Victorian Authors - Unknown to History


There are a multitude of nineteenth century authors about whom little or nothing is known, despite the prodigious output of many of them, and the high profile magazines that their work appeared in.

A very big thank you is due to my mother - this page would not be possible without her skills of detection!

If you can provide me with any further information on any of these authors please e-mail me

Authors on this page - Mary E Hullah; G B Stuart;CEC Weigall


Mary E Hullah

1848-?


Mary Emily Hullah was born in 1848 in Middlesex, London, the second daughter of the English composer, conductor and teacher of music, John Pyke Hullah and his wife Caroline Hullah, née Foster. A novelist and contributor to, amongst others, The Girls Own Paper, The Woman at Home, the Family Herald and The English Illustrated Magazine very little is known about her life.

John and Caroline were married in 1838 and had at least five children who survived into adulthood. Caroline, the eldest, born around 1840 became an actress; Robert the eldest son, born in 1846 ultimately attained an MRCS (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons) and was for a time an assistant medical officer at the Asylum for Idiots in Redhill, but later went out to South Africa; Mary was the next child and became an authoress; Arthur born the year after his sister was at one point a Telegraph Engineer and later a member of the Indian Civil Service; the youngest, Francis, born around 1855 was a clerk - for some time at least - to Lord Chief Justice Coleridge.

Sheet music for the song Three Fishers Went SailingJohn Hullah who inherited his musicality from his mother an erstwhile pupil of the organist and composer John Danby, attended the Royal Academy of Music where he met Charles Dickens' sister Fanny and through her Charles himself. In 1836 they collaborated on an operetta, The Village Coquettes. It was not a success and many years later Dickens was happy to buy up the remaining stocks of the libretto published by Bentley for nine pounds and nine shillings! Although a number of the songs by Hullah were published individually the music as whole was lost probably during a fire in Edinburgh at the end of 1836 which destroyed a large collection of theatrical music. Hullah was a persistent opponent of the Tonic Sol-Fa method of teaching and had great success between 1840 and 1860 teaching an adaptation of G L B Wilhelm's system of the fixed "Doh," translating his "Manuel Musical" and publishing it as "Wilhelm's Method of Teaching Singing Adapted to English Use." Hullah argued for the "natural" voice which he felt English education and culture blocked, believing that choral singing in its natural state was a form of community. The widespread popularity of his methods and classes led to the erection of the purpose-built St Martin's Hall, Long Acre, opened in February 1850. However its later destruction by fire in August 1860 had serious financial consequences for the composer. A Christian Socialist he lectured at the Working Men's College and was prominent in the foundation of Queen's College in Harley Street, the first establishment in England for the higher education of women. Of his songs, Three Fishers Went Sailing and The Storm were amongst his most popular. His standing was such that he was appointed musical inspector of training schools in 1872, a post which he continued to fill until 1882.

His children seem to have been scattered from a fairly young age. Caroline, the mother, died in 1863 at the age of 52 and was probably ill at the time of the 1861 census. This would explain why, at that time, Francis was the only child at home with his parents in Devonshire Place at the heart of London's West End. Mary and Arthur were away visiting a family in Winchester, Robert was in Northamptonshire at the residence of Sir H E L Dryden, Baronet and Caroline was staying with her uncle Henry Foster and his family at Albany Terrace in London. Mother-figures are often invalids or delicate in Mary's stories, for example, Mrs Darracott in "The Squire's Daughter" is "a gentle, delicate woman", and of Susie's mother, Mrs Thurlwall in "Ella's Experiences" she says, "poor lady, even at that time when she was the centre and life of the party, was in very bad health."

In 1865 John Hullah married again and by 1871 was already the father of a further two daughters. The children from his first marriage, even his daughters were not living with him and Mary and Caroline do not even seem to have attended his funeral when he died in 1884.

By the time of the 1881 census Mary was living with her brother Francis at 5 Allsop Place, Cornwall Residence, London. Thirty-three at the time she was earning her living as a governess, whilst her brother was working as a clerk. However, they were still able to afford one "General Servant." At this time their elder sister, Caroline was in lodgings on the Tottenham Court Road and had put her profession down as "actress." A sign of her early ability to perform in public comes from an anecdote written by William Thackeray's daughter, Anne in Macmillan's Magazine as she reminiscences about a children's party at the house of Charles Dickens:

...I found myself sitting near the head of the table by Mr Dickens, with another little girl much younger than myself; she wore a necklace and pretty little sausage curls all round her head. Mr Dickens was very kind to the little girl, and presently I heard him persuading her to sing, and he put his arm round her to encourage her; and then, wonderful to say, the little girl stood up (she was little Miss Hullah) and began very shyly, trembling and blushing at first, but as she blushed and trembled she sang more and more sweetly; and then all the jeunesse dorée consisting of the little Dickens boys and their friends, ranged along the supper table, clapped and clapped, and Mr Dickens bent down to her smiling and thanking her.

John Hullah died on February 27th, 1884 and was buried near to his first wife in Kensal Green cemetery. Both Arthur and Francis attended the funeral along with John's second wife and her daughters. Later that year Arthur married Francesca Martelli, with his brother Francis acting as one of the witnesses.

By the time of the 1891 census Mary seems to have been earning enough money to put her profession down as "authoress" which by 1901 becomes the more exalted "writer." At the time of the 1901 census Mary was sharing a flat in Notting Hill, London, with her niece Grace Hullah, aged 27, a teacher of music and herself a writer in a small way publishing a piece in the Girl's Own Paper a few years later entitled, "The Music of Jane Austen". Grace was born out in Cape Colony in South Africa and had at least one brother, John who in 1901 was living with his uncle Arthur and his wife in Cheltenham. They were the children of Robert Hullah. It is possible that Mary herself visited South Africa as at least one of her stories, "Mark Warren's Double" which appeared in the Family Herald of 1897 is set in and around Durban.

Illustration from OUR LITTLE GENIUS - Leo took up his place on the other side of the music and howledMusic is featured in a number of Mary's stories. In "Forbidden Letters" published in The Girls Own Paper in 1889 the heroine Elizabeth Stanhope is

the daughter of a struggling musician, a man full of talent and great ideas, who had managed, one way and the other, to miss his chances in life, and had gone down the steps of the great social ladder until he had become a teacher of music in a town in the extreme North of England; there he had lived for the last ten years with his motherless child, growing poorer and poorer as his pupils fell off, and people grew weary of patronising a genius who would not be punctual or methodical; and there he had died...
In "Ella's Experiences" published in The Girls Own Paper in 1890, Ella becomes a pupil-teacher in a school in Sydenham where she "thoroughly liked teaching" and describes herself as "a fair musician," whilst in "Our Little Genius" from The Girls Own Paper, 1894 the heroine declares, "there was always my music, which I liked best." The "genius" does have a hard time with the violin which always makes the dog howl, so she decides to stick with the piano - perhaps this is from the author's own personal experience!

The heroine of "Forbidden Letters" feels herself destined to be an author and again it is possible that some of her experiences are based upon Mary's own determination to write. Bessie Stanhope carries around with her

"a velvet-bound volume with a clasp and lock, the key of which was hanging round [her] neck, securely tied on to a ribbon. The MS poems contained in this book were very dear to the author...She rested her head against the heavy shutter, and murmured -
'Rivulet, flowing to the sea,
Gently, swiftly, silently,
Far away from tyranny,
On thy waves, oh bear me,
Bear me!'
The sentiment was not strikingly original perhaps, the metre verged on the eccentric; but our heroine was quite satisfied."
An illustration of Miss Rotherhoe from MISS ROTHERHOE AND THE DOCTORBessie goes on to write to a London publisher who had been acquainted with her father and sends him a copy of her "Lucille, a Love Lay" in the hope of having it published. However, the manuscript is returned to her with a letter declaring, "The reader's report is decidedly unsatisfactory; there are here and there graceful passages, but the style is unformed, the grammar ocassionally defective, and the meaning of many lines very obscure. Our advice...is to read more...and to write less for some time to come." However, she learns to "study to good purpose, and to train her talents and her love for all things high and beautiful until her gift of fancy and her vivid imagination became a blessing instead of a curse," turning herself into a "rising authoress."

