« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
time, when the tide ran high, little pools along the sanded fringes of the garden. The house was large and rambling, and of a night when the waves roared and the artillery of the heavens shook at the foundations of earth, it afforded us enormous gratifications of every kind. We were fascinated by terror, and shuddered in silence during the long nights when our parents were kept in town by a theatre, a race, a party. Then we were left in the charge of our eldest sister, a young person of a sentimental and despotic turn of mind. She ruled us with a rod of iron, and then invited us to weep with her over the poems of Adelaide Ann Procter. And while she read to us in a tremor of ardent sensibilities the legend of Provence, she ruthlessly confiscated Waverley,' 'Kenilworth,' 'Rob Roy,' which I kept under my pillow, and read aloud at night to my younger sisters. Novels she held to be the kernel of every iniquity under the sun, but Longfellow and Adelaide Ann Procter were the sole ennobling influences of life. She was sustained in this crooked conviction by a pensive little stitcher, who used to come and sew and mend for us all several hours a-week, and could recite in their entirety "Evangeline" and the "Golden Legend."
A quaint and original figure this white-haired, sad-eyed little stitcher. She had had her romance, stranger than Evangeline's. Her lover had gone to America, and had fought in the Federal war. With a few sav
ings, she followed him across the Atlantic, and sought him out in State after State, walking several leagues a-day, with lifts here and there in waggons, subsisting for months on a daily crust and a root or two, to end her dolorous peregrinations in a hospital with her dying lover's head upon her faithful breast. She returned to Ireland the heroine of a real novel, with black hair bleached and eyes dim from weeping. She had won the right to be cheerless, and stand with flowing eyes "on the bridge at midnight," and tell us "in mournful numbers life is but an empty dream."
We were a wild lot, no doubt, and worked wonders in villany and mischief. Even our sister's sentimentality at times succumbed to our monstrous spirits; and she forgot Longfellow and Miss Procter, to drop into Irish farce. All the houses round about us were filled with boys and girls of all ages up to sixteen. We needed no introduction to form a general family of some thirty or forty vagrants and imps of both
The head of the troop was a red-headed youth, destined to adorn the medical profession, and a pale proud-looking boy of fourteen, my first love, Arthur by name, of an exalted family, and now, I believe, a distinguished colonel. When we joined the boys on the cricketfield, I always picked up his balls and handed them to him reverentially, and my reward was to be told in an offhand way that "I was a nice little
thing." To me he was Quentin Durward, Waverley, with a dash of Leicester and Prince Ferdinand. He certainly was quite as handsome and distinguished as any of these decorative heroes. His father, an amiable, highmannered old lord, sometimes treated us to fireworks; and then his sisters, prouder than ever Cinderella's could have been, would come out and smile down benevolently upon us all, with the air of court-ladies distributing prizes at a village festival. Arthur himself was a very simple boy, extremely flattered by my mute adoration, which he encouraged by all sorts of little airs and manoeuvres.
It was the red-headed leader who invented the most delightful entertainment in the world. He formed us into a band of beggars. He played a banjo and sang nigger songs, and Arthur, in shirt-sleeves, with a rakish cap rowdily posed on his aristocratic golden head, went round with hat to gather coin. We went from house to house, an excited troop of young rascals, sang and danced and begged and shouted in each garden until the grownup people appeared and flung a sixpence, sometimes even a shilling, into Arthur's hat. The old lord occasionally rose to half-a-crown. The parents enjoyed the fun as much as we did, and never pretended to recognise us.
faces, won a half sovereign from my stepfather, who was smoking on the lawn when the band invaded his solitude, by assuring his honour that she was the mother of fourteen children, with their bedclothes on her back." When she flung the sparkling piece into Arthur's hat, he shouted "Gold!" and a frantic cheer went up from the band. We rushed off in a joyous body next day to Killiney Hill, and had a feast of lemonade and oranges, and toffee and cake. The red-haired chief paid the bill with a flourish, and if there was any change he kept it.
