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Fourth Series


NO. 711. SATURDAY, AUGUST 11, 1877. PRICE 1½_d._]


All who had the pleasure of knowing the Rev. Charles Kingsley, author
of _Hypatia_, _Westward Ho_, and _Alton Locke_, will acknowledge
that however great he was as a parish clergyman, poet, novelist,
naturalist, sportsman, he was greater still at home. And how was this
greatness shewn? By his self-denying efforts to give joy to his wife
and children, and chivalrously to take away from them whatever was
painful. No man ever excelled him in the quality of being 'thoroughly
domesticated.' In actual life we fear this is a rare attainment, for
it is nothing less than the flower that indicates perfectly developed
manhood or womanhood. This flower beautified and sweetened Canon
Kingsley's life. He _was_ a hero to those who had greater opportunities
of knowing him than have most valets. Whatever unheroic cynics may say
of the disenchanting power of intimacy, there was an exception in his
case. How much such an example should teach us all! Not one in ten
thousand can hope to become the many-sided man Kingsley was, but none
of us need despair of making that little corner of the world called
'home' brighter and happier, as he made Eversley Rectory. We can all
make our homes sweet if, when company-clothes are doffed, we clothe the
most ordinary and commonplace duties of home-life with good temper and

Because the Rectory-house was on low ground, the rector of Eversley,
who considered violation of the divine laws of health a sort of acted
blasphemy, built his children an outdoor nursery on the 'Mount,' where
they kept books, toys, and tea-things, spending long happy days on
the highest and loveliest point of moorland in the glebe; and there
he would join them when his parish work was done, bringing them some
fresh treasure picked up in his walk, a choice wild-flower or fern or
rare beetle, sometimes a lizard or a field-mouse; ever waking up their
sense of wonder, calling out their powers of observation, and teaching
them lessons out of God's great green book, _without their knowing_
they were learning. Out-of-doors and indoors, the Sundays were the
happiest days of the week to the children, though to their father the
hardest. When his day's work was done, there was always the Sunday
walk, in which each bird and plant and brook was pointed out to the
children, as preaching sermons to Eyes, such as were not even dreamt of
by people of the No-eyes species. Indoors the Sunday picture-books were
brought out, and each child chose its subject for the father to draw,
either some Bible story, or bird or beast or flower. In all ways he
fostered in his children a love of animals. They were taught to handle
without disgust toads, frogs, beetles, as works from the hand of a
living God. His guests were surprised one morning at breakfast when his
little girl ran up to the open window of the dining-room holding a long
repulsive-looking worm in her hand: 'O daddy, look at this _delightful_

Kingsley had a horror of corporal punishment, not merely because it
tends to produce antagonism between parent and child, but because he
considered more than half the lying of children to be the result of
fear of punishment. 'Do not train a child,' he said, 'as men train a
horse, by letting anger and punishment be the _first_ announcement of
his having sinned. If you do, you induce two bad habits: first, the
boy regards his parent with a kind of blind dread, as a being who may
be offended by actions which to _him_ are innocent, and whose wrath he
expects to fall upon him at any moment in his most pure and unselfish
happiness. Next, and worst still, the boy learns not to fear sin, but
the punishment of it, and thus he learns to lie.' He was careful too
not to confuse his children by a multiplicity of small rules. 'It is
difficult enough to keep the Ten Commandments,' he would say, 'without
making an eleventh in every direction.' He had no 'moods' with his
family, for he cultivated, by strict self-discipline in the midst
of worries and pressing business, a disengaged temper, that always
enabled him to enter into other people's interests, and especially
into children's playfulness. 'I wonder,' he would say, 'if there is
so much laughing in any other home in England as in ours.' He became
a light-hearted boy in the presence of his children, or when exerting
himself to cheer up his aged mother who lived with him. When nursery
griefs and broken toys were taken to his study, he was never too busy
to mend the toy and dry the tears. He held with Jean Paul Richter, that
children have their 'days and hours of rain,' which parents should
not take much notice of, either for anxiety or sermons, but should
lightly pass over, except when they are symptoms of coming illness.
And his knowledge of physiology enabled him to detect such symptoms.
He recognised the fact, that weariness at lessons and sudden fits
of obstinacy are not hastily to be treated as moral delinquencies,
springing as they so often do from physical causes, which are best
counteracted by cessation from work and change of scene.

