of spurring on to greater activity those was announced, a corporal in the 1st batfortune-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 not 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." "Adiers 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 ago, is asked to come forward and claim a residuary estate.” "It would be greatly to the advantage of a travelling herbalist to write to his wife." And to J. B. the joyful intelligence is conveyed that he has been adjudicated bankrupt, and may return home without fear of molestation." Then, again, there are many persons who seem to have died without relatives. The amount of money thus reverting to the crown is rarely made public; but it certainly oozed out in the notable case of Mrs. Helen Blake, of Kensington, that the sum was not less than a hundred and forty thousand pounds, personalty. These "crown-windfall" cases are pretty numer



The amount in dispute is not stated in the advertisement, nor are the next of kin informed, in the usual phraseology of such notices, that "something to their advantage " awaits them. Unless these inquiries state concisely what the next of kin are wanted for, they have rather a discouraging tendency than other wise; for instances are not unknown where a creditor of a deceased person has advertised for the successor, in order to get his little account settled.

A very considerable portion of the unclaimed army prize-money will doubtless remain in the hands of the government forever, owing to the impossibility of the next of kin of many. deceased soldiers being able to substantiate their claims from lack of the necessary documentary evidence. The reason is not far to seek. It was a more common practice in days gone by than now for persons to enlist as soldiers under assumed names; in the majority of cases, the assumed names would be unknown to the relatives, and consequently all prize-money carried to such accounts would in the case of the soldier's death lapse to the crown. This is shown by the "Soldiers' Unclaimed Balance," in which some of the amounts are considerable. In a recent number of the Gazette, a "windfall" of this kind

Many persons, too, are interested in "unclaimed naval prize-money." It was more common a century ago than it is now for the army and navy to act in concert, and in some cases the prize-money was considerable.. Take, for example, the capture of Havana in 1762. The money, valuable merchandise, with the military and naval stores found in the town and arsenal, were valued at three million pounds sterling; and great discontent followed the distribution of this prize-money, the subordinate officers and the seamen receiving a very unequal reward for their services. The admiral was awarded one hundred and twenty-two thousand six hundred and ninety-seven pounds ten shillings and sixpence; and the commodore, twenty-four thousand five hundred and thirty. nine pounds ten shillings and a penny; other officers, much smaller payments; but the smallest of all to brave-hearted Jack and poor Joe the marine, who had doled out to them the insignificant sum of three pounds fourteen shillings and ninepence each; scarcely tempting enough for the deceased seaman's next of kin to incur trouble and expense to recover. Α ́ like sum was paid to the army.

Among other things not generally known is the fact that there annually lapses to the government of this country a very large sum from unclaimed dividends. A recent Parliamentary paper shows that on 4th January, 1882, the government dividends due, and not de manded, amounted to eight hundred and eighteen thousand nine hundred and nine pounds twelve shillings and sixpence; of which sum, there was advanced to the government seven hundred and fifty-six thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine pounds and ninepence. The sums thus advanced are applied pursuant to the provisions of certain acts of Parliament towards the reduction of the national debt. A remarkable case came before the late vice-chancellor Malins, in which it appeared that a lady died at Marseilles

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 dividends, was constantly borrowing money from her relatives; from which fact, it may be inferred that this large deposit had escaped the aged lady's memory.

In addition to unclaimed dividends, the Bank of England, doubtless, has large sums in the shape of unclaimed deposits. In fact, most companies of long standing have on their books large sums in the shape of unclaimed dividends. For instance, the Royal Exchange Assurance Company some years ago had upwards of thirty thousand pounds thus awaiting claimants; and were a Parliamentary return of the unclaimed residues of estates in the hands of trustees to be ordered, people would be startled at the totals it would reveal.

Then, again, the right or partial right of the crown to treasure-trove is deemed by many persons to be a somewhat arbitrary one, and finders of these long-hidden treasures now and then try to dispose of them on the sly. Concealment of this kind in the "good old times was death; it is now fine or imprisonment. The right assumed by a lord of the manor to treasure-trove found on his estate may be exemplified by the following amusing anecdote: A West-end jeweller endeavored to palm off upon a rich old gentleman an old-fashioned silver drinking-cup, by declaring that it had been found in a particular field near a certain town. "Will you certify that in writing?" The tradesman was only too ready to do so. Whereupon the gentleman, pocketing the certificate, and taking up the flagon at the same time, remarked: "Thank you, very much; 'I am the lord of that manor, and I am glad to receive my proper dues."

The mention of conscience-money, too, invariably provokes a smile; but perhaps some of us are ignorant of the fact that this last item alone has been estimated to swell the chancellor of the exchequer's budget by about fifteen thousand pounds a year, and sometimes more.

