Her first grief with him arose, strange as it may seem, from his inaptitude for learning—as a child he disdained A B C, and indulged himself with his own thoughts. When nearly seven years old he "fell in love," to use his mother's phrase, "with an illuminated French manuscript," and thus learned his letters from the very sort of thing he spent his early days in counterfeiting. His progress was wonderful, both as to rapidity and extent, and his pride kept pace therewith.
A friend, wishing to give the boy and his sister a present of china-ware, asked him what device he would choose to ornament his with. Such ambition could have been directed,—and directed to noble deeds. He was admitted into the Blue Coat School, commonly called "Colston's School,"  before he was eight years old, and his enthusiastic joy at the prospect of learning so much, was damped by finding that, to quench his thirst for knowledge, "there were not books enough.
There was nothing in this species of tuition or companionship to create or foster either the imitations or the satire he indulged in, he had neither correction nor assistance from any one. Even before his apprenticeship to Mr. John Lambert, he felt he was not appreciated or understood; perhaps no one ever acted a greater satire upon his own profession than this harsh attorney, who deemed his apprentice on a level with his footboy.
He must have been a man utterly devoid of perception and feeling; his insulting contempt of what he could not understand added considerably to the sarcastic bitterness of Chatterton's nature, and it is easy to picture the boy's feelings when his productions were torn by this tyrant and scattered on the office floor! He has his reward.
ALL (exc. subs)
John Lambert, the scrivener, is only remembered as the insulter of Thomas Chatterton! It is impossible not to pause at every page of this boy's brief but eventful life, and lament that he had no friend; reading, as we do, by the light of other days, we can see so many passages where judicious counsel, given with the intelligent affection that would at once have opened his heart, must have saved him; his heart, once laid bare to friendship, would have been purified by the air of truth; it was its closeness which infected his nature.
- Counting Silly Faces Numbers 71-80 (Counting Silly Faces to 100)?
- Risky Reunion (Mills & Boon Love Inspired Suspense) (Protecting the Witnesses - Book 6).
- Quick Brainstorming Activities for Busy Managers: 50 Exercises to Spark Your Teams Creativity and Get Results Fast.
And yet the scrivener considered him a good apprentice. His industry was amazing; his frequent employment was to copy precedents, and one volume, in his handwriting, which is still extant, consists of three hundred and forty-four closely-written folio pages. There was in that gloomy office an edition of Camden's "Britannia," and, having borrowed from Mr.
Green, a bookseller, Speight's "Chaucer," he compiled therefrom an ingenious glossary, for his own use, in two parts. Dix says, "contained old words, with the modern English—the second, the modern English, with the old words; this enabled him to turn modern English into old, as an English and Latin dictionary enables the student to turn English into Latin.
He seems to have been morally dead to every thing like the disgrace attending falsehood; for, when struggling afterwards in London to appear prosperous while starving, he wrote home to Mr. Catcott, and concludes his letter by stating that he intended going abroad as a surgeon , adding, "Mr.
Barrett has it in his power to assist me greatly, by his giving me a physical character ; I hope he will. Barrett to do a dishonest action. But the grand fraud of his short life was boldly dared by this boy in his sixteenth year. Why he should have ever descended to forge when he felt the high pressure of genius so strong within him, is inexplicable. Why, with his daring pride, he should have submitted to be considered a transcriber, where he originated, is more than marvellous.
The spell of a benighting antiquity seemed around him; it might lead one to a belief in "Gramarie"—that some fake spirit had issued forth from the "cofre of Mr. Canynge,"  so long [Pg ] preserved in the room over the north porch of this Bristol church of Redcliffe—a " cofre " secured by six keys, all of which being lost or mislaid, the vestry ordered the " cofre " to be opened; and not only "Canynge's cofre ," but all the " cofres ," in the mysterious chamber: not from any love of antiquity, but because of the hope of obtaining certain title-deeds supposed to be contained therein.
Well, these intelligent worthies, having found what concerned themselves, took them away, leaving behind, and open , parchments and documents which might have enriched our antiquarian literature beyond all calculation. After his death, his widow conveyed many of them, with her children and furniture, to her new residence, and, woman-like, formed them into dolls and thread-papers.