Each parent took his turn in providing the company with an official feast. The old lord monopolised the fireworks. My stepfather instituted races. A А wealthy barrister, our neighbour, inveigled a circus for our delectation; and seven delightful old maids, who lived in a kind of castle of their own, outdid all the fathers royally by a regatta of our own. All the boatmen of Dalkey were hired, and each boat ran up a sail. Mighty powers! what a day that was. Were ever youngsters so gratified, so excited, so conscious of being a little community apart, with the sea and the land for its entertainment?
And there was an amiable old judge, who offered us the freedom of his big orchard, What tales we invented! where the apples grew in quanWhat lies we told! One tities, and we climbed the trees pretty little girl, with brown like squirrels, and devoured ringlets round the rosiest of fruit without fear or restraint.
(To be continued.)
A LETTER FROM SALAMANCA.
LONDON, 2nd January 1899. MY DEAR BLACKWOOD,-You have done me the honour of inviting me to contribute a paper to the thousandth number of 'Maga,' and have suggested that I should take for its subject a letter which I showed you one evening when you were dining with me in London, written by my uncle from the battlefield of Salamanca, describing some of the incidents in the battle, and telling how my father received his wounds there. You also suggest that I should give from other sources some remarks about the soldier element in my family. I would not for the world be absent from 'Maga's' thousandth number; and I send you a copy of the letter from Salamanca, with a few remarks about my family, any portion of which you are welcome to publish in any form that may seem best in your
The youngest son of a youngest son, I have, of course, not inherited any family papers. The letter from Salamanca was given to me by my mother shortly before her death in 1870. It has a remarkable interest to me, for it contains the handwriting of three brothers-my uncle Edward, afterwards Sir
Edward, my father William, and my uncle John, afterwards Sir John. My father died in 1844, when I was six years old; and my uncles, whom I seldom saw, were elderly men when I was still a child. But, a few years ago, a lady living in Lincolnshire most kindly sent me a packet of papers and letters that had come into her possession, some of which are more than a century old, and which enable me to give you some information as to the last three
or four generations of my family, in case you think any portion of it of sufficient interest for publication.
I may mention that there were formerly two main branches of the Brackenbury family, in the counties of Durham and Lincolnshire respectively.1 Surtees, the learned. author of the History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham,' expresses the opinion that the Brackenburys of Lincolnshire are the original stock, and shows, by an extract from the will of Richard Brackenbury, gentleman - usher to Queen Elizabeth, that the two branches at that date acknowledged their kinship. The Durham branch became extinct in 1869, on the death.
1 The connection of the family with the county of Kent was short-lived. King Richard III. gave to Sir Robert Brackenbury, the Lieutenant of the Tower, a cadet of the Durham branch, the lands of Earl Rivers and other lands in Kent, and made him Governor of Tonbridge Castle. Sir Robert fell at Bosworth; he was posthumously attainted with the late king in the first year of Henry VII., and his Kent estates became confiscated to the Crown.
of the late Miss Hannah Brack- A letter to him from his uncle enbury, who by her will founded John, while speaking of his the Brakenbury 1 scholarships indiscreet action in marrying at Balliol College, Oxford. It at his age, and regretting that is to the Lincolnshire branch the lady brings him but a small that I belong. fortune, is couched in very kind terms. The writer says: "I cannot turn my back on you for one youthful indiscretion, and as a proof hereof, I herewith send you a small remittance to the value of £20." He also commends to my grandfather's perusal and serious consideration "the following lesson, well worthy the attention of all young married couples-viz., to please and be pleased, to bear and forbear, to wink and forgive."
My great-great-grandfather, Carr Brackenbury, was ReceiverGeneral for the county of Lincolnshire. He married first a daughter of Joseph Gace of Panton and Harwicke; secondly, a daughter of Sir John Tyrwhitt of Stainfield, Bart. He died in 1741, having had thirteen children by his two wives.
