Most Beautiful Last Will and Testament Excerpts Part 1

About the most beautiful last will and testament in history written for Charles Lounsbury by Williston Fish, excerpts from the will.


A Last Will

He was stronger and cleverer, no doubt, than other men, and in many broad lines of business he had grown rich, until his wealth exceeded exaggeration. One morning, in his office, he directed a request to his confidential lawyer to come to him in the afternoon--he intended to have his will drawn. A will is a solemn matter, even with men whose life is given up to business and who are by habit mindful of the future. After giving this direction he took up no other matter, but sat at his desk alone and in silence.

It was a day when summer was 1st new. The pale leaves upon the trees were starting forth upon the yet unbending branches. The grass in the parks had a freshness in its green like the freshness of the blue in the sky and of the yellow of the sun--a freshness to make one wish that life might renew its youth. The clear breezes from the south wantoned about, and then were still, as if loath to go finally away. Half idly, half thoughtfully, the rich man wrote upon the white paper before him, beginning what he wrote with capital letters, such as he had not made since, as a boy in school, he had taken pride in his skill with the pen:


I, CHARLES LOUNSBURY, being of sound and disposing mind and memory (he lingered on the word memory), do now make and publish this my last will and testament, in order, as justly as I may, to distribute my interests in the world among succeeding men.

And 1st, that part of my interests which is known among men and recognized in the sheep-bound volumes of the law as my property, being inconsiderable and of none-account, I make no account of in this my will.

My right to live, it being but a life estate, is not at my disposal, but these things expected, all else in the world I now proceed to devise and bequeath.

Item--And 1st, I give to good fathers and mothers, but in trust for their children, nevertheless, all good little words of praise and all quaint pet names, and I charge said parents to use them justly but generously as the needs of their children shall require.

Item--I leave to children exclusively, but only for the life of their childhood, all and every the dandelions of the fields and the daisies thereof, with the right to play among them freely, according to the custom of children, warning them at the same time against the thistles. And I devise to children the yellow shores of creeks and the golden sands beneath the waters thereof, with the dragonflies that skim the surface of said waters, and the odors of the willows that dip into said waters, and the white clouds that float high over the giant trees.

And I leave to children the long, long days to be merry in, in a thousand ways, and the Night and the Moon and the train of the Milky Way to wonder at, but subject, nevertheless, to the rights hereinafter given to lovers; and I give to each child the right to choose a star that shall be his, and I direct that the child's father shall tell him the name of it, in order that the child shall always remember the name of that star after he has learned and forgotten astronomy.

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