regard to an affection of the eyes, which in some respects damaged my sight, I thought the time had arrived for me to retire from commercial life.

Some of my friends advised me to "slack off," and not to retire entirely from Bridgewater Foundry. But to do so was not in my nature. I could not be indifferent to any concern in which I was engaged. I must give my mind and heart to it as before. I could not give half to leisure, and half to business. I therefore concluded that a final decision was necessary. Fortunately I possessed an abundant and various stock of hobbies. I held all these in reserve to fall back upon. They would furnish me with an almost inexhaustible source of healthy employment. They might give me occupation for mind and body as long as I lived. I bethought me of the lines of Burns:Letter to James Smith, 18th verse

  • "Wi' steady aim some Fortune chase;
  • Keen hope does ev'ry sinew brace;
  • Thro' fair, thro' foul, they urge the race,
  • And seize the prey :
  • Then cannie, in some cosy place,
  • They close the day."
  • It was no doubt a great sorrow for me and my dear wife to leave the Home in which we had been so happy and prosperous for so many years. It was a cosy little cottage at Patricroft. We had named it "Fireside." It was small, but suitable for our requirements. We never needed to enlarge it, for we had no children to accommodate. It was within five minutes' walk of the Foundry, and I was scarcely ever out of reach of the Fireside, where we were both so happy. It had been sanctified by our united love for thirteen years. It was surrounded by a nice garden, planted with trees and shrubs. Though close to the Bridgewater Canal, and a busy manufacturing population was not far off, the cottage was perfectly quiet. It was in this garden, when I was arranging the telescope at night, that I had been detected by the passing boatman as "The Patricroft Ghost"

    When we were about to leave Patricroft, the Countess of Ellesmere, who, as well as the Earl, had always been our attached friends, wrote to my wife as follows:"I can well understand Mr. Nasmyth's satisfaction at the emancipation he looks forward to in December next. But I hope you do not expect us to share it! for what is so much natural pleasure to you is a sad loss and privation to us. I really don't know how we shall get on at Worsley without you. You have nevertheless my most sincere and hearty good wishes that the change may be as grateful to you both as anything in this world can be."

    Yet we had to tear ourselves away from this abode of peace and happiness. I had given notice to my partner[note: The "Partner" here referred to, was my excellent friend Henry Garnett, Esq., of Wyre Side, near Lancaster. He had been my sleeping partner or "Co." for nearly twenty years, and the most perfect harmony always existed between us.]

    that it was my intention to retire from business at the end of 1856. The necessary arrangements were accordingly made for carrying on the business after my retirement. All was pleasantly and satisfactorily settled several months before I finally left; and the character and prosperity of the Bridgewater Foundry have been continued to the present day.

    But where was I to turn to for a settled home? Many years before I had seen a charming picture by my brother Patrick of "A Cottage in Kent" It took such a hold of my memory and imagination that I never ceased to entertain the longing and ambition to possess such a cottage as a cosy place of refuge for the rest of my life. Accordingly, about six months before my final retirement, I accompanied my wife in a visit to the south. In the first place we made a careful selection from the advertisements in the Times of "desirable residences" in Kent. One in particular appeared very tempting. We set out to view it. It seemed to embody all the conditions that we had pictured in our imagination as necessary to fulfil the idea of our "Cottage in Kent." It had been the property of F. R. Lee, the Royal Academician. With a few alterations and additions it would entirely answer our purpose. So we bought the property.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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