How do memoirists make their work interesting, daring, exciting, and unorthodox enough so that they attract an audience, yet not so heinous and scandalous that their readers can't empathize or identify with them? In Justifiable Conduct, renowned sociologist Erich Goode explores the different strategies memoirists use to "neutralize" their supposed wrongdoing and fashion a more positive image of themselves for audiences. He examines how writers, including James Frey, Susan Cheever, Roman Polanski, Charles Van Doren and Elia Kazan, explain, justify, contextualize, excuse, or warrant their participation in criminal behaviour, substance abuse, sexual transgressions, political radicalism, and other improprieties.
Using a theory of deviance neutralization, Goode assesses the types of behaviour exhibited by these memoirists to draw out generic narratives that are most effective in attempting to absolve the actor-author. Despite the highly individualistic and variable lives of these writers, Goode demonstrates that memoirists use a conventional vocabulary for their unconventional behaviour. He has published ten books including Moral Panics, The Paranormal, Deviant Behavior, and Drugs in American Society , seven anthologies, and articles that have appeared in magazines, newspapers, and an array of academic journals.
He is a recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship and has taught at half-a-dozen universities, including the University of Maryland, New York University, and the University of North Carolina.
Anger, thrill, and surprise await around every corner. With his careful approach, Goode Largely, Goode succeeds in elucidating common threads among the autobiographical accounts of these diverse figures Summing Up: Recommended. Country of Publication: US Dimensions cm : Help Centre. A range of prominent criminologists offers diverse views in fifteen original essays, providing stu John Angus Marks, the resident psychiatrist, said each year about 5 percent of the clinic's addicts go off drugs entirely.
A study of the lives of 89 of them between , when the clinic opened, and revealed 20 had given up drugs The book, first published in , describes the history of marijuana use, how the drug was distributed in this country, the extent and pat A range of prominent criminologists offers diverse views in fifteen original essays, providing studen Composed of over 30 essays written by an international array of scholars and meticulously edited by one of the best known authorities on the study of deviance Features chapters on cutting—edge topics, such as terrorism and environmental degradation a Students and instructors with an internet connection can visit www.
In addition, MySearchLab offers extensive content on the research process itself—including tips on how to n Bader , Kathleen M. And so serious, likewise, that the lives of violators do revolve around the actions, the beliefs, or the characteristics, as well as the consequences such violations have, mainly with respect to the social reactions they generate in others. When others really don't like what you do, believe, or are, Includes all testable terms, concepts, persons, places, and events.
Review: “Justifiable Conduct: Self-Vindication in Memoir” by Erich Goode
Cram Just the FACTS studyguides gives all of the outlines, highlights, and quizzes for your textbook with optional online comprehensive practice tests. Nothing can more clearly show the power and perfectness of his enchantments than the masterly way in which he turned back the moral force of the whole English nation, which had risen at first in its strength against him.
The victory was complete. A tide of emotion was now aroused in England by his early death—dying in the cause of Greece and liberty. There arose a general wail for him, as for a lost pleiad, not only in England, but over the whole world; a great rush of enthusiasm for his memory, to which the greatest literary men of England freely gave voice. By general consent, Lady Byron seems to have been looked upon as the only cold-hearted unsympathetic person in this general mourning.
From that time the literary world of England apparently regarded Lady Byron as a woman to whom none of the decorums, nor courtesies of ordinary womanhood, nor even the consideration belonging to common humanity, were due. Lady Byron was not only a widow, but an orphan. She had no sister for confidante; no father and mother to whom to go in her sorrows—sorrows so much deeper and darker to her than they could be to any other human being. She had neither son nor brother to uphold and protect her. On all hands it was acknowledged that, so far, there was no fault to be found in her but her utter silence.
Her life was confessed to be pure, useful, charitable; and yet, in this time of her sorrow, the writers of England issued article upon article not only devoid of delicacy, but apparently injurious and insulting towards her, with a blind unconsciousness which seems astonishing. But Wilson had believed the story of Byron, and, by his very generosity and tenderness and pity, was betrayed into injustice. Did you ever see his letter to me?
