The Project Gutenberg eBook of Famous Persons and Places

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: Famous Persons and Places

Author: Nathaniel Parker Willis

Release date: September 1, 2015 [eBook #49841]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Marcia Brooks, Cindy Beyer and the online
Project Gutenberg team at with images provided by The
Internet Archives




















Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1854, by


in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States for the

Southern District of New York.




185 William St.






For some remarks that should properly introduce much of the contents of the present volume, the reader is referred to the Preface published with a previous number of the Series, entitled “Pencillings by the Way.” A portion of the original “Pencillings” is here given, the size of the work having compelled an unequal division of it, and the remaining and smaller part serving to complete another volume, with some additional sketches of the same character.

The personal portrayings of distinguished contemporaries, of which this volume is mainly composed, will, (as has been abundantly proved in their previous shapes of publication,) ensure its readableness. It will have a value, from the same quality, that will increase with time, and be, also, independent, to a certain degree, of its literary merits. Sketches of the men of mark of any period are eagerly devoured—more eagerly as the subjects pass away, and are beyond farther seeing and describing—the public requiring less that they should be ably done than that they should be true to the life. Correctness, in such pencilling, is more important than grace in the art. And this I claim to have been proved for these sketches. In the years that they have been before the public, not a single incorrectness has ever been proved or even charged upon them. I sketched what I saw at the time, and, to the best of my ability, sketched truly. With the acrid and persevering warfare that has been waged upon them by the critics, their truth would have been invalidated long ago, if flaw or blemish in this shield of their chief merit could have been found. Expecting vague charges of incorrectness from the malice of criticism, however, I have accumulated testimonials that have never yet been called forth—no friend or acquaintance having ever been estranged or offended by the descriptions I have ventured to give, and subsequent intimacy or exchange of courtesies furnishing ample proof, that, to such sharing of my admiration and opportunities to see more nearly, the world was welcome.

I will add a few remarks, upon somewhat the same point, from a previous Preface:—

For the living portraitures of the book I have a word to say. That sketches of the whim of the hour, its manners, fashions, and those ephemeral trifles, which, slight as they are, constitute in a great measure its “form and pressure”—that these, and familiar traits of persons distinguished in our time, are popular and amusing, I have the most weighty reasons certainly to know. They sell. “Are they innocent?” is the next question. And to this I know no more discreet answer than that mine have offended nobody but the critics. It has been said that sketches of contemporary society require little talent, and belong to an inferior order of literature. Perhaps. Yet they must be well done to attract notice at all; and if true and graphic, they are not only excellent material for future biographers, but to all who live out of the magic circles of fashion and genius, they are more than amusing—they are instructive. To such persons, living authors, orators, and statesmen, are as much characters of history, and society in cities is as much a subject of philosophic curiosity, as if a century had intervened. The critic who finds these matters “stale and unprofitable,” lives in the circles described, and the pictures drawn at his elbow lack to his eye the effect of distance; but the same critic would delight in a familiar sketch of a supper with “my lord of Leicester” in Elizabeth’s time, of an evening with Raleigh and Spenser, or perhaps he would be amused with a description by an eye-witness of Mary Queen of Scots, riding home to Holyrood with her train of admiring nobles. I have not named in the same sentence the ever-deplored blank in our knowledge of Shakspere’s person and manners. What would not a trait by the most unskilful hand be worth now—if it were nothing but how he gave the good-morrow to Ben Jonson in Eastcheap?

How far sketches of the living are a breach of courtesy committed by the author toward the persons described, depends, of course, on the temper in which they are done. To select a subject for complimentary description is to pay the most undoubted tribute to celebrity, and, as far as I have observed, most distinguished persons sympathize with the public interest in them and their belongings, and are willing to have their portraits drawn, either with pen or pencil, by as many as offer them the compliment. It would be ungracious to the admiring world if they were not.

The outer man is a debtor for the homage paid to the soul which inhabits him, and he is bound, like a porter at the gate, to satisfy all reasonable curiosity as to the habits of the nobler and invisible tenant. He owes his peculiarities to the world.