It is rarely that one reads of a person refusing to claim a legacy, but it has been known. An old lady was entitled to considerable property, and her advisers wanted her to go some distance and sign a paper, offering to take her in a postchaise and pay all expenses; but being of an obstinate temper, she refused to stir; and persuasion being useless, the property disappeared, and has never been traced.

monomaniacs may be classed misers. A prolific source of litigation often arises from their eccentric mode of disposing of their hoards. What has become of the many bags of gold often discovered hidden up a chimney, or planted behind the back of a grate; secreted in a cupboard or sewn up in a mattress; deposited amongst the lath and plaster of a ceiling; placed behind the shutters of a room, or even buried in the coal-cellar? One instance may suffice. In 1766, at a lodging. house in Deptford (London), an English lady died at the age of ninety-six, Her name was Luhorne. For nearly half a century she had lived in the most penurious manner; frequently, indeed, had begged on the highroads, when she went on business to the city. After her death, there were found securities in the bank, South Sea, East India, and other stocks to the amount of forty thousand pounds and upwards; besides jewels, plate, china, rich clothing; great quantities of the finest silks, linen, velvet, etc., of very great value, together with a large sum of money. To whom all this treasure reverted, does not appear.

It may have been a bold question, but evidently the gentleman who asked for "a list of the funds paid out of Chancery during the last fifty years," had but a faint idea of the magnitude of the transactions of the Chancery paymaster. Without entering into very minute details, one is fairly astonished to read of the dormant funds in Chancery. From the annual budget of the paymaster-general, it appears that the receipts for the year ending 31st August, 1880, added to the securities then in court, made up a grand total of ninety-five million five hundred and four thousand four hundred and eighty-seven pounds nine shillings and fivepence.

Though not generally known, it is perfectly true that very considerable sums of unclaimed money have from time to time thus accumulated; and in fact the royal courts of justice have been built almost entirely with the surplus interest of the suitors' money, large sums of which have been borrowed, to enable the chancellor of the exchequer to carry through his financial operations; thus, in 1881, Mr. Gladstone borrowed no less than forty million pounds for national debt purposes. It would appear by this that these unclaimed funds have been utilized to lighten the burden of taxation, it being impossible


to divide the surplus interest among the suitors. By a return made to the House of Commons in July, 1854, the total amount of suitors' stock then in court amounted to forty-six. million pounds. In the following year, a list containing the titles of such accounts, but not stating the amounts, was printed and exhibited in the Chancery offices, with the following highly satisfactory results, that many persons came forward and preferred their claims, and about one-half of the stock supposed to be unclaimed was transferred out of court to successful claimants.

eyes out. An anecdote is related of a poor man who by a lottery ticket became the proprietor of several thousand pounds. He at once drove out in his carriage and began purchasing odd things right and left. Amongst other commodities, he packed into the interior a barrel of stout and some flitches of bacon; but to crown all, he bought an Alderney cow, and drove home with the animal hitched to the back of the vehicle. His relatives not unnaturally regarded all this with feelings akin to downright horror, and quickly commenced proceedings to have this lucky but amusingly eccentric individual judged insane. In this they succeeded.

At intervals, lists of these unclaimed funds are indeed published; but they are 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 unpersons 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 Enwe 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 altogether to be wondered at, as they have rarely any difficulty in finding people ready to believe, not only in the genuineness of their claims, but also to find the money to assist in substantiating them.

payment of dividends due and not demanded, and for the payment of lottery prizes and benefits which had not been claimed, etc."

[ocr errors]

Much litigation, too, ensues respecting 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 had 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 posextravagances. His father, vowing re-sible 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 has and would be claimable should an heir benever 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 hunhas benefited to a great extent, their abo- dred and forty-four pounds. A gentleman lition having, it is said, deprived the gov-left two legacies to lying-in hospitals ernment of a revenue amounting to nearly three hundred thousand pounds a year if merely to show that not only lucky legatees, but others, do not always utilize their windfalls properly. Some one has written, and with much truth, that it is just as well that fortune is blind, for if she could only see some of the ugly, stupid, worthless persons on whom she Occasionally showers her most precious gifts, the sight would annoy her so much that she would immediately scratch her

which appear to have had no existence; claimants were sought, but we never heard of any having been found. A general invitation to such institutions is sometimes given, as in the following advertisement: "Divers charitable institutions are invited to claim a share of a benevolent testator's residuary estate including the temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs. Write at once to Mr. Elsmore, Salt Lake City, Utah."

And the mention of a will recalls the

onerous duty of the executor; that is to say, the person intrusted to perform the will of the testator, and who rarely comes in for anything save worry and anxiety. We give an exception, however, which deserves a passing notice. In 1878, an old lady died at Brighton worth eleven thousand pounds. She left legacies to the amount of two thousand four hundred pounds, but no directions as to the disposal of the residue. The executors were her doctor and solicitor. On her death it turned out that she was illegitimate; and there being no next of kin, a question arose between the crown and the executors as to the disposal of the residue some eight thousand pounds. It was decided that the executors were entitled to it.