In the first place, with our present ideas of propriety and good taste, we should reckon it an indecorum to make the private affairs of a pure and good woman, whose circumstances under any point of view were trying, and who evidently shunned publicity, the subject of public discussion in magazines which were read all over the world. Lady Byron, as they all knew, had on her hands a most delicate and onerous task, in bringing up an only daughter, necessarily inheriting peculiarities of genius and great sensitiveness; and the many mortifications and embarrassments which such intermeddling with her private matters must have given, certainly should have been considered by men with any pretensions to refinement or good feeling.
The discussion is thus elegantly introduced:—. I wad like to hear your real opinion. At present we have nothing but loose talk of society to go upon; and certainly, if the things that are said be true, there must be thorough explanation from some quarter, or the tide will continue, as it has assuredly begun, to flow in a direction very opposite to what we were for years accustomed. Sir, they must explain this business of the letter. Can the matter stop here? But she does not speak yet. The public persecution, therefore, proceeds.
Now, the person in the Noctes Club who was held to have the most complete information of the Byron affairs, and was, on that account, first thought of by Murray to execute this very delicate task of writing a memoir which should include the most sacred domestic affairs of a noble lady and her orphan daughter, was Maginn. Eventually Moore executed it. This article. It had plenty of coarseness, and some to spare. It went into particulars such as hitherto had been given only by Faublas; and it had, notwithstanding, many phrases and some facts which evidently did not belong to a mere fabricator.
If some powerful cause had not paralysed all feelings of gentlemanly honour, and of womanly delicacy, and of common humanity, towards Lady Byron, throughout the whole British nation, no editor would have dared to open a periodical with such an article; or, if he had, he would have been overwhelmed with a storm of popular indignation, which, like the fire upon Sodom, would have made a pillar of salt of him for a warning to all future generations. Maginn does not undertake the memoir. Moore was a man of no particular nicety as to moralities, but in that matter seems not very much below what this record shows his average associates to be.
He is so far superior to Maginn, that his vice is rose-coloured and refined.
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The image was to be invested with deceitful glories and shifting haloes,—admitted faults spoken of as peculiarities of sacred origin,—and the world given to understand that no common rule or measure could apply to such an undoubtedly divine production; and so the hearts of men were to be wrung with pity for his sorrows as the yearning pain of a god, and with anger at his injuries as sacrilege on the sacredness of genius, till they were ready to cast themselves at his feet, and adore.
There, too, were gross attacks on her father and mother, as having been the instigators of the separation; and poor Lady Milbanke, in particular, is sometimes mentioned with epithets so offensive, that the editor prudently covers the terms with stars, as intending language too gross to be printed. The last mistress of Lord Byron is uniformly brought forward in terms of such respect and consideration, that one would suppose that the usual moral laws that regulate English family life had been specially repealed in his favour. The direct implication is, that she has no feelings to be hurt, no heart to be broken, and is not worthy even of the consideration which in ordinary life is to be accorded to a widow who has received those awful tidings which generally must awaken many emotions, and call for some consideration, even in the most callous hearts.
The woman who we are told walked the room, vainly striving to control the sobs that shook her frame, while she sought to draw from the servant that last message of her husband which she was never to hear, was not thought worthy even of the rights of common humanity. Then for the first time came one flash of lightning from the silent cloud; and she who had never spoken before spoke out. The libels on the memory of her dead parents drew from her what her own wrongs never did.
During all this time, while her husband had been keeping her effigy dangling before the public as a mark for solemn curses, and filthy lampoons, and secretly -circulated disclosures, that spared no sacredness and violated every decorum, she had not uttered a word. She had been subjected to nameless insults, discussed in the assemblies of drunkards, and challenged to speak for herself.
At this time, such insinuations had not been thought of; and the only and chief allegation against Lady Byron had been a cruel severity of virtue. At all events, when Lady Byron spoke, the world listened with respect, and believed what she said. Domestic details ought not to be intruded on the public attention: if, however, they are so intruded, the persons affected by them have a right to refute injurious charges.
Moore has promulgated his own impressions of private events in which I was most nearly concerned, as if he possessed a competent knowledge of the subject.
Having survived Lord Byron, I feel increased reluctance to advert to any circumstances connected with the period of my marriage; nor is it now my intention to disclose them further than may be indispensably requisite for the end I have in view. Moore that Lady Byron adopted the determination of parting from him. They had parted in the utmost kindness, she wrote him a letter, full of playfulness and affection, on the road; and, immediately on her arrival at Kirkby Mallory, her father wrote to acquaint Lord Byron that she would return to him no more.
