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1656, by Anne, Countess Dowager of Pembroke,
to commemorate her final parting with her
mother on this spot, on the second of April,
1616. The inscription declares that Anne of
Pembroke gave four pounds to be annually
distributed "upon the stone hereby" amongst
the poor within the parish of Brougham.
Well, after forty years of troublesand
troubles that must have cost the "pious
Pembroke" many a bitter hourit is pleasant
to think of the daughter returning to this spot
to consecrate it. Four pounds a year could
not do much good, you may say, to the people
of Brougham; but it may consecrate the spot
in years of scarcity by the thanks of people
sorely pressed; and the spirit of tenderness
which dictated the bounty is something to
think of every year.

Bequests to promote the friendly
intercourse of neighbours are not rare; but that of
Church Street, Kidderminster, is not the least
remarkable of these. The original bequest is
said to have originated with a maiden woman
who left two pounds to be put out to interest,
the proceeds to be divided, in the shape of
farthing loaves, to all the children born or
living in the street, in the presence of all the
male inhabitants of the street who might
choose to attend the ceremony. Later, John
Brecknell, of this street, bequeathed one
hundred and fifty pounds to be put out to
interest; and the interest to be applied in
giving to every child and unmarried person
born or living in the street a twopenny plumcake
on Midsummer Eveto furnish tobacco
and ale to the male inhabitantsand the
balance to be divided amongst the poorest
people of the street.

We may now pass rapidly long lists of
bequests in gratitude for escapes from imminent
danger; for hired prayers for the repose
of testators' souls; and other equally pious
and unselfish objects. Yet should I wish to
trace in faint outline the general plan of a
great and glorious bequestone in no way
eccentric, save for its utterly unselfish
character. Let the testator be a bishop, and by
birth a nobleman, and so combine with the
Christianity of a Churchman the hereditary
wealth of a peer. His sphere of action lies
to the northsay some hundred and sixty
miles from London. He has a great estate,
and an observing eye. He sees within his
spiritual jurisdiction many conflicting social
elements, many injustices, many hard and
appalling battles. He sees colleges where
deficiencies of income make worthy scholars
ridiculous; curacies where good men are
starving; nooks and corners where forlorn
children are growing into ignorant brutes;
and other phases of social life which he cannot
quietly contemplate. With these matters
vividly before him, he sits at his desk, takes
the form of a last will and testament, and after
the words "I give and bequeath," writes, my
castle and my lands, to lessen all these evils.
In a few years, in the hands of honest trustees,
scholars find themselves on a fair equality
with their companions; curates are able to
live decently; schools are founded here and
there; poor boys are apprenticed; and the
castle becomes the home of shipwrecked
seamen. For hereabouts the coast is very
dangerous, and the shipwrecks are frequent.
The castle stands on a lordly eminence, and
commands the coast for many miles:—it has
been a border citadel, but is now to bear
friendly warnings to the ships that pass on
their way. Within its great walls much
pompous revelry has been held;— now it is fitted
up to receive shipwrecked men; to
accommodate the children round about with school
room; to husband medicines and supply
medical skill for the benefit of the needy
peasantry; and to fire minute guns, as friendly
warnings to ships at sea on foggy nights, when
men tremble at the helm, and look up in vain
for the stars, or aside fruitlessly for guiding
lights. Near at hand is a harbour, and
round about a fishery; the first is improved
and the last developedand the people are
prosperous and happy.

The vast sums that have been scattered
over the country to accomplish foolish and
miserable ends, by vain and stupid testators,
may fairly suggest a warning. There is
something very magnificent about Bamborough
Castle (the castle we have just described),
and something very good about the Lord
Crewe, Bishop of Durham, who turned it
into a seamen's hospital; but, in the long list
of bequests buried in Parliamentary blue
books, it is easy to find manywe are afraid
to say a majorityin which vanity has guided
the testator's hand. We do not envy the
maids of a certain village their eleemosynary
petticoat; we cast no longing glances at the
twopenny plum-cakes of Church Street,
Kidderminster; we have not the slightest wish
to cut a single slice from the pork bequeathed
to the bell-ringers of Harlington; but these
bequests may be pertinently submitted to the
calm and dispassionate consideration of all
persons who are in a position to append any
words to the well-known form "I give and
bequeath." And all such persons will do
well to remember before they gratify, not
to say Vanity, but even what would be
commonly (often erroneously) called Charity,
whether they are neglecting claims of Justice.
Think of this, will-makers! I may "give
and bequeath" my soul to everlasting sorrow
and remorse, if I neglect those paramount
claims, for any consideration.

On the 7th of March will be published, price 5s. 6d.,
                 neatly bound in Cloth,
                  THE SIXTH VOLUME
                   HOUSEHOLD WORDS.
Containing the Numbers issued between September 11th,
      1852, and February 26th, 1853; including the extra
      Christmas number, entitled, "A ROUND OF STORIES BY