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Title: Memoir of a Brother
Author: Hughes, Thomas
Language: English
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[Illustration: _Engraved by C.H. Jeens from a Picture by G.F. Watts._]

                          MEMOIR OF A BROTHER.

                             THOMAS HUGHES,
                   AUTHOR OF “TOM BROWN’S SCHOOLDAYS.”


                      JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY,

                           _AUTHOR’S EDITION._


This Memoir was written for, and at the request of, the near relatives,
and intimate friends, of the home-loving country gentleman, whose
unlooked-for death had made them all mourners indeed. Had it been meant
originally for publication, it would have taken a very different form. In
compiling it, my whole thoughts were fixed on my own sons and nephews,
and not on the public. It tells of a life with which indeed the public
has no concern in one sense; for my brother, with all his ability and
power of different kinds, was one of the humblest and most retiring
of men; who just did his own duty, and held his own tongue, without
the slightest effort or wish for fame or notoriety of any kind. In
another sense, however, I do see that it has a meaning and interest for
Englishmen in general, and have therefore consented to its publication in
the usual way, though not without a sense of discomfort and annoyance at
having the veil even partially lifted from the intimacies of a private
family circle. For, in a noisy and confused time like ours, it does seem
to me that most of us have need to be reminded of, and will be the better
for bearing in mind, the reserve of strength and power which lies quietly
at the nation’s call, outside the whirl and din of public and fashionable
life, and entirely ignored in the columns of the daily press. The subject
of this memoir was only a good specimen of thousands of Englishmen of
high culture, high courage, high principle, who are living their own
quiet lives in every corner of the kingdom, from John o’ Groat’s to the
Land’s-End, bringing up their families in the love of God and their
neighbour, and keeping the atmosphere around them clean, and pure and
strong, by their example,—men who would come to the front, and might be
relied on, in any serious national crisis.

One is too apt to fancy, from the photographs of the nation’s life which
one gets day by day, that the old ship has lost the ballast which has
stood her in such good stead for a thousand years, and is rolling more
and more helplessly, in a gale which shows no sign of abating, for
her or any other national vessel, until at last she must roll over and
founder. But it is not so. England is in less stress, and in better trim,
than she has been in in many a stiffer gale.

The real fact is, that nations, and the families of which nations are
composed, make no parade or fuss over that part of their affairs which
is going right. National life depends on home life, and foreign critics
are inclined to take the chronicles of our Divorce Court as a test by
which to judge the standard of our home life, like the old gentleman who
always spelt through the police reports to see “what the people were
about.” An acquaintance, however, with any average English neighbourhood,
or any dozen English families taken at random, ought to be sufficient to
reassure the faint-hearted, and to satisfy them that (to use the good
old formula) the Lord has much work yet for this nation to do, and the
nation manliness and godliness enough left to do it all, notwithstanding
superficial appearances.

A life without sensation or incident may therefore well form a more
useful subject of study in such a time, than the most exciting narrative
of adventure and success, the conditions being, that it shall have been
truly lived, and faithfully told. Readers will judge for themselves
whether the former condition has been fulfilled in this case: I wish I
could feel the same confidence as to the latter. I can only say I have
done my best.

                                                                    T. H.




It has pleased God to take to Himself the head of the family of which you
are members. Most of you are too young to enter into the full meaning
of those words “family” and “membership,” but you all remember with
sore hearts, and the deepest feeling of love and reverence, the gentle,
strong, brave man, whom you used to call father or uncle; and who had
that wonderful delight in, and attraction for, young folk, which most
very gentle and brave men have. You are conscious, I know, that a great
cold chasm has suddenly opened in your lives—that strength and help
has gone away from you, to which you knew you might turn in any of the
troubles which boys, and very young men, feel so keenly. Well, I am glad
that you feel that it is so: I should not have much hope of you if it
were otherwise. The chasm will close up, and you will learn, I trust and
pray, where to go for strength and help, in this and all other troubles.

It is very little that I can do for you. Probably you can do more for me;
and my need is even sorer than yours. But what I can do I will. Several
of you have asked me questions about your father and uncle, what we used
to do, and think and talk about, when he and I were boys together. Well,
no one can answer these questions better than I, for we were as nearly of
an age as brothers can be—I was only thirteen months younger—and we were
companions from our childhood. We went together to our first school, when
I was nearly eight and he nine years old; and then on to Rugby together;
and were never separated for more than a week until he went to Oxford,
where I followed a year later. For the first part of my time there, in
college, we lived in the same rooms, always on the same staircase; and
afterwards in the same lodgings. From that time to the day of his death
we lived in the most constant intimacy and affection. Looking back over
all those years, I can call to mind no single unkind, or unworthy, or
untruthful, act or word of his; and amongst all the good influences for
which I have to be thankful, I reckon the constant presence and example
of his brave, generous, and manly life as one of the most powerful and
ennobling. If I can in any measure reproduce it for you, I know that
I shall be doing you a good service; and helping you, in even more
difficult times than those in which we grew up, to quit yourselves as
brave and true English boys and Englishmen, in whatever work or station
God may be pleased to call you to.

You have all been taught to look to one life as your model, and to
turn to Him who lived it on our earth, as to the guide, and friend,
and helper, who alone can strengthen the feeble knees, and lift up the
fainting heart. Just in so far as you cleave to that teaching, and
follow that life, will you live your own faithfully. If I were not sure
that what I am going to try to do for you would help to turn you more
trustfully and lovingly to that source of all truth, all strength, all
light, be sure I would not have undertaken it. As it is, I know it will
be my fault if it does not do this.

                                                           THOMAS HUGHES.



              CHAPTER I.

    FIRST YEARS                        1

              CHAPTER II.

    RUGBY                             17

             CHAPTER III.

    A FATHER’S LETTERS                49

              CHAPTER IV.

    OXFORD                            59

              CHAPTER V.

    DEGREE                            80

              CHAPTER VI.

    START IN LIFE                     88

             CHAPTER VII.

    1849-50: AN EPISODE              109

             CHAPTER VIII.

    ITALY                            121

              CHAPTER IX.

    MIDDLE LIFE                      130

              CHAPTER X.

    LETTERS TO HIS BOYS              151

              CHAPTER XI.

    CONCLUSION                       170




My brother was born on the 18th of September, 1821 at Uffington, in
Berkshire, of which your great-grandfather was vicar. Uffington was then
a very primitive village, far away from any high road, and seven miles
from Wantage, the nearest town from which a coach ran to London. There
were very few neighbours, the roads were almost impassable for carriages
in the winter, and the living was a poor one; but your great-grandfather
(who was a Canon of St. Paul’s) had exchanged a much richer living for
it, because his wife had been born there, and was deeply attached to
the place. Three George Watts’s had been vicars of Uffington, in direct
succession from father to son, and she was the daughter of the last of
them. So your grandfather, who was their only child, came to live in the
village on his marriage, in an old farmhouse close to the church, to
which your grandfather added some rooms, so as to make it habitable. If
you should ever make a pilgrimage to the place, you will not find the
house, for it has been pulled down; but the grand old church is there,
and White Horse Hill, rising just behind the village, just as they were
half a century ago, when we first looked at them. We could see the church
from our bed-room window, and the hill from our nursery, a queer upper
room amongst the rafters, at the top of the old part of the house, with a
dark closet in one corner, into which the nurses used to put us when we
were more unruly than usual. Here we lived till your great-grandfather’s
death, thirteen years later, when your grandfather removed to his house
at Donnington.

The memories of our early childhood and boyhood throng upon me, so that
I scarcely know where to begin, or what to leave out. I cannot, however,
I am sure, go wrong in telling you, how I became first aware of a great
difference between us, and of the effect the discovery had on me. In the
spring of 1828, when he was seven and I six years old, our father and
mother were away from home for a few days. We were, playing together in
the garden, when the footman came up to us, the old single-barrelled gun
over his shoulder which the gardener had for driving away birds from the
strawberries, and asked us whether we shouldn’t like to go rook-shooting.
We jumped at the offer, and trotted along by his side to the rookery,
some 300 yards from the house. As we came up we saw a small group of our
friends under the trees—the groom, the village schoolmaster, and a farmer
or two—and started forwards to greet them. Just before we got to the
trees, some of them began firing up at the young rooks. I remember, even
now, the sudden sense of startled fear which came over me. My brother ran
in at once under the trees, and was soon carrying about the powder-horn
from one to another of the shooters. I tried to force myself to go up,
but could not manage it. Presently he ran out to me, to get me to go back
with him, but in vain. I could not overcome my first impression, and kept
hovering round, at a distance of thirty or forty yards, until it was time
for us to go back; ashamed of myself, and wondering in my small mind why
it was that he could go in amongst that horrible flashing and smoke, and
the din of firing, and cawing rooks, and falling birds, and I could not.

I had encountered the same puzzle in other ways already. Some time before
my father had bought a small Shetland pony for us, Moggy by name, upon
which we were to complete our own education in riding. We had already
mastered the rudiments, under the care of our grandfather’s coachman. He
had been in our family thirty years, and we were as fond of him as if
he had been a relation. He had taught us to sit up and hold the bridle,
while he led a quiet old cob up and down with a leading rein. But, now
that Moggy was come, we were to make quite a new step in horsemanship.
Our parents had a theory that boys must teach themselves, and that a
saddle (except for propriety, when we rode to a neighbour’s house to
carry a message, or had to appear otherwise in public) was a hindrance
rather than a help. So, after our morning’s lessons, the coachman used
to take us to the paddock in which Moggy lived, put her bridle on, and
leave us to our own devices. I could see that that moment was, from the
first, one of keen enjoyment to my brother. He would scramble up on her
back, while she went on grazing—without caring to bring her to the elm
stool in the corner of the field, which was our mounting place—pull her
head up, kick his heels into her sides, and go scampering away round the
paddock with the keenest delight. He was Moggy’s master from the first
day, though she not unfrequently managed to get rid of him by sharp
turns, or stopping dead short in her gallop. She knew it quite well;
and, just as well, that she was mistress as soon as I was on her back.
For weeks it never came to my turn without my wishing myself anywhere
else. George would give me a lift up, and start her. She would trot a few
yards, and then begin grazing, notwithstanding my timid expostulations,
and gentle pullings at her bridle. Then he would run up, and pull up her
head, and start her again, and she would bolt off with a flirt of her
head, and never be content till I was safely on the grass. The moment
that was effected she took to grazing again, and I believe enjoyed the
whole performance as much as George, and certainly far more than I did.
We always brought her a carrot, or bit of sugar, in our pockets, and she
was much more like a great good-tempered dog with us than a pony.

Our first hunting experience now came off. Some staghounds—the King’s,
if I remember rightly—came down for a day or two’s sport in our part of
Berkshire, and a deer was to be turned out on the downs, a few miles
from our house. Accordingly the coachman was to take us both. I was to
go before him on one of the carriage horses, made safe by leather strap
which encircled us both, while George rode Moggy. He was anxious to go
unattached, but on the whole it was considered better that the coachman
should hold a leading rein, as no one knew how Moggy might behave with
the dogs, and no one but I knew how completely she would have to do as he
chose. We arrived safely at the meet, saw the deer uncarted, the hounds
laid on, and lumbered slowly after, till they swept away over a rise
in the downs, and we saw them no more. So, after riding about for some
time, the coachman produced some bread and cheese from his pocket, and
we dismounted, and hitched up horse and pony on the leeward side of an
old barn. We had not finished our lunch, when suddenly, to our intense
delight, the stag cantered by within twenty yards of us, and, by the
time we were on horseback again, the hunt followed. This time George
and Moggy made the most desperate efforts for freedom, but the coachman
managed to keep them in tow, and so the hunt went away from us again. I
believe it was in consequence of George’s remonstrances when he got home
that it was now settled he should be allowed to go to the next meet of
the foxhounds in our neighbourhood without a leading rein. This is his
account of that great event, in a letter to his grandmother, almost the
first he ever wrote. Those of you who have been brought up in the country
will see how respectfully he always treats the fox, always giving him a
capital F when he mentions him.



    “Your little dog Mustard sometimes teases the hawk by barking
    at him, and sometimes the hawk flies at Mustard. I have been
    out hunting upon our black pony, Moggy, and saw the Fox break
    cover, and the hounds follow after him. I rode fifteen miles.
    Papa brought me home the Fox’s lug. I went up a great hill to
    see the hounds drive the Fox out of the wood. I saw Ashdown
    Park House: there is a fine brass nob at the top of it. Tom and
    I send best love to you and grandpapa.

                “I am, your affectionate grandson,

                                                   “GEORGE HUGHES.”

On this first occasion, as you may see by the letter, your grandfather
was out with him, and he had not been allowed to follow. But soon
afterwards his great triumph occurred, at a meet to which he and Moggy
went off one morning after breakfast, in the wildest spirits. Your
grandfather did not go out that day; so one of the farmers who happened
to be going was to give an eye to Master George, and see that he got into
no trouble, and found his way home. This he did about three o’clock in
the afternoon, bearing the brush in his hand, with his face all covered
with blood, after the barbarous custom of those days. He had been in
at the death; and the honest farmer recounted to us in the broadest
Berkshire the wonders which he and Moggy had performed together; creeping
through impossible holes in great fences, scrambling along ditches and
up banks to the finish, when he had been singled out from outside the
ring of horsemen and led up to the master, the late Lord Ducie, to be
“blooded” by the huntsman, and receive the brush, the highest honour the
boy foxhunter can achieve.

And so it was with all our games and exercises, whether we were at
football, wrestling, climbing, single-stick (which latter we were only
allowed to practise in the presence of an old cavalry pensioner, who had
served at Waterloo). He seemed to lay hold of whatever he put his hand
to by the right end, and so the secret of it delivered itself up to him
at once. One often meets with people who seem as if they had been born
into the world with two left hands, and two left feet, and rarely with
a few who have two right hands; and of these latter he was as striking
an example as I have ever known. Often as a boy, and much oftener since,
I have thought over this gift, trying to make out where the secret lay.
For, though never very ambitious myself, I was more so than he was,
and had the greatest wish to do every exercise and game as well as I
possibly could; and by dint of real hard work, and years of practice,
I did manage, in one or two instances, to reach the point which he had
attained almost as it were by instinct. But I never could get nearer to
his secret than this, that it lay in a sort of unconsciousness, which I
believe to be natural courage. What I mean is, that what might possibly
happen to himself never seemed to cross his mind: that he might get a
fall and hurt himself, for instance, or get his head or his shins broken,
or the like. And so, not being disturbed by any such considerations about
himself, he had nothing to hinder him from just falling at once into the
very best way of doing whatever he took in hand. Of course, even then,
it required a fine body, as I have known boys and men, of equal natural
courage, who were awkward and slow because they were very clumsily put
together. But, on the other hand, I have known many men with equally fine
bodies who never could get any decent work out of them. Now, with all the
thinking in the world about it, I never could have acquired this natural
gift; but, by having an example of it constantly before my eyes, I got
the next best thing, which was a scorn of myself for feeling fear. This
by degrees hardened into the habit of doing what I saw him do, and so I
managed to pass through school and college without betraying the timidity
of which I was ashamed.

Why do I make the confession now to you? Because I see the same
differences in you that there were in us. One or two of you are naturally
courageous, and the rest as naturally timid as I was. The first I hope
will always bear with the others, and help them, as my brother helped
me. If he had twitted me because I could not come under the trees at
the rook-shooting, or because I was afraid of Moggy, I should probably
never have felt the shame, or made the exertion, necessary to overcome my
natural timidity. And to you who are not naturally courageous, I would
say, make the effort to conquer your fear at once; you can’t begin too
early, and will never be worth much till you have made it.

But there was another natural difference between us which deserves a few
words, as it will bring out his character more clearly to you; and that
was, that he was remarkably quiet and reserved, and shy with strangers,
and I the reverse. When we came down to dessert, after a dinner party,
and had to stand by our father’s side (as the custom was then in our
parts), and say to each guest in turn, “Your good health, Sir, or Madam,”
while we sipped a little sweet wine and water, the ceremony was a torture
to him; while to me it was quite indifferent, and I was only running my
eye over the dishes, and thinking which I should choose when it came to
my turn. In looking over his earliest letters, I find in one, written to
his mother a few weeks after we first went to school, this passage: “We
are both very well and happy. I find that I like Tom better at school
than I do at home, and yet I do not know the reason.” I was surprised for
a moment when I came on this sentence. Of course, if love is genuine,
the longer people know each other, the deeper it becomes; and therefore
our friendship, like all others, grew richer and deeper as we got older.
But this was the first time I ever had an idea that his feelings towards
me changed after we went to school. I am not sure that I can give the
reason any more than he could; but, on thinking it over, I daresay it had
something to do with this difference I am speaking of.

I remember an old yeoman, a playfellow of our father’s, who lived in a
grey gabled house of his own at the end of the village in those days, and
with whom we used to spend a good deal of our spare time, saying to a
lady, about her sons, “Bring ’em up sarcy (saucy), Marm! I likes to see
bwoys brought up sarcy.” I have no doubt that he, and others, used to
cultivate my natural gift of sauciness, and lead me on to give flippant
answers, and talk nonsense. In fact, I can quite remember occasions of
the kind, and George’s quiet steady look at them, as he thought, no
doubt, “What a fool my brother is making of himself, and what a shame of
you to encourage him!” Apart altogether from his shyness, he had too
much self-command and courtesy himself to run into any danger of this

Now, the moment we got to school, my sauciness abated very rapidly on
the one hand, and, on the other, I became much more consciously beholden
to him. We had scarcely been there a week when the first crisis occurred
which made us both aware of this fact. My form had a lesson in early
Greek History to get up, in which a part of the information communicated
was, that Cadmus was the first man who “carried letters from Asia to
Greece.” When we came to be examined, the master asked us, “What was
Cadmus?” This way of putting it puzzled us all for a moment or two, when
suddenly the words “carried letters” came into my head, and, remembering
the man with the leather bag who used to bring my father’s papers and
letters, and our marbles and whipcord, from Farringdon, I shouted, “A
postman, Sir.” The master looked very angry for a moment, but, seeing my
perfect good faith, and that I had jumped up expecting to go to the head
of the form, he burst out laughing. Of course all the boys joined in, and
when school was over I was christened Cadmus. That I probably should not
have minded, but it soon shortened into “Cad,” at which all the blood in
my eight-year-old veins was on fire. The more angry I was, the more some
of the boys persecuted me with the hateful name; especially one stupid
big fellow of twelve or so, who ought to have been two forms higher, and
revenged himself for his place amongst us little ones by making our
small lives as miserable as he could. A day or two after, with two or
three boys for audience, he had got me in a corner of the playground,
into which he kept thrusting me violently back, calling me “Cad, Cad,”
while I was ready to fly at his throat and kill him. Suddenly we heard
a step tearing down the gravel walk, and George, in his shirt sleeves,
fresh from a game of rounders, rushed into the circle, and sent my
tyrant staggering back with a blow in the chest, and then faced him with
clenched fists, and a blaze in his eye, which I never saw there more than
two or three times. I don’t think many boys, or men, would have liked
to face him when it was there. At any rate my persecutor didn’t, though
he must have been a stone heavier, and much stronger. So he slunk off,
muttering to himself, to the disgust of the boys who hoped for a row,
and I strutted out of my corner, while George went back to his rounders,
after looking round and saying, “Just let me hear any of you call my
brother ‘Cad’ again.” I don’t think I ever heard _that_ nickname again at
our first school, and it must have been very shortly after that he wrote
home, “I find I like Tom better at school than I do at home, and yet I do
not know the reason.” The strongest and most generous natures are always
fondest of those who lean on them.

But I am getting on faster than I intended. We have not quite got away
from home yet. And now let me turn again to my story. You will, I am
sure, be interested by the following letter, which was written to us
by Miss Edgeworth. You probably have never read her books; but in our
day, when there were very few children’s books, they were our great
delight, and almost the only ones we possessed, after “Robinson Crusoe,”
“The Pilgrim’s Progress,” and “Sandford and Merton.” I forget how we
discovered that the lady who wrote “Frank and Rosamond” was really alive,
and that our grandmother actually had met her, and knew her. But, having
made the discovery; we laid our heads together, and wrote two letters,
asking her to tell us what were the contents of the remaining drawers in
the wonderful Indian cabinet. Our grandmother sent her the letters, and
in due time we received the following reply:—

                              “EDGEWORTH’S TOWN, _July 20th, 1828_.

    “To my dear young readers, GEORGE and THOMAS HUGHES.

    “I am glad that you can write as well as read; your two letters
    were both very well written, and I had pleasure in reading
    them. I am glad that you like Harry and Lucy and Frank and
    Rosamond. I wish I could tell you anything more that would
    entertain you about the other nine drawers of the India
    cabinet; but what I am going to tell you will disappoint you
    I daresay, and I cannot help it. When Rosamond opened the 4th
    drawer she found in it—nothing—but a sheet of white paper at
    the bottom of the drawer, and on the paper was written only the
    word _China_. The writing was in a large round hand, like that
    in which your letter to me was written. Rosamond shut this
    drawer and opened the next, which was the 5th—empty! On the
    paper at the bottom of this drawer, in the same handwriting,
    was _Constantinople_. The 6th, the 7th, the 8th which she
    opened, one after another as fast as she could, were all empty!
    On the paper in the 6th drawer, which was very deep, was
    written—_The North Pole and Iceland—Norway—Sweden and Lapland_.
    In the 8th drawer was written _Rome and Naples—Mount Vesuvius
    and Pompeii_. At the bottom of the 9th drawer, _Persia—Arabia
    and India_.

    “Then on the paper in the 9th drawer was written in small-hand
    and cramped writing without lines, and as crookedly as might be
    expected from a first attempt without lines, what follows:—

    “‘I, little Matt, (which is short for Matthew), promise my
    dear good kindest of all aunts, Aunt Egerton, whom I love best
    in the world, that when I am grown up _quite_ to be a great
    man, and when I go upon my travels as I intend to do when I am
    old enough and have money enough, I will bring her home all
    the greatest curiosities I can find for her in every country
    for these drawers. I have written in them the names of the
    countries I intend to visit, therefore I beg my dear aunt will
    never put anything in these 9 drawers till my curiosities
    come home. I will unpack them myself. N. B.—I have begun this
    morning to make a list from my book of travels and voyages of
    all the curiosities I think worthy my bringing home for the
    India cabinet.’ (M. E.—A true copy.)

    “My dear young readers, this is all I know about the matter. I
    am sorry I can tell you no more; but to no one else have I ever
    told so much. This letter is all for yourselves—from one who
    would like to see you very much, and who hopes that you would
    like her too if you knew her, though you might not like her at
    first sight; for she is neither young nor pretty, but an old
    good-natured friend,

                                        (Signed) “MARIA EDGEWORTH.”

In the winter, before we went to school first, we were left alone at
home, for the first time, while our parents paid some visits. George
was left in charge of the house (under the governess), with injunctions
to see that all things went on regularly in the village. Our mother’s
Saturday clothing club was to be held as usual, and we were not to
neglect either the poor, or the birds, who were fed daily through the
winter on a table on the lawn, just outside the dining-room window.
The following letter will show you how conscientiously the trust was

                                             “_January 21st, 1830._


    “We are all well, and quite free from colds. All the people
    brought their money correctly last Saturday. Tims had his
    chimney began more than a week ago, and no doubt it is finished
    by this time. I have told cook about making broth and gruel for
    any who are sick. We constantly feed all your birds, and they
    eat as much as would give baby two meals. We shall be glad to
    see you and Papa.

                     “I am, your dutiful son,

                                                   “GEORGE HUGHES.”

One other letter I will give to amuse you. You elder boys will say, that
if he hadn’t learnt to answer questions better when he went to school, he
would never have taken a high degree at Oxford:—

                                             “_January 26th, 1830._


    “We thank you for the conundrums you sent us, and I think we
    have found out two of them:—‘If all the letters were asked out
    to dinner, which of them would not go?’ The one that asked them
    would not go. ‘What thing is that which lights the eyes, yet
    never fails to blind?’ The sun. You must tell us when you write
    whether these are right or not. We cannot find out the other
    one. Give my love to papa, and tell him that I will write to
    him next week. We shall be delighted to see you home again. I
    think I am going on well with my Latin, and I hope Papa will be
    satisfied with me.

                   “I am, your affectionate son,

                                                   “GEORGE HUGHES.”

We went to school together, in the autumn of this year, at Twyford, near
Winchester. On the way there we stayed a few days at Lyndhurst, in the
New Forest, at the house of an old naval officer. He had another house
near us in Berkshire, our favourite resort, as there were several little
girls in the family of our own age, all very pretty. One of these little
ladies took a fancy to some water-flower, as we were walking in the
forest, the day before the school met. Without saying a word, George just
jumped into the pond, and fetched it for her; thereby ruining a new suit
of clothes (as your grandmother remarked) and risking his life, for there
was no one but a nurse with us, and it was just as likely that the pond
might be out of his depth as not. However, as it happened, no harm came
of it, and we went on next day to Twyford.



We stayed at Twyford till the end of 1833, when our father resolved to
send us to Rugby. Dr. Arnold had been a little his junior at Oriel; and,
though considerably exercised by the Doctor’s politics, he shared that
unhesitating faith in his character and ability which seems to have
inspired all his contemporaries. In the meantime George had gone up
rapidly into the highest form at Twyford, amongst boys two years older
than himself, and generally carried off not only prizes for the school
work but for all kinds of gymnastics. Twyford was a little before its
time in this respect, as we had quite a number of gymnastic poles of
different kinds in the playground, upon which we had regular lessons
under a master who came over from Winchester. Every half-year we had a
gymnastic examination, attended by the master’s daughters, and a lady or
two from the neighbourhood, who distributed the prizes (plates of fruit
and cake) at the end of the day to the successful boys. One special
occasion I well remember, in which the excitement ran particularly high.
A new prize for vaulting was to be given, not for the common style “which
any boy could do,” our master said; but for vaulting between the hands.
I don’t want any of you to try it, for it is a dangerous exercise, and
I wonder that some of us did not break our necks in attempting it. You
had to place both your hands on the back of the vaulting horse, as far
apart, or as near together, as you liked, and then spring over between
them without lifting either, even for half an inch. Of course none but
long-armed boys could do it at all; but there were enough of these for a
large entry. Very soon, however, one after another fell out, either for
touching with their feet, or shifting a hand during the vault; and George
and a very active boy, a great friend of ours in after years, Charles
Mansfield by name, were left alone. They two went on springing over the
horse, without the least touch of foot or shifting of hand, until it was
at last voted by acclamation that they should divide the great plate of
grapes, apples, and sponge cakes, which stood ready for the winner.

But I must not tell you so much of all his successes in athletic games.
These things are made too much of nowadays, until the training and
competitions for them outrun all rational bounds. What I want to show you
is, that while he was far more distinguished in these than any of you are
at all likely to be (or indeed, as things stand, than I for one should
wish you to be), he never neglected the real purpose of a schoolboy’s
life for them, as you will see from some of his early letters from Rugby
to which school we went in February 1834, when he was only twelve years
old. These are all addressed to his father and mother, and generally end,
“Please consider this for grandmama as well as for yourselves.” No boy
was ever more thoughtful of every one who had any possible claim upon
him. Here is almost the first of them.

                                        “RUGBY, _April 25th, 1834_.


    “I received your letter to-day. I have got a little cough now,
    but it is getting better every day. Tom is quite well. I now
    generally keep among the four first of my form, and I find that
    by application you are enabled to do yourself greater credit
    than if you trust yourself to the assistance of books or that
    of other boys. There are two boys besides myself who always
    do our work together, and we always take three-quarters of an
    hour out of school, besides three-quarters which is allowed us
    in school, to prepare our work. The work of our form is the
    Eumenides of Æschylus, Homer, Virgil, Horace, and Cicero’s
    Epistles. The half year is divided into two quarters, one
    of which is for classics mostly, and the other for history.
    The books for the next quarter are Arrian’s Expedition of
    Alexander, and Paterculus’s History of Rome, and Mackintosh’s
    English History. For Composition we do Greek Iambics and Latin
    Verse, which is generally taken from some English author, and
    we translate it into Latin. We also do English and Latin themes
    once a week. The Easter business is just over; there were three
    speech days, the rehearsal (or first day), the day on which
    the poor people are allowed to come, and the grand day. On the
    grand day the day was very fine, and there was a very large
    assembly of people. The speeches and prize compositions and
    poems were—


    Lake.[1]—Latin essay: Bellum civile Mariannum.
    Lake.—Latin verse: Phœnicia.
    Clough.[2]—English essay: The English language.
    Clough.—English verse: Close of eighteenth century.
    Arnold.[3]—Greek verse: The murder of Becket.


    Jacson.—On the Sources of Pleasure.
    Emeris.—Speech of Canning at Lisbon.
    Simpkin.—Conclusion of Warren Hastings’ trial.

    “The speeches began at one o’clock; they were ended at three,
    and about 200 went to dine at the ‘Spread Eagle.’ Here Dr.
    Arnold gained a complete triumph over Litchfield and Boughton
    Leigh, who wanted to prevent his health being drunk on account
    of his politics, or their private malice. I have not much more
    to say now. Give my love to cousins, uncle, grandmama, and

                 “I remain, your affectionate Son,

                                                    “G. E. HUGHES.”

    [1] Now Dean of Durham.

    [2] A. H. Clough, the poet.

    [3] The Rev. C. Arnold, of Rugby.

He writes home of everything, in these first years, except of what he
knew would only give pain, and be quite useless—the exceedingly rough
side of school life as it then existed. A small boy might be, and very
frequently was, fagged for every moment of his play hours day after day;
and there was a good deal of a bad kind of bullying. But these things
he took as a matter of course, making the best of what was inevitable.
He used often afterwards to declare, that the boys of that generation
made the best fields at cricket he had ever seen, and to set it down to
the unmerciful amount of fagging they had to go through. Escape out of
bounds before you were caught by a sixth form boy, was the only remedy;
and, once out of bounds, there was the river for amusement, and the
railway, upon which large gangs of navigators had just been put to work.
George became a skilful fisherman, and a most interested watcher of
the earthworks, and duly chronicles how he has caught a big eel in one
letter; in another, how “the railway is going on very fast: they have
nearly filled up one valley, and carried it over a stream;” in a third
how “Mr. Wombwell’s show of wild beasts has come in, I believe the finest
in England,” and including “four elephants, a black tiger and tigress,
and two lions, one of which was the famous Wallace who fought the dogs.”

Before the end of the second year he had got through three forms, and was
nearly the head of the fags, and anxious to try his hand for the single
scholarship, which was then offered at Rugby for boys under fourteen. As
there was only one, of course the competition was a very severe one. But
his first letter of that year contains a passage too characteristic to
pass over. So I must leave the scholarship for a moment. We, with other
boys who lived in Berkshire and Hampshire, were often obliged to post,
or hire a coach to ourselves, as there was only one regular coach a day
on those cross-country roads. We used to make up parties accordingly,
and appoint one boy to manage the whole business, who had rather a hard
time of it, while all the rest enjoyed themselves in the most uproarious
manner. George was soon selected as the victim, and bearer of the common
purse; and his conscientious struggles with postboys and hostlers,
landlords and waiters, cost him, I am sure, more pain and anxiety than
all the scholarship examinations he ever went in for. Thus he writes in
February 1836, to tell of our safe arrival, and then goes on:—

    “We had just enough money to pay our journey. The worst of it
    is, that every postboy, when they see that they are driving
    boys, at the end of the stage, when you pay them their money,
    are never contented, and say, ‘never given less than so and
    so;’ and, ‘shall be kept up all night;’ ‘roads bad,’ &c. &c.,
    and keep on bothering you till you really don’t know what to
    do. However, that is over now, and we are fairly settled again
    at Rugby, and very comfortable.”

And then, at the end of the half, when he has to begin arranging for the
return journey, “the Doctor will not take any account of these plaguey
postboys, and so always allows us too little journey money.”

    “_December 11th, 1836._—About our journey money; I do not
    think that Dr. Arnold gives us quite enough. I suppose he does
    not exactly know the distance we have to go. He only gives us
    30_s._ each. I think you always give us 6_l._ (or 2_l._ apiece)
    to go there, which just takes us, including everything.”

We were always encouraged to bring our friends home, but how scrupulous
he was about using the privilege the remainder of the letter just quoted
will show you:—

    “There is a boy who will go all the way home with us—G——. He is
    a præpostor. He is going as far as Newbury that day, where he
    is going to sleep, and go on in the Oxford coach to Winchester,
    where he stops. Would you think it any inconvenience to give
    him a bed? It is not, however, of the least consequence, only
    I think that being a stranger in those parts he would take it
    kindly, and be able to return the favour to Walter or Tom at
    Rugby. If you think it the least inconvenience pray tell me,
    for it does not signify one jot: I have not said a word to
    him on the subject yet. We begin to smell the approach of the
    holidays; the bills are being made up, the trunks brought down,
    the clothes cleaned, &c. &c. I shall take care to peep into the
    Museum on my road through Oxford, as I did not half satisfy my
    curiosity before. I am glad to hear that Dumple goes well in
    harness; also that the wild ducks “habitant in flumine nostro,
    quos ego, maxime gaudeo;” that Mr. Majendie has approved of
    my Lyric verses, which, however, I cannot think merit such
    commendation. There has been a great balloon mania in the
    school lately; everybody has been making a balloon. We set them
    off with spirits of wine lighted under them, and then run after
    them. They generally go about five miles, and we always recover
    them after a hard run. I have cut one out myself from tissue
    paper, and I will bring it home that I may have the pleasure of
    setting it off before Jenny. I think she would like to see it.”

But I am forgetting the scholarship.

                                          “RUGBY, _March 16, 1836_.

    “I will now tell you what I was examined in for the
    scholarship; 1st, in composition, Latin theme; subject, ‘Est
    natura hominum novitatis avida,’ which, as you may imagine, was
    very easy; Latin verse, ‘The Battle of Thermopylæ;’ English
    theme, ‘Painting,’ also very easy. In the Latin verse I did
    seventeen verses in two hours, which was more than any other of
    the candidates, and I quite satisfied myself in the other two
    subjects. In Latin construing we had a passage from Virgil and
    Cæsar, and in Greek, Homer’s Odyssey. We were also examined in
    St. Paul, and, thanks to your abbreviation, I answered all the
    questions. We have yet to be examined in Mackintosh, French,
    and mathematics.

    “I think now I have satisfied you with respect to the work of
    the scholarship.”

In his next of April 2nd, he communicates the result as follows, but not
mentioning that six of his competitors were older than he, and in higher

    “We are all quite well. I did not get the scholarship, but
    I was third. I have been promoted out of the lower into
    the middle fifth, and I am doing very well in it. We read
    Demosthenes, Thucydides, Cicero in Verrem, and the Antigone of
    Sophocles. The great examination at the end of the half is soon
    going to be set. The middle fifth and upper fifth are examined
    together, and if I do well in it I may be high up in the fifth
    at the end of the half.”

He did well, as usual, and got into the fifth at the summer examination.
Your grandmother had a small bookcase made on purpose for our prizes,
which was being rapidly filled by George. He writes thus to her just
before our holidays:—

    “_June 6th, 1836._—I have got some good news for you. I have
    got an addition to your rosewood bookcase, _alias_ a prize!
    It’s called ‘Rickman’s Architecture.’ It is very nicely bound,
    and has some nice pictures of abbeys and churches, with a
    description of all the fine cathedrals and large churches,
    amongst which I saw our old Uffington church. Donnington Castle
    was also mentioned.”

On returning as a fifth form boy he describes the fifth form room, of
which he is now free, with great delight, and reverence for its “two
sofas, three tables, curtains, and large bookcase,” and adds—

    “I have got a nice double study to myself, but I wish I had
    some more books, since I think that nothing makes a study look
    so nice as books. I must bring some to Rugby next half; I can
    take care of them now. I have lately been engaged in making an
    English verse translation of a chorus in the Eumenides, and I
    will give it you, if you think it worth while reading. I wish
    you would criticize it as much as you can. I know it is very
    imperfect, but as it is the first regular copy of English verse
    I ever did, I think it is pretty good for me. Here it is,” &c.

But I shall not copy it out for fear of tiring you, and indeed I feel
that I must hurry over the rest of his school life. When every line and
word is full of life and interest to oneself, it is perhaps hard to judge
where to stop for the next generation. A few short extracts, however,
from his letters during his last three years will, I think, interest you.
At least some of the references will show you what a time of revolution
you were born into. When we were your ages there was no railway between
London and Birmingham: and in all other directions, and on all other
sides of English life, the change seems to me quite as great as in this
of locomotion.

    “_April 1837._—They are getting on very fast with the railroad,
    and I hear that it is to be finished in August. I intend going
    to-morrow to Kilsby to see a very large tunnel that they are
    making for the railroad there.

    “There has been a row about fishing. Mr. Boughton Leigh’s
    keeper took away a rod from a fellow who was fishing in a part
    of the river that has always been given to the fellows to fish
    in, but which the keeper said was a preserve of Mr. Leigh’s.
    The fellows went in a body to Mr. Leigh’s house, but found he
    had gone to London; they are going to write a letter to him,
    asking the reason of taking the rod. The fellow who had his
    rod taken away has caught an immense quantity of pike, and
    this half he caught in one afternoon two, one 5 lbs., the other


    “_June 1837._—I dare say you will be glad to hear that
    Stanley[4] has got the English verse; they say it is the best
    since Heber’s Palestine that has been written; some part of
    it was quoted in the ‘Standard.’ Vaughan[5] also has got the
    Porson’s Greek verse, and the Greek Ode and Epigrams.”


    “_September 1837._—There was a meeting at Rugby a little while
    ago, got up by some horrid Radicals, about paying Church rates,
    whether they should pay them or not: but there was a very large
    majority that they should pay them; although half the town are
    Dissenters, and another quarter Radicals.”


    “_November._—I suppose Tom has told you that I have been raised
    to the sixth form, and am now a præpostor. I do not find the
    work much harder than it was in the fifth. A Mr. Walker,
    philosophical lecturer, has just been here, and when he found
    the fellows would not come to his lectures, and heard that
    they were playing football, delivered himself of this elegant
    sentence, ‘Brutes, to prefer football to philosophy!’ which
    you may imagine caused a laugh, and did not at all further his
    object of procuring an audience. This same person afterwards
    caused an article to be put into the _Northampton Herald_
    complaining of the conduct of Dr. Arnold, in not allowing the
    boys to go without permission of their parents. Yesterday the
    school house, after a resistance of six days, were beaten; but
    it is not quite certain about whether it was a goal or not,
    and perhaps we shall play it again. The classing examination
    is just going to begin. I believe I am pretty well prepared.
    Clough has gone. Dr. Arnold has been away at London, at an
    examination of London University. Dr. Arnold’s two sons are now
    at Rugby, having left Winchester. I have changed my study, and
    have now a horribly dark place in the bottom passage, which it
    is the fate of the bottom præpostor in the house to have, but I
    shall leave it next half.”


    “_March 1838._—I write to tell you that I should like to write
    for one of the prizes, as I think it will be a good exercise
    for me; I have no particular choice, but I should prefer
    either the English prose, ‘On the increased facility of local
    communication, and its probable effects on society,’ or the
    Latin verse ‘On the abdication of Charles the Fifth;’ and I
    wish you would tell me which you think the best.

    “The London and Birmingham Railroad has been opened from Rugby
    to Birmingham, and also from Stoney Stratford to London, but,
    in consequence of Kilsby tunnel falling in, it will not yet
    be opened the whole way: it is opened all the way now except
    thirty miles in the middle. I saw one of the trains go by
    yesterday for the first time in my life, and I was very much


    “_June 1838._—Have you read Mr. Dickens’ ‘Nicholas Nickleby?’
    I liked it very much, though I thought some parts of it are
    very much exaggerated and unnatural; particularly that about
    the school, if you have read it. I am sure no one could help
    laughing at it; but I think ‘Oliver Twist’ much superior.

    “The Great London and Birmingham Railroad is to be opened
    throughout to-morrow week, I believe, so there will be no more
    coaches to bother us.”

    [4] Now Dean of Westminster.

    [5] Master of the Temple.

About this time a scribbling fever attacked the upper boys at Rugby. A
year or two earlier the _Rugby Magazine_ had gained considerable repute,
from the publication of some of Clough’s early poems, and contributions
by others of the Stanley and Vaughan generation; and had thus furnished a
healthy local outlet for the literary secretions of the sixth form. But
that journal was now no more, so we were thrown back on the periodicals
of the outside world. To get a copy of verses, or a short article, into
one of these, was looked upon as an heroic feat, like making fifty runs
in a school match. And of all the magazines, and they were much fewer in
those days, Bentley’s was the favourite; chiefly, I think, because of the
“Ingoldsby Legends,” which were then coming out in it. Mr. Barham was an
old friend of your grandfather; and I believe it was through him that
George had the pleasure of seeing himself in print for the first time.
The editor accepted some translations of Anacreon, which he had done out
of school-hours. Here are two specimens, and though I do not care to see
any of you writing for magazines, I should be glad to think that you
could render a classic so well at the age of seventeen:—

                        ANACREON MADE EASY.

                        η γη μελαινα πινει.

    The dark earth drinks the heaven’s refreshing rain;
      Trees drink the dew; the ocean drinks the air;
    The sun the ocean drinks; the moon again
      Drinks her soft radiance from the sun’s bright glare.
    Since all things drink, then—earth, and trees, and sea,
      And sun and moon are all on quaffing set,
    Why should you quarrel, my good friends, with me,
      Because I love a pot of heavy wet?

                       Θελω λεγειν Ατρειδας

    I wished the two Atreidæs’ fame to sing,
      And woke my lyre to a bold martial strain,
    In vain, alas! for when I touched the string,
      The song to love and Cupid turned again.
    I changed my string, then my whole lyre, I vow
      Nought _would_ come out but sentiment and sighs,
    Till Cupid broke my numskull with his bow:
      “Learn your own place, presumptuous, and be wise.
    If you sport epic verses, for your pains
      Nought will you get, of that one fact I’m cartin.
    Leave to old Grinding Homer blood and brains,
      And stick to _me_, old boy, I’ll make your fortin.”

When “Bentley” arrived at the school-house we were all in astonishment,
and not a little uplifted at this feat, which seemed to link the
school-house to the great world of literature. George took it very
quietly, mentioning it thus in his next letter home:—

    “_Sept. 1838._—’Tis pleasant, sure, to see oneself in print. I
    saw my production in Mr. Bentley’s last number by the side of
    much more deserving ones: I was very much amused with the last
    number, particularly with the report of the proceedings of the
    Mudfog Association. The idea of giving the young noblemen and
    gentlemen a place on purpose for their pranks was delightful,
    and likely I should think to knock that sort of thing on the

We now went always by rail to London, the guards of those days allowing
us, for some time, to travel outside, where we scrambled about amongst
the luggage, and climbed down into the carriages while the train was
going. I often wonder that none of us broke our necks, especially the
present Scotch Secretary of the Treasury, W. Adam, who was the most
reckless of us all at these exploits. We always managed, during our few
hours in town, to call on some of our father’s literary friends, who were
wonderfully kind to us. Here is a specimen:—

    “_March 1839._—I then went and called on Mr. Barham, and we
    went for a walk, first up into St. Paul’s Library, where I
    saw some very fine books. We then went to Drury Lane Theatre,
    and Mr. Barham got us tickets for that night from Mr. Peake,
    who is, I believe, stage manager. It was curious to see the
    difference between the theatre in the day-time, and when it was
    lighted up at night. We then went to the Garrick Club and saw
    all the pictures there, which were very interesting. We went to
    Drury Lane that night and saw Mr. Van Amburgh and his lions,
    which was the only thing worth seeing in the evening. I saw
    some other lions, authors, &c. whom Mr. Barham knew; I am sure
    I think he knows everybody. I must not forget to tell you that
    we went through Alsatia, to a coal wharf Mr. Barham wanted to

    “Have you seen Sir Robert Peel’s speech about the Corn Laws?
    I should think he must have tired his legs and his lungs both,
    before he sat down: I don’t understand much about it, but it
    seems to cause a good deal of excitement.”

In the summer of 1839 he went in for the Exhibition examination, and did
so well that his success in 1840 (his last year) was almost a certainty.
But he did not remain for another examination, and I must tell you
the reason of his leaving before his time, because, though I was then
furiously on the other side, I think now that he was in the wrong. It was
one of those curious difficulties which will happen, I suppose, every now
and then in our great public schools, where the upper boys have so much
power and responsibility, and in which there are (or were) a number of
customs and traditions as to discipline, which are almost sacred to the
boys, but scarcely recognized by the masters.

It happened thus. Just at this time the sixth form boys were on the
average smaller and younger than usual, while there were a great number
of big boys, not high up in the school, but excellent cricketers and
football players, and otherwise manly and popular fellows. They swarmed
in the eleven, and big-side football, and were naturally thrown very much
with George and his friend Mackie.[6] In some houses, no doubt, they were
inclined rather to ignore the authority of the sixth themselves, and of
course their example was followed by the fags, so that the discipline
of the school began to fall out of gear. At last matters came to a
crisis. Some of the sixth form took to reporting to the Doctor cases
which, according to school traditions, they ought to have dealt with
themselves; and in other ways began to draw the reins too tightly. There
were “levies” (as we called them) of the sixth and fifth, at which high
words passed, and several of the sixth were sent to Coventry. This made
the Doctor very angry, and he took the side of the disciplinarians. Then
came a rebellious exhibition of fireworks one evening in the quadrangle.
Then an Italian, with a lot of plaster casts, committed the unpardonable
sin of coming into the Close without leave, and his wares were taken, and
put up for “cock-shyes.” He went straight to the Doctor, who insisted
that the sixth should discover and report the offenders; but those who
would could not, and those who might would not. The Doctor’s face had
been getting blacker and blacker for some time, and at last, one November
morning, he sent half a dozen of the big fifth and middle fifth boys
home, and told George and his friend Mackie, and one or two other sixth
form boys, that they could not return after the end of the half-year.

[6] Afterwards M.P. for Dumfriesshire, a fine scholar and great athlete,
who died only nine months before his old friend.

And here I will give you two of your grandfather’s letters to us on these
matters, to show you how we were brought up. He was an old Westminster
himself, and so quite understood the boys’ side of the dispute.

He begins to George, telling him first about home doings, and then goes

    “I have received a letter from Dr. Arnold deserving attention,
    by which it appears that you have been remiss in your duties
    as a præposter, though he speaks fairly enough as to your own
    personal conduct. He alludes particularly to the letting off
    of fireworks, and the man whose images were broken, in neither
    of which you appear to have shown due diligence in discovering
    or reporting the boys concerned. Moreover, he thinks that
    those præposters who have been more active in enforcing the
    school routine have been unjustly treated with contempt and
    insult by the larger party of the boys—in fact, either bullied,
    or cut; and evidently he thinks that you have been amongst
    the cutters. Now, it is impossible for me to enter into the
    exact merits of the case at a distance; and possibly I may
    not be inclined to see it in all its details with the eye of
    a zealous schoolmaster; but, as you are now of a thinking
    age, I will treat the matter candidly to you, as a man of the
    world and a man of business, in which capacities I hope to
    see you efficient and respected in the course of a few years.
    Your own conduct seems to be gentlemanly and correct. Very
    good; this is satisfactory as far as it goes. But clearly,
    by the regulations of the school, you have certain duties to
    perform, the strict execution of which may in some cases be
    annoying to your own feelings, and to that _esprit de corps_
    which always exists among boys. Nevertheless, they must be
    performed. Those young men who have a real regard for the
    character of their school, which all of you are ready enough
    to stickle for when you get outside its walls, must not allow
    it to become a mere blackguard bear-garden, and to stink in
    the nostrils of other public schools, by tolerating, in those
    they are expected to govern, such things as they would not do
    themselves. When you grow a little older you will soon perceive
    that there is no situation in life worth having, and implying
    any respect, where moral firmness is not continually required,
    and unpleasant duties are to be performed. Were you now in the
    army, you would find that if you were not strict enough with
    your men, you would have a pack of drunkards and pilferers
    under your command, disgracing the regiment; and would receive
    a hint from your Colonel, in double quick time, to mend your
    vigilance or sell out. Ditto, if you were older and a college
    tutor. I remember a clever, amiable, and learned man, whom
    our young fellows used to laugh at behind his back, and play
    tricks on before his face, because he laboured under such a
    nervous gentlemanly scrupulousness that he could not say Bo to
    a goose, and therefore they learned little under him. I find
    myself that a magistrate has many harsh and disagreeable duties
    to perform, but he must perform them, or the law of the land
    becomes an old song, and his own person ridiculous. So that,
    in fact, I only urge you to conform yourself, like a sensible
    person, to the general condition of human life. I am inclined
    to think that the slackness in your case has arisen more from
    constitutional ease of temper than for fear of what a clique
    of disorderly fellows might say of you: for if it had been the
    latter motive, I am sure you had it not by inheritance from
    your mother or me. But this ease of temper may be carried to a
    fault. In a word, you must correct it forthwith in your conduct
    as a præposter, if you expect that I can treat you, as I wish
    to do, in the light of a young man, and a responsible person:
    as to my affection, you will always have that, so long as your
    own conduct is good. Now as to those crackers; you must have
    known the thing was childish and dangerous, and forbidden for
    good reasons. Remember poor Harrow.[7] Therefore you might have
    interposed in a firm and civil way, and prevented it on pain of
    instant report to the master, and no one could have complained
    that you did anything ungentlemanly. As to the fellows who
    broke the poor man’s images and would not fork out the damage,
    I wish you had been more successful, perhaps more active, in
    discovering them; if you had broken their heads I could not
    have blamed you. But on this I must write to Tom. So good bye;
    and if you really value my respect for your character, look
    sharper to your police department. Remember you are no longer a

    [7] There had recently been a fireworks row at Harrow, the details of
which had got into the newspapers, creating much scandal.

Then, on the same sheet, follows a letter to me. I must explain that I
had been one of the image breakers, but had come forward with one of the
others and paid the damage.

    “I have heard an account of the affair of the images. You
    should have remembered, as a Christian, that to insult the
    poor is to despise the ordinance of God in making them so: and
    moreover, being well born and well bred, and having lived in
    good company at home, which, may be, has not been the privilege
    of all your schoolfellows, you should feel that it is the
    hereditary pride and duty of a gentleman to protect those who
    perhaps never sat down to a good meal in their lives. It would
    have been more manly and creditable if you had broken the head
    of ——, or some pompous country booby in your back settlement,
    than smashed the fooleries of this poor Pagan Jew, which were
    to him both funds and landed estate. This strict truth obliges
    me to say, though, if you had bought his whole stock to indulge
    the school with a cock-shy, I should only have said ‘A fool
    and his money are soon parted.’ It is impossible, however, to
    be angry with you, as you came forward like a lad of spirit
    and gentlemanly feeling to repair your share, and perhaps more
    than your share, of the damage. The anxiety the poor fellow had
    suffered you could not make up to him. And it is well that you
    did make such reparation as you did; had it not been the case,
    you never would have recovered the place you would have lost in
    my esteem. Remember, this sort of thing must never happen again
    if you value that esteem. And have no acquaintance you can
    avoid with the stingy cowards who shirked their share of the
    damage: they can be no fit company for you or any gentleman. I
    don’t know what the public opinion of Rugby says of them. We
    plain spoken old Westminsters, in the palmy days of the school,
    should have called them dirty dogs; and so much for them, more
    words than they are worth. I am glad to find that your general
    conduct is approved by the Doctor: and now that you have put
    your hand to the plough, don’t take it off; and God bless you.”

In conclusion, _to George_:—

    “Don’t cut, or look shy on, any of the præposters who have done
    their duty, if you do not think they are acting from private
    pique, or love of power. This question you have sense and
    honesty to decide for yourself. I have hinted to Arnold that it
    _may_ be so, but cannot know it as well as you do, yea or nay.
    And if you do your own duty without flinching, your opinion
    will have weight with all whom it may concern. The Doctor
    evidently thinks you could be of essential use to him if you
    liked, and I am sure he is much too fair and honourable a man
    to want to make spies of his pupils. If you do not back him in
    what he has a right to enforce, you pass a tacit censure on a
    man you profess to esteem.”

George’s answer produced the following from your grandfather:—

    “I like the tone of your vindication much. It shows the proper
    spirit which I wish to cultivate, and a correct sense of what
    your duties are as a member of society. Be assured that I hate
    as much as you do the character of a talebearer and meddler,
    and a fellow who takes advantage of a little brief authority to
    gratify his own spite and love of importance. And in my reply
    to Dr. Arnold I said, that having been bred up on the system
    of ‘study to be quiet and mind your own business,’ you might
    very likely have fallen into the extreme of non-interference;
    which I thought was the best extreme for a gentleman to follow.
    I also hinted that his pets might not be quite immaculate
    in their motives, or deserve the good opinion of the more
    gentlemanly boys of their own standing, who had a right to form
    their own judgment and limit their own acquaintance, though
    not to interfere with the discipline of the school. What you
    have said of the fellow who caused the expulsion (rustication
    I should call it) of the others, confirms me. His conduct, in
    fact, if his words could be proved, deserves a round robin to
    Arnold from the school; and if you are sure it is so, I will
    back you with my full sanction in cutting any such malicious
    rascal. I think you will see after this that I do not speak
    from the notions of a pedant or a disciplinarian, and that I
    do not care two straws how you stand in the opinion of Doctor
    this, or Doctor that, provided you deserve your own good
    opinion as a Christian and a gentleman, and do justice to good
    principles and good blood, for which things you are indebted
    to sources independent of Rugby. But with all this I do not
    abandon my position, of which indeed you seem convinced, that
    order must be enforced at the expense of disagreeable duties.
    All I wish is this: put Dr. A. out of the question if you
    please, and enter into the views of the parents of the junior
    boys as if they were your own family friends: with this view
    you will not only protect their sons in their little comforts
    and privileges, but steadily check those habits in them which
    might render them nuisances in general society, or involve
    them in scrapes at school. After all, Arnold was right as to
    the prevention of crackers in the quadrangle, and you ought
    to have stopped it; on this point you say nothing. As to the
    investigation of the image matter: if you were not there at
    the time, you may not be blameable for want of success, and if
    they expected you to pump Tom, or employ any underhand means
    in getting at the truth, they knew but little of your family
    habits. Albeit, I wish the thing could have been traced. It
    was mean and cowardly, and, if it happened often, ruinous to
    the character of the school, inasmuch as the fellows did not
    step forward at once in a manly way and say, ‘We were certainly
    wrong, and ready to pay for the cock-shy; but the parrots and
    Napoleons were irresistible.’ The Doctor would have laughed,
    and approved. I do not wonder he was sore on the subject,
    feeling like a gentleman for the character of his school, as
    Lord B—— would have done for the character of his own parish,
    had a stranger had his pocket picked in it. Nor do I want you
    to adopt all his views or partialities. Only suppose yourself
    in his place: fancy what you would have a right to expect,
    and remember that it cannot be done without the help of the
    præposters. This you seem inclined to do, and you may do it on
    your own independent footing, looking as coldly as you please
    on any clique whose motives may be different from your own.
    You have no need to court anybody’s favour if you cultivate
    the means of making yourself independent; and if you only fear
    God in the true sense, you may snap your fingers at everything
    else,—which ends all I have to say on this point. ‘Upright and
    downright’ is the true motto.”

