Page:The letters of William Blake (1906).djvu/56

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by his son's description, a lenient and affectionate father, always more ready to encourage than to chide. Catherine Blake, his wife, and the mother of the artist, has been represented as being possessed of all those endearing sympathies so peculiar to maternal tenderness. The eldest son, John, was the favourite of his father and mother; and, as frequently in life, the object least worthy is most cherished, so he, a dissolute, disreputable youth, carried away the principal of his parent's attachment, leaving the four others, William, James, Catherine, and Robert, to share the interest between them. William often remonstrated, and was as often told to be quiet, and that he would by and by beg his bread at John's door; but, as is sometimes proved to parents' sorrow, their pet will not be petted into honour nor their darling into any other admiration than their own. John was apprenticed to a gingerbread baker, with an enormous premium, served his apprenticeship with reluctance, became abandoned and miserable, and literally, contrary to his parents' presage, sought bread at the door of William. He lived a few reckless days, enlisted as a soldier, and died. James continued the business at the death of his father and mother, and having a saving, somniferous mind, lived a yard and a half life, pestered his brother, the