Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
Not to meander myself, at present, I will go back to my birth.
I was born at Blunderstone, in Suffolk, or 'there by', as they say
in Scotland. I was a posthumous child. My father's eyes had
closed upon the light of this world six months, when mine opened on
it. There is something strange to me, even now, in the reflection
that he never saw me; and something stranger yet in the shadowy
remembrance that I have of my first childish associations with his
white grave-stone in the churchyard, and of the indefinable
compassion I used to feel for it lying out alone there in the dark
night, when our little parlour was warm and bright with fire and
candle, and the doors of our house were - almost cruelly, it seemed
to me sometimes - bolted and locked against it.
An aunt of my father's, and consequently a great-aunt of mine, of
whom I shall have more to relate by and by, was the principal
magnate of our family. Miss Trotwood, or Miss Betsey, as my poor
mother always called her, when she sufficiently overcame her dread
of this formidable personage to mention her at all (which was
seldom), had been married to a husband younger than herself, who
was very handsome, except in the sense of the homely adage,
'handsome is, that handsome does' - for he was strongly suspected
of having beaten Miss Betsey, and even of having once, on a
disputed question of supplies, made some hasty but determined
arrangements to throw her out of a two pair of stairs' window.
These evidences of an incompatibility of temper induced Miss Betsey
to pay him off, and effect a separation by mutual consent. He went
to India with his capital, and there, according to a wild legend in
our family, he was once seen riding on an elephant, in company with
a Baboon; but I think it must have been a Baboo - or a Begum.
Anyhow, from India tidings of his death reached home, within ten
years. How they affected my aunt, nobody knew; for immediately
upon the separation, she took her maiden name again, bought a
cottage in a hamlet on the sea-coast a long way off, established
herself there as a single woman with one servant, and was
understood to live secluded, ever afterwards, in an inflexible
My father had once been a favourite of hers, I believe; but she was
mortally affronted by his marriage, on the ground that my mother
was 'a wax doll'. She had never seen my mother, but she knew her
to be not yet twenty. My father and Miss Betsey never met again.
He was double my mother's age when he married, and of but a