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wrong horse, never coveted barren honour, never pursued shadows when the substance was attainable, never allowed their zeal to go beyond discretion. You may call them trimmers if you choose, but of such are the wise men of the world, who do not tilt with windmills, and who get the solid good things of life and leave their broad acres to their posterity in quiet confidence that these latter will not forget the schooling they have received and the lessons they have learnt from their forefathers.

Yet when men like these rise too high they fall like others. Sir John Brocas had been steadily and warily building up the fortunes of his house; but already there were little clouds here and there that seemed to bode trouble. His two elder sons died before him, the one unmarried, the other with an only son, apparently of no capacity or promise; the third son alone remained. He was all his father could wish him to be, but he, too, had his troubles. He had made a brilliant marriage, but his wife was unfaithful-so unfaithful that the outraged husband obtained a divorce. Sir Bernard was not the man to be crushed by a scandal. His first wife's misconduct only made him more resolved to get a better one next time. He aspired actually to ally himself with Joan Plantagenet, the fair Maid of Kent; and he might have won her, too, if she had not made

up her mind to wed a better than he, even the Black Prince himself. Whereupon Sir Bernard did the next best thing that was open to him-he took to wife the heiress of the De Roches family, and became by this stroke of policy not only a great territorial landlord but Master of the Buckhounds, an office which became hereditary in his family. When the Black Prince engages upon that cruel raid into Narbonne—hanging, burning, slaying—Sir Bernard is at his side; so he is when the victory of Poitiers is over. Other doughty warriors spend their prizemoney in revelry. Not he! The roysterers may take their pleasure in their own way; he has his. So when John Pecche of Roche Court gets into difficulties, Sir Bernard has money to lend upon the estate, and by-and-by there comes something like a foreclosing of the mortgage: Pecche goes out and Brocas walks in. Of the fallen house we hear no more; of the rising one there are five centuries of records, such as they are, to prove how stubbornly they could cling to their own. Old Sir John must have been a proud man when he died in 1365, and in the fulness of his heart he settles lands on the Windsor Lazar House, and founds oratories. For was it not well to

make friends of the mammon of unrighteousness and, in the event of anything going wrong in this world, securing a safe berth in the next?

As Sir John Brocas took care to provide for his soul's interests, so did his son. He too gave largely to more than one religious foundation. He founded a chantry at Clewer; he was a liberal benefactor to Southwick Priory; he assigned estates in Dorset and Wilts to the Prior and Convent of Mons Ederosi in Normandy. He could well spare them. As early as 1366 he and his appear to have had the whole administration of Gascony in their hands. Next year he was probably at the memorable battle of Navarete. While the Black Prince was celebrating his victory in rejoicings and festivities at Burgos, and allowing himself to be hoodwinked by Peter the Cruel, somehow Sir Bernard managed to take care of himself, and in July 1368 he is safe and sound at Winchester, and among the guests at the enthronement of William of Wykeham, his father's friend and his own. Next year he is knight of the shire for his own county. After 1373 he disappears from the House of Commons; there was nothing to be got there. Better look after his own lands down in the country, and get a license to impark his estate at Beaurepaire, and enclose therewith a slice of the royal forest of Pamber. Then year by year things went strangely in the political world. Edward III. appeared to be in his dotage, while the Black Prince and John of Gaunt were in sullen conflict, the one a hero and the people's idol, who was fading away out of life; the other a reckless incompetent, who had just been shamefully humbled and driven out of France. The Black Prince and the Commons were for reforms; John of Gaunt was for strengthening the baronage and for getting himself named as next heir to the throne—that meant that young Richard of Bordeaux should be set aside. The Black Prince died on June 8, 1376. Of course Brocas was present at his funeral. The prince made his will the day before, and appointed among his executors John of Gaunt and William of Wykeham. The two were soon at variance; Wykeham's sun suffered eclipse, but Sir Bernard Brocas even at such a time could sail upon the top of the wave. Professor Burrows has his brief, and pleads his client's cause skilfully, but he is not likely to convince many that the prudent knight at such a crisis as this could have gained the captaincy of Calais, with no less than six other appointments, military and diplomatic, in the course of two years, only to keep him

out of the way. The truth seems to be that Sir Bernard was necessary to both parties by turns. John of Gaunt has the upper hand one day and Wykeham the next, and each found it advisable to conciliate Brocas, who made his account out of each in turns. Ten years later he is in Parliament again, and so is Geoffrey Chaucer; and soon after he and his kinsman Arnald Brocas are concerned in the rebuilding of Westminster Hall, with Wykeham as the architect and Chaucer as clerk of the works; while old Gower, already half blind, was munificently contributing to the rebuilding of St. Mary Overy's church on the other side of the river. New College, Oxford, had just been finished, and Winchester School just begun. Wicklif had been dead a year or two. Richard II. was ruling as a despot, and Sir Bernard was getting richer and richer, though he had but one son alive to represent him, and his two nephews had died without heirs. At last, like the lucky man that he always was, he himself died just at the right time before the crash came, and there is his tomb to testify of his greatness in the place of honour within St. Edmund's Chapel at Westminster Abbey.