Mary E Hullah never became a "great" writer but her stories are generally entertaining and in the main feature strong heroines, from the headstrong Elizabeth Stanhope in "Forbidden Letters", to the resourceful and courageous Nora Crofton in "Our Little Genius" who rescues her friend Blanche from a fire by clambering over a roof-top, "clinging to copings and projecting tiles," climbing down a water-spout and ivy and helping her friend out of her bedroom window and up the wall on to the roof. Her heroines are not all young girls. For example, in "Miss Rotherhoe and the Doctor" from The Woman At Home 1897, Letitia Rotherhoe is a middle-aged, loud and eccentric spinster beloved in the town of Ketterton and is "as clever as she [is] kind-hearted."

I have no record of anything published by Mary E Hullah after 1901 when she had reached the age of 53, and it is possible that she died soon after that date.

I would like to read The Squire's Daughter - a short story by Mary E Hullah

Biographical Bibliography

An illustration from ELLA'S EXPERIENCESA List of her Works


As the Tide Turns (1890)
Celia and Her Legacy
[The] Gracious Lady's Ring (1887)
Hannah Tame (1883)
Hans and His Friend and other stories (1893)
In Hot Haste (1888)
[The] Lion Battalion and other stories (1885)
[A] Little Owl; and other stories (1883)
Mr Greysmith
My Aunt Constantia Jane. A story for children (1893)
Namesakes (1887)
Philippa (1887)

I would like to read The Squire's Daughter - a short story by Mary E Hullah


If you would like me to e-mail you one or more short stories by Mary E Hullah please contact me:

My name is: My e-mail address is:

Tick the items you would like sent:
Mark Warren's Double from Family Herald
A Daughter of the House of Tregaron from The Girls Own Paper
Ella's Experiences from The Girls Own Paper
Forbidden Letters from The Girls Own Paper
Our Little Genius from The Girls Own Paper
Stand and Wait: an invalid's story from The Girls Own Paper
Baroness Irma's Betrothal from The Woman at Home
Miss Rotherhoe and the Doctor from The Woman at Home


GB Stuart - Grace B Stuart

c.1854-?


Grace B Stuart was born around 1854 in Harrow, Middlesex, the fifth child of seven. Her father, Charles J F Stuart was a banker who seems to have been based abroad for some years after his marriage to Caroline Georgina since his two eldest daughters, Frances and Georgina were born in India, Adelaide the next child was born in Hong Kong and Charles, the fourth, in Germany. Grace and her younger siblings, Lionel and Minnie were born more prosaically in Harrow Weald.

Their father was obviously a very successful businessman because by the time of the 1871 census the family had moved to Devonshire Place and employed a butler, housemaid, cook, lady's maid, kitchenmaid and page! By 1881 they had moved to Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, next door to Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Charles Dickens junior, says of Chelsea in his book, "Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames 1887":

...once a quiet village three miles from London, [it] is now a densely populated locality, and lies between the Brompton-road and the Thames, Sloane-street being its eastern boundary, while its western boundary is indeterminate, as it is still growing...Chelsea contains a great population of the working class, the majority of whom are Radical, while the neighbouring boroughs of North and South Kensington and Hammersmith are distinctly Conservative...The river front of Chelsea has been greatly improved by the embanking of Cheyne-walk and the construction of Chelsea Embankment; and the admirably designed red brick houses in the Queen Anne style, lately completed on the Cadogan estate, are thoroughly in accordance with old Chelsea traditions and associations...
Grace's father had died by this year and it seems to have been an all female household with only Georgina, Grace and Minnie left at home with their mother.

The eldest sister, Frances had married an East India merchant Lawrence Malcolm in 1868, but after producing four daughters and two sons she died in 1881, her sister Georgina later taking up the reins of the household as housekeeper.

Another sister, Adelaide married the vicar of St Andrew's, Stockwell, Charles Escreet who later became Archdeacon of Lewisham. In one of Grace's stories, "Those Brandon Girls", one of the characters, Lotty Brandon marries a curate and delights to be called the "Vicaress" - could this be an oblique reference to her own sister?

By 1891 the household at Cheyne Walk had broken up and Grace had moved around the corner to Oakley Street with her sister Minnie where they were boarders. For the first time Grace lists a profession, journalist, whilst Minnie is working as a "Medical Rubber", which was the Victorian name for a masseuse. The money, presumably, had gone with the death of their mother and you wonder how they coped with their restricted circumstances. However, by 1901 the sisters must have increased their incomes as they had moved to their own place in South Kensington and gained two servants, a cook/domestic and parlourmaid. Considering this later move, an interesting line in her story "Those Brandon Girls" is,

Poverty was not a pretty word to use in connection with such unexceptionable people as the Brandons - even comparative poverty has a disagreeable sound about it to South Kensington ears....
By this time GB Stuart was classifying herself as a journalist and author although it would be a few years before her major work, "A Road-book to Old Chelsea" appeared.

Grace B Stuart, G B Stuart or even GBS seems to have been a regular contributor to a variety of different periodicals of the time, mainly The Argosy but also Family Herald, the Pall Mall Magazine and Blackwood's Magazine. Much of what she published in the periodicals seems to have been poetry and fiction, but she did author some more journalistic pieces, one of them, At a German Silver Wedding hints at foreign travel with its description of a summer spent at Sebaldsbrück:

They had never had an English lady among them before...But very soon I became the best of friends with all the place; and I knew as much about their local concerns - how lame Hans longed to go into the army, and what Frau Heinock got for her pigs, and the miller's wife's disappointment that her new daughter-in-law would not lend a hand with the washing - as if I had been Sebaldsbrück born and bred.

It is frustrating that no other biographical details are available, especially any possible reminiscences she may have had about Dante Gabriel Rossetti and life in the Chelsea of the time with all of its artistic associations. Judging from the dates of her latest publications held at the British Library she seems to have reached at least the age of 70 whilst still wielding her pen!

I would like to read A Late Spring - a short story by G B Stuart
I would like to read GB Stuart's story, Harry Martin's Wife on another website

Biographical Bibliography

A List of her Works

At a German Silver Wedding
British and Foreign Bible Society. God's Word in God's World. A popular illustrated report of the British and Foreign Bible Society (1900)
Closer than a Brother. Two Broken Hearts [Tales]
Cottages in London (1924) [with Florence Holms]
[The] Girl of the House (1914) [the "Run and Read" Series]
Illustration from With Pipe and TaborHarry Martin's Wife
[A] Late Spring (1890)
Molly at the "Mitre" (1887)
Mrs Gill's Ghost (1887)
Nitchevo: a Fragment of Russian Life
[A] Road-Book to Old Chelsea (1914)
[The] Story of Chelsea as Told to Children (1924)
[A] Tangled Web (1915) [the "Run and Read" Series]
'Those Brandon Girls' (1887)
With Pipe and Tabor (1897)
[The] Zodiac Birthday Book (1915)

Two Poems by GB Stuart

Plymouth Hoe

Oh, softly by the banks of Dart
The summer breezes blow;
And gaily dancing past the Start
The foam-topped ripples go -
And nowhere upon English ground
Such oaks and chestnuts grow,
As where, right over Plymouth Sound,
Stands out fair Plymouth Hoe!

The Western Maid was homeward bound,
Her crew were Devon men:
"Crowd on all sail to make the Sound,
We're almost home again!"
('Twas thus I heard the captain say)
"With the west wind on our lee,
To-night we'll lie in Plymouth Bay
As snug as snug can be!"

