Biographies of Working Men
Grant Allen

Part 2 out of 3

a sufficient mark of the stuff from which young Herschel was compounded.
It was a copy of "Locke on the Human Understanding." Now, Locke's famous
work, oftener named than read, is a very tough and serious bit of
philosophical exposition; and a boy of seventeen who buys such a book
out of his meagre earnings as a military bandsman is pretty sure not to
end his life within the four dismal bare walls of the barrack. It is
indeed a curious picture to imagine young William Herschel, among a
group of rough and boisterous German soldiers, discussing high
mathematical problems with his father, or sitting down quietly in a
corner to read "Locke on the Human Understanding."

In 1757, during the Seven Years' War, Herschel was sent with his
regiment to serve in the campaign of Rossbach against the French. He was
not physically strong, and the hardships of active service told terribly
upon the still growing lad. His parents were alarmed at his appearance
when he returned, and were very anxious to "remove" him from the
service. That, however, was by no means an easy matter for them to
accomplish. They had no money to buy his discharge, and so, not to call
the transaction by any other than its true name, William Herschel was
forced to run away from the army. We must not judge too harshly of this
desertion, for the times were hard, and the lives of men in Herschel's
position were valued at very little by the constituted authorities. Long
after, it is said, when Herschel had distinguished himself by the
discovery of the planet Uranus, a pardon for this high military offence
was duly handed to him by the king in person on the occasion of his
first presentation. George III. was not a particularly wise or brilliant
man; but even he had sense enough to perceive that William Herschel
could serve the country far better by mapping out the stars of heaven
than by playing the oboe to the royal regiment of Hanoverian Guards.

William was nineteen when he ran away. His good mother packed his boxes
for him with such necessaries as she could manage, and sent them after
him to Hamburg, but, to the boy's intense disgust, she forgot to send
the copy of "Locke on the Human Understanding." What a sturdy deserter
we have here, to be sure! "She, dear woman," he says plaintively, "knew
no other wants than good linen and clothing!" So William Herschel the
oboe player started off alone to earn his living as best he might in the
great world of England. It is strange he should have chosen that, of all
European countries; for there alone he was liable to be arrested as a
deserter: but perhaps his twelvemonth's stay in London may have given
him a sense of being at home amongst us which he would have lacked in
any other part of Europe. At any rate, hither he came, and for the next
three years picked up a livelihood, we know not how, as many other
excellent German bandsmen have done before and since him. Our
information about his early life is very meagre, and at this period we
lose sight of him for a while altogether.

About the year 1760, however, we catch another incidental glimpse of the
young musician in his adopted country. By that time, he had found
himself once more a regular post as oboist to the Durham militia, then
quartered for its muster at Pontefract. A certain Dr. Miller, an
organist at Doncaster, was dining one evening at the officers' mess;
when his host happened to speak to him in high praise of a young German
they had in their band, who was really, he said, a most remarkable and
spirited performer. Dr. Miller asked to see (or rather hear) this clever
musician; so Herschel was called up, and made to go through a solo for
the visitor's gratification. The organist was surprised at his admirable
execution, and asked him on what terms he was engaged to the Durham
militia. "Only from month to month," Herschel answered. "Then leave them
at the end of your month," said Miller, "and come to live with me. I'm a
single man; I think we can manage together; and I'm sure I can get you a
better situation." Herschel frankly accepted the offer so kindly made,
and seems to have lived for much of the next five years with Miller in
his little two-roomed cottage at Doncaster. Here he took pupils and
performed in the orchestra at public concerts, always in a very quiet
and modest fashion. He also lived for part of the time with a Mr. Bulman
at Leeds, for whom he afterwards generously provided a place as clerk to
the Octagon Chapel at Bath. Indeed, it is a very pleasing trait in
William Herschel's character that to the end he was constantly engaged
in finding places for his early friends, as well as for the less
energetic or less fortunate members of his own family.

During these years, Herschel also seems to have given much attention to
the organ, which enabled him to make his next step in life in 1765, when
he was appointed organist at Halifax. Now, there is a great social
difference between the position of an oboe-player in a band and a church
organist; and it was through his organ-playing that Herschel was finally
enabled to leave his needy hand-to-mouth life in Yorkshire. A year
later, he obtained the post of organist to the Octagon Chapel at Bath,
an engagement which gave him new opportunities of turning his mind to
the studies for which he possessed a very marked natural inclination.
Bath was in those days not only the most fashionable watering-place in
England, but almost the only fashionable watering-place in the whole
kingdom. It was, to a certain extent, all that Brighton, Scarborough,
Buxton, and Harrogate are to-day, and something more. In our own time,
when railways and steamboats have so altered the face of the world, the
most wealthy and fashionable English society resorts a great deal to
continental pleasure towns like Cannes, Nice, Florence, Vichy, Baden,
Ems, and Homburg; but in the eighteenth century it resorted almost
exclusively to Bath. The Octagon Chapel was in one sense the centre of
life in Bath; and through his connection with it, Herschel was thrown
into a far more intelligent and learned society than that which he had
left behind him in still rural Yorkshire. New books came early to Bath,
and were read and discussed in the reading-rooms; famous men and women
came there, and contributed largely to the intellectual life of the
place; the theatre was the finest out of London; the Assembly Rooms were
famous as the greatest resort of wit and culture in the whole kingdom.
Herschel here was far more in his element than in the barracks of
Hanover, or in the little two-roomed cottage at rustic Doncaster.

He worked very hard indeed, and his work soon brought him comfort and
comparative wealth. Besides his chapel services, and his later
engagement in the orchestra of the Assembly Rooms, he had often as many
as thirty-eight private pupils in music every week; and he also composed
a few pieces, which were published in London with some modest success.
Still, in spite of all these numerous occupations, the eager young
German found a little leisure time to devote to self-education; so much
so that, after a fatiguing day of fourteen or sixteen hours spent in
playing the organ and teaching, he would "unbend his mind" by studying
the higher mathematics, or give himself a lesson in Greek and Italian.
At the same time, he was also working away at a line of study, seemingly
useless to him, but in which he was afterwards to earn so great and
deserved a reputation. Among the books he read during this Bath period
were Smith's "Optics" and Lalande's "Astronomy." Throughout all his own
later writings, the influence of these two books, thoroughly mastered by
constant study in the intervals of his Bath music lessons, makes itself
everywhere distinctly felt.

Meanwhile, the family at Hanover had not been flourishing quite so
greatly as the son William was evidently doing in wealthy England.
During all those years, the young man had never forgotten to keep up a
close correspondence with his people in Germany. Already, in 1764,
during his Yorkshire days, William Herschel had managed out of his
savings as an oboe-player to make a short trip to his old home; and his
sister Carolina, afterwards his chief assistant in his astronomical
labours, notes with pleasure the delight she felt in having her beloved
brother with her once more, though she, poor girl, being cook to the
household apparently, could only enjoy his society when she was not
employed "in the drudgery of the scullery." A year later, when William
had returned to England again, and had just received his appointment as
organist at Halifax, his father, Isaac, had a stroke of paralysis which
ended his violin-playing for ever, and forced him to rely thenceforth
upon copying music for a precarious livelihood. In 1767 he died, and
poor Carolina saw before her in prospect nothing but a life of that
domestic drudgery which she so disliked. "I could not bear the idea of
being turned into a housemaid," she says; and she thought that if only
she could take a few lessons in music and fancy work she might get "a
place as governess in some family where the want of a knowledge of
French would be no objection." But, unhappily, good dame Herschel, like
many other uneducated and narrow-minded persons, had a strange dread of
too much knowledge. She thought that "nothing further was needed," says
Carolina, "than to send me two or three months to a sempstress to be
taught to make household linen; so all that my father could do was to
indulge me sometimes with a short lesson on the violin when my mother
was either in good humour or out of the way. It was her certain belief
that my brother William would have returned to his country, and my
eldest brother would not have looked so high, if they had had a little
less learning." Poor, purblind, well-meaning, obstructive old dame
Herschel! what a boon to the world that children like yours are
sometimes seized with this incomprehensible fancy for "looking too

Nevertheless, Carolina managed by rising early to take a few lessons at
daybreak from a young woman whose parents lived in the same cottage with
hers; and so she got through a little work before the regular daily
business of the family began at seven. Imagine her delight then, just as
the difficulties after her father's death are making that housemaid's
place seem almost inevitable, when she gets a letter from William at
Bath, asking her to come over to England and join him at that gay and
fashionable city. He would try to prepare her for singing at his
concerts; but if after two years' trial she didn't succeed, he would
take her back again to Hanover himself. In 1772, indeed, William in
person came over to fetch her, and thenceforth the brother and sister
worked unceasingly together in all their undertakings to the day of the
great astronomer's death.

About this time Herschel had been reading Ferguson's "Astronomy," and
felt very desirous of seeing for himself the objects in the heavens,
invisible to the naked eye, of which he there found descriptions. For
this purpose he must of course have a telescope. But how to obtain one?
that was the question. There was a small two-and-a-half foot instrument
on hire at one of the shops at Bath; and the ambitious organist borrowed
this poor little glass for a time, not merely to look through, but to
use as a model for constructing one on his own account. Buying was
impossible, of course, for telescopes cost much money: but making would
not be difficult for a determined mind. He had always been of a
mechanical turn, and he was now fired with a desire to build himself a
telescope eighteen or twenty feet long. He sent to London for the
lenses, which could not be bought at Bath; and Carolina amused herself
by making a pasteboard tube to fit them in her leisure hours. It was
long before he reached twenty feet, indeed: his first effort was a
seven-foot, attained only "after many continuous determined trials." The
amateur pasteboard frame did not fully answer Herschel's expectations,
so he was obliged to go in grudgingly for the expense of a tin tube. The
reflecting mirror which he ought to have had proved too dear for his
still slender purse, and he thus had to forego it with much regret. But
he found a man at Bath who had once been in the mirror-polishing line;
and he bought from him for a bargain all his rubbish of patterns, tools,
unfinished mirrors and so forth, with which he proceeded to experiment
on the manufacture of a proper telescope. In the summer, when the season
was over, and all the great people had left Bath, the house, as Carolina
says ruefully, "was turned into a workshop." William's younger brother
Alexander was busy putting up a big lathe in a bedroom, grinding glasses
and turning eyepieces while in the drawing-room itself, sacred to
William's aristocratic pupils, a carpenter, sad to relate, was engaged
in making a tube and putting up stands for the future telescopes. Sad
goings on, indeed, in the family of a respectable music-master and
organist! Many a good solid shopkeeper in Bath must no doubt have shaken
his grey head solemnly as he passed the door, and muttered to himself
that that young German singer fellow was clearly going on the road to
ruin with his foolish good-for-nothing star-gazing.

In 1774, when William Herschel was thirty-six, he had at last
constructed himself a seven-foot telescope, and began for the first time
in his life to view the heavens in a systematic manner. From this he
advanced to a ten-foot, and then to one of twenty, for he meant to see
stars that no astronomer had ever yet dreamt of beholding. It was
comparatively late in life to begin, but Herschel had laid a solid
foundation already, and he was enabled therefore to do an immense deal
in the second half of those threescore years and ten which are the
allotted average life of man, but which he himself really overstepped by
fourteen winters. As he said long afterwards with his modest manner to
the poet Campbell, "I have looked further into space than ever human
being did before me; I have observed stars of which the light, it can be
proved, must take two millions of years to reach this earth." That would
have been a grand thing for any man to be able truthfully to say under
any circumstances: it was a marvellous thing for a man who had laboured
under all the original disadvantages of Herschel--a man who began life
as a penniless German bandsman, and up to the age of thirty-six had
never even looked through a telescope.

At this time, Herschel was engaged in playing the harpsichord in the
orchestra of the theatre; and it was during the interval between the
acts that he made his first general survey of the heavens. The moment
his part was finished, he would rush out to gaze through his telescope;
and in these short periods he managed to observe all the visible stars
of what are called the first, second, third, and fourth magnitudes.
Henceforth he went on building telescope after telescope, each one
better than the last; and now all his glasses were ground and polished
either by his own hand or by his brother Alexander's. Carolina meanwhile
took her part in the workshop; but as she had also to sing at the
oratorios, and her awkward German manners might shock the sensitive
nerves of the Bath aristocrats, she took two lessons a week for a whole
twelvemonth (she tells us in her delightfully straightforward fashion)
"from Miss Fleming, the celebrated dancing mistress, to drill me for a
gentlewoman." Poor Carolina, there she was mistaken: Miss Fleming could
make her into no gentlewoman, for she was born one already, and nothing
proves it more than the perfect absence of false shame with which in her
memoirs she tells us all these graphic little details of their early
humble days.