How blessed is the son who can speak of his father as Charles
Kingsley's eldest son does. '"Perfect love casteth out fear," was the
motto,' he says, 'on which my father based his theory of bringing up
children. From this and from the interest he took in their pursuits,
their pleasures, trials, and even the petty details of their everyday
life, there sprang up a friendship between father and children, that
increased in intensity and depth with years. To speak for myself, he
was the best friend - the only true friend I ever had. At once he was
the most fatherly and the most unfatherly of fathers - fatherly in that
he was our intimate friend and our self-constituted adviser; unfatherly
in that our feeling for him lacked that fear and restraint that make
boys call their father "the governor." Ours was the only household I
ever saw in which there was no favouritism. It seemed as if in each
of our different characters he took an equal pride, while he fully
recognised their different traits of good or evil; for instead of
having one code of social, moral, and physical laws laid down for one
and all of us, each child became a separate study for him; and its
little "diseases au moral," as he called them, were treated differently
according to each different temperament.... Perhaps the brightest
picture of the past that I look back to now is the drawing-room at
Eversley in the evenings, when we were all at home and by ourselves.
There he sat, with one hand in mother's, forgetting his own hard work
in leading our fun and frolic, with a kindly smile on his lips, and a
loving light in that bright gray eye, that made us feel that, in the
broadest sense of the word, he was our father.'

Of this son, when he was an undergraduate at Cambridge, his father
(then Professor of History) writes: 'Ah! what a blessing to be able
to help him at last by teaching him something one's-self.' And to a
learned 'F.G.S.' he says very seriously: 'My eldest son is just going
off to try his manhood in Colorado, United States. You will understand,
therefore, that it is somewhat important to me just now whether the
world be ruled by a just and wise God or by 0. It is also important
to me with regard to my own boy's future, whether what is said to
have happened to-morrow (Good Friday) be true or false.' In this way
Kingsley educated his heart and became truly wise. For no matter how
extensive may be our stock of information, we cannot be called wise
unless heart become to head a helpmate.

And how well he used his matrimony - a state that should be to all the
means of highest culture, or 'grace.' Sympathising with a husband's
anxiety, he once wrote to a friend: 'I believe one never understands
the blessed mystery of marriage till one has nursed a sick wife, nor
understands either what treasures women are.' He believed in the
eternity of marriage. 'So well and really married on earth' did he
think himself, that in one of his letters he writes: 'If I do not love
my wife body and soul as well there as I do here, then there is neither
resurrection of my body nor of my soul, but of some other, and I shall
not be I.' And again in another letter: 'If immortality is to include
in my case identity of person, I shall feel to her for ever what I feel
now. That feeling may be developed in ways which I do not expect; it
may have provided for it forms of expression very different from any
which are among the holiest sacraments of life.... Will not one of the
properties of the spiritual body be, that it will be able to express
that which the natural body only tries to express?'

Kingsley and his future wife met for the first time when he was only
twenty years of age in Oxfordshire, where he was spending his college
vacation. 'That was my real wedding-day,' he used always to say. The
Cambridge undergraduate was at the time going through the crisis in
a young man's life that may be called without irreverence 'moral
measles.' He was then full of religious doubts; and his face, with its
unsatisfied hungering look, bore witness to the state of his mind. He
told her his doubts, and she told him her faith; and the positive,
being stronger than the negative, so prevailed that he was no longer
faithless but believing. Hitherto his peculiar character had not been
understood, and his heart had been half asleep. It woke up now, and
never slept again. For the first time he could speak with perfect
freedom, and be met with answering sympathy. And gradually, as the new
friendship deepened into intimacy, every doubt, every thought, every
failing, every sin was laid bare. Counsel was asked and given; and as
new hopes dawned, the look of hard defiance gave way to a wonderful
humility and tenderness, which were his characteristics, with those who
understood him, to his dying day. 'My memory often runs back,' writes
an early friend of his, 'to the days when I used to meet dear Kingsley
in his little curate rooms; when he told me of his attachment to one
whom he feared he should never be able to marry.' But things turning
out brighter than he expected, the same friend records how, calling at
his cottage one morning, 'I found him almost beside himself, stamping
his things into a portmanteau. "What is the matter, dear Kingsley?" - "I
am engaged. I am going to see her _now_ - to-day."'

