Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner.
If it shall which I trust in His infinite mercy it will not please Almighty God to take our dearest mamma unto Himself, may He give us grace to bear with fortitude and resolution the dreadful loss, and may we learn to live with such holiness here that we may hereafter be united for ever in Heaven. Her eldest brother, Dr. Coleridge, was greatly comforting her by his ministrations, and her sons were sent for; but as she did not ask for them, it was thought best that they should remain at their Uncle Frank's, at Ottery, until, on the evening of Sunday, the 27th, a great change took place, making it evident that the end was drawing near.
The sufferer was told that the boys were come, and was asked if she would see them. She was delighted, and they came in, restraining their grief while she kissed and blessed them, and then, throwing her arms round their father, thanked him for having brought her darling boys for her to see once more. It was not long before she became unconscious; and though all the family were watching and praying round her, she showed no further sign of recognition, as she gradually and tranquilly fell asleep in the course of the night.
To his cousin, Mrs. Martyn, Coley wrote the following letter just after the funeral:—. I need not tell you what we then felt, and now do feel. It is a very dreadful loss to us all; but we have been taught by that dear mother, who has been now taken from us, that it is not fit to grieve for those who die in the Lord, "for they rest from their labours. Yesterday was a day of great trial to us all: I felt when I was standing by the grave as if I must have burst.
We are much more happy than you could suppose, for, thank God, we are certain she is happy, far happier than she could be on earth. She said once, "I wonder I wish to leave my dearest John and the children, and this sweet place, but yet I do wish it" so lively was her faith and trust in the merits of her Saviour.
A deep and permanent impression was left upon the boy's mind, as will be seen by his frequent references to what he had then witnessed; but for the present he was thought to be less depressed than the others, and recovered his natural tone of spirits sooner than his brother and sisters. The whole family spent their mournful Christmas at Thorverton Rectory, with Dr. Coleridge and their daughter Fanny, their chief comforters and fellow-sufferers; and then returned to London.
The Judge's eldest daughter, Joanna, who had always been entirely one with the rest, had to take her place at the head of the household. In her own words, 'It was trying for a lad of fifteen and a half, but he was very good, and allowed me to take the command in a way that few boys would nave done. If he had literally turned at them all, his would have been a most revolving career; but I believe the fact to have been that he never turned at all, for his face was always set the right way, but that each of these was a point of impulse setting him more vigorously on his way, and stirring up his faithful will.
Such moments were those of admission to religious ordinances, to him no dead letters but true receptions of grace; and he likewise found incitements in sorrows, in failures, in reproofs. Everything sank deeply, and his mind was already assuming the introspective character that it had throughout the period of growth and formation. One of his Eton companions, four years younger, has since spoken of the remarkable impression of inwardness Patteson made on him even at this time, saying that whenever he was taken by surprise he seemed to be only ruminating till he spoke or was spoken to, and then there was an instant return to the outer world and ready attention to whatever was in hand.
The spring found him of course in the full tide of Eton interests. The sixth and upper fifth forms, to the latter of which he had by this time attained, may contend in the public examination for the Newcastle scholarship, just before the Easter holidays, and it is a great testimony to a boy's ability and industry if his name appears among the nine select for their excellence.
This time, , Coley, who was scarcely sixteen, had of course but little chance, but he had the pleasure of announcing that his great friend, Edmund Bastard, a young Devonshire squire, was among the 'select,' and he says of himself: 'You will, as I said before, feel satisfied that I did my best, but it was an unlucky examination for me. It has done me a great deal of good in one way.
It has enabled me to see where I am particularly deficient, viz. I do not find myself wanting in making out a stiff bit of Greek or Latin if I have time, but I must read History chiefly this year, and then I hope to be selected next time. My tutor is not at all disappointed in me.
This spring, , Patteson became one of the Eleven, a perilously engrossing position for one who, though never slurring nor neglecting his studies, did not enjoy anything so much as the cricket-field. However, there the weight of his character, backed by his popularity and proficiency in all games and exercises, began to be a telling influence.
On November 2, , when the anniversary of his mother's death was coming round, he writes to his eldest sister:—. I never supposed at that time that we could ever be happy and merry again, but yet it has been so with me; and though very often the recollection of that night has come upon me, and the whole scene in its misery has passed before me, I hope I have never forgotten, that though a loss to us, it was a gain to her, and we ought rather to be thankful than sorrowful By the bye, I do not really want a book-case much, and you gave me the "Irish Stories," and I have not yet been sent up.
I would rather not have a present, unless the Doctor means to give me an exercise. Do not lay this down to pride; but you know I was not sent up last half, and if this passes, a blank again, I do not deserve any fresh presents. This piece of self-discipline was crowned by joyous notices of being 'sent up for good' and 'for play' in the next half; when also occurs a letter showing a spirit of submission to a restriction not fully understood:—.
My tutor said that, without any absurd feelings on the matter, he should not think himself of going to such a thing in Lent. Do you think that there was any harm in the wish?
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Even if you have no objection, I certainly shall not go, because for such a trifling thing to act in opposition to my tutor, even with your consent, would be very foolish. Good-bye, my dearest Father. God bless you, says your affectionate and dutiful Son,. This year, , the name of Patteson appeared among the 'select. He had begun to join the Debating Society at Eton, and for a while was the president.
One of the other members says, 'His speeches were singularly free from the bombast and incongruous matter with which Eton orators from fifteen to eighteen are apt to interlard their declamations. He spoke concisely, always to the point, and with great fluency and readiness. A reputation for good sense and judgment made his authority of great weight in the school, and his independent spirit led him to choose, amongst his most intimate friends and associates, two collegers, who ultimately became Newcastle scholars and medallists.
As a rank and file collegian myself, and well remembering the Jew and Samaritan state that prevailed between oppidans and collegers, I remember with pride that Patteson did so much to level the distinctions that worked so mischievously to the school. His cheerfulness and goodness were the surest guarantee for good order amongst his schoolfellows. There was no Puritanism in him, he was up to any fun, sung his song at a cricket or foot-ball dinner as joyfully as the youngest of the party; but if mirth sank into coarseness and ribaldry, that instant Patteson's conduct was fearless and uncompromising Here follows an account of an incident which occurred at the dinner annually given by the eleven of cricket and the eight of the boats at the hotel at Slough.
A custom had arisen among some of the boys of singing offensive songs on these occasions, and Coley, who, as second of the eleven, stood in the position of one of the entertainers, gave notice beforehand that he was not going to tolerate anything of the sort. One of the boys, however, began to sing something objectionable.
Coley called out, 'If that does not stop, I shall leave the room;' and as no notice was taken, he actually went away with a few other brave lads. He afterwards found that, as he said, 'fellows who could not understand such feelings thought him affected;' and he felt himself obliged to send word to the captain, that unless an apology was made, he should leave the eleven—no small sacrifice, considering what cricket was to him; but the gentlemanlike and proper feeling of the better style of boys prevailed, and the eleven knew their own interests too well to part with him, so the apology was made, and he retained his position.
The affair came to the knowledge of two of the masters, Mr. Dupuis and Mr. Abraham, and they gratified their warm sense of approbation by giving Patteson a bat, though he never knew the reason why, as we shall see in one of his last letters to one of the donors.
Memoir and letters of Charles Sumner. 1838-1845
His prowess at cricket must be described in the words of his cousin, Arthur Duke Coleridge, who was at this time in college: 'He was by common consent one of the best, if not the best, of the cricketers of the school. The second year of his appearance at Lord's Cricket Ground was the most memorable, as far as his actual services were concerned, of all the matches he played against Harrow and Winchester.
He was sent in first in the Harrow match; the bowling was steady and straight, but Patteson's defence was admirable. He scored fifty runs, in which there was but one four, and by steady play completely broke the neck of the bowling. Eton won the match easily, Patteson making a brilliant catch at point, when the last Harrow man retired. Full of confidence, Eton began the Winchester match. Victory for a long time seemed a certainty for Eton; but Kidding, the Winchester captain, played an uphill game so fiercely that the bowling had to be repeatedly changed.
Our eleven were disorganised, and the captain had so plainly lost heart, that Patteson resolved on urging him to discontinue his change of bowling, and begin afresh with the regular bowlers. The captain allowed Patteson to have his way, and the game, though closely contested, was saved.
His powers of defence were indeed remarkable. I saw the famous professional cricketer Lillywhite play once at Eton in his time, and becoming almost irritated at the stubbornness and tenacity with which Coley held his wicket.
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After scoring twenty and odd times in the first, and forty in the second innings, not out , Lillywhite said, 'Mr. Patteson, I should like to bowl to you on Lord's Ground, and it would be different. The next cricket season this champion was disabled by a severe sprain of the wrist, needing leeches, splints, and London advice. It was when fixing a day for coming up to town on this account that he mentioned the occurrence of the previous year in a letter to his father:—. I not only hate the idea of paying a sovereign for a dinner, but last year, at the cricket dinner, I had a great row, which I might possibly incur another time, and I wish very much to avoid.
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Then, after briefly stating what had passed, he adds: 'At this dinner, where the captain of the boats manages it, I should be his guest, and therefore any similar act of mine would make matters worse. You can therefore see why I wish Tuesday to be the day for my coming up. The sprain prevented his playing in the matches at Lord's that summer, though he was well enough to be reckoned on as a substitute in case any of the actual players had been disabled. Possibly his accident was good for his studies, for this was a year of much progress and success; and though only seventeen, he had two offers of tutorship for the holidays, from Mr.
Memoir Letters Charles Sumner
Dugdale and the Marchioness of Bath. The question where his university life was to be spent began to come forward. Studentships at Christchurch were then in the gift of the Canons, and a nomination would have been given him by Dr. Pusey if he had not been too young to begin to reside, so that it was thought better that he should wait and go up for the Balliol scholarship in the autumn. He has white frizzle hair and large white whiskers. The former, I suspect, is a wig.
The cheering was tremendous, but behind the royal carriage the cheers were always redoubled where the old Duke, the especial favourite hero, rode. When they got off their horses in the schoolyard, the Duke being by some mistake behindhand, was regularly hustled in the crowd, with no attendant near him. The crowd hearing the cheer, turned round, and then there was the most glorious sight I ever saw.
The whole school encircled the Duke, who stood entirely alone in the middle for a minute or two, and I rather think we did cheer him. At last, giving about one touch to his hat, he began to move on, saying, "Get on, boys, get on. As for myself, I was half-mad and roared myself hoarse in about five minutes. The King and Prince kept their hats off the whole time, incessantly bowing, and the King speaking. He walked arm-in-arm with the Queen, who looked well and very much pleased.
The Duke walked with that Grand Duchess whose name you may see in the papers, for I can't spell it. Very characteristic this both of Eton's enthusiasm for the hero, and of the hero's undemonstrative way of receiving it, which must have somewhat surprised his foreign companions. A week or two later, in November , came the competition for the Balliol scholarship, but Coley was not successful.
On the Saturday he writes:—. I saw the Master afterwards; he said, "I cannot congratulate you on success, Mr. Patteson, but you have done yourself great credit, and passed a very respectable examination. I shall be happy to allow you to enter without a future examination, as we are all quite satisfied of your competency. We were in about nine hours a day, three hours in the evening; I thought the papers very hard; we had no Latin elegiacs or lyrics, which was rather a bore for the Eton lot.
I am very glad I have been up now, but I confess it was the longest week I ever recollect.
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