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14

MEMORIES OF MY LIFE

early age a great deal of Scott, of Milton, and of Pope's translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, and that I delighted in what the family nicknamed " spouting " verse. I n middle life I feared that I had been an intolerable prig, and cross-questioned many old family friends about it, but was invariably assured that I was not at all a prig, but seemed to " spout " for pure enjoyment and without any affectation ; that I often quoted very aptly on the spur of the moment, and that I was a nice little child. My memories become more or less continuous from about the age of five or six, when I was trotted off to live at a dame's school a mile away. During these and many subsequent years, my sister Adele had the greater share of my heart, and whenever I was at home I stayed by her sofa-side most of the day. My other sisters teased and petted me alternately ; they were relatively too old to be really companions.

It is curious how unchangeable characters are : my eldest sister was just, my youngest was merciful. When my bread was buttered for me as a child, the former picked out the butter that filled the big holes, the latter did not. Consequently I respected the former, and loved the latter. A memory of this trifling occurrence remained inseparably connected in my mind with these dear sisters all my life, and I often amused them by referring to it.

My second sister, Lucy, married before I was ten years old. She was bright, lovable, and very original. I-Ier house was like a second home to me during the four years of lmyhund that I spent at Birmingham, I have indeed been fortunate in receiving the sisterly affection that has fallen to my lot.