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from the South, such as were wont occasionally, during the summer, to seek Mr. Southey's residence with any pretext or introduction which might further their desire to see the great poet and partake his known hospitality. When I saw Hartley open the door, and walk in with his usual abstracted look, I felt awkward for him, but I might have spared myself that feeling; Hartley did not seem to think that the addition to our party was a legitimate cause of embarrassment, or rather, he did not, I believe, employ any thought on the subject at all. For exactly as if not a single person had been present, besides those whom he was accustomed to behold, he quietly walked up to the first seat that presented itself, which happened to be an ottoman, where one or two ladies sat, and placed himself by their side with a preparatory bow, as if he was doing (which in fact he was) a perfectly natural thing. Whatever the ladies might at first have thought of this rather unusual apparition, I am quite sure that, in a very few minutes, every other feeling of theirs was completely merged in unfeigned delight at the conversation into which Hartley entered with them, with an easy good breeding which he possessed in a remarkable degree, and which, united as it was with uncommon powers of mind, his fair auditors might perhaps have looked for in vain from one who had approached them dressed point device, and encased in the whole buckram of ceremony. For intellectual powers of the highest kind had Hartley; never did I meet with any one who so completely, in his own person, demonstrated the specific difference between talent and genius ;-genius, intense, glowing, everkindling genius, breathed in every word he uttered ; originality, the unfailing companion—no, rather the essential form of genius, which in its very nature is creative—was the life and soul of his most common converse. The merest trifle, coming from his lips, acquired a spirit and an interest which the gravest matter might have missed in being moulded by another tongue.”
On his return to Oxford he passed his examination for his degree in the Michaelmas Term of this year, and was placed in the second class in literis humanioribus. It is said that considerable difference of opinion prevailed among the examiners, on this occasion, some being inclined to place him in the first class, from the talent and general knowledge which he displayed, and others in the fourth, on account of certain deficiencies in his scholarship
—and that his actual position was the result of a compromise. The most favourable opinion was confirmed not long afterwards, when he stood for a fellowship at Oriel, which he obtained with high distinction, his superiority on this occasion not admitting of a doubt.
A proud and happy day it was for me, and for us all, when these tidings reached us. Obviously unfit for the ordinary walks of professional life, he had earned for himself an honourable independence, and had found, as it seemed, a position in which he could exert his peculiar talents to advantage. But a sad reverse was at hand; and as this, in its effects, and yet more perhaps in its causes, overclouded the remainder of his days, permanently affecting not merely his happiness but his usefulness, my purpose requires that I should not shrink from setting this sorrowful occurrence in its true light, — doing that justice which, “nothing ex. tenuating,” is yet the truest charity. My brother was formed by nature and circumstance, but for “these unlucky deeds," not merely to delight, but to improve his fellow-men, to make them wiser and better. I trust that, as it is, he will be found to have done something of this kind ; that, as an awakener of pregnant thoughts and holy affections, if not as an authoritative guide of opinion, he may continue, in his degree, a living power for good. I seek so to explain and to account for the anomalies of his outward life, as to leave this power, so far as may be, unimpaired. I would show what I believe to be most true, that the deeper issues of his soul still sent forth sweet waters, which flowed on to the end strangely unmingled with the bitter. But to return.
At the close of his probationary year he was judged to have forfeited his Oriel fellowship, on the ground, mainly, of intemperance. Great efforts were made to reverse the decision. He wrote letters to many of the Fellows. His father went to Oxford to see and to expostulate with the Provost. It was in vain. The specific charges might have been exaggerated. Palliations and excuses might have been found for the particular instances in which they were established. A life singularly blameless in all other respects, dispositions the most amiable, principles and intentions the most upright and
honourable, might be pleaded as a counterpoise in the opposite scale. It was to no purpose. The sentence might be considered severe, it could not be said to be unjust, and alas ! my poor brother did not take the only course which could have discredited the verdict of his judges. The infirmity which was thus heavily visited, was not subsequently overcome. As too often happens, the ruin of his fortunes served but to increase the weakness which had caused their overthrow.
The stroke came upon his father, with all the aggravations of surprise, “as a peal of thunder out of a clear sky."* I was with him at the time, and have never seen any human being, before or since, so deeply afflicted : not, as he said, by the temporal consequences of his son's misfortune, heavy as these were, but for the moral offence which it involved. To what did this amount ?
In order to examine this question it will be necessary for me to go back a step or two in my narrative. I shall have to trace the cause of that
* From a letter written to a young friend on the occasion, 31st July, 1823. The anonymous publication (however kindly and respectfully intended) of these letters, in which disclosures are made without the antecedent circumstances and final issues, have rendered explanations connected with this painful subject necessary, (more with reference to my father's history than to my brother's,) which might else have been avoided.
tendency (not then by any means habitual, but it is to be feared already sufficiently indicated) to the intemperate use of wine, which constituted at this time his only real delinquency, and which led, in its results, to all the errors and shortcomings of his after life.
All men who are cut off in any respect, or from any cause, from the ordinary pursuits and sympathies of their fellows, are apt to be thrown back unduly on themselves; the effect being either to sour the feelings, and give to the mind a misanthropic direction, or, in more amiable natures, to foster vanity and an excessive love of praise. Of this latter fault my brother was early conscious. The following memorandum is in the hand-writing of his boyhood :
“It has been among my day-dreams for some time past to write a history of my own life and feelings, beginning from my earliest remembrance, and continuing it at intervals so as to form a sort of review of my own character. This scheme will probably never, except partially, be put in execution. Besides that the effect of such employment would be to nourish a self-love already too strong, and the worst of selflove, a respect for the faults of self; to confine myself to truth would be too much to expect of myself. Many other reasons,” &c.
But this vanity, while it led him to what he calls “a girlish love of display,” was but the efflorescence of a deeper feeling. What lay at