The facts are,—I left London for Kirkby Mallory, the residence of my father and mother, on the 15th of January, Lord Byron had signified to me in writing Jan. It was not safe for me to undertake the fatigue of a journey sooner than the 15th. Previously to my departure, it had been strongly impressed on my mind that Lord Byron was under the influence of insanity.
This opinion was derived in a great measure from the communications made to me by his nearest relatives and personal attendant, who had more opportunities than myself of observing him during the latter part of my stay in town. It was even represented to me that he was in danger of destroying himself.
With the concurrence of his family, I had consulted Dr. Baillie, as a friend Jan. Baillie thought that my absence might be advisable as an experiment, assuming the fact of mental derangement; for Dr. Baillie, not having had access to Lord Byron, could not pronounce a positive opinion on that point. He enjoined that, in correspondence with Lord Byron, I should avoid all but light and soothing topics.
Under these impressions I left London, determined to follow the advice given by Dr. On the day of my departure, and again on my arrival at Kirkby Jan. It has been argued that I parted from Lord Byron in perfect harmony; that feelings incompatible with any deep sense of injury had dictated the letter which I addressed to him; and that my sentiments must have been changed by persuasion and interference when I was under the roof of my parents.
These assertions and inferences are wholly destitute of foundation. She had always treated him with an affectionate consideration and indulgence, which extended to every little peculiarity of his feelings. Never did an irritating word escape her lips in her whole intercourse with him. The accounts given me after I left Lord Byron, by the persons in constant intercourse with him, added to those doubts which had before transiently occurred to my mind as to the reality of the alleged disease; and the reports of his medical attendant were far from establishing the existence of anything like lunacy.
It therefore appeared expedient, both to them and myself, to consult the ablest advisers. For that object, and also to obtain still further information respecting the appearances which seemed to indicate mental derangement, my mother determined to go to London. She was empowered by me to take legal opinions on a written statement of mine, though I had then reasons for reserving a part of the case from the knowledge even of my father and mother.
Conformably with this resolution, my father wrote to him on the 2nd of February to propose an amicable separation. Lord Byron at first rejected this proposal; but when it was distinctly notified to him that, if he persisted in his refusal, recourse must be had to legal measures, he agreed to sign a deed of separation.
Upon applying to Dr. Lushington, who was intimately acquainted with all the circumstances, to state in writing what he recollected upon this subject, I received from him the following letter, by which it will be manifest that my mother cannot have been actuated by any hostile or ungenerous motives towards Lord Byron:—. I was originally consulted by Lady Noel, on your behalf, whilst you were in the country.
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The circumstances detailed by her were such as justified a separation; but they were not of that aggravated description as to render such a measure indispensable. When you came to town, in about a fortnight, or perhaps more, after my first interview with Lady Noel, I was for the first time informed by you of facts utterly unknown, as I have no doubt, to Sir Ralph and Lady Noel. On receiving this additional information, my opinion was entirely changed: I considered a reconciliation impossible.
I declared my opinion, and added, that, if such an idea should be entertained, I could not, either professionally or otherwise, take any part towards effecting it. Lushington formed their opinions were false, the responsibility and the odium should rest with me only. I trust that the facts which I have here briefly recapitulated will absolve my father and mother from all accusations with regard to the part they took in the separation between Lord Byron and myself.
There is no other near relative to vindicate their memory from insult. But may I, without harshness or indelicacy, say, here among ourselves, James, that, by marrying Byron, she took upon herself, with eyes wide open and conscience clearly convinced, duties very different from those of which, even in common cases, the presaging foresight shadows. But still, by joining her life to his in marriage, she pledged her troth and her faith and her love, under probabilities of severe, disturbing, perhaps fearful trials, in the future. Has she not flung suspicion over his bones interred, that they are the bones of a—monster?
But there was no such pain here, James: the declaration was voluntary, and it was calm. Here is what John Stuart Mill calls the literature of slavery for woman, in length and breadth; and, that all women may understand the doctrine, the Shepherd now takes up his parable, and expounds the true position of the wife.