While they were thus working at Bath an incident occurred which is worth
mentioning because it shows the very different directions in which the
presence or the want of steady persistence may lead the various members
of the very self-same family. William received a letter from his widowed
mother at Hanover to say, in deep distress, that Dietrich, the youngest
brother, had run away from home, it was supposed for the purpose of
going to India, "with a young idler no older than himself." Forthwith,
the budding astronomer left the lathe where he was busy turning an eye-
piece from a cocoa-nut shell, and, like a good son and brother as he
always was, hurried off to Holland and thence to Hanover. No Dietrich
was anywhere to be found. But while he was away, Carolina at Bath
received a letter from Dietrich himself, to tell her ruefully he was
"laid up very ill" at a waterside tavern in Wapping--not the nicest or
most savoury East End sailor-suburb of London. Alexander immediately
took the coach to town, put the prodigal into a decent lodging, nursed
him carefully for a fortnight, and then took him down with him in
triumph to the family home at Bath. There brother William found him safe
and sound on his return, under the sisterly care of good Carolina. A
pretty dance he had led the two earnest and industrious astronomers; but
they seem always to have treated this black sheep of the family with
uniform kindness, and long afterwards Sir William remembered him
favourably in his last will.

In 1779 and the succeeding years the three Herschels were engaged during
all their spare time in measuring the heights of about one hundred
mountains in the moon, which William gauged by three different methods.
In the same year, he made an acquaintance of some importance to him, as
forming his first introduction to the wider world of science in London
and elsewhere. Dr. Watson, a Fellow of the Royal Society, happened to
see him working at his telescope; and this led to a visit from the
electrician to the amateur astronomer. Dr. Watson was just then engaged
in getting up a Philosophical Society at Bath (a far rarer institution
at that time in a provincial town than now), and he invited William
Herschel to join it. Here Herschel learned for the first time to mix
with those who were more nearly his intellectual equals, and to measure
his strength against other men's.

It was in 1781 that Herschel made the great discovery which immediately
established his fame as an astronomer, and enabled him to turn from
conducting concerts to the far higher work of professionally observing
the stars. On the night of Tuesday, March 13th, Herschel was engaged in
his usual systematic survey of the sky, a bit at a time, when his
telescope lighted among a group of small fixed stars upon what he at
first imagined to be a new comet. It proved to be no comet, however, but
a true planet--a veritable world, revolving like our own in a nearly
circular path around the sun as centre, though far more remote from it
than the most distant planet then known, Saturn. Herschel called his new
world the _Georgium Sidus_ (King George's star) in honour of the
reigning monarch; but it has since been known as Uranus. Astronomers all
over Europe were soon apprised of this wonderful discovery, and the path
of the freshly found planet was computed by calculation, its distance
from the sun being settled at nineteen times that of our own earth.

In order faintly to understand the importance attached at the time to
Herschel's observation of this very remote and seemingly petty world, we
must remember that up to that date all the planets which circle round
our own sun had been familiarly known to everybody from time immemorial.
To suggest that there was yet another world belonging to our system
outside the path of the furthest known planet would have seemed to most
people like pure folly. Since then, we have grown quite accustomed to
the discovery of a fresh small world or two every year, and we have even
had another large planet (Neptune), still more remote than Herschel's
Uranus, added to the list of known orbs in our own solar system. But in
Herschel's day, nobody had ever heard of a new planet being discovered
since the beginning of all things. A hundred years before, an Italian
astronomer, it is true, had found out four small moons revolving round
Saturn, besides the big moon then already known; but for a whole
century, everybody believed that the solar system was now quite fully
explored, and that nothing fresh could be discovered about it. Hence
Herschel's observation produced a very different effect from, say, the
discovery of the two moons which revolve round Mars, in our own day.
Even people who felt no interest in astronomy were aroused to attention.
Mr. Herschel's new planet became the talk of the town and the subject of
much admiring discussion in the London newspapers. Strange, indeed, that
an amateur astronomer of Bath, a mere German music-master, should have
hit upon a planet which escaped the sight even of the king's own
Astronomer Royal at Greenwich.

Of course there were not people wanting who ascribed this wonderful
discovery of Herschel's to pure chance. If he hadn't just happened to
turn his telescope in that particular direction on that particular
night, he wouldn't have seen this _Georgium Sidus_ they made such a
fuss about at all. Quite so. And if he hadn't built a twenty-foot
telescope for himself, he wouldn't have turned it anywhere at any time.
But Herschel himself knew better. "This was by no means the result of
chance," he said; "but a simple consequence of the position of the
planet on that particular evening, since it occupied precisely that spot
in the heavens which came in the order of the minute observations that I
had previously mapped out for myself. Had I not seen it just when I did,
I must inevitably have come upon it soon after, since my telescope was
so perfect that I was able to distinguish it from a fixed star in the
first minute of observation." Indeed, when once Herschel's twenty-foot
telescope was made, he could not well have failed in the long run to
discover Uranus, as his own description of his method clearly shows.
"When I had carefully and thoroughly perfected the great instrument in
all its parts," he says, "I made a systematic use of it in my
observation of the heaven, first forming a determination never to pass
by any, the smallest, portion of them without due investigation. This
habit, persisted in, led to the discovery of the new planet (_Georgium
Sidus_)." As well might one say that a skilled mining surveyor,
digging for coal, came upon the seam by chance, as ascribe to chance the
necessary result of such a careful and methodical scrutiny as this.

Before the year was out, the ingenious Mr. Herschel of Bath was elected
a Fellow of the Royal Society, and was also presented with the Copley
gold medal. From this moment all the distinguished people in Bath were
anxious to be introduced to the philosophical music-master; and, indeed,
they intruded so much upon his time that the daily music lessons were
now often interrupted. He was soon, however, to give up lessons for
ever, and devote himself to his more congenial and natural work in
astronomy. In May, 1782, he went up to London, to be formally admitted
to his Fellowship of the Royal Society. There he stayed so long that
poor Carolina was quite frightened. It was "double the time which my
brother could safely be absent from his scholars." The connection would
be broken up, and the astronomy would be the ruin of the family. (A
little of good old dame Herschel's housewifely leaven here, perhaps.)
But William's letters from London to "Dear Lina" must soon have quieted
her womanly fears. William had actually been presented to the king, and
"met with a very gracious reception." He had explained the solar system
to the king and queen, and his telescope was to be put up first at
Greenwich and then at Richmond. The Greenwich authorities were delighted
with his instrument; they have seen what Herschel calls "_my_ fine
double stars" with it. "All my papers are printing," he tells Lina with
pardonable pride, "and are allowed to be very valuable." But he himself
is far from satisfied as yet with the results of his work. Evidently no
small successes in the field of knowledge will do for William Herschel.
"Among opticians and astronomers," he writes to Lina, "nothing now is
talked of but _what they call_ my great discoveries. Alas! this
shows how far they are behind, when such trifles as I have seen and done
are called _great_. Let me but get at it again! I will make such
telescopes and see such things!" Well, well, William Herschel, in that
last sentence we get the very keynote of true greatness and true genius.

But must he go back quietly to Bath and the toils of teaching? "An
intolerable waste of time," he thought it. The king happily relieved him
from this intolerable waste. He offered Herschel a salary of L200 a year
if he would come and live at Datchet, and devote himself entirely to
astronomical observations. It was by no means a munificent sum for a
king to offer for such labour; but Herschel gladly accepted it, as it
would enable him to give up the interruption of teaching, and spend all
his time on his beloved astronomy. His Bath friend, Sir William Watson,
exclaimed when he heard of it, "Never bought monarch honour so cheap."
Herschel was forty-three when he removed to Datchet, and from that day
forth he lived almost entirely in his observatory, wholly given up to
his astronomical pursuits. Even when he had to go to London to read his
papers before the Royal Society, he chose a moonlight night (when the
stars would be mostly invisible), so that it might not interfere with
his regular labours.

Poor Carolina was horrified at the house at Datchet, which seemed
terribly desolate and poor, even to her modest German ideas; but William
declared his willingness to live permanently and cheerfully upon "eggs
and bacon" now that he was at last free to do nothing on earth but
observe the heavens. Night after night he and Carolina worked together
at their silent task--he noting the small features with his big
telescope, she "sweeping for comets" with a smaller glass or "finder."
Herschel could have had no more useful or devoted assistant than his
sister, who idolized him with all her heart. Alexander, too, came to
stay with them during the slack months at Bath, and then the whole
strength of the family was bent together on their labour of love in
gauging the heavens.

But what use was it all? Why should they wish to go star-gazing? Well,
if a man cannot see for himself what use it was, nobody else can put the
answer into him, any more than they could put into him a love for
nature, or for beauty, or for art, or for music, if he had it not to
start with. What is the good of a great picture, a splendid oratorio, a
grand poem? To the man who does not care for them, nothing; to the man
who loves them, infinite. It is just the same with science. The use of
knowledge to a mind like Herschel's is the mere possession of it. With
such as he, it is a love, an object of desire, a thing to be sought
after for its own sake; and the mere act of finding it is in itself
purely delightful. "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man
that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the
merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more
precious than rubies; and all the things thou canst desire are not to be
compared unto her." So, to such a man as Herschel, that peaceful
astronomer life at Datchet was indeed, in the truest sense of those
much-abused words, "success in life." If you had asked some vulgar-
minded neighbour of the great Sir William in his later days whether the
astronomer had been a successful man or not, he would doubtless have
answered, after his kind, "Certainly. He has been made a knight, has
lands in two counties, and has saved L35,000." But if you had asked
William Herschel himself, he would probably have said, with his usual
mixture of earnestness and humility, "Yes, I have been a very fortunate
man in life. I have discovered Uranus, and I have gauged all the depths
of heaven, as none before ever gauged them, with my own great

Still, those who cannot sympathize with the pure love of knowledge for
its own sake--one of the highest and noblest of human aims--should
remember that astronomy is also of immense practical importance to
mankind, and especially to navigation and commerce. Unless great
astronomical calculations were correctly performed at Greenwich and
elsewhere, it would be impossible for any ship or steamer to sail with
safety from England to Australia or America. Every defect in our
astronomical knowledge helps to wreck our vessels on doubtful coasts;
every advance helps to save the lives of many sailors and the cargoes of
many merchants. It is this practical utility of astronomy that justifies
the spending of national money on observatories and transits of Venus,
and it is the best apology for an astronomer's life to those who do not
appreciate the use of knowledge for its own beauty.

At Datchet, Herschel not only made several large telescopes for sale,
for which he obtained large prices, but he also got a grant of L2000
from the king to aid him in constructing his huge forty-foot instrument.
It was here, too, in 1783, that Herschel married. His wife was a widow
lady of scientific tastes like his own, and she was possessed of
considerable means, which enabled him henceforth to lay aside all
anxiety on the score of money. They had but one child, a son, afterwards
Sir John Herschel, almost as great an astronomer as his father had been
before him. In 1785, the family moved to Clay Hall, in Old Windsor, and
in 1786 to Slough, where Herschel lived for the remainder of his long
life. How completely his whole soul was bound up in his work is shown in
the curious fact recorded for us by Carolina Herschel. The last night at
Clay Hall was spent in sweeping the sky with the great glass till
daylight; and by the next evening the telescope stood ready for
observations once more in the new home at Slough.

To follow Herschel through the remainder of his life would be merely to
give a long catalogue of his endless observations and discoveries among
the stars. Such a catalogue would be interesting only to astronomers;
yet it would truly give the main facts of Herschel's existence in his
happy home at Slough. Honoured by the world, dearly loved in his own
family, and engrossed with a passionate affection for his chosen
science, the great astronomer and philosopher grew grey in peace under
his own roof, in the course of a singularly placid and gentle old age.
In 1802 he laid before the Royal Society a list of five thousand new
stars, star-clusters, or other heavenly bodies which he had discovered,
and which formed the great body of his personal additions to
astronomical knowledge. The University of Oxford made him Doctor of
Laws, and very late in life he was knighted by the king--a too tardy
acknowledgment of his immense services to science. To the very last,
however, he worked on with a will; and, indeed, it is one of the great
charms of scientific interest that it thus enables a man to keep his
faculties on the alert to an advanced old age. In 1819, when Herschel
was more than eighty, he writes to his sister a short note--"Lina, there
is a great comet. I want you to assist me. Come to dine and spend the
day here. If you can come soon after one o'clock, we shall have time to
prepare maps and telescopes. I saw its situation last night. It has a
long tail." How delightful to find such a living interest in life at the
age of eighty!

