Page:The Life of William Morris.djvu/187

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166
[1862
THE LIFE OF

At the christening of the baby, named Jane Alice, after his wife and his youngest sister, there was a great gathering of friends. "The day of the christening," one of them writes, "was rainy and windy. I remember the flapping of the cover of the wagonette and a feeling of hurry-skurry through the weather in the short drive to Bexley Church. The dinner was at a T-shaped table. It must have been at it that I remember Gabriel sitting in a royal manner and munching raisins from a dish in front of him before dessert time. The Marshalls, the Browns, Swinburne, were there. Janey and I went together with a candle to look at the beds strewn about the drawing room for the men. Swinburne had a sofa; I think P.P. Marshall's was made on the floor."

On the 25th of March in the following year a second girl was born, and named Mary, after the Lady of the day.

The life of those years at Red House was for Morris one of almost complete contentment. "I grieve to say," Faulkner writes just before the Christmas of 1863, "he has only kicked one panel out of a door for this twelvemonth past." The orderly civic element, which was always one of the strongest threads in his nature, developed till he became what he would himself have called in later days a typical bourgeois, the sort of father of a family whose features were being weekly registered by Leech. Indeed, as he quite realized himself, there was in him a distinct strain of Mr. Briggs. Like tens of thousands of his fellow-citizens, he joined a volunteer corps during the war scare of the winter of 1859-60. Lady Burne-Jones remembers that he was in camp with his battalion at Wimbledon in June, 1861, when the great Tooley Street fire broke out, and how he brought down news of its progress on returning to