For myself, I am free to confess that no age interests me like the present; that no pictures of society since the world began, are half so entertaining to me as those of English society in our day; and that, whatever comparison the living great men of England may sustain with those of other days, there is no doubt in my mind that English social life, at the present moment, is at a higher pitch of refinement and cultivation than it was ever here or elsewhere since the world began—consequently it, and all who form and figure in it, are dignified and legitimate subjects of curiosity and speculation. The Count Mirabel and Lady Bellair of D’Israeli’s last romance, are, to my mind, the cleverest portraits, as well as the most entertaining characters, of modern novel-writing; and D’Israeli, by the way, is the only English author who seems to have the power of enlarging his horizon, and getting a perspective view of the times he lives in. His novels are far more popular in America than in England, because the Atlantic is to us a century. We picture to ourselves England and Victoria as we picture to ourselves England and Elizabeth. We relish an anecdote of Sheridan Knowles as we should one of Ford or Marlowe. This immense ocean between us is like the distance of time; and while all that is minute and bewildering is lost to us, the greater lights of the age and the prominent features of society stand out apart, and we judge of them like posterity. Much as I have myself lived in England, I have never been able to remove this long perspective from between my eye and the great men of whom I read and thought on the other side of the Atlantic. When I find myself in the same room with the hero of Waterloo, my blood creeps as if I had seen Cromwell or Marlborough; and I sit down afterward to describe how he looked, with the eagerness with which I should communicate to my friends some disinterred description of these renowned heroes by a contemporary writer. If Cornelius Agrippa were redivivus, in short, and would show me his magic mirror, I should as soon call up Moore as Dryden—Wordsworth or Wilson as soon as Pope or Crichton.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *


Immensity of London—Voyage to Leith—Society of the Steam Packet—Analogy between Scotch and American manners—Strict observance of the Sabbath on board—Edinburgh—Unexpected recognition11
Edinburgh—A Scotch Breakfast—The Castle—Palace of Holyrood—Queen Mary—Rizzio—Charles the Tenth17
Dalhousie Castle—The Earl and Countess—Antiquity of their Family23
Sporting and Its Equipments—Roslin Castle and Chapel28
“Christopher North”—Mr. Blackwood—The Ettrick Shepherd—Lockhart—Noctes Ambrosianæ—Wordsworth—Southey—Captain Hamilton and his Book on America—Professor Wilson’s Family, etc.34
Lord Jeffrey and his family—Lord Brougham—Count Flahault—Politics—The “Grey” Ball—Aberdeen—Gordon Castle46
Gordon Castle—Company There—The Park—Duke of Gordon—Personal Beauty of the English Aristocracy52
English Breakfast—Salmon Fishery—Lord Aberdeen—Mr. McLane—Sporting Establishment of Gordon Castle59
Scotch Hospitality—Immense Possessions of the Nobility—Dutchess’ Infant School—Manners of High Life—The Tone of Conversation in England and America Contrasted66
Departure from Gordon Castle—The Pretender—Scotch Character Misapprehended—Observance of Sunday—Highland Chieftains73
Caledonian Canal—Dogs—English Exclusiveness—English Insensibility of Fine Scenery—Flora Macdonald and the Pretender—Highland Travelling80
Invarenden—Tarbot—Cockney Tourists—Loch Lomond—Inversnade—Rob Roy’s Cave—Discomfiture—The Birthplace of Helen M’Gregor87
Highland Hut, its Furniture and Inmates—Highland Amusement and Dinner—“Rob Roy,” and Scenery of the “Lady of the Lake”94
Scottish Stages—Thorough-bred Setter—Scenery—Female Peasantry—Mary, Queen of Scots—Stirling Castle101
Scotch Scenery—A Race—Cheapness of Lodgings in Edinburgh—Abbottsford—Scott—Lord Dalhousie—Thomas Moore—Jane Porter—The Grave of Scott108
Border Scenery—Coachmanship—English Country-seats—Their Exquisite Comfort—Old Customs in High Preservation—Pride and Stateliness of the Lancashire Gentry—Their Contempt for Parvenues118
English Cordiality and Hospitality, and the Feelings awakened by it—Liverpool—Uncomfortable Coffee-house there—Travelling Americans—New York Packets—The Railway—Manchester125
The Streets of London229
Isle of Wight—Ryde259
Comparison of the Climate of Europe and America265
Visit to Stratford-on-Avon—Shakspere280
Warwick Castle294
A Visit to Dublin about the time of the Queen’s Marriage305
Closing Scenes of the Session at Washington313
The Inauguration319
Washington in the Session324
Washington after the Session335
What the Writer has seen of this World for twenty-four days—The Passengers of the Britannia—The Difference Between the American and English Custom-house Officers—The Working Classes—Female Dress—Bustles—Writing against the Doctor’s Orders, etc.345
S—— Vicarage354
To any Lady Subscriber who may wish for Gleanings from that first Concert of Jenny Lind which the Critics of the Daily Papers have so well harvested392
To the Lady-Subscriber in the Country399
To the Lady-Subscriber in the Country407
To the Lady-reader in the Country412
Jenny Lind’s Propitiatory Acceptance of one Invitation from New York Fashionable Society—The History of the Day of which it was the Evening—Her Martyrdom by Charity-Seekers and other Wanters of Money and Gratifiers of their own Impertinent Curiosity—The Criticism of her Manners at the Party, as given in the “Courrier des Etats Unis”—A Counter-picture of her Conversation and Appearance—Singular Accidental “Tableau Vivant,” &c., &c.417
The Magyar and the Aztec, or the Two Extremes of Human Development433
Near View of Kossuth443
Death of Lady Blessington454
Moore and Barry Cornwall463
Jane Porter, Authoress of “Scottish Chiefs,” “Thaddeus of Warsaw,” etc.; etc.471
Ole Bull’s Niagara484
Dr. Lardner’s Lecture489




Almost giddy with the many pleasures and occupations of London, I had outstayed the last fashionable lingerer; and, appearing again, after a fortnight’s confinement with the epidemic of the season, I found myself almost without an acquaintance, and was driven to follow the world. A preponderance of letters and friends determined my route toward Scotland.

One realizes the immensity of London when he is compelled to measure its length on a single errand. I took a cab at my lodgings at nine in the evening, and drove six miles through one succession of crowded and blazing streets to the East India Docks, and with the single misfortune of being robbed, on the way, of a valuable cloak, secured a berth in the Monarch steamer, bound presently for Edinburgh.

I found the drawing-room cabin quite crowded, cold supper on the two long tables, every body very busy with knife and fork, and whiskey-and-water and broad Scotch circulating merrily. All the world seemed acquainted, and each man talked to his neighbor, and it was as unlike a ship’s company of dumb English as could easily be conceived. I had dined too late to attack the solids, but imitating my neighbor’s potation of whiskey and hot water, I crowded in between two good-humored Scotchmen, and took the happy color of the spirits of the company. A small centre-table was occupied by a party who afforded considerable amusement. An excessively fat old woman, with a tall scraggy daughter and a stubby little old fellow, whom they called “pa;” and a singular man, a Major Somebody, who seemed showing them up, composed the quartette. Noisier women I never saw, nor more hideous. They bullied the waiter, were facetious with the steward, and talked down all the united buzz of the cabin. Opposite me sat a pale, severe-looking Scotchman, who had addressed one or two remarks to me; and, upon an uncommon burst of uproariousness, he laughed with the rest, and remarked that the ladies were excusable, for they were doubtless Americans, and knew no better.

“It strikes me,” said I, “that both in manners and accent they are particularly Scotch.”

“Sir!” said the pale gentleman.

“Sir!” said several of my neighbors on the right and left.

“Have you ever been in Scotland?” asked the pale gentleman, with rather a ferocious air.

“No, sir! Have you ever been in America?”

“No, sir! but I have read Mrs. Trollope.”

“And I have read Cyril Thornton; and the manners delineated in Mrs. Trollope, I must say, are rather elegant in comparison.”

I particularized the descriptions I alluded to, which will occur immediately to those who have read the novel I have named; and then confessing I was an American, and withdrawing my illiberal remark, which I had only made to show the gentleman the injustice and absurdity of his own, we called for another tass of whiskey, and became very good friends. Heaven knows I have no prejudice against the Scotch, or any other nation—but it is extraordinary how universal the feeling seems to be against America. A half hour incog. in any mixed company in England I should think would satisfy the most rose-colored doubter on the subject.

We got under way at eleven o’clock, and the passengers turned in. The next morning was Sunday. It was fortunately of a “Sabbath stillness;” and the open sea through which we were driving, with an easy south wind in our favor, graciously permitted us to do honor to as substantial a breakfast as ever was set before a traveller, even in America. (Why we should be ridiculed for our breakfasts I do not know.)