In process of time, the child's attention being aroused by the illuminated manuscripts, he conveyed every bit of parchment he could find to a small den of a room in his mother's house, which he called his own: and, when he grew a little older, set forth, with considerable tact, in answer to all questions asked of him as to how he obtained the poems and information, that he himself had searched the old " cofres ,"  and discovered the poems of the Monk Rowley. Certainly he could not have had a better person to trumpet his discovery than "a talkative fool" like Burgum, who was so proud of his pedigree as to torment the officers of the Herald's College about his ancestors; and he was not the only one imposed on by Chatterton's talent.
His simple-minded mother bore testimony to his joy at discovering those "written parchments upon the covered books:" and, of course, each discovery added to his antiquarian knowledge; for, though no trace exists of the Monk Rowley's originals, there is little doubt that on some of those parchments he found enough to set him thinking, and with him to think and act was the same thing; indeed, there is one passage in his poems bearing so fully upon the fraud, that we transcribe it.
He is writing of having discharged all his obligations to Mr. Rudhall  said that, when Chatterton wrote on a parchment, he held it over a candle to give it the appearance of antiquity; and a Mr. Gardener has recorded, that he once saw Chatterton rub a parchment over with ochre, and afterwards rub it on the ground, saying, "that was the way to antiquate it.
A humble woman, Mrs. Edkins, speaks of his spending all his holidays in the little den of a room we have mentioned, where he locked himself in, and would remain the entire day without meals, returning with his hands and face completely begrimed with dirt and charcoal; and she well remembers his having a charcoal pounce-bag and parchment and letters on a little deal table, and all over the ground was a litter of parchments; and she and his mother at one time fancied he intended to discolor himself and run away to the gipsies; but afterwards Mrs.
More titles to consider
Edkins believed that he was laboring at the Rowley manuscripts, and she thought he got himself bound to a lawyer that he might get at old law books. The testimony she bears to his affectionate tenderness towards his mother and sister is touching: while his pride led him to seek for notoriety for himself, it was only to render his mother and sister comfortable that he coveted wealth.
It is not our province to enter into the controversy as to whether the MSS. In aid of his plans, Chatterton first addressed himself to Dodsley, the Pall Mall bookseller, once with smaller poems, and afterwards on behalf of the greatest production of his genius—the tragedy of "Ella;" but the booksellers of those days were not more intellectual than those at the present: they devoured the small forgery of the great Horace Walpole, "The Castle of Otranto," and rejected the magnificence of a nameless composition. This man's neglect drove the young poet to the "Autocrat of Strawberry Hill.
The literary trifler was not aware of the poverty and low station of his correspondent, and so was courteous; he is "grateful" and "singularly obliged;" bowing, and perfumed, and polite.
bondholders every six months (or per year)
Other communications followed. Walpole inquired—discovered the poet's situation; and then he changed! The poor fond boy! How little had he imagined that the Walpole's soul was not, by five shillings , as large as the Bristol pewterer's! The volume of his works containing "Miscellanies of Chatterton" is now before us. Hear to his indignant honesty!
Manual Risky Reunion (Mills & Boon Love Inspired) (Protecting the Witnesses, Book 6)
He declares that "all the house of forgery are relations; and that though it be but just to Chatterton's memory to say his poverty never made him claim kindred with the richest, or more enriching branches, yet that his ingenuity in counterfeiting styles, and I believe hands, might easily have led him to those more facile imitations of prose—promissory notes.
A slight—a very slight effort on his part might have turned the current of the boy's thoughts, and saved him from misery and death. We do not call Chatterton "his victim," because we do not think him so; but he, or any one in his position, might have turned him from the love of an unworthy notoriety to the pursuit of a laudable ambition.
Following in the world's track which he was ever careful not to outstep , when the boy was dead, Walpole bore eloquent testimony to his genius. The words of praise he gives his memory are like golden grains amid the chaffy verbiage with which he defends himself. If he perceived this at first, why not have come forward hand and heart, and shouted him on to honest fortune?
