Monday, May 20, 2013


He was stronger and cleverer, no doubt, than other men, and in many broad lines of business he had grown rich, until his wealth exceeded exaggeration. One morning, in his office, he directed a request to his con­
entiallawyer to come to him in the afternoon. He ended to have his will drawn.
A will is a solemn matter, even with men whose
e is given up to business, and who are by habit mind­ful of the future. After giving this direction, he took up no other matter, but sat at his desk alone and in sil~nce.
It was a day when summer was first new. The pale leaves upon the trees were starting forth upon the still unbendiilg branches. The grass in the parks had a freshness in its green like the freshness of the blue in the sky and of the yellow of the sun-a freshness to make one wish that life might renew its youth. The clear breezes from the south wantoned about, and then were still, as if loath to go finally away.
Half idly, half thoughtfully, the rich man wrote upon the white paper before him, beginning what he wrote with capital letters, such as he had not made since, as a boy at school, he had taken pride in his slilll with the pen:
"IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN: I, Charles Lounsbury, being of sound and disposing mind and memory [he lin­gered on the word memory], do now make and publish this, my LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, in order, as justly
as I may, to distribute my interests in the world among
succeeding men.
"And first, that part of my interests whicn is known in the law and recognized in the sheep-bound volumes as my property, being inconsiderable and of none account, I make no account of it in this my will.
       "My right to live, it being but a life estate, is not at my disposal, but, these excepted, all else in the world I now proceed to devise and bequeath.
"I TEy-And first, I give to good fathers and mothers,. but in trust for their chudren, nevertheless, all good little words of praise and all quaint pet names, and I charge said parents to use them justly, but generously,
as the needs of their children shall require.
"lTEy-I leave to children exclusively, but only for the life of their childhood, all and every, the dande­lions of the fields and the daisies thereof, with the right to play among them freely, according to the custom of
children, warning them at the same time against the thistles. And I devise to children the yellow shores of creeks and the gold~n sands beneath the waters thereof, with the dragon-flies that skim the surface of said waters, and the odors of the willows that dip into said waters, and the white clouds that float high over the giant trees.
"And I leave to children the long, long days to be merry in, in a thousand ways, and the Night and the
Moon and the train of the Milky Way to wonder at, but subject, nevertheless, to the right thereinafter given
to lovers; and I give to each child the right to choose a star that shall be his, and I direct that the child's father shaJI tell him the name of it, in order that the cbi1d shall always remember the name of that star after he has learned and forgotten astronomy.
"ITEM-I devise to boys jointly all the useful idle fields and commons where ball may be played, and all snow-clad hills where one may coast, a;nd all streams and ponds where one may skate, to have and to hold the same for the period of their boyhood. And all meadows, with the clov;er blooms and butterflies thereof; and all woods, with their appurtenances of squirrels and whirring birds and echoes and strange noises: and all
distant places which may be visited, together with the'
adventures there found, I do give to said boys to be theirs; and I give to said boys each his own place at the fireside at night, with all the pictures that may be seen in the burning wood or coal, to enjoy without let or hindrance, and without any incumbrance of cares.
"ITEM-To lovers I devise their imaginary 'World, with whatever they may need, as the stars of the sky, the red, red roses by the wall, the snow of 'the hawthorn, the sweet strains of music, of aught else they may de­sire to figure to each other the lastingness and beauty of their love.
"ITEM-To young men jointly, being joined in a brave, mad crowd. I devise and bequeath all boisterous, inspiring sports of rivalry. I give to them the disdain of weakness a~d undaunted confidence in their own strength. Though they are rude and rougp, I leave to them alone the power of making lasting friendships and
of possessing companions: and to them exclusively I give all merry songs and brave choruses to sing, with
smooth voices to troll them forth.
"ITEM-And to those who are no longer children or
youths, or lovers, or young men, I leave a memory, and
I leave to them the volumes of the poems of Burns and Shakespeare, and of other poets, if there are others, to
the end that they may live the old days over again freely and fully, without tithe or diminution: and to those who are no longer children or youths or lovers I leave, too, the knowledge of what a rare, rare world
it is."                                                                 Williston Fish.

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