The “Monarch” is a superb boat, and, with the aid of sails and a wind right aft, we made twelve miles in the hour easily. I was pleased to see an observance of the Sabbath which had not crossed my path before in three years’ travel. Half the passengers at least took their Bibles after breakfast, and devoted an hour or two evidently to grave religious reading and reflection. With this exception, I have not seen a person with the Bible in his hand, in travelling over half the world.

The weather continued fine, and smooth water tempted us up to breakfast again on Monday. The wash-room was full of half-clad men, but the week-day manners of the passengers were perceptibly gayer. The captain honored us by taking the head of the table, which he had not done on the day previous, and his appearance was hailed by three general cheers. When the meats were removed, a gentleman rose, and, after a very long and parliamentary speech, proposed the health of the captain. The company stood up, ladies and all, and it was drank with a tremendous “hip-hip-hurrah,” in bumpers of whiskey. They don’t do that on the Mississippi, I reckon. If they did, the travellers would be down upon us, “I guess,” out-Hamiltoning Hamilton.

We rounded St. Abb’s head into the Forth, at five, in the afternoon, and soon dropped anchor off Leith. The view of Edinburgh, from the water, is, I think, second only to that of Constantinople. The singular resemblance, in one or two features, to the view of Athens, as you approach from the Piræus, seems to have struck other eyes than mine, and an imitation Acropolis is commenced on the Calton Hill, and has already, in its half finished state, much the effect of the Parthenon. Hymettus is rather loftier than the Pentland-hills, and Pentelicus farther off and grander than Arthur’s seat, but the old castle of Edinburgh is a noble and peculiar feature of its own, and soars up against the sky, with its pinnacle-placed turrets, superbly magnificent. The Forth has a high shore on either side, and, with the island of Inchkeith in its broad bosom, it looks more like a lake than an arm of the sea.

It is odd what strange links of acquaintance will develop between people thrown together in the most casual manner, and in the most out-of-the-way places. I have never entered a steamboat in my life without finding, if not an acquaintance, some one who should have been an acquaintance from mutual knowledge of friends. I thought, through the first day, that the Monarch would be an exception. On the second morning, however, a gentleman came up and called me by name. He was an American, and had seen me in Boston. Soon after, another gentleman addressed some remark to me, and, in a few minutes, we discovered that we were members of the same club in London, and bound to the same hospitable roof in Scotland. We went on, talking together, and I happened to mention having lately been in Greece, when one of a large party of ladies, overhearing the remark, turned, and asked me if I had met Lady —— in my travels. I had met her at Athens, and this was her sister. I found I had many interesting particulars of the delightful person in question, which were new to them, and, sequitur, a friendship struck up immediately between me and a party of six. You would have never dreamed, to have seen the adieux on the landing, that we had been unaware of each other’s existence forty-four hours previous.

Leith is a mile or more from the town, and we drove into the new side of Edinburgh—a splendid city of stone—and, with my English friend, I was soon installed in a comfortable parlor at Douglass’s—an hotel to which the Tremont, in Boston, is the only parallel. It is built of the same stone and is smaller, but it has a better situation than the Tremont, standing in a magnificent square, with a column and statue to Lord Melville in the centre, and a perspective of a noble street stretching through the city from the opposite side.

We dined upon grouse, to begin Scotland fairly, and nailed down our sherry with a tass of Glenlivet, and then we had still an hour of daylight for a ramble.



It is an old place, Edinboro’. The old town and the new are separated by a broad and deep ravine, planted with trees and shrubbery; and across this, on a level with the streets on either side, stretches a bridge of a most giddy height, without which all communication would apparently be cut off. “Auld Reekie” itself looks built on the back-bone of a ridgy crag, and towers along on the opposite side of the ravine, running up its twelve-story houses to the sky in an ascending curve, till it terminates in the frowning and battlemented castle, whose base is literally on a mountain top in the midst of the city. At the foot of this ridge, in the lap of the valley, lies Holyrood-house; and between this and the castle runs a single street, part of which is the old Canongate. Princes street, the Broadway of the new town, is built along the opposite edge of the ravine facing the long, many-windowed walls of the Canongate, and from every part of Edinboro’ these singular features are conspicuously visible. A more striking contrast than exists between these two parts of the same city could hardly be imagined. On one side a succession of splendid squares, elegant granite houses, broad and well-paved streets, columns, statues, and clean sidewalks, thinly promenaded and by the well-dressed exclusively—a kind of wholly grand and half deserted city, which has been built too ambitiously for its population—and on the other, an antique wilderness of streets and “wynds,” so narrow and lofty as to shut out much of the light of heaven; a thronging, busy, and particularly dirty population, sidewalks almost impassable from children and other respected nuisances; and altogether, between the irregular and massive architecture, and the unintelligible jargon agonizing the air about you, a most outlandish and strange city. Paris is not more unlike Constantinople than one side of Edinboro’ is unlike the other. Nature has probably placed “a great gulf” between them.

We toiled up the castle to see the sunset. Oh, but it was beautiful! I have no idea of describing it; but Edinboro’, to me, will be a picture seen through an atmosphere of powdered gold, mellow as an eve on the Campagna. We looked down on the surging sea of architecture below us, and whether it was the wavy cloudiness of a myriad of reeking chimneys, or whether it was a fancy Glenlivet-born in my eye, the city seemed to me like a troop of war-horses, rearing into the air with their gallant riders. The singular boldness of the hills on which it is built, and of the crags and mountains which look down upon it, and the impressive lift of its towering architecture into the sky, gave it altogether a look of pride and war-likeness that answers peculiarly well to the chivalric history of Scotland. And so much for the first look at “Auld Reekie.”

My friend had determined to have what he called a “flare-up” of a Scotch breakfast, and we were set down, the morning after our arrival, at nine, to cold grouse, salmon, cold beef, marmalade, jellies, honey, five kinds of bread, oatmeal cakes, coffee, tea, and toast; and I am by no means sure that that is all. It is a fine country in which one gets so much by the simple order of “breakfast at nine.”

We parted after having achieved it, my companion going before me to Dumbartonshire; and, with a “wee callant” for a guide, I took my way to Holyrood.

At the very foot of Edinboro’ stands this most interesting of royal palaces—a fine old pile, though at the first view rather disappointing. It might have been in the sky, which was dun and cold, or it might have been in the melancholy story most prominent in its history, but it oppressed me with its gloom. A rosy cicerone in petticoats stepped out from the porter’s lodge, and rather brightened my mood with her smile and courtesy, and I followed on to the chapel royal, built, Heaven knows when, but in a beautiful state of gothic ruin. The girl went on with her knitting and her well-drilled recitation of the sights upon which those old fretted and stone traceries had let in the light; and I walked about feeding my eyes upon its hoar and touching beauty, listening little till she came to the high altar, and in the same broad Scotch monotony, and with her eyes still upon her work, hurried over something about Mary Queen of Scots. She was married to Darnley on the spot where I stood! The mechanical guide was accustomed evidently to an interruption here, and stood still a minute or two to give my surprise the usual grace. Poor, poor Mary! I had the common feeling, and made probably the same ejaculation that thousands have made on the spot, that I had never before realized the melancholy romance of her life half so nearly. It had been the sadness of an hour before—a feeling laid aside with the book that recorded it—now it was, as it were, a pity and a grief for the living, and I felt struck with it as if it had happened yesterday. If Rizzio’s harp had sounded from her chamber, it could not have seemed more tangibly a scene of living story.

“And through this door they dragged the murdered favorite; and here under this stone, he was buried!”

“Yes, sir.”

“Poor Rizzio!”

“I’m thinkin’ that’s a’, sir!”

It was a broad hint, but I took another turn down the nave of the old ruin, and another look at the scene of the murder, and the grave of the victim.

“And this door communicated with Mary’s apartments!”

“Yes—ye hae it a’ the noo!”

I paid my shilling, and exit.

On inquiry for the private apartments, I was directed to another Girzy, who took me up to a suite of rooms appropriated to the use of the Earl of Breadalbane, and furnished very much like lodgings for a guinea a week in London.

“And which was Queen Mary’s chamber?”

“Ech! sir! It’s t’ither side. I dinna show that.”

“And what am I brought here for?”

“Ye cam’ yoursell!”

With this wholesome truth, I paid my shilling again, and was handed over to another woman, who took me into a large hall containing portraits of Robert Bruce, Baliol, Macbeth, Queen Mary, and some forty other men and women famous in Scotch story; and nothing is clearer than that one patient person sat to the painter for the whole. After “doing” these, I was led with extreme deliberativeness through a suite of unfurnished rooms, twelve, I think, the only interest of which was their having been tenanted of late by the royal exile of France. As if anybody would give a shilling to see where Charles the Tenth slept and breakfasted!

