could do much to bridge the social gulf between ourselves and the people of family about us.
I had just snatches of that conversation. "Mrs. Merridew brought him quite a lot of money. Her father, I believe, had been in the Spanish wine trade—quite a lady, though. And after that he fell off his horse and cracked his brain pan and took to fishing and farming. I'm sure you'll like to know them. He's most amusing. . . . The daughter had a disappointment and went to China as a missionary and got mixed up in a massacre." . . .
"The most beautiful silks and things she brought back, you'd hardly believe!" . . .
"Yes, they gave them to propitiate her. You see they didn't understand the difference, and they thought that as they'd been massacring people, they'd be massacred. They didn't understand the difference Christianity makes." . . .
"Seven bishops they've had in the family!" . . .
"Married a Papist and was quite lost to them." . . .
"He failed some dreadful examination and had to go into the militia." . . .
"So she bit his leg as hard as ever she could and he let go." . . .
"Had four of his ribs amputated." . . .
"Caught meningitis and was carried off in a week."
"Had to have a large piece of silver tube let into his throat, and if he wants to talk he puts his finger on it. It makes him so interesting, I think. You feel he's sincere somehow. A most charming man in every way."
"Preserved them both in spirits very luckily, and there they are in his study, though of course he doesn't show them to everybody."