in the _Dictionary of National

In 1851 Macready appeared on the stage for the last time in public.
Dickens wrote (27th Feb. 1851):—“No light portion of my life arose before
me when the quiet vision to which I am beholden, in I don’t know how
great a degree, or for how much—who does?—faded so nobly from my bodily
eyes last night.”

There must have been a certain innocence in Macready or the following
letter (May 24, 1851) would not have been appropriate: “Always go into
some respectable shop or apply to a policeman.  You will know him by his
being dressed in blue, with very dull silver buttons, and by the top of
his hat being made of sticking plaster. . . .  I would recommend you to
see X at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.  Anybody will show it to you.  It
is near the Strand, and you may know it by seeing no company whatever at
any of the doors.  Cab fares are eighteen-pence a mile.  A mile London
measure is half a Dorsetshire mile, recollect.  Porter is two pence per
pint. . . .  The Zoological Gardens are in the Regent’s Park and the
price of admission is one shilling.”

Another artist who became a close friend of Dickens was Stanfield, of
whom we first hear as making one of a trip to Cornwall in 1842.  His
friendship with Cattermole, the painter, began in 1839 and suffered no
diminution.  His early letters to this correspondent are on the
illustrations for the _Old Curiosity Shop_, where we find minute
instruction about the drawing of Mrs Jarley’s Wax Work cart and other
detailed points.

Dickens speaks of being nearly dead with grief at the loss of little
Nell.  He says he looks at Cattermole’s beautiful illustrations with a
pleasure he cannot describe in words.

He seems, too, to have been in 1840 on familiar terms with Daniel
Maclise.  Only two letters to this friend exist, whom Miss Dickens
describes as a “much-loved friend and most intimate companion” of her

In January 1842 Dickens started for America, and on 31st January he
writes—“I can give you no conception of my welcome here.  There never was
a king or emperor upon the earth so cheered and followed by crowds.”

Reference to Miss Martineau meets with showers of abuse.  “She told us of
some of our faults, and Americans can’t bear to be told of their faults.”

“In respect of not being left alone, and of being horribly disgusted by
tobacco-chewing and tobacco spittle, I have suffered considerably” (i.,
p. 67).

“In every town where we stay, though it be only for a day, we hold a
regular levée or drawing-room, where I shake hands on an average with
five or six hundred people. . .  Think of two hours of this every day,
and the people coming by hundreds, all fresh, and piping hot, and full of
questions, when we are literally exhausted and can hardly stand.”

One of the few entirely satisfactory occurrences was the gift of a dog
called Boz, who was re-named Mr Snittle Timbery after a character in
_Nicholas Nickleby_.  He lived to be very old and went everywhere with
his master (i., p. 70, _note_).

At Niagara he got some peace, which was much needed because of “the
incessant persecutions of the people, by land and water, on stage-coach,
railway car, and steamer, which exceeds anything you can picture to
yourself by the utmost stretch of your imagination” (i., p. 71).

And on the copyright scandal he writes in the same letter: “Is it not a
horrible thing that scoundrel book-sellers should grow rich here from
publishing books, the authors of which do not reap one farthing from
their issue by scores of thousands; and that every vile blackguard, and
detestable newspaper, so filthy and bestial that no honest man would
admit one into his house for a scullery door-mat, should be able to
publish these same writings, side by side, cheek by jowl, with the
coarsest and most obscene companions?”  Not that he had much hope of
reform, but he could not help crying, “_Stop_, _thief_!”

On his return he wrote to Longman: “I have fought the fight across the
Atlantic with the utmost energy I could command; have never been turned
aside by any consideration for an instant; am fresher for the fray than
ever; will battle it to death, and die game to the last.”  He was soon
entangled in dinners; of his trials at a hospital dinner he wrote of
listening to speeches and sentiments such “as any moderately intelligent
dustman” would have blushed to have thought of.  “Sleek, slobbering,
bow-paunched, over-fed, apoplectic, snorting cattle, and the auditory
leaping up in their delight.”

In November 1843, he speaks of an opera he did in “damnable good nature
for Hullah,” who wrote “some very pretty music to it.”  He also did a
farce “as a sort of practical joke.”  “It was funny—adapted from one of
the published sketches called the ‘Great Winglebury Duel,’ and was
published by Chapman and Hall.”  He devoutly wished these productions

In a letter to Macready of 3rd January 1844, he speaks of sending him a
little book which had been published 17th December 1843, and describes it
as the greatest success, “I think, I have ever achieved.”  It seems to be
the _Christmas Carol_, as on 4th January 1844 he wrote to Leman Blanchard
in regard to a review of the _Carol_.  “I _must_ thank you because you
have filled my heart up to the brim, and it is running over.”  In the
summer of 1844 he started for a holiday abroad, but in November he
travelled back to London to see _The Chimes_ through the press, of which
he wrote, 5th November 1844:—

“I believe I have . . . knocked the _Carol_ out of the field.  It will
make a great uproar, I have no doubt.”  He adds (i., p. 145): “If you had
seen Macready, last night, undisguisedly sobbing and crying on the sofa
as I read _The Chimes_, you would have felt, as I did, what a thing it is
to have power.”

In 1845 we hear of private theatricals for the first time, when Dickens
writes to Cattermole about taking a part in _Every Man in his Humour_.
On a similar occasion in 1850 a master carpenter from one of the theatres
said, “Ah, sir, it’s a universal observation in the profession, sir, that
it was a great loss to the public when you took to writing books.”

In 1847 we hear of more acting, _Every Man in his Humour_ being given
again for the benefit of Leigh Hunt, with the help of George Cruickshank,
George Henry Lewes, and Augustus Egg, as new members of the Company (i.,
p. 177).

In 1846 he gave up all connection with the _Daily News_, which he had
rashly agreed to edit.  He went to Switzerland, taking a villa
(Rosemount) there, from May till November.  Here he wrote _The Battle of
Life_ and began _Dombey_.  It was here that he made friends of M. de
Cerjat, Mr Haldimand, and of Hon. Richard and Mrs Watson of Rockingham
Castle, to whom he afterwards dedicated his favourite book, _David

It was at this time, too, that was founded his friendship with W. H.
Wills, who became an assistant in editing _All the Year Round_, and in
other ways.

In March 1846 he wrote to Wills:—“Tell Powell . . . that he needn’t ‘deal
with’ the American notices of the _Cricket_.  I never read one word of
their abuse, and I should think it base to read their praises.”

He wrote, 27th November 1846, to Mr Watson (from Paris):—“We are lodged
at last in the most preposterous house in the world. . . .  The bedrooms
are like opera-boxes.  The dining-rooms, stair-cases, and passages, quite
inexplicable. . . .  There is a gleam of reason in the drawing-room.  But
it is approached through a series of small chambers, like the joints of a
telescope, which are hung with inscrutable drapery.”

Later impressions of Paris (1855–56) may find a place here.  “A man who
brought some little vases home last night said, ‘On connait bien en
France, que Monsieur Dick-in prend sa position sur la dignité de la
littérature.  Ah! c’est grande chose!  Et ces caractères sont si
spirituellement tournées!  Cette Madame Tojare (Todgers), ah! qu’elle est
drôle et précisément comme une dame que je connais à Calais.’”

In the winter of 1856 he wrote:—“I met Madame Georges Sands the other day
at a dinner got up by Madame Viardot. . . .  The human mind cannot
conceive anyone more astonishing opposed to all my preconceptions.  If I
had been shown her in a state of repose, and asked what I thought her to
be, I should have said: ‘The Queen’s monthly nurse.’  _Au reste_, she has
nothing of the _bas bleu_ about her, and is very quiet and agreeable.”

On 20th May 1855, he wrote to Stanfield about the scenery of a play by
Wilkie Collins which was in preparation.

“There is only one scene in the piece, and that, my tarry lad, is the
inside of a light-house.  Will you come and paint it for us one night,
and we’ll all turn to and help.”  And again to the same friend (22nd May
1855): “The great ambition of my life will be achieved at last, in the
wearing of a pair of very coarse petticoat trousers.”

He wrote to Stanfield about the performance—“Lemon and I did every
conceivable absurdity, I think, in the farce; and they never left off
laughing. . . .  Then Scotch reels till 5 A.M.”

Dickens could appreciate other actors, and he writes in 1862 of Fechter’s
Hamlet as a “performance of extraordinary merit; by far the most
coherent, consistent, and intelligible Hamlet I ever saw.”

On the same subject he wrote to Macready: “Fechter doing wonders over the
way here, with a picturesque French drama.  Miss Kate Terry, in a small
part in it, perfectly charming. . . .  She has a tender love-scene in
this piece, which is a really beautiful and artistic thing. . . .  I told
Fechter: ‘That this is the very best piece of womanly tenderness I have
ever seen on the stage, and you’ll find that no audience can miss it.’”

_Dombey_ was published early in 1848, and during the whole of 1849 and
the summer and autumn of 1850 he was writing _David Copperfield_.  In Sir
Walter Raleigh’s _Shakespeare_, 1907, p. 31, it is suggested that “if the
father of Charles Dickens lent his likeness to Mr Micawber, it is at
least possible that some not unkindly memories of the paternal advice of
John Shakespeare have been preserved for us in the sage maxims of

In March 1852 the first number of _Bleak House_ appeared, and he wrote to
Mary Boyle, 22nd July 1852:—“I am not quite sure that I ever did like, or
ever shall like, anything quite so well as _Copperfield_.  But I foresee,
I think, some very good things in _Bleak House_.”  In November he records
that the sale is half as large again as _Copperfield_.  In the winter of
1850 he showed his appreciation of Mrs Gaskell by writing to her (31st
January 1850): “I do honestly know that there is no living English writer
whose aid I would desire to enlist in preference to the authoress of
_Mary Barton_ (a book that most profoundly affected and impressed me).” .
. . .

In September 1857, he writes to Miss Hogarth from Allonby, telling her of
the homage he receives in the North—station-masters help him to alight,
deputations await him at hotels, crowds see him off.  The landlady at
Allonby was immensely fat, and her husband said that once on a time he
could tuck his arm round her waist.  “‘And can’t you do it now,’ I said,
‘you insensible dog?  Look at me!  Here’s a picture!’  Accordingly, I got
round as much of her as I could; and this gallant action was the most
successful I have ever performed, on the whole.”

In 1853 he took the Château des Moulineaux at Boulogne, whence he wrote
asking a friend to visit him.  He described his château:—“Excellent light
wines on the premises, French cookery, millions of roses, two cows (for
milk punch), vegetables cut for the pot, and handed in at the kitchen
window; five summer-houses, fifteen fountains (with no water in ’em), and
thirty-seven clocks (keeping, as I conceive, Australian time).”

In September of the same year (1853) he writes to Walter Savage
Landor:—“I may now write to thank you for the happiness you have given me
by honouring my name with such generous mention on (? in) such a noble
place, in your great book. . . .  Believe me, I receive the dedication
like a great dignity, the worth of which I hope I thoroughly know.”

In this year, too, he gave his first public readings, which took place at
Birmingham, and well would it have been for him had he never embarked on
this exhausting occupation.  He describes his reading:—“A vast
intelligent assemblage, and the success was most wonderful and
prodigious—perfectly overwhelming and astounding altogether.”  No wonder
that he was tempted to continue such a triumph!  A passage in a letter to
Cerjat shows how celebrated he already was:—“He embarked at Calais for
Dover, and the ‘Fact of distinguished Author’s being abroad, was
telegraphed to Dover; thereupon authorities of Dover Railway detained
train to London for distinguished author’s arrival, rather to the
exasperation of British public.’”

In November 1854 he speaks of being “used up” after writing _Hard Times_.
He had intended to take a long rest, “when the idea [of that book] laid
hold of me by the throat, in a very violent manner, and because the
compression and close condensation necessary for that disjointed form of
publication gave me perpetual trouble.  But I really was tired, which is
a result so very incomprehensible that I can’t forget it.”

Dickens took pains with his style even in his letters, and it gives one a
shock to find him writing that Adelaide Proctor “_don’t_ live at the
place to which her letters are addressed,” where I should write

In 1855 he began _Little Dorrit_ in Paris, a book he originally
christened _Nobody’s Fault_, and the change was certainly a wise one.

In this year we find him assisting at the birth of an admirable
book:—“Sydney Smith’s daughter {219} has privately printed the life of
her father with selections from his letters, which has great merit and
often presents him exactly as he used to be.  I have strongly urged her
to publish it” (i., p. 390).

In planning his public readings about this time, he writes (29th January
1855, in regard to _David Copperfield_):—“I never can approach the book
with perfect composure (it had such perfect possession of me when I wrote

One of the many instances of his scrupulous honesty is his refusal of an
invitation to a Lord Mayor’s dinner.  “I do not think it consistent with
my respect for myself, or for the art I profess, to blow hot and cold in
the same breath; and to laugh at an institution in print, and accept the
hospitality of its representative while the ink is staring us all in the

In returning from reading at Sheffield, “a tremendous success,” he
describes his experiences: “At two or three o’clock in the morning I
stopped at Peterboro’ again, and thought of you all disconsolately.  The
lady in the refreshment-room was very hard upon me, harder even than
those fair enslavers usually are.  She gave me a cup of tea, as if I were
a hyena and she my cruel keeper with a strong dislike to me.  I mingled
my tears with it, and had a petrified bun of enormous antiquity in
miserable meekness.”

The Court of Chancery finds a place in more than one of his books.  His
strong feeling in regard to it is shown in the following extract from a
letter to Wills: “It has become (through the vile dealing with those
courts and the vermin they have called into existence) a positive precept
of experience, that a man had better endure a great wrong than go, or
suffer himself to be taken, into Chancery, with the dream of setting it
right” (7th August 1856).

He wrote to Mrs Winter: “A necessity is upon me . . . of wandering about
in my old wild way, to think.  I could no more resist this on Sunday or
yesterday than a man can dispense with food. . . .  Whoever is devoted to
an art must be content to deliver himself wholly up to it, and find his
recompense in it.  I am grieved if you suspect me of not wanting to see
you, but I can’t help it; I must go my way whether or no” (3rd April

In September 1855 he was at Folkestone, whence he wrote to Mrs Watson
about _Little Dorrit_, to which he at the time intended to give the name
_Nobody’s Fault_: “The new story is everywhere—heaving in the sea, flying
with the clouds, blowing in the wind. . . .  I settle to nothing, and
wonder (in the old way) at my own incomprehensibility” (16th September

In 1857 he came into possession of Gad’s Hill, and thus fulfilled the
dream of his childhood.

There are many instances of his kindness to would-be authors.  In a
letter to a lady he says that he cannot tell her with what reluctance he
gives an opinion against her story, in spite of much that is good in it.
And about an article by another lady he writes to F. Stone (who
approached Dickens on her behalf).  He says: “These Notes are destroyed
by too much smartness.  For the love of God don’t condescend!  Don’t
assume the attitude of saying, ‘See how clever I am, and what fun
everybody else is.’”

In a letter to Miss Hogarth from Dublin he wrote: “The success at Belfast
has been equal to the success here.  Enormous! . . . and the personal
affection there was something overwhelming. . . .  I have never seen men
go in to cry undisguisedly as they did at that reading yesterday
afternoon.  They made no attempt whatever to hide it, and certainly cried
more than the women.  As to the ‘Boots’ [at the Holly Tree Inn] at night,
and ‘Mrs Gamp’ too, it was just one roar with me and them, for they made
me laugh so that sometimes _I could not_ compose my face to go on.”

