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- The Life of George Borrow - 80/90 -


{25b} In a letter to Borrow, dated 15th October 1862, John Longe, J.P., of Spixworth Park, Norwich, in acknowledging some biographical particulars that Borrow had sent him for inclusion in Burton's Antiquities of the Royal School of Norwich, wrote:-

"You have omitted an important and characteristic anecdote of your early days (fifteen years of age). When at school you, with Theodosius and Francis W. Purland, ABSENTED yourself from home and school and took up your abode in a certain 'Robber's Cave' at Acle, where you RESIDED three days, and once more returned to your homes."

{26a} According to the original manuscript of Lavengro, it appears that Roger Kerrison, a Norwich friend of Borrow's, strongly advised the law as "an excellent profession . . . for those who never intend to follow it."--Life of George Borrow, by Dr Knapp, i., 66.

{27a} The Rev. Wm. Drake of Mundesley, in a letter which appeared in The Eastern Daily Press, 22nd September 1892:-

" . . . I was at the Norwich Grammar School nine years, from 1820 to 1829, and during that time (probably in 1824 and 1825) George Borrow was lodging in the Upper Close . . . The house was a low old- fashioned building with a garden in front of it, and the fact of Borrow's residence there is fixed in my memory because I had spent the first five or six years of my own life in the same house, from 1811 to 1816 or 1817. My father occupied it in virtue of his being a minor canon in Norwich Cathedral. I remember Borrow very distinctly, because he was fond of chatting with the boys, who used to gather round the railings of his garden, and occasionally he would ask one or two of them to have tea with him. I have a faint recollection that he gave us some of our first notions of chess, but I am not sure of this. I . . . remember him a tall, spare, dark-complexioned man, usually dressed in black. In person he was not unlike another Norwich man, who obtained in those days a very different notoriety from that which now belongs to Borrow's name. I mean John Thurtell, who murdered Mr Weare."

{27b} Wild Wales, page 3.

{28a} Wild Wales, page 157.

{28b} Forty years later Borrow wrote of these days: --"'How much more happy, innocent, and holy I was in the days of my boyhood when I translated Iolo's ode than I am at the present time!' Then covering my face with my hands I wept like a child."--Wild Wales, page 448.

{30a} There is no doubt that Borrow became possessed of a copy of Kiaempe Viser, first collected by Anders Vedel, which may or may not have been given to him, with a handshake from the old farmer and a kiss from his wife, in recognition of the attention he had shown the pair in his official capacity. He refers to the volume repeatedly in Lavengro, and narrates how it was presented by some shipwrecked Danish mariners to the old couple in acknowledgment of their humanity and hospitality. It is, however, most likely that he was in error when he stated that "in less than a month" he was able "to read the book."--Lavengro, pages 140-4.

{30b} Wild Wales, page 2.

{30c} Wild Wales, page 374.

{30d} Wild Wales, page 9. There is an interesting letter written to Borrow by the old lawyer's son on the appearance of Lavengro, in which he says: "With tearful eyes, yet smiling lips, I have read and re-read your faithful portrait of my dear old father. I cannot mistake him--the creaking shoes, the florid face, the polished pate-- all serve as marks of recognition to his youngest son!"

{31a} Wild Wales, page 374.

{31b} During the five years that he was articled to Simpson & Rackham, Borrow, according to Dr Knapp, studied Welsh, Danish, German, Hebrew, Arabic, Gaelic, and Armenian. He already had a knowledge of Latin, Greek, Irish, French, Italian, and Spanish.

{31c} Lavengro, page 235.

{32a} Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), the historical painter.

{32b} Lavengro, page 166.

{33a} William Taylor (1765-1836) was an admirer of German literature and a defender of the French Revolution. He is credited with having first inspired his friend Southey with a liking for poetry. He travelled much abroad, met Goethe, attended the National Assembly debates in 1790, translated from the German and contributed to a number of English periodicals.

{33b} Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, 1877.

{33c} Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, 1877.

{33d} Letter from "A School-fellow of Lavengro" in The Britannia, 26th April 1851.

{34a} Memoir of Wm. Taylor, by J. W. Robberds.

{34b} Memoir of Wm. Taylor, by J. W. Robberds.

{34c} Letter from "A School-fellow of Lavengro" in The Britannia, 26th April 1851.