On the 25th of August, 1822, this truly great and simple man passed
away, in his eighty-fifth year. It has been possible here only to sketch
out the chief personal points in his career, without dwelling much upon
the scientific importance of his later life-long labours; but it must
suffice to say briefly upon this point that Herschel's work was no mere
mechanical star-finding; it was the most profoundly philosophical
astronomical work ever performed, except perhaps Newton's and Laplace's.
Among astronomers proper there has been none distinguished by such
breadth of grasp, such wide conceptions, and such perfect clearness of
view as the self-taught oboe-player of Hanover.



There is no part of France so singularly like England, both in the
aspect of the country itself and in the features and character of the
inhabitants, as Normandy. The wooded hills and dales, the frequent
copses and apple orchards, the numerous thriving towns and villages, the
towers and steeples half hidden among the trees, recall at every step
the very similar scenery of our own beautiful and fruitful Devonshire.
And as the land is, so are the people. Ages ago, about the same time
that the Anglo-Saxon invaders first settled down in England, a band of
similar English pirates, from the old common English home by the
cranberry marshes of the Baltic, drove their long ships upon the long
rocky peninsula of the Cotentin, which juts out, like a French Cornwall,
from the mainland of Normandy up to the steep cliffs and beetling crags
of busy Cherbourg. There they built themselves little hamlets and
villages of true English type, whose very names to this day remind one
of their ancient Saxon origin. Later on, the Danes or Northmen conquered
the country, which they called after their own name, Normandy, that is
to say, the Northmen's land.

Mixing with the early Saxon or English settlers, and with the still more
primitive Celtic inhabitants, the Northmen founded a race extremely like
that which now inhabits our own country. To this day, the Norman
peasants of the Cotentin retain many marks of their origin and their
half-forgotten kinship with the English race. While other Frenchmen are
generally dark and thick-set, the Norman is, as a rule, a tall, fair-
haired, blue-eyed man, not unlike in build to our Yarmouth fisherman, or
our Kentish labourers. In body and mind, there is something about him
even now which makes him seem more nearly akin to us than the true
Frenchmen who inhabit almost all the rest of France.

In the village of Gruchy, near Greville, in this wild and beautiful
region of the Cotentin, there lived at the beginning of the present
century a sturdy peasant family of the name of Millet. The father of the
family was one of the petty village landholders so common in France; a
labourer who owned and tilled his own tiny patch of farm, with the aid
of his wife and children. We have now no class in England exactly
answering to the French peasant proprietors, who form so large and
important an element in the population just across the Channel. The
small landholder in France belongs by position to about the same level
as our own agricultural labourer, and in many ways is content with a
style of dress and a mode of living against which English labourers
would certainly protest with horror. And yet, he is a proprietor, with a
proprietor's sense of the dignity of his position, and an ardent love of
his own little much-subdivided corner of agricultural land. On this he
spends all his energies, and however many children he may have, he will
try to make a livelihood for all by their united labour out of the soil,
rather than let one of them go to seek his fortune by any other means in
the great cities. Thus the ground is often tilled up to an almost
ridiculous extent, the entire labour of the family being sometimes
expended in cultivating, manuring, weeding, and tending a patch of land
perhaps hardly an acre in size. It is quite touching to see the care and
solicitude with which these toilsome peasants will laboriously lay out
their bit of garden with fruits or vegetables, making every line almost
mathematically regular, planting every pea at a measured distance, or
putting a smooth flat pebble under every strawberry on the evenly
ridged-up vines. It is only in the very last resort that the peasant
proprietor will consent to let one of his daughters go out to service,
or send one of his sons adrift to seek his fortune as an artisan in the
big, unknown, outer world.

Millet the elder, however, had nine children, which is an unusually
large number for a French peasant family (where the women ordinarily
marry late in life); and his little son Jean Francois (the second child
and eldest boy), though set to weed and hoe upon the wee farm in his
boyhood, was destined by his father for some other life than that of a
tiller of the soil. He was born in the year before Waterloo--1814--and
was brought up on his father's plot of land, in the hard rough way to
which peasant children in France are always accustomed. Bronzed by sun
and rain, poorly clad, and ill-fed, he acquired as a lad, from the open
air and the toilsome life he led, a vigour of constitution which enabled
him to bear up against the numerous hardships and struggles of his later
days. "A Norman Peasant," he loved to call himself always, with a
certain proud humility; and happily he had the rude health of one all
his life long.

Hard as he worked, little Francois' time was not entirely taken up with
attending to the fields or garden. He was a studious boy, and learned
not only to read and write in French, but also to try some higher
flights, rare indeed for a lad of his position. His family possessed
remarkable qualities as French peasants go; and one of his great-uncles,
a man of admirable strength of character, a priest in the days of the
great Revolution, had braved the godless republicans of his time, and
though deprived of his cure, and compelled to labour for his livelihood
in the fields, had yet guided the plough in his priestly garments. His
grandmother first taught him his letters; and when she had instructed
him to the length of reading any French book that was put before him,
the village priest took him in hand. In France, the priest comes often
from the peasant class, and remains in social position a member of that
class as long as he lives. But he always possesses a fair knowledge of
Latin, the language in which all his religious services are conducted;
and this knowledge serves as a key to much that his unlearned
parishioners could never dream of knowing. Young Millet's parish priest
taught him as much Latin as he knew himself; and so the boy was not only
able to read the Bible in the Latin or Vulgate translation, but also to
make acquaintance with the works of Virgil and several others of the
great Roman poets. He read, too, the beautiful "Confessions" of St.
Augustine, and the "Lives of the Saints," which he found in his father's
scanty library, as well as the works of the great French preachers,
Bossuet and Fenelon. Such early acquaintance with these and many other
masterpieces of higher literature, we may be sure, helped greatly to
mould the lad's mind into that grand and sober shape which it finally

Jean Francois' love of art was first aroused by the pictures in an old
illustrated Bible which belonged to his father, and which he was
permitted to look at on Sundays and festivals. The child admired these
pictures immensely, and asked leave to be permitted to copy them. The
only time he could find for the purpose, however, was that of the mid-
day rest or siesta. It is the custom in France, as in Southern Europe
generally, for labourers to cease from work for an hour or so in the
middle of the day; and during this "tired man's holiday," young Millet,
instead of resting, used to take out his pencil and paper, and try his
hand at reproducing the pictures in the big Bible. His father was not
without an undeveloped taste for art: "See," he would say, looking into
some beautiful combe or glen on the hillside--"see that little cottage
half buried in the trees; how beautiful it is! I think it ought to be
drawn so--;" and then he would make a rough sketch of it on some scrap
of paper. At times he would model things with a bit of clay, or cut the
outline of a flower or an animal with his knife on a flat piece of wood.
This unexercised talent Francois inherited in a still greater degree. As
time went on, he progressed to making little drawings on his own
account; and we may be sure the priest and all the good wives of Gruchy
had quite settled in their own minds before long that Jean Francois
Millet's hands would be able in time to paint quite a beautiful altar-
piece for the village church.

By-and-by, when the time came for Francois to choose a trade, he being
then a big lad of about nineteen, it was suggested to his father that
young Millet might really make a regular painter--that is to say, an
artist. In France, the general tastes of the people are far more
artistic than with us; and the number of painters who find work for
their brushes in Paris is something immensely greater than the number in
our own smoky, money-making London. So there was nothing very
remarkable, from a French point of view, in the idea of the young
peasant turning for a livelihood to the profession of an artist. But
Millet's father was a sober and austere man, a person of great dignity
and solemnity, who decided to put his son's powers to the test in a very
regular and critical fashion. He had often watched Francois drawing, and
he thought well of the boy's work. If he had a real talent for painting,
a painter he should be; if not, he must take to some other craft, where
he would have the chance of making himself a decent livelihood. So he
told Francois to prepare a couple of drawings, which he would submit to
the judgment of M. Mouchel, a local painter at Cherbourg, the nearest
large town, and capital of the department. Francois duly prepared the
drawings, and Millet the elder went with his son to submit them in
proper form for M. Mouchel's opinion. Happily, M. Mouchel had judgment
enough to see at a glance that the drawings possessed remarkable merit.
"You must be playing me a trick," he said; "that lad could never have
made these drawings." "I saw him do them with my own eyes," answered the
father warmly. "Then," said Mouchel, "all I can say is this: he has in
him the making of a great painter." He accepted Millet as his pupil; and
the young man set off for Cherbourg accordingly, to study with care and
diligence under his new master.

Cherbourg, though not yet at that time a great naval port, as it
afterwards became, was a busy harbour and fishing town, where the young
artist saw a great deal of a kind of life with which he possessed an
immense sympathy. The hard work of the fishermen putting out to sea on
stormy evenings, or toiling with their nets ashore after a sleepless
night, made a living picture which stamped itself deeply on his
receptive mind. A man of the people himself, born to toil and inured to
it from babyhood, this constant scene of toiling and struggling humanity
touched the deepest chord in his whole nature, so that some of the most
beautiful and noble of his early pictures are really reminiscences of
his first student days at Cherbourg. But after he had spent a year in
Mouchel's studio, sad news came to him from Gruchy. His father was
dying, and Francois was only just in time to see him before he passed
away. If the family was to be kept together at all, Francois must return
from his easel and palette, and take once more to guiding the plough.
With that earnest resolution which never forsook him, Millet decided to
accept the inevitable. He went back home once more, and gave up his
longings for art in order to till the ground for his fatherless sisters.

Luckily, however, his friends at Gruchy succeeded after awhile in
sending him back again to Cherbourg, where he began to study under
another master, Langlois, and to have hopes once more for his artistic
future, now that he was free at last to pursue it in his own way. At
this time, he read a great deal--Shakespeare, Walter Scott, Byron,
Goethe's "Faust," Victor Hugo and Chateaubriand; in fact, all the great
works he could lay his hands upon. Peasant as he was, he gave himself,
half unconsciously, a noble education. Very soon, it became apparent
that the Cherbourg masters could do nothing more for him, and that, if
he really wished to perfect himself in art, he must go to Paris. In
France, the national interest felt in painting is far greater and more
general than in England. Nothing is commoner than for towns or
departments to grant pensions (or as we should call them, scholarships)
to promising lads who wish to study art in Paris. Young Millet had
attracted so much attention at Cherbourg, that the Council General of
the Department of the Manche voted him a present of six hundred francs
(about L24) to start him on the way; and the town of Cherbourg promised
him an annual grant of four hundred francs more (about L16). So up to
Paris Millet went, and there was duly enrolled as a student at the
Government "School of Fine Arts."

Those student days in Paris were days of hunger and cold, very often,
which Millet bore with the steady endurance of a Norman peasant boy. But
they were also days of something worse to him--of effort misdirected,
and of constant struggling against a system for which he was not fitted.
In fact, Millet was an original genius, whereas the teachers at the
School of Fine Arts were careful and methodical rule-of-thumb martinets.
They wished to train Millet into the ordinary pattern, which he could
not follow; and in the end, he left the school, and attached himself to
the studio of Paul Delaroche, then the greatest painter of historical
pictures in all Paris. But even Delaroche, though an artist of deep
feeling and power, did not fully understand his young Norman pupil. He
himself used to paint historical pictures in the grand style, full of
richness and beauty; but his subjects were almost always chosen from the
lives of kings or queens, and treated with corresponding calmness and
dignity. "The Young Princes in the Tower," "The Execution of Marie
Antoinette," "The Death of Queen Elizabeth," "Cromwell viewing the Body
of Charles I."--these were the kind of pictures on which Delaroche loved
to employ himself. Millet, on the other hand, though also full of
dignity and pathos, together with an earnestness far surpassing
Delaroche's, did not care for these lofty subjects. It was the dignity
and pathos of labour that moved him most; the silent, weary, noble lives
of the uncomplaining peasants, amongst whom his own days had been mostly
passed. Delaroche could not make him out at all; he was such a curious,
incomprehensible, odd young fellow! "There, go your own way, if you
will," the great master said to him at last; "for my part, I can make
nothing of you."

So, shortly after, Millet and his friend Marolle set up a studio for
themselves in the Rue de l'Est in Paris. The precise occasion of their
going was this. Millet was anxious to obtain the Grand Prize of Rome
annually offered to the younger artists, and Delaroche definitely told
him that his own influence would be used on behalf of another pupil.
After this, the young Norman felt that he could do better by following
out his own genius in his own fashion. At the Rue de l'Est, he continued
to study hard, but he also devoted a large part of his time to painting
cheap portraits--what artists call "pot-boilers;" mere hasty works
dashed off anyhow to earn his daily livelihood. For these pictures he
got about ten to fifteen francs apiece,--in English money from eight to
twelve shillings. They were painted in a theatrical style, which Millet
himself detested--all pink cheeks, and red lips, and blue satin, and
lace collars; whereas his own natural style was one of great austerity
and a certain earnest sombreness the exact reverse of the common
Parisian taste to which he ministered. However, he had to please his
patrons--and, like a sensible man, he went on producing these cheap
daubs to any extent required, for a living, while he endeavoured to
perfect himself meanwhile for the higher art he was meditating for the
future. In the great galleries of the Louvre at Paris he found abundant
models which he could study in the works of the old masters; and there,
poring over Michael Angelo and Mantegna, he could recompense himself a
little in his spare hours for the time he was obliged to waste on pinky-
white faces and taffeta gowns. To an artist by nature there is nothing
harder than working perforce against the bent of one's own innate and
instinctive feelings.

In 1840, Millet found his life in Paris still so hard that he seemed for
a time inclined to give up the attempt, and returned to Greville, where
he painted a marine subject of the sort that was dearest to his heart--a
group of sailors mending a sail. Shortly after, however, he was back in
Paris--the record of these years of hard struggle is not very clear--
with his wife, a Cherbourg girl whom he had imprudently married while
still barely able to support himself in the utmost poverty. It was not
till 1844 that the hard-working painter at last achieved his first
success. It was with a picture of a milkwoman, one of his own favourite
peasant subjects; and the poetry and sympathy which he had thrown into
so commonplace a theme attracted the attention of many critics among the
cultivated Parisian world of art. The "Milkwoman" was exhibited at the
Salon (the great annual exhibition of works of art in Paris, like that
of the Royal Academy in London, but on a far larger scale); and several
good judges of art began immediately to inquire, "Who is Jean Francois
Millet?" Hunting his address out, a party of friendly critics presented
themselves at his lodgings, only to learn that Madame Millet had just
died, and that her husband, half in despair, had gone back again once
more to his native Norman hills and valleys.

But Millet was the last man on earth to sit down quietly with his hands
folded, waiting for something or other to turn up. At Cherbourg, he set
to work once more, no doubt painting more "pot-boilers" for the
respectable shop-keepers of the neighbourhood--complacent portraits,
perhaps, of a stout gentleman with a large watch-chain fully displayed,
and of a stout lady in a black silk dress and with a vacant smile; and
by hook or by crook he managed to scrape together a few hundred francs,
with which once more he might return to Paris. But before he did so, he
married again, this time more wisely. His wife, Catharine Lemaire, was a
brave and good woman, who knew how to appreciate her husband, and to
second him well in all his further struggles and endeavours. They went
for a while to Havre, where Millet, in despair of getting better work,
and not ashamed of doing anything honest to pay his way, actually took
to painting sign-boards. In this way he saved money enough to make a
fresh start in Paris. There, he continued his hard battle against the
taste of the time; for French art was then dominated by the influence of
men like Delaroche, or like Delacroix and Horace Vernet, who had
accustomed the public to pictures of a very lofty, a very romantic, or a
very fiery sort; and there were few indeed who cared for stern and
sympathetic delineations of the French peasant's unlovely life of
unremitting toil, such as Millet loved to set before them. Yet, in spite
of discouragement, he did well to follow out this inner prompting of his
own soul; for in that direction he could do his best work--and the best
work is always the best worth doing in the long run. There are some
minds, of which Franklin's is a good type, so versatile and so shifty
that they can turn with advantage to any opening that chances to offer,
no matter in what direction; and such minds do right in seizing every
opportunity, wherever it occurs. But there are other minds, of which
Gibson and Millet are excellent examples, naturally restricted to
certain definite lines of thought or work; and such minds do right in
persistently following up their own native talent, and refusing to be
led aside by circumstances into any less natural or less promising

While living in Paris at this time, Millet painted several of his
favourite peasant pictures, amongst others "The Workman's Monday," which
is a sort of parallel in painting to Burns's "Cotter's Saturday Night"
in poetry. Indeed, there is a great deal in Millet which strongly
reminds one at every step of Burns. Both were born of the agricultural
labouring class; both remained peasants at heart, in feelings and
sympathies, all their lives long; neither was ashamed of his origin,
even in the days of his greatest fame; painter and poet alike loved best
to choose their themes from the simple life of the poor whose trials and
hardships they knew so well by bitter experience; and in each case they
succeeded best in touching the hearts of others when they did not travel
outside their own natural range of subjects. Only (if Scotchmen will
allow one to say so) there was in Millet a far deeper vein of moral
earnestness than in Burns; he was more profoundly impressed by the
dignity and nobility of labour; in his tender sympathy there was a touch
of solemn grandeur which was wanting in the too genial and easy-going
Ayrshire ploughman.

In 1848, the year of revolutions, Millet painted his famous picture of
"The Winnower," since considered as one of his finest works. Yet for a
long time, though the critics praised it, it could not find a purchaser;
till at last M. Ledru Rollin, a well-known politician, bought it for
what Millet considered the capital price of five hundred francs (about
L20). It would now fetch a simply fabulous price, if offered for sale.
Soon after this comparative success Millet decided to leave Paris, where
the surroundings indeed were little fitted to a man of his peculiarly
rural and domestic tastes. He would go where he might see the living
models of his peasant friends for ever before him; where he could watch
them leaning over the plough pressed deep into the earth; cutting the
faggots with stout arms in the thick-grown copses; driving the cattle
home at milking time with weary feet, along the endless, straight white
high-roads of the French rural districts. At the same time, he must be
within easy reach of Paris; for though he had almost made up his mind
not to exhibit any more at the Salon--people didn't care to see his
reapers or his fishermen--he must still manage to keep himself within
call of possible purchasers; and for this purpose he selected the little
village of Barbizon, on the edge of the forest of Fontainebleau.

The woods of Fontainebleau stand to Paris in somewhat the same relation
that Windsor Great Park stands to London; only, the scenery is more
forest-like, and the trees are big and antique looking. By the outskirts
of this great wood stands the pretty hamlet of Barbizon, a single long
street of small peasant cottages, built with the usual French rural
disregard of beauty or cleanliness. At the top of the street, in a
little three-roomed house, the painter and his wife settled down
quietly; and here they lived for twenty-seven years, long after Millet's
name had grown to be famous in the history of contemporary French
painting. An English critic, who visited the spot in the days of
Millet's greatest celebrity, was astonished to find the painter, whom he
had come to see, strolling about the village in rustic clothes, and even
wearing the _sabots_ or wooden shoes which are in France the social
mark of the working classes, much as the smock-frock used once to be in
the remoter country districts of England. Perhaps this was a little bit
of affectation on Millet's part--a sort of proud declaration of the fact
that in spite of fame and honours he still insisted upon counting
himself a simple peasant; but if so, it was, after all, a very pretty
and harmless affectation indeed. Better to see a man sticking
pertinaciously to his wooden shoes, than turning his back upon old
friends and old associations in the days of his worldly prosperity.

At Barbizon Millet's life moved on so quietly that there is nothing to
record in it almost, save a long list of pictures painted, and a gradual
growth, not in popularity (for that Millet never really attained at
all), but in the esteem of the best judges, which of course brought with
it at last, first ease, then comfort, and finally comparative riches.
Millet was able now to paint such subjects as pleased him best, and he
threw himself into his work with all the fervour of his intensely
earnest and poetical nature. Whatever might be the subject which he
undertook, he knew how to handle it so that it became instinct with his
own fine feeling for the life he saw around him. In 1852 he painted his
"Man spreading Manure." In itself, that is not a very exalted or
beautiful occupation; but what Millet saw in it was the man not the
manure--the toiling, sorrowing, human fellow-being, whose labour and
whose spirit he knew so well how to appreciate. And in this view of the
subject he makes us all at once sympathize. Other pictures of this
period are such as "The Gleaners," "The Reapers," "A Peasant grafting a
Tree," "The Potato Planters," and so forth. These were very different
subjects indeed from the dignified kings and queens painted by
Delaroche, or the fiery battle-pieces of Delacroix; but they touch a
chord in our souls which those great painters fail to strike, and his
treatment of them is always truthful, tender, melancholy, and exquisite.

Bit by bit, French artistic opinion began to recognize the real
greatness of the retiring painter at Barbizon. He came to be looked upon
as a true artist, and his pictures sold every year for increasingly
large prices. Still, he had not been officially recognized; and in
France, where everything, even to art and the theatre, is under
governmental regulation, this want of official countenance is always
severely felt. At last, in 1867, Millet was awarded the medal of the
first class, and was appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. The
latter distinction carries with it the right to wear that little tag of
ribbon on the coat which all Frenchmen prize so highly; for to be
"decorated," as it is called, is in France a spur to ambition of
something the same sort as a knighthood or a peerage in England, though
of course it lies within the reach of a far greater number of citizens.
There is something to our ideas rather absurd in the notion of bestowing
such a tag of ribbon on a man of Millet's aims and occupations; but all
honours are honours just according to the estimation of the man who
receives them and the society in which he lives; and Millet no doubt
prized his admission to the Legion of Honour all the more because it had
been so long delayed and so little truckled for.

To the end of his days, Millet never left his beloved Barbizon. He
stopped there, wandering about the fields, watching peasants at work,
imprinting their images firmly upon his eye and brain, and then going
home again to put the figures he had thus observed upon his vivid
canvas. For, strange to say, unlike almost every other great painter,
Millet never painted from a model. Instead of getting a man or woman to
sit for him in the pose he required, he would go out into the meadows
and look at the men and women at their actual daily occupations; and so
keen and acute was his power of observation, and so retentive was his
inner eye, that he could then recall almost every detail of action or
manner as clearly as if he had the original present in his studio before
him. As a rule, such a practice is not to be recommended to any one who
wishes to draw with even moderate accuracy; constant study of the actual
object, and frequent comparison by glancing from object to copy, are
absolutely necessary for forming a correct draughtsman. But Millet knew
his own way best; and how wonderfully minute and painstaking must his
survey have been when it enabled him to reproduce the picture of a
person afterwards in every detail of dress or movement.

He did not paint very fast. He preferred doing good work to much work--
an almost invariable trait of all the best workmen. During the thirty-
one years that he worked independently, he produced only eighty
pictures--not more, on an average, than two or three a year. Compared
with the rate at which most successful artists cover canvas to sell,
this was very slow. But then, Millet did not paint mainly to sell; he
painted to satisfy his own strict ideas of what constituted the highest
art. His pictures are usually very simple in their theme; take, for
example, his "Angelus," painted at the height of his fame, in 1867. A
man and a woman are working in the fields--two poor, simple-minded,
weather-beaten, devout French peasants. It is nightfall; the bell called
the "Angelus" rings out from the church steeple, and the two poor souls,
resting for a moment from their labours, devote a few seconds to the
silent prayers enjoined by their church. That is all; and yet in that
one picture the sorrows, the toils, and the consolations of the needy
French peasantry are summed up in a single glimpse of a pair of working
and praying partners.

Millet died somewhat suddenly in 1875. Strong and hearty as he was, even
the sturdy health of the Norman peasant had been undermined by the long
hardships of his early struggles, and his constitution gave way at last
with comparative rapidity. Still, he had lived long enough to see his
fame established, to enjoy ten years of ease and honour, and to find his
work cordially admired by all those for whose admiration he could have
cared to make an effort. After his death, the pictures and unfinished
sketches in his studio were sold for 321,000 francs, a little less than
L13,000. The peasant boy of Greville had at last conquered all the
difficulties which obstructed his path, and had fought his own way to
fame and dignity. And in so fighting, he had steadily resisted the
temptation to pander to the low and coarse taste in art of the men by
whom he was surrounded. In spite of cold, and hunger, and poverty, he
had gone on trying to put upon his canvas the purer, truer, and higher
ideas with which his own beautiful soul was profoundly animated. In that
endeavour he nobly succeeded. While too many contemporary French
pictures are vicious and sensual in tone and feeling, every one of
Millet's pictures is a sermon in colour--a thing to make us sympathize
more deeply with our kind, and to send us away, saddened perhaps, yet
ennobled and purified.



At the present time, the neighbourhood of Cleveland, Ohio, the busiest
town along the southern shore of Lake Erie, may fairly rank as one of
the richest agricultural districts in all America. But when Abram
Garfield settled down in the township of Orange in 1830, it was one of
the wildest and most unpeopled woodland regions in the whole of the
United States. Pioneers from the older states had only just begun to
make little clearings for themselves in the unbroken forest; and land
was still so cheap that Abram Garfield was able to buy himself a tract
of fifty acres for no more than L20. His brother-in-law's family removed
there with him; and the whole strength of the two households was
immediately employed in building a rough log hut for their common
accommodation, where both the Garfields and the Boyntons lived together
during the early days of their occupation. The hut consisted of a mere
square box, made by piling logs on top of one another, the spaces
between being filled with mud, while the roof was formed of loose stone
slabs. Huts of that sort are everywhere common among the isolation of
the American backwoods; and isolated indeed they were, for the
Garfields' nearest neighbours, when they first set up house, lived as
far as seven miles away, across the uncleared forest.