With regard to the crowds at his readings he wrote to Miss Dickens:
“Arthur {221} told you, I suppose, that he had his shirt-front and
waistcoat torn off last night.  He was perfectly enraptured in
consequence.  Our men got so knocked about that he gave them five
shillings apiece on the spot.  John passed several minutes upside against
a wall, with his head among the people’s boots.”

We hear of his readings in a letter to John Forster: “I cannot tell you
what the demonstrations of personal regard and respect are; how the
densest and most uncomfortably packed crowd will be hushed in an instant
when I show my face.”

And again to the same friend:—“At Aberdeen we were crammed to the street
twice every day. . .  And at the end of _Dombey_ yesterday afternoon at
Perth, in the cold light of day, they all got up . . . and thundered and
waved their hats with that astonishing heartiness and fondness for me . . .
that they took me completely off my legs.”

Elsewhere he speaks of being overwhelmed with proposals to read in
America, and adds, “Will never go, unless a small fortune be first paid
down in money on this side of the Atlantic.”

In the autumn he writes to Regnier, enclosing proofs of _A Tale of Two
Cities_: “I want you to read it for two reasons.  Firstly, because I hope
it is the best story I have written.  Secondly, because it treats of a
very remarkable time in France; and I should very much like to know what
you think of its being dramatised for a French theatre. . . .  The story
is an extraordinary success here” (15th Oct. 1859).

He felt strongly about public executions.  Forster describes how Dickens
saw the hanging of the Mannings, and says that “with the letter which
Dickens wrote next day to the _Times_ descriptive of what we had
witnessed on that memorable morning, there began an active agitation
against public executions,” which was finally successful.  But in 1860
the evil still existed; he wrote, 4th September 1860, to W. H. Wills:
“Coming here from the station this morning, I met, coming from the
execution of the Wentworth murderer, such a tide of ruffians as never
could have flowed from any point but the gallows.  Without any figure of
speech it turned one white and sick to behold them” (4th Sept. 1860).

In December he wrote:—“Pray read _Great Expectations_.  I think it is
very droll.  It is a very great success, and seems universally liked—I
suppose because it opens funnily, and with an interest too.”

In July 1861 he writes to Forster, telling him that he has altered the
end of _Great Expectations_.  This was done at the suggestion of Bulwer
Lytton, who objected to Pip being left “a solitary man.”  The curious may
read the original ending in Forster’s _Life_, vol. iv., p. 336.

We meet many instances of Dickens’ sensitiveness to the character of his
audience.  Thus he writes:—“I could have done perfectly if the audience
had been bright, but they were an intent and staring audience.”

“An excellent house to-night, and an audience positively perfect . . . an
intelligent and delightful response in them, like the touch of a
beautiful instrument.”

He showed presence of mind, too, on an occasion.  “The gas batten came
down and it looked as if the room were falling.  A lady in front row of
stalls screamed and ran out wildly.  He addressed her laughing, and
saying ‘no danger,’ and she sat down to a thunder of applause.”

I like his references to his children.  He writes: “Why a boy of that age
should seem to have on at all times a hundred and fifty pair of
double-soled boots, and be always jumping a bottom stair with the whole
hundred and fifty, I don’t know.”

“Will you give my small Admiral, on his personal application, one
sovereign?  I have told him to come to you for that recognition of his
meritorious services.”

And to Miss Boyle: “The little Admiral has gone to visit America in the
_Orlando_ . . . he went away much gamer than any giant, attented by a
chest in which he could easily have stowed himself and a wife and family
of his own proportions” (28th Dec. 1861).

Dogs were to Dickens almost as dear as children.  In 1863 he writes to
Percy Fitzgerald like a flattered parent: “I have been most heartily
gratified by the perusal of your article on my dogs.  It has given me an
amount and a kind of pleasure very unusual, and for which I thank you
earnestly. . . .  I should be delighted to see you here. . . .  I and my
two latest dogs, a St Bernard and a bloodhound, would be charmed with
your company.”

At Boulogne, in 1856, he received a present of “the nicest of little
dogs,” which its master, a cobbler, could not afford to pay tax for.  The
dog escaped and got killed, and “I must lie to him—the cobbler—for life,
and say that the dog is fat and happy” (ii., p. 58).

In the winter of 1862 he was reading at Cheltenham.  Macready was in the
audience, and Dickens writes: “I found him quite unable to speak, and
able to do nothing but square his dear old jaw all on one side, and roll
his eyes (half closed), like Jackson’s picture of him.”  Macready said:
“I swear to heaven that, as a piece of passion and
playfulness—er—indescribably mixed up together, it does—er—no, really,
Dickens! amaze me as profoundly as it moves me. . . .  How is it got
at—er—how is it done—er—how one man can—well?  It lays me on my—er—back,
and it is of no use talking about it!” (ii., p. 196).

Dickens seems to have been thought to have done a wrong to Jews in
general by his character Fagin in _Oliver Twist_.  He wrote, 10th July
1863, to a Jewish lady that it “unfortunately was true of the time to
which the story refers, that that class of criminal almost invariably was
a Jew.”  The real reply to her letter was Riah in _Our Mutual Friend_.

Of that book he says: “It is a combination of drollery with romance,
which requires a great deal of pains and a perfect throwing away of
points that might be amplified, but I hope it is _very good_” (ii., p.

In speaking of his public readings he refers to wearing a flower given
him.  This doubtless explains why, when he read at Cambridge, he wore
first a red rose and then a white one in his buttonhole, which to my
undergraduate mind seemed “dandiacal.”  Of this occasion he wrote: “The
reception at Cambridge last night was something to be proud of in such a
place.  The colleges mustered in full force from the biggest guns to the
smallest, and went far beyond even Manchester in the roars of welcome and
the rounds of cheers. . . .  The place was crammed, and the success the
most brilliant I have ever seen” (ii., p. 284).

In 1867 we again come across a reference to the exhaustion caused by his
public readings.  “On Friday night I quite astonished myself; but I was
taken so faint afterwards that they laid me on a sofa at the hall for
half an hour.”

In spite of protestations he went to America, and in regard to his visit
he wrote in 1867: “I do not expect as much money as the calculators
estimate, but I cannot set the hope of a large sum of money aside.”

And from Boston he wrote to his daughter: “At the New York barriers,
where the tickets are on sale, . . . speculators went up and down
offering twenty dollars for anybody’s place.  The money was in no case
accepted” (ii., p. 310).

And again: “At nine o’clock this morning there were two thousand people
in waiting, and they had begun to assemble in the bitter cold as early as
two o’clock” (ii., p. 311).

And to Miss Hogarth, 16th December 1867, N.Y.:—“Dolby continues to be the
most unpopular man in America (mainly because he can’t get four thousand
people into a room that holds two thousand), and is reviled in print

Dickens returned from America in April 1868, but soon made another visit.
He wrote to Wilkie Collins from Boston:—“Being in Boston . . . I took it
into my head to go over the medical school, and survey the holes and
corners in which that extraordinary murder was done by Webster” (12th
Jan. 1868).

This must be the man who (as I was told in the U.S.) said to his
daughters, “What should you say if I were the murderer?”  They were
looking at the notice of a reward for the detection of the murderer.  I
think the body was burnt by Webster in his laboratory.

In regard to his readings, he wrote: “It was but this last year that I
set to and learned every word of my readings; and from ten years ago to
last night, I have never read to an audience but I have watched for an
opportunity of striking out something better somewhere” (11th Feb. 1868).

He was evidently overstrained and was only kept going by stimulants.  He
wrote to Miss Dickens (29th March 1868): “I have coughed from two or
three in the morning until five or six, and have been absolutely
sleepless.  I have had no appetite besides, and no taste.”

