In a Letter from Mr. Candy
Frizinghall, Wednesday, September 26th, 1849.--Dear Mr. Franklin Blake, you
will anticipate the sad news I have to tell you, on finding your letter to Ezra
Jennings returned to you, unopened, in this enclosure. He died in my arms, at
sunrise, on Wednesday last.
I am not to blame for having failed to warn you that his end was at hand. He
expressly forbade me to write to you. "I am indebted to Mr. Franklin Blake," he
said, "for having seen some happy days. Don't distress him, Mr. Candy-- don't
His sufferings, up to the last six hours of his life, were terrible to see. In the
intervals of remission, when his mind was clear, I entreated him to tell me of any
relatives of his to whom I might write. He asked to be forgiven for refusing
anything to me. And then he said--not bitterly--that he would die as he had lived,
forgotten and unknown. He maintained that resolution to the last. There is no
hope now of making any discoveries concerning him. His story is a blank.
The day before he died, he told me where to find all his papers. I brought them to
him on his bed. There was a little bundle of old letters which he put aside. There
was his unfinished book. There was his Diary--in many locked volumes. He
opened the volume for this year, and tore out, one by one, the pages relating to
the time when you and he were together. "Give those," he said, "to Mr. Franklin
Blake. In years to come, he may feel an interest in looking back at what is written
there." Then he clasped his hands, and prayed God fervently to bless you, and
those dear to you. He said he should like to see you again. But the next moment
he altered his mind. "No," he answered when I offered to write. "I won't distress
him! I won't distress him!"
At his request I next collected the other papers--that is to say, the bundle of
letters, the unfinished book and the volumes of the Diary-- and enclosed them all
in one wrapper, sealed with my own seal. "Promise," he said, "that you will put
this into my coffin with your own hand; and that you will see that no other hand
touches it afterwards."
I gave him my promise. And the promise has been performed.
He asked me to do one other thing for him--which it cost me a hard struggle to
comply with. He said, "Let my grave be forgotten. Give me your word of honour
that you will allow no monument of any sort-- not even the commonest
tombstone--to mark the place of my burial. Let me sleep, nameless. Let me rest,
unknown." When I tried to plead with him to alter his resolution, he became for
the first, and only time, violently agitated. I could not bear to see it; and I gave
way. Nothing but a little grass mound marks the place of his rest. In time, the
tombstones will rise round it. And the people who come after us will look and
wonder at the nameless grave.