His chivalrous idea of wedlock was only natural, for he always
attributed to Mrs Kingsley's sympathy and influence his success, saying
that never but for her would he have become a writer. Writing to a
friend on the subject of marriage, he says that it is his duty to hold
the highest and most spiritual views, 'for God has shewed me these
things in an eventful and blissful marriage history, and woe to me if I
preach them not.'

Writing to his wife from the sea-side, where he had gone in search
of health, he says: 'This place is perfect; but it seems a dream and
imperfect without you. Kiss the darling ducks of children for me. How
I long after them and their prattle. I delight in all the little ones
in the street, for their sake, and continually I start and fancy I hear
their voices outside. You do not know how I love them; nor did I hardly
till I came here. Absence quickens love into consciousness.' - 'Blessed
be God for the rest, though I never before felt the loneliness of being
without the beloved being whose every look, and word, and motion are
the key-notes of my life. People talk of love ending at the altar....
Fools! I lay at the window all morning, thinking of nothing but home;
how I long for it!' - 'Tell Rose and Maurice that I have got two pair of
bucks' horns - one for each of them, huge old fellows, almost as big as

Writing from France to 'my dear little man,' as he calls his youngest
son (for whom he wrote the _Water Babies_), he says: 'There is a little
Egyptian vulture here in the inn; ask mother to shew you his picture in
the beginning of the Bird book.' When smarting from severe attacks on
his historical teaching at Cambridge, he could write to his wife: 'I
have been very unhappy about your unhappiness about me, and cannot bear
to think of your having a pang on my account.' From America he writes:
'My digestion is perfect, and I am in high spirits. But I am home-sick
at times, and would give a finger to be one hour with you and G. and M.'

From such things; which, though they may appear little, are really the
great things of life, or at least its _heart's ease_, Canon Kingsley
got power to do and to suffer.

Coming out from service in Westminster Abbey, he caught a cold;
but he made light of it, for he could think of nothing but the joy
of returning with his wife to Eversley for Christmas and the quiet
winter's work. No sooner had they returned home than Mrs Kingsley
became seriously ill. On being told that her life was in the greatest
danger, Kingsley said: 'My own death-warrant was signed with those
words.' His ministrations in his wife's sick-room shewed the intensity
of his faith, as he strengthened the weak, encouraged the fearful
speaking of an eternal reunion, of the indestructibility of that
married love, which if genuine on earth, could only, he thought, be
severed for a brief moment.

At this time Kingsley was himself ill, and on the 28th December he had
to take to his bed, for symptoms of pneumonia came on rapidly. The
weather was bitter, and he had been warned that his recovery depended
on the same temperature being kept up in his bedroom and on his never
leaving it; but one day he indiscreetly leaped out of bed, came into
his wife's room for a few moments, and taking her hand in his, he said:
'This is heaven; don't speak;' but after a short silence, a severe fit
of coughing came on, he could say nothing more, and they never met
again. For a few days the sick husband and wife wrote to each other
in pencil, but it then became 'too painful, too tantalising,' and the
letters ceased. A few days after this, the preacher, poet, novelist,
naturalist died, January 23, 1875, and was universally lamented, for
England had lost one of her most estimable men - not great, in the
ordinary sense of the word, for Kingsley could lay no claim to be a
profound thinker. His philanthropy confused his perceptions, as when in
his writings he denounced large towns and mill-owners, and proposed
to restore the population to the land. Such 'socialism' as this would
throw us back into ignorance and poverty, instead of solving the
difficult modern problem of rich and poor. Kingsley was great only as
regards the feelings. There he may be said to have made his mark.

