Page:Did Charles Bradlaugh die an atheist.djvu/5

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It is seven years since Death touched my father's eyes with the touch which brings eternal sleep.

It is seven years since we carried him to his last resting place in that quiet, pine-scented city of the dead, where, with its tranquillity ever undisturbed, it lies side by side with the great south-western road, over which, through all the hours of day and night, the trains roll with vibrant scream of warning as they bear their burden of noisy life.

Since that day seven years ago, scarcely a month has passed in which I have not been called upon to take up my pen in my father's behalf. Sometimes he is accused of grossly dishonorable conduct; sometimes people, unable to admit that they themselves have changed, tell how the considerate gentleman they knew in later years had once been a coarse and violent braggart; and sometimes—this is now the most frequent allegation—it is said that before he died my father changed his opinions and became a Christian. It is by no means unusual for persons to make these statements as though of their own personal knowledge, or as communicated to them by some one who had direct personal knowledge. This was the course pursued by such well-known people as Mr. Charles Cooper, editor of the Scotsman, the late Sir Isaac Holden, and the Countess Wachtmeister, of whom the last was the only one who had the grace to apologise when attention was drawn to the inaccuracy.

I am not proposing to collect here and refute the various fables which have been started to pander to the credulous during these seven years, but in order to meet the wishes expressed by many of my father's friends in