A Celebration of Women Writers

Julia Ward Howe, 1819-1910 by Laura E. Richards (1850-1943) and Maud Howe Elliott (1854-1948), Assisted by Florence Howe Hall (1845-1922). Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1915.
Volume I, Volume II, Index.

This online edition is dedicated
in memoriam to my mother, Agnes Kosvanec
by Anne Kosvanec.

Large-Paper Edition




Mrs. Howe, 1895

[Title Page]







With Portraits and other








Published December 1915


II. A ROMAN WINTER. 1878-1879 28
III. NEWPORT. 1879-1882 46
V. MORE CHANGES. 1886-1888 115
VI. SEVENTY YEARS YOUNG. 1889-1890 143
VII. A SUMMER ABROAD. 1892-1893 164
VIII. "DIVERS GOOD CAUSES." 1890-1896 186
IX. IN THE HOUSE OF LABOR. 1896-1897 214
X. THE LAST ROMAN WINTER. 1897-1898 237
XI. EIGHTY YEARS. 1899-1900 258



MRS. HOWE, 1895 (Photogravure)
        From a photograph taken at Newport, R.I.,
        July 25, 1895, by Alman & Co.
        From a photograph, 1903
        Taken by Major Dudley Mills
        From a photograph by R. H. Richards
        From a photograph by John Elliott
        From a photograph by C. A. Shaw, 1907
MRS. HOWE, 1905
        From a photograph by Underwood and Underwood
MRS. HOWE, 1908
        From a painting by John Elliott







1877; aet. 58



Enter Life's high cathedral
      With reverential heart,
Its lofty oppositions
      Matched with divinest art.

Thought with its other climbing
      To meet and blend on high;
Man's mortal and immortal
      Wed for eternity.

When noon's high mass is over,
      Muse in the silent aisles;
Wait for the coming vespers
      In which new promise smiles.

When from the dome height echoes
      An "Ite, missa est,"
Whisper thy last thanksgiving,
      Depart, and take thy rest.

J. W. H.

FROM the time of the Doctor's death till her marriage in 1887, the youngest daughter was her mother's companion and yoke-fellow. In all records of travel, of cheer, of merriment, she can say thankfully: "Et ego in Arcadia vixi."

The spring of 1877 found the elder comrade weary with much lecturing and presiding, the younger somewhat out of health. Change of air and scene was prescribed, and the two sailed for Europe early in May.

Throughout the journeyings which followed, our mother had two objects in view: to see her own kind of people, the seekers, the students, the reformers, and their works; and to give Maud the most vivid first impression of all that would be interesting and valuable to her. These objects were not always easy to combine.

After a few days at Chester (where she laments the "restoration" of the fine old oak of the cathedral, "now shining like new, after a boiling in potash") and a glimpse of Hawarden and Warwick, they proceeded to London and took lodgings in Bloomsbury (a quarter of high fashion when she first knew London, now given over to lodgings). Once settled, she lost no time in establishing relations with friends old and new. The Unitarian Association was holding its annual conference; one of the first entries in the Journal tells of her attending the Unitarian breakfast where she spoke about "the poor children and the Sunday schools."

Among her earliest visitors was Charles Stewart Parnell, of whom she says:–

"Mrs. Delia Stewart Parnell, whom I had known in America, had given me a letter of introduction to her son, Charles, who was already conspicuous as an advocate of Home Rule for Ireland. He called upon me and appointed a day when I should go with him to the House of Commons. He came in his brougham and saw me safely deposited in the ladies' gallery. He was then at the outset of his stormy career, and his sister Fanny told me that he had in Parliament but one supporter of his views, 'a man named Biggar.' He certainly had admirers elsewhere, for I remember having met a disciple of his, O'Connor by name, at a 'rout' given by Mrs. Justin McCarthy. I asked this lady if her husband agreed with Mr. Parnell. She replied with warmth, 'Of course; we are all Home Rulers here.'"


"May 26. To Floral Hall concert, where heard Patti – and many others – a good concert. In the evening to Lord Houghton's, where made acquaintance of Augustus Hare, author of 'Memorials of a Quiet Life,' etc., with Mrs. Proctor, Mrs. Singleton [Violet Fane], Dr. and Mrs. Schliemann, and others, among them Edmund Yates. Lord Houghton was most polite and attentive. Robert Browning was there."


Whistler was of the party that evening. His hair was then quite black, and the curious white forelock which he wore combed high like a feather, together with his striking dress, made him one of the most conspicuous figures in the London of that day. Henry Irving came in late: "A rather awkward man, whose performance of 'Hamlet' was much talked of at that time." She met the Schliemanns often, and heard Mrs. Schliemann speak before the Royal Geographical Society, where she made a plea for the modern pronunciation of Greek. In order to help her husband in his work, Mrs. Schliemann told her, she had committed to memory long passages from Homer which proved of great use to him in his researches at Mycenæ and Tiryns.


"May 27.... Met Mr. and Mrs. Wood – he has excavated the ruins at Ephesus, and has found the site of the Temple of Diana. His wife has helped him in his work, and having some practical experience in the use of remedies, she gave much relief to the sick men and women of the country."

"June 2. Westminster Abbey at 2 P.M.... I enjoyed the service, Mendelssohn's 'Hymn of Praise,' Dean Stanley's sermon, and so on, very unusually. Edward Twisleton seemed to come back to me, and so did dear Chev, and a spiritual host of blessed ones who have passed within the veil…."

"June 14. Breakfast with Mr. Gladstone. Grosvenor Gallery with the Seeleys. Prayer meeting at Lady Gainsborough's.

"We were a little early, for Mrs. Gladstone complained that the flowers ordered from her country seat had but just arrived. A daughter of the house proceeded to arrange them. Breakfast was served at two round tables, exactly alike.

"I was glad to find myself seated between the great man and the Greek minister, John Gennadius. The talk ran a good deal upon Hellenics, and I spoke of the influence of the Greek in the formation of the Italian language, to which Mr. Gladstone did not agree. I know that scholars differ on the point, but I still retain the opinion I expressed. I ventured a timid remark regarding the number of Greek derivatives used in our common English speech. Mr. Gladstone said very abruptly, 'How? What? English words derived from Greek?' and almost

"'Frightened Miss Muffet away.'

"He is said to be habitually disputatious, and I thought that this must certainly be the case; for he surely knew better than most people how largely and familiarly we incorporate the words of Plato, Aristotle, and Xenophon in our everyday talk."1


Mr. Gladstone was still playing the first rôle on the stage of London life. Our mother notes hearing him open the discussion that followed Mrs. Schliemann's address before the Royal Geographical Society. Lord Rosebery, who was at that time Mr. Gladstone's private secretary, talked much of his chief, for whom he expressed impassioned devotion. Rosebery, though he must have been a man past thirty at the time, looked a mere boy. His affection for "Uncle Sam" Ward was as loyal as that for his chief, and it was on his account that he paid our mother some attention when she was in London.

She always remembered this visit as one of the most interesting of the many she made to the "province in brick." She was driving three horses abreast, – her own life, Maud's life, the life of London. She often spoke of the great interest of seeing so many different circles of London society; likening it to a layer cake, which a fortunate stranger is able to cut through, enjoying a little of each. Her modest Bloomsbury lodgings were often crowded by the leaders of the world of letters, philanthropy, and art, and some even of the world of fashion. The little lodging-house "slavey" was often awed by the titles on the cards she invariably presented between a work-worn thumb and finger. It is curious to contrast the brief record of these days with that of the Peace Crusade.


"June 10. To morning service at the Foundling Hospital – very touching. To luncheon with M.G.D. where met the George Howards."

"June 15.... 'Robert' [opera] with Richard Mansfield."

"June 18. Synagogue."

"June 19. Lord Mayor's Mansion House. I am to speak there concerning Laura Bridgman. Henry James may come to take me to St. Bart.'s Hospital."

"June 25. 'Messiah.' Miss Bryce."

"June 26. Dined with Capt. Ward. Theatre. Justin McCarthy."

"June 28. Meeting in Lambeth Library."

"June 29. Russell Gurney's garden party.

"Miss Marston's, Onslow Sq., 4 P.M. Anti-vivisection. Met Dudley Campbell. A day of rest, indeed. I wrote out my anti-vivisection argument for to-morrow, and finished the second letter to the Chicago 'Tribune.' Was thus alone nearly all day. Dined at Brentini's in my old fashion, chop, tea, and beer, costing one shilling and fivepence."


She remembered with pleasure an evening spent with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire at Devonshire House. A ball at Mr. Goschen's was another evening of enchantment, as was also the dinner given for her at Greenwich by Edmund Yates, where she had a good talk with Mr. Mallock, whose "New Republic" was one of the books of that season. She managed, too, sometimes to be at home; among her visitors were William Black, John Richard Green, and Mr. Knowles, editor of the "Nineteenth Century."

The London visit lasted nearly two months; as the engagements multiply, its records grow briefer and briefer. There are many entries like the following:–

"Breakfast with Lord Houghton, where met Lord Granville and M. Waddington, late Minister of Education in France. Garden party at Chiswick in the afternoon. Prince of Wales there with his eldest son, Prince Albert Victor. Mrs. Julian Goldsmith's ball in the evening."

It is remembered that she bravely watched the dancers foot it through the livelong night, and drove home by daylight, with her "poor dancing Maud"!

Madame Waddington was formerly Miss King, the granddaughter of Mr. Ward's old partner. Our mother was always interested in meeting any descendants: of Prime, Ward & King.

With all this, she was writing letters for the Chicago "Tribune" and the "Woman's Journal." This year of 1877 saw the height of the Æsthetic movement. Mrs. Langtry, the "Jersey Lily," was the beauty and toast of the season. Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience" was the dramatic hit of the year, and "Greenery yallery, Grosvenor Gallery" the most popular catch of the day.

She found it hard to tear herself away from England; the visit (which she likened to one at the house of an adored grandmother) was over all too soon. But July was almost gone; and the two travellers finally left the enchanted island for Holland, recalling Emerson's advice to one going abroad for the first time: "A year for England, and a year for the rest of the world!"

The much neglected Journal now takes up the story.

The great Franz Hals pictures delighted her beyond measure. She always bought the best reproductions she could afford, and valued highly an etching that she owned from his Bohémienne. She never waited for any authority to admire either a work of art or a person. She had much to say about the influence of the Dutch blood both in our own family and in our country, which was to her merely a larger family connection. All through Holland she was constantly noting customs and traditions which we seemed to have inherited; and she felt a great likeness and sympathy between herself and some of the Dutch people she knew.


"The Hague. To the old prison where the instruments of torture are preserved. The prison itself is so dark and bare that to stay therein was a living death. To this was often added the most cruel torture. The poor wretch was stretched on a cross, on which revolving wheels, turned by a crank, agonized and destroyed his spinal column – or, by another machine, his head and feet were drawn in opposite directions – or, his limbs were stretched out and every bone broken with an iron bar. Tortures of fire and water were added. Through all these horrors, I saw the splendors of faith and conscience which illuminated these dungeons, and which enabled frail humanity to bear these inflictions without flinching."

She always wanted to see the torture chambers. She listened to all the detailed explanations and looked at all the dreadful instruments, buoyed up by the thought of the splendors she speaks of, when mere shrinking flesh-and-blood creatures like her companion, who only thought of the poor tortured bodies, could not bear the strain of it.

From The Hague they went to Amsterdam, where they "worked hard at seeing the rich museum, which contains some of the largest and best of Rembrandt's pictures, and much else of interest"; thence to Antwerp. Here she writes:–

"To the Museum, where saw the glorious Rubens and Van Dycks, together with the Quentin Matsys triptych. Went to the Cathedral, and saw the dear Rubens pictures – my Christ in the Elevation of the Cross seemed to me as wonderful as ever. The face asks, 'Why hast thou forsaken me?' but seems also to reflect the answer, from the very countenance of the Father. Education of the Virgin by Rubens – angels hold a garland above the studious head of the young Madonna. This would be a good picture for Vassar."

"Sunday, July 29. Up betimes – to high mass at the Cathedral. Had a seat near the Descent, and saw it better than ever before. Could not see the Elevation so well, but feasted my eyes on both. Went later to the church of St. Paul where Rubens's Flagellation is. Found it very beautiful. At 4 P.M. M. Félu2 came to take us to the Zoo, which is uncommonly good. The collection of beasts from Africa is very rich. They are also successful in raising wild beasts, having two elephants, a tiger, and three giraffes which have been born in the cages – some young lions also. The captive lioness always destroyed her young, and these were saved by being given to a dog to nurse...."


August found the travellers in Prussia.

"Passed the day in Berlin.... At night took railroad for Czerwinsk, travelling second-class. After securing our seats, as we supposed, we left the cars to get some refreshments, when a man and a woman displaced our effects, and took our places. The woman refused to give me my place, and annoyed me by pushing and crowding me."

The brutality of this couple was almost beyond belief. She was always so gracious to fellow-travellers that they usually "made haste to be kind" in return. She made it a point to converse with the intelligent-looking people she met, either in the train or at the tables d'hôte then still in vogue. She talked with these chance acquaintances of their country or their profession. It was never mere idle conversation.

This journey across Europe was undertaken solely for the pleasure of seeing her sister, always her first object in visiting Europe. The bond between them was very strong, spite of the wide difference of their natures and the dissimilarity of their interests. Mrs. Terry was now visiting her eldest daughter, Annie Crawford, married to Baron Eric von Rabé and living at Lesnian in German Poland. Baron Eric had served in the Franco-Prussian War with distinction, had been seriously wounded, and obliged to retire from active service. Here was an entirely new social atmosphere, the most conservative in Europe. Even before the travellers arrived, the shadow of formality had fallen upon them; for Mrs. Terry had written begging that they would arrive by "first-class"! At that time the saying was, "Only princes, Americans, and fools travel first-class," and our mother's rule had been to travel second. The journey was already a great expense, and the added cost seemed to her useless. Accordingly, she bought second-class tickets to a neighboring station and first-class ones from there to Czerwinsk. This entailed turning out in the middle of the night and waiting an hour for the splendid express carrying the stiff and magnificently upholstered first-class carriages, whose red plush seats and cushions were nothing like so comfortable as the old grey, cloth-lined, second-class carriages!

Still, the travellers arrived looking as proud as they could, wearing their best frocks and bonnets. They travelled with the Englishwoman's outfit. "Three suits. Hightum, tightum, and scrub." "Hightum" was for any chance festivity, "tightum" for the table d'hôte, "scrub" for everyday travelling. The question of the three degrees was anxiously discussed on this occasion; it was finally decided that only "hightum" would come up to the Von Rabé standard.


"August 4. Arrived at Czerwinsk, where sister L. and Baron von Rabé met us. He kissed my hand in a courtly manner. My sister looks well, but has had a hard time. We drove to Lesnian where Annie von R. and her mother-in-law made us welcome."

"August 9, Lesnian. A quiet day at home, writing and some work. Tea with Sister L. in the open air. Then went with Baron von Rabé to visit his farm buildings, which are very extensive; not so nicely finished as would be the case in America. We got many fleas in our clothes.... In the evening the Baron began to dispute with me concerning the French and the use and excellence of war, etc...."

"August 12. Up early – to Czerwinsk and thence by Dirschau to Marienburg to see the famous Ritterschloss of the Teutonic Knights.... Marien-Kirch.... Angel Michael weighing the souls, a triptych – the good in right wing received by St. Peter and clothed by angels, the wicked in the other wing going down. The beautiful sheen of the Archangel – like peacock brightness – a devil with butterfly wings."

"August 14. In the church yesterday we were shown five holes in a flat tombstone. They say that a parricide was buried beneath this stone, and the fingers of his hand forced themselves through these holes. They showed us this hand, dried, and hung up in a chapel. Here also we saw a piece of embroidery in fine pearls, formerly belonging to the Catholic service, and worth thousands of dollars. Some very ancient priests' garments, with Arabic designs, were said to have been brought from the East by the Crusaders. An astronomic clock is shown in the church. The man who made it set about making another, but was made blind lest he should do so. By and by, pretending that he must repair or regulate something in the clock, he so puts it out of order that it never goes again.

"The amber-merchant – the felt shoes – views of America – the lecture – the Baltic."


She was enchanted with Dantzig. The ancient Polish Jews in their long cloth gabardines, with their hair dressed in two curls worn in front of the ear and hanging down on either side of the face, showed her how Shylock must have looked. She was far more interested in the relics of the old Polish civilization than in the crude, brand-new Prussian régime which was replacing it; but this did not suit her hosts. The peasants who worked on the estate were all Poles; the relations between them and their employer smacked strongly of serfdom. One very intelligent man, who often drove her, was called Zalinski. It struck her that this man might be related to her friend Lieutenant Zalinski, of the United States Army. She asked him if he had any relatives in America. He replied that a brother of his had gone to America many years before. He seemed deeply interested in the conversation and tried once or twice to renew it. One of the family, who was driving with our mother at the time, managed to prevent any more talk about the American Zalinski, and when the drive was over she was seriously called to account.

"Can you not see that it would be extremely unfortunate if one of our servants should learn that any relative of his could possibly be a friend of one of our guests?"

She was never allowed to see Zalinski again; on inquiring for him, she learned that he had been sent to a fair with horses to sell. He did not return to Lesnian during the remainder of her stay.

One of the picturesque features of the visit was the celebration of Baron Eric's birthday. It was a general holiday, and no work was done on the estate. After breakfast family and guests assembled in front of the old château; the baron, a fine, soldierly-looking man, his wife, the most graceful of women, and the only daughter, a lovely little girl with the well-chiselled Crawford features. The peasants, dressed in their best, assembled in procession in the driveway; one by one, in order of their age or position, they came up the steps, presented the Baroness with a bouquet, bent the knee and kissed the hand of Baron and Baroness. To most of the guests the picture was full of Old-World romance and charm. To one it was an offence. That the granddaughter of her father, the child of her adored sister, should have been placed by fate in this feudal relationship to the men and women by whose labor she lived outraged her democratic soul.

The Journal thus describes the days at Lesnian:–

"The Baron talked much last evening, first about his crops, then about other matters. He believes duelling to be the most efficient agency in promoting a polite state of society. Would kill any one whom he suspected of great wrong much sooner than bring him to justice. The law, he says, is slow and uncertain – the decision of the sword much more effectual. The present Government favors duelling. If he should kill some one in a duel, he would have two months of imprisonment only. He despises the English as a nation of merchants. The old German knights seem to be his models. With these barbarous opinions, he seems to be personally an amiable and estimable man. Despises University education, in whose course he might have come in contact with the son of a carpenter, or small shopkeeper – he himself went to a Gymnase, with sons of gentlemen...."

"Everything in the Junkerschaft3 bristles for another war. Oscar von Rabé's room, in which I now write, contains only books of military drill.

"This day we visited the schoolhouse – session over, air of the room perfectly fetid. Schoolmaster, whom we did not see, a Pole – his sister could speak no German. Tattered primers in German. Visited the Jew, who keeps the only shop in Lesnian. Found a regular country assortment. He very civil. Gasthaus opposite, a shanty, with a beer-glass, coffee-cup and saucer rudely painted on its whitewashed boards. Shoemaker in a damp hovel, with mahogany furniture, quite handsome. He made me a salaam with both hands raised to his head."

"We went to call upon Herr von Rohr, at Schenskowkhan – an extensive estate. I had put on my Cheney silk and my bonnet as a great parade. Our host showed us his house, his books and engravings – he has several etchings by Rembrandt. Herr von Mechlenberg, public librarian of Königsberg, a learned little old man, trotted round with us. We had coffee and waffles. Mechlenberg considers the German tongue a very ancient one, an original language, not patched up like French and English, of native dialects mingled with Latin."

In one of her letters to the Chicago "Tribune" is a significant passage written from Lesnian:–

"Having seen in one of the Dantzig papers the announcement that a certain Professor Blank would soon deliver a lecture upon America, showing the folly of headlong emigration thither and the ill fortune which many have wrought for themselves thereby, one of us remarked to a Dantziger that in such a lecture many untruths would probably be uttered. Our friend replied, with a self-gratulatory laugh, 'Ah, Madame! We Germans know all about the women of America. A German woman is devoted to her household, its care and management; but the American women all force their husbands to live in hotels in order that they may have no trouble in housekeeping.'"

She was as sensitive to criticism of her country as some people are to criticism of their friends. Throughout her stay in Germany she suffered from the captious and provoking tone of the Prussian press about things American.

Even in the churches she met this note of unfriendliness. She took the trouble to transcribe in her Journal an absurd newspaper story.


"An American Woman of Business

"Some little time since, a man living near Niagara Falls had the misfortune to fall from the bridge leading to Goat's Island. [Berlin paper says Grat Island.] He was immediately hurried to the edge of the fearful precipice. Here, he was able to cling to a ledge of rock, and to support himself for half an hour, until his unavoidable fate overtook him. A compassionate and excited multitude rushed to the shore, and into the house, where the unhappy wife was forced to behold the death struggle of her husband, lost beyond all rescue, this spot yielding the best view of the scene of horror. The 'excellent' wife had too much coolness to allow this opportunity of making money to escape her, but collected from every person present one dollar for window rent. (Berliner Fremdenblatt, Sunday, August 26, 1877.)"


The stab was from a two-edged sword; she loved profoundly the great German writers and composers. She was ever conscious of the debt she owed to Germany's poets, philosophers, and musicians. Goethe had been one of her earliest sources of inspiration, Kant her guide through many troublous years; Beethoven was like some great friend whose hand had led her along the heights, when her feet were bleeding from the stones of the valley. These were the Germans she knew; her Germany was theirs. Now she came in contact with this new Junker Germany, this harsh, military, unlovely country where Bismarck was the ruling spirit, and Von Moltke the idol of the hour. It was a rough awakening for one who had lived in the gentler Fatherland of Schiller and of Schubert.


"August 31, Berlin. Up early, and with carriage to see the review.... A great military display. The Emperor punctual at 10. 'Guten Morgen!' shouted the troops when he came. The Crown Princess on horseback with a blue badge, Hussar cap. The kettle-drum man had his reins hitched, one on either foot, guiding his horse in this way, and beating his drums with both hands...."


The Crown Princess, later the Empress Frederick, daughter of Queen Victoria, and mother of the present German Emperor, was the honorary colonel of the hussar regiment whose uniform she wore, with the addition of a plain black riding-skirt. Civilization owes this lady a debt that cannot be paid save in grateful remembrance. During the Franco-Prussian War she frequently telegraphed to the German officers commanding in France, urging them to spare the works of art in the conquered country. Through her efforts the studios of Rosa Bonheur and other famous painters escaped destruction.


The early part of September was spent in Switzerland. Chamounix filled the travellers with delight. They walked up the Brevant, rode to the Mer de Glace on muleback. The great feature, however, of this visit to Switzerland was the Geneva Congress, called by Mrs. Josephine Butler to protest against the legalizing of vice in England.


"At the Congress to-day – spoke in French.... I spoke of the two sides, active and passive, of human nature, and of the tendency of the education given to women to exaggerate the passive side of their character, whereby they easily fall victims to temptation. Spoke of the exercise of the intellectual faculties as correcting these tendencies – education of women in America – progress made. Coeducation and the worthier relations it induces between young men and women. Said, where society thinks little of women, it teaches them to think little of themselves. Said of marriage, that Milton's doctrine, 'He for God only, she for God in him,' was partial and unjust. 'Ce Dieu, il faut le mettre entre les deux, de manière que chacun des deux appartienne premièrement à Dieu, puis tous les deux l'un à l'autre.'"

"Wish to take up what Blank said to-day of the superiority of man. Woman being created second. That is no mark of inferiority. Shall say, this doctrine of inequality very dangerous. Inferior position, inferior education, legal status, etc. Doctrine of morality quite opposite. If wife patient and husband not, wife superior – if wife chaste, husband not, wife superior. Each indispensable to each other, and to the whole. Gentlemen, where would you have been if we had not cradled and tended you?"

"Congress.... Just before the end of the meeting Mr. Stuart came to me and said that Mrs. Butler wished me to speak for five minutes. After some hesitation I said that I would try. Felt much annoyed at being asked so late. Went up to the platform and did pretty well in French. The audience applauded, laughing a little at some points. In fact, my little speech was a decided success with the French-speaking part of the audience. Two or three Englishwomen who understood very little of it found fault with me for occasioning laughter. To the banquet...."

"September 23. This morning Mrs. Sheldon Ames and her brother came to ask whether I would go to Germany on a special mission. Miss Bolte also wished me to go to Baden Baden to see the Empress of Germany."

"September 24. A conference of Swiss and English women at 11 A.M. A sister of John Stuart Mill spoke, like the other English ladies, in very bad French. 'Nous femmes' said she repeatedly. She seemed a good woman, but travelled far from the subject of the meeting, which was the work to be done to carry out what the Congress had suggested. Mrs. Blank, of Bristol, read a paper in the worst French I ever heard. 'Ouvrager' for 'travailler' was one of her mistakes."


In spite of some slight criticisms on the management of this Congress, she was heart and soul in sympathy with its object; and until the last day of her life, never ceased to battle for the higher morality which at all costs protests against the legalizing of vice.

Before leaving Geneva she writes:–

"To Ferney in omnibus. The little church with its inscription 'Deo erexit Voltaire,' and the date.... I remember visiting Ferney with dear Chev; remember that he did not wish me to see the model [of Madame Du Châtelet's monument] lest it should give me gloomy thoughts about my condition – she died in childbirth, and the design represents her with her infant bursting the tomb."


October found the travellers in Paris, the elder still intent on affairs of study and reform, the younger grasping eagerly at each new wonder or beauty.

There were meetings of the Academy of Fine Arts, the Institute of France, the Court of Assizes: teachers' meetings, too, and dinners with deaconesses (whom she found a pleasant combination of cheerfulness and gravity), and with friends who took her to the theatre.

"To Palais de Justice. Court of Assizes – a young man to be condemned for an offence against a girl of ten or twelve, and then to be tried for attempt to kill his brother and brother-in-law....

"We were obliged to leave before the conclusion of the trial, but learned that its duration was short, ending in a verdict of guilty, and sentence of death. In the days that followed our thoughts often visited this unfortunate man in his cell, so young, apparently without friends – his nearest relatives giving evidence against him, and, in fact, bringing the suit that cost his life. It seems less than Mosaic justice to put a man to death for a murder which, though attempted, was not actually committed. A life for a life is the old doctrine. This is a life for an attempt upon a life."

An essay on Paris, written soon after, recalls further memories. She visited the French Parliament, and was surprised at the noise and excitement which prevailed.

"The presiding officer agitates his bell again and again, to no purpose. He constantly cries, in piteous tone: 'Gentlemen, a little silence, if you please.'"

She tells how "one of the ushers with great pride pointed out Victor Hugo in his seat," and says further:

"I have seen this venerable man of letters several times, – once in his own house.... We were first shown into an anteroom, and presently into a small drawing-room. The venerable viscount kissed my hand...with the courtesy belonging to other times. He was of middle height, reasonably stout. His eyes were dark and expressive, and his hair and beard were snow-white. Several guests were present.... Victor Hugo seated himself alone upon a sofa, and talked to no one. While the rest of the company kept up a desultory conversation, a servant announced M. Louis Blanc, and our expectations were raised only to be immediately lowered, for at this announcement Victor Hugo arose and withdrew into another room, from which we were able to hear the two voices in earnest conversation...."

"November 27. Packing to leave Paris to-night for Turin. The blanks left in my diary do not mark idle days. I have been exceedingly busy.... have written at least five newspaper letters, and some other correspondence. Grieved this morning over the time wasted at shop windows, in desiring foolish articles which I could not afford to buy, especially diamonds, which I do not need for my way of life. Yet I have had more good from my stay in Paris than this empty Journal would indicate. Have seen many earnest men and women – have delivered a lecture in French – have started a club of English and American women students, for which Deo gratias! Farewell, dear Paris, God keep and save thee!"


She mentions this club in the "Reminiscences." "I found in Paris a number of young women, students of art and medicine, who appeared to lead very isolated lives and to have little or no acquaintance with one another. The need of a point of social union for these young people appearing to me very great, I invited a few of them to meet me at my lodgings. After some discussion we succeeded in organizing a small club, which, I am told, still exists.... [If we are not mistaken, this small club was a mustard seed which in time grew into the goodly tree of the American Girls' Club.] I was invited several times to speak while in Paris.... I spoke in French without notes.... Before leaving Paris I was invited to take part in a congress of woman's rights. It was deemed proper to elect two presidents for this occasion, and I had the honor of being chosen as one of them....

"Somewhat in contrast with these sober doings was a ball given by the artist Healy at his residence. I had told Mrs. Healy in jest that I should insist upon dancing with her husband. Soon after my entrance she said to me, 'Mrs. Howe, your quadrille is ready for you. See what company you are to have.' I looked and beheld General Grant and M. Gambetta, who led out Mrs. Grant, while her husband had Mrs. Healy for his partner in the quadrille of honor.... Marshal MacMahon was at this time President of the French Republic. I attended an evening reception given by him in honor of General and Mrs. Grant. Our host was supposed to be at the head of the Bonapartist faction, and I heard some rumors of an intended coup d'état which should bring back imperialism and place Plon-Plon [the nickname for Prince Napoleon] on the throne.... I remember Marshal MacMahon as a man of medium height, with no very distinguishing feature. He was dressed in uniform and wore many decorations."

During this visit to Paris, our mother consorted largely with the men and women she had met at the Geneva Congress. She takes leave of Paris with these words: "Better than the filled trunk and empty purse, which usually mark a return from Paris, will be a full heart and a hand clasping across the water another hand pure and resolute as itself."


The two comrades journeyed southward by way of Turin, Milan, and Verona. Of the last place the Journal says:–

"Busy in Verona – first, amphitheatre, with its numerous cells, those of the wild beasts wholesomely lighted and aired, those of the prisoners, dark and noisome and often without light of any kind.... Then to the tombs of the Scaligers – grim and beautiful. Can Signoria who killed his brother was the last. Can Grande, Dante's host."

In Verona she was full of visions of the great poet whose exile she describes in the poem called, "The Price of the Divina Commedia." One who met her there remembers the extraordinary vividness of her impressions. It was as if she had seen and talked with Dante, had heard from his own lips how hard it was to eat the salt and go up and down the stairs of others.

From Verona to Venice, thence to Bologna. Venice was an old friend always revisited with delight. Bologna was new to her; here she found traces of the notable women of its past. In the University she was shown the recitation room where the beautiful female professor of anatomy is said to have given her lectures from behind a curtain, in order that the students' attention should not be distracted from her words of wisdom by her beauty. In the picture gallery she found out the work of Elisabetta Sirani, one of the good painters of the Bolognese school.

And now, after twenty-seven years, her road led once more to Rome.



1878-1879; aet. 59-60


JANUARY 9,1878

A voice of sorrow shakes the solemn pines
Within the borders of the Apennines;
A sombre vision veils the evening red,
A shuddering whisper says: the King is dead.

          Low lies he near the throne
That strange desert and fortune made his own;
And at his life's completion, from his birth
In one fair record, men recount his worth.

          Chief of the Vatican!
Heir of the Peter who his Lord denied,
Not of the faith which that offence might hide,
Boast not, "I live, while he is coldly laid."
Say rather, in the jostling mortal race
He first doth look on the All-father's face.
Life's triple crown absolvèd weareth he,
Clear Past, sad Present, fond Futurity.

J. W. H.

THE travellers arrived in Rome in good time for the Christmas dinner at Palazzo Odescalchi, where they found the Terrys and Marion Crawford. On December 31 our mother writes:–

"The last day of a year whose beginning found me full of work and fatigue. Beginning for me in a Western railway car, it ends in a Roman palace – a long stretch of travel lying between. Let me here record that this year has brought me much good and pleasure, as well as some regrets. My European tour was undertaken for dear Maud's sake. It took me away from the dear ones at home, and from opportunities of work which I should have prized highly. I was President of the Woman's Congress, and to be absent not only from its meeting, but also from its preparatory work, caused me great regret. On the other hand, I saw delightful people in England, and have seen, besides the old remembered delights, many places which I never visited before.... I am now with my dear sister, around whom the shadows of existence deepen. I am glad to be with her; though I can do so little for her, she is doing very much for me."


This was a season of extraordinary interest to one who had always loved Italy and pleaded for a generous policy toward her. Early in January it became known that King Victor Emanuel was dying. At the Vatican his life-long adversary Pius IX was wasting away with a mortal disease. It was a time of suspense. The two had fought a long and obstinate duel: which of them, people asked, would yield first to the conqueror on the pale horse? There were those among the "Blacks" of Rome who would have denied the last sacrament to the dying King. "No!" said Pio Nono; "he has always been a good Catholic; he shall not die without the sacrament!" On the 9th of January the King died, and "the ransomed land mourned its sovereign as with one heart."4


"January 12. Have just been to see the new King [Umberto I] review the troops, and receive the oath of allegiance from the army. The King's horse was a fine light sorrel – he in full uniform, with light blue trousers. In Piazza del Independenza. We at the American Consulate. Much acclamation and waving of handkerchiefs. Went at 5 in the afternoon to see the dead King lying in state. His body was shown set on an inclined plane, the foreshortening disfigured his poor face dreadfully, making his heavy moustache to look as if it were his eyebrows. Behind him a beautiful ermine canopy reached nearly to the ceiling – below him the crown and sceptre on a cushion. Castellani's beautiful gold crown is to be buried with him."

She says of the funeral:–

"The monarch's remains were borne in a crimson coach of state, drawn by six horses. His own favorite war-horse followed, veiled in crape, the stirrups holding the King's boots and spurs, turned backward. Nobles and servants of great houses in brilliant costumes, bareheaded, carrying in their hands lighted torches of wax.... As the cortège swept by, I dropped my tribute of flowers5..."

"January 19. To Parliament, to see the mutual taking of oaths between the new King and the Parliament. Had difficulty in getting in. Sat on carpeted stair near Mrs. Carson. Queen came at two in the afternoon. Sat in a loggia ornamented with red velvet and gold. Her entrance much applauded. With her the little Prince of Naples,6 her son; the Queen of Portugal, her sister-in-law; and Prince of Portugal, son of the latter. The King entered soon after two – he took the oath standing bareheaded, then signed some record of it. The oath was then administered to Prince Amadeo and Prince de Carignan, then in alphabetical order to the Senate and afterwards to the Deputies."

A month later, Pio Nono laid down the burden of his years. She says of this:–

"Pope Pius IX had reigned too long to be deeply mourned by his spiritual subjects, one of whom remarked in answer to condolence, 'I should think he had lived long enough!"'


The winter passed swift as a dream, though not without anxieties. Roman fever was then the bane of American travellers, and while she herself suffered only from a slight indisposition, Maud was seriously ill. There was no time for her Journal, but some of the impressions of that memorable season are recorded in verse.

Sea, sky, and moon-crowned mountain, one fair world,
Past, Present, Future, one Eternity.
Divine and human and informing soul,
The mystic Trine thought never can resolve.

One of the great pleasures of this Roman visit was the presence of her nephew Francis Marion Crawford. He was then twenty-three years old, and extremely handsome; some people thought him like the famous bas-relief of Antinous at the Villa Albano. The most genial and companionable of men, he devoted himself to his aunt and was her guide to the trattoria where Goethe used to dine, to Tasso's Oak, to the innumerable haunts dedicated to the poets of every age, who have left their impress on the Eternal City.

Our mother always loved acting. Her nearest approach to a professional appearance took place this winter. Madame Ristori was in Rome, and had promised to read at an entertainment in aid of some charity. She chose for her selection the scene from "Maria Stuart" where the unhappy Queen of Scots meets Elizabeth and after a fierce altercation triumphs over her. At the last moment the lady who was to impersonate Elizabeth fell ill. What was to be done? Some one suggested, "Mrs. Howe!" The "Reminiscences" tell how she was "pressed into the service, and how the last rehearsal was held while the musical part of the entertainment was going on. "Madame Ristori made me repeat my part several times, insisting that my manner was too reserved and would make hers appear extravagant. I did my best to conform to her wishes, and the reading was duly applauded."7

Another performance was arranged in which Madame Ristori gave the sleep-walking scene from "Macbeth." The question arose as to who should take the part of the attendant.

"Why not your sister?" said Ristori to Mrs. Terry. "No one could do it better!"

In the spring, the travellers made a short tour in southern Italy. One memory of it is given in the following verses:–



Hurry, hurry, little town,
With thy labor up and down.
Clang the forge and roll the wheels,
Spring the shuttle, twirl the reels.
            Hunger comes.

Every woman with her hand
Shares the labor of the land;
Every child the burthen bears,
And the soil of labor wears.
            Hunger comes.

In the shops of wine and oil
For the scanty house of toil;
Give just measure, housewife grave,
Thrifty shouldst thou be, and brave.
            Hunger comes.

Only here the blind man lags,
Here the cripple, clothed with rags.
Such a motley Lazarus
Shakes his piteous cap at us.
            Hunger comes.

Oh! could Jesus pass this way
Ye should have no need to pray.
He would go on foot to see
All your depths of misery.
            Succor comes.

He would smooth your frowzled hair,
He would lay your ulcers bare,
He would heal as only can
Soul of God in heart of man.
            Jesus comes.

Ah! my Jesus! still thy breath
Thrills the world untouched of death.
Thy dear doctrine showeth me
Here, God's loved humanity
            Whose kingdom comes.


The summer was spent in France; in November they sailed for Egypt.

"November 27, Egypt. Land early this morning – a long flat strip at first visible. Then Arabs in a boat came on board. Then began a scene of unparalleled confusion, in the midst of which Cook's Arabian agent found me and got my baggage – helping us all through quietly, and with great saving of trouble.... A drive to see Pompey's Pillar and obelisk. A walk through the bazaar. Heat very oppressive. Delightful drive in the afternoon to the Antonayades garden and villa.... Mr. Antonayades was most hospitable, gave us great bouquets, and a basket of fruit."

"Cairo. Walked out. A woman swung up and down in a box is brown-washing the wall of the hotel. She was drawn up to the top, quite a height, and gradually let down. Her dress was a dirty blue cotton gown, and under that a breech-cloth of dirty sackcloth. We were to have had an audience from the third Princess8 this afternoon, and were nearly dressed for the palace when we were informed that the reception would take place to-morrow, when there will be a general reception, it being the first day of Bairam. Visit on donkey-back to the bazaars, and gallop; sunset most beautiful."

"Up early, and all agog for the palace. I wore my black velvet and all my [few] diamonds, also a white bonnet made by Julia McAllister9 and trimmed with her lace and Miss Irwin's white lilacs. General Stone sent his carriage with sais richly dressed. Reception was at Abdin Palace – row of black eunuchs outside, very grimy in aspect. Only women inside – dresses of bright pink and yellow satin, of orange silk, blue, lilac, white satin. Lady in waiting in blue silk and diamonds. In the hall they made us sit down, and brought us cigarettes in gilt saucers. We took a whiff, then went to the lady in waiting who took us into the room where the three princesses were waiting to receive us. They shook hands with us and made us sit down, seating themselves also. First and second Princesses on a sofa, I at their right in a fauteuil, on my left the third Princess. First in white brocaded satin, pattern very bright, pink flowers with green leaves. Second wore a Worth dress of corn brocade, trimmed with claret velvet; third in blue silk. All in stupendous diamonds. Chibouks brought which reached to the floor. We smoke, I poorly, – mine was badly lighted, – an attendant in satin brought a fresh coal and then the third Princess told me it was all right. Coffee in porcelain cups, the stands all studded with diamonds. Conversation rather awkward. Carried on by myself and the third Princess, who interpreted to the others. Where should we go from Cairo? Up the Nile, in January to Constantinople."

"Achmed took me to see the women dance, in a house where a wedding is soon to take place. Dancing done by a one-eyed woman in purple and gold brocade – house large, but grimy with dirt and neglect. Men all in one room, women in another – several of them one-eyed, the singer blind – only instruments the earthenware drum and castanets worn like rings on the upper joints of the fingers. Arab café – the story-teller, the one-stringed violin...."

"To the ball at the Abdin Palace. The girls looked charmingly. Maud danced all the night. The Khedive10 made me quite a speech. He is a short, thickset man, looking about fifty, with grizzled hair and beard. He wore a fez, Frank dress, and a star on his breast. Tewfik Pasha, his son and heir, was similarly dressed. Consul Farman presented me to both of them. The suite of rooms is very handsome, but this is not the finest of the Khedive's palaces. Did not get home much before four in the morning. In the afternoon had visited the mosque of Sultan Abdul Hassan...."


After Cairo came a trip up the Nile, with all its glories and discomforts. Beiween marvel and marvel she read Herodotus and Mariette Bey assiduously.

"Christmas Day. Cool wind. Native reis of the boat has a brown woollen capote over his blue cotton gown, the hood drawn over his turban. A Christmas service. Rev. Mr. Stovin, English, read the lessons for the day and the litany. We sang 'Nearer, my God, to Thee,' and 'Hark, the herald angels sing.' It was a good little time. My thoughts flew back to Theodore Parker, who loved this [first] hymn, and in whose 'meeting' I first heard it. Upper deck dressed with palms – waiters in their best clothes...."

"To-day visited Assiout, where we arrived soon after ten in the morning. Donkey-ride delightful, visit to the bazaar. Two very nice youths found us out, pupils of the American Mission. One of these said, 'I also am Christianity.' Christian pupils more than one hundred. Several Moslem pupils have embraced Christianity.... This morning had a very sober season, lying awake before dawn, and thinking over this extravagant journey, which threatens to cause me serious embarrassment."

And again:–

"The last day of a year in which I have enjoyed many things, wonderful new sights and impressions, new friends. I have not been able to do much useful work, but hope to do better work hereafter for what this year has shown me. Still, I have spoken four times in public, each time with labor and preparation – and have advocated the causes of woman's education, equal rights and equal laws for men and women. My heart greatly regrets that I have not done better, during these twelve months. Must always hope for the new year.

The record of the new year (1879) begins with the usual aspirations:–

"May every minute of this year be improved by me! This is too much to hope, but not too much to pray for. And I determine this year to pass no day without actual prayer, the want of which I have felt during the year just past. Busy all day, writing, washing handkerchiefs, and reading Herodotus."

On January 2, she "visited Blind School with General Stone – Osny Effendi, Principal. Many trades and handicrafts – straw matting, boys – boys and girls weaving at hand loom – girls spinning wool and flax, crochet and knitting – a lesson in geography. Turning lathe – bought a cup of rhinoceros horn."

On January 4 she is "sad to leave Egypt – dear beautiful country!"

"Jerusalem, January 5. I write in view of the Mount of Olives, which glows in the softest sunset light, the pale moon showing high in the sky. Christ has been here – here – has looked with his bodily eyes on this fair prospect. The thought ought to be overpowering – is inconceivable."

"January 9. In the saddle by half past eight in the morning. Rode two hours, to Bethlehem. Convent – Catholic. Children at the school. Boy with a fine head, Abib. In the afternoon mounted again and rode in sight of the Dead Sea. Mountains inexpressibly desolate and grand. Route very rough, and in some places rather dangerous... Grotto of the Nativity – place of the birth – manger where the little Christ was laid. Tomb of St. Jerome. Tombs of two ladies who were friends of the Saint. Later the plains of Boaz, which also [is] that where the shepherds heard the angels. Encamped at Marsaba. Greek convent near by receives men only. An old monk brought some of the handiwork of the brethren for sale. I bought a stamp for flat cakes, curiously cut in wood. We dined luxuriously, having a saloon tent and an excellent cook.... Good beds, but I lay awake a good deal with visions of death from the morrow's ride."

"January 10. [In camp in the desert near Jericho.] 'Shoo-fly'11 waked us at half past five banging on a tin pan and singing 'Shoo-fly.' We rose at once and I felt my terrors subside. Felt that only prayer and trust in God could carry me through. We were in the saddle by seven o'clock and began our perilous crossing of the hills which lead to the Dead Sea. Scenery inexpressibly grand and desolate. Some frightful bits of way – narrow bridle paths up and down very steep places, in one place a very narrow ridge to cross, with precipices on either side. I prayed constantly and so felt uplifted from the abjectness of animal fear. After a while we began to have glimpses of the Dead Sea, which is beautifully situated, shut in by high hills, quite blue in color. After much mental suffering and bodily fatigue on my part we arrived at the shores of the sea. Here we rested for half an hour, and I lay stretched on the sands which were very clean and warm! Remounted and rode to Jordan. Here, I had to be assisted by two men [they lifted her bodily out of the saddle and laid her on the ground] and lay on my shawl, eating my luncheon in this attitude. Fell asleep here. Could not stop long enough to touch the water. We rested in the shade of a clump of bushes, near the place where the baptism of Christ is supposed to have taken place. Our cans were filled with water from this sacred stream, and I picked up a little bit of hollow reed, the only souvenir I could find. Remounted and rode to Jericho. Near the banks of the Jordan we met a storm of locusts, four-winged creatures which annoyed our horses and flew in our faces. John the Baptist probably ate such creatures. Afternoon ride much better as to safety, but very fatiguing. Reached Jericho just after sunset, a beautiful camping-ground. After dinner, a Bedouin dance, very strange and fierce. Men and women stood in a semicircle, lighted by a fire of dry thorns. They clapped their hands and sang, or rather murmured, in a rhythm which changed from time to time. A chief danced before them, very gracefully, threatening them with his sword, with which he played very skilfully. They sometimes went on their knees as if imploring him to spare them. He came twice to our tent and waved the sword close to our heads, saying, 'Taih backsheesh.' The dance was like an Indian war-dance – the chief made a noise just like the war-whoop of our Indians. The dance lasted half an hour. The chief got his backsheesh and the whole troop departed. Lay down and rested in peace, knowing that the dangerous part of our journey was over."

"In Camp in the Desert. January 11. In the saddle by half past seven. Rode round the site of ancient Jericho, of which nothing remains but some portions of the king's highway. Ruins of a caravanserai, which is said to be the inn where the good Samaritan lodged his patient. Stopped for rest and luncheon, at Beth – and proceeded to Bethany, where we visited the tomb of Lazarus. I did not go in – then rode round the Mount of Olives and round the walls of Jerusalem, arriving at half past three in the afternoon. I became very stiff in my knees, could hardly be mounted on my horse, and suffered much pain from my knee and abrasions of the skin caused by the saddle. Did not get down at the tomb of Lazarus because I could not have descended the steps which led to it, and could not have got on my horse again. When we reached our hotel, I could not step without help, and my strength was quite exhausted. I say to all tourists, avoid Cook's dreadful hurry, and to all women, avoid Marsaba! This last day, we often met little troops of Bedouins travelling on donkeys – sometimes carrying with them their cattle and household goods. I saw a beautiful white and black lamb carried on a donkey. Met three Bedouin horsemen with long spears. One of these stretched his spear across the way almost touching my face, for a joke."

"Jerusalem. Sunday, January 12. English service. Communion, interesting here where the rite was instituted. I was very thankful for this interesting opportunity."

"January 15. Mission hospital and schools in the morning. Also Saladin's horse. Wailing place of the Jews and some ancient synagogues. In the afternoon walked to Gethsemane and ascended the Mount of Olives. In the first-named place, sang one verse of our hymn, 'Go to dark Gethsemane.' Got some flowers and olive leaves...."


After Jerusalem came Jaffa, where she delivered an address to a "circle" at a private house. She says:–

"In Jaffa of the Crusaders, Joppa of Peter and Paul, I find an American Mission School, kept by a worthy lady from Rhode Island. Prominent among its points of discipline is the clean-washed face, which is so enthroned in the prejudices of Western civilization. One of her scholars, a youth of unusual intelligence, finding himself clean, observes himself to be in strong contrast with his mother's hovel, in which filth is just kept clear of fever point. 'Why this dirt?' quoth he; 'that which has made me clean will cleanse this also.' So without more ado, the process of scrubbing is applied to the floor, without regard to the danger of so great a novelty. This simple fact has its own significance, for if the innovation of soap and water can find its way to a Jaffa hut, where can the ancient, respectable, conservative dirt-devil feel himself secure?"

Apropos of mission work (in which she was a firm believer), she loved to tell how one day in Jerusalem she was surrounded by a mob of beggars, unwashed and unsavory, clamoring for money, till she was wellnigh bewildered. Suddenly there appeared a beautiful youth in spotless white, who scattered the mob, took her horse's bridle, and in good English offered to lead her to her hotel. It was as if an angel had stepped into the narrow street.

"Who are you, dear youth?" she cried.

"I am a Christian!" was the reply.

In parting she says, "Farewell, Holy Land! Thank God that I have seen and felt it! All good come to it!"


From Palestine the way led to Cyprus ("the town very muddy and bare of all interest") and Smyrna, thence to Constantinople. Here she visited Robert College with great delight. Returning, she saw the "Sultan going to Friday's prayers. A melancholy, frightened-looking man, pale, with a large, face-absorbing nose...."


"February 3. Early at Piræus. Kalopothakis12 met us there, coming on board.... To Athens by carriage. Acropolis as beautiful as ever. It looks small after the Egyptian temples, and of course more modern – still very impressive...."

Athens, with its welcoming faces of friends, seemed almost homelike after the Eastern journeyings. The Journal tells of sight-seeing for the benefit of the younger traveller, and of other things beside.

"Called on the Grande Maîtresse at the Palace in order to have cards for the ball. Saw the Schliemann relics from Mycenæ, and the wonderful marbles gathered in the Museum. Have been writing something about these. To ball at the palace in my usual sober rig, black velvet and so forth. Queen very gracious to us.... Home by three in the morning."

"February 12. At ten in the morning came a committee of Cretan officers of the late insurrection, presenting a letter through Mr. Rainieri, himself a Cretan, expressing the gratitude of the Cretans to dear Papa for his efforts in their behalf.... Mr. Rainieri made a suitable address in French – to which I replied in the same tongue. Coffee and cordial were served. The occasion was of great interest.... In the afternoon spoke at Mrs. Felton's of the Advancement of Women as promoted by association. An American dinner of perhaps forty, nearly all women, Greek, but understanding English. A good occasion. To party at Madame Schliemann's."

"February 15. Miserable with a cold. A confused day in which nothing seemed to go right. Kept losing sight of papers and other things. Felt as if God could not have made so bad a day – my day after all; I made it."

"February 18. To ball at the Palace. King took Maud out in the German."

"February 21. The day for eating the roast lamb with the Cretan chiefs. Went down to the Piræus warmly wrapped up.... Occasion most interesting. Much speech-making and toasting. I mentioned Felton."

"February 22. Dreadful day of departure. Packed steadily but with constant interruptions. The Cretans called upon me to present their photographs and take leave. Tried a poem, failed. Had black coffee – tried another – succeeded...."

"February 23. Sir Henry Layard, late English minister to the Porte, is on board. Talked Greek at dinner – beautiful evening – night as rough as it could well be. Little sleep for any of us. Glad to see that Lord Hartington has spoken in favor of the Greeks, censuring the English Government."

"February 26.... Sir Henry Layard and I tête-à-tête on deck, looking at the prospect – he coveting it, no doubt, for his rapacious country, I coveting it for liberty and true civilization."


The spring was spent in Italy. In May they came to London.

"May 29. Met Mr. William Speare.... He told me of his son's death, and of that of William Lloyd Garrison. Gallant old man, unique and enviable in reputation and character. Who, oh! who can take his place? 'Show us the Father.'"


The last weeks of the London visit were again too full for any adequate account of them to find its way into her letters or journals. She visited London once more in later years, but this was her last long stay. She never forgot the friends she made there, and it was one of the many day-dreams she enjoyed that she should return for another London season. Sometimes after reading the account of the gay doings chronicled in the London "World," which Edmund Yates sent her as long as he lived, she would cry out, "O! for a whiff of London!" or, "My dear, we must have another London season before I die!"



1879-1882; aet. 60-63



The clothes-line is a Rosary
   Of household help and care;
Each little saint the Mother loves
   Is represented there.

And when across her garden plot
   She walks, with thoughtful heed.
I should not wonder if she told
   Each garment for a bead.

. . . . . . .

A stranger passing, I salute
   The Household in its wear,
And smile to think how near of kin
   Are love and toil and prayer.

J. W. H.

JULY, 1879, found our mother at home at Oak Glen, unpacking trunks and reading a book on the Talmud. She had met the three married daughters in Boston ("We talked incessantly for seven hours," says the Journal), and Florence and Maud accompanied her to Newport, where Florence had established her summer nursery. There were three Hall grandchildren now, and they became an important factor in the life at Oak Glen. All through the records of these summer days runs the patter of children's feet.


From a photograph, 1903

She kept only one corner of the house for her private use; a room with the north light which she then thought essential. This was at once bedroom and workroom: she never had a separate study or library. Here, as in Green Peace days, she worked quietly and steadily. Children and grandchildren might fill the house, might have everything it contained: she asked only for her "precious time." When she could not have an hour she took half an hour, a quarter, ten minutes. No fragment of time was too small for her to save, to invest in study or in work; and as her mind concentrated instantly on the subject in hand, no such fragment was wasted. The rule of mind over body was relentless: sick or well, she must finish her stint before the day closed.

This summer of 1879 was a happy one. After the feverish months of travel and pleasure, her delight in the soft Newport climate was deeper than ever. She always felt the change from the air of the mainland to that of the island, and never crossed the bridge from Tiverton to Bristol Ferry without an exclamation of pleasure. She used to say that the soft, cool air of Newport smoothed out the tired, tangled nerves "like a silver comb"!


"July 29. To my Club, where, better than any ovation, an affectionate greeting awaited me.... Thucydides is very difficult."

This was the Town and Country Club, for some years a great interest to her. In her "Reminiscences" she tells how in a summer of the late sixties or early seventies, when Bret Harte and Dr. J. G. Holland, Professors Lane and Goodwin of Harvard were spending the season at Newport: "A little band of us combined to improve the beautiful summer season by picnics, sailing parties, and household soirées, in all of which these brilliant literary lights took part. Helen Hunt and Kate Field were often of our company, and Colonel Higginson was always with us."

.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

Among the frolics of that summer was the mock Commencement, arranged by her and Professor Lane.

"I acted as President, Colonel Higginson as my aide; we both marched up the aisle in Oxford caps and gowns. I opened the proceedings by an address in Latin, Greek, and English; and when I turned to Colonel Higginson and called him 'fili mihi dilectissime,' he wickedly replied with three bows of such comic gravity that I almost gave way to unbecoming laughter. Not long before this he had published a paper on the Greek goddesses. I therefore assigned as his theme the problem, 'How to sacrifice an Irish bull to a Greek goddess.' Colonel George Waring, the well-known engineer, being at that time in charge of a valuable farm in the neighborhood, was invited to discuss 'Social small potatoes: how to enlarge their eyes.' An essay on rhinoscopy was given by Fanny Fern, the which I, chalk in hand, illustrated on the blackboard by the following equation:–


"A class was called upon for recitations from Mother Goose in seven different languages. At the head of this Professor Goodwin honored us with a Greek version of the 'Man in the Moon.' A recent Harvard graduate, Dr. Gorham Bacon, recited the following, also of her composition:–

"'Heu iterum didulum,
  Felis cum fidulum,
  Vacca transiluit lunam,
  Caniculus ridet,
  Quum tale videt,
  Et dish ambulavit cum spoonam.'

"The question being asked whether this last line was in strict accordance with grammar, the scholar gave the following rule: 'The conditions of grammar should always give way to the exigencies of rhyme.'

"The delicious fooling of that unique summer was never repeated. Out of it came, however, the more serious and permanent association known as the Town and Country Club of Newport. I felt the need of upholding the higher social ideals and of not leaving true culture unrepresented, even in a summer watering-place."

With the help and advice of Professor and Mrs. William B. Rogers, Colonel Higginson and Mr. Samuel Powell, a number of friends were called together in the early summer of 1874 and she laid before them the plan of the proposed club. After speaking of the growing predominance of the gay and fashionable element in Newport society, she said:–

"But some things can be done as well as others. Newport... has also treasures which are still unexplored....

"The milliner and the mantua-maker bring here their costly goods and tempt the eye with forms and colors. But the great artist, Nature, has here merchandise far more precious, whose value and beauty are understood by few of us. I remember once meeting a philosopher in a jeweller's shop. The master of the establishment exhibited to us his choicest wares, among others a costly diamond ornament. The philosopher [we think it was Emerson] said, 'A violet is more beautiful.' I cannot forget the disgust expressed in the jeweller's face at this remark."

She then outlined the course laid out by the "Friends in Council," lectures on astronomy, botany, natural history, all by eminent persons. They would not expect the Club to meet them on their own ground. They would come to that of their hearers, and would unfold to them what they were able to understand.

Accordingly, Weir Mitchell discoursed to them on the Poison of Serpents, John La Farge on the South Sea Islands, Alexander Agassiz on Deep-Sea Dredging and the Panama Canal; while Mark Twain and "Hans Breitmann" made merry, each in his own inimitable fashion.

The Town and Country Club had a long and happy career. No matter what heavy work she might have on hand for the summer, no sooner arrived at Newport than our mother called together her Governing Committee and planned out the season's meetings.

It may have been for this Club that she wrote her "Parlor Macbeth," an extravaganza in which she appeared as "the impersonation of the whole Macbeth family."

In the prologue she says:–

"As it is often said and supposed that a woman is at the bottom of all the mischief that is done under the sun, I appear and say that I am she, that woman, the female fate of the Macbeth family."

In the monologue that follows, Lady Macbeth fairly lives before the audience, and in amazing travesty relates the course of the drama.

She thus describes the visit of the weird sisters (the three Misses Macbeth) who have been asked to contribute some of "their excellent hell-broth and devilled articles" for her party.

"At 12 M., a rushing and bustling was heard, and down the kitchen chimney tumbled the three weird sisters, finding everything ready for their midnight operations.... 'That hussy of a Macbeth's wife leaves us nothing to work with,' cried one. 'She makes double trouble for us.' 'Double trouble, double trouble,' they all cried and groaned in chorus, and presently fell into a sort of trilogy of mingled prose and verse which was enough to drive one mad.

" Where hast thou been?
                    Sticking pigs.
And where hast thou?
                    Why, curling wigs
Fit for a shake in German jigs
          And hoo! carew! carew!'
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .

"'We must have Hecate now, can't do without her. Throw the beans over the broomstick and say boo!' And lo, Hecate comes, much like the others, only rather more so....

"Now they began to work in good earnest. And they had brought with them whole bottles of sunophon, and sozodont, and rypophagon, and hyperbolism and consternaculum, and a few others. And in the whole went. And one stirred the great pot over the fire, while the others danced around and sang –

" Black pepper and red,
White pepper and grey,
Tingle, tingle, tingle, tingle,
Till it smarts all day.'

"'Here's dyspepsia! Here's your racking headache of a morning. Here's podagra, and jaundice, and a few fits. And now it's done to a turn, and the weird sisters have done what they could for the family.'

"A rumbling and tumbling and foaming was now heard in the chimney – the bricks opened, and He-cat and She-cat and all the rest of them went up. And I knew that my supper would be first-rate."


The time came when some of the other officers of the Town and Country Club felt unable to keep the pace set by her. She would still press forward, but they hung back, feeling the burden of the advancing years which sat so lightly on her shoulders. The Club was disbanded; its fund of one thousand dollars, so honorably earned, was given to the Redwood Library, one of the old institutions of Newport.

The Town and Country Club was succeeded by the Papéterie, a smaller club of ladies only, more intimate in its character. The exchange of "paper novels" furnished its name and its raison d'être. The members were expected to describe the books taken home from the previous meeting. "What have you to tell us of the novel you have been reading?" the president would demand. Then followed a report, serious or comic, as the character of the volume or the mood of the meeting suggested. A series of abbreviated criticisms was made and a glossary prepared: for example, –

" B. P. – By the pound.
M. A. S. – May amuse somebody.
P. B. – Pot-boiler.
F. W. B. – For waste-basket.
U. I. – Uplifting influence.
W. D. – Wholly delightful.
U. T. – Utter trash."

The officers consisted of the Glossarian, the Penologist, whose duty it was to invent penalties for delinquents, the Cor. Sec. and the Rec. Sec. (corresponding and recording secretaries) and the Archivist, who had charge of the archives. During its early years a novel was written by the Club, each member writing one chapter. It still exists, and part of the initiation of a new member consists in reading the manuscript. The "delicious fooling" that marked the first year of the Town and Country Club's existence was the animating spirit of the Papéterie. A friend christened it "Mrs. Howe's Vaudeville." Merrymaking was her safety-valve. Brain fag and nervous prostration were practically unknown to her. When she had worked to the point of exhaustion, she turned to play. Fun and frolic went along with labor and prayer; the power of combining these kept her steadily at her task till the end of her life. The last time she left her house, six days before her death, it was to preside at the Papéterie, where she was as usual the life of the meeting! The Club still lives, and, like the New England Woman's Club, seems still pervaded by her spirit.

