The Sussex Country Doctor. 131
rectory, and renovated by fresh air and a ride " after hounds ?" Or was it the diversity of occupation—the passing from one pursuit to another, suffering none of them to become that engrossing toil of mind or body which grinds the intellect of a man to dust? One or other of these it must have been that gave such strength and elasticity to men of Dr. Verral's stamp, and made them men of society as well as of science, poets and politicians, writers and talkers and thinkers, and not unfrequently, as in Dr. Verral's case, inventors as well.
For, wide and active as were the Seaford doctor's pursuits, he sought to extend his practice by a mechanical invention, for the relief of patients afflicted by diseases of the spine, of great merit, and which has been of late years turned to good account. He himself did not live to see it brought into full operation. In his autumn of life a quick succession of terrible misfortunes fell upon him that would have shattered a man of less vigour, and did, most unquestionably, embitter and shorten his life, though he bore up against them with a courage that was heroic. His eldest daughter—a beautiful and talented young woman, and whom her father loved with almost more than a father's affection—the daughter who was a mother to his younger children when he was left without a wife—she faded and pined away, and at length died, under a home-sorrow that had thrown a dark shadow on her father's happiness and against which she could not bear up. The lines in which he poured forth his grief for her loss are now lying before me. They are amongst the most touching and beautiful, I think, that a poet has ever penned in the bitterness of a death-grief. They were written down at the house of an old friend in Brighton, whose daughter had been his daughter's dearest companion. I make no excuse for copying them from the columns of the Brighton Herald, where they appeared above 40 years ago:—
We've lain her in the cold churchyard,
Beneath a mound of clay; Lov'd as she was, we've left her there,
To loathsome worms a prey.