We render his Scotch into English:—. There they sit in their obscure, rarely-visited dwellings; for sympathy instructed by suffering knows well that the deepest and most hopeless misery is least given to complaint. When drunk, how he raged and cursed and swore! Often did she dread that, in his fits of inhuman passion, he would have murdered the baby at her breast; for she had seen him dash their only little boy, a child of eight years old, on the floor, till the blood gushed from his ears; and then the madman threw himself down on the body, and howled for the gallows.
Limmers haunted his door, and he theirs; and it was hers to lie, not sleep, in a cold, forsaken bed, once the bed of peace, affection, and perfect happiness. That, I say, sir, whether right or wrong, was—forgiveness. They admit that, having won this poor girl, he had been savage, brutal, drunken, cruel.
It is because of such transgressors as Byron, such supporters as Moore and the Noctes Club, that there are so many helpless, cowering, broken-hearted, abject women, given over to the animal love which they share alike with the poor dog,—the dog, who, beaten, kicked, starved, and cuffed, still lies by his drunken master with great anxious eyes of love and sorrow, and with sweet, brute forgiveness nestles upon his bosom, as he lies in his filth in the snowy ditch, to keep the warmth of life in him.
Great is the mystery of this fidelity in the poor, loving brute,—most mournful and most sacred. But, oh that a noble man should have no higher ideal of the love of a high-souled, heroic woman! Oh that men should teach women that they owe no higher duties, and are capable of no higher tenderness, than this loving, unquestioning animal fidelity! The dog is ever-loving, ever-forgiving, because God has given him no high range of moral faculties, no sense of justice, no consequent horror at impurity and vileness.
Much of the beautiful patience and forgiveness of women is made possible to them by that utter deadness to the sense of justice which the laws, literature, and misunderstood religion of England have sought to induce in woman as a special grace and virtue. The lesson to woman in this pathetic piece of special pleading is, that man may sink himself below the brute, may wallow in filth like the swine, may turn his home into a hell, beat and torture his children, forsake the marriage-bed for foul rivals; yet all this does not dissolve the marriage-vow on her part, nor free his bounden serf from her obligation to honour his memory,—nay, to sacrifice to it the honour due to a kind father and mother, slandered in their silent graves.
But, in the same paper, North again blames Lady Byron for not having come out with the whole story before the world at the time she separated from her husband. He says of the time when she first consulted counsel through her mother, keeping back one item,—. Give the delicacy of a virtuous woman its due; but at such a crisis, when the question was whether her conscience was to be free from the oath of oaths, delicacy should have died, and nature was privileged to show unashamed—if such there were—the records of uttermost pollution.
Murray applied to Lady Byron for her portrait, and was met with a cold, decided negative. Never, since Queen Vashti refused to come at the command of a drunken husband to show herself to his drunken lords, was there a clearer case of disrespect to the marital dignity on the part of a wife.
It was a plain act of insubordination, rebellion against law and order; and how shocking in Lady Byron, who ought to feel herself but too much flattered to be exhibited to the public as the head wife of a man of genius! An artist was sent down to Ealing to take her picture by stealth as she sat in church. Two sittings were thus obtained without her knowledge. In the third one, the artist placed himself boldly before her, and sketched, so that she could not but observe him.
The reply was, that Mr. Murray must have her portrait, and was compelled to take what she refused to give. The result was, Wright was requested to visit her, which he did; taking with him, not the sketch, which was very good, but another, in which there was a strong touch of caricature. Rather than allow that to appear as her likeness a very natural and womanly feeling by the way , she consented to sit for the portrait to W. Newton, which was engraved, and is here alluded to. The artless barbarism of this note is too good to be lost; but it is quite borne out by the conversation in the Noctes Club, which it illustrates.
It would appear from this conversation that these Byron beauties appeared successively in pamphlet form; and the picture of Lady Byron is thus discussed:—. I never saw her. Is the face a striking one? But it may be asked, Was there not a man in all England with delicacy enough to feel for Lady Byron, and chivalry enough to speak a bold word for her? Yes: there was one. It is refreshing to hear, at last, from somebody who is not altogether on his knees at the feet of the popular idol, and who has some chivalry for woman, and some idea of common humanity. He says,—. Moore, to be the theme of discourse to millions, and, if I err not much, the cause of misconception to innumerable minds.
