Sunday, December 04, 2011
21 Years Old - What you need
I could not resist a pause on the 360 odd mile round trip to explore a second hand bookshop. One of the titles I purchased was a book which turned out to have a handwritten inscription. In beautiful copperplate ink, it reads thus:
'Oct 19th, 1898
To Evelyn Milnes Gaskill,
With much affectionate remembrance on his 21st birthday -
Words are the true reflection of the mind,
If it so be, that they be honest, each to the other, nor by pride do overreach the cord, which God around them hath entwined; Thus when the heart is warm, it is inclined to utter by the tongue sweet words of love, responsive to the thoughts that inward move - words that seek out and will not lag behind.
Tis so dear Evelyn, between you and me, on this occasion of your natal day,
When you attain to manhood's full estate,
My prayers rise up today that you may be in God's safe keeping, as years pass away; Blest in this love, whose bidding angels wait.
One assumes with an inscription such as that, the young woman selected the book with care - it would contain the kind of knowledge that a man would require upon reaching 'manhood's full estate' in the year 1898.
The book's title?
'A History of the Church of England' by Henry Wakeman, fellow of All Soul's College, Oxford.
Times have changed - today not many 21 year old's receive a book like that as a sign of being equipped for adult life.