The Project Gutenberg EBook of Records of Later Life, by Frances Ann Kemble

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Title: Records of Later Life

Author: Frances Ann Kemble

Release Date: December 6, 2009 [EBook #30612]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Transcriber's note

The author's spelling and hyphenation are inconsistent, and have not been changed except in the case of obvious typographical errors, which are listed at the end of this e-text. Spellings and accents in foreign languages are particularly eccentric.

Records of Later Life






Philadelphia, October 26th, 1834.

Dearest Mrs. Jameson,

However stoutly your incredulity may have held out hitherto against the various "authentic" reports of my marriage, I beg you will, upon receipt of this, immediately believe that I was married on the 7th of June last, and have now been a wife nearly five mortal months. You know that in leaving the stage I left nothing that I regretted; but the utter separation from my family consequent upon settling in this country, is a serious source of pain to me....

With regard to what you say, about the first year of one's marriage not being as happy as the second, I know not how that may be. I had pictured to myself no fairyland of enchantments within the mysterious precincts of matrimony; I expected from it rest, quiet, leisure to study, to think, and to work, and legitimate channels for the affections of my nature....

In the closest and dearest friendship, shades of character, and the precise depth and power of the various qualities of mind and heart, never approximate to such a degree, as to preclude all possibility of occasional misunderstandings.

"Not e'en the nearest heart, and most our own,
Knows half the reasons why we smile or sigh."

It is impossible that it should be otherwise: for no two human beings were ever fashioned absolutely alike, even in their gross outward bodily form and lineaments, and how should the fine and infinite spirit admit of such similarity with another? But the broad and firm principles upon which all honorable and enduring sympathy is founded, the love of truth, the reverence for right, the abhorrence of all that is base and   unworthy, admit of no difference or misunderstanding; and where these exist in the relations of two people united for life, it seems to me that love and happiness, as perfect as this imperfect existence affords, may be realized....

Of course, kindred, if not absolutely similar, minds, do exist; but they do not often meet, I think, and hardly ever unite. Indeed, though the enjoyment of intercourse with those who resemble us may be very great, I suppose the influence of those who differ from us is more wholesome; for in mere unison of thought and feeling there could be no exercise for forbearance, toleration, self-examination by comparison with another nature, or the sifting of one's own opinions and feelings, and testing their accuracy and value, by contact and contrast with opposite feelings and opinions. A fellowship of mere accord, approaching to identity in the nature of its members, would lose much of the uses of human intercourse and its worth in the discipline of life, and, moreover, render the separation of death intolerable. But I am writing you a disquisition, and no one needs it less....

I did read your praise of me, and thank you for it; it is such praise as I wish I deserved, and the sense of the affection which dictated it, in some measure, diminished my painful consciousness of demerit. But I thank you for so pleasantly making me feel the excellence of moral worth, and though the picture you held up to me as mine made me blush for the poor original, yet I may strive to become more like your likeness of me, and so turn your praise to profit. Those who love me will read it perhaps with more satisfaction than my conscience allows me to find in it, and for the pleasure which they must derive from such commendation of me I thank you with all my heart.

What can I tell you of myself? My life, and all its occupations, are of a sober neutral tint. I am busy preparing my Journal for the press. I read but little, and that of old-fashioned kinds. I have never read much, and am disgracefully ignorant: I am looking forward with delight to hours of quiet study, and the mental hoards in store for me. I am busy preparing to leave town; I am at present, and have been ever since my marriage, staying in the house of my brother-in-law, and feel not a little anxious to be in a home of my own. But painters, and carpenters, and upholsterers are dirty divinities of a lower order, not to be moved, or hastened, by human invocations (or even imprecations), and we must e'en bide their time.

I please myself much in the fancying of furniture, and fitting up of the house; and I look forward to a garden, green-house, and dairy, among my future interests, to each of which I intend to addict myself zealously.

  My pets are a horse, a bird, and a black squirrel, and I do not see exactly what more a reasonable woman could desire. Human companionship, indeed, at present, I have not much of; but as like will to like, I do not despair of attracting towards me, by-and-by, some of my own kind, with whom I may enjoy pleasant intercourse; but you can form no idea—none—none—of the intellectual dearth and drought in which I am existing at present.

I care nothing for politics here, ... though I wish this great Republic well. But what are the rulers and guides of the people doing in England? I see the abolition of the Peerage has been suggested, but, I presume, as a bad joke.... If I were a man in England, I should like to devote my life to the cause of national progress, carried on through party politics and public legislation; and if I was not a Christian, I think, every now and then, I should like to shoot Brougham.... You speak of coming to this country: but I do not think you would like it; though you are much respected, admired, and loved here.

I have not met Miss Martineau yet, but I am afraid she is not likely to like me much. I admire her genius greatly, but have an inveterate tendency to worship at all the crumbling shrines, which she and her employers seem intent upon pulling down; and I think I should be an object of much superior contempt to that enlightened and clever female Radical and Utilitarian.

MRS. AUSTIN. I was introduced to Mrs. Austin some years ago, and she impressed me more, in many ways, than any of the remarkable women I have known. Her husband's constant ill-health kept her in a state of comparative seclusion, and deprived London society of a person of uncommon original mental power and acquired knowledge; in most respects I thought her superior to the most brilliant female members of the society of my day, of which her daughter, Lucy Gordon, was a distinguished ornament.

Once too, years ago, I passed an evening with Lady Byron, and fell in love with her for quoting the axiom which she does apply, though she did not invent it—"To treat men as if they were better than they are, is the surest way to make them better than they are:"—and whenever I think of her I remember that.

I congratulate you on your acquaintance with Madame von Goethe: to know any one who had lived intimately with the greatest genius of this age, and one of the greatest the world has produced, seems to me an immense privilege.

Your letter is dated July—how many things are done that you then meant to do?

  I am just now seeing a great deal of Edward Trelawney; he traveled with us last summer when we went to Niagara, and professing a great regard for me, told me, upon reading your "notice" of me, that he felt much inclined to write to you and solicit your acquaintance....

Good-bye, and God bless you; write to me when the spirit prompts you, and believe me always

Yours very truly,

F. A. B.

[My long experience of life in America presents the ideas and expectations with which I first entered upon it in an aspect at once ludicrous and melancholy to me now. With all an Englishwoman's notions of country interests, duties, and occupations; the village, the school, the poor, one's relations with the people employed on one's place, and one's own especial hobbies of garden, dairy, etc., had all been contemplated by me from a point of view which, taken from rural life in my own country, had not the slightest resemblance to anything in any American existence.

Butler Place—or as I then called it, "The Farm," preferring that homely, and far more appropriate, though less distinctive appellation, to the rather pretentious title, which neither the extent of the property nor size and style of the house warranted—was not then our own, and we inhabited it by the kind allowance of an old relation to whom it belonged, in consequence of my decided preference for a country to a town residence.

It was in no respect superior to a second-rate farm-house in England, as Mr. Henry Berkeley told a Philadelphia friend of ours, who considered it a model country mansion and rural residence and asked him how it compared with the generality of "country places" in England.

It was amply sufficient, however, for my desires: but not being mine, all my busy visions of gardening and green-house improvement, etc., had to be indefinitely postponed. Subsequently, I took great interest and pleasure in endeavoring to improve and beautify the ground round the house; I made flower-beds and laid out gravel-walks, and left an abiding mark of my sojourn there in a double row of two hundred trees, planted along the side of the place, bordered by the high-road; many of which, from my and my assistants' combined ignorance, died, or came to no good growth. But those that survived our unskillful operations still form a screen of shade to the grounds, and protect them in some measure from the dust and glare of the highway.

Cultivating my garden was not possible. My first attempt at   cultivating my neighbors' good-will was a ludicrous and lamentable failure. I offered to teach the little children of my gardener and farmer, and as many of the village children as liked to join them, to read and write; but found my benevolent proposal excited nothing but a sort of contemptuous amazement. There was the village school, where they received instruction for which they were obliged and willing to pay, to which they were accustomed to go, which answered all their purposes, fulfilled all their desires, and where the small students made their exits and their entrances without bob or bow, pulling of forelock, or any other superstitious observance of civilized courtesy: my gratuitous education was sniffed at alike by parents and progeny, and of course the whole idea upon which I had proffered it was mistaken and misplaced, and may have appeared to them to imply an impertinent undervaluing of a system with which they were perfectly satisfied; of the conditions of which, however, I was entirely ignorant then. These people and their children wanted nothing that I could give them. The "ladies" liked the make of my gowns, and would have borrowed them for patterns with pleasure, and this was all they desired or required from me.

ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE. On the first 4th of July I spent there, being alone at the place, I organized (British fashion) a feast and rejoicing, such as I thought should mark the birthday of American Independence, and the expulsion of the tyrannical English from the land. I had a table set under the trees, and a dinner spread for thirty-two guests, to which number the people on the two farms, with children and servants, amounted. Beer and wine were liberally provided, and fireworks, for due honoring of the evening; and though I did not take "the head of the table" (which would have been a usurpation), or make speeches on the "expulsion of the British," I did my best to give my visitors "a good time"; but succeeded only in imposing upon them a dinner and afternoon of uncomfortable constraint, from which the juniors of the party alone seemed happily free. Neither the wine nor beer were touched, and I found they were rather objects of moral reprobation than of material comfort to my Quaker farmer and his family, who were all absolute temperance people; he, indeed, was sorely disinclined to join at all in the "festive occasion," objecting to me repeatedly that it was a "shame and a pity to waste such a fine day for work in doing nothing"; and so, with rather a doleful conviction that my hospitality was as little acceptable to my neighbors as my teaching, I bade my guests farewell, and never repeated the experiment of a 4th of July Celebration dinner at Butler Place.

  Of all my blunders, however, that which I made with regard to the dairy was the most ludicrous. Understanding nothing at all of the entirely independent position of our "farmer"—to whom, in fact, the dairy was rented, as well as the meadows that pastured the cattle—and rather dissatisfied at not being able to obtain a daily fresh supply of butter for our home consumption, I went down to the farm-house, and had an interview with the dairymaid; to whom I explained my desire for a small supply of fresh butter daily for our breakfast table. But words are faint to express her amazement at the proposition; the butter was churned regularly in large quantities twice a week, and the necessary provision for our household being set aside and charged to us, the remainder was sent off to market with the rest of the farm produce, and there disposed of to the public in general. Philadelphia butter had then a high reputation through all the sea-board States, where it was held superior to that of all other markets; it was sold in New York and Baltimore, and sent as far as Boston as a welcome present, and undoubtedly not churned oftener than twice a week. Fresh butter every morning! who ever heard the like? Twice-a-week butter not good enough for anybody! who ever dreamt of such vagaries? The young woman was quiet and Quakerly sober, in spite of her unbounded astonishment at such a demand; but when, having exhausted my prettiest vocabulary of requests and persuasions, and, as I thought, not quite without effect, I turned to leave her, she followed me to the door with this parting address: "Well—anyhow—don't thee fill theeself up with the notion that I'm going to churn butter for thee more than twice a week." She probably thought me mad, and I was too ignorant to know that to "bring" a small quantity of butter in the enormous churn she used was a simple impossibility: nor, I imagine, was she aware that any machine of lesser dimensions was ever used for the purpose. I got myself a tiny table-churn, and for a little while made a small quantity of fresh butter myself for our daily breakfast supply; but soon weaned of it, and thought it not worth while—nobody cared for it but myself, and I accepted my provision of market butter twice a week, with no more ado about the matter, together with the conclusion that the dairy at Butler Place would decidedly not be one of its mistress's hobbies.

"NO POOR." Of any charitable interest, or humane occupation, to be derived from the poverty of my village neighbors, I very soon found my expectation equally vain. Our village had no poor—none in the deplorable English acceptation of that word; none in the too often   degraded and degrading conditions it implies. People poorer than others, comparatively poor people, it undoubtedly had—hard workers, toiling for their daily bread; but none who could not get well-paid work or find sufficient bread; and the abject element of ignorant, helpless, hopeless pauperism, looking for its existence to charity, and substituting alms-taking for independent labor, was unknown there. As for "visiting" among them, as technically understood and practiced by Englishwomen among their poorer neighbors, such a civility would have struck mine as simply incomprehensible; and though their curiosity might perhaps have been gratified by making acquaintance with my various (to them) strange peculiarities, I doubt even the amusement they might have derived from them being accepted as any equivalent for what would have seemed the strangest of them all—my visit.

A similar blessed exemption from the curse of pauperism existed in the New England village of Lenox, where I owned a small property, and passed part of many years. Being asked by my friends there to give a public reading, it became a question to what purpose the proceeds of the entertainment could best be applied. I suggested "the poor of the village," but, "We have no poor," was the reply, and the sum produced by the reading was added to a fund which established an excellent public library; for though Lenox had no paupers, it had numerous intelligent readers among its population.

I have spoken of the semi-disapprobation with which my Quaker farmer declined the wine and beer offered him at my 4th of July festival. Some years after, when I found the men employed in mowing a meadow of mine at Lenox with no refreshment but "water from the well," I sent in much distress a considerable distance for a barrel of beer, which seemed to me an indispensable adjunct to such labor under the fervid heat of that summer sky; and was most seriously expostulated with by my admirable friend, Mr. Charles Sedgwick, as introducing among the laborers of Lenox a mischievous need and deleterious habit, till then utterly unknown there, and setting a pernicious example to both employers and employed throughout the whole neighborhood. In short, my poor barrel of beer was an offense to the manners and morals of the community I lived in, and my meadow was mowed upon cold "water from the well"; of which indeed the water was so delicious, that I often longed for it as King David did for that which, after all, he would not drink, because his mighty men had risked their lives in procuring it for him.1

  To English people, the character and quality of my "mowers" would seem astonishing enough; at the head of them was the son of a much respected New England judge, himself the owner of a beautiful farm adjoining my small estate, which he cultivated with his own hands—a most amiable, intelligent, and refined man, a gentleman in the deepest sense of the word, my very kind neighbor and friend, whose handsome countenance certainly expressed unbounded astonishment at my malt liquor theory applied to his labor and that of his assistants.]

1 In writing thus, I do not mean to imply that the abuse of intoxicating liquors, or the vice of drunkenness were then unknown in America. The national habits of the present day would suggest that such a change (albeit in the space of fifty years) would surpass the rapidity of movement of even that most rapidly changing nation. But the use of either beer or wine at the tables of the Philadelphians, when I first lived among them, was quite exceptional. There was a small knot of old-fashioned gentlemen (very like old-fashioned Englishmen they were), by whom good wine was known and appreciated; especially certain exquisite Madeira, of the Bingham and Butler names, the like of which it was believed the world could not produce; but this was Olympian nectar, for the gods alone; and the usual custom of the best society, at the early three-o'clock dinner, was water-drinking. Nor had the immense increase of the German population then flooded Philadelphia with perennial streams from innumerable "lager beer" cellars and saloons: the universal rule, at the time when these letters were written, was absolute temperance; the exception to it, a rare occasional instance of absolute intemperance.

Very many fewer than fifty years ago, a celebrated professional English cricketer consulted, in deep dudgeon, a medical gentleman upon certain internal symptoms, which he attributed entirely to the "damned beastly cold water" which had been the sole refreshment in the Philadelphia cricket-field, and which had certainly heated his temper to a pitch of exasperation which made it difficult for the medical authority appealed to, to keep his countenance during the consultation.

I need not say that, under the above state of things, no provision was made for what I should call domestic or household drunkenness in American families. Beer, or beer money, was not found necessary to sustain the strength of footmen driving about town on a coach-box for an hour or two of an afternoon, or valets laying out their masters' boots and cravats for dinner, or ladies'-maids pinning caps on their mistresses' heads, or even young housemaids condemned to the exhausting labor of making beds and dusting furniture. The deplorable practice of swilling adulterated malt liquor two or three times a day, begun in early boy and girlhood among English servants, had not in America, as I am convinced it has with us, laid the foundation for later habits of drinking in a whole class of the community, among whom a pernicious inherited necessity for the indulgence is one of its consequences; while another, and more lamentable one, is the wide-spread immorality, to remedy (and if possible prevent) which is the object of the institution of the Girls' Friendly Society, and similar benevolent associations—none of which I am persuaded will effectually fulfill their object, until the vicious propensity to drink ceases to be fostered in the kitchens and servants' halls of our most respectable people.

Philadelphia, November 27th, 1837.

My dear H——,

If in about a month's time you should grumble and fall out with me for not writing, you will certainly be in some degree justified; for I think it must be near upon three weeks since I wrote to you, which is a sin and a shame. To say that I have not had time to write is nonsense, for in three weeks there are too many days, hours, and minutes, for me to fancy that I really had not had sufficient leisure, yet it has almost seemed as if I had not. I have been constantly driving out to the farm, to watch the progress of the painting, whitewashing, etc., etc.: in town I have been engaging servants, ordering china, glass, and   furniture, choosing carpets, curtains, and house linen, and devoutly studying all the time Dr. Kitchener's "Housekeeper's Manual and Cook's Oracle." You see, I have been careful and troubled about many things, and through them all you have been several thorns in both my sides; for I thought of you perpetually, and knew I ought to write to you, and wanted and wished to do so—and didn't; for which pray forgive me.

SERVANTS. I want to tell you two circumstances about servants, illustrative of the mind and manners of that class of persons in this country. A young woman engaged herself to me, as lady's-maid, immediately before my marriage; she had been a seamstress, and her health had been much injured by constantly stooping at her sedentary employment. I took her into my service at a salary of £25 a year. She had little to do; I took care that every day she should be out walking for at least an hour; she had two holidays a week, all my discarded wardrobe, and every kindness and attention of every sort that I could bestow upon her, for she was very gentle and pleasant to me, and I liked her very much. A short time ago, she gave me warning; the first reason she assigned for doing so was that she didn't think she should like living in the country, but finally it resolved itself into this—that she could not bear being a servant. She told me that she had no intention of seeking any other situation, for that she knew very well that after mine she could find none that she would like, but she said the sense of entire independence was necessary to her happiness, and she could not exist any longer in a state of "servitude." She told me she was going to resume her former life, or rather, as I should say, her former process of dying, for it was literally that; she took her wages, and left me. She was very pretty and refined, and rejoiced in the singular Christian name of Unity.2

The other instance of domestic manners in these parts was furnished me by a woman whom I engaged as cook; terms agreed upon, everything settled: two days after, she sent me word that she had "changed her mind,"—that's all—isn't it pleasant?...

My dear H——, you half fly into a rage with me all across the Atlantic, because I tell you that I hope ere long to see you; really that was not quite the return I expected for what I thought   would be agreeable news to you; however, hear further.... If I am alive next summer, I hope to spend three months in England: one with my own family and Emily Fitzhugh: one in Scotland; and one with you, if you and Mrs. Taylor please.... I have been obliged to give up riding, for some time ago my horse fell with me, and though I was not at all hurt, I was badly frightened; so I trot about on my feet, and drive to and from town and the farm in a little four-wheeled machine called here a wagon.

The other day, for the first time, I explored my small future domain, which is bounded, on the right, by the high-road; on the left, by a not unromantic little mill-stream, with bits of rock, and cedar-bushes, and dams, and, I am sorry to say, a very picturesque, half-tumbled-down factory; on the north, by fields and orchards of our neighbors, and another road; and on the south, by a pretty, deep, shady lane, running from the high-road to the above-mentioned factory.... I think the extent of our estate is about three hundred acres. A small portion of it, perhaps some seventy acres, lies on the other side of the high-road. Except a kitchen-garden, there is none that deserves the name: no flower-beds, no shrubberies, no gravel-walks. A large field, now planted with maize, or Indian corn, is on one side of an avenue of maple-trees that leads to the house; on the other is an apple-orchard. There is nothing that can call itself a lawn, though coarse grass grows all round the house. There are four pretty pasture meadows, and a very pretty piece of woodland, which, coasting the stream and mill-dam, will, I foresee, become a favorite haunt of mine. There is a farm-yard, a cider-press, a pond, a dairy, and out-houses, and adjuncts innumerable.

I have succeeded, after difficulties and disasters manifold, in engaging an apparently tolerably decent staff of servants; the house is freshly painted and clean, the furniture being finished with all expedition, the carpets ready to lay down; next week I hope to send our household out, and the week after I sincerely hope we shall transfer ourselves thither, and I shall be in a home of my own.

Miss Martineau is just now in Philadelphia: I have seen and conversed with her, and I think, were her stay long enough to admit of so agreeable a conclusion, we might become good friends. It is not presumptuous for me to say that, dear H——, because, you know, a very close degree of friendship may exist where there is great disparity of intellect. Her deafness is a serious bar to her enjoyment of society, and some drawback to the pleasure of conversing with her, for, as a man observed to me last night, "One feels so like a fool, saying, 'How do you do?'   through a speaking-trumpet in the middle of a drawing-room;" and unshoutable commonplaces form the staple of all drawing-room conversation. They are giving literary parties to her, and balls to one of their own townswomen who has just returned from abroad, which makes Philadelphia rather gayer than usual; and I have had so long a fast from dissipation that I find myself quite excited at the idea of going to a dance again.

I toil on, copying my Journal, and one volume of it is already printed; but now that the object of its publication is gone, I feel rather disgusted at the idea of publishing it at all. You know what my Journal always was, and that no word of it was ever written with the fear of the printer's devil before my eyes, and now that I have become careless as to its money value, it seems to me a mere mass of trivial egotism.... When I sold it, it was an excellent, good book, for I thought it would help to make a small independence for my dear Dall; now she is gone, and it is mere trash, but I have sold it....

COUNTRY LIFE. My country life will, I hope, be one of study, and I pray and believe, of quiet happiness. I drove out to the farm yesterday, and walked nearly four miles, through meadows and lanes and by-roads, and over plowed fields, and found mill-streams and bits of picturesque rock, and pretty paths to be explored at further length on horseback hereafter.... I have one very great pleasure almost in contemplation; I think it probable that my friend, Miss Sedgwick, will visit Philadelphia this winter. If she does, I am sure she will remain a short time here, which will be a great delight to me.... I wish to have no more acquaintance—that is a pure waste of time: I do not wish to know any one whom, if opportunity served, I should not desire to make my friend, as well as my visitor. I have begun learning book-keeping by double entry, and find it unspeakably tiresome; indeed, nothing in it engages my attention but various hypothetical cases of Loss of Ships and Cargoes (as per invoice, so and so, and so and so); Bankruptcies, with so much in the pound for creditors; Dissolutions of partnership, with estimates of joint property, or calculations of profit and loss; Insurances and fire-catastrophes; Divisions of capital invested in failing securities, or unlucky speculations; instead of attending to all which in their purely business aspect, my imagination flies off to the dramatic, passionate, human element involved in such accidents, and I think of all manner of plays and novels, instead of "Cash Accounts," to be extracted therefrom....

Good-bye, dearest H——.

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

2 A lady's-maid was quite an unusual member of a household in America, at this time; I remember no lady in Philadelphia who then had such an attendant: it is not impossible that the singularity of her service, and therefore apparently anomalous character of her position, may have helped to disgust my maid Unity with her situation. Probably the influence of Quaker modes of thought, and feeling, and habits of life (even among such of the community as were not "friends"—technically so called), had produced the peculiarities which characterized the Philadelphian society of that day, and made people among whom I lived strange to me—as I to them.

  Branchtown, May 1st, 1835.

Dearest Emily,

Reflecting upon the loss I have sustained in the death of my dear Dall, you exclaim, "How difficult it is to realize that life has become eternity, hope is become certainty! How strange, how impossible, it seems to conceive a state of existence without expectation, and where all is fulfillment!" I have marked under the word "impossible," because such a belief is literally impossible to my mind; the sense of activity, of desire for, and aiming at, and striving after something better than what I am, is so essential a portion of the idea of happiness to me that I absolutely can conceive of no happiness but in the attempt at, and consciousness of, progress. The state where that hope did not exist, and where the spiritual energies were not presented with deeper and higher objects of attainment, would be no state of enjoyment to me. I cannot imagine heaven without inexhaustible means of increasing knowledge and excellence.... Perhaps in that state, dear Emily, we shall be able to find out how a mummy of the days of Memnon should have preserved in its dead grasp a living germ for 3000 years.... [This last sentence referred to a striking fact, which Miss Fitz Hugh's uncle, Mr. William Hamilton, told us, of a bulb found in the sarcophagus of a mummy, which was planted, and actually began to germinate and grow.]

Branchtown, May 27th, 1835.

My Dearest H——,

... It is curious that in a comparatively inactive state of life, the sense of the infinite business of living has become far more vivid to me than it ever was before; existence seems so abounding in duties, in objects of interest and energy, in means of excellence and pleasure—happiness, I ought rather to say,—the immense and important happiness of constant endeavor after improvement.... Dear H——, my letter was interrupted here yesterday by a visitor. I will join my thread, and go on with a few words which I have this moment read in Hayward's Appendix to Goethe's "Faust." When Goethe had to bear the death of his only son, he wrote to Zelter thus: "Here then can the mighty conception of duty alone hold us erect—I have no other care than to keep myself in equipoise. The body must, the spirit will, and he who sees a necessary path prescribed to his will has no need to ponder much." The first part of this is noble; but I am not going to do what I used to quarrel so much with you for doing—fill my letters with quotations, or even make disquisitions of them; at any rate, till I have answered your last.

  MY PICTURE. I am extremely vexed at all the trouble you and Emily have taken about my picture: for the artist himself (Mr. Sully, of Philadelphia) is not satisfied with it, and I am sure would be rather sorry than glad that it were exhibited. That artist is a charming person; and I must tell you how he proceeded about that picture. When your letter came, acknowledging the receipt of it, he asked how you were satisfied: I told him the truth, and what you had written on the subject of the likeness. He did not appear stupidly annoyed, but sorry for your disappointment, and told me that he had been from the first dissatisfied with it as a likeness, himself. He pressed upon my acceptance for you a little melancholy head of me, an admirable and not too much flattered likeness; but as he had given that to his wife, of whom I am very fond, of course I would not deprive her of it; and there the matter rested. But when, some time after, some pictures he had painted for us were paid for, he steadfastly refused the price agreed upon for yours, because it had not satisfied him himself. He said that had you been even less pleased with it, he should not therefore have refused the money; but his own conscience, he added, bore witness to the truth of your objections, and when that was the case, he invariably acted in the same way, and declined to receive payment for what he didn't consider worth it. As he is our friend, we could not press the money upon him; but we have got him to undertake a portrait of Dr. Mease, and I have added sundry grains more to my regard for him. As to the likeness, had you seen me about three months after my marriage, you would have thought better of it. [The portrait in question, painted for my friend, and now, I believe, still at Ardgillan Castle, was one of six that my friend, Mr. Sully, painted of me at various times, the best likeness of them all being one that he took of me in the part of Beatrice, for which I did not sit.] You talk of "nailing me down," to send me to the Academy, and the expression brought a sudden shuddering recollection to my mind of the dismal night I passed in Boston packing up our stage clothes in dear Dall's bedroom while she was lying in her coffin. I know not why your words recalled that miserable circumstance to me, and all the mingled feelings that accompanied such an occupation in such company....

You ask me if I do not love the country as I used to do. Indeed I do; for, like all best good things, it seems the lovelier for near and intimate acquaintance. Yet the country here, and this place in particular, is not to me what it might be, and will be yet. This place is not ours, and during the life of an old Miss B. will not belong to us: this, of course, keeps my spirit of   improvement in check, and indeed, even if it were made over to us, with signing and sealing and all due legal ceremonies, I should still feel some delicacy in making wholesale alterations in a place which an elderly person, to whom it has belonged, remembers such as it is for many years.

The absolute absence of all taste in matters of ornamental cultivation is lamentably evident in the country dwellings of rich and poor alike, as far as I have yet seen in this neighborhood. No natural beauty seems to be perceived and taken advantage of, no defect hidden or adorned; proximity to the road, for obvious purposes of mere convenience, seems to have been the one idea in the selection of building sites; and straight, ungraveled paths, straight rows of trees, straight strips of coarse grass, straight box borders, dividing straight narrow flower-beds, the prevailing idea of a garden; together with a deplorable dearth of flowers, shrubberies, ornamental trees, and everything that really deserves the name.

Good-bye, and God bless you.

Ever, as ever, yours,

F. A. B.

[The country between the Wissihiccon and Pennipack—two small picturesque streams flowing, the one into the Schuylkill, the other into the Delaware—is a prosperous farming region, with a pleasingly varied, undulating surface, the arable land diversified with stretches of pretty wild woodland, watered by numerous small water-courses, and divided by the main highroad, once the chief channel of communication between New York and Philadelphia.

Six miles from the latter city, at a village called Branchtown, and only a few yards from the road, stood my home; and it would be difficult for those who do not remember "the old York road," as it was called, and the country between that and Germantown, in the days when these letters were written, to imagine the change which nearly fifty years have produced in the whole region.

No one who now sees the pretty populous villadom which has grown up in every direction round the home of my early married years—the neat cottages and cheerful country houses, the trim lawns and bright flower-gardens, the whole well laid out, tastefully cultivated, and carefully tended suburban district, with its attractive dwellings, could easily conceive the sort of abomination of desolation which its aspect formerly presented to eyes accustomed to the finish and perfection of rural English landscape.

  NATURE OF THE COUNTRY. Between five and six miles of hideous and execrable turnpike road, without shade, and aridly detestable in the glare, heat, and dust of summer, and almost dangerously impassable in winter, made driving into Philadelphia an undertaking that neither love, friendship, nor pleasure—nothing but inexorable business or duty—reconciled one to. The cross roads in every direction were a mere succession of heavy, dusty, sandy pitfalls, or muddy quagmires, where, on foot or on horseback, rapid progress was equally impossible. The whole region, from the very outskirts of the city to the beautiful crest of Chestnut Hill, overlooking its wide expanse of smiling foreground and purple distant horizon, was then, with its mean-looking scattered farm-houses and huge ungainly barns (whatever may have been its agricultural merits), uninteresting and uninviting in all the human elements of the landscape, dreary in summer and dismal in winter, and absolutely void of the civilized cheerful charm that now characterizes it.

Per contra, it then was country, and now is suburb: there were woods and lanes where now there are stations and railroads, and the solitude of rural walks and rides instead of the "continuation of the city" which has now cut up and laid waste the old Stenton estate, and threatens the fields of Butler Place and the lovely and beloved woods of Champlost, and will presently convert that whole neighborhood into a mere appendage of Philadelphia, wildly driven over by city rowdies with fast-trotting teams or mad, gigantic daddy-long-legs-looking sulkies, and perambulated by tramps pretending poverty and practicing theft.]

Branchtown, 1835.

Dear Mrs. Jameson,

I have not written to you since I received a most interesting and delightful letter of yours from Saxe-Weimar, containing an account of your stay in Goethe's house. My answering you at all is a movement of gratitude for your kindness in remembering me in the midst of such surroundings, and nothing but my faith in your desire to hear something of me would induce me to send into the world of romantic and poetic associations you are now inhabiting, any dispatch from this most prosaic and commonplace world of my adoption.

I think, however, it will please you to hear that I am well and happy, and that my whole state of life and being has assumed a placid, tranquil, serene, and even course, which, after the violent excitements of my last few years, is both agreeable and wholesome. I should think, ever since my coming out on the stage, I   must have lived pretty much at the rate of three years in every one—I mean in point of physical exertion and exhaustion. The season of my repose is, however, arrived, and it seems almost difficult to imagine that, after beginning life in such a tumult of action and excitement, the remainder of my years is lying stretched before me, like a level, peaceful landscape, through which I shall saunter leisurely towards my grave. This is the pleasant probable future: God only knows what changes and chances may sweep across the smiling prospect, but at present, according to the calculations of mere human foresight, none are likely to arise. As I write these words, I do bethink me of one quarter from which our present prosperous and peaceful existence might receive a shock—the South. The family into which I have married are large slaveholders; our present and future fortune depend greatly upon extensive plantations in Georgia. But the experience of every day, besides our faith in the great justice of God, forbids dependence on the duration of the mighty abuse by which one race of men is held in abject physical and mental slavery by another. As for me, though the toilsome earning of my daily bread were to be my lot again to-morrow, I should rejoice with unspeakable thankfulness that we had not to answer for what I consider so grievous a sin against humanity.

I believe many years will not pass before this cry ceases to go up from earth to heaven. The power of opinion is working silently and strongly in the hearts of men; the majority of people in the North of this country are opposed to the theory of slavery, though they tolerate its practice in the South: and though the natural selfishness with which men cling to their interests is only at present increasing the vigilance of the planters in guarding their property and securing their prey, it is a property which is crumbling under their feet, and a prey which is escaping from their grasp; and perhaps, before many years are gone by, the black population of the South will be free, and we comparatively poor people—Amen! with all my heart....

I had hoped to revisit England before the winter, ... but this cannot be, and I shall certainly not see England this year, if ever again.... I think women in England are gradually being done justice to, and many sources of goodness, usefulness, and happiness, that have hitherto been sealed, are opened to them now, by a truer and more generous public feeling, and more enlightened views of education.

I saw a good deal of Harriet Martineau, and liked her very much indeed, in spite of her radicalism. She is gone to the South, where I think she cannot fail to do some good, if only in giving   another impulse to the stone that already topples on the brink—I mean in that miserable matter of slavery.

Yours very truly,

F. A. B.

CLAIMS OF WOMEN. [No more striking instance can be given of the rapidity of movement, if not of progress, of American public opinion, than the so-called "Woman's Rights" question. When these letters were written, scarcely a whisper had made itself heard upon this and its relative subjects: the "Female Suffrage" was neither demanded nor desired; Margaret Fuller had not made public her views upon the condition of "Woman in the Nineteenth Century"; the different legislatures of the different States had not found it expedient to enact statutes securing to married women the independent use of their own property, and women's legal disabilities were, in every respect, much the same in the United States as in the mother country. Now, however, so great and rapid has been the change of public opinion in this direction in America, that in some of the States married women may not only possess and inherit property over which their husbands have no control, but their personal earnings have been so secured to them that neither their husbands nor their husbands' creditors can touch them; while at the same time, strange to say, their husbands are still liable for their support, and answerable for any debts they may contract, and men must pay these independent ladies' milliners' bills, if all these additional rights have not brought with them some additional sense of justice, honesty, and old-fashioned right and wrong.

This amazing consideration for the property claims of women is not, however, without its possible advantages for the magnanimous sex bestowing it; and unprincipled speculators, gamblers, in pursuits calling themselves business, but in reality mere games of chance, may now secure themselves from the ruin they deserve, and have incurred, by settling upon their wives large sums of money, or estates, which, by virtue of the women's independent legal tenure of property, effectually enable their husbands to baffle the claims of their creditors. Every use has its abuse. The melancholy process of divorce, by which an insupportable yoke may be dissolved with the sanction of the law, is achieved in America with a facility and upon grounds inadmissible for that purpose in England. Pennsylvania has long followed the German practice in this particular, allowing divorce, in cases of non-cohabitation for a space of two years, to either party claiming it upon those grounds; in some of the Western   States the ease with which divorces are obtained is untrammeled by any condition but that of a sufficient term of residence, often a very brief one, within the State jurisdiction.

Women lecture upon all imaginable subjects, and are listened to, whether treating of the right of their sex to the franchise, or the more unapproachable theme of its degraded misery in the public prostitution legally practiced in all the cities of this great New World, or the frantic vagaries of their theory of so-called Free Love. They are professors in colleges, practicing physicians; not yet, I believe, ordained clergywomen (the Quakers admit the female right to preach without the ceremony of laying on of hands), or admitted members of the bar; but it is difficult to imagine society existing at all under more absolute conditions of freedom for its female members than the women of the United States now enjoy. It is a pity that the use sometimes made of so many privileges forms a powerful argument to reasonable people in other countries against their possession.3]

3 I have learned since writing the above that in some of the Western States and cities—among others, I believe, Chicago—women are now practicing lawyers. A "legal lady" made at one time, I know not how successfully, an attempt to become a received member of the profession in Washington. In this, as in all other matters, the several States exercise uncontrolled jurisdiction within their own borders, and the Western States are naturally inclined to favor by legislation all attempts of this description; they are essentially the "New World." In the Eastern States European traditions still influence opinion, and women are not yet admitted members of the New York bar.

Branchtown, 1835.

Dear Mrs. Jameson,

It is so very long since I have written to you, that I almost fear my handwriting and signature may be strange to your eyes and memory alike. As, however, silence can hardly be more than a passive sin—a sin of omission, not commission—I hope they will not be unwelcome to you. I am desirous you should still preserve towards me some of your old kindliness of feeling, for I wish to borrow some of it for the person who will carry this letter over the Atlantic—a very interesting young friend of mine, who begged of me, as a great favor, a letter of introduction to you.... I think you will find that had she fallen in your way unintroduced, she would have recommended herself to your liking. [The lady in question was Miss Appleton, of Boston, afterwards Mrs. Robert Mackintosh, whose charming sister, cut off by too sad and premature a doom, was the wife of the poet Longfellow.]

And now, what shall I tell you? After so long a silence, I suppose you think I ought to have plenty to say, yet I have not. What should a woman write about, whose sole occupations are   eating, drinking, and sleeping; whose pleasures consist in nursing her baby, and playing with a brace of puppies; and her miseries in attempting to manage six republican servants—a task quite enough to make any "Quaker kick his mother," a grotesque illustration of demented desperation, which I have just learned, and which is peculiarly appropriate in these parts? Can I find it in my conscience, or even in the nib of my pen, to write you all across the great waters that my child has invented two teeth, or how many pounds of tea, sugar, flour, etc., etc., I distribute weekly to the above-mentioned household of unmanageables? To write, as to speak, one should have something to say, and I have literally nothing, except that I am well in mind, body, and estate, and hope you are so too.

Our summer has been detestable: if America had the grace to have fairies (but they don't cross the Atlantic), I should think the little Yankee Oberon and Titania had been by the ears together: such wintry squalls! such torrents of rain! The autumn, however, has been fine, and we spent part of it in one of the most charming regions imaginable.

A "HAPPY VALLEY." A "Happy Valley" indeed!—the Valley of the Housatonic, locked in by walls of every shape and size, from grassy knolls to bold basaltic cliffs. A beautiful little river wanders singing from side to side in this secluded Paradise, and from every mountain cleft come running crystal springs to join it; it looks only fit for people to be baptized in (though I believe the water is used for cooking and washing purposes.)

In one part of this romantic hill-region exists the strangest worship that ever the craving need of religious excitement suggested to the imagination of human beings.

I do not know whether you have ever heard of a religious sect called the Shakers; I never did till I came into their neighborhood: and all that was told me before seeing them fell short of the extraordinary effect of the reality. Seven hundred men and women, whose profession of religion has for one of its principal objects the extinguishing of the human race and the end of the world, by devoting themselves and persuading others to celibacy and the strictest chastity. They live all together in one community, and own a village and a considerable tract of land in the beautiful hill country of Berkshire. They are perfectly moral and exemplary in their lives and conduct, wonderfully industrious, miraculously clean and neat, and incredibly shrewd, thrifty and money-making.

Their dress is hideous, and their worship, to which they admit spectators, consists of a fearful species of dancing, in which the   whole number of them engage, going round and round their vast hall or temple of prayer, shaking their hands like the paws of a dog sitting up to beg, and singing a deplorable psalm-tune in brisk jig time. The men without their coats, in their shirt-sleeves, with their lank hair hanging on their shoulders, and a sort of loose knee-breeches—knickerbockers—have a grotesque air of stage Swiss peasantry. The women without a single hair escaping from beneath their hideous caps, mounted upon very high-heeled shoes, and every one of them with a white handkerchief folded napkin-fashion and hanging over her arm. In summer they all dress in white, and what with their pale, immovable countenances, their ghost-like figures, and ghastly, mad spiritual dance, they looked like the nuns in "Robert the Devil," condemned, for their sins in the flesh, to post-mortem decency and asceticism, to look ugly, and to dance like ill-taught bears.

The whole exhibition was at once so frightful and so ludicrous, that I very nearly went off into hysterics, when I first saw them.

We shall be in London, I hope, in the beginning of May next year, when I trust you will be there also, when I will edify you with all my new experiences of life, in this "other world," and teach you how to dance like a Shaker. Be a good Christian, forgive me, and write to me again, and believe me,

Yours truly,

F. A. B.

Branchtown, June 27th, 1835.

My Dearest H——,

... Did I tell you that the other day our farmer's wife sent me word that she had seen me walking in the garden in a gown that she had liked very much, and wished I would let her have the pattern of it? This message surprised me a little, but, upon due reflection, I carried the gown down to her with an agreeable sense of my own graceful condescension. My farmer's wife gave me small thanks, and I am sure thought I had done just what I ought....

I have resumed my riding, and am beginning to feel once more like my unmarried self. I may have told you that I had some time ago a pretty thoroughbred mare, spirited and good tempered too; but she turned out such an inveterate stumbler that I have been obliged to give up riding her, as, of course, my neck is worth more to me even than my health. So, this morning I have been taking a most delectable eight miles' trot upon a huge, high, heavy carriage-horse, who all but shakes my soul out of   my body, but who is steady upon his legs, and whom I shall therefore patronize till I can be more genteelly mounted with safety.

NEGRO SLAVERY. You bid me study Natural Philosophy ... and ask me what I read; but since my baby has made her entrance into the world, I neither read, write, nor cast up accounts, but am as idle, though not nearly as well dressed, as the lilies of the field; my reading, if ever I take to such an occupation again, is like, I fear, to be, as it always has been, rambling, desultory, and unprofitable....

Come, I will take as a sample of my studies, the books just now lying on my table, all of which I have been reading lately: Alfieri's Life, by himself, a curious and interesting work; Washington Irving's last book, "A Tour on the Prairies," rather an ordinary book, upon a not ordinary subject, but not without sufficiently interesting matter in it too; Dr. Combe's "Principles of Physiology"; and a volume of Marlowe's plays, containing "Dr. Faustus." I have just finished Hayward's Translation of Goethe's "Faust," and wanted to see the old English treatment of the subject. I have read Marlowe's play with more curiosity than pleasure. This is, after all, but a small sample of what I read; but if you remember the complexion of my studies when I was a girl at Heath Farm, and read Jeremy Taylor and Byron together, I can only say they are still apt to be of the same heterogeneous quality. But my brain is kept in a certain state of activity by them, and that, I suppose, is one of the desirable results of reading. As for writing anything, or things—good gracious! no, I should think not indeed! It is true, if you allude to the mechanical process of caligraphy, here is close to my elbow a big book, in which I enter all passages I meet with in my various readings tending to elucidate obscure parts of the Bible: I do not mean disputed points of theology, mysteries, or significations more or less mystical, but simply any notices whatever which I meet with relating to the customs of the Jews, their history, their language, the natural features of their country; and so bearing upon my reading of passages in the Old Testament. I read my Bible diligently every day, and every day wish more and more earnestly that I understood what I was reading; but Philip does not come my way, or draw near and join himself to me as I sit in my wagon.

I mean this with regard to the Old Testament only, however. The life of Christ is that portion of the New alone vitally important to me, and that, thank God, is comparatively comprehensible.

I have just finished writing a long and vehement treatise   against negro slavery, which I wanted to publish with my Journal, but was obliged to refrain from doing so, lest our fellow-citizens should tear our house down, and make a bonfire of our furniture—a favorite mode of remonstrance in these parts with those who advocate the rights of the unhappy blacks.

You know that the famous Declaration of Independence, which is to all Americans what Moses commanded God's Law to be to the Israelites, begins thus: "Whereas all men are born free and equal." Somebody, one day, asked Jefferson how he reconciled that composition of his to the existence of slavery in this country; he was completely surprised for a moment by the question, and then very candidly replied, "By God! I never thought of that before."

To proceed with a list of my works. Here is an article on the writings of Victor Hugo, another on an American book called "Confessions of a Poet," a whole heap of verses, among which sundry doggerel epistles to you; and last, not least, the present voluminous prose performance for your benefit.

These are some of my occupations: then I do a little housekeeping; then I do, as the French say, a little music; then I waste a deal of time in feeding and cleaning a large cageful of canary-birds, of which, as the pleasure is mine, I do not choose to give the rather disgustful trouble to any one else; strolling round the garden, watching my bee-hives, which are full of honey just now; every chink and cranny of the day between all this desultoriness, is filled with "the baby"; and study, of every sort (but that most prodigious study of any sort, i.e., "the baby,") seems further off from me than ever....

I am looking forward with great pleasure to a visit we intend paying Miss Sedgwick in September. She is a dear friend of mine, and I am very happy when with her.

And where will you be next spring, wanderer? for we shall surely be in England. [Miss St. Leger and Miss Wilson were wintering at Nice for the health of the latter.] Will you not come back from the ends of the earth that I may not find the turret-chamber empty, and the Dell without its dear mistress at Ardgillan?

Dear H——, I shall surely see you, if I live, in less than a year, when we shall have so much to say to each other that we shall not know where to begin, and had better not begin, perhaps; for we shall know still less where to stop.

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

  Branchtown, October 31st, 1835.

My Dearest H——,

WOMEN'S SUFFERINGS. I wonder where this will find you, and how long it will be before it does so. I have been away from home nearly a month, and on my return found a long letter from you waiting for me.... I cannot believe that women were intended to suffer as much as they do, and be as helpless as they are, in child-bearing. In spite of the third chapter of Genesis, I cannot believe [the beneficent action of ether had not yet mitigated the female portion of the primeval curse] that all the agony and debility attendant upon the entrance of a new creature into life were ordained; but rather that both are the consequences of our many and various abuses of our constitutions, and infractions of God's natural laws.

The mere items of tight stays, tight garters, tight shoes, tight waistbands, tight arm-holes, and tight bodices,—of which we are accustomed to think little or nothing, and under the bad effects of which, most young women's figures are suffered to attain their growth, both here and in civilized Europe,—must have a tendency to injure irreparably the compressed parts, to impede circulation and respiration, and in many ways which we are not aware of, as well as by the more obvious evils which they have been proved to produce, destroy the health of the system, affect disastrously all its functions, and must aggravate the pains and perils of child-bearing.... Many women here, when they become mothers, seem to lose looks, health, and strength, and are mere wrecks, libels upon the great Creator's most wonderful contrivance, the human frame, which, in their instance, appears utterly unfit for the most important purpose for which He designed it. Pitiable women! comparatively without enjoyment or utility in existence. Of course, this result is attributable to many various causes, and admits of plenty of individual exceptions, but I believe tight-lacing, want of exercise, and a perpetual inhaling of over-heated atmosphere, to be among the former.... They pinch their pretty little feet cruelly, which certainly need no such embellishment, and, of course, cannot walk; and if they did, in the state of compression to which they submit for their beauty's sake, would suffer too much inconvenience, if not pain, to derive any benefit from exercise under such conditions....

When one thinks of the tragical consequences of all this folly, one is tempted to wish that the legislature would interfere in these matters, and prevent the desperate injury which is thus done to the race. The climate, which is the general cause assigned for the want of health of the American women, seems to me to   receive more than its due share of blame. The Indian women, the squaws, are, I believe, remarkable for the ease with which they bear their children, the little pain they suffer comparatively, and the rapidity with which they regain their strength; but I think in matters of diet, dress, exercise, regularity in eating, and due ventilation of their houses, the Americans have little or no regard for the laws of health; and all these causes have their share in rendering the women physically incapable of their natural work, and unequal to their natural burdens.

What a chapter on American female health I have treated you to!... Sometimes I write to you what I think, and sometimes what I do, and still it seems to me it is the thing I have not written about which you desire to know.... You ask if I am going through a course of Channing,—not precisely, but a course of Unitarianism, for I attend a Unitarian Church. I did so at first by accident (is there such a thing?), being taken thither by the people to whom I now belong, who are of that mode of thinking and have seats in a church of that denomination, and where I hear admirable instruction and exhortation, and eloquent, excellent preaching, that does my soul good.... I am acquainted with several clergymen of that profession, who are among the most enlightened and cultivated men I have met with in this country. Of course, these circumstances have had some effect upon my mind, but they have rather helped to develop, than positively cause, the result you have observed....

In reading my Bible—my written rule of life—I find, of course, much that I have no means of understanding, and much that there are no means of understanding, matters of faith.... Doctrinal points do not seem to me to avail much here: how much they may signify hereafter, who can tell? But the daily and hourly discharge of our duties, the purity, humanity, and activity of our lives, do avail much here; all that we can add to our own worth and each other's happiness is of evident, palpable, present avail, and I believe will prove of eternal avail to our souls, who may carry hence all they have gained in this mortal school to as much higher, nobler, and happier a sphere as the just judgment of Almighty God shall after death promote them to....

I have been for the last two days discharging a most vexatious species of duty—vexatious, to be sure, chiefly from my own fault. We have a household of six servants, and no housekeeper (such an official being unknown in these parts); a very abundant vegetable garden, dairy, and poultry-yard; but I have been very neglectful lately of all domestic details of supply from these various sources, and the consequences have been manifold abuses in the   kitchen, the pantry, and the store-room; and disorder and waste, more disgraceful to me, even, than to the people immediately guilty of them. And I have been reproaching myself, and reproving others, and heartily regretting that, instead of Italian and music, I had not learned a little domestic economy, and how much bread, butter, flour, eggs, milk, sugar, and meat ought to be consumed per week in a family of eight persons, not born ogres.... I am sorry to find that my physical courage has been very much shaken by my confinement. Whereas formerly I scarcely knew the sensation of fear, I have grown almost cowardly on horseback or in a carriage. I do not think anybody would ever suspect that to be the case, but I know it in my secret soul, and am much disgusted with myself in consequence.... Our horses ran away with the carriage the other day, and broke the traces, and threatened us with some frightful catastrophe. I had the child with me, and though I did not lose my wits at all, and neither uttered sound nor gave sign of my terror, after getting her safely out of the carriage and alighting myself I shook from head to foot, for the first time in my life, with fear; and so have only just attained my full womanhood: for what says Shakespeare?—

"A woman naturally born to fears."

... God bless you, dearest friend.

I am ever yours affectionately,

F. A. B.

Branchtown, December 2d, 1835.

Dearest Dorothy,

EDUCATION IN AMERICA ... I was at first a little disappointed that my baby was not a man-child, for the lot of woman is seldom happy, owing principally, I think, to the many serious mistakes which have obtained universal sway in female education. I do not believe that the just Creator intended one part of his creatures to lead the sort of lives that many women do.... In this country the difficulty of giving a girl a good education is even greater, I am afraid, than with us, in some respects. I do not think even accomplishments are well taught here; at least, they seem to me for the most part very flimsy, frivolous, and superficial, poor alike both in quality and quantity. More solid acquirements do not abound among my female acquaintance either, and the species of ignorance one encounters occasionally is so absolute and profound as to be almost amusing, and quite curious; while there is, also, quite enough native shrewdness, worldly acuteness, and smattering of shallow superficial reading, to produce a   result which is worthless and vulgar to a pitiable degree. Of course there are exceptions to this narrowness and aridity of intellectual culture, but either they are really rare exceptions, or I have been especially unfortunate....

My dear Dorothy, this letter was begun three months ago; I mislaid it, and in the vanity of my imagination, believed that I had finished and sent it; and lo! yesterday it turns up—a fragment of which the Post Office is still innocent: and after all, 'tis a nonsense letter, to send galloping the wild world over after you. It seems hardly worth while to put the poor empty creature to the trouble of being sea-sick, and going so far. However, I know it will not be wholly worthless to you if it brings you word of my health and happiness, both of which are as good as any reasonable human mortal can expect....

Kiss dear Harriet for me, and believe me,

Very affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Branchtown, March 1st, 1836.

Dearest H——,

Are you conjecturing as to the fate of three letters which you have written to me from the Continent? all of which I have duly received, I speak it with sorrow and shame; and certainly 'tis no proof that my affection is still the same for you, dear H——, that I have not been able to rouse myself to the effort of writing to you.... You will ask if my baby affords me no employment? Yes, endless in prospect and theory, dear H——; but when people talk of a baby being such an "occupation," they talk nonsense, such an idleness, they ought to say, such an interruption to everything like reasonable occupation, and to any conversation but baby-talk....

You ask of my society. I have none whatever: we live six miles from town, on a road almost impracticable in the fairest as well as the foulest weather, and though people occasionally drive out and visit me, and I occasionally drive in and return their calls, and we semi-occasionally, at rare intervals, go in to the theatre, or a dance, I have no friends, no intimates, and no society.

Were I living in Philadelphia, I should be but little better off; for though, of course, there, as elsewhere, the materials for good society exist, yet all the persons whom I should like to cultivate are professionally engaged, and their circumstances require, apparently, that they should be so without intermission; and they have no time, and, it seems, but little taste for social enjoyment.

MY OCCUPATIONS.   There is here no rich and idle class: there are two or three rich and idle individuals, who have neither duties nor influence peculiar to their position, which isolates without elevating them; and who, as might be expected in such a state of things, are the least respectable members of the community. The only unprofessional man that I know in Philadelphia (and he studied, though he does not practice, medicine) who is also a person of literary taste and acquirement, has lamented to me that all his early friends and associates having become absorbed in their several callings, whenever he visits them he feels that he is diverting them from the labor of their lives, and the earning of their daily bread.

No one that I belong to takes the slightest interest in literary pursuits; and though I feel most seriously how desirable it is that I should study, because I positively languish for intellectual activity, yet what would under other circumstances be a natural pleasure, is apt to become an effort and a task when those with whom one lives does not sympathize with one's pursuits.... Without the stimulus of example, emulation, companionship, or sympathy, I find myself unable to study with any steady purpose; however, in the absence of internal vigor, I have borrowed external support, and on Monday next I am going to begin to read Latin with a master.... Any pursuit to which I am compelled will be very welcome to me, and I have chosen that in preference to German, as mentally more bracing, and therefore healthier.

I have already described what calls itself my garden here—three acres of kitchen-garden, and a quarter of an acre of flower-garden, divided into three straight strips, bordered with mangy box, and separated from the vegetables by a white-washed paling. I am the more provoked with this, because there are certain capabilities about the place; money is spent in keeping it up, and three men, entitled gardeners, are constantly at work on it; and it is not want of means, but of taste and knowledge and care, that makes it what it is. The piece of coarse grass dignified by the name of a lawn, in front of the house, is mowed twice in the whole course of the summer; of course, during the interval, it looks as if we were raising a crop of poor hay under our drawing-room windows. However, the gardening of Heaven is making the whole earth smile just now; and the lights and shadows of the sky, and wild flowers and verdure of the woods are beneficently beautiful, and make my spirit sing for joy, in spite of the little that men have done here gratefully to improve Heaven's gifts. This is not audacious, for Adam and Eve landscape-gardened   in Paradise, you know; and I wish some little of their craft were to be found among their descendants hereabouts.

My paper is at an end: do I tell you "nothing of my mind and soul"? What, then, is all this that I have been writing? Is it not telling you more than if I were to attempt to detail to you methodically, circumstantially (and perhaps unconsciously quite falsely), the state of either?...

I am expecting a visit from Dr. Channing, whom I love and revere. After reading a sermon of his before going to bed the other night, I dreamt towards morning that I was in Heaven, from whence I was literally pulled down and awakened to get up and go to church, which, you will allow, was a ridiculous instance of bathos and work of supererogation. But, dear me, that dream was very pleasant! Rising, and rising, and rising, into ever-increasing light and space, not with effort and energy, as if flying, but calmly and steadily soaring, as if one's property was to float upwards, mounting eternally. I send you my dream across the Atlantic; there is something of my "mind and soul" in that.

God bless you, dear.

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

[After my first introduction to Dr. Channing, I never was within reach of him without enjoying the honor of his intercourse and the privilege of hearing him preach. I think he was nowhere seen or heard to greater advantage than at his cottage near Newport, in the neighborhood of which a small church afforded the high advantage of his instruction to a rural congregation, as different as possible from the highly cultivated Bostonians who flocked to hear him whenever his state of health permitted him to preach in the city.

King's Chapel, as it originally was called, dating back to days when the colony of Massachusetts still acknowledged a king, was dedicated at first to the Episcopal service of the Church of England, and I believe the English Liturgy in some form was the only ritual used in it. But when I first went to America, Boston and the adjacent College, Cambridge, were professedly Unitarian, and the service in King's Chapel was such a modification of the English Liturgy as was compatible with that profession: a circumstance which enabled its frequenters to unite the advantage of Dr. Channing's eloquent preaching with the use of that book of prayer and praise unsurpassed and unsurpassable in its simple sublimity and fervid depth of devotion.

  I retain a charmingly comical remembrance of the last visit I paid Dr. Channing, at Newport; when, wishing to take me into his garden, and unwilling to keep me waiting while he muffled himself up, according to his necessary usual precautions, he caught up Mrs. Channing's bonnet and shawl, and sheltering his eyes from the glare of the sun by pulling the bonnet well down over his nose, and folding the comfortable female-wrap (it was a genuine woman's-shawl, and not an ambiguous plaid of either or no sex) well over his breast, he walked round and round his garden, in full view of the high-road, discoursing with the peculiar gentle solemnity and deliberate eloquence habitual to him, on subjects the gravity of which was in laughable contrast with his costume, the absurdity of which only made me smile when it recurred to my memory, after I had taken leave of him and ceased hearing his wise words.]

My Dearest Harriet,

PLANS FOR THE NEGROES. ... There is one interest and occupation of an essentially practical nature, such as would give full scope to the most active energies and intellect, in which I am becoming passionately interested,—I mean the cause of the Southern negroes.

We live by their labor; and though the estate is not yet ours (elder members of the family having a life interest in it), it will be our property one day, and a large portion of our income is now derived from it.

I was told the other day, that the cotton lands in Georgia, where our plantation is situated, were exhausted; but that in Alabama there now exist wild lands along the Mississippi, where any one possessing the negroes necessary to cultivate them, might, in the course of a few years, realize an enormous fortune; and asked, jestingly, if I should be willing to go thither. I replied, in most solemn earnest, that I would go with delight, if we might take that opportunity of at once placing our slaves upon a more humane and Christian footing. Oh, H——! I can not tell you with what joy it would fill me, if we could only have the energy and courage, the humanity and justice, to do this: and I believe it might be done.

Though the blacks may not be taught to read and write, there is no law which can prevent one from living amongst them, from teaching them all—and how much that is!—that personal example and incessant personal influence can teach. I would take them there, and I would at once explain to them my principles and my purpose: I would tell them that in so many years I expected to be able to free them, but that   those only should be liberated whose conduct I perceived during that time would render their freedom prosperous to themselves, and safe to the community. In the mean time I would allot each a profit on his labor; I would allow them leisure and property of their own; I would establish a Savings Bank for them, so that at the end of their probation, those into whom I had been able to instill industrious and economical habits should be possessed of a small fund wherewith to begin the world; I would remain there myself always, and, with God's assistance and blessing, I do believe a great good might be done. How I wish—oh, how I wish we might but make the experiment! I believe in my soul that this is our peculiar duty in life. We all have some appointed task, and assuredly it can never be that we, or any other human beings were created merely to live surrounded with plenty, blessed with every advantage of worldly circumstance, and the ties of happy social and domestic relations,—it cannot be that anybody ought to have all this, and yet do nothing for it; nor do I believe that any one's duties are bounded by the half-animal instincts of loving husband, wife, or children, and the negative virtue of wronging no man: besides we are villainously wronging many men.... What would I not give to be able to awaken in others my own feeling of this heavy responsibility!

I have just done reading Dr. Channing's book on slavery; it is like everything else of his, written in the pure spirit of Christianity, with judgment, temper and moderation, yet with abundant warmth and energy. It has been answered with some cleverness, but in a sneering, satirical tone, I hear. I have not yet read this reply, but intend doing so; though it matters little what is said by the defenders of such a system: truth is God, and must prevail.

Enough of this side of the water. Your wanderings abroad, dear H——, created a feeling of many mingled melancholies in my mind: in the first place, you are so very, very far off, the dead seem scarcely further; perhaps they indeed are nearer to us, for I believe we are surrounded by "a cloud of witnesses." Your description of those southern lands is sad to me. I have always had a passionate yearning for those regions where man has been so glorious, and Nature is so still. I thought of your various emotions at my uncle's grave at Lausanne. Life seems to me so strange, that the chain of events which forms even the most commonplace existence has, in its unexpectedness, something of the marvelous.

I rejoice that dear Dorothy is benefited by your traveling,   and pray for every blessing on you both. As to the possibility of my coming to England and not finding you there, my dear H——; I can say nothing and you must do what you think right.

God bless you.

I am ever yours,

F. A. B.

IMPRACTICABLE IDEAS. [The ideas and expectations, with which I entered upon my Northern country life, near Philadelphia, were impossible of fulfillment, and simply ridiculous under the circumstances. Those with which I contemplated an existence on our Southern estate, or the new one suggested in this letter, in the State of Alabama, were not only ridiculously impossible, but would speedily have found their only result in the ruin, danger, and very probably death, of all concerned in the endeavor to realize them.

The laws of the Southern States would certainly have been forestalled by the speedier action of lynch-law, in putting a stop to my experimental abolitionism. And I am now able to understand, and appreciate, what, when I wrote this letter, I had not the remotest suspicion of,—the amazement and dismay, the terror and disgust, with which such theories as those I have expressed in it must have filled every member of the American family with which my marriage had connected me; I must have appeared to them nothing but a mischievous madwoman.]

Branchtown, March 28th, 1836.

My Dearest H——,

You say that thinking of you makes me fancy that I have written to you: not quite so, for no day passes with me without many thoughts of you, and I certainly am well aware that I do not write to you daily.... But, dearest H——, once for all, believe this: whether I am silent altogether, or simply unsatisfactory in my communications, I love you dearly, and hope for a happier intercourse with you,—if never here—hereafter, in that more perfect state, where, endowed with higher natures, our communion with those we love will, I believe, be infinitely more intimate than it can be here, subject as it is to all the imperfections of our present existence.

You laugh at me for what you consider my optimism, my incredulity with regard to the evils of this present life, and seem to think I am making out a case of no little absurdity in ascribing so much of what we suffer to ourselves. But I do not think my view of the matter is altogether visionary. Even from disease   and death, those stern and inexorable conditions of our present state, spring, as from bitter roots, some of the sweetest virtues of which our nature is capable; and I do not believe it to be the great and good God's appointment that the earth should be loaded as it is with barren suffering and sorrow. And as to believing that women were intended to lead the helpless, ailing, sickly, unprofitable, and unpleasurable lives, which so many of them seem to lead in this country, I think it would be a direct libel on our Creator to profess such a creed....

I walked into town, the other day, a distance of only six miles, and was very much tired by the expedition: to be sure I am not a good walker, riding being my natural exercise, in which I persist, in spite of stumbling and shying horses, high-roads three feet deep in dust, and by-roads three feet deep in mud, at one and the same time. Taking exercise has become, instead of a pleasure, a sometimes rather irksome duty to me; a lonely ride upon a disagreeable horse not being a great enjoyment; but I know that my health has its reward, and I persevere....

The death of an elderly lady puts us in possession of our property, which she had held in trust during her life.... Increase of fortune brings necessarily increased responsibility and occupation, and for that I am not sorry, though the circumstance of the death of this relation, of whom I knew and had seen but little, has been fruitful in disappointments to me.... In the first place, I have been obliged to forego a visit from my delightful friend, Miss Sedgwick, who was coming to spend some time with me; this, in my lonely life, is a real privation. In the next place, our proposed voyage to England is indefinitely postponed, and from a thing so near as to be reckoned a certainty (for we were to have sailed the 20th of next month), it has withdrawn itself into the misty regions of a remote futurity, of the possible events of which we cannot even guess....

We have had a most unprecedented winter; the cold has been dreadful, and the snow, even now, in some places, lies in drifts from three to five feet deep. There is no spring here; the winter is with us to-day, and to-morrow the heat will be oppressive; and in a week everything will be like summer, without the full-fledged foliage to temper the glare.

I have taken up your letter to see if there are any positive questions in it, that I may not this time be guilty of not replying to you while I answer it....

I do not give up my music quite, but generally, after dinner, pass an hour at the piano, not so much from the pleasure it now gives me, as from the conviction that it is wrong to give up even   the smallest of our resources; and also because, as wise Goethe says, "We are too apt to suffer the mean things of life to overgrow the finer nature within us, therefore it is expedient that at least once a day we read a little poetry, or sing a song, or look at a picture." Upon this principle, I still continue to play and sing sometimes, but no longer with any great pleasure to myself.

Good-bye, dearest H——.... Oh, I should like to see you once again!

I am ever yours,

F. A. B.

Branchtown, July 31st, 1836.

My Dearest H——,

You ask me if I do not write anything; yes, sometimes reviews, for which I am solicited. It is an occupation, but returns neither reputation, the articles being anonymous; nor remuneration, as they are also gratuitous; and I do it without much interest, simply not to be idle. As to anything of more literary pretension, I never shall attempt it again: I do not think nature intended mothers to be authors of anything but their babies; because, as I told you, though a baby is not an "occupation," it is an absolute hindrance to everything else that can be called so. I cannot read a book through quietly for mine; judge, therefore, how little likely I am to write one....

FRIVOLOUS CREATURES. You ask me if I take no pleasure in gardening; and suggest the cutting of carnations and raising of lettuce, as wholesome employments for me. The kitchen-garden is really the only well-attended-to horticulture of this place. The gardener raises early lettuces and cauliflowers in frames, which remunerate him, either by their sale in market or by prizes that he may obtain for them. His zeal in floriculture is less; as you will understand, when I tell you that, discovering some early violets blowing along a sunny wall in the kitchen-garden, and seizing joyfully upon them, with reproaches to him for not having let me know that there were any, he replied—"letting fall a lip of much contempt,"—"Well, ma'am, I quite forgot them violets. You see, them flowers is such frivolous creatures." Profane fellow!

I spend generally about three hours a day pottering in my garden, but, alas! my gardening consists chiefly of slaughter. The heat of the climate generates the most enormous quantity of insects, for the effectual prevention or destruction of which the gardeners in these parts have yet discovered no means. The consequence is that, in spite of my daily executions, every shrub and every flower-bush is fuller of bugs (so they here indiscriminately   term these displeasing beasts) than of leaves. They begin by eating up the roses bodily (these are called distinctively, rose-bugs; of course, they have a pet name, but it's Latin, and is only used by their familiars); they then attack and devour the large white lilies, and honeysuckles; finally, they spread themselves impartially all over the garden, and having literally stripped that bare, are now attacking the fruit. It is an insect which I have never seen in England; a species of beetle, much smaller, but not unlike the cockchafer we are familiar with. Their number is really prodigious, and they seem to me to propagate with portentous rapidity, for every day, in spite of the sweeping made by the gardener and myself, they appear as thick as ever. But for the dread of their coming in still greater force next year, if we do not continue our work of extermination, I should almost be tempted to give it up in despair.

I have a few flower-beds that I have had made, and keep under my own especial care; also some pretty baskets, which I have had expressly manufactured with exceeding difficulty; these, filled with earth, and planted with roses, I have placed on the stumps of some large trees, which were cut down last spring and form nice rustic pedestals; and thus I contrive to produce something of an English garden effect. But the climate is against me. The winter is so terribly cold that nothing at all delicate can stand it unless cased up in straw-matting and manure. We have, therefore, no evergreen shrubs, such as the lauristinus, and Portugal and variegated laurels, which form our English garden shrubberies; nor do they seem to replace these by the native growth of their own woods, the kalmias and rhododendrons, but principally by hardy evergreens of the fir and pine species, which are native and abundant here. Then, with scarcely any interval of spring to moderate the sudden extreme change, the winter becomes summer—summer, without its screen of thick leaves to shelter one from the blazing, scorching heat. Everything starts into bloom, as it were, at once; and, instead of lasting even their proverbially short date of beauty, the flowers vanish as suddenly as they appeared, under the fierce influence of the heat and the devastations of the swarming insects it engenders.

To make up for this, I have here almost an avenue of fine lemon-trees, in cases; humming-birds, which are a marvel and enchantment to me; and fire-flies, which are exquisite in the summer evenings.

I have, too, a fine hive of bees, which has produced already this spring two strong young swarms, whose departure from the parent hive formed a very interesting event in my novel experiences;   especially as one of the stablemen, who joined the admiring domestic crowd witnessing the process, proved to be endowed with the immunity some persons have from the stings of those insects, and was able to take them by handfuls from the tree where they were clinging, and put them on the stand where the bee-hive prepared for them was placed. I had read of this individual peculiarity with the incredulity of ignorance (incomparably stronger than that of knowledge); but seeing is believing, and when my fiery-haired Irish groom seized the bees by the handful, of course there was no denying the fact.

OPERATIONS OF ANTS. There is a row of large old acacia-trees near the house, inhabited by some most curious ants, who are gradually hollowing the trees out. I can hear them at work as I stand by the poor vegetables, and the grass all round is literally whitened with the fine sawdust made by these hard-working little carpenters. The next phenomenon will be that the trees will tumble on my head, while I am pursuing my entomological studies. [To avert this catastrophe, the trees had all to be cut down].... Dear H——, I never contemplated sacrificing my child's, or anybody else's, health to my desire for "doing good." There is a difference between living all the year round on a rice-swamp, and retiring during the summer to the pinewood highlands, which are healthy, even in the hot season; nor am I at all inclined to advocate the neglect of duties close at hand for quixotical devotion to remote ones. But you must remember that we are slave owners, and live by slave-labor, and if the question of slavery does not concern us, in God's name whom does it concern? In my conviction, that is our special concern.... There is a Convention about to meet at Harrisburg, the seat of Government of this State, Pennsylvania, for the election of Van Buren, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency....

The politics of this country are in a strange, uncertain state, but I have left myself no room to enlarge upon them.

I have just finished reading Judge Talfourd's "Ion," and Lamartine's "Pélérinage" to Palestine. God bless you, dearest H——.

Ever yours,

F. A. B.

[Sydney Smith said that he never desired to live in a hot climate, as he disliked the idea of processions of ants traversing his bread and butter. The month of June had hardly begun in the year 1874, when I was residing close to the home of my early married life,   Butler Place, when the ants appeared in such numbers in the dining-room sideboards, closets, cupboards, etc., that we were compelled to isolate all cakes, biscuits, sugar, preserves, fruit, and whatever else was kept in them, by placing the vessels containing all such things in dishes of water—moats, in fact, by which the enemy was cut off from these supplies. Immediately to these succeeded swarms of fire-flies, beautiful and wonderful in their evening apparition of showers of sparks from every bush and shrub, and after sunset rising in hundreds from the grass, and glittering against the dark sky as if the Milky Way had gone mad and taken to dancing; but even these shining creatures were not pleasant in the house by day, where they were merely like ill-shaped ugly black flies. These were followed by a world of black beetles of every size and shape, with which our room was alive as soon as the lights were brought in the evening. Net curtains, and muslin stretched over wooden frames, and fixed like blinds in the window-sashes, did indeed keep out the poor mouthful of stifling air for which we were gasping, but did not exclude these intolerable visitors, who made their way in at every crack and crevice and momentarily opened door, and overran with a dreadful swiftness the floor of the room in every direction; occasionally taking to the more agreeable exercise of flying, at which, however, they did not seem quite expert, frequently tumbling down and struggling by twos and threes upon one's hair, neck, and arms, and especially attracted to unfortunate females by white or light-colored muslin gowns, which became perfect receptacles for them as they rushed and rattled over the matting. After the reign of the beetles came that of the flies, a pest to make easily credible the ancient story of the Egyptian plague. Every picture and looking-glass frame, every morsel of gilding, every ornamental piece of metal about the rooms, had to be covered, like the tarts in a confectioner's shop, with yellow gauze; whatever was not so protected—unglazed photographs, the surface of oil pictures, necessary memoranda, and papers on one's writing-table—became black with the specks and spots left by these creatures. Plates of fly-paper poison disfigured, to but small purpose, every room; and at evening, by candlelight, while one was reading or writing, the universal hum and buzz was amazing, and put one in mind of the—

"Hushed by buzzing night-flies to thy slumber"

of poor King Henry. The walls and ceiling of the servants' offices and kitchen, which at the beginning of the spring had been painted white, and were immaculate in their purity, became literally a   yellow-brown coffee color, darkened all over with spots as black as soot, with the defilement of these torments, of which three and four dustpanfuls a day would be swept away dead without appreciably diminishing their number.

PROFUSION OF INSECT LIFE. These flies accompanied our whole summer, from June till the end of October. Before, however, the beginning of the latter month, the mosquitoes made their appearance; and though, owing to the peculiar dryness of the summer of 1874, they were much less numerous than usual, there came enough of them to make our days miserable and our nights sleepless.

These are the common indoor insects of a common summer in this part of Pennsylvania, to which should be added the occasional visits of spiders of such dimensions as to fill me with absolute terror; I have, unfortunately, a positive physical antipathy to these strangely-mannered animals (the only resemblance, I fear, between myself and Charles Kingsley), some of whose peculiarities, besides their infinitely dexterous and deliberate processes for ensnaring their prey, make them unspeakably repulsive to me,—indeed, to a degree that persuades me that, at some former period of my existence, "which, indeed, I can scarcely remember," as Rosalind says, I must have been a fly who perished by spider-craft.

It is not, however, only in these midland and comparatively warmer states of North America that this profusion of insect life is found; the heat of the summer, even in Massachusetts, is more than a match in its life-engendering force, for the destructive agency of the winter's cold; and in the woods, on the high hill-tops of Berkshire, spiders of the most enormous size abound. I found two on my own place, the extremities of whose legs could not be covered by a large inverted tumbler; one of these perfectly swarmed with parasitical small spiders, a most hideous object! and one day, on cutting down a hollow pine tree, my gardener called me to look at a perfect jet of white ants, which like a small fountain, welled up from the middle of the decayed stump, and flowed over it in a thick stream to the ground. As far north as Lenox, in Berkshire, the summer heat brings humming-birds and rattlesnakes; and of less deadly, but very little less disagreeable, serpent-beasts, I have encountered there no fewer than eight, in a short mile walk, on a warm September morning, genial even for snakes.

The succession of creatures I have enumerated is the normal entomology of an average Pennsylvania summer. But there came a year, a horrible year, shortly before my last return to England, when the Colorado beetle (alias potato-bug), having marched over the whole   width of the continent, from the far West to the Atlantic sea-board, made its appearance in the neighborhood of Philadelphia. These loathsome creatures, varying in size from a sixpence to a shilling, but rather oval than round in shape, of a pinkish-colored flesh, covered with a variegated greenish-brown shell, came in such numbers that the paths in the garden between the vegetable beds seemed to swim with them, and made me giddy to look at them. They devoured everything, beginning with the potatoes; and having devastated the fields and garden, betook themselves to swarming up the walls of the house, for what purpose they alone could tell—but didn't. In vain men with ladders went up and scraped them down into buckets of hot water; they seemed inexhaustible, and filled me with such disgust that I felt as if I must fly, and abandon the place to them. I do not think this pest lasted much more than a week; then, having devoured, they departed, still making towards the sea, and were described to me by a gentleman who drove along the road, as literally covering the highway, like a disbanded army. One's familiar sensations under this visitation were certainly "crawling and creeping"; it is a great pity that flying might not have been added to them.]

Branchtown, Monday, August 29th, 1836.

Dearest H——,

You are in Italy! in that land which, from the earliest time I can remember, has been the land of my dreams; and it seems strange to me that you should be there, and I here; for when we were together the realities of life, the matter-of-fact interests of every-day existence always attracted your sympathies more than mine; nor do I remember ever hearing you mention, with the longing which possessed me, Italy, or the shores of the Mediterranean.... If, as I believe, there is a special Providence in "the fall of a sparrow," then your and my whereabouts are not the result of accidental circumstance, but the providential appointment of God. Dearest H——, your life's lesson just now is to be taught you through variety of scene, the daily intercourse of your most precious friend [Miss Dorothy Wilson], and the beautiful and lofty influences of the countries in which you are traveling and sojourning: and mine is to be learnt from a page as different as the chapters of Lindley Murray's Grammar are different from those of a glorious, illuminated, old vellum book of legends. I not only believe through my intuitive instincts, but also through my rational convictions, that my own peculiar task is the wholesomest and best for me, and though I   might desire to be with you in Italy, I am content to be without you in America.... How much all separation and disappointment tend to draw us nearer to God! To me upon this earth you seem almost lost—you, and those yet nearer and dearer to me than yourself; your very images are becoming dim, and vague, and blurred in outline to my memory, like faded pictures or worn-out engravings. I think of you all almost as of the dead, and the feverish desire to be once more with you and them, from which I have suffered sometimes, is gradually dying away in my heart; and now when I think of any of you, my dear distant ones, it is as folded with me together in our Heavenly Father's arms, watched over by His care, guarded over by His merciful love, and though my imagination no longer knows where to seek or find you on earth, I meet you under the shadow of His Almighty Wings, and know that we are together—now—and forever.

SEPARATION OF FRIENDS. [To those who know the rate of intercourse between Europe and America now, these expressions of the painful sense of distance from my country and friends, under which I suffered, must seem almost incomprehensible,—now, when to go to Europe seems to most Americans the easiest of summer trips, involving hardly more than a week's sea voyage; when letters arrive almost every other day by some of the innumerable steamers flying incessantly to and fro, and weaving, like living shuttles, the woof and warp of human communication between the continents; and the submarine telegraph shoots daily tidings from shore to shore of that terrible Atlantic, with swift security below its storms. But when I wrote this to my friend, no words were carried with miraculous celerity under the dividing waves; letters could only be received once a month, and from thirty to thirty-seven days was the average voyage of the sailing packets which traversed the Atlantic. Men of business went to and fro upon their necessary affairs, but very few Americans went to Europe, and still fewer Europeans went to America, to spend leisure, or to seek pleasure; and American and English women made the attempt still seldomer than the men. The distance between the two worlds, which are now so near to each other, was then immense.]

Let me answer your questions, dear H——; though when I strive most entirely to satisfy you, I seem to have left out the very things you wish to know....

I am reading Sir Thomas Browne's "Religio Medici." What charming old English it is! How many fantastical and how many beautiful things there are in it!

Yesterday I walked down, with a basket of cucumbers and   some beautiful flowers, to Mrs. F——'s, the wife of the Unitarian clergyman whose church I attend, and who is an excellent and highly valued friend of mine; and I sat two hours with her and another lady, going through an interminable discussion on the subject of intellectual gifts: the very various proportions in which they were distributed, and the measure of consciousness of superiority which was inevitable, and therefore allowable, in the possessor of an unusual amount of such endowments....

I wish Mr. and Mrs. F—— lived near me instead of being merely come to spend a few weeks in this neighborhood.... I do not keep a diary any more; I do not find chronicling my days helps me to live them, and for many reasons I have given up my journal. Perhaps I may resume it when we set out for the South....

We are now altogether proprietors of this place, and I really think, as I am often told, that it is getting to be prettier and better kept than any other in this neighborhood. It is certainly very much improved, and no longer looks quite unlike an English place, but there are yet a thousand things to be done to it, in the contemplation of which I try to forget its present mongrel appearance.

Now, dear, I have answered as many of your questions as my paper allows. Do not, I beseech you, send me back word that my letter was "thoroughly unsatisfactory."

God bless you.

I am ever your affectionate

F. A. B.

Branchtown, Wednesday, October 5th.

My Dearest H——,

THE SLAVERY QUESTION. It is a great disappointment to me that I am not going to the South this winter. There is no house, it seems, on the plantation but a small cottage, inhabited by the overseer, where the two gentlemen proprietors can be accommodated, but where there is no room for me, my baby, and her nurse, without unhousing the poor overseer and his family altogether. The nearest town to the estate, Brunswick, is fifteen miles off, and a wretched hole, where I am assured it will be impossible to obtain a decent lodging for me, so that it has been determined to leave me and baby behind, and the owner will go with his brother, but without us, on his expedition to Negroland. As far as the child is concerned, I am well satisfied; ... but I would undergo much myself to be able to go among those people. I know that my hands would be in a great measure tied. I certainly could   not free them, nor could I even pay them for their labor, or try to instruct them, even to the poor degree of teaching them to read. But mere personal influence has a great efficiency; moral revolutions of the world have been wrought by those who neither wrote books nor read them; the Divinest Power was that of One Character, One Example; that Character and Example which we profess to call our Rule of life. The power of individual personal qualities is really the great power, for good or evil, of the world; and it is upon this ground that I feel convinced that, in spite of all the cunningly devised laws by which the negroes are walled up in a mental and moral prison, from which there is apparently no issue, the personal character and daily influence of a few Christian men and women living among them would put an end to slavery, more speedily and effectually than any other means whatever.

You do not know how profoundly this subject interests me, and engrosses my thoughts: it is not alone the cause of humanity that so powerfully affects my mind; it is, above all, the deep responsibility in which we are involved, and which makes it a matter of such vital paramount importance to me.... It seems to me that we are possessed of power and opportunity to do a great work; how can I not feel the keenest anxiety as to the use we make of this talent which God has entrusted us with? We dispose of the physical, mental, and moral condition of some hundreds of our fellow-creatures. How can I bear to think that this great occasion of doing good, of dealing justly, of setting a noble example to others, may be wasted or neglected by us? How can I bear to think that the day will come, as come it surely must, when we shall say: We once had it in our power to lift this burden from four hundred heads and hearts, and stirred no finger to do it; but carelessly and indolently, or selfishly and cowardly, turned our back upon so great a duty and so great a privilege.

I cannot utter what I feel upon this subject, but I pray to God to pour His light into our hearts, and enable us to do that which is right.

In every point of view, I feel that we ought to embrace the cause of these poor people. They will be free assuredly, and that before many years; why not make friends of them instead of deadly enemies? Why not give them at once the wages of their labor? Is it to be supposed that a man will work more for fear of the lash than he will for the sake of an adequate reward? As a matter of policy, and to escape personal violence, or the destruction of one's property, it were well not to urge   them—ignorant, savage, and slavish, as they are—into rebellion. As a mere matter of worldly interest, it would be wise to make it worth their while to work with zeal and energy for hire, instead of listlessly dragging their reluctant limbs under a driver's whip.

Oh, how I wish I was a man! How I wish I owned these slaves! instead of being supported (disgracefully, as it seems to me) by their unpaid labor....

You tell me, dear H——, that you are aged and much altered, and you doubt if I should know you. That's a fashion of speech—you doubt no such thing, and know that I should know you if your face were as red as the fiery inside of Etna, and your hair as white as its snowy shoulders.

I have had the skin peeled off the back of my neck with standing in the sun here, and my whole face and hands are burnt, by constant exposure, to as fine a coffee-color as you would wish to see of a summer's day. Yet, after all, I got as sharp a sunstroke on my shoulders, driving on a coach-box by the side of Loch Lomond once, as could be inflicted upon me by this American sky. The women here, who are careful, above all things, of their appearance, marvel extremely at my exposing myself to the horrors of tanning, freckling, etc.; but with hair and eyes as dark as mine, a gipsy complexion doesn't signify, and I prefer burning my skin to suffocating under silk handkerchiefs, sun-bonnets, and two or three gauze veils, and sitting, as the ladies here do, in the dark till the sun has declined. I am certainly more like a Red Indian squaw than when last you saw me; but that change doesn't signify, it's only skin deep....

You speak of the beauty of the Italian sky, and say that to pass the mornings with such pictures, and the evenings with such sunsets, is matter to be grateful for.

I have been spending a month with my friends, the Sedgwicks, in a beautiful hilly region in the State of Massachusetts; and I never looked abroad upon the woods and valleys and lakes and mountains without thinking how great a privilege it was to live in the midst of such beautiful things. I felt this the more strongly, perhaps, because the country in my own neighborhood here is by no means so varied and interesting.

I am glad you are to have the pleasure of meeting your own people abroad, and thus carrying your home with you: give my kindest love to them all whenever you see them....

I have not been hot this summer: the weather has been rainy and cold to a most uncommon degree; and I have rejoiced therefore, and so have the trees and the grass, which have contrived to look green to the end of the chapter, as with us....

  If I am not allowed to go to the South this winter, it is just possible that I may spend three months in England.

Good-bye, my dearest H——.

I am ever yours,

F. A. B.

[This was the last letter I wrote to my friend from America this year; it was decided that I should not go to the South, and so lonely a winter as I should have had to spend in the country being rather a sad prospect, it was also decided that I should return to England, and remain during my temporary widowhood with my own family in London.

STORMY PASSAGE TO ENGLAND. I sailed at the beginning of November, and reached England, after a frightfully stormy passage of eight and twenty days. I and my child's nurse were the only women on board the packet, and there were very few male passengers. The weather was dreadful; we had violent contrary winds almost the whole time, and one terrific gale that lasted nearly four days; during which time I and my poor little child and her nurse were prisoners in the cabin, where we had not even the consolation of daylight, the skylights being all closely covered to protect us from the sea, which broke all over the decks. I begged so hard one day to have the covering removed, and a ray of daylight admitted, if only for five minutes, that I was indulged, and had reason to repent it; the sea almost instantly broke the windows and poured down upon us like Niagara, and I was thankful to be covered up again as quick as possible in dry darkness.

This storm was made memorable to me by an experience of which I have read one or two descriptions, by persons who have been similarly affected in seasons of great peril, and which I have never ceased regretting that I did not make a record of as soon as possible; but the lapse of time, though it has no doubt enfeebled, has in no other way altered, the impressions I received.

The tempest was the first I had ever witnessed, and was undoubtedly a more formidable one than I have ever since encountered in eighteen passages across the Atlantic. I was told, after it was over, that the vessel had sprung its mainmast—a very serious injury to a sailing ship, I suppose, by the mode in which it was spoken of; and for three days we were unable to carry any sail whatever for the fury of the wind.

At the height of the storm, in the middle of a night which my faithful friend and servant, Margery O'Brien, passed in prayer, without once rising from her knees, the frightful uproar of the   elements and the delirious plunging and rearing of the convulsed ship convinced me that we should inevitably be lost. As the vessel reeled under a tremendous shock, the conviction of our impending destruction became so intense in my mind, that my imagination suddenly presented to me the death-vision, so to speak, of my whole existence.

This kind of phenomenon has been experienced and recorded by persons who have gone through the process of drowning, and afterwards recovered; or have otherwise been in imminent peril of their lives, and have left curious and highly interesting accounts of their sensations.

I should find it impossible adequately to describe the vividness with which my whole past life presented itself to my perception; not as a procession of events, filling a succession of years, but as a whole—a total—suddenly held up to me as in a mirror, indescribably awful, combined with the simultaneous acute and almost despairing sense of loss, of waste, so to speak, by which it was accompanied. This instantaneous, involuntary retrospect was followed by a keen and rapid survey of the religious belief in which I had been trained, and which then seemed to me my only important concern....

The tension, physical and mental, of the very short space of time in which these processes took place, gave way to a complete exhaustion, in which, strangely enough, I found the sort of satisfaction that a child does in crooning itself to sleep, in singing, one after another, every song I could call to memory; and my repertory was a very numerous one, composed of English, Scotch, Irish, Welsh, French, German, Italian, and Spanish specimens, which I "chanted loudly, chanted lowly," sitting on the floor, through the rest of the night, till the day broke, and my sense of danger passed away, but not the recollection of the never-to-be-forgotten experience it had brought to me.

I have often since wondered if any number of men going into action on a field of battle are thus impressed. Several thousands of human beings, with the apparition of their past life thus suddenly confronting them, is not a bad suggestion of the Day of Judgment.

I have heard it asserted that the experience I have here described was only that of persons who, in the full vigor of life and health, were suddenly put in peril of immediate death; and that whatever regret, repentance, or remorse might afflict the last moments of elderly persons, or persons prepared by previous disease for dissolution, this species of revelation, by the sudden glare of death, of the whole past existence was not among the phenomena of death-beds.

  As a curious instance of the very mistaken inferences frequently drawn from our actions by others, when the storm had sufficiently subsided to allow of our very kind friend, the captain, leaving his post of vigilant watch on deck, to come and inquire after his poor imprisoned female passengers, he congratulated me upon my courage. "For," said he, "at the very height of the storm, I was told that you were heard singing away like a bird."

I am not sure that I succeeded in making him understand that that was only because I had been as frightened as I was capable of being, and, having touched the extremest point of terror, I had subsided into a sort of ecstacy of imbecility, in which I had found my "singing voice."

LONDON SOCIETY IN 1836. I returned to my home and family, and stayed with them in London all the time of my visit to England, which, from unforeseen circumstances, was prolonged far beyond what had originally been intended.

I returned to the intercourse of all my former friends and acquaintance, and to the London society of the day, which was full of delightful interest for me, after the solitary and completely unsocial life I had been leading for the two previous years.

My friend, Miss S——, was still abroad, and her absence was the only drawback to the pleasure and happiness of my return to my own country.

My father resided then in Park Place, St. James's, in a house which has since become part of the Park Hotel; we have always had a tending towards that particular street, which undoubtedly is one of the best situated in London: quiet in itself, not being a thoroughfare, shut in by the pleasant houses that look into the Green Park below Arlington Street, and yet close to St. James's Street, and all the gay busyness of the West End, Pall Mall, and Piccadilly.

While we were living at No. 10 Park Place, my cousin, Horace Twiss, was our opposite neighbor, at No. 5, which became my own residence some years afterwards; and, since then, my sister had her London abode for several years at No. 9. The street seems always a sort of home to me, full of images and memories of members of my family and their intimates who visited us there.

My return to London society at this time gave me the privilege of an acquaintance with some of its most remarkable members, many of whom became, and remained, intimate and kind friends of mine for many years. The Miss Berrys, Lady Charlotte Lindsay, Lady Morley, Lord and Lady Lansdowne, Lord and Lady Ellesmere, Lord and Lady Dacre, Sydney Smith, Rogers, were among the   persons with whom I then most frequently associated; and in naming these members of the London world of that day, I mention only a small portion of a brilliant society, full of every element of wit, wisdom, experience, refined taste, high culture, good breeding, good sense, and distinction of every sort that can make human intercourse valuable and delightful.

I was one of the youngest members of that pleasant society, and have seen almost all its brilliant lights go out. Eheu! of what has succeeded to them in the London of the present day, I know nothing.]

Park Place, St. James's, December 28th, 1836.

