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Frank Leward: Memorials

Mr. Saunders to Mrs. Leward

Mr. Saunders to Mrs. Leward.

Bowness, Lake Winandermere.

Dear Mrs. Leward, I must write to congratulate you on your son's return. It was a great pleasure to me and to all of us to see him again. He received quite an ovation from the boys. He is still the same genuine, modest fellow he always was, with all the old childlike simplicity of character we knew and loved so much. I was very glad to find he and Bampton were as great friends as formerly. What the one wants the other page 66supplies. Bampton is thoughtful, erudite, and clever, intensely earnest, enthusiastic, and pious, but too much taken with externals, which seem to appeal to a certain feminine quality of his character, while Frank is a fine, strong young man, whose only fault is a tendency to despise conventionalities. The one will, I expect, broaden out into a remarkable genius, and the other, though so diffident of himself, if he will take the culture his friend can give, may become a most useful country gentleman, should his want of ambition prevent him from aspiring to anything higher.

I was grieved to discover, in a long conversation I had with him, that he is not satisfied with his present position, and that he meditates leaving England again. I am not surprised that one of his roving spirit should yearn to increase his knowledge of the world, a desire which, I have no doubt, increases with its being indulged in; and I believe his sensitive nature feels deeply the position in which he is placed, and if I might say so, the not altogether cordial terms on which he seems unfortunately to be with his father. I don't suppose he has ever even hinted at this to you, but I can see it rankles in him. The result will be, I have no doubt, that he will be anxious to emigrate altogether, or at least for a considerable time, and we shall lose one whom we so much wish to keep here, and he will lose the opportunity of cultivating the tastes which he possesses. It is greatly to be regretted that something cannot be found for Frank to do in England which would satisfy his active mind and habits. Your younger son is now at the head of the page 67school, and will, I have no doubt, if his health continues good, do very well when he goes to the University. He has mathematical abilities of a very high order.

I wish Frank and Bampton could have come with me to the Lakes, where I generally spend my summer holidays; but Frank was anxious to visit his grandmother, to whom he has a very strong attachment, and Bampton was, I believe, to spend some time with him there. I should like to have taken both to Rydal Mount to see Mr. Wordsworth. I was there the other day, and the great poet gave me the same kind, genial greeting that one always gets there. It made no difference to him that the day before he had entertained the Queen Dowager. I visited Southey, too, but his mind is quite gone. Frank would have enjoyed seeing these great men; for although he does not seem to read much, and certainly never quotes, he has a great appreciation of good poetry. While he was at Upton lately I read something of Wordsworth's to him, and he made a remark which, coming from him, struck me. He said he didn't like what people call sacred poetry, but he did like Wordsworth, because all his poetry was sacred.

I have taken the liberty of writing this long letter, because I thought you would like to know my opinion of Frank, and I was anxious to throw out a suggestion I should be so glad to see acted upon.

—I am, my dear Mrs. Leward, yours very sincerely


A. M. Saunders.

Mrs. Leward, Mrs. Herbert, Claydon, Bath.