And again, to the same correspondent, he writes that he has established
this system:—“At seven in the morning (in bed) a tumbler of new cream and
two tablespoonfuls of rum.  At twelve, a sherry cobbler and a biscuit.
At three (dinner-time) a pint of champagne.  At five minutes to eight, an
egg beaten up in a glass of sherry.  Between the parts, the strongest
beef-tea that can be made, drunk hot.  At quarter past ten, soup, and
anything to drink that I can fancy. . . .  Dolby is as tender as a woman
and as watchful as a doctor” (2nd April 1868).

On the return voyage he was asked to read, and “I respectfully replied
that sooner than do it, I would assault the captain, and be put in

When he arrived at home the two Newfoundland dogs behaved exactly as
usual: this may remind us of another C.D.  My father used to tell us how,
after his five years’ voyage in the _Beagle_, he went into the yard at
his Shrewsbury home and whistled in a particular way, and the dog came
for a walk as if he had done the same thing the day before.  Two of
Dickens’ dogs were, however, greatly excited: the faithful Mrs Bouncer
being one of them.

A letter to Cerjat (1868) gives an echo from the great railway accident
in which Dickens had so lucky an escape:—

“My escape in the Staplehurst accident of three years ago is not to be
obliterated from my nervous system.  To this hour I have sudden vague
rushes of terror, even when riding {228} in a hansom cab, which are
perfectly unreasonable but quite insurmountable.  I used to make nothing
of driving a pair of horses habitually through the most crowded parts of
London.  I cannot now drive, with comfort myself, on the country roads
here; and I doubt if I could ride at all in the saddle.”

In 1866 he consulted Dr Beard about symptoms of grave significance.  And
in 1869 Beard went down to Preston and put a stop to a projected reading,
and ruled, with the approval of Sir Thomas Watson, that anything like a
reading tour must be finally stopped.

In January and March 1870, he was working at _Edwin Drood_, his
unfinished book.  He gave some farewell readings, and his last public
appearance was at the Royal Academy dinner, where he spoke of Maclise.

His daughter has given a touching account of his death.  He was at Gad’s
Hill on 30th May 1870 at work over _Edwin Drood_, but there was “an
appearance of fatigue and weariness about him very unlike his usual air
of fresh activity.”

On 8th June 1870 he owned to being very ill.  He became incoherent, and
being advised to lie down, he said indistinctly, “Yes, on the ground,”
and these were his last words.  In the evening of 9th June, he shuddered,
gave one sigh, a tear rolled down his face, and he died.

Dickens had wished to be buried in the little churchyard of Shorne in
Kent; but the authorities of Rochester Cathedral asked that he might be
buried there.  Finally, Dean Stanley intervened and he was buried on 14th
June in Westminster Abbey.  His daughter says that every year on the
ninth of June flowers are strewn by “unknown hands on that spot so sacred
to us, and to all who knew and loved him.”


The following pages give the results of observations on the dates at
which the commoner plants flowered at Brookthorpe, near Gloucester, as
well as the dates of a few other facts, such as the days in which the
songs of birds were first heard.

My observations began in April 1917, originating in the obvious lateness
of some of the vegetation.  The record extends from 1st April to 21st
August, and contains only 160 observations, whereas in Blomefield’s
_Naturalist’s Calendar_, {231b} with which I have compared them, the
number of recorded facts is much greater.  I may express my indebtedness
to the minutely accurate work of this author; I only wish that my small
contribution to his subject were more worthy of my guide.

What interest my observations may possess depends on the fact that the
spring of 1917 was exceptionally cold.  For this statement I rely on the
weekly Weather Report of the Meteorological Office, in which for each
week of the year the deviation from the normal temperature is given for a
large number of stations in the British Islands. {232}  I have taken as a
standard the temperature at Clifton, which seems to be the station
nearest to Gloucester.

Now, though the temperature has undoubtedly a great effect on the time of
flowering, it is by no means the only element in the problem.  The first
plant on my list is _Ranunculus ficaria_, which I noted as flowering on
1st April, whereas in Blomefield the mean of seventeen yearly
observations is 28th February, the earliest date for this plant being
21st January, the latest 28th March.  The extreme lateness of the
Celandine was doubtless due to the cold spring of 1917.  But what are the
elements of the problem which fixed on this plant the general habit of
flowering early in the year?

In some cases we can see the advantages in early flowering.  Thus the
average date on which the Hazel comes into bloom is 26th January, and
this, for a plant of which the pollen is distributed by the wind, may be
an advantage, since there are no leaves to obstruct the dispersal of the
pollen grains.

It may be answered that those Conifers which do not shed their leaves in
winter, _e.g._ the Yew or the Scotch Fir, are nevertheless
wind-fertilised.  But this, though a point not to be forgotten, is no
argument against what has been said of the Hazel.

On the whole, however, we are excessively ignorant as to the biological
meaning of the dates at which plants flower.  What advantage does the
orchis _Spiranthes_, well called _autumnalis_, gain from flowering in
August or September?  Or again, what biological characters are there to
distinguish the plants flowering in June from those which do not show
themselves till July?  It looks, to put the thing fancifully, as if a
parliament of plants had met and decided that some arrangement must be
made since the world would be inconveniently full if they all flowered at
once; or they may have believed that there were not enough insects to
fertilise the whole Flora, if all their services were needed in one
glorious month of crowded life.  Therefore it was ruled that the months
should be portioned among the aspirants, some choosing May, others June
or July.  But it must have been difficult to manage, and must have needed
an accurate knowledge of their own natural history.  I must apologise for
this outbreak, and I will only add that this does seem to me an
interesting problem, namely, what are the elements in the struggle for
life which fix the dates on which plants habitually flower?

The most striking instance of the effect of the temperature is the
behaviour of arctic plants. {233}  In Nova Zembla the summer consists of
two months, July and August, during which the mean temperature is about
5° C.  In these conditions, cases such as the following occur: at
Pitlekaj the last nine days of June showed a mean temperature of below 0°
C., while the average for the first nine days of July was between +4° and
+6°, and on 10th July all the four species of Willow were in full bloom,
the dwarf Birch, _Sedum palustre_, Polygonum, Cassiope, and Diapensia
were in flower, and within a week the whole vegetation was flowering.
There was, in fact, a great rush or explosion of all sorts of flowers as
soon as the temperature rose: not that dropping fire which begins with us
with Mezereon in January and ends with Ivy in the autumn.

In the Arctic Regions temperature seems the absolute master, but in our
climate this is clearly not so.  The best evidence of an inherent
tendency to flower on a certain date is that given by Askenasy {234} in
his observations on _Prunus avium_ (the Gean or wild Cherry).  He
recorded the weight of 100 buds at regular intervals throughout the year,
and thus got the following results:—

1st July            1            Period I.
1st August          2
1st September       3
1st October         4
1st November        4            Period II.
1st December        4
1st January         4
1st February        4½           Period III.
1st March           6
2nd April           23
8th April           43

There are thus three periods: I., Formation; II., Rest; III.,
Development.  So much for preliminaries; the really interesting point is
the reaction of the buds to forcing by artificially raising the
temperature.  Thus branches put into a warm room at the end of October
showed absolutely no tendency to develop.  In December, however, they
could be forced, and as time went on they proved to be more and more
amenable to the effect of a rise in temperature.  In other words, the
invisible process of preparing for the spring was automatically
proceeding.  The following figures give the number of days of forcing
needed at various dates to make cherry branches flower:—

14th December       27 days
10th January        18 ,,
2nd  February       17 ,,
2nd  March          12 ,,
11th March          10½ ,,
23rd March          8 ,,
3rd  April          5 ,,

My object in discussing this case is to show that the effect of
temperature on plant-development is not a simple problem.  The most
picturesque association with what is known as the science of Phænology
(_i.e._ the lore of the appearance of flowers) is its practical
connection with ancient agricultural maxims.  Blomefield puts the thing
very clearly {235}: “The middle of March may be, in the long run, the
most suitable time for sowing various kinds of grain,” but the husbandman
may easily go wrong in this or other operations if he sticks to a fixed
date.  But if he knows that the conditions necessary for his purpose are
also necessary for the flowering of some familiar herb, he will be safer
in waiting for his guide to show itself than in going by dates.  Wrongly
or rightly, this assumption has been commonly followed.

