128 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
the " Doctor," by universal consent, of Seaford. I may proclaim his name without reserve, for he has long passed away, and no member of his large family, and few, if any, of his still larger circle of friends, are to be found at Seaford; and if his name and memory still linger there, it is probably because they are linked with the almost tragic troubles that clouded the latter years of his life.*
Charles Verral stood high as a medical practitioner in Seaford and its neighbourhood. I do not know whether he held a diploma as a physician, or whether, as is often the case in the country, he was called " Doctor" by custom or courtesy. His profession was that of a general practitioner. But he was much more than a doctor. He was a poet; he was a dramatist; he delighted in literature and music and Art; he was a keen politician, and could hold his own when brought, as he was, into contact with men moving in the highest political sphere, like Agar Ellis, and even, if I mistake not, Canning, the intimate friend of Agar Ellis, and a frequent visitor to his seat at Seaford. And then his general conversation and his manners with all men—and women, too, and children—were so charming, so genial and pleasant, so frank and natural—that in a moment, to whichever of these categories you belonged, you were at your ease, and gave all that you had to give of your little store and received with delight the larger measure he dealt out in return. And of this, on his side, there was no stint. He delighted to pour forth his full streams of knowledge and fancy; but neither did he overwhelm you with them. It was to him as great a pleasure to receive as to give—to encourage others to show their little stock of knowledge as to exhibit his own larger one. He never preached, like Coleridge, or talked for victory, like Johnson, but made conversation a pleasant mode of bartering thought for thought. He delighted in being one
* Several letters drawn forth from residents in Seaford and its neighbourhood by the appearance of this paper in the Brighton Herald attested to the fact that Dr. Verral was still, in 1876, remembered with strong affection and respect by many of his former friends and patients.