« PreviousContinue »
A COTSWOLD VILLAGE
OR COUNTRY LIFE AND PURSUITS IN
By J. ARTHUR GIBBS
“Go, little booke; God send thee good passage,
And specially let this be thy prayere
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET
PRINTED AT THE EDINBURGH PRESS,
9 AND 11 YOUNG STREET
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION.
BEFORE the third edition of this work had been
EFORE the third edition of this work had been
published the author passed away, from sudden failure of the heart, at the early age of thirty-one. Two or three biographical notices, written by those who highly appreciated him and who deeply mourn his loss, have already appeared in the newspapers ; and I therefore wish to add only a few words about one whose kind smile of welcome will greet us no more in this life.
Joseph Arthur Gibbs was one of those rare natures who combine a love of outdoor life, cricket and sport of every kind, with a refined and scholarly taste for literature. He had, like his father, a keen observation for every detail in nature ; and from a habit of patient watchfulness he acquired great knowledge of natural history. From his grandfather, the late Sir Arthur Hallam Elton, he inherited his taste for literary work and the deep poetical feeling
which are revealed so clearly in his book. On leaving Eton, he wrote a Vale, of which his tutor, Mr. Luxmoore, expressed his high appreciation; and later on, when, after leaving Oxford, he was living a quiet country life, he devoted himself to literary pursuits.
He was not, however, so engrossed in his work as to ignore other duties; and he was especially interested in the villagers round his home, and ever ready to give what is of greater value than money, personal trouble and time in finding out their wants and in relieving them. His unvarying kindness and sympathy will never be forgotten at Ablington; for, as one of the villagers wrote in a letter of condolence on hearing of his death, "he went in and out as a friend among them." With all his tenderness of heart, he had a strict sense of justice and a clear judgment, and weighed carefully both sides of any question before he gave his verdict.
Arthur Gibbs went abroad at the end of March 1899 for a month's trip to Italy, and in his Journal he wrote many good descriptions of scenery and of the old towns; and the way in which he describes his last glimpse of Florence during a glorious sunset shows how greatly he appreciated its beauty. In his Journal in April he dwells on the shortness of life, and in the following solemn words he sounds a warning note: