A Celebration of Women Writers

Further Records. 1848-1883: A Series of Letters
By .
New York: Henry Holt and Co., c1891.


race, class, religion, gender


portrait of a woman with headband
Engraved by J. G. Stodart





owl with book






I HAD hired for this summer a cottage belonging to my youngest daughter, called York Farm, on the estate known as Butler Place, about six miles from Philadelphia and three from the pretty suburban village (town as it now is) of Germantown, in the pleasant villadom surrounding which many of the Philadelphia men of business find an agreeable rural retreat from the city. The house at York Farm, however, not being ready for my reception, I took one for six months in Philadelphia, and until I was able to obtain possession of it, stayed at a country place belonging to a dear friend.

When first my father and myself went to America in 1832, a hired house, lodging, or apartment was not to be had for love or money–nobody let their premises or any portion of them–and in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston we were obliged to live for two years expensively and uncomfortably in hotels. This is entirely changed now, and while I occupied the house I had taken in Rittenhouse Square, my eldest daughter was living in a hired apartment in the city.

My friend's residence was called Champlost, after some place (but I know not where) in France. It was within a few miles of Philadelphia. The grounds joined those of York Farm (my contemplated residence), and a pleasant woodland and meadow path was made, affording a direct and short communication between the two houses, that was called "The Lady's Walk."

Champlost was a small estate of picturesquely varied surface, with bits of fine wood and some noble single chestnut and oak trees, with a bright little brook trotting and singing through one of the hollows. The house stood upon a gently sloping lawn, over which it looked to a sunny prospect of cultivated fields, bounded by a country road, on which the lower entrance opened into a drive through a charming bit of fine wood, which of larger extent would have been called in England a chase. Beyond the house, this road led to the upper entrance on a pleasant lane, known as Green Land, with pretty private residences on it. There was no flower garden proper at Champlost, but round the house irregular masses of flowering shrubbery, a charming conservatory, and admirable vegetable garden, from all which the fine produce went with profuse liberality to all who could be benefited or delighted by it.

The dwelling itself had for its core or kernel an old-fashioned Pennsylvania country house, to which had been made alterations and additions which gave it a certain quaint and picturesque irregularity exteriorly; in the interior reigned a simple, elegant, exquisite comfort, the perfection of which was proverbial.

Dear Champlost! to me an unfailing refuge from trouble and sorrow, a haven of peace and rest, a home of liberty and love, of the happiest social companionship, and the most devoted and constant friendship, during all the years that I spent in the foreign country, where I married, my grateful blessing rests upon it for ever!

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, January 6, 1874.


I got a letter from you to-day in which you say that one of my last reached you in ten days. The passages of the vessels this way have been very rapid lately, and there should be no delay in the receipt of letters on either side, but while I was at Champlost there may have been remissness on the part of the servants in posting the letters.

You asked me if I have been caring about General Bazaine, but I did not even know of his trial till you referred to it. You speak of having sent me several Spectators–one only has reached me, in which I could not find anything which should have particularly induced you to send it, and which I therefore think must have been forwarded instead of some other which had some article in it that you especially wished me to see. I am about to subscribe to the Spectator and the Nation (the latter the only decent American paper I know), as I think it desirable to know rather more of what is going on in the world than I have been content to do since I returned to America.

As I know nothing whatever of the present condition of France, I cannot speculate as to its future. I have supposed hitherto that the great national desire for revenge on Prussia, would probably induce the French to place a military man at the head of the government, and imagined that one of the Orleans princes would perhaps be elected eventually, because they are all in the Jesuit interest, and that will probably act very powerfully in France, for the Jesuits, as a body, hate and fear Protestant Prussia, as much as the French people hate their German conquerors. A wise old Russian gentleman, Count Pahlen, told me at the very beginning of the war that it had been brought about by the intrigues of the papal government, with a view to, and in the confident expectation of, the suppression of the Prussian Protestant influence in Germany, by the power of the French arms, which were expected to meet with a very different success from that which they found in their encounter with the heretic Teutons. . . .

You asked me if I had a piano. There is one in the drawing-room of this house, belonging to the people from whom I have hired it, and it is in every respect a sample of the sort of people they are. It is of extremely handsome and expensive wood, very elaborately carved, and must have been very costly, merely as a piece of furniture; as a musical instrument it is one of the poorest and most miserable that are manufactured, being quite contemptible in tone and power–in short, as bad as a piano can be. Moreover, I found it in such hopeless state of discord, that it is hardly possible to bring it into tune at all. Nearly a pan full of dust was cleaned out of the interior of it, when I had it tuned, and the keys were literally begrimed with dirt; the piano, moreover, is not an old one. The tuner, whom I sent for to put it to rights, pointed contemptuously to the carved wood of the case and said, "This is what this piano was bought for." However, here it is, and I have not place for another in the room, nor do I care to afford myself either the purchase or the hire of another, so having had this made endurable, I practice every day after breakfast, still playing and singing my beloved Beethoven and Schubert, with a thousand memories of exquisite pleasure derived from having heard them–oh! how far otherwise executed–in former days and other places. . . .

Ellen (a very dear and devoted servant) made an immense sacrifice in coming with me to this country for two years, and the whole comfort of my daily existence depends so entirely upon her, that I do not think it would be possible for me to live here without her; if I did, I would give up all idea of having an establishment of my own, and betake myself to a boarding-house or hotel, which I could very hardly afford to do at the present wild cost of living here in such houses.

On the opposite side of the square where I live is the Episcopalian Church, which was served by my excellent and eloquent friend Mr. Phillips Brooks, until he was called from Philadelphia to Boston, and I go to it frequently for afternoon service, though I now no more hear his admirable sermons. [This gentleman is now no longer a stranger to the English pulpit: he has preached in Westminster Abbey and several other churches, producing everywhere the same profound impression by the fervent eloquent of his noble religious discourses].

Moreover, half a quarter of a mile on the other hand is the "high-church" church of Philadelphia, to which I went on Christmas Day, saw the altar a blaze of wax candles, heard Handel murdered, and a gentleman trying to intone, who was rather funny, as he did not know how to do it. You see, I have plenty of church privileges.

God bless and keep you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,


1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Saturday, January 10, 1874.


. . . My Christmas present to O— was three dozen of the finest wine I could procure here. The things I got for him in Dublin were so trifling, that I had quite a misgiving about offering them to him, though, when I mustered up courage to show him the old-fashioned seal I had had engraved with his monogram, and found that he liked it, I was very much pleased and relieved, for really people's presents to each other are on such a magnificent scale here that one hardly knows what to offer them. . . .

I had some very beautiful flowers given to me. M— sent me, in a magnificent china flower-pot of English fabric (a pale delicate green, with birds, butterflies, and flowers scattered all over it), a large Catalonia jasmine in full bloom. It was Mr. Butler's first gift to me before we were married; and on Christmas Day, M—, to whom I had given it years ago, and in whose gardener's care it has been ever since, sent it back to me in this beautiful vase, and covered with fragrant blossoms, a strange flowering again of former memories–of the tempo passato che non torna piu. . . .

The weather here now is perfectly lovely, mild and bright, only unnaturally warm for the time of year. I suppose we shall have the rest of our pinching cold (of which we had a bitter instalment while I was at Champlost in November) in the early spring, which I shall be sorry for. Dr. W— and S— and their boy dined with me on Christmas Day, and Ellen insisted on hanging green Christmas garlands round the dining-room, but was very unhappy because she could not find a handsome sprig of holly with bright berries to send up on the plum pudding, for the honor of England.

Mr. S—'s Christmas gift of a turkey does not seem so strange to me as to you. Our old friends, the Mayows, who were Norfolk people, invariably sent us at Christmas a huge turkey, for which kind of domestic fowl, as you probably know, that county is famous. My old and dear friend, William Donne, I know always sends a similar tribute to Arthur M— from his small Norfolk estate. Here, where I think the turkey is quite as much the national bird as the eagle, people are not unapt to send each other mince-pies of very large size and especially rich and delicate composition. M—, whose cook is famous for their manufacture, sent me one made like a huge tart, and one to Dr. W—, who is a great favorite of hers, and has a tenderness for that unwholesome Christmas dainty. I heard a ludicrous and touching story of an American diplomatic lady, who received at Christmas, while at her embassy abroad, a huge mince-pie from "home," all the way across the Atlantic. Her husband invited some of their compatriots (exiles like themselves) to dine with them and share this national dainty, but when it appeared on the table a considerable piece of it was missing. The gentleman looked surprised and not altogether pleased, when his wife, with a charming mixture of shame and simple naïveté (as she was described to me), exclaimed, "Oh, George, I couldn't help it; it was so like home!"

I had a very exquisite Daphne Odora in full bloom, brought to me by my dear Dr. Furness's daughter, and some delicious cut hot-house flowers, made up into a very tasteful nosegay, and a quantity more that came in a beautiful glass vase, that looked as if it was growing in a thick bed of lovely moss.

Dr. W—, to whom I had said that I wanted a pair of candlesticks (for this house had no such utensils, and everything of that description that I own is buried in the bowels of a store-room in Germantown, amidst piles of boxes, and furniture, and goods, and chattels, belonging to my children, which will not be opened till we all go out in the country), gave me a very pretty pair of French candlesticks, the one a figure of Doré's Don Quixote and the other of Retch's Mephistopheles. S— gave me Horace Furness's variorum Shakespeare, the "Romeo and Juliet" and "Macbeth," the only two volumes yet published, which I wished for very much, but thought too expensive to get them for myself. F— sent me up from the plantation a barrel of the most magnificent oranges I ever saw, a product of the estate. Half the barrel, I grieve to say, was spoiled in coming, but I got about six dozen of the most superb and delicious oranges that I ever saw that were sound. So you see I had a very fine Christmas fairing.

God bless you, dearest friend.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Thursday, February 5th, 1874.


This square is inclosed in an iron railing; it is about as large as Lincoln's Inn Fields, open to the public, and not reserved, as our squares are, for the use of the persons residing in them. There are neither shrubberies nor garden-beds with flowers, but trees, grass, and gravel walks, and it affords a pleasant diagonal short cut across the square.

There is no special post day to write for from the United States now, the number of steamers from every port makes constant letter-carrying to Europe the rule, instead of the limited agency of the Cunard Line, to which we were formerly restricted. There are now three or four lines of steam-packets from Boston, New York, and this place, and they are all letter-carriers between the two continents. I am sorry to say, however, that it is not impossible that some of my letters to you may have been lost. I have had a drunken man-servant, to whose charge the letters were committed for posting, and it is just possible that he may have neglected his duty in this respect, or delayed fulfilling it, or even mislaid and lost the letters. I certainly have been writing to you frequently, and cannot account for you not hearing from me. I have acknowledged the receipt of the Saturday Review, and told you that I had liked the article on Sir Charles Lyell's books very much. . . .

I think it most probably that the L—s will return to England in two years, and that, if I live, I shall go back the summer after next; but I trouble myself not at all with plans of any sort for the future, I am too heartily thankful for the present. My condition is full of causes for gratitude to God, and the days go by with an amazing velocity that suggests the rapidly approaching end of all to me much more frequently than any intermediate plan, prospect, or purpose.

I will certainly endeavor to procure the Contemporary Review for December, and read Dr. Carpenter's article on the "Psychology of Belief." It is, I suppose, an essay about which Fanny Cobbe spoke to me once or twice with great admiration and interest. I think he was imparting his views to her before he published them upon these matters.

You speak of the social disorders and disorganization which exist in America quite as much (that is, considering the different circumstances) as in Europe, and ask, Where is social rest to be found? Nowhere, I rather think, until people are more aware than they are now that prosperity, national as well as individual, is a moral and not a material question. Here, in America, the great question of the identity of the interests of capital and labor will, I imagine, be worked out; and here, I suppose, people will first arrive at the conclusion (I mean masses of people, not individuals) which Maurice preached, that politics are christianity, and that no favorable conditions whatever will stand instead, either for individuals or communities, of obedience to God and the teaching of Christ. It is wonderful for one, who believes this as I do, to watch how perfectly ineffectual all the liberty, all the social advantages of the working-classes in this country are to produce effects, which are moral and not material everywhere.

I go on scribbling my Reminiscences more or less. It is an occupation which amuses me, but which I put aside, of course, very frequently for other things, as I can always resume it at any time, and am not bound ever to finish it.

I have now greatly altered the plan upon which I came to America. My first intention was to take the York Farm for two years, and go into it as soon as I arrived here last autumn. This was rendered impossible by the state of the house there, the repairs and alterations in which could not be completed before this spring, so I took the house where I am till June, when I expect to go out to the York Farm. . . .

God bless you, dearest H—. You say truly words can little express a lifelong love, such as ours has been; but, indeed, what is it that words can express? in spite of which we needs must use them, and I am ever, as ever, yours.


I am sorry to hear Colonel Taylor thinks of resuming his laborious position in the house as Whip.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Thursday, February 12th, 1874.


My will was drawn up by my lawyer and general adviser on business matters, and duly signed and witnessed in his office, so you may dismiss all anxiety with regard to its validity from your mind.

I shall try to get the Quarterly for the sake of Fanny Cobbe's review of Mrs. Somerville, and I shall try to get the Contemporary Review for December with Dr. Carpenter's article, but it is by no means easy to procure these periodicals here. A certain number of them are obtained for regular subscribers, but beyond that there is no general demand that makes it worth any bookseller's while to send for them, as they would probably find no sale.

You are quite right in supposing that the employers of servants here are answerable for much of the inefficiency and bad quality of the service they receive. A good many causes tend to make good masters and mistresses quite as rare as good servants. The old proverb holds good, "Like master, like man." The large and rapid fortunes by which vulgar and ignorant people become possessed of splendid houses, splendidly furnished, do not of course, give them the feelings and manners of gentle folks, or in any way really raise them above the servants they employ, who are quite aware of this fact, and that the possession of wealth is literally the only superiority their employers have over them. The difference of religion between the Irish servants and their American employers is, I think, unfavorable to a good deal of very serious and sincere sympathy that should pervade a household–a family. The total absence of early discipline makes bad disciplinarians of American heads of houses. They are impatient of system, of order, of necessary and legitimate control themselves, and shrink with great cowardice from enforcing them on their own children and servants. The children are allowed to be at once familiar and rude towards the latter. Nowhere in the world, where I have been, is the relation of home dependency and authority so little understood or the intercourse of members of households so wanting in mutual good breeding and courtesy. The institutions which secure freedom all but unbounded to all, the almost inviolability of individual rights, cannot by any possibility supply the place of domestic virtues or charities, or the graces of mutual respect and regard that ennoble and sweeten human relationships.

I think the Americans generally (but more especially the women), have a superficial hardness of manner perhaps in some degree of character, and no people appear to me to have so little civility as distinguished from humanity and real kindliness in which they are by no means deficient. Their manners to their servants I think far from good, and I have no doubt at all that they are themselves in great measure responsible for the disorder, discomfort and insubordination of their households. The exceptions (of which there are plenty) prove this to be the case. *

There is undoubtedly some occasional irregularity in the posting and delivery of our letters, for this week I have received on two consecutive days letters of yours, dated the 25th and 27th of January, but the last reached me first. You must ere this have received the account of my domestic tribulations with my poor drunken negro servant, and how he having taken the pledge, I took him back, buying myself off at the cost of seven guineas from an engagement with a Dublin man, who bribed me to take him by saying he had been at Ardgillan (with his master, one Colonel Brownrigg), who came to me unsober the day he was to have entered my service. As, however, my negro had taken the pledge, because his wife had understood that I would take him back if he did so, I took him back, and since then, now nearly a month ago, he has been perfectly steady and sober. I hope with all my heart that the poor fellow will be able to keep his vow. He is a Roman Catholic, and brought me his priest's attestation that he had taken the pledge.

I not only should feel the difficulty of housekeeping doubly here, if I had not Ellen to assist me, but I would not attempt to keep house without her. I should go at once into an hotel or boarding-house, and dismiss my other servants. . . .

* In England, for some years past, the relation between servants and their employers has been gradually undergoing very important alteration. Orlando's compliment to Old Adam points to some decided deterioration in the sentiment of service in Shakespeare's own day–

"Oh, good old man, how well in thee appears
The constant service of the antique world,
When service sweat for duty, not for meed.
Thou art not for the fashion of these times,
When none will sweat, but for promotion."

The lifelong service and attachment still to be found in some few families some years ago, is, I imagine, disappearing more and more before the "fashion of these times." Change, for its own sake, is one of the predominating features of the present day, and affects all classes with a restless desire for novelty and excitement, created and stimulated by the increased facilities of locomotion and the comparative ease and cheapness of travelling. No reason is now considered more natural and unobjectionable for a servant's throwing up a situation than feeling the want "of a little change," a motive which my mother would have thought quite sufficient for not engaging any person who assigned it for leaving her place, and would have occasioned as summary a dismissal on the part of my mother as that charming conservative and exquisite old Tory, Lady Ludlow (in Mrs. Gaskell's delightful book, so-called), pronounced to the young woman, who, coming to be engaged as her lady's-maid, said, in answer to the fine gentlewoman's rather deprecatory inquiry, "I am told you can read?" "Oh yes, my lady, and write, too." "Oh, go away, child–go away!" being Lady Ludlow's only comment upon this modern excess of education in a maidservant.

Of late years servants are often discharged during the temporary summer absence of their employers abroad, whose return gathers together a new household of new people. This again has given rise to what is called "taking service on a job," destructive, of course, of all personal relation beyond a mere temporary contract of the merest temporary convenience on both sides. I have moreover been assured that a lady's-maid's long continuance in one service was objectionable on the score of her having probably become accustomed to the "habits" of her mistress, which title, I believe, is now universally abandoned for that of "my lady." No doubt freedom from some expense and trouble is gained by the very independent modern fashion of ladies travelling without attendant abigails, a practice now quite frequent with young women of perfect respectability and good social position, but which formerly would have been condemned as so unladylike as to be impossible, and great surprise and disapprobation would have been excited by the reply of a very lovely young woman of high rank, who, being asked how she had managed to travel abroad without a maid, answered, "Oh, my husband's man valeted me!"

According to my observation, it is only in England and America that domestic service is considered degrading; in America it is absolutely held so, and in England compared with other forms of industry. Nothing of this sort of feeling exists on the Continent–French, Italian and German servants all living upon terms of kindly, honorable, and respectful familiarity with their employers. I have more than once quoted to my English servants Imogen's lovely answer to her unknown brother, who asking her, "Are we not brothers?" replies, "So man and man should be, but clay differs from clay in dignity whose dust is all alike." Imogen was doubtless quite aware of the social difference which separated (in spite of her blood-instinct) the young Welsh hunter from the princess of Great Britain. I quote Shakespeare occasionally to my servants as next best thing to quoting the Bible to them. My own half foreign blood and foreign breeding has given me a friendly familiarity with my household children–my servants–which, I imagine, until they became accustomed to it, must have puzzled my English maids, and made our intercourse strange and perhaps difficult to them, though I have endeavored by the most sacred teaching of all, and the Pope's title of "Servant of servants," and the Prince of Wales' noble motto, "Ich dien," to make them feel how fine a thing true service is. With foreign servants, of whom I have had several, I have never had the slightest embarrassment from the freedom of my intercourse with them, their own simple self-respect preserving them from the vulgar estimate of service held by our people; but I have very little doubt that my habit of addressing all my people, men and women, as "my dear" and "my child," must often have sent a shudder through the respectable bosom of my London friends.

My little granddaughter, having heard me speak so to my maid, adopted the same style to her nursery maid, to whom she addressed with great gravity a solemnly serious remonstrance, beginning with, "My dear child, I have told you before," etc., a comical confirmation of the Darwinian theory of monkey descent.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Saturday, February 14, 1874.

Certainly, my beloved H—, the "mystery of life" is not to be solved by government, and the sooner people find that out by making their governments as good as possible, the sooner they will discover that the "mystery of life" is individual righteousness and whatever makes most for that. Long ago Milton said that the good government of a state was nothing other than a man's good government. Institutions cannot produce virtues, but they can greatly hinder or help their development. This is the country, above all others, for demonstrating what can, and what cannot be achieved by government for the highest national results; and how curiously, where all external and material circumstances are most favorable, the prosperity even of a nation is shown to be a moral, rather than any other kind of result.

As for your quotation from "Lear," respecting the real superiority in honesty of judges over thieves, I suppose, as you are speaking of the Gladstone and Disraeli administrations, you are simply contemplating the common characteristics of party politics. You know, though I take a very deep interest in certain measures of government from which I expect certain results, and always in the main side with the Liberal party as the party of progress, I never desire to know anything of the detail of political measures, lest even those which I think best should lose anything of their intrinsic value to me, by seeing what low, paltry, personal motives and base machinery and dirty hands have helped to bring them about. . . .

I know nothing at all of the probable period–I can tell you nothing–of my nephew's marriage to Miss Grant. I have not seen him since he was a lad of thirteen. . . . I have only come as far as 1832 in my Memoirs, and my letters to you from the provincial towns, where my father and I were acting during the summer of that year.

I have no intention whatever of undertaking any literary work of any sort, but this of my Reminiscences. I have no mental vigor, and not much physical energy left. Looking over my letters, and copying portions of them, affords me a certain amount of quiet amusement and occupation daily. The letters which could have revived any distressing associations were all destroyed when first I received the box containing my whole correspondence with you; and though occasionally, in going back over all my life in those I have preserved, I still find details that sadden me, I have hitherto derived more interest and entertainment than anything else from the whole retrospect; and my depression has nothing whatever to do with that, though I think it is the physical result of the nervous strain of my whole life. All the early excitement, and all the subsequent trouble and sorrow, and all the prolonged exercise of that capacity for superficial emotion–these causes have shaken, I might almost say, shattered, my nervous system to such a degree, that the frequent depression I suffer from seems to me simply the inevitable result of such an existence as mine has been, on such a temperament.* Goethe's poems, long or short, are a poor panacea for mental depression, I should say; but so far from any want of interest or occupation being the source of my low spirits, I think they are simply the consequence of too much excitement and hard work in former years. I have never, that I can recollect, known my time appear to pass as rapidly as it has done this winter, probably from its extreme unbroken monotony; but certainly the days and weeks devour each other with incredible swiftness. Twice at least every day (besides many times oftener, many days) I am reminded of and think of you, while I sit cutting with your sharp scissors the holes in the last bit of that embroidery which I used to bring with me to Fitzwilliam Place; and when I sit at my lonely dinner, turning in my fingers the silver napkin-ring with Dorothy's initials on it, of which I gave you and her a pair at St. Leonard's. These, however, are only my regular daily thoughts of you. I have many irregular ones besides.

* One of the dangers of the stage, as a profession, is the habit of acting fosters of expressing superficial emotion. That the feeling exhibited is to a certain degree real in people of vivid imagination and quick sensibility only makes it the more objectionable; for fictitious feeling is destructive of that which is true, and the habitual expression of the one impairs the genuineness of the other, and giving way to superficial emotion weakens the self-control, which ought to govern our feelings. Among Southern people, whose impulse leads them to vehement exhibitions of passion, sensibility is less profound than that of less demonstrative Northern folk; but their demonstrations, dramatic as they are, are not acted, but perfectly natural. In English people the profession of acting is apt to produce an unnatural manner off the stage, very properly called "theatrical," but the foreign actresses I have known (Pasta, Ristori, and both the Garcias, Malibran and Viardot) have been perfectly simple and natural, though quite as dramatic (not theatrical) off the stage as on it. Garrick's French blood made him the incomparable actor he was, and as naturally as artistically so. My own people, the Kembles, who were excellent actors, were not naturally dramatic, being very English, and had a theatrical manner in private life. My mother, who was eminently dramatic and natural, succeeded principally on the stage in parts which might be called original creations, which have never been filled, or I believe attempted, by any other actress. But my mother was not English, but born in Vienna of French parents.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Wednesday, February 18, 1874.


Hitherto my colored servant has continued perfectly sober since he took the pledge, which is now nearly a month ago. I feel much concerned for the man, who was in the war during the Southern secession, with the son of the proprietor of this house. His master was wounded, and he attended him most faithfully and devotedly all the time he was disabled. He, my servant, had three brothers killed in the war. Of course, the privations, and exposures, and fatigues of a soldier's life (especially during that war) must have made drinkers if not absolute drunkards of many poor fellows who were not so before. The brandy-bottle was always at hand, and must often have supplied the place of food, shelter, fire, and rest. If the accident of his being in my service rescues this poor man from this ruinous propensity, I shall rejoice greatly. He has a young wife and two little children, for whom it is most important that he should be sober and industrious. He was born a slave in Maryland, cannot write, and can hardly be said to read, so that there is every excuse for him. He tells stories of the war to his fellow-servants, and Ellen told me one of them, how once, when they were half-starved for want of food, they lighted upon some small quantity of meal, which he, knowing how to cook (as I believe all colored people do by nature), made into cakes and scones, for his master and some other officers, without there being enough for him to have a morsel, a scrap, a crumb himself. I should not wonder if he took a good pull at the brandy-flask then.

The general character of the mulattoes in Philadelphia is now precisely what might be expected from people descended from slaves, and in many cases born and bred themselves in slavery: they lie and pilfer, and are dirty and lazy, in spite of which they are rapidly superseding your Irish folk as household servants, and almost all the waiters at the hotels, and men-servants in private houses, and coachmen of private carriages are colored people. As a rule, they are much less addicted to drink than the white population, either native or foreign, here; they are less insolent than the Irish, and less insubordinate than the Americans, and they are (as old President Adams of Massachusetts said) the only well-bred people now remaining in the country. Their manners are remarkably good, gentle, quiet, and respectful, a result, partly perhaps of slavery, and partly of their indolent Southern blood, in which there is no tendency whatever to habitual harshness, though there may be, on provocation, to sudden violence.

I quite indorse Froude's statement with regard to the total absence of devotion to public affairs among Americans; that is to say, the best class of Americans. Of course any crisis (as their civil war abundantly demonstrated) brings out with overwhelming force the latent patriotism, which is by no means wanting in Americans; but, except in extraordinary circumstances, the well-educated and refined men decline interesting themselves or taking any part whatever in the management of public affairs. Their own private interests are thoroughly well protected by the laws of the country; their own private concerns absorb all their attention and all their energy. They would have to resign the engrossing pursuit of indefinite wealth, for a settled small stipend as members of congress, if they adopted the government of the country as their business; and they are quite content to give that over to a class of men whose intellectual qualities and general capacity, is at once stamped as of an inferior order, by their being what is technically called "politicians"–a term which in this country not unfrequently means a low, ignorant, unprincipled man, who, being quite unequal to the successful management of his own private affairs, undertakes those of the nation.

The great motive-power of the country, the popular will, upholds this class of representatives as good enough for the work they have to do; and the large freedom of the institutions, the absence of all partial or vexatious legislative pressure, upon any portion of the community, the general liberty, and the preponderating general prosperity, satisfy the great mass of the people, who, intelligent as they are, have no special admiration for ability in high places, and would a great deal rather have their public work done by men "no better than themselves," in which particular lies one of the main differences between Americans and Englishmen.

Our people are essentially aristocratic, and like gentlemen for leaders; here, they do not want any leaders at all, and wish the public service to be discharged by men who are their paid servants, of whom they have no sort of respect or reverence, but whose business they conceive it to be so to manage the "machine" of the government, as to get along without let, hindrance, or impediment to the private affairs and interests of the individual citizens.*

There are no men of leisure, the men of wealth are all money-makers, devoted to that supreme "industry"; the gentlemen (of whom there is no class) are professional men–lawyers, physicians, bankers, merchants, with sufficiently thorough knowledge of their own peculiar business, and a superficial smattering of a general non-technical education; and they keep absolutely aloof from politics and politicians, as they would keep aloof from dirty work and dirty people.

I cannot tell you what the precise salary paid to the members of congress is; but it is a fixed sum for the session (I think a thousand dollars, two hundred pounds) and their travelling expenses to and from Washington. There is no such thing as any special training for a diplomatic career, there is no such thing as a school of diplomacy or a diplomatic career, properly so called. A man is taken from his practice at the bar, or his professorship in a college, or even his practice as a physician (Dr. Rush of Philadelphia was an instance of this), and is sent to represent his country to a foreign court, sometimes without even a knowledge of the French language, the universal language of European diplomacy. I was myself acquainted with a comical instance of the disregard of any such considerations on the part of one of the presidents of the United States. A gentleman having been recommended by Mr. Buchanan as eminently fitted to fill the post of Minister to Spain, because, to all other requisite qualities for the position he added that of understanding and speaking Spanish, the President's sole reply was, "Oh! That is too damned aristocratic!" and another candidate for the office was named, who, it must be supposed, was not disqualified for it by any superfluous acquaintance with the Spanish language.*

I never hear any conversation on politics, and never see any male society, or indeed any society whatever; Dr. W— comes to see me occasionally of an evening, but by no means frequently, and never mentions public affairs at all. I have only seen him four times in the last past six weeks, and two of those were evening visits, when he took tea and played picquet with me. . . . . I congratulate Edward (Colonel Taylor, who was Tory Whip of the House) on the success of his party; but hope he will not "whip" himself to death.

* President Lincoln, among whose other admirable qualities was a great natural fund of humor, wearied out on one occasion in the midst of his terrible responsibilities during the war by the impertinent suggestions of an interviewer, at length said, "Perhaps, sir, you would like to drive this machine yourself."

* I have more than once heard the opinion in the United States that accredited envoys or ministers from them to foreign countries were a superfluous expenditure of the public money, and that all their duties would be quite satisfactorily discharged by the officials of the various American consulates.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Saturday, February 28, 1874.

It may be as you say, that my intense love of the beauty of nature and passionate enjoyment of it, has been what has preserved me from bitter, past impressions. At this present hour, the fretwork of brown-red budding branches of the trees in the square where I live, like sprays of coral against the blue sky, every now and then gives me a thrill of ecstatic pleasure, and the clouds at sunset, as I sit watching them evening after evening, fill my eyes with tears and my soul with gratitude to God, that I am allowed to see such sights; and I often exclaim aloud, alone as I am, at the beauty of the heavens.

The friend who gives me the books to read that you have been reading is a lady who, a good many years ago, was seized with a sort of unreasoning and unreasonable admiration for me, which she has contrived to preserve in spite of a very considerable degree of intercourse between us, and her attainment of what should be years of discretion and discernment. I respect and like her very much; she is very intelligent, with a keen, active mind, which she stimulates with constant and various reading. I once showed you one of her letters, which gave you, I remember, at the time, a very pleasant and favorable impression of her.

My poor black man-servant has hitherto kept his pledge, and I am beginning to rejoice in trembling, with the hope that his coming into my service may have been the means from saving him from ruin in mind, body and estate.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Monday, March 9, 1874.


. . . I shall make another attempt to get the Edinburgh you wished me to read, through the bookseller who, instead of the last Quarterly, got the last October number from New York for me, and made me pay for doing so. He is the best agent, nevertheless, for procuring books in the city, and this is the sort of result one may expect from giving him any commission.

You know that I have read Mill's autobiography itself, so that I know what he has chosen to tell of himself, without depending for that knowledge upon the extracts and compressions of reviews. One of the mistakes in his singular moral and mental training appears to me to have been the entire absence of any elevated female influence. . . .

F— writes in delight of the sunny warmth of the weather in Georgia, of the multitude of singing birds, and the abundance of exquisite flowers now in blossom, and says that in point of climate and soil the place is a perfect paradise. Of the state and prospects of the plantation, I am sorry to say she writes less hopefully and cheerfully.

Two of the men whom they took out with them in the autumn from England have run off, in order to avoid the obligation they bound themselves to of sending their wives half their wages. They can, wherever they choose to go, get the same weekly payment they received from Mr. L—, without any diminution of it for their wives, of whose existence , of course, nobody else with whom they took employment would ever know anything. The men were not Stoneleigh men; but the circumstance has distressed and annoyed Mr. L— very much. The poor deserted women will, of course, come upon their parish at home for support. I believe Englishmen of the lower classes frequently come over here for the purpose of getting rid of their wives and families, who, consequently, fall upon public charity for their maintenance.

F—, in her yesterday's letter, speaks also of a large defection among their negro laborers, under the influence and instigation of two worthless fellows, who had to be dismissed for idleness and insubordination; and who, being rather above the others in quickness and intelligence, have drawn after them a number of the "hands". A neighboring planter has procured a force of thirty Chinamen–an experiment, the result of which is being watched with extreme anxiety, as unless some method can be found of obtaining supplies of laborers to work the estates, the rapid defection of the negroes, and their preference for a precarious subsistence upon mere jobs of work, to the steady cultivation and industry necessary for the rice crop, will, I should fear, before long compel all the owners and planters of that region to abandon any hope of successfully working their plantations.

For my own part, I am not surprised at this aspect of the present or prospect for the future. I have never been able to believe in any return of prosperity for any part of the Southern country till the whole generation of former planters and slaves had died out. There must be almost a new heaven and a new earth throughout the whole of that land before it can recover from the leprosy in which it has been steeped for nearly a hundred years. Its moral, social, and political condition now is one of such corruption that decay and dissolution must, I believe, do their utmost work of destruction before the first real vital breath of resurrection or renewed life can stir there. Of course I hoped, but never quite believed, in the success of the first experiment of freedom, though all my instinctive and rational faith in God's laws and government was against such expectation. Can you reflect upon the condition of that plantation, as it was within my experience, and think it reasonable to imagine that the sudden abolition of slavery, by the means of the war and the President's proclamation, could cancel the action of all the previous influences that had reigned for a hundred years upon the place and people?

While I have been writing the last sentence I have seen something that I think worth telling you. A wretched looking girl, evidently a beggar, has just emptied out upon the pavement, by the square railings opposite my window, about a dozen large pieces of bread from a basket, and run off, leaving them there. She is a member no doubt of a whole army of beggars who now infest this city, going from house to house carrying baskets, with piteous stories of starvation, and receiving money and food, bread and meat, from charitable persons. How little of real starvation exists in their case, or indeed at all, even in the poorest class of the community, is proved by the fact that they constantly throw away the food they have thus received, and nothing is commoner than to see in the gutters and on the pavements great slices of bread and butter and quarter and half loaves of bread. A small street vagabond has just stopped to examine these fragments of food, and amused himself with kicking them hither and thither, finally stamping upon and grinding several of them to powder. The birds of the square are already making their profit by them.

My poor colored man-servant is behaving very steadily and keeping his pledge hitherto unbroken. Of course I lock up every drop of wine and beer with the greatest care, and cannot help hoping that his coming into my service may be the means of rescuing him and his family from the ruin into which his drunkenness would probably have plunged them all; it would be a great delight to me if it should prove so. . . . . I am sorry to hear of the destruction of Lord Cadogan's property in the burning of the Pantechnicon. I am afraid my friend Lady Monson had things (pictures and furniture) there.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Saturday, March 21, 1874.


You ask me questions, which I am by no means capable of answering, with regard to the condition of politics here and the government of the country. Before the war, the Southern slave-holders were undoubtedly the most influential politicians in the United States. Whether as great landowners their position was more favorable for the formation of political capacity than that of the hard-working Northern men of business I do not know; but the Democratic party, which the war all but annihilated, was formed in the South, and was led and supported by Southern statesmen, who controlled the whole government of the country, with the view of upholding their own peculiar institution of slavery, until the West and the North threw off their despotism (for it was that in effect), and the war destroyed, for the time being, all Southern influence in the councils and government of the country. Since its termination, the South has been politically annihilated; the slaveholders are gone, and no class of men has come forward to represent in any way their influence. A territorial aristocracy, of course, always has some good elements out of which to make leaders and governors, and the power and capacity of the planters (though not their way of applying them), as efficient political men and statesmen of ability, are a great loss in the working of the government. The freeing the blacks was a mere consequence of the war, and cannot in any way account for the present low average of the men who constitute congress, except as the sweeping away of the Southern slaveholders abolished a class of men who, for various reasons, were especially adapted to political life. The great difficulty here at the North is, that men of character and ability cannot afford to sacrifice their personal interests to becoming working politicians; and those who do the business of the State are, as a rule, inferior in honesty and capacity to the great majority of the people whom they represent (or, I should say, misrepresent) and rule. It is a most extraordinary state of things, of which it is difficult to see the remedy or foresee the result. The scandalous dishonesty and incapacity of the present men in power, however, is making the whole country restive under a sense of disgrace; but, unfortunately (I cannot say, fortunately), the prosperity of the country is such that the misgovernment and abuses do not press sufficiently hard upon any large body of men to make ardent reformers of them. A pure patriot may lead a charge against a corrupt government for righteousness' sake, but his followers must be people who have a grievance and the gains do not come home sufficiently to the business and bosoms of any sufficiently large mass of people to give rise to any effectual action of reform. The bulk of the people are too well off to care how bad their government is. Heavy as the taxation is, they are able to bear it, and corrupt and degraded as the present result of the system is, in many respects, it is always in the immediate power of the people to make a change when their "machinery" doesn't work to their satisfaction. Of course the higher-minded and better-educated people are neither pleased with nor proud of their government just now; but the "majority" is not a nice creature, and it, by dint of its material circumstances and its institutions (mal-administered as they are), is wonderfully prosperous and fortunate in its conditions.

It is not patriotism, but the grossest ignorance and selfishness, that opposes free trade in America; but by degrees the advantages of it are beginning to dawn upon men's minds, though the convincing people of a future gain, in the face of an immediate loss, is a difficult process. After all, England was protectionist, within my recollection; and nothing seems stranger than the delusions of other people, when they have ceased to be our own.

I never thought the Southerners gentlemen in contradistinction to the Northerners; they were aristocrats, men of comparative leisure, by position, landowners and slaveholders, but certainly not for any of those reasons necessarily gentlemen. I know nothing whatever of either their condition or that of their former dependants now. Both, I imagine, are miserably abiding, and must long continue to abide, the deplorable results of their former mutually baneful relation. . . .You ask how I occupy my evenings. With the same invariable regularity which you know governs all my habits. I play at Patience from after dinner till tea-time; that is, for about an hour (I dine at six at this time of the year), and I knit flannel shirts for Ellen for next winter, or a shawl like yours for M—, or a coverlet for F—'s expected baby, till ten o'clock, when my man-servant, who has a home and family of his own, comes and puts out the gas, shuts up the house, and departs and I go up to my bedroom, where I read for about an hour before going to bed. I do not like spending my evenings alone, and hoped I might have secured some society by announcing that I was always at home and glad to see my friends in the evening; but I have had neither many nor frequent visitors. Perhaps I could not expect it. I know little of Philadelphia or its society, and have grown more and more English in contradistinction to American as I have grown older* One of my fellow-residents in the square, a lady, my next-door neighbor, has paid me one morning visit, for which favor I was very grateful to her. She was so handsome, both in face and figure, however, that I found it difficult to answer her amiable commonplaces with propriety, and without breaking out into the Italian couplet–

"O bella Venere che sola sei
Piacer degli uomini e degli Dei!"

which I do not think she would have understood. The same effect was always produced on me by a beautiful north-country Englishwoman, whom I never could listen to for looking at. This, however, was not so inconvenient as the beauty of Mrs. H—, one of whose admirers assured me that it took his breath away whenever she came into the room; he was not in love with her either. . . . .

Going out at night here in winter is hardly fit for elderly people. The carriages you hire do not come when they are ordered, either to take you or to fetch you away; they constantly refuse to put you down or take you up at the house where you spend your evening, but compel you to walk through pelting rain and snow, over a foot deep, because they will not or cannot draw up to the pavement or make proper room for each other in due succession.

God bless you, dearest H—. I answer all you ask as well as I can, and am ever, as ever,


* My friend Lady Georgianna Gray told me that after the death of her father a similar disappointment attended her mother's and her own efforts to secure a familiar informal evening society. This, with their fine house in Eaton Square, and its political and social traditions and friendly intimacy with all the remarkable and distinguished members of the English society of that day, seems strange; but the intimate, easy, constant intercourse of a French salon is not to be obtained in England, the anti-social temper and formal habits of our people being ill adapted to it. Lady Holland and the Misses Berry were the only persons I have ever known who were able to obtain, without special invitation, informal evening gatherings at their houses.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Good Friday,April 3, 1874.


I not only am not likely to prefer Home Rule in Ireland to Colonel Taylor's Conservatism, but have a general idea that Irish rule at home, or abroad, is very nearly synonymous with no rule or misrule. Oh! if you could have heard the account given me this morning by the poor matron of a children's hospital of her Irish "help"–that is, the eleven hindrances (maid-servants) under her immediate control (uncontrol)–you certainly would have wondered, as I often do here, whether the Irish alphabet and multiplication table are the same as those used anywhere else in the world; they seem so incapable of any but what I think must be called Irish conclusions, i.e., confusions.

I thought Edward Taylor was secure of his seat, and was sorry since to hear that he had to contest it. I shall be anxious about the result, and anxious, too, about all the exertion and worry he must go through. I wish it well over for your sake.

Surely the political progress of England and Ireland must be very manifest when the speeches of such a Tory as your nephew remind you of the Whig speeches of former days. . . .

The plantation is not doing well; the difficulty of obtaining steady labor–such as the raising of any crops, but more than any other rice crops, demand–is becoming so great, as to make it almost doubtful whether the proprietors of such estates must not give up the attempt altogether. The negroes are gradually leaving the estates, buying morsels of land for themselves, where they knock up miserable shanties, and do a day's work or a job here and there and now and then, but entirely decline the settled working by contract for the whole agricultural season, which they have accepted for the last year or two since the war. One of the planters in the neighborhood of Butler's Island is employing Chinese laborers, and F— writes thus about them: "Mr. B— has brought his Chinamen over to thresh out some seed rice at our mill, and I went down to see them yesterday. They certainly are not a pretty race, and, to me, are far more repulsive than the negroes; they have such low, cunning, ignoble countenances. Nevertheless, I should not be sorry to see about a hundred of them on this place, working, for work they will, and do." * . . . .

The exertion of going out in the evening is a very great one to me. I dread the inclement weather, the extravagant carriage hire, and the intolerable insolence of the drivers, who set you down before a snow-heap, or six yards from the door you are going to in a pouring rain, because some "gentleman" of their fraternity in front of you refuses to move on and let you draw up.

My poor man-servant continues to be quite steady and sober, and I have every reason to rejoice that he does so, as Hancock (a former servant), whose state of health is very miserable, has made up his mind not to risk coming over to this country, and I have no further hopes of his services.

I remember the Mr. Parnell who is now opposing Edward's election coming out to America a great many years ago, with Lord Powerscourt, then a huge big boy, with a pretty girl's face. I recollect, too, hearing soon after of Mr. Parnell's marriage to Commodore Stewart's daughter (he was a naval, I think, and not a military, officer).

Young Mr. Furness, the son of my dear and venerated spiritual pastor and master, the editor of Shakespeare, comes occasionally with his wife and passes an evening with me. I was so much pleased with the enthusiastic devotion to his laborious task of his Variorum Shakespeare that I gave him the pair of Shakespeare's gloves Cecilia Combe left me in her will, and which had come to her mother, Mrs. Siddons, from Mrs. Garrick. I also gave him a pretty drawing of myself, while I was reading, by the daughter of Richard Lane, the artist, my father's intimate friend.

That precious bequest of Shakespeare's gloves reached me one evening while I was giving a reading in Boston, and occasioned me such an emotion of delight and surprise that one of the few times when I made blunders in my text was when I resumed my reading after finding them in the room to which I retired for rest in the middle of my performance. My Boston audience were my friends; and I think if I had told them the cause of the mistakes I made, when I resumed my seat and my book, they would have sympathized with and pardoned me. Perhaps they would have liked me to show them the gloves, which I never showed to any American that he did not directly put his hand into one of them.

The one exception to this was my dear and reverend Dr. Furness, who hardly seemed to dare to touch them; but "reverence, the angel of this world," had blessed him with its influence. To my great dismay Horace Furness and his wife had a bracelet made for me after this–from some lines of Shakespeare:

"Bands of straw with ivy buds,
Fastened with amber and coral studs,"

–and sent it to me, and I, who, you know, have an absolute horror of presents, refused it; in spite of which brutality of mine, they have always been very good and kind to me, and still come and see me, and send me vegetables and forced strawberries and mushrooms from their hothouses, which I have neither the heart nor the stomach to refuse. The other evening, when they came to see me, they brought me a beautiful salutation lily, which is still perfuming my room and delighting my eyes.

I have no idea what your prices in Dublin for the necessaries of life are, but here everything is exorbitant. We pay thirty-two shillings a ton for the commonest kind of coal, and three pounds a cord for wood for the one grate in the house where I burn it–which is in my dressing-room, and has andirons–in what is called a Franklin stove. My tea costs seven shillings a pound, and that which they drink in the kitchen four shillings, and so on with every item of household expenditure; in spite of which the wife of the gardener at Butler Place comes into town and visits Ellen, with her little girl dressed up in white Marseilles piqué, all trimmed with needlework, and a broad sash of rich sky-blue silk, and ribbons in her hair to match, fit for a duke's daughter.

I hear nothing at all of the Woman's Right question in this country. Fanny Cobbe wrote me word, that the new state of things in England was favorable to it, and spoke of how many votes they hoped to get in the new Parliament in favor of woman's suffrage. I have no doubt that women, both here and in England, will eventually obtain the right to vote, if they persist in demanding it; and probably, by slow degrees, what I covet more for them, a better, perhaps even a tolerably good, education. Fanny Cobbe always seems to me to be misled by the very amiable modesty of supposing that other women are her equals, her intellectual and moral peers; and I believe the women she talks to are conceited enough to take her at her word.

I divide my evening between Patience and knitting, and having done so until ten o'clock, read for about an hour before going to bed; but I am terribly afraid of using up my remains of eyesight.

* Of all the "men of color" that I have seen, the negroes, in spite of their greatest ugliness, have to me by far the best and least repulsive countenances. They have a kindly, merry, frank, and simple expression of face which answers to their general characteristics; while the Hindoos, Red Indians, and Chinese that I have seen have had something sinister, ferocious, or base in their countenance which inspired distrust, fear, or disgust. Even the mulattoes, though far less dusky and thick-featured than the negroes, and sometimes indeed eminently handsome, have (normally speaking) worse faces than their full black-blooded kinsfolk.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Easter Sunday, April 5, 1874.


You ask me if my man-servant is a thoroughbred negro or a mulatto, and I find it difficult to say, because, though his skin is quite black, and his hair quite woolly, his features are not exactly of the usual negro type. His face is rather pleasing, both in form and expression, and his head, though small, is well shaped and proportioned. The different African tribes, though resembling each other in the color of their skin, and the quality of their hair, differ very much in figure and features, some of the Abyssians being really fine and handsome men, while the more southern people are hideous, and certainly almost as like monkeys as men. It seems to me there has been no lack of endeavor to Christianize the negroes (to some extent) both on the part of Protestants and Catholics in the South. At the same time, as long as slavery lasted, the planters reserved the right of enlightening their slaves to themselves, and were extremely jealous and afraid, naturally enough, of all influence from without in that respect. But since the war the slaves have become voters, and have, therefore, acquired a political value as partisans, and an influence over them may be turned henceforward to account in all election questions, especially as there are some portions of the South where they overnumber the whites, and where they will be a decided power in the hands of whatever political party acquires power over them. The Roman Catholic priests perceived this immediately, and are working, not alone in the South, but all over the country, to make converts among them, and to bring them–not only as members of the Church, Christians, but as members of the state, voters–under papal dominion; and if (as they are laboring to accomplish, and are beginning to succeed in accomplishing) the race hatred between the blacks and the Irish, gives way under the influence of the religious bond of a common faith, the Roman Catholics in this country will have a formidable political power by-and-by with which to oppose the native American and imported German Protestant party.

It is all extremely curious and interesting, especially the action of Roman Catholicism, in this wide field of circumstance, and in direct fundamental opposition to the democratic spirit of the institutions and people of America. Qui vivra verra! . . .

I see my friend M—, on an average, about twice a week; she generally comes into town one day on business of some sort or another, and pays me a visit, and I generally go out to Champlost one day in the seven, after breakfast, and stay with her until about four o'clock.

The livery-stable keeper from whom I get my carriage, for the purpose of driving to Champlost, has now raised his price to two guineas (the distance is only seven miles), and this will compel me to take the railroad to visit M—, which involves about half an hour's journey through the streets of Philadelphia, on tramways, in horse-cars, crowded with people standing up in them as well as sitting literally on each other's knees, with men chewing and spitting tobacco round one's petticoats, and every imaginable inconvenience and annoyance.* . . .

I am very glad your nephew has got his seat, which seems to me so properly belonging to him that any attempt to dispute it strikes me as a positive impertinence.

* There appears to be no established limit to the number of passengers accommodated in these public conveyances. Not only do they sit upon and be sat upon by their fellow-travellers with perfect resignation, but leather straps are fastened all along the top of the "car", as they call the carriages, to support and sustain as many who are standers in the vehicle, and protect the sitters from being annihilated by their falling on them.

1812, RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Monday, April 20, 1874.


The agent has just come up from the plantation to visit his family, who reside in Philadelphia. The account he gives of the prospects of the estate is, I am sorry to say, not encouraging; and I cannot but think that another year's experience may convince the proprietors of the hopelessness of persisting in its cultivation. At the same time the property will, I fear, hang around its owners' necks like a millstone, for there is no chance at present, at any rate, of their being able either to sell or to let it. . . .

Your suggestions with regard to my evening society make me smile; I am much too bad a whist-player to venture to ask men to come to my house for the purpose of playing with me. I have no intimate men friends whom I could so invite, and there is almost an insuperable difficulty, in that the men here are all very hard workers, who prefer sitting at home in their slippers and smoking, when their day's work is done, to going anywhere to encounter the inevitable restraints of society. Another difficulty in giving invitations for the evening here, is that you ought to provide hot supper (stewed oysters at least) and champagne for such of your guests as dine in the middle of the day, or who, dining later, still keep up the practice of eating and drinking more than mere tea and bread and butter by way of final repast. The mere cost of living is such, that I avoid the slightest unnecessary expense in my housekeeping, and the incompetency and unreliableness of every member of my household, makes me shun the least additional demand upon their inefficiency, which is sure to end in annoyance and mortification to myself, and extra trouble, worry, and fatigue to my poor Ellen. But there is no use in contemplating how things might have been otherwise than they have been, and are. I have labored under a heavy sense of depression the whole winter, and a disinclination to make the slightest exertion, which occasionally makes the ordering of my own meals more trouble than eating is worth, so that I really have not taken any pains to achieve anything different from the life I have led, and which I am therefore not in the least inclined or entitled to complain of.

I am just now obliged to inhabit my dining-room all day long, where I have the disagreeable and, I believe, deleterious company of an anthracite coal fire; the furnace flues are all out of order in the drawing-rooms, and instead of the warm air which they should emit, send forth nothing but smoke, bitter cold blasts, and foul, poisonous gases. My landlord must be an insolvent bankrupt, I should think, from the incessant stream of his creditors that has besieged his house ever since I have been in it. The very day of my arrival I found a grim official standing guard over the gas-meter, who, holding forth to me an unpaid bill of Mr. A—'s, told me he was sent by the gas company to obtain payment of the bill or cut off my supply of light. I amused myself, rather wickedly, with urging upon this poor man the universal courtesy of his countrymen towards women, of which I told him I had heard such honorable mention in England, my own country. The poor fellow looked at his bill, and looked at me, and then desperately exclaiming, "I am an amployee (with an a and three e's) of the gas company," rushed frantically from the premises. The other day a sheriff's notice was served on the furniture, forbidding the removal of it; so to ask my landlord to repair his furnace would be quite hopeless, and I will not touch it myself, partly for fear of incurring liabilities of all sorts, and partly because the premises are in such a state of dilapidation that to undertake any repairs would, I should think, involve the necessity or the risk of pulling the house down.

We are now having heavy rains, which are giving everybody violent colds and sore throats, and I am moreover enjoying sciatic rheumatism, or rheumatic sciatica, which affects my whole left leg, from the hip-joint to the heel; it is not quite intolerable, but quite bad enough to be very disagreeable. When the warm weather comes, I suppose it will go; meantime, I grin and bear it. . . .I believe women, at present, have no political rights in the United States, any more than in England. My impression is, that in very early times of the republic, the state laws of New Jersey (you know the several states have all their own peculiar laws) allowed women to be voters. Whether the privilege has since been taken from them or not I do not know; but I never heard of their claiming the exercise of it. Now, however, I imagine several of the states may take measures for allowing the suffrage to women; and I dare say they will obtain it, if they choose to do so, all over the country, where certainly the most curious anomalies exist, with regard to large bodies of (so-called) citizens of the United States.

The negroes are now all exalted to that dignity, and vote accordingly; moreover, the negroes are at this moment sitting as members of the state legislature of South Carolina: in spite of which, my man-servant, a very decent-looking, respectably dressed individual, was not allowed here to purchase a ticket for any part of the theater to which I went the other night, and was turned from the door with the announcement that people of color were not admitted even to the gallery there. This man votes, and is to all intents and purposes politically, though not socially, a citizen of the United States.

The present attitude of the government, and aspect of public affairs in this country, is afflicting enough in all conscience to every one interested in it. I am grieved, indignant, and ashamed at the conduct and character of the present administration, but have not lost my faith in the fundamental principles of right, truth, and justice. The future of this country is an enormous problem for any one to guess at; its condition in many respects, at present, is lamentable and disgraceful.

Good-bye, my dearest H—. I am almost beginning to think of next year, when I hope to return to England and dream of the possibility of seeing you again.

Ever, as ever, yours,


1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Monday, April 27, 1874.


. . . I had a letter the day before yesterday from F—, announcing themselves for the eleventh of next month, at which I rejoice greatly; they have left the rice plantation for the seaside on St. Simon's, where salt-water baths and sea air are giving her strength for her journey. . . . Our spring is extremely cold, backward, and ungenial. The winter was unusually mild and fine; but the whole of this month has been stormy and wet, and the vegetation is so backward that there is not a single leaf out yet on the trees in the square before my window. The cold and damp have been such, that a perfect epidemic of influenza has pervaded the city, and measles and scarlet fever have been unusually prevalent. I do not like this sort of codicil tacked on to the winter; but really dread the intense heat of the summer so much more than any degree of cold, that every day that delays the summer is clear gain to me. My dear Ellen, after whom you so kindly ask, has been very unwell indeed, with the same miserable influenza from which I am suffering; but she is the bravest and least selfish creature I ever saw, and has never given way or absolutely laid up, because my whole house depends upon her, and if she is disabled, complete confusion in every department must ensue. She has been, and is, invaluable to me in her courage and affectionate devotion.

My negro man-servant has left me. I am afraid he found it impossible to endure the strain of enforced sobriety any longer. He took an absurd pretext of offense to give me warning, and has gone off. He has probably made some arrangement for passing the summer at the seaside, or at some fashionable watering-place; where, instead of the seven guineas a month he got from me, he will be able to get ten, twelve, or perhaps fourteen; where he will be comparatively his own master, and where he can be as idle, drunken, and worthless as he pleases. More than half the men and women servants in Philadelphia do this, easily getting situations with very high wages, in hotels and boarding-houses at the fashionable summer resorts, and returning to seek, and find without any difficulty, situations in the city for the winter. It is a deplorable system, and destroys everything like steadiness in service, and the proper relationship of family household life. . . .

Dr. W— did not accompany S— in her late trip to Boston, an arrangement by which I profited, as he dined frequently with me during her absence, and took me to the play and opera, and gave me one or two quiet evenings of piquet playing, which I was very thankful for, and found very cheerful. I know nothing whatever about my nephew's marriage; I have not seen him since he was a school boy, and as his American princess is an entire stranger to me, I have made no overtures to her royal highness.

I heard yesterday of a New York lady who, speaking of diminished means and the adjustment of some family affairs and money disputes among her relations, said, "she was tolerably well off now, indeed, she might say quite comfortable; for she could afford to keep her carriage, and her opera-box, and to give quiet little dinner-parties (not expensive ones, of course), but that would not cost her more than a thousand dollars–two hundred pounds apiece." What do you think of that by way of diminished means and tolerable comfort? This lady is not a duchess, you know–but plain Mrs. So-and-So, of New York. *

* I have nowhere seen extravagance to compare with that of American women, especially in dress. I knew one woman–I was going to say lady, but I retract that–who, wearing during the summer exquisite linen dresses, made for the American market and light and cool for the heat, never had one washed, but as soon as it had lost its first crisp freshness threw it away. Another lady of the same stamp paid fifteen dollars–three pounds–for the ironing of a flowered dress that was rather tumbled. The head of one of the first lace establishments in Brussels told me that she had received a commission from an American gentleman for a New York lady for a flounce, which was to cost not less per yard than a sum so extravagant, "that" said the lace-maker, "I did not know how we could contrive to make anything in size, pattern, or fine texture, for which we could honestly demand such a price." The gentleman insisted nevertheless, as that, he said, was the only condition his female friend affixed to the purchase of her flounce, wishing only that its price should exceed that of an acquaintance of hers. A New York lady, I am told, has Brussels lace window curtains in her drawing room, but whether more expensive than her neighbors', I do not know. On purchasing three yards of lace for the sleeves and body of the dress I wore at my daughter's wedding, and assigning as my reason for not buying more its high price (a guinea a meter), the lady lace-maker said they had sold a whole dressing gown–peignoir–trimming to a lady recently. "C'était une Americaine," said I, "Oui, madame," said she.

1812 RITTENHOUSE SQUARE, Monday, May 4, 1874.


I have been anxiously looking for the letter which has just come, bringing me the sad news (which, indeed, I was fully prepared for) of your niece's death. . . . One can hardly help a feeling of regret to think for how brief a space of time she enjoyed her newly found home and its relations, but indeed life might have taken that satisfaction from her, and more painfully than death. Our deplorings and our rejoicings are alike feeble guesses at the significance of events whose real nature is hidden from us. Implicit trust in God's wisdom and goodness, and submissive resignation to His will, are our only rational conditions in this mysterious existence and with our helpless ignorance. . . .

I went over, for the first time the other day, the small country house where I am to spend the summer. It is a tiny old Pennsylvania farmhouse, consisting originally of four rooms on each of three stories, built round one central stack of chimneys, which served all the fireplaces. The stone walls of the house are rough and very thick, the windows narrow and small, and there was formerly neither beauty nor convenience of any sort in the dwelling or any of its surroundings. By dint of alterations and additions, however, a very sufficiently pleasant and commodious residence has now been made out of this original one. The house was built (as all houses of the same date were) as near as possible for convenience to the high-road, a dusty turnpike, formerly the only line of communication between Philadelphia and New York, which divides the Butler Place property in two unequal part. The situation of the house, in such a position, is the more to be regretted, that at a distance from the highway, further back in the grounds, there is a charming site for a dwelling, looking over sloping fields to the woods of Champlost, and beyond them to a wide expanse of level landscape, where in the purple distance the glimmer of the Delaware may here and there be seen. My compensation for the proximity to the dusty high-road, which separates me from Butler Place, is that I see, over hedges and through trees, the house where my children were born, my first and only American home.

Though the rooms of the cottage are small, there are enough of them, and all the additions to it–new rooms for the servants, new kitchen, bath-room, etc., are quite comfortable.

The whole having been newly done up, is bright and clean, and F— is intent upon putting it all in order for me herself, and deprecates my having anything to do with arranging it, which she wishes to have entirely left to her. As this is her express desire, I have, of course, acquiesced in it. She will, I have no doubt, find pleasure in it, will have plenty of help, and not be allowed to over-exert herself.

Our mild winter has been succeeded by a very cold and backward spring. We have had snow within the last week, heavy chilly rains, and bleak winds, and all vegetation is unusually backward.


This, my dearest H—, is henceforward my direction. I have not yet removed hither, but I am leaving this house in the course of this week. F— and her husband are out at the farm already, in the midst of as much confusion, preparing to take possession of their house, as I am here preparing to leave this. It is astonishing what an accumulation of absurdly useless things civilized human existence gathers about itself, even in so short a period as six months, which is all the time I have been here.

I think I must have conveyed to you a worse impression of this house than it deserved. It is large, airy, and not ill arranged, terribly out of repair, with not a sound piece of furniture in all the rooms. Now, however, that the winter is over, and the misery of the poisonous smoke from the furnace at an end, the discomfort is infinitely less, and the advantages of the position become more apparent. The shade and trees and grass of the square are pleasant objects from the front windows, and a magnificent Wisteria Glycene in full blossom in the back yard is very charming. The house to which I am going is in some respects an undesirable summer residence. It stands immediately up on a dusty road, and has no shade about it; the rooms are small and very low; and the windows narrow, admitting but little air. It has one quality which is good, both for summer and winter–the walls are very thick. . . . My spirits are the better for the return of the sweet season of light; and whatever drawbacks there may be to my present situation, I am most thankful to be where I am. I am writing to you in the midst of an inconceivable, confused chaos of trunks, boxes, books, pictures, bills, and bunches of keys, and feel as if I was incoherent.

A curious circumstance, which only came to my knowledge several years after my residence in this house, in Rittenhouse Square, seems to me to possess sufficiently the qualities of a good ghost story to be worth preserving.

The house was so constructed that a room, half-way between the ground floor and the story immediately above it, commanded the flight of stairs leading to the latter, and the whole landing or passage on which the rooms on that floor opened. These rooms were my bed and dressing-room, the drawing-rooms and dining-room being under them, on the ground floor.

One evening that my maid was sitting in the room from which she could see the whole of the staircase and upper landing, she saw the door of my bedroom open, and an elderly woman in a flannel dressing-gown, with a bonnet on her head, and a candle in her hand, come out, walk the whole length of the passage, and return again into the bedroom, shutting the door after her. My maid knew that I was in the drawing-room below in my usual black velvet evening dress; moreover, the person she had seen bore no resemblance either in figure or face to me, or to any member of my household, which consisted of three young servant women besides herself, and a negro man-servant. My maid was a remarkably courageous and reasonable person, and through very much startled (for she went directly upstairs and found no one in the rooms), she kept her counsel, and mentioned the circumstance to nobody, though, as she told me afterwards, she was so afraid lest I should have a similar visitation, that she was strongly tempted to ask Dr. W—'s advice as to the propriety of mentioning her experience to me. She refrained from doing so, however, and some time after, as she was sitting in the dusk in the same room, the man-servant came in to light the gas and made her start, observing which, he said, "Why, lors, Miss Ellen, you jump as if you had seen a ghost." In spite of her late experience, Ellen very gravely replied, "Nonsense, William, how can you talk such stuff! You don't believe in such things as ghosts, do you?" "Well," he said, "I don't know just so sure what to say to that, seeing it's very well known there was a ghost in this house." "Pshaw!" said Ellen. "Whose ghost?" "Well, poor Mrs. R—'s ghost, it's very well known, walks about this house, and no great wonder either, seeing how miserably she lived and died here." To Ellen's persistent expressions of contemptuous incredulity, he went on, "Well, Miss Ellen, all I can say is, several girls" (i.e., maidservants) "have left this house on account of it;" and there the conversation ended. Some days after this, Ellen coming into the drawing-room to speak to me, stopped abruptly at the door, and stood there, having suddenly recognized in a portrait immediately opposite to it, and which was that of the dead mistress of the house, the face of the person she had seen come out of my bedroom. I think this is a very tidy ghost story; and I am bound to add, as a proper commentary on it, that I have never inhabited a house which affected me with a sense of such intolerable melancholy gloominess as this; without any assignable reason whatever, either in its situation or any of its conditions.* My maid, to the present day, persists in every detail (and without the slightest variation) of this experience of hers, absolutely rejecting my explanation of it: that she had heard, without paying any particular attention to it, some talk among the other servants about the ghost in the house, which had remained unconsciously to herself in her memory, and reproduced itself in this morbid nervous effect of her imagination.

* Poor Mrs. R—'s ghost may have been its presiding spirit, without becoming apparent to me, for which I feel very grateful to her.

YORK FARM, May 19, 1874.


I am amazed at what you tell me of Harriet Martineau's prolonged literary exertions. I had no idea she was still alive even, much less contributing to the Daily News. I had a great admiration for her genius, and during the period of our intercourse we were cordial friends; but it is now many years since I have had any direct communication with her, and indeed do not suppose we could have had any that would have been very satisfactory to me, after her conversion from Christianity to Atkinsonism, which caused me a whole day's bitter crying by the seaside at St. Leonards, for her sake, and that of all those who had believed in her, and still believe in God.

The return of fine weather is always welcome to me, but you know darkness is not an element of the winter here; the brilliant skies that shine over the frozen, snow-covered earth, prevent the cold season from ever being gloomy, however severe it may be; and I remember Dr. Channing, speaking to me of the difference between England and America in this respect, said, "The earth is yours, but the heavens are ours."

My spirits are, I am sorry to say, often depressed, I hope from physical causes; for I should be loth to believe that with so much to be contented with, and thankful for, I was habitually wanting in that cheerfulness which seems to me a natural result of gratitude, and a very decided Christian duty.

YORK FARM, May 31, 1874


I am writing to you in a room so darkened that I can hardly see my paper. The terrible summer heat is beginning, and, as in Italy, the only defense against it, or mode of making one's life tolerable, is shutting up the whole house in darkness until the sun sets. Yesterday evening the full moon rose as red as blood, and this morning the whole country was shrouded in dense mist, a sure sign of heavy heat in the day. I wish I was as chilly as you are now, how you would enjoy this summer climate!

I left my house in town ten days ago, and spent a week at Champlost, while F— was fitting and furnishing up this little farmhouse, which she insisted upon getting ready for me, instead of my preparing it for her, which I had been very anxious to do. . . . Last Thursday, however, the 28th, their birthday, F— begged me to come and take up my abode with her at the farm, and I came over from Champlost accordingly. The small house is still in much disorder, but you will readily imagine how happy I was, sitting down with them both at last, in such perfect peace and contentment. . . . Although I have been more than once, in former years, in this small dependency of Butler Place, I was not familiar with the house, and find it, though small, convenient and comfortable, and quite capable of being made a pretty and pleasant residence.

The house at Butler Place is still full of workmen, but Dr. W— and S— are urging the progress of matters there as much as they can, and they hope by the beginning of next month to be able to take possession. You cannot conceive with what a strange mixture of feelings (in which, however, satisfaction and joy and gratitude to God greatly predominated over all sad memories), I looked at S— the other day as she stood on my former doorstep, superintending the unloading of cars full of furniture and household goods; it gave me something of the feeling of a German "Doppel Gänger" to look at her, like an apparition of my own youth, in that place governing from the veranda steps the house and domain that was once my home. . . .

I do not think this house is further from that of Butler Place than the sides of Fitzwilliam Square are from each other. The trees I planted along the low inclosure hedge of Butler Place, thirty years ago, stretch their branches and throw their shadow half over the road which divides the places–a dusty, much-travelled country road, I am sorry to say, close upon which this house stands, which is the principal disadvantage of the place. It is a provoking pity that old-fashioned farmer-folk thought only of the convenience of being as near the highway as possible; for hardly half a quarter of a mile back from where this house stands, is really a charming position for a dwelling, with fine single trees, and very pretty small clumps of wood about it, commanding an extensive distant view, and having in front of it a fine breezy field that slopes to pretty broken ground, and a wooded hollow with a beautiful clear spring at the bottom of it. The large house on the other side, though much too near the road, is not as immediately upon it as this is, but there, too, some charming situations have been neglected, and the dwelling placed in a perfectly uninteresting part of the grounds for the sake of proximity to the turnpike road. . .

God bless you, dearest H—, think of me here, surrounded indeed with objects full of the associations with my early married life, which I can contemplate at this distance from it with not a taste of bitterness. My existence here just now excites my utmost gratitude for God's merciful goodness to me; and I can never contrast my past with my present life here without the profoundest thankfulness to the Providence that has permitted such a close to my troubled days. So think of me, my dear friend, and ever, as ever yours,


YORK FARM, Tuesday, June 2, 1874.


I have already written to you one letter from this place, where I took up my abode last week on my children's birthday (you know that they were both born at seven o'clock in the morning on the 28th of May, a striking instance, I think, of my love of system and regularity). We are gradually getting all things to rights in this tiny habitation, which is a small, old-fashioned, but not uncomfortable farmhouse, and it begins to look homelike and pretty, with gay chintz furniture and our books and pictures. The rooms are rather undersized for me, who like large ones; but though that is not to my taste, there is quite a sufficient number of them, and when I am alone here, as I shall be through the winter, they will be quite large enough. . . .

America, my dear H—, is a very strange country, and the condition of its colored population at this moment one of the strangest political phenomena. Not only are negroes members of a state legislature in South Carolina, while here in Philadelphia my colored man-servant (who is a citizen and has a vote), is turned from the door of the theater, because he is not white; but at present, in this city, there are colored men eligible and elected members of the public school boards; while their children are not admitted to the white schools. This, of course, not by any law, but by the force of custom and prejudice, stronger than any law. Time alone will overcome this; though the removal of all the legal disabilities, which created and prolonged separation between the races, will naturally at first intensify the feeling of repugnance on the part of the whites to any other form of equality between them. The Catholic priests, who are zealously working to obtain influence over the blacks, for the sake of their votes, are doing all in their power to bring them into friendly relations with the Roman Catholic Irish, so as to make one political force of them. Altogether, under Catholic guidance and direction, it is a very curious process to watch.

The President's veto on the Inflation Currency Measure has given immense satisfaction to all (but a few rascals); it has for the time being really saved the nation from enormous disgrace and difficulty.

Last Sunday I went to evening service in the little village church, which is just now without a settled clergyman, and where Mr. L— has undertaken to officiate while he is here; and reflecting on the merciful Providence which has led me back to this place, under circumstances of so much content and peaceful satisfaction, my heart overflowed with thankfulness.

This morning, dreading the heat after breakfast, I went out at six o'clock, and took a beautiful retriever of Mr. L—'s to swim in a large pond, which is the further boundary of Butler Place. As I walked along the farm road and through the woods to a charming path by the water-side, every step I took reminded me of how blessed I was in all my present condition and surroundings, and how infinitely grateful to God I have cause to be.

You would have sympathized with the ecstasy of my companion, a noble beast, with a splendid coat of chestnut hair curling all over him, who leapt from a picturesque piece of rock into fourteen feet of water over and over again, and could hardly be persuaded to come away.

YORK FARM, BRANCHTOWN, Friday, June 14, 1874.


Your letter directed to Philadelphia followed me here, and I think my change of residence has been effected without any interruption to our correspondence. I thought on the arrival of the L—s from the south that he looked thinner, which is probably to be accounted for by hard work–for he has got up early and led a laborer's life upon the plantation, on shorter commons, too, I think, that he has ever been used to–and in the hot southern climate, which even in winter is apt to affect the constitution, and almost always reduces flesh. . . .

The experiment of bringing out English laborers has failed in the instance of all but two of the eight men who, according to the original contract, have worked on the plantation all the winter, and are now engaged in the lumber business in the pine woods near it, till next winter, when they will again return to work on the rice-crop. Two of the men found the life unendurable on the plantation, and ran away, and are still in debt to Mr. L— for their passage money, which he had advanced to them. The other four, when he came North, instead of remaining in Georgia cutting timber in the pine woods, insisted upon coming North also, and finding employment here. Of course employment could not be found for them immediately, and the cost of bringing them up from Darien and the cost of maintaining them has been a severe tax upon Mr. L—. Two of them have at length found work with farmers in this neighborhood, one of them I share the expense of with F—, keeping him to work in this little garden, and do odd jobs here, and one other Dr. W— is employing temporarily at Butler Place, where there is just now work for a great many hands. But as the wages of common laboring men are from six to eight shillings a day, it is rather an expensive luxury to hire them. . . .

The terms in which this property was settled on me are such that the fact of my having relinquished my whole interest in it avails nothing to enable my children to dispose of it. The entail of the estate is so strict as to make it almost impossible to sell it, and it is one of those legal knots tied originally in the interest of the heirs, for the purpose of securing the property to them, which at present seems to render their dealing with it, for actual purposes, in any way impracticable. . . . The taxes on their landed property here are enormous. . . .

The W—s are impatiently urging the workmen to conclude the alterations over the way. He comes out from town almost every day, and she once or twice a week; but the house is not swept and garnished, and it is in possession of many more than seven devils in the shape of carpenters, painters, etc., and I think the most sanguine hope they can entertain is to get possession in a fortnight, and begin furnishing and upholstering after they are in the house. . . .

I have the charge of the housekeeping here, or rather Ellen has, who is invaluable, and manages everything for me. F—'s maid is a poor, spiritless, helpless, ailing English girl, who does nothing but cry, and is neither assistance, cheer, comfort, nor company to Ellen. . . . Sometimes I feel a little troubled about my own increased expenditure, and sometimes I am worried overmuch about the details of the housekeeping; for you know, till this winter, I have not kept house for several years, and one loses the habit and faculty for it; oftenest of all, however, I am thankful from the bottom of my heart for the general blessed peace of these, my latter days.

YORK FARM, Friday, July 4, 1874.


I had a little granddaughter born to me last night in a furious thunderstorm; the "vital spark of heavenly flame," the living soul, came to us between two tremendous flashes of lightning and peals of thunder, and I wonder it was not frightened back into pre-existence. Mother and child are doing well, and, God be praised! we are all delivered. . . .

YORK FARM, Friday, July 11, 1874.


I reproached myself after I had written despondingly about the Southern property, for I am afraid it will have worried you, and I wish I had not written it. I am so very happy in the fortunate issue of my child's confinement and convalescence, and the condition of the fine little baby, that I am less inclined to take gloomy views of other matters than I was when I last wrote to you. . . .

The York Farm, where I am now living, is a small part of the property on the other side of the road, between forty or fifty acres, I think; it is let at a low rent to the man who farms it, and is burdened with an enormous land tax. It would prove, however, very valuable if it were cut up and sold in building lots, for small villa residences, such as are springing up on all sides in this neighborhood.

F— and her child are going on admirably well, and everything is prosperous with them, God be thanked, and all is better with me than I could ever have dreamed it possible to be. . . .

My poor little half-witted English cook has been disabled now for nearly three weeks with a felon in her finger. For one week we hired a half-savage Irishwoman, at two guineas a week; but she, who is the only charwoman to be obtained in this neighborhood for love or money, prefers drinking by the day and night together, locked up in her cabin, to working, even at the rate of two guineas a week, and so latterly we have done without any additional help, and Ellen has done the greater part of the cooking. We have not, thanks to her admirable energy and management, any great difficulty with our double household; and it is most fortunate that, in spite of her delicate health, she has a decided gift and a decided liking for controlling and managing. In the week presided over by our Irish char-lady we had fifty-three quarts of milk and seven quarts of cream, for which economy I paid her two guineas a week. I cannot afford either piano or carriage, but hire most grudgingly, at a guinea a drive, a job carriage to return my neighbors' visits: in spite of which small annoyances I am most thankful to be here, and as happy as I can be, and infinitely happier than I ever hoped to be. . . .

Our heat is very dreadful–ninety-six and a hundred and one occasionally; on an average ninety in the day, and as much as eighty-four at ten o'clock at night, three hours after sunset. We had drought nearly the whole month of June, now we are having furious thunderstorms, and heavy rain, but no mitigation of the heat.

YORK FARM, August 2, 1874.


I quite agree with you that a woman's nursing her own infant is the right thing both for mother and child, whatever modern theorists may say to the contrary; indeed, I am by no means charmed by modern theories in these matters, and moreover, for my own part, am of opinion that the year in which a mother holds her baby at her breast and sees it looking up into her eyes is a sufficient compensation even for the most miserable marriage. . . . I am now told, with the regard to the scrupulous care with which a woman's diet was formerly regulated, with a view to its effect upon her child, that that is a mere nonsensical superstition, an exploded old woman's fanatical fallacy; that whatever agrees with the mother is sure to agree with the child, and that a baby is to become inured by experience from the very first to the effect of every variety in its nurse's diet,–to which I can only reply, "it may be so," it was different in my time. Mais nous avons change tout cela.

I have not been able to afford either a pianoforte or a carriage, so both at home and abroad am rather curtailed of my usual recreations, but mere living here is inordinately expensive. . . .

The season, upon the whole, has not been one of excessive heat–a circumstance for which I cannot be too thankful, for I had looked forward with dismay to the sort of atmosphere I remember enduring here in former years, when during some nights of intolerable heat I walked about the gravel paths of the garden at Butler Place barefooted and in my nightgown, like another Jane Shore; and failing to find anything tolerably cool to put on my bed, I laid upon it a piece of oilcloth, on which I lay down. This house is small, with small rooms and low ceilings, and little narrow windows, of the old-fashioned farmhouse kind. It stands immediately on the road, from which it is entirely unsheltered, receiving all day long the clouds of dust that a six weeks' drought and a dry soil have made all but suffocating. Under these circumstances, I have been thankful enough that the thermometer has not averaged higher than ninety.

I am very fairly well, though never free from sciatic rheumatism, either by night or day. Ellen is a good deal worn out, and I shall be glad when her cares and labors and responsibilities become lighter by the reduction of the family. . . .

God bless you, dear H—. If we both live a year longer, I may have the great happiness of seeing you once more, and you will rejoice to hear my voice again, though you will not see me.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, August 16, 1874.


It may yet be permitted to me to embrace you once more. If I live, I expect to return to England next year, and may perhaps be in Dublin a year from next October. Keep yourself for me till then, dear H—. Perhaps, as you say, there are things that one does forget; age has some privileges, together with its many privations, and sorrow loses some of its bitter savor, to the dulled palate that has almost lost the taste of sweetness.

Our baby is to be christened to-day, by her father, in our tiny village church, where he has been kindly doing duty since he came North, in the absence of a regular incumbent, which, for some reason or other, there is not at present. It is only just eight o'clock in the morning, and we have already, in honor of the occasion, beautiful flowers enough to make a hay cock (Irishly speaking).

Thus far, my dearest H—, I wrote before breakfast. An old and attached friend of my children, who was to be the baby's godfather, came out to breakfast with us, so there I stopped. S— sent her sister a magnificent china bowl full of splendid flowers, all gathered from Butler Place and arranged by herself. The day was a very trying one to me, recalling with acute vividness memories of former days, and rendering the church service of my little grandchild's christening full of conflicting emotions; recollections of past sorrows, combined with heartfelt thankfulness for all my present blessings, as I saw the dear father with his baby in his arms at the font, with its mother kneeling before him, the whole thing was so indescribably touching to me that I was greatly overcome by it. I had to entertain a large party at lunch, and was glad when it was all over, for I was very much worn out.

American women are like French women in several respects, and do not generally nurse their children. F—, I am happy to say, does nurse her own baby.

You ask me if I continue to read my Spectator, and what I think of English affairs generally? which would be a serious question for any one who did occupy their minds in any such wide field of speculation. I think little or nothing about them, and though I do read the Spectator regularly, I have been much more interested by the articles on Dr. Carpenter's psychological work than those which discuss the Tory Government and Whig opposition proceedings in Parliament. I have felt interested and sorry for the predicament in which the poor Laborers' Union terminated. Certain Important and radical changes in the condition of England, such as the disestablishment of the Church, and absolute alteration of the present system of land proprietorship, I look forward to as inevitable, sooner or later. I watch the political movements and measures which affect the present position of the Church and of the tenure of land, with as much curiosity and interest as are compatible with an unswerving conviction of certain unavoidable results. The separation of Church and State appears to me more imminent than any great immediate change in the system of landownership; but both appear to me infallibly ordained. The thing that interests me most in England now is the religious condition of the country, or rather the state of thinking people's minds upon religious subjects. I very often think of this, and am moved even to tears and to prayer by the spiritual distress and mental difficulties and dismay that must cause anguish to many conscientious souls in these days of disturbed faith.

We are followed everywhere by the Times and the Guardian, and Punch, and the Illustrated London News, and innumerable county papers, so that we have piles upon piles of newspapers in every room, and if I am not acquainted with what goes on in my own country, it is certainly not for want of the means of information. . . .

I go on at a steady jog trot pace with my Memoirs, and have arrived at the period of my marriage and the first letters I wrote to you from Butler Place; and it is strange enough to raise my eyes from that record and look across the road to the trees and grass and garden-walks, at the back of that house, opposite to the windows of the room where I am now writing. . . .

Perhaps modern notions may be wiser than the mere animal instincts of a she creature towards her young; especially when these have become partially impaired by civilization, yet I doubt it.

"Great nature is more wise than we."

YORK FARM, Sunday, September 20, 1874.


My little granddaughter was christened Alice Dudley Leigh. The name of Alice Dudley was agreeable to her father, because it was the name of a certain Alice Leigh of the seventeenth century, who, marrying Robert Dudley, the illegitimate son of Queen Elizabeth's worthless favorite, the Earl of Leicester, was abandoned by her worthless husband, and created Duchess Dudley in her own right, as a sort of acknowledgement of her virtues and charities and manifold good works, among which was the endowing to the vicarage of Stoneleigh with certain benefices, upon the condition that every Whitsunday a commemorative sermon should be preached in her honor by the vicar in Stoneleigh Church. So after this worthy Alice, Duchess Dudley, our baby was christened.

Dr. W— told F— that a great many notions upon the subject of nursing were exploded fallacies and old wives' traditions; that whatever agreed with the nurse could not injure her milk or disagree with her baby, and I am bound to confess that this appears agreeable to common sense. . . .

The blackberries in this country are cultivated into almost as good and large garden-fruit as fine mulberries, of which last I have never seen any at all here. . . .

Poor S— has had a cook for the last three days. How long she will be able to keep her it is impossible to guess, and I live in daily terror of hearing that she is again without a creature to cook a meal for her. I heard the other day of an unfortunate woman who had had twenty-three cooks in ten months. Our friend Dr. M— told me that he was lately sent for, by a female patient of his, whom he found in a miserable condition of nervous prostration, and asking her what was the matter, received for reply, "Oh, doctor, cook's fever." ...

Oh, my dearest H—, when you ask if M— could come and stay with me, how little idea you have or indeed can have of the way in which I live. M— could and would come and stay with me, no doubt, if there were any necessity for it; but I should no more think of asking her to do so than I should think of asking her unnecessarily to do anything else perfectly inconvenient and uncomfortable.She has an ample income–would be a rich woman even in England–and is able to live upon it in what we should call, in England, decent comfort and propriety; and has a well-kept and comfortable establishment. To ask her to my small house would be simply to ask her to inconvenience and discomfort of every sort, compared with her own establishment. I see her two or three times every week, and she has begged me, since my family left me, to go and stay at Champlost; but I dare not leave this house in the charge of the perfectly incompetent and unreliable servants who, with the exception of Ellen, make up my household; and she, being my personal attendant, would of course go with me to Champlost, if I went there.

[The servants I should have left in my cottage in America would certainly all have gone out of it, all at the same time, if it suited them, and all as often as it suited them, leaving every door, from the cellar to the garret, the door of the house included, unfastened, and very likely wide open; they would possibly have set fire to the house by accident, and possibly by accident have deluged it by turning on the water-pipes and forgetting to turn them off; they might have committed; from carelessness, recklessness, and thoughtlessness, any of the feats of "Clever Alice," in Grimm's charming story of that name. But they would not have done what two servants I left in my house in England, one summer when I went abroad, did, who had let men into it, during my absence, and were both candidates for the lying-in hospital. Or two others (one of whom had lived with me for years), who received and entertained, during my three months' stay abroad, gentlemen friends of theirs, who opened my closets with false keys, and stole and pawned my valuable miniatures of my father and uncle.

Considerations of compassion, and a desire to shield from disgrace, and perhaps ruin, some of the parties implicated in this affair, induced me to refuse to bring them into court or institute a prosecution, without which, however, I was warned that I should not be able to recover my property; so I sorrowfully made up my mind to the loss of my miniatures.

Circumstances, however, served me better than I could have anticipated. A dog's collar was found among "the things that were found in the drawer of the cook," belonging to the honest gentleman, her friend, and which he confessed to have removed from the neck of a dog that he had stolen and sold. Rather imprudently, I think, this honest gentleman had left his address, to which a legal functionary was dispatched, dog collar in hand. Upon charging the honest gentleman with his breach of the law and the eighth commandment in my house, he denied having ever been there, or opened a closet, or stolen a miniature; whereupon the legal functionary, producing the dog collar, threatened to give him into immediate custody with a policeman, whom he would instantly call in. The honest gentleman then altered his story. He had slept in my house, he had opened my closet, he had stolen my miniatures, and had pawned them at a certain shop, the address of which he gave, and whence I rescued them at a cost of twelve guineas.]

One cannot ask people to live with one when one is never sure of one's supply of food. Sometimes the butcher does not come till too late to be of any avail, sometimes he comes and does not bring what was ordered; sometimes he comes and instead of what was ordered brings what suits himself, or what he finds convenient to bring. About a week ago, in consequence of such a performance, I had nothing for dinner, and Ellen sent out to an Irishwoman, from whom we sometimes get poultry, and procured a pair of ducks whose carcases (literally skin and bone) were my whole supply for two entire days. M— is a very rich woman. and sends into town for all her marketing, having servants to spare for such duty; but under such liabilities as these of mine, and they are frequent, one cannot invite one's friends to come and stay with one. ..

I shall certainly not get a pianoforte yet; for I am still under promise to pay two hundred guineas for my daughters' pictures, which I expect to do, towards the end of next month, when the portrait which S— sat for in Boston for her sister will be finished, and when I shall give S— one hundred pounds to have F—'s likeness taken by the same artist, if she wishes to do so.

The question of a pianoforte is rather a troublesome one, as my room is too small to hold any but a cottage piano, and cottage pianos are not to be hired, for some reason or other, but can only be bought, and that for not less than two hundred pounds, and it really does not seem worth while to go to such a heavy expense in such a matter. I do miss my poor daily music, but not enough to make the exertion of going over to S—'s piano when I want a quarter of an hour's strumming.



You ask how my Memoirs get on.Why, I creep along with them, and have arrived at our return to America, after my first visit home with S—. It amuses and interests me, and gives me an occupation for part of my time daily, without trying my eyes as much as the same amount of reading would, or be as tedious as constant needlework might be.

