Samstag, 23. April 2011

Thus the younger brothers stepped into the bright and lurid light of war for their brief hour - and it turned out to be their only hour. Life after the Civil War was for them a long and painful anticlimax. Imbued with the cause for which they had fought, Wilky and Bob set out to be plantation owners in Florida with paid Negro labor. They struggled valiantly, risked their lives, lost large sums of money advanced them by their father, and finally gave up. The rest of Wilky’s brief life was a series of efforts to find a place for himself in a disjointed America; sociable, as always, improvident, he finally drifted westward, worked as a railway clerk and died before he was forty after a period of prolonged ill-health. Robertson lived into our century, a brilliant, erratic individual, gifted, witty, deeply unhappy. He worked for a railroad for a while; he tried to paint, he wrote verse, he travelled; he experienced a series of religious conflicts much like his father - for a while he found solace in Catholicism, the he rebelled against the Church’s authority and turned to the family religion, Swedenborgianism. There were periods of heavy drinking and guilt. He died in the same year as William, 1910, and Henry mourning him, spoke of the vicacity of his intelligence, the variety of his gifts and the easiest aptitude for admirable talk, charged with natural life, perception, humour and colour, that I have perhaps ever known.

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