« VorigeDoorgaan »
PROFESSORSHIP OF MODERN HISTORY-DEATH OF
"The best reward for having wrought well already, is to have more to do: and he that has been faithful over a few things, must find his account in being made ruler over many things. That is the true and heroical rest which only is worthy of gentlemen, and sons of God. And for those who, either in this world, or the world to come, look for idleness, and hope that God shall feed them with pleasant things, as it were with a spoon, Amyas, I count them cowards and base, even though they call themselves saints and elect. . . . Do thou thy duty like a man to thy country, thy Queen, and thy God, and count thy life a worthless thing, as did the holy men of old."
WESTWARD Ho! Chapter vii.
N 1860 Mr. Kingsley's name was mentioned to Lord Palmerston, then Prime Minister, for the Regius professorship of Modern History at Cambridge, which Sir James Stephen had lately
When the vacant chair was offered to him, he accepted it with extreme diffidence; and in the spring he went up to the University to take his M. A. degree, which he had not been able to afford as yet. Dr. Whewell, who was then Master of Trinity, received him most kindly. Having been one of those who had disapproved most emphatically of "Alton Locke" when it was first published, his generosity on this occasion, and his steady friendship henceforward up to the date of his own death in 1866, laid the new Professor under a deep debt of gratitude. His own feelings are best told in letters to his wife:
TRINITY, CAMBRIDGE, May 22, 1860.-". . . It is like a dream. Most beautiful. My windows look into Trinity Walks the finest green walks in England, now full of flags and tents for a tulip show. I had a pleasant party of men to meet me last night. After breakfast I go to Magdalene, then to the Senate House; then to dinner in hall at Magdalene. . . . All this is so very awful and humbling to me. I cannot bear to think of my own unworthiness.
"I have been thinking and praying a good deal over my future life. A new era has opened for me: I feel much older, anxious, and full of responsibility; but more cheerful and settled than I have done for a long time. All that book-writing and struggling is over, and a settled position and work is before me. Would that it were done, the children settled in life, and kindly death near to set one off again with a new start somewhere else. I should like the only epitaph on our tomb to be Thekla's:
'We have lived and loved,'
'We live and love."
Early in the winter, his father, the Rector of Chelsea, to whom he had ever been a devoted son, died, and from that hour till her death in 1873, the care of his widowed mother was one of his most nobly fulfilled duties. He speaks of the death of parents as
"... the awful feeling of having the roots which connect one with the last generation seemingly torn up, and having to say 'Now I am the root, I stand self-supported, with no older stature to rest on.' And then one must believe that God is the God of Abraham, and that all live to Him, and that we are no more isolated and self-supported than when we were children on Our mother's bosom."
TO REV. J. MONTAGU. "... Forgive me for my silence, for I and my brothers are now wearily watching my father's death-bed-long and lingering. Miserable to see life prolonged when all that makes it worth having (physically) is gone, and never to know from day to day whether the end is to come in six hours or six weeks. But he is all right and safe, and death for him would be a pure and simple blessing. James Montagu, never pray for a long life. Better die in the flower of one's age, than go through what I have seen him go through in the last few days. . . .
"MY DARLING Boy," he writes to his eldest son at school," Poor Grandpapa is dead, and gone to heaven. You must always think of him lovingly; and remember this about him, Maurice, and copy it — that he was a gentleman, and never did in his life, or even thought, a mean or false thing, and therefore has left behind him many friends, and not an enemy on earth. Yes, dear boy, if it should please God that you should help to build up the old family again, bear in mind that