Stillingfleet quotes from Aristophanes that “the crane points out the
time of sowing” and the kite “when it is time to shear your sheep.”  An
old Swedish proverb tells us that “when you see the white wagtail you may
turn your sheep into the fields; and when you see the wheatear you may
sow your grain.”  I have come across an English proverb: “When the sloe
tree is as white as a sheet, you must sow your barley be it dry or wet.”
Miss Jekyll in her book _Old West Surrey_, speaking of the wryneck,
quotes: “When we hears that, we very soon thinks about rining (barking)
the oaks.”

There is something delightfully picturesque in the thought of man thus
helped and guided in some of his most vital operations by the proceedings
of the world of plants and animals, to whom that hard task-master Natural
Selection has taught so much.

I have gone through Blomefield’s _Calendar_, recording for each species
the number of days between the earliest and latest known dates of
flowering.  Thus the Mezereon did not flower earlier than 11th January or
later than 2nd February; this means that the date of flowering may, as
far as we know, vary to the extent of twenty-three days.

If we look at the recorded dates for all flowers appearing in February,
we find great irregularity.  Thus _Daphne laureola_ has a range of
twenty-two days, whereas for _Vinca minor_ the figure is 114.  The
average for February is 75.6, that for March is 55.6, for May 29.5, July
29.6.  These figures suggest that the range of dates of flowering
diminishes as the temperature becomes less variable.  But the variation
in summer temperature, though small relatively to the same factor in the
cold months, may nevertheless be sufficient to affect the flowering
habit.  Yet there must be many factors in the problem of which we know
nothing.  It is a curious little fact that the summer range should be
roughly one month.

Let us now consider my observations for 1917 as compared with
Blomefield’s record of the mean date of flowering of the same species.

The most striking feature occurs at the beginning of April, when
Blomefield’s observations are on the whole markedly earlier than my
record of corresponding facts.  Of those noted by me as flowering in
April, one should have flowered in January, four in February, five in
March, six considerably earlier in April, and two slightly earlier in
that month.

In May Blomefield’s dates are still mainly earlier than mine, in spite of
the fact that in this month the temperature was above the normal.  In
June, on the whole (though with much variability), his dates do not
seriously differ from mine.  In the first three weeks of June the
temperature was above the normal.  In July, except at the beginning and
end of the month, my observations are clearly later in date than
Blomefield’s, and during rather more than half of July the temperature
was below the normal.  On the whole, and in spite of many doubtful
points, the difference between my results and Blomefield’s seems to me to
be related to the curve of temperature, in an irregular manner it is
true, but sufficiently to be worthy of record.  It has been said {237}
that Thoreau, the American recluse and naturalist, knew the look of the
country-side so intimately that had he been miraculously transferred to
an unknown time of year, he would have recognised the season “within a
day or two from the flowers at his feet.”  If this is true, either
American plants are much more businesslike than ours (which is as it
should be), or else Thoreau did not test his opinions too severely, and
this seems even more probable.


*  This column gives Blomefield’s _mean_ dates.

+  S is the date on which the song was first heard.

L  is the date of leafing.

N  that of nesting.

The other entries are the dates of flowering.

No.        Name             Fact          F. D.         Blomefield.
                            observed                    *
1          Celandine                           April 1       Feb. 28
2          Blackbird        S+                    ,, 2       Feb. 10
3          Bramble          L                     ,, 2       Mar. 25
4          Daisy                                  ,, 4       Jan. 29
5          Wild Rose        L                     ,, 6       Mar. 15
6          Wild Violet                           ,, 16      April 16
7          _Lamium                               ,, 17       Feb. 19
8          Willow                                ,, 19       Mar. 19
9          Elder            L                    ,, 21       Feb. 13
10         Raspberry        L                    ,, 21       April 2
11         Hazel            L                    ,, 21       April 2
12         _Caltha_                              ,, 22        Mar. 5
13         Chiff-chaff      S                    ,, 22        Apr. 7
14         Humble Bee                            ,, 22       Mar. 17
15         Cuckoo           S                    ,, 23       Apr. 29
16         Dandelion                             ,, 26       Feb. 21
17         Martin           N                    May 1         May 3
18         Lady’s Smock                           ,, 2      April 19
19         _Nepeta                                ,, 2       Mar. 30
20         Blackthorn                             ,, 3       April 4
21         Ash                                    ,, 3      April 11
22         Cowslip                                ,, 3       April 1
23         Beech            L                     ,, 4      April 25
23a        _Pedicularis                           ,, 6
24         Pear                                   ,, 6      April 13
25         Sycamore                               ,, 6      April 29
26         Bugle                                 May 7         May 3
27         Oak              L                     ,, 7         May 5
28         _Lamium album_                        ,, 10        Mar 13
29         _Ranunculus                           ,, 10      April 21
30         Nightingale      S                    ,, 10      April 21
31         _Arum_                                ,, 10         May 1
32         Blue Bell                             ,, 11
32a        _Stellaria                            ,, 11
33         _Lamium                               ,, 11        May 13
34         _Plantago                             ,, 12      April 27
35         Red Clover                            ,, 12         May 8
35a        _Vicia sepium_                        ,, 12
36         _Myosotis                             ,, 12        May 18
37         _Geranium                             ,, 12         May 7
38         _Veronica                             ,, 12      April 28
39         Ash              L                    ,, 13         May 3
40         _Ranunculus                           ,, 13      April 24
41         _Alliaria_                            ,, 14      April 22
42         _Asperula                             ,, 15         May 1
43         _Ranunculus                           ,, 16         May 2
           acris_ *
44         _Allium                               ,, 16
45         _Orchis                               ,, 16        May 26
46         Wistaria                              ,, 17
47         White Thorn                           ,, 18         May 7
48         _Chærophyllum                         ,, 18      April 18
49         _Alchemilla                           ,, 21
50         _Carex                                ,, 22
51         _Orchis morio_                        ,, 23        May 12
52         _Geum urbanum_                        ,, 28        May 25
53         _Rubus cæsius_                        ,, 28        May 28
54         Sorrel                                ,, 29        May 27
55         _Veronica                             ,, 29        May 25
56         Dog Daisy                             ,, 30        May 25
57         Stachys                               ,, 30       June 11
58         _Rhinanthus                          May 31        May 30
59         _Lychnis                              ,, 31        May 19
60         _Leontodon                            ,, 31
61         _Ranunculus                          June 3        May 30
62         _Vicia sativa_                         ,, 3        June 8
63         Snowberry                              ,, 4        June 2
64         _Galium                                ,, 4        May 29
66         _Urtica                                ,, 5        June 6
           dioica_ (male)
67         _Plantago                              ,, 6        May 27
68         _Cornus                                ,, 6        June 9
69         _Tamus                                 ,, 6        June 7
70         _Euonymus                              ,, 6
71         _Solanum                               ,, 6       June 13
72         _Scrophularia                          ,, 7
75         _Polygonum                             ,, 8        May 25
76         _Linum                                 ,, 8        June 7
77         _Lathyrus                              ,, 8       June 23
78         _Poterium                              ,, 8        May 12
79         _Bryonia                               ,, 9        May 28
80         Garden                                 ,, 9
81         _Dactylis                             ,, 10        June 7
82         _Rumex                                ,, 10       June 23
83         Elder                                 ,, 10        May 31
84         Horse Radish                          ,, 11
85         Wild Rose                             ,, 11       June 16
86         Quaking Grass                         ,, 11       June 15
87         _Orchis                              May 11        June 6
88         _Matricaria                           ,, 12       June 16
89         _Helianthemum                         ,, 12        May 27
90         Wild Thyme                            ,, 12        June 9
91         Milkwort                              ,, 12        May 15
92         _Linaria                              ,, 12
93         Groundsel                             ,, 12
94         _Epilobium                            ,, 12        July 2
95         Tway Blade                          June 12        May 17
96         _Trifolium                            ,, 13        May 23
97         _Carduus                              ,, 14       June 21
98         _Genista                              ,, 14
99         _Centaurea                            ,, 17       June 20
100        _Chrysanthemum                        ,, 17
101        Privet                                ,, 17       June 26
102        Meadow Sweet                          ,, 17       June 30
103        _Potentilla                           ,, 18       June 15
104        _Œnanthe                              ,, 18
105        _Galium                               ,, 18       June 15
106        _Convolvulus                          ,, 18        June 9
108        _Lapsana                              ,, 18       June 23
109        _Papaver                              ,, 21        June 4
110        _Centaurea                            ,, 21        July 3
111        _Orchis                               ,, 21        July 1
112        _Malva                                ,, 21
113        _Galium verum_                        ,, 21        July 5
114        Sow-thistle                           ,, 21       June 16
115        Blackberry                            ,, 22       June 30
116        _Potentilla                           ,, 25        May 16
117        _Orchis                               ,, 25        May 31
118        Enchanter’s                           ,, 26       June 24
119        _Cirsium                              ,, 27        July 6
120        _Agrimonia                            ,, 27        July 1
121        _Convolvulus                          ,, 27        July 8
122        _Hypericum                            ,, 27       June 28
123        _Ononis                              July 1        July 2
124        _Scabiosa                              ,, 1
125        Lime Tree                              ,, 2        July 2
126        _Onobrychis                            ,, 3        June 8
127        _Lysimachia                            ,, 5        July 5
128        _Campanula                             ,, 6        July 1
129        _Calamintha                            ,, 6       July 12
130        _Verbascum                           July 7        July 4
131        _Achillea                              ,, 7       June 29
132        _Scabiosa                              ,, 7       June 20
133        _Carduus                               ,, 7        July 6
134        Wild Parsnip                           ,, 7       June 16
135        _Clematis                             ,, 10       July 14
136        Bee Orchis                            ,, 11       June 19
137        _Anthyllis                            ,, 11       June 14
138        _Stachys                              ,, 11
139        Wild Carrot                           ,, 11       June 20
140        _Sedum album_                         ,, 11
141        _Senecio                              ,, 11        July 2
142        _Parietaria                           ,, 12       June 19
143        _Plantago                             ,, 13       June 28
145        _Campanula                            ,, 17       July 12
146        _Origanum                             ,, 17        July 8
147        _Bartsia                              ,, 17       July 20
148        _Æthusa                               ,, 17       July 20
149        _Helosciadium                         ,, 18       July 16
150        Burdock                               ,, 19       July 22
151        _Verbena                              ,, 25       July 12
152        _Reseda                               ,, 27       June 13
153        _Inula                                ,, 29       July 24
154        _Centranthus                          ,, 29        June 5
157        _Euphrasia                           Aug. 3
158        _Inula conyza_                         ,, 3
159        _Mentha                                ,, 8
160        _Habenaria                            ,, 11
161        _Gentiana                             ,, 17       Aug. 31


