[ocr errors]

of spurring on to greater activity those was announced, a corporal in the ist bat. fortune-hunters and expectant legatees talion Worcester Regiment being the who are somewhat indifferent to their lucky person, and the sum five hundred own immediate interests and future wel. and eighteen pounds eighteen shillings fare. The heirs of persons in all stations and fourpence. These announcements, of life are occasionally sought through the however, ought to be made in newspapers medium of what is known as a next-of-kin likely to be seen by persons interested. advertisement, and such announcements Another reason is possibly to be found in as the following are uncommon: the fact that great delay usually takes Charcoal Dick is wanted.” “A good place in its distribution, so that many sol. fortune awaits a certain cab driver." A diers entitled to share in some goodly son of a Lincolnshire draper will hear of prize, die before the distribution takes 'something beneficial.'” A gentleman place. who left England a quarter of a century Many persons, too, are interested in ago, is asked to come forward and claims “ unclaimed naval prize-money." It was residuary estate.” “It would be greatly more common a century ago than it is to the advantage of a travelling herbalist now for the army and navy to act in conto write to his wife.” And to J. B. the cert, and in some cases the prize-money joyful intelligence is conveyed * that he was considerable. . Take, for example, the has been adjudicated bankrupt, and may capture of Havana in 1762. The money, return home without fear of molestation." valuable merchandise, with the military

Then, again, there are many persons and naval stores found in the town and who seem to have died without relatives. arsenal, were valued at three million The amount of money thus reverting to pounds sterling; and great discontent folthe crown is rarely made public; but it lowed the distribution of this prize-money, certainly oozed out in the notable case of the subordinate officers and the seamen Mrs. Helen Blake, of Kensington, that receiving a very unequal reward for their the sum was not less than a hundred and services. The admiral was awarded one forty thousand pounds, personalty. These liundred and twenty-two thousand six hun. “crown-windfall" cases are pretty numer- dred and ninety-seven pounds tep shillings

The amount in dispute is not stated and sixpence; and the commodore, twenin the advertisement, nor are the next ty-four thousand five hundred and thirts. of kin informed, in the usual phraseol. nine pounds ten shillings and a penny; ogy of such notices, that “something to other officers, much smaller payments; their advantage” awaits them. Unless but the smallest of all to brave-hearted these inquiries state concisely what the Jack and poor Joe the marine, who had next of kin are wanted for, they have doled out to them the insignificant sum of rather a discouraging tendency than other three pounds fourteen shillings and ninewise; for instances not unknown pence each; scarcely tempting enough where a creditor of a deceased person has for the deceased seaman's next of kin to advertised for the successor, in order to incur trouble and expense to recover. A get his little account settled.

like sum was paid to the army. very considerable portion of the un. Among other things not generally claimed army prize-money will doubtless known is the fact that there annually remain in the hands of the government lapses to the government of this country forever, owing to the impossibility of the a very large sum from unclaimed divinext of kin of many. deceased soldiers dends. A recent Parliamentary paper being able to substantiate their claims shows that on 4th January, 1882, the from lack of the necessary documentary government dividends due, and not de. evidence. The reason is not far to seek. manded, amounted to eight hundred and It was a more common practice in days eighteen thousand nine hundred and nine gone by than now for persons to enlist as pounds twelve shillings and sixpence; of soldiers under assumed names; in the which sum, there was advanced to the majority of cases, the assumed names government seven hundred and fifty-six would be unknown to the relatives, and thousand seven hundred and thir -nine consequently all prize-money carried to pounds and ninepence. The sums thus such accounts would in the case of the advanced are applied pursuant to the prosoldier's death lapse to the crown. This visions of certain acts of Parliament is shown by the “Soldiers' Unclaimed towards the reduction of the national Balance,” in which some of the amounts debt. A remarkable case came before are considerable. In a recent number of the late vice-chancellor Malins, in which the Gazette, a “windfall” of this kind it appeared that a lady died at Marseilles

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

at the great age of ninety-eight, who, There are some persons who make it though entitled to fifty-six thousand the rule of their lives to “gather gear by pounds in the funds, and to more than every wile ;” and amongst this class of twenty thousand pounds accumulated divi- monomaniacs may be classed misers. A dends, was constantly borrowing money prolific source of litigation often arises from her relatives; from which fact, it from their eccentric mode of disposing of may be inferred that this large deposit their hoards. What has become of the had escaped the aged lady's memory. many bags of gold often discovered hid.