It was the autumn equinox
That drove up Channel smart;
(There runs a cruel reef of rocks
From Lizard Point to Start)
"God's sake," the older seamen said,
"Furl sail till morning light,
'Twere mad to take the Western Maid
Across the rocks to-night!"

A creeping mist came slowly up
And hid the land a-head;
"In Plymouth Bay I'm bound to sup,"
The captain laughing said -
Then came a shuddering, blinding shock,
None spoke, for all could feel,
The Western Maid was on the rock
And its teeth were in her keel!

Dear Lord! it is an awful thing
To see a ship go down -
With cries for help and hands that cling,
To see brave comrades drown,
She just reeled back, our Western Maid,
One wild bound in the air,
"May God forgive," - the captain said,
And then - she was not there.

(Oh, can you tell a fairer sight,
That any land may show,
Than the soft, blue night, when light by light,
Steals out above, below?
The shipping lights a-swinging bright,
And the harbour all a-glow,
And the lights of the town as the dark creeps down
That shine on Plymouth Hoe!)

I think it was a dream I had
(I knew not night from day):
Once more I was a little lad
And fished in Cawsand Bay -
And old rough scenes of sailor life
Went by me, strange and fleet,
And then, I met and kissed my wife
At home in Plymouth street!

The Western Maid outside the Sound,
Was lost six years ago:
Why I was saved when better drowned,
I'm sure I do not know -
Her crew of ten, all Devon men,
Washed in at morning flow:
For tho' we roam, we all come home,
At last to Plymouth Hoe!

THE ARGOSY, VOL XXXV, 1883

One First of April

"Queen Rose is cold and stately,"
I told her so but lately,
When she and I picked violets in the lane.
She held her head sedately,
Nor spoke to me again.

"Queen Rose is proud and cruel."
This woke a wordy duel,
"You need not seek for violets by this patch,
If all I say is fuel
To feed your manly wrath!"

"Queen Rose is black as thunder;
So let us walk asunder;
You there, I here, the violets left with you,
Look over leaves and under -
I'm seeking something too!"

"Queen Rose in silence curious,"
Affects an interest spurious,
For full five minutes in her own hedgeline;
At last, her pique grown furious,
She needs must cross to mine.

"What is it you are seeking?"
I (scan my hedge, not speaking)
"It is too early yet for buds of May;
See where the shoots are breaking,
Because it's warm to-day!"

I beat my bush together,
Investigate a feather,
Turn back a leaf, then answer her:"Who knows?
In such unusual weather
Perhaps I'll find a rose!"

"A Rose! you foolish fellow!
Pink rose, or white, or yellow?
Can you expect they bloom for April's sun?
Why, June but makes them mellow,
And April's scarce begun!"

"Queen Rose, so grand and clever,
What, have they told you never
The trick that marks young April's opening day?
My April Rose, however,
Blooms your side of the way!"

Queen Rose, with all her splendour,
Proves but a poor pretender;
Turns half aside, one moment gives no sign;
Then blushes, smiles, grows tender -
And puts her hand in mine!

THE ARGOSY, VOL XXXIX, 1885


If you would like me to e-mail you one or more short stories/poems by G B Stuart please contact me:

My name is: My e-mail address is:

Tick the items you would like sent:
Molly at the "Mitre" from The Argosy
Mrs Gill's Ghost from The Argosy
'Those Brandon Girls' from Family Herald
With Pipe and Tabor from Pall Mall Magazine
A Dream (poem) from The Argosy
Misgivings (poem) from The Argosy
A Requiem (poem) from The Argosy


CEC Weigall, aka CEC Warner - Constance Emma Cromwell Weigall, née Warner

1865-?


Constance Emma Cromwell Warner was born in 1865 and christened on the 24th September of that year in Snitterby, Lincoln. Her mother, Mary Jametta Hale Warner (nee Yeoman) came from Bognor and her father, Richard Edward Warner was born in Lifton in Devon.