The Clubs did not have all the fun. The Newport "Evening Express" of September 2, 1881, says: "Mrs. Julia Ward Howe has astonished Newport by her acting in 'False Colors.' But she always was a surprising woman."

Another newspaper says: "The interest of the Newport world has been divided this week between the amateur theatricals at the Casino and the lawn tennis tournament. Two representations of the comedy of 'False Colors' were given on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.... The stars were undoubtedly Mrs. Julia Ward Howe and Mr. Peter Marié, who brought down the house by their brightness and originality.... Mr. Peter Marié gave a supper on the last night of the performance, during which he proposed the health of Mrs. Julia Ward Howe and the thanks of the company for her valuable assistance. Mrs. Howe's reply was very bright and apt, and her playful warnings of the dangers of sailing under false colors were fully appreciated."

It is remembered that of all the gay company she was the only one who was letter-perfect in her part.


To return to 1879. She preached many times this summer in and around Newport.

"Sunday, September 28. Hard at work. Could not look at my sermon until this day. Corrected my reply to Parkman.13 Had a very large audience for the place – all seats full and benches put in."

"My sermon at the Unitarian Church in Newport. A most unexpected crowd to hear me."

"September 29. Busy with preparing the dialogue in 'Alice in Wonderland' for the Town and Country Club occasion...."


Many entries begin with "hard at work," or "very busy all day."

This summer was made delightful by a visit from her sister Louisa, with her husband14 and daughter. Music formed a large part of the summer's pleasure. The Journal tells of a visit from Timothée Adamowski which was greatly enjoyed.

"October 11. Much delightful music. Adamowski has made a pleasant impression upon all of us."

"October12, Sunday. Sorry to say we made music all day. Looked hard for Uncle Sam, who came not."

"October 13. Our delightful matinée. Adamowski and Daisy played finely, he making a great sensation. I had the pleasure of accompanying Adamowski in a Nocturne of Chopin's for violin and piano. All went well. Our pleasure and fatigue were both great. The house looked charming."


In the autumn came a lecture tour, designed to recoup the heavy expenses of the Eastern trip. Never skilful in matters of money-making, this tour was undertaken with less preparation than the modern lecturer could well imagine. She corresponded with one and another Unitarian clergyman and arranged her lectures largely through them. Though she did not bring back so much money as many less popular speakers, she was, after all, her own mistress, and was not rushed through the country like a letter by ambitious managers.

The Journal gives some glimpses of this trip.

"Twenty minutes to dress, sup, and get to the hall. Swallowed a cup of tea and nibbled a biscuit as I dressed myself."

"Found the miserablest railroad hotel, where I waited all day for trunk, in distress!... Had to lecture without either dress or manuscript. Mrs. Blank hastily arrayed me in her black silk, and I had fortunately a few notes."

She never forgot this lesson, and in all the thirty-odd years of speaking and lecturing that remained, made it an invariable rule to travel with her lecture and her cap and laces in her handbag. As she grew older, the satchel grew lighter. She disliked all personal service, and always wanted to carry her hand-luggage herself. The light palm-leaf knapsack she brought from Santo Domingo was at the end replaced by a net, the lightest thing she could find.


The Unitarian Church in Newport was second in her heart only to the Church of the Disciples. The Reverend Charles T. Brooks, the pastor, was her dear friend. In the spring of 1880 a Channing memorial celebration was held in Newport, for which she wrote a poem. She sat on the platform near Mr. Emerson, heard Dr. Bellows's discourse on Channing, "which was exhaustive, and as it lasted two hours, exhausting." The exercises, W. H. Channing's eulogium, etc., etc., lasted through the day and evening, and in the intervals between addresses she was "still retouching" her poem, which came last of all. "A great day!" says the Journal.


"July 23. Very busy all day. Rainy weather. In the evening I had a mock meeting, with burlesque papers, etc. I lectured on Ism-Is-not-m, on Asm-spasm-plasm."

"July 24. Working hard, as usual. Marionettes at home in the evening. Laura had written the text. Maud was Julius Caesar; Flossy, Cassius; Daisy, Brutus."

"July 28. Read my lecture on 'Modern Society' in the Hillside Chapel at Concord.... The comments of Messrs. Alcott and W. H. Channing were quite enough to turn a sober head."

"To the poorhouse and to Jacob Chase's with Joseph Coggeshall. Old Elsteth, whom I remember these many years, died a few weeks ago. One of the pauper women who has been there a long time told me that Elsteth cried out that she was going to Heaven, and that she gave her, as a last gift, a red handkerchief. Mrs. Anna Brown, whom I saw last year, died recently. Her relatives are people in good position and ought to have provided for her in her declining years. They came, in force, to her funeral and had a very nice coffin for her. Took her body away for burial. Such meanness needs no comment.

"Jacob was glad to see me. Asked after Maud and doubted whether she was as handsome as I was when he first saw me (thirty or more years ago). His wife said to me in those days: 'Jacob thinks thee's the only good-looking woman in these parts.' She was herself a handsome woman and a very sweet one. I wish I had known I was so good-looking."


Of the writing of letters there was no end. Correspondence was rather a burden than a delight to her; yet, when all the "duty letters" were written, she loved to take a fresh sheet and frolic with some one of her absent children. Laura, being the furthest removed, received perhaps more than her share of these letters; yet, as will appear from them, she never had enough.


To Laura

OAK GLEN, October 10, 1880.


How I wonder how you R! Cause of silence not hardness of heart, but the given necessity of scribbling for dear life, to finish a promised paper for the Woman's Congress, sedebit next week. I in Boston Wed., Thurs., and Fri. – day being understood. Mowski [Adamowski] left us yesterday morning.... We had him here a fortnight, and enjoyed his visit extremely. At table, between the courses, he played on every instrument of the orchestra. I asked once for the bass drum, which he imitated, adding thereunto the cymbals. We had a lunch party last week, for the bride, Maud Appleton, and "invited quite fashionable," and after all she did n't come. "Sick in bed with diphtheria." May by some be considered an excuse, but then, it's very rude to be sick, and it's very troublesome to other people. (This to make you feel badly about your own shortcomings.) We had a little dance, too, on Friday evening. An omnibus party came out and a few others. I pounded the Lancers and some ancient waltzes and polkas, ending with the Virginia reel, in which last I thought my floor would give way, the young men stamped so. I have no paper left except some newspaper wrappers, so can't write any more. Got up and found this scrap, then hunted for my pen, which, after some search, I found in my mouth. This is what it is to be lit'ry. Oh, my! I sometimes wish I was n't!...


In October, while visiting Julia at the Institution, she missed her footing and fell down the two steps leading to the dining-room, breaking the ligaments of her knee. A letter to Laura makes the first mention of this serious accident, whose effects she felt all her life.


OAK GLEN, November 9, 1880.


Behold the mum-jacket, sitting clothed and in her chair, confronting you after long silence, with comforting words of recovery. I am now in the fourth week of my infirmity, and I really think that the offending, or rather offended, muscles have almost recovered their natural power of contraction. My exercise is still restricted to a daily walk from my bed in the small parlor to my chair in the large parlor, and back again. But this walk, which at first was an impotent limp, with bones clicking loosely, is now a very respectable performance, not on the tight rope, indeed, but, let us say, on the tight garter.... The only break in the general uniformity of my life was dear Uncle Sam's arrival on Sunday last. He remained with us a couple of hours, and was as delightful as ever. Oh! more news. With his kind help, I have taken Mrs. Lodge's small house for the winter and this opens to me a comfortable prospect, though, even with his help, the two ends will have to be pulled a little in order to meet...


The furnished house in lower Mount Vernon Street proved a pleasant habitat. It was nine years since she had had a house in Boston; in spite of her lameness, perhaps partly because of it, she enjoyed entertaining her family and friends. Mrs. Terry and her daughter spent part of the winter with them.

The year 1880 was marked by the publication of her first book since "Later Lyrics": a tiny volume entitled "Modern Society," containing, beside the title essay, a kindred one on "Changes in American Society." The Journal makes little or no mention of this booklet, but Thomas Wentworth Higginson says of it: "It would be hard to find a book in American literature better worth reprinting and distributing.... In wit, in wisdom, in anecdote, I know few books so racy."


"January 1, 1881. I have now been lame for twelve weeks, in consequence of a bad fall which I had on October 17. I am still on crutches with my left knee in a splint. Have had much valuable leisure in consequence of this, but have suffered much inconvenience and privation of preaching, social intercourse, etc. Very little pain since the first ten days. Farewell, Old Year! Thank the Heavenly Father for many joys, comforts and opportunities."

Her physician insisted upon her keeping quiet, but she could not obey him, and continued to travel about on crutches to keep her many engagements. Her faithful coachman, Frank McCarthy, was her companion on these journeys.

"January 26. Busy most of the day with my lecture. Had a visit from H. P. B.,15 who advised me to keep still and go nowhere until my lameness shall be much better. Took 4.30 train for Concord, Massachusetts. Maud would go with me, which grieved me, as she thereby lost a brilliant ball.... We went to Mr. Cheney's, where we found Frank Barlow, a little older, but quite unchanged as to character, etc. He has the endearing coquetry of a woman. Dear Mr. Emerson and Mrs. came to my lecture. Mr. E. said that he liked it. The audience was very attentive throughout. Stepped only once on my lame foot in getting into the sleigh...."

"January 28. Busy all day with my address for woman's suffrage meeting in the evening.... When I entered with my crutches the audience applauded quite generally.... Wendell Phillips made the concluding speech of the evening. He was less brilliant than usual, and kept referring to what I had said. I thanked him for this afterwards, and he said that my speech had spoiled his own; that I had taken up the very points upon which he had intended to dwell."

"February 11. Lecture at Groton, Massachusetts. As I went down the steps to the carriage, one of my crutches slipped and the careless hackman on my right let me fall, Frank catching me, but not until I had given my knee a severe wrench which gave me great pain. I suffered much in my travel, but got through, Frank helping me.... My knee seemed much inflamed and kept me awake much of the night. My lecture on 'Polite Society' was well received. The good people of the house brought me their new ledger, that my name might be the first recorded in it."

"February 12. Dinner of Merchants' Club. Edward Atkinson invites me. Got back by early train, 7.50 A.M., feeling poorly. Did not let Maud know of my hurt. Went to the dinner mentioned above, which was at the Vendôme.... Was taken in to dinner by the President, Mr. Fitz. Robert Collyer had the place on my right. He was delightful as ever. Edward Everett Hale sat near me and talked with me from time to time. Of course my speech afflicted me. I got through it, however, but had to lose the other speeches, the hour being so late and the night so inclement, very rainy.

"February 20. Very lame this morning. No courage to try to go out. Have been busy with Kant and Miss Cobbe's new book, 'Duties of Women,' which I am reviewing for the 'Christian Register.'..."


To Laura

February 27, 1881.    


...Mr. Longfellow came to see us yesterday, and told us his curious dreams. In one of them, he went to London and found James Russell Lowell keeping a grocery. In another, people were vituperating the bad weather, and dear Papa said: "Remember, gentlemen, who makes it!" This impressed us as very characteristic of our dear one. My lameness is decreasing very slowly, and I have now been a week without the splint. The knee, however, still swells if I attempt to use it, and my life is still much restricted as to movement....


"February 28.... A cloud seems to lift itself from that part of my mind which concerns, or should concern, itself with spiritual things. Sometimes a strong unwillen seizes me in this direction. I feel in myself no capacity to comprehend any features of the unseen world. My belief in it does not change, but my imagination refuses to act upon the basis of the 'things not seen.'"

"March 5. Longfellow to dine."

"March 30. In the evening to the ever-pleasing Hasty-Pudding Theatrical Play, a burlesque of Victor Hugo's 'Notre Dame de Paris,' with many saucy interjections. The fun and spirits of the young men were very contagious, and must have cheered all present who needed cheering...."


To Laura

March 24, 1881.    


The March wind blows, and gives me the spleen. I don't care about anything, don't want my books, nor my friends, nor nothing. But you, poor child, may not be in this wicked, not caring condition, and so I will write you, having oughted to for a considerable time. Nothing stays put, not even put-ty. Letters don't stay answered, faces don't stay washed, clothes don't stay either clean or new. Children won't stay the youngest. The world won't stay anywhere, anyhow. Forty years ago was good enough for me. Why could n't it stay? Now, I see you undertaking to comfort me in good earnest, and know just how you would begin by saying: "Well, it should!"... Nunc Richard16 here yesterday. Remarked nothing in particular, I replying in like manner. Kept his arm very dark, under a sort of cloak. We condoled [with] each other upon our mental stupidity, and parted with no particular views or sentiments. I have been to-day at a worldly fashionable lunch. Nobody cared for anything but what they had on and had to eat. "He! he!" said one: "ho! ho! ho!" the other. "Is your uncle dead yet?" "No, but my aunt is." "Grandfather Wobblestick used to say" – "Why, of course he did!" Which is all that I remember of the conversation. Now, darling, this is perfectly hateful of me to turn and snarl at the hand which has just been putting good morsels into my mouth. But you see, this is a March wind in Boston, and I can't help it. And I hobbled greatly up the big staircase, also down. That's all. Auntie and Daisy and Maud lunched, too, munchingly. D. made a new capote for Maud. Nobody made nothing new for me. I had no lace bow under my chin, and looked so neglected! Maud and Daisy always on the wing, concerts, theatres, lunches, etc., etc. Auntie and I have some good evenings at home, in which we refresh the venerable intelligence with the modern publication, we do, to wit, "Early Life of Charles James Fox." We also play Russian backgammon. Big Frank Crawford has enlargement of 's liver. This P.M. late Mrs. C.C. Perkins has recep. for Miss Carl Schurz. Girls going, but going first to X.'s weekly weak tea and weaker talk. Here again, you spleeny devil, get thee behind me! I love my fellow-creatures, but, bless you, not in this month.... Julia Nagnos takes tea round generally, and finds that it agrees with her.... I regard you, on the whole, with feeling. Farewell, Laura, I am your poor old mad March hare Mamma. Love to Skip and the little ones.


"April 7. Finished Carlyle's 'Reminiscences' to-day. Perhaps nothing that he has left shows more clearly what he was, and was not. A loyal, fervent, witty, keen man.... His characterizations of individuals are keenly hit off with graphic humor. But he could make sad mistakes, and could not find them out, as in the case of what he calls our 'beautiful Nigger Agony'!!"

"I went out to the Cambridge Club, having had chills and fever all the night before. Read my lecture on Paris, which was well received, and followed by a good discussion with plenty of differences of opinion. Evening at home; another chill and fever."


To Laura

April 24, 1881.    

Bad old party, is and was. Badness mostly of heart, though head has a decided crack in it. Unfeeling old Beast! Left Laura so long without a word. Guess 't is n't worth while for her to write anything more.

My poor dear little Laura, how miserably you must have been feeling, I know well by your long silence. Oh! posterity! posterity! how much you cost, and how little you come to! Did I not cost as much as another? And what do I come to? By Jingo!

Darling, I have got some little miserable mean excuses. Want 'em? Have had much writing to do, many words for little money. For "Critic" (N.Y.) and for "Youth's Companion" and other things. Then, have kept up great correspondence with Uncle Sam, who has given me a house in Beacon Street! oh gonniac!16

We had lit'ry party last week. Dr. Hobnes and William Dean Howells read original things. James Freeman Clarke recited and we had ices and punch. Maud thought it frumpy, but others liked it very much. Have been to church to-day, heard J. F. C. 'Most off crutches now and hobble about the house with a cane. Use crutches to go up and down stairs and to walk in the street.... Have heard much music and have seen Salvini once, in the "Gladiator," and hope to see him on Thursday, in "Macbeth." How are the dear children? I do want to see them, 'specially July Ward....


"May 27. Soon after 7 A.M. arrived Uncle Sam with my dear sister Annie Mailliard from California; the whole intended as a birthday surprise. My sister is very little changed; always a most tender, sensitive woman. Sister Louisa did n't know of this and came at 11 A.M. to bring my greetings and gifts, with Mr. Terry, Daisy, and Uncle Sam. When Sister Annie appeared, Sister Louisa almost fainted with delight and astonishment."

"June 20, Oak Glen. Dear Flossy suffering at 6 A.M. – about all day. Her child, a fine boy, born at 3 P.M. We are all very happy and thankful. It was touching to see the surprise and joy of the little children when they were admitted to a sight of their new relative. There was something reverent in the aspect of the little creatures, as if they partly felt the mystery of this new life which they could not understand. Some one told them that it came from Heaven. Harry, four years old, said: 'No, it didn't come from Heaven, for it hasn't any wings.'"


To Laura (who, as usual, wanted a letter)

OAK GLEN, July 10, 1881.

Yes, she was a little injured, but not so bad as she pretends. Feelings hurt dreadful? Self-esteem bruised and swollen? Spleen a little touched? Well, she has had the doctor, and the doctor said: "Her mother is a public character, what can we do about it?"

Could my ink forever flow,
Could my pen no respite know.

Well, my darling, it was too bad, so we'll make up, and kiss and be friends. But now you look here. Besides all my lit'ry work, which seems to be heaviest in summer time, I had an awful deal to do in taking care of Flossy's children and the new baby. The babe is of the crying sort! When anything is to be done for his Ma, the nurse expects some one to hold him.... I returned last night from a journey to Vermont, where I read a paper before the American Institute of Education, and also spoke at a suffrage meeting and also at an outdoor mass meeting, and also at a suffrage meeting in Montpelier, and came back, after four days' absence, very tired. (Chorus, Don't tell Maud.)...


"August 30. My first performance at the Casino Theatre. It went off very successfully, and I was much applauded, as were most of the others. Supper afterwards at Mrs. Richard Hunt's, where I had to appear in 'plain clothes,' having been unable to accomplish evening dress after the play. Dear Flossy went with me."

Another "performance" of that summer is not noted in the Journal; an impromptu rendering of "Horatius at the Bridge," in the "green parlor" at Oak Glen, with the following cast:–

Horatius    ....    F. Marion Crawford.
Spurius Lartius    ....    J. W. H.
Herminius    ....    Maud Howe.

The green parlor was an oval grass plot, thickly screened by tall cedars. Laura recited the ballad, keeping her voice as she could while the heroes waged desperate combat, but breaking down entirely when Horatius "plunged headlong in the tide," and swam with magnificent action across – the greensward!


"September 18. Preached in Tiverton to-day. Text: 'The fashion of this world passeth away.' Subject: Fashion, an intense but transient power; in contradistinction, the eternal things of God."

"September 25. Spent much of this day in composing a poem in commemoration of President Garfield's death. Spared no pains with this and succeeded better than I had expected."

"September 26. The President's funeral. Services held in most cities of the United States, I should judge. Solemn services also in London and Liverpool."


To Samuel Ward

December 22, 1881.


...Your house, darling, was bright and lovely, yesterday. I had my old pet, Edwin Booth, to lunch – we were nine at table, the poet Aldrich disappointing us. From three to four we had a reception for Mr. Booth, quite the crême de la crême, I assure you. Among others, Dr. Holmes came. The rooms and furniture were much admired. We gave only tea at the levee, but had some of your good wine at the luncheon.

P.S. Mr. Booth in "Lear" last night was sublime!


To the same

Edwin Booth had sent us his box for the evening. The play was "Hamlet," the performance masterly. People's tastes about plays differ, but I am sure that no one on the boards can begin to do what Booth does. I saw him for a moment after the play, and he told me that he had done his best for me. Somehow, I thought that he was doing his very best, but did not suppose that he was thinking of me particularly....


"January 29, 1882. Frank [Marion Crawford] had met Oscar Wilde the evening before at Dr. Chadwick's; said that he expressed a desire to make my acquaintance. Wrote before I went to church to invite him to lunch. He accepted and Maud and Frank, or rather Marion, flew about to get together friends and viands. Returning from a lifting and delightful sermon of J. F. C.'s, I met Maud at the door. She cried: 'Oscar is coming.' Mrs. Jack Gardner, Madame Braggiotti, and Julia completed our lunch party. Perhaps ten or twelve friends came after lunch. We had what I might call a 'lovely toss-up,' i.e., a social dish quickly compounded and tossed up like an omelet."


During this year and the next, Crawford made his home at 241 Beacon Street. Here he wrote his first three books, "Mr. Isaacs," "Dr. Claudius," and "A Roman Singer." He was a delightful inmate, and the months he spent under our mother's roof were happy ones. A tender camaraderie existed between aunt and nephew. During his first winter in Boston he thought of going on the stage as a singer, and studied singing with Georg Henschel. He had a fine voice, a dramatic manner, full of fire, but an imperfect ear. This fault Henschel at first thought could be remedied: for months they labored together, trying to overcome it. Crawford delighted in singing, and "Auntie" in playing his accompaniments. At dusk the two would repair to the old Chickering grand to make music – Schubert, Brahms, and arias from the oratorios they both loved. In the evening the three guitars would be brought out, and aunt and nephew, with Maud or Brother Harry, would sing and play German students' songs, or the folk-songs of Italy, Ireland, and Scotland. Our mother was sure to be asked for Matthias Claudius's "Als Noah aus dem Kasten war": Crawford would respond with "Im schwarzen Wallfisch zu Ascalon."

This was the first of thirty happy years passed at 241 Beacon Street, the house Uncle Sam bought for her. The day she moved in, a friend asked her the number of her new house.

"241," she answered. "You can remember it because I'm the two-forty one."

Oscar Wilde was at this time making a lecture tour through the United States. This was the heyday of his popularity; he had been heralded as the apostle of the æsthetic movement. At his first lecture, given at the old Boston Music Hall, he appeared in a black velvet court suit with ruffles, and black silk stockings, his hair long and curling on his shoulders. A few moments after he had taken his place on the platform, a string of Harvard students filed into the hall, dressed in caricature of the lecturer's costume, each with a sunflower in his coat and a peacock feather in his hand. Our mother, who was in the audience, recognized near the head of the procession her favorite grand-nephew, Winthrop Chanler. Wilde took this interruption in good part, welcoming the lads and turning the laugh against them. "Imitation is the sincerest flattery," he said, "though this is a case where I might say, 'Save me from my friends.'"

Wilde came several times to the house in Boston; later Uncle Sam brought him to spend a day or two at Oak Glen, where the household was thrown into a flutter by the advent of his valet. It was one thing to entertain the æsthete, another to put up the gentleman's gentleman. In spite of all the affectation of the æsthetic pose, Wilde proved a rarely entertaining guest. He talked amazingly well; in that company all that was best in the man came to the surface. He recited his noble poem, "The Ode to Albion," under the trees of Oak Glen, and told endless stories of Swinburne, Whistler, and other celebrities of the day. The dreadful tragedy came later; at this time he was one of the most brilliant figures in the literary world.


"March 4. To Saturday Morning Club with Mrs. [John] Sherwood; very busy; then with her to Blind Asylum in a carriage. Drove up to front entrance and alighted, when the gale took me off my feet and threw me down, spraining my left knee so badly as to render me quite helpless. I managed to hobble into the Institution and to get through Julia's lunch, after which I was driven home. Sent for Dr. Beach and was convicted of a bad sprain, and sentenced to six weeks of (solitary) confinement."

"March 5. In bed all day."

"March 6. On the lounge; able to work."

"March 8. Day of mid-year conference of A.A.W. Business meeting at the N.E.W.C., where I, of course, could not be present. Afternoon meeting was in my room. On the whole satisfactory."


To Laura

March 18, 1882.

Whereupon, my dearest, let there be no further pribbles and prabbles, which I conjugate thus: I pribble, thou prabblest, he, she, or it pribble prabbles. Maud leaveth on a Tuesday, come thou on that same Tuesday, taking care to keep thy nose in front of thy countenance, and not otherwisely, which were neither wisely nor too well. I hope thou wilt not fail to come on Tuesday. And pray don't forget the baby, as the nurse might find it lonesome to be here without her. During the period of thy visit, I will change my name to Jinkins, we will have such high Jinks!... Beacon Street looks as though it wanted something. I think thou beest it....

Am ever thy lame game MOTHER.


"March 24. Longfellow died at about 3.30 P.M. to-day. He will be much and deservedly lamented. The last of dear Chev's old set, the Five of Clubs, nicknamed by Mary Dwight the 'Mutual Admiration Society.' On hearing of this event, I put off my reception for the Zuñi chiefs, which should have been on Monday, when the funeral will probably take place."

"March 26. Dear Brother Sam came on very unexpectedly to attend the funeral service held at the Longfellow [house] for relatives and intimates. I also was bidden to this, but thought it impossible for me to go, lame as I am. Sent word out to Julia Anagnos, who came in, and went in my place with Uncle Sam. The dear old fellow dined with us. I got downstairs with great difficulty and fatigue. We had a delightful evening with him, but he would go back to New York by the night train."

"March 30. To-day the Zuñi chiefs and Mr. Cushing, their interpreter and adopted son, came to luncheon at 1.45. There were twelve Indian chiefs in full Indian dress. Reception afterwards."


The Zuñi Indians live in Arizona. Once in the year they make a pilgrimage to the seashore, and wading into the ocean at sunrise, offer prayer to the Great Spirit, and fill their vessels of woven grass with water to be used through the year in their religious exercises. This pilgrimage had always been made to the Pacific; but in the hearts of the tribe lingered a tradition that once in a hundred years the "Water of Sunrise" should be visited, and they dreamed of the Eastern ocean. The tradition was now confirmed, the dream fulfilled, through the friendly offices of Mr. Cushing.

The ceremony was one of touching interest; hundreds of people gathered at City Point to watch it. Most of the spectators felt the beauty and solemnity of the service (for such it was), but a few were inclined to jeer, till they were sternly rebuked by Phillips Brooks.

As our mother could not go to see the Zuñis, they must come to see her, and Mr. Cushing gladly brought them. They were grave, stalwart men, with a beautiful dignity of carriage and demeanor. A picture not to be forgotten is that of her in her white dress, bending eagerly forward to listen while the chiefs, sitting in a circle on the floor, told stories, Mr. Cushing interpreting for her benefit. At parting, each man took her hand, and raised it to his forehead with a gesture of perfect grace. The eldest chief, before this salute, held her hand a moment, and blew across the palm, east and west. "Daughter," he said, "our paths have crossed here. May yours be bright hereafter!"


"April 1. To-day Edward [Everett] Hale brought me a parting memento of the Zuñis – the basket with which they had dipped up the water from the 'ocean of sunrise.' Mr. Cushing sent this. E. E. H. also spoke about five hymns which should be written corresponding to the five great hymns of the Catholic mass. He asked me to write one of these and I promised to try."

"April 16. Splint off to-day. Waited for Dr. Beach, so could not go to church. Had an interesting talk with the Doctor on the Immortality of the Soul, in which he is a believer."

"April 27. Made to-day a good start in writing about Margaret Fuller. This night at 8.50 P.M. died Ralph Waldo Emerson, i.e., all of him that could die. I think of him as a father gone – father of so much beauty, of so much modern thought."

"May 7. To church, going out for the first time without a crutch, using only my cane.

"J. F. C.'s sermon was about Emerson, and was very interesting and delicately appreciative. I think that he exaggerated Emerson's solid and practical effect in the promotion of modern liberalism. The change was in the air and was to come. It was in many minds quite independently of Mr. Emerson. He was the foremost literary man of his day in America, philosopher, poet, reformer, all in one. But he did not make his age, which was an age of great men and of great things."

"May 14. Had a sudden thought in church of a minister preaching in a pulpit and a fiend waiting to carry him off to hell. Made some verses out of this.

"This is Whitsunday.... I do hope and pray for a fresh outpouring this year. While I listened to Dr. Furness, two points grew clear to me: one was, that I would hold my Peace Meeting, if I should hold it alone, as a priest sometimes serves his mass. The second was, that I could preach from the text:– 'As ye have borne the image of the earthy, so shall ye bear the image of the heavenly,' and this sermon I think I could preach to the prisoners, as I once tried to do years ago when dear Chev found the idea so intolerable that I had to give it up. I am twenty years older now, and the Woman Ministry is a recognized fact.

"Still Sunday afternoon. I am now full of courage for this week's heavy work."

"May 30. Alas! alas! dear Professor Rogers dropped dead to-day after some exercise at the Institute of Technology. How he had helped me in the Town and Country Club! Without his aid and that of his wife, I doubt whether I could have started it at all: he was always vice-president as I was president. I cannot think how I can do without him."

"July 22. Commemoration of Mr. Emerson at Concord Town Hall. Several portraits of him and very effective floral decorations; no music. Prayer by Rev. Dr. Holland; introductory remarks by F. B. Sanborn in which he quoted a good part of a poem by W. E. Channing, R. W. E. its theme. Then came an unmercifully long paper by Dr. X., much of which was interesting and some of which was irrelevant. He insisted upon Mr. Emerson's having been an evolutionist, and unfolded a good deal of his own tablecloth along with the mortuary napkin."

"July 29. Had a studious and quiet day. Was in good time for the performance [at the Casino]...."

In a letter to "Uncle Sam" she speaks of "the labor and fatigue of preparing for the theatricals, which are happily over. We had rehearsals every day last week. My part was a short one, but I took great pains to make it as good as I could. Some points which I thought of on the spur of the moment added greatly to the fun of the impersonation. We had a fine house, and an enthusiastic reception. I had a floral tribute – only think of it! – a basket of beautiful roses...."

"September 18. Left Newport to attend Saratoga Convention, being appointed a delegate from the Channing Memorial Church, with its pastor, Reverend C. W. Wendte."

"November 8. Cousin Nancy Greene, my father's cousin, enters to-day upon her ninety-ninth year. I called to see her, going first to town to buy her some little gift.... Had a very interesting talk with her. She was nicely dressed in black, with a fresh cap and lilac ribbon, and a little silk handkerchief. For her this was quite an unusual toilette. I wished her a good year to come, but she said: 'Why should I want to live another year? I can do nothing.' I suggested that she should dictate her reminiscences to the girl who waits upon her and who writes, she says, a good hand."

"November 11. I went to see the old Seventh Day Baptist Church, now occupied by the Newport Historical Society, in which my great-grandfather, Governor Samuel Ward, used to attend service...."

"December 24, Boston. Spoke at the Home for Intemperate Women at 6 P.M. I did my best. Text: 'Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth are named.' Subject: The Christian family; God, its father, all mankind brothers and sisters.... Afterwards went to the Christmas 'Messiah.' Felt more sure than ever that no music so beautiful as this has ever been written."



1883-1885; aet. 64-66


The full outpouring of power that stops at no frontier,
But follows I would with I can, and I can with I do it!

J. W. H.


THE winter of 1882-83 found her once more with a family of some size, her son and his wife joining forces with her at 241 Beacon Street. In Harry's college days, mother and son had made much music together; now the old music books were unearthed, and the house resounded with the melodies of Rossini and Handel. It was a gay household, with Crawford living in the reception room on the ground floor; play was the order of the evening, as work was of the day.


The new inmates brought new friends to the circle, men of science, the colleagues of her beloved "Bunko," now Professor Howe of the Institute of Technology, Italians, and other Europeans introduced by Crawford. There was need of these new friends, for old ones were growing fewer. Side by side in the Journal with the mention of this one or that comes more and more frequently the record of the passing of some dear companion on life's journey. Those who were left of the great band that made New England glorious in the nineteenth century held closely to each other, and the bond between them had a touching significance. Across the street lived Oliver Wendell Holmes; in Cambridge was Thomas Wentworth Higginson; in Dorchester, Edward Everett Hale.

In a letter to her brother she speaks of "the constant 'tear and trot' of my Boston life, in which I try to make all ends meet, domestic, social, artistic, and reformatory, and go about, I sometimes think, like a poor spider who spins no web.... Marion has been very industrious, and is full of good work and of cheer. His book ["Mr. Isaacs"] has been such a success as to give him at once a recognized position, of which the best feature, economically, is that it enables him to command adequate and congenial employment at fairly remunerative prices...."


To Laura


Your letter makes me say that I don't know anything, whether I have written or not, or ought to write, or not. Mammy's poor old head is very much worse than ever, and I don't get time even to read letters, some days. I can't tell why, except that there are many points and people to be reached, in one way and another, and I rush hither and thither, accomplishing, I fear, very little, but stirring many stews with my own spoon. It seems to me that I could not bear another winter of this stress and strain, which is difficult to analyze or account for, as "she need n't have done it, you know." Why she must do it, notwithstanding, is hard to tell, or what it is in doing it which so exhausts all nervous energy and muscular strength. Now, darling, after this prelude in a minor key, let me thank heaven that, after all, I am well in health, and comfortable.

Wednesday, 10th, 2.20 P.M. I wrote the above at noon, yesterday, expecting Salvini to lunch.... Mrs. Appleton came in, and kept me, until 2 minus 20 minutes, at which time, nearly beside myself with anxiety, I tumbled upstairs, out of one garment and into another. Such was my dressing. Salvini came and was charming. After luncheon came a reception. Your little girls were there, looking delightfully. Porter was pleased to say that the little ones, hanging around the (old) grandmother made a pleasing picture.... No more from 'fection



In later January she has "a peaceful day at Vassar College.... In the afternoon met the teachers and read some poems, to wit, all of the Egyptian ones, and the poem on the Vestal dug up in Rome. At bedtime last night I had a thought of ghosts. I spoke of this to Maria Mitchell to-day. She told me that Mr. Matthew Vassar's body had been laid in this room and those of various persons since, which, had I known, I had been less comfortable than I was."


"February 18. Young Salvini [Alessandro] and Ventura to luncheon, also Lizzie Boott and Mrs. Jack [Gardner]. Salvini is beautiful to look at, having a finely chiselled Greek head. He is frank, cordial, and intelligent, and speaks very appreciatively of his parts, especially of Romeo."

"To the Intemperate Women's Home where I spoke from the text, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"


To Laura

March 17, 1883.


Just let drop everything, and take me up on your lap. I 'se very tired, writing, tugging at all sorts of things. Long silence b'tween us. Growing estrangement, eh? Richardses are better, eh? Which nobody can deny.... Have been hard at work upon a memoir of Maria Mitchell, which is well-nigh finished.... Am spleeny to-day: the weather being according....


To "Uncle Sam"

March 28, 1883.


I owe you two good long letters, and am ashamed to think how long it is since you have seen my crabbed chirography. Of course, it is the old story. I have been dreadfully busy with all sorts of work, in all of which I take delight, while yet to quote St. Paul, "The good that I would I do not." To give you a few items, I have just finished a short memoir of Maria Mitchell, Professor of Astronomy at Vassar College. This was an interesting task, but had to be very carefully done. At the same time, I had to correct Maud's memoir of me, which is to be published in the same collection of biographies of eminent women! I think I am eminent for undertaking ten times more than I can do, and doing about one tenth of it. Well – I have given three Sunday preachments at a sort of Woman's church which they have here. My themes were: "The Order of the Natural and the Spiritual," "Tares and Wheat," and "The Power of Religion in the Life." I was in New York last Wednesday, to preside over the mid-year Conference of the Woman's Congress.... I had a visit from Salvini the other day. He was most charming, and sent me a box for last evening's performance of "The Outlaw," in Italian: "Morte Civile." I went, with my Harry and Laura, I in my best attire. I had received some very beautiful roses, which I threw upon the stage, at the recall after the third Act. To-day I met Wendell Phillips in the street, and made him come in to see Marion, whose letter on English rule in India, printed in the New York "Tribune," he had liked very much. Phillips asked me how I came to live in this part of the city, and I told him about your gift of the house.... Marion is sitting by my fire, with Browning's "Jocoseria" in his hands, from which he has been reading passages. It sounds strange and silly....


To the same

OAK GLEN, May 10, 1883.

... – I have been here alone all these days, with many gentle ghosts of past companionship, and with a task at which I work steadily every day. This is a life of Margaret Fuller, rewritten mostly from the memoirs already published, but also recast in my own thought. The publisher is in a hurry for it, and I have to work without intermission, i.e., as long as I can, every day; but with all the diligence in my power, I cannot get along very rapidly. When I have finished my stint, I refresh myself with a little Greek, and also with an Italian novel which I have brought with me. The place looks lovely, and I sat, this afternoon, on the western piazza, near that angle where you and I used to sit, last summer, and enjoyed a bath of sunshine....


To Laura

OAK GLEN, August 21, 1883.


I give you to-day my first hour, or half-hour, as the case may be, feeling that my long silence has been abominable, and must be broken, even if you should feel it to be your duty to throw an inkstand at my head, in return for my letter. It is partly Backbone's fault. Backbone has been so scrouged and put upon by the summer's work that he sometimes cuts up amazing. Said work is pretty well out of hand at this moment, the last chapters of "Margaret Fuller" being ready for the press.... I have so much felt the shocking uncharity of things in the way of diaries and letters which have been published within the last few years. Not the least bad exhibition in this kind has been made by Carlyle and his wife. I have just finished reading the three volumes of her letters and memorials, which were indeed interesting to me by the mention in them of persons whom I myself have known. Still, the spirit of the book is painful. It is sad to see how she adopted, at times, her husband's harsh creed. I should think Froude, the editor, must be wanting in common taste and decency, to have allowed the letters to appear in all this crudeness. I am so glad that I never went near them, after that one tea-drink, a very bad one, forty years ago. Is this enough about the Carlyles? And is it strictly charitable? I dunno; I'm getting very old to know anything....


The "Life of Margaret Fuller" (in Roberts Brothers' series of "Famous Women") was a small book, yet it stood for much careful work, and was so recognized and received. The recognition sometimes took a singular form, e.g., a letter from a gentleman styling himself "Prof. Nat. & Geol.," who desires two copies of the "Margaret Fuller," and asks her to "accept for them a choice selection of 'Lithological,' Cabinet of Geological Mineral specimens, representing the Glacial, and Emptus period, also the Crystalline formation of the Earth's Strata, in Coolings, Rubbings, and Scratchings of the Drift Age."

The exchange was not effected.


To "Uncle Sam"

December 15, 1883.


I must write you at once, or my silence will expand into a broad ocean which I shall be afraid to cross.... I have had a very laborious year, now screwed to my desk, and working at timed tasks, now traveling widely, and scattering my spoken words.... Well, so much for desk-work, now for the witch broomstick on which I fly. The Congress was held in Chicago, in mid-October. From this place, I went to Minneapolis.... Harry and his wife are here, paying handsomely their share of our running expenses. The little house looks friendly and comfortable, and I hope, after a few more flights, to enjoy it very much. These will now be very short.... Boston is all alive with Irving's acting, Matthew Arnold's lectures, Cable's readings, and the coming opera. Père Hyacinthe also has been here, and a very eminent Hindoo, named Mozumdar. I have lost many of these doings by my journeys, but heard Arnold's lecture on Emerson last evening. I have also heard one of Cable's readings. Arnold does not in the least understand Emerson, I think. He has a positive, square-jawed English mind, with no super-sensible aperçûs. His elocution is pitiable, and when, after his lecture, Wendell Phillips stepped forward and said a few graceful words of farewell to him, it was like the Rose complimenting the Cabbage....


The year 1883 closed with a climax of triumphant fatigue in the Merchants' and Mechanics' Fair, in which she was president of the Woman's Department. This was to lead to a far more serious undertaking in the autumn of 1884, that of the Woman's Department of the New Orleans Exposition. The Journal may bridge the interval between the two.

"February 3, 1884. Wendell Phillips is dead.

"To speak at the meeting in memory of Cheshub Chunder Sen at Parker Memorial Hall. Heard T. W. Higginson and Mrs. Cheney. H. spoke at length of Phillips and said too much about his later mistakes, I thought, saying nothing about his suffrage work, of which I took care to speak, when it was my turn. Several persons thanked me for my words, which treated very briefly of Phillips's splendid services to humanity."

[She spoke of him as "the most finished orator of our time," and as "the Chrysostom of modern reform."]

"February 6. Wendell Phillips's funeral. I am invited to attend memorial services at Faneuil Hall on Friday evening. I accept."

"February 9.... I was very glad that I had come to this, the People's meeting, and had been able to be heard in Faneuil Hall, the place of all others where the People should commemorate Wendell Phillips. My task was to speak of his services to the cause of Woman. Others spoke of him in connection with Labor Reform, Anti-Slavery, Ireland, and Temperance."


To Laura

Just so, knowed you'd take advantage of my silence to write su'thin saucy. Until I got your kammunikation I felt kind o' penitent like – had n't thanked for no Xmas nor nothing. Felt self to be shabby and piglike in conduct, though perfectly angelic in intention. Pop comes your letter – pop goes my repentance. "She's got even with me," I said: "If she went into a tailor's shop to get a cabbage leaf, to make an apple pie, what does it matter by what initials she calls herself? Who's going to distress themselves about the set of her cloak? And she do boast about it preposterous, and that are a fact."

Here endeth the first meditation, and I will now fall back upon the "Dearly beloved," for the rest of the service....


To the same

241 BEACON STREET, February 11, 1884.

Oh, thou, who art not quite a Satan!

Question is, dost thou not come very near it?...

I have been very busy, and have orated tremendous, this winter. I did n't go for to do it, you know, but I cou'n' avoin it. [A household expression, dating back to her childhood, when a gentleman with a defect of speech, speaking of some trouble incurred by her father, said, "Poor Mr. Warn! he cou'n' avoin it!" This gentleman was a clergyman, and was once heard to assure his congregation that "their hens [heads] wou'n be crownen with glory!"]


"February 12. Hearing at State House, Committee of Probate, etc., on the petition of Julia Ward Howe and others that the laws concerning married women may be amended in three respects. We had prepared three separate bills, one providing that the mother shall have equal rights with the father in their children, especially in determining their residence and their education. A second ruling that on the wife's death, the husband, who now gets all her real estate, may have one half, and the children the other, and that the widow shall have the same right to half the husband's real estate after his death. A third bill was devised to enable husband and wife to contract valid money obligations toward each other."


Through the untiring efforts of the Suffragists these bills were all passed.


"March 27.... I heard with dismay of the injury done to my Newport place by the breaking of Norman's dam. Was very much troubled about this."


To Laura

March 29, 1884.


Dunno why I hain't wrote you, 'cept that, while I was lame, the attitude of reclining with my foot extended was very fatiguing to me. The injury was very slight. I only knocked my left foot pretty hard ( anglicé, stubbed my toe) hurrying upstairs, but the weak left knee gave way, and turned, letting me down, and feloniously puffing itself up, which Charity never does. It could not be concealed from Maud, and so Beach was sent for, and a fortnight of stay still ordered and enforced. On Tuesday last I broke bounds and railed it to Buffalo, New York, with my crutches, which were no longer needed. This was for the mid-year Conference of our Congress. Before I say more under this head, let me tell you that I returned from Buffalo this morning, much the better for my trip. I had a lovely visit there, in a most friendly and comfortable house, with carriages at my disposition. A beautiful luncheon was given to us Congressers and I gave a lecture on Thursday evening, price $50, and sat in a high chair, thinking it not prudent to stand so long....


"April 4. In the latter part of the eighteenth century a Christian missionary, Chinese, but disguised as a Portuguese, penetrated into Corea, and was much aided in his work by the courageous piety of Columba Kang, wife of one of the lesser nobles. She and the missionary suffered torture and death.... Merchants, not diplomatists, are the true apostles of civilization.

"Questions for A.A.W. [i.e., for the annual Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Women]: "How far does the business of this country fulfil the conditions of honest and honorable traffic?

"What is the ideal of a mercantile aristocracy?"

"April 7. General Armstrong called last evening. He spoke of the negroes as individually quick-witted and capable, but powerless in association and deficient in organizing power. This struck me as the natural consequence of their long subjection to despotic power. The exigencies of slavery quickened their individual perceptions, and sharpened their wits, but left them little opportunity for concerted action. Freedom allows men to learn how to co-operate widely and strongly for ends of mutual good. Despotism heightens personal consciousness through fear of danger, but itself fears nothing so much as association among men, which it first prohibits and in time renders impossible."

"April 15. A delightful Easter. I felt this day that, in my difficulties with the Anti-Suffragists, the general spread of Christian feeling gives me ground to stand upon. The charity of Christendom will not persist in calumniating the Suffragists, nor will its sense of justice long refuse to admit their claims."

"April 17. Sam Eliot was in a horse-car, and told me that Tom Appleton had died of pneumonia in New York. The last time I spoke with him was in one of these very cars. He asked me if I had been to the funeral, meaning that of Wendell Phillips. I was sure that he had been much impressed by it. I saw him once more, on Commonwealth Avenue on a bitter day. He walked feebly and was much bent. I did not stop to speak with him which I now regret. He was very friendly to me, yet the sight of me seemed to rouse some curious vein of combativeness in him. He had many precious qualities, and had high views of character, although he was sometimes unjust in his judgments of other people, particularly of the come-outer reformers."

"April 19. To get some flowers to take to T. G. A.'s house. Saw him lying placid in his coffin, robed in soft white cashmere, with his palette and brushes in his hands...."


To Florence

April 20, 1884.

...I went yesterday to poor Tom Appleton's funeral. It is very sad to lose him, and every one says that a great piece of the old Boston goes with him.... I dined with George William Curtis yesterday at Mrs. Harry Williams's. George William was one of Tom Appleton's pall-bearers, – so were Dr. Holmes and Mr. Winthrop....

Curtis's oration on Wendell Phillips was very fine.


"April 20. Thought sadly of errors and shortcomings. At church a penitential psalm helped me much, and the sermon more. I felt assured that, whatever may be my fate beyond this life, I should always seek, love, and rejoice in the good. Thus, even in hell, one might share by sympathy the heavenly victory."

"May 5. I begin in great infirmity of spirit a week which brings many tasks. First, I must proceed in the matter of Norman's injury to my estate, either to a suit or a settlement by arbitration unless I can previously come to an understanding with N."


A heavy affliction was soon to drive all other thoughts from her mind. On May 19, a telegram arrived from Italy saying, "Samuel Ward expired peacefully."

She writes: "Nothing could be more unexpected than this blow. Dear Bro' Sam had long since been pronounced out of danger.... Latterly we have heard of him as feeble, and have felt renewed anxiety, but were entirely unprepared for his death."


"May 20. Dark days of nothingness these, to-day and yesterday. Nothing to do but be patient and explore the past."

"May 21. Had a sitting all alone with dear Uncle Sam's picture this afternoon. I thought it might be the time of his funeral. I read the beautiful 90th Psalm and a number of his bright, sweet lyrics. A sympathetic visit from Winthrop Chanler."

"May 27.... Dear Brother Sam's death has brought me well in sight of the farther shore. May I be ready when it is my turn to cross."


To her sister Louisa


I was already in debt to you for one good letter when this later one arrived, giving me the full, desired particulars of our dear one's last days on earth. You and Annie both write as though the loss were heaviest to me, and I only feel that I cannot feel it half enough. The pathos of a life of such wonderful vicissitudes! I cannot half take it in. What must he not have suffered in those lonely days of wandering and privation, while I was comfortable in my household! ...God knows, I had every reason to love him, for he was heroically faithful to his affection for me. Now, I feel how little I appreciated his devotion, and how many chimeras, in my foolish wool-gathering head, crowded upon this most precious affection, which was worthy of a much larger place in my thoughts. His death is a severe loss to Maud and me.... We were always hoping to rejoin him, and to pass some happy years with him. A great object is withdrawn from our two lives. Nothing can take his place to either of us.... As I write, the tears come. Like you, I long to sit and talk it all over with the two who are all I have left of my own generation. To our children, the event cannot be at all what it is to us. They are made for the future, and our day is not theirs. I was comforted, in your first letter, in reading of that pleasant, quiet talk you had with him, when, among other things, you read to him the lovely verses from St. John's Gospel, which have become a classic of consolation among Christian people. I believe that he is in the heaven accorded to those who have loved their fellow-men, for who ever coined pure kindness into acts as he did? One of the lessons I learn from his life is that it is very hard for us to judge rightly the merits and demerits of others. Here was a man with many faults on the surface, and a heart of pure gold beneath.... The thought of his lonely funeral and solitary grave has wrung my heart at times, but sometimes I think of it as a place where one might be glad to be at rest.... But now, dear, I have had all the heart-break I can bear, writing this letter. Let me now speak of the living and tell you where and how we are.... I left very unwillingly to come down here, and try to get my poor wrecked place in order. You know, of course, that the dam which was built to cut off my water, and against which I obtained an injunction, burst this spring, and destroyed my two ponds, my carriage, and a good part of my barn. I have tried, in a lumbering way, to get justice, but have not yet succeeded. I have had, too, a great deal of trouble in my presidency of the Woman's Congress, this year. Almost as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, these black dogs of worry spring upon me. I long to be free from them....


"June 28. Senator Bayard to William A. Duncan about dear Bro' Sam: 'It is just one of those little kindnesses of which his life was so full. There is no doubt, as you say, that his later years were his best! The wine of life fined itself.... He was readily sympathetic, and did in Rome as Romans did, and kept time and tune to a great variety of instruments. But the kind good heart always beat truly, and the array of good deeds to his credit in the great book of account is delightful to think of.'"


To Laura

NEWPORT, August 15, 1884.

Have n't I written to you? I have an idea of some long letter of mine not answered by you. But this may be one of those imaginary good actions which help to puff me up. Life, you see, gallops on to such a degree with me that I don't know much difference between what I have intended to do and what I have done....

I think novels is humbug. What you think? They don't leave you anything but a sort of bad taste....


"August 27. Simply good for nothing, but to amuse the little Hall children. A strange dead level of indifference. Do not see any difference between one thing and another. This, I should think, must come from a vagary of the liver. Worst sort of nervous prostration – to prostrate one's self before one's nerves. To town in the afternoon, when the dead indifference and lassitude went off somewhat."

"August 29. We dined at the Booths' to-day, meeting Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Jefferson and William Warren. A rare and delightful occasion. Jefferson talked much about art. He, Booth, and Warren all told little anecdotes of forgetfulness on the stage. Jefferson had told a love-story twice, Booth had twice given the advice to the players [in "Hamlet"], Warren, in 'Our American Cousin,' should have tried to light a match which would not light. He inadvertently turned the ignitable side, which took fire, and so disconcerted him that he forgot where he was in the play and had to ask some one what he had last said, which being told him enabled him to go on."

"September 25. Finished to-day my Congress paper. I have written this paper this week instead of going to the Unitarian Convention, which I wished much to attend.... I did not go because I thought I ought neither to leave home unnecessarily, to spend so much money, nor to put off the writing of the A.A.W. paper.

"I shall look a little to see whether circumstances hereafter will not show that it was best for me to follow this course. My Dæmon did not say 'go,' but he sometimes plays me false. I have certainly had the most wonderful ease in writing this paper which, I thought, would occupy a number of weary days, and lo! it has all written itself, currente calamo."

"October 5. Is the law of progress one of harmony or of discord? Do the various kinds of progress, moral, intellectual, political, and economic or industrial, agree or disagree? Do they help or hinder each other?"


To Laura

NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND, October 9, 1884.


My poor wits, in these days, are like bits of sewing silk wound on a card. You unwind a little and straightway come to an end. The wonder is, there are so many ends. Here is a precise picture of our days as passed at present. Morning, I wake early, lie and think over my past life, with little satisfaction. Bathe. Breakfast. Walk with Maud, Sonny18 tugging alongside. Maud goes much further than I do. Sonny and I return, take a basket and gather dry twigs to brighten the evening fire. I visit my mare in her stable – a good custom, as my man is not overcareful of her stall. Maud comes back, I exercise her voice. I go to books, she to desk. Study Greek a good deal, reading Thucydides and Aristophanes. Dinner, coffee, more reading and writing, unless we go to town. Evening, music, reading or cards, worrying about —, bed. I have not mentioned my own much writing, because you will understand it. I am trying to compass a story, but have my fears about it. My paper for the Woman's Congress is entitled "How to broaden the Views of Society Women." Darling dear, what more can I tell you? Is n't this too much already? Now, do spunk up and have some style about you.... Be cheerful and resolute, my love, life comes but once, and is soon over....


"October 13. To New Bedford, for the Suffrage meeting; trains did not connect at Myricks, where, after some delay and negotiation, I with difficulty persuaded the conductor of a freight train to take me to New Bedford in his caboose. This saved me time enough to go to the Delano Mansion, restore my strength with food, and put on my cap and ruche. The Delanos were very kind. I read my Congress paper on 'Benefits of Suffrage to Women.'"

"November 23. To Louisburg Square to my old friend's funeral [Hamilton Wilde].... Around and before me were the friends and associates of the golden time in which his delightful humor and bonhomie so often helped me in charades and other high times. It was ghostly – there were Lizzie Homans and Jerry Abbott, who took part with him and William Hunt in the wonderful charade in which the two artists rode a tilt with theatre hobbies. The gray heads which I had once seen black, brown, or blond, heightened the effect of the picture. It was indeed a sic transit. I said to Charles Perkins – 'For some of us, it is the dressing bell!' Oh! this mystery! So intense, so immense a fact and force as human life, tapering to this little point of a final leave-taking and brief remembrance!"

Now came the New Orleans Exposition, in which she was to be chief of the Woman's Department.

It was already late when she received the appointment, but she lost no time. Establishing her headquarters at No. 5 Park Street (for many years the home of the "Woman's Journal" and the New England Woman's Club), she sent out circulars to every State in the Union, asking for exhibits, and appealed to the editors of newspapers all over the country to send women correspondents for a month or more to the Exposition. She called meetings in Boston, New York, Providence, Philadelphia, and Hartford, at all of which she spoke, imploring the women to bestir themselves, and, late as it was, to make an effort to get together a proper showing of women's work for the great Fair.

Beside all this, she kept up through the autumn an active correspondence with the Exposition authorities at New Orleans.

The Exposition was scheduled to open on the 1st of December: it did actually open on the 16th. She writes:–

"A steamer had been chartered to convey thither the officers of the Exposition and their invited guests. Seated on the deck, the chief of the Woman's Department and her fellow-workers watched the arrival of the high dignitaries of the State and city, escorted by members of the military, and by two bands of music; one, the famous Mexican Band. All the craft on the river were adorned with flags and streamers. The Crescent, which gives the city its familiar designation, was pointed out, and the 'Father of Waters' was looked upon with admiring eyes. The steamer brought us to the Exposition grounds, and here a procession was formed in which the ladies of the Woman's Department were assigned a place which they had some difficulty in keeping. The march led to the Main Building. The opening prayer was made by the Reverend De Witt Talmage. At a given moment a telegram was received from the President of the United States, Chester A. Arthur, declaring the Exposition to be formally open. Immediately after, the son of the Director-General, a fine lad of twelve years, touched the electric button by which the machinery of the Exposition was set in motion.

"Returning by land, we found the streets gay with decorations, in which the colors of the orthodox flag were conspicuous."

Maud was with her, and shared her labors, as did her devoted friend Isabel Greeley. At this time the floor of the gallery destined for the women's exhibit was not laid. By December 29 the officers of the department were able to hold a meeting in "an enclosure without doors or suitable furniture." When all was supposed to be ready for the exhibits, it was found that the roof leaked badly, the timber having so shrunk under the action of the sun as to tear away the waterproof felting. Moreover, there was not enough money to carry on the business of the Department. Funds had been promised by the Board of Management, but these funds were not forthcoming, the Board itself being in difficulties. Our mother had foreseen this contingency.

"Ladies," she said, "we must remember that women have sometimes built churches with no better instruments than thimbles and a teapot! If the worst comes to the worst, we must come before the public and endeavor with its aid to earn the money necessary to complete our enterprise."

This foreboding soon became a fact, and early in January she found herself in rather a "tight corner." She had sent out the call for exhibits to every State in the Union; with great effort the women of the country had responded most generously. She now felt herself personally responsible for these exhibits, and determined that, coûte que coûte, they should be well displayed and the Woman's Department properly installed.

There was no money: very well! she would earn some. She arranged a series of entertainments, beginning with a lecture by herself. There followed a time of great stress and anxiety, which taxed to the utmost her mother-wit and power of invention. Faculties hitherto dormant awoke to meet the task; she devised practical, hard, common-sense methods, far removed from her life habit of intellectual labor. She had moved into a new apartment in the house of life, one nearer the earth and not quite so near the stars. She often quoted during these months Napoleon's saying, on being told that something he wished to do was impossible, "Ne me dîtes pas ce bête de mot!"

In spite of endless vexations, it was a time of tremendous enjoyment; every nerve was strained, every gift exercised; the cup of life was brimming over, even if it was not all filled with honey.

"January 13, 1885. Preparing for my lecture this evening. Subject, 'Is Polite Society Polite?' Place, Werlein Hall. I was very anxious – the lecture appeared to me very homely for a Southern audience accustomed to rhetorical productions. My reception was most gratifying. The house was packed and many were sent away. Judge Gayarré introduced me. Joaquin Miller came first, reciting his 'Fortunate Isles.' I said in opening that even if my voice should not fill the hall, my good-will embraced them all. Every point in the lecture was perceived and applauded, and I felt more than usually in sympathy with my audience."

"The second entertainment devised for the relief of the Woman's Department was a 'Soirée Créole,' the third and last a 'grand musical matinée' at the French Opera House, for which we were indebted to the great kindness of Colonel Mapleson, who granted us the use of the house, and by whose permission several of his most distinguished artists gave their services. Monsignor Gillow, Commissioner for Mexico, also allowed his band to perform."


The difficulty of persuading the different artists to sing, of pacifying their separate agents in the matter of place on the programme and size of the letters in which names were advertised, of bringing harmony out of all the petty rivalries and cabals between the different members of the troupe, required a patience worthy of a better cause. Meanwhile there were other troubles. Most of the women commissioners appointed by the different States proved loyal comrades to their chief in her great and distressful labor; but there were others who gave her endless trouble.


"February 6. Our concert. The weather was favorable. Lieutenant Doyle came to escort me to the theatre. My box was made quite gay by the uniforms of several navy officers. The house was packed. We took $1500 and hope to have more. I particularly enjoyed the Semiramide overture, which the band gave grandly. Rossini's soul seemed to me to blossom out of it like an immortal flower."


These entertainments brought in over two thousand dollars. This money enabled the women to install such exhibits as were ready, to pay for a time the necessary workmen, and to engage a special police force for the protection of their goods. The United States ships in the harbor also espoused the cause, Admiral Jouett, of the flagship Tennessee, and Captain Kane, of the Galena, sending experienced craftsmen whose ready and skilful work soon changed the somewhat desolate aspect of the gallery.

The arrangements were as simple as might be, the greatest expense being the purchase of showcases. The tables were of rough pine boards covered with cambrics and flannels, the draperies of the simplest and cheapest, the luxury of a carpet was enjoyed only here and there; but the excellence of the exhibits, and the taste with which they were displayed, made the department a pleasant place. The winter was cold; the wooden walls of the Government Building let in many a chilling blast; but there was a stove in the office of the chief of installation, and with its help the daily cup of tea was made which kept the workers alive.

Each State and Territory had a separate opening day for its exhibit. These days were marked by public meetings at which compliments were exchanged, addresses made, and the exhibits turned over to the management. It was considered obligatory for all the commissioners to attend these meetings, and the women spent many weary hours trying to hear the addresses of distinguished individuals whose voices contended in vain with the din of the machinery. The Mexican Band played, and relieved the tedium of the long sittings; but the women commissioners were upheld chiefly by the feeling that they were drawn together from all parts of the country, and were taking an honored part in a great industrial and peaceful pageant, whose results would be important to the country and to mankind at large.

The Journal tells in February of the "opening of the colored people's department; very interesting. A numerous assemblage of them showed a wide range of types. Music, military, drumming especially good. Saw in their exhibit a portrait of John A. Andrew which looked like a greeting from the old heroic time."

The Woman's Department was formally opened on March 3, though it had really been open to the public since early January. The day was one of the gayest in the history of the Exposition. The gallery of the Government Building was bright with flowers and gay with flags. Admiral Jouett had sent the ship's band as a special compliment; the music was delightful, the speeches excellent. We quote from Mrs. Howe's address:–

"I wish to speak of the importance, in an industrial point of view, of a distinct showing of women's work in the great industrial exhibits. There are few manufactures in which the hand and brain of woman have not their appointed part. So long, however, as this work is shown merely in conjunction with that of men, it is dimly recognized, and makes no distinct impression. The world remains very imperfectly educated concerning its women. They are liable to be regarded as a non-producing class, supported by those to whom, in the order of nature, their life is a necessary condition of existence itself.... Exhibits like the present, then, are useful in summing up much of this undervalued work of women. A greater moral use they have in raising the standard of usefulness and activity for the sex in general. Good work, when recognized, acts as a spur to human energy. Those who show how women can excel are examples to shame those who do not try. They lay upon their sex an obligation to stronger endeavor and better action, and society gains thereby.

"Still more have I at heart the association, in these enterprises, of women who are not bound to each other by alliance of blood, or affinity of neighborhood. Greater and more important than the acquisition of skill is the cultivation of public spirit. 'Pro bono publico' is a motto whose meaning men should learn from their infancy, and at their firesides. How shall they learn it unless the women, the guardian spirits of the household, shall hold and teach, beyond all other doctrines, that of devotion and loyalty to the public good?

"I value, then, for the sake of both men and women, the disinterested association of women for the promotion of the great interests of society....

"You were stirred the other day by the bringing back of a battle-flag whose rents had been carefully mended. I tell you, sisters, we have all one flag now, broad and bright enough to cover us all. Let us see that no rent is made in it.

"All that the best and wisest men can imagine for the good of the human race can be wrought if the best women will only help the best men."


One of her most arduous tasks was the arranging of a course of twenty-four "Twelve-o'Clock Talks," which were given every Saturday from the middle of February till the close of the Exposition. How she labored over them her companion daughter well remembers: remembers too what success crowned the effort. The subjects varied widely. Captain Bedford Pym, R.N., discoursed on Arctic explorations; Charles Dudley Warner told the story of the Elmira Reformatory; the Japanese Commissioner spoke of woman's work in Japanese literature. These talks were free to the public, and proved so popular that eight years later the same plan was carried out in the Woman's Department of the Chicago World's Fair, and again proved its excellence and value.

As if all this were not enough, she must found a Literary Association among the young people of New Orleans. She named them the Pans, and among their number were several whose names have since become well known in literature. Grace King, Elizabeth Bisland, and others will remember those evenings, when their bright youth flashed responsive to the call of the elder woman of letters.

In all the stress and hurry, we find this entry:–

"My dear father's birthday. I left the Exposition early and walked to visit dear Marion's grave in Girard Street Cemetery. A lovely place it was. He is buried above ground in a sort of edifice formed of brick, the rows of coffins being laid on stone floors, each single one divided from those on either side of it by a stone partition. 'Francis Marion Ward, died September 3rd, 1847.' Erected by William Morse, dear Marion's friend."


"May 16. Gave my talk to the colored people, soon after two in the afternoon in their department. A pretty hexagonal platform had been arranged. Behind this was a fine portrait of Abraham Lincoln, with a vase of beautiful flowers [gladiolus and white lilies] at its base. I spoke of Dr. Channing, Garrison, Theodore Parker, Charles Sumner, John A. Andrew, Lucretia Mott, and Wendell Phillips, occupying about an hour. They gave me a fine basket of flowers and sang my 'Battle Hymn.' Afterwards the Alabama cadets visited us. We gave them tea, cake and biscuits and I made a little speech for them."

Winter and spring passed rapidly, each season bringing fresh interest. The picturesqueness of New Orleans, the many friends she made among its people, the men and women gathered from every corner of the world, well made up to her for the vexations which inevitably attended her position. Looking back on these days, she said of them: "It was like having a big, big Nursery to administer, with children good, bad, and middling. The good prevailed in the end, as it usually or always does, and yet I used to say that Satan had a fresh flower for me every morning, when I came to my office, and took account of the state of things."

The difficulties with which the unfortunate managers were struggling made it impossible for them to keep their promises of financial support to the Woman's Department. Things went from bad to worse. Finally she realized that she herself must find the money to pay the debts of her department and to return the exhibits to the various States. She wrote a letter to John M. Forbes, of Boston, urging him to help her and her assistants out of their alarming predicament. Through Mr. Forbes, the Honorable George F. Hoar, Senator from Massachusetts, learned the state of the case. The sum of $15,000 had been named as that necessary to pay all just claims and wind up the affairs of the Department. At this time a bill was before Congress for an appropriation to aid the Exposition. Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Hoar, a sum of $15,000 was added to this bill with the express clause, "For the Relief of the Woman's Department." The bill was passed without discussion. The news was received with great rejoicing in New Orleans, especially in the Woman's Department, "where our need was the sorest." The promise brought new life to the weary workers; but they were to be far more weary before the end. The Exposition closed on the last day of May. Summer was upon them; the Northern women, unused to the great heats of New Orleans, longed to close up their business and depart, but the money had not come from Congress, and they could not leave their post. Days dragged on; days of torrid, relentless heat. Our mother must borrow money for the Department here and there to bridge over the gap between promise and fulfilment. Worn out by fatigue, anxiety, and the great heat, she fell seriously ill. Those nearest her begged her to go home and leave to others the final settlement of affairs, but she would not hear of this. She would get well: she must get well! Rallying her forces, mental and physical, she did get well, though her illness for a time seemed desperate.

At long last, when June was nearly half over, the money came, and with it the end of her long task. Accounts were audited, checks drawn, exhibits despatched; and with farewell greetings and congratulations, "the whole weary matter ended." Her report as President of the Woman's Department tells the story:

"The business of the Woman's Department having thus been brought successfully to a close, it only remains for its President to resign the office she has filled, with some pain and much pleasure, for more than six months, – to thank the officers of her staff for their able and faithful services, the vice-presidents, and the lady commissioners in general, for the friendly support she has had from them almost without exception....

"The classification by States she considers to have justified itself, partly through the more distinct knowledge thus gained of the work of women in localities widely distant from each other, partly in the good acquaintance and good-will developed by this method of work. The friendly relations growing out of it still bind together those who are now thousands of miles apart, but who, we may hope, will ever remain united in a common zeal for promoting the industrial interests of women.

"Finally, she would say that she considers herself happy in having taken part in an Exposition of so high and useful a character as that which has latterly made New Orleans a centre of interest in the civilized world. She takes leave with regret of a city in which she has enjoyed much friendly intercourse and hospitality; a city in whose renewed prosperity she must henceforth feel a deep and lasting interest."


To Laura

OAK GLEN, July 19, 1885.

How I left New Orleans, how I came North, how I let myself down here, is no doubt known to you thro' inference. How hot New Orleans was before I left it, you cannot know, nor how sick I was once upon a time, nor how I came up upon iced champagne and recovered myself, and became strong again. Ever since I came home, I have slaved at my report of the Woman's Department. Weary pages have I written. Life seems at last to consist in putting a pen into an inkstand, and taking it out again, scribble, scribble, nibble, nibble (meal-times), and go to bed between whiles....


So ended one of the most interesting and arduous experiences of her life. She always held in affectionate remembrance the city where she had enjoyed and suffered so much, and the friends she made there.


To Laura

OAK GLEN, November 4, 1885.


Herewith returned is the letter you wrote for. I had a mind to send it to you, beast that you are, without one word, just to pay you for that postal. Of course, I meant to write you immediately afterward in a separate envelope, telling you that I still love you. But there! I reflected that you could have a bad feeling if you opened the envelope and found no greeting from me. For the sake of posterity, Madam, I declined to give you this bad feeling. I do also retain some proprietorship in a certain pair of eyes which are like Sapphira's. Oh! I mean sapphires, and I don't want to dim them with any tear diamonds. "You flatter yourself," replies the Good-Natured One,19 "to think of my shedding tears about anything that you could say or do, or leave unsaid or undone." Just so. All right. I have got beefsteak for dinner to-day. What do you think of the weather, and does your husband know when your blacking is out?

Now, my sweet darling, your old Mammy is just back from a tremendous jaunt. I had a beautiful time in Iowa, and am as well as possible. Only think, travelling and at work for one calendar month, and not a finger ache, 'cept one day, when I had a slight headache. And I brought home over $200 earned by lectures....


To the same

December 26, 1885.    

...What have I been doing for the last eight weeks? Never you mind, my little dear. Mostly putting a girdle round the earth by correspondence, and some-ly worrying about my poor relations. Don't you flatter yourself that I ever thought of you under this head. But the —, and the —, and the —, taken together, are enough to give one a turn at the worry-cat system. Well 'm, I had also to see the distribution of the whole edition of my New Orleans Report, and I can only compare this to the process of taking down a house, and of sending each individual brick somewhere, labelled with your compliments; supposing the bricks to be one thousand in number, it would take some time to distribute them, Harry Richards will be able to tell you how much time, and how many masculine oaths would go to each hundred of the articles. Well, that's enough about that. You have had one of my bricks sent you, and hang me if I believe you have read it. Sweetison (a new little 'spression which I have this minute invented), I stayed at Oak Glen until Monday last, which was the 21st. Then I came here by the way of Boston, and arrove on Tuesday evening. Our quarters, or rather eighths, are small, considering my papers and Maud's clothes. The food is fine, the style first-rate, the rigs imposing to a degree, but, ah! I kind of hate it all. New York is too frightfully dirty! and then so stereotyped and commonplace. Boston losing its prestige? Not as I am at present advised....



1886-1888; aet. 67-69



Giulia Romana! how thy trembling beauty,
    That oft would shudder at one breath of praise,
Comes back to me! before the trump of duty
    Had marshalled thee in life's laborious ways.

We used to wonder at thy blush in hearing
    Thy parents praised. We now know what it meant:
A consciousness of their gifts reappearing
    Perchance in thine – to consummation blent.

Oh, she was beautiful, beyond all magic
    Of sculptor's hand, or pencil to portray!
Something angelical, divinely tragic,
    Tempered the smile that round her lips would play.

Dear first-born daughter of a hero's heart!
    Pass to perfection, all but perfect here!
We weep not much, remembering where thou art,
    Yet, child of Poesy! receive a tear.


THE years 1886 and 1887 were marked by two events which changed materially the course of her private life: the death of Julia, the beloved eldest daughter, and the marriage of Maud, the house-mate and comrade.

During the winter of 1885-86 she made her headquarters in New York. Lecture engagements, conferences, and sermons took her hither and thither, and much of the time that should have been "precious" was passed in trains and boats.

In the last days of February, Julia was stricken with rheumatic fever, which soon developed into typhoid. The weather was "direful: bitter cold and furious wind." Our mother went at once to South Boston, where "arriving, found my dear child seriously but not dangerously ill. Her joy at my coming was very pathetic."

On the 28th she writes:–

"I cannot be sure whether it was on this day that she said to me: 'Mamma, don't you remember the dream you had when Flossy and I were little children, and you were in Europe? You dreamed that you saw us in a boat and that the tide was carrying us away from you. Now the dream has come true, and the tide is bearing me away from you.'

"This saying was very sad to me; but my mind was possessed with the determination that death was not to be thought of."

For a time conditions seemed to improve, and she hastened to New York, where her presence was imperative; but a telegram summoned her back: Julia was not so well, and "a pain as of death" fell on the anxious mother.

"Saw by Katie's face when she opened the door that things were worse. I flew up the stairs and found my darling little changed, except that her breathing seemed rather worse. She was so glad to see me!... About this time I noticed a change come over her sweet face.... I felt, but would not believe, that it was the beginning of the end. Julia was presently very happy, with Michael on one side of her and myself on the other. Each of us hold a hand. She said: 'I am very happy now: if one has one's parents and one's husband, what more can one want?' And presently, 'The angels have charge of me now, mamma and Mimy.'21 She said to me: 'What does the Lord want to kill me for? I am dying.' I said, 'No, my darling, you are going to get well.' She said: 'Remember, if anything happens to me, you two must stay together.'... A little later Michael and I were alone with her. She began to wander, and talk as if with reference to her club or some such thing. 'If this is not the right thing,' she said, 'call another priestess'; then, very emphatically: 'Truth, truth.' These were her last words.

"My darling should have been forty-two years old this day...."


A few days later she writes to Mary Graves:–

"I am not wild, nor melancholy, nor inconsolable, but I feel as America might if some great, fair State were blotted from its map, leaving only a void for the salt and bitter sea to overwhelm. I cannot, so far, get any comfort from other worldly imaginings. If God says anything to me now, he says, 'Thou fool.' The truth is that we have no notion of the value and beauty of God's gifts until they are taken from us. Then He may well say: 'Thou fool,' and we can only answer to our name."

The Journal says:–

"This is the last day of this sorrowful March which took my dear one from me. I seem to myself only dull, hard, and confused under this affliction. I pray God to give me comfort by raising me up that I may be nearer to the higher life into which she and her dear father have passed. And thou? eleison...."

"Have had an uplifting of soul to-day. Have written to Mary Graves: 'I am at last getting to stand where I can have some spiritual outlook.' The confusion of 'is not' is giving place to the steadfastness of 'is.' Have embodied my thoughts in a poem to my dear Julia and in some pages which I may read at the meeting intended to commemorate her by the New England Woman's Club."

The Journal of this spring is full of tender allusions to the beloved daughter. The dreams of night often brought back the gracious figure; these visions are accurately described, each detail dwelt on with loving care.

In the "Reminiscences" she tells of Julia's consecrated life, of her devotion to her father, and to the blind pupils; describes, too, her pleasure in speaking at the Concord School of Philosophy (where her "mind seemed to have found its true level") and in a Metaphysical Club of her own founding.

"It was beautiful to see her seated in the midst of this thoughtful circle, which she seemed to rule with a staff of lilies. The club was one in which diversity of opinion sometimes brought individuals into sharp contrast with each other; but her gentle government was able to bring harmony out of discord, and to subdue alike the crudeness of scepticism and the fierceness of intolerance."

In the "Reminiscences" we find also the record of Julia's parting injunction to her husband: "Be kind to the little blind children, for they are papa's children."

"These parting words," our mother adds, "are inscribed on the wall of the Kindergarten for the Blind at Jamaica Plain. Beautiful in life, and most beautiful in death, her sainted memory has a glory beyond that of worldly fame."

She considered Julia the most gifted of her children. The "Reminiscences" speak of her at some length, making mention of her beneficent life, and of her published works, a volume of poems entitled "Stray Chords," and "Philosophiæ Quæstor," a slender volume in which she described the Concord School of Philosophy and her pleasure therein.

In our mother's house of life, each child had its special room, though no door was locked to any. In all things pertaining to philosophy, Julia was her special intimate. For help and sympathy in suffrage and club doings, she turned naturally to Florence, an ardent worker in these fields; with Harry she would specially enjoy music; with Laura would talk of books; while Maud was the "Prime Minister" in social and household matters. So, till the very last, we gray-haired children leaned on her, clung to her, as in the days when we were children indeed.

A few years before Julia's death, our mother wrote to Mrs. Cheney, who had lost her only daughter: "This combat of the soul with deadly sorrow is a single-handed one, so far as human help is concerned. I do believe that God's sweet angels are with us when we contend against the extreme of calamity."

Heavy as this affliction was, it brought none of the paralysis of grief caused by Sammy's death: rather, as after the passing of the Chevalier, she was urged by the thought of her dead child to more and higher efforts.

In the quiet of Oak Glen she wrote this summer a careful study of Dante and Beatrice, for the Concord School of Philosophy.22 July 20 found her at Concord, where she and Julia had been wont to go together. She says, "I cannot think of the sittings of the School without a vision of the rapt expression of her face as she sat and listened to the various speakers." 23

Spite of her grief in missing this sweet companionship she found the sessions of the School deeply interesting. She was "much more nervous than usual" about her lecture; which "really sounded a good deal better than it had looked to me. It was wonderfully well received."

We are told by the last living representative of the School of Philosophy, Mr. F. B. Sanborn, that she was the most attractive, and sometimes the most profound, of its lecturers; "had the largest audiences, and gave the most pleasure; especially when she joined delicate personal criticism or epigrammatic wit with high philosophy."

The meetings of the School were always a delight to her; the papers written for it were among her most valuable essays; indeed, we may look upon them as the flowering of all her deep and painful toil in the field of philosophy.24

September finds her planning an "industrial circle" in each State; a woman's industrial convention hereafter; and attending a Suffrage Convention at Providence.

"Spoke of the divine right, not of kings or people, but of righteousness. Spoke of Ouida's article in the 'North American Review.' It had been reported that I declined to answer it. I said: 'You cannot mend a stocking which is all holes. If you hold it up it will fall to pieces of itself.'

"In the afternoon spoke about the Marthas, male and female, who see only the trouble and inconvenience of reform: of the Marys who rely upon principle."

After this we have "a day of dreadful hurry, preparing to go West and also to shut up this house. Had to work tight every minute...."

This Western lecture trip was like many others, yet it had its own peculiar pleasures and mishaps.

"October 12. Dunkirk, lecture.... No one must know that I got off at the wrong station – Perrysburg, a forlorn hamlet. No train that would bring me to Dunkirk before 6.30 P.M. Ought to have arrived at 1.30. Went to the 'hotel,' persuaded the landlord to lend his buggy and a kindly old fellow to harness his horses to it, and drove twenty miles or more over the mountains, reaching Dunkirk by 5.10 P.M. When the buggy was brought to the door of the hotel, I said: 'How am I to get in?' 'Take it slow and learn to pedal,' said my old driver. Presently he said, 'I guess you ain't so old as I be.' I replied, 'I am pretty well on toward seventy.' 'Well, I am five years beyond,' said he. He drives an accommodation wagon between Perrysburg and Versailles, a small town where a man once wanted to set up a mill, and to buy land and water power, and they would n't sell either. Whereupon he went to Tonawanda and made the place. 'Guess they'd have done better to gin him the land and water, and to set up his mill for him,' said my man, Hinds."

On this trip she saw the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky, taking the seven-mile walk; went as far as Kansas City; was received everywhere with delightful warmth.


To Laura

December 1, 1886.

You see, I was waiting for the winter to begin, in order to write you, and that you ought to have known. But bless you, in Gardiner, Maine, you don't know when real Winter begins, 'cause you have so much sham winter. Well, better late than never. Here's thanking you very much for the delightful [tea] cozy. Maud said, "What are you going to do with it?" sarcastic-like. I replied, "Put it on my head"; to which she inquit, "Most natural thing for you to do." The sight of the monogram gave me real satisfaction and a sense of inborn dignity. You boil down to your monogram, after all, and this one was beyond my highest expectations. I am only thinking, dear, whether you would not have shown more respect by putting the crimson satin bow on the monogram side, and thus, as it were, calling attention to the distinguished initials.... I am grinding now in all of my mills, of which one is a paper for the "Woman Suffrage Bazaar, which paper I am doing my best to edit. I cannot in conscience ask you to send me anything for its columns, because, poor dear, you have to do so much work on your own account. At the same time, a trifling overflow into the hat would be very welcome....


Winter brought another grave anxiety. Florence in her turn developed rheumatic fever and became alarmingly ill. The mother-bird flew to her in terror. On the way she met Henry Ward Beecher and told him of her deep distress, made still more poignant by the thought of the little children who might be left motherless. She was scarcely comforted by his assurance that he "had known stepmothers who were very good to their stepchildren"!

It was Christmas time, and she divided her time between the beloved patient and the children who must not lack their holiday cheer.

"December 27. The day was a very distressing one to me. I sat much of the time beside Flossy with a strange feeling that I could keep her alive by some effort of my will. I seemed to contend with God, saying, 'I gave up Julia, I can't give up Flossy – she has children.'..."

"December 28. Most of the day with dear Flossy, who seems a little better. I sat up with her until 1.30 A.M., and made a great effort of will to put her to sleep. I succeeded – she slept well for more than an hour and slept again for a good while without any narcotic."

Throughout the illness she fought against the use of narcotics.

The cloud of danger and anxiety passed, and the year closed in happiness and deep thankfulness. The last entry reads:–

"God bless all my dear people, sisters, children, grandchildren, and cousins. God grant me also to serve while I live, and not to fail of the high and holy life. Amen!"


To Laura

Monday, January 31, 1887.

Now, you just look here.

Daughter began her school and music to-day. Nobody's a-neglecting of her. What you mean? Grandma took her to Clarke church, prouder than a peacock, – Grandma, I mean.

Congregation inquit: "Whose child is that?"

"Laura's," responsa sum.

"Id cogitavi" was the general answer. And she's pop'lar, she is. Little fourteen-year-olds keep a-coming and a-coming. And I draws her bath, and tucks her up in bed. And she's having a splendid time. And I want some more of this paper. And my feelings won't allow me to say any more. No – my dearest sweetest pug pie, your darling won't be forgotten for a moment. We could n't get at the lessons before, and last week, like strong drink, was raging.




Maud was now engaged to John Elliott, a young Scottish painter, whose acquaintance they had made in Europe in 1878. The marriage took place on February 7, 1887. Though there were many periods of separation, the Elliotts, when in this country, made their home for the most part with our mother. The affection between her and her son-in-law was deep; his devotion to her constant. Through the years that were to follow, the comradeship of the three was hardly less intimate than that of the two had been.

The Journal carries us swiftly onward. In place of the long meditations on philosophy and metaphysics, we have brief notes of comings and goings, of speaking and preaching, writing and reading. She works hard to finish her paper on "Women in the Three Professions, Law, Medicine, and Theology," for the "Chautauquan." "Very tired afterwards."

She speaks at the Newport Opera House with Mrs. Livermore (who said she did not know Mrs. Howe could speak so well); she takes part in the Authors' Reading for the Longfellow Memorial in the Boston Museum, reciting "Our Orders" and the "Battle Hymn," with her lines to Longfellow recently composed.

"I wore my velvet gown, my mother's lace, Uncle Sam's Saint Esprit, and did my best, as did all the others."

The next day she speaks at a suffrage meeting in Providence, and makes this comment:–

"Woman suffrage represents individual right, integral humanity, ideal justice. I spoke of the attitude and action of Minerva in the 'Eumenides';25 her resistance to the Furies, who I said personified popular passion fortified by ancient tradition; her firm stand for a just trial, and her casting the decisive ballot. I hoped that this would prefigure a great life-drama in which this gracious prophecy would be realized."

In a "good talk with Miss Eddy,"26 she devises a correspondence and circular to obtain information concerning art clubs throughout the country. "I am to draft the circular."

She makes an address at the Unitarian Club in Providence.

"The keynote to this was given me yesterday, by the sight of the people who thronged the popular churches, attracted, in a great measure no doubt, by the Easter decoration and music. I thought: 'What a pity that everybody cannot hear Phillips Brooks.' I also thought: 'They can all hear the lesson of heavenly truth in the great Church of All Souls and of All Saints; there is room enough and to spare."

She writes a poem for the Blind Kindergarten at Jamaica Plain.

"I worked at my poem until the last moment and even changed it from the manuscript as I recited it. The occasion was most interesting. Sam Eliot presided, and made a fine opening address, in which he spoke beautifully of dear Julia and her service to the blind; also of her father. I was joined by Drs. Peabody and Bartol, Brooke Herford and Phillips Brooks. They all spoke delightfully and were delightful to be with. I recited my poem as well as I could. I think it was well liked, and I was glad of the work I bestowed on it."

She preaches at Parker Fraternity27 on "The Ignorant Classes."

Small wonder that at the Club Tea she finds herself "not over-bright." Still, she had a "flash or two. The state of Karma [calmer], orchestral conversation, and solo speaking."

She hears the Reverend William Rounceville Alger's paper on the "Blessed Life." "Very spiritual and in a way edifying; but marred by what I should call 'mixed metaphysic.' One goes beyond his paper to feel a deep sympathy with him, a man of intense intellectual impulse, in following which he undergoes a sort of martyrdom; while yet he does not seem to me to hit the plain, practical truth so much as one might wish. He is an estray between Western and Eastern thought, inclining a good deal, though not exclusively, to the latter."

She goes to conferences of women preachers, to peace meetings; to jubilee meetings, in honor of Queen Victoria; she conducts services at the Home for Intemperate Women, and thinks it was a good time.

She "bites into" her paper on Aristophanes, "with a very aching head"; finishes it, delivers it at Concord before the School of Philosophy.

"Before I began, I sent this one word to Davidson,28 eleison. This because it seemed as if he might resent my assuming to speak at all of the great comedian. He seemed, however, to like what I said, and in the discussion which followed, he took part with me, against Sanborn, who accuses Aristophanes of having always lent his wit to the service of the old aristocratic party. Returned to Boston and took train for Weirs, New Hampshire, where arrived more dead than alive."

She is at Newport now, and there are tender notes of pleasure with the Hall grandchildren, of "reading and prayers" with them on Sunday, of picnics and sailing parties.

Still, in dreams, she calls back the lost daughter; still records with anxious care each visionary word and gesture.

"Dreamed this morning of Charles Sumner and dearest Julia. She was talking to me; part of the time reclining on a sort of lounge. I said to some one, 'This is our own dear Julia, feel how warm she is.'... I think I said something about our wanting to see her oftener. She said pathetically, 'Can't you talk of me?' I said, 'We do, darling.' 'Not very often,' I think was her reply. Then she seemed to come very near me, and I said to her, 'Darling, do they let you come here as often as you want to?' She said, 'Not quite.' I asked why, and she answered almost inaudibly, 'They are afraid of my troubling people.' I stirred and woke; but the dear vision remains with me, almost calling me across the silent sea."

She writes innumerable letters; date and address of each is carefully noted, and now and then an abstract of her words.

"The bane of all representative action is that the spur of personal ambition will carry people further than larger and more generous considerations of good are apt to do. So the mean-hearted and ambitious are always forward in politics; while those who believe in great principles are perhaps too much inclined to let the principles do all the work...."

The following extracts hurry the year to its close:–

"November 7. Left for Boston by 10.20 A.M. train, to attend the celebration of Michael's [Anagnos] fiftieth birthday at the Institution, and the opening meeting of the N.E.W.C.... Arriving in Boston, I ran about somewhat, fatiguing myself dreadfully. Reached the Institution by 4.30 P.M., when, throwing myself on the bed for necessary rest, the desired rhymes for Anagnos's birthday flashed upon me, 'all of a sudden,' and instead of napping, I called for pen and ink and wrote them. The meeting was very good; I presided. Dwight and Rodocanachi made speeches, the latter presenting the beautiful chain given to Michael by the teachers of the Institution. Michael was much moved and could not but be much gratified. I proposed three cheers at the end."

"I stole half an hour to attend a meeting in memory of Hannah Stephenson [the friend and house-mate of Theodore Parker] of whom much good was said that I did not know of. I reproached myself for having always been repelled by her ugliness of countenance and tart manner, and having thus failed to come within the sphere of her really noble influence. The occasion recalled a whole vision of the early and painful struggle in Boston; of the martyrdom of feeling endured by friends of the slave – of Parker's heroic house and pulpit. It seemed, as it often does, great to have known these things, little to have done so little in consequence."

"November 27. Finished my lecture on 'Woman in the Greek Drama.' It was high time, as my head and eyes are tired with the persistent strain.... All the past week has been hard work. No pleasure reading except a very little in the evening."

"December 1.... Took 2.30 train for Melrose.... I read my new lecture – 'Woman as shown by the Greek Dramatists': of whom I quoted from Æschylus, Sophocles, and Aristophanes. A Club Tea followed: a pleasant one. I asked the mothers present whether they educated their daughters in hygiene and housekeeping. The response was not enthusiastic, and people were more disposed to talk of the outer world, careers of women, business or profession, than to speak of the home business. One young girl, however, told us that she was a housekeeping girl; a very pleasant lady, Mrs. Burr, had been trained by her mother, to her own great advantage."

"December 18. For the [Parker] Fraternity a text occurs to me, 'Upon this rock I will build my church.' Will speak of the simple religious element in human nature, the loss of which no critical skill or insight could replace. Will quote some of the acts and expressions of the true religious zeal of other days, and ask why this means nothing for us of to-day."

Her first act of 1888 was to preach this sermon before the Parker Fraternity. It was one of those best liked by herself and others.

The great event of this year was her visit to California. She had never seen the Pacific Coast; the Elliotts were going to Chicago for an indefinite stay; her sister Annie, whom she had not seen in many years, begged earnestly for a visit from the "Old Bird."

She decided to make the journey, and arranged a lecture tour to cover its expenses.

The expedition was throughout one of deepest interest. It began with "a day of frightful hurry and fatigue. I had been preparing for this departure for some time past yet when the time came, it seemed as if I could hardly get off. Maud worked hard to help me. She insisted upon arranging matters for me; went to the bank; got my ticket. We parted cheerfully, yet I felt the wrench. God knows whether she will ever be in my house again, as my partner in care and responsibility...."

After an "A.A.W." conference in Boston, and a Woman's Council in Washington, she took the road. Her first stop was at Chicago. Here she was "very busy and not quite well. Divided the day between Maud and some necessary business. At 3.15 P.M. the dreadful wrench took place. Maud was very brave, but I know that she felt it as I did...."


To Maud


So far, so good, my dear sweet child. I got me off as well as possible, though we had many complications and delays as to the ticket. My section was very comfortable. I had supper in the dining-car, and slept well, no theatre-troupe nor D. T. being aboard. I have now got my ticket all straight to 'Frisco, and won't I frisk oh! when I get there!


The next stop was at Spokane Falls. Here she had "a bronchial attack; very hoarse and sore in my throat and chest. Went over my lecture carefully, leaving out some pages. Felt absolute need of tea-stimulant, and went downtown, finding some in a grocer's shop. The good servant Dora made me a hot cup which refreshed me greatly. Very hoarse at my lecture. Opera House a good one enough; for a desk, a box mounted on a barrel, all covered with a colored paper; decent enough. Lecture: 'Polite Society'; well received." The Spokane of to-day may smile at the small things of yesterday; yet our mother always spoke with pleasure of her cordial reception there.

Walla Walla, Walula, Paser. In the last-named place she "found a tavern with many claimants for beds. Mrs. Isaacs, who came with me from Walla Walla for a little change of air, could not have a separate room, and we were glad to share not only a small room but also a three-quarters bed. I was cramped and slept miserably. She was very quiet and amiable."

At Tacoma again (on the way whither she felt as if her life hung by a thread while crossing the Notch), there was but one room for the two ladies, but they occupied it "very peacefully."

After church at Tacoma "we heard singing in one of the parlors, and went in quest of it. In the great parlor of the hotel where hops take place, we found an assemblage of men and women, mostly young, singing Gospel hymns, with an accompaniment of grand piano. The Bishop of New Zealand stood in the middle of the apartment singing with gusto. Presently he took his place at the instrument, his wife joining him as if she thought his situation dangerous for a 'lone hand.' A little later, some one, who appeared to act as master of ceremonies, asked me to come over and be introduced to the Bishop, to which I consented. His first question was: 'Are you going to New Zealand immediately?' He is a Londoner. 'Ah, come; with all your States, you can show nothing like London.' Being asked for a brief address, he spoke very readily, with a frank, honest face, and in a genial, offhand manner. A good specimen of his sort, not fine-brained, nor over-brained, but believing in religion and glad to devote his life to it. The Bishop has blue eyes and a shaggy head of grizzled hair."

After Tacoma came "hospitable Seattle"; where she lectured and attended a meeting of the Seattle Emerson Club; then to Olympia, by a small Sound steamer.

"A queer old bachelor on board, hearing me say that I should like to live in Washington Territory, said he would give me a handsome house and lot if I would live in Olympia, at which several Olympians present laughed."

She left Olympia by train, en route for Portland. The conductor, "Brown by name," saw the name on her valise, and claimed acquaintance, remembering her when she lived in Boylston Place. Soon after, passing a lovely little mill-stream, with a few houses near it, by name Tumwater, she consulted him as to the value of land there, with the result that she bought several acres of "good bottom land."

This was one of several small purchases of land made during her various journeyings. She always hoped that they would bring about large results: the Tumwater property was specially valued by her, though she never set foot in the place. The pioneer was strong in her, as it was in the Doctor; the romance of travel never failed to thrill her. Speeding hither and thither by rail, her eye caught beauty and desirableness in a flash; the settler stirred in her blood, and she longed to possess and to develop. Tumwater she fondly hoped was to bring wealth to the two eldest grandchildren, to whom she bequeathed it.

In Portland she spent several days, lectured three times, and was most hospitably entertained. On her one disengaged evening she went down into the hotel parlor, played for the guests to dance, played accompaniments for them to sing. She spoke to the school children; "she made slight acquaintance with various people," most of whom told her the story of their lives. Briefly, she touched life at every point.

Finally, on May 5, she reached San Francisco, and a few hours later the ranch of San Geronimo, where the Mailliards had been living for some years.

"Situation very beautiful," she says; "a cup in the mountains." Here she found her beloved sister Annie, the "little Hitter" of her early letters; here she spent happy days, warm with outer and inner sunshine.

California was a-tiptoe with eagerness to see and hear the author of the "Battle Hymn"; many lectures were planned, in San Francisco and elsewhere. The Journal gives but brief glimpses of this California visit, which she always recalled with delight as one of the best of all her "great good times." In the newspaper clippings, preserved in a scrapbook, we find the adjectives piled mountain high in praise and appreciation. Though not yet seventy, she was already, in the eye of the youthful reporter, "aged"; her silver hair was dwelt on lovingly; people were amazed at her activity. One of the great occasions was the celebration of Decoration Day by the Grand Army of the Republic in the Grand Opera House, at which she was the guest of honor. The house was packed; the stage brilliant with flowers and emblems. Her name was cheered to the echo. She spoke a few words of acknowledgment.

"I join in this celebration with thrilled and uplifted heart. I remember those camp-fires, I remember those dreadful battles. It was a question with us women, 'Will our men prevail? Until they do they will not come home.' How we blessed them when they did; how we blessed them with our prayers when they were in the battlefield. Those were times of sorrow; this is one of joy. Let us thank God, who has given us these victories."

The audience rose en masse, and stood while the "Battle Hymn" was sung, author and audience joining in the chorus.

After her second lecture in Santa Barbara, she "sauntered a little, and spent a little money. Bought some imperfect pearls which will look well when set. Wanted a handsome brooch which I saw; thought I had best conquer my desire, and did so."

At Ventura: "Got so tired that I could hardly dress for lecture." The next day she proposed to Mrs. S. at dinner (1 P.M.) to invite some young people for the evening, promising to play for them to dance. "She [Mrs. S.] ordered a buggy and drove about the village. Her son stretched a burlap on the straw matting and waxed it. About thirty came. We had some sweet music, singers with good voices, and among others a pupil of Perabo, who was really interesting and remarkable."

At one of the hospitable cities, a gentleman asked her to drive with him, drove her about for a couple of hours, descanting upon the beauties of the place, and afterwards proclaimed that Mrs. Howe was the most agreeable woman he had ever met. "And I never once opened my lips!" she said.

On June 10 she preached in Oakland: "the one sermon which I have felt like preaching in these parts: 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock.' The house was well filled.... After service as I leaned over to speak to those who stopped to greet me, I saw one of our old church-members, who told me, with eyes full of tears, that our dear James Freeman Clarke is no more. This was like an ice-bolt; I could not realize it at first.

" 'A very tender history
Did in your passing fall.'

"Years of sweet converse, of following and dependence, end with this event."


So we come to the last day at the ranch, the parting with the dear sister; the departure for San Francisco, laden with roses and good wishes.

On the way eastward she stopped at Salt Lake City, and went to the Mormon Tabernacle; "an enormous building with a roof like the back of a turtle; many tourists present. The Mormons mostly an ill-looking and ill-smelling crowd. Bishop Whitney, a young man, preached a cosmopolite sermon, quoting Milton and Emerson. He spoke of the Christian Church with patronizing indulgence; insisted upon the doctrine of immediate and personal revelation, and censured the Mormons for sometimes considering their families before their church. Communion, bread in silver baskets and water in silver cups, handed to every one, children partaking with the rest; no solemnity."

"June 26. To visit the penitentiary, where thirty Mormon bishops are imprisoned for polygamy. Spoke with one, Bishop of Provo, a rather canny-looking man, whom we found in the prison library, reading. The librarian (four years' term for forgery) told me it was the result of liquor and bad company. I said a few motherly words to him and presently proposed to speak to the prisoners, to which the jailer gladly assented. I began by saying, 'I feel to speak to you, my brothers.' Said that all of us make mistakes and many of us do wrong at times. Exhorted them to give, in future, obedience to the laws upon which the existence of society depends. The convict Montrose sent to me a little chain and ornaments of his own making. I promised to send one or two books for the library...."

So, through "bowery and breezy Nebraska; such a relief to eyes and nerves!" to Chicago, where Maud kept and comforted her as long as might be, and sent her refreshed on her way; finally to Boston, where she arrived half-starved, and so to Newport.


To Maud

July 8, 1888.

Grumble, grumble – tumble, tumble,
For something to eat,
Fast-y fast-y nasty, nasty,
At last, at last-y,
Ma's dead beat!

"Oh! the dust of it, and the swirl, in which the black porter and the white babies all seemed mixed up together. A few dried and withered old women, like myself, were thrown in, an occasional smoky gent, and the gruel 'thick and slab,' was what is called Human Nature! This is the spleeny vein, and I indulge it to make you laugh, but really, my journey was as comfortable as heat and speed would allow. Imagine my feelings on learning that there was no dining or buffet car! Do not grieve about this, the biscuits and bananas which you put up carried me quite a way. We got a tolerable breakfast at Cleveland, and a bad dinner at Buffalo, but dry your eyes, the strawberry shortcake was uncommonly good. And think how good it is that I have got through with it all and can now rest good and handsome.


The summer entries in the Journal are varied and picturesque. "My cow, of which I was fond, was found dead this morning.... My neighbor Almy was very kind.... I feel this a good deal, but complaining will not help matters."

"Mr. Bancroft [George], historian, brought Dr. Hedge to call after dinner. Mr. B. kissed me on both cheeks for the first time in his life. We had a very pleasant and rather brilliant talk, as might have been expected where such men meet."

She writes to Maud:–

"Mr. Alger seized upon my left ear metaphorically and emptied into it all the five-syllable words that he knew, and the result was a mingling of active and passive lunacy, for I almost went mad and he had not far to go in that direction."

And again; apropos of —: "How the great world does use up a man! It is not merely the growing older, for that is a natural and simple process; but it is the coating of worldliness which seems to varnish the life out of a man; dead eyes, dead smile, and (worst of all) dead breath."

"September 23. To church in Newport. A suggestive sermon from Mr. Alger on 'Watching,' i.e., upon all the agencies that watch us, children, foes, friends, critics, authorities, spirits, God himself.

"As we drove into town [Newport] I had one of those momentary glimpses which in things spiritual are so infinitely precious. The idea became clear and present to my mind that God, an actual presence, takes note of our actions and intentions. I thought how helpful it would be to us to pass our lives in a sense of this divine supervision. After this inward experience I was almost startled by the theme of Alger's sermon. I spoke to him of the coincidence, and he said it must have been a thought wave. The thought is one to which I have need to cling. I have at this moment mental troubles, obsessions of imagination, from which I pray to be delivered. While this idea of the divine presence was clear to me, I felt myself lifted above these things. May this lifting continue."

"November 4. In my prayer this morning I thanked God that I have come to grieve more over my moral disappointments than over my intellectual ones. With my natural talents I had nothing to do: with my use or abuse of them, everything.

"I have thought, too, lately, of a reason why we should not neglect our duty to others for our real or supposed duty to ourselves. It is this: ourselves we have always with us; our fellows flit from our company, or pass away and we must help them when and while we can."

On December 5 she hears "the bitter news of Abby May's death. Alas! and alas! for the community, for her many friends, and for the Club and the Congress in which she did such great silent service. God rest her in His sweet peace!"

On Christmas Day she went to "Trinity Church, where I enjoyed Phillips Brooks's sermon. Felt much drawn to go to communion with the rest; but thought it might occasion surprise and annoyance. Going into a remote upper gallery I was present at the scene, and felt that I had my communion without partaking of the 'elements.' These lines also suggested themselves as I walked home:

" The Universal bread,
The sacrificial wine,
The glory of the thorn-crowned head,
Humanity divine."

"The last day of the year dawned upon me, bringing solemn thoughts of the uncertainty of life, and sorrow for such misuse of its great gifts and opportunities as I am well conscious of. This has been a good year to me. It carried me to the Pacific slope, and showed me indeed a land of promise. It gave me an unexpected joy in the harmonious feelings toward me and the members of A.A.W. at the Detroit Congress. It has, alas! taken from me my dear pastor, most precious to me for help and instruction, and other dear and valued friends, notably Sarah Shaw Russell,29 Abby W. May and Carrie Tappan.30 I desire to set my house in order, and be ready for my departure; thankful to live, or willing to cease from my mortal life when God so wills...."



1889-1890; aet. 70-71


The seven decades of my years
I figure like those Pleiad spheres
Which, thro' the heaven's soft impulse moved,
Still seek a sister star beloved.

Thro' many sorrows, more delight,
Thro' miracles in sound and sight,
Thro' battles lost and battles won,
These star-spaced years have led me on.

Though long behind me shows the path,
The future still its promise hath,
For tho' the past be fair and fond,
The perfect number lies beyond.

J. W. H.

SHE was dissatisfied with herself in these days.

"January 1, 1889. In my prayer this night I asked for weight and earnestness of purpose. I am too frivolous and frisky."

"On waking I said, 'If God does not help me this day, I shall not be able to finish my address' [for a Washington's Birthday celebration at Newport]."

She thinks He did help her, as she found the vein of what she wished to say, and finished it to her "tolerable satisfaction."

"As I entered the hall in the evening, the thought of Cinderella struck me, and I used it by comparing the fashion, of which we make so much account, to Cinderella with her rat horses and pumpkin carriage, so resplendent until her hour came; then the horses would not carry her, the golden coach would not hold her, her illusory grandeur was at an end. Our cause of truth and justice I compared to the Princess in her enchanted sleep, who lies spellbound until the true champion comes to rescue her, and the two go forth together, to return to sleep and diversion, oh, never more."


This is the note throughout the Journal; the record of work, the prayer for strength. Yet the friskiness was there; no one but herself would have had less of it.

She had already entered the happy estate of grandmotherhood, and enjoyed it to the full. New songs must be made for the little new people, new games invented. We see her taking a grandchild's hands in hers, and improvising thus:–

" We have two hands,
To buckle bands!
We have ten fingers,
To make clotheswringers!
We have two thumbs,
To pick up crumbs!
We have two heels,
To bob for eels!
We have ten toes,
To match our nose!"

If the child be tired or fretful, "Hush!" says the grandmother. "Be good, and I will play you the 'Canarybird's Funeral.'" Off they go to the piano, and the "Canarybird's Funeral" is improvised, and must be played over and over, for this and succeeding grandchildren. For them, too, she composed the musical drama of "Flibbertigibbet," which she was to play and recite for so many happy children, and grown folks too. Flibbertigibbet was a black imp who appeared one day in the market-place, and playing a jig on his fiddle, set all the people dancing whether they would or no. She played the jig, and one did not wonder at the people. Next came Flibbertigibbet's march, which he played on his way to prison; his melancholy, as he sat in durance; the cats on the roof of his prison; finally, entrance of the benevolent fairy, who whisks him off in a balloon to fairyland. All these, voice and piano gave together: nobody who heard "Flibbertigibbet" ever forgot it. She set Mother Goose to music for the grandchildren; singing of Little Boy Blue, and the Man in the Moon. She thought these nursery melodies among her best compositions; from time to time, however, other and graver airs came to her, dreamed over the piano on summer evenings, or in twilight walks among the Newport meadows. Some of these airs were gathered and published in later years.31


In May of this year she notes the closing of a life long associated with hers.

"May 24. Laura Bridgman died to-day at about 12 M. This event brings with it solemn suggestions, which my overcrowded brain cannot adequately follow. Her training was a beautiful out-blossoming from the romance of my husband's philanthropy. She has taught a great lesson in her time, and unfortunates of her sort are now trained, without question of the result. This was to S. G. H. an undiscovered country in the first instance. I cannot help imagining him as standing before the face of the Highest and pointing to his work: happy, thrice happy man, with all his sorrow!"


The close of her seventieth year was a notable milestone on the long road. May found her still carrying full sail; a little more tired after each exertion, a little puzzled at the occasional rebellion of "Sister Body," her hard-worked "A.B.,"; but not yet dreaming of taking in a reef.

The seventieth birthday was a great festival. Maud, inviting Oliver Wendell Holmes to the party, had written, "Mamma will be seventy years young on the 27th. Come and play with her!"

The Doctor in his reply said, "It is better to be seventy years young than forty years old!"

Dr. Holmes himself was now eighty years old. It was in these days that she went with Laura to call on him, and found him in his library, a big, bright room, looking out on the Charles River, books lining the walls, a prevailing impression of atlases and dictionaries open on stands. The greeting between the two was pleasant to see, their talk something to remember. "Ah, Mrs. Howe," said the Autocrat, "you at seventy have much to learn about life. At eighty you will find new vistas opening in every direction!"

Ten years later she was reminded of this. "It is true!" she said.

At parting he kissed her, which touched her deeply.

He was in another mood when they met at a reception shortly after this. "Ah! Mrs. Howe," he said, "you see I still hang on as one of the old wrecks!"

"Yes, you are indeed Rex!" was the reply.

"Then, Madam," he cried with a flash, "you are Regina!"

To return to the birthday! Here are a few of the letters received:–


From George William Curtis

May 9, 1889.    


I shall still be too lame to venture so far away from home as your kind invitation tempts me to stray, but no words of my regard and admiration for Mrs. Howe will ever limp and linger. I doubt if among the hosts who will offer their homage upon her accession to the years of a ripe youth there will be many earlier friends than I, and certainly there will be none who have watched her career with more sympathy in her varied and humane activities. Poet, scholar, philanthropist, and advocate of true Democracy, her crown is more than triple, and it is her praise as it may well be her pride to have added fresh lustre to the married name she bears.

I am sincerely sorry that only in this inadequate way can I join my voice to the chorus of friendly rejoicing and congratulation on the happy day, which reminds us only of the perpetual youth of the warm heart and the sound mind.

Very truly yours,




From W. W. Story


(I suppose I may still call you so – we are both so young and inexperienced) I cannot let this anniversary of your birth go by, without stretching out my hands to you across the ocean, and throwing to you all they can hold of good wishes, and affectionate thought, and delightful memories. Though years have gone by since I have seen you, you are still fresh, joyous, and amusing, and charming as ever. Of this I am fully persuaded, and often I look into that anxious mirror of my mind, and see you and wander with you, and jest with you and sing with you, as I used in the olden days; and never will I be so faithless as to believe that you are any older than you were – and I hope earnestly you are no wiser and that a great deal of folly is still left in you – as it is, I am happy to say, in me.

For, after all, what is life worth when its folly is all departed? When we have grown wise and sad as well as old – it is time to say Good-bye. But that time has not come for us yet. So let us still shout Evviva!

I do not mention the fact of your age, – I don't know it, – but if I should guess, from what I know I should say twenty-five. I was twenty-eight when I left America – and that is such a few months ago – and I know you were born somewhat about the same time.

You will receive a great many congratulations and expressions of friendship, but none more sincere than those of

Your old friend – I mean
                        Your young friend,


              May 10, 1889.


From James Russell Lowell

13th May, 1889.


I should n't have suspected it, but if you say so, I am bound to believe this improbability, as absurd as Leporello's Catalogue for its numerals. If it be so – I beg pardon – since it is so, I am glad that you are going to take it cheerfully as who should say to Time, "Another turn of the glass, please, my young friend, I'm writing." But alas, I can't be there to take a glass with you. You say, "if there be no obstacle." No less than a couple of thousand miles of water, harder to get over than the years themselves, which indeed get behind more swiftly than they ought. I can at least wish you many happy returns of the day and will drink to your health on the 27th. I sail on the 18th.

Pray accept my thanks and regrets and make them acceptable to your children.

Faithfully yours,



The Journal thus notes the occasion.

"My seventieth birthday. A very busy day for all of us.... My head was dressed at eleven. All my children were here, with daughter- and sons-in-law. I had many lovely gifts. The house was like a garden of costly flowers. Breakfast was at 12.30; was in very good style. Guests: General Walker, John S. Dwight, E. E. Hale, Mrs. Jack Gardner, Mmes. Bell, Pratt, and Agassiz. Walker made the first speech at the table, H. M. H.32 being toastmaster. Walker seemed to speak very feelingly, calling me the first citizeness of the country; stood silent a little and sat down. Dwight read a delightful poem; Hale left too soon to do anything. H. introduced J. S. D. thus: 'Sweetness and light, your name is Dwight.' While we sat at table, baskets and bouquets of wonderful flowers kept constantly arriving; the sweet granddaughters brought them in, in a sort of procession lovely to see. It rained in the afternoon, but the house was thronged with visitors, all the same.

A sober entry, written the next day, when she was "very tired, with a delightful fatigue": but on the day itself she was gay, enjoying her "party" to the full, treasuring every flower, wondering why people were so good to her.

The festivities lasted several days, for every one wanted to "play Birthday" with her. The New England Woman's Club gave her a luncheon, which she valued next to the home celebration; the blind children of the Perkins Institution must hear her speak, and in return sing some of her songs, and give her flowers, clustering round her with tender, groping fingers that sought to clasp hers. Moreover, the last week of May is Anniversary Week in Boston. Suffragists, women ministers, Unitarians, "uplifters" of every description, held their meetings (traditionally in a pouring rain) and one and all wanted Mrs. Howe.

"I have said to God on every morning of these busy days: 'Give me this day,' and He has given them all: i.e., He has given me power to fulfil the task appointed for each."

When she finally got to Newport, she was "dazed with the quiet after the strain of heart and fatigue."

The ministry was much in her mind this summer.

"I take for my guidance a new motto: 'I will ascend'; not in my ambition, but in my thoughts and aims."

"A dry Sunday, i.e., no church, it being the women's turn to go. I shelled peas for dinner. Began Rambaud's 'History of Russia.'... I think of two sermons to write, one, 'A spirit of Power'; one, 'Behold, I show you a more excellent way.'"

Suffrage had its meed too in these summer days.

"Have copied my Call for the Congress. In my coming suffrage talks will invite women to study the history of their sex in the past, and its destiny in the future; inertia and ignorance are the great dangers of society. The old condition of women largely increased instead of diminishing these sources of evil. The women were purposely kept ignorant, in order that they might be enslaved and degraded. Inertia is largely fostered by the paralysis of independent action...."

"I feel just now that we ought to try hard to have all the Far West represented at the Denver Congress."

"Thought a book or article about 'Fooleries' would be entertaining and instructive. The need of this element in human society is shown by the ancient jesters and court fools.... In Bible times Samson made sport for the Philistines. People now do their own dancing and their own fooling: some of it very dull. Query: What ancient jests have been preserved? 'The Fools of old and of all time' would not be a bad title."


In October came the Woman's Congress in Denver; she was there, "attending all meetings and sessions."

"Mrs. —'s paper on 'The Redemptive Power of Art' was very so-so, and did not touch my conception of the theme, viz., art made valuable for the reform of criminals. I spoke of this with warmth."

After the Congress "the visiting ladies enjoyed a drive about the city of Denver. I went early to the High School with A. A. B.33 Found Mrs. Cheney speaking to the pupils assembled. She did not notice our entrance and spoke of me very warmly. Presently, turning round, she saw us and we all laughed. I spoke to them of my 'drink of youth'; compared the spirits of youth to steam given to carry them on a celestial railroad; compared youth to wine in a beautiful vase; spoke of ancient libations to the gods; our libation to be poured to the true Divine; urged them not to starve their studies in order to feed their amusements. 'Two ways of study, one mean, the other generous.' Told them not to imitate savages, who will barter valuable land for worthless baubles; not so to barter their opportunities for barren pleasures."

She preached at Unity Church Sunday morning.

"At Grace Church [Methodist] in the afternoon. Spoke to the text, 'God hath not left himself without a witness.' This witness is in every human heart; which, with all its intense desires, desires most of all, law, order, religion.... I applied my text to the coming out into the new territories; a rough Exodus stimulated by the love of gold; but with the army of fortune-seekers go faithful souls, and instead of passing out of civilization, they extend its bounds. 'Praise waiteth for thee in Zion' – yes, but the Prophet says: 'The solitary places shall be glad for them,' et cetera. I set this down for future use."


The Denver people were most friendly, and she enjoyed the visit greatly. Thence she stepped westward once more, lecturing and preaching as she went, everywhere welcomed with cordial warmth, everywhere carrying her ministry with her.

"A sweet young mother was dreadfully plagued with two babies; I helped her as much as I could."

"A delicate young woman was travelling with her father, a boy of five years, and a semi-friend, semi-help, not much of either. This party sat opposite me in the Pullman, and soon made acquaintance. She is going for her health from Tacoma to California. An odd-looking genius, something like — in his youth, got in somewhere and attracted my attention by his restless manner. I took him for no good; a gambler, perhaps. He seemed to notice me a good deal....

"Made acquaintance with the odd-looking young man. He is a timber-land broker. He had noticed me because I reminded him of his mother. We became friends. He told me his story. He brought another gentleman, a man more of society than himself, and we and Mrs. Campbell played whist. We were quite gay all day. In the evening a sad, elderly man whom I had observed, came over and showed me his wife's photograph as she had looked in health, and then a photograph of her in her last illness; he holding her up in his arms. He said he was travelling to help his sorrow.

"At Reading my two whist gentlemen cried out, 'Tamales!' and rushed out. They presently returned, bringing some curious Mexican eatables, corn meal with chicken and red peppers rolled in corn leaves. These folk all left at Sacramento at three in the morning."


California was once more her goal. This second visit was brief and hurried.

"Hurry, scurry to dress for the Forefathers' Day celebration. Oakley was my squire. I was taken down to dinner by Professor Moore, President of the occasion.... I was suddenly and unexpectedly called for, and all were requested to rise, which was a great honor done me. I spoke of two Congregationalists whom I had known, Antoinette Blackwell, of whose ordination I told; then of Theodore Parker, of whom I said, 'Nothing that I have heard here is more Christian than what I heard from him.' I told of his first having brought into notice the hymn, 'Nearer, My God, to Thee,' and said that I had sung it with him; said that in advising with all women's clubs, I always urged them to include in their programmes pressing questions of the day. Was much applauded.... They then sang the 'Battle Hymn' and we adjourned."


She spent Christmas with Sister Annie, in great contentment; her last word before starting for home is, "Thank God for much good!"


To Maud


I reached Boston very comfortably on Monday night about eleven o'clock. I was slower than usual [on the journey] in making friends with those around me, but finally thought I would speak to the pleasant-looking woman on my left. She had made acquaintance with the people who had the two sections behind mine. I had observed a gaunt young man going back and forth, with a look on his face which made me say to my friend in Number Nine: "That man must have committed a murder." Who do you think he turned out to be? Lieutenant Ripley, of the Vandalia, U.S.N., the great ship which went to pieces on the Samoan reef. I, of course, determined to hear about it from his own lips, and we had a most interesting talk. He is very slight, but must be all nerve and muscle. All the sailors in the top in which he was clinging for his life fell off and were drowned. He held on till the Trenton came down upon them, when, with the others who were saved in other parts of the rigging, he crept along a hawser and somehow reached the Trenton. Fearing that she would go to pieces, he started with fifteen sailors to swim ashore – he alone was saved – he says he is much practised in swimming. I spoke of this all as a dreadful experience. "Yes," said he, with a twinkle in his eye, "but the storm cleared out the Germans for us." He was thrown ashore insensible, but soon recovered consciousness – had been naked and without food for thirty-six hours. Took a cup of coffee in one hand, and a cup of brandy in the other, and swallowed a little from each alternately, his refection lasting from nine in the evening till one o'clock at night....


To the same

We have not seen the sun in some days. I hope that he has shined upon you. Item, I have almost finished my anxious piece of work for the N.Y. "Evening Post," after which I shall say, "Now, frolic, soul, with thy coat off!"


In January, 1890, she "heard young Cram34 explain 'Tristram and Iseult,' and young Prescott execute some of the music. It seemed to me like broken china, no complete chord; no perfect result; no architectonic."

She never learned to like what was in those days "the new music." Wagner and Brahms were anathema to her, as to many another music-lover of her time, notably John Sullivan Dwight, long-time Boston's chief musical critic. Many a sympathetic talk they had together; one can see him now, his eyes burning gentle fire, head nodding, hands waving, as he denounced what seemed to him wanton cacophony. She avoided the Symphony Concerts at which "the new music" was exploited; but it was positive pain to her to miss a symphony of Beethoven or Schubert.

In March of this year the Saturday Morning Club of Boston gave a performance of the "Antigone" of Sophocles.

"In afternoon to the second representation of the 'Antigone.'... On the whole very pathetic and powerful. Mrs. Tilden full of dramatic fire; Sally Fairchild ideally beautiful in dress, attitude, and expression. The whole a high feast of beauty and of poetry. The male parts wonderfully illusive, especially that of Tiresias, the seer...."


To Laura

April 26, 1890.    

I 'se very sorry for unhandsome neglect complained of in your last. What are we going to do about it? I have now and then made efforts to reclaim the old Party, but have long considered her incorrigible. What shall we say, then? "Where sin doth abound, Grace shall much more abound," or words to that effect, are recorded of one Paul, of whom I have no mean opinion. So, there's Scripture for you, do you see? As I wrote you yes'day or day before, things have been hoppy here since my return. The elder Agassiz used to mention in his lectures the Lepidoptera, and I think that's the creature (insect, I b'lieve) which infests Boston. What I have hopped for, and whither to, I cannot in the least remember. Flossy was here, as you know, and I hop't for her. I also 'tended two of the festival Oratorios, which were fine, but to me very fatiguing. I find that I must take public amusements, when I do take them, in the afternoon, as in the evening bodily fatigue overmasters even the æsthetic sense, and it is not worth while to pay a large price for the pleasure of wishing one's self at home. The benefit at Boston Museum for the Vincent Hospital netted over $1600. It was a brilliant success, but I caught there the first cold I have had since my return from the Far West. Maud is very busy with the flower table, which she has undertaken, having nothing to do. This is for the Vincent Fair, which will take place on Tuesday, 29th.... Have got a few lovely books from Libbie's sale of the Hart collection – among other things, a fine French edition of "Les Misérables," which I am at last glad never to have read, as I shall enjoy it, D.V., in some of the long reading days of summer....

Your ownty donty


P.S. Before the Libbie sale I wickedly bid $25 upon a small but very precious missal. It brought $825!!


When she reached Oak Glen in mid-June, she felt a "constant discouragement"; was lonely, and missed the cheerful converse of her club and suffrage friends. "My work seems to me to amount to nothing at all." She soon revived, and "determined to fulfil in due order all the tasks undertaken for this summer; so attacked the Kappa poem and wrote at a stretch twenty-two verses, of four lines each, which was pretty much my day's work. Read in Martineau, in J. F. C., a little Greek, and the miserable 'Les Misérables.'"

She decided to hold some conversations in the Unitarian parsonage, and wrote out the following topics for them:–

"Useful undertakings in this city as existing and needed."

"How to promote public spirit in American men and women."

"How to attain a just average estimate of our own people."

"How far is it wise to adopt the plan of universal reading for ourselves and our young people?"

"In what respects do the foreign civilizations retard, in what do they promote the progress of our own civilization?"

In August she preached to the women in Sherborn Prison, choosing a "text of cheer and uplifting: 'Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.' Read part of Isaiah 40th. Said that I had wished to bring them some word of comfort and exhilaration. Pointed out how the Lord's Prayer begins with solemn worship and ascription, aspiring to God's Kingdom, praying for daily bread and for deliverance from temptation and all evil; at the close it rises into this joyous strain, 'Thine is the kingdom,' et cetera. Tried to show how the kingdom is God, the great providential order, before and beyond all earthly government; then the power, that of perfect wisdom and goodness, the power to know and rule all things, to be everywhere and ever present, to regulate the mighty sweep of stars and planets, and, at the same time, to take note of the poorest and smallest of us; the glory first of the visible universe, glory of the day and night, of the seasons, glory of the redeeming power of truth, glory of the inexhaustible patience, of boundless compassion and love."

She enjoyed the visit to the prison and was thankful for it.

A few days later, at a meeting in Newport, she heard a lady demand that the children of genius should be set apart from others for special education and encouragement, receiving a pension even in their early years. She demanded colleges of genius, and a retreat for people of genius. By thus fostering juvenile promise, we should produce giants and demigods.

"I, being called upon, gave the card house a tolerable shaking, and, I think, brought it down, for which several people thanked me."

Vividly as she lived in the present, the past was never far from her.