When Abram Garfield came to this lonely lodge in the primaeval
woodlands, he had one son and one daughter. In 1831, the year after his
removal to his new home, a second boy was born into the family, whom his
father named James Abram. Before the baby was eighteen months old, the
father died, and was buried alone, after the only possible fashion among
such solitary settlers, in a corner of the wheat field which he himself
had cleared of its stumps. A widow's life is always a hard one, but in
such a country and under such conditions it is even harder and more
lonely than elsewhere. Mrs. Garfield's eldest boy, Thomas, was only
eleven years old; and with the aid of this one ineffectual helper, she
managed herself to carry on the farm for many years. Only those who know
the hard toil of a raw American township can have any idea what that
really means. A farmer's work in America is not like a farmer's work in
England. The man who occupies the soil is there at once his own landlord
and his own labourer; and he has to contend with nature as nobody in
England has had to contend with it for the last five centuries at least.
He finds the land covered with trees, which he has first to fell and
sell as timber; then he must dig or burn out the stumps; clear the plot
of boulders and large stones; drain it, fence it, plough it, and harrow
it; build barns for the produce and sheds for the cows; in short,
_make_ his farm, instead of merely _taking_ it. This is labour
from which many strong men shrink in dismay, especially those who have
come out fresh from a civilized and fully occupied land. For a woman and
a boy, it is a task that seems almost above their utmost powers.
Nevertheless, Mrs. Garfield and her son did not fail under it. With her
own hands, the mother split up the young trees into rude triangular
rails to make the rough snake fences of the country--mere zigzags of
wood laid one bit above the other; while the lad worked away bravely at
sowing fall and spring wheat, hoeing Indian corn, and building a little
barn for the harvest before the arrival of the long cold Ohio winter. To
such a family did the future President originally belong; and with them
he must have shared those strong qualities of perseverance and industry
which more than anything else at length secured his ultimate success in

For James Garfield's history differs greatly in one point from that of
most other famous working men, whose stories have been told in this
volume. There is no reason to believe that he was a man of exceptional
or commanding intellect. On the contrary, his mental powers appear to
have been of a very respectable but quite ordinary and commonplace
order. It was not by brilliant genius that James Garfield made his way
up in life; it was rather by hard work, unceasing energy, high
principle, and generous enthusiasm for the cause of others. Some of the
greatest geniuses among working men, such as Burns, Tannahill, and
Chatterton, though they achieved fame, and though they have enriched the
world with many touching and beautiful works, must be considered to have
missed success in life, so far as their own happiness was concerned, by
their unsteadiness, want of self-control, or lack of fixed principle.
Garfield, on the other hand, was not a genius; but by his sterling good
qualities he nevertheless achieved what cannot but be regarded as a true
success, and left an honourable name behind him in the history of his

However poor an American township may be, it is seldom too poor to
afford its children a moderate and humble education. While James
Garfield was still very young, the settlers in the neighbourhood decided
to import a schoolmaster, whom they "boarded about" between them, after
a fashion very common in rural western districts. The school-house was
only a log hut; the master was a lad of twenty; and the textbooks were
of the very meagrest sort. But at least James Garfield was thus enabled
to read and write, which after all is the great first step on the road
to all possible promotion. The raw, uncouth Yankee lad who taught the
Ohio boys, slept at Widow Garfield's, with Thomas and James; and the
sons of the neighbouring settlers worked on the farm during the summer
months, but took lessons when the long ice and snow of winter along the
lake shore put a stop almost entirely for the time to their usual

James continued at school till he was twelve years old, and then, his
brother Thomas (being by that time twenty-one) went away by agreement
still further west to Michigan, leaving young Jim to take his place upon
the little farm. The fences were all completed by this time; the barn
was built, the ground was fairly brought under cultivation, and it
required comparatively little labour to keep the land cropped after the
rough fashion which amply satisfies American pioneers, with no rent to
pay, and only their bare living to make out of the soil. Thomas was
going to fell trees in Michigan, to clear land there for a farmer; and
he proposed to use his earnings (when he got them) for the purpose of
building a "frame house" (that is to say, a house built of planks)
instead of the existing log hut. It must be added, in fairness, that
hard as were the circumstances under which the young Garfields lived,
they were yet lucky in their situation in a new country, where wages
were high, and where the struggle for life is far less severe or
competitive than in old settled lands like France and England. Thomas,
in fact; would get boarded for nothing in Michigan, and so would be able
easily to save almost all his high wages for the purpose of building the
frame house.

So James had to take to the farm in summer, while in the winter he began
to work as a sort of amateur carpenter in a small way. As yet he had
lived entirely in the backwoods, and had never seen a town or even a
village; but his education in practical work had begun from his very
babyhood, and he was handy after the usual fashion of American or
colonial boys--ready to turn his hand to anything that happened to
present itself. In new countries, where everybody has not got neighbours
and workmen within call, such rough-and-ready handiness is far more
common than in old England. The one carpenter of the neighbourhood asked
James to help him, on the proud day when Tom brought back his earnings
from Michigan, and set about the building of the frame house, for which
he had already collected the unhewn timber. From that first beginning,
by the time he was thirteen, James was promoted to assist in building a
barn; and he might have taken permanently to a carpenter's life, had it
not been that his boyish passion for reading had inspired him with an
equal passion for going to sea. He had read Marryatt's novels and other
sailor tales--what boy has not?--and he was fired with the usual
childish desire to embark upon that wonderful life of chasing
buccaneers, fighting pirates, capturing prizes, or hunting hidden
treasure, which is a lad's brilliantly coloured fancy picture of an
everyday sailor's wet, cold, cheerless occupation.

At last, when James was about fifteen, his longing for the sea grew so
strong that his mother, by way of a compromise, allowed him to go and
try his luck with the Lake Erie captains at Cleveland. Shipping on the
great lakes, where one can see neither bank from the middle of the wide
blue sheet of water, and where wrecks are unhappily as painfully
frequent as on our own coasts, was quite sufficiently like going to sea
to suit the adventurous young backwoodsman to the top of his bent. But
when he got to Cleveland, a fortunate disappointment awaited him. The
Cleveland captains declined his services in such vigorous seafaring
language (not unmixed with many unnecessary oaths), that he was glad
enough to give up the idea of sailoring, and take a place as driver of a
canal boat from Cleveland to Pittsburg in Pennsylvania, the boat being
under the charge of one of his own cousins. Copper ore was then largely
mined on Lake Superior, where it is very abundant, carried by ship to
Cleveland, down the chain of lakes, and there transferred to canal
boats, which took it on to Pittsburg, the centre of a great coal and
manufacturing district in Pennsylvania, to be smelted and employed in
various local arts. Young Garfield stuck for a little while to the canal
business. He plodded along wearily upon the bank, driving his still
wearier horse before him, and carrying ore down to Pittsburg with such
grace as he best might; but it didn't somehow quite come up to his fancy
picture of the seaman's life. It was dull and monotonous, and he didn't
care for it much. In genuine American language, "he didn't find it up to
sample." The sea might be very well in its way; but a canal was a very
different matter indeed. So after a fair trial, James finally gave the
business up, and returned to his mother on the little homestead, ill and
tired with his long tramping.

While he was at home, the schoolmaster of the place, who saw that the
lad had abilities, was never tired of urging him to go to school, and do
himself justice by getting himself a first-rate education, or at least
as good a one as could be obtained in America. James was ready enough to
take this advice, if the means were forthcoming; but how was he to do
so? "Oh, that's easy enough," said young Bates, the master. "You'll only
have to work out of hours as a carpenter, take odd jobs in your
vacations, live plainly, and there you are." In England there are few
schools where such a plan would be practicable; but in rough-and-ready
America, where self-help is no disgrace, there are many, and they are
all well attended. In the neighbouring town of Chester, a petty Baptist
sect had started a young school which they named Geauga Seminary (there
are no plain schools in America--they are all "academies" or
"institutes"); and to this simple place young Garfield went, to learn
and work as best he might for his own advancement. A very strange figure
he must then have cut, indeed; for a person who saw him at the time
described him as wearing a pair of trousers he had long outworn, rough
cow-hide boots, a waistcoat much too short for him, and a thread-bare
coat, with sleeves that only reached a little below the elbows. Of such
stuff as that, with a stout heart and an eager brain, the budding
presidents of the United States are sometimes made.

James soon found himself humble lodgings at an old woman's in Chester,
and he also found himself a stray place at a carpenter's shop in the
town, where he was able to do three hours' work out of school time every
day, besides giving up the whole of his Saturday holiday to regular
labour. It was hard work, this schooling and carpentering side by side;
but James throve upon it; and at the end of the first term he was not
only able to pay all his bill for board and lodging, but also to carry
home a few dollars in his pocket by way of savings.

James stopped three years at the "seminary" at Chester; and in the
holidays he employed himself by teaching in the little township schools
among the country districts. There is generally an opening for young
students to earn a little at such times by instructing younger boys than
themselves in reading, writing, and arithmetic; and the surrounding
farmers, who want schooling for their boys, are glad enough to take the
master in on the "boarding round" system, for the sake of his usefulness
in overlooking the lads in the preparation of their home lessons. It is
a simple patriarchal life, very different from anything we know in
England; and though Ohio was by this time a far more settled and
populated place than when Abram Garfield first went there, it was still
quite possible to manage in this extremely primitive and family fashion.
The fact is, though luxuries were comparatively unknown, food was cheap
and abundant; and a young teacher who was willing to put his heart into
his work could easily earn more than enough to live upon in rough
comfort. Sometimes the school-house was a mere log hut, like that in
which young Garfield had been born; but, at any rate, it was work to do,
and food to eat, and that alone was a great thing for a lad who meant to
make his own way in the world by his own exertions.

Near the end of his third year at Chester, James met, quite
accidentally, with a young man who had come from a little embryo
"college," of the sort so common in rising American towns, at a place
called Hiram in Ohio. American schools are almost as remarkable as
American towns for the oddity and ugliness of their names; and this
"college" was known by the queer and meaningless title of the "Eclectic
Institute." It was conducted by an obscure sect who dub themselves "The
Disciples' Church," to which young Garfield's father and mother had both
belonged. His casual acquaintance urged upon him strongly the
desirability of attending the institute; and James, who had already
begun to learn Latin, and wished to learn more, was easily persuaded to
try this particular school rather than any other.

In August, 1851, James Garfield, then aged nearly twenty, presented
himself at the "Eclectic Institute," in the farm-labourer's clothes
which were his only existing raiment. He asked to see the "president" of
the school, and told him plainly that he wished to come there for
education, but that he was poor, and if he came, he must work for his
living. "What can you do?" asked the president. "Sweep the floors, light
the fires, ring the bell, and make myself generally useful," answered
the young backwoodsman. The president, pleased with his eagerness,
promised to try him for a fortnight; and at the end of the fortnight,
Garfield had earned his teaching so well that he was excused from all
further fees during the remainder of his stay at the little institute.
His post was by no mean an easy one, for he was servant-of-all-work as
well as student; but he cared very little for that as long as he could
gain the means for self-improvement.

Hiram was a small town, as ugly as its name. Twelve miles from a
railway, a mere agricultural centre, of the rough back-country sort, all
brand new and dreary looking, with a couple of wooden churches, half a
dozen wooden shops, two new intersecting streets with wooden sidewalks,
and that was all. The "institute" was a square brick block, planted
incongruously in the middle of an Indian-corn plantation; and the
students were the sons and daughters of the surrounding farmers, for (as
in most western schools) both sexes were here educated together.

But the place suited Garfield far better than an older and more
dignified university would have done. The other students knew no more
than he did, so that he did not feel himself at a disadvantage; they
were dressed almost as plainly as himself; and during the time he was at
Hiram he worked away with a will at Latin, Greek, and the higher
mathematics, so as to qualify himself for a better place hereafter.
Meanwhile, the local carpenter gave him plenty of planing to do, with
which he managed to pay his way; and as he had to rise before five every
morning to ring the first bell, he was under no danger of oversleeping
himself. By 1853, he had made so much progress in his studies that he
was admitted as a sort of pupil teacher, giving instruction himself in
the English department and in rudimentary Greek and Latin, while he went
on with his own studies with the aid of the other teachers.

James had now learnt as much as the little "Eclectic Institute" could
possibly teach him, and he began to think of going to some better
college in the older-settled and more cultivated eastern states, where
he might get an education somewhat higher than was afforded him by the
raw "seminaries" and "academies" of his native Ohio. True, his own sect,
the "Disciples' Church," had got up a petty university of their own,
"Bethany College"--such self-styled colleges swarm all over the United
States; but James didn't much care for the idea of going to it. "I was
brought up among the Disciples," he said; "I have mixed chiefly among
them; I know little of other people; it will enlarge my views and give
me more liberal feelings if I try a college elsewhere, conducted
otherwise; if I see a little of the rest of the world." Moreover, those
were stirring times in the States. The slavery question was beginning to
come uppermost. The men of the free states in the north and west were
beginning to say among themselves that they would no longer tolerate
that terrible blot upon American freedom--the enslavement of four
million negroes in the cotton-growing south. James Garfield felt all his
soul stirred within him by this great national problem--the greatest
that any modern nation has ever had to solve for itself. Now, his own
sect, the Disciples, and their college, Bethany, were strongly tinctured
with a leaning in favour of slavery, which young James Garfield utterly
detested. So he made up his mind to having nothing to do with the
accursed thing, but to go east to some New England college, where he
would mix among men of culture, and where he would probably find more
congenial feelings on the slavery question.

Before deciding, he wrote to three eastern colleges, amongst others to
Yale, the only American university which by its buildings and
surroundings can lay any claim to compare, even at a long distance, in
beauty and associations, with the least among European universities. The
three colleges gave him nearly similar answers; but one of them, in
addition to the formal statement of terms and so forth, added the short
kindly sentence, "If you come here, we shall be glad to do what we can
for you." It was only a small polite phrase; but it took the heart of
the rough western boy. If other things were about the same, he said, he
would go to the college which offered him, as it were, a friendly grasp
of the hand. He had saved a little money at Hiram; and he proposed now
to go on working for his living, as he had hitherto done, side by side
with his regular studies. But his brother, who was always kind and
thoughtful to him, would not hear of this. Thomas had prospered
meanwhile in his own small way, and he insisted upon lending James such
a sum as would cover his necessary expenses for two years at an eastern
university. James insured his life for the amount, so that Thomas might
not be a loser by his brotherly generosity in case of his death before
repayment could be made; and then, with the money safe in his pocket, he
started off for his chosen goal, the Williams College, in one of the
most beautiful and hilly parts of Massachusetts.

During the three years that Garfield was at this place, he studied hard
and regularly, so much so that at one time his brain showed symptoms of
giving way under the constant strain. In the vacations, he took a trip
into Vermont, a romantic mountain state, where he opened a writing
school at a little country village; and another into the New York State,
where he engaged himself in a similar way at a small town on the banks
of the lovely Hudson river. At college, in spite of his rough western
dress and manners, he earned for himself the reputation of a thoroughly
good fellow. Indeed, geniality and warmth of manner, qualities always
much prized by the social American people, were very marked traits
throughout of Garfield's character, and no doubt helped him greatly in
after life in rising to the high summit which he finally reached. It was
here, too, that he first openly identified himself with the anti-slavery
party, which was then engaged in fighting out the important question
whether any new slave states should be admitted to the Union. Charles
Sumner, the real grand central figure of that noble struggle, was at
that moment thundering in Congress against the iniquitous extension of
the slave-holding area, and was employing all his magnificent powers to
assail the abominable Fugitive Slave Bill, for the return of runaway
negroes, who escaped north, into the hands of their angry masters. The
American colleges are always big debating societies, where questions of
politics are regularly argued out among the students; and Garfield put
himself at the head of the anti-slavery movement at his own little
university. He spoke upon the subject frequently before the assembled
students, and gained himself a considerable reputation, not only as a
zealous advocate of the rights of the negro, but also as an eloquent
orator and a powerful argumentative debater.

In 1856, Garfield took his degree at Williams College, and had now
finished his formal education. By that time, he was a fair though not a
great scholar, competently read in the Greek and Latin literatures, and
with a good knowledge of French and German. He was now nearly twenty-
five years old; and his experience was large and varied enough to make
him already into a man of the world. He had been farmer, carpenter,
canal driver, and student; he had seen the primitive life of the forest,
and the more civilized society of the Atlantic shore; he had taught in
schools in many states; he had supported himself for years by his own
labours; and now, at an age when many young men are, as a rule, only
just beginning life on their own account, he had practically raised
himself from his own class into the class of educated and cultivated
gentlemen. As soon as he had taken his degree, his old friends, the
trustees of the "Eclectic Institute" at Hiram, proud of their former
sweeper and bell-ringer, called him back at a good salary as teacher of
Greek and Latin. It was then just ten years since he had toiled wearily
along the tow-path of the Ohio and Pennsylvania Canal.

As a teacher, Garfield seems to have been eminently successful. His
genial character and good-natured way of explaining things made him a
favourite at once with the rough western lads he had to teach, who would
perhaps have thought a more formal teacher stiff and stuck-up. Garfield
was one of themselves; he knew their ways and their manners; he could
make allowances for their awkwardness and bluntness of speech; he could
adopt towards them the exact tone which put them at home at once with
their easy-going instructor. Certainly, he inspired all his pupils with
an immense love and devotion for him; and it is less easy to inspire
those feelings in a sturdy Ohio farmer than in most other varieties of
the essentially affectionate human species.

From 1857 to 1861, Garfield remained at Hiram, teaching and working very
hard. His salary, though a good one for the time and place, was still
humble according to our English notions; but it sufficed for his needs;
and as yet it would have seemed hardly credible that in only twenty
years the Ohio schoolmaster would rise to be President of the United
States. Indeed, it is only in America, that country of peculiarly
unencumbered political action, where every kind of talent is most
rapidly recognized and utilized, that this particular form of swift
promotion is really possible. But while Garfield was still at his
Institute, he was taking a vigorous part in local politics, especially
on the slavery question. Whenever there was a political meeting at
Hiram, the young schoolmaster was always called upon to take the anti-
slavery side; and he delivered himself so effectively upon this
favourite topic that he began to be looked upon as a rising political
character. In America, politics are less confined to any one class than
in Europe; and there would be nothing unusual in the selection of a
schoolmaster who could talk to a seat in the local or general
legislature. The practice of paying members makes it possible for
comparatively poor men to offer themselves as candidates; and politics
are thus a career, in the sense of a livelihood, far more than in any
other country.

In 1858, Garfield married a lady who had been a fellow-student of his in
earlier days, and to whom he had been long engaged. In the succeeding
year, he got an invitation which greatly pleased and flattered him. The
authorities at Williams College asked him to deliver the "Master's
Oration" at their annual festival; an unusual compliment to pay to so
young a man, and one who had so recently taken his degree. It was the
first opportunity he had ever had for a pleasure-trip, and taking his
young wife with him (proud indeed, we may be sure, at this earliest
honour of his life, the precursor of so many more) he went to
Massachusetts by a somewhat roundabout but very picturesque route, down
the Great Lakes, through the Thousand Islands, over the St. Lawrence
rapids, and on to Quebec, the only town in America which from its old-
world look can lay claim to the sort of beauty which so many ancient
European cities abundantly possess. He delivered his address with much
applause and returned to his Ohio home well satisfied with this pleasant

Immediately on his return, the speech-making schoolmaster was met by a
very sudden and unexpected request that he would allow himself to be
nominated for the State legislature. Every state of the Union has its
own separate little legislative body, consisting of two houses; and it
was to the upper of these, the Senate of Ohio, that James Garfield was
asked to become a candidate. The schoolmaster consented; and as those
were times of very great excitement, when the South was threatening to
secede if a President hostile to the slave-owning interest was elected,
the contest was fought out almost entirely along those particular lines.
Garfield was returned as senator by a large majority, and took his seat
in the Ohio Senate in January, 1860. There, his voice was always raised
against slavery, and he was recognized at once as one of the ablest
speakers in the whole legislature.

In 1861, the great storm burst over the States. In the preceding
November, Abraham Lincoln had been elected President. Lincoln was
himself, like Garfield, a self-made man, who had risen from the very
same pioneer labourer class;--a wood-cutter and rail-splitter in the
backwoods of Illinois, he had become a common boatman on the
Mississippi, and had there improved his mind by reading eagerly in all
his spare moments. With one of those rapid rises so commonly made by
self-taught lads in America, he had pushed his way into the Illinois
legislature by the time he was twenty-five, and qualified himself to
practise as a barrister at Springfield. His shrewd original talents had
raised him with wonderful quickness into the front ranks of his own
party; and when the question between the North and South rose into the
region of practical politics, Lincoln was selected by the republicans
(the anti-slavery group) as their candidate for the Presidency of the
United States. This selection was a very significant one in several
ways; Lincoln was a very strong opponent of slavery, and his candidature
showed the southern slaveowners that if the Republicans were successful
in the contest, a vigorous move against the slave-holding oligarchy
would at once be made. But it was also significant in the fact that
Lincoln was a western man; it was a sign that the farmers and grangers
of the agricultural west were beginning to wake up politically and throw
themselves into the full current of American State affairs. On both
these grounds, Lincoln's nomination must have been deeply interesting to
Garfield, whose own life had been so closely similar, and who was
destined, twenty years later, to follow him to the same goal.

Lincoln was duly elected, and the southern states began to secede. The
firing upon Fort Sumter by the South Carolina secessionists was the
first blow struck in that terrible war. Every man who was privileged to
live in America at that time (like the present writer) cannot recall
without a glow of recollection the memory of the wild eagerness with
which the North answered that note of defiance, and went forth with
overpowering faith and eagerness to fight the good fight on behalf of
human freedom. Such a spontaneous outburst of the enthusiasm of humanity
has never been known, before or since. President Lincoln immediately
called for a supply of seventy-five thousand men. In the Ohio Senate,
his message was read amid tumultuous applause; and the moment the sound
of the cheers died away, Garfield, as natural spokesman of the
republican party, sprang to his feet, and moved in a short and
impassioned speech that the state of Ohio should contribute twenty
thousand men and three million dollars as its share in the general
preparations. The motion was immediately carried with the wildest
demonstrations of fervour, and Ohio, with all the rest of the North,
rose like one man to put down by the strong hand the hideous traffic in
human flesh and blood.

During those fiery and feverish days, every citizen of the loyal states
felt himself to be, in reserve at least, a possible soldier. It was
necessary to raise, drill, and render effective in an incredibly short
time a large army; and it would have been impossible to do so had it not
been for the eager enthusiasm with which civilians of every sort
enlisted, and threw themselves into their military duties with almost
incredible devotion. Garfield felt that he must bear his own part in the
struggle by fighting it out, not in the Senate but on the field; and his
first move was to obtain a large quantity of arms from the arsenal in
the doubtfully loyal state of Missouri. In this mission he was
completely successful; and he was next employed to raise and organize
two new regiments of Ohio infantry. Garfield, of course, knew absolutely
nothing of military matters at that time; but it was not a moment to
stand upon questions of precedence or experience; the born organizers
came naturally to the front, and Garfield was one of them. Indeed, the
faculty for organization seems innate in the American people, so that
when it became necessary to raise and equip so large a body of men at a
few weeks' notice, the task was undertaken offhand by lawyers, doctors,
shopkeepers, and schoolmasters, without a minute's hesitation, and was
performed on the whole with distinguished success.

When Garfield had organized his regiments, the Governor asked him to
accept the post of colonel to one of them. But Garfield at first
mistrusted his own powers in this direction. How should he, who had
hitherto been poring chiefly over the odes of Horace (his favourite
poet), now take so suddenly to leading a thousand men into actual
battle? He would accept only a subordinate position, he said, if a
regular officer of the United States army, trained at the great military
academy at West Point, was placed in command. So the Governor told him
to go among his own farmer friends in his native district, and recruit a
third regiment, promising to find him a West Point man as colonel, if
one was available. Garfield accepted the post of lieutenant-colonel,
raised the 42nd Ohio regiment, chiefly among his own old pupils at
Hiram, and set off for the seat of operations. At the last moment the
Governor failed to find a regular officer to lead these raw recruits,
every available man being already occupied, and Garfield found himself,
against his will, compelled to undertake the responsible task of
commanding the regiment. He accepted the task thus thrust upon him, and
as if by magic transformed himself at once from a schoolmaster into an
able soldier.

In less than one month, Colonel Garfield took his raw troops into action
in the battle of Middle Creek, and drove the Confederate General
Marshall, with far larger numbers, out of his intrenchments, compelling
him to retreat into Virginia. This timely victory did much to secure the
northern advance along the line of the Mississippi. During the whole of
the succeeding campaign Garfield handled his regiment with such native
skill and marked success that the Government appointed him Brigadier-
General for his bravery and military talent. In spite of all his early
disadvantages, he had been the youngest member of the Ohio Senate, and
now he was the youngest general in the whole American army.