I claim to speak of Lady Byron in the right of a man, and of a friend to the rights of woman, and to liberty, and to natural religion. I claim a right, more especially, as one of the many friends of Lady Byron, who, one and all, feel aggrieved by this production. It has virtually dragged her forward from the shade of retirement, where she had hid her sorrows, and compelled her to defend the heads of her friends and her parents from being crushed under the tombstone of Byron.
Nay, in a general view, it has forced her to defend herself; though, with her true sense and her pure taste, she stands above all special pleading. To plenary explanation she ought not—she never shall be driven. Moore is too much a gentleman not to shudder at the thought of that; but if other Byronists, of a far different stamp, were to force the savage ordeal, it is her enemies, and not she, that would have to dread the burning ploughshares. Moore and her misfortunes, a publicly-agitated cause, it concerns morality, and the most sacred rights of the sex, that she should and that, too, without more special explanations be acquitted out and out, and honourably acquitted, in this business, of all share in the blame, which is one and indivisible.
Moore, on further reflection, may see this; and his return to candour will surprise us less than his momentary deviation from its path. I have never humiliated either her or myself by asking if I should write, or what I should write; that is to say, I never applied to her for information against Lord Byron, though I was justified, as one intending to criticise Mr. Moore, in inquiring into the truth of some of his statements. Neither will I suffer myself to be called her champion, if by that word be meant the advocate of her mere legal innocence; for that, I take it, nobody questions.
Lady Byron if the subject must be discussed belongs to sentiment and morality at least as much as Lord Byron ; nor is she to be suffered, when compelled to speak, to raise her voice as in a desert, with no friendly voice to respond to her. Lady Byron could not have outlived her sufferings if she had not wound up her fortitude to the high point of trusting mainly for consolation, not to the opinion of the world, but to her own inward peace; and, having said what ought to convince the world, I verily believe that she has less care about the fashionable opinion respecting her than any of her friends can have.
But we, her friends, mix with the world; and we hear offensive absurdities about her, which we have a right to put down. You speak, Mr. If, on the contrary, I were to enter into a full exposure of the falsehood of the views taken by Mr. Moore, I must detail various matters, which, consistently with my principles and feelings, I cannot under the existing circumstances disclose. But is it reasonable for me to expect that you or any one else should believe this, unless I show you what were the causes in question?
Campbell then goes on to reprove Moore for his injustice to Mrs. She never proposed a correspondence. On the contrary, he sent her a message after that first refusal, stating that he meant to go abroad, and to travel for some years in the East; that he should depart with a heart aching, but not angry; and that he only begged a verbal assurance that she had still some interest in his happiness.
Could Miss Milbanke, as a well-bred woman, refuse a courteous answer to such a message? She sent him a verbal answer, which was merely kind and becoming, but which signified no encouragement that he should renew his offer of marriage. The result was an insensibly increasing correspondence, which ended in her being devotedly attached to him.
Moore, yet I suspect I knew as much of him as Miss Milbanke then knew. At that time, he was so pleasing, that, if I had had a daughter with ample fortune and beauty, I should have trusted her in marriage with Lord Byron. The subject would lead me insensibly into hateful disclosures against poor Lord Byron, who is more unfortunate in his rash defenders than in his reluctant accusers. Happily, his own candour turns our hostility from himself against his defenders.
It was only in wayward and bitter remarks that he misrepresented Lady Byron. He would have defended himself irresistibly if Mr. Moore had left only his acknowledging passages. But Mr. Will it be believed that this person, so unsuitably matched to her moody lord, has written verses that would do no discredit to Byron himself; that her sensitiveness is surpassed and bounded only by her good sense; and that she is.
I speak not of Lady Byron in the commonplace manner of attesting character: I appeal to the gifted Mrs. Siddons and Joanna Baillie, to Lady Charlemont, and to other ornaments of their sex, whether I am exaggerating in the least when I say, that, in their whole lives, they have seen few beings so intellectual and well-tempered as Lady Byron.
Her manner, I have no hesitation to say, is cool at the first interview, but is modestly, and not insolently, cool: she contracted it, I believe, from being exposed by her beauty and large fortune, in youth, to numbers of suitors, whom she could not have otherwise kept at a distance. But this manner could have had no influence with Lord Byron; for it vanishes on nearer acquaintance, and has no origin in coldness.
All her friends like her frankness the better for being preceded by this reserve. This manner, however, though not the slightest apology for Lord Byron, has been inimical to Lady Byron in her misfortunes. It endears her to her friends; but it piques the indifferent. Most odiously unjust, therefore, is Mr. She is, comparatively speaking, unknown to the world; for though she has many friends, that is, a friend in everyone who knows her, yet her pride and purity and misfortunes naturally contract the circle of her acquaintance. Moore into the livery of his service,—and who has suborned the favour of almost all women by the beauty of his person and the voluptuousness of his verses.
Lady Byron has nothing to oppose to these fascinations but the truth and justice of her cause. Moore, that Lady Byron was unsuitable to her lord: the word is cunningly insidious, and may mean as much or as little as may suit your convenience. But, if she was unsuitable, I remark that it tells all the worse against Lord Byron. I have not read it in your book for I hate to wade through it ; but they tell me that you have not only warily depreciated Lady Byron, but that you have described a lady that would have suited him.
A woman to suit Lord Byron! Poo, poo! I could paint to you the woman that could have matched him, if I had not bargained to say as little as possible against him. This was not kicking the dead lion, but wounding the living lamb, who was already bleeding and shorn, even unto the quick. Time, however, cures everything; and even your book, Mr. Here is what seems to be a gentlemanly, high-spirited, chivalric man, throwing down his glove in the lists for a pure woman.
What was the consequence? Campbell was crowded back, thrust down, overwhelmed, his eyes filled with dust, his mouth with ashes. There was a general confusion and outcry, which reacted both on him and on Lady Byron. All the literary authorities of his day took up against him with energy. There has always been in England, as John Stuart Mill says, a class of women who glory in the utter self-abnegation of the wife to the husband, as the special crown of womanhood. Their patron saint is the Griselda of Chaucer, who, when her husband humiliates her, and treats her as a brute, still accepts all with meek, unquestioning, uncomplaining devotion.
He tears her from her children; he treats her with personal abuse; he repudiates her,—sends her out to nakedness and poverty; he installs another mistress in his house, and sends for the first to be her handmaid and his own: and all this the meek saint accepts in the words of Milton,—. Many, who had regarded her with favour till then, gave her up so far as to believe that feminine weakness had prevailed at last. The saint had fallen from her pedestal! She had shown a human frailty!
Quite evidently she is not a Griselda, but possessed with a shocking desire to exculpate herself and her friends. Is it, then, only to slandered men that the privilege belongs of desiring to exculpate themselves and their families and their friends from unjust censure? Lord Byron had made it a life-long object to vilify and defame his wife.
He had used for that one particular purpose every talent that he possessed. He excused himself by saying it was a mistake of his; that he did not know what he was about when he published the paper. It is the saddest of all sad things to see a man, who has spoken from moral convictions, in advance of his day, and who has taken a stand for which he ought to honour himself, thus forced down and humiliated, made to doubt his own better nature and his own honourable feelings, by the voice of a wicked world.
Campbell had no steadiness to stand by the truth he saw. And so it was settled as a law to Jacob, and an ordinance in Israel, that the Byron worship should proceed, and that all the earth should keep silence before him. Every great periodical in England that had fired moral volleys of artillery against it in its early days, now humbly marched in the glorious procession of admirers to salute this edifying work of genius.
What was Lady Byron to do in such a world? She retired to the deepest privacy, and devoted herself to works of charity, and the education of her only child, that brilliant daughter, to whose eager, opening mind the whole course of current literature must bring so many trying questions in regard to the position of her father and mother,—questions that the mother might not answer. That the cruel inconsiderateness of the literary world added thorns to the intricacies of the path trodden by every mother who seeks to guide, restrain, and educate a strong, acute, and precociously intelligent child, must easily be seen.
She even found strength to appropriate the blessings of the occasion, and took comfort, as did her dying daughter, in the intimate friendship, which grew closer as the time of parting drew nigh. But nearer calls never lessened her interest in remoter objects. Her mind was of the large and clear quality which could comprehend remote interests in their true proportions, and achieve each aim as perfectly as if it were the only one. Her agents used to say that it was impossible to mistake her directions; and thus her business was usually well done.