Only one Brocas remained—the second Sir Bernard, son and heir of the first—and within five years of his father's death his head was fixed up upon London Bridge, and rightly or wrongly he had died a traitor's death for the part which he took, or was supposed to have taken, in the desperate attempt to restore Richard II. to the throne. With the death and attainder of this last Sir Bernard Brocas, and with the reversal of that attainder and succession of his son to the estates (which was another instance of the good fortune of the family at this time), the story might well have closed, and the sequel need not have filled many pages. This, too, is Professor Burrows's own opinion ; but that he had so much material on his hands, and so much time had been spent upon that material, and so much to say about it that he could not-perhaps it was not in flesh and blood--forbear from saying a great deal more. His text was the Brocas chest of documents, and the sermon must needs deal with the whole text; and the preacher could not resist the temptation of going on to the bitter end.

We doubt very

much whether our readers would thank us if we indulged in any elaborate comment.

Nevertheless, the long story of the fortunes of the family for nearly five centuries from the death of its last hero is not without interest or instruction. It was more than two

hundred years before another Brocas received the honour of knighthood, and he was the only spendthrift, profligate, and something worse whose name brought shame upon his house. It is suggestive to note how these people exhibited for ages their characteristic wariness and tenacity. Men might come and men might go, but the Brocases clung to their houses and lands. The son and heir of the last Sir Bernard held up his head somewhat proudly during his lifetime. He was more than once knight of the shire and High Sheriff for Hampshire, but after him there was no more rising and no more glory. It seems as if they had had enough of politics and of the court; they were not ambitious, they did not aim high. During all the wars of the Roses and all the terror of the Tudors they kept themselves close and walked warily, but they held their own and did something more. They married heiresses again and again ; the elder branch came to an end, and the great Beaurepaire estate passed through the heiress to the Pexsalls, who in their turn died out in the male line. But there was still a Brocas to the rescue, and another Bernard, who represented the younger branch of Horton, married the heiress of the Pexsalls, and Beaurepaire came back to the descendants of its former possessor. They retained the Mastership of the Buckhounds till 1633, and the last Brocas of Beaurepaire died in 1777, leaving no legitimate heirs. The blood was worn out at last; the wonder is that it lasted so long.

It seems pretty clear to an observant eye that this race had no elements of greatness in it. The founders of the family were shrewd sagacious men, of business capacity, adventurers with a very unusual faculty of getting on and of making good use of their opportunities. They transmitted to their posterity many of those qualities which helped their own advancement. What one generation gained the succeeding generation kept, but they never got beyond the point which was reached at the end of the fourteenth century. After that it was only a question of time when they would come to an end. We conceive that Professor Burrows's book would prove a work of unusual interest to Mr. Francis Galton and the students of heredity, and to them we commend it in the confidence that they will find more instruction in the volume than the students of history. Nevertheless, we should do an injustice to the Chichele professor if we conveyed the impression that history lies under few or no obligations to him for all the labour and research which he has spent upon this family

chronicle. The book is full to overflowing of illustrations for the historian, and it is for these that such monographs are as a rule chiefly valuable. Take, for instance, the carefully compiled dissertation upon the Mastership of the Royal Buckhounds, and the really valuable account of the conspiracy of the earls at the beginning of the year 1400; the instances we get of the general rapacity and wild scramble for gain; the buying and selling of everything whereby money could be made during the fourteenth century, whether it were widows or orphans, prisoners of war, places of emolument or next presentations to ecclesiastical beneficesall are to be had for money, and nobody is ashamed. Then, too, there are episodes more or less picturesque and startling in the chronicles of the house. Such a one is the career of Sir Pexsall Brocas, of whoin it is a little difficult to decide whether he was vicious and criminal because he was a madman, or mad as the consequence of his vices and his crimes. He was brought before the High Commission Court in 1604, on some very serious charges (though he had been knighted by James I. the year before), but he managed to get a pardon for rioting, forgery, and perjury—a sufficiently heavy accumulation of misdeeds, which it seems there was no denying. Five or six years after he gave out that he was going to found a new college at Oxford, to be called Brocas College. Three years later, on Sunday, October 24, 1613, • Sir Pexsall Brocas did open penance at Paul's Cross; he

stood in a white sheet and held a stick in his hand, having • been formerly convicted before the High Commissioners

for secret and notorious adulteries with divers women.' This is very strange when we consider the times and the rank and wealth of the penitent; but much more strange and almost incredible is the next piece of intelligence which reaches us, that this same man was attended by thirty men in scarlet that ' waited upon him to the Lord Mayor, when he went to demand 'a dinner after his penance.' The riotous and debauched old knight, who, we are sorry to find, died on his bed “full of ' years and dishonour, could boast of having been the last man in England who kept a professional jester in his house. Surely it was quite unnecessary. Sir Pexsall's whole life was a broad farce, though there is a certain lurid glare about it now and then. The jester could never have outdone his master in playing the fool. Did he offer to change caps with the eccentric knight when he heard that Sir Pexsall had seriously attempted to provide a monument for himself in Westminster Abbey ?



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