Shortly after, the important victory of Chickamauga was gained almost
entirely by the energy and sagacity of General Garfield. For this
service, he was raised one degree in dignity, receiving his commission
as Major-General. He served altogether only two years and three months
in the army.

But while Garfield was at the head of his victorious troops in Kentucky,
his friends in Ohio were arranging, without his consent or knowledge, to
call him away to a very different sphere of work. They nominated
Garfield as their candidate for the United States House of
Representatives at Washington. The General himself was unwilling to
accede to their request, when it reached him. He thought he could serve
the country better in the field than in Congress. Besides, he was still
a comparatively poor man. His salary as Major-General was double that of
a member of the House; and for his wife's and children's sake he
hesitated to accept the lesser position. Had he continued in the army to
the end of the war, he would doubtless have risen to the very highest
honours of that stirring epoch. But President Lincoln was very anxious
that Garfield should come into the Congress, where his presence would
greatly strengthen the President's hands; and with a generous self-
denial which well bespeaks his thorough loyalty, Garfield gave up his
military post and accepted a place in the House of Representatives. He
took his seat in December, 1863.

For seventeen years, General Garfield sat in the general legislature of
the United States as one of the members for Ohio. During all that time,
he distinguished himself most honourably as the fearless advocate of
honest government, and the pronounced enemy of those underhand dodges
and wire-pulling machinery which are too often the disgrace of American
politics. He was opposed to all corruption and chicanery, especially to
the bad system of rewarding political supporters with places under
Government, which has long been the chief blot upon American republican
institutions. As a person of stalwart honesty and singleness of purpose,
he made himself respected by both sides alike. Politically speaking,
different men will judge very differently of Garfield's acts in the
House of Representatives. Englishmen especially cannot fail to remark
that his attitude towards ourselves was almost always one of latent
hostility; but it is impossible for anybody to deny that his conduct was
uniformly guided by high principle, and a constant deference to what he
regarded as the right course of action.

In 1880, when General Garfield had already risen to be the acknowledged
leader of the House of Representatives, his Ohio supporters put him in
nomination for the upper chamber, the Senate. They wished Garfield to
come down to the state capital and canvas for support; but this the
General would not hear of. "I never asked for any place yet," he said,
"except the post of bell-ringer and general sweeper at the Hiram
Institute, and I won't ask for one now." But at least, his friends
urged, he would be on the spot to encourage and confer with his
partisans. No, Garfield answered; if they wished to elect him they must
elect him in his absence; he would avoid all appearance, even, of
angling for office. The result was that all the other candidates
withdrew, and Garfield was elected by acclamation.

After the election he went down to Ohio and delivered a speech to his
constituents, a part of which strikingly illustrates the courage and
independence of the backwoods schoolmaster. "During the twenty years
that I have been in public life," he said, "almost eighteen of it in the
Congress of the United States, I have tried to do one thing. Whether I
was mistaken or otherwise, it has been the plan of my life to follow my
conviction, at whatever personal cost to myself. I have represented for
many years a district in Congress whose approbation I greatly desired;
but though it may seem, perhaps, a little egotistical to say it, I yet
desired still more the approbation of one person, and his name was
Garfield. He is the only man that I am compelled to sleep with, and eat
with, and live with, and die with; and if I could not have his
approbation I should have bad companionship."

Only one higher honour could now fall to the lot of a citizen of the
United States. The presidency was the single post to which Garfield's
ambition could still aspire. That honour came upon him, like all the
others, without his seeking; and it came, too, quite unexpectedly. Five
months later, in the summer of 1880, the National Republican Convention
met to select a candidate for their party at the forthcoming
presidential election. Every four years, before the election, each party
thus meets to decide upon the man to whom its votes will be given at the
final choice. After one or two ineffectual attempts to secure unanimity
in favour of other and more prominent politicians, the Convention with
one accord chose James Garfield for its candidate--a nomination which
was quite as great a surprise to Garfield himself as to all the rest of
the world. He was elected President of the United States in November,

It was a marvellous rise for the poor canal boy, the struggling student,
the obscure schoolmaster, thus to find himself placed at the head of one
among the greatest nations of the earth. He was still less than fifty,
and he might reasonably have looked forward to many years of a happy,
useful, and honourable life. Nevertheless, it is impossible to feel that
Garfield's death was other than a noble and enviable one. He was cut off
suddenly in the very moment of his brightest success, before the cares
and disappointments of office had begun to dim the pleasure of his first
unexpected triumph. He died a martyr to a good and honest cause, and his
death-bed was cheered and alleviated by the hushed sorrow and sympathy
of an entire nation--one might almost truthfully add, of the whole
civilized world.

From the first, President Garfield set his face sternly against the bad
practice of rewarding political adherents by allowing them to nominate
officials in the public service--a species of covert corruption
sanctioned by long usage in the United States. This honest and
independent conduct raised up for him at once a host of enemies among
his own party. The talk which they indulged in against the President
produced a deep effect upon a half-crazy and wildly egotistic French-
Canadian of the name of Guiteau, who had emigrated to the States and
become an American citizen. General Garfield had arranged a trip to New
England in the summer of 1881, to attend the annual festival at his old
school, the Williams College, Massachusetts; and for that purpose he
left the White House (the President's official residence at Washington)
on July 2. As he stood in the station of the Baltimore and Potomac
Railway, arm in arm with Mr. Blaine, the Secretary of State, Guiteau
approached him casually, and, drawing out a pistol, fired two shots in
rapid succession, one of which took effect on the President above the
third rib. The assassin was at once secured, and the wounded President
was carried back carefully to the White House.

Almost everybody who reads this book will remember the long suspense,
while the President lay stretched upon his bed for weeks and weeks
together, with all Europe and America watching anxiously for any sign of
recovery, and sympathizing deeply with the wounded statesman and his
devoted wife. Every effort that was possible was made to save him, but
the wound was past all surgical skill. After lingering long with the
stored-up force of a good constitution, James Garfield passed away at
last of blood-poisoning, more deeply regretted perhaps than any other
man whom the present generation can remember.

It is only in America that precisely such a success as Garfield's is
possible for people who spring, as he did, from the midst of the people.
In old-settled and wealthy countries we must be content, at best, with
slower and less lofty promotion. But the lesson of Garfield's life is
not for America only, but for the whole world of workers everywhere. The
same qualities which procured his success there will produce a
different, but still a solid success, anywhere else. As Garfield himself
fittingly put it, with his usual keen American common sense, "There is
no more common thought among young people than the foolish one, that by-
and-by something will turn up by which they will suddenly achieve fame
or fortune. No, young gentlemen; things don't turn up in this world
unless somebody turns them up."



It is the object of this volume to set forth the lives of working men
who through industry, perseverance, and high principle have raised
themselves by their own exertions from humble beginnings. Raised
themselves! Yes; but to what? Not merely, let us hope, to wealth and
position, not merely to worldly respect and high office, but to some
conspicuous field of real usefulness to their fellow men. Those whose
lives we have hitherto examined did so raise themselves by their own
strenuous energy and self-education. Either, like Garfield and Franklin,
they served the State zealously in peace or war; or else, like
Stephenson and Telford, they improved human life by their inventions and
engineering works; or, again, like Herschel and Fraunhofer, they added
to the wide field of scientific knowledge; or finally, like Millet and
Gibson, they beautified the world with their noble and inspiring
artistic productions. But in every one of these cases, the men whose
lives we have been here considering did actually rise, sooner or later,
from the class of labourers into some other class socially and
monetarily superior to it. Though they did great good in other ways to
others, they did still as a matter of fact succeed themselves in
quitting the rank in which they were born, and rising to some other rank
more or less completely above it.

Now, it will be clear to everybody that so long as our present social
arrangements exist, it must be impossible for the vast mass of labouring
men ever to do anything of the sort. It is to be desired, indeed, that
every labouring man should by industry and thrift secure independence in
the end for himself and his family; but however much that may be the
case, it will still rest certain that the vast mass of men will
necessarily remain workers to the last; and that no attempt to raise
individual working men above their own class into the professional or
mercantile classes can ever greatly benefit the working masses as a
whole. What is most of all desirable is that the condition, the aims;
and the tastes of working men, as working men, should be raised and
bettered; that without necessarily going outside their own ranks, they
should become more prudent, more thrifty, better educated, and wider-
minded than many of their predecessors have been in the past. Under such
circumstances, it is surely well to set before ourselves some examples
of working men who, while still remaining members of their own class,
have in the truest and best sense "raised themselves" so as to attain
the respect and admiration of others whether their equals or superiors
in the artificial scale. Dr. Smiles, who has done much to illustrate the
history of the picked men among the labouring orders, has chosen two or
three lives of such a sort for investigation, and from them we may
select a single one as an example of a working man's career rendered
conspicuous by qualities other than those that usually secure external

Thomas Edward, associate of the Linnean Society, though a Scotchman all
his life long, was accidentally born (so to speak) at Gosport, near
Portsmouth, on Christmas Day, 1814. His father was in the Fifeshire
militia and in those warlike days, when almost all the regulars were on
the Continent, fighting Napoleon, militia regiments used to be ordered
about the country from one place to another, to watch the coast or mount
guard over the French prisoners, in the most unaccountable fashion. So
it happened, oddly enough, that Thomas Edward, a Scotchman of the
Scotch, was born close under the big forts of Portsmouth harbour.

After Waterloo, however, the Fifeshire regiment was sent home again; and
the militia being before long disbanded, John Edward, our hero's father,
went to live at Aberdeen, where he plied his poor trade of a hand-loom
linen weaver for many years. It was on the green at Aberdeen, surrounded
by small labourers' cottages, that Thomas Edward passed his early days.
From his babyhood, almost, the boy had a strong love for all the
beasties he saw everywhere around him; a fondness for birds and animals,
and a habit of taming them which can seldom be acquired, but which seems
with some people to come instinctively by nature. While Tam was still
quite a child, he loved to wander by himself out into the country, along
the green banks of the Dee, or among the tidal islands at the mouth of
the river, overgrown by waving seaweeds, and fringed with great white
bunches of blossoming scurvy-grass. He loved to hunt for crabs and sea-
anemones beside the ebbing channels, or to watch the jelly-fish left
high and dry upon the shore by the retreating water. Already, in his
simple way, the little ragged bare-footed Scotch laddie was at heart a
born naturalist.

Very soon, Tam was not content with looking at the "venomous beasts," as
the neighbours called them, but he must needs begin to bring them home,
and set up a small aquarium and zoological garden on his own account.
All was fish that came to Tam's net: tadpoles, newts, and stickleback
from the ponds, beetles from the dung-heaps, green crabs from the sea-
shore--nay, even in time such larger prizes as hedgehogs, moles, and
nestfuls of birds. Nothing delighted him so much as to be out in the
fields, hunting for and taming these his natural pets.

Unfortunately, Tam's father and mother did not share the boy's passion
for nature, and instead of encouraging him in pursuing his inborn taste,
they scolded him and punished him bitterly for bringing home the nasty
creatures. But nothing could win away Tam from the love of the beasties;
and in the end, he had his own way, and lived all his life, as he
himself afterwards beautifully put it, "a fool to nature." Too often,
unhappily, fathers and mothers thus try to check the best impulses in
their children, under mistaken notions of right, and especially is this
the case in many instances as regards the love of nature. Children are
constantly chidden for taking an interest in the beautiful works of
creation, and so have their first intelligent inquiries and aspirations
chilled at once; when a little care and sympathy would get rid of the
unpleasantness of having white mice or lizards crawling about the house,
without putting a stop to the young beginner's longing for more
knowledge of the wonderful and beautiful world in whose midst he lives.

When Tam was nearly five years old, he was sent to school, chiefly no
doubt to get him out of the way; but Scotch schools for the children of
the working classes were in those days very rough hard places, where the
taws or leather strap was still regarded as the chief instrument of
education. Little Edward was not a child to be restrained by that
particular form of discipline; and after he had had two or three serious
tussles with his instructors, he was at last so cruelly beaten by one of
his masters that he refused to return, and his parents, who were
themselves by no means lacking in old Scotch severity, upheld him in his
determination. He had picked up reading by this time, and now for a
while he was left alone to hunt about to his heart's content among his
favourite fields and meadows. But by the time he was six years old, he
felt he ought to be going to work, brave little mortal that he was; and
as his father and mother thought so too, the poor wee mite was sent to
join his elder brother in working at a tobacco factory in the town, at
the wages of fourteen-pence a week. So, for the next two years, little
Tam waited upon a spinner (as the workers are called) and began life in
earnest as a working man. At the end of two years, however, the
brothers heard that better wages were being given, a couple of miles
away, at Grandholm, up the river Don. So off the lads tramped, one fast-
day (a recognized Scotch institution), to ask the manager of the
Grandholm factory if he could give them employment. They told nobody of
their intention, but trudged away on their own account; and when they
came back and told their parents what they had done, the father was not
very well satisfied with the proposal, because he thought it too far for
so small a boy as Tam to walk every day to and from his work. Tam,
however, was very anxious to go, not only on account of the increased
wages, but also (though this was a secret) because of the beautiful
woods and crags round Grandholm, through which he hoped to wander during
the short dinner hour. In the end, John Edward gave way, and the boys
were allowed to follow their own fancy in going to the new factory.