There was no room, in her case, for the ordinary doubts, censures, and sneers about the misapplication of bounty. Her chief aim was the extension and improvement of popular education; but there was no kind of misery that she heard of that she did not palliate to the utmost, and no kind of solace that her quick imagination and sympathy could devise that she did not administer.
For one instance among a thousand: A lady with whom she had had friendly relations some time before, and who became impoverished in a quiet way by hopeless sickness, preferred poverty with an easy conscience to a competency attended by some uncertainty about the perfect rectitude of the resource. Lady Byron wrote to an intermediate person exactly what she thought of the case. Next, a voluntary poverty could never be pitied by anybody: that was the second. But it was painful to others to think of the mortification to benevolent feelings which attends poverty; and there could be no objection to arresting that pain.
It was the unconcealable magnitude of her beneficence, and its wise quality, which made her a second time the theme of English conversation in all honest households within the four seas. Years ago, it was said far and wide that Lady Byron was doing more good than anybody else in England; and it was difficult to imagine how anybody could do more. In the management of it, she showed the same wise consideration that marked all her practical decisions. She resolved to spend her whole income, seeing how much the world needed help at the moment. Her care was for the existing generation, rather than for a future one, which would have its own friends.
She usually declined trammelling herself with annual subscriptions to charities; preferring to keep her freedom from year to year, and to achieve definite objects by liberal bounty, rather than to extend partial help over a large surface which she could not herself superintend. She took, on lease, five acres of land, and spent several hundred pounds in rendering the buildings upon it fit for the purposes of the school. A liberal education was afforded to the children of artisans and labourers during the half of the day when they were not employed in the field or garden.
The allotments were rented by the boys, who raised and sold produce, which afforded them a considerable yearly profit if they were good workmen. Those who worked in the field earned wages; their labour being paid by the hour, according to the capability of the young labourer. They kept their accounts of expenditure and receipts, and acquired good habits of business while learning the occupation of their lives. Some mechanical trades were taught, as well as the arts of agriculture.
Of one hundred pupils, half were boarders. They paid little more than half the expenses of their maintenance, and the day-scholars paid threepence per week. Of course, a large part of the expense was borne by Lady Byron, besides the payments she made for children who could not otherwise have entered the school. The establishment flourished steadily till , when the owner of the land required it back for building purposes.
During the eighteen years that the Ealing schools were in action, they did a world of good in the way of incitement and example. The poor-law commissioners pointed out their merits. Land-owners and other wealthy persons visited them, and went home and set up similar establishments. During those years, too, Lady Byron had herself been at work in various directions to the same purpose.
These schools were opened in The next year, she built a schoolhouse on her Warwickshire property; and, five years later, she set up an iron schoolhouse on another Leicestershire estate. She has sent out tribes of boys and girls into life fit to do their part there with skill and credit and comfort. Perhaps it is a still more important consideration, that scores of teachers and trainers have been led into their vocation, and duly prepared for it, by what they saw and learned in her schools.
As for the best and the worst of the Ealing boys, the best have, in a few cases, been received into the Battersea Training School, whence they could enter on their career as teachers to the greatest advantage; and the worst found their school a true reformatory, before reformatory schools were heard of. It is of more consequence to observe that her mind was never narrowed by her own acts, as the minds of benevolent people are so apt to be.
To the last, her interest in great political movements, at home and abroad, was as vivid as ever. She watched every step won in philosophy, every discovery in science, every token of social change and progress in every shape.
Her mind was as liberal as her heart and hand. No diversity of opinion troubled her: she was respectful to every sort of individuality, and indulgent to all constitutional peculiarities. Among her latest known acts were her gifts to the Sicilian cause, and her manifestations on behalf of the antislavery cause in the United States. Her kindness to William and Ellen Craft must be well known there; and it is also related in the newspapers, that she bequeathed a legacy to a young American to assist him under any disadvantages he might suffer as an abolitionist.
Before she had passed middle life, her lungs were believed to be irreparably injured by partial ossification. She was subject to attacks so serious, that each one, for many years, was expected to be the last. She arranged her affairs in correspondence with her liabilities: so that the same order would have been found, whether she died suddenly or after long warning. She became Baroness Wentworth in November,