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under discussion. "You don't understand, my dearest boy, it is part of the position"-but I found that though the farm was not put down, the relation was relieved.
My father used often to have most generous impulses to provide for our amusement as children, but they sometimes frustrated themselves by some small economy at the end. For instance, at Truro he dug out of a sloping field a lawntennis court, fenced and turfed it, and then with a certain sternness refused to allow any netting to be put up round the court: the consequence was that every ball hit into the field, rolled far away down the slope and necessitated a long and very tiresome journey to recover. "Oh, you must take it in turn to stand down below and field the balls." I fear my youngest brother, whose turn to field came first, was seldom relieved-and generally returned in dudgeon to the house but the final result was that we eventually gave up playing lawn tennis altogether, and were rallied on not taking advantage of our blessings.
My father invariably gave most disproportionate gratuities to cab-drivers and porters: but as long as he wrote them down in a little book, carried in his pocket, neatly labelled "Petty Disbursements," and confined by a piece of elastic, he did not mind. But if, in accounting to him for expenses one said "about a shilling on porters," he used to say sadly, "Ah, well, I had to think exactly how much it was when I was young." In connection with this it has amused me to find recorded in a letter1 his extreme vexation as a boy on travelling into Yorkshire to have given the guard and coachman of a coach a shilling between them instead of a shilling a-piece, having run out of his money. Neither could he bear to throw anything away or waste anything. His table drawers were always filled with little boxes, hanks of string, the gummed paper off the edge of
1 v. p. 34.
sheets of stamps (generally put in a little box and labelled "Strips")-things that had come to him by post and which he could not destroy or use. I recollect once on the eve of a journey he was about to take abroad in 1890, I went to talk to him in his library at Addington after chapel. He was in his purple cassock which he wore at night, and red morocco slippers. He talked long and affectionately about my plans and everything that concerned me; and while he talked he wandered restlessly about the room with some little purple books in his hands, trying to fit them into pigeon-holes and drawers and all sorts of impossible places; at last he settled on one pigeon-hole, and made innumerable arrangements of the books, all to no purpose. One was always excluded. I said at last, "What are those books?"-"Oh, they are almanacs for 1884. I have just found them in a drawer." "Do you want to keep them?" "Yes, they are such nice little books," looking at them affectionately and stroking one of them; "so beautifully and strongly bound-given me by the Stationers' Company of which I am a patron-such a curious thing-it is the only thing left of the old censorship of the press." "Let me take them and dispose of them," I said. "No, you would throw them away.” "No," I said, "I would put them about in the bedrooms.” “Oh, that would never do! Why, a bishop might be staying here and be misled by one of them in making an engagement-the almanacs in the bedrooms ought always to be of the current year. Remind me to ask to-morrow whether
it is so."
We went on talking and he went to another place which necessitated much stooping and pulling out of paper. "Oh, Arthur, what an odd thing-here are all Hugh's old examination papers at Truro, we must look at these." We looked at them long, and then he went to another place
with the little almanacs. 'Haven't you got a good deal of packing to do?" I said at last. It was then nearly one o'clock. He turned round with the almanacs, "Yes, dear boy, I have: take them away and 'dispose' of them-don't burn them—I am capable of sitting up till three o'clock trying to fit these away into a pigeon-hole.”
This habit of doing everything himself took up much of his time; it arose from a love of perfection in the smallest matters, but as I have said elsewhere, was a form of unconscious recreation. I remember once at some extremely busy time, going to see him at Lambeth and spending half-an-hour with him putting a roll of papers away. Every drawer proved too small or too deep-at last it was fixed-but on coming to dinner an hour after, "I've been in despair ever since. I was afraid it might swell up in the night and make it impossible to open it, so I had to take it out, but can't find a place yet."
As another instance of this intense precision in detail, I remember that when one of my brothers received a few hundred pounds, and asked my father about investing it, my father gave him advice and then said, "You must keep a book of your investments-it must be a square notebook-with plenty of room to describe them and ruled with a double money column to show difference between nominal and actual value." My mother did her best to procure such a book, and about thirty accountbooks were procured from the Croydon shops; my father examined and rejected all of them with elaborate reasons for their unfitness. A consignment was then sent from town, and at last a book book was selected, though it was not thought to be perfectly adapted for the purpose. My brother murmured somewhat at the trouble involved, pointing out that this was the first and last investment he would probably ever be able to make.
"Well, of course you needn't do it unless you like, but I think it's a great thing to do everything in the right way," said my father. The investment was then written very carefully into the book, and the book itself was lost by my brother in the following week and has never been seen again.
It was remarkable that side by side with this intense precision in detail coexisted a certain radical inaccuracy on certain points in my father's mind: I used to think that a good deal of his almost exaggerated exactness arose from a determined effort to overcome and conquer this tendency, and I am certain that the microscopic minuteness with which he verified references, was due to the consciousness of great untrustworthiness of memory on small points, especially in questions of figures.
As an odd instance of this instinctive tendency to exaggerate, my sister mentions that she heard him state to someone in conversation, shortly after his visit to Africa, that there were many cities in the Sahara with over 100,000 inhabitants. She imagines this to have been a rendering of the fact that had greatly struck him, that there were over 100,000 palm-trees in the oasis at Biskra. At the same time he was apt to be annoyed if these conversational statements were contradicted or refuted, and never seemed to rejoice that the truth was made plain, though not unapt to cast doubt on the statements of other imaginative people.
It was curious too how particular about little details such as dress he was and yet how inaccurate in questions of texture: "What a nice cloth dress!" he used to say to my sister about a very ordinary merino: "my little canvas bag" he always called the brown holland vehicle for the swan's-meat. He would say to a son or an intimate friend "How badly that coat fits!" (pulling it about) "It ought to be tighter here, and here-like this!" (a vigorous pull)
"and this! Oh! dear! How I waste my time-well I always think that if the Church was disestablished I could get my living as a tailor's fitter! I don't believe" (with profound conviction and very seriously) "that there is a man in England who can fold up a coat or roll up a rug better-I ought to have been a valet!"
The following note sent gravely out of a meeting to my mother, on a day when they were leaving Lambeth for Addington, is an amusing instance of the same characteristic.
Looking glass table
Please pack tight and bring in shabby old case.
N.B. They'll slip out at the ends unless guarded.
And there is a precious chip of ivory under one of the razors on the undisturbed position of which the very existence of the Church Establishment depends.
I have thought how little those who were attending the meeting and saw the note written, folded and sent out, imagined what the Archbishop was gravely composing. Probably they imagined dimly that it was something on which the existence of the Church Establishment depended!
With an unusual power of work, and this extraordinary taste for detail he combined an immense pleasure in the acquirement of strange bits of knowledge, which often proved, as will appear, of great service to him.
...The average number of his daily letters alone was such as to keep himself, two chaplains, and a lay secretary writing hard for many hours of day and night. "The penny post," he said, "is one of those ordinances of man to which we have to submit for the Lord's sake."... Brewer's graphic description of Wolsey, in his attention to detail combined with the widest outlook, managing Kings and Popes for great ends, yet particular about the exact shade of his Cardinal's robe and the exact shape of his Cardinal's hat, was equally applicable to