In addition to unclaimed dividends, the den up a chimney, or planted behind the Bank of England, doubtless, has large back of a grate; secreted in a cupboard sums in the shape of unclaimed deposits. or sewn up in a mattress; deposited In fact, most companies of long standing amongst the lath and plaster of a ceiling; have on their books large sums in the placed behind the shutters of a room, or shape of unclaimed dividends. For in- even buried in the coal-cellar? One in. stance, the Royal Exchange Assurance stance may suffice. In 1766, at a lodging. Company some years ago bad upwards of house in Deptford (London), an English thirty thousand pounds thus awaiting lady died at the age of ninety-six. Her claimants; and were a Parliamentary re. name was Luhorne. For nearly half a turn of the unclaimed residues of estates century she had lived in the most penuri. in the hands of trustees to be ordered, ous manner; frequently, indeed, had people would be startled at the totals it begged on the highroads, when she went would reveal.

on business to the city. After her deatli, Then, again, the right or partial right there were found securities in the bank, of the crown to treasure-trove is deemed South Sea, East India, and other stocks by many persons to be a somewhat arbi- to the amount of forty thousand pounds trary one, and finders of these long-hidden and upwards; besides jewels, plate, china, treasures now and then try to dispose of rich clothing; great quantities of the finthem on the sly. Concealment of this est silks, linen, velvet, etc., of very great kind in the “good old times was death ; value, together with a large sum of money. it is now fine or imprisonment. The right To whom all this treasure reverted, does assumed by a lord of the manor to treas. not appear. ure-trove found on his estate may be ex- It may have been a bold question, but emplified by the following amusing anec-evidently the gentleman who asked for “a dote: A West-end jeweller endeavored to list of the funds paid out of Chancery dur. palm off upon a rich old gentleman an ing the last fifty years," had but a faint idea old-fashioned silver drinking-cup, by de of the magnitude of the transactions of claring that it had been found in a partic- the Chancery paymaster. Without enterular field near a certain town. “Will you ing into very minute details, one is fairly certify that in writing?” The tradesman astonished to read of the dormant funds was only too ready to do so. Whereupon in Chancery. From the annual budget of the gentleman, pocketing the certificate, the paymaster.general, it appears that the and taking up the flagon at the same receipts for the year ending 31st August, time, remarked: “Thank you, very much; 1880, added to the securities then in court, 'I am the lord of that manor, and I am made up a grand total of ninety-five mil. glad to receive my proper dues.”

lion five hundred and four thousand four The mention of conscience-money, too, hundred and eighty-seven pounds nine invariably provokes a smile; but perhaps shillings and fivepence. some of us are ignorant of the fact tliat Though not generally known, it is perthis last item alone has been estimated to fectly true that very considerable sums of swell the chancellor of the exchequer's unclaimed money have from time to time budget by about fifteen thousand pounds thus accumulated; and in fact the royal a year, and sometimes more.

courts of justice have been built almost It is rarely that one reads of a person entirely with the surplus interest of the refusing to claim a legacy, but it has been suitors' money, large sums of which have known. An old lady was entitled to con. been borrowed, to enable the chancellor siderable property, and her advisers of the exchequer to carry through his wanted her to go some distance and sign financial operations; thus, in 1881, Mr. a paper, offering to take her in a post

: Gladstone borrowed no less than forty chaise and pay all expenses; but being of million pounds for national debt purposes. an obstinate temper, she refused to stir; It would appear by this that these unand persuasion being useless, the property claimed funds have been utilized to lighten disappeared, and has never been traced. the burden of taxation, it being impossible

[ocr errors]

to divide the surplus interest among the eyes out. An anecdote is related of a suitors. By a return made to the House poor man who by a lottery ticket became of Commons in July, 1854, the total amount the proprietor of several thousand pounds. of suitors' stock then in court amounted He at once drove out in his carriage and to forty-six.million pounds. In the fol. began purchasing odd things right and lowing year, a list containing the titles of left

. Amongst other commodities, he such accounts, but not stating the packed into the interior a barrel of stout amounts, was printed and exhibited in and some Aitches of bacon; but to crown the Chancery offices, with the following all, he bought an Alderney cow, and drove highly satisfactory results, that many per- home with the animal hitched to the back sons came forward and preferred their of the vehicle. His relatives not unnatclaims, and about one-half of the stock urally regarded all this with feelings akin supposed to be unclaimed was transferred to downright horror, and quickly comout of court to successful claimants, menced proceedings to have this lucky

At intervals, lists of these unclaimed but amusingly eccentric individual judged funds are indeed published; but they are insane. In this they succeeded. said to be lists which any man of business Without a doubt, immense sums of would be ashamed of; and until some money were raised by these State lotteries, thing more intelligible is published, many and a great quantity of it remains un. persons will continue to have fanciful claimed. The following entry occurs in claims on these dormant funds. And if an account published by the Bank of En. we were to take the catalogue of spurious gland and presented to Parliament: claimants, we should no doubt find it to " Amount of balances of sums issued for be a long one; and perhaps it is not alto- payment of dividends due and not de. gether to be wondered at, as they have manded, and for the payment of lottery rarely any difficulty in finding people prizes and benefits which had not been ready to believe, not only in the genuine claimed, etc." ness of their claims, but also to find the Much litigation, too, ensues respecting money to assist in substantiating them. whimsical wills and ambiguous bequests.

On the other hand, it is easy for really It is recorded of a rich old farmer that, in just claims to arise, as the following para- giving instructions for his will, he directed graph will show: At a meeting of the a legacy of one hundred pounds to be Historic Society, held in Liverpool some given to his wife. Being informed that years ago, the president referring to an some distinction was usually made in case interesting seal belonging to the family of the widow married again, he at once Moels, stated that the last owner of the doubled the sum ; and when told that this property bad a dissolute son, who col was altogether contrary to custom, he lected the rents of the estate to meet his said, with heartfelt sympathy for his pos. extravagances. His father, vowing resible successor : “ Ay; but look you here venge, set out to find him ; but whether him as gets her 'll honestly desarve it." he succeeded in doing so is not known, Some years ago, an English gentleman as, to this day, neither father nor son has bequeathed to his two daughters their ever been heard of; and the whole of the weight in one.pound bank.notes. It is estate is now in the hands of the tenants, said a finer pair of paper-weights las and would be claimable should an heir be never yet been heard of; for the eldest found.

got fifty-one thousand two hundred A passing reference might also be made pounds; and the younger and heavier of concerning lotteries — by which the State the two, fifty-seven thousand three hun. has benefited to a great extent, their abo- dred and forty-four pounds. A gentleman lition having, it is said, deprived the govo left two legacies to lying-in hospitals eroment of a revenue amounting to nearly which appear to have had no existence; three hundred thousand pounds a year - claimants were sought, but we if merely to show that not only lucky lega. heard of any having been found. A gen. tees, but others, do not always utilize eral invitation to such institutions is their windfalls properly. Some one has sometimes given, as in the following adwritten, and with much truth, that it is vertisement: “ Divers charitable institu. just as well that fortune is blind, for is tions are invited to claim a share of a she could only see some of the ugly, benevolent testator's residuary estate stupid, worthless persons on whom she including the temporary Home for Lost occasionally showers her most precious and Starving Dogs. Write at once to gifts, the sight would annoy her so much Mr. Elsmore, Salt Lake City, Utah.” that she would immediately scratch her And the mention of a will recalls the

[ocr errors]



onerous duty of the executor ; that is to without it; it must be simple, it must be say, the person intrusted to perform the human, or indeed something wider than will of the testator, and who rarely comes buman, for it seems to us especially conin for anything save worry and anxiety. nected with the animal world, and one We give an exception, however, which reason why we find none on the page of deserves a passing notice. In 1878, an our great novelist is that the influence of old lady died at Brighton worth eleven a peculiar individuality is felt there too thousand pounds. She left legacies to strongly. It is gone at the first approach the amount of two thousand four hundred of anything of the nature of analysis, and pounds, but no directions as to the dis. we question whether a certain sense of posal of the residue. The executors were inadequacy be not inseparable from it. her doctor and solicitor. On her death The feeling represented, at all events, it turned out that she was illegitimate; must be always associated with a certain and there being no next of kin, a question dumbness; it is the appeal that is made arose between the crown and the execu- to us, whether in life, or in some represen. tors as to the disposal of the residue tation of life, by a sorrow that reveals some eight thousand pounds. It was de itself unconsciously. We mean of course cided that the executors were entitled to unconsciously to the sufferer; it is not it.

necessary that the creator of a pathetic work should be ignorant of what he does, though he often is so; as far as he stands outside the feelings he expresses, it is not

necessary that this note should be sound. From The Spectator. ed unconsciously more than any other; THE PATHETIC ELEMENT IN

the indispensable condition is only that

the reader should look at the sorrow from That the literature of our own day is afar. As we try to describe the feeling, deficient in pathos must have been an ob- we are closely reminded of the etymologiservation often made by the critic; prob- cal connection between dimness and ably it has appeared before in these col. dumbness. What we mean by pathos

We do not imagine that in the brings home to the mind of the person whole history of fiction so much wealth in who feels it the sense of both these things; every other kind of excellence has been the clear daylight, the distinct utterance, ever before combined with so much pov- effectually dispels it. Where eloquence erty in this one. The works of George begins, it ends. Eliot, for instance, present us with speci. Pathos, if we have rightly described it, is mens of wit, humor, imagination, tragic not pre-eminently the characteristic of any power, poetry, and the most subtle and first-rate genius. To find a writer whose delicate observation. The one literary productions it characterizes, we must turn beauty which we should remark as lacking to some shy, reserved nature, with wliom to them is pathos. Perhaps the exclusion it is not merely a dramatic effect, but, may appear to imply some peculiar use of what is a very different thing, an actual the word; and words are used so vaguely, outcome of the character. And we do that the attempt to confine it to its spe- not, accordingly, find much of it in Shakecific meaning inay possibly be peculiar. speare, in proportion to the wealth of We understand by it that slight, delicate every kind which we find in his works. touch which, reaching below the region But we may take from him specimens of of idiosyncrasies, and penetrating to the the wealth in which he is poorest, and depths of purely human emotion, sur. one scene from “King John," which will prises the spring of.tears; not, perhaps, occur to every reader as an apparent refu. bidding them flow — that depends on tem- tation of the limitations we have given to perament - but rousing in every one the the scope of pathos, affords, in fact, a peculiar blending of emotion and sensa- good illustration of our meaning. The tion which tears manifest and relieve. It lament of Constance for Arthur is the must be transient. The feeling it evokes specimen of pathos, perhaps, most uniis swallowed up immediately in something versally appreciated, and it is undeniable that is not itself. It hovers on the edge that she cannot be called dumb; we have of pity, but as it passes into pity it ceases known her lament in dramatic represento be pathos. It is entangled with the tation made extremely clamorous, and web of memory, but when we take up that though such a conception seemed to us thread, the pathetic touch has ceased to very injurious to the beauty of the situavibrate. All that is strongly individual is | tion, it certainly did not destroy its tear



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]




compelling power. But no small part of of poetry, the few words of one of his the wonderful power of the picture seems friends quoted by Matthew Arnold, and

us to consist of the dumbness of recurrent in his essay on Gray as a sort of Arthur, — the slightness and faintoess of refrain "he never spoke out”-express the sketch, the truth, in a certain sense, with wonderful happiness and simplicity of his own words,

not only the characteristic of a particular Good, my mother, peace!

poet, but the characteristic of all to whom I am not worth this coil that's made for me.

we should apply the epithet “pathetic.”

Hackneyed as they are (and it is a pecul. And in the case of Constance herself, our iar disadvantage to all pathetic poetry to sympathy is solely with the mother. It is be hackneyed), his " Elegy " and the the purely human feeling – nay, it is the "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton Col. one emotion we share with the creatures lege” keep for all readers tbat dim sense below bumanity – that is made interest of far-off troubles and sorrows

which ing: If the reader imagines how an artist seems to bring some painless sympathy of lesser genius would have treated the with pain." No poetry is more purels, grief of a bereaved mother, he will see that abstractedly human; the dim vision of it is touched with wonderful temperance, the cottage door gladdened by the father's though with such great impressiveness. return, of the playing-fields alive with The few lines beginning, “ Grief fills the schoolboys, touching as they do on the place up of my absent child," touch on the two extremes of society, contain nothing anguish of every bereaved heart; they that is individual, nothing that is not abopen a vista for every reader to some solutely common to humanity. Where remembered longing, they put before us Gray does diverge into individuality, he the sorrow that belongs not to rich or seems to us most unfortunate; and the poor, high or low, wise or foolish, but to picture of the indolent day-dreamer of all. And yet how few they are, how soon whom we learn that “large was his boun.

to other things, bow little is ty, and his soul sincere," while yet "he Shakespeare engrossed with that pathetic gave to misery all he had, a téar," ex. image! He gives us, an indirect glance changes poetry for something that, if we at it

, and hurries on to the interests of a could forget its beauty of language, we nation. It is interesting, in the case of should perceive to be twaddle. The 'the only dramatist who can be named whole interest of the poem is that comon the same page with Shakespeare, to mon life is here, as it were, set to music. observe how the pathos of this indirect | The dim, obscure lives of toil and priva. glance fades away, when it becomes direct. tion are brought before us, not in their Antigone seems to us the grandest female painful sordidness, and not in their ardu. figure in dramatic literature, but the only ous effort and meritorious success either, time she is brought forward in a patietic but in their broad human interest, as the light is in her first appearance as an un- lives of those bound together by strong conscious child. Pathos cannot combine affections, rejoicing in the daily meeting, with the full diapason of tragic power; busied with each other's needs, seeking those flute-like notes are lost in any flood on the bed of death a last glance from the of harmony, their melody is soon over, eyes fullest of love. It takes nothing but for the moment it must be heard from the simplicity of this broad human alone.

interest that the words which call it up The age which we should choose as are essentially those of a scholar, and that richest in accessible specimens of pathos, we might restore some of its gems to their the eighteenth century, is of itself a good original setting on the page of Lucretius illustration of the power that lies in this or Tacitus. On the contrary, it adds indirectness of attention. This period much to it. It gives that indirectness of has of late been much rehabilitated, but attention which is what we want. Turn its poetic claims have not yet been from Gray to Wordsworth, concentrate brought forward; and its best friends will your attention on the lives of the poor, confess that it was, on the whole, an age you may gain much, but the pathetic touch of

prose. But the poetry of a prosaic age is gone. If, for instance, any one fresh is exactly that which is most likely to be from the passage to which we have alpathetic. It supplies the inevitable ele. luded should read Wordsworth's “

“ Mi. ment of reserve of dumbness, we would chael,” which is nothing more than the rather say

without which pathos is hint at peasant life expanded into a little swallowed up in something beyond itself. biography, and assert that he found as And to take Gray as the type of this kind | much pathos in the portrait as the sketch,

« VorigeDoorgaan »