{1}  From the _Cornhill Magazine_, March 1919.

{2}  The large-leaved lime is described by Hooker as being a doubtful

{3}  _A Naturalist’s Calendar_, by Leonard Blomefield (formerly Jenyns).
Cambridge University Press.  Edited by Francis Darwin, 1903.

{4a}  _Calendar_, p. 3, note b.

{4b}  _The Student’s Flora of the British Islands_, 3rd ed., 1884, p.

{5}  I was led to examine them by a writer in _The Times_ (6th February
1918), who describes the buds as being as blue “as wood-smoke from
cottage chimneys.”

{6} Ludwig has seen creatures, which run on the surface of the water,
carry away duckweed pollen.  These fertilisers belong to the families
Hydrometridæ, Corisidæ, and Naucoridæ.

{7}  This, and part of what follows, is from unpublished notes of
lectures given at Cambridge.

{11}  The present discussion is partly taken from my introduction to
Blomefield’s _Naturalist’s Calendar_, 1903.

{12a}  _Observations in Natural History_, p. 334.

{12b}  Earliest date noted, 21st April; latest, 8th May.

{12c}  Earliest date, 21st March; latest, 7th May (fifteen years’

{12d}  Quoted in Prior’s _Popular Names of British Plants_, 3rd ed.,
1879, p. 59.

{15}  Reprinted from the _Cornhill Magazine_, June 1919.

{16}  Though, I confess, I only guess at some of them.

{17a}  Fogle means a silk handkerchief, according to Farmer and Henley’s
_Dictionary of Slang_, 1905, and may perhaps suggest the picking of
pockets.  Its connection with Bandanna is obvious.

{17b}  The appropriateness of Burke is sufficiently obvious.  The trial
of Thurtell by Judge Park was also a _cause celèbre_.  There was a ballad
of the day in which the victim is described with some bloodthirsty detail
which I omit:

    “His name was Mr William Weare,
    He lived in Lyons Inn.”

After the murder Thurtell drove back to London and had a hearty supper at
an eating-house.  Judge Park, who tried him, is said to have exclaimed:
“Commit a murder and eat six pork chops!  Good God, what dreams the man
must have had.”  Catherine Hayes was also a well-known miscreant.

{18}  A collocation preceding by half a dozen years Doyle’s immortal
travels of Brown, Jones, and Robinson.

{19}  There is also a Mrs Glowry (chap. xxvi.), who speculates as to
whether the Pope is to fall in 1836 or 1839.

{20}  _The History of Pickwick_, 1891, pp. 14, 15.

{21}  _The History of Pickwick_, 1891, p. 153.

{23}  How much better is the name Madge Wildfire for a somewhat similar
character in _The Heart of Midlothian_.

{25}  The name of the ducal seat Gatherum Castle is utterly bad.

{26}  Here referred to by his Christian name only.  I think it was this
eminent M.D. who was called in when Bishop Grantley was dying.

{29a}  In two volumes: Oxford, 1857.

{29b}  The book, according to the _Dictionary of National Biography_, was
edited by Warton and Huddesford.

{30a}  “Even when a Boy, he [T. H.] was observed to be continually poring
over the Old Tomb-Stones in his own Church-yard, as soon almost as he was
Master of the Alphabet.”

{30b}  The following description is taken from _Reliquiæ Hearnianæ_, vol.
ii., p. 904.  Hearne wrote:—

    5_th Feb._ 1729.—“My best friend, Mr Francis Cherry, was a very
    handsome man, particularly when young.  His hands were delicately
    white.  He was a man of great parts, and one of the finest gentlemen
    in England.  K. James II., seeing him on horseback in Windsor forest,
    when his majesty was hunting, asked who it was, and . . . said he
    never saw any one sit a horse better in his life.

    “Mr Cherry was educated at the free school at Bray. . . .  He was
    gentleman commoner at Edem-hall anno 1682. . . .  The hall was then
    very full, particularly there were then a great many gentlemen
    commoners there.”

{30c}  To this school he went daily on foot, three miles there and three

{31}  Transcriber’s note: reproduced as printed.

{39}  The close of the parenthesis is wanting in the original.

{41}  10_th Feb._ 1721–2.—“Whereas the university deputations on Ash
Wednesday should begin exactly at one o’clock, they did not begin this
year till two or after, which is owing to several colleges having altered
their hour of dining from eleven to twelve, occasioned from people’s
lying in bed longer than they used to do.”

{46a}  The word _heartick_ does not occur in the New Oxford Dictionary.

{46b}  Of Lord Baltimore’s family.

{56a}  _Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, i., p. 138.

{56b}  As described in _Rustic Sounds_, p. 2.

{60}  _Pickwick_, chap. xliv.

{62}  The “scorers were prepared to notch the runs” (_Pickwick_, chap.

{63}  He was afterwards Savilian Professor of Astronomy at Oxford: he
died in 1893.

{67}  _Rustic Sounds_, p. 92.

{68a}  During my life in London as a medical student I had the happiness
of living with my uncle, Erasmus Darwin, one beloved under the name of
_Uncle Ras_ by all his nephews and nieces.

{68b}  In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of
the _Origin of Species_.

{71}  _Old English Instruments of Music_, by Francis W. Galpin, 1910.

{72}  Modern harps, however, have pedals for raising the natural note of
any string by a semi-tone.

{73a}  It has also a greater compass than the rote.

{73b}  In obedience to good authority I have here adopted the spelling
Clairsech instead of Clarsech.  I presume that the spelling _Clarsy_ (p.
74) is intentionally phonetic.

{74a}  We imagine the gittern to be laid flat on a table with strings

{74b}  Galpin, p. 21.

{77a}  In Mr Dolmetsch’s _The Interpretation of the Music of the XVIlth
and XVIIIth Centuries_ (N.D.), the author also points out, p. 446, that
the _frets_ of the viol give to the stopped notes the “_clear ring_” of
the open strings.  He claims also that in the viol “the manner of holding
the bow and ordering its strokes . . . prevents the strong accents
characteristic” of the violin, and facilitates “an even and sustained

He recommends (p. 452) that frets should be added to the Double Bass,
which would “give clearness to many rapid passages which at present only
make a rumbling noise.”

{77b}  On Mace’s title-page he describes himself as “one of the Clerks of
Trinity Colledge in the University of Cambridge.”

{85}  See my book, _Rustic Sounds_, 1917, where the pipe and tabor are
more fully treated.

{87}  A curious rustic shawm which survived in Oxfordshire until modern
times is the Whithorn or May Horn.  It was made by a strip of bark
twisted into a conical tube fixed together with hawthorn prickles and
sounded by a reed made of the green bark of the young willow.  The
instruments were made every year for the Whit Monday hunt which took
place in the forest.

{88}  They were also known as wayte pipes, after the watchmen (waytes)
who played on them.

{89a}  It is believed to have given its name to the well-known dance.

{89b}  Galpin, p. 172.

{90}  A straight horn, however, existed.

{91}  So spelled, in order to distinguish it from the cornet à piston,
once so popular.

{92}  Mr Dolmetsch, _op. cit._, p. 459, says that the serpent “was still
common in French churches about the middle of the nineteenth century; and
although, as a rule, the players had no great skill, those who have heard
its tone combined with deep men’s voices in plain-song melodies, know
that no other wind or string instrument has efficiently replaced it.”

{94a}  No specimen of the true portative is known to be in existence
(Galpin, p. 228).

{94b}  _Rustic Sounds_, p. 197.

{96a}  Page 244.

{96b}  Page 249.

{96c}  The old name for the kettle-drum was _nakers_, a word of Arabic or
Saracenic origin.

{96d}  The larger of the kettle-drums has a range of five notes from the
bass F, immediately below the line.  The smaller drum’s range (also of
five notes) is from the B flat, just below the highest note of the bigger
drum (p. 253).

{97}  The earliest use of the name kettle-drum is in 1551 (Galpin, p.

{100a}  The name, however, is apparently not as old as the ceremonies.
It is said by Britten and Holland (_Dictionary of Plant-names_) to have
been invented by Gerard (1597).

{100b}  Prior, _The Popular Names of British Plants_, ed. iii., 1879, p.

{100c}  Blomefield (formerly Jenyns) was a contemporary of my father’s at
Cambridge, and was remarkable for wide knowledge, and especially for the
minute accuracy of his work.  He kept for many years a diary of the dates
of flowering of plants and of other phenomena, which the Cambridge
University Press republished in 1903 as _A Naturalist’s Calendar_.

{106}  _Guy Mannering_, vol. ii., ch. xxiv.

{107}  Britten and Holland.

{114}  Bentham, _Illustrations of the British Flora_, 5th ed., 1901, p.

{115a}  _Life and Letters of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker_, _O.M._,
_G.C.S.I._, by Leonard Huxley, 2 vols.  John Murray, 1918.

{115b}  The only obvious exception seems to be that too much space has
been given to Sir Joseph’s letters to Mr La Touche, inasmuch as they are
not especially interesting.  It is not clear why Sir Joseph corresponded
so much with Mr La Touche.  Can it be that he wished to placate him as
being his son’s schoolmaster?

{116}  i., p. 5.

{122a}  Hooker’s son Brian was named after him.

{122b}  Hooker’s _Himalayan Journals_ was published in 1854, and
dedicated to Charles Darwin by “his affectionate friend.”

{123}  As a further instance of the treatment Hooker received from the
Indian authorities, I cannot resist quoting from vol. ii., p. 145: “The
Court of Directors snubbed him before he set out, refusing him assistance
and official letters of introduction to India, and even a passage out. . . .
It was Hooker who surveyed and mapped the whole province of Sikkim,
and opened up the resources of Darjiling at the cost of captivity . . .
and the consequent loss of all his instruments and part of his notes and
collections.  Yet the India Board actually sold on Government behalf the
presents the Rajah made him after his release,” though they owed to his
energy the Government sites of the tea and cinchona cultivation.

{124}  “On the Reception of the Origin of Species,” _Life and Letters of
Charles Darwin_, ii., p. 197.

{125}  _Life and Letters of Charles Darwin_, ii., p. 241.

{127a}  _More Letters_, i., p. 117.

{127b}  _Life of Hooker_, i., p. 536.

{128a}  And finally, after Hooker’s retirement, Director.

{128b}  ii., p. 139.

{128c}  ii., p. 142.

{131}  In 1882 Hooker had written to Darwin:—“The First Commissioner (one
of your d---d liberals) wrote a characteristically illiberal and ill-bred
minute . . . in effect warning me against your putting the Board to any
expense! . . .  I flared up at this, and told the Secretary . . . that
the F. C., rather than send me such a minute, should have written a
letter of thanks to you.”

{133}  That is to say, to a great-grandson of Josiah Wedgwood.

{137a}  The _History of St Bartholomew’s Hospital_, by Norman Moore,
M.D., London.  C. Arthur Pearson, Limited, 1918.

{137b}  Sir Norman Moore expresses his thanks to Mr Thomas Hayes, the
present Clerk of the Hospital, for his courtesy on innumerable occasions
during the progress of the author’s researches.

{141}  It is curious that, although the Christian names of men occurring
in the history are quite ordinary, the women’s names are often
unfamiliar, _e.g._, Godena, Sabelina, Hawisia, Lecia, Auina, Hersent,

{142}  Doubtless Dr Moore himself.

{144}  William may have come from the village of Bassingbourne, near

{145}  See _Henry IV._, Part ii., Act v., Scene v.

{150}  In 1561 a new seal was made which is still in use.

{154}  Here and elsewhere I have fallen a victim to Dr Moore’s pleasant
gift of narrative, for I cannot pretend that either Paulus Jovius or
Robert Browning are connected with the hospital.

{161}  _Autobiography of Sir George Biddell Airy_, edited by Wilfrid
Airy.  Cambridge: At the University Press, 1896.