{35a} The Rev. Whitwell Elwin, in a letter, 17th February 1887.

{35b} Harriet Martineau's Autobiography, 1877.

{35c} Lavengro, page 355.

{36a} John Bowring, F.R.S. (1792-1872), began life in trade, went to the Peninsula for Milford & Co., army contractors, in 1811, set up for himself as a merchant, travelled and acquired a number of languages. He was ambitious, energetic and shrewd. He became editor of The Westminster Review in 1824, and LL.D., Gronigen, in 1829. He was sent by the Government upon a commercial mission to Belgium, 1833; to Egypt; Syria and Turkey, 1837-8; M.P. for Clyde burghs, 1835-7, and for Bolton, 1841; was instrumental in obtaining the issue of the florin as a first step toward a decimal system of currency; Consul of Canton, 1847; plenipotentiary to China; governor, commander-in-chief, and vice-admiral of Hong Kong, 1854; knighted 1854; established diplomatic and commercial relations with Siam, 1855. He published a number of volumes of translations from various languages. He died full of years and honours in 1872.

{36b} The Romany Rye, page 368, et seq.

{38a} Lavengro, pages 177-8.

{39a} Lavengro, pages 179-80. Captain Borrow was in his sixty-sixth year at his death; b. December 1758, d. 28th February 1824. He was buried in St Giles churchyard, Norwich, on 4th March 1824.

{40a } The Romany Rye, page 302.

{40b} In his will Captain Borrow bequeathed to George his watch and "the small Portrait," and to John "the large Portrait" of himself; his mother to hold and enjoy them during her lifetime. Should Mrs Borrow die or marry again, elaborate provision was made for the proper distribution of the property between the two sons.

{41a} In particular Borrow believed in Ab Gwilym "the greatest poetical genius that has appeared in Europe since the revival of literature" (Wild Wales, page 6). "The great poet of Nature, the contemporary of Chaucer, but worth half-a-dozen of the accomplished word-master, the ingenious versifier of Norman and Italian Tales." (Wild Wales, page xxviii.).

{42a} Lines to Six-Foot-Three. Romantic Ballads. Norwich 1826.

{42b} Sir Richard Phillips (1767-1840) before becoming a publisher was a schoolmaster, hosier, stationer, bookseller, and vendor of patent medicines at Leicester, where he also founded a newspaper. In 1795 he came to London, was sheriff in 1807, and received his knighthood a year later.

{43a} It has been urged against Borrow's accuracy that Sir Richard Phillips had retired to Brighton in 1823, vide The Dictionary of National Biography. In the January number (1824) of The Monthly Magazine appeared the following paragraph: "The Editor [Sir Richard Phillips], having retired from his commercial engagements and removed from his late house of business in New Bridge Street, communications should be addressed to the appointed Publishers [Messrs Whittakers]; but personal interviews of Correspondents and interested persons may be obtained at his private residence in Tavistock Square." This proves conclusively that Sir Richard was to be seen in London in the early part of 1824.

{44a} Celebrated Trials and Remarkable Cases of Criminal Jurisprudence from the Earliest Records to the Year 1825, 6 vols., with plates. London, 1825.

{44b} Proximate Causes of the Material Phenomena of the Universe. By Sir Richard Phillips. London, 1821.

{45a} Dr Knapp identified the editor as "William Gifford, editor of The Quarterly Review from 1809 to September 1824." (Life of George Borrow, i. 93.) The late Sir Leslie Stephen, however, cast very serious doubt upon this identification, himself concluding that the editor of The Universal Review was John Carey (1756-1826), whose name was actually associated with an edition of Quintilian published in 1822. Carey was a known contributor to two of Sir Richard Phillips' magazines.

{45b} The Monthly Magazine, July 1824.

{46a} It appeared in six volumes.

{46b} The work when completed contained accounts of over 400 trials.

{46c} It appeared on 19th March following.

{46d} Lavengro, page 210.

{47a} The picture was duly painted in the Heroic manner, the artist lending to the ex-mayor, for some reason or other, his own unheroically short legs. Haydon received his fee of a hundred guineas, and the picture now hangs in St Andrew's Hall, Norwich.

{48a} Letter from Roger Kerrison to John Borrow, 28th May 1824.

{48b} Memoirs, C. G. Leland 1893.


The Life of George Borrow - 80/90

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