My great-grandfather, Carr Brackenbury of Harwicke and Panton, married a Miss Booth of Ashby Puerorum and Aswardby. She had £1500 a-year and £40,000.2 His rent-roll for the year ending Michaelmas 1788 is in my possession. It includes property at Donnington, Raithby, Halton Holegate, Lusby, and Aswardby, of the net yearly value of £1536, after deducting taxes and tithes. At
his death in 1763 he left the bulk of his property to his eldest son Robert Carr, but Skendleby to his son Edward. It is with his descendants that our close connection with the military, naval, and consular services of the Crown com
My grandfather, Richard, was born in 1758. In 1776 he entered the 70th Regiment of Foot. In 1777, when only eighteen years of age, he married a daughter of Admiral George Gunn of Edinburgh.
In 1780 his mother, who, after my great-grandfather's death, had married again, died; and Aswardby came to my grandfather. It may interest Lincolnshire landowners of the present day to know that in that year the average gross rental of this property was under 13s. an acre, and the net rental, after deducting tithes, under 11s.
My grandfather soon left the army, and settled down at Aswardby: he joined the Royal Third Regiment of Militia in the county of Lincoln, of which, in February 1805, he became lieutenant-colonel. His commission, signed by the Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven, Lord Lieutenant of the County and City of Lincoln, lies before me, bearing that 30s. stamp which, until comparatively recent date,
1 The Durham branch always spelt the name thus.
2 See Brackenbury of Lincolnshire, in Foster's 'The Royal Lineage of our Noble and Gentle Families.' Hatchards, 1887.
officers of the army had to pay upon every step of promotion.
My grandfather had ten children. Two of the daughters married into the Brackenbury family, and one of them became the mother of the late George Brackenbury, C.M.G., formerly H.M. Consul at Lisbon; Henry Brackenbury, first of the 61st Regiment, afterwards major in the 2nd Queen's Regiment, and now of her Majesty's Bodyguard; and Joseph, who, when an ensign in the 32nd Regiment, was killed at Chinhut, outside Lucknow, in the Mutiny of 1857. Of four sons who attained the age of manhood, John, the eldest, Edward, and William, my father, entered the army. Robert entered the He navy. to have appears been sent home from St Helena, in a dying condition, on board the merchant ship "Cuffnells," where he died on 16th July 1803. I have the letter from the mate of the ship announcing the death to my grandfather, and a kind letter written in August by Lord Buckinghamshire, condoling with my grandfather on the loss, and saying he need not think of returning to the regiment before the 1st of September.
The brothers John Macpherson, Edward, and William are the three whose handwriting appears on the Salamanca letter. John entered the 25th Light Dragoons, and appears to have been quartered first at Winchester, and then at Maidstone. I gather that he was named after his godfather, John Macpherson. This gentleman had
been a writer in the Honourable East India Company's service, and was one of the executors to John Gunn, Ensign of Foot and Quartermaster of Cavalry, whose will, dated at Cuddalore in the East Indies in 1774, lies before me. I have two letters from him to my uncle, one of which is so quaint as to be worth reproducing in full:
"BROMPTON, near LONDON,
'Many thanks, my dear sir, for It comes at a fortunate your game. hour, when the Prince and Lord
Huntly are to eat a mutton-chop with me at Brompton. They cannot guess what Brackenbury Macpherson could send it, but I will tell them.
"I hope you continue to enjoy your health, and are well amused with your public duty. And pray, remember, that if you do not lead, to a certain degree, a sober and religious life, the spirit of your worthy Grandfather will not be at rest, even in Heaven.-Yours truly,
"JOHN MACPHERSON. "Lieut. JOHN MN. BRACKENBURY, Maidstone Barracks."
Is it not too delightful-the advice from the man with whom the future George IV. was going to eat a mutton-chop? And that limitation as to sobriety and religion, "to a certain degree"! One wonders if his anticipations of the evening before him compelled him to insert that saving clause.
The other letter is curious only for one passage. It was rumoured that the regiment was ordered to America, and my uncle evidently did not wish to be sent with it; so the wily Macpherson, while advising him to act with his brother officers as if he wished to have health and leave from his family to embark with them, says: "In