But, like all clique kings , he made no general cause with literature; he only smiled on his individual worshippers, who could applaud when he said, with cruel playfulness, "that singing birds should not be too well fed! His master, Lambert, dismissed the youth from his service, because he had reason to suppose he meditated self-destruction; and then he proceeded to London.
How buoyant and full of hope he was during his probationary days there, his letters to his mother and sister testify; his gifts, also, extracted from his necessities, are evidences of the bent of his mind—fans and china—luxuries rather than necessaries; but in this, it must be remembered, his judgment was in fault, not his affections.
In all things he was swayed and guided by his pride,—his indomitable pride. The period, brief as it was, of his sojourn in the great metropolis proved that Walpole, while he neglected him so cruelly, understood him perfectly, when he said that "nothing in Chatterton could be separated from Chatterton—that all he did was the effervescence of ungovernable impulse, which, chameleon-like, imbibed the colours of all it looked on [Pg ] it was Ossian, or a Saxon monk, or Gray, or Smollett, or Junius.
He terminated his own existence on the 24th of August in the same year. He battled with the crowded world of London, and, what was in his case a more dire enemy than the world, his overwhelming pride, for nearly four months. Now borne aloft upon the billows of hope, sparkling in the fitful brightness of a feverish sun, and then plunged into the slough of despair, his proud, dark soul disclaiming all human participation in a misery exaggerated by his own unbending pride.
Let us not talk of denying sympathy to persons who create their own miseries; they endure agonies thrice told.
The paltry remuneration he received for his productions is recorded by himself. Among the items is one as extraordinary as the indignant emotion it excites:—. This sum might have saved him, but he was too proud to ask for money; too proud to complain; too proud to accept the invitation of his acquaintances, or his landlady, to dine or sup with them; and all too proud to hint, even to his mother and sister, that he was any thing but prosperous.
Join Kobo & start eReading today
Ardent as if he had been a son of the hot south, he had learned nothing of patience or expediency. His first residence was at Mrs. Walmsley's, in Shoreditch, but, doubtless, finding the lodging too expensive, he removed to a Mr. Angell's, sac or dress maker, 4, Brook Street, Holborn. This woman, who seems to have been of a gentle nature, finding that for two days he had confined himself to his room, and gone without sustenance, invited him to dine with her; but he was offended, and assured her he was not hungry. It is quite impossible to account for this uncalled for pride.
It was his nature. Lord Byron said he was mad: according to his view of the case, all eccentricity is madness; but in the case of unhappy Chatterton, that madness which arises from "hope deferred," was unquestionably endured. Three days before his death, pursuing, with a friend, the melancholy and speculative employment of reading epitaphs in the churchyard of St. Pancras, absorbed by his own reflections, he fell into a new-made grave. There was something akin to the raven's croak, the death-fetch, the fading spectre, in this foreboding accident: he smiled at it, and told his friend he felt the sting of speedy dissolution:—.
At the age of seventeen years and nine months, his career ended; it was shown that he had swallowed arsenic in water, and so—.
An inquest was held, and yet though Englishmen—men who could read and write, and hear—who must have heard of the boy's talents, either as a poet, a satirist, or a political writer—though these men were guided by a coroner, one, of course, in a more elevated sphere than those who usually determine the intentions of the departed soul—yet was there not one— not one of them all—with sufficient veneration for the casket which had contained the diamond—not one with enough of sympathy for the widow's son—to wrap his body in a decent shroud, and kneel in Christian piety by his grave!
In a letter from Southey to Mr. Britton dated in , to which we have already referred, and which Mr. Britton kindly submitted to us with various other correspondence on the subject , he says, "there can now be no impropriety in mentioning what could not be said when the collected edition of Chatterton's works was published,—that there was a taint of insanity in his family. His sister was once confined; and this is a key to the eccentricities of his life, and the deplorable rashness of his death.
Related Risky Reunion (Mills & Boon Love Inspired) (Protecting the Witnesses, Book 6)
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved