A Number of People: A Book of Reminiscences

A Number of People: A Book of Reminiscences

A Number of People: A Book of Reminiscences

A Number of People: A Book of Reminiscences

Excerpt

MY Father, Howard Marsh, was the son of a Suffolk farmer. He came to London as a young man to be a medical student at St. Bartholomew's, and he must have had a decided gift, for he worked his way up to a distinguished position, and became Professor of Surgery at Cambridge, ending his life as Master of Downing. He was the most unselfish and good-natured of men, and (except that he did 'marry a noble wife,' though not 'discord in her') Pope's character of his father in the Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot would fit him in almost every detail. We were the best of friends, but we never had much in common or came very close to one another.

My Mother on the other hand was the all-pervading influence in my early life, and she will be the centre of what I have to tell about it; but first I must say something of her family, and my relations on that side -- all very ancient history now.

Her father was Spencer Perceval, eldest son of the Prime Minister of that name who was assassinated in the House of Commons in 1812. He died in 1859, and except that he was the Irvingite Angel to Italy, I know little about him. I am proud to think that he was the begetter of one of the very best quotations that have ever been made in the House of Commons. For the purposes of a debate on the affair of Queen Caroline, Lord Brougham was in search of a device for bringing in George IV without naming him; and Spencer Perceval helped him to the description of Death in the second book of Paradise Lost . A shiver ran through the House . . .

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