From The Spectator.



without it; it must be simple, it must be human, or indeed something wider than buman, for it seems to us especially connected with the animal world, and one reason why we find none on the page of our great novelist is that the influence of a peculiar individuality is felt there too strongly. It is gone at the first approach of anything of the nature of analysis, and we question whether a certain sense of inadequacy be not inseparable from it. The feeling represented, at all events, must be always associated with a certain dumbness; it is the appeal that is made to us, whether in life, or in some representation of life, by a sorrow that reveals itself unconsciously. We mean of course unconsciously to the sufferer; it is not 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 sounded unconsciously more than any other; 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 umns. 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 whom 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 may 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, bidding them flow-that depends on temperament - but rousing in every one the peculiar blending of emotion and sensation which tears manifest and relieve. It must be transient. The feeling it evokes is swallowed up immediately in something that is not itself. It hovers on the edge of pity, but as it passes into pity it ceases to be pathos. It is entangled with the web of memory, but when we take up that thread, the pathetic touch has ceased to vibrate. All that is strongly individual is

occur to every reader as an apparent refutation of the limitations we have given to the scope of pathos, affords, in fact, a good illustration of our meaning. The lament of Constance for Arthur is the specimen of pathos, perhaps, most universally appreciated, and it is undeniable that she cannot be called dumb; we have known her lament in dramatic representation made extremely clamorous, and though such a conception seemed to us very injurious to the beauty of the situation, it certainly did not destroy its tear


compelling power. But no small part of the wonderful power of the picture seems to us to consist of the dumbness of Arthur, the slightness and faintness of the sketch, the truth, in a certain sense, of his own words,

Good, my mother, peace!

I am not worth this coil that's made for me.

And in the case of Constance herself, our sympathy is solely with the mother. It is the purely human feeling nay, it is the one emotion we share with the creatures below humanity- that is made interesting. If the reader imagines how an artist of lesser genius would have treated the grief of a bereaved mother, he will see that it is touched with wonderful temperance, though with such great impressiveness. The few lines beginning, "Grief fills the place up of my absent child," touch on the anguish of every bereaved heart; they open a vista for every reader to some remembered longing, they put before us the sorrow that belongs not to rich or poor, high or low, wise or foolish, but to all. And yet how few they are, how soon we turn to other things, how little is Shakespeare engrossed with that pathetic image! He gives us, an indirect glance at it, and hurries on to the interests of a nation. It is interesting, in the case of the only dramatist who can be named on the same page with Shakespeare, to observe how the pathos of this indirect glance fades away, when it becomes direct. Antigone seems to us the grandest female figure in dramatic literature, but the only time she is brought forward in a pathetic light is in her first appearance as an unconscious child. Pathos cannot combine with the full diapason of tragic power; those flute-like notes are lost in any flood of harmony, their melody is soon over, but for the moment it must be heard alone.

The age which we should choose as richest in accessible specimens of pathos, the eighteenth century, is of itself a good illustration of the power that lies in this indirectness of attention. This period has of late been much rehabilitated, but its poetic claims have not yet been brought forward; and its best friends will confess that it was, on the whole, an age of prose. But the poetry of a prosaic age is exactly that which is most likely to be pathetic. It supplies the inevitable element of reserve of dumbness, we would rather say without which pathos is swallowed up in something beyond itself. And to take Gray as the type of this kind

of poetry, the few words of one of his friends quoted by Matthew Arnold, and recurrent in his essay on Gray as a sort of refrain- -"he never spoke out". - express with wonderful happiness and simplicity not only the characteristic of a particular poet, but the characteristic of all to whom we should apply the epithet "pathetic." Hackneyed as they are (and it is a peculiar disadvantage to all pathetic poetry to be hackneyed), his " Elegy" and the "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College" keep for all readers that dim sense of far-off troubles and sorrows which seems to bring "some painless sympathy with pain." No poetry is more purely, abstractedly human; the dim vision of the cottage door gladdened by the father's return, of the playing-fields alive with schoolboys, touching as they do on the two extremes of society, contain nothing that is individual, nothing that is not absolutely common to humanity. Where Gray does diverge into individuality, he seems to us most unfortunate; and the picture of the indolent day-dreamer of whom we learn that "large was his bounty, and his soul sincere," while yet "he gave to misery all he had, a tear," exchanges poetry for something that, if we could forget its beauty of language, we should perceive to be twaddle. The whole interest of the poem is that common life is here, as it were, set to music. The dim, obscure lives of toil and priva tion are brought before us, not in their painful sordidness, and not in their ardu. ous effort and meritorious success either, but in their broad human interest, as the lives of those bound together by strong affections, rejoicing in the daily meeting, busied with each other's needs, seeking on the bed of death a last glance from the eyes fullest of love. from the simplicity of this broad human interest that the words which call it up are essentially those of a scholar, and that we might restore some of its gems to their original setting on the page of Lucretius or Tacitus. On the contrary, it adds much to it. It gives that indirectness of attention which is what we want. from Gray to Wordsworth, concentrate your attention on the lives of the poor, you may gain much, but the pathetic touch is gone. If, for instance, any one fresh from the passage to which we have alluded should read Wordsworth's "Michael," which is nothing more than the hint at peasant life expanded into a little biography, and assert that he found as much pathos in the portrait as the sketch,

It takes nothing


« VorigeDoorgaan »