English Men of Letters: Crabbe eBook

Alfred Ainger
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about English Men of Letters.

Perhaps if he had brought a little imagination to bear upon his relations with Muston and Allington, Crabbe would not have deserted his people so soon after coming among them.  The stop made him many enemies.  For here was no case of a poor curate accepting, for his family’s sake, a more lucrative post.  Crabbe was leaving the Vale of Belvoir because an accession of fortune had befallen the family, and it was pleasanter to live in his native county and in a better house.  So, at least, his action was interpreted at the time, and Crabbe’s son takes no very different view.  “Though tastes and affections, as well as worldly interests, prompted this return to native scenes and early acquaintances, it was a step reluctantly taken, and I believe, sincerely repented of.  The beginning was ominous.  As we were slowly quitting the place preceded by our furniture, a stranger, though one who knew my father’s circumstances, called out in an impressive tone, ’You are wrong, you are wrong!’” The sound, he afterwards admitted, found an echo in his own conscience, and during the whole journey seemed to ring in his ears “like a supernatural voice.”


[Footnote 2:  See a pleasant paper on Crabbe at Muston and Allington by the Rev. W.H.  Hutton of St John’s College, Oxford, in the Cornhill Magazine for June 1901.]




On the arrival of the family at Parham, poor Crabbe discovered that even an accession of fortune had its attendant drawbacks.  His son, George, records his own recollections (he was then a child of seven years) of the scene that met their view on their alighting at Parham Lodge.  “As I got out of the chaise, I remember jumping for very joy, and exclaiming, ‘Here we are, here we are—­little Willy and all!’”—­(his parents’ seventh and youngest child, then only a few weeks old)—­“but my spirits sunk into dismay when, on entering the well-known kitchen, all there seemed desolate, dreary, and silent.  Mrs. Tovell and her sister-in-law, sitting by the fireside weeping, did not even rise up to welcome my parents, but uttered a few chilling words and wept again.  All this appeared to me as inexplicable as forbidding.  How little do children dream of the alterations that older people’s feelings towards each other undergo, when death has caused a transfer of property!  Our arrival in Suffolk was by no means palatable to all my mother’s relations.”

Mr. Tovell’s widow had doubtless her suitable jointure, and probably a modest dower-residence to retire to; but Parham Hall had to be vacated, and Crabbe, having purchased its furniture, at once entered on possession.  The mere re-arrangement of the contents caused many heartburnings to the spinster-sister, who had known them under the old regime, and the alteration of the hanging of a picture would have

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English Men of Letters: Crabbe from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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