"I am very sorry for what you say about my not writing anything startling; because it shows that. . . you are beginning to judge me in part upon the reports of others. There are some people whom I must startle, if I am to do any good. . . . But to startle the majority of good and sensible men, or to startle, so as to disgust at once a majority of any sort, are things which I most earnestly should wish to avoid. At the same time, I do strongly object on principle to the use of that glozing, unnatural, and silly language (for so it is in us now), which men use one after another till it becomes as worn as one of the old shillings."


HE winter of 1856, spent at Farley Court, a lovely spot in Swallowfield parish, adjoining to and overlooking Eversley, was a bright and happy one. The long rest in Devonshire had told on him, and now living on high ground, and in a dry house, acted as a tonic to him as well as to his family, and infused fresh life into his preaching and his parish work. The old incubus of the Crimean War, after two years' pressure, was removed, and the new one of the Indian Mutiny, which weighed even more heavily upon him from


the thought of the sufferings of women and children, was as yet in the future, and his heart rebounded again. The formation of the camp at Aldershot created fresh interests for him at this time and during his remaining years, by bringing a new element into his congregation at Eversley, and giving him the friendship of many military men. In July he was at Aldershot on the memorable occasion of the Queen's first inspection of the remnant of her Crimean army, and saw the march-past of the different regiments before her Majesty, a sight never to be forgotten. In his night-schools, which were well attended, he gave lectures on mines, shells, and other subjects connected with Natural History, illustrated with large drawings of his own. His sermons were most powerful- among them one on Ghosts, the appearance of a ghost in the neighborhood (which he stalked down and found, as he expected, to be a white deer escaped from Calverly Park), having greatly alarmed his parishioners. He gave various

1 Another ghostly visitor puzzled him this winter. On the occasion of a public dinner given to an officer of The Guards on his return from the Crimean War, Mr. Kingsley allowed his son to be present to hear the first of the speeches and then ride back in the dusk to Farley Court on his pony alone. Halfway between the park gate and the house," Something" passed over his head which thoroughly frightened the boy, who galloped to the stables shouting that he had seen a ghost, and bringing the coachman and others rushing out. To all, even to his father, next day, he told the same story: that a great, white, waving sheet had skimmed over his head and that the pony had also seen it and shied. Every one was incredulous, except the father, who, knowing that the boy was not afraid of ghosts and was a quick observer, would not be likely to exaggerate; consequently he bided his time; which came a few weeks later, when on coming back from a cottage lecture at Eversley one evening, he burst into the house radiant-"Boy, I've seen your ghost!-you were all right! I watched for him and saw him a week ago but

lectures in the diocese. He wrote a preface to Tauler's Sermons; two articles on Art and Puritanism, and on Mystics and Mysticism,1 and began his new romance. His spare hours were devoted to the study and classification of the Phryganæ, carried on by the side of trout streams during a holiday in North Wales and in an occasional day's fishing at Wotton and Wild Moor. His private correspondence this year shows the life and vigor and versatility2 of his own mind, and his power of approaching other minds from different sides.


"I wish you would make a vow and keep it strong; for F. says, that if you will, I may to go with me to

could n't make him out, so I did n't tell you: but to-night your sheet flew close over my head, and what do you suppose he was? A flock of white swans flying probably from Bramshill pond to the Loddon at Swallowfield. We are in a direct line between the two." Following this up, Mr. Kingsley found that at certain seasons of the year the swans at Bramshill regularly left the pond after dark to feed in the river at Swallowfield. (M. K.)

1 Since published in the Miscellanies.


2 His versatility often puzzled those who knew him and his writings only partially. A reminiscence of this was given by a reviewer: "What an unintelligible mystic Kingsley is!' said a guest at some festivity, of which perhaps few partakers are now living; 'I wonder if he himself understands his own writings.' His hearer did not see the appropriateness of the description, and the conversation took a line on which the speaker had more to say, — a subject connected with science. There is an admirable article on that subject,' he continued, 'in such and such a Review; it throws more light upon it, and gives more practical suggestions concerning it, than anything I have read for years.' 'It was written by Kingsley,' said the other and the good man took refuge in his dinner. It was a startling transformation to find his religious mystic an authority on the practical applications of science! Here, we think, lies the secret of a large part of Kingsley's power."

Snowdon next summer for a parson's week, i. e. twelve days. For why? I have long promised my children a book to be called 'Letters from Snowdon,' and I want to rub up old memories, and to get new ones in parts which I have not seen. An ordnance map, a compass, fishing-tackle, socks, and slippers are all you want. Moreover, I do know where to fish, and one of the crackest fishers of the part has promised to give me as many flies of his own making as I like, while another can lend us boat or coracle, if we want to fish Gwynant Dinas. We could kill an amount of fish perfectly frightful, and all the big ones, by the simple expedient of sleeping by day, walking evening and morning, and fishing during the short hot nights. Wales is a cheap place, if you avoid show inns; and, save a night at Capel Curig, we need never enter a show inn. We may stay two or three days at Pen-y-Gwyrrryynnwwdddelld — there — I can't spell it, but it sounds Pennygoorood, which is the divinest pig-sty beneath the canopy, and at Bedgelert old Jones the clerk, and king of fishermen, will take us in- and do for us - if we let him. The parson of Bedgelert is a friend of mine also, but we must depend on our own legs, and on stomachs which can face braxy mutton, young taters, Welsh porter, which is the identical drainings of Noah's flood turned sour, and brandy of more strength than legality. Bread horrid, Fleas MCCCC ad infinitum. Bugs a sprinkling. For baths, the mountain brook; for towel, a wisp of any endogen save Scirpus triqueter, or Juncus squarrosus; and for cure of all ills, and supplement of all defects, baccy. Do come-you have no notion of the grandeur of the scenery, small as it is compared with the Alps."

His brother-in-law, Mr. Froude, who was to go too, proposed Ireland instead of Wales, which led to his writing these lines:

Oh, Mr. Froude, how wise and good,
To point us out this way to glory —

They're no great shakes, those Snowdon lakes,
And all their pounders myth and story.
Blow Snowdon! What's Lake Gwynant to Killarney,
Or spluttering Welsh to tender blarney, blarney, blarney?

So, Thomas Hughes, sir, if you choose,

I'll tell you where we think of going,
To 'swate and far o'er cliff and scar,

Hear horns of Elfland faintly blowing; Blow Snowdon! There's a hundred lakes to try in, And fresh caught salmon daily, frying, frying, frying.

Geology and botany

A hundred wonders shall diskiver,
We'll flog and troll in strid and hole,

And skim the cream of lake and river.

Blow Snowdon! give me Ireland for my pennies
Hurrah! for salmon, grilse, and Dennis, Dennis, Dennis!

Το Esq. February 27. 66 . . With regard to *** I fear neither you nor any man can give him a fresh back to his head: enlarge that deficient driving wheel in the cerebellum, so as to keep the thinking and feeling part of the brain at work. It is sad to see how much faults of character seem to depend on physiognomic defects; but do they really depend upon it? Is a man's spirit weak because he has a poor jaw, and a small back to his head; or is his jaw poor, and his cerebellum small, because his spirit is weak? I would fain believe the latter; fain believe that the body is the expression of the soul, and is moulded by it, and not, as Combe would have it, the soul by the body: my reason points to that belief; but I shrink from my own reason, because it seems to throw such tremendous moral responsibility on man, to forbid one's saying 'Poor fellow, it is not his fault, it is a constitutional defect;' for if one says that a man is not responsible for the form of his own soul

« VorigeDoorgaan »