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bound him to lifeand down we all sit for a
quarter of an hour's conversation about all
sorts of nice little subjects Ma sœur can talk


IT would appear, from the long list of
eccentricities we are about to extract from the
Government report on the local charities of
the country, that as soon as a man sits before
the form of a "last will and testament," his
ideas begin to run riot. He sees all sorts of
odd cranky ways of purchasing a snug local
immortality by the investment of twenty
pounds, to be called the Wiggins charity; he
dreams of the far-off years when the grateful
recipients of his perennial bounty will demand
to know who was Wiggins, and whether
Wiggins was duly honoured and recognised
in the century to which he belonged. Another
gentleman sits before his "last will and
testament," and has a mind to make a noise
after his deathbut a noise on the lowest
possible terms. If immortality is to be
purchased in Appledom for the small charge
of seven shillings and sixpence per annum,
he is not the man to leave eight shillings for
the purpose: therefore he bequeaths a leg
of pork to the parish bell-ringers, to be
discussed on New Year's morning, after the
bell-ringing. He feels that this bequest will
lead annually to the question, who was
Chapenierthe munificent donor of the leg
of pork. Thus, for the small charge of seven
shillings and sixpence, Chapenier feels that
he can place himself before the parish for
ever. He determines to go down to posterity
on a leg of pork.

"A maid deceased" figures on the papers
of the parish of Hampstead, as the donor of
forty pounds, to be distributed by the church-
wardens in a halfpenny loaf to every soul,
rich and poor, in the parish. This is a happy
way of spreading a little bounty over a large
surface. The parish of Paddington is also
endowed with an eccentric gift from "two
maiden gentlewomen," in the shape of a piece
of land, the rental of which (forty pounds
eighteen shillings per annum) is applied in
the purchase of bread and cheese for the poor
which refreshments were formerly thrown
down from the parish church, to be scrambled
for by the people congregated in the church-
yard. In the same spirit of eccentricity, one
William Clapham made a will in the year
1603, by which he bequeathed the yearly sum
of four shillings and fourpence, to be laid out
in figs, bread and ale, for the poor scholars of
the free-school in Giggleswick, Yorkshire:
and to this time these poor scholars, on one
day in the year, enjoy a feast of bread and
figsto the glory of William Clapham.
When a lady, who wished to be nameless,
wrote, "I give and bequeath one hundred
pounds, the interest of which shall be applied
by the authorities of St. Andrew, Holborn,
to the relief of six poor lying-in women,
the wives of Irishmen, living within the
Saffron Hill Liberty of the parish," she
taught a lesson to all future donors of figs.

Contrast this with the bequest of one Thomas
Mosely, who, it is thought, many years ago
bequeathed a dole of one penny to every person
in Walsall. When the commissioners went
their round, they found that the Walsall
corporation employed three persons to make the
distribution. These began their operations on
New Year's Day, and went gradually through
the parishes, giving to every inmate of every
house the dole of one penny. In this manner
they threw away sixty pounds. The yearly
bull bequeathed in 1661 by George Staverton
to the poor of the township of Wokingham,
Berks, to be baitedand then to be sold; the
proceeds to be distributed among the poor
children of the township in the shape of shoes
and stockingsled to a riot in 1835, when the
people broke into the place where the bull
was yoked, and, in defiance of the authorities,
revived the barbarous custom of baiting.
Thus for six pounds a year George Staverton
contrived to purchase local notoriety for his
name, and about one hundred and seventy
years after his death to provoke a riot.

Eccentric testators have spread their
eccentricities all over the country. There is hardly
a parish that does not enjoy the fruits of
testatory eccentricity. I think I see Matthew
Wall, who, in 1595, wrote "I give and
bequeath," and appended to these words the
following provisions for the perpetuation of
his name on the smallest possible terms:—To
the sexton to make up the testator's grave
yearly, and to ring the bell, one shilling and
tenpence: To sweep the path from the
testator's house to the church-gate every year,
one shilling: To the vicar of Stortford, to
make proclamation yearly, on Ascension and
Michaelmas Day, that the testator left his
estate to a Matthew, or William Wall, as long
as the world should endure, eightpence: To the
parish clerk at Hallingbury for the same,
eightpence; and to the minister and church-
wardens, to see the testator's will carried out,
five shillings. Matthew Wall also gave twenty
groats to twenty boys, and ten threepences to
ten aged and infirm persons. The general
intention of Matthew in this document is a
little too obvious: he bungled in his bargain
for local immortality. Edward Strode, who
wrote "I give and bequeath" about one
century after Wall, did not exhibit any
remarkable advantage over the little hero of
Stortford. Strode fixed upon Shepton Mallet,
in Somersetshire, as the abode of his
immortality; and caught the happy idea of founding
almshouses to be called by his name. More
he determined that the recipients of his bounty
should wear the badge of his charity upon
them: that the letter E should "be cut large
in blue cloth, and well sewed on the right
sleeve, and the letter S on the left sleeve,
plain to be seen." Thus Strode contrived