Nevertheless, and in spite of all your doubts, and notwithstanding all the improbabilities and all the impossibilities, here I am, dearest H——, in very deed in England, and in London, once again. And shall it be that I have crossed that terrible sea, and am to pass some time here, and to return without seeing you? I cannot well fancy that. Surely, now that the Atlantic is no longer between us, though the Alps may be, we shall meet once more before I go back to my dwelling-place beyond the uttermost parts of the sea. The absolute impossibility of taking the baby to the South determined the arrangements that were made; and as I was at any rate to be alone all the winter, I obtained leave to pass it in England, whither I am come, alone with my chick, through tempestuous turbulence of winds and waves, and where I expect to remain peaceably with my own people, until such time as I am fetched away. When this may be, however, neither I nor any one else can tell, as it depends upon the meeting and sitting of a certain Convention, summoned for the revising of the constitution of the State of Pennsylvania; and there is at present an uncertainty as to the time of its opening. It was at first appointed to convene on the 1st of May, and it was then resolved that I should return early in March, so as to be in America by that time; but my last news is that the meeting of the Convention may take place in February, and my stay in England will probably be prolonged for several months in consequence....

Your various propositions, regarding negro slavery in America, I will answer when we meet, which I hope will be ere long.... I wish to heaven I could have gone down to Georgia this winter!...

Your impression of Rome does not surprise me; I think it would be mine. I have not seen dear Emily, but expect that pleasure in about a fortnight....

My father took his farewell of the stage last Friday. How much I could say upon that circumstance alone! The house   was immensely full, the feeling of regret and good-will universal, and our own excitement, as you may suppose, very great. My father bore it far better than I had anticipated, and his spirits do not appear to have suffered since; I know not whether the reaction may not make itself felt hereafter.

Perhaps his present occupation of licenser may afford sufficient employment of a somewhat kindred nature to prevent his feeling very severely the loss of his professional excitement; and yet I know not whether a sufficient succedaneum is to be found for such a dram as that, taken nightly for more than forty years....

Who do you think Adelaide and I went to dine with last Friday? You will never guess, so I may as well tell you—the C——s! The meetings in this world are strange things. She sought me with apparent cordiality, and I had no reason whatever for avoiding her. She is very handsome, and appears remarkably amiable, with the simple good breeding of a French great lady, and the serious earnestness of a devout Roman Catholic. They are going to Lisbon, where he is attaché to the Embassy.

MR. COMBE. I had a letter from Mr. Combe the other day, full of the books he had been publishing, and the lectures he had been delivering. He seems to be very busy, and very happy. [Mr. Combe had lately married my cousin, Cecilia Siddons.] ...

Farewell, my dearest H——.

I am ever your most affectionate,

F. A. B.

Park Place, St. James's, May 13th, 1837.

My Dear Mrs. Jameson,

You will never believe I am alive, not sooner to have answered your kind letter; yet I was grateful for your expressions of regard, and truly sorry for all you have had to undergo. Certainly the chances of this life are strange—that you should be in Toronto, and I in London now, is what neither of us would have imagined a little while ago.

I wish I could think you were either as happy or as well amused as I am. I hope, however, you have recovered your health, and that you will be able to visit some of the beautiful scenery of the St. Lawrence this summer; that, at least, you may have some compensation for your effort in crossing the Atlantic.

I heard of you from my friend, Miss Sedgwick, whose sympathies were as much excited by your personal acquaintance as her admiration had been by your books. I heard of you, too, from   Theodore Fay, whom I saw a short time since, and who gave me a letter of yours to read, which you wrote him from New York. [Mr. Theodore Fay was a graceful writer of prose and poetry, and achieved some literary reputation in his own country; he was for some time United States Minister at Berlin.]

Lady Hatherton, whom I met the other evening at old Lady Cork's, was speaking of you with much affection; and all your friends regret your absence from England; and none more sincerely than I, who shall, I fear, have the ill fortune to miss you on both sides of the Atlantic.

I find London more beautiful, more rich and royal, than ever; the latter epithet, by-the-bye, applies to external things alone, for I do not think the spirit of the people as royal, i.e., loyal, as I used to fancy it was.

Liberalism appears to me to have gained a much stronger and wider influence than it had before I went away; liberal opinions have certainly spread, and I suppose will spread indefinitely. Toryism, on the other hand, seems as steadfast in its old strongholds as ever; the Tories, I see, are quite as wedded as formerly to their political faith, but at the same time more afraid of all that is not themselves, more on the defensive, more socially exclusive; I think they mix less with "the other side" than formerly, and are less tolerant of difference of opinion.

I find a whole race of prima donnas swept away; Pasta gone and Malibran dead, and their successor, Grisi, does not charm and enchant me as they did, especially when I hear her compared to the former noble singer and actress. When I look at her, beautiful as she is, and think of Pasta, and hear her extolled far above that great queen of song, by the public who cannot yet have forgotten the latter, I am more than ever impressed with the worthlessness of popularity and public applause, and the mistake of those who would so much as stretch out their little finger to obtain it. I came to England just in time to see my father leave the stage, and close his laborious professional career. After a long life of public exhibition, and the glare of excitement which inevitably attends upon it, to withdraw into the sober twilight of private life is a great trial, and I fear he finds it so. His health is not as good as it was while he still exercised his profession, and I think he misses the stimulus of the daily occupation and nightly applause.

What a dangerous pursuit that is which weans one from all other resources and interests, and leaves one dependent upon public exhibition for the necessary stimulus of one's existence! This aspect of it alone would make me deprecate that profession   for any one I loved; it interferes with every other study, and breaks the thread of every other occupation, and produces mental habits which, even if distasteful at first, gradually become paramount to all others, and, in due time, inveterate; and besides perpetually stimulating one's personal vanity and desire for admiration and applause, directs whatever ambition one has to the least exalted of aims, the production of evanescent effects and transitory emotions.

PASTA AND GRISI. I am thankful that I was removed from the stage before its excitement became necessary to me. That reminds me that, within the last two days, Pasta has returned to England: they say she is to sing at Drury Lane, Grisi having possession of the Opera House. Now, will it not be a pity that she should come in the decline of her fine powers, and subject herself to comparisons with this young woman, whose voice and beauty and popularity are all in their full flower? If I knew Pasta, I think I would go on my knees to beg her not to do it.

I find my sister's voice and singing very much improved, and exceedingly charming. She speaks always with warm regard of you, and remembers gratefully your kindness to her.

My dear Mrs. Jameson, it is a great disappointment to me that I cannot welcome you to my American home, and be to you that pleasant thing, an old friend in a foreign land. It appears to me that we shall have the singular ill-luck of passing each other on the sea; at least, if it is true that you return in the autumn.

Much as I had desired to see my own country again, my visit to it has had one effect which I certainly had not anticipated, and for which I am grateful: it has tended to reconcile me to my present situation in life, comparatively remote as it is from the best refinements of civilization and all the enjoyments of society.... The turmoil and dissipation of a London life, amusing as they are for a time, soon pall upon one, and I already feel, in my diminished relish for them, that I am growing old.

To live in the country in England!—that indeed would be happiness and pleasure; but we shall never desert America and the duties that belong to us there, and I should be the last person to desire that we should do so; and so I think henceforth England and I are "Paradises Lost" to each other,—and this is a very strange life; with which "wise saw," but not "modern instance," I will conclude, begging you to believe me,

Ever yours most truly,

F. A. B.

  [Madame Pasta did return then to the stage, and her brilliant young rival, Grisi, was to her what the Giessbach would be to a great wave of the Atlantic. But, alas! she returned once more after that to the scene of her former triumphs in London; the power, majesty, and grace of her face, figure, and deportment all gone, her voice painfully impaired and untrue, her great art unable to remedy, in any degree, the failure of her natural powers.

She came as an agent and emissary of the political party of Italian liberty, to help the cause of their Italia Unita, and our people received her with affectionate respect, for the sake of what she had been; but she accepted their applause with melancholy gestures of disclaimer, and sorrowful head-shaking over her own decline. Those who had never heard or seen her before were inclined to laugh; those who had, did cry.

The latent expression of a face is a curious study for the physiognomist, and is sometimes strikingly at variance with that which is habitual, as well as with the general character of the features. That fine and accurate observer of the symptoms of humanity, George Eliot, gives her silly, commonplace, little second-heroine in "Adam Bede," Hester, a pathetic and sentimental expression, to which nothing in her mind or character corresponds, and which must have been an inheritance from some ancestress in whom such an expression had originated with a meaning.

Madame Pasta was not handsome, people of uneducated and unrefined taste might have called her plain; but she had that indescribable quality which painters value almost above all others—style, and a power and sweetness of expression, and a grandeur and grace of demeanor, that I have never seen surpassed. She was not handsome, certainly; but she was beautiful, and never, by any chance, looked common or vulgar.

MADAME RACHEL. Madame Grisi was almost perfectly handsome; the symmetry of her head and bust, and the outline of her features resembled the ideal models of classical art—it was the form and face of a Grecian goddess; and her rare natural gifts of musical utterance and personal loveliness won for her, very justly, the great admiration she excited, and the popularity she so long enjoyed. In a woman of far other and higher endowments, that wonderful actress, Rachel, whose face and figure, under the transforming influence of her consummate dramatic art, were the perfect interpreters of her perfect tragic conceptions, an ignoble, low-lived expression occasionally startled and dismayed one, on a countenance as much more noble and intellectual, as it was less beautiful than Grisi's,—the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual disgrace, which made it possible for one of her   literary countrymen and warmest admirers to say that she was adorable, because she was so "déliceusement canaille." Emilie, Camille, Esther, Pauline, such a "delightful blackguard"!

Grazia, the Juno of the Roman sculptors of her day, their model of severe classical beauty, had a perfectly stolid absence of all expression; she was like one of the oxen of her own Campagna, a splendid, serious-looking animal. No animal is ever vulgar, except some dogs, who live too much with men for the interest of their dignity, and catch the infection of the human vice.

With us coarse-featured English, and our heavy-faced Teutonic kinsfolk, a thick outline and snub features are generally supposed to be the vulgar attributes of our lower classes; but the predominance of spirit over matter vindicates itself strikingly across the Atlantic, where, in the lowest strata of society, the native American rowdy, with a face as pure in outline as an ancient Greek coin, and hands and feet as fine as those of a Norman noble, strikes one dumb with the aspect of a countenance whose vile, ignoble hardness can triumph over such refinement of line and delicacy of proportion. A human soul has a wonderful supremacy over the matter which it informs. The American is a whole nation with well-made, regular noses; from which circumstance (and a few others), I believe in their future superiority over all other nations. But the lowness their faces are capable of "flogs Europe."]

Bannisters, August 1st, 1837.

My dear Mrs. Jameson,

After a riotous London season, my family has broken itself into small pieces and dispersed. My mother is at her cottage in Surrey, where she intends passing the rest of the summer; my father and sister are gone to Carlsbad—is not that spirited?—though indeed they journey in search of health, rather than pleasure. My father has been far from well for some time past, and has at length been literally packed off by Dr. Granville, to try the Bohemian waters.

I am at present staying with my friends, the Fitz Hughs, at Bannisters. I leave this place on Friday for Liverpool, where I shall await the arrival of the American packet; after that, we have several visits to pay, and I hope, when we have achieved them, to join my father and Adelaide at Carlsbad. I am pretty sure that we shall winter in America; for, indeed, I was to have written to you, to beg you to spend that season with us in Philadelphia, but as I had already received your intimation of your   intended return to England in the autumn, I knew that such an offer would not suit your plans.

How glad you will be to see England again! and how glad your friends will be to see you again! Miss Martineau, who was speaking of you with great kindness the other day, added that your publishers would rejoice to see you too.

I do not know whether her book on America has yet reached you. It has been universally read, and though by no means agreeable to the opinions of the majority, I think its whole tone has impressed everybody with respect for her moral character, her integrity, her benevolence, and her courage.

She tells me she is going to publish another work upon America, containing more of personal narrative and local description; after which, I believe, she thinks of writing a novel. I shall be quite curious to see how she succeeds in the latter undertaking. The stories and descriptions of her political tales were charming; but whether she can carry herself through a work of imagination of any length with the same success, I do not feel sure.

I saw the Montagues, and Procters, and Chorley (who is, I believe, a friend of yours), pretty often while I was in London, and they were my chief informers as to your state of being, doing, and suffering. I am sorry that the latter has formed so large a portion of your experience in that strange and desolate land of your present sojourn. You do not say in your last letter whether you intend visiting the United States before your return, or shall merely pass through so much of them as will bring you to the port from which you sail. As I am not there to see you, I should hardly regret your not traveling through them; for, in spite of your popularity, which is very great in all parts of the country that I have visited, I do not think American tastes, manners, and modes of being would be, upon the whole, congenial to you.

I believe I told you how I had met your friend, Lady Hatherton, at a party at old Lady Cork's, and how kindly she inquired after you....

We are here in the midst of the elections, with which the whole country is in an uproar just now. My friends are immovable Tories, and I had the satisfaction of being personally hissed (which I never was before), in honor of their principles, as I drove through the town of Southampton to-day in their carriage.

The death of poor old King William, and the accession of the little lady, his niece, must be stale news, even with you, now. She was the last excitement of the public before the "dissolution of London," and her position is certainly a most interesting one. Poor young creature! at eighteen to bear such a burden of   responsibility! I should think the mere state and grandeur, and slow-paced solemnity of her degree, enough to strike a girl of that age into a melancholy, without all the other graver considerations and causes for care and anxiety which belong to it. I dare say, whatever she may think now, before many years are over she would be heartily glad to have a small pension of £30,000 a year, and leave to "go and play," like common folk of fortune. But, to be sure, if "noblesse oblige," royalty must do so still more, or, at any rate, on a wider scale; and so I take up my burden again—poor young Queen of England!...

Emily sends you her best remembrances.... We shall certainly remain in England till October, so that I feel sure that I shall have the pleasure of seeing you here before I return to my other country—for I reckon that I have two; though, as the old woman said, and you know, "between two stools," etc.

I should have thought you and Sir Francis Head would have become infinite cronies. I hear he is so very clever; and as you tell me he says so many fine things of me, I believe it.

Ever yours most truly,

F. A. B.

MISS MARTINEAU'S NOVEL. [The admirable novel of "Deerbrook" sufficiently answered all who had ever doubted Miss Martineau's capacity for that order of composition; in spite of Sydney Smith's determination that no village "poticary," as he called it, might, could, would, or ever should, be a hero of romance, and the incessant ridicule with which he assailed the choice of such a one. If, he contended, he takes his mistress's hand with the utmost fervor of a lover, he will, by the mere force of habit, end by feeling her pulse; if, under strong emotion, she faints away, he will have no salts but Epsom about him, wherewith to restore her suspended vitality; he will put cream of tartar in her tea, and (a) flower of brimstone in her bosom. There was no end to the fun he made of "the medicinal lover," as he called him. Nevertheless, the public accepted the Deerbrook M. D., and all the paraphernalia of gallipots, pill-boxes, vials, salves, ointments, with which the facetious divine always represented him as surrounded; and vindicated, by its approval, the authoress's choice of a hero.

I do not know whether Mr. Gibson is not, to me, decidedly the hero of Mrs. Gaskell's "Wives and Daughters." I like him infinitely better than all the younger men of the story; and I think the preponderating interest with which one closes George Eliot's wonderful "Middlemarch" is decidedly in behalf of Lydgate, the   country surgeon and hospital doctor. To be sure, we have come a long way since the Liberalism of Sydney Smith and 1837.

I was indebted to my kind friend, Lord Lansdowne, for the memorable pleasure of being present at the first meeting between Queen Victoria and her Houses of Parliament. The occasion, which is always one of interest when a new sovereign performs the solemnity, was rendered peculiarly so by the age and sex of the sovereign. Every person who, by right or favor, could be present, was there; and no one of that great assembly will ever forget the impression made upon them. Lady Lansdowne, who was Mistress of the Robes, was herself an important member of the group round the throne, and I went with her niece, Lady Valletort, under Lord Lansdowne's escort, to places most admirably situated for hearing and seeing the whole ceremony. The queen was not handsome, but very pretty, and the singularity of her great position lent a sentimental and poetical charm to her youthful face and figure.

The serene, serious sweetness of her candid brow and clear soft eyes gave dignity to the girlish countenance, while the want of height only added to the effect of extreme youth of the round but slender person, and gracefully moulded hands and arms. The queen's voice was exquisite; nor have I ever heard any spoken words more musical in their gentle distinctness, than the "My Lords and Gentlemen" which broke the breathless silence of the illustrious assembly, whose gaze was riveted upon that fair flower of royalty. The enunciation was as perfect as the intonation was melodious, and I think it is impossible to hear a more excellent utterance than that of the queen's English, by the English queen.]

Wednesday, July 26th, 1837.
(Think of that, Master Brook!!)

Dearest H——,

These overflowing spirits of mine all come of a gallop of fifteen miles I have been taking with dear Emily, over breezy commons and through ferny pine-woods, and then coming home and devouring luncheon as fast as it could be swallowed; and so you get the result of all this physical excitement in these very animal spirits; and if my letter is "all sound and fury, signifying nothing," under the circumstances how can I help it?

That rather ill-conducted person, Ninon de l'Enclos, I believe, said her soup got into her head; and though "comparisons are odious," and I should be loth to suggest any between that wonderful no-better-than-she-should-be and myself, beyond all doubt   my luncheon has got into my head, though I drank nothing but water with it; but I rather think violent exercise in the cold air, followed immediately by eating, will produce a certain amount of intoxication, just as easily as stimulating drink would. I suppose it is only a question of accelerated circulation, with a slight tendency of blood to the head.

DR. SOUTH. However that may be, I wish you would speak to Emily (you needn't bawl, though you are in Ireland), and tell her to hold her tongue and not disturb me. She is profanely laughing at a sermon of Dr. South's, and interrupting me in this serious letter to you with absurd questions about such nonsense as Life, Death, and Immortality. I can't get on for her a bit, so add her to the cold ride and the hot lunch in the list of causes of this crazy epistle—I mean, the causes of its craziness.

Do you know old South? I don't believe you do even this much of him:—

"Old South, a witty Churchman reckoned,
Was preaching once to Charles the Second:
When lo! the King began to nod,
Deaf to the zealous man of God;
Who, leaning o'er his pulpit, cried
To Lauderdale by Charles's side:—
'My Lord, why, 'tis a shameful thing!
You snore so loud, you'll wake the King!'"

I quote by memory, through my luncheon, and I dare say all wrong; but it doesn't matter, for I don't believe you know it a bit better than I remember it. I and my baby came here on Monday, and shall stay until to-morrow week; after that I go to Liverpool, to meet and be met; and after that I know nothing, of course.... If, however, by that time you are likely to be near London, we will come up thither forthwith, and you must come and stay in Park Place with us. We shall be alone keeping house there; for my mother is in the country, and my father and Adelaide are going to Carlsbad, where we think to join them by-and-by; in the mean time, we hope to enjoy ourselves much sight-seeing all over London, which we shall then have entirely to ourselves; and you had better come and help us.

Good-bye, dearest H——.

Yours ever,

F. A. B.

[This letter was written from Bannisters, the charming country home of my dear friend, Miss Fitz Hugh. For years it had been a resort of rest for Mrs. Siddons, who was always made welcome as one of her own   sisters, by Mrs. Fitz Hugh; and for years it was a resort of rest for me, to whom my friend was as devoted as her mother had been to my aunt.]

Liverpool, Saturday, August 17th, 1837.

My Dearest Harriet,

I have but one instant in which to write. I hope this will meet you at Emily's, in Orchard Street [No. 18 Orchard Street, Portman Square, Mr. Fitz Hugh's town house]; it is to entreat you to remain there until I come to town, which must be in less than a week....

I left Bannisters—most unnecessarily, as it has proved—a fortnight ago, which time I have been spending in heart-eating suspense, waiting in vain, and bolstering up my patience, which kept sinking every day more and more, like an empty sack put to stand upright. I have, since I arrived here, received a letter which has caused me considerable distress, inasmuch as I find I must leave England without again seeing my father and Adelaide, who are gone to Carlsbad in the full expectation of our joining them there....

The political body upon whose movements ours are just now depending has not dispersed, but is merely adjourned to the 17th October. This allows its absent member but a few days in Europe, as we must sail on the 8th September; and those few days are gradually becoming fewer in consequence of this long prevalence of contrary winds, which is keeping the vessel just at the entrance of the Channel, within one good day's sail of me.

All this is a trial, and my heart has sunk, as hour after hour I have watched that watery horizon, and seen the masts appear and disappear, and yet no tidings of the ship I look for.

I have ridden, bathed, tried to write, tried to read, marked my Shakespeare for you, and laid my hand—but, God knows, not with all my heart—to whatsoever I found to do: still I have been ashamed and displeased at the little command I have achieved over my impatience, and the little use I have made of my time. It has been my great good fortune to meet with old friends, and to make new ones, during this period of my probation; and never was kindly intercourse more needed and more appreciated. But, after all, is it not always thus? and are not unexpected pleasures and enjoyments furnished us quite as often as the trials which render them doubly welcome?

'Tis now the 14th of August, and yet no tidings of that ship. There is no ground whatever for anxiety, for it is the prevalence of calm, and light contrary winds, which alone delay its arrival.

Dearest Harriet, I shall soon see you again, and will not that   be a blessing to both of us? Farewell, my dear friend. How long it is since we have been even thus near each other! how long since we have hoped so soon to hear each other's voice!

Ever your affectionate,

F. A. B.

STAY AT CROSBY. [This letter was written from Crosby, a little strip of sandy beach, three miles from Liverpool, to which I betook myself with my child, rather than remain in the noisy, smoky town, while waiting for the arrival of the vessel from America which I was expecting.

I dare say Crosby is by this time a flourishing, fashionable bathing-place. It was then a mere row of very humble seaside lodging-houses, where persons constrained as I was to remain in the close vicinity of Liverpool, were able to obtain fresh air, salt water, and an uninterrupted sea view.

A Liverpool lady told me that, having once spent some weeks at this place one summer, her son, a lad of about twelve years old, used to ride along the sands to Liverpool every day for his lessons, and that she could see him through the telescope all the way to the first houses on the outskirt of the town. Just about midway, however, there was a spot of treacherous quicksand, and I confess I wondered at my friend's courage in watching her boy pass that point: he knew it well, and was little likely to take his pony too near it; but I confess I would rather have trusted to his caution to avoid the place, than watched him pass it through a telescope.

From Liverpool, the long-expected ship having arrived, we went to London, and spent as much time with our friends there and elsewhere as our very limited leisure would then allow; and by the 10th of September, we were again on the edge of English ground, about to sail for the United States.]

Liverpool, Friday, September 8th, 1837.

My Dear Lady Dacre,

My time in England is growing painfully short, for the watch says half-past eleven, and at two o'clock I shall be on board the ship. My promise, as well as my desire, urge me to write you a few parting words. And yet what can they be, that may give you the slightest pleasure?

My parting with my poor mother was calmer than I had ventured to anticipate, and I thank Heaven that I was not obliged to leave England without seeing her once more. I have heard from my sister, who had just received the news of my sudden   departure from England when she wrote. She was bitterly disappointed; but yet I think this unexpected parting without seeing each other again is perhaps well. Our last leave-taking, when she started with my father for Carlsbad, was quite cheerful, because we looked soon to meet again. We have been spared those exceedingly painful moments of clinging to what we are condemned to lose, and in the midst of novelty and variety she will miss me far less than had I left her lonely, in the home where we have been together for the past year.

Dear Lady Dacre, pray, if it is in your power to show her kindness at any time, do so; but I am sure that you would, and that such a request on my part is unnecessary.

The days that we spent in London after leaving you formed a sad contrast to the happy time we enjoyed at the Hoo. We were plunged in bustle and confusion; up to our eyes in trunks, packing-cases, carpet-bags, and valises; and I don't believe Marius in the middle of his Carthaginian ruins was more thoroughly uncomfortable than I, in my desolate, box-encumbered rooms.

You know that we were disappointed of our visit to Bowood, but we spent a few days delightfully at Bannisters, and I am happy to say that we are leaving England with the desire and determination to return as soon as possible.

I found on my arrival here a most pressing and cordial invitation from Sydney Smith (I cannot call him Mr.) to Combe Flory, which, like many other pleasant things, must be foregone. Pray, if you are with him when or after you receive this, thank him again for his kindness and courtesy to us. I did not quite like him, you know, when first I met him at Rogers's; but that was Lady Holland's fault; even now, his being a clergyman hurts my mind a little sometimes, and I fancy I should like him more entirely if he were not so. I have a superstitious veneration for the cloth, which his free-and-easy wearing of it occasionally disturbs a little; but I feel deeply honored by his notice, and most grateful for the good-will which he expresses towards me, and should have been too glad to have heard him laugh once more at his own jokes, which I acknowledge he does with a better grace than any man alive,—though the last time I had that pleasure it was at my own expense: I gave him an admirable chance, and I think he used his advantage most unmercifully.

And now, dear Lady Dacre, what message will you give your kind and good husband from me? May I, with "one foot on land and one on sea," send him word that I love him almost as well as I do you? This shall rest with you, however. Pray   thank him with all my heart, as I do you, for your manifold kindnesses to me. God bless and preserve you both, and those you love! Remember me most kindly to Mrs. Sullivan. I cannot tell you how my heart is squeezed, as the French say, at going away. Luckily, I am too busy to cry to-day, and to-morrow I shall be too sea-sick, and so, farewell!

Believe me, my dear Lady Dacre,
Yours affectionately,

F. A. B.

SIDNEY SMITH. [The occasion of my becoming acquainted with my admirable and very kind friend, the Rev. Sydney Smith, was a dinner at Mr. Rogers's, to which I had been asked to meet Lord and Lady Holland, by special desire, as I was afterwards informed, of the latter, who, during dinner, drank out of her neighbor's (Sydney Smith's) glass, and otherwise behaved herself with the fantastic, despotic impropriety in which she frequently indulged, and which might have been tolerated in a spoilt beauty of eighteen, but was hardly becoming in a woman of her age and "personal appearance." When first I came out on the stage, my father and mother, who occasionally went to Holland House, received an invitation to dine there, which included me; after some discussion, which I did not then understand, it was deemed expedient to decline the invitation for me, and I neither knew the grounds of my parents' decision, nor of how brilliant and delightful a society it had then closed the door to me. On my return to England after my marriage, Lady Holland's curiosity revived with regard to me, and she desired Rogers to ask me to meet her at dinner, which I did; and the impression she made upon me was so disagreeable that, for a time, it involved every member of that dinner-party in a halo of undistinguishing dislike in my mind.

My sister had joined us in the evening, and sat for a few moments by Lady Holland, who dropped her handkerchief. Adelaide, who was as unpleasantly impressed as myself by that lady, for a moment made no attempt to pick it up; but, reflecting upon her age and size, which made it difficult for her to stoop for it herself, my sister picked it up and presented it to her, when Lady Holland, taking it from her, merely said, "Ah! I thought you'd do it." Adelaide said she felt an almost irresistible inclination to twitch it from her hand, throw it on the ground again, and say, "Did you? then now do it yourself!"

Altogether the evening was unsuccessful, if its purpose had been an acquaintance between Lady Holland and myself; and I remember a   grotesque climax to my dissatisfaction in the destruction of a lovely nosegay of exquisite flowers which my sister had brought with her, and which, towards the middle of the evening, mysteriously disappeared, and was looked for and inquired for in vain, until poor Lord Holland, who was then dependent upon the assistance of two servants to move from his seat, being raised from the sofa on which he had been deposited when he was brought up from the dining-room, the flowers, which Adelaide had left there, were discovered, pressed as flat as if for preservation in a book of botanical specimens. The kindly, good-natured gentleman departed, luckily, without knowing the mischief he had done, or seeing my sister's face of ludicrous dismay at the condition of her flowers; which Sydney Smith, however, observed, and in a minute exclaimed, "Ah! I see! Oh dear, oh dear, what a pity! Hot-bed! hot-bed!"

It has always been a matter of amazement to me that Lady Holland should have been allowed to ride rough-shod over society, as she did for so long, with such complete impunity. To be sure, in society, well-bred persons are always at the mercy of ill-bred ones, who have an immense advantage over everybody who shrinks from turning a social gathering into closed lists for the exchange of impertinences; and people gave way to Lady Holland's domineering rudeness for the sake of their hosts and fellow-guests, and spared her out of consideration for them. Another reason for the toleration shown Lady Holland was the universal esteem and affectionate respect felt for her husband, whose friends accepted her and her peculiarities for his sake, and could certainly have given no stronger proof of their regard for him.

The most powerful inducement to patience, however, to the London society upon which Lady Holland habitually trampled, was the immense attraction of her house and of the people who frequented it. Holland House was, for a series of years, the most brilliant, charming, and altogether delightful social resort. Beautiful, comfortable, elegant, picturesque,—an ideal house, full of exquisite objects and interesting associations, where persons the most distinguished for birth, position, mental accomplishments, and intellectual gifts, met in a social atmosphere of the highest cultivation and the greatest refinement,—the most perfect civilization could produce nothing more perfect in the way of enjoyment than the intercourse of that delightful mansion. As Lady Tankerville pathetically exclaimed on Lady Holland's death, "Ah! poore, deare Lady 'Olland! what shall we do? It was such a pleasant 'ouse!"—admission to which was, to most of its frequenters, well worth some toleration of its mistress's brusqueries.

LADY HOLLAND.   If, as a friend of mine once assured me (a well-born, well-bred man of the best English society), it was quite well worth while to "eat a little dirt" to get the entrée of Stafford House, I incline to think the spoonfuls of dirt Lady Holland occasionally administered to her friends were accepted by them as the equivalent for the delights of her "pleasant 'ouse"; and that I did not think so, and had no desire to go there upon those terms, was, I imagine, the only thing that excited Lady Holland's curiosity about me, or her desire to have me for her guest. She complained to Charles Greville that I would not let her become acquainted with me, and twice after our first unavailing meeting at Rogers's, made him ask me to meet her again: each time, however, with no happier result.

The first time, after making herself generally obnoxious at dinner, she at length provoked Rogers, who, the conversation having fallen upon the subject of beautiful hair, and Lady Holland saying, "Why, Rogers, only a few years ago, I had such a head of hair that I could hide myself in it, and I've lost it all," merely answered, "What a pity!"—but with such a tone that an exultant giggle ran round the table at her expense.

After dinner, when the unfortunate female members of the party had to encounter Lady Holland unprotected, she singled out one of the ladies of the Baring family, to whom, however, she evidently meant to be particularly gracious; not, I think, without some intention of also pleasing me by her patronizing laudation of American people and American things; winding up with, "You know, my dear, we are Americans." The young Baring lady, who may or may not have been as familiar as I was with the Bingham and Baring alliances of early times in Philadelphia, merely raised her eyebrows, and said, "Indeed!" while I kept my lips close and breathed no syllable of Longfellow's house near Boston, which had been not only Washington's temporary abode, but the residence, in colonial days, of the Vassalls, to whom Lady Holland belonged, and where Longfellow showed me one day an iron plate at the back of one of the fire-places, with the rebus, the punning arms (Armoiries parlantes) of the Vassall family: a vase with a sun above it, Vas Sol.

Je suis méchante, ma chére, as Madame de Sévigné wrote to her daughter; et cela m'a fait plaisir, to suppress the nice little anecdote which might have helped Lady Holland on so pleasantly just at that juncture.

But, holding one's tongue because one chooses, and being compelled   to hold one's tongue by somebody else, is quite a different thing; and I am not sure that the main reason of my dislike to Lady Holland is not that I held my tongue to "spite her" during the whole course of the last dinner-party to which Rogers invited me to meet her. The party consisted of fewer men than women, and Lady —— and myself agreed to take each other down to dinner, which we did. Just, however, as we were seating ourselves, Lady Holland called out from the opposite side of the table, "No, no, ladies, I can't allow that; I must have Mrs. Butler by me, if you please." Thus challenged, I could not, without making a scene with Lady Holland, and beginning the poet's banquet with a shock to everybody present, refuse her very dictatorial behest; and therefore I left my friendly neighbor, Lady ——, and went round to the place assigned me by the imperious autocratess of the dinner-table: between herself and Dr. Allen ("the gentle infidel," "Lady Holland's atheist," as he was familiarly called by her familiars).

But though one man may take the mare to the water, no given number of men can make her drink; so, having accepted my place, I determined my complaisance should end there, and, in spite of all Lady Holland's conversational efforts, and her final exclamation, "Allen! do get Mrs. Butler to talk! We really must make her talk!" I held my peace, and kept the peace, which I could have done upon no other conditions; but the unnatural and unwholesome effort disagreed with me so dreadfully, that I have a return of dyspepsia whenever I think of it, which I think justifies me in my dislike of Lady Holland.... I do not feel inclined to attribute to any motive but a kindly one, the attention Lady Holland showed my father during a severe indisposition of his, not long after this; though, upon her driving to his door one day with some peculiarly delicate jelly she had had made for him, Frederick Byng (Poodle, as he was always called by his intimates, on account of his absurd resemblance to a dog of that species), seeing the remorseful gratitude on my face as I received her message of inquiry after my father, exclaimed, "Now, she's done it! now, she's won it! now, she's got you, and you'll go to Holland House!" "No, I won't," said I, "but I'll go down to the carriage, and thank her!" which I immediately did, without stopping to put a bonnet on my head. Lady Holland was held, by those who knew her, to be a warm and constant friend, and had always been cordially kind to my father and my brother John.

LADY MORLEY. After Lord Holland's death she left Holland House, and took up her abode in South Street near the Park. One morning, when I was calling   on Lady Charlotte Lindsay, Lady Morley came in, and being reproached by Lady Charlotte for not having come to a party at her house on the previous evening, in which reproach I joined, having been also a loser by her absence from that same party, "Couldn't," said the lively lady, "for I was spending the evening with the pleasantest, most amiable, gentlest-mannered, sweetest-tempered, and most charming woman in all London—Lady Holland!" A conversation then ensued, in which certainly little quarter was shown to the ill qualities of the former mistress of Holland House. Among several curious instances of her unaccountably unamiable conduct to some of even Lord Holland's dearest friends, who, for his sake, opened their houses to her, allowed her to come thither, bespeaking her own rooms—her own company, who she would meet and who she would bring, and in every way consulting her pleasure and convenience, as was invariably the case on the occasion of her visits to Panshanger and Woburn,—Lady Morley said that Landseer had told her, that he was walking one day by the side of Lady Holland's wheel-chair, in the grounds of Holland House, and, stopping at a particularly pretty spot, had said, "Oh, Lady Holland! this is the part of your place of which the Duchess of Bedford has such a charming view from her house on the hill above." "Is it?" said Lady Holland; and immediately gave orders that the paling-fence round that part of her grounds should be raised so as to cut off the Duchess's view into them.

Upon my venturing to express my surprise that anybody should go to the house of a person of whom they told such anecdotes, Lady Morley replied, "She is the only woman in the world of whom one does tell such things and yet goes to see her. She is the most miserable woman in England; she is entirely alone now, and she cannot bear to be alone, and, for his sake who was the dearest and most excellent and amiable creature that ever breathed, one goes on going to her, as I shall till she or I die." But what a description of the last days of the mistress of Holland House!

Sidney Smith, with whom I had become well acquainted when I wrote the letter to Lady Dacre in which I mention him, used to amuse himself, and occasionally some of my other friends, by teasing me on the subject of what he called my hallucination with regard to my having married in America. He never allowed any allusion to the circumstance without the most comical expressions of regret for this, as he called it, curious form of monomania. On the occasion to which I refer in this letter, he and Mrs. Smith had met some friends at dinner at our house, and I was taking leave of them, previous to   my departure for Liverpool, when he exclaimed, "Now do, my dear child, be persuaded to give up this extraordinary delusion; let it, I beg, be recorded of us both, that this pleasing and intelligent young lady labored under the singular and distressingly insane idea that she had contracted a marriage with an American; from which painful hallucination she was eventually delivered by the friendly exhortations of a learned and pious divine, the Rev. Sydney Smith." Everybody round us was in fits of laughter, as he affectionately held my hand, and thus paternally admonished me. I held up my left hand with its wedding-ring, and began, "Oh, but the baby!" when the ludicrous look with which my reverend tormentor received this overwhelming testimony of mine, threw the whole company into convulsions, and nothing was heard throughout the room but sighs and sobs of exhaustion, and faint ejaculations and cries for mercy, while everybody was wiping tears of laughter from their eyes. As for me, I covered up my face, and very nearly went into hysterics.

The special and reportable sallies of Sydney Smith have been, of course, often repeated, but the fanciful fun and inexhaustible humorous drollery of his conversation among his intimates can never be adequately rendered or reproduced. He bubbled over with mirth, of which his own enjoyment formed an irresistible element, he shook, and his eyes glistened at his own ludicrous ideas, as they dawned upon his brain; and it would be impossible to convey the faintest idea of the genial humor of his habitual talk by merely repeating separate witticisms and repartees.

On that same evening, at my father's house, the comparative cheapness of living abroad and in England having been discussed, Sydney Smith declared that, for his part, he had never found foreign quarters so much more reasonable than home ones, or foreign hotels less exorbitant in their charges. "I know I never could live under fifty pounds a week," said he. "Oh, but how did you live?" was the next question. "Why, as a canon should live," proudly retorted he; "and they charged me as enemy's ordnance."

A question having arisen one evening at Miss Berry's as to the welcome Lady Sale would receive in London society after her husband's heroic conduct, and her heroic participation in it, during the Afghan war, Miss Berry, who, for some reason or other, did not admire Lady Sale as much as everybody else did, said she should not ask her to come to her house. "Oh, yes! pooh! pooh! you will," exclaimed Sydney Smith; "you'll have her, he'll have her, they'll have her, we'll have her. She'll be Sale by auction!" Later on that   same evening, it being asked what Lord Dalhousie would get for his successful exploit in carrying of the gates of some Indian town, "Why," cried Lady Morley, "he will be created Duke Samson Afghanistes." It was pleasant living among people who talked such nonsense as that.

A party having been made to go and see the Boa Constrictor soon after its first arrival at the Zoölogical Gardens, Sydney Smith, who was to have been there, failed to come; and, questioned at dinner why he had not done so, said, "Because I was detained by the Bore Contradictor—Hallam"—whose propensity to controvert people's propositions was a subject of irritation to some of his friends, less retentive of memory and accurate in statement than himself.

Sydney Smith, not unnaturally, preferred conversation to music; and at a musical party one evening, as he was stealing on tip-toe from the concert-room to one more remote from the performance, I held up my finger at him, when he whispered, "My dear, it's all right. You keep with the dilettanti; I go with the talkettanti." Afterwards, upon my expostulating with him, and telling him that by such habits he was running a risk of being called to order on some future eternal day with "Angel Sydney Smith, hush!" if he did not learn to endure music better, he replied, "Oh, no, no! I'm cultivating a judicious second expressly for those occasions."

Of his lamentations for the "flashes of silence" which, he said, at one time made Macaulay's intercourse possible, one has heard; but when he was so ill that all his friends were full of anxiety about him, M——, having called to see him, and affectionately asking what sort of night he had passed, Sydney Smith replied, "Oh, horrid, horrid, my dear fellow! I dreamt I was chained to a rock and being talked to death by Harriet Martineau and Macaulay."

ROGERS. Rogers's keen-edged wit seemed to cut his lips as he uttered it; Sydney Smith's was without sting or edge or venomous point of malice, and his genial humor was really the overflowing of a kindly heart.

Rogers's helpful benevolence and noble generosity to poor artists, poor authors, and all distressed whom he could serve or succor, was unbounded; he certainly had the kindest heart and the unkindest tongue of any one I ever knew. His benefits remind me of a comical story my dear friend Harness once told me, of a poor woman at whose lamentations over her various hardships one of his curates was remonstrating, "Oh, come, come now, my good woman, you must allow that Providence has been, upon the whole, very good to you." "So He   'ave, sir; so He 'ave, mostly. I don't deny it; but I sometimes think He 'ave taken it out in corns." I think Rogers took out his benevolence, in some directions, in the corns he inflicted, or, at any rate, trod upon, in others.

Mr. Rogers's inveterate tongue-gall was like an irresistible impulse, and he certainly bestowed it occasionally, without the least provocation, upon persons whom he professed to like. He was habitually kind to me, and declared he was fond of me. One evening (just after the publication of my stupid drama, "The Star of Seville"), he met me with a malignant grin, and the exclamation, "Ah, I've just been reading your play. So nice! young poetry!"—with a diabolical dig of emphasis on the "young." "Now, Mr. Rogers," said I, "what did I do to deserve that you should say that to me?" I do not know whether this appeal disarmed him, but his only answer was to take me affectionately by the chin, much as if he had been my father. When I told my sister of this, she, who was a thousand times quicker-witted than I, said, "Why didn't you tell him that young poetry was better than old?"

Walking one day in the Green Park, I met Mr. Rogers and Wordsworth, who took me between them, and I continued my walk in great glory and exultation of spirit, listening to Rogers, and hearing Wordsworth,—the gentle rill of the one speech broken into and interrupted by sudden loud splashes of the other; when Rogers, who had vainly been trying to tell some anecdote, pathetically exclaimed, "He won't let me tell my story!" I immediately stopped, and so did Wordsworth, and during this halt Rogers finished his recital. Presently afterwards, Wordsworth having left us, Rogers told me that he (Mr. Wordsworth), in a visit he had been lately paying at Althorpe, was found daily in the magnificent library, but never without a volume of his own poetry in his hand. Years after this, when I used to go and sit with Mr. Rogers, I never asked him what I should read to him without his putting into my hands his own poems, which always lay by him on his table.

SYDNEY SMITH. A comical instance of the rivalry of wits (surely as keen as that of beauties) occurred one day when Mr. Rogers had been calling on me and speaking of that universal social favorite, Lady Morley, had said, "There is but one voice against her in all England, and that is her own." (A musical voice was the only charm wanting to Lady Morley's delightful conversation.) I was enchanted with this pretty and appropriate epigram, so unlike in its tone to Mr. Rogers's usual friendly comments; and, very soon after he left me, Sydney Smith   coming in, I told him how clever and how pleasant a remark the "departed" poet (Sydney Smith often spoke of Rogers as dead, on account of his cadaverous complexion) had made on Lady Morley's voice. "He never said it," exclaimed my second illustrious visitor. "But he did, Mr. Smith, to me, in this room, not half an hour ago." "He never made it; it isn't his, it isn't a bit like him." To all which I could only repeat that, nevertheless, he had said it, and that, whether he made it or not, it was extremely well made. Presently Sydney Smith went away. I was living in upper Grosvenor Street, close to Park Lane; and he in Green Street, in the near neighborhood. But I believe he must have run from my house to his own, so short was the interval of time, before I received the following note: "Dans toute l'Angleterre il n'y a qu'une voix contre moi, et c'est la mienne." Then followed the signature of a French lady of the eighteenth century, and these words: "What a dear, innocent, confiding, credulous creature you are! and how you do love Rogers!

"Sydney Smith."

When I was leaving England, I received two most kind and affectionate letters from him, bidding me farewell, and exhorting me, in a most comical and yet pathetic manner, to be courageous and of good cheer in returning to America. One of these epistles ended thus: "Don't forget me, whatever you do; talk of me sometimes, call me Butler's Hudibras, and believe me always.

"Affectionately yours,

"Sydney Smith."]

Liverpool, Monday, September 11th, 1837.

Here we are again, dearest Harriet, returned from our ship, after a wretched day and night spent on board of her most unnecessarily. When we reached the quay yesterday morning, we saw the vessel lying under close-reefed sails; the favorable wind had died away, and the captain, whom we found standing on the wharf, said that, it being Sunday morning, he did not know how he should get a steamboat to tow us out. All this seemed to me very much like not sailing, and I begged not to go on board; at all events, I proposed, if we did not sail, that we should return to shore, and received a promise that we certainly should do so; so we went off in a small boat to the ship. She is crowded to excess, and the greater proportion of passengers are emigrant women and children.... I busied myself in stowing away everything in our state-room, and removing the upper berth so as to secure a little more breathing   space. I even was guilty of the illicit proceeding—committed the outrage, in fact—of endeavoring to break one of my bull's-eyes, preferring being drenched to dry suffocation in foul air; but my utmost violence, even assisted with an iron rod, was ineffectual, and I had to give up breaking that window as a bad job. I found Margery's state-room one chaos of confusion, she at the same time protesting that everything was as tidily disposed of as possible; so I had to stand by and show her where to put every individual article, and having cleared the small space of the heap of superfluous things with which it was crammed, and removed the upper berth, I left it to her option whether she or baby should occupy the floor at night.

At about half-past ten the captain came on board to say that we should not sail then, but if the wind grew fair, we might perhaps sail in the afternoon. He then took himself off the vessel, the wind was fast veering to dead ahead, ... and, with an aching heart and head, I remained in my berth all day long. In the night a perfect gale arose, the ship dragged her anchor for two miles, and we had thus much consolation that, had we put to sea, we should have encountered a violent storm, and, in all probability been driven back into the Mersey. This morning the wind was still contrary, and so we at length exerted ourselves to return to shore. Had we done so yesterday in good time—or, rather, not gone on board at all, you and I might have spent two more days together, and the baby and myself been spared considerable misery. But lamenting cures nothing; ... but I wish we never had left the quay yesterday morning, for everything showed against the probability of our sailing, and so here we are back in our old quarters at the Star and Garter, and you are gone.

We have taken places at the theater for this evening, to see Macready in "Macbeth." The Captain says we are to sail to-morrow morning, but I shall do my utmost this time to avoid going on board except in his company; and then, I think, we shall perhaps have some chance of not spending another day in vain in our sea-prison.

Ever your affectionate,

F. A. B.

[The foregoing letter gives some idea of the difference between crossing from England to the United States in those days, and in these; when a telegram bears the defiance to fate of this message: "We sail in the Russia on the 3d; have dinner for us at the Adelphi on the 11th."]

  Philadelphia, Sunday, October 29th, 1837.

My Dearest Harriet,

We landed in New York, ten days ago, i.e., on Friday, the 20th October; and had we come on immediately hither, your letter would have been just in time to greet me on my arrival here; but our passage was of thirty-seven days, stormy as well as tedious, and I was so ill that I did not leave my bed six times during the crossing; the consequence was, that on landing I looked more like a ghost than a living creature, and was so reduced in strength as hardly to be able to stand, so we remained in New York a few days, till I was able to travel.... Our fellow-passengers, the women, I mean, were rather vulgar, commonplace people, with whom I should not have had much sympathy, had I been well. As it was, I saw but little of them, and may consider that one of the counterbalancing advantages of having suffered so much.

AN ENERGETIC MAN. One of them was in circumstances which interested me a good deal, though there was little in herself to do so. Her husband was a Staffordshire potter, and had gone to the United States to establish a pottery there; to begin the building up of a large concern, and lay the foundation for probable future wealth and prosperity. He had been gone two years, and she was now going out to join him with their four children. In his summons to her after this long separation, he told her that all had prospered with him, that he had bought a large tract of land, found excellent soil, water, and means of every description for his manufacturing purposes, obtained a patent, and established his business, and was every way likely to thrive and be successful.

What hope, what energy, what enterprise, what industry, in but two years of one human existence! What a world of doubt, of distressful anxiety and misgiving in the heart of the woman, left to patient expectation, to prayerful, tearful hopes and fears! What trust in man and faith in God during those two years! And now, with her children, she was coming to rejoin her helpmate, and begin life all over again, with him and them, in a strange country, in the midst of strangers, with everything strange about her. I lay thinking with much sympathy of this poor woman and her feelings, during my miserable confinement to my berth through that dismal voyage. She was an uneducated person, of the lower middle class, and not in herself interesting: though I do not know why I say that, when I was deeply interested about her, and I do not know that any creature endowed with a heart and soul can fail to be an object of interest in some way or other; and human existence, with all its marvelous developments,   going on round one, must always furnish matter for admiration, pity, or sympathy. Moreover, this woman was carrying out with her the wives of several of her husband's workmen, who had accompanied him out on his experimental voyage; and, being settled in his employment, had got their master's wife to bring their partners out to them. Think what a meeting for all these poor people, dear Harriet, in this little hive of English industry and energy in the far west, the fertile wildernesses of Indiana! How often I thought of the fears and misgivings of these poor women in the steerage, when our progress was delayed by tempestuous, contrary winds, when the heavy seas leaped over our laboring vessel's sides, and when, during a violent thunderstorm, our masts were tipped with lambent fire, which played round them like a halo of destruction.

All this while I have forgotten to tell you why I have not written sooner; and I suppose my accusation is yet bitter in your heart while you are reading this. I told you on my first page I was obliged to stay in New York to recruit my strength; the first time I went out, after walking about a quarter of a mile, I was obliged to sit down and rest, for half an hour, in a public garden, before I could crawl back again to the hotel.

On Monday, when I was a little better, we came on here. I am every day now expecting to be fetched to Harrisburg.... A woman should be her husband's friend, his best and dearest friend, as he should be hers: but friendship is a relation of equality, in which the same perfect respect for each other's liberty is exercised on both sides; and that sort of marriage, if it exists at all anywhere, is, I suspect, very uncommon everywhere. Moreover, I am not sure that marriage ever is, can be, or ought to be, such an equality; for even "When two men ride on one horse," you know, etc. In the relation of friendship there is perfect freedom, and an undoubted claim on each side to be neither dependent on, nor controlled by, each other's will. In the relation of marriage this is impossible; and therefore certainly marriage is not friendship.... A woman should, I think, love her husband better than anything on earth except her own soul; which, I think, a man should respect above everything on earth but his own soul: and there, my dear, is a very pretty puzzle for you, which a good many people have failed to solve. It is, indeed, a pretty difficult problem; and perhaps you have chosen, if not the wiser and better, at any rate the easier and safer part.

God bless you, dear friend.

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

  Harrisburg, Friday, November 14th, 1837.

THE DAILY SAVING OF THE WORLD. Thank you, dearest Harriet, for your epitome of the history of the New Testament. I have read the same things, in greater detail, more than once.... I have repeatedly gone over accounts of the history and authenticity of the Gospel narratives; but I have done so as a duty, and in order to be able to give to others some reason for the faith that is in me,—not really because I desired the knowledge for its own sake; and therefore my memory had gradually lost its hold of what I had taken into my mind, chiefly for the satisfaction of others, to enable me to make sufficient answers upon a subject whose best evidence of truth seems to me to reside in itself, and to be altogether out of the region of logic.... Christ received the last and perfect revelation of moral truth, brought it into the world, preached it by his practice, and bore witness to it by his death; and since he came, every holy life and death, in those portions of the globe where his name is known, has been moulded upon his teaching and example; and those individuals least inclined to acknowledge it have unconsciously imbibed the influence of the inspiration which he breathed into the soul of humanity. He has saved, and is daily and hourly saving, the world: and so far from imagining the possibility of any end to the work he has begun, or any superseding of his revelation by any other, it appears to me that civilized societies and nations calling themselves Christian have hardly yet begun to comprehend, believe, or adopt his teaching; under the influence of which I look for the regeneration of the race through the coming ages: it will extend above and beyond all discoveries of science and developments of knowledge, and more and more approve itself the only moral and spiritual theory that will at once carry forward and keep pace with the progress of humanity....

If, by telling you that my mind dwelt more upon religious subjects now than formerly, I have led you to suppose that I ever investigate or ponder creeds, theologies, dogmas, or systems of faith, I have given you a false impression. But I live alone—much alone bodily, more alone mentally; I have no intimates, no society, no intellectual intercourse whatever; and I give myself up, as I never did in my life before, to mere musing, reverie, and speculation—I cannot dignify the process by the title of thought or contemplation.

My mind is much less active than it was: I read less, write less, study little, plan no work, and accomplish none. It is curious how, immediately upon my return to England, my mind seemed to flow back into its former channels; how my thoughts were   roused and awakened; and how my imagination revived, and with what ease and rapidity I wrote, almost currente calamo, the only thing worth anything that I ever have written, my "English Tragedy." Here, all things tend to check any utterance of my thoughts, spoken or written; and while in England I could not find time enough to write, I here have no desire to do so, and lament my inability to force myself to mental exertion as a mere occupation and fill-time: I dare not say kill-time, "for that would be a sin." ... I ride and walk, and pass my days alone; and lacking converse with others, have become much addicted to desultory thinking (almost as bad a thing as desultory reading), which is indeed no thinking at all. Real thinking is what Cleopatra calls "sweating labor," to which the hewing of wood and drawing of water is a joke; but this I carefully avoid, knowing my own incapacity for it; so I dawdle about my mind, and, naturally, arrive at few conclusions; and among those few, no doubt, many false ones....

We are established here during the rest of the Session of the Convention, which is a gain to me, as here I get companionship. There is a recess of a couple of hours, too, in the middle of the day, which the members avail themselves of for their very early dinner, but which we employ, and I enjoy immensely, in riding about the neighboring country. It is not thought expedient that I should ride alone about this strange region, on a strange horse, so I am escorted, at which I rejoice for all sakes, as everybody's health here would be the better for more exercise than they take.

This place, which is the seat of Government of the State of Pennsylvania, is beautifully situated in a valley locked round by purple highlands, through which runs the Susquehanna; in some parts broad, bright, rapid, shallow, brawling, and broken by picturesque reefs of rock; in others, deep and placid, bearing on its bosom beautiful wood-crowned islands, whose autumnal foliage, through which the mellow sunshine is now pouring, gives them the appearance of fairyland planted with golden woods.

The beautiful river is bountifully provided, too, with a most admirable species of trout, weighing from two to four pounds, silvery white without, and pale pink within (just the complexion of a fresh mushroom), and very excellent to eat, as well as lovely to behold.

Many of the members of the Convention have been kind enough to come and see me, and I have attended one of their debates. They are for the most part uncultivated men, unlettered and ungrammared; and those among them who are the best educated, or rather the least ignorant, carry their small lore much as   a school-boy carries his, stiffly, awkwardly, and ostentatiously: an Eton sixth-form lad would beat any one of them in classical scholarship. But though in point of intellectual acquirement, I do not find much here to excite my sympathy, there is abundant matter of interest, as well as much that is curious and amusing to me in their intercourse. The shrewdness, the sound sense, the original observations, and the experience of life of some of these men are striking and remarkable. Though not one of them can speak grammatically, they all speak fluently, boldly, readily, easily, without effort or hesitation. There is, of course, among them, the usual proportion of well, and less well, witted individuals; and perhaps the contrast is the more apparent because the education has here covered no natural deficiencies and developed no natural gifts; so that there is not the usual superficial, civilized level produced by a common intellectual training. The questions they discuss are often in themselves interesting, though I cannot say that they often treat them in the most interesting manner....

Ever your affectionate,

F. A. B.

LORD DE ROS. [The play which I have called an "English Tragedy," was suggested by an incident in the life of Lord de Ros, which my father heard at dinner at Lady Blessington's, and, on his return from Gore House, related it to us. I wrote the principal scene of the third act the same evening, under the impression of the story I had just heard; and afterwards sketched out and wrote the drama, of which I had intended, at first, to write only that one scene.

The whole fashionable world of London had been thrown into consternation by the discovery that Lord de Ros, premier Baron of England, cheated at cards. He was, notoriously, one of the most worthless men of his day; which circumstance never prevented his being perfectly well received by the men and women of the best English society. That he was an unprincipled profligate made him none the less welcome to his male associates, or their wives, sisters, and daughters; but when Lord de Ros cheated his fellow-gamblers at the Club, no further toleration of his wickedness was, of course, possible; and then every infamous story, which, if believed, should have made him intolerable to decent people before, was told and re-told; and it seemed to me, that of all the evil deeds laid to his charge, his cheating at cards was quite the least evil.

Lady Ellesmere, from whom I heard a story of his cold-blooded   profligacy far more dreadful than that on which I founded my "English Tragedy," told me that she thought Lord de Ros's influence had been exceedingly detrimental to her brother, Charles Greville, who was his most intimate friend; and who, she said, burst into tears in speaking to her of it, when the fact of his cheating was discovered,—certainly a strong proof of affection from such a man to such a man; and I remember how eagerly and earnestly he endeavored to persuade me that the incident on which I had founded my "English Tragedy" had not been so profoundly base on Lord de Ros's part as I supposed.

Besides the revival of these tragical stories of his misdeeds, the poor man's disgrace gave rise to some bitter jokes among his friends of the club-house and gambling-table. An epitaph composed for him to this effect was circulated among his intimates:—

"Here lies Henry, twenty-sixth Baron de Ros, in joyful expectation of the last trump."

Of course he was cut by all his noble associates; and Lord Alvanley, being hailed one day by some of them with an inquiry as to whether it was true that he had called on De Ros, replied, "I left a card on Lord de Ros, and I marked it, that he might know it was an honor."]

Harrisburg, Saturday, November 11th, 1837.

My Dear Mrs. Jameson,

It seems useless for me to wait any longer for the chance of giving you some definite idea of our plans, for day after day passes without their assuming anything like a decided form, and I am now as uncertain of what is to become of us when the Convention leaves this place, as I was when I saw you in New York.

MRS. JAMESON. From the date of your last, I perceive that you have taken your intended trip [to the Sault St. Marie, and some of the then little frequented Canadian Lake scenery]. I rejoice at this, as your health must, of course, be better than when you wrote to me before, and I think the scenery and people you are now amongst fit to renovate a sick body and soothe a sore mind. [Mrs. Jameson was staying at Stockbridge, with the Sedgwick family.] Catherine Sedgwick is my best friend in this country, but the whole family have bestowed more kindness upon me than I can ever sufficiently acknowledge.... They have all been exceedingly good to me, and the place of their dwelling combines for me the charms of great natural beauty with the associations that belong to the intellect and the affections.

After your first letter from New York, I never rested till I got Mrs. Griffith's review of your book. The composition itself did   not surprise me, but what did a little—only a little (for I am growing old, and have almost done with being surprised at anything), was that such a production should have gained admission into one of the principal magazines of this country; it is a sad specimen, truly, of the periodical literature it accepts.... Criticism in periodical journals is apt to be slightly malignant, ... and more often the result of personal sentiment than impartial literary or artistic judgment: so that I rather admired the article in question for its ignorance and vulgarity than the qualities which it exhibited in common with other criticisms to be met with in our own periodical literature, which, however unjust or partial in their censures and commendations, are decidedly inferior to Mrs. Griffith's composition in the two qualities I have specified....

My baby acquired a cough in coming from Philadelphia to this place in a railroad carriage (car, as they are called here), which held sixty-four persons in one compartment, and from which we were all obliged to alight, and walk a quarter of a mile through the woods, because the railroad, though traveled upon, is not finished.

We are here upon the banks of the Susquehanna, and surrounded by fine blue outlines of mountainous country. How thankful I am that God did not despise beauty! He is the sole provider of it here.

Believe me ever yours very truly,

F. A. B.

P. S.—"A change has come o'er the spirit of my dream" since yesterday; upon due deliberation, it is determined that when the Convention goes to Philadelphia we shall take possession of Butler Place; and therefore (however uncomfortably), I shall be able to receive you there after the first of next month. If a half-furnished house and half-broken household do not deter you, you will find me the same you have ever known me, there, as elsewhere,

Yours most truly,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, Thursday, November 20th, 1837.

My Dear Mrs. Jameson,

I write in haste, for I find our garden-cart is just starting for town, and I wish this to be taken immediately to the post-office. I was beginning to be almost anxious about you, when your letter from Boston arrived, to remove the apprehension of your being again ill, which I feared must be the case.

  You tell me that you will let me know the day on which to expect you in Philadelphia, and bid me, if I cannot receive you in my house, seek out a shelter for you. The inconveniences, I fear, are yours, and not mine; though a residence of even a few days in an American boarding-house, must, I should think, make even the discomforts of my housekeeping seem tolerable. But that you are yourself likely to be a sufferer in so doing, I should not be sorry to show you the quite indescribable difference between an English and an American home and household; which, I assure you, nothing less than seeing is believing.

From your bidding me, if I intended to relinquish your visit (which I do not), seek you a lodging near me, I do not think that you understand that we live six miles from town, and see as little of Philadelphia as if that six were sixty. This circumstance, too, made me hesitate as to whether I ought to remove you from seeing what there is to be seen there—which is little enough, to be sure,—and withdraw you beyond the reach of those civilities which you would receive on all hands in the city. All this, though, is for yourself to determine on; bed, board, and welcome, we tender you freely; your room, and the inkstand you desire in it, shall be ready on the day you name; and we will joyfully meet you when and where you please to be met, and convey you to our abode, where I can positively promise you absolute quiet, which perhaps in itself may not be unacceptable, after all your mind and body have gone through during your stay in this country.

The Reform Convention is now sitting in Philadelphia, and is no mean curiosity of its kind, I assure you; I should like you to see and hear it.

Ever yours truly,

F. A. B.

[Mrs. Jameson paid us a short, sad visit, and returned to Europe with the bitter disappointment of her early life confirmed, to resume her honorable and laborious career of literary industry. Her private loss was the public gain. When next we met, it was in England.]

Branchtown, Friday, December 29th, 1837.

My Dear Lady Dacre,

Doubtless you have long ago accounted your kind letter lost, for I am sure you would not imagine that I could have received, and yet so long delayed to answer it: yet so it is; and I hardly know how to account for it, for the receipt of your letter   gratified and touched me very much; the more so, probably, that my father and mother hardly ever write to any of us, and so a letter from any one much my senior always seems to me a condescension; and though I may have appeared so, believe me, I am not ungrateful for your kindness in making the effort of writing to me....

GOETHE ON THINKING. I wish it were in my power to give you a decent excuse for not having written sooner, but the more I reflect, the less I can think what I have been doing; yet I have been, and am, busy incessantly from morning to night, about nothing. My whole life passes in trifling activities, and small recurring avocations, which do not each seem to occupy an hour, and yet at last weigh down the balance of the twenty-four. I cannot name the thing I do, and but that our thoughts are to be revealed at the Day of Judgment, I should on that occasion be in the knife-grinder's case: "Story! Lord bless you! I have none to tell, sir!" for except ordering my dinner (and eating it), and riding on horseback every day, I have no distinct idea of any one thing I accomplish. Mine is not a life of much excitement, yet the time goes, and all the more rapidly, perhaps, that it flows with uninterrupted monotony. I neither read, write, nor cast up accounts; and shall soon have to begin again with the first elements. Do you not think that an ignorance, unbroken even by the slightest tincture of these, would be rather a fine thing for one's original powers? If one did nothing but a "deal of thinking," perhaps one's thinking might be something worth. Is it not Goethe who says: "Thought expands and weakens the mind; action contracts and strengthens it"? If this be true, mine should be an intellect of vast extent, and too shallow to drown a fly....

Do you know that I consider pain and disease as inventions of our own; and every death unnatural, but that gradual decay of all the faculties, and cessation of all the functions, which is, as we manage matters now, the rarest termination of human existence? Therefore, besides pitying people when they are ill, I blame them too, unless their suffering be an inheritance, the visitation of God, even unto the third and fourth generation, for disobedience to His wise and beneficent laws. One would think, if this belief in hereditary retribution was real, instead of a mere profession, people would be thoughtful, if not for themselves, at least for those to whom they are to transmit a healthy or diseased nature; one sees so much sin and so much suffering, the manifest causes of which lie at our own doors....

Thank you for your account of Lady Beecher; she always made a most pleasing impression upon me. I think, however   you must be mistaken in saying that she and I excited our audiences alike: I should think that impossible in such very dissimilar actresses as we must have been. The quantity of effect produced, of course I cannot judge of; but it seems to me, from what I have seen and known of her off the stage, that the quality must have been essentially different. This theme, however, should not be begun in the corner of a letter already too long.

Your letter was brought to me into the Harrisburg Convention, whose sessions I once or twice attended. That Convention was very funny, and very strange, and very interesting too; I've a great mind to write Lord Dacre an account of it, because, you know, you disclaim being a "political lady," though I presume you admit that he is a "political lord." And that reminds me that no democrat would accept your three-legged stool and its inferences [Lady Dacre had compared the stability of our Government, by the Sovereign, the Lords, and the Commons, to a solid, three-legged stool, contrasting it disadvantageously with that of the United States], for nature scorns plurality of means where one suffices; and the broadest shadowing tree needs but one stem, if the root be deep and widespread enough. This is merely by the way, for I am as little "political" as you are.

Give my love to Lord Dacre, if that is respectful enough; and also to Mrs. Sullivan, whose intercourse, briefly as I was able to enjoy it, was very delightful to me.

Affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, Tuesday, January 8th, 1838.

My Dearest Harriet,

I am not prone to that hungry longing for letters which you have so often expressed to me, yet I was getting heart-sick for some intelligence from some of my dear ones beyond the seas. My own people have not written to me since I left England, and it seemed to me an age since I had heard from you. The day before yesterday, however, brought me letters from you and Emily, and they were dearly welcome.

MADAME DE STAËL. A poor woman, who of course had more children than she could well feed or honestly provide for, said to me the other day, alluding to my solitary blessing in that kind, that "Providence had spared me wonderfully." ... How fatal this notion, so prevalent among the poor and ignorant, and even the less ignorant and better-to-do classes, is!—this fathering of our progeny upon Providence, which produces so much misery, and so much   crime to boot, in our swarming pauper populations. I have had it in my mind lately once or twice, to write an "Apology for," or "Defense of" Providence. I am sick of hearing so much misery, so much suffering, so much premature death, and so much unnecessary disease, laid to the charge of our best Friend, our Father who is in heaven. Moreover, it is the good (not the reasonable, though) who bring these railing accusations against Providence. Let what calamity soever visit them, they never bethink themselves of their own instrumentality in the business; but with a resignation quite more provoking than praiseworthy, turn up their eyes, and fold their hands, and miscall it a dispensation of Providence. The only application of that "technical" term that I ever heard with pleasure, was that of the delightfully devout old Scotch lady, who said, "Hech, sirs, I'm never weary of reflecting on the gracious dispensations of Providence towards myself, and its righteous judgments on my neighbors!" Doubtless, God has ordained that sin and folly shall produce suffering, that the consequences may warn us from the causes. Madame de Staël, whose brilliancy, I think, has rather thrown into the shade her very considerable common sense, has well said, "Le secret de l'existence, c'est le rapport de nos peines avec nos fautes." And to acknowledge the just and inevitable results of our own actions only as the inscrutable caprices of an inscrutable Will, is to forego one of the most impressive aspects of the great goodness and wisdom of the Providence by which we are governed. Death, and the decay which should be its only legitimate preparation, are not contrary to a right conception of either. But instead of sitting down meekly under what godly folks call "mysterious dispensations" of the Divinity, I think, if I took their view of such unaccountable inflictions, I should call them devilish rather than Divine, and certainly go mad, or very bad. Bearing the righteous result of our own actions, while we suffer, we can adore the mercy that warns us from evil by its unavoidable penalties, at the same time remembering that even our sins, duly acknowledged, and rightly used, may be our gain, through God's merciful provision, that our bitterest experience may become to us a source of virtue and a means of progress. The profound sense of the justice of our Maker renders all things endurable; but the idea of the arbitrary infliction of misery puts one's whole soul in revolt. Wretchedness poured upon us, we cannot conceive why or whence, may well be intolerable; suffering resulting from our own faults may be borne courageously, and with a certain comfort,—forgive the apparent paradox—the comfort is general, the discomfort individual; and if one is not too selfish, one may   rejoice in a righteous law, even though one suffers by it. Moreover, if evil have its inevitable results, has not good its inseparable consequences? If the bad deeds of one involve many in their retribution, the well-doing of one spreads incalculable good in all directions. It is because we are by no means wholly selfish, that the consequences of our actions affect others as well as ourselves; so that we are warned a thousand ways to avoid evil and seek good, for the whole world's sake, as well as our own.

What a sermon I have written you! But it was my thought, and therefore, I take it, as good to you as anything else I could have said.

Of course, children cannot love their parents understandingly until they become parents themselves; then one thinks back upon all the pain, care, and anxiety which for the first time one becomes aware has been expended on one, when one begins in turn to experience them for others. But the debt is never paid back. Our children get what was given to us, and give to theirs what they got from us. Love descends, and does not ascend; the self-sacrifice of parents is its own reward; children can know nothing of it. In the relations of the old with the young, however, the tenderness and sympathy may well be on the elder side; for age has known youth, but youth has not known age.

You say you are surprised I did not express more admiration of Harriet Martineau's book about America. But I do admire it—the spirit of it—extremely. I admire her extremely; but I think the moral, even more than the intellectual, woman. I do not mean that she may not be quite as wise as she is good; but she has devoted her mind to subjects which I have not, and probably could not, have given mine to, and writes upon matters of which I am too ignorant to estimate her merit in treating of them. Some of her political theories appear to me open to objection; for instance, female suffrage and community of property; but I have never thought enough upon these questions to judge her mode of advocating them. The details of her book are sometimes mistaken; but that was to be expected, especially as she was often subjected to the abominable impositions of persons who deceived her purposely in the information which she received from them with the perfect trust of a guileless nature. I do entire justice to her truth, her benevolence, and her fearlessness; and these are to me the chief merits of her book....

When Sully, the artist who painted the picture of me now in your possession, found that it did not give entire satisfaction, he refused to receive any payment for it, saying that he wished to have it back, because, as a work of art, it was valuable to him,   and that he would execute another likeness (what a good word execute is, so applied!) upon me, instead of that you have. We have never been able to alter this determination of his, and therefore, as he will not take his money, he should have his picture back. So, Harriet, dear, pack me up, and send me to Messrs. Harrison and Latham, Liverpool; and as soon as Sully returns from England, where he now is, you shall have another and, if possible, a better likeness of me; though I do not feel very sanguine about it, for Sully's characteristic is delicacy rather than power, and mine may not be power, but certainly is not delicacy....

Alas! my dear Harriet, the little stone-pine [a seedling planted by my friend from a pine-cone she brought from Italy], in one of our stormy nights at sea, was dislodged from its place of security and thrown out of the pot with all the mould. I watched its decay with extreme regret, and even fell into some morbid and superstitious fancies about it; but I could still cry to think that what would have been such a source of pleasure to dear Emily, and might have prospered so well with her, was thus unavailingly bestowed upon me. It made quite a sore place in my heart....

God bless you, dear.

I am ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, February 6th, 1838.

My Dearest Harriet,

LOOKING ON THE PAST. The box and two letters arrived safely about a week ago. I read over my old journal: this returning again into the midst of old events and feelings, affected my spirits at first a good deal.... Of course this passed off, and it afforded me much amusement to look over these archives, ancient as they now almost appear to me.... It surely is wisdom most difficult of attainment, to form a correct estimate of things or people while we are under their immediate influence: the just value of character, the precise importance of events, or the true estimate of joy and sorrow, while one is subject to their action and pressure. I suppose, with my quick and excitable feelings, I shall never attain even so much of this moral power of comparison and just appreciation as others may; but it cannot be easy to anybody.... Habitual accuracy of thought and moderation of feeling, of course, will help one to conjecture how our present will look when it has become past; but the mind that is able to do this must be naturally just, and habitually trained to justice. With the majority of people, their present must always preponderate   in interest; and it is right that it should, since our work is in the present, though our hopes may be in the future, as our memories and examples must be in the past. There must be some of this intense, vivid feeling about what is immediate, to enable us to do the work of now—to bear the burden, surmount the impediment, and appreciate the blessing of now. St. Paul very wisely bade us "beget a temperance in all things" (I wish he had told us how to do it). He also said, "Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation." ...

The medical mode of treatment in this country appears to me frightfully severe, and I should think, with subjects as delicate as average American men and women, it might occasionally be fatal. I have a violent prejudice against bleeding, and would rather take ten doses of physic, and fast ten days, than lose two ounces of my blood. Of course, in extreme cases, extreme remedies must be resorted to; but this seems to be the usual system of treatment here, and I distrust medical systems, and cannot but think that it might be safer to reduce the quality rather than the quantity of the vital fluid. Abstinence, and vegetable and mineral matters of divers kinds, seem to me natural remedies enough; but the merciless effusion of blood, because it is inflamed, rather reminds me of my school-day cutting and gashing of my chilblains, in order to obtain immediate relief from their irritation....

S——'s scarlet fever has been followed by the enlargement of one of the tonsils, which grew to such a size as to threaten suffocation, and the physician decided that it must be removed. This was done by means of a small double-barreled silver tube, through the two pipes of which a wire is passed, coming out in a loop at the other end of the instrument. This wire being passed round the tonsil, is tightened, so as to destroy its vitality in the course of four and twenty hours, during which the tube remains projecting from the patient's mouth, causing some pain and extreme inconvenience. The mode usually resorted to with adults (for this, it seems, is a frequent operation here), is cutting the tonsil off at once; but as hemorrhage sometimes results from this, which can only be stopped by cauterizing the throat, that was not to be thought of with so young a patient.... At the end of the twenty-four hours, the instrument is removed, the diseased part being effectually killed by the previous tightening of the wire. It is then left to rot off in the mouth, which it does in the course of a few days, infecting the breath most horribly, and, I should think, injuring the health by that means.... At the same time, I was attacked with a violent sore throat, perhaps a small beginning of scarlet fever of my own, and which seized,   one after another, upon all our household, and for which I had a hundred leeches at once applied to my throat, which, without reducing me very much, enraged me beyond expression. No less than seven of us were ill in the house. We are now, however, thank God, all well.... I cannot obtain from our physician any explanation whatever of the cause of this swelling of the tonsils, so common here; and when, demurring about the removal of my child's, I inquired into their functions, I received just as little satisfaction. He told me that they were not ascertained, and that all that was known was, that removing them did not affect the breathing, speaking, or swallowing—with which I had to be satisfied. This uncertainty seems to me a reason against the operation; cutting away a part of the body whose functions are not ascertained, seems to me rather venturesome; but of course the baby couldn't be allowed to choke, and so we submitted to the inevitable. The disease and the remedy are common here, and may be in England, though I never heard of them before. Pray, if you know anything about either, write me what, as I cannot rest satisfied without more information....

God bless you, dear.

Always affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, Wednesday, February 21st, 1838.

My Dear Mrs. Jameson,

LETTER TO MRS. JAMESON. Although it was a considerable disappointment to me not to see you again, after the various rumors and last most authentic announcement of your coming to Philadelphia, yet, upon the whole, I think it is as well that we did not meet again, simply to renew that dismalest of ceremonies, leave-taking. I had not the hope which you expressed, that a second edition of our parting would have been less painful than the first.... I think I should have felt less gloomily on that occasion, if I had not had to leave you in such a dismal den of discomfort. External things always, even in moments of strong emotion, affect me powerfully; and that dreariest room, the door of which closed between us, left a most forlorn impression upon my memory.

I have been of late myself living in an atmosphere darkened by distress.... Typhus fever has carried off our most intimate friend, Mr. B——, after but a fortnight's illness; and closed, almost at its opening, a career which, under all worldly aspects, was one of fair and goodly promise. He has left a young widow, to whom he had been married scarcely more than two years, and a boy-baby who loses in him such a preceptor as few sons in this   country are trained under. I have lost in him one of the few persons who cheer and make endurable my residence here. Doubtless our loss is reckoned by Him who decrees it, and I pray that none of us, by impatience of suffering, may forfeit the precious uses of sorrow. Our friend and neighbor, W——, has just endured a most dreadful affliction in the death of his youngest child, his only daughter, one girl among six sons, the very darling of his heart, loved above all the others, who, while she was still a baby, not a year old, drew from him that ludicrously pathetic exclamation, "Oh, the man that marries one's daughter must be hateful!" She died of scarlet fever, which, after passing so lightly by our doorposts, has entered, like the destroying angel, our poor friend's dwelling. His brother has been at the point of death with it too, and I cannot but rejoice in trembling when I think how happily we escaped from this terrible plague. As you may suppose, my spirits have been a good deal affected by all the sorrow around me.

Mirabile dictu! I have read the volume of Scott's Life which you left here, also the volume of Miss Edgeworth, with which I was disappointed; also the volume of Milton: not the Treatise on Divorce, and the Areopagitica, alone; but Letters, Apologies for Smectymnuus, and Denunciations against Episcopacy, and all. Did you do as much? Moreover, I am just finishing Carlyle's "French Revolution"; so that you see, as my friend Mr. F—— says, I am improving; and if I should ever happen to read another book, I will be sure to mention the circumstance in my letters.

Very truly yours,

F. A. B.

March 9th, 1838.

Dearest Emily,

I am almost ashamed to say I forgot the anniversary your letter recalls to me; but the artificial or conventional epochs which used to divide my time, and the particular days against which affection set its special marks, are, by degrees, losing their peculiar associations for me. Even the great division of all, death, which makes us miscall a portion of eternity Time (as if it were different from, or other than, it), seems less of an interruption to me than it did formerly. Is it not all one, let us parcel it out as we will into hours, days, months, years, or lifetimes? The boundary line exists in our narrow calculation alone. The greatest change of all the changes we know, to mortal senses implying almost cessation of being, to the believer in the immortality of spirit suggests not even the idea of change, in what relates   to the soul, so much as uninterrupted progress, and the gradual lengthening of the chain of moral consequence, inseparable from one's conception of a responsible, rational agent, whose existence is to be eternal.

No doubt there are properties of our minds which find delight in order, symmetry, recurring arrangement, and regular division; and the harmonious course of the material world, alternately visited by the sweet succession of day and night, the seasons, and all their lovely variety of gradation, naturally creates the idea of definite periods, to which we give definite names; but with God and with our souls there is no time, and this material world in which our material bodies are existing is but a shadow or reflection cast upon the surface of that uninterrupted stream on which our true and very selves are borne onward; the real, the existing is within us.

I think it probable that the general disregard of times and seasons formerly observed by me, in the community where I now live, may have tended to lessen my regard for them; but, besides this, in thinking of anniversaries connected with those I love—periods which used to appeal to my affectionate remembrance,—I have come in a measure to feel that to the very young alone, these marks we draw upon our life can appear other than as the fictitious lines with which science has divided the spheres of heaven and earth.

Philadelphia, Saturday, March 18th, 1838.

"TOUCHING MY PICTURE." Touching my picture, my dearest Harriet, I am desired to say that your spirited defense of your right to it (whether you like it or not) is admirable; that it certainly shall not be taken from you by force, and that there was no intention whatever of infuriating you by the civil proposal that was made to relieve you of it by sending you a more satisfactory one, under the impression that you are not satisfied with what you have.

My dear, the first two pages of your letter might have been written with a turkey-cock's quill, they actually gobble in the pugnacity of their style, and as it lies by me, the very paper goes fr-fr-fr. But you shall keep that identical picture, my dearest, since you have grown to like it; so shake your feathers smooth again, funny woman that you are! and let your soul return into its rest.

Sully is now in England. I wish there were any chance of your seeing him, but after remaining there long enough to paint the queen, he intends visiting Paris for a short time and then returning home. He is a great friend of mine, and one of the few people here that I find pleasure in associating with. As his delicacy   about being paid for the picture arose from the idea that, not being satisfied with the likeness, you probably did not care to keep it, I have no doubt that, the present state of your regard for it being made clear to him, he will not object any more to receiving the price of it.

I presume that the long chapter you have written me upon the inevitability of people's folly and the expediency of believing, first, that God makes us fools, and then that he punishes us for behaving like fools, is a result of your impeded circulation, under the effect of the east wind upon your cuticle. How I wish, without the bitter month's sea-sickness, you could be here beside me now, this 24th of March, between an open window and door, and with my fire dying out; to be sure, as I have just been taking two monstrous unruly dogs to a pond at some distance from the house, for a swim, and as S—— was with me and I had to carry her (now a pretty heavy lump) through several mud passages, the agreeable glow in which I feel myself may not be altogether due to the warmth of the atmosphere, although it is really as hot as our last of May. How I wish you could spend the summer with me! How you would rejoice in the heat, to me so hateful and intolerable! To persons of your temperament, I suppose hell, instead of the popular idea of fire and brimstone, presents some such frigid horror as poor Claudio's: "thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice."

I was walking once with Trelawney, who is as chilly as an Italian greyhound, at Niagara, by a wall of rock, upon which the intense sun beat, and was reflected upon us till I felt as if I was being roasted alive, and exclaimed, "Oh, this is hell itself!" to which he replied with a grunt of dissatisfaction, "Oh, dear, I hope hell will be a great deal warmer than this!"

In my observation about the development of our filial affections after we become parents ourselves, I may have fallen into my usual error of generalizing from too narrow a basis, and taken it for granted that my own experience is necessarily that of others.... But after all, though everybody is not like me, somebody must be, and one's self is therefore a safe source from whence to draw conclusions with regard to others, up to a certain point. Made of the same element, however diversely fashioned and tempered by various influences, we still are all alike in the main ingredients of our humanity; and it must be quite as contrary to sound sense to imagine the processes of one's own mind singular, as to suppose them universal.

Profound truism! but truisms are profound—they lie at the foundations of existence—for they are truths.

My journal is fast disappearing behind the fire. How I wish   I had spent the time I wasted in writing it, in making extracts from the books I read!...

MRS. SOMERVILLE. I wrote my sister a long answer, by Mrs. Jameson, to her last letter, in which I entered at some length upon the various objections to a public life; not that I was then aware of the decision she has now adopted of going upon the stage—a decision, however, for which I have been entirely prepared ever since my visit to England and my return home.... I hope she may succeed to the fullest extent of her desires, for I do not think that hers is a nature that would be benefited by the bitter medicine of disappointment. Oh, how I wish she could once enter some charmed sphere of peace and happiness! The discipline of happiness, in which I have infinite faith, would I think be of infinite use to her, but—God knows best.... I am anxious, too, that her experiment of a life of excitement should be the most favorable possible, that, under its happiest aspect, she may learn how remote it is from happiness.... Had she remained in England, I should have rejoiced to think that Mrs. Somerville was her friend: such a friend would be God's minister to the heart and mind of any young woman. It is not a small source of regret to me, to think of how much inestimable human intercourse my residence in America deprives me.

I think my father's selecting Paris for the first trial of my sister's abilities a mistake; and I am very, very anxious about the result.

Natural talent is sufficient for a certain degree of success in acting, but not in singing, where the expression of feeling, the dramatic portion of the performance, is so severely trammeled by mechanical difficulties: the execution of which is all but rendered impossible by the slightest trepidation, the tone of the voice itself being often fatally affected by the loss of self-possession.

Pasta and Malibran both failed at first in Paris, and I confess I shall be most painfully anxious till I hear the issue of this experiment....

I am in the garden from morning till night, but am too impatient for mortal roots and branches. I should have loved the sort of planting described in Tieck's "Elves," where they stamp a pine-cone into the earth, and presently a fir-tree springs up, and, rising towards the sky with the happy children who plant it, rocks them on its topmost branches, to and fro in the red sunset.

Good-bye, God bless you.

I am ever your affectionate,

F. A. B.

  [Many years after these letters were written, in 1845, when I joined my sister in Rome, I found her living in the most cordial intimacy with the admirable woman whose acquaintance I had coveted for her and for myself.

My year's residence in Rome gave me frequent opportunities of familiar intercourse with Mrs. Somerville, whose European celebrity, the result of her successful devotion to the highest scientific studies, enhanced the charm of her domestic virtues, her tender womanly character, and perfect modesty and simplicity of manner.

During my last visit to Rome, in 1873, speaking to the old blind Duke of Sermoneta, of my desire to go to Naples to pay my respects to Mrs. Somerville, who was then residing there, at an extremely advanced age, he said, "Elle est si bonne, si savante, et si charmante, que la mort n'ose point la toucher." I was unable to carry out my plan of going to Naples, and Mrs. Somerville did not long survive the period at which I had hoped to have visited her.

Early in our acquaintance I had expressed some curiosity, not unmixed with dread, upon the subject of scorpions, never having seen one. Mrs. Somerville laughed, and said that a sojourn in Italy was sure to introduce them sooner or later to me. The next time that I spent the evening with her after this conversation, as I stood by the chimney talking to her, I suddenly perceived a most detestable-looking black creature on the mantelpiece. I started back in horror to my hostess's great delight, as she had been at the pains of cutting out in black paper an imitation scorpion, for my edification, and was highly satisfied with the impression it produced upon me.

Urania's reptile, however, was the conventional mythical scorpion of the Zodiac, and only vaguely represented the evil-looking, venomous beast with which I subsequently became, according to her prophecy, acquainted, in all its natural living repulsiveness.

Besides this sample scorpion, which I have carefully preserved, I have two drawings which Mrs. Somerville made for me; one, a delicate outline sketch of what is called Othello's House in Venice, and the other, a beautifully executed colored copy of his shield, surmounted by the Doge's cap, and bearing three mulberries for a device,—proving the truth of the assertion, that the Otelli del Moro were a noble Venetian folk, who came originally from the Morea, whose device was the mulberry, the growth of that country, and showing how curious a jumble Shakespeare has made, both of name   and device, in calling him a Moor and embroidering his arms on his handkerchief as strawberries. In Cinthio's novel, from which Shakespeare probably took his story, the husband is a Moor, and I think called by no other name.]

Philadelphia, May 7th, 1838.

Dearest Harriet,

I fear this will scarce reach you before you leave England upon your German pilgrimage, but I presume it will follow you, and be welcome wherever it finds you.

STEAMSHIPS ON THE ATLANTIC. Do you hear that the steamships have accomplished their crossing from England to America in perfect safety, the one in seventeen, the other in fifteen days! just half the usual time, thirty days being the average of the finest passages this way. Oh, if you knew what joy this intelligence gave me! It seemed at once to bring me again within reach of England and all those whom I love there.

And even though I should not therefore return thither the oftener, the speed and certainty with which letters will now pass between these two worlds, hitherto so far apart, is a thing to rejoice at exceedingly. Besides all personal considerations in the matter, the wonder and delight of seeing this great enterprise of man's ingenuity and courage thus successful is immense. One of the vessels took her departure for England the other day, filled with passengers, and sent from the wharf with a thousand acclamations and benedictions. The mere report of it overcame me with emotion; thus to see space annihilated, and the furthest corners of the earth drawn together, fills one with admiration for this amazing human nature, more potent than the whole material creation by which it is surrounded, even than the three thousand miles of that Atlantic abyss. These manifestations of the power of man's intellect seem to me to cry aloud to him to "stand in awe [of his own nature] and sin not." And yet these victories over matter are nothing compared to the achievements of human souls, with their powers of faith, of love, and of endurance. I will not, however, inflict further exclamations upon you....

Certainly mere details of personal being, doing, and suffering are of some value when one would almost give one's eyes for a moment's sight of the bodily presence of the soul one loves: so you shall have my present history; which is, that at this immediate writing, I am sitting in a species of verandah (or piazza, as they call it here), which runs along the front of the house. It has a low balustrade and columns of white-painted wood, supporting a similar verandah on the second or bedroom story of the house; the sitting-rooms are all on the ground floor. It is Sunday   morning, but I am obliged to be content with such devotions and admonitions as I can enjoy here, from within and around me, as my plight does not admit of my leaving home....

I am sorry to say that the fact of letters miscarrying between this country and England has been very disagreeably proved to me this morning by the receipt of one from dear William Harness, who mentions having written another to me five months ago, which other has never yet made its appearance, and I presume would hardly think it worth while to do so now.

We have had an uncommonly mild winter, without, I think, more than a fortnight of severe weather, and in March the sun was positively summer hot. I am out of doors almost all day. Our spring, however, has made up for the lenient winter, by being as cold and capricious as possible, and at this moment hardly a fruit-tree is in blossom or a lilac-tree in bud; and looking abroad over the landscape, 'tis only here and there that I can detect faint symptoms of that exquisite green haze which generally seems to hang like a halo over the distant woods at this season. I do not remember so backward a spring since I have been in this country. I do not complain of it, however, though everybody else does; for the longer the annihilating heat of the summer keeps off, the better the weather suits me. Will you not come over and spend the summer with me, now that the sea voyage is only half as long as it was? Come, and we will go to Niagara together, and you shall be half roasted alive for full five months, an effectual warming through, I should think, for the rest of the year. Dear Harriet, Niagara is the one thing of its kind for which no fellow has yet been found in the world, and to see it is certainly worth a fortnight's sea-sickness. I cannot say more in its praise.

You speak of the sufferings of your wretched Irish population; and because patience, fortitude, benevolence, charity, and many good fruits spring from that bitter root, you seem to be reconciled to the fact that ignorance and imprudence are the real causes from which the greater part of this frightful misery proceeds.

Though God's infinite mercy has permitted that even our very errors and sins may become, if we please, sources of virtue in, and therefore of good to, us, do you not think that our nature, such as He has seen fit to form it, with imperfection in its very essence, and such a transition as death in its experience, furnishes us with a sufficient task in the mere ceaseless government and education which it requires, without our superadding to this difficult charge the culpability of infinite neglect, the absolute damage and injury and all the voluntary deterioration, sin, and sorrow which we inflict upon ourselves?

  Why are we to charge God with all these things, or conceive it possible that He ordained a state of existence in which mercy's supplication would be that sudden death might sweep a hundred sufferings of worse kind from the face of the earth?

God is unwearied in producing good; and we can so little frustrate His determinate and omnipotent goodness, that out of our most desperate follies and wickednesses the ultimate result is sure to be preponderating good; but does this excuse the sinners and fools who vainly attempt to thwart His purpose? or will they be permitted to say that they are "tempted of God"? Indeed, dear Harriet, I must abide in the conviction that we manufacture misery for ourselves which was never appointed for us; and because Mercy, unfailing and unbounded, out of these very miseries of our own making, draws blessed balsam for our use, I cannot believe that it ordained and inflicted all our sufferings.

AMERICAN NEGLECT OF HEALTH. I began this letter yesterday, and am again sitting under my piazza, with S——, in a buff coat, zigzagging like a yellow butterfly about the lawn, and Margery mounting guard over her, with such success as you may fancy a person taking care of a straw in a high wind likely to have.... I have just been enjoying the pleasure of a visit from one of the members of the Sedgwick family. They are all my friends, and I do think all and each in their peculiar way good and admirable. Catharine Sedgwick has been prevented from coming to me by the illness of the brother in whose family she generally spends the winter in New York.... Like most business men here, he has lived in the deplorable neglect of every physical law of health, taking no exercise, immuring himself for the greater part of the day in rooms or law courts where the atmosphere was absolute poison; and using his brains with intense application, without ever allowing himself proper or sufficient relaxation. Now, will you tell me that Providence intended that this man should so labor and so suffer? Why, the very awfulness of the consequence forbids such a supposition for a moment. Or will you, perhaps, say that this dire calamity was sent upon him in order to try the fortitude, patience, and resignation of his wife, within a month of her confinement; or of his sister, whose nervous sensibility of temperament was of an order to have been driven insane, had they not been mercifully relieved from the worst results of the fatal imprudence of poor R——?

