25 DECEMBER 1880, Page 14



SIR,—The fierce bitterness of defeated demand for recognition and sympathy—issuing in resolve that they who will not feel

with us, or feel for us, shall be forced to feel by us—may, you suggest, have driven coarser natures even to homicide. With spirits of softer mould, might not the issue have been suicide ?—

" The only art her sins to cover,

To bide her shame from every eye, To bring repentance to her lover,

And wring his bosom,—is to die."

And, to others also, forlorn in other manners, there may many times have seemed to be the same one way left them for com- pelling the sympathy which they could not win. Few—in "Caleb Williams," I think it is—would be satisfied with the re- ception given to the tidings of their own deaths. Few of us realise how small and slight a circling upon the world's waters would be raised by the pebble of our own self-effacement, that self-effacement which to ourselves would be the blotting-out of all earth and sky. I have often thought that suicide may thus have been the joint outcome of baffled crave for sympathy, and of self-conceited simplicity, of fond hope and fancy that in that way the sympathy could not but be secured. If this be so, doubtless the number of such suicides would be largely multi- plied by the loss of that "sky abose, and an Almighty Father looking down from it," whose unfastidions ear is supposed to be ever open even to "poor, gaunt Hephzibah," in "The House of the Seven Gables," and her "0 God, our Father! are we not thy children? Have mercy on us !"—I am, Sir, &c.,