The church of St Nicholas, Moor Road, SnitterbyAt the time of the 1881 census the family were living in the Old Rectory, Bishop Norton Road, Snitterby which is now a Grade 2 listed building. Her father was the Rector of Snitterby, attached to the local church of St Nicholas (see photo). Constance was the eldest daughter and she had seven younger siblings, Leonard, Mary, Basil, Richard, Lawrence, Wynyard and Marmaduke who was only three years old at the time. Constance was named after an aunt who had died when her mother was young. The family seems to have been fairly well-to-do since they were supporting four servants; cook, nurse, house-parlourmaid, and under nurse. Her brother Richard described her to later family members as being great fun, a diabetic, and very fond of chilli peppers!

By at least 1887 Constance had begun to publish poems in periodicals such as Family Herald under the name "CEC Warner," changing her pen-name to "CEC Weigall" on her marriage which took place at Caistor in the summer of 1888. Her husband, George Edward Weigall was five years older than his bride and came from Lincolnshire.

In 1891 they were living in Durham, but a poem in the Family Herald for 1897 entitled, "For My Lady Asleep" is signed from "Malta: August 1897." Two other poems in the same year are entitled "An Exile's Lament" and "The Exile," so she seems to have been looking forward to coming back to England! Her novel, "A Counsel of Uprightness," serialised in the Girl's Own Paper Volume XXVI from April 1905 onwards opens with a troopship leaving Southampton for Malta:

There is much that is tragic about an East-going troopship, for the life of the officer's wife is made up of contradictions. Her enemies say that she has more than her fair share of the frivolities and pleasures of the world, but her intimates are aware that her life means constant parting from husband or children all through the best years of her youth.
By 1901 Mrs Weigall was resident as head of the household at 96 London Road, Beccles, Suffolk. The census states that she is the wife of a major in the Royal Artillery, so presumably he was away serving abroad. By this time she was the mother of two sons, Richard Edward Cromwell Weigall aged 9 and Geoffrey Steven Carmack Weigall aged 1 (she later had a daughter, Dulcie Mary Helene St Albans Weigall, who was born in 1903). The household also supported 3 servants - a cook, nurse and kitchenmaid.

Although she does not declare herself a writer on the 1901 census, she had by that time contributed a number of pieces to magazines such as Bow Bells, the Girl's Own Paper, The Quiver and Family Herald and published at least 3 books.

She continued to write until at least 1915, when she would have been 50 years old.

With many thanks to Constance Weigall's great-niece who has helped correct some of my errors and provide me with new information.

I would like to read "Mad" Mrs Holloway - a short story by CEC Weigall
I would like to read Pleydell's Predicament - a further short story available on another website
I would like to read Down to the Sea in Ships - an essay on sea travel by C E C Weigall

Biographical Bibliography

An illustration from A Counsel of UprightnessA List of her Works


[An] Angel Unawares - a Lincolnshire Story (1899)
[A] Counsel of Uprightness (serialised 1905)
Far Above Rubies, etc. (1910)
[The] Gate of Happiness, etc. (1907)
Hutton's Millions (1915)
In All Time of Our Wealth, etc. (1904)
[A] Lincolnshire Lass (serialised 1892)
[The] Red Light (1907)
[The] Secret of Two Hearts (1915)
Stories for Sunday Afternoons (1891)
[The] Temptation of Dulce Carruthers (1893)
[A] Wife Worth Winning (1907)

Three Poems by CEC Warner/Weigall

The Moon's Kisses

The moon has kissed the sea,
And risen high in heaven;
And a path of light still marks the way
She came when the world in twilight lay,
A silver lamp in a desolate bay,
A light to the dim earth given.

I can hear the sea below
With its low and hollow moan
Splash on the rock and surge on the shore
And drag the shivering stones once more
Back to their bed on the ocean floor
As I sit and watch alone.

I can see the golden sands
Where the dark moon-shadows lie,
A silver streak on a white-capped wave,
A touch of light on a black rock cave,
A gleam on the cliff which the waters lave
That the moon kissed tenderly.

There's a tiny boat below -
A boat with a rosy mast;
It dips in the shadow, then in the light,
And the waves sob round it through the night,
And a sea-gull hovers on pinions white,
And screams as it arrows past.

But the moon has climbed the sky
And touched the distant hill
Where the moor lies bright with purple heather,
Bluebell, foxglove, and gorse together,
And has kissed the woodcock's downy feather
That lies asleep and still.
An illustration taken from the Girl's Own Annual, Vol XII


FAMILY HERALD, VOL LVIII, APRIL 2, 1887

An Exile's Lament

A long, long streak of silver,
As the new day slowly broke,
Lay over the fort and the cliff-side,
And an aching heart awoke.

"Oh, glare of an Eastern summer!
Oh, dream of a love long past!
When I sleep, in a dew-touched meadow
I am wandering, hands locked fast,

"Lips meeting, two hearts together,
And the long, long parting done,
In the cool of an English summer,
'Neath the kiss of an English sun.

"Still let me dream a little,
Nor wake till the day be dead,
And each rose and each fair lily
Is bowing a stately head.

"There are gorgeous raptures of colour
In this Eastern world of mine,
And the violet of the sunset
Is a thing apart, divine.

"There are languid nights of Summer,
And the flash of an azure sea
That is fashioned with bars of silver
And sweet with melody,

"The blare of a hundred bugles
From fort and crag and hill,
The roar of the Winter breakers
That lash the isle at will.

"But away in my gray cold homeland
The snow of the apple-trees
Is sheeting the world with whiteness
In the midst of a Southern breeze.

"There is little we might desire,
No glory of dark and light,
But the quiet of English beauty,
The calm of an English night!"

And the voice died down in the silence,
And the sun shot out of the sea,
And the bugle spoke from the fortress,
Where a heart wept hopelessly.

FAMILY HERALD, VOL LXXIX, JULY 10, 1897

The Old Home

There are voices in the meadows, that lie along the stream,
The happy laugh of children that stirs my waking dream;
And the birds are calling, calling from the elm-trees gnarled and old,
Where the slanting sunbeam arrows have set a crown of gold;
But the voices and the laughter are all in vain for me,
For they touch the chords of sorrow, and the notes of memory.

The twilight hours are full to me of forms I used to know,
And the tender loving faces of the old home long ago;
And the laughter of the children seems to my dreaming ears
To be echoes of the voices that I loved in bygone years;
And I cannot see the sunbeams, for my eyes are dim, and yet
I had thought that years would soften, and in time I should forget.

The house where the long tree shadows slanted across the lawn,
Where the birds at my ivied window called to me every morn;
Where, in the quiet country lanes, the creaking wains went by,
And the yellow cornfields up the slope fronted the clear blue sky.
Perhaps I never loved them then; but it seems, as I sit alone,
That childhood never knows its joy until that joy be flown.

Where are the happy children who played with me long ago,
When we leaned above the old grey bridge, and watched the river flow?
Or wandered home at sunset, when the path was white with rime,
To sit around the fire, in the happy winter-time?
Ah! they are scattered far and wide in many a clime to-day,
But childish memories are the link that binds our hearts alway.

The little green elm-clustered copse, where the rooks caw soon and late,
And where the yellow kingcups grow, below the old farm gate -
But my thoughts fade with the sunset, the light dies from the room,
And the golden path of childhood grows fainter in the gloom.
Ah! though new faces should be there - old landmarks past and gone -
I would that I might see again the house where I was born.
Illustration accompanying poem in Girl's Own
THE GIRL'S OWN PAPER, VOL X, MAY 18, 1889

I would like to read "Mad" Mrs Holloway - a short story by CEC Weigall
I would like to read Pleydell's Predicament - a further short story available on another website
I would like to read Down to the Sea in Ships - an essay on sea travel by C E C Weigall

If you would like me to e-mail you short stories or a selection of poems by C E C Weigall please contact me:

My name is: My e-mail address is:

Tick the items you would like sent:
Only an Old Fogey from the Quiver
The Master of King's Haven from the Quiver
A selection of poems


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