Whenever I see that human beings do act up as fully as they can to all the laws of their Maker, I shall be prepared to admire misery, agony, sickness, and all tortures of mind or body as excellent devices of the Deity, expressly appointed for our   benefit; but while I see obvious and abundant natural causes for them in our disobedience to His laws, I shall scarce come to that conclusion, in spite of all the good which He makes for us out of our evil. I know we must sin, but we sin more than we must; and I know we must suffer, but we suffer more than we must too....

God bless you, dear.

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, Sunday, May 27th.

My Dear Mrs. Jameson,

I have received within the last few days your second letter from London; the date, however, is rather a puzzle, it being August the 10th, instead (I presume) of April. I hasten, while I am yet able, to send you word of R. S——'s rapid and almost complete recovery....

In spite of the admirable forethought which prompted the beginning of this letter, my dear Mrs. Jameson, it is now exactly a fortnight since I wrote the above lines; and here I am at my writing-table, in my drawing-room, having in the interim perpetrated another girl baby.... My new child was born on the same day of the month that her sister was, and within an hour of the same time, which I think shows an orderly, systematic, and methodical mode of proceeding in such matters, which is creditable to me.... I should have been unhappy at the delay of my intelligence about R. S——, but that I feel sure Catharine must ere this have written to you herself. I am urging her might and main to come to us and recruit a little, but, like all other very good people, she thinks she can do something better than take care of herself; a lamentable fallacy, for which good people in particular, and the world in general, suffer.

As you may suppose, I do not yet indulge in the inditing of very long epistles, and shall therefore make no apology for this, which is almost brief enough to be witty. I am glad you like Sully, because I love him.

I am ever yours very truly,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, 1838.

My Dearest Harriet,

This purposes to be an answer to a letter of yours dated the 10th of May; the last I have received from you.... I cannot for the life of me imagine why we envelope death in such   hideous and mysterious dreadfulness, when, for aught we can tell, being born is to an infant quite as horrible and mysterious a process, perhaps (for we know nothing about it) of a not much different order. The main difference lies in the fact of our anticipation of the one event—ma, chî sa?—but although some fear of death is wholesomely implanted in us, to make us shun danger and to prevent the numbers who, without it, would impatiently rush away from the evils of their present existence through that gate, yet certainly one-half of the King of Terror's paraphernalia we invest him with ourselves; since, really, being born is quite as wonderful, and, when we consider the involuntary obligations of existence thus thrust upon us, quite as awful a thing as dying can possibly be.

LOVE OF CERTAIN PLACES. You retort upon me for having fallen from the observance of anniversaries, that I am still a devout worshiper of places, and in this sense, perhaps, an idolater.... My love for certain places is inexplicable to myself. They have, for some reasons which I have not detected, so powerfully affected my imagination, that it will thenceforth never let them go. I retain the strongest impression of some places where I have stayed the shortest time; thus there is a certain spot in the hill country of Massachusetts, called Lebanon, where I once spent two days....

I was going to tell you how like Paradise that place was to my memory, and with what curious yearning I have longed to visit it again, but I was interrupted; and in the intervening hours S—— has sickened of the measles, and I am now sitting writing by her bedside, not a little disturbed by my own cogitations, and her multitudinous questions, the continuous stream of which is nothing slackened by an atmosphere of 91° in the shade, and the furious fever of her own attack....

As soon as S—— is sufficiently recovered, we purpose going to the seaside to escape from the horrible heat. Our destination is a certain beach on the shore of Long Island, called Rockaway, where there is fine bathing, and a good six miles of hard sand for riding and driving. After that, I believe we shall go to the hill country of Berkshire, to visit our friends the Sedgwicks. I wonder whether your love for heat would have made agreeable to you a six-mile ride I took to-day, at about eleven o'clock, the thermometer standing at 94° in the shade. If this is not more warmth than even you can away with, you must be "bold and determined like any salamander, ma'am." ... My love for flowers is the same as ever. Last winter in London I almost ruined myself in my nosegays, and came near losing my character by them, as nobody would believe I was so gallant   to myself out of my own pocket. My room is always full of them here, and in spite of recollecting (which I always do in the very act of sticking flowers in my hair) that I am upon the verge of thirty, they are still my favorite ornaments.

Thank you for your constant affection, my dear friend. It makes my heart sink to think how much is lost to me in the distance that divides us. If death severs forever the ties of this world, and our intercourse with one another here is but a temporary agency, ceasing with our passage into another stage of existence, how strong a hold have you and I laid upon each other's souls, to be sundered at the brief limit of this mortal life! It may possibly have accomplished its full purpose, this dear friendship of ours, even here; but it is almost impossible to think that its uses may not survive, or its duration extend beyond this life;—that is an awful thought overshadowing all our earthly loves, yet throwing us more completely upon Him, the Father, the Guardian of all; for on him alone can we surely rest always and forever. But how much must death change us if we can forget those who have been as dear to us here as you and I have been to each other!

A friend of mine asked me the other day if I thought we should have other senses hereafter, and if I could imagine any but those we now possess: I cannot, can you? To be sure I can imagine the possession of common sense, which would be a new one to me; but it is very funny, and impossible, to try to fancy a power, like seeing or hearing, of a different kind, though one can think of these with a higher degree of intensity, and wider scope.... Good-bye, dearest Harriet. God bless you.

I am ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, Monday, July 23d, 1838.

It is now high-summer mark, and such a summer as we are now dying under is scarcely remembered by the oldest human creature yet extant in these parts. And where are you, my dear Mrs. Jameson? Sojourning in Bohemian castles; or wandering among the ruins of old Athens? Which of your many plans, or dreams of plans have you put into execution? I am both curious and anxious to know something of your proceedings, and shall dispatch this at a hazard to your brother-in-law's, where I suppose your movements will always be known, and your whereabouts heard of.

Your book is advertised I know, and if you have adhered to your former determination, you have withdrawn yourself from   your own blaze, and left England to profit by its light. Of myself I can tell you little that is particularly cheerful....

The friends of good order, in this excellent city of brotherly love, have been burning down a large new building erected for purposes of free discussion, because Abolition meetings were being held in it; and the Southern steamer has been wrecked with dreadful loss of life, owing to the exceeding small esteem in which its officers appear to have held that "quintessence of dust, Man." The vessel was laden with Southerners, coming north for the summer; and I suppose there is scarcely a family from Virginia to Florida, that is not in some way touched by this dreadful and wanton waste of life.

Pray, when you have time, write me some word of your doing, being, and suffering, and

Believe me ever yours truly,

F. A. B.

[The above mention of shipwreck, refers to the disastrous loss of the Pulaski; an event, the horror of which was rendered more memorable to me by an episode of noble courage, of which our neighbor, Mr. James Cooper, of Georgia, was the hero, and of which I have spoken in the journal I kept during my residence on our plantation.]

Rockaway, Friday, August 10th.

Where are you, my dearest Harriet; and what are you doing? Drinking of queer-tasting waters, and soaking in queer-smelling ones? Are you becoming saturated with sulphur, or penetrated with iron? Are you chilling your inside with draughts from some unfathomable well, or warming your outside with baths from some ready-boiled spring?

LOVE FOR THE ABSENT. Oh! vainest quest of that torment, the love for the absent! Do you know, Harriet, that I have more than once seriously thought of never writing any more to any of my friends? the total cessation of intercourse would soon cause the acutest vividness of feeling to subside, and become blunt (for so are we made): the fruitless feeling after, the vain eager pursuit in thought of those whose very existence may actually have ceased, is such a wearisome pain! This being linked by invisible chains to the remote ends of the earth, and constantly feeling the strain of the distance upon one's heart,—this sort of death in life, for you are all so far away that you are almost as bad as dead to me,—is a condition that I think makes intercourse (such intercourse as is possible) less of a pleasure than of a pain; and the thought that so   many lives with which mine was mingled so closely are flowing away yonder, in vain for me here (and of hereafter who can guess!), prevents my contentedly embracing my own allotted existence, and keeps me still with eyes and thoughts averted towards the past, from the path of life I am appointed to tread. If I could believe it right or kind, or that those who love me would not be grieved by it, I really feel sometimes as if I could make up my mind to turn my thoughts once and for all away from them, as from the very dead, and never more by this disjointed communion revive, in all its acuteness, the bitter sense of loss and separation....

You see I discourse of my child's looks; for at present, indeed, I know of nothing else to discourse about in her. Of her experiences in her former states of existence she says nothing, though I try her as Shelley used to do the speechless babies that he met; and her observations upon the present she also keeps religiously to herself, so that I get no profit of either her wisdom or her knowledge....

The vast extent of this country offers every variety of climate which an invalid can require, and its mineral waters afford the same remedies which are sought after in the famous European baths. God has everywhere been bountiful, and doubtless no country is without its own special natural pharmacopæia, its medicines, vegetable and mineral, and healing influences for human disease and infirmity. The medicinal waters of this country are very powerful, and of every variety, and I believe there are some in Virginia which would precisely answer our purpose....

We are now staying for a short time on the Long Island shore, at a place called Rockaway. As I sit writing at my window here, the broad, smooth, blue expanse of the Atlantic stretches out before me, and ships go sailing by that are coming from, or returning to, the lands where you live.

You cannot conceive anything more strange, and to me more distasteful than the life which one leads here. The whole watering-place consists of a few detached cottages, the property of some individuals who are singular enough to comprehend the pleasure of privacy; and one enormous hotel, a huge wooden building, of which we are at present among the inmates.

How many can sleep under this mammoth roof, I know not; but upwards of four hundred have sat down at one time to feed in the boundless dining-hall. The number of persons now in the house does not, I believe, exceed eighty, and everybody is lamenting the smallness of the company, and the consequent dullness of the place; and I am perpetually called upon to sympathize   with regrets which I am so far from sharing, that I wish, instead of eighty, we had only eight fellow-lodgers.... The general way of life is very disagreeable to me. I cannot, do what I will, find anything but constraint and discomfort in the perpetual presence of a crowd of strangers. The bedrooms are small, and furnished barely as well as a common servant's room in England. They are certainly not calculated for comfortable occupation or sitting alone in; but sitting alone any part of the day is a proceeding contemplated by no one here.

BATHING IN AMERICA. As for bathing, we are carried down to the beach, which is extremely deep and sandy, in an omnibus, by batches of a dozen at a time. There are two little stationary bathing-huts for the use of the whole population; and you dress, undress, dry yourself, and do all you have to do, in the closest proximity to persons you never saw in your life before.... This admitting absolute strangers to the intimacy of one's most private toilet operations is quite intolerable, and nothing but the benefit which I believe the children, as well as myself, derive from the bathing would induce me to endure it.

From this place we go up to Massachusetts—a delightful expedition to me—to our friends the Sedgwicks, who are very dear to me, and almost the only people among whom I have found mental companionship since I have been in this country.

I have not had one line from my sister since her return from Germany, whence she wrote me one letter. I feel anxious about her plans—yet not very—I do not think her going into public life adds much to the anxiety I feel about her.... God bless you, dear. What would I give to be once more within reach of you, and to have one more of our old talks!

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Rockaway, Long Island, August 23d, 1838.

Dear Mrs. Jameson,

... I forget whether you visited any of the watering-places of this New World; but if you did not, your estate was the more gracious. This is the second that I have visited, and I dislike it rather more than I did the first, inasmuch as the publicity here extends not only to one's meals, but to those ceremonies of one's toilet which in all civilized parts of the world human beings perform in the strictest seclusion.

The beach is magnificent—ten good miles of hard, sparkling sand, and the broad, open Atlantic rolling its long waves and breaking in one white thunderous cloud along the level expanse.   The bathing would be delightful but for the discomfort and positive indecency of the non-accommodation.

There are two small stationary dressing-huts on the beach, and here one is compelled to disrobe and attire one's self in the closest proximity to any other women who may wish to come out of the water or go into it at the same time that one does one's self. Moreover, the beach at bathing time is daily thronged with spectators, before whose admiring gaze one has to emerge all dripping, like Venus, from the waves, and nearly as naked; for one's bathing-dress clings to one's figure, and makes a perfect wet drapery study of one's various members, and so one has to wade slowly and in much confusion of face, thus impeded, under the public gaze, through heavy sand, about half a quarter of a mile, to the above convenient dressing-rooms, where, if one find only three or four persons, stripped or stripping, nude or semi-nude, one may consider one's self fortunate....

I have wished, as heartily as I might for any such thing, that I could have seen the glorification of our little Guelph Lady, the Queen, particularly as the coronation of another English sovereign is scarcely likely to occur during my life; but this unaccomplished desire of mine must go and keep company with many others, which often tend to the other side of the Atlantic. Thank you for your account of my sister.... Hereafter, the want of female sympathy and companionship may prove irksome to her, but at present she will scarcely miss it; she and my father are exceedingly good friends, and pleasant companions and fellow-travelers, and are likely to remain so, unless she should fall in love with, and insist upon marrying, a "fiddler."

Instead of being at Lenox, where I had hoped to be at this season, we are sweltering here in New York, for whatever good we may obtain from doctors, leeches, and medicine. I mean to send S—— up into Berkshire to-morrow; she is well at present, but I fear may not continue so if confined to the city during this dreadfully hot weather.... For myself, I am keeping myself well as hard as I can by taking ice-cold baths, and trudging round the Battery every evening, to the edification of the exceedingly disreputable company who (beside myself) are the only haunters of that one lovely lung of New York.... It is not thought expedient that I should be stared at alone on horseback; being stared at alone on foot, apparently, is not equally pernicious; and so I lose my most necessary exercise; but I may comfort myself with the reflection that should I ever become a sickly, feeble, physically good-for-nothing, broken-down woman, I shall certainly not be singular in this free and enlightened   republic, where (even more than anywhere else in the world) singularity appears to be dreaded and condemned above any or all other sins, crimes, and vices....

Pray be kind enough to continue writing to me. Every letter from the other side is to me what the drop of water would have been to the rich man in Hades, whom I dare say you remember. What do you think I am reading? "The Triumphs of God's revenge against the crying and execrable sinne of wilful and premeditated murther"—that's something new, is it not?—published in 1635.

So believe me ever very truly yours,

F. A. B.

New York, Friday, August 24th, 1838.

My Dearest Harriet,

ADELAIDE KEMBLE. I wrote to you (I believe) a short time ago, ... but I have since then received a letter from you, and will thank you at once for it, and especially for the details concerning my sister.... I rejoice in the change which must have taken place in her physical condition, which both you and dear Emily describe; indeed, the improvement had begun before I left England.... I believe I appreciate perfectly all the feelings which are prompting her to the choice of the stage for her profession; but I also think that she is unaware (which I am not) of the necessity for excitement, which her mode of life and the influences that have surrounded her from her childhood have created and fostered in her, and for which she is no more answerable than for the color of her hair. I do not even much regret her election, little as I admire the vocation of a public performer. To struggle is allotted to all, let them walk in what paths they will; and her peculiar gifts naturally incline her to the career she is choosing, though I think also that she has much higher intellectual capabilities than those which the vocation of a public singer will ever call into play.... We are always so greatly in the dark in our judgments of others, and so utterly incapable of rightly estimating the motives of their actions and springs of their conduct, that I think in the way of blame or praise, of vehement regret or excessive satisfaction, we need not do much until we know more. I pray God that she may endeavor to be true to herself, and to fulfill her own perception of what is right. Whether she does so or not, neither I, nor any one else, shall know; nor, indeed, is any one really concerned in the matter but herself. She possesses some of the intellectual qualities from which the most exquisite pleasures are derived.... But she will not be happy in this world; but, as nobody else is,   she will not be singular in that respect: and in the exercise of her uncommon gifts she may find a profound pleasure, and an enjoyment of the highest kind apart from happiness and its far deeper and higher springs.

Her voice haunts me like something precious that I have lost and go vainly seeking for; other people play and sing her songs, and then, though I seem to listen to them, I hear her again, and seem to see again that wonderful human soul which beamed from every part of her fine face as she uttered those powerful sweet spells of love, and pity, and terror. To me, her success seems almost a matter of certainty; for those who can make such appeals to the sympathy of their fellow-beings are pretty sure not to fail. Pasta is gone; Malibran is abroad; and Schroeder-Devrient is the only great dramatic singer left, and she remains but as the remains of what she was; and I see no reason why Adelaide should not be as eminent as the first, who certainly was a glorious artist, though her acting surpassed her singing, and her voice was not an exceptionally magnificent one....

This letter has suffered an interruption of several days, dear Harriet, ... and I and my baby have been sent after S——; and here I am on the top of a hill in the village of Lenox, in what its inhabitants tautologically call "Berkshire county," Massachusetts, with a view before my window which would not disgrace the Jura itself.

Immediately sloping before me, the green hillside, on the summit of which stands the house I am inhabiting, sinks softly down to a small valley, filled with thick, rich wood, in the centre of which a little jewel-like lake lies gleaming. Beyond this valley the hills rise one above another to the horizon, where they scoop the sky with a broken, irregular outline that the eye dwells on with ever new delight as its colors glow and vary with the ascending or descending sunlight, and all the shadowy procession of the clouds. In one direction this undulating line of distance is overtopped by a considerable mountain with a fine jagged crest, and ever since early morning, troops of clouds and wandering showers of rain and the all-prevailing sunbeams have chased each other over the wooded slopes, and down into the dark hollow where the lake lies sleeping, making a pageant far finer than the one Prospero raised for Ferdinand and Miranda on his desert island....

F. A. B.

Lenox, Monday, September 3d, 1838.

It is not very long since I wrote to you, my dear Mrs. Jameson,   and I have certainly nothing of very special interest to communicate to warrant my doing so now; but I am in your debt by letters, besides many other things; and having leisure to back my inclination just now, I will indite.

I am sitting "on top," as the Americans say, of the hill of Lenox, looking out at that prospect upon which your eyes have often rested, and making common cause in the eating and living way with Mary and Fanny A——, who have taken up their abode here for a week [Miss Mary and Fanny Appleton; the one afterwards married Robert, son of Sir James Mackintosh; the other, alas! the poet Longfellow]. Never was village hostelry so graced before, surely! There is a pretty daughter of Mr. Dewey's staying in the house besides, with a pretty cousin; and it strikes me that the old Red Inn is having a sort of blossoming season, with all these sweet, handsome young faces shining about it in every direction.

ABSENCE OF CEREMONY. You know the sort of life that is lived here: the absence of all form, ceremony, or inconvenient conventionality whatever. We laugh, and we talk, sing, play, dance, and discuss; we ride, drive, walk, run, scramble, and saunter, and amuse ourselves extremely with little materials (as the generality of people would suppose) wherewith to do so....

The Sedgwicks are under a cloud of sorrow just now.... They are none of them, however, people who suffer themselves to be absorbed by their own personal interests, whether sad or gay; and as in their most prosperous and happy hours they would have sympathy to spare to the sufferings of others, so the sickness and sorrow of these members of their family circle, and the consequent depression they all labor under (for where was a family more united?), does not prevent our enjoying every day delightful seasons of intercourse with them....

Pray write me whatever you hear about my people. Lady Dacre wrote me a kind and very interesting account of my sister the other day. Poor thing! her ordeal is now drawing near, if anybody's ordeal can properly be said to be "drawing near," except before they are born; for surely from beginning to end life is nothing but one long ordeal.

I am glad you like Lady M——; she is a person whom I regard very dearly. It is many years since I first became acquainted with her, and the renewal of our early intimacy took place under circumstances of peculiar interest. Is not her face handsome; and her manner and deportment fine?... I must stop. I see my young ladies coming home from their afternoon drive, and am going with them to spend the hours between this and bed-time   at Mrs. Charles Sedgwick's. Pray continue to write to me, and

Believe me ever yours very truly,

F. A. B.

Begun at Lenox, ended at Philadelphia,
Sunday, October 29th, 1838.

Dearest Harriet,

... Since the receipt of your last letter, one from Emily has reached me, bringing me the intelligence of my mother's death!... There is something so deplorable in perceiving (what one only fully perceives as they are ceasing forever) all the blessed uses of which these mysterious human relations are capable, all their preciousness, all their sweetness, all their holiness, alas! alas!...

Cecilia and Mr. Combe arrived in this country by the Great Western about a fortnight ago. On their road from New York to Boston they passed a night within six miles of Lenox, and neither came to see nor sent me word that they were so near, which was being rather more phrenological and philosophically phlegmatical than I should have expected of them. For my heart had warmed to Cecilia in this pilgrimage of hers to a foreign land, where I alone was of kin to her; and I felt as if I both knew and loved her more than I really do....

I understand Mr. Combe has parceled out both his whereabouts and whatabouts, to the very inch and minute, for every day in the next two years to come, which he intends to devote to the phrenological regeneration of this country. I am afraid that he may meet with some disappointment in the result of his labors: not indeed in Boston, where considerable curiosity exists upon that subject, and a general proneness to intellectual exercises of every description....

Throughout New England, his book on the "Constitution of Man," and his brother's, on the treatment of that constitution, are read and valued, and their name is held in esteem by the whole reading community of the North. But I doubt his doing more than exciting a mere temporary curiosity in New York and Philadelphia; and further south I should think he would not be listened to at all, unless he comes prepared to demonstrate phrenologically that the colored population of the Southern States is (or are), by the conformation of their skulls, the legitimate slaves of the whites.

Can anything be stranger than to think of Cecilia trotting over the length and breadth of North America at the heels of a lecturing philosopher? When I think of her in her mother's   drawing-room in London, in the midst of surroundings and society so different, I find no end to my wonderment. She must have extraordinary adaptability to circumstances in her composition.

I have just finished the play of which you read the beginning in England—my "English Tragedy"—and am, as usual, in high delight just now with my own performance. I wish that agreeable sentiment could last; it is so pleasant while it does! I think I will send it over to Macready, to try if he will bring it out at Covent Garden. I think it might succeed, perhaps; unless, indeed, the story is too objectionable for anything—but reality.

Perhaps I have had my share of health. I am sure I have had enough to be most grateful for, if I should lie on a sick-bed for the rest of my days....

God bless you, dear.

I am ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, Tuesday, November 13th, 1838.

... The sad news of my poor mother's death, my dear Mrs. Jameson, reached me while I was staying up at Lenox, among those whom my good fortune has raised up in this strange country to fill for me the place of the kindred and friends from whom I am so widely sundered....

WINTER IN GEORGIA. That the winter in Georgia, whither we are going immediately, may be beneficial to the invalid member of our party, is the only pleasant anticipation with which I set my face towards a part of the country where the whole manner of existence is repugnant to my feelings, and where the common comforts of life are so little known, that we are obliged to ship a freight of necessary articles of food, for our use while we are on the plantation.

Wheaten bread is unknown, meal made of the Indian corn being alone used there: and though the provision Nature has furnished, in the shape of game, abounds, the only meat, properly so called, which can be procured there, is shipped in barrels (salted, of course) from the North.

Society, or the shadow of it, is not to be dreamt of; and our residence, as far as I can learn, is to be a half-furnished house in the midst of rice-swamps, where our habitual company will be our slaves, and our occasional visitors an alligator or two from the Altamaha.

Catharine Sedgwick is spending the winter in Lenox. She and Mr. and Mrs. R—— and Kate are going to Europe in the spring; and if I should return alive from Slavery, perhaps I may go with them. Pray do not fail to let me know everything you   may hear or see of my sister.... I was at Lenox when your parcel for Catharine Sedgwick arrived. We were all enchanted with the engraving from the German picture of the "Sick Counsellor."

F. A. B.

Dearest Harriet,

RAILWAY TRAVEL. On Friday morning we started from Philadelphia, by railroad, for Baltimore. It is a curious fact enough, that half the routes that are traveled in America are either temporary or unfinished,—one reason, among several, for the multitudinous accidents which befall wayfarers. At the very outset of our journey, and within scarce a mile of Philadelphia, we crossed the Schuylkill, over a bridge, one of the principal piers of which is yet incomplete, and the whole building (a covered wooden one, of handsome dimensions) filled with workmen, yet occupied about its construction. But the Americans are impetuous in the way of improvement, and have all the impatience of children about the trying of a new thing, often greatly retarding their own progress by hurrying unduly the completion of their works, or using them in a perilous state of incompleteness. Our road lay for a considerable length of time through flat, low meadows that skirt the Delaware, which at this season of the year, covered with snow and bare of vegetation, presented a most dreary aspect. We passed through Wilmington (Delaware), and crossed a small stream called the Brandywine, the scenery along the banks of which is very beautiful. For its historical associations I refer you to the life of Washington. I cannot say that the aspect of the town of Wilmington, as viewed from the railroad cars, presented any very exquisite points of beauty; I shall therefore indulge in a few observations upon these same railroad cars just here.

And first, I cannot but think that it would be infinitely more consonant with comfort, convenience, and common sense, if persons obliged to travel during the intense cold of an American winter (in the Northern States), were to clothe themselves according to the exigency of the weather, and so do away with the present deleterious custom of warming close and crowded carriages with sheet-iron stoves, heated with anthracite coal. No words can describe the foulness of the atmosphere, thus robbed of all vitality by the vicious properties of that dreadful combustible, and tainted besides with the poison emitted at every respiration from so many pairs of human lungs. These are facts which the merest tyro in physiological science knows, and the utter disregard of which on the part of the Americans renders   them the amazement of every traveler from countries where the preservation of health is considered worth the care of a rational creature. I once traveled to Harrisburg in a railroad car, fitted up to carry sixty-four persons, in the midst of which glowed a large stove. The trip was certainly a delectable one. Nor is there any remedy for this: an attempt to open a window is met by a universal scowl and shudder; and indeed it is but incurring the risk of one's death of cold, instead of one's death of heat. The windows, in fact, form the walls on each side of the carriage, which looks like a long green-house upon wheels; the seats, which each contain two persons (a pretty tight fit too), are placed down the whole length of the vehicle, one behind the other, leaving a species of aisle in the middle for the uneasy (a large portion of the traveling community here) to fidget up and down, for the tobacco-chewers to spit in, and for a whole tribe of little itinerant fruit and cake-sellers to rush through, distributing their wares at every place where the train stops. Of course nobody can well sit immediately in the opening of a window when the thermometer is twelve degrees below zero; yet this, or suffocation in foul air, is the only alternative. I generally prefer being half frozen to death to the latter mode of martyrdom.

Attached to the Baltimore cars was a separate apartment for women. It was of comfortable dimensions, and without a stove; and here I betook myself with my children, escaping from the pestilential atmosphere of the other compartment, and performing our journey with ease enough. My only trial here was one which I have to encounter in whatever direction I travel in America, and which, though apparently a trivial matter in itself, has caused me infinite trouble, and no little compassion for the rising generation of the United States—I allude to the ignorant and fatal practice of the women of stuffing their children from morning till night with every species of trash which comes to hand.... I once took the liberty of asking a young woman who was traveling in the same carriage with me, and stuffing her child incessantly with heavy cakes, which she also attempted to make mine eat, her reason for this system,—she replied, it was to "keep her baby good." I looked at her own sallow cheeks and rickety teeth, and could not forbear suggesting to her how much she was injuring her poor child's health. She stared in astonishment, and pursued the process, no doubt wondering what I meant, and how I could be so cruel as not to allow pound-cake to my child. Indeed, as may easily be supposed, it becomes a matter of no little difficulty to enforce my own rigid discipline in the midst of the various offers of dainties which tempt my poor   little girl at every turn; but I persevere, nevertheless, and am not seldom rewarded by the admiration which her appearance of health and strength excites wherever she goes.

I remember being excessively amused at the woeful condition of an unfortunate gentleman on board one of the Philadelphia boats, whose sickly-looking wife, exhausted with her vain attempts to quiet three sickly-looking children, had in despair given them into his charge. The miserable man furnished each of them with a lump of cake, and during the temporary lull caused by this diversion, took occasion to make acquaintance with my child, to whom he tendered the same indulgence. Upon my refusing it for her, he exclaimed in astonishment—

"Why, madam, don't you allow the little girl cake?"

"No, sir."

"What does she eat, pray?" (as if people lived upon cake generally).

"Bread and milk, and bread and meat."

"What! no butter? no tea or coffee?"

"None whatever."

"Ah!" sighed the poor man, as the chorus of woe arose again from his own progeny, the cake having disappeared down their throats, "I suppose that's why she looks so healthy."

I supposed so, too, but did not inquire whether the gentleman extended his inference.

We pursued our way from Wilmington to Havre de Grace on the railroad, and crossed one or two inlets from the Chesapeake, of considerable width, upon bridges of a most perilous construction, and which, indeed, have given way once or twice in various parts already. They consist merely of wooden piles driven into the river, across which the iron rails are laid, only just raising the train above the level of the water. To traverse with an immense train, at full steam-speed, one of these creeks, nearly a mile in width, is far from agreeable, let one be never so little nervous; and it was with infinite cordiality each time that I greeted the first bush that hung over the water, indicating our approach to terra firma. At Havre de Grace we crossed the Susquehanna in a steamboat, which cut its way through the ice an inch in thickness with marvelous ease and swiftness, and landed us on the other side, where we again entered the railroad carriages to pursue our road.

DISCOMFORTS OF TRAVEL. We arrived in Baltimore at about half-past two, and went immediately on board the Alabama steamboat, which was to convey us to Portsmouth, and which started about three-quarters of an hour after, carrying us down the Chesapeake Bay to the shores   of Virginia. We obtained an unutterably hard beefsteak for our dinner, having had nothing on the road, but found ourselves but little fortified by the sight of what we really could not swallow. Between six and seven, however, occurred that most comprehensive repast, a steamboat tea; after which, and the ceremony of choosing our berths, I betook myself to the reading of "Oliver Twist" till half-past eleven at night. I wonder if Mr. Dickens had any sensible perception of the benedictions which flew to him from the bosom of the broad Chesapeake as I closed his book; I am afraid not. Helen says, "'tis pity well-wishing has no body," so it is that gratitude, admiration, and moral approbation have none, for the sake of such a writer, and yet he might, peradventure, be smothered. I had a comical squabble with the stewardess,—a dirty, funny, good-humored old negress, who was driven almost wild by my exorbitant demands for towels, of which she assured me one was a quite ample allowance. Mine, alas! were deep down in my trunk, beyond all possibility of getting at, even if I could have got at the trunk, which I very much doubt. Now I counted no less than seven handsome looking-glasses on board of this steamboat, where one towel was considered all that was requisite, not even for each individual, but for each washing-room. This addiction to ornament, and neglect of comfort and convenience, is a strong characteristic of Americans at present, luxuries often abounding where decencies cannot be procured. 'Tis the necessary result of a young civilization, and reminds me a little of Rosamond's purple jar, or Sir Joshua Reynolds's charming picture of the naked child, with a court cap full of flowers and feathers stuck on her head.

After a very wretched night on board the boat, we landed about nine o'clock, at Portsmouth, Virginia. I must not omit to mention that my morning ablutions were as much excepted to by the old negress as those of the preceding evening. Indeed, she seemed perfectly indignant at the forbearance of one lady, who withdrew from the dressing-room on finding me there, exclaiming—

"Go in, go in, I tell you; they always washes two at a time in them rooms."

At Portsmouth there is a fine dry dock and navy yard, as I was informed.... The appearance of the place in general was mean and unpicturesque. Here I encountered the first slaves I ever saw, and the sight of them in no way tended to alter my previous opinions upon this subject. They were poorly clothed; looked horribly dirty, and had a lazy recklessness in their air and manner as they sauntered along, which naturally belongs to creatures   without one of the responsibilities which are the honorable burthen of rational humanity.

Our next stopping-place was a small town called Suffolk. Here the negroes gathered in admiring crowds round the railroad carriages. They seem full of idle merriment and unmeaning glee, and regard with an intensity of curiosity perfectly ludicrous the appearance and proceedings of such whites as they easily perceive are strangers in their part of the country. As my child leaned from the carriage-window, her brilliant complexion drew forth sundry exclamations of delight from the sooty circle below, and one woman, grinning from ear to ear, and displaying a most dazzling set of grinders, drew forward a little mahogany-colored imp, her grandchild, and offered her to the little "Missis" for her waiting-maid. I told her the little missis waited upon herself; whereupon she set up a most incredulous giggle, and reiterated her proffers, in the midst of which our kettle started off, and we left her.

To describe to you the tract of country through which we now passed would be impossible, so forlorn a region it never entered my imagination to conceive. Dismal by nature, indeed, as well as by name, is that vast swamp, of which we now skirted the northern edge, looking into its endless pools of black water, where the melancholy cypress and juniper-trees alone overshadowed the thick-looking surface, their roots all globular, like huge bulbous plants, and their dark branches woven together with a hideous matting of giant creepers, which clung round their stems, and hung about the dreary forest like a drapery of withered snakes.

It looked like some blasted region lying under an enchanter's ban, such as one reads of in old stories. Nothing lived or moved throughout the loathsome solitude, and the sunbeams themselves seemed to sicken and grow pale as they glided like ghosts through these watery woods. Into this wilderness it seems impossible that the hand of human industry, or the foot of human wayfaring should ever penetrate; no wholesome growth can take root in its slimy depths; a wild jungle chokes up parts of it with a reedy, rattling covert for venomous reptiles; the rest is a succession of black ponds, sweltering under black cypress boughs,—a place forbid.

The wood which is cut upon its borders is obliged to be felled in winter, for the summer, which clothes other regions with flowers, makes this pestilential waste alive with rattlesnakes, so that none dare venture within its bounds, and I should even apprehend that, traveling as rapidly as one does on the railroad,   and only skirting this district of dismay, one might not escape the fetid breathings it sends forth when the warm season has quickened its stagnant waters and poisonous vegetation.

After passing this place, we entered upon a country little more cheerful in its aspect, though the absence of the dark swamp water was something in its favor,—apparently endless tracts of pine-forest, well called by the natives, Pine-Barrens. The soil is pure sand; and, though the holly, with its coral berries, and the wild myrtle grow in considerable abundance, mingled with the pines, these preponderate, and the whole land presents one wearisome extent of arid soil and gloomy vegetation. Not a single decent dwelling did we pass: here and there, at rare intervals, a few miserable negro huts squatting round a mean framed building, with brick chimneys built on the outside, the residence of the owner of the land and his squalid serfs, were the only evidences of human existence in this forlorn country.

NORTH CAROLINA. Towards four o'clock, as we approached the Roanoke, the appearance of the land improved; there was a good deal of fine soil well farmed, and the river, where we crossed it, although in all the naked unadornment of wintry banks, looked very picturesque and refreshing as it gushed along, broken by rocks and small islands into rapid reaches and currents. Immediately after crossing it, we stopped at a small knot of houses, which, although christened Weldon, and therefore pretending to be a place, was rather the place where a place was intended to be. Two or three rough-pine warerooms, or station-houses, belonging to the railroad; a few miserable dwellings, which might be either not half built up, or not quite fallen down, on the banks of a large mill-pond; one exceedingly dirty-looking old wooden house, whither we directed our steps as to the inn; but we did not take our ease in it, though we tried as much as we could.

However, one thing I will say for North Carolina—it has the best material for fire, and the noblest liberality in the use of it, of any place in the world. Such a spectacle as one of those rousing pine-wood chimneyfuls is not to be described, nor the revivification it engenders even in the absence of every other comfort or necessary of life. They are enough to make one turn Gheber,—such noble piles of fire and flame, such hearty, brilliant life—full altars of light and warmth. These greeted us upon our entrance into this miserable inn, and seemed to rest and feed, as well as warm us. We (the women) were shown up a filthy flight of wooden stairs into a dilapidated room, the plastered walls of which were all smeared and discolored, the windows begrimed and darkened with dirt. Upon the three beds, which nearly   filled up this wretched apartment, lay tattered articles of male and female apparel; and here we drew round the pine-wood fire, which blazed up the chimney, sending a ruddy glow of comfort and cheerfulness even through this disgusting den. We were to wait here for the arrival of the cars from a branch railroad, to continue our route; and in the mean time a so-called dinner was provided for us, to which we were presently summoned. Of the horrible dirt of everything at this meal, from the eatables themselves to the table-cloth, and the clothes of the negroes who waited upon us, it would be impossible to give any idea. The poultry, which formed here, as it does all through the South, the chief animal part of the repast (except the consumers, always understood), were so tough that I should think they must have been alive when we came into the house, and certainly died very hard. They were swimming in black grease, and stuffed with some black ingredient that was doubt and dismay to us uninitiated; but, however, knowledge would probably have been more terrible in this case than ignorance. We had no bread but lumps of hot dough, which reminded me forcibly of certain juvenile creations of my brothers, yclept dumps. I should think they would have eaten very much alike.

I was amused to observe that while our tea was poured out, and handed to us by a black girl of most disgustingly dirty appearance, no sooner did the engine drivers, and persons connected with the railroads and coaches, sit down to their meal, than the landlady herself, a portly dame, with a most dignified carriage, took the head of the table, and did the honors with all the grace of a most accomplished hostess. Our male fellow-travelers no sooner had dispatched their dinner than they withdrew in a body to the other end of the apartment, and large rattling folding-doors being drawn across the room, the separation of men and women, so rigidly observed by all traveling Americans, took place. This is a most peculiar and amusing custom, though sometimes I have been not a little inclined to quarrel with it, inasmuch as it effectually deprives one of the assistance of the men under whose protection one is traveling, as well as all the advantages or pleasure of their society. Twice during this southward trip of ours my companion has been most peremptorily ordered to withdraw from the apartment where he was conversing with me, by colored cabin-girls, who told him it was against the rules for any gentleman to come into the ladies' room. This making rules by which ladies and gentlemen are to observe the principles of decorum and good-breeding may be very necessary, for aught I can tell, but it seems rather sarcastical, I think, to have them enforced by servant-girls.

IN NORTH CAROLINA.   The gentlemen, on their side, are intrenched in a similar manner; and if a woman has occasion to speak to the person with whom she is traveling, her entrance into the male den, if she has the courage to venture there, is the signal for a universal stare and whisper. But, for the most part, the convenient result of this arrangement is, that such men as have female companions with them pass their time in prowling about the precincts of the "ladies' apartment"; while their respective ladies pop their heads first out of one door and then out of another, watching in decorous discomfort the time when "their man" shall come to pass. Our sole resource on the present occasion was to retire again to the horrible hole above stairs, where we had at first taken refuge and here we remained until summoned down again by the arrival of the expected train. My poor little children, overcome with fatigue and sleep, were carried, and we walked from the hotel at Weldon to the railroad, and by good fortune obtained a compartment to ourselves.

It was now between eight and nine o'clock, and perfectly dark. The carriages were furnished with lamps, however, and, by the rapid glance they cast upon the objects which we passed, I endeavored in vain to guess at the nature of the country through which we were traveling; but, except the tall shafts of the everlasting pine trees, which still pursued us, I could descry nothing, and resigned myself to the amusing contemplation of the attitudes of my companions, who were all fast asleep. Between twelve and one o'clock the engine stopped, and it was announced to us that we had traveled as far upon the railroad as it was yet completed, and that we must transfer ourselves to stage-coaches; so in the dead middle of the night we crept out of the train, and taking our children in our arms, walked a few yards into an open space in the woods, where three four-horse coaches stood waiting to receive us. A crowd of men, principally negroes, were collected here round a huge fire of pine-wood, which, together with the pine-torches, whose resinous glare streamed brilliantly into the darkness of the woods, created a ruddy blaze, by the light of which we reached our vehicles in safety, and, while they were adjusting the luggage, had leisure to admire our jetty torch-bearers, who lounged round in a state of tattered undress, highly picturesque,—the staring whites of their eyes, and glittering ranges of dazzling teeth exhibited to perfection by the expression of grinning amusement in their countenances, shining in the darkness almost as brightly as the lights which they reflected. We had especially requested that we might have a coach to ourselves, and had been assured that there would be one for the   use of our party. It appeared, however, that the outside seat of this had been appropriated by some one, for our coachman, who was traveling with us, was obliged to take a seat inside with us; and though it then contained five grown persons and two children, it seems that the coach was by no means considered full. The horrors of that night's journey I shall not easily forget. The road lay almost the whole way through swamps, and was frequently itself under water. It was made of logs of wood (a corduroy road), and so dreadfully rough and unequal, that the drawing a coach over it at all seemed perfectly miraculous. I expected every moment that we must be overturned into the marsh, through which we splashed, with hardly any intermission, the whole night long. Their drivers in this part of the country deserve infinite praise both for skill and care; but the road-makers, I think, are beyond all praise for their noble confidence in what skill and care can accomplish.

You will readily imagine how thankfully I saw the first whitening of daylight in the sky. I do not know that any morning was ever more welcome to me than that which found us still surrounded by the pine-swamps of North Carolina, which, brightened by the morning sun, and breathed through by the morning air, lost something of their dreary desolateness to my senses....

Not long after daybreak we arrived at a place called Stantonsborough. I do not know whether that is the name of the district, or what; for I saw no village,—nothing but the one lonely house in the wood at which we stopped. I should have mentioned that the unfortunate individual who took our coachman's place outside, towards daybreak became so perished with cold, that an exchange was effected between them, and thus the privacy (if such it could be called) of our carriage was invaded, in spite of the promise which we had received to the contrary. As I am nursing my own baby, and have been compelled to travel all day and all night, of course this was a circumstance of no small annoyance; but as our company was again increased some time after, and subsequently I had to travel in a railroad carriage that held upwards of twenty people, I had to resign myself to this, among the other miseries of this most miserable journey.

A PRIMITIVE TOILET. As we alighted from our coach, we encountered the comical spectacle of the two coach-loads of gentlemen who had traveled the same route as ourselves, with wrist-bands and coat-cuffs turned back, performing their morning ablutions all together at a long wooden dresser in the open air, though the morning was piercing cold. Their toilet accommodations were quite of the most primitive order imaginable, as indeed were ours. We (the   women) were all shown into one small room, the whole furniture of which consisted of a chair and wooden bench: upon the latter stood one basin, one ewer, and a relic of soap, apparently of great antiquity. Before, however, we could avail ourselves of these ample means of cleanliness, we were summoned down to breakfast; but as we had traveled all night, and all the previous day, and were to travel all the ensuing day and night, I preferred washing to eating, and determined, if I could not do both, at least to accomplish the first. There was neither towel, nor glass for one's teeth, nor hostess or chambermaid to appeal to. I ran through all the rooms on the floor, of which the doors were open; but though in one I found a magnificent veneered chest of drawers, and large looking-glass, neither of the above articles were discoverable. Again the savage passion for ornament occurred to me as I looked at this piece of furniture, which might have adorned the most luxurious bedroom of the wealthiest citizen in New York—here in this wilderness, in a house which seemed but just cut out of the trees, where a tin pan was brought to me for a basin, and where the only kitchen, of which the window of our room, to our sorrow, commanded an uninterrupted prospect, was an open shed, not fit to stable a well-kept horse in. As I found nothing that I could take possession of in the shape of towel or tumbler, I was obliged to wait on the stairs, and catch one of the dirty black girls who were running to and fro serving the breakfast-room. Upon asking one of these nymphs for a towel, she held up to me a horrible cloth, which, but for the evidence to the contrary which its filthy surface presented, I should have supposed had been used to clean the floors. Upon my objecting to this, she flounced away, disgusted, I presume, with my fastidiousness, and appeared no more. As I leaned over the bannisters in a state of considerable despondency, I espied a man who appeared to be the host himself and to him I ventured to prefer my humble petition for a clean towel. He immediately snatched from the dresser, where the gentlemen had been washing themselves, a wet and dirty towel, which lay by one of the basins, and offered it to me. Upon my suggesting that that was not a clean towel, he looked at me from head to foot with ineffable amazement, but at length desired one of the negroes to fetch me the unusual luxury.

Of the breakfast at this place no words can give any idea. There were plates full of unutterable-looking things, which made one feel as if one should never swallow food again. There were some eggs, all begrimed with smoke, and powdered with cinders; some unbaked dough, cut into little lumps, by way of bread;   and a white, hard substance, calling itself butter, which had an infinitely nearer resemblance to tallow. The mixture presented to us by way of tea was absolutely undrinkable; and when I begged for a glass of milk, they brought a tumbler covered with dust and dirt, full of such sour stuff that I was obliged to put it aside, after endeavoring to taste it. Thus refreshed, we set forth again through the eternal pine-lands, on and on, the tall stems rising all round us for miles and miles in dreary monotony, like a spell-land of dismal enchantment, to which there seemed no end....

North Carolina is, I believe, the poorest State in the Union: the part of it through which we traveled should seem to indicate as much. From Suffolk to Wilmington we did not pass a single town,—scarcely anything deserving the name of a village. The few detached houses on the road were mean and beggarly in their appearance; and the people whom we saw when the coach stopped had a squalid, and at the same time fierce air, which at once bore witness to the unfortunate influences of their existence. Not the least of these is the circumstance that their subsistence is derived in great measure from the spontaneous produce of the land, which, yielding without cultivation the timber and turpentine, by the sale of which they are mainly supported, denies to them all the blessings which flow from labor. How is it that the fable ever originated of God's having cursed man with the doom of toil? How is it that men have ever been blind to the exceeding profitableness of labor, even for its own sake, whose moral harvest alone—industry, economy, patience, foresight, knowledge—is in itself an exceeding great reward, to which add the physical blessings which wait on this universal law—health, strength, activity, cheerfulness, the content that springs from honest exertion, and the lawful pride that grows from conquered difficulty? How invariably have the inhabitants of southern countries, whose teeming soil produced, unurged, the means of life, been cursed with indolence, with recklessness, with the sleepy slothfulness which, while basking in the sunshine, and gathering the earth's spontaneous fruits, satisfied itself with this animal existence, forgetting all the nobler purposes of life in the mere ease of living? Therefore, too, southern lands have always been the prey of northern conquerors; and the bleak regions of Upper Europe and Asia have poured forth from time to time the hungry hordes, whose iron sinews swept the nerveless children of the gardens of the earth from the face of their idle paradises: and, but for this stream of keener life and nobler energy, it would be difficult to imagine a more complete race of lotus-eaters than would now cumber the fairest regions of the earth.

THE SOUTHERN PEOPLE.   Doubtless it is to counteract the enervating effects of soil and climate that this northern tide of vigorous life flows forever towards the countries of the sun, that the races may be renewed, the earth reclaimed, and the world, and all its various tribes, rescued from disease and decay by the influence of the stern northern vitality, searching and strong, and purifying as the keen piercing winds that blow from that quarter of the heavens. To descend to rather a familiar illustration of this, it is really quite curious to observe how many New England adventurers come to the Southern States, and bringing their enterprising, active character to bear upon the means of wealth, which in the North they lack, but which abound in these more favored regions, return home after a short season of exertion, laden with the spoils of the indolent southerners. The southern people are growing poorer every day, in the midst of their slaves and their vast landed estates: whilst every day sees the arrival amongst them of some penniless Yankee, who presently turns the very ground he stands upon into wealth, and departs a lord of riches at the end of a few years, leaving the sleepy population, among whom he has amassed them, floated still farther down the tide of dwindling prosperity....

At a small place called Waynesborough, ... I asked for a glass of milk, and they told me they had no such thing. Upon entering our new vehicle, we found another stranger added to our party, to my unspeakable annoyance. Complaint or remonstrance, I knew, however, would be of no avail, and I therefore submitted in silence to what I could not help. At a short distance beyond Waynesborough we were desired to alight, in order to walk over a bridge, which was in so rotten a condition as to render it very probable that it would give way under our weight. This same bridge, whose appearance was indeed most perilous, is built at a considerable height over a broad and rapid stream, called the Neuse, the color of whose water we had an excellent opportunity of admiring through the numerous holes in the plankage, over which we walked as lightly and rapidly as we could, stopping afterwards to see our coach come at a foot's pace after us. This may be called safe and pleasant traveling. The ten miles which followed were over heavy sandy roads, and it was near sunset when we reached the place where we were to take the railroad. The train, however, had not arrived, and we sat still in the coaches, there being neither town, village, nor even a road-side inn at hand, where we might take shelter from the bitter blast which swept through the pine-woods by which we were surrounded; and so we waited patiently, the day gradually   drooping, the evening air becoming colder, and the howling wilderness around us more dismal every moment.

In the mean time the coaches were surrounded by a troop of gazing boors, who had come from far and near to see the hot-water carriages come up for only the third time into the midst of their savage solitude. A more forlorn, fierce, poor, and wild-looking set of people, short of absolute savages, I never saw. They wandered round and round us, with a stupid kind of dismayed wonder. The men clothed in the coarsest manner, and the women also, of whom there were not a few, with the grotesque addition of pink and blue silk bonnets, with artificial flowers, and imitation-blonde veils. Here the gentlemen of our party informed us that they observed, for the first time, a custom prevalent in North Carolina, of which I had myself frequently heard before—the women chewing tobacco, and that, too, in a most disgusting and disagreeable way, if one way can be more disgusting than another. They carry habitually a small stick, like the implement for cleaning the teeth, usually known in England by the name of a root,—this they thrust away in their glove, or their garter-string, and, whenever occasion offers, plunge it into a snuff-box, and begin chewing it. The practice is so common that the proffer of the snuff-box, and its passing from hand to hand, is the usual civility of a morning visit among the country-people; and I was not a little amused at hearing the gentlemen who were with us describe the process as they witnessed it in their visit to a miserable farm-house across the fields, whither they went to try to obtain something to eat.

It was now becoming dark, and the male members of our caravan held council round a pine fire as to what course had better be adopted for sheltering themselves and us during the night, which we seemed destined to pass in the woods. After some debate, it was recollected that one Colonel ——, a man of some standing in that neighborhood, had a farm about a mile distant, immediately upon the line of the railroad; and thither it was determined we should all repair, and ask quarters for the night. Fortunately, an empty truck stood at hand upon the iron road, and to this the luggage and the women and children of the party, were transferred. A number of negroes, who were loitering about, were pressed into the service, and pushed it along; and the gentlemen, walking, brought up the rear. I don't know that I ever in my life felt so completely desolate as during that half-hour's slow progress. We sat cowering among the trunks, my faithful Margery and I, each with a baby in our arms, sheltering ourselves and our poor little burthens from the bleak northern wind that whistled over us.

  The last embers of daylight were dying out in dusky red streaks along the horizon, and the dreary waste around us looked like the very shaggy edge of all creation. The men who pushed us along encouraged each other with wild shouts and yells, and every now and then their labor was one of no little danger, as well as difficulty,—for the road crossed one or two deep ravines and morasses at a considerable height, and, as it was not completed, and nothing but the iron rails were laid across piles driven into these places, it became a service of considerable risk to run along these narrow ledges, at the same time urging our car along. No accident happened, however, fortunately, and we presently beheld, with no small satisfaction, a cluster of houses in the fields at some little distance from the road. To the principal one I made my way, followed by the rest of the poor womankind, and, entering the house without further ceremony, ushered them into a large species of wooden room, where blazed a huge pine-wood fire. By this welcome light we descried, sitting in the corner of the vast chimney, an old, ruddy-faced man, with silver hair, and a good-humored countenance, who, welcoming us with ready hospitality, announced himself as Colonel ——, and invited us to draw near the fire.

COLONEL. The worthy colonel seemed in no way dismayed at this sudden inbreak of distressed women, which was very soon followed by the arrival of the gentlemen, to whom he repeated the same courteous reception he had given us, replying to their rather hesitating demands for something to eat, by ordering to the right and left a tribe of staring negroes, who bustled about preparing supper, under the active superintendence of the hospitable colonel. His residence (considering his rank) was quite the most primitive imaginable,—a rough brick-and-plank chamber, of considerable dimensions, not even whitewashed, with the great beams and rafters by which it was supported displaying the skeleton of the building, to the complete satisfaction of any one who might be curious in architecture. The windows could close neither at the top, bottom, sides, nor middle, and were, besides, broken so as to admit several delightful currents of air, which might be received as purely accidental. In one corner of this primitive apartment stood a clean-looking bed, with coarse furniture; whilst in the opposite one, an old case-clock was ticking away its time and its master's with cheerful monotony. The rush-bottomed chairs were of as many different shapes and sizes as those in a modern fine lady's drawing-room, and the walls were hung all round with a curious miscellany, consisting principally of physic vials, turkey-feather fans, bunches of dried   herbs, and the colonel's arsenal, in the shape of one or two old guns, etc.

According to the worthy man's hearty invitation, I proceeded to make myself and my companions at home, pinning, skewering, and otherwise suspending our cloaks and shawls across the various intentional and unintentional air-gaps, thereby increasing both the comfort and the grotesqueness of the apartment in no small degree. The babies had bowls of milk furnished them, and the elder portion of the caravan was regaled with a taste of the colonel's home-made wine, pending the supper to which he continued to entreat our stay. Meantime he entered into conversation with the gentlemen; and my veneration waxed deep, when the old man, unfolding his history, proclaimed himself one of the heroes of the revolution,—a fellow-fighter with Washington. I, who, comforted to a degree of high spirits by our sudden transition from the cold and darkness of the railroad to the light and shelter of this rude mansion, had been flippantly bandying jokes, and proceeded some way in a lively flirtation with this illustrious American, grew thrice respectful, and hardly ventured to raise either my eyes or my voice as I inquired if he lived alone in this remote place. Yes, alone now; his wife had been dead near upon two years.

Suddenly we were broken in upon by the arrival of the expected train. It was past eight o'clock. If we delayed we should have to travel all night; but then, the colonel pressed us to stay and sup (the bereaved colonel, the last touching revelation of whose lonely existence had turned all my mirth into sympathizing sadness). The gentlemen were famished and well inclined to stay; the ladies were famished too, for we had eaten nothing all day. The bustle of preparation, urged by the warmhearted colonel, began afresh; the negro girls shambled in and out more vigorously than ever, and finally we were called to eat and refresh ourselves with—dirty water—I cannot call it tea,—old cheese, bad butter, and old dry biscuits. The gentlemen bethought them of the good supper they might have secured a few miles further and groaned; but the hospitable colonel merely asked them half a dollar apiece (there were about ten of them); paying which, we departed, with our enthusiasm a little damped for the warrior of the revolution; and a tinge of rather deeper misgiving as to some of his virtues stole over our minds, on learning that three of the sable damsels who trudged about at our supper service were the colonel's own progeny. I believe only three,—though the young negro girl, whose loquacity made us aware of the fact, added, with a burst of commendable pride and   gratitude, "Indeed, he is a father to us all!" Whether she spoke figuratively, or literally, we could not determine. So much for a three hours' shelter in North Carolina....

F. A. B.

Dearest Harriet,

I had been very much struck with the appearance of the horses we passed occasionally in enclosures, or gathered round some lonely roadside pine-wood shop, or post-office, fastened to trees in the surrounding forest, and waiting for their riders. I had been always led to expect a great improvement in the breed of horses as we went southward, and the appearance of those I saw on the road was certainly in favor of the claim. They were generally small, but in good condition, and remarkably well made. They seemed to be tolerably well cared for, too; and those which we saw caparisoned were ornamented with gay saddle-cloths, and rather a superfluity of trappings for civil animals.

A NORTH CAROLINIAN DAMSEL. At our dismal halt in the woods, while waiting for the railroad train, among our other spectators was a woman on horseback. Her steed was uncommonly pretty and well-limbed; but her costume was quite the most eccentric that can be imagined, accustomed as I am to the not over-rigid equipments of the northern villages. But the North Carolinian damsel beat all Yankee girls, I ever saw, hollow, in the glorious contempt she exhibited for the external fitness of things in her exceeding short skirts and huge sun-bonnet.

After our departure from Colonel ——'s, we traveled all night on the railroad. One of my children slept in my lap, the other on the narrow seat opposite to me, from which she was jolted off every quarter of an hour by the uneasy motion of the carriage, and the checks and stops of the engine, which was out of order. The carriage, though full of people, was heated with a stove, and every time this was replenished with coals we were almost suffocated with the clouds of bituminous smoke which filled it. Five hours, they said, was the usual time consumed in this part of the journey; but we were the whole mortal night upon that uneasy railroad, and it was five o'clock in the morning before we reached Wilmington, North Carolina. When the train stopped it was yet quite dark, and most bitterly cold; nevertheless, the distance from the railroad to the only inn where we could be accommodated was nothing less than a mile; and, weary and worn out, we trudged along, the poor little sleeping   children carried by their still more unfortunate, sleepless nurses—and so by the cheerless winter starlight we walked along the brink of the Cape Fear River, to seek where we might lay our heads.

A WILMINGTON HOTEL. We were shown into a room without window-curtains or shutters, the windows, as usual, not half shut, and wholly incapable of shutting. Here, when I asked if we could have some tea, (having fasted the whole previous day with the exception of Colonel ——'s bountiful supper), the host pleasantly informed us that the "public breakfast would not be ready for some hours yet." I really could not help once again protesting against this abominable tyranny of the traveling many over the traveling few in this free country. It is supposed impossible that any individual can hunger, thirst, or desire sleep at any other than the "public hours." The consequence is, that let one arrive starved at an inn, one can obtain nothing till such hours as those who are not starving desire to eat;—and if one is foredone with travel, weary, and wanting rest, the pitiless alarum-bell, calling those who may have had twelve hours' sleep from their beds, must startle those who have only just closed their eyes for the first time, perhaps for three nights,—as if the whole traveling community were again at boarding-school, and as if a private summons by the boots or chambermaid to each apartment would not answer the same purpose.

We were, however, so utterly exhausted, that waiting for the public appetite was out of the question; and, by dint of much supplication, we at length obtained some breakfast. When, however, we stated that we had not been in bed for two successive nights, and asked to be shown to our rooms, the same gentleman, our host, an exceedingly pleasant person, informed us that our chamber was prepared,—adding, with the most facetious familiarity, when I exclaimed "Our chamber!" (we were three, and two children)—

"Oh! madam, I presume you will have no objection to sleeping with your infant" (he lumped the two into one); "and these two ladies" (Miss —— and Margery) "will sleep together. I dare say they have done it a hundred times."

This unheard-of proposition, and the man's cool impudence in making it, so astonished me that I could hardly speak. At last, however, I found words to inform him that none of our party were in the habit of sleeping with each other, and that the arrangement was such as we were not at all inclined to submit to. The gentleman, apparently very much surprised at our singular habits, said, "Oh! he didn't know that the ladies were not   acquainted" (as if, forsooth, one went to bed with all one's acquaintance!) "but that he had but one room in the ladies' part of the house."

Miss —— immediately professed her readiness to take one in the gentlemen's "part of the house," when it appeared that there was none vacant there which had a fireplace in it. As the morning was intensely cold, this could not be thought of. I could not take shelter in ——'s room; for he, according to this decent and comfortable mode of lodging travelers, had another man to share it with him. To our common dormitory we therefore repaired, as it was impossible that we could any of us go any longer without rest. I established Margery and the two babies in the largest bed; poor Miss —— betook herself to a sort of curtainless cot that stood in one corner; and I laid myself down on a mattress on the floor; and we soon all forgot the conveniences of a Wilmington hotel in the supreme convenience of sleep.

It was bright morning, and drawing towards one o'clock, when we rose, and were presently summoned to the "public dinner." The dirt and discomfort of everything was so intolerable that I could not eat; and having obtained some tea, we set forth to walk to the steamboat Governor Dudley, which was to convey us to Charleston. The midday sun took from Wilmington some of the desolateness which the wintry darkness of the morning gave it; yet it looked to me like a place I could sooner die than live in,—ruinous, yet not old,—poor, dirty, and mean, and unvenerable in its poverty and decay. The river that runs by it is called Cape Fear River; above, on the opposite shore, lies Mount Misery,—and heaven-forsaken enough seemed place and people to me. How good one should be to live in such places! How heavenly would one's thoughts and imaginations of hard necessity become, if one existed in Wilmington, North Carolina! The afternoon was beautiful, golden, mild, and bright,—the boat we were in extremely comfortable and clean, and the captain especially courteous. The whole furniture of this vessel was remarkably tasteful, as well as convenient,—not forgetting the fawn-colored and blue curtains to the berths.

But what a deplorable mistake it is—be-draperying up these narrow nests, so as to impede the poor, meagre mouthfuls of air which their dimensions alone necessarily limit one to. These crimson and yellow, or even fawn-colored and blue silk suffocators, are a poor compensation for free ventilation; and I always look at these elaborate adornments of sea-beds as ingenious and elegant incentives to sea-sickness, graceful emetics in themselves, all provocation from the water set aside. The captain's wife and   ourselves were the only passengers; and, after a most delightful walk on deck in the afternoon, and comfortable tea, we retired for the night, and did not wake till we bumped on the Charleston bar on the morning of Christmas-day.

The William Seabrook, the boat which is to convey us from hence to Savannah, only goes once a week.... This unfrequent communication between the principal cities of the great Southern States is rather a curious contrast to the almost unintermitting intercourse which goes on between the northern towns. The boat itself, too, is a species of small monopoly, being built and chiefly used for the convenience of certain wealthy planters residing on Edisto Island, a small insulated tract between Charleston and Savannah, where the finest cotton that is raised in this country grows. This city is the oldest I have yet seen in America—I should think it must be the oldest in it. I cannot say that the first impression produced by the wharf at which we landed, or the streets we drove through in reaching our hotel, was particularly lively. Rickety, dark, dirty, tumble-down streets and warehouses, with every now and then a mansion of loftier pretensions, but equally neglected and ruinous in its appearance, would probably not have been objects of special admiration to many people on this side the water; but I belong to that infirm, decrepit, bedridden old country, England, and must acknowledge, with a blush for the stupidity of the prejudice, that it is so very long since I have seen anything old, that the lower streets of Charleston, in all their dinginess and decay, were a refreshment and a rest to my spirit.

I have had a perfect red-brick-and-white-board fever ever since I came to this country; and once more to see a house which looks as if it had stood long enough to get warmed through, is a balm to my senses, oppressed with newness. Boston had two or three fine old dwelling-houses, with antique gardens and old-fashioned court-yards; but they have come down to the dust before the improving spirit of the age. One would think, that after ten years a house gets weak in the knees. Perhaps these houses do; but I have lodged under roof-trees that have stood hundreds of years, and may stand hundreds more,—marry, they have good foundations.

CHARLESTON. In walking about Charleston, I was forcibly reminded of some of the older country towns in England—of Southampton a little. The appearance of the city is highly picturesque, a word which can apply to none other American towns; and although the place is certainly pervaded with an air of decay, 'tis a genteel infirmity, as might be that of a distressed elderly gentlewoman. It has   none of the smug mercantile primness of the northern cities, but a look of state, as of quondam wealth and importance, a little gone down in the world, yet remembering still its former dignity. The northern towns, compared with it, are as the spruce citizen rattling by the faded splendors of an old family-coach in his newfangled chariot—they certainly have got on before it. Charleston has an air of eccentricity, too, and peculiarity, which formerly were not deemed unbecoming the well-born and well-bred gentlewoman, which her gentility itself sanctioned and warranted—none of the vulgar dread of vulgar opinion, forcing those who are possessed by it to conform to a general standard of manners, unable to conceive one peculiar to itself,—this "what-'ll-Mrs.-Grundy-say" devotion to conformity in small things and great, which pervades the American body-social from the matter of church-going to the trimming of women's petticoats,—this dread of singularity, which has eaten up all individuality amongst them, and makes their population like so many moral and mental lithographs, and their houses like so many thousand hideous brick-twins.

I believe I am getting excited; but the fact is, that being politically the most free people on earth, the Americans are socially the least so; and it seems as though, ever since that little affair of establishing their independence among nations, which they managed so successfully, every American mother's son of them has been doing his best to divest himself of his own private share of that great public blessing, liberty.

But to return to Charleston. It is in this respect a far more aristocratic (should I not say democratic?) city than any I have yet seen in America, inasmuch as every house seems built to the owner's particular taste; and in one street you seem to be in an old English town, and in another in some continental city of France or Italy. This variety is extremely pleasing to the eye; not less so is the intermixture of trees with the buildings, almost every house being adorned, and gracefully screened, by the beautiful foliage of evergreen shrubs. These, like ministering angels, cloak with nature's kindly ornaments the ruins and decays of the mansions they surround; and the latter, time-mellowed (I will not say stained, and a painter knows the difference), harmonize in their forms and coloring with the trees, in a manner most delightful to an eye that knows how to appreciate this species of beauty.

There are several public buildings of considerable architectural pretensions in Charleston, all of them apparently of some antiquity (for the New World), except a very large and handsome   edifice which is not yet completed, and which, upon inquiry, we found was intended for a guard-house. Its very extensive dimensions excited our surprise; but a man who was at work about it, and who answered our questions with a good deal of intelligence, informed us that it was by no means larger than the necessities of the city required; for that they not unfrequently had between fifty and sixty persons (colored and white) brought in by the patrol in one night.

"But," objected we, "the colored people are not allowed to go out without passes after nine o'clock."

"Yes," replied our informant, "but they will do it, nevertheless; and every night numbers are brought in who have been caught endeavoring to evade the patrol."

This explained to me the meaning of a most ominous tolling of bells and beating of drums, which, on the first evening of my arrival in Charleston, made me almost fancy myself in one of the old fortified frontier towns of the Continent where the tocsin is sounded, and the evening drum beaten, and the guard set as regularly every night as if an invasion were expected. In Charleston, however, it is not the dread of foreign invasion, but of domestic insurrection, which occasions these nightly precautions; and, for the first time since my residence in this free country, the curfew (now obsolete in mine, except in some remote districts, where the ringing of an old church-bell at sunset is all that remains of the tyrannous custom) recalled the associations of early feudal times, and the oppressive insecurity of our Norman conquerors. But truly it seemed rather anomalous hereabouts, and nowadays; though, of course, it is very necessary where a large class of persons exists in the very bosom of a community whose interests are known to be at variance and incompatible with those of its other members. And no doubt these daily and nightly precautions are but trifling drawbacks upon the manifold blessings of slavery (for which, if you are stupid, and cannot conceive them, see the late Governor M'Duffy's speeches); still I should prefer going to sleep without the apprehension of my servants cutting my throat in my bed, even to having a guard provided to prevent their doing so. However, this peculiar prejudice of mine may spring from the fact of my having known many instances in which servants were the trusted and most trustworthy friends of their employers, and entertaining, besides, some odd notions of the reciprocal duties of all the members of families one towards the other.

The extreme emptiness which I observed in the streets, and absence of anything like bustle or business, is chiefly owing to   the season, which the inhabitants of Charleston, with something akin to old English feeling, generally spend in hospitable festivity upon their estates; a goodly custom, at least in my mind. It is so rare for any of the wealthier people to remain in town at Christmas, that poor Miss ——, who had come on with us to pay a visit to some friends, was not a little relieved to find that they were (contrary to their custom) still in the city. I went to take my usual walk this morning, and found that the good citizens of Charleston were providing themselves with a most delightful promenade upon the river, a fine, broad, well-paved esplanade, of considerable length, open to the water on one side, and on the other overlooked by some very large and picturesque old houses, whose piazzas, arches, and sheltering evergreens reminded me of buildings in the vicinity of Naples. This delightful walk is not yet finished, and I fear, when it is, it will be little frequented; for the southern women, by their own account, are miserable pedestrians,—of which fact, indeed, I had one curious illustration to-day; for I received a visit from a young lady residing in the same street where we lodged, who came in her carriage, a distance of less than a quarter of a mile, to call upon me.

It is impossible to conceive anything funnier, and at the same time more provokingly stupid, dirty, and inefficient, than the tribe of black-faced heathen divinities and classicalities who make believe to wait upon us here,—the Dianas, Phillises, Floras, Cæsars, et cetera, who stand grinning in wonderment and delight round our table, and whom I find it impossible, by exhortation or entreaty, to banish from the room, so great is their amusement and curiosity at my outlandish modes of proceeding. This morning, upon my entreating them not to persist in waiting upon us at breakfast, they burst into an ungovernable titter, and withdrawing from our immediate vicinity, kept poking their woolly heads and white grinders in at the door every five minutes, keeping it conveniently open for that purpose.

A fine large new hotel was among the buildings which the late fire at Charleston destroyed, and the house where we now are is the best at present in the city. It is kept by a very obliging and civil colored woman, who seems extremely desirous of accommodating us to our minds; but her servants (they are her slaves, in spite of her and their common complexion) would defy the orderly genius of the superintendent of the Astor House. Their laziness, their filthiness, their inconceivable stupidity, and unconquerable good humor, are enough to drive one stark, staring mad. The sitting-room we occupy is spacious, and not ill-furnished, and especially airy, having four windows and a door, none of which   can or will shut. We are fortunately rid of that familiar fiend of the North, the anthracite coal, but do not enjoy the luxury of burning wood. Bituminous coal, such as is generally used in England, is the combustible preferred here; and all my national predilections cannot reconcile me to it, in preference to the brilliant, cheerful, wholesome, poetical warmth of a wood fire. Our bedrooms are dismal dens, open to "a' the airts the wind can blaw," half furnished, and not by any means half clean. The furniture itself is old, and very infirm,—the tables all peach with one or other leg,—the chairs are most of them minus one or two bars,—the tongs cross their feet when you attempt to use them,—and one poker travels from room to room, that being our whole allowance for two fires.

We have had occasion to make only two trifling purchases since we have been here; but the prices (if these articles are any criterion) must be infinitely higher than those of the northern shopkeepers; but this we must expect as we go further south, for, of course, they have to pay double profits upon all the commonest necessaries of life, importing them, as they do, from distant districts. I must record a curious observation of Margery's, on her return from church Tuesday morning. She asked me if the people of this place were not very proud. I was struck with the question, as coinciding with a remark sometimes made upon the South, and supposed by some far-fetching cause-hunters to have its origin in some of their "domestic institutions." I told her that I knew no more of them than she did; and that I had had no opportunity of observing whether they were or not.

"Well," she replied, "I think they are, for I was in church early, and I observed the countenances and manner of the people as they came in, and they struck me as the haughtiest, proudest-looking people I ever saw!"

This very curious piece of observation of hers I note down without comment. I asked her if she had ever heard, or read, the remark as applied to the southern people? She said, "Never," and I was much amused at this result of her physiognomical church speculations.

STEAM TO SAVANNAH. Last Thursday evening we left our hotel in Charleston, for the steamboat which was to carry us to Savannah: it was not to start until two in the morning; but, of course, we preferred going on board rather earlier, and getting to bed. The ladies' cabin, however, was so crowded with women and children, and so inconveniently small, that sleeping was out of the question in such an atmosphere. I derived much amusement from the very empress-like airs of an uncommonly handsome mulatto woman,   who officiated as stewardess, but whose discharge of her duties appeared to consist in telling the ladies what they ought, and what they ought not to do, and lounging about with an indolent dignity, which was irresistibly droll, and peculiarly Southern.

The boat in which we were, not being considered sea-worthy, as she is rather old, took the inner passage, by which we were two nights and a day accomplishing this most tedious navigation, creeping through cuts and small muddy rivers, where we stuck sometimes to the bottom, and sometimes to the banks, which presented a most dismal succession of dingy, low, yellow swamps, and reedy marshes, beyond expression wearisome to the eye. About the middle of the day on Friday, we touched at the island of Edisto, where some of the gentlemen-passengers had business, that being the seat of their plantations, and where the several families reside—after the eldest member of which, Mr. Seabrook, the boat we were in was named.

Edisto, as I have mentioned before, is famous for producing the finest cotton in America—therefore, I suppose, in the world. As we were to wait here some time, we went on shore to walk. The appearance of the cotton-fields at this season of the year was barren enough; but, as a compensation, I here, for the first time, saw the evergreen oak-trees (the ilex, I presume) of the South. They were not very fine specimens of their kind, and disappointed me a good deal. The advantage they have of being evergreen is counterbalanced by the dark and almost dingy color of the foliage, and the leaf being minute in size, and not particularly graceful in form. These trees appeared to me far from comparable, either in size or beauty, to the European oak, when it has attained its full growth. We were walking on the estate of one of the Mr. Seabrooks, which lay unenclosed on each side of what appeared to be the public road through the island.

At a short distance from the landing we came to what is termed a ginning-house—a building appropriated to the process of freeing the cotton from the seed. It appeared to be open to inspection; and we walked through it. Here were about eight or ten stalls on either side, in each of which a man was employed at a machine, worked like a turner's or knife-grinder's wheel, by the foot, which, as fast as he fed it with cotton, parted the snowy flakes from the little black first cause, and gave them forth soft, silky, clean, and fit to be woven into the finest lace or muslin. This same process of ginning is performed in many places, and upon our own cotton-estate, by machinery; the objection to which however, is, that the staple of the cotton—in the length   of which consists its chief excellence—is supposed by some planters to be injured, and the threads broken, by the substitution of an engine for the task performed by the human fingers in separating the cotton and presenting it to the gin.

After walking through this building, we pursued our way past a large, rambling, white wood house, and down a road, bordered on each side with evergreen oaks. While we were walking, a young man on horseback passed us, whose light hair, in a very picturesque contempt of modern fashion, absolutely flowed upon the collar of his coat, and was blown back as he rode, like the disheveled tresses of a woman. On Edisto Island such a noble exhibition of individuality would probably find few censors.

As we returned towards the boat we stopped to examine an irregular scrambling hedge of the wild orange, another of the exquisite shrubs of this paradise of evergreens. The form and foliage of this plant are beautiful, and the leaf, being bruised, extremely fragrant; but, as its perfume indicates, it is a rank poison, containing a great portion of prussic acid. It grows from cuttings rapidly and freely, and might be formed into the most perfect hedge, being well adapted, by its close, bushy growth, to that purpose.

After leaving Edisto, we pursued the same tedious, meandering course, over turbid waters, and between low-lying swamps, till the evening closed in. The afternoon had been foggy and rainy and wretched. The cabin was darkened by the various outer protections against the weather, so that we could neither read nor work. Our party, on leaving the island, had received an addition of some young ladies, who were to go on shore again in the middle of the night, at a stopping-place called Hilton Head. As they did not intend to sleep, they seemed to have no idea of allowing any one else to do so; and the giggling and chattering with which they enlivened the dreary watches of the night, certainly rendered anything like repose impossible; so I lay, devoutly wishing for Hilton Head, where the boat stopped between one and two in the morning. I had just time to see our boarding-school angels leave us, and a monstrous awkward-looking woman, who at first struck me as a man in disguise, enter the cabin, before my eyes sealed themselves in sleep, which had been hovering over them, kept aloof only by the incessant conversational racket of my young fellow-travelers.

I was extremely amused at two little incidents which occurred the next morning before we were called to breakfast. The extraordinary-looking woman who came into the boat during the night, and who was the most masculine-looking lady I ever saw,   came and stood by me, and, seeing me nursing my baby, abruptly addressed me with "Got a baby with you?" I replied in the affirmative, which trouble her eyes might have spared me. After a few minutes' silence, she pursued her unceremonious catechism with "Married woman?" This question was so exceedingly strange, though put in the most matter-of-course sort of way, that I suppose my surprise exhibited itself in my countenance, for the lady presently left me—not, however, appearing to imagine that she had said or done anything at all unusual. The other circumstance which amused me was to hear another lady observe to her neighbor, on seeing Margery bathing my children (a ceremony never omitted night and morning, where water can be procured); "How excessively ridiculous!" Which same worthy lady, on leaving the boat at Savannah, exclaimed, as she huddled on her cloak, that she never had felt so "mean in her life!" and, considering that she had gone to bed two nights with the greater part of her day clothes on her, and had abstained from any "ridiculous" ablutions, her mean sensations did not, I confess, much surprise me.

CHARACTER OF THE COUNTRY. When the boat stopped at Savannah, it poured with rain; and in a perfect deluge, we drove up to the Pulaski House, thankful to escape from the tedious confinement of a slow steamboat,—an intolerable nuisance and anomaly in the nature of things. The hotel was, comparatively speaking, very comfortable; infinitely superior to the one where we had lodged at Charleston, as far as bed accommodations went. Here, too, we obtained the inestimable luxury of a warm bath; and the only disagreeable thing we had to encounter was that all but universal pest in this crowd-loving country, a public table. This is always a trial of the first water to me; and that day particularly I was fatigued, and out of spirits, and the din and confusion of a long table d'hôte was perfectly intolerable, in spite of the assiduous attentions of a tiresome worthy old gentleman, who sat by me and persisted in endeavoring to make me talk. Finding me impracticable, however, he turned, at length, in despair, to the hostess, who sat at the head of her table, and inquired in a most audible voice if it were true, as he had understood, that Mr. and Mrs. Butler were in the hotel? This, of course, occasioned some little amusement; and the good old gentleman being informed that I was sitting at his elbow, went off into perfect convulsions of apologies, and renewed his exertions to make me discourse, with more zeal than ever, asking me, among other things, when he had ascertained that I had never before been to the South, "How I liked the appearance of 'our blackies' (the negroes)?—no want of   cheerfulness, no despondency, or misery in their appearance, eh, madam?" As I thought this was rather begging the question, I did not trouble the gentleman with my impressions. He was a Scotchman, and his adoption of "our blackies" was, by his own account, rather recent, to be so perfectly satisfactory; at least, so it seems to me, who have some small prejudices in favor of freedom and justice yet to overcome, before I can enter into all the merits of this beneficent system, so productive of cheerfulness and contentment in those whom it condemns to perpetual degradation.

Our night-wanderings were not yet ended, for the steamer in which we were to proceed to Darien was to start at ten o'clock that evening, so that we had but a short interval of repose at this same Pulaski House, and I felt sorry to leave it, in proportion to the uncertainty of our meeting with better accommodation for a long time. The Ocmulgee (the Indian name of a river in Georgia, and the cognomen of our steamboat) was a tiny, tidy little vessel, the exceeding small ladies' cabin of which we, fortunately, had entirely to ourselves.

On Sunday morning the day broke most brilliantly over those southern waters, and as the sun rose, the atmosphere became clear and warm, as in the early northern summer. We crossed two or three sounds of the sea. The land in sight was a mere forest of reeds, and the fresh, sparkling, crisping waters had a thousand times more variety and beauty. At the mouth of the Altamaha is a small cluster of houses, scarce deserving the name of a village, called Doboy. At the wharf lay two trading-vessels; the one with the harp of Ireland waving on her flag; the other with the union-jack flying at her mast. I felt vehemently stirred to hail the beloved symbol; but, upon reflection, forbore outward demonstrations of the affectionate yearnings of my heart towards the flag of England, and so we boiled by them into this vast volume of turbid waters, whose noble width, and rapid rolling current, seem appropriately called by that most euphonious and sonorous of Indian names, the Alatamaha, which, in the common mode of speaking it, gains by the loss of the second syllable, and becomes more agreeable to the ear, as it is usually pronounced, the Altamaha.

RECEPTION AT DARIEN. On either side lay the low, reedy swamps, yellow, withered Lilliputian forests, rattling their brittle canes in the morning breeze.... Through these dreary banks we wound a most sinuous course for a long time; at length the irregular buildings of the little town of Darien appeared, and as we grazed the side of the wharf, it seemed to me as if we had touched the outer   bound of civilized creation. As soon as we showed ourselves on the deck we were hailed by a shout from the men in two pretty boats, which had pulled alongside of us; and the vociferations of "Oh, massa! how you do, massa? Oh, missis! oh! lily missis! me too glad to see you!" accompanied with certain interjectional shrieks, whoops, whistles, and grunts, that could only be written down in negro language, made me aware of our vicinity to our journey's end. The strangeness of the whole scene, its wildness (for now beyond the broad river and the low swamp lands the savage-looking woods arose to meet the horizon), the rapid retrospect which my mind hurried through of the few past years of my life; the singular contrasts which they presented to my memory; the affectionate shouts of welcome of the poor people, who seemed to hail us as descending divinities, affected me so much that I burst into tears, and could hardly answer their demonstrations of delight. We were presently transferred into the larger boat, and the smaller one being freighted with our luggage, we pulled off from Darien, not, however, without a sage remark from Margery, that, though we seemed to have traveled to the very end of the world, here yet were people and houses, ships, and even steamboats; in which evidences that we were not to be plunged into the deepest abysses of savageness she seemed to take no small comfort.

We crossed the river, and entered a small arm of it, which presently became still narrower and more straight, assuming the appearance of an artificial cut or canal, which indeed it is, having been dug by General Oglethorpe's men (tradition says, in one night), and afforded him the only means of escape from the Spaniards and Indians, who had surrounded him on all sides, and felt secure against all possibility of his eluding them. The cut is neither very deep nor very long, and yet both sufficiently to render the general's exploit rather marvelous. General Oglethorpe was the first British governor of Georgia; Wesley's friend and disciple. The banks of this little canal were mere dykes, guarding rice-swamps, and presented no species of beauty; but in the little creek, or inlet, from which we entered it, I was charmed with the beauty and variety of the evergreens growing in thick and luxuriant underwood, beneath giant, straggling cypress trees, whose branches were almost covered with the pendant wreaths of gray moss peculiar to these southern woods. Of all parasitical plants (if, indeed, it properly belongs to that class) it assuredly is the most melancholy and dismal. All creepers, from the polished, dark-leaved ivy, to the delicate clematis, destroy some portion of the strength of the trees around which they   cling, and from which they gradually suck the vital juices; but they, at least, adorn the forest-shafts round which they twine, and hide, with a false, smiling beauty, the gradual ruin and decay they make. Not so this dismal moss: it does not appear to grow, or to have root, or even clinging fibre of any sort, by which it attaches itself to the bark or stem. It hangs in dark gray, drooping masses from the boughs, swinging in every breeze like matted, grizzled hair. I have seen a naked cypress with its straggling arms all hung with this banner of death, looking like a gigantic tree of monstrous cobwebs,—the most funereal spectacle in all the vegetable kingdom.

After emerging from the cut, we crossed another arm of the Altamaha (it has as many as Briareus)—I should rather, perhaps, call them mouths, for this is near its confluence with the sea, and these various branches are formed by a numerous sisterhood of small islands, which divide this noble river into three or four streams, each of them wider than England's widest, the Thames. We now approached the low, reedy banks of Butler's Island, and passed the rice-mill and buildings surrounding it, all of which, it being Sunday, were closed. As we neared the bank, the steersman took up a huge conch, and in the barbaric fashion of early times in the Highlands, sounded out our approach. A pretty schooner, which carries the produce of the estate to Charleston and Savannah, lay alongside the wharf, which began to be crowded with negroes, jumping, dancing, shouting, laughing, and clapping their hands (a usual expression of delight with savages and children), and using the most extravagant and ludicrous gesticulations to express their ecstasy at our arrival.

OUR RECEPTION. On our landing from the boat, the crowd thronged about us like a swarm of bees; we were seized, pulled, pushed, carried, dragged, and all but lifted in the air by the clamorous multitude. I was afraid my children would be smothered. Fortunately, Mr. O——, the overseer, and the captain of the little craft above-mentioned, came to our assistance, and by their good offices the babies and nurse were protected through the crowd. They seized our clothes, kissed them—then our hands, and almost wrung them off. One tall, gaunt negress flew to us, parting the throng on either side, and embraced us in her arms. I believe I was almost frightened; and it was not until we were safely housed, and the door shut upon our riotous escort, that we indulged in a fit of laughing, quite as full, on my part, of nervousness as of amusement. Later in the day I attempted to take some exercise, and thought I had escaped observation; but, before I had proceeded a quarter of a mile, I was again enveloped in   a cloud of these dingy dependents, who gathered round me, clamoring welcome, staring at me, stroking my velvet pelisse, and exhibiting at once the wildest delight and the most savage curiosity. I was obliged to relinquish my proposed walk, and return home. Nor was the door of the room where I sat, and which was purposely left open, one moment free from crowds of eager faces, watching every movement of myself and the children, until evening caused our audience to disperse. This zeal in behalf of an utter stranger, merely because she stood to them in the relation of a mistress, caused me not a little speculation. These poor people, however, have a very distinct notion of the duties which ownership should entail upon their proprietors, however these latter may regard their obligation towards their dependents; and as to their vehement professions of regard and affection for me, they reminded me of the saying of the satirist, that "gratitude is a lively sense of benefits to come."

Butler's Island, Georgia, January 8th, 1839.

I have some doubt whether any exertion whatever of your imaginative faculties could help you to my whereabouts or whatabouts this day, dearest Emily; and therefore, for your enlightenment, will refer you to my date, and inform you that yesterday I paid my first visit to the Sick House, or infirmary, of our estate; and this morning spent three hours and a half there, cleaning with my own hands the filthy room where the sick lay, and washing and dressing poor little nearly new-born negro babies. My avocations the whole morning have been those of a sister of charity, and I doubt if the unwearied and unshrinking benevolence of those pious creatures ever led them, for their souls' sake, into more abominable receptacles of filth, degradation, and misery.

It is long enough since I first mentioned to you my intention of coming down to these plantations, if I was permitted to do so. As the time for setting forth on our journey drew near, I became not a little appalled at the details I heard of what were likely to be the difficulties of the mere journey: at the very end of December, with a baby at the breast, and a child as young as S——, to travel upwards of a thousand miles, in this half-civilized country, and through the least civilized part of it, was no joke. However, happily, it was accomplished safely, though not without considerable suffering and heart-achings on my part.... These and other befallings may serve for talking matter, if ever we should meet again. We all arrived here safely on Sunday last, and my   thoughts are engrossed with the condition of these people, from whose labor we draw our subsistence; of which, now that I am here, I feel ashamed.

The place itself is one of the wildest corners of creation—if, indeed, any part of this region can be considered as thoroughly created yet. It is not consolidated, but in mere process of formation,—a sort of hasty-pudding of amphibious elements, composed of a huge, rolling river, thick and turbid with mud, and stretches of mud banks, forming quaking swamps, scarcely reclaimed from the water. The river wants straining and the land draining, to make either of them properly wet or dry.

This island, which is only a portion of our Georgia estate, contains several thousand acres, and is about eight miles round, and formed of nothing but the deposits (leavings, in fact) of the Altamaha, whose brimming waters, all thick with alluvial matter, roll round it, and every now and then threaten to submerge it. The whole island is swamp, dyked like the Netherlands, and trenched and divided by ditches and a canal, by means of which the rice-fields are periodically overflowed, and the harvest transported to the threshing mills. A duck, an eel, or a frog might live here as in Paradise; but a creature of dry habits naturally pines for less wet. To mount a horse is, of course, impossible, and the only place where one can walk is the banks or dykes that surround the island, and the smaller ones that divide the rice-fields.

I mean to take to rowing, boats being plentiful, and "water, water everywhere"; indeed, in spring, the overseer tells me we may have to go from house to house in boats, the whole island being often flooded at that season.

There is neither shade nor shelter, tree nor herbage, round our residence, though there is no reason why there should not be; for the climate is delicious, and the swampy borders of the mainland are full of every kind of evergreen—magnolias, live oak (a species of ilex), orange-trees, etc., and trailing shrubs, with varnished leaves, that bind the tawny, rattling sedges together, and make summer bowers for the alligators and snakes which abound and disport themselves here in the hot season.

I am wrong in saying that there are no trees on the island, though there are as bad as none now. They formerly had a great number of magnificent orange-trees, that were all destroyed by an unusually severe winter; there are a few left, however, which bear most excellent oranges....

  Butler's Island, January 8th, 1839.

Dearest Harriet,

A WILD SPOT. The stars are shining like one vast incrustation of diamonds; and though 'tis the 8th of January, I have been out with bare neck and arms, standing on the brink of the Altamaha, and seeking relief from the oppressive heat of the house. I am here, with the children, in the midst of our slaves; and it seems to me, as I look over these wild wastes and waters, as though I were standing on the outer edge of creation. That this is not absolutely the case, however, or that, if it is, civilization in some forms has preceded us hither, is abundantly proved by the sights and sounds of busy traffic, labor, and mechanical industry, which, encountered in this region (still really half a wilderness), produce an impression of the most curiously anomalous existence you can imagine.

Right and left, as the eye follows the broad and brimming surface of this vast body of turbid water, it rests on nothing but low swamp lands, where the rattling sedges, like a tawny forest of reeds, make warm winter shelters for the snakes and alligators, which the summer sun will lure in scores from their lurking-places; or hoary woods, upon whose straggling upper boughs, all hung with gray mosses like disheveled hair, the bald-headed eagle stoops from the sky, and among whose undergrowth of varnished evergreens the mocking-birds, even at this season, keep a resounding jubilee. All this looks wild enough; and as the peculiar orange light of the southern sunset falls upon the scene, I almost expect to see the canoes of the red man shoot from the banks, which were so lately the possession of his race alone. Immediately opposite to me, however (only about a mile distant, the river and a swampy island intervening), lies the little town of Darien, whose white gable-ended warehouses, shining in the sun, recall the presence of the prevailing European race, and we can hear distinctly the sound of the steam which the steamboat at the wharf is letting off.

Upon this island of ours (I think I look a little like Sancho Panza) we enjoy the perpetual monotonous burden of two steam-engines working the rice mills, and instead of red men and canoes, my illustrious self and some prettily built and gaily painted boats, which I take great delight in rowing.

The strangeness of this existence surprises me afresh every hour by its contrast with all my former experiences; and as I sat resting on my oars at the Darien wharf the other evening, watching a huge cotton-raft float down the broad Altamaha, my mind wandered back to my former life—the scenes, the people, the   events, the feelings which made up all my former existence; and I felt like the little old woman whose petticoats were cut all round about. "O Lord a mercy! sure this is never I!" But, then, she had a resource in her dog, which I have not; and so I am not quite sure that it is I....

The climate is too warm for me, and I almost doubt its being as wholesome for the children as a colder one. We have now summer heat, tempered in some degree by breezes from the river and the sea, which is only fifteen miles off; but the people of the place complain of the cold, and apologize to me for the chilliness of the weather, which they assure me is quite unusual. I have come home more than once, however, after a walk round the rice banks, with a bad headache, in consequence of the fierce sunshine pouring down upon these swamps, and do not think that I should thrive in such a climate. It is impossible here to take exercise on horseback, which has become almost indispensable to me; and though I have adopted rowing as a substitute I find it both a fatiguing and an inadequate one.

We live here in a very strange manner. The house we inhabit, which was intended merely as the overseer's residence, is inferior in appearance and every decent accommodation to the poorest farm-house in any part of England. Neither cleanliness nor comfort enter into our daily arrangements at all. The little furniture there is in the rooms is of the coarsest and roughest description; and the household services are performed by negroes, who run in and out, generally barefooted, and always filthy both in their clothes and person, to wait upon us at our meals. How I have wished for a decent, tidy, English servant of all work, instead of these begrimed, ignorant, incapable poor creatures, who stumble about round us in zealous hindrance of each other, which they intend for help to us. How thankful I should be if I could substitute for their unsavory proximity while I eat, that of a clean dumb waiter. This unlimited supply of untrained savages, (for that is what they really are) is anything but a luxury to me. Their ignorance, dirt, and stupidity seem to me as intolerable as the unjust laws which condemn them to be ignorant, filthy, and stupid.

The value of this human property is, alas! enormous; and I grieve to think how great is the temptation to perpetuate the system to its owners. Of course I do not see, or at any rate have not yet seen, anything to shock me in the way of positive physical cruelty. The refractory negroes are flogged, I know, but I am told it is a case of rare occurrence; and it is the injustice, and the kind, rather than the severity, of the infliction that   is the most odious part of it to me. The people are, I believe, regularly and sufficiently fed and clothed, and they have tolerably good habitations provided for them, nor are they without various small indulgences; but of their moral and intellectual wants no heed whatever is taken, nor are they even recognized as existing, though some of these poor people exhibit intelligence, industry, and activity, which seem to cry aloud for instruction and the means of progress and development. These are probably rare exceptions, though, for the majority of those I see appear to be sunk in the lowest slough of benighted ignorance, and lead a lazy, listless, absolutely animal existence, far more dirty and degraded (though more comfortable, on account of the climate) than that of your lowest and most miserable wild "bog trotters."

SLAVERY. I had desired very earnestly to have the opportunity of judging of this matter of slavery for myself; not, of course, that I ever doubted that to keep human beings as slaves was in itself wrong, but I supposed that I might, upon a nearer observation of the system, discover at any rate circumstances of palliation in the condition of the negroes: hitherto, however, this has not been the case with me; the wrong strikes me more forcibly every hour I live here. The theory of human property is more revolting to every sentiment of humanity; and the evil effect of such a state of things upon the whites, who inflict the wrong, impresses me as I did not anticipate that it would, with still more force.

The habitual harsh tone of command towards these men and women, whose labor is extorted from them without remorse, from youth to age, and whose hopeless existence seems to me sadder than suffering itself, affects me with an intolerable sense of impotent pity for them.... Then, too, the disrepute in which honest and honorable labor is held, by being thus practiced only by a degraded class, is most pernicious.

The negroes here, who see me row and walk hard in the sun, lift heavy burthens, and make various exertions which are supposed to be their peculiar privilege in existence, frequently remonstrate with me, and desire me to call upon them for their services, with the remark, "What for you work, missus! You hab niggers enough to wait upon you!" You may suppose how agreeable such remonstrances are to me.

When I remember, too, that here I see none of the worst features of this system: that the slaves on this estate are not bought and sold, nor let out to hire to other masters; that they are not cruelly starved or barbarously beaten, and that members of one family are not parted from each other for life, and sent to distant plantations in other States,—all which liabilities (besides   others, and far worse ones) belong of right, or rather of wrong, to their condition as slaves, and are commonly practiced throughout the southern half of this free country,—I remain appalled at a state of things in which human beings are considered fortunate who are only condemned to dirt, ignorance, unrequited labor, and, what seems to me worst of all, a dead level of general degradation, which God and Nature, by endowing some above others, have manifestly forbidden.

Do you remember your admiration of philanthropy because I blew the dirty nose of a little vagabond in the street with my embroidered handkerchief? I wish you could see me cleansing and washing and poulticing the sick women and babies in the infirmary here; I think you would admit that I have what Beatrice commends Benedict for, "an excellent stomach."

God bless you, dear! I am not well; this slavish sunshine dries up my vitality. I have hardly any time for writing, but shall find it to write to you.

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Butler's Island, January 20th, 1839.

Dear Mrs. Jameson,

To you who have, besides "swimming in a gondola" (which many of the vulgar do nowadays), paddled in a canoe upon the wild waters of this wild western world, my present abode, savage as it seems to me, might appear comparatively civilized. Certain it is that we are within view of what calls itself a town, and, moreover, from that town I have received an invitation to what calls itself a cotillon party! and yet, right and left, stretch the swamps and forests of Georgia, where the red men have scarcely ceased to skulk, and where the rattlesnakes and alligators, who shared the wilderness with them, still lurk in undisturbed possession of the soil, if soil that may be called which is only either muddy water or watery mud, a hardly consolidated sponge of alluvial matter, receiving hourly additions from the turbid current of the Altamaha.

We are here on our plantation, and if you will take a map of North America, and a powerful magnifying-glass, you may perceive the small speck dignified by the title of "Butler's Island," the Barataria where I am now reigning.

Before I say any more upon this subject, however, I wish to thank you for your kind information about my father and sister. I had a letter from her not long ago, but it was written during   her tour in Germany, before our poor mother's death, and, of course, contained little of what must be her present thoughts and feelings, and even little indeed by which I could understand what their plans were for the winter; but a long and very interesting account of your friends, the Thuns, whom I should like to know....

How little pleasure you lost, in my opinion, in not proceeding further south in this country! for your perception of beauty would have been almost as much starved as your sense of justice would have been outraged; at least it is so with me. The sky, God's ever blessed storehouse of light and loveliness, is almost my only resource here: for though the wide, brimming waters of this Briareus of a river present a striking object, and the woods, with their curtains of gray moss waving like gigantic cobwebs from every tree, and these magical-looking thickets of varnished evergreens, have a charm, partly real, and partly borrowed from their mere strangeness; yet the absence of all cultivation but these swampy rice-fields, and of all population but these degraded and unfortunate slaves, render a residence here as depressing to the physical as the moral sense of loveliness.

In contemplating the condition of women generally (a favorite subject of speculation with you, I know), it is a pity that you have not an opportunity of seeing the situation of those who are recognized as slaves (all that are such don't wear the collar, you know, nor do all that wear it show it); it is a black chapter, and no joke, I can tell you.

You ask after the Sullys, and I am sorry to say that the little I saw or heard of them previous to my leaving Philadelphia was not pleasant. He had had some disagreeable contention with the St. George's Society about the exhibition of his picture of the queen. The dispute ended, I believe, in his painting two; the one for the society, and the other for his own purposes of exhibition, sale or engraving. He spoke with delight of having made your acquaintance, and of some evenings he spent at your house. I think it very probable that he will revisit Europe; and I hope for his sake that he will get to Italy....

F. A. B.

Butler's Island, Georgia, January 30th, 1839.

Dearest Emily,

THE LAND OF SLAVERY. I am told that a total change in my opinions upon slavery was anticipated from my residence on a plantation; a statement which only convinces me that one may live in the most intimate   relations with one's fellow-creatures, and really know nothing about them after all. On what ground such an idea could be entertained I cannot conceive, or on what part of my character it could be founded, to which (if I do not mistake myself, even more than I am misunderstood by others) injustice is the most revolting species of cruelty.

My dear friend, do not, do not repine, but rather rejoice for your brother's own sake, that wealth is cut off from him at such a source as slavery. [Mr. Fitzhugh had owned West Indian property, which his sister thought had been rendered worthless by the emancipation of the slaves.] It would be better in my mind to beg, and to see one's children beg, than to live by these means, thinking of them as I do....

It seems to me as if the worst result of this system, fraught as it is with bad ones, is the perversion of mind which it appears to engender in those who uphold it. I remember how hard our Saviour pronounced it to be for a rich man to enter into heaven, and as I look round upon these rice-fields, with their population of human beings, each one of whom is valued at so much silver and gold, and listen to the beat of that steam-mill, which I heard commended the other day as a "mint of money," and when I am told that every acre of this property is worth ten per cent. more than any free English land, however valuable, it seems almost impossible to expect that this terrible temptation to injustice should be resisted by any man; but with God all things are possible! and doubtless He weighs the difficulty more mercifully than I can....

Since this letter was begun, we have had a death on the plantation; a poor young fellow was taken off, after a few days' illness, yesterday. The attack was one to which the negroes are very subject, arising from cold and exposure.... We went to his burial, which was a scene I shall not soon forget. His coffin was brought out into the open air, and the negroes from over the whole island assembled around it. One of their preachers (a slave like the rest) gave out the words of a hymn, which they all sang in unison; after which he made an exhortation, and bade us pray, and we all kneeled down on the earth together, while this poor, ignorant slave prayed aloud and spoke incoherently, but fervently enough, of Life and Death and Immortality. We then walked to the grave, the negroes chanting a hymn by the light of pine torches and the uprising of a glorious moon. An old negro, who possessed the rare and forbidden accomplishment of letters, read part of the burial service; and another stood forward and told them the story of the raising of Lazarus. I   have no room for comments, and could make none that could convey to you what I felt or how I prayed and cried for those I was praying with....

You know, I did not think my former calling of the stage a very dignified one; I assure you it appears to me magnificent compared with my present avocation of living by the unpaid labor of others, and those others half of them women like myself. There is nothing in the details of the existence of the slaves which mitigates in my opinion the sin of slavery; and this is forced upon me every hour of the day—so painfully to my conscience, that I feel as if my happiness for life would be affected by my involuntary participation in it. Their condition seems to me accursed every way, and only more accursed to those who hold them in it, on whom the wrong they commit reacts frightfully.

THE SLAVES' SENSE OF THEIR CONDITION. Not a few of these slaves know and feel that they are wronged, deplore their condition, and are perfectly aware of its manifold hardships. Those who are not conscious of the robbery of their freedom and their consequent degradation, are sunk in a state of the most brutish ignorance and stupidity; and as for the pretense that their moral and mental losses are made up to them by the secure possession of food and clothing (a thing no moral and intellectual being should utter without a blush), it is utterly false. They are hard worked, poorly clothed, and poorly fed; and when they are sick, cared for only enough to fit them for work again; the only calculation in the mind of an overseer being to draw from their bones and sinews money to furnish his employer's income, and secure him a continuance of his agency.

It is true that on this estate they are allowed some indulgence and some leisure, and are not starved or often ill-treated; but their indulgences and leisure are no more than just tend to keep them in a state of safe acquiescence in their lot, and it does not do that with the brighter and more intelligent among them. There is no attempt made to improve their condition; to teach them decency, order, cleanliness, self-respect; to open their minds or enlighten their understandings: on the contrary, there are express and very severe laws forbidding their education, and every precaution is taken to shut out the light which sooner or later must break into their prison-house.

Dear Emily, if you could imagine how miserable I feel surrounded by people by whose wrong I live! Some few of them are industrious, active, and intelligent; and in their leisure time work hard to procure themselves small comforts and luxuries, which they are allowed to buy. How pitiable it is to think that   they are defrauded of the just price of their daily labor, and that stumbling-blocks are put in the way of their progress, instead of its being helped forward! My mind is inexpressibly troubled whenever I think of their minds, souls, or bodies. Their physical condition is far from what it should be, far from what their own exertions could make it, and there is no improving even that without calling in mental and moral influences, a sense of self-respect, a consciousness of responsibility, knowledge of rights to be possessed and duties discharged, advantages employed and trusts answered for; and how are slaves to have any of these? There is no planting even physical improvement but in a moral soil, and the use of the rational faculties is necessary for the fit discharge of the commonest labor. Alas, for our slaves! and alas, alas, for us! I feel half distracted about it, and it is well for you that I have no more space to write on this theme.

God bless you, my dear friend. Pray, as I do, for the end of this evil....

F. A. B.

Butler's Island, Georgia, February 8th, 1839.

Your letter of the 10th of November, my dear Lady Dacre, fulfilled its kindly mission without the delay at Butler Place, the anticipation of which did not prevent your making the benevolent effort of writing it. It reached me in safety here, in the very hindermost skirts of civilization, recalling with so much vividness scenes and people so remote and so different from those that now surround me, that it would have been a sad letter to me, even had it not contained the news of Mrs. Sullivan's illness. At any time any suffering of yours would have excited my sincere sympathy; but that your anxiety and distress should spring from such a cause, I can the more readily deplore, from my knowledge of your daughter, which, though too slight for my own gratification, was sufficient to make me aware of her many excellent and admirable qualities. In those books of hers, too, "Tales of a Chaperon," and "Tales of the Peerage and the Peasantry," which since my return to America I have re-read with increased interest, her mind and character reveal themselves very charmingly; and I know those in this remote "other world," as doubtless there are many in England, who, without enjoying my privilege of personal acquaintance with her, would be fellow-mourners with you should any evil befall her. But I shall not admit this apprehension, and I entreat you, my dear Lady Dacre, to add one more to the many kindnesses you have bestowed on me, by   letting me know how it fares with your daughter. In the mean time, if she is well enough to receive my greeting, pray remember me most kindly to her, and tell her that from the half-savage banks of the Altamaha, those earnest wishes, which are unspoken prayers, ascend to heaven for her recovery.

EDUCATION. You ask after my children.... I am in no hurry to begin educationeering; indeed, as regards early instruction, I am a little behind the fervent zeal of the age, having considerably more regard for what may be found in, than what may be put into, a human head; and a more earnest desire that my child should think, even than that she should learn; and I want her to make her own wisdom, rather than take that of any one else (my own wise self not excepted). For fear, however, that you should imagine that I mean to let her grow up "savage," I beg to state that she does know her letters, a study which she prosecutes with me for about a quarter of an hour daily, out of "Mother Goose's Nursery Rhymes." I have thought myself to blame, perhaps, for choosing a work of imagination for that elementary study; but the child, like a rational creature, abhors the whole thing most cordially, and when I think what wondrous revelations are flowing to her hourly through those five gates of knowledge, her senses, I am not surprised that she despises and detests the inanimate dead letter of mere bookish lore....

My poor mother's death, which roused me most painfully to the perception of the distance which divides me from all my early friends, has filled my mind with the gloomiest forebodings respecting my father, and my sister's unprotected situation, should anything befall him. The passing away of my kindred, and those who are dear to me, while I, removed to an impassable distance, only hear of their death after a considerable lapse of time, without the consolation of being near them, or even the preparation of hearing they were ill, is a circumstance of inexpressible sadness....

If Macready would give me anything for my play, I would come over, if only for a month, and see my father, whose image in sickness and depression haunts me constantly....

F. A. B.

Butler's Island, February 10th, 1839.

It is only two days, I believe, dearest Harriet, since I finished a long letter to you, but I am yet in your debt by one dated the 30th of November, and being in the mind to pay my owings, I proceed to do so, as honestly as I may....

  I have just been hearing a long and painful discussion upon the subject of slavery; a frequent theme, as you will easily believe, of thought and conversation with us, now that we are living in the midst of it; and I am assured, by those who maintain the justice of the practice of holding slaves, that had it been otherwise than right, Christ would have forbidden it. It is vain that I say that Christ has done so by implication, forbidding us to do otherwise than we would be done by: I am told in reply, that neither Christ nor his disciples having ever denounced slavery by name as unjust, or wrong, is sufficient proof that it is just and right; and, alas! my dear Harriet, it requires more of the spirit of Christ than I possess to hear such assertions without ungovernable impatience. I do not believe the people who utter them are insincere or dishonest in stating such convictions; but I am shocked at the indignation with which such fallacious arguments occasionally inspires me....

I know that (this one unfortunate question excepted) some of the persons who take these views are just men, and have a keen perception of, and conscientious respect for, the rights of others; but the exception is one of those perplexing moral anomalies that call for the exercise of one's utmost forbearance in judging or condemning the opinions of others. It seems to me, that I could tolerate an absolute moral insensibility upon the subject better than the strange moral obliquity of justifying this horrible system by arguments drawn from Christ's teaching.

As for me, every day makes the injustice of the principle, and the cruelty of the practice, more intolerable to me; and but for the poor people's own sake (to whom my presence among them is of some little use and comfort), I would only too gladly turn my back upon the dreadful place, and never again set foot near it.... It would not surprise me if I was never allowed to return here, for these very conversations and discussions upon the subject of the slave system are considered dangerous, and justice and freedom cannot be mentioned safely here but with closed doors and whispering voices.... I pray with all the powers of my soul that God would enlighten these unfortunate slave-holders, and enable them to perceive better the spirit of Christ, who they say never denounced slavery as either an evil or sin; the evil consequences of it to themselves are by far the worst of all. So I go struggling on with this strange existence, and sometimes feel weary enough of it....

God bless you, dear. I believe I am going with the children to the cotton-plantation, where I shall be able to ride again, and   shall be better in mind, body, though not estate, for my long-accustomed exercise.

Ever your affectionate,

F. A. B.

St. Simon's, March 10th, 1839.

BEAUTY OF THE SCENERY. I wish, dear Emily, I could for an instant cause a vision to rise before you of the perfect paradise of evergreens through which I have been opening paths on our estate, in an island called St. Simon's, lying half in the sea and half in the Altamaha. Such noble growth of dark-leaved, wide-spreading oaks; such exquisite natural shrubberies of magnolia, wild myrtle, and bay, all glittering evergreens of various tints, bound together by trailing garlands of wild jessamine, whose yellow bells, like tiny golden cups, exhale a perfume like that of the heliotrope and fill the air with sweetness, and cover the woods with perfect curtains of bloom; while underneath all this, spread the spears and fans of the dwarf palmetto, and innumerable tufts of a little shrub whose delicate leaves are pale green underneath and a polished dark brown above, while close to the earth clings a perfect carpet of thick-growing green, almost like moss, bearing clusters of little white blossoms like enameled stars; I think it is a species of euphrasia. It is the exceeding beauty of the whole which I wish you could see, and to which the most exquisite arrangement of art is in no way superior. I know it is common with the lovers of nature to undervalue art; but for all that, there are exceedingly few scenes in nature (except those of pre-eminent wildness and sublimity) where the genius of man, and his perception of beauty, may not remove and supply some things with advantage. In these wild evergreen plantations this is not the case; and all I have had to do, in following the cattle-tracks through these lovely woods, has been to cut the lower branches of the oaks which impede my progress on horseback, and sever the loving links of the wild garlands of blossoms, which had bound the shrubs together and drawn their branches into a canopy too low to admit of my riding beneath it; and you would laugh to see me with my peculiar slave, a young lad named Jack, of great natural shrewdness and no little humor, who is my factotum, and follows me on horseback with a leathern bag slung round his shoulders, containing a small saw and hatchet, and thus, like Sir Walter and Tom Purdie, we prosecute our labor of embellishment.

This Jack was out fishing with me the other day, and after about two hours' silent and unsuccessful watching of our floats,   he gravely remarked, "Fishing bery good fun, when de fish him bite,"—an observation so ludicrous under the circumstances, that we both burst out laughing as soon as he uttered it.

St. Simon's Island, Sunday, March 17th, 1839.

My Dear Mrs. Jameson,

I cannot conceive how you could do such a wicked thing as to throw a letter you had begun into the fire, or such a cruel one as to inform the person who was to have received it of your exploit.

You burned your account of my sister's first appearance because, forsooth, the "newspapers" or "Harriet S——" would be sure to afford me the intelligence! But it so happens that I never see a newspaper, and that that identical letter of Harriet's was cast away in one of those unfortunate New York packets blown ashore in the late tremendous gales. It has since reached me, however; but she, too, thinking fit to go upon some fallacious calculation of human probabilities, takes it for granted that Adelaide has written me a full, true, and particular account of the whole business, and sums up all details in the mere intelligence, which had already reached me, of her having made a successful first appearance at Venice. Pray, my dear Mrs. Jameson, do not be afraid of supplying me with twice-told tales of my own people, but whenever you are good enough to write to me, let me know all that you know about them....

I do not know why you should have associated the ill-fated Pennsylvania with any thought of me. I never crossed the Atlantic in a ship so named, but the St. Andrew, one of the wrecked vessels, was the one in which we returned to America two years ago, and probably you may have written the one name for the other by mistake.

Of the appearance of your book, and the attention it has excited, I hear from Catharine Sedgwick. As for me, the only new book I have seen since my sojourn in these outhouses of civilization, is that exquisite volume whose evergreen leaves, of every tint and texture, are rustling in the bright sunshine and fresh sea-breeze of this delicious winter climate.

Art never devised more perfect combinations of form and color than these wild woods present, with their gigantic growth of evergreen oak, their thickets of myrtle and magnolia, their fantastic undergrowth of spiked palmetto, and their hanging draperies of jessamine, whose gold-colored bells fill the air with fragrance long before one approaches the place where it grows.

MANIFOLD AVOCATIONS.   You would laugh if I were to recount some of my manifold avocations here; my qualifications for my situation should be more various than those of a modern governess, for it appears to me there is nothing strange and unusual by way of female experience that I have not been called upon to perform since I have lived here, from marking out the proper joints on the carcass of a dead sheep, into which it should be divided for the table, to officiating as clergyman to a congregation of our own poor people, whose desire for religious instruction appears to be in exact proportion to the difficulty they have in obtaining it....

I am on horseback every day, clearing paths through the woods; and though the life I lead has but a very remote resemblance to that of a civilized creature, a quondam dweller in the two great cities of the world and frequenter of polished societies therein, it has some recommendations of its own. To be sure, so it should have; for I inhabit a house where the staircase is open to the roof, and the roof, unmitigated by ceiling, plaster, skylight, or any intermediate shelter, presents to my admiring gaze, as I ascend and descend, the seamy side of the tiles, or rather wooden shingles, with which the house is covered; with all the rude raftering, through which do shine the sun, moon, and stars, the winds do blow, and the rain of heaven does fall. Every door in the house is fastened with wooden latches and pack-thread; the identical device of Red Riding-hood antiquity, and the solitary bell of the establishment rings by means of a rope, suspended from the lintel, outside the room where I sit, and I expect to find myself hanging in it every time I go in and out, and which always inclines me to inquire what has been done with the body that was last cut down from it....

F. A. B.

St. Simon's Island, March 17th, 1839.

That letter of yours which I lamented as lost, my dear Harriet, has reached me all stained and defaced (yet not so but that it can be read), having evidently been steeped in the merciless waves of the Mersey. Your letter has suffered shipwreck, having of course been cast back towards you, in one of those unfortunate New York packets which were lost in those late tremendous gales; and if the poor pickled sheet of paper could speak anything beside what you have told it, how many sad horrors, unrecorded in the summary newspaper reports of the late disasters, it might reveal.

I have a dreadful dread, and a fearful fear, of drowning, and the   sight of your letter, all sea-stained, conjures up as many terrible thoughts as poor Clarence had in the last dream that preceded his last sleep.

Almost the saddest to me of all the items of ruin and destruction enumerated in the newspaper records of the late storm, was the carrying away of the Menai Bridge, and that on your account. I thought of it as almost a personal loss and grief to you. You had so often described it to me, its beauty and its grandeur; and though I had never seen it, I had a distinct imagination of it, gathered far more from your descriptions, than from engravings or accounts of tourists: and it was so associated with you in my mind, that, reading of it being all blown to tatters, I felt dismayed to think of your beautiful bridge thus ruined, and of your distress at its destruction. You used to speak of that with the same species of delight that beautiful natural objects excite in me: and enjoyment so vivid, and at the same time so abiding, that I sometimes, under the influence of such impressions, feel as if I loved some places better than any people. Certainly the magical effect of certain beautiful scenes upon my mind is the most intense and lasting pleasure I have ever known....

I returned here yesterday to my children, whom I left with Margery, while I went up to Butler's Island to do duty, I am sorry to say, as sick-nurse....

The observations of children, which are quoted as indications of peculiar intelligence, very often only appear so, because the objects which call them forth, having become familiar to us, have ceased to impress us rightly, or perhaps at all. Every child who is not a fool will frequently make remarks about many things which are only striking because conventional uses and educated habits of thought have, on many points, blunted their effect upon us, and obscured our perceptions of their qualities, and left us with duller senses, and a duller general sense in some respects, than those of a child or savage....

I have been performing an office this morning, which, like sundry others I have been called upon to discharge here (marking on the carcass of a sheep, for instance, the proper joints into which it should be cut for the table), is new to me. I read prayers to between twenty and thirty of the slaves, who are here without church, pastor, or any means whatever of religious instruction. There was something so affecting to me in my involuntary relation to these poor people,—in the contrast, too, between the infirm old age of many of them, and the comparative youth of me, their instructress,—in my impotence to serve them   and my passionate desire to do so,—that I could hardly command my voice. The composition of our service was about as liberal as was ever compounded by any preacher or teacher of any Christian sect, I verily believe: it was selected from the English book of Common Prayer, a Presbyterian collection of Prayers, the "Imitation of Jesus Christ," which excellent Roman Catholic book of devotion I borrowed from Margery, and the Blessed Bible—the fountain from which have flowed all these streams for the refreshment of human souls. From these I compiled a short service, dismissing my congregation without a sermon, having none with me fit for their comprehension, and lacking courage to extemporize one, though vehemently moved by the spirit to do so. I think on Sunday next I will write one especially for their edification.

EXPLORING THE WOODS. After this I went with S—— and Margery, and baby in her little wicker carriage, accompanied by a long procession of negro children, to explore the woods near the house: not without manifest misgivings on the part of my dusky escort, whose terror of rattlesnakes is greater even than my terrified imagination about them. My greatest anxiety was to keep S—— from marching in the van and preceding us all in these reptiline discoveries.... Way, in the proper sense of the term, there was none; for the expedition was chiefly for the purpose of observing where paths could be cleared with best advantage through this charming wilderness. To crown the doings of the day, I have written you this long letter, the fifth I date to you from Georgia.

Ever most affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

New York, April 30th, 1839.

My Dear Lady Dacre,

How much I wish I could but look into your face, but hold your hand, or embrace you! How much I wish I were near you, that I might silently as alone benefits such occasions, express to you my sympathy for your sorrow....

The news of your loss was the greater shock to me that I had just written a letter, introducing to you a dear friend of mine, Miss Sedgwick, now about visiting England, and bespeaking your kindness and good-will for her. This lady will still be the bearer of this (a most different epistle from the one I had prepared) and a little fan made of the feathers of one of our Southern birds, which you will not look upon with indifference, because it is sent to you by one who loves you truly and gratefully, and who   would gladly do anything to afford you one moment's relief from those sad thoughts which I fear must possess you wholly.

I had ventured with especial confidence to recommend my friend to your notice, because she possesses, in no small degree, some of those qualities which distinguished your excellent and accomplished daughter; the same talent, applied with profound conscientiousness to the improvement of the young and poor and ignorant; the same devotion to the good of all who come within her sphere; the same pervading sense of religious responsibility.

Dear Lady Dacre, for the sake of those who love you,—for the sake of him whom you love above all others, your admirable husband,—for the sake of the darlings your child has left, a precious legacy and trust to you, do not let this affliction bow down the noble courage of your nature, but raise yourself even under this heavy burden, that the world may not by her death lose the good influence of two bright spirits at once. Do not think me bold and impertinent that I venture thus to exhort you. It is my affection that speaks, and the fear I feel of the terrible effect this loss may have upon you. Once more, God bless and support you, and give you that reliance upon Him which is our only strength in the hours of our earthly sorrows. She whom you mourn is blest, if ever goodness might secure blessing; and the recollection of her many virtues must take from her death those contemplations which alone can make death awful. Farewell, dear friend. My heart yearns towards you in your grief very tenderly, and I am always

Most affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, Philadelphia, June 24th, 1839.

Dearest Harriet,

I am afraid you will think my Northern residence less propitious to correspondence than the Georgia plantation, as I am again in your debt.... But what have I to tell you of myself, or anything belonging to me? Ever since I returned from New York, whither I went to see Catharine Sedgwick sail for England, I have been vegetating here, as much as in me lies to vegetate; but though my life has quite as few incidents as the existence of the lilies and the roses in the flower-beds, the inward nature makes another life of it, and the restless soul can never be made to vegetate, even though the body does little else.... My days roll on in a sort of dreamy, monotonous succession, with an imperceptible motion, like the ceaseless creeping of the   glaciers. I teach S—— to read. I order my household, I read Mrs. Jameson's book about Canada, I write to you, I copy out for Elizabeth Sedgwick the journal I kept on the plantation, I ride every day, and play on the piano just enough not to forget my notes, et voila! Once a week I go to town, to execute commissions, or return visits, and on Sundays I go to church; and so my life slides away from me. My head and heart, however, are neither as torpid nor as empty as my hours; and I often find, as others have done, that external stagnation does not necessarily produce internal repose. Occasionally, but seldom, people come from town to see us; and sometimes, but not often, small offices of courtesy and kindness are exchanged between me and my more immediate neighbors. And now my story is done.... I really live almost entirely alone....

I am beginning to fear that I shall not be taken to the Virginia springs this summer. If I go, I am told I must leave the children behind, the roads and accommodations being such as to render it perfectly impossible to take them with us. Indeed, the inconveniences of the journey and the discomforts of the residence there are represented to us as so great, that I am afraid I shall not be thought able to endure them. If it is settled that I cannot go thither, I shall go up to Massachusetts, where, though the material civilities of life are yet in their swaddling clothes, I have dear friends, and the country is lovely all around where I should be.

AMERICAN HOTELS. I have just seen some plans for a large hotel, which it is proposed to build on some property we own in the city, in a position extremely well adapted for such a purpose. I was very much pleased with them: they are upon the wholesale scale of lodging and entertainment, which travelers in this country require and desire; and combine as much comfort and elegance as are compatible with such a style of establishment. We, you know, in England, always like our public houses to be as like private ones as possible. The reverse is the case here, and the lodging-house or hotel recommends itself chiefly by being able to accommodate as many people as can well congregate at a table d'hôte or in a public drawing-room, that being a good deal the idea of society which appears to exist in many people's minds here....

F. A. B.

  Butler Place, Thursday, July 4th, 1839.

Dearest Harriet,

It is the 4th of July, the day on which the Declaration of American Independence was read to the assembled citizens of Philadelphia from the window of the City State House. The anniversary is celebrated from north to south and east to west of this vast country: by the many, with firing of guns, and spouting of speeches, drinking of drams, and eating of dinners; by the few, with understanding prayer, praise and thankfulness for the past, and hope, not unalloyed with some misgiving, for the future.

In the gravel walk, at the back of our house, under a double row of tall trees that meet overhead, all our servants and the people employed on the place and their children, are congregated at dinner, to the tune of thirty-seven apparently well-satisfied souls, and as I went to see them just now, a farmer who is our tenant across the road, and has tenanted the place where he lives for the space of twenty years, assured me that I was a "real American!" He is an Irishman, and I might have returned his compliment by telling him he was half an Englishman, for a man who remains twenty years in one place in this country, and upon ground that he does not own, is a very uncommon personage.

You would scarcely believe how difficult it is to establish a pleasant footing with persons of this class here. Dependents they do not and ought not to consider themselves (for they are not such in any sense whatever); equals, their own perceptions show them they are not in any sense, but a political one; and they seem to me, in consequence, to be far less at their ease really in their intercourse with their employers or landlords than our own people, with their much more positive and definite sense of difference of condition and habits of life. Indeed, to establish a real feeling—a true one—of universal equality, warranted by the fact of its existence, would require a population, not of American Republicans, such as they are, but of Christian philosophers, such as do not exist at all anywhere yet, or, if at all, only by twos or threes scattered among millions....

You ask me how far Butler's Island was from St. Simon's [the rice and cotton plantations in Georgia]. Fifteen miles of water—great huge river mouth or mouths, and open sounds of the sea, with half-submerged salt marsh islands wallowing in the midst of them.... Over these waters—pretty rough surfaces, too, sometimes—we traveled to and fro between the plantations in open boats, generally in a long canoe that flew under its eight oars like an arrow.   The men often sang, while they rowed, the whole way when I was in the boat, and some of their melodies are very wild and striking, and their natural gift of music remarkable. As the boat approached the landing, the steersman brayed forth our advent through a monstrous conch, when the whole shore would presently be crowded with our dusky dependents, the whole thing reminding one of former semi-barbaric times, and modes of life in the islands of the northwest of Scotland. Some of the airs the negroes sing have a strong affinity to Scotch melodies in their general character....

It is near ten o'clock in the evening, and with you it is five hours earlier, so you are probably thinking of dressing for dinner; though, by-the-bye, you are not at home at Ardgillan, but wandering somewhere about in Germany—I know not where; neither may I by any means imagine how you are employed; and your image rises before me without one accompanying detail of familiar place, circumstance, or occupation, to give it a this-world's likeness. I see you as I might if you were dead—your simple apparition unframed by any setting that I can surround it with; and it is thus that I now see all my friends and kindred, all those I love in my own country; for the lapse of time and the space of distance between us render all thoughts of them, even of their very existence, vague and uncertain. Klopstock, who wrote letters to the dead, hardly corresponded more absolutely with the inhabitants of another world than I do....

"NICHOLAS NICKLEBY." I drove into town this morning by half-past ten o'clock to church, a six-miles' journey I take most Sundays. The weekday generally passes in reading "Nicholas Nickleby," walking about the garden, and devising alterations which I hope may turn out improvements, playing and singing half a dozen pieces of music half a century old, and writing to the "likes of you" (though, indeed, to me you are still a nonesuch). Farewell, dearest Harriet, und schlafen sie recht wohl. Is that the way you say it, whereabouts you are?

Ever your affectionate,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, July 14th, 1839.

I wrote to you a short time ago, dearest Harriet; but I am still in your debt, and though I have nothing to tell you (when should I write if I waited for that?), I have abundant leisure to tell it in, and the mind to talk with you. The last is never wanting, but now what a pity it is that I must make this miserable   sheet of paper my voice, instead of having you here on this piazza, as we call our verandahs here, with the pomegranate and cape jessamine bushes in bloom in their large green boxes just before me, and a row of great fat hydrangeas (how is that spelled?) nodding their round, fat, foolish-looking pink and blue heads at me....

We are most strongly urged to try the effect of the natural hot sulphur baths of Virginia; their efficacy being very great in cases of rheumatic affections.... I am very much afraid, however, that I shall not be allowed to go thither; and in that case shall probably take my way up to my friends in Berkshire, Massachusetts, the Sedgwicks, who, though they have sent a detachment of six to perambulate Europe just now, still form with the remaining members of the family the chief part of the population of that district of New England.

Catharine, who is one of them that I love best, is one among the gone; but her brother and his wife, next door to whom I generally take up my abode during some part of the summer, are as excellent, and nearly as dear to me, as she is....

My occupations are nothing; my amusements less than nothing. Of what avail is it that I should tell you of lonely rides taken in places you never heard of, or books I have read, the titles of which (being American) you never saw; or that I am revolutionizing the gravel walks in my garden, opening up new and closing up old ones? There is no use in telling you any of this. As long as I live, that is to all eternity, you know that I shall love you; but it is decreed that in this portion of that eternity you can know little else about me, however it may be hereafter. I wonder if it will ever be for us again to interchange communion daily and hourly, as we once did; I do not see how it should come to pass in this our present life; but it may be one of the blessings of a better and happier existence to resume our free and full former intercourse with each other, without any of the alloy of human infirmity or untoward circumstance. Amen! so be it! God bless you, dear. I long to see you once more, and am ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, July 21st, 1839.

AMERICAN FISH. I was looking over a letter of yours, dear Harriet, just now, which answered one of mine from Georgia, and find therein a perfect burst of eloquence upon the subject of fishing. Now, though I know destructiveness to be not only a bump, but a passion   of yours, I still should not have imagined that you could take delight in that dreamy, lazy, lounging pursuit, if pursuit that may be called in which one stands stock-still by the hour. As for me, the catching of fish was always a subject of perfect ecstasy to me—so much so, indeed, that our little company of piscators at Weybridge used to entreat me to "go further off," or "get out of the boat," whenever I had a bite, because my cries of joy were enough to scare all the fish in the river down to Sheerness. It was the lingering, fidgeting, gasping, plunging agonies of the poor creatures, after they were caught, which I objected to so excessively, and which made me renounce the amusement in spite of my passion for it. When I resumed it in Georgia, it was with the full determination to find out some speedy mode of putting my finny captives to death—as you are to understand that I have not the slightest compunction about killing, though infinite about torturing,—so my "slave," Jack, had orders to knock them on the head the instant he took the hook from their gills; but he banged them horribly, till I longed to bang him against the boat's side, and even cut their throats from ear to ear, so that they looked like so many Banquos without the "gory locks"; and yet the indomitable life in the perverse creatures would make them leap up with a galvanic spring and gasp, that invariably communicated an electric shock to my nerves, and produced the fellow-spring and gasp from me. This was the one drawback to my fishing felicity; oh! yes—I forgot the worms or live bait, though! Harriet, it is a hideous diversion, and that is all that can be said for it; and I wonder at you for indulging in it.

I tried paste, most exquisitely compounded of rice, flour, peach brandy, and fine sugar; but the Altamaha fish were altogether too unsophisticated for any such allurement; it would probably be safe to put a paté de foie gras or a pineapple before an Irish hedger and ditcher.

The white mullet, shad, and perch of the Altamaha are the most excellent animals that ever went in water. At St. Simon's the water is entirely salt, and often very rough, as it is but a mile and a half from the open sea, and the river there is in fact a mere arm of salt water. It is hardly possible ever to fish like a lady, with a float, in it; but the negroes bait a long rope with clams, shrimps, and oysters, and sinking their line with a heavy lead, catch very large mullet, fine whitings, and a species of marine monster, first cousin once removed to the great leviathan, called the drum, which, being stewed long enough (that is, nobody can tell how long) with a precious French sauce, might turn out a little softer than the nether millstone, and so perhaps edible: mais   avec cette sauce là on mangerait son père, and perhaps without the family indigestion that lasted the Atridæ so long.

One of these creatures was sent to me by one of our neighbors as a curiosity; it was upwards of four feet long, weighed over twenty pounds, and had an enormous head. I wouldn't have eaten a bit of it for the world!

The waters all round St. Simon's abound in capital fish; beds of oysters, that must be inexhaustible I should think, run all along the coast; shrimps and extraordinarily large prawns are taken in the greatest abundance, and good green turtle, it is said, is easily procured at a short distance from these shores.

You ask what sort of house we had down there. Why, truly, wretched enough. There were on the two plantations no fewer than eight dwelling houses, all in different states and stages of uninhabitableness, half of them not being quite built up, and the other half not quite fallen down.

ST. SIMON'S HOUSE. The grandfather of the present proprietor built a good house on the island of St. Simon's, in a beautiful situation on a point of land where two rivers meet—rather, two large streams of salt water, fine, sparkling, billowy sea rivers. Before the house was a grove of large orange-trees, and behind it an extensive tract of down, covered with that peculiar close, short turf which creates South Down and Pré Salé mutton: and overshadowed by some magnificent live-oaks and white mulberry-trees. By degrees, however, the tide, which rises to a great height here, running very strongly up both these channels, has worn away the bank, till tree by tree the orange grove has been entirely washed away, and the water at high tide is now within six feet of the house itself; or rather, there are only six feet of distance between the building and the brink of the bank on which it stands, which is considerably above the river.

The house has been uninhabited for a great many years, and is, of course, ruinously out of repair. It contains one very good room, and might be made a decently comfortable dwelling; but it has been ordered to be pulled down, because, if it is not, the materials will soon be swept away in the rapid demolition of the bank by the water. The house we resided in was the overseer's dwelling, situated on the point also, but further from the water, and having the extent of grass-land and trees in front of it, together with a beautiful water prospect; in fact, in a better situation than the other. As for the house itself, it would have done very well for our short residence if it had been either finished or furnished. The rooms were fairly well-sized, and there were five of them in all, besides two or three little closets. But although the   primitive simplicity of whitewashed walls in our drawing and dining-room did not affect my happiness, the wainscoting and even the crevices of the floor admitted perfect gusts of air that rather did. The windows and doors, even when professing to be shut, could never be called closed; and on one or two gusty evenings, the carpet in the room where I was sitting heaved and undulated by means of a stream of air from under the door, like a theatrical representation of the ocean in extreme agitation. The staircase was of the roughest description, such as you would not find in the poorest English farm-house, covered only by the inside of the roof, rough shingles—that is, wooden tiles—and all the beams, rafters, etc., etc., of the roofing, admitting little starry twinklings of sun or moonlight, perfectly apparent to the naked eye of whoever ascended or descended. Such was my residence on the estate of Hampton on great St. Simon's Island; and it was infinitely superior in size, comfort, and everything else to my abode on Butler's Island, which was indeed a very miserable hole.

The St. Simon's house being sufficiently roomy, I presently set about making it as far as possible convenient and comfortable. I had a fine large table, such as might have become some august board of business men, made of plain white pine and covered in with sober-looking dark green merino. I next had a settee constructed—cushions, covers, etc., cut out and mainly stitched by my own fair fingers; we stuffed it with the native moss; and I had a pretty white peignoir made for it, with stuff which I got from that emporium of fashionable luxury, Darien; and this was quite an item of elegance, as well as comfort. Another table in my sitting-room was an old, rickety, rheumatic piece of furniture of the "old Major's," the infirmities of which I gayly concealed under a Macgregor plaid shawl, never burdening its elderly limbs with any greater weight than a vase of flowers; and by the help of plenty of this exquisite, ornamental furniture of nature's own providing, and a tolerable collection of books, which we had taken down to the South with us, my sitting-room did not look uncomfortable or uncheerful.

If, however, I am to winter there again this year, I shall endeavor to make it a little more like the dwelling of civilized human beings by the introduction of locks to the doors, instead of wooden latches pulled by pack-thread; and bells, of which at present there is but one in the whole house, and that is a noose, hanging just outside the sitting-room door, by which I expected to be caught and throttled every time I went in and out....

I am ever yours,

F. A. B.

  Lenox, August 9th, 1839.

I turn from interchange of thought and feeling with my friends here, dearest Harriet, to read again an unanswered letter of yours; and as I dwell upon your affectionate words, while my eyes wander over the beautiful landscape which my window commands, my mind is filled with the consideration of the great treasure of love that has been bestowed upon me out of so many hearts, and I wonder as I ponder. God knows how devoutly I thank Him for this blessing above all others, granted to me in a measure so far above my deserts, that my gratitude is mingled with surprise and a sense of my own unworthiness, which enhances my appreciation of my great good fortune in this respect.... In seasons of self-reproach and self-condemnation it is an encouragement and a consolation, and helps to lift one from the dust, to reflect that good and noble spirits have loved one—spirits too good and too noble, one would fain persuade one's self, to love what is utterly base and unworthy....

You ask me if I have kept any journal, or written anything lately. During my winter in the South I kept a daily journal of whatever occurred to interest me, and I am now busily engaged in copying it.... Since the perpetration of that "English Tragedy," now in your safe keeping, I have written nothing else; and probably, until I find myself again under the influence of some such stimulus as my mind received on returning to England, my intellectual faculties will remain stagnant, so far as any "worthy achievement," as Milton would say, is concerned. You see, I persist in considering that play in that light....

I am ashamed to say that I am exceedingly sleepy. I have been riding sixteen miles over these charming hills. The day is bright and breezy, and full of shifting lights and shadows, playing over a landscape that combines every variety of beauty,—valleys, in the hollows of which lie small lakes glittering like sapphires; uplands, clothed with grain-fields and orchards, and studded with farm-houses, each the centre of its own free domain; hills clothed from base to brow with every variety of forest tree; and woods, some wild, tangled, and all but impenetrable, others clear of underbrush, shady, moss-carpeted and sun-checkered; noble masses of granite rock, great slabs of marble (of which there are fine quarries in the neighborhood), clear mountain brooks and a full, free-flowing, sparkling river;—all this, under a cloud-varied sky, such as generally canopies mountain districts, the sunset glories of which are often magnificent. I have good friends, and my precious children, an easy, cheerful, cultivated society, my capital horse, and, in short, most good things that I call mine—on this side of the water—with one heavy exception....

  My dearest Harriet, my drowsiness grows upon me, so that my eyelids are gradually drawing together as I look out at the sweet prospect, and the blue shimmer of the little lake and sunny waving of the trees are fading all away into a dream before me. Good-bye.

Your sleepy and affectionate

F. A. B.

[When I was in London, some time after the date of this letter, I received an earnest request from one of the most devoted of the New England abolitionists, to allow the journal I kept while at the South to be published, and so give the authority of my experience to the aid of the cause of freedom. This application occasioned me great trouble and distress, as it was most painful to me to refuse my testimony on the subject on which I felt so deeply; but it was impossible for me then to feel at liberty to publish my journal.

MRS. BEECHER STOWE. When the address, drawn up at Stafford House, under the impulse of Mrs. Beecher Stowe's powerful novel, and the auspices of Lord Shaftesbury and the Duchess of Sutherland (by Thackeray denominated the "Womanifesto against Slavery"), was brought to me for my signature, I was obliged to decline putting my name to it, though I felt very sure no other signer of that document knew more of the facts of American slavery, or abhorred it more, than I did; but also, no other of its signers knew, as I did, the indignant sense of offense which it would be sure to excite in those to whom it was addressed; its absolute futility as to the accomplishment of any good purpose, and the bitter feeling it could not fail to arouse, even in the women of the Northern States, by the assumed moral superiority which it would be thought to imply.

I would then gladly have published my journal, had I been at liberty to do so, and thus shown my sympathy with the spirit, though not the letter, of the Stafford House appeal to the women of America.

It was not, however, until after the War of Secession broke out, while residing in England, and hearing daily and hourly the condition of the slaves discussed, in a spirit of entire sympathy with their owners, that nothing but the most absolute ignorance could excuse, that I determined to publish my record of my own observations on a Southern plantation.

At the time of my doing so, party feeling on the subject of the   American war was extremely violent in England, and the people among whom I lived were all Southern sympathizers. I believe I was suspected of being employed to "advocate" the Northern cause (an honor of which I was as little worthy as their cause was in need of such an advocate); and my friend, Lady ——, told me she had repeatedly heard it asserted that my journal was not a genuine record of my own experiences and observation, but "cooked up" (to use the expression applied to it) to serve the purpose of party special pleading. This, as she said, she was able to contradict upon her own authority, having heard me read the manuscripts many years before at her grandmother's, Lady Dacre's, at the Hoo.

This accusation of having "cooked up" my journal for a particular end may perhaps have originated from the fact that I refused to place the whole of it in the hands of the printers, giving out to be printed merely such portions as I chose to submit to their inspection, which, as the book was my personal diary, and contained matter of the most strictly private nature, was not perhaps unreasonable. The republication of this book in America had not been contemplated by me; my purpose and my desire being to make the facts it contained known in England. In the United States, by the year 1862, abundant miserable testimony of the same nature needed no confirmation of mine. My friend, Mr. John Forbes, of Boston, however, requested me to let him have it republished in America, and I very gladly consented to do so.4

An extremely interesting and clever book, called "A Fool's Errand," embodies under the form of a novel, an accurate picture of the social condition of the Southern States after the war—a condition so replete with elements of danger and difficulty, that the highest virtue and the deepest wisdom could hardly have coped successfully with them; and from a heart-breaking and perhaps unsuccessful struggle with which, Abraham Lincoln's murder delivered him, I believe, as a reward for his upright and noble career.]

4 I have omitted from the letters written on the plantation, at the same time as this diary, all details of the condition of the slaves among whom I was living; the painful effect of which upon myself however, together with my general strong feeling upon the subject of slavery, I have not entirely suppressed—because I do not think it well that all record should be obliterated of the nature of the terrible curse from which God in His mercy has delivered English America.

In countless thousands of lamentable graves the bitter wrong lies buried—atoned for by a four-years' fratricidal war: the beautiful Southern land is lifting its head from the disgrace of slavery and the agony of its defense. May its free future days surpass in prosperity (as they surely will a thousand-fold) those of its former perilous pride of privilege—of race supremacy and subjugation.

  Lenox, September 11th, 1839.

Thank you, my dear Lady Dacre, for your kindness in writing to me again. I would fain know if doing so may not have become a painful effort to you, or if my letters may not have become irksome to you. Pray have the real goodness to let me know, if not by your own hand, through our friends William Harness or Emily Fitzhugh, if you would rather not be disturbed by my writing to you, and trust that I shall be grateful for your sincerity.

You know I do not value very highly the artificial civilities which half strangle half the world with a sort of floss-silk insincerity; and the longer I live the more convinced I am that real tenderness to others is quite compatible with the truth that is due to them and one's self.

My regard for you does not maintain itself upon our scanty and infrequent correspondence, but on the recollection of your kindness to me, and the impression our former intercourse has left upon my memory; and though ceasing to receive your letters would be foregoing an enjoyment, it could not affect the grateful regard I entertain for you. Pray, therefore, my dear Lady Dacre, do not scruple to bid me hold my peace, if by taking up your time and attention in your present sad circumstances [the recent loss of her daughter] I disturb or distress you.

PHARISAISM OF EARLY RISERS. Your kind wishes for my health and happiness are as completely fulfilled as such benedictions may be in this world of imperfect bodies and minds. I ride every day before breakfast, some ten or twelve miles (yesterday it was five and twenty), and as this obliges me to be in my saddle at seven in the morning, I am apt to consider the performance meritorious as well as pleasurable. (Who says that early risers always have a Pharisaical sense of their own superiority?) I am staying in the beautiful hill-region of Massachusetts, where I generally spend part of my summer, in the neighborhood of my friends the Sedgwicks, who are a very numerous clan, and compose the chief part of the population of this portion of Berkshire, if not in quantity, certainly in quality.

There was some talk, at one time, of my going to the hot sulphur springs of Virginia; but the difficulties of the journey thither, and miseries of a sojourn there, prevented my doing so, as I could not have taken my children with me. We shall soon begin to think of flying southward, for we are to winter in Georgia again....

My youngest child does not utter so much as a syllable, which circumstance has occasioned me once or twice seriously to consider whether by any possibility a child of mine could be dumb.   "I cannot tell, but I think not," as Benedict says. It would have been clever of me to have had a dumb child.

Have you read Charles Murray's book about America? and how do you like it? Do you ever see Lady Francis Egerton nowadays? How is she? What is she doing? Is she accomplishing a great deal with her life? She always seemed to me born to do so. My dear Lady Dacre, do not talk of not seeing me again. We hope to be in England next autumn, and one of the greatest pleasures I look forward to in that expectation is once more seeing you and Lord Dacre. You say my sister will marry a foreigner. She has my leave to marry a German, but the more southern blood does not mingle well with our Teutonic race....

I am sorry the only book of Catharine Sedgwick's which you have read is, "Live and Let Live," because it is essentially an American book, and some Americans think it a little exaggerated in its views, even for this country. A little story, called "Home," and another called "The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man," are, I think, better specimens of what she can do....

F. A. B.

Lenox, September 30th, 1839.

And so, dearest Harriet, Cecilia writes you that my head is enlarged, my benevolence and causality increased, and that Mr. Combe thinks me much improved. Truly, it were a pity if I were the reverse, for it was more than two years since he had seen me; but though I heartily wish this might be the case, I honestly confess to you that I do not feel as if my mental and moral progress, during the last two years, has been sufficient to push out any visible augmentation of the "bumps" of my skull in any direction.

Your saucy suggestion as to my having conciliated his good opinion by exhibiting a greater degree of faith in phrenology is, unluckily, not borne out by the facts; for, instead of more, I have a little less faith in it; and that, perversely enough, from the very circumstance of the more favorable opinion thus expressed with regard to my own "development."

MR. COMBE. In the first instance, both Mr. Combe and Cecilia expressed a good deal of surprise to some of my friends here, at their high estimate of my brain.... Having very evidently never themselves perceived any sufficient grounds for such an exalted esteem. Moreover, Mr. Combe wrote a letter to Lucretia Mott (the celebrated Quakeress, who is a good friend of mine), when he heard that she had made my acquaintance, cautioning her against falling   into the mistake which all my American friends committed, of "exaggerating my reasoning powers." This was all well and good, and only amused me as rather funny; some of my American friends being tolerably shrewd folk, and upon the whole, no bad judges of brains. But then the next thing that happens is, that I see the Combes myself for a short, hurried, and most confused five minutes, during which, even if Mr. Combe's judgment were entirely in his eyes, he had no leisure for exercising it on me; and yet he now states (for Cecy is only his echo in this matter) that my disposition is much improved, and my reasoning powers much increased; and it is but two years since I was in his house, and this moral and mental progress, visible to the naked eye, on my thickly hair-roofed cranium, has taken place since then;—if so, so much the better for me, and I have made better use of my time than I imagined!

To tell you the truth, dear Harriet, I have not thought about phrenology, one way or the other, but I have thought this phrenological verdict about myself nonsense.

Mr. Combe has certainly not been influenced by any signs of conversion on my part; but I suppose he may have been influenced by the opinion held of me by my friends here, some of whom are sensible enough on all other subjects not to be suspected of idiocy, even though they do think me a rational, and, what is more, a reasoning creature.

It has been a real distress to me not to see more of Mr. Combe and Cecilia. I have always had the highest regard for him, for his kind, humane heart, and benevolent, liberal, enlightened mind. Cecy, too, during my short visit to her in Scotland, appeared to me a far more lovable person than during my previous intercourse with her: and as kinsfolk and countryfolk, without any consideration for personal liking, I feel annoyed at not being able to offer them any kindness or hospitality. But we literally seem to be running round each other; they are now at Hartford, in Connecticut, not fifty miles away from here, where they intend staying some weeks, and will probably not be in Philadelphia until we have departed for the South. When I saw them in New York, they were both looking extremely well; Cecilia fat, and cheerful, and apparently very happy, in spite of her "incidents of American travel." ...

The heat of the summer while we remained at Butler Place was something quite indescribable, and hardly varied at all for several weeks, either night or day, from between 90 and 100 degrees.

People sat up all night at their windows in town; and as for   me, more than once, in sheer desperation, after trying to sleep on a cane sofa under the piazza, I wandered about more than half the night, on the gravel walks of the garden, bare-footed,—et dans le simple appareil d'une beauté qu'on vient d'arracher au sommeil.

We tried to sleep upon everything in vain,—Indian matting was as hot as woolen blankets. At last I laid a piece of oilcloth on my bed, without even as much as a sheet over it, and though I could not sleep, obtained as much relief from the heat as to be able to lie still. It was terrible!...

I have been for two months up here, not having been allowed to go to the Virginia springs, on account of the difficulty of carrying my children there; but I am promised that we shall all go there next summer, when there is to be something like a passable road, by which the health-giving region may be approached....

I have an earnest desire to return to Europe in the autumn—not to stay in England, unless my father should be there, but to go to him, wherever he may be, and to spend a little time with my sister.... All this, however, lies far ahead, and God knows what at present invisible prospects may reveal and develop themselves on the surface of the future, as a nearer light falls on it....

My youngest child's accomplishments are hitherto unaccompanied by a syllable of speech or utterance, and the idea sometimes occurs to me whether a child of mine could have enough genius to be dumb.

Good-bye, my dearest Harriet.

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, October 10th, 1839.

Dear Mrs. Jameson,

Your interesting letter of 26th July reached me about ten days ago, at Lenox, where, according to my wont, I was passing the hot months. I had heard from dear Mr. Harness, a short time before, that you had suffered much annoyance from the withdrawal of your father's pension. Your own account of the disasters of your family excited my sincere sympathy; and yet, after reflecting a little, it appeared to me as if the exertions you felt yourself called upon to make in their behalf were happier in themselves than the general absence of any immediate object in life, which I know you sometimes feel very bitterly. At any rate, to be able to serve, effectually to save from distress, those so dear to you, must be in itself a real happiness; and to   be blessed by your parents and sisters as their stay and support in such a crisis, is to have had such an opportunity of concentrating your talents as I think one might be thankful for. I cannot, consistently with my belief, say I am sorry you have thus suffered, but I pray God that your troubles may every way prove blessings to you.

Your account of your "schoolmaster's party" interested me very much. [A gathering of teachers, promoted by Lady Byron, for purposes of enlightened benevolence.] Lady Byron must be a woman of a noble nature. I hope she is happy in her daughter's marriage. I heard a report a short time ago that Lady Lovelace was coming over to this country with her husband. I could not well understand for what purpose: that he should come from general interest and curiosity about the United States, I can well imagine; but that she should come from any motive, but to avoid being separated from her husband, is to me inconceivable....

HENRY CHORLEY. I should like to have seen that play of Mr. Chorley's which you mention to me. He once talked about it to me. It is absurd to say, but for all its absurdity, I'll say it,—he does not look to me like a man who could write a good play: he speaks too softly, and his eyelashes are too white; in spite of all which, I take your word for it that it is good. You ask after mine: Harriet has got the only copy, on the other side of the water; if you think it worth while to ask her for it, you are very welcome to read it. I was not aware that I had read you any portion of it; and cannot help thinking that you have confounded in your recollection something which I did read you—and which, as I thought, appeared to distress you, or rather not to please you—with some portion of my play, of which I did not think that I had ever shown you any part. I have some thoughts of publishing it here, or rather in Boston. I have run out my yearly allowance of pin-money, and want a few dollars very badly, and if any bookseller will give me five pounds for it, he shall be welcome to it....

I beg you will not call this a scrap of a letter, because it is all written upon one sheet: if you do, I shall certainly call yours a letter of scraps, being written on several; and am ever,

Very truly yours,

F. A. B.

  Butler Place, October 19th, 1839.

Dearest Harriet,

I have just been reading over a letter of yours written from Schwalbach, in August; and in answer to some speculation of mine, which I have forgotten, you say, "Our birth truly is no less strange than our death. The beginning—and whence come we? The end—and whither go we?" Now, I presume that you did not intend that I should apply myself to answer these questions categorically. You must have thought you were speaking to me, dearest Harriet, and have only written down the vague cogitations that rose in the shape of queries to your lips, as you read my letter, which suggested them; opening at the same time, doubtless, a pair of most intensely sightless eyes, upon the gaming-table of the Cursaal, if it happened to be within range of vision.

For myself, the older I grow the less I feel strength or inclination to speculate. The daily and hourly duties of life are so indifferently fulfilled by me, that I feel almost rebuked if my mind wanders either to the far past or future while the present, wherein lies my salvation, is comparatively unthought of. To tell you the truth, I find in the daily obligations to do and to suffer which come to my hands, a refuge from the mystery and uncertainty which veil all before and after life.

For indeed, when the mind sinks bewildered under speculations as to our former fate or future destinies, the sense of things to be done, of duties to be fulfilled, even the most apparently trivial in the world, is an unspeakable relief; and though the whole of this existence of ours, material and spiritual, affords but this one foothold (and it sometimes seems so to me), it is enough that every hour brings work; and more than enough—all—if that work be but well done.

Thus the beginning and the end trouble me seldom; but the difficulty of dealing rightly with what is immediately before and around me does trouble me infinitely; but that trouble is neither uncertainty nor doubt.

Our possible separation hereafter from those we have loved here, is almost the only idea connected with these subjects which obtrudes itself sometimes upon my mind. Yet, though I cannot conceive how Heaven would not be Hell without those I love, I am willing to believe that my spirit will be fitted to its future sphere by Him with whom all things are possible.

It seems rationally consistent with all we believe, and the little we know, to entertain a strong hope that the affections we have cherished here will not be left behind us, or forgotten elsewhere;   but I would give much to believe this as well as to hope it, and those are quite distinct things.

Two conclusions spring from this wide waste of uncertainty; that the more we can serve and render happy those with whom our lives are bound up here, the better; for we may not elsewhere be allowed to minister to them: and the less we cling to these earthly affections, the less we grasp them as sources of personal happiness the better; as they may be withdrawn from us, and God, whose place they too often usurp in our souls, be the one Friend who shall supply the place of them all.

Conjecture as we may, however, upon these subjects, the general experience of humanity is that of struggle with the present, the actual; and could I but be satisfied with the mode in which I fulfill my daily duties, and govern my heart and mind in their discharge, I should feel at peace as regards all such speculations—"I'd jump the life to come."

UNHEALTHY LIVING IN AMERICA. You speak of the unhealthy life led by the members of the bar in Ireland, and their disregard of all the "natural laws," which yet, you say, does not appear to affect their constitutions materially. I presume, as far as the usual exercise of their profession goes, lawyers must lead pretty much the same sort of life everywhere; but in this country, everybody's habits are essentially unhealthy, and superadded to the special bad influences of a laborious and sedentary profession, make fearful havoc with life. The diet and the atmosphere to which most Americans accustom themselves, are alike destructive of anything like health. Even the men, compared with ours, are generally inactive, and have no idea of taking regular exercise as a salutary precaution. The absence of social enjoyment among the wealthier classes, and of cheerful recreation among the artisan and laboring part of the population, leaves them absorbed in a perpetual existence of care and exertion, varied only by occasional outbursts of political excitement; indeed, they appear to prefer a life of incessant toil to any other, and they seem to consider any species of amusement or recreation as a simple waste of time, taking no account of the renovation of health, strength, and spirits to be gained by diversion and leisure. All that travelers have said about their neglect of physical health is true; and you will have additional evidence furnished upon this subject, I believe, by Mr. Combe, who intends publishing his American experiences, and who will probably do full justice to the perpetual infraction of his ever-present and sacred rules of life, by the people of the United States....

Expostulations with people with regard to their health are never wise—they who most need such admonition are least likely to   accept it; and, indeed, how many of us learn anything but from personal suffering? which too often, alas, comes too late to teach. I suppose, it is only the exceeding wise who are taught anything even by their own experience; to expect the foolish to learn by that of others, is to be one of their number....

Experience is God's teaching; and I think the seldomer one interferes between children and that best of teachers, the better. I think it would be well if we oftener let them follow their wills to their consequences; for these are always just, but they are sometimes, according to our judgments, too severe; and so we not seldom, out of cowardice, interpose between our children and the teaching of experience; and substitute, because we will not see them suffer, our own authority for the inestimable instruction of consequences.

I do not think I agree with you about the very early cultivation of the reasoning powers, but have left myself no room for further educational disquisition.

Farewell, dear.

Believe me, ever yours affectionately,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, December, 1839.

My Dear T——,

The expression of one's sympathy can never, whatever its sincerity, be of the value it would have possessed if uttered when first excited. In this, above all things, "they give twice who give quickly." I feel this very much in writing to you now upon the events which have lately so deeply troubled the current of your life—your good father's death, and the birth of your second baby, together with the threatened calamity from which its mother's recovery has spared you. Tardy as are these words, my sympathy has been sincerely yours during this your season of trial; and though I have done myself injustice in not sooner writing to you, believe me I have felt more for you and yours than any letter could express, though I had written it the moment the news reached me....

That your father died as full of honor as of years, that his life was a task well fulfilled, and his death not unbecoming so worthy a life, is matter of consolation to you, and all who knew and loved him less than you. I scarce know how you could have wished any other close to his career; the pang of losing such a friend you could not expect to escape, but there was hardly a circumstance (as regarded your father himself) which it seems to me you can regret. Poor M—— will be the bitterest sufferer   [the lady was traveling in Europe at the time of her father's death], and for her, indeed, my compassion is great, strengthened as it is by my late experience, and constant apprehension of a similar affliction,—I mean my mother's death, and the dread of hearing, from across this terrible barrier, that I have lost my father. I pity her more than I can express; but trust that she will find strength adequate to her need.

Give my kindest love to your wife. I rejoice in her safety for your sake and that of her children, more even than for her own; for it always seems well to me with those who have gone to rest, but her loss would have been terrible for you, and her girl has yet to furnish her some work, and some compensation....

If Anne is with you, remember me very kindly to her, and

Believe me ever most truly yours,

F. A. B.

MRS. CHARLES NORTON. [The little daughter referred to in the above letter became Mrs. Charles Norton, one of the loveliest and most charming of young American women, snatched by an untimely death from the midst of an adoring family and friends.]

Philadelphia, Friday, December 14th, 1839.

Dearest Harriet,

... It is perhaps well for you that this letter has suffered an interruption here, as had this not been the case you might have been edified with a yet further "complaint." ...

We have shut up our house in the country, and are at present staying in Philadelphia, at my brother-in-law's; but we are expecting every day to start for the plantation in Georgia, where I hope we are to find what is yet lacking to us in health and strength.

I look forward with some dismay now to this expedition, in the middle of winter, with two young children, traveling by not very safe railroads and perhaps less safe steamboats, through that half-savage country, and along that coast only some months ago the scene of fearful shipwreck.... I have already written you word of our last residence there, of the small island in the Altamaha and below its level—the waters being only kept out by dykes, which protect the rice-marshes, of which the plantation is composed, from being submerged. The sole inhabitants, you know, are the negroes, who cultivate the place, and the overseer who manages them.... As early as March the heat becomes intense, and by the beginning of April it is no longer safe for white people to remain there, owing to the miasma which exhales from the rice-fields....

  We shall find, no doubt, our former animal friends, from the fleas up to the alligators: the first, swarming in the filthy negroes' huts; the last, expatiating in the muddy waters of the Altamaha. I trust they will none of them have forgotten us. Did I tell you before of those charming creatures, the moccasin snakes, which, I have just been informed, abound in every part of the southern plantations? Rattlesnakes I know by sight: but the moccasin creature, though I may have seen him, I do not feel acquainted, or at any rate familiar, with. Our nearest civilized town, you know, is Savannah, and that is sixty miles off. I cannot say that the expedition is in any way charming to me, but the alternative is remaining alone here; and, as it is possible to live on the plantation with the children, I am going. Margery, of course, comes with me....

Did I tell you, my dear Irishwoman, that we had no potatoes on the plantation, and that Indian meal holds the place of wheaten flour, bread baked of the latter being utterly unknown?... Do not be surprised if I dwell upon these small items of privation, even now that I am about to go among those people the amelioration of whose condition I have considered as one of my special duties. With regard to this, however, I have, alas! no longer the faintest shadow of hope....

Yours most truly,

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, January 15th, 1840.

Dearest Harriet,

My last to you was dated the fourteenth of December, and it is now the tenth of January, a whole month; and you and Dorothy are, I presume, sundered, instead of together, and surrounded with ice and snow, and all wintry influences, instead of those gentle southern ones in which you had imagined you would pass the dismal season.

I can fancy Ardgillan comfortably poetical (if that is not a contradiction in terms) at this time of year, with its warm, bright, cheerful drawing-room looking out on the gloomy sea. But perhaps you are none of you there?—perhaps you are in Dublin?—on Mr. Taylor's new estate?—or where—where, dear Harriet—where are you? How sad it seems to wander thus in thought after those we love, and conjecture of their whereabouts almost as vaguely as of the dwelling of the dead!...

I am annoyed by the interruption which all this ice and snow causes in my daily rides. My horse is rough-shod, and I persist in going out on him two or three times a week, but not without   some peril, and severe inconvenience from the cold, which not only cuts my face to pieces, but chaps my skin from head to foot, through my riding-dress and all my warm under-clothing. I do not much regret our prolonged sojourn in the North, on my children's account, who, being both hearty and active creatures, thrive better in this bracing climate than in the relaxing temperature of the South....

FORESTER. Dear Harriet, I have nothing to tell you; my life externally is nothing; and who can tell the inward history of their bosom—that internal life, which is often so strangely unlike the other? Suppose I inform you that I have just come home from a ride of an hour and a half; that I went out of the city by Broad Street, and returned by Islington Lane and the Ridge Road—how much the wiser will you be? that the roads were frozen as hard as iron, and here and there so sheeted with ice that I had great difficulty in preventing my horse from slipping and falling down with me, and, being quite alone, without even a servant, I wondered what I should do if he did. I have a capital horse, whom I have christened Forester, after the hero of my play, and who grins with delight, like a dog, when I talk to him and pat him. He is a bright bay, with black legs and mane, tall and large, and built like a hunter, with high courage and good temper. I have had him four years, and do not like to think what would become of me if anything were to happen to him. It would be necessary that I should commit suicide, for his fellow is not to be found in "these United States." Dearest Harriet, we hope to come over to England next September; and if your sister will invite me, I will come and see you some time before I re-cross the Atlantic. I am very anxious about my father, and still more anxious about my sister, and feel heart-weary for the sight of some of my own people, places, and things; and so. Fate prospering, to speak heathen, I shall go home once more in the autumn of this present 1840: till when, dearest Harriet, God bless you! and after then, and always,

I am ever your affectionate,

F. A. B.

[My dear horse, having been sold to a livery-stable keeper, I repurchased him by the publication of a small volume of poems, which thus proved themselves to me excellent verses. The gallant animal broke his hip-joint by slipping in a striding gallop over some wet planks, and I had to have him shot. His face—I mean the anguish in it after the accident—is among the tragical visions in my memory.]

  Philadelphia, February 9th, 1840.

Dear Mrs. Jameson,

... You ask me if I have read your book on Canada. With infinite interest and pleasure, and great sympathy and admiration, and much gratitude for the vindication of women's capabilities, both physical and mental, which all your books (but this perhaps more than all the others) furnish.

It has been, like all your previous works, extremely popular here; and if you have received no remuneration for it, you are not justly dealt by, as I am sure its sale has been very considerable, and very profitable. [Mrs. Jameson was, undoubtedly, one of the greatest sufferers by the want of an author's copyright in America: her works were all republished there; and her laborious literary career, her careful research and painstaking industry, together with her restricted means and the many claims upon them, made it a peculiar hardship, in her case, to be deprived of the just reward of the toil by which she gave pleasure and instruction to so many readers in America, as well as in her own country.] Your latest publication, "Social Life in Germany," I have not seen, but have read numerous extracts from it, in the American literary periodicals.

You ask me if you can "do anything" about my play? I thought I must have told you of my offering it to Macready, who civilly declined having anything to do with it. Circumstances induced me to destroy my own copy of it: the one Macready had is in Harriet's custody, another copy I have given to Elizabeth Sedgwick, and I now neither know nor care anything more about it. Once upon a time I wrote it, and that is quite enough to have had to do with it. Prescott, the historian of Ferdinand and Isabella, is urgent with me to let him have it published in Boston; perhaps hereafter, if I should want a penny, and be able to turn an honest one by so doing, I may.

It is odd that I have not the remotest recollection of reading any of that play to you. You have mentioned it several times to me, and I have never been able to recall to my mind, either when I read it to you, or what portion of it I inflicted upon you. You were lucky, and I wonder that I let you off with a portion of it; for, for nearly a year after I finished it, I was in such ecstasies with my own performance, that I martyrized every soul that had a grain of regard for me, with its perusal....

J—— B—— and his brother have just started for Georgia, leaving his wife and myself in forlorn widowhood, which, (the providence of railroads and steamboats allowing) is not to last more than three months. I have been staying nearly three   months in their house in town, expecting every day to depart for the plantation; but we have procrastinated to such good effect that the Chesapeake Bay is now unnavigable, being choked up with ice, and the other route involving seventy miles of night traveling on the worst road in the United States (think what that means!), it has been judged expedient that the children and myself should remain behind. I am about, therefore, to return with them to the Farm, where I shall pass the remainder of the winter,—how, think you? Why, reading Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," which I have never read yet, and which I now intend to study with classical atlas, Bayle's dictionary, the Encyclopædia, and all sorts of "aids to beginners." How quiet I shall be! I think perhaps I may die some day, without so much as being aware of it; and if so, beg to record myself in good season, before that imperceptible event,

Yours very truly,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, February 16th, 1840.

I have just been looking over a letter of yours, dearest Harriet, as old as the 19th of last September, describing your passage over the Splügen. About four days ago I was looking over some engravings of the passes of the Alps, in a work called "Switzerland Illustrated," by Bartlett, and lingered over those attempts of human art with the longing I have for those lands, which I always had, which has never died away entirely, but seems now reviving again in some of its earliest strength: I can compare it to nothing but the desire of thirst for water, and I must master it as I may, for of those mountain-streams I fear I never shall drink, or look upon their beauty, but in the study of my imagination.

SCENERY IN AMERICA. In the hill-country of Berkshire, Massachusetts, where I generally spend some part of the summer among my friends the Sedgwicks, there is a line of scenery, forming part of the Green Mountain range, which runs up into the State of Vermont, and there becomes a noble brotherhood of mountains, though in the vicinity of Stockbridge and Lenox, where I summer, but few of them deserve a more exalted title than hill. They are clothed with a various forest of oak, beech, chestnut, maple, and fir; and down their sides run wild streams, and in the valleys between them lie exquisite lakes. Upon the whole, it is the most picturesque scenery I have ever seen; particularly in the neighborhood of a small town called Salisbury, thirty miles from Lenox. This   is situated in a plain surrounded by mountains, and upon the same level in its near neighborhood lie four beautiful small lakes; close above this valley rises Mount Washington, or, as some Swiss charcoal-burners, who have emigrated thither, have christened it, Mount Rhigi.

In a recess of this mountain lies a deep ravine and waterfall; and a precipice, where an arch of rock overhangs a basin, where, many hundred feet below, the water boils in a mad cauldron, and then plunges away, by leaps of forty, twenty, and twelve feet, with the intermediate runs necessary for such jumps, through a deep chasm in the rocks, to a narrow valley, the whole character of which, I suppose, may represent Swiss scenery in very small.

A week ago J—— B—— and —— left Philadelphia for the South; and yesterday I received a letter giving a most deplorable account of their progress, if progress it could be called, which consisted in going nine miles in four hours, and then returning to Washington, whence they had started, the road being found utterly impassable. Streams swollen with the winter snows and spring rains, with their bridges all broken up by the ice or swept away by the water, intersect these delightful ways; and one of these, which could not admit of fording, turned them back, to try their fate in a steamboat, through the ice with which the Chesapeake is blocked up. This dismal account has in some measure reconciled me to having been left behind with the children; they have neither of them been as well as usual this winter, and the season is now so far advanced, our intended departure being delayed from day to day for three months, that, besides encountering a severe and perilous journey, we should have arrived in Georgia to find the weather almost oppressively hot, and, if we did wisely, to return again, at the end of a fortnight, to the North.

I have come back to Butler Place with the bairns, and have resumed the monotonous tenor of my life, which this temporary residence in town had interrupted, not altogether agreeably; and here I shall pass the rest of the winter, teaching S—— to read, and sliding through my days in a state of external quietude, which is not always as nearly allied to content as it might seem to (ought to) be....

When the children's bed-time comes, and their little feet and voices are still, the spirit of the house seems to have fallen asleep. I send my servants to bed, for nobody here keeps late hours (ten o'clock being considered late), and, in spite of assiduous practicing, reading, and answering of letters, my evenings are sad in their absolute solitude, and I am glad when ten o'clock comes,   the hour for my retiring, which I could often find in my heart to anticipate....

I have taken vehemently to worsted-work this winter, and, instead of a novel or two, am going to read Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," which I have never read, and by means of Bayle, classical atlas, and the Encyclopædia, I mean to make a regular school-room business of it.

Good-bye, dear. Events are so lacking in my present existence, that I am longing for the spring as I never did before—for the sight of leaves and flowers, and the song of birds, and the daily development of the great natural pageant of the year. I am grateful to God for nothing more than the abundant beauty with which He has adorned His creation. The pleasure I derive from its contemplation has survived many others, and should I live long, will, I think, outlive all that I am now capable of....

Ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, February 17th, 1840.

My Dear Lady Dacre,

DANGEROUS JOURNEY. ... I believe too implicitly in your interest in me and mine, ever to have nothing to say to you; but my sayings will be rather egotistical, for the monotony of my life affords me few interests but those which centre in my family, the head of which left me ten days ago, with his brother, for their southern estate. I have since had a letter, which, as it affords an accurate picture of winter traveling in this country, would, I flatter myself, make your sympathetic hair stand on end. Listen. On Sunday morning, before day, they set out, two post-coaches, with four horses, each carrying eight passengers. They got to Alexandria, which is close to Washington, whence they started without difficulty, stopped a short time to gird up their loins and take breath, and at seven o'clock set off. It rained hard; the road was deep with mud, and very bad; several times the passengers were obliged to get out of the coach and walk through the rain and mud, the horses being unable to drag the load through such depths of mire. They floundered on, wading through mud and fording streams, until eleven o'clock, when they stopped to breakfast, having come but eight miles in four hours. They consulted whether to go on or turn back: the majority ruled to go on; so after breakfast they again took the road, but had proceeded but one mile when it became utterly impassable—the thaw and rain had so swelled a stream that barred the way that it was too deep   to ford; and when it was quite apparent that they must either turn back or be drowned, they reluctantly adopted the former course, and got back to Washington late in the evening, having passed nearly all day in going nine miles. I think you will agree with me, my dear Lady Dacre, that my children and myself were well out of that party of pleasure; though the very day before the party set off it was still uncertain whether we should not accompany them.

The contrary having been determined, I am now very quietly spending the winter with my chickens at the Farm.... An imaginative nature makes, it is true, happiness as well as unhappiness for itself, but finds inevitable ready made disappointment in the mere realities of life.... I make no excuse for talking "nursery" to you, my dear Lady Dacre. These are my dearest occupations; indeed, I might say, my only ones.

Have you looked into Marryatt's books on this country? They are full of funny stories, some of them true stories enough, and some, little imitation Yankee stories of the captain's own.

Do explain to me what Sydney Smith means by disclaiming Peter Plymley's letters as he does? Surely he did write them.

This very youthful nation of the United States is "carrying on," to use their own favorite phrase, in a most unprecedented manner. Their mercantile and financial experiments have been the dearest of their kind certainly; and the confusion, embarrassment, and difficulty, in consequence of these experiments, are universal. Money is scarce, credit is scarcer, but, nevertheless, they will not lay the lesson to heart. The natural resources of the country are so prodigious, its wealth so enormous, so inexhaustible, that it will be presently up and on its feet again running faster than ever to the next stumbling-post. Moral bankruptcy is what they have to fear, much more than failure of material riches. It is a strange country, and a strange people; and though I have dear and good friends among them, I still feel a stranger here, and fear I shall continue to do so until I die, which God grant I may do at home! i.e., in England.

Give my kindest remembrance to Lord Dacre. We hope to be in England in September, and I shall come and see you as soon as ever I can.

Believe me ever, my dear Lady Dacre,
Yours affectionately,

F. A. B.

  Butler Place, March 1st, 1840.

Thank you, my dearest Harriet, for your extract from my sister's letter to you.... The strongest of us are insufficient to ourselves in this life, and if we will not stretch out our hands for help to our fellows, who, for the most part, are indeed broken reeds and quite as often pierce as support us, we needs must at last stretch them out to God; and doubtless these occasions, bitter as they may seem, should be accounted blest, which make the poor proud human soul discover its own weakness and God's all-sufficiency....

My winter—or rather, what remains of it—is like to pass in uninterrupted quiet and solitude; and you will probably have the satisfaction of receiving many short letters from me, for I know not where I shall find the material for long ones. To be sure, S——'s sayings and F——'s looks might furnish me with something to say, but I have a dread of beginning to talk about my children, for fear I should never leave off, for that is apt to be a "story without an end."

TESTIMONIAL TO CHARLES KEMBLE. I hear they are going to bestow upon my father, on his return to England, a silver vase, valued at several hundred pounds. I am base-minded, dear Harriet, grovelling, and sordid; and were I he, would rather have a shilling's worth of honor, and the rest of the vase in hard cash: but he has lived his life upon this sort of thing, and I think with great pleasure of the great pleasure it will give him. I am very well, and always most affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, March 12th, 1840.

Dearest Harriet,

It is only a few days since I received your letter with the news of Mr. F——'s attack, from which it is but natural to apprehend that he may not recover.... The combination of the loss of one's father, and of the home of one's whole life, is indeed a severe trial; though in this case, the one depending on the other, and Mr. F——'s age being so advanced, Emily with her steadfast mind has probably contemplated the possibility of this event, and prepared herself for it, as much as preparation may be made against affliction, which, however long looked for, when it comes always seems to bring with it some unforeseen element of harsh surprise. We never can imagine   what will happen to us, precisely as it does happen to us; and overlook in anticipation, not only minute mitigations, but small stings of aggravation, quite incalculable till they are experienced.... I could cry to think that I shall never again see the flowerbeds and walks and shrubberies of Bannisters. I think there is something predominantly material in my nature, for the sights and sounds of outward things have always been my chiefest source of pleasure; and as I grow older this in nowise alters; so little so, that gathering the first violets of the spring the other morning, it seemed to me that they were things to love almost more than creatures of my own human kind. I do not believe I am a normal human being; and at my death, only half a soul will pass into a spiritual existence, the other half will go and mingle with the winds that blow, and the trees that grow, and the waters that flow, in this world of material elements....

Do I remember Widmore, you ask me. Yes, truly.... I remember the gay colors of the flowerbeds, and the fine picturesque trees in the garden, and the shady quietness of the ground-floor rooms....

You ask me how I have replaced Margery. Why, in many respects, if indeed not in all, very indifferently; but I could not help myself. Her leaving me was a matter of positive necessity, and some things tend to reconcile me to her loss. I believe she would have made S—— a Catholic. The child's imagination had certainly received a very strong impression from her; and soon after her departure, as I was hearing S—— her prayers, she begged me to let her repeat that prayer to "the blessed Virgin," which her nurse had taught her. I consider this a direct breach of faith on the part of Margery, who had once before undertaken similar instructions in spite of distinct directions to interfere in no way with the child's religious training.

The proselytizing spirit of her religion was, I suppose, stronger than her conscience, or rather, was the predominant element in it, as it is in all very devout Catholics; and the opportunity of impressing my little girl with what she considered vital truth, not to be neglected; and upon this ground alone I am satisfied that it is better she should have left me, for though it would not mortally grieve me if hereafter my child were conscientiously to embrace Romanism, I have no desire that she should be educated   in what I consider erroneous views upon the most momentous of all subjects.

ROMAN CATHOLIC NURSES. I have been more than once assured, on good authority, that it is by no means an infrequent practice of the Roman Catholic Irish women employed as nurses in American families, to carry their employers' babies to their own churches and have them baptized, of course without consent or even knowledge of their parents. The secret baptism is duly registered, and the child thus smuggled into the pope's fold, never, if possible, entirely lost sight of by the priest who administered the regenerating sacrament to it. The saving of souls is an irresistible motive, especially when the saving of one's own is much facilitated by the process.

The woman I have in Margery's place is an Irish Protestant, a very good and conscientious girl, but most wofully ignorant, and one who murders our luckless mother-tongue after a fashion that almost maddens me. However, as with some cultivation, education, reading, reflection, and that desire to do what is best that a mother alone can feel for her own child, I cannot but be conscious of my own inability in all points to discharge this great duty, the inability of my nursery-maid does not astonish or dismay me. The remedy for the nurse's deficiencies must be in me, and the remedy for mine in God, to whose guidance I commit myself and my darlings.... Margery was very anxious to remain with me as my maid; but we have reduced our establishment, and I have no longer any maid of my own, therefore I could not keep her....

With regard to attempting to make "reason the guide of your child's actions," that, of course, must be a very gradual process, and may, in my opinion, be tried too early. Obedience is the first virtue of which a young child is capable, the first duty it can perform; and the authority of a parent is, I think, the first impression it should receive,—a strictly reasonable and just claim, inasmuch as, furnishing my child with all its means of existence, as well as all its amusements and enjoyments, regard for my requests is the proper and only return it can make in the absence of sufficient judgment, to decide upon their propriety, and the motives by which they are dictated.

Good-bye, dearest Harriet.

I am ever affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

  Butler Place, March 16th, 1840.

My dearest Harriet,

It was with infinite pain that I received your last letter [a very unfavorable report, almost a sentence of death, had been pronounced by the physicians upon my friend's dearest friend, Miss Dorothy Wilson], and yet I know not, except your sorrow, what there is so deplorable in the fact that Dorothy, who is one of the living best prepared for death, should have received a summons, which on first reading of it shocked me so terribly.

We calculate most blindly, for the most part, in what form the call to "change our life" may be least unwelcome; but to one whose eyes have long been steadily fixed upon that event, I do not believe the manner of their death signifies much.

Pain, our poor human bodies shrink from; and yet it has been endured, almost as if unfelt, not only in the triumphant death of the mob-hunted martyr, but in the still, lonely, and, by all but God, unseen agony of the poor and humble Christian, in those numerous cases where persecution indeed was not, but the sorrowful trial of the neglect and careless indifference of their fellow-beings, the total absence of all sympathy—a heavy desolation whether in life or death.

DR. FOLLEN. I have just lost a friend, Dr. Follen, a man to whose character no words of mine could do justice. He has been publicly mourned from more than one Christian pulpit; and Dr. Channing, in a discourse after his death, has spoken of him as one whom "many thought the most perfect man they ever knew." Among those many I was one. I have never seen any one whom I revered, loved, and admired more than I did Dr. Follen. He perished, with above a hundred others, in a burning steam-boat, on the Long Island Sound; at night, and in mid-winter, the freezing waters affording no chance of escape to the boldest swimmer or the most tenacious clinger to existence. He perished in the very flower of vigorous manhood, cut off in the midst of excellent usefulness, separated, for the first time, from a most dearly loved wife and child, who were prevented from accompanying him by sickness. In a scene of indescribable terror, confusion, and dismay, that noble and good man closed his life; and all who have spoken of him have said, "Could one have seen his countenance, doubtless it was to the last the mirror of his   serene and steadfast spirit;" and for myself, after the first shock of hearing of that awful calamity, I could only think it mattered not how or where that man met his death. He was always near to God, and who can doubt that, in that scene of apparent horror and despair, God was very near to him?

Even so, my dearest Harriet, do I now think of the impending fate of Dorothy; but oh, the difference between the sudden catastrophe in the one case, and the foreknowledge granted in the other! Time, whose awful uses our blind security so habitually forgets, is granted to her, with its inestimable value marked on it by the finger of death, undimmed by the busy hands of earthly pursuits and interests; she has, and will have, her dearest friends and lovers about her to the very end; and I know of no prayer that I should frame for her, but exemption from acute pain. For you, my dearest Harriet, if pain and woe and suffering are appointed you, it is to some good purpose, and you may make it answer its best ends.

These seem almost cold-hearted words, and yet God knows from how warm a heart, full of love and aching with sympathy, I write them! But sorrow is His angel, His minister, His messenger who does His will, waiting upon our souls with blessed influences. My only consolation, in thinking upon your affliction, is to remember that all events are ordered by our Father, and to reflect, as I often do——

I had written thus far, dearest Harriet, when a miserable letter from Georgia came to interrupt me. How earnestly, in the midst of the tears through which I read it, I had to recall those very thoughts, in my own behalf, which I was just urging upon you, you can imagine....

We may not choose our own discipline; but happy are they who are called to suffer themselves, rather than to see those they love do so!...

My head aches, and my eyes ache, and my heart aches, and I cannot muster courage to write any more. God bless you, my dearest Harriet. Remember me most affectionately to dear Dorothy, and

Believe me ever yours,

F. A. B.

[Dr. Charles Follen, known in his own country as Carl Follenius,   became an exile from it for the sake of his political convictions, which in his youth he had advocated with a passionate fervor that made him, even in his college days, obnoxious to its governing authorities. He wrote some fine spirited Volkslieder that the students approved of more than the masters; and was so conspicuous in the vanguard of liberal opinion, that the Vaterland became an unwholesome residence for him, and he emigrated to America, where all his aspirations towards enlightened freedom found "elbow-room."

He became an ordained Unitarian preacher; and it was a striking tribute to his spirit of humane tolerance as well as to his eloquent advocacy of his own high spiritual faith, that he was once earnestly and respectfully solicited to give a series of discourses upon Christianity, to a society of intelligent men who professed themselves dis-believers in it (atheists, materialists, for aught I know), inasmuch as from him they felt sure of a powerful, clear, and earnest exposition of his own opinions, unalloyed by uttered or implied condemnation of them for differing from him. I do not know whether Dr. Follen complied with this petition, but I remember his saying how much he had been touched by it, and how glad he should be to address such a body of mis- or dis-believers. He was a man of remarkable physical vigor, and excelled in all feats of strength and activity, having, when first he came to Boston, opened a gymnasium for the training of the young Harvard scholars in such exercises. He had the sensibility and gentleness of a woman, the imagination of a poet, and the courage of a hero; a genial kindly sense of humor, and buoyant elastic spirit of joyousness, that made him, with his fine intellectual and moral qualities, an incomparable friend and teacher to the young, for whose rejoicing vitality he had the sympathy of fellowship as well as the indulgence of mature age, and whose enthusiasm he naturally excited to the highest degree.

His countenance was the reflection of his noble nature. My intercourse with him influenced my life while it lasted, and long after his death the thought of what would have been approved or condemned by him affected my actions.

Many years after his death, I was speaking of him to Wæleker, the Nestor of German professors, the most learned of German philologists, historians, archæologists, and antiquarians, and he   broke out into enthusiastic praise of Follen, who had been his pupil at Jena, and to whose mental and moral worth he bore, with deep emotion, a glowing testimony.]

Butler Place, March 23rd, 1840.

I have just learned, dearest Harriet, that the Censorship [office of licenser of plays] has been transferred from my father to my brother John, which I am very glad to hear, as I imagine, though I do not know it, that the death of Mr. Beaumont must have put an end to the existence of the British and Foreign Review, for which he employed my brother as editor.

If the salary of licenser is an addition to the income attached to his editorship of the Review, my brother will be placed in comfortable circumstances; and I hope this may prove to be the case—though ladies are not apt to be so in love with abstract political principles as to risk certain thousands every year merely to promote their quarterly illustration in a Review, and I shall not be at all surprised to learn that Mrs. Beaumont declines doing so any longer.

[Mrs. Wentworth Beaumont, mother of my brother John's friend, must have been a woman of very decided political opinions, and very liberal views of the value of her convictions—in hard cash. Left the widowed mistress of a princely estate in Yorkshire, on the occasion when the most passionate contest recorded in modern electioneering made it doubtful whether the Government candidate or the one whose politics were more in accordance with her own would be returned to Parliament, she, then a very old lady, drove in her travelling-carriage with four horses to Downing Street, and demanding to see the Prime Minister, with whom she was well acquainted, accosted him thus: "Well, my lord, are you quite determined to make your man stand for our seat?" "Yes, Mrs. Beaumont, I think quite determined." "Very well," replied the lady; "I am on my way down to Yorkshire, with eighty thousand pounds in the carriage for my man. Try and do better than that."

WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE. I am afraid the pros and cons for Woman's Suffrage would alike have thought that very expensive female partisan politician hardly to be trusted with the franchise. Lord Dacre, who told me that anecdote, told me also that on one occasion forty thousand pounds,   to his knowledge, had been spent by Government on a contested election—I think he said at Norwich.] ...

The longer I live, the less I think of the importance of any or all outward circumstances, and the more important I think the original powers and dispositions of people submitted to their influence. God has permitted no situation to be exempt from trial and temptation, and few, if any, to be entirely exempt from good influences and opportunities for using them. The tumult of the inward creature may exist in the midst of the calmest outward daily life, and the peace which passeth understanding subsist in the turmoil of the most adverse circumstances.... Our desires tending towards particular objects, we naturally seek the position most favorable for obtaining them; and, stand where we will, we are still, if we so choose, on the heavenward road. If we know how barely responsible for what they are many human beings necessarily must be, how much better does God know it! With many persons, whose position we regret and think unfortunate for their character, we might have to go far back, and retrace in the awful influence of inheritance the source of the evils we deplore in them. We need have much faith in the future to look hopefully at the present, and perfect faith in the mercy of our Father in heaven, who alone knows how much or how little of His blessed light has reached every soul of us through precept and example....

You ask me of Margery's successor: she is an honest, conscientious, and most ignorant Irish Protestant. You cannot conceive of what materials our households are composed here. The Americans, whose superior intelligence and education make them by far the most desirable servants we could have, detest the condition of domestic service so utterly, that it is next to impossible to procure them, and absolutely impossible to retain them above a year. The lowest order of Irish are the only persons that can be obtained. They offer themselves, and are accepted of hard necessity, indiscriminately, for any situation in a house, from that of lady's-maid to that of cook; and, indeed, they are equally unfit for all, having probably never seen so much as the inside of a decent house till they came to this country. To illustrate—my housemaid is the sister of my present nursery-maid, and on the occasion of the latter taking her holiday in town, the other had the   temporary charge of the children, and, when first she undertook it, had to be duly enlightened as to the toilet purposes of a wash-hand basin, a sponge, and a toothbrush, not one of which had she apparently been familiar with before; and this would have been the case with a large proportion of the Irish girls who present themselves here to be engaged as our servants.

Our household has been reduced for some time past, and I have no maid of my own; and when the nurse is in town I am obliged to forego the usual decency of changing my dress for dinner, from the utter incapacity of my housemaid to fasten it upon my back. Of course, except tolerably faithful washing, dressing, and bodily care, I can expect nothing for my children from my present nurse. She is a very good and pious girl, and though her language is nothing short of heathen Greek, her sentiments are very much those of a good Christian. This same service is a source of considerable daily tribulations, and I wish I only improved all my opportunities of practising patience and forbearance....

F. A. B.

Butler Place, March 25th, 1840.

My dear T——,

I have been reading with infinite interest the case of the Amistad; but understand, from Mrs. Charles Sedgwick, that there is to be an appeal upon the matter. As, however, the result will, I presume, be the same, the more publicity the affair obtains, the more it and all kindred subjects are discussed, spoken of, thought on, and written about, the better for us unfortunate slaveholders.

MR. JAY. I am very much obliged to you for sending me that article on Mr. Jay's book. You know how earnestly I look to every sign of the approaching termination of this national disgrace and individual misfortune; and when men of ability and character conscientiously raise their voices against it, who can be so faint-hearted as not to have faith in its ultimate downfall?

Your very name pledges you in some sort to this cause, and, among your other important duties, let me (who am now involuntarily implicated in this terrible abuse) beg you to remember that this one is an inheritance; and for the sake of those, justly honored, who have bequeathed it to you, discharge it with the ability nature has so bountifully   endowed you with, and you cannot fail to accomplish great good.

In reading your article, I was much reminded of Legget, whose place, it seems to me, there is none but you to fill.

I have just been interrupted by a letter from Elizabeth, confirming the news of your sister's return from Europe. I congratulate you heartily upon the termination of your anxieties about her. Remember me most kindly to her, and to your mother, if my message can be made acceptable to her in her present affliction, and believe me

Ever yours most truly,

F. A. B.

[The Amistad was a low raking schooner, conveying between fifty and sixty negroes, fresh from Africa, from Havannah to Guamapah, Port Principe, to the plantation of one of the passengers. The captain and three of the crew were murdered by the negroes. Two planters were spared to navigate the vessel back to Africa. Forced to steer east all day, these white men steered west and north all night; and after two months, coming near New London, the schooner was captured by the United States schooner Washington, and carried into port, where a trial was held by the Circuit Court at Hertford, transferred to the District Court, and sent by appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The District Court decreed that one man, not of the recent importation, should, by the treaty of 1795 with Spain, be restored to his master; the rest, delivered to the President of the United States, to be by him transported to their homes in Africa.

Before the case could come before the United States Supreme Court, the President (Mr. Van Buren), upon the requisition of the Spanish minister, had the negroes conveyed, by the United States schooner Grampus, back to Havannah and to slavery, under the treaty of 1795.

The case created an immense excitement among the friends and foes of slavery. The point made by the counsel for the negroes being that they were not slaves, but free Africans, freshly brought to Cuba, contrary to the latest enacted laws of Spain. The schooner Amistad started on her voyage to Africa in June, 1839, reached New London in August, and was sent back in January, 1840.]

  Butler Place, April 5th, 1840.

Dearest Harriet,

I have received both your letters concerning Dorothy's health. The one which you sent by the British Queen came before one you previously wrote me from Liverpool, and destroyed all the pleasure I should have received from the cheerful spirit in which the latter was written.

I was reading the other evening a sermon of Dr. Channing's, suggested by the miserable destruction of a steamboat with the loss of upwards of a hundred lives; among them, one precious to all who knew him perished, a man who, I think, had few equals, and to whose uncommon character all who ever knew him bear witness.

The fate of so excellent a human being, cut off in the flower of his age, in the midst of a career of uncommon worth and usefulness, inspired Dr. Channing, who was his dear friend, with one of the finest discourses in which Christian faith ever "justified the ways of God to Man."

In reading that eloquent sermon, so full of hope, of trust, of resignation, and rational acknowledgment of the great purposes of sorrow, my thoughts turned to you, dearest Harriet, and dwelt upon your present trial, and on the impending loss of your dear friend. I have not the sermon by me, or I could scarce resist transcribing passages from it; but if you can procure it, do. It was written on the occasion of the burning of the steamboat Lexington, and in memory of Dr. Charles Follen.

SORROW, AN APPOINTED EXPERIENCE. One of the views that impressed me most, of those urged by Channing, was that sorrow—however considered by us, individually, as a shocking accident,—in God's providence, was a large part of the appointed experience of existence: no blot, no jar, no sudden violent visitation of wrath; but part of the light, and harmony, and order, of our spiritual education; an essential and invaluable portion of our experience, of infinite importance in our moral training. To all it is decreed to suffer; through our bodies, through our minds, through our affections, through the noblest as well as the lowest of our attributes of being. This then, he argues, which enters so largely into the existence of every living soul, should never be regarded with an eye of terror, as an appalling liability or a fearful unaccountable disturbance in the course of our lives.

I suppose it is the rarefied air our spirits breathe on   great heights of achievement; as vital to our moral nature as the pure mountain element, which stimulates our lungs, is to our physical being. In sorrow, faithfully borne, the glory and the blessing of holiness become hourly more apparent to us; and it must be good for us to suffer, since our dear Father lays suffering upon us. If we believe one word of what we daily repeat, and profess to believe, of His mercy and goodness, we must needs believe that the pain and grief which enter so largely into His government of and provision for us are all part of His goodness and mercy.... I pray that you, and I, and all, may learn more and more to accept His will, even as His Son, our perfect pattern, accepted it....

J—— B—— has already returned home from the South, weary of the heat, and the oppressive smell of the orange flowers on Butler's Island....

The tranquillity of my outward circumstances has its counterweight m the excitability of my nature. I think upon the whole, the task and load of life is very equal, its labors and its burdens very equal: they only have real sorrow who make it for themselves, in their own hearts, by their own faults; and they only have real joy who make and keep it there by their own effort....

Katharine Sedgwick writes in great disappointment at your not being in Italy this winter, and so does her niece, my dear little Kate. Those are loving hearts, and most good Christians; they have been like sisters to me in this strange land; I am gratefully attached to them, and long for their return. God bless you, dear. Give my affectionate remembrance to Dorothy, and

Believe me ever yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, April 30th, 1840.

My dearest Harriet,

Of course I have begun to die already: which I believe people do as soon as they reach maturity; at any rate, the process begins, I am sure, much earlier, and is much more gradual and uninterrupted, than we suppose or are aware of. Most persons, I think, begin to die at about thirty; some take a longer, and some a shorter time in becoming quite entirely dead, but after that age I do not believe anybody is quite entirely alive.... Still, though somewhat dead (as I have most reason to know), to the   eyes of most people I am even now an uncommonly lively woman; and while my soul is at peace, and my spirits cheerful, I am not myself painfully conscious that I am dying.... The treasure of health was mine in perfection, almost for five and twenty years, and I do not see that I should have any right to complain that I no longer possess it as fully as I once did....

You and I have changed places curiously enough, since first we began to hold arguments together; and it seems as strange that you should disparage reason to me, as the chief instrument of education, as that I should be upholding it against your disparagement. The longer I live, the more convinced my reason is of the goodness and wisdom of God; and from what my reason can perceive of these attributes of our Father my faith derives the surest foundation on which to build perfect trust and confidence, where my reason can no longer discern the meaning of my existence, the exact purpose of its several events, and significance of its circumstances. Entire faith in God seems to me entirely reasonable; but, indeed, I have yet had no experience of any dispensations of Divine Providence which at all tried or shook my reason, or disturbed my trust in their unfailing righteousness.

Our reason, above all our other faculties, shows us how little we can know; and it is the very function of reason to perceive how finite, vague, and feeble all our conceptions of the Almighty must be; how utterly futile all our attempts to fathom His purposes, whose ways are assuredly not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts.

THE SPRING RESURRECTION. The spring has come; the mysterious resurrection which with its annually recurring miracle adorns the earth, and makes the heavens above it bright; and even on this uninteresting place, the flush of rosy bloom down in the apple-orchard, the tender green halo above, the golden green atmosphere beneath the trees of the avenue, the smell of the blossoms, the songs of the birds, awaken impressions of delight; and while the senses rejoice, the soul worships. Tulips, and hyacinths, and lilacs, and monthly roses shake about in the soft wind, and scatter their colored petals like jewels among the young vivid verdure. Delicate shadows of delicate leaves lie drawn in quivering tracery on the smooth emerald grass. My garden is a source of pleasure and perpetual occupation to me. Here, where ornamental cultivation is so little   attended to, my small improvements of our small pleasure-ground are repaid, not only by my own enjoyment, but by the admiring commendation of all who knew the place before we came to it; and as within the last two years I have planted upwards of two hundred trees, I begin to feel as if I had really done something in my generation. Good-bye, dear.

I remain ever yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, June 7th, 1840.

Thank you, my dear Mrs. Jameson, for your letter of April 4th. It was interesting and amusing enough to have been written by one whose thoughts and feelings were far otherwise free and cheerful than yours could have been when you indited it. I lament the protraction of your father's illness very much, for your mother's sake, and all your sakes. A serious illness at his period of life is not a circumstance to cause surprise; but its long continuance is to be deprecated, no less for the sufferer than those whose health and strength, expended in anxious watching, can leave them but little fortitude to meet the result should it prove fatal. I hope to hear in your next that your mother is relieved from her present painful position, and that your own spirits are more cheerful.

I have not seen even as much as an extract from Leigh Hunt's play [I think called a "Legend of Florence," and founded upon the incident that gave its name to the Via della Morte in the fair city]; but I am very glad he has written one, and hope he will write others: certain elements of his genius are essentially those of an effective dramatist, and surely, if the public can swallow a play of ——'s, it might be brought to taste one of Leigh Hunt's. I dislike everything that —— ever wrote, and think he ought to have been a Frenchman. Can one say worse of a man who is not?...

You ask me if writing plays is not pleasanter and more profitable than reading Gibbon. Certainly, if one only has the mind to do the one instead of the other, which at present I have not.

I have sometimes fancied it was my duty to work out such talent of that kind as was in me; but I have hitherto not felt at all sure that I had any such gift which, you know, would be necessary before I could determine what   was my duty with regard to it. I never write anything but upon impulse—all my compositions are impromptus; and the species of atmosphere I live in is not favorable to that order of inspiration. The outward sameness of my life; its uniformity of color, level surface, and monotonous tone; its unvaried tenor, alike devoid of pleasurable and painful excitement; its wholesome abundance of daily recurring trivial occupations, and absence of any great or varied interests; its entire isolation from all literary and intellectual society, which might strike the fire from the sleepy stone—all these influences prevail against my writing.

I once thought the material lay within me, but it will probably moulder away for want of use; and as long as I am neither the worse woman, wife, nor mother for its neglect, I take it it matters very little, and there is no harm done. My serious interest in life is the care of my children, and my principal recreation is my garden; and though I formerly sometimes imagined I had faculties whose exercise might demand a wider sphere, the consciousness that I discharge very imperfectly the obligations of that which I occupy, ought to satisfy me that its homely duties and modest tasks are more than sufficient for my abilities; and though I am not satisfied with myself, I should be with my existence, since, such as it is, it furnishes me with more work than I do as it should be done.

FANNY ELLSLER. From the interest you express in Fanny Ellsler, you will be glad to hear that her success here has been triumphant. I believe the great mass of people always recognize and acknowledge excellence when they see it, though their stupid or ignorant toleration of what is mediocre, or even bad, would seem to indicate the contrary.... The general mind of man is capable of perceiving the most excellent in all things, and prompt to seize it, too, when it meets with it. Even in morals it does so theoretically, however the difficulty of adhering to high standards may make the actions of most people conform but little to their best conceptions of right. The idea of perfection is recognized by the spirit of creatures capable of and destined for perfection in all things, whether great or small; and so (since this is à propos of opera dancing) Fanny Ellsler's performances have been appreciated here to a degree that would astonish those   who forget that education, though it develops, does not create our finer perceptions, and, moreover, that the finest are commoner than is commonly believed. The possession is almost universal: the cultivation in any degree worth anything comparatively rare, and in a high degree very rare indeed everywhere; and here—well! it does not exist.

I hope we shall see you in England in the autumn; I am using every endeavor not to be sent over alone.... I cannot bear to go to England again a "widow bewitched."

I am ever yours most truly,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, June 8th, 1840.

Dearest Harriet,

It is not to you that I apologize for talking over-much about my children, but to myself.... For what said the witty Frenchman of a man's love for wife and child? "Ah! bien c'est de l'égoïsme à trois." ... I hope you will see my children, both them and me, in a very few months; for I think we are coming to England in September, and I shall surely not leave it without borrowing some of your company from you, let you be where you may....

I must go and dress for dinner, hence the brevity of this letter, which pray accept for "the soul of wit."

Did you ever see a humming-bird? Have they them in Italy? We have a honeysuckle hedge here, where the little jewels of creatures stuff themselves incessantly, early and late, sabbaths and week-days, flickering over the sweet bushes of fragrance, like the diamonds of modern fashion set on elastic wires, to make them quiver and increase their sparkle and brilliancy. I should like to have written some more to you.

I am ever your affectionate

F. A. B.

Butler Place, June 28th, 1840.

My dear T——,

Your discoveries in the private character of Sir Samuel Romilly are none to me. I have known those who knew him intimately. My brother was school and college mate of his sons, one of whom I know very well; and their father's character, in all its most endearing aspects, was familiar to me. I think I was once told (not by them,   however, of course) that the melancholy induced by the loss of his wife had been the chief cause of his destroying himself, for he was devotedly and passionately attached to her.

We go every night to see Fanny Ellsler; only think what an extraordinary effort of dissipation for me, who hardly ever stir abroad of an evening, and who had almost as much forgotten the inside of a theatre as Falstaff had the inside of a church! My admiration for her grows rather than diminishes, though she is a better actress even than dancer, which I think speaks in favor of her intellect. Did you ever see Taglioni? Who invented and who suggested the expression the "poetry of motion"? It should have been made for her. Her dancing is like nothing but poetic inspiration, and seems as if she was composing while she executed it. I wonder if it is the ballet-master who devises all the steps of these great dancers,—of course, not the national dances, but the inconceivably lovely things that Taglioni does, or whether she orders her own steps, and (given a certain dramatic situation and a certain strain of music) floats or flies, or glides, or gyrates at her own will and pleasure. Did you ever see her in the "Sylphide"? What an exquisite pathetic dream of supernatural sentiment that was! Other dances are as graceful as possible; that woman was grace itself.

I was saying once to my friend, Frederick Rackeman, that Chopin's music made me think of Taglioni's dancing, to which he replied, to my great surprise, that Chopin had said that he had more than once received his inspiration from Taglioni's dancing; a curious instance of influence so strong as to be recognized by one who was perfectly unaware of it. If I remember rightly, Gibson, the sculptor, said that he owed many suggestions to the vigorous and graceful dancing of Cerito; but those, of course, were a suggestion of form to a creator of form, and not an inspiration of exquisite sound gathered from exquisite motion, as in the instance of Taglioni and Chopin.

SUGGESTIONS OF MUSIC. Certain music suggests the waving of trees, as in the Notturno in Mendelssohn's "Midsummer Night's Dream" and Schubert's exquisite beckoning song of the linden tree.

Certainly dancers deserve to be well paid when one thinks of the mechanical labor, the daily hours of battements   and changements de pieds, and turning, and twisting, and torturing of the limbs before this apparently spontaneous result of mere movement can be obtained.

Ellsler has great dramatic power. Her Tarentelle and Wylie are really finely tragical in parts; but then she had a first-rate head as well as foot training.

She is a wonderful artist; but there is something unutterably sad to me in the contemplation of such a career. The blending in most unnatural union of the elements of degradation and moral misery with such exquisite perceptions of beauty, grace, and refinement, produces the impression of a sort of monstrosity, a deformity of the whole higher nature, which fills one with poignant compassion and regret. Poor, fair, admired, despised, flattered, forlorn souls!...

Pray come and see us when you can, and

Believe me very truly yours,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, June 26th, 1840.

Dearest Harriet,

Mr. Combe and Cecilia spent the day with us on their way to New York, and I did rejoice to think her pilgrimage was over. She has gone through what her former habits of life must have made a severe experience in travelling in this country. Her affection for her husband, and her devotion to his views, are unbounded, and have helped her to submit to her trial with a cheerfulness and good humor worthy of all praise; for the luxurious comfort of her life in her mother's house was certainly a bad preparation for roughing it, as she has been doing for some months past, for the sake of the phrenologist and his phrenology.... I never knew any one more improved by the blessed discipline of happiness than she appears to be. I am afraid my incapacity to accept the whole of their system would always prevent our being as good friends as we might otherwise with opportunity become. Perhaps, however, as the opportunity is not likely to offer often, it does not much matter....

Saunders, the miniature-painter, of London celebrity, has come out here to look at the pretty faces on this side of the water.... He told me that he had once executed to order a miniature of me, partly from seeing me on the stage, and partly from memory. I knew nothing whatever   of this, and think it is one among the many nuisances of being a "public character," or what the American Minister's wife said her position had made her, "Une femme publique," that one's likeness may thus be stolen, and sold or bought by anybody who chooses to traffic in such gear.

I remember my mother telling me of a painful circumstance which had occurred to her from the same cause. A young officer of some distinction, who died in India, left among his effects a miniature of her; and she was disagreeably surprised by receiving from his mother a heartbroken appeal to her, saying that the fact of her son's being in possession of this portrait led her to hope that perhaps my mother might possess one of him, and entreating her, if such were the case, to permit her (his mother) to have a copy of it, as she had no likeness of her son. My mother was obliged to reply that she had no such portrait, and had never known or even heard the name of the gentleman who was in possession of hers....

How many things make one feel as if one's whole life was only a confused dream! Wouldn't it be odd to wake at the end, and find one had not lived at all? Many perhaps will wake at the end, and find it so indeed in one sense,—which brings us back to the more serious aspect of things....

I had some time ago a joint-stock letter from my brother John and his wife, informing me of the birth of their son. I do not think they mentioned who was to be its godmother; but I quite agree with Mrs. Kemble (my Uncle John's widow), as to the inexpediency of undertaking such a sponsorship for any one's child. If it means anything, it means something so serious that I should shrink from such a responsibility; and if it means (as it generally does) nothing, I think it would be better omitted altogether. When I was at home I dissuaded my sister from standing godmother to their little girl; but I do not think any of them understood my motive for doing so....

IRISH GIRLS IN AMERICA. You ask me whether the specimens of Irish order, neatness, and intelligence which came over here to fill our domestic ranks are beyond training. Truly, training is, for the most part, so far beyond them, that it is no easy matter to simplify even the first rudiments of the science of civilization sufficiently to render them intelligible to   these fair countrywomen of yours. Patience is a fine thing, and might accomplish something, perhaps; but there are insuperable bars to any hope of their progress in the high wages which they can all command at once, whether they ever saw the inside of a decent house before they came to this country or not; the abundance of situations; and the absence of everything like superior competition. The extraordinary comparative prosperity to which these poor ignorant girls are suddenly introduced on their arrival here, the high pay, the profusely plentiful living, the equality treatment, which must seem almost quality treatment to them, presently make them impertinent and unsteady; and as they can all command a new situation the instant that, for any cause, they leave the one they are in (unfit for the commonest situation in a decent household as they are), it is hardly worth their while, out of a mere abstract love of perfection, to labor at any very great improvement of their powers. A residence of some years in this country generally develops their intelligence into a sort of sharp-sighted calculating shrewdness, which they do not bring with them, but no way improves their own quick native wit and natural national humor. Of course there are exceptions; but the majority of them, after a short stay in America, contrive to combine their own least desirable race qualities with the independent tone of pert familiarity, the careless extravagance, and the passion for dress of American girls of the lower class....

F. A. B.

Butler Place, July 8th 1840.

Perhaps, dearest Harriet, it might be better for me not to come to England, inasmuch as my roots are beginning to spread in my present soil, and to transplant them, even for a short time, might check the process materially.... But while my father still lives, I shall hope to revisit England once in every few years: when he is gone, I will give up all the rest that I own on the other side of the water, and remain here until it might be thought desirable for us to visit, not England only, but Europe; and should that never appear desirable, why, then, remain here till I die.

My father's health received a beneficial stimulus from the excitement of his temporary return to the stage; but   before that, his condition was by all accounts very unsatisfactory; and I am afraid that when the effect of the impulse his physical powers received from the pleasurable exertion of acting subsides, he may again relapse into feebleness, dejection, and general disorder of the system, from which he appeared to be suffering before he made this last professional effort. I must see him once more, and he has written to me to say that as soon as he knows when we are coming to England, he will meet us there. He will, I am pretty sure, bring my sister with him, and this is an additional reason why I am very anxious to be in England this autumn.... I have no doubt that they will both come to England in September, to meet me, and I presume we should remain together until I am obliged to return to America.

THE DISCIPLINE OF SORROW. I have not expressed to you, my dearest Harriet, my delight at your relief from immediate anxiety about Dorothy. Sorrow seems to me so peculiarly severe in its administration—or discipline, should I call it?—to your spirit, that I thank God that its heavy pressure is lifted from your heart for the present. Dorothy is one of those with whom I always feel sure that all is well, let their circumstances or situation be what they will; but I rejoice that she is spared physical suffering, and preserved to you, to whom she is so infinitely precious....

F. A. B.

Lenox, August 15th, 1840.

Dearest Harriet,

... You bid me tell you when I shall leave America to pay my promised visit to my father. I have been thrown into a state of complete uncertainty by receiving a letter from my brother John, which informs me of my sister's engagement at Naples and Palermo, and possible further engagements at Malta and Constantinople! Think of her going to sing to the Turks!... I am at present alone here, and of course cannot myself determine the question of my going alone all over the Continent to join my father and Adelaide.... It is possible that I may have to renounce my visit to Europe altogether for the present, and, but for my father, I could do so without a moment's hesitation, but I dread postponing seeing him again, and, while I do so, shall live in a perpetual apprehension that I shall hear of his death as I did   of that of my poor mother. I consider the visit I contemplated making him our probable last season of reunion, and cannot banish the thought that if it is indefinitely postponed I may perhaps never see him again....

An intense interest is felt by all good Democrats in the coming election, which determines whether Mr. Van Buren is to retain the Presidency or not; and no zealous member of his party would leave the country while that was undetermined. John writes me, too, that he expects my father and sister both in London after Easter next year, and I have no doubt it will be thought best that I should wait till then to join them in England. However, all my plans must remain for the present in utter uncertainty, and I shall surely not meet you and Emily at Bannisters, which I could well have liked to do....

What lots of umbrellas you must wear out at Grasmere! [Miss S—— and Miss W—— were passing the summer at the English lakes.] I am writing pretty late at night, but if the Sedgwicks, whom you know, and those who, through them, know you, were round me, I should have showers of love to send you from them: your rainy lake country suggested that image, but that would be a warm shower, which you don't get in Westmoreland. I am growing very fat, but at the present there is no fatty degeneracy of the heart, so that I still remain

Affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

Lenox, Massachusetts, August 28th, 1840.

My dear Lady Dacre,

I have always considered your writing to me a very unmerited kindness towards one who had so little claim on your time and attention; and I need not tell you how much this feeling is increased by your present state of mind, and the effort I am sure it must be to you to remember one so far off, in the midst of your great sorrow [for the death of her daughter, Mrs. Sullivan].... I shall come alone to England; and this is the more dismal, that I have it in prospect to go down to Naples to join my father and sister, and stay with them till her engagements there and at Palermo are ended. This journey (once my vision by day and dream by night) will lose much of its delight by being a solitary pilgrimage to the long-desired Italy. I think of pressing one of my brothers into my service as   escort; or if they are not able to go with me, shall write to my father to come to England, as he lately sent me word he would do, at any time that I would meet him there—of course, to return immediately with him to my sister. They will both, I believe, be in England after Easter next year; and then I shall hope to be allowed to see you, my dear Lady Dacre, and express to you how much I have sympathized with you in all you have suffered.

THE DRAMATIC PROFESSION. I am not aware of having spoken unjustly or disparagingly of the dramatic profession. You say I am ungrateful to it: is it because I owe many of my friends (yourself among the number) to it that you say so? or do you think that I forget that circumstance? But to value it as an art, simply for the personal advantages or pleasures that it was the means of affording me, would be surely quite as absurd as to forget that it did procure such for me. Then, upon reflection, few things have ever puzzled me more than the fact of people liking me because I pretended to be a pack of Juliets and Belvideras, and creatures who were not me. Perhaps I was jealous of my parts; certainly, the good will my assumption of them obtained for me, always seemed to me quite as curious as flattering, or indeed rather more so. I did not think it an unbecoming comment on my father's acting again at the Queen's request, when I said that the excitement to which he had been habituated for so many years had still charms for him; it would be very strange indeed if it had not. It is chiefly from this point of view, and one or two others bearing on the moral health, that I deprecate for those I love the exercise of that profession; the claims of which to be considered as an art I cannot at all determine satisfactorily in my own mind. That we have Shakespeare's plays, written expressly for the interpretation of acting, is a strong argument for the existence of a positive art of acting: nevertheless——. But, if you please, we will settle that point when I have the pleasure of seeing you. I suppose I shall steam for England in October, when I shall endeavor to see you before I go abroad. Give my kindest regards to Lord Dacre, and believe me always

Very affectionately yours,

F. A. B.

  Lenox, September 4th, 1840.
My dearest Harriet,

... First of all, let me congratulate you, and dear Dorothy, upon her improved health. Good as she is, I am sure she must value life; for those who use it best, best know its infinite worth; and for you, my dearest Harriet, this extension of the precious loan of her existence to you, I am persuaded, must be full of the greatest blessings. Give my affectionate love to her when you write to her or see her again; for, indeed, I suppose you are now at Bannisters, where I should like well to be with you, but I much fear that I shall not see you this winter, though I expect to sail for England next month....

You ask me of the distance between the Virginia Springs and Lenox, and I am ashamed to say I cannot answer; however, almost half the length of the United States, I think. This, my northern place of summer sojourn, is in the heart of the hill country of Massachusetts, in a district inhabited chiefly by Sedgwicks, and their belongings....

Our friends the Sedgwicks reached their homes about a fortnight ago, and the hills and valleys hereabouts rejoiced thereat.... Katharine's health and spirits are much revived by the atmosphere of love by which she is surrounded in her home. She bids me give her love to you. I wonder, with your miserable self-distrust, whether you have any idea of the affectionate regard all these people bear you. Katharine, a short time before leaving Europe, saw in a shop a dark gray stuff which resembled a dress you used to wear; she immediately bought it for herself, and carrying it home asked her brother who it reminded him of. He instantly kissed the stuff, exclaiming, "H—— S——!" Young Kate's journal contains a most affectionate record of their short intimacy with you at Wiesbaden; and you have left a deep impression on these hearts, where as little that is bad or base abides as in any frail human hearts I ever knew....

I have regained so much of my former appearance that I trust when I do see you I shall not horrify you, as you seemed some time ago to anticipate, by an apparition altogether unlike your, ever essentially the same,

F. A. B.

  Butler Place, October 7th, 1840.

... Dearest Harriet, whatever may be the evils which may spring from the amazing facilities of intercourse daily developing between distant countries (and with so great good, how should there not be some evil?), think of those whose lots are cast far from their early homes and friends; think of the deathlike separation that going to America has been to thousands who left England, and friends there, but a few years ago; the uncertainty of intercourse by letter, the interminable intervals of suspense, the impossibility of making known or understood by hearts that yearned for such information the new and strange circumstances of the exile's existence; the gradual dying out of friendships, and cooling of warm regard, from the impossibility of sufficient intercourse to keep interest alive; and sympathy, after endeavoring in vain to picture the distant home and surroundings and daily occupations of the absent friend, dwindling and withering away for want of necessary aliment, in spite of all the efforts which imagination could make to satisfy the affectionate desire and longing loving inquiries of the heart. Think of all that those two existences as you call them (existences no more—but mere ideas), Time and Space, have caused of misery and suspense and heart-wearing anxiety, and rejoice that so much has been done to make parting less bitter, and absence endurable, through hope that now amounts almost to certainty.

PLANS OF LIFE. My own plans, which I thought so thoroughly settled a short time ago, have again become extremely indefinite. It is now considered inexpedient that I should travel on the Continent, though there is no objection to my remaining in England until my father's return, which I understand is expected soon after Easter. As, however, my motive in leaving America is to be with my father and sister, I have no idea of going to London to remain there three months, without any expectation of seeing them. This consideration would incline me to put off my visit to England till the spring, but it is not yet determined who, or whether any of us, will go to Georgia for the winter. My being taken thither is entirely uncertain; but should the contrary be decided upon, I might perhaps come to England immediately, as I would rather pass the winter in London, among my friends, if I am to spend it alone, than here, where the severe weather suspends all out-of-door   exercise, interests, and occupations, and where the absolute solitude is a terrible trial to my nerves and spirits.

At present, however, I have not a notion what will be determined about it, but as soon as I have any positive idea upon the subject I will let you know.

We returned from Massachusetts a few days ago, and I find a profusion of flowers and almost summer heat here, though the golden showers that every now and then flicker from the trees, and the rustling sound of fallen leaves, and the autumnal smell of mignonette, and other "fall" flowers, whisper of the coming winter; still all here at present is bright and sweet, with that peculiar combination of softness and brilliancy which belongs to the autumn in this part of America. It is the pleasantest season of the year here, and indescribably beautiful....

Good-bye, dearest Harriet; I had hoped to have joined you and Emily at Bannisters, but that pretty plan is all rubbed out now, and I do not know when I shall see you; but, thanks to those blessed beings—the steam-ships, those Atlantic angels of speed and certainty, it now seems as if I could do so "at any moment." God bless you.

Yours ever,

F. A. B.

Butler Place, October 26th.

I beg you will not stop short, as in your last letter, received the day before yesterday, dearest Harriet, with "but I will not overwhelm you with questions:" it is particularly agreeable to me to have specific questions to answer in the letters I receive from you, and I hope you perceive that I do religiously reply to anything in the shape of a query. It is pleasant to me to know upon what particular points of my doing, being, and suffering you desire to be enlightened; because although I know everything I write to you interests you, I like to be able to satisfy even a few of those "I wonders" that are perpetually rising up in our imaginations with respect to those we love and who are absent from us.

You ask me if I ever write any journal, or anything else now. The time that I passed in the South was so crowded with daily and hourly occupations that, though I kept a regular journal, it was hastily written, and received   constant additional notes of things that occurred, and that I wished to remember, inserted in a very irregular fashion in it.... I think I should like to carry this journal down to Georgia with me this winter; to revise, correct, and add whatever my second experience might furnish to the chronicle. It has been suggested to me that such an account of a Southern plantation might be worth publishing; but I think such a publication would be a breach of confidence, an advantage taken on my part of the situation of trust, which I held on the estate. As my condemnation of the whole system is unequivocal, and all my illustrations of its evils must be drawn from our own plantation, I do not think I have a right to exhibit the interior management and economy of that property to the world at large, as a sample of Southern slavery, especially as I did not go thither with any such purpose. This winter I think I shall mention my desire upon the subject before going to the South, and of course any such publication must then depend on the acquiescence of the owners of the estate. I am sure that no book of mine on the subject could be of as much use to the poor people on Butler's Island as my residence among them; and I should, therefore, be very unwilling to do anything that was likely to interfere with that: although I have sometimes been haunted with the idea that it was an imperative duty, knowing what I know, and having seen what I have seen, to do all that lies in my power to show the dangers and evils of this frightful institution. And the testimony of a planter's wife, whose experience has all been gathered from estates where the slaves are universally admitted to be well treated, should carry with it some authority. So I am occupying myself, from time to time, as my leisure allows, in making a fair copy of my Georgia Journal.

METHOD OF READING. I occasionally make very copious extracts from what I read, and also write critical analyses of the books that please or displease me, in the language—French or Italian—in which they are written; but these are fragmentary, and do not, I think, entitle me to say that I am writing anything. No one here is interested in anything that I write, and I have too little serious habit of study, too little application, and too much vanity and desire for the encouragement of praise, to achieve much in my condition of absolute intellectual solitude....

  Here are two of your questions answered; the third is—whether I let the slave question rest more than I did? Oh yes; for I have come to the conclusion that no words of mine could be powerful enough to dispel the clouds of prejudice which early habits of thought, and the general opinion of society upon this subject have gathered round the minds of the people I live among. I do not know whether they ever think or read about it, and my arguments, though founded in this case on pretty sound reason, are apt to degenerate into passionate appeals, the violence of which is not calculated to do much good in the way of producing convictions in the minds of others....

Even if the property were mine, I could exercise no power over it; nor could our children, after our death, do anything for those wretched slaves, under the present laws of Georgia. All that any one could do, would be to refrain from using the income derived from the estates, and return it to the rightful owners—that is, the earners of it. Had I such a property, I think I would put my slaves at once quietly upon the footing of free laborers, paying them wages, and making them pay me rent and take care of themselves. Of course I should be shot by my next neighbor (against whom no verdict would be found except "Serve her right!") in the first week of my experiment; but if I wasn't, I think, reckoning only the meanest profit to be derived from the measure, I should double the income of the estate in less than three years.... I am more than ever satisfied that God and Mammon would be equally propitiated by emancipation.

You ask me whether I take any interest in the Presidential election. Yes, though I have not room left for my reasons—and I have some, besides that best woman's reason, sympathy with the politics of the man I belong to. The party coming into power are, I believe, at heart less democratic than the other; and while the natural advantages of this wonderful country remain unexhausted (and they are apparently inexhaustible), I am sure the Republican Government is by far the best for the people themselves, besides thinking it the best in the abstract, as you know I do.

God bless you, my dearest Harriet.

I am ever yours most affectionately,

F. A. B.

  [The question of my spending the winter in Georgia was finally determined by Mr. J—— B—— 's decided opposition to my doing so. He was part proprietor of the plantation, and positively stipulated that I should not again be taken thither, considering my presence there as a mere source of distress to myself, annoyance to others, and danger to the property.

I question the validity of the latter objection, but not at all that of the two first; and am sure that, upon the whole, his opposition to my residence among his slaves was not only justifiable but perfectly reasonable.

My Georgia journal was not published until thirty years after it was written, during the civil war in the United States. I was then passing some time in England, and the people among whom I lived were, like most well-educated members of the upper classes of English society, Southern sympathizers. The ignorant and mischievous nonsense I was continually compelled to hear upon the subject of slavery in the seceding States determined me to publish my own observation of it—not, certainly, that I had in those latter years of my life any fallacious expectation of making converts on the subject, but that I felt constrained at that juncture to bear my testimony to the miserable nature and results of the system, of which so many of my countrymen and women were becoming the sentimental apologists.

ILLNESS OF CHARLES KEMBLE. It being now settled that I was not to return to the plantation, my thoughts had hardly reverted to the prospect of a winter in England when I received the news of my father's return from the Continent, and dangerous illness in London; so that, I was told, unless I could go to him immediately, there was but little probability of my ever seeing him again. The misfortune I had so often anticipated now seemed to have overtaken me, and instant preparation for my leaving America being made, and an elderly lady, with whom I had become connected by my marriage, having exerted her influence in my behalf, I was not allowed, under such painful circumstances, again to cross the Atlantic alone, but returned with a very heavy heart to my own country, but with the comfort of being accompanied by my whole family.

The news that met me on my arrival was that my father was at the point of death, that he would not probably survive twenty-four   hours, and that it was altogether inexpedient that he should see me, as, if he recognized me, which was doubtful, my unexpected appearance, it having been impossible to prepare him for it, might only be the means of causing him a violent and perhaps painful shock of nervous agitation. This terrible verdict, pronounced by three of the most eminent medical men of the day, Bright, Liston, and Wilson, was a dreadful close to all the anxious days and hours of the sea voyage, during which I had hoped and prayed to be again permitted to embrace my father. But in my deep distress, I could not help remembering that, after all, his physicians, able as they were, had not the keys of life and death. And so it proved: my father made an almost miraculous rally, recovered, and survived the sentence pronounced against him for many years.

Not many days after our arrival, his improved condition admitted of his being told of my return, and allowed to see me. Cadaverous is the only word that describes the appearance to which acute suffering and subsequent prostration had reduced him; he looked, indeed, like one returned from the dead, and, in his joy at seeing me again, declared that I had restored him to life, and that my arrival, though he had not known of it, had called him back to existence—a sympathetic theory of convalescence, to which I do not think his doctors gave in their adhesion.

We now took up our abode in London; first at the Clarendon Hotel, and afterwards in Clarges Street, Piccadilly, where my father, as soon as he could be moved, came to reside with us, and where my sister joined us on her return from Italy. My friend Miss S——, coming from Ireland to stay with me soon after my arrival in England, added to my happiness in finding myself once more with my own family, and in my own country.]

Clarges Street, March 21st.

You will, ere this, dearest H——, have received my answer to your first letter. You ask me, in your second, what we think about the chances of a war with America. Our wishes prompt us to the belief that a war between the two countries is impossible, though the tone of the newspapers, within the last few days, has been horribly pugnacious. A letter was received the day before yesterday, from our Liverpool factor, asking us what is to be done about some cotton which had just come to them from   the plantation, in the event of war breaking out: a supposition which he had treated as an utter impossibility when he was last in London, but which he confessed in this letter did not seem to him quite so impossible now. I do not, for my own part, see very well how either party is to get out of its present attitude towards the other peaceably and, at the same time, without some compromise of dignity. But I pray God that the hearts of the two nations may be inclined to peace, and then, doubtless, some cunning device will be found to save their honor. The virtuous "if" of Touchstone is, I am afraid, not as valid in national as individual quarrels.

Tell Mr. H—— W——, with my love, that it is all a hoax about Niagara Falls having fallen down; and that they are still falling down, according to their custom; but if you should find this intelligence affect him with too painful a disappointment, you may comfort him by assuring him that they inevitably must and will fall down one of these days, and, what is more, stay fallen, and precisely in the manner they are now said to have begun their career—by the gradual wearing away of the rock between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

PERSIANI AND PAULINE GARCIA. We were at the opera the Saturday after you left us; but it was a mediocre performance, both music and dancing, and gave me but little pleasure. I went last night again with my father, and was enchanted with the opera, which was an old favorite, "Tancredi," in which I heard Persiani, an admirable artist, with a mere golden wire of voice, of which she made most capital use, and Pauline Garcia, who possesses all the genius of her family; and between them it was a perfect performance. The latter is a sister of Malibran's, and will certainly be one of the finest dramatic singers of these times. But the proximity of people to me in the stalls is so intolerable that I think I shall give mine up; for I am in a state of nervous crawling the whole time, with being pushed and pressed and squeezed and leaned on and breathed on by my fellow-creatures. You remember my old theory, that we are all of us surrounded by an atmosphere proper to ourselves, emanating from each of us,—a separate, sensitive envelope, extending some little distance from our visible persons. I am persuaded that this is the case, and that when my individual atmosphere is invaded by any one, it affects my   whole nervous system. The proximity of any bodies but those I love best is unendurable to my body.

My father is much in the same condition as when you went away, suffering a great deal, and complaining frequently; but by his desire we have a dinner-party here on Tuesday, and he has accepted two invitations to dine out himself. My chicks are pretty well....

May God bless you, dear.

I am ever your own

F. A. B.

Clarges Street.

This letter was begun three days ago, and it is now Thursday, March the 25th. Do not, I beseech you, ever make any appeals to my imagination, or my feelings. I have lost all I ever had of the first, and I never had any at all of the second....

You ask me if I have been riding. Only once or twice, for I may not do what I so fain would, give all the visiting to utter neglect, and ride every day. Yesterday I was on horseback for two hours with Henry, who, having sold his pretty mare, for £65, to the author of the new comedy at Covent Garden, was obliged to bestride one of Mr. Allen's screws, as he calls them. The day was dusty and windy, and very disagreeable, but I was all the better for my shaking, as I always am. I am never in health, looks, or spirits without daily hard exercise on horseback.

My first meeting with Mrs. Grote (I am answering your questions, dearest H——, though you have probably forgotten them) took place after all at Sydney Smith's, at a dinner the very next day after you left us. We did not say a great deal to each other, but upon my saying incidentally (I forget about what) "I, who have always preserved my liberty, at least the small crumb of it that a woman can own anywhere," she faced about, in a most emphatical manner, and said, "Then you've struggled for it." "No, I have not been obliged to do so." "Ah, then you must, or you'll lose it, you'll lose it, depend upon it." I smiled, but did not reply, because I saw that she was not taking into consideration the fact of my living in America; and this was the only truly Grotesque (as Sydney Smith says) passage between us. Since then we have again ineffectually exchanged cards, and yesterday I received an invitation to her house, so that I suppose we shall finally become acquainted with each other.

MRS. GROTE.   [Mrs. Grote, wife of George Grote, the banker, member of Parliament, and historian of Greece, was one of the cleverest and most eccentric women in the London society of my time. No worse a judge than De Tocqueville pronounced her the cleverest woman of his acquaintance; and she was certainly a very remarkable member of the circle of remarkable men among whom she was living when I first knew her. At that time she was the female centre of the Radical party in politics—a sort of not-young-or-handsome feminine oracle among a set of very clever half-heathenish men, in whose drawing-room, Sydney Smith used to say, he always expected to find an altar to Zeus. At this time Mr. Grote was in the House of Commons, and as it was before the publication of his admirable history, his speeches, which were as remarkable for their sound sense and enlightened liberality as for their clear and forcible style, were not unfrequently attributed to his wife, whose considerable conversational powers, joined to a rather dictatorial style of exercising them, sometimes threw her refined and modest husband a little into the shade in general society. When first I made Mrs. Grote's acquaintance, the persons one most frequently met at her house in Eccleston Street were Roebuck, Leader, Byron's quondam associate Trelawney, and Sir William Molesworth; both the first and last mentioned gentlemen were then of an infinitely deeper shade of radicalism in their politics than they subsequently became. The other principal element of Mrs. Grote's society, at this time, consisted of musical composers and performers, who found in her a cordial and hospitable friend and hostess, and an amateur of unusual knowledge and discrimination, as well as much taste and feeling for their beautiful art. Her love of music, and courteous reception of all foreign artists, caused her to be generally sought by eminent professors coming to England; and Liszt, Madame Viardot, Dessauer, Thalberg, Mademoiselle Lind, and Mendelssohn were among the celebrated musicians one frequently met at her house. With the two latter she was very intimate, and it was in her drawing-room that my sister gave her first public concert in London. Mendelssohn used often to visit her at a small country-place she had in the neighborhood of Burnham Beeches.

It was a very small and modest residence, situated on the verge of   the magnificent tract of woodland scenery known by that name; a dependence, I believe, of the Dropmore estate, which it adjoined. It was an unenclosed space of considerable extent, of wild, heathy moorland; short turfy strips of common; dingles full of foxglove, harebell, and gnarled old stunted hawthorn bushes; and knolls, covered with waving crests of powerful feathery fern. It was intersected with gravelly paths and roads, whose warm color contrasted and harmonized with the woodland hues of everything about them; and roofed in by dark green vaults of the most magnificent beech foliage I have ever seen anywhere. The trees were of great age and enormous size; and from some accidental influence affecting their growth, the huge trunks were many of them contorted so as to resemble absolutely the twisted Saxon pillars of some old cathedral. In many of them the powerful branches (as large themselves as trunks of common trees) spread out from the main tree, at a height of about six feet from the ground, into a sort of capacious leafy chamber, where eight or ten people could have sat embowered. A more perfectly English woodland scene it would be impossible to imagine, and here, as Mrs. Grote told me, Mendelssohn found the inspiration of much of the music of his "Midsummer Night's Dream." (The overture he had composed, and played to us one evening at my father's house, when first he came to England, before he was one-and-twenty.) At one time Mrs. Grote contemplated erecting some monument in the beautiful wood to his memory, and showed me a copy of verses, not devoid of merit, which she thought of inscribing on it to his honor; but she never carried out the suggestion of her affectionate admiration; and to those who knew and loved Mendelssohn (alas! the expressions are synonymous), the glorious wood itself, where he walked and mused and held converse with the spirit of Shakespeare, forms a solemn sylvan temple, forever consecrated to tender memories of his bright genius and lovely character.

When first I knew Mrs. Grote, however, her artistic sympathies were keenly excited in a very different direction; for she had undertaken, under some singular impulse of mistaken enthusiasm, to make what she called "an honest woman" of the celebrated dancer, Fanny Ellsler, and to introduce her into London society,—neither of   them very attainable results, even for as valiant and enterprising a person as Mrs. Grote. When first I heard of this strange undertaking I was, in common with most of her friends, much surprised at it; nor was it until some years after the entire failure of this quixotic experiment, that I became aware that she had been actuated by any motive but the kindliest and most mistaken enthusiasm.

Mademoiselle Ellsler was at this time at the height of her great and deserved popularity as a dancer, and whatever I may have thought of the expediency or possibility of making what Mrs. Grote called "an honest woman" of her, I was among the most enthusiastic admirers of her great excellence in her elegant art. She was the only intellectual dancer I have ever seen. Inferior to Taglioni (that embodied genius of rhythmical motion) in lightness, grace, and sentiment; to Carlotta Grisi in the two latter qualities; and with less mere vigor and elasticity than Cerito, she excelled them all in dramatic expression; and parts of her performance in the ballets of the "Tarantella" and the wild legend of "Gisele, the Willye," exhibited tragic power of a very high order, while the same strongly dramatic element was the cause of her pre-eminence in all national and characteristic dances, such as El Jaleo de Xeres, the Cracovienne, et cetera. This predominance of the intellectual element in her dancing may have been the result of original organization, or it may have been owing to the mental training which Ellsler received from Frederic von Genz, Gensius, the German writer and diplomatist, who educated her, and whose mistress she became while still quite a young girl. However that may be, Mrs. Grote always maintained that her genius lay full as much in her head as in her heels. I am not sure that the finest performance of hers that I ever witnessed was not a minuet in which she danced the man's part, in full court-suit of the time of Louis XVI., with most admirable grace and nobility of demeanor.

Mrs. Grote labored hard to procure her acceptance in society; her personal kindness to her was of the most generous description: but her great object of making "an honest woman" of her, I believe failed signally in every way.

On one occasion I paid Mrs. Grote a visit at Burnham Beeches. Our party consisted only of my sister and myself; the Viennese composer,   Dessauer; and Chorley, the musical critic of the Athenæum, who was very intimately acquainted with us all. The eccentricities of our hostess, with which some of us were already tolerably familiar, were a source of unfeigned amazement and awe to Dessauer, who, himself the most curious, quaint, and withal nervously excitable and irritable humorist, was thrown into alternate convulsions of laughter and spasms of terror at the portentous female figure, who, with a stick in her hand, a man's hat on her head, and a coachman's box-coat of drab cloth with manifold capes over her petticoats (English women had not yet then adopted a costume undistinguishable from that of the other sex), stalked about the house and grounds, alternately superintending various matters of the domestic economy, and discussing, with equal knowledge and discrimination, questions of musical criticism and taste.

One most ludicrous scene which took place on this occasion I shall never forget. She had left us to our own devices, and we were all in the garden. I was sitting in a swing, and my sister, Dessauer, and Chorley were lying on the lawn at my feet, when presently, striding towards us, appeared the extravagant figure of Mrs. Grote, who, as soon as she was within speaking-trumpet distance, hailed us with a stentorian challenge about some detail of dinner—I think it was whether the majority voted for bacon and peas or bacon and beans. Having duly settled this momentous question, as Mrs. Grote turned and marched away, Dessauer—who had been sitting straight up, listening with his head first on one side and then on the other, like an eagerly intelligent terrier, taking no part in the culinary controversy (indeed, his entire ignorance of English necessarily disqualified him for even comprehending it), but staring intently, with open eyes and mouth, at Mrs. Grote—suddenly began, with his hands and lips, to imitate the rolling of a drum, and then broke out aloud with, "Malbrook s'en vat' en guerre," etc.; whereupon the terrible lady faced right about, like a soldier, and, planting her stick in the ground, surveyed Dessauer with an awful countenance. The wretched little man grew red and then purple, and then black in the face with fear and shame; and exclaiming in his agony, "Ah, bonté divine! elle m'a compris!" rolled over and over on the lawn as if he had a fit. Mrs. Grote majestically waved her hand, and with magnanimous disdain of her   small adversary turned and departed, and we remained horror-stricken at the effect of this involuntary tribute of Dessauer's to her martial air and deportment.

When she returned, however, it was to enter into a most interesting and animated discussion upon the subject of Glück's music; and suddenly, some piece from the "Iphigenia" being mentioned, she shouted for her man-servant, to whom on his appearance she gave orders to bring her a chair and footstool, and "the big fiddle" (the violoncello) out of the hall; and taking it forthwith between her knees, proceeded to play, with excellent taste and expression, some of Glück's noble music upon the sonorous instrument, with which St. Cecilia is the only female I ever saw on terms of such familiar intimacy.

MRS. GROTE AND FANNY ELLSLER. The second time Mrs. Grote invited me to the Beeches, it was to meet Mdlle. Ellsler. A conversation I had with my admirable and excellent friend Sydney Smith determined me to decline joining the party. He wound up his kind and friendly advice to me upon the subject by saying, "No, no, my child; that's all very well for Grota" (the name he always gave Mrs. Grote, whose good qualities and abilities he esteemed very highly, whatever he may have thought of her eccentricities); "but don't mix yourself up with that sort of thing." And I had reason to rejoice that I followed his good advice. Mrs. Grote told me, in the course of a conversation we once had on the subject of Mdlle. Ellsler, that when the latter went to America, she, Mrs. Grote, had undertaken most generously the entire care and charge of her child, a lovely little girl of about six years old. "All I said to her," said this strange, kind-hearted woman, "was 'Well, Fanny, send the brat to me; I don't ask you whose child it is, and I don't care, so long as it isn't that fool d'Orsay's'" (Mrs. Grote had small esteem for the dandy of his day), "'and I'll take the best care of it I can.'" And she did take the kindest care of it during the whole period of Mdlle. Ellsler's absence from Europe.

The next time I visited the Beeches was after an interval of some years, when I went thither with my kind and constant friend Mr. Rogers. My circumstances had altered very painfully, and I was again laboring for my own support.

I went down to Burnham with the old poet, and was sorry to find   that, though he had consented to pay Mrs. Grote this visit, he was not in particularly harmonious tune for her society, which was always rather a trial to his fastidious nerves and refined taste. The drive of between three and four miles in a fly (very different from his own luxurious carriage), through intricate lanes and rural winding avenues, did not tend to soften his acerbities, and I perceived at once, on alighting from the carriage, that the aspect of the place did not find favor in his eyes.

Mrs. Grote had just put up an addition to her house, a sort of single wing, which added a good-sized drawing-room to the modest mansion I had before visited. Whatever accession of comfort the house received within from this addition to its size, its beauty, externally, was not improved by it, and Mr. Rogers stood before the offending edifice, surveying it with a sardonic sneer that I should think even brick and mortar must have found it hard to bear. He had hardly uttered his three first disparaging bitter sentences, of utter scorn and abhorrence of the architectural abortion, which, indeed it was, when Mrs. Grote herself made her appearance in her usual country costume, box-coat, hat on her head, and stick in her hand. Mr. Rogers turned to her with a verjuice smile, and said, "I was just remarking that in whatever part of the world I had seen this building I should have guessed to whose taste I might attribute its erection." To which, without an instant's hesitation, she replied, "Ah, 'tis a beastly thing, to be sure. The confounded workmen played the devil with the place while I was away." Then, without any more words, she led the way to the interior of her habitation, and I could not but wonder whether her blunt straightforwardness did not disconcert and rebuke Mr. Rogers for his treacherous sneer.

During this visit, much interesting conversation passed with reference to the letters of Sydney Smith, who was just dead; and the propriety of publishing all his correspondence, which, of course, contained strictures and remarks upon people with whom he had been living in habits of friendly social intimacy. I remember one morning a particularly lively discussion on the subject, between Mrs. Grote and Mr. Rogers. The former had a great many letters from Sydney Smith, and urged the impossibility of publishing them, with all their comments on members of the London world. Rogers, on the   contrary, apparently delighted at the idea of the mischief such revelations would make, urged Mrs. Grote to give them ungarbled to the press. "Oh, but now," said the latter, "here, for instance, Mr. Rogers, such a letter as this, about ——; do see how he cuts up the poor fellow. It really never would do to publish it." Rogers took the letter from her, and read it with a stony grin of diabolical delight on his countenance and occasional chuckling exclamations of "Publish it! publish it! Put an R, dash, or an R and four stars for the name. He'll never know it, though everybody else will." While Mr. Rogers was thus delecting himself, in anticipation, with R——'s execution, Mrs. Grote, by whose side I was sitting on a low stool, quietly unfolded another letter of Sydney Smith's, and silently held it before my eyes, and the very first words in it were a most ludicrous allusion to Rogers's cadaverous appearance. As I raised my eyes from this most absurd description of him, and saw him still absorbed in his evil delight, the whole struck me as so like a scene in a farce that I could not refrain from bursting out laughing.

In talking of Sydney Smith Mr. Rogers gave us many amusing details of various visits he paid him at his place in Somersetshire, Combe Flory, where, on one occasion, Jeffrey was also one of the party. It was to do honor to these illustrious guests that Sydney Smith had a pair of horns fastened on his donkey, who was turned into the paddock so adorned, in order, as he said, to give the place a more noble and park-like appearance; and it was on this same donkey that Jeffrey mounted when Sydney Smith exclaimed with such glee—

"As short, but not as stout, as Bacchus,
As witty as Horatius Flacchus,
As great a radical as Gracchus,
There he goes riding on my jackuss."

THE ASSASSIN. Rogers told us too, with great satisfaction, an anecdote of Sydney Smith's son, known in London society by the amiable nickname of the Assassin.... This gentleman, being rather addicted to horse-racing and the undesirable society of riders, trainers, jockeys, and semi-turf black-legs, meeting a friend of his father's on his arrival at Combe Flory, the visitor said, "So you have got Rogers here, I find." "Oh, yes," replied Sydney Smith's dissimilar son,   with a rueful countenance, "but it isn't the Rogers, you know." The Rogers, according to him, being a famous horse-trainer and rider of that name.

I have called him his father's dissimilar son, but feel inclined to withdraw that epithet, when I recollect his endeavor to find an appropriate subject of conversation for the Archbishop of York, by whom, on one occasion, he found himself seated at dinner: "Pray, my lord, how long do you think it took Nebuchadnezzar to get into condition again after his turn out at grass?"

The third time I went to Burnham Beeches, it was to meet a very clever Piedmontese gentleman, with whom Mr. Grote had become intimate, Mr. Senior, known and valued for his ability as a political economist, his clear and acute intelligence, his general information and agreeable powers of conversation. His universal acquaintance with all political and statistical details, and the whole contemporaneous history of European events, and the readiness and fulness of his information on all matters of interest connected with public affairs used to make Mrs. Grote call him her "man of facts." The other member of our small party was Charles Greville, whose acquaintance Mrs. Grote had made through his intimacy with my sister and myself. This gentleman was one of the most agreeable members of our intimate society. His mother was the sister of the late Duke of Portland, and during the short administration of his uncle, Charles Greville, then quite a young man, had a sinecure office in the island of Jamaica bestowed upon him, and was made Clerk of the Privy Council; which appointment, by giving him an assured position and handsome income for life, effectually put a stop to his real advancement at the very outset, by rendering all effort of ambition on his part unnecessary, and inducing him, instead of distinguishing himself by an honorable public career, to adopt the life and pursuits of a mere man of pleasure, ... and to waste his talents in the petty intrigues of society, and the excitements of the turf. He was an influential member of the London great world of his day; his clear good sense, excellent judgment, knowledge of the world, and science of expediency, combined with his good temper and ready friendliness, made him a sort of universal referee in the society to which he belonged. Men consulted him about their difficulties with men; and women, about their squabbles with   women; and men and women, about their troubles with the opposite sex. He was called into the confidence of all manner of people, and trusted with the adjustment of all sorts of affairs. He knew the secrets of everybody, which everybody seemed willing that he should know; and he was one of the principal lawgivers of the turf. The publication of Charles Greville's Memoirs, which shocked the whole of London society, surprised, as much as it grieved, his friends, the character they revealed being painfully at variance with their impression of him, and not a little, in some respects, at variance with that of a gentleman.... Our small party at the Beeches was broken up on the occasion of this, my third visit, by our hostess's indisposition. She was seized with a violent attack of neuralgia in the head, to which she was subject, and by which she was compelled to take to her bed, and remain there in darkness and almost intolerable suffering for hours, and sometimes days together. I have known her prostrated by a paroxysm of this sort when she had invited a large party to dinner, and obliged to leave her husband to do the honors to their guests, while she betook herself to solitary confinement in a darkened room.

On the present occasion the gentlemen guests took their departure for London, and I should have done the same, but that Mrs. Grote entreated me to remain, for the chance of her being soon rid of her torment. Towards the middle of the day she begged me to come to her room, when, feeling, I presume, some temporary relief, she presently began talking vehemently to me about a French opera of "The Tempest," by Halévy, I believe, which had just been produced in Paris, with Madame Rossi Sontag as Miranda, and Lablache as Caliban. Mrs. Grote was violent in her abuse of the composition, deploring, as I joined her in doing, that Mendelssohn should not have taken "The Tempest" for the subject of an opera, and so prevented less worthy composers from laying hands upon it.

JENNY LIND. Towards this time Mrs. Grote became absorbed by a passionate enthusiasm for Mademoiselle Jenny Lind, of whom she was an idolatrous worshipper, and who frequently spent her days of leisure at the Beeches. Mrs. Grote engrossed Mademoiselle Jenny Lind in so curious a manner that, socially, the accomplished singer could hardly be approached but through her. She was kind enough to ask me   twice to meet her, when Mendelssohn and herself were together at Burnham—an offer of a rare pleasure, of which I was unable to avail myself. I remember, about this time, a comical conversation I had with her, in which, after surveying and defining her social position and its various advantages, she exclaimed, "But I want some lords, Fanny. Can't you help me to some lords?" I told her, laughingly, that I thought the lady who held watch and ward over Mademoiselle Jenny Lind might have as many lords at her feet as she pleased....

MRS. GROTE AND MRS. KEMBLE. Besides her literary and artistic tastes, she took a keen interest in politics, and among other causes for the slight esteem in which she not unnaturally held my intellectual capacity was my ignorance of, and indifference to, anything connected with party politics, especially as discussed in coteries and by coterie queens.

Great questions of European policy, and the important movements of foreign governments, or our own, in matters tending to affect the general welfare and progress of humanity, had a profound interest for me; but I talked so little on such subjects, as became the profundity of my ignorance, that Mrs. Grote supposed them altogether above my sympathy, and probably above my comprehension.

I remember very well, one evening at her own house, I was working at some embroidery (I never saw her with that feminine implement, a needle, in her fingers, and have a notion she despised those who employed it, and the results they achieved), and I was listening with perfect satisfaction to an able and animated discussion between Mr. Grote, Charles Greville, Mr. Senior, and a very intelligent Piedmontese then staying at the Beeches, on the aspect of European politics, and more especially of Italian affairs, when Mrs. Grote, evidently thinking the subject too much for me, drew her chair up to mine, and began a condescending conversation about matters which she probably judged more on a level with my comprehension; for she seemed both relieved and surprised when I stopped her kind effort to entertain me at once, thanking her, and assuring her that I was enjoying extremely what I was listening to.

Some time after this, however, I must say I took a mischievous opportunity of purposely confirming her poor opinion of my brains; for on her return from Paris, where she had been during Louis   Napoleon's coup d'état, she offered to show me Mr. Senior's journal, kept there at the same time, and recording all the remarkable and striking incidents of that exciting period of French affairs. This was a temptation, but it was a greater one to me—being, as Madame de Sévigné says of herself, méchante ma fille—to make fun of Mrs. Grote; and so, comforting myself with thinking that this probably highly interesting and instructive record, kept by Mr. Senior, would be sure to be published, and was then in manuscript (a thing which I abhor), I quietly declined the offer, looking as like Audrey when she asks "What is poetical?" as I could: to which Mrs. Grote, with an indescribable look, accent, and gesture of good-humored contempt, replied, "Ah, well, it might not interest you; I dare say it wouldn't. It is political, to be sure; it is political."

This is the second very clever woman, to whom I know my intelligence had been vaunted, to whom I turned out completely "Paradise Lost," as my mother's comical old acquaintance, Lady Dashwood King, used to say to Adelaide of me: "Ah, yes, I know your sister is vastly clever, exceedingly intelligent, and all that kind of thing, but she is 'Paradise Lost' to me, my dear." I sometimes regretted having hidden my small light under a bushel as entirely as I did, in the little intercourse I had with the first Lady Ashburton, Lady Harriet Montague, with whom some of my friends desired that I should become acquainted, and who asked me to her house in London, and to the Grange, having been assured that there was something in me, and trying to find it out, without ever succeeding.

Mrs. Grote had generally a very contemptuous regard for the capacity of her female friends. She was extremely fond of my sister, but certainly had not the remotest appreciation of her great cleverness; and on one occasion betrayed the most whimsical surprise when Adelaide mentioned having received a letter from the great German scholar Waelcker. "Who? what? you? Waelcker, write to you!" exclaimed Grota, in amazement more apparent than courteous, it evidently being beyond the wildest stretch of her imagination that one of the most learned men in Europe, and profoundest scholars of Germany, could be a correspondent of my sister's, and a devoted admirer of her brilliant intelligence.

  Mrs. Grote's appearance was extremely singular; "striking" is, I think, the most appropriate word for it. She was very tall, square-built, and high-shouldered; her hands and arms, feet and legs (the latter she was by no means averse to displaying) were uncommonly handsome and well made. Her face was rather that of a clever man than a woman, and I used to think there was some resemblance between herself and our piratical friend Trelawney.

Her familiar style of language among her intimates was something that could only be believed by those who heard it; it was technical to a degree that was amazing. I remember, at a dinner-party at her own table, her speaking of Audubon's work on ornithology, and saying that some of the incidents of his personal adventures, in the pursuit of his favorite science, had pleased her particularly; instancing, among other anecdotes, an occasion on which, as she said, "he was almost starving in the woods, you know, and found some kind of wild creature, which he immediately disembowelled and devoured." This, at dinner, at her own table, before a large party, was rather forcible. But little usual as her modes of expression were, she never seemed to be in the slightest degree aware of the startling effect they produced; she uttered them with the most straightforward unconsciousness and unconcern. Her taste in dress was, as might have been expected, slightly eccentric, but, for a person with so great a perception of harmony of sound, her passion for discordant colors was singular. The first time I ever saw her she was dressed in a bright brimstone-colored silk gown, made so short as to show her feet and ankles, having on her head a white satin hat, with a forest of white feathers; and I remember her standing, with her feet wide apart and her arms akimbo, in this costume before me, and challenging me upon some political question, by which, and her appearance, I was much astonished and a little frightened. One evening she came to my sister's house dressed entirely in black, but with scarlet shoes on, with which I suppose she was particularly pleased, for she lay on a sofa with her feet higher than her head, American fashion, the better to display or contemplate them. I remember, at a party, being seated by Sydney Smith, when Mrs. Grote entered with a rose-colored turban on her head, at which he suddenly exclaimed, "Now I know the meaning of the   word grotesque!" The mischievous wit professed his cordial liking for both her and her husband, saying, "I like them, I like them; I like him, he is so ladylike; and I like her, she's such a perfect gentleman;" in which, however, he had been forestalled by a person who certainly n'y entendait pas malice, Mrs. Chorley, the meekest and gentlest of human beings, who one evening, at a party at her son's house, said to him, pointing out Mrs. Grote, who was dressed in white, "Henry, my dear, who is the gentleman in the white muslin gown?"]

EDUCATION OF THE POOR. You ask me, dear H——, about Lady Francis's visit. She did not come, as she had proposed doing, on the Friday, for she caught the influenza, and was extremely unwell for a few days; she was here on Monday, coughing incessantly and looking ill. In the course of our conversation, she exclaimed, "Education! bless me, I think of nothing else but the education of the poor. Don't you find people have got to think and talk about nothing else? I protest, I don't." This made me laugh, and you will understand why; but she didn't, and pressed me very much to tell her what there was absurd in the matter to me: but I declined answering her, at least then and there, as I could not enter into a full discussion of the subject, down to the roots of it, just at that moment. But, as you will well comprehend, the circumstances that render this feverish zeal for education comical, in some of its fine-lady advocates, are peculiarly strong in her case, though she is in earnest enough, and thoroughly well-intentioned in whatever she does. Unwittingly, they are serving the poor, as they certainly do not contemplate doing; for by educating them, even as they are likely to do so, they will gradually prepare them, intelligently and therefore irresistibly, to demand such changes in their political and social conditions as they may now impotently desire, and will assuredly hereafter obtain; but not, I think, with the entirely cordial acquiescence of their Tory educators.

We went to the opera the Saturday after you left us, but both the opera and the ballet were indifferent performances.... Do you not know that to misunderstand and be misunderstood is one of the inevitable conditions, and, I think, one of the especial purposes, of our existence? The principal use of the affection of human beings for each other is to supply the want of perfect comprehension, which is impossible. All the faith and love which   we possess are barely sufficient to bridge over the abyss of individualism which separates one human being from another; and they would not or could not exist, if we really understood each other. God bless you, dear.

Yours ever,


Clarges Street, March 28th, 1841.

Dearest H——,

My Sunday's avocations being over, or rather——

Here a loud, double knock, and Emily's entrance cut short my sentence; and now that she is gone, it is close upon time to dress for dinner. She bids me tell you that I am going to-morrow to sit to the sun for my picture for you. I cannot easily conceive how you should desire a daguerreotype of me; you certainly have never seen one, or you would not do so; as it is, I think you will receive a severe shock from the real representation of the face you love so well and know so little....

Emily and I went with the children to the Zoological Gardens the other day, where a fine, intelligent-looking lioness appeared exceedingly struck with them, crouched, and made a spring at little Fan, which made Anne scream, and Emily, and Amelia Twiss, who was with us, catch hold of the child. The keeper assured us it was only play; but I was well pleased, nevertheless, that there was a grating between that very large cat and the little white mouse of a plaything she contemplated.

I have no news to give you, dear H——. A list of our dinner and evening engagements would be interminable, and not very profitable stuff for correspondence.

I breakfasted with Mr. Rogers the other morning, and met Lord Normanby, to whom I preferred a request that he would procure for Henry an unattached company, by which he would obtain a captain's rank and half-pay, and escape being sent to Canada, or, indeed, out of England at all—which, in my father's present condition of health, is very desirable....

We hear of my sister's great success in Italy, in "Norma," from sources which can leave us no doubt of it....

Good-bye, dearest H——. Here is a list of my immediately impending occupations—Monday, Emily spends the evening with me, till I go to a party at Miss Rogers's; Tuesday, we go to the opera; Wednesday, we dine with   the M——s, and go in the evening to Mrs. Grote's; Thursday, dinner at Mrs. Norton's; Friday, dine with Mrs. C——, who has a ball in the evening; Saturday, the opera again: and so, pray don't say I am wasting my time, or neglecting my opportunities.

Yours ever,


Clarges Street, Thursday, April 2nd.

Dearest H——,

I wrote to you yesterday, but have half an hour of leisure, and will begin another letter to you now. If it suffers interruption, I shall at any rate have made a start, and the end will come in time, doubtless, if Heaven pleases....

ADELAIDE KEMBLE. My father is much in the same condition as when last I wrote to you.... You ask if he does not begin to count the days till Adelaide's return [my sister was daily expected from Italy, where she had just finished engagements at the Fenice, the San Carlo, and the Scala]: he speaks of that event occasionally, with fervent hope and expectation; but he is seldom roused by anything from the state of suffering self-absorption in which he lives for the most part....

I forget whether we have heard from Adelaide herself since you left us; but my father had a letter the other day from C——, who sent him a detailed account of her success in "Norma," which by all accounts has indeed been very great.

One of C——'s proofs of it amused me not a little. He said that one night, when she was singing it, although some of the royal family were in their box and appeared about to applaud, the people could not restrain their acclamations, but broke out into vociferous bravos, contrary to etiquette on such occasions, when it is usual for royalty to give the signal to public enthusiasm.

Doubtless this was a very great proof of her power over her fellow-creatures, and of the irresistible human sympathies which are occasionally, even in such an atmosphere as that of a Neapolitan theatre, with Bourbon royalty present, stronger than social conventionalities....

You ask if the new comedy ("London Assurance") is sufficiently successful to warrant the author's purchase of Henry's horse. I heard, but of course cannot vouch for   the truth of the report, that his fixed remuneration was to be three hundred pounds for the piece; and when, as I also hear (but again will not vouch for the truth of my story), besides Henry's, that he has bought another horse, and, besides that other horse, a miraculous "Cab," and, besides that miraculous "Cab," ordered no fewer than seven new coats, I think you will agree with me that the author of "London Assurance," successful as his piece may be, ought to have found a deeper mine than that is likely to prove to serve so many ends. When I expressed my disapprobation of Henry's assisting by any means or in any way such boyish extravagance, he said that the lad had guardians; and therefore I suppose he has property besides what may come of play-writing—for men's persons, however pretty, are seldom put under guardianship of trustees; and Henry argued, in the proper manly fashion, that the youth, having property, had also a right to be as foolish in the abuse of it as he pleased, or as his guardians would let him.

We none of us went to see "Patter versus Clatter," after all, having all some previous engagement, so that, though it was literally given for our special amusement, we were none of us there.

I have received no less than four American letters by the last steamer, and this, though a welcome pleasure, is also a considerable addition to the things to be done. God bless you, dearest H——. This letter was begun about three days ago, and now it is the second of April.

Yours ever,


[The young author of the clever play called "London Assurance" had a special interest for me from having been my brother Henry's schoolfellow at Westminster.... His career as a dramatic author and actor has won him a high and well-deserved reputation in both capacities, both in England and America.]

Clarges Street, Friday, April 9th.

My dearest H——,

My father is just now much better; he has regained his appetite, and talks again of going out....

I can tell you nothing about my daguerreotype; for having gone, according to appointment, last Monday, and   waited, which I could ill afford to do, nearly three quarters of an hour, and finally come away, there being apparently no chance of my turn arriving at all that day, I saw nothing of it; and I think it was very well that it saw nothing of me, for such another sulky thunder-cloud as my countenance presented under these circumstances seldom sat for its picture to Ph[oe]bus Apollo, or any of his artist sons. I am to go again on Wednesday, and shall be able to tell you something about it, I hope.

I have not seen Mr. T——'s sketch of the children. He is in high delight with it himself, I believe; and, moreover, has undertaken, in the plenitude of his artistical enthusiasm, to steal a likeness of me, putting me in a great arm-chair, with S—— standing on one side for tragedy, and F—— perched on the opposite arm of the chair for comedy.

LANE THE ARTIST. Lane was to have come here to draw the children this very evening; but it is half-past ten and he has not been, and of course is not coming....

Good-bye, dear.

Ever affectionately yours,


Clarges Street, Monday, May 3rd, 1841.

Thank you, dearest H——, for your prompt compliance with my request about your travelling information.... About the daguerreotype, you know, I should have precisely the same objection to taking another person's appointed time that I have to mine being appropriated by somebody else; but Emily has made another appointment for me: she had made one for the day on which my sister arrived, which rather provoked me; but I was resigned, nevertheless, because I had told her I would go at any time she chose to name. She let me off, however; not, I believe, from any compassion for me, but because my father had set his heart upon my going with him to the private view of the new exhibition, just a quarter of an hour after the time I was to have been at the daguerreotypist's. So to the gallery I went, an hour after Adelaide had returned from Italy; as you know, I had not seen her for several years (indeed, not since my marriage). And so to the gallery I went, with buzzing in my ears and dizziness in my eyes, and an hysterical choking, which made me afraid to open my lips. Why my father was so   anxious to go to this exhibition I hardly know; but I went to please him, and came back to please myself, without having an idea of a single picture in the whole collection. Emily has now made another appointment for me, or rather for you, early on Wednesday morning, and I hope we shall accomplish something at last.

Now you want to know something about Adelaide. There she sits in the next room at the piano, singing sample-singing, and giving a taste of her quality to Charles Greville, who, you know, is an influential person in all sorts of matters, and to whom Henry has written about her merits, and probable acceptability with the fashionable musical world. She is singing most beautifully, and the passionate words of love, longing, grief, and joy burst through that utterance of musical sound, and light up her whole countenance with a perfect blaze of emotion. As for me, the tears stream over my face all the time, and I can hardly prevent myself from sobbing aloud.... She has grown very large, I think almost as large as I remember my mother; she looks very well and very handsome, and has acquired something completely foreign in her tone and manner, and even accent.... She complains of the darkness of our skies and the dulness of our mode of life here as intolerable and oppressive to the last degree....

I cannot believe happiness to be the purpose of life, for when was anything ordained with an unattainable purpose?... But life, which, but for duty, seems always sad enough to me, appears sadder than usual when I try to look at it from the point of view of the happiness it contains.

The children are well; Lane has taken a charming likeness of them, of which I promise you a copy. God bless you, dearest H——. I do not lean on human love; I do not depend or reckon on it; nor have I ever mistaken any human being for my best friend.

Affectionately yours,


Clarges Street, May 21st.

Dearest H——,

WHIRL OF EXCITEMENT. From the midst of this musical Maelstrom I send you a voice, which, if heard instead of read, would be lamentable enough. We are lifted off our feet by the perfect   torrent of engagements, of visits, of going out and receiving; our house is full, from morning till night, of people coming to sing with or listen to my sister. How her strength is to resist the demands made upon it by the violent emotions she is perpetually expressing, or how any human throat is to continue pouring out such volumes of sound without rest or respite, passes my comprehension. Now, let me tell you how I am surrounded at this minute while I write to you. At my very table sit Trelawney and Charles Young, talking to me and to each other; farther on, towards my father, Mr. G—— C——; and an Italian singer on one side of my sister; and on the other, an Italian painter, who has brought letters of introduction to us; then Mary Anne Thackeray; ... furthermore, the door has just closed upon an English youth of the name of B——, who sings almost as well as an Italian, and with whom my sister has been singing her soul out for the last two hours.... We dined yesterday with the Francis Egertons; to-morrow evening we have a gathering here, with, I beg you to believe, nothing under the rank of a viscount, Beauforts, Normanbys, Wiltons, illustrissimi tutti quanti. Friday, my sister sings at the Palace, and we are all enveloped in a golden cloud of fashionable hard work, which rather delights my father; which my sister lends herself to, complaining a little of the trouble, fatigue, and late hours; but thinking it for the interest of her future public career, and always becoming rapt and excited beyond all other considerations in her own capital musical performances.... As for me, I am rather bewildered by the whirl in which we live, which I find rather a trying contrast to my late solitary existence in America.... The incessant music wears upon my nerves a great deal; but chiefly, I think, because half the time I am not able to listen to it quietly, and it distracts me while I am obliged to attend to other things. But indeed, often, when I can give my undivided attention to it, my sister's singing excites me to such a degree that I am obliged, after crying my bosom full of tears, to run out of the room.

My father continues in wonderful good looks and spirits.... Here, dear H——, a long interruption.... We are off to St. John's Wood, to dine with the Procters: —— is not ready; my sister is lying on the sofa, reading aloud an Italian letter to me; the children are rioting   about the room like a couple of little maniacs, and I feel inclined to endorse Macbeth's opinion of life, that it is all sound and fury and signifying nothing.... Thus far, and another interruption; and now it is to-morrow, and Lady Grey and Lady G—— have just gone out of the room, and Chauncy Hare Townsend has just come in, followed by his mesmeric German patient, who is going to perform his magnetic magic for us. I think I will let him try what sort of a subject I should be.

I enclose a little note and silk chain, brought for you from America by Miss Fanny Appleton [afterwards Mrs. Longfellow], who has just arrived in London, to the great joy of her sister. I suppose these tokens come to you from the Sedgwicks. I have a little box which poor C—— S—— brought from Catherine for you—a delicate carved wooden casket, that I have not sent to you because I was afraid it would be broken, by any post or coach conveyance. Tell me about this, how I shall send it to you. I have obtained too for you that German book which I delight in so very much, Richter's "Fruit, Flower, and Thorn Pieces," and which, in the midst of much that is probably too German, in thought, feeling, and expression, to meet with your entire sympathy, will, I think, furnish you with sweet and pleasant thoughts for a while; I scarce know anything that I like much better.

I was going to see Rachel this evening, but my brother and his wife having come up to town for the day, I do not think we ought all to go out and leave them; so that —— is gone with Adelaide and Lady M——, and I shall seize this quiet chance for writing to Emily, to whom I have not yet contrived to send a word since she left town. God bless you.

Ever yours,


A CLAIRVOYANT. [The young lad Alexis, to whom I have referred in this letter was, I think, one of the first of the long train of mesmerists, magnetizers, spiritualists, charlatans, cheats, and humbugs who subsequently appealed to the notice and practised on the credulity of London society. Mr. Chauncy Hare Townsend was an enthusiastic convert to the theory of animal magnetism, and took about with him, to various houses, this German boy, whose exhibition of mesmeric   phenomena was the first I ever witnessed. Mr. Townsend had almost insisted upon our receiving this visit, and we accordingly assembled in the drawing-room, to witness the powers of Alexis. We were all of us sceptical, one of our party so incurably so that after each exhibition of clairvoyance given by Alexis, and each exclamation of Mr. Townsend's, "There now, you see that?" he merely replied, with the most imperturbable phlegm, "Yes, I see it, but I don't believe it." The clairvoyant power of the young man consisted principally in reading passages from books presented to him while under the influence of the mesmeric sleep, into which he had been thrown by Mr. Townsend, and with which he was previously unacquainted. The results were certainly sufficiently curious, though probably neither marvellous nor unaccountable. To make sure that his eyes were really effectually closed, cotton-wool was laid over them, and a broad, tight bandage placed upon them; during another trial the hands of our chief sceptic were placed upon his eyelids, so as effectually to keep them completely closed, in spite of which he undoubtedly read out of a book held up before him above his eyes, and rather on a level with his forehead; nor can I remember any instance in which he appeared to find any great difficulty in doing so, except when a book suddenly fetched from another room was opened before him, when he hesitated and expressed incapacity, and then said, "The book is French;" which it was.

Believing entirely in a sort of hitherto undefined, and possibly undefinable, physical influence, by which the nervous system of one person may be affected by that of another, by special exercise of will and effort, so as to produce an almost absolute temporary subserviency of the whole nature to the force by which it is acted upon, and therefore thinking it extremely possible, and not improbable, that many of the instances of mesmeric influence I have heard related had some foundation in truth, I have, nevertheless, kept entirely aloof from the whole subject, never voluntarily attended any exhibitions of such phenomena, and regarded the whole series of experiments and experiences and pretended marvels of the numerous adepts in mesmerism with contempt and disgust—contempt for the crass ignorance and glaring dishonesty involved in their practices; and disgust, because of the moral and physical mischief   their absurd juggleries were likely to produce, and in many instances did produce, upon subjects as ignorant, but less dishonest, than the charlatans by whom they were duped.

The thing having, in my opinion, a very probable existence, possibly a physical force of considerable effect, and not thoroughly ascertained or understood nature, the experiments people practised and lent themselves to appeared to me exactly as wise and as becoming as if they had drunk so much brandy or eaten so much opium or hasheesh, by way of trying the effect of these drugs upon their constitution; with this important difference that the magnetic experiments severely tested the nervous system of both patient and operator, and had, besides, an indefinite element of moral importance, in the attempted control of one human will by another, through physical means, which appeared to me to place all such experiments at once among things forbidden to rational and responsible agents.

I am now speaking only of the early developments of physical phenomena exhibited by the first magnetizers and mesmerizers—the conjurers by passes and somnolence and other purely physical processes; the crazy and idiotic performances of their successors, the so-called spiritualists, with their grotesque and disgusting pretence of intercourse with the spirits of the dead through the legs of their tables and chairs, seemed to me the most melancholy testimony to an utter want of faith in things spiritual, of belief in God and Christ's teaching, and a pitiful craving for such a faith, as well as to the absence of all rational common sense, in the vast numbers of persons deluded by such processes. In this aspect (the total absence of right reason and real religion demonstrated by these ludicrous and blasphemous juggleries in our Christian communities), that which was farcical in the lowest degree became tragical in the highest. I only witnessed this one mesmeric exhibition, on the occasion of this visit paid to us by Mr. Townsend and Alexis, until several years afterwards, in the house of my excellent friend Mr. Combe, in Edinburgh, when I was one of a party called upon to witness some experiments of the same kind. I was staying with Mr. Combe and my cousin Cecilia, when one evening their friend Mrs. Crow, authoress of more than one book, I believe, and of a collection of supernatural horrors, of stories of ghosts,   apparitions, etc., etc., called "The Night Side of Nature" (the lady had an evident sympathy for the absurd and awful), came, bringing with her a Dr. Lewis, a negro gentleman, who was creating great excitement in Edinburgh by his advocacy of the theories of mesmerism, and his own powers of magnetizing. Mrs. Crow had threatened Mr. and Mrs. Combe with a visit from this professor, and though neither of them had the slightest tendency to belief in any such powers as those Dr. Lewis laid claim to, they received him with kindly courtesy, and consented, with the amused indifference of scepticism, to be spectators of his experiments. Under these circumstances, great as was my antipathy to the whole thing, I did not like to raise any objection to it or to leave the room, which would have been a still more marked expression of my feeling; so I sat down with the rest of the company round the drawing-room table, Mr. and Mrs. Combe, Dr. Lewis, Mrs. Crow, our friend Professor William Gregory, and Dr. Becker—the latter gentleman a man of science, brother, I think, to Prince Albert's private librarian—who was to be the subject of Dr. Lewis's experiments, having already lent himself for the same purpose to that gentleman, and been pronounced highly sensitive to the magnetic influence.

MAGNETIC INFLUENCE. I sat by Dr. Becker, and opposite to Dr. Lewis, with the width of the table between us. What ulterior processes were to be exhibited I do not know, but the first result to be obtained was to throw Dr. Becker into a mesmeric state of somnolence, under the influence of the operator. The latter presently began his experiment, and, drawing entirely from his coat and shirt sleeve a long, lithe, black hand, the finger-tips of which were of that pale livid tinge so common in the hands of negroes, he directed it across the table towards Dr. Becker, and began slowly making passes at him. We were all profoundly still and silent, and, in spite of my disgust, I watched the whole scene with considerable interest. By degrees the passes became more rapid, and the hand was stretched nearer and nearer towards its victim, waving and quivering like some black snake, while the face of the operator assumed an expression of the most concentrated powerful purpose, which, combined with his sable color and the vehement imperative gestures which he aimed at Dr.   Becker, really produced a quasi-diabolical effect. The result, however, was not immediate. Dr. Becker was apparently less susceptible this evening than on previous occasions; but Dr. Lewis renewed and repeated his efforts, each time with a nearer approach and increased vehemence, and at length his patient's eyelids began to quiver, he gasped painfully for breath, and was evidently becoming overpowered by the influence to which he had subjected himself; when, after a few seconds of the most intense efforts on the part of Dr. Lewis, these symptoms passed off, and the mesmerizer, with much appearance of exhaustion, declared himself, for some reason or other, unable to produce the desired effect (necessary for the subsequent exhibition of his powers) of compelling Dr. Becker into a state of somnolency—a thing which he had not failed to accomplish on every previous occasion. The trial had to be given up, and much speculation and discussion followed as to the probable cause of the failure, for which neither the magnetizer nor his patient could account. Believing in this strange action of nervous power in one person over another, I am persuaded that I prevented Dr. Lewis's experiment from succeeding. The whole exhibition had from the very beginning aroused in me such a feeling of antagonism, such a mingled horror, disgust, and indignation, that, when my neighbor appeared about to succumb to the influence operating upon him, my whole nature was roused to such a state of active opposition to the process I was witnessing that I determined, if there was power in human will to make itself felt by mere silent concentrated effort of purpose, I would prevent Dr. Lewis from accomplishing his end; and it seemed to me, as I looked at him, as if my whole being had become absorbed in my determination to defeat his endeavor to set Dr. Becker to sleep. The nervous tension I experienced is hardly to be described, and I firmly believe that I accomplished my purpose. I was too much exhausted, after we left the table, to speak, and too disagreeably affected by the whole scene to wish to do so.

The next day I told Mr. Combe of my counter-magnetizing, or rather neutralizing, experiment, by which he was greatly amused; but I do not think he cared to enter upon any investigation of the subject, feeling little interested in it, and having been rather surprised   into this exhibition of it by Mrs. Crow's bringing Dr. Lewis to his house. That lady being undoubtedly an admirable subject for all such experiments, having what my dear Mr. Combe qualified as "a most preposterous organ of wonder," for which, poor woman, I suppose she paid the penalty in a terrible nervous seizure, a fit of temporary insanity, during which she imagined that she received a visit from the Virgin Mary and our Saviour, both of whom commanded her to go without any clothes on into the streets of Edinburgh, and walk a certain distance in that condition, in reward for which the sins and sufferings of the whole world would be immediately alleviated. Upon her demurring to fulfil this mandate, she received the further assurance that if she took her card-case in her right hand and her pocket-handkerchief in her left, her condition of nudity would be entirely unobserved by any one she met. Under the influence of her diseased fancy, Mrs. Crow accordingly went forth, with nothing on but a pair of boots, and being immediately rescued from the terrible condition of mad exposure, in which she had already made a few paces in the street where she lived, and carried back into her house, she exclaimed, "Oh, I must have taken my card-case and my handkerchief in the wrong hands, otherwise nobody would have seen me!" She recovered entirely from this curious attack of hallucination, and I met her in society afterwards, perfectly restored to her senses.

MESMERISM. On one occasion I allowed myself to be persuaded into testing my own powers of mesmerizing, by throwing a young friend into a magnetic sleep. I succeeded with considerable difficulty, and the next day experienced great nervous exhaustion, which, I think, was the consequence of her having, as she assured me she had, resisted with the utmost effort of her will my endeavor to put her to sleep. As I disapproved, however, of all such experiments, this is the only one I ever tried.

My belief in the reality of the influence was a good deal derived from my own experience, which was that of an invariable tendency to sleep in the proximity of certain persons of whom I was particularly fond. I used to sit at Mrs. Harry Siddons's feet, and she had hardly laid her hand upon my head before it fell upon her knees, and I was in a profound slumber. My friend Miss ——'s neighborhood had the same effect upon me, and when we were not engaged in furious   discussion, I was very apt to be fast asleep whenever I was near her. E—— S—— relieved me of an intense toothache once by putting me to sleep with a few mesmeric passes, and I have, moreover, more than once, immediately after violent nervous excitement, been so overcome with drowsiness as to be unable to move. I remember a most ludicrous instance of this occurring to me in the church of Stratford-upon-Avon, when, standing before Shakespeare's tomb, and looking intensely at his monument, I became so overpowered with sleep that I could hardly rouse myself enough to leave the church, and I begged very hard to be allowed to sleep out my sleep, then and there, upon the stones under which he lay.

After extreme distress of mind, I have sometimes slept a whole day and night without waking; and once, when overcome with anguish, slept, with hardly an hour's interval at a time, the greater part of a week. The drowsiness inspired in me by some of my friends I attribute entirely to physical sympathy; others, of whom I was nearly as fond, never affected me in this manner in the slightest degree. I have often congratulated myself upon the fact that I had by no means an equal tendency to physical antipathy, though, in common with most other people, I have had some experience of that also. My very dear and excellent friend —— always m'agaçait les nerfs, as French people say, though I was deeply attached to her and very fond of her society. Mrs. ——, of whose excellence I had the most profound conviction, and who was generally esteemed perfectly charming by her intimates, affected me with such a curious intuitive revulsion that the first time she came and sat down by me I was obliged to get up and leave the room—indeed, the house. Two men of our acquaintance, remarkable for their general attractiveness and powers of pleasing, —— and ——, were never in the same room ten minutes with me without my becoming perfectly chilled through, as though I had suddenly had the door of an ice-house opened upon me. They were entirely dissimilar men in every respect....

Of the spiritualistic performances of Messrs. Hume, Foster, etc., etc., I never was a witness. An intimate acquaintance of mine, who knew Hume well, assured me that she knew him to be an impostor, adding at the same time, "But I also know him to be clairvoyant," which seemed to me mere tautology.

  MR. GREVILLE'S TEST. My sister and Charles Greville, having had their curiosity excited by some of the reports of Mr. Foster's performances, agreed to go together to visit him, and having received an appointment for a séance, went to his house. Certainly, if Mr. Foster had taken in either of those two customers of his, it would have gone near converting me. Charles Greville, who was deaf, and spoke rather loud in consequence of that infirmity, said, as he entered, to my sister, "I shall ask him about my mother." Adelaide, quite determined to test the magician's powers to the utmost, replied, with an air of concern, as if shocked at the idea, "Oh, no, don't do that; it is too dreadful." However, this suggestion of course not being thrown away upon Mr. Foster, Charles Greville desired to be put in communication with the spirit of his mother, which was accordingly duly done by the operator, and various messages were delivered, as purporting to come from the spirit of Lady Charlotte Greville to her son. After this farce had gone on for a little while, Charles Greville turned to my sister with perfect composure, and said, "Well, now perhaps you had better ask him to tell you something about your mother, because, you know, mine is not dead." The séance of course proceeded no further. At an earlier period of it, as they were sitting round a table, Mr. Foster desired that written names might be furnished him of the persons with whose spirits communication might be desired. Among the names written down for this purpose by my sister were several foreign, Italian and German, names, with which she felt very sure Mr. Foster could not possibly have any acquaintance; indeed, it was beyond all question that he never could have heard of them. Adelaide was sitting next to him, watching his operations with extreme attention, and presently observed him very dexterously convey several of these foreign names into his sleeve, and from thence to the ground under the table. After a little while, Mr. Foster observed that, singularly enough, several of the names he had received were now missing, and by some extraordinary means had disappeared entirely from among the rest. "Oh yes," said my sister very quietly, "but they are only under the table, just where you put them a little while ago." With such subjects of course Mr. Foster performed no miracles.

PLANCHETTE. Some years ago a new form of these objectionable practices came into   vogue, and one summer, going up into Massachusetts, I found the two little mountain villages of Lenox and Stockbridge possessed, in the proper sense of the term, by a devil of their own making, called "Planchette." A little heart-shaped piece of wood, running upon castors, and that could almost be moved with a breath, and carrying along a sheet of paper, over which it was placed, a pencil was supposed to write, on its own inspiration, communications in reply to the person's thoughts whose finger-tips were to rest above, without giving any impulse to the board. Of course a hand held in this constrained attitude is presently compelled to rest itself by some slight pressure; the effort to steady it, and the nervous effort not to press upon the machine, producing inevitably in the wrist aching weariness, and in the fingers every conceivable tendency to nervous twitching. Add to this the intense conviction of the foolish folk, half of them hysterical women, that their concentrated effort of will was, in combination with a mysterious supernatural agency, to move the board; and the board naturally not only moved but, carrying the pencil along with it, wrote the answers required and desired by the credulous consulters of the wooden oracle.

The thing would have been indescribably ludicrous but for the terrible effect it was having upon the poor people who were practising upon themselves with it. Excitable young girls of fifteen and sixteen, half hysterical with their wonderment; ignorant, afflicted women, who had lost dear relations and friends by death; superstitious lads, and men too incapable of consecutive reasoning to perceive the necessary connection between cause and effect; the whole community, in short, seemed to me catching the credulous infection one from another, and to be in a state bordering upon insanity or idiocy.

A young lady-friend of mine, a miserable invalid, was so possessed with faith in this wooden demon that, after resisting repeated entreaties on her part to witness some of its performances, I at length, at her earnest request, saw her operate upon it. The writing was almost unintelligible, and undoubtedly produced by the vibrating impulse given to the machine by her nervous, feeble, diaphanous hands. Finding my scepticism invincible by these means, my friend implored me to think in my own mind a question, and see if Planchette would not answer it. I yielded at last to her all but   hysterical importunity, and thought of an heraldic question concerning the crest on a ring which I wore, which I felt was quite beyond Planchette's penetration; but while we sat in quiet expectation of the reply, which of course did not come, my friend's mother—a sober, middle-aged lady, habitually behaving herself with perfect reasonableness, and, moreover, without a spark of imagination (but that, indeed, was rather of course; belief in such supernatural agencies betokening, in my opinion, an absence of poetical imagination, as well as of spiritual faith), practical, sensible, commonplace, without a touch of nonsense of any kind about her, as I had always supposed—sat opposite the machine infernale, over which her daughter's fingers hung suspended, and as the answer did not come, broke out for all the world like one of Baal's prophets of old: "Now, Planchette, now, Planchette, behave; do your duty. Now, Planchette, write at once," etc.; and I felt as if I were in Bedlam. One thing is certain, that if Planchette's answer had approached in the remotest degree the answer to the question of my thought, I would then and there have broken Planchette in half, and left my friends in the possession of their remaining brains until they had procured another.

The strangest experience, however, that I met with in connection with this absurd delusion occurred during a visit that I received from Mrs. B—— S——. That lady was staying with her daughter in Stockbridge, and did me the honor to call on me at Lenox with that young lady. Among other things spoken of I asked my distinguished visitor some questions about this superstitious folly, Planchette, nothing doubting that I should hear from her an eloquent condemnation of all the absurd proceedings going on in the two villages. The lady's face assumed a decided expression of grave disapprobation, certainly, and she spoke to this effect: "Planchette! Oh dear, yes, we are perfectly familiar with Planchette, and, indeed, have been in the habit of consulting it quite often." "Oh, indeed," quoth I, and I felt my own face growing longer with amazement as I spoke. "Yes," continued my celebrated visitor, with much deliberation, "we have; but I think it will no longer be possible for us to do so. No, we must certainly give up having anything to do with it." "Dear me!" said I, almost breathless, and with a queer quaver in my voice, that I could hardly   command, "may I ask why, pray?" "The language it uses——" "It!—the language it uses!" ejaculated I. "Yes," she pursued, with increasing solemnity, "the language it uses is so reprehensible that it will be quite impossible for us to consult or have anything further to do with it." "Really," said I, hardly able to utter for suppressed laughter; "and may I ask, may I inquire what language it does use?" "Why," returned Mrs. S——, with some decorous hesitation and reluctance to utter the words that followed, "the last time we consulted it, it told us we were all a pack of damned fools." "Oh!" exploded I, "I believe in Planchette, I believe in Planchette!" Mrs. S—— drew herself up with an air of such offended surprise at my burst of irrepressible merriment that I suddenly stopped, and letting what was boiling below my laughter come to the surface, I exclaimed, in language far more shocking to ears polite than Planchette's own: "And do you really think that Satan, the great devil of hell, in whom you believe, is amusing himself with telling you such truths as those, through a bit of board on wheels?" "Really," replied the woman of genius, in a tone of lofty dignity, "I cannot pretend to say whether or not it is the devil; of one thing I am very certain, the influence by which it speaks is undoubtedly devilish." I turned in boundless amazement to the younger lady, whose mischievous countenance, with a broad grin upon it, at once settled all my doubts as to the devilish influence under which Planchette had spoken such home truths to her family circle, and I let the subject drop, remaining much astonished, as I often am, at the degree to which les gens d'ésprit sont bêtes.

I once attended some young friends to a lecture, as it called itself, upon electro-biology. It was tedious, stupid, and ridiculous; the only thing that struck me was the curious condition of bewildered imbecility into which two or three young men, who presented themselves to be operated upon, fell, under the influence of the lecturer. I had reason to believe that there was no collusion in the case, and therefore was surprised at the evident state of stupor and mental confusion (even to the not being able to pronounce their own name) which they exhibited when, after looking intently and without moving at a coin placed in their hand for some time, their faculties appeared entirely bewildered, and though they were not asleep, they seemed hardly conscious, and opposed not the   slightest resistance to the orders they received to sit down, stand up, to try to remember their names,—which they were assured they could not, and did not,—and their general submission, of course in very trifling matters, to the sort of bullying directions addressed to them in a loud peremptory tone; to which they replied with the sort of stupefied languor of persons half asleep or under the influence of opium. I did not quite understand how they were thrown into this curious condition by the mere assumption of an immovable attitude and fixed gazing at a piece of coin; an experience of my own, however, subsequently enlightened me as to the possible nervous effect of such immobility and strained attention.

STAND FOR JEZEBEL. My friend Sir Frederick Leighton, despairing of finding a model to assume a sufficiently dramatic expression of wickedness for a picture he was painting of Jezebel, was deploring his difficulty one day, when Henry Greville, who was standing by, said to him, "Why don't you ask her"—pointing to me—"to do it for you?" Leighton expressed some kindly reluctance to put my countenance to such a use; but I had not the slightest objection to stand for Jezebel, if by so doing I could help him out of his dilemma. So to his studio I went, ascended his platform, and having been duly placed in the attitude required, and instructed on what precise point of the wall opposite to me to fix my eyes, I fell to thinking of the scene the picture represented, of the meeting between Ahab and his wicked queen with Elijah on the threshold of Naboth's vineyard, endeavoring, after my old stage fashion, to assume as thoroughly as possible the character which I was representing. Before I had retained the constrained attitude and fixed immovable gaze for more than a short time, my eyes grew dim, the wall I was glaring at seemed to waver about before me, I turned sick, a cold perspiration broke out on my forehead, my ears buzzed, my knees trembled, my heart throbbed, and I suppose I was not far from a fainting fit. I sat abruptly down on the platform, and called my friendly artist to my assistance, describing to him my sensations, and asking if he could explain what had occasioned them. He expressed remorseful distress at having subjected me to such annoyance, saying, however, that my condition was not an uncommon one for painters' models to be thrown into by the nervous strain of the fixed look and attention,   and rigid immobility of position, required of them; that he had known men succumb to it on a first experiment, but had thought me so strong, and so little liable to any purely nervous affection, that it had never occurred to him for a moment that there was any danger of my being thus overcome.

I recovered almost immediately, the nervous strain being taken off, and resumed my duty as a model, taking care to vary my expression and attitude whenever I felt at all weary, and resting myself by sitting down and lending another aspect of my face to my friend for his Elijah.

I found, after this experience, no difficulty in understanding the state of bewildered stupefaction into which the lecturer on electro-biology had thrown his patients by demanding of them a fixed attention of mind, look, and attitude to a given point of contemplation. I think, just before I quite broke down, I could neither have said where I was, nor who I was, nor contradicted Sir Frederick Leighton if he had assured me that my name was Polly and that I was putting the kettle on.]

Clarges Street, June, 1844.

Dearest Harriet,

I have not a morsel of letter-paper in my writing-book; do not, therefore, let your first glance take offence at the poor narrow note-paper, on which our dear friend Emily is forever writing to me, and which throws me into a small fury every time I get an affectionate communication from her on it. Our drawing-room has only this instant emptied itself of a throng of morning visitors, among whom my brother John and his wife, Mary Anne Thackeray, Dick Pigott, Sydney Smith, and A—— C——....

My letter has suffered an interruption, dear Harriet; I had to go out and return all manner of visits, took a walk with Adelaide in Kensington Gardens, went and dined quietly with M—— M——, and came back at half-past ten, to find Mr. C—— very quietly established here with my father and sister....

This is to-morrow, my dear Harriet, and we are all engaged sitting to Lane, who is making medallion likenesses of us all. John and his wife together in one sphere, their two little children in another, —— and I in one eternity, and our chicks in another, their two little profiles looking so funny and so pretty, one just behind the other; my   father, my sister, and Henry have each their world to themselves in single blessedness. The likenesses are all good, and charmingly executed. I should like to be able to send you mine and my children's, but as he will accept no remuneration for them, and as time and trouble are the daily bread of an artist——

Here I was interrupted again, and obliged to put by my letter, which was begun last Thursday, and it is now Sunday afternoon. Our drawing-room has just emptied itself of A—— M—— and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Grote, Mr. H——, young Mr. K—— of Frankfort, and Chorley. Mrs. Grote brought with her Fanny Ellsler's little girl, a lovely child about seven years old....

CONCERT AT STAFFORD HOUSE. I must tell you something of our event of yesterday. A concert was given for the benefit of the Poles, the Duchess of Sutherland condescending to lend Stafford House, provided the assemblage was quite select and limited to four hundred people; to accomplish which desirable point, and at the same time make the thing answer its charitable purpose, the tickets were sold at first at two guineas apiece, and on the morning itself of the concert at five guineas. Rachel was to recite, Liszt to play, and my sister was requested to sing, which she agreed to do, the occasion being semi-public and private, so to speak. A large assembly of our finest (and bluntest) people was not a bad audience, in a worldly sense, for her début. She sang beautifully, and looked beautiful, and was extremely admired and praised and petted.

The whole scene was one of the gayest and most splendid possible, the entertainment and assembly taking place in the great hall and staircase of Stafford House, with its scarlet floor-cloths, and marble stairs and balustrades, and pillars of scagliola, and fretted roof of gold and white, and skylight surrounded and supported by gigantic gilt caryatides.

The wide noble flights of steps and long broad galleries, filled with brilliantly dressed groups; with the sunlight raining down in streams on the panels and pillars of the magnificent hall, on the beautiful faces of the women, and the soft sheen and brilliant varied coloring of their clothes, and on perfect masses of flowers, piled in great pyramids of every form and hue in every niche and corner, or single plants covered with an exquisite profusion of perfect bloom, standing here and there in great precious china   vases stolen from the Arabian Nights; it really was one of the grandest and gayest shows you can imagine, more beautiful than Paul Veronese's most splendid pictures, which it reminded one of.

My sister's singing overcame me dreadfully....

I must close this letter, my dear; my head is in such a state of confusion that I scarcely know what I write; and if I keep it longer, you will never get it.

Yours ever truly——

(I don't know what I am saying; I love you affectionately, but I am almost beside myself with—everything.)

Yours ever,


Clarges Street, Sunday, June 20th, 1841.

You know, dearest Harriet, my aversion to writing short letters; I have something of the same feeling about that hateful little note-paper on which I have lately written to you. The sight of these fair large squares laid on my table, and of at least six unanswered letters of yours, prompts me to use this quiet half-hour—quiet by comparison only, for ——, Adelaide, and little F—— are shouting all round me, and a distracting brass band, that I dote upon, is playing tunes to which I am literally writing in time; nevertheless, in this house, this may be called a moment of profoundest quiet.

I do not believe that you will have quarrelled much with the note-paper, because I certainly filled it as well as I could; but I always feel insulted when anybody that I really care for writes to me on those frivolous, insufficient-looking sheets. I suppose, if you have missed Emily's Boswellian records of our sayings and doings here, you have received from her instead epistles redolent of the sweetness of the country, whole nosegays of words, that have made me gasp again for the grass and trees, and the natural enjoyments of life. Her affectionate remembrance reaches me every day by penny post, a little envelope full of delicious orange-blossoms, with which my clothes and everything about me are perfumed for the rest of the day.

You have not said much to me about the daguerreotype, nor did you ask me anything about the process; but that, I suppose, is because Emily furnished you with so many more details than I probably should, and with much   more scientific knowledge to make her description clear. I found it better looking than I had expected, but altogether different, which surprised me, because I thought I knew my own face. It was less thick in the outlines than I had thought it would be, but also older looking than I fancied myself, and it gave me a heavy jaw, which I was not conscious of possessing. The process was wonderfully rapid; I think certainly not above two minutes. I have seen several of Charles Young, which are admirable, and do not appear to me exaggerated in any respect....

My father and Adelaide dined with the Macdonalds on Sunday; and Sir John, who, you know, is adjutant-general, made her a kind of half promise that he would give Henry leave to come over from Ireland and see her.

I believe the first time that S—— heard her aunt sing was one night after she was in bed (she sleeps in my room, where one does not lose a note of the music below). When I went up, I found her wide awake, and she started up in her bed, exclaiming, "Well, how many angels have you got down there, I should like to know?"

I wrote thus much this morning, dear Harriet; this evening I have another quiet season in which to resume my pen.... I have been obliged to give up my dinner engagement for to-day, and I sat down by the failing light of half-past seven o'clock to eat a cold dinner alone, with a book in my hand: which combination of circumstances reminded me so forcibly of my American home, that I could hardly make out whether I was here or there.

So far yesterday, Thursday evening; it is now Friday morning. Adelaide has gone out with Mary Anne Thackeray to buy cheap gowns at a bankrupt shop in Regent Street; the piano is silent, and I can hear myself think, and have some consciousness of what I am writing about....

Dearest Harriet, it is now Sunday morning; there is a most stupendous row at the pianoforte, and, luckily, there is no more space in this paper for my addled brains to testify to the effect of this musical tempest. God bless you.

Ever yours,


Clarges Street, Wednesday, June 23rd, 1841.

My dearest Harriet,

RACHEL. You asked me some time ago some questions about Rachel, which I never answered, in the first place because   I had not seen her then, and since I have seen her I have had other things I wanted to say. Everybody here is now raving about her. I have only seen her once on the stage, and heard her declaim at Stafford House, the morning of the concert for the Poles. Her appearance is very striking: she is of a very good height; too thin for beauty, but not for dignity or grace; her want of chest and breadth indeed almost suggest a tendency to pulmonary disease, coupled with her pallor and her youth (she is only just twenty). Her voice is the most remarkable of her natural qualifications for her vocation, being the deepest and most sonorous voice I ever heard from a woman's lips: it wants brilliancy, variety, and tenderness; but it is like a fine, deep-toned bell, and expresses admirably the passions in the delineation of which she excels—scorn, hatred, revenge, vitriolic irony, concentrated rage, seething jealousy, and a fierce love which seems in its excess allied to all the evil which sometimes springs from that bittersweet root. [I shall never forget the first time I ever heard Mademoiselle Rachel speak. I was acting my old part of Julia, in "The Hunchback," at Lady Ellesmere's, where the play was got up for an audience of her friends, and for her especial gratification. The room was darkened, with the exception of our stage, and I had no means of discriminating anybody among my audience, which was, as became an assembly of such distinguished persons, decorously quiet and undemonstrative. But in one of the scenes, where the foolish heroine, in the midst of her vulgar triumph at the Earl of Rochdale's proposal, is suddenly overcome by the remorseful recollection of her love for Clifford, and almost lets the earl's letter fall from her trembling hands, I heard a voice out of the darkness, and it appeared to me almost close to my feet, exclaiming, in a tone the vibrating depth of which I shall never forget, "Ah, bien, bien, très bien!"] Mademoiselle Rachel's face is very expressive and dramatically fine, though not absolutely beautiful. It is a long oval, with a head of classical and very graceful contour; the forehead rather narrow and not very high; the eyes small, dark, deep-set, and terribly powerful; the brow straight, noble, and fine in form, though not very flexible.

RACHEL'S CHARACTER. I was immensely struck and carried away with her performance of "Hermione," though I am not sure that some of the parts did not seem to me finer than the whole, as a   whole conception. That in which she is unrivalled by any actor or actress I ever saw is the expression of a certain combined and concentrated hatred and scorn. Her reply to Andromaque's appeal to her, in that play, was one of the most perfect things I have ever seen on the stage: the cold, cruel, acrid enjoyment of her rival's humiliation,—the quiet, bitter, unmerciful exercise of the power of torture, was certainly, in its keen incisiveness, quite incomparable. It is singular that so young a woman should so especially excel in delineations and expressions of this order of emotion, while in the utterance of tenderness, whether in love or sorrow, she appears comparatively less successful; I am not, however, perhaps competent to pronounce upon this point, for Hermione and Emilie, in Corneille's "Cinna," are not characters abounding in tenderness. Lady M—— saw her the other day in "Marie Stuart," and cried her eyes almost out, so she must have some pathetic power. —— was so enchanted with her, both on and off the stage, that he took me to call upon her, on her arrival in London, and I was very much pleased with the quiet grace and dignity, the excellent bon ton of her manners and deportment. The other morning too, at Stafford House, I was extremely overcome at my sister's first public exhibition in England, and was endeavoring, while I screened myself behind a pillar, to hide my emotion and talk with some composure to Rachel; she saw, however, how it was with me, and with great kindness allowed me to go into a room that had been appropriated to her use between her declamations, and was very amiable and courteous to me.

She is completely the rage in London now; all the fine ladies and gentlemen crazy after her, the Queen throwing her roses on the stage out of her own bouquet, and viscountesses and marchionesses driving her about, à l'envie l'une de l'autre, to show her all the lions of the town. She is miserably supported on the stage, poor thing, the corps dramatique engaged to act with her being not only bad, but some of them (the principal hero, principally) irresistibly ludicrous.

By-the-by, I was assured, by a man who went to see the "Marie Stuart," that this worthy, who enacted the part of Leicester, carried his public familiarity with Queen Elizabeth to such lengths as to nudge her with his elbow on some particular occasion. Don't you think that was nice?

  Mrs. Grote and I have had sundry small encounters, and I think I perceive that, had I leisure to cultivate her acquaintance more thoroughly, I should like her very much. The other evening, at her own house, she nearly killed me with laughing, by assuring me that she had always had a perfect passion for dancing, and that she had entirely missed her vocation, which ought to have been that of an opera-dancer; (now, Harriet, she looks like nothing but Trelawney in petticoats.) I suppose this is the secret of her great delight in Ellsler.

I find, in an old letter of yours that I was reading over this morning, this short question: "Does imagination make a fair balance, in heightening our pains and our pleasures?" That would depend, I suppose, upon whether we had as many pleasures as pains (real ones, I mean) to be colored by it; but as the mere possession of an imaginative temperament is in itself a more fertile source of unreal pains than pleasures, the answer may be short too; an imaginative mind has almost always a tendency to be a melancholy one. Shakespeare is the glorious exception to this, but then he is an exception to everything. I must bid you good-bye now....

God bless you, dear.

Ever your affectionate,


[After seeing Mademoiselle Rachel, as I subsequently did, in all her great parts, and as often as I had an opportunity of doing so, the impression she has left upon my mind is that of the greatest dramatic genius, except Kean, who was not greater, and the most incomparable dramatic artist I ever saw. The qualities I have mentioned as predominating in her performances still appear to me to have been their most striking ones; but her expressions of tenderness, though rare, were perfect—one instance of which was the profound pathos of the short exclamation, "Oh, mon cher, Curiace!" that precedes her fainting fit of agony in "Camille," and the whole of the last scene of "Marie Stuart," in which she excelled Madame Ristori as much in pathetic tenderness as she surpassed her in power, in the famous scene of defiance to Elizabeth. As for any comparison between her and that beautiful woman and charming actress, or her successor on the French stage of the present day, Mademoiselle Sarah Bernhardt, I do not admit any such for a moment.]

  Bannisters, July 28th, 1841.

Dearest Harriet,

You certainly have not thought that I was never going to write to you again, but I dare say you have wondered when I should ever write to you again. This seems a very fitting place whence to address you, who are so affectionately associated with the recollection of the last happy days I spent here.

How vain is the impatience of despondency! How wise, as well as how pleasant, it is to hope! Not that all can who would; but I verily believe that the hopeful are the wisest as well as the happiest of this mortal congregation; for, in spite of the credulous distrust of the desponding, the accomplishment of our wishes awaits us in the future quite as often as their defeat, and the cheerful faithful spirit of those who can hope has the promise of this life as well as of that which is to come.

AT BANNISTERS. At the end of four years, here I am again with my dear friend Emily, even in this lovely home of hers, from which a doom, ever at hand, has threatened to expel her every day of these four years.... In spite of separation, distance, time, and the event which stands night and day at her door, threatening to drive her forth from this beloved home, here we are again together, enjoying each other's fellowship in these familiar beautiful scenes: walking, driving, riding, and living together, as we have twice been permitted to do before, as we are now allowed to do again, to the confusion of all the depressing doubts which have prevented this fair prospect from ever rising before my eyes with the light of hope upon it—so little chance did there seem of its ever being realized.

Emily and I rode to Netley Abbey yesterday, and looked at the pillar on which your name and ours were engraved with so many tears before my last return to America. If I had had a knife, I would have rewritten the record, at least deepened it; but, indeed, it seems of little use to do so while the soft, damp breath of the air suffices to efface it from the stone, and while every stone of the beautiful ruin is a memento to each one of us of the other two, and the place will be to all time haunted by our images, and by thoughts as vivid as bodily presences to the eyes of whichever of us may be there without the others....

Our plans are assuming very definite shape, and you will probably be glad to hear that there is every prospect   of our spending another year in England, inasmuch as we are at this moment in treaty for a house which we think of taking with my father for that time. My sister has concluded an extremely agreeable and advantageous engagement with Covent Garden, for a certain number of nights, at a very handsome salary. This is every way delightful to me; it keeps her in England, among her friends, and in the exercise of her profession; it places her where she will meet with respect and kindness, both from the public and the members of the profession with whom she will associate. Covent Garden is in some measure our vantage-ground, and I am glad that she should thence make her first appeal to an English audience.

Our new house (if we get it) is in Harley Street, close to Cavendish Square, and has a room for you, of course, dearest Harriet; and you will come and see my sister's first appearance, and stay with me next winter, as you did last. Our more immediate plans stand thus: we leave this sweet and dear place, to our great regret, to-morrow; to-morrow night and part of Thursday we spend at Addleston with my brother; then we remain in town till Monday, when we go to the Hoo (Lord Dacre's); then we return to town, and afterwards proceed to Mrs. Arkwright's at Sutton, and then to the Francis Egertons', at Worsley; and after that we set off for Germany, where we think of remaining till the end of September. Adelaide's engagement at Covent Garden begins in November, when you must come and assist in bringing her out properly. God bless you, dear. Give my love to Dorothy, and believe me

Ever affectionately yours,


The Hoo, Wednesday, July 28th, 1841.

Dearest Harriet,

I wrote you a long letter yesterday, which was no sooner finished than I tore it up.... We came down to this place yesterday. I obtained Lady Dacre's leave to bring my sister, and of course I have my children with me, so we are here in great force. Independently of my long regard for and gratitude to Lord and Lady Dacre, which made me glad to visit them, I like this old place, and find it pleasant, though it has no pretensions to be a fine one. Some part of the offices is Saxon, of an early date, old   enough to be interesting. The house itself, however, is comparatively modern: it is a square building, and formerly enclosed a large courtyard, but in later days the open space has been filled up with a fine oak staircase (roofed in with a skylight), the carving of which is old and curious and picturesque. The park is not large, but has some noble trees, which you would delight in; the flower-garden, stolen from a charming old wood (some of the large trees of which are coaxed into its boundaries), is a lovely little strip of velvet lawn, dotted all over with flower-beds, like large nosegays dropped on the turf; and the rough, whitey-brown, weather-beaten stone of the house is covered nearly to the top windows with honeysuckle and jasmine. It is not at all like what is called a fine place; it is not even as pretty and cheerful as Bannisters: but it has an air of ancient stability and dignity, without pretension or ostentation, that is very agreeable....

We left my father tolerably well in health, but a good deal shaken in spirits.... I am expected downstairs, to read to them in the drawing-room something from Shakespeare; and our afternoon is promised to a cricket-match, for the edification of one of our party, who never saw one. I must therefore conclude.... Good-bye, dearest Harriet. As for me, to be once more in pure air, among flowers and under trees, is all-sufficient happiness. I do cordially hate all towns.

Give my dear love to Mrs. Harry Siddons, if she is near you, and tell her I shall surely not leave Europe without seeing her again, let her be where she will. Remember me affectionately to Dorothy, and believe me.

Ever yours,


The Hoo, Thursday, July 29th, 1841.

Dearest Harriet,

READING PETRARCH. I wrote to you yesterday, but an unanswered letter of yours lies on the top of my budget of "letters to answer," and I take it up to reply to it. The life I am leading does not afford much to say; yet that is not quite true, for to loving hearts or thinking minds the common events of every day, in the commonest of lives, have a meaning.... After breakfast yesterday we took up Lady Dacre's translations from Petrarch—a very admirable performance, in which she has contrived to bend our northern utterance   into a most harmonious and yet conscientious interpretation of those perfect Italian compositions. My sister read the Italian, which, with her pure pronunciation and clear ringing voice, sounded enchanting; after which I echoed it with the English translation; all which went on very prosperously, till I came to that touching invocation written on Good Friday, when the poet, no longer offering incense to his mortal idol, but penitential supplications to his God, implores pardon for the waste of life and power his passion had betrayed him into, and seeks for help to follow higher aims and holier purposes; a pathetic and solemn composition, which vibrated so deeply upon kindred chords in my heart that my voice became choked, and I could not read any more. After this, Adelaide read us some Wordsworth, for which she has a special admiration; after which, having recovered my voice, I took up "Romeo and Juliet," for which we all have a special admiration; and so the morning passed. After lunch, we went, B——, Lord Dacre, and I on horseback, Lady Dacre, Adelaide, and G—— S—— in the open carriage, to a pretty village seven miles off, where a cricket-match was being played, into the mysteries of which some of us particularly wished to be initiated.

The village of Hitchin is full of Quakers, and I rather think the game was being played by them, for such a silent meeting I never saw, out of a Friends' place of worship. But the ride was beautiful, and the day exquisite; and I learned for the first time that clematis is called, in this part of England, "traveller's joy," which name returned upon my lips, like a strain of music, at every moment, so full of poetry and sweet and touching association does it seem to me. Do you know it by that name in Ireland? I never heard it before in England, though I have been familiar with another pretty nickname for it, which you probably know—virgin's-bower. This is all very well for its flowering season; I wish somebody would find a pretty name for it when it is all covered with blown glass or soap-bubbles, and looks at a little distance like smoke.

Returning home, after entering the park, Lord Dacre had left us to go and look at a turnip-field, and B—— and I started for a gallop; when my horse, a powerful old hunter, not very well curbed, and extremely hard-mouthed, receiving some lively suggestion from the rhythmical   sound of his own hoofs on the turf, put his head down between his legs and tore off with me at the top of his speed. I knew there was a tallish hedge in the direction in which we were going, and, as it is full seven years since I sat a leap, I also knew that there was a fair chance of my being chucked off, if he took it, which I thought I knew he would; so I lay back in my saddle and sawed at his mouth and pulled de corps et a'âne, but in vain. I lost my breath, I lost my hat, and shouted at the top of my voice to B—— to stop, which I thought if she did, my steed, whose spirit had been roused by emulation, would probably do too. She did not hear me, but fortunately stopped her horse before we reached the hedge, when my quadruped halted of his own sweet will, with a bound on all fours, or off all fours, that sent me half up to the sky; but I came back into my saddle without leap, without tumble, and with only my ignoble fright for my pains.

We dine at half-past seven, after which we generally have music and purse-making and discussions, poetical and political, and wine and water and biscuits, and go to bed betimes, like wise folk....

A BEAUTIFUL BRUTE. This morning a bloodhound was brought me from the dog-kennel, the largest dog of his kind, and the handsomest of any kind, that I ever saw; his face and ears were exquisite, his form and color magnificent, his voice appalling, and the expression of his countenance the tenderest, sweetest, and saddest you can conceive; I cannot imagine a more beautiful brute. After admiring him we went to the stables, to see a new horse Lord Dacre has just bought, and I left him being put through his paces, to come and indite this letter to you....

We leave this place on Monday for London, at the thought of which I feel half choked with smoke already. The Friday after, however, we go into the country again, to the Arkwrights' and the Francis Egertons', and then to Germany; so that our lungs and nostrils will be tolerably free passages for vital air for some little time.

God bless you, dearest Harriet. I have filled my letter with such matter as I had—too much with myself, perhaps, for any one but you; but unless I write you an epic poem about King Charlemagne, I know not well what else to write about here.

Ever affectionately yours,


  The Hoo, Sunday, August 1st, 1841.

Dearest Harriet,

I wrote you the day before yesterday, and gave you a sort of journal of that day's proceedings. I have nothing of any different interest to tell you, inasmuch as our daily proceedings here are much of a muchness.

We return to town to-morrow afternoon, to my great regret; and I must, immediately upon our doing so, remove the family to our new abode. I am rather anxious to see how my father is; we left him in very low spirits, ... and I am anxious to see whether he has recovered them at all. I think our visit to Sutton, where we go on Friday, will be of use to him; for though he cordially dislikes the country and everything belonging to its unexciting existence, he has always had a very great attachment for Mrs. Arkwright, and perhaps, for so short a time as a week, he may be able to resist the ennui of l'innocence des champs....

I am well, and have been enjoying myself extremely. I love the country for itself; and the species of life which combines, as these people lead it, the pleasures of the highest civilization with the wholesome enjoyments which nature abounds in seems to me the perfection of existence, and is always beneficial as well as delightful to me. I rode yesterday a fine new horse Lord Dacre has just bought, and who is to be christened Forester, in honor of my beloved American steed, whom he somewhat resembles....

Considering our weather down here in Hertfordshire, I am afraid you must have most dismal skies at Ambleside, where you are generally so misty and damp; I am sure I recollect no English summer like this. As for poor Adelaide, she is all but frozen to death, and creeps about, lamenting for the sun, in a most piteous fashion imaginable.

I have had a letter from Cecilia Combe within the last two days, anticipating meeting us on the Rhine, either at Godesberg, where she now is, or at Bonn, where she expects to pass some time soon. She complains of dulness, but accuses the weather, which she says is horrible. By-the-by, of Cecy and Mr. Combe I have now got the report containing the account of Laura Bridgman (the deaf, dumb, and blind girl of whom he speaks), and when you come to me you shall see it; it is marvellous—a perfect miracle of Christian love.

  Catherine Sedgwick's book (some notes of her visit to Europe) has just come out, and I am reading it again, having read the manuscript journal when first she returned home; a record, of course, of far more interest than the pruned and pared version of it which she gives to the public. I am also reading an excellent article in the last Edinburgh, on the society of Port Royal, which I find immensely interesting. I must now run out for a walk. It is Sunday, and the horses are not used, and I must acquire some exercise, through the agency of my own legs, before dinner. I have walked two miles this morning, to be sure; but that was to and from church, and should not count. God bless you, dearest Harriet.

Ever yours,


Liège, Thursday, August 26th, 1841.

My dearest Harriet,

AT LIÈGE. We have just returned from a lionizing drive about Liège, a city of which my liveliest impressions, before I saw it, were derived from Scott's novel of "Quentin Durward," and in which the part now remaining of what existed in his time is all that much interests me.

I do not know whether in your peregrinations you ever visited this place; if you did, I hope you duly admired the palace of the prince bishop (formerly), now the Palais de Justice, which is one of the most picturesque remnants of ancient architecture I have seen in this land of them.

Except this, and one fine old church, I have found nothing in the town to please or interest me much. I have seen one or two old dog-holes of houses, blackened and falling in with age, which seem as if they might be some of the cinders of Charles the Bold's burnings hereabouts. We left Brussels this morning, after spending a day and a half there. I was much pleased with the gay and cheerful appearance of that small imitation Paris, even to the degree of fancying that I should like to live there, in spite of the supercilious sentence of vulgarity, stupidity, and pretension which some of our friends, diplomatic residents there, passed upon the inhabitants.... We went to call upon the ——s, and, with something of a shock on my part, found one of the ornaments of his sitting-room a large crucifix with the   Saviour in his death-agony—a horrible image, which I would banish, if I could, from every artist's imagination; for the physical suffering is a revolting spectacle which art should not portray, and the spiritual triumph is a thing which the kindred soul of man may indeed conceive, but which art cannot delineate, for it is God, and not to be translated into matter, save indeed where it once was made manifest in that Face and Person every imaginary representation of which is to me more or less intolerable.

The face of Christ is never painted or sculptured without being painfully offensive to me; yet I have seen looks—who has not?—that were His, momentarily, on mortal faces; but they were looks that could not have been copied, even there....

These steamship and railroad times will do away with that staple idea, both in real and literary romances, of "never meeting again," "parting forever," etc., etc.; and people will now meet over and over again, no matter by what circumstances parted, or to what distance thrown from each other; whence I draw the moral that our conduct in all the quarters of the globe had better be as decent as possible, for there is no such thing nowadays as losing sight of people or places—I mean, for any convenient length of time, for purposes of forgetfulness. I forget whether, when you left us in London, my father had come to the determination of not accompanying but following us, which he intends doing as soon as he feels well enough to travel.

Rubens's paintings have given us extreme delight.... I was much interested by the lace-works at Brussels and Mechlin, and very painfully so. It is beginning to be time, I think, in Christian countries, for manufactures of mere luxury to be done away with, when proficiency in the merest mechanical drudgery involved in them demands a lifetime, and the sight and health of women, who begin this twilight work at five and six years old, are often sacrificed long before their natural term to this costly and unhealthy industry.

I hope to see all such manufactures done away with, for they are bad things, and a whole moral and intelligent being, turned into ten fingers' ends for such purposes, is a sad spectacle. I (a lace-worshipper, if ever woman was) say this advisedly; I am sorry there is still Mechlin and Brussels lace made, and glad there is no more India   muslin, and rejoice in the disuse of every minute manual labor which tends to make a mere machine of God's likeness. But oh, for all that, how incomparably inferior is the finest, faultless, machine-made lace and muslin to the exquisite irregularity of the human fabric!... Good-bye, my dearest Harriet. We start for Aix-la-Chapelle at eight to-morrow. I am not in very good strength; the fact is, I am now never in thoroughly good plight without exercise on horseback, and it is a long time since I have had any, and, of course, it is now quite out of the question. I beg, desire, entreat, and command that you will immediately get and read Balzac's "Eugénie Grandet," and tell me instantly what you think of it.

Your affectionate


Wiesbaden, Friday, September, 1841.

My dearest Harriet,

WIESBADEN. Walking along the little brook-side on the garden path under the trees towards the Sonnenberg, you may well imagine how vividly your image and that of Catherine Sedgwick were present to me. You took this walk together, and it was from her lively description of it that I knew, the moment I set my feet in the path, both where I was and where I was going. That walk is very pretty. I did not follow it to the end, because my children were with me, and it was too far for them; but yesterday I went to the ruin on horseback, and came home along the rough cart-road, on the hill on the other side of the valley, whence the views reminded me somewhat of the country round Lenox, in Massachusetts, though not perhaps of the prettiest part of the latter.

I have not yet in my travels seen anything much more picturesque than the prettiest parts of the American Berkshire; and upon the whole (castles, of course, excepted) was rather disappointed in the Rhine, which is not, I think, as beautiful a river as the Hudson. Knowing the powerful charm of affectionate association, and the halo which happiness throws over any place where we attain to something approaching it, I have sometimes suspected that my admiration of and delight in that Lenox and Stockbridge scenery was derived in some measure from those sources, and that the country round them is not in reality as beautiful as it always appears in   my eyes and to my memory. But, comparing it now with scenery admired by the travelling taste of all Europe, I am satisfied that the American scenery I am so fond of is intrinsically lovely, and compares very favorably with everything I have seen hitherto on the Continent.

As for your friend Anne (my children's American nurse), coming up the Rhine she sat looking at the shores, her brown eyes growing rounder and rounder, and her handsome face full of as much good-humored contempt as it could express, every now and then exclaiming, "Well, to be sure, it's a pretty river, and it's well enough; but my! they hadn't need to make such a fuss about it." The fact is, that the noble breadth of the river forms one of its most striking features to a European, and this, you know, is no marvel to "us of the new world." Moreover, I suspect Anne does not consider the baronial castles "of much 'count," either; and, to confess the truth, I am rather disturbed at the little emotion produced in me by the romantic ruins and picturesque accompaniments of the Rhine. But it seems to me that I am losing much of my excitability; my imagination has become disgracefully tame, and I find myself here, where I have most desired to be, with a mind chiefly intent upon where, when, how, and on what my children can dine, and feelings principally occupied with the fact that I have no one with me to sympathize in any other thought or emotion if I should attempt to indulge in such.

We arrived at Coblentz one melting summer afternoon, and I walked up to the top of the fortress alone, and the setting of the sun over beyond the lands and rivers at my feet, and the uprising of the moon above, the bristling battlements behind me, filled me with delight; but I had no one to express it to.

This evening at Ehrenbreitstein, and the cathedral at Cologne, are my two events hitherto; the only two things that have stirred or affected me much. That cathedral is a whole liturgy in stone—eloquent, devout stone,—uttering so solemnly its great unfinished God-service of silent prayer and praise through all these centuries. I have seen many beautiful churches, but was never impressed by any as by this huge fragment of one.

My father, as I have written you, stayed behind, saying that he would follow us. He has not done so yet, and I do not expect that he will, for reasons which I will not   repeat, as I gave them to you in a long letter which I wrote to you from Liège, which I heartily hope you have received.

AT COBLENTZ. [On arriving at Coblentz on a brilliant afternoon, so much of lovely daylight yet remained that I was most desirous to cross the river and ascend the great fortress of the Broad Stone of Honor, to see the sunset from its walls. I could not inspire anybody else with the same zeal, however; and, under the combined influence of disappointment and eager curiosity, started alone, at a brisk walk, and, crossing the bridge, began the ascent, and, gradually quickening my pace as I neared the summit, arrived, on a full run, breathless before the sentinel who guarded the last gates and amiably shook his head at my attempt to enter. The gates were open, and I saw, across the wide parade-ground, or place d'armes, where groups of soldiers were standing and loitering about, the parapet wall of the fortress, whence I had hoped to see the day go down over the Rhine, the Moselle, and all the glorious region round their confluence. "Oh, do let me in," cried I in very emphatic English to the sentry, who gravely shook his head. "Where is your father?" quoth he in German, as I made imploring and impatient gestures, significant of my despair at the idea of having had that stupendous climb all for nothing. "I have none," cried I, in English and French all in a breath. Both were equally Greek to him. He gravely shook his head. "Where is your husband?" quoth he in German, to which I replied in German—oh, such German!—that "I had none, that I was a woman" (which he probably saw), "only a woman, an Englishwoman" (which he probably heard), "and that I could do no harm to his fortress; that I had come all alone, and run half the way up, and that I could not turn back, and he must let me in!" He still shook his head gravely. I had the tears in my eyes, and felt ready to cry with vexation. Just then an officer approaching the gates from within, I addressed my eager supplications in sputtering, stuttering fragments of German, French, and English to him; and he, laughing good-naturedly, gave the sentinel the order to admit me; when I made straight across the great parade-ground, surrounded with the masses of the huge fortification, to the low parapet wall, whence I beheld the glorious landscape I had hoped to see, bathed in the sunset—a   vision of splendor, which surpassed even what I had expected, as I looked down from the dizzy height, over the magnificent river and its beautiful tributary, and all the near and distant landscape, melting far away into golden vapory indistinctness. I did not dare to stay long, having to return again alone; so, thanking my kind conductor, who had evidently enjoyed my ecstasy at the beauty of his Vaterland, I left the fortress, stopping again at the gate to ask the name of my friendly sentinel whose resistance to my impetuous storming of the fort had been as mild and gentle as was consistent with his resolute refusal to admit me. Having not a scrap of paper with me, I wrote his name with my pencil on my glove, determined, when I returned through Coblentz, to bring him some token of my gratitude for his patient forbearance; and so I ran all the way down and back to the hotel.

On our return, some weeks after, we visited Ehrenbreitstein with all the decorous solemnity of decent sight-seeing travellers; and, one of a party of four, I drove in state, in an open carriage, up the formidable approach that I had scaled so vehemently before. Duly armed with admits and permits, and all proper justifications of our approach, we drove under the huge archway, where stood another sentinel, and were received with courteous ceremony by some military gentlemen, under whose escort I leisurely went over the scene of my first visit, standing again, in more dignified enthusiasm, at the parapet where I had panted before in the breathless excitement of my run up the hill, my fight with the sentry, and my victory over him. Now, having been duly led and conducted and ushered and escorted all round, as we were about to depart, I begged, as a favor of the commanding officer, to be allowed to see again my friendly sentinel, for whom I had brought up a meerschaum of a pretty pattern that I had bought for him. "What was his name?" "Schneider." "Oh, there are several so called among the men. Should you know him again?" "Oh yes, indeed." And now ensued a general cry for Schneiders to present themselves. One after another was marched up, but without any resemblance to my friendly foe. Presently a word of command was given, followed by a brisk rolling of drums, when all the men came pouring out of the surrounding buildings, and formed in ranks on the   ground. "You have seen them all—all the Schneiders," said the kindly commandant. "Ah, no! here is yet one;" and from the back ranks was pushed and pulled and thrust and shoved, perfectly crimson with shyness and suppressed laughter, one of the handsomest lads I ever saw. "Is this your man?" said the commanding officer, with a profound bow, and his face puckered up with laughing. "No," cried I (for it wasn't), quite overcome with confusion and the general laughter that followed the production of this last of the Schneiders. One of the officers then said that some of the troops had been sent elsewhere, not long after my first visit. "Ah, then," said the commandant, who had interested himself in my search with considerable amusement, "your Schneider, madame, has left Ehrenbreitstein." And so did we; I, not a little disappointed at not having seen again the worthy man who had not bayoneted me away from the gates, when I assailed them and him in such a frenzy.]

MEETING AT MAYENCE. We overtook my sister at Mayence, or rather, I and the children remained there, while some of our party went on to Frankfort, where she was. They returned to Mayence in a body: ——, Adelaide, Henry, Miss Cottin, Mary Anne Thackeray, our London friend Chorley, and the illustrious Liszt. Travelling leisurely, as we were compelled to do on account of the children, I missed, to my great regret, my sister's first two public performances—a concert, and a representation of Norma, which she gave at Frankfort, and of which everybody spoke with the greatest enthusiasm. On the evening of the day when she joined us at Mayence, she sang at a concert, and this was the first time that I really have heard her sing in public; for I did not consider the concert at Stafford House a fair test of her powers—the audience was too limited, in number and quality, to deserve the name of a public. The sweetness and freshness of her voice struck me more than ever, but it appears to me rather wanting in power; and the same impression was produced upon me when I heard her sing in the Kursaal here. If there should be deficiency of power in the voice, it will, I fear, affect her success in so large a theatre as Covent Garden.... She sings Norma again to-night at Mayence, and I am going—of course without any anxiety, for her success is already established here; and with great anticipations of pleasure—more even, if possible, from her acting than her singing; for   the latter I am already familiar with, but of the former I have no experience, and have always entertained the greatest expectations of it, and I think I shall not be disappointed.

We have obtained very pleasant apartments here, and I have established Anne and the children quite comfortably; they were beginning to suffer from the perpetual moving about, and I shall let them remain undisturbed here, during the rest of our stay in Germany, and shall either stay quietly with them, or accompany my sister, if it is determined that we are to do so, to the places of her various engagements.

Since writing the above, I have seen my sister act Norma, and her performance fully equalled my expectation; which is great praise, for I have always had the highest opinion of her dramatic powers, and was, as I believe you know, earnest with her at one time to leave the opera stage and become an actress in her own language, as I was very sure of her entire success, and thought it a better and higher order of thing than this mere uttering of sound, and perpetual representation of passion and emotion, comparatively unmixed with intellect. To be sure, that would be to sacrifice some of her fine natural endowments, and the art and science of music, in which she has, at so much cost of time and labor, so thoroughly perfected herself, and which is in itself so exquisite a thing.... Her carriage is good, easy, and unembarrassed; her gestures and use of her arms remarkably graceful and appropriate. There is very little too much action, and that which appears to me redundant may simply seem so because her conception of the character is, in some of its parts, impulsive, where it strikes me as concentrated, and would therefore be sterner and stiller in its effect than she occasionally makes it. But she has evidently thought over the whole most carefully, considered the effects she intends to produce, and the means of producing them; and it is a far more finished performance, without any of the special defects which I should have expected in so great a lyrical tragic part, given by so young an artist. I suspect, however, that the severely mechanical element in music renders certainty in the performer's intentions necessary beforehand, to a much greater degree than in a merely dramatic performance; and thus a singer can seldom do the things which an actor   sometimes does, upon the sudden inspiration of the moment, occasionally producing thus extraordinary effects. Some of the things my sister did were perfect—I speak now of her acting: they were as fine as some of Pasta's great effects, and her whole performance reminded me forcibly of that finest artist. I cannot help thinking, however, that she is cramped by the music, and I confess I should like to see her act Bianca without singing it, as I am satisfied that she would represent most admirably all characters of power and passion, and find in the great dramatic compositions of our stage, and especially in Shakespeare's plays, scope for her capacity which Italian operas cannot afford.

Her voice is not as powerful as I expected, nor as I think it would have been if she had not striven to acquire artificial compass; that is, high notes which were not originally in her natural register,—the great aim of all singers being to sing the highest music, which is always that of the principal female character. The consequence of this is sometimes that the quality of the natural voice is in a measure sacrificed to the acquisition of notes not originally within its compass....

I have room for no more, dearest Harriet. Good-bye, and God bless you.

Ever affectionately yours,


I wrote you an interminable letter from Liège. Did you ever get it?

[The time we spent on the Rhine during this summer afforded me an opportunity of almost intimate acquaintance with the celebrated musician who had persuaded my sister to associate herself with him in the concerts he gave at the principal places on the Rhine where we stopped.

LISZT. Our whole expedition partook more of the character of a party of pleasure than a business speculation; and though Liszt's and my sister's musical performances were professional exhibitions of the highest order, the relations of our whole party were those of the friendliest and merriest tourists and compagnons de voyage. Nothing could exceed the charm of our delightful travelling through that lovely scenery, and sojourning in those pleasant picturesque   antique towns, where the fine concerts of our two artists enchanted us even more, from personal sympathy, than the most enthusiastic audiences who thronged to hear them.

Liszt was at this time a young man, in the very perfection of his extraordinary talent, and at the height of his great celebrity. He was extremely handsome; his features were finely chiselled, and the expression of his face, especially when under the inspiration of playing, strikingly grand and commanding.

Of all the pianists that I have ever heard, and I have heard all the most celebrated of my time, he was undoubtedly the first for fire, power, and brilliancy of execution. His style, which was strictly original, and an innovation upon all that had preceded it, may be called the "Sturm und Drang," or seven-leagued-boot style of playing on the piano; and in listening to him, it was difficult to believe that he had no more than the average number of fingers, or that they were of the average length,—but that, indeed, they were not; he had stretched his hands like a pair of kid gloves, and accomplished the most incredible distances, while executing, in the interval between them, inconceivable musical feats with his three middle fingers. None of his musical contemporaries, Moscheles, Mendelssohn, Chopin, nor his more immediate rival, Thalberg, ever produced anything like the volcanic sort of musical effect which he did, perfect eruptions, earthquakes, tornadoes of sound, such as I never heard any piano utter but under his touch. But though he was undoubtedly a more amazing performer than any I ever listened to, his peculiar eccentricities were so inextricably interwoven with the whole mode and manner of his performances that, in spite of the many imitators they have inspired, he could by no means be regarded as the founder of anything deserving the name of a school of piano-playing. M. Rubinstein, I presume, in our own day, represents Liszt's peculiar genius better than any one else.

The close, concise, crowded, and somewhat crabbed style of the great learned musical school of the Bachs, which may almost be called the algebra or geometry of musical composition, at any rate its higher mathematics, had certainly challenged a spirit of the most daring contrast in the young Hungarian prodigy, who electrified Paris, and carried its severe body of classical critics by storm, with the   triumphant audacity of his brilliant and powerful style. Liszt became, at the very opening of his career, so immediately a miracle, and then an oracle, in the artistic and the great world of Paris that he was allowed to impose his own terms upon its judgment; and suffering himself the worst consequences of that order of success, he achieved too early a fame for his permanent reputation. A want of sobriety, a fantastical seeking after strange effects—in short, the characteristics of artistic charlatanerie—mixed themselves up with all that he did, and, as is inevitably the case, deteriorated the fine original gifts of his genius. When I first heard him, he had already reached the furthest limit of his powers, because they were exerted in a mistaken direction; and the exaggeration and false taste which were covered by his marvellous facility and strength gradually became more and more predominant in his performances, and turned them almost into caricatures of the first wonderful specimens of ability with which he had amazed the musical world.

He could not go on being forever more astonishing than he had ever been before, and he paid the penalty of having made that his principal aim. His execution and composition alike became by degrees incoherent acrobatism, in which all that could call itself art was a mere combination of extraordinary and all but grotesque difficulties, devised for the sole purpose of overcoming them; musical convulsions and contortions, that forever recalled Dr. Johnson's epigram.

In the summer of 1842 Liszt was but on the edge of this descent; his genius, his youth, his personal beauty, and the vivid charm of his manner and conversation had made him the idol of society, as well as of the artistic world, and he was then radiant with the fire of his great natural gifts, and dazzling with the success that had crowned them; he was a brilliant creature....

After this I never saw Liszt again until the summer of 1870. I had gone to the theatre at Munich, where I was staying, to hear Wagner's opera of the "Rheingold," with my daughter and her husband. We had already taken our places, when S—— exclaimed to me, "There is Liszt." The increased age, the clerical dress, had effected but little change in the striking general appearance, which my daughter (who had never seen him since 1842, when she was quite a child) recognized immediately. I went round to his box, and, recalling   myself to his memory, begged him to come to ours, and let me present my daughter to him; he very good-naturedly did so, and the next day called upon us at our hotel, and sat with us a long time....

His conversation on matters of art (Wagner's music, which he and we had listened to the evening before) and literature was curiously cautious and guarded, and every expression of opinion given with extreme reserve, instead of the uncompromising fearlessness of his earlier years; and the abbé was indeed quite another from the Liszt of our summer on the Rhine of 1842.

Liszt never composed any very good music; arrangement of the music of others was his specialty; and his versions of Schubert's, Weber's, and Mozart's finest melodies for the piano were the ne plus ultra of brilliant and powerful adaptation, but required his own rendering to produce their full effect; and by far the most extraordinary exhibition of skill I ever heard on the piano was his performance of the airs from the Don Giovanni, arranged by himself. His literary style had the same qualities and defects as his music: brilliancy and picturesqueness, and an absence of genuineness and simplicity. He wrote a great deal of musical criticism, and an interesting life of Chopin.

His conversation was sparkling and dazzling, and full of startling paradoxes; he had considerable power of sarcastic repartee, and once or twice is reported to have encountered the imperious queen of Austrian society, Madame de Metternich, with her own weapons, very successfully.

She patronized Thalberg, and affected to depreciate Liszt; but having invited them both to her house on one occasion, thought proper to address the latter with some impertinent questions about a professional visit he had just been paying to Paris, winding up with, "Enfin, avez-vous fait de bonnes affaires là-bas?" To which he replied, "Pardon, Madame la Princesse, j'ai fait un peu de musique; je laisse les affaires aux banquiers et aux diplomates." Later in the evening, the lady, probably not well pleased with this rebuff, accosted him again, as he stood talking to Thalberg, with a sneering compliment on his apparent freedom from all jealousy of his musical rival; to which Liszt, who was very sallow, replied, "Mais, Madame   la Princesse, au contraire, je suis furieusement jaloux de Thalberg; regardez donc les jolies couleurs qu'il a!" After which Madame la Princesse le laissa en paix.

Between Thalberg and Liszt I do not think there could be any comparison. The exquisite perfection of delicate accuracy, combined with extraordinary lightness and velocity of execution, of Thalberg was his one unapproachable excellence, and as near the unerring precision of mere mechanism as possible: it was absolutely faultless; but it paid the penalty for being what things human may not be—it wanted the human element of passion and pathos. His performance was a miracle of art, and left his admiring auditors pleasingly amazed, but untouched in any of the deeper chords of sympathetic emotion. He had not a spark of the original genius or fire of Liszt. Moscheles, whom I have only named with the other two because he was a highly popular performer at the same time, was a more solid musician than either of them, and infinitely inferior as an executant to both. He was the most excellent of teachers, for which valuable office Thalberg would have wanted some and Liszt all the necessary qualifications. Of Chopin it is useless to speak: exceptional in his artistic nature and in his circumstances, he played his own most poetical music as no one else could; though his friend Dessauer, who was not a professional player at all, gave a most curious and satisfactory imitation of his mode of rendering his own compositions. But between Chopin and any other musical composer or performer there was never anything in common; he was original and unique in both characters.

As for Mendelssohn, the organ was his real instrument, though he played very finely on the piano. He was not, however, a pre-eminent performer, but a composer of music; and I should no more think of comparing the quality of his genius with that of Liszt, than I should compare the Roman girandola with its sky-scaring fusees and myriads of sudden scintillations and dazzling coruscations, with the element that lights our homes and warms our hearths, or to the steadfast shining of the everlasting stars themselves.

CHARLES HALLÉ. Of all the pianoforte players by whom I have heard Beethoven's music more or less successfully rendered, Charles Hallé has always appeared to me the one who most perfectly communicated the mind and soul of the pre-eminent composer.

  Our temporary fellowship with Liszt procured for us a delightful participation in a tribute of admiration from the citizen workmen of Coblentz, that was what the French call saissant. We were sitting all in our hotel drawing-room together, the maestro as usual smoking his long pipe, when a sudden burst of music made us throw open the window and go out on the balcony, when Liszt was greeted by a magnificent chorus of nearly two hundred men's voices; they sang to perfection, each with his small sheet of music and his sheltered light in his hand, and the performance, which was the only one of the sort I ever heard, gave a wonderful impression of the musical capacity of the only really musical nation in the world.]

Wiesbaden, Sunday, September.

My dearest Harriet,

I have already written to you from this place: one letter I wrote almost immediately after taking a walk which you had taken with Catherine Sedgwick, the year that you were here together, towards the Sonnenberg. You wrote me letters from here too, which I received up at Lenox, and read at a window looking out over a landscape very much resembling the neighborhood of this place. I remember your epistolary accounts of Wiesbaden were not very favorable: you did not like its watering-place aspect and fashions; and neither should I, if I was in any way mixed up with them. But we have hitherto none of us taken the waters; we have pretty and comfortable rooms, with the slight drawback of hearing our neighbors washing their hands and brushing their teeth, and drawing the natural conclusion as to the reciprocity of communications we make to them. We are at the Quatre Saisons, and with nothing but the Kursaal and its arcades between us and the gardens; so I am not oppressed with the feeling of a town, streets, houses, shops, etc., all which lie at my back and are never by any accident approached by me....

I have gone into the baths merely by way of what the French call propreté, being too lazy to go and fetch a wash under the arcade, in de l'eau naturelle. The water which supplies the baths in the Quatre Saisons is not by any means as strong as the Kochbrunnen, yet I fancied that it affected me unpleasantly, causing me a sensation of fullness in the head, and nausea, which was very disagreeable,   as well as making me stupidly sleepy through the day....

Last Thursday I went to Frankfort to hear Adelaide sing; she was to perform, en costume, an act from three different operas, a sort of hotchpotch which, as she cares for her profession, I am surprised at her condescending to. We were not in time for the first, which was the last scene of the "Lucia di Lammermoor," but heard her in the last scene of "Beatrice di Tenda," and in the first scene of the "Norma." ... What she does is very perfect, but I think she occasionally falls short of the amount of power that I expected.... And all the time, I cannot help wishing that she would leave the singing part of the business, and take to acting not set to music. I think the singing cramps her acting, and I cannot help having some misgiving as to the effect she will produce in so large a theatre as Covent Garden; although, as she has sung successfully in the two largest theatres in Europe, the Scala at Milan and the San Carlo at Naples, I suppose my nervousness about Covent Garden is unnecessary.... Her movements and gesture are all remarkably graceful and easy; she is perfectly self-possessed, and impresses me even more as an artist than a genius, which I did not expect.

I believe she will not sing to-morrow night, and, in that case, they will all come over and spend the day here, when Henry, Mary Anne Thackeray, and I purpose ascending Wiesbaden horses and riding to the duke's hunting-seat, which perhaps you drove to when you were here....

MALIBRAN. I confess to you, I cannot help sometimes feeling a little anxious about my sister's success in England, especially when I remember how formidable a predecessor she is to succeed—that wonderful Malibran, who added to such original genius and great dramatic power a voice of such uncommon force and brilliancy.

Good-bye. This is the third long letter I have written to you since we came abroad.

Ever yours,


  Aix-la-Chapelle, Monday, October 11th.

My dearest Harriet,

I begin to sniff the well-beloved fogs and coal-smoke of that best beloved little island to which I have the honor and glory of belonging, and my spirits are much revived thereby; for, to tell you the truth, England, bad as it is, is good enough for me, and I am grown old and stupid and sleepy and don't-carish, and think more about bugs and greasy food in the way of woe than of vine-clad hills and ruined castles in the way of bliss. Not that I have been by any means dissatisfied with my tower, though rather disappointed in the one fact of the Rhine: but I am incurious and always was, and I do not think that fault mends with age; and knights, squires, and dames too, alas! are no longer to me the interesting folk that they once were.

"But it is past, the glory is congealing,
The fervor of the heart grows dead and dim;
I gaze all night upon a whitewashed ceiling,
And catch no glimpses of the Seraphim."

I think the ruins of the German hills especially excellent in that they are ruins, and can by no possibility ever again be made strongholds of debauchery, ferocity, and filth; and finally and to conclude, my dear Harriet, lights and shadows, the colors of the earth and sky, the beauty of God's creation, in short, alone now moves me very deeply, and this, I am thankful to say, is as powerful to do so as ever.

I must tell you something pretty and poetical, and which I think has made more impression upon me than anything else in the course of my travels. The other evening at Cologne, by the sloping light of a watery autumnal sunset, the wind blowing loud and strong, the river rolling fast and free, and the great, violet-colored clouds drooping heavily down the sky, we suddenly heard the guns along each bank fire repeatedly, saluting the approach of some greatness or other down the stream. Whether it was king or kaiser, or only one of the merchant-princes to whom the navigation of this stream now belongs, and who receive these honors whenever they go up or down the river, nobody could tell; and still peal after peal was fired, and one echo rolled into another from shore to shore. At length a long low boat came in sight, sweeping down with the wide current towards the city   walls. She was covered from stem to stern with bright flags and pennons, and was freighted with stone, which the Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt was sending down from his quarries, to help the people of Cologne to finish their beautiful cathedral; and as this cargo came along their shores they were saluting it with royal honors. The crane which was to lift the blocks from the boat had its great iron arm all wreathed with flowers, and flags and streamers floating from its top, which peaceful half-religious jubilee pleased me greatly, and affected me too.

At Cologne, six weeks before, we had seen the King of Hanover, Ernest Augustus, the wicked Duke of Cumberland, received just in the same way, except that the cannonading was closed on that occasion, in an exceedingly appropriate manner to my mind, by a sudden fierce peal of derisive thunder.

BENDERMANN'S PICTURE. We went, while at Cologne, to the Museum, and there saw another beautiful thing of another sort, Bendermann's picture of the Jews weeping by the waters of Babylon—a very striking picture, sad and harmonious in its coloring, and full of feeling and expression; I was greatly impressed by it. And thus, you see, from only one of the places I have visited, I have brought away two living recollections, perpetual sources of pleasant mental contemplation. Two such treasures in one's storehouse of memory would have been worth the whole journey; but I have had many more such, and I incline to think that it is very often in retrospect that travel is most agreeable—the little annoyances and hindrances, which often qualify one's pleasure a good deal at the time one receives it, seldom mix themselves with the recollection of it in the same vivid manner; and so, as the American widow said she thought it was a charming thing "to have been married and be done with it," I think it is a charming thing to have been up the Rhine and be back again.

I forget whether I wrote you word of my father's joining us for a single day at Frankfort, and then returning immediately to England.... He was not at all well, and the hurried journey was, I fear, a most imprudent one. My sister is at present at Liège with Henry, Liszt, and our friend Chorley....

Good-bye, my dearest H——.

I am ever yours,


  [My friend Miss S—— came to us in London, and witnessed with me my sister's coming out at Covent Garden, which took place on Tuesday, the 2nd of November, 1842, in Bellini's opera of "Norma," which she sang in English, retaining the whole of the recitative. My sister's success was triumphant, and the fortunes of the unfortunate theatre, which again were at the lowest ebb, revived under the influence of her great and immediate popularity, and the overflowing houses that, night after night, crowded to hear her. Her performances, which I seldom missed, were among my most delightful pleasures, during a season in which I enjoyed the companionship of my dear friend, and a great deal of pleasant social intercourse with the most interesting and agreeable people of the great gay London world.]

Bowood, Sunday, December 19th.

To Theodore Sedgwick, Esq.

My dear Theodore,

I cannot conceive how it happens that a letter of yours, dated the 8th September, should have reached me only a fortnight ago in London. Either it must have been forgotten after written, and not sent for some time, or Messrs. Harnden and Co.'s Express is the slowest known conveyance in the world. However that may be, the letter and the Philadelphia Bank statement did arrive safe at last, and my father desires me to thank you particularly for your kindness in sending it to him. Not, indeed, that it is peculiarly consolatory in itself, inasmuch as it confirms our worst apprehensions about the fate of all moneys lodged in that disastrous institution. But perhaps it is better to have a term put to one's uncertainty, even by the positive conviction of misfortune not to be averted. My father's property in that bank—"The United States Bank"—was considerable for him, and had been hardly earned money. I understand from him that my share of our American earnings are in the New Orleans banks, which, though they pay no dividends, and have not done so for some time past, are still, I believe, supposed to be safe and solvent....

VISITORS AT BOWOOD. We are staying just now with Lord and Lady Lansdowne, in this pleasant home of theirs—a home of terrestrial delights. Inside the house, all is tasteful and   intellectual magnificence—such pictures! such statues! And outside, a charming English landscape, educated with consummate taste into the very perfection of apparently natural beauty.... They are amiable, good, pleasant, and every way distinguished people, and I like them very much. He, as you know, is one of our leading Whig statesmen, a munificent patron of the arts and literature, a man of the finest taste and cultivation, at whose house eminences of all sorts are cordially received. Lady Lansdowne is a specimen Englishwoman of her class, refined, intelligent, well-bred, and most charming. I believe Lord Lansdowne was kindly civil to your aunt Catherine when she was in London; I wish she could have see this enchanting place of his.

Rogers, Moore, and a parcel of choice beaux esprits are staying here; but, to tell you a fact which probably accuses me of stupidity, they are so incessantly clever, witty, and brilliant that they every now and then give me a brain-ache.

I do not know the exact depth of your patience, but I have an idea that it has a bottom, therefore I think it expedient not to pursue crossing any further with you.

Give my kindest love to Sarah, and

Believe me ever, my dear Theodore,
Yours very truly,

Fanny Butler.

Please remember me very kindly to your mother. I sat by a man at dinner yesterday, a Dr. Fowler of Salisbury, who was talking to me of having known her friends Mrs. Jay and Mrs. Banian, when they were in England; and their names were pleasant to me on account of their association with her.

Bowood, Tuesday, December 21st, 1841.

Did you expect an immediate answer from me, dear Harriet, or did you think your letters would be put at the bottom of the budget, to wait their appointed time? You say your thought in parting from me was chiefly to preserve your tranquillity; and so was mine to preserve my own and yours.... There are many occasions on which I both feel much more than I show, and perceive in others much more feeling than I believe they think I am aware of. There are times when, for one's own sake, as   well as for that of others, to be—or, if that is not possible, to seem—absorbed in outward things of the most indifferent description is highly desirable; and I am even conscious sometimes of a sort of hardness, which seems to come involuntarily to my aid, in seasons when I know myself or fear that others are about to be carried away by their feelings, or to break down under them....

I was glad enough to get your second letter, and to know you were safe in Dublin. It was calm the night you crossed, but it has blown once or twice fearfully since.

Our visit to the Francis Egertons, at Worsley, was prosperous and pleasant in the highest degree; and we are now paying our promised one at Bowood. I must tell you a trait of Anne [my children's American nurse], who, it is my belief, is nothing less than the Princess Pocahontas, who, having returned to earth, has condescended to take charge of my children.

You know that this place is celebrated; the house is not only fine in point of size, architecture, and costly furnishing, but is filled with precious works of art, painting and sculpture, modern and ancient, beautiful, rare, and costly. The first day that we arrived, ushered up the great staircase to our rooms, I followed the servant with wide-open eyes, gazing in delighted admiration at everything I saw. "Well," said I to Anne, "is not this a fine house, Anne?" "The staircase is well enough," was her imperturbable reply. Wouldn't one think she had had the Vatican for her second-best house, and St. Peter's for her private chapel, all the days of her life? She certainly must have, some Indian blood in her veins.

This morning I took a brisk walk along the sunny terrace, where, from under the shining shelter of holly, laurel, cedar, and all other evergreen shrubs and trees, one looks over a garden—that even now, with its graceful vases, its terraces, its ivy winter dressing, is gay and beautiful—to a lawn that slopes gently to a sheet of water, losing itself like a lake among irregular wooded banks, whose brown feathery outline borrows from the winter's sun a golden tinge of soft sad splendor. Upon this water swans and wild-fowl sail and sport about; and the whole scene this morning, tipped with sparkling frost, and shining under a brilliant sky, seemed very charming to me, and to S—— too, who, running by my side, exclaimed,   "Well, this is my idea of heaven! I do think this might be called Paradise, or that garden—I forget its name—that Adam and Eve were put into!" (Eden had escaped her memory, as, let us hope, in time it did theirs.) I was pleased to find that my Biblical teachings had suggested positive images, and that she had caught none of her nurse's stolid insensibility to beauty....

We have a choice society here just now, and fortunately among them persons that we know and feel at our ease with: Rogers, Moore, Macaulay, Babbage, Westmacott, Charles Greville, and two or three charming, agreeable, unaffected women....

HOME BY LAND. You ask if Lady Holland is at Bowood. No, she had returned home by land, as they say [at the beginning of railroad travelling, persons who still preferred the former method of posting on the high-road were said to go by land], not choosing to risk her precious body on the railway without Brunel's personal escort to keep it in order and prevent it from doing her any accident. He having had the happiness of travelling down to Bowood with her, which she insisted upon, naturally enough declined coming all the way down again from London to see her safe home; so not being able to accomplish his fetching her back to town, she contrived to extort from him a letter stating that, owing to the late heavy rains, her journey back to London upon the railroad would probably be both tedious and uncomfortable, and advising her by all means to go home "by land," which, considering that the Great Western is his own road—his iron child, so to speak,—by which he is bound to swear under all circumstances, is, I think, a pretty good specimen of her omnipotence.

She did post home accordingly, but not without dismal misgivings as to what might befall her while crossing a wood of Lord Salisbury's, where she was to be, for a short space of time, seven miles off from any village or town. I never knew such a terrified, terrible, foolish old woman in my life.

After all, she is right: life is worth more to very good and to very good-for-nothing people than to others. My father dined with her in town while we were away, and in her note of invitation she included us, if we had returned, saying all manner of civil fine things about me; but, as far as I am concerned, it won't do, and she cannot put salt upon my tail....

  We returned to town on Friday. Charles Greville saw my father on Saturday, and says he is, and is looking, very well. Adelaide was gone down to Addlestone, to see John and his wife. My children—bless them!—are making such a riot here at my table that I scarcely know what I am writing.

Good-bye, dearest Harriet. I will write to you again to-morrow.

Ever yours,


Bowood, Wednesday, December 22nd, 1841.

Dearest Harriet,

I was a "happy woman" at Worsley [a "happy woman" was the term used by me from my childhood to describe a woman on horseback], and, as sometimes happens, had even too much of my happiness. My friend Lady Francis is made of whalebone and india-rubber in equal proportions, very neatly and elegantly fastened together with the finest steel springs, and is incapable of fatigue from exertion, or injury from exposure.

Having an exalted idea of my capabilities in the way of horse exercise (which, indeed, when I am in my usual condition, are pretty good), she started off with me to H——, a distance of about eight miles, and we did the whole way there and back (besides an episodical gallop, three times full tear round a field, to tame our horses, which were wild) either at a hard gallop or a harder trot. I, who have grown fat and soft, and have hardly ridden since I left America, came home bruised and beaten, and aching in every limb to that degree that I was glad to lie down—conceive the humiliation!—and was much put to it to get up again to dress for dinner; having, moreover, the consolation of being assured by Lady Francis that she had ridden thus hard out of pure consideration for me; supposing that the faster I went, the better I should be pleased. I was, besides, mounted upon a fiery little fiend of a pony, who pulled my arms out of their sockets and would not walk. However, by repeating the dose every day, I suffered less and less, and am now once more in excellent riding condition.

I remember a ludicrous circumstance of the same kind happening to me in America, on the occasion of the first ride I ever took with my brother-in-law, who was then   comparatively a stranger to me. He was a cavalry officer, a capital horseman, and hard rider; which qualities he exhibited the first time I ever went out with him, by riding at such a pace and for such a length of time that, perceiving he did not kill himself, I asked if he was in the habit of killing his horse every time he rode out; when he burst out laughing, and assured me that he thought he was only conforming to my habitual pace.

Yesterday I varied my exercise, for I went out on horseback with Lord Lansdowne, and finding the roads dangerously slippery for our horses, which were not sharped, when we were at some distance from Bowood we dismounted, and gave them to the groom, and came home on foot, a distance of three miles, which, carrying one's habit [riding-skirts in those days were very long], I think was as good as four.

You cannot conceive anything more melancholy than the aspect of H——.... It was a miserable day, dark, dismal, and foggy; the Manchester smoke came down, together with a penetrating cold drizzle, like the defilement and weeping of irretrievable shame, and sin, and sorrow; and the whole aspect of the place struck me with dismay. The house was shut up, and looked absolutely deserted, not a soul stirring about it; the garden dismantled and out of order. Altogether, the contrast of the whole scene to that which I remembered so bright, cheerful, gay, and lovely, combined with the cause of its present condition, struck me as beyond measure mournful....

THE NURSE, ANNE. You ask after the welfare of my children's nurse, Anne; and I will tell you something comically characteristic both of the individual and her nation. Here at Bowood she eats alone with the children, as she has been in the habit of doing at home; but at Worsley the little ones dined with us at our luncheon-table, and she ate in the housekeeper's room. Not knowing myself exactly what would be the place assigned to an American nursery-maid in the society of the servants' hall at Worsley, I inquired of her whether she was comfortable and well-treated. She said, "Oh, yes, perfectly well;" but there seemed to me by her manner to be something or other amiss, and upon my inquiring further, she said, "Well, then, Mrs. Butler, I'll tell you what it is: I do wish they'd let me dine at the lower table. Everything is very good   and very fine, to be sure, and the people are very kind and civil to me, but I cannot bear to have men in livery and maid-servants standing up behind my chair waiting on me, and that's the truth of it." She said this with an air of such sincere discomfort that it was quite evident to me that if, in common with her countrymen, she thought herself "as good as anybody," she certainly was not seduced by the glories of the upper table into forgetting that any one was as good as she.

I was spared the discomfort of having the children in another house; for either Lady Francis has fewer guests than she expected, or she had contrived to manage better than she had supposed she could, for they were lodged under the same roof with me, and quite near enough for comfort or convenience....

Thank you for your kindness in copying that account of Cavanagh for me; thank you, too, for Archbishop Whately's book, which I read immediately. There is nothing in it that I have not read before, nor certainly anything whatever to alter my opinion that the accumulation of enormous wealth in the hands of individuals who transmit it to their eldest sons, who inherit it without either mental or physical exertion of theirs, is an inevitable source of moral evil. There was nothing in that book to shake my opinion that hereditary idleness and luxury are not good for the country where they exist. An opinion was expressed in general conversation by almost everybody at Worsley which suggested a conclusion to my mind that did not appear to occur to any one else. In speaking of the education of young English boys at our great public schools, the whole system pursued in those institutions was condemned as bad; but on all sides, nevertheless, admitted to be better (at any rate, for the sons of noblemen) than the incessant, base, excessive complaisance and flattery of their servants and dependents, from which they all said that it was impossible to screen them in their own homes, and equally impossible that they should not suffer serious moral evil. Lord Francis said that for a lad like his nephew, the Marquis of Stafford, there was but one thing worse than being educated at Eton, and that was being educated at home; therefore, concluded they all in chorus, we send our boys to our public schools. So the children are sent away lest they should be corrupted by the obsequious servants and   luxurious habits and general mode of life of their parents. And this, of course, is one of the inevitable results of distinctions of classes and hereditary wealth and influence; it is not one of the good ones, but there are better.

God bless you, dearest Harriet. I wrote to you yesterday, and shall probably do so again to-morrow.

Ever yours,


Harley Street, London, Sunday, December 26th, 1841.

Dear Harriet,

THOMAS MOORE. I must tell you a droll little incident that occurred the day of our leaving Bowood. As I was crossing the great hall, holding little F—— by the hand, Lord Lansdowne and Moore, who were talking at the other end, came towards me, and, while the former expressed kind regrets at our departure, Moore took up the child and kissed her, and set her down again; when she clutched hold of my gown, and trotted silently out of the hall by my side. As the great red door closed behind us, on our way to my rooms, she said, in a tone that I thought indicated some stifled sense of offended dignity, "Pray, mamma, who was dat little dentleman?" Now, Harriet, though Moore's fame is great, his stature is little, and my belief is that my three-year-old daughter was suffering under an impression that she had been taken a liberty with by some enterprising schoolboy. Oh, Harriet! think if one of his own Irish rosebuds of sixteen had received that poet's kiss, how long it would have been before she would have washed that side of her face! I believe if he had bestowed it upon me, I would have kept mine from water for its sake, till—bed-time. Indeed, when first "Lalla Rookh" came out, I think I might have made a little circle on that cheek, and dedicated it to Tom Moore and dirt forever; that is—till I forgot all about it, and my habit of plunging my face into water whenever I dress got the better of my finer feelings. But, you see, he didn't kiss my stupid little child's intelligent mother, and this is the way that fool Fortune misbestows her favors. She is spiteful, too, that whirligig woman with the wheel. I am not an autograph collector, of course; if I was, I shouldn't have got the prize I received yesterday, when Rogers, after mending a pen for me, and tenderly caressing the nib of   it with a knife as sharp as his own tongue, wrote, in his beautiful, delicate, fine hand, by way of trying it—

"The path of sorrow, and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown."

Is that a quotation from himself or some one else? or was it an impromptu?—a seer's vision, and friend's warning? Chi sa?

I cannot help being a little surprised at the earnestness with which you implore me to read Archbishop Whately's treatise. My objection to reading of books never extends to any book either given or lent, or strongly recommended to me. I am so fond of reading that I care very little what I read, so well satisfied am I with the movement and activity which even the stupidest, shallowest book rouses in my mind. With regard to the little work in question, you probably thought the subject might not interest me, and therefore I should neglect it. The subject, i.e., political economy, interests me so little that, though I have read at various times and in sundry places publications of the same nature with much attention, they, in common with other books on other subjects for which I do not care, have left not the slightest trace upon my memory; at least, until I come to read the matter all over again, when my knowledge of it reappears, as it were, on the surface of my mind, though it had seemed to me to run through my brain like water through a sieve.

I have no doubt that from my mode of talking of different peoples, under various systems of government, you would not suspect me of having ever looked into the simplest treatise on political economy and similar subjects; but I have read most of the popular expositions of those grave matters that the press now daily puts forth; but as they, for the most part, deal with things as they are, and my cogitations are chiefly as to things as they should be, I do not find my studies avail me much. I believe I wrote you word after reading the book you sent me, and thinking it a very excellent abridged exposition of such subjects; I still could not understand what it had to do with the theory of laws for the division of property, or the expediency of the law of primogeniture, and the advantages of the distinctions of rank, to the societies where they exist. The question seems to me rather   whether these remains of feudalism have or have not outlived their uses.

By-the-by, in taking off the cover in which you had wrapped the book, I did not perceive that you had written upon it until I had thrown it into the fire. I assure you that at the moment I was a great deal sorrier than if the worthy little volume itself had been grilling on the top of the coals.

We returned here on Friday, and found my father and Adelaide going on much as usual. Half a score of invitations, of one sort and another, waiting for us, and London, with its grim visage, looking less lovely than ever after the sweet, tender, wintry beauty of Bowood; where one walked, for a whole morning at a time, among hollies and laurels and glittering evergreens, which, by the help of the sunshine we enjoyed while we were there, gave the lie triumphant to the dead season.

EXERCISE OF AGONY. I have been nurse almost all the day. Anne, who, poor girl! has had a long fast from her devotional privileges, went to church, and I walked with the children to the broad gravel walk in the Regent's Park, where I took that "exercise of agony" with you one afternoon; the day was much the same too, bright and sunny above, and exceedingly muddy and hateful under foot. The servants having their Christmas dinner to-day, I offered to take entire charge of the children, if Anne liked to join the party downstairs. She affably condescended, and they prolonged the social meal, or their after-dinner converse, for considerably more than two hours. Since that, I have been reading to S——, and it is now time for me to dress for dinner.

Adelaide and I dined tête-à-tête to-day; my father dined with Miss Cottin. I have refused, because it is Sunday; Adelaide, because she is lazy; but she means to make the effort to go in the evening, and I shall go to bed early, and very glad I shall be to shut up shop, for this has been a very heavy day. How well nurses ought to be paid!

God bless you, dear Harriet.

Ever yours,


  Harley Street, Tuesday, December 28th, 1841.

My dearest Harriet,

I wrote you two long letters from Bowood, and one crossed note since I came back to town; yet in a letter I get from you this morning you ask me when your letters are "coming to the top" [of my packet of "my letters to be answered," to which I always replied in the succession in which they reached me]; at which, I confess, I feel not a little dismayed. However, it is to be hoped that you will get them sooner or later, and that, in this world or the next, you will discover that I wrote to you two such letters, at such a time....

How can you ask me if I play fair with my letters? Are you not sure that I do? and, whatever may be the case with my better qualities, are not my follies substantial, reliable, consistent, constant follies, that are pretty sure to be found where you left them?

Good-bye, my dearest Harriet. I am terribly out of spirits, but it is near bed-time, and the day will soon be done....

God bless you, dear. Give my kindest love to Dorothy. I am thinking of your return with earnest longing.... As we passed the evening at the Hen and Chickens, in the same room where I began reading you "Les Maîtres Mosaistes," on our return through Birmingham from the lately formed association, your image was naturally very vivid in our memories.

I am ever yours,


Harley Street, December 28th, 1841.

Dearest Granny,

[This was an affectionate nickname that my friend Lady Dacre assumed towards me, and by which I frequently addressed her], I do not mean this time to tax your forgiveness of injuries quite so severely as before, though you really have such a pretty knack of generosity that it's a pity not to give you an opportunity of exercising it.

Here we are again in our Harley Street abode, which, by favor of the fogs, smokes, and various lovely December complexions of London, looks but grimly after the evergreen shrubberies and bowers of Bowood, which I saw the evening before I came away to peculiar advantage,   under the light of an unclouded moon. I left there the goodliest company conceivable: Rogers, Moore, Macaulay, Charles Austen, Mr. Dundas, Charles Greville, and Westmacott: so much for the mankind. Then there was dear old Miss Fox [Lord Holland's sister], whom I love, and Lady Harriet Baring [afterwards Lady Ashburton], whom I do not love, which does not prevent her being a very clever woman; and that exceedingly pretty and intelligent Baroness Louis Rothschild, et cetera. It was a brilliant party, but they were all so preternaturally witty and wise that, to tell you the truth, dear Granny, they occasionally gave me the mind-ache.

MACAULAY. As for Macaulay, he is like nothing in the world but Bayle's Dictionary, continued down to the present time, and purified from all objectionable matter. Such a Niagara of information did surely never pour from the lips of mortal man!

I think our pilgrimages are pretty well over for the present, unless the Duke of Rutland should remember a particularly courteous invitation he gave us to go to Belvoir some time about Christmas—a summons which we should very gladly obey, as I suppose there are not many finer places in England or out of it.

I am sorry you have parted with Forrester [a horse Lady Dacre had named after a favorite horse of mine]; I liked to fancy my dear old horse's namesake at the Hoo.

Give my love to Lord Dacre, and my well-beloved B—— and G—— [Lady Dacre's granddaughters]. I am glad the former is dancing, because I like it so much myself. I look forward to seeing you all in the spring, and in the mean time remain, dear Granny,

Yours most affectionately,


[I became subsequently well acquainted with Lord Macaulay, but no familiarity ever diminished my admiration of his vast stores of knowledge, or my amazement at his abundant power of communicating them.

In my visits to the houses of my friends, alike those with whom I was most and least intimate, I always passed a great deal of my time in my own room, and never remained in the drawing-room until after dinner, having a decided inclination for solitude in the morning and   society in the evening. I used, however, to look in during the course of the day, upon whatever circle might be gathered in the drawing or morning rooms, for a few minutes at a time, and remember, on this occasion of my meeting Macaulay at Bowood, my amazement at finding him always in the same position on the hearth-rug, always talking, always answering everybody's questions about everything, always pouring forth eloquent knowledge; and I used to listen to him till I was breathless with what I thought ought to have been his exhaustion.

As one approached the room, the loud, even, declamatory sound of his voice made itself heard like the uninterrupted flow of a fountain. He stood there from morning till evening, like a knight in the lists, challenging and accepting the challenge of all comers. There never was such a speech-"power," and as the volume of his voice was full and sonorous, he had immense advantages in sound as well as sense over his adversaries. Sydney Smith's humorous and good-humored rage at his prolific talk was very funny. Rogers's, of course, was not good-humored; and on this very occasion, one day at breakfast, having two or three times uplifted his thread of voice and fine incisive speech against the torrent of Macaulay's holding forth, Lord Lansdowne, the most courteous of hosts, endeavored to make way for him with a "You were saying, Mr. Rogers?" when Rogers hissed out, "Oh, what I was saying will keep!"

I have spoken of Macaulay's discourse as a torrent; it was rather like the smooth and copious stream of the Aqua Paola, a comparison which it constantly suggested to me; the resonant, ceaseless, noble volume of water, the great fountain perpetually poured forth, was like the sonorous sound and affluent flow of his abundant speech, and the wide, eventful Roman plain, with all its thronging memories of past centuries, seen from the Janiculum, was like the vast and varied horizon of his knowledge, forever swept by his prodigious memory.]

Harley Street, Wednesday, December 29th, 1841.

My dearest Harriet,

Just imagine my ecstasy in answering your last letter, dated the 24th! I actually do up the whole of that everlasting bundle of letters, which is a sort of waking nightmare to me.

I have been within two or three of the last for the last   week, and having seldom seen myself so very near the end, I had a perfect fever of desire to exist, if only for a day, without having a single letter to answer. And now that I have tossed into the fire a note of Charles Greville's, which I have just replied to, and have unfolded your last and do the same by it, i.e. answer and burn it, the yellow silk cord that bound that ominous bundle of obligations lies empty on the inkstand, and I feel like Charles Lamb escaping from his India House clerkship, a perfect lord, or rather lady, of unlimited leisure.

You ask me if I think letters will go on to be answered in eternity? That supposition, my dear, involves the ideas of absence and epistolary labor, both of which may be included in the torments of the damned, but, according to my notions of heaven, there will be no letter-writing there. As, however, the receiving of letters is, in my judgment, a pleasure extremely worthy to be numbered among the enjoyments of the blessed, I conclude that letters will occasionally come to heaven, and always be written in—the other place; so perhaps our correspondence may continue hereafter. Who the writer and who the receiver shall be remains to be proved (it's my belief that the use of pen and ink would have made any one of the circles of the Inferno tolerable to you); and in any case, those are epistles that it is not necessary to antedate. Klopstock wrote and published—did he not?—letters which he wrote to his wife Meta in heaven. The answers are not extant; perhaps they were in an inferior style, humanly speaking, and he considerately suppressed them.

But to speak seriously, you forget in your query one of the principal doubts that exercise my mind, i.e., whether there will be any continuation of communion at all hereafter between those who have been friends on earth; whether the relations of human beings to each other here are not merely a part of our spiritual experience, that portion of the education and progress of our souls that will terminate with this phase of our existence and be succeeded by other influences, new ones, fitted as these former have been to our (new) needs and conditions, by the Great Governor of our being. He alone knows; He will provide for them....

COUTTS AND LORD STRANGFORD. The Coutts and Lord Strangford business (a dirty piece of money-scandal) is nice enough, but I heard a still nicer sequel to it at Bowood the other day. The gentlemen of   the party were discussing the matter, and seemed all agreed upon the subject of Lord Strangford's innocence; but while declaring unanimously that the accusation was unfounded and unwarrantable, they added it was not half as bad as an attack of the same sort made by one of the papers upon Lords Normanby and Canterbury, which, after much discussion, was supposed to have been dictated entirely by political animosity; the sole motive assigned for the selection of those two men as the objects of such an odious accusation being the fact of their personal want of popularity, and also that they were known to be needy men, whose fortunes were considerably crippled by their extravagance.

Of course, lie-makers must make plausibility one element of their craft; but this did seem a pleasant specimen of the manufacture. To be sure, I am bound to add that this account came from Whigs, and the attack was made by a Tory paper upon two members of the ex-Government; so you may believe it or not, according as you are Whig or Tory inclined to-day (that is to say, the motives assigned); the attack itself is not matter of doubt, having been visibly printed in one or more of the Tory papers. Both parties, however, have, I suppose, their staff of appointed technical and professional liars.

Good-bye, dear.

Ever yours,


Harley Street, Thursday, December 30th, 1841.

Dearest Harriet,

... I am a little surprised at your writing to me about my rule of correspondence as you do, because in several instances when you have particularly desired me to answer you immediately, I have done so; and should always do so, not by you alone, but by any one who requested an immediate reply to a letter. If it were in my power to answer such a communication on the same day, I should certainly do it, and, under such circumstances, always have done so. As for my rule of letter-writing, absurd as some of its manifestations undoubtedly are, it is not, I think, absurd per se; and I adopted it as more likely to result in justice to all my correspondents than any other I could follow. I have a great dislike to letter-writing, and, were I to consult my own disinclination, instead of answering   letter for letter with the most scrupulous conscientiousness as I do, even the persons I love best would be very apt to hear from me once or twice a year, and perhaps, indulgence increasing the incapacity and disinclination to write (as the example of every member of my own family shows it must), I should probably end by never writing at all.

I have always thought it most desirable to answer letters on the same day that I received them; but, of course, this is not always possible; and my rather numerous correspondence causing often a rapid accumulation of letters, I have thought, when such an arrearage took place, the fittest thing to do was to answer first those received first, and so discharge my debts justly in point of time. With regard to replying to questions contained in letters received some time back, my scrupulousness has to do with my own convenience, as well as my correspondents' gratification. Writing as much as I do, I am, as Rosalind calls it, "gravelled for matter" occasionally, and in that emergency a specific question to answer becomes a real godsend; and, my cue once given me, I can generally contrive to fill my paper. I do not think you know how much I dislike letter-writing, and what an effort it sometimes costs me, when my spirits are at the lowest ebb, and my mind so engrossed with disheartening contemplations, that any exertions (but violent physical ones, which are my salvation for the most part) appear intolerable.

RAILWAY ACCIDENT. But I ought to tell you about our journey from Bowood, which threatened to be more adventurous than agreeable. We did, as you suppose, come down the railroad only a few hours after the occurrence of the accident. When we started from Chippenham, some surprise was expressed by the guards and railroad officials that the early train from London had not yet come up. Farther on, coming to a place where there was but one track, we were detained half an hour, from the apprehension that, as the other train had not yet come up, we might, by going upon the single line, encounter it, and the collision occasion some terrible accident. After waiting about half an hour, and ascertaining (I suppose) that the other train was not coming, we proceeded, and soon learned what had retarded it. On the spot where the accident took place the bank had made a tremendous slide; numbers of workmen were busy in removing the earth from the track;   the engine, which had been arrested in its course by this impediment, was standing half on the line, half on the bank; planks and wheels and fragments of wood were strewed all round; and a crowd of people, with terrified eager faces, were gazing about in that vague love of excitement which makes sights and places of catastrophes, to a certain degree, delectable to human beings.

I cannot help thinking, dear Harriet, that this sad accident, sad enough as I admit it to be for the relations and friends of the dead, was not so particularly terrible as far as the individuals themselves were concerned. God only knows how I may feel when I am struck, either in my own life or that of any one I love; but hitherto death has not appeared to me the awful calamity that people generally seem to consider it. The purpose of life alone, time wherein to do God's will, makes it sacred. I do not think it pleasant enough to wish to keep it for a single instant, without the idea of the duty of living, since God has bid us live. The only thought which makes me shrink from the notion of suicide is the apprehension that to this life another might succeed, as full of storm, of strife, of disappointment, difficulty, and unrest as this; and with that uncertainty overshadowing it, death has not much to recommend it. It is poor Hamlet's "perchance" that is the knot of the whole question, never here to be untied.

Involuntarily, we certainly hope for better things, for respite, for rest, for enfranchisement from the thraldom of some of our passions and affections, the goods and bonds that spur us through this life and fasten us to it. We—perhaps I ought to say I—involuntarily connect the idea of death with that of peace and repose; delivery, at any rate, from some subjugation to sin, and from some subjection to "the ills we know" (though it may be none of this), so that my first feeling about it is generally that it is a happy rather than a deplorable event for the principals concerned; but then comes the loss of the living, and I perceive very well how my heart would bleed if those I love were taken from me. I see my own desolation and agony in that case, but still feel as if I could rejoice for them; for, after all, life is a heavy burden on a weary way, and I never saw the human being whose existence was what I should call happy. I have seen some whose lives were so good that they justified their own   existence, and one could conceive both why they lived and that they found it good to live.

Of course, this is instinctive feeling; reflection compels one to acknowledge the infinite value of existence, for the purposes of spiritual progress and improvement; the education of the soul; but my nature, impatient of restraint and pain and trial (and therefore most in need of the discipline of life), always rejoices at the first aspect of death, as at that of the Deliverer. Sudden death I certainly pray for, rather than against, and I think my father and sister were horrified and indignant at my saying that I could not conceive a better way of dying than being smashed, as we were all together, on that railway, dashed to pieces in a moment, like those eight men who perished there the other day.... This drew forth a suggestion that, if such were my sentiments, we had better hire a carriage on the Brighton railroad, and keep incessantly running up and down the line, by which means there would be every probability of my dying in the way I thought most desirable.

I wish you would just step over from Ireland and spend the evening with me; Adelaide and my father will be at the theatre....

God bless you, dearest Harriet.

Ever yours,


THEATRICAL SUPERNUMERARIES. [Some years after writing this letter, having returned to the stage, I was fulfilling an engagement at the Hull theatre, and as I stood at the side scene, waiting to go on, two poor young girls were standing near me, of that miserable class from which the temporarily employed supernumeraries of country theatres are recruited. One of them, who looked as if she was dying of consumption, and coughed incessantly, said to her companion, who remarked upon it, "Yes, I go on so pretty much all the time, and I have a mind sometimes to kill myself." "That's running away from school, my child," said I. "Don't do it, for you can't tell whether you mayn't be put to just as hard or even a harder life to finish your lesson in another world." "O Lord, ma'am!" said the girl, "I never thought of that." "But I have very often," said I to her, as I went on the stage to finish my mumming.

  The strange ignorance of all the conditions of life (except their own most wretched ones), even those but a few degrees removed from their own, of these poor creatures, betrayed itself in their awestruck admiration of my stage ornaments, which they took for real jewels. "Oh, but," said I, as they gazed at them with wonder, "if they were real jewels, you know, I should sell them to live, and not come to the theatre to act for my bread every night." "Oh, wouldn't you, ma'am?" exclaimed they, amazed that so blissful an occupation as that of a stage star, radiant with "such diamonds," should not be all that heart of woman could desire. Poor things—all of us!]

Harley Street, January 1st, 1842.

It is New Year's Day, my dearest Harriet. May God bless you. You will, I hope, receive to-day my account of my journey home from Bowood. Any anxiety you might have felt about us was certain to be dispelled by the note I despatched to you after our arrival, and as to the accident which took place on the railroad, I have nothing to tell you about it more than you would see in the newspapers, and it did not occur to me to mention it.

I read with attention the newspaper article you sent me about the corn laws and the currency, and, though I did not quite understand all the details given on the latter subject, yet the main question is one that I have been so familiar with lately as to have comprehended, I believe, the general sense of it. But I read it at Bowood, and though, as I assure you, with the greatest attention, I do not remember a single word of it now (the invariable practice of my memory with any subject that is entirely uncongenial to me).

THE CREDIT SYSTEM. The mischievous influence of the undue extension of the credit system is matter of daily discussion and daily illustration, I am sorry to say, in the United States, where, in spite of their easy institutions, boundless space, and inexhaustible real sources of credit (the wealth of the soil and its agricultural and universal products), and all the commercial advantages which their comparatively untrammelled conditions afford them, they are all but bankrupt now; distressed at home and disgraced abroad by the excess to which this pernicious system of trading upon fictitious capital has been carried by eager, grasping, hastening-to-be-rich people. Of course, the same causes must tend to produce the same effects everywhere, though   different circumstances may partially modify the results; and in proportion as this vicious system has prevailed with us in England, its consequences must, at some time or other, culminate in sudden severe pressure upon the trading and manufacturing interests, and I suppose, of course, upon all classes of the industrial population of the country. The difficult details of finance, and their practical application to the currency question, have not often been understood, and therefore not often relished by me whenever I have attempted to master them; but I have heard them frequently and vehemently discussed by the advocates of both paper money and coin currency; I have read all the manifestoes upon the subject put forth by Mr. Nicholas Biddle, late President of the United States Bank, who is supposed to have understood finance well, though the unfortunate funds committed to his charge do not appear to have been the safer for that circumstance.... The failure of the United States Bank has been sometimes considered as a political catastrophe, the result of party animosity and personal enmity towards Mr. Biddle on the part of General Jackson, who, being then President of the United States, gave a fatal blow to the credit of the bank (which, though calling itself the United States Bank, was not a Government institution) by removing from its custody the Government deposits. My impression upon the subject (simple, as I have no doubt you would expect to find the result of any mental process of mine) is that paper money is a financial expedient, the substitution of an appearance or makeshift for a real thing, and likely, like all other such substitutes of whatever kind, to become a source of shame, trouble, and ruin whenever, after the appointed time of circulation, which every expedient has, there should be a demand for the real article; more especially if the shadow has imposed upon the world by being twice as big as the substance.

The papers and pamphlets you have sent me, dear Harriet, seem to me only to prove that excessive and unjust taxation, partial and unjust corn laws, and unwise financial ones (together with other causes, which seem to me ominous of evil results), have produced the distress, embarrassment, and discontent existing in this, the richest and most enlightened country in the world....

I have been interrupted half a dozen times while writing this letter, once by a long visit from Mrs. Jameson....   Lady M—— called too, with a pretty little widow, a Mrs. M——, a great friend of Adelaide's. Dearest Harriet, here my letter was broken off yesterday morning, Friday; it is now Saturday evening, and this morning arrived two long ones from America. Now, if I should get one to-morrow or the next day, from you, will it be very unjust to put yours under these, and answer them before I write any more to you? I think not, but I must make an end of this....

Good-bye, and God bless you.

I am ever yours,


Harley Street, Tuesday, January 4th, 1842.

Dearest Harriet,

... You say you wonder that those who love and worship Christ should be wanting in patience and the spirit of endurance. Do you not wonder, too, that they should fail in self-denial, charity, mercy, all the virtues of their Divine Model? But this is a terrible chapter, and sad subject of speculation for all of us, and I can't bear to speak upon it.

In talking once with my sister of self-condemnation, and our condemnation of others, I used an expression which she took up as eminently ridiculous; but I think she did not quite understand me. I said that there was a feeling of modesty which prevented one's uttering the extent of one's own self-accusations, at which she laughed very much, and said she thought that modesty ought to interfere in behalf of others as well as one's self; but there are some reasons why it does not. Severely as one may judge and blame others, it is always, of course, with the perception that one cannot know the whole of the case for or against them; nevertheless, even with this conviction, there are certain words and deeds of others which one condemns unhesitatingly. Such sentences as these I pronounce often and without scruple (harshly, perhaps, and therein committing most mischievous, foul sin in chiding sin), but one does not utter that which one feels more rarely (however strongly, in particular instances), one's impression of the evil tendency of a whole character, the weakness or wickedness, the disease which pervades the whole moral constitution, and which seems to denote certain inevitable results; on these one hesitates to   pronounce opinion, not so much, I think, because of the uncertainty one feels, as in the case of a special motive, or temptation to any special act, and the liability to mistake, both in the quality of motive and quality of temptation; as because so much deeper a condemnation is involved in such judgments. It is the difference between a physician's opinion on an acute attack of illness or a radical and fatal constitutional tendency. This sort of condemnation requires such intimate knowledge that one can hardly pass it upon any but one's self. One cannot tear off all coverings from the hearts and minds of others, whereas one could strip one's own moral deformities naked, and that species of self-accusation does seem to me a kind of immodesty. One naturally shrinks, too, from speaking of deep and awful things, and then there is the all but insuperable difficulty of putting one's most intimate convictions, the realities of one's soul, into words at all....

Oh, my dear Harriet, I have told you nothing of John and Natalia's mesmeric practices [my brother and his German wife]. If you could have seen them, you would have split your lean sides more than you did at my aspect and demeanor while listening to A—— reading her favorite French novels to me.

"MATHILDE." By-the-by, do you know that that very book, "Mathilde," which I could not listen to for a quarter of an hour with common patience, is cried up everywhere and by everybody as a most extraordinary production? At Bowood everybody was raving about it; Mrs. Jameson tells me that Carlyle excepted it from a general anathema on French novels. Sometimes I think I will try again to get through it, and then I think, as little F—— says when she is requested to do something that she ought, "Eelly, now, me tan not."

I am finishing George Sand's "Lettres d'un Voyageur," because in an evil hour I began them. Her style is really admirable, and in this book one escapes the moral (or immoral) complications of her stories.

God bless you, dear Harriet. Good-bye. Time and opportunity serving, you surely see that I am not only faithful, but prompt, in the discharge of my debts.

Ever yours,


I forgot to tell you that my poor Margery [my   children's former nurse] has at length applied to the tribunals of Pennsylvania for a separation from her cruel and worthless husband. Poor thing! I hope she will obtain it.

[The tribunals of Pennsylvania followed, in the law of divorce, the German and not the English precedent and process. Divorce was granted by them, as well as mere separation, on plea of incompatibility of temper, and also for cause of non-cohabitation during a space of two years. In regard to the laws of marriage and divorce, as well as most other matters, each state in the Union had its own peculiar code, agreeing or differing from the rest. The Massachusetts laws of marriage and divorce were, I believe, the same as the English. In Pennsylvania a much greater facility for obtaining divorce—adopted, I suppose, from German modes of thought and feeling, and perhaps German legislature—prevailed, while in some of the western states, more exclusively occupied by a German population, the facility with which the bond of marriage was dissolved was greater than in any civilized Christian community in the world, I think.]

Harley Street, January 16th, 1842.

At the end of a long, kind letter I received from you this morning, dearest Harriet, there is a most sudden and incomprehensible sentence, an incoherent, combined malediction upon yourself and your dog Bevis, which I found it difficult to connect in any way with the matter which preceded it, which was very good advice to me, abruptly terminating in a declaration that you were a fool and your dog Bevis a brute, and leaving me to conclude either that he had overturned your inkstand or that you had gone mad, though indeed your two propositions are sane enough: for the first I would contradict if I could; the second I could not if I would; and so, as the Italians say, "Sono rimasta." ...

With regard to the likeness between my sister and myself, it is as great as our unlikeness.... Our mode of perceiving and being affected by things and people is often identical, and our impressions frequently so similar and so simultaneous that we both often utter precisely the same words upon a subject, so that it might seem as if one of us might save the other the trouble of speaking....   She is a thousand times quicker, keener, finer, shrewder, and sweeter than I am, and all my mental processes, compared with hers, are slow, coarse, and clumsy.

MERCADANTE'S OPERA. Here my letter broke off yesterday morning, and yesterday evening I went to see the new opera, so that I shall have realities instead of speculations to treat you to. [The opera was an English version of the "Elena da Feltre," by Mercadante, whose dramatic compositions, "La Vestale," "Le Due Illustre Rivale," the "Elena da Feltre," and others, obtained a very considerable temporary popularity in Italy, but were, I think, little known elsewhere. They were not first-rate musical productions, but had a good deal of agreeable, though not very original, melody, and were favorable to a declamatory, passionate style of singing, having a great deal of dramatic power and pathos. My sister was fond of them, and gave them with great effect, and the celebrated prima donna, Madame Ungher, achieved great popularity and excited immense enthusiasm in some of them.]

The opera was entirely successful, owing certainly to Adelaide, for the music is not agreeable, or of an order to become popular; the story is rather involved, which, however, as people have books to help them to it, does not so much matter. She was beautifully and becomingly dressed in mediæval Italian costume, and looked very handsome. Her voice was, as usual, very much affected by her nervousness, and comparatively feeble; this, however, signifies little, as it is only on the first night that it occurs, and every succeeding representation, her anxiety being less, she recovers more power of voice.

She acted extremely well, so as again to excite in me the strongest desire to see her in an acting part; a desire which is only qualified by the consideration that she makes more money at present as a singer than she probably could as an actress. At the end of the piece she died, with one of those expressions of feeling the effect of which may, without exaggeration, be called electrifying: it made me spring on my seat, and the whole audience responded with that voice of human sympathy that any true representation of feeling elicits instantaneously. Having renounced her lover, and married a man she hated, to save her father's life, after seeing her lover go to church and be married to another woman, her father being nevertheless executed (an old story, no doubt, but   that's no matter), she loses her senses and stabs herself, and as she falls into the arms of her husband (the man she hated) she sees her lover, who just arrives at this moment, and the dying spring which she made, with her arms stretched towards him, falling, before she reached him, dead on the ground, was one of those terrible and touching things which the stage only can reproduce from nature—I mean, out of reality itself—a thing that of course neither painting nor sculpture could attempt, and that would have been comparatively cold and ineffective even in poetry, but which "in action" was indescribably pathetic. It had been, like many happy dramatic effects, a sudden thought with her, for it had only occurred to her yesterday morning; but the grace of the action, its beauty, truth, and expressiveness, are not to be conveyed by words. You will see it; not that, indeed, it may ever again be so very happy a thing in its effect....

God bless you, dear Harriet. Good-bye.

Ever yours,


Harley Street, January 31st, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

Why do you ask me if I would not write to you unless you wrote to me? Do you not know perfectly well that I would not—unless, indeed, I thought you were ill or something was the matter with you; and then I would write just enough to find out if such was the case. Why should I write to you, when I hate writing, and yet nevertheless always answer letters? Surely the spontaneous, or promiscuous (which did you call it, you Irishwoman?) epistle should come from the person who does not profess to labor under an inkophobia. And what can you righteously complain of, when I not only never fail scrupulously to answer your letters, but, be they long or short, invariably answer them abundantly, having as great an objection to writing a short letter almost as I have to writing any? Basta! never doubt any more about the matter, my dear Harriet. I never (I think) shall write to you, but I also (I think) shall never fail to answer you. If you are not satisfied with that, I can't help it.... We have a lull in our engagements just now—comparative quiet. We gave a family dinner on Friday.... My father, I am sorry to say, gets no rent from the theatre.   The nights on which my sister does not sing the house is literally empty. Alas! it is the old story over again: that whole ruinous concern is propped only by her. That property is like some fate to which our whole family are subject, by which we are every one of us destined to be borne down by turn, after vainly dedicating ourselves to its rescue.

On Saturday I spent the evening at Lady Charlotte Lindsay's, who has a very kind regard for you, and spoke of your brother Barry with great affection. To-morrow, after going to the opera, I shall go to Miss Berry's. My sister and father go to Apsley House, where the Duke of Wellington gives a grand entertainment to the King of Prussia. We were asked too, but, though rather tempted by the fine show, it was finally concluded that we should not go, so we shall only have it at second hand. This is all my news for the present, dear Harriet. God bless you. Good-bye. If you ever wish to hear from me, drop me a line to that effect.

Ever yours (and the same),


FÊTE AT APSLEY HOUSE. [Circumstances occurred which induced us to change our plans, and I did go to the fête at Apsley House, which was very beautiful and magnificent. A pleasant incident of the evening was a special introduction to and a few minutes' conversation with our illustrious host; and the pleasantest of all, I am almost ashamed to say, was the memorable appearance of Lady Douro and Mademoiselle d'Este, who, coming into the room together, produced a most striking effect by their great beauty and their exquisite dress. They both wore magnificent dresses of white lace over white satin, ornamented with large cactus flowers, those of the blonde marchioness being of the sea-shell rose color, and the dark Mademoiselle d'Este's of the deep scarlet; and in the bottom of each of these large, vivid blossoms lay, like a great drop of dew, a single splendid diamond. The women were noble samples of fair and dark beauty, and their whole appearance, coming in together, attired with such elegant and becoming magnificent simplicity, produced an effect of surprise and admiration on the whole brilliant assembly.]

  Harley Street, February 4th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

At twelve o'clock to-day I rang for candles, in order that the fog might not prevent my answering your letter. I was obliged to go out, however, and the skies in the interim have cleared; and where do you think I have been? Why, like a fool as I am, to see a sight, and I am well paid by feeling so tired, and having such a headache, and having had such a fright, that—it serves me right.

Our dear friend Harness has, as perhaps you know, an office which Lord Lansdowne gave him, by virtue of which he occupies a very pleasant apartment in the Council Office Building, the windows of which look out on Whitehall. Here he begged me to come and bring the children, that we might see the Queen, and the King of Prussia, and all the great folks, go to the opening of Parliament, and in an evil hour I consented, Harness informing me at what hour to come, and what way to take to avoid the crowd. But the carriage was ordered half an hour later than we ought to have started, and the coachman was ordered to take us down Whitehall (though Harness had warned me that we could not come that way, and that we must leave our carriage at the Carlton Terrace steps, and walk across the park to the little passage which leads straight into Downing Street). Down Whitehall, however, we attempted to go, and were of course turned back by the police. We then retraced our route to the Carlton steps, and here, with the two children, Anne, and the footman, I made my way through the crowd; but oh, what a way! and what a crowd! When we got down into the park, the only clear space was the narrow line left open for the carriages, and some of them were passing at a rapid trot, just as we found our way into their road, and the dense wall of human beings we had squeezed through closed behind us. I assure you, Harriet, the children were not half a foot from one of those huge carriage-horses, nor was there any means of retreat; the living mass behind us was as compact as brick and mortar. We took a favorable moment, and, rushing across the road into the protecting arms of some blessed, benevolent policemen, who were keeping the line, were seized, and dragged, and pushed, and pulled, and finally made way for, through the crowd on the other side, and then ran, without stopping, till we reached our   destination; but the peril of the children, and the exertion of extricating them and ourselves from such a situation, had been such that, on reaching Harness's rooms, I shook so that I could hardly stand, and the imperturbable Anne actually burst into tears. So much for the delights of sight-seeing.

As for me, you know I would not go to the end of the street to see the finest thing in the universe; but, in the first place, I had promised, and in the next, I was so miserably out of spirits that, though I could not bear to go out, I could not bear to stay at home; but certainly, my detestation of running after a sight was never more heartily confirmed.

The concourse was immense, but I was much surprised at the entire want of excitement and enthusiasm in the vast multitude who thronged and all but choked up the Queen's way. All hats were lifted, but there was not a hatful of cheers, and the whole thing produced a disagreeable effect of coldness, indifference, or constraint.

REV. W. HARNESS. Harness said it was nineteenth-century breeding, which was too exquisite to allow even of the mob's shouting. He is a Tory. T—— M——, who is a very warm Whig, thought the silence spoke of Paisley starvation and Windsor banquets. I thought these and other things besides might have to do with the people's not cheering.

E—— (who, bless her soul! has just been here, talking such gigantic nonsense) must have misunderstood me, or you must have misunderstood her, in supposing that I made a distinct promise to answer four crossed sheets of paper to four lines of yours. I said it was my usual practice to do so, and one from which I was not likely to depart, because I hate writing a short letter as much as I hate writing any letter at all....

Have you received one letter from me since you have been in Mountjoy Square? I have written one to you there, but, owing to the habit of my hand, which is to write "Ardgillan Castle," the direction was so scratched and blurred that I had some doubts whether the letter would reach you. Let me know, dear Harriet, if it does....

E—— must have made another blunder about Lady Westmoreland and my sister. It is not the Duke of Wellington's money, in particular, that she objects to receiving; she does not intend to sing in private for money at   all, anywhere, or on any occasion; which I am very glad of, as, if she did, I think social embarrassments and professional complications of every sort, and all disagreeable ones, would arise from it.

We were all very cordially invited to Apsley House by Lady Westmoreland, before my sister stated that she did not intend to sing there for money.... Besides this, there came a formal bidding in the Duke of Wellington's own hand [or Algernon Greville's, who used to forge his illustrious chief's signature on all common occasions], with which we were very well pleased to comply....

A—— has been trying to inoculate me with Paul de Kock, who, she assures me, is a moral writer, and with whose books our tables, chairs, sofas, and beds are covered, as with the unclean plagues of Egypt. I read one of the novels and began another. They are very clever, very funny, very dirty, abominably immoral, and I do not think I can read any more of them; for though I confess to having laughed till my sides ached over some parts of what I read, I was, upon reflection and upon the whole, disgusted and displeased....

I have precisely your feeling about Mrs. F—— in every particular; I think her the funniest and the kindest old maniac I am acquainted with, and my intercourse with her is according to that opinion. Good-bye, my dearest Harriet; God bless you. I wish I was where I could see green fields. I am in miserable spirits, and would give "my kingdom for a horse," and the world for an hour's gallop in the country.

Ever yours,


[My dear and excellent friend the Rev. William Harness refused from conscientious motives to hold more than one Church benefice, though repeated offers of livings were made to him by various of his influential friends. Lord Lansdowne, who had a very affectionate esteem for him, gave him the civil office I have alluded to in this letter, and this not being open to Mr. Harness's scruples with regard to sacred sinecures, he accepted. His means were always small, his charities great, and his genial hospitality unfailing. He was one of the simplest, most modest, unpretending, honorable, high-minded, warm hearted human beings I have ever known. Goodness   appeared easy to him—the best proof how good he was.]

Harley Street, February 5th, 1842.

Dear Harriet,

APSLEY HOUSE. I did not care very much about the fête itself at Apsley House, but I was very glad to go to it upon the Duke of Wellington's invitation, and felt as much honored and gratified by that as I could be by any such sort of thing. My sister did sing for them, though, poor thing! not very well. She had just gone through the new opera, and was besides laboring under a terrible cough and cold, through which, I am sorry to say, she has been singing for the last week. There was no particular reason for her not taking money at that concert. She does not intend to be paid for singing in society at all.... Of course, her declining such engagements will greatly diminish her income, popular singers making nearly half their earnings by such means; but I am sure that, situated as we all are, she is right, and will avoid a good many annoyances by this determination, though her pocket will suffer for it....

I know nothing whatever, of course, about the statements in the papers, which I never look at, about the financial disgraces and embarrassments in America. The United States Bank (in which my father had put four thousand pounds, which he could ill spare) is swept from the face of the earth, and everybody's money put into it has been like something thrust down a gaping mouth that had no stomach; it has disappeared in void space, and is irredeemably lost. I have seven thousand pounds in the New Orleans banks, which I have given my father for his life. Those banks, it is said, are sound, and will ere long resume specie payments, and give dividends to their stockholders. Amen, so be it. It is affirmed that Mr. Biddle's prosecution will lead to nothing, but that the state of Pennsylvania will pay its debts, means to do so, and will be able to do so without any difficulty.... God bless you, dear Harriet. Write to me soon again, for, though I do hate answering you, I hate worse not hearing from you.

Ever yours,


  I am glad you liked "Les Maîtres Mosaistes;" I think it charming. Thank you for your "Enfant du Peuple." I have been trying some Paul de Kock, but cannot get on with it.

[Of Madame George Sand's few unobjectionable books, "Les Maîtres Mosaistes" seems to me the best. As an historical picture of Venice and its glorious period of supremacy in art, it is admirable. As a pathetic human history, it is excellent; with this drawback, however, that in it the author has avoided the subject of the relations between the sexes—her invariable rock ahead, both morally and artistically; and it is by the entire omission of the important element of love that this work of hers is free from the reproach the author never escapes when she treats of it. It is a great pity her fine genius has so deep a flaw.]

Harley Street, February 11th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

... I want to know if you can come to us on the 20th of this month, instead of the 1st of March, as I expected you. I believe I told you that the Duke of Rutland, when we met him at the Arkwrights', at Sutton, gave us all a very kind invitation to Belvoir, which we accepted, and have been expecting since that some more definite intimation when the time of our visit would be convenient. He called here the other day, but we were none of us at home, and this morning we and my father heard from him, recalling our promise to go to Belvoir, and begging us to fix any time between this and the month of April. Now, the only time when my sister can go, poor child! is during Passion Week; and as I am very anxious that she should have the refreshment of a week in the country, and her being with us will be a great addition to my own enjoyment, I want to appoint that time for our visit to the Duke of Rutland. That, however, happens about the 20th of March, when I expected you to be with us; but if, by coming earlier, you can give me as long a visit as you had promised me, without inconveniencing yourself, I shall be glad, dear Harriet; for though we can go to Belvoir at any time before or after March, I wish my sister not to lose a pleasant visit to a beautiful place.

To tell you the truth, it would be a great pleasure to   me that you should come so much sooner than I had reckoned upon having you; and as Emily and I trotted round Portman Square together to-day, we both made out that, if you come into this arrangement, you will be here on Tuesday week, which appears to me in itself delightful. Let me know, dear, what you decide, as I shall not answer the Duke of Rutland until I have heard from you.

I promise myself much pleasure from seeing Belvoir. The place, with which I am familiar through engravings and descriptions, is a fine house in one of the finest situations in England; and the idea of being out of London once more, in the country and on horseback, is superlatively agreeable to me.

And now, my dearest, to answer your letter, which I got this morning. For pity's sake, let Lady Westmoreland rest, for the present; we will take her up again, if expedient, when we meet.... The Duke of Wellington called here the other day, and brought an exceedingly pretty bracelet and amiable note to my sister; both which, as you may suppose, she values highly, as she ought to do.

THE QUEEN'S RECEPTION. About the cheering of the Queen on her way to Parliament the other day, I incline to think the silence was universal, for everybody with whom I was observed it, except Charles Greville, who swore she was applauded; but then he is deaf, and therefore hears what no one else can. Moreover, the majority of spectators were by no means well-dressed people; the streets were thronged with pure mobocracy, to a degree unprecedented on any previous occasion of the sort, and, though there was no exhibition of ill-feeling towards the Queen or any of the ministers, there was no demonstration of good will beyond the usual civility of lifting the hats as she passed. Indeed, Horace Wilson told me that, when he was crossing the park at the time of her driving through it, there was some—though not much—decided hissing.

Your lamentation over my want of curiosity reminds me that on this very occasion Charles Greville offered to take me all over the Coldbath Fields Prison, and show me the delights of the treadmill, etc., and expressed great astonishment that I did not enthusiastically accept this opportunity of seeing such a cheerful spectacle, and still more amazement at my general want of enlightened   curiosity, which he appeared to consider quite unworthy of so intelligent a person.

I have not read Stephens's book on Central America, but only certain extracts from it in the last Quarterly, with which I was particularly charmed; but I admire your asking me why I did not send for his book from the circulating library instead of Paul de Kock. Do you suppose I sent for Paul de Kock? Don't you know I never send for any book, and never read any book, but such as I am desired, required, lent, or given to read by somebody? being, for the most part, very indifferent what I read, and having the obliging faculty of forgetting immediately what I have read, which is an additional reason for my not caring much what my books are. Still, there is a point at which my indifference will give way to disgust.... —— recommended Paul de Kock's books strongly to me, therefore I read one of them, but found it so very little to my taste that I was obliged, against my usual rule of compliance with my friend's recommendations in these matters, to decline the rest of the author's works. I have begun your "Enfant du Peuple," and many are the heartaches I have had already, though I have read but little of it, over that poor Jean Baptiste's tender and touching love, which reminds one of Jacob's serving seven years for the sake of Rachel, and hardly counting them a day....

Dearest Harriet, if in the matter of your visit to us you cannot alter your plans, which have already been turned topsy-turvy once to suit ours, we will go at some other time to Belvoir, and my sister must e'en give it up, as in my professional days I had to forego Stoke, Chatsworth, and, hardest by far of all, Abbotsford.

God bless you, dearest Harriet. Give my kind love to M——. I rejoice to hear of her convalescence. Remember me affectionately to Dorothy, and believe me,

Ever yours,


Grimsthorpe, March 27th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

Thank God and O'Connell for your smooth passage. I really dreaded the effects of sea-sickness for you, combined with that racking cough....

We left Belvoir yesterday, and came on here, having   promised Lady Willoughby to visit them on our way back to London.

WAY OF LIFE AT BELVOIR. I do not know whether you ever saw Belvoir. It is a beautiful place; the situation is noble, and the views from the windows of the castle, and the terraces and gardens hanging on the steep hill crowned by it, are charming. The whole vale of Belvoir, and miles of meadow and woodland, lie stretched below it like a map unrolled to the distant horizon, presenting extensive and varied prospects in every direction, while from the glen which surrounds the castle hill like a deep moat filled with a forest, the spring winds swell up as from a sea of woodland, and the snatches of bird-carolling and cawing rook-discourse float up to one from nests in the topmost branches of tall trees, far below one's feet, as one stands on the battlemented terraces.

The interior of the house is handsome, and in good taste; and the whole mode of life stately and splendid, as well as extremely pleasant and comfortable. The people—I mean the Duke and his family—kind and courteous hosts, and the society very easy and free from stiffness or constraint of any sort; and I have enjoyed my visit very much....

We had a large party at Belvoir. The gentlemen of the hunt were all at the castle; and besides the ladies of the family (one unmarried and two married daughters), we had the Duchess of Richmond and her granddaughter, the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, Lord and Lady Winchelsea, Mademoiselle d'Este, and a whole tribe of others whose names I forget, but which are all duly down in the butler's book.

Every morning the duke's band marched round the castle, playing all sorts of sprightly music, to summon us to breakfast, and we had the same agreeable warning that dinner was ready. As soon as the dessert was placed on the table, singers came in, and performed four pieces of music; two by a very sweet single voice, and two by three or more voices. This, with intervals for conversation, filled up the allotted time before the ladies left the table. In the evening we had music, of course, and one evening we adjourned to the ball-room, where we danced all night, the duke leading down a country-dance, in which his house-maids and men-cooks were vigorously figuring at the same time.

  Whenever my sister sang, the servants used all to assemble on a large staircase at one end of the ball-room, where, for the sake of the sound, the piano was placed, and appeared among her most enthusiastic hearers.... The whole family were extremely cordial and kind to us; and when we drove away, they all assembled at an upper window, waving hats and handkerchiefs as long as we could see them. I have no room to tell you anything of Grimsthorpe. God bless you. Good-bye.

Ever yours,


[My first introduction to "afternoon tea" took place during this visit to Belvoir, when I received on several occasions private and rather mysterious invitations to the Duchess of Bedford's room, and found her with a "small and select" circle of female guests of the castle, busily employed in brewing and drinking tea, with her grace's own private tea-kettle. I do not believe that now universally honored and observed institution of "five-o'clock tea" dates farther back in the annals of English civilization than this very private and, I think, rather shamefaced practice of it.

Our visit to Grimsthorpe has left but three distinct images on my memory: that of my bedroom, with its furniture of green velvet and regal bed-hangings of white satin and point lace; that of the collection of thrones in the dining-room, the Lords Willoughby de Eresby being hereditary Lord Grand Chamberlains of England, whose perquisite of office was the throne or chair of state used by each sovereign at his or her coronation; and my intercourse with Mademoiselle d'Este, who, like ourselves, came from Belvoir to Grimsthorpe, and with whom I here began an acquaintance that grew into intimacy, and interested me a good deal from her peculiar character and circumstances.]

Harley Street, London, March 31st, 1842.

My dear T——,

... My father is in wonderful health, looks, and spirits, considering that in all these items this time last year he was very little better than dead. My sister is working very hard and very successfully, and proposing to herself, after two more years of assiduous labor, to retire on   a moderate income to Italy, where she would rather live than anywhere else. But, oh dear me! how well I remember the day when that was my own vision of the future, and only see what a very different thing it has turned out! I think it not at all improbable that she will visit the United States next year, and that we shall find that moment propitious for returning; that is to say, about a twelvemonth from next month.... So much for private interests. As to the public ones: alas! Sir Robert Peel is losing both his health and his temper, they say; and no wonder at it! His modification of the corn laws and new tariff are abominations to his own party, and his income tax an abomination to the nation at large. I cannot conceive a more detestable position than his, except, perhaps indeed, that of the country itself just now. Poverty and discontent in great masses of the people; a pitiless Opposition, snapping up and worrying to pieces every measure proposed by the Ministry, merely for malignant mischeevousness, as the nursemaids say, for I don't believe they—the Whigs—will be trusted again by the people for at least a century to come; a determined, troublesome, and increasing Radical party, whose private and personal views are fairly and dangerously masked by the public grievances of which they advocate the redress; a minister, hated personally by his own party, with hardly an individual of his own political persuasion in either House who follows him cordially, or, rather, who does not feel himself personally aggrieved by one or other of the measures of reform he has proposed,—yet that minister the only man in England at this moment able to stand up at the head of public affairs, and the defeat of whose measures (distasteful as they are to his own party, and little satisfactory to the people in general) would produce instantaneously, I believe, such confusion, disorder, and dismay as England has not seen for many a year, not indeed since the last great Reform crisis;—all this is not pleasant, and makes me pity everybody connected with the present Government, and Sir Robert Peel more than anybody else. I wonder how long he'll be able to stand it.

LORD MORPETH. What have you done with Lord Morpeth? And what are you doing with "Boz"? The first has a most tenderly attached mother and sisters, and really should not, on their account, be killed with kindness; and the latter has   several small children, I believe, who, I suppose, will naturally desire that your national admiration should not annihilate their papa.... I wish we were to come back to America soon, but wishes are nonsensical things.... Give my dear love to Catherine and Kate [Miss Sedgwick and her niece], if they are in New York when this reaches you.

Good-bye, my dear T——. I would not have troubled you with this if I had known Mrs. Robert's address; but "Wall Street" will find you, though "Warren Street" knows her no longer.

We have been spending ten days at Belvoir Castle, with all sorts of dukes and duchesses. Don't you perceive it in the nobility of my style? It is well for a foreigner to see these things; they are pretty, pleasant, gay, grand, and, in some of their aspects, good; but I think that who would see them even as they still subsist now had better lose no time about it.

Harley Street, Tuesday, April 12th, 1842.

Did anyone ever say there was not a "soul of good even in things evil"? From your mode of replying to my first letter, dearest Harriet—the one from Belvoir, in which I told you I had been strongly minded to write to you first—you do not seem to me quite to believe in the existence of such an intention. Nor was it a "weak thought," but a very decided purpose, which was frustrated by circumstances for one day, and the next prevented entirely by the arrival of your letter. However, no matter for all that now; hear other things.

You ask after "Figaro" [Mozart's opera of "Le Nozze di Figaro," then being given at Covent Garden, my sister singing the part of Susanna]. It draws very fine houses, and Adelaide's acting in it is very much liked and praised, as it highly deserves to be, for it is capital, very funny, and fine in its fun, which makes good comedy—a charming thing, and a vastly more difficult one, in my opinion, than any tragic acting whatever....

Your boots have been sent safe and sound, my dear, and are in the custody of a person who, I verily believe, thinks me incapable of taking care of anything in the world, and has the same amount of confidence in my understanding that a friend of mine (a clergyman of the Church of England) expressed in his mother's honesty,   "I wouldn't trust her with a bad sixpence round the corner." However, your boots, as I said, are safe, and will reach your hands (or feet, I should rather say) in due course of time, I have no doubt.

GARRETT SMITH. I have had two letters from America lately, the last of them containing much news about the movements of the abolitionists, in which its writer takes great interest. Among other things, she mentions that an address had been published to the slaves, by Gerrit Smith, exhorting them to run away, to use all means to do so, to do so at any risk, and also by all means and at any risk to learn to read. By all means, he advises them, in no case to use violence, or carry off property of their masters' (except indeed themselves, whom their masters account very valuable property). I should have told you that Gerrit Smith himself was a large slave-holder, that he has given up all his property, renounced his home in the South (where, indeed, if he was to venture to set foot, he would be murdered in less than an hour). He lives at the North, in comparative poverty and privation, having given up his wealth for conscience' sake. I saw him once at Lucretia Mott's. He was a man of remarkable appearance, with an extremely sweet and noble countenance. He is one of the "confessors" in the martyr-age of America.

I am much concerned at your account of E——, for though sprains and twists and wrenches are not uncommon accidents, I have always much more dread of them than of a bonâ (bony) fide fracture. I always fear some injury may be lodged in the system by such apparently lesser casualties, that may not reveal itself till long after the real cause is forgotten....

I must end this letter, for I have delayed it too shamefully long, and you must think me more abominable than ever, in spite of which I am still

Your most affectionate


Cranford House, April 17th, 1842.

I put a letter into the post for you, my dearest Harriet, this afternoon. This is all I was able to write to you yesterday—Wednesday; and now it is Thursday evening, and there is every prospect of my having leisure to finish my letter.

Emily has asked me several times to come and spend   the evening with her mother, and I have promised her each time that the first evening....

Thus far last night, my dear—that is to say, Thursday evening. It is now Friday evening, and the long and the short of the story was that Emily dined out, Mrs. FitzHugh teaed with the Miss Hamiltons, my party went to Drury Lane, and I passed the evening alone; and the reason why this letter was not finished during that lonely evening, my dear, was that I was sitting working worsted-work for Emily in the parlor downstairs when my people all went away, and after they were gone I was seized with a perfect nervous panic, a "Good" fever, and could not bring myself to stir from the chair where they had left me. As to going up into the drawing-room, it was out of the question; I fancied every step of the stairs would have morsels of flesh lying on it, and the banisters would be all smeared with blood and hairs. In short, I had a fit of the horrors, and sat the whole blessed evening working heart's ease into Emily's canvas, in a perfect nightmare of horrible fancies. At one moment I had the greatest mind in the world to send for a cab, and go to Covent Garden Theatre, and sit in Adelaide's dressing-room; but I was ashamed to give way to my nerves in that cowardly fashion, and certainly passed a most miserable evening.... However, let me leave last night and its horrors, and make haste to answer your questions....

Another pause, dear Harriet, and here I am at this picturesque old place, Cranford House, paying another visit to ——'s venerable friend, old Lady Berkeley. I have been taking a long walk this morning with Lady ——, whose London fine-ladyism gave way completely in these old walks of her early home, to which all the family appear extremely attached. Her unfeigned delight at the primroses, oxlips, wild cherry bloom, and varying greens of the spring season made me think that her lament was not applicable to herself, just then, at any rate. "What a pity," cried she, "it is that one cannot be regenerated as the earth is every spring!" She seemed to me to be undergoing a very pretty process of regeneration even while she spoke. It is touching to observe natural character and the lingering traces of early impressions surviving under the overlaying of the artificial soil and growth of after years of society and conventional worldly habits.   She pointed out to me a picturesque, pretty object in the grounds, over which she moralized with a good deal of enthusiasm and feeling—an old, old fir-tree, one of the cedar tribe, a tree certainly many more than a hundred years old, whose drooping lower branches absolutely lie upon the lawn for yards all round it. One of these boughs has struck into the ground, and grown up into a beautiful young tree, already twelve or fourteen feet high, and the contrast between the vivid coloring and erect foliage of this young thing, and the rusty, dusky green, drooping branches of the enormous tree, which seems to hang over and all round it, with parental tenderness, is quite exquisite. One of them, however, must, nevertheless, destroy or be destroyed by the other; a very pretty vegetable version of the ancient classical, family fate, superstitions....

Pray, if you know how flowers propagate, write me word. In gathering primroses this morning, Lady —— and I exercised our ignorance in all sorts of conjectures upon the subject, neither of us being botanists, though she knew, which I did not, the male from the female flowers.

I get a good deal of sleep since you have gone away, as I certainly do not sit up talking half the night with anybody else. But as for enough, is there such a thing as enough sleep? and was anybody ever known to have had it? and who was he or she?

I have had two long letters from Elizabeth Sedgwick, containing much matter about the abolitionists, in whose movements, you know, she is deeply interested; also more urgent entreaties that I will "use my influence" to secure our return home in the autumn!...

My father appears to be quite well, and in a state of great pleasurable excitement and activity of mind, having (alas! I regret to say) accepted once more the management of Covent Garden, which is too long a story to begin just at the end of my paper; but he is in the theatre from morning till night, as happy as the gods, and apparently, just now, as free from all mortal infirmity. It is amazing, to be sure, what the revival of the one interest of his life has done for his health.

SERMON ON HUMILITY. I went to the Portland Street Chapel last Sunday, and heard a sermon upon my peculiar virtue, humility, not from the same clergyman we heard together; and S——, who   is too funny, sang the Psalms so loud that I had to remonstrate with her.

Ever yours,

F. A. B.

[A horrible murder had just been committed by a miserable man of the name of Good, who endeavored to conceal his crime by cutting to pieces and scattering in different directions the mangled remains of his victim—a woman. The details of these horrors filled the public papers, and were the incessant subject of discussion in society, and were calculated to produce an impression of terror difficult to shake off even by so little nervous a person as myself.

The Countess of Berkeley, to whom I have alluded in this letter, was a woman whose story was a singular romance, which now may be said to belong to "ancient history." She was the daughter of a butcher of Gloucester, and an extremely beautiful person. Mr. Henry Berkeley, the fifth son of Lady Berkeley, for many years Member of Parliament for Bristol, and as many years the persistent advocate of the system of voting by ballot, travelled and resided for some time in America, and formed a close intimacy with ——, who, when we came to England, accepted Mr. Berkeley's invitation to visit his mother at Cranford, and took me with him, to make the acquaintance of this remarkable old lady. She was near eighty years old, tall and stately, with no apparent infirmities, and great remains of beauty. There was great originality in all she said, and her manner was strikingly energetic for so old a woman. I remember, one day after dinner, she had her glass filled with claret till the liquid appeared to form a rim above the vessel that contained it, and, raising it steadily to her lips, looked round the table, where sat all her children but Lord Fitzhardinge, and saying, "God bless you all," she drank off the contents without spilling a drop, and, replacing the glass on the table, said, "Not one of my sons could do that."

One morning, when I was rather indisposed, and unable to join any of the parties into which the guests had divided themselves on their various quests after amusement, I was left alone with Lady Berkeley, and she undertook to give me a sketch of her whole history; and very   strange it was. She gave me, of course, her own version of the marriage story, and I could not but wonder whether she might have persuaded herself into believing it true, when she wound up her curious and interesting account of her life by saying, "And now I am ready to be carried to my place in the vault, and my place in the vault is ready for me" (she pointed to the church which adjoined the old mansion); "and I have the key of it here," and she gave a hearty slap upon her pocket. She told me of her presentation at Court, and the uproar it occasioned among the great ladies there, whose repugnance to admit her of their number she described with much humor, but attributed solely to the fact of her plebeian descent, of which she spoke unhesitatingly.

The impression I gathered from her narrative, rather unconsciously on her part I suspect, was that the Queen, whose strictness upon the subject of reputation was well known, objected to receiving her (Lady Berkeley called her, rather disrespectfully, "Old Charlotte" all the time, but spoke of George III. as "the King"), but was overruled by the King, who had a personal friendship for Lord Berkeley.

LADY BERKELEY'S INFLUENCE. The strangest thing in her whole account of herself, however, was the details she gave me of her singular power over her husband. She said that in a very few years after their marriage (by courtesy) she perceived that her husband's affairs were in the most deplorable state of derangement: that he gambled, that he was over head and ears in debt, that he never had a farthing of ready money, that his tenantry were worse off than any other in the country, that his agents and bailiffs and stewards were rogues who ground them and cheated him, that his farmers were careless and incompetent, and that the whole of his noble estate appeared to be going irretrievably to ruin; when the earl complaining one day bitterly of this state of things, for which he knew no remedy, she told him that she would find the remedy, and undertake to recover what was lost and redeem what remained, if he would give her absolute discretionary power to deal with his property as she pleased, and not interfere with her management of it for a whole year. He agreed to this, but, not satisfied with his promise, she made him bind himself by oath and, moreover, execute documents, giving her legal power enabling her to act independently of him in all matters   relating to his estate. The earl not unnaturally demurred, but at length yielded, only stipulating that she should always be prepared to furnish him with money whenever he wanted it. She bound herself to do this, and received regular powers from him for the uninterrupted management of his property and administration of his affairs for a whole year. She immediately set about her various plans of reform, and carried them on vigorously and successfully, without the slightest interference on the part of her dissipated and careless husband, who had entirely forgotten the whole compact between them. Some months after the agreement had gone into effect, she perceived that he was harassed and disturbed about something, and questioning him, found he had incurred a heavy gambling debt, which he knew not how to meet. His surprise was extreme when, recalling the terms of their mutual agreement, she put him in possession of the sum he required. "He called me an angel," she said. "You see, my dear, one is always an angel, when one holds the strings of the purse, and that there is money in it."

She persevered in her twelvemonth's stewardship, and at the end of that time had redeemed her word, and relieved her husband's estate from its most pressing embarrassments. The value of the land had increased; the condition of the tenantry had improved; intelligent and active farmers had had the farms rented to them, instead of the previous sleepy set of incumbents; and finally, a competent and honest agent, devoted to carry out her views, was placed over the whole. The property never fell from this highly prosperous condition, for Lord Berkeley never withdrew it from his wife's supervision; and she continued to administer his affairs till his death, and maintained an extraordinary influence over all the members of her family at the time of my acquaintance with her. They were all rather singular persons, and had a vein of originality which made them unlike the people one met in common society. I suppose their mother's unusual character may have had to do with this.

Lord Fitzhardinge was never at Cranford when I was there, though I have, at various times, met all the other brothers.

THE BERKELEY'S. Frederick Berkeley went into the navy, and rose to the important position of an admiral; Craven Berkeley, Grantley Berkeley, and   Henry Berkeley were all in Parliament. The latter was for many years Member for the important constituency of Bristol, and, probably in consequence of opinions acquired during his residence in the United States, was a consistent advocate for the introduction of vote by ballot in our elections. This gentleman was an unusually accomplished person: he had made preparatory studies for two professions, the Church and the Bar; but though he embraced neither career (possibly on account of an accident he met with while hunting, which crippled him for life), the reading he had gone through for both had necessarily endowed him with a more than common degree of mental cultivation. He was an excellent musician, played on the piano and organ with considerable taste and feeling, and had a much more thorough acquaintance with the science of music than is usual in an amateur.

Morton Berkeley sought no career; he lived with his mother and sister, Lady Mary, at Cranford, his principal pleasure and occupation being the preservation of the game on the estate—an object of not very easy accomplishment, owing to the proximity of Cranford to London, the distance being only twelve miles by railroad, and the facilities thus offered of escape and impunity to poachers necessarily considerable. The tract immediately round Cranford was formerly part of the famous, or rather infamous, Hounslow Heath; and I have heard Mr. Henry Berkeley say that in his youth he remembered perfectly, when he went to London with his father, by day or night, loaded pistols were an invariable part of the carriage furniture.

My first acquaintance with Mr. Morton Berkeley's devotion to the duties of a gamekeeper was made in a very singular manner, and accompanied by a revelation of an unexpected piece of sentiment.

—— and myself were visiting at Cranford on one occasion, when the only strangers there beside ourselves were Lady C——, Lord and Lady S——, and Lord F—— and his sister, a lady of some pretensions to beauty, but still more to a certain fashionable elegance of appearance, much enhanced by her very Parisian elaborateness of toilette.

One night, when the usual hour for retiring had come, the ladies, who always preceded the gentlemen by some hours to their sleeping   apartments, had left the large room on the ground-floor, where we had been spending the evening. As we ascended the stairs, my attention was attracted by some articles of dress which lay on one of the window-seats: a heavy, broad-brimmed hat, a large rough pea-jacket, and a black leather belt and cutlass—a sort of coastguard costume which, lying in that place, excited my curiosity. I stopped to examine them, and Lady Mary exclaiming, "Oh, those are Morton's night-clothes; he puts them on when everybody is gone to bed, to go and patrol with the gamekeeper round the place. Do put them on for fun;" she seized them up and began accoutring me in them.

When I was duly enveloped in these very peculiar trappings, we all burst into fits of laughter, and it was instantly proposed that we should all return to the drawing-room, I marching at their head in my gamekeeper's costume. Without further consideration, I ran downstairs again, followed by the ladies, and so re-entered the room, where the gentlemen were still assembled in common council, and where our almost immediate return in this fashion was hailed by a universal shout of surprise and laughter. After standing for a minute, with a huge rough overcoat over my rose-colored satin and moiré skirts, which made a most ludicrous termination to the pugnacious habit of my upper woman, I plunged my hand into one of the pockets, and drew forth a pair of hand-cuffs (a prudent provision in case of an encounter with poachers). Encouraged by the peals of merriment with which this discovery was greeted, I thrust my other hand into the other pocket, when Mr. Morton Berkeley, without uttering a word, rushed at me, and, seizing me by the wrist, prevented my accomplishing my purpose. The suddenness of this movement frightened me at first a good deal. Presently, however, my emotion changed, and I felt nothing but amazement at being thus unceremoniously seized hold of, and rage at finding that I could not extricate myself from the grasp that held me. Like a coward and a woman, I appealed to all the other gentlemen, but they were laughing so excessively that they were quite unable to help me, and probably anticipated no great mischief from Mr. Berkeley's proceeding. I was almost crying with mortification, and actually drew the cutlass and threatened to cut the fingers that encircled my wrist like one of   the iron handcuffs, but, finding my captor inexorable, I was obliged, with extreme sulky confusion, to beg to be let go, and promise to take the coat off without any further attempts to search the pockets. I divested myself of my borrowed apparel a great deal faster than I had put it on, and its owner walked off with the pea-jacket, the right pocket of which remained unexplored. We ladies withdrew again, rather crestfallen at the termination of our joke, I rubbing my wrist like Mary Stuart after her encounter with Lord Ruthven, and wondering extremely what could be the mysterious contents of that pocket.

The next day Lady Mary told me that her brother had long cherished a romantic sort of idolatry for Miss F——, and that, as a pendant to the handcuffs in one pocket of his dreadnought, the other contained her miniature, which he dreaded the night before that my indiscretion would produce, to the derision of the men, the distress and confusion of the young lady herself, and the possible displeasure of her brother. Mr. Morton Berkeley's manners to me after that were again, as they always had been, respectful and rather reserved; the subject of our "fight" was never again alluded to, and he remained to me a gentle, shy, courteous (and romantic) gentleman.

He was habitually silent, but when he did speak, he was very apt to say something apposite, and generally containing the pith of the matter under discussion. I remember once, when I was reproaching his brother Henry and his sister with what I thought the unbecoming manner in which they criticised the deportment and delivery of a clergyman whose sermon they had just listened to (and who certainly was rather an unfortunate specimen of outward divinity), Mr. Morton Berkeley suddenly turned to me, and said, "Why, Mrs. Butler, he is only the rusty bars the light shines through"—a quotation, in fact, but a very apposite one, and I am not sure but that it was an unconscious one, and an original illustration on his part.

THOMAS DUNCOMBE. Mr. Thomas Duncombe, the notorious Radical Member for Finsbury, very generally and very disrespectfully designated in the London society of his day as "Tommy Duncombe," and Mr. Maxse (Lady Caroline Berkeley's husband), were also among the persons with whom I became acquainted at Cranford.

  Of a curious feat of charioteership performed by the latter gentleman I was told once by the Duke of Beaufort, who said he had derived from it the nickname of "Go-along Maxse." Driving late one night with a friend on a turnpike road after the gates were closed, he said to his companion, "Now, if the turnpike we are just coming to is shut, I'll take the horse and gig over the gate." The gig was light, the horse powerful and swift. As they bowled along and came in sight of the gate, they perceived that it was closed; when Mr. Maxse's companion calling out to him, "Go-along, Maxse," that gentleman fulfilled his threat or promise, whichever it might be, and put his horse full at the gate, which the gallant creature cleared, bringing the carriage and its live freight safe to the ground on the other side; a feat which I very unintentionally imitated, in a humble degree, many years after, with an impunity my carelessness certainly did not deserve.

Driving in a state of considerable mental preoccupation out of my own gate one day at Lenox, in a very light one-horse "wagon" (as such vehicles are there called), instead of turning my horse's head either up or down the road, I let him go straight across it, to the edge of a tolerably wide dry ditch, when, suddenly checking him, the horse, who was a saddle-horse and a good leaper, drew himself together, and took the ditch, with me in the carriage behind him, and brought up against a fence, where there was just room for him to turn round, which he immediately did, as if aware of his mistake, and proceeded to leap back again, quite successfully without any assistance of mine, I being too much amazed at the whole performance to do anything but sit still and admire my horse's dexterity.

HIGHWAYMEN. I have adverted to the still existing industry of "gentlemen of the road," in speaking of Cranford in the days of the Earl of Berkeley, who used to take pistols in the carriage when he went to London. On one occasion, when he was riding, unattended but fortunately not unarmed, over some part of Hounslow Heath, a highwayman rode up to him, and, saluting him by name, said, "I know, my lord, you have sworn never to give in to one of us; but now I mean to try if you're as good as your word." "So I have, you rascal, but there are two of you here," replied the earl. The robber, thrown off his guard, looked round for the companion thus indicated, and Lord Berkeley   instantly shot him through the head; owing it to his ready presence of mind that he escaped a similar fate at the hands of his assailant.

My mother, I think, had the advantage of a slight personal acquaintance with one of the very last of these Tyburn heroes. She lived at one time, before her marriage, with her mother and sisters and only brother, at a small country house beyond Finchley; to which suburban, or indeed then almost entirely rural, retreat my father and other young men of her acquaintance used occasionally to resort for an afternoon's sport, in the present highly distinguished diversion of pigeon-shooting. On one of these occasions some one of her habitual guests brought with him a friend, who was presented to my mother, and joined in the exercise of skill. He was like a gentleman in his appearance and manners, with no special peculiarity but remarkably white and handsome hands and extraordinary dexterity, or luck, in pigeon-shooting. Captain Clayton was this individual's name, and his visit, never repeated to my mother's house, was remembered as rather an agreeable event. Soon after this several outrages were committed on the high-road which passed through Finchley; and Moody, the celebrated comic actor, who lived in that direction, was stopped one evening, as he was driving himself into town, by a mounted gentleman, who, addressing him politely by name, demanded his watch and purse, which Moody surrendered, under the influence of "the better part of valor." Having done so, however, he was obliged to request his "very genteel" thief to give him enough money to pay his turnpike on his way into town, where he was going to act, whereupon the "gentleman of the road" returned him half-a-crown, and bade him a polite "Good-evening." Some time after this, news was brought into Covent Garden, at rehearsal one morning, that a man arrested for highway robbery was at the Bow Street Police Office, immediately opposite the theatre. Several of the corps dramatique ran across the street to that famous vestibule of the Temple of Themis; among others, Mr. Moody and Vincent de Camp. The latter immediately recognized my mother's white-handed, gentleman-like pigeon-shooter, and Moody his obliging MacHeath of the Finchley Common highway. "Halloa! my fine fellow," said the actor to the thief, "is that you? Well, perhaps as you are here, you won't object to return me my watch, for which I have a   particular value, and which won't be of any great use to you now, I suppose." "Lord love ye, Mr. Moody," replied Captain Clayton, with a pleasant smile, "I thought you were come to pay me the half crown I lent you."]

Harley Street, Friday, April 22nd, 1842.

My dear T——,

I am not in the least indifferent to the advent of £100 sterling....

I am amused with your description of Dickens, because it tallies so completely with the first impression he made upon me the only time I ever met him before he went to America.... I admire and love the man exceedingly, for he has a deep warm heart, a noble sympathy with and respect for human nature, and great intellectual gifts wherewith to make these fine moral ones fruitful for the delight and consolation and improvement of his fellow-beings.

Lord Morpeth is indeed, as we say, another guessman, but quite one of the most amiable in this world or that. He is universally beloved and respected, so tenderly cherished, by his own kindred that his mother and sisters seem absolutely miserable with various anxieties about him, and the weariness of his prolonged absence. He is a most worthy gentleman, and "goes nigh to be thought so" by all classes here, I can tell you....

You ask me if I have any warmer friends in England than your people, who are certainly my warmest friends in America. I have some friends in my own country who have known and loved me longer than your family; but I do not think, with one or two exceptions, that they love me better, nor do I reckon upon the faith and affection of my American friends less than upon that of my English ones. But the number of people whom I entirely love and trust is very small anywhere, and yet large enough to make me thank God every day for the share He has given me of worthy friendships—treasures sufficient for me to account myself very rich in their possession; living springs of goodness and affection, in which my spirit finds never-failing refreshment. But I have in my own country a vast number of very kind and cordial acquaintances, and, to tell you the truth, am better understood (naturally) and better liked in society, I think, here than on your side of the water. I fancy I am more popular, upon the whole, among my own people than among yours; which   is not to be wondered at, as difference is almost always an element of dislike, and, of course, I am more different from American than English people. Indeed, I have come to consider the difference of nationality a broader, stronger, and deeper difference than that produced by any mere dissimilarity of individual character. It is tantamount to looking at everything from another point of view; to having, from birth and through education, other standards; to having, in short, another intellectual and moral horizon. No personal unlikeness between two individuals of the same nation, however strong it may be in certain points, is equal to the entire unlikeness, fundamental, superficial, and thorough, of two people of different nations.

I am anxious to close this letter before I go out, and shall only add, in replying to your next question of whether I ever feel any desire to return to the stage, Never.... My very nature seems to me dramatic. I cannot speak without gesticulating and making faces, any more than an Italian can; I am fond, moreover, of the excitement of acting, personating interesting characters in interesting situations, giving vivid expression to vivid emotion, realizing in my own person noble and beautiful imaginary beings, and uttering the poetry of Shakespeare. But the stage is not only this, but much more that is not this; and that much more is not only by no means equally agreeable, but positively odious to me, and always was.

Good-by. God bless you and yours.

Believe me always yours most truly,

Fanny Butler.

Harley Street, May 1st, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

I have just despatched a letter to Emily, from whom I I have had two already since she reached Bannisters. She writes chiefly of her mother, whose efforts to bear her trial are very painful to poor Emily, whose fewer years and excellent mental habits render such exertions easier to her. To no one can self-control under such sorrow ever be easy.

GOING TO THE DRAWING-ROOM. You ask about my going to the Drawing-room, which happened thus: The Duke of Rutland dined some little time ago at the Palace, and, speaking of the late party at Belvoir, mentioned me, when the Queen asked why I   didn't have myself presented. The duke called the next day at our house, but we did not see him, and he being obliged to go out of town, left a message for me with Lady Londonderry, to the effect that her Majesty's interest about me (curiosity would have been the more exact word, I suspect) rendered it imperative that I should go to the Drawing-room; and, indeed, Lady Londonderry's authoritative "Of course you'll go," given in her most gracious manner, left me no doubt whatever as to my duty in that respect, especially as the message duly delivered by her was followed up by a letter from the duke, from Newmarket, who, from the midst of his bets, handicaps, sweepstakes, and cups, wrote me over again all that he had bid the marchioness tell me. Wherefore, having no objection whatever to go to Court (except, indeed, the expense of my dress, the idea of which caused me no slight trepidation, as I had already exceeded my year's allowance), I referred the matter to my supreme authority, and it being settled that I was to go, I ordered my tail, and my top, train, and feathers, and went. And this is the whole story, with this postscript, that, not owning a single diamond, I hired a handsome set for the occasion from Abud and Collingwood, every single stone of which darted a sharp point of nervous anxiety into my brain and bosom the whole time I wore them.

As you know that I would not go to the end of the street to see a drawing-room full of full moons, you will easily believe that there was nothing particularly delightful to me in the occasion. But after all, it was very little more of an exertion than I make five nights of the week, in going to one place or another; and under the circumstances it was certainly fitting and proper that I should go.

I suffered agonies of nervousness, and, I rather think, did all sorts of awkward things; but so, I dare say, do other people in the same predicament, and I did not trouble my head much about my various mis-performances. One thing, however, I can tell you: if her Majesty has seen me, I have not seen her; and should be quite excusable in cutting her wherever I met her. "A cat may look at a king," it is said; but how about looking at the Queen? In great uncertainty of mind on this point, I did not look at my sovereign lady. I kissed a soft white hand, which I believe was hers; I saw a pair of very   handsome legs, in very fine silk stockings, which I am convinced were not hers, but am inclined to attribute to Prince Albert; and this is all I perceived of the whole royal family of England, for I made a sweeping courtesy to the "good remainders of the Court," and came away with no impression but that of a crowded mass of full-dressed confusion, and neither know how I got in nor out of it....

You ask about Liszt. He does not take the management of the German Opera, as was expected; indeed, I wonder he ever accepted such an employment. I should think him most unfit to manage such an undertaking, with his excitable temper and temperament. I do not know whether he will come to London at all this season. Adelaide has been bitterly disappointed about it, and said that she had reckoned upon him in great measure for the happiness of her whole summer....

THE DOG TINY. You ask next in your category of questions after Adelaide's dog, and whether it is led in a string successfully yet; and thereby hangs a tale. T'other morning she was awakened by a vehement knocking at her door, and S—— exclaiming, in a loud and solemn voice, "Adelaide, thy maid and thy dog are in a fit together!" which announcement she continued to repeat, with more and more emphasis, till my sister, quite frightened, jumped out of bed, and came upon the stairs, where she beheld the two women and children just come in from their walk; Anne, looking over the banisters with her usual peculiar air of immovable dignity, slowly ejaculating, "What a fool the girl is!" Caroline followed in her wake, wringing her hands, and alternately shrieking and howling, like all the Despairs in the universe. It was long before anything could be distinguished of articulate speech, among the fräulein's howls and shrieks; but at length it appeared that she had taken "die Tine" out in the Regent's Park with Anne and the children, who now go out directly after their breakfast. Tiny, it seems, enjoyed the trip amazingly, and became so excited and so very much transported with what we call animal spirits in human beings that it began to run, as the fräulein thought, away. Whereupon the fräulein began to run after it; whereupon Tiny, when it heard this Dutch nymph heavy in hot pursuit, ran till it knocked its head against a keeper's lodge, and here, because it shook and trembled and stared, probably at its   own unwonted performance, a sympathizing crowd collected, who instantly proclaimed it at first in a conwulsion fit, and then decidedly mad. Water was offered it, which it only stared at and shook its head, evidently dreading the cleansing element. A policeman coming by immediately proposed to kill it. This, however, the fräulein objected to; and catching the bewildered quadruped in her arms, she set off home, escorted by a running mob of sympathetic curiosity. But about half-way the struggle between herself and "die Tine" became so terrific that it ended by the luckless little brute escaping from her, and precipitating itself down an area, where it remained, invoking heaven with howls, while Caroline ran howling down the street. The man-servant was then sent (twice with a wrong direction) to fetch the poor little creature up, and bring it home. At length Caroline accompanied the footman to the scene of the dog-astrophe (you wouldn't call it cat-astrophe, would you?), and "die Tine" was safely lodged in the back-yard here, where, being left alone and not bothered with human solicitude, it presently recovered as many small wits as it ever had, drank voluntarily plenty of water, and gave satisfactory signs of being quite as rational as any lady's little dog need be; but the fräulein protests she will never take "die Tine" out walking again.

Good-bye dear. God bless you. I am pretty well, if that comports with low spirits and terrible nervous irritability.

Yours ever,


My father desires his love to you.

Harley Street, Friday, May 6th, 1842.

I did ask Emily my botanical questions, but she could tell me no more than you have done, and knew nothing special about the primroses.

You ask me a great deal in your letter about my father again taking the management of Covent Garden, and on what terms he has done so; all which I have told you in the letter I have just despatched to you....

Adelaide has repeatedly said that, as soon as she has realized three hundred a year, she will give up the whole business; and I comfort myself with that purpose of hers; for if at the conclusion of next season she will go to America for a year, she will more than realize the result   she proposes to herself.... I cannot, however, help fearing that obstacles may arise to prevent her eventually fulfilling her purpose when the time comes for her retiring, according to her present expectation and wish....

I have not been out a great deal lately, We seem a little less inclined to fly at all quarry than last season; and as I never decide whether we shall accept the invitations that come or not, I am very well pleased that some of them are declined. I believe I told you that Lady Londonderry had asked us to a magnificent ball. This I was rather sorry to refuse, as a ball is quite as great a treat to me as to any "young miss" just coming out. Indeed, I think my capacity of enjoyment and excitement is greater than that of most "young misses" I see, who not only talk of being bored, but actually contrive, poor creatures! to look so in the middle of their first season.

I spent two hours with poor Lady Dacre yesterday evening.... After sitting with her, we went to a large party at Sydney Smith's, where I was very much amused and pleased, and saw numbers of people that I know and like—rather.

You ask about my walks.... They are now chiefly confined to my peregrinations in the Square, measuring the enclosed gravel walks of which I have already, since your departure, finished the "Mémoires de l'Enfant du Peuple," and brought myself, mirabile dictu! to within twenty pages of the end of Mrs. Jameson's book upon Prussian school statistics....

I do not think Mr. W—— any authority upon any subject. I consider him a perfect specimen of a charlatan, and his opinions with regard to slavery and the abolitionists are particularly little worthy of credit in my mind, because he used America precisely as an actor would, to make money wherever he could by his lectures, which he puffed himself, till he was absolutely laughed at all over the country, and which were, by the accounts of those who heard them, perfectly shallow and often quite erroneous as far as regarded the information they pretended to impart. The Southern States were a lucrative field for his lecturing speculation; the Northern abolitionists were far from being sufficiently numerous or influential for it to be worth his while to conciliate them; and for these reasons I attach little value to his statement upon that or indeed any other subject.

THE QUEEN.   You ask me what was my impression altogether of the Drawing-room. I have told you about my own performances there, of which, however, I dare say I exaggerated the awkwardness to myself. The whole thing wearied me, just as any other large, overcrowded assembly where I could not sit down would; and that is the chief impression it has left upon me. I believe I was flattered by the Queen's expressing any curiosity about me, but I went simply because I was told it was right that I should do so. I am always horribly shy, or nervous, or whatever that foolish sensation ought to be called, at even having to walk across a room full of people; and therefore the fuss and to-do and ceremonial of the presentation (particularly not having been very well drilled beforehand by Lady Francis, who presented me) were disagreeable to me; but I have retained no impression of the whole thing other than of a very large and fatiguing rout. We are advised to go again on the birthday, but that I am sure we shall not do; and now that the Queen—God bless her!—has perceived that I do not go upon all-fours, but am indeed, as Bottom says, "a woman like any other woman," I have no doubt her gracious Majesty is abundantly satisfied with what she saw of me.

Good-bye, dearest Harriet.

Ever yours,

F. A. B.

[The enthusiastic abolitionist, Mrs. Lydia Child, had written to me, requesting me to give her for publication some portions of the journal I had kept during my residence in Georgia; and I had corresponded with my friend Mrs. Charles Sedgwick upon the subject, deciding to refuse her request. My Georgia journal never saw the light till the War of Secession was raging in America, and almost all the members of the society in which I was then living in England were strongly sympathizing with the Southern cause, when I thought it right to state what, according to my own observation and experience, that cause involved.]

Harley Street, May 6th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

The carriage is waiting to take —— to the Levée, and I am waiting till it comes back to go upon my thousand   and one daily errands. Adelaide, it being her last day at home, appears anxious to enjoy as much as she can of my society, and has therefore gone fast asleep in the arm-chair by the table at which I am writing, and has expressed her intention of coming out and paying visits with me this morning. She starts at eight o'clock this evening, and will reach Birmingham, I believe, about one. This arrangement, which I should think detestable, pleases her very much....

Mr. Everett, our friend, presents ——, and I thought Anne would have fallen down in a fit when she heard that the ceremony consisted in going down on one knee and kissing the Queen's hand. She did not mind my doing it the least in the world, but her indignation has been unbounded at the idea of a free-born American citizen submitting to such degradation. Poor thing! "Lucifer, son of the morning," was meek and humble to her.

We dined to-day with the Francis Egertons, to meet the young Guardsmen who are to form our corps dramatique for "The Hunchback," which, you know, we are going to act in private. To-morrow evening we go to Sydney Smith's, and on Monday down to Oatlands for a few days. I am always delighted in that place and the lovely wild country round it. Lady Francis will mount me, and I expect my old enjoyment in riding about those beautiful and well-remembered haunts with her....

THE OPERA HOUSE. There has been a grand row at the Italian Opera-House, among the managers, singers, and singeresses. Mario (Mons. Di Candia; I suppose you know who I mean) has, it seems, for some reason or other, been discharged. Madame Grisi, who sympathizes with him, refuses to uplift her voice, that being the case; the new singeress, Frezzolini, does not please at all; and the new singer, Rouconi, isn't allowed by his wife to sing with any woman but herself, and she is a perfect dose to the poor audience. Lumley, the solicitor, manager of these he and she divinities, declares that if they don't behave better he'll shut the theatre at the end of the week. In the mean time, underhand proposals have been made to Adelaide to stop the gap, and sing for a few nights for them—a sort of proposal which does not suit her, which she has scornfully rejected, and departed with her tail over her shoulder, leaving the behind scenes of Her Majesty's Theatre with their tails between their legs....

  My dearest Harriet, you ask me if I do not think the spirit of martyrdom is often alloyed with self-esteem and wilfulness. God alone knows the measure in which human infirmity and human virtue unite in inducing the sacrifice of life and all that life loves for a point of opinion. I confess, for my own part, self-esteeming and wilful as I am, that to suffer bodily torture for the sake of an abstract question of what one believes to be right is an effort of courage so much above any that I am capable of that I do not feel as if I had a right to undervalue it by the smallest doubt cast upon the merit of those who have shown themselves capable of it. It may be that, without such admixture of imperfection as human nature's highest virtues are still tinged with, the confessors of every good and noble cause would have left unfulfilled their heroic task of witnessing to the truth by their death; but if indeed base alloy did mingle with their great and conscientious sacrifice, let us hope that the pangs of physical torture, the anguish of injustice and ignominy, and the rending asunder of all the ties of earthly affection, may have been some expiation for the imperfection of their most perfect deed....

Will you, my dear, be so good as to remember what a hang-nail is like? or a grain of dust in your eye? or a blister on your heel? or a corn on your toe? and then reflect what the word "torture" implies, when it meant all that the most devilish cruelty could invent. Savonarola! good gracious me! I would have canted and recanted, and called black white, and white black, and confessed, and denied! Please don't think of it! God be praised, those days are over! Not but what I edified Mr. Combe greatly once, when I was a girl, by declaring that if, by behaving well under torture, I could have vexed my tormentors very much, and if I might have had plenty of people to see how well I behaved, I thought I could have managed it; to which he replied, "Oh, weel now, Fanny, ye've just got the very spirit of a martyr in you." See if that theory of the matter answers your notion....

You ask me how I managed about diamonds to go to Court in. I hired a set, which I also wore at the fête at Apsley House; they were only a necklace and earrings, which I wore as a bandeau, stitched on scarlet velvet, and as drops in the middle of scarlet velvet bows in my hair, and my dress being white satin and point lace, trimmed   with white Roman pearls, it all looked nice enough. The value of the jewels was only £700, but I am sure they gave me £7000 worth of misery; and if her Majesty had but known the anguish I endured in showing my respect for her by false appearances, the very least she could have done would have been to have bought the jewels and given them to me. Madame Dévy made my Court dress, which was of such material as, you see, I can use when I play "The Hunchback" at Lady Francis's. I am ruining myself, in spite of my best endeavors to be economical; but if it is any comfort for you to know it, my conscience torments me horribly for it....

God bless you. Good-bye, dear.

Ever yours affectionately,

F. A. B.

Harley Street, Saturday, May 7th, 1842.

... What an immense long talk I am having with you this morning, my dear Hal! I do not believe you are wearied, however; but you will surely wonder why I did not put all these letters under one cover with the three sovereign heads on the one packet; and I am sure I don't know why I have not. But it doesn't matter much my appearing a little more or a little less absurd to you.

You ask who I shall associate with while —— and Adelaide are away.... I presume with my own writing-table and the carriage cushions, just as I do now, just as I did before, and just as I am likely to do hereafter....

BIRTHDAY DRAWING-ROOM. It was not the presence of the Queen that affected my nerves at the Drawing-room, but my own presence, i.e., as the French say, I was "très embarrassée de ma personne." The uncertainty of what I was to do (for Lady Francis had been exceedingly succinct in her instructions), and the certainty of a crowd of people staring all round me,—this, I think, and not the overpowering sense of a royal human being before me, was what made me nervous. Were I to go again to a Drawing-room, now that I know my lesson, I do not think I should suffer at all from any embarrassment. We are not asked to the fancy ball at the Palace, I am told, because of our omission in not attending at the Birthday Drawing-room, which, it seems, is a usual thing after a first presentation. I should like to have seen it; it will be a fine sight. In the mean time, as many of our acquaintances are going, we come in for a   full share of the insanity which has taken possession of men's and women's minds about velvets, satins, brocades, etc. You enter no room that is not literally strewed with queer-looking prints of costumes; and before you can say, "How d'ye do?" you are asked which looks best together, blue and green, or pink and yellow; for, indeed, their selections are often as outrageous as these would be. I never conceived people could be so stupid at combining ideas, even upon this least abstruse of subjects; and you would think, to hear these fine ladies talk the inanity they do about their own clothes, now they are compelled to think about them for themselves, that they have no natural perceptions of even color, form, or proportion. The fact is that even their dressing-brains are turned over to their French milliners and lady's-maids. I understand Lady A—— says she will make her dress alone (exclusive of jewels) cost £1000.

Some people say this sort of mad extravagance does good; I cannot think it. It surely matters comparatively little that the insane luxury of the self-indulgent feeds the bodies of so many hundred people if at the same time the mischievous example of their folly and extravagance is demoralizing their hearts and minds and injuring a great many more.

Touching Lady A——, she gave the address of one of her milliners to Lady W——, who, complaining to her of the exorbitant prices of this superlative faiseuse, and plaintively stating that she had charged her fifty guineas for a simple morning dress, Lady A—— replied, "Ah, very likely, I dare say; I don't know anything about cheap clothes."

I do not know where Adelaide is likely to lodge in Dublin, nor do I believe she knows herself; but before this letter reaches you, you will have found out. I had almost a mind to ask her to write to me, but then I knew both how she hates it and how little time she was likely to have, so I forbore. She has left me with the pleasing expectation that any of these days her eccentric musical friend Dessauer may walk in, to be by me received, lodged, entertained, comforted, and consoled, in her absence (in which case, by-the-by, you know, I should associate with him while she is away). From parts of his letters which she has read to me, I feel very much inclined to like him, ... and I imagine I shall find him very amusing....

SHERIDAN KNOWLES.   You ask about our getting up of "The Hunchback" at the Francis Egertons'. I forget whether you knew that Horace Wilson [my kind friend and connection, the learned Oxford Professor of Sanscrit, who to his many important acquirements and charming qualities added the accomplishments of a capital musician and first-rate amateur actor] has been seriously indisposed, and so out of health and spirits as to have declined the part of Master Walter, which he was to have taken in it. This has been a great disappointment to me, for he would have done it admirably, and as he is a person of whom I am very fond, it would have been agreeable to me to have had him among us, and I should have particularly liked him for so important a coadjutor. He failing us, however, Knowles himself has undertaken to play the part, and I shall be glad enough to do it with him again. I have a great deal of compassionate admiration for poor Knowles, who, with his undeniable dramatic genius, his bright fancy, and poetical imagination, will, I fear, end his days either in a madhouse or a poorhouse. The characters beside Sir Thomas Clifford and Modus (which you know are taken by Henry Greville and ——) are filled by a pack of young Guardsmen, with whom I dined, in order to make acquaintance, at Lady Francis's t'other day. Two of them, Captain Seymour and a son of Sir Francis Coles, are acquaintances of yours and your people.

You ask how I am amusing myself. Why, just as usual, which is well enough. I am of too troubled a nature ever to lack excitement, and have an advantage over most people in the diversion I am able to draw from very small sources.

I went last night to the French play, to see a French actress called Déjazet make her first appearance in London. The house was filled with our highest aristocracy, the stalls with women of rank and character, and the performance was, I think, one of the most impudent that I ever witnessed. Dr. Whewell [the celebrated Master of Trinity] and Mrs. Whewell were sitting near us, and left the theatre in the middle of Déjazet's first piece—I suppose from sheer disgust. She is a marvellous actress, and without exception the most brazen-faced woman I ever beheld, and that is saying a great deal. Good-bye.

Ever your affectionate


  Harley Street, Saturday, May 14th, 1842.

My dearest Hal,

On my return from Oatlands yesterday, I found no fewer than four letters of yours, and this morning I have received a fifth.... I am most thankful for all your details about Adelaide, who, of course, will not have time to write to any of us herself.... Miss Rainsforth, her mother, and their travelling manager, Mr. Callcott, are her whole party.... Miss Rainsforth is a quiet, gentle, well-conducted, well-bred, amiable person; Mr. Callcott is a son of the composer, and a nephew of our friend Sir Augustus, and has the refinement of mind and manners which one would look for in any member of that family.... I am very sorry that Adelaide cannot see more of you, and you of her....

You ask whether it is a blessing or a curse not to provide one's own means of subsistence. I think it is a great blessing to be able and allowed to do so. But I dare say I am not a fair judge of the question, for the feeling of independence and power consequent upon earning large sums of money has very much destroyed my admiration for any other mode of support; and yet certainly my pecuniary position now would seem to most people very far preferable to my former one; but having earned money, and therefore most legitimately owned it, I never can conceive that I have any right to the money of another person.... I cannot help sometimes regretting that I did not reserve out of my former earnings at least such a yearly sum as would have covered my personal expenses; and having these notions, which impair the comfort of being maintained, I am sometimes sorry that I no longer possess my former convenient power of coining. I do not think I should feel so uncomfortable about inheriting money, though I had not worked for it; for, like any other free gift, I think I should consider that legitimately my own, just like any other present that was made me....

"The Hunchback" is to be acted at the Francis Egertons', in London, though I do not very well see how; for Bridgewater House is in process of rebuilding, and their present residence in Belgrave Square, though large enough for all social purposes, is far from being well adapted to theatrical ones; insomuch—or, rather, so little—that it is my opinion we shall be in each other's arms,   laps, and pockets throughout the whole performance, which will be inconvenient, and in some of the situations slightly indecorous.

ADELAIDE KEMBLE. I have received this morning, my dear, your notice of the "Sonnambula," for which we are all very grateful to you. Give my love to my sister. I expected her success as a matter of course, and did not anticipate much annoyance to her from her present mode of life, ... because I have known her derive extreme amusement and diversion from circumstances and associates that would have been utterly distasteful to me. Her love and perception of the ridiculous is not only positive enjoyment, but a protection from annoyance and a mitigation of disgust. My father desires his love to you, and bids me thank you for your kindness in sending him the newspapers. With regard to that last song in the "Amina," of which you speak as of a tour de force, it is hardly so much so, in point of fact, as her execution of the whole part, which is too high for her; and though she sings it admirably in spite of that, she cannot give it the power and expression that she would if it lay more easily in her voice. This, however, is the case with other music that she sings, and the consequence is that, though she has great execution, and power, and sweetness, and finish in the use of her artificial voice, it wants the spontaneous force in high music of a naturally high organ.

Pray, did you ever pity me as much as you do Adelaide in the exercise of her profession? You certainly never expressed the same amount of compassion for my strolling destinies, nor did I ever hear you lament in this kind over the fate of John Kemble and Mrs. Siddons, both of whom had impertinences addressed to them by your Dublin gallery humorists. Pray, what is the meaning of this want of feeling on your part for us others, or your excess of it for Adelaide? Is it only singing histrions who appear to you objects of compassion? Good-bye, dearest Harriet. I have to write to Emily, and to answer an American clergyman, a friend of mine, who has written to me from Paris; and moreover, being rather in want of money, I am about to endeavor to make practicable for the English stage a French piece called "Mademoiselle de Belle Isle," which, with certain vicious elements, has some very striking and effective situations, and is, dramatically speaking, one of the most cleverly constructed   plays I have seen for a long while. Therefore, farewell. If I could earn £200 now, I should be glad.

Harley Street, Thursday, May 19th, 1842.

Thank you, my dearest Harriet, for your long account of Adelaide. She has written to my father, which I was very glad of.... Of course, I have not expected to hear from her, but have been delighted to get all your details. In her letter to my father, she says she gets on extremely well with her companions, that they are gay and merry, and that her life with them is pleasant and amuses her very much.

You do not ask me a single question about a single thing, and therefore I will just tell you how matters in general go on with me. In the first place, I heard yesterday that we are definitely to return to America in August. Some attempt was made to renew our lease of this house for a few months; but difficulties have arisen about it, and we shall probably return to the United States as soon as possible after our lease expires. I do not yet feel at all sure of the fulfilment of this intention, however; but at any rate it is one point of apparent decision indicated....

My feelings and thoughts about the return are far too numerous and various to be contained in a letter. One thing I think—I feel sure of—that it is right, and therefore I am glad we are to do it. My father, to whom this intention has not yet been mentioned, is looking wonderfully well, and appears to be enjoying his mode of life extremely. He spends his days at Covent Garden, and finds even now, when the German company are carrying on their operations there, enough to do to keep him interested and incessantly busy within those charmed and charming precincts. I am pretty well, though not in very good spirits; my life is much more quiet and regular than when you were here, and I enjoy a considerable portion of retiracy.

I have taken possession of Adelaide's little sitting-room, and inhabit it all day, and very often till tea-time in the evening. Owing to our day no longer being cut to pieces by our three-o'clock dinner (on account of Adelaide), I do not run into arrears with my visits, and generally, after discharging one or two recent debts of that sort, am able to get an hour's walk in Kensington Gardens, and come home between four and five o'clock.

  We have not been out a great deal lately; we have taken, I am happy to say, to discriminating a little among our invitations, and no longer accept everything that offers.

I spent three delightful days at Oatlands, which is charming to me from its own beauty and the association of the pleasure which I enjoyed there in past years. The hawthorn was just coming into blossom, the wild heaths and moors and commons were one sheet of deep golden gorse and pale golden broom, and nothing could be lovelier than the whole aspect of the country.

MADEMOISELLE D'ESTE. The day before yesterday I dined tête-à-tête with Mademoiselle d'Este, for whom I have taken rather a fancy, and who appears to have done the same by me. Her position is a peculiar and trying one, combined with her character, which has some striking and interesting elements. She is no longer young, but has still much personal beauty, and that of an order not common in England: very dark eyes, hair, and complexion, with a freedom and liveliness of manner and play of countenance quite unusual in Englishwomen.... She lives a great deal alone, and reads a great deal, and thinks a little, and I feel interested in her. She has sacrificed the whole comfort and, it appears to me, much of the possible happiness of her life to her notion of being a princess, which, poor thing! she is not; and as she will not be satisfied with, or even accept, the position of a private gentlewoman, she is perpetually obliged to devise means of avoiding situations, which are perpetually recurring, in which her real rank, or rather no rank, is painfully brought home to her. This unfortunate pretension to princess-ship has probably interfered vitally with her happiness, in preventing her marrying, as she considers, below her birth [i.e. royally]; and as she is a very attractive woman, and, I should judge, a person of strong feelings and a warm, passionate nature, this must have been a considerable sacrifice; though in marrying, to be sure, she might only have realized another form of disappointment.

Yesterday we went to a fine dinner at Lord F——'s. He and his sisters are good-natured young people of large fortune, whose acquaintance we made at Cranford, and who are very civil and amiable in their demonstrations of good-will towards us. A son of the Duke of Leinster was at this dinner, and invited —— to go with him this morning   and see Prince Albert review the Guards; which he has accordingly done.

To-night we go to Sydney Smith's, which I always enjoy exceedingly; and for next week, I am happy to say, we have at present no engagements but a dinner at the Francis Egertons', and another evening at Sydney Smith's....

I believe I have now told you pretty much all I have to tell. I am working at a translation of a French piece called "Mademoiselle de Belle Isle," by which I hope to make a little money, with which I should be very glad to pay Mademoiselle Dévy's bill for my spring finery.

I went to Covent Garden the other day, to see if I could find anything in the theatre wardrobe that I could make use of for "The Hunchback," and did find something; and, moreover, I think Adelaide will be able to get her dress for Helen from there, though it seemed rather a doleful daylight collection of frippery. My first dress I can make one of my own white muslin ones serve for, my last I shall get beautifully out of my Court costume; so that the three will only cost me the price of altering them for the private theatrical occasion.

We met at Oatlands Mrs. G——, the mother of the Member for Dublin, who has been preparing herself, by a twelve years' residence on the Continent, for a plunge into savagedom, by a return to her home in Connemara; and it was both comical and sad to hear her first launch out upon the merits of the dear "wild Irish," and her desire to be among and serviceable to "her people," and then, all in the same breath, declare that the mere atmosphere of England and English society was enough to kill any one with "the blue devils" who had ever been abroad; and this, mind you, is the impression British existence makes upon her in the full height of the gay London season. Fancy what she will find Connemara! She knows you and your people, and gave me a most ardent invitation to the savage Ireland where she lives. Poor woman! I pity her; her case is not absolutely unknown to me, or quite without parallel in my own experience.

Good-bye. God bless you.

Your affectionate

F. A. B.

  Harley Street.

This letter has been begun a week; it is now Saturday, May 28th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

Pray give my love to Mrs. Kemble, and tell her that the Queen Dowager sent for me to go and pay her a visit yesterday. For goodness' sake, Harriet, don't misunderstand me, I am only in joke! I live among such very matter-of-fact persons that I really tremble for an hour after every piece of nonsense I utter. You must observe by this that I am in a painfully frequent state of trepidation; but what I meant by this message to Mrs. Kemble is that I have been extremely amused at her taking the trouble to write to Mrs. George Siddons to find out "all about" my going to the Drawing-room, and the rumor which had reached her of the Queen having desired to see me. George Siddons told me this himself, and it struck me as such a funny interest in my concerns on the part of Mrs. Kemble, who takes none whatever in me, that I thought I would send her word of the piece of preferment which has occurred to me since, viz. being sent for by the Queen Dowager, who desired my friend Mademoiselle d'Este to bring me to call upon her. But what wonderful gossip it does seem to be writing gravely round and round from Leamington to London, and from London to Leamington, about!

You ask me how it fares with me. Why, busily and wearily enough. We have had a perfect deluge of invitations lately, two or three thick of a night....

THE DUCHESS OF SUTHERLAND. We are going to-night to the Duchess of Sutherland's fancy ball at Stafford House, which is to be a less formal, but not less magnificent, show than the Queen's masque.

I have not begun to rehearse "The Hunchback" yet, for I shall not require many rehearsals; but one of our party attended the first this morning, and said all the young amateurs promised very fairly, and that Henry Greville did his part extremely well, which I am very glad to hear. I have had but one visit from him since his return to town, when, of course, he discussed Adelaide's plans with great zeal. He certainly wishes very much that she should sing at the Opera, but his view of the whole matter is so different from mine ... that we are   not likely to agree very well, even upon so general a point of discussion as her best professional interests.

I am much concerned at your observations about her exhaustion and hoarseness. I am so anxious that her present life should not be prolonged, so anxious that she should realize her very moderate wishes and leave it, that I cannot bear to think of any possible failure of her precious gift from over-exertion.... I think, begging your pardon, you talk some nonsense when you compare your existence, as an object of rational pity, with my sister's. All other considerations set apart, there are certain conditions of life, which are the result of peculiar states and stages of society, that are indisputably less favorable for the production of happiness, and the exercise of goodness also, than others. Among these results of over-civilization are the careers of public exhibitors of every description. In judging of their conduct or character, we may make every allowance for the peculiar dangers of their position, and the temptations of their peculiar gifts; but I confess I am amazed at any woman who, sheltered by the sacred privacy of a home, can envy the one or desire the other.

Dearest Harriet, this letter has lain so long unfinished, and I am now so engulfed in all sorts of worry, flurry, hurry, row, fuss, bustle, bother, dissipation and distraction, that it is vain hoping to add anything intelligible to it. Good-bye, dearest.

Ever yours,


Harley Street, May 29th, 1842.

Dearest Harriet,

This is Sunday, and, owing to my custom of neither paying visits nor going to dinner or evening parties on "the first day of the week," I look forward to a little leisure; though the repeated raps at the door already this morning remind me that it will probably be interrupted often enough to render it of little avail for any purpose of consecutive occupation....

You ask me if I think of "taking to translating." My dear Harriet, if you mean when I return to America, I shall take to nothing there but the stagnant life I led there before, which, in the total absence of any impulse from the external circumstances in which I live and the   utter absence of any interest in any intellectual pursuit in those with whom I live, becomes absolutely inevitable; and so I think that, once again in my Transatlantic home, I shall neither originate nor translate anything.

LITERARY OCCUPATIONS. I have "taken to translating" "Mademoiselle de Belle Isle" because my bill at Mademoiselle Dévy's is £97, and I am determined my brains shall pay it; therefore, also, I have given my father a ballet on the subject of Pocahontas, and am preparing and altering "Mademoiselle de Belle Isle" for Covent Garden, for both which pieces of work I hope to get something towards my £97. Besides this, I have offered my "Review of Victor Hugo" to John for the British Quarterly Review, of which he is, you know, the editor—of course, telling him that it was written for an American magazine—and he has promised me sixteen guineas for it if it suits him. Besides this, I have offered Bentley the beginning of my Southern journal, merely an account of our journey down to the plantation.... Besides this, I have drawn up and sketched out, act by act, scene by scene, and almost speech by speech, a play in five acts, a sequel to the story of Kotzebue's "Stranger," which I hope to make a good work of. Thus, you see, my brains are not altogether idle; and, with all this, I am rehearsing "The Hunchback" with our amateurs, for three and four hours at a time, attending to my own dresses and Adelaide's (who will attend to nothing), returning, as usual, all the visits, and going out to dinners and parties innumerable. This, you will allow, is rather a double-quick-time sort of existence; but the after-lull of the future will be more than sufficient for rest.

Alexandre Dumas is the author of "Mademoiselle de Belle Isle," and I was led to select that piece to work upon, not so much from the interest of the story, which is, however, considerable, as from the dramatic skill with which it is managed, and the circumstances made to succeed each other. There is, unfortunately, an insuperably objectionable incident in it, which I have done my best to modify; but it is one of the most ingeniously constructed pieces I have seen for a long time, and gives admirable opportunities for good acting to almost every member of the dramatis personæ.

Mademoiselle d'Este has no right to the painful feeling of illegitimacy, for her mother was her father's wife, and therefore she has not, what indeed I can conceive to be, a   bitter source of wounded pride and incessant rational mortification. The Duke of Sussex married Lady Augusta Murray, and that, I should think, might satisfy his daughter, in spite of all the Acts of Parliament afterwards devised to restrict and regulate royal marriages. Mademoiselle d'Este's is merely a perpetual protest against an irreversible social decree, and an incessant, unavailing struggle for the observance and respect conventionally due to a rank which is not hers; and though it appears to me as senseless a cause of trouble as ever human being chose to accept, yet as incessant bitterness and mortification and annoyance are its results for her, poor soul! of course to her it is real enough, if not in itself, in the results she gathers from it.

My dinner has intervened, my dear, since this last sentence, and, moreover, a permission from my sister to inform you that she is engaged to be married!...

You ask how Adelaide looks after her Dublin campaign. She looks better now, in spite of all her fatigue, than she has done since her return from Italy; her face looks almost fat, to which appearance, however, it is in some degree helped by her hair being already in rehearsal for "The Hunchback," falling in ringlets on each side of her head, which becomes her very much....

I have heard from Elizabeth Sedgwick, and she concurs in the propriety of my not giving Mrs. Child my Southern journal. I shall say no more upon that subject....

Good-bye, dearest Harriet. I look forward with anticipated refreshment to a ride which I have some chance of getting to-morrow, and for which I am really gasping. I got one ride this week, and the escort that came to the door for me touched and flattered me not a little: old Lord Grey and Lady G——, and his two grandsons, and Lord Dacre, and B—— S——, all came up from their part of the town to fetch me a ride, which was a great kindness on their part, and an honor, pleasure, and profit to me. God bless you, dear. I feel, as Margery says, "in a kind of bewilder," but ever yours,


MADEMOISELLE D'ESTE. [My first meeting with Mademoiselle d'Este took place at Belvoir Castle, where we were both on a visit to the Duke of Rutland, and where my attention was drawn to the peculiarity of her conduct by my   neighbor at the dinner-table, who said to me, just after we had taken our places, "Do you see Mademoiselle d'Este? She will do that now every day while she remains here." Mademoiselle d'Este at this moment entered the dining-room alone, and passed down the side of the table with an inclination to the duke, and a half-muttered apology about being late. This, it seems, was simply a pretence to cover her determination not to give precedence to any of the women in the house by being taken into dinner after them. The Duchesses of Bedford and Richmond, the Countess of Winchelsea, and other women of rank being then at the castle, Mademoiselle d'Este's pretensions stood not the slightest chance of acknowledgment, and she took this quite ineffectual way of protesting against her social position.

Everybody at Belvoir was sufficiently familiar with her to accept these sort of proceedings on her part. To me they seemed more undignified and wanting in real pride and self-respect than a quiet acquiescence in the inevitable would have been. The conventional distinction she demanded had been legally refused her, and it was not in the power of the society to which she belonged to give it to her, however much they might have felt inclined to pity her position and excuse her resentment of it. But it was inconceivable to me that she should not either withdraw absolutely from all society (which is what I should have done in her place), or submit silently to an injury against which all protest was vain, which renewed itself, in some shape or other, daily, and which really involved no personal affront to her or injustice to the character of her mother. I thought she made a great mistake, which did not prevent my being attracted by her; and while we were at Belvoir, and immediately afterwards at Lord Willoughby's together, and subsequently on our return to London, we had a good deal of familiar and friendly intercourse with each other, in the course of which I had many opportunities of observing the perpetual struggle she maintained against what she considered the intolerable hardship of her position.

She occupied a pretty little house in Mount Street, Grosvenor Square, and never allowed her servants to wear anything but the undress of the royal household; the scarlet livery being, of course, out of the question. On one or two occasions I dined with her   tête-à-tête, and took no notice of the fact, which I remembered afterwards, that she invariably sent the servant out of the room, and helped herself and me with her own hands; but once, when the Duchess of B—— dined with us, and Mademoiselle d'Este had a dumb-waiter placed beside her, and, sending the man-servant out of the room, performed all the table service (except, indeed, bringing in the dishes), with our assistance only, the duchess assured me afterwards that this was simply because, in her own house, Mademoiselle d'Este would not submit to the unroyal indignity of being waited upon after her guests at her own table by her own servants.

When the preparations for the fancy ball at the Palace were turning half the great houses in London into milliners' shops, filled with stuffs, and patterns, and pictures, and materials for fancy dresses, and drawings of costumes, and gabbling, shrieking, distracted women, Mademoiselle d'Este consulted me about her dress, and we passed a whole morning looking over a huge collection of plates of historical personages and picturesque portraits of real or imaginary heroines. Among these I repeatedly put aside several that I thought would be especially becoming to her dark beauty and fine figure; and as often was surprised to find that among those I had thus selected she had invariably rejected a certain proportion, among which were two or three particularly beautiful and appropriate, one or other of which I should certainly have chosen for her above the rest. I couldn't imagine upon what theory of selection she was guiding her examination of the prints until, upon closer examination, I perceived that the only portraits from which she had determined to make her choice of a costume were those of princesses of blood royal. Poor woman!

I once saw a curious encounter between her and the Marchioness of L——, in which the most insolent woman of the London society of that day was worsted with her own peculiar weapon, by the princess "claimant," and ignominiously beaten from the field.

The occasion of my being presented to the Queen Dowager was this: I had been dining one day with Mademoiselle d'Este, when the Marchioness of Londonderry came in, and read me a note she had received from the Duke of Rutland, in which the latter said that the   Queen had asked him why I had not been presented at Court. After Lady Londonderry was gone, I expressed some surprise at this unexpected honor, and some dismay at finding that it was considered a matter of course that, under these circumstances, I should go to the Drawing-room. I felt shy about the ceremony, and sordidly reluctant to spend the sum of money upon my dress which I knew it must cost me. All this I discussed with Mademoiselle d'Este, and expressing my surprise at the Queen's having condescended to ask why I didn't have myself presented, Mademoiselle d'Este exclaimed, "Oh, my dear, those people are so curious!" meaning the Queen and Prince Albert, towards whom she had a great feeling of sore dislike; but whether she meant by "curious" inquisitive or singular—queer—I didn't ask her, being rather astonished at this "singular" mode of speaking of our liege lady and her illustrious consort.

Poor Mademoiselle d'Este's feeling of bitterness against the Queen arose, I have since been told, from various small slights which her sensitive pride conceived she had received from her. Mademoiselle d'Este's determination to assert her right to be considered a royal personage had, perhaps, met with some other rebuffs from the Queen, besides the one which she herself told me of with great irritation.

On the occasion of Queen Adelaide's Drawing-rooms, she had always permitted Mademoiselle d'Este to make her entrance by the same approach, and at the same time, with other members of the royal family. After the accession of Queen Victoria, Mademoiselle d'Este claimed the same privilege, which, however, was not granted her. She told me this with many passionate, indignant comments, and apparently desirous that I should be impressed by the superior charm and graciousness of Queen Adelaide, whom she called "her Queen," and of whom she spoke with the most affectionate regard and respect, she said, "You must come with me and see my Queen," and accordingly she solicited permission to present me to the Queen Dowager, which was granted, and I went with her one morning to pay my respects to that great and good lady, and was to have done so a second time, but was prevented by our departure from town.

QUEEN ADELAIDE. I drove with Mademoiselle d'Este to Marlborough House in the morning, and we were ushered through several apartments into a   small-sized sitting-room, where we were left. After a few moments a lady entered, to whom Mademoiselle d'Este presented me. The Queen Dowager was then apparently between fifty and sixty years old; a thin, middle-sized woman, with gray hair and a long face, discolored by the traces of some eruption. She looked in ill health, and was certainly very plain, but her manner and the expression of her face were very gentle and gracious, and her voice, with its German accent, sweet and agreeable. She asked Mademoiselle d'Este if she was going to the Duchess of Sutherland's ball, and on her replying that she was not going, and giving some trifling reason for not doing so, I couldn't help laughing, because on our way to Marlborough House she had told me, with what appeared to me very superfluous wrath and indignation, that she had received an invitation to the duchess's ball, but that as it was coupled with an intimation that it was hoped the persons who had been at the Queen's great fancy ball, given a week before, would wear the same costumes at Stafford House, Mademoiselle d'Este chose to consider this an impertinent dictation, and said first "she would go in a plain white satin gown," then "in a white muslin petticoat," finally, that "she wouldn't go at all;" and working herself up by degrees into more fury as she talked, she abused the Duchess of Sutherland vehemently, mimicking her in a most ludicrous manner, and saying that she always reminded her of "a great fat, white, trussed turkey," which comparison and the ridiculous rage in which she made it made me laugh till I cried, in spite of my admiration for the Duchess of Sutherland, whose beauty and gracious sweetness of manner always seemed to me very charming. When therefore, Mademoiselle d'Este assigned another reason for not going to the Stafford House ball, in answer to the Queen's inquiry, I couldn't help laughing, and told the Queen the truth was that Mademoiselle d'Este's pride was hurt at being requested to come in the fancy dress she had worn at the Palace; and so, for this imaginary absurd offence, she was going to give up a very fine and pleasant fête. The Queen laughed, and, turning to Mademoiselle d'Este, said, "Your friend is right. You are very foolish; you will lose a pleasant evening for nothing."

After this the conversation fell on the French plays and the performances of Mademoiselle Déjazet, who was then acting at the St.   James's Theatre. The Queen having asked my opinion of these representations, I said I was unwilling to enter upon the subject, as I did not know how far the forms of etiquette would permit me to express what I thought in her Majesty's presence. Upon her pressing me, however, to state my opinion upon the subject, I reiterated what I had said in a previous conversation with Mademoiselle d'Este upon the matter, objecting to the extreme immorality of the pieces, and expressing my astonishment at seeing decent Englishwomen crowd to them night after night, since they certainly would not tolerate such representations on the English stage.

Mademoiselle d'Este replied that that was because, on the English stage, they would be coarse and vulgar. I denied that the difference of language made any essential difference in the matter, though she was certainly right in saying that the less refined style of English acting might make the offensiveness of such pieces more unpleasantly obtrusive; but that in looking round the assembly of fine ladies at Déjazet's performances, I comforted myself by feeling very sure that half of them did not understand what they were listening to; but I think it must have been "nuts" to the clever, cynical, witty, impudent Frenchwoman to see these dames trois fois respectables swallow her performances sans sourcilliez.

After some more conversation on general subjects, the Queen Dowager rose, saying she hoped Mademoiselle d'Este would bring me to visit her again; and so we received our congé.

Mentioning the appearance of some eruption on the good Queen's face reminds me of a painful circumstance which took place one day when, meeting a beautiful child of about four years old, the daughter of one of the ladies of the Court, who was going into the Palace gardens under the escort of her nurse, the Queen stopped the child, and, attracted by her beauty, stooped to kiss her, when the little thing drew back with evident disgust, exclaiming, "No, no; you have a red face! Mamma says I must never kiss anybody with a red face." The poor Queen probably seldom received such a plain statement of facts in return for her condescension. Her unostentatious goodness and amiable character have now become matter of history. One of the most characteristic traits of her life was her ordering of her own   funeral with a privacy and simplicity more touching than any royal pomp, specifying that her coffin should be carried to the grave by four sailors—a last tribute of affection to her husband's memory.

Among the passages in Charles Greville's Memoirs that shocked me most, and that I read with the most pain, were the coarse and cruel terms in which he spoke of Queen Adelaide.

Mademoiselle d'Este, when far advanced in middle life, married Lord Chancellor Truro. She may have found in so doing a certain satisfaction to her pride which no other alliance with a commoner could have afforded her, since the Lord Chancellor of England (no matter of how lowly an origin), on certain occasions, takes precedence of the whole aristocracy of the land.]

Harley Street, Monday, May 30th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

I have just finished a letter to you, in which I tell you that I have sketched out the skeleton of another tragedy; but I find Emily has been beforehand with me. You ask me what has moved me to this mental effort. My milliner's bill, my dear; which, being £97 sterling, I feel extremely inclined to pay out of my own brains; for, though they received a very severe shock, and one of rather paralyzing effect, upon my being reminded that whatever I write is not my own legal property, but that of another, which, of course, upon consideration, I know; I cannot, nevertheless, persuade myself that that which I invent—create, in fact—can really belong to any one but myself; therefore, if anything I wrote could earn me £97, I am afraid I should consider that I, and no one else, had paid my bill.

In thinking over the position of women with regard to their right to their own earnings, I confess to something very like wrathful indignation; impotent wrath and vain indignation, to be sure—not the less intense for that, however, for the injustice is undoubtedly great. That a man whose wits could not keep him half a week from starving should claim as his the result of a mental process such as that of composing a noble work of imagination—say "Corinne," for example—seems too beneficent a provision of the law for the protection of male superiority. It is true that, by our marriage bargain, they feed, clothe, and house us, and are answerable for our debts (not my   milliner's bill, though, if I can prevent it), and so, I suppose, have a right to pay themselves as best they can out of all we are or all we can do. It is a pretty severe puzzle, and a deal of love must be thrown into one or other or both scales to make the balance hang tolerably even.

Madame de Staël, I suppose, might have said to Rocca, "If my brains are indeed yours, why don't you write a book like 'Corinne' with them?" You know, though he was perfectly amiable, and she married him for love, he was an intellectual zero; but perhaps the man who, acknowledging her brilliant intellectual superiority, could say, "Je l'aimerai tant, qu'elle finira par m'aimer," deserved to be master even of his wife's brains.... I wish women could be dealt with, not mercifully, nor compassionately, nor affectionately, but justly; it would be so much better—for men.

How can you ask me if I despise, as great gossip, Emily's telling you that I am writing another tragedy! Why, my dear, I shouldn't consider it despicable gossip if Emily were to tell you what colored gloves I had on the last time she saw me. Do we not all three love each other dearly? and is not everything, no matter how trifling, of interest in that case? But Mrs. John Kemble does not pretend to love me dearly, I flatter myself, and therefore her writing to inquire into my proceedings, and for minute details of my presentation at Court, did seem to me contemptible gossip. At her age, perhaps, it is pardonable enough, though it appears to me rather inconsistent, when one has no liking for a person, to trouble one's head about where they go or what they do.

A SEQUEL TO "THE STRANGER." You ask me about the subject of my play. It is one that my father suggested to me years ago, and which grew out of a question as to whether the Stranger (in Kotzebue's play so called) does or does not forgive his unfaithful wife in the closing scene. With several other dramatic schemes, it has hovered dimly before my imagination for some time past. The other night, however, as I was brushing my hair before going to bed, my brain, I suppose, receiving some stimulus from the scrubbing of my skull, the whole idea suddenly came towards me with increasing distinctness, till it gradually stood up as it were from head to foot before me—a very mournful figure, whose form and features were all vividly defined.   I instantly caught up S——'s copy-books—there was no other paper at hand—and on the covers of two of them wrote out my play, act by act and scene by scene.... The short-lived triumph of this spirit of inspiration died away under the effect of a conversation by which it was interrupted, and I collapsed like a fallen omelette soufflée (not to say souffletée).

The story of my piece is a sequel to "The Stranger," the retribution which reaches the faithless wife and mother in her children, after they grow up; which, together with the perpetual struggle on the part of her husband (who has taken her home again) not to wound her conscience, which is so sick and sore that every word, breath, and look does wound it, might form, I think, an interesting dramatic picture, with considerable elements for poetry to work upon.

I went to the Duchess of Sutherland's fancy ball in my favorite costume, a Spanish dress, which suited my finances as well as my fancy, my person, and my purse; for I had nothing to get but a short black satin skirt, having beautiful flounces of black lace, high comb, mantilla, and, in short, all things needful already in my own possession.

I have told you of Adelaide's new prospects, in which I rejoice as much as I can rejoice in anything. She is herself very happy, poor child! and 'tis a pleasure and a positive relief to see her face, with its bright expression of newly dawned hope upon it.

Good-night, dear. My head aches, and I feel weary and worn out; our life just now is one of insane, incessant dissipation. Thank God, I have a bed, and have not lost the secret of sleeping.

Ever yours,


KOTZEBUE'S "STRANGER." [A long discussion with my wise and excellent friend and connection, Mr. Horace Wilson, induced me to think a good deal upon the possibility of a man, in the position of Kotzebue's "Stranger," receiving back his wife to the home she had deserted. Mr. Wilson condemned the idea as absolutely inadmissible and fatally immoral. In our Saviour's teaching it is said that a man shall put away his wife for only one cause; but is it said that he shall in every   case put her away for that cause? and is the offence a wife commits against her husband the one exception to the universal law of the forgiveness which Christ taught? Men have so considered it; and in the general interest of the preservation of society, a wife's fidelity to her duties becomes one of the most important elements of security; the protection of the family, the integrity of inheritance, the rightful descent of property, are all involved in it. But these are questions of social expediency, and, though based on deep moral foundations, are not of such overwhelming moral force as to forbid the contemplation of any possible exception to their authority. I have heard—I know not if it is true—that in some parts of Germany, formerly, where the practice of divorce obtained to a degree tolerated nowhere else in Christendom, it occasionally happened that, after a legal separation and intermediate marriages (sanctioned also by the law), the original pair, set free once more by death or second divorce, resumed their first ties—a condition of things which appears monstrous, considered as that which we call marriage, with the English and American branch of the Anglo-Saxon family, the holiest of human ties; with Roman Catholic Christians, an indissoluble bond, sacred as a sacrament of their Church.

Without being able to determine the question satisfactorily in my own mind with reference to the supposed conclusion of the play of "The Stranger," in which Mr. Wilson said that the husband, receiving his repentant wife in his arms, was highly offensive to all morality, which demanded imperatively her absolute rejection and punishment, I began to consider what sort of escape from punishment it might be which would probably follow the forgiveness of her husband, her readmission to her home, and the renewal of her intercourse with her children. In Kotzebue's play the persons are all German, and their nationality has to be borne in mind in contemplating Waldburg's possible forgiveness of his wife. Steinforth, his dearest friend, and a man of the highest honor and morality (as conceived by the author), urges upon Waldburg the pardon of Adelaide; urges it almost as a duty, and zealously assists Madame von Wintersen's plan of bringing the unhappy people together, and effecting a reconciliation between them by means of the unexpected sight of their children. Moreover, when Waldburg rejects   his friend's advice and entreaties that he will forgive his wife, it is hardly upon the ground of any deep moral turpitude involved in such a forgiveness, but upon the score of the insupportable humiliation of reappearing in the great world of German society to which they both belong with "his runaway wife on his arm," and the "whispering, pointing, jeering" of which their reconciliation would be the object, winding up with the irrevocable "Never! never! never!"

Nevertheless, in Kotzebue's play he does receive his wife in his arms as the curtain falls, and the German public go home comforted in believing her forgiven. I do not know how the dumb-show at the end of the English play is generally conducted; but in my father's instance, I know he so far carried out my friend Horace Wilson's sentiment (which was also his own on the subject) that, while his miserable wife falls senseless at his feet, he turns again in the act of flying from her as the curtain drops, leaving the English public to go home comforted in the belief that he had not forgiven her.

The result of these discussions, as I said, led me to imagine how far such a woman would escape her righteous punishment, even if restored to her home; and in the sequel to "The Stranger," which I endeavored to construct, I worked out my own ideas upon the subject.

Forgiveness of sin is not remission of punishment; and the highest justice might rest satisfied with the conviction that God, who forgives every sinner, punishes every sin; nor can even His mercy remit the righteous consequence ordained by it. God's punishments are consequences, the results of His all-righteous laws, never to be escaped from, but leaving forever possible the blessed hope of His forgiveness; but no one ever yet outran his sin or escaped from its inevitable result.

The grosser human justice, however, which is obliged to execute itself on the bodies of criminals demands the open degradation and social ostracism of unfaithful wives as a necessary portion of its machinery, and the well-being of the society which it maintains.]

Harley Street, Friday, June 10th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

I finished one letter to you last night, and, finding that I cannot obtain tackle to go on the river this morning and fish, I sit down to write you another. And first, dear,   about getting an admission for E—— to see our play. I am sorry to say it is not in my power. Thinking I had rather a right to one or two invitations for my own friends on each of the nights, I asked Lady Francis to give me three tickets for the first representation, intending to beg the same number for each night. I gave one to Mr. S——, and another to a nephew of Talma's, a very agreeable French naval officer, with whom we have become acquainted, and who besought one of me. But when I had proceeded thus far in my distribution of admissions, I was told I had committed an indiscretion in asking for any, and that I must return the remaining one, which I did, ... and when your request came about a ticket for E——, I was simply assured that it was "impossible." So, dear, you must be, as I must be, satisfied with this decision—which I am not, for I am very sorry, ... Lady Francis would gladly, I have no doubt, have asked any of my friends had we wished her to do so; she did send an invitation to Horace Wilson and his wife, but that was because he was to have acted for her, and was only prevented by being too unwell to undertake the part.

I am very glad that Captain Seymour likes me, as the liking is very reciprocal. Indeed, I think our whole company presents a very favorable specimen of our young English gentlemen: they are all of them very young, full of good spirits, amiable, obliging, good-humored, good-tempered, and well-mannered; in short, I think, very charming.

"THE HUNCHBACK." How shall I feel, you say, acting that part again?... My dearest Harriet, thus much at Richmond on Monday morning; it is now Thursday evening, and I have been crying and in a miserable state of mind and body all day long. On Monday we acted "The Hunchback" for the third time, and on Tuesday we all went down to Cranford, and drew long breaths as we got into the delicious air, all fragrant with hay and honeysuckle and syringa. I left my children at what was in posting days a famous country inn, at about half a mile from Lady Berkeley's house, but which, since the completion of the railroad, has become much less frequented and important, but is quiet and comfortable and pleasant enough to make it a very nice place of deposit for my chicks.

On Wednesday afternoon, when I went over to see them, I found F——, pale and coughing, and heard with   dismay that the measles were pervading the whole neighborhood. I went to town that evening to act "The Hunchback" for the last time, and was haunted by horrid visions of my child ill and suffering, and the very first thing I met on entering London was a child's coffin and funeral. You can better judge than I can express how this sort of omen affected my imagination; and in this frame of mind I went through our last representation of "The Hunchback," and did not reach home till the white face of the morning was beginning to look down from the ends of the streets at us.

We did not get to bed till past three, and were up again at a little after seven, in order to take the railroad to Cranford, where we had promised to breakfast. One of our party was too late for the train, and we posted down with four horses in order to save our time, which on the great Ascot day was not, as you may suppose, a very economical proceeding....

Good-bye, dear. I will answer all your questions about "The Hunchback" another time.

Ever yours,


Harley Street, June 12th, 1842.

My dearest Hal,

... I am now going to answer your various questions to the best of my ability. You wanted to know how I felt at acting "The Hunchback" again. Why, so horribly nervous the first night that the chair shook under me while my hair was being dressed. I trembled to such a degree from head to foot, and the rustling of the curl-papers as the man twisted them in my hair almost drove me distracted, for it sounded like a forest cracking and rattling in a storm. After the performance, my limbs ached as if I had been beaten across them with an iron bar, and I could scarcely stand or support myself for exhaustion and fatigue. This, however, was only the first night, and I suppose proceeded from the painful uncertainty I felt as to whether I had not utterly forgotten how to act at all. This one representation over, I had neither fright, nervousness, nor the slightest fatigue, and it is singular enough that no recollections or associations whatever of past times were awakened by the performance. I was fully engrossed by the endeavor to do the   part as well as I could, and, except in the particular of copying, as well as I could recollect it, my dress of former days, the Julia of nine years ago did not once present herself to my thoughts. The first time I played it, I rather think I was worse than formerly, but after that probably much the same....

How does this dreadfully hot weather agree with you, my dear? For my own part, I am parboiled and stupid beyond all expression. I hate heat always and everywhere, and it seems to me that in our damp climate it is even more oppressive than under the scorching skies of August in Pennsylvania. However, of that I won't be sure, for the present is, with me, always better or worse than the absent.

I think I have nothing more to tell you about "The Hunchback." ... Beyond doing it as well as I could, I cared very little about it; it seemed a sort of routine business, just as it used to be, except for the inevitable unwholesome results of its being amusement instead of business; the late hours—three o'clock in the morning—and champagne and lobster salad suppers, instead of my former professional decent tea and to bed, after my work, before twelve o'clock.

Adelaide acted Helen charmingly, without having bestowed the slightest pains upon it. Had she condescended to give it five minutes' careful study, it would have been a perfect performance of its kind; but as it was, it was delightfully droll, lively, and graceful, and certainly proved her natural powers of comic acting to be very great....

You ask me about my play. I have not touched it since I wrote to you last, and really do not know when I shall have a minute in which to do so, unless, indeed, in this coming week at Oatlands,—and a great deal may be done in a week; but I am altogether quite down about it. Our last representation of "The Hunchback" was, as in duty bound, the best, and everybody was, or pretended to be, in ecstasies with it. Our time and attention have been so engrossed with the dresses, rehearsals, and performances that we absolutely seemed to experience a sudden lull in our daily lives after it was all over.

I shall probably not be in town till the 24th. I am going down to Mrs. Grote's with my sister on the 21st, and as S—— is of the party, it will not, I suppose, be according   to "received ideas" that I should leave her there. On the 24th, however, she must be back in town; and as for my departure for America, dear Hal, you do well not to grieve too much beforehand about that.... Therefore, my dear Hal, lament not over my departure, for Heaven only knows when we shall depart, or if indeed we shall depart at all.


Ever yours,


Oatlands, June 14th, 1842.

My dearest Hal,

... I return to town this evening in order to go to a party at Mrs. Grote's, to which we have been engaged for some time past, and remain in town all to-morrow, because we dine at Harness's.... The quiet of this place, and very near twelve hours' sleep, and, above all, a temporary relief from all causes of nervous distress, have done me all the good in the world.... I cannot but think mine, in one respect, a curious fate; and perhaps, with the magnifying propensity of egotism, I exaggerate what seems to me its peculiarity. But to be placed for years together out of the reach of all society; to be left day after day to the solitude of an absolutely lonely life; to be deprived of all stimulus from without; to hear no music; to see no works of art; to hear no intellectually brilliant or even tolerably cultivated or interesting conversation; indeed, often to pass days without exchanging a thought or even a word with any grown person but my servants; to ride for hours every day alone through lonely roads and paths, sit down daily to a solitary dinner, and pass most of my evenings listening to the ticking of the clock, or wandering round and round the dark garden-walks;—to lead, I say, such a life for a length of time, and then be plunged into the existence, the sort of social Maelstrom we are living in here now, is surely a great trial to a person constituted like myself, and would be something of one, I think, to a calmer mind and more equable temperament than mine....

You ask if my father has been told of our intended return to America. I have told him, but neither he nor any one else appears to believe in it; and from what I wrote you in my last letter, I think you will agree that they are justified in their incredulity.

  You ask how Adelaide is. Flourishing greatly; the annoyance and vexation of the late difficulties with the theatre being past, she has recovered her spirits, and seems enjoying to the full her present hopes of future happiness....

God bless you, my dear Hal.

Ever yours,


Oatlands, June 16th, 1842.

My dear T——,

MRS. GROTE. An hour's railroading from London has brought me into a lovely country, a perfect English landscape of broad lawns, thick tufted oaks, and placid waters, under my windows. But an hour from that glare, confusion, din, riot, and insanity, to the soothing sights and sounds of this rural paradise! And after looking at it till my spirits have subsided into something like kindred composure and placidity, I open my letter-case, and find your last unanswered epistle lying on the top of it. "If Cunard and Harnden have proved true," you must have received by this time our reply to your proposition touching the Coster business. Thus far on Monday last; and having proceeded thus far, I fell fast asleep, with the pen in my hand, the sound of the rustling trees in my ears, and the smell of the new-mown grass in my nose. Since that noonday nap of mine, I have been back to town for a party at Mrs. Grote's and a dinner at Harness's. I mention names because these worthies are known to Catherine and Kate; and here I am, thanks to the railroad, back again among all these lovely sights and sounds and smells, and pick up my pen forthwith to renew my conversation with you. And first, as in duty bound, business. I wrote you word that we did not disdain the compromise offered by Mr. Coster, and we now further beg that you will receive and keep for us the sum proposed by that gentleman as payment of his debt.

Thank you very much for your kindness to H——-. Kate wrote me a most ludicrous account of the poor singer's first experiment on his voice in your presence. I have not the least idea what his merits really are, having never heard or, to the best of my knowledge, seen him; but, as a pupil of the Royal Academy, his acquirements ought certainly to be those of a competent teacher. However,   I need not, I am sure, tell you that, in recommending him to you, I did not contemplate laying the slightest stress upon your conscience, and having heard him you must recommend him or not according to that....

My sister thanks you for your zeal on her behalf, and so do I; but you will not be called upon for any further, or rather, I should say, nearer demonstration of it; for the young lady has lately come to the conclusion that marrying and staying at home is better than wandering singing over the face of the earth; and I suppose by next Christmas she will be married. I have no room for more.

Ever yours,

F. A. B.

[My correspondence with my friend Miss S—— was interrupted by a visit of several weeks which she paid us, and not resumed on my part until the month of August, when I was on my way back from Scotland, and she was travelling on the Continent with her friend Miss W——.]

Liverpool, Wednesday, August 10th, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

You bid me write to you immediately upon receiving your letter of the 24th of July, dated from Ulm, but I only received that letter last night on my arrival here from Scotland, and I know not how long its rightful delivery to me has been delayed. I fear, in consequence of this circumstance, this answer to it may miscarry; for perhaps you will have left Munich by the time it gets there. However, I can but do as you bid me, and so I do it, and hope this, for me, rare exercise of the virtue of obedience may find its reward in my letter reaching you.

I am glad your meeting with the Combes was so pleasant. I can bear witness to the truth of their melancholy account of dear Dr. Combe, whom I went to see while I was in Edinburgh. He is so emaciated that the point of his knee-bone, through his trousers, perfectly fascinated me; I couldn't keep my eyes off it, it looked so terribly and sharply articulated that it seemed as if it were coming through the cloth. His countenance, however, was the same as ever, or, if possible, even brighter, sweeter, and more kindly benevolent. I have always had the most affectionate regard and admiration for him, and think him in some respects superior to his brother.

  I am delighted to think of your fine weather, and the great enjoyment it must be to you two, so happy in each other, to travel through the lovely summer days together, filling your minds and storing your memories with beautiful things of art and nature, which will be an intellectual treasure in common, and a fountain of delightful retrospective sympathy....

You must continue to direct to Harley Street, for although we were, by our original agreement, to have left it on the 1st of August, I conclude, as it is now the 10th, and I have heard no word of our removing, that some arrangement has been made for our remaining there, at least till our departure, which I understand is fixed for October 21st....

I have received a letter from Elizabeth Sedgwick, informing me that Kate's marriage is to take place about October 10th. I shall not be at it, which I regret very much.

DR. CHANNING. In the same letter she tells me that Dr. Channing is spending the summer at Lenox; and that he had shown her a most interesting letter he had received from a house-builder in Cornwall, England. This man wrote to Channing to thank him for the benefit he had derived from his writings, particularly his lectures on the mental elevation of the working classes. Dr. Channing answered this letter, and the poor man was so overjoyed at this favor, as he esteemed it, that he could not refrain from pouring out his thankfulness in another letter, in which he assured his reverend correspondent that the influence of his writings upon his class of the community in that part of England was and had been very great, and instanced a fellow-artisan of his own, who said that Channing's writings had reconciled him to being a working man. Elizabeth said that Dr. Channing, while reading this letter, was divided between smiles and tears. She also told me that he had talked to her a good deal about Mrs. Child (you know, the abolitionist who wanted to publish my Southern journal; she is a correspondent of his, and a person for whom he has the highest esteem, regarding her as "a most highly principled and noble-minded woman.")

I am so tired, dearest Hal, and feel such a general lassitude and discouragement of mind and body, that I will end my letter. Give my most affectionate love to Dorothy, whom I should love dearly if I saw her much. I wish I   was with you, seeing the Danube, that river into which poor Undine carried her immortal soul, and her broken woman's heart, when she faded over the boat's side, saying, "Be true, be true, oh, misery!" God bless you, dearest Hal.

Ever yours,


Harley Street, September 16th, 1842.

My dearest Hal,

You ask me what I am doing. Flying about in every direction, like one distracted, trying to amuse myself; going to evenings at Lady Lansdowne's, and to mornings at the Duchess of Buccleuch's; dining at the Star and Garter at Richmond, in gay and great company, and driving home alone between one and two o'clock in the morning....

I have undertaken to keep and to ride S——'s horse while he is away; and I think, by means of regular exercise, I shall at any rate keep paroxysms aloof. I am going to a ball at Lord Foley's on Monday; to a children's play at the Francis Egertons' on Tuesday; to Richmond again to dine with the Miss Berrys and Lady Charlotte Lindsay on Wednesday; on Thursday to dine at Horace Wilson's, etc.... Perhaps you will wonder, as I do sometimes, that I keep the few senses I have in the life I lead; but so it is, and so it has to be.

Good-bye. God bless you. I keep this letter till I hear from you where to send it, and, with dearest love to Dorothy, am

Ever yours,


Harley Street, September 30th, 1842.

My dearest Granny [Lady Dacre],

LADY DACRE. Yesterday morning we drove down to Chesterfield Street, not without sundry misgivings on my part that Lord Dacre would feel that we persecute him, that he might be busy and not like being interrupted, etc. When the door was opened, however, and while we were still interrogating the footman, his own dear lordship came to it, and graciously bade me alight, which of course I gladly did, and so we sat with him a matter of half an hour, hearing his discourse, which ran at first on you and the dear girls [his granddaughters], and then broadened   gradually from private interests to his public experience, and all the varied observation of his honorable political career. "I could have stayed all night to have heard good counsel," but was obliged to drive to the theatre to fetch my sister from rehearsal, and so, most reluctantly, came away. It seemed to me very good, and amiable, and humane, and condescending of Lord Dacre to spare so much of his time and attention to us young and insignificant folk; the courtesy of his reception was as deeply appreciated by me, I assure you, as the interest of his conversation; and so tell my lord, with my best of courtesies.

I went in the evening to hear my sister sing "Norma" for the last time, and cried most bitterly, and, moreover, thought exceedingly often of your ladyship; and why? I'll tell you; it was the last time she was to do it, and when I saw that grace and beauty and rare union of gifts, which were adapted to no other purpose half so well as to this of dramatic representation; when I heard the voice of popular applause, that utterance of human sympathy, break at once simultaneously from all those human beings whose emotions she was swaying at her absolute will,—my heart sank to think that this beautiful piece of art (for such it now is, and very near perfection), would be seen no more; that this rare power (a talent, as it verily then seemed to me, in the solemn sense of the word, and a precious one of its own kind) was about to be folded in a napkin, to bear interest no more, of profit or pleasure, to herself or others.

My dear Granny, you will well understand how I came to think of you during that performance; for the first time, I thought like you on this subject. I caught myself saying, while the tears streamed down my face, "If she is only happy, after all!" (But oh, that if!) It seemed amazing to abdicate a secure fortune, and such a power—power to do anything so excellently (putting its recognition by the public entirely out of account) for that fearful risk. God help us all! 'Tis a hard matter to judge rightly on any point whatever; and settled and firm as I had believed my opinion on this subject to be, I was surprised to find how terrible it was to me to see my sister, that woman most dear to me, deliberately leave a path where the sure harvest of her labor is independent fortune, and a not unhonorable distinction, and a powerful   hold upon the sympathy, admiration, and even kindly regard of her fellow-creatures, while she thus not unworthily ministers to their delight, for a life where, if she does not find happiness, what will atone to her for all this that she will have left? However, I have need to remember, while thinking of her and her future, what I have never forgotten hitherto, that the soul lives neither on fortune, fame, nor happiness; and that which is noblest in her, which is above either her genius, grace, or beauty, and far more precious than all of them united, will thrive, it may be, better in obscurity and the different trials of her different life than in the vocation she is now abandoning. Amen!

Thank you, my dear Granny, for all your advice, and still more for the love which dictates it; I lay both to heart. Thank you, too, for the little book. I wish I knew the woman who wrote it; she must be a paragon.

God bless you, dear Granny. I write you a kiss as the children do, and am

Ever your affectionate


Harley Street, October 2nd, 1842.

My dear T——,

It is hardly of any use writing to you, because, unless I am "drowned in the ditch," I shall see you very soon after you get this letter. I have, however, as I believe you know, a very decided principle upon the subject of answering letters, and therefore shall duly reply to your epistle, though I hope to follow this in less than a fortnight.

I am sorry to say that if your ever "feeling young again" is to depend upon your seeing a Miss Kemble once more in America, you are doomed to disappointment, and must decidedly go on, not only growing but feeling old, as Miss Kembles there are now no more—at least at my father's house.... So you see a due regard for her fellow-creatures on the other side of the Atlantic has not existed in my sister's heart, or she would, of course, have postponed all personal prospects of happiness, or rather peace and quiet, to a proper consideration for the gratification of the American public.

I think your observations upon my projected journey to Georgia are taken from an entirely mistaken point of view.   I am utterly unconscious of entertaining any inimical feeling towards America or the Americans; on the contrary, I am distinctly conscious of the highest admiration for your institutions, and an affectionate regard for the northern part of your country (where those institutions can alone be said to be put in practice) that is second only to the love and reverence I bear to my own country. This being the case, I cannot think that anything I write about America can, with any sort of propriety, be characterized as "the lashings of a foe."

CHARLES DICKENS. With regard to Dickens, I do not know exactly what proceedings of his you refer to as exhibiting want of taste or want of temper towards your country-people.... But small counterweights may surely be allowed to such admirable qualities of both head and heart as he possesses. He sent me, on his return to England, a printed circular, which was distributed among all his literary acquaintances and friends, and which set forth his views with regard to the question of international copyright; but except this, I know of nothing that he has publicly put forth upon the matter. His "Notes" upon America come out, I believe, immediately; and I shall be extremely curious to see them, and sorry if they are unfavorable, because his popularity as a writer is immense, and whatever he publishes will be sure of a wide circulation. Moreover, as it is very well known that, before going to America, he was strongly prepossessed in favor of its institutions, manners, and people, any disparaging remarks he may make upon them will naturally have proportionate weight, as the deliberate result of experience and observation. M—— told me, after dining with Dickens immediately on his return, that one thing that had disgusted him was the almost universal want of conscience upon money matters in America; and the levity, occasionally approaching to something like self-satisfaction, for their "sharpness," which he had repeated occasions of observing, in your people when speaking of the present disgraceful condition of their finances and deservedly degraded state of their national credit.... But I do hope (because I have a friend's and not a "foe's" heart towards your country) that Dickens will not write unfavorably about it, for his opinion will influence public opinion in England, and deserves to do so.

As for Lord Morpeth, you need not be afraid of his "booking"   you; he is the kindliest gentleman alive, and moreover, I think, far too prudent a person for such a proceeding....

Lord Ashburton's termination of the boundary question is vehemently abused by the Opposition, but that is of course. Some old-school Whigs, sound politicians, and great friends of mine, were agreeing quietly among themselves the other day that anyhow they were heartily glad that there was to be no war between the countries.

I perceive, however, that the question of the right of search (question brûlante, as the French say) is still untouched, or rather unsettled; yet in my opinion it contains more elements of danger than the other. But I suppose your great diplomatists think one question settled in twenty years is quite enough for the rapid pace at which our Governments pant and puff after public opinion in these steam-speed-thinking times.

We have been in the country till within the last fortnight, but have come up to town to prepare for our departure. London is almost empty, but the only topics that keep alive the sparse population of the club-houses are the dismissal of Baroness L—— from Court and her departure for Germany, and a terrible esclandre in a very high circle, including royal personages.... I treat you to the London scandal, and my doing so is ridiculous enough; but there is nothing I would not sooner write about than myself and my own thoughts, feelings, and concerns, just now. How thankful I shall be when this month is over!...

Believe me yours most truly,

F. A. B.

Harley Street, Saturday, 8th, 1842.

My dear Granny,

I dined yesterday at Charles Greville's, where dined also Mr. Byng; both of them, I believe, were your fellow-guests lately, at the Duke of Bedford's. Among other Woburn talk, there is no little discourse about B——. Westmacott, too (the sculptor), who is a very old friend of ours, chimed in, and we had a very pretty chorus on the argument of her fine countenance, striking appearance, intelligence, etc., which I listened to and joined in with great pleasure, because I love the child; thinking, at the same time, how many qualities, of which perhaps her   gentlemen eulogists took no cognizance, went to make up the charm of the outward appearance which they admired—the candor, truth, humility, and moral dignity, the "inward and spiritual grace," of which what they praised is but "the outward and visible sign." As I know this, the commendation of her superficial good gifts, by superficial observers, was very agreeable to me.

You ask me if I think you are going to keep up a correspondence with me at this rate. I do not know exactly what that means; but be sure of one thing, that as long as I can succeed in drawing an answer out of you, I shall persewere.

My father has a violent lumbago; so, I am sorry to say, has the theatre, which, in spite of my sister's exertions, can hardly keep upon its legs. Her success has to compensate for the deplorable houses on the nights when she does not appear. But great as her success is, it will not make the nights pay on which she does not sing, when the theatre is absolutely empty. What they will do when she goes I cannot in the smallest degree conceive. We are just being sucked into the Maelstrom of bills, parcels, packages, books, pictures, valuables, trumpery, rummaging, heaping together, throwing apart, selecting, discarding, and stowing away that precedes an orderly departure after a two years' disorderly residence; in the midst of all which I have neither leisure nor leave to attend to the heartache which, nevertheless, accompanies the whole process with but little intermission.

Love to your dear lord and the dear girls, and believe me ever, my dear Granny,

Your affectionate


Harley Street, Friday, 14th, 1842.

Dear Granny,

LADY DACRE. I find there is every probability of our not leaving England until the 4th of November (several people tell me they have been told so), and such is the extreme uncertainty of our movements always that it would not surprise me very violently if we did not go then. I fear, however, this will not afford me any further glimpses of you; and, indeed, at the bottom of my heart, I do not wish for any more "last dying speeches and confessions." To part is very bad, but to keep continually parting is unendurable.

  My sister goes on with the "Semiramide," and her attraction in it increases. She acts and sings admirably in it, and, all sisterly prepossessions apart, looks beautiful.

We went the other night to see "As You Like It" at Drury Lane. It was painfully acted, but the scenery, etc., were charming; and though we had neither the caustic humor nor poetical melancholy of Jacques, nor the brilliant wit and despotical fancifulness of the princess shepherd-boy duly given, we had the warbling of birds, and sheep-bells tinkling in the distance, to comfort us. I hope it is not profanation to say, "These should ye have done, and not have left the others undone." Nevertheless, and in spite of all, the enchantment of Shakespeare's inventions is such to me that they cannot be marred, let what will be done to them. As long as those words of profoundest wisdom and those images of exquisite beauty are but uttered, their own perfection swallows up all other considerations and impressions with me, and I bear indifferent and even bad acting of Shakespeare better than most people.

Why did you not make him, instead of the stage, the subject of our discussions together? For his works my enthusiasm grows every year of my life into a profounder and more wondering love and admiration.

I am grateful for Lord Dacre's offer, though it was not made to me; and, had it been so, should have closed with it eagerly. To correspond with one who has seen and known and thought so much is a rare privilege.

Good-bye, dear Granny. Give my love to the girls, and my "duty" to my lord, and believe me

Your affectionate

Fanny Butler.

Harley Street, Friday, 23rd, 1842.

My dear Granny,

That last half-hour before we got off from "The Hoo" the other day was a severe trial to my self-command; but I was anxious not to afflict you, and I was willing, if possible, to begin the bitter series of partings, of which the next month will be one succession, with something like fortitude, however I may end it. Thank you for writing to me, and thank you for all your kindness to me through these many years, now that you have persevered in being fond of me....

Do not be anxious about my happiness, my dear friend,   but pray for me, that I maybe enabled to do what is right under all circumstances; and then it cannot fail to be well with me, whether to outward observation I am what the world calls happy or not.

Give my affectionate love to Lord Dacre, and thank him for all his goodness to me and mine. I send my blessing to the girls. I have written to B——. God bless you all, my kind friends, and make life and its vicissitudes minister to your happiness hereafter.

You will hear of me, dear Granny, for the girls will write to me, and I shall answer them, and you will remember, whenever you think of me, how gratefully and affectionately I must

Ever remain yours,

Fanny Butler.

[Lady Dacre saw much trouble in store for me in my intemperate expression of feeling on the subject of slavery in America, and repeatedly warned me with affectionate solicitude to moderate, if not my opinions, the vehement proclamation of them. She was wise and right, as well as kind in her advice.]

[Extract from a letter of Miss Sedgwick's.]

Stockbridge, October 26th, 1842.

DEATH OF DR. CHANNING. You have no doubt heard and lamented the death of our dear friend, Dr. Channing. Dead he is not; he lives, and will live in the widespreading life he has communicated. He passed the summer at Lenox, occupying with his family your rooms at the hotel. We passed some hours of every day together. He enjoyed our lovely hill country with the freshness of youth, his health was invigorated, and his mind freer, and his spirits more buoyant than I ever knew them; he endured more fatigue than he had been able to encounter since he travelled in Switzerland fifteen years ago. His affectionateness, purity, simplicity—a simplicity so perfect that it seemed divine—surrounded his greatness with an atmosphere of light and beauty. His life has been a most prosperous one, no storms without, and a heavenly calm within. His last work in his office was a discourse which he delivered in our village church on the 1st of August, on the emancipation of the slaves in the British West Indies. I shall send it to you, and pray mark the prophetic invocation with   which it concludes. You should have seen the inspired expression of his intellectual brow, and the earnest, spiritual look that seemed to penetrate the clouds that hang over the eternal world and to reflect its light. On the Sundays of his sojourn with us he had domestic worship in our houses, and his last service was in that apartment where his beloved friend Follen officiated....

Eliza Follen is recovering the elasticity of her mind. Time can, I think, do all things, since it has dissipated that horrible image of the burning steamer in which her husband perished, that was ever before her. She is publishing his Memoirs, and, among other things, she read me some patriotic songs which he wrote in Sand's time in Germany; they were in the boldest tone of insurrection, and were, of course, proscribed and suppressed. She had heard her husband occasionally hum a stanza or two of them, and he had once written out a single one for her which she found in her work-basket. This she transmitted to his mother in Germany, and with this clue alone the mother obtained the rest; and eloquent outbreakings they are of a spirit glowing with freedom and humanity....

I have passed lately a day at our State Lunatic Asylum. On my first going there, in the evening the physician invited me into the dancing-hall, where some sixty of the patients were assembled. The two musicians were patients, one utterly demented, incapable of any reasonable act except playing a tune on his violin, which he did with accuracy. Except the doctor's children (as beautiful as cherubs, and ministering angels they are), there were no sane persons among the dancers. "There," said the physician, "is a homicide; there, a poor girl who went crazy the day after her brother drowned himself, and who fancies herself that brother; there, the King of England," etc. They were all dancing with the utmost decorum and regularity. They attend chapel on a Sunday without disturbance; they were all (among them maniacs who had been for half a score of years chained in dungeons of our common gaols) "clothed," and, if "not in their right mind," comfortable and cheerful; they all had plants in their rooms and books on their tables. Much depends on individual character, and the physician is, as you would expect, a man of the highest moral power, and the very embodiment of the spirit of benevolence, and if poetry   and painting had laid their heads together to give him a fitting form, they could have done nothing better than nature has. My heart was ready to burst with gratitude. Who can say the world does not move some forward steps?

Clarendon Hotel, November 6th, 1842.

Dear Granny,

You know that it is now determined that we do not sail by the next steamer....

Dearest Granny, do not you, any more than I do, reckon which love is best worth having, of young or old love; for all love is inestimable, and should be gratefully rendered thanks for. There is something charming and pathetic in the profusion with which the young love; it is touching, as one of the magnificent superabundances, one of the generous extravagances, of their prodigal time of life. But the love of the old is as precious as the beggared widow's mite; and in bestowing it they know what they give, from a store that day by day diminishes. The affections of the young are as sudden and soft, as bright and bounteous, as copious and capricious as the showers of spring; the love of the old is the one drop in the cruse, which outlasts the journey through the desert.

COVENT GARDEN. You may perhaps see in the papers a statement of the disastrous winding up of the season at Covent Garden, or rather its still more disastrous abrupt termination. After our all protesting and remonstrating with all our might against my father's again being involved in that Heaven-forsaken concern, and receiving the most positive and solemn assurances from those who advised him into it for the sake of having his name at the head of it that no responsibility or liability whatever should rest upon or be incurred by him; and that if the thing did not turn out prosperously, it should be put an end to, and the theatre immediately closed;—they have gone on, in spite of night after night of receipts below the expenses, and now are obliged suddenly to shut up shop, my poor father being, as it turns out, personally involved for a considerable sum.

This, as you will well believe, is no medicine for his malady. I spend every evening with him, and generally see him in the morning besides. These last few days he suffers less acute pain, but complains more of debility,   and hardly leaves his sofa, where he lies silent, with his eyes closed, apparently absorbed in painful sensations and reflections. Yet, though he neither speaks to nor looks at me, he likes to have me there; and, as Horace Twiss said, "to hear the scissors fall" now and then, by way of companionship; and certainly derives some comfort from the mere consciousness of my presence.

My sister has gone to Brighton for a few days, her health having quite given way, what with hard work and harder worry. She returns on Monday, but it is extremely doubtful whether she will resume her performances at all, so that I fear the expectations of the clan Cavendish will be disappointed.

She did act most charmingly in the "Matrimonio Segreto." In point of fact, her comic acting is more perfect than her tragic, although there are not in it, and naturally cannot be, the same striking exhibitions of dramatic power; but it is smoother, more even, better finished.

You must get Lady Callcott's "Scripture Herbal." Lady Grey lent it me, and I read it with great pleasure. It is an interesting, graceful, and learned work, which she has illustrated very exquisitely. There is something very sweet and soothing in the idea of last thoughts having been thus devoted to what is loveliest in nature and holiest in religion.

God bless you, dear Granny. Give my love to the lasses, and my affectionate "duty" to my lord; and believe me

Your loving grandchild,

F. A. B.

[Our departure for America was indefinitely postponed, and the American nurse I had brought to England with my children left me and returned home alone.]

The Clarendon, Monday, November 28th, 1842.

My dearest Granny,

I duly delivered your message, and am desired to tell you that a house is being looked for for us in your neighborhood, and that, as soon as one is found that we think you will approve of, it will be taken. Moreover, I am desired to add that the expensive reputation of the Clarendon is very much exaggerated.... We have been here a fortnight to-day, and I think there is every probability   of our being here at least a fortnight longer, even if we get away then.... My father suffers less acutely these last few days, but his debility appears to increase with the decrease of his positive pain....

My sister returned from Brighton to-day, completely set up again; she is to go on with her performances till Christmas, when the whole concern passes into the hands of Mr. Bunn, who perhaps is qualified to manage it.

I think I should like to act with my sister during this month, in order to secure their salaries to the actors, to make up the deficit which now lies at the door of my father's management, to put a good benefit into his poor pocket, to give rather a more cheerful ending to my sister's theatrical career, and, though last, not least, for the pleasure and fun of acting with her. Don't you think we should have good houses? and wouldn't you come and see us?...

God bless you, dear Granny.

Ever your affectionate

F. A. B.

The Clarendon, December 1st, 1842.

My dearest Harriet,

LORD TITCHFIELD. Lord Titchfield, who was here yesterday, begged me to ascertain from you whether it is only my bust that you desire, or whether you would like to have casts from my father's and from the two of Adelaide. Write me word, dear, that the magnificent marquis may fulfil your wishes, which he is only waiting to know in order to send the one or the four heads to you in Ireland....

My sister returned from Brighton on Monday, apparently quite recovered; in good looks, good voice, and good spirits. The horrible mess in which everybody is mixed up who has anything to do with Covent Garden, and in which she is so deeply involved, renewed her annoyances and vexations immediately on her arrival in town; but I passed the evening with her yesterday, and she did not seem the worse for work or worry, for she sang, for her own pleasure and that of her guests, the whole evening....

Give my kind remembrances to all your people, and believe me

Ever yours,


  [The Marquis of Titchfield was employing the French sculptor Dantan to make busts of my father, my sister, and myself, for him; and most kindly gave me casts of them all, and sent my friend Miss St. Leger a cast of mine.]

The Clarendon, January 5th, 1843.

Dearest Hal,

I have sent your wishes to Lord Titchfield, and I am sure they will be quickly complied with. I have no idea that he means otherwise than to give you my bust; any other species of transaction being apparently quite out of his line, and giving his especial gift. I have, nevertheless, taken pains to make clear to him your intentions in the matter; I have desired him to have the bust forwarded to the care of Mr. Green, because I thought you would easily find means of transporting it thence to Ardgillan. Was this right?

The houses at Covent Garden are quite full on my sister's nights, but deplorably empty on the others, I believe. I speak from hearsay, for I have not been into the theatre since the terrible business of the late break-up there, and do not think I shall even see her last performances, for I have no means of doing so; I can no longer ask for private boxes, as during my father's management, of course, nor indeed would it be right for me to do so on her nights, because they all let very well; and as for paying for one, or even for a seat in the public ones, I have not a single farthing in the world to apply to such a purpose.... So you see, my dear, I am in no case to treat myself to seats at the play, either private or public.

Adelaide is still pretty well. The night before last was her benefit; she had a very fine house, and sang "Norma," and the great scene from "Der Freyschütz," and "Auld Robin Gray;" and yesterday evening she seemed very tired, but she had people to dinner and to tea nevertheless....

Certainly one had need believe in something better than one sees, or at any rate than I see just now; for such petty selfishnesses and despicable aims, pursued with all the energy and eagerness which should be bestowed upon the highest alone; such cheating, tricking, swindling, lying, and slandering, are enough to turn any Christian cat's stomach....

  I must tell you two things about Miss Hall that have given me such an insight into the delights of the position of an English governess as I certainly never had before. When first she joined us here at the Clarendon, Anne was still with us, and she being always accustomed to take her meals with the children, and yet of course not a proper companion for Miss Hall, we thought that till the nurse went to America we would request the governess to dine with us. On Anne's departure, I signified to the head waiter that from that time Miss Hall would take her dinner with the children; whereupon, with a smirk and sniff of the most insolent disdain, and an air of dignity that had been hurt, but was now comforted, the bloated superior servant replied, "Well, ma'am, to be sure, it always was so in them famullies where I have lived; the governess never didn't eat at the table." The fact is natural, and the reason obvious, but oh! my dear, the manner of the fat, pampered porpoise of a man-menial was too horrid. Then, on going for a candle into Miss Hall's room one evening, I found she had been provided with tallow ones, and, upon remonstrating about it with the chambermaid, she replied (with a courtesy at every other word to me), "Oh, ma'am, we always puts tallow for the governesses."

Good-bye, dear. God bless you.

Ever yours,


Cranford House, January 8th, 1843.

Dearest Hal,

I am spending two days at Cranford—you know, I believe, where I mean, old Lady Berkeley's place.... I came to get the refreshment of the country; old Lady Berkeley is very kind to me, and I like her daughters, Lady Mary particularly. I came down yesterday (Saturday), and shall return early to-morrow, for on Wednesday the children are to have a party of their little friends, and I am making a Christmas-tree for them (rather out of date), and expect to be exceedingly busy both to-morrow and Tuesday in preparing for their amusement.

CHARLES KEMBLE. My father does not suffer nearly as much pain as he did a short time ago, but his strength appears to me to be gradually diminishing....

  [Our return to America being once more indefinitely postponed, we now took a house in Upper Grosvenor Street, close to Hyde Park, to which we removed from the Clarendon, my sister residing very near us, in Chapel Street, Grosvenor Square.]

26, Upper Grosvenor Street, Wednesday, March 1st, 1843.

Thank you, my dear T——, for your attention to our interests and affairs.... It seems to me that to have to accept the conviction of the unworthiness of those we love must be even worse than to lay our dearest in the earth, for we may believe that they have risen into the bosom of God. However, each human being's burden is the one whose weight must seem the heaviest to himself, and He alone who lays them on proportions them to our strength and enables us to walk upright beneath them....

[Extract from a letter from Miss Sedgwick.]

New York, March 3rd, 1843.

The great topic with us just now is the trial of Mackenzie, of whom, as the chief actor in the tragedy of the "Somers," you must have heard. Some of your journals cry out upon him, but, as we think, only the organs of that hostile inhuman spirit that bad minds try to keep alive on both sides of the water. His life has been marked with courage and humanity; all enlightened and unperverted, I may say all sane opinion with us, is in his favor. After the most honorable opinion from the Court of Inquiry, he is now under trial by court-martial, demanded by his friends to save him from a civil suit. S——, the father of the Ohio mutineer, is a man of distinguished talent, of education, and head of the War Department, but a vindictive and unscrupulous man. He is using every means to ruin Mackenzie, to revenge the death of a son, Heaven-forsaken from the beginning of his days, and whose maturest acts (he died at nineteen) were robbing his mother's jewel-case and stealing money from his father's desk. My nephew is acting as Mackenzie's counsel, and his wife, a Roman wife and mother, is a friend of mine....

I heard a story the other day, "a true one," that I treasured for you as racy, as characteristic of slavery and   human nature. A most notoriously atrocious, dissolute, hellish slave-owner died, and one of his slaves—an old woman—said to a lady, "Massa prayed God so to forgive him! Oh, how he prayed! And I am afraid God heard him; they say He's so good."

Upper Grosvenor Street, April 17th, 1843.

My Dear T——,

I have executed your commission with regard to two of the books you desired me to get, but the modern Italian work, published in 1840, in Florence, and the "Mariana" of 1600, I am very much afraid I shall not be able to procure; the first because it would be necessary to send to Florence for it, which could very easily be done, but then I shouldn't be here to receive it; and the second, the copy of "Mariana," of the edition you specify, because Bohn assures me that it is extremely rare, having been suppressed on account of the king-killing doctrines it inculcates, and the subsequent editions being all garbled and incorrect. As you particularly specified that of 1600, of course I would not take any other, and shall still make further attempts to procure that, though Panizzi, the librarian of the British Museum, and Macaulay, who are both friends of mine, and whom I consulted about it, neither of them gave me much encouragement as to my eventual success. The "Filangieri" and Buchanan will arrive with me. I would send them to G—— A——, but that, as we return on the 4th of May, I think there is every reason to expect that we shall be in America first.

So much for your commission. With regard to your complaint that I give you nothing to do, I think you will have found that fault amended in my last communication, wherein I request you to accept my father's power of attorney, and undertake to watch over his interests in the New Orleans Bank....

THE WORLD'S OPINION. As for people's comments on me or my actions, I have not lived on the stage to be cowardly as well as bold; and being decidedly bold, "I thank God," as Audrey might say, that I am not cowardly, which is my only answer to the suggestion of "people saying," etc.

For a year and a half past I have been perfectly wretched at our protracted stay in Europe, and as often as possible have protested against our prolonged sojourn here, and all the consequences involved in it. This being   the case, "people" attributing our remaining here to me troubles me but little, particularly as I foresaw from the first that that must inevitably be the result of our doing so.

I seldom read the newspapers, and therefore have not followed any of the details of this Mackenzie trial. The original transaction, and his own report of it, I read with amazement; more particularly the report, the framing and wording of which appeared to me utterly irreconcilable with the fact of his having written, as Lord Ashburton informed me, a very pleasing book, of which certainly the style must have been very different. He, Lord Ashburton, spoke of him as though he knew him, and gave him the same character of gentleness and single-mindedness that you do.

Although our return to America will be made under circumstances of every possible annoyance and anxiety, it gives me heartfelt pleasure to think I shall soon see all my good friends there again, among whom you and yours are first in my regard....

Butler Place is to be let, if possible, and at any rate we are certainly not to go back to it; whereat my poor little S—— cries bitterly, and I feel a tightening at the heart, to think that the only place which I have known as a home in America is not what I am to return to.... The transfer of that New Orleans stock by my father to me—I mean the law papers necessary for the purpose—cost £50 sterling. England is a dear country many ways.

Ellsler is in London now, and, I am assured by those who know, diviner than ever. I think her gone off both in looks and dancing. That rascal W—— has robbed her of the larger portion of her earnings. What a nice lover to have!

Believe me ever

Yours most truly,

F. A. B.

April 15th 1843.

My dearest Hal,

You must not scold if there are letters missing in my words this week, for I have enough to do and to think of, as you well know, to put half the letters of the alphabet out of my head for the next twelvemonth....

Immediately after breakfast on Saturday I went down on my knees and packed till Emily came to walk with   me, and packed after I came in till it was time to go shopping and visiting. I went to bid the L——'s good-bye; we dined with the Procters, and had a pleasant dinner: Mr. and Mrs. Grote, Rogers, Browning, Harness and his sister. In the evening I went to Miss Berry's, where Lady Charlotte Lindsay and I discoursed about you, and she pitied you greatly for having, upon the top of all your troubles, forgotten your keys....

Sunday morning I packed instead of going to church, and, in fact, packed the blessed livelong day, with an interval of rest derived from an interminable visit from Frederick Byng (alias Poodle). Yesterday my father and Victoire (my aunt), and Adelaide and E—— (who, to my infinite joy, came home on Saturday), dined with us. My father was better, I think, than the last evening we were with him, though, of course, a good deal out of spirits. Victoire was pretty well, but quite surprised and mortified at hearing that I would not suffer her to pack my things, for fear of its fatiguing her; and told me how she had been turning in her mind her best way of contriving to be here packing all day, and home in Charlotte Street in time to give my father his dinner. She is Dall's own sister!

Yesterday I completed, with Emily's assistance (which nearly drove me mad), the packing of the great huge chest of books, boxes, etc., and she and I walked together, but it was bitter cold and ungenial, regular beasterly wind. (Mrs. Grote says she invented that name for it, and, for reasons which will be obvious to you, I gave it up to her without a blow.) In the afternoon I went shopping with Adelaide, and then flew about, discharging my own commissions.

RECEPTION. In the evening our "first grand party of the season came off;" nearly two hundred people came, and seemed, upon the whole, tolerably well amused. Adelaide and Miss Masson and I sang, and Benedict played, and it all went off very well. There were six policeman at the door, and Irish Jack-o'-lanterns without count; "the refreshment table was exceedingly elegantly set out" by Gunter—at a price which we do not yet know....

I dread our sea-voyage for myself, for all sorts of physical reasons; morally, I dare say I shall benefit from a season of absolute quiet and the absence of all excitement. The chicks are well; they are to go down to Liverpool on   Saturday, in order to be out of the way, for we leave this house on Monday, and their departure will facilitate the verifying of inventories and all the intolerable confusion of our last hours. Mrs. Cooper, as well as Miss Hall, will go with them to Liverpool, and I have requested that, instead of staying in the town, they may go down to Crosby Beach, six miles from it, and wait there for our arrival. This is all my history. I am in one perpetual bustle, and I thank Heaven for it; I have no leisure to think or to feel....

I beg leave to inform you that Miss Hall came to my party in a most elegant black satin dress, with her hair curled in profuse ringlets all over her head.

God bless you, my dear Hal. Good-bye.

Ever yours,

F. A. B.

Thursday, April 27th, 1843.

Dearest Hal,

You ask how it goes with me. Why, I think pretty much as it did with the poor gentleman who went up in the flying machine t'other day, which, upon some of his tackle giving way, began, as he describes, to "turn round and round in the air with the most frightful velocity." My condition, I think, too, will find the same climax as his, viz. falling in a state of senselessness into a steam-packet. If the account be true, it was a very curious one. As for me, I am absolutely breathless with things to do and things to think of.... Still, I get on (like a deeply freighted ship in a churning sea, to be sure), but I do make some way, and the days do go by, and I am glad to see the end of this season of trial approaching, for all our sakes.

Any one would suppose I was in great spirits, for I fly about, singing at the top of my voice, and only stop every now and then to pump up a sigh as big as the house, and clear my eyes of the tears that are blinding me. Occasionally, too, a feeling of my last moments here, and my leave-taking of my father and sister, shoots suddenly through my mind, and turns me dead sick; but all is well with me upon the whole, nevertheless.

Adelaide was in great health and spirits on Monday night, and sang for us, and seemed to enjoy herself very much, and gave great delight to everybody who heard   her. She sang last night again at Chorley's, but I thought her voice sounded a little tired. To be sure, in those tiny boxes of rooms, the carpets and curtains choke one's voice back into one's throat, and it just comes out beyond one's teeth, with a sort of muffled-drum sound. Thus far, dearest Hal, yesterday. To-day, before I left my dressing-room, I got your present. Thank you a thousand times for the pretty chain [a beautiful gold chain, which, together with a very valuable watch, was stolen from me in a boarding-house in Philadelphia, almost immediately on my return there], which is exquisite, and will be very dear. Yet, though I found the "fine gold," the empty page of letter-paper on each side of it disappointed me more than it would have been grateful to express; but when I came down to breakfast I found your letter, and was altogether happy.... I was wearing my watch again, for I found the risk and inconvenience of always carrying it about very tiresome, but I had it on an old silver chain that I have had for some years. Yours is prettier even than my father's, and I love to feel it round my neck.

You say you hope my sister will be brave on the occasion of our parting, and not try my courage with her grief. I will answer for her. I am sure she will be brave. I know of no one with more determination and self-control than she has....

The secret of helping people every way most efficiently is to stand by and be quiet and ready to do anything you may be asked to do. This is the only real way to help people who have any notion of helping themselves.

MENDELSSOHN. On Monday evening we had our first party, which went off exceedingly well. On Tuesday morning Emily and I walked together, and I packed till lunch, after which I drove out with Adelaide, shopping for her, and doing my own do's. In the evening I went to my father, whom I found in most wretched spirits, but not worse in health. He has determined, I am thankful to say, not to see the children again before they go, which I think is very wise. After leaving him, I went to a party at our friend Chorley's, where dear Mendelssohn was, and where I heard some wonderful music, and read part of "Much Ado about Nothing" to them. Yesterday Emily came, and we walked together, and I packed and did commissions all day. Our second party took place in the evening, and   we had all our grandee friends and fine-folk acquaintances....

God bless you, dear Hal. Emily is waiting for me to go out walking with her.

Ever yours,


26, Upper Grosvenor Street.

My dear Charles Greville,

I send you back Channing's book, with many thanks. The controversial part of his sermons does not satisfy me. No controversy does; no arguments, whether for or against Christianity, ever appear to me conclusive; but as I am a person who would like extremely to have it demonstrated why two and two make four, you can easily conceive that arguments upon any subject seldom seem perfectly satisfactory to me. As for my convictions, which are, I thank God, vivid and strong, I think they spring from a species of intuition, mercifully granted to those who have a natural incapacity for reasoning, i.e. the whole female sect. And, talking of them, I do not like Dryden, though I exclaim with delight at the glorious beauty and philosophical truth of some of his poetry; but oh! he has nasty notions about women. Did you ever see Correggio's picture of the Gismonda? It is a wonderful portrait of grief. Even Guercino's "Hagar" is inferior to it in the mere expression of misery. Knowing no more of the story years ago than I gathered from a fine print of Correggio's picture, I wrote a rhapsody upon it, which I will show you some day.

The "Leaf and the Flower" is very gorgeous, but it does not touch the heart like earnest praise of a virtue, loved, felt, and practised; and Dryden's "Hymns to Chastity" would scarcely, I think, satisfy me, even had I not in memory sundry sublime things of Spenser, Dante, and Milton on the same theme. Thank you for both the books. Each in its kind is very good.

I am yours very truly,

F. A. B.

[Mr. Greville had lent me a volume of Dr. Channing's "Sermons," and Dryden's "Fables," which I had never before read.]

  26, Upper Grosvenor Street, Saturday, April 29th.

Dearest Granny,

I send you back, with thanks, the critique on Adelaide. It is very civil and, I think, not otherwise than just, except perhaps in comparing my sister at present to Pasta.

ADELAIDE KEMBLE. If genius alone were the same thing as genius and years of study, labor, experience, and practice, genius would be a finer thing even than it is. My sister perpetually reminded me of Pasta, and, had she remained a few years longer in her profession, would, I think, have equalled her. I could not give her higher praise, for nobody, since the setting of that great artist, has even remotely reminded me of her. My sister's voice is not one of the finest I have heard; Miss Paton's is finer, Clara Novello's (the most perfect voice I ever heard) is finer. Adelaide's real voice is a high mezzo-soprano, and in stretching it to a higher pitch—that of the soprano-assoluto—which she has done with infinite pains and practice, in order to sing the music of the parts she plays, I think she has impaired the quality, the perfect intonation, of the notes that form the joint, the hinge, as it were, between the upper and middle voice; and these notes are sometimes not quite true—at any rate, weak and uncertain. In brilliancy of execution, I do not think she equals Sontag, Malibran, or Grisi; but there is in other respects no possible comparison, in my opinion, between them and herself, as a lyrical dramatic artist; and Pasta is the only great singer who, I think, compares with her in the qualities of that noble and commanding order which distinguished them both. In both Madame Pasta and my sister the dramatic power is so great as almost occasionally to throw their musical achievements, in some degree, into the shade. But in their lyrical declamation there is a grandeur and breadth of style, and a tragic depth of passion, far beyond that of any other musical performers I have known. In one respect Adelaide had the promise of greater excellence than Pasta—the versatility of her powers and her great talent for comedy.

How little her beautiful face was ever disfigured by her vocal efforts you have seen; and noted, I know, that power of appealing to Heaven at once with her lustrous eyes and her soaring voice; ending those fine, exquisite, prolonged shakes on the highest notes with that gentle quiver of the lids which hardly disturbed the expression   of "the rapt soul sitting in her eyes." She has a musical sensibility which comprehends, in both senses of the word, every species of musical composition, and almost the whole lyrical literature of Europe; in short, she belongs, by organization and education, to the highest order of artists. But why—oh, why am I giving you a dissertation on her and her gifts, for a purpose which will never again challenge her efforts or their exercise? (Quite lately, one who knew and loved her well told me that Rossini had said of her, "To sing as she does three things are needed: this"—touching his forehead,—"this"—touching his throat,—"and this"—laying his hand on his heart;—"she had them all.")

I sometimes think, when I reflect upon the lives of theatrical artists, that they are altogether unnatural existences, and produce—pardon the bull—artificial natures, which are misplaced anywhere but in their own unreal and make-believe sphere. They are the anomalous growth of our diseased civilizations, and, removed from their own factitious soil, flourish, I half believe, in none other. Do not laugh at me, but I really do think that creatures with the temperaments necessary for making good actors and actresses are unfit for anything else in life; and as for marrying and having children, I think crossing wholesome English farm stock with mythological cattle would furnish our fields with a less uncanny breed, of animals.

I wish some laws were made shutting up all the theatres, and only allowing two dramatic entertainments every year: one of Shakespeare's plays, and one of Mozart's operas, at the cost of Government, and as a national festivity. Now, I know you think I am quite mad, wherefore adieu.

I am ever yours most truly,

F. A. B.

Upper Grosvenor Street, May, 1843.

Dearest Granny,

I am of Lord Dacre's mind, and think it wisest and best to avoid the pain of a second parting with you. Light as new sorrows may appear to you, the heart—your heart—certainly will never want vitality enough to feel pain through your kindly affections. God bless you, therefore, my good friend, and farewell. For myself, I   feel bruised all over, and numbed with pain; so many sad partings have fallen one after another, day after day, upon my heart, that acuteness of pain is lost in a mere sense of unspeakable, sore weariness; and yet these bitter last days are to be prolonged.... God help us all! But I am wrong to write thus sadly to you, my kind friend; and indeed, though from this note you might not think my courage what it ought to be, I assure you it does not fail me, and, once through these cruel last days, I shall take up the burden of my life, I trust, with patience, cheerfulness, and firm faith in God, and that conviction which is seldom absent from my mind, and which I find powerful to sustain me, that duty and not happiness is the purpose of life; and that from the discharge of the one and the forgetfulness of the other springs that peace which Christ told His friends He gave, and the world gives not, neither takes away. Let dear B—— come and see me; I shall like to look on her bright, courageous face again. Give my affectionate love to Lord Dacre, and believe me

Ever gratefully and affectionately
Your grandchild,


Upper Grosvenor Street, May 3rd, 1843.

"IMPORTANT HUMAN BEINGS." Thank you, dearest Hal, for Sydney Smith's letter about Francis Horner: it is bolder than anything I had a notion of, but very able and very amiable, and describes charmingly an admirable man. There is one expression he—Sydney Smith—applies to Horner that struck me as strange—he speaks of "important human beings" that he has known; and, I cannot tell why, but with all my self-esteem and high opinion of human nature and its capabilities in general, the epithet "important" applied to human beings made me smile, and keeps recurring to me as comical. It must have appeared much more so to you, I should think, with your degraded opinion of humanity.

You ask how our second party went off. Why, very well. It was much fuller than the other, and in hopes of inducing people to "spread themselves" a little, we had the refreshments put into my drawing-room; but they still persisting in sticking (sticking literally) all in the room with the piano, which rather annoyed me, because I hate the proximity of "important human beings," I came   away from them, and had a charming quiet chat in the little boudoir with Lord Ashburton and Lord Dacre, during which they discussed the merits of Channing, and awarded him the most unmitigated praise as a good and great man. It is curious enough that in America the opponents of Dr. Channing's views perpetually retorted upon him that he was a clergyman, a mere man of letters, whose peculiar mode of life could not possibly admit of his having large or just, or, above all, practical political knowledge and ideas, or any opinions about questions of government that could be worth listening to; whereas these two very distinguished Englishmen spoke with unqualified admiration of his sound and luminous treatment of such subjects, and, instancing what they considered his best productions, mentioned his letter to Clay upon the annexation of Texas, even before his moral and theological essays.

Our company stayed very late with us, till near two o'clock; and upon a remark being made about the much smaller consumption of refreshments than on the occasion of our first party, D——, our butler, very oracularly responded, "Quite a different class of people, sir;" which mode of accounting for the more delicate appetite of our more aristocratic guests, made with an ineffable air of cousinship to them all, sent me into fits of laughing.

You ask me what I shall have to do from Monday till Wednesday, to fill up my time and keep my thoughts from drowning themselves in crying. I shall leave this house after breakfast for the Clarendon. I have a great many small last articles to purchase, and shall visit all my kindred once more. Then, too, the final packing for "board ship" will take me some time, and I have some letters to write too. I dine with Lady Dacre on Monday; they are to be alone except us and E—— and my sister. I shall leave them at eight o'clock to go and sit with my father till ten, his bed-time; and then return to Chesterfield Street [Lord Dacre's]. As for Tuesday—Heaven alone knows how I shall get through it.

On Thursday last we dined with Sydney Smith, where we met Lord and Lady Charlemont, Jeffrey, Frederick Byng, Dickens, Lady Stepney, and two men whom I did not know,—a pleasant dinner; and afterwards we went to Mrs. Dawson Damer's,—a large assembly, more than half of them strangers to us....

  On Friday morning Adelaide and E—— and we breakfasted with Rogers, to meet Sydney Smith, Hallam, and his daughter and niece, the United States Minister, Edward Everett, Empson, and Sir Robert Inglis. After breakfast I went to see Charles Greville, who is again laid up with the gout, and unable to move from his sofa. We dined with my sister, who had a large party in the evening; and as the hour for breaking up arrived, and I saw those pleasant kindly acquaintances pass one after another through the door, I felt as if I was watching the vanishing of some pleasant vision. The nearest and dearest of these phantasmagoria are yet round me; but in three days the last will have disappeared from my eyes, for who can tell how long? if not forever!

All day yesterday I was extremely unwell, but packed vehemently....

CHARLES YOUNG. Charles Young, who is a most dear old friend of mine, and dotes upon my children, came to see them off, and went with them to the railroad. S—— begged for some of her grandfather's hair, but that he might not be told it was for her, for fear of grieving him!

This is the last letter you will get from me written in this house. Victoire, quite tired out with packing, is lying asleep on the sofa, and poor dear Emily sits crying beside me.

Ever yours,

F. A. B.

Liverpool, Thursday, May 4th, 1843.

I wrote to you last thing last night, dearest Hal; and now farewell! I have received a better account of my father.... Dear love to Dorothy, and my last dear love to you. I shall write and send no more loves to any one. Lord Titchfield—blessings on him!—has sent me a miniature of my father and four different ones of Adelaide. God bless you, dear. Good-bye.



Halifax Wharf, Wednesday, May 17th, 1843.

My dear Friend,

When I tell you that yesterday, for the first time, I was able to put pen to paper, or even to hold up my head, and that even after the small exertion of writing a few lines to   my father I was so exhausted as to faint away, you will judge of the state of weakness to which this dreadful process of crossing the Atlantic reduces your very robustious grandchild.

It is now the 17th of May, and we have been at sea thirteen days, and we are making rapid way along the coast of Nova Scotia, and shall touch at Halifax in less than an hour. There we remain, to land mails and passengers, about six hours; and in thirty-six more, wind and weather favoring us across the Bay of Fundy, we shall be in Boston. In fifteen days! Think of it, my dearest Granny! when thirty used to be considered a rapid and prosperous voyage.

My dear friend, how shall I thank you for those warm words of cheering and affectionate encouragement which I received when I was lying worn out for want of sleep and food, after we had been eight days on this dreadful deep? My kind friend, I do not want courage, I assure you; and God will doubtless give me sufficient strength for my need: but you can hardly imagine how deplorably sad I feel; how poor, who lately was so rich; how lonely, who lately was surrounded by so many friends. I know all that remains to me, and how the treasure of love I have left behind will be kept, I believe, in many kind hearts for me till I return to claim it. But the fact is I am quite exhausted, body and mind, and incapable of writing, or even thinking, with half the energy I hope to gather from the first inch of dry land I step upon. Like Antæus, I look for strength from my mother, the Earth, and doubt not to be brave again when once I am on shore.

The moment I saw the dear little blue enamel heart I exclaimed, "Oh, it is Lady Dacre's hair in it!" But tears, and tears, and nothing but tears, were the only greeting I could give the pretty locket and your and dear B——'s letters.

My poor chicks have borne the passage well, upon the whole—sick and sorry one hour, and flying about the deck like birds the next....

Our passage has been made in the teeth of the wind, and against a heavy sea the whole way. We have had no absolute storm; but the tender mercies of the Atlantic, at best, are terrible. Of our company I can tell nothing, having never left my bed till within the last three days. They seem to be chiefly English officers and their families,   bound for New Brunswick and the Canadas. The ship stops, and to the perpetual flailing of the paddles succeeds the hissing sound of the escaping steam. We are at Halifax. I send you this earliest news of us because you will be glad, I am sure, to get it.

Give my love to my dear lord; my blessing and a kiss to dear B——. I will write to her from New York, if possible. God bless you, my dear friend, and reward you for all your kindness to me, and comfort and make peaceful the remainder of your earthly pilgrimage. I can hardly hold my pen in my hand, or my head up; but am ever your grateful and affectionate


Philadelphia, Tuesday, May 23rd, 1843.

My dearest Hal,

We landed in Boston on Friday morning at six o'clock, and almost before I had drawn my first breath of Yankee air Elizabeth Sedgwick and Kate had thrown their arms round me.

MR. CUNARD. You will want to know of our seafaring; and mine truly was miserable, as it always is, and perhaps even more wretched than ever before. I lay in a fever for ten days, without being able to swallow anything but two glasses of calves'-foot jelly and oceans of iced water. At the end of this time I began to get a little better; though, as I had neither food, nor sleep, nor any relief from positive sea-sickness, I was in a deplorable state of weakness. I just contrived to crawl out of my berth two days before we reached Halifax, where I was cheered, and saddened too, by the sight of well-known English faces. I had just finished letters to my father, E——, and Lady Dacre, for the Hibernia, which was to touch there the next morning on her way home, and was sitting disconsolate with my head in my hands, in a small cabin on deck, to which I had been carried up from below as soon as I was well enough to bear being removed from my own, when Mr. Cunard, the originator of this Atlantic Steam Mail-packet enterprise, whom I had met in London, came in, and with many words of kindness and good cheer, carried me up to his house in Halifax, where I rested for an hour, and where I saw Major S——, an uncle of my dear B——, and where we talked over English friends and acquaintances and places, and whence I returned to the ship for   our two days' more misery, with a bunch of exquisite flowers, born English subjects, which are now withering in my letter-box among my most precious farewell words of friends.

The children bore the voyage as well as could be expected; sick one half hour, and stuffing the next; little F—— pervading the ship from stem to stern, like Ariel, and generally presiding at the officers' mess in undismayed she-loneliness.

Your friend Captain G—— was her devoted slave and admirer.... I saw but little of the worthy captain, being only able to come on deck the last four days of our passage; but he was most kind to us all, and after romping with the children and walking Miss Hall off her legs, he used to come and sit down by me, and sing, and hum, and whistle every imaginable tune that ever lodged between lines and spaces, and some so original that I think they never were imprisoned within any musical bars whatever. I gave him at parting the fellow of your squeeze of the hand, and told him that as yours was on my account, mine was on yours. He left us at Boston to go on to Niagara.

Our ship was extremely full, and there being only one stewardess on board, the help she could afford any of us was very little.... While in Boston I made a pilgrimage to dear Dall's grave: a bitter and a sad few minutes I spent, lying upon that ground beneath which she lay, and from which her example seemed to me to rise in all the brightness of its perfect lovingness and self-denial. The oftener I think of her, the more admirable her life appears to me. She was undoubtedly gifted by nature with a temperament of rare healthfulness and vigor, which, combined with the absence of imagination and nervous excitability, contributed much to her uniform cheerfulness, courage, and placidity of temper; but her self-forgetfulness was most uncommon, her inexhaustible kindliness and devotedness to every creature that came within her comfortable and consolatory influence was "twice-blessed," and from her grave her lovely virtues seemed to call to me to get up and be of good cheer, and strive to forget myself, even as perfectly as she had done.... How bitter and dark a thing life is to some of God's poor creatures!

I have told you now all I have to tell of myself, and being weary in spirit and in body, will bid you farewell,   and go and try to get some sleep. God bless you, my beloved friend; I am very sad, but far from out of courage. Give dear Dorothy my affectionate love.

I am ever yours,


Philadelphia, Tuesday, 30th, 1843.

My dear F——,

We are all established in a boarding-house here, where my acquaintances assure me that I am very comfortable; and so I endeavor to persuade myself that my acquaintances are better judges of that than I am myself. It is the first time in my life that I have ever lived in any such manner or establishment; so I have no means of trying it by comparison; it is simply detestable to me, but compared with more detestable places of the same sort it is probably less so. "There are differences, look you!" ...

I am sure your family deserve to have a temple erected to them by all foreigners in America; for it seems to me that you and your people are home, country, and friends to all such unfortunates as happen to have left those small items of satisfaction behind them. The stranger's blessing should rest on your dwellings, and one stranger's grateful blessing does rest there....

Believe me, yours most truly,

F. A. B.

Please to observe that the charge of 13s. 8d. is for personal advice, conferences, and tiresome morning visits; and if you make any such charge, I shall expect you to earn it. 6s. 4d. is all you are entitled to for anything but personal communication.

A LAWYER'S BILL. [This postscript, and the beginning of the letter, were jesting references to a lawyer's bill, amounting to nearly £50, presented to me by a young legal gentleman with whom we had been upon terms of friendly acquaintance, and whom we had employed, as he was just beginning business, to execute the papers for the deed of gift I have mentioned, by which my father left me at his death my earnings, the use of which I had given up to him on my marriage for his lifetime.

Our young legal gentleman used to pay us the most inconceivably   tedious visits, during which his principal object appeared to be to obtain from us every sort of information upon the subject of all and sundry American investments and securities. Over and over again I was on the point of saying "Not at home" to these interminably wearisome visitations, but refrained, out of sheer good nature and unwillingness to mortify my visitant. Great, therefore, was our surprise, on receiving a bill of costs, to find every one of these intolerable intrusions upon our time and patience charged, as personal business consultations, at 13s. 8d. The thing was so ludicrous that I laughed till I cried over the price of our friend's civilities. On paying the amount, though of course I made no comment upon the price of my social and legal privileges, I suppose the young gentleman's own conscience (he was only just starting in his profession, and may have had one) pricked him slightly, for with a faint hysterical giggle, he said, "I dare say you think it rather sharp practice, but, you see, getting married and furnishing the house is rather expensive,"—an explanation of the reiterated thirteens and sixpences of the bill, which was candid, at any rate, and put them in the more affable light of an extorted wedding present, which was rather pleasant.]

Philadelphia, June 4th, 1843.

Dearest Granny,

You will long ere this have received my grateful acknowledgments of your pretty present and most kind letter, received, with many tears and heart-yearnings, in the middle of that horrible ocean. I will not renew my thanks, though I never can thank you enough for that affectionate inspiration of following me on that watery waste, with tokens of your remembrance, and cheering that most dismal of all conditions with such an unlooked-for visitation of love.

I wrote to you from Halifax, where, on the deck of our steamer, your name was invoked with heartfelt commendations by myself and Major S——. That was a curious conversation of his and mine, if such it could be called; scarcely more than a breathless enumeration of the names of all of you, coupled indeed with loving and admiring additions, and ejaculations full of regret and affection. Poor man, how I did pity him! and how I did pity myself!

I have just written to our B——, and feel sad at the   meagre and unsatisfactory account which my letter contains of me and mine; to you, my excellent friend, I will add this much more.... But I shall forbear saying anything about my conditions until they become better in themselves, or I become better able to bear them. God bless you and those you love, my dear Lady Dacre. Give my affectionate "duty" to my lord, and believe me ever your gratefully attached

F. A. B.

Philadelphia, June 26th, 1843.

My dearest Hal,

SAD ACCOUNT OF IRELAND. Your sad account of Ireland is only more shocking than that of the newspapers because it is yours, and because you are in the midst of all this wild confusion and dismay. How much you must feel for your people! However much one's sympathy may be enlisted in any public cause, the private instances of suffering and injustice, which inevitably attend all political changes wrought by popular commotion, are most afflicting.

I hardly know what it is reasonable to expect from, or hope for, Ireland. A separation from England seems the wildest project conceivable; and yet, Heaven knows, no great benefit appears hitherto to have accrued to the poor "earthen pot" from its fellowship with the "iron" one. As for hoping that quiet may be restored through the intervention of military force, at the bayonet's point,—I cannot hope any such thing. Peace so procured is but an earnest of future war, and the victims of such enforced tranquillity bequeath to those who are only temporarily quelled, not permanently quieted, a legacy of revenge, which only accumulates, and never goes long unclaimed and unpaid. England seems to me invariably to deal unwisely with her dependencies; she performs in the Christian world very much the office that Rome did in the days of her great heathen supremacy—carry to the ends of the earth by process of conquest the seeds of civilization, of legislation, and progress; and then, as though her mission was fulfilled, by gradual mismanagement, abuse of power, and insolent contempt of those she has subjugated, is ejected by the very people to whom she had brought, at the sword's point, the knowledge of freedom and of law. It is a singular office for a great nation, but I am not sure that it is not our Heaven-appointed one,   to conquer, to improve, to oppress, to be rebelled against, to coerce, and finally to be kicked out, videlicet, these United States.

But now to matters personal.... The intense heat affects me extremely; and not having a horse, or any riding exercise, the long walks which I compel myself to take over these burning brick pavements, and under this broiling sun, are not, I suppose, altogether beneficial to me....

I went to church yesterday, and Mr. F—— preached an Abolition sermon. This subject seems to press