I believe that no boy was ever more regretted. Since he had been in
the sixth, and especially in his last year, when he was the Captain of
Big-side Football and third in the Eleven, bullying had disappeared from
the school-house, and house fagging had lost its irksomeness. The House
had regained its position, having beaten the School at football. He had
kicked the last goal from “a place” nearly sixty yards from the post. The
tradition of that kick was handed down for many years, and, I remarked,
was always getting back some few yards; so that, by the time it expired,
I have no doubt it had reached 100 yards, and become as fabulous as many
other traditions. His rule was perhaps rather too easy. The loafers, who
are always too numerous, had a much better time than they deserved; and
I doubt whether the school-house first lessons were done so well as at
other times; for, instead of each boy going off to his own study after
supper, and stern silence reigning in the passages till bed-time, groups
of bigger boys would collect round the fires, and three or four fags in
one study, and thus much time which should have been given to themes
and verses was spent in talking over football and cricket matches, and
the Barby and Crick runs at hare and hounds. I know that George himself
regretted very much what had occurred, and I believe, had he had a second
chance, would have dealt vigorously with the big boys at once. But he had
to learn by the loss of his exhibition, as you will all have to learn in
one way or another, that neither boys nor men _do_ get second chances in
this world. We all get new chances till the end of our lives, but not
second chances in the same set of circumstances; and the great difference
between one boy and another is, how he takes hold of, and uses, his first
chance, and how he takes his fall if it is scored against him.

At the end of the half, Dr. Arnold, with his usual kindness, and with
a view I believe to mark his approval of my brother’s character and
general conduct at the school, invited him to spend part of his holidays
at the Lakes. His visit to Foxhow, and Yorkshire, at Christmas 1839,
before he went up to Oxford, delighted him greatly. He had never seen a
mountain before, and the fact of seeing them for the first time from his
old master’s house, with schoolfellows to whom he was warmly attached,
doubled his pleasure. I have only room, however, for one of his letters:—

                                         “FOXHOW, _Jan. 6th, 1840_.


    “I will now give you a more lengthened account of my
    proceedings than I did in my last.

    “Last Saturday week I reached Ambleside, as you know. As I was
    following my luggage to Foxhow I met Mrs. Arnold, and visited
    Stockgill force.

    “_Sunday._—I did nothing particular, although it was a splendid
    day, and we saw the mountains beautifully.

    “_Monday._—Hard frost. We went up Lufrigg, the mountain close
    by Foxhow, to try if we could get any skating, but it would not
    bear my weight. I and Matt Arnold then went down to a swampy
    sort of lake to shoot snipes: we found a good number, but it
    came on to rain, and before we got back from Elterwater (the
    name of the lake) we were well wet through.


    “_Thursday._—We were determined to do something, so Matt,
    Tom, and I took horse and rode to Keswick, and we had a most
    beautiful ride. We left Lady Fleming’s on the right, went along
    the shores of Rydale Lake, then from Rydale to Grasmere, then
    through the pass called High Rocae (I don’t know if that is
    rightly spelt), leaving a remarkable mountain called the Lion
    and the Lamb on the right—then to Thurlmere, leaving Helvellyn
    on the right. Thurlmere is a beautiful little lake: there
    is a very fine rock on the left bank called Ravenscrag, and
    on the right Helvellyn rises to an immense height. Then the
    view of Keswick was most beautiful: Keswick straight before
    us—Bassenthwaite beyond Keswick in the distance; Derwentwater
    on our left—Saddleback and Skiddaw on the right, one 2,780 and
    the other 3,000 feet high, and Helvellyn (3,070 feet) behind
    us. It was a rainy, misty day, so that we did not see so much
    as we might have done, and it was only at odd moments that we
    caught a glimpse of Helvellyn free from clouds, but we were
    lucky in seeing it at all; they gave us such a dinner at the
    inn (without our requiring anything grand) as would have made
    a Southern stare—all the delicacies of the season, potted char
    among the rest—and charging us only 2_s._ apiece.

    “_Friday._—Rainy. Walked into Ambleside to see Mr. Cotton off
    by the mail, and afterwards as the weather cleared up we went
    out on Windermere, and had a very pleasant afternoon.

    “_Saturday._—A fine day. Tom and I determined to do something
    ‘gordgeous,’ and so we set out to walk up Helvellyn, and we had
    some precious good walking before we got up. We started from
    the foot at a quarter past eleven, and reached the summit at
    a quarter to one. One hour and a half,—pretty good walking,
    considering three-quarters or more was as steep or steeper
    than the side of Beacon Hill[8] which we slide down. Although
    quite warm in the valley, the top of the mountain was a sheet
    of ice, and the wind blew quite a gale. It did not, however,
    prevent us from enjoying a view of nearly fifty miles on all
    sides. We saw Windermere, Coniston, and the sea towards the
    south, as far as Lancaster. Ulswater close on the north-east;
    Skiddaw and Saddleback and Bassenthwaite Lake on the north; on
    the west the range of mountains in which is Scawfell, 3,160
    feet, the highest mountain in England. We saw into Scotland,
    Cumberland, Cheshire, Lancashire, and Yorkshire. It was a most
    splendid day, but there was a sort of mist in the very far
    distance which prevented our seeing quite as much as we should
    otherwise. Helvellyn on the side towards Ulswater descends in
    a precipice 1,000 feet, and a long narrow ridge, called, I
    think, Straddle Edge, from its narrowness, stretches out at
    right angles from the mountain, on the same side. There are
    innumerable places in which a person might break his neck, or
    be frozen to death without help, as few go up the mountain at
    this time of the year, it being a continual frost up there.
    We made ourselves very comfortable under the lee of a cairn,
    or heap of stones, which had been raised on the very highest
    point, round a tall upright pole. I got up, and put a stone
    at the top, and we put a newspaper which contained our grub
    into the middle of the heap, having first taken out a quantity
    of stones; how long it will stay there I don’t know. We then
    proceeded to grub with uncommon appetite,—some hard ‘unleavened
    bread,’ some tolerable cheese, and a lot of the common oat-cake
    they make in the country. We had some good fun, loosening and
    rolling masses of rock down the precipitous side into the ‘Red
    Tarn,’ a largish bit of water, and into the table-land below.
    We then came home by Gresdale Tarn and Grasmere, after a good
    long walk. This was last Saturday.

    “Dr. and Mrs. Arnold are very kind, and I have spent a very
    pleasant week here. I go away on Tuesday to Escrick Park. Next
    Wednesday week, or about that time, I shall start for London
    again, and shall be with you about the 20th; till which time

                 “I remain, your affectionate son,

                                                     “G. E. HUGHES.

    “Love to all.”

    [8] A hill in Lord Carnarvon’s park at Highclere, near Newbury.

The ride to Keswick, mentioned in this letter, is alluded to also in
one which I received in this last sad month of May from one of his
companions, who has allowed me to use it for your benefit. Its natural
place would perhaps be at the end of this memoir, but I prefer to insert
it here:—

                                         “HARROW, _May 23rd, 1872_.


    “I had seen so little of your brother George of late years
    that I seemed at first to have no business to write about his
    death; but now, as the days go on, I cannot resist the desire
    of saying a word about him, and of asking after his wife and
    children. Not two years ago I had a delightful day at Offley
    with him—the only time I ever was there; and all I saw of him
    then, and on the very rare occasions when we met by accident,
    confirmed my old remembrance of him—that he was one of the most
    delightful persons to be with I ever met, and that he had,
    more than almost anybody one met, the qualities which will
    stand wear. Everything about him seemed so sound; his bodily
    health and address were so felicitous that one thought of his
    moral and intellectual soundness as a kind of reflex from
    them; and now it is his bodily health which has given way! His
    death carries me back to old times, and the glory and exploits
    (which are now so often presented so as to bore one) of youth,
    and strength, and coolness, have their ideal for me in what I
    remember of him, and his era. His taking the easy lead at golf
    latterly, as he did in his old days at football and rowing,
    seemed to me quite affecting. Tell me about his poor wife; and
    what children has he left, and what are they doing?

    “It will be a great loss to you too. Do you remember our ride
    together to Keswick some thirty-two years ago? We have all a
    common ground in the past. I have told Macmillan to send you
    a little book, of which the chief recommendation is that
    I believe it is the sort of book my father would have been
    impelled to make if he had had to do with schools for the poor.
    My kind regards to your wife.

                      “Affectionately yours,

                                                  “MATTHEW ARNOLD.”

From Foxhow George went to visit another of his most intimate school
friends. During that visit he gave another proof of coolness and courage
of a rare kind, and also of his singular modesty. We at home only heard
of what had happened through the newspapers, and never could get him to
do anything more than pooh-pooh the whole affair. In fact, the first
accurate description of the occurrence came to me after his death, in the
letter to his sister which follows. It is written by the schoolfellow
just referred to:—

                                     “DUSSELDORF, _June 4th, 1872_.


    “Your very kind letter of the 20th May has just reached me
    here: and I cannot express in writing one tithe of what I feel.
    I had no idea of the news it had in store for me; for, having
    been travelling about lately, I had missed the announcement of
    the sad loss which we have all had; and so your letter fell on
    me as a thunderbolt. Poor dear old George! old in the language
    of affection, ever since we were all at Rugby. Oh! how much I
    regret now that I never found time in these last few idle years
    of my life to pay him a visit. And yet, to the brightness and
    pleasure of my recollections of him, nothing could be added.
    To the very last he was what he was at the very first: a
    giant, with a giant’s gentleness and firmness. You may perhaps
    none of you know that he always felt sure boating was too
    violent an exercise for anyone. I remember well (and now how
    sorrowfully) one conversation in which he told me how many of
    the best oars had fallen in the midst of apparent health and
    strength. How little did I then think he was to go! and yet I
    recollect I carried away with me from that conversation an idea
    that he suspected he had heart-complaint. Was this the case?

    “But I will not trouble you to write out to me abroad; for I
    trust I may soon return to England, and then I shall take the
    liberty of writing to ask you to see me at Lavender Hill.

    “You ask about his stopping the horses at Escrick. It was in
    1840 or 1841. He had been left with my two eldest brothers to
    come home last; and whilst these two brothers were calling at
    our York Club, George was left sitting alone in the carriage.
    Suddenly the driver fell off the box in a fit, upon the horses,
    and they started off. George remembered that in the six-mile
    drive home there are two right-angled turns; so he determined
    to get out, run along the pole, and stop the horses. The first
    time he tried was in vain: steadying himself with his hand
    on the horses’ quarters, he only frightened them more; so he
    coolly returned into the carriage again and waited till they
    had lost some of their speed. He then crept through the window
    again; ran quicker along the pole, caught their bearing reins,
    turned them round, and brought back the carriage in triumph to
    my brothers, who were anxious enough by that time! And then
    the gentle modest look he had when we all praised him the next
    morning, I never can forget. Oh, he charmed all: a better
    creature never lived.

    “Tell his boys from me he never could have dreamt even of any
    divergence from truth. As all men of power, he seemed silent
    and receptive rather than busy; and where you left him, you
    picked him up; though the interval might have been ever so long
    a one.

                  “I remain, your most sincerely,

                                               “STEPHEN W. LAWLEY.”



If this memoir is to do for you, his sons and nephews, what I hope it
may, you must be told of his weak points. You have seen already that he
had to leave school half a year sooner than he would otherwise have left,
because he was too easy-going as a sixth-form boy, and would not exert
himself to keep order; and he had a constitutional indolence, which led
him to shirk trouble in small matters, and to leave things to manage
themselves. This fault used to annoy your grandfather, who was always
exceedingly particular as to business habits, such as answering letters,
and putting things in their right places. When we first were allowed to
use guns, he gave us special instructions never to bring them into the
house loaded. At the end of the Christmas holidays, just after George
was made a præpostor, we brought our guns in loaded, and left them in
the servants’ hall during luncheon. After lunch, when we went to take
them out again, by some carelessness George’s went off, and he narrowly
escaped being shot, and the charge went through two floors. Your
grandfather said nothing at the moment, but, soon afterwards, George’s
neglect to answer some questions on business matters produced from him
the first of a series of letters, which certainly did us much good at the
time, and I think may be just as useful to you. Most boys have the same
kind of faults, and I cannot see that any of you need such advice less
than we did.

    “Three questions I put to you in recent letters. These,
    supposing me simply a common acquaintance, and in a position
    to ask the questions, should have been promptly answered, and
    it is but reasonable to claim what is due to any Mr. Jones or
    Mr. Jobson. Without self-command enough to be punctual and
    methodical, you cannot realize your plans as to more serious
    things than I now write about; nor, indeed, can you do anything
    _effective_ in study without it. Read as much as you will, it
    will be like filling the sieve of the Danaids. But to drop fine
    metaphors and come to plain English, in heaven’s name begin to
    be wide awake to the common exigencies and observances of life.
    You can see distant and abstracted things well enough; but in
    such common things as are understood and practised by every boy
    behind a counter who is worth his salt, you are in the state of
    a blind puppy in the straw. I do not speak with the least anger
    on the subject; but, as a man of common worldly sense, I cannot
    too pointedly and forcibly urge on you, that without a complete
    alteration in this respect, everything of real importance
    which you attempt in the business of life will be an absolute
    failure. You swear by Scott. Recollect Athelstan the Unready.
    He gives ample proof of both high valour and sound sense,
    and, when roused from his ruminative state, is even forcibly
    eloquent (where he floors the insolence of De Bracy). Yet he is
    the butt of the whole piece, because he is always ten minutes
    after time in thought and action; albeit he is by nature a
    finer character than Cedric, and twice as big and well-born.
    But everyone minds Cedric because he knows his own will and
    purpose, and carries it out promptly, with the power of seeing
    such things as are directly before his nose.”

George’s reply appears to have contained some statement as to his
intentions in the matter of reading, as well as satisfactory answers to
the neglected questions. Your grandfather, however, returns to the charge

    “I fully believe you have every desire and intention to follow
    up the course I wish, though your own experience in the
    vacation must have shown you that this desire is not enough
    unless backed by determination and method. I should not wish
    you to debar yourself of the full portion of healthy exercise
    desirable at your age, which is like ‘the meat and mass which
    hindereth no man,’ as our quaint old English expresses it.
    But I certainly wish you to recollect that the present year”
    [1838—he was seventeen] “is one of the most important in your
    life, as you are just of the age when the character forms
    itself one way or the other, and when time becomes valuable in
    a double degree. You told me of your own accord that your wish
    was to distinguish yourself at Oxford. If you are as certain
    as I am that this wish is a wise and desirable one, the next
    point is, to let it become one of those determinations which
    are only qualified by ‘Deo volente.’ With the foundation which
    has been already laid, the thing is undoubtedly in your
    power, with life and health; and, if these fail us, the fault
    lies not in ourselves. The secret of attaining any point is,
    not so much in the quantity of time bestowed on it at regular
    and stated intervals, as in the strong will and inclination
    which makes it a matter of curiosity and interest, recurring
    to us at odds and ends of time, and never out of the mind; a
    labour of inclination rather than a matter of duty—a chase,
    as it were, of a wild duck” [we lived close to a river where
    wild ducks bred], “instead of a walk for the promotion of
    health and appetite. This sort of interest anyone may create
    on anything he pleases: for it is an artificial taste, not
    perhaps so easily understood at your time of life.... Industry
    in one’s vocation, when an honest and creditable one, is a
    Christian duty, although followed by persons indifferent to
    anything but self-interest. And it usually pleases God so to
    dispose of the course of events, that those best qualified to
    be useful to others in their generation have the best prospect
    of success in it.... The knowledge of history, divinity, and
    the dead languages, which you are now acquiring, are the basis
    of a liberal education, and play into each other as naturally
    as the hilt of a weapon fits the blade: these therefore are
    the points of leading interest in your life, in which your
    push should be made. Composition also is a valuable thing,
    in order to impart clearly to others what you know yourself,
    and prevent your candle from being hid under a bushel; and
    nothing bears a higher value in the world than this faculty.
    Mathematics are good, as they strengthen the attention and
    clear the head. In these I see you took a first class, and as
    I think you have a turn for them, I trust you will hold your
    present footing without sacrificing things which hereafter may
    be more essential. A fair progress in modern languages is not
    to be neglected; but the great points of interest are such as I
    have laid down, viz. knowledge of the connexion, and leading
    features, of sacred and profane history; a true digestion of
    it in your head, and the power of clearly expressing whatever
    thoughts arise from it; and a critical acquaintance with the
    original languages from which the knowledge is derived. This,
    I have no doubt, will correspond with Dr. Arnold’s ideas as
    to the objects and direction of study in your case. In short,
    make up your mind what you will do, what you will be, and what
    portion of success you may fairly hope for by fairly pointing
    your nose to the desirable end; then keep it pointed there as
    steadily as the pin of the dial (‘_gnomon_’ if you want to be
    learned). And remember, that _the more irksome any habit is in
    its formation, the more pleasantly and satisfactorily it sticks
    to you when formed_. Order and clockwork in small things is
    what you want. _Exempli gratia_, the key of the pew-box gave us
    a long hunt the other day, till in going to church we found it
    sticking in the lock. Then, none of you ever put a book in its
    place again. N. S—— _does_, because he learned the habit from
    compulsion, and it has become second nature.”

                                               “DONNINGTON, _1839_.

    “Your mother and grandmother are both anxious that some
    destination should be early fixed for all of you; but on this
    I, who am more answerable, am rather cautious; feeling that
    much depends on what your own habits and predilections may
    be. At all events the right basis of every one’s education is
    this—to love God and your neighbour, and do your duty with
    diligence in whatever state of life circumstances may place
    you. No one can live in vain acting on these principles, and
    whatever tends not to their establishment is of very trifling
    importance. I have no time to pursue the subject further at
    present, as this is a busy morning, and your mother will want a
    good share of this paper. I have begun another folio to Jack.
    N.B. You always have luck when I begin a letter, as I take
    a folio sheet in the spirit of foresight. Wat never brought
    his fishing-rod in; he is old enough now to cultivate orderly
    habits, and _es_chew (not chew) mouse pie. N.B. Eschew comes
    from Teutonic _schauern_, to shudder at.”

Again in 1840, referring to this indolent, easy-going habit, your
grandfather writes:—

    “The temper of mind which I mean is often allied (and in your
    case I trust and believe it is) to certain qualities, good
    in a social and Christian sense: candour, good nature, and a
    contented spirit; just as certain peculiar weeds are frequently
    the indication of a sound and wholesome staple of soil: but
    then they _are_ weeds, and it is a Christian duty to eradicate
    them in the labourer responsible for the care of the soil. In
    this respect the children of this world are the wisest in their
    generation. We may safely take examples of skill, activity,
    and abiding interest in a purpose, from the worst and most
    selfish men; and those who are wise, as well as good, do take
    the example, and profit by it. Not but that young persons
    constitutionally indolent, if they are also conscientious in
    their duty to their friends, and correct in the general notion
    that industry in a calling is a duty, do complete their stated
    hours of study in an honest and competent manner. And this is
    precisely your case; a case which has put me in an awkward
    position in pointing out your deficiencies. It is an ungracious
    thing to tease and spur a tractable, good-tempered horse, who
    trots his seven miles an hour of his own accord, even when you
    know that he has the blood and power in him to go up to the
    best hounds with due training, and it is hard to treat one’s
    son worse than one’s horse (or than one’s servants, for your
    mother truly taxes me with not keeping my household tightly up
    to their duties). These deficiencies nevertheless exist, and
    are indicated by many small traits. Now, indolence in my sense,
    and as applied to you, is exactly in the correct sense of the
    word—‘in’ (_non_) and ‘_doleo_,’ viz., as the Scots say, ‘canna
    be fashed’—cannot, unless led by some moral duty, or exigence
    of society, jump upon my legs and go about some little,
    teasing, but necessary five minutes’ errand, or turn my mind
    for the same time, by a sudden jerk, to something which breaks
    up the prevailing train of thought. This is a constitutional
    failing of my own, and I have been forced to establish rules in
    some things to break it through. But I never was tempted by it
    so as to leave anything to chance where any favourite project
    was concerned; _here_ I expended perhaps too much accuracy and
    double diligence. Hence I fear the evil is more deeply seated
    in you. The last example is this:—On inspecting and laying up
    the two double guns, I found the inside of one rusty, the other
    black from careless cleaning. Now, no thoroughbred sportsman
    ever contents himself, when laying up his tools in ordinary,
    with trusting to his servant’s care, and not his own eye, in
    cleaning. Yet you are a good shot—doubtless because you like
    shooting, and employ while in the field all the power of your
    mind and body to attain your purpose. What is wanting is, the
    submission to dry detail (_id quod dolet_). But no one can be
    a thorough and efficient master of anything who cannot see to
    details. Pump away with all your might, and welcome, but your
    labour will be thrown away if you won’t submit to stop the
    leaks in your tub. It is exactly from the same temper that
    I have seen you take up a book in company when rather dull.
    True, the book is the more sensible companion, but the time
    and place prescribes ‘_quod dolet_,’ though not so agreeable,
    or edifying. Thus it is in fifty things, all arguing a want of
    that order, and exactness, resulting from the due division of
    the mind. I could even argue it from the trifling trait of your
    never carrying a tassel to wipe your arrows with, and leaving
    your books open on the table for the maids to spill ink or dust
    on. I can prescribe for you in future in these respects, if you
    will trust yourself to me cheerfully, and not look aguish and
    woe-begone when spurred up to the mark by a word in season.”

And again in 1842:—

    “As an illustration is necessary to a theme, suppose two garden
    engines of equal capacity, one leaky and loosely constructed,
    the other well staunched, which does not waste a drop of water.
    You may cobble and plug up the first _pro tem._, and by working
    it with a strong arm make it play well: anon it leaketh again,
    and without a strong and troublesome effort it is no go. The
    second is tight and compact at a moment’s notice, and throws
    its stream with precision, just as much as is wanted, and where
    it is wanted—

        φωνᾶντα συνετοῖσιν.

    “I think there has been some improvement this year in your
    briskness and precision, but there is room for more. Straws
    show which way the wind blows. _Videlicet_, the not having
    looked in the calendar.[9] Then you keep your watch with your
    razors, and never can tell me what’s o’clock. With respect to
    your capacity for giving your might and main to a subject, when
    you are at it, I know enough to be well satisfied, and have no
    criticism to make.”

    [9] As to sending in prize exercises at Oxford. A copy of his
    was too late.

The last reference of this kind which I find in your grandfather’s
letters, which we’re always carefully preserved by George, occurs in
1846. After referring to an omission to notice the transfer of some money
to his account, your grandfather goes on:—

    “By the bye, I certainly am under the impression that you
    shrink from the trouble of details and cares of this kind; the
    same impression which I entertained five or six years ago. You
    must yourself know best whether I am right or not, and it is
    _now_ of importance that you should candidly ask yourself the
    question, and, if self-convicted, turn completely over a new
    leaf, on account of having others soon to act and manage for,
    as master of a house. I need hardly tell you I suppose that,
    in all points of paramount importance, your character has
    formed in a manner which has given me thorough satisfaction,
    and that your friends and relatives have just reason for
    appreciating you highly as a member of society. I will also
    add, and with truth, that I know no man of your age, who, if
    placed in a difficult situation, would in my opinion act with
    more sense, firmness, and discretion; and this is much indeed.
    But the possession of a naturally decisive and influential
    character is just what requires digested method in small and
    necessary things; otherwise the defect is more ridiculously
    anomalous than in a scatter-brained fellow, whom no one looks
    up to, or consults. It is a godsend if a beggar is any better
    than barefoot, but what would you say to a well-dressed
    man otherwise, who had forgotten his feet, and came into a
    drawing-room with a pair of greasy slippers? Without buttering
    you up, yours happens to be a character which, to round it
    off consistently and properly, demands accuracy in small and
    irksome things. In some respects I really think you have
    acquired this; in others, are acquiring it; and have no doubt
    that when ten years older, you will have progressed in a
    suitable degree. Meantime, if you are conscious that anything
    is wanting in these respects, it is high time now to put on the

As a slight illustration of the effect of these letters, I may add here,
that to the end of his life, when he came in from shooting, my brother
never rested until he had cleaned his gun with his own hands. When asked
why he did not leave it to the keeper, he said he preferred its being
done at once, and thoroughly; and the only way of being sure of that,
was to do it himself. In some respects, however, he never got over his
constitutional love of taking things easily, and avoiding bother and



My brother went up to Oxford full of good resolves as to reading,
which he carried out far better than most men do, although undoubtedly
after his first year, his popularity, by enlarging the circle of his
acquaintance to an inconvenient extent, somewhat interfered with his
studies. Your grandfather was delighted at having a son likely to
distinguish himself actually resident in his own old College. In his
time it had occupied the place in the University now held by Balliol.
Copleston and Whately had been his tutors; and, as he had resided a
good deal after taking his degree, he had seen several generations of
distinguished men in the common room, including Arnold, Blanco White,
Keble, Pusey, and Hampden. Moreover, there was a tradition of University
distinction in his family; his father had been Setonian Prizeman and
Chancellor’s Medallist at Cambridge, and he himself had carried off the
Latin verse prize, and one of the English Odes recited before the United
Sovereigns, when they paid a visit to the Oxford Commemoration in 1814,
with Wellington, Blücher, and a host of the great soldiers of that day.

His anxiety as to George’s start at Oxford manifested itself in many
ways, and particularly as to the want of punctuality, and accuracy in
small matters, which he had already noticed. As a delicate lesson on this
subject, I find him taking advantage of the fact that George’s watch was
in the hands of the maker for repairs, to send him his own chronometer,
adding: “As your sense of trustworthiness in little and great things is
a considerably multiplied multiple of your care for your own private
property (which doubtless will grow to its right proportion when you have
been cheated a little), I have no doubt old Trusty will return to me in
as good order as when he left me. Furthermore, it is possible you may
take a fancy to him when you have learnt the value of an unfailing guide
to punctuality. In which case, if you can tell me at the end of term that
you have, to the best of your belief, made the most of your time, I will
with great pleasure swap with you. As to what is making the best of your
time, you would of course like to have my ideas. Thus, then”—and your
grandfather proceeds to give a number of rules, founded on his own old
Oxford experience, as to reading, and goes on:—

    “All this, you will say, cuts out a tolerably full
    employment for the term. But when you can call this in your
    recollections, ‘_terminus alba cretâ notandus_,’ it will be
    worth trouble. I believe the intentions of most freshmen are
    good, and the first term generally well spent: the second and
    third are often the trial, when one gets confidence in oneself;
    and the sense of what is right and honourable must come in
    place of that deference for one’s superior officers, which is
    at first instinctive. I am glad you find you can do as you
    please, and choose your own society without making yourself
    at all remarkable. So I found, for the same reasons that
    facilitate the matter to you. Domestic or private education,
    I believe, throws more difficulties in the way of saying ‘No’
    when it is your pleasure so to do, and the poor wight only gets
    laughed at instead of cultivated. After all, one may have too
    many acquaintance, unexceptionable though they be. But I do not
    know that much loss of time can occur to a person of perfectly
    sober habits, as you are, if he leaves wine parties with a
    clear head at chapel time, and eschews supping and lounging,
    and lunching and gossiping, and tooling in High Street, and
    such matters, which belong more to particular cliques than to
    a generally extended acquaintance in College. In all these
    things, going not as a raw lad, but as a man of nineteen, with
    my father’s entire confidence, I found I could settle the
    thing to my satisfaction in no time: your circumstances are
    precisely the same, and the result will probably be the same.
    I applaud, and κυδίζε, and clap you on the back for rowing:
    row, box, fence, and walk with all possible sturdiness. Another
    thing: I believe an idea prevails that it is necessary to ride
    sometimes, to show yourself of equestrian rank. If you have
    any mind this way, write to Franklin to send Stevens with your
    horse; keep him a few weeks, and I will allow you a £5 note to
    assert your equestrian dignity, now or at any other time. This
    is a better style of thing than piaffing about on hired Oxford
    cocky-horses, like Jacky Popkin, and all such half-measures.
    The only objection to such doings is, that you certainly do see
    a style of men always across a horse who are fit for nothing
    else, and _non constat_ that they always know a hock from a
    stifle-joint. But this is only _per accidens_. And if you have
    a fancy for an occasional freak this way, remember I was bred
    in the saddle, and, whatever my present opinions may be from
    longer experience, can fully enter into your ideas.”

You will see by his answer how readily George entered into some of his
father’s ideas, though I don’t think he ever sent for his horse. A few
weeks later, in 1841, he writes:—

    “Now to answer your last letters. I shall be delighted to
    accept you as my prime minister for the next two years. Any
    plan of reading which you chalk out for me I think I shall be
    able to pursue—at least I am sure I will try to do so. Men
    reading for honours now generally employ ‘a coach.’ If you will
    condescend to be my coach, I will try to answer to the whip to
    the best of my power.”

Your grandfather accepted the post with great pleasure; and there are a
number of his letters, full of hints and directions as to study, which
I hope you may all read some day, but which would make this memoir too
long. You will see later on how well satisfied he was with the general
result, though in one or two instances he had sad disappointments to
bear, as most fathers have who are anxious about their sons’ work.
The first of these happened this year. He was specially anxious that
George should write for the Latin Verse, which prize he himself had won.
Accordingly George wrote in his first year, but, instead of taking his
poem himself to the Proctor’s when he had finished it, left it with his
College tutor to send in. The consequence was, it was forgotten till
after the last day for delivery, and so could not be received. This was
a sad trial to your grandfather, both because he had been very sanguine
as to the result, and because here was another instance of George’s
carelessness about his own affairs, and want of punctuality in small
things. However, he wrote so kindly about it, that George was more
annoyed than if he had been very angry, and set to work on the poem for
the next year as soon as the subject was announced, which I remember was
“_Noachi Diluvium_.” You may be sure that now the poem went in in good
time, but in due course the Examiners announced that no prize would be
given for the year. I do not know that any reason was ever given for
this unusual course, which surprised everyone, as it was known that
several very good scholars, including, I believe, the late Head-master of
Marlborough, had been amongst the competitors. Your grandfather was very
much vexed. He submitted George’s poem to two of his old college friends,
Dean Milman and Bishop Lonsdale, both of whom had been Latin prizemen;
and, when they expressed an opinion that, in default of better copies
of verses, these should have been entitled to the prize, he had them
printed, with the following heading:—

    “The refusal of the Official Committee of Examiners to award
    any prize for the Oxford Latin verse of 1842, has naturally
    led to a supposition that the scholarship and intelligence
    of the competitors has fallen short of the usual standard.
    Having, however, perused the following copy of verses, which
    are probably a fair specimen of those sent in, I am inclined
    to think, as a graduate and somewhat conversant with such
    subjects, that this discouraging inference is unfounded, and
    that the committee have been influenced in their discretion
    by some unexplained reason, involving no reflection on the
    candidates for the prize, as compared with those of former

The real fact I believe to have been, so far as George was concerned,
that there were two false quantities in his verses; and though these
were so palpable, as your grandfather remarked, “as to be obvious to any
fifth-form boy, and plainly due to carelessness in transcription, and
want of revision by a second person,” the Examiners were clearly not
bound to make allowances for such carelessness.

Many years after, in a letter to his sister, on some little success of
her boy at Rugby, George writes:—

    “I congratulate you on Walter’s success. We are much more
    interested for our brats than we were for ourselves. I remember
    how miserable my poor father made himself once when I did not
    get a Latin Verse prize at Oxford, and how much more sorry I
    was for him than for myself. Anyhow, there is no pleasure equal
    to seeing one’s children distinguish themselves—it makes one
    young again.”

But I must return to his freshman’s year at Oxford.

I have told you already that this was our first separation of any length.
I did not see him from the day he went to Oxford in January until our
Rugby Eleven went up to Lords, at the end of the half-year, for the match
with the M.C.C. It was the first time I had ever played there, and of
course I was very full of it, and fancied the match the most important
event which was occurring in England the time. One of our Eleven did not
turn up, and George was allowed to play for us. He was, as usual, a tower
of strength in a boys’ Eleven, because you could rely on his nerve. When
the game was going badly, he was always put in to keep up his wicket, and
very seldom failed to do it. On this occasion we were in together, and he
made a long score, but, I thought, did not play quite in his usual style;
and on talking the matter over with him when we got home, I found that he
had not been playing at Oxford, but had taken to boating.

I expressed my sorrow at this, and spoke disparagingly of boating, of
which I knew nothing whatever. We certainly had a punt in the stream at
home, but it was too narrow for oars, and I scarcely knew a stretcher
from a rowlock. He declared that he was as fond of cricket as ever, but
that in the whole range of sport, even including hunting, there was no
excitement like a good neck-and-neck boat-race, and that I should come to
think so too.

At this time his boating career had only just begun, and rowing was
rather at a discount at Oxford. For several years Cambridge had had their
own way with the dark blues, notably in this very year of 1841. But a
radical reformer had just appeared at Oxford, whose influence has lasted
to the present day, and to whom the substitution of the long stroke
with sharp catch at the beginning (now universally accepted as the only
true form) for the short, digging “waterman’s” stroke, as it used to be
called, is chiefly due. This was Fletcher Menzies, then captain of the
University College boat. He had already begun to train a crew on his own
principles, in opposition to the regular University crew, and, amongst
others, had selected my brother, though a freshman, and had taken him
frequently down the river behind himself in a pair-oar. The first result
of this instruction was, that my brother won the University pair-oar
race, pulling stroke to another freshman of his own college.

In Michaelmas Term, 1841, it became clear to all judges of rowing that
the opposition was triumphant. F. Menzies was elected captain of the O.
U. B. C., and chose my brother as his No. 7, so that on my arrival at
Oxford in the spring of 1842, I found him training in the University
crew. The race with Cambridge was then rowed in the summer, and over the
six-mile course, between Westminster and Putney bridges. This year the
day selected was the 12th of June. I remember it well, for I was playing
at the same time in the Oxford and Cambridge match at Lord’s. The weather
was intensely hot, and we were getting badly beaten. So confident were
our opponents in the prowess of their University, that, at dinner in
the Pavilion, they were offering even bets that Cambridge would win all
three events—the cricket match, the race at Westminster, and the Henley
Cup, which was to be rowed for in the following week. This was too much
for us, and the bets were freely taken; I myself, for the first and last
time in my life, betting five pounds with the King’s man who sat next me.
Before our match was over the news came up from the river that Oxford had

It was the last race ever rowed by the Universities over the long
six-mile course. To suit the tide, it was rowed down, from Putney to
Westminster Bridge. My brother unluckily lost his straw hat at the start,
and the intense heat on his head caused him terrible distress. The boats
were almost abreast down to the Battersea reach, where there were a
number of lighters moored in mid stream, waiting for the tide. This was
the crisis of the race. As the boats separated, each taking its own side,
Egan, the Cambridge coxswain, called on his crew: Shadwell, the Oxford
coxswain, heard him, and called on his own men, and when the boats came
in sight of each other again from behind the lighters, Oxford was well
ahead. But my brother was getting faint from the effects of the sun on
his head, when Shadwell reminded him of the slice of lemon which was
placed in each man’s thwart. He snatched it up, and at the same time F.
Menzies took off his own hat and gave it him; and, when the boat shot
under Westminster Bridge with a clear lead, he was quite himself again.

In our college boat—of which he was now stroke, and which he took with a
brilliant rush to the head of the river, bumping University, the leading
boat, to which his captain, F. Menzies, was still stroke, after two very
severe races—he always saw that every man had a small slice of lemon at
the start, in memory of the Battersea reach.

Next year (1843), owing to a dispute about the time, there was no
University race over the London course, but the crews were to meet at the
Henley Regatta. The meeting was looked forward to with more than ordinary
interest, as party feeling was running high between the Universities. In
the previous year, after their victory in London, the Oxford boat had
gone to Henley, but had withdrawn, in consequence of a decision of the
stewards, allowing a man to row in the Cambridge crew who had already
rowed in a previous heat, in another boat. So the cup remained in the
possession of the Cambridge Rooms, a London rowing club, composed of men
who had left college, and of the best oarsmen still at the University. If
the Cambridge Rooms could hold the challenge cup this year also, it would
become their property. But we had little fear of this, as Menzies’ crew
was in better form than ever. He had beaten Cambridge University in 1842,
and we were confident would do it again; and, as the Rooms were never so
strong as the University, we had no doubt as to the result of the final
heat also. I remember walking over from Oxford the night before the
regatta, with a friend, full of these hopes, and the consternation with
which we heard, on arriving at the town, that the Cambridge University
boat had withdrawn, so that the best men might be draughted from it into
the Rooms’ crew, the holders of the cup. Those only who have felt the
extraordinary interest which these contests excite can appreciate the
dismay with which this announcement filled us. Our boat would, by this
arrangement, have to contend with the picked oars of two first-class
crews; and we forgot that, after all, though the individual men were
better, the fact of their not having trained regularly together made
them really less formidable competitors. But far worse news came in the
morning. F. Menzies had been in the Schools in the previous month, and
the strain of his examination, combined with training for the race, had
been too much for him. He was down with a bad attack of fever. What was
to be done? It was settled at once that my brother should row stroke, and
a proposal was made that the vacant place in the boat should be filled
by one of Menzies’ college crew. The question went before the stewards,
who, after long deliberation, determined that this could not be allowed.
In consequence of the dispute in the previous year, they had decided,
that only those oarsmen whose names had been sent in could row in any
given race. I am not sure where the suggestion came from, I believe from
Menzies himself, that his crew should row the race with seven oars;
but I well remember the indignation and despair with which the final
announcement was received.

However, there was no help for it, and we ran down the bank to the
starting-place by the side of our crippled boat, with sad hearts,
cheering them to show our appreciation of their pluck, but without a
spark of hope as to the result. When they turned to take up their place
for the start, we turned also, and went a few hundred yards up the
towing-path, so as to get start enough to enable us to keep up with the
race. The signal-gun was fired, and we saw the oars flash in the water,
and began trotting up the bank with our heads turned over our shoulders.
First one, and then another, cried out that “we were holding our own,”
that “light blue was not gaining.” In another minute they were abreast of
us, close together, but the dark blue flag the least bit to the front. A
third of the course was over, and, as we rushed along and saw the lead
improved foot by foot, almost inch by inch, hope came back, and the
excitement made running painful. In another minute, as they turned the
corner and got into the straight reach, the crowd became too dense for
running. We could not keep up, and could only follow with our eyes and
shouts, as we pressed up towards the bridge. Before we could reach it the
gun fired, and the dark blue flag was run up, showing that Oxford had won.

Then followed one of the temporary fits of delirium which sometimes seize
Englishmen, the sight of which makes one slow to disbelieve any crazy
story which is told of the doings of other people in moments of intense
excitement. The crew had positively to fight their way into their hotel,
and barricade themselves there, to escape being carried round Henley on
our shoulders. The enthusiasm, frustrated in this direction, burst out
in all sorts of follies, of which you may take this as a specimen. The
heavy toll-gate was pulled down, and thrown over the bridge into the
river, by a mob of young Oxonians headed by a small, decorous, shy man in
spectacles, who had probably never pulled an oar in his life, but who had
gone temporarily mad with excitement, and I am confident would, at that
moment, have led his followers not only against the Henley constables,
but against a regiment with fixed bayonets. Fortunately, no harm came
of it but a few broken heads and black eyes, and the local authorities,
making allowances for the provocation, were lenient at the next petty

The crew went up to London from Henley, to row for the Gold Cup, in
the Thames Regatta, which had just been established. Here they met
the Cambridge Rooms’ crew again, strengthened by a new No. 3 and a new
stroke, and the Leander, then in its glory, and won the cup after one of
the finest and closest races ever rowed. There has been much discussion
as to these two races ever since in the boating world, in which my
brother was on one occasion induced to take part. “The Oxford University
came in first,” was his account, “with a clear lead of the Leander, the
Cambridge crew overlapping the Leander. We were left behind at the start,
and had great difficulty in passing our opponents, not from want of pace,
but from want of room.” And, speaking of the Henley race, which was said
to have been won against a “scratch crew,” he adds: “A ‘scratch crew’
may mean anything short of a perfectly trained crew of good materials.
Anyone who cares about it will find the names of the Rooms’ crew at p.
100 of Mr. Macmichael’s book, and by consulting the index will be able
to form a judgment as to the quality of our opponents. _We_ had a very
great respect for them. I never attempted to exaggerate the importance
of the ‘seven oars’ race,’ and certainly never claimed to have beaten
a Cambridge University crew on that occasion.” It will always remain,
however, one of the most interesting of the heroic records of a noble
English sport.

He announced his own triumphs at home as follows, from the Golden Cross,
where the Oxford crew then stopped:—

    “MY DEAR FATHER AND MOTHER,—I should have been with you
    yesterday, but was obliged to wait because they had not
    finished the gold oars which we have won at Putney. We have
    been as successful here as we were at Henley, and I hope
    I shall bring home the cup to show you. I shall be home
    to-morrow, and very glad to get to Donnington again. I don’t
    feel the least unsettled by these proceedings, and am in an
    excellent humour for reading.”

The two great cups came to Donnington, and remained for the year on your
grandfather’s sideboard, who could never quite make up his mind about
them; pride at his son’s extraordinary prowess being dashed with fears as
to the possible effects on him. George himself, at this time, certainly
had no idea that he was at all the worse for it, and maintained in his
letters that pulling “is not so severe exercise as boxing or fencing hard
for an hour.” “You may satisfy yourselves I shall not overdo it. I have
always felt the better for it as yet, but if I were to feel the least
inconvenience I should give it up at once.”

One effect the seven-oar race had on our generation at Oxford: it made
boating really popular, which it had not been till then. I, amongst
others, was quite converted to my brother’s opinion, and began to spend
all my spare time on the water. Our college entered for the University
four-oar races in the following November Term, and, to my intense
delight, I was selected for No. 2, my brother pulling stroke.

Our first heat was against Balliol, and through my awkwardness it proved
to be the hardest race my brother ever rowed. At the second stroke after
the start I caught a crab (to use boating phrase), and such a bad one
that the head of our boat was forced almost into the bank, and we lost
not a stroke or two, but at least a dozen, Balliol going away with a lead
of two boats’ lengths and more. Few strokes would have gone on in earnest
after this, and I am not sure that my brother would, but that it was my
first race for a University prize. As it was, he turned round, took a
look at Balliol, and just said, “Shove her head out! Now then,” and away
we went. Of course I was burning with shame, and longing to do more than
my utmost to make up for my clumsiness. The boat seemed to spring under
us, but I could feel it was no doing of mine. Just before the Gut we were
almost abreast of them, but, as they had the choice of water, we were
pushed out into mid stream, losing half a boat’s length, and having now
to pull up against the full current while Balliol went up on the Oxford
side under the willows. Our rivals happened also to be personal friends,
and I remember well becoming conscious as we struggled up the reach that
I was alongside, first of their stroke, the late Sir H. Lambert, then of
No. 3, W. Spottiswoode, and at last, as we came to the Cherwell, just
before the finish, of our old schoolfellow, T. Walrond, who was pulling
the bow oar. I felt that the race was won, for they had now to come
across to us; and won it was, but only by a few feet. I don’t think the
rest of us were much more distressed than we had been before in college
races. But my brother’s head drooped forward, and he could not speak for
several seconds. I should have learnt then, if I had needed to learn,
that it is the stroke who wins boat races.

Our next heat against University, the holders of the cup was a much
easier affair. We won by some lengths, and my brother had thus carried
off every honour which an oarsman can win at the University, except the
sculls, for which he had never been able to enter. I cannot remember any
race in which he pulled stroke and was beaten.

There are few pleasanter memories in my life than those of the
river-side, when we were training behind him in our college crew. He
was perhaps a thought too easy, and did not keep us quite so tightly
in hand as the captains of some of the other leading boats kept their
men. But the rules of training were then barbarous, and I think we were
all the better for not being strictly limited even in the matter of a
draught of cold water, or compelled to eat our meat half cooked. He was
most judicious in all the working part of training, and no man ever knew
better when to give his crew the long Abingdon reach, and when to be
content with Iffley or Sandford. At the half-hour’s rest at those places
he would generally sit quiet, and watch the skittles, wrestling, quoits,
or feats of strength which were going on all about. But if he did take
part in them, he almost always beat everyone else. I only remember one
occasion on which he was fairly foiled. In consequence of his intimacy
with F. Menzies, our crew were a great deal with that of University
College, and much friendly rivalry existed between us. One afternoon
one of their crew,[10] R. Mansfield, brother of George’s old vaulting
antagonist, rode down to Sandford, where, in the field near the inn,
there was always a furze hurdle for young gentlemen to leap over. In
answer to some chaffing remark, Mansfield turned round, and, sitting with
his face towards his horse’s tail, rode him over this hurdle. Several
of us tried it after him, George amongst the number, but we all failed;
and of course declared that it was all a trick, and that his horse was
trained to do it under him, and to refuse under anybody else.

[10] Author of “The Log of the Water Lily,” &c.

The four-oar race was the last of my brother’s boating triumphs. At the
end of the term he gave up rowing, as his last year was beginning, and he
was anxious to get more time for his preparation for the Schools. I am
not sure that he succeeded in this as, strong exercise of some kind being
a necessity to him, he took to playing an occasional game at cricket,
and was caught and put into the University Eleven. He pulled, however,
in one more great race, in the Thames Regatta of 1845, when he was still
resident as a bachelor, attending lectures. Number 6 in the Oxford boat
broke down, and his successor applied to him to fill the place, to which
he assented rather unwillingly. The following extract from a letter to
his father gives the result, and the close of his boating career:—

    “You will have seen that Oxford was unsuccessful in London for
    the Grand Cup, but I really think we should have won it had it
    not been for that unlucky foul. I only consented to take an oar
    in the boat because they said they could not row without me,
    and found myself well up to the work.”

He always retained his love for rowing, and came up punctually every year
to take his place on the umpire’s boat at the University race, to which
he had a prescriptive claim as an old captain of the O.U.B.C. And this
chapter may fitly close with a boating song, the best of its kind that
I know of, which he wrote at my request. It appeared in Mr. Severn’s
“Almanac of English Sports,” published at Christmas 1868. I had rashly
promised the editor to give him some verses for March, on the University
race, and put it off till it was time to go to press. When my time was
limited by days, and I had to sit down to my task in the midst of other
work, I found that the knack of rhyming had left me, and turned naturally
to the brother who had helped me in many a copy of verses thirty years
back. I sent him down some dozen hobbling lines, and within a post or two
I received from him the following, on the March Boat Race:—

    The wood sways and rocks in the fierce Equinox,
      The old heathen war-god bears rule in the sky,
    Aslant down the street drives the pitiless sleet,
      At the height of the house-tops the cloud-rack spins by.

    Old Boreas may bluster, but gaily we’ll muster,
      And crowd every nook on bridge, steamboat, and shore,
    With cheering to greet Cam and Isis, who meet
      For the Derby of boating, our fête of the oar.

    “Off jackets!”—each oarsman springs light to his seat,
      And we veterans, while ever more fierce beats the rain,
    Scan well the light form of each hardy athlete,
      And live the bright days of our youth once again.

    A fig for the weather! they’re off! swing together!
      Tho’ lumpy the water and furious the wind,
    Against a “dead noser”[11] our champions can row, Sir,
      And leave the poor “Citizens” panting behind.

    “Swing together!” The Crab-tree, Barnes, Chiswick are past;
      Now Mortlake—and hark to the signaling gun!
    While the victors, hard all, long and strong to the last,
      Rush past Barker’s rails, and our Derby is won.

    Our Derby, unsullied by fraud and chicane,
      By thieves-Latin jargon, and leg’s howling din—
    Our Derby, where “nobbling” and “roping” are vain,
      Where all run their best, and the best men must win.

    No dodges we own but strength, courage, and science;
      Gold rules not the fate of our Isthmian games;
    In brutes—tho’ the noblest—we place no reliance;
      Our racers are men, and our turf is the Thames.

    The sons of St. Dennis in praise of their tennis,
      Of chases and volleys, may brag to their fill;
    To the northward of Stirling, of golf, and of curling,
      Let the chiels wi’ no trousers crack on as they will.

    Cricket, football, and rackets—but hold, I’ll not preach,
      Every man to his fancy:—I’m too old to mend—
    So give _me_ a good stretch down the Abingdon reach,
      Six miles every inch, and “hard all” to the end.

    Then row, dear Etonians and Westminsters, row,
      Row, hard-fisted craftsmen on Thames and on Tyne,
    Labuan,[12] New Zealand, your chasubles[13] peel, and
      In one spurt of hard work, and hard rowing, combine

    Our maundering critics may prate as they please
      Of glory departed and influence flown—
    Row and work, boys of England, on rivers and seas,
      And the old land shall hold, firm as ever, her own.

[11] “Dead noser,” the Tyne phrase for a wind in your teeth.

[12] The Bishops were famous oarsmen. Dr. Macdougal rowed bow oar in
Menzies’ boat, and was a dear friend of my brother’s.

[13] Query: Do Bishops wear “chasubles?”—G.E.H. [Note appended by my
brother to the original copy.]



The Schools were now very near ahead of him, and, though not much
behindhand with his work, considering the intensity of his exertions in
other directions, he was anxious to make the most of the months that were
left. He read very hard in vacation, but, when term began again, had to
encounter unusual difficulties. His father’s half-hinted warnings against
a large acquaintance proved prophetic. In fact, I used to wonder how he
ever got his reading done at all, and was often not a little annoyed with
many of my own contemporaries, and other younger men still, even to the
last batch of freshmen, whose fondness for his society was untempered
by any thought of examinations, or honours. Not one of them could give
a wine, or a breakfast party, without him, and his good-nature kept him
from refusing when he found that his presence gave real pleasure. Then
he never had the heart to turn them out of his rooms, or keep his oak
habitually sported; and when that most necessary ceremony for a reading
man had been performed, it was not respected as it should have been.
My rooms were on the same staircase, half a flight below his (which
looked into the quadrangle, while mine looked out over the back of the
College), so that I could hear all that happened. Our College lectures
were all over at one. It was well for him if he had secured quiet up
to that hour; but, in any case, regularly within a few minutes after
the clock had struck, I used to hear steps on the stairs, and a pause
before his oak. If it was sported, kicking or knocking would follow,
with imploring appeals, “Now, old ’un” (the term of endearment by which
he went in College), “do open—I know you’re in—only for two minutes.” A
short persistence seldom failed; and soon other men followed on the same
errand, “for a few minutes only,” till it was time for lunch, to which he
would then be dragged off in one of their rooms, and his oak never get
sported again till late at night. Up to his last term in College this
went on, though not to quite the same extent; and even then there was
one incorrigible young idler, who never failed in his “open sesame,” and
wasted more of my brother’s time than all the rest of the College. But
who could be angry with him? He was one of the smallest and most delicate
men I ever saw, weighing about 8st. l0lb., a capital rider, and as brave
as a lion, though we always called him “the Mouse.” Full of mother
wit, but utterly uncultivated, it was a perfect marvel how he ever
matriculated, and his answers, and attempts at construing, in lecture
were fabulous—full of good impulse, but fickle as the wind; reckless,
spendthrift, fast, in constant trouble with tradesmen, proctors, and the
College authorities. But no tradesman, when it came to the point, had
the heart to “court,” or proctor to rusticate him; and the Dean, though
constantly in wrath at his misdeeds, never got beyond warnings, and
“gating.” So he held on, until his utter, repeated, and hopeless failure
to pass his “smalls,” brought his college career to its inevitable end.
Unfortunately for my brother’s reading, that career coincided with his
third year, and his society had an extraordinary fascination for the
Mouse. The perfect contrast between them, in mind and body, may probably
account for this; but I think the little man had also a sort of longing
to be decent and respectable, and, in the midst of his wildest scrapes,
felt that his intimacy with the best oar and cricketer in the College,
who was also on good terms with the Dons, and paid his bills, and could
write Greek verses, kept him in touch with the better life of the place,
and was a constant witness to himself of his intention to amend, some
day. They had one taste in common, however, which largely accounted
for my brother’s undoubted affection for the little “ne’er do weel,” a
passion for animals. The Mouse kept two terriers, who were to him as
children, lying in his bosom by night, and eating from his plate by day.
Dogs were strictly forbidden in College, and the vigilance of the porter
was proof against all the other pets. But the Mouse’s terriers defied it.
From living on such intimate terms with their master, they had become as
sharp as undergraduates. They were never seen about the quadrangles in
the day-time, and knew the sound and sight of dean, tutor, and porter,
better than any freshman. When the Mouse went out of College, they would
stay behind on the staircase till they were sure he must be fairly out
in the street, and then scamper across the two quadrangles, and out of
the gate, as if their lives depended on the pace. In the same way, on
returning, they would repeat the process, after first looking cautiously
in at the gate to see that the porter was safe in his den. But after
dusk they were at their ease at once, and would fearlessly trot over the
forbidden grass of the inner quad, or sit at the Provost’s door, or on
the Hall steps, and romp with anybody not in a master’s gown. So, even
when his master’s knock remained unanswered, Crib’s or Jet’s beseeching
whine and scratch would always bring my brother to the door. He could not
resist dogs, or children.

I have always laid my brother’s loss of his first class at the door
of his young friends, but chiefly on the Mouse, for that little man’s
delinquencies culminated in the most critical moment of the Schools.
The Saturday before paper work began he had seduced George out for an
evening stroll with him, and of course took him through a part of the
town which was famous for town-and-gown rows. Here, a baker carrying a
tray shouldered the Mouse into the gutter. The Mouse thereupon knocked
the baker’s tray off his head. The baker knocked the little man over,
and my brother floored the baker, who sat in the mud, and howled “Gown,
gown.” In two minutes a mob was on them, and they had to retreat
fighting, which, owing to the reckless pugnacity of his small comrade,
was an operation that tried all my brother’s coolness and strength to
the utmost. By the help, however, of Crib, who created timely diversions
by attacking the heels of the town at critical moments, he succeeded in
bringing the Mouse home, capless, with his gown in shreds, and his nose
and mouth bleeding, but otherwise unhurt, at the cost to himself of a bad
black-eye. The undergraduate remedies of leeches, raw beef-steak, and
paint were diligently applied during the next thirty-six hours, but with
very partial success; and he had to appear in white tie and bands before
the Examiners, on the Monday morning, with decided marks of battle on his
face. In the evening, he wrote home:—


    “The first day of paper work is over; I am sorry to say that
    I have not satisfied myself at all. Although logic was my
    strongest point as I thought, yet through nervousness, or some
    other cause, I acquitted myself in a very slovenly manner;
    and I feel nervous and down-hearted about the remainder of the
    work, because I know that I am not so strong on those points as
    I was in logic. I feel inclined myself to put off my degree,
    but I should like to know what you think about it; I could
    certainly get through, but I do not think I should do myself
    any credit, and I am sure I should not satisfy myself. I shall
    continue at the paper work till I hear from you. I should be
    very willing to give up any plans which I have formed for the
    vacation, and read quietly at home; and I am sure I could put
    the affair beyond a doubt with a little more reading. But if
    you think I had better get rid of it at once, I will continue.
    I am in very good health, only, as I tell you, nervous and out
    of spirits.

                      “Yours affectionately,

                                                    “G. E. HUGHES.”

His nervousness was out of place, as I ascertained afterwards from his
tutor, that the Examiners were very much pleased with his paper work.
Indeed, I think that he himself soon got over his nervousness, and was
well satisfied with his prospects when his turn came for _vivâ voce_
examination. I was foolish enough to choose the same day for sitting in
the Schools, a ceremony one had to perform in the year preceding one’s
own examination. It involved attendance during the whole day, listening
to the attack of the four experts in row at the long table, on the
intellectual works of the single unfortunate, who sat facing them on the
other side. This, when the victim happens to be your brother, is a severe
and needless trial of nerves and patience.

For some time, however, I was quite happy, as George construed his Greek
plays capitally, and had his Aristotle at his finger ends. He was then
handed on to the third Examiner, who opened Livy and put him on somewhere
in the bewildering Samnite wars, and, when he had construed, closed the
book as if satisfied, just putting him a casual question as to the end
of the campaign, and its effect on home politics at Rome. No answer,
for George was far too downright to attempt a shot; and, as he told me
afterwards, had not looked at this part of his Livy for more than a year.
Of course other questions followed, and then a searching examination in
this part of the history, which showed that my brother knew his Arnold’s
Rome well enough, but had probably taken up his Livy on trust, which
was very nearly the truth. I never passed a more unpleasant hour, for I
happened to be up in this part of Livy, and, if the theories of Mesmerism
were sound, should certainly have been able to inspire him with the
answers. As it was, I was on the rack all the time, and left the Schools
in a doleful state of mind. I felt sure that he must lose his first
class, and told the group of our men so, who gathered in the Schools
quadrangle to see the Honours list posted. The Mouse, on the other hand,
swore roundly that he was certain of his first, offering to back his
opinion to any amount. I did not bet, but proved to be right. His name
came out in the second class, there being only five in the first; and we
walked back to Oriel a disconsolate band; the Mouse, I really believe,
being more cast down than any of the party. I never told him that in my
opinion he was himself not a little responsible.

He was obliged to take his own name off the books shortly afterwards, and
started for the Cape, leaving Crib and Jet, the only valuable possession
I imagine that he had in the world, to my brother. They were lovingly
tended to a good old age. Their old master joined the Mounted Rifles, in
which corps (we heard at second hand, for he never wrote a letter) he
fully maintained his character for fine riding and general recklessness,
till he broke down altogether, and died some two years later. It is a sad
little history, which carries its own moral.



My brother, after taking his degree, remained up at Oxford in lodgings,
attending lectures; and, when I went out of College in the term before my
own examination, I joined him, and once again we found ourselves living
in a common sitting room. I think it was a very great pleasure to both of
us; and as soon as my troubles in the Schools were over, and the short
leisure time which generally follows that event had set in, we began to
talk over subjects which had hitherto been scarcely mentioned between us,
but which, on the threshold of active life, were becoming of absorbing
interest. In the previous autumn I had made a tour with a pupil in the
North of England and Scotland. I had gone, by choice, to commercial
hotels in several of the large northern towns, as I had discovered that
commercial rooms were the most likely places for political discussion,
and was anxious to talk over the great question of that day with the
very vigorous and able gentlemen who frequented them. The Anti-Corn-Law
agitation was then at its height, and, to cut a long story short, I had
come back from the North an ardent Freetrader. In other directions also
I was rapidly falling away from the political faith in which we had been
brought up. I am not conscious, indeed I do not believe, that Arnold’s
influence was ever brought to bear directly on English politics, in the
case even of those boys who (like my brother and myself) came specially
under it, in his own house, and in the sixth form. What he did for us
was, to make us think on the politics of Israel, and Rome, and Greece,
leaving us free to apply the lessons he taught us in these, as best we
could, to our own country. But now his life had been published, and
had come like a revelation to many of us; explaining so much that had
appeared inexplicable, and throwing a white light upon great sections,
both of the world which we had realized more or less through the
classics, and the world which was lying under our eyes, and all around
us, and which we now began, for the first time, to recognize as one and
the same.

The noble side of democracy was carrying me away. I was haunted by
Arnold’s famous sentence, “If there is one truth short of the highest for
which I would gladly die, it is democracy without Jacobinism;” and “the
People’s Charter” was beginning to have strange attractions for me.

It was just one of those crises in one’s life in which nothing is so
useful, or healthy, for one, as coming into direct and constant contact
with an intellect stronger than one’s own, which looks at the same
subjects from a widely different standpoint.

Now, in the Anti-Corn-Law agitation the leaders of the League were in
the habit of using very violent language. Their speeches were full of
vehement attacks on the landlords and farmers of England, and of pictures
of country life as an inert mass of selfishness, tyranny, and stupidity.
My brother’s hatred of exaggeration and unfairness revolted against
all this wild talk; and his steady appeal to facts known to us both
often staggered my new convictions. On the general economical question,
imperfectly as I understood it, I think I often staggered him. But, on
the other hand, when he appealed to the example of a dozen landlords
whom I knew (including your grandfather), and made me look at the actual
relations between them and their tenants and their labourers, and ask
myself whether these statements were not utterly untrue in their case and
in the county we knew; whether they were not probably just as untrue of
other counties; and, if that were so, whether a cause which needed such
libels to support it could be a just one, I was often in my turn sadly
troubled for a reply.

Again, though Arnold’s life influenced him quite as powerfully as it did
me, it was in quite a different direction, strengthening specially in
him the reverence for national life, and for the laws, traditions, and
customs with which it is interwoven, and of which it is the expression.
Somehow, his natural dislike to change, and preference for the old ways,
seemed to gain as much strength and nourishment from the teaching and
example of our old master, as the desire and hope for radical reforms
did in me. As for democracy, not even Arnold’s dictum could move him.
“The Demos” was for him always, the fatuous old man, with two oboli
in his cheek, and a wide ear for the grossest flatteries which Cleon
or the Sausage-seller could pour into it. Those of you who have begun
Aristophanes will know to what I allude. Now, if he had been a man who
had any great reverence for rank or privilege, or who had no sympathies
with or care for the poor, or who was not roused to indignation by any
act of oppression or tyranny, in the frame of mind I was in I should
have cared very little for anything he might have urged. But, knowing
as I did that the fact was precisely the reverse—that no man I had ever
met was more indifferent to rank and title, more full of sympathy and
kindliness to all below him, or more indignant at anything which savoured
of injustice—I was obliged to admit that the truth could not be all on my
side, and to question my own new faith far more carefully than I should
have done otherwise.

And so this was the last good deed which he did for me when our ways in
life parted for the first time, and I went up to London to read for the
Bar, while he remained at Oxford. His plans were not fixed beyond the
summer. He had promised to take two or three Oriel men to Scotland on a
reading party, and accordingly went with them to Oban in July; and, while
there, accepted an offer, which came to him I scarcely know how, to take
charge of the sons of the late Mr. Beaumont at Harrow, as their private

I must own I was much annoyed at the time when I heard of this
resolution. I could see no reason for it, and many against it. Here was
he, probably the most popular man of his day at Oxford, almost sure of
a fellowship if he chose to stay up and read for it, one of the best
oars and cricketers in England, a fine sportsman, and enjoying all these
things thoroughly, and with the command of as much as he chose to take
of them, deliberately shelving himself as the tutor of three young boys.
I am afraid there was also a grain of snobbishness at the bottom of my
dislike to the arrangement. Private tutors were looked upon then by young
men—I hope it is so no longer—as a sort of upper servants; and I was weak
enough, notwithstanding my newly acquired liberalism, to regard this move
of George’s as a sort of loss of caste. He was my eldest brother, and I
was very fond and proud of him. I was sure he would distinguish himself
in any profession he chose to follow, while there was no absolute need
of his following any; and it provoked me to think of his making what I
thought a false move, and throwing away some of the best years of his

However, I knew it was useless to remonstrate, as he had made up his
mind, and so held my tongue, and came to see that he was quite right.
It was not till nearly three years later, when his engagement was over
and he had entered at Doctors’ Commons, that I came to understand and
appreciate his motives. The first of these you may gather from the
following extract from a letter of your grandfather’s, dated February
23rd, 1849:—“George, it seems, is unusually lively at the idea of going
tooth and nail to work with men instead of boys; and, now that he has for
three years gratified his whim of keeping himself wholly off my hands,
consents to be assisted like his brothers.” This “whim” of proving to
his own satisfaction that he was worth his keep, and could make his own
living, is not a very usual one nowadays, when most young Englishmen seem
to assume that they have a natural right to maintenance at the expense
of some one. He had then six other brothers, on whom the example was not
altogether thrown away, though none of us were ever able quite to come
up to it. It had the effect, however, of making us thoughtful in the
matter of expenditure; and, consequently, of the four who went to the
universities, and two who entered the army, not one got into any money

But George had other motives for this step besides the “whim” of
independence. He wished for leisure to make up his mind whether he
should take holy orders, as he had at one time intended to do. And,
since leaving Rugby, he had had no time either for the study of modern
languages or for general reading, and he was anxious to make up his
arrears in both of these directions. This engagement would give him
the leisure he wanted, while keeping him at regular routine work.
His resolve, though taken at the risk of throwing himself back some
years in his future profession, whatever that might be, was thoroughly
characteristic of him, and owing, I think, in great measure to your
grandfather’s own precepts. He was fond of telling us family stories,
and there was none of these of which he was more proud than that of
his maternal great-grandmother. This good lady was the widow of George
Watts, Vicar of Uffington, a younger son himself, who died at the age
of forty-two, leaving her in very poor circumstances. She sold off
everything, and invested the proceeds in stocking a large dairy farm
in the village where she had lived as the great lady, there being
no resident squire in the parish. If any of you ever care to make a
pilgrimage to the place, you will find the farmhouse, which she occupied
nearly 200 years ago, close to the fish-pond in Uffington. She was well
connected, and her friends tried to persuade her not to give up her old
habits; but she steadily refused all visiting, though she was glad to
give them a cup of chocolate, or the like, when they chose to call on
her. By attending to her business, rising early and working late, she
managed to portion her daughter, and give her son a Cambridge education,
by which he profited, and died Master of the Temple, where you may see
his monument. He was true to his mother’s training, and sacrificed good
chances of further preferment, by preaching a sermon at Whitehall before
George II. and his mistress, on Court vices, on the text, “And Nathan
said unto David, Thou art the man.” Such stories, drunk in by a boy of a
quiet, self-contained, thorough nature, were sure to have their effect;
and this “whim” of George’s was one of their first-fruits in his case.
I must add, that there is no family tradition which I would sooner see
grow into an article of faith with all of you than this of thriftiness,
and independence, as points of honour. So long as you are _in statu
pupillari_, of course you must live at the expense of your friends; but
you may do so either honestly, or dishonestly. A boy, or young man,
born and bred a gentleman, ought to feel that there is an honourable
contract between him and his friends; their part being to pay his bills,
and make him such an allowance as they can afford, and think right, and
sufficient; his, to work steadily, and not to get in debt, or cultivate
habits and indulge tastes which he cannot afford. You will see through
life all sorts of contemptible ostentation and shiftlessness on every
side of you. Nurses, if they are allowed, begin with fiddle-faddling
about children, till they make them utterly helpless, unable to do
anything for themselves, and thinking such helplessness a fine thing.
Ladies’ maids, grooms, valets, flunkeys, keepers, carry on the training
as they get older. Even at public schools I can see this extravagance
and shiftlessness growing in every direction. There are all sorts of
ridiculous expenses, in the shape of costumes and upholstery of one kind
or another, which are always increasing. The machinery of games gets
every year more elaborate. When I was in the eleven at Rugby, we “kept
big-side” ourselves; that is to say, we did all the rolling, watering,
and attending to the ground. We chose and prepared our own wickets, and
marked out our own creases, for every match. We had no “professional” and
no “pavilion,” but taught ourselves to play; and when a strange eleven
was coming to play in the school close, asked the Doctor for one of the
schools, in which we sat them down to a plain cold dinner. I don’t say
that you have not better grounds, and are not more regularly trained
cricketers now; but it has cost a great deal in many ways, and the game
has been turned into a profession. Now, one set of boys plays just like
another; then, each, of the great schools had its own peculiar style,
by which you could distinguish it from the rest. And, after you leave
school, you will find the same thing in more contemptible forms, at the
Universities and in the world. You can’t alter society, or hinder people
in general from being helpless, and vulgar—from letting themselves fall
into slavery to the things about them if they are rich, or from aping the
habits and vices of the rich if they are poor. But you may live simple
manly lives yourselves, speaking your own thought, paying your own way,
and doing your own work, whatever that may be. You will remain gentlemen
so long as you follow these rules, if you have to sweep a crossing for
your livelihood. You will not remain gentlemen in anything but the name,
if you depart from them, though you may be set to govern a kingdom. And
whenever the temptation comes to you to swerve from them, think of the
subject of this memoir, of the old lady in the farmhouse by Uffington
fish-pond, and the tablet in the Temple Church.

Such a resolution as that which, as I have just shown you, was taken
by my brother at the end of his residence at Oxford, is always a
turning-point in character. If faithfully and thoroughly carried out, it
will strengthen the whole man; lifting him on to a new plane, as it were,
and enabling him, without abruptly breaking away from his old life, to
look at its surroundings from a higher standpoint, and so to get a new
and a truer perspective. If repented of, or acted out half-heartedly,
it is apt to impair a man’s usefulness sadly, to confuse his judgment,
and soften the fibre of his will. He gets to look back upon his former
pursuits with an exaggerated fondness, and to let them gradually creep
back, till they get a stronger hold on him than ever, so that he never
learns to put them in their right place at all. The moral of which to you
boys is—think well over your important steps in life, and, having made
up your minds, never look behind. George never did. From Oban he writes
home: “My forthcoming engagement occupies all my thoughts, and indeed a
good deal of my time; for if I intend to succeed, I must be well up in
everything. I shall not, therefore, be able to make many excursions from
Oban.” Your grandfather had been a friend of Sir Walter Scott, and had
brought us up on his works; and had suggested to George that this would
be a good opportunity for visiting a number of the spots immortalized by
the Wizard of the North. This was his answer.

In the same spirit I find him writing about the same time as to a new
cricket club, which was starting under very favourable auspices in
Berkshire, and in which he had been asked to take a leading part: “I
shall certainly not join the A. C. Club; and as for Tom, I should think
his joining more improbable still. Cricket is over for both of us, except

In this spirit he took to his new work; and, going into it heartily and
thoroughly, found it very pleasant. He occupied Byron House at Harrow,
with his pupils, in which his old friend Mr. M. Arnold afterwards lived.
There were several of his old schoolfellows, and college friends, among
the Masters; and I, and others of his old friends, used to run down
occasionally, on half-holidays, from London, and play football or cricket
with the boys, amongst whom the prestige of his athletic career of course
made him a great favourite and hero. Thus he got as much society as he
cared for, and found time, in the intervals of his regular work, for a
good deal of general reading. In fact, I never knew him more cheerful
than during these years of what most of us regarded as lost time, and in
which we certainly expected he would have been bored, and disappointed.
This would not have been so perhaps had he proved unsuccessful; but his
pupils got on well in the school and their father soon found him out, and
appreciated him. At the beginning of the first long vacation he writes

    “Mr. Beaumont, finding I am fond of a gun, has most kindly
    offered me a week’s shooting on his moors. I could easily
    manage it, and meet you in London in time to visit Lady
    Salusbury. You will not think, I know well, that I like
    shooting better than home; and if you would like to see me
    before you go to London, pray say so, and the moors will not
    occupy another thought in my head. It is not everyone who would
    have taken the trouble to find out that I liked shooting and I
    feel Mr. Beaumont’s kindness; in fact, he seems as generous as
    a prince to everyone with whom he has anything to do.”

But it was in his own family, where he would have wished for it most,
that the reward came most amply. He became in these years the trusted
adviser of your grandfather on all family matters, and especially with
respect to his three youngest brothers. The direction of their education
was indeed almost handed over to him, and nothing could exceed the
admiration and devotion with which they soon learnt to regard him. The
eldest of them was sent to Harrow in 1848 to be under his eye, and you
may judge of the sort of supervision he exercised by this specimen of his

    “I think he has been suffering the usual reaction which takes
    place when a boy goes to a new school. He worked hard at first,
    and then, finding he had a good deal of liberty and opportunity
    of amusement, grew slack. He is too fond of exercise to be
    naturally fond of work, as some boys are who are blessed with
    small animal spirits; and he is not yet old enough to see
    clearly the object of education, and the obligation of work. I
    have no doubt he will very soon find this out; but, if not, it
    will very soon be forced on his notice by the unpleasantness of
    being beaten by his contemporaries.”

Speaking of his letters of advice to the boys, your grandfather writes:—

    “They have given me at least as much pleasure as them. You are
    doing a very kind thing in the most judicious way, and have
    assisted the stimulus which they required. Good leaders make a
    steady-going team, and allow the coachman to turn round on his
    box. Arthur [the youngest] will in his turn benefit by these
    fellows, I doubt not. You would, I think, be pleased to see how
    naturally he takes to cricket. In fact, take him altogether, he
    is a very good specimen of a six-year-old.”

But perhaps nothing will show you in a short space what he was to his
younger brothers so well as one of their own letters to him, and one
of his to your grandmother. The first is from your uncle Harry, written
almost at the end of his first half at Rugby:—


    “I am very much obliged to you for writing such a capital
    letter to me the other day, and for all your kind advice, which
    you may be sure is not entirely thrown away. I remember all the
    kind advice you gave me last winter, as we were coming from
    skating at Benham. You warned me from getting into ‘tick,’ and
    you said you were sure I should be able to act upon your good
    advice, and from that moment I determined not to go on tick,
    without I could _possibly help_. I haven’t owed a penny to
    anyone this half-year, and I don’t mean to owe anybody anything
    in the money way; and I have not spent all my money yet, and if
    I have not got enough to last me till the end of the half-year,
    I am _determined_ not to tick; and I _heartily thank God_ that
    I have elder brothers to guide me and advise me; I am afraid
    I should have done badly without them. You advised me also in
    your kind letter to work steadily. I fancy I am placed pretty
    decently; the form I am in is the upper remove. I keep low down
    in my form, principally from not knowing my Kennedy’s grammar.
    I find it very hard to say by heart. I should have been placed
    higher, I think, if I had known it; and I should advise Arthur
    to begin it now, if he is coming to Rugby, which I hope he is.
    He will find it disagreeable now, but he would find it worse
    if he did not know it when he came here. I think if you would
    be kind enough to write to him, and show him how necessary it
    is for him to learn it, he would be only too glad to do it. I
    think the great fault in me is, not so much forgetfulness, but
    a not having a determination to do a thing at the moment. I
    put it off. But I have, I am sorry to say, innumerable other
    faults. Mamma sent me a book of prayers, which I read whenever
    I have got time, and I say my prayers every night and morning,
    and I pray for all of you. I have now mentioned, I think,
    everything that you seemed anxious about in your letter.”

The next letter is dated two years later, when the question what
profession the writer of the last was to follow, had become important:—


    “I will answer your questions as well as I am able. Harry
    will not lower himself by farming. It might have been so ten
    years ago, but the world is getting less absurd, and, besides,
    I think more gentlemen are now taking it up as a profession
    (Mr. Huxtable, for instance, and many others), and are most
    highly respected. But to succeed in farming in England now, one
    must be a remarkable man; one must thoroughly understand all
    practical details, and be able to work oneself better than a
    labourer; besides this, the farmer must be a tolerable chemist
    and geologist, must understand bookkeeping and accounts, and
    must be enterprising and yet cautious; as patient as Job, and
    as active minded (and bodied) as anyone you can think of. Now
    Harry, although amiable, is rather indolent, and unless he
    can entirely get rid of this, he will ruin himself in a year
    by farming in England. In Ireland or the colonies it might
    be different. For the same reasons I would not recommend the
    Bar for Harry. It is very laborious, the confinement great,
    and it requires a hard head: moreover, the education is quite
    as expensive as an Oxford one, if that is any consideration.
    However, if you think that Harry can acquire (not an ordinary,
    but) an extraordinary amount of diligence, let him come to
    the Bar or farm. I confess I should discourage both ideas. If
    you can get a cadetship for him, I would certainly accept it.
    The two dangers of Indian military life are extravagance and
    dissipation, and I don’t think Harry inclined to either. He
    has not been extravagant at Rugby, and the temptations of a
    public school are as great as they are anywhere; and I think
    he is well-principled and kind-hearted, which will save him
    from the other danger. The army is getting much better, and
    officers begin to find out that they may do immense good in
    their profession by looking after the condition of their men.
    If you should obtain a cadetship, it will not be difficult to
    make Harry understand that he will have other duties besides
    drill, and I believe he would perform them. I am sure he would
    be exceedingly popular with officers and men. If he had been
    bad-tempered, or disobedient, or ill-conditioned, I should
    have recommended the navy, as by far the best school for such
    a character; but as he does not want such discipline, as we
    have no interest, as it is a poor profession in a worldly point
    of view, and as he is (I fancy) rather too old, I think it is
    out of the question. I confess I should hesitate much between
    orders and the army. If I saw any likelihood of Harry’s doing
    anything at Oxford, I should like to see him a clergyman. I
    am sure he would be a conscientious one, and therefore happy.
    But I _don’t_ think he would do anything (though of course he
    would pass), and there are the same temptations there as in
    the army. On the whole, I would try immediately to procure
    a cadetship; if you cannot get one, I would try to induce
    Harry to take orders. I said something about Ireland and the
    colonies in connection with farming. On second thoughts, I
    don’t think Harry would be a suitable person. Amiable tempers
    always require (at first) some one to look up to and lean upon;
    they are longer in learning to stand alone. Now, no one is so
    much isolated as a colonist. He is thrown entirely on his own
    resources, and has no one to give him advice and sympathy. In
    the army, and indeed in orders, one is generally trained to
    bear responsibility. So I am for the cadetship. He will be at
    once provided for, and will return to England in the prime of
    life with a competence. This is always supposing that he will
    escape the dangers of the profession (as I think), and that
    you and he do not think the advantages counterbalanced by the
    separation. I have no doubt that when communication with India
    is easier (and it will soon be incredibly easier), officers
    will come home at shorter intervals.”

Meantime he was studying the same question carefully in his own case,
with a view to determining whether he should take orders when his work
at Harrow was over. His father and mother, though on the whole wishing
that he should do so, were perfectly content to let him think the matter
out, and settle it his own way. They seem, however, to have supplied
him with specimens of contemporary pulpit literature, upon some of
which he comments in his correspondence, not, on the whole, with any
enthusiasm. “Surely,” he sums up some criticism on a popular preacher of
that day, “there is a pulpit eloquence equally remote from fine writing
and familiarity, such as was Dr. Arnold’s. I am doubtful as to reading
these books, for I know that I ought not to think of the style, and yet I
cannot help it. It takes me down against my will.”

Your grandfather replied: “The Church ought certainly to be a labour of
love, and followed with zeal. If on a final review of your sentiments,
aided perhaps by the advice of some clergyman you look up to (why
not Vaughan?) you do not think you could engraft this zeal on sound
convictions, and an upright character, you are quite right in deciding
for the Bar. In after life you will not be wholly dependent on a
profession, and many of our best men have started as late.”

In the end he made up his mind against taking orders, but not on any
of the grounds which deter so many young men of ability now. “My only
objection,” he writes to his mother, “to taking orders is, that it might
not suit me. Once ordained, it is impossible to change your profession;
and unless a man has his whole soul in this profession, he is useless, or

And so, at the end of his three years at Harrow, he resolved to go to the
Bar, and choosing that branch of it for which his previous reading had
best qualified him, took his degree of Doctor of Civil Law, and entered
at Doctors’ Commons.

You will have recognized by this time how carefully your grandfather
watched the development of character in his sons, and that he was by no
means inclined to overlook their faults, or to over-estimate their good
qualities. The longer I live myself, the more highly I am inclined to
rate his judgment of men and things, and this is the conclusion he had
formed at this time of his eldest son’s character. It occurs in a letter
to a relative then living, and dated 25th January, 1849:—

    “I am glad you have had an opportunity (difficult to get from
    his reserved character) of seeing what is in George when put
    to the proof. There are many men of his age with more active
    benevolence and habits of more general utility, as well as
    perhaps warmer spiritual feeling, also more useful acquired
    knowledge. His great _forte_, rather lies in those qualities
    which give men the ascendency in more troubled times—perfect
    consistency of word and purpose, great moral and physical
    courage, and a scrupulous sense of what is due to oneself and
    others in the relations of social life, combined with the
    caution a man should possess, who never intends to retract an
    opinion or a profession. Much perhaps of the _chevalier sans
    tache_ who used to be the fashion in the rough times before
    steam and ’ologies came in. In my time these sort of people
    were always more popular among Oxford youngsters (who are
    very acute in reading character) than mere wits, scholars, or
    dashing men. I suppose it is so still, and thereby account for
    the estimation which it seems he had in Oriel. And I apprehend
    this sort of established character must help a man in a
    profession where he means to work, and I will answer for his
    doing so.”

But there is one feature in George’s character which this estimate of it
does not bring out. I mean his great unselfishness. As an illustration
of this, I will show you how he treated a proposal made on account of
your grandfather while he was at Harrow. We had had the first loss in our
circle. Your uncle Walter, whom none of you remember, a young officer
in the Artillery, had died of an attack of yellow fever in British
Guiana. This had shaken your grandfather a good deal, and his health was
no longer strong enough to allow him to follow, and enjoy, his country
pursuits. Besides, the house at Donnington was too big for the shrunken
family which now gathered there, and those of us who had flitted were
settled, or likely to settle, in London. So it was thought that it would
be well for your grandfather, and all of us, if he were to follow, and
move up to the neighbourhood of town. In any case George’s opinion would
have been the first taken on such a step, but in this it was necessary
that he should consent, as Donnington was settled on him. He was very
much attached to the place in which we had all grown up; and local, and
county, and family associations had a peculiarly strong hold on him. But
all these were set aside without a second thought. All he was anxious
about was, that so serious a change should be well considered. “I think,”
he writes to his mother, “you should be cautious about changing. In the
first place, it will cause you personally an immense amount of annoyance,
which you ought never to incur, especially now. Then you will miss your
garden, and your village occupations, and your neighbours. My last
letter might have led you to suppose that I myself preferred Hampstead
to Donnington, but that is not the case. I should consider it desirable
under certain circumstances. If you and my father, and Jeanie and the
rest, think these circumstances exist, I sincerely hope you will change,
and lose no time about it. But do not do a thing which will cause you a
great deal of trouble and annoyance without the clearest grounds. Above
all, believe, and this I say with the most perfect truth, that I shall be
equally happy whichever you do.”


_1849-50:—AN EPISODE._

At the time when my brother’s Harrow engagement came to an end, I had
just settled in a London house, and, to my great delight, he proposed
to come and live with us, and occupy our spare room in Upper Berkeley
Street. Besides all my other reasons for rejoicing at this arrangement,
which you may easily imagine for yourselves when you have read thus far,
there was a special one just at this time, which I must now explain. The
years 1848-9 had been years of revolution, and, as always happens at
such times, the minds of men had been greatly stirred on many questions,
and specially on the problem of the social condition of the great mass
of the poor in all European countries. In Paris, the revolution had
been the signal for a great effort on the part of the workmen; and some
remarkable experiments had been made, both by the Provisional Government
of 1848, and by certain employers of labour, and bodies of skilled
mechanics, with a view to place the conditions of labour upon a more
equitable and satisfactory footing; or, to use the common phrase of the
day, to reconcile the interests of capital and labour. The Government
experiment of “national workshops” had failed disastrously, but a number
of the private associations were brilliantly successful. The history of
some of these associations—of the sacrifices which had been joyfully
made by the associates in order to collect the small funds necessary to
start them—of the ability and industry with which they were conducted,
and of their marvellous effect on the habits of all those engaged in the
work—had deeply interested many persons in England. It was resolved to
try an experiment of the same kind here, but the conditions were very
different. The seed there had already taken root amongst the industrial
classes, and the movement had come from them. Here the workpeople, as a
rule, had no belief in association except for defensive purposes. It was
chiefly amongst young professional men that the idea was working, and it
was necessary to preach it to those whom it most concerned. Accordingly
a society was formed, chiefly of young barristers, under the presidency
of the late Mr. Maurice, who was then Chaplain of Lincoln’s Inn, for
the purpose of establishing associations similar to those in Paris. It
was called the Society for Promoting Working Men’s Associations, and
I happened to be one of the original members, and on the Council. We
were all full of enthusiasm and hope in our work, and of propagandist
zeal: anxious to bring in all the recruits we could. I cannot even now
think of my own state of mind at the time without wonder and amusement.
I certainly thought (and for that matter have never altered my opinion
to this day) that here we had found the solution of the great labour
question; but I was also convinced that we had nothing to do but just
to announce it, and found an association or two, in order to convert
all England, and usher in the millennium at once, so plain did the
whole thing seem to me. I will not undertake to answer for the rest
of the Council, but I doubt whether I was at all more sanguine than
the majority. Consequently we went at it with a will: held meetings at
six o’clock in the morning (so as not to interfere with our regular
work) for settling the rules of our central society, and its offshoots,
and late in the evening, for gathering tailors, shoemakers, and other
handicraftsmen, whom we might set to work; started a small publishing
office, presided over by a diminutive one-eyed costermonger, a rough and
ready speaker and poet (who had been in prison as a Chartist leader),
from which we issued tracts and pamphlets, and ultimately a small
newspaper; and, as the essential condition of any satisfactory progress,
commenced a vigorous agitation for such an amendment in the law as would
enable our infant Associations to carry on their business in safety, and
without hindrance. We very soon had our hands full. Our denunciations of
unlimited competition brought on us attacks in newspapers and magazines,
which we answered, nothing loth. Our opponents called us Utopians and
Socialists, and we retorted that at any rate we were Christians; that
our trade principles were on all-fours with Christianity, while theirs
were utterly opposed to it. So we got, or adopted, the name of Christian
Socialists, and gave it to our tracts, and our paper. We were ready to
fight our battle wherever we found an opening, and got support from the
most unexpected quarters. I remember myself being asked by Mr. Senior, an
old friend of your grandfather, to meet Archbishop Whately, and several
eminent political economists, and explain what we were about. After a
couple of hours of hard discussion, in which I have no doubt I talked
much nonsense, I retired, beaten, but quite unconvinced. Next day, the
late Lord Ashburton, who had been present, came to my chambers and gave
me a cheque for £50 to help our experiment; and a few days later I found
another nobleman, sitting on the counter of our shoemakers’ association,
arguing with the manager, and giving an order for boots.

It was just in the midst of all this that my brother came to live with
us. I had already converted him, as I thought. He was a subscribing
member of our Society, and dealt with our Associations; and I had no
doubt would now join the Council, and work actively in the new crusade.
I knew how sound his judgment was, and that he never went back from a
resolution once taken, and therefore was all the more eager to make
sure of him, and, as a step in this direction, had already placed his
name on committees, and promised his attendance. But I was doomed to
disappointment. He attended one or two of our meetings, but I could
not induce him to take any active part with us. At a distance of
twenty-two years it is of course difficult to recall very accurately
what passed between us, but I can remember his reasons well enough to
give the substance of them. And first, as he had formerly objected to
the violent language of the leaders of the Anti-Corn-Law agitation,
so he now objected to what he looked upon as our extravagance. “You
don’t want to divide other people’s property?” “No.” “Then why call
yourselves Socialists?” “But we couldn’t help ourselves: other people
called us so first.” “Yes; but you needn’t have accepted the name. Why
acknowledge that the cap fitted?” “Well, it would have been cowardly
to back out. We borrow the ideas of these Frenchmen, of association as
opposed to competition as the true law of industry; and of organizing
labour—of securing the labourer’s position by organizing production
and consumption—and it would be cowardly to shirk the name. It is only
fools who know nothing about the matter, or people interested in the
competitive system of trade, who believe, or say, that a desire to
divide other people’s property is of the essence of Socialism.” “That
may be very true: but nine-tenths of mankind, or, at any rate, of
Englishmen, come under one or the other of those categories. If you are
called Socialists, you will never persuade the British public that this
is not your object. There was no need to take the name. You have weight
enough to carry already, without putting that on your shoulders.” This
was his first objection, and he proved to be right. At any rate, after
some time we dropped the name, and turned the “Christian Socialist”
into the “Journal of Association.” And English Socialists generally
have instinctively avoided it ever since, and called themselves
“co-operators,” thereby escaping much abuse in the intervening years.
And, when I look back, I confess I do not wonder that we repelled rather
than attracted many men who, like my brother, were inclined theoretically
to agree with us. For I am bound to admit that a strong vein of
fanaticism and eccentricity ran through our ranks, which the marvellous
patience, gentleness, and wisdom of our beloved president were not enough
to counteract, or control. Several of our most active and devoted members
were also strong vegetarians, and phonetists. In a generation when beards
and wide-awakes were looked upon as insults to decent society, some of us
wore both, with a most heroic indifference to public opinion. In the same
way, there was often a trenchant, and almost truculent, tone about us,
which was well calculated to keep men of my brother’s temperament at a
distance. I rather enjoyed it myself, but learnt its unwisdom when I saw
its effect on him, and others, who were inclined to join us, and would
have proved towers of strength. It was right and necessary to denounce
the evils of unlimited competition, and the falsehood of the economic
doctrine of “every man for himself;” but quite unnecessary, and therefore
unwise, to speak of the whole system of trade as “the disgusting vice of
shop-keeping,” as was the habit of several of our foremost and ablest

But what really hindered my brother from taking an active share in our
work was not these eccentricities, which soon wore off, and were, at the
worst, superficial. When he came to look the work fairly in the face,
he found that he could not heartily sympathise with it; and the quality
of thoroughness in him, which your grandfather notices, would not let
him join half-heartedly. His conclusion was reached somehow in this way:
“It comes to this, then. What you are all aiming at is, the complete
overthrow of the present trade system, and the substitution of what,
you say, will prove a more honest and righteous one. It is not simply a
question of setting up, and getting a legal status for, these half-dozen
associations of tailors and shoemakers, and these grocery stores. If the
principle is good for anything, it must spread everywhere, and into every
industrial process. It can’t live peaceably side by side with the present
system. They are absolutely antagonistic, and the one must cast out the
other. Isn’t that so?” I, of course, could not deny the conclusion.
“Well, then,” his argument went on, “I don’t see my way clearly enough
to go on. Your principle I can’t object to. It certainly seems truer,
and stronger, and more in accord with Christianity, than the other.
But, after all, the business of the world has always gone on upon the
other, and the world has had plenty of time to get to understand its own
business. You may say the results are not satisfactory, are proofs that
the world has done nothing but blunder. It may be so: but, after all,
experience must count for something, and the practical wear and tear of
centuries. Self-interest may be a low motive, but the system founded upon
it has managed somehow, with all its faults, to produce a very tolerable
kind of world. When yours comes to be tried practically, just as great
abuses may be found inseparable from it. You may only get back the old
evils under new forms. The long and short of it is, I hate upsetting
things, which seems to be your main object. You say that you like to see
people discontented with society as it is, and are ready to help to make
them so, because it is full of injustice, and abuses of all kinds, and
will never be better till men are thoroughly discontented. I don’t see
these evils so strongly as you do; don’t believe in heroic remedies; and
would sooner see people contented, and making the best of society as they
find it. In fact, I was born and bred a Tory, and can’t help it.”

I remember it all very vividly, because it was a great grief to me at
the time, chiefly because I was very anxious to have him with us; but,
partly, because I had made so sure of getting him that I had boasted of
it to our Council, which included several of our old school and college
friends. They were delighted, knowing what a valuable recruit he would
prove, and now I had to make the humiliating confession, that I had
reckoned without my host. He continued to pay his subscription, and to
get his clothes at our tailors’ association till it failed, which was
more than some of our number did, for the cut was so bad as to put the
sternest principles to a severe test. But I could see that this was done
out of kindness to me, and not from sympathy with what we were doing.

But my disappointment had at least this good result, that it opened
my eyes thoroughly, and made me tolerant of opposition to my own most
earnest, and deepest, convictions. I have been what I suppose would be
called an advanced Liberal ever since I was at Oxford, but have never
been able to hate or despise the old-fashioned Tory creed; for it was
the creed of almost the kindest, and bravest, and ablest man I have ever
known intimately—my own brother.

I must, however, add here, that he always watched with great interest the
social revolution in which he could not take an active part. In 1851, the
Industrial and Provident Societies’ Act, under which the co-operative
societies of different kinds first obtained legal recognition, was
passed, chiefly owing to the exertions of Mr. Ludlow and other members
of our old Council. There are now more than 1,000 societies registered
under that Act in England alone, doing a yearly business of ten millions
and owning property of the amount of £2,500,000 and upwards; and as he
saw the principle spreading, and working practically, and, wherever
it took root, educating the people in self-control, and thrift, and
independence, he was far too good an Englishman not to rejoice at, and
sympathise with, the result, though I doubt whether he ever quite got
over the feeling of distrust and anxiety with which he regarded even a
peaceful, and apparently beneficent, revolution.

You all know how much I wish that you should take a thorough and
intelligent interest, and, in due time, an active part, in public
affairs. I don’t mean that you should adopt politics as a profession,
because, as matters stand in this country, poor men, as most of you will
be, are not able, as a rule, to do this and retain their independence.
But I want you to try to understand politics, and to study important
questions as they arise, so that you may be always ready to support, with
all the influence you may happen to have, the measures and policy which
you have satisfied yourselves will be best for your country. Of course I
should like to see you all of my own way of thinking; but this is not at
all likely to happen, and I care comparatively little whether you turn
out Liberals or Tories, so that you take your sides conscientiously, and
hold to them through good and evil report; always remembering, at the
same time, that those who are most useful and powerful in supporting a
cause, are those who know best what can be said against it; and that your
opponents are just as likely to be upright and honest men as yourselves,
or those with whom you agree. My brother’s example taught me this, and I
hope it may do as much for you.

There is a little poem of Lowell’s, which brings out so well the
contrast between the two forces constantly at work in human affairs, and
illustrates so beautifully the tempers which should underlie all action
in them, that I am sure you will thank me for quoting it here. It is
called “Above and Below:”—



    O dwellers in the valley land,
      Who in deep twilight grope and cower,
    Till the slow mountain’s dial-hand
      Shortens to noon’s triumphant hour—
    While ye sit idle, do ye think
      The Lord’s great work sits idle too,
    That light dare not o’erleap the brink
      Of morn, because ’tis dark with you?

    Though yet your valleys skulk in night,
      In God’s ripe fields the day is cried,
    And reapers, with their sickles bright,
      Troop, singing, down the mountain-side:
    Come up, and feel what health there is
      In the frank Dawn’s delighted eyes,
    As, bending with a pitying kiss,
      The night-shed tears of earth she dries.

    The Lord wants reapers: oh, mount up,
      Before Night comes, and cries “Too late!”
    Stay not for taking scrip or cup,
      The Master hungers while ye wait;
    ’Tis from these heights alone your eyes
      The advancing spears of day may see,
    Which o’er the eastern hill-tops rise
      To break your long captivity.



    Lone watcher on the mountain height!
      It is right precious to behold
    The first long surf of climbing light
      Flood all the thirsty east with gold:
    But we, who in the twilight sit,
      Know also that the day is nigh,
    Seeing thy shining forehead lit
      With his inspiring prophecy.

    Thou hast thine office: we have ours:
      God lacks not early service here,
    But what are thine eleventh hours
      He counts with us as morning cheer;
    Our day for Him is long enough,
      And when He giveth work to do,
    The bruisèd reed is amply tough
      To pierce the shield of error through.

    But not the less do thou aspire
      Light’s earlier messages to teach,
    Keep back no syllable of fire—
      Plunge deep the rowels of thy speech.
    Yet God deems not thine aëried flight
      More worthy than our twilight dim—
    For brave obedience, too, is Light,
      And following that is finding Him.



The pleasure of having my brother as an inmate was scarcely dimmed by
this disappointment, and he remained with us until the autumn of 1850, a
white nine months in my life. Your grandfather wrote of him a year later,
when he had engaged himself to be married: “I cannot exactly fancy George
a married man, seeing that to the latest period his ways in this house
have been precisely the same as when he was a Rugby boy—as few wants, and
as little assumption, though I have exhorted him to swagger and order a
little.” And, as it was at Donnington, so it had been in our diminutive
town-house; indeed, I doubt whether any one of you, or any public
school boy, would give so little trouble. He read hard, starting with
me every morning directly after breakfast; went into no society, except
that of a few old friends, and allured me away occasionally on summer
afternoons, from law, and the reform of trade, to a game of cricket with
the Hampstead club, of which he had become a member, or in the Harrow
playing-fields, where he was always more than welcome.

After the long vacation of 1850 he had intended to begin practice in
Doctors’ Commons, but was delayed by an accident. He was struck in the
eye by a spent shot, in cover shooting, and, though the accident proved
not to be a serious one, he was ordered to rest his eyes entirely, and
accordingly settled to spend the winter in Italy. The vexation of such a
check at the opening of his professional career, was almost compensated,
I think, by the delight which this tour gave him. He had never been
abroad at this time, except for a few days in France, and his education
and natural tastes peculiarly fitted him for enjoying Italy thoroughly,
for he was passionately fond of art, as well as a fine classical scholar,
having never dropped his Latin and Greek, as most of us are so apt to do
the moment we have taken our degrees.

He lingered a little in France, on his way south, chiefly to accustom his
ear and tongue to the language, and he writes:—

                                 “MARSEILLES, _December 6th, 1850_.

    “I have not made much progress in French; everyone speaks
    English except the _ouvriers_. I address a waiter in a splendid
    sentence, which I expect will strike him with awe, and impress
    him with my knowledge of the French language, and he takes me
    down by answering in English; as much as to say, ‘For goodness’
    sake speak your own language, and I shall understand you
    better.’ In such a state of things, one can only listen to the
    conversation of Frenchmen with one another, and try to imitate
    their accent. In spite of beard and mustachios, it is _Voilà
    les Anglais_ wherever we go. The only person who passes for a
    Frenchman is one of our American fellow-travellers, who has
    grown a most venerable beard; but, as he pronounces French
    just as if it were English, and calls Dijon ‘_Dee John_,’ he
    is afraid to open his mouth for fear of being convicted as an
    impostor immediately. I think an Englishman’s walk betrays him;
    I think there is an unconscious swagger about it, which savours
    strongly of ‘ros-bif,’ and which the French detect in a moment.
    However, they are most polite and obliging, and I think they
    would be glad to do you any service.”

In Italy, he went from city to city, revelling in picture galleries
and studios, as his eyes regained strength; taking lessons in Italian,
visiting spots of historical interest, and sympathising with, and
appreciating, the Italians, while wondering at their patience under the
yoke of their Governments. It was the same winter which Mr. Gladstone
spent in Italy, and signalized by his pamphlet on the political prisoners
at Naples. Fortunately for my brother, he found Mr. Senior and his family
at Naples, and again at Rome, and through their kindness, and that of
Lady Malcolm, saw as much of Italian society as he cared for. A few
selections from his letters will show you how he spent his time, and the
impressions which his Italian travel left on his mind:—

                                        “NAPLES, _January 7, 1851_.

    “There is a party of street-singers, and a Punch, outside under
    my window, who distract me horribly. They have an eternal tune
    here, which every ragged boy sings; it is called, I believe,
    ‘_Io ti voglio_,’ and is rather pretty, but you may have
    too much of a good thing. The beggars are most amusing, and
    certainly work very hard in their vocation. There is an old
    woman who lies on the ground in a fit all day long; another
    elderly female stands by her in a despairing attitude, to
    draw attention to her protracted sufferings, and receive the
    contributions of the credulously benevolent. But the old lady
    is nothing to a boy, who lies on the ground and bellows like
    a bull positively for three or four hours together; I quite
    admire the energy with which he follows his profession. From
    the number of crippled and deformed persons one sees, I am
    inclined to believe that the Neapolitans purposely mutilate
    themselves in order to succeed better in their favourite
    calling. They will do anything sooner than work usefully.
    Punch and the singers have gone, and I am at peace. All that I
    see of continental countries makes me more glad that I am an
    Englishman. None of them seem secure. The poor Pope is kept
    at Rome by the French; and here they say the King is very
    unpopular, except with the lowest class. This consciousness of
    insecurity makes them very suspicious and harsh. Two or three
    days ago an Italian, the legal adviser to our Embassy, was
    popped into prison on suspicion of correspondence with Mazzini.
    Fancy Queen Victoria putting an Englishman into Newgate on her
    own authority for receiving a letter from a Chartist. I suppose
    they are obliged to be harsh to prevent revolutions; thank
    Heaven, England is free and loyal.”

                                       “NAPLES, _January 13, 1851_.

    “I have discovered a cousin on board the English war steamer;
    he is one of the midshipmen, and on Thursday I took a boat
    to pay him a visit. I was obliged to obtain permission from
    the police to go on board. There are a quantity of miserable
    refugees lying concealed in Naples, watching their opportunity
    to get on board the English ship, where they are safe under the
    protection of our flag. Four are on board already, but there
    are two police-boats constantly on the look-out near our ship,
    to prevent more from coming. Is it not a miserable state of

                                             “ROME, _January 1851_.


    “.... Tell my father that I have been very extravagant. I have
    bought a copy in marble of the Psyche in the Museum at Naples;
    a very clever artist is executing it for me, and it will be
    finished about the middle of April. Mr. Senior is also having
    a copy taken. I do not know if my father knows the statue.
    It is attributed to Praxiteles. Nothing has pleased me so
    much, except perhaps the Dying Gladiator; and as it is very
    simple, the cost of the copy is comparatively trifling. It will
    look very well against the dark oak of your drawing-room at
    Donnington, and I hope you will approve of my taste.”

                                         “ROME, _January 28, 1851_.

    “We saw two things yesterday which will interest you: the
    catacombs in which the early Christian martyrs were buried,
    and in which the Christians met during the persecutions to
    worship God. They are immense subterranean passages, extending,
    they say, twenty miles; but you can only see a part, as they
    are closed, for fear of affording shelter to thieves. The
    other thing was, a little church about two miles from Rome,
    on the Appian Road, to which a beautiful legend is attached.
    It is said that St. Peter, during the persecution in which
    he suffered martyrdom, lost heart, and fled from Rome by the
    Appian Road; he had arrived at the spot where the church now
    stands, when our Lord appeared to him, going towards Rome. The
    Apostle exclaimed in astonishment, ‘Lord, whither goest thou?’
    The answer was, ‘I go to Rome to be crucified again.’ Whereupon
    Peter turned back, and re-entered the city, and suffered the
    death which had been predicted for him. There is no reason why
    this should not be true, but, true or not, it is a beautiful
    story, and I was much interested by it. They show a stone with
    the impression of our Lord’s feet upon it, which is kept as a

    “_February 10, 1851._—I think that my Italian progresses
    favourably. My master tells me that I _pronounce_ it better
    than any other of his pupils; and as he is very strict, and
    finds fault with everything else, I suppose I must believe that
    he speaks the truth.”

    “_February 18, 1851._—You will be glad to hear that I have
    returned to Rome from my walking tour without having been
    robbed, or murdered; but, indeed, I must repeat, that the good
    gentleman your informant must have been dreaming. We received
    nothing but kindness and civility, and I believe that _you_
    might walk along the same mountain paths with equal safety. As
    for us, we looked much too rough a lot to tempt robbers, being
    rather like banditti ourselves. One of my companions wore a
    venerable beard, and I am afraid we both looked picturesque
    ruffians. Our other companion looked tame, and carried an
    umbrella. We used to take a cup of coffee and a roll soon
    after sunrise, then walk to some romantic village about ten
    miles off, and there breakfast. Our breakfast consisted of an
    omelette, a _frittata_ as they call it here, which we cooked
    ourselves. We used to rush into an _osteria di cucina_ in a
    state of ravenous hunger. ——, my friend with the beard, who
    is a very good cook, seizes the frying-pan, I beat up the
    eggs, and S—— is degraded into scullion, to cut up some ham
    and an onion!! I believe the people think us mad. They could
    not conceive why we liked to cook our own breakfast, and walk
    when we might have ridden. After breakfast, it was so hot that
    we used to select a convenient spot on the hill-side, and
    lie down for an hour, and then continue our walk till about
    sunset, when we reached our resting-place for the night. In
    this way we saw some of the most beautiful country you can
    imagine. Every little exertion we made in climbing a rock was
    amply rewarded by something most strange and picturesque. The
    towns are particularly striking, some of them being built on
    the very top of mountains nearly 3,000 feet high, and reached
    with difficulty, by a narrow winding path. I am convinced
    that a walking tour is the only plan of really seeing Italian
    scenery. I made some sketches, but am sorry to say that,
    coming into Rome on Saturday night, my pocket was picked of
    my sketch-book (a very useless prize to anyone but the owner,
    and perhaps you), so I lost them all. I am excessively vexed,
    for I wanted to show you the sort of places where we took our
    mid-day’s rest. Tivoli was our last stage, and perhaps the
    most interesting,—there is such a splendid waterfall there.
    Even if I do not see Turin, I shall be quite satisfied with my
    recollections of it.”

After this he hastened home, meeting with no more serious adventure than
the one recorded in a letter to the same correspondent, as follows:—

    “I travelled from Chambery to Lyons all alone in a _coupée_
    with an Italian lady! Horrid situation! and what made it worse
    was, that the poor thing was very tired this morning, and fell
    fast asleep, and whilst in a state of oblivion, dropped her
    head comfortably on to my arm. After revolving in my mind this
    alarming state of things, I thought it would be best to feign
    to be asleep myself; and accordingly, when we jolted over a
    gutter, and she awoke with a start, she found me with my eyes
    shut, and snoring. I hope I acted it well, but could hardly
    help laughing. I shortly afterwards rubbed my eyes and awoke,
    and she gave me a roll and some chocolate, for which I was very
    thankful; so I suppose she approved of my conduct.”

He returned entirely restored to health, and so good an Italian scholar,
that he was able to write fluently in the language, and to dedicate the
little objects of art, which he brought home as presents, in appropriate

One of these was an inkstand in the shape of an owl, now very common,
which he presented to Lady Salusbury, a kinswoman of your grandfather,
to whose adopted daughter he had lately engaged himself, with this

    “‘La stolidezza copresi talvolta di sembiante
    Savio; siccome per dar ricovero all’ inchi ostro
    Si fodera con piombo la civelta di bronzo
    Immago dell’ uccello di sapienza.’

    “Ecco la finta pompa dell’ uccello!
    Il quale, sotto ’l grave e savio viso
    Avendo pur di piombo il cervello
    Fra i tutti poi commuove il forte riso—

    “Così si trova dal sembiante bello
    Talvolta lo bel spirito diviso,
    Si trova con la roba da Dottore
    Di piombo pur la testa, ed anch’ il cuore.”

To the young lady herself he wrote on his return: “I have continued
writing a journal, and you will be astonished to hear that your name
is not once mentioned in it. It is, however, written in invisible ink
across every page. It may be absurd, but I consider my feelings towards
you so sacred, that I should not like to parade them even to my nearest



On his return from his Italian tour my brother at once commenced practice
in the Ecclesiastical Courts, and took a small house in Bell Yard,
Doctors’ Commons, where he went to reside, and which he describes to his
mother as follows:—

    “_April 1851._—I am in excellent health and spirits. I have a
    funny little house here: there are three floors and two rooms
    on each: then there is a ground-floor, the front room of which
    I use as an office, and the back room as a bath room, for I
    stick diligently to the cold-water system. A kitchen below
    completes my establishment. I have a housekeeper, who sits
    downstairs in the kitchen and sleeps in the top story; she is
    miraculously clean and tidy, and cooks very well, although I
    never dine at home. She is also a wonderful gossip.”

Here he practised for a few years regularly, and with very fair success,
but his professional career was destined to be short and broken, and
need not detain us. It is his home life with which we are concerned, and
it was the pressure of what he looked upon as a higher home duty which
decided him, after a struggle, to abandon his profession. He was married
in the autumn of 1852, and, in the course of a few years, the health
of his wife’s mother by adoption made it desirable that they should be
always with her, and that she should spend the winter months abroad.
When it became clear that this was necessary, he accepted it, and made
the best of it; though I find abundant traces in his correspondence of
the effort which it required to do so. Thus he writes from Pau, the
place fixed upon for their foreign winter residence, “I always found
that changing one’s residence and plans gave one a fit of the blues for
a time, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter.” And again; “The business
of life is to be bored in all directions. You must not imagine, however,
that I am ill, or out of spirits. I have no right to be either, and
won’t be, please God.” But the necessary want of regular employment, the
sinking into what is called “an idle man,” and abandoning all active
part in “the struggle for existence,” was no small trial to one who
held that the “full employment of all powers, physical, mental, and
spiritual, is the true secret of happiness, so that no time may be left
for morbid self-analysis.” You are all perhaps too young to understand
this, and probably, when you think about such matters at all, imagine
that the happiest life must be one in which you would only have to
amuse yourselves. It may, I hope, shake any such belief to find that
the period in my brother’s life in which he was thus thrown on his own
resources, and had the most complete liberty to follow his own fancies,
was just that in which you may find traces of _ennui_, and a tendency to
be dissatisfied with the daily task of getting through time.

He took the best course of getting rid of the blues, however, by throwing
himself heartily into such occupations as were to be had at Pau. The
chief of these was a Pen and Pencil Club, to which most of the English
and American residents belonged, and of which he became the secretary.
Besides the ordinary meetings, for which he wrote a number of _vers
de société_, on the current topics and doings of the place, the Club
indulged in private theatricals. On these occasions he was stage manager,
and frequently author; most of the charades and short pieces, which you
have seen, and acted in, at Offley, were originally written by him for
the Pen and Pencil Club at Pau. “It was a mild literary society,” an
old friend writes to me, “which he carried almost entirely on his own
shoulders, and made a success.” Then he set to work for the first time
to cultivate in earnest his talent for music, and took to playing the
violoncello, communicating intelligence of his own progress, and of
musical doings at Pau generally, to his sister, whom he looked upon as
his guide and instructress. These were not always devoid of incident, as
for instance the following:—

                                             “PAU, VILLA SALUSBURY.

    “We have an opera here this season. The _prima donna_ and the
    tenor are good; the rest so-so. The orchestra and chorus bad;
    the basso execrable: when he doesn’t bellow like a bull, he
    neighs like a horse; however, he does his best. I don’t know
    how you feel, but to me a mediocre opera is an unmitigated
    bore. I would rather by half hear a good French play. There
    was a scene at the opera the other night. The conductor of
    the orchestra is the _amant_ of the contralto. Just before
    the opera began, the conductor in a jealous fit tried to
    strangle the contralto: whereupon the basso profundo knocked
    the conductor down: whereupon the conductor ran off towards the
    river to drown himself: whereupon he was knocked down again
    to save his life: whereupon he threatened to cut everybody’s
    throat: whereupon he was locked up in prison, and there
    remains. So there is no conductor, and the contralto can’t sing
    from the throttling.”

The violoncello soon grew to be a resource, and I believe he played
really well, though he used to groan to me as to the impossibility of
adapting adult fingers to the work, and to mourn over the barbarism of
our school days, when no one ever thought of music as a possible study
for boys. Soon, however, other objects of deeper interest began to gather
round him. His eldest boy was born in 1853, his second in 1855, during
their summer in England.

    “The young one,” he writes to his sister, “is like his
    mamma, they say, and is going to be dark, which will be a
    good contrast to Herbert, who is a regular Saxon. I want his
    (Herbert’s) yellow hair to grow long that it may be done into
    a pigtail; I think it would look quaint and create a sensation
    among the Cockneys, but I’m afraid I shan’t get my own way.
    To return to the new arrival, you will be happy to hear that
    he inherits your talent for music; he is always meandering
    with his hands as if he was playing the violoncello; it is a
    positive fact, I assure you, and makes me laugh to bursting
    point. A—— must have been more struck with my performances than
    I had credited. I feel quite flattered to possess an infant
    phenomenon who played (or would have played) the violoncello,
    if we had let him, from his birth. In the meantime that
    instrument has been somewhat neglected by me. A——, the baby,
    and the partridges (what a conjunction), divide my allegiance.
    However, my music mania is as strong as ever, in spite of
    the rather excruciating tones which all beginners draw from
    the instrument: they tell me that the sounds resemble the
    bellowings of a bereaved cow; luckily the house is a large one.”

He took to farming also, as another outlet for superfluous energy, but
without much greater success than generally falls to the lot of amateurs.
Indeed, his long winter absences from England kept him from gaining
anything more than a superficial knowledge of agriculture, such as is
disclosed in the following note to his mother, in answer to inquiries as
to crops and prospects:—

    “Farming is better certainly this year than the last, but we
    farmers always grumble, as you know, and I don’t like to say
    anything until the new wheat is threshed. You ought to sow your
    tares and rye immediately, and they will do very well after
    potatoes; they ought to be well manured. If you mean by ‘rye’
    Italian rye-grass, I don’t exactly know when it is best to sow
    it; in the spring I believe, but I have never had any yet, and
    you must ask about it. One thing I know, that it ought to have
    liquid manure, to be put on directly after cutting; this will
    give you a fresh crop in a little more than a month.”

When the Volunteer movement began, he threw himself into it at once; for
no man was more impatient of, or humiliated by, the periodical panics
which used to seize the country. He helped to raise a corps in his
own neighbourhood, of which he became captain, and went to one of the
first classes for Volunteers at the School of Musketry, to make himself
competent to teach his men. As to the result he writes:—

                                               “UNDERCLIFF, _1860_.

    “Our schooling at Hythe terminated on Friday last, on which
    day 100 lunatics were let loose upon society. I say lunatics,
    because all of us just now have but one idea, and talk,
    think, and dream of nothing but the rifle (call it Miss
    Enfield) morning, noon, and night. Colonel Welsford, the chief
    instructor, is a charming man and a delightful lecturer, and
    withal a greater lunatic than any of us—just the right man in
    the right place. I shot fairly, but did not distinguish myself
    as Harry did.”

I spoke of his “_vers de société_” just now, and in this connection
will here give you a specimen of them. The expenses of the corps of
course considerably exceeded the Government grant, and the deficiency
had to be met somehow. My brother started a theatrical performance in
the Town Hall, Hitchin, as a method at once of making both ends meet,
and of interesting the townspeople in the corps. The last piece of the
entertainment was one of his own. The characters were played chiefly
by members of his own family. He himself acted the part of a pompous
magistrate, and at the close spoke the following


    “Silence in Court! what’s this unseemly rumpus?
    Attention to the parting words of Bumpus.
    Tired of disguise, of borrowed rank and station,
    Thus in a trice I work my transformation.
    His wig and nose removed, the beak appears
    A simple officer of Volunteers,
    Who to himself restored, and sick of mumming,
    Begs leave to thank you each and all for coming,
    Spite of cross roads, dark lanes, tenacious clay,
    And benches not too soft, to hear our play.
    Next, to those friends my warmest thanks are due
    Who give their aid to-night, but chief to you
    Who for my sake, and only for to-day,
    O’ercome your natural shyness of display.
    Now comes the hardest portion of my task,
    A most momentous question ’tis to ask.
    I pause for your reply with bated breath—
    I humbly hope you’ve not been bored to death?
    Thanks for the signal which success assures;
    Welcome to all, but most to amateurs.
    Thanks, gentle friends, your welcome cheers proclaim
    We have not altogether missed our aim.
    Not ours your hearts to thrill, your tears to move,
    With Hamlet’s madness, Desdemona’s love.
    We dare not bid in high heroic strain
    Wolsey or Richelieu rise and breathe again.
    We walk in humbler paths, and cannot hope
    (To quote the spirit-stirring verse of Pope)
    ‘To wake the soul with tender strokes of Art,
    To raise the genius and to mend the heart;
    To make mankind in conscious virtue bold,
    Live o’er each scene and be what they behold.’
    No—with deep reverence for these nobler views,
    We seek not to instruct you, but amuse;
    To make you wiser, better, we don’t claim—
    To make you laugh, our only end and aim.
    And as the test of everything, men say,
    Is just this simple question—does it pay?
    Well, then (I speak for self and comrades present),
    This acting pays us well; we find it pleasant.
    If at the same time it amuses you,
    We reap a double gain vouchsafed to few,
    To please ourselves and please our neighbours too.
    Besides, to-night in more material sense,
    It pays us well in shillings, pounds, and pence.
    Your dollars flush our regimental till,
    But in more sterling coin we’re richer still:
    Yes, doubly, trebly, rich in your goodwill.
    And so farewell! but stop, before we part,
    We’ll sing one song and sing it from the heart.
    Just one song more: you guess the song I mean:
    Our brave time-honoured hymn, ‘God save the Queen.’”

He continued also to act as mentor to his younger brothers, two of whom
went in due course to Cambridge, and, to his great delight, pulled in
their college racing boat (Trinity Hall), which was then at the head of
the river. He often visited them at Cambridge, and, whenever he could
manage it, would spend some part of the vacation with them, joining them
in all their amusements, and helping them in their studies. You may judge
of the sort of terms they were on, by this extract from a letter to his
mother in August 1856:—

    “We shall be very happy to join you in Scotland. I want to
    know whether _good_ fishing tackle is procurable at Stirling,
    or in the neighbourhood of Callender. At Edinbro’ and Glasgow
    I know it can be obtained, and much cheaper than in London.
    Perhaps Harry can inform me, if he is not too much occupied in
    discovering the value of χ, which I believe is the great object
    of mathematics (I speak it not profanely). Tell Harry and
    Arthur I expect to find them both without breeches.

        ‘Those swelling calves were never meant
          To shun the public eye,’

    as Dr. Watts remarks, or would have remarked if he had written
    on the subject.”

Such occupations as these, with magistrate’s work, and field sports taken
in moderation, served to fill up his time, and would have satisfied most
men situated as he was. But he could never in all these years get the
notion quite out of his head (though it wore off later) that he was not
doing his fair share of work in the world, and was a useless kind of
personage, for whom no one was much the better but his wife and children,
and whom nobody but they would miss. This feeling showed itself in his
immense respect for those who were working in regular professions, and in
the most conscientious scrupulousness about taking up their time. Often
he has come to my chambers, and, after hurrying through some piece of
family business, has insisted on going away directly, though I might not
have seen him for a month, and was eager to talk on fifty subjects. The
sight of open papers was enough for him; and he had not practised long
enough to get the familiarity which breeds contempt, and to know how
gladly the busiest lawyer puts aside an Abstract, or Interrogatories in
Chancery, for the chance of a pleasant half-hour’s gossip.

I think, however, that I can show you clearly enough, in a very few
words, what his real work in the world was during these years, and how
perfectly unconscious he was that he was doing it faithfully. In 1857,
your grandfather had a dangerous attack of illness, from which he never
recovered. George was with him and nursed him during the crisis. As
soon as he was well enough to use a pen, he wrote as follows to Lady

    “Amongst other things it occurs to me how much I have had to
    thank God for through life, and how my family have always drawn
    together in the way I wished them. And here I should be doing
    injustice to George, if I did not in my own mind trace much
    of this happy result to his quiet and imperceptible influence
    as an elder brother, in many ways of which my wife and I were
    not exactly cognizant at the time. Perhaps I am thinking
    more about him just now as he was in his natural place as my
    right-hand man when I was taken unwell; and when I say truly,
    that neither his mother or I ever had even an unkind word or
    disrespectful look from him since he was born, and that his
    constant study through life, as far as we are concerned, has
    been to spare us rather than give us trouble, and throw his
    own personal interests over much more than we chose to allow
    him, it is especially for the purpose of giving dear A—— (her
    adopted daughter) a precedent to quote with her own lips in
    the training of her own boys which I know will be particularly
    acceptable to herself. It is the last theme on which he would
    like to expatiate, but that such was my deliberate and true
    opinion, will be, I doubt not, one of these days, a source of
    satisfaction to them both, and to the children.”

Your grandfather died shortly afterwards, and a year later George wrote
to his mother:—

    “I feel that we have great cause for gratitude and rejoicing
    _as a family_; I mean for the way in which we hang together,
    and the utter absence of any subject of discord or disagreement
    between any of our members. I think we may well be happy, even
    while thinking of what happened this time last year, as I have
    done very frequently of late.”

He would have been impatient, almost angry, if anyone had told him that
the “hanging together,” at which he rejoiced, was mainly his own doing.

In the village, too, he was beginning to find occupation of the most
useful kind. Thus he opened a village reading-room for the labourers,
which was furnished with books and papers, and lighted and warmed, every
evening from seven to nine. “Hitherto it is a great success,” he writes
in 1868: “we have fifty members who subscribe 2_d._ a week, and we give
them a cup of coffee and a biscuit for 1_d._ Some of them drink five
or six cups a night. Whether coffee will continue to beat beer I don’t
know, but at present it keeps them from the public-house, and saves
their wages for their wives. Some of them are very fond of reading, and
the rest play draughts and dominoes.” Then there were frequent “laundry
entertainments,”—penny readings, or theatrical performances in the big
laundry,—of which his sister writes: “The boys and Mr. Phillips and I
used to make the music, but the great hits of the evening were always
George’s. He used to recite ‘The One-horse Chay,’ or some Ingoldsby
Legend, or ‘The Old Woman of Berkeley,’ or sing a comic song, and the
people liked his performances better than anything. Like all very
reserved people, he acted wonderfully well, and always knew how every
part should be done, so he used to coach us all when a play was being
got up. But he would never criticise unless asked: he always thought
that people knew as well as he did how to do their parts, but they did
not. He was always so droll on these occasions. When a performance was
proposed by the boys, he used to say it was too much trouble, and that he
wanted to be left quiet. But they always got their way, and when it was
inevitable he would learn his entire part while we others were mastering
a page. I was always whip, because I could not stand doing anything by
halves, and used to drive everyone mercilessly till the scenes began
to go smoothly. He would sometimes rehearse his part almost under his
breath, gabbling it off with the book in his hand, and then I would
remonstrate, and he would go through it splendidly, as well as on the day
of performance.”

But the reform which he had most at heart he never lived to carry out.
The industry of straw-plaiting, which prevails in the neighbourhood,
while it enables the women and girls to earn high wages, makes them bad
housewives, all their cooking and cleaning being neglected, while they
run in and out of neighbours’ houses, gossiping and plaiting. In the hope
of curing this evil he looked forward to fitting up a large barn in the
village as a sort of general meeting-place. Here, when he had made the
roof air-tight, and laid down a good floor, there was to be a stove for
cooking and baking, and appliances for instruction in other household
work. Under his wife and sister there were to be “cooking classes, sewing
classes, and singing classes; and, in the evenings, entertainments for
the poor people, a piano and night classes, sometimes theatricals, and
often concerts, and when the boys wanted to dance they were to have their
dances there. He used to think that constant meetings in the barn would
humanize us all, and be a very pleasant thing for making rich and poor
meet on equal terms.” It is perhaps vain to dwell upon such things, but
I cannot help hoping that some day those of you who have the opportunity
of realizing such plans may remember to what purposes the big barn was
once destined. Of one other part of his village work, his Sunday evening
classes for the big boys, I shall have to speak presently.

But you must not suppose from anything in this chapter that he ever
lost his interest in politics, or public affairs. He was always a keen
politician, retaining, however, all his early beliefs. “You have all got
far beyond me,” he writes to his sister; “and my dear mother turning
Radical in her old age is delightful.” Perhaps the most ardent politician
amongst us all is the best witness to call on this subject. “I don’t
think anything was more remarkable about George than his politics. He,
who was so good an old Tory in many ways, showed that he believed in a
universal principle and duty underlying all the political opinions about
the best means of carrying out reforms. I think it is very rare, when
people are discussing politics, to find this constant recognition of
something beyond party nostrums. But (as in his father) I have always
detected it in George; and, when I have got very hot whilst propounding
Radicalism against all the rest here, have always found sympathy from
him at the bottom; and I have always felt at last how much more truly
liberal he was at heart than we Radicals, because we are always wanting
to force on our opinions our own way, whilst in him I always recognized
a divine sort of justice and patience, which used to make me feel very
conceited, and wanting in faith. He was born with aristocratic instincts,
being by nature intensely sensitive and refined, with a loathing of
anything blatant and in bad taste, and with an intense love of justice;
and the unwise, violent, foolish way in which many men like —— expound
their doctrines disgusted him beyond measure, though he would always
recognize the real truth that lay at the bottom of Radicalism.”

But he shall speak for himself on one great event, which you are all old
enough to remember, the late war between France and Germany. Almost the
first incident of the war—the despatch of the then Emperor, speaking
of the Prince Imperial’s “baptism of fire”—roused his indignation so
strongly that it found vent in the following lines:—

    By! baby Bunting,
    Daddy’s gone a hunting,
    Bath of human blood to win,
    To float his baby Bunting in.
                      By, baby Bunting.

    What means this hunting?
    Listen! baby Bunting—
    Wounds—that you may sleep at ease,
    Death—that you may reign in peace.
                      Sweet baby Bunting.

    Yes, baby Bunting!
    Jolly fun is hunting!
    Jacques in front shall bleed and toil,
    You in safety gorge the spoil.
                      Sweet baby Bunting.

    Mount! baby Bunting,
    Ride to Daddy’s hunting!
    On its quiet cocky-horse,
    Two miles in the rear, of course.
                      Precious baby Bunting.

    Ah, baby Bunting!
    Oftentimes a hunting,
    Eager riders get a spill—
    Let us hope your Daddy will.
                      Poor little Bunting.

    Perpend, my small friend,
    After all this hunting,
    When the train at last moves on
    Daddy’s gingerbread “salon”
                      May get a shunting.

    Poor baby Bunting!
    Curse on such a hunting!
    Woe to him who bloods a child
    For ambitious visions wild,
                      Poor baby Bunting!

“_October 6th, 1870._—I am, I think, rapidly changing sides about this
horrid war. You know I was a tremendous Prussian at the outset, but
(although the French deserve all they get) I really can’t stand the
bombardment of Paris; besides, Bismarck is repulsive.”

                                                   “OFFLEY, _1871_.

    “I think that the high and mighty tone assumed by Herr Gustave
    Solling (German superhuman excellence, Handel, Beethoven,
    Minnesingers, &c.) the worst possible vehicle for the defence
    of the German terms of peace. When a man talks ‘buncombe,’ it
    shows that he has an uneasy feeling that his case is a weak
    one. The cynical line is the right one for the Germans; why not
    say, in the words of Wordsworth,—

        ‘And why? Because the good old rule
          Sufficeth them; the simple plan,
        That they should take who have the power,
          And they should keep who can.’

    But pray don’t say this to our cousin, and thank her for her
    translation. You know what I think about the matter; I would
    have gone to war with the French to stop the war; and I would
    have gone to war with the Germans to stop the peace. There’s an
    Irish view of it, from a sincere war-hater.”

The person who knew him best once wrote of your grandfather’s politics:
“Men of all parties speak of him as belonging to their clique. This
proves to me, if I had required the proof to strengthen the conviction,
that there is a point on the plain of politics at which the moderate
Tory, the sensible Whig, and the right-minded Radical, in other words
all true patriots, meet; like the vanishing point in a picture to which
all true and correct lines tend. And thus it is with him: he has reached
that point, and there he foregathers with all of all parties, who,
throwing aside party prejudice, act and think for the good of their

The description, I cannot but think, applied equally well to my brother,
though he continued nominally a Tory to the end, and, as you will all
recollect, lived as quiet, methodical a country life as if he had no
interests in the world beyond crops, field sports, and petty sessions.
But that it must have required a considerable effort on his part to do
this comes out in much of his most intimate correspondence. For instance,
only a month or two before his death he writes to his sister:—“Thanks,
many, for your letter, and Mrs. S——’s. Hers is delightful, and I so fully
understand her feeling. I always feel uncomfortable in point-device
places, where the footman is always brushing your hat, and will insist
upon putting out your clothes, and turning your socks ready to put on,
and, if you say half a word, will even put them on for you. How I hate
being ‘valeted!’ I should like to black my own boots, like Mr. ——, but
then he is (or was) a master of foxhounds, and, being of course on that
account a king of men, can do as he pleases, in spite of Mrs. Grundy.
I am also a gypsey (is that rightly spelt? That word, and some others,
are stumbling-blocks to me; I am afraid all my spelling is an affair of
memory), a Bohemian at heart. I sometimes feel an almost irresistible
desire to doff my breeches and paint myself blue. I should also like
(I would limit myself to one month per annum) to go with a carpet-bag
to the nearest station, and to rough it in all sorts of outlandish
places—but then A—— can’t rough it, and there are the brats, and lots
of other impediments. The very act of wandering anywhere delights me.
I think we spoil half the enjoyment of life by being too particular;
how terrible dinner-parties are becoming! But enough of my sermon. In
spite of my secret longings I shall continue to do as my neighbours, and
it would be wicked in my case to be discontented. They threatened to
nominate me Chairman of the Board of Guardians here, but finding that
the Vice-chairman was standing (and thinking him better qualified), I
declined any contest, and was not put up. I am sorry for it, for the
office, although troublesome, is capable of being made useful, and I
think I should have liked it in time;” and then comes a sentence which
may serve to explain to some of you your feelings towards him—“I cannot
forgive —— for putting ——” (one of his nephews) “on a bolting horse. If
you do mount a boy, you ought to give him the cleverest and quietest
horse in your stable, and no sportsman would do otherwise.”

There is one more trait in his character which I must not omit here, as I
wish to give you as perfect a knowledge of him as I have myself. I have
already told you how very scrupulous he was with regard to money matters.
He had, indeed, a horror of debt which made him morbidly sensitive on
the subject; and he recognized the fact, and treated himself for it as
he would have done for a fit of bile, or any other physical disorder. On
more than one occasion, when some unlooked for expenditure seemed likely
to bring on a more than usually severe attack, he cured himself by some
piece of unwonted extravagance, such as buying a diamond ornament for
his wife, or making a handsome present to some poor relation. The remedy
answered perfectly in his case; but I am bound to add that it is one
which I cannot recommend as a specific without the warning, that, before
using it, you-must satisfy yourselves, as he always did, that there were
no reasonable grounds for uneasiness.

But if he sometimes worried himself about money, he kept his anxiety
to himself, and was constantly doing the most liberal acts in the most
thoughtful manner. Of the many instances I could give of this, I select
one, which an old friend has communicated to me with permission to
mention it. I give it in his own words:—“There is one little incident
connected with his personal relations to me which I shall always remember
with feelings of gratitude and pleasure. When the Suez Canal was opened I
had an offer of a free passage out and home in a P. and O. steamer, and
I was rather exercised in my mind by not feeling it prudent to accept,
as I knew that living in Egypt for a fortnight at that time would be
very expensive, and I knew that I could not afford it. I happened to be
writing to him about that time, and mentioned this in my letter. By
return of post he sent me a cheque for £50, begging me to accept it as a
loan, to be paid when I had as much to spare, or never if I preferred it.
I did not take advantage of his generous kindness, and I declare I almost
regret now that I did not, as I believe I should have given him sincere
pleasure in so doing.”



The doubts as to his own usefulness in the world, noticed in the last
chapter, wore off naturally as he fell into the routine of country life;
but it was the growth of the younger generation—of you for whom this
sketch is written—which found him in work and interest during the last
years of his life. I could never have envied him anything; but if there
was one talent of his more than another which I have longed to share, it
was his power of winning, not only the love, but the frank confidence, of
his own, and all other boys. I think the secret was, that he was far more
in sympathy with them; could realize more vividly their pleasures, and
troubles, than almost any man of his age. And then, he had never given
up athletic games altogether, and was still a far better cricketer and
football player than most boys, and ready to join them in their sports
whenever they seemed to wish it.

Few things gave him more pleasure than taking up again the thread of
intimate relations with his old school, which he did when his eldest
nephew entered there. He accompanied him, to give him confidence and
a good start, and characteristically recounts that “we had a famous
football match, and I got my legs kicked to my heart’s content, thereby
vividly recalling old times.” He remarks also, at the same time, “Rugby
is charming; only there is rather too much what I call ‘drill,’ in the
play as in the work—not spontaneous enough.” Not long after, in 1866, his
own eldest boy followed. He thus details that event to his mother:—

                                     “OFFLEY, _September 27, 1866_.

    “We went to Rugby last Thursday, and the new-comers were
    examined on Friday and Saturday. As we rather feared,
    Herby failed to get into the Middle School. We were rather
    disappointed, and he, poor boy, was in despair, as he was
    afraid Arnold would not take him, and that he would have to go
    to Mr. Furness; however, Arnold offered to make an exception
    in his case, and as we joyfully accepted it, Master Herby
    was duly installed in his uncle’s study, and we left him on
    Monday morning very happy, and delighted with his new dignity
    of a public school boy. Our visit to Rugby was very pleasant,
    and not a little exciting. The school is much altered since
    my time—the boys are much more accurately dressed, less
    rollicking, and more decorous. The exceeding quiet of the town
    and playground struck me particularly. I should like to have
    seen a little more running about, and to have heard a little
    more shouting; in fact a jolly curly-haired youngster with whom
    I made a casual acquaintance, said to me, ‘I am sure, sir, you
    must have had much more fun in your time than we have.’ It is
    perhaps just as well that they should have become quieter.
    The recognized name for the anxious parents who bring their
    boys up for examination is the ‘Early Fathers,’ because, I
    suppose, they take care to be at the schoolroom-door with their
    Hopefuls a quarter of an hour before the examination begins.
    Jenny Lind’s boy has just gone to the School-house; he is,
    as boys say, awfully ’cute, and came out nearly head of the
    examination. Jenny Lind was at chapel herself on Sunday; her
    husband has done much for the music of the school; the singing
    in chapel is exceedingly good, and the whole service very
    impressive. The last time I was in chapel there was in poor
    Arnold’s time. The master of Herby’s form, Mr. Buckoll, was my
    old master when I was in the shell thirty years ago! Also Mrs.
    Jacomb, of the principal tuck shop, used to spoil our stomachs
    in my time. I felt myself rather boyish again, without the
    boisterous spirits and good stomach of boyhood.”

From this time he constantly visited the school, and kept his mother and
sister informed of the progress of the boys. I add a few extracts from
his letters:—

    “_November, 1866._—I was at Rugby last Saturday, and stayed
    over Sunday. Walter breakfasted with me on Sunday morning, and
    very jolly he was. He and Herby won’t see much of one another
    until they get higher in the school. Junior boys never enter
    each other’s boarding-houses. This is very absurd, but no power
    on earth can alter boys’ fashions.”

                               “EATON SOCON, _November 26th, 1867_.

    “Boys’ letters get so full of school slang that it is hard to
    understand them. Herbert says in his last that he got 100
    lines from Chumley for _tweaking_. This was Hebrew to us, as
    ‘tweaking’ was not a Rugby word in my time. On referring the
    matter to Ned, he immediately informed us that ‘tweaking’ in
    boys’ language was, shooting shot out of a catapult, or other
    warlike engine.”

                                                   “OFFLEY, _1868_.

    “We have excellent accounts from Rugby. Herbert is at the head
    of his form, and evidently finds his work easier, and is in
    a high state of encouragement. One of his schoolfellows has
    just shot himself in the leg with a ‘saloon,’ meaning a saloon
    pistol. Hang all pistols, but boys will have them.”

                                      “OFFLEY, _October 7th, 1868_.

    “Concerning schoolboys’ etiquette, it beats all other
    etiquette. Public schools cultivate reserve, and so strongly
    that I think one never gets quite rid of it, although one gets
    better in after-life. I wish it was not so; it is one of the
    drawbacks of public schools, which are on the whole excellent
    institutions. One must take the sours with the sweets.

    “Herbert would not think of speaking to a schoolfellow (not
    on a par with himself), unless first spoken to. And in public
    schools the great ‘swells’ are those distinguished at cricket,
    football, &c. Then come the sixth, by virtue of their legal
    power. Then the great middle class, including clever, stupid,
    pleasant, unpleasant, &c., and then the new boys, and the very
    small boys. All the power and influence is in the hands of the
    athletes, and the sixth form, and all the rest pay them (the
    athletes) the greatest respect, and the most willing obedience.
    They obey the sixth (lawful authority) less willingly. All this
    is not quite satisfactory, but it might be worse. At all events
    Temple, who is a tremendous Radical, knows it and allows, nay,
    encourages it. But I find that few people are Radicals in their
    own departments.”

                                     “OFFLEY, _November 7th, 1868_.

    “I went for the day to see the old Rug. match, and gave Walter
    and Herbert a dinner at the ‘Shoes’ before going away. Walter
    played in the match, and the young ones gave it the old Rugs
    hot, much to my delight. Walter seemed wonderfully well, and
    ditto Herbert. He always looks pale at school, but he was
    in high spirits, and evidently enjoys school life. He is
    very different from me in some things; his study is awfully
    ’cute (that’s boys’ English, and means tidy and full of
    knick-knacks); in fact he is a bit of a dandy; I was not. Also
    he must be a better boy than I was, for his character is really
    first-rate in everything; and the masters used always to row me
    for not doing as much as I could. That was the burden of their

As a complement to these letters, I add here extracts from those to his
eldest boy:—

    “Thank you much for your letter received this morning; you are
    very good in writing so regularly, and I hope you will keep up
    the habit, for (I repeat) there is no pleasure to us so great
    as to receive your letters. We are glad to hear you are ‘all
    right’ in your form. I have no objection to the Rifle corps.
    It would be odd if I had, as I was a Volunteer myself; only
    go into it heartily, and learn your drill well. It is capital
    exercise, and it will do you good to be ‘set up,’ as you stoop
    too much. I should not think, however, that Temple would let
    the Rugby volunteers go to Windsor. If he thinks proper to do
    so, of course I have no objection. I suppose that as usual
    you are ‘hard up,’ so I send you a P.O. order. You must learn
    to exercise a little forethought and self-denial about money
    matters: you spend more than your income. You must overcome
    this habit, for it would embarrass and, perhaps, ruin you

The next extract refers to some help in his work which his father sent
him from time to time:—

    “I depend upon your looking out all the words, and working it
    out for yourself with the help of my translation. You promised
    me to do this, and I know you are a boy of your word, otherwise
    I shouldn’t think it right to help you. Your tutor may ask if
    you have any assistance. If he does you must say you found
    it very hard (which it really is for a boy of your age), and
    asked me to help you. There is nothing like being open and
    truth-telling with your masters, and every one. If he objects
    to my helping you, you must do the best you can without it,
    like a man; but I don’t think he will object. Your place in the
    form seems very satisfactory: if you _do_ get out we shall be
    very much pleased, but don’t make yourself anxious about it,
    only do your best....”

Again at the beginning of the following half-year:—

    “The reason you give for having lost a few places is no doubt
    the right one—that you have not got yet into the swing—it will
    be all right in a week or two. I have no doubt you will get
    your remove at the end of term easily enough. The _exam._ (if
    I understand rightly) consists of subjects which you prepare
    during term, and there is not much ‘unseen.’ This will be an
    advantage to you over the idle ones who don’t prepare their
    work. I shall be delighted to help you in any way, if you will
    only let me know, and give me due notice. Perhaps you won’t
    believe me when I assure you again, that Latin prose will come
    to you as well as cricket and football in good time; but it
    is the truth nevertheless. At your age I often felt the same
    discouragement which you feel. I had rather overgrown myself
    like you, and was longer ‘ripening’ (to use an expressive
    phrase) than many fellows who did not grow so fast; but it
    all came right in my case, as it will in yours. Therefore _en
    avant_ and don’t be discouraged....”

    “We are very glad to hear that you are in upper-middle one, and
    it will make us very happy if you can get another remove at
    Christmas. It is to be done if you like, and as you cannot play
    football just now (worse luck) you will have more time. Don’t
    you want some help in your tutor work? If so, send me the book;
    or is there anything else in which I can help you? You are now
    rapidly becoming a young man, and have probably some influence
    in the school, and will have more. Be kind to the new boys and
    juniors; even if they are ‘scrubby,’ your business is to polish
    them, and you will do this much better by a little kind advice
    than by making their lives a burden (I don’t say, mind, that
    you are unkind to them). Don’t ‘bosh’ your masters. Remember
    that they are gentlemen like yourself, and that it is insulting
    them to ‘bosh’ them when they are taking trouble with you. As
    to the sixth form, I don’t quite approve of all the customs
    thereof, but it is an institution of the school, and, on the
    whole, beneficial, and it is no use kicking against it. Now I
    have done with my preaching. I don’t know that it is necessary,
    but it can do you no harm, and I know you respect my opinion.
    Your mother is horrified at your signing yourself ‘Hughes,’
    _tout court_ (as the French say), so to please her don’t forget
    to put in ‘your affectionate son’ (as I know you are). God
    bless you.

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                    “G. E. HUGHES.”

    “I was much pleased by your writing so openly to me. It
    will make me very happy if you will treat me with perfect
    confidence in all matters. You need have no fear that I shall
    not understand and sympathise with you, for although (as we
    have said in joke) I was a Rugbeian in the time of the ancient
    Britons, when we had no breeches, and painted ourselves blue
    for decency’s sake, it seems to me a very short time since I
    was as you are, and I have a very vivid recollection of my
    youth, feelings, prejudices, faults, and all the rest of it.”

And then, after some advice about his matriculation at Oxford, his father
goes on:—

    “I am not going to preach to you about billiards. If there had
    been a table at Rugby in my time (there was none), I might
    very possibly have played myself; although, like you, I should
    certainly not have made a habit of it, preferring, as I did
    and do, more active amusements. Don’t play again at Rugby; it
    would be childish, as well as wrong, to risk leaving the school
    under a cloud, for such a paltry gratification. I don’t agree
    with you in comparing billiards to your school games: billiards
    (public) generally involve smoking, and a certain amount of
    drinking, and losing money (or winning, which is worse); and
    engender a sort of lounging habit. I am afraid you have rather
    a fast lot at Rugby, and what you tell me about card-playing
    makes me rather anxious about Jack. It is altogether abominably
    bad form, and I wish you would get up an opposition to it. It
    ought to be put down for the credit of the school. I must say
    that there was no such card-playing in my time. Having said my
    say, I must leave you to do what you can, in concert with any
    other big fellows in the house, who may be brought to see the
    matter in my light.”

The “Jack” referred to in the last letter was his third boy, who was
now in his first term at a preparatory school for Rugby. This chapter
may fitly close with his letters to this, the youngest of his boys whom
he lived to see launched at school. He was a favourite subject of study
to his father, who writes of him at Pau, years before: “Jack will be, I
think, the strongest of the lot. He always clears his plate, fat and all,
and always clears his lesson, however disagreeable;” and again, to his
sister, who was the boy’s godmother:—

    “Your favourite Jack is always running after me, and is a very
    good boy, and surprisingly good company too. He has not quite
    forgotten how to ‘beak’ himself when he feels insulted. About
    a week ago the children had some shrimps for tea, and Jack
    was offended because he was presented with a ‘baby’ shrimp
    instead of a big one; so he pushed his chair from the table,
    and prostrated himself on his knees, with his nose in the
    carpet. After remaining for five minutes in that position, he
    felt better. It is a more amusing way of getting rid of steam
    than crying. Children have the funniest fancies in the world.
    There is a Scotch terrier next door to us, with a grave and
    venerable face, and a long grey beard. Jack said one day, ‘that
    doggy like Moses coming down de mountain;’ and so he really is
    like Moses, in one of those little woodcuts in which children
    delight, but I should never have thought of such a ridiculous

                                      “WESTWARD HO, _October 1871_.


    “Here we are all right, and I wish we had your jolly face at
    the other end of the table, for we miss you very much. I have
    begun golf, but there are not many golfers here yet; however,
    there is one very good player named Oliphant, so I have not
    much chance of the medal. Your friends the Molesworths are both
    gone to Radley School, near Oxford. There are only 100 boys
    there, but it is a nice place, and being near the Thames, they
    get plenty of rowing; in fact, that is their chief amusement.
    Ned plays golf with me, but has not got into his play yet. You
    are a good old boy for writing so often, and I hope you will
    continue it. Nothing gives us so much pleasure as your letters
    and Herbert’s, and don’t think that anything that happens to
    you is too trifling to tell us of. Now about your letter. I
    always thought that you would find the lessons rather a grind
    at first: you see it is your first school, and you have had no
    experience in working with a lot of other boys, perhaps making
    a row, and idling around you. Never mind. It will get easier
    every day, and besides, I believe that you have something of
    the bull-dog about you, and won’t be discouraged by a little
    hardship and difficulty at first. I hope you will be one of
    your fifteen, for then I shall come up to see you play, but
    anyhow I am as certain as I can be of anything that you will be
    first-rate at football some day, and a first-rate scholar too,
    I hope. The two things often go together. All well, and send
    best love. Mamma and Argy hope your shoulder is not much hurt,
    and I have no doubt it is all right again. God bless you.

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                          “G. E. H.

    “P.S.—I shall never think anything that you write awful ‘bosh.’”

                                      “OFFLEY, WESTWARD HO, _1871_.


    “Thank you for your letters, which interest us immensely. Boys
    make the most absurd customs, as you will find out: it is
    better to give way to their customs in a good-tempered way; new
    boys are not admitted at once to the full privileges. It does
    not much matter, as I hope you won’t be long at ——. Boys think
    it very fine and manly not to prepare their lessons, whereas in
    fact nothing can be more childish. Take your own way, and never
    mind them. It is half pretence with them, and they will respect
    you more if they see you have your own way. You need not
    stand being ‘sat upon,’ and yet you can be good-tempered and
    obliging, but, above all, don’t forget what I said to you when
    we parted. Don’t forget the lessons you have learnt at home (I
    don’t mean Latin and Greek). God bless you. Write as often as
    you have time.

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                         “G. E. H.”

                                                   “_October 1871._


    “Thank you for your letters. They are well written and spelt,
    and creditable to you in every way. Although it is not pleasant
    to us to hear that you are miserable (or rather uncomfortable,
    for ‘miserable’ is a strong word), yet we always like to hear
    exactly what you feel. I don’t think you _can_ be exactly
    miserable, for I believe that you are doing your best. God
    will not suffer us to be miserable (at least not for any
    time) whilst we do our duty. Don’t be discouraged about your
    work; you see it is your first plunge into school. All your
    schoolfellows have had more experience than you: practice will
    give you the quickness and accuracy that you want.

    “Your feelings towards us are quite natural: when you are at
    home, perfectly happy, although you do not love us less, you do
    not feel it so much; when you are thrown among a lot of people
    who do not much care about you, you find out the value of our
    love for you, and think more of us. However, you have Herbert,
    and I daresay you think that you love him better now than ever
    you did at home. As we are all sinful and imperfect creatures,
    I have no doubt that you have sometimes done and said things
    which we should be sorry to hear of. You must ask God to help
    you to do better in future; but I must say that I have always
    found you good and obedient, and you have never given us any
    anxiety. There is one lesson which you ought to learn from
    your present feelings of discomfort and worry; when you are a
    big boy at Rugby, and see any poor little fellow worried and
    uncomfortable, you must say a kind word to him (remembering
    what you once felt yourself); you have no idea how much good a
    kind word from a big fellow (what you call a swell) will do to
    a poor little beggar. You remember how kind Gardner was, and
    how much he was liked at Rugby for it. All are well, and send
    best love. I fully intend to come to see you when I get back to
    Offley—perhaps to the old Rug. match. God bless you.

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                    “G. E. HUGHES.”

                                                 “_November, 1871._


    “I know why you feel rather down in the mouth just now. You
    have (to use a phrase in athletics) lost your first wind, and
    haven’t yet got your _second_ wind. The novelty of excitement
    of school life has gone off, and you are too new to it yet
    to enjoy what there is enjoyable in it. Courage! I know your
    feelings well, having experienced them myself. So has Herbert:
    so, in short, has everyone who has ever been at school. You
    will soon get over it all, and like your school life, although
    of course it is not so pleasant as home. Most schoolboys are
    selfish and bad-mannered, and there are always plenty of snobs
    and bullies amongst them; but there is always a minority of
    nice fellows. I am inclined to believe that as you go so often
    to Arnold’s, you have not made much acquaintance with your
    schoolfellows. Perhaps it would be better to cultivate their
    acquaintance more. Don’t be afraid about not getting into
    Rugby. You ought to have heard Herbert’s doleful forebodings
    about never being able to get out of lower school: he was much
    more doleful than you, but if you were to remind him of it, he
    would probably not remember it at all; neither will you a year
    hence. If you are hungry, can’t you buy grub in the town? I
    mean something like sausage-rolls, or hard eggs. I will give
    you the money for it; or can you suggest any way in which we
    can supply you? What do you do on Sundays? and to what church
    do you go? I wish we could have you with us occasionally, just
    as much as you do. All are well, and join in best love. God
    bless you.

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                    “G. E. HUGHES.”



    “I believe your mamma has written to you, but I must give you
    a few lines to say how much we were pleased with your report
    which came this morning. There is no happiness in this world
    so great to us as the assurance that you and your brothers are
    doing well. I am very sorry that you were down in the mouth at
    my departure. I should like to have you always with me, but you
    (being a boy of good sense) must know very well that it cannot
    be: you must (like all others) fly from the nest some time or
    other, and school is the preparation for a longer flight. I
    have no doubt that now you are all right again. You won’t be
    down-hearted long, if you only work well and do your duty. At
    your age the spirits are very elastic, and soon recover any

    “We shall be anxious to hear about your cough and Sharp’s
    opinion. God bless you,

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                         “G. E. H.”

                                “OFFLEY, _Sunday, Nov. 26th, 1871_.


    “I have nothing particular to tell you, but must write a line
    in return for your jolly letters, which are very pleasant to
    us. I am very sorry that your cough is not better. I am afraid
    that you will not get rid of it until we get you at home,
    and nurse you properly. You will soon be with us now; in the
    meantime take care of yourself, and make the most of your
    time (I don’t think I need tell you to work, as you seem so
    well inclined already). I will write about your coming home,
    and also about your going up for the entrance Exam. after
    Christmas. I wish very much that you should go up. I really
    don’t see why you should go to Rugby three days before the
    Exam.; but if they insist upon it, I suppose it must be so. I
    hope you won your match yesterday. It is very unfortunate that
    you could not play as you would have done but for this unlucky
    cough. Never mind, you have plenty of time before you for
    football. All are well, and join in best love to you. God bless

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                     “G. E. HUGHES.

    “The hounds come to Wellbury to-morrow. I hope your game was
    good. Let us know.”

At the beginning of the next term Jack went to Rugby, and almost the
first letter he received from his father was the following Valentine,
which species of missive appears to have become popular amongst boys:—

                        “_February 23, 1872._

    “This is the month when little Cu-
      -pid robs us of our senses, oh!
    ’Tis he inspires me to renew
    My doleful strains of love to you,
    Oh, charming, fascinating cru-
    -el Walter Jacky Mansfield Hugh-
      -es, Scholæ Rugbeiensis, oh!

    “I learn to dance and sew, while you
      Are learning Latin tenses, oh!
    How I should like to dance with _you_,
    Instead of with my frightful grew-
    -some governess, oh! charming cru-
    -el Walter Jacky Mansfield Hugh-
      -es, Scholæ Rugbeiensis, oh!

    “I’m sure the least that you can do
      To calm my nerves and senses, oh!
    Is (though ’tis slightly overdue)
    To take this little billet-doux,
    And be the Valentine so true
    Of her who signs herself your Su-
    -san, charming, fascinating cru-
    -el Walter Jacky Mansfield Hugh-
      -es, Scholæ Rugbeiensis, oh!

                                “YOUR SUSAN.”

In explanation of an allusion in the next letter, I insert an extract of
the same date, from one to his sister:—

    “Jack is in high force, but has been having extra lessons (with
    all his schoolfellows), in consequence of (what he calls) a
    ‘towel fight,’ and subsequent ‘war dance,’ in which the school
    indulged in an irrepressible burst of youthful spirits. What
    geese boys are!”

                                             “OFFLEY, _March 1872_.


    “I hope you got the hamper all right, and that the ‘grub’
    was good and of the right sort. Your ‘war dance’ amused us
    excessively, and of course there is no harm in a war dance;
    but, if it is forbidden, what an old goose you are to risk
    having impositions and extra lessons for it! But schoolboys are
    always the same, and I can’t expect you to be wiser than the

    “If you can’t make out why your copies are wrong, why don’t
    you ask one of your schoolfellows? I suppose some of them are
    good fellows, and would tell you your mistake; or say openly
    to the master that you can’t find out, and I should think he
    would enlighten you. At least, he _ought_. We shall have you
    home in about three weeks, and right glad we shall be. Go at it
    hard for the remainder of the term, for remember the entrance
    Exam. You must work a little in the holidays to keep up what
    you know. The boys are better, and have been playing football
    vigorously. Best love to Herbert; ask him whether he wants any
    cricket practice. I mean Hughes to bowl. God bless you.

                    “Yours most affectionately,

                                                         “G. E. H.”

Westward Ho, from which several of the preceding letters were written,
had become his favourite watering-place. He had gone there at first by
chance, and, finding links and a golf club, had taken to the game with
his usual success. At Pau he had played a little, but certainly never
handled a club till he was past forty. Nevertheless, though it is a game
in which, I am told, early training and constant practice is almost an
essential condition of success, he entered for, and succeeded in winning
the champion’s medal in the annual gathering of 1870. Soon after his
return from the meeting he wrote to me.

    “We spent three very pleasant weeks at Westward Ho. I wish that
    I could infect you with ‘golfomania.’ Golf is _the_ middle-aged
    man’s game. I mean by the middle-aged man, the man who could
    _once_, but cannot _now_, get down upon a leg shooter. We had a
    dozen hard-worked men from the city, besides doctors, lawyers,
    soldiers on leave, etc., all perfectly mad whilst it lasted.
    I was quite as mad as the rest, and having now ‘relapsed’
    into sanity, I am able to look back upon it with the most
    intense amusement. The humour of the whole thing was positively
    sublime. You have heard squires at their wine after a good
    run—bless you, they can’t hold a candle to golfers. Most of the
    players were Scotch, and the earnestness with which the Scotch
    ‘play’ is a caution. I think of trying my hand at a rhapsody
    about golf.”

The rhapsody was, I believe, never written, but he continued to like and
practise the game till his death, which indeed is, in my mind, rather
painfully connected with it. My last visit to Offley was in the short
Easter vacation of this year, and I thought I had never seen him better,
or in more full vigour of body and mind. On the 30th of March he mounted
me, and I rode with him and two of his boys to a meet near Offley. We
had a run early in the day, and got home to a late lunch, after which he
went out into his plantations and worked till dark. Indeed, when I left
the same evening by the mail train for the north, I beguiled my journey
by thinking that the whole kingdom might be searched in vain to find a
finer specimen of a man. On that day four weeks I received a telegram
from Hoylake to say that he was lying there very dangerously ill. He
had gone on there, after leaving his boys at Rugby, to take part in the
golf tournament. He went down with a bad cold, but paid no attention to
it, and went round the links with some friends on the first evening. The
next day he became much worse, and was obliged to take to his bed, from
which he never got up. The cold had settled on his lungs, and violent
inflammation was set up. His wife and children were summoned at once,
and his mother and sister and myself two days later. When I arrived,
the lower part of the lungs had suppurated, and the medical man gave
very slight hopes of his recovery. He could only speak with exceeding
difficulty, but retained his strength, and the grip of his hand was
as strong as ever. He met death with the same courage as he had shown
throughout life, giving me a few clear instructions for a codicil to his
will, while his youngest boy lay with his head on his shoulder, crying
bitterly, and almost with his last breath regretting the trouble he was
giving his nurse. On the afternoon of May 1st he received the Sacrament
with all of us, and at four on the morning of the 2nd passed away,
leaving behind him, I am proud to think, no braver or better man. But
you shall have better testimony than mine on this point. Out of the many
letters to the same purpose which I received, and two of which have found
a place in the earlier part of this memoir, I select an extract from one
written by Bishop MacDougal, who, thirty years ago, had rowed behind him
in the University boat.

    “I must just write a line to express my heartfelt sympathy with
    you in your sad, sad bereavement. Dear old George! What an
    irreparable loss to you and all his old friends! I have myself
    been heavy-hearted ever since I heard he had been called away
    from us, and shall never think of his cheery voice, his hearty
    greeting, his kindly, loving words, without a sharp pang of
    regret that I shall no more in this life meet with him I loved
    so well, and admired as the finest specimen of the high-minded,
    earnest, true-hearted English gentleman it has been my lot to
    meet with. He was too good for this hard, selfish generation,
    and he is in God’s mercy called away to that better world,
    where love and truth and peace dwell undisturbed in the
    presence of our blessed Lord. May we, my dear Tom, have grace
    given us so to fight the good fight of truth and faith, that
    when our work is done we may be called thither to join your
    dear brother and our other loved ones, who have gained the
    victory over self and the world, and have been called to their
    rest before us.”



On looking through the preceding pages, I have been struck with one
special shortcoming. I am painfully conscious how poor and shallow the
picture here attempted will be, in any case, to those who knew my brother
best. Nevertheless, those for whom it was undertaken will, I trust, be
able to get from it some clearer idea of the outer life of their father
and uncle, but of that which underlies the outer life they will learn
almost nothing. And yet how utterly inadequate must be any knowledge of
a human being which does not get beneath this surface! How difficult to
do so to any good purpose! For that “inner,” or “eternal,” or “religious”
life (call it which you will, they all mean the same thing) is so
entirely a matter between each human soul and God, is at best so feebly
and imperfectly expressed by the outer life. But, difficult as it may be,
the attempt must be made; for I find that I cannot finish my task with a
good conscience without making it.

There is not one of you, however young, but must be living two lives—and
the sooner you come to recognize the fact clearly, the better for you—the
one life in the outward material world, in contact with the things
which you can see, and taste, and handle, which are always changing and
passing away: the other in the invisible, in contact with the unseen;
with that which does not change or pass away—which is the same yesterday,
to-day, and for ever. The former life you must share with others, with
your family, your schoolfellows and friends, with everyone you meet in
business or pleasure. The latter you must live alone, in the solitude of
your own inmost being, if you can find no Spirit there communing with
yours—in the presence of, and in communion with, the Father of your
spirit, if you are willing to recognize that presence. The one life will
no doubt always be the visible expression of the other; just as the body
is the garment in which the real man is clothed for his sojourn in time.
But the expression is often little more than a shadow, unsatisfying,
misleading. One of our greatest English poets has written—

    “The one remains, the many change and pass,
      Heaven’s light for ever shines, earth’s shadows fly.
    Time, like a dome of many coloured glass,
      Stains the bright radiance of eternity,
      Until death tramples it to fragments.”

And so you and I are living now under the dome of many-coloured glass,
and shall live as long as we remain in these bodies, a temporal and an
eternal life—“the next world,” which too many of our teachers speak of
as a place which we shall first enter after death, being in fact “next”
only in the truest sense of the word; namely, that it is “nearest” to
us now. The dome of time can do nothing more (if we even allow it to do
that) than partially to conceal from us the light which is always there,
beneath, around, above us.

“The outer life of the devout man,” it has been well said, “should
be thoroughly attractive to others. He would be simple, honest,
straightforward, unpretending, gentle, kindly;—his conversation cheerful
and sensible: he would be ready to share in all blameless mirth,
indulgent to all save sin.” And tried by this test, the best we have at
command, my brother was essentially a devout man.

The last thirty years, the years of his manhood, have been a period
of great restlessness and activity, chiefly of a superficial kind, in
matters pertaining specially to religion. The Established Church, of
which he was a member, from conviction as well as by inheritance, has
been passing through a crisis which has often threatened her existence;
faction after faction, as they saw their chance, rising up and striving
in the hope of casting out those whose opinions or practices they
disliked. Against all such attempts my brother always protested whenever
he had an opportunity, and discouraged all those with whom he had any
influence from taking any part in them.

“I have no patience,” for instance, he writes at one of these crises,
“with —— for mixing himself up with Church politics. I believe you know
what I think about them, namely, that both parties are right in some
things and wrong in others, and that the truth lies between the two.
I hope I shall always be able to express my dissent from both without
calling names or imputing motives, and when I hear others doing so, I am
always inclined, like yourself, to defend the absent. I was very sorry to
hear that —— has given up his parish. I cannot understand his excessive
attachment to what is, after all, only the outside of religion; but he is
so good a man, so hard-working, so self-denying, that one feels what a
great loss he must be.”

Outside the Church the same religious unrest has had several noteworthy
results, perhaps the most remarkable of these being a negative one: I
mean, the aggressive attitude and movement of what is popularly known
as scientific thought. Amongst its leaders have been, and are, some of
the best, as well as the ablest, men of our time, who have had, as they
deserved to have, a very striking influence. But the tone of scientific
men towards religion has been uniformly impatient or contemptuous, not
seldom petulant. “Why go on troubling yourselves and mankind about that
of which you can know nothing?” they have said. “This ‘eternal’ or
‘inner’ life of which you prate is wholly beyond your ken. We can prove
to you that much of your so-called theology rests on unsound premises. Be
content to work and learn with us in the material world, of which alone
you can get to know anything certain.” That challenge has shaken the
foundations of much which called itself faith in our day. I never could
discover that my brother was ever seriously troubled by it. Dissertations
on the Mosaic cosmogony, theories of the origin of species, speculations
on the antiquity of man, and the like, interested, but never seemed to
rouse in him any of the alarm or anger which they have excited in so many
good Christians. Granting all that they tend to prove, they deal only
with the outward garment, with the visible universe, and the life which
must be lived in it, leaving the inner and real life of mankind quite

He was, however, neither so tolerant of, nor I think so fair to, the
stirring of thought within the Church, which has resulted in criticisms
supposed to be destructive of much that was held sacred in the last
generation. His keen sense of loyalty was offended by anything which
looked like an attack coming from within the ranks, and so he shared the
feeling so widely, and I think wrongly, entertained by English Churchmen,
that the right of free thought and free speech on the most sacred
subjects should be incompatible with holding office in the Church.

As to his own convictions on such subjects, he was extremely reserved,
owing to a tendency which he believed he had detected in himself to
religious melancholy, which he treated simply as a disease. But no one
who knew him at all could ever doubt that a genuine and deep religious
faith was the basis of his character, and those who knew him best testify
unanimously to its ever increasing power. “I don’t know if you were ever
told,” his sister writes, “of the singular desire dying people had that
George should be with them. You know how reserved he was, and he would
always think that people would prefer some one who talked more to them,
but I think it was his great gentleness and strength which made the dying
feel him such a comfort. He never volunteered; but when sent for, as was
often the case, always went to them, and read and prayed constantly with
them as long as they lived. There was one poor young man who died of
consumption, and George was constantly with him to the last. The father
was a very disreputable character, and George seldom saw him. But some
time after the young man’s death, the father met George in the fields,
and threw himself on his knees to bless him for his love for his dead
son. George came home much shocked that the man should have knelt to him.
One old man, whom he used to go to for weeks and weeks during his long
last illness, really adored him, and, when George was away for a short
time, prayed that he might live till he saw him again. And George was
back before he died.”

Of this old man, he writes himself to his mother:—

    “My old friend died on Saturday morning. I mean Tom Pearse, for
    fifty years an honest labourer in this parish. I am very sorry
    that (as he died in the short hours) I could not be with him at
    the last, but very glad that he died before I left Offley. So
    was he. He prayed every day to die, not that he suffered, but
    he had such a strong faith that death would be much better. He
    said to me almost the last time I saw him, ‘I thought, sir, I
    should have been home before this.’ And when he was taken worse
    at last, he asked the nurse, ‘Am I going home?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘I’m so
    glad,’ he answered, and died soon after. What an euthanasia!
    All good people call death going home. ‘Let me die the death of
    the righteous, and my last end be like his.’”

Intercourse of the most sacred and intimate kind with the old, and dying,
and suffering of another station in life is, however, far easier to a
man of reserved temper than it is with the young and healthy. The most
difficult class to reach in country villages, as in our great towns,
is that which is entering life, not that which is thinking of quitting
it. You may get young men together for cricket or football, or even for
readings, or in a club, and attain in the process a certain familiarity
with them, useful enough in its way, but not approaching the kind of
intimacy which should exist between people passing their lives in the
same small community. The effort to do anything more with a class just
emancipated from control, full of strength and health, and as a rule
suspicious of advances from those in a rank above their own, must always
be an exceedingly difficult one to make for such a man as my brother,
and is rarely successful. He made it, and succeeded. During all the
winter months, on every Sunday evening the young men and the elder boys
of the village were invited to his house, and quite a number of them
used to come regularly. They were received by him and his wife. First
he would read a passage of Scripture, and explain and comment on it,
and afterwards he or his wife read to them some amusing book. He used
to speak with the greatest delight of the pleasure which these meetings
seemed to give, and of their excellent effect on his own relations with
the young men and boys who frequented them. When the time for separating
came, they used all to say the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and
the following short prayer, which he wrote[14] for the purpose:—

    “O Lord God, Thou knowest all things. Thou seest us by night
    as well as by day. We pray Thee, for Christ’s sake, forgive
    us whatever we have done wrong this day. May we be sorry for
    our sins, and believe in Jesus Christ, who died for sinners.
    May the Holy Spirit make us holy. Take care of us this night,
    whilst we are asleep. Bless our fathers and mothers, brothers
    and sisters, and all our relations and friends, and do them
    good, for Christ’s sake. Help us to be good as long as we live,
    and when we die, may we go to heaven and be happy for ever,
    because Christ died for us. Amen.”

[14] Since this was printed I have heard that the prayer was not written
by him, but only adapted for the use of the boys from a collection of
some Church Society.

If I were to write a volume, I could throw no clearer light on the inner
life of my brother than shines out of this short, simple prayer, written
for village boys, and repeated with them week by week. Nor is there any
other picture of him that I would rather leave on your minds than this.
When I think of the help and strength which he has been to me and many
more, the noble lines on All Saints’ Day, of the poet I have already
quoted in this memoir, seem to be haunting me, and with them I will end.

    “Such lived not in the past alone,
      But thread to-day the unheeding street,
    And stairs to sin and sorrow known
      Sing to the welcome of their feet.

    “The den they enter glows a shrine,
      The grimy sash an oriel burns,
    Their cup of water warms like wine,
      Their speech is filled from heavenly urns.

    “Around their brows to me appears
      An aureole traced in tenderest light,
    The rainbow gleam of smiles thro’ tears,
      In dying eyes by them made bright,

    “Of souls who shivered on the edge
      Of that chill ford, repassed no more,
    And in their mercy felt the pledge
      And sweetness of the farther shore.”


       *       *       *       *       *



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Canon of Proportions of the Greeks.


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