Page:Passages from the Life of a Philosopher.djvu/20

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4
SAD OMISSION.

Tor, Babbacombe, &c. But this is evidently erroneous; for, when a people took possession of a desert country, its various localities could possess no names; consequently, the colonists could not take names from the country to which they migrated, but would very naturally give their own names to the several lands they appropriated: "mais revenons à nos moutons."

How my blood was transmitted to me through more modern races, is quite immaterial, seeing the admitted antiquity of the flint-workers.

In recent times, that is, since the Conquest, my knowledge of the history of my family is limited by the unfortunate omission of my name from the roll of William's followers. Those who are curious about the subject, and are idlers, may, if they think it worth while, search all the parish registers in the West of England and elsewhere.

The light I can throw upon it is not great, and rests on a few documents, and on family tradition. During the past four generations I have no surviving collateral relatives of my own name.

The name of Babbage is not uncommon in the West of England. One day during my boyhood, I observed it over a small grocer's shop, whilst riding through the town of Chudley. I dismounted, went into the shop, purchased some figs, and found a very old man of whom I made inquiry as to his family. He had not a good memory himself, but his wife told me that his name was Babb when she married him, and that it was only, during the last twenty years he had adopted the name of Babbage, which, the old man thought, sounded better. Of course I told his wife that I entirely agreed with her husband, and thought him a very sensible fellow.

The craft most frequently practised by my ancestors seems