More books. My previous post told the story of my Grandad Lane’s early life, including his close bond with his uncle, Stephen Lane, squire of Worton Hall in Isleworth. This recent discovery at the Northampton regional branch of the Usmeum (Brother 2’s house) seems to confirm this relationship. The book’s front cover carries this inscription inside:
The fact that Charles kept this book his whole lifetime says much about what the relationship must have meant to him. The book itself is a sentimental Victorian eulogy to country life, with rural-themed poems illustrated in sepia tones:
Woman’s Way, by Frederic E. Weatherly, has a resonance that reaches through the intervening years to me:
“We went a-gleaning early was the morn,
We went a-gleaning among the yellow corn
But ere the birds were singing and ere the sun was high
We fell a-quarrelling, my love and I.So I went eastward, and he went west,
For let men say
Whate’er they may,
But woman’s way is best!
I went a-gleaning, all alone was I
Weary was the stubble, wearyful and dry
Why did he leave me? Twas he who began
He began the quarrel, just like a man!
But someone came towards me, clasp’d me to his breast
And there’s no doubt
When folks fall out
That man’s way is best!”
This whimsical little ditty (penned by the lyricist of many popular tunes of the time, including Danny Boy), could almost stand as a metaphor for my grandparents’ break-up. Although it was caused by my grandfather’s behaviour, he would probably have blamed my grandmother (and her “woman’s way”) for making the ultimatum that resulted in his departure. And I am sure that she would have taken him back had he ever returned, like the man in the poem, and expressed contrition or regret. He never did.
My grandfather seems to have found some solace in books whilst serving in the First World War. This one was also found amongst his things:
..with this inscription inside the cover:
A murmur still runs through these books, over a hundred years, from my mysterious grandfather to me.