{164}  My uncle, Henry Wedgwood, as an undergraduate at Jesus, made a
happy use of Peacock’s name:—

    “Walk in and see
    Our menagerie,
    For amateurs a feast,
    Where Dawes and Peacock
    Are our birds
    And . . . is our beast.”

I have forgotten the name of the beast, but he was an unpopular fellow of

{166}  I am surprised that so large a sum was charged in those days; in
my time the coach received £8.

{175a}  _A Memoir of the Reverend Sydney Smith_, by his daughter, Lady
Holland.  With a selection from his letters, edited by Mrs Austin.  2nd
Edit., 1855.

{175b}  Her maiden name was Pybus; they were married in 1799 or 1800.

{175c}  Sydney Smith believed (i., p. 403) that “one of the Duke of
Wellington’s earliest victories was at Eton, over” Sydney’s “eldest
brother Bobus.”

{176a}  The remark was allowable since Robert was singularly handsome
(i., p. 4).

{176b}  I gather that the fellowship was but £100 per annum.

{177a}  Francis Jeffrey, afterwards Lord Jeffrey, 1773–1850, was the son
of a high Tory, but personally a Liberal.  He is described as being
healthy though diminutive.  Sydney Smith makes jokes about his stature:
_e.g._, 3rd September 1809, “Are we to see you? (a difficult thing at all
times to do).”  In character he is described as “nervous, sensitive, and
tender.”  Sydney wrote to him in 1806:—If “you could be alarmed into the
semblance of modesty you would charm everybody; but remember my joke
against you about the moon;—‘D---n the solar system! bad light—planets
too distant—pestered with comets—feeble contrivance;—could make a better
with great ease.’”

{177b}  Horner, Francis (1778–1817), called to the Bar in 1807, and was
through the influence of Lord Carrington returned for the borough of
Wendover.  He was a man of sound judgment and unassuming manners, of
scrupulous integrity, and great amiability of character.  He was a
correct and forcible speaker, and though without the gift of humour,
exercised a remarkable influence in the House of Commons, owing to his
personal character.  He was one of the original founders of the
_Edinburgh Review_, the other two being Jeffrey and Sydney Smith.

{178a}  The closely allied name, _Sabelina_, occurs in Sir N. Moore’s
_History of St Bartholomew’s Hospital_, vol. i., p. 64.

{178b}  It was said (i., p. 138) that the King, who had been reading
Sydney’s _Edinburgh Review_ articles, remarked that he was a very clever
fellow but would never be a bishop.

{183}  It appears (i., p. 282) that he felt deeply the fact that he had
not been offered a Bishopric, though he had made up his mind to refuse
it.  Lord Melbourne is said to have much regretted not having made a
bishop of Sydney.

{185}  Sydney wrote of Macaulay: “I always prophesied his greatness from
the first moment I saw him, then a very young and unknown man, on the
Northern Circuit.”  His enemies might say he talked rather too much, “but
now he has occasional flashes of silence, that make his conversation
perfectly delightful” (i., p. 415).

{186}  The wife of Henry Richard Vassall Fox, 3rd Baron Holland
(1773–1840), only son of Stephen, 2nd Lord Holland by Lady Mary
Fitzpatrick, daughter of the Earl of Upper Ossory.  He was a consistent
Liberal in politics, and supported all measures against the slave trade
and was in favour of emancipation, and this in spite of being the owner
of “extensive plantations in Jamaica.”  After his death the following
verse in his handwriting was found on his dressing-table:—

    “Nephew of Fox, and friend of Grey,
       Enough my mead of fame
    If those who deign’d to observe me say
       I injured neither name.”

In the version quoted by Sydney Smith (_Memoir and Letters_, vol. ii., p.
457) the last line is “I tarnished neither name”; the punctuation is
slightly different from the above, which is taken from the _Dict. of Nat.

{199}  My authorities are:—_The Letters of Charles Dickens_, edited by
his sister-in-law and his eldest daughter, 2 vols., 1882; _The Life of
Charles Dickens_, by John Forster, 8th Edit., 1872; _My Father as I
recall him_, by Mamie Dickens, Roxburghe Press, N.D.  The authoress says
that “it is twenty-six years since my father died”; this would make the
date of her book 1896.

{200a}  His son.

{200b}  M. Dickens, p. 26.

{201}  Forster, i., p. 4.

{202a}  Forster, i., p. 9.

{202b}  In writing to Walter Savage Landor (Letters, ii., p. 48), 1856,
he asks (in reference to _Robinson Crusoe_) if it is not a testimony to
the homely force of truth that—“One of the most popular books on earth
has nothing in it to make anyone laugh or cry.  Yet I think, with some
confidence, that you never did either over any passage in _Robinson
Crusoe_.  In particular, I took Friday’s death as one of the least tender
and (in the true sense) least sentimental things ever written. . . .”  He
goes on:—“It is a book I read very much; and the wonder of its prodigious
effect on me and everyone, and the admiration thereof, grows on me the
more I observe this curious fact.”

{203}  Was it chance or intention that gave his hero the initials D.C.,
an inversion of C.D.?

{205}  _Pickwick_, chap. ix.

{206}  A corruption of Moses in the _Vicar of Wakefield_.

{208}  His sense of the reality of his characters is shown by his
daughter’s recollection of her father pointing out the exact spot where
Mr Winkle called out, “Whoa! I have dropped my whip.”

{209}  William Charles Macready, 1793–1873, the son of William Macready,
actor and manager, was born in London; his mother was an actress.

In 1803 he went to Rugby, the idea being that he should go to the Bar.
In 1810 Macready made his first appearance on the stage, taking the part
of Romeo with considerable success.  Mrs Siddons, with whom he acted,
encouraged him—telling him to “study, study, study, and do not marry till
you are thirty.”  During the four years he remained with his father he
played seventy-four parts.  He seems to have failed to agree with his
father, and took an engagement at Bath in 1814.  In 1816 he made his
first appearance at Covent Garden.  Kean was in the audience and
applauded loudly.  His Richard III. (in London 1819) took a firm hold of
the public and established “a dangerous rivalry for Kean.”  His temper
seems to have been violent, for in 1836 he knocked down Bunn as “a damned
scoundrel” and had to pay damages.  In 1837 he was manager of Covent
Garden Theatre.  He was the original Claude Melnotte in 1838.

In 1850 he played at Windsor Castle under Charles Kean, who “sent him a
courteous message and received a characteristically churlish reply.”  He
took the last of many farewell performances in 1851.  His diary and
reminiscences have been edited by Sir F. Pollock.

{216}  In 1858 he wrote to a friend asking him to convey a note of thanks
“to the author of _Scenes of Clerical Life_ whose two first stories I can
never say enough of, I think them so truly admirable.”  He adds that they
are undoubtedly by a woman.

{219}  Lady Holland.

{221}  Mr Arthur Smith, his friend and secretary.

{228}  It was curious that he should use so provincial an expression as
_riding_ in a cab.

{231a}  Originally published in the proceedings of the _Cotteswold Nat.
Field Club_, 1918, under the title, “The Effects of the Cold Spring of
1917 on the Flowering of Plants.”

{231b}  _A Naturalist’s Calendar kept at Swaffham Bulbeck_,
_Cambridgeshire_.  By Leonard Blomefield (formerly Jenyns).  Edited by
Francis Darwin.  Cambridge: at the University Press, 1903.

{232}  I am also indebted to Mr Embrey for his kind help in this matter.

{233}  Kjellman, in Nordenskiold’s _Studien und Forschungen_, 1885, pp.
449, 467.

{234}  Botan: Zeitung, 1877.

{235}  _A Naturalist’s Calendar_, p. xii.

{237}  _The Times Literary Supplement_, 12th January 1917, p. 326.

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