"Had in the morning at first waking a very vivid mind-picture of my sweet young mother lying dead, with two or thrce of us little ones standing about her. My brother Henry, two years my senior, laid his little hand upon her forehead and said: 'It is as cold as a stone,' or some such comparison. I felt strangely, this morning, the very pain and agony of that moment, preceding the tragical vision of a life in which that central point of nurture, a mother's affection and wisdom, has been wanting. The scene in my mind was only a vivid reminiscence of what actually took place, which I never forgot, but I had not felt it as I did to-day in many years."

Perhaps at heart she was always the little child who used to say to herself at night, "Now I will stretch out and make myself as long as I can, so that the robbers will think I am a grown-up person, and perhaps then they will not touch me!" "Then," she told us, "I would stretch myself out at full length, and go to sleep."

She was reading Martineau's "Study of Religion" this summer with close attention and deep interest. His writings gave her unfailing delight. His portrait hung in her room; on her desk lay always a slender volume of his "Prayers," her favorite passages marked in pencil. When Louise Chandler Moulton lay dying, the best comfort she could devise for her was the loan of this precious little volume.

The "Study of Religion" is not light reading. We find now and then: "Head threatening. Will not tackle Martineau to-day"; and again: "My head is possessed with my study of Martineau. Had a moment's realizing sense this morning of the universe as created and constantly re-created by the thought of the will of God. The phrase is common enough: the thought, vast beyond human conception."

When her head was clear, she studied the great theologian eagerly, copying many passages for more complete assimilation.

September brought "alarums and excursions."

"Awoke and sprang at once into the worry saddle."

Another Congress was coming, another "A.A.W." paper to be written, beside an opening address for the Mechanics' Fair, and "1500 words for Bok," on some aspect of the American woman.

She went to Boston for the opening of the Mechanics' Fair, and sat beside Phillips Brooks in the great hall. "They will not hear us!" she said. "No," replied Brooks. "This is the place where little children are seen and not heard."

"Mayor Hart backed up the Tariff while I praised Free Trade. My text was two words of God: 'Use and Beauty.' My brief address was written carefully though hastily."

There was no neighborly electric road in Rhode Island in those days, and the comings and goings were fatiguing.

"A hard day.... The rain was pitiless, and I in my best clothes, and without rubbers. Embraced a chance of driving to the Perry House, where.... it was cold and dark. I found a disconsolate couple from Schenectady who had come to Newport for a day's pleasuring. Did my best to entertain them, walking about the while to keep warm."

She got home finally, and the day ends with her ordering a warm mash for the horse.

This horse, Ha'pence, a good and faithful beast, ran a great danger this summer. The coachman, leaving in dudgeon, poisoned the oats with Paris green, a diabolical act which the Journal chronicles with indignation. Fortunately the deed was discovered in time.

She was always thoughtful of animals. During the reign at 241 Beacon Street of the little fox-terrier Patch, it often fell to her lot to take him out to walk, and she felt this a grave responsibility.

One day Patch ran away on Beacon Street, and would not come back when she called him. At this instant Dr. Holmes, passing, paused for a friendly greeting.

"Mrs. Howe," he said, "I trust this fine morning – "

"Catch the dog!," cried Mrs. Howe. One author flew one way, one the other; between the two Patch was caught and brought in triumph home.

One dog story recalls another. She was in the North Station one day, about to start for Gardiner, as was also the setter Diana, crated and very unhappy.

"Here, Auntie!" said the baggage-master; "you set here and be company for the dog, and I'll get your check!"

She complied meekly, and was found somewhat later by her escort, "being company" for a much comforted Diana.



1892-1893; aet. 73-74


Methinks my friends grow beauteous in my sight,
As the years make their havoc of sweet things;
Like the intenser glory of the light
When the sad bird of Autumn sits and sings.
        Ah! woe is me! ah! Memory,
Be cheerful, thanking God for things that be.

J. W. H.

THE longing to revisit England and enjoy another "whiff" of a London season was gratified in the summer of 1892. Accompanied by the Elliotts and a granddaughter, she sailed for Liverpool on the 4th of June; "a day of almost inconceivable pressure and labor. I could not waste one minute, yet could not do some of the simplest things which I intended to do. Our departure was tolerably decorous and comfortable."

"June 13. At sea. Have enjoyed some good reading, and have read one book, 'Bel Ami,' by Guy de Maupassant, which I found so objectionable that I had to skip whole passages of mere sensual description. My loathing of the book and its personages will keep me from encountering again the filth of this author...."

"June 16. Chester. Attended service in the Cathedral. I first came to Chester as a bride, forty-nine years ago; then in 1867 with dear Chev, Julia, and Laura; in 1877 with dear Maud; and now with Maud and her husband and my dear grandchild, Alice Richards. These three periods in my woman's life gave me much to think of."


June 18 found the party established in pleasant lodgings in Albion Street, Hyde Park, where they were soon surrounded by friends old and new.

"June 21.... In the afternoon Lady Aberdeen, Arthur Mills, and Henry Harland visited me. A.M.'s hair is quite white. It was only iron grey when we last met, thirteen years ago."

"June 22. Mrs. Brooke Herford wrote to ask me to come out this afternoon to meet Mrs. Humphry Ward. The Albert Hall performance very interesting. Lord Aberdeen sent his carriage for us. My seat was next to that of the Countess, who appeared in a very fine dress of peach-blossom corded silk, with white lace draperies – on my left was Lord Brooke. Lady Aberdeen introduced me to Lord Kenmare and Dr. Barnardo. The singing of the children, a band of rescued waifs, moved me to tears. The military drill of the boys and the Maypole dance of the girls were very finely done. There are more than 4000 of these children in Barnardo Homes."

"June 23. To the first view of the Society of English Portrait Painters. Portraits on the whole well worth seeing – Herkomers very good, also Mrs. Anna Lea Merritt's and others. A superb portrait of Cardinal Manning, in full red and ermine. In the evening Lady Aberdeen sent her carriage for me and I went with her to a meeting of the Liberal League, at which she spoke with a pleasant playfulness, dwelling somewhat upon the position that Home Rule, if given to Ireland, would do away with the ill-feeling of the Irish in America towards England. To lunch with Lady Aberdeen. Lief Jones came into the meeting while Lady Aberdeen was speaking, and with him Lady Carlisle. She shook hands with me very cordially. Presently Lief Jones began his address, which was quite lengthy, presenting the full platform of the Liberal Party. He is a brisk, adroit speaker, and made points in favor of Woman Suffrage, of Home Rule, of the disestablishment of the Anglican Church in Wales and Scotland, of the eight-hour labor law, of the purchase of the waterworks, now owned by eight companies in the city."

"June 24. The lunch at Lady Aberdeen's was very pleasant. Mrs. Eva McLaren35 talked with me, as did Miss Ferguson. The American Minister, Robert Lincoln,36 was introduced to me and was very friendly."

"June 25. Went to Toynbee Hall by Whitechapel 'bus. Had received a note, which I supposed to be from a lady, offering to show me over the institution. We were shown into a large room, bare of carpet, but with some pictures and bric-à-brac. After waiting half an hour, a young gentleman made his appearance, a Mr. Ames – the letter had been from him. He showed me Mr. Charles [not General] Booth's map of gradations of wealth and poverty in London. The distinctions are marked by colors and shades of color – criminal centres designated by black. In the afternoon to Sarasate's concert, all violin and piano-forte, but very fine."

"June 26. To hear Stopford Brooke in the morning, an interesting sermon... He called the Agnostics and Nirvanists a type found in many classes, but not a class...."

"June 27. To lunch with Mrs. Harland. Very pleasant. Edmund Gosse was the guest invited to meet me. He was vivacious, easy, and agreeable. Also the composer Marzials...."

"June 28. To Westminster Abbey. To Alice, its interest seemed inexhaustible. It is so, indeed, had one time to be 'strewing violets all the time,' as E. B. B. said. Longfellow's bust has been placed there since my last visit; the likeness is good. I wandered about as long as my feet would carry me, thinking sometimes of Gray's question, 'Can storied urn,' etc. The Harlands came later and brought the composer of 'Twickenham Ferry.' With Alice to dine at Toynbee Hall. A pleasant dinner. A bright young man, Bruce by name, related to Abyssinian Bruce, took Alice in to dinner – sitting afterwards in Ames's room, where we met an alderman, a bricklayer, a trades' unionist; later, we heard a lecture from Commander Gladstone, on the Norman-Breton churches, with fine stereoscopic plates. A violent storm came on, but we managed to ''bus it' home, taking a cab only at Marble Arch."

"June 29. To dine with the Greek Minister at eight o'clock, and to the soirée of the Academy.

"To Chelsea, to call upon Mrs. Oscar Wilde.... He showed me with pride a fine boy of five years. We had some talk of old times, of his visit to America; I reminded him of the vermilion balcony at which he laughed." [Wilde had complained that the usual pronunciation of these words was prosaic.]

"June 30.... Mrs. Oscar Wilde asks us to take tea on Thursday; she has invited Walter Pater.... Have writ to James Bryce."

"July 2. To see Oscar Wilde's play, 'Lady Windermere's Fan,' at St. James's Theatre. We went by invitation to his box, where were Lady Wilde and Mrs. Oscar. The play was perfectly acted, and is excellent of its kind, the motif not new, but the dénouement original in treatment. After the play to call on Lady Rothschild, then to Constance Flower,37 who showed us her superb house full of treasures of art."

"July 4. Mrs. [Edmund] Gosse came and took us to Alma-Tadema's beautiful house and garden. He met us very cordially. Mrs. Smalley came. She was Wendell Phillips's adopted daughter. I had a pleasant talk with her and with Mr. and Mrs. Hughes, whom I charged with a friendly message to Thomas himself. After this to Minister Lincoln's Fourth of July reception. Harry White, Daisy Rutherford's husband, was introduced."

Elsewhere she says of this visit to Alma-Tadema:–

"His charming wife, once seen, explains some of the features of his works. She has yellow hair of the richest color; her eyes also have a primrose tint, while her complexion has a pale bloom of its own, most resembling that of a white rose. She gave us tea from lozenge-shaped cups, with saucers to match. In the anteroom below we admired a painting by her own hand, of yellow jonquils and a yellow fan, on a dark background. Her husband seemed pleased when we praised this picture. So these two artists occupy their golden nest peaceably, and do not tear each other's laurels.

"Let me say here that the passion for the golden color still prevails. In dress, in furniture, in porcelain, it is the prevailing favorite. Long banished from the social rainbow, it now avenges itself for years of neglect, and, as every dog must have his day, we will say that the yellow dog is now to have his, and that the dog-star of this coming August will certainly be of his color."

"July 6. With Maud to Liberty's, where she beguiled me, alas! into buying a fine black silk mantle for six guineas. To Nutt's in the Strand for my Greek books. He had only the 'Nicomathean Ethics,' a fine edition which I bought for twelve shillings. Then to Poole's in Hallowell Street, where bought two editions of Aristotle's 'Government,' with English notes. At Poole's found a copy of Schiller's 'Robbers,' which I bought for threepence."

"July 7. Afternoon tea with Mrs. Oscar, meeting an aunt of Mrs. Wilde's, and Mrs. Burne-Jones. The aunt had been in Japan – she had known Fenollosa and Professor Morse. Then to Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, who introduced a number of people, among them William Sharp, a poet."

"July 8. I had rashly promised to lunch with the Brooke Herfords at Hampstead, and to take five-o'clock tea with Mrs. Rebecca Moore at Bedford Place. The Herfords were delightful, and Hampstead is a charming suburb. We saw the outside of Mrs. Barbauld's house. Herford said much good of Cookson, a farmer's son whom he had known in England from his beginnings, a dignified, able, excellent man in his esteem. From this a long distance to Mrs. Moore. We reached her in good time, however. Found her alone, in a pleasant little dwelling. Three ladies came to tea, which was served quite in state – Stepniak38 came also."

"July 9. To lunch with Lady Henry Somerset. Some talk with Lady H. about Mrs. Fawcett, et al.: also concerning Mrs. Martin's intended candidacy for the presidency of the United States, which, however futile in itself, we deplore as tending to throw ridicule upon the Woman's Cause. She thought that the Conservatives would give women the Parliamentary Suffrage in England on account of the great number of women who have joined the Primrose League."

"July 10. To the Temple Church. The organ voluntaries, strangely, I thought, were first Chopin's 'Funeral March,' second the 'Dead March' in 'Saul.' A notable sermon from Dr. Vaughan. The discourse was really concerned with the political situation of the moment: the strong division of feeling throughout the country, and the fears of many lest the doctrine in which they believe should be overthrown. He said that the real Ark of God was the Church Universal, which has been defined as the whole company of believing Christian people throughout the world. Many changes would occur, but the vital principle of religion would prove itself steadfast – a truly noble sermon, worthy of Phillips Brooks."

"July 12. To the New Gallery in which were two fine portraits by Herkomer, a superb one of Paderewski by Tadema, and one of Walter Crane by Watts, also of distinguished excellence. Later, called upon the Duchess of Bedford, a handsome woman, sister to Lady Henry Somerset. We talked of her sister's visit to the United States. I was well able to praise her eloquence and her general charm. She has known Lowell well. We talked of the old London, the old Boston, both past their palmiest literary days. She had heard Phillips Brooks at Westminster Abbey; admired him much, but thought him optimistic."

"July 14. Was engaged to spend the afternoon at Mrs. Moulton's reception and to dine with Sebastian Schlesinger.... Many people introduced to me – Jerome, author of 'Three Men in a Boat'; Molloy, songwriter; Theodore Watts, poetical critic of the 'Athenaæum.'... At the dinner I met Mrs. O'Connor, who turned out to be a Texan, pretty and very pleasant, an Abolitionist at the age of six...."

"July 15.... To the Harlands', where met Theodore Watts again, and had some good talk with him about Browning and other friends. Also Walter Besant, whom I greeted very warmly as 'our best friend.'"

"July 17. A sermon of surpassing beauty and power from the dear Bishop of Massachusetts [Phillips Brooks].... The power and spirit of the discourse carried me quite away. We waited to speak with him. I had a dear grasp of the hand from him. I shook my finger at him and said, 'Is this resting?' He laughed and said, 'This is the last time. I shall not speak again until I reach Massachusetts.' I wrote some lines on coming home, only half expressing my thought, which was that the mother of so brave a son could not have had one coward drop of blood in her veins – another little scrap, too, about the seven devils that Christianity can cast out. General Walker in the afternoon and the Harlands to dinner."


They left London to join Mrs. Terry at Schwalbach, lingering for a little on the way in Holland and Belgium.

"July 27. The Hague. To see Mesdag and his pictures. Found Mesdag a hale man of perhaps fifty years – perhaps less; a fine house, and, besides his own paintings of which we saw a number, a wonderful collection of pictures, mostly modern French, Troyon, Corot, Rousseau, Daubigny. Some good things by a Roman artist, Mancini, whom Mesdag praised highly – he is very poor, but has some excellent qualities. A picture of a little girl reclining on a pillow with a few flowers in her hand, pleased me very much – he also praised it. Much fine tapestry, china, etc., etc. He was gruffly pleasant and hospitable."

"July 28. Antwerp. Visited Cathedral and Musée. Saw my picture, Rubens's Elevation of the Cross, but felt that my eyesight has dimmed since I last saw it. Found Félu, the armless artist, in the Musée copying a picture of Godiva. He was very glad to see us. Much talk with him about Flemish art. A little ramble after dinner and a nibble at a bric-à-brac shop, which, however, did not become a bite."

"July 31. Cologne. A great concourse of people awaited the arrival of a steamer with the Arion Musical Society of New York. Köln choral societies were represented by fine banners and by members in mediæval costumes, very picturesque. The steamer came alongside with many flags, foremost among them our own dear 'Stars and Stripes.' We waved handkerchiefs vigorously as these last passed by, and were saluted by their bearers."

"August 2. Left Cologne by Rhine steamer. I remember these boats as crowded, dirty, and very comfortless, but I found this one as well appointed as need be. Spent the day mostly on deck enjoying the great beauty and romance of the trip.... I chilled myself pretty badly on deck, but stayed up until perhaps half-past seven. A very young Westphalian on board astonished us all by his powers of drinking and of smoking. He talked with me; said, 'Sie sind deutsch,' which I denied."

"August 3. Reached Schwalbach at three. My dear sister [Mrs. Terry] came out to greet us. The meeting was a little tearful, but also cheerful. Much has passed and passed away in these eventful years.... Presently Louisa and I were as though we had not been parted at all. She is little changed, and retains her old grace and charm of manner."

"August 4. Out early with my sister. We have a regular and restful plan of living. Meet after dinner, coffee with my sister at half-past four, supper at half-past seven, in the evening reading aloud and conversation. I am miserable with pain, probably rheumatic, in my left hip. Think I must have got a chill on the Rhine boat. I say nothing about this. Daisy and Wintie [Mr. and Mrs. Winthrop Chanler] came this afternoon."

"August 7. To Anglican service with my dear sister. A dull sermon. The service indifferently read – just the stereotyped Church of England article. My dreadful hip joint does not ache to-day, and I am ready to skip about with joy at the relief even if it prove but temporary. The pain has been pretty severe and I have said nought about it, fearing treatment."

"August 9. Read Aristotle, as I have done all these days. Took up St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, with a more distinct view than heretofore of his attitude relative to them, and theirs to him. Walked out with my sister, and saw at the bric-à-brac booth near the Stahlbrunnen a ring composed of a fine garnet, set with fine diamonds, wonderfully cheap, 136 marks – I foolishly wanted it."

"August 16. Heidelberg. To the Castle – an endless walk and climb. I was here in 1843, a bride, with dear Chev, my dearest brother Marion, and my cousin, Henry Hall Ward. We went to the Wolfbrunnen to breakfast – went on ponies to the Castle, where we wandered at will, and saw the mighty tun. Some French people were wandering there also, and one of them, a lady with a sweet soprano voice, sang a song of which the refrain was: 'Comme une étoile au firmament.' H. H. Ward long after found this song somewhere. His voice has now been silent for twenty years, dear Marion's for forty-six, and here I come to-day, with my grown-up granddaughter, whom dear Chev only knew as a baby. How long the time seems, and yet how short! Two generations have grown up since then in our family. My sister Louisa, then a young beauty, is here with me, a grandmother with grandchildren nearly grown. 'So teach us to number our days.'"


It seemed to the second and third generations that the two sisters could hardly have been lovelier in that far-off springtime than now in the mellow beauty of their autumn. It was a delight to see them together, a high privilege to sit by and listen to the interchange of precious memories:–

"Do you remember – "

"And do you remember again – "


"August 24. Sonnenberg.... At breakfast an elderly lady seemed to look at me and to smile. I supposed her to be one of my Club ladies, or some one who had entertained me, so presently I asked her if she were 'one of my acquaintances.' She replied that she was not, but would be pleased to make my acquaintance. We met soon after in one of the corridors; having incautiously mentioned my name, I asked for hers, she replied, 'Sforza – Duchess Sforza Cesarini.' She had been attracted by my Breton caps, and especially by Daisy's beautiful version of this simple adornment. She is a reader of Rosmini."39


The Duchess confessed afterward that she had requested her maid to observe and copy the cap, and had been somewhat troubled in mind lest she had been guilty of a constructive discourtesy.


"September 3. Received and answered a letter from Jenkin Lloyd Jones, informing me of my election to an Advisory Board to hold a World's Unitarian Congress at Chicago in September, 1893. I have accepted this."

"September 4. My last day at Sonnenberg.... Gave my sister my little old Greek Lexicon, long a cherished companion. I had thought of reading the family one of my sermons, but my throat was troublesome and no one asked me to do anything of the kind. They wished to hear 'Pickwick,' and a long reading was held in my room, the fire in the grate helping to cheer us."

"September 15. Left Montreux for Paris. Reed brought me a beautiful yellow rose, half-blown, upon which I needs must exercise my old trick of versification. Paper I had none – the back of a pasteboard box held one stanza, the cover of a Tauchnitz the others."

"September 18. Heard to-day of the noble poet, Whittier's death. What a great heart is gone with him!"

"September 22. Liverpool. Embarked at about ten in the morning. Edward Atkinson, wife and daughter on board, a valuable addition to our resources."

"September 29. At sea. I said in my mind: 'There is nothing in me which can redeem me from despair over my poor life and wasted opportunities. That redemption which I seek must be in Thee. There is no progress in the mere sense of ill-desert. I must pass on from it to better effort beyond, self-reproach is negative: woe is me that I was born! Amendment must have positive ground.' I wrote some lines in which a bit of sea-weed shining in the sun seemed as an illustration of the light which I hope to gain."

"September 30. A performance of Jarley's Waxworks in the evening was much enjoyed. Edward Atkinson as Mrs. Partington in my witch hat recited some merry nonsense of Hood's about European travel."

"October 2. Boston. In the early morning John M. Forbes's yacht, the Wild Duck, hovered around us, hoping to take off his daughter, Mrs. Russell.... Quite a number of us embraced this opportunity with gratitude...."

"October 3. All seems like a dream."

"October 7. Newport. I begin my life here with a prayer that the prolongation of my days on earth may be for good to myself and others, that I may not sink into senile folly or grossness, nor yet wander into æsthetic conceit, but carry the weight of my experience in humility, in all charity, and in a loving and serviceable spirit."


The last entry in the Journal for 1892 strikes the keynote of what was to prove the most absorbing interest of the coming year.

"December 31. Farewell, dear 1892. You were the real quattro centenary of Columbus's discovery, although we have been so behind time as not to be ready to celebrate this before 1893. 1492 was indeed a year momentous to humanity."


To her many cares was added now work for the Columbian Exhibition at Chicago. The Woman's Department of the World's Fair was ably administered by Mrs. Potter Palmer, who consulted her frequently, her experiences in the New Orleans Cotton Centennial proving useful in the Columbian Exhibition. The "Twelve-o'Clock Talks," so successful in the Crescent City, were, at her suggestion, repeated at Chicago, and proved most valuable. The Association for the Advancement of Women and many other associations were to meet in Chicago this year. She writes to the Reverend Jenkin Lloyd Jones concerning the Parliament of Religions and the Unitarian Congress; to Aaron Powell touching the Congress on Social Purity. There are letters, too, about the Alliance of Unitarian Women, the Congress of Representative Women, and the Association of Women Ministers and Preachers.

"January 7. [Boston.] To speak to the Daughters of the American Revolution at the house of Miss Rebecca W. Brown. I had dreaded the meeting, feeling that I must speak of suffrage in connection with the new womanhood, and anticipating a cold or angry reception. What was my surprise at finding my words, which were not many, warmly welcomed! Truly, the hour is at hand!"

"January 8. To speak for Dr. Clisby at Women's Educational and Industrial Union. I had dreaded this, too, fearing not to interest my audience. The occasion was very pleasant to me, and, I think, to them; Mrs. Waters endorsed my estimate of Phillips Brooks as a perfectly disinterested worker. Mrs. Catlin of New York agreed in my praise of Bishop Henry C. Potter on the same grounds; both also spoke well in relation to my most prominent point – emancipation from the slavery of self."

"January 23. Oh! and alas! dear Phillips Brooks died suddenly this morning at half-past six. Alas! for Christendom, which he did so much to unite by redeeming his domain in it from superstition, formalism, and uncharity. Oh! to have such a reputation, and deserve it!"

"March 4. To-day have been allowed to visit the study of the late dear Bishop of Massachusetts. I took this pin from his pincushion, to keep for a souvenir. Made Rosalind write down the names of a number of the books. The library is a very generous one, comprising a large sweep of study and opinion. A charming frieze over the large window had been painted by Mrs. Whitman. We entered with a reverent feeling, as if in a sacred place.... The dining-room, and his seat thereat, with portraits of his parents and grandfather. The mother was of his color, dark of eyes and hair, strong temperament, otherwise no special resemblance. His father looked substantial but not remarkable."


In mid-May she went to Chicago, to take part in the World's Congress of Representative Women, and in many of the other congresses and conferences of that notable year.

"May 16. Chicago. Was appointed to preside to-day over a Report Convention [of the above Congress]; went to Room 6 of the Art Palace and found no one. Mrs. Kennard came presently, and Mrs. Clara B. Colby, who stood by me bravely – when about a dozen had gathered I opened the meeting. Mrs. Colby read reports for two associations, British, I think. A German delegate had a long report written in German, which it would have been useless for her to read. She accordingly reported as she was able, in very funny English, I helping her when she was at loss for a word. Her evident earnestness made a good impression. I reported for A.A.W., partly in writing, partly extempore. In the evening read my paper on the Moral Initiative as regards Women. The hall [of Washington] was frightfully cold."

"May 17. Going to the Art Palace this afternoon I found an audience waiting in one of the small halls with no speaker. Madame C. had engaged to speak on musical education. I was requested to fill the breach, which I did, telling of the Boston Conservatory of Music, early music in Boston, and down to our time. Had an ovation afterwards of friendly handshaking."

"May 19. Meeting of National Alliance of Unitarian Women."

"May 27. My seventy-fourth birthday. Thank God for my continued life, health, and bodily and mental powers. My prayer to Him is that, whether I am to have a year, a month, a week, or a day more, it may be for good to myself and others.

"Went to the Columbian Exhibition. Thomas's Orchestra playing for Mrs. Potter Palmer's reception given to the women of the Press Association. Later I went into the model kitchen where tea was served by the Cingalese. Mrs. Palmer asked me to follow her brief address with a few words. I did this and told of its being my birthday, at which Mrs. Palmer gave me her bouquet of carnations, and the ladies present rose and waved handkerchiefs. Read my sermon for to-morrow twice and feared it might not strike a keynote here."

"May 28. Rather nervous about getting to town in time for my service at the Unitarian Church, – we were in good time. My mind was much exercised about my prayer, I having decided to offer the longer one, which I did, I hope, acceptably. I don't think that the sermon told as it did in Boston. The church is not easy to speak in. Mr. Fenn said a few words very tenderly about his pleasure in receiving me into his pulpit. The pulpit roses were given me."

"May 29. Went to the Exposition, where met Mrs. Charlotte Emerson Brown. Went with her to her space in the Organization Room. She will receive and care for my exhibits. Saw the very fine collection of club manuals, histories, etc."40

"May 30. Made a little spurt to begin my screed for Aaron Powell's meeting on Sunday. Went with dear Maud and Helen Gardner to the Fair. Side-shows as follows: Cairo Street, Cairo Theatre, Soudanese dancers (very black savages wearing top tufts of black hair or wool, clothed in strips of dirty white cotton cloth), old Vienna, dinner at Vienna restaurant....

"The Cairo dancing was simply horrid, no touch of grace in it, only a most deforming movement of the whole abdominal and lumbar region. We thought it indecent. The savages were much better, though they only stamp their bare feet and clap their hands in rhythm without music. One had a curious smooth lyre, which seemed to give no sound. Their teeth were beautifully white and regular. One of them came up to me and said, 'Mamma,' as if to indicate my age. Then into a bark hut, to see the Soudanese baby dance – a dear little child that danced very funnily to a tum-tum."

Early June found her back in Boston and hard at work.

"June 8. Finished my screed for the July 'Forum.' Subject, 'A Proper Observance of the Fourth of July.' I have prayed over this piece of work as over all the others which have been strung, one after another, in this busiest of years for me. I have also despaired of it, and am not yet sure of its acceptance."

Next day she felt that she "must see the last of dear Edwin Booth." The Journal describes his funeral at length; "the sun perfectly golden behind the trees." She brought away a bit of evergreen from the grave, and at church, two days later, "had the sexton slide it in among the pulpit flowers; afterward brought it home. Perhaps a silly fancy, but an affectionate one." She wrote a poem in memory of Mr. Booth, "not altogether to my satisfaction." She felt his death as a real loss; he remained always to her a beautiful and heroic figure, connected with a great time.

"June 15. 'Thus far the Lord has led me on.' I have had many pieces of work to accomplish, and when almost despairing, seemed to have been uplifted right into my working seat, and so have fulfilled my tasks as well as I was able. Have still my Fourth of July poem to write, and wish to write a poem in memory of Edwin Booth. I'm hungry, oh! how hungry, for rest and reading. Must work very hard for A.A.W. this season...."

She went to Harvard Class Day this summer, her eldest grandson, Samuel Prescott Hall, being of the graduating class; drove out to Cambridge in a pouring rain, and enjoyed the occasion. "I saw my Boy march with his fellows; when they cheered Weld, I waved a napkin."

The summer sped by on wings of study and work; she was lame, but that gave her the more time for writing. The Journal records many letters; among other things, "a short screed for the man who asks to be convinced that there is such a thing as soul." In September she spread other wings and flew back to Chicago for the Parliament of Religions, and some last Impressions of the Dream City of the World's Fair.

"September 23. Went to the Parliament of Religions where Jenkin Lloyd Jones put me on the platform. Heard Dr. Momery, who gave a pleasant, liberal, and spirited address, a little elementary, as he closed by reciting 'Abou Ben Adhem,' which is as familiar to Americans as A B C. In the evening went to meet, or rather find, the women ministers. Miss Chapin excused herself from attending and asked me to run the meeting.... I read my short screed, briefly narrating my own efforts to found an association of women ministers. Miss Putnam and Mary Graves were appointed as a committee to consult with me as to a plan of organization."

"September 26. Up early.... Visited the German village, castle and museum, the mining, agricultural, shoe and leather buildings for a brief space. Made a turn in the Ferris Wheel.... Mary Graves came for me, and we started for the Parliament in good time. The first speaker was intolerably narrow and out of place, insisting upon the hostility of Christ to all ethnic religions. I could not refrain from taking him up a little, very mildly. I was received with applause and the Chautauqua salute, and my brief speech (fourteen minutes without notes) was much applauded. I was very thankful for this opportunity."


This impromptu speech made a deep impression. In the newspaper reports great stress was laid on it, with singular result. She was amazed next day to hear her name roared out in the Midway Plaisance by a touter who stood at the gateway of one of the side-shows where some Orientals were at prayer.

"Come in, all ye Christian people," the man cried. "Come in and see these devout Mohammedans at their devotions. Julia Ward Howe has knocked the orthodoxy into a cocked hat."

The quiet little figure, passing in the motley throng, paused for a moment and looked with astonishment into the touter's face, which gave no sign of recognition.

"This," said a friend, who happened to come up at the moment, – "this is fame!"



1890-1896; aet. 71-77



A figure by my fireside stayed,
Plain was her garb, and veiled her face;
A presence mystical she made,
Nor changed her attitude, nor place.

Did I neglect my household ways
For pleasure, wrought of pen or book?
She sighed a murmur of dispraise,
At which, methought, the rafters shook.

.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .      .  

"Now, who art thou that didst not smile
When I my maddest jest devised?
Who art thou, stark and grim the while
That men my time and measure prized?"

Without her pilgrim staff she rose,
Her weeds of darkness cast aside;
More dazzling than Olympian snows
The beauty that those weeds did hide.

Most like a solemn symphony
That lifts the heart from lowly things,
The voice with which she spake to me
Did loose contrition at its springs.

"Oh, Duty! Visitor Divine,
Take all the wealth my house affords,
But make thy holy methods mine;
Speak to me thy surpassing words!

"Neglected once and undiscerned,
I pour my homage at thy feet.
Till I thy sacred law have learned
Nor joy, nor life can be complete."

J. W. H.

IN the closing decade of the nineteenth century a new growth of "causes" claimed her time and sympathy. The year 1891 saw the birth of the Society of American Friends of Russian Freedom; modelled on a similar society which, with "Free Russia" as its organ, was doing good work in England.

The object of the American society was "to aid by all moral and legal means the Russian patriots in their efforts to obtain for their country political freedom and self-government." Its circular was signed by Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Julia Ward Howe, John Greenleaf Whittier, James Russell Lowell, George Kennan, William Lloyd Garrison, Henry I. Bowditch, F. W. Bird, Alice Freeman Palmer, Charles G. Ames, Edward L. Pierce, Frank B. Sanborn, Annie Fields, E. Benjamin Andrews, Lillie B. Chace Wyman, Samuel L. Clemens, and Joseph H. Twitchell.

James Russell Lowell, writing to Francis J. Garrison in 1891, says: "Between mote and beam, I think this time Russia has the latter in her eye, though God knows we have motes enough in ours. So you may take my name even if it be in vain, as I think it will be."

It was through this society that she made the acquaintance of Mme. Breschkovskaya,41 the Russian patriot whose sufferings and sacrifices have endeared her to all lovers of freedom. The two women felt instant sympathy with each other. Mme. Breschkovskaya came to 241 Beacon Street more than once, and they had much talk together. On one of these occasions our mother was asked to play some of her own compositions. Her fingers strayed from one thing to another; finally, on a sudden impulse, she struck the opening chords of the Russian National Hymn. Mme. Breschkovskaya started forward. "Ah, madame!" she cried, "do not play that! You cannot know what that air means to us Russians!"

At a great meeting in Faneuil Hall the two spoke, in English and Russian respectively, while other addresses were in Yiddish and Polish. All were frantically applauded by the polyglot audience which filled the hall to overflowing. William Dudley Foulke presided at this meeting. Speaking with our mother several years later, he reminded her of the occasion, which he thought might have been of a somewhat anarchistic tendency. He was not sure, he said, that they had not made fools of themselves. "One can afford," she replied, "to make a very great fool of one's self in such a cause as that of Russian liberty!"


The year 1891 saw the birth of another society in which she was deeply interested, the Women's Rest Tour Association, whose object was "simply to make it easier for women who need a trip abroad to take one."

It was proved "that the sum of $250 was sufficient to enable a woman of simple tastes to enjoy a summer's vacation in Europe"; a travelling fund was established from which women could borrow, or – in certain cases – receive gifts; a handbook was issued, etc., etc.

In an unobtrusive way, the Women's Rest Tour Association did and continues to do much good. She was its president to the close of her life, and in silent and lovely tribute to her memory the office has since then remained vacant.

In the early nineties all Christendom was aroused by the outrages committed by the Turks in Armenia. From almost every Christian country rose a cry of horror: indignation meetings were called; protest, denunciation, and appeal were the order of the day. In Boston a meeting was held at Faneuil Hall (November 26, 1894), called together by the Boston Armenian Relief Committee. She was on the platform, and spoke from her heart.

"I could not," she says, "stay away from this meeting. My heart was here, and I came, not so much to speak, as to hear what is to be done about this dreadful trouble. For something must be done. I have to pray God night and morning that He would find some way to stay this terrible tide of slaughter....

"I recall the first action of Florence Nightingale when she went to take care of the sick and wounded in the Crimean War. She found many things wanting for the comfort of the soldiers in the hospitals, but she could not get at them. Some seal or mandate was waited for. 'The men are suffering,' Florence Nightingale said. 'Break in the doors – open the boxes – give me the blankets and medicines. I must have them!' – and so she did. Now, the fleets of the Western nations are waiting for some diplomatic development which shall open the way for action. I think that we, the United States of America, are now called upon to play the part of Florence Nightingale; to take our stand and insist upon it that the slaughter shall cease. Oh! let us give money, let us give life, but let us stand by our principles of civil and religious liberty. I am sure that if we do so, we shall have behind us, and with us, that great spirit which has been in the world for nineteen centuries past, with ever-increasing power. Let us set up in these distant lands the shelter of the blessed Cross, and of all that it stands for, and let us make it availing once and forever."

Soon after this the Friends of Armenia organized as a society, she being its president. Among its members were William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Blackwell and his devoted daughter Alice, and M. H. Gulesian. Singly or in company they went about, through Massachusetts, holding meetings, rousing the people to aid in the protest of Christendom against heathendom, of mercy against cruelty. "Spoke for Armenia," is a frequent entry in the Journal of these days.

In one of these addresses she said:–

"It may be asked, where is the good of our assembling here? what can a handful of us effect against this wicked and remorseless power, so far beyond our reach, so entrenched in the selfishness of European nations who are the creditors of the bankrupt state, and who keep her alive in the hope of recovering the debt which she owes them? The walls of this old hall should answer this question. They saw the dawn of our own larger liberties. They heard the first indignant plea of Wendell Phillips when, in the splendor of his youth, he took the field for the emancipation of a despised race which had no friends. So, on this sacred arena, I throw down the glove which challenges the Turkish Government to its dread account. What have we for us in this contest? The spirit of civilization, the sense of Christendom, the heart of humanity. All of these plead for justice, all cry out against barbarous warfare of which the victims are helpless men, tender women and children. We invoke here the higher powers of humanity against the rude instincts in which the brute element survives and rules.

"Aid us, paper, aid us, pen,
Aid us, hearts of noble men!
Aid us, shades of champions who have led the world's progress! Aid us, thou who hast made royal the scourge and crown of thorns!"

After hearing these words, Frederick Greenhalge, then Governor of Massachusetts, said to her, "Ah, Mrs. Howe, you have given us a prose Battle Hymn!"

The Friends of Armenia did active and zealous service through a number of years, laboring not only for the saving of life, but for the support and education of the thousands of women and orphans left desolate. Schools and hospitals were established in Armenia, and many children were placed in American homes, where they grew up happily, to citizenship.

Nearly ten years later, a new outbreak of Turkish ferocity roused the "Friends" to new fervor, and once again her voice was lifted up in protest and appeal. She wrote to President Roosevelt, imploring him to send some one from some neighboring American consulate to investigate conditions. He did so, and his action prevented an impending massacre.

In 1909, fresh persecutions brought the organization once more together. The Armenians of Boston reminded her of the help she had given before, and asked her to write to President Taft. This she promptly did. Briefly, this cause with so many others was to be relinquished only with life itself.

On the fly-leaf of the Journal for 1894 is written: "I take possession of the New Year in the name of Faith, Hope, and Charity. J.W. Howe."

"Head bewildered with correspondence, bills, etc. Must get out of this or die."

"A threatening head, and a week before me full of functions. I feel weak in mind and dazed with confusions, but will trust in God and keep my powder dry."

"Hearing on Suffrage, Green Room, 10 A.M. My mind was unusually clear for this speaking. I determined to speak of the two sorts of people, those who naturally wish to keep the best things for themselves, and those whose appreciation of these things is such that they cannot refrain from spreading them abroad, giving freely as they have received. I was able to follow and apply this tolerably in my ten-minute speech...."

"Annual meeting of Rest Tour Association; a delightful meeting, full of good suggestions. I made one concerning pilgrimages in groups.... I had a sudden glimpse to-day of the unfailing goodness of God. This and not our merits brings the pardon of our sins."

"To hear Irving in 'Louis XI'; a strong play and a good part for him. Left after Act Fourth to attend Mrs. Gardner's musicale, at which Busoni pounded fearfully. I said, 'He ought to play with his boots on his hands.' He played two curious compositions of Liszt's: St. Francis's Sermon to the Birds and to the Fishes – much roaring as of old ocean in the second."

"Boston. Attended Mrs. Mary Hemenway's funeral in the morning. . .. A great loss she is, but her life has been a great gain. Would that more rich men had such daughters! That more rich women had such a heart!..."

"C. G. A. preached a funeral sermon on Mrs. Hemenway. As he opened his lips, I said to myself, 'What can he teach us that her life has not taught us?' The sermon, however, was most instructive. Such a life makes an epoch, and should establish a precedent. If one woman can be so disinterested and so wise, others can emulate her example. I, for one, feel that I shall not forget this forcible presentation of the aspect of such a character, of such a history. God send that her mantle may fall upon this whole community, stimulating each to do what he or she can for humanity."


To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, April 21, 1894.


...Let me tell you of the abolition of the old Fast Day and of the new holiday, April 19, ordained in its stead. This, you may remember, is the anniversary of the Battle of Lexington. The celebration here was quite on a grand scale. The bells of the old North Church were rung and the lanterns hung out. A horseman, personating Paul Revere, rode out to rouse the farmers of Concord and Lexington, and a sham fight, imitating the real one, actually came off with an immense concourse of spectators. The Daughters of the American Revolution had made me promise to go to their celebration at the Old South, where I sat upon the platform with Mrs. Sam Eliot, Regent, and with the two orators of the day, Professor Channing and Edward Hale. I wore the changeable silk that Jenny Nelson made, the Gardner cashmere, and the bonnet which little you made for me last summer. McAlvin refreshed it a little, and it looked most proud. Sam Eliot, who presided, said to me, "Why, Julia, you look like the queen that I said you were, long ago. If I could do so, I would introduce you as the Queen." I tell you all this in order that you may know that I was all right as to appearance. I was to read a poem, but had not managed to compose one, so I copied out "Our Country" from "Later Lyrics," and read it as I was never able to read it before. For the first time, it told upon the audience. This was because it was especially appropriate to the occasion....


"May 11. Opposed the dispensing with the reading of State Reports. The maker of the motion said that we could read these at home. I said, 'Yes, and we can read the Bible at home, but we like to go to church and hear it read.' Finished my screed for this evening and licked my Columbus poem into shape, the dear Lord helping me."


To Maud

PLAINFIELD, N.J., May 16, 1894.


...First place, I had a visit from Laura. We threw the ball daily, and had lunches and punches. We went to hear de Koven's "Robin Hood," the music of which is strongly reminiscent, and also saw Mounet-Sully's "Hamlet," a very wonderful piece of acting. Flossy and I had three days of conventioning in Philadelphia, last week. Flossy's little speech was one of the best at the convention, and was much applauded. I was received on all hands with affectionate goodwill.... There seemed to be, among the Eastern women, a desire to make me president [of the General Federation of Women's Clubs]. This I immediately put out of the question and Mrs. Cheney stood by me, saying that Massachusetts would not see me killed with work. It would indeed have been out of the question, as the position is probably one of great labor and responsibility....



The Seventy-fifth Birthday brought the customary festivities. The newspapers sent reporters; she had a word for each. To the representative of the "Advertiser," she said, "I think that I enjoy the coming of old age with its peacefulness, like the going down of the sun. It is very lovely! I am so glad to be remembered by so many. The twilight of life is indeed a pleasant season!"


To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, May 31, 1894.


I send you a budget of tributes to my birthday. The "Springfield Republican" has a bit about it, with a good and gratifying poem from Sanborn. Really, dear, between you and me what a old humbug it is! But no matter – if people will take me for much better than I am, I can't help it, and must only try to live up to my reputation.... I received a good letter from you, "a little scolding at first," but "soft rebukes with blessings ended," as Longfellow describes the admonitions of his first wife.... At the Suffrage Festival, Governor Long presided, and in introducing me waved a branch of lilies, saying, "In the beauty of the lilies she is still, at seventy-five." Now that I call handsome, don't you?...

Flossy had a very successful afternoon tea while I was with her. She had three ladies of the Civitas Club and invited about one hundred of her neighbors to hear them read papers. It was n't suffrage, but it was good government, which is about the same thing. The parlors looked very pretty. I should think seventy or eighty 'came and all were delighted. Did I write you that at Philadelphia she made the most admired speech of the occasion? She wore the brocade, finely made over, with big black velvet top sleeves and rhinestone comb, and they 'plauded and 'plauded, and I sat, grinning like a chessy cat, oh! so welly pleased.

"July 1. [Oak Glen.] Despite my severe fatigue went in town to church; desired in my mind to have some good abiding thought given me to work for and live by. The best thought that came to me was something like this: we are careful of our fortune and of our reputation. We are not careful enough of our lives. Society is built of these lives in which each should fit his or her place, like a stone fitly joined by the builder. We die, but the life we have lived remains, and helps to build society well or ill. Later on I thought that it sometimes seems as if a rope or chain of mercy would be let down to pull some of us out of sin and degradation, out of the Hell of passion. If we have taken hold of it and have been rescued, shall we not work to have others drawn up with us? At such moments, I remember my old wish to speak to the prisoners, never fully realized."


"August 13. Finished my poem for the Bryant Centenary, of which I have despaired; my mind has seemed dull of late, and I have had a hard time with this poem, writing what appeared to me bald-doggerel, with no uniting thought. In these last three days, I have hammered upon it, and bettered it, coming in sight of a better vein and to-day, not without prayerful effort, I got it about ready, D.G."


To Maud

OAK GLEN, August 27, 1894.

...An interesting French gentleman has been giving readings at Mrs. Coleman's. He read us Corneille's "Cid" last evening with much dash and spirit. It is a famous play, but the sentiment is very stilted, like going up a ladder to shave one's self. I was at Providence on Friday to meet a literary club of ladies. I read to them the greater part of my play, "Hippolytus," written the summer before Sammy was born, for Edwin Booth. It seemed very ghostly to go back to the ambitions of that time, but the audience, a parlor one, expressed great satisfaction.... I 'fesses that I did attend the Bryant Centenary Festival at Cummington, Mass. I read a poem written for the occasion. Charles Dudley Warner and Charles Eliot Norton were there, and Parke Godwin presided.

"August 31. To Newport with Flossy, taking my screed with me, to the meeting of Colonial Dames, at the rooms of the Historical Society, one of which is the old Seventh-Day Baptist Church, which my great-grandfather, Governor Samuel Ward, used to attend.... Bishop Clarke made the closing address, full of good sense, sentiment and wit – a wonderful man for eighty-two years of age."


To Laura

OAK GLEN, September 6, 1894.

Q. What has been your mother's treatment of you latterly?

Ans. Quite devilish, thank you.

Q. Has her conduct this past season been worse than usual?

Ans. Much as usual. I regret to say, could n't be worse.

(Family Catechism for 1894.) .

Taken by Major Dudley Mills


Oh! I've got a day to myself, and I've got some chillen, and I'm going to write to 'em, you bet.

You see, Laura E., of the plural name of Dick, there warn't no summer, only one of those patent, boiled down contrivances, all shrivelled up, which if you puts them in water, they swells out, but there warn't no water (Encycl. Brit., Article "Drought"); and so the dried-up thing did n't swell, and there warn't no summer, and that is why you have n't heard from me.... I'm sorry, anyhow, that I can't allow you the luxury of one moment's grievance against me, but I can't; I may, now and then, forget to write ("!!!!" says L.E.R.), but I 'dores you all the same. I carry the sweet cheer of your household through all my life. Am drefful glad that you have been to camp this season; wish I could go myself. Only think of Celia Thaxter's death! I can hardly believe it, she always seemed so full of life....


"September 28. Here begins for me a new period. I have fulfilled as well as I could the tasks of the summer, and must now have a little rest, a day or so, and then begin in good earnest to prepare for the autumn and winter work, in which A.A.W. comes first, and endless correspondence."


To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, December 19, 1894.

Last Sunday evening I spoke in Trinity Church, having been invited to do so by the rector, Dr. Donald. Wonders will never cease. The meeting was in behalf of the colored school at Tuskegee, which we A.A.W.'s visited after our Congress. I dressed myself with unusual care. Dr. Donald gave me the place of honor and took me in and upon the platform in the chancel where we all sat. Governor Greenhalge was the first speaker. I came about fourth, and to my surprise was distinctly heard all over the house. You may easily imagine that I enjoyed this very much, although it was rather an anxious moment when I stepped forward to speak.... We are all much shocked at the death of dear Robert Louis Stevenson of which you will have heard before this reaches you. What a loss to literature!


"January 1, 1895. I was awake very early and made the prayer that during this year I might not say one uncharitable word, or be guilty of one ungenerous action."

"January 6.... My afternoon service at the Women's Educational and Industrial Union.... The day was very stormy and Mrs. Lee met me at the carriage, offering to excuse me from speaking to the five persons who were in attendance. I felt not to disappoint those five, and presently twenty-three were present, and we had a pleasant talk, after the reading of the short sermon."

"January 8.... Felt much discouraged at waking, the long vista of work opening out before me, each task calling for some original brain-work, I mean for some special thought worth presenting to an audience. While I puzzled, a thought came to me for this day's suffrage speech: 'The kingdom cometh not with observation.' The silent, gradual, wonderful growth of public sentiment regarding woman suffrage, the spreading sense of the great universal harmony which Christ delivered to us in the words and acts of a few years, and which, it seems to me, is only now beginning to make itself generally felt and to shape the world's councils increasingly."

"January 25. I awoke this morning overwhelmed by the thought of my lecture at Salem, which I have not written. Suddenly a line of my own came to me, 'Had I one of thy words, my Master,' and this brought me the train of thought, which I shall endeavor to present. The one word which we all have is 'charity.' I wrote quite a screed and with that and some speaking shall get through, I hope.... Got a good lead of thought and felt that I could supply extempore what I had not time to write. Harry and Fanny had a beautiful dinner for Lady Henry Somerset."

"January 26. Lunch and lecture in Salem. A dreadful storm; I felt that I must go. The hackman and I rolled down the steps of the house, he, fortunately for me, undermost and quite stout of person; otherwise the shock would have been severe and even dangerous....

[N.B. The terrified hackman, picking himself up, found her already on her feet.

 "Oh! Mrs. Howe," he cried, "let me help you into the house!"

 "Nonsense!" was the reply. "I have just time to catch my train!"]


To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, February 24, 1895.

I lost a good lecture engagement at Poughkeepsie through a blizzard. Did not start, finding that roads were badly blocked. My engagement at Brooklyn was a good one – a hundred dollars. I stayed at Chanler house, which was Chanleresque as usual. Peter Marié gave me a fine dinner. Margaret went with me, in white satin. I wore my black and white which you remember well. It still looks well enough. I wore some beautiful lace which I got, through dear sister Annie, from some distressed lace woman in England. I went to New York by a five-hour train, Godkin of the "Nation" taking care of me. He remembers your kind attentions to him when you met him in the Pullman with a broken ankle.


"March 30.... I awoke very early this morning, with a head so confused that I thought my brain had given out, at least from the recent overstrain.... Twice I knelt and prayed that God would give me the use of my mind. An hour in sleep did something towards this and a good cup of tea put me quite on my feet...."

"April 8. In the late afternoon Harry, my son, came, and after some little preparation told me of the death of my dear sister Annie. I have been toiling and moiling to keep the engagements of this week, but here comes the great silence, and I must keep it for some days at least...."

"April 10.... It suddenly occurred to me that this might be the hour, as this would surely be the day of dear Annie's funeral. So I found the 90th Psalm and the chapter in Corinthians, and sat and read them before her picture, remembering also Tennyson's lines:–

'And Ave, Ave, Ave said
Adieu, adieu, forever more.'"


To Laura

241 BEACON STREET, April 14, 1895.


... I feel thankful that my darling died in her own home, apparently without suffering, and in the bosom of her beloved family. She has lived out her sweet life, and while the loss to all who loved her is great, we must be willing to commit our dear ones to God, as we commit ourselves. The chill of age, no doubt, prevents my feeling as I should once have done, and the feeling that she has only passed in a little before me, lessens the sense of separation.

12.25. I have been to our Easter service, which I found very comforting and elevating, though it brought some tears, of which I have not shed many, being now past the age at which they flow freely. I thought a good deal of the desolate Easter at the ranch. For them, too, let us hope that the blessed season has brought comforting thoughts.... I went too to a Good Friday service at the new Old South, at which Dr. Donald of Trinity, Cuckson of Arlington [Unitarian] and Gordon, orthodox [Congregational], each took part. It was such an earnest, a reconciled and unified Christendom as I am thankful to have lived to see.

Love and blessings to you and yours, dear child.




"May 20. Have writ a brief letter to Mary G. Hennessey, Dixon, Illinois. She intends to speak of me in her graduation address and wanted me to send her 'a vivid history of my life,' with my 'ideas of literary work.' I declined the first, but sent a bit under the last head."

"May 27.... Suffrage meeting in the evening. I presided and began with, 'Sixty years ago to-day I was sixteen years old. If I only knew now what I thought I knew then'!"

"June 2.... To communion in afternoon. The minister asked whether I would speak. I told what I had felt as I entered the church that afternoon, 'a sort of realization of the scene in that upper chamber, its gloom and its glory. What was in that great heart whose pulsations have made themselves felt down to our own time, and all over the world? What are its sorrows? It bore the burthen of the sorrows and distresses of humanity, and we who pledge him here in this cup are bound to bear our part of that burthen. Only thus shall we attain to share in that festival of joy and of revealed power which followed the days of doubt and despair.'

"All this came to me like a flash. I have written it down from memory because I value the thought."

"June 16. Attended the funeral of my old friend and helper, Dr. Williams, the oculist.... Six stalwart sons carried the coffin.... I thought this: 'I am glad that I have at last found out that the battle of life is an unending fight against the evil tendencies, evil mostly because exceeding right measure, which we find in ourselves. Strange that it should take so long to find this out. This is the victory which God gives us when we have fought well and faithfully. Might I at least share it with the saints whom I have known.'"

"July 14.... When I lay down to my rest before dinner, I had a momentary sense of the sweetness and relief of the last lying down. This was a new experience to me, as I have been averse to any thought of death as opposed to the activity which I love. I now saw it as the termination of all fight and struggle, and prayed that in the life beyond I might pay some of the debts of affection and recompense which I have failed to make good in this life. Feeling a little like my old self to-day, I realize how far from well I have been for days past."

"July 27. Woke with an aching head.... Prayed that even in suffering I might still have 'work and worship.' Alliteration is, I know, one of my weaknesses. I thought afterwards of a third W – , work, worship, welcome. These three words will do for a motto of the life which I now lead, in which these words stand for my ruling objects, 'welcome' denoting 'hospitality' in which I should be glad to be more forward than I have been of late...."

"July 28. Reading Mr. Hedge's review of Historic Christianity to-day, I felt puzzled by his showing of the usefulness of human errors and delusion in the great order of Providence. Lying down for my midday rest, it became more clear to me that there is truth of sentiment and also intellectual truth. In Dr. Hedge's view, the inevitable mistakes of human intellect in its early unfolding were helpful to the development of true sentiment. Higher than this, however, must be the agreement of the two, prefigured perhaps in such sentences as 'Mercy and truth have kissed each other.' This thought also came to me: 'Oh, God, no kingdom is worth praying for but thine.'"


To Laura

OAK GLEN, August 2, 1895.


...I will condescend to inform you that I am well, that Flossy is very faithful in taking care of me, and that we are reading Bulwer's "Pelham," the stupidest of novels. We are two thirds through with it, and how the author of "Rienzi" could have offered the public so dull a dish, even in his unripe youth, passes my understanding. You must not get too tired. Remember that no one will have mercy upon you unless you will have mercy upon yourself. We sit out a good deal, and enjoy our books, all but "Pelham," our trees, birds, and butterflies.




"September 30. My dearest Maud left me this morning for another long absence; she is to sail for Europe. She had forbidden me to see her off, but I could not obey her in this and sat with her at breakfast, and had a last kiss and greeting. My last words called after her were: 'Do not forget to say your prayers. May God keep my dearest child and permit us to meet again, if it is best that I should live until her return, of which at present the prospect seems very good...."


The Association for the Advancement of Women met in New Orleans this year, but first she must go with Florence to the Council of the General Federation of Women's Clubs at Atlanta, Georgia, where a great exposition was also being held. The expedition began with disaster.

"October 31. Left Boston by Colonial train at 9 A.M. Rolled down my front steps, striking my forehead and bruising myself generally, in getting to the carriage...."

After taking her part in the Council and visiting the Exposition, she proceeded to New Orleans, where a warm welcome awaited her. A few days after her arrival, she was driving to some function when a trolley car ran into the carriage, shaking her up badly and bruising her lame knee severely. It seemed imperative that she should rest for a few days, and hostess and daughter pleaded with her. Florence begged in particular that she would cancel her engagement to preach in the Unitarian Church; begged a little too insistently. "I would n't, dear mother!" "Flossy," was the reply, "you are you, and I am I! I shall preach on Sunday!"


To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, November 17, 1895.


...I had a confused and weary time moving up from Newport, and my Southern journey followed "hard upon." Mrs. Cheney, Eva Channing, Mrs. Bethune, and I started on October 31. Flossy joined us in New York. We reached Atlanta on Friday. Our meetings were held in the Woman's Building of the Atlanta Exposition, and were very pleasant, the Exposition being also well worth visiting. I spoke in the Unitarian Church on the Sunday following, and on November 4 we started for New Orleans which we reached the next morning. We were all to be entertained, and Mrs. King, our old friend, had written me a cordial invitation to stay with her. The whole family turned out to receive us, and we were made at home at once.... Mrs. King had always been most kind and loyal to me. Our days in New Orleans, only six in number, were delightful. I saw most of the old friends.... After the accident to Mrs. King and myself, I felt much like seeking my own hearth. You will have seen or heard that a trolley car upset our carriage.... All said that it was a wonderful escape. My bruises are nearly well now, and I am able to go about as usual. New Orleans has improved much since we were there. The old mule cars have disappeared, and much of the mud. People feel very glad that the Lottery has been got rid of, but they are bitter against the sugar trust. Mrs. Walmsley received our A.A.W. ladies very cordially at her fine house and sent me beautiful flowers.... I spoke in the Unitarian Church on Sunday, so I had my heart's desire fulfilled....


To Laura

241 BEACON STREET, December 18, 1895.

'Pon my word and honor, could n't come at it before!... Last week I spoke straight along, every day until Saturday; was dreadfully tired. This week have n't spoken at all. Oh, I forgot, lecture on "Race Problems in Europe," before my own Club. Have sent the Armenians the money for a lecture given at Nahant last week, $10. Oh! the difficult dollars!...


"December 28.... Mrs. Barrows dined tête-à-tête with me, and we had much talk about Armenia. I said: 'If we two should go to England, would it do any good?' I spoke only half in earnest. She said: 'If you would only go, I would go with you as your henchman.' This set me thinking of a voyage to England and a crusade such as I made for Peace in 1872. I am, however, held forcibly here by engagements, and at my age, my bodily presence might be, as St. Paul says, 'contemptible.' I must try to work in some other way."


To Laura

241 BEACON STREET, December 29, 1895.

...The mince pie was in the grand style, and has been faithfully devoured, a profound sense of duty forbidding me to neglect it.... I went to a fine musical party at Mrs. Montie Sears's on Thursday evening, 26th. Paderewski played, at first with strings a Septet or Septuor of Brahms', and then many things by himself. Somehow, I could not enjoy him much; he played miraculously, but did not seem to be in it.

I am more than ever stirred up about the Armenians. The horrible massacres go on, just the same, and Christendom stands still. Oh! a curse on human selfishness!... We are to have a dramatic entertainment for the Red Cross on Jan. 7th at Boston Theatre....


"December 29.... I determined to-day to try to work more systematically for the Armenians. Think I will write to Clara Barton and Senator Hoar, also to Lady Henry Somerset, an arraignment of Christendom for its supineness towards the Turks, an allusion to Cœur de Lion and the ancient Crusaders...."

"December 30.... Clara Barton held a meeting for the Red Cross.... I was the last speaker and I think that, as sometimes happens, my few words brought things to a crisis, for the moment only, indeed, but even that may help."

"December 31. Rising early and with a mind somewhat confused and clouded, I went to my window. As I looked out, the gray clouds parted, giving me a moment's sight of a star high up in the heavens. This little glimpse gave me hope for the day and great comfort. It was like an answering glance to my many troubled questions...."

"We have stood for that which was known to be right in theory, and for that which has proved to be right in practice. (From my suffrage address at State House in 1894)."


In December, 1895, appeared her first volume since "Margaret Fuller," a collection of essays, published under the title of the opening one, "Is Polite Society Polite?" In the preface she says:–

"I remember, that quite late in the fifties, I mentioned to Theodore Parker the desire which I began to feel to give living expression to my thoughts, and to lend to my written words the interpretation of my voice.

"Parker, who had taken a friendly interest in the publication of my first volumes, 'Passion Flowers' and 'Words for the Hour,' gave his approval also to this new project. 'The great desire of the age,' he said, 'is for vocal expression. People are scarcely satisfied with the printed page alone: they crave for their instruction the living voice and the living presence....

Of the title essay she says:–

"I remember that I was once invited to read this essay to a village audience in one of the New England States. My theme was probably one quite remote from the general thought of my hearers. As I went on, their indifference began to affect me, and my thought was that I might as well have appealed to a set of wooden tenpins as to those who were present on that occasion.

"In this, I afterwards learned that I was mistaken. After the conclusion of the evening's exercise, a young man, well known in the community, was heard to inquire urgently where he could find the lecturer. Friends asked, what did he want of her? He replied: 'WeIl, I did put my brother in the poorhouse, and now that I have heard Mrs. Howe, I suppose that I must take him out.'"