I believe I told you I had been reading a treatise by Bossuet, a famous one, on the nature and knowledge of God and the human soul. I am now reading a treatise by his rival ecclesiastic, Fenelon, upon the existence of God. Mr. L— left these books behind him here, and as fine samples of French style I find much pleasure in reading them.

Fanny Cobbe has sent me a Theological Review with an article of hers on evangelical religion which I have not yet read, but am about to do so.

Carlyle's "Sartor Resartus" was the first of his books I ever read. I read it when I was a girl of sixteen, at my mother's Weybridge cottage, at the instigation of my brother John, and under the influence of his admiration for it, and was enthusiastic in my approbation of it and knew it almost by heart. Since then I do not think I have read a word of it. It was his first work of any importance, and his first specimen of the curious Anglo-German style which he afterwards adopted almost entirely, and which, being stranger even than the thoughts he expressed in it, increased the general impression of great originality produced by his books. His "French Revolution" seems to me his finest book, but I always regret the mannerism of his style.

I do not speculate much about the condition of the United States. It is in many respects (chiefly that of political morality) very degraded and disgraceful certainly; but Anglo-Saxon people are not apt to endure their abuses beyond remediable point, and though I am very sorry for and thoroughly disgusted with, the present condition of things, I neither think it likely to last long or to get much worse.

The antagonism between the blacks and the whites at the South, or rather the "outrages" supposed to be caused by it, are being extremely exaggerated for electioneering purposes, and with a view to bringing General Grant in for the third term of the Presidency, which I sincerely hope will not be accomplished.

Good-bye, my dear. God bless you, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, November 8, 1874.


You ask me if all Americans are anxious to leave the United States. Not all probably, but a considerable portion of them certainly; and it is not very surprising that it should be so, considering what the difficulty of existence is here. To artisans and working people of almost any and every description, the country holds out great advantages; to persons of fortune, or good settled income, absolutely none whatever. Wealth does less for the comfort and enjoyment of its possessor here than in any other part of the world; and merely to be released from the incessant struggle and torment of housekeeping is a consideration that may well weigh with every woman whose means will give her freedom from it by going to Europe.The American women not only find amusements and enjoyments abroad which they have not at home, but exemption from intolerable worry which they have here.

Living in America is so expensive that people literally save a portionof their income by going out of this country, so that there is every inducement to do so. Americans now never go to service. When first I married, in this country they did; but they have gradually withdrawn before the influx of the Irish, who have perfectly flooded the United States, and who alone now supply the domestic service of the cities, or have done so for many years past. Quite recently the large German emigration to America has afforded some little variety of choice; but in the case of both German and Irish, it appears to be only the lowest, the most ignorant, and the most incapable who come to supply the domestic market here. . . . The cold of last winter did not try us very much; but it was an exceptionally mild season, and the house I inhabited, though not thoroughly warmed by its own furnace, was so in some degree by those of the adjoining houses. York Farm stands high and unsheltered, and has always been thought a very cold house. This winter, however, it will have the advantage of a furnace in the part of the building which has been added to the old tenement, and I hope we shall not suffer much from this winter's cold.

I have had no talk with Horace Furness about "Who wrote Shakespeare?" His labor of love in the fine Variorum Edition of the Plays he is working at leaves him no leisure for discussing or considering that nonsensical question.Indeed, I have but little conversation with him, even upon the more serious aspects of the important task he has undertaken and is fulfilling with such devoted industry. While I was in town last winter, he came occasionally to spend an evening with me; but when the warm weather began he and his family went out of town, and, though they are now again in Philadelphia, there is very little probability of my seeing anything of him, as the same circumstances that seem to impede all one's social conditions here militate against one's keeping up any comfortable intercourse with one's friends, even at this inconsiderable distance from town.

I have no dog, and am in deep mourning for a charming animal which belongs to Mr. L—, and which has been staying with me ever since August, and was sent off to the plantation yesterday with the two Englishmen who have been working here all the summer. He was a large Irish retriever, one of the handsomest beasts I ever saw, with hair curling all over his body, and passing off towards gold on his ears.His eyes are like human eyes, and he was the most sweet-tempered, docile, gentle creature that ever wore the shape of a brute. He has been my inseparable companion ever since his master's departure for the South, and I miss his quiet, affectionate, but most intelligent fellowship extremely, especially as he does not talk.

We have a beautiful cat of half Persian blood, given to me when I last left Lacock Abbey; but she is peculiar and not amiable in her disposition, and, so far from being companionable to me, will never stay in the room with me, if she can possibly get away. She is devoted to Ellen, whom she follows about like a dog, and from whom she will never be separated; but, except the pleasure of admiring her splendid bushy tail, I derive no great satisfaction from her. . . .

Long years ago, without calling human beings "Trinities," I had an idea that they consisted of three different elements–body, mind, and soul–and in my journal and my letters to you, I constantly speak of these as the different component parts of a human being. I have now no such notion. My own nature and that of my fellow-creatures occurs to me only as an inscrutable mystery; but the body seems to me so infinitely the predominant power here, that I think our principal cares, thoughts, attention, and speculation should be directed to understanding (as far as it is possible) that, and the laws of its health and good government. It is all important here, for it is through its agency that we think and feel, and no study appears to me comparable in importance to the study of our bodies through the wonderful machinery of which our processes of thought (and therefore of belief ) are carried on; and the longer I live, the more I am convinced that no subject of investigation is of such vital value to us as that of our physical organization, the difficulty being made so enormous by the non-material results of the material action. I cannot begin to write upon this subject–it is inexhaustible, and my sense of my own dark ignorance tooprofound–but I have ceased to divide the human creature into three parts. It is here a body of matter, to which most mysteriously belongs the power of thinking and feeling on immaterial subjects. Of more than this I know nothing, and (as you know) never speculate.

YORK FARM, November 15, 1874

Thank you, my dearest H—, for the Times containing the notice of Charles Greville's Memoirs. Nothing is more striking to me than the impression of bitterness and cynical ill-nature produced by the book upon all who did not know the author.The article upon it in the Spectator spoke with positive authority of his contemptuous dislike of our Royal Family, and also of his own class, the English aristocracy; and I find the impression here made by the book is, that it must have been written by a very ill-natured man. Now, Charles Greville's character of universal, social referee, of course could only have belonged to a person willing, as well as able, to advise others.Making all allowance for his greed of gossip, and his morbid curiosity about the personal private details of everybody's life, concerns, and circumstances, his readiness to serve and take trouble for people, was almost proverbial, and though he certainly had not an exalted opinion of the men and women of his own world (or any world,) I think he was neither a bitter nor ill-natured person.*

S— says that if anybody were to set down, as Charles Greville did, every day all he heard and knew about people in his own society, the result would inevitably be such a record of what was base and bad, and silly and mad, so much inevitably evil speaking about evil doing in short, as necessarily to give an impression of ill-nature on the part of the chronicler.

Henry Reeve, the editor of the Edinburgh Review, who was his very intimate friend, edited the journal, and, though I dare say he has exercised some discretion in selecting what he has published from what he has suppressed, and that, moreover, the present installment of the record comes no further than 1838, I have no doubt plenty of people will be hurt, and still more frightened, by its publication.

[I was well acquainted with Lady Charlotte Greville, Mr. Charles Greville's mother, and his sister, Lady Ellesmere, and his brother Henry, long before I knew him. After having made our acquaintance, he became one of mine and my sister's most intimate friends, though never to the same degree as his brother, to whom he was superior in intellectual, but inferior in moral, qualities. He was more worldly-wise than most people, and a clear-sighted and excellent judge of all worldly matters and social relations, whose opinion and advice was valuable in all questions relating to them; beyond or above that particular sphere, perhaps not so good.

He lived for the last years of his life, and died, in the house of Lord Granville, to which he was often confined by acute attacks of gout, during which his friends, male and female, used to visit him there; sometimes, when his hands were painfully disabled, writing for him, in which office of amanuensis I one morning found a very gay and grand duchess employed. He was very well read, a person of highly cultivated taste, and a most agreeable and entertaining talker, especially to those who, like himself were interested in personal gossip, which I am not. On my telling him one day when I had had an inordinate dose of it from him, that I did not care for it, he exclaimed with unfeigned amazement, "Good gracious! what do you care for then?"

On one occasion that I went to see him, when he was shut up with the gout in his hands and feet, he asked me to open a closet under a book-case, where an immense number of books, evidently manuscripts, were arranged. He told me they were his Memoirs, and upon my asking him if they were to be published, replied, "Not till fifty years after my death; too many people are alive who are mentioned in them to make any earlier publication of them possible." Perhaps Mr. Greville referred only to the entire mass of his Diaries, or he changed his mind, and allowed Mr. Reeve to publish the first volume of them, which appeared but a very few years after his death. He several times discussed the question of the properest person to whom their editorship should be confided, and repeatedly mentioned Mr. Reeve (which seemed to be strange, if he intended the publication to be postponed for fifty years). I suggested his niece's husband, Lord Enfield, but, he said he was too young.

Mr. Greville gave me several of the first volumes of his manuscript Diary to read, and I was very much amused to find certain strictures upon the ugliness of my hands and feet, and an indifferent opinion of my merit as an actress, among the earliest entries in his Journal. Moreover a record of a Sunday dinner at Lansdowne House, where he went expecting to meet my father and myself, his notice of which was, "Charles Kemble came, but, not his daughter, Miss Fanny not approving of Sunday society. Methodism behind the scenes!" His having given me these observations upon myself did not surprise me: when he wrote them he did not know me, and when he knew me he knew how perfectly indifferent they would be to me. But in the same volume of his manuscript was an incident of such atrocious Irish barbarity, that I did not think he ought to have let me read it, and I was curious to know if he had done so consciously.I did not like, however, to challenge him directly upon the subject, but asked him if he remembered the contents of the book, and the very uncomplimentary things he had said of my personal and professional defects? He seemed quite surprised and very much amused, and laughed a great deal, saying at the same time that he had entirely forgotten what he had given me to read, and adding repeatedly that he must look the whole Diary over again. Whether he did so or not I do not know, but some discretionary power was certainly exercised in the matter by somebody, for neither the strictures upon my extremities, my acting, nor my Sabbath-keeping appeared in the book, nor the horrible incident of Irish brutality either.

Mr. Greville gave me his Italian Journal to read, which I thought pleasant and interesting, though that he should have hung up a votive silver horseshoe at one of the famous shrines of the Madonna rather surprised me, as I do not think he believed much in her, though probably in horseshoes (not silver) more or less. Whether the offering was for the sake of future or past successes on the turf, I forget. Upon my complaining, when I returned his manuscripts to him, that the people of whom he wrote seemed to me neither very amiable or respectable, he gave me a charming pen and ink portrait of that most charming woman, his friend, Lady Wharncliffe, and another of Sir James Mackintosh, both of which were warmly eulogistic and extremely well written.]

The servants in Philadelphia are of the lowest class of ignorant Irish, having never, before they came to America, seen the inside of any more civilized house than their own mud hovels; and immediately find situations as cooks, or housemaids, or nursemaids (for all of which they are as well qualified as for coachmen. grooms, or gardeners) at ten shillings a week (the lowest wages given), and quite as often at fifteen and twenty. A great many Germans (also of the lowest class) come; but they have to encounter the difficulty of not speaking or understanding English, which of course gives the Irish an advantage over them. The influx of this sturdy, robust European flesh and blood tells advantageously on the third generation of the feebler and less physically healthy Americans, with whom they intermarry.

[American is the direct descendant of Irish beauty; the lovely hair, teeth, eyes, and complexion of Erin's daughters, transplanted across the Atlantic, derive, in the second or third generation, from change of climate and diet, and various other favorable influences, a character of refinement (as well as intermarriage with Americans), which is not Irish; the features become sharper, the figure lighter, the hands and feet smaller, and the whole result is that delicate and brilliant beauty, remarkable alike for elegance of form and vividness of color, by which the American women are distinguished.]

I do not know whether the colored people are those you allude to when you ask if a race of half-castes will ever be of any use to themselves or others. There is a very large body of mulattoes employed as servants in Philadelphia, but the difficulty with them is that your whole household must be composed of negroes, if you have any, as the Irish will not live with them; and a poor young colored lad, who was brought from the South by F—, came over from Butler Place, crying and almost white with indignation, at the insults he had had to endure from S—'s Irish kitchen and housemaids. He was made to eat by himself, aud not one of the women would make his bed for him.

I am not aware that the whisky war has resulted in any permanent good anywhere. In Germantown (our small neighboring country town), a short time ago, the whole population came to the determination to suppress the greater number of drinking-houses; and it was done by general consent, much to the benefit, undoubtedly, of the place and neighborhood; and this appears to me a pattern for all reforms. . . . My friend M—'s servants, (except when in immediate attendance upon her) do pretty much what they please, and nothing else. She pays higher wages than anybody else in this neighborhood, or in Philadelphia, and yet I have known her for months unable to get a cook that suited her, and for weeks unable to find a decent manservant. . . .

* But an accurate perception and description of general humanity is very apt to be characterized, by those who neither perceive nor describe, as unjustly harsh by those who do; and I have heard Thackeray condemned repeatedly as cynical, hard, bitter–and know that he was one of the tenderest-hearted, compassionate souls that ever lived.

YORK FARM, November 29, 1874.


The reckless, unprincipled carelessness prevalent here, about everything, adds to one's anxiety in all matters connected with health. When first Ellen became almost blind, which she did about two months or six weeks ago, she took a quantity of belladonna by the doctor's orders. Some time after that, having sent to the apothecary for a repetition of a certain prescription, she perceived a difference in the taste of it, and upon reference to Dr. W—, who tasted it, he said the apothecary had put more syrup to the quantity of strychnine than he ought in his preparation of the medicine. The vial was taken back to the shop, and returned with a modification that from sweet made the dose bitter and caused Ellen every morning the most violent retching and intolerable headachefor therest of the day, so possibly the quantity of strychnia may this time have been increased, according to the same apothecary's assistant's judgment by which the previous dose had been modified. . . .

S— was as fond of her baby as l think she could be of any creature too nearly resembling a mere animal to excite her intellectual interest, which is pretty much the only interest in infants or adults that she seems to me to have. . . .

M—'s is the only establishment, that I know, where some of the servants (her own maid and her maid's sister, who is her housemaid) are Americans. . . .

I do not think the frequent change of President would signify one way or other, if the theory had not grown into a custom, strong as law, that when the President goes out of office every creature nominated by him, down to village constables and postmasters, goes out of office too. The employments in the President's gift count by thousands throughout the whole country, and of course a new President means so many thousand people struggling to retain, and so many thousand people struggling to obtain, office, i.e., emolument, that is to me one of the worst features of the whole system, and one of the most fruitful of mischief and political degradation. . . .

The gradual pacification and reorganization of the Southern states, questions of internal policy now pressing on the nation, and requiring the utmost wisdom in the head of the government, would tax the capacity of the greatest statesman that ever lived; and the terrible financial disorder by which the whole mercantile and commercial processes of business are affected and disturbed, would prove a labor of almost insuperable difficulty for the greatest financier. General Grant is accused of being indifferent as to the quality of common honesty in the persons he appoints to offices of high importance and responsibility. Being an honest man himself, he probably believes in the honesty of his friends, and supports them with a certain pertinacity which is a characteristic quality of his, better perhaps in the conqueror of the South than the President of the nation. . . .

YORK FARM, Sunday, December 6, 1874.


. . . It is not possible for me to feel the slightest interest in the sort of literary feat which I consider writing upon "Who wrote Shakespeare?" to be. I was very intimate with Harness, Milman, Dyce, Collier–all Shakespearian editors, commentators, and scholars–and this absurd theory about Bacon, which was first broached a good many years ago, never obtained credit for a moment with them: nor did they ever entertain for an instant a doubt that the plays attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-on-Avon were really written by him. Now I am intimately acquainted and in frequent communication with William Donne, Edward Fitzgerald, and James Spedding, all thorough Shakespeare scholars, and the latter a man who has just published a work upon Bacon, which has been really the labor of his life; none of these men, competent judges of the matter, ever mentions the question of "Who wrote Shakespeare?" except as a ludicrous thing to be laughed at, and I think they may be trusted to decide whether it is or is not so.

I have a slight feeling of disgust at the attack made thus on the personality of my greatest mental benefactor; and consider the whole thing a misapplication, not to say waste, of time and ingenuity that might be better employed. As I regard the memory of Shakespeare with love, veneration, and gratitude, and am proud and happy to be his countrywoman, considering it among the privileges of my English birth, I resent the endeavor to prove that he deserved none of these feelings, but was a mere literary impostor. I wonder the question had any interest for you, for I should not have supposed you imagined Shakespeare had not written his own plays, Irish though you be. Do you remember the servant's joke in the farce of "High Life Below Stairs," where the cook asks, "Who wrote Shakespeare?" and one of the others answers, with, at any rate, partial plausibility, "Oh! why, Colley Cibber, to be sure!"

I have read Fanny Cobbe's paper in the Theological Review, and am in the middle of her preface concerning Mill's posthumous works. The paper on what she calls "Heteropathy" I have also read, and like the essay better than I had expected I should, from a sort of sketch she gave me of its scope and purpose in talking of it one evening before it was written.

The lady you mention as of Dutch extraction, would, I imagine, resent any such alteration of her descent, which was that of granddaughter to Alexander Hamilton, the most interesting and remarkable of Washington's contemporaries, one of the really great men of the American Revolution. She was a Miss Mary Hamilton of New York, and married Mr. Schuyler, who was of distinguished Dutch extraction.She has been earnest and efficient in much admirable philanthropic work; besides being prominent, not to say predominant, in the successful women's effort for the purchase of Washington's estate and house on the Potomac as a national monument and possession. . . .

The small church of our small village is supplied with an officiating deacon, a gentleman not yet in full orders, who has been appointed to the duty by the bishop of the diocese, and whose ministrations I attend, without however deriving any peculiar benefit, that I am aware of, from his particular share of the service. There really is not a sufficient Episcopalian population here to support a church of that denomination, most of the people residing in the neighborhood being Quakers, Methodists, or Baptists; and I, who do not belong to either of those religious brotherhoods, but, nevertheless, give a pound towards the maintenance of the church each time I attend service, was more amused than edified at hearing our present worthy "clergyman" class Unitarians and Atheists together in his discourse. . . .

Mr. Henry Ward Beecher is so far from suffering any diminution of his popularity as a preacher or lecturer from the defamatory accusations brought against him, that he is now payed double what he formerly received for either preaching or lecturing–the great attraction of his eloquence being enhanced in public estimation by his position as a martyr to an infamous slander, or the hero of a scandalous intrigue. I have been assured that he will be supported and maintained in spite of everything in his own church, as a mere matter of money interest. The church was built upon speculation by a body of gentlemen, who engaged Mr. Beecher to preach there, expecting an immense sale of their pews at a very high price, as the result of his popularity as a preacher. Hitherto their speculation has answered admirably, and the present scandal has added to their profits by cramming the church fuller than ever, and in the interest of their pew-rents they will contrive to keep their preacher's popularity undiminished with the public, as I am assured. The whole thing exhibits a moral tone in the community where it is taking place so incredibly degraded and so vulgarly vicious, that I think the lapse from virtue imputed to one individual, clergyman though he be, far less shocking and revolting than the whole religious tone and condition of his congregation and the society of which they form a part. A regular lawsuit upon the subject is now just being instituted by some of the parties concerned, and the whole disgusting and deplorable affair is again to be dragged before the public from beginning to end.*

I have seen nothing of Charles Greville's Journal but the few extracts in the Times and Spectator. Comparatively few people here care for it.

You say you wonder how I shall get on with my Memoirs when I reach the more troubled part of my life. Why, I shall either stop writing them altogether, or confine my notes to mere memoranda of the places I went to and the people I met.

Hitherto we have had no winter, but lovely warmth and sunshine, and total absence of frost and snow; it is really most extraordinary, and resembles the winter climate that people fly to Italy in search of.

* I had a very slight acquaintance with the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher; but was greatly struck once with his description of his praying with and preaching to a body of emigrants from the Eastern to the then far Western States, and of their camp–their church as it then seemed, far in the wide wilderness–with their wagons, and cattle loaded with their necessaries of life, by way of protecting fortification round them; his powerful preaching must have been doubly striking in such a temple. On another occasion when I met Mr. Beecher, he gave an animated description of an old woman he had passed in the street, who he said he should put into his next sermon. "Oh," said a clergyman of the Unitarian profession, one of the most eloquent preachers I ever heard, "if you take your sermons so out of the street, no wonder they are popular." Mr. Beecher replied, "Our Saviour took His so," and this mode of preaching, which he drove to the verge of familiarity, was probably the reason of what a young man said to a friend of his who told him he was going one Sunday to hear Mr. Beecher preach, "What on a Sunday!"exclaimed his friend.

YORK FARM, December 9, 1874.


. . . Fanny Cobbe's paper in the Theological Review that she sent me, the "Fauna of Fancy," was not upon a subject that interested me much, though her treatment of it at the beginning, of the article was interesting. I thought towards the end it rather degenerated into a mere catalogue of imaginary creatures. I did not care for the subject itself, but only because she had written it. I have not yet finished reading her preface or rather article upon Mill. As far as I have read it, I like it extremely, and it is a comfort and consolation to me to have my own vital and indispensable belief confirmed by the eloquent expression of a faith and hope like hers. But alas! in my opinion faith and hope are incommunicable, and though she may confirm those who already think like her, she will not, I fear, with all her noble eloquence and religious fervor, convert those who do not. But I rejoice that she is inspired to write such things, and think them her proper and peculiar work. Her article on "Heteropathy," as she calls it, she told me about, and talked to me of it in London, before she had finished it; I then thought it a little fanciful, but found more plausibility in it when I read the article itself, and felt inclined to agree with her in thinking the development of the element of sympathy in the human character, a product of gradual civilization–civilization under the influence of Christianity, for it seems to me part of theslow dawning and gradual growth and spread of Christian love.

The worst of this kind of writing (I mean this essay and article writing) appears to me, that from the peculiar exigencies and limitations of that species of literature, it inclines writers to lay hold of some one side, some portion or aspect only, of subjects which have a very large and wide scope; and induces them to write out that mere fragmentary truth, as if it covered much more ground than it really does. For if the truth itself, as we comprehend it (as may very well be the case), is merely fragmentary, the article must nevertheless be a finished and complete whole, and I think that merely valuable suggestions and partial perceptions of considerable interest are injured by being extended into systems of philosophy, and made the subjects of much more extensive deductions than belong properly to them, and to account for many more phenomena than they really reach. *

That children undoubtedly do exercise cruelty, and (according to their intelligence) the refined moral cruelty of endeavoring to play upon and hurt the feelings of others, seems to me to belong more to the love of power and the love of excitement than to the pleasure of inflicting pain.

[Two comical instances of this occurred to me in my experience of teaching young children to read: the one was a fine robust boy of between three and four years old, who, in the middle of a reading lesson, of which he had apparently had as much as he liked, began suddenly to roar–I can use no other term for the extraordinary and terrific noise he uttered–when, turning to look at him and expecting to see him as much convulsed with the sound as I was with hearing it, I encountered his angelic face, without a trace of emotion upon it, his sweet blue eyes only less wide open than his rosy mouth, while giving vent to this hideous bellowing, which he continued until he perceived that they merely produced in me a stare of silent surprise, when he snapped his mouth to, took up his book and resumed his reading in a perfectly subdued and habitual tone.

The other occasion of the same sort was when I was teaching my eldest daughter, a child of about the same age, to read. Upon her beginning to utter a series of horrible howls, while remaining at the same time perfectly dry-eyed, I turned to some writing, about which I was occupied, when presently, finding that I paid no attention to the hideous noise she was making, she said in her sweetest voice, "Don't I interrupt you, mother?" and upon my answering, "Not in the least, my dear," the roaring ceased instantaneously, and was succeeded by a perfectly placid resumption of the reading.]

I think Fanny Cobbe is quite right in her statement of the hatred of children for the appearance of suffering, and their instinctive shrinking from ugliness, infirmity, distortion, and the grotesque side (a very powerful one), of physical anguish. In this respect poets are very like children. As for animals, as a rule, I believe, they persecute and destroy the ailing and infirm among them: but there are very curious exceptions to this, both among domesticated and savage animals, who have been known to succor and assist each other's infirmities with wonderful tenderness. I think it is Edwards, the Scotch shoemaker-naturalist, who mentions having wounded a bird among the rocks on the seashore, two of whose companions lifted it by its wings, and twice carried it beyond his reach. I am at this moment assured, by the lady who witnessed it, that she had seen one cow pump for another, raising the pump-handle between her horns, while her companion drank. *

A dog which spent the summer here with me was one of the most lovable brutes I ever saw; he was a retriever of great size and strength, with the most aristocratic character any animal ever possessed. He never fought, or acknowledged the petty insults of low-bred curs, or the squabbles of the ignoble street dogs (canaille), otherwise than by a low grave growl of disapprobation, but an old companion of his, who was indeed his father (not that he knew that) being once attacked by another dog, he flew to his assistance and all but annihilated his assailant. I think, however, that that favorite dog of mine was really a brother of his master, who for some reason or other (as in the Arabian Nights) had been turned into a beautiful gentle and noble animal, with a fine forehead, Grecian nose and profile, like the Neapolitan Psyche; with the advantage over the goddess of beautiful clear brown eyes of the most pathetic human tenderness.

I see that at the end of her preface on Mill, Fanny Cobbe herself says a few words upon the inadequacy of an article in a periodical to treat at all fully the subject which she has called "Heteropathy." It is a misfortune to our literature, and goes even deeper than that, I think, that so many of our best thinkers are perpetually on the lookout for mere "article-subjects." Certainly the periodical literature of the day is wonderfully serious, profound, and interesting; but it still offers the temptation of writing not only bits but upon what are in truth only bits of subjects, and this must be peculiarly the case with people who are obliged to write for money. . . .

Now farewell, my dearest friend, may God bless you, living or dying, for ever.

Yours, with all the grateful love I am capable of,


* One consequence of all this periodical literature, is that our reading has become chiefly monthly, and if good writing has increased, good reading has diminished with us. We read reviews of books instead of the books themselves, and articles instead of volumes.

* Cats are not supposed to be peculiarly tender hearted, or demonstrative beasts. We had one once which, without any assignable reason, had such an affection for my father, that she used to watch for him and join him the moment she saw him, invariably following him like a dog in his daily walk in the garden, rubbing his legs and purring with satisfaction, and constantly running before him to prostrate herself on the gravel path in front of him. I had a fine white cat which brought four kittens into the world, three of them were white like herself, one was perfectly black, for which anomalous infant of hers she displayed the most decided preference. One day she and her kittens were brought in their basket to pay me a visit in the drawing-room, where I was also occasionally visited by a very large Newfoundland dog. The cat and he had met before, and always with apparent good-natured toleration of each other. On the occasion, however, when the cat came with her family to see me, she exhibited the most unequivocal signs of disquiet and annoyance, standing up in her basket, mewing piteously, looking all round the room, and gazing at the door with evident apprehension. At length she made up her cat's mind what to do, and taking her precious black child in her mouth, jumped out of her basket, and inviting her other babies to follow her with a tender call (not purring or mewing, but very like a pigeon's coo-coo) she made her way to the lowest piece of furniture in the room, a sofa under which it was impossible that the big Newfoundland dog should thrust himself, and there established herself in great apparent content, till she and her little ones were replaced in their basket and carried back to their kitchen quarters. I have seen an expression of unmistakable tenderness in this beast's countenance while gazing at her black child. Another comical exhibition of intelligence, prompted by affection, was that given by a cat who had the most devoted love for a dog who lived in the same house with her, and from whom she could never bear to be separated. On one occasion when she was shut out of the room where he was, after scratching and mewing in vain for admission, she stood up on her hind legs, and with one of her front paws powerfully and rapidly turned the handle of the door till she opened it and gained admission. This clever device of their cat amused her owners so much, that they used to divert themselves and their visitors with its exhibition.



Whatever you may be suffering from, cold and snow and your present atmospheric condition in Ireland, I defy them to be as trying to health and comfort as the extraordinary vicissitudes of this climate. Three days ago the cold was intense, the thermometer twenty-five degrees below freezing–that is, you know, within a few degrees of zero. Yesterday and to-day it has been up to sixty, and in my little greenhouse where the sun shines, it has been between seventy and eighty. Just conceive the effect of such a sudden variation of temperature on one's whole constitution! The fires in the rooms have been intolerable; and I have been sitting in my drawing-room with open doors and windows, and am now writing to you in my dressing-room without any gown on, because of the heat. To-morrow we shall perhaps be freezing.

I am very glad that a peerage has been offered to your nephew, and I hope he will accept it. It seems to me a very proper honor to be bestowed upon a gentleman who has been so honest, so faithful, and so useful a political partisan. Without any sympathy for his particular views, I have always greatly admired his entire devotion to them, and the disinterested sacrifice of time and labor which he–a pleasure and ease-loving man–has always been ready to make for the sake of his party and his convictions. I think it is a proper and just reward for his services, and that his son may be proud of inheriting it. I hope they will give him a pretty title, and shall be anxious to know if it is Lord Ardgillan. How delighted his warm-hearted, excellent mother would have been! I am sure his sisters will be pleased, and sympathize most cordially with their pleasure. [Colonel Taylor, I believe, refused the peerage.]

I have been much interested by our purchase of the Suez Canal. It seems to me one of those political events that appear to open great vistas into the future, vistas of progress and improvement, and changes of deep and beneficial importance to the world. I think the whole question of the existence of Turkey and Egypt and the Danubian provinces and their future conditions intensely interesting. . . .

I had a charming account of my dear little granddaughter in her mother's last letter from the plantation. She says the rickyard is sunny and dry and warm, and the little woman is carried down there of a morning, and thence surveys the rice-planting, and the orange-gathering, and all the agricultural operations with extreme excitement, and holds her little court, being idolized by all the negroes, who, in spite of their newly obtained freedom, perpetuate on her the title of "Little Missis," and are all her very devoted slaves. The number and variety of the farm-yard animals please and divert her extremely, and she is well, happy, and merry.

The account of everything is very prosperous; their orange harvest alone has proved very valuable, and it is such a beautiful crop that it must be a perfect delight to gather it. The trees had been so loaded with fruit as to be obliged to be propped up, and F— says that on dull or rainy days the profusion of golden oranges makes a perfect sunshine of its own.

My beloved H—, I long inexpressibly to see you once more. Perhaps God will grant me that great happiness before another year goes by.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I think American women deficient in softness–sensibility–at least they do not exhibit much; but they are less demonstrative than women generally are, and this may make them appear less tender. They undoubtedly love their husbands and children, and fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters, and uncles and aunts, and "all their good friends and relations;" but there is a dryness of manner in their habitual intercourse which seems to me a national feminine peculiarity, and which makes the women of this country unlike any others I have ever seen. The animal nature is feeble and ill-developed in them. Their physical organization is apt to be weak and poor and sickly, and the intellectual element predominates over the emotional and sensual to a degree that makes them apparently deficient in softness and sensibility, and deprives their manner of a good deal of feminine charm and attractiveness, and very often gives it a character singularly at variance in its sharp abruptness with the delicate, refined order of beauty for which they are remarkable. I attribute their dry cold manner in great measure to physiological causes in both men and women; but in the latter the desperate spoiling in their training, and their unreasoning and unreasonable tyranny over the "softer sex," as (Lady Morley used to call the men) has a good deal to do with this ungraceful ungraciousness.*

Everything overworks everybody here, and Christmas is a season of such infinite labor, as well as expense in the shopping and present-making line, that almost every woman I know is good for nothing in purse and person for a month afterwards, done up physically, and broken down financially.

The cold has suddenly become intense. The sun is shining brilliantly, and I ran over the way to see S— for five minutes, wrapped in a fur cloak, but felt as if I should be frozen even in crossing the road and the garden, and this is since yesterday, when it was quite mild. Such alternations are terribly trying to people's health.

I hear a great deal about Charles Greville's book, but have not yet seen it. M— has sent out to Hatchard's for it, the first importing bookseller in New York telling her he could not procure it for her under six weeks, and, had she applied to any bookseller in Philadelphia, they would very likely have kept her waiting twice that time for it. It seems to be creating a great sensation in England, and the report here is that the Queen has dismissed Mr. Henry Reeve from his post in the Privy Council Office for having published it.

It is the last day of the year, and, thank God, I can again hope and believe that I may once more embrace you.

Ever, as ever, yours,


* In traveling I have repeatedly seen ladies take possession of seats in railroad carriages, which were vacated by men immediately on their appearance without so much as a word, a look, or a bow of acknowledgment, the gentlemen thus unseated finding seats if they could, or standing if they could not. I have often thought that if I had been one of them I should have said to the lady to whom I gave up my place, "You pretty creatures, say 'Thank you!'" But then, I am an Englishwoman, not inured to such courtesies; and, by the by, I heard a very national anecdote of some Englishmen traveling in this country the other day. They were sitting in the smoking compartment full of men, each, like themselves, with a cigar in their mouths. Suddenly the door opened, and two ladies, who apparently had not found or chosen to take seats elsewhere, came in; immediately every cigar was thrown out of the window, except those of the two Englishmen, who insisted on, and persisted in, their right to smoke in the "smoking-car."

YORK FARM, January 4, 1875.


My servants, are having a party, and, though the walls of this small house are, like those of most old buildings, very thick, and the laughter and merriment which I suppose and hope are going on do not reach my sitting-room, the whole house every now and then gives a shake which bears witness to some ponderous feats of agility, and distinctly testifies that the guests in my kitchen are not fairies. I went in just now to bid them welcome, and give them the "Happy New Year," and found them apparently in high good humor and enjoyment. Meantime the two cats, which are our only pets, have been brought to me in the drawing-room, because the sight of so much strange company in their own quarters scares them, and they are having a most outrageous game of "New Year's romps" all over and under and round my furniture, to their unbounded satisfaction and my no small amusement. Each of my servants asked some of their friends and relations, and the people from over the way, and our farmer's family, and some of H—'s folk, make up a party of neighborly acquaintance, all intimate and friendly with each other, and I give Ellen funds for the entertainment, which she orders and directs, I hope, to the general satisfaction. . . .

S— rides without a servant, entirely alone, and after dark. The roads in every direction are infested with tramps and footpads, and the papers are full of outrages and robberies committed by the vagrants, who have lately become quite a feature in this whole neighborhood; you may judge, therefore, that these prolonged solitary twilight rides of S—'s cause me no small anxiety. . . .

When you ask me if people on this side of the water care about the Suez Canal and the Prince of Wale's Indian progress, I can only answer for myself. I see nobody, and never hear anything about anything. I am profoundly interested by our new position in Egypt. Our influential position there appears to me a circumstance which may involve the most important consequences, and, as it were, the opening of a new chapter in the history of that country and Turkey in Europe.

There has been an extraordinarily heavy fall of snow, within the last few days, in the northeastern states, and our weather has undergone a sudden change from oppressively hot to fine, bracing, temperate cold, for which I am most thankful. The thermometer at seventy at Christmas is neither pleasant nor wholesome. I suppose now we shall presently be smothered in snow here; but that, at least, will be seasonable, which the great heat of the last week has not been, and I confess I would rather have winter in January than in April, which was the case with us last year, the two heaviest snowstorms of the whole season occurring in the middle of April. They say that there will be no fruit at all this year, owing to the present advanced state of the buds on all the trees, which must infallibly be killed be the first severe frost.

We are just now rejoicing in a houseful of oranges, magnificent fruit, sent from the plantation, a barrel apiece, containing about thirty dozen each, to me, to S—, and to M—. Of course, a considerable proportion reach us in an unsound condition, but twenty dozen and a half of my barrelful were perfect. I sent off this morning a supply to our neighboring hospital, and have distributed in every direction to my friends and neighbors, so that our golden abundance diminishes rapidly.

I have seen to-day a letter from Fanny Cobbe, in which, I am sorry to say, I think she takes rather a desponding tone with regard to things in general in England. As she has always seemed to me hopeful in her temper and views, I regret this on her own account.

YORK FARM, January 10, 1975.


You ask me if I am coinciding more entirely than I have been hitherto with Fanny Cobbe's opinions. I do not know precisely to which of her opinions you allude, whether to her theological or political and social views. Of course, ignorant as I am, it is quite impossible for me to form positive opinions upon the dogmas generally received by Christians and about which I have for a great many years had a doubt that amounts very nearly to disbelief. But Fanny Cobbe and I never discussed such subjects. I have not the requisite information, and I suppose (not believing that order of opinion vital) am tolerably content to remain in my present frame of mind–that is, undetermined, not having the means of arriving at any determination. I suppose I heartily agree with all her religious beliefs, but not so heartily with her theological disbeliefs. With regard to her other opinions, those more especially that refer to the position of women in civilized countries, I am again not sufficiently well-informed, nor have I thought enough upon the subject, to be entitled to an opinion. I know that I am quite willing that women should be allowed to do whatever they can–I mean, be politicians, members of Parliament, doctors, divines, lawyers, soldiers, if they can, and vote by all means, if they like. My own earnest ambition and desire for them is a better, more thorough education, and a higher estimate of their own great natural calling of wives and mothers, and a more intelligent apprehension of their duties in both capacities.

[The most eloquent and energetic advocate of Woman's rights in America was Margaret Fuller, a remarkable person, who left a vivid impression of her individuality on the minds of all those who knew her. She was an uncommonly good classical scholar, and the intimate friend of the most distinguished young men who were her contemporaries in Boston and Harvard, over whose mental development and character, she exercised a very considerable influence.* After protesting vehemently against the subordinate position of married women, she married an Italian gentleman of the name of Ossoli, and, returning with him from Europe, they were drowned together off the American coast. I saw a letter of hers after her marriage, in which she spoke of her husband in a tone of affectionate protection and conscious superiority, such as a mother might have used towards a son. Her death by drowning may have suggested that of Zenobia in Hawthorne's novel of the Blithedale Romance–both Margaret Fuller and Emerson having been members of that singular society, the Concord Philanstery; and Zenobia, it is said, was intended by Hawthorne as a portrait of her in his book. One of her great friends and admirers said Margaret Fuller, in spite of her claim to absolute equality with men, on the part of women; was extremely exacting with regard to the small courtesies which men never show each other, but never omit towards the feebler sex. She expected her fallen glove or handkerchief to be presented to her, her shawl placed on her shoulders, the door of the room opened for her; and, on the occasion of showing her these civilities, her friend would a little sarcastically remark, quoting her own words, "Let them" (women) "be sea captains, colonels of regiments, etc."

She was good enough to send me her book, "Women in the Nineteenth Century," and to express more than once her desire to become acquainted with me. We never did meet, however, and I am not sorry that we did not, as I am afraid I should have incurred her contempt for my small sympathy with her views respecting the emancipation of women, as I have reason to fear I did that of her most intimate friend and fellow disciple, who came to see me once, almost on the part of Margaret Fuller, to explain and urge my acceptance of them. This lady was a Trojan, i.e., inhabited the city of Troy, where she conducted, with great efficiency and high reputation, a numerously attended school for young ladies. After in vain urging upon me the claims of the "women's cause," and expressing her unfeigned surprise that I was not among its advocates and willing to join them on their "platform," I suppose I sank myself for ever in her opinion, by quoting to her Mary Stewart's opinion with regard to some of her superior sister Elizabeth's gallantries, "Parceque dans ces affaires là, la plus sage de nous toutes, n'est qu'un peu moins sotte que les autres," and representing to her that as she had a perpetual stream of young womanhood passing through her hands and under her influence, if she contrived to prevent her pupils from becoming desperately in love with, and desperately afraid of, very contemptible men, she would do more for the emancipation of women than all the speeches, pamphlets, and "platforms" in the world.

On one occasion my dear and admirable friend, Charles Sedgwick, reporting to me some newly passed enactment of the Massachusetts Legislature in favor of woman's rights, with regard to their independent possession and disposal of their own property, expressed his surprise at the apparent indifference with which I received this intelligence of the improved legal condition of my sex, saying, that of all women, I ought most to have sympathized with it; to which I could only reply, "Oh, I do rejoice greatly at it. Legislate, make laws for justice to women, in all such matters you cannot do too much, for you will never do enough to counteract the natural law, by which women are constituted and constitute themselves the subjects of men."

My friend, Fredrika Bremer, that very amiable woman and charming writer, was apt to become vehement on the subject of "the women's cause," and exclaiming once, in a frenzy of assertion, that they had a right to be soldiers, if they pleased, saying, "Why shall they not fight?" with her little hand (she was a very small woman) clenched in her warlike ardor. I took hold of it (it was like little crumpled bird's claw). "Because of this," said I. "If fisticuffs are to decide the matter, the weakest man's fist is stronger than the strongest woman's, 'et la raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleur.'" I wish to record here a compliment paid to me by Miss Bremer, not only because she paid it me, but because, for a stranger, speaking a foreign language, "it was as ingenious as graceful." Calling upon her one day, when she was not very well, I expressed a fear lest the exertion of receiving me should be too much for her. "Oh no, no!" she cordially exclaimed; and then laughingly added, "And yet I do not know that I ought to see so many people as you are."]

Fanny Cobbe and I take different views with regard to our sex, for I think she rather despises what I consider a woman's natural calling, and believes she may find or make a better business for herself, with which opinion I do not at all agree. I greatly admire whatever she writes upon religious subjects, for her convictions and fervor in expressing them seem to me excellent, and always comfort and invigorate me spiritually.

I did not see the sermon of Dr. Martineau's that you refer to in answer to Professor Tyndall, but notices of and extracts from it, by which I judged that it must have been very powerful and eloquent.

Our winter is upon us now with bitter and intense cold, the windows remain clouded, thick with frost, even in the rooms where there is a large fire burning. I came down this morning to find a favorite plant that Mr. L— had put in a fine china pot, given me by M—, frozen, I am afraid, to death, standing on one of the library window seats. There is a huge fire in the room all day, but in spite of shutters and curtains, the night had done the mischief, and I do not think the poor creature can recover.

The number of people out of employment just now is very terrible, and in the cities, I imagine, there is very cruel suffering and distress. We, here in the country, however, are in no way the better for this affluence of poor unemployed artisans and workingmen. They are not farm or garden laborers, and to such a man on this little place of mine I pay forty dollars–or eight guineas a month (a guinea a week wages, and a guinea a week for his board), and these are the only terms upon which I can hire the very commonest Irish handler of a spade in this neighborhood. Our household servants still receive their most inordinate wages–my own man-servant, a sort of cross between a butler and a footman, seven guineas a month (of course he boards and lodges at my expense) and the women of the household in proportion. So this sad number of unemployed hands does nothing towards diminishing the cost and difficulty of our housekeeping.

The affairs of the plantation are going on well and steadily; the crop of magnificent oranges is becoming quite a valuable item of the profits, and is a harvest very unlike the rice crop, for it costs nothing, and raises itself.

* Emerson, who admired her greatly, introduced her to Carlyle, whom she bored very nearly to death.

YORK FARM, January 20, 1875.


Dr. W—'s injecting morphine under the skin of my arm merely relieved me from pain, but was no remedy in itself for the disease that caused the pain. . . Some years ago, Mr. de Mussy made me take quantities of Vichy water, and I continued to do so habitually, till my sister told me I was incurring the risk of some very serious disorder in my system, after which I only took it occasionally, until Dr. W— forbade it altogether. I remember a very clever Swiss physician, the first medical man of Lausanne, telling me that the first year people went to Vichy the effect of the waters was generally so favorable that they returned again a second season, hoping for the same benefit, but that the result was invariably far less beneficial; a third course of the waters, he said, was just as likely to kill them as not, and I have since thought that the dreadfully depressed state of my nerves, and low condition of my whole system, from which I suffered the whole time I was at Widmore, was a result of this ignorant use of this medicinal water.

Our winter here has been the most extraordinary I ever experienced. The variations of temperature have been so extreme and so rapid that they alone would have been sufficient to make any one ill, who was not very young or very strong. Yesterday the heavy heat of the atmosphere was so oppressive, that it was almost intolerable, and at two o'clock in the afternoon such thick darkness overspread the sky (not fog, but dense blackness), that it prevented me from seeing to read, and the effect was almost that of an eclipse or an imminent thunder storm of the heaviest kind. In the evening, for about an hour, we had a hurricane of wind and furious rain, such as one reads of in the tropical tempests; it subsided as suddenly as it rose, and in the night the weather became quite cold, and to-day we have a clear brilliant frost. It requires a constitution of iron, or rather gutta-percha, to stand such atmospheric vicissitudes.

I do not agree with your admiration of French manners–at any rate of the manners of Frenchmen. A Frenchman always thinks that he does and says the right thing, and is unpleasantly self-assured; an Englishman never thinks that he does or says the right thing, and is unpleasantly self-diffident; a simple person never thinks the one or the other, and is agreeable in consequence of self-forgetfulness. Simplicity is a great element of good breeding.

YORK FARM, February 2, 1875.


I have begun to fear that the exertion of dictating might become irksome to you, and I was therefore not surprised when I found from E—'s letter, which I received this morning, that this was just now the case. It has been surprising to me that you were ever able to dictate with any comfort to yourself, and I have often thought that I should have found it easier to master any method of writing, devised for the blind, than to dictate what I had to say in a letter. . .

S—'s domestic difficulties do not diminish, for, having been left by a housemaid, who might be called an old family servant, having lived with her a few months, she engaged another, who came yesterday and went away this morning, leaving her without a housemaid.* She seemed, however, to be taking her misery philosophically, when I went over to see her this morning, and has gone into town this evening to console herself by seeing the ballad of the "Mistletoe Bough," acted in pantomime, by a parcel of very pretty girls, who are to gesticulate and attitudinize through the whole, while the ballad is sung or declaimed by somebody, after the fashion of the Greek chorus. She amused me very much by telling me that in the ball scene, with which the story opens, these Philadelphia beauties had determined to dance a minuet, which performance they supposed to consist of merely walking about in a stately fashion and curtseying to each other. . . .

I received to-day a letter from my dear old friend William Donne, giving a miserable account of the winter weather in London. I cannot at present complain of the winter here. Thus far it has not seemed to me extraordinarily cold, though the thermometer has marked several degrees below zero once or twice; but we have had very little damp or dark weather, and with the pure brilliant skies and vivid sunshine, with which we are favored the greater part of the time, I find the cold itself quite endurable. Walking is not easy; and in going to the house over the way, a distance of about half a quarter of a mile, I am in constant dread of falling and breaking my limbs. The middle of the road is like a sea beach of snow sand from the trampling of horses and passing of vehicles; on each side of this is a broad strip of ice macadam–that is, lumps of ice instead of fresh broken stones, in short, the ice shingle to the aforesaid snow sand; beyond this, and stretching to the frozen ditches on each side of the road, is a clear sheet of treacherous ice as smooth as a looking-glass, upon which it would be impossible to set one's foot without falling.

The story that you read in the Times of the case of kidnapping, from the neighborhood of Germantown, is a very true and sad incident indeed. The little boy carried off was playing in the road, close to his parent's house, who are wealthy people, residing in quite a populous place. There is not much romance about it, for it is supposed to be merely a crime committed for the purpose of extorting money; but the condition of the unfortunate father and mother is something too dreadful to think of. Not long ago two burglars were shot in an attempt upon a house in the neighborhood of New York, and one of them confessed that they had been concerned in stealing the child, who, however, had passed out of their hands. Of course, this excited the most sanguine hope that the child would be traced, but this apparent clue has hitherto led to no result. It is a very strange and dreadful incident, and the perpetrators of the cruel villainy are at present undiscovered, and apparently undiscoverable.

I have just finished reading Charles Greville's Memoirs, and am amazed at the indifference to decency and propriety which the publication of such notices of the Queen's family exhibits. The book has rather raised my estimate of the author's ability, but greatly lowered my opinion of his character. Nor can I imagine how it could be thought by anybody fitting to publish such records of George and William IV., while their niece, the Queen of England is alive. The slur cast upon that excellent woman, Queen Adelaide, is abominable; and the constant mention of persons, whom the writer was meeting on apparently cordially friendly terms in society, as the "bastards," and the "bastardy," is disgusting. I think the whole tone of the book painfully unworthy of a gentleman. You know how much I liked Charles Greville, in spite of my not very exalted opinion of his morality; but though once or twice, in the course of my long and intimate acquaintance with him, I had a slight misgiving about his other character (I mean that of a gentleman), I confess this book has been a very painful surprise to me. I am thankful his sister and poor dear Henry are gone; I am sure it would have shocked and grieved them very much.

The last news from the plantation were good.

* The practice of engaging servants upon the terms of so much per week, which prevails in America, facilitates the immediate throwing up of their situations upon the slightest pretext. Forfeiting a week's wages is a small consideration, compared with the month's salary which must be forfeited in England, if a servant does not give or receive that length of warning. I think in some respects the weekly payment of wages, like that of all tradespeople's bills, advantageous; and have always practised it, even in England, where I find the members of my household prefer it to receiving their due at monthly intervals.

YORK FARM, February 8, 1875.


I did not tell you that I had no convictions, or that they did not suffice to me. I told you, when you asked me if I had embraced all Fanny Cobbe's opinions, that I had very few opinions which appear to me to be mental results, arrived at by intellectual processes, which I am not naturally capable of, and for which, even if my reasoning powers were better, I have not the requisite information. There has been no change or diminution in my convictions on matters theological, political, or social, that I am aware of.

When I said that I considered it a woman's vocation to have children, I said (or meant to say) that I considered it her vocation to train children, quite as much as to bear them, and it is for that most important avocation that I wish women were better fitted by a better education.

"What is 'Truth'?" say you. Why, you are as bad as Pilate! And before and since his time how often those words have been uttered in mental and spiritual anguish. Scientific facts, and arithmetical calculations, and geometrical demonstrations, are truths, but truths are plenty and truth is scarce. The truest thing in the world, I believe, is the desire and intention to be true of an upright soul, and yet how often they fail to reach the result they seek is lamentable. The truth is habitually spoken by honest people unconsciously and unintentionally; the moment they tell the truth with an intention or an endeavor, they generally fail to do so. The attempt at absolute accuracy makes its achievement so difficult, that falsehood or misrepresentation, inaccuracy, at any rate, is almost always its result. They frequently find the truth who do not seek it, they who do, frequently lose it.

F— wrote me a good account of herself and her baby the other day, and told me she had been planting a hundred orange trees. I think that lovely and delicious fruit will come to be an important item in the return of the plantation. Certainly it was the golden fruit of the Hesperides, and worthy of a dragon's guard; and if Eve had lost Paradise for a fruit of such a savor, flavor, color, and odor, I could have forgiven her better than I can her apple of knowledge. If oranges were less plentiful and cheaper, people would know better how good they are. . .

We are having intense cold now, and last night all the plants in my little greenhouse were more or less frozen.



The last letters from the plantation were every way cheerful and pleasant. They had no overseer, and Mr. L— was looking after the work of the estate himself, and so industriously and efficiently, that they were in a state of greater forwardness with all their spring processes of planting than they had been for years before so early in the season; and are in this respect better off than any of the neighboring planters. F— herself had been planting a hundred orange trees, a most admirable outlay of labor, for besides the lovely flowers and fruit for their own enjoyment, the oranges are worth three guineas a barrel, here at the North, and are becoming quite a valuable crop.

My dearest H—, many years must pass before the United States become over-populated. There is just now considerable distress in the Atlantic cities, proceeding from the money difficulties and bad financial administration of the government, and the impediments and restrictions put upon trade and commerce by the foolish tariff duties–a system of recruiting the revenue really almost ludicrous in the inefficiency of the result, compared with the enormous abuses it has given rise to. A number of temporary influences combining together are just now depressing trade and manufactures in the northern and eastern states, and many people are out of work in the cities; but as for this vast country being already over-peopled, the bare idea makes one smile, when one thinks of its immense extent and incalculable resources. . .

For the last ten days, ever since the beginning of this month, we have had awfully severe weather, the bitter intensity of the cold rendered more intolerable by furious winds. The short distance between the opposite house and mine is really a perilous passage, from the sheets of smooth ice which in some places completely coat the gravel walk, through the grounds. I have dust and ashes strewed over my half of the way, but across the lawn on the other side, I really walk in terror of life and limb.

I went to pay S— a visit this morning, to carry her some charming hothouse flowers, that a friend had brought me yesterday. She is at home always all day on Wednesday, in order that people who drive or rail the six miles from town to see her maybe sure of finding her on one day of the week. So she was sitting at the receipt of custom, very becomingly dressed, and looking very handsome, and we discussed the arrangement of the furniture in my old drawing-room, in my old home; and as I find myself thus once again all but inhabiting this my former "house of woe," I am occasionally seized with a bewildering sense of surprise, and, overwhelmed, with a sudden flood of reminiscence and association, feel almost inclined to doubt my own identity.

YORK FARM, February 12, 1875.


I have nothing to tell you, for my life affords no incident and has no variety, except, indeed the event of my having bought myself a piano, a less expensive process here than hiring one, and, indeed, from some peculiar notion upon the subject of hiring instruments which prevails here, a cottage piano, which is the only sized one my small drawing-room can contain, is not to be hired at all. They can only be had by out-and-out purchase, and the most moderate price for which one can be obtained is a hundred and fifteen pounds, for which sum, I believe, in London or Paris a grand piano may be bought; but this is according to the exaggerated value of everything in this country.

I have just been making up my yearly account, summing up my expenses for the past twelvemonth, a thing I have done for a good many years past, and I find that I have spent four hundred pounds more than I did during my last year's housekeeping at St. Leonards, where I had (I was going to say) the same number of servants; but I keep a gardener here, who costs me ninety-six pounds a year in wages. But my household in England was composed of the same number of people, and I had a larger house, I traveled for three months abroad in the summer, and bought myself an outfit of new clothes in Paris; whereas, during the past year, I have not stirred from this place, and one winter bonnet (an old one that I bought from F—) and three pair of gloves are the only articles of dress I have bought since I have been in America, and yet I have spent four hundred pounds more this year than I did in England. Such is the cost of living in this country now.

Having a piano once more is a great resource to me, and I have resumed my old habit of practising after breakfast, for an hour daily. I take up the old music that I love (Handel's "Samson" was what I played and sang to-day), and it carries me for the time into a world of pleasant thoughts, and delightful memories, and dear associations. In the evening, after dinner, by firelight, I play from memory all sorts of things, and always begin with a pretty little air that dear Dorothy used to play, and that you were very fond of, and which I caught by ear. On Sunday I never open my piano, not for any religious scruples of my own, but out of respect for those of others, and therefore on Saturday evening always wind up my musical reminiscences, like a good Englishwoman, with "God save the Queen," which, indeed, was the first thing I played in token of respectful rejoicing as soon as I got my piano.

At about noon I walk every day that the weather permits. I went out to-day, though the cold was intense, the earth frozen deep down, and as hard as iron, and sheeted everywhere with a perfect floor of smooth ice, just covered deep enough with snow to make it doubly treacherous. I walk in the middle of the high-road, where the horses' hoofs and the cart and carriage runners have ploughed thesurfaceand made it safer to tread upon. I take my alpenstock with me, and have for companion a very nice little Pomeranian Spitz dog, that M— gave me on my birthday, whose society is a very agreeable addition to my solitary exercise. When I return home I read. Charles Greville's Memoirs is the last new book I have had; but I constantly fall back upon the old ones–Goethe's life of himself in the German, Macaulay's essays, the Spectator (not Addison's, but the newspaper), and a good American weekly paper called the Nation. I have always some coarse needlework on hand that does not try my eyes, and am now doing a border for a table-cover for Mr. L— of the Zingari colors and pattern on wide canvas.In the evening I knit finelittle shetland wool shirts or socks for baby, and play Patience. I do my writing in my dressing-room, after I leave the rooms downstairs, which I do at ten o'clock. I find writing by candle-light tries my eyes less than either reading or needlework, and so it is in the couple of hours before I go to bed that I write my letters and go on with my Memoirs, and so the hours go by, and so I spend my days.

The last letters from the plantation were very satisfactory. The baby was well and "very jolly," and the business of the rice planting was going on prosperously, and both Mr. L — and F— write cheerfully about the condition of the estate. I fear I shall not come back this year, and God knows if I shall ever see you again.

I confess I am a little surprised at what you tell me about E—, though it is rather unreasonable to be at all surprised at anything anybody does. The individuals whom we know best and have been longest most intimate with will at some time or other of our intercourse with them do that which we should least have expected of them, or leave undone what we should most certainly have looked for. The whole gamut of good and evil is in every human being, certain notes, from stronger original quality or most frequent use, appearing to form the whole character; but they are only the tones most often heard. The whole scale is in every soul, and the notes most seldom heard will on rare occasions make themselves audible. No exhibition of human character is surprising; it may be unusual, but is not unnatural. Everything is in everybody more or less. More is what we are familiar with, and do not expect or suspect the less, which is there, however.

YORK FARM, BRANCHTOWN, February 16, 1875.


I received a letter from Fanny Cobbe the other day, in which she said that you had sent her back a book she had sent you, thinking it would interest you. Are you no longer read to? or are you no longer interested in metaphysical works? Fanny Cobbe doubtless has told you of all the worry they have had about their house, and that they have taken one in Cheyne Walk. I do not know exactly where that is, but I think somewhere in Chelsea. I have called upon Carlyle and his wife there, I think; and if so, Fanny Cobbe will have, at any rate, one neighbor who is good company, or was, for people alter with age in this as in many other respects.

Dr. W— has just been sent for, on account of a serious accident which has occurred to some young people of his acquaintance, who were amusing themselves with what is called "coasting."

There is a long and steep hill on one of the cross-roads between here and Germantown, which at this moment is one smooth sheet of ice. The young people profit by this to get upon what they call "sleds," which are simply flat boards of a certain length and width, with runners under them, upon which they slide with immense velocity down this icy hill (a sort of montagne Russe of a primitive kind).

One of these sleds, with some young men and women, all friends of Dr. W—'s, was ill-steered by the gentleman who undertook to steer it down the hill, and the whole party were dashed violently against a wooden paling at the bottom, and though no one was killed (which they all might have been), they are all of them more or less seriously hurt and injured. One very pretty girl has had her face all cut open, and may remain disfigured for life.

The most extraordinary part of this dangerous pastime is that it is pursued in the middle of the public high-road; and that if you are driving up one of these hills (you being in a sleigh, of course, for wheels cannot travel in this weather), you are liable to encounter a whole train of these maniacs shooting down by you, and it depends entirely upon the dexterity with which they are steered whether they do not come flying down straight between your horse's legs. In any other country in the world such perilous diversions would be illegal, and punishable by "fine or imprisonment," and the police would interfere to prevent them; but here nobody thinks of preventing anybody from doing anything, and in Boston a street, in one of the most populous parts of the city, being a steep incline, is entirely given up to the boys and their sledding.

The weather here has been terribly severe since the beginning of this month; and I, having turned off the hot air in my little greenhouse, carelessly forgot to turn it on again, and a whole quantity of thriving geraniums, many of them in bloom, were frozen black in a few hours. My grandson wrote from his school, which is in one of the New England states, that the thermometer has marked thirty-seven degrees below freezing; that is tremendous cold. It is nothing near as cold as that here; but still it is bitterly hard, though the sun shines, and the sky is exquisitely bright and clear, and the sunsets are magnificent, My little house is very sufficiently warm and comfortable, and I continue my practice of sleeping in a room where there never is any fire, and with the door opening into one where there is a fire only in the day, and where the window is open all night.

Tell me, if you do not care to be read to any more.

Though I do not admire the manners of Frenchmen as much as you do, there is a point of their morals which I have always admired (in the sense of wondered at) very much. Frenchmen are the most respectful, obedient, and devoted sons to their mothers. Frenchmen are entire disbelievers in the virtue of women. Does every Frenchman consider his own mother as the single exception to the rule of the general female depravity?

YORK FARM, March 1, 1875.

Yes, my dear H—, I am surprised that you still have energy and activity of mind, and concentration of thought enough to dictate letters such as I receive from you; but you know, from the earliest beginning of your inability to write, your power of dictating surprised me, and I thought I should have found it easier to acquire any of the mechanical processes of writing devised for the blind than to dictate my letters. I wish I could have dictated anything I wrote from my spoken words. Those in which I think are infinitely better style than what I elaborate from them in the process of writing.

You speak of the "estimation" in which I held Charles Greville, and, if that word is an equivalent for "esteem," it does not at all suit the character of my feeling for him. I liked him extremely, and often wondered how I could like so much a person whom I did not esteem more. I thought him thoroughly worldly, and in some respects unprincipled; but he was one of the most agreeable persons of my acquaintance, and I liked him, without any better reason than that. His book exhibits more ability than I gave him credit for, and more latent sensibility to beauty, and feeling for goodness, so that in reading it I sometimes felt that in some respects I had hardly done him justice; while, on the other hand, the coarse indecency and ill-nature of his scandalous notices of Queen Adelaide, and his perpetual offensive reference to the illegitimacy of persons, whom he was meeting every day on terms of apparent cordiality, made me feel that he was not as much of a gentleman as I had imagined him to be. The political part of this book and the sketches of our great statesmen interested me very much.

You ask me why I have removed my money from St. Louis. I have not removed it yet, but I am about to be compelled to do so, and place it with the rest of my small fortune in Boston, where the lower rate of interest, which is the utmost that I can receive for it there, will lessen my income by something between two and three hundred pounds, a serious diminution of my revenue to me, situated as I am. About six years ago the two gentlemen who had charge of my funds in St. Louis quarreled upon politics, and one of them refused to act any longer with the other as my trustee. The consequence has been that ever since that I have had virtually but one person responsible for my investments there, an unsafe condition which has given me some anxiety. Now, however, the sole remaining trustee desires to give up his charge of my property, on the score of failing health and a desire to relieve himself from care and anxiety; * and, as I know nobody in St. Louis to whom I can transfer the trust, I am obliged to remove my money and, instead of ten per cent, must be thankful if I can get six, which is more than doubtful. I wish this had happened when I was still able to read and earn money; but it is too late for work now. . . .

Yes, dearest H—, I sleep well for an old woman, and I rejoice to hear that you are able to do so; but I do what you never did–sleep "by day more than the wild-cat." I do not mean of malice prepense; but if I undertake to read the most interesting book in the world, I am pretty sure at the end of half an hour to find myself not awake but waking. . . .

I was at church last Sunday, and, oh how I wished that, while altering the English Book of Common Prayer to suit themselves, they had eliminated from the Psalms of David (if David's they are) the execrations, and imprecations, and maledictions which occur in those sublime utterances of a religious spirit–the prayers and praises which we read in our daily devotions and recite in our weekly worship. Doesn't it seem strange that, if David invoked those curses on the head of his adversary, he should twice have spared the life of Saul (his bitter enemy and relentless persecutor, who in one of his frenzies had attempted to murder him) and satisfied himself with mere verbal vengeance. In all history I know nothing so tragical as the life of David. The traditionary legends of Greece, the family of the Atridæ, the house of Œdipus, with all their horrors, are fabulous; but the Hebrew chronicle of that ancient Eastern king is as trustworthy as its remoteness of date and place permits; and we have, with every detail of love and friendship, and hate, and personal crime, and filial iniquity, and revolt, the whole story; from the triumphant blaze of the youth's first victories, to the dust and ashes of the miserable old man's affliction and humiliation.*

* These gentlemen undertook voluntarily and gratuitously the care of my property, and discharged their trust, as long as they retained it, with the most disinterested zeal. When the republicans came into power, and that paper money ("greenbacks," as they were called) were pronounced legal tender by the government, a payment due to me was proffered in that form. One of my friendly trustees, a fiery democrat, refused it, and said he would dispute its legality in a law court. He was himself a lawyer, but in this instance lost his temper for my sake, and in his political abhorrence of the republican party. My other friend, his co-trustee, a stanch republican, warned him that he would lose his suit, which indeed he did, and most generously made good to me the loss I had sustained by it. My funds, which were bringing me three per cent in England, returned ten in St. Louis. The "greenbacks," pronounced legal tender by the republican government, were of course unequal in real value to specie payments, and I lost very considerably on the payment in paper of a sum of money I had lent to a friend, whose executors after his death so returned what I had given in gold.

* A very admirable preacher and profound Hebrew scholar holds that by the divisions into chapters and verses of the ancient text, the translation which we use is often made quite unfaithful to the original. Thus, he says, that in the Hebrew text the maledictions which we read as David's are undoubtedly those intended to be separated, as invoked upon him by his enemies. The very frequent transition from these dire curses to expressions of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving give plausibility to this explanation.

YORK FARM, March 13, 1875.


In one of my last letters I explained to you how it was that I found myself obliged to withdraw my funds from St. Louis, my sole trustee there having declined any further administration of my affairs, upon the plea of failing health and increasing age. My other trustee struck work about six years ago, and I have been rather nervous ever since at having my property in the sole charge of one guardian, to whom, if anything happened, I did not know what would become of it. This is the one circumstance which reconciles me to the removal of my small semi-fortune from where it brings me ten per cent to where at the utmost I can only obtain six for it–a change which at once diminishes my yearly income very considerably, and now that I am quite past work, that makes me rather unhappy, as at present I live up to my income, and not without some carefulness and the foregoing of unnecessary expenses, such as keeping a carriage or making journeys, etc. It cannot be helped, however, and must be accepted. . . .

Arnold was the name of the person who opened the English opera house, and sued the great theaters on account of their patents, and was Mr. Beazley's great friend.

I am sorry that your brother's death and your nephew's desire for the details of the earlier circumstances of his father's life should be taking you back to all the sorrowful memories of those times. How little those who come after us can imagine the dreariness of such retrospects!

I go on very leisurely indeed with my Memoirs, and have got beyond the year 1839, the period of our return from Georgia. Yesterday I was looking over a number of Emily Fitzhugh's notes to you, written while I was staying at Banisters, after I came back from Italy, when I was obliged to resume my profession for a maintenance. They contained many details of my distressful bargainings with the London managers, about terms for my reappearance on the stage. Heaven knows, all that portion of my history is desolate and dreary enough and not worth preserving, for it can interest and amuse no one, and will never become interesting and amusing to me.*

We have had, since I last wrote to you, the heaviest snowstorm of the winter, and that is now being washed away by a sweeping spring rain. The frost, which had contracted the fibers of the earth at least two feet deep, is gradually coming out of the ground, and is here just that depth of mud, and the roads are utterly impassable for human feet and very nearly so for wheels and horses' legs. This is a terrible time of year here, and will last nearly a month, at least it will probably be as long as that before walking will be possible, let alone pleasurable.

My experience would induce me to say, trust, and try your friends; my observation, trust, but do not try them. You, my dearest, will not misunderstand this, though with such friends as God has blessed me with it might sound ungratefully cynical.

* When first I went upon the stage my salary was fixed at thirty pounds a week, the highest weekly wages my Aunt Siddons received in the middle of her theatrical career. When in middle life I resumed my profession, Mr. Knowles, of Manchester, offered me the highest terms I could then obtain, forty pounds a night, with which very liberal remuneration I was more than satisfied. After that, the natural decrease of my attraction and popularity made any such terms quite hopeless for me; and I was very glad to obtain from Mr. Madox, of the Prince's Theatre, a salary of fifteen pounds a week, the highest I got during the last year of my theatrical career, to which succeeded, to my inexpressible relief, my most fortunately successful attempt of public reading, which I never hated as I did acting, but often enjoyed more I am sure than those who heard me and thought I ought not to be paid at all for what gave me so much pleasure.

YORK FARM, March 16, 1875.


I get on very slowly with my Memoirs, and have only crept hitherto as far as the year 1839 and our return from the plantation. The copying of my letters (from which of course I wish to omit very considerable portions) is very tiresome, and so I am lazy about it; but I have no other occupation to demand my time and attention, and so I go plodding on sleepily but steadily at it, and almost wonder if I had done with it what else I should do.

After a succession of merely ephemeral clergymen borrowed from one place and another, for a succession of Sundays, we have at length a resident incumbent for this tiny church; but the fact is that there is really and truly no congregation to fill an Episcopal church here, and no call for any such ministration. The church itself, the most diminutive of fanes, was principally built and got up by a very rich Philadelphia banker, who lived in this neighborhood, and had a fancy for an Episcopal place of worship. He and F— were really the foundation stones and upholding pillars of this small sacred edifice. The banker in question has been obliged to sell his great country house and disappear from the surface of things, having swindled, cheated, fleeced, and robbed the United States in general, and every individual citizen in them in particular. Miss F— B— (as she then was, in the days of her former residence here) lives here no more, and is no more Miss F— B—, as you know, and has no longer any personal desire or necessity for an Episcopal place of worship in this immediate neighborhood. All our well-to-do and genteel neighbors are Quakers born and bred, and the small village shopkeepers and mechanics are bred and born Dissenters of some shape or other, only coming to this church because it is nearer than any place of worship of their own, and also because latterly Episcopalianism has been the fashion and Dissent has not. S— does not go to the church frequently, and is, I suspect, an indifferent Episcopalian; and I, who go as regularly as I can, but am not even an indifferent Episcopalian, am, I verily believe, at present the principal stay and support of the small establishment, to the maintenance of which I have subscribed, ever since I came here, at the rate of three guineas a month.

The clergyman, having, I suppose, the most infinitesimal salary that ever vicar had, has thought fit to take to himself a help-mate, to assist him in spending it, and brought his small young girl of a wife here the other evening to pay me a visit. She came from the village of Sing Sing, on the Hudson, and bemoaned to me the dreary dullness of this her present residence at Branchtown, the total absence of all social and intellectual resources here, as compared to the "world" from which she had come. Certainly such matters are comparative, but I could hardly help smiling as I assured her that I quite appreciate the dearth of social resources, recreations and excitements of Branchtown. The young clergyman studied abroad in Germany, and there increased a natural taste, which he appears to have, for art and its beautiful creations; and was quite enthusiastic in his admiration of my collection of Greek coins. I feel very sorry for them both, poor children, in this barren banishment of theirs, where I do not think they will have the consolation of achieving much spiritual good for their very queerly composed parish.

My intercourse with my opposite neighbors has been more seriously interrupted by the thaw than it had been by the previous hard weather. The mud is inconceivable and indescribable; the ground, which has been frozen at least two feet deep, is now thawing to the same measure; a heavy fall of snow, the heaviest we have hitherto had, is melting at the same time; violent rain is pouring steadily from the sky, and the condition of the road between the two houses and of the gravel-walks and grass to be traversed before we reach each other's door must be seen to be believed. I generally spend one evening a week with them (and as many more as I am desired), but for the last fortnight it would have been impossible to go the half quarter of a mile, if a conveyance had not been sent for me.

I dare say you do not remember "in the abstract," as you say, the pretty air which I caught from Dorothy, and now play regularly every evening by fire-light in memoriam of you both. It was a simple graceful dance tune, with rather a sentimental vein in its gaiety. I cannot tell you when I learned it, but it was one of the many times when I was with you both and she played it, and as it was very simple I caught it easily by ear.

When Fanny Cobbe wrote me word of their proposed change of residence, she said they had taken a house in Cheyne Walk, which I think is beyond the Houses of Parliament and down towards Chelsea. I remember it as a row of quaint old-fashioned looking houses, in a street adjacent to which I used to call on the Carlyles, regretting always, as I did so, their immense distance from my part of town. Carlyle, you know, was one of my early idols, and has remained so always. His genius has influenced our time more than that of any other man, though he was a Scotch peasant (perhaps because), and that foundation underlies his whole mental and moral edifice. * . . .

God bless you, my dearest H—. I throw the arms of my heart round you, and am ever, as ever, yours,


P.S.–I am so rejoiced that you have Miss Lambert and her nieces near you. It must be an immense resource to E—, and all their uncommon Danish and Norwegian experiences must give them much material for interesting and amusing talk with you.

* I do not know whether I am singular in not indorsing very heartily the enthusiastic admiration of his wife's genius bestowed upon her after her death by Carlyle. In my personal intercourse with her, she seemed to be a bright, clever, intelligent woman, but as to any comparison between her mental powers and those of the two great geniuses of our day, George Sand and George Eliot, it was really absurdly inadmissible. She either had caught from Carlyle or was naturally endowed with a fine general contempt for the intellects of her acquaintance; and in her letters I think displays an effort at brilliancy and point quite destructive of its effect. A very small instance of this, with reference to myself, will illustrate this tendency. "Mrs. Butler paid me a visit" she said, "with a riding whip, I suppose to keep her hand in." I was dressed in my habit, and just going out on horseback, and necessarily carried my riding whip, which I am not aware of ever practising (keeping my hand in the use of) with any creature but my horse. The desire to write something smart such as this observation of hers exhibits, seems to me unpleasant, and unsuccessfully and frequently apparent in Mrs. Carlyle's letters. I wish clever people had a higher and juster respect for simple stupidity.

YORK FARM, March 22, 1875.


At present we seem to be really further from spring than a month ago. Since March came in, which it certainly did in old proverbial fashion, "like a lion," we have had a second edition of winter. Two evenings ago I started to go over the way, and was obliged to turn back before I reached my own gate, the bitter blinding sleet beat like a furious storm of pins and needles so sharply in my face, and the ground was so covered with a smooth coating of ice that I was in danger of falling at every step. Yesterday evening, by keeping quite in the middle of the public road, which had been broken up and roughened by the passing of horses and vehicles, I contrived to walk to church, about a quarter of a mile from here. I had been prevented by the weather and the inpracticable condition of the roads from getting to church for nearly a month, and yesterday was the first Sunday since the middle of February, when it seemed possible to do so; and I do not know when I have seen anything more wonderful and beautiful than the radiant full moon shining on the trees literally coated from top to bottom with clear ice, their branches hanging downwards with the crystal weight, and the dark blue sky and resplendent stars seen through their glittering boughs. In spite of the cold, I stopped repeatedly in the road to exclaim aloud (though I was alone), and wonder at the strange and beautiful spectacle. This morning the cold is still severe, though the sun shines brilliantly and the trees retain their silver covering, even to the topmost twigs, and are so bright one can hardly look at them. In no other part of the world have I ever seen a winter pageant comparable to this splendid show. . . .

The last letters from F— were written in good spirits, and spoke favorably of the general condition of things on the plantation.

I must leave this letter for an hour while I try and get my first walk for nearly three weeks. If I do not get out before the sun has become more powerful, the middle of the road, where I am obliged to walk, there being no safe footing in any other part of it, will have become a mere alternation of broad puddles and deep mud-holes, while the sides of the road will be one smooth surface of ice impossible to stand or step upon. Certainly the bright sky that I rejoice in so much over one's head here has a heavy per contra in the conditions of the earth under one's feet.

My dearest H—, I have just come back from a struggle of half a mile up the road, which, with the half mile back, has taken me nearly an hour to achieve, with one foot sticking in mud, while the other was sliding on ice, and a fierce March sun and wind alternately scorching and piercing one.

Since I have come in, S— has just called, and you may imagine the state of the roads, her feet were so loaded with mud, and her petticoats so dripping with wet, that she would not even come into the house, but stood at the hall door, while she gave me a letter she had just had from F—, describing one of those terrible freshets or inundations to which they are liable down there. She says, "Pray that you may never witness a freshet, even where no human life is in danger, and only poor chickens and rabbits go floating by your window. Up to the last we hoped it would not 'top' the banks [the dyked banks of the river], but last night we saw it slowly creeping in, and this morning, as far as eye could see, was nothing but a sea of muddy water. The tips of my poor roses are just above it, but I fear neither they nor any of the rest of my flowers will survive." Further on she says her husband and a friend, who is paying them a visit, had just gone off in a boat over fields and banks to the upper end of the island to see if they could rescue some of the poor sheep that have got caught up there by the flood. "The rest of the animals," she says, "are all huddled together on a mound in the rickyard, and have to be sent off as fast as possible to St. Simon's [the cotton plantation fifteen miles down the river]. The poor chickens fare worst of all, for if they stay on the trees they starve, and if they come down they drown. There are more than a dozen floating about the garden now, besides hen-coops, boxes, bottles, oranges, and all manner of household articles, including a slop-pail. Inside the house we are devoured by mosquitoes, brought by the water, and overrun by rats and mice, which have taken refuge from it." Is not that a picture of an agreeable condition? They were of course going to leave the plantation immediately and betake themselves to Florida. Their being able to return at all to the Rice Island, before coming back to the North, would depend upon the length of time this deluge lasted.

I had been looking with some anxiety for news from them, for I heard yesterday that there had been a violent tornado in the interior of Georgia, which, though at a considerable distance from them and limited in its area, had done a great deal of mischief, and destroyed both life and property, so that I hope the freshet, bad as it is, may be their only share of these elemental disturbances.

YORK FARM, March 24, 1875.


I have no means of ascertaining what becomes of my letters, when once my own gardener, who is a trustworthy, careful fellow, has carried them to the post-office, which he does or (rather goes thither for that purpose or to fetch my letters thence) twice a day. I am afraid if my letter of the 15th of last month has not reached you yet, there is very little chance of its ever doing so. I do not know that our village postmaster is exceptionally inattentive to his functions, but there is a careless, reckless, easy-go-lucky kind of way of doing business in this country which suits the hasty existence of the natives themselves, and the character and disposition of their Irish fellow-citizens, but which is gall and wormwood to English residents of my stamp.

I ventured out yesterday for the first walk I have taken for ever so long; but though the sky was bright and clear, the progress I made was small and slow, and consisted chiefly of sticking fast in the mud with one foot, while the other was sliding rapidly and ungovernably over a smooth surface of ice, a species of gymnastics more curiously grotesque than graceful or agreeable at sixty-five years old, and at which I laughed as if I could see myself. By-the-by, pray am I sixty-five, or how many years old? I think you know better than I do, but you know young women understate their age from vanity, and old women overstate theirs from the same motive.

To-day we are having a heavy snowstorm, and shall have to undergo all that dreadful melting process again, by far the most odious of our winter experiences. Hitherto the winter has not been at all unpleasant to me, though everybody has complained of its extreme severity, I have really not suffered from the intense cold, and have enjoyed the remarkable clear brilliancy of sky and sunshine, by which it has been accompanied. But ever since the beginning of this month the sky has been dark and the weather dismal, and I am now almost as tired of the prolonged and inclement winter as everybody else is.

My poor frozen geraniums were not killed, I am happy to say, though they certainly had all the appearance of not being likely to recover. They are all putting out young leaves, however, and appear likely to live. The accident occurred in consequence of my having let a canary bird, which my grandson gave me at Christmas, fly into the greenhouse, where, fearing he might accidentally get into the hot-air vent, which has only a widish grating over it, I turned off the heat, and after the bird was safe in his cage forgot for several hours to open the flue again, during which time my poor plants were chilled within an inch of their lives.

The news of Mitchell's death, the ticket-of-no-leave member of Parliament, has just reached me. I suppose this termination of his election question will be a real convenience to everybody concerned, himself as well as everybody else,

YORK FARM, BRANCHTOWN, April 12, 1875.


I inclose you an obituary notice of a friend and neighbor of mine lately dead, a Quaker lady, who lived less than half a mile from here, whose parents were among my first acquaintance when I came to live at Branchtown, after my marriage. I was very intimate with her, and I liked and respected her very much; but why she should have been made the subject of a newspaper obituary notice puzzles me a little. She was a middle-aged single woman of high principle, fine character, great good sense, and very simple manners, but without any quality whatever, or any peculiarity of position, to render her liable to newspaper illustration and commendation. I do not know whether it is a peculiar custom among the Quakers so to celebrate the quietest members of their peculiarly quiet sect, or only the general American taste for notoriety. To me, a newspaper notice of such a private gentlewoman appears entirely inappropriate and slightly offensive. I thought it was only such as I who incurred that sort of compliment.* Her house, a pleasant, old-fashioned residence, something between farmhouse and country seat, is at present shut up and uninhabited, none of the remaining members of her family being so circumstanced as to be able to live there; and this throws a gloom over the whole neighborhood, for during my friend's life her house was a hospitable, cheerful center of reunion for all the members of two very large families, all the relations and connections of which looked upon Wakefield (the name of the house) as a sort of general meeting-place for their two clans. . . .

I do not see the Times, but I read (I think in the Spectator) an account of Garibaldi's zealous purpose and endeavor to have the course of the Tiber altered, in order, if possible, to prevent the terrible frequent inundations of Rome by it. An American engineer explained to me how costly and difficult (though not of course impossible) any process that could accomplish such a result would be, because there was no fall whatever in the land between Rome and the mouth of the Tiber at Ostia, and that the consequence was, when the river was at all full, either from heavy rains or the melting of the mountain snows, and that the sirocco of Africa drove the Mediterranean upon the Italian shore, the water coming down the Tiber was met by the sirocco-driven sea and pushed back, causing it to inundate Rome and all the level campagna round it, to where the last slope of the subsiding Apennines prevents the upward progress of the water, and sends it back again upon the Roman plain. These natural causes are of course both difficult and costly to counteract or contend against.

I had heard through the newspapers of Garibaldi's refusal of the pension of four thousand a year which the government or people had offered to settle on him. Miss Storey, who lives with her parents in Rome, wrote my daughter an account of Garibaldi, which was simply that he was "living with his contadina wife and children" near the walls of the city (riddled with his cannon shot) in some villa, the name of which I forget, "keeping himself quiet and giving no trouble," which rather contemptuous notice of the heroic Italian patriot did not surprise me on the young lady's part, as I imagine she and her family have small sympathy with his character or career. . . .

Surely, dear H—, a life of great unhappiness is compatible with immense and intense enjoyment. The first belongs to the moral and mental nature, the last to the physical organization.

* I have since seen so many newspaper notices, and even pamphlet records of perfectly unobtrusive, unnotorious private individuals, male and female, which could have no possible interest beyond the circle of their immediate personal friends that I think this sort of celebration of individual character and conduct must be looked upon here as a tribute of affectionate respect. To me, who think notoriety anything but a privilege, it seems disrespectful, especially towards women, of whom the ancients held that the best were those least heard of.

YORK FARM, April 18, 1875.


I write to you under two depressing influences–a bad bilious attack and a heavy snowstorm, the second we have had within this week; and as we have had more than enough of bitter winter, and that we are now in the middle of April, to see the whole earth covered with this wintry white is rather discouraging.

I had a letter from my sister the other day. She had had H— staying with her at Warsash, and spoke very favorably of him. She said he was doing well in his profession, earning a good weekly salary, and becoming known and valued for his steady application to his work. A— also said that he was a very nice fellow, well-bred, with quiet unassuming manners. . . .

There is a strong prejudice in this country in favor of nursing babies through their second summer, on account of the heat of the season and their teething, which combination of adversities is supposed to try the children less if they are still kept at the breast. I an not, however, a convert to this opinion, and weaned both my children when they were between nine and ten months old quite successfully.

F— wrote in her last letter that Mr. L— was extremely busy preparing a number of the young negro men on the island for confirmation. The bishop was paying them a visit, and they were feeling very much interested in their young people and their religious education. She has not mentioned any damage done to the crops by the inundation, and so I suppose there was none, which is very fortunate. They were going down to St. Simon's, the cotton plantation on the sea, at the mouth of the river, for the month of May, and then were to come here to me in June.

YORK FARM, Saturday, May 1, 1875.

May day and the sky scowls, and we have barely a sign of spring about us, though some audacious violets have been caught in the woods, and the wild anemones are beginning to show their white stars in sheltered nooks; but the season is unusually cold and backward, and the raw chilly air feels as if winter was only just round the corner, as indeed he is, for we had heavy snow a short time ago, and it still freezes every night. This will sound comfortless to you, my dearest H—, to whom warmth is such a necessary of life; but for my own individual comfort the longer the summer keeps off the more thankful I am, though I confess, if I could see a few leaves and blossoms, I should think the world prettier and pleasanter. . . .

I wish I could hear of another good Transatlantic tenant for the house at Widmore. The Americans seem to be the only people who live what upholsterers and such call "regardless of expense."

My Southerners will not be here for a month yet, and indeed I do not expect them before the second week in June, for they are to come North direct by sea, and will go to Newport to secure a house or lodging for the very hot months, July and August, before they come here, when they expect to spend the month of June with me.

I wrote you word of the failure of their Savannah agents, with a thousand pounds worth of their rice in their hands. We have not yet heard what arrangement the firm made with its creditors, or how much of the value of the rice can be rescued, if anything. What with the uncertain nature, climate, and crop, and the more than uncertain principle and practice of the Southern men of business, a rice plantation in Georgia seems to me the least desirable of all properties. Certainly excitement is never wanting in connection with it, but it is unfortunately almost always of a disastrous or disagreeable kind.

There is furious party feeling in America between the politicians, i.e. the men who make a trade and speculation of the government of the country, the greatest riff-raff of low rascals, I suppose, to be found in any world, old or new. But the old-fashioned, respectable political parties of the earlier days of the American Republic, when both the members of the government and the opposition were still in character, feeling, and principle, English gentlemen, are dead and buried long ago, and would certainly not acknowledge their present representatives as such. Party politics (and there are none others) simply consist of a desperate conflict between the blackguards who are in, and the blackguards who are out of office. I think, however, public affairs are assuming a more hopeful aspect in this country, inasmuch as an opinion appears to be gradually dawning in the national mind of the United States that a decently honest people (which they undoubtedly are) had better not be represented or governed by a pack of shameless sharpers, which they also undoubtedly are. . . .

Of course there is quite as much vanity in self-accusation as in self-justification. Simple people, I fancy, are as little given to the one as to the other. The latter, is rather pride, and the former vanity; but excessive pride occasionally assumes an appearance of humility. Self-examination may be a good thing, but self-forgetfulness is a better. And spiritual health is no more indicated by constant introspection than physical health would be by perpetually examining one's tongue and feeling one's pulse. St. Paul, in one of his letters to his Christian converts, says that it is a very little thing for him to be judged by them, and that indeed he "judged not his own self."

God bless you, my dearest H—. You ask after my health, and it is good enough to be thankful for at my age; and in spite of fifty years added to it since first you knew me, I am still ever as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, May 4, 1875.


In going over the immense mass of letters you returned to me, I am astonished at the minute and abundant details of the events of my life which the all but daily history of it, in my correspondence, conveyed to you. You have known pretty much everything that has ever interested or concerned me, and I find in these incessant communications a degree of detail of much that I experienced that I now think I should have done far more wisely not to record. . . .

