This is, perhaps, the explanation of their intimacy. If so, it is a very remarkable instance of Platonic friendship. It is certain that, after she met Reade, Mrs. Seymour never cared for any other man. It is no less certain that he never cared for any other woman. When she died, five years before his death, his life became a burden to him. It was then that he used to speak of her as “my lost darling” and “my dove.” He directed that they should be buried side by side in Willesden churchyard. Over the monument which commemorates them both, he caused to be inscribed, in addition to an epitaph for himself, the following tribute to his friend. One should read it and accept the touching words as answering every question that may be asked:
Here lies the great heart of Laura Seymour, a brilliant artist, a humble Christian, a charitable woman, a loving daughter, sister, and friend, who lived for others from her childhood. Tenderly pitiful to all God’s creatures—even to some that are frequently destroyed or neglected—she wiped away the tears from many faces, helping the poor with her savings and the sorrowful with her earnest pity. When the eye saw her it blessed her, for her face was sunshine, her voice was melody, and her heart was sympathy.
This grave was made for her and for himself by Charles Reade, whose wise counselor, loyal ally, and bosom friend she was for twenty-four years, and who mourns her all his days.
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