How many of Charles Kingsley's works will last? Some (with whom he
himself would probably have agreed) think that _Hypatia_ and a few
songs, such as the _Sands of Dee_ and _Three Fishers_, are his only
contributions to English literature likely to endure. It may be that
he had too many irons in the fire for any of them to become white-hot.
We prefer to think of him as a minister of the Gospel, who not only
preached piety but shewed it at home, by being a dutiful son, a wise
father, and a husband whose love during thirty-six years 'never stooped
from its lofty level to a hasty word, an impatient gesture, or a
selfish act, in sickness or in health, in sunshine or in storm, by day
or by night.'

'He was a true and perfect knight,' is our verdict, on rising from the
perusal of his biography. It is surely a great encouragement to think
that all who cultivate their hearts may, without his genius, hope to
imitate the home-virtues of one who, however great in other respects,
was, in our opinion, greater at home.



After the bride and bridegroom were gone, occurred the first slip in
my behaviour. The rest of the company had returned to the house, and
I suppose I must have stood in the road - gazing in the direction the
carriage had taken, the sound of the distant bells floating faintly
towards me in the summer air - so long as to be unconscious of the lapse
of time, when gently and lightly a hand was laid upon mine, and it was
drawn under Robert Wentworth's arm.

'You are wanted up there, Mary,' he said cheerfully. 'Mrs Tipper does
not, I think, find herself quite equal to Mrs Dallas and Mrs Trafford;
to say nothing of two discontented bride's-maids, and a father who
came here under protest, and was only allowed to perform half the duty
he came to perform. You took that out of his hands, you know; the
giving away was virtually yours.' Going on to talk amusingly of the
incongruous materials which went to make up the wedding-party, and so
giving me time to recover my self-command. It was very soon put to the
test. There was, to begin with, some pretty banter from Mrs Chichester
to parry, when we reached the green terrace, where the guests were
sitting, to enjoy the air and lovely view, and from which I suddenly
remembered they could see the part of the road where I had been

'We began to fear you must be ill, Miss Haddon, seeing you stand so
long motionless in the road. It was quite a relief to see you move at
last when Mr Wentworth joined you - it really was!'

Probably Robert Wentworth considered that this kind of thing was what
I required, for he left me to it, and devoted himself to the not very
easy task of trying to reconcile the two pretty bride's-maids; gravely
listening to their assurances that the whole affair had been shockingly
mismanaged from first to last! I soon had enough to do to reply to
the patter of questions with which I was assailed from Marian and Mrs

Where in the world had I been hiding myself all these months? Had I
really come into a large fortune, and turned Mr Dallas off, as people
said; or was it the other thing? As I did not know what 'the other
thing' was, I could not answer for that; but acknowledged to having
been fortunate; smiling to myself as I wondered what they would think
of my idea of good fortune. Of course they would know what my real
position was in time; but for the present I was mischievous enough to
let them imagine any improbable thing they pleased. But there was one
thing which they must not be allowed to have any doubt about, and that
was my regard for Philip and Lilian, and hearty concurrence in the

'I am _so_ glad - so very glad; because we can now speak very decidedly
upon the point. People are so terribly unkind and censorious; are they
not, Miss Haddon?'

'Some are, Mrs Chichester; yet I think, on the whole, censorious
people do a great deal less mischief than they are supposed to do.
My experience is happily small in such matters; but I believe that
censorious people are generally well known to be so, and therefore they
are not capable of doing much harm.'

'Then it was _not_ true, Miss Haddon; I am so very pleased to be able
to say so!'

'What was not true, Mrs Chichester?'

'Oh, I would rather not repeat, really.'

'Well, I only know Caroline says she's heard it said over and over
again that you ran away in despair, because you found that Mr Dallas
and Lilian were untrue to you,' said Marian, less scrupulous about
repeating than the other.

'That is really too ridiculous!' I ejaculated. - 'But you will be able
to tell your friend or friends that you did not see a love-lorn damsel
to-day, Mrs Chichester;' gazing at her with steady calm eyes.

'You certainly don't look a bit love-lorn,' candidly said Marian.

'O no,' chimed in Mrs Chichester. 'If you will pardon the jest, I might
say you looked a great deal more as though you had _found_ a lover,
than lost one!' with a meaning glance in Robert Wentworth's direction.

'Will you excuse my asking if you had that dress direct from Paris,
Miss Haddon?' inquired Marian.

'Paris? No; it came from Madame Michaux,' I replied, happily
recollecting that Jane had mentioned that name.

'Oh, that is the same thing; isn't it? She charges enormously; but one
is quite sure of having just the right thing from her. I suppose you
have all your dresses from her now?'

'No; not all,' I said, smiling at the remembrance of my every-day

'They say brown is to be the new colour: the Duchess of Meck - Meck - -
(What's her name, Caroline? those German names are _so_ absurd) - is
wearing nothing else but brown at Homburg.'

'I have been wearing brown some time,' I replied, almost laughing

'Some people always contrive to be in advance of the fashions,' she
said a little disconcertedly. - 'Are they going away already, Caroline;
just inquire if the carriage is there, will you? - I see you have drab
liveries, Miss Haddon; ours is changed to claret; the Marchioness
of' - - Breaking off to make a reply to a few words from the little
bride's-maids, who with their father were taking themselves off from
the uncongenial atmosphere. 'O yes; went off very nicely indeed; did
it not? I wanted them to have the breakfast at Fairview, or at anyrate
to have two or three of the men-servants to wait. But the party is
small certainly, and everything has been very well contrived. No one is
inclined to be very critical at such times. I hope you will be able to
come down to Fairview before you return to Cornwall; any time which may
suit you best. You need not write; we are always prepared for visitors.'

Both sisters hurriedly explained that their stay in town would be very
short, and that there was not the _slightest_ chance of their having a
spare day.

Then there was one other little trial of my nerves - the few words which
had to be spoken to Mr and Mrs Dallas; but pride came to my assistance,
and I got through it pretty well, bearing their curious looks and
gracious speeches with at anyrate apparent stoicism. Under other
circumstances, I might have been somewhat amused by Mr Dallas's remark,
that for his part he wished I had not thrown Philip over; accompanied
as it was by a comprehensive glance at 'my carriage' waiting in the
road below.

As soon as they left, I felt at liberty to whisper a loving good-bye
to dear old Mrs Tipper, with a promise to see her and clear up all
mysteries on the morrow, and take my departure. In a matter-of-course
way, Robert Wentworth walked with me down the path, talking in the old
pleasant easy fashion until he had put me into the carriage. Then just
as I was bending forward to say the one word 'Home,' he gave the order
'Greybrook Hall.'

'Wait, John.'

The man stood aside; and I added to Robert Wentworth: 'You know then?'

'Of course I know,' he replied with a quiet smile.

I shrank back. He made a gesture to the footman, gave me the orthodox
bow, and I was driven away.

Not a little agitated, I asked myself how much more did he know - all?
If he recognised me that night in the wood, he did know not only what
I had done, but what it had cost me to do it! I was no heroine; I have
shewn myself as I was on Philip's wedding-day; but I had not won my
peace without many a weary struggle for it. Once - three months after
my departure from the cottage - I had stolen down in the darkness of
evening to watch the shadows on the blinds, and perhaps catch the
sound of a voice still so terribly dear to me. I saw Philip and Lilian
together, and recognised that they were lovers, and then I knew that
the victory was not yet won.

An hour later some one stooped over me as I lay crouched in the
woods. 'Are you ill? What is the matter with you, good woman?' said
the familiar voice of Robert Wentworth, as he laid his hand upon my
shoulder. 'It is bad for you to be lying here this damp night.'

I shrank away, drawing the hood of my cloak more closely round my
face, which I kept turned away. He stood still a few moments, and then
without another word passed on. I had hitherto always persuaded myself
that he had not recognised me; but now my cheeks grew uncomfortably hot
with the suspicion that he did know me, and that the passing silently
on was the very thing which a delicate consideration for me would
prompt him to do. I was only surprised that it had not occurred to me
before. I never had succeeded in throwing dust into Robert Wentworth's
eyes when I had tried so to do. I knew now that it was to him Jane
Osborne had alluded when she jested about a certain friend of hers who

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Online LibraryVariousChambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 711, August 11, 1877 → online text (page 1 of 5)