I do not expect my children till the second week in June. I am now anxiously looking for some detail with regard to the amount of loss they have sustained through the failure of the agent who has had the selling of their rice crop partially intrusted to him. We hope they may recover something of a thousand pounds worth of their rice in the hands of the firm at the time of the failure.

I can hardly say that we are yet rejoicing in the departure of winter, for snow and ice have been with us until quite lately. Still the spring is on her way, though apparently very reluctantly, and to-day, under a still steady rain, the leaves appear to be visibly sprouting. Yesterday I counted about twenty small spikes piercing the asparagus bed, and after this tardy progress I suppose the whole vegetable development of the season will come upon us with a rush, and the spring will carry the world by storm. . . .

M— desires me to tell you not to be anxious on the score of the diminuition of my income, as any deficit in my means must be amply made up by the vast sums I win from her at ecarté and piquet, when we play together on the evening of our weekly meetings, our "Soirées du Lundi," as we call them.

YORK FARM, May 10, 1875.


I have seen no swallows yet about us here, the rapid, darting creature who is always associated (as is the first bee, I see) with you in my thoughts. Our spring-appearing birds hitherto have been the bluebird, a very beautiful creature, I think related to the jay, which is one of the early spring birds in England.

"When through green holts new flushed with may
Ring sudden laughters of the jay."

There have come almost together the cat-bird, which is in fact the Northern mocking-bird, and has a magnificent and various note, besides the harsh sort of scream to which he owes his vulgar appellation of the cat-bird, several thrushes, the American robin redbreast, a truculent feathered biped as big as our blackbird, with a splendid scarlet velvet waistcoat coming half-way down his thighs, like a beau of George II.'s time, or Mr. Garrick in the character of Macbeth. Besides him we have a bird called the wood robin, whose note is precisely like the sound of a flageolet, reedy, soft, and more mournfully melancholy than that of any bird whose voice I ever heard, and as I sat listening to it yesterday at sunset, it recalled the days of my former life over the way, when I sat heavy-hearted, looking down the avenue and listening to this prolonged sweet plaintive note among the branches touched with the departing light. . . .

At present these are all the birds that the spring has brought back to us, but I have seen none of your swallows yet, though they must have come some time ago, for we have already had oppressively warm weather and thunder, and are dried up and parched for want of rain.

My exercise has dwindled to almost nothing, and has become very irregular, partly on account of the (till quite lately) unfavorable weather and impractical roads, and partly because of my own greatly diminished desire and capacity for it. I find now that a moderate walk of a couple of miles in the morning takes so much out of me that I am hardly fit to spend the evening over the way, I am so much tried by it. To-day I am going to dine at Champlost, and have not walked, for fear of being overtired this evening; still, I do walk frequently, though no longer regularly every day. A moderate stroll of between two and three miles, once or twice a week, is pretty much all I am good for, and after that I am glad to lie on the sofa and rest. I think the desire for exercise in a naturally active person is a fair measure of their need of, and capacity for it, and I find myself now little inclined for the daily tramp which I took very regularly till the last winter, when the weather interrupted it, and disinclination has now supervened with the loss of habit, and when I come back now from my crawl, I feel not younger, but considerably older, than I was a few months ago.

The spring is always relaxing, and here the heat comes so suddenly and is so oppressive, that it is doubly trying; we have close sultry days already, with thunder in the air, and consequent headaches and languor. It is a most trying climate.

I am going to tell you something curious, which I do not believe you would believe if anybody else told it you. I think I have mentioned that the farmer's house, with adjacent barn-yarn, hay-yard, and poultry-yard, is behind this cottage. Some time ago I perceived that a solitary hen was frequenting the lawn in front of it, and had apparently withdrawn from the society of her fellow fowls at the back. Whether she boarded at home, returning to the poultry-shed for her meals, or contented herself with foraging in the flower-beds and grass of the garden, I do not know, but she certainly had shaken the dust of her former residence from her claws completely at other times.

One day I perceived an unusual commotion and agitation in a handsome pine tree, whose branches sweep the lawn, and to my amazement beheld one of our cats, engaged with this hen in the liveliest game of hide-and-seek; running in and out under the tree after each other, the cat crouching, wriggling, and darting beneath the branches, and the bird occasionally hopping up on one of them, whither the beast pursued her. At first I thought it was war, sudden death, and murder; but presently perceived it was peace, and the pursuit of innocent amusement with the friendliest good understanding. After this I watched them, and to my infinite amusement saw this game repeated over and over again. Then these curious companions took to walking sedately side by side (almost what you might call arm-in-arm) round the gravel walk, and finally settled amicably down together, on the nice hot glass frame of one of the vegetable pits, in the kitchen garden. Here I have seen them sitting, winking and blinking in the sun, apparently perfectly happy in mind and body, until suddenly the hen would turn sharply round and give a vicious peck at the cat's face or breast (what it had said to shock or offend her I did not hear), upon which the four-footed feline creature (hurt, no doubt, in all its feelings, slid down and made off rather shamefacedly, the biped, the feathered fowl, remaining in undivided possession, though apparently in ruffled dignity, of the comfortable hot glass. Now, isn't all this strange? If I had not seen I should not have believed it. I wish I knew what that cat said to that hen; it must have been something highly improper.

[I have since heard of a similar curious companionship in an English farmyard, and seen a remarkable instance of it while staying in Paris, at the Hôtel du Rhin, in the Place Vendôme, where a magnificent white warlike-looking cockatoo and a splendid white Persian cat used to walk up and down the sunny courtyard of the hotel half the morning together. Both the animals were of unusual size and strength, and any dispute between them would have been a terrible spectacle; but I would have backed the cockatoo against the cat]. . . .

I do not myself know any American Alcocks, but believe there are Bostonians of that name. All the colonists in the northeastern and midland states of the Union were originally English, or, at any rate British, and there can hardly be a family here whose parent stock is not on the other side of the water, and probably the relation between the branches, which have spread on either side of the Atlantic, would be easily traced in most instances. . . .

My dearest H—, it is my dear M— who ministers to me, not I to her, in our constant intercourse. No day passes without my receiving from Champlost some token of affectionate remembrance, from the flowers and fruit, that come to me in beautiful and bountiful profusion from her garden and hothouse, to the pleasant drives she fetches me to take with her, and which are so great a refreshment and pleasure to me, though so little, I am sorry to say, to her, suffering as she does incessantly from nervous apprehension of accidents, of one sort or another, by which her drives are converted into absolute penances, from which I should think it impossible that she could derive any benefit, either to her health or spirits. Almost all the country roads in this pretty neighborhood are traversed by railroads, and it is difficult to take a drive in any direction which avoids them. The park itself is free from these iron interruptions, with their hissing and screaming teams, but between Champlost and the park several would have to be crossed, besides the almost equally disagreeable impediments of the suburban tramways. These latter nuisances are so absolutely in possession of all the principal streets in the city, that it is running the risk of dislocating one's whole carriage and all one's own bones to undertake a morning's shopping.

YORK FARM, May 14, 1875.


The L—s are now down at St. Simon's, a pleasant and healthy place on the sea, at the mouth of the Altamaha river, far better for them all than the rice plantation; but then they are at a much greater distance from the little town of Darien and all the amenities of civilization, medical assistance included, which of course is a disadvantage. I shall be thankful when they are all safe here, which I hope now will be in about three weeks.

The winter, I suppose, is really finally gone, though the gardener still postpones bedding out the greenhouse plants, saying that the nights are frosty still. The whole process of the spring here is so sudden, that the leafing of the trees and blossoming of the early shrubs comes really, as with the waving of some fairy's wand, in less than a week; the whole aspect of the woods and fields changes from barren bareness to vivid grass and foliage, thick enough to make a shade, the sunshine is oppressive, and the dust in the road, between the house over the way and mine, all but ankle-deep already. The whole of last year this region suffered from constant drought, and the spring has hitherto brought no rain, so that people are beginning to be very anxious about the failing of the water supply and the injury to the agriculture.

I am very sorry for your account of Fanny Cobbe's over-working herself. I suppose at the rate at which the world moves now it is almost impossible for any one who wishes to do anything not to do too much. When I was in London she appeared to me to be over-tasking herself; her eyes were beginning to fail, and she was threatened with loss of power in her right hand from too constant use of it in writing. I should think her nerves might be shaken with the painful nature of the interests in which she was exerting herself, with so much zeal and sympathy. Any ridicule that she might incur by her advocacy of the "rights of animals" would be quite indifferent to her, I am sure; but the details of cruelty with which she has been obliged to become acquainted must have tried her kind and loving nature severely. I have been afraid that she would injure herself seriously by her exertions in this cause. However, a person who is forwarding works of humanity and benevolence, and measures of progress and enlightenment, by which others are to benefit, can hardly be said to be throwing, though they may be giving, their life away. Nobody is a judge of duty for another. Anxiety for those we love, and uncertainty in our judgments about them, is the stuff half one's life is made of, for who is wise? and who is reasonable? and who governs their existence just as they should do? And assuredly the people who kill themselves by laboring for others are not the majority.

YORK FARM, May 31, 1875.


I am, of course, deeply interested in the condition of the country I am living in, and am quite hopeful about its future, in spite of all that is disgraceful in its present. The political and financial rascality are astounding just now, no doubt; but the nation is vastly better than its politicians, or financiers, and by degrees the people, who are beginning to be ashamed of their rulers and government, will reform the abuses which are bringing such discredit upon the whole country. The great misfortune is its real general prosperity, and the consequent little interest which any but professional politicians take in public affairs. Private prosperity here seems really to destroy patriotism, and unfortunately any private business pays better than the business of the State, i.e. serving the country in any capacity, and so the public servants, or the servants of the republic, are the least respectable individuals to be found in it. Our own political honesty, even among men of the highest rank, dates no further back than late in George III.'s time, so I am not without hope that the American government may before long cease to be the dirty jobbery that it is now. I think it is curious that at the time when a miserably low standard of honor and morality prevailed among our politicians, public men, and statesmen, the commercial conscience of our people, the integrity, honesty, and character of our English merchants and men of business, was decidedly higher and better than it is at the present day. The influence and example of America has been unfavorable to us in this respect; their speculating mania and rage for rapid money-making has infected our slow and sure and steady-going mercantile community. The plodding thrift and scrupulous integrity and long-winded patient industry of our business men of the last century are out of fashion in these "giddy-paced" times and England is forgetting that those who make haste to be rich can hardly avoid much temptation and some sin.

YORK FARM, June 8, 1875.


I think I must have told you that my money affairs have now become settled again, in so far that my property is reinvested, but it is at a diminuition of interest of nearly three hundred pounds a year. Of course, as I spend every penny of my income, this has caused me both vexation and anxiety, and being quite unable to betake myself again to my former industry, or open my mouth to fill my pocket, I have very gladly accepted a most liberal offer, made to me by the publisher of the Atlantic Monthly Magazine, one of the principal American periodicals, who wrote me word from Boston some time ago that he would be glad of any article I would send to him. This, of course, is an immense relief to me for the present, and I am going to publish my manuscripts in his magazine. I do not, however, trust the manuscript I read to you out of my own hands, and am therefore obliged to copy it all over again, a heavy job of writing, which will give me steady pen-work for many a day to come, and which just at starting has kept me so occupied as to delay my answer to your last two letters. I am now, however, fairly beforehand with my publisher and shall have leisure for a month to come to resume my usual rate of correspondence. It has been a great satisfaction to me to find I had still in my power the means of self-help.

I am really thankful for this renewed supply of means just now, because, what with the enormous price of living in this country, and the increase of my family, for one or two months of the year, the loss of two or three hundred pounds annually made me feel very uncomfortable. I know myself to be quite incapable of any such changes in my mode of life as a lesser income would necessitate, for though I spend nothing in superfluities, the general comfort in which I live is in itself expensive. I do not keep a carriage, but I have four servants, and am obliged to keep a gardener at eight pounds a month, and so spend much in keeping the place in order.

I am expecting my dear Mr. L— to-day. He only comes on from New York to fetch some clothes he left here, and then returns immediately to sail for England, where he expects to spend the next two months, the dreadful hot months of July and August. How I wish I was going with him! F— remains in New York till after he has sailed, and then comes here with her baby and three servants, a considerable addition to my small household. The length of her stay is quite uncertain, but will depend upon how the child endures the heat; she is remarkably backward with her teething, and this, of course, will make the oppressive summer weather additionally trying to her, and she will be taken away to the seaside, at Newport, during the great heat. S— also expects to go away during the summer to the seaside, and talks of taking her boy to Niagara, a pleasure I greatly envy her, or rather rejoice in for her. I cannot afford traveling, which, like everything else, is inordinately expensive here, but shall be kept in countenance by M—, who is not well enough to leave home and encounter the infinite and unwholesome discomfort of American hotel living.

I have been reading Coleridge lately (his prose works). Why does he say the Italians are, as a nation, witty, but not humorous? I wonder what he makes of that whole family of Italians, harlequin, pantaloon, Punch, and that representative Folksman the Turinese Gian Duca? Abekeu told me that the Bergamasque Arlechino was an Italian popular version of the German Erlkönig, the sudden appearances and disappearances, and dark invisible face, being common characteristics of both; but I don't believe it, though it is very difficult to tell, whether certain popular beliefs and superstitions originated in the north or the south, or sprang up simultaneously (or at any rate independently) in various parts of the word, the East apparently, being one of their earliest cradles.

YORK FARM, June 9, 1875.


Your memory, of which you complain as failing, often seems to me more retentive of events, and even minute details, than mine. I have no recollection that it was on Trinity Sunday that you and I had gone up to Fairlight church, though I remember very well that we did go thither, and I think more than once together. I admired that beautiful height and the view from it greatly, and thought the buried there must be "dided very dead" (as S— said, when she was three years old, of the poor chicken she had squeezed to death in her love of it) not every now and then to sit up and look about them. I do not think hearing J— Y— preach would have been any great satisfaction to either of us, he always seemed to me rather the wrong man in the wrong place, being essentially and by nature an actor, which I do not think an advantage to a clergyman, though there is no doubt that the two professions have some elements and some temptations in common. The personal presence, the effect (if effects, so much the worse) of the countenance, voice, deportment, and gesture, tells for so much in the pulpit, especially with the female part of a congregation, that simplicity and self-forgetfulness are difficult virtues in a "fashionable" clergyman. [I remember my friend herself coming home one day from hearing Bishop Wilberforce preach a very eloquent sermon, of which she expressed her admiration, adding, however, at the same time, "the worst of it is–the impossibility of telling if he is not only a first-rate actor."]

I have no doubt a consciousness of this had something to do with Frederick Robertson's little delight in his Brighton pulpit popularity, and the dislike bordering on disgust which he once expressed at an engraving which reproduced a rather sentimental version of his face and figure while preaching. The fact is, there is shrewd danger of the popular preacher being dramatic, either in expression or in the intentional absence of it; as in the actor's case, the man himself is part of his work, an immense difficulty in that highest and holiest of callings–that of a priest.

M— and I and a neighbor and friend of ours went last week to a famous seashore watering-place, four hours by railroad from here, in hopes that the change of air and scene might do all of us, but especially M—, good. But the execrable food, sour bread, tough meat, and general miserable discomfort of our quarters at the principal hotel in the place (a huge wooden barrack) compelled us to return after only one day's experience of the delights of Long Branch. Certainly no one whose house is as comfortable as M—'s ought to go anywhere else in this country, unless for such positive beneficial results as is worth the sacrifice of every decency and every convenience of civilized life.

We have just got through the tremendous process to which the extreme variations of this climate compel all housekeepers here. Every carpet has been taken up, and every curtain taken down, and together with every woolen table cover, rug, blanket, fur, or similar object of furniture or apparel packed in rolls with pepper and camphor, in receptacles lined with cedar-wood, having been previously sewn up in linen covers; judge of the sneezing throughout the whole household when they are unpacked in the autumn; but without all these precautions they would then have become, not "food for worms, brave Percy," but for moths, the mothers of worms.

Our floors are covered with matting, our windows with plain white muslin draperies, our furniture with brown holland, and every picture, looking-glass, and engraving, with coarse leno gauze, to protect them from the swarms of flies; all which, of course, gives an appearance of coolness, and really adds to what little can be obtained, by keeping the shutters shut and the rooms darkened all day.

You say you do not ever doze in the day, which surprises me, as I never take up a book for a quarter of an hour, at any hour of the day, without going to sleep. Of course I cannot do this while writing or working with my needle; but reading is an infallible soporific. I am very sleepy now, for I had a night of much pain, and got up at half-past six to see that my dear Mr. L— had an early breakfast before starting. As soon as I lay down my pen, and take up the Spectator, I shall be in the blessed condition of the "little boy blue under his haystack fast asleep."

YORK FARM, June 10, 1875.


I was just sitting down to write to you, when an amiable young lady called. She had come from town to see S—, but found her gone into Philadelphia, so she came and bestowed her tediousness upon me for an hour; and, expressing her intention of going on to see M—, I was so glad to get rid of her that I offered to go with her by the "Lady's Walk," across the fields and through the woods, the nearest way to Champlost. I have come back in a hot bath with walking in the sun, and thoroughly uncomfortable for the rest of the day, and so I wish the amiable young lady had not come to see me.

Mr. L— left me yesterday, after a visit of a night. He sails for England on Saturday, and on the same day F— and her baby, and her maid, and the child's nurse, and a little black servant of the baby's will arrive. Mr. L— left behind him yesterday, as an installment of the rest, a beautiful Irish retriever of his, who passed last summer with me–a very fine, large, intelligent dog, of which I am very fond, and which lies now panting at my feet, after his run across the farm in the midday heat, which, in spite of his being shorn as close as possible of all his fine brown locks, seems to distress him as much as it does me. Mr. L— says his little girl looks delicate, because she has a very white, colorless complexion; but that she is large and muscularly strong, very gay and lively, and hardly ever cries at all, which is certainly a sign of physical well-being. I am very anxious to see the little creature again; the thing that troubles me about her is that she has got no teeth, and this at eleven months old is being very backward, and I fear very much the effect of the summer heat upon her during that trying process, which I suppose must take place presently.

I envied Mr. L— going home to England and to his family and escaping the horrible heat of this climate, though only for a short time. He talks of returning at the end of July, with his nephew, Lord L—'s eldest son, who has been intending for some time past to visit the United States.

F— now says that they never intended to spend less than three winters in Georgia, as less than that was an insufficient experiment in regard to the plantation. Certainly, when I came to America, I understood that we were to return this summer to England. Of course I have given up all such idea now, as I could not be happy on the other side of the Atlantic with both my children here; but it is a severe disappointment, and in every way trying and distressing to me. My remaining here is an advantage to F—, because she not only gets her rent for the house, but the place and property are taken care of as they would not be likely to be by any other tenant. Naturally I am glad enough to be of use to her in any way, but I should have rejoiced to return to England this summer. . . .

S— is just now going through one of the miserable household crises which so perpetually afflict her, her lady's-maid is leaving her, and she is without a cook; but when this thing becomes chronic, as I really think it may be called in her case, I suppose, like the eels with the skinning, people get used to it.

Our hot weather has kept off hitherto mercifully, but it will not forbear us much longer, and I am invoking patience and courage for the endurance of it.

YORK FARM, June 25, 1875.


I have now had F— and her baby with me for upwards of a week. The little girl is the most delicate-looking creature I ever saw. She is so thin that one can see and feel all her little bones. She is as white as ivory, with dark shadows under her eyes, and has not a single tooth yet, in spite of all which she never cries or frets, and is habitually bright and lively and animated, so that I hope, as time goes on, she will acquire more vigor and get more nourishment out of her food. She takes as nearly as possible two quarts of milk in the four-and-twenty hours, and has had with them as much as six-teaspoonfuls of brandy, which seems to me quite enormous for an infant; but is in accordance with the medical treatment of the present day, the fashion of which appears to be to give as much stimulant as possible.

Poor F— is herself apparently well, but she feels depressed naturally, when she sees two of the farm people's babies, born just within a month of her poor little girl, rosy and plump, and with four teeth apiece.

Certainly this is the most trying climate in the world. It is not a week since it was so cold that we were obliged to have fires; and this morning, walking in the shade at seven o'clock, before breakfast, the perspiration ran down my face like rain. I shall be inexpressibly thankful when the summer is over, for I cannot afford to leave this place, and have to look forward to three months of physical misery, compared to which the cold of the winter was nothing.

Our whole neighborhood just now is infested with a horrible insect, which they vulgarly call the potato bug, and which has come all the way from the wild lands of Colorado. The farmer who cultivates the forty acres of this small estate has a potato field, where twice a day he collects two great milking pans full of them, and in our potato patch, here in our small kitchen garden, my Irish laborer showed me a dozen of them on the first two or three potato plants. I said I hoped they would not get over to Ireland. 'Och, murther!" cried he, "that would be the end of the wurrld!"

You ask me if American men are like English men? No; American gentlemen are a cross between English and French men, and yet really altogether like neither. They are more refined and modest than Frenchmen, and less manly, shy, and rough, than Englishmen. Their brains are finer and flimsier, their bodies less robust and vigorous than ours. We are the finer animals, and they the subtler spirits. Their intellectual tendency is to excitement and insanity, and ours to stagnation and stupidity.

Dearest H—, the heat is so oppressive that I can hardly sit up to write. F— in the next room has closed all the shutters, undressed, and laid herself down, and I must go and take a bath.

YORK FARM, June 29, 1875.


. . . I wrote you yesterday what I had to say about F— and her baby. The little creature is the most delicate child I ever saw; and now that the awful heat has come upon us, she really looks as if she might melt away, like a little wax model of an infant. . . . I think American women are generally rather deficient in animal instinct, and have little of the excessive maternal feeling which derives from it. . . .

Poor dear M— and I profited but little by our excursion to the seaside. We went, intending to stay two whole days, and return on the fourth from our departure. The place is one of the most fashionable seaside resorts in the country, where the President has a summer residence, and where, in the season, all the gay Philadelphia world flocks in crowds. We went to the best big hotel there, and such was the miserable discomfort of our accommodation, that after enduring it for one day, we all agreed with common consent to return home, and having been obliged to have a fire, and being chilled through with the bitter sea blast, we traveled back to Philadelphia in broiling scorching heat, and were thankful at any price to be in our own houses again. M— was none the worse happily for the exertion; but unless the mere change of air compensated for starvation, dirt, and every other detestable discomfort, she certainly was none the better.

You write me that you had your hair cut short, and yesterday I made Ellen cut off the whole of mine, which she did very unwillingly. The intolerable heat of a mass of hair on one's head and neck, in such weather as we are now having, the impossibility of keeping it dry and free from perspiration, and the tendency to erysipelas, which I thought quite likely to be the consequence of the rusting of the hair pins used in putting it up, determined me to this shearing; and my hair is now short, a grizzled crop all around my head, and very dreadfully frightful indeed I look in that condition; but the relief is immense, and I only wish I could be shaved and go about bald, with only my skin for skull cap, as Sydney Smith wished he could throw off his flesh and sit in his bones in hot weather.

I was enchanted with the idea of those out-of-door Shakespeare readings. I wish I could have given mine so. I choose to believe, you know, that "As You Like It," was written in the deer park at Stoneleigh. He did not steal his venison there, but at Charlecote, as it is said, which I don't choose to believe.

Dearest H—, I must stop writing to you and set to work copying for the devil, i. e., printer; so for the present, good-bye, and God bless you, ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, July 1, 1875.


I am quite aware how necessary it is for me, under my present circumstances, to be prudent and economical as far as I can. The very liberal terms offered me by the American editor for my Memoirs, has of course, relieved my immediate anxiety. It is not, however, a subject that I think much about, or care to let my mind dwell upon; certainly, at my age it is quite unnecessary to be over-anxious about any such matter.

I have already reported to you the unsatisfactory physical condition of my poor little granddaughter, and it seems to me very singular that so puny and sickly a little creature should be so invariably good-tempered, quiet, gay, and contented. She was weighed yesterday, and weighed only seventeen pounds, which for a baby a year old (to-morrow is her birthday) is a miserable weight. She is unusually tall, long limbed, and long bodied, with arms and legs as thin as yours, and she is as white as wax. She has, however, uncommon muscular strength, and the most serene uncomplaining disposition I ever saw in a poor little baby. She has not yet a single tooth, and has been covered with nettle-rash, from the frightful heat, from which we have all been suffering, more or less, but nothing seems to make her irritable or fractious. She has sweet dark blue eyes, and pretty golden brown hair. If she lives, I should think she will be a pretty and very tall woman. She is bright and intelligent, and exceedingly fond of music.

I wrote to Fanny Cobbe, as in duty bound, as soon as I entered into this arrangement for printing any portion of the Memoir, because, before I availed myself of these Records, to stop the gap in my income, I had obtained her permission to leave all my papers to her, a charge which she had most kindly and considerately accepted and which might have involved some trouble and responsibility; and so I wrote to her to tell her what I am about to do, and so relieve her of the charge she had accepted.

I do not wonder at her pursuing with all the devotion of her affectionate, warm-hearted nature, the cause she has undertaken in behalf of the poor animal brutes whom the brutes of men are torturing with so little shame or pity. She is, at any rate, beginning an excellent work, and has enlisted so much public opinion and sympathy in its favor, that I do not suppose the subject will be lost sight of again till some abatement of the wicked cruelty has been obtained.

I did not think my dear Mr. L— looked well when he came up from the South, and he has lost weight by at least a stone, which does not perhaps much signify, for he will soon recover more than that in England. He did not say much about his longing to see England again; but that may have been a little qualified, as he was leaving my child and his child behind him.

F— takes very little interest in the coming Centenary Exhibition. You know she is by way of being Southern in all her views and sentiments, and the South is too much depressed to join in any national rejoicing.

S—, I think, regrets that any appeal whatever has been made to other nations to join in what she considers a strictly American jubilee; but as the thing has been embarked in, she hopes and wishes that it may be successful. I looked upon the whole thing as a mere bit of jobbery and State speculation, and, with the moral and financial credit of the country at its present low ebb, I think the challenge sent forth to the world to come and witness its progress and prosperity not especially well timed. The American gentlemen of a hundred years ago, with Washington at their head, would probably have thought the progress in some directions questionable.

Good-bye. God bless you, my dearest friend. This summer has brought me one bitter disappointment, in not seeing you again; but of that it is not wise or well to speak.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, July 2, 1875.

This is our little baby's birthday. This day she came to us in a terrific thunderstorm, that we heard without heeding, and that raged with the utmost fury during the hour that preceded her birth, and now we have to thank God for the child sent safely to bless us. I have already written to you more than once of their being with me, and to-morrow they go away to Newport for fresh air and sea breezes, and I am anxious to have them gone, though I shall miss them sorely.

As for the trip to the sea, which I undertook with M— and Mrs. T—, there never was so miserable a failure. We went intending to spend two days, and were back at the end of the first, utterly disgusted with the odious discomfort of everything–the weather so cold and cheerless that we were obliged to have a fire, and the only room in the hotel (which in the season accommodates hundreds of people) where there was a fireplace was a huge barn of a public sitting-room, with four doors and six windows. The food was dirty and detestable, and everything disgusting. So we came back as quickly as possible, and could only rejoice that if M— was not better for the expedition she was not much the worse for the fatigue.

The fact is that the wretched discomfort of these watering-place hotels and the life people lead in them can only be endured by any one accustomed to the common decencies of existence for some most important benefit to health, and I should think would go far to neutralize all possible advantages of sea air and bathing, and change of scene and atmosphere. . . .

As for archery being merely a youthful pastime, I think almost all the members of the club are at least middle-aged, and my grave literary friend, James Spedding, who must be near seventy, while I was last at Widmore, was still an ardent toxophilite; and at St. Leonard's the old maiden lady who was queen of the archery-ground was over sixty, and still "shot a fine shoot," as Justice Shallow says.

Our weather now is moderate, and I am really thanking Heaven for the relief from the horrible heat, of which we have just had an uninterrupted week. The week before that we had fires; yesterday night it was so cold that we had to ask for blankets; and three nights before one could hardly sleep for the heat, though lying on the outside on one's bed with only one's nightdress on. I do not believe such another climate is to be found anywhere else in the world.

I never heard of Messrs. Moody and Sankey in this country. My first information respecting them was what you wrote to me of their popular religious assemblies in Dublin.

You say you hope that S— has got over her domestic troubles; but it was only this morning that F— and I agreed that hopeless was the only word to be applied to them. She is now without housekeeper, lady's-maid, or cook, and in all this dire heat has been going in and out of town almost daily in search of the wretched servants, whom she engages one day, who come out to her the next, and leave her house again on the third, proving utterly incompetent to the duties they undertake, and in every way intolerable. I sometimes really fear S— will be worried out of her senses by the life she is compelled to lead, and do not think it will be possible for them to endure it if this thing continues as it is at present. I see nothing for it but their leaving their house and going to live either at an hotel or some boarding-house.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, July 5, 1875.


I have written you all I have to tell about my child and her child. They were with me nearly three weeks, and left me the day before yesterday for the seaside. I miss F— very much, she is a very cheerful, pleasant companion; and I miss the dear little, pale-faced, quiet baby. The departure of three servants and a very noisy little pet dog from such a small house as mine makes a wonderful silence, stillness, and sadness at first.

S— is going to New York for entire change, and also to see if she cannot there obtain a better class of servants than are to be found in Philadelphia. I am told, by those who have some knowledge of the subject, that there is a demand and supply there of a better sort of person than the ignorant, incapable wasteful, insolent, low Irish women, who form the material here from which people recruit their households. A housekeeper is an extremely difficult person to find here, and servants, who will be subject to a housekeeper, still more difficult to find, so that the case, I am sorry to say, is a very hopeless one.

You ask me if the union of the three primary colors, which united constitute light, ever represents to me the idea we form of the Trinity. You say "we form," but I form no idea of any sort upon the subject, which entirely transcends my powers of thinking, and never presents any conclusion to my mind when by rare chance it considers that dogma of the Church. Of course, the object you mention is a very good physical illustration of the Trinity, and so are the three stems of trees, growing, as I have seen them, into one, and so are the three petals of the clover; but to multiply material types of the Trinity is in no way to make its immaterial metaphysical existence evident, as a spiritual fact, and therefore does not, I think, afford any assistance towards conceiving the mystery accepted by most Christians under that name.

Dante has made three gyrating wheels of the three colors, the symbol of the highest celestial glory, but to me that culminating splendor of heaven in the "Paradiso" never suggested anything but a gigantic tricolor cockade, the emblem of the French motto of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality, which the gendarmes in the Paris streets wear as their warrant of authority.

"Nella profonda e chiara sussistenza
Del alto lume parvemi tre giri,
Di tre colori e d'una contenenza."

Il Paradiso

I prefer Milton's pure white splendor–

                    "For God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from the first; dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate."

I rejoice to say that in the conversations I have had with F— while she has been here, she does not seem to contemplate her husband settling in this country, but, on the contrary, his returning to his home next summer. Still, all their plans must depend in some measure upon what becomes of their property here. I think he might have had one of the largest churches in Birmingham, had he been in England last year. I think they would be glad to part with their Southern property, and I wish they could succeed in letting, if they do not sell it, and that Mr. L— could return to his own country and profession.

Darien is inhabited by three men, who are all from the British Islands, English or Scotch, uneducated, intelligent, enterprising, energetic men, who have made, or are still making, fortunes in the timber trade. The rest of the inhabitants are the mere dregs of the southern planter population of the district, adventurous northern workmen and artisans, and a large majority of free negroes, of every conceivable shade of color, and for the most part idle and worthless; in short, you can imagine what the lees of slavery are likely to be. The place, however, has some special advantages for its principal trade, which is the lumber of the great southern pine forests, and is becoming more and more a resort for foreign vessels engaged in that business. Houses and land in the small straggling town are rising in value, and I suppose that its being a place of considerable commercial importance and prosperity is only a question of time.

I do not think there is any strong movement upon the subject of altering the wretched commercial and financial system (currency, customs, etc.) which the present government has maintained, and which has as nearly ruined this poor country, in fact at home and in credit abroad, as it is possible. The world has certainly never yet seen such an illustration of the truth, that moral elements are indispensable for public as well as private prosperity, as this extraordinary nation presents. Wealth, enormous positive wealth, energy, activity, intelligence, unbounded space and unlimited freedom in the use of all these advantages, but for want of common sense and honesty in the government, the country just now is in a state of absolute prostration, an incredible collapse of all its energies alike, without means of using its own immense resources, and cruelly dishonored and discredited abroad. It will come out of the slough by degrees and be more prosperous, more powerful, and, I doubt not, more wise; but in the meantime universal suffrage does not appear to produce the most perfect results here just now.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, July 20, 1875.


I had a letter from Newport yesterday, saying that the poor little baby had got one tooth through and would probably put forth one or two more in a day or two. Now that half the summer is over, that her teeth are come, and she is in a mild temperate climate by the sea, I trust, poor little spark of vitality (very vivid vitality, too), she will gather strength and hold on to this existence, in which she has hitherto done little else but battle bravely for leave to live. Upon the whole, I am inclined to be hopeful about the little creature, when I remember S—'s boy, and his most miserable beginning of existence, and see him now–a tall, broad, healthy lad–speriamo!

He came home from school for his holidays the very next day after the departure of F— and her baby, and came to see me yesterday, and told me that I remind him of "Mariana in the moated grange," which rather surprised me, because, though an old woman is not the liveliest companion for a lad of fifteen, there is a profound depth of melancholy, not to say despair, about Tennyson's Mariana that made me wonder at my suggesting it to him. We all treat him not so much as a young man, as a boy and a gentleman, a very pleasant combination, and very much what he is. . . . I do not know anything of Mr. Arthur Arnold, but do not think he is a son of the person you mention, the former proprietor of the English opera-house. I imagined he was that son of Dr. Arnold who went to India, and wrote a book, called, I think, "Oakwood," and at one time had charge of Ralph King.

The heat we had in June was all but intolerable to me. I was copying hard for the press, and sat in my bedroom in only one garment, no shoes and no stockings, with a wet pocket handkerchief over my head (of which all the hair has been cut off) to protect my face and shoulders from the plague of flies with which we are tormented–me voyez-vous? and in this plight I sat and scribbled, with the perspiration rolling off me in great drops, while F—, in a similar (absence of) costume, lay in her bedroom trying to read. Thank Heaven, the weather has moderated; yesterday it was positively cold in the evening, and to-day it is damp and chilly. On Sunday we had a furious sort of tornado. Certainly my enduring this climate is a proof of my affection for my children.

I have not been much interested by the poor old Duke de Sermoneta's marriage. I was attached to his last wife, whose sister was my intimate friend; but this lady I have only met once or twice. He ought to have a wife to take care of him, for his daughter and daughter-in-law have husbands and children of their own, and cannot devote themselves continually to his blind helplessness. I do not think it very strange that English women should have been willing to marry the Gaetani. Sermoneta's first wife was a Polish woman. He married his second (my friend's sister) partly because he was really attached to her, partly for her fortune, and partly to have a lady whom he respected and trusted to look after his daughter, by his Polish wife. He is now marrying for a nurse; and the title and position of Duchess of Sermoneta is worth the while of a short nurseship to the lady he marries. . . . The young Princess Teano was a lovely beauty, but she had no fortune, and could not have married anything like such rank and social position in her own country.

YORK FARM, July 28, 1875.


. . . You ask me if I think all classes of women in the United States are deficient in maternal sentiment. I speak of the deficiency as comparative rather than positive, and of course there are plenty of individual exceptions; but the men and women of the United States are upon the whole the least animal race of human beings that I have ever seen. The men have no backs to their heads, and the women no backs to their bodies, and their animal nature appears to me weaker than that of either English, French, Italian, or German people.* The affections have their roots in the animal propensities, though they exist of course in measure where these are not strong. The Americans love their children, I should say, much more morally and intellectually than physically, which is the reverse of all coarse and powerfully animal natures. The American women do not care to have children, and have, I think, generally (compared with woman of other nations) little baby and little nursery love; for all which their general infirm health and terrible climate and miserable lack of domestic assistance for the proper care of their children (rendering the periods of their infancy one of absolute slavery to the mothers) would be reasons enough.

I believe the climate has been assigned as the reason of the comparatively unsensual character of the Red Indian savages; and I have always thought that part of the dislike of the Americans for the negroes as a race, was due to the fact that the negro is among the most animal of human beings. But I think many causes tend to make American women hard, or, at any rate, less tender, caressing, soft, and affectionate in their outward demonstrations than other women.

Of course the immense influx of foreign people, Irish and German, keeps modifying the American character in all respects the whole time; but then, again, the American climate and institutions modify the constitution of the emigrants and their children, in the course of a couple of generations, very perceptibly.

I had a long letter from Fanny Cobbe about ten days ago, written, I thought, in a depressed tone of spirits, which was well accounted for by all the annoyance and worry she has been going through. I wrote back to her, asking her to come and spend the winter here with me; but I do not know if she would be able to manage, even if she felt inclined to do this. How would she bear the sea-voyage and the horrible winter, and, worse than everything to her, the barren intellectual destitution of the life I lead here? She is very fond of S—, who loves and admires her, and I am very fond of her, and would gladly do anything to show my regard and esteem for her, and this was the only thing that occurred to me as possible for me to do. Of course her coming here would be a godsend to me and to S—.

I do not wear a cap at all, my dearest H—, for if I did, I should find but little benefit from having cut off all my hair, especially as I could never endure anything tied under my chin. My hair is cut about a finger long, and all brushed back from my forehead, and powdered, so I look like a coarse, ugly copy of some of my uncle John's pictures. The mass of hair wet through with the heat, was odious to me, the hair-pins all becoming rusty and spoilt with it, and the skin irritated to a degree that seemed to me to threaten erysipelas. I am certainly a most ill-favored object now, but have at any rate escaped from all those worries. As the weather becomes cooler, I shall wear on my head the sort of three-cornered lace handkerchief my sister wears, which is tied so loosely under the chin as hardly to be felt, or else caps that I can fasten round my skull with an elastic band.

* The brain development in this country is earlier, and its action more rapid than elsewhere, and the mental processes of the Americans quicker and more vivid than those of any other people. Their intellect is subtler than that of the English, and there is a tendency to insanity with them which does not exist with us. They want our heavy, sound, material ballast to qualify their higher and finer brain. The Americans, as a rule, are wanting in animal spirits, properly so called, because they are generally the result of vigorous animal health, and abound in the young, in whom the animal vital element preponderates. The Americans know nothing of the nursery life of English children, that existence so carefully devoted to physical habits of the wholesomest simplicity and regularity, so carefully deprived of all intellectual influence or nervous excitement. There is no American childhood, and the athletic sports of Englishmen are comparatively little cultivated by Americans. Business life begins much earlier in the United States, and the carelessness of youth is shorter lived there than in any other country.

YORK FARM, July 29, 1875.


You ask me if I ever see the new quarterly magazine in which Fanny Cobbe writes. I have told you that I see no European publications whatever, and that having, after infinite trouble, signally failed to obtain one or two of the periodicals in which there were articles that you wished me to read, I had given up all attempts to procure any such thing in despair. It is one of the minor privations that belong to my life here, and is so trifling, compared with many others, that I only occasionally grumble at it.

My little Alice has got very cleverly upon her feet, supporting herself very well by one's knees, or holding one's finger. Her mother had a capital contrivance made for her, a sort of wooden pen, about seven feet square, formed of light rails and bars, and fastened with hinges at the corners. This she used to put on the grass in the shade, and, with a counterpane spread in it, to protect the child from damp and insects, it was a most admirable inclosure for the little lamb, who used it to pull herself up and stand, holding by the rails of it, quite comfortably. I have just sent it off to her, with a large sort of tent umbrella, to put over it, because, though they have grass at Newport, they have few trees and little shade, and, properly protected from the sun, of course it is an immense advantage to the child to be as much as possible in the sea air. The accounts of her from Newport are that she is altogether flourishing, and I am thankful to think of her and her mother in cool comfort by the seaside.

I do not think my dear Mr. L—, or any other such Englishmen, can ever like the United States as a residence–I mean, wish to make a home there; and I sincerely hope that they have made arrangements for their final return to England next year. There is a great deal that he thoroughly admires and approves of in this country; but it is not a home for Englishmen or women born and bred as he is, and has grown less so within the last ten years and since the war.

I am very much affected by the news I have just received from Lizzie Mair of her sister, Mrs. Grant's, death. She was old, and had become infirm; but Lizzy's announcement of her death recalled the time when we were all young together, and my happy year of girlhood spent in her mother's house in Edinburgh.

God bless you, dearest H—, my friend of fifty years. It is just about half a century since "we were first acquaint."

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, July 31, 1875.


My grandson, about whom you ask so particularly in the letter I have received from you this morning, is not at all a "precocious American young man," but an uncommonly clever and gifted boy. Like most of his country people, he is deficient, I am sorry to say, in animal spirits, and this and rather unusual reasonableness prevents him from appearing, or, indeed being, young of his age; but he is thoroughly well bred, and has no pert, unpleasant precocity at all. Certainly people can never shake off or absolutely change their original physical organization, which is, I suppose, what you mean by their "natural disposition," however much by strenuous and long-continued effort they may succeed in modifying it. . . .

As for the difficulty of the "servant question" here, you can form no conception of it. The W—'s are keeping at this moment in their house a man-servant whom they know to be a thief and a liar, because he is good-tempered and clever, and understands his work, and the trouble and difficulty of replacing him would be something that they cannot face. One must have lived here to imagine the state of things in this respect.

A new source of income, when at my age one is suddenly deprived of a considerable portion of the old, when one lives up to one's revenue, and indulges no superfluity that will admit of retrenchment, is a seriously fortunate circumstance. It so happened that just at a time when my yearly income was suddenly and unexpectedly reduced, I received an offer, as I have told you, from one of the principal American magazines, for any prose matter I would give them, and for as long as I chose to send them articles. Of course I could not now undertake to write to eke out my income, any more than I could now undergo the fatigue of reading to do so; but the large mass of ready-written matter which I had in my hands was an obvious means of helping myself. The task of recopying it all is very tedious, but the manuscript as it is, could not go out of my own possession, and I am only too thankful that I had such a resource to turn to in my dilemma.

I am as well as I can be here at this season; but the idea of your fire makes me shudder.

YORK FARM, August 17, 1875.


I wrote to you yesterday, not having heard from you for some time, and fearing, from what appeared to me a much longer silence than usual, that something was amiss with you. The letter I now have from you is, on the contrary, one of the brightest I have had for a long time, and I am sure, though it may be unconsciously to yourself, that it must have been dictated under the influence of the happy expectation of Mrs. St. Quintin's visit. I am so very, very glad she is coming to cheer and comfort you.

I have heard nothing of my dear Mr. L—'s experiences in England, but one or two incidents of his London society life, and since his return to America I have not seen him, as, of course, he went immediately to Newport, to his wife and child, on landing, and I shall see none of them till they come here again, on their way to the South, in November or later.

I answer your questions as they come, dear H—, and therefore beg to tell you that my hair is already growing, and that I shall not cut it again, as the summer cannot last much longer in its intensity, and I am a painfully hideous object to all my friends here, who do not at all approve of my short shock of gray hair, with its perfectly white lining turned back from my forehead, which is yellow-brown, and seamed with many a deep line of age and care.

The portion of my Memoirs that I have recopied for publication has only reached my first summer at Weybridge, on my return from school in Paris, when I was about sixteen. I could not put it as it was in the printer's hands, and therefore have undertaken the task of copying it, in which I have just now obtained the assistance of our village grocer, an unfortunate man, who, after the example of many of his richer commercial brethren, has been trading upon credit without capital, and far beyond what honesty or prudence would warrant. He has failed, and has just been sold out of his shop. Of course the man was in great distress, and until he finds some steady occupation, which he is looking for, I make him come here for two hours and a half every morning, and he writes for me under dictation, which relieves me for the present from my heavy task of penmanship, and gives him five shillings a day wherewith to buy food for his wife and child.

"What is our identity?" say you. Why, I suppose that one of our qualities, or those of our qualities, which preponderate most strongly over all the rest, and distinguish us from other human beings. Of course, we are made up of inherited mental, moral, and physical conditions which can be traced, in most cases, to our progenitors, to which each one of us adds either some specific different quality or different combination of the inherited ones, which portion of his or her being constitutes, I take it, the element of his or her individuality. There are no two faces exactly alike, although all faces have precisely the same number of features. In the tree of fullest foliage no two of its thousands of leaves are precisely alike. The difference constitutes the individual and is its identity.

The church at Stoneleigh is not between two rivers, but close to a narrow, sluggish stream, called by the unpicturesque, but very appropriate, name of the "Sow" (especially since it had been made a mere sewer for the impurities of Coventry.) This stream runs just by the Stoneleigh graveyard, and about a quarter of a mile from the village. After entering the park, it meets the Avon, and these are the two rivers which you remember in that neighborhood.

Ever since the beginning of August now we have had intense heat, with almost incessant rain. We are obliged to keep all the windows open, otherwise we should be stifled, and the consequence is everything in the house is saturated with damp–the armchair back against which you lean, the sheets on your bed, and the linen in your drawers.

I have only been able to walk out twice since the beginning of June, except to church, whither I crawl on a Sunday, the distance being a quarter of a mile, to accomplish which I never allow myself less than half an hour. Last Sunday I had the opportunity of observing a most disgusting phenomenon on my way thither and back. The road was literally alive with those horrible Colorado beetles, or "potato bugs," as they more commonly and agreeably call them here. They were marching along the highway by scores and hundreds, in companies, like a disbanded army. I never saw anything more horrid. They have so completely stripped a potato field of several acres on this farm of every vestige of green, that I walked through the naked twigs the other day wondering what strange kind of crop the farmer had put into the ground.

YORK FARM, August 24, 1875.


I believe my theory, with regard to the national physical characteristics of the Americans, true in spite of your medical book upon the subject. In speaking once with Monsieur de Mussy, who was then my doctor, and saying that every fifth man in the United States was supposed to be diseased with dissolute living, he replied that every third man was the average of such cases in France, and he presumed in England, and that, you see, is a difference of nearly half the number in favor of American morality. I imagine one reason of the general want of health in this country is not so much the amount of profligacy as the early age at which dissolute habits are indulged in here by mere boys. The absence of all effectual authority leaves them almost as mere children, to follow the impulse of their inclinations without restraint and the injury done to the constitution at such an early age is, I imagine, greater and of worse consequence than when the system at a more advanced age would be in some measure consolidated. The early, almost boyish, constant use of tobacco, too, destroys the nervous system, and that obtains here earlier than anywhere else, I think, not only in the habit of smoking but of chewing tobacco, one of the other, or both, of which practices are indulged in by the majority of Americans, almost from their boyhood.

I think it strange that I have never heard from Fanny Cobbe, in reply to the letter I wrote to her, begging her to come and spend the winter with me. It was a letter that she was sure not to leave unanswered, and I begin to fear she has never received it, which I should regret very much, as it contained the full expression of my sympathy with all her annoyances, and an affectionate expression of my great regard for her, as well as certain explanations upon the subject of my present publication of my Memoirs, which seemed to me due to her, as she had promised to take charge of my papers in the event of my death. She has taken no notice whatever of this letter, and I am afraid it is among the "missing."

We are all rather depressed by the approaching departure of our boy for school. He makes a wonderful light and warmth in our rather sad-colored existence, and I think with dismay how terribly his poor mother will miss him.

You say that it must be pleasant to me to fancy myself like my uncle John. My uncle John was your idol and beau-ideal, and it would have been pleasant to you to have fancied yourself like him, but I cannot say that it gives me any particular satisfaction to be, as I have all my life been, a very plain likeness of my very handsome family. On the contrary, it is rather aggravating to suggest an association that instantly turns to one's disadvantage. I should have been quite good-looking enough to pass in a crowd but for my good-looking relations. The likeness between myself and Mrs. Siddons, and myself and my sister, was very great, and yet the whole configuration of our face and features was different, for theirs were long and regular, and mine snub and irregular. The degree to which this resemblance, without similarity, may exist, was curiously exemplified with my grandson, the other day, who is not like John Kemble, but who, suddenly looking in at the window, produced an effect so like a full-face picture of my uncle John in Macbeth, that everybody was struck with the resemblance, and cried out at it. Likeness seems to depend on so many indescribably things. S— and F— are occasionally spoken to for each other, by persons who do not know them intimately, though I cannot see the least likeness between them. I suppose my strong resemblance to my grandmother, Mrs. Roger Kemble, must give me a latent likeness to her children, my uncle and aunt, which accidents of dress or expression occasionally bring out. Inheritance in that, as in all our qualities, is a wonderful thing; but I shall comb down my hair in a day or two now, and then, all fancied or real likeness to my uncle John will disappear again, I imagine.

I am thankful to say that the weather is so changed, as to be quite tolerable within the last two days, and to suggest a hope that the heat is over for this year. The mornings and the evenings and nights are cool, and there is an autumnal look and feeling in the air, that makes one hope that we are released from broiling, boiling, frying, roasting, and stewing for this year. It is very sad thus to have to rejoice at the departure of the summer, especially when one has before one such a winter as ours is, but the beautiful autumn lies between this and that, and the autumn of this climate is incomparably beautiful. No season that I have ever seen anywhere is as lovely but the spring in Italy.

YORK FARM, September 2, 1875.


It is a most useless practice to speculate about other people's affairs, and I am gradually giving up that bad habit. Moreover, I think as little as possible of the irregularity of the miserable postal arrangements, by which we are constantly suffering here, although vexation of every sort is perpetually arising from it. It is now long ago since you wrote me word of Fanny Cobbe's late annoyances. I wrote her directly such a letter as I am sure she would have answered, proposing to her to come and spend the winter with me. I have never had a line from her in reply, and certainly the letter has never reached her. A young lad, a schoolfellow of my grandson's, came on the other day at considerable inconvenience and expense, a distance of ninety miles, to pay a visit to friends, who were away from home, and had written to tell him so, and to warn him not to come. Within the last fortnight I have lost a letter from Newport, from F—, and S— says she is positive that within the twelvemonth she has been at Branchtown, no fewer than seven of her letters have gone astray. There is no remedy whatever for this, and I bear it just as I am obliged to bear the sores with which I am covered from head to foot from mosquito bites, and which, as Ellen very justly observes, if I were to die, might make people suppose I had fallen a victim to the plague. I am thankful for every letter I get from you, and for every one of mine that I hear reaches Fitzwilliam Place.

Tell me if you ever knew that the Grove, opposite Cassiobury, which belonged to Lord Clarendon in our time, had once belonged to your family? A notorious, ill-conducted actress, of the name of Bellamy, a contemporary of Garrick's, speaks in her life of the place being owned by the Lord Doneraile of her day, and of the happy hours she spent in the adjoining park of Cassiobury, with her "dear Miss St. Leger." Did you know that neighborhood had been haunted by an ancestress of yours, and another player woman?–I suppose perhaps your grandfather's sister, or possibly daughter–she married a Colonel Burton, I believe. Do you know this? I think if you had you would sometime or another have mentioned it to me, and I am sure you never did. I wish I knew what that Miss St. Leger's name was. . . .

You speak of the blight having appeared among the potatoes in Ireland, and I have been in daily dread of hearing that this horrible pest, the Colorado beetle, or potato bug, as they call it here, had got a footing in your Ireland, where, I am afraid, little less than another potato famine would be the consequence of its appearance. They have infested this part of Pennsylvania in such numbers as to recall the terrible denunciation of the Old Testament, "I will send my great army of the palmer worm and the caterpillar on you." The tenant who rents this farm of about forty acres from F—, planted six acres with potatoes, and walking through the field the other day, I could not help wondering what curious crop it was sown with. I had no more idea that I was walking among potatoes than that the field was sown with wheat. After devouring the potatoes, they betake themselves to the neighboring vegetables, egg-plants, tomatoes, etc. For the last few days they have appeared to be emigrating in a body, the garden walks and high-road have swarmed with them, and thousands have crawled up the walls of the house, so that I have had dustpans full of them scraped off two or three times a day. They come into the bedrooms, as well as all the rooms on the ground-floor, and I am terribly afraid they are prompted by some instinct to climb up to the roof of the houses, to seek some place of safety to lay their eggs and hibernate, and descend again in force next year upon us. There is something disgusting in these crawling creatures coming into one's very house and on one's clothes. I expect to find them in my soup presently, "potage à la pomme de terre bug."

My opposite neighbors and myself are all rather sad just now with the approaching return of our boy to school. He leaves us next week, and will carry away every ray of brightness from his mother's atmosphere. His father dotes upon him, and will miss him terribly, and so shall I. It cheers my heart only to hear him knock about the croquet-balls on the lawn over the way. I have been trying to stretch my old, swollen, rheumatic hands, endeavoring to practise Mendelssohn's Scotch and Italian four-hand symphonies to play with him. His extemporaneous voluntary playing on the piano is really indicative of a high order of talent. . . .

We have had a terrible month of August–incessant rain and stifling heat; and now the rain has ceased, and we are again having fearful broiling hot weather, the thermometer nearer ninety than eighty all day long, flies and mosquitoes, like the chorus in Goethe's "Faust," hunting one in the house from room to room and out of doors, these multitudes of crawling creatures making one's physical life almost a burden. The nights are longer now, which is some relief, and every day I gasp out, "It must soon be over; it cannot last much longer." Not having been able to go away, or even to hire a carriage for the refreshment of occasional driving, I have felt the oppression of this dreadful season in this small house, with its little rooms and low ceilings, terribly, and have made up my mind not to attempt passing another summer at this place.

YORK FARM, September 14, 1875.


There is a great cricket match between English and Canadian and American players going on in this neighborhood, and Mr. L—, who is always much interested in such matters, arrived here yesterday to spend the cricket week. I had scarcely had time to shake hands with him, when I got a message from S—, begging me to go over the way to her, which, of course, I did directly. She had been in New York all last week, servant-hunting, having neither man-servant nor cook at present. The cook she had brought with her from New York on Saturday had gone away yesterday, Monday morning. Mr L— was to dine with her that evening, and she had invited people to her house to see the cricket match at the end of the week. . . .

[One of my earliest experiences in housekeeping in my married home in America was the warning given me by my cook the very day of my first "dinner-party." I shook in my shoes at the ominous words, "I wish to go." "When?" said I, with my heart in my mouth. "Well, just as quick as I can." "Certainly," said I, in quavering accents. "You shall go immediately." I paid her her week's wages, sent her off instantly by the railroad, had a good fit of crying, called my remaining household together, and besought them to send up a dinner of some sort for me; and when my guests arrived, threw myself upon their merciful sympathy, reminding them that the same fate might overtake any, or all of them, any or every day of the week. I did my best to entertain them with a "feast of reason and a flow of soul," but I doubt if I succeeded quite as well as Madame Scarron, to whom her servants addressed the whispered compliment, "Ah, madame! encore une histoire, car le roti manque!"]

Conceive living in such a condition of helpless discomfort and perpetual domestic warfare, so to speak, the whole time. I see no end to it but their giving up living at Butler Place, and returning to lodgings in town, where, at any rate, they have restaurants to send or go to for their food. But they have spent a great deal of money in altering, improving, and fitting up the place. The house is charming and comfortable, and is, or ought to be, a delightful home. He is now again practising his profession very zealously in this his own neighborhood, where he was born and has lived the greater part of his life, and is very generally liked and looked up to. In town he would have to begin making a practice, well known as his name is, and it might seem like an invidious rivalry with his brother, who is a very popular physician in Philadelphia. Visiting his country patients thence, would, I should think, be out of the question. It is impossible for them to part with this estate, which is strictly entailed upon their children and F—'s, so strictly, that there seems an insuperable difficulty in their selling any part of it. As for letting the place, that is almost hopeless; besides which, tenants here, with the help of their children and Irish servants, pretty nearly destroy the houses they hire and all their contents. * . . . .

The want of common honesty in this country has become such, that it is seriously affecting all business transactions everywhere. Nobody knows who is to be trusted, and a general paralysis of credit and deadlock of commercial and financial activity is the result of the all but general bad faith of men in business. Hard-handed robbery and red-handed murder were the crimes of nations in their early feudal childhood. Greed of gain and utter unscrupulousness in all, and any pacific modes of obtaining it, and boundless extravagance and vulgar folly in its expenditure, are the besetting sins of this, one of the foremost of civilized people in this, the hundredth year of their national existence. The evil has now attained such proportions, that I suppose it will before long produce a reaction in favor of common honesty and decent integrity. In the meantime, one has a rather uncomfortable feeling of being in a "durty" place and among "durty" people.

My dearest H—, I am so glad you have your dear Mrs. St. Quintin with you. I am sure she and E— must get on admirably together: they are both such fine flowers of fine Toryism. I am glad she saw Ardgillan, which I used to think so charming. . . .

It is grievous to think of poor Fanny Cobbe's worries and trouble. I read her Town and Country Mouse Paper, and thought her description of Newbridge touching and charming. How well I remember your taking me there, the first time I ever saw her, and the impression made on me by her sweet sunny countenance and curious fine turquoise set in diamonds (it deserved to be Jessica's and not to have been given for a monkey) on her beautiful hand. She has written to decline coming to winter with me. In my great desire to testify my regard for her I could think of nothing else, and judged it probable that she might here find employment for her pen, and make arrangements for supplying some of the periodicals with matter, for which she would get good remuneration. She says she cannot put the Atlantic between herself and M— L—; and as I have seen an article of hers in the Spectator, I hope she has found employment that will suit her, and us, and the public. . . .

My health, after which you ask, is quite as good as a person of my age has any right to expect in such a climate as this. A few days ago the thermometer fell forty degrees in twenty-four hours, from nearly ninety to very little above fifty. The great heat is probably passed, and this tremendous change, welcome in itself, brought me not unnaturally a visitation of sciatica; but I am very fairly well, only bitten into deep pits and holes by the mosquitoes all over my arms, hands, feet, face, neck, and shoulders; in short, my whole public body.

God bless you, my dearest H—. I rejoice to think of your having your dear sweet friend, Mrs. St. Quintin, with you. I think she is like warm moonlight.

Ever, as ever, yours,


* One of the first hotel-keepers in Rome complained piteously to me of a wealthy American family, occupying the Piano Nobile of his house, whose children habitually dragged his magnificent gilt and silk brocade Louis Quinze armchairs on their backs over the floors for carriages, of which nuisance he complained in vain to their parents.

YORK FARM, September 19, 1875.


How glad I am to think of Mrs. St. Quintin cheering your darkness; how glad that I know her sweet face and voice, and can imagine her sitting beside you, as I had hoped to have done this year ere this, but the possibility of my leaving America at present seems to me to decrease. . . .

The W—s have neither a cook nor man-servant in their house. Yesterday a woman, engaged as their cook, actually did come out (they quite as frequently as not engage to take a situation and never either come near the place or send reason or apology for not doing so); so I live in trembling hope that perhaps for a week or two they may have a respite from this incessant domestic torment.

M— has just mentioned in her note to me the death of one of the first acquaintances my father and myself made when we came over originally to this country–a gentleman of the name of Kemble, who said he was of the same family as ourselves, but whose own people had been settled in New York and on the banks of the Hudson, at a beautiful place called Cold Spring, from early colonial times. He died at the age of ninety, a man of remarkable fine character, upright, honorable, benevolent, simple–a fine gentleman, such as is rarely to be found now in the length and breadth of this land. I visited him more than once at his beautiful country place on the Hudson, and had a very affectionate respect for him. His life and character were very noble, and I am glad we had the same name and came of the same stock, even so far away as it was. On one occasion while visiting Mr. Kemble at Cold Spring, I observed in one of the rooms the same coat of arms as ours, with this curious difference, that the shield and crest were turned in the opposite direction.

[Mr. Gouverneur Kemble was at the head of one of the government cannon foundries of the United States, the great ironworks of which were on his estate at Cold Spring.

The individual bearing the name Kemble, with whom I should have been proud to claim even remote kindred, was a young gentleman (a midshipman) in our navy, who being in charge of one of his ship's boats, was in such peril that the sailors with him jumped into the sea and swam to shore, the boatswain advising him to do the same, saying, "You are a fine swimmer, sir, and can easily save yourself." He refused, however, saying his duty forbade his leaving the boat intrusted to his command, and he was drowned. I honor our common name for that young hero's sake.]

YORK FARM, October 1, 1875.


I have now been two years here without stirring (except for a wretched try at a trip to the seaside two months ago), and feel quite a sort of nervous helplessness at the idea of traveling again–I, who have literally spent my whole life in wandering from place to place and have crossed the Atlantic seventeen times. This small journey seems quite a formidable expedition to me, and that sort of cowardly feeling of incapacity and disinclination for the smallest effort or unusual exertion is the growth of a two years' habit over that of thirty preceding ones, and is a greater sign of age than white hairs, wrinkles, or loss of teeth.

I really think M— is unfit for such an exertion, which physically I am not, but she is bent upon it, and there never was so small a body with so great a will. . . .

I am still occupying my time with preparing my Memoirs for the press. This has nothing whatever to do, however, with what I am publishing, as I do not intend extending that record beyond the period of my leaving the stage, if even I continue it so far. That would only take me to the year 1832, and you may judge what a task the whole selection and copying of matter is, when I tell you that at present I am still extracting from letters of only 1843.

I wonder if I told you that, at Mr. L—'s instigation, I had bought a printing machine, by means of which I print, instead of write, my daily task of copying, and as it is a very ingeniously contrived machine, which is worked merely by striking keys as one plays on a piano, it is a great relief from the fatigue of constant writing. It is an admirable invention, and affords me a great deal of satisfaction in the process of working it. I got it principally in hopes that S—, who writes a great deal too much, would use it, but she says it would fidget her to such a degree that the nervous irritation it would cause her would quite militate against any relief from fatigue in employing it. This has been a great disappointment to me, as I should never have gone to the expense of such an apparatus for myself.

Of course, in so far as a lawyer may be a pleader, the practice of his profession is liable to the same admixture of personal effect as the clergyman's or actor's. His face, figure, voice, gesture and deportment must naturally act upon his hearers to some extent, but the hearers whom a lawyer desires to influence are men, and his matter, matter of fact, and not of fiction or imagination and emotion. This dramatic element may be injurious to a pleader, according as he uses his power consciously for or against the truth; it must be injurious to a preacher, if he uses it consciously at all. It is the chief part of an actor's business, which is one reason why I think his business a poor one.

LENOX, October 6, 1875.


You will learn where I am by the date of my letter in this formerly familiar dwelling of mine, whither I came to-day from Boston, where I parted with M—, who is going to spend a few days at Newport, which I shall pass here, after which we meet again at Boston, and return together to Philadelphia. I shall be away from York Farm about ten days, and your letters will not be forwarded to me, as I had much rather wait a few days to receive them, than run the risk of losing them involved in their following me through two or three American post-offices.

F— and Mr. L— are staying here, and I knew my coming would be a pleasant surprise to her. There are still some old friends of mine here, and several younger members of the Sedgwick family, to whom I am much attached, and whom I am very glad to see again, and I am charmed to be once more in the picturesque country, of which I am so fond, and where I have spent so many happy days.

The autumn is now in its full beauty, and nothing can exceed the splendor of the many-tinted foliage–this Joseph's coat given to the youngest of worlds, or, rather, of nations (for this world, science says, is the older of the two). The weather, too, is exquisite, wonderfully brilliant and soft in its radiance, and though delightfully warm and sunny, not in the least oppressive. This is the only pleasant season of the American year, unequalled, as the Italian spring in its way. It is really delightful, and often protracted with us in Pennsylvania till the end of November; not up here, though, where it is every now and then already slightly chilly, and ere long will be unpleasantly so.

I am tired, dearest H—, with my six hours' railroad journey, and will bid you good night, as it is just twelve o'clock. I do not like to think that it will be a whole week before I hear from you. God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,


[During this visit of mine to Lenox, I made the acquaintance of Mr. Bret Harte, with whose original stories I had been deeply interested and delighted. He was staying in the same hotel with us, and did us the favor of spending an evening with us. He reminded me a good deal of our old pirate and bandit friend Trelawny in his appearance, though the latter was an almost orientally dark-complexioned man, and Mr. Bret Harte was comparatively fair. They were both tall, well-made men of fine figure; both, too, were handsome, with a peculiar expression of face, which suggested small success to any one who might engage in personal conflict with them. I had been told that Mr. Bret Harte was an agent for some Eastern Express Company, traveling for whom in the savage western wilderness, among the worst kind of savages, the outcasts of civilization, he must often have carried considerable sums of money about his person, and always have ridden his long lonely journeys with his life in his hand.

He told us of one of his striking experiences, and his telling it made it singularly impressive. He had arrived at night at a solitary house of call on his way, absolutely isolated and far distant from any other dwelling–a sort of rough roadside tavern, known and resorted to by the wanderers in that region. Here he was to pass the night. The master of the house, to whom he was known, answered his question as to whether any one else was there by giving the name of a notorious desperado, who had committed some recent outrage, and in search of whom the wild justices–the lynchers of the wilderness–were scouring the district. This guest, the landlord said, was in hiding in the house, and was to leave it (if he was still alive) the next day. Bret Harte, accustomed to rough company, went quietly to bed and to sleep, but was aroused in the middle of the night by the arrival of a party of horsemen, who called up the master of the house and inquired if the man they were in pursuit of was with him. Upon receiving his repeated positive assurance that he was not, they remounted their horses and resumed their search.

At break of day Bret Harte took his departure, finding that for the first part of his journey he was to have the hiding hero of the night (thief or murderer probably) for his companion, to whom, on his departure, the master of the house gave the most reiterated, detailed, precise, and minute directions as to the only road by which it would be possible that he could escape his pursuers, Bret Harte meanwhile listening to these directions as if they were addressed to himself. They rode silently for a short time, and then the fugitive began to talk–not about his escape, not about the danger of the past night, not about the crime he had committed, but about Dickens's last story, in which he expressed such an eager and enthusiastic interest, that he would have passed the turning in the road by which he was to have made his escape, if Bret Harte had not pointed it out to him, saying, "That is your way." I wish I could remember what story of Dickens's it was, and that he could have been made acquainted with this incident, worthy of a record in one of his books.

It is perhaps a cause of some slight monotony in Bret Harte's admirably touching and powerful pictures of the life and dwellers in the western deserts, that his men and women are almost universally and inevitably male or female "good-for-noughts." It is part of his great merit to make one feel how much good may remain in "good-for-noughts."]

YORK FARM, October 16, 1875.


I arrived here yesterday on my return from my expedition to Boston and Lenox, and found among many letters awaiting me, yours of the 26th of September. I have written to you twice since I have been away from home, once from Lenox, and while on my way here a letter, only posted on my arrival.

I remember well reading at Plymouth while you and dear Dorothy were there. The climate of Devonshire never agreed with me, being bilious and relaxing to my system, and almost always giving me headache, just as Rome does for the same cause, but I thought Plymouth very beautiful, and recollect with pleasure going to Mount Edgcumbe. I am not sure whether you were with me, and to Saltram to see my old friend, that charming and most entertaining woman, Lady Morley.

Yesterday M— and I regained our respective homes, and I have been very busy this morning in answering an accumulation of letters of one sort and another, which were not sent after me, and in restoring to their usual places on the various tables in my little rooms, all the knick-knacks, miniatures, photographs, bit of china and small friendly remembrances with which they are generally covered, where they serve pleasant purposes of ornament and suggestive reminders of those I love. I put these all carefully away on my departure, because during my absence the house was cleaned, and the summer matting taken up from the rooms, and all the carpets laid down. Tiresome as this double process is every year, it has an obvious advantage over the custom, rendered possible by our milder English climate, of retaining carpets and curtains unmoved, not only during one year, but certainly, in the case of all lodging houses, hotels, and smaller middle-class residences, for a succession of years, a practice which, combined with the damp and fog of our atmosphere, and the coal smoke forever loading it with blacks and other impurities, might well draw down the anathema of Florence Nightingale, or any other enlightened hygienic teacher. My little house is quite pretty, and though decidedly queer in some of its peculiar arrangements, quite comfortable. S— has filled all the vases in the drawing-room with the last flowers of autumn from her garden, and my gardener has taken up all the flowering plants from the beds for the winter, so that the little green-house, into which the drawing-room and dining-room open, is filled with refugees, who are now housed for the cold season.

My welcome home from my servants, who are kind-hearted people, and good friends of mine, whom I was glad to see again, and from a beautiful dog of Mr. L—'s, a splendid large, curly chocolate-colored Irish retriever, which has been left with me all the summer, and of which I am very fond; the poor creature, though a general favorite in the house, and petted and spoiled by all the servants, was overjoyed to see me, and will hardly move from my side. . . .

Among the letters I found waiting here was a formal official request, on the part of one of the managing committees of the projected centennial exhibition, to be held next year in Philadelphia, that I would give a reading for money for some additional building they propose putting up, which reading I was to deliver in the Philadelphia Opera House, an enormous building where my strength was taxed to the utmost, ten years ago, to make my voice heard. I have declined the compliment of this invitation upon three grounds: want of strength, want of voice, and want of articulation, in consequence of loss of teeth. I must say I think the request a little unreasonable, as the raising of funds for this purely patriotic purpose ought, it seems to me, to be accomplished by Americans themselves; perhaps, however, if I had more sympathy with the whole enterprise, I might think more amiably of their application to me to raise money for them by such an impossible exertion as it certainly would now be to me to read to seven thousand people. . . .

Good-bye, my dearest H—. My Caliban gardener is calling me for some consultation, and there are sundry household details to be attended to after my fortnight's absence. God bless you.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, October 22, 1875.


I have been wanting to write to you for the last two days and have been prevented from doing so, and will do it now before I go to bed, although it is past eleven o'clock; because to-morrow F— and her husband and baby arrive from New York, and I shall be cumbered and busy about many things, and even if I begin a letter to you, doubt much if I shall find leisure to finish it.

I am troubled, but not surprised, at what you say about Fanny Cobbe. Several years ago, when I saw her in London, she appeared to me to be overtaxing her strength, and I think I either wrote to you or told you so at the time. . . . But nothing is easier than to comment on one's neighbor's affairs, and I used sometimes to regret what struck me as her over-active mode of life, simply, I suppose, because it would not have been mine. . . .

I should think this question of vivisection must be in every way very trying to Fanny Cobbe, both on account of the labor and exertion she bestows upon it, and also the passionate sympathy she feels in the subject; she certainly, with regard to that, is spending herself in a good cause, and I would sooner give her leave to overwork herself for that than for many another. . . .

There is an excellent paper in the Spectator that I have just been reading, upon the excess of shallow mental culture and superficial intellectual education, calling itself "progress," which I have read with very cordial agreement. Too much eager interest in too great a variety of subjects seems to be quite a characteristic of people's minds now, and I think it is quite as fatal to any sound result of real progress as the opposite extreme of narrow stagnation; but I always rather cherished stupidity and monotony as pleasant preservatives from undue nervous excitement, and though now I have almost a surfeit of dullness in my daily life, I hold it the wholesomer excess of the two.

I remember your giving me one of those "Essays for Priests and People" to read, and telling me that some of them were by that Mr. Hutton with whom I had at one time a slight acquaintance. I wonder if he wrote the article on superficial over-education that I have just read with so much pleasure. I recollect stopping at the office of the Spectator as I came up from Warnford one day, to give them the lines I had just written in the railroad carriage on the taking of Richmond by the Northern troops, and being told by the person who received me of the murder of President Lincoln, which drew from me such a cry of surprise and horror, that it brought Mr. Hutton out of his room, and he put me into my cab, unable to speak and almost to stand, with the shock of those terrible tidings. He is related to my Dublin friends (a cousin, I believe). The whole family were Unitarians; but I have heard that Mr. Hutton is verging towards Roman Catholicism, and I thought I had perceived a similar tendency in the paper.

God bless you, dear. Good night. I must go to bed. You cannot imagine how full of thankfulness to God I am at being thus surrounded with my children. Poor S— just now has her full complement of servants, and is in a state of comparative rest and comfort. She looks well, and is in good spirits. Good night, once more, dear.

I am ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, October 26, 1875.


I have to-day sent you the last published sheets of my "Old Woman's Gossip," * from the Atlantic Monthly. If I had imagined that it could have afforded you any entertainment, after hearing it once, and in such a much more detailed form, I should not have left it to Fanny Cobbe to send it to you, and you shall in future receive it, whenever it comes out, since it gives you pleasure.

Of the hairs of my head, about which you express such an affectionate interest, I can now report that they are long enough at the back to be twisted up with a small comb, and decorously covered and adorned with two or three plaits of my own gray growth, so that the posterior of my head is no longer in any respect offensively singular, nor is the front much behind the back (isn't that good Irish?) in propriety, as it sits in two tolerable curves across my forehead, the ends of which are kept behind my ears (I don't mean the ends of my forehead, but of my hair) by a black velvet band round my skull, to which (the band, not my skull) caps and usual she headgear can be pinned, and so I appear a good deal like other women.

I am rejoicing just now in a most delightful sense of heart riches, in the nearness of all my dearest, except my boy grandson. Dear J. L—, and F—, and the baby are here, and as my poor dear S— is just now enjoying a lull in the "still vexed Bermoothes," of her kitchen and pantry, we are all happy enough. . . .

I console myself for my little baby's delicate appearance by her great spirit and vivacity, her quick, bright intelligence and sweet temper; she never cries or frets, and in spite of her sentimental dark gray eyes and white cheeks, is au morat decidedly a "jolly baby." She is cutting teeth very fast just now, poor little soul (that is to say, in the sense of suffering, her soul is cutting its first teeth), and that has to do, no doubt, with her not looking more robustious." She does not talk, but jargons delightful incomprehensibilities, with a great variety of inflection and most emphatic accent. She will be very tall, I think, for she has very long legs, with which she crawls at an amazing pace. She stands, and is very eager to walk, which she does with support, and will soon do alone. She is an unspeakable treasure and delight to us all. They only stay with me till next Monday, and then go over the way till the beginning of December, when they start for the plantation. In spite of their being my guests, I have had a very quiet day to-day, for the father and mother went off on various errands to Philadelphia after breakfast this morning, and have not yet returned, and the baby has been over the way visiting her aunt almost all day. She has just been brought in and reported herself to me, and the father and mother will be back to dinner. . . .

Dr. W— fortunately is less exacting, with regard to his own personal comfort, than any one I ever saw; and these domestic difficulties are endured by him with patience beyond all praise. He told me the other day that in the course of his practice he saw and heard of no end of worries and vexations, with regard to household affairs, by which the health of many of his female patients was seriously affected, and you know our friend, Dr. M—, told me that a lady had said to him she was ill of "cook fever." Kate M—, one of the sweetest-tempered and most reasonable women I know, and one of the best household managers, told me, when I was in Boston lately, that friends of hers had had four cooks in three weeks, and she herself seven in the course of one winter.

* "Old Woman's Gossip" was the title that appeared to me appropriate for my articles published in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine. When Mr. Bentley kindly undertook the publication of my early Memoirs, I proposed it to him as the title, but he did not accept it. I then suggested, "Elderly Female Twaddle," which seemed to me suitably descriptive; this, however, being also rejected by him, the "Record of a Girlhood" was chosen, I do not remember whether by myself or by my courteous publisher.

YORK FARM, November 1, 1875.


My journey with M— was very successful, and we were both of us, I think, the better for it, though I have now been unused to the exertion of traveling so long, that after my first day's short journey to New York, I was so tired that I thought I must give up the whole expedition and turn back; I did not do so, however, and bore the subsequent much longer journeys very well. I wrote to you both from Lenox and Boston, and gave you the accounts of my doings and seeings there. I have not been feeling at all well since my return to this place, but do not attribute that to my journey, which in most respects was beneficial to me, but to the oppressive heat that we have been again suffering from. Not a week ago, days with the thermometer at eighty, and yesterday down to fifty and a snow-storm.

The traveling by railroad and the extraordinary overheating of the carriages affects me very uncomfortably, and I cannot say that I think traveling in this country a pleasure at all. * Perhaps now I have grown too old to enjoy it anywhere, as I used to do. One thing is very certain, and that is, that, like everything else, it is dearer in this country than anywhere else in the world. My journey of twelve days, with my maid, cost me between thirty-five and forty pounds, more than a whole month's traveling in Switzerland would have done.

My Memoirs are just now going on rather slowly, for having F— and Mr. L— in the house, I cannot reckon upon any precise regularity in any of my proceedings, and so am unable to have my amanuensis. Which amanuensis is a drunken, bankrupt village grocer, of whom my son-in-law is one of the defrauded creditors–Mr. L— having intrusted him with about forty pounds' worth of the plantation rice, to sell on commission for him, which rice, indeed, was sold, but was never accounted for, and as the man is a bankrupt, never will be. So, while the creditor is living with me, I do not invite the defaulting debtor to come and write for me, and so I crawl along at present with the copying by myself. I carry on two processes at the same time, of preparing what is already written for publication, and continuing the original composition, which, however, is little more than an occasional comment on, or explanation of, my letters to you. From these I am very anxious to copy such portions as I wish to preserve, destroying the originals, as, although I did burn such of them as I thought likely to give pain to any one, there are still in those that remain a great many passages which I wish to obliterate; so that I go on copying and curtailing these, while preparing the earlier portion for the Atlantic Monthly. I have only got as far in this task as our residence in London in Harley Street, so you see I have nearly twenty years' letters to go over and to winnow. . . .

I continue to take the Spectator, and think that I have recognized Fanny Cobbe's hand in several articles in the later numbers. The paper itself, however, seems to have grown stronger in the Roman Catholic tendency of a good many of its articles, or rather perhaps I should say, there is an indirect under-current of Roman Catholic modes of thought and feeling in the treatment of various questions, which I thought I perceived some years ago, and which appears to me to have become gradually more prominent and perceptible.

I was not in Italy the year of Fanny Cobbe's campaign against vivisection in Florence, but have often heard her refer to the violent opposition and personal enmity which her exertions in the cause of humanity drew upon her.

You ask me if I often write to L—? No, I do not; for you know that I hardly ever write to anybody who does not write to me, and L— detests writing so cordially, that I do not care to compel her by a challenge to answer me.

My dearest H—, I must close my letter, as I have a visitor in my house, to whom I must go and give my attention. Lord Houghton (Monckton Milnes) is here for a couple of days, my children having insisted on my asking him, because he was among my former early friendly acquaintances, and because he has expressed a great desire to come out and see me. My house is so little calculated for the reception of guests, and my whole general solitary way of living is so very small and restricted to my own mere daily necessities, that I quite shrink from the idea of asking any one to visit me, knowing how impossible it is for me to make any one, what I should consider, decently comfortable. However, as I said before, my children insisted that I was bound to invite Lord Houghton here, and so here he is till the day after to-morrow, and I must go and do my hostess's duty of talking to him, in the forlorn hope of amusing him.

* The railroad carriages in America are constructed as those in Switzerland and are heated by cast-iron stoves, which I have more than once seen red hot while the windows, screwed down so as to prevent their being opened, were opaque with the hard frost, ice, and snow, with which they were covered on the outside. I have more than once been obliged to leave the suffocating atmosphere of the "cars," and go and stand on the platform outside, holding on to the iron bar, which froze my hands through my gloves, and steaming over the white prairies covered with snow like the Russian steppes.

YORK FARM, November l2, 1875.


I was beginning to think it a very long time since I had heard from, or written to you, the former circumstance made me anxious, lest you should again be suffering from one of your bad colds and coughs, and unable or unwilling to make the effort of dictating. As for my not having written during the past week, it has been really for want of sufficient time. My children did not leave my house until the very day that Lord Houghton came into it, to pay me a visit of some days, and since his and their departure I have been very busy bringing up the arrears of my manuscript for the magazine in which it is published and copying letters of the time which we spent in London, in 1841, when my sister came out on the stage. . . .

I do not know what the average duration of life is in America. I have an idea that the climate is more unfavorable to robust health than to longevity, and I know several instances in this neighborhood of prolonged existence of persons who are extremely delicate, indeed, confirmed invalids. . . . I cannot tell you how I am bearing the beginning of winter, for at present we are, and have been for a week past, suffering from the heat. All day long we are sitting with the doors and windows wide open, and this evening the fire in the drawing-room was allowed to go out, and the room was still oppressively hot. I walked nearly four miles this morning, with nothing but a black silk mantel over my black silk gown, and suffered very much from the heat. The splendid and soft brilliancy of the weather is quite amazing, and, but for the heat, would be delightful. As it is, it is lovely to look at; but this is the most treacherous climate imaginable, and with the thermometer at eighty to-day, we may have a snow-storm to-morrow; we had two about a fortnight ago. Everybody is suffering from coughs and colds, and the danger of catching them is much greater now than in mid-winter, when the house is not all full of draughts, and one is not constantly throwing off one's superfluous apparel

My children have come and gone, and are now staying over the way till the 27th of the month, when they go down to Georgia for the winter.

God bless you, my dearest H—. I am beginning once more to think it possible that I may see you again next summer, but dare not trust myself to dwell upon it.

YORK FARM, November 25, 1875.


I am perfectly amazed at what you tell me of three of my letters reaching you at once, and cannot imagine by what irregularity of our delinquent post-office such a thing occurs; moreover, it proves, of course, that you have been kept a most undue time without some of those letters. It is very vexatious, and chiefly because it is obvious that letters thus arbitrarily dispatched may be quite as arbitrarily, or carelessly, withheld altogether. However, there is no help for it, as everybody has to submit, without redress, to the same grievance.

To-day is a national festival, partly religious, partly social, called "Thanksgiving Day." It is appointed annually by the President, at the end of the autumn, and is observed throughout the whole country with church-going and family gatherings, much after the fashion of Christmas. The practice originated in New England, where the Puritans refused to celebrate Christmas, as an Episcopalian (i.e., idolatrous) festivity, and so choose the anniversary of the arrival of a vessel, laden with corn and provisions, which arrived when the early colonists were almost perishing with hunger. Subsequently, through all New England, a day of thanksgiving was annually celebrated, which combined the memory of this particular blessing of the rescue from starvation of the first settlers, and the acknowledgment of God's goodness in the yearly harvest and fruits of the earth. From New England the custom spread, or was carried by emigrants to the other states, and has now become national and universal throughout the country.

My children and grandson, who is here from school, dined with me, and had an execrably bad dinner, such as my poor little English cook often treats me to. In spite of which, as she can cook decently and does so sometimes accidentally, and is never insolent, and is content to remain in her situation, and to accept reasonable wages–being twice as much as she could get in England, the possession of so superlatively excellent a domestic is a rare good fortune for which I am envied far and near by all my friends, acquaintances, and neighbors; and I am very certain, that, if she choose to leave me to-morrow, she could get four guineas a month from any one with whom she would condescend to accept service. But to-day being, unluckily, what Ellen calls, "one of Miss Waterfalls bad days," the soup was vile, the turkey overdone, the beef underdone, the custards thin enough to be drunk, and the trifle thick enough to be dug. S— returned home almost immediately after dinner, in torture with neuralgia in her head, having been all day long servant-hunting in Philadelphia. F— had been in town on business and shopping, and was tired, too, so that we were not a very brilliant party.

The L—s sail for Georgia the day after to-morrow, having determined to go by sea, as less fatiguing for F— and the baby than the long land journey. . . .

I began this letter two days ago, and it is now Saturday morning, and I am just going over the way to see my children set off for the South. We shall miss them very much–the darling baby and the dear dog, who is an especial pet of mine, and almost as fond of me as he is of his master.

Dear H—, I wrote this much, and now it is "past ten at night," as the ballad says, and I had a very sad day, with the heartache of parting in the morning, and a lonely, desolate-feeling evening. It is my birthday, which my kind and affectionate friend Ellen remembered, though I did not. I am sixty-six, and I do not care much to be wished many happy returns of the day. One's birthday is not an especially cheerful anniversary, when once doll and plum-cake time is passed, and certainly to-day has been a doleful one to me.

I feel very anxious about F—, for though I think her decision to go by sea was wise, for the dreadful fatigue of the land journey was certainty, and they may have a fine voyage, but so near her confinement, I dread the terrible strain of any sea-sickness for her. However, the new moon has come in to-day with bright weather, and the voyage is only one of forty-eight hours, so I trust they will have a smooth passage to Savannah, where they will stay a few days before going on to the rice plantation.

My grandson is at home, earlier than he was expected, having been dismissed, with the rest of the school, on account of an outbreak of scarlet fever among them; so their holidays began a month earlier than usual, which our boy and some of his companions whom we have seen regret, as it alters the time of their vacation, without lengthening it, and will lengthen their next term at school by a month in the summer, so they are not pleased with the case of scarlet fever, which has scattered them prematurely to their homes.

In speaking as you do of S—'s household difficulties as a "few clouds" occasionally passing over her, you can form no conception of what her life is. Her health is positively sacrificed to the incessant torment, irritation, vexation, disorder, disgust and physical fatigue of her household worries.

Good-bye, by dearest H—. How little one's letters can do to convey really accurate ideas of one's existence! You speak of M—'s "vigor"; she is the most fragile, tiny, delicate, diaphanous, evanescent-looking creatures imaginable; but she has heroic courage, and the most absolute will I ever met with, and she lives upon those. God bless you, dear,

I am ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, November 30, 1875.


I think you must have imagined me more intimate with Lord Houghton than I am, though I have known him ever since I was a girl, but only as a friendly acquaintance that I met frequently upon cordial terms. He was everywhere in London society at the time when I was living very much in it, and I therefore saw him almost wherever I went. He has always been kind and good-natured to me, but, beyond thinking him so, I never felt any great interest in his society, or special desire for his intercourse. He is clever, liberal-minded, extremely good-natured, and good-tempered, and with his very considerable abilities and genuine amiable qualities a valuable and agreeable acquaintance. I was unwilling to ask him to my house for any more important occasion than driving out and taking luncheon with me. My house is not in itself comfortable enough, nor is it sufficiently well appointed, in any one particular, to admit of my asking any one to it accustomed to the luxurious comfort of English people of Lord Houghton's class. I cannot be sure of having even the plainest dinner sent to my table decently, and all the paraphernalia requisite for entertaining, glass, china, etc., is in such a state of dilapidation–cracked, old, odd, insufficient, or unpresentable, that, though it answers very well for me by myself, it is altogether unfit for purposes of receiving company, even in the humblest way.

I did not consider that I had the means of lodging Lord Houghton comfortably, even though in order to lodge him at all I gave up my own bedroom, and dressed in a room without a fireplace in it. All these things made me reluctant to ask a man, who is now old and infirm, a martyr to neuralgia, gout, and rheumatism, to stay in my house. However, I did so, because my children wished that I should. He stayed but two days; that is, arrived on a Wednesday, when my four children dined here with him, the next day Mr. L— gave him a man's dinner in Philadelphia, the day after that S— asked some people to meet him at dinner at her house, and on Saturday morning he left me, having been, I am afraid, miserably uncomfortable, for the room I gave up to him, suddenly and most perversely, took to smoking, which it had never done before in its life, and he was obliged to occupy what was to have been his bedroom. I had no conversation of any particular interest with him, for he is very deaf, and having lost his teeth, speaks so indistinctly that I, who am also very deaf, could hardly understand half he said; so you see his visit was no particular satisfaction or gratification to me, nor could it possibly have been either to him. He has run all over the United States in a wonderfully short time, and people say that he means to write a book about them; this being pretty generally expected of him, I believe. He has been courted and flattered in the most fulsome manner, crowned with flowers, crowned with laurels (literally, not figuratively), given dinners to in public and private, and harangued, lauded, and complimented to a degree that was really absurd. I suppose it has not been pains thrown away, for I hear he praises everything in the country, from the debased currency to the degraded government.

I think S— is extremely fond of her little niece. I do not know that she would habitually like to have her literary occupations interfered with by demands on her attention by any young child, but as little Alice was only her inmate for a short time, I think she found her a very fascinating plaything. The little creature still continues pale and delicate looking, and has a fitful and capricious appetite, in spite of which she hardly ever cries or frets, and is full of fun and spirits. She is beginning to talk and walk about, and is extremely delightful to me, whom she has learned to designate as "Gannie" with much glee whenever she sees me. They all went away last Saturday, and left me forlorn. I miss them terribly, and am quite bereaved in the loss of my dear Irish retriever, which has been living here all the summer, and had become my constant companion, lying by the fire in my dressing-room, to which I always betake myself at ten o'clock, until past midnight, when just before getting into bed I used to put him outside my door, where he slept till morning. It is past twelve o'clock, and I am very sleepy; with you it is only about six, and perhaps you are not yet very sleepy. Good night, God bless you.

I am ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, December 12, 1875.


The interest that you take in Lord Houghton's visit to me surprises me, and so very much surpasses what I felt in it, that your questions about it seem to me curious. His visit was rather a distress to me than a pleasure, for I am in no respect so situated as to be able to accommodate visitors of Lord Houghton's class and kind–accustomed to luxurious comfort. I never invite any company or see any one whatever, and, therefore, to make my table furniture sufficiently decent for the one day he dined with me, I was obliged to spend eight guineas in plates, finger-glasses, and salt-cellars, of all which necessaries of civilized life I had an insufficient supply for a dinner of six persons–my four children, Lord Houghton, and myself.

I suppose, though I said nothing to him upon the subject, that he might easily conclude that I like living in my own country better than in this. He kissed me when he went way, and asked me when I was coming home. But I do not know whether my life here struck him as happy, or pleasant, or the reverse; and can tell you nothing of his impressions in that respect.

[Lord Houghton, in the latter days of our always friendly intercourse, often laughingly referred to the beginning of our acquaintance, which took place at an evening party at my father's house, when my brother John introduced Mr. Monckton Milnes to me as an early and intimate college friend of his, winding up a catalogue of his mental gifts and moral qualities by his recent highly successful personation of Beatrice, in an amateur performance of "Much Ado About Nothing." "How durst you?" was my instantaneous exclamation, and, Lord Houghton declared, the only words I addressed to him; but though they certainly were the first, I do not think they were my only greeting to my brother's friend, although it is not impossible that my sense of the inappropriateness of such a representation of Beatrice may have gained some acuteness by the fact that Alfred Tennyson, who was also one of our guests that evening, had accidentally said to me, by some curious chance, "You remind me of Beatrice"–assuredly not by the wit and wisdom of my dialogue and discourse, but, I think, by the fashion of my head-dress, which struck his fancy as like something that might have been worn by the "merry hearted," fine Lady of Messina.

After Lord Houghton and myself had both left America and settled in London, I saw him frequently, and he very often kindly sent me courteous invitations to dine with him, which I invariably declined, as I never went into any society. This Lord Houghton resented, with a tone of friendly vexation, reproaching me for dining at the deanery on Dean Stanley's invitation. "Who," said Lord Houghton, "is a much more modern acquaintance of yours than I am," which indeed was true. But Dean Stanley's invitation was a command to me, hardly less imperative than that of royalty. The last of Lord Houghton's kind invitations to me was enforced by "to meet the Princess Louise." I was obliged, however, to decline even that great honor, and did so, wondering if the royal lady chose her own company, and, if so, why she had chosen mine? Upon expressing my surprise at receiving such a mark of distinction, I was more than once assured that royal personages were nowadays only persons "just like any others," which the respectful superstitions of my early days quite prevented my understanding; but in my early days, and in earlier days, "reverence" was still "the angel of this world."

The last time I ever saw my friend, Lord Houghton, was during a few days that I spent with him on a visit to our common friend, Mrs. Richard Greville, in the course of which she asked us to go with her and call upon Alfred Tennyson, who was then at his place at Blackdown, some miles from Guildford, near which town Mrs. Greville's cottage was. I consented with great pleasure to make this expedition, but was much dismayed at finding that the vehicle, in which we were to drive a considerable distance, was a light Irish jaunting car, out of which I expected to be shot at a tangent round the first corner we turned; though Mrs. Greville, Lord Houghton, and myself were all portly bodies of sufficient weight to steady the craziest-minded Irish carriage. Upon my expression of nervous distrust in its carrying capabilities, our hostess very amiably sent for a fly, in which we made our ascent to the Parnassus at Blackdown; but if the fly could not fall, neither could it go, and, towards the top of our hill journey, Lord Houghton got out to open innumerable gates, and Mrs. Greville preferred walking to crawling on wheels. Our return was even more ignominious, for, before we got to Guildford, our fly refused to stir, and we eagerly hailed an empty cab on the road, which the providence of some local races furnished us, and reached home, Mrs. Greville and I inside, and the poet and peer by the side of the driver.

Our visit to Alfred Tennyson was my last interview with him and one of peculiar interest. The room where he received us commanded a fine view of the downs and the distant shining of the sea; while the situation of the house itself, half-way up a hillside covered with fine trees, gave a striking effect to a sudden storm that darkened the sky and swept the downs and lashed with violent rain the window panes, against which the oaks bent and bowed themselves, writhing and struggling with the wind; while Alfred Tennyson, to whom Mrs. Greville had made an urgent request to read something to us, declaimed in his sonorous monotone the imprecations of his "British Boadicea, on her Roman Enemies." When he had finished reading, he brought me a Shakespeare, which was on his writing-table, and, putting it in my hands, desired me to read something to them. "What was this for?" said I, taking a pen from between the leaves." Oh to write his criticisms on Shakespeare," said Lord Houghton. I took possession of it, and determined to have it electro-plated, lest in my possession it should become again a common goose's quill, and then read, where it had divided the leaves, those wonderful computations of the worthlessness of life, and the terrors of death, spoken in the prison scene of "Measure for Measure," by the Duke and Claudio.

On one occasion when I visited Lord Houghton and his wife (then still Mr. and Mrs. Monckton Milnes) at Frystone, their place in Yorkshire, an incident occurred that I have often thought might have figured with comical effect in a novel.

One evening, when I was dressed for dinner, before any one else, and was sitting alone in the drawing-room, I overheard old Mr. Milnes, the father of my host, who was very little acquainted with me, questioning my many years' kind and attached friend, James Spedding, about my career and fortunes. They were walking up and down an adjacent room of which the door was open, and I heard a story that I should have pitied, if told of another woman, related in the compassionate voice of the gentleman who had known me from my girlhood, and been my brother's school and college friend and companion. Plunged in very sad reminiscences, it was some minutes before I perceived that I was sitting, quite unconsciously, opposite a very good portrait of Lord Houghton, with the tears streaming down my face, apparently at its contemplation. What any of my fellow-guests, or my charming hostess herself, might have thought of such an apparent indication of feeling has often since made me smile. Luckily I recovered myself before any one came to misinterpret it.

Sydney Smith and Monckton Milnes were very good friends in spite of the rather sarcastic title bestowed by the former on the latter of the "Cool of the Evening," by which nickname he was often designated in familiar society, as describing the serene self-satisfaction and smiling self-sufficiency which characterized him in his earlier years. Conceit is the proud privilege of youth; and Monckton Milnes had a justifiable share of that great gift of the imperturbable gods.

It was to him, too, that Sydney Smith gave the ludicrous answer to a kind inquiry as to what sort of night he had had when he was ill. "Horrible, horrible, my dear Milnes! Dreamed I was chained to a rock, and being talked to death by Harriet Martineau and Macaulay." There is another version of this–"Dreamed I was being preached to death by mad curates;" but the personal epigram is the better. Perhaps the great wit said both the good things at different times; perhaps he repeated himself, as the greatest geniuses occasionally do; perhaps he thought that the cherry could afford two bites; but the most spontaneously brilliant wit cannot always sparkle impromptu or flash extemporaneously.]

Our weather here still continues very mild; quite unusually so for the time of year. There has been a day or two of frost, and a few scurries of hail and snow, but no real cold. To-day was lovely soft and mild, like a Roman winter day, and the sky at sunset was, as it often is, as beautiful as the sky in Italy. The heavens are a perpetual heavenly delight to me here.

I am very much interested in the Eastern question and the present aspect of European politics; it is like coming to the last chapter of an eventful story, the virtual end of the Turkish power in Europe, and the probable formation of an entirely new one, by the consolidation under one government of those provinces between Turkey and Austria, seems like the beginning of a new era in that part of the world, and it interests me deeply. I am glad England has bought the Suez Canal, and keeps a hold upon Egypt. I think the changes likely to occur in the Ottoman Empire full of promise for the progress of civilization and improvement in the condition of the provinces in the south-east of Europe that have been such miserable dependencies of the Turks.

My children are safe at the plantation. Mr. L— wrote to me immediately on their arrival at Savannah, to which place they went direct from Philadelphia by sea, and had a most prosperous voyage. I had a letter from F— yesterday, from the island, giving an excellent account of herself and the dear littly baby, whose progress in the experiences of life now includes being put in the corner by her nurse for naughtiness, which chastisement for her sins, her mother says, she seems to regard as a capital joke. She is quite well, and as merry as a little creature can be. They give a most wonderful account of their orange crop, the abundance of which is something amazing, the branches of the trees have to be propped to sustain them under their burthen of splendid fruit, "golden" in the literal sense of the word, for they have already sold several hundred pounds' worth of it this season.

Cold does not agree with S— at all, and the winter here tries her severely. Often as I have been tempted to wish that she had settled in Boston, where her life might have been in some respects more congenial and better suited to her, she would, I am sure, never have been able to endure the climate. Our boy is at home for his holidays.

God bless you, my dearest H—; how much, how constantly I think of you.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, December 31, 1875.


It is a quarter to twelve at night, and we are at the edge of the New Year. God bless you dear, dear H—. These divisions of our time (really without significance as they are, except what we ourselves invest them with) appeal to our imaginations and feelings, and affect our heart in spite of our reason. A new year begins with every day, but we call the 1st of January New Year's Day, and old associations hallow it, especially to us. God bless you in the coming year, my dearest friend, and comfort and support and cheer your darkness and infirmity, and strengthen and sustain her who sustains and ministers so faithfully to you, for I know how devoted she is in her service of love, and how little she shares it with any one. May I be permitted in the course of this year to embrace you once more, my dear friend; but, in and above all things, may we be enabled to accept God's will.

My children, that is, S— and her husband and boy, came from over the way to spend the evening with me, but were so tired with sitting up late for children's festivities for the last two nights, that they were all tumbling off the perch, and left me at a little after ten, so I shall see in the New Year alone. At this season of the year I never go to bed before one o'clock, though I leave my ground-floor rooms and come up to my dressing-room at ten, that the servants may shut up the house and go to bed; and then I write or read till an hour past midnight, when I go to my bed till eight, when I am called–seven hours' sleep being still my normal allowance, though I now find it difficult, not to say impossible, to sleep steadily for seven hours. . . .

What a real misfortune it is to be utterly without animal spirits! The Americans, as a nation or race, are more deficient in them than any other people I have ever lived among, and their early gravity is something portentous. . . . As for S—, she is worried, ill, and I sometimes think she will be worried to death by the incessant struggle to live. Dr. W— occasionally says that if it was not for his boy, whom he does not wish to bring up out of his own country, and whom he will not leave at school here, he would give up America altogether, shut up their house, or let it, and go and live abroad; and I often think they really may be compelled to adopt that course, for their health, comfort, and happiness seem to me literally destroyed by the impossibility of keeping a decent household together.

The question of vivisection is not agitated here, because it is practised so commonly and with such reckless cruelty by mere medical apprentices, that it is accepted as a thing of course. There is no law and no restraint of custom, and no influence of public opinion to limit the abuse of the practice. Social cowardice, everywhere prevalent enough (but here peculiarly predominant), prevents men from opening their lips about it, for fear of incurring personal unpopularity.

You say that the evil tendencies of men are oftener exerted against their fellows than against the brute creation. But medical students are boys rather than men, and there is no more common form of the love of power in boys than cruelty to animals; and in this case there is the fine pretext of the pursuit of science to justify it. It is a subject I never speak and cannot bear to think of. Fanny Cobbe made some attempts to get some information upon the practice of vivisection in this country, but though I know nothing of the result of her inquiries upon the subject, I should feel greatly surprised if she got any satisfactory answer about it.

I am very glad to hear that Lady Jane and her children are recovering, and rejoice at your nephew's improved condition. He always seemed to me the very beau-ideal of sound health and the cheerful bright good nature and sweet temper that generally accompanies a fine physical organization; and I was very sorry to hear of his late indisposition. I did not know how to imagine him anything but blooming and beaming in perennial health and strength.

Dear E—, may God give you and H—, to whom I send my dearest remembrance, a good New Year. I cannot write to her of my constant thoughts of and prayers for her, nor of my earnest hope that I may see her this year. How much I long to do so you will easily believe; but I fear to speak or to think much about it myself, for who can tell what may be ordained for us?

YORK FARM, January 10, 1876.


Yesterday morning the thermometer at sunrise was at sixty-eight above freezing; yesterday evening it was at seventeen below freezing. What do you think of a climate which inflicts such sudden and extreme changes upon unfortunate mortal bodies? To-night it is severely cold, and I suppose the winter is come at last. Nor, though I think a variation in the thermometer of forty degrees in twelve hours rather unreasonable, am I sorry that the unnatural heat from which we have been suffering has given place to seasonable, normal cold; but, to be sure, the suddenness of the change was tremendous.

You ask me in your last letter to how late a period I think of extending the publication of my "Gossip." Certainly not beyond my marriage, and probably not beyond my coming out on the stage; but this would depend in some measure upon my stay in America or return to England.

The reason that induced me to publish those Memoirs was the sudden serious diminution of my income, by the loss of three hundred a year, caused by change of investments from securities which returned ten per cent. to others which gave me only six or four. The great expense of living here made this diminution of my means a subject of distress and anxiety to me, for I do not live in a manner that admits of much retrenchment, and I am altogether incapable of the exertion of my former mode of earning money by reading. I was glad, under these circumstances, to accept a very liberal offer for my "Gossip," and shall be guided in my continuation of the publication by my circumstances (financially speaking); but do not think I shall extend it beyond the time of my leaving the stage.

You say you do not feel sure that you have lost any of my letters; but I feel certain that I have lost some of yours. About a month ago, I think, there occurred an unusual interval between your letters, and then you referred to Lady Jane Taylor and one of her children having the scarlet fever, and of some terrible accident which had befallen Miss Olivia Lambert, as to things of which I must be already aware through your letters; whereas I had received no previous mention of them; and now have not the least idea of what did happen to Miss Lambert to deprive her of the use of her hands. I do not think you can have imagined you had written to me upon these subjects without having done so; but the first letter that reached me, in which they were referred to, clearly indicated that one previous to that, mentioning them, had not come to my hands. I hate to think of the possibility of our losing each other's letters; but know, from the utter carelessness of our village postmaster, that there is no security for their safety.

We have a great deal of very malignant small-pox in our neighborhood just now, and Dr. W— has been very busy vaccinating all his neighbors, the household at Champlost, with M— at their head; so this morning I walked over to see how she was. . . .

Dr. W—, who, poor man, is cookless at present, has dined with me every day since she went away, an arrangement with which I am only too delighted and thankful for, for he is charming company, and his coming relieves most agreeably the tedium of my entirely solitary evenings.

YORK FARM, January 17, 1876.


Thank you for your wish of a Happy New Year to me. There is enough to be thankful for in every day; but the wish of a happy year conveys what one no longer believes in. The days, as they come and go, one by one, are full of mingled trials and blessings, and I pray God to make me thankful for both; but my chief endeavor is not to look beyond the day, of which the evil and the good are both sufficient. I hope most earnestly that F— and Mr. L— will return to England this summer. For myself I know not what to hope or determine.

I long extremely to see you once more, and am deeply troubled at Ellen's prolonged postponement of her marriage, occasioned by her protracted stay here with me. I am very uncertain as to what I ought to do about her, but hope I may be able to determine for the best.

My sister wrote to me on my birthday, and gave a fairly good account of herself and all her belongings. She was going to take a house in London for a few months; she said she should try and make it gay and pleasant for her children and theirs, but that she was at her best only when she was alone with her husband at Warsash.

I have no news of F— yet, but am anxiously expecting to hear every day. I am only waiting for that to go to Boston, where I have promised to visit several of my friends, and to stay with one of whom I am very fond, whom I have known ever since she was a school-girl, and who has urgently begged me to pay her a visit. I should also pass a day or two with Mrs. Minot, who was a young girl traveling with her aunt, Miss Sedgwick, when you and Dorothy met them in Germany.

I wrote you word, in my last letter, what an extraordinary winter we were having in point of weather–two days ago the road was covered with a perfect procession of wagons carrying loads of blocks of ice, from ten to twenty inches thick, to fill all the farm ice-houses; to-day it is quite warm, and the ponds and brooks are free, and there is not a trace of frost to be seen anywhere. The ice-houses that are filled are lucky: mine is not; but I feel no anxiety about it–we shall have bitter cold again, no doubt, in a day or two. Last year we had the severest frost and deepest snow of the whole winter far into the month of April.

I have just come home from dining with M—, which I do every Monday; her other neighbor and intimate friend, Mrs. T—, a very charming person, frequently joins our party and calls them "les causeries du Lundi."

They had seen in the newspapers the account of Lord Leigh's accident, of which I got the first news from your letter. He is a terribly heavy man to be thrown from his horse, and especially upon his head. I am sure his brother will be greatly troubled about it.

NUTWOOD, January 30, 1876.


I have left my small house and come on to the neighborhood of Boston, to see a dear friend, who, though my junior by many years, cannot stand or walk without crutches, which is in itself a great improvement on her chair-bound helplessness when I was last here.

I passed through Boston last autumn, but staid too short a time to admit of my seeing my many friends, and I am now receiving visits from them all, and have become so entirely unaccustomed in my York Farm existence to any intercourse with my "friends and fellow-creatures" (into which two classes I divide the whole human race), that I am really quite exhausted, when the evening comes, with the unusual amount of social intercourse I have enjoyed in the course of the day. In a day or two more I leave my present abode, to go and pay another visit in this neighborhood, and expect to be back in my own home about the seventh of next month.

I drove this afternoon through the neighborhood of this place, which was once very familiar to me, and about which I used at one time to ride a great deal. I went to a hill which commands a very beautiful panorama of the mountains, the sea, and the city, and I was greatly struck by the unusual aspect of the whole landscape, which, at this season of the year, in this region, is generally buried in snow, but which to-day was basking in bright sunshine, without a trace of white to be descried in any direction. The winter this year is really most extraordinary in its mildness. I believe such a season is remembered by nobody.

BOSTON, February 2, 1876.


You bid me tell you of my health, and I can report very fairly well of it, though I am suffering inevitably a little from change of hours, of diet, of water, etc., all which are apt to be more or less drawbacks to the advantages of change of air and scene, when people are as old as I am and accustomed, as I am, to live with unvarying regularity in every respect.

I think you will surely remember having heard or read of Dr. Howe of Boston the philanthropic and devoted governor of its blind asylum, the admirable man who brought the poor deaf, dumb, and blind girl, Laura Bridgman, out of her strange and terrible fleshly prison-house, into intelligent communion with the outer world and her fellow-beings. His redeeming of that creature from the hard tyranny of her triple impotence, was a miracle of Christian patience and love. That man is just dead, and I never heard anything more touching than the description of the demeanor of Laura Bridgman during his funeral, not so much from any demonstration of sorrow, for indeed she made none, for her face did not vary in expression or exhibit any emotion, but there was something inexpressibly touching in the mere description of her pausing by his bed, to which she was led, and feeling his face and hands, and then at the funeral service standing by his bier, over the surface of which she passed her hands repeatedly, as if seeking to find him. It seemed to me one of the most pathetic incidents I almost ever heard described.

I leave this place to-morrow, to spend a couple of days with Kate M—, and then return for a day to Boston, after which I go back to Branchtown, where I must look after my poor widowed son-in-law, who, I suppose and hope, will come and spend his evenings with me, while S— is away from home.

The winter here has been extraordinarily mild until to-day, when one of those frightfully sudden and excessive changes of tempemture, for which this climate is nefarious, took place. A friend of ours left his house on horseback this morning to visit us, and rode for some time on roads so soft as to be muddy. Suddenly the wind changed, and rose almost to a hurricane, the temperature fell, and the road froze so rapidly as to become one sheet of ice, and he was compelled, in order to avoid breaking his neck, to dismount and lead his horse to the first blacksmith, where he could get him roughed to prevent his slipping and falling on the sort of looking-glass to which the whole road had turned.

YORK FARM, February 9, 1876.


I reached my home yesterday afternoon, on my return from Boston, where I had a most delightful visit, meeting again all my kind old friends and acquaintances. It is undoubtedly a considerable proof of my love for my children that I live here, instead of in or near Boston, where there are so many people for whom I have such a strong regard, and whose intercourse is so delightful to me. However, I hardly suppose that I could afford to live in Boston, which is the dearest place in America, and therefore in the known world. The friend with whom I have been staying pays her cook thirty shillings a week, and tells me that two guineas a week is a frequent rate of wages paid to cooks in Boston; her parlor-maid receives a pound a week, and so on. My bill for my maid and myself, for two days at a hotel in Boston, was nine pounds; so how anybody can afford to live there who is not, as the French say, "cousu d'or," passes my comprehension. . . .

Sir Michael Hicks Beach was one of F—'s visitors at the rice plantation, when Mr. L— first went there. On one occasion he was very kind and compassionate to a dog of hers who was suffering, which gave her a very agreeable impression of his amiability.

I returned home to find S— gone down to Georgia to stay with her sister, so I and my son-in-law shall have to make the best we can of each other's company.

I am sorry to say the late American tenants of Widmore have lost a great deal of money since their return to America. The incessant fluctuation of people's fortunes, and uncertainty of their means, is one of the most unpleasant characteristics of social existence here; nobody ever seems to be sure of being in the same place, so to speak, two years together.

YORK FARM, February 17, 1876.


I got a letter from S— yesterday from the rice plantation, where she had just arrived. Besides the pleasure of seeing her sister and Mr. L—, she seems to be enjoying the delightful mild southern climate, the wild solitude by which they are surrounded, the lovely profusion of flowers in full blossom in the woods, and bears admiring testimony to the homelike charm of the pretty, tidy, comfortable, pleasant abode the L—'s have contrived to make on that most unlovely rice swamp. How different from the wooden overseer's shanty (it could not even be dignified by the title of a cottage), unpainted without and unfurnished within, except by spiders and centipedes, which I inhabited during my stay there!

I am delighted she has gone; it will do her a great deal of good, as well as being so great a pleasure to them. Poor Dr. W— is very forlorn in her absence. He comes and dines and spends the evening with me, and half the time rejoices that his wife is gone to the South, and the other half growls and grumbles that she is not here.

My printing machine is in one respect a great disappointment to me, for S— says that it irritates her nerves to such a degree that she cannot use it, which I am very sorry for, as I should not have got it for myself.

Good-bye, my dearest H—. I am thankful that you can still find so much interest in my letters.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, March 1, 1876.


I can do nothing but think with acute vexation of your disappointment in getting a letter I intended for F— directed in an envelope to you, while your proper epistle went wandering off to Georgia, whence F— sent it back a couple of days ago, and I immediately dispatched it to you with a few lines, explaining the mistake, and expressing my contrition and concern at my carelessness. I suppose my mind was perturbed and confused in consequence of a letter from F—, to which I wrote a reply immediately after writing to you, and putting both the letters into envelopes at the same time, misdirected them. For in F—'s last letter she tells me that they have determined not to return to England this year; not, indeed, until the spring of 1877. I regret this change of plan on my own account, as well as theirs; but what concerns me is of the least importance, though now I do not quite know what will become of me.

Ellen has promised her mother to return to England this year, whether I do or not, and I shall lose in her not only my attached friend, but my excellent, efficient maid and housekeeper. My little English cook, too, returns home with her, and my manservant is going back to Ireland to his own family. Without their assistance and Ellen's help, any attempt on my part to keep house in this country is quite out of the question. Thus I am thrown into a perfect sea of uncertainty, and have not a notion what is to become of me; but I do not trouble my head much about it, for I cannot help myself, and it is no use worrying about uncontrollable circumstances. I am thankful that Ellen has determined to go home. Her loss to me will be quite irreparable; but I have been extremely distressed at involving her, through her attachment to me, in such a protracted stay in this country, and in the consequent anxiety and disappointment of her mother and the good fellow to whom she is engaged, and serious injury of her health, so that I am really thankful that she has determined to leave me.

There is a great deal that distresses me in again postponing my return this year, but it is no use thinking about it. "'Tis vain to mourn inevitable evils."

S— is still in Georgia, and we do not expect her home before the end of next week. She has been absent for six weeks–an excellent thing for her–but her husband finds her absence rather oppressive. He dines and spends his evenings with me, and we shall both be glad to have S— at home again, for our sakes, not for hers. I dread to have her come back to the incessant domestic worry of her hateful housekeeping

I am still going on with the publication of my Memoirs, and have lately sent you two numbers of them.

My grandson is at present going on very satisfactorily at school, working hard and behaving well, and his father occasionally expresses comical apprehensions lest the boy should be becoming too good, a process which may be considered unnatural, and therefore, perhaps, unhealthful at so early an age. . . .

Oh, my dear E—. It is sadder to me than I can express to think I shall not see her this year. I had so earnestly and confidently trusted to do so; but what is the use of afflicting her with the expression of my regret? I had hoped to have come and lightened your burden for a while. It may not be!

YORK FARM, March 5, 1876.


We are now having our winter snow, not indeed deep or heavy, or long lying, but more than we have had yet this season, and ice and frost that again revive my hope of getting the ice-house filled before the spring fairly comes, and we are left unprovided with what is here such an indispensable necessary of life, that we shall have to purchase it daily, if we have not our stored supply. It does not cost much more, bought in this way, but it is far less convenient than having one's own ice-house well filled, the expense of which is about fourteen pounds. The poorest people here afford themselves this luxury, and in the city it is quite curious to see the ice cars early in the morning going round and leaving a huge block of crystal clear cold on the doorstep of every house. There are in various localities great storehouses of ice, from which this general distribution is made, and a short time ago one of these great ice-houses, on the Hudson river, took fire and was burned with thirty thousand tons of ice in it, which seems a strange catastrophe, as such a mass of ice, one would have thought, would have put out the fire as it melted.

Our last report from the South was a very cheerful letter from S— to her husband, from the plantation. We are in hopes of having her back at the end of this week.

My visit to Boston was beneficial to me after I returned home. I was not very well while I was there, the extreme regularity of diet and hours with which I live, and my whole daily external existence is, I presume, favorable to my general health while it is uninterrupted, but I think it makes me more susceptible to the irregularities unavoidable in traveling and living with other people in other people's houses. While I was in Boston I suffered from the necessary change in all my habits, but after my return here I think I was decidedly the better for it, and my stay among my friends was exceedingly cheering and exhilarating to me, though it revived the regret that I always feel that I live at such a great distance from so many people whose intercourse is delightful to and good for me. . . .

[During the time that I spent in Boston, the persons I knew best, and saw most frequently there were Dr. Channing, Prescott, Motley, the historians; Felton, the learned Greek professor; Agassiz, the great scientific naturalist; Hillard, Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Lowell, aud Longfellow. Such an extraordinary contemporaneous collection of eminent and remarkable men, in a comparatively small city, ought to have resulted in a society that might have been the admiration and envy of the greatest civilized capitals of Europe. Paris, and London, might have been proud of such a company of exceptional intellects, and sent pilgrims from among their most distinguished men to the Puritan capital of Massachusetts.

With such material for the most charming and brilliant society, it has often been a subject of curious surprise to me that Boston had nothing that could be called so, nothing comparable to that finest product of mature civilization, the frequent easy and delightful intercourse of highly cultivated and intelligent men and women. They were all intimate or friendly acquaintances with each other; their wives, sisters, and daughters were in almost daily intercourse, and yet there was nothing that could be called society, in the true sense of that word, in the Boston of my day.

I had the honor, pleasure, and privilege of the acquaintance and friendship of all these distinguished men, and was received by them with the utmost courteous kindness in their homes and families; but a general society of them, attractive and interesting, such as their combined intercourse ought to have produced, did not exist among them. Three reasons may have tended to this result: the men worked too hard in their business abroad; the women were too hard-worked in their duties at home; and I think the New Englanders inherited from the old ones the want of both taste and talent for society, and from their Puritan ancestors a decided disinclination and incapacity for amusement in general, for amusing others, and being amused themselves.]

I am quite as well as anyone can expect to be at my age; the dull monotony of my life here throws me, no doubt, too much upon my own resources, which naturally dwindle more and more, as mental and physical powers decay, but I have plenty to be daily thankful for, and my whole existence is such as should content and more than satisfy a reasonable person.

You say that you wish you had anything satisfactory or cheering to tell me, and Heaven knows how much, when I write to you, I wish the same; but I have nothing to write about but myself, and the expression of my deep, deep sympathy with you, would, I fear, be enfeebling and distressing, instead of strengthening to you, my dearest friend. I love you most dearly, I think of you daily, I pray God to comfort and sustain you, and lighten your darkness with a sense of His mercy; and I am ever, as ever, yours.

YORK FARM, March 8, 1876.


I have your two letters of the 14th and 12th, the latter having arrived after instead of before the other, as it should have done.

You ask me what the Americans think about our Queen becoming an Empress, but as I see no Americans but my children and my dear M—, and never read the papers, I have little chance of knowing what is generally thought about it. I thought a letter to the Spectator, by one of the Trevelyans, contained a good suggestion with regard to the Queen's title, namely, that it should be "Queen of the British Isles and India," which I think is comprehensive, sufficient, and handsome sounding. For my own part, I like best of all the old-fashioned, ladylike, and most noble name of the "Queen of England."

S— has just been spending a couple of hours with me, and I have had the first full talk with her since her return from the South. She advises me on no account to make my plans dependent upon those of the L—s, for theirs appear to her quite uncertain. She thinks F— happier, better, more useful and more contented on the plantation than she can ever be anywhere else. She thinks the life agreeable to Mr. L—, who finds duties enough everywhere to devote himself to, for the satisfaction of his conscience and his heart, and who is actively interested and eminently successful in the management of the estate, and to whom the freedom and ease of the life, the wild picturesqueness of the place, the fishing, the boating, the hunting are all elements of enjoyment, and that there is much in his apparent satisfaction in his existence there, as well as his wife's passionate preference for the place, to account for their protracted stay, especially as, she says, the improvement he has achieved in the whole place is something quite wonderful, and the lively, energetic interest he takes in what might be its future development most natural. She agrees with me, nevertheless, in thinking that Mr. L— ought to return to England, and that his proper sphere and place is in his own country; but although this is quite my opinion, all she has been telling me makes me perceive, as I have not done hitherto, the impediments of many sorts in the way of their returning to Europe.

My printing machine is a most delightful creature, and I use it now entirely for copying the matter that I send to the Atlantic Monthly; it saves me the wearisome writing over again of all my manuscripts. I sit upright to it, as I should to my piano, and it tires neither my eyes nor back, as writing does, and I think must be an unspeakable comfort to my poor printers. They are now very generally used in lawyers' offices and places of business where much copying is done, and with persons expert in their use are quite as rapid in writing as the pen.

M—'s other intimate friend and neighbor is a lady who corresponds with an American friend in London, and the latter, who writes to her every sort of gossip, has informed her that there is going to be (I suppose by this time has been) a grand fancy ball at your Dublin Castle, and that a lady, who was a famous American beauty, is going to it as the Suez Canal, which seems to us ultra mondaines irresistibly ludicrous. What is the dress, beyond a steamer on her bosom? What is the costume of the Suez Canal? Think of such a piece of nonsense coming all across the Atlantic to us!

I have just been reading a couple of delightful volumes of my delightful friend Ampère's letters, and thought of you while reading of Madame Recamier's blindness and his devotion to her.*

* From the abundant contemporaneous literature, letters, journals, memoirs etc., of which Madame Recamier may be called the heroine, I think it appears that, besides a great beauty, she was a considerable coquette. It is impossible not to come to that conclusion in reading the scene between herself and poor Ampère, when she (being then old enough to be his mother) draws from him the secret of his desperate love for her by her pretence of believing her niece to be the object of his attachment. "Mais c'est vous, mais c'est vous!" exclaims the young man, beside himself with this cruel experiment, and breaking into tears of passionate emotion. One of Madame Recamier's adorers said that no man ever read his prose or poetry to her without being convinced that she thought it the finest prose or poetry that ever was written or read. No wonder Sainte Beuve said of her, "Elle écoutait avec séduction."

I was pressed by one of Madame Recamier's female worshippers to be presented to her, but on that occasion I was merely passing through Paris, and, not being enthusiastic about an introduction to the blind and elderly beauty of L'Abbaye aux Bois, neglected the opportunity, and now regret it.

YORK FARM, March 11, 1876.


S— returned from the South yesterday; she was not expected till to-day, but by some accidental mistake found she could get home sooner, and did so. She says her sister looks extremely well, and is occupied and interested and busy the whole day long with the various details of her life there, which you know is that of a very large farm, with laborers and live stock, and gardening, and agricultural, and all sorts of rural processes constantly succeeding one another. Mr. L—, who for the last two years has been his own overseer, is also active and energetic, and busy from morning till night, and while superintending the management of the estate, is indefatigable and unceasing in his pastoral duties among the people. Altogether, the account of the life they are leading down there seemed both pleasant and good.

I have just received a letter from F—, by which I find that I did not, as I supposed I did, misdirect my letter to her as well as to you. I thought I had sent you a letter I had written to her, as I did send her a letter which I had written to you; but the latter it seems is the only mistake I have made, and I wish I had made my blunder the other way, as she can far better spare a letter of mine than you can.

Dear H—, you say you feel it an exertion to dictate, and I cannot bear to think of your making a painful effort to communicate with me. I am sure E— will have the goodness to let me hear how it is faring with you, and I will continue to write to you, and tell you all that concerns me, as long as you care to hear it. Your intercourse with me, my dearest friend, must not become a burden to you–it would be too sad to me, and I could not endure the thought of it.

Besides the articles published in the Atlantic Monthly Magazine, I am daily copying such portions of my letters and journals, kept and written at a later period, as I wish to preserve. I am anxious to destroy the letters themselves, retaining only such extracts from them as have no particular reference to myself or my own affairs, but merely describe things or persons of general superficial interest.

Last week my old friend Edward Fitzgerald (Omar Kyam, you know), sent me a beautiful miniature of my mother, which his mother–her intimate friend–had kept till her death, and which had been painted for Mrs. Fitzgerald. It is a full-length figure, very beautifully painted, and very like my mother. Almost immediately after receiving this from England, my friend Mr. Horace Furness came out to see me. He is a great collector of books and prints, and. brought me an old engraving of my mother in the character of Urania, which a great many years ago I remember to have seen, and which was undoubtedly the original of Mrs. Fitzgerald's miniature. I thought the coincidence of their both reaching me at the same time curious.

I am extremely perplexed with reference to my plans. Ellen will certainly return home in October; with her goes my good little English cook, and my good man-servant, who wishes to return to Ireland to see his parents. I must give up housekeeping, as without Ellen's assistance and such a household as I have had with my present people, I could not undertake the management of even such a small establishment as mine, and if I remain in this country shall have to leave this house, and the proximity of S— and M—, and go and live in a boarding-house in Philadelphia. In short, I do not know what I shall or can do; but as the time comes for doing something I suppose I shall find out what best it may be.

My health is fairly good. The thing I suffer most from is depression, languor, and debility, which I attribute partly to the climate, and still more to anno domini; the fertile source of ailing, failing, and general gradual death. I have little to complain of compared with many of my neighbors. The spring has begun, and I have left off sitting up till one o'clock in the morning, because I get up earlier than in the winter, my seven hours' sleep being still a sufficient allowance.

Good-bye, dear, I am ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, March 15, 1876.


You ask me if there is no chance of the plantation being either let or sold. There was an offer of purchase made for it last year, which for some cause or other did not come to anything. Heaven knows how thankful I should be if it were only got once rid of, and Mr. L— were free to return to England and resume his proper position and career there. He finds and he does abundant work of every sort, spiritual and temporal, where he is, and labors as assiduously in his ministry as a clergyman in Darien, and on the estate as he does in the management of the property and cultivation of the crops. He is good and conscientious, and indefatigably active and energetic, and wherever he is he will serve both God and man; but I am nevertheless most anxious that he should return home.

I have been relieved of one item of troublesome uncertainty by Ellen's having at length determined to go back to England. Her affectionate attachment to me induced her to separate herself from her own family, and to leave the man to whom she was engaged to wait for her for a space of two years, at the end of which time I expected to return to England with the L—s. The two years expired last October, six months ago, and we are no nearer returning than we were then. Ellen has been friend, helper, adviser, housekeeper, maid, servant, everything to me, and has sacrificed her own health, and all consideration of her own comfort, convenience, and happiness, to her devotion to me, and as the end of this self-sacrifice now seems to become utterly uncertain, I have felt the responsibility of keeping her here, even involuntarily as I have done, weighing upon me more and more, until it is a cause of distress and anxiety to me. It was, therefore, with a great sense of relief that I heard, when I told her of my return to England being again postponed, that she had promised her mother not to prolong her stay in America beyond the autumn of this year. What will become of me without her I do not know, but that is an after consideration, and in the mean time it is a comfort to me to think that she is going home to her mother, and I trust to fulfill her promise to the worthy fellow to whom she is engaged, and to recover some health and strength, and enjoy the rest and happiness in a home of her own, which she so richly deserves. My keeping house in this most troublesome of all worlds, when she has left me, will be impossible. Besides, my whole household is breaking up: my little English cook goes home with her, my worthy man-servant goes back to Ireland, and I should find it a task quite beyond my powers, to gather together another household out of the horrible material that supplies American establishments here, or, if I could do so, to conduct and govern it myself. Housekeepers are not procurable for love or money. . . .

I cannot spend another summer like the two last without stirring from this place, the heat is more than I can endure, so I suppose I shall go either to Lenox, among the hills, or to the seaside for the hot part of the summer, and after that, che sarà sarà. I cannot leave America while all my children are here, and may eventually take up my quarters in a Philadelphia boarding-house, in order to remain near them as long as the L—s continue here; but indeed, the future is a complete mist before my eyes, and I endeavor to think about it as little as possible.

You are mistaken, my beloved H—. I should have infinite satisfaction in seeing you again, even as you now, alas! describe yourself. It is not in the power of life so to change you as to make my being with you anything but a happiness to me, especially if I were able to minister to your sad infirmity, and help your dear E— to cheer you and brighten your darkness. I cannot bear to dwell upon this, or to say how very often I long to be with you and hear your voice again, my dear first and life-long friend.

S—, on her return from the South, gave a very good account of her sister, who, she says, is undoubtedly in her element on the plantation; but I think it much more important that her husband should be in his proper place, sphere, and element, than even that she should.

I do not know Mrs. Algernon Sartoris, the young princess, Nelly Grant, of these United States, but I hear from those who do, that she is an amiable, sweet-tempered person, and my sister writes she is kind, dutiful, and affectionate to her. The newspapers speak of the young people returning to this country in April.

Our weather now has become early spring-like, with high winds and chilly rain, and the trees are budding, and the birds beginning to sing. I do not long for the summer at all; the heat is my dread and detestation, and the longer it keeps off the better, and the better pleased I am.

God bless you, my dearest H—. Give my very affectionate love to E—, who will take it as she reads it to you.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, March 27, 1876.


I have been a very much longer time than usual without hearing from you, and conclude that I have lost some letters of yours, because the one I have received to-day begins by saying that you had already told me that you never received F—'s missing letter. Now this is the first word I have had from you upon that subject, and, therefore, either you have thought you had mentioned it before, when you have not, or the letter in which you said anything about it has miscarried. There have been violent storms, by sea and land, and some vessels are known to have been lost, and some may have been lost that are not known of; but it is evident, I think, that I have missed a letter of yours. F— got the one I wrote her, and that I fancied I had misdirected to you, a day or two after she ought to have received it, I then found out that I had made only half the blunder I thought I had been guilty of; but it was the one I should have preferred not making, as it kept your letter from you.

F— never alludes to public affairs in her letters. S— and her husband are miserable at the moral degradation which their government is exhibiting. I think if it was not for their boy they would willingly leave the country; but Dr. W— says he does not know where they would go, for that there is no part of the world in which he should not just now be ashamed to acknowledge himself an American. All decently honest people are bitterly mortified at the disgrace which is being brought on the country by the low blackguardism of its public men, and the feeling of indignation and shame is becoming so strong and so general, that the evil will undoubtedly be checked and remedied.

I wrote thus much to you last night, having received yesterday your letter of the 14th of March, by which it was clear that I had missed a previous one. This morning's post brings the one dated the twelfth, so that, though I have not lost a letter, there has been some curious irregularity in their arrival. Perhaps, however, at this season of the year, that is not much to be wondered at; it is at this moment blowing a hurricane and pouring in torrents, and it is terrible to think of vessels on the sea in such frightful weather.

As for Mr. L—'s clerical duties, he is zealous and indefatigable in his discharge of them where he is. He not only has the charge of all the religious services on the island, which are duly and regularly performed, but he has a church in the small town of Darien, distant from them a mile by water which depends almost entirely upon his ministration. He labors incessantly among the colored people, carrying on Sunday schools, night schools, schools for the children and the adults, and the influence of his teaching and his devoted work among the people, and of his admirable and most amiable character, is felt and acknowledged in the whole region; he is really and truly doing missionary work with all the zeal of a missionary, so that though I cannot help deploring his protracted stay in this country, because I think his proper place is in England, I feel well assured that he is working with all his mind, heart, and soul, in God's service and man's service where he now is.

Thank you, my dear E—, for your few kind words. I am grievously disappointed at not seeing her for yet another year.

YORK FARM, April 2, 1876.


I am glad you like my school-boy's verses; I think them remarkably good, because of their simplicity and singleness of purpose, the absence of all matter foreign to the theme, such as abstract thought or generalizing sentiment or feeling, the concrete quality, in short, which is an important element in all really good poetry, and very rare in that written at an early age. I approve of the verses, too, for the accuracy of observation of natural objects and facts of natural appearance in this description which prevents vagueness, and gives a character of pure poetic truth to it. Of course one feels the Burns and Shakespeare and Milton, with which the lad has just begun to make partial acquaintance, but there is enough individual observation and feeling of nature of his own and grace and spirit of expression and diction to make it, I think, a very satisfactory specimen of school-boy poetry.

He is unusually gifted, for he has a lively poetical imagination, and keen sensibility to beauty, with strong and steady reasoning powers. His most decided tendency is to scientific objects and mechanics, all great works of engineering enterprise, all good and fine machinery and its results; and his most remarkable gift is a real talent for music, which seems to me to approach to original genius. This is an unusual combination of different capacities, and cannot fail, I think, to make him a remarkable person in his day; he is at present, of course, a very chaotic and heterogeneous bundle of beginnings, but the natural endowments are full of promise–a promise profoundly interesting to me, though I can only look to see his earliest entrance into manhood, if even that.

Alas! my dear Harriet, my triumph and your congratulations were premature as to the hope of filling my ice-house, the pond did not freeze hard or thick enough to admit of the ice being cut, and we shall have to depend upon the daily supply left at the door by the cart of the great Knickerbocker Ice Company.

You speak of living entirely in the past, but it seems to me that no one, not even you, can do so more entirely than I do. My existence in the present, as far as its events are concerned, is like the endless winding of a skein of gray-colored wool. However, I have the variety of change of place and mode of life in prospect, and with the end of the month of June, I shall be shaken out of my present monotonous existence into conditions that may make me look back to my peaceful life here with great regret.

The L—s are to come to me at the beginning of May, and stay with me the whole of that month, and as much longer as they find it convenient, though that is at present all they speak of. Whenever they go away I shall give up this dear little place, for there is some idea that it can be profitably let during the summer to sightseers coming to the Centennial Exhibition. Whenever my children leave me, I shall go to Champlost and pay M— a visit of a week or two, and then fly somewhere, away from the heat, either to the seaside or the hills, but I have no definite idea where.

At the end of the summer, Ellen and my cook and man-servant all return to England, and at present I think there is every probability of my spending next winter in a Philadelphia boarding-house. If all my children are on this side of the Atlantic, I cannot go away to the other, at the same time that I have fully determined not to undertake the intolerable task of housekeeping in this country, when once my English servants and my invaluable Ellen have left me.

How often when I write to you, my dear friend, I wish I had anything, the smallest thing to tell you. I envy Mrs. St. Quintin the variety of her life, which enables her to put something into her letters to cheer and amuse you. To-day, what have I done? It is Sunday, but it is my Sunday for staying at home–that is to say, that in order to give all my servants in turn their Sunday free, and also to contrive that the house shall never be left without the indispensable supervision of either Ellen or myself, every third Sunday I am obliged to stay at home and keep the house, and this is "my Sunday in," as the housemaids say.

After breakfast I clipped and arranged some beautiful hyacinths M— gave me at Christmas, in a china box, that fills one of my windows, and which have been putting forth a lovely succession of purple, and pale blue, and pink, and deep rose-colored blossoms ever since. You do not like the perfume of hyacinths, I remember, but I am very fond of it, and my little book-room is very agreeably fragrant to me with these charming spring flowers. Then I cleaned the keys of my piano, which I do not trust to the housemaid, and which every now and then are the better for a damp dusting. Then I caught and caged my canary bird, an amiable songster given to me on Christmas Day, a year ago, by my grandson, and who every Sunday morning is allowed an hour's liberty in the greenhouse, which he enjoys immensely.

Then I read my prayers and my Bible, then I worked hard in the greenhouse, shifting the places of various pots, so as to bring the greatest possible number of plants in bloom immediately opposite to the glass door of the drawing-room, which stands open into the greenhouse all the morning. I do not sit in my drawing-room in the morning, but in my tiny book-room, which communicates with it by a door which is never shut, both the rooms being very small and warm, and bright and sunny, and from the place on the sofa, where I sit to write, I see through the drawing-room, immediately opposite to me, the scarlet flush of the geraniums in full bloom in the greenhouse, and on the wall by the door the pretty portrait of S—, with her sweet flower-soft complexion, and dreamy eyes, and dress of pale sea-green; a graceful, Venetian-looking picture, which I gave F— for her wedding present, and which she and Mr. L— have been kind enough to leave here with me, to adorn my room and keep me company. Having tired myself a good deal with my greenhouse work, I lay down on the sofa and read a paper, called the Nation, the only American paper I ever see. It is published weekly, and contains about half as much matter as the Spectator; it is political, literary, and critical, and full of general information, both on public events and books in Europe and America. It is an enlightened, able, and high-toned paper, and I believe Arthur Sedgwick, the son of my friend Theodore, is one of the editors of it. Whoever manages the paper certainly does his duty manfully, exposing the evils of the present administration, and the abuses of the existing system of government in this country. It is really a valuable publication both for the interest and accuracy it contains, and the excellent spirit in which it is conducted. Every week, as soon as I have read it, S— sends it up to her boy at school, so that I always make haste to get through with it.

After this I read a book which S— has sent me, a collection of the letters of the two French authors, the Ampères, father and son, the latter of whom, a charming person and very delightful and distinguished writer, was among our most intimate friends in Rome during the last winter I spent there.

[In speaking of the distinguished, eminent, and remarkable men I have had the pleasure and privilege of knowing, I might have said they were all agreeable in society. In speaking of Ampère, I should say he was pre-eminently agreeable in society, lighter in hand, and better company than any one I ever knew. He was a poet, an essayist, a scholar, a philologist, a traveler, a cosmopolite, but, above and before all, he was a charming member of society. Graceful, easy, free, and refined in his manner, brilliant and sparkling in his conversation, courteous, cordial, kind, and sympathetic, gently genial and perfectly well bred–the representative man of the very best society.

During the winter, when my sister and myself were in Rome at the same time, we had an excellent custom of going on alternate weeks to spend a morning in the Campagna, always accompanied by the same party of our intimate friends, and carrying with us our picnic luncheon. Browning, Ampère, Leighton, Lord Lyons, the sculptress Harriet Hosmer, and a friend of hers, both known to me since their school girlhood and two English sisters, our dear friends, the one like a rippling brook in sunshine, the other like a still lake in moonlight,–with these, our invariable companions, we drove to Tore, Nuovo, or Tor San Giovanni, or Lunghezza, or some other exquisite place in the flowery solitude of the magnificent desert that stretches on every side of Rome. We used to leave our carriages, and stay and wander and sit on the turf, and take our luncheon in the midst of all that was lovely in nature and picturesque in the ruined remains of Roman power and the immortal memories of Roman story. They were hours in such fellowship never to be forgotten. Alas! few now remain to remember them!

Lockhart was sometimes with us on these expeditions; but, sick and sorrowful and sad at heart, he oftener came with my sister and myself when we were alone.]

When I speak of reading, I must tell you that the time I pass with a book in my hand is always spent (at least half of it) asleep, so that out of three hours in the attitude of reading, one and a half is passed with closed eyes. I do not feel sleepy when I am doing anything else, but as on Sunday I neither print my manuscripts, nor copy old journals and letters, nor touch my piano, nor work with my needle, I read (that is sleep) a good deal. Somebody said sleeping in church was a religious exercise; I hope sleeping out of it may be a moral one.

God bless you, dear, good night. My empty day has made a full letter and my paper has room for no more. In the afternoon I walked round the garden, in the evening I played Patience, read, and slept.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, April 11, 1876.


You did not complain of the effort of dictating, but from some expressions in one of your letters I feared, as I often have done, without any such indication on your part, that it might be too great a tax upon you. Though God knows it would be dismal to me to get no more of your dear, very dear words, I could not bear to think of your making an exertion that was painful to you for my sake. I am only too thankful to get your precious tokens of constant affection, your love and remembrance, dictated by yourself to dear Eliza, which still prolong our close heart communion (now of how many years duration!) with each other, as far as that is possible.

I do not hear often from Fanny Cobbe. She sent me some time ago a short satirical essay, called "Science in Excelsis," upon the vivisection abuse, and a catalogue of all the eminent names she had enlisted in her compassionate crusade, in behalf of the poor brutes, in a volume of her collected magazine papers.

I have written to her twice since, and hope she has got my letters, though I find that I put a wrong number on her address, directing it to 8 (eight) instead of 24, Cheyne Walk; but I thought the postman would be wise enough to rectify that blunder.

She certainly may take the credit and the comfort of having forced upon public attention a question of humanity which, but for her, might still have long escaped effectual notice, and think she is to be congratulated upon having undoubtedly, by her active energetic benevolence, begun a moral reform in a direction where it was much needed. Anybody who has achieved one such result, may consider that they have made good use of their life.

You asked me if Dr. W— is a keen politician. No, not otherwise than that he feels very keenly indeed the present disgraceful character, conduct, and condition of the American government. It is really deplorable, and both he and his wife are profoundly grieved and indignant at the national disgrace.

I was much obliged to you for the Standard you sent me. The article on American affairs was very good. The public feeling here is becoming intense upon the subject of the audacious rascality of the government officials and their friends, and radical reform will, I have no doubt, ensue; but the fact is that the machinery of the government is so complicated and intricate that it will not be an easy thing to reach and punish the evil and provide effectually against a repetition of it.

Everybody's comfort here is more or less impaired if not destroyed by the incompetency and unmanagableness of their servants.

An elderly lady of the W— family came to see me the other day, bringing her little granddaughter, a child of about four years old, with her nurse. The latter, when her mistress was taking leave of me, literally pushed herself before the old lady as she and I were about to go out of the door of the room (I escorting her to her carriage), and I was obliged to tell the rough, coarse, ignorant German she-boor (much more like a cow than a human creature) that she ought to stand back and allow her mistress to pass, instead of thrusting herself before her and all but knocking her down. She was not insolent, and did not resent my rebuke, which, if she had been low Irish instead of low German, she infallibly would, and probably then and there have thrown up her situation and discharged her old mistress on account of my "impertinence."

Another lady of the W— family, a cousin of my son-in-law, whom I have known very well and liked very much for a long time, speaking upon the subject of servants, said that for the last year she and her sister, who lived together, had a perfect state of domestic anarchy in their house, sometimes no servants at all, sometimes such servants that they envied themselves when they had none. To give you a notion of the sort of creatures they are, she said that their last parlor-maid, upon her sister's complaining at dinner that the potatoes were cold, had flounced out of the room, and returned bringing from the kitchen one hot potato stuck upon a kitchen fork. Just imagine the class of servants from which the households here are furnished! But, indeed, nobody who has not lived here can form the slightest conception of what it is. Of course when Ellen leaves me I shall have nothing further to do with housekeeping, and shall at once take a room in some boarding-house for the rest of the time I may stay in this country.

I am having the outside of this cottage painted, as I wish to leave the little place in better condition than when I came to it. There is a greenhouse that runs along one whole side of the house, and that and the shutters and windows and frames, etc., are all being fresh painted. The process is making the place very uncomfortable for the present, and giving me constant headache with the disagreeable smell, but it is very considerable improvement to the tiny tenement, the exterior paint of which had not been renewed for a great many years. The painting of the house was begun with the first appearance of settled fine weather, and the first coat of milk-white paint had hardly been put on everywhere when we had a perfect hurricane of wind that lasted more than twenty-four hours. We live, as I have told you, all but in the high-road, and the soil is so light and dry that, except immediately after the heaviest rains, we are always powdered with white dust. Under this sudden furious wind (a half tornado), the whole air was perfectly thick with dense clouds of dust, and the fresh paint received such a covering of it that it was black and begrimed and gritty like sand-paper, and the work-men have had to scrape it all off and begin the job all over again.

I expect F— and Mr. L— at the beginning of next month to stay some weeks with me, I do not know precisely how long. After they have left me, or I have left them, as the case may be, I shall go to Champlost for a fortnight, then to Lenox for the rest of the summer. In October, Ellen leaves me, and I shall then take up my abode in Philadelphia.

Good-bye, my dear friend; my desire to see you once more has been far more earnest than I have cared to express, my disappointment at not doing so this year is much deeper, too, than I can say. God bless you.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, April 17, 1876.


I have just come home from my regular Monday evening and dinner at Champlost. My friend M— has an income of about seven thousand pounds a year. She has five women servants, but her own maid is just now disabled by illness, and not one of the others could be a decent competent attendant, even for a time, upon her mistress, or supply for a day the place of her maid for her–so little can wealth do, in this country, to procure the ordinary comfort and convenience that it commands everywhere else.

You speak of my contemplating without dismay my coming winter in a Philadelphia boarding-house, and without the comfort and help of my dear Ellen; but I cannot say that this is quite the case, though it is of very little use saying anything about the dismay I do feel at the prospect. I wish Eliza could send me out a decent good girl, to take Ellen's place; it would be doing me an infinite service.

You say you should like to know my view of the general political aspect of things in this country, but I really have no view about it. The present state of political dishonesty and depravity is not at all worse than that which prevailed in England during the reigns of George the Second and George the Third (and that among our highest aristocracy). We have emerged from it, and I have no doubt at all that this country will do so also. The extremely complicated machinery of government here, with all the wheels within wheels of state rights, state interests, and state sovereignties, is not easy to explain to you. The processes adopted to insure purity of voting and elections are so exceedingly intricate, and have become themselves such complete systems for facilitating and promoting corruption and political fraud, that the business of reform will be extremely difficult. The sense of the people is, however, strongly aroused and excited by the most present turpitude of the professional politicians, by whom they are now governed, and I have no doubt that measures will be found to check the present abuses, and restore something like decent honesty to the conduct of public affairs. The disgraceful character of the present administration is felt so keenly throughout the country, that the general indignation and disgust will undoubtedly lead to some effort at reform. I see no cause for despondency about the future here, though much for profound shame and sorrow at the present condition of things.

I do not understand anything about our Indian politics, or take the slightest interest in them, but it seems to me that to be Viceroy under Lord Salisbury must be rather a difficult and unpleasant position. I regret the addition of Empress to our Queen's title. It seems to me vulgar (flashy, like every one of D'Israeli's inspirations), and far less royally respectable than her present style.

I suppose, however, to a descendant of the patriarchs (the shepherds of Chaldæa, in whose time Egypt itself may have been young), like our Jew Prime Minister, the descent of a Guelph Queen of Great Britain and her style and title must alike seem modern, trivial, and insignificant. I dare say he thinks what that insolent Duc d'Angoulème said to Lord Dacre of Baron Grefuhl's name, "Est ce que cela a un nom?" Lord Dacre having asked the Bourbon Prince how the Swiss financier's name was spelt, Monsieur Grefuhl being one of the most remarkable men of his day in France, not only for wealth, but various accomplishments and great ability, and moreover (which always gave wonderful point to Lord Dacre's story to me), though a born, or perhaps because a born Swiss Republican banker, a devoted aristocratic worshipper of the exiled princes, the branch comme il faut of the Bourbon House, and an infinite despiser of the Orleans bourgeois branch of the same, King Louis Philippe, the bourgeois king included. I am surprised the English peers did not make a stand against the imperial innovation. Does the Queen herself wish to be called Empress? That, I should consider a piece of bad taste in our Queen and Lady.

That Italian story you speak of, "A Carnival in Rome," seems to me a full length sketch of Madame M—, the famous Princess C—, the heroine of that extraordinary story my sister used to tell so funnily, but the author of the "Carnival in Rome" positively denies any intention of making it such. The Contessa di Rocca Diavolo is certainly not a bad likeness of Madame M—, and on one occasion wears a gown of hers; but, of course, the things I like in that story are the descriptions of Rome and the Campagna, which are done con amore and seem to me admirable.

I am very sorry, dearest Harriet, to hear of Mrs. St. Quintin's illness. I am sure it must have grieved and made you anxious. I often think what a much happier and pleasanter life hers must have become since she has been restored to her own family. She must have had a fund of inexhaustible cheerfulness to have endured her existence at St. Leonards with such unvarying sweet serenity.

I suppose the unusually powerful activity of your mind, during so many years of your life, is what constitutes to you the peculiar hardship of the gradual blunting of your faculties of which you complain so sadly. It is curious to me how comfortably I endure the sense of gradually losing my faculties and becoming stupid. My memory is quite gone for any useful daily purpose; I muddle up names of places and people, and cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything, or deliver a message without spilling it a couple of hours after receiving it. I hardly know what I read, and invariably fall asleep, no matter at what time of the day I take up a book; and when I have dozed through one of my solitary evenings, am as well satisfied with the employment of my time as if I had been working logarithms.

I do not like my physical decay quite as well as my growing imbecility. I have not been able to walk more than two or three times in the last six weeks, fearing exposure to damp and cold, and wet and wind, and dry and dust, as I have never done heretofore; and I am very sorry to think that I must soon have abiding falsehood in my mouth, as all my large front teeth are more or less loose in their sockets, ma che! as the Italians say, all this has to be so. The only thing I regret to have lost is my voice and power of singing.

God bless you, dear, dear Harriet; my speaking voice is not changed, and tells you

I am ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, April 25, 1876.


I am very sure that my conclusion about leaving this house is the best I could come to, for there is now some talk of trying to let it during the summer to some of the visitors coming to Philadelphia for the Exhibition; and, if that cannot be done, it may perhaps be sold.

To-day is S—'s reception day; that is the day in the week when from twelve till four o'clock she remains at home, so that such of her friends as like to come from town to visit her may not be disappointed in finding her, as she is frequently very much occupied in writing, and very frequently also in town, and does not like morning visits on any but this appointed day. I generally go over at twelve o'clock, and sit with her for an hour or till some of her visitors come.

I am sorry to say that in F—'s last letter she mentioned a circumstance which is likely to operate very unfavorably against either the sale or lease of their rich plantation. F— says that the New Orleans and Louisiana planters are now to a great extent giving up the cultivation of cotton and sugar, which have been hitherto the staple products of that state, and are taking to cultivate rice upon a scale which will be seriously injurious to the Georgia rice-planters, and greatly diminish the value of the rice growing estates there. I believe I am superstitious about that Georgia property. I have a feeling that it is never to be prosperous or profitable to those who own or inherit it. I shall rejoice when Mr. L— has turned his back upon it, and resumed his own proper position and vocation in his own country, though I am afraid as long as it is theirs F— will never be contented anywhere else, and unless the plantation is absolutely parted with, I fear she will always be desiring and endeavoring to return there.

The American International Exhibition, in honor of the Centennial Celebration, which takes place in Philadelphia, and is to open early next month, is occupying everybody here entirely.

I take very little interest in it. I have seen our own two great London exhibitions, and the great Paris one, and thought them all oppressive, overwhelming, distracting, and fatiguing, and, with all their wonder and beauty, unsatisfactory to the last degree. And the disgraceful character and condition of the present American government is so distressing to all who really love and respect the country, as I do, that I cannot help regretting this challenge, sent abroad to foreign nations, to come here and admire this country, when it seems to me essentially less admirable than it has ever been, and to be really in a humiliating and degraded position, morally, whatever its material prosperity may be.

There is a railroad now all the way to Halifax, which shortens the Atlantic passage by two days. I shall surely go that way whenever I do go back to England.

YORK FARM, April 27, 1876.


I am shocked and very sorry to hear of poor Dr. Trench's accident, and of his being disabled as you describe him. I am surprised that only one of his daughters is near him to help her mother in her attendance on him. He had eleven children, and I believe the larger portion of them was girls, so that I should have thought some of them would always have been with, or near, their parents. During the last winter I spent in Rome the Archbishop and Mrs. Trench were there with, I think, two unmarried daughters, who used to come sometimes with their mother to S—'s evening parties, and with whom Dr. W— occasionally rode in the Campagna. I wonder if it is one of those young ladies who has gone as a missionary to South Africa. Has she married a missionary clergyman? or gone out alone to convert the African natives? She is very brave in either case.

[Richard Chenevix Trench was one of my brother's college contemporaries and early intimate friends, one of the most remarkable of that circle of brilliant young men with whom I had the great good fortune to be in frequent intercourse in my girlhood. He came to our house whenever he was in London, and was admired there for his personal beauty as well as his charming character and uncommon intellectual gifts. It is a matter of regret to me that the two likenesses of the Archbishop of Dublin, in his lately published memoirs, should give so unfavorable an idea of his very fine and noble countenance. I have myself a head of him, by Samuel Lawrence, which does far more justice to his refined and sweetly serious face–the very face of a poet.

My American marriage separated me from my family and all our early friends, but whenever I returned to England I found myself unforgotten by them, and received kindly proofs of Dr. Trench's constant and friendly remembrance. I staid with him at his living at Itchenstoke, while reading at Winchester, and in Dublin, after his episcopal elevation, was honored by his courteous notice and invitations.

These circumstances rendered not a little distressing to me a letter which I received from Dr. Trench, after the publication of my "Record of a Girlhood," in which he expressed himself displeased and hurt at my mention of his participation with John Sterling and my brother in their Spanish adventure and sympathy with the unfortunate revolutionary attempt to Torrigos. Dr. Trench referred both kindly and reproachfully to our mutual regard of so many years duration, and complained of my having (as he appeared to think) held up the Spanish enthusiasm of his youth to ridicule, saying most truly, "It surely was not an unworthy cause." No, indeed! had it been so I should neither have held it nor my brother or his best friends up to ridicule in my account of it. I compared them to Don Quixote, the pearl and flower of noble madmen, not to Sancho Panza, who was a sensible fellow. But it was Dr. Trench himself who was ashamed of the young Englishmen's Spanish Crusade; for, while I thought all their contemporaries as well acquainted with it as myself, I found, to my extreme astonishment, that Dr. Trench had made such a complete secret of his part in the affair that, until the publication of my book his own family and children knew nothing of that episode in his life, and my full reference to it was an absolute revelation to them, and caused them considerable amusement, and him, I am sorry to say, much annoyance.

A curious circumstance of rather a comical nature occurred to my daughter, who, dining at the Deanery in Westminster with Dean Stanley and Lady Augusta, found herself, to her great pleasure, seated next to the Archbishop of Dublin, of whose early friendship with her uncle and partnership in the romantic Spanish expedition she had often heard me speak. When, therefore, Dr. Trench said courteously, "I think on these occasions it would be an advantage if neighbors at table were furnished with a sort of conversation menu, slight hints of the subjects by which they might interest each other." "Yes," said my daughter, with smiling acquiescence, little suspecting on what unwelcome and forbidden ground she was treading, in appealing to her neighbor's youthful recollections, "for instance, my lord, your early Spanish adventures." Dr. Trench was dismayed and not delighted by the young lady's familiarity with that carefully, silently suppressed Spanish secret, and much surprised at it till he found out who she was, and how she became acquainted with it.

All our knowledge of my brother's experiences in Spain reached us through his most uncertain and infrequent letters, and his friend Richard Trench's personal report, who immediately upon his own return to England, came most kindly to give us information about my brother, for which we were so painfully anxious.

And now that I trust it can offend and hurt nobody, I will mention a circumstance at once pathetic and ridiculous, which I did not speak of before, because I could not bear to appear to cast any ridicule upon what was, as the Archbishop truly said, "assuredly no unworthy cause." Like doughty knights of old, the young English partisans of Torrigos vowed not to shave either beard or mustache till their attempt at the liberation of Spain had succeeded. By degrees the razor triumphed over the sword, beards and mustache fell with their hopes, my brother retaining hair and hopes longer than any of his companions. This I was told by Richard Trench himself on his return from Spain.

This little incident has, I think, never been mentioned, though the whole episode of the "Spanish Tragedy" (or comedy) has, of course, found its due record in the lately published memoirs of the Archbishop.]

No, my dear Harriet, you can never be so altered that I shall not desire and long to see you; but my chief thought in wishing to be once more within reach of you has been to help to minister to your infirmity, to read to you, to talk to you, to be with you, to share and lighten E—'s charge of you. I cannot write of this. Sometimes I have felt that you wanted me so much more than my children do, that I must go to you; but I cannot speak about this, and while all my family are here, it seems to me most unnatural that I should not remain here with them.

To-day has been one of the first pleasant spring days we have had, and I walked to Champlost, going by the road, and returning through M—'s woods and our own farm fields. One of the meadows I crossed was almost sheeted with the exquisite little blue-white china-looking blossoms of the Euphrasia, eyebright; tufts of violets were in bloom along the roadside, and the woods are full of bloodwort, wild anemones, speedwell, and a diminutive bright yellow star, which belongs to a species of wild strawberry here. It was all very sweet and lovely. The misfortune of this climate is that the heat comes so suddenly that everything rushes into bloom at once, and then the fierce summer sun dries and withers them almost as quickly as they blow, and there is no pleasant temperate season for the vegetation, any more than for us; it is all parched, and dessicated, and choked, and buried in dust, before it reaches its full perfection of flower or leaf.

I wonder if you have heard talk of a marriage which is much gossiped about here–Lord Mandeville, the Duke of Manchester's son, to a New York young lady, whose mother has been in England, and to whom (the mother) the Duke giving Lord Mandeville a letter of introduction, begged she would not allow any designing American girl to "snap him up," so her own daughter "snaps him up," a very pretty, and, I suppose, very rich New York girl, who is now Lady Mandeville, and will be Duchess of Manchester.

Good-bye, my dearest Harriet, how I wish my letters were better worth looking for. Oh, do not, for pity's sake, invoke pain to make you patient; believe God knows what is best in sparing you that bitter teaching and sees you do not need it.

Ever, as ever, yours,


YORK FARM, May 16, 1876.


I have now got F— and her husband and baby with me, and am expecting in less than a month to leave them in possession of this small residence, of which I have become very fond and where they now think of spending the summer. I shall be thankful when Mr. L— is once more in England, for which move they now seem really to be making some serious preparation. Their present plan is to spend the summer here, F— merely running to the seaside, not far from here, for a week or two, if the baby should appear to suffer from the heat.

At present we are all rather suffering from cold, the spring having turned within the last fortnight rainy and chilly, and extremely like our orthodox spring weather at home.

You express surprise that M— was unable to provide herself with a temporary substitute for her maid, during the illness of the latter, which only proves how little I have succeeded in giving you any notion of the difficulty and discomfort attending everybody's domestic arrangements in this country.

The better an English servant is, and the more fitted for their particular position in England, the less are they calculated to give or receive satisfaction in any situation in this country, and the more certain to become utterly spoiled for all service anywhere, in the shortest possible time. I once imported a lady's-maid, a German woman, warranted to be a paragon, who proved such a disastrous failure that I never repeated the experiment, and I am quite sure that, bad as the material from which one has to choose one's servants here is, one had far better make one's choice from that, than send for people entirely strange and unaccustomed to the modes of living and ways and manners here.

I am trying to get a decent young woman to come to me, when Ellen leaves me, and have to offer her forty pounds a year, absolutely ignorant as I know her to be of the duties of her situation, having never been in service, and knowing no more of a lady's maid's work than I do of that of a groom. I could not get her or anybody of any kind to come for lower wages than that. (This young woman came with her mother to speak to me about the situation, and sent me up their names on printed visiting-cards, "Mrs. and Miss Daly.")

YORK FARM, May 21, 1876.


I received from you yesterday two letters, dated the 8th and 9th of this month. In the first you request me to write to you, in the second you acknowledge the receipt of two of my letters. I have no settled rule about writing to you, but always write once a week, and generally twice. The irregularity in your receiving the letters I can in no way positively account for. The fault may lie with our extremely careless postmaster, or the weather may be answerable for delay at one time, and then for the arrival of two mails at once. Absolute regularity can hardly be expected in the delivery of letters that have to cross the Atlantic, and it really seems to me wonderful, upon the whole, how few letters miscarry or are materially retarded among those that are sent in such millions across that vast ocean. The amazing facilities, both in punctuality and speed, that modern science has produced, have made the world exacting both as to swiftness and sureness of communication. Only think what it was when first I married and came to live in America, the weeks and weeks we had to wait for each other's letters, carried by those excellent sailing-packets, depending upon the capricious will of the winds for their progress! Why I remember in our own first crossing, a whole week spent in a dead calm, within a comparatively short distance of New York, rocking to and fro on that tedious water like raw recruits practising goose-step without taking one step onward.

Your idea of there being any difficulty in my keeping out of the uproar of the Centennial Exhibition made me smile. You probably know a great deal more about it than I do, for you have read something about it, which I have not, and not feeling any particular interest in it, and being by nature extremely incurious, and now by age very reluctant to make any unusual exertion, I have not been near it, and do not suppose I shall go near it, which, as it is six miles distant from me and on the other side of the Schuylkill River, will certainly not be difficult. Neither M— nor our intermediate neighbor, Mrs. T—, have been to it, and beyond hearing it talked about pretty constantly, we are as innocent of it as the "babe unborn," or as if it was in Hyde Park.

S— went with Mr. L— to the opening, but she did not see anything that particularly interested her, or was half as striking as the immense concourse of people and their admirable general good behavior. She has been once or twice since, I think with friends, but I have not heard much from her about it. F— has not been to it yet, and seems in no particular hurry to go. Mr. L— asked me the other day when I was going, and I said I would go whenever he would take me and as he is active and energetic and genially sympathetic, and likes running about to see things, I dare say he will make me go some day or other.

I pass Champlost every Sunday on my way to church, and as M— only goes to church once a month, on Communion Sunday, I not unfrequently stop on my way back and pay her a short visit. You asked if she purposes remaining at Champlost during the "hubbub" of the exhibition: but Champlost is two miles further from the exhibition than York Farm, so I have already explained to you its "hubbub" does not come near either of us, and we are in no hurry to go near it.

I sometimes wish M— would leave Champlost for some cooler place during the great heat of the summer, but the luxurious comfort of her own home makes the wretched accommodation of the hotels she stops at in traveling so intolerable to her, that I believe upon the whole she is better and really suffers less from even the terrible heat at Champlost than she would anywhere else.

I had the great pleasure of a visit from Longfellow this morning, who is in Philadelphia just now. I had asked him to lunch with me to-morrow, but he was unable to do so, and had written to tell me so, and say he should drive out to see me this morning. The post-office, as usual, did me one of its vile good turns. I never received his note, and was out when he came. Luckily, I had only gone to take the dogs to swim, a distance. of half a mile, and as he and his companion, a young lady of my acquaintance, asked to come in and wait for me, I found him on my return home, and was most delighted to see him.

[Longfellow was my friend for a great many years, and one of the most amiable men I have ever known. His home being near Boston, I saw him oftenest, and always when I was there, but for two summers he took a charming old-fashioned country house on the outskirts of the beautiful village of Pittsfield, six miles from my own summer residence in Lenox, and during those seasons I saw him and his wife very frequently, and was often in that house, on the staircase landing of which stood the famous clock whose hourly song, "Never–for ever; ever–never," has long been familiar to all English speaking people.

Fanny Longfellow, the charming Mary of the poet's "Hyperion," had a certain resemblance to myself, which on one occasion caused some amusement in our house, my father coming suddenly into the room and addressing her as "Fanny," which rather surprised her, as, though it was her name, they were not sufficiently intimate to warrant his so calling her. She was seated, however, otherwise he could not have committed the mistake, as besides being very much handsomer than I, she had the noble stature and bearing of "a daughter of the gods, divinely tall."

On one of my visits to Boston, I was honored with an invitation to read to the gentlemen of Harvard College (the Cambridge of New England), Longfellow was then Professor of Poetry and belles lettres there, and led me through the student audience to my reading-desk, and from it, when my performance was over, to his own house to an exquisitely prepared supper-table, where seated between him and his wife, and surrounded by kind friends I received from her a lovely nosegay, and from him the manuscript copy of the beautiful sonnet, with which he has immortalized my Shakespeare Readings.

This delightful evening was not only a great pleasure, but saved me from a great pain. Dr. Webster, the Professor of Chemistry, having offered to lead me to my desk, which proposal I declined, having previously accepted Longfellow's proffer of the same courtesy, but for which I should have put my hand in that of a murderer, and remembered my reading at Cambridge with horror ever afterwards.

The murder of Dr. Parkman, of Boston, by Dr. Webster, who had borrowed money from him, and so endeavored to cancel the debt, created the most terrible sensation in a society of which all the members were related, connected, or acquainted with each other. The unfortunate man was sentenced to death, but escaped the disgrace of public execution by taking strychnine, which was said (I know not how truly) to have been conveyed to him in prison. The penalty of the law (hanging) would, in this instance, have an unusual element of horror, for it was then carried out by the personal action of the high sheriff, who, surrounded by the government officials, stood himself on the same platform opposite the criminal, and by the pressure of his foot loosened a spring and drop in the plank on which the condemned man stood, and so fulfilled the sentence. Dr. Webster had been intimately acquainted with the gentleman who would thus have been his executioner.

At this time I gave a reading of Macbeth, at which all the gentlemen engaged on each side of this dreadful suit were present, and was more impressed, as many of my audience told me they had been, by the awful tenor of the play, than I ever was before or since. A deep groan from one of my listeners, a most distinguished and venerable member of the Boston bar, having been the only sound that broke the breathless silence of my audience in the terrible murder scene. The graceful and delightful supper with my dear friends, the Longfellows, spared me the cruel associations which might have haunted that evening, instead of those with which I shall always remember it.

After reading the sonnet on my readings, I told Longfellow that the next time I read in Boston, it should be something of his, a promise which I fulfilled by reading his exquisite poem of the "Building of the Ship," copied in some measure (but as genius only can copy) from Schiller's noble "Casting of the Bell." Among an audience of more than two thousand hearers, Longfellow and his wife sat near, and just in front of me, his sweet and bright countenance beaming, I hoped, with pleasure, and her fine eyes raised toward me, while tears, which certainly were not "drops of sorrow," fell from them like glistening dew in bright moonlight.

Not long after this the sky was darkened over my friend's head, and the light of his home put out forever, by the tragical death of his beloved wife, the partner of that ideally happy marriage, which had never known a shadow or a cloud. Robert Mackintosh (Sir James Mackintosh's son) had married Mrs. Longfellow's sister and in so doing had become the husband of a dear friend of mine, and my friend himself. He came to America and staid with me at my home in Lenox, on his way to join the Longfellows at Cambridge. During this visit, he spoke one day at length of the usually fortunate and happy life of Longfellow–the blessed home relations, the devoted wife, the dear and lovely children, the affectionate esteem and admiration with which he was regarded throughout his own country, the general appreciation and favor with which his writings were received in Europe, as well as in America, his distinguished social position and ample fortune, an existence which, with his own most amiable character, certainly combined all the elements of happiness possible in this world in a most unusual manner and degree. A week after this conversation, after Mackintosh had left me for Boston, I got a letter from him recalling it to me, and telling me that Fanny Longfellow was dead, burnt alive while playing with her children in the next room to the one where her husband was sleeping.

It was a considerable time before I again visited Boston or saw Longfellow; the first time I did so, he threw his arms round my neck, perhaps my face recalled hers to him, perhaps only my love for her, and his bitter loss.

After another lapse of time, on the occasion of my last visit to Boston, I was staying with a dear friend, who asked Longfellow and others that I loved to meet me. The "strong hours" had done their appointed work with a grief that, though still unconquerable, was no longer conqueror of his life. His children had grown up and sweet serenity smiled once more in his beautiful countenance. I sat by him at dinner, and he told me he was preparing a volume of extracts from various poets, descriptive of places, which he thought would form a collection of pleasant pictures, and that he had done me the honor to place in this selection some lines of mine on Venice, which token of his approval gratified and touched me deeply.

Since that, Longfellow asked me to join him and his family for a winter at Palermo, a delightful proposal, which I should have accepted eagerly, but the plan was given up, and I never saw him again after my last meeting with him in Boston.

Dining one day in Paris, with the distinguished painter, Ary Scheffer, the latter, in his enthusiastic admiration for Longfellow, maintained that he was a greater poet than Byron, by so much as he was a better man. To this I could not agree. Longfellow was not a great poet, but he was among the first of those who are not the greatest, and I doubt if any of the noblest lines of Byron will be remembered longer than some of the sweetest of Longfellow.

He asked me once how I liked his "Evangeline." I told him I did not like the measure in which it was written, that I did not think the hexameter suited the genius of our language. "Oh! but have you read it?" said he. "Three times from beginning to end," said I, with perfect truth, admiring it extremely, though I did not like the meter. He smiled sweetly and said, "Oh then read it just once more, and then you will like it."

He told me a curious anecdote of his own literary experience. One day hearing me sing the "Ballad of Bonny George Campbell," he said that he had first known it as a German ballad, which he had thought original, not being acquainted with the Scotch song; and that the German adapter of it had translated the second line, "Low upon Tay," (not knowing what it meant, and that Tay was the name of a river) by "Tief in den Tag," which Longfellow again, in his ignorance of the original song, had rendered, "Far in the day," and only found out long afterwards that he had translated into English a German translation of a Scotch ballad.]

We are having already very oppressive heat, and I am sitting writing to you in my nethermost garment, though it is past midnight, and but for respect of you should be quite willing to dispense with that.

YORK FARM, May 23, 1876.


I wrote to you last night till half-past twelve, when the heat was so intolerably oppressive that I could hardly bear to keep a single garment on. I was really (though in such undress) so much too hot. This morning at seven o'clock, when I opened my window, it was so cold that I was obliged to wrap a thick woolen shawl round me during the few minutes I stood cleaning my bird's cage. We had to have large fires in all the rooms, and until they had burnt well up, we were all shivering, and shuddering, and shaking, and half perished. "Figgerez-vous," as Mrs. H— used to say, what a climate my dear!

With regard to the entailing of property in this country, it is left like any other testamentary disposition, entirely optional with the testator. It is a mistake to suppose that a man is compelled by law here to divide his fortune or estate, equally among his children. It is custom stronger than law, which in almost all cases makes this the usual distribution of a man's property. But there is nothing but general opinion to prevent his making the divisions as unequal as any individual may choose.

When a man dies intestate, a third of his property goes to his widow, and the rest is equally divided among his children; but that entails are legal and can be, and are made, I can assure you, from my own experience.

With regard to Butler Place, there seems to be an insuperable difficulty in the way of the sale or alienation of any part of it, arising from the terms of the mortgage, by which the estate was made liable for my annuity. The property is by that document entailed on my children's children, and nobody of the present generation can alienate any portion of the estate. And hitherto, the obstacles to the present joint owners parting with the property, or any portion of it, to each other or any one else (a contingency contemplated in the drawing up of the deed for my settlement) have proved insuperable. Of course an entail can be got rid of here as in England, with the joint consent of all parties concerned; but as my grandchildren, of whom Butler Place is entailed, may yet possibly be unborn, as those who are born are a boy of sixteen and a girl of two years old, on whose children it is also entailed, there appears to be no solution of the difficulty. So you see we enjoy the privilege of entailed property in this republican country more than some of us find desirable. I believe a Bill in Congress might be obtained that would perhaps relieve our dilemma.

My little Alice is backward in teething, not having yet achieved her eye or stomach teeth, and backward, I think, too, in talking, though she is beginning to string her words together, and makes her will and wishes distinctly and imperatively understood. It is a very great privation to me that I shall lose my grandson's whole term of holidays, as he will not come home till after I have gone to Lenox.

I shall now be glad when the time comes for my leaving this place, the pleasant little house is too small for our large party to be comfortable in it. F—, and Mr. L—, and the baby, and three servants, make a considerable addition to our population, and I shall not be sorry to leave the dear tidy abode to its future occupants, and resign the bustle and responsible dignity of providing and ordering matters for so large a family, especially as Ellen, upon whom of course I entirely depend, has not been at all well lately; she is very much worn out, and I shall rejoice to have her in tolerable peace and quiet, with only me to think and care for during the summer.

You will remember, I dare say, the account I wrote you last year of the horrible pest of Colorado beetles, or potato bugs, as the country-people call them here. It was said that after eating everything before them they burrowed in the earth, and would reappear again this spring. About a month ago, the farmers and gardeners, turning up the ground, began to find them again, and they have now come forth and are laying their eggs, and we are again in expectation of being overrun by them. I cannot help hoping, however, that the unusual quantity of heavy rain we have had lately may prevent their overwhelming us in such disgusting multitudes as they did last year.

We are reading Macaulay's life and letters, which we find extremely interesting, and I particularly so, from my acquaintance with him, and his great intimacy with Mr. Ellis, to whom so many of the letters given in the book are addressed.

George Trevelyan seems to me to have compiled the book extremely well, with good taste and good feeling, and in a style worthy of his uncle's nephew. I find it charming reading; but I cannot help thinking that if Macaulay had understood French better, he would not have recommended Paul de Kock's "Sœur Anne," as a book for his sister's reading. It is surely a good deal coarser even than our own novelists of the last century, which seem to me intolerably so.

YORK FARM, May 31, 1876.


I have just come from over the way, where S— has been giving a sort of garden party to a number of people, and where I have been talking, and listening, and standing, and curtseying, till I am very tired, and shall surely be obliged to go to bed before I can finish this letter.

It seems that little in the way of social hospitality is being done in Philadelphia for the number of foreigners and visitors from the other states of the union, who are collected in the city just now in consequence of the Centennial Exhibition, and S— has felt rather indignant at what has appeared to her a want of kindly courtesy towards the strangers in the city, and so she has made what has been for her a great exertion, and asked three hundred people to Butler Place to dance and walk about and play croquet, and otherwise amuse themselves as best they could. Not many more than half that number came, the weather was extremely fine, and the party was pronounced very successful, and I am very glad it is over. . . .

CHAMPLOST, June 13, 1876.


Your letters had better now be directed to Curtis's Hotel, Lenox, Berkshire, Massachusetts, as my visit to M— will not be a long one, and that will be my place of abode till the end of August.

I left my small house at Branchtown yesterday with a profound sense of heartfelt thankfulness for two years and a half of peace and pleasant comfort which I have enjoyed there, and for which I do not think I have been half grateful enough while they lasted. The little snug rooms have already put on something of a different appearance and no longer look mine. How completely characteristic of its habitual inhabitant a room becomes in its order and disorder, its look, its sound, and its smell. Russia leather, you know, is always an element of the atmosphere of my rooms, as all the shades of violet and purple are of their coloring, so that my familiar friends associate the two with their notions of my habitat.

I left the place, the dear little York Farm, without any poignant sorrow, which I am becoming incapable of feeling about any such circumstance as a change of residence, but with sincere regret. There was really no beauty of situation, cultivation, or prospect about it to lay hold upon one's imagination or charm one's memory, but the hours I have passed there contemplating Butler Place, the home of my early married life, under the altered circumstances of my present old age, have sunk deep into my heart, with the mingled emotions they excited. The residence had many advantages for me, besides the supreme one of its nearness to S— and its delightful neighborhood to my dear friend M—, and I am not likely to find what will suit me better in any house I may light upon now, either here or in England. Besides being in all essential respects comfortable, it was quaint and pretty and cheerful in an unusual degree.

Thanks to my kind English servants, too, and to Ellen's incessant labor of love, I had passed my time of housekeeping there without any of the constant change and turmoil and distress that all housekeeping in this country involves, and in that particular my daily existence was fortunate and quiet far beyond that of most people here. I am very glad the L—s are going to live there till they return to England, as I think, now that they have the house to themselves, they will be able to make themselves comfortable there. He has the talent of making every place he inhabits look charming, and she is a good and energetic housekeeper, and between them both I think they will make their temporary home there in spite of the small rooms, and rather narrow space, satisfactory.

I have a feeling of rest and relief this morning in finding myself free from all domestic duties, cares, and responsibilities. No breakfast, no lunch, no dinner, no nothing to provide for and order, and myself fed like the fowls of the air by Providence and M—, only a great deal better than any fowl that ever flew. Neither have I my own peculiar feathered bipeds, my mockingbird and canary, to clean and attend to, for I left them with F— at the farm, and I have an astonished, surprising sense of nothing to do and unlimited leisure to do it in, consequent, I suppose, upon all abdication; but I have lost my dear little granddaughter Alice's trotting feet in the nursery above my head, and her sweet little bird's voice calling at the head of my dressing-room stairs, "Go see Ganny," which she used to say very plainly.

I think American women, compared with others, deficient in natural animal love of offspring. I think many things in their climate, education, and modes of life produce this result; morally and intellectually, they are very good mothers, but not physically, and they and their children are the worse for it.

I had a very sad letter from my sister two days ago, telling me of the death of her little grandson, A—'s child. My sister writes that the baby's death is a great loss to her; he was ten months old, and she delighted in him. A— sent me by his mother, a very tender message in the midst of his affliction, which touched me very much. He and his wife are gone to Italy for a while.

You ask me if my daughters take much interest in the exhibition? F—, I think, not much, although she has announced her intention of paying it several future visits. She and Mr. L— escorted me thither very kindly about a fortnight ago, and by dint of going about in a wheel chair, and only looking at a small number of the objects particularly worthy of observation, and only remaining in the building a couple of hours, I came away well pleased and not over-fatigued. I shall be perfectly satisfied not to return again, and equally ready to do so in the same manner, if anybody invites me thither.

Mr. L— and F—, having succeeded so well in their charge of me, undertook to pilot M— in the same manner to the show, and I think the expedition was equally successful with her.

The exhibition, as far as I had time or means of observing it, bears no comparison whatever with the Great London and Paris ones, both of which I saw, except in the one particular instance of the Chinese and Japanese goods, which by reasons of some special mitigation of duties in their favor had been brought over in great quantity, and are extremely beautiful, tasteful, and magnificent. The immense duties which the European exhibitors have to pay for bringing their goods into this country have very much interfered with the quantity and quality of what they have brought, because, unless they find a sale for all, or a large portion of the things they exhibit, they will be obliged to carry them back again, having not only incurred the expense of their transport to and fro across the Atlantic, but the enormous customhouse duties, which purchased their entrance into the ports of this country.

S— has been from the first much more interested about the exhibition than her sister. She had no sympathy or enthusiasm about the original plan, and rather regretted that any such project should be entertained; but the thing having been called into existence, and a challenge having been given to the whole civilized world to come and admire the hundred years' achievements of her country, she has felt an extreme desire that the thing should not prove an ignominious failure upon a gigantic scale, which she feared it might. She has gone very often to the exhibition, and professes her intention of going as often as she possibly can, visiting each section and division of the whole exposition in regular order and succession, and making, as is her wont, a thorough, systematic study of its contents. Her pleasure, of course, in this process will be greatly enhanced by the companionship of her boy, when he arrives, which will now be in a few days. He, however, will probably take up his abode in the machinery department, and find no charms in any other, and in that I sympathize with him entirely.

Nothing stirred me so much (or I might comparatively say at all) as the huge, ingenious, wise engines, for every conceivable purpose, collected in the vast machinery department. But especially was I fascinated by the silent, swift, steady, sure, tremendous labor of the magnificent giant of a steam engine which, stationed in the middle of the vast hall filled with machinery, furnished the motive power for all their several processes. This noble two-armed (one would have thought, he should have been Briareus) iron Titan enchanted me, and I felt idolatrous, and as if I could have fallen down and worshipped him. The impression made upon me vividly recalled that which I experienced at the sight of a similar stupendous creature, which moved every wheel, and spindle, and pulley, and crank, throughout one of the Marshalls enormous factories at Leeds. That beautiful steam engine had a room all to itself, a sort of circular boudoir, lined with green baize, where it lived, working in perfect silence and solitude the thousand whirring, whizzing, twirling, twisting, crashing, clattering, voluble, noisy engines throughout the whole building. How I did wish and beg to be left alone for a little while with that great power in its solitary temple. I was not allowed to be so, however. No one is ever allowed to stay there, I suppose lest attempts should be made to injure the machine. I think I might have watched the motion of its shining arms till its monotony, like the falling of a waterfall, mesmerized me, and I flung myself into them, an English victim to an English Juggernaut.

The triumphs of science affect my imagination the same way that the most beautiful creations of art and nature do; and when I read, in the account of the Mont Cenis Tunnel, how those two engines, working their way from each side of the mountain mass, encountered in its rocky heart so accurately, according to the calculations of the engineers, that their steel finger-tips met, and their iron hands touched each other, I burst into tears of enthusiasm such as the finest poem might have called to my eyes.

Good-bye, my dearest Harriet. I told M— this morning that I would make you laugh by the only fault her friends find in her supremely luxurious housekeeping, that the cream from her Alderney cows is too rich and thick to mix well with the tea. God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours


CHAMPLOST, June 19, 1876.


Your letters had better now be directed to Curtis's Hotel, Lenox, Berkshire, Massachusetts. I have already been here a week, and have written you two letters since I came. I go up to Lenox this day week for the next two months, and after that have decided nothing at all as to my future movements or residence.

I think the idea of letting York Farm during this summer has been given up, and the L—s seem inclined to remain there themselves, only going to some sea-bathing place for temporary refreshment if the baby should appear to suffer much from the heat. or to require change of air.

Yesterday I walked through M—'s woods to York Farm, to profit by my remaining short period of vicinity to my printing machine, and get ready another installment of matter for my next month's article in the Atlantic Monthly.

I have found this printing machine an immense relief from the quantity of tedious copying by pen, but I cannot carry the little iron stand and apparatus about with me, for, though not very bulky, it is heavy, and easily jarred out of order by being shaken. I have had the benefit of it ever since last autumn, and have now left it to Mr. L—, who originally persuaded me to buy it, not only for my own use, but as likely to be of great assistance to S— who has more than once seriously over-fatigued her hand by her incessant use of her pen. She, however, finds it impossible to make use of the printing machine, the working of which causes her intense impatient nervous irritation; nor can she be persuaded to try if this would not wear off with habit, which I think it would, because Ellen, who now uses a sewing machine without any disagreeable sensation or result, told me that when first she tried to work with it, it irritated her nerves to such a degree as almost to make her sick, and oblige her to lie down after using it for any length of time. So yesterday I printed my last sheets till I return from Lenox.

CHAMPLOST, June 23, 1876.


I wrote to you three days ago, and yesterday dispatched to you the last printed number that I have received of my "Gossip." It had been my intention to have terminated the publication of these papers with my appearance on the stage, but the proprietors and the editor of the Atlantic Monthly are desirous to continue the series, and I am quite willing, as that is the case, to do so. The trouble of printing or copying the original is not pleasant, to be sure, but the addition to my income from the price of the articles is a very great consideration to me just now, and so for the present I go on. I find it difficult to imagine that much interest can be felt in such a chronicle by anybody, but, of course, that is not my affair, and the proprietors and publishers of the magazine are the only people to determine that question. Hitherto, it appears to pay them, since they are willing to pay me; and both parties being at liberty to cry "Hold! enough!" whenever it suits them, "I go on gossiping."

S— seems to me entirely free from the order of sentimental associations about family descent, family possessions, family importance, of which the Americans are proud and tenacious in proportion as there are few among them with reasonable grounds for them, few in whom such pretensions are not ridiculous, or whose claims to any distinctions of the sort are not of the slenderest description. The Livingstones and Van Rensselaers, of the State of New York, who were among the early settlers in the state, and brought family descent of ancient date in their native countries to dignify great territorial possessions in America, have long ceased to occupy the peculiar social position which those advantages gave them for many years as aristocratic members of this democratic community. The Patroon was, in fact, the title borne at Albany and in the State of New York, by the head of the Van Rensselaer family. Of course, I am not now speaking of southern planters and great landholders, but only of the northern aspect of the question. Large estates where slavery does not exist, almost necessarily involve tenancy; a man owning thousands or even many hundreds of acres must, if they are cultivated, have tenant farmers. The objection to such a position here, and a general conviction and custom that a man should own the ground he tills is so irresistible, that long ago the great northern properties of the Livingstones, Van Rensselaers, and Wadsworths (the latter, however, being an estate of infinitely less extent and more modern ownership), succumbed to the pressure of public opinion, and were sold and subdivided in compliance with it, till nothing special remains to their present representatives, and the only properties in the whole country, not absolutely cultivated by their owners, or the persons employed by them as mere cultivators were (until the enfranchisement of the slaves) the great estates of the southern planters.

[Lately, or within some few years, large tracts of grain-growing land, have become the property by purchase of foreigners, Englishmen, who, without becoming American citizens, have become landed proprietors in the United States, and I cannot help thinking it doubtful how long this ownership of their soil by aliens will be tolerated by the Americans.]

On the small property of under two hundred acres, where I have been living, York Farm formed one of the rare exceptions to the old but universal preference of ownership over tenancy of land here. For nineteen years, I think, an Irish farmer was content to rent as a tenant that part of the Butler Place Estate, and was much admired, in the old sense of being wondered at, by all his friends and acquaintances for so doing.

Dr. W— is not, I think, much interested in the Centennial Exhibition, and has not yet been to see it. I should not wonder if he did not go near it.

I am afraid there is very little probability of the southern property being sold. I think both F— and Mr. L— are disinclined to part with it. Mr. L— has literally recreated the place, and put it not only into the most admirable working condition, as a fine agricultural property of its peculiar sort, but has made it attractive and pleasant as a residence, and altogether so improved it, that it is matter of marvel to those who knew it before he went there and of admiration to everybody. His life there may, I can easily imagine, be agreeable to him in many ways; the agricultural pursuit, farming, in short, and constant activity out of doors, in all the processes of cultivation must interest and occupy him from morning till night, and the care of the people, the religious services of the small churches on the plantation and at Darien, and the zealous teaching in his evening classes and Sunday schools, give him enough work (of his own peculiar professional kind of duty) to prevent his feeling that he is neglecting his special vocation.

I shall leave my dear M—'s house with great regret, but the terrible heat has come upon us within the last two days, and I must profit by my rooms, which are engaged at Lenox, soon, if I am to escape thither unboiled and unbroiled.

LENOX, June 28, 1876.


I arrived here yesterday, having left M— and slept in New York on Monday. This divides the journey, not, indeed, at all equally, but the whole would be more than I could undertake in one day. The distance from Philadelphia to New York takes but two hours' and a half to perform; from New York here is eight hours' journey, and that is as much as I care to travel at once. It is a particularly fatiguing journey, for the train by which I come stops at every small wayside station, loitering away, I am sure, two hours upon the whole time by these tedious pauses, and then between these endless stoppages we made up for lost time by tearing at a furious pace along the sharp curves, by which the railroad follows the windings of the Housatonic river, a beautiful stream, the narrow valley of whose course affords the only tolerable level approach to the hill country of Berkshire. The violent swinging and shaking of the train was such that Ellen and myself both arrived in Lenox with sick headaches, and almost shattered to pieces.

The village itself is not so much altered as improved. Sidewalks and small patches of grass or turf are tidily kept and trimmed, the trees have grown and spread till the place is quite embowered in them, and all round the village in every direction handsome country houses are growing upon the hillsides. It is a very charming place, and the whole region in which it lies is picturesque and lovely. Without being at all sublime in the character of the scenery, it is very like the tamer parts of Switzerland or the Black Forest, near Schaffhausen.

The spring has been temperate, with a good deal of rain, and the vegetation is magnificently full and fresh. I do not think I ever saw this part of the country in greater beauty.

None of even the younger members of the Sedgwick family are now in Lenox. B— lets her large pleasant house in the village during the summer, and betakes herself with her children to a cottage on the lake side between Lenox and Stockbridge. I have one Boston and one New York friend, who have pretty country houses near the village, but they do not yet know of my arrival.

I felt a good deal of sadness at leaving Champlost. The closing of my two years' life at Branchtown, the breaking up of my household, and leaving all my children and my friend M— gave me again a feeling of the solitary wandering in which so large a portion of my life has been spent. No other arrangement, however, was possible. The L—s wanted York Farm, and I did not wish to pass a third summer in the dreadful heat of the neighborhood of Philadelphia. Ellen's leaving me puts an end at once to all possibility of my keeping house in America, and an entire change in my mode of life was unavoidable.

I already perceive the relief of coming to this cooler climate especially in the night atmosphere, which in Philadelphia is really almost as oppressive as the day. Ellen looks better already, and will, I trust, recover soon from the miserable nervous depression she has been suffering from since we left Branchtown, which was undoubtedly the result of over-work and over-worry. What I shall do without her or where I am to get any one to fill her place I cannot imagine; but whatever must be done, always is done, somehow or other, and so I shut my eyes to the probable discomforts and annoyances of the future as much as I can.

LENOX, July 5, 1876.


You ask me if the "Perch" still exists, and I can answer that question particularly accurately, for it was on my return from walking down thither that I found your letter on my table. A very violent thunder-rain storm had so cooled the air and laid the dust this morning, that I determined to go down to my old little estate and see how it was looking. The whole country is in unusual beauty, the spring having been temperate and rainy and much more gradual in its development into summer than is its wont in this climate. The vegetation is in the freshest, fullest beauty, and the woods and fields of this whole picturesque region quite exquisite. It is astonishing how like Switzerland it is; not the Alpine, magnificent side of Switzerland, but the whole of the valley; of the Lake of Neuchâtel, looking towards the Jura. It is like the neighborhood of La Jonchere and all that family of Jura valleys. The village of Lenox itself is immensely improved. The beautiful trees along its two streets, which cross each other at right angles on the top of a steep hill, have grown tall and thick, so that on looking down on the small table-land, where the houses are clustered together from a considerable height, on which stands the oldest village church (whose clock, with which I endowed it, still shows the inhabitants the time of day). The whole place is embowered in foliage, and with the deep valleys below it, and the blue distant hills rising up almost to mountains beyond, is a most charming piece of scenery.

The sidewalks have all been widened and made regular, partly paved, and, where not paved, smooth and tidy and well-kept. Trees planted by my dear friend Elizabeth Sedgwick, along the roadside-path leading to her house, have grown into sheltering shade which I blessed to-day as I walked under them towards the Perch.

The injury I did my foot at Stoneleigh, the year I was laid up in Dublin, when I came to see you, has never entirely healed. A small bone in the instep was broken, and though it subsides almost into its place, and seldom gives me very serious trouble, occasional accidental treading on very uneven ground, or unusual exertion, starts it into inconvenient prominence, and makes it undesirable that I should use it much, which matters little, however, during my American summer, when the heat alone makes much walking for anybody impossible. At starting this morning I felt my instep painful, and went rather lame, but only for a minute or two, after which I walked (slowly enough to be sure), but without inconvenience, the whole mile, as it used to be reckoned (I do not think it is near so much), to the cottage.

It is still the property of the person who bought it from my daughters. I ventured inside the gate and walked up the carriage road, which I myself had made, when first I bought the place, through a very pretty strip of wild woodland, until I came within sight of the house. It did not appear to have undergone any alteration, but looked pretty and tidy and much as it used to look. The single trees about it, and scattered over the sloping ground in front of it, had grown and spread and become handsome oaks and maples and chestnuts. It is a pretty little place, and I cannot help feeling sorry that my children parted with it, for the increase in the value of land in the village and neighborhood of Lenox has been such that, having sold the property when they did for twice what I gave for it, it would now undoubtedly fetch more than twice the sum they received for it.

I came back to the hotel greatly pleased with the aspect of my former tiny estate, and with the sheltering screens of what had been quite young trees and plantations, when I lived here, and which are now thick handsome belts of wood.

LENOX, July 16, 1876.


I have written no letter to you this week, and you will wonder at not having heard from me and you will be sorry to hear that I have been too unwell to do so. I have not been seriously ill, but enough so to be incapable of the exertion of even writing a letter. I am well again now; that is to say, I am no longer ill, though a good deal pulled down and weakened by a sharp succession of physical troubles. Ellen, about whom you kindly ask, is, I think, already decidedly the better for change of air and scene, and relief from the wearing worry of her three years' housekeeping in America. The change in coming up here has not been so favorable to me, as the severe attack I have been suffering from appears to have been immediately brought on by the hot, hard, long day's journey from New York; the change of diet, the strongly lime-impregnated water of this district, and the generally unwholesome food, which all sojourners in country inns in America are compelled to poison themselves with; tough and ill-cooked meat, unfresh fish and vegetables, sour milk and cream, and, worse than all, bread prepared with soda, saleratus (sceleratissime) and every species of abomination to spare the use of proper yeast, which can seldom be obtained, and the necessary kneading for good rising, which can never be obtained. I hope, however, I have now gone through my seasoning, and shall be able to benefit by the greater coolness and lightness of the air of Lenox, compared with the atmosphere of Branchtown. There, indeed, the heat has been frightful. S— writes me word of the thermometer standing between ninety and a hundred night and day for a week past, and tells me that the L—s have fled with their baby to the seaside, unable to endure their existence any longer at York Farm, which does not surprise me, after my two summers' experience of it.

You ask me if I take any interest in the election of the president? Yes; surely a very sincere and lively interest in the question whether this great country is governed by a parcel of scoundrels, or whether something like an intelligent endeavor after common honesty is to guide the counsels of the nation. The nomination of Governor Hayes, of Ohio, as the most likely candidate for the presidency, relieves one's mind from the apprehension that a downright dishonest man or a mere miserable peddling politician was to be chosen. Mr. Hayes is known to be an honest, upright man, of unblemished character and integrity, who has kept himself aloof from all political intrigues, and though I believe he is not supposed to be a person of exceptionally brilliant capacity, honesty is so decidedly the best of all policies in this country just now, that the nation is gasping for it, and, I think, will elect Governor Hayes as its representative with quite an enthusiasm for this strange order of merit.

You certainly would not rejoice more than I should if the Georgia plantation was sold, and York Farm sold, and all F—'s territorial possessions in this country turned into a few thousand pounds, with which she might go and begin housekeeping in some quiet parsonage in England, but I am afraid one might as well wish for the moon. The southern life of simple half-savage independence has an immense charm. I felt it keenly myself, in spite of my horror of the slavery by which I was surrounded; and S—, in her late winter's visit to her sister, experienced its fascination, and spoke of it as almost irresistible.

LENOX, July 19, 1876.


I have received your first letter directed to Lenox, so that now I know you have my precise address.

The news of Harriet Martineau's death had not reached me until I got your letter. It caused me a sort of retrospective emotion, for I had at one time known her very well and liked and admired her very much, having still in my possession letters of hers, beginning "Dearest friend," which I valued and preserved, as remembrances of an intercourse which had however ceased for many years.

She was extremely clever and excellently conscientious, and thoroughly good and more conceited and dogmatical than any person I have ever known (but one). That exquisitely simple and humble Christian soul, Lady Georgiana Fullerton, complained, as of almost a physical pain, of the distress the absence of all humility in Harriet Martineau's mind and books occasioned her. I think her change of opinions towards the end of her life almost the strangest that I ever heard of, and her curious deference to that Mr. Atkinson, under whose influence, I think, she professed to have become an absolute disbeliever, even in the existence of God, was a prodigious instance on the part of the author of "Life in a Sick Room" of the refuges to which the believing necessity of our nature will betake itself when wrested from its legitimate object and natural direction. To be sure, Shakespeare says, "God is a good man;" but Mr. Atkinson, for as good as he may have been, seems to me a poor succedaneum for Harriet Martineau's earlier objects of veneration. This extraordinary revulsion, convulsion–what shall I call it, of opinion in her?–shocked and grieved me so much that it was long before I could prevail upon myself to read her unchristian recantation and new profession of unfaith; and when at last I did so, I sat by the sea at St. Leonards a long time, crying very sorrowfully for her and for all those to whom she had been a speaker of vital truths, and whom her late denial of them must wound and perhaps injure, and for all those, alas! for whom her great abilities would thenceforward have no value or influence for good. I was very miserable because of these thoughts, and if I, then I suppose many others who must have thought them too. The last time I ever saw her was while I was staying with you and dear Dorothy at Ambleside, when I remember going with F— to call upon her, and when she received me with very kind cordiality, but talked chiefly of Mrs. Gaskell's "Life of Charlotte Brontë," which she had been reading, and of which and its author she spoke in terms of such denunciatory reprobation that I thought F— would be terrified by her vehemence of blame.

I think with great pleasure of some of her books, which appear to me among the best of their kind ever written, "The Crofton Boys," "Feasts on the Fiords," "Ella of Garvelock," and some of her Political Economy stories, one of which you gave me, I remember, the heroine of which had been on the stage, and had been suggested to her, as she told me, by me. She must have been a very old woman when she died. I suppose there will be some notice of her in the Spectator.

Madame George Sand, too, is lately dead–a woman of uncommon powers, one of the great geniuses of the present day, and one of the best writers of the finest French of these later times. It is a pity that she had not clean hands, and could hardly touch the picture of a woman without smirching it. [If Madame Sand's novels, with very few exceptions, cannot be read without regretful reprobation for her treatment of womanly character and the relations between the sexes, it is impossible to read her letters without the highest admiration for the fine moral sense, the true artistic sense, and the perfect good sense with which they are pervaded. It is difficult to conceive how a mind so clear, upright, and just on all other subjects should have suffered such lamentable eclipse in treating of the qualities and duties of her own sex.]

The American female politicians have been getting up a womanifesto (as Thackeray called the Stafford House Anti-Slavery Protest), in opposition to the famous Declaration of Independence of their ancestors and fellow-countrymen, protesting against that celebrated document as worse than meaningless, while "woman," as they call us, remains in her present position of political non-existence. At the head of the signers of this female Declaration of Independence appears the name of the celebrated Quaker preacher, abolitionist, and philanthropist, Mrs. Lucretia Mott, who is upwards of eighty years old, but takes energetic interest in this public demonstration of her country-women. I suppose my own individual superabundant sense of independence, and the unfortunate circumstances which have given full scope to its exercise, prevents me from sympathizing, as I ought, with the clamorous claims of the unfair sex in this particular.

Our weather is tremendous, though the air on these charming hilltops is never without some vitality.

You say you wonder if the Sartorises will give up Warsash. I have heard no intimation of any such intention; and though I believe they have taken a house with a long lease at Kensington, I do not think my sister would be at all happy without some place in the country, where she could take refuge from London, which she hates, just as I do, and my mother always did. .

Good-bye, my dearest Harriet; God bless you. I think you think yourself a great deal more stupid than you are. Most people think the contrary; but I know that against the prevailing oppression of your painful circumstances it is of little avail to remonstrate with mere words. The shoulders that bear the burthen alone can tell how heavy it is, and how weary they are. God help you to support yours, my very dear friend.

Ever, as ever, yours,


LENOX, July 22, 1876.


Hitherto Lenox has not treated me very well, because, as I have already written you word, I have been indulging in all sorts of attacks, more or less unpleasant, none of which have tended to make my sojourn here as agreeable as the relief from the dreadful heat at Branchtown and the charming hill country I am so fond of would have done, but for those objectionable physical experiences.

I am not a little amused at finding myself, quite without premeditation on my part, under homœopathic treatment. When I was suffering a great deal, Ellen asked me if I would not send for a doctor, and, as I thought my doing so might not only relieve me from pain, but her from anxiety, I gave her the name of a medical man in the county town of Pittsfield, six miles off, whom I remembered to have heard well spoken of as a physician; and so he came and prescribed for me, and then I discovered, to my amusement, that I was being treated homœopathically, which would certainly have diverted my allopathic son-in-law very much.

I do not think that my habits have altered with increased years except that this summer I have left off getting up at six o'clock and walking before breakfast. The only change in my habits, of which I am conscious, is that I now hardly walk at all. The extremes of heat and cold of this climate make doing so in summer or winter here almost impossible for old people.

Your old Leamington acquaintance, Dr. Jephson, came to lunch with the L—'s, when I was staying with them at Stoneleigh a few years ago. He was quite blind, but very cheerful and gossipy, and talked a good deal about Mrs. Kemble, who, you know, was a patient and great crony of his in her Leamington days.

My last letter from F— reported them still at Branchtown; but, unable to endure the heat, they have gone to a seaside bathing-place, not far from Philadelphia, which I rejoice at for all their sakes, especially that of the little child.

I miss my darling printing-machine very much, and have had again to have recourse to an amanuensis in order to escape the intolerable tedium of copying my own lucubrations, and also to spare the poor. printers' eyes, to whom my vile handwriting will be doubly trying after the delightfully clear printed sheets I have been supplying them with for some time past. I am sorry not to have been able to send you my last October article; I cannot get it here, and have sent to Pittsfield, the county town, to obtain it for you. As soon as I get it you shall have it.

LENOX, July 26, 1876.


I have now written to you, I think, four letters from Lenox, and have received two directed to that place–one this morning, written on your birthday, telling me of your being eighty-one. My dearest friend, if I avoid as much as possible in my letters dwelling upon, or even referring to the sad and depressing conditions of your life, it is not, as you must well know, because I do not feel them much more deeply than any words could express, or because they are not often and often present to my thoughts and imagination with most acute and unavailing pity. God sustain you, my friend, in the path He has appointed you to tread, and still mercifully spare you acute physical suffering, and preserve to you the noble mental faculties, the decay of which you so frequently deplore, but which you certainly exaggerate to yourself, unless Eliza invents, as well as writes, your letters for you, which I do not in the least suspect her of doing.

I am staying now in the same old inn which has always had the monopoly of lightening the traveling public ever since I first came here. Many years ago it was bought by the son of the village baker, who, when a lad of about eighteen, used to come out with me on my fishing excursions on the lake to manage my boat, let down and haul up anchor, and otherwise make himself useful as my attendant. I remember a droll and characteristic conversation which once took place between us while we were sitting on the bank eating our luncheon one day. After gazing round him for some time at the charming landscape far and near, my companion said to me, "Now, Mrs. Kemble, I want to know" (the invariable Yankee form of interrogation) "what would be the difference between all that we see here now if we were in England instead of America?" I thought awhile what feature of difference would be at once the most comprehensive and the most striking to him that I could name, and, looking round at the fair hillsides, the meadows, orchards, woods, and farmsteads, all cultivated and inhabited by their owners, I said, "Well, William, in England, all that we see here now would probably be the property of one man." "Oh, my! that's bad!" was his sole reply, as with a solemn shake of the head he bit a huge mouthful out of his bread and cheese. "Well, now I want to know," are the words oftenest in the mouths of these people. This fellow was as ignorant as it is possible for a Massachusett's man to be; but think of the intelligence evinced by both his question and answer.

He was absolutely ignorant and desperately idle, but good-tempered and good-looking, with a sort of coarse likeness to my brother Henry, which was a recommendation to me. As he grew up, he took to working about a livery stable which his brother established in the village, and having the liking for horses that most idle fellows seem to have, he became one of the finest drivers I ever saw; so that on all her mountain expeditions with her schoolgirls, my friend E. S— invariably had him to drive the huge four-horse omnibus, which, what with its freight of screaming, gabbling girl-geese, and the terrible dangerous roads he often had to go over, was a very considerable proof of skill, as well as of steadiness and courage.

He was recalling to my memory the other day a day's drive he had taken this lively freight, when I was one of the party, when he brought the whole caravan safely down a steep and execrably bad mountain-road that skirted a precipice the greater part of the way, and towards the end of which day the daylight was beginning to fail him, and said that when he arrived safe at the bottom of it, at the village where we stopped for the night, his hands shook so that he could hardly use them–not with the effort of driving his team, but with the nervous tension of the anxiety he had felt during the whole descent.

Well, this Jehu contrived to captivate the good will of a very pretty Lenox young woman, refined and delicate, and of so much more education and better breeding than himself, that she was a teacher in Mrs. S—'s school; and my friend E— considered her marrying him quite a mésalliance. He had had perception enough, however, of her superiority to fall in love with it; and I think her name being Evelina must have had something to do with his admiration for her. However, he presently purchased the Lenox Hotel, and has gone on thriving and prospering ever since; and one fine day was sent up by his fellow-citizens as their representative to the Legislative State Assembly at Boston, where he took his place by the side of one of the best educated, best bred, most refined, and every way distinguished men that I have ever known anywhere. Now E— will be sure if you do not, to echo my Yankee lad's exclamation, only probably not in his vernacular, "Oh, my! that's bad," but it isn't so bad, for reasons which I have now neither time, space, nor inclination to give you.

Mr. Curtis has gone on thriving and prospering and becoming a well-to-do "hotel" keeper–a position supposed in this country to require administrative faculties and a certain intelligence of no common order, the familiar saying being, in speaking of a man's abilities, "Oh, well, so-and-so's smart enough; couldn't keep a hotel, though;" but my friend William walks about with his hands in his pockets, while his pretty ladylike wife lives retired in her own apartments, the house being managed by three grownup sons and two daughters, their father only occasionally condescending to give a sample of his former skill by driving a four horse omnibus full of gay summer visitors, who throng his house from Boston and New York, to some of the especially beautiful points of view, hills or lakes, of this picturesque region. . . .

The beauty of the place and the temperate healthy summer atmosphere bring more and more visitors every season; and as the house is really thriving, though there are occasional complaints of want of progress in the establishment, and even sometimes threats of the opening of a rival Lenox house, I dare say there will before long be set up by the young people some horrible, modern, big, new, fine, city-looking building, which will keep pace with the times in all the latest "improvements" (six stories high, with alleviators, as the Irish servants wisely and wittily call elevators), which will give more general satisfaction, and supersede the old-fashioned, red-brick, ugly, dear old house, which I loved for its memories of many years, by something really much uglier, but which will be an object of pride and pleasure to the Curtis's family and the whole neighborhood.

The Perch, my former property and home in Lenox, is called a mile from the village. It never seemed to me more than three quarters of that distance, if so much. I walked down there and found it looking very pretty, the trees grown, and the whole place much improved. It is the only place in all this neighborhood where there are any oak trees, and there are about half a dozen fine ones scattered round the house, and I was assured the other day that it was always supposed that my English love for the English tree had made me select that particular place; whereas it was bought for me, without my eyes having seen it, or knowing whether oaks or willows grew on it, but merely because it was a ready-furnished house for sale, which I wanted at once. . . . I find myself, however, in consequence of that purchase, invested with a dignity which none of my more distinguished kinsfolk achieved. Not only is the little "Perch" designated as the Kemble place, but the road that leads from the village to it is set down in the maps of Lenox and its neighborhood as Kemble Street or Road, which struck me as strange and comical and melancholy enough. Good-bye, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,


LENOX, August 2, 1876.


. . . Mr. L— intends returning with his wife and child to his own country in January, and I at present purpose to accompany them. . . . One of the livings offered him lately was at Stratford-on-Avon, and I cannot help thinking what a delight it would have been to me to sit in that church and hear him preach opposite Shakespeare's monument. This is the merest childishness, however; and I feel very sure that the place he has accepted, which is in the potteries, among a poor, abundant, hard-working population, is far fitter for him. He has a special gift for dealing with what are called rough people. His first charge was at a place called Bromsgrove, among a parcel of nail-makers, and he was deeply interested in his work. I think his great physical strength, activity, and dauntlessness, combined with his sweet face and voice, and the gentle tenderness of his manner, have an especial charm for hard-working, rude, uncultivated people. He may well seem a sort of angel to them. . . . He has admirable common sense, excellent moral sense, great liberality of thought and sensibility of feeling, and true sympathy with the poor and hard-working folk of his country. . . . Nobody endures hardship and privation with such sweet-tempered equanimity, but I hardly know anybody who has a keener relish for, or nicer perception of, all the luxuries of the highest civilization–the civilization of Stoneleigh, for instance. But he is extremely well pleased with the prospect of the order of work his Staffordshire living will give him, and I am sure that he will work well, and do good wherever he is. He writes me word it has been too hot and he has been too lazy to answer my letters, and that he has been lying in the hammock under the trees, except when he has been playing cricket, with the thermometer nearer one hundred than ninety.

The food I get, dear H—, is fairly good; the bread is occasionally heavy and sour, and the milk and cream very apt to be turned, but the eggs, butter, meat and vegetables are all good, and there is a most kindly desire in the house, both on the part of masters and servants, to make me comfortable, and I am so, in all essential respects, and very much better than when first I came up here, though I have had occasional attacks of dyspepsia. . . .

Harriet Martineau came to America, after I had been married two years, and made our acquaintance and visited us repeatedly at Butler Place. She came up here to Lenox, too, and staid with Catherine Sedgwick, of whom she was very fond, and who had an immense admiration and enthusiasm for her. . . . For some time we were upon cordial and even affectionate terms, and she always began her letters to me with "Dearest friend," but we gradually ceased to see each other, she being in England and I in America, our correspondence died away, and I think that I was not as thorough-going an abolitionist as the rest of the friends in America with whom she kept up her intercourse.

Good-bye, and God bless you, my dearest H—

I am ever, as ever, yours,


LENOX, August 7, 1876.


Yesterday the thermometer here stood at a hundred and two, at a place forty miles from here at a hundred and ten; and I tremble to think what all my children and F—'s poor little baby must have been suffering in that hideous oven, Philadelphia and its neighborhood. . . . The L—s thought the great heat over, and were to return to York Farm the day before yesterday. I trust with all my heart they have not done so, for the heat here, for the last few days, has been more oppressive than at any time yet this summer, and I cannot imagine how they are to support it there without being all made ill by it. . . .

In your last letter you said you thought I had found an easy and pleasant way of meeting the sudden failure of my income. Easy, certainly, in this respect, that the matter I publish was already ready prepared in manuscript, and needs only copious omissions to make it transferable at once to the printer's hands; but it is not pleasant to me for several reasons, though occasionally I receive notices of and remarks about it that do give me pleasure. For instance, I yesterday received a letter from a lady I have known for many years, who lives near New York, and whom I do not often see, who writes me, after thanking me heartily for the pleasure she and her family have had in reading my "Gossip," thus: "A dear old English lady, a neighbor of mine, eighty-seven years of age, reads it with the greatest interest. She saw Mrs. Siddons play Belvidera, when she was a girl, and takes much delight in all you describe. She has but one eye, and she is too deaf to hear me read it aloud, so she works it all out for herself, and we all thank you heartily for it." This kind account of the pleasure so old and infirm a person had found in reading what I had written was pleasant to me, but the publication is profitable, and in that sense only pleasurable to me . . .

I have had a letter from M—, who speaks with great enthusiasm of George Trevelyan's life of Lord Macaulay, to which she and her sister had contributed so many of Macaulay's letters to their father, who was his dearest friend. I though the book delightful, and it has been read with general interest and satisfaction in America. As soon as the extreme heat is over I shall go back to Branchtown.

Ever, as ever, yours,



I am very tolerably well just now, my dearest Harriet; and as to moving to some other place where I could "procure eatable food," I am quite as well in that respect as I should be anywhere, except in a large city. Sour, heavy bread, or bread made light with soda saleratus (whatever that may be), and a dozen other messes, intended to do the work of kneading and yeast, are the universal resource of American bakers, whether private or professional. Sugar and treacle are also common ingredients in country bread, the people having a great liking for what they call sweetning in everything, and making all the pies and puddings uneatable to me with quantities of sugar. The milk and cream are almost always sour; the meat, even when not tough, naturally difficult of mastication for my teeth, that rattle in their sockets when I shake my head, and when I talk give me a castanet accompaniment. I am as well off here, in every particular, as I could be anywhere, where I had as good air and as little (comparative) heat. The place and neighborhood are full of my friends and acquaintances, and the master of the inn and his wife have known me for more than forty years–ever since I first came up to Lenox–and are extremely kind and obliging, and desirous to make me comfortable. As for travelling in any direction, with a view to bettering myself, that would be sheer madness, as the fatigue and horrible heat would inevitably make me ill; and I am at present tolerably well, and shall stay where I am and endeavor to remain so, for, says the Italian gravestone, "Stava bene, per star meglio sto qui." I do not think my dear J—'s liking for a Georgia plantation life so strange as it appears to you. I was fascinated by the wild singular beauty of those sea islands, and the solitary, half-savage freedom of the life on those southern rivers and sounds; and but for the slavery, should have enjoyed my existence there extremely. S—, when she came back this winter from visiting her sister, after her illness, said that the place and the life and the climate were all like an enchanting dream.

By this time you have received my letter telling you that Mr. L— has accepted a living in Staffordshire, offered by his brother-in-law, Sir Charles Adderly, and that, after Christmas, he, F—, their baby, and I shall recross the Atlantic and return to England; they to settle in his new field of duty and occupation, and I, I trust in God, to spend some weeks with you, my dearest Harriet. Amen.

Ever, as ever, yours,


BOSTON, September 3, 1876.


Your letters had better now be again directed to Branchtown, for, even when I am staying at Champlost, that is the best and quickest way of reaching me now that I have left Lenox.

My plans were all overturned, and I was compelled to give up my rooms there at a few days' notice, by a mistake in the arrangement when they were taken. The hotel-keeper understood me to have retained them only for two months, and immediately gave the prospective reversion of them to other people, for whom I was obliged to vacate them. This has occasioned me a good deal of inconvenience and annoyance, especially in the inevitable uncertainty and confusion of all my plans. Moreover, I am afraid you will be without any letter from me a longer time than usual, because packing up and departing suddenly in this way, and traveling from place to place, are, of course, impediments to correspondence.

I left Lenox last Thursday in terrible heat. I looked my last with very tender affection at the lovely country we drive through for six miles, from the village to the station, where I take the railroad. Of course it is possible that I may live to return to see it again, but very highly improbable, and so I looked my farewell at it. I have enjoyed its improved beauty and increased cultivation and agricultural prosperity extremely this summer. It will become more and more attractive and charming with time, for the natural features of the landscape cannot be spoiled, and will admit of infinite improvement from tasteful cutting and planting of trees, and general cultivation.

The heat on the journey from Lenox to Boston was terrible; and Friday, the day after our arrival here, I suffered more than I have done on any day yet through this whole dreadful summer.

Some time ago I commissioned a Boston friend of mine to have a stone placed on my aunt's grave in the Boston cemetery, at Mount Auburn, and went with him to see that my instructions had been carried out.

When first I came to Boston forty years ago, Mount Auburn was a wild and very picturesque piece of irregular ground, covered with the native forest, and where only here and there a monument glimmering through the woodland attested the purpose to which it was dedicated. When I was engaged to be married, — and I used to ride out there and sit together under a group of trees on a pretty hillside, where the prospect over the country was very charming. I chose this spot for D—'s burial-place, and she was laid there; and I intended to put a memorial-stone over it, having it originally only turfed over and hedged around with sweetbrier. My unsettled, wandering life prevented my carrying out this purpose, till I gave the necessary directions last year, and the day before yesterday went to see how they had been fulfilled.

The whole place was a marble wilderness of tomb-stones and monuments and mausoleums–terrace upon terrace rising all over the hill, glaring with marble pillars, tablets, pyramids, columns, sarcophagi–a perfect stone labyrinth set in a flaming framework of the only flowers now in proper bloom here, scarlet geranium, scarlet salvia, and yellow calceolaria; and this, under the fiercest blaze of sunlight I ever endured, was really the most terribly suggestive place of rest for the dead that I ever saw.

The cutting up and dividing the cemetery for the occupation of its now immense population of sleeping inhabitants had so altered the aspect of the place, that I did not hope to recognize the precise spot I was seeking; but while, with map in hand and the number of the "lot" in his memorandum-book, our guide, one of the custodians of the place, was making out the precise spot, I recognized the hillside and crest of trees where I used to come, and walked through the perfect lanes of memorial-stones and edifices to my dear D—'s grave.

The inevitable emotion occasioned by the associations of the place, and the oppression of the terrific heat, quite knocked me up, and all day yesterday I suffered from the fatigue and excitement of the expedition.

I really do not think that so trying a climate as this exists in any other part of the world. Friday, as I tell you, was hot enough literally to kill people; in the evening it rained violently; the next day, yesterday, it blew a sort of furious hot hurricane, that all but took the pedestrians in the streets off their feet; last night it turned cold, and this morning the whole ground was white snow and hoar-frost. One had need have the strength of iron and the elasticity of gutta-percha to endure it.

This afternoon I am going to see a very dear friend of mine, whom I have known ever since she was a school-girl, when I (myself little more) came here to act with my father, when she used to hang wreaths of flowers on the handle of the door of my room, in the hotel where I lodged. . . .

I shall only be a day or two in Boston, and have only time enough to see a few of my most intimate friends, whom I do not expect to have a chance of taking leave of before I return to England.

I should not, indeed, have remained here another day, but that there is just a possibility of my grandson being able to stop and breakfast with me on his way to his school at Concord, which lies beyond Boston. As soon as I have had this glimpse of him, I shall turn towards my children and M. F—. I cannot go to any of them, because Champlost and York Farm are both full; but I would rather be in a hotel in Philadelphia, twenty minutes rail of them, than anywhere else. As for going to Butler Place, poor S— may be without servants, and without food, for what I can tell; and I could not propose myself to her at the risk of doubling all her usual household tribulations by doing so. . . .

The whole country has been suffering dreadfully from drought, and is burned to a cinder. In Lenox there has been no rain for six weeks, and even the hillsides, fed with innumerable springs, were beginning to look baked and dried up. People's wells were giving out everywhere, and this frequently premonitory symptom of earthquakes, combined with the extraordinary heat of the weather, suggests some violent paroxysm of the elements as the climax of this abnormal atmospheric condition.

God bless you, my dear H—. I must get ready to go out.

Ever, as ever, yours,


CHAMPLOST, September 20, 1876.


Mr. L— is gone to Boston to endeavor to negotiate with some merchant there for the sale of their rice crop, direct from the plantation, without the intermediate expense and difficulty of agents and factors; indeed, at present any such intermediate processes are entirely out of the question, as the Butler Island rice has always been sent for sale to agents in Savannah, and that unfortunate place is at present a prey to the yellow fever, and, of course, all communication between it and other places is entirely cut off. The rice crop on Butler's Island Plantation has been remarkably fine this year, and a large return may be expected from it. The orange crop has been injured by some of the strange vagaries of the weather, by which the trees received some damage, after they had put forth unusually abundant blossoms, and it is feared that the yield will be very much less than last year, which I am sorry for, both because it was a very profitable crop, and also because it is such magnificent fruit of its kind, that it is delightful to think of the splendid abundance of such a harvest of it as there was last season; nowhere here have I ever seen oranges comparable to them in size or flavor, they really were like fruits of paradise with their royal color and delicious fragrance.

Of my dear M—, about whom you ask so many questions, I do not care to say much, only this much–her extraordinary power of will and indomitable determination of character, and her unwearied, incessant, generous, kindly interest in and thought and exertion for and about others, seem to me to supply the whole vital energy of her tiny, delicate, fragile frame. She is the bravest and the best little lady that ever lived, and one of the loftiest spirts withal. . . .

Dear H—, how infinitely blessed I have been in the nobility of my friends. To have been loved by such people seems to me almost enough to have made one good, alas! . . .

M— is as light and quick in her movements as a bird, and while I sit solidly by the hour together stitching, reading, or writing, she flits and flutters in and out, and to and fro, now with a handful of fresh flowers, and now with a basket full of fresh fruit, finding endless errands all day long of courtesy, kindness, or charity, about her house and her gardens and her grounds.

Of myself I can give you a very good account. . . . I have nothing to complain of but the loss of one of my large front teeth, which fell out last night for sheer weariness of its existence, small blame to it. The departure of this tusk is really a great relief to me, for it had come down from its socket till I looked like one of the three fabled cabirii of Samothrace, who had got and kept possession of the solitary tooth they owned amongst them, and it shook and rattled in my mouth, so that I felt as if I was talking to a castanet accompaniment. I am very glad it is gone and

I am ever, as ever, (not tooth),


CHAMPLOST, September 26, 1876.


We are all in great distress about the outbreak of yellow fever in Savannah and Brunswick, Georgia. F— and S— have many acquaintances and some friends in both places, some of whom they know have been attacked by the malady, and about all of whom, of course, they feel the most painful anxiety. Brunswick is a miserably poor little seaport town, close to the rice plantation, and there the epidemic is raging in the most horrible manner; six hundred of the inhabitants, of whom there are not in all three thousand, being at present reported as attacked by the fever. F—, besides the distress of imagining so wretched a condition in the little place, with which she is so familiar, has been much troubled lest her agent and overseer should be among the unfortunate victims. This morning she luckily heard from one who was well, and reports his colleague as having also hitherto escaped the infection. Money and medicine, and physicians and nurses, have all been sent down to the succor of the poor pest-seized cities, but the only hope of any effectual check to the plague is in the arrival of cold weather–frost–and that seldom occurs in Georgia before the second week in November, and there is yet at least a month in which this luckless city may be liable to this terrible scourge. Of course, much apprehension is felt lest the dreadful malady should break out here, where at present the Centennial Exhibition is drawing such an immense concourse of people.

M— and I are going to a party given by our old friends and neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. W—. They are both quite old people, and this is the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding-day, what is called here their golden wedding. As they are among the oldest friends I have in this country, and they have also been extremely kind and affectionate friends to my children ever since they were born, we are all going; but as they have asked four hundred people, a very considerable number of whom will certainly accept the invitation, we are rather in a state of trepidation as to the crowd we shall encounter, and how we shall get to and from the carriage, etc., the grounds of the house and approach to it not being very spacious or commodious for such an occasion, and every man in this country, and, what is more, every coachman, being his own policeman.

A curious direction was put on the cards of invitation issued for this festivity. At the bottom of the usual form of desiring the pleasure of So-and-So's company, etc., and specifying the hour at which guests would be expected, there were a couple of words printed in a line by themselves–"No presents." It seems that on the fiftieth anniversary, or golden wedding, of a married couple here, it has been a frequent custom for every friend invited to give them some token of regard in gold. Mr. and Mrs. W—, many of whose friends and relations could not well afford such a proof of their regard, have taken this method of preventing any such tribute from their guests. I think they are very right, and their manner of doing so, though looking rather strange on their invitation cards, very sensible.

Good-bye, my dearest friend. God bless you. How thankful I am that you can still find satisfaction in my letters.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Monday, October 2, 1876.


I left Champlost and my dear friend, M— F—, this morning, to come and take up my abode once more in this former little home of mine. I was grieved to take leave of Champlost, which is a charming place, of which I am very fond, where I shall, in all human probability, never stay again, though I shall constantly walk over there of a morning, and have promised M— to keep up my practice of dining with her every Monday, as long as I remain in America. I left my dear friend, too, with profound regret, for though we shall meet constantly until I leave the country, we shall certainly have no such season of uninterrupted intercourse as we have had while I have been staying with her for the last three weeks. In spite of the regret with which I left Champlost, I am very glad to be here with my children, and am delighted to be under the same roof with my baby Alice. The little house looks cheerful and pleasant and homelike, and F— had filled the rooms with charming flowers as a welcome home to me.

Mr. L— has been very much interested in a cricket match between English and Americans. He played himself, and was very eager about the success of his countrymen. F— drove over to the cricket-ground to see them play; but I was too unwell to go, and spent the afternoon in the garden here, with my little grandchild, who, dragging a toy cart herself full of walnuts she had picked up, employed me to drag another and a toy horse, neither of which performances is quite as easy to me as to her. . . . The poor little child is looking unusually pale and ghost-like, and I am afraid to-morrow she will be very likely to be quite ill, for this morning she got hold of a basket of pears, set to ripen in the sun in the greenhouse, and before any one was aware of what she was doing, she had bitten one mouthful out of at least a dozen of them.

S— came in for a few minutes this morning, and Dr. W— this evening, when F— and her husband came home from the cricket-ground. They brought news of the victory of the English over the American players, with which they were both much pleased. S— had asked me to go to the International Exhibition, but I could not undergo the fatigue, which is very great, of walking about and standing in such a vast crowd of people, so she gave up going and came over on horseback to the cricket-ground. . . .

Dear H—, this letter has been three days writing, with constant interruptions to prevent my finishing it. We are all quite unwell with violent colds–my dear J— with a sore chest, and I with a sore throat. The sudden changes of the weather from heat to cold, and now constant violent rains, are affecting the general health very unfavorably, and there is a great deal of sickness, pneumonia and diphtheria especially, about. From the South the accounts of the ravages of the yellow fever are terrible. Savannah, the capital of Georgia, has had a frightful visitation of it, and so has the little town of Brunswick, which is quite near Butler's Island; and the only effectual stop to that terrible pest is a sharp frost, and the setting in of cold weather, which cannot, unfortunately, be looked for in Georgia before the second week in November.

I went over this morning and sat an hour with S—, who, while she arranged flowers in her drawing-room vases, talked to me a great deal about the exhibition, which she visited constantly during all the heat of the summer with her boy, who was enchanted with it, and spent the greater part of his holidays there.

Good-bye, dearest H—. God bless you.

I am ever, as ever, yours,



Tuesday, October 10, 1876.


I have been a longer time than usual without writing to you, having been unwell and almost stupefied with a heavy influenza, in which half the world here is drowned. Dr. W— says, and I am sure he is right, that it is really a form of the cattle plague. I remember perfectly when that prevailed in England, what a dreadful form of influenza, as it was called, was prevalent at the same time; and I am sure what we have all been suffering from here is identical with that–such running in streams from the eyes and noses, such heavy headache and oppression in the breathing, such sore throats and chests, and shouting sneezes, and shattering coughs, such pains in the back and loins and utter prostrations of strength, to which I added neuralgia pains in every one of my remaining teeth, dyspeptic pain in my breast whenever I ate or drank, and rheumatic pain all over me whenever I moved. I am happy to say I am nearly recovered now from this painful state, and am only in the disgusting dregs of the malady, coughing loudly and loosely at all inopportune instances, and using only seven pocket-handkerchiefs a day, so that I am quite convalescent. S— and her husband, and F— and Mr. L— have all had their visitation; and when I returned among them were all still suffering from it, and, of course, I took it directly. To-day E— has begun to sniffle and sneeze, and the poor dear little baby appears to have taken the infection too.

I look over, even as I write to you, my dearest friend, to the trees of Butler Place, all glorious in their autumn gold, and think of my former hours there. I was about to call them evil, but withhold the word; and I feel an impulse to prostrate myself in thanksgiving to God, who has vouchsafed me such a blessed close to my struggling and tempestuous life. How unutterably thankful I feel for His great mercies!

I have been walking over to my dear M— this morning, but did not find her at home. The walk itself is very charming–along our farm road, through fields cleared of their crops, the Indian corn alone still standing in yellow shocks in one of them, the apple trees now shedding their yellow leaves upon the few ruddy apples forgotten at their feet. At the end of this lane is a sloping field, now cleared of its crop, which I cross diagonally to a passage, left expressly for me in the fence; a few steps down another field, and then across the railroad, which here divides Champlost from York Farm; then through a charming bit of oak woodland, with some noble trees, to a tiny bright brook in the hollow of the wood; and up a steepish footpath between the oaks to a small, heavy swing-gate; down and up the steep side of a mimic ravine, across the runlet of clear water; and then through another gate on to the lawn, and under the groups of charming tulip poplars which surround the house, to my friend's door. I do not think the distance is a mile; and to-day, in beautiful, bright, breezy sunshine the walk was delightful. The coloring of the woods is now in its autumnal magnificence; but the glory and splendid loveliness of the sky is a thousand times more wonderful. God bless you, my dearest H—. Good-bye.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Sunday, October 15, 1876.


It is many days since I have seen E—'s handwriting, and I am beginning to feel anxious lest you should be ill again. I wrote to you a few days ago, and was then without tidings from you. I hope to-morrow will bring me a letter, for I am unhappy about you, my dearest friend, and long to know how you are faring. When last I wrote to you I had been suffering for a week from a violent influenza, to which every human being in this neighborhood has been a victim. I have not been able to throw it off; but, on the contrary, seem to take fresh relays of it every few days, and am now perfectly miserable with it. The weather we are having now, however, is enough to account for any amount of sickness: yesterday evening the thermometer, which the evening before marked forty degrees, rose suddenly to fifty-seven, with no more than our usual fires. Our rooms were intolerably hot, and we went to bed complaining of the oppressiveness of the weather. Before midnight we were indulged with repeated peals of thunder; and then in the morning when we got up the ground was white with snow. Just imagine our dismay and astonishment! I do not think there is such another climate in the world; and all this time the beauty and splendor of the autumnal woods and skies are as indescribable as the harsh capriciousness of the atmosphere. Of course, no constitution can be subjected to such sudden violent alternations of temperature without suffering from them; and I begin to think that my cough and cold will last me through the winter. I perceive the effect of the southern climate on F— and Mr. L—, in their greater sensitiveness to the comparatively moderate degree of cold which we have hitherto had. They have already as many fires in the house as I had all through the severest cold of the winter and I really wonder what they will do in December. The baby, at present, does not seem to suffer from the change of climate. . .

S— still continues her almost daily visits to the International Exhibition. Her interest in it has been so great, and her attendance there so constant, that I really do not know what she will find to fill her time and give her occupation and amusement when it closes. The generally sober, orderly, decent, decorous, and good-tempered demeanor of the vast multitudes who visit the exhibition, and the intelligent interest and curiosity they exhibit, seem to me by far the most noteworthy features of the whole thing, and to speak more highly for the progress of civilization in this country than all their display of manufacturing skill and all their wonderfully beautiful and ingenious machinery. Of course you know that they have long had admirable sewing-machines; they have now invented a darning-machine, which surely will be the means of lightening many a poor woman's wearisome work over the stockings and socks of her husband and children. I think you will be amused when you hear what my latest occupation has been in the literary line–writing, or rather beginning to write, the libretto of an opera, at the request of my grandson, who is composing the music for it. He has chosen the subject himself–a pretty fairy story–and told me how he wishes it treated; and I am accordingly working at it under his directions, which I think is, at any rate, showing an amiable desire to please, in faculties grown stiff with nearly seventy years' wear and tear–used, disused, and misused.

God bless you. I hope I shall get a letter from you to-morrow.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Tuesday, November 14, 1876.


I am rejoicing extremely for S—'s sake in the recall of Sir Anthony M— from his Australian government, and his appointment to Jamaica; which brings his wife, S—'s dear and charming friend, formerly Miss F—, within a few days' sail of the United States. I do not know whether you recollect a young lady who traveled in Switzerland with me one year, a person to whom S— is extremely attached, who is full of admirable qualities, the possibility of personal intercourse with whom will be an immense pleasure and benefit to my dear S—, and will come most providentially to make up to her for the void occasioned by her sister's and my departure. I have not been so happy at any circumstance for a long time. Lady M— is a particularly wholesome friend. She is very well informed, intelligent, and clever; and has a most equable, sweet, serene temper, and cheerful, happy temperament, and I am most thankful to think that S— and she will be sure to meet before long and pass some time together. Lady M— is a daughter of Mr. Dudley F—, of New York, and will come probably to visit her father and family, in the United States, on her way to Jamaica.

Good-bye, and God bless you, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Sunday, November 26, 1876.


Algernon Sartoris and his wife, after whom you inquire, came over to America a short time before my sister went abroad. They expect to stay here till the spring. Mrs. Algernon is to be confined some time in the winter. They had some thoughts of taking a house in Philadelphia for a few months, but I do not know whether they have determined to do so yet. Of course, in Washington, the young lady is at home in the President's house; but she has a great many friends here in Philadelphia, and I rather think Algernon himself does not particularly enjoy residing with the famille Grant.

Dr. Wister, like everybody else in this country, is intensely interested in its present political condition. I suppose that the course he has taken in this election will be that of a great many honest men, who have hitherto belonged to the republican party. Also, all through the war, his sympathies were entirely with the northern–that is, the republican party–and he has voted with them ever since the recent maladministration of the American Government; and the desperate rascality of many of the political republican leaders is such, that honest men of their own side prefer voting for the democratic candidate, Mr. Tilden, even to seeing the republican, Hayes, elected, because although the latter is a perfectly honest, upright, worthy man, his coming into power might not displace the whole army of those who have filled all the public offices, and governed the government ever since the inauguration of General Grant, because they are the republican state machinery, and the republican president may find it impossible to break up the immensely strong organization which such a body of office-holders spread all over the country and working together to maintain themselves and each other in place constitutes. Many honest republicans, therefore, like Dr. Wister, have voted for the democratic president, Mr. Tilden, thinking him more likely to be able to carry through immediate sweeping reforms, such as are needed, than his opponent.

My dearest H—, you speak of your rapidly diminishing brain power, and I suppose at your age, and under your circumstances, the mental powers must necessarily diminish in vigor and activity. . . . So, by the time we meet, I shall perhaps be a match for your own estimate of your own stupidity, and, if so, my dear friend, it will be the first time in all our long intercourse of many years that there has been an approach to mental equality between us.

I suppose you know that as yet it is not publicly proclaimed who really is the President elect. The contest has been so close, and the returns from the remoter parts of the Union so difficult to obtain, the frauds and dishonest practices on both sides so patent, that at this moment one vote will turn the scale. Nothing positive can be ascertained how that vote (of a state–Florida) has gone. There is no doubt that the question will have to come before Congress, as to who is really, legally, elected President; and I think the great probability is that it will prove to be the democrat, Mr. Tilden. The public excitement is intense; and, in spite of the personal interest felt by every voter in the land, and the keen party spirit, the quiet, patient, temperate, good-humored good sense and forbearance of the people is marvellous.

God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Sunday, December 17, 1876.


I have just had a fright and distress upon a small subject which, while it lasted, was poignant enough to wring the tears from my eyes. A little canary-bird, which my grandson Owen gave me a year ago last Christmas, escaped from his cage and flew out of window, and though the sun was shining brilliantly and I have no doubt the first rush into the open air was a delirium of ecstasy, the cold is intense, the thermometer standing at only eight degrees above zero, so the poor little wretch could not have failed to be frozen to death very soon. I was therefore much relieved when he was captured and brought back alive from Butler Place, whither he had flown, but so exhausted, either with its unaccustomed flight or numbed with the bitter cold, that he alighted on one of the gravel walks and allowed himself to be taken. You know I have always been fond of these little birds, and almost always had one. Their shrill, brilliant singing is not disagreeable to me, as it is to some people, and there is something cheerful to me in the wiry patter of their little claws on their perches; and the volume of sound they pour forth from their tiny throats has never ceased to be a subject of astonishment and admiration to me. This particular bird is a particularly fine singer, having a sweeter and more mellow note than almost any canary I ever heard. Besides my value for him as Owen's gift, I have tended the little creature with my own hands for two years, and am greatly relieved to think that he is not to freeze to death in this pitiless cold. . . .

Mr. L— writes cheerfully from the South. The rice crop has been the finest gathered on the estate for many years, and, that being the case, it is rather hard that the price of grain itself has fallen lower than it ever has, under the combined unfavorable influence of general bad times and scarcity of money and the miserable political excitement of this presidential election, of which Charlestown, the principal rice market of the United States, is now a flaming focus.


December 23, 1876.


Christmas is upon us, which must be made cheerful for our children and servants, and so the rooms are strewn with paper parcels, packages, presents, and all the indescribable confusions of the garniture of a Christmas-tree, a pretty piece of German Christmas joy which has taken root here and become quite an American institution, with all the profuse love of ornament, and bon-bons, and toys and trinkets, and magnificent presents that Americans of all ages delight in. Yesterday evening Owen came home from school. He did not arrive until past nine, having traveled sixteen hours from his hyperborean seat of learning at Concord, in New Hampshire. F— and I went over to sup with him. Coming away, I and Dr. W—, who was holding me, both slipped down the broad doorsteps of the piazza (Anglice, veranda), four of them, which were entirely coated with ice, and sat ourselves down on the gravel walk at the bottom of them, which was also one smooth sheet of ice, and there we sat laughing, so that neither of us could get up again or render the slightest assistance to the other, while S— and F— and young Owen stood at the top, afraid to set their feet on the treacherous steps, lest they should fall headlong upon us, crying out, "Oh, mother! Oh Owen! Are you hurt?" and then shrieking with laughter at our absurd appearance as we sat opposite each other on the ice.

Between the Owens, father and son, I was got on my feet again at last and led to the carriage, and F—, with frightful slipping, sliding, sliddering, ejaculations and exclamations, was brought after me, and we got safely home, but anything so frightfully dangerous as the whole surface of the ground, paved with ice as hard and clear as crystal, and just powdered over with treacherous snow, you cannot imagine. It is as much as one's life is worth almost to walk a dozen steps in any direction. The trees, trunks, boughs, branches, every smallest stem and twig, are entirely coated with translucent ice, which glitters like silver with the most blinding brightness in the sun, and rattles in the wind as if they were made of metal, and is so heavy that the trees are bowed like great fountains by it, and every now and then some huge limb, weighed down by its beautiful heavy icy coating, breaks off, and strews the ground with perfect heaps of glittering icicles and a dazzling ruin as if a thousand chandeliers had been smashed in the road. It is magnificent!

God bless you dear. I hope soon to hear from you; and I hope, oh, how I hope, soon to see you.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Sunday, December 24, 1876.


I have just come back from church, whither I had intended walking; but the road is so frightfully dangerous–one sheet of glaring ice, with the thinnest sprinkling of snow over it–that I was warned by my family that I must not attempt to go even the short quarter of a mile distance; so S— came in a sleigh for me, and F— slipped, and slid, and skated, and scrambled, with the help of young Owen, who is now a stalwart man, nearly six feet high, and broad in proportion, and a cousin, a tall lad of the same age, of whom they are all very fond, and with this goodly escort she got safe to church. I am now sitting writing to you while mounting guard over a mocking-bird F— has brought me from Georgia, which is out of his cage. I generally allow him a walk about my room on Sunday, while his cage is being cleaned; but he is never in any hurry to get back to it, and I sometimes sit more than an hour, waiting till it suits him to resume his captivity.

Our preparations for Christmas are rendered quite elaborate by the American passion for interchanging gifts. For a whole week before Christmas Day a stream of paper parcels, boxes full of bon-bons, baskets full of flowers, pour in and out of every house; and the laborious preparations for magnificent Christmas-trees make the enjoyment of the children a really severe labor to the parents and elders.

We are all unhappy at Mr. L—'s not being here to-morrow. He is away on the plantation, and will have a day of solitude, enlivened only by his church services and whatever festivities he may be able to give the negroes for the cheerful celebration of the day. He will not return till after the New Year.

God bless you, my dearest H—. In a month's time we sail for England. God grant me the happiness of embracing you once more.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Christmas Day, 1876.


You say you have not heard from me for a fortnight; and it is full a fortnight since I received your last letter. The winter weather is retarding the passage of the steamers across the Atlantic, and it is supposed the furious winds we have had here inland must have been felt at some distance along this coast, at any rate. I have been anxious about you, fearing you were ill; but to-day's post brought tidings. To-day has been a day of such confusion, as makes part of the very enjoyment of children and young people, but it is in itself a fatigue to older ones. At eight o'clock this morning the interchange of presents between our houses began; and I saw from my dressing-room window, with dismay, the young man-servant, who was carrying a dozen of wine over to Dr. Wister from me, slip on the glare of ice, which literally sheets the gateways of both our places. There is a slight descent from each entrance to the main road that divides the two properties, and they are literally like two inclined planes of looking-glass. Luckily, though the lad who was carrying the wine slipped, he did not quite fall or let the basket drop, but my heart was in my mouth for a moment, for I thought a dozen of precious Château Yquem had gone to ice in an unprofitable way. Our house is literally fragrant with roses and heliotropes and carnations. The enormous sums of money spent by people here in cut flowers, nosegays, and baskets full of them is quite incredible. The flowers are forced to such a degree, that they hardly survive a single day, though put into water, and taken the utmost care of, and the plants from which they are cut are so ruined by this forced flowering, that they are absolutely exhausted, and good for nothing when the summer, their natural time for blossoming, comes. I could not have believed it possible that flowers could have been made vulgar, but the Americans have contrived to do that with their profuse and costly extravagance and ostentation in their use of them, as one of their own women, the least vulgar human being I have ever known, once said to me. F— came home the other day from a dinner-party, (mind, close upon Christmas), with a nosegay of white rosebuds in one hand, and a wreath of pink roses in the other; another day she returned with two glass slippers (the pair of which Cinderella lost one, you remember), full of rare hothouse flowers which had been among the dinner-table ornaments. The luxury and display in the houses of rich people on a special "company occasion" is a curious contrast to the general discomfort in all the details of daily life. It is altogether anomalous and unpleasant.

My littler granddaughter Alice had such a profusion of toys given her, that one good-sized table was covered with them. In the afternoon, her mother had a very fine Christmas-tree for her, and all the little farmers' and gardeners' children on the two places were invited to it; they were one and all Irish, and I must say did credit to their descent, for I never saw a stouter, finer, rosier dozen of children. . . .

To-morrow there is a Christmas-tree at Champlost, for M—'s servants and dependents, to which she has asked us and several of our household, and when that is over, every one's energies among us will have to be devoted to packing up and preparing for our departure, an event the near approach of which is becoming most depressing to me.

The presidential election, about which you ask me if I feel any interest, is a most extraordinary result of universal suffrage. The two candidates are so nearly in possession of the same number of votes, and on both sides such frauds and illegal practices have been resorted to, that it is really next to impossible to say who positively has the majority of votes. I heard a most curious story this evening upon the intimidation to which the negro voters had been subjected in some places in the South. Though very few of them indeed are African born, almost the entire black population of the States being native Americans, they retain, nevertheless, the traditions of the African Obi-worship in a great many curious forms of what they consider of evil omen, unlucky, uncanny. The white inhabitants of the southern states are well aware of these superstitious terrors of the blacks, and on the day of the election secured the absence of the negroes from the polls by sending grotesquely dressed-up men to tie various colored ribbons round the liberty-masts erected at the booths, where the voting-tickets were taken. These incomprehensible, mysterious signals were considered by all the negroes what they called Obi, and they were effectually scared from voting by them.

Good-bye, dearest H—. My thoughts fly over the Atlantic to you, and, skipping my passage across it, land me once more in Ireland, and fill me with the hope of once more seeing you. God so grant it.

Ever, as ever, yours.



December 31, 1876.


Here is the last day of the year, and to-morrow begins the month the end of which will see us on our way to England. It is no great wonder if our letters have been delayed in crossing the Atlantic, for the weather has been unusually tempestuous, and we hear of violent hurricanes encountered by the ships, and storms of unusual severity, and the steamers have made slower passages, and of course the mails are retarded and come irregularly.

The steamer in which our passages are taken, has, however, been a remarkable exception in this respect. Britannic is her name, and she crossed this way in seven days and sixteen hours, and went home the last time in seven days and thirteen hours. We shall be a large party returning, as we were coming out. Mr. L—, F—, myself, and the baby, Ellen, the child's nurse, our little English cook, who came out with us, and a young negro servant lad from the plantation. The man-servant who went home to visit his parents last summer is to come and meet me at Queenstown, and take charge of me and Ellen, as the L—s, of course, go straight on to Liverpool.

You ask me how I mean to carry on the publication of my articles in the Atlantic Monthly when I leave America; but I do not intend to carry them on. The editor proposed to me to do so, but I thought it would entail so much trouble and uncertainty in the transmission of manuscript and proofs, that it would be better to break off when I came to Europe. The editor will have manuscript enough for the February, March, and April numbers when I come away, and with those I think the series must close. As there is no narrative or sequence of events involved in the publication, it can, of course, be stopped at any moment; a story without an end can end anywhere. I shall be sorry to lose the very considerable addition it made to my income, but living in England is much cheaper than living in America, and I can much better spare three hundred pounds from my yearly income there than I could here, when that loss fell upon me.

We are all, of course, in much confusion with all the first preparations for departure. . . . We are expecting Mr. L— back from the South in a few days, and this chapter of my life is drawing very near its close. I am thankful that my last hours in America will be spent in the house that was my only married home in this country, under whose roof my children were born.

God bless you, dearest dear H—. It seems wonderful to believe how soon I may see you again.

Ever, as ever, yours,


BUTLER PLACE, Jan. 3, 1877.


F— told me to-day that the twentieth or twenty-eighth of January was the date on which she believed Mr. L— intended to sail for England. He particularly desires to go by one vessel, the Britannica, which belongs to the Irish White Star Line of steamers, in one of which we came out here three years ago. The season at which we are to sail is of course a very undesirable one, yet occasionally good winter passages are made, and the whole event of my departure is mixed up with such heavy sadness, that the more or less physical misery of the passage does not occupy my thoughts in the least.

You ask me if I am interested in the presidential election? Yes, indeed, deeply interested; not so much as to which of the candidates is to succeed, but in the closeness of the struggle itself, and in the extraordinary patience, forbearance, and law-abiding attitude of the people throughout the whole of this vast country, where every other man almost is a voter, and where every single vote is of vast importance in the issue in which every individual throughout the United States feels a passionate personal interest.

Certainly it is the very strangest political position any country was ever in, and the general good sense and good feeling of the people seem to me unparalleled, unless by the bad faith and daring dishonesty of the politicians, technically so called, a formidably numerous and unscrupulous class of men, who have got the whole government in their hands and are wrestling in two desperate factions, each for the nomination of the man who is likely to be biased or influenced after his election in favor of them and their interests. It is come to so complete a deadlock with the elections, in consequence of the withholding, falsifying, and cooking the returns of the votes in the three states of South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, that the question of which of two men, Hayes or Tilden, has really been elected will in all probability have to be decided by an appeal to Congress. All business is at a standstill, every interest in the country is suffering from this prolonged struggle, which may be protracted for two months still, in which case it seems difficult to imagine that some violent demonstration of popular feeling will not take place, and the parties being so nearly equally divided throughout the whole country, a general electoral war would seem to be among the possible results. It is at present really quite impossible to foresee the course of events from day to day, and men's minds are filled with no other subject.

My dearest Harriet, the letter I have just received from you is terribly sad. I cannot but hope that I may yet embrace you once more, nor have I the faintest doubt that in spite of your loss of sight you will recognize the human being you have loved so tenderly and constantly, and who has loved you so dearly for so many years. I do not believe that my voice is much changed, and though the falling of my teeth makes me lisp slightly occasionally, my power of speaking distinctly is not so impaired but that I trust to make you hear and understand what I may say and read to you, if it pleases God that we should meet.

I am beginning to speculate upon where I am to look for a house in London, and feel attracted to Mrs. St. Quintin's neighborhood. I like that part of London, and I think that I could find without difficulty somewhere about there, a house that would answer my purpose and not exceed my means; but the idea of beginning a new chapter of housekeeping with a new set of servants, and without my dear maid and housekeeper Ellen, seems to me very formidable, even in England.

My present hope is to spend a month in Dublin, near you, my very dear Harriet. After that F— wants me to go with her in search of clothing to Paris, and after that che sarà sarà.

M— will grieve at our parting, and certainly miss me very much, but she has an older and dearer friend than myself living within a stone's throw of her, who will not make up to her for my departure, but will certainly help her to bear it. It is no use thinking about it, it is wretched all around.

BUTLER PLACE, January 7, 1877.

I trust in God we shall meet again before long, and I look to many hours spent with you during my month's stay in Dublin, in which I hope my voice will reach you in reading and talking, and the consciousness of my proximity will be a comfort and pleasure to you and some relief to your devoted nurse. I need all the hope that my coming to you may be some alleviation to the dreariness of your darkened life, to help me to bear the heavy sadness of my parting with the many good and kind friends I have in this country.

We are all pretty well, and all bent upon being cheerful and courageous in view of our approaching separation. . . . I am still lame from the effect of our overturn, from which, fortunately, S— received no injury, but as I am merely badly bruised, outwardly and inwardly, and am gradually recovering from the effects of the accident, I feel only inclined to rejoice at the insignificant damage I have sustained from what might have been a serious disaster. . . .

An American woman's dress is never regulated by any consideration whatever but the money she can afford to spend on it; and, I am sorry to say, by no means always by that. My daughters, in common with all their countrywomen, think no articles of clothing can be obtained so good, so cheap, or so tasteful as those found in Paris; . . . and I dare say, as regards the elegance and cheapness, they are right. . . . I retained that result of my semi-French blood and education, that I do think French women the best dressers in the world, and while one is spending money in necessary clothes, I think it quite worth while to get them as elegant and agreeable to one's taste as can be managed for the price one gives.

I think you are mistaken in supposing that this country will split up into separate confederacies. In spite of its vast size and various populations, the feeling of national pride in the enormous extent and unlimited resources of the country will, I believe, hold its parts coherently together in a bond, the strength of which will, for many years to come, resist the strain of any merely sectional interest however strong. The whole attitude and temper of the people (not the politicians) from north to south and east to west of the Union, during these late troubled and difficult times, has been so admirably temperate, patient, reasonable and law abiding, that in this crucial test of a nation's moral capacity for self-government they have certainly come out triumphantly. In the process of altering and improving the machinery of their elective system, I have no doubt at all that they will give proof of sufficient wisdom in time. In the meantime, I feel sure that they will struggle out of their present imbroglio with less damage than any one who is not here to watch the course of events could believe possible.

Good-bye, my dearest H—, God bless you. I trust ere many days to see you once more, my best beloved friend.

Ever, as ever, yours,


P.S.–We sail on the 20th. God willing, we may reach Queenstown about the 28th. Please get some lodgings for me near you.

BUTLER PLACE, January 8, 1877.


It is very unlucky that just at this moment, when there are so many last things to do and to attend to, and when I wish to be as strong and well as possible for the inevitable wretchedness of my winter sea voyage, I have met with an accident, which for the present has made me lame. S— and I were overturned in a sleigh the other day. She was not hurt, luckily, but I fell under her, and she is very heavy, upon the stones in the street, and I have remained crippled ever since, from some internal jar or contusion, which at first made me almost unable to move my legs at all. I am much better, however, and trust I shall be quite well before we sail. . . .

York Farm will henceforward be let for the summer, as it has often been before, at a rent which will just barely pay the land tax which the city levies upon it. This is all I have to tell you, except that several sales of quantities of the rice have been effected, so that the aspect of southern affairs is more satisfactory than when last I wrote.

Good-bye, and God bless you, my dearest H—. If your brains are really as much deteriorated as you think, we shall be more upon a mental equality, when we meet, than we have ever been in all our lives before.

Ever, as ever, yours,


BUTLER PLACE, January 13, 1877.


We sail from New York this day week, and I have spent a sad day taking leave of some of my old country neighbors and friends here, for we are thinking of going to New York in a few days, and I do not expect to return here before we sail for Europe. . . .

Dear H—, you have fully prepared me for whatever alterations I may find in you, and I doubt if I shall think them as great as you describe them.

You will not see how greatly I am changed with the increased age visible in my face, my whole person, and all my movements. I am just now appearing particularly old and infirm, as I am lame in consequence of having been overturned in a sleigh, and am still unable to walk or move with any ease from the violent jar and internal bruises I received. S— was with me, and we were both thrown out; but I fell on the pavement, and she, fortunately, on me, so that there is every reason for thankfulness that we escaped with so little injury.

The state of the roads and streets is really frightfully dangerous, and we hear daily of more or less serious accidents happening to people, by falling on the ice, with which the pavements are coated. The winter has thus far been very severe, and began to be so much earlier than usual. The vessels going to Europe, however, have made remarkably quick passages, and I think that generally, after the third week in January, the neck of the winter is broken. . . .

The southern estate has been brought into the most beautiful order by J—'s exertions or good judgment. He has worked energetically and successfully as a clergyman among the people, and has been mainly instrumental in having a decent church built and consecrated, where it was greatly wanted. He has devoted himself to the schools, and has done good in every way among the inhabitants of the place and the whole neighborhood. Naturally enough he has formed an attachment to and felt an interest in the people he has thus been serving, which will survive his residence among them. Then I think he has enjoyed the life, full of manly activity and occupation, of supervising this large property and all its operations. He likes the mild, soft winter climate, he is a keen sportsman, and finds a great deal of game in the woods and swamps of the Altamaha, and the whole region has a wild, weird, picturesque beauty to which he is keenly alive.

He spent his Christmas and New Year's Day away from us all and quite alone, as far as anything like congenial companionship went; but he wrote us word that on New Year's Day, after performing three full church services for the people of the little town of Darien, close to Butler's Island, he had rowed down, by a beautiful moonlight night to St. Simon's, the island at the mouth of the Altamaha, where the cotton plantation used to be, and which, with its sea sands and noble old groups of live oaks, is a beautiful place which he delights in. . . .

My dearest friend, I have just come back form our little village church. I could not walk, so my dear S— drove me in that same sleigh out of which she spilt me ten days ago. The roads are one mass of ice and snow, and the path from the entrance gate to the church door a perfect looking-glass; but I was carefully led and supported, and had my last holy church with S— and F—, and dear J—, and my young Owen all round me, and lifted my heart in unspeakable thankfulness to God for the peace and happiness of these my last days here.

I am called away to receive some friends, who have come to take leave of me, and so shall close my letter here. Good-bye, my dearest friend, I trust soon to see you again. I know that you will never be altered to me, and that I shall see you the same as I have known you from the first. Those that we love never alter, unless we cease to love them, and I am ever, as ever,



as you will be to the last, ever as ever, my Harriet St. Leger.


Friday, March 23, 1877.


You will be glad, I know, to hear that Lady M— (who was that charming Jenny F—), arrived yesterday, with her husband and children, from their Australian government banishment. She came, poor dear, directly to see me, and really I was most delighted to embrace her again. She is excellent, very intelligent, and one of the most agreeable persons I have ever known. She brought two of her boys to see me, fine little fellows, looking fresh and rosy and strong, in spite of their eight weeks' voyage from the other side of the globe. Sir Anthony M— is now made Governor of Jamaica, and they will only have a short breathing time allowed them in England before they have to go thither. . . . She seemed overjoyed to be once more restored to life in habitable civilized regions.

After lunch I drove her to Westminster, to call on Dean Stanley. Poor Lady Augusta and the Dean were great friends of hers. The Dean was not in town, however.

After I had put her down at her hotel I returned home and was pleasantly surprised by a long cordial visit from the Duke of Bedford. His brother, Lord Arthur Russell, and his wife, had called on me as soon as they heard of my arrival, and the warmth of welcome which he and the duke expressed at seeing me again was very agreeable and surprised me very much, for though I was well acquainted with their mother, and saw them often as young men, I should never have imagined that they remembered, much less that they cared enough for me to come and see me; and I was, therefore, pleased and touched with the almost affectionate tone in which they spoke to me of their former intercourse with my sister and myself.

Indeed, I have been gratified, and much surprised, at the kind pleasure people have expressed to me at my return to England. I do not suppose it is really any excessive satisfaction to them, but I am astonished at the expression of any feeling on the subject by any one.

I should be very glad to have the companionship of a dog, but have an idea that women's dogs lead a dog's life, and are invariably stolen in London. The poor creatures I see led by a string by their mistresses in the Park do not appear to me to enjoy a very enviable existence; and as I am principled against paying dog-stealers for restoring my property, which they have stolen in the expectation of a bribe for returning it, my pet would infallibly, for want of ransom, go to the vivisectionists.

Of course, I cannot tell you anything of Fanny Cobbe at present, because, situated as we are, at the opposite poles of London, we shall probably see nothing or little of each other. . . .

I think Mary Lloyd really suffers from London; nevertheless, not half so much as Fanny would from living out of it. They talk of going away, but there are impediments to their doing so; and I think they are likely to be here for some time yet.

I think you are mistaken in speaking of going with me formerly to the Temple Church. We used to go to Lincoln's Inn together to hear Morris preach; but I shall certainly not go thither now. Indeed the amount of intoning, chanting, and singing, and general musical entertainment now introduced in all the churches is so distasteful to me, that I think I shall simply revert to the Unitarian chapel, because, if that beautiful Church of England Liturgy is to be sung instead of said to me, I would rather not hear it at all.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Tuesday, March 27, 1877.


You go so much faster in your imagination than events and circumstances with the friction of all the petty impediments and delays of daily life can go. You ask if I have finally concluded about the house in Connaught Square? No, indeed; for I have not yet received any report from the agent that was recommended to me by Mr. Ellis, whether the gas, drains, roof, etc., are in a condition to make it expedient for me to conclude the bargain.

I hear of such extraordinary adventures befalling unfortunate tenants who embark rashly in houses, that I am frightened to death about my own undertaking.

Mary Lloyd told me that after taking the house where they now are, she found all the gas pipes cut off, having very nearly set fire to the house in consequence of that fact before she discovered it.

Mr. Santley, after having taken a house, was obliged to spend between two and three hundred pounds in repairing the drains.

With regard to the house for which I am now in treaty, it is at present occupied by people who do not go out of it, I believe, till the second week in April; after which, it has to undergo a general purification from garret to cellar, and sundry superficial repairs, so that I have no hope or expectation of getting into it before the third week in April, if even then, for I cannot begin housekeeping without servants, and hitherto have not been able to get one, and I am seeking four. . . . So that you see there is very little likelihood of my taking possession of it soon; and I dread the whole operation to a degree that is making me miserably nervous and quite unable to sleep. Ellen's leaving me hangs over me like a nightmare, and the idea of being left with a houseful of entire strangers is quite intolerable. However, it will be done, like everything else that has to be done. . . .

You speak of my return to London reviving my English feeling of nationality. Have I appeared to you to have lost it? I am not conscious of having done so; and coming in contact again with much that I dislike and disapprove of in my own country would not be apt to stimulate my love for it, which, however, I believe, does not need stimulating, as it lies a great deal deeper than the disagreeables I dislike, and the defects I disapprove of in our social system.

You know, my dearest H—, I do not in the least share your retrospective affection for London. I always, from my earliest girlhood, heartily disliked it, and have no peculiarly pleasant or happy reminiscences of early years to counterbalance the feeling of physical oppression and mental depression which this huge agglomeration of humanity always causes me, and from which my mother and sister both suffered as I do.

I am staying at home this morning to see servant-women, housemaids, and cooks, and am amazed alike at their dress and address. The absence of all respectability in their attire, and of all respectfulness in their demeanor, takes my breath away. America has come, and is coming over here with a vengeance, and I hear nothing but universal complaints of the insolence and want of principle of servants in the present day.

There is undoubtedly a great change in the household relation of the members of English families, but it appears to me to exist quite as much on the side of the employers as the employed.

I heard yesterday a piece of news which distressed me very much, chiefly on my sister's account–the death of Mrs. Nassau, senior, who was, I think, her most intimate female friend. She was excellent and charming, and Adelaide loved and esteemed her very much, and will, I am sure, be deeply grieved by her loss. God bless you, my dearest H—.

I am ever, as ever, yours,



Tuesday, April 10, 1877.


My London existence just now is not agreeable. I am off this moment, ten o'clock, with my breakfast between my teeth (that is not true, I have no teeth; never mind!) to the co-operative stores in the Haymarket to get house linen, sheets, towels, napkins, etc., etc., of which I have absolute need. Here I am back again, having bought and paid for the same to the tune of twenty pounds, and here I find waiting for me a note from my future landlady, desiring an interview with me, and leaving me in some doubt whether I shall have the house or not, which is rather more provoking than pleasant. Presently May Gordon rushes in, come up to London for a Bach concert, she being a member of the amateur chorus, who perform the same. Oh! I forgot to say that I had hardly taken off my bonnet on coming in, when Sir Frederick and Lady Gray came in from the country to see me. She was Barbarina Sulivan, granddaughter of my friend, Lady Dacre, and had written to me very affectionately to welcome me back and to beg me to go down and stay with them near Windsor. Well, they were no sooner gone, than in came May, and she was no sooner come, than in came Harry Kemble, and he had no sooner come, than in came Gertrude Santly, John's eldest daughter, with a daughter of hers, and they all staid until I had to go out and see Lady Enfield, Lady Ellesmere's eldest daughter, who came to see me some time ago, and for whom I have an affectionate regard for her mother's and father's sake. I also went to see old Lady Grey, not the countess, but the widow of General Sir Henry Grey, a woman of eighty-seven, living entirely alone, who is only just reluctantly putting aside her drawing and painting materials, with which, even up to last year, she was able to interest and amuse herself constantly, being really a first-rate amateur artist.

This evening I expect May Gordon and her husband to come and pay me another visit; and after the empty solitude of my American existence, this London life, absolutely quiet, as by comparison it would be called, takes my breath away. . . . I went yesterday to Leighton's studio, by his invitation, to see privately the pictures he is just going to send off to the Academy for this year's exhibition. I was very glad to see Leighton again, and he received me with an affectionate cordiality that quite touched me. I have known him ever since he was a mere youth, and he is so intimately associated in my mind with my sister, that I have a strong feeling of regard for him.

Now, dear, I have told you my day's news. I am still without housemaid or kitchen-maid, and feel altogether as if I were standing on my head; but upside down, or inside out, or wrong side before,

I am ever, as ever, yours,



Wednesday, April 18, 1877,


My small troubles are swelled by the addition of poor F—'s, and hers are complicated with my own incessant and unsuccessful efforts to obtain two out of the four servants I require. I feel quite addled with a sort of cook, kitchen, and housemaid idiotcy, and as if I should address my friends and visitors with, "What wages do you expect?" or, "Why did you leave your last situation?" I do not quite understand who does the work in English houses now. I hire a cook, and she demands a kitchen-maid under her. I look for a kitchen-maid, and she asks for a scullery-maid under her; and I suppose the least the latter functionary would expect would be a turn-spit dog under her. Used this to be all so, or do I dream that it was otherwise? And how did my father and mother and four children contrive to exist upon their small income? and six servants–which we never had; a cook, a housemaid, and a footman forming our modest establishment. But to be sure that was a long time ago, for I was young then!

The manners and general demeanor, too, of the lady domestics are very novel and surprising to me. They stand close up to one, with their hands thrust into their jacket pockets, and before you can ask them a single question, inquire if your house is large or small, how many servants you keep, if you keep a manservant; until I quite expect that the next thing I shall hear will be, and "how many back teeth have you left?"

Certainly things and people have greatly changed since I had anything to do with housekeeping in England. Not pleasantly, I think, for the employers. I hope the employed find it more agreeable.

Yesterday, directly after breakfast, I drove to the Army and Navy Co-operative Stores, hoping at an early hour to find it empty, and so it was comparatively; but still there were some exemplary lords and ladies even then buying their own groceries. To come and make their own purchases in these dirty, crowded, most inconvenient, most troublesome, and most ill-mannered shops has become the high fashion and a daily amusement of the great and gay London folk; and the Haymarket in the afternoon is as full of fine carriages, opposite the co-operative store, as it used formerly to be on a gala night at the opera house, and friends and acquaintances make appointments for meeting at the co-op, as they vulgarly abbreviate it.

At my luncheon time, Harry Kemble came in and sat some time with me. I like him very much. . . . He is very affectionate and kind to me, and his Kemble face and voice, which are both very like his father's and my father's, are dear and pleasant to me.

After my lucheon, I took an American gentleman, an acquaintance of mine, and a friend of my dear S—'s, to call on my very old and kind friend, Mrs. Proctor. She is now, I believe, very near eighty, but has two days a week appointed for the reception of her friends, when she appears in a most becoming and elegant old lady's toilet, and does the honors of her afternoon tea, which her daughter pours out, with wonderful sprightliness and vivacity.

Here, my dearest H—, I was interrupted by a visit from Lady M—, who told me, that Sir Anthony's servants' wages alone in Australia cost him a thousand pounds a year. To be sure he is a governor! But Lord Mayo, remonstrating with a man who asked him a hundred pounds a year as his butler, to whom Lord Mayo said, "Why, my son and many other young gentlemen of his social position don't get more than that as curates!" "Poor young gentlemen," said the man, "I am really very sorry for them!"

I am going to see Fanny Cobbe this afternoon. She paid me a visit the other day, but my little old (eighty-eight years old), Dr. Wilson, who is as brisk as a bee, and runs up the stairs into my room before the servant can announce him, was here, so that I had but half the good of half her visit.

When he was gone we had free talk; and she told me, among other things, what did not surprise me at all–that her devotion to this vivisection cause had estranged many of her former acquaintances, and that she now saw comparatively few of her former pleasant intellectual associates: "ainsi va le monde."

I go to see her at her office sometimes, and find the table strewed with pictorial appeals to the national humanity–portraits of dogs and horses, etc., by famous masters, coarsely reproduced in common prints, with, "Is this the creature to torture?" printed above them, All this seems small; but "despise not the day of small things," is the true motto for those who mean to achieve great ones; and "many a mickle makes a muckle" is a good saying, and hers are assuredly good doings.

God bless you, dear.

F. H. K.


Tuesday, April 24, 1877.

I am grieved, my dearest H—, at the terrible depression of the letter which this morning's post brings me from you, and sincerely trust that it may be chiefly the result of some temporary physical derangement.

My servants are all to be on board wages, which, to my astonishment, I now find a very general practice here. My only reason for adopting it, however, is that I avoid by so doing the question of furnishing the young women in my house either with beer or beer money, a custom that I think so ill of that I will have nothing to do with it in any shape. Of course, if they choose to allow themselves beer out of their board wages, I cannot interfere with their doing so, but at any rate wish to avoid giving my direct countenance to any such practice. Good night, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,




My settlement in my new abode is sticking fast by the way for want of servants. I cannot either get housemaid or kitchen-maid. The cook I have engaged cannot come to me before the 2nd of May, and I am altogether in a state of semi-distraction, which is not decreased by poor F— writing to me incessantly from the country to help in procuring her a nurse and lady's-maid, both those functionaries leaving her in the course of next month.

I think of going into my strange house with a parcel of strange people with nervous horror. However, what has to be done always is done, somehow or other, and if one does not die of it, one survives it, which is good Irish.

Yesterday, my cousin, Cecilia Faulder (daughter of Horace Wilson) of whom I am very fond, came and spent the day with me. In the afternoon we had a violent thunderstorm, the second within the last ten days, which prevented my taking Lady Musgrave's little boys to the Zoological Gardens, Lady Musgrave and her husband, and her son by a first marriage, a young Oxonian, having gone to Paris for a week, during which time I promised to look after her three little children, left in their London apartments with their nurse. This I have done faithfully every other day, and as they live in Westminster, the mere journey there takes up more time than I can well spare.

Cecilia brought me some exquisite flowers, from her own garden and greenhouse, her husband being a devoted floriculturist, and as successful as his devotion deserves to be.

In the evening I expected May and her husband to come and get some supper, after a great concert at the St. James' Hall, where amateurs perform all the finest and most difficult music of Bach and the great composers of the severest school. This chorus-singing of sacred music is the high fashion, and all the Cherubim and Seraphim are young women and men of the best families, "of such is the kingdom of heaven," who meet together once a week to rehearse this music and then perform it, and very creditably too, in two great concerts in the course of the season, to which the public in general is admitted, but the audience is a very fine one indeed, consisting (at all events in all the eligible parts of the room) of the noble and gentle parents and relations of the distinguished performers; royalty, in some shape or other, also generally lends its countenance to these occasions.

Otto Goldschmid and his wife Jenny Lind devote themselves to training these amateur vocalists, and the result is a really good performance, doing honor to the musical taste and skill of England in high places. May and her husband belong to this society, and sang at the great Bach concert last night, and at past eleven o'clock rushed into my room screaming for food, having been screaming for fun for three mortal hours, so I gave them some lobster-salad and sandwiches and tea, and sent them off to a friend in Harley Street, where they were to sleep. Their performance had been highly successful, and they were in great spirits, and it was very pleasant to me to have them come in so.

Now the carriage is come and I must go and inquire the character of a kitchen-maid. I have written four answers to advertisements in the Guardian newspaper this morning. Good-bye, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I did not send you the Atlantic Monthly, for I have not yet received it myself, and do not know where to procure it in London.

I have one difficulty to overcome in my determination to allow my servants neither beer nor beer money. I disapprove entirely of their practice of swilling malt liquor. The tea and coffee provided for them appear to me quite stimulous enough for young women, no harder worked than four maid-servants would be in my house, and if they choose to indulge in beer, they must procure it for themselves. I am persuaded that this habit, early acquired in our households, and bequeathed as an inheritance in the whole domestic class, produces part of the miserable drunken tendencies of after life in these women.

This makes the difficulty in my way; for the custom, though beginning to be resisted by some few persons who think about it as I do, is almost universal. I can meet the question by putting all my servants upon board wages, which, of course, enable them to live as they please. This, I find, has now become a very common practice in London. It is a saving of trouble, if not of expense, and perhaps, when I come back from Switzerland, I may adopt it.

All the relations of household life appear to me to have changed much for the worse in England, and the mutual distrust and absolute indifference of masters and servants towards each other strikes me very painfully in everything I hear from members of either class.

I believe my house will be ready for me about the fifteenth. I dread extremely finding myself there surrounded with strangers, and shall be thankful when the plunge is once over. Nobody can be of any use to me at all. In truth, there is no difficulty and nothing to do; and it is only my state of nervous depression that makes the thing appear formidable to me.

Poor dear Fanny Cobbe lives at the furthest extremity of London from me, and we waste time in calling at each other's houses and finding us not at home. . . . Mrs. St. Quintin and I have exchanged visits in vain, as is the wont of Londoners, who are always all out at the same hour of the day. Good-bye, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,




. . . My household is only by degrees getting into shape. I shall not get a cook or housemaid till next week, and must then tremblingly hope that they will not go away the same day they come as my last cook did. . . .

May wrote me a few days before the landing of General Grant, saying that she was going down to Warsash to meet Algernon and his wife, neé Miss Grant.

My complaint, my dearest H—, with regard to the apparent demoralization of the servant class in London, seems to me all but universal here, and the state of discontent, dissatisfaction, and restlessness in that whole class of society appears to be a general evil of quite recent and rapid growth.

I have just seen Lady Grey this afternoon, who has told me that her household are leaving her, among the rest, a maid who had lived with her twenty years. Poor F— is struggling through the same endless vexation and trouble; and I speak with no one who does not say that the nuisance is intolerable, and has been becoming so more and more within the last two or three years.

F— is looking forward with great satisfaction to settling at Stratford. The house they have taken is an old monastic edifice, a quondam sort of convalescent hospital, belonging to the monks of Worcester Abbey, and it retains a good many picturesque features of the time of its fourteenth century foundation. I am in great hopes, from all reports of it, that it will be a pleasant residence for them. . . . Good-bye, dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have not been very well for the last few days, . . . and thought it expedient to send for my neighbor, Mrs. Garrett-Anderson, the lady doctor, who has succeeded, you know, in making a considerable reputation and acquiring a considerable practice in the medical profession. She was at one time a great friend of Fanny Cobbe's, but her thinking proper first to marry and then to have a baby lowered her, I suspect, a little in the estimation of her fellow female progresista, and her refusing to join the anti-vivisection movement caused, I believe, a coolness between Fanny Cobbe and herself. . . . The lady physicians that I have known have appeared to me clever and intelligent persons, but with something hard and dry in their manner, which would not have struck me disagreeably in a man, but made me wonder whether something especially and essentially womanly–tenderness, softness, refinement–must either be non-existent or sacrificed in the acquirement of a manly profession and the studies it demands. On the other hand, it occurred to me that this very peculiarity in these ladies might be a judicious assumption of the manly unsentimental "habit of business" tone and deportment. . . .

I attended on Saturday an anti-vivisection meeting to which Fanny Cobbe invited me, and was sorry, but not surprised, to find that there was a split among the advocates of this particular branch of philanthropy. They are quarreling among themselves as to the best means of promoting their benevolent purposes, and have formed two distinct societies. That which Fanny Cobbe represents and upholds, called together its members and demanded of them a guaranteed subscription of two hundred and fifty pounds for the next two years to carry out their own peculiar views. I have given the very small pecuniam I can afford towards their support, but am afraid their obtaining such an income as they desire unlikely even for two years.

I have heard from S—, who is very well and very busy writing in magazines and newspapers upon the subject of college training and college examinations for women in America, a matter she is greatly interested in.

I must bid you good-bye now and go and walk, for the day is fine and I take exercise whenever I can. The mildness of the winter has been wonderful, and I am almost afraid we shall have to pay for it presently. Good-bye, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have not much to tell you except that I am reading a French book, with which I am greatly charmed, the letters of a certain Monsieur Doudan, who was a sort of tutor or private secretary, or only intimate friend and adviser in the family of the Duc de Broglie, and whose correspondence certainly gives me the impression of one of the most charming persons I ever knew. F— is living just on the other side of the bridge which crosses the Avon, at the foot of the main street of Stratford, and within half a quarter of a mile of the famous little old country town inn of the Red Horse, where I mean to take up my abode. I have a definite intention that her baby shall be born on the 23rd of April, Shakespeare's birthday; that it shall be a boy, and christened William Francis Leigh, all which I amuse myself with thinking, and none of which will pretty certainly take place; but it is an arrangement of circumstances that pleases my imagination.

I am going on Wednesday to spend a day or two with my old friend, Lady — —, at that palatial poorhouse, Hampton Court Palace, from which she runs away as often and as much as she can, and whence she sends me pressing invitations to come and alleviate the state of chronic boredom, into which she subsides the moment she returns to her royal residence, which I envy her, for its noble picturesqueness and cheerful, blessed quiet. I think she would infinitely prefer this noisy corner of a London square, in which I take such small delight.

I must go and get ready for church, where I have the rare good fortune always to hear admirable matter, delivered in an admirable manner, by the son of Sir Henry Holland, who was an old friend of mine. God bless you, dear, dear, dear old friend.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I think you will like to hear of my arrival here, . . . where Alice has a range of fourteen acres, inclosed round the old house; and in the house itself, which was an old monkery, belonging to the Chapter of Worcester Cathedral, two rooms of most unusual dimensions–a fine nursery and a noble room on the ground floor; and she seems to enjoy her little life here thoroughly.

I have just come back from church, the parish church where Shakespeare is buried, the lovely old church in its lovely old churchyard, with the river sweeping round it and the noble old elms still golden leafed in the bright mellow autumnal sun.

The church was very full, and I hope the congregation were edified. I was rather unhappy, for the whole service was intoned and chanted, and we had to listen to the Athanasian Creed, all which are trials to me, but I could only hope they were acceptable, beneficial, and comfortable, in some way or other, to my fellow-worshippers.

This house is one of the most curious, quaint, picturesque old places I ever saw; it dates back to the thirteenth century. There is not a room to enter which you have not to go up or down two or more steps, it is low and irregular looking from outside, with pointed gables and clusters of queer chimney-stacks, and a good deal of dark wood-carving. One side of the house fronts the river Avon, a stretch of lawn of about an acre lying between the lower windows and the garden gate that opens on to the road and river, running close by it, parallel to each other. A very fine row of noble old elm trees borders this lawn on either side, and beyond them on one hand is the inclosure wall of the place, and on the other an ancient grass walk, smooth and wide, with a high heavy yew-tree hedge, evidently of great antiquity, a perfect monk's meditation ground. Beyond this is an orchard, bounded by an overarching avenue of large old filbert trees, that form a perfect bower over another wide grass walk. Beyond this is a very large kitchen garden, with a fine fish pond at one end of it, the monks' fish reservoir in the fishy monkish days. The whole place is most curious and picturesque, and though much out of repair and condition, might be made in every respect a delightful residence.

Good-bye, my dearest H—. I am very tired and sleepy, but thought you would like to hear of my first impressions of this place. God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have waited until the day after Christmas, to give you some account of our holy tide here. I found F— and Alice both very well, the former rather burdened, and the latter much excited, with all the Christmas preparations.

I came down on Saturday. All the trains were full, all the stations thronged, all the arrivals late; and I did not reach Stratford till almost an hour behind time and missed seeing Mr. L— at Leamington, who was not returning home that night, having to perform early duty next morning, but who came to the station, where I changed carriages for Stratford, just to shake hands with me, and missed me and shook hands with nobody, because of the unpunctuality of the train.

On Sunday the day was bad; and I was not well and did not leave the house. Monday, Mr. L— came home from Leamington in the afternoon, and Henry James, the American author, a great friend of S—'s, whose acquaintance I made in Rome, arrived. . . .

Poor little Alice was in an ecstasy of delight and expectation as to what the next day was to bring her. She had learned in America the pretty German theory of the Christmas tree and all the Christmas gifts, referring them to the "Christ-kind" (Christ Child) and how she was to hang her stocking at the foot of her bed and to find it full of delight the next morning.

I went to kiss her in her crib, and her little eager face looked up from the pillow as she said, "Only one night more, and then to-morrow Christmas Day, and I have been wethy good." When she was disposed of, her mother and I, the American gentleman, and all the servants took possession of the nursery and dressed it all up with Christmas wreaths of laurel and holly, and trimmed her tree, which was a beautiful young fir, that was hung all over with toys and bon-bons, boxes and baskets, and really looked extremely pretty, as did the picture presented by the groups of operators.

The nursery itself is a very fine room, nearly twenty-five feet long and twenty wide, with an open arch roof of big oak rafters and a huge chimney-piece and a great heavy oak table in the middle, so that the room, when dressed up and lightened by a bright brass gas chandelier, looked really quite picturesque, as did our band of maidens, standing on steps, mounted on ladders, kneeling round the tree, on the middle of the table, the young negro man-servant and our dark-bearded, handsome American friend helping to make a series of pictures, which I (with my lap full of bon-bons, with which I was diligently filling small bags, boxes, and baskets to be tied to the tree), took great pleasure in observing.

At ten o'clock, Mr. L— left us, still all busy at work, to drive his ten miles off to Leamington, where he had communion service the next morning at half-past eight.

Christmas Day itself was very delightful, Alice was in absolute ecstasies, the servants all beaming with delight at their various small gifts. In the afternoon the dear master came home, there was tea and plum cake for a table full of little children belonging to the coachman, gardener, etc., and their mothers.

Our American friend seemed very well pleased with all the ceremonies of the day, including church service in Shakespeare's church, and though some of us went to bed very weary, it was with serving and pleasing and ministering to others, and I thought the fatigue not very deplorable.

I am not altogether well, but very contented and happy, and grateful beyond words for all the blessings of my present life. God bless you, my dearest H—.

I am ever, as ever, yours,




. . . I heard yesterday of the death of my friend Sir Frederick Grey, an event not altogether to be deplored, as he was over seventy years of age, and would probably have endured much suffering had his life been prolonged. . . . His marriage had been an unusually happy one, I think, though he had no children.

A nursery is undoubtedly an immense bond of mutual affection, but, undoubtedly also, it necessarily prevents anything like the close and uninterrupted companionship which exists between people who have no family.

I hope E— is pleased by the new dignity conferred by Mr. Disraeli on her friend Mr. Gathorne Hardy. Sir Charles Adderly, Mr. L—'s brother-in-law, has received the new title of Lord Norton.

Ever, as ever, yours,



. . . I have not been at all well since I came here, but I am, thank God, getting better and recovering my sleep. Of course I am most anxious to be strong and well just now. . . . ,

Mr. L— has just gone off to the wedding of his niece, Miss C—, to Sir Ch. M—, whose unfortunate first wife was divorced and is now living, I believe, in a madhouse, circumstances which, I should think, would throw a gloom over the introduction of her successor to the noble estate and fine house which was, not long ago, the home of that poor young woman.

Miss C—, however, is, I believe, quite free from any misgiving on the score of being haunted by any such sad associations, and merely rejoices in the splendor and beauty of her new residence. So goes the world.

Shakespeare's birth and death day yesterday passed off very quietly here. A flag was hoisted on the bridge over the Avon, and a dinner given at the "Red Horse Inn," which prevented my taking possession of the rooms I am to occupy there for the next two months, but the celebration went no further. Good-bye, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,



I went this morning to Malvern to look for some place of habitation for myself, near the small cottage which F— has taken there for the next two months.

I give up my Swiss tour for so long, and shall only be able to make a very short pilgrimage to my dear mountains, if I cannot get abroad till September, which I do not expect now to do.

I do not know if you ever were at Malvern. It is a great many years since I visited it, and I was very much struck with its beauty and the singularity of the abrupt rise of its small group of hills, immediately out of the level plain at their feet, which reminded me a little of the position of the Alban Hills above the Roman Campania–I do not mean in beauty, indeed, but in their peculiar position and configuration. . . .

I have nothing to tell you of myself, dear H—, for F— is just now the paramount object of my thoughts and care. She and the baby, thank Heaven, are both well. God bless you.

I am ever, as ever, yours,




Here I am, back again in my London house, from which I shall probably not go away for any length of time again till Christmas, when I shall go down to the L—s for a week or ten days.

Next week I have promised Lady — to go and spend a couple of days with her, at Hampton Court, but hardly call that leaving London.

I wrote to you just before leaving Stratford, and therefore have nothing to tell you. I have already been out this morning doing commissions for F—, who is burdened with all sorts of demands upon her time and trouble and attention by her American friends, who seem to me to think she has settled in England solely for the purpose of being their unpaid agent and doing gratuitously for them every species of troublesome commission in London and Paris. I left Stratford with only a glimpse of Mr. L— at Leamington station, as I was leaving the Stratford train to take the London one, and he was taking the train I was leaving to go to his home. He had spent the day and night away on Thursday, having had a numerous confirmation to administer and lunch with his Bishop to attend, and an evening service to perform, the church, as he told me, being literally crammed with people. His duties take him to Leamington almost every day, and keep him there almost all day long, and always from Saturday to Monday; and I think this constant running to and fro, which is rather more than is good for him, and his consequent incessant absence from home, will help greatly to reconcile them to leaving Stratford for a residence in the place where his duties oblige him to be.

My week's stay in the country has done me good, and the lovely weather, though one is sorry to spend it in London, makes London itself more tolerable.

On Monday I am going to begin at my task of dictation.

Mr. Bentley, the publisher, has written to me about publishing my "Gossip" here in London, but I do not yet know what I shall determine about that.

Good-bye, dearest H—. Though I live in London, I go nowhere and see nobody, and have not therefore much to write about. I am reading Charles Kingsley's life and letters. Oh! how I wish I had known him, or any such man; but there are not many.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I shall undoubtedly be more cheerful when F— and her child are here; but I am troubled beyond reason at the idea of keeping house for such a much larger family.

My state of health, I am sorry to say, is such as to make the slightest things appear formidable, not to say impossible. . . . I have been obliged to send for a physician, and I think you will perhaps be surprised and amused when I tell you that I have seen a lady doctor recommended by Fanny Cobbe. I do not think I should have done this, but that I believed that my old medical adviser, Dr. Erasmus Wilson, had left off practice. My lady physician calls herself Dr. Hogan. . . .

I have not been to the British Museum for many years. I went not long ago to the South Kensington Museum, and spent some time there delightfully, and thought I should return there frequently, but I have never been able to get there since. Much of my time is spent in returning people's visits, and the London distances are so enormous that, in point of fact, one's day goes literally traveling from one point to another of this preposterous city, as our delightful friend Dessaur used to say, mais quelle idée folie que ce Londrès.

My lady secretary comes to me every evening and interests me a good deal, poor thing. She has lost her mother since she has been writing for me.

Now I must go off to my dentist, and then I must go off again servant-hunting, having hitherto found it impossible to complete my household. Good-bye, dear. God bless you.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Mrs. St. Quintin was good enough to call here some little time ago, but I was not at home, and missed the pleasure of seeing her. Yesterday I drove to Chesham Place and found her. She was, as usual, surrounded by young people, relations or connections, and looked placid and cheerful, and as well as she generally seems now, which is not very vigorous. I think, dearest H—, when you express satisfaction at my settling in a home, as you call it, that you forget that I have only taken this house for a year, and that I find it in many respects so undesirable as a home, that I would willingly leave it if I could. Moreover, two of the servants, who came to me a fortnight ago, my cook and housemaid, have already given me warning, and my time is literally passed in reading and answering advertisements, and seeing a string of miserable-looking women, candidates for my service, who seem to me utterly unfit for any employment in any decent family. I am miserably shaken and nervous, and am worried by all this to quite an unreasonable degree.

I should be most thankful to be able to go abroad and leave all this miserable mess–servants, house-keeping, etc., of which I now feel utterly incapable, but I do not know when it will be possible to do so, and I do not think I can look to my resuming my residence in this house under the cheerful aspect of returning to a home,–the bugs, at present, I am sorry to say, being my principal idea of Penates.

I refuse all invitations, and see hardly anyone, for though my friends are very kind in asking me to their houses, and calling upon me, my disinclination and unfitness for society are quite insuperable, and in the matter of morning visiting, it is really a mere exchange of bits of pasteboard, as people are all abroad at precisely the same hour of the day, and everybody finds everybody else out, which, upon reflection, is rather an unpleasant social condition.

My old friend Mary Ann Thackeray has done me a real kindness in making me go with her to the fine weekly morning concerts given at St. James' Hall, which have been an immense refreshment to me. She has just now sent to ask me to go with her to the first flower show of the season, and I am thankful for anything that takes me out of this house; though I am entirely wanting in the courage and energy to go alone and seek recreation anywhere. . . .

I never did nor never shall employ your bootmaker, though I think I recollect trying to get a pair of footgloves (why not as well footgloves as handshoes, as the Germans say) made by him. I get my boots from Sparks Hall, and my shoes from Gundry, both royal furnishers, so I am shoed in good company.

I am going to-day to Mr. Sanders, her Majesty's dentist, to receive a set of new front teeth, which have been tried on (or rather in), and measured and fitted three or four times. I was determined upon the final extraction of my last shaky front tooth, and the replacing of the whole four, by the necessity I am under of going to my old friend Mr. Donne's daughter's wedding to-morrow. I had declined doing so, but both Valentia Donne and her father looked so annoyed at my not assisting at this solemnity, that I determined to pull out my last real front tooth, put in my four new false ones, and "haste to the wedding" as in friendly duty bound.

Mr. Sanders is an old-fashioned, conservative practitioner, who will not hear of teeth being kept in one's mouth after the new mode, by suction; and is filling my mouth (and his own purse) with the best of gold. God bless you, dear; I am off now to an intelligence office.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I am going, as soon as I have finished this letter, to get some warm woolen socks, made expressly for night wear, to send down to little Alice, who has not been well. F— talked of taking the child for a day or two to Malvern for change of air, but I am afraid that Malvern, at this early season, will be very bleak and not likely to do either of them good. . . .

Adelaide's account of Rome is simply that it is dull socially beyond all precedent, the death of the king and the death of the pope having thrown all parties alike into mourning, while building alterations and repairs at the English Embassy render all social gatherings there impossible at present. You will have felt for the position of Mario, reduced to poverty and blindness in his old age.

Ever, as ever, yours,




It is a miracle of your love, my dear, that makes you still find pleasure in my letters (and your love was of a kind to work miracles). As for what you say about my Memoirs, I am not, you know, writing them, I am only copying and making extracts from my former journals and my early letters to you, and think, when I contemplate publishing them, that far from being lively or entertaining, they must appear monotonous and dull to almost as great a degree as they are egotistical. . . .

I am reading with the greatest delight and admiration, the life and letters of Charles Kingsley. What a fiery Christian soul he was, and what infinite good one such life must work upon every human life it comes in contact with.

I am particularly well off, as far as preaching privileges are concerned, for I am within a quarter of a mile of Lewellyn Davies's church and of Mr. Holland's chapel, and have made up my mind to go and call upon them both, and give myself a chance of occasional personal communication with two such excellent men, for which I shall be much the better, and they, I trust, none the worse.

I am going out to see my sister, who came here the other day to beg of me for Mario, the former great Italian singer, who, after having had money poured upon him in floods, is now in his old age literally penniless–a subscription being opened for him at Coutts's. Is not that deplorable? God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,



. . . I for my sins am going to an afternoon representation of Othello by a German tragedian of some reputation, in whom a friend of mine is much interested, and with whom I have promised to go–a piece of considerable good nature on my part, for I confess that I do not expect the German tragedian to have enough genius to reconcile me to the very disagreeable process of hearing Shakespeare pronounced with a foreign accent.

For a London woman, I go out so little and see so few people, that I have almost as little to tell you as you can have to tell me. The prevailing fashion of having regular afternoon tea-parties would suit me, inasmuch as social gatherings at a reasonable hour are better than evening parties that begin in the middle of the night; but I have never given in to the practice of taking tea before my dinner, as I dine early, and prefer having my tea in the evening, so I do not go to these kettle-drums, to which one is now invited by special notes of a particular form and diminutive size, with a teapot and "come early" on the envelope for a device.

I have just received a missive from a lady who once asked me very urgently to go to her house to meet some fag ends of gentility, among whom she had the insolence to designate Sir Charles and Lady Trevelyan! I declined, telling her I did not consider that I belonged even to the "fag end" of such gentility. Goodbye, my dearest H—. I have been quaking lest we should go to war, and pray God incessantly against it. . . .

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have little to tell you, for though I am back again in this busy London, I go nowhere and see nobody, and have really less material for correspondence here than anywhere else. I have been driving about the dirty, muddy streets this morning, doing commissions for F—, with which she charged me when I left Stratford-on-Avon. Carrying the broken bits of a Venetian chandelier to Salviati's establishment in St. James' Street, where I had the pleasure of an Italian chat with the director, and we exchanged many admiring and affectionate ejaculations as he challenged me about my preferences for the various cities of his enchanting land–Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, Milan, Turin, Genoa–with ahs! and ohs! of regretful reminiscence between each. I then went to Mudie's, and took a three months' subscription for F—, sending her down "Charles Kingsley's Life and Letters," and Captain Burnaby's "Ride Across Asia Minor." Of all the devices of our complex and complete civilization, I think this huge circulating library system one of the most convenient and agreeable; to be able for twenty-one shillings to have for a quarter of a year ten volumes of excellent literature for one's exclusive use, seems to me a real privilege, and capital return for one's money.

I am myself reading "Kingsley's Life and Letters," and wish regretfully that I had had the great good fortune of knowing him.

My lady amanuensis, who at one time was a member of the sisterhood at Clewer, has been spending part of her summer there again, and returns to me with a new semi (if semi) Catholic badge round her neck–a blue ribbon with a St. Andrew's cross suspended to it–the insignia of a new sisterhood, whose special raison d'etre (as far as she would make it known to me) was that its members were to be kind to one another.

Is it not queer that people should find it necessary to band themselves together and tie themselves up like parcels, with blue ribbon, and hang themselves with crosses and badges and pledges, for the fulfillment of the first obvious duty of simple Christianity? But this sort of thing has a wonderful attraction for numbers of people, especially women, and the women Catholics know perfectly well what they are about.

Your letters, my dearest H— (since you had preserved those I wrote to you for so many years), would infallibly, if not destroyed en masse, have been published somehow, at some time or other, by somebody. It is the one reflection that at all reconciles me to having published them myself in your and my own lifetime. All the portions that it was most desirable to save from publicity have at any rate by this means been destroyed by myself, and I am still working at this task, which I hope not to leave to anybody else's discretion or judgment after my death.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I had thought of offering my book to Murray, but Mr. Bentley, without any application on my part to him, made me a very liberal offer.

I had a letter from F—, the day before yesterday, giving an account of the brilliant success of a fair or bazaar that has been got up to assist the funds for the Sunday schools of Leamington, which were in a most neglected state, and moreover burdened with debt and insufficient and disgraceful, like everything else connected with the parish under the shameful reign of the late very good-for-nothing incumbent. They were anxious to raise two hundred pounds, and the result of the bazaar, thanks to Mr. L—'s zeal and great personal popularity, was six hundred. . . .

I give up my house on the 24th of April, but shall leave it on or about the 15th, to go down to Stratford, where I shall stay at the little country inn till the 1st of June, when, if all things are prosperous at the Manor House, I hope to go abroad for my three months to Switzerland.

When I return, I shall endeavor to find an apartment or lodging in London, as the constant small cares, troubles, and worries of housekeeping are irksome to me. It is almost time for me to get ready for church. I have the advantage of hearing most admirable preaching from a son of my old friend, Sir Henry Holland, who officiates at old Quebec Street Chapel, close in this neighborhood.

May Gordon and her husband dined with me yesterday, and went with me to the play. . . . Good-bye, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,


15 CONNAUGHT SQUARE, Sunday, 17th.


I have just come back, that is, yesterday, from a three-days' visit to Hampton Court, to my friend Lady —, who absents herself from her royal residence, which she finds intolerably dull, as much as she possibly can; but when she has exhausted all her foreign resources, and is obliged to return home, she cries aloud to all her friends to help her along with her existence. And I, when I can, am glad to go to her for a day or two, for "auld lang syne," and also because, no not because at all, but also I think Hampton Court beautiful, and am always glad to see the grand old palace and the lovely, lordly, courtly, old-fashioned gardens, which are now charming with golden fringes of crocuses and silver heaps of blooming laurestinus. I have always the ill luck to find Lady M. B— absent. How I should rejoice in such a residence as my friend Lady —'s! . . .

The weather has become suddenly bitterly cold, and we are paying severely for the extraordinary mild weather we have had hitherto. . . .

I am beginning my preparations for leaving this house. . . . Good-bye, my dearest H—. God bless you.

Ever, as ever, yours,


15 CONNAUGHT SQUARE, Tuesday, 19th.


I wrote to you to tell you of Fanny Cobbe having succeeded in letting both their town house and their Welsh cottage. She came here yesterday and said that she was very glad that they had done so, though she regretted leaving her house in Cheyne Walk, and I am sure she will regret more and more leaving London. . . . She certainly is eminently social in her tastes and tendencies. In the midst of all the confusion and worry and disorder of her affairs, preparing to leave her house, etc., etc., she invites people to tea-parties, and luncheon-parties, and goes out to dinner-parties. I have now lived so long, not only out of the London world, but out of every world in the world, that this desire and capacity for society perfectly amazes me. I go to a concert occasionally with a friend, and when it is over I go to bed thoroughly tired at eleven o'clock, when my friend has her hair powdered and pomatumed, dresses herself afresh, and goes off to a fancy ball, and my friend is sixty-five years old! I mentioned this incidentally to another friend, who is eighty years old, and she tells me that she was at that very same fancy ball; and I had a headache the next morning with only two hours of the gas and bad air of the concert room and nervous excitement of the music!

God bless you, dear. I am much occupied in trying to find a nurse for F—, to succeed her monthly nurse after her confinement.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I am in the midst of much business and confusion of mind, providing for everything, as well as I can remember to do so, connected with giving up this house.

It has been taken by a Mrs. E—, a widow lady with sons, who are to go to the London University. She is a kinswoman of my old friendly acquaintance Sotheby, the poet, who was a great friend of Emily Fitz Hugh's, and whom Byron used impertinently to call Botherby.

It is odd in what curious small details family likeness reveals itself. This Mrs. E—'s brother, Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Sotheby, wrote to me about the house, and his signature was exactly like old Sotheby's :writing, from whom I had sundry notes and letters, fifty years ago, about a play he had written called "Darnley," in which he wanted me to act Mary Stuart, which I declined, on the score of personal plainness, which I conceived unfitted me for the part, though Mademoiselle Duchesnois, the ugliest woman in all France, was supposed to represent the beautiful Scotch Queen to perfection. . . .

I am going down to F— on the 13th, to-morrow week, to stay with her till the 25th, after which I shall take up my abode at the little inn at Stratford-on-Avon, where I cannot be received sooner, because, on the 24th, Shakespeare's birth and death day, every inn in the town is always crammed with visitors, who assemble to do honor for that occasion, by eating, drinking and speech making.

God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,



You ought to be crowned with roses and lie on or in a bed of mignonette, which would not be comfortable. However, your friends do well, and their bounden duty, to succor you with flowers. To me they are always like good angels; may they be so to you.

Your friend–no! –Lady C— is spouting and declaiming about the London gay world, like an actress in want of a situation, and a fine lady out of place. Good-bye, dear.

Affectionately yours,

F. A. K.



I had a letter yesterday from my sister. They are settled in Rome, but by no means comfortably; for, out of a charitable desire to serve her old friend Mario, she has taken his apartment, which is in the Corso, instead of one of the higher and sunnier situations. It is dark, and small, and inconvenient; and she is suffering much from cold in it. Mario, who lives in the same house, is constantly with them, and by all accounts his principal contribution to the general conversation is a set of stories, more improper and indecent, the one than the other. Fortunately, young Mrs. Algernon does not understand Italian, and I presume these anecdotes are not translated for her benefit. I have not much sympathy for Mario's ruin. A man who stood for years literally in a. shower of gold has no right, in my opinion, to be much pitied for not having saved at least enough for a subsistence in his old age.

One thing I do pity him for, with all my heart, and was much shocked to hear it, that he has become blind. Moreover, his unmarried daughter is not comfortable to him; for these afflictions in his impoverished old age I have indeed infinite compassion. . . .

I went to the play with F— yesterday evening.

I have finished my Memoirs, I am thankful to say. It was a very great relief to me to come to the end of them, and throw into the fire the last of my letters to you, detailing all the misery and anguish of that whole year. It is all done, I am thankful to say, and I have kept nothing of the record of my unhappy life but what I trust can give pain to nobody.

Our weather here is almost warm, and very wet, muddy, and disagreeable. God bless you, dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I think you may like to hear of a visit I had from Fanny Cobbe on Sunday, because, though she was coughing very much, and did not look well, she was able to be out; and how full of active benevolent energy you may judge from this note I have just received from her. The Bill she refers to is one she wants to bring into Parliament for preventing or punishing men's cruelty to those animals, their wives.

"I did get a capital half hour with Lord Coleridge, and obtained his full approval of my Bill, and most useful advice about it and on the whole subject. Then I went off to the M. P. who is getting up our deputation, and settled a great deal of business with him, and other business with his wife about amalgamating two women's suffrage societies; so, altogether, I broke the Sabbath in a frightful manner."

Now you see, H—, this sort of perpetual movement and interest seems to me absolutely indispensable to Fanny Cobbe's existence; and I really do not think she could endure a life in Wales, or indeed anywhere but in the midst of all this excitement and occupation to which she is now accustomed. It made me sad to hear of her squabbles and struggles and contentions with American booksellers; and altogether I feel sorry for the constant effort which she seems to me to be making.

Ever, as ever, yours,




Fanny Cobbe and Miss Lloyd were to have dined and gone to the play with me this evening, but the day before yesterday Fanny came here to cancel the engagement, poor Mary having been seized with an acute attack of lumbago, which obliged her to keep her bed. Yesterday morning I went down to Chelsea to see them. Mary was still confined to her bed, and Fanny busy writing for dear life. . . .

From there I went on to Carlyle, who lives in their neighborhood, and who is now considerably over eighty years old, and has lately been ill. He is pleased to be visited by his friends and acquaintances, and I sat with him an hour, and sang him the Scotch ballad of Lizzie Lindsay. He was very eloquent, and very severe in his denunciations of our present government, and far from cheerful in his prognostications of the future of England.

When I came home, I had a visit from one of Mr. Mitchell's, of Bond Street, clerks upon a very sad errand, to collect subscriptions for my poor old caretaker, Mitchell's most trusted traveling agent, Mr. Chapman, whom you may perhaps remember, whom Mitchell used to send everywhere with me to take charge of the business arrangements of my readings. He has become helpless and speechless from paralysis, and I was requested to give something towards his assistance. This is sad enough. He was an extremely intelligent man, and most considerate and courteous in his attendance upon and attention to me; and he went up and down throught the whole breadth and length of Great Britain, managing the business of my reading for several years. . . .

I am expecting F— and her husband and baby on Monday, with three servants, so that I shall have a house full. God bless you, dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have just returned from Hampton Court, where I have been spending a couple of days with my old friend, Lady —, who at seventy-six is as upright as a Maypole, walks and trots about with the lightness and activity of seventeen, is neither deaf nor blind, works crochet work without spectacles, dresses in the height of the fashion, with blonde caps and wreaths of artificial flowers, is pepetually running about from one pleasant country house to another, has a charming, comfortable, commodious and elegant apartment in Hampton Court Palace, and incessantly deplores her condition and position, and the intolerable dullness of her life, so that in many respects she is a subject of regretful astonishment to me, that so many good fortunes should result in so little satisfaction. She is a good and rational woman too in a great many respects, a lady of the old school in her ideas, feelings, and manners, and I have a regard for her that dates back almost to my girlhood, and so, when she implores me to come and relieve her lonely dullness with my society, I am very glad to do so, though I can hardly forbear from that unwise and often very unjust feeling, that if one was in one's neighbor's place, one would value their blessings more than they appear to do. Certainly her early life in the house of her very distinguished father, and in the midst of the society which frequented it, was not a good preparation for a secluded and solitary old age.

Your sleeplessness, my dearest H—, seems to me a thing to be much regretted, as several discreet naps, even in the day, would I think, give you a sense of rest and relief; and, since you do not sleep at night, would not injure you in that respect. As for me, I never take up a book at any hour of the day, even for a quarter of an hour, without nodding over it. Of course this sort of doze is not a prolonged slumber, but it is the invariable effect of any attempt at reading, so that I really get exceedingly little profit from my literary studies, be they what they may, in spite of which tendency to somnolence, I am contriving between my naps and while my maid is brushing my hair, to read the "Life and Letters of Charles Kingsley," with which I am profoundly interested and touched. What a spring of vitality is such a life as that! and to how many more than he could himself know in this world he must have imparted saving influence for good, to last and spread from soul to soul beyond possible reckoning. It seems to me that some perception of the spiritual good they have accomplished in their lives here must be among the future rewards of such servants of God hereafter.

I began this letter yesterday, immediately on my return from Hampton Court, and in the afternoon was interrupted by a visit from my old and intimate friendly acquaintance, Mrs. Procter, who is another wonderful woman, close upon eighty, full of life and spirit and animation, and still, as she always was, a most amusing, sparkling, and delightful talker.

Our weather is just now very deplorable, and I am afraid will cause widespread disease as well as distress in all the flat and low parts of the country, which are becoming flooded. Good-bye, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,



Thank you, dear E—, for the kind pains you have taken for me about F—'s poplin. My experience of orders given to London shopkeepers of the present day is all of the same description as this result of dealing with Dublin ones; they either take or fulfill the directions with such careless indifference, that the consequence of the most painstaking effort in giving them is failure, that would be ludicrous if it was not so very provoking. I am very sorry for the trouble you have had, and even more obliged than if you had succeeded, because I know you must have been annoyed at not doing so.

Your affectionate,

F. A. K.


It is pouring with rain, and the sky is the color of pea soup (yellow pea soup, not green), and the streets are thick with mud and London looks its very beastliest. Natheless, I am going to drive down to the middle of Kensington to try and find my sister, whose hours and mine agree so ill, that she will probably leave London for Italy without our having met half-a-dozen times. I am always at home at certain hours, and she has found me twice; but she is never to be found, even when at some inconvenience I go down to her at the hours she herself appoints, and neither is May Gordon, who has taken a house close to her mother in Kensington, and at whose door I leave fruitless cards, merely to show that I have been to see her.

After that visit in Kensington, I must drive through four miles of this huge town to pay another visit to the second daughter of my friend Theodore Sedgwick, who is about to settle in England, marrying Mr. William Darwin, son of the eminent naturalist, who is a banker in Southampton and lives a few miles out of that dear old pleasant town.

Yesterday evening I had a great pleasure. I went to Exeter Hall with my friend Miss Thackeray, to hear Mendelssohn's Oratorio of St. Paul; all the fine music was given very finely, and that of Paul himself was admirably sung by my nephew-in-law, Charles Santley, who has a noble voice and is a first-rate artist.

At the same time that I have extreme pleasure in hearing these beautiful sacred compositions, I never can become reconciled to listening to the most solemn thoughts and holy words and awful incidents of the New Testament history set to music and sung. Thus our Saviour's call to Saul, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" and His awful answer to Saul's question; "Who are Thou, Lord?" and Paul's own most solemn words, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of the living God?" shock me with a feeling of adsolute desecration, when I hear them sung instead of spoken; and of couse this interferes greatly with my pleasure in listening to such a performance as that of St. Paul. . . .

Friday, Fanny Cobbe dines with me. I have been out of town and so has she; and I have seen nothing of her since the day she lunched here, more than a month ago. Good-bye, my dearest H—; God bless you.

Ever, as ever yours,




I have just received a note from my old friend Mrs. Procter, whom I dare say you remember, which has really filled me with astonishment. She is close upon eighty years old, and from her home in Queen Anne's Mansion, near Westminster Abbey, she walked to my lodging in Portman Street, to call upon me three days ago, I really was amazed at such a vigorous proceeding in a person of her age, for the distance must be over two miles, and I could no more walk than I could fly it. Very unfortunately, too, I was out, and missed her, which was very hard, when so old a woman had made such an effort to see me. . . .

I went at extreme inconvenience to myself but at her own special desire, to hear Fanny Cobbe speak at her anti-vivisection meeting, and was very much pleased, both with what she said, and how she said it. It was a thoroughly womanly speech, putting the whole question upon moral grounds, and appealing to the sense of humanity in the hearts of those who heard her. I was delighted with her moderation, both in what she said and what she forebore to say. I think her speech was calculated both to touch and convince people. The meeting was quite a large one, and I do not think the dying away of the public interest in the question need be apprehended. . . .

As for forming any idea when I may set out for Switzerland, that indeed I cannot. I often think I should give it up altogether, I feel so worried and uncertain about the propriety and safety of leaving my young servant-women alone in this house in London for three months;. . . and I am miserable with an un-made-up mind. I gave up my evening dictation of my Memoirs while F— was with me, of course, and have hitherto been too busy to resume it, but expect to do so next week, as I am extremely anxious to get it finished.

The weather here is really quite too disgraceful–incessant east wind or bitter cold, with which one is literally parched.

Oh, my dearest H—, it makes me smile, a sorrowful smile enough, to think of my taking any part in what you call the social dissipations of the London season. People are very kind in coming to see me, and asking me to their houses; but I have and always had an absolute distaste for and shrinking from society, and have refused every invitation I have received, among others, one to meet the Princess Louise at dinner, which made me wonder very much whether that royal lady chose her own company or whether it was chosen for her, in which case, in my case, I should say it was ill chosen.

I see a great deal of my nephew Harry, and am growing very fond of him. Adelaide is expected back on the tenth of this month, but if I were she, I'd stay where I was.

Fanny Cobbe and Mary Lloyd are coming to lunch with me on Monday; it is the only way of seeing anything of them. Good-bye, dearest H—.

I am ever, as ever, yours,


15 CONNAUGHT SQUARE, April 28, 1877.


You must be thinking me dead and buried in my new house, that it is now so long since I have given you any sign of life; but F— has only this moment left me after being here since last Thursday. I was very glad to have her; the sight of her was a pleasure and a comfort to me, and her spirits are bright and buoyant, and she cheered me very much, though she could not help me much in my difficulties, which have been manifold and are not yet over, I am sorry to say, by any means.

I was informed by my landlady's agent that I was expected to take possession of the house last Wednesday. I came accordingly, was shown into a room in good order, and, supposing the rest of the house to be in a state of readiness for my reception, I paid my rent and signed my agreement; and, having done so, had the pleasure of discovering that the stair carpet was not down, that one of the rooms, which was to be thoroughly cleaned, recarpeted, and refurnished, had not been touched, and that the inventory had never been delivered to my agent. Having signed my year's lease, and paid my first quarter's rent, I had, of course, no redress and so here I am. The stair carpet has made its appearance reluctantly, bit by bit, the untouched bedroom remains sacredly untouched, and the inventory cannot be obtained by any means under heaven. I have told all this to Mr. Ellis, who says there is undoubtedly a remedy for these matters, but that it will be worse than the disease, i.e., going to law; and I need not assure you that remedy does not enter into my contemplation for a moment. I took the house, such as it is (and it is a sufficiently nice and convenient one in several respects), with a view to being able to have Mr. L— and F— with me whenever they wish to come to town. I took it now, instead of at the end of my summer abroad, because their unsettled condition made it desirable that I should be able to offer them that accommodation at once, and it has been a great satisfaction to have F— avail herself of it, as she has done for the last few days, though of course, having no cook yet and no housemaid, my material embarrassments have been rather increased, not so much really at all by her being with me, as by the vexation and annoyance of feeling that the house was upside down, and that I could not make her decently comfortable. However, as I said before, she is very bright and cheerful, and it was an immense comfort to me to have her.

She, poor thing, has been overwhelmed with commissions for things to get and send to America. Umbrellas, parasols, shoes, stockings, body-linen, and all with such minute and inconceivably particular directions as to shades and shapes and materials, that poor F— has been half distracted, and exhausted herself in fruitless endeavors to obtain the identical things sent for. With all this, visits to receive and return, yesterday was a real rush from one thing to another. In the morning to the co-operative store for shopping, in the afternoon to the opening of a new picture gallery, the Grosvenor, in Bond Street, an enthusiastic artistic enterprise for the relief of painters, whose feelings have been wounded by the Academy, and opened by Sir Coutts Lindsay, where I really did not know which to admire most–the beauty of the women, their wild extravagant dresses (I mean the live women), who exhibited themselves, or the fantastic affectation and at the same time great cleverness of the pictures exhibited.

In the evening we were to have gone to the theatre, but were both of us too dead beat for that effort at amusement, and staid at home. To-day my nerves are all shattered and shaken, and since F— went away, I have spent my time in alternate crying and sleeping, a despicable condition of mind and body, out of which, I trust, I shall emerge by degrees. God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have just come up from Windsor, where I have been spending a few days with our old and attached friend Miss Thackeray. My cousin Cecilia Faulder, of whom I am very fond, spent the day with us, while I was there, and came back to town with me this afternoon. I found a pile of letters waiting for me, and among them one from Fanny Cobbe, saying she should be in town next Wednesday for some days, and hope to see me. I, however, leave London again on Friday, the 26th, so that Thursday will be the only day on which I should have a chance of seeing her.

Mrs. Lloyd does not come up with her, being detained in Wales by the serious illness of her sister.

My F— writes me that the late gale has blown down a fine chestnut tree in their grounds, and torn up by the roots quite a number of the splendid trees in Stoneleigh Park, which is a dreadful pity.

We had very fine weather while I was at Windsor. On Wednesday we were out rowing on the Thames for a couple of hours, and it was really quite delightful.

I drove over from old Windsor on Wednesday afternoon, all through that splendid and lovely Windsor Park, to the opposite side of it, near Staines, where my friends, the Grays, live, and was much shocked to find Sir Frederic confined to his sofa. . . .

I had a visit just after I reached home from my dear old friend, Mr. Donne. . . . His son, who married my brother's daughter Mildred, and was left a widower by her death, has just married again, and my dear William Donne seemed pleased with the marriage, and with his son's new wife, and I hope his poor little children by Mildred will fare the better, and not the worse, for having some one in their mother's vacant place to take some care of them.

Good night, dearest H—; I have many letters to write, and must make up for lost time.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I am having rather a hard week, which began on Sunday by a sharp attack of indisposition, . . . which obliged me to take to my bed and send for a doctor. . . . This has not only deprived me of several pleasures that I had anticipated–my Monday evening concert, to hear Joachim play on the violin, the private view of Leighton's pictures, to which he had kindly invited me, and a visit that Mrs. Tom Taylor and her sisters were to have paid me,–but by losing the beginning of the week, these last days have, of course, had more than enough to do crammed into them, and I am very busy, and a good deal tired and worried and confused, my attack having shaken me, and made me very nervous.

Ever, as ever, yours,




It is just eleven o'clock, and I am writing to you by gaslight. The atmosphere without is literally black with one of our London fogs, and I am obliged to give up my purpose of driving to return some visits I owe, for not only is the outer air unfit to breathe, but I should think the extreme thick darkness must make going about in a carriage really dangerous.

I want very much to go and see Fanny Cobbe, who is suffering from a bad attack of bronchitis, to which this terribly choking atmosphere must be most pernicious. She wrote to me a few days ago, telling me not to come to her, as she could not speak at all.

I am happy to say Mary Lloyd, who has remained in Wales until quite lately, is now with her. I do not think she, Miss Lloyd, will rejoice much in London, which she always detests. My nephew Harry Kemble is to dine with me to-day, and was to have taken me to a new piece, in which he is interested, because it is given at the Prince of Wales's Theatre, to which he belongs; but unless the fog disperses I do not think it will be possible for us to go.

I have not seen a newspaper this morning or heard a word of what was done in Parliament yesterday; but I have no idea that we shall go to war for the Turks, even to spite the Russians. I sincerely hope the time has come for Mahomed to evacuate Europe? I should like the Greeks to have Constantinople, and that it should become Byzantium again; but my politics, you know, are very womanly and sentimental. God bless you, dear H—

Ever, as ever, yours,




I am out of my well-detested London, and to-day, when the sun shines, the sky is heavenly, purely clear, and the earth fresh as the garden of Eden after the late rain. It seemed to me an exquisite enjoyment merely to walk round and round the gravel walk that surrounds the acre and a half of lawn and wintry flower-beds that constitute the pleasure-ground of this small domain.

The climate here must always be very mild, for there are two fine magnolias growing against the house. The yellow Mezéreum is in full blossom, and a long low bed of violets sent forth a delicious breath of fragrance as I passed to and fro beside it. I do not know whether you retain any recollection of having seen or heard of my hostess, a Mrs. R—d G—e, who was a Miss S— T—, and who has made herself conspicuous in London society by her passion for reciting poetry. She is an actress manquée. Her social position and connections would have made her going on the stage quite inexpedient, but I think she has hankered after it all her life, and has consoled her defeated aspirations by reciting and declaiming whenever and wherever she could. She is rather ambitious in her attempts, and not long ago, for a charity, an entertainment, part musical, part declamatory, being given in London, she undertook to recite Queen Constance! and earnestly begged me to go and hear her, which I did. She has a good deal of dramatic feeling, and is not without dramatic talent, but she has an inexpressive face, and a bad voice, in spite of which she makes certain recitations of some of Tennyson's poems very effective.

You know this semi-theatrical passion is not a thing for which I have much sympathy, but Mrs. G—e fancies that she has an enthusiastic affection for me (I am bound to say she has fancied it now for a good many years), and is always imploring me to come and see her, and though I do not profess an enthusiastic affection for her, I do not like to refuse pertinaciously to come and see her, having no better reason to give for my refusal than that I do not particularly wish to do so. Her mother, a most beautiful old lady of seventy, who is neither dramatic nor theatrical, but a very devout and rather peculiar religionist, is much more to my taste. Her spirit is ever so much better than her opinions, and her soul than her mind; and she talks her religion to me to try and convert me, and makes my blood run cold with her appeals to ideas and beliefs and symbols and sacred things wholly alike to both of us, only in so different way, I like her and her exaltation, better than her daughter and her recitation.

My coming here was an effort to me, and I shall be glad to go back to town to-morrow, though I have had a walk this morning, every minute of which was a hymn of praise in my grateful enjoyment of it.

F— and her baby come to me next week, to my great delight.

I have met here the editor of the Nineteenth Century, the last new periodical, a remarkable publication for its ability and its illustration of the intellectual temper of the times. God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,




Talking to Mr. L— about the strange disappearance of poor Louisa's husband, he asked me if it was likely that the man was out of work, and dispirited, as he knew of many instances in which, under those circumstances, workmen left their wives, some only temporarily, some taking themselves off to America or the colonies. Had Louisa a child? A great many women who have left service to marry, are compelled to return to it again, being deserted by their husbands.

Mr. L— told me a very strange story of that kind the other day. A poor young woman came to him to beg him to find her husband for her. She was the daughter of tolerably well-to-do farming people, and was in service in London, where she married a milkman. The man was intelligent and ambitious, and got her parents to advance him money to educate himself; went to King's College, in London, completed the necessary course of studies, took orders, and was ordained by the Bishop of London, and got appointed to some position in a church at Wigan. Soon after this he separated himself from his wife upon the pretext that she was too ignorant and uncultivated to be a proper companion for him in his altered circumstances. The poor woman acquiesced in this sentence, and he agreed if she left him to give her a certain sum annually for her maintenance. This, however, he had left off doing, and she remained quite destitute. On seeking him at Wigan she found he had left that place, and gone to a curacy elsewhere. With infinite searchings and trouble, Mr. L— at length found the gentleman filling a clerical position not far from Stratford, Mr. L— himself having had some slight personal knowledge of him, though not of his circumstances. Is not that a curious story, and like a thing in a novel?



I was sure, if you had any recollection of my dear and faithful servant Ellen, that you would be glad to hear of her safety, and the birth of her child. . . ,

I cannot remain with any great comfort or pleasure in the Swiss mountains (I do not haunt the towns and fashionable lake shores' hotels) after September, and think of going for the month of October to the Lago Maggiore, where I shall be able to pay Ellen a visit in her own home, which lies in the Varese Highland, half way between the Lake of Como, and the Lago Maggiore.

F— and her little girl continue to thrive in this hilly region, and I hope to find myself the better for it, after I have left it, as one often does with mountains and seaside and watering-places, and as I undoubtedly did last year for the Engadine, after I had left it. At present either the air itself or the water (the qualities of both elements have strong peculiarities here) affect my skin and my eyes uncomfortably, and F— complains of a similar affection in her eyes here, from which she was certainly free for two days lately, when she went down to Leamington to see the American bishops, whom her husband had invited to come there, one of whom, the Bishop of Louisiana, was an old friend of hers, having been for many years clergyman of a church in Philadelphia that she used to attend. He is an excellent old gentleman, whom she was very glad to see again.

Mr. L— has been very busy organizing and opening a workmen's club and coffee-house, one of those excellent enterprises by which it is hoped something may be done to diminish the attraction of the vile gin palaces and public houses, and counteract the habits of drinking of the poor working men. At present it is promising to be very successful, and my dear son-in-law may, I think, congratulate himself on having done a worthy work among his parishioners. They have just made him rural dean, which adds responsibility and labor to that of his position as vicar, but does not increase his emoluments, which I regret, as the living of Leamington is not a very good one, and he has no vicarage house, and is obliged to keep two curates.

God bless you, my dearest H—. I was delighted to get your few words of dictation.

Ever, as ever, yours,



My life here at Malvern is very quiet and pleasant, and no doubt salubrious for soul and body. On Sunday a very dear American friend of mine, sister to one of the bishops who have come over from the United States to attend the Episcopal Council, turned aside from her way from Liverpool to London to spend a day with me here. She and her daughter are among my most intimate and oldest Boston friends. The mother I knew before either she or I were married. They had seen S— just before they sailed for Europe, and so brought me the latest personal tidings of my child. To-day they have gone on their way to London,

Yesterday afternoon Mr. L— arrived from Leamington, bringing with him F—'s pony-carriage and pony, little Alice's donkey and Spanish saddle, and a beautiful dog of his, who is a great favorite with us all, all which articles will be additions to the comfort and pleasure of F— and their child's summer residence here.

I crawl up and down the hilly roads in the morning, enjoying the fine air and beautiful views, and in the afternoon inhale the one and contemplate the other from my sitting-room window, which is admirably situated for both purposes. Of course I regret my beloved Alps, but am nevertheless quite alive to all the loveliness, and healthiness, and peace, and quiet, and comfort of this place, and am abundantly thankful for it all.

I see F— and my little Alice every day, and hope they will both benefit by this place as much as they seem to enjoy it.

We had some fearful hot weather when first I came up here, but since that the climate has reverted to its usual agreeable temperature at midsummer, i.e., that of a mild winter, which I, who do not like heat, find very pleasant. God bless you, dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours.




Please give my dear love to my dear H—, and tell her we have been much cheered, since the death of Alice's deeply lamented donkey, by sundry small festivities, in which she has participated.

Three days ago Mr. L— brought up all his little choir boys, twenty of them, from Leamington, to spend the day on the Worcestershire Beacon, the high grassy hill that rises behind this house. They had an excellent dinner at this house, and spent the whole afternoon running about the grassy slopes. Mr. L— walked up, and F— went up on a pony, and Alice and a little American girl, a friend of hers, on donkeys; and they had a most delightful time, running races for halfpence, jumping over pocket-handkerchiefs, in all which the "Vicar" joined, to the great ecstasy of all the children. Yesterday there was a school-feast and distribution of prizes for the village children here, to which little Alice and her American friend went, and the child was in a perfect frenzy of delight at the cheering with which the school children wound up their feast in honor of their clergyman and teachers, insomuch that after Alice was put to bed, and had gone, as was supposed, to sleep, her mother, who was in the room beneath her, heard her calling, as she thought, and running up to see what she wanted, the little thing said, half asleep, "No, mamma, I did not call, but I was saying, 'Hip, hip, hip, hurrah!'" Wasn't that funny and pretty? Good-bye, my dearest, dearest H—.

I am ever, as ever, yours,



Thank you, my dear E—, for your account of Mr. Thompson's adventures. I agree with you in thinking his long endurance of his perilous position singular, to say the least of it. Perhaps his further account of the circumstances will make it less extraordinary. It is frightfully dangerous for people to go straying about in those Alpine precipices without guides.

I remember an account of a gentleman and his wife who got into a mal passe on the Kirchet, from which he, being an experienced mountaineer, was able to effect their escape, but only by leading his wife with her eyes shut, lest her fear at the danger of their position should paralyze her.

Though I do not read any newspapers, I did know of the various items of public news which you are good enough to give me. I wish Sir Garnet Woolsey would black his face, now that he is "Governor of Cyprus." Is he married? and is his wife's name anything like Desdemona? It would seem more Othello like and natural if it was.

Surely no "curiosity of literature" of the elder Disraeli was ever half so curious as his son's career. By the by, do you know why Jacob was commanded to take the name of Israel?–because it would never do to have had the whole chosen nation called Jacobites. If that jest appears to you in any degree irreverent or unseemly–I beg to inform you that it is a quotation from an eighteenth-century sermon.

I wonder if my dear H— retains any recollection of my excellent and devoted maid Ellen. You, I have no doubt, remember her. To my great joy, I had a letter yesterday from her worthy husband Luigi, informing me of her safe delivery of a boy baby, a circumstance of great rejoicing to me, as I was very anxious about her. . . . Luigi's Italian paraphrases are very droll, "Il mio figlio, venne a la luce!" Imagine an English butler or footman telling you at what hour his son first "saw the light"!

We have had rain and storms at last, and the great heat is somewhat moderated, for which I am very thankful. Our accounts of the heat in America are terrible. God bless you, my dearest H—.

I am ever, as ever, your




I am detained here, very bitterly against my will, by the non-arrival of my luggage, which is supposed to be reposing in the Cologne custom house. Harry Kemble got me my tickets, and had my luggage registered for me to this place, Stuttgart, without, however, being aware that it would have to be examined at Cologne, so on I came, nothing doubting, and here, where I expected to embrace my trunks, am told they are waiting, poor things, to be rummaged at Cologne. This is very vexatious, as I am eager to get to my mountains, and have no particular liking for Stuttgart, which is a funny little German imitation of Versailles, a huge palace with a tiny town tied to its tail. There are, however, very pretty gardens and park, and these are rather a comfort, especially as, in addition to the detention for my luggage, a mistake was made about the hotel to which I was taken, and I spent Saturday and yesterday in a second-class German hotel, where people smoked in the eating-room, where none of the modern decencies of life were known, and which was on the noisiest street of the town, immediately opposite the railroad station, so that the racket was incessant and intolerable. This morning I have changed my residence to a better hotel, and a less noisy neighborhood, and am preparing my mind to wait with patience for the clothes of my body. I suppose such pieces of carelessness or ill fortune are not infrequent with travelers, as all the hotel people and railroad officials seem to take our case very much more philosophically than we do ourselves. We were assured that, by sending a telegram to Cologne, the things would certainly be forwarded here by yesterday evening. They did not make their appearance, then, however, and we were comfortably assured that they would come to-night. I do not, however, much expect to see them, as I was also informed by one of the clerks that I might be thankful if they arrived to-morrow, and so I will; in short, when I see them, I shall leave off expecting them. My poor maid-servants are worse off than I am myself; for I had a few changes of linen with me, while they literally have nothing but what they stand in. On the other hand, the novelty of the place, the pretty Versailles like gardens, the fountains and statues, etc., divert and console them more than they do me.

This place has only one valuable association for me. Close to it, at the other end of the park, is Koenigstadt, a charming village often resorted to by Dr. Norman Macleod, when as a youth he studied at Stuttgart. He speaks of it more than once in his letters and memoirs, and as his life, which I have been reading lately, has impressed and exhorted me more than any book I have read for a long time, I was glad to make a pilgrimage thither for his sake, and that of my friend Thackeray, with whom it was also much-frequented ground.

Good-bye, dear. I wrote to you yesterday, but as there will be many days when I shall not be able to do so, I write again to-day. When I begin climbing the mountains, my writing and sending letters will be a little less frequent. God bless you.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I found your letters, among others, waiting for me here on my arrival yesterday, but I had had a carriage journey of eight hours, in great heat, and was too tired to write to anybody but —, from whom I also found a letter. I was grieved to hear how ill you had been, my dearest H—, and shall be most anxious to know of your entire recovery, and how you are able to tolerate a new person attending upon you, . . . to serve a person well and conscientiously seems to me almost as certain to make one love them, as to be so served naturally would, especially when the assistance rendered is personal, and such as you, my dearest H—, require.

I can give you a very good account of myself thus far; the distressing nervous symptoms, the constant tendency to hysterical crying, and the intolerable trembling feeling of apprehension, as of some impending catastrophe, have entirely left me, and I have had no unpleasant sensations except those consequent upon a slight sunstroke, which both Ellen and I experienced after a long drive under a broiling sun, in an open carriage up the Finstermunz; nausea, and such dizziness as absolutely to stagger about at the end of a long day's journey, in which we had suffered extremely from the heat, and eaten scarcely anything. It was a mere effect of exhaustion and fatigue, by which I was never so affected before in traveling,–to be sure, I never was sixty-eight years old before in traveling.

I have now gone over the only one of the great Alpine passes with which I was hitherto unacquainted, the Stelvio, and am inclined to think that it is the grandest of them all. The summit is nine thousand feet above the sea, and the ascent on the Swiss side beautiful as well as sublime in the highest degree. Strangely enough, on the Swiss side, splendid forests of large trees, and the innumerable variety of lovely mountain Swiss wild flowers accompanied us almost up to the very top, while on the Italian side great fields of snow extended far down the grizzly chasms and abysses, and snow was falling as we came down. Certainly the bare horror of that precipitous descent was anything but Italian.

The summer has been rainy hitherto, I am told, and perhaps it is one of those rainy seasons, two of which are said, by observers of such phenomena, to alternate in Switzerland with every third and dry season.

The place from which I now write to you is on the edge of a small mountain lake in a valley at the foot of the Bernina Pass in the Engadine. The lake has undoubtedly been a volcano; it has the unmistakable features of an extinct crater, and the place moreover is celebrated for its hot sulphur baths, which are another indication of the former volcanic condition of the neighborhood. I expect to rest here for a week.

I have left myself but little room, dearest H—, to tell you of the new prospect which is just opened to the L—s. The vicar of Leamington, an old and sickly man, is recently dead, and his living has been offered to Mr. L—. In many respects it seems to me an advantageous and desirable thing for him, but poor F—, who has just settled herself in her new home at Stratford-on-Avon, and is enchanted with it, is in despair at the idea of having immediately to give it up, and go and live in Leamington, which she dislikes. "Will fortune never come with both hands full?" Certainly it seems to me a piece of unusual good luck, attended by sharp disappointment. I wish F— could think less of the latter than she does.

God bless you, my dearest H—. Good-bye; you shall hear from me as soon as possible again.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have only just arrived at this place over the Bernina Pass, from Leprese, whence I last wrote to you. After my five days' consecutive traveling over the Foralberg, the Finstermunz, and the Stelvio passes, I was very glad of the quiet of the little Italian (for though in Switzerland its whole character is southern) watering-place by the side of an extinct volcano, now filled with a pretty lake abounding in trout, and with hot sulphur springs coming up on its shores to prove its former fiery character.

I wrote to you immediately on my arrival there. I hoped to have found some tidings of you here, but have not done so, and now I fear I must wait for my letters till I get to Samaden, which will not be for several days. My week at Leprese was not without some excitement, for we were in daily expectation of the arrival of Luigi to claim Ellen, . . . and I, starting at eight o'clock this morning to cross the Bernina, left them standing at the inn door, whence they were to go down to the Lake of Como in the afternoon. . . .

Our journey to-day was a very tedious one, for the Pass of the Bernina is not comparable to many that I have traversed. The weather was dreadful, pouring with rain all day, and the step by step crawl of five hours up a steep mountain pass, in torrents of rain, with snow lying over all the mountain tops, and turbid, furious torrents springing from every gap in them, and threatening at every moment to tear the road away under the horses' feet, is not cheerful.

This place, however, Pontressina, as far as I am able to see from the windows of my rooms, is really very beautiful, and deserves all the praises of its enthusiastic admirers.

I have a magnificent snow mountain and glacier immediately opposite to me here, and very noble ranges of Alpine peaks rising in every direction above the lower rocks and cliffs and pine-covered slopes of the valley.

If the weather would only clear a little, I am sure it would be splendidly beautiful, but the summer hitherto has been unusually wet and cold and I am sorry to say, after a few transient gleams of sunshine, the clouds have gathered all over the valley again.

Dearest H—, I am tired with my journey, but very fairly well; to-morrow, I have no doubt that I shall be quite "jolly." How are you, my dear! I am very anxious to hear that you have thrown off all remains of your late cold, and to know how Louisa's successor discharges her duties to you? God bless you, dear.

I am ever, as ever, yours,




Never come to Silvaplana, which is a charmingly pretty place in the Engadine, because it has a climate worse than anything I ever experienced anywhere of the worst kind of March weather. The roads are blinding white and deep with burning dust, the tops of all the mountains are blinding white and cold with never-melting snow, and a piercing wind blows through this narrow alpine corridor, which flays the skin off your face, at least whatever skin the sun does not broil off it at the same time.

Having said this, I will return to the more agreeable characteristics of the place. It is charmingly situated on two pretty little lakes, which just in front of the village are joined together by a channel not wider than the Liffey at Dublin. In short, they are like a pair of spectacles on a large scale, laid down in the middle of smooth green meadows of such grass as Switzerland only owns. The water is of a curiously beautiful green color, suggesting the idea that the lake bottoms are lined with copper. Pine and larch woods frame in these pretty mountain meres, and above them tower the crags, and cliffs, and rocks, and snow and glaciers, of the Engadine Alps; and if the sun did not fry, and the wind scorch, and the dust suffocate one, I think it might be a pleasant, as it undoubtedly is, a pretty place.

To-morrow I go back over the Juliar Pass to a place called Thusis, at the entrance of the Via Mala, at the northern foot of the Splügen Pass, and shall probably stay there a week, in the course of which I expect H— will join me, and I shall send MacFarland home to take care of my house till I return to London.

S— has made no mention whatever in her letters of the railroad strikes and riots in the United States, nor have any other of my American correspondents alluded to them.

As F— very much prefers her one year's residence at Stratford-on-Avon, in her picturesque manor house, to leaving it directly, I am of course very glad that the Bishop of Worcester allows her that indulgence. She does not fancy Leamington, which I regret, because Mr. L— has accepted that position, and it appears to me, in many respects, a fitting and appropriate one for him.

A poor gentleman, a certain archdeacon, arrived here a few days ago, to fill the English chaplaincy at this place for five weeks, and I really am concerned for the worthy gentleman, who yesterday read the prayers admirably, and preached an excellent sermon to his wife and two children, myself and my two servants–a large congregation, which will be half as large next Sunday, when I shall not be here. No English people ever stop here. It is only three miles from St. Moritz, and a few more from Pontressina, to which two places all English travelers in the Engadine betake themselves, and where there are already resident chaplains provided for them. I am really very sorry for the archdeacon. I have told you all my story, my dearest H—. I am well, though I have a slight touch of erysipelas in my face and neck, from the effect of the sun and wind. It causes me some annoyance, but does not signify much.

God bless you, my dearest friend; I am thankful that my letters have still the power to cheer and interest you.

Ever, as ever, yours,




My nephew joined me yesterday evening, a day sooner than expected, and as every place in this house, and indeed in the whole village, I believe, is crammed with travelers, he was obliged to put up with a shake down in the billiard-room for the night, for which he was not otherwise than thankful, not having stopped a night on his way from London here.

He is very glad to get rid of his theater work, which was beginning to be oppressively hot and trying, and to have a month's holiday of fresh air, and change of scene before he resumes it again. I am very glad to have him with me; he is very kind and affectionate to me. He is like his own father and my father, but likest of all to a water-color drawing I have of my uncle, Stephen Kemble. I remember, when he was a little child, his great resemblance to a portrait I had of Stephen Kemble's daughter, my cousin Mrs. Arkwright. Before leaving England, he had been staying several days at Warsash, and brought me a very good account of my sister and her family, who are all assembled there. . . .

By the by, I have just had an interview, in the garden of this place, with ex-president General Grant and his family. . . . . I heard they were expected to pass through this place, and having promised a poor man to do him a service, which I thought General Grant could help me to do, I went down to the garden where he was sitting smoking, . . .

I laid my case before him, that of a poor Swiss man, porter of one of the Engadine hotels, who had lived sixteen years in America, and served in the Northern Army, and been pensioned by the United States Government, having lost an eye in the war; but he could only draw his pension by the means of certain vouchers, which I thought General Grant could possibly give him. My application, however, proved fruitless, for the General was not going into the Engadine, but the other way, and so my poor Swiss man will not get his pension through that venture of mine.

It is Sunday, and I am going to church; not without some painful misgiving as to the amount of edification I am likely to derive from that ceremony. Anything more extraordinary than some of the so-called English church services I have attended since I have been in the Engadine cannot well be imagined. At one place the clergyman intoned the whole liturgy, at the top of his voice and the top of his speed, only varying this wonderful chant by dropping every three minutes into an inaudible whisper, from which he emerged like a subterranean river, and went on again at the top of his voice and the top of his speed. Another day, the officiating clergyman spent half his time kneeling, apparently in silent adoration, before a cross, which was in the middle of the communion table, with his back to the congregation; then intoned the Litany, at the end of which the service was understood to be over, and everybody departed. Many of the persons crossed themselves, with an inclination towards the communion table on entering the church. In short, anything less like the Protestant Church of England than all these performances cannot well be described.

You asked me if S—, in her last letter, had said anything about the trade riots in America, and I told you she had not; but F— in her last letter, and M. F— in hers, speak of them as having been very serious indeed, and having required the intervention of the armed force everywhere to put them down.

I am upon the whole rather glad than sorry that this question of the relations between labor and capital, the one vital material question of modern civilized society, should have come to a crucial debate and trial in America, where the whole matter will be reduced to its simplest fundamental elements, and no side issues and complications, such as would attend dealing with them in Europe, exist to obscure the understanding of the people or trammel legislative action upon the matter. Nowhere else are the circumstances equally favorable for arriving at a sound and permanent result with regard to the rights of employers and employed, and the two great forces, which in truth are but one, of modern commercial, industrial and financial civilized existence, capital and labor, and the settling once for all their respective claims and powers, as in America, where the conditions of society are most favorable for so doing, and will simplify the process, even for older countries and more complex communities, where the difficulties are greater and the elbow room for all experiments less. Now I must go to church.

God bless you, dearest H—. I leave this place on Tuesday, and shall probably not have time to write to you again before that.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I remember many years ago your telling me that you thought the most beautiful thing in all your traveling experience was the descent of the Splügen to Chiavenna, on the Italian side, so I thought much of you three days ago, as I came down that same beautiful mountain staircase.

I have not, however, changed my opinion or altered in my preference of the Swiss over the Italian side of the Alps. Thus I think the Swiss side of the Splügen not only grander and more sublime, but more beautiful and charming than the Italian side. This has something to do with my delight in the exquisite flora of the Alps, in the gems with which the green mantles of the huge mountains are embroidered, the tiny blessed blossoms that creep to the very feet of the terrible glaciers, and the trembling sprays of tender vivid color that hang tearful and decked with diamonds over the black chasms of the roaring cataracts. The incomparable bright soft verdure of the high Alpine meadows is far lovelier to me than all the vines of the South. The one seem almost too immaculate, in their close-cropped velvet freshness, to harbor the smallest unclean creeping thing; the other, with their untrimmed, flaunting, luxuriant garlands, trailing over white walls alive with lizards, suggest earwigs, and spiders, and scorpions in every corner and crevice of their crumbling terraces. The unpaintable huge mountain heads and shoulders, and dark large woods and rushing torrents, which have never found, and never will find, adequate representation in art, are far more fascinating to me than those exquisite, ready-made pictures that meet one at every quarter of a mile in Italy; with the ruined, tumble-down houses and degraded-looking population, forming always to me painful features in the landscape.

But the wild flowers alone in Switzerland are such a delight to me, that I know nothing of the sort comparable to it anywhere else. The preference these exquisite creatures themselves show for the highest parts of the mountains, where just earth enough clings to support them, the masses of rhododendron, the sheaves of blue-bells of every shade, from almost white, to deepest purple, and every size, from the clumps of tiny blossoms that shiver in the spray of the waterfalls, to the large single deep bell vibrating on its hairlike stem in the keen mountain breeze, and those lovely things, the rose veronica, the deep blue of dwarf gentian, and the ermine edelweiss that are never found but where the everlasting snow is their neighbor, these are an enchantment to me, which nothing in all the glorious, glowing, untidy dishevelment of a southern landscape compensates for. The fact is, the moral of the two aspects of nature is absolutely dissimilar, and the one is congenial in its severity, and the other not in its softness, to my human nature.

The Swiss people I think the most disagreeable people in both worlds; but their country is my earthly paradise.

My diary records thus of our journey from Splügen to Chiavenna: "Lordly, lovely, wonderful mountain-pass; Italy at the bottom, cypresses, vines, chestnuts; every quarter of a mile a perfect picture, wretched population, hideous human dwellings, fit only for cattle; at the hotel, lofty rooms, scaliola floors, marble mirrors, magnificence, bad smells, and–bed-bugs."

We have just arrived at this place this morning, and I think we shall stay here a week, though such is the tyranny the innkeepers of this region exercise over unfortunate travelers, that it is rather difficult to be sure of what one will be allowed to do. I hear of people who are turned out of their rooms, neck and crop, under pretext that they were already bespoken, and that the unlucky occupants were only received without being aware of it pro tem.

As soon as you arrive you are challenged as to the length of your stay, about which perhaps you have not even made up your own mind, in order that your rooms may be let to other people the very hour before you leave them. It is really curious to see the fervent zeal of money-making by which every class of the community here and every individual of every class is animated. Their season is but of two months, which is their sole reply to every remonstrance against the exorbitance of their charges; and certainly they cannot be accused of not making hay while the sun shines.

Harry and I get on very pleasantly together; he seems an amiable, well-disposed person, is very quiet and well bred, and is kind and affectionate to me. I hope he enjoys his holiday traveling, and though I am afraid he finds me rather a dull companion, our fellowship upon the whole is, I think, satisfactory to both of us. He remembers very gratefully your kindness to him when he was in Dublin, and was speaking of it with great warmth the other day.

I ought to have told you, while I was on the chapter of my travels, of how we came out of Italy here, that is from Chiavenna by the Maloya Pass into the Engadine. The Italian, the lower part of the pass, is extremely beautiful, and the upper part very fine, but it is not, to my thinking, one of the most beautiful or finest of the Alpine passes. The final ascent from the southern side to the summit is peculiar, and unlike any other I have gone over. Generally zigzags that take one up the last of these portentous climbs are conducted over the necks and shoulders of the mountain crest, but in this instance our last approach to the summit seemed to be made up the inside walls of a huge well in the earth, the sides of which were clothed with enormous larches, that made it look from the top like a great thousand-feet-deep hole cut in a forest growing perpendicularly up to the sky. Round this gigantic ball the road wound in spiral curves like the bore of a rifle till it got to the top, and then there was no descent on the other side, for the valley of the Upper Engadine is a mere strip of meadowland, with a chain of charming lakes, formed by the course of the Inn, running through the middle of it, and the mountain tops hemming it in on both sides, and its lowest level is five thousand feet above the sea. So here we are. It is all very fine and very charming; but the air is too sharp and bracing for me, and with all due respect to the Princess de Metternich, and the gentlemen of the Alpine Club, who set the fashion of the rage for the Engadine, it is by no means the most beautiful part of Switzerland. Good-bye, my dearest H—. God bless you.

I am ever, as ever, yours,




What you say in your letter about my nephew's enthusiastic juvenile impressions of Switzerland made me laugh, and him, to whom I imparted it, smile.

He has already seen more than once the most beautiful parts of Switzerland, and under far pleasanter circumstances than those of his present journeys with me.

Charles Santley, the singer, who married Gertrude Kemble, has been always a very kind friend of Harry's, and has two or three times brought him to Switzerland, during the theatrical recess, and in those tours he had not only Santley's companionship, walking over some beautiful passes, but the cheerful company of his family, young girls, and Gertrude herself, who is, I should think, endowed with good animal spirits, and what is called nowadays "jolly," which I, my dear H—, am decidedly not.

I dare say Harry may like coming abroad, and traveling with a certain amount of luxury, but I doubt very much if his holiday will upon the whole have been half as pleasant as those he has spent in Switzerland before.

He is peculiarly amiable in his manner, and gentle and courteous and kind to me. His temper appears perfectly even and sweet, and the reasonableness and sound common sense of all his views and appreciations of life and people, though not perhaps an attractive quality in so young a man, is a very unusual and valuable one. He has a great deal of character, but is very reticent and as guarded and courteous in expressing his own thoughts and feelings, as he is quick and keen sighted in observing those of other people. Our intercourse is pleasant to me, because of his gentle and affectionate manner, and his occasional great likeness to his father and grandfather. Mine, I suspect, is not altogether pleasant to him, because of my abrupt and brusque manner and quick, sudden, strong transitions of feeling; but we get on very well together. I am very glad to have him with me, and he, I have no doubt, gets some enjoyment out of our journey together.

We are both rejoicing to-day at having left St. Moritz, which we had neither of us liked at all. The place itself is less attractive than any other where we have stopped in the Engadine, and its essentially watering-place character, crowded with over-dressed dandies and equivocal or unequivocal ladies, with a perfect fair of booths filled with rubbish, at extortionate prices, incessant braying of bands and ringing of bells, the eternal inrushing and outrushing of arriving and departing travelers, made it altogether an unpleasant residence. I am stopping here only for one day, to-morrow, Sunday; and on Monday leave the Upper Engadine for the baths of Tarasp, another but much quieter bathing-place, at the lower end of the lower valley, which I shall leave by the pass of the Finstermunz, by which I made my first approach to it over the Stelvio.

To revert to the question of enthusiasm, my remains of that quality, and ready capacity of excitement are, I take it , a matter of no small surprise and amusement to Harry . . . . Good-bye, God bless you, my dearest H—.

I am ever, as ever, yours,




Your new maid's comment upon your bodily infirmities and your spiritual graces enchants me. Louisa never, till the day of judgment, would have found out, or at any rate expressed that your patient fortitude and warm benevolence of heart could be put into the scale against the sad deprivation with which you are afflicted. She must be a good and wise creature, so to interpret your trial and your character, and it comforts me to think you have such a person about you.

I came to this place the day before yesterday, leaving Samaden and driving down the Upper Engadine and into the lower valley, a journey of about thirty-two miles, which was in itself very delightful, for the weather was perfect, and the scenery lovely the whole way.

I do not indorse the general enthusiasm for the Upper Engadine, to which it is now the fashion for tourists to flock in thousands.

The scenery, though fine, is hard in its character, the climate, though invigorating, harsh, and too sharply stimulating; and the great height of the valley above the sea-level forbids all vegetation but the grass of the meadows, and larches and pines of the lower mountain slopes, above which shine the cold splendors of the glaciers and everlasting snows.

But the rage for this superior region is something wonderful. Every hotel in every village is crammed with people, sleeping two, three, and four in a room. The hotel-keepers are the direct descendants and representatives of the robber knights of old; fleecing the wretched wayfarers, and adding insult to injury by telling you in the most pathetic way, if you complain of their extortions, that their season only lasts two months. Poor ephemeræ! . . .

The Lower Engadine, though infinitely less bepraised and crowded with illustrious tourists than the Upper, seems to me quite charming. The snow peaks and glaciers, it is true, are lost sight of, but mountain ranges and rocky cliffs, from five to ten thousand feet high, with dolomite coloring, are not despicable boundaries to one's horizon in every direction. The valley of the Inn itself, which one follows all the way to the Tyrol, is a succession of fine deep gorges, with precipices for their walls, and the level basins, which alternate with these are not only soft with the perfect grass meadows of the Alps, but varied with warmer tints of ripening grainfields, and the larch woods are rendered less monotonous and gloomy by the admixture of the forest growth of a milder climate.

The friendly (as the Germans say) aspect of the landscape suggests human industry and cultivation; the villagers are really perfect studies for a painter, with their quaint old houses, all covered with friezes, arabesques, and ornaments, the fine mahogany color of their woodwork, their highly wrought antique iron balconies, and the profuse fringes of exquisite flowers, especially carnations, blooming all over and streaming like garlands from them, they are really surprisingly curious, picturesque, and charming.

I am very much pleased with this place itself, where I expect to stay until next Monday, and then to leave the Engadine by the Finstermunz Pass, recrossing it in the opposite direction from that in which I traversed it at the beginning of my tour.

Good-bye, my dearest H—. It is most delightful to me to be able, by my letter, to give you ever so small a share in the pleasure of my journey. God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,




Here we are out of the mountains, at least so far as to be once more traveling by railroad. We took our last drive through the lovely Foralberg on Wednesday, and are now in the nook of the mountains, opening out on the broad Rhine valley, and on the railroad to Zürich.

My departure from the Engadine was celebrated on my part, precisely as my entance to it had been, by a severe bilious attack, which sent me here staggering with sick headache and far from happy.

I have enjoyed my whole summer very much, though the Engadine has not agreed with me, and I am sure that unless people require and are able to bear the climate, it is not a good residence for them.

I have just had a visit from Mrs. Storey, the American sculptor's wife, who tells me that her husband was quite unable to endure the sharpness of the air at St. Moritz, was obliged to sit up, gasping for breath, half the night, and was altogether so depressed and miserable (in that atmosphere to so many people exhilarating, that he was obliged to leave it and come down to find air that he could breathe. I was able to endure it, and to pass four weeks at different places in the Engadine, but I felt unwell and very uncomfortable the whole time, and especially so at Pontressina, and at St. Moritz, the very favorite places of resort of English enthusiasts.

I have staid at this place before, but not at this house, and when I left it, it was to start immediately for England and America; that was when you brought me, at the Euston Square Hotel, those splendid red roses and myrtle branches, that lived across the Atlantic, and are now flourishing plants in my dear Mary Fox's greenhouse.

We shall only stay here a week, and then go straight to Paris, where Harry will leave me, and I shall remain to shop, and then go on to Brussels.

I do not expect to get to England much before the first of October, or to Wales much before the fifteenth, which will, I am afraid, be later than they would like me to come; but I shall not be able to manage it earlier.

I shall have no more pretty places and pleasant journeys to write you about, my dearest H—, and I am sorry for it, nothing but the old unchanging story, then.

I am ever, as ever, yours,



I wrote to you, my dearest H—, on my arrival at this place, but yesterday's post brought me two short letters from you, and I cannot leave your dear words unacknowledged, although my present circumstances of quiet stay here do not afford me much matter for letter-writing.

Nothing can be more unlike than my nephew Harry's disposition and mine. . . .

His face is handsome, though rather heavy for so young a man; his figure is bad, short and thickset; altogether he reminds me of Charles Mason, and by times of my father and his own, by strong likenesses of countenance and expression. We get on very well together, but are very decidedly unlike each other in every respect.

The season of this place is nearly over, and the house comparatively empty. Several of the remaining guests are American, and among them is Mrs. Storey, the wife of the sculptor, whom I knew in Rome, and who, failing the smallest scrap of English or foreign nobility or even gentry, whose society is the daily bread of her life, when she can get it, has fallen, in her utter destitution of better things, upon me, and assures me I am to her a perfect "oasis in the desert."

The poor woman has been ordered here to take the baths, and I think will die no other death than the dullness of her cure.

By the by, if Mrs. St. Quintin can travel so far as north of Aberdeen, she ought to come here next summer, and take a course of these waters, which are really wonderful for all rheumatic and gouty-rheumatic affections. A short stay would probably be sufficient for her, and the place is so pretty and pleasant, that it would really repay her for coming so far to do herself good.

The hotel is, after the fashion of modern hotels, a perfect palace–spacious, luxurious, magnificent, and comfortable. The baths are in the house, and are quite delightful, both in the temperature of the water itself, which is warm and soft, and in their arrangement, the baths being square wells about four feet deep, sunk in the floor of a dressing-room, lined with white china tiles, cleaner looking even than marble, and always full of this pellucid water, which runs through them the whole time.

The house is surrounded with a most charming garden laid out in terraces, with fountains and flowerbeds, and magnificent oleander and pomegranate bushes, in large green cases, adding a stately smiling formality and dignity to the bloomy flowering fragrance and less artificial beauty of great masses of roses and geraniums and variegated beds of colored leaves.

My principal delight, however, is the kitchen-garden, a fine space of level ground of about three acres, lying below the terrace and fountains of the flower-garden, admirably laid out and kept, and full of the finest fruit I almost ever saw–pears, apples, and grapes, trained with the utmost care and considerable taste over espaliers–a really beautiful sight and peculiarly charming as one looks over the low wall of inclosure from this space of cultivation, perfect of its kind, to the sharp and splintered spikes and cliffs of barren rock, and the huge shoulders of wood-mantled mountains rising into the sky in every direction, and sheltering this beautiful bit of human industry.

I wonder whether the soil here derives heat and consequent prolific power from the subterranean fires, by which I suppose these natural hot springs are sent boiling to the earth's surface?

If you never were here, it would be worth your while to get dear E— to look out an account of it in Murray's "Swiss Handbook" and read it to you, for it is very curious and interesting.

God bless you, dear H—. I think you had now better send your letters to Coutts, as I leave this place for Paris on Thursday next.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I traveled all last week and arrived here the day before yesterday. My desire to avoid Paris took me round through a part of Belgium I had never seen before, and through the forest of Ardennes (I suppose Rosalind was the daughter of a dispossessed Duke of Brabant), and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. This region of the Ardennes is wild and wooded, and much more picturesque than I supposed anything in Belgium to be. I also traversed the scene of much of the late war between France and Prussia, passing through both the poor siege-wrecked towns of Metz and Strasbourg, and coming into Switzerland, through a defile of the Vosges, all which was new to me, as I have hitherto come to my beloved Alps either straight through Paris or by the Rhine.

The weather is very unfavorable for traveling, being hot and stormy and very wet, and the complaints about it are universal. It does not seem, however, to daunt or deter tourists much. The day of my arrival at Lucerne, three hundred people were seated at the table d'hôte, and the boats that touch at this place three or four times a day, going up and down the lake, are crowded with passengers. I have very often passed by this Brunnen on my way to and from St. Gotthard, but never disembarked. I am now, however, here for a week, and find it in every respect a most excellent halting-station. It is immediately in the Elbow of the Lake of Lucerne. The upper half of the arm stretching to Lucerne and the lower to Fluelen. The position of the hotel is beautiful, commanding both the reaches of the lake, and all the fine mountains of this part of it.

On Saturday I am going to a place called Axenstein, which is a very fine hotel some way up the mountain, immediately behind this place, which from its greater elevation has more extent of view, but loses the advantage of being immediately on the shore of the lovely lake.

When I leave this neighborhood, I am going to stay on the Lake of Geneva, in order to let my new maid pay a visit to her friends and family. They live near Montreux, mother and grandmother and brothers and sisters, and she has seen none of them for five years, having been in service in Scotland all that time.

I do not like staying at those crowded places on the Lake of Geneva, full of full-dressed American and French tourists, but I hope by doing so to make my poor little Swiss girl and her family very happy.

Good-bye, my dearest H—; the beautiful lake and mountains are vanishing behind a thick curtain of rain and it is quite cold, as well as wet. It is pleasant to know that when the sun shines again, the beautiful lake and mountains will be there. God bless you, dear.

Ever, as ever, yours,


Do think of people going up the Righi by railroad! I think that must have been an American idea. .


I do not think that the exertions I make in traveling deserve your admiration. The beautiful scenery, I am still, thank God, able to visit, lies within easy reach of travelers by railroad and steamboat, and demands but little effort of any sort.

This morning, however, I have performed something of a feat, for I have gone down to Brunnen on foot and by what may be called the back staircase on the mountain, literally the dry bed of an Alpine torrent, fifteen hundred feet down the steepest possible hillside, by the irregular broken rocky steps of the mountain nymph–leaps and plunges. Before I got to the bottom, I thought I should become as liquid as herself. The pretty creature can have no knees. How my old rheumatic ones did shake under me and my fourteen stone weight! She has feet, however, and with them has worn her rocky steps so round and smooth that my heavy mortal boots slipped and slid over them, threatening to make my descent headlong more than once. Arrived at the bottom, I took a carriage at Brunnen, and returned by the main road, resolving, until I became a centipede, nothing should tempt me to walk down fifteen hundred feet of perpendicular mountain side again.

The present mode of traveling detracts much from its pleasure, in consequence of the vast crowds of people one meets in every direction. The inns, or hotels, begging their pardons, are all like palaces (gin palaces, I think I ought to say), magnificent, flaring, glaring, showy, luxurious, in all their public apartments, but noisy, disorderly, dirty, and quite deficient in comfortable private accommodation. There are hardly any private sitting-rooms to be had any longer anywhere. Every room, except the great public sitting-room, is a bed-room, with two, three, and four beds in it; and if you insist, as I do, upon having a place of my own to inhabit, the unnecessary bed or beds are abstracted from it, one left for my occupancy, together with toilet table, washhand-stand, and all etcs. A sofa or armchair and extra table are then introduced, and you are told, "Voilà, madame, voilà votre salon," and made to pay for it as if it really were a first-class sitting-room, being assured, if you remonstrate, that you are occupying the bedroom of two or more persons, to the great injury of the house, since you can only eat for one, and probably drink no wine.

To the attractions of these huge houses of entertainment are added musical bands, illuminations, fire-works, fire-balloons, and spectacles of every kind, besides that of the sweet, solemn, and sublime natural features of the beautiful scenery–all which seems to me very vulgar,–bread and butter, and pâté de foie gras, and marmalade and jam, and caviare, one on top of the other; but I am thankful for what I have enjoyed, and do still enjoy, though under such different conditions.

God bless you, my dearest H—. I wish I had ever traveled in Switzerland with you in former days. How much I should have enjoyed both that and the remembrance of it.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I am sitting in the midst of clouds and darkness, thunder, lightning, and down-pouring rain. The mountains are all packed in cotton wool, and the whole aspect of the sky and earth and water is most lugubrious.

After ten days of brilliantly beautiful weather, we have this very unpleasant change, and as to-night the moon is at her full, I am afraid we may have a succession of storms for some days now; the whole season has been most unpropitious for travelers this year, and the summer seems inclined to end as it began.

I left the borders of the Lake of Lucerne on Saturday to climb up to this place, which is more than a thousand feet above it, and where on level ground, surrounded by charming woods and meadows, a magnificent hotel has been built, commanding views up both the arms of the lake and its mountain walls. The position is really magnificent, and the house a sort of an Aladdin Palace, with flower-gardens, terraces, and fountains. The immense amount of traveling now could of course alone meet the expenses of such establishments as these, which are literally springing up in every direction all over Switzerland, and are emptied and filled literally by a tide of travelers every four and twenty hours, who cover the whole surface of the country, rushing in and rushing out at each place for one night, or even perhaps for only half a day, and then tearing off somewhere else.

Of course, since you and I first traveled in Switzerland, the whole mode and manner of so doing has changed. An enormous mass of restless humanity rolls about in every direction, and the provision for the accommodation of such multitudes is very different from what travelers formerly required. These splendid houses, with their huge public dining and drawing-rooms, and table d'hôte at which people sit down and feed by the three and four hundred at a time, are neither clean, quiet, nor comfortable, but they meet the wishes of the pilgrims of the present day, and I, to whom they are simply abominable, in their noisy, vulgar luxury, endeavor to rejoice in the increase of the pleasure of "traveling for the million," while I do really rejoice that my traveling was done under far other conditions.

Next week I spend on the lake of Geneva, to enable my new maid to visit her family, whom she has not seen for five years, and after that I go to the Lago Maggiore to see, I hope, my dear Ellen and her baby, so that in point of fact I am making what may be called a domestic tour through Switzerland.

I am ever, as ever, yours,




I wrote to you last from the Lake of Lucerne, and am now looking over the Lake of Geneva, at its lower end, where the Dent du Midi and the mountains of the Rhone Valley form such a splendid group above and beyond Villeneuve. I think you must have stopped at Villeneuve, some time or other, going over the Simplon into Italy. There used to be a charming house there, the Hôtel Byron, standing alone in its own grounds, quite at the end of the lake, and just above the Château Chillon.

I used always to stay there on my way up and down the Rhone valley. It was kept by two brothers of the name of Wolff, who were proprietors also of the good old-fashioned hotel L'écu de Genève in Geneva. They having failed, and the person who took the Hôtel Byron after them failed also, the pleasant house is now shut up, and I do not suppose it will ever be opened as an hotel again. The railroad now runs all the way from Geneva to the foot of the Simplon, an easy journey of less than eight hours, and nobody wants to stop half way at Villeneuve. Then, too, there is really almost a continuous terrace all along the shore of the lake from Lausanne to Villeneuve of hotels like palaces, one more magnificent than another, with terraces and gardens, and foundations and bands of music, and such luxurious public apartments, and table d'hôte, that it is absolutely impossible that some if not several proprietors of such costly establishments should fail to make them answer, especially as in traveling, as well as everything else, fashion directs the movements of the great majority of people, and for the last few years there has been a perfectly insane rush of the whole tourist world to the valley of the Upper Engadine, to the almost utter forsaking of the formerly popular parts of Switzerland.

The house where I am, the Hôtel des Alps, is a magnificent establishment, but there are very few people in it, and the manager seemed to me rather depressed in giving me the account of the failure of the proprietors of the Hôtel Byron, and said that there was not a corner of Switzerland now without a huge hotel, and that every year half a dozen hotel keepers became bankrupt. . . .

The week after next I expect to be at Stresa, on the Lago Maggiore. . . . . My incidents of travel are of a strictly domestic character, but very pleasant withal, and the weather is perfectly beautiful.

I am enjoying this lovely paradise to the utmost, though I now rail along the base of the mountains, over whose tops I formerly used always to take my way. God bless you, dearest H–.

I am ever, as ever, yours,




Though I did get down the back stairs of the mountain at Axenstein, I get up the front stairs of my hotel here, which are broad and by no means steep, with no little trouble, not that there are many of them, for I am on the first floor; but I am acquiring a very considerable difficulty in the art (or nature) of breathing, and think that I may yet, before I die, develop the accomplishment of decided asthma.

I always had a tendency that way, for even as a girl going uphill was a difficulty to my respiratory organs, and both sides of my family may have bequeathed me confirmed asthma. My Uncle John, as you know, suffered from it, and my mother's mother, old Madame de Camp, was a grievous martyr to it. Fanny Twiss, too, had very severe attacks of it, so that I feel rather entitled to be asthmatic. As for my descent of the Axenstein, I do not think I should have attempted it, if I had known what it was; but I had no conception of its depth and steepness, until I had gone so far down that I felt any amount of descent would be easier to me than the ascent of even a quarter of the way back, so I persevered to the bottom. My man-servant told me it was the roughest and steepest path he had ever gone down, but he is neither a very good mountaineer nor a vigorous person, and I thought that if he had achieved it, I could; but I certainly had no idea what it was, until I was too far engaged in it to give it up, and having to go up or down, as I could not remain in the mountain nymph's bed till she returned to occupy it herself, I chose the least of two evils. It was extremely beautiful, for the whole course of the torrent was through the forest that clothes the mountain side, of splendid pines, and larches and beeches, their great feet sunk deep in brown moss, and the golden sunshine sending its shafts of light through their branches. If the water had been there it would have been enchanting; but if the water had been there, I should not.

I shall finish my week at Montreux on Monday, and then go to a place only an hour further on by rail in the Rhone Valley, called Bex, where I also mean to stay a week before I go over the Simplon. I am not here at Montreux itself, but about a mile further on, nearer the end of the lake, at a place called Territet, at the Hôtel des Alps, which, now that the Hôtel Byron is closed, is about the best of these fine establishments on the lake shore.

My purpose in taking up my abode here was to be as near as possible to the home of my maid's friends and family, that she might get to them every day as easily and stay with them as long as possible . . . There are two or three huge pensions and hotels at Glion and the Righi Vaudois and half way over the Col de Jaman. It is all very beautiful, but swarming in every direction with this invading population of travelers and tourists. I sometimes think what an amazement the present aspect of these shores would cause Rousseau, if he could see them now! I have felt half inclined to get the "La Nouvelle Heloise" and re-read it here, but am too lazy to go to the library for it. One ought really to read it here. God bless you, my dearest H—.

I am ever, as ever, yours,



I have this moment received, dearest H—, your letter in answer to my own from Montreux. It rejoices my heart whenever I now get a few lines of your own dictation, as I regard your having the power to make that exertion a favorable indication of your whole condition. How thankful I am, my beloved friend, that you still can "eat and drink and sleep," and that you are mercifully exempt from physical suffering, beyond that, which I fear is, however, an almost equal trial, the weary sense of weakness, which in itself must be a grievous burden.

I write you from a place that you have not forgotten, for I do not imagine you were never in it, half way between the lower end of the Lake of Geneva and Martigny, and directly on the line of the railroad, which is now finished all the way from Geneva to the foot of the Simplon at Brigne–a small town or large village called Bex, which I suppose owes its creation and continued existence to the salt mines immediately behind it, and in the mountain. This supply of salt is the only one in Switzerland, and the works are very considerable, and employ a great many people, and I imagine really support the town.

The hotel, a large and fine establishment, is about two miles from Bex, and three from the railroad and main valley of the Rhone. It is near the salt works, and calls itself "le Grand Hôtel des Salines," and is a large bathing establishment, supplied with a copious stream of almost ice-cold water by the mountain torrent that dashes down the ravine close by it. The house stands in a complete cul de sac of the mountain, opening between fine sweeping lines of wood and rock in the direction by which it is approached to the valley of the Rhone.

There is level ground enough about it for charming gardens, and pleasant grounds and winding paths cut in every direction through the chestnut and walnut woods, with which the lower slopes of its encircling mountain walls are closed, and a most beautiful fountain, one of the highest water jets I ever saw, springs from the midst of the flower-beds immediately opposite my window.

It is a very charming place, and is very much frequented by foreigners, French and German people, but not much, I think, by English or Americans, to which I attribute the circumstance, particularly agreeable to me, that the cookery is French and good, and that I am not exasperated with daily offers of tough raw flesh, calling itself rosbif, and the underdon vegetables "a l'Anglaise," that is to say, not even boiled through, and accompanied with a white fluid simulating melted butter. . . .

Ellen and her baby are to come down from her perch in the Varese to Stresa, on the Lago Maggiore, and pay me a visit of a week there. This arrangement is better in many respects than my going to her, for their home is a farm in a piccolo paese, and she would have worried and exerted herself to make me comfortable, English fashion, and the effort would have been very bad for her.

God bless you, dear. I am squeezed for room on my paper, but

Ever, as ever, yours,




I write you one more line from this place, because to-morrow I shall leave it, and as I expect to travel for the next four days, I may not find it so easy to write to you again till I get to Stresa.

I have been quite charmed with this place, where I never made any stay before, though I have twice passed a night here on my way down from the mountains, but have always given it the go-by in passing up and down the Rhone Valley.

It is very much frequented by foreigners, French and German, who come here in the spring and autumn for the benefit of the fresh salt water bath.

English travelers do not often visit it, and as a rule know nothing whatever of the medicinal properties of its waters; but the place itself is very beautiful, and in spring, when all the orchards, with which the valley is covered, are in blossom, it must really be exquisite, and worth coming from England, I should think, to see. The valley is a horseshoe of gently undulating meadows and orchards, rising gradually to the mountains, the lower half of which is clothed with beautiful chestnut and walnut woods, above which the rocky walls and spires and summits peer down upon the green Eden at their feet. The valley opens down to the great main river road of the Rhone, on the other side of which, immediately in front of my windows, towers the huge Dent du Midi, with its snow slopes and glaciers and pyramidal rocky peaks piercing the sky.

There is no water view from the house, but a lovely fountain, eighty feet high, the daughter of the mountain stream, which seems to be leaping up to her cradle in the high rocks above the house, immediately faces my room, and a rushing foaming torrent is seen from several parts of the well-laid-out pleasure grounds that surround the house, but we have no lovely lake expanse in our view. The place is very charming to me, the weather is just now beautiful, and I have hopes that we shall cross the Simplon in sunshine. My next letter to you will be from Italy, where I hope to be on Thursday. God bless you, my dearest H—.

Ever, as ever, yours,


A gentleman who sat by me at dinner to-day told me what I was very sorry to hear, that the wine-making vines in France had been attacked by a destructive insect come over from America, which it was apprehended might destroy the crop; that the price of wine had risen already in France in consequence, and that great alarm was felt on the subject throughout all the grape-growing districts of Switzerland. It is quite as bad a plague, he says, as the Colorado beetle.



I should find it impossible to tell you how very very sad your letter made me, not for my beloved friend, whose growing infirmity of mind and partial unconsciousness are merciful alleviations of the heavy tedium of her prolonged trial, but for you, my poor E—, whose burden seems to me indeed one of the heaviest I can imagine. It is vain wishing that things were other than they are. They are as God wills, and our best resource, even when He allows us others, is still our absolute resignation to His will. He will surely support you, under the task He has appointed you, and to be what you are to H— must reward you in some measure with the consciousness of your admirable devotion to the duty you have accepted.

God bless you and sustain you to the end. The time cannot be far off when she and you will alike be set free, and you will only have to rejoice that you have been so faithful and so good.

You will be sorry to hear that my last letter from F— brought me the bad news of a furious hurricane having swept over the coast of Georgia, terribly injuring all the estates, the plantations, and absolutely devastating their property at Butler's Island. The whole rice crop is destroyed, the fields submerged under from three to four feet of water. The rice has been harvested–that is, cut–but only stacked in the fields, where the portion of it that has not been swept down to the sea by the flood is lying rotting.

This is not only the loss of the year's income, which depends upon the crop, but also the loss of the means of planting for the next year, unless money is borrowed for the purpose. Altogether it is a most distressing occurrence.

I am just going off to church now to be present at the baptism of Ellen's baby. Luigi has very kindly, and I think wisely, consented to allow the child to be christened in the Protestant church.

I want you to get your "Peerage," and look out for me who is the Countess of —. There comes to the table d'hôte here such an extraordinary woman calling herself by that name, that I really would give something to know who and what she is. She is quite old and extremely handsome–must have been a rare beauty in her youth. She is now exactly like a wax figure in a barber's shop. Her complexion the fairest blush rose; her eyebrows penciled, like the Empress Eugenie's; a perfect turban of auburn plaits all round her head, without a shred of cap or lace on it, and her ears hung with large rubies, set in diamonds; her collar fastened with a huge opal, set in diamonds, and her fingers covered with more precious stones, of every sort, shape, and size, than I ever saw on any human hands before. She has with her a young Spanish duke, but whether by way of husband or son, I do not know; and she is Countess of—, and who and what is she?

I have just come from church, where Ellen's big boy has been baptized. The poor little fellow will not, I trust, prove a "fair-weather" Christian, for it is pouring torrents of rain, the sky is as black as London, the lake as black as the sky, all broken up into angry foam, and the beautiful opposite shores blurred, dark, dirty, and dreary looking.

Good-bye, my dearest H—. Good-bye, my dear E—. God bless and comfort and support you both.

Ever, as ever, yours,



I shall not see Como, or indeed go any further south than I am now. From here I go to Mentone, on the Riviera, for a couple of weeks, and then turn northwards, and expect to meet F— in Paris, and go with her to Leamington. Apart from any associations that may make the Lake of Como interesting or dear to you, it is undoubtedly considered, and I suppose is really, the most beautiful of the four Italian lakes; but the Lago Maggiore is my special favorite. I think it grander, more serious and severe, in fact, less southern in character than the others, really more Swiss than Italian in some of its aspects, and yet having all the perfect picturesqueness in every town, village, church, convent, villa, palace and hovel on its shores, which belong exclusively to this side of the Alps. . . .

I had a talk with Luigi on the subject of his boy's christening before it took place. He appears to me to be as little of a real Roman Catholic as I am myself, though–or perhaps I ought to say because–he was originally intended for a priest, and partly trained for that purpose.

He said, which I thought great good sense and good feeling, that Ellen would have been made miserable if her boy had not been christened in her own church, that she would have the bringing up and religious instructing of the child, and that she could certainly only educate him according to her own belief, and that when he grew up, it would always be perfectly in his power to become a Roman Catholic if he wished to do so, all which seemed to me very wise, as well as kind, but not very Roman Catholic, and so he stood by the font, MacFarland (who had been Ellen's fellow-servant in my house for two years in America), who was the child's godfather, proxy for one of Ellen's brothers, by his side, and at every response MacFarland made, Luigi nodded assent, and so the baby was christened.

I do not know whether I wrote you word that F—'s last letter said that hope was entertained that half the rice crop, which was an unusually fine one at Butler's Island, might perhaps be saved.

S—'s last letter informed me of her boy's installation at college, and of a most interesting visit she had had from Dean Stanley, who spoke unreservedly to her of his admirable wife, who had been very kind to her, and for whom S— has the most affectionate admiration.

Good-bye, dear E—. This is, of course, for my dearest H— as well as for you. Give her my tenderest love.

I am ever, as ever, hers,




After the miserable letter in which you told me not to expect any more words dictated by my dearest friend, it was a most unexpected and vivid joy to receive those she sent me through you. I cannot tell you how dark a curtain seemed to have fallen at last between me and my beloved H—, nor how great the relief has been to see it once more lifted.

There are some losses for which no length of preparation seems to avail; the blow that threatened one so long loses none of its heaviness when it falls, in spite of prolonged anticipation. Thank God for these words of hers, which I thought were never to reach me any more..

My beloved H—, it was a great, great joy to me yesterday evening to get your letter. I imagine, my dearest friend, that your thinking powers, which appear to you so miserably deteriorated, are now not at all below the average of those of most of your fellow females, to whom what you call cogitating is a process unknown, and whose brains, like a child's kaleidoscope, filled with odds and ends, more or less rubbishy, by dint of shaking and the simplest possible adjustment of means producing accidental arrangement, keep them amused and lively, by a succession of tolerably pretty and symmetrical patterns, without any real value, connection, or significance.

I have often thought this represented very fairly my own thinking machinery and results, for you know I have always deliberately eschewed deliberate cogitation, as altogether too hard work, and certainly not (what the lazy Italian peasant men call all extra hard and heavy manual labor) "lavoro di donna."

For rheumatic complaints I do not think these southern residences, with all their external brightness, by any means as good as our closer or more comfortable northern abodes. Thus I am writing to you in a room about sixteen feet square, with three doors and two windows (which are, in fact, glass doors) opening upon a terrace, and where to put myself to escape only one or two of the draughts (the rest are hopelessly unavoidable) I cannot with all my ingenuity devise.

It is raining, and is cold and damp. I have a small fireplace about two feet square, and it is expected to keep me warm, but it does not, with a small supply of small knots and chunks of some incombustible wood, intended only to ignite and burn in small stoves. (I think they might take a patent out with it, for building houses warranted never to take fire or burn.) There is a carpet in the room, but the floor beneath that carpet is brick, and the cold comes through very fearfully. I do not find the climate of Mentone exempt, which I supposed it was, from the scourging winds that are the atmospheric pest of the Mediterranean seaboard, as far round as Marseilles; and Merimée, describing Cannes, whither he betook himself every winter, describes all these places, when he says, "Au soleil vous êtes roti, et puis de l'autre cóté vous avez un vent comme un rasoir qui vous coupe en duex."

The great advantage of most places over my dear native land is in their supply of light, and that I do think an immense superiority, that France and Italy and America have over England.

The absence of sufficient provision against cold in all southern countries makes such cold as one does have rather worse than the home article. We have had furious winds here, and rain-storms, and hail-storms with stones as big as nuts, and thunder and lightning. The sea looks dirty, and bilious, and sick of itself, and is raking and rasping the shore in a manner that must be most aggravating to the sand and shingles, and a palm tree lifting its forlorn oriental head against the dingy sky, looks as much out of place as if it was growing at Wandsworth.

I keep thinking of my dear Mr. L—, who is on that hideous Atlantic, with its flinty mountainous waves, and I pray God for his safety.

I leave Mentone on Monday morning, and expect to join F— in Paris on Thursday. It is a long journey, and I shall be thankful when it is over, and not sorry to be quietly housed at Leamington with her and the dear little girl.

God bless you, my dear, dear, dear H—. Your words are very precious to me.

Ever, as ever, yours,




I have just come in from walking and sitting on the road along the seaside, that answers to the parade at St. Leonard's, where you and I have so often walked together. The Mediterranean, it is true, with its blue countenance, and many-colored expressions, is a different creature from the leaden or silvery pale-colored expanse of water that divides England from France on the Sussex coast. On the other hand, there is no tide, that retires and returns here sufficiently to reveal stretches of smooth golden sand, or reefs of rock, or wreaths of brown and amber seaweed, and there is an almost total absence of the delicious fresh salt smell, that is so exquisite a quality in the air of our northern coasts and shores.

Instead of the modest, turf-crowned, red-brown wall of rock that rises behind St. Leonard's, this place (which perhaps you know) is guarded landwards by a magnificent range of rocky pinnacles, that glitter in the sunshine like battlements of oxidized silver.

At St. Leonard's, as the spring came on, I used to have cowslips, and primroses, and crimson daisies, and cinnamon-colored wallflowers in my room. Here at the opening of winter I have on my table a bowl full of heliotrope and monthly and tea-roses, out of a small garden belonging to this house, which opens directly upon the sea.

I have nothing to tell you, dear, except a piece of information I obtained from a journeyman glazier yesterday, who was mending a window I had broken in my sitting-room. I was admiring the rapid dexterity with which he worked, and asked him what length of apprenticeship was necessary to acquire it. He said that depended, of course, much upon natural qualifications, the first of all requisites being courage–courage to handle the glass without timidity or nervous apprehension of breaking it. "Enfin, madame, il faut savoir manier cela comme si cela n'etait ni plus ni moins que du papier. Avoir la main sûre et legère et surtout ne pas avoir peur et si cela se casse, eh bien alors, tant pis." I thought there was rather a fine moral in that.

Good-bye, my dearest H—. God bless you. The sea unfurling on the shore sings of you to me. God bless you.

Ever, as ever, yours


The friend to whom the above letters were addressed died before I reached England.



I sail for America on Saturday the 13th–to-morrow. I fully purposed to have written a line to you and dear Mary Anne to bid you good-bye and remember me. My sister will reach England exactly two days after I have left it, and only for the next six weeks I have engagements made to read that would have paid me upwards of six hundred pounds, which I must now forego, and accept instead grief, vexation, and loss. . . .and all is utter uncertainty before me; but you know I have good courage, and faith and hope, the foundations of which cannot be shaken by human hands, so that nothing can go desperately ill with me.

I have though much and anxiously of your affairs, and have vainly endeavored, for your sakes, to understand the statements of this Indian business* that I read in the papers, and I hope all will be for the best with you, but know very well that neither you nor Mary Anne depend for your happiness upon mere accidents. Give my affectionate love to her, my respectful love to your dear mother, and believe that I am, and shall always remain,

Your very gratefully attached


* The failure of a bank.

LENOX, Sunday, October 29, 1848.


It gave me great pleasure to receive your kind letter, and to find that hitherto, at any rate, out of sight has not been out of mind from you to me.

I shall never forget a certain visit I paid your wife, or the calm and cheerful composure with which she was awaiting what might prove the news of your ruin. I do trust most sincerely that matters will adjust themselves for you less disastrously than for poor Lady Malkin, though I am afraid you will think me horribly stupid, when I tell you that I do not understand what you yourself have written me about this wretched money catastrophe in India.

I am dreadfully troubled at W. G—'s implications in these failures. He married my cousin, a very sweet person of whom I am very fond, daughter of my dear Mrs. Harry Siddons, and sister of that Mrs. Mair at whose house you visited me in Edinburgh, and who, I fear, will be terribly distressed by her brother-in-law's position. . . .

What a frightful condition all Europe, except England, is in! the excesses in Sicily and Frankfort really almost make one doubt the theory of the earth's motion, since Christianity and civilization, and the progress of time have yet brought human beings no further out of their pristine state of barbarity; or will the wild beast, which a friend of mine once assured me was at the bottom of every man's heart, never be eradicated, but manifest itself, and take the ascendancy during certain periods of the world as long as it lasts? God protect our blessed little England. This great country is safe enough from some evils by its enormous extent, and the very slackness, so to speak, of all social ties, the almost insensible pressure of a form of government in some respects extremely simple, and the absence of all that complicated intertwining of interests, which belongs to countries that have only grown out of barbarism and feudalism by slow degrees through the lapse of centuries.

I wish, dear Arthur, you would remember me very affectionately to Mary Anne. The more intimate intercourse I had with you both, during my last stay in England, has much fortified the friendly attachment I had entertained for you for many years. I hope to renew it next year, when I return home, and beg in the meantime that you will neither of you forget me.

I see my brother John has advertised a "History of the Saxons." He and I, without having quarreled, never correspond, so that I know nothing whatever about him. If you write to me again, tell me something of his book, and, if you can, of himself. I wish, if you ever write to Donne, you would give my kind regards to him. I am only waiting for some decided turn in my affairs to answer a most amiable letter of his. Remember me to Miss Cottin and the Horace Wilsons, and the Ellises, and all our common friends, who do remember and feel an interest in me, and believe me,

Very sincerely and affectionately yours,


ROCHESTER, NEW YORK, February 4, 1850.


If I write to you upon ruled paper, it is because in these remote parts of the globe none else is to be obtained. I have just read over your kind letter of the 4th of June last, with a sort of remorseful twinge at the date. It should not have remained so long unacknowledged, I confess, but I have had much to suffer and much to do since I received it, and I am growing lazy and cowardly about the effort of writing of my affairs; in short, I do not think I have any real apology for not having answered you sooner, but that the spirit did not move me to do so. If you are half as much my friend and half as wise as I suppose you to be, you will forgive me, and, what's more, you won't care. . . .

I think I shall certainly be in England in the autumn. I have not yet quite finished making my fortune, in spite of the magnificent accounts of my wealth with which the newspapers abound, and I think I shall come and put the finishing stroke to it among my own people.

With regard to the American law of divorce, about which you inquire, it is different in different parts of the country; the several states have each their own independent government, jurisdiction, and institutions, and deal with matters matrimonial as with various others, according to their own peculiar laws. Pennsylvania, you know, is greatly peopled by Germans and the divorce law there follows that of Germany, which itself is founded on the French Code Napoléon; it admits divorce on the pleas of desertion (non-cohabitation) on the part of husband or wife for a space of two consecutive years. I believe a joint appeal may procure a separation from the legislature upon the ground of absolute incompatibility of temper and character, and also that a legal separation of person and property is sometimes allowed for other reasons. None of these processes of relief from the bonds of matrimony are available to Roman Catholics in America any more than elsewhere. Marriage is one of the sacraments of their church, to be annulled only by the authority of the Pope. The greater facility of obtaining divorce in the State of Pennsylvania occasionally induces citizens of other states to appeal to the Philadelphia tribunals. In Massachusetts, where the English law prevails, divorce is granted only for cause of adultery.

Good-bye, my dear Arthur, I beg you and Mary Anne to be very glad to see me again, as I certainly shall be to see you, beings yours and hers very affectionately,


NORWICH, Friday, October 31, 1851.


I received your kind note two days ago at Bury, but I determined to wait until I had left our friend Donne before I answered it, and indeed, had I determined otherwise, should have done no otherwise, for he really plunged me into such a sea of social "distractions," as the French say when they mean something eminently agreeable, that I really had not a moment's leisure. Of his kindness to me it is impossible that I should say enough; it really was–like your own and Mary Anne's, my dear Arthur–so cordial and so generous that, like the regard and affection you and your wife have shown me, it absolutely and very seriously puzzles me to account for it. I cannot tell you how much I have been struck with my own good fortune, in retaining, as it were, possession of the roots of so much valuable friendship and seeing them put forth such pleasant blossoms, when it would have been more reasonable to expect that time, absence, and distance would have dried up the kindly sap in them, and left them mere withered sticks, remains of an early planting that had early died, for want of the cherishing habit of intercourse and proximity, by which poor human love is for the most part sustained, and indeed not seldom withers, even with all such ministry. However, perhaps the more rational conclusion is that it is no wonder, since you all remembered me, that you have liked me all the better for seeing nothing of me for several years.

I wish I could write you as good an account of Donne himself, as of his dealings towards me. I think he is looking very unwell, worn and feeble, and I fear his anxious desire to discharge his duty to his family induces him to tax himself far more heavily and constantly with labor than is good for him. I really was almost glad of all the running about and trouble and fuss, which my stay at his house and my reading in Bury occasioned him, as I thought almost anything interposed between him and the incessant grinding round and round in his mental mill would be wholesome, if not agreeable to him. He has sworn to come up to the Highlands with me and pay you a visit next summer, and I am sure that something of the sort is really indispensable to him. He certainly is a very charming person. It was a matter of some regret to me, a well as of surprise, to perceive, however upon the more intimate acquaintance of our late intercourse, a vein of deep and black malignity running through his character, for which I confess I was not prepared; you, from long observation, probably are aware of this, which to me seems a curious and lamentable anomaly in this otherwise uncommonly amiable man.

I inclose you, my dear Arthur, half a five-pound note for your "auld brigg," which please to acknowledge, and when you have duly done so, I will inclose its better half for the "new brigg." I make you this munificent donation out of my love for Corrybrough, and a little, too, out of a mere consideration of my own accommodation, for I shall certainly go very frequently across the new brigg, and you know I do not think lightly of myself, and wish the modern bridge to be solid enough for my repeated passage in safety over it.

Donne did the honors of Bury excellently, and showed me the beautiful church and gates, and the school.

Perhaps it was as well that Dr. Donaldson, who was extremely civil and kind in showing me over the latter, was not sympathico (as the Italians say) to me, otherwise I think I might have been quite overcome at the sight of the soil where such a human harvest was raised as that of which your good father was the husbandsman.* When I thought of all that goodly grain (some tares, too, no doubt; but the devil knows his own, and what's more, will have it, too, some day, as I shudder to think)–when, I say, I thought of you all, my schoolfellows, and how far we all are already from those days, I think I might have fallen very sentimental, but for the tonic effect Dr. Donaldson had upon me–a sort of stringent influence, which quite acted as an antidote to all softness. He seems to me hard all over, from the brass sound of his voice to the steel-spring jerk of his body. He certainly is very unlike the last head master of Bury School–my master.

Your grouse were pronounced capital by an assembly of friendly feeders Donne gathered together yesterday, and he has given me a brace to carry to Adelaide. (He is very indiscreet, too; can't keep anything to himself.)

Edward's lease of Kunston Hall is up next summer, and unless they go abroad, I think it really possible that he may take a fancy to coming up to the Highlands. Good gracious, how charmed I should be!–always supposing that I am still in England next year, and could go with them to Scotland.

Thank you, my dear Arthur, for the offer of the Corrybrough homespun, which I should like to wear if it were possible to make it less thick; but I fear that any garment made of the material of which you sent me a sample would be too heavy for me to wear with much comfort. Could not a thinner texture of the same sort of thing be woven, that would not be so massive? If this were practicable, I would give you an order for as much as would make me a whole suit for the moors next year. The sample you sent me is, I think, too thick for my wear.

I shall be in Edinburgh about the second or third week in December. What could be more acceptable (to all parties, I trust) than your being there at the same time! Donne said he should write to you to-day. I don't wish to make mischief, but are you at all aware how very much Donne likes your wife? Don't mention it to Mary Anne, it might shock her; and, indeed, it were every way best forgotten, or, at any rate, taken in connection with a due remembrance of that singular vein of quiet depravity which I told you I had lighted upon in my late season of intercourse with him. Rather curious, I think that two of our friends, Donne and dear "Monsieur Jem,"* should resemble each other in so remarkable a respect.

I am glad you have found out a picturesque lion in your neighborhood, for the sake of yourselves and friends, if you have any who are minded to go far afield for sitch. For my own part, I desire, if ever I should visit Corrybrough again, to see no lions or wild beasts more sublime or beautiful than decent-behaved grouse, rising within shot from the black side of a hag, or a salmon in Mr. W—'s landing-net on a shingly reach of the Findhorn. Give my most friendly pats to all the dogs; my respects to Campbell, Fraser, and Jessie; my very affectionate regards to dear Mary Anne, and believe me always, my dear Arthur, yours and hers most truly and gratefully,


[William Bodham Donne, of Mattishall, Norfolk, was the school and college mate, and lifelong friend of my elder brother; good, amiable, handsome; an elegant writer, an accomplished scholar, a perfect gentleman.

"Monsieur Jem" was the rather disrespectful title by which, in the immediate circle of his intimate friends we designated a person for whom we all entertained a very sincere admiration and profound respect, Mr. James Spedding, whose name recalls to all who knew him, the gentle, wise philosopher and the man of letters, whose habitual silence was silver, whose seldom speech was gold, whose lifelong labor of love on the character, career, and writings of Bacon, was the most appropriate task that sympathy and competency ever devoted themselves to, and whose intimate knowledge of the text (letter and spirit) of Shakespeare made his intercourse most interesting and valuable to me.

A small incident of our life at Corrybrough will give one instance of his habitual self-forgetfulness and consideration for others. By some unlucky accident one day, when the gentlemen were out shooting, part of the charge of one of the guns struck Mr. Spedding in the leg. He was obliged to return home, and did so with some pain and difficulty, leaning on Mr. Malkin. As they approached the house, he straightened himself up and withdrew his arm from his friend's support, saying as he passed the drawing-room windows, "Don't let me lean on you as we go by; the women will be frightened, and think something serious has happened." He was not altogether merciful to me, for one day that I went to pay him a visit, while he was still confined to his room by his accident, he had Milton in his hand, and asked me to read to him the terrible string of "ancient names" which occur in "Paradise Lost."

My musical instinct kept my delivery of them right by the harmony of the noble measure, in spite of my absolute ignorance of the classical value of the biographical, historical, and geographical names of the whole formidable catalogue and nomenclature.

Corrybrough, my friend's pleasant home in the Highlands, was a moorland sheep-farm and grouse-shooting property. The house stood within its own grounds, at a distance from any other dwelling, entirely isolated, with no habitations in its neighborhood but those of the people employed on the land, which circumstances I mention as rendering curious in some degree the incident I am about to relate, of the singular character of which I can give no plausible rational explanation.

I was expected on a visit there, on a certain day, of a certain month and week (the precise date I have now forgotten). The persons staying in the house were friends and acquaintances of mine, as well as of the "laird's," and had all been looking for my arrival in the course of the day. When, however, the usual hour for retiring for the night had been somewhat overpassed, in the protracted hope of my still-possible advent, and everybody had given me up and betaken themselves to their bedrooms, a sudden sound of wheels on the gravel drive, the loud opening of a carriage door and letting down of steps, with a sudden violent ringing of the door-bell drew every one forth again to their doors with exclamations of, "Oh, there she is; she's come at last." My friend and host ran down to open his door to me, himself, which he did, to find before him only the emptiness, stillness, and darkness of the night–neither carriage nor arriving guest–nothing and noboby, so he retired to his room and went to bed. The next day I arrived, but though able to account satisfactorily for my delay in doing so, was quite unable to account for my sham arrival of the previous night, with sound of wheels, horses' hoofs, opening of carriage door, letting down of steps, and loud ringing of the house-bell, all which premonitory symptoms were heard by half-a-dozen different people in their respective rooms in different parts of the house, which makes an unsatisfactory sort of ghost-story.]

* Dr. Malkin was the Master of Bury School.

* Mr. James Spedding.

People on the farm at Corrybrough.

CANTERBURY, Sunday, September 26, 1852

I do sympathize, or did at the proper time, my dear Arthur, with you, because you had the lumbago, and because I have had the lumbago, and am perfectly competent to sympathize to the fullest extent with you, and if my sympathy had "had a body in it," and could it have availed anything in the world towards your alleviation, I should not have delayed so long my expression of it; as it is, this tardy expression of it is but a cold poultice, fit for no use. You are doubtless long enough ago lithe and lissom as is your wont, but I was sorry for you at the proper time.

How exceedingly little you know of the gastronomic resources of that most capital hotel, the Royal, at Lowestoft, if you imagine that grouse were not there among our commendable delicacies! Except the Bedford at Brighton, the said Royal Hotel at Lowestoft is the most luxurious establishment in her Majesty's dominions, and assuredly in the work I mean to publish by and by upon the hotels and inns of England, of which my peregrinations through all parts of the land have afforded me a vast and various experience, I shall certainly award it a distinguished and honorable position. Of course we could have had grouse there if we had pleased, or I believe peacocks' tongues, and therefore hold yours upon the subject of our marine fare, for though we had just as many shrimps, herrings, and lobsters as we wished (which you cannot), we also had mutton and game, and were thus incomparably your superiors; after which bragging, let me add that, though I have no doubt we might have had caper–what the deuce is their name? the wonderful wildfowl that Lord Breadalbane preserves with such tender solicitude, eight hens of which precious bird Mr. Gordon Cumming shot through carelessness the first day he went out at Taymouth–if we had pleased. We never did have any game on that north sea-coast, but a certain red-legged Frenchman of a partridge, which my friend and then companion, Lady Monson, very nearly threw into the waiter's face, so indignant was she at the interlopement (that's the reverse of elopement, isn't it?) of the parlez-vousing biped in our preserves, which she said would consequently amalgamate with and deteriorate and degenerate the English birds. I wish I had had some grouse to stop her mouth with; but if any come while I am at Bury next week I will bless you first and immediately after stop my own mouth therewith.

My dear Arthur, if I had (as I and Marie both supposed I did) shown you my "George," the jewel I have lost, I am very sure you would not have forgotten it; it was the exact counterpart of the ornament worn by our Knights of the Garter, except that instead of being made of or with brilliants, it was of plain and solid gold, most beautifully wrought. It would have more than covered the palm of your hand, and was so heavy that I never could wear it suspended round my neck, but was always obliged to support it on my breast with a large pin or brooch. The only thing in which it differed from the ornament worn by the Queen was in the motto, the royal device of "Honi soit qui mal y pense" being replaced by that of the New York St. George's Society, "Let mercy be our boast, and shame our only fear." It was presented to me in consequence of some successful readings which I gave in aid of the funds of the society, and bore on the reverse an honorable inscription to that effect. I valued it extremely; it was very precious to me. But of course all attempt to recover such a thing was as useless as an endeavor to recover a sovereign once tossed into the melting-pot. It was a mere lump of gold, no more to be identified as what it had been than the last shapeless lump picked out of the Australian diggings. It is gone, and a great, great vexation to me it is.

You bid me recommend any good servants that I know to your use. I do not know any; my sister's household were so good that they have all found places, to which they will go immediately on her departure, and several of them with the understanding that when she returns they are to resume their situation in her house. If you and Mary Anne finally determine to go abroad for the winter, you will surely go to Rome, and then you and Adelaide will foregather, for which I shall envy you all round. How much I am tempted to leave my laborious money-making and go with them towards the sun! God knows, when they are gone abroad, I shall be exceedingly forlorn here, and if you and Mary Anne depart too, my sources of consolation for Adelaide's loss will be grievously curtailed. "Coraggio, Bully Monster, coraggio!" God knows, it's the one thing needful in this "cruelty world," as a little girl once called it. The same mean, underbred cause that keeps me from Italy, viz., impecuniosity, prevents Donne from getting up to the Highlands. It's really disgraceful to be so poor, and I wonder he isn't ashamed of it; I am, I know. We are despicable paupers, and only fit company for each other, and therefore I am going down to Bury next week to add by beggary to his'n for a few days (perhaps the addition will make something of both of us). I shall make sixty pounds by that same, he of course not sixty pence; but, at any rate, one of us will have mended our estate by so much.

Adelaide says she is coming down with me, but I don't believe her; I wish I did, for their departure is fixed for the twenty-first of next month, and I shall see very little of her, I fear, before they go.

There is some talk of my going to Woodbridge, which I only rejoice at for the chance it will give me of seeing Edward Fitzgerald once more. That amiable hermit deserves to be better forgotten by his friends than he is.

I write this to you from the old city of pilgrimage, where I shall abide till Wednesday, when I go for a couple of days to Dover; after that I return to town for one day, previous to going to Bury.

I shall be all the sadder, my dear Arthur, if you do determine to go abroad, for the loss of your and Mary Anne's kind intercourse will be a very great one to me; but I wish to go so much myself that I cannot help thinking it must be the pleasantest thing in the world for everybody to do.

I am reading your "Motherwell," and, what is more, marking it. Will you mind that?–or, as my friendship and vanity together have whispered to me, will you value the book a little the more for my hieroglyphics therein? I think so, and therefore have put them where the text tempted me.

Give my kindest love to Mary Anne, and remember me to Hugh, and Donald, and Campbell, and Jessie. How sorry they will be if you do not return next summer. I wish you were in your old home* and school next week, when I shall be there; but neither you nor your father and mother. Give my respects to her when you write to her.

Good-bye, dear Arthur. Believe me every yours very affectionately,


[Mr. Edward Fitzgerald was an eccentric gentleman and man of genius, who shunned notoriety and fame as sedulously as most people seek them. His parents and mine were intimate friends, and he, during the whole of the life, my brother's and mine. He printed (but I do not know whether he ever published) two small volumes of capital English prose, "Euphranor" and "Polonius," and translated, or rather paraphrased (for he never would admit that they had what he called the merit of translations) the fine Persian poem of "Omar Kayyam," the "Wonderful Magician," and "Life is a Dream," from the Spanish of Caldron, and the "Agamemnon" and "Œdipus" of Æschylus and Sophocles, which he rendered in such admirable English blank verse as to deserve the name of noble original works.

For many years before his death he made his home at Woodbridge, and when I did read there, his friendly devotion to me and my family was an occasion of some embarrassment to me, for when I came on the platform and curtseyed to my audience, Mr. Fitzgerald got up and bowed to me, and his example being immediately followed by the whole room, I was not a little surprised, amused, and confused by this general courtesy on the part of my hearers, who, I suppose, supposed I was accustomed to be received standing by my listeners. Mr. Aldis Wright, Edward Fitzgerald's intimate friend, has long promised the reading public his memoirs, in which, if justice is done to him, he will appear not only as one of the ripest of English scholars, but as a fine critic of musical and pictorial art, as well as literature.]

* His father, Dr. Malkin's house.


Sunday, October 17, 1852.


Let me first tell you that my Order of Knighthood is happily recovered, and I shall again be the only woman besides our gracious lady, the Queen, who will wear St. George and the Dragon upon my breast.

It was discovered in a crack of a very old and curious carved oak wardrobe which stood in the bedroom I occupied at Carolside, and in which my personal attire was deposited. Marie put it therein with the rest of my gear; but the piece of furniture, being antique in the extreme, had sundry secrets gaps and crevices, into one of which my knightly insignia slipped, and was only discovered there last week by the merest chance by a housemaid, who carried it to Lady Monson (joint occupier of Carolside with her and my friend Mrs. Mitchell), and asked her "whatever she thought it could be meant for." Doubtless the worthy Dustabella thought it some auld warld relic, which had lain in the cracked epidermis of the old wardrobe for any number of hundreds of years; and for my part, though I am extremely glad to be again in possession of my patron saint (the dragon?), I am half inclined to deplore its coming to life before 1973, when it would have occasioned such pretty speculations and such wise disquisitions as to the who, and the how and the why, and the where, and the when, and what women were, or were not, entitled to belong to orders of knighthood, etc.

Talking of the dragon, did Adelaide ever tell you her application of the vulgar favorite nursery rhyme to me, her sister?

"The Dragon of Wantley, round as a butt,
   Full of fire from top to toe,
Cock of the walk, to the village I strut,
   And scare them all wherever I go."

My week at Bury was very pleasant, and could only have been more so if you and Mary Anne had been there to see, and if dear Donne had not so mistrusted his own value and my value for him as to give me more of almost anybody's company than his own; but he is a modest man, God help him! and the consequence is, he asked people to meet me, as it is called (oh! how gladly would I shun those meetings for the most part), and shared me with his friends, whereupon I can only conclude that he found me a great deal too much for himself.

On returning to town last Monday I was a good deal alarmed to find my father in the worst stage of one of his lumbar attacks; the malady has, however, passed the crisis very successfully, and he is now again so far recovered as to be able to walk out every day.

Adelaide is in all the discomfort and confusion of preparation for departure, and I in all the sorrow of looking on. They start on Monday week, and I shall certainly be very forlorn until the middle of January, when I think I shall take flight sunward myself, and pursue them to Rome. Perhaps about that time you and Mary Anne may have made up your minds thitherward too, and we may all foregather among the great ruins within sight of Soracte and the Sabine sisterhood of hills, a different mountain group and under a different sky from that which we last contemplated together.

Thanks for all the domestic accounts of fish, flesh, fowl, and apple. Do you think of making cider? You asked after my plans as regards residence. While I remain in London I have many reading engagements, which will keep me pretty constantly on the move till January; my headquarters, however, will be London, and as long as this house remains unlet I shall make it my home while I am in town. After it is let (which I make no doubt it will be after Christmas) I shall betake myself to a very comfortable lodging-house in King Street, St. James', kept by some old servants of the last Lord Essex, respectable people, whom I have known for a long while, and with whom I have found very comfortable accommodation on various occasions

Your old friend Mr. Dalton dined with Donne one day while I was at Bury, and I sat beside him at dinner. I did my very best to be conversible with him, but did not find it very easy, and after dinner he was appropriated and retained by a lady of the party, and did not address me again except to bid me good night.

I do not know whether I shall be in Edinburgh at all this winter. I have had certain overtures, "there have been motions made," but as at present the arrangements are all floating vaguely in a very indefinite Scotch mist, I can speak to no precise time for my being in Scotland, though I suppose I shall be there some time in the winter.

My providences (now that I have cast off Mitchell) are all local, that is to say, I go only to those places to which I receive a special invitation, which generally emanates from some enterprising bookseller, who has an enterprising rival, and wishes to distinguish himself therefrom by getting ("at great risk and trouble") Mrs. Fanny Kemble down to read for the edification of the inhabitants and neighboring gentry, by which speculation he pockets some pounds, and gives his rival a poke in the ribs.

I am hers and yours very affectionately,


[I gave several readings in New York for the benefit of the St. George's Society, a benevolent institution, founded and maintained by Englishmen for the assistance of their fellow-countrymen in America, whose circumstances rendered them proper objects of charity or help of other kind.

On the occasion of my first reading, I observed that the committee of management (all leading members of the society) wore on the left breast of their coats a very handsome badge in silver of the St. George and the Dragon, familiar to all English eyes on the current coin of the realm. The well-known symbol touched a cord of patriotism in my heart, and I was greatly tempted to ask one of the gentlemen to lend me his badge for the evening, while I gave my reading. I withstood the sentimental impertinence of my impulse, however, and contented myself merely with the wish.

The readings were very profitable to the charity, and some time after I had given them, a number of the members called on me and told me that, in recognition of the service which, they were good enough to say, I had rendered them, and in which I had so much pleasure, they had intended and hoped to make me an honorary member of their society, but had found it impossible to do so, the terms of their charter referring to male individuals only, as ("This Englishman," etc., and "for this Englishman," etc.) which difficulty they had not known how to obviate. They therefore gave me a gold badge, similar to the silver one they wore, and which, as I then told them, I had so much wished to wear, if only for two hours.

Their present to me was a beautiful jewel, with a splendid gold chain, to which it was suspended by a cross of rubies. I had lost nothing by waiting, and always afterwards wore the noble ornament whenever I read one of Shakespeare's Historical Plays.

Its very peculiar character has made me reluctant to wear it in private, when it is apt to challenge observation. On one occasion the eager and close curiosity it excited in one of my fellow-guests (a lady in a great country house), made me hasten to place it in her hand, lest she should be quicker than myself in taking it from my neck. My friend Henry Greville told me that once in going out from my reading he had heard a comical discussion between two gentlemen on the subject of the ornament I wore, attached to a broad blue ribbon across my dress, one of them maintaining that it was a foreign order given me by some royal or princely personage abroad. "I tell you it isn't," was the rather testy reply; "she never was ordered abroad or at home by anybody." "Which made me think," said my friend, "that the gentleman knew you."

In the course of several winters I spent at Rome, I frequently passed the evening at the Palazzo Gaetano, with the Duke and Duchess of Sermoneta. (She was an Englishwoman, sister of my dear friend Isabella Knight). One evening she asked me to let the duke see the ornament I was wearing. The duke was quite blind, and to let him see anything seemed strange enough. She took my George, however, and placed it in the palm of her husband's left hand, who rapidly and lightly passing the fingers of his right hand over it exclaimed, "Ah, Pistrucci's St. George and the Dragon," and then warmly praised the elegance, grace and spirit of the group.

He was himself a learned connoisseur of ancient ornamental art, the Etruscan remains of which have, after the lapse of centuries, resumed their place as exquisite adornments in the jewel caskets of modern beauty.

The duke, before he became blind, furnished himself some admirably graceful original designs for the great jeweler Castellina. Among other of his remarkable devices were the fine figures of the angel and the devil, familiar to our writing and reading-tables as the most poetical of paper knives.

My first acquaintance with the Duke of Sermoneta, was at a dinner-party, where I had the honor and pleasure of sitting by him, and when he entertained me with a most humorous account of his family, which, as a newly arrived stranger in Rome, he took it for granted I was not acquainted with.

"We are called Gaetani," said he, "because we came from Gaeta; whether directly descended from Cicero's nurse I do not know, but my wife, the duchess, paints upon china vases our arms on a shield in the middle of crooked lines, intended to represent the waves, but if they represented them better the arms would probably be all washed out.

"We began our family existence as brigands and bandits, which you know is the beginning of all nobility; then we became much more respectable, soldier, condottieri, living decently by seizing other people's land, and building castles of our own upon it, and so were great feudal lords and petty tyrants; then followed priests, prelates, popes, princes, and dukes; but, unfortunately, we were always more poor than powerful, and have gone on getting poorer and poorer, so that now we are positive paupers (qu'a present nous ne sommes que des gueux et pas autre chose)."–"Well," said I, "that is bad, but has one advantage, you cannot go any lower in the social scale."–"I beg your pardon, madam, we can and have, helas! descended lower, for we have become bores, which you probably perceive (Pardon, madame, nous sommes, hélas! descendus plus bas encore, nous sommes devenus des enuyeux et je crois que vous vous en apercevez)."

To the distinction of his noble name and high rank, the Duke of Sermoneta added that of political liberality, social affability, great intellectual and artistic cultivation and accomplishment, and a sparkling gift of keenly witty and brilliant conversational powers.]

VILLA CORREALI, SORRENTO, Sunday, June 5, 1853.


In sight of Herculaneum and Pompeii I sit down to thank you for the books concerning them which you gave me before I left England, desiring that I would not acknowledge them until I was at Sorrento. Perhaps, from the long tarrying of my acknowledgments, you may have thought I had shared the fate of those ingulfed cities and become illustrious by being buried alive, but no such luck. The only apology I can make for the delay of my thanks is very simply to state the fact that, though we have been at Sorrento five days, this is the first in which the bounteous gods have vouchsafed me an inkstand, for Italian palaces, though built of marble, and rising out of orange groves, and commanding from every window, terrace, and balcony, incomparable views of seas, shores, and islands, renowned in history and poetry, and lovelier than imagination, are nevertheless much devoid of the common necessaries of life; and when I tell you that the post takes four days in bringing our letters from Naples to Sorrento (a distance of about thirty miles), bethink yourself of Corrybrough and Inverness and Scotch postal privileges, and be thankful. I think you will agree with me that, to have written to you with a black-lead pencil and trusted to the letter reaching you would have been a clear tempting of Providence.

I have not been at all well since I came to Italy. We had three nights of wretched storm on the Mediterranean, from Marseilles to Civita Vecchia, and I am only now beginning to recover from the manifold ailments my voyage entailed upon me.

I found Adelaide and Edward and her children quite well and thriving, and she inquired very affectionately after you and Mary Anne. They have taken a house in Rome, and are having it furnished for next winter; and, unless some most unforeseen circumstance prevents it, I shall pass my next winter there too. I shall not be able to make out my summer excursion to Switzerland, so that must remain for some other time. Perhaps on my way back from Italy next summer I may accomplish it, and who knows but you may be willing to exchange your own Alps for the Swiss that year.

The place where we now are is enchantingly beautiful, and I think we have the best situated house in all Sorrento. Our windows sweep the whole bay, from Capo di Monte to the little toe of Naples, with its whole background of mountains and foreground of islands. From one of the windows of my bedroom I see Capri and the whole coast between it and Sorrento, and from the other the sea, Naples, Vesuvius, Castellamare, and the whole coast on that side to Sorrento. We have terraces that dominate, as the French say, over earth, sea, and sky; and are surrounded with loveliness and grandeur before, behind, and on either hand. Now you will want to know the drawbacks; but as you probably remember the place very well, you no doubt remember them. There is no beach, and the cliffs, being very high and all crowned with the gardens or orchards of private dwelling houses, one is debarred from that familiar intercourse with the sea which its proximity makes one particularly eager for. We, it is true, shall be able to bathe by passing through the orange orchard of an adjoining villa; but though we may get into the sea, we can very hardly get by it, and our conversation with the nymph of these bright waters, the divine Parthenope, must be rather distant or a plunge into her arms. One would desire a medium. Then, too, Sorrento itself is a mere collection of villas and country houses, whose separate extensive inclosures keep the pedestrian in a labyrinth of stone walls.

Your very affectionate


VILLA CORREALI, SORRENTO, Monday, August 8, 1853.

O Roman! you need not have triumphed so gloriously and furiously from your northern mountains over us of the southern sea-coast. I neither love nor like Italy as I do Scotland, and would give all that my eyes can see at this moment (and they command the sea and shores most renowned in the world for beauty, and among the folds of the mountains lie those plains, the "all manner of deliciousness" which conquered Hannibal's army) for the bleakest stretch of the howling wilderness that lies between Moy and Inverness.

In the first place, "I do agnize a natural and prompt alacrity I find in hardness," though Heaven forbid but that I should perceive beauty wherever it exists (seeing that a "thing of beauty is a joy for ever"). The species of loveliness of this part of the world is the least attractive possible to me. That which is sublime, severe, stern, dark, solemn, wild, and even savage is far more to my taste than this profusion of shining, glittering, smiling, sparkling, beaming, brilliant prospects and aspects. Green, white, or even black water pleases me better than this uncanny-looking element, which seems to be of all the colors of the rainbow, except that of any wholesome water, salt or fresh, that one ever saw before. And oh! my dear Arthur, the Blue Grotto of Capri, with men swimming like magical silver images in its magical blue waters, is nothing so lovely to my mind as that drumlie pool of brown-black, veined with threads of foam, in the Findhorn, by which I stood in the pelting rain, believing that it contained a salmon.

You are perfectly right; Italy is to be eschewed in summer, and I have good reason to say so, for Sorrento disagrees with me extremely, and a fresh breath of the bleakest mountain air would be as welcome to me as that comfortable kiss from the frozen lips of the north wind that poor King John so pathetically implores in his burning agony.

The volcanic atmosphere of the whole region is utterly repugnant to my constitution; and I think that I have never in all my life been in any place which gave me such a general feeling of ill ease, as the French have it.

We return to Rome in October, and though I find the climate of that place heavy and unwholesome to me, I look forward with the greatest expectation of relief to my departure from this feverish, exciting, irritating, debilitating atmosphere.

Now, do you think that you need have flourished that bundle of Highland blossoms under my nose, to excite my envy? (Ah! you left out a sprig of heather and a branch of rowan, but I added them.)

I do not know at all where I shall be next summer. My sister talks of returning to England, and I suppose will do so towards the end of the spring, and I have serious thoughts of coming up to Glen Falloch and striking a bargain with the keeper of that lovely inn, and trying how a whole year of the Highlands would suit me, and whether it would not be a good antidote to the pernicious poison of these ausonian skies.

I mean to go up to Monte St. Angelo before I leave these parts. I have done but little in the sight-seeing line hitherto, for the extreme heat has made even short excursions very laborious.

I did clamber down that–infernal–Calata at Scariatoyo the other day, under a broiling sun, and have not been as right in my mind ever since. Oh! Heavens, what a descent! and how could it have agreed even with a haggis?* Once down on the blazing beach we did not proceed to Amalfi, but falling, boiled, broiled, baked, and utterly extenuated, into the bottom of a boat, we bade the men by all their saints to row us into some shade; and behold, after lying for ten minutes on water, the sight of which seared the back of one's eyeballs, we shot under a huge shadowy vault, where a mass of dark rocks rose from the dark-blue water, under the dark canopy of the overhanging cliffs, and up here we clambered and lay and sat and ate figs and oranges and fresh almonds, and saw the sirens across a reach of dazzling smooth sea, but didn't hear them sing because–we were singing ourselves, and a great deal better than ever they did.

Amalfi, Paestum, Pompeii, Vesuvius, etc., expect us at the end of the dog-days; and not having been to any of these famous places, what can I tell you in return for your welcome and pleasant account of Corrybrough and all its belongings? By the by, Arthur, you never said one word about the Cochin-China hens; have they got backs to their bodies yet, or are they still strutting indecently forth, mere fronts of fowls, without even the behinds that may be had at any milliners? They really appear to me very offensive, and if they were mine I should insist upon their wearing false tails, or, at any rate, never turning round.

Your account of your mother is no more sad than of necessity it must be. I wish, if you can think of it, you would send her my very affectionate respects. Adelaide and I were speaking of her the other day, and Adelaide said that once when she was saying to Edward Fitzgerald how charming your mother appeared to her, he replied with a perfect outburst of affectionate enthusiasm, "Oh! you can never know how charming she was; you never were a schoolboy under her care!" I think that is very nice, and it ought to please you, too, I think.

I was glad that you thought my father looking well, when you saw him. We have both of us written to him since my arrival in Rome, but have heard nothing whatever from him in reply, so that the report of his good looks and good spirits is good news, for which we are very thankful. . . .

I have no idea at all, my dear Arthur, that the Americans will admit, even to themselves, that their exhibition has been a failure. I think it most probable that at this very moment all persons concerned in that enterprise are congratulating themselves in particular, and their country in general, on their having contrived to "flog all Europe." In a letter I got the other day from the other side of the Atlantic, I was assured that Lord Ellesmere pronounced the New York Crystal Palace a much more beautiful and better-built edifice than ours of Hyde Park glorious memory. I suppose his lordship must have been bent upon making himself desperately popular with the New Yorkians. Certainly his and Lady Ellesmere's letters indicate anything but satisfaction, either with their own mission there, which proves to be a most anomalous one, or anything which it had enabled them to observe of America or Americans. I have had a long letter from her, with a long account of my girls, whom she saw in Philadelphia; and I think, judging by that, S— must be much the prettiest and pleasantest thing she has seen on the other side of the water.

My dear Arthur, you say not one word about Mary Anne. I presume, however, that that is simply because, being well and contented yourself, you have naturally or unnaturally considered that your conditions were necessarily hers, but you have nothing to do with housekeeping, and cooks, housemaids and dairy-women are by no means essential parts of your existence, though they are of hers. I trust the whole establishment has been satisfactory in the less noble regions, and that the lower wheels of the household machinery have wrought smoothly and without too much creaking.

Yours always and most truly,


Respects to all the canines. What manner of amalgamation has my namesake been guilty of to be bringing niggers into the field! I hope the grouse will be discreet and let themselves be shot, and the salmon let themselves be caught, and may the mushrooms flourish!

* "For a haggis, God bless it! can charge down hill." WALTER SCOTT.


Thursday, December 22, 1853.

Your kind and pleasant letter, dear Arthur, which I have just been reading over to see if it contains anything more especially to be answered, ends with a question about that poor wretched lady L—d, and a hope that she was not much related either by blood or affection to my dear Harriet St Leger, and here, close by me, lies a letter I received yesterday from her, full of the most painful details of the catastrophe, which occurred at her home, Ardgillan Castle (luckily she was absent from it at the time), where I was staying last autumn twelvemonths, and made acquaintance with the unfortunate young woman whose death has, of course, given an association of horror to the beautiful place, which it will be long before any of the family will be able to overcome. Maria, my friend Harriet's eldest niece, was on the cliffs, and witnessed her cousin's death without being able to render or procure assistance for her. She received the corpse in her arms, when it was at last rescued from the sea, and has ever since been suffering from a most horrible nervous affection of the eyes, which causes her to see half of every one's face like the livid and swollen half of her drowned cousin's face, as she last saw it. Is not that a wretched penalty to pay for having been the most unwilling witness of such a tragedy?

You ask me if I went up Vesuvius. Yes, indeed, I certainly did and I think in a very proper manner. We drove from Sorrento in an open carriage, on a magnificent moonlight night, to Resina, and ascended the mountain by torchlight, myself and a female friend being carried in Portantina from the Artrio de Cavalli to the summit, and Edward Sartoris struggling up on his own legs. The effect of this very partially lighted ascent was extremely fine, and not a little frightful, inasmuch as the torchlight, though sufficient for the well-trained guides and bearers, was quite inadequate to give one the remotest idea of the details of the scene, whose larger features surrounded one with apparently measureless heights and depths of awful sublimity. The groups of the men carrying, preceding, and following us, illumined by vivid, but flashing and capricious glares of light, formed a most picturesque addition to the scene, and the terrible angles at which the chair containing one was pitched now forwards, now backwards, now to either side, according as the bearers scrambled or sprang alternately on great blocks of lava, or fell on their knees as their insecure footing rolled from beneath them, was an additional circumstance of peril, which added the excitement of constant fear to all one's other emotions, and is far pleasanter to remember than experience. We lay on the edge of the crater, wrapped in shawls and blankets, all the rest of the night, and the heat of the burning soil was sufficient to scorch and discolor my woollen dress. Here we saw the stars go out and the great fire of the day kindle in the east, and came down from the mountain when the white clouds issuing from its huge abyss were all colored rosy red with the sun's rays, and as we descended the mountain, Guido's and Guercino's auroras floated in the radiant atmosphere, and we saw them under our feet instead of craning and corkscrewing our necks to look at them over our heads on the ceilings of the Rospègliosé pavilions; and we saw the bay and its beautiful shores smiling like Paradise beneath us, a wonderful, beautiful sight, much beautified by contrast, for Vesuvius is undoubtedly a great deal more like hell than any imagination that can be formed of hell can be. Not even the return of the blessed beneficent light to day seemed to me to relieve its horrors. I have never seen anything in nature before that seemed to me absolutely hideous as this did. The black dismal heap of cinders within whose bowels the pent-up fire rages, the hateful discoloration of the interior of the crater, its feruginous and sulphuric inequalities, from which, as from the gangrenous surface of some horrid cancer-disease in the earth's bosom, rise the pestiferous poisonous fumes it incessantly exhales, which I am sure vitiate the atmosphere of that whole region in no inconsiderable degree; the whole thing bore a horrible aspect to me, which impressed me even more than its awfulness or sublimity. The depths of the Atlantic and the chasm of Niagara are awful, but they are beautiful as well as terrible, and there is an unspeakable fascination in the contemplation of the tremendous destruction of being delivered to them; but Vesuvius had no particle of this mysterious charm of the grander revelations of nature, and not even the blessed uprising of the day, which seemed to crown the whole earth with loveliness, gave any beauty to or took away any ugliness from the grimness of that ugliest place; to which, in my judgment, the term applies with all the shades of significance English or American folk have ever attached to it; and in the common vocabulary of the United States it means (as it should do) wicked as well as unsightly. Never speak or write or hint anything to me about the Monte St. Angelo, because I did not go up it, and that I did not is an abiding sorrow and disappointment to me; but in order to accommodate friends, with whom I was to make the expedition, it was postponed and postponed until finally it had to be given up, and I feel bitterly about it whenever I think of it. The sides and shoulders of the monntain, however, I made some acquaintance with in going over the bridle-path (if such it can be called) from Castellamare to Amalfi, but the Gulf of Salerno, and all that surrounds it, is by far the finest thing I saw; and I am haunted with a longing desire to see Amalfi again, and to settle (not for a year, but for life), on the highest peak of the mountain range behind it, at a place called Ravello, where an Englishman has bought and furnished a house, built in the time of the Normans and Saracens with a Saracenic cloister and Norman tower to it, and a vine-covered terrace that overlooks the Mediterranean from Punta di Palinuro to Misenium. That's the place, if you please! Rome, where you see I now am, seems to me the place in the world where one can best dispense with happiness; and from the bottom of my envious ignorance I cannot help thinking that the pleasure nearest happiness (what a gulf there is between!) must be the enjoyment of a great and fine scholar–like Arnold, for instance–in Rome, present and past,–this Rome of which Poussin in his enthusiasm caught up a handful of the soil, exclaiming, "Ecco la Roma antica!" and that other Rome beneath it, with its unburied and unburiable memories. The outside of Rome is worth all the inside in my judgment, and every day the charm of the Campagna increases in my eyes. I have just got a nice horse, and think with anticipation of pleasure (amounting almost to happiness) of riding every day over that beautiful desert.

We have not a very agreeable society here this winter, at least I think not; but then I am hard to please, and perhaps other people might think otherwise. Thackeray is here, and the Brownings, so it is not their fault if we are not both witty and political.

Than you for all the pleasant details of the Highland farm. When this reaches you, you will be far enough south of Corrybrough, smothered in London smoke, which you appreciate and I do not. We have had rain and darkness to-day that would not have disgraced the city, and it promises foul to continue.


GENOA, Wednesday, June 9, 1854.

How often have you said, "I wonder if Fanny Kemble ever got that last letter of mine?" written you know best when, for the only date upon it is the 21st of Wimpole Street, and I might, if I chose, pretend that I had only received it three days ago; but in truth it is much nearer three months, and I have nothing to say for myself but that I am ashamed of having left your kind remembrance for me so long unacknowledged and unanswered, and now I am coming toward you, not so rapidly but that this, I should think, would precede me by at least ten days.

I am sitting at a balcony at least eighty feet above the pavement of Genoa; the blue Mediterranean is as black as ink, so is the blue heaven of Italy above it, and my right shoulder, which I dislocated by a fall from my horse three weeks ago in the Roman Campagna, and which ever since, though much less useful than usual as a limb, has found out a new cunning, and become extremely expert as a barometer, is aching with the cold and damp of this delicious climate. I do not feel entitled to complain, however, for when I went out this morning I was broiled half through with the intolerable shining of the sun, so that I flatter myself that I enjoy all the atmospheric disadvantages of England and Italy combined just now, and have every reason to be thankful.

I left Rome ten days ago, spent two days at Florence, and two (unwillingly by accident) at Pisa, and was greatly charmed with the dull beauty of the latter place. You know I like stupidity in every thing (I can't help how you may take this, and cannot pull my reasoning straight and tidy with such a very aching arm), and was charmed with the appearance of Pisa, perhaps because all my English friends assured me it was the stupidest place on the face of the earth. The journey from Rome to Sienna (which I was also credibly informed was a miracle of ugly dullness) seemed to me beautiful, particularly the passage of the mountain wall of Campagna above the little lake of Vico, coming down upon Viterbo; indeed, the whole road from Roncilione to Aquapendente (do you know it?) enchanted me, as I slept through the ugly part from Radicofani to Sienna. I remain in some wonderment as to what the merits of the road by Arezzo and Perugia can be, which caused polite travelers to turn up their noses in disdain at this.

Each time hitherto that I have approached or left Rome it has been by the shortest route and rapidest conveyance, the Mediterranean and the steamboat; but this time I determined not to pass by my privileges (Heaven knows when I shall be near these particular ones again!), and so I have diligently diligenced and vetturinoed hither by land, and though there is a railroad down in the street, here under my very nose, with trains running madly every three or four house to Turin, in less than half a day, I am going per diligence along the Riviera to Nice, and thus per diligence again over the Col de Tende to Turin, and so home by the Cenis, Geneva, the Jura, and Dijon to Paris.

You professed wanderers in the Alps scorn the Mont Cenis, I know; but to me, who have never seen one of the great passes of the Alps, I dare say it will seem quite handsome, as the Americans say, and I hope to do things in order and systematically, and so, "Belier mon ami commençons au commencement." If I live till next winter, and can come back to Rome, which I would most gladly do, why then I will try the Simplon or the Splügen, a promotion in the picturesque which comparison will probably enable me to value still more highly.

I left Adelaide still lingering at Rome, whence her time of departure appeared to depend upon when Edward could make up his mind to say they should go. He's coming to England some time this summer, but she and the children will remain at the Baths of Lucca till October, when they will all return to winter in Rome. They were all, I think, a little the worse, physically, for their own two years' uninterrupted sojourn in this perfidious climate, and the beautiful baby seems to me to require the stimulus of a more invigorating atmosphere, especially during the summer.

Pray give my respectful and grateful remembrance to your mother. How long I recollect her, how many images of my own youth and that of my brothers, and the fellowship of pleasant contemporaries, and Dr. Malkin's good-natured notice of and friendly assistance and advice to me, her graceful figure and sweet countenance conjure up!

I am very sorry that Lawrence is obliged to think of trying America as a residence, because I fear he will not find it answer to him. To be sure, if it answers no better than England, he will still, as you very justly observe, find it easier to provide there for his large family. But the life of competition of a foreign artist in America seems to me the last that he could endure. Refined as he is by nature and used to the companionship of those whom I know to be his friends, poor fellow!

I have a sort of notion that your temper, like my own, is not incapable of irritation, and that I ought not to tempt you too much by crossing this execrable handwriting of mine. So keep your temper (unless you can part with it to advantage), and I have done. Give my kindest regards to James Spedding and my best love to Mary Anne; and believe me ever, as ever, yours and hers very sincerely attached,


21 DOVER STREET, PICCADILLY, Sunday, July 9, 1854.

I wasn't the least aware that I was intolerant of bores in general. You say, if "a bore," and therefore perhaps have some particular bore in your eye to whom, in an unusual frame of mind, I may have taken an objection, but I cannot remember any such exception to my universal rule (which at any rate could only be proved thereby) of liking for stupid things, which expression with me includes stupid people, for whom I have not only liking but great esteem and value in this most wearisomely impertinent age of all but universal and infinite cleverness.

What has become of my scheme for spending twelve months at Glen Falloch, say you? Ah! verily, what indeed! My schemes are much like the charming cherubims who declined the courteous country curate's imitation to seat themselves, "n'ayant pas de quoi." They are beautiful from the head upwards, but–"but only to the girdle do the gods inherit"–they are sadly wanting in foundation, and they are extremely apt to keep up a fluttering (like humming-birds, which the children say cannot alight, because they have no feet) over every new charming place they come to, so that perhaps it is as well for me that my schemes do not even set one foot on the ground, or by this time I might have a house on the Lake of Geneva, another in the neighborhood of Turin, another at Mentone, another at Spezia, another, at Sestri, another at Pisa, another at Fiesole, another at Rome, another at Mala di Gaeta, another at La Cava, and another at Amalfi, or rather on the tip-top of the peaked mountain of Ravello, looking from one side to another of the Gulf of Salerno and almost high enough to see Sicily on a fine day.

Perhaps you had no idea I was so inconstant; but I hardly know indeed how you should have, for whenever I wish to enlighten you at all with regard to the real nature of my qualities and character, you are so offended at finding what an odious person you are fond of, that you directly quarrel with me, so that I cannot help it if you do not know that to "stay here" is my invariable feeling in every pretty or pleasant place I come to, partly perhaps because of the wandering "stay-nowhere" sort of life I have led, and partly too from a villainous propensity I have of living entirely and greedily and with all my might in the present, be it whatever it may, a practice of children and poets, but which a woman, who is neither childish nor, I thank the gods, poetical, has no right to indulge in.

You bid me tell you what I am going to do? As far as I know at present it is this: on the twentieth I shall go down to old Windsor and spend three days with Miss Cottin and Mary Anne Thackeray, and on the 25th I think I shall set off with my friend Harriet St. Leger and M— to Ireland. I believe I had told you of our plot for visiting the English lakes, all three together, this summer. Miss St. Leger's sister, however, having asked me and M— to come and visit her at Ardgillan, near Dublin, and advised our finishing up our lake explorations with Killarney, we, upon due debate, have determined to give up the English lakes this summer and do some Irish sight-seeing instead, winding up with our visit to our friends, all which, I suppose, will occupy a month or six weeks, and that is as far as I have looked into the future hitherto.

I think my father, who is looking younger and better, and is, I verily believe, stronger than any of us, rather inclines to going abroad this winter. I hope he will take Henry with him, who is extremely ill, suffering horribly from what I suppose to be inflammatory rheumatism, and looking a great deal more dead than alive. If he, I mean my father, should wish me to go with him, I shall do so, and I believe be glad of it, but if he should not, which is just as likely as not, I shall remain very quietly in King Street, and have the pleasure of seeing you and Mary Anne when you return to London.

You must not curse my poor horse on account of my shoulder. She is a most excellent and sure-footed beast, but the whole country was completely blind, the grass in the Campagna nearly as high as her knees, and I, seeing one deep rut from which I turned her, had not sense enough to reflect that ruts do not run singly, but that the one I saw had a fellow in the grass that I didn't see. I was particularly fond of the mare, for she was so discreet and docile that she would let me, while on her back, let down the top bar of a stagionata, one of the high Campagna fences, and then in the tidiest style hop over the lower ones with me. I liked her so well, that I have not sold her, but merely sent her out to grass for the chance of my being in Rome again this winter, when I would most assuredly ride her, ay, a hunting too, as I did before, and as to my enormous weight, about which you and Smut [the Highland pony I used to ride at Corrybrough] think proper to have had you crack "thegither," I beg to inform you that, thanks to incessant dyspepsia and all my various unfavorable Italian influences, I have come home as thin as a lathe and as light as a feather; so tell that saucy Smut some day when you get on him with your gun in your hand and your game-bag very full.

Give my kind love to Mary Anne, and believe me always yours and hers most truly,


I am so glad Mrs. Mitchell has bought Lawrence's sketch of me. King Street was quite full when I arrived, so I had to turn in here.

29 KING STREET, ST. JAMES', October 15, 1854.


My arithmetic is very apt to be wrong, I am sorry to say, and I do send you nine thanks for my grouse, with which I enjoyed the pleasures, both of greediness and munificence, and the birds were pronounced excellent, alike by me and my friends; but I think, if I had known that grouse were subject to tapeworm (yah!) I should have been even more generous and less greedy, and given them all away. Goodness gracious me! what sophistication on the part of moor fowl! Worms one might understand–heather-worms, or bog-worms, or hag-worms–but tape-worms! Seeing the pre-eminently artificial nature of tape, I am astonished, I confess, and disgusted.

Snow! oh, snow already! That sounds cruel cold, and I do not think I wish to be at Corrybrough for the sake of forcing my winter as it were.

Spedding's gold pen deserves retribution, and doubtless will get it. No man ought to be so lucky as he is with impunity. But the misfortune is that I suspect he has made quiet acquaintance (perhaps even friendly) already with his Nemesis, and she will scare him no more than height or depth or any other creature can. He is an enviable man, and I suppose a very meritorious one, for to be born so wise is surely quite out of the question and out of the power of anybody that ever was born.

The invitation I gave him I do bestow most cordially on you and Mary Anne. I do not suppose I should have presumed to suggest any such thing as your all or any of you taking the trouble to come and pay me evening visits; but Spedding was lamentably deploring to me one day that there was no such unceremonious evening visiting among us as on the Continent or even in America, and on that hint I spake, being likely to be much at home, much alone, and very glad to see any of my friends who will condescend to visit me.

You bid me not answer your letter, but I have certain organic laws of correspondence from which nothing short of a miracle causes me to depart; as, for instance, I never write till I am written to, I always write when I am written to, and I make a point of always returning the same amount of paper I receive, as you may convince yourself by observing that I send you two sheets of note-paper and Mary Anne only half one, though I have nothing more to say to you, and I have to her; to wit, that I have not seen the E—s for some little time now, and M— very seldom writes to me. I went with them to spend a day in Burnham beeches the day before W— returned to Harrow, about a month ago, but have not seen any of them since.

My father varies very much, and is some days very ill and others again quite wonderfully well. Donne I see pretty frequently, and we are good neighbors. I am going with him on Wednesday to see a revival of "Pericles, Prince of Tyre." I cannot well imagine how that can be represented, but seeing is believing.

Adieu! My regards and respects to the dogs and Smut, believe me, ever yours most truly.


16 SAVILLE ROW, Saturday, July 7, 1855.

Thank you, my dear Arthur, for your screed of news from Corrybrough. It makes me die with envy to read of the flowers, and the river, and the grouse, and the no people. London is more fast and furious, it seems to me, than ever, and though I am not all embarked on the mad waters, but stand remote from it all on the shore, the uproar fills me with discomfort and dismay. I think nothing can be more depressing to the spirits than to live in the middle of a tremendous bustle without mixing in it. I shall be very glad when my time comes for being able to go; and as Edward Sartoris is now returned, I hope he will give the necessary attention to my poor brother Henry's affairs to make me feel at liberty to leave England for a couple of months.

I am very much obliged to you for your additional suggestions for my Swiss tour. The first part of my expedition is that which I like best, and that (I mean Upper Dauphiné and the Valais) I trust we shall accomplish.

I am very glad that you indorse my approbation of the lower shore of Lochetive. I thought the drive from Dalmally to Thagivilt round these shores one of the loveliest things I ever saw.

I will give your message about the grouse to Adelaide the first time I see her, but London avocations interfere not a little with family as well as friendly relations, and I could have chimed in very well with Mrs. Procter's lamentation to me this morning who said, "Oh! I was so glad to think that Adelaide had come back from Rome. She has been here nearly three weeks and I have seen her once."

Thank you for your kind inquiry after my dear friend, Harriet St. Leger. I escorted her yesterday half way down to York, in the neighborhood of which city she is going to stay with some friends for change of air, and quiet. She is wonderfully recovered already, considering the severity of her attack.

I should like a young Wasp extremely, if you find that you can spare me one, and though I shall lie in an hourly agony for fear of losing him, nevertheless I think I should like to have the chance of doing so or the contrary.

I gave your message to our friend the librarian, * who declared that if the thing could be compassed by men, he surely would go up to that "abomination of desolation" of a country of yours and pay you a small visit.

I met Monsieur Jem at the Romilly's last week. He replied to my asking him if he was going up to Corrybrough, that I must ask Edward Romilly, in whose department of State business he has now accepted some share, and evidently expects to have plenty to do.


* Mr. Donne, Librarian of the London Library.

Mr. James Spedding.

BOSTON, Monday, April 7, 1857.


Your letter was very welcome. I think often and affectionately of you among my other friends, and wondered a little that I had not heard from you. I am, however, a reasonable woman in one respect, I seldom call my friends to account in my own mind. What they give me seems always of pure grace, and my friends have been very liberal in constancy and kindness to me, and therefore when I am inclined to desire other or more demonstration of regard than I receive from them, I always blame myself for a sort of presumptuous trespassing on the liberty of love which should, I think, be unquestioned.

I have often thought with great regret of my declining to take the dog you offered me, and feared more than once that I had offended you and Mary Anne by rejecting your kindness; but I really was afraid of the trouble of the dog on board ship, where I knew I should be quite incapable of looking after him, and then I thought that in my meeting with S— I should utterly forget and neglect the poor thing, at least I fancied this, for after all I could very well have cared for him after I landed, for S— did not join me for two days, and I should have gained his affection and established my authority in some degree in that time. It was not want of regard for either of you that made me refuse him, though, according to the old canine proverb, you may have thought so.

I carried your letter with your account of your Swiss climbing to the house of Agassiz, who is now a professor of Harvard (Massachusetts) College, with whom I was invited to spend the evening. His bright face brightened as I read him of your exploits, and he told me some of his own. He showed me, hanging in his library, a magnificent photograph of the glacier of the Aar, and I forget what incredible number of nights and days he told me he had lived and lain there on the ice. I was very much struck with his saying that he never suffered the least distress in climbing the mountains, but had breath to spare for smoking a pipe all the way up the Jungfrau. He is an immense man, but well proportioned, so that I suppose his weight is not too much for his strength. Oh! what would I not give to see those snow-peaks again!

I have been to the great West this winter, to St. Louis, beyond the Mississippi, across the prairies, and to the further shore of Lake Michigan, and very thankful indeed I am to be once more back in New England, which is more like Old England than any other part of this huge and most wonderful country.

The hurry of life in the Western part of this country, the rapidity, energy, and enterprise with which civilization is there being carried forward, baffles all description, and, I think, can hardly be believed but by those who have seen it. Cities of magnificent streets and houses, with wharves, and quays, and warehouses, and storehouses, and shops full of Paris luxuries, and railroads from and to them in every direction, and land worth its weight in gold by the foot, and populations of fifty and hundreds of thousands, where, within the memory of men, no trace of civilization existed, but the forest grew and the savage wandered.

I was at a place called Milwaukee, on Lake Michigan, a flourishing town where they invited me to go and read Shakespeare to them, which I mention as an indication of advanced civilization, and one of the residents, a man not fifty years old, told me that he remembered the spot on which stood the hotel where I was lodging, a tangled wilderness through which ran an Indian trail. Does not all that sound wonderful? You and Mary Anne ought to come out and see this country; you have no incumbrances, and are both good travelers.

My dear Arthur, I have just received a letter from Mr. Donne, in which he gives me news of you and Mary Anne, or rather of her, that I am very sorry indeed to receive, that she is suffering from her eyes and hindered in all her usual employments and enjoyments by their condition. This is very grievous, and I am very sorry for it. Pray give my affectionate remembrance to her. I do not know, after all, but what I was saying to you that you ought to come to America might really be of use to her. The sea voyage does wonders sometimes for all sorts of ill conditions, and might prove salutary to her eyes.

Farewell, my dear Arthur. Give my affectionate respects to your dear mother, and believe me always yours most truly.


I have been working hard all the winter and half believe I shall die a rich woman.

REVERE HOUSE, BOSTON, Thursday, November l0, 1857.


Your kind note comes to me through Donne, after I have been near three weeks on the wrong side of the Atlantic, and have not yet got over my sea illness, which is the proper term to apply to my maritime experiences, a usual form of sickness not being among them, which is the reason, I suppose, why I suffer so miserably, both during and after the voyage.

You will have heard, no doubt, from that convenient liar, "somebody," of our obtaining from Sir Samuel Cunard the captain's stateroom in the steamer of the 8th of October, the date at which I had originally intended to sail.

I wish I had been at Corrybrough when Mr. Wills was there. He must be next best thing to an Alp, and I have read of his climbings with envious delight. I do wish with all my heart I could ever have made a Swiss expedition with you and Mary Anne. I shall be too old (and am too fat) three years hence, when, please God, I will see the Alps again.

On my arrival here, my eldest daughter met me with her new husband. They staid here two days with me, and then departed for Philadelphia, taking F— with them, and now I am alone, settled for the winter at the Revere House, Boston, Massachusetts, whither, if you should direct a letter or letters, they would reach me.

On my arrival here I was greeted with news of a slave insurrection, a duel between two senators, and a murder between two Boston men of business; and should have guessed whither I had come, if I had not known it.

I do not love to see the "chips fly," or to hear that saddest of all sounds, the slow unwilling crashing down of a great live tree, which I have heard here in a lonely wilderness, which looked as if man had never set a foot in it, to a whistled accompaniment by the woodsman from the Trovatore, a good sample in its way of the savageness and civilization combined, which meet one here at every step.

Yours very affectionately,


I direct this to Wimpole Street, knowing no better.

NEW YORK, Sunday, November 29, 1857.


The news of the fall of Delhi has only this instant reached me, first with the horrible addition that our people had massacred all the inhabitants, which, I thank God, has been contradicted by the second report, the tenor of which is that the wretched women and children were spared. The first horror, however, of hearing that Christian Englishmen had perpetrated such an atrocity, gave me such a shock that, in spite of the blessed later news, I feel as if half the bones in my body had been broken. We have, of course, as yet no details, and cannot have till the next mail comes in; but I have lived now so long on the terrible story of all our people have been suffering, that it will be a blessed expectation to look forward to numbers of the Times newspaper, without fresh horrors and atrocities inflicted on our people by those miserable Eastern savages, or vice-versâ.

Thank you for your kind long letter, and thank Mary Anne for her kind short addition to it. I have heard from time to time through Donne, how it was faring with you both, and have sympathized most sincerely in your anxiety about her eyes and her privation of her use of them. I think the German doctor who has restored her, even partially, without the nervous distress of an operation, deserves infinite credit.

The best part of my year is over, the summer with S—, who returns to Philadelphia for the winter months on the 1st of December; after that, I shall resume my readings, and work hard, probably the whole time, till the summer months come round again, bringing for me the one blossom of my year.

I find living in America very, very irksome to me in many respects, and I am often sadder than I ought to be, when I think that my home for the rest of my life must certainly be here, even if I should revisit my own country, of which at present I see not the remotest chance. My child does not appear to wish to visit Europe, and all idea of her doing so is strongly opposed.

I think you and Mary Anne, who travel so easily and well, and without incumbrances, ought to "step over here" and see Niagara; that would perhaps repay you for the sea voyage, though, if that did not, I hardly know what would.

You read and hear of course of the sort of financial and commercial tornado which has swept over this country. It is impossible to conceive anything so curious to one on the spot, to whom the real positive wealth and prosperity of the country is as obvious as any of its natural features, and who sees in the crashing ruin falling on all sides the most extraordinary illustration of the fact that moral foundations are the only stable ones even for material prosperity, and that a man's faith in his neighbor is a more absolutely valuable thing than any amount of money they may either of them possess. The selfish cowardice which has caused the greater part of all this fearful smash is the most disgusting exhibition of the meanness of human nature that can be conceived. Half the people who have been ruined have been so because they and their neighbors were afraid they should be ruined, and for no other earthly reason. I do not believe the lesson they have received, severe as it has been, will affect their future proceedings in the least. Gambling is the only industry the majority of those so called "in business" are capable of and if they were minded to pursue fortune in a soberer and safer way, they have not the requisite qualities for so doing.

I spent an evening with Agassiz a short time ago, and told him of the ascent of the Schreckhorn, which was chronicled in the Times. He says it is a mistake to say that it was never ascended before, though it may not have been climbed by the route Mr. Anderson took. He himself and certain others, whom he mentioned to me, have ascended certain peaks of the Schreckhorn; but he says the crest of the mountain consists of a number of peaks, I think he said as many as six or eight, and it is very possible that some may never have been ascended, and some only once. He is thinking of visiting his native country next summer, and will go to his old field of observation, the Aar glacier, to see what has become of various landmarks he left in the ice, among others a well upwards of a hundred feet deep, that he sank in the ice and filled with gravel and wood and that he expects to find in certain conditions of alteration, such as he calculates ten years working of the glacier must exhibit on such an experiment. I think you ought to go and meet him. Oh, dear! what would I not give to be able to be as near that same trysting-place as my infirm years, size, and sex would allow!

It is not likely, my dear Arthur, let me live as I will, that I shall ever be a rich woman, if I am to live in America; the cost of one's existence here is something fabulous, and the amount of discomfort one obtains for money, that purchases a liberal allowance of luxury as well as comfort in Europe, is by no means a small item of annoyance in one's daily life. For instance, I have just arrived in New York, where I shall probably spend the greater part of the winter at a hotel, and have been making inquiry as to prices of rooms, etc. I have a very lofty, airy, cheerful, good-sized drawing-room, with three large looking-glasses set in superb frames, green-and-gold satin curtains and furniture and carpet and rug of all the splendidest colors in the rainbow. The bedroom, which goes with this magnificent trumpery, is a small closet without curtains to the window or bed, no fireplace (and the range of the winter thermometer in New York is from zero to twenty-one degrees below it), a bed pushed against the door, so that the latter cannot open, a washing-stand, which is a fixture, i.e., a corner cupboard, containing a waste-pipe and plug in a sunk marble basin, with a turncock above it, because that saves the housemaid the trouble of emptying slops; there is not even room or any substitute for a towel-horse. Does not the juxtaposition of such a drawing-room and such a bedroom speak volumes for the love of finery and ignorance of all decent comfort, which are alike semi-barbarous. For this accommodation and a bedroom for Marie I am expected to pay sixteen guineas a week, so that you see, let me work as I will, it is not possible for me to save much where my mere board and lodging are at such rates, and everything else, carriage-hire, clothes, etc., are on the same extravagant scale. I cannot help thinking sometimes of the amount of comfort, enjoyment, and pleasure of all sorts I could command almost anywhere on the continent of Europe for the expense that here cannot procure me what we call the decencies of life, simply because they are not to be procured; and then I think that my children are dear to me in the most literal sense of the word.

Dear Arthur, I wish I could see the plantations at Corrybrough, and the red water of the Findhorn and the blue distance of the heather hills. I wish I could shake hands with you and Mary Anne again. Give her my kindest love. May Heaven preserve her eyes! Give my most affectionate respects to your mother. I rejoice to hear of her prolonged health and enjoyment of life. Remember me very kindly to James Spedding and the Romillys, and believe me, ever as ever,

Affectionately yours,


SYRACUSE, Sunday, April 18, 1858.

This letter was begun three days ago. I didn't lecture on Sunday.

Don't I know what the three per cents. are, without pulling anybody's ear, but only tearing my own hair and gnashing my own teeth for the knowledge? Oh, Arthur! (not King, but Malkin), hadn't I seven thousand pounds invested in New York, paying me seven per cent, (the legal interest in that state) which gave me an income of four hundred and ninety pounds a year, and did not my trustees withdraw those same seven thousand pounds from their American investment and put them into the English funds, whereby they yield me precisely two hundred and ten pounds yearly? If this do not teach a woman the nature of the three per cents, she must be a borner fool than I am. Oh! it is bitter to think of, but needs no explanation; the experience is all sufficient, and by night and day, when I can't sleep and have nothing else to think of (both which conditions occur seldom), my sole cogitation, conjecture, and deliberation is "when those men die, shall I be able to get my money's worth again?" Don't you wish you were one of my trustees, to be so often and affectionately remembered by me?

Thank you, my dear Arthur, for your pleasant letter, for the pleasant tidings of your wife and mother. Give my love to Mary Anne. I rejoice that her precious eyesight is preserved to her, even though it be with some limitation of its use and enjoyment. Give my affectionate respects to your mother. I am grateful to her for her remembrance of me. I wish you and Mary Anne would go to Switzerland next summer, for I am mightily minded to be there myself. In Europe I must be, that is to say, I must come to England to look after Henry's boy and our Chancery-pounded property (for we are still without one farthing of the small inheritance my father left us), and to gather together my scattered property in the shape of books, plate, and pictures, to bring them over here for a final settlement, which, unwilling, most unwilling as I am to make it, must be made on this side the water, if I am to make it on this side the grave; so, my dear friends, I have good hope to see you once more, if I live till June next year.

I am glad you went to the Einfishthal. When I wrote the story, I had no idea that there really was a place so called, and rejoiced extremely when I found it in my Murray. I should like much to go thither, but daily grow less able to carry myself and less fit to be carried by others.

Now I will tell you a comical experience I have gone through to-day. I am spending a week at Syracuse. Don't think of Dionysius or Arethusa, or its famous Roman conqueror, whose name I forget just now–oh, Marcellus; I shall forget my own name presently. This is Syracuse in the State of New York, whither I have come from Utica, passing through Rome and Verona on my way, a bustling, busy, thriving town on the Onondaga lake, and a few miles from the Oneida lake. (Pray admire the combination of classical and savage cognomens that I have gathered together from this immediate neighborhood for you.) The Erie canal runs through the town, and the most abundant and productive salt springs in the United States lie just beyond it. It has upwards of twenty thousand inhabitants, the streets are wide, cheerful, clean, planted with trees, and well endowed with churches of all denominations, and those real churches of the United States, their admirable district schools. The country round is picturesque, and the soil excellent for agricultural purposes, and a tailor who made himself a fortune of twenty thousand pounds has built himself a castle on a commanding eminence near the town, and shut it up and gone back to tailoring to make the means to live in it. So much for the various features of Syracuse.

I am giving readings here just now, and was besought extremely by a friend of mine, a worthy and excellent clergyman of this place, to bestow an hour's reading this morning on a convention of all the school-masters and school-mistresses of the county, who are just now assembled here for purposes of public examinations and other matters connected with the interest of education.

Some years ago I was requested to do the same thing in the city of New York, and read to an audience of seven hundred district school teachers; so this morning I went my way to the Town Hall with my clerical friend, who is much interested and employed in matters relating to public education here.

I found an assembly of nearly two hundred young men and women, intelligent, conceited, clever, eager-looking beings, with sallow cheeks, large heads and foreheads, narrow chests and shoulders, and all the curious combination of physical characteristics that mark this most restless, ambitious, pretentious, and ignorant people, whose real desire for improvement and progress seems to me only equaled by the shallow empiricism of the cultivation they achieve. There is something at once touching and ludicrous in the extreme, in the desire exhibited at all times by the people of this country for the fine blossoms and jewels, so to speak, of civilization and education, and their neglect and ignorance of the roots and foundation of education and civilization; and so these country school-masters and mistresses earnestly desired to hear me read that they might "catch something of my style" and will elocutionize, as they call it, by the hour out of Shakespeare and Milton, and in their daily converse employ such dog English with allocutions so vulgarly ungrammatical, and an accent so vile, that Shakespeare and Milton would not know their own native tongue in their mouth. My reading (to return to that), was on this wise–

"I will read you Hamlet's soliloquy and speech to the players." Having finished them, "The air of this room is pestiferous. You have here no ventilation, and two rusty sheet-iron stoves all but red hot."

"I will now read you the lament of her brothers over the supposed dead body of Imogen." Having finished it, "You have now thrown open windows at the top and bottom, on opposite sides of the hall, producing violent draughts of cold air. Such of you as are exposed to them will get colds or the rheumatism."

"I will now read to you Mercutio's speech about dreams." Having finished it, "There is a strong escape of gas going on in this room; the screws in the gas-burners are none of them turned square; you are inhaling poison, and I am being choked."

"I will now read you Othello's defense before the Senate of Venice."

This being ended, I shut my book and asked them of what use it was for them to listen to or learn poetical declamation while they were sitting there violating every principle of health and neglecting the most necessary of all elementary knowledge, that which concerns the physical well-being of themselves and their pupils. So much for my first and last public lecture on education. I felt so angry with them for what they wanted to know, and so sorry for them for what they did not know! But surely they are strange people. The president of the "Educational Convention" had been mad, and to judge by his restless eyes and unsettled countenance, white cheeks and overwhelming forehead, may be mad again to-morrow.

Affectionately yours,


Oh! I wish I could show you S—, she is so handsome and so clever.

BOSTON, Monday, November 15, 1858.


It gave me great pleasure to receive your letter and hear news of all your belongings, from your mother and wife down to poor little Wappy, and my much-supporting and undergoing faithful friend Smut. I had heard from Adelaide of her visit to you, and of her stay at Kinrarra, and was glad to find that she participates in my enthusiasm for the Highlands. Kinrarra, by her account (and that of the guide-books), must be a bonny place, but I am afraid, even if I manage to get to Scotland next summer, I may not see it, for I do not think Lady Monson took it for more than one season. I wish my cousins, the Grants, would go home to Rothiemurcus, and then one might visit them, and explore their neighborhood, which I believe includes Kinrarra.

What do you think the men here–Boston–are doing? and chiefly at the instigation of Agassiz–organizing a club to buy up a whole region of wilderness, still existing unredeemed and unsophisticated in the remoter part of the State of New York. It is called familiarly the Adirondacks, because it is traversed by a mountain range rejoicing in that name, and is a huge forest, the only path through which is a chain of lovely lakes that join hands throughout its length, and down whose shining liquid avenue you may float for a week, seeing nothing but panthers, few–bears, fewer–deer, many, and trout most; and where Agassiz says he saw a waterfall finer than the Handeck, which is saving much.

Parties of sportsmen have for some years past frequented this wilderness, under the convoy of guides and native hunters, but the forest is beginning to be pared, and on its huge outer edge, as on the shore of an unknown sea, huts and shanties of wood-fellers are beginning to anchor, and where the streams flow out from the charmed solitude into the daylight of civilization, huge steam saw-mills stand panting to catch the prostrate giants of the forest, as they float down from this wide timber preserve, and convert them from columns that prop the clouds into the narrow platitude of planks and shingles. Railroads are projected figuratively, and already partly, literally into the bosom of the vast hunting-ground, scarcely left by the Indians and found by the whites. And so Agassiz and the Boston desk and counter men are combining to buy up the whole remaining wilderness and keep it savage for themselves, the deer, and the trout. Shall they make you an honorary member of the Adirondack Club? and give you the freedom of the forest for a month or so? I wanted to go there very much this summer, but S— is not at all savagely disposed, and sleeping on hemlock pine branches, with no pomatum for her hair but the resin thereof, which is apt by the morning to have made an agglomerate of one's mane, would have had few charms for her, and I shall never be young enough again to go thither.

By the by, in our own little way among the hills and valleys of Berkshire, Massachusetts, we have contrived to be quite effective and accidental; for, visiting a very fine mountain gorge about five and twenty miles from Lenox, with a party of people, who were staying at my house, what should one of them–a young New York dandy–contrive to do by way of a pleasing incident, but tumble down a rocky precipice fifty feet deep into a mountain torrent, which carried him like a leaf with its own fall into a pool about twelve feet deep, out of which he swam and scrambled wet, but none the worse. Wasn't that clever? And mustn't a man be compact in body, mind, and soul to bear turning upside down after such a fashion as that? I left my rheumatism in that same ravine in consequence of the super-human efforts I made to make haste and get brandy, and eau-de-cologne, and towels, and flesh brushes for this same hero, from our traveling bags, which were waiting in the carriages at the entrance of the glen, up which I hobbled, and down which I flew.

If I live, I hope to see England, and my friends in it, at the beginning of the month of June. It is very impossible to say that I shall never again return thither, but it is certain that I must look to America henceforward as my abiding place, for I have utterly given up all hope and expectation of my children ever settling anywhere else, and it is better so, in spite of all my wishes, and all my regrets.

Good-bye, dear Arthur. God bless you! Give my affectionate respects to your mother, my kindest love to Mary Anne, in whose partial recovery of sight I rejoice with all my heart, and believe me ever, as ever, yours sincerely attached,



Monday, March 1, 1859.


Your account of Mary Anne's condition is very sad and very saddening. I pray with all my heart that it may be alleviated ere long, for both your sakes, but chiefly for yours, for indeed I think yours the heavier burden of the two. To be condemned helplessly to watch irremediable suffering in those who are dear to us seems to me the heaviest of human sorrows in which sin has no part.

My dear Arthur, it is a very melancholy consideration to me that an income of seventeen hundred a year should be rendered, by the inordinate cost of living in this country, a very narrow one, not sufficient to enable me to live with a couple of servants in two rooms in a boarding-house in Philadelphia; but such is the case. For this lodging (in many respects exceedingly inconvenient and uncomfortable), and the very simplest food, I pay twenty-eight guineas a week, fourteen hundred and fifty-six pounds a year, leaving me a margin of one hundred and fifty pounds for every other necessary and every other luxury of life. It is really lamentable. However, as I shall certainly, if I live, return again to live in this country, I shall be obliged, in order to do so, to accept the offer which S— and my son-in-law have made to me, that I should make my home with them. This living with married people and in other people's houses is open to many very serious objections, in my opinion, and I regret very much that no other course should be open to me, but at present it appears as if I had no other alternative, if I am to inhabit the same country with my children. In the mean time, I am coming to England in June, when I hope, with all my heart, to find you more happily circumstanced than you are now. I trust I shall spend the summer in Switzerland, and the winter in Italy, and should I do so, may never live to come back and worry myself about the inadequacy of an income of seventeen hundred pounds to keep a single old woman in this dearest of all the worlds.

God bless you, my dear Arthur, and sustain and comfort you in your trouble.

Always affectionately yours,



Thursday, September 8, 1859.


I owe you many thanks for your kind long letter, which I found waiting for me at my present headquarters in London, 29 King Street, to which hospitable roof I shall repair for shelter whenever I have occasion to be in town now till I sail for the "other world." I have been much tempted to delay my return thither, for the chance of going in the Great Eastern, and shall still perhaps do so if I find that she returns to the United States, after her trial trip, which she makes to Boston on the 29th of this month.

I was greatly surprised and pleased to hear of Lawrence's being in England, but am afraid I shall not profit thereby, as he and Monsieur Jem are both at Monckton Milnes', in Yorkshire, and I leave town on Saturday for Hampshire, where I hope to remain quietly with Adelaide, until I depart this English life.

I was, as usual, perfectly enchanted with all I saw of Scotland. We had lovely weather, and our route (though I say who chose it and therefore should not) was beautiful. We railed from Edinburgh to Callander, drove from thence to the Trosachs, where we spent a day, from thence half up Loch Katrine by steamer, then across to Loch Lomond at Inversnaid, up Loch Lomond to Inverarnon, where we spent a day and a half, because we there saw twenty-four trout leap up a waterfall in thirty minutes, thence we drove to Dalmally, where we slept, from thence we drove the next day to Oban, and slept there, after one of the most lovely sunsets over the sea and islands that it is possible to behold. Next morning we steamed to Balachulish ferry and breakfasted there, while the raff of tourists aired Glencoe for us. We then drove from Glencoe to Invernouran and slept there, the next day drove to Killin, where we spent a beautiful sunshiny Sunday, and the next day drove from Killin to Callander by Loch Earnhead, Lubnaig, and the pass of Leny. Was not that a pretty and well-arranged tour? We staid a day in Edinburgh going and coming, and I was very sorry to hear that your friends, the Sandfords, have met with such serious loss of property.

On our way south we passed a day at Durham, for which place and cathedral I have an especial admiration. We then visited friends in the neighborhood of York, and I saw for the first time, what doubtless you are familiar with, the chapter house of the Minster. I had often seen the grand church itself, but never that beautiful adjunct to it. I am now reduced to a shopping machine. F— went off to Westbury with her cousin Greville for escort yesterday, and I am here ordering all things for her and my final flight.

My luck is greater than I expected. I have just received a note from Spedding, promising to come with Lawrence and dine with me on Friday, and as Donne will come too, I have only to wish that you and Mary Anne were here to meet them. I am very sorry indeed to hear of Mary Anne's being so unwell; I trust her eyes will not be affected by this indisposition, as it always seems to me the most cruel visitation on one who made such good use of those blessed members, and one to which the moderate use of merely drawing and reading did not appear to render her liable.

Our Paris excursion did not answer, the heat was perfectly intolerable, our whole time was passed in running in and out of shops, wasting time, spending money, and losing temper–three bad employments if ever there were.

The city is very fine, and Monsieur Louis (the emperor) has made a good clear avenue for cannon (or other military diversions) from the Place Louis Quinze to the Bastille. I have not much fear of his coming to England. It would not be worth while putting us to great inconvenience (which he assuredly would), for the ultimate result of being himself put to much greater. He is, I take it, much wiser in his generation than any child of light; and yet after all the light that is in him (very powerful gas, though it certainly seems) may turn out sheer darkness in a little while. He is an uncommonly clever rascal, of whom I do not think it becomes a nation of honest men to be afraid–though certainly much aware. These be my views of Monsieur Louis, with which I bid you farewell. Give my love to Mary Anne, and keep a due proportion for yourself.

Affectionately yours,


WESTBURY HOUSE, Thursday, September 15, 1859.


Your "fish story" was much relished by us all. Perhaps I was the most enthusiastic appreciator of it, as to catch a seven and a half pound salmon would certainly seem to me the nearest thing to going to heaven "on my own hook." Would I had been there! Poor Mr. Williams must have lamented his heroic tendon more than ever; he was the fisher of your party in my days.

I have eaten here grouse, due to your friendly generosity, and I have thanked you unsentimentally with all my teeth, for how can one thank with all one's heart for food–even grouse?

I went out the other morning to see the first cub-hunting of the season, and clomb through the bright dewy morning to a high stubble field crested with tangled thickets, in one of which the hounds and hunters (my daughter among the rest), were busy searching for young foxes, while from a small knot of dwarf oaks woven together with a perfect tapestry of clematis and blackberry bushes a pet bull dog, who was not allowed to join the noble company of foxhounds, started for my solitary delectation, two coveys of partridges and five beautiful pheasants. The destroying angel was strong in me, and I yearned for a gun.

I think I wrote to you before Monsieur Jem and Lawrence dined with me. Mr. Ellis, Frank, and Walter, and Donne, made our party, with M— and myself. I thought Lawrence looking well, and I think he is probably more glad than he cares to say to be once more on this side of the Atlantic. He said something of perhaps passing the winter here. I am afraid America does not answer to him as well as he had at first hoped, but Mrs. Lawrence finds it a congenial residence, and I suppose her girls have a better chance of getting married there than here.

I hope Mary Anne's toothache has given up even its short nightly visit. As for me, I came down hither on Saturday with a pestiferous influenza, with which I have more or less endowed every member of this household; I believe no malady to be more certainly infectious. Good-bye, my dear Arthur. I am very grateful for Donne's poetical effusion. We are expecting him and Frederick to come down here soon, meantime I am obliged to return to London to find, if possible, means of taking my child back to America. My application, made a fortnight ago at the ship office in the city, for a passage for the 8th of October, was met by the agreeable information that they had not a single berth vacant for the whole month of October. All America must be in Europe. Once more, good-bye.

Yours always truly,


LENOX, Wednesday, May 8, 1860.


The same post that brought me your letter brought me one from Harriet St. Leger, containing the same sad news and nearly the same details of Mr. Ellis's death. I could hardly be as much attached to M— as I am, and not entertain considerable regard for her father, not only for her sake either, but as a natural consequence of my friendly intercourse with him, and the cordiality and kindness with which he always treated me. It is very painful to me to have written to M—, to congratulate her on her father's recovery, a letter which she will have received after his death. I wrote it in consequence of having heard from Harriet, that Mr. Ellis had been ill, but had recovered entirely from the attack.

My dear Arthur, I am sorry for the revival of old griefs that this new grief causes you. I am sorry for the sad tone of your letter, and for the gloomy winter you seem to have passed in London. Good Lord! if you could see the place where I passed the greater part of mine–quite alone–sometimes as nearly as possible without any servants, at another time with two in my house who had been convicted thieves, and whom I kept partly because I knew not where to turn for others, and partly in the hopes of reforming them, as they were young people and young offenders!

Corrybrough in winter is not more lonely than Lenox, and certainly it cannot be colder, for just at the beginning of February, after rather temperate weather, the thermometer in one night fell forty degrees, and in the morning stood at thirty-two degrees below zero. This did not last, but neither had it need, for if it had, I am of opinion that nothing else would have lasted; certainly nothing of me but what is everlasting would. I am glad, for your sake, that Adelaide is coming to London; you will mutually benefit each other. If I live, I will be in London, too, about this time next year, and from thence I mean to go to Switzerland, and I wish you and Mary Anne would go along with me. Donne wrote me word that your Alpine wings were clipped, for that you had acknowledged that you had over-exerted yourself on your last Swiss tour, so that you will probably not be so magnificently contemptuous of the groveling ascensions of a fat elderly female; de mon espèce.

A French Hamlet–um!–Mr. Fechter's; the best I ever saw was German, Emil Devrient's; but, then, German and English, so far as Hamlet is concerned, are one; but a "parlez-vous!" I may like it prodigiously if I ever see it; but I do not feel as if I should.

The United States schism, my dear Arthur, has become a wide yawning cleft, like your favorite Swiss abysms, with a mad tumult of folly and wickedness, and none but Vie Male on either side of it. The whole spirit of the people is gone; it seems to me slavery has made the Southerners insane egotists, and the pursuit of gain has made the Northerners incapable egotists. Manliness, patriotism, honor, loyalty, appear to have been stifled out of these people by material success and their utter abdication to mere material prosperity. A grievous civil war, shattering their financial and commercial idols, and compelling them to find the connection between public safety and private virtue, may be the salvation of the country; a blessed, bitter blast of adversity, checking the insolent forwardness of their national spring, may yet perhaps preserve them from that which really seemed impending over the land–ripe rottenness, decay without duration, or exertion, to excuse and account for it, the most amazing and deplorable unworthiness of the most glorious advantages that have ever yet belonged to any nation in the world. [The bitter blast fulfilled its benevolent mission, and patriotism, honor, courage, self-devotion, and every national virtue put forth fresh powerful shoots under its bleak compelling. I once discussed with Waelcker, the great German scholar, the character of the American nation, to which he denied greatness, saying no people had ever been great who had not had a "great heroic war." I pleaded their war for Independence under Washington; but he would not admit it. Had he lived till the war of secession, I think he would have acknowledged that America had had its blood baptism, and its heroic war on both sides. I was a witness to the struggle, and cannot think of it yet without the deepest emotion and admiration for all the virtue which it called forth–virtue of the heathen and Christian significance, for did not the Army of Mercy which now follows the steps of War first begin its ministry there?] A short time ago I was in New York and Philadelphia, giving away, as tokens of female affection, swords and pistols to young volunteers, soldiers, whom I remember boys in round jackets. Up here among the hills the great hubbub that fills the land in its more populous regions comes but faintly. The tap of a drum along the village street at evening, calling the men to drill when they have done work, is our faint echo of the great national stir, and the vivid stars and stripes flying from the scattered farmhouses on the hillsides and valleys, the only visible sign of the strife that is preparing–indeed, that is already begun. Of course I must be prepared for loss of property, at least, certainly diminution of income; but everybody will have to suffer more or less, and I may be thanked that it will not be in the lives of those who are dear to me that I can be touched. If I were envious, I would envy Mary Anne her new grand piano. What a grand possession! But I can congratulate her instead, and with kind love to both of you, remain always,

Your affectionate


I grieve to hear of Donne being ill; it is a great shame of one's friends to take such an advantage as that of one's absence.

LENOX, BERKSHIRE, Thursday, August 2, 1860.


Oh, how I do wish I was going over the Col de Liseran with you; but I am not! I am going to the flattest region (figuratively as well as literally) in the whole universe, the immediate neighborhood of Philadelphia, to see my child S— and her child, who is a month old, and towards whom I feel a most grandmotherly yearning.

I read with great regret your account of poor Mary Anne's martyrdom. I feel great sympathy for the pain she has suffered, greater still for her loss of sleep, and greatest of all for her disappointment in not going to Switzerland.

Though you do not write quite as frequently as I might be glad to hear from you, I am not left to suppose you dead and buried, for Donne, who is most excellent about writing, gives me tidings of those whom he knows that I shall wish to hear about, and what he knows of you he always sends to me.

Your account of your season is "awfu'." The summer here has been most unusually cold, and the weather capricious and strange in all its behaviors; furious storms of wind and rain, and wonderful meteoric apparitions in the sky. I, who dislike heat, have rejoiced in the cold summer, and as the hay harvest has been fine and the Indian corn will ripen (the two principal crops in these parts of the world), I do not feel inhumanly selfish in not wishing for more heat. The woods and fields, thanks to the superabundant rains, are as green as at home.

I am about to sell my small estate here, upon which I have determined not to build a house, lest it should turn out a madhouse when I come to inhabit it. I have taken a tolerably comfortable house, commanding lovely views, nearer the village of Lenox, for the next two years, and if I live till 1862 will come home and go over the Col de Liseran in that year of grace.

God bless you, dear Arthur. Give my affectionate remembrance to Mary Anne, and believe me,

Yours always most truly,


LENOX, Sunday, November 24, 1860.


I quite agree with you in thinking it inexpedient for all manner of reasons to leave one's old friend's letters unanswered for any length of time. This is not only my conviction, but my invariable practice is based upon it, and I cannot accuse myself of ever neglecting or postponing a reply, though I am extremely unwilling ever to make the challenge in a correspondence; so that indeed I can with truth declare that I never write letters, though I always answer them.

Let me congratulate you and Mary Anne very sincerely on the recovery of her health; it is really delightful, after hearing of her suffering so much, to receive your account of her entire restoration. I trust it will prove permanent, and that you and she will be starting for the Alps in August, 1862, just when I turn my steps thither, which I hope and mean to do then if it should please God to spare my life and health; for, though I am old and fat and rheumatic, and shall then be older, fatter and rheumatiker, I will, nevertheless, go over certain of those Swiss passes, if not on my own legs, why, then on mule's legs; and if not on mule's legs, why, then on man's legs, in a chaise à porteurs, with sixteen men to carry me, as I had going up Vesuvius (in the night, to be sure); eight carried torches (which were light), and eight carried me (which were heavy). Oh, my dear Arthur, your letter positively made me sick–which you may think no compliment, but it is–sick to be again on those mountains and in those valleys. I seized my Murray, I seized my maps, I seized Bartlett's Swiss views, I envied you and Herbert, sore feet, sore face, sore eyes, and all. But I am very sorry you did not go over the Col de Liseran. I hope to do so again, for my purpose is to retrace my whole former route, only reversing it, and entering Switzerland by the south-east of France, instead of the Rhine, go up that wonderful road from Grenoble to Briançon by the Col de Liseran, and through the Protestant valleys of Piedmont, which I failed to see, and chiefly desired to see in my last tour on the Continent.

Here, where I now write to you, the prospect before me is not unlike what I suppose the winter aspect of Corrybrough to be, a confusion of low hills and intervening valleys rolling and sinking behind each other, till at the horizon the line rises into something almost approaching the dignity of mountains–four thousand feet, I believe, our highest northern and southern summits rise; but the country which the eyes survey between Saddle Mountain, or Greylock, and Taconagh is a mere succession of hilly ridges, seldom rising to more than a thousand feet. Small lakes lie in almost all the valleys; we have three in view from the hill on which the valley of Lenox stands; but though mountain brooks abound, the nearest river is four miles off, where the Housatonic winds through the principal valley of Berkshire, and jumping sheer down about fifty feet in one place, and running down hill for more than as many miles from the outlet to the hill region of which these are the lowest, and the White Mountains in New Hampshire the highest degree.

The winter had come suddenly and severely upon us. The weather last week was so mild that I was sitting without fire, with the window open; but now snow is upon all the hills, the earth is already as hard as iron, and the water froze last night in my dressing-room in a solid body of ice in all the water vessels, which stood unthawed for a quarter of an hour before a blazing fire this morning.

Our Prince of Wales, who has kept the whole land alive with interest and excitement, must have reached home ere this. I was disappointed of a visit I intended making to Boston while he was there, by a visit here from an invalid friend, whom I could not leave, and so I missed seeing him, which I was very sorry for; but F— danced with him at the New York ball, and I console myself with that honor and glory, of which, however, she seems less sensible than I am, for when I asked her if she had laid up in lavender the satin shoes in which she danced with such a partner, she shrugged her shoulders and laughed, though she said he was a "nice little fellow, and danced very well." Think, my dear Arthur, of the shock to my rather superstitious respectful loyalty at hearing my future sovereign, the future sovereign of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and India, clapped on the shoulder by this monkey of a democratic damsel of mine. I wonder if the Americans, like the Roman ladies of old, consider a marriage with a foreigner, even a royal one, a degradation. [This letter was written thirty years ago. At the present day the fair Americans appear to have no such prejudice, but will condescend to marry even English Duke's sons.]

We are in all the distraction and uproar of the presidential election. The southern states are loud in vehement threats of secession, if the republican candidate is elected; but their bluster is really lamentably ludicrous, for they are without money, without credit, without power, without character–in short, sans everything, but so many millions of slaves, sans good numbers of whom they would also be the very moment they cut themselves adrift from the protection of the North.

Good-bye, dear Arthur. Give my kindest love to Mary Anne, and believe me always,

Yours affectionately,


If you see Donne, will you give my love to him, and tell him I will write to him the moment I hear from Coutts what funds of mine are in their hands?

LENOX, Sunday, September 15, 1861.


The sight of your handwriting, and the tidings of Corrybrough and all its belongings are very welcome. The present condition of this country is so strange, that it seems to place me at a still greater distance from home and all my old-country associations. Certainly the contrast between the peaceful themes of all the letters I received from England, and the circumstances by which I am surrounded, seems to add remoteness to that which really exists, or to convert the watery chasm of three thousand miles which separates us into a gulf–passable, thank God! indeed between two worlds.

Our daily talk is of fights and flights, weapons and wounds. The stars and stripes flaunt their gay colors from every farm roof among these peaceful hills, and give a sort of gala effect to the quiet New England villages, embowered in maple and elm trees, that would be pretty and pleasing but for the grievous suggestions they awake of bitter civil war, of the cruel interruption of an unparalleled national prosperity, of impending danger and insecurity, of heavy immediate taxation, of probable loss of property, and all the evils, public and personal, which spring from the general disorganization of the government, and disrupture of the national ties.

How nearly I am affected by all these disturbances you can imagine, when I tell you that Mr. B— is a state prisoner, that he was arrested a month ago on a charge of high treason, and that my children left me the beginning of last week to visit him in a fortress, at the entrance of the Bay of New York, to which they obtained access only by a special order from the President, and where they were only permitted to see Mr. B— in the presence of one of the officers of the fort. All this sounds strange enough, does it not? The charge against him is that he acted as an agent for the Southerners in a visit he paid to Georgia this spring, having received large sums of money for the purchase and transmission of arms. Knowing Mr. B—'s Southern sympathies, I think the charge very likely to be true; whether it can be proved or not is quite another question, and I think it probable, that, if it is not proved, Mr. B— will still be detained till the conclusion of the war, as he is not likely to accept any oath of allegiance tendered to him by this government, being a determined democrat and inimical, both on public and private grounds, to Mr. Lincoln and his ministers.

The state of the country is very sad, and I fear will long continue to grieve and mortify its well-wishers; but of the ultimate success of the North, I have not a shadow of a doubt. I hope to God that neither England nor any other power from the other side of water will meddle in the matter–but, above all, not England; and thus, after some bad and good fighting, and an unlimited amount of brag and bluster on both sides, the South, in spite of a much better state of preparation, of better soldiers, better officers, and, above all, a much more unanimous and venomous spirit of hostility, will be obliged to knock under to the infinitely greater resources and less violent but much more enduring determination of the North. With the clearing away of this storm, slavery will be swept from among the acknowledged institutions of America, and I trust that republican and not democratic principles may prevail to the extent of modifying in some degree the exercise of the franchise, and weighting the right of suffrage with some qualifications which may prevent an Irish Roman Catholic celt, not two removes from a brute, from exercising the same influence in a public election that a New England Puritan farmer does, who is probably the most intelligent man of his class that can be found anywhere in the world.

I have nothing to tell you of myself. The summer is passing rapidly away, and as pleasantly as the many and inevitable discomforts of American housekeeping allow. My children are both with me, but not, I am sorry to say, my grandchild, S— having come up to Lenox to recruit health and strength, and judging it best therefore to leave her baby with its father, who, being a doctor, is competent to the charge. She will probably return to her home, husband, and child in about a fortnight; but Mr. B—'s incarceration will be likely to throw F— entirely upon my charge. Perhaps, if she does not (mis)bestow herself in marriage in the mean time, she will return to Europe with me next year.

I am making huge plans of travel, and live surrounded by maps and Murrays. If I can carry out my projects for next summer, I shall spend the whole month of August in Switzerland, and think you and Mary Anne had better leave Corrybrough, and come with me to Mont Blanc, through the Dauphiny Alps, the Vaudois valleys, and over the Col de Liseran, and the little Saint Bernard. "Do it," as I used emphatically to say in the "Hunchback."

Always affectionately yours,


BOSTON, Friday, December 27, 1861.


I do not wonder that speculators on American affairs on the other side of the Atlantic should find it difficult to come to any conclusion as to the probable issues of this most deplorable civil war. It is impossible for any one here to comprehend the drift of the government, the purpose of the northern people in pursuing this conflict, or what they purpose to do when it should have come to a close. It is infinitely easier to understand the position and principle of the South; it has but one, and, as far as circumstances have gone, has pursued it with energy and ability.

The news of a probable war between England and the northern states interrupts me. I cannot imagine what can have inspired our Government with a notion that the Americans want a war with England. Certainly Mr. Seward's speeches, when first this administration came into power, and the blackguardly press, talked impudent nonsense enough to outrage everybody of common sense and decent feeling, both here and in England; but the wretched people are perfectly aghast at the idea of having to encounter a war with England, as well as all their own home troubles, and though I suppose they will try it, if they are absolutely compelled to do so (for in spite of all bragging and Bull Runs, they are a brave people and have plenty of fight in them, as unquestionably have the French, who brag too); but nothing can exceed the dismay with which the possibility of such an event is looked upon by every living creature here; and indeed, such a contest, crippled as they are by their internal difficulties, and placed as they would be between two enemies, could have but one issue–their absolute discomfiture, and nobody here takes any other view of the matter. I understand that Lord Lyndhurst, whose relations and connections are many of them Boston people, has written to them, giving his opinion that the Americans are all wrong in the case, and that unless they deliver up Messrs. Slidell and Mason, a war with England is inevitable. This letter has been forwarded to Mr. Seward, and I sincerely hope that when the people here find that France and Germany agree in thinking our demand perfectly reasonable, they will yield with a good grace, and not complicate their present difficulties with such a nut to crack as a war with England.

I shall not be sorry to leave America just now; it is very sad and very dismal to be in the midst of such a state of things.

I am very sorry to hear that Mary Anne declines the Alps henceforth. Certainly she must be quite as able for them as I am, and I hope to see them several times again. One thing I am quite determined on, if I live, and that is, to see the country of Felix Neff, that is to say, the pass from Pigneroll to Briançon, of which I was defeated, and the road from Briançon to Grenoble by the Col de Lauteret, which I traversed in the night, and which I then swore I would return and see by daylight some fine day, and if I live I will do so next August, whether you will or no.

I have nothing to tell you of myself. My summer and autumn passed pleasantly, happily enough to be very thankful for, at Lenox. My youngest daughter spent four months with me, and S— one. Her husband came on to fetch her home, and passed a week with me, during which time two of his patients took the opportunity of dying shabbily and disgracefully without his assistance, a circumstance which I am afraid will prevent his venturing on a holiday again for a long time.

I have not seen my grandchild for a year, but I hear he is a very charming child, and am prone to believe it.

I am going southward in February to stay a fortnight with S— then pass a couple of months in Washington, which is just now a place of considerable interest. In May I return to Lenox to pack up, and early in July I hope to see England and my friends again. I do not think I shall be in haste to cross the Atlantic again.

Till then, good-bye, dear Arthur–by which I do not mean, by any means, that you are not to write to me again.

Give my kindest remembrance to Mary Anne, and believe me always,

Yours very affectionately,


LENOX, Wednesday, April 15, 1862.


I shall indeed be very sorry if I find on my arrival in London that Mary Anne and yourself have left it, though the prospect you hold out of our meeting in Rome in the winter is consolatory. I have no fancy for lonely traveling; I have done so much of that, and found it, as Madame de Stael truly says, such a "triste plaisir;" so that, unless I can find some congenial company with which or whom to go abroad, I may, after all, not perform the lengthened pilgrimage. I had looked forward to beginning with the Alps, which I do most fervently hope to see again, not indeed probably walking quite as valiantly as I did the last time I saw them, but ingloriously on mule-back or in a chaise à porteurs. Not only, my dear Arthur, do we barbarian Transatlantics receive Fraser's Magazine on its periodical appearance, but there are cheap American reprints published of all the English magazines for the benefit of those who cannot afford the expense of importing the originals; and selections are, moreover, made from all the principal European magazines into an American periodical, expressly dedicated to that process of discriminating reproductions. My daughter S— is a regular subscriber to the Quarterly, the Edinburgh, and Fraser, and from her I shall procure your article on Corrybrough, which I am sure I shall read with great pleasure.

Affectionately yours,


The recent successes of the Federal arms seem to promise a not remote termination to this cruel civil war. There are those, however, who incline to the opinion that the Southerners will proceed to evacuate place after place, drawing the Northerners on further and further into the interior of the slave states, where they hope the swamp fevers and southern deadly malaria will put an effectual stop to their progress. More sanguine persons think that the struggle is nearly now at an end. God send they may be in the right! In this remote and peaceful northern village, nothing indicates the existence of the huge conflict that is going on, except that whereas our normal male population consists of three souls, I think we have now only a man and a boy left to represent the nobler sex in the village; but 'tis an Amazonian region, and gets on well enough with them.

INTERLAKEN, Sunday, July 31, 1862


From our pleasant trysting-place, Interlaken, to which our wanderings have brought us back, I answer your "sassy" letter. We were very glad to hear of your successful descent into the beautiful valley, and I should have regretted not turning up the ravine at Stalden to meet you, but that I had been so very unprofitable a companion during our whole stay at Zermatt and the Riffel, that I am sure you were all well rid of me. The young botanist accompanied us all the way to Viege, and when we drove off, down the Rhone Valley, leaving him to take the diligence towards Italy, I felt as if I had finished a sort of postscript to our pleasant Zermatt fellowship.

We traveled all the way to Bâle, where I took up my original tour, by a day and a half carriage journey through the Munster Thal, to see which had been a very old longing of mine. It is beautiful, quite beautiful, and few things that I have seen this summer have pleased me more. We went to Soleure and climbed the Weissenstein, but failed to find quarters at the mountain house, where we had wished to rest for a week. We then went to Lucerne, and took up our abode on the Righi, at the Kaltbad, for a week. The house is fine, the situation beautiful, but the visitors, almost exclusively Swiss or German, and neither they nor their mode of life and manners agreeable to me. We steamed down to Fluelen and Altdorf, and I felt a pang at taking my feet off the first step up the St. Gotthard returning to Lucerne. I had contemplated driving through the Entelbuck Thal, from thence to Thun, but was prevented by stormy weather, which indeed has been the only weather we have had, and our wonderful five days at the Riffel have been the exception in our whole experience. So, thunder and lightning and floods of rain compelling, we gave up the road and took the rail to Thun, and thence hither, where we arrived on Thursday. On Friday we made a pilgrimage of affectionate remembrance to Lauterbrunnen, and yesterday we drove up to Grindelwald to look again at F—'s first glaciers.

My eyes were misty with tears as we drove down between the huge mountain portals, with their lovely hangings of green forests, back to Interlaken. My delight in this sublime scenery is a sort of enthusiastic affection.

F— bids me give her best love to you, and tell you that she is true to Zermatt, and that the Riffel keeps her heart above all other peaks and passes. We have yet to pay our respects to Chamounix, but I doubt her altering her mind, though she is threatening me with an independent expedition to the Jardin, which may perhaps turn the scale. Next week we think of resting at the pretty hotel by the Griessbach, if we can find rooms there. The waterfall was a great bewitchment to F—, and I shall be very glad to linger by it a few days.

The last week of August will end our pilgrimage, and then we shall probably settle down in Hampshire, for Adelaide writes me word that she has taken the cottage at the gate of her domain for me, and F— seems well content with a prospect of a very quiet winter there. I hope, my dear Arthur, that you found Mary Anne quite well, when you returned to her. How glad she will have been to get you safe home after your Trifft glacier, and your Mittelhorn, and your Weissthor. I hope you are kindly condescending to the Scotch hills, and don't take airs of ten and twelve thousand feet high at them. I hope Campbell, and the dogs, and the grouse are all flourishing and to flourish, and that all Corrybrough is thriving and satisfactory. Give my kindest love to Mary Anne. It was right good of her to let you come to Switzerland, and I heartily wish she had been with us. My lassie greets you both, and I am always your

Affectionate and obliged,


NEW YORK, Wednesday, April 29, 1865.


It was a very great pleasure to me to get your kind letter and know something of yourself and Mary Anne, how you had fared through the winter, and what your prospects were for the summer. The Alps I shall not see this year, but if it pleases God to spare my life, I hope I shall do so next summer. I sent your note down to Georgia to F—, not without looking, as you bade me do, at the photographs it contains. I liked them all very much, but particularly the head of yourself, and if there had been a whisper of warrant for such a proceeding in your desire that I should look at them, I should certainly have retained that, and sent the full length to F—, the rather that I do not plainly see why she should have a whole and a half likeness of you, and I not half a one.

You cannot be sorrier than I was that F— judged it expedient to go down to the plantation and spend the winter there. Her sister and all her friends advised and entreated her not to do so, but she thought it best to go, and has been laboring hard all the winter to induce their former slaves to work steadily on the plantation. The consequence is that, having newly signed the contract agreeing to work there for this year, under her personal influence, it is quite possible that, when that is withdrawn, as it must be when she comes North next week, they may altogether disregard the engagement they made with her, and leave the crop to take care of itself. She has simply deferred the settlement of the question, which it is most important to have speedily settled, namely, whether these poor people can be made to understand that freedom means leave to labor or leave to starve. She being down there has not helped to make them realize their new position as laborers, but has simply tended to prolong the dependent feeling of the old relation without the possibility of bringing back the former relations between the negroes and their employers.

Nothing has been done yet to make it at all certain that the people on my daughter's plantation will work when she has left it, and if at the beginning of the winter they had understood that they must do so or leave it, it would have been ascertained whether their southern property was or was not worth anything to them at present. Of course an estate cannot be made to depend upon a woman's coaxing or scolding the cultivators, and hitherto F—'s mission at the South has been simply one of successful coaxing and scolding. Personal influence is one thing and the laws of labor another, and these are what the poor negroes have yet to learn.

I am inexpressibly shocked at what you tell me, about poor young L—. I saw him three summers ago with his father at the Bell Alp, full of life and spirits and energy. Poor young fellow, it is horrible and most grievous to think of the misery of all those poor people, whose faces I remember beaming with happiness and enjoyment–father, mother, sister, they were all there with him at the glorious Bell Alp. Dear me, I cannot bear to think of it!

The government of this country presents just now a not very edifying spectacle; but it is astonishing how prosperous and thriving the country is, in spite of its government. The activity, energy, wealth, and material progress are something amazing. The country has made a wonderful start forward since I went away a few years ago and the check which its prosperity received by the four years' civil war seems only to have accelerated its vigorous action now that the people's energies have returned to their accustomed channels. I perceive, however, an enormous change in one respect, which was probably operating upon the country before I left it, but which now, after several years' absence, strikes me more than anything else, the country is no longer English; New England may be so essentially still, but out of New England the English national element has died out almost entirely. When first I came here, thirty-four years ago, the whole country was like some remote part of England that I had never seen before, the people like English provincial or colonial folk, in short, they were like queer English people. Now there is not a trace of their British origin, except their speech, about them, and they are becoming a real nation, and their nation will be German in its character and intellect more than English. Our language is and will be theirs, and the foundations of their laws will be English law, but the people will be more like the great Teutonic people of the Continent of Europe, and not like us, their Anglo-Saxon ancestors. Even in Philadelphia, the Quaker element, which was really one of English conservatism, has died out, and the whole tone of society and manners changed.

It is difficult to conceive anything more interesting and exciting than the aspect of these extraordinary people in their new world. It is not a pleasant place to live in, however wonderful, for an elderly Englishwoman, and I shall find it hard enough to accept my particular share of the conditions of this very vigorous, half-grown civilization, half-ripe as well as half-grown. But my children are Americans, and the gain to my happiness and peace of mind, in no longer being divided from them by the Atlantic, is indescribable. I shall, I suppose, live here henceforward, that is, consider this country my abiding place, but as long as my life lasts, and my health and strength are equal to the effort of crossing the ocean, I shall, I trust, make frequent returns to England, my country, and Switzerland, the country of my dear delight.

Next year I hope to be again among the Alps for a summer, and I am not without hope that then I may be able to bring S— with me. I am now working again very hard, reading four times a week, and earning a great deal of money, which I had need do, for the expense of living in this simple republican country passes all belief.

Good-bye, my dear friends. God bless you both. Remember me sometimes, and always as your very affectionately attached,


THE CROWN INN, MYNDHURST, Monday, August 13, 1865.


Adelaide, with whom I am staying in this very charming place, gave me your kind note, for which I thank you very heartily. God knows, America is far from being as pleasant as England at any time, but my children, being Americans, and America their undoubted future home, it would have been more for my happiness, whatever it might have been for my enjoyment, to have been able to make my home there. The conditions of the poor country just now are, God knows, awful enough; they are, in my opinion, the most manifest judgment for their national sins, and I have good hope that the final result will be an infinitely better and nobler national existence.

I have no doubt whatever that to the Americans, above all other people almost, it will prove to be good to have been afflicted and in trouble.

You ask of my winter plans. I have made none beyond the 1st of December, up to which date I have taken a lodging at No. 5 Park Place, immediately opposite my sister's house. I have very nearly relinquished all idea of going abroad, for if she and her children are to spend the winter in England, I do not think I shall make up my mind to leave it. From what you say about not seeing me if I go on the Continent, I suppose you must have changed your plans, which were, I thought, to spend the winter in Rome. I think to do so would be one's only chance of a summer this year, for anything like the cold and gloom and capricious ungeniality of this pleasant month of August in this southern part of England I never felt. We live with mackintoshes on our arms and umbrellas in our hands. If the crops ripen it can only be from a severe sense of (abstract) vegetable duty, and as in the week we have already spent here we have had no day without rain, so we have had no evening when a fire would not have been quite pleasant. We get the same accounts of the season from London, Ireland, and France; this summer has forgotten the world this year. And yet it is wonderful what we learn to accept and be satisfied with. This morning in my walk, after standing looking dolefully at the gray slate-colored sky and dark lead-colored landscape, and wondering if the sun was never going to shine again, I met a man who cheerily exclaimed to me as he passed, "A beautiful morning, ma'am." When I have forgotten what light is, which I learned in America, I suppose I shall think such mornings beautiful too. Amen!

Good-bye, dear Arthur. With best love to Mary Anne, believe me always affectionately yours,


We go from here on the 18th to Bournemouth, and thence to the Isle of Wight, where I have never been; but I expect to return to London by the sixth of next month. I have seen M— since her return from abroad, and thought her greatly changed in appearance, though not looking precisely ill.

COLD SPRING, NEW YORK STATE, Friday, June 12, 1867.


I imagine this will not reach you until you return from my mountains, probably you will get it in London, on your way up to the Scotch mountains, which are yours in a properer sense, a good deal more than the Alps are mine. I hope you will not have used up all your legs and all your wind this summer in that blessed earthly Paradise of mine, but that you will have some left for next year, when, please God, I will be again in Switzerland, and look up to my mountains if I cannot climb them. Thank you, very much, for the two photographs. I think them both very good and am extremely glad to have them. Give my very kind regards to Mr. Hintchcliffe. I have often pleasant visions of him, gathering the beautiful things by our wayside for us, as we went climbing over the Wengernalps. I think myself unlucky, never to have met him since.

F— bids me give you her best love, and tell you that she wrote you ever so long a letter, which she (mis)directed to 18 Wimpole Street, instead of 21; but my confidence in our post-office discretion is great, and I have little doubt that, with a little reasonable delay, it will reach you. I have no doubt she gives you detailed accounts of her Georgia experiences, which is more than I can do, inasmuch as, cousin, I was not there. She has been back with us at the North for nearly a month now, and is busy preparing the old farmhouse, where she and her sister were born, and where I lived my married life, for her summer residence. The place is lamentably run down at heel, out of order, and out of repair; but she is fixing it, as folks here say, and means to inhabit it until Christmas, after which she contemplates returning to the South. This pendulum sort of life seems not without attractions for the damsel, who finds in it variety and excitement, the indulgence of her unfortunate propensity for what she calls independence, and the exercise of a good many of her better qualities and faculties.

I took leave of her and her sister three days ago, and am now in the highlands of the Hudson, visiting an old gentleman of eighty-four of my father's name, who was one of our first acquaintance and friends when I came a girl to this country. His family must originally have been the same as ours, for they have the same arms and crest, as well as name; and it seems quite strange to hear on all sides the home sounds of Gertrude Kemble, Charles Kemble, Stephen Kemble, besides many Richards and Williams, which were not among our Christian names, designating the members of a numerous American family, settled in this country since the early part of the eighteenth century.

My first visit to this place was made thirty-six years ago, and in that time the then almost solitary dwelling of my friend has become surrounded with a populous village, not to say small town, chiefly peopled with the men and their families employed in a huge iron foundry, where much cannon is, or used to be, cast for the government, and which is a vast, busy, prosperous establishment, once governed by my old host, but now managed by the younger men of his family. The place is very lovely, immediately on the brink of the noble Hudson River, and in the midst of some of its most charming scenery, the great Military Academy of West Point is directly opposite, and the whole neighborhood is beautiful, but the weather is beyond all precedent, unsummerlike, bitterly cold, with dark skies and incessant rain, as heavy as thunder showers, and as persistent as a drizzle. I never remember such an ungenial June in this country, where the light is generally a brilliant blessing, and the great heat a positive curse (for which I find myself almost praying). By the by, one of the young American Kemble girls was here this morning, exclaiming through her nose, "Well, I shall tell Mr. Murray [the clergyman] to give us the prayer for fair weather next Sunday; I am tired of this wet," with which piece of religion and piety, I bid you farewell. Give my kindest love to Mary Anne, and believe me, always, dear Arthur,

Affectionately yours,


BUTLER PLACE, Sunday, August 30, 1868.

Many thanks, my dear Arthur, for your kind letter, and for the details of your Alpine trip, and for that fine fellow Melchior's photograph; it looks older than the face I remember seeing for the first time in the charming balcony of the Châlet Seiler at Interlaken; but he is older, so we are all, by three summers, or four, is it, since then? and remembering that I read with astonishment your account of all you were able to do in your short mountain tour. I think the photograph hardens Melchoir's face, but still leaves on it that peculiar expression of careworn melancholy, which I thought I detected on several of the faces of the men who were pointed out to me as experienced guides. I suppose keeping Miss W— out of "cracks" on the perilous peaks where she takes her pastime, is anxious work, and I should think a man of at all sensitive nerves or excitable imagination would find it difficult to forbear pushing her into one, one good time for all, and so relieving his natural anxiety for her safety.

I saw two women (neither of them Miss W—) at Zermatt, one summer, who had come up some pass from Orsières, which brought them up to the back of the Matterhorn, and over the Zmutt Glacier, down to Zermatt; they had only one guide, a mere porter, with them, had slept in hay châlets, come over ice and snow, with axe and rope, with all due ceremony, etc., were very brick-dusty in complexion, and seemed to me valiant females of the W— stamp. One was middle-aged and the other young. I do not know who they were.

Your letter reached me at this place, the home of my very sad married life, and I am writing to you now in the room where my children were born-my room, as it is once more called. It is full twenty-six years since I last inhabited it. When my children ceased to be among the richest girls in America (which they once were), and had to leave this place, to which they were extremely attached, to go and live in a Philadelphia boarding-house, this place was let for a term of years, to people who took no care of it, let it get completely out of order, and neglected even to keep the pleasure-grounds tidy or house in repair; and so it remained, getting more and more dilapidated and desolate, and passing through a succession of equally careless and dishonest hands until last April, when the lease of the last tenant who had taken it expired. This gentleman's wife died here about two years ago, whereupon he left the place, shut up the house, leaving it and his furniture to rot together, and when, early in May, I came hither to look at its condition, it seemed to me too damp and too dreadfully out of repair for F— to find it possible to inhabit it during the summer, which I knew to be her purpose. As for the garden, Hood's description of that which surrounded his haunted house is the only one that fitted it.

I went to visit some of my friends early in June, and remained at Lenox, in Massachusetts, for the benefit of the mountain air, until a week ago, when upon F—'s invitation I came hither, and am quite amazed at the transformation the little woman has made in the place. The house, a small, and ridiculously inconvenient farmhouse, built by an old Frenchman hard upon a hundred years ago, and close upon the turnpike road, has been patched and darned, and bolstered, and propped, and well-aired, dried, and warmed, and she has furnished and fitted up the rooms so prettily, that the old barn really looks charming.

The place has no beauty whatever, the whole ground round the house being quite flat, and the only undulating pretty portions of the farm being meadows, which are not seen from it; but green grass and fine trees are pleasant objects, and though there is no really large timber near the house, there are enough well-sized picturesque trees to make pleasant shade, and a bowery greenness all round that is charming in itself.

I have spent a very peaceful and happy week here in this my former purgatory, and leave it with infinite reluctance to-morrow, to start on a three-months' tour in the West, reading as I run, as far as Niagara, the great lakes, and the Mississippi. I hope to be home again, that is, with my children, the last week in November, and to spend the winter and spring quietly in Philadelphia, and I do hope most fervently to see the Alps next summer. I am sgre from what you write me, that you must be good for my Swiss climbing, and I think you would do well to come and meet me at Meiringen, or that pleasant place of rendezvous, Interlaken, though I am not well pleased with Seiler, for he gave me such a very poor room in his new palace last year, that I left him in disgust, and went off to the Giessbach for the week I had meant to have spent with him. The fact is, that unless one is a party of twenty German-Jew Americans, one is no longer worth the while of the Swiss innkeepers, and they are quite unceremonious in making one aware of the fact.

No doubt, my dear Arthur, your heat this summer has been sufficient for you, but most things in this comparatively good world are comparative, and eighty-anything degrees of heat does not sound overpowering to people who have had it one hundred and five in the shade, and can tell of six men on one farm struck down with sunstroke in one day. The great fury of the summer is passed with us, however, thank God, and now we may look forward to the lovely and splendid American autumn, a season as perfect as the Italian spring.

Of course, with hard work and hard traveling before me, I deprecate the heat, and indeed shall be very thankful when my three months' task is over, especially if it answers as well as my three months' spring labor did. A net result of four thousand four hundred pounds (all my expenses paid, three hundred pounds given away, and eleven hundred read away gratis for charities) is a good three months' job–don't you think so? Nevertheless, it is time, if ever, for me to rest, at least I think and feel so.

God bless you, my dear Arthur, give my most affectionate remembrance to Mary Anne, and believe me,

Ever, as ever, yours,



Tuesday, January 26, 1869.


I do not think that many, if any, of those who are affectionately attached to you, can sympathize more sincerely than myself with your present sorrow. I think of the kind, good, excellent woman [his mother], whose cordial friendliness to me has never failed for so many years, and my heart sinks with the sad forboding that I may not see her again, perhaps, and then I think of how very lonely her loss or the loss of her companionship (which prolonged illness would be) will make you, my dear friends, both. I have had a heavy cry over your condition, and can only pray God to support and comfort you both under the dispensations of his Providence.

How I should rejoice to think that I might find you relieved from anxiety, and Mary Anne from suffering, when I come to England, as I hope to do in June.

Dear Arthur, I suppose from what I know of my own rate of earning, or as you say "manufacturing" greenbacks,* that the amount of Mr. Dickens' earnings has been probably as violently exaggerated as that of mine was. Of mine I will now give you the history. In six months I have earned seven thousand pounds in greenbacks (that is, about four thousand three hundred pounds in gold). During those six months my expenses of living amounted to twelve hundred pounds in greenbacks (about nine hundred in real money), which leaves me in round numbers six thousand pounds in greenbacks, or four thousand in real money to invest. I do not know whether that comes up to or exceeds what you supposed my earnings to have amounted to, but it falls most ludicrously short of the sum which popular report has rewarded my exertions with.

Now let me tell you something of the chapter of expenses as they are at present in America. I have just settled myself in Philadelphia in a lodging, which I shall occupy until the end of May; it consists of two rooms, a bedroom and sitting-room, opening with folding doors, and both together making one about the size of my drawing-room at St. Leonard's. Here I take my meals, sleep, live, move, and have my being. Ellen and Louis, my two servants, have a room apiece, and all are furnished with sufficient and sufficiently good food, and for this board and lodging for me and mine, I pay twenty-seven guineas a week, which makes fourteen hundred a year, for the roof over my head and the bit and sup I live on; now, with all the addition that my late evenings will yield to it, my income amounts to little more than seventeen hundred a year, so that you will perceive I have just three hundred pounds a year to pay my servants' wages, my own clothes, my carriage-hire, traveling–in short every necessary expense but food and lodging, and everything here is at the same exorbitant rate of prices, so that having worked, and worked very hard, to make a sufficient income to enable me to live very uncomfortably here, I have hardly done it, and am not a little saddened by the fact. However, I am coming to Europe for a year, in June, and shall determine during that time the best way of making an income of seventeen hundred a year sufficient for a single old woman!

I had a letter from F— to-day from the plantation, written in rather a depressed state of spirits. The old leaven of personal attachment, which survived for a short while among the negroes after their emancipation, or perhaps the natural timidity of absolute ignorance which possessed and paralyzed them at first, is rapidly passing away, and they are asserting their natural and divine right to cultivate happiness (that is, idleness) instead of cotton and rice at any price; and F—, who over-estimated the strength of their old superstitions, is beginning to despond very much. For my own part, the result seems to me the only one to have been rationally expected, and I have no hope whatever that as long as one man, once a planter, and one man, once a slave, survives, any successful cultivation of the southern estates will be achieved. Indeed, it seems to me most probable that, like other regions long cursed by the evil deeds of their inhabitants, the plantations will be gradually restored to the wild treasury of nature, and the land "enjoy its Sabbaths" as a wilderness, peopled with snakes, for perhaps a good half century yet. I do not know why the roots of slavery should be grubbed out of the soil a day sooner. It is unlucky, no doubt, for the present holders of southern property, but then the world has laws, and I do not know that the planters of the southern states were sufficiently meritorious folk to have earned a miracle, especially a very immoral one, for their heirs.

God bless you, my dear old friend, give my most affectionate remembrance to Mary Anne, and believe me,

Ever, as ever, your truly attached,


* The paper money circulated after the war by the United States Government.

WIDMORE, BROMLEY, Sunday, February 18, 1872.


I am very much grieved and distressed at all the melancholy trouble in which you are involved, and to which, I am afraid, there is not soon likely to be a termination. I sincerely hope your apprehensions, with regard to Miss W—, may prove so far unfounded that she may find in her youth a sufficient power of resistance to the evil that threatens her.

My dear old friend, I am grieved to think of you surrounded with sadness and suffering; but can only remember that it is more blessed to minister to others than to be ministered to.

I got your letter yesterday evening, and had been in town in the morning; but am not certainly likely to be there again for at least a week.

I am sure your not going to Rome is a great disappointment to my child, and I regret extremely for her your change of plans. The Roman winter would have been good for you too, body and soul, and though I am here and not there, and so the gainer, I wish heartily that you were there and not here.

My dear old friend Donne is lecturing on Shakespeare, and I have heard him, these last two times. He is looking ill and feeble, and I should like to carry him off too, out of the reach of his too many and too heavy cares.

I hope you will soon be able to come down here again. Walter is gone; but M— and L— always rejoice to see you, and so, you know, does yours, very affectionately,


I know you will be glad to hear that Adelaide has been down here to see me.

MACUGNAGA, VAL ANSASCA, Sunday, August 17.


I write to you from an old mountain haunt of yours, from the head of Val Ansasca, which you have often told me you thought the most beautiful valley you knew, and certainly it is wonderfully beautiful, and deserves all you ever said in its praise; and here at the foot of these rocky ramparts of Monte Rosa, I receive your letter from Stoneleigh, telling me, to my very great regret, of Mrs. Malkin's indisposition there, and of her not being able to walk with you through that lovely deer-park, which is as perfect in its own peculiar sylvan beauty as such a place can be. I, too, cannot help regretting J—'s leaving that beautiful English home of his; but people must live their own life, and this experiment has to be tried. I follow wearily enough across that often-traversed ocean, these my magnets, who are all drawing me thither; perhaps when the L—s return to England, I may be alive and come back with them; but two years is too far to look forward and speculate about anything, especially a life of sixty-four.

My Switzerland this year has been turned topsy-turvy by my poor young man-servant's illness. I have, however, seen Evolena and Macugnaga, and shall now, I think, go to the Eggischhorn for the rest of my time, to look once more at as many of the great mountain tops as I can see at once, and, I suppose, for the last time. I was disappointed rather in Evolena, though it is both picturesque and beautiful; but my journey up the Val d'Erence was not made under happy circumstances. The mule-path of former years is now turned into what they call a road, without any exception the most dangerous (in some places I think frightfully so) I ever saw. It is true it is not finished yet, for the guards and parapets along the sides of the deep precipices and at the turns of the steep zigzags are yet wanting, and in no one place, except the village of Useigne, is the road wide enough to admit of two vehicles of any kind passing each other. Up this steep and narrow way we crawled for nearly seven hours, in a light sort of cart with one horse, whom the driver led every step of the road. The sun poured upon us with the most intense glaring heat, and both my maid and myself were quite ill in consequence of our exposure for so many hours to the broiling temperature reflected from the rocks and stones and blinding white dusty path up which we were dragged. I had intended to remain a week at Evolena, but found the little mountain inn very full and so uncomfortable that I determined to leave it the next day, and did so, stopping to be very unwell two days at Sierre, in consequence of my trip up that valley of my imaginations. As for mountain expeditions, they have come to an end for me, my dear Arthur. I can no longer endure the fatigue of riding, or even being carried all day long up and down steep mountain sides. I have lost all the elasticity and spring which enabled me to carry my own fourteen stone weight comfortably either in the saddle or the chaise à porteurs, and an injury to my right foot, of which I broke one of the small bones in the instep a year ago at Stoneleigh, makes climbing up or down on foot impossible. So my Switzerland is over. I may still drive over the great magnificent mountain passes by the carriage roads, or haunt the lovely shores on the lakes, should I live to see this world again; but the shoulders of the Alps are no more for me, as their summits are no more for you, my dear friend. There is a time for all things, and mine is come for platitudes.

God knows how grateful I am for all I have enjoyed in this most wonderful and beautiful country. I am staying here at Lochmatter's. The quarters are rough, but quite comfortable enough, and he and his sister-in-law do everything in their power to make them so. He killed an old cow the other morning that I might have the meat, dear to Britons, and got wet to the skin in a tremendous thunder shower yesterday, trying to catch some trout for me in the lovely brook at his door. I hobbled up the valley the day before yesterday to the Moraine and back, and looked up at the Moro Pass, up which Lochmatter says nothing would be easier than to have me carried (I don't think he would like to take a hand at it himself,) but I shall try no more such experiments with the backs of my fellow-creatures. Not many people have come up the valley or over the passes since we have been here. One Englishman wanted extremely to go over by the Weissthor, but he had a tail of women, and was obliged to take them over the Moro–so much for the impedimenta. An English clergyman is here with his wife, and he prayed and preached to her, me, and Ellen, this morning for whole congregation. He comes from a crowded parish at Croydon, and his wife seems to me to pine for pavements and polite existence. She says she feels as if she was in a trap here, and certainly this magnificent cul de sac looks a little like a huge trap for creatures without wings. I enjoy it immensely, and am delighted to have come hither at last, and think it a very fit place from which to greet you, my dear old friend, and send my kindest regards to Mrs. Malkin, and sign myself,

Ever, as ever, affectionately yours,



February 7, 1874.


I have no silver paper (which I do not think golden) to write to you upon, and hope your eyes will approve of this, which I trust my three postage stamps will carry to you, "regardless of expense." Your letter coming this morning made me feel rather superstitious; it is the second communication which has reached me latterly from persons I had not heard from for some time, but of whom I had been vividly thinking just before I did so; and this morning, just before the arrival of the postman with your letter, I was musing upon your long silence, and wondering if your later relations and ties were obliterating the memory of old and absent friends. This rather painful cogitation was very pleasantly dispelled by your letter, for which and all its kind words of affection I thank you very sincerely.

I have heard from my poor sister several times. Her grief is unspeakable, and I sit and cry and lament here over her sorrow, helpless to comfort her, and longing only that I were with her to express my infinite pity for her misery, as no words, written or spoken, can do. Poor soul, I almost doubt if even time will help her. She writes me with amazement herself at the fact that her health has not suffered from this dreadful blow. A— is engaged to General Grant's only daughter. They made acquaintance on board ship, having crossed from England in the same steamer, since which A—, who is in the Western States (not Canada), met the young lady, and became more intimate with her, at St. Louis, which is, I believe, the home of her mother's family. I understand General Grant has made it a condition of the marriage that his daughter is not to live out of this country, in which case A— will have to expatriate himself, a thing oftener done by women for their husbands than by men for their wives.

I grieve for the no grouse, and do not think the affluence of rabbits any compensation, the one being in my judgment the worst, as the other are the best of ferœ naturæ. To be sure, you may have the advantage of quoting, with a realizing sense of its pertinency, the famous rabbittical grace, "for rabbits hot, for rabbits cold," etc. Perhaps I may see Corrybrough again–who knows? If I live two years, I expect to return to Europe, and that includes Corrybrough as well as other places, of which, if I live, I hope to renew my memories.

I have been unhappy about Donne, and anxious for news of him. B— and Edward Fitzgerald both wrote me word how ill he had been; both also that he was better, and B— added that he purposed soon writing to me; but that is now some time ago, and I have not heard from him, and cannot help fearing that he is again ill.

The L—s write from the South of a satisfactorily large rice crop, which (as it is an ill wind that blows nobody good) will probably be enhanced in value by this miserable Indian scarcity.

S—, to whom I gave your message, did not appear to me painfully conscious of not deserving it. She is remarkably well this winter, in good looks and good spirits; sees a great deal of Philadelphia society, and grows fat upon it, which shows, I hope, that it agrees with her. I am sorry to say I do not think her husband by any means as flourishing; he suffers frequently from neuralgia in his eyes, which sounds as if it ought to be horrible. They and I expect to become country mice in the spring, when the houses we expect to inhabit are expected to be ready for use. The W—s will take up their abode in the house, which was my married home, where both my children were born, which calls itself, rather pretentiously, "Butler Place," and I in a house, known as the York Farm, on the same property, but divided from them by a road, across which, however, we can throw stones at each other's windows, though we may not quite shake hands. Meantime, I hope to have F— and her husband here by the beginning of May, which month they will pass here in town with me, and then we shall probably all go to the country together. J— has some notion of going out to the West some time during the summer, and the winter will, of course, take them back to Georgia to carry out their southern experiment and determine whether any good result is to be obtained there or not.

I have nothing to say about myself, dear Arthur, having told you what concerns me most in telling you of my children. My grandson came home at Christmas, looking well and in high spirits, and went back after six weeks with some small abatement of good looks and spirits, but no more than naturally comported with Christmas diet, and returned to school. He is very clever indeed, and I think may turn out a remarkable engineer, towards which vocation all his tastes, at present, seem to incline. That he will be a book man I doubt; I think he will never be a hard student of anything but mechanical powers, natural laws of force and motion, and the results to be derived from them as applied to machinery.

I am growing very old very fast, nothing loth, and all the senses and the little sense I ever had diminish daily; but I do not know that anyone but myself is the worse for that. I shall not rival Miss Sterling Graham, I am quite sure; but while I remain, shall remain always affectionately yours,


Please thank your wife for her kind remembrance of me, and give her my best love.

YORK FARM, BRANCHTOWN, Monday, July 27, 1874.

Many hearty thanks from all of us, dear Arthur, for your and your wife's kind congratulations. We are more proper objects than the common run of folk for such congratulations, under our circumstances, because we had sufficient cause for more than usual anxiety as to the event. God be thanked, all has gone most prosperously. The mother is recovering admirably, and, I trust, is henceforth to be a sound woman; and the child is a very fine, healthy creature; and we are all very happy, and were touched with gratitude by the expression of your cordial sympathy.

I have, of course, no news to give you, for my life is now nothing but very peaceful and happy monotony. S— and her husband are just across the road, and I heard their dear boy practising on the piano this morning before our breakfast, which gives you a measure of our near neighborhood. He is at home just now for his summer holidays, taller than his mother, very clever, and not otherwise than a good and an amiable lad.

Your account of your niece's experience with her doctors, regular and irregular, revived a very vivid disgust which I feel whenever I think of the treatment F— was made to undergo for nearly two years, some part of which, I feel well convinced, was much worse than useless to her.

I have heard since I received your letter from Donne, who tells me of his resigning the theater licencership–a gain of peace and quiet, no doubt; but a loss of pounds, shillings, and pence, which, I fear, he can ill afford. Does he not receive some pension upon retiring from office? . . . I am very sorry he cannot have the cheer and refreshment of going up to Corrybrough.

Our summer here has been tolerably temperate for here. The thermometer has averaged ninety degrees, sometimes as many as a hundred, but oftener standing about eighty-six. There has been almost continual drought; and living on the very edge of a market high-road, as we do, we are as white with dust as millers and long incessantly for the beneficent water from the skies, which will not fall upon us for all our entreaties.

I have a large drawing of the lower end of the Lake of Geneva hanging over my writing-table, and, as the "hart pants for the living waters," I look at it, and then gasp at the thought of the dear mountains.

Good-bye, and God bless you, dear Arthur. I know not how long J— purposes prolonging his experiment of life in America; I, if I live, shall return to England next year.

With kindest love from all here, believe me, ever yours affectionately



Friday, July 30, 1875.


I never reckon with my friends, because I am in the habit of thinking that I receive a great deal more from them all than I am in the least entitled to; but I was beginning to think it a very long time since I had seen your handwriting, and was, therefore, all the better pleased when I received your last letter. I am very glad, my dear Arthur, that you went to Warsash and saw Adelaide. I am sure it would have been a pleasure to you and a comfort to her, for the old early marks of love and friendship may subside under the service of newer circumstance; but they only go deeper in, and join the memories which are those that alone survive and are vivid to the last.

S— has been very far from well lately, and so, I am sorry to say, has her husband, who, nevertheless, has resumed the practice of his profession, and is working very hard just now, the summer being always the sickly season here. Their boy is at home for his holidays, a great, tall, broad fellow of fifteen, amiable, and well disposed, and extremely clever. I am afraid he will not work; otherwise, I think he would be a remarkable person. He writes good verses, and has an extraordinary talent for music, and is altogether unusually well endowed with capacity. My other grandchild, the little L— baby, is a very delicate little creature at present, but has held on to her life through its feeble and puny beginning with such a good will, that I think there is enough of that to make a constitution out of it.

The summer hitherto has been the reverse of yours, dry and dusty and oppressively hot; a long two months of broiling, with hardly a bucketful of rain to put it out; but we hear of floods and torrents in every other direction–France, England, Australia. I should think our turn must come for a wash and a drink. The winter is terrible here; but the summer is awful, and not at all awfully jolly. I wish I was on the heather mountains at this present writing, or looking into the salmon pool in the Findhorn at the Straus.

Good-bye, dear Arthur. Remember me kindly to your wife, and keep me always in mind as yours always very affectionately,


What a wonderful old she Claverhouse that Miss Sterling Graham is! I should like to send my respects to her.


Saturday, November 27, 1875.


I am sixty-six years old to-day. It is my birthday, and has not been by any means a cheerful one to me, for it began with the departure of F— and her husband and baby for the South. Of course this is rather a doleful event. We lose them for five months at least, and as F— is expecting her confinement in January, of course her absence will be an eventful season, and I shall feel very anxious till I hear all has gone well with her. They have gone by sea, sailing in a fine new steamer from this port, and though I think they determined wisely in doing so, the land journey being long and very fatiguing, still, in spite of possible railroad accidents, I think one always feels as if a sea voyage involved more risk. However, the weather is fine now, with every appearance of continuing so, and their voyage is only of two days' duration, so I hope all will go well with them. Their departure leaves a sad blank in my life. I miss them all extremely, even to J—'s beautiful dog, of which I am very fond, and which is very much devoted to me.

I read your letter, in family conclave assembled, for you have become my children's friend as well as mine, and we all take part in the success of the grouse shooting, and whatever may be your plans for the winter.

The idea of the Pyrenees is very charming, and I do not wonder Mrs. Malkin inclines thither, though I remember that when I was there, great as was my admiration for them, I felt rather as I was guilty of infidelity to the Alps all the time and made haste back to the latter, with something of penitence in delight at being once more upon my mountains.

S— and her husband mind what you say, in the Scotch sense of hearing; whether they do in the English sense of heeding is another matter.

About their going back to Europe, and his having a month or so with you and the grouse at Corrybrough, they would both be the better for leaving this country again, where life, for some reason or other, is more difficult and more exhausting than anywhere else in the world, but their boy's studies cannot be interrupted, and they cannot leave him here and betake themselves abroad, so that I see little chance of their moving for at least a couple of years.

I suppose I shall return to England, if I live, next year, and I believe F— and her husband intend to do so, and if I do come back, it will probably be to take some sort of residence in London, for little as I have loved that great city of my birth all my life, I suppose it is the best place upon the whole for a lonely old woman to live in, on account of all the conveniences of civilization, and such social intercourse as I may be still fit for, which indeed is not much now.

The B—s were Adelaide's friends, not mine, though I knew them at her house. I liked Mrs. B— the better of the two. What an extraordinary mimic he was. His imitation of my brother John was so like, both in matter and manner, that with my eyes shut I could have sworn, had he been alive, that he was himself speaking to me. I think the effect of that sort of wonderful imitation is surprising, but not agreeable; there is something uncanny in thus going out of yourself and becoming somebody else.

We have had Lord Houghton here, running about the United States, and being crowned with honor and glory, and garlands and laurels, and made an enormous lion of. If he writes a book about the country, which I think he will, he is certainly bound to speak well of such fervent admirers as he found here.



Friday, February 11, 1876.


I received your kind letter to-day with the friendly inclosure of your congratulation to poor F—. This, however I have taken upon myself to suppress, with, I felt very sure, your approbation of my doing so. . . .

S— has gone down to the plantation to cheer and sustain her sister, so that O— and I remain in a state of rather forlorn forsakenness.

I was a good deal interested in the story of your young neighbor. Poor young widow, it seems to me that of all pathetic plights, that of a woman bearing the child of a dead husband is one of the most pitiful.

In my sister's last letter to me, she told me that they were thinking of taking a house in London, large enough to hold them all–Algernon, Sartoris, and Gordon's children and children's children. She spoke as if it would be a great effort to her to see any society again, but that she thought she ought to do it for the sake of the young ones. So I dare say you will again have many pleasant hours of your old friendly intercourse with her.

I have seen some of the accounts and critiques of Mr. Irving's acting, and rather elaborate ones of his "Hamlet," which, however, give me no very distinct idea of his performance, and a very hazy one indeed of the part itself, as seen from the point of view of his critics. Edward Fitzgerald wrote me word that he looked like my people, and sent me a photograph of him to prove it, which I thought much more like Young than my father or uncle. I have not seen a play of Shakespeare's acted I do not know when. I think I should find such an exhibition extremely curious as well as entertaining.

Dear Donne writes to me now but seldom. I believe it is something of an effort for him to do so. I get reports of him through Edward Fitzgerald, and fear from them that he must be a great deal broken. I read his review of Macready's life as well as the book itself, which I found extremely interesting from the strong peculiarity of the man's character. How curious it seems to me that he could care, as he did, for his profession, having none of the feeling of contempt and dislike for it itself that I had, and then dislike and despise it because he thought it placed him socially in an inferior position to other professional men, or gentlemen of other professions!–that seems to me an incomprehensible thing. I do not think any of my people ever looked at their calling in this fashion, but Macready was a very honest man, and that and his "curst" temper (Shakespeare, you know) give me great sympathy for him.

I saw a very favorable notice in the Spectator of a book called "Throslethwaite," and thought I should like to read it, having no idea whom it was written by. But why does not James Spedding exert his uncular authority over the lady to give her books easier names for readers not advanced in spelling or pronunciation?


We have had a wonderful, capricious, mild winter. I rejoiced in its clemency for the poor, the sick, and the aged, and very young, but–my ice-house has not yet been filled, and I am beginning to quake lest there should not come frost cold and hard enough to fill it. "Point de glace, bon Dieu! dans le fort de L'Été–Au mois de Juin!" will be very bad indeed, which don't rhyme, but don't matter.


Sunday, November 19, 1876.


How the "daughter" deals with her correspondence I do not know, but you probably do; for me, I am, I flatter myself, perfectly to be relied upon to answer, like a well-educated ghost the moment I am spoken to, and, like a well-educated ghost, never a moment before.

I have thought more than once lately, that it was a Iong time since I had heard from you, and so was very glad to get my share of your letter, which having read, I carried over to S—. I am glad Mr. Hinchcliffe was with you at Corrybrough, making a fernery. I have been reading of a book of his–I wish it had been the book itself–telling of wonderful vegetables in South America, and wonderful spiders, to run the risk of meeting one of which all the flowers and ferns in creation, much as I love them, would not tempt me, because, you see, a spider is what the French call "my black beast," and I dread and hate them.

Your story about your legs sitting or standing for Mr. Baring's reminded me of a thing Saunders the miniature painter once told me. He was painting a likeness of the beautiful Lady Graham (a disastrous intrigue with whom was almost Charles Greville's first step in life) and she informed Saunders that, when he came to her nose, she should bring her sister to sit for that, because her sister's was much handsomer than her own, which struck me as very droll.

Lawrence's whole career seems to me an exceedingly sad one and he is so interesting a person himself that I always think of his life's struggle with great sympathy and regret. In spite of a good vein of quiet obstinacy, he is not made of the stuff that wrestles well with life, perhaps, indeed, on account of the very obstinacy. If people have to live by bread, they should have as few opinions as possible, even about their own business, because one's neighbors always know it better than one's self, in matters of art quite as much as any other matter.

I had a letter from Adelaide the other day, out of reach of grouse. She was at Madame de L'Aigle's, at Frankfort, on her way to spend the winter in Rome with her husband. I hope to be in England by the beginning of February, which I suppose will be early enough for the wild flowers at Zermatt. I will be sure to meet you there, if I am alive; dear me! how much I should like it! I suppose, old and toothless as I am, I could sit still on a mule, or in a chair. Legs, I have none left, even to stand, much less go upon, and so you see I shall be rather a dilapidated member of your famous club.

The lady you call "dear little Fan," is no more. She is represented by a portly personable body, little inferior to me in size and weight, and with a comely double chin, which I somehow or other have avoided among my many signs of elderliness. She and I are living here together, her husband having gone to the plantation to wind up matters there, and place the property in the charge of competent agents, previous to returning to England.

Affectionately yours,



Many thanks, dear Arthur, for the grouse which flew hither yesterday evening, which we shall eat to your health and our own gratification. I was almost afraid that you had not received the letter I sent to you from lnterlaken, till I found an allusion to it in one of your letters to Adelaide. I should have been sorry if it had not reached you, as I thought coming from that charming starting-point of our summer trip together, it would come like the far-away echoes of the Alpine horn, and be accordingly welcome. Here I am, settled for the present, I and my child, in a tiny tenement, with a tiny lawn and tiny flower-beds before, and a tiny kitchen garden and shrubbery behind it. It is just one of those sort of places where very world-weary folks long to nestle down, and I am more