It was very hard work; the hours were from six in the morning till eight
at night, for there was no Factory Act then to guard the interest of
helpless children; so the boys had to be up at four in the morning, and
were seldom home again till nine at night. In winter, the snow lies long
and deep on those chilly Aberdeenshire roads, and the east winds from
the German Ocean blow cold and cutting up the narrow valley of the Don;
and it was dreary work toiling along them in the dark of morning or of
night in bleak and cheerless December weather. Still, Tam liked it on
the whole extremely well. His wages were now three shillings a week; and
then, twice a day in summer, there was the beautiful walk to and fro
along the leafy high-road. "People may say of factories what they
please," Edward wrote much later, "but I liked this factory. It was a
happy time for me whilst I remained there. The woods were easy of access
during our meal-hours. What lots of nests! What insects, wild flowers,
and plants, the like of which I had never seen before." The boy revelled
in the beauty of the birds and beasts he saw here, and he retained a
delightful recollection of them throughout his whole after life.

This happy time, however, was not to last for ever. When young Edward
was eleven years old, his father took him away from Grandholm, and
apprenticed him to a working shoemaker. The apprenticeship was to go on
for six years; the wages to begin at eighteen-pence a week; and the
hours, too sadly long, to be from six in the morning till nine at night.
Tam's master, one Charles Begg, was a drunken London workman, who had
wandered gradually north; a good shoemaker, but a quarrelsome, rowdy
fellow, loving nothing on earth so much as a round with his fists on the
slightest provocation. From this unpromising teacher, Edward took his
first lessons in the useful art of shoemaking; and though he learned
fast--for he was not slothful in business--he would have learned faster,
no doubt, but for his employer's very drunken and careless ways. When
Begg came home from the public-house, much the worse for whisky, he
would first beat Tam, and then proceed upstairs to beat his wife. For
three years young Edward lived under this intolerable tyranny, till he
could stand it no longer. At last, Begg beat and ill-treated him so
terribly that Tam refused outright to complete his apprenticeship. Begg
was afraid to compel him to do so--doubtless fearing to expose his ill-
usage of the lad. So Tam went to a new master, a kindly man, with whom
he worked in future far more happily.

The boy now began to make himself a little botanical garden in the back
yard of his mother's house--a piece of waste ground covered with
rubbish, such as one often sees behind the poorer class of cottages in
towns. Tam determined to alter all that, so he piled up all the stones
into a small rockery, dug up the plot, manured it, and filled it with
wild and garden flowers. The wild flowers, of course, he found in the
woods and hedgerows around him; but the cultivated kinds he got in a
very ingenious fashion, by visiting all the rubbish heaps of the
neighbourhood, on which garden refuse was usually piled. A good many
roots and plants can generally be found in such places, and by digging
them up, Tam was soon able to make himself a number of bright and lively
beds. Such self-help in natural history always lay very much in Edward's

At the same time, young Edward was now beginning to feel the desire for
knowing something more about the beasts and birds of which he was so
fond. He used to go in all his spare moments among the shops in the
town, to look at the pictures in the windows, especially the pictures of
animals; and though his earnings were still small, he bought a book
whenever he was able to afford one. In those days cheap papers for the
people were only just beginning to come into existence; and Tam, who was
now eighteen, bought the first number of the _Penny Magazine_, an
excellent journal of that time, which he liked so much that he continued
to take in the succeeding numbers. Some of the papers in it were about
natural history, and these, of course, particularly delighted the young
man's heart. He also bought the _Weekly Visitor_, which he read
through over and over again.

In 1831, when Tam was still eighteen, he enlisted in the Aberdeenshire
militia, and during his brief period of service an amusing circumstance
occurred which well displays the almost irresistible character of
Edward's love of nature. While he was drilling with the awkward squad
one morning, a butterfly of a kind that he had never seen before
happened to flit in front of him as he stood in the ranks. It was a
beautiful large brown butterfly, and Edward was so fascinated by its
appearance that he entirely forgot, in a moment, where he was and what
he was doing. Without a second's thought, he darted wildly out of the
ranks, and rushed after the butterfly, cap in hand. It led him a pretty
chase, over sandhills and shore, for five minutes. He was just on the
point of catching it at last, when he suddenly felt a heavy hand laid
upon his shoulder, and looking round, he saw the corporal of the company
and several soldiers come to arrest him. Such a serious offence against
military discipline might have cost him dear indeed, for corporals have
little sympathy with butterfly hunting; but luckily for Edward, as he
was crossing the parade ground under arrest, he happened to meet an
officer walking with some ladies. The officer asked the nature of his
offence, and when the ladies heard what it was they were so much
interested in such a strange creature as a butterfly-loving militiaman,
that they interceded for him, and finally begged him off his expected
punishment. The story shows us what sort of stuff Edward was really made
of. He felt so deep an interest in all the beautiful living creatures
around him for their own sake, that he could hardly restrain his
feelings even under the most untoward circumstances.

When Edward was twenty, he removed from Aberdeen to Banff, where he
worked as a journeyman for a new master. The hours were very long, but
by taking advantage of the summer evenings, he was still able to hunt
for his beloved birds, caterpillars, and butterflies. Still, the low
wages in the trade discouraged him much, and he almost made up his mind
to save money and emigrate to America. But one small accident alone
prevented him from carrying out this purpose. Like a good many other
young men, the naturalist shoemaker fell in love. Not only so, but his
falling in love took practical shape a little later in his getting
married; and at twenty-three, the lonely butterfly hunter brought back a
suitable young wife to his little home. The marriage was a very happy
one. Mrs. Edward not only loved her husband deeply, but showed him
sympathy in his favourite pursuits, and knew how to appreciate his
sterling worth. Long afterwards she said, that though many of her
neighbours could not understand her husband's strange behaviour, she had
always felt how much better it was to have one who spent his spare time
on the study of nature than one who spent it on the public-house.

As soon as Edward got a home of his own, he began to make a regular
collection of all the animals and plants in Banffshire. This was a
difficult thing for him to do, for he knew little of books, and had
access to very few, so that he couldn't even find out the names of all
the creatures he caught and preserved. But, though he didn't always know
what they were called, he did know their natures and habits and all
about them; and such first-hand knowledge in natural history is really
the rarest and the most valuable of all. He saw little of his fellow-
workmen. They were usually a drunken, careless lot; Edward was sober and
thoughtful, and had other things to think of than those that they cared
to talk about with one another. But he went out much into the fields,
with invincible determination, having made up his mind that he would get
to know all about the plants and beasties, however much the knowledge
might cost him.

For this object, he bought a rusty old gun for four-and-sixpence, and
invested in a few boxes and bottles for catching insects. His working
hours were from six in the morning till nine at night, and for that long
day he always worked hard to support his wife, and (when they came) his
children. He had therefore only the night hours between nine and six to
do all his collecting. Any other man, almost, would have given up the
attempt as hopeless; but Edward resolved never to waste a single moment
or a single penny, and by care and indomitable energy he succeeded in
making his wished-for collection. Sometimes he was out tramping the
whole night; sometimes he slept anyhow, under a hedge or haystack;
sometimes he took up temporary quarters in a barn, an outhouse, or a
ruined castle. But night after night he went on collecting, whenever he
was able; and he watched the habits and manners of the fox, the badger,
the otter, the weasel, the stoat, the pole-cat, and many other regular
night-roamers as no one else, in all probability, had ever before
watched them in the whole world.

Sometimes he suffered terrible disappointments, due directly or
indirectly to his great poverty. Once, he took all his cases of insects,
containing nine hundred and sixteen specimens, and representing the work
of four years, up to his garret to keep them there till he was able to
glaze them. When he came to take them down again he found to his horror
that rats had got at the boxes, eaten almost every insect in the whole
collection, and left nothing behind but the bare pins, with a few
scattered legs, wings, and bodies, sticking amongst them. Most men would
have been so disgusted with this miserable end to so much labour, that
they would have given up moth hunting for ever. But Edward was made of
different stuff. He went to work again as zealously as ever, and in four
years more, he had got most of the beetles, flies, and chafers as
carefully collected as before.

By the year 1845, Edward had gathered together about two thousand
specimens of beasts, birds, and insects found in the neighbourhood of
his own town of Banff. He made the cases to hold them himself, and did
it so neatly that, in the case of his shells, each kind had even a
separate little compartment all of its own. And now he unfortunately
began to think of making money by exhibiting his small museum. If only
he could get a few pounds to help him in buying books, materials,
perhaps even a microscope, to help him in prosecuting his scientific
work, what a magnificent thing that would be for him! Filled with this
grand idea, he took a room in the Trades Hall at Banff, and exhibited
his collection during a local fair. A good many people came to see it,
and the Banff paper congratulated the poor shoemaker on his energy in
gathering together such a museum of curiosities "without aid, and under
discouraging circumstances which few would have successfully
encountered." He was so far lucky in this first venture that he covered
his expenses and was able even to put away a little money for future
needs. Encouraged by this small triumph, the unwearied naturalist set to
work during the next year, and added several new attractions to his
little show. At the succeeding fair he again exhibited, and made still
mere money out of his speculation. Unhappily, the petty success thus
secured led him to hope he might do even better by moving his collection
to Aberdeen.

To Aberdeen, accordingly, Edward went. He took a shop in the great gay
thoroughfare of that cold northern city--Union Street--and prepared to
receive the world at large, and to get the money for the longed-for
books and the much-desired microscope. Now, Aberdeen is a big, busy,
bustling town; it has plenty of amusements and recreations; it has two
colleges and many learned men of its own; and the people did not care to
come and see the working shoemaker's poor small collection. If he had
been a president of the British Association for the Advancement of
Science, now--some learned knight or baronet come down by special train
from London--the Aberdeen doctors and professors might have rushed to
hear his address; or if he had been a famous music-hall singer or an
imitation negro minstrel, the public at large might have flocked to be
amused and degraded by his parrot-like buffoonery; but as he was only a
working shoemaker from Banff, with a heaven-born instinct for watching
and discovering all the strange beasts and birds of Scotland, and the
ways and thoughts of them, why, of course, respectable Aberdeen, high or
low, would have nothing in particular to say to him. Day after day went
by, and hardly anybody came, till at last poor Edward's heart sank
terribly within him. Even the few who did come were loth to believe that
a working shoemaker could ever have gathered together such a large
collection by his own exertions.

"Do you mean to say," said one of the Aberdeen physicians to Edward,
"that you've maintained your wife and family by working at your trade,
all the while that you've been making this collection?"

"Yes, I do," Edward answered.

"Oh, nonsense!" the doctor said. "How is it possible you could have done

"By never losing a single minute or part of a minute," was the brave
reply, "that I could by any means improve."

It is wonderful indeed that when once Edward had begun to attract
anybody's attention at all, he and his exhibition should ever have been
allowed to pass so unnoticed in a great, rich, learned city like
Aberdeen. But it only shows how very hard it is for unassuming merit to
push its way; for the Aberdeen people still went unheeding past the shop
in Union Street, till Edward at last began to fear and tremble as to how
he should ever meet the expenses of the exhibition. After the show had
been open four weeks, one black Friday came when Edward never took a
penny the whole day. As he sat there alone and despondent in the empty
room, the postman brought him a letter. It was from his master at Banff.
"Return immediately," it said, "or you will be discharged." What on
earth could he do? He couldn't remove his collection; he couldn't pay
his debt. A few more days passed, and he saw no way out of it. At last,
in blank despair, he offered the whole collection for sale. A gentleman
proposed to pay him the paltry sum of L20 10s for the entire lot, the
slow accumulations of ten long years. It was a miserable and totally
inadequate price, but Edward could get no more. In the depths of his
misery, he accepted it. The gentleman took the collection home, gave it
to his boy, and finally allowed it all, for want of care and attention,
to go to rack and ruin. And so that was the end of ten years of poor


Back to Full Books