Another personal reminiscence goes back to her childhood days:–

"I had a nursery governess when I was a small child. She came from some country town, and probably regarded her position in my father's family as a promotion. One evening, while we little folks gathered about her in our nursery, she wept bitterly. 'What is the matter?' we asked; and she took me up in her lap, and said: 'My poor old father came here to see me to-day, and I would not see him. I bade them tell him that he had mistaken the house, and he went away, and as he went I saw him looking up at the windows so wistfully!' Poor woman! We wept with her, feeling that this was indeed a tragical event, and not knowing what she could do to make it better.

"But could I see that woman now, I would say to her: 'If you were serving the king at his table, and held his wine-cup in your hand, and your father stood without, asking for you, you should set down the cup, and go out from the royal presence to honor your father, so much the more if he is poor, so much the more if he is old.' And all that is really polite in polite society would say so too."

On the same page is a memory of later years:–

"I once heard a lady, herself quite new in society, say of a Parisian dame who had shown her some attention: 'Ah! the trouble with Madame — is that she is too good-natured. She entertains everybody.' 'Indeed,' thought I, 'if she had been less good-natured, is it certain that she would have entertained you?'



1896-1897; aet. 77-78



I will build a house of rest,
Square the corners every one:
At each angle on his breast
Shall a cherub take the sun;
Rising, risen, sinking, down,
Weaving day's unequal crown.

   .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

With a free, unmeasured tread
Shall we pace the cloisters through:
Rest, enfranchised, like the Dead;
Rest till Love be born anew.
Weary Thought shall take his time,
Free of task-work, loosed from rhyme.

   .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Measured bread shall build us up
At the hospitable board;
In Contentment's golden cup
Is the guileless liquor poured.
May the beggar pledge the king
In that spirit gathering.

Oh! My house is far away;
Yet it sometimes shuts me in.
Imperfection mars each day
While the perfect works begin.
In the house of labor best
Can I build the house of rest.

J. W. H.

ON the fly-leaf of the Journal for 1896 is written:–

"That it may please Thee, to have mercy upon all men, we beseech Thee to hear us, Good Lord."

"January 1. I ask for this year, or for so much of it as God may grant me, that I may do some service in the war of civilization against barbarism, in my own country and elsewhere."

"January 18.... Re-wrote and finished my Easter poem, for which gratias Deo! I have had so much small business that I almost despaired of accomplishing this poem, of which the conception is good, but the execution very faulty. I took it all to pieces to-day, kept the thoughts and altered the arrangement."

"January 23. Dinner of Sorosis at the Waldorf, at 7 o'clock.

"Reached New York at 3 P.M. Elizabeth [Mrs. John Jay Chapman] had sent maid and carriage for me, which was most kind. Had a good rest and a short walk and went to Sorosis dinner, which was very brilliant and fine. I was asked to speak and took for my topic, 'The Day of Small Things'; the beginning of Sorosis and the New England Woman's Club, considered so trifling a matter, yet very important because it had behind it a very important principle; the fact that the time had come in which women were bound to study, assist, and stand by each other. I quoted Christ's saying about the mustard seed. Miss Barton's mission to Armenia I called a mustard seed, and one which would have very important results."

"January 27.... Wrote a few lines to Mrs. Charles A. Babcock, Oil City, Pennsylvania, for a woman's issue of a paper called the 'Derrick.' She wishes me to say what I thought would be the result of the 'womens edition' fad. I said that one result would be to drive to desperation those who receive letters, asking contributions to these issues."

"February 9. Another inspired sermon from C. G. Ames. Miss Page asked, 'Why is he so earnest? What does it mean?' I replied, 'He is in one of those waves of inspiration which come sometimes. The angel has certainly troubled the pool and we can go to it for healing.' Returning home, I wrote some lines about my sister Annie's picture. I had in church a momentary glimpse of the meaning of Christ's saying, 'I am the vine and ye are the branches.' I felt how the source of our spiritual love is in the heavenly fatherhood, and how departing from our sense of this we become empty and barren. It was a moment of great comfort...."

"February 10.... Gulesian last evening said that the Armenians want me to go to England, as a leader in advocacy of their cause. The thought brought me a new feeling of energy and enthusiasm. I think I must first help the cause in Washington, D.C."

"February 26. Hearing at State House on Suffrage. Worked at it [her address] somewhat in the early morning. Was tolerably successful in making my points. Was rather disappointed because no one applauded me. Considered that this was a lesson that we must learn, to do without praise. It comforted me to take it in this way. Soon the interest of what the others said put my own matters quite out of my mind. The hearing was a good one, all except a dreadful woman calling herself a Socialist, full of insufferable conceit and affectation of knowledge. An English labor man spoke well."

"March 22.... As I left church, Mrs. James Freeman Clarke stopped me, took both of my hands in hers and said she was sure that the world was better for my having been in it. This from so undemonstrative a person moved me a good deal and consoled me somewhat for my poor deserts and performances in the past – a burden which often weighs heavily upon me...."

"April 2. Conservatory of Music, 3 P.M. I went in fear and trembling with a violent bronchial cold and cough, in a miserable storm. I prayed all the way there that I might be pleasant in my demeanor, and I think that I was, for my trouble at having to run such a risk soon went out of my mind, and I enjoyed the occasion very much; especially meeting pupils from so many distant States, and one or two from Canada."

"April 8.... I asked in my prayer this morning, feeling miserably dull and weak, that some deed of help and love might be given me to accomplish to-day. At noon came three gentlemen, Hagop Bogigian, Mr. Blanchard, and Mr. Breed, of Lynn, praying me to make an appeal to the women of America for their Armenian sisters, who are destroying themselves in many instances to avoid Turkish outrage. The funds subscribed for relief are exhausted and some new stimulus to rouse the public is much needed.... I felt that I had had an answer to my prayer...."


To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, April 18, 1896.

...Let me tell you now, lest you should hear of it in, some other way, that I was urged to go to England this summer to intercede with Queen Victoria for the Armenians. I thought of it, but the plan seemed to me chimerical and futile. I still have them and the Cretans greatly at heart, but I don't think I could do any good in the way just mentioned. I should have been glad to make a great sacrifice for these persecuted people, but common sense must be adhered to, in all circumstances....


To the same

241 BEACON STREET, April 18, 1896.

...If you go to Russia, be careful to go as Mrs. John Elliott, not as Maud Howe Elliott. Your name is probably known there as one of the friends of "Free Russia," and you might be subjected to some annoyance in consequence. You had better make acquaintance with our minister, whoever he may be. The Russians seem now to have joined hands with the Turks. If the American missionaries can only be got rid of, Russia, it is said, will take Armenia under her so-called protection, and will compel all Christians to join the Greek Church. There is so much spying in Russia that you will have to be very careful what you talk about. I rather hope you will not go, for a dynamite country is especially dangerous in times of great public excitement, which the time of the coronation cannot fail to be....


"April 20. F. J. Garrison called and made me an offer, on the part of Houghton, Mifflin & Company, that they should publish my 'Reminiscences.'... I accepted, but named a year as the shortest time possible for me to get such a book ready...."


As a matter of fact, it took three years for her to complete the "Reminiscences." During these years, while she made it her principal literary work, it still had to take its chance with the rest, to be laid down at the call of the hour and taken up again when the insistence of "screed" or poem was removed: this while in Boston or Newport. During the Roman winter, soon to be described, she wrote steadily day by day; but here she must still work at disadvantage, having no access to journals or papers, depending on memory alone.


"May 7. Question: Cannot we follow up the Parliament of Religions by a Pan-Christian Association? I will try to write about this."

"May 19. Had sought much for light, or a leading thought about what I ought to do for Armenia.... Wrote fully to Senator Hoar, asking his opinion about my going abroad and whether I could have any official support."

"May 28. Moral Education Association, 10 A.M., Tremont Temple.

"I wish to record this thought which came to me on my birthday: As for individuals, no bettering of fortunes compares in importance with the bettering of character; so among nations, no extension of territory or aggregation of wealth equals in importance the fact of moral growth. So no national loss is to be deplored in comparison with loss of moral earnestness."

"Oak Glen, June 30.... Finished this afternoon my perusal of the 'Memoir' of Mr. John Pickering. Felt myself really uplifted by it into an atmosphere of culture and scholarship, rarely attained even by the intelligent people whom we all know...."

"July 12.... I pray this morning for courage to undertake and fervor to accomplish something in behalf of Christian civilization against the tide of barbarism, which threatens to over-sweep it. This may be a magazine article; something, at any rate, which I shall try to write.

"1 P.M. Have made a pretty good beginning in this task, having writ nine pages of a screed under the heading: 'Shall the frontier of Christendom be maintained and its domain extended?'"


To Maud

OAK GLEN, July 18, 1896.


Here I am comfortably settled for the summer, bathed in greenery and good air. I had barely unpacked my books and papers when Daisy came out on horseback to insist upon my paying her a visit. I did this, and went to her on Wednesday, returning home on the following Monday. On the 4th of July I attended, by invitation, the meeting of the Cincinnati in the Old State House here. Cousin Nathanael Greene presided. Charles Howland Russell read aloud the Declaration of Independence. Governor Lippitt made an address in which he mentioned Governor Samuel Ward, my great-grandfather.... I have a good piano this year. We went on Monday last to see the furniture at Malbone, all of which has just been sold at auction. A good deal of it was very costly and some of it very handsome.... Apropos of worldly goods, Cornelius Vanderbilt has had a stroke.


To Laura

OAK GLEN, July 25, 1896.

Oh, yes! you now and then do lend me a daughter, and so you'd ought to. Which, did n't I profit by Alice's visit? My good woman (as poor, dear — used to say when she was in wrath), I should think so. Clear comfort the wretch was to me, wretch because she had such an old miserable to look after. I sometimes catch myself thinking that, however it may be with other families, your family, madam, came into this world for my especial pleasure and comfort. What do you think of this view? No matter what you think, dear, it won't make any difference as to facts.... I miss even the youth in Alice's voice. I would like, mum, if you please, mum, to enjoy about sixty years more of grandmotherhood, with fresh crops of grandchildren coming up at reasonable intervals. Our life here, this summer, is even unusually quiet. We have few visitors.... I am, as usual, well content with my books, and busy with my papers. Flossy reads aloud Green's "History of the English People" about half an hour daily, after breakfast. The boys reluctantly submit to listen, fidgeting a good deal. It is less readable for youth than I supposed it to be. We play whist in the evening, and had a wood fire last evening, the weather being suddenly cold. I learned yesterday, from the "'Tiser," the death of Adolphe Mailliard [her brother-in-law] which has brought me many sober thoughts, despite the trifling tone of this letter. I had waked the day before, thinking that some one said to me "Mailliard is dying." I recorded it in my Diary, but had no idea that I should so soon hear of it as a reality. What a chapter ends with him!


"August 15. To-day is mercifully cool. I have about finished my A.A.W. screed, D.G. The great heats have affected me very much; my brain has been full of fever fancies and of nonsense. I prayed earnestly this morning that I might not survive my wits. I have great hope that I shall not...."

"August 17. Have read in Minot J. Savage's 'Four Great Questions,' and in the long biography of my uncle, Rev. B. C. Cutler. His piety and faithfulness appear to me most edifying. His theology at the present time seems impossible. I am sorry that I saw so very little of him after my marriage, but he was disposed to consider me as one of the lost, and I could not have met him on any religious ground. I could do this better now, having learned something of the value which very erroneous opinions may have, when they serve, as in his case, to stimulate right effort and true feeling."

From a photograph by R.H. Richards


To Laura

OAK GLEN, August 21, 1896.

Being in a spleeny and uncomfortable mood to-day, what resource so legitimate as to betake myself to my own family? No particular reason for growling, growly so much the more. If I only had a good grievance now, how I would improve it! Well, you see, trouble is some of us have not any money to speak of, and in consequence we ain' t nobody, and so on. There I hear the voice of my little mother Laura, saying: "Well, well!" in her soothing way. The truth is, darling, that first I was roasted out, and then it "friz horrid," and my poor old "conshushion" could n't quite stand it.... D' ye see? "Well, no," says Laura: "I don't exactly see." Well, s'pose you don't – what then? You sweetheart, this is just the way this old, unthankful sinner was taken, just now. But I've got bravely over it, and I submit to health, comfort, delightful books, young company and good friends. Edifying, ain't it?...


"September 15. In the cars, reading the Duke of Argyll's fine opuscule, 'Our [England's] Responsibilities for Turkey,' my heart was lifted up in agonized prayer. I said, 'O God! give me a handwriting on the wall, that I may truly know what I can do for these people.' And I resolved not to go back from the purpose which prompted this prayer.

"Arrived at St. John [New Brunswick] and was made very welcome. Reception in the evening by the ladies of the Council. Speeches: Rev. Mr. De Wars, Anglican minister, spoke of our taking A.A.W. to England. I wondered if this was my handwriting on the wall."

"October 10. Wheaton Seminary Club, Vendôme. Reminiscences of Longfellow and Emerson.... As I was leaving one lady said to me, 'Mrs. Howe, you have shocked me very much, and I think that when you go to the other world, you will be sorry that you did not stay as you were,' i.e., Orthodox instead of Unitarian. Miss Emerson apologized to me for this rather uncivil greeting. I feel sure that the lady misunderstood something in my lecture. What, I could not tell."

"November 1. The Communion service was very delightful. I prayed quite earnestly this morning that the dimness of sight, which has lately troubled me, might disappear. My eyes are really better to-day. I seemed at one moment during the service to see myself as a little child in the Heavenly Father's Nursery, having played my naughty pranks (alas!) and left my tasks unperformed, but coming, as bedtime draws near, to kiss and be forgiven."


To Maud

ROKEBY, BARRYTOWN, N.Y., December 25, 1896.


I am here according to promise to spend Christmas with Daisy.42 I occupy Elizabeth Chanler's room, beautifully adorned with hangings of poppy-colored silk.... All of us helped to dress the tree, which was really beautiful. The farm people came in at about six o'clock, also the old tutor, Bostwick, and the Armstrong cousins. After dinner, we had a fiddler in the hall. Alida danced an Irish jig very prettily, and we had a Virginia reel, which I danced, if you please, with Mr. Bostwick. Then we snuggled up to the fire in the library and Wintie read aloud from Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn."...


The year 1897 brought new activities. The Lodge Immigration Bill roused her to indignation and protest; there were "screeds" and letters to the powers that were.

In the early spring came another crisis in the East, Greece and Crete bearing this time the brunt of Turkish violence. Thirty years had passed since Crete made her first stand for independence; years of dumb suffering and misery. Now her people rose again in revolt against their brutal masters, and this time Greece felt strong enough to stand openly by her Cretan brothers.

Our mother was deeply moved by this new need, which recalled so many precious memories. The record of the spring of 1897 is much concerned with it.

Written on the fly-leaf of the Journal: "The good God make me grateful for this new year, of which I am allowed to see the beginning. Thy kingdom come! I have many wishes, but this prayer will carry them all. January 1, 1897.

"Oh, dear!"

"January 4.... Went in the evening to see the Smith College girls, Class of '95, play 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' A most lovely and ideal performance. Their representation of the Athenian clowns was incredibly good, especially of Nick Bottom."

"January 5.... Was grieved and shocked to learn early this morning that my brilliant neighbor, General Francis A. Walker, had died during the night. He always greeted me with chivalrous courtesy, and has more than once given me his arm to help me homeward, when he has found me battling with the high winds in or near Beacon Street...."


To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, January 18, 1897.

About the life "à deux seulement," I agree with you in thinking that it is not good for either party. It is certainly very narrowing both to the mind and to the affections, and is therefore to be avoided. A reasonable amount of outside intercourse is a vital condition of good living, even in the most sympathetic and intimate marriages, and the knowledge of this is one of the strong points in the character of women generally, who do nine tenths of what is done to keep up social intercourse....


"April 2. Evening; celebration of twenty-fifth year of Saturday Morning Club. Have writ draft of an open letter regarding Greek matters; also finished a very short screed for this evening....

"April 18.... I determined to work more for the Greeks and to try and write something about the craze prevailing just now for the Eastern religions, which are rather systems of speculation than of practical religion."


To Maud

April 18, 1897.

...Mrs. Berdan made a visit here, and I gave a reception for her, and took her to the great occasion of the Saturday Morning Club, celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary. The whole thing was very beautiful – the reception was in the tapestry room of the Art Museum. I was placed in a sort of throne chair, with the president and ex-presidents in a line at my left, and the cream of Boston was all brought up and presented to me. In another of the large rooms a stage had been arranged, and from this I made my little speech. Then came some beautiful singing by Mrs. Tebbets, with a small orchestral accompaniment, and then was given one act of Tennyson's "Princess" and Browning's "In a Balcony." The place, the performances, and the guests made this a very distinguished occasion. I had gone just before this to see Louisa Cushing's wonderful acting in a French play of the Commune. She possesses great tragic power and reminds one of Duse and of Sarah Bernhardt. I suppose that H. M. H. has written you of his appointment as Professor of Metallurgy, etc., at Columbia College, New York. He and Fannie are much pleased with this, and it is considered a very important step for him. I shall miss him a good deal, but am glad of it for his sake. Michael43 and I went yesterday to the annual breakfast of the Charity Club. Greece had been made the topic of the day. Michael made a splendid speech, and sang three stanzas of the Greek National Hymn, albeit he cannot sing at all – he intoned it. I also made a little speech, and some money was given to aid the Greek cause. Hezekiah Butterworth was present, and I offered the following conundrum: "What 's butter worth?" Answer, "The cream of everything." Adieu, my dearest.

Ever your loving


"April 26. Received permission to use Faneuil Hall for a Woman's Meeting of Aid and Sympathy for Greece..."

"May 3. Working at sending out notices of the Faneuil Hall meeting."

"May 4. The day was auspicious for our meeting. Although very tired with the preparations, I wrote my little screed, dressed, and went betimes to the Hall, where I was expected to preside. I found it prettily arranged, though at very small expense. I wore as a badge a tiny Greek flag made of blue and white ribbon, and brought badges of these colors for the young ladies who were to take up the collection. Many whom I had requested to come were present. Sarah Whitman, Lizzie Agassiz, Mrs. Cornelius Felton, Mrs. Fields, Mrs. Whitney, besides our Committee and Mrs. Barrows. M. Anagnos gave us the band of the Institution, which was a great help. They played several times. I introduced C. G. Ames, who made a prayer. My opening address followed. Mmes. Livermore and Woolson, and Anagnos made the most important addresses. As the band played 'America,' a young Greek came in, bearing the Greek flag, which had quite a dramatic effect. The meeting was enthusiastic and the contribution unusual for such a meeting, three hundred and ninety-seven dollars and odd cents. Thank God for this success."

"May 13....Head desperately bad in the morning.... Have done no good work to-day, brain being unserviceable. Did, however, begin a short screed for my speech at Unitarian Festival.

"The Round Table was most interesting. Rev. S. J. Barrows read a carefully studied monograph of the Greek struggle for liberty. Mr. Robinson, of the Art Museum, spoke mostly of the present desperate need. I think I was called next. I characterized the Turks as almost 'ferae naturae.' Spoke of the low level of European diplomacy. Said that we must fall back upon the ethical people, but hope for a general world-movement making necessary the adoption of a higher level of international relation – look to the religious world to uphold the principle that no religion can henceforth be allowed to propagate itself by bloodshed."

"May 18. A lecture at Westerly, Rhode Island.... My lameness made the ascent of steps and stairs very painful...."

"May 22. Heard a delightful French Conference and reading from M. Louis. Had a fit of timidity about the stairs, which were high and many; finally got down. Had a worse one at home, where could not get up the staircase on my feet, and had to execute some curious gymnastics to get up at all."

"May 25. My knee was very painful in the night, and almost intolerable in the morning, so sent for Wesselhoeft, who examined it and found the trouble to proceed from an irritation of a muscle, probably rheumatic in character. He prescribed entire rest and threatened to use a splint if it should not soon be better. I must give up some of my many engagements, and cannot profit by the doings of this week, alas!"

"May 27. I am to speak at the Unitarian Festival; dinner at 5 P.M.

"This is my seventy-eighth birthday. If the good God sees fit to grant me another year, may He help me to fill it with good work. I am still very lame, but perhaps a little better for yesterday's massage. Gifts of flowers from many friends began early to arrive, and continued till late in the evening. The house was resplendent and fragrant with them. I worried somewhat about the evening's programme and what I should say, but everything went well. Kind Dr. Baker Flynt helped me, cushion and all, into Music Hall, and several gentlemen assisted me to the platform, where I was seated between the Chairman of the Festival Committee and Robert Collyer.... I desired much to have the word for the occasion, but I am not sure whether I had."

"June 2. My first day of 'solitary confinement.'..."


To Laura

241 BEACON STREET, June 2, 1897.

As poor Susan Bigelow once wrote me:–

"The Buffalo lies in his lonely lair,
No friend nor agent visits him there."
She was lame at the time, and I had once called her, by mistake, "Mrs. Buffalo." Well, perfidious William,44 rivalling in tyranny the Sultan of Turkey, has forbidden me to leave this floor. So here I sit, growly and bad, but obliged to acquiescence in W.'s sentence....




To Maud

241 BEACON STREET, June 4, 1897.


First place, darling, dismiss from your mind the idea that reasonable people to-day believe that the souls of men in the pre-Christian world were condemned and lost. The old religions are generally considered to-day as necessary steps in the religion of the human race, and therefore as part of the plan of a beneficent Providence. The Jews were people of especial religious genius, producing a wonderful religious literature, and Christianity, which came out of Judaism, is, to my belief, the culmination of the religious sense of mankind. But Paul himself says, speaking to the Athenians, that "God hath not left himself without a witness," at any time. I was brought up, of course, in the old belief, which I soon dismissed as irreconcilable with any idea of a beneficent Deity. As for the doctrine of regeneration, I think that by being born again the dear Lord meant that we cannot apprehend spiritual truths unless our minds are earnestly set upon understanding them. To any one who has led a simple, material life, without aspiration or moral reflection, the change by which his attention becomes fastened upon the nobler aspect of character and of life is really like a new birth. We may say the same of the love of high art and great literature. Some people turn very suddenly from a frivolous or immoral life to a better and more thoughtful way. They remember this as a sudden conversion. In most of us, I think the change is more gradual and natural. The better influences win us from the evil things to which most of us are in some way disposed. We have to seek the one and to shun the other. I, for example, am very thankful that my views of many things are unlike what they were twenty or thirty or forty years ago. I attribute this change mostly to good influences, reading, hearing sermons and high conversation. These things often begin in an effort of will to "move up higher." If I write more about this, I shall muddle myself and you. Only don't distress yourself about regeneration. I think it mostly comes insensibly, like a child's growth....

I attended the memorial meeting at the unveiling of the Shaw Monument. You can't think how beautiful the work is. The ceremonies took place Monday, beginning with a procession which came through Beacon Street. Governor Wolcott, in a barouche and four, distinctly bowed to me. The New York Seventh Regiment came on and marched beautifully; our Cadets marched about as well. There was also a squad from our battleships, two of which were in the harbor. At twelve o'clock we all went to Music Hall where they sang my "Battle Hymn." The Governor and Mayor and Colonel Harry Lee spoke. Willie James gave the oration and Booker Washington really made the address of the day, simple, balanced, and very eloquent. I had a visit yesterday from Larz and Isabel [Anderson]. He told me much about you. Darling, this is a very poor letter, but much love goes with it.




"June 6.... Have writ a note to little John Jeffries, aet. six years, who sent me a note in his own writing, with a dollar saved out of five cents per week, for the 'poor Armenians.' He writes: 'I don't like the Turks one bit. I think they are horrid.' Have sent note and dollar to A. S. B. for the Armenian orphans."

"June 27, Oak Glen. My first writing in this dear place. Carrie Hall yesterday moved me down into dear Chev's bedroom on the first floor, Wesselhoeft having forbidden me to go up and down stairs. I rebelled inwardly against this, but am compelled to acknowledge that it is best so. Carrie showed great energy in moving down all the small objects to which she supposed me to be attached. I have now had an exquisite sitting in my green parlor, reading a sermon of dear James Freeman Clarke's.

"June 28. Wrote my stint of 'Reminiscences' in the morning.... At bedtime had very sober thoughts of the limitation of life. It seemed to me that the end might be near. My lameness and the painful condition of my feet appear like warnings of a decline of physical power, which could only lead one way. My great anxiety is to see Maud before I depart."

"July 10. I dreamed last night, or rather this morning, that I was walking as of old, lightly and without pain. I cried in my joy: 'Oh, some one has been mind-curing me. My lameness has disappeared.' Have writ a pretty good screed about John Brown."

"July 22.... Dearest Maud and Jack arrived in the evening. So welcome! I had not seen Jack in two years. I had begun to fear that I was never to see Maud again."

"July 26. Had a little time of quiet thought this morning, in which I seemed to see how the intensity of individual desire would make chaos in the world of men and women if there were not a conquering and reconciling principle of harmony above them all. This to my mind can be no other than the infinite wisdom and infinite love which we call God."

"August 18. I prayed this morning for some direct and definite service which I might render. At noon a reporter from the 'New York Journal' arrived, beseeching me to write something to help the young Cuban girl, who is in danger of being sent to the Spanish Penal Colony [Ceuta] in Africa. I wrote an appeal in her behalf and suggested a cable to the Pope. This I have already written. The Hearsts will send it. This was an answer to my prayer. Our dear H. M. H. arrived at 3 P.M...."

"August 29. Had a little service for my own people, Flossy and her four children. Spoke of the importance of religious culture. Read the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Flossy thought the wise ones unkind not to be willing to share with the foolish. I suggested that the oil pictured something which could not be given in a minute. Cited Beecher's saying, which I have so long remembered, that we cannot get religion as we order a suit of clothes. If we live without it, when some overwhelming distress or temptation meets us, we shall not find either the consolation or the strength which true faith gives."

"September 23. Have just learned by cable from Rome that my dearest sister Louisa died yesterday morning. Let me rather hope that she awoke from painful weakness and infirmity into a new glory of spiritual life. Her life here has been most blameless, as well as most beautiful. Transplanted to Rome in her early youth and beauty, she became there a centre of disinterested hospitality, of love and of charity. She was as rare a person in her way as my sweet sister Annie. Alas! I, of less desert than either, am left, the last of my dear father's and mother's children. God grant that my remaining may be for good! And God help me to use faithfully my little remnant of life in setting my house in order, and in giving such completeness as I can to my life-work, or rather, to its poor efforts."

"September 25. Was sad as death at waking, pondering my many difficulties. The day is most lovely. I have read two of Dr. Hedge's sermons and feel much better. One is called 'The Comforter,' and was probably written in view of the loss of friends by death. It speaks of the spirit of a true life, which does not pass away when the life is ended, but becomes more and more dear and precious to loving survivors. The text, from John XVI, 7: 'It is expedient for you that I go away.' Have writ a good screed about the Rome of 1843-44."


To Laura

OAK GLEN, September 27, 1897.

...My dear sister and I have lived so long far apart, that it is difficult for me to have a realizing sense of her departure. It is only at moments that I can feel that we shall meet on earth no more. I grieve most of all that my life has been so far removed from hers. She has been a joy, a comfort, a delight to so many people, and I have had so little of all this! The remembrance of what I have had is indeed most precious, but alas! for the long and wide separation. What an enviable memory she leaves! No shadows to dim its beauty.

I send you, dear, a statement regarding my relations with Lee and Shepard. I am much disheartened about my poems and almost feel like giving up. But I won't.




In November, 1897, she sailed for Italy with the Elliotts.



1897-1898; aet. 78



She sits among th' eternal hills,
Their crown, thrice glorious and dear;
Her voice is as a thousand tongues
Of silver fountains, gurgling clear.

Her breath is prayer, her life is love,
And worship of all lovely things;
Her children have a gracious port,
Her beggars show the blood of kings.

By old Tradition guarded close,
None doubt the grandeur she has seen;
Upon her venerable front
Is written: "I was born a Queen!"

She rules the age by Beauty's power,
As once she ruled by armèd might;
The Southern sun doth treasure her
Deep in his golden heart of light.

Awe strikes the traveller when he sees
The vision of her distant dome,
And a strange spasm wrings his heart
As the guide whispers: "There is Rome!"

.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

And, though it seem a childish prayer,
I've breathed it oft, that when I die,
As thy remembrance dear in it,
That heart in thee might buried lie.

J. W. H.

THE closing verse of her early poem, "The City of My Love," expresses the longing that, like Shelley's, her heart "might buried lie" in Rome. Some memory of this wish, some foreboding that the wish might be granted, possibly darkened the first days of her last Roman winter. In late November of the year 1897 she arrived in Rome with the Elliotts to pass the winter at their apartment in the ancient Palazzo Rusticucci of the old Leonine City across the Tiber; in the shadow of St. Peter's, next door to the Vatican. The visit had been planned partly in the hope that she might once more see her sister Louisa. In this we know she was disappointed. They reached Rome at the beginning of the rainy season, which fell late that year. All these causes taken together account for an unfamiliar depression that creeps into the Journal. She missed, too, the thousand interests of her Boston life; her church, her club, her meetings, all the happy business of keeping a grandmother's house where three generations and their friends were made welcome. At home every hour of time was planned for, every ounce of power well invested in some "labor worthy of her metal." In Rome her only work at first was the writing of her "Reminiscences" for the "Atlantic Monthly." Happily, the depression was short-lived. Gradually the ancient spell of the Great Enchantress once more enthralled her, but it was not until she had founded a club, helped to found a Woman's Council, begun to receive invitations to lecture and to preach, that the accustomed joie de vivre pulses through the record. The sower is at work again, the ground is fertile, the seed quickening.


"December 1. The first day of this winter, which God help me to live through! Dearest Maud is all kindness and devotion to me, and so is Jack, but I have Rome en grippe; nothing in it pleases me."

"December 6. Something, perhaps it is the bright weather, moves me to activity so strongly that I hasten to take up my pen, hoping not to lapse into the mood of passive depression which has possessed me ever since my arrival in Rome."

"December 7. We visited the [William J.] Stillmans – S. and I had not met in thirty years, not since '67 in Athens. Went to afternoon tea at Miss Leigh Smith's. She is a cousin of Florence Nightingale, whom she resembles in appearance. Mme. Helbig was there, overflowing as ever with geniality and kindness."


Mr. Stillman was then the Roman correspondent of the London "Times," a position only second in importance to that of the British Ambassador. His tall, lean figure, stooping shoulders, – where a pet squirrel often perched, – his long grey beard and keen eyes were familiar to the Romans of that day. His house was a meeting-place for artists and litterati. Mrs. Stillman our mother had formerly known as the beautiful Marie Spartali, the friend of Rossetti and Du Maurier, the idol of literary and artistic London. A warm friendship grew up between them. Together they frequented the antiquaries, gleaning small treasures of ancient lace and peasant jewels.

"I bought this by the Muse Stillman's advice": this explanation guaranteed the wisdom of purchasing the small rose diamond ring set in black enamel.

"December 9. Dined with Daisy Chanler. We met there one Brewster and Hendrik Anderson. After dinner came Palmer [son of Courtland] and his sister. He is a pianist of real power and charm – made me think of Paderewski, when I first heard him...."

"December 10. Drove past the Trevi Fountain and to the Coliseum, where we walked awhile. Ladies came to hear me talk about Women's Clubs. This talk, which I had rather dreaded to give, passed off pleasantly.... Most of the ladies present expressed the desire to have a small and select club of women in Rome. Maud volunteered to make the first effort, with Mme. DesGrange and Jessie Cochrane to help her."

"December 12. Bessie Crawford brought her children to see me. Very fine little creatures, the eldest boy45 handsome, dark like his mother, the others blond and a good deal like Marion in his early life."

"December 14. In the afternoon drove with Jack to visit Villegas. Found a splendid house with absolutely no fire – the cold of the studio was tomb-like. A fire was lighted in a stove and cakes were served, with some excellent Amontillado wine, which I think saved my life."

"December 18. When I lay down to take my nap before dinner, I had a sudden thought-vision of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. I seemed to see how the human could in a way reflect the glory of the divine, giving not a mechanical, but an affectional and spiritual re-showing of the great unfathomable glory. I need not say that I had no sleep – I wish the glimpse then given me might remain in my mind."

"December 21. Feeling much better in health, I determined to take up my 'Reminiscences' again. Mme. Rose passed the evening with me. She told me that Pio Nono had endorsed the Rosminian philosophy, which had had quite a following in the Church, Cardinal Hohenlohe having been very prominent in this. When Leo XIII was elected, the Jesuits came to him and promised that he should have a Jubilee if he would take part against the Rosminian ideas, and put the books on the Index Expurgatorius, the which he promptly did. Hohenlohe is supposed to have been the real hero of the poisoning described in Zola's 'Rome' – his servant died after having eaten of something which had been sent from the Vatican."

"December 25. Blessed Christmas Day! Maud and I went to St. Peter's to get, as she said, a whiff of the mass. We did not profit much by this, but met Edward Jackson, of Boston, and Monsignor Stanley, whom I had not seen in many years. We had a pleasant foregathering with him.

"In St. Peter's my mind became impressed with the immense intellectual force pledged to the upbuilding and upholding of the Church of Rome. As this thought almost overpowered me, I remembered our dear Christ visiting the superb temple at Jerusalem and foretelling its destruction and the indestructibility of his own doctrine."

On fair days she took her walk on the terrace, feasting her eyes on the splendid view. In the distance the Alban and the Sabine Hills, Mount Soracte and the Leonessa; close at hand the Tiber, Rome's towers and domes, St. Peter's with the colonnade, the Piazza, and the sparkling fountains. She delighted in the flowers of the terrace, which she called her "hanging garden"; she had her own little watering-pot, and faithfully tended the white rose which she claimed as her special charge. From the terrace she looked across to the windows of the Pope's private apartment. Opposed as she was to the Pontiff's policy, she still felt a sympathy with the old man, whose splendid prison she often passed on her way to St. Peter's, where in bad weather she always took her walk.

"December 31. I am sorry to take leave of this year, which has given me many good things, some blessings in disguise, as my lameness proved, compelling me to pass many quiet days, good for study and for my 'Reminiscences,' which I only began in earnest after Wesselhoeft condemned me to remain on one floor for a month."

"January 3, 1898. I feel that my 'Reminiscences' will be disappointing to the world in general, if it ever troubles itself to read them, – I feel quite sure that it has neglected some good writing of mine, in verse and in prose. I cannot help anticipating for this book the same neglect, and this discourages me somewhat.

"In the afternoon drove to Monte Janiculo and saw the wonderful view of Rome, and the equestrian statue of Garibaldi crowning the height. We also drove through the Villa Pamfili Doria, which is very beautiful."

"January 6. To visit Countess Catucci at Villino Catucci. She was a Miss Mary Stearns, of Springfield, Massachusetts. Her husband has been an officer of the King's bersaglieri. Before the unification of Italy, he was sent to Perugia to reclaim deserters from among the recruits for the Italian army. Cardinal Pecci was then living near Perugia. Count Catucci called to assure him with great politeness that he would take his word and not search his premises. The Cardinal treated him with equal politeness, but declined to continue the acquaintance after his removal to Rome, when he became Pope in 1878."

"January 12. The first meeting of our little circle – at Miss Leigh Smith's, 17 Trinità dei Monti. I presided and introduced Richard Norton, who gave an interesting account of the American School of Archæology at Athens, and of the excavations at Athens.... Anderson to dine. He took a paper outline of my profile, wishing to model a bust of me."


The Winthrop Chanlers were passing the winter in Rome; this added much to her pleasure. The depression gradually disappeared, and she found herself once more at home there. She met many people who interested her: Hall Caine, Björnstjerne Björnson, many artists too. Don José Villegas, the great Spanish painter (now Director of the Prado Museum at Madrid), who was living in his famous Moorish villa on the Monte Parioli, made a brilliant, realistic portrait of her, and Hendrik Anderson, the Norwegian-American sculptor, modelled an interesting terra-cotta bust. While the sittings for these portraits were going on, her niece said to her:–

"My aunt, I can expect almost anything of you, but I had hardly expected a succès de beauté."

Among the diplomats who play so prominent a part in Roman society, the Jonkheer John Loudon, Secretary of the Netherlands Legation, was one of her favorite visitors; there are frequent mentions of his singing, which she took pleasure in accompanying.

"January 15. We had a pleasant drive to Villa Madama where we bought fresh eggs from a peasant. Cola cut much greenery for us with which Maud had our rooms decorated. Attended Mrs. Heywood's reception, where met some pleasant people – the Scudder party; an English Catholic named Christmas, who visits the poor, and reports the misery among them as very great; a young priest from Boston, Monsignor O'Connell;46 a Mr. and Mrs. Mulhorn, Irish, – he strong on statistics, she a writer on Celtic antiquities, – has published a paper on the Celtic origin of the 'Divina Commedia,' and has written one on the discovery of America by Irish Danes, five hundred years before Columbus."


Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Heywood lived a few doors from the Rusticucci in the Palazzo Giraud Torlonia, one of the finest Roman palaces. Mr. Heywood held an office in the Papal Court, and had a papal title which he was wise enough not to use in general society. He was an American, a Harvard graduate of the class of 1855. His chief occupation, outside of his duties at the Vatican, was the collection of a fine library. His house was a rendezvous of Black47 society. He lived in much state and entertained with brilliant formality. Among the great social events of that winter was his reception given for Cardinal Satolli, who arrived dressed in splendid vestments, escorted by his suite. The hostess courtesied to the ground and kissed the ring on his finger. All the other Catholic ladies followed suit. Sitting very straight in her chair, our mother bided her time; finally the Cardinal was brought to her. He was a genial, courteous man and very soon they were deep in friendly talk. Though she disliked the Roman hierarchy as an institution, she counted many friends among the priests of Rome.

"January 18. To St. Peter's. The Festival of St. Peter's Chair. Vespers in the usual side chapel. Music on the whole good, some sopranos rather ragged, but parts beautifully sung. Was impressed as usual by the heterogeneous attendance – tourists with campstools and without, ecclesiastics of various grades, students, friars; one splendid working-man in his corduroys stood like a statue, in an attitude of fixed attention. Lowly fathers and mothers carrying small children. One lady, seated high at the base of a column, put her feet on the seat of my stool behind me. Saw the gorgeous ring on the finger of the statue of St. Peter."

"January 19. Have composed a letter to Professor Lanciani, asking for a talk on the afternoon of February 9, proposing 'Houses and Housekeeping in Ancient Rome,' and 'The Sibyls of Italy.' Mr. Baddeley came in, and we had an interesting talk, mostly about the ancient Cæsars, Mrs. Hollins asking, 'Why did the Romans put up with the bad Cæsars?' He thought the increase of wealth under Augustus was the beginning of a great deterioration of the people and the officials."

"January 21. Went in the afternoon to call upon Baroness Giacchetti. Had a pleasant talk with her husband, an enlightened man. He recognizes the present status of Rome as greatly superior to the ancient order of things – but laments the ignorance and superstition of the common people in general, and the peasantry in particular. A sick woman, restored to health by much trouble taken at his instance, instead of thanking him for his benefactions, told him that she intended to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of a certain Madonna, feeling sure that it was to her that she owed her cure."

"January 26. The day of my reading before the Club, at Jessie Cochrane's rooms. I read my lecture over very carefully in the forenoon and got into the spirit of it. The gathering was a large one, very attentive, and mostly very appreciative. The paper was 'Woman in the Greek Drama.'"

"January 31. Have made a special prayer that my mind may be less occupied with my own shortcomings, and more with all that keeps our best hope alive. Felt little able to write, but produced a good page on the principle 'nulla dies sine linea.'"

"February 4. Hard sledding for words to-day – made out something about Theodore Parker."

"February 7. Wrote some pages of introduction for the Symposium – played a rubber of whist with L. Terry; then to afternoon tea with Mrs. Thorndike, where I met the first Monsignor [Dennis] O'Connell, with whom I had a long talk on the woman question, in which he seems much interested. He tells me of a friend, Zahm by name, now gone to a place in Indiana, who has biographies of the historical women of Bologna."

"February 9. Club at Mrs. Broadwood's. I read my 'Plea for Humor,' which seemed to please the audience very much, especially Princess Talleyrand and Princess Poggia-Suasa."

"February 11. Read over my paper on 'Optimism and Pessimism' and have got into the spirit of it. Maud's friends came at 3 P.M., among them Christian Ross, the painter, with Björnstjerne Björnson."

"February 16. To Mrs. Hurlburt's reception. – Talked with Countess Blank, an American married to a Pole. She had much to say of the piety of her Arab servant, who, she says, swallows fire, cuts himself with sharp things, etc., as acts of devotion!! Met Mr. Trench, son of the late Archbishop, Rev. Chevenix Trench. He has been Tennyson's publisher. Did not like T. personally – said he was often rude – read his own poems aloud constantly and very badly; said, 'No man is a hero to his publisher.' Told about his sale of Henry George's book, a cheap edition, one hundred and fifty thousand copies sold in England."

"February 18. Have done a good morning's work and read in the 'Nineteenth Century' an article on Nelson, and one on the new astronomy. St. Thomas Aquinas's advice regarding the election of an abbot from three candidates:–

"'What manner of man is the first?'


"'Doceat,' says St. Thomas. 'And the second?'


"'Oret! and the third?'


"'Regat! Let him rule!' says the Saint."

"February 20. To Methodist Church of Rev. Mr. Burt. A sensible short discourse – seems a very sincere man: has an earlier service for Italians, well attended. On my way home, stopped at Gargiulo's and bought a ragged but very good copy of the 'Divina Commedia,' unbound, with Doré's illustrations."

"February 26. To tea at Mrs. Hazeltine's where met William Allen Butler, author of 'Nothing to Wear' – a bright-eyed, conversable man. Have a sitting to Anderson. When I returned from Mrs. Hazeltine's I found Hall Caine.... He told much about Gabriel Rossetti, with whom he had much to do. Rossetti was a victim of chloral, and Caine was set to keep him from it, except in discreet doses."

"March 4. Went to see the King and Queen, returning from the review of troops. They were coldly received. She wore crimson velvet – he was on horseback and in uniform...."

"March 9. Club at Jessie Cochrane's; young Loyson, son of Père Hyacinthe, gave an interesting lecture on the religion of Ancient Rome, which he traced back to its rude Latin beginning; the Sabines, he thought, introduced into it one element of spirituality. Its mythology was borrowed from Greece and from the Etruscans – later from Egypt and the East. The Primitive Aryan religion was the worship of ancestors. This also we see in Rome. A belief in immortality appears in the true Aryan faith. Man, finding himself human, and related to the divine, felt that he could not die."

"March 15.... Mme. Helbig gave us an account of the Russian pilgrimage which came here lately. Many of the pilgrims were peasants. They travelled from Russia on foot, wearing bark shoes, which are very yielding and soft. These Russian ladies deprecated the action of Peter the Great in building St. Petersburg, and in forcing European civilization upon his nation, when still unprepared for it."

"March 18.... Drove with Maud, to get white thorn from Villa Madama. Went afterwards to Mrs. Waldo Story's reception, where met Mrs. McTavish, youngest daughter of General Winfield Scott. I was at school with one of her older sisters, Virginia, who became a nun."


As the winter wore away and the early Roman spring broke, the last vestige of the discomfort of the first weeks vanished. The daily drives to the country in search of wild flowers were an endless delight, as well as the trips to the older quarters of the city. She found that, while during the first weeks she had lost the habit of looking keenly about at the sights, the old joy soon came back to her, and now she was quick to see every picturesque figure in the crowd, every classic fragment in the architecture. "The power of seeing beautiful things, like all other powers, must be exercised to be preserved," she once said.

"March 19. I have not dared to work to-day, as I am to read this afternoon. The reading was well attended and was more than well received. Hall Caine came afterwards, and talked long about the Bible. He does not appear to be familiar with the most recent criticism of either Old or New Testament."

"March 24. 'There is a third silent party to all our bargains.' [Emerson.]

"I find this passage in his essay on 'Compensation' to-day for the first time, having written my essay on 'Moral Triangulation of the Third Party' some thirty years ago."

"March 26. Dined with Mrs. McCreary – the Duke of San Martino took me in to dinner – Monsignor Dennis O'Connell sat on the other side of me. I had an interesting talk with him. Mrs. McCreary sang my 'Battle Hymn.' They begged me to recite 'The Flag,' which I did. Mrs. Pearse, daughter of Mario and Grisi, sang delightfully."

"March 30. A fine luncheon party given by Mrs. Iddings, wife of the American Secretary of Embassy at the Grand Hotel. Mme. Ristori was there; I had some glimpses of reminiscence with her. I met her with 'La terribil' Medea,' which I so well remember hearing from her. I presently quoted her toast in 'La Locandiera,' of which she repeated the last two lines. Maud had arranged to have Mrs. Hurlburt help me home. Contessa Spinola also offered, but I got off alone, came home in time to hear most of Professor Pansotti's lecture on the Gregorian music, which, though technical, was interesting."

"March 31. I woke up at one, after vividly dreaming of my father and Dr. Francis. My father came in, and said to me that he wished to speak to Miss Julia alone. I trembled, as I so often did, lest I was about to receive some well-merited rebuke. He said that he wished my sister and me to stay at home more. I saw the two faces very clearly. My father's I had not seen for fifty-nine years."

"April 6. Went in the afternoon with Mrs. Stillman to the Campo dei Fiori, where bought two pieces of lace for twenty lire each, and a little cap-pin for five lire. Saw a small ruby and diamond ring which I very much fancied."

"April 10. Easter Sunday, passed quietly at home. Had an early walk on the terrace.... A good talk with Hamilton Aïdé, who told me of the Spartali family. In the afternoon to Lady Kenmare's reception and later to dine with the Lindall Winthrops."

"April 11. In the afternoon Harriet Monroe, of Chicago, came and read her play – a parlor drama, ingenious and well written. The audience were much pleased with it."

"April 13.... In the evening dined with Theodore Davis and Mrs. Andrews. Davis showed us his treasures gathered on the Nile shore and gave me a scarab."

"April 18.... Went to hear Canon Farrar on the 'Inferno' of Dante – the lecture very scholarly and good."

"April 22. With Anderson to the Vatican, to see the Pinturicchio frescoes, which are very interesting. He designed the tiling for the floors, which is beautiful in color, matching well with the frescoes – these represent scenes in the life of the Virgin and of St. Catherine...."

"April 24. To Miss Leigh Smith's, where I read my sermon on the 'Still Small Voice' to a small company of friends, explaining that it was written in the first instance for the Concord Prison, and that I read it there to the convicts. I prefaced the sermon by reading one of the parables in my 'Later Lyrics,' 'Once, where men of high pretension,' etc...."

This was one of several occasions when she read a sermon at the house of Miss Leigh Smith, a stanch Unitarian, who lived at the Trinità de' Monti in the house near the top of the Spanish Steps, held by generations of English and American residents the most advantageous dwelling in Rome. On Sunday mornings, when the bells of Rome thrilled the air with the call to prayer, a group of exiles from many lands gathered in the pleasant English-looking drawing-room. From the windows they could look down upon the flower-decked Piazza di Spagna, hear the song of the nightingales in the Villa Medici, breathe the perfume of violets and almond blossoms from the Pincio. This morning, or another, Paul Sabatier was among the listeners, a grave, gracious man, a Savoyard pastor, whose "Life of Saint Francis of Assisi" had set all Rome talking.

"April 25. To lunch with the Drapers. Had some good talk with Mr. D. [the American Ambassador]. He was brought up at Hopedale in the Community, of which his father was a member, his mother not altogether acquiescing. He went into our Civil War when only twenty years of age, having the day before married a wife. He was badly wounded in the battle of the Wilderness. Mosby [guerilla] met the wounded train, and stripped them of money and watches, taking also the horses of their conveyances. A young Irish lad of fourteen saved Draper's life by running to Bull Plain for aid."

"April 26. Lunch at Daisy Chanler's, to meet Mrs. Sanford, of Hamilton, Canada, who is here in the interests of the International Council of Women. She seems a nice, whole-souled woman.... I have promised to preside at a meeting, called at Daisy's rooms for Thursday, to carry forward such measures as we can and to introduce Mrs. Sanford and interpret for her."

"April 27. Devoted the forenoon to a composition in French, setting forth the objects of the meeting...."

"April 28. Went carefully over my French address. In the afternoon attended the meeting at Daisy's where I presided."

This was the first time the Italian women had taken part in the International Council.

"April 30. To Contessa di Taverna at Palazzo Gabrielli, where I met the little knot of newly elected officers of the Council of Italian Women that is to be. Read them my report of our first meeting – they chattered a great deal. Mrs. Sanford was present. She seemed grateful for the help I had tried to give to her plan of a National Council of Italian Women. I induced the ladies present to subscribe a few lire each, for the purchase of a book for the secretary, for postage and for the printing of their small circular. Hope to help them more further on...."

"May 1.... I gave my 'Rest' sermon at Miss Leigh Smith's.... Afterwards to lunch with the dear Stillman Muse. Lady Airlie and the Thynne sisters were there. Had a pleasant talk with Lady Beatrice.... Wrote a letter to be read at the Suffrage Festival in Boston on May 17...."

Lady Beatrice and Lady Katherine Thynne; the latter was married later to Lord Cromer, Viceroy of Egypt. The Ladies Thynne were passing the winter with their cousin, the Countess of Kenmare, at her pleasant apartment in the Via Gregoriana. Among the guests one met at Lady Kenmare's was a dark, handsome Monsignore who spoke English like an Oxford Don, and looked like a Torquemada. Later he became Papal Secretary of State and Cardinal Merry del Val.

"May 2. Have worked as usual. A pleasant late drive. Dined with Eleutherio,48 Daisy Chanler, and Dr. Bull; whist afterwards; news of an engagement and victory for us off Manila."

"May 4.... We dined with Marchese and Marchesa de Viti de Marco at Palazzo Orsini. Their rooms are very fine, one hung with beautiful crimson damask. An author, Pascarello, was present, who has written comic poems in the Romanesque dialect, the principal one a mock narrative of the discovery of America by Columbus. Our host is a very intelligent man, much occupied with questions of political economy, of which science he is professor at the Collegio Romano. His wife, an American, is altogether pleasing. He spoke of the present Spanish War, of which foreigners understand but little."

"May 5. A visit from Contessa di Taverna to confer with me about the new departure [the International Council of Women]. She says that the ladies will not promise to pay the stipulated contribution, five hundred lire once in five years, to the parent association...."

"May 8. An exquisite hour with dear Maud on the terrace – the roses in their glory, red, white, and yellow; honeysuckle out, brilliant. We sat in a sheltered spot, talked of things present and to come. Robert Collyer to lunch. I asked him to say grace, which he did in his lovely manner. He enjoyed Maud's terrace with views of St. Peter's and the mountains. In the afternoon took a little drive.

"Several visitors called, among them Louisa Broadwood, from whom I learned that the little Committee for a Woman's Council is going on. The ladies have decided not to join the International at present, but to try and form an Italian Council first. Some good results are already beginning to appear in the coöperation of two separate charities in some part of their work."

"May 9. I must now give all diligence to my preparation for departure. Cannot write more on 'Reminiscences' until I reach borne. Maud made a dead set against my going to Countess Resse's where a number of ladies had been invited to meet me. I most unwillingly gave up this one opportunity of helping the Woman's Cause; I mean this one remaining occasion, as I have already spoken twice to women and have given two sermons and read lectures five times. It is true that there might have been some exposure in going to Mme. R.'s, especially in coming out after speaking."

A few years after this, the Association which she did so much to found, held the first Woman's Congress ever given in Italy, at the Palace of Justice in Rome. It was an important and admirably conducted convention. The work for the uplift of the sex is going on steadily and well in Italy to-day.

"May 12. Sat to Villegas all forenoon. Had a little time on the terrace. Thought I would christen it the 'Praise God.' The flowers seem to me to hold their silent high mass, swinging their own censers of sweet incense. Went to Jack's studio and saw his splendid work.49 In the afternoon went with my brother-in-law to the cemetery to visit dear Louisa's grave. Jack had cut for me many fine roses from the terrace. We dropped many on this dear resting-place of one much and justly beloved.... Dear old Majesty of Rome, this is my last writing here. I thank God most earnestly for so much."



1899-1900; aet. 80-81



Methought a moment that I stood
Where hung the Christ upon the Cross,
Just when mankind had writ in blood
The record of its dearest loss.

The hitter drink men offered him
His kingly gesture did decline,
And my heart sought, in musing dim,
Some cordial for those lips divine.

When lo! a cup of purest gold
My trembling fingers did uphold;
Within it glowed a wine as red
As hearts, not grapes, its drops had shed.
Drink deep, my Christ, I offer thee
The ransom of Humanity.

J. W. H.

Though Jesus, alas! is as little understood in doctrine as followed in example. For he has hitherto been like a beautiful figure set to point out a certain way, and people at large have been so entranced with worshipping the figure. that they have neglected to follow the direction it indicates.

J. W. H.

THE winter of 1898-99 saw the publication of "From Sunset Ridge; Poems Old and New." This volume contained many of the poems from "Later Lyrics" (long out of print), and also much of her later work. It met with a warm recognition which gave her much pleasure.

Late in 1899 appeared the "Reminiscences," on which she had been so long at work. These were even more warmly received, though many people thought them too short. Colonel Higginson said the work might have been "spread out into three or four interesting octavos; but in her hurried grasp it is squeezed into one volume, where groups of delightful interviews with heroes at home and abroad are crowded into some single sentence."

The book was written mostly from memory, with little use of the Journals, and none of the family letters and papers, which she had carefully preserved through many years; she needed none of these things. Her past was always alive, and she went hand in hand with its dear and gracious figures.

But we have outstripped the Journals and must go back to the beginning of 1899.

"[Boston.] January 1, 1899. I begin this year with an anxious mind. I am fighting the Wolf, hand to hand. I am also confused between the work already done on my 'Reminiscences,' and that still wanting to give them some completeness. May the All-Father help me!"

"January 9. Dined with the Massachusetts Press Club Association. I made a little speech partly thought out beforehand. The best bit in it – 'Why should we fear to pass from the Old Testament of our own liberties, to the New Testament of liberty for all the world?' – came to me on the spur of the moment...."

"January 16.... Dickens Party at the New England Woman's Club. I despaired of being able to go, but did manage to get up a costume and take part. Many very comical travesties, those of Pickwick and Captain Cuttle remarkably good; also Lucia M. Peabody as Martin Chuzzlewit, and Mrs. Godding in full male dress suit. I played a Virginia reel and finally danced myself."

The part she herself took on this occasion was that of Mrs. Jellyby, a character she professed to resemble. At another club party she impersonated Mrs. Jarley, with a fine collection of celebrities, which she exhibited proudly. She always put on her best motley for her "dear Club"; and in those days its fooling was no less notable than its wisdom. Among other things, she instituted the Poetical Picnics, picnic suppers to which every member must bring an original poem: some of her best nonsense was recited at these suppers.

It has been said that she had the gift of the word in season. This was often shown at the Club; especially when, as sometimes happened, a question of the hour threatened to become "burning." It is remembered how one day a zealous sister thundered so loud against corporal punishment that some mothers and grandames were roused to equally ardent rejoinder. The President was appealed to.

"Dear Mrs. Howe, I am sure that you never laid a hand on your children!"

"Oh, yes," said dear Mrs. Howe. "I cuffed 'em a bit when I thought they needed it!"

Even "militancy" could be touched lightly by her. Talk was running high on the subject one day; eyes began to flash ominously, voices took on "a wire edge," as she expressed it. Again the appeal was made.

"Can you imagine, Mrs. Howe, under any circumstances – "

The twinkle came into the gray eyes. "Well!" she said. "I am pretty old, but I think I could manage a broomstick!"

The tension broke in laughter, and the sisters were sisters once more.

"January 23. Worked as usual. Attended the meeting in favor of the Abolition of the Death Penalty, which was interesting.... I spoke on the ground of hope."

"February 7.... I hope to take life more easily now than for some time past, and to have rest from the slavery of pen and ink."

"February 28.... Was interviewed by a Miss X, who has persevered in trying to see me, and at last brought a note from —. She is part editor of a magazine named 'Success,' and, having effected an entrance, proceeded to interview me, taking down my words for her magazine, thus getting my ideas without payment, a very mean proceeding...."

"March 21. Tuskegee benefit, Hollis Street Theatre.

"This meeting scored a triumph, not only for the performers, but for the race. Bishop Lawrence presided with much good grace and appreciation. Paul Dunbar was the least distinct. Professor Dubois, of Atlanta University, read a fine and finished discourse. Booker Washington was eloquent as usual, and the Hampton quartet was delightful. At the tea which followed at Mrs. Whitman's studio, I spoke with these men and with Dunbar's wife, a nearly white woman of refined appearance. I asked Dubois about the negro vote in the South. He thought it better to have it legally taken away than legally nullified."

"April 17. Kindergarten for the Blind.... I hoped for a good word to say, but could only think of Shakespeare's 'The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interréd with their bones,' intending to say that this does not commend itself to me as true. Mr. Eels spoke before me and gave me an occasion to use this with more point than I had hoped. He made a rather flowery discourse, and eulogized Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller as a new experience in human society. In order to show how the good that men do survives them, I referred to Dr. Howe's first efforts for the blind and to his teaching of Laura Bridgman, upon whom I dwelt somewhat...."

"April 23.... Had a sort of dream-vision of the dear Christ going through Beacon Street in shadow, and then in his glory. It was only a flash of a moment's thought...."

"April 25. To Alliance, the last meeting of the season. Mrs. — spoke, laying the greatest emphasis on women acting so as to express themselves in freedom. This ideal of self-expression appears to me insufficient and dangerous, if taken by itself. I mentioned its insufficiency, while recognizing its importance. I compared feminine action under the old limitations to the touching of an electric eel, which immediately gives one a paralyzing shock. I spoke also of the new woman world as at present constituted, as like the rising up from the sea of a new continent. In my own youth women were isolated from each other by the very intensity of their personal consciousness. I thought of myself and of other women in this way. We thought that superior women ought to have been born men. A blessed change is that which we have witnessed."


As her eightieth birthday drew nigh, her friends vied with one another in loving observance of the time. The festivities began May 17 with a meeting of the New England Women's Press Association, where she gave a lecture on "Patriotism in Literature" and received "eighty beautiful pink roses for my eighty years."

Next came the "annual meeting and lunch of the New England Woman's Club. This took the character of a pre-celebration of my eightieth birthday, and was highly honorific. I can only say that I do not think of myself as the speakers seemed to think of me. Too deeply do I regret my seasons of rebellion, and my shortcomings in many duties. Yet am I thankful for so much good-will. I only deserve it because I return it."

Between this and the day itself came a memorial meeting in honor of the ninety-sixth anniversary of Emerson's birth. Here she spoke "mostly of the ladies of his family" – Emerson's mother and his wife. Said also, "Emerson was as great in what he did not say as in what he said. Second-class talent tells the whole story, reasons everything out; great genius suggests even more than it says."

She was already what she used to call "Boston's old spoiled child!" All through the birthday flowers, letters, and telegrams poured into the house. From among the tokens of love and reverence may be chosen the quatrain sent by Richard Watson Gilder:–

"How few have rounded out so full a life!
      Priestess of righteous war and holy peace,
 Poet and sage, friend, sister, mother, wife,
      Long be it ere that noble heart shall cease!"

The "Woman's Journal" issued a special Birthday number. It was a lovely and heart-warming anniversary, the pleasure of which long remained with her.

Among the guests was the beloved physician of many years, William P. Wesselhoeft. Looking round on the thronged and flower-decked rooms, he said, "This is all very fine, Mrs. Howe; but on your ninetieth birthday I shall come, and nobody else!" Alas! before that day the lion voice was silent, the cordial presence gone.

Three days later came an occasion which stirred patriotic Boston to its depths. The veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic had invited Major-General Joseph Wheeler to deliver the Memorial Day oration in Boston Theatre. Our mother was the second guest of honor. She has nothing to say of this occasion beyond the fact that she "had a great time in the morning," and that in the open carriage with her sat "General Wheeler's two daughters – very pleasing girls"; but pasted in the Journal is the following clipping from the "Philadelphia Press":–



The Major has just returned from Boston, where he was present at the Memorial Day services held in Boston Theatre.

It was the real thing. I never imagined possible such a genuine sweeping emotion as when that audience began to sing the "Battle Hymn." If Boston was cold, it was thawed by the demonstration on Tuesday. Myron W. Whitney started to sing. He bowed to a box, in which we first recognized Mrs. Howe, sitting with the Misses Wheeler. You should have heard the yell. We could see the splendid white head trembling; then her voice joined in, as Whitney sang, "In the beauty of the lilies," and by the time he had reached the words, –

"As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free," –
the whole vast audience was on its feet, sobbing and singing at the top of its thousands of lungs. If volunteers were really needed for the Philippines, McKinley could have had us all right there.


The same evening she went "to Unitarian meeting in Tremont Temple, where read my screed about Governor Andrew, which has cost me some work and more anxiety. Rev. S. A. Eliot, whom I saw for the first time, was charmingly handsome and friendly. I was introduced as 'Saint Julia' and the whole audience rose when I came forward to read. Item: I had dropped my bag with my manuscript in the carriage, but Charles Fox telephoned to the stable and got it for me."

The spring of this year saw an epidemic of negro-lynching, which roused deep indignation throughout the country. On May 20 the Journal records "a wonderful meeting at Chickering Hall, called by the colored women of Boston, to protest against the lynching of negroes in the South. Mrs. Butler M. Wilson presided, an octoroon and a woman of education. Her opening address was excellent in spirit and in execution. A daughter of Mrs. Ruffin also wrote an excellent address: Mrs. Cheney's was very earnest and impressive. Alice Freeman Palmer spoke as I have never before heard her. My rather brief speech was much applauded, as were indeed all of the others. Mrs. Richard Hallowell was on the platform and introduced Mrs. Wilson."

This brief speech brought upon her a shower of letters, mostly anonymous, from persons who saw only the anti-negro side of this matter, so dreadful in every aspect. These letters were often denunciatory, sometimes furious in tone, especially one addressed to

Mrs. Howe, Negro Sympathizer,

This grieved her, but she did not cease to lift up her voice against the evil thing whenever occasion offered.

"July 7. Oak Glen.... My son and his wife came over from Bristol to pass the day. He looks as young as my grandsons do. At fifty, his hair is blond, without gray, and his forehead unwrinkled."

"July 16.... While in church I had a new thought of the energy and influence of Christ's teaching. 'Ask and ye shall receive,' etc. These little series of commands all incite the hearers to action: Ask, seek, knock. I should love to write a sermon on this, but fear my sermonizing days are over, alas!"

"August 7. Determined to do more literary work daily than I have been doing lately. Began a screed about dear Bro' Sam, feeling that he deserved a fuller mention than I have already given him...."

"September 4. Discouraged over the confusion of my papers, the failure of printers to get on with my book, and my many bills. Have almost had an attack of the moral sickness which the Italians call Achidia. I suppose it to mean indifference and indolence...."


To Laura

OAK GLEN, September 6, 1899.

...Here 's a question. Houghton and Mifflin desire to print50 the rough draft of my "Battle Hymn," which they borrowed, with some difficulty, from Charlotte Whipple, who begged it of me, years ago. I hesitate to allow it, because it contains a verse which I discarded, as not up to the rest of the poem. It will undoubtedly be an additional attraction for the volume....


"September 7. Have attacked my proofs fiercely...."


To Laura

OAK GLEN, September 16, 1899.

Yours received, très chère. Why not consult Hays Gardiner51 about printing the original draft of the "Hymn"? Win's52 opinion would be worth having, also. I think I shall consult E. E. Hale, albeit the two just named would be more fastidious.53


"October 21. My last moments in this dear place. The past season appears to me like a gift of perfect jewels. I pray that the winter may have in store for me some good work and much dear and profitable companionship. I must remember that this may be my last summer here, or anywhere on earth, but must bear in mind that it is best to act with a view to prolonged life, since without this outlook, it is very hard for us to endeavor or to do our best. Peace be with you, beautiful summer and autumn. Amen."

She was never ready to leave Oak Glen; the town house always seemed at first like a prison.

"October 23. Boston. A drizzly, dark day. I struggled out twice, saying to myself: 'It is for your life.'..."

"October 24. Have had two days of chaos and discouragement...."

"October 27. A delightful and encouraging conference of A.A.W. held in my parlors. The prevailing feeling was that we should not disband, but should hold on to our association and lie by, hoping to find new innings for work. Florida was spoken of as good ground for us. I felt much cheered and quickened by the renewal of old friendships...."

A Western lecture trip had been planned for this autumn, but certain untoward symptoms developed and Dr. Wesselhoeft said, "No! no! not even if you had not had vertigo." She gave it up most reluctantly, confiding only to the Journal the hope that she might be able to go later.

"November 9. Celebration of dear Chev's birthday at the Institution. I spoke of the New Testament word about the mustard seed, so small but producing such a stately tree. I compared this little seed to a benevolent impulse in the mind of S. G. H. and the Institution to a tree. 'What is smaller than a human heart? What seems weaker than a good intention? Yet the good intention, followed by the faithful heart, has produced this great refuge in which many generations have already found the way to a life of educated usefulness.'..."

"November 19.... Before the sermon I had prayed for some good thought of God. This came to me in the shape of a sudden perception to this effect: 'I am in the Father's house already.'..."

"November 30.... In giving thanks to-day, I made my only personal petitions, which were first, that some of my dear granddaughters might find suitable husbands.... and lastly, that I might serve in some way until the last breath leaves my body...."

"December 16. I had greatly desired to see the 'Barber.' Kind Mrs. [Alfred] Batcheller made it possible by inviting me to go with her. The performance was almost if not quite bouffe. Sembrich's singing marvellous, the acting of the other characters excellent, and singing very good, especially that of De Reszke and Campanari. I heard the opera in New York more than seventy years ago, when Malibran, then Signorina Garcia, took the part of Rosina."

"December 31.... 'Advertiser' man came with a query: 'What event in 1899 will have the greatest influence in the world's history?' I replied, 'The Czar's Peace Manifesto, leading to the Conference at The Hague.'"


November, 1899, saw the birth of another institution from which she was to derive much pleasure, the Boston Authors' Club. Miss Helen M. Winslow first evolved the idea of such a club. After talking with Mmes. May Alden Ward and Mabel Loomis Todd, who urged her to carry out the project, she went to see the "Queen of Clubs." "Go ahead!" said our mother. "Call some people together here, at my house, and we will form a club, and it will be a good one too."

The Journal of November 23 says:–

"Received word from Helen Winslow of a meeting of literary folks called for to-morrow morning at my house."

This meeting was "very pleasant: Mrs. Ward, Miss Winslow, Jacob Strauss, and Hezekiah Butterworth attended – later Herbert Ward came in."

It was voted to form the Boston Authors' Club, and at a second meeting in December the club was duly organized.

In January the Authors' Club made its first public appearance in a meeting and dinner at Hotel Vendôme, Mrs. Howe presiding, Colonel Higginson (whom she described as her "chief Vice") beside her.

The brilliant and successful course of the Authors Club need not be dwelt on here. Her connection with it was to continue through life, and its monthly meetings and annual dinners were among her pet pleasures. She was always ready to "drop into rhyme" in its service, the Muse in cap and bells being oftenest invoked: e.g., the verses written for the five hundredth anniversary of Chaucer's death:–

Poet Chaucer had a sister,
He, the wondrous melodister.
She did n't write no poems, oh, no!
Brother Geoffrey trained her so.
Honored by the poet's crown,
Her posterity came down.

.    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .    .

Ages of ancestral birth
Went for all that they were worth.
Hence derives the Wentworth name
Which heraldic ranks may claim.
That same herald has contrived
How the Higginson arrived.

He was gran-ther to the knight
In whose honor I indite
Burning strophes of the soul
'propriate to the flowing bowl.

Oft the worth I have defended
Of the Laureate-descended,
But while here he sits and winks
I can tell you what he thinks.


Never, whether old or young,
Will that woman hold her tongue!
Fifty years in Boston schooled,
Still I find her rhyme-befooled.


Oft in earnest, oft in jest,
We have met and tried our best.
Nought I dread an open field,
I can conquer, I can yield,
Self from foes I can defend,
But Heav'n preserve us from our friend!"

She and her "chief Vice" were always making merry together; when their flint and steel struck, the flash was laughter. It may have been at the Authors' Club that the two, with Edward Everett Hale and Dr. Holmes, were receiving compliments and tributes one afternoon.

"At least," she cried, "no one can say that Boston drops its H's!"

This was in the winter of 1900. It was the time of the Boer War, and all Christendom was sorrowing over the conflict. On January 3 the Journal says:–

"This morning before rising, I had a sudden thought of the Christ-Babe standing between the two armies, Boers and Britons, on Christmas Day. I have devoted the morning to an effort to overtake the heavenly vision with but a mediocre result."

These lines are published in "At Sunset."

On the 11th the cap and bells are assumed once more.

"...To reception of the College Club, where I was to preside over the literary exercises and to introduce the readers. I was rather at a loss how to do this, but suddenly I thought of Mother Goose's 'When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.' So when Edward Everett Hale came forward with me and introduced me as 'the youngest person in the hall,' I said, 'Ladies and Gentlemen, I shall prove the truth of what our reverend friend has just said, by citing a quotation from Mother Goose ['When the pie was opened,' etc.], and the first bird that I shall introduce will be Rev. E. E. Hale.' Beginning thus, I introduced T. W. Higginson as the great American Eagle; Judge [Robert] Grant as a mocking-bird; C. F. Adams as the trained German canary who sings all the songs of Yawcob Strauss; C. G. Ames said, 'You must n't call me an owl.' I brought him forward and said, 'My dear minister says that I must not call him an owl, and I will not; only the owl is the bird of wisdom and he is very wise.' I introduced Mrs. Moulton as a nightingale. For Trowbridge I could think of nothing and said, 'This bird will speak for himself.' Introduced N. H. Dole as 'a bird rarely seen, the phœnix.' At the close E. E. H. said, 'You have an admirable power of introducing.' This little device pleased me foolishly."

"February 4. Wrote a careful letter to W. F. Savage. He had written, asking an explanation of some old manuscript copy of my 'Battle Hymn' and of the theft perpetrated of three of its verses in 'Pen Pictures of the War,' only lately brought to my notice. He evidently thought these matters implied doubt at least of my having composed the 'Hymn.' To this suspicion I did not allude, but showed him how the verses stolen had been altered, probably to avoid detection...."

"March 3. Count di Campello's lecture, on the religious life in Italy, was most interesting. His uncle's movement in founding a National Italian Catholic Church seemed to me to present the first solution I have met with, of the absolute opposition between Catholic and Protestant. A Catholicism without spiritual tyranny, without ignorant superstition, would bridge over the interval between the two opposites and bring about the unification of the world-church...."

"March 13.... Passed the whole morning at State House, with remonstrants against petition forbidding Sunday evening concerts. T. W. H. spoke remarkably well...."

"March 30.... Had a special good moment this morning before rising. Felt that God had granted me a good deal of heaven, while yet on earth. So the veil lifts sometimes, not for long."


April found her in Minneapolis and St. Paul, lecturing and being "delightfully entertained."

"May 8. Minneapolis. Spoke at the University, which I found delightfully situated and richly endowed. Was received with great distinction. Spoke, I think, on the fact that it takes the whole of life to learn the lessons of life. Dwelt a little on the fact that fools are not necessarily underwitted. Nay, may be people of genius, the trouble being that they do not learn from experience...."

On leaving she exclaims:–

"Farewell, dear St. Paul. I shall never forget you, nor this delightful visit, which has renewed (almost) the dreams of youth. In the car a kind old grandmother, with two fine little boy grands....

"The dear old grandmother and her boys got out at the Soo. Other ladies in the Pullman were very kind to me, especially a lady from St. Paul, with her son, who I thought might be a young husband. She laughed much at this when I mentioned it to her. Had an argument with her, regarding hypnotism, I insisting that it is demoralizing when used by a strong will to subdue a weak one."

"May 25. [Boston.] Went in the afternoon to Unitarian meeting at Tremont Temple. S. A. Eliot made me come up on the platform. He asked if I would give a word of benediction. I did so, thanking God earnestly in my heart for granting me this sweet office, which seemed to lift my soul above much which has disturbed it of late. Why is He so good to me? Surely not to destroy me at last."

"June 3.... Before church had a thought of some sweet spirit asking to go to hell to preach to the people there. Thought that if he truly fulfilled his office, he would not leave even that forlorn pastorate...."

"June 10.... Could not find the key to my money bag, which distressed me much. Promised St. Anthony of Padua that if he would help me, I would take pains to find out who he was. Found the key immediately...."

"June 18.... The little lump in my right breast hurts me a little to-day. Have written Wesselhoeft about it. 4.50 P.M. He has seen it and says that it is probably cancerous; forbids me to think of an operation; thinks he can stop it with medicine. When he told me that it was in all probability a cancer, I felt at first much unsettled in mind. I feared that the thought of it would occupy my mind and injure my health by inducing sleeplessness and nervous excitement. Indeed, I had some sad and rather vacant hours, but dinner and Julia's54 company put my dark thought to flight and I lay down to sleep as tranquilly as usual."

[Whatever this trouble was, it evidently brought much suffering, but finally disappeared. We learn of it for the first time in this record; she never spoke of it to any of her family.]

"Oak Glen. June 21. Here I am seated once more at my old table, beginning another villeggiatura, which may easily be my last. Have read a little Greek and a long article in the 'New World.' I pray the dear Heavenly Father to help me pass a profitable season here, improving it as if it were my last, whether it turns out to be so or not."

[She was not in her usual spirits this summer. She felt the heat and the burden of years. The Journal is mostly in a minor key.]

"July 16. Took up a poem at which I have been working for some days, on the victims in Pekin; a strange theme, but one on which I feel I have a word to say. Wrote it all over...."

"July 19. Was much worn out with the heat. In afternoon my head gave out and would not serve me for anything but to sit still and observe the flight of birds and the freaks of yellow butterflies...."

From a photograph by John Elliott

"July 26. Have prayed to-day that I may not find life dull. This prolongation of my days on earth is so precious that I ought not to cease for one moment to thank God for it. I enjoy my reading as much as ever, but I do feel very much the narrowing of my personal relations by death. How rich was I in sisters, brothers, elders! It seems to me now as if I had not at all appreciated these treasures of affection...."

"July 31. Have writ notes of condolence to Mrs. Barthold Schlesinger and to M. E. Powel. I remember the coming of Mrs. Powel's family to Newport sixty-five years ago. The elders used to entertain in the simple ways of those days, and my brother Henry and I used to sing one duet from the 'Matrimonio Segreto,' at some of their evening parties. In the afternoon came the ladies of the Papéterie; had our tea in the green parlor, which was pretty and pleasant...."


To Laura

OAK GLEN, August 3, 1900.

...I grieve for the death of King Umberto, as any one must who has followed the fortunes of Italy and knows the indebtedness of the country to the House of Savoy. Thus, the horror of this anarchy, thriving among Italians in our own country. I am so thankful that the better class among them have come out so strongly against it! I was present when King Umberto took the oaths of office, after the death of his father. He was a faithful man, not quite up to the times, perhaps, but his reign was beset with problems and difficulties. I am sure that the Queen greatly respected and honored him, although I believe that she was first betrothed to his brother Amadeo, whom, it is said, she loved. Alas, for the tyranny of dynastic necessity. Their only child was very delicate, and has no child, or had not, when I was in Rome. As to the Chinese horror, it is unspeakably dreadful. Even if the ministers are safe, hundreds of foreigners and thousands of native Christians have been cruelly massacred. I cannot help hoping that punishment will be swift and severe....

A letter from H. M. H. yesterday, in great spirits. At a great public dinner recently, the president of the association cried: "Honneur à Howe!"




"August 17.... In the evening I was seized with an attack of verse and at bedtime wrote a rough draft of a Te Deum for the rescue of the ministers in Pekin."

"August 20.... Got my poem smooth at some expense of force, perhaps. I like the poem. I think that it has been given me."

This Te Deum was printed in the "Christian Herald" in September, 1900.

"Sunday, September 2.... I had, before service began, a clear thought that self is death, and deliverance from its narrow limitations the truest emancipation. In my heart I gave thanks to God for all measure in which I have attained, or tried to attain, this liberation. It seems to me that the one moment of this which we could perfectly attain, would be an immortal joy."

A week later, she went to New York to attend a reception given to the Medal of Honor Legion at Brooklyn Academy. She writes:–

"Last evening's occasion was to me eminently worth the trouble I had taken in coming on. To meet these veterans, face to face, and to receive their hearty greeting, was a precious boon vouchsafed to me so late in life. Their reception to me was cordial in the extreme. The audience and chorus gave me the Chautauqua salute, and as I left the platform, the girl chorus sang the last verse of my 'Hymn' over again, in a subdued tone, as if for me alone. The point which I made, and wished to make, was that, 'our flag should only go forth on errands of justice, mercy, etc., and that once sent forth, it should not be recalled until the work whereunto it had been pledged was accomplished.' This with a view to Pekin...."

"September 13.... The Galveston horror55 was much in my mind yesterday. I could not help asking why the dear Lord allowed such dreadful loss of life...."

"October 25. My last writing at this time in this dear place. The season, a very busy one, has also been a very blessed one. I cannot be thankful enough for so much calm delight – my children and grandchildren, my books and my work, although this last has caused me many anxieties. I cannot but feel as old John Forbes did when he left Naushon for the last time and went about in his blindness, touching his writing materials, etc., and saying to himself, 'Never again, perhaps.' If it should turn out so in my case, God's will be done. He knows best when we should depart and how long we should stay...."

"On the way home and afterwards, these lines of an old hymn ran in my mind:–

"Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not afraid.
 I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.'
This comforted me much in the forlorn exchange of my lovely surroundings at Oak Glen for the imprisonment of a town house."

"November 4. 241 Beacon Street. The dear minister preached on 'All Saints and All Souls,' the double festival of last week. At Communion he said: 'Dear Sister Howe, remember that if you are moved to speak, you have freedom to do so.' I had not thought of speaking, but presently rose and spoke of the two consecrated days. I said: 'As I entered this church to-day, I thought of a beautiful cathedral in which one after another the saints whom I have known and loved, appeared on either side; first, the saints of my own happy childhood, then the excellent people whom I have known all my life long. The picture of one of them hangs on these walls.56 His memory is fresh in all our hearts. Surely it is a divine glory which we have seen in the faces of these friends, and they seem to lead us up to that dearest and divinest one, whom we call Master'; and so on. I record this to preserve this vision of the cathedral of heart saints...."

"December 25. I was awake soon after five this morning, and a voice, felt, not heard, seemed to give me a friendly warning to set my house in order for my last departure from it. This seems to bring in view my age, already long past the scriptural limit, suggesting also that I have some symptoms of an ailment which does not trouble me much, but which would naturally tend to shorten my life. In my mind I promised that I would heed the warning given. I only prayed God to make the parting easy for me and my dear ones, of whom dear Maud would be the most to be pitied, as she has been most with me and has no child to draw her thoughts to the future. After this, I fell asleep.

"We had a merry time at breakfast, examining the Christmas gifts, which were numerous and gratifying...."

"December 31.... Here ends a year of mercies, of more than my usual health, of power to speak and to write. It has been a year of work. God be thanked for it."



1901-1902; aet. 82-83


But here the device of the spiral can save us. We must make the round, but we may make it with an upward inclination. "Let there be light!" is sometimes said in accents so emphatic, that the universe remembers and cannot forget it. We carry our problems slowly forward. With all the ups and downs of every age, humanity constantly rises. Individuals may preserve all its early delusions, commit all its primitive crimes; but to the body of civilized mankind, the return to barbarism is impossible.

J. W. H.


"January 7. I have had a morning of visioning, lying in bed. 'Be still and know that I am God,' seemed to be my sentence. I thought of the Magdalen's box of spikenard, whose odor, when the box was broken, filled the house. The separate religious convictions of the sects seemed to me like so many boxes of ointment, exceedingly precious while shut up, but I thought also that the dear Lord would one day break these separate boxes, and that then their fragrance would fill the whole earth, which is His house.

"This is my first writing in this book. From this thought and the 'Be still,' I may try to make two sermons.

"In afternoon came William Wesselhoeft, Sr., and prescribed entire quiet and rest for some days to come. Oh! I do long to be at work."

"January 9. To-day for the first time since January 3, I have opened a Greek book. I read in my Æschylus ["Eumenides"] how Apollo orders the Furies to leave his shrine, to go where deeds of barbarity, tortures, and mutilations are practised."

At this time she heard of her son's receiving from the Czar the cross of the Order of St. Stanislas. She writes to him:–

"Goodness gracious me!

"Are you sure it is n't by mistake? Do you remember that you are my naughty little imp?... Well, well, it takes away my breath! Dearest Boy, my heart is lifted up with gratitude. If your father were only here, to share our great rejoicing! Joy! joy!..."

She had always taken a deep interest in Queen Victoria, whose age was within three days of her own. Many people fancied a resemblance between the two; indeed, when in England as a bride, she was told more than once: "You look like our young Queen!" It is remembered how one of her daughters, knocking at the door of a Maine farmhouse to inquire the way, was met by a smiling, "I know who you are! You are the daughter of the Queen of America!"

The Queen's death, coming as it did during her own illness, gave her a painful shock.

"January 23. The news of Queen Victoria's death quite overcame me for a moment this morning. Instead of settling to my work, I wrote a very tiny 'bust of feeling' about her, which I carried to the 'Woman's Journal' office, where I found a suffrage meeting in progress. I could only show myself and say that I was not well enough to remain...."

"Bust of feeling" was a favorite expression of hers. Old Bostonians will recall its origin. "A certain rich man," seeing a poor girl injured in a street accident, offered to pay her doctor's bill. This being presented in due time, he disclaimed all responsibility in the affair; and when reminded of his offer, exclaimed, "Oh, that was a bust of feeling!"

On .January 31, she was "in distress of mind all day lest Maud should absolutely refuse to let me give my lecture at Phillips Church this evening." Later she writes: "Maud was very kind and did nothing to hinder my going to South Boston." She went and enjoyed the evening, but was not so well after it.

"February 10. A Sunday at home; unable to venture out. Wesselhoeft, Jr., called, left medicine, and forbade my going out before the cough has ceased. Have read in Cheyne's 'Jewish Religious Life after the Exile,' finding the places of reference in the Bible. Afterwards read in 'L'Aiglon,' which is very interesting but not praiseworthy, as it endeavors to recall the false glory of Napoleon."

"Fcbruary 18. Have been out, first time since February 3, when I went to church and was physically the worse for it.... Last night had a time of lying awake with a sort of calm comfort. Woke in the morning full of invalid melancholy, intending to keep my bed. Felt much better when in motion. Must make a vigorous effort now to get entirely well."


These days of seclusion were hard for her, and every effort was made to bring the "mountains" to her, since she could not go to them.

A club was formed among her friends in Boston for the study and speaking of Italian: this became one of her great pleasures, and she looked forward eagerly to the meetings, delighted to hear and to use the beautiful speech she had loved since childhood.

"February 22. The new club, Il Circolo Italiano, met at our house. Count Campello had asked me to say a few words, so I prepared a very little screed in Italian, not daring to trust myself to speak extempore in this language. We had a large attendance; I thought one hundred were present. My bit was well received, and the lecture by Professor Speranza, of New York, was very interesting, though rather difficult to follow. The theme was D'Annunzio's dramas, from which he gave some quotations and many characterizations. He relegates D'Annunzio to the Renaissance when Virtù had no real moral significance. Compared him with Ibsen. The occasion was exceedingly pleasant."


To Laura

I had hoped to go to church to-day, but my Maud and your Julia decided against it, and so I am having the day at home. It is just noon by my dial, and Maud is stretched in my Gardiner chair, comfortably shawled, and reading Lombroso's book on "The Man of Genius," with steadfast attention. Lombroso's theory seems to be that genius, almost equally with insanity, is a result of degeneration....


"March 1. The first day of spring, though in this climate this is a wintry month. I am thankful to have got on so far in this, my eighty-second year. My greatest trouble is that I use so poorly the precious time spared to me. Latterly I have been saying to myself, 'Can you not see that the drama is played out?' This partly because my children wish me to give up public speaking."

"March 4.... To New England Woman's Club; first time this year, to my great regret and loss. I was cordially welcomed.... A thought suddenly came to me, namely, that the liberal education of women would give the death-blow to superstition. I said, 'We women have been the depositaries of religious sensibility, but we have also furnished the impregnable storehouse of superstition, sometimes gracious, sometimes desperately cruel and hurtful to our race.' No one noticed this, but I hold fast to it...."

"March 8.... To Symphony Concert in afternoon, which I enjoyed but little, the music being of the multi-muddle order so much in vogue just now. An air of Haydn's sounded like a sentence of revelation in a chatter...."

It may have been after this concert that she wrote these lines, found in one of her notebooks:–

Such ugly noises never in my life
My ears endured, such hideous fiddle-strife.
A dozen street bands playing different tunes,
A choir of chimney sweeps with various runes,
The horn that doth to farmer's dinner call,
The Chinese gong that serves in wealthier hall,
The hammer, scrub brush, and beseeching broom,
While here and there the guns of freedom boom,
"Tzing! bang! this soul is saved!" "Clang! clang! it is n't!"
And mich and dich and ich and sich and sisn't!
Five dollar bills the nauseous treat secured,
But what can pay the public that endured?

"March 17. Before lying down for a needed rest, I must record the wonderful reception given to-day to Jack Elliott's ceiling.57 The day was fine, clear sunlight. Many friends congratulated me, and some strangers. Vinton, the artist, Annie Blake, Ellen Dixey were enthusiastic in their commendation of the work, as were many others. I saw my old friend, Lizzie Agassiz, my cousin Mary Robeson and her daughter, and others too numerous to mention... This I consider a day of great honor for my family. Deo gratias for this as well as for my son's decoration."

"March 31.... Had a sort of vision in church of Moses and Christ, the mighty breath of the prophets reaching over many and dark ages to our own time, with power growing instead of diminishing. When I say a vision, I mean a vivid thought and mind picture."

"April 3. Have writ to Larz Anderson, telling him where to find the quotation from Horace which I gave him for a motto to his automobile, 'Ocior Euro.' Sanborn found it for me and sent it by postal. It must have been more than thirty years since dear Brother Sam showed it to me...."

"April 7. A really inspired sermon from C. G. A., 'The power of an unending life.'... The Communion which followed was to me almost miraculous. Mr. Ames called it a festival of commemoration, and it brought me a mind vision of the many departed dear ones. One after another the dear forms seemed to paint themselves on my inner vision: first, the nearer in point of time, last my brother Henry and Samuel Eliot. I felt that this experience ought to pledge me to new and more active efforts to help others. In my mind I said, the obstacle to this is my natural inertia, my indolence; then the thought, God can overcome this indolence and give me increased power of service and zeal for it. Those present, I think, all considered the sermon and Communion as of special power and interest. It almost made me fear lest it should prove a swan song from the dear minister. Perhaps it is I, not he, who may soon depart."

Later in April she was able to fulfil some lecture engagements in New York State with much enjoyment, but also much fatigue. After her return she felt for a little while "as if it was about time for her to go," but her mind soon recovered its tone.

Being gently reproved for giving a lecture and holding a reception on the same day, she said, "That is perfectly proper: I gave and I received: I was scriptural and I was blessed."

Asked on another occasion if it did not tire her to lecture, – "Why, no! it is they [the audience] who are tired, not I!"

On April 27 she writes:–

"I have had a great gratification to-day. Mrs. Fiske Warren had invited us to afternoon tea and to hear Coquelin deliver some monologues. I bethought me of my poem entitled 'After Hearing Coquelin.' Maud wrote to ask Mrs. Warren whether she would have me read it and she assented. I procured a fresh copy of the volume in which it is published, and took it with me to this party, which was large and very representative of Boston's most recognized people. Miss Shedlock first made a charming recitation in French, which she speaks perfectly. Then Coquelin gave three delightful monologues. The company then broke up for tea and I thought my chance was lost, but after a while order was restored. M. Coquelin was placed where I could see him, and I read the poem as well as I could. He seemed much touched with the homage, and I gave him the book. People in general were pleased with the poem and I was very glad and thankful for so pleasant an experience. Learned with joy of the birth of a son to my dear niece, Elizabeth Chapman."

Another happy birthday came and passed. After recording its friendly festivities, she writes:–

"I am very grateful for all this loving kindness. Solemn thoughts must come to me of the long past and of the dim, uncertain future. I trust God for His grace. My life has been poor in merit, in comparison to what it should have been, but I am thankful that to some it has brought comfort and encouragement, and that I have been permitted to champion some good causes and to see a goodly number of my descendants, all well endowed physically and mentally, and starting in life with good principles and intentions; my children all esteemed and honored for honorable service in their day and generation."

"May 30. Decoration Day.... In the afternoon Maud and I drove out to Mount Auburn to visit the dear graves. We took with us the best of the birthday flowers, beautiful roses and lilies. I could not have much sense of the presence of our dear ones. Indeed, they are not there, but where they are, God only knows."

"May 31. Free Religious meeting.... The fears which the bold programme had naturally aroused in me, fears lest the dear Christ should be spoken of in a manner to wound those who love him – these fears were at once dissipated by the reverent tone of the several speakers...."

"June 1.... To the Free Religious festival.... I found something to say about the beautiful morning meeting and specially of the truth which comes down to us, mixed with so much rubbish of tradition. I spoke of the power of truth 'which burns all this accumulation of superstition and shines out firm and clear, so we may say that "the myth crumbles but the majesty remains"'...."

She managed to do a good deal of writing this summer: wrote a number of "screeds," some to order, some from inward leading: e.g., a paper on "Girlhood Seventy Years Ago," a poem on the death of President McKinley.

"October 5. A package came to-day from McClure's Syndicate. I thought it was my manuscript returned and rejected, and said, 'God give me strength not to cry.' I opened it and found a typewritten copy of my paper on 'Girlhood,' sent to me for correction in lieu of printer's proof. Wrote a little on my screed about 'Anarchy.' Had a sudden thought that the sense and spirit of government is responsibility."

"October 6.... Wrote a poem on 'The Dead Century,' which has in it some good lines, I hope."

"October 8. The cook ill with rheumatism. I made my bed, turning the mattress, and put my room generally to rights. When I lay down to take my usual obligato rest, a fit of verse came upon me, and I had to abbreviate my lie-down to write out my inspiration."

The "obligato rest"! How she did detest it! She recognized the necessity of relaxing the tired nerves and muscles; she yielded, but never willingly. The noon hour would find her bending over her desk, writing "for dear life," or plunged fathoms deep in Grote's "Greece," or some other light and playful work. Daughter or granddaughter would appear, watch in hand, countenance steeled against persuasion. "Time for your rest, dearest!"

The rapt face looks up, breaks into sunshine, melts into entreaty. "Let me finish this note, this page; then I will go!" Or it may be the sprite that looks out of the gray eyes. "Get out!" she says. "Leave the room! I never saw you before!"

Finally she submits to the indignity of being tucked in for her nap; but even then her watch is beside her on the bed, ticking away the minutes till the half-hour is over, and she springs to her task.

"November 3. 241 Beacon Street. My room here has been nicely cleaned, but I bring into it a great heap of books and papers. I am going to try hard to be less disorderly than in the past."

How hard she did try, we well remember. The book trunk was a necessity of the summer flitting. It carried a full load from one book-ridden house to the other, and there were certain books – the four-volume Oxford Bible, the big-print Horace, the Greek classics, shabby of dress, splendid of type and margin – which could surely have found their way to and from Newport unaided.

One book she never asked for – the English dictionary! Once Maud, recently returned from Europe, apologized for having inadvertently taken the dictionary from 241 Beacon Street.

"How dreadful it was of me to take your dictionary! What have you done? Did you buy a new one?"

"I did not know you had taken it!"

"But – how did you get along without a dictionary?"

The elder looked her surprise.

"I never use a word whose meaning I do not know!"

"But the spelling?"

There was no answer to this, save a whimsical shrug of the shoulders.

"November 11. The day of the celebration of dear Chev's one hundredth birthday. Before starting for the Temple I received three beautiful gifts of flowers, a great bunch of white roses from Lizzie Agassiz, a lovely bouquet of violets from Mrs. Frank Batcheller, and some superb chrysanthemums from Mrs. George H. Perkins. The occasion was to me one of solemn joy and thankfulness. Senator Hoar presided with beautiful grace, preluding with some lovely reminiscences of Dr. Howe's visit to his office in Worcester, Massachusetts, when he, Hoar, was a young lawyer. Sanborn and Manatt excelled themselves, Humphreys did very well. Hoar requested me to stand up and say a few words, which I did, he introducing me in a very felicitous manner. I was glad to say my word, for my heart was deeply touched. With me on the platform were my dear children and Jack Hall and Julia Richards; Anagnos, of course; the music very good."

Senator Hoar's words come back to us to-day, and we see his radiant smile as he led her forward. "It is only the older ones among us," he said, "who have seen Dr. Howe, but there are hundreds here who will want to tell their children that they have seen the author of the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.'"

Part of her "word" was as follows:–

"We have listened to-day to very heroic memories; it almost took away our breath to think that such things were done in the last century. I feel very grateful to the pupils and graduates of the Perkins Institution for the Blind who have planned this service in honor of my husband. It is a story that should be told from age to age to show what one good resolute believer in humanity was able to accomplish for the benefit of his race.... The path by which he led Laura Bridgman to the light has become one of the highways of education, and a number of children similarly afflicted are following it, to their endless enlargement and comfort. What an encouragement does this story give to the undertaking of good deeds!

"I thank those who are with us to-day for their sympathy and attention. I do this, not in the name of a handful of dust, dear and reverend as it is, that now rests in Mount Auburn, but in the name of a great heart which is with us to-day and which will still abide with those who work in its spirit."

"November 26. Thursday. A day of pleasant agitation from beginning to end. I tried to recognize in thought the many mercies of the year. My fortunate recoveries from illness, the great pleasures of study, friendly intercourse, thought and life generally. Our Thanksgiving dinner was at about 1.30 P.M., and was embellished by the traditional turkey, a fine one, to which David, Flossy, Maud, and I did justice. The Richards girls, Julia and Betty, and Chug58 and Jack Hall, flitted in and out, full of preparation for the evening event, the marriage of my dear Harry Hall to Alice Haskell. I found time to go over my screed for Maynard very carefully, rewriting a little of it and mailing it in the afternoon.

"In the late afternoon came Harry Hall and his best man, Tom McCready, to dine here and dress for the ceremony. Maud improvised a pleasant supper: we were eight at table. Went to the church in two carriages. Bride looked very pretty, simple white satin dress and tulle veil. Six bridesmaids in pink, carrying white chrysanthemums. H. M. H.59 seemed very boyish, but looked charmingly...."

"December 31. The last day of a blessed year in which I have experienced some physical suffering, but also many comforts and satisfactions. I have had grippe and bronchitis in the winter and bad malarial jaundice in the summer, but I have been constantly employed in writing on themes of great interest and have had much of the society of children and grandchildren. Of these last, two are happily married, i.e., in great affection. My dear Maud and her husband have been with me constantly, and I have had little or no sense of loneliness...."


The beginning of 1902 found her in better health than the previous year.

She records a luncheon with a distinguished company, at which all agreed that "the 'Atlantic' to-day would not accept Milton's 'L' Allegro,' nor would any other magazine."

At the Symphony Concert "the Tschaikowsky Symphony seemed to me to have in it more noise than music. Felt that I am too old to enjoy new music."

"January 24. Suffrage and Anti-Suffrage at the State House. I went there with all of my old interest in the Cause. The Antis were there in force: Mrs. Charles Guild as their leader; Lawyer Russell as their manager. I had to open. I felt so warm in my faith that for once I thought I might convert our opponents. I said much less than I had intended, as is usually the case with me when I speak extempore."

"February 7.... I went to see Leoni's wonderful illuminated representation of leading events in our history; a very remarkable work, and one which ought to remain in this country."

"February 11. Dreamed of an interview with a female pope. I had to go to Alliance Meeting to speak about Wordsworth. I hunted up some verses written about him in my early enthusiasm, probably in 1840 or 1841. This I read and then told of my visit to him with Dr. Howe and the unpleasantness of the experience. Spoke also of the reaction in England against the morbid discontent which is so prominent and powerful in much of Byron's poetry...."

"February 12.... In my dream of yesterday morning the woman pope and I were on very friendly terms. I asked on leaving whether I might kiss her hand. She said, 'You may kiss my hand.' I found it fat and far from beautiful. As I left her, methought that her countenance relaxed and she looked like a tired old woman. In my dream I thought, 'How like this is to what Pope Leo would do.'"

"February 13.... Felt greatly discouraged at first waking. It seemed impossible for me to make a first move under so many responsibilities. A sudden light came into my soul at the thought that God will help me in any good undertaking, and with this there came an inkling of first steps to be taken with regard to Sig. Leoni's parchment.60 went to work again on my prize poem, with better success than hitherto...."

"February 14. Philosophy at Mrs. Bullard's.... Sent off my prize poem with scarcely any hope of its obtaining or indeed deserving the prize, but Mar61 has promised to pay me something for it in any case, and I was bound to try for the object, namely, a good civic poem...."

"February 15.... A day of great pleasure, profit and fatigue.... Griggs's lecture.... The address on 'Erasmus and Luther' was very inspiring. Griggs is in the full tide of youthful inspiration and gives himself to his audience without stint. He did not quite do justice to the wonderful emancipation of thought which Protestantism has brought to the world, but his illustration of the two characters was masterly. I said afterwards to Fanny Ames: 'He will burn himself out.' She thinks that he is wisely conservative of his physical strength. I said, 'He bleeds at every pore.' I used to say this of myself with regard to ordinary social life. Went to the Club, where was made to preside. Todd and Todkinee62 both spoke excellently. Then to Symphony Concert to hear Kreisler and the 'Pastoral Symphony.'"

"February 16.... The Philosophy meeting and Griggs's lecture revived in me the remembrance of my philosophic studies and attempts of thirty-five years ago, and I determined to endeavor to revise them and to publish them in some shape. Have thought a good deal this morning of this cream of genius in which the fervent heat of youth fuses conviction and imagination and gives the world its great masters and masterpieces. It cannot outlast the length of human life of which it is the poetry. Age follows it with slow philosophy, but can only strengthen the outposts which youth has gained with daring flight. Both are divinely ordained and most blessed. Of the dear Christ the world had only this transcendent efflorescence. I said to Ames yesterday, 'I find in the Hebrew prophets all the doctrine which I find in Christ's teaching.' He said, 'Yes, it is there seminally.' We agreed that it was the life which made the difference."

"February 21.... My dearest Maud left by 1 P.M. train to sail for Europe to-morrow. I could not go to the hearing. Was on hand to think of small details which might have been overlooked. Gave them my fountain pen, to Jack's great pleasure. Julia Richards came to take care of me. I suffered extreme depression in coming back to the empty house, every corner of which is so identified with Maud's sweet and powerful presence. The pain of losing her, even for a short time, seemed intolerable. I was better in the evening. Chug amused me with a game of picquet."

Her spirits soon rallied, and the granddaughters did their best to fill the great void. She writes to Laura about this time:–

Not a sign was made, not a note was wrote,
Not a telegram was wired,
Not a rooster sent up his warning note,
When the eggs from your larder were fired.

We swallow them darkly at break of fast,
Each one to the other winking,
And "woe is me if this be the last"
Is what we are sadly thinking.

The egg on missile errand sent
Some time has been maturing,
And, with whate'er endearment blent,
Is rarely reassuring.

But yours, which in their freshness came
Just when they might be wanted,
A message brought without a name,
"Love," we will take for granted.


Julia is rather strict with me, but very good, considering whose grandchild she is.




From a photograph by C.A. Shaw, 1907


"March 25. I received in one day three notes asking me regarding the 'Life of Margaret Shepard,' and 'Secret Confessions of a Priest.' One writer had seen in some paper that she could have the books by applying to me; Miss — wrote to the same intent; Miss — wrote and enclosed forty cents' worth of stamps for one of the books. I have replied to all that I know nothing of the books in question, and that I am neither agent nor bookseller."

"March 30. Lunch with Mrs. Fields after church. Heard a very inspiring sermon from Samuel A. Eliot. This young man has a very noble bearing and a stringent way of presenting truth. He has that vital religious power which is rare and most precious. Before he had spoken I had been asking in my mind, how can we make the past present to us? The Easter service and Lent also seem intended to do this, but our imaginations droop and lag behind our desires...."

"April 2.... Went in the evening to see 'Ben-Hur' with kind Sarah Jewett – her treat, as was my attendance at the opera. The play was altogether spectacular, but very good in that line...."

"April 3.... Went to the celebration of E. E. Hale's eightieth birthday, in which the community largely participated. Senator Hoar was the orator and spoke finely.... Hale's response was manly, cheery, and devout. He has certainly done much good work, and has suggested many good things."

"April 12. Lunch with Mrs. Wheelwright. I found Agnes Repplier very agreeable. She had known the wife of Green, the historian, 'very, almost too brilliant.' Told me something about his life. I enjoyed meeting her."


To Laura

Yes, I likes my chilluns better 'n other folkses' chilluns. P'raps 't is as well sometimes to let them know that I do....

What you write about my little Memoir of your dear Papa touches me a good deal. I did my best to make it as satisfactory as the limits imposed upon me would allow. I don't think that I ever had a word of commendation for it. Michael killed it as a book by printing it entire in his Report for the year. Now I am much gratified by your notice of it. You are most welcome to use it in connection with the letters.63


"May 16. In the evening the Italian supper at the Hotel Piscopo, North End. I recited Goldoni's toast from the 'Locandiera,' and also made a little speech at the end of the banquet. Padre Roberto, a Venetian priest, young and handsome, sat near me...."

"May 18.... I had prayed that this might be a real Whitsunday to me and I felt that it was. Notice was given of a meeting at which Catholic, Jew, Episcopalian, and Unitarian are to speak regarding the Filipinos. This seemed like the Millennium. It is the enlargement of religious sympathy; not, as some may think, the progress of critical indifferentism.

"During this morning's service my desire to speak to prisoners reasserted itself strongly; also my thought of one of my sermons which I wish to write. One should be to the text: 'The glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,' the reflection of divine glory in God's saints, like the reflection of the sun's light in the planets. Another about Adam being placed in Eden to tend the flowers and water them. This should concern our office in the land of our birth, into which we are born to love and serve our country. Will speak of the self-banished Americans, Hale's 'Man without a Country,' etc. This day has been so full of thought and suggestion that I hardly know how to let it go. I pray that it may bear some fruit in my life, what is left of it."

"May 24. The annual Club luncheon in honor of my birthday. I felt almost overwhelmed by the great attention shown me and by the constant talk of speakers with reference to myself.... I don't find in myself this charm, this goodness, attributed to me by such speakers, but I know that I love the Club and love the world of my own time, so far as I know it. They called me Queen and kissed my hand. When I came home I fell in spirit before the feet of the dear God, thanking Him for the regard shown me, and praying that it might not for one moment make me vain. I read my translation of Horace's ode, 'Quis Desiderio,' and it really seemed to suit the mention made by Mrs. Cheney of our departed members, praecipuë, Dr. Zack; Dr. Hoder [?] of England was there, and ex-Governor Long and T. W. Higginson, also Agnes Irwin. It was a great time."

"July 5.... I wrote to Ethel V. Partridge, Omaha, a high-school student: 'Get all the education that you can. Cultivate habits of studious thought with all that books can teach. The fulfilment of the nearest duty gives the best education.' I fear that I have come to know this by doing the exact opposite, i.e., neglecting much of the nearest duty in the pursuit of an intellectual wisdom which I have not attained..."


Maud and Florence were both away in the early part of this summer, and various grandchildren kept her company at Oak Glen. There were other visitors, among them Count Salome di Campello, a cheery guest who cooked spaghetti for her, and helped the granddaughter to set off the Fourth of July fireworks, to her equal pleasure and terror. During his visit she invited the Italian Ambassador64 to spend a couple of days at Oak Glen. On July 14 she writes:–

"Not having heard from the Italian Ambassador, the Count and I supposed that he was not coming. In the late afternoon came a letter saying that he would arrive to-morrow. We were troubled at this late intelligence, which gave me no time to invite people to meet the guest. I lay down for my afternoon rest with a very uneasy mind. Remembering St. Paul's words about 'Angels unawares,' I felt comforted, thinking that the Angel of Hospitality would certainly visit me, whether the guest proved congenial or not."

"July 15.... The Ambassador arrived as previously announced. He proved a most genial and charming person; a man still in the prime of life, with exquisite manners, as much at home in our simplicity as he doubtless is in scenes of luxury and magnificence. Daisy Chanler drove out for afternoon tea, at my request, and made herself charming. After her came Emily Ladenberg, who also made a pleasing impression. Our guest played on the piano and joined in our evening whist. We were all delighted with him."

After the Ambassador's departure she writes:–

"He gave me an interesting account of King Charles Albert of Savoia. He is a man of powerful temperament, which we all felt; has had to do with Bismarek and Salisbury and all the great European politicians of his time. We were all sorry to see him depart."


The Journal tells of many pleasures, among them "a delightful morning in the green parlor with Margaret Deland and dear Maud."

On August 24 she writes:–

"This day has been devoted to a family function of great interest, namely, the christening of Daisy and Wintie's boy baby, Theodore Ward, the President65 himself standing godfather. Jack Elliott and I were on hand in good time, both of us in our best attire. We found a very chosen company, the Sydney Websters, Owen Wister, Senator Lodge and wife, the latter standing as godmother. Mr. Diman, of the School,66 officiated, Parson Stone being ill. The President made his response quite audibly. The Chanler children looked lovely, and the baby as dear as a baby can look. His godfather gave him a beautiful silver bowl lined with gold. I gave a silver porringer, Maud a rattle with silver bells; lunch followed. President Roosevelt took me in to the table and seated me on his right. This was a very distinguished honor. The conversation was rather literary. The President admires Emerson's poems, and also Longfellow and Sienkiewicz. He paid me the compliment of saying that Kipling alone had understood the meaning of my 'Battle Hymn,' and that he admired him therefor. Wister proposed the baby's health, and I recited a quatrain which came to me early this morning. Here it is:

"Roses are the gift of God,
 Laurels are the gift of fame;
 Add the beauty of thy life
 To the glory of thy name."

"I said, 'Two lines for the President and two for the baby'; the two first naturally for the President. As I sat waiting for the ceremony, I called the dear roll of memory, Uncle Sam and so on back to Grandpa Ward. I was very thankful to participate in this beautiful occasion. But the service and talk about the baby's being born in sin, etc., etc., seemed to me very inconsistent with Christ's saying that he who would enter into the Kingdom of Heaven must become 'as a little child.' He also said, 'of such is the kingdom of heaven.'"

She had a high admiration for Colonel Roosevelt, and a regard so warm that she would never allow any adverse criticism of him in her presence. The fo1lowing verses express this feeling:–

Here's to Teddy,
Blythe and ready,
Fit for each occasion!
Who as he
Can represent the Nation?

Neither ocean
Binds his motion,
Undismayed explorer;
Challenge dares him,
Pullman bears him
Swifter than Aurora.

Here's to Teddy!
Let no eddy
Block the onward current.
Him we trust,
And guard we must
From schemes to sight abhorrent.

When the tuba
Called to Cuba
Where the fight was raging,
Rough and ready
Riders led he,
Valorous warfare waging.

Here's to Teddy!
Safe and steady,
Loved by every section!
South and North
Will hurry forth
To hasten his election.


On September 12, a notice of the death of William Allen Butler is pasted in the Diary. Below it she writes:–

"A pleasant man. I met him at the Hazeltines' in Rome in 1898 and 1899. His poem ["Nothing to Wear"] was claimed by one or two people. I met his father [a Cabinet Minister] at a dinner at the Bancrofts' in New York, at which ex-President Van Buren was also present, and W. M. Thackeray, who said to me across the table that Browning's 'How They Brought the Good News' was a 'good jingle.'"

On the 29th she spoke at a meeting of the New England Woman's Club in memory of Dr. Zakrzewska, and records her final words:–

"I pray God earnestly that we women may never go back from the ground which has been gained for us by our noble pioneers and leaders. I pray that these bright stars of merit, set in our human firmament, may shine upon us and lead us to better and better love and service for God and man."

"In the afternoon to hear reports of delegates to Biennial at Los Angeles. These were very interesting, but the activity shown made me feel my age, and its one great infirmity, loss of power of locomotion. I felt somehow the truth of the line which Mr. Robert C. Winthrop once quoted to me:–

"'Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage.'"

Yet a few days later she writes:–

"I had this morning so strong a feeling of the goodness of the divine Parent in the experience of my life, especially of its most trying period, that I had to cry out, 'What shall I, who have received so much, give in return?' I felt that I must only show that forbearance and forgiveness to others which the ever blessed One has shown to me. My own family does not call for this. I am cherished by its members with great tenderness and regard. I thought later in the day of a sermon to prisoners which would brighten their thoughts of the love of God. Text from St. John's Epistle, 'Behold what manner of love is this that we should be called the sons of God.'"


This was the year of the coal strike in Pennsylvania, which made much trouble in Boston. She notes one Sunday that service at the Church of the Disciples was held in the church parlors "on account of the shortage of coal." This recalls vivid pictures of the time; distracted coal merchants dealing out promises, with nothing else to deal; portly magnates and stately dames driving down Beacon Street in triumph with coals in a paper bag to replenish the parlor fire: darker pictures, too, of poverty and suffering.

At 241 Beacon Street the supply was running low, and the coal dealer was summoned by telephone. "A load of coal? Impossible, madam! We have no – I beg your pardon! Mrs. Julia Ward Howe? Mrs. Howe's house is cold? You shall have some within the hour!"



1903-1905; aet. 84-86



Looking down upon the white heads of my contemporaries

Beneath what mound of snow
Are hid my springtime roses?
How shall Remembrance know
Where buried Hope reposes?

In what forgetful heart
As in a cañon darkling,
Slumbers the blissful art
That set my heaven sparkling?

What sense shall never know,
Soul shall remember;
Roses beneath the snow,
June in November.

J. W. H.

THE year 1903 began with the celebration at Faneuil Hall of the fortieth anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. She was one of the speakers. "I felt much the spirit of the occasion, and spoke, I thought, better than usual, going back to the heroic times before and during the war, and to the first celebration forty years ago, at which I was present."

Work of all kinds poured in, the usual steady stream.

"January 6. Wrote a new circular for Countess."

Who the Countess was, or what the circular was about, is not known. By this time it had become the custom (or so it seemed to exasperated daughters and granddaughters) for any one who wanted anything in the literary line, from a proverb to a pamphlet, to ask her for it.

It is remembered how on a certain evening, when she was resting after a weary day, a "special delivery note was received from a person whom she scarcely knew, asking for "her thoughts on the personality of God, by return mail." This was one of the few requests she ever denied. People asked her to give them material for their club papers (sometimes to write them!), to put them through college, to read their manuscripts, to pay the funeral expenses of their relatives. A volume of the letters conveying these requests would be curious reading.

The petition for a "little verse" was rarely refused. Her notebooks are full of occasional poems, only a small proportion of which ever appeared in print. Many of them are "autographs." She always meant to honor every request of this kind; the country must be full of volumes inscribed by her. Here are a few of them.

For Francis C. Stokes, Westtown School, Pennsylvania

Auspicious be the rule
Of love at Westtown School,
And happy, mid his youthful folks
The daily task of Master Stokes!

[When this gentleman's note came, she was "tired to death." The granddaughter said, "You can't do it. Let me write a friendly note, and you shall sign it!"

"You're right," she said, "I can't: I am too tired to think!" But when she saw the note taken away, "No, no!" she cried, "I can! He is probably a most hard-working man, and a little word may cheer him. Here, I have a line already!"]

Wealth is good, health is better, character is best.
Citizens of the new world,
Children of the promise,
So let us live!

Love to learn, and learn to love.

Remember to forget your troubles, but don't forget to remember your blessings.

For Mr. Charles Gallup, who had written to her several times without receiving a reply, she wrote –

If one by name Gallup
Desires to wallop
A friend who too slowly responds,
She will plead that her age
Has attained such a stage
She is held hand and foot in its bonds.

Here, again, are a few sentences, gathered from various calendars.

The little girls on the school bench, using or misusing their weekly allowance, are learning to build their future house, or pluck it down.

No gift can make rich those who are poor in wisdom.

In whatever you may undertake, never sacrifice quality for quantity, even when quantity pays and quality does not.

For so long, the body can perform its functions and hold together, but what term is set for the soul? Nothing in its make-up foretokens a limited existence. Its sentence would seem to be, "Once and always."

The verses in the notebooks are by no means all "by request." The rhyming fit might seize her anywhere, at any time. She wrote the rough draft on whatever was at hand, often on the back of note, circular, or newspaper wrapper. She could never forget the wartime days when paper cost half a dollar a pound. Nor were people content with writing: they came singly, in pairs, in groups, to proffer requests, to pay respects, to ask counsel. The only people she met unwillingly were those who came to bewail their lot and demand her sympathy.

No one will ever know the number of her benefactions. They were mostly, of necessity, small, yet we must think they went a long way. At the New England Woman's Club, whenever a good new cause came up, she would say, "I will start the subscription with a dollar!" Many noble and enduring things began with the "President's dollar." If she had had a hundred dollars to give, it would have been joyfully given: if she had had but ten cents, it would not have been withheld. She had none of the false pride which shrinks from giving a small sum.

Beggars and tramps were tenderly dealt with. A discharged criminal in particular must never be refused help. Work must be found for him if possible; if not, it is to be feared that he got a dollar, "to help him find work"!

"January 10. At 11.30 received message from 'New York World' that it would pay for an article sent at once on 'Gambling among Society People.' Wrote this in a little more than an hour."

"January 20.... Some little agitation about my appearance at the Artists' Festival to-night, as one of the patronesses. I had already a white woollen dress quite suitable for the prescribed costume. Some benevolent person or persons ordered for me and sent a cloak of fine white cloth, beautiful to look at but heavy to wear. A headdress was improvised out of one of my Breton caps, with a long veil of lawn. Jack Elliott made me a lovely coronet out of a bit of gold braid with one jewel of dear Maud's. Arriving, to my surprise, I found the Queen's chair waiting for me. I sat thereon very still, the other patronesses being most kind and cordial, and saw the motley throng and the curious pageants. Costumes most beautiful, but the hall too small for much individual effect. Adèle Thayer wore the famous Thayer diamonds."

"January 27. Woke early and began to worry about the hearing.... Dressed with more care than usual and went betimes to State House. Had a good deliverance of my paper. The opposition harped upon our bill as an effort to obtain class legislation, saying also that they knew it to be an entering wedge to obtain suffrage for all women; the two positions being evidently irreconcilable. When our turn for rebuttal came, I said: 'Many years ago John Quincy Adams presented in Congress a petition for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, but none of the Southerners imagined that this petition was intended to keep the other negroes of the South in slavery! Are we, who, for thirty years past, and more, have been coming here to ask for full suffrage for all women, to be accused of coming here now with a view to the exclusion of our former clients from suffrage? How can we be said to contemplate this and at the same time to be putting in an entering wedge for universal suffrage?'

"I thank God for what I did say at the hearing and for what I did not say. Two of the opposing speakers were rude in their remarks; all were absurd, hunting an issue which they knew to be false, namely, our seeking for class legislation."

"January 28. Although very tired after yesterday's meeting, I went in the evening to see 'Julius Cæsar' in Richard Mansfield's interpretation. The play was beautifully staged; Mansfield very good in the tent scene; parts generally well filled...."

"March 3. My dear Maud returned this evening from New York. She has been asked to speak at to-morrow's suffrage hearing. I advised her to reflect before embarking upon this new voyage.... When she told me what she had in mind to say, I felt that a real word had been given her. I said: 'Go and say that!'..."

"April 1.... A telegram announced the birth of my first great-grandchild, Harry Hall's infant daughter.67

"April 11. To Mrs. Bigelow Lawrence's, Parker House, to hear music. Mrs. [Henry] Whitman called for me.

"Delightful music; two quartettes of Beethoven's, a quintette of Mozart's, which I heard at Joseph Coolidge's some thirty or more years ago. I recognized it by the first movement, which Bellini borrowed in a sextette which I studied in my youth from 'La Straniera,' an opera never given in these days...."

"April 17. Winchendon lecture.... A day of anguish for me. I was about to start for Winchendon when my dearest Maud so earnestly besought me not to go, the weather being very threatening, that I could not deny her. Words can hardly say how I suffered in giving up the trip and disappointing so many people.... As I lay taking my afternoon rest, my heart said to God, 'You cannot help me in this'; but He did help me, for I was able soon after this to interest myself in things at hand. I heard Mabilleau's lecture on French art in its recent departure. It was brilliant and forcibly stated, but disappointing. He quoted with admiration Baudelaire's hideous poem, 'Un Carogne.'..."

"April 21. In the afternoon attended anniversary of the Blind Kindergarten, where I made, as usual, a brief address, beginning with 'God said, Let there be light,' a sentence which makes itself felt throughout the human domain, where great-hearted men are stirred by it to combat the spirits of darkness. Spoke also of the culture of the blind as vindicating the dignity of the human mind, which can become a value and a power despite the loss of outward sense. Alluded to dear Chev's sense of this and his resolve that the blind, from being simply a burden, should become of value to the community. The care of them draws forth tender sympathy in those whose office it is to cherish and instruct them. Spoke of the nursery as one of the dearest of human institutions. Commended the little blind nursery to the affectionate regard of seeing people. The children did exceedingly well, especially the orchestra. The little blind 'cellist was remarkable."

"May 2. Dreamed last night that I was dead and kept saying, 'I found it out immediately,' to those around me...."

"May 28. My prayer for the new year of my life beginning to-day is, that in some work that I shall undertake I may help to make clear the goodness of God to some who need to know more of it than they do...."

"June 22. Mabel Loomis Todd wrote asking me for a word to enclose in the corner-stone of the new observatory building at Amherst [Massachusetts]. I have just sent her the following:–

The stars against the tyrant fought
In famous days of old;
The stars in freedom's banner wrought
Shall the wide earth enfold.

"June 23. Kept within doors by the damp weather. Read in William James's book, 'Varieties of Religious Experience.'. .. Had a strange fatigue – a restlessness in my brain."

"June 25.... The James book which I finished yesterday left in my mind a painful impression of doubt; a God who should be only my better self, or an impersonal pervading influence. These were suggestions which left me very lonely and forlorn. To-day, as I thought it all over, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob seemed to come back to me; the God of Christ, and his saints and martyrs. I said to myself: 'Let me be steeped in the devotion of the Psalms, and of Paul's Epistles!' I took up Coquerel's sermons on the Lord's Prayer, simple, beautiful, positive...."

"July 30. Oak Glen. Rose at 6.15 A.M. and had good luck in dressing quickly. With dear Flossy took 9 A.M. train for Boston. At Middletown station found the teachers from the West [Denver and Iowa], who started the 'Battle Hymn' when they saw me approaching. This seemed to me charming. My man Michael, recognizing the tune, said: 'Mrs. Howe, this is a send-off for you!'..."

She was going to keep a lecture engagement in Concord, Massachusetts; her theme, "A Century from the Birth of Emerson." She was anxious about this paper, and told Mr. Sanborn (the inevitable reporter calling to borrow her manuscript) that she thought the less said about the address the better. "I have tried very hard to say the right thing, but doubt whether I have succeeded." Spite of these doubts, the lecture was received with enthusiasm.

"September 6. I was very dull at waking and dreaded the drive to church and the stay to Communion. The drive partly dissipated my 'megrims'; every bright object seemed to me to praise God.... The Communion service was very comforting. Especially did Christ's words come to me, 'Abide in me,' etc. I felt that if I would abide in Him, old as I am, I could still do some good work. 'Yes! my strong friend,' my heart said, 'I will abide in thee,' and a bit of the old Easter anthem came back to me, 'He sitteth at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.' No, it is a verse of the Te Deum."

In October a lecture in South Berwick gave her the opportunity, always greatly enjoyed, of a visit to Sarah Orne Jewett and her sister Mary.

"November 1. South Berwick. A delightful drive. Mary Jewett, Annie Fields, and I to visit Mrs. Tyson in the Hamilton House described by Sarah in her 'Tory Lover.' .... Most interesting. Mrs. Tyson very cordial and delightful.... She came over later to dinner and we had such a pleasant time! In afternoon copied most of my screed for the 'Boston Globe.'"

It surely was not on this occasion that she described dinner as "a thing of courses and remorses!"

"November 2. Took reluctant leave of the Jewett house and the trio, Sarah, Mary, and Annie Fields. We had a wonderful dish of pigeons for lunch...."

It was delightful to see our mother and Miss Jewett together. They were the best of playmates, having a lovely intimacy of understanding. Their talk rippled with light and laughter. Such stories as they told! Such songs as they sang! who that heard will ever forget our mother's story of Edward Everett in his youth? He was to take three young ladies to drive, and had but the one horse; he wished to please them all equally. To the first he said, "The horse is perfectly fresh now; you have him in his best condition." To the second he said, "The horse was a little antic at first, so you will have the safer drive." To the third he said, "Now that the other two have had their turn, we need not hasten back. You can have the longest drive."

It is recalled that during this visit, when Laura felt bound to remonstrate in the matter of fruitcake, "Sarah" took sides with ardor. "You shall have all you want, Mrs. Howe, and a good big piece to take home besides! Put it somewhere where the girls can't find it!"

She nodded. "There is a corner in my closet, which even Maud dare not explore!"

The fruitcake was duly packed, transported, and eaten – we are bound to say without ill effect.

This recalls the day when, leaving Gardiner, she was presented with a packet of sandwiches, and charged to have the Pullman porter bring her a cup of bouillon. The next day Laura received a postal card.

"Lunched at Portland on mince pie, which agreed with me excellently, thank you!"

Her postal cards were better than most people's letters. You could almost see them sparkle. The signature would be "Town Pump" or something equally luminous. In fact, she so rarely signed her own name in writing to us that when asked for autographs we were posed. "Town Pump" was no autograph for the author of the "Battle Hymn"!

There was another mince pie, a little, pretty one, which she saw at a Papéterie meeting, the last summer of her life; saw, coveted, secreted, with her hostess's aid, and smuggled home. Always a moderate eater, she never could be made to see that age demanded a careful diet. "I have eaten sausages all my life," she would say. "They have always agreed with me perfectly!" Indeed, till the very latest years, her digestion had never failed her. It was in the eighties that she said to one of us, "I have a singular sensation that I have never felt before. Do you think it might possibly be indigestion?" She described it, and it was indigestion. We are reminded of a contemporary of hers who, being gently rebuked for giving rich food to a delicate grandchild, replied with lofty scorn, "Stuff and nonsense! Teach his stomach!"

"November 8.... In late afternoon some visioning, i.e., lying down to rest and asking and answering questions in my mind:–

"Question: Can anything exceed the delight of the first mutual understanding of two lovers?

"Answer: This has its sacredness and its place, but even better is the large affection which embraces things human and divine, God and man.

"Question: Are Saviour and Saints alive now?

"Answer: If you believe that God is just, they must be. They gave all for His truth: He owes them immortality."

"November 16. Dear Auntie Francis's wedding day. I think it was in 1828. My sisters and I were bridesmaids, my brothers groomsmen. Dear father, very lame, walked up with a cane to give her away. Grandma Cutler looked much discontented with the match. Father sent the pair off in his own carriage, with four horses, their manes and tails braided with white ribbons. They drove part of the way to Philadelphia."

"November 28.... To Wellesley College.... William Butler Yeats lectured on the revival of letters in Ireland. We dined with him afterwards at Miss Hazard's house. He is a man of fiery temperament, with a slight, boyish figure: has deep-set blue eyes and dark hair; reminds me of John O'Sullivan68 in his temperament; is certainly, as Grandpa Ward said of the Red Revolutionists, with whom he dined in the days of the French Revolution, 'very warm.'"

"November 29.... This came into my mind, apropos of reformers generally: 'Dost thou so carry thy light as to throw it upon thyself, or upon thy theme?' This appears to me a legitimate question...."

"December 21. Put the last touches to my verses for Colonel Higginson's eightieth birthday. Maud went with me to the celebration held by the Boston Authors' Club at the Colonial Club, Cambridge. T. W. H. seemed in excellent condition; I presided as usual. Bliss Perry, first speaker, came rather late, but made a very good address. Crothers and Dean Hodges followed, also Clement. Judge Grant read a simple, strong poem, very good, I thought. Then came my jingle, intended to relieve the strain of the occasion, which I think it did. Maud says that I hit the bull's eye; perhaps I did. Then came a pretty invasion of mummers, bearing the gifts of the Club, a fine gold watch and a handsome bronze lamp. I presented these without much talk, having said my say in the verses, to which, by the bye, Colonel H. responded with some comic personal couplets, addressed to myself."

Here is the "jingle."

            Friends! I would not ask to mingle
            This, my very foolish jingle,
With the tributes more decorous of the feast we hold to-day;
            But the rhymes came, thick and swarming
            Just like bees when honey 's forming,
And I could not find a countersign to order them away.

            For around this sixteenth lustre
            Of our friend's, such memories cluster
Of the days that lie behind it, full of glories and regrets,
            Days that brought their toils and troubles,
            Lit by some irradiant bubbles
Which became prismatic opals in the sun that never sets.

            Picnics have we held together
            Sailing in the summer weather,
Sitting low to taste the chowder on the sands of Newport Bay,
            And that wonderful charade, sir,
            You know well, sir, that you made, sir,
When so many years of earnest did invite an hour of play.

.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .  

            He shall rank now with the sages
            Who survive in classic pages,
English, German, French and Latin, Greek, so weary to construe;
            Did he con his Epictetus
            Ere he came to-night to greet us?
He, àoristos in reverence, among the learned few.

            He may climb no more the mountain,
            But he still employs the fountain
Pen from whose incisive point pure Helicon may flow,
            And his "Yesterdays" so cheerful
            Charm the world so wild and tearful,
And the Devil calls for copy, and he never answers "No."

            Do I speak for everybody,
            When I utter this rhapsody,
To induce our friend to keep his pace in following Life's incline;
            Never slacken, but come on, sir,
            Eighty-four years I have won, sir;
Still the olive branch shall bless you, still the laurel wreath entwine!

            So, you scribbling youths and lasses,
            Elders, too, fill high your glasses!
Let the toast be Wentworth Higginson, of fourscore years possest;
            If the Man was good at twenty,
            He is four times that now, ain't he?
We declare him four times excellent, and better than his best.


The early days of 1904 brought "a very severe blizzard. Sent tea to the hackmen on Dartmouth Street corner."

She never forgot the hackmen in severe weather. "They must have something hot!" and tea or coffee would be despatched to the shivering men. They were all her friends; the Journal has many allusions to "Mr. Dan" Herlihy, the owner of the cab stand, her faithful helper through many a season.

"January 27, 1904. I was so anxious to attend to-day's [suffrage] meeting, and so afraid of Maud's opposition to my going, that my one prayer this morning was, 'Help me.' To my utter surprise she did not oppose, but went with me and remained until our part of the hearing was finished, when she carried me off. I read my little screed, written yesterday. When I said, 'Intelligence has no sex, no, gentlemen, nor folly either!' laughter resounded, as I meant it should...."

"March 6. In the evening to hear 'Elijah' finely given. Some of the music brought back to me the desolate scenery of Palestine. It is a very beautiful composition.... The alto was frightened at first, coming out stronger in 'Woe unto them,' and better still in 'Oh, rest in the Lord.' The audience seemed to me sleepy and cold. I really led the applause for the alto."

"March 13.... Wrote to John A. Beal, of Beal's Island, offering to send instructive literature to that benighted region, where three mountebanks, pretending to teach religion, robbed the simple people and excited them to acts of frenzy."

"March 17. Mrs. Allen's funeral.... I had a momentary mental vision of myself in the Valley of the Shadow, with a splendid champion in full armor walking beside me, a champion sent by God to make the dread passage easy and safe...."

"April 2.... Learned the deaths of X. and Abby Morton Diaz. Poor X., her conduct made her impossible, but I always thought she would send flowers to my funeral. Mrs. Diaz is a loss – a high-strung, public-spirited woman with an heroic history."

"April 4. To the carriage-drivers' ball. They sent a carriage for me and I took Mary, the maid.... Mr. Dan was waiting outside for me, as was another of the committee who troubled me much, pulling and hauling me by one arm, very superfluous. My entrance was greeted with applause, and I was led to the high seats, where were two aides of the Governor, Dewey and White, the latter of whom remembers Governor Andrew. The opening march was very good. I was taken in to supper, as were the two officers just mentioned. We had a cozy little talk. I came away at about 10.30."

"April 14. Mr. Butcher came to breakfast at nine o'clock. He told me about the man Toynbee, whom he had known well. He talked also about Greeks and Hebrews, the animosity of race which kept them apart until the flourishing of the Alexandrian school, when the Jews greedily absorbed the philosophy of the Greeks."

This was Mr. S. H. Butcher, the well-known Greek scholar. She enjoyed his visit greatly, and they talked "high and disposedly" of things classical and modern.

"May 28. My meeting of Women Ministers. They gathered very slowly and I feared that it would prove a failure, but soon we had a good number. Mary Graves helped me very much.... Afterwards I felt a malignant fatigue and depression, not caring to do anything."

In June she received the first of her collegiate honors, the degree of Doctor of Laws, conferred by Tufts College. This gratified her deeply, and she describes the occasion at length, noting that she was "favored with the Tufts yell twice."

"Lawrence Evans came, and Harry Hall.... I read the part of my speech about which I had hesitated, about our trying to put an end to the Turkish horrors. It was the best of the speech. Seeking divine aid before I made my remarks, I suddenly said to myself, 'Christ, my brother!' I never felt it before."

"June 16. Maud would not allow me to attend Quincy Mansion School Commencement, to my sincere regret. The fatigue of yesterday was excessive, and my dear child knew that another such occasion would be likely to make me ill. Charles G. Ames came, from whom I first learned the death of Mrs. Cheney's sister, Mary Frank Littlehale; the funeral set for to-day.... Dear E. D. C. seemed gratified at seeing me and asked me to say a few words.... She thanked me very earnestly for what I had said, and I at last understood why I had not been allowed to go to Quincy. It was more important that I should comfort for a moment the bruised heart of my dear friend than that I should be a guest at the Quincy Commencement."

"June 29. Heard to my sorrow of the death of delightful Sarah Whitman. Wrote a little screed for 'Woman's Journal' which I sent...."

In early July, she went to Concord for a memorial meeting in honor of Nathaniel Hawthorne.

"July 11.... Alice Blackwell, some days ago, wrote beseeching me to write to President Roosevelt, begging him to do something for the Armenians. I said to myself, 'No, I won't; I am too tired and have done enough.' Yesterday's sermon gave me a spur, and this morning I have writ the President a long letter, to the effect desired. God grant that it may have some result!"

"July 17. I despaired of being able to write a poem as requested for the Kansas semi-centennial celebration in October, but one line came to me: 'Sing us a song of the grand old time!' and the rest followed...."

This poem is printed in "At Sunset."

"July 21. Writ... to Mrs. Martha J. Hosmer, of Rock Point, Oregon, who wrote me a kindly meant letter, exhorting me to 'seek the truth and live,' and to write to a Mrs. Helen Wilman, eighty-five years old and the possessor of some wonderful knowledge which will help me to renew my youth...."

"September 25. I could not go to church to-day, fearing to increase my cold, and not wishing to leave my dear family, so rarely united now. Have been reading Abbé Loisy's 'Autour d'un petit Livre,' which is an apologetic vindication of his work 'L'Êvangile et l'Êglise,' which has been put upon the Index [Expurgatorius]. I feel sensibly all differences between his apologetic wobbly vindication of the Church of Rome, and the sound and firm faith of Thomas Hill."

"October 2. Mr. Fitzhugh Whitehouse, having left here a copy of my 'From Sunset Ridge' for me to furnish with a 'sentiment,' I indited the following:–

From Sunset Ridge we view the evening sky,
Blood red and gold, defeat and victory;
If in the contest we have failed or won,
'T was ours to live, to strive and so pass on.

"October 5.... To Peace Congress, where Albert Smiley was presiding. A wonderful feature came in the person of a Hindu religionist, who came to plead the cause of the Thibetan Llama. He said that the Thibetans are not fighting people: are devoted to religious contemplation, prayer, and spiritual life. He spoke valorously of the religions in the East as by far the most ancient. 'You call us heathen, but we don't call you heathen'; a good point. He concluded by giving to the assemblage a benediction in the fashion of his own religion. It was chanted in a sweet, slightly musical strain, ending with the repetition of a word which he said meant 'peace.' So much was said about peace that I had to ask leave for a word, and spoke of justice as that without which peace cannot be had.... I said:–

"'Mr. President and dear friends, assembled in the blessed cause of Peace, let me remind you that there is one word even more holy than peace, namely, justice. It is anterior in our intellectual perceptions. The impulse which causes men to contend against injustice is a divine one, deeply implanted in the human breast. It would be wrong to attempt to thwart it. I hope that The Hague Tribunal will bear in mind that it is sacredly pledged to maintain justice. The brightest intellects, the most profound study, should be devoted to the promotion of this end.' The Greek bishop met me in the ante-room and said, 'We always pray for you.'..."

"October 9. I have felt more strongly than ever of late that God is the only comforter.... These great serious things were always present to work for in days in which I exerted myself to amuse others and myself too. It is quite true that I have never given up serious thought and study, but I have not made the serious use of my powers which I ought to have made. The Peace Congress has left upon my mind a strong impression of what the lovers of humanity could accomplish if they were all and always in earnest. I seem to hope for a fresh consecration, for opportunities truly to serve, and for the continuance of that gift of the word which is sometimes granted me."

"November 12. I to attend meeting of Council of Jewish Women; say something regarding education....

"I was warmly received and welcomed, and recited my 'Battle Hymn' by special request. This last gave me an unexpected thrill of satisfaction. The president said: 'Dear Mrs. Howe, there is nothing in it to wound us.' I had feared that the last verse might trouble them, but it did not."

"November 19. Was busy trying to arrange bills and papers so as to go to Gardiner to-morrow with my Richards son-in-law, when in the late afternoon Rosalind told me that dear noble Ednah Cheney had died. This caused me much distress. My first word was: 'The house of God is closed! Such a friend is indeed a sanctuary to which one might retire for refuge from all mean and unworthy things.'

"A luminous intellect, unusual powers of judgment and of sympathy as well. She has been a tower of strength to me. I sent word by telephone to Charles G. Ames, begging that her hymn might be sung at church to-morrow...."

"November 21. Dear E. D. C.'s funeral.... I spoke of her faith in immortality, which I remember as unwavering. I said: 'No, that lustrous soul is not gone down into darkness. It has ascended to a higher light, to which our best affections and inspirations may aspire.'"

"December 25.... Got out my dearest little Sammy's picture and placed it on my mantelshelf. [He was a Christmas child.] Maud and I went to the Oratorio, which we enjoyed.... I wondered whether the heavenly ones could not enjoy the beautiful music."

"December 31. A little festivity.... At supper I was called upon for a toast, and after a moment's thought, responded thus:–

" God grant us all to thrive,
And for a twelvemonth to be alive,
And every bachelor to wive;
And many blessings on the head
Of our dear Presidential Ted.

"We saw the year out; a year of grace to me, if ever I had one."


The new year (1905) found her in full health and activity. On its first day she writes:–

"I begin this book by thanking God most deeply that He has permitted me to see the dawn of this New Year, and by praying that I may not wilfully waste one of its precious days. I am now about half through my eighty-sixth year and must feel no surprise if the mandate to remove should come suddenly or at any time. But while I live, dear Lord, let me truly live in energetic thought and rational action. Bless, I pray Thee, my own dear family, my blessed country, Christendom, and all mankind. This is my daily prayer and I record it here. Is it amiss that in this prayer my own people come first? No! for family affection is the foundation of all normal human relations. We begin with the Heavenly Father and open out to the whole human brotherhood."

"January 2. Had an anxious time hunting after my Hawthorne screed to read this afternoon before the New England Woman's Club. In my perplexity I said: 'Lord, I do not deserve to have You help me find it'; but the answer seemed to come thus: 'My help is of grace and not according to desert'; and I found it at once where I ought to have looked for it at first...."

"January 20.... You can't do good with a bad action." [Apropos of the shot fired at the Czar]

"The reason why a little knowledge is dangerous is that your conceit of it may make you refuse to learn more."

She was writing a paper on Mrs. Stowe and "Uncle Tom's Cabin," and worked hard over it. The pace began to tell.

She spoke for the friends of Russian freedom, "a warm speech, almost without preparation. I knew that I should find my inspiration in the occasion itself. I had almost a spasm of thankfulness to Almighty God for the opportunity to speak for such a cause at such a time."

At the suffrage hearing soon after, she "spoke of the force of inertia as divinely ordained and necessary, but ordained, too, to be overcome by the onward impulse which creates worlds, life, and civilization. Said it was this inertia which opposed suffrage, the dread of change inherent in masses, material or moral, etc., etc."

Among her winter delights were the "Longy" concerts of instrumental music. She writes of one:–

"Was carried away by the delight of the music all wind instruments. A trio of Handel for bassoon and two oboes was most solid and beautiful.... I could think of nothing but Shakespeare's 'Tempest' and 'Midsummer Night's Dream.' The thought that God had set all human life and work to music overpowered me, and coming home I had a rhapsody of thanksgiving for the wonderful gift...."

From a photograph by Underwood, 1905

The next day came an entertainment in aid of Atlanta University and Calhoun School; she "enjoyed this exceedingly, especially the plantation songs, which are of profoundest pathos, mixed with overpowering humor. It was pleasant, too, to see the audience in which descendants of the old anti-slavery folk formed quite a feature. I had worked hard at the screed which was, I think, good. Heard interesting reports of mission work in our entire South."

At the Authors' Club she met Israel Zangwill, who was "rather indifferent" when introduced to her. She thought he probably knew nothing about her, and adds, –

"It is good perhaps to be taken down, now and then."

In March she attended a hearing in connection with the School Board. "The chair most courteously invited me to speak, saying, 'There is here a venerable lady who will hardly be likely to come here again for the present discussion, so I shall give her the remaining time. Whereupon I leaped into the arena and said my say."

She had been for some time toiling over a paper on the "Noble Women of the Civil War," finding it hard and fatiguing work. On April 5 she writes:–

"At 12 M. I had finished my screed on the 'Noble Women of the Civil War' which has been my nightmare ever since March 24, when I began it, almost despairing of getting it done.... I have written very carefully and have had some things to say which may, I hope, do good. I can now take up many small tasks which have had to give way to this one...."

"April 9. The Greek celebration. The Greek Papa, in full costume, intoned the Doxology and the assembly all sang solemn anthems. Michael introduced me first. My speech was short, but had been carefully prepared. At the request of the Papa I said at the end: 'Zeto ton Ellenikon ethnos.' My speech and Greek sentence were much applauded. A young Greek lady presented me with a fine bouquet of white carnations with blue and white ribbons, the colors of Greece. Sanborn read from dear Chev's letters of 1825. Michael spoke at great length, with great vehemence and gesticulation. I understood many words, but could only guess at the general drift. I imagine that it was very eloquent, as he was much applauded."

"April 30. Lorin Deland called to talk about the verses which I am to write and read at his theatre. The thought of Cassandra seized me. She, coming to the house of the Atridæ, had a vision of its horrors; I, coming to this good theatre, have a vision of the good things which have been enjoyed there and which shall still be enjoyed. Wrote down some five or six lines, 'lest I forget.'"

Mr. and Mrs. Deland were among her best friends of the second generation. Indeed, there was such a sympathy and comprehension between her and "Margaret" that the latter playfully declared herself a daughter abandoned in infancy, and was wont to sign herself, "Your doorstep Brat"!

"May 5.... 'Without religion you will never know the real beauty and glory of life; you will perceive the discords, but miss the harmony; will see the defects, but miss the good in all things.'"


In these years an added burden was laid upon her, in the general and affectionate desire for her presence on all manner of occasions. The firemen must have her at their ball, the Shoe and Leather Trade at their banquet, the Paint and Oils Association at their dinner. Their festivities would not be complete without her; she loved them, went to their parties, had the right word to say, and came home happy, her arms full of flowers.

It was all beautiful and heart-warming, but it had to be paid for. May 10 brought the punishment for this season.

"Annual Woman Suffrage supper. I was to have spoken at this occasion and to have recited the poem which I wrote for Castle Square Theatre, but it was otherwise ordained. I rose as usual, my head a little misty. A mighty blow of vertigo seized me.... The elder Wesselhoeft pronounced it a 'brain fag,' not likely to have serious results, but emphatically a warning not to abuse further my nervous strength. Got up in afternoon and finished 'Villa Claudia'; was bitterly sad at disappointing the Suffragists and Deland."

Dr. Wesselhoeft was asked on this occasion why, at her age, so severe an attack as this had not resulted in paralysis. "Because," he replied, "she brought to receive it the strength of forty years of age!"

Sure enough, the next day she felt as if her "nervous balance was very well restored," and in a week she was at work again.

"May 18.... In the evening had word of a Decoration Day poem needed. At once tried some lines."

"May 19. Doubted much of my poem, but wrote it, spending most of the working hours over it; wrote and rewrote, corrected again and again. Julia Richards mailed it at about 4 P.M.... Just as I went to bed I remembered that in the third verse of my poem I had used the words 'tasks' and 'erect' as if they rhymed. This troubled me a good deal. My prayer was, 'God help the fool.'"

"May 20. My trouble of mind about the deficient verse woke me at 6.30 A.M. I tossed about and wondered how I could lie still until 7.30, my usual time for rising. The time passed somehow. I could not think of any correction to make in my verse. Hoped that I should find that I had not written it as I feared. When I came to look at it, there it was. Instantly a line with a proper rhyme presented itself to my mind. To add to my trouble I had lost the address to which I had sent the poem. My granddaughter, Julia Richards, undertook to interview the Syndicate by long-distance telephone, and, failing this, to telegraph the new line for me. So I left all in her hands. When I returned, she met me with a smile and said, 'It is all right, Grandmother.' She had gone out, found a New York directory, guessed at the Syndicate, got the correspondent, and put her in possession of the new line. I was greatly relieved. I have been living lately with work running after me all the time. Must now have a breathing spell. Have still my 'Simplicity' screed to complete."


The Authors' Club celebrated her eighty-sixth birthday by a charming festival, modelled on the Welsh Eistedfodd, "at which every bard of that nation brought four lines of verse – a sort of four-leaved clover – to his chief."69 Sixty quatrains made what she calls "an astonishing testimonial of regard." Colonel Higginson, who presided most charmingly, read many of these tributes aloud, and the Birthday Queen responded in a rhyme scribbled hastily the day before. Here are a few of the tributes, together with her "reply":


Each bard of Wales, who roams the kingdom o'er
Each year salutes his chief with stanzas four;
Behold us here, each bearing verse in hand
To greet the four-leaved clover of our band.




The Sisters Three who spin our fate
Greet Julia Ward, who comes quite late;
How Greek wit flies! They scream with glee,
Drop thread and shears, and make the tea.



If man could change the universe
By force of epigrams in verse,
He'd smash some idols, I allow,
But who would alter Mrs. Howe?



Dot oldt Fader Time must be cutting some dricks,
Vhen he calls our goot Bresident's age eighty-six.
An octogeranium! Who would suppose?
My dear Mrs. Julia Ward Howe der time goes!



You, who are of the spring,
To whom Youth's joys must cling.
May all that Love can give
Beguile you long to live –
        Our Queen of Hearts.




Why, bless you, I ain't nothing, nor nobody, nor much,
If you look in your Directory, you 'll find a thousand such;
I walk upon the level ground, I breathe upon the air,
I study at a table, and reflect upon a chair.

I know a casual mixture of the Latin and the Greek,
I know the Frenchman's parlcz-vous, and how the Germans speak;
Well can I add, and well subtract, and say twice two is four,
But of those direful sums and proofs remember nothing more.

I wrote a pretty book one time, and then I wrote a play,
And a friend who went to see it said she fainted right away.
Then I got up high to speculate upon the Universe,
And folks who heard me found themselves no better and no worse.

Yes, I've had a lot of birthdays and I'm growing very old,
That 's why they make so much of me, if once the truth were told.
And I love the shade in summer, and in winter love the sun,
And I'm just learning how to live, my wisdom 's just begun.

Don't trouble more to celebrate this natal day of mine,
But keep the grasp of fellowship which warms us more than wine.
Let us thank the lavish hand that gives world beauty to our eyes,
And bless the days that saw us young, and years that make us wise.


"May 27. My eighty-sixth birthday. I slept rather late, yesterday having been eminently a 'boot-and-saddle' day.... The Greeks, mostly working-people, sent me a superb leash of roses with a satin ribbon bearing a Greek inscription. My visitors were numerous, many of them the best friends that time has left me. T. W. H. was very dear.My dear ones of the household bestirred themselves to send flowers, according to my wishes, to the Children's Hospital and to Charles Street Jail."

"May 28.... A great box of my birthday flowers ornamented the pulpit of the church. They were to be distributed afterwards to the Sunday-School children, some to the Primary Teachers' Association; a bunch of lilies of the valley to Reverend Hayward's funeral to-morrow. I suddenly bethought me of Padre Roberto, and with dear Laura's help sent him a box of flowers for his afternoon service, with a few lines of explanation, to which I added the motto: 'Unus deus, una fides, unum baptisma.' This filled full the cup of my satisfaction regarding the disposal of the flowers. They seemed to me such sacred gifts that I could not bear merely to enjoy them and see them fade. Now they will not fade for me."


Among the many "screeds" written this season was one on "The Value of Simplicity," which gave her much trouble. She takes it to pieces and rewrites it, and afterwards is "much depressed; no color in anything." From Gardiner she "writes to Sanborn" for the Horatian lines she wishes to quote. ("Whenever," she said once to Colonel Higginson, "I want to find out about anything difficult, I always write to Sanborn!" "Of course!" replied Higginson. "We all do!" At this writing the same course is pursued, there is reason to believe, by many persons in many countries.)

It is remembered that in these days when she was leaving Gardiner at the last moment she handed Laura a note. It read, "Be sure to rub the knee thoroughly night and morning!"

"Why," she was asked, "did I not have this a week ago?"

"I hate to be rubbed!" she said.

"July 1. Oak Glen.... Found a typed copy of my 'Rest' sermon, delivered in our own church, twelve years ago. Surely preaching has been my greatest privilege and in it I have done some of my best work."

"July 2. Unusually depressed at waking. Feared that I might be visited by 'senile melancholia' against which I shall pray with all my might.... Began Plato's 'Laws.'"

Plato seems to have acted as a tonic, for on the same day she writes to her daughter-in-law, expressing her joy in "Harry's" latest honor, the degree of Doctor of Laws conferred by Harvard College:–


To Mrs. Henry Marion Howe

OAK GLEN, July 2, 1905.

Thanks very much for your good letter, giving me such a gratifying account of the doings at Harvard on Commencement Day. I feel quite moved at the thought of my dear son's receiving this well-merited honor from his alma mater. It shows, among other things, how amply he has retrieved his days of boyish mischief. This is just what his dear father did. I think you must both have had a delightful time. How did our H. M. H. look sitting up in such grave company? I hope he has not lost his old twinkle. I am very proud and glad....


She was indeed proud of all her son's honors; of any success of child or grandchild; yet she would pretend to furious jealousy. "I see your book is praised, Sir!" (or, "Madam!") "It probably does not deserve it. H'm! nobody praises my books!" etc., etc. And all the time her face so shining with pleasure and tenderness under the sternly bended brows that the happy child needed no other praise from any one.

"July 23.... I feel to-day the isolation consequent upon my long survival of the threescore and ten apportioned as the term of human life. Brothers and sisters, friends and fellow-workers, many are now in the silent land. I am praying for some good work, paying work, so that I may efficiently help relatives who need help, and good causes whose demand for aid is constant...."

"July 24. To-day Harry and Alice Hall have left me with their two dear children. I have had much delight with baby Frances, four months old.... I pray that I may be able to help these children. I looked forward to their visit as a kindness to them and their parents, but it has been a great kindness to me...."

"September 5. Some bright moments to-day. At my prayer a thought of the divine hand reaching down over the abyss of evil to rescue despairing souls!..."

"September 19. Dear Flossy and Harry left. I shall miss them dreadfully. She has taken care of me these many weeks and has been most companionable and affectionate. My dear boy was as ever very sweet and kind...."

"September 22. Have puzzled much about my promised screed for the 'Cosmopolitan' on 'What would be the Best Gift to the People of the Country?' As I got out of bed it suddenly occurred to me as 'the glory of having promoted recognition of human brotherhood.' This must include 'Justice to Women.' I meant to tackle the theme at once, but after breakfast a poem came to me in the almost vulgar question, 'Does your Mother know you 're out?' I had to write this, also a verse or two in commemoration of Frederic L. Knowles, a member of our Authors' Club, who has just passed away."

"September 25.... I must have got badly chilled this morning, for my right hand almost refuses to guide the pen. I tried several times to begin a short note to David Hall, but could not make distinct letters. Then I forced myself to pen some rough draft and now the pen goes better, but not yet quite right. I had the same experience last winter once. I suppose that I have overtired my brain; it is a warning...."

"October 5.... I had a moment of visioning, in which I seemed to see Christ on the cross refusing to drink the vinegar and gall, and myself to reach up a golden cup containing 'the love pledge of humanity.' Coming home I scrawled the verses before lying down to rest."70

"October 9. After a week of painful anxiety I learn to-day that my screed for the 'Cosmopolitan' is accepted. I felt so persuaded to the contrary that I delayed to open the envelope until I had read all my other letters...."

"October 25. Meeting of Boston Authors' Club.... Worked all the morning at sorting my letters and papers.... Laura, Maud, and I drove out to Cambridge. I had worked hard all the morning, but had managed to put together a scrap of rhyme in welcome of Mark Twain. A candle was lit for me to read by, and afterwards M. T. jumped upon a chair and made fun, some good, some middling, for some three quarters of an hour. The effect of my one candle lighting up his curly hair was good and my rhyme was well received.

" Mark the gracious, welcome guest,
Master of heroic jest;
He who cheers man's dull abodes
With the laughter of the gods;
To the joyless ones of earth
Sounds the reveille of mirth.
" Well we meet, to part with pain,
But ne'er shall he and we be Twain."

"December 5. Gardiner, Maine. On coming to breakfast found a note from dearest Maud, saying that she would sail this day for Spain. Was much overcome by this intelligence, yet felt that it was on the whole best. The day passed rather heavily, the relish seemed gone from everything."

"December 6. Boston.... Reaching home I lay down to rest, but the feeling of Maud's departure so overpowered me that I got up and went about, crying out: 'I can't stand it!' I soon quieted down, being comforted by my dear Laura, Julia, and Betty, but could not sleep until bedtime, when I slept soundly."



1906-1907; aet. 87-88


Held in Boston, 1907

Hail! Mount of God, whereon with reverent feet
The messengers of many nations meet;
Diverse in feature, argument, and creed,
One in their errand, brothers in their need.

Not in unwisdom are the limits drawn
That give far lands opposing dusk and dawn;
One sun makes bright the all-pervading air,
One fostering spirit hovers everywhere.

So with one breath may fervent souls aspire,
With one high purpose wait the answering fire.
Be this the prayer that other prayers controls, –
That light divine may visit human souls.

The worm that clothes the monarch spins no flaw,
The coral builder works by heavenly law;
Who would to Conscience rear a temple pure
Must prove each stone and seal it, sound and sure.

Upon one steadfast base of truth we stand,
Love lifts her sheltering walls on either hand;
Arched o'er our head is Hope's transcendent dome,
And in the Father's heart of hearts our home.

J. W. H.

"I PRAY for many things this year. For myself, I ask continued health of mind and body, work, useful, honorable, remunerative, as it shall please God to send; for my dear family, work of the same description with comfortable wages, faith in God, and love to each other; for my country, that she may keep her high promise to mankind; for Christendom, that it may become more Christ-like; for the struggling nationalities, that they may attain to peace and justice."

"Such a wonderful dream in the early morning. I was in some rural region alone; the clear blue sky was over my head. I looked up and said, 'I am fed from God's table. I am sheltered under His roof.' While I still felt this joy, a lone man, passing by, broke into a complaint on the hardness of things. I wanted in my dream to call him back, but he passed too rapidly. I still see in my 'mind's eye' that blue sky and the lone man passing by, I still recall the thrill of that meditation, literally in Dreamland, as I was quite asleep when it visited me...."


The great event of this winter was a trip to Baltimore for a Woman Suffrage Convention.

"February 4. I had not been able to think of anything to say in Baltimore, but this morning it seemed to come to me. I have just written out my screed,... taking a point of view which I do not think I have presented before, viz.: that inferior education and restricted activity made women the inferiors of men, as naturally as training, education, and free agency make civilized men the superior of the savage. I think that the dear Lord gave me this screed, which is short and simple enough, but, I think, convincing...."

This Convention came near being her last. Tonsillitis was epidemic in the city; the halls were draughty; at one meeting a woman with a severe cold, a stranger, kissed her effusively. She took the infection, was prostrated for some days, and made the return journey while still too weak to travel. Florence, who was with her, protested in vain. "I would go," she said, "if the hearse was at the door!" A serious illness followed on her return. A month and more passed before she began to regain strength and spirits.71

"March 31. Had a happy lighting up when I lay down for afternoon rest. Felt the immensity of God's goodness and took heart for the future.

In April she records "a delightful visit from Robert Collyer, accompanied by Annie Fields. I asked him: 'Robert, what is religion?' He replied. 'To love God with all one's heart, Christ helping us.' He began his prayer last Sunday thus: 'Our Father who art in heaven, on earth, and in hell!'"

On April 13, she was "out for the first time since February 14, when I returned sick from Baltimore...."

Another week and she was at her church, for the first time since January 18.

It had been a long and weary time, yet one remembers not so much the suffering and confinement as the gayety of it. There was a sigh for the Journal, but for the family, and the faithful nurse, –

"Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
 Nods and becks, and wreathéd smiles."

This nurse was known to others as Lucy Voshell, but her patient promptly named her "Wollapuk." She was as merry as she was skillful, and the two made much fun together. Even when the patient could not speak, she could twinkle. As strength gradually returned, the ministrations of Wollapuk became positively scenes of revelry; and the anxious guardian below, warding off would-be interviewers or suppliants, might be embarrassed to hear peals of laughter ringing down the stair.

Early in May she has "young J. W. Hurlburt to dine; a pleasant young playwright, grandson to General Hurlburt of the Civil War...."

"I had lent my play of 'Hippolytus' to young Hurlburt to read. He brought it back yesterday with so much praise of parts of it as to revive the pang which I felt when, Charlotte Cushman and Edwin Booth having promised to fill the principal parts, the manager's wife suddenly refused to fill her part, and the whole fell through. This with much other of my best literary work has remained a dead letter on my own shelves. I am glad as well as sad to feel that it deserved better treatment."

She had a wheel-chair, and on pleasant days it was her delight to be wheeled through the Public Garden, now in full May beauty, to see the flowers and the children. She was able to attend several meetings, and to write several papers.

"May 18. Have read part of the recital of Anna Ticknor's achievement in her society to encourage studies at home. Her work is really heroic. I wish that I had better understood it. Still I did admire it a great deal, but had little idea of the great benevolence and sympathy developed in her work, which was a godsend to thousands of women."

"May 26. My dear son arrived in the evening to celebrate my birthday. He seems well and happy. I was thankful to see him. Flowers kept arriving all day."

"May 27. Attended church and carried some of my birthday flowers for the pulpit.... In the afternoon a beautiful reception which the rain kept from being the over-crowd which I had rather feared. Colonel Higginson came and gave me some lovely verses written for the occasion. William R. Thayer did likewise. Arthur Upson had already sent me some. I enjoyed it all very much; dined downstairs with my dear family, who drank my health standing. H. M. H., being called upon for a word, said, 'The dear old girl!' and could not have said better. I thanked and blessed them all. We passed the evening together. The Greeks of Boston sent splendid red roses and ribbons with motto. The Italians sent flowers."

After this she wrote an essay on "How to Keep Young," in which she says:–

"Try to keep in touch with the best spirits of your time, with those who are raising instead of lowering the tone of the atmosphere in which they live.

"Avoid the companionship of those who deride sacred things and are inclined to ignore the limits of refinement and good taste.

"Remember that ignoble amusements react upon character.

"Never forget that we grow like to that we contemplate.

"Keep it always in mind that it must be through our own efforts that our progress through life shall bring with it the fulfilment of the best promise of our youth."


"July 2. Oak Glen. Nurse Voshell, nicknamed by me Wollapuk, left this morning. I have become so dependent upon her that I shall miss her very much. I have been impatient of having her so long, but now see how very helpful she has been to me.

"I began to write a retrospect of my essay on 'Distinctions between Philosophy and Religion,' but feel that this will be of little value. Oh! that I had taken Dr. Hedge's advice and published these papers soon after they were written. As it is I have lost two of the best of them, viz.: this one just mentioned and 'Moral Triangulation of the Third Party,' in obligations and contrasts."

In these days she met with a grave loss in the death of Michael Anagnos.

"I am deeply grieved at his death, which is a real loss to me and my family, and almost irreparable to the Institution which he has served nobly with entire devotion and disinterest and has enriched by his great and constant efforts. He built three Kindergartens for the blind. God rest his soul!

"I pray that my great pain at the death of my son-in-law may inspire me to help the blind as I never have helped them!"

"My strength has failed so much of late that my strong love of life begins to waver. I should be glad to live to print some of my studies in Philosophy, and to have some of my musical compositions taken down by dictation."

"August 31.... The last day of a summer which brought a serious grief in the death of Michael Anagnos, who, ever since my visit to Greece in 1867, has been an important factor in my life. I am much troubled in the effort to compose a poem to be read at the memorial services to be held for him in late October...."

A photograph taken at this time shows her sitting in her hooded chair on the piazza, her Greek books and her canary beside her, a serene and lovely picture. It was so she used to sit every morning. First she read her Testament, and a prayer of James Martineau, or some other good saint; this she called "taking the altitude"; then she turned to her Æschylus or Aristotle.

Before thus settling down, there would be a walk on the piazza, or along the highway. Sheltered by a broad hat, the friend of many years, wrapped in the "passionate pilgrim," as she named a certain ancient purple cloak, leaning on her ebony stick – who that passed that way has not seen her? Bits of her talk, as we strolled together, come back to us; as when the clouds parted suddenly at the close of a gray day, then shutting in again. "Oh!" she cried, "it is like being engaged to the man you love, for five minutes!"

"September 16.... I had had much hesitation about undertaking to speak at Shiloh Baptist Church [colored] this afternoon; but it came to me as something which I ought to do, and so I gave the promise, and, with some studying, wrote the sermon. The result fully justified the effort. I spoke to a large and very attentive congregation, in which a number of white outsiders were mingled in with the people of the church.... Mrs. Jeter sang my 'Battle Hymn,' the congregation joining in the 'Glory Hallelujah.' I then read my screed, which was heard with profound attention, one and another crying out at intervals, 'Amen!' and 'Glory be to God!'.... I was very thankful for the good issue of what had seemed an almost wild undertaking at eighty-seven years of age."

"October 23. Have prayed and worked over the poem for Michael's memorial services – think that I have made it as good as I can, but not good enough. Alas! I am too old."

She went up to Boston for this meeting in Tremont Temple, which was a most impressive one, Greeks and Americans uniting to do honor to a good man.

"October 24.... I read my verse, my voice serving me very well. Bishop Lawrence helped me both to rise and to return to my seat. He made a most touching allusion to my dearest dear Julia's devotion to the blind, and said where a man was engaged in a noble work there usually rose up a noble woman to help him."

"October 26. Had a sudden blessed thought this morning, viz.: that the 'Tabernacle eternal in the heavens' is the eternity of truth and right. I naturally desire life after death, but if it is not granted me, I have yet a part in the eternal glory of this tabernacle."

"October 29. Dear H. M. H. left us this morning, after a short but very pleasant visit. He brought here his decorations of his Russian order to show us; they are quite splendid. He is the same dear old simple music- and mischief-loving fellow, very sensitive for others, very modest for himself, and very dear."

"November 7.... Prayed hard this morning that my strength fail not."

During this summer, an electric elevator had been put into the Boston house, and life was made much easier for her. From this time we became familiar with the vision of her that still abides, flitting up or down in her gilded car. Watching her ascent, clad in white, a smile on her lips, her hand waving farewell, one could only think of "The chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof."

Another good gift was a Victor machine. When the after-dinner reading was over, she would say, "Now bring my opera-box!"

The white armchair was wheeled into the passage between the two parlors. Here she sat in state, while the great singers poured out their treasures before her, while violinist and pianist gave her their best. She listened with keen and critical enjoyment, recalling how Malibran gave this note, how Grisi and Mario sang that duet. Then she would go to the piano and play from memory airs from "Tancredi," "Il Pirata," "Richard Cœur de Lion," and other operas known to us only through her. Or she would – always without notes – play the "Barber of Seville" almost from beginning to end, with fingers still deft and nimble.

She loved the older operas best. After an air from "Don Giovanni," she would say, "Mozart must be in heaven: they could never get on without him!" She thought Handel's "Messiah" the most divine point reached by earthly music. Beethoven awed and swayed her deeply, and she often quoted his utterance while composing, "Ich trat in der Nähe Gottes!" She thrilled with tender pleasure over Verdi's "Non ti scordar," or "Ai nostri monti," and over "Martha." She enjoyed Chopin "almost too much." "He is exquisite," she would say, "but somehow – rotten!"

Among the pleasures of this winter was a visit to New York. She writes after it:–

"My last day in my dear son's house. He and Fannie have been devotedly kind to me. They made me occupy their room, much to my bodily comfort, but to the great disquiet of my mind, as I hated much to inconvenience them. My son has now a very eminent position.... God bless the house and all in it."

"December 17. The Old South Chapter of D.A.R.'s met in the real Old South Church; there was much good speaking. I recited my 'Battle Hymn' and boasted my descent from General Marion, the Swamp Fox, saying also, 'When, eluding the vigilance of children and grandchildren, I come to such a meeting as this, without a previous promise not to open my lips, I think that I show some of the dexterity of my illustrious relative.' I also had to spring up and tell them that my grandmother, niece to General Marion, gave her flannel petticoat to make cartridges for the soldiers of the Revolution."

The path of the guardian (or jailer, as she sometimes put it) was not always plain. The wayfaring woman might easily err therein.

After some severe fatigue, convention or banquet, she might say, "This is the last time. Never let me do this again!"

Thereupon a promise would be exacted and made. The fatigue would pass and be forgotten, and the next occasion be joyously prepared for.

"You told me not to let you go!" the poor jailer would say.

"Oh, I did n't mean it!"

"But you promised!"

"That was two weeks ago. Two weeks is a long time for me to keep a promise!"

If the jailer still persisted, she played her last card and took the trick.

"I can't talk about it. You tire my head!"

Now and then Greek met Greek. One snowy afternoon she encountered the resident granddaughter, cloaked and hooded, preparing to brave the storm.

"Dear child," said the grandmother, "I do not often use authority with you young people, but this time I must. I cannot allow you to go out in this blizzard!"

"Dearest grandmother," replied the maiden, "where are you going yourself?"

There was no reply. The two generations dissolved in laughter, and started out together.

She bids farewell to 1906 as "dear Year that hast brought me so many comforts and pleasures!" and thus hails the New Year:–

"I earnestly pray for God's blessing on this year! ... I might possibly like one more European journey to see the Gallery at Madrid, and the châteaux of Touraine, but I do not ask it, as I may have more important occupation for my time and money.... Du reste, the dear Father has done so much better for me, in many ways, than I have ingenuity to wish, that I can only say, 'Thy will be done, only desert me not.'"

She determines "at last to be more prompt in response to letters and bills. I am now apt to lose sight of them, to my great inconvenience and that of other people."

It was pain to her to destroy even a scrap of paper that bore writing: the drifts of notes and letters grew higher and higher among the piles of books, new and old. The books were not all her own choice. Many a firstling of verse found its way to her, inscribed with reverent or loving words by the author. Would Mrs. Howe send a few lines of appreciation or criticism? She would; mostly she did. She wrote in the autograph albums, and on the pieces of silk and cotton for "autograph quilts": she signed the photographs: she tried to do everything they asked.

"January 11. Having hammered at some verses for General Lee, when I lay down to rest a perfect flood of rhymes seized me. Nonsense verses for to-morrow's festival; there seemed to be no end to them. I scrawled some of them down as it was late and dark. Sanborn to dine – unexpected, but always welcome."

"January 12. Copied and completed my lines for the evening. Found a large assemblage of members and invited guests [of the Authors' Club]; a dais and chair prepared for me, Colonel Higginson standing on my right. Many presentations – Gilder and Clyde Fitch, Owen Wister, Norman Hapgood. Aldrich [T. B.] took me in to dinner and sat on my right, Hon. John D. Long on my left; next beyond A. sat Homans Womans72 I despaired of making my jingle tell in so large and unfamiliar a company. At last I took courage and read it, bad as I thought it. To my surprise, it told, and created the merriment which had been my object so far as I had any. My 'Battle Hymn' was sung finely by a male quartette. Colonel Higginson and I were praised almost out of our senses. A calendar, got up with much labor, was presented to each of us."

"January 13. To church, to take down my vanity after last evening's laudations...."

"January 15. Made a final copy of my lines on Robert E. Lee, – read them to Rosalind – the last line drew a tear from each of us, so I concluded that it would do and sent it.

"To Tuesday Club, where the effort which I made to hear speakers tired my head badly. Themes: 'Whether and how to teach Ethics in Public Schools'; also, 'The English Education Bill.' Socrates having been mentioned as an exemplar, I suddenly cried out that I thought he did wrong to stay and suffer by unjust laws and popular superstition. A first-class American would have got away and would have fought those people to the bitter death. This fiery little episode provoked laughter, and several privately told me they were glad of it."

"January 25.... Read Colonel Higginson's account of me in the 'Outlook.' Wrote him a note of thanks, saying that he has written beautifully, with much tact and kindness. It remains true that he has not much acquaintance with the serious side of my life and character, my studies of philosophy, etc. He has described what he has seen of me and has certainly done it with skill and with a most kind intention."

She said of the Colonel's paper, "He does not realize that my life has been here, the four walls of my room."

"February 5.... Began a sermon on the text, 'I saw Satan like lightning fall from heaven'..."

"February 6. Wrote a good bit on the sermon begun yesterday – the theme attracts me much. If I give it, I will have Whittier's hymn sung: 'Oh! sometimes gleams upon our sight – '

"Wrote to thank Higginson for sending me word that I am the first woman member of the society of American Authors...."

"February 14. Luncheon at 3 Joy Street.... My seat was between T. W. H. and President Eliot, with whom I had not spoken in many years. He spoke to me at once and we shook hands and conversed very cordially. I had known his father quite well – a lover of music, who had much to do with the early productions of Beethoven's Symphonies in Boston, collecting money in aid of the undertaking. President Eliot made a good speech for Berea; others followed.... When my name was called, I had already a good thought to express."

"February 18. To N.E.W.C., where Colonel Higginson and I spoke of Longfellow; I from long and intimate acquaintance, he from a literary point of view. He said, I thought rightly, that we are too near him to be able to judge his merits as a poet; time must test them."

"February 27.... In evening went with the Jewett sisters to the celebration of Longfellow's Centennial. I had copied my verses written for the first Authors' Reading in re Longfellow, rather hoping that I might be invited to read them. This did not happen. I had had no reason to suppose that it would, not having been thereunto invited. Had a seat on the platform among the poet's friends, myself one of the oldest of them. It seemed as if I could hardly hold my tongue, which, however, I did. I remembered that God has given me many opportunities of speaking my thoughts. If He withheld this one I am bound to suppose it was for the best. I sat on the platform, where Sarah Jewett and I were the only women in the charmed circle.

"Item. The audience rose and greeted me as I ascended to the platform at Sanders Theatre."

She could not bear to be "left out"; indeed, she rarely was. In this one respect she was, perhaps, the "spoiled child" that she sometimes called herself.

March brought a new pleasure, in seeing and meeting Novelli, the great Italian actor.

"March 14. The banquet of the Circolo at Lombardy Inn.... My seat was at the head of the table with Novelli on my right and Tosti, the consul, on my left. Had some pleasant talk with each. Then I had a good inspiration for part of my speech, in which I mentioned the egg used by Columbus, and made to stand, to show that things held to be impossible often proved possible. I said that out of this egg 'was hatched the American Eagle.' Madame Novelli shed tears at this, and Novelli kissed my hand. The Italian servants listened eagerly to all the speaking, and participated in the applause. President Geddes, Secretary Jocelyn, and others spoke well and rather briefly. Dear Padre Roberto was really eloquent."

"March 16.... In the evening to see Novelli in 'Morte Civile'; his personation wonderfully fine, surpassing even Salvini in the part...."

"March 17.... Went to South Boston to say a word at the presentation of dear Michael's portrait to the Perkins Institution by the Howe Memorial Club.... Also had a wonderful fit of verse – wrote two sonnets to Dante and a versification of my conceit about the hatching of the American Eagle from the egg of Columbus."

"March 23. A 'boot-and-saddle' day.... I found that my Authors' Club will meet to-day in Cambridge. Higginson telephoned, asking me to speak of Aldrich; I asked permission to leave the College Club after the speaking. Ordered a carriage at 4.30, sprang into it, and reached the Authors' meeting in good time to say something about Aldrich.... Found a man who has studied the Berber races in Africa. Had a good talk with him. Came home dreadfully tired. To bed by 9.30. At the College Club I said that to give women the vote in this State would not double the illiterate vote – proposed a census of comparative illiteracy of the sexes in Massachusetts at least."


We had long besought her to have her musical compositions written down, and now this was done in part. Once or twice a week Mr. John M. Loud came to the house and took down her melodies, she singing and playing them to him. She always enjoyed the hour with the young composer. A number of the melodies thus preserved were published in a "Song Album" by G. Schirmer some months later.

"April 8. Great trouble of mind about attending the Peace Convention in New York, which I have promised to do. Laura dead against it, reinforced by Wesselhoeft, Sr., who pronounces it dangerous for me. I at last wrote to ask my dear minister about it."

"April 9.... A violent snowstorm keeps me at home. Minister and wife write, 'Don't go to Peace Convention.' I asked God in my prayer this morning to make going possible or impossible for me. I took C. G. A.'s letter as making it impossible, as I had decided to abide by his decision. Wrote a letter of explanation to Anna Garlin Spencer. I am much disappointed, but it is a relief not to cause Laura such painful anxiety as she would have felt if I had decided to go. She wept with joy when I gave it up. We had a very pleasant dinner party for the Barrett Wendells with their friends, Professor Ames, of Berkeley University, California, 'Waddy' Longfellow, Charles Gibson, Laura, Betty, and I."

She sent a letter to the Convention, which was read by Florence. In this, after recalling her Peace Crusade of 1872, she said:–

"Here and there, a sisterly voice responded to my appeal, but the greater number said: 'We have neither time nor money that we can call our own. We cannot travel, we cannot meet together.' And so my intended Peace Congress of Women melted away like a dream, and my final meeting, held in the world's great metropolis, did not promise to lead to any important result.

"What has made the difference between that time and this? New things, so far as women are concerned, viz.: the higher education conceded to them, and the discipline of associated action, with which later years have made them familiar. Who shall say how great an element of progress has existed in this last clause? Who shall say what fretting of personal ambition has become merged in the higher ideal of service to the State and to the world? The noble army of women which I saw as a dream, and to which I made my appeal, has now come into being. On the wide field where the world's great citizens band together to uphold the highest interests of society, women of the same type employ their gifts and graces to the same end. Oh, happy change! Oh, glorious metamorphosis! In less than half a century the conscience of mankind has made its greatest stride toward the control of human affairs. The women's colleges and the women's clubs have had everything to do with the great advance which we see in the moral efficiency of our sex. These two agencies have been derided and decried, but they have done their work.

"If a word of elderly counsel may become me at this moment, let me say to the women here assembled: Do not let us go back from what we have gained. Let us, on the contrary, press ever forward in the light of the new knowledge, of the new experience. If we have rocked the cradle, if we have soothed the slumbers of mankind, let us be on hand at their great awakening, to make steadfast the peace of the world!"

She was glad afterward that she had not gone; but a significant corollary to the matter appears on April 25:–

"Providence – a pleasant trip, made possible by dear Laura's departure."

(That is, "dear Laura" knew nothing about it till afterward. How often we recalled the old Quaker's saying to her, "It was borne in upon me at an early period that if I told no one what I intended to do, I should be enabled to do it!")

In the last week of April ("dear Laura" being still absent) she spoke four times in public, on four successive days. These addresses were at the Kindergarten for the Blind ("I missed the snap which Michael's presence was wont to give; I spoke praise of him to the children, as one to be held in dear remembrance; to the visitors, as having left the public a sacred legacy in these schools, which he created with so much labor"), at Faneuil Hall, a meeting about Old Home Week, at the West Newton High School, and at Providence. On the fifth day she was at the Wintergreen Club, answering the question, "What is the Greatest Evil of the Present Day?" – "False estimates of values, vehement striving for what hinders rather than helps our spiritual development."

After this bout she was glad to rest a day or two, but in another week was ready for the Woman Suffrage Festival. "I to open it, evening, Faneuil Hall. A day of rushing. Lady Mary and Professor Gilbert Murray to breakfast 9 A.M., which I much enjoyed. Then my little music man, who took three tunes; then a snatch at preparation for the evening's exercises. Jack and Elizabeth Chapman in the afternoon. At 4.45 got a little rest and sleep. At 5.40 drove to Faneuil Hall, which I found not so full as sometimes. Thought miserably of my speech. Light to read it very dim. I called to order, introduced Mr. White and the ladies' quartette, then read my poor little scribble.... I was thankful to get through my part, and my speech in print was n't bad at all."

In May she preached at the Church of the Disciples.

"A culmination of anxiety for this day, desired and yet dreaded. My head growled a little at waking, but not badly. My voice seemed all right, but how about the matter of my sermon? Was it all worth while, and on Whitsunday too? I wore my white cashmere dress. Laura went with me to church. C. G. A. was there. As he led me to the pulpit, the congregation rose. The service was very congenial and calming to my anxiety. I read the sermon quite audibly from beginning to end. It was listened to with profound attention, if I may say so."

"May 20.... Marion Crawford arrived soon after three for a little visit. He looks greatly improved in health since I last saw him. He must have passed through some crisis and come out conqueror. He has all his old charm...."

She was lamenting the death of her cousin and childhood playfellow, Dr. Valentine Mott Francis, when "a much greater affliction" fell upon her in the death of her son-in-law, David Prescott Hall. "This hurts me," she writes, "like a physical pain."


To Florence

OAK GLEN, July 3, 1907.


You are quite right in saying that we greatly need the consoling belief in a future life to help us bear the painful separation which death brings. Surely, the dear Christ believed in immortality, and promised it to faithful souls. I have myself derived great comfort from this belief, although I must confess that I know nothing about it. You may remember what [Downer] said to your dear father: "I don't know anything about it, but Jesus Christ certainly believed in immortality, and I pin my faith on him, and run for luck."... Alice and her trio of babes came safe to hand this morning. Frances at once began to spread the gravel from outdoors on the best staircase, but desisted when forbidden to do so.... Farewell, dearest child. You have had a grievous loss, and will feel it more and more. We must trust in God, and take our sorrows believing in the loving fatherhood. Maud writes me that she suffers an irreparable loss in dear David's death....

Your loving



Much work was on hand this summer: a poem for Old Home Week in Boston, another for the Cooperstown Centennial, a paper on the "Elegant Literature of Fifty Years Since," one for the "Delineator" on "The Three Greatest Men I Have Known." These were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Theodore Parker, and Dr. Howe. She spent much time and pains on this article. She read Elliot Cabot's "Life of Emerson," which she thought "certainly a good piece of work, but deficient, it seems to me, in the romantic sympathy which is the true interpretation of Emerson and of all his kind."

She "hammered" hard on the two poems, with good results.

"July 14. I can hardly believe it, but my miserable verses, re-read to-day, seemed quite possible, if I can have grace to fill out their sketchiness. Last word to-night: I think I have got a poem. Nil desperandum!"

"July 24. Difficult to exaggerate the record of my worry this morning. I feel a painful uncertainty about going to Boston to read my poem for Old Home Week. Worse than this is my trouble about two poems sent me while in Boston, with original music, to be presented to the committee for Home Week, which I have entirely forgotten and neglected. To do this was far from my intention, but my old head fairly gave out in the confusion of the various occasions in which I was obliged to take an active part."

She yielded to entreaty and stayed at home, and was rewarded by "a most gratifying letter from Edward Everett Hale, telling me that Josiah Quincy read my poem with real feeling, and that it was warmly received."

"My prayer is answered. I have lived to see my dear girl again.... I give thanks earnestly and heartily, but seem for a time paralyzed by her presence."

With the early autumn came a great pleasure in a visit to the new "Green Peace," the house which her son had built at Bedford Hills, New York. She was delighted with the house and garden; the Journal tells of all manner of pleasant gayeties.

"September 12. Fannie had a luncheon party even pleasanter than yesterday's. Rev. Mr. Luquer is a grandson of Dominick Lynch, who used to come to my father's house in my childhood and break my heart by singing 'Lord Ullin's Daughter.' I remember creeping under the piano once to hide my tears. He sang all the Moore melodies with great expression.... This, his descendant, looks a good deal like him. Was bred a lawyer. My good Uncle Cutler twice asked him whether he would study for the ministry. He said, 'No.' My uncle said the second time, 'What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?' This word, he told me, came back to him.... Worked a good deal on my poem. At least thought and thought much, and altered a little."

This was the poem which prefaces this chapter and which was written for the forthcoming Unitarian Convention in Boston. She had been at work on it for some time, first "trying to try for it," and later "hammering" and polishing with great care. "It came to me like a flash," she says, "but had to be much thought over and corrected." And again, "It was given to me something as was my 'Battle Hymn.'..."

"October 25. Wrote to a very bumptious child, thirteen years old, who proffers me her friendship and correspondence, claiming to have written poems and magazine contributions praised by 'noted authors.' I sent her back her letter, with three or four corrections and a little advice, kindly meant, but which may not be so taken.... She will probably turn and rend me, but I really felt it might do her good."

"November 14. Gardiner. A good meditation. The sense of God in the universe seems to be an attribute of normal humanity. We cannot think of our own personal identity without at the same time imagining a greater self from which we derive. This idea may be crude and barbarous, great minds have done much to make it otherwise; Christ most of all with His doctrine of divine love, providence, and forgiveness. The idea of a life beyond this one seems also to appertain to normal humanity. We had best accept this great endowment which philosophy seeks to analyze much as a boy will take a watch to pieces, but cannot put it together again so that it will work."

"November 15. Another long sitting and meditation. What have individual philosophers done for religion? As I recall what I could learn of the Kantian philosophy, I think that it principally taught the limitations of human knowledge, correcting thereby the assumptions of systems of thought and belief to absolute authority over the thinker and believer. He calls conscience 'the categorical imperative'; but that term in no wise explains either the origin or authority of the moral law. His rule of testing the rectitude of the act by the way in which, if it were made universal, it would affect the well-being of society, is useful, but simply pragmatic, not in William James's sense. The German idealism, the theory by which we evolve or create all that occupies our senses and our mind, appears to me a monstrous expanse of egotism. No doubt, dialectics serve as mental athletics, and speculative thought may be useful as an exercise of the mental powers; but processes which may be useful in this way might be very unfit to be held as permanent possessions of persuasion. It occurs to me that it might be more blessed to help the souls in hell than to luxuriate with saints in heaven."

"November 20. Boston. Began my screed on the 'Joys of Motherhood' for the 'Delineator.' Wrote currente calamo...."

"November 23. Rather an off day. Found T. W. Higginson's little volume of verses, presented to me on my seventieth birthday, and read a good deal in it. When the Colonel gave it to me, he read a little poem, 'Sixty and Six,' very charmingly. Seems to me that I ought to have read this little book through long before this time. One of the sweetest poems in it is about the blue-eyed baby that they lost after some six weeks' happy possession. I sent a pretty little baby wreath for it, feeling very sorry for them both."

"November 28. Much troubled about my Whittier poem."

"December 3. Thanks be to God! I have written my Whittier rhyme. It has cost me much labor, for I have felt that I could not treat a memory so reverend with cheap and easy verses. I have tried to take his measure, and to present a picture of him which shall deserve to live."73


Mr. and Mrs. Cobden-Sanderson, the English suffragists, were in Boston this winter. They dined with her, and proved "very agreeable. Mrs. Sanderson's visit ought to help suffrage mightily, she is in such dead earnest for it. After dinner I proposed that each one should name his favorite Browning poem. I named 'Pippa,' Mrs. Sanderson 'Paracelsus,' Mr. S., 'The Grammarian's Funeral,' etc., etc. The talk was so good that we could not stop it to hear the Victor, which I regretted."

Another delightful dinner of this winter was one given in her honor by her niece, Mrs. Richard Aldrich (Margaret Chanler), in New York. Among the guests were Kneisel, the violinist, and Schelling, the pianist. Mrs. Aldrich demanded "Flibbertigibbet," and our mother played and recited it in such a manner that the two musicians were inspired to play, as the people in the story were to dance. Kneisel flew home for his violin, Schelling sat down at the piano, and the two played Bach for her and to her delight.

"The occasion was memorable!" she says.

Returning from New York, she was able to attend the Whittier Centennial at Haverhill.

"December 17.... Sanborn came to take me.... I have been praying to be well for this occasion, my last public engagement for some weeks. I am thankful to have been able, at my advanced age, to read this poem at the Whittier Celebration and to be assured by one present that I had never been in better voice, and by others that I was generally heard without difficulty by the large audience."

"December 31. Oh, blessed year 1907! It has been granted me to write four poems for public occasions, all of which have proved acceptable; also three fatiguing magazine articles, which have for the time bettered my finances. I have lived in peace and goodwill with all men, and in great contentment with my own family, to which this year added a promising little great-grandson, taking away, alas! my dear son-in-law, David Prescott Hall. I found a very competent and friendly young musician who has taken down nearly all my songs.... A word was given me to speak, namely, 'Thanks for the blessed, wonderful year just past.'"



1908-1910; aet. 89-91


I have made a voyage upon a golden river,
   'Neath clouds of opal and of amethyst.
Along its banks bright shapes were moving ever,
   And threatening shadows melted into mist.

The eye, unpractised, sometimes lost the current,
   When some wild rapid of the tide did whirl,
While yet a master hand beyond the torrent
   Freed my frail shallop from the perilous swirl.

Music went with me, fairy flute and viol,
   The utterance of fancies half expressed,
And with these, steadfast, beyond pause or trial,
   The deep, majestic throb of Nature's breast.

My journey nears its close – in some still haven
   My bark shall find its anchorage of rest,
When the kind hand, which ever good has given,
   Opening with wider grace, shall give the best.

J. W. H.

THE grandchildren were her chief playmates when Maud was in Europe. To them, the grave tone of the Journal, the tale of her public work, is almost unbelievable, recalling, as they do, the household life, so warm, so rich, so intimate, it seemed enough in itself to fill the cup to overflowing. She had said of herself that in social activities she "bled at every pore": but in these later years it was light and warmth that she shed around her, kindling whatever she touched. At her fire, as at Uncle Sam's, we warmed our hands and our hearts. When she entered a room, all faces lighted up, as if she carried a lamp in her hand.

Day in, day out, she was the Guter Camerad. The desire not to irritate had become so much a second nature that she was the easiest person in the world to live with. If the domestic calm were disturbed, "Don't say anything!" was her word. "Wait a little!"

She might wake with the deep depression so often mentioned in the Journal. Pausing at her door to listen, one might hear a deep sigh, a plaintive ejaculation; but all this was put out of sight before she left her room, and she came down, as one of the grandchildren put it, "bubbling like a silver tea-kettle."

Then came the daily festival of breakfast, never to be hurried or "scamped." The talk, the letters, some of which we might read to her, together with the newspaper. We see her pressing some tidbit on a child, watching intently the eating of it, then, as the last mouthful disappeared, exclaiming with tragic emphasis, "I wanted it!" Then, at the startled face, would come peals of laughter; she would throw herself back in her chair, cover her face with her hands, and tap the floor with her feet.

"Look at her!" cried Maud. "Rippling with sin!"

How she loved to laugh!

"One day," says a granddaughter, "the house was overflowing with guests, and she asked me to take my nap on her sofa, while she took hers on the bed. We both lay down in peace and tranquillity, but after a while, when she thought I was asleep, I heard her laughing, until she almost wept. Presently she fell asleep, and slept her usual twenty minutes, to wake in the same gales of mirth. She laughed until the bed shook, but softly, trying to choke her laughter, lest I should wake.

"'What is it about?' I asked. 'What is so wonderful and funny?'

"'Oh, my dear,' she said, breaking again into laughter, 'it is nothing! It is the most ridiculous thing! I was only trying to translate "fiddle-de-dee" into Greek!'"

This was in her ninety-second year.

But we are still at the breakfast table. Sometimes there were guests at breakfast, a famous actor, a travelling scholar, caught between other engagements for this one leisure hour.

It was a good deal, perhaps, to ask people to leave a warm hotel on a January morning; but it was warm enough by the soft-coal blaze of the dining-room fire. Over the coffee and rolls, sausages and buckwheat cakes, leisure reigned supreme; not the poet's "retired leisure," but a friendly and laughter-loving deity. Everybody was full of engagements, harried with work, pursued by business and pleasure: no matter! the talk ranged high and far, and the morning was half gone before they separated.

Soon after breakfast came the game of ball, played à deux with daughter or grandchild; the ball was tossed back and forth, the players counting meanwhile up to ten in various languages. She delighted in adding to her vocabulary of numerals, and it was a good day when she mastered those of the Kutch-Kutch Esquimaux.

Then came the walk, gallantly taken in every weather save the very worst. She battled with the west wind, getting the matter over as quickly as might be. "It is for my life!" she would say. But on quiet, sunny days she loved to linger along Commonwealth Avenue, watching the parade of babies and little children, stopping to admire this one or chat with that.

This function accomplished, she went straight to her desk, and "P. T." reigned till noon. It was a less rigorous "P. T." than that of our childhood. She could break off in a moment now, give herself entirely, joyously, to the question of dinner for the expected guest, of dress for the afternoon reception, then drop back into Aristotle or Æschylus with a happy sigh. It was less easy to break off when she was writing; we might be begged for "half a moment," as if our time were fully as precious as her own; but there was none of the distress that interruption brought in earlier years. Perhaps she took her writing less seriously. She often said, "Oh, my dear, I am beginning to realize at last that I shall never write my book now, my Magnum Opus, that was to be so great!"

She practised her scales faithfully every day, through the later years. Then she would play snatches of forgotten operas, and the granddaughter would hear her – if she thought no one was near – singing the brilliant arias in "a sweet thread of a voice."

After her practising, if she were alone, she would sit at the window and play her Twilight Game: counting the "passing," one for a biped, two for a quadruped, ten for a white horse, and so on.

In the evening, before the "Victor" concert, came the reading aloud: this was one of her great pleasures. No history or philosophy for the evening reading; she must have a novel (not a "problem novel"; these she detested!) – a good stirring tale, with plenty of action in it. She thrilled over "With Fire and Sword," "Kim," "The Master of Ballantrae." She could not bear to hear of financial anxieties or of physical suffering. "It gives me a pain in my knee!"

We see her now, sitting a little forward in her straight-backed chair, holding the hand of the reading granddaughter, alert and tense. When a catastrophe appears imminent, "Stop a minute!" she cries. "I cannot bear it!" – and the reader must pause while she gathers courage to face disaster with the hero, or dash with him through peril to safety.

She would almost be sorry when the doorbell announced a visitor; almost, not quite, for flesh and blood were better than fiction. If the caller were a familiar friend, how her face lighted up!

"Oh! now we can have whist!"

The table is brought out, the mother-of-pearl counters (a Cutler relic: we remember that Mr. Ward did not allow cards in his house!), and the order for the rest of the evening is "A clear fire, a clean hearth, and the rigor of the game!" –

It was a happy day when, as chanced once or twice, Mr. Ernest Schelling, coming on from New York to play with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, offered to come and play to her, "all by herself, whatever she wanted, and for as long as she liked." She never forgot this pleasure, nor the warm kindness of the giver.

One day Mr. Abel Lefranc, the French lecturer of the year at Harvard, came to lunch with her. He apologized for only being able to stay for the luncheon hour, owing to a press of engagements and work that had grown overpowering. He stayed for two hours and a half after luncheon was over, and during all that time the flow of poignant, brilliant talk, à deux, held the third in the little company absorbed. She was entirely at home in French, and the Frenchman talked over the problems of his country as if to a compatriot.

A few days afterwards a Baptist minister from Texas, a powerfully built and handsome man, came to wait on her. He also stayed two hours: and we heard his "Amen!" and "Bless the Lord for that!" and her gentler "Bless the Lord, indeed, my brother!" as their voices, fervent and grave, mingled in talk.

She never tried to be interested in people. She was interested, with every fibre of her being. Little household doings: the economies and efforts of brave young people, she thrilled to them all. Indeed, all human facts roused in her the same absorbed and reverent interest.

These are Boston memories, but those of Oak Glen are no less tender and vivid. There, too, the meals were festivals, the midday dinner being now the chief one, with its following hour on the piazza; "Grandmother" in her hooded chair, with her cross-stitch embroidery or "hooked" rug, daughters and grandchildren gathered round her. Horace and Xenophon were on the little table beside her, but they must wait till she had mixed and enjoyed her "social salad."

At Oak Glen, too, she had her novel and her whist, bézique or dominoes, as the family was larger or smaller. She never stooped to solitaire; a game must be an affair of companionship, of the "social tie" in defence of which "Bro' Sam," in his youth, had professed himself ready to die. Instead of the "Victor" concert, she now made music herself, playing fourhand pieces with Florence, the "music daughter," trained in childhood by Otto Dresel. This was another great pleasure. (Did any one, we wonder, ever enjoy pleasures as she did?) These duets were for the afternoon; she almost never used her eyes in the evening. They were perfectly good, strong eyes; in the latter years she rarely used glasses; but the habit dated back to the early fifties, and might not be shaken.

We see her, therefore, in the summer afternoons, sitting at the piano with Florence, playing, "Galatea, dry thy tears!" "Handel's old tie-wig music," as she called his operas. Or, if her son were there, she would play accompaniments from the "Messiah" or "Elijah"; rippling through the difficult music, transposing it, if necessary to suit the singer's voice, with ease and accuracy. Musicians said that she was the ideal accompanist, never asserting herself, but giving perfect sympathy and support to the singer.

We return to the Journal.

"January, 1908. I had prayed the dear Father to give me this one more poem, a verse for this year's Decoration Day, asked for by Amos Wells, of Christian Endeavor belonging. I took my pen and the poem came quite spontaneously. It seemed an answer to my prayer, but I hold fast the thought that the great Christ asked no sign from God and needed none, so deeply did he enter into life divine. I also thought, regarding Christ and Moses, that we must be content that a certain mystery should envelop these heroic figures of human history. Our small measuring tape or rod is not for them. If they were not exactly in fact what we take them to be, let us deeply reverence the human mind which has conceived and built up such splendid and immortal ideals. Was not Christ thinking of something like this when he made the sin against the Holy Ghost and its manifestations the only unpardonable error? He surely did not mean to say that it was beyond the repentance which is the earnest of forgiveness to every sin."

A day or two after this she met at luncheon "a young Reverend Mr. Fitch.... He is earnest and clear-minded, and should do much good. I spoke of the cup [of life], but advised him to use the spoon for stirring up his congregation."

She was asked for a "long and exhaustive paper on Marion Crawford in about a week: I wrote, saying that I could furnish an interesting paper on the elder and younger Crawford, but without any literary estimate of Marion's work, saying that family praise was too much akin to self-praise; also the time allotted much too short."

From a painting by John Elliott, 1908

One night she woke "suddenly and something seemed to say, 'They are on the right tack now.' This microscopic and detailed study of the causes of evil on society will be much forwarded by the direct agency of women. They too will supply that inexhaustible element of hopefulness, without which reforms are a mere working back and forth of machinery. These two things will overcome the evil of the world by prevention first, and then by the optimistic anticipation of good. This is a great work given to Woman now to do. Then I caught at various couplets of a possible millennial poem, but feared I should not write it. Have scrawled these on a large pad. This line kept coming back to me, 'Living, not dying, Christ redeemed mankind.'... This my first day at my desk since Saturday, March 28. I may try some prose about the present patient analysis of the evil of society, the patient intelligent women associated in all this work. To reclaim waste earth is a glory. Why not a greater to reclaim the moral wastes of humanity?"

This midnight vision impressed her deeply, and through the succeeding days she wrote it out in full, bit by bit. On the envelope containing it is written, "An account of my vision of the world regenerated by the combined labor and love of Men and Women." In it she saw "men and women of every clime working like bees to unwrap the evils of society and to discover the whole web of vice and misery and to apply the remedies, and also to find the influences that should best counteract the evil and its attendant suffering.

"There seemed to be a new, a wondrous, ever permeating light, the glory of which I cannot attempt to put into human words – the light of the newborn hope and sympathy – blazing. The source of this light was born of human endeavor...."

She saw "the men and the women, standing side by side, shoulder to shoulder, a common lofty and indomitable purpose lighting every face with a glory not of this earth. All were advancing with one end in view, one foe to trample, one everlasting goal to gain....

"And then I saw the victory. All of evil was gone from the earth. Misery was blotted out. Mankind was emancipated and ready to march forward in a new Era of human understanding, all-encompassing sympathy and ever-present help, the Era of perfect love, of peace passing understanding."


Mrs. Humphry Ward was in Boston this spring, and there were many pleasant festivities in her honor. A "luncheon with Mrs. Humphry Ward at Annie Fields'; very pleasant. Edward Emerson there, easy and delightful...."

A fine reception at the Vendôme, where she and Mrs. Ward stood under "a beautiful arch of roses" and exchanged greetings.

"A delightful call from Mrs. Humphry Ward. We had much talk of persons admired in England and America. She has great personal attraction, is not handsome, but very 'simpatica' and is evidently whole-souled and sincere, with much 'good-fellowship.' We embraced at parting."

In strong contrast to this is her comment on a writer whose work did not appeal to her. "But she has merit; yes, she certainly has merit. In fact – " with a flash – " she is meret-ricious!"

May brought the Free Religious Banquet, at which she "compared the difference of sect to the rainbow which divides into its beauty the white light of truth"; and the State Federation of Women's Clubs, where another apt comparison occurred to her.

"I compared the old order among women to the juxtaposition of squares set cornerwise to each other; the intensity of personal feeling and interest infusing an insensible antagonism into our relations with each other. 'Now,' I said, 'the comparison being removed, we no longer stand cornerwise to each other, but so that we can fit into line, and stand and act in concert.'..."

"Newport. I begin to feel something of the 'labor and sorrow' of living so long. I don't even enjoy my books as I used to. My efforts to find a fit word for the Biennial [of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, to meet in Boston, June 22 and 23] are not successful...."

She soon revived under her green trees, and enjoyed her books as much as ever: "got hold of" her screed, wrote it, went up to Boston to deliver it, came back to meet an excursion party of "Biennial" ladies visiting Newport. (N.B. She was late for the reception, and her neighbor, Bradford Norman, drove her into Newport in his automobile "at a terrific clip." On alighting, "Braddie," she said, "if I were ten years younger, I would set up one of these hell-wagons myself!")

She enjoyed all this hugely, but the fatigue was followed by distress so great that the next morning she "thought she should die with her door locked." (She would lock her door: no prayers of ours availed against this. In Boston, an elaborate arrangement of keys made it possible for her room to be entered; at Oak Glen there was but the one stout door. On this occasion, after lying helpless and despairing for some time, she managed to unlock the door and call the faithful maid.)

On June 30 she writes:–

"Oh, beautiful last day of June! Perhaps my last June on earth.... I shall be thankful to live as long as I can be of comfort or help to any one...."

"July 12.... Sherman to Corse [Civil War], 'Can you hold out till I arrive?' Corse to Sherman, 'I have lost an arm, my cheekbone, and am minus one ear, but I can lick all hell yet.'"

"July 30. Have felt so much energy to-day that thought I must begin upon my old philosophizing essays.... Could find only 'Duality of Character.' What is the lesson of this two-foldness? This, that the most excellent person should remember the dual member of his or her firm, the evil possibility; and the most persistent offender should also remember the better personality which is bound up with its opposite, and which can come into activity, if invited to do so."

"August 28. Wrote an immediate reply to a Mrs. — who had written to ask leave to use a part of my 'Battle Hymn' with some verses of her own. I replied, refusing this permission, but saying that she should rewrite her own part sufficiently to leave mine out, and should not call it the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic.' The metre and tune, of course, she might use, as they are not mine in any special sense, but my phrases not."

After writing an article for the "Delineator," on "What I should like to give my Country for a Christmas Gift," she dreads a failure of her productive power, but is reassured by Maud's verdict. "I took much pains with it, but think she overpraises it a little to raise my spirits." The gift she would choose was "a more vigilant national conscience." The little essay counts but seventy lines, but every word tells.

In early September she performed a "very small public service," unveiling in Newport a bronze tablet in honor of Count de Rochambeau. She would have been glad to speak, but an anxious daughter had demurred, and at the moment she "only thought of pulling the string the right way."

"September 21. Green Peace, New York. A delightful drive with Mr. Seth Low in his auto. A good talk with him about the multi-millionnaires and the Hague Conferences which he has attended. We reached Green Peace in time for Mr. Frank Potter to sing about half of my songs. He has a fine tenor voice, well cultivated, and is very kind about my small compositions. I had not counted upon this pleasure. I dreaded this visit, for the troublesome journey, but it has been delightful. I am charmed to see my son so handsomely and comfortably established, and with a very devoted wife. Potter brought me some flowers and a curious orchid from Panama."

"November 3. Oak Glen. Yesterday and to-day have had most exquisite sittings in front of my house in the warm sunshine; very closely wrapped up by the dear care of my daughters."

These sittings were on what she called her boulevard, a grassy space in front of the house, bordering on the road, and taking the full strength of the morning sun. Here, with the tall screen of cedars behind her, and a nut tree spreading its golden canopy over her head, she would sit for hours, drinking in the sweet air that was like no other to her.

A companion picture to this is that of the twilight hour, when she would sit alone in the long parlor, looking out on the sunset. Black against the glowing sky rose the pines of the tiny forgotten graveyard, where long-ago neighbors slept, with the white rose tree drooping over the little child's grave; a spot of tender and melancholy beauty. All about were the fields she loved, fragrant with clover and wormwood, vocal with time-keeping crickets. Here she would sit for an hour, meditating, or repeating to herself the Odes of Horace, or some familiar hymn. Horace was one of her best friends, all her life long. She knew many of the Odes by heart, and was constantly memorizing new ones. They filled and brightened many a sleepless or weary hour. Here, when the children came back from their walk, they would find her, quiet and serene, but ready instantly to break into laughter with them, to give herself, as always, entirely and joyously. Now and then she wrote down a meditation; here is one:–

"A thought comes to me to-day which gives me great comfort. This is that, while the transitory incidentals of our life, important for the moment, pass out of it, the steadfast divine life which is in our earthly experience, perseveres, and can never die nor diminish. I feel content that much of me should die. I interpret for myself Christ's parable of the tares sown in the wheat field. As regards the individual, these tares are our personal and selfish traits and limitations. We must restrain and often resist them, but we cannot and must not seek to eradicate them, for they are important agents not only in preserving, but also in energizing our bodily life. Yet they are, compared with our higher life, as the tares compared with the wheat, and we must be well content to feel that, when the death harvest comes, these tares will fall from us and perish, while the wheat will be gathered into the granary of God.

"I do not desire ecstatic, disembodied sainthood, because I do not wish to abdicate any one of the attributes of my humanity. I cherish even the infirmities that bind me to my kind. I would be human, and American, and a woman. Paul of Tarsus had one or two ecstasies, but I feel sure that he lived in his humanity, strenuously and energetically. Indeed, the list he gives us of his trials and persecutions may show us how much he lived as a man among men, even though he did once cry out for deliverance from the body of death, whose wants and pains were a sore hindrance to him in his unceasing labors. That deliverance he found daily in the service of Truth, and finally once for all, when God took him.

"Another thought upholds me. With the recurrence of the cycle, I feel the steady tramp and tread of the world's progress. This Spring is not identical with last Spring, this year is not last year. The predominant fact of the Universe is not the mechanical round and working of its forces, but their advance as moral life develops out of and above material life. Mysterious as the chain of causation is, we know one thing about it, viz.: that we cannot reverse its sequence. Whatever may change or pass away, my father remains my father, my child, my child. The way before us is open – the way behind us is blocked with solid building which cannot be removed. And in this great onward order, life turns not back to death, but goes forward to other life, which we may call immortality. If I would turn backward, I stand still in paralyzed opposition to the mighty sweep of heavenly law. It must go on, and if I could resist and refuse to go with it, I should die a moral death, having isolated myself from the movement which is life. But, do what I will, I cannot resist it. I am carried on perforce, as inanimate rocks and trees are swept away in the course of a resistless torrent. Shall I then abdicate my human privilege which makes the forces of nature Angels to help and minister to me? Let me, instead, take hold of the guiding cords of life with resolute hands and press onward, following the illustrious army whose crowned chiefs have gone before. They too had their weakness, their sorrow, their sin. But they are set as stars in the firmament of God, and their torches flash heavenly light upon our doubtful way, ay, even upon the mysterious bridge whose toll is silence. Beyond that silence reigns the perfect harmony."

"November 6. Expecting to leave this dear place to-morrow before noon, I write one last record in this diary to say that I am very thankful for the season just at end, which has been busy and yet restful. I have seen old friends and new ones, all with pleasure, and mostly with profit of a social and spiritual kind. I have seen dear little Eleanor Hall, the sweetest of babies. Have had all of my dear children with me, some of my grandchildren, and four of my great-grands.

"Our Papéterie has had pleasant meetings.... I am full of hope for the winter. Have had a long season of fresh air, delightful and very invigorating.... Utinam! Gott in Himmel sei Dank!"

"November 28. Boston. Have been much troubled of late by uncertainties about life beyond the present. Quite suddenly, very recently, it occurred to me to consider that Christ understood that spiritual life would not end with death, and that His expressed certainty as to the future life was founded upon His discernment of spiritual things. So, in so far as I am a Christian, I must believe in the immortality of the soul, as our Master surely did. I cannot understand why I have not thought of that before. I think now that I shall nevermore lose sight of it.... Had a very fine call from Mr. Locke, author of the 'Beloved Vagabond,' a book which I have enjoyed."

"December 5.... I learned to-day that my dear friend of many years [the Reverend Mary H. Graves] passed away last night very peacefully.... This is a heart sorrow for me. She has been a most faithful, affectionate and helpful friend. I scarcely know whether any one, outside of my family, would have pained me more by their departure...."

This was indeed a loss. "Saint Mouse," as we called her, was a familiar friend of the household: a little gray figure, with the face of a plain angel. For many years she had been the only person who was allowed to touch our mother's papers. She often came for a day or two and straightened out the tangle. She was the only approach to a secretary ever tolerated. We used to grieve because our mother had no first-rate "Crutch"; it seemed a waste of power. Now, we see that it was partly the instinct of self-preservation, – keeping the "doing" muscles tense and strong, because action was vital and necessary to her – partly the still deeper instinct of giving her self, body and mind. She seldom failed in any important thing she undertook; the "chores" of life she often left for others to attend to or neglect.

The Christmas services, the Christmas oratorio, brought her the usual serene joy and comfort. She insists that Handel wrote parts of the "Messiah" in heaven itself. "Where else could he have got 'Comfort ye,' 'Thy rebuke,' 'Thou shalt break them,' and much besides?"

Late in December, 1908, came the horror of the Sicilian earthquake. She felt at first that it was impossible to reconcile omnipotence and perfect benevolence with this catastrophe.

"We must hold judgment in suspense and say, 'We don't and we can't understand.'"

She had several tasks on hand this winter, among them a poem for the Centenary of Lincoln's birth. On February 7 she writes:–

"After a time of despair about the poem for the Lincoln Centenary some lines came to me in the early morning. I arose, wrapped myself warmly, and wrote what I could, making quite a beginning."

She finished the poem next day, and on the 12th she went "with three handsome grandchildren" to deliver it at Symphony Hall before the Grand Army of the Republic and their friends.

"The police had to make an entrance for us. I was presently conducted to my seat on the platform. The hall was crammed to its utmost capacity. I had felt doubts of the power of my voice to reach so large a company, but strength seemed to be given to me at once, and I believe that I was heard very well. T. W. H. [Colonel Higginson] came to me soon after my reading and said, 'You have been a good girl and behaved yourself well.'"

The next task was an essay on "Immortality," which cost her much labor and anxious thought.

"March 3.... Got at last some solid ground for my screed on 'Immortality.' Our experience of the goodness of God in our daily life assures us of His mercy hereafter, and seeing God everywhere, we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

"March 27. I am succeeding better with my 'Immortality' paper. Had to-day a little bit of visioning with which I think that I would willingly depart, when my time comes. The dreadful fear of being buried alive disappeared for a time, and I saw only the goodness of God, to which it seemed that I could trust all question of the future life. I said to myself – 'The best will be for thee and me.'"

It was in this mood that she wrote:–

"I, for one, feel that my indebtedness grows with my years. And it occurred to me the other day that when I should depart from this earthly scene, 'God's poor Debtor' might be the fittest inscription for my gravestone, if I should have one. So much have I received from the great Giver, so little have I been able to return."

"April 5.... Heard May Alden Ward, N.E.W.C., on 'Current Events.' Praecipuë tariff reform. Proposed a small group to study the question from the point of view of the consumer. What to protect and how? American goods cheaper in Europe than here. Blank tells me of pencils made here for a foreign market and sold in Germany and England at a price impossible here. I said that the real bottomless pit is the depth of infamous slander with which people will assail our public servants, especially when they are faithful and incorruptible, apropos of aspersions cast on Roosevelt and Taft. Mrs. Ward read a very violent attack upon some public man of a hundred or more years ago. He was quoted as a monster of tyranny and injustice. His name was George Washington."

"April 8.... My prayer for this Easter is that I may not waste the inspiration of spring...."

In these days came another real sorrow to her.

"April 10. To-day brings the sad news of Marion Crawford's death at Sorrento. His departure seems to have been a peaceful one. He comforted his family and had his daughter Eleanor read Plato's 'Dialogues' to him. Was unconscious at the last. Poor dear Marion! The end, in his case, comes early. His father was, I think, in the early forties when he died of a cancer behind the eye which caused blindness. He, Thomas Crawford, had a long and very distressing illness."

Crawford had been very dear to her, ever since the days when, a radiant schoolboy, he came and went in his vacations. There was a complete sympathy and understanding between them, and there were few people whom she enjoyed more.

"I wrote a letter to be read, if approved, to-morrow evening at the Faneuil Hall meeting held to advocate the revision of our extradition treaty with the Russian Government, which at present seems to allow that government too much latitude of incrimination, whereby political and civil offences can too easily be confused and a revolutionist surrendered as a criminal, which he may or may not be."

Later in the month she writes:–

"In the early morning I began to feel that I must attempt some sort of tribute to my dear friend of many years, Dr. Holmes, the centenary of whose birth is to be celebrated on Tuesday next. I stayed at home from church to follow some random rhymes which came to me in connection with my remembrance of my ever affectionate friend. I love to think of his beautiful service to his age and to future ages. I fear that my rhymes will fail to crystallize, but sometimes a bad beginning leads to something better...."

The poem was finished, more or less to her satisfaction, but she was weary with working over it, and with "reading heavy books, Max Müller on metaphysics, Blanqui on political economy."

"May 10. I began this day the screed of 'Values' which I mentioned the other day. I have great hopes of accomplishing something useful, remembering, as I do, with sore indignation, my own mistakes, and desiring to help young people to avoid similar ones."

The ninetieth birthday was a festival, indeed. Letters and telegrams poured in, rose in toppling piles which almost – not quite – daunted her; she would hear every one, would answer as many as flesh and blood could compass. Here is one of them:–


Most hearty congratulations on your ninetieth birthday from the boy you picked up somewhere in New York and placed in the New York Orphan Asylum on April 6th, 1841. Sorry I have never been able to meet you in all that time. You [were] one of the Board of Trustees at that time.

Respectfully and Thankfully,


I was then about five years old, now seventy-three.


Writing to her friend of many years, Mrs. Ellen Mitchell, she says:–


"Your birthday letter was and is much valued by me. Its tone of earnest affection is an element in the new inspiration recently given me by such a wonderful testimony of public and private esteem and goodwill as has been granted me in connection with my attainment of ninety years. It all points to the future. I must work to deserve what I have received. My dearest wish would be to take up some thread of our A.A.W. work, and continue it. I rather hope that I may find the way to do this in the study of Economics which I am just starting with a small group...."


To Mrs. Harriet Prescott Spofford


You wrote me a lovely letter on my ninetieth birthday. I cannot help feeling as if the impression expressed by you and so many other kind friends of my personal merits must refer to some good work which I have yet to do. What I have done looks small to me, but I have tried a good deal for the best I have known. This is all I can say. I am much touched by your letter, and encouraged to go on trying. Don't you think that the best things are already in view? The opportunities for women, the growing toleration and sympathy in religion, the sacred cause of peace? I have lived, like Moses, to see the entrance into the Promised Land. How much is this to be thankful for! My crabbed hand shows how Time abridges my working powers, but I march to the brave music still, as you and many of the juniors do.

Wishing that I might sometimes see you, believe me

Yours with affectionate regard,



Close upon the Birthday came another occasion of the kind which we – in these later years – at once welcomed and deplored. She enjoyed nothing so much as a "function," and nothing tired her so much.

On June 16, Brown University, her husband's alma mater and her grandfather's, conferred upon her the degree of Doctor of Laws. She went to Providence to receive it in person, and thus describes the commencement exercises to Mrs. Mitchell:–

"The ordeal of the Doctorate was rather trying, but was made as easy as possible for me. The venerable old church was well filled, and was quite beautiful. I sat in one of the front pews – two learned people led me to the foot of the platform from which President Faunce, with some laudatory remarks, handed me my diploma, while some third party placed a picturesque hood upon my shoulders. The band played the air of my 'Battle Hymn,' and applause followed me as I went back to my seat. So there!"

Her companion on that occasion writes:–

"She sat listening quietly to the addresses, watched each girl and boy just starting on the voyage of life as they marched to the platform and received from the President's hand the scrap of paper, the parchment diploma, reward of all their studies. Her name was called last. With the deliberate step of age, she walked forward, wearing her son's college gown over her white dress, his mortar-board cap over her lace veil. She seemed less moved than any person present; she could not see what we saw, the tiny gallant figure bent with fourscore and ten years of study and hard labor. As she moved between the girl students who stood up to let her pass, she whispered, 'How tall they are! It seems to me the girls are much taller than they used to be.' Did she realize how much shorter she was than she once had been? I think not.

"Then, her eyes sparkling with fun while all other eyes were wet, she shook her hard-earned diploma with a gay gesture in the faces of those girls, cast on them a keen glance that somehow was a challenge, 'Catch up with me if you can!'

"She had labored long for the higher education of women, suffered estrangement, borne ridicule for it – the sight of those girl graduates, starting on their life voyage equipped with a good education, was like a sudden realization of a life-long dream; uplifted her, gave her strength for the fatigues of the day. At the dinner given for her and the college dignitaries by Mrs. William Goddard, she was at her best."

She was asked for a Fourth of July message to the Sunday-School children of the Congregational Church, and wrote:–

"I want them to build up character in themselves and in the community, to give to the country just so many men and women who will be incapable of meanness or dishonesty, who will look upon life as a sacred trust, given to them for honorable service to their fellow men and women. I would have them feel that, whether rich or poor, they are bound to be of use in their day and generation, and to be mindful of the Scripture saying that 'no man liveth unto himself.' We all have our part to do in keeping up the character and credit of our country. For her sake we should study to become good and useful citizens."


In the summer of 1909 the Cretan question came up again. Once more Turkey attempted to regain active possession of Crete; once more the voice of Christendom was raised in protest. She had no thought this time of being "too old." Being called upon for help, she wrote at once to President Taft, "praying him to find some way to help the Cretans in the terrible prospect of their being delivered over, bound hand and foot, to Turkish misrule." She was soon gladdened by a reply from the President, saying that he had not considered the Cretans as he should, but promising to send her letter to the Secretary of State. "I thank God most earnestly," she writes, "for even thus much. To-day, I feel that I must write all pressing letters, as my time may be short."

Accordingly she composed an open letter on the Cretan question. "It is rather crude, but it is from my heart of hearts. I had to write it."

Suffrage, too, had its share of her attention this summer. There were meetings at "Marble House" [Newport] in which she was deeply interested. She attended one in person; to the next she sent the second and third generations, staying at home herself to amuse and care for the fourth.

On the last day of August she records once more her sorrow at the departure of the summer. She adds, "God grant me to be prepared to live or die, as He shall decree. It is best, I think, to anticipate life, and to cultivate forethought.... I think it may have been to-day that I read the last pages of Martineau's 'Seat of Authority in Religion,' an extremely valuable book, yet a painful one to read, so entirely does it do away with the old-time divinity of the dear Christ. But it leaves Him the divinity of character – no theory or discovery can take that away."

Late September brought an occasion to which she had looked forward with mingled pleasure and dread; the celebration of the Hudson-Fulton Centennial in New York. She had been asked for a poem, and had taken great pains with it, writing and re-writing it, hammering and polishing. She thought it finished in July, yet two days before the celebration she was still re-touching it.

"I have been much dissatisfied with my Fulton poem. Lying down to rest this afternoon, instead of sleep, of which I felt no need, I began to try for some new lines which should waken it up a little, and think that I succeeded. I had brought no manuscript paper, so had to scrawl my amendments on Sanborn's old long envelope."

Later in the day two more lines came to her, and again two the day after. Finally, on the morning of the day itself, on awakening, she cried out, –

"I have got my last verse!"

The occasion was a notable one. The stage of the Metropolitan Opera House was filled with dignitaries, delegates from other States, foreign diplomats in brilliant uniforms. The only woman among them was the little figure in white, to greet whom, as she came forward on her son's arm, the whole great assembly rose and stood. They remained standing while she read her poem in clear unfaltering tones; the applause that rang out showed that she had once more touched the heart of the public.

This poem was printed in "Collier's Weekly," unfortunately from a copy made before the "last verse" was finished to her mind. This distressed her. "Let this be a lesson!" she said. "Never print a poem or speech till it has been delivered; always give the eleventh hour its chance!"

This eleventh hour brought a very special chance; a few days before, the world had been electrified by the news of Peary's discovery of the North Pole: it was the general voice that cried through her lips, –

The Flag of Freedom crowns the Pole!

The following letter was written while she was at work on the poem:–


To Laura

OAK GLEN, July 9, 1909.

Why, yes, I 'm doing the best I know how. Have written a poem for the Hudson and Fulton celebration, September 28. Worked hard at it. Guess it 's only pretty good, if even that. Maud takes me out every day under the pine tree, makes me sit while she reads aloud Freeman's shorter work on Sicily. I enjoy this.... I have just read Froude's "Cæesar," which Sanborn says he hates, but which I found as readable as a novel. Am also reading a work of Kuno Fischer on "Philosophy," especially relating to Descartes. Now you know, Miss, or should know, that same had great fame, and sometimes blame, as a philosopher. But he don't make no impression on my mind. I never doubted that I was, so don't need no "cogito, ergo sum," which is what Carty, old Boy, amounts to. Your letter, dear, was a very proper attention under the circumstances. Shouldn't object to another. Lemme see! objects cannot be subjects, nor vice versa. How do you know that you washed your face this morning? You don't know it, and I don't believe that you did. You might consult H. Richards about some of these particulars. He is a man of some sense. You are, bless you, not much wiser than your affectionate



Returned to Oak Glen, after the celebration, she writes:–


To her son and his wife

OAK GLEN, October 1, 1909.

...I found my trees still green, and everything comfortable. I did not dare to write to any one yesterday, my head was so full of nonsense. Reaction from brain-fatigue takes this shape with me, and everything goes "higgle-wiggledy, hi-cockalorum," or words to that effect.... We had a delightful visit with you, dear F. G. and H. M. I miss you both, and miss the lovely panorama of the hills, and the beauteous flower parterres. Well, here 's for next year in early Autumn, and I hope I may see you both before that time. With thanks for kindest entertainment, and best of love,

Your very affectionate



To George H. Richards74

OAK GLEN, October 1, 1909.


I got through all right, in spite of prospective views, of fainting fits, apoplexy, what not? Trouble is now that I cannot keep calling up some thousands of people, and saying: "Admire me, do. I wrote it all my little own self." Seriously, there is a little reaction from so much excitement. But I hope to recover my senses in time. I improved the last two stanzas much when I recited the poem. The last line read

The Flag of Freedom crowns the Pole!
I tell you, I brought it out with a will, and they all [the audience] made a great noise....


We doubt if any of the compliments pleased her so much as that of the Irish charwoman who, mop in hand, had been listening at one of the side doors of the theatre. "Oh, you dear little old lady!" she cried. "You speaked your piece real good!"

Late October finds her preparing for the move to Boston.

"I have had what I may call a spasm of gratitude to God for His great goodness to me, sitting in my pleasant little parlor, with the lovely golden trees in near view, and the devotion of my children and great kindness of my friends well in mind. Oh! help me, divine Father, to merit even a very little of Thy kindness!"

In this autumn she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in December she wrote for its first meeting a poem called "The Capitol." She greatly desired to read this poem before the association, and Maud, albeit with many misgivings, agreed to take her on to Washington. This was not to be. On learning of her intention, three officers of the association, William Dean Howells, Robert Underwood Johnson, and Thomas Nelson Page, sent her a "round-robin" telegram, begging her not to run the risk of the long winter journey. The kindly suggestion was not altogether well taken. "Ha!" she flashed out. "They think I am too old, but there 's a little ginger left in the old blue jar!"

She soon realized the wisdom as well as the friendliness of the round robin, and confided to the Journal that she had been in two minds about it.

On Christmas Day she writes:–

"Thanks to God who gave us the blessed Christ. What a birth was this! Two thousand years have only increased our gratitude for it. How it has consecrated Babyhood and Maternity! Two infants, grown to man's estate, govern the civilized world to-day, Christ and Moses. I am still thankful to be here in the flesh, as they were once, and oh! that I may never pass where they are not!"

The winter of 1909-10 was a severe one, and she was more or less housed; yet the days were full and bright for her. "Life," she cried one day, "is like a cup of tea; all the sugar is at the bottom!" and again, "Oh! I must go so soon, and I am only just ready to go to college!"

When it was too cold for her to go out, she took her walk in the house, with the windows open, pacing resolutely up and down her room and the room opposite. She sat long hours at her desk, in patient toil. She was always picking up dropped stitches, trying to keep every promise, answer every note.

"Went through waste-paper basket, redeeming some bits torn to fragments, which either should be answered or recorded. Wrote an autograph for Mr. Blank. It was asked for in 1905. Had been put away and forgotten."

She got too tired that morning, and could not fully enjoy the Authors' Club in the afternoon.

"Colonel Higginson and I sat like two superannuated old idols. Each of us said a little say when the business was finished."

It is not recalled that they presented any such appearance to others.

She went to the opera, a mingled pleasure and pain.

"It was the 'Huguenots,' much of which was known to me in early youth, when I used to sing the 'Rataplan' chorus with my brothers. I sang also Valentine's prayer, 'Parmi les fleurs mon rêve se ranime,' with obligato bassoon accompaniment, using the 'cello instead. I know that I sang much better that night than usual, for dear Uncle John said to me, 'You singed good!' Poor Huti played the 'cello. Now, I listened for the familiar bits, and recognized the drinking chorus in Act 1st, the 'Rataplan' in Act 2d. Valentine's prayer, if given, was so overlaid witb fioritura that I did not feel sure of it. The page's pretty song was all right, but I suffered great fatigue, and the reminiscences were sad."

Through the winter she continued the study of economics with some fifteen members of the New England Woman's Club. She read Bergson too, and now and then "got completely bogged" in him, finding no "central point that led anywhere."

About this time she wrote:–

"Some Rules for Everyday Life

"1. Begin every day with a few minutes of retired meditation, tending to prayer, in order to feel within yourself the spiritual power which will enable you to answer the demands of practical life.

"2. Cultivate systematic employment and learn to estimate correctly the time required to accomplish whatever you may undertake.

"3. Try to occupy both your mind and your muscles, since each of these will help the other, and both deteriorate without sufficient exercise.

"4. Remember that there is great inherent selfishness in human nature, and train yourself to consider adequately the advantage and pleasure of others.

"5. Be thankful to be useful.

"6. Try to ascertain what are real uses, and to follow such maxims and methods as will stand the test of time, and not fail with the passing away of a transient enthusiasm.

"7. Be neither over distant nor over familiar in your intercourse; friendly rather than confidential; not courting responsibility, but not declining it when it of right belongs to you.

"8. Be careful not to falsify true principles by a thoughtless and insufficient application of them.

"9. Though actions of high morality ensure in the end the greatest success, yet view them in the light of obligation, not in that of policy.

"10. Whatever your talents may be, consider yourself as belonging to the average of humanity, since, even if superior to many in some respects, you will be likely to fall below them in others.

"11. Remember the Christian triad of virtues. Have faith in principles, hope in God, charity with and for all mankind."


A windy March found her "rather miserably ailing." Dr. Langmaid came, and pronounced her lungs "sound as a bass drum"; nothing amiss save a throat irritated by wind and dust. Thereupon she girded herself and buckled to her next task, a poem for the centenary of James Freeman Clarke.

"I have despaired of a poem which people seem to expect from me for the dear James Freeman's centennial. To-day the rhymes suddenly flowed, but the thought is difficult to convey – the reflection of heaven in his soul is what he gave, and what he left us."

"April 1. Very much tossed up and down about my poem...."

"April 2. Was able at last, D.G., to make the poem explain itself. Rosalind, my incorruptible critic, was satisfied with it. I think and hope that all my trouble has been worth while. I bestowed it most unwillingly, having had little hope that I could make my figure of speech intelligible. I am very thankful for this poem, cannot be thankful enough."

This was her third tribute to the beloved Minister, and is, perhaps, the best of the three. The thought which she found so difficult of conveyance is thus expressed:–

Lifting from the Past its veil,
What of his does now avail?
Just a mirror in his breast
That revealed a heavenly guest,
And the love that made us free
Of the same high company.
These he brought us, these he left,
When we were of him bereft.
.        .        .        .        .        .        .

She thus describes the occasion:–

"Coughed in the night, and at waking suffered much in mind, fearing that a wild fit of coughing might make my reading unacceptable and even ridiculous. Imagine nay joy when I found my voice clear and strong, and read the whole poem [forty-four lines] without the slightest inclination to cough. This really was the granting of my prayer, and my first thought about it was, 'What shall I render to the Lord for all His goodness to me?' I thought, 'I will interest myself more efficiently in the great questions which concern Life and Society at large.' If I have 'the word for the moment,' as some think, I will take more pains to speak it."

A little later came a centenary which – alas! – she did not enjoy. It was that of Margaret Fuller, and was held in Cambridge. She was asked to attend it, and was assured that she "would not be expected to speak." This kindly wish to spare fatigue to a woman of ninety-one was the last thing she desired. She could hardly believe that she would be left out – she, who had known Margaret, had talked and corresponded with her.

"They have not asked me to speak!" she said more than once as the time drew near.

She was reassured; of course they would ask her when they saw her!

"I have a poem on Margaret!"

"Take it with you! Of course you will be asked to say something, and then you will be all ready with your poem in your pocket."

Thus Maud, in all confidence. Indeed, if one of her own had gone with her, the matter would have been easily arranged; unfortunately, the companion was a friend who could make no motion in the matter. She returned tired and depressed. "They did not ask me to speak," she said, "and I was the only person present who had known Margaret and remembered her."

For a little while this incident weighed on her. She felt that she was "out of the running"; but a winning race was close at hand.

The question of pure milk was before the Massachusetts Legislature, and was being hotly argued. An urgent message came by telephone; would Mrs. Howe say a word for the good cause? Maud went to her room, and found her at her desk, the morning's campaign already begun.

"There is to be a hearing at the State House on the milk question; they want you dreadfully to speak. What do you say?"

"Give me half an hour!" she said.

Before the half-hour was over she had sketched out her speech and dressed herself in her best flowered silk cloak and her new lilac hood, a birthday gift from a poor seamstress. Arrived at the State House, she sat patiently through many speeches. Finally she was called on to speak; it was noticed that no oath was required of her. As she rose and came forward on her daughter's arm, – "You may remain seated, Mrs. Howe," said the benevolent chairman.

"I prefer to stand!" was the reply.

She had left her notes behind; she did not need them. Standing in the place where, year after year, she had stood to ask for the full rights of citizenship, she made her last thrilling appeal for justice.

"We have heard," she said, "a great deal about the farmers' and the dealers' side of this case. We want the matter settled on the ground of justice and mercy; it ought not to take long to settle what is just to all parties. Justice to all! Let us stand on that. There is one deeply interested party, however, of whom we have heard nothing. He cannot speak for himself; I am here to speak for him: the infant!"

The effect was electrical. In an instant the tired audience, the dull or dogged or angry debaters, woke to a new interest, a new spirit. No farmer so rough, no middle-man so keen, no legislator so apathetic, but felt the thrill. In a silence charged with deepest feeling all listened as to a prophetess, as, step by step, she unfolded the case of the infant as against farmers and dealers.

As Arthur Dehon Hill, counsel for the Pure Milk Association, led her from the room, he said, "Mrs. Howe, you have saved the day!"

This incident was still in her mind on her ninety-first birthday, a few days later.

"My parlors are full of beautiful flowers and other gifts, interpreted by notes expressive of much affection, and telegrams of the same sort. What dare I ask for more? Only that I may do something in the future to deserve all this love and gratitude. I have intended to deserve it all and more. Yet, when in thought I review my life, I feel the waste and loss of power thro' want of outlook. Like many another young person, I did not know what my really available gifts were. Perhaps the best was a feeling of what I may call 'the sense of the moment,' which led a French friend to say of me: 'Mme. Howe possède le mot à un dégré remarquable.' I was often praised for saying 'just the right word,' and I usually did this with a strong feeling that it ought to be said."

Early in June, just as she was preparing for the summer flitting, she had a bad fall, breaking a rib. This delayed the move for a week, no more, the bone knitting easily. She was soon happy among her green trees, her birds singing around her.

The memories of this last summer come flocking in, themselves like bright birds. She was so well, so joyous, giving her lilies with such full hands; it was a golden time.

As the body failed, the mind – or so it seemed to us – grew ever clearer, the veil that shrouds the spirit ever more transparent. She "saw things hidden."

One day a summer neighbor came, bringing her son, a handsome, athletic fellow, smartly dressed, a fine figure of gilded youth. She looked at him a good deal: presently she said suddenly, –

"You write poetry!"

The lad turned crimson: his mother looked dumfounded. It proved that he had lately written a prize poem, and that literature was the goal of his ambition. Another day she found a philosopher hidden in what seemed to the rest of the family merely "a callow boy in pretty white duck clothes." So she plucked out the heart of each man's mystery, but so tenderly that it was yielded gladly, young and old alike feeling themselves understood.

Among the visitors of this summer none was more welcome than her great-grandson, Christopher Birckhead,75 then an infant in arms. She loved to hold and watch the child, brooding over him with grave tenderness: it was a beautiful and gracious picture of Past and Future.

Maud had just written a book on Sicily, and, as always, our mother read and corrected the galley proofs. She did this with exquisite care and thoughtfulness, never making her suggestions on the proof itself, but on a separate sheet of paper, with the number of the galley, the phrase, and her suggested emendations. This was her invariable custom: the writer must be perfectly free to retain her own phrase, if she preferred it.

Walking tired her that summer, but she was very faithful about it.

"Zacko," she would command John Elliott, "take me for a walk."

The day before she took to her bed, he remembers that she clung to him more than usual and said, –

"It tires me very much." (This after walking twice round the piazza.)

"Once more!" he encouraged.

"No – I have walked all I can to-day."

"Let me take you back to your room this way," he said, leading her back by the piazza. "That makes five times each way!"

She laughed and was pleased to have done this, but he thinks she had a great sense of weakness too.

Her favorite piece on the "Victor" that summer was "The Artillerist's Oath." The music had a gallant ring to it, and there was something heroic about the whole thing, something that suggested the Forlorn Hope – how many of them she had led! When nine o'clock came, she would ask for this piece by the nickname she had given it, taken from one of its odd lines, –

"I'll wed thee in the battle's front!"

While the song was being given, she was all alert and alive, even if she may have been sleepy earlier in the evening. She would get up with a little gesture of courage, and take leave of us, always with a certain ceremony, that was like the withdrawing of royalty. The evening was then over, and we too went to bed!

As we gather up our treasures of this last summer, we remember that several things might have prepared us for what was coming, had not our eyes been holden. She spoke a great deal of old times, the figures of her childhood and girlhood being evidently very near to her. She quoted them often; "My grandma used to say – " She spoke as naturally as the boy in the next room might speak of her.

She would not look in the glass; "I don't like to see my old face!" she said. She could not see the beauty that every one else saw. Yet she kept to the very last a certain tender coquetry. She loved her white dresses, and the flowered silk cloak of that last summer. She chose with care the jewels suited to each costume, the topaz cross for the white, the amethysts for the lilac. She had a great dread of old people's being untidy or unprepossessing in appearance, and never grudged the moments spent in adjusting the right cap and lace collar.

There was an almost unearthly light in her face, a transparency and sweetness that spoke to others more plainly than to us: Hugh Birckhead saw and recognized it as a look he had seen in other faces of saintly age, as their translation approached. But we said joyously to her and to each other, "She will round out the century; we shall all keep the Hundredth Birthday together!" And we and she partly believed it.

The doctor had insisted strongly that she should keep, through the summer at least, the trained nurse who had ministered to her after her fall. She "heard what he said, but it made no difference." In early August she records "a passage at arms with Maud, in which I clearly announced my intention of dispensing with the services of a trained nurse, my good health and simple habits rendering it entirely unnecessary."

She threatened to write to her man of business.

"I would rather die," she said, "than be an old woman with a nurse!"

Maud and Florence wept, argued, implored, but the nurse was dismissed. The Journal acknowledges that "her ministrations and Dr. Cobb's diagnosis have been very beneficial to my bodily health." On the same day she records the visit of a Persian Prince, who had come to this country chiefly to see two persons, the President of the United States and Mrs. Julia Ward Howe. "He also claims to be a reincarnation of some remarkable philosopher; and to be so greatly interested in the cause of Peace that he declines to visit our ships now in the harbor here, to which he has been invited."

Reading Theodore Parker's sermon on "Wisdom and Intellect," she found it so full of notable sayings that she thought "a little familiar book of daily inspiration and aspiration" might be made from his writings: she wrote to Mr. Francis J. Garrison suggesting this, and suggesting also, what had been long in her mind, the collecting and publishing of her "Occasional Poems."

In late September, she was "moved to write one or more open letters on what religion really is, for some one of the women's papers"; and the next day began upon "What is Religion?" or rather, "What Sort of Religion makes Religious Liberty possible?"

A day or two later, she was giving an "offhand talk" on the early recollections of Newport at the Papétrie, and going to an afternoon tea at a musical house, where, after listening to Schumann Romances and Chopin waltzes, and to the "Battle Hymn" on the 'cello, she was moved to give a performance of "Flibbertigibbet." This occasion reminded her happily of her father's house, of Henry "playing tolerably on the 'cello, Marion studying the violin, Bro' Sam's lovely tenor voice."

Now came the early October days when she was to receive the degree of Doctor of Laws from Smith College. She hesitated about making the tiresome journey, but finally, "Grudging the trouble and expense, I decide to go to Smith College, for my degree, but think I won't do so any more."

She started accordingly with daughter and maid, for Northampton, Massachusetts. It was golden weather, and she was in high spirits. Various college dignitaries met her at the station; one of these had given up a suite of rooms for her use; she was soon established in much peace and comfort.

Wednesday, October 5, was a day of perfect autumn beauty. She was early dressed in her white dress, with the college gown of rich black silk over it, the "mortarboard" covering in like manner her white lace cap. Thus arrayed, a wheeled chair conveyed her to the great hall, already packed with visitors and graduates, as was the deep platform with college officials and guests of honor. Opposite the platform, as if hung in air, a curving gallery was filled with white-clad girls, some two thousand of them; as she entered they rose like a flock of doves, and with them the whole audience. They rose once more when her name was called, last in the list of those honored with degrees; and as she came forward, the organ pealed, and the great chorus of fresh young voices broke out with

"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord – "

It was the last time.

Later in the day the students of Chapin House brought their guest-book, begging for her autograph. She looked at Laura with a twinkle.

"Do you think they would like me to write something?"

Assured on that point, she waited a moment, and then wrote after her signature, –

Wandered to Smith College
In pursuit of knowledge;
Leaves so much the wiser,
Nothing can surprise her!

She reached home apparently without undue fatigue. "She will be more tired to-morrow!" we said; but she was not. Her son came for the week-end, and his presence was always a cordial. Sunday was a happy day. In the evening we gathered round the piano, she playing, son and daughters singing the old German student songs brought by "Uncle Sam" from Heidelberg seventy years before.

On the Tuesday she went to the Papétrie, and was the life and soul of the party, sparkling with merriment. Driving home, it was so warm that she begged to have the top of the carriage put back, and so she enjoyed the crowning pageant of the autumn, the full hunter's moon and the crimson ball of the sun both visible at once.

Wednesday found her busy at her desk, confessing to a slight cold, but making nothing of it. The next day bronchitis developed, followed by pneumonia. For several days the issue seemed doubtful, the strong constitution fighting for life. Two devoted physicians were beside her, one the friend of many years, the other a young assistant. The presence of the latter puzzled her, but his youth and strength seemed tonic to her, and she would rest quietly with her hand in his strong hand.

On Sunday evening the younger physician thought her convalescent; the elder said, "If she pulls through the next twenty-four hours, she will recover."

But she was too weary. That night they heard her say, "God will help me!" and again, toward morning, "I am so tired!"

Being alone for a moment with Maud, she spoke one word: a little word that had meant "good-bye" between them in the nursery days.

So, in the morning of Monday, October 17, her spirit passed quietly on to God's keeping.

Those who were present at her funeral will not forget it. The flower-decked church, the mourning multitude, the white coffin borne high on the shoulders of eight stalwart grandsons, the words of age-long wisdom and beauty gathered into a parting tribute, the bugle sounding Taps, as she passed out in her last earthly triumph, the blind children singing round the grave on which the autumn sun shone with a final golden greeting.

We have told the story of our mother's life, possibly at too great length; but she herself told it in eight words.

"Tell me," Maud asked her once, "what is the ideal aim of life?"

She paused a moment, and replied, dwelling thoughtfully on each word, –

"To learn, to teach, to serve, to enjoy!"



[Page 7]

1 Reminiscences, pp. 411 and 412.

[Page 12]

2 The armless painter. See ante, vol. i, chap. xii.

[Page 17]

3 The Prussian aristocracy.

[Page 29]

4 Reminiscences, p. 423.

[Page 30]

5 Reminiscences, p. 423.

6 The present King, Victor Emanuel III.

[Page 32]

7 Reminiscences, p. 425.

[Page 34]

8 The favorite wife of the Khedive.

9 A cousin who was of the party.

[Page 36]

10 Ismail Pasha.

[Page 38]

11 A negro attendant.

[Page 43]

12 A Greek Protestant minister.

[Page 54]

13 Francis Parkman had written an article opposing woman suffrage.

[Page 55]

14 Luther Terry, an American painter who had lived long in Rome, and had been a close friend of Thomas Crawford. He survived his wife by some years.

[Page 61]

15 Dr. H. P. Beach.

[Page 64]

16 The late Richard Sullivan.

[Page 66]

17 Welsh for "glory": a favorite exclamation of hers, learned in childhood from a Welsh servant.

[Page 98]

18 John Howe Hall.

[Page 112]

19 Laura had once been told that she "would not amount to much without her good nature."

[Page 113]

20 Berkeley Chambers, where she and Maud spent this winter.

[Page 117]

21 Michael.

[Page 120]

22 This was a summer school of ten years (1879-88) in which Emerson, Alcott. and W. T. Harris took part.

23 Reminiscences, p. 440.

[Page 121]

24 These essays were published in a volume entitled Is Polite Society Polite?

[Page 126]

25 Cf. Æschylus.

26 Miss Sarah J. Eddy, then of Providence, a granddaughter of Francis Jackson.

[Page 127]

27 Boston.

[Page 128]

28 Thomas Davidson, founder of the "New Fellowship" (London and New York) and of the "Breadwinners' College."

[Page 141]

29 Mrs. George Russell, widow of the Doctor's friend and college chum.

[Page 142]

30 Caroline Tappan was Caroline Sturgis, daughter of Captain William Sturgis, and sister of Ellen (Sturgis) Hooper, – member of the inmost Transcendentalist circle, and friend of Emerson, Ellery Channing, and Margaret Fuller.

[Page 145]

31 Song Album. Published by G. Schirmer & Co.

[Page 150]

32 Henry Marion Howe.

[Page 152]

33 The Reverend Antoinette Blackwell.

[Page 156]

34 Ralph Adams Cram, architect and littérateur.

[Page 166]

35 Author of Civil Rights of Women.

36 Son of Abraham Lincoln.

[Page 168]

37 Lady Battersea.

[Page 170]

38 Sergius Stepniak, a Russian author, then a political exile living in England.

[Page 176]

39 Rosmini-Serbati, a noted philosopher and founder of the order of the Brothers of Charity.

[Page 182]

40 Mrs. Charlotte Emerson Brown was at this time president of the General Federation of Women's Clubs, and had prepared this exhibit, the first of its kind in club history.

[Page 187]

41 Now (1915) a political prisoner in Siberia: she escaped, but was recaptured and later removed to a more remote place of imprisonment.

[Page 224]

42 Mrs. Winthrop Chanler.

[Page 227]

43 Anagnos.

[Page 231]

44 Dr. Wesselhoeft.

[Page 240]

45 Harold Crawford, who was killed in the present war (1915), fighting for the Allies.

[Page 244]

46 Now Cardinal O'Connell.

[Page 245]

47 I.e., Clerical.

[Page 254]

48 Her brother-in-law, Luther Terry.

[Page 256]

49 Elliott was at work upon his Triumph of Time, a ceiling decoration for the Boston Public Library.

[Page 267]

50 In the Reminiscences.

51 The late John Hays Gardiner, author of The Bible as Literature, The Forms of Prose Literature, and Harvard.

[Page 268]

52 Edwin Arlington Robinson, author of Captain Craig, etc.

53 The facsimile printed in the Reminiscences contains the discarded stanza.

[Page 276]

54 Julia Ward Richards.

[Page 279]

55 A terrible storm and tidal wave which had nearly destroyed the city.

[Page 280]

56 James Freeman Clarke.

[Page 287]

57 The Triumph of Time, at the Public Library.

[Page 294]

58 Dr. Lawrence J. Henderson.

59 The bridegroom, Henry Marion Hall.

[Page 296]

60 That is, to have it bought by some public society.

61 An editor.

[Page 297]

62 Professor Todd, of Amherst, and his wife, Mabel Loomis Todd.

[Page 300]

63 Letters and Journals of Samuel Gridley Howe.

[Page 302]

64 Count Mayer des Planches.

[Page 303]

65 Theodore Roosevelt.

66 St. George's, Newport.

[Page 313]

67 Julia Ward Howe Hall.

[Page 319]

68 Hawthorne's friend of the Democratic Review

[Page 334]

69 T. W. Higginson, The Outlook, January 26, 1907.

[Page 340]

70 These verses are printed in At Sunset, under the title of "Humanity," and at the head of chapter XI of this volume.

[Page 344]

71 It may be noted that this epidemic of tonsillitis was actually fatal to Miss Susan B. Anthony, who never recovered from the illness contracted in Baltimore.

[Page 354]

72 Mrs. Charles Homans.

[Page 367]

73 This poem appears in At Sunset.

[Page 398]

74 Her man of business and faithful friend. Though of her children's generation, she had adopted him as an "uncle."

[Page 408]

75 Son of Caroline Minturn (Hall) and the Reverend Hugh Birckhead.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

This book has been put on-line as part of the BUILD-A-BOOK Initiative at the
Celebration of Women Writers.
Initial text entry and proof-reading of Volume II. were the work of volunteer
Anne Kosvanec.

Notes have been gathered from each page and collected at the end of the book. They have been renumbered to reflect their ordering in the book, rather than their ordering upon each page. Size and placement of illustrations may vary slightly from the originals.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom