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a good man of business, that I dare say you cannot enter into it, but I do assure you that the true cause why I did not write was, that I had nothing else to do. O dear! I am in the greatest danger of going off in a fit of indolence; for I have no other complaint. Lounging, both in body and mind, gets more and more hold of me, and this soft climate makes it worse; for, like the Italians, it promotes the dolce far niente so much, that I must return to Brook Street to recover my vital powers. My life, however, passes in a happy, if indolent, reverie, which I take to be the true paradise of fools; and, while that is the case, I don't want to be among the wise. I dream, indeed, a little of former times, and have even contrived to be excited and pleased with the Malmesbury Papers' and the Life of Arnold;' with these exceptions, the quantity of trash that has gone through my brain from the circulating library, would sink down a man-ofwar! Thank heaven, I am not like Bolingbroke, who never read nonsense, because he could never forget what he read! Now I have not the least recollection of the 200 volumes, post octavo, which I am sure I have crammed within the last two months. But adieu.
" Ever yours,
“ R. P. W."
R. Plumer Ward, Esq., to B. Austen, Esq.
“ Okeover, Jan. 5. 1846. “My dear Austen,
“ You never were more right in your life, than when you felt sure that your friends here would be glad to hear from yourself, and be sure you were restored to yourself. The danger from which, by
, God's blessing, you have recovered, was not necessary to convince us how much we valued
you. count of it was frightful, and we felt quite as much for your excellent wife as yourself. After all, though nothing could make up for what you both have gone through, this incident must have had its advantage in showing of what consequence your kind- . ness and goodness to everybody have made you to us all. I know not the life the loss of which would have been so justly lamented, and so far I wish I resembled you. My own complaints, after .
will not bear mentioning. What they want, however, in violence, they make up for in perseverance; for, from four, five, or six in the morning till near dinner time, I am never free from pain, which keeps me too low and tremulous to have any enjoyment, and makes me think your allusion to good-fellowship almost a mockery. In short, I am more seriously than ever impressed with the approach of my separation, and am therefore less alive to the depression of all worldly interests. These are but poor topics to one who has been so ill, though happily convalescent. I will, therefore, advert to one which gave me a real
satisfaction of heart, such as no worldly prosperity could have procured me.
On Christmas eve I gave a dinner of beef, pudding, ale, and backy, to above seventy men, women, and children, being all those labouring poor who could not provide that seasonable comfort for themselves; and, on the last day of the year, tea, and a magnificent supper and dance, to the tenants living in the two parishes, our servants, and their friends. The universal satisfaction, I may say exuberant joy, this created, was a real treat, worth living for, and such as I never witnessed (from its total unsophistication) in the most splendid London entertainment.
" R. P. W.”
The weight of fourscore years was now beginning to tell seriously on that frame which even the active mind within could not exempt from a sense of increasing infirmity. “I wish,” says he to a dear friend, “I had a little of your vis. But it is worse and worse with me, and my feebleness in body and mind progresses ; if that be not a bull! But God knows I have no right to complain, but, on the contrary, every reason to be most thankful. I am ever yours, for the little that remains to
"R. P. W."
Early in 1846, Mrs. Plumer Ward's father, the late Sir George Anson, received the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of Chelsea, and, as Mr. Ward remarked, "not being willing to part company when
we have all been so happy together," they determined to move with him to his official residence at Chelsea, for the remainder of a rapidly closing existence.
His last letter from Okeover, dated March 4th, 1846, written in all the confusion of departure, says: “ Think of moving between 3000 and 4000 books ! Think of my boldness in adventuring this at eightyone, when there is little chance of my opening a book
After his arrival at Chelsea, a few short notes told, from time to time, of increased suffering; one, written little more than a month before the close of his life, announced, with much satisfaction, the appointment of his son, now Sir Henry Ward, as Secretary of the Admiralty. Their politics had been as opposed as are the views of the present age to those of the last: yet the father could not help rejoicing that the constant exertion of his son's talents for many years, in a direction which seemed but to promise proscription and exclusion from office, had resulted in an opportunity of assisting to carry out his own principles, when they had at length become triumphant. It was the last public and private event in this world that was to present a new impression to that mind which had so long been publicly and privately active. Those higher and more sacred feel. ings of religious faith and home-affection, devoted sympathy for those who were dear to him, and affectionate interest in their well-being, remained unchanged to the last, the comfort of his declining, as they had been of his mature, years. His bodily sufferings, however, and alarming seizures, continued to increase both in intensity and frequency, until at length, on the 13th of August, at the age of eighty-one, a calm and peaceful death closed his earthly trials. He died at Chelsea Hospital, under the roof of his fatherin-law, Sir George Anson, then the LieutenantGovernor, whose friendship had contributed so much to the social happiness of his waning years. His intellect to the very last remained unclouded, as was shown no less by the sprightliness that adorned his conversation, than by the retentiveness of his memory, and that readiness of recollection with which he brought forth its stored-up treasures in the papers that follow. Lastly, the earnest simplicity of his religious fervour was evinced to the very close of his life, in the prayers composed by him on completing his seventy-seventh and seventy-eighth birthdays, and by many other such devotional exercises.