I thanked Heaven that I stumbled next upon the right person, and was introduced into an ill-lighted room, with one deep window looking upon the court, and a fireplace like that of a country inn—the state chamber of the unfortunate Mary. Here was a chair she embroidered—there was a seat of tarnished velvet, where she sat in state with Darnley—the very grate in the chimney that she had sat before—the mirror in which her fairest face had been imaged—the table at which she had worked—the walls on which her eyes had rested in her gay and her melancholy hours—all, save the touch and mould of time, as she lived in it and left it. It was a place for a thousand thoughts.

The woman led on. We entered another room—her chamber. A small, low bed, with tattered hangings of red and figured silk, tall, ill-shapen posts, and altogether a paltry look, stood in a room of irregular shape; and here, in all her peerless beauty, she had slept. A small cabinet, a closet merely, opened on the right, and in this she was supping with Rizzio when he was plucked from her and murdered. We went back to the audience chamber to see the stain of his blood on the floor. She partitioned it off after his death, not bearing to look upon it. Again—“poor Mary!”

On the opposite side was a similar closet, which served as her dressing room, and the small mirror, scarce larger than your hand, which she used at her toilet. Oh for a magic wand, to wave back, upon that senseless surface, the visions of beauty it has reflected!



Edinboro’ has extended to “St. Leonard’s,” and the home of Jeanie Deans is now the commencement of the railway! How sadly is romance ridden over by the march of intellect!

With twenty-four persons and some climbers behind, I was drawn ten miles in the hour by a single horse upon the Dalkeith railroad, and landed within a mile of Dalhousie Castle. Two “wee callants” here undertook my portmanteau, and in ten minutes more I was at the rustic lodge in the park, the gate of which swung hospitably open with the welcome announcement that I was expected. An avenue of near three quarters of a mile of firs, cedars, laburnums, and larches, wound through the park to the castle; and dipping over the edge of a deep and wild dell, I found the venerable old pile below me, its round towers and battlemented turrets frowning among the trees, and forming with the river, which swept round its base, one of the finest specimens imaginable of the feudal picturesque.[1] The nicely-gravelled terraces, as I approached, the plate-glass windows and rich curtains, diminished somewhat of the romance; but I am not free to say that the promise they gave of the luxury within did not offer a succedaneum.

I was met at the threshold by the castle’s noble and distinguished master, and as the light modern gothic door swung open on its noiseless hinges, I looked up at the rude armorial scutcheon above, and at the slits for the port-cullis chains and the rough hollows in the walls which had served for its rest, and it seemed to me that the kind and polished earl, in his velvet cap, and the modern door on its patent hinges, were pleasant substitutes even for a raised drawbridge and a helmeted knight. I beg pardon of the romantic, if this be treason against Della Crusca.

The gong had sounded its first summons to dinner, and I went immediately to my room to achieve my toilet. I found myself in the south wing, with a glorious view up the valley of the Esk, and comforts about me such as are only found in a private chamber in England. The nicely-fitted carpet, the heavy curtains, the well-appointed dressing-table, the patent grate and its blazing fire (for where is a fire not welcome in Scotland?) the tapestry, the books, the boundless bed, the bell that will ring, and the servants that anticipate the pull——oh, you should have pined for comfort in France and Italy to know what this catalogue is worth.

After dinner, Lady Dalhousie, who is much of an invalid, mounted a small poney to show me the grounds. We took a winding path away from the door, and descended at once into the romantic dell over which the castle towers. It is naturally a most wild and precipitous glen, through which the rapid Esk pursues its way almost in darkness; but, leaving only the steep and rocky shelves leaning over the river with their crown of pines, the successive lords of Dalhousie have cultivated the banks and hills around for a park and a paradise. The smooth gravel walks cross and interweave, the smoother lawns sink and swell with their green bosoms, the stream dashes on murmuring below, and the lofty trees shadow and overhang all. At one extremity of the grounds are a flower and a fruit garden, and beyond it the castle farm; at the other, a little village of the family dependants, with their rose-imbowered cottages; and, as far as you would ramble in a day, extend the woods and glades, and hares leap across your path, and pheasants and partridges whirr up as you approach, and you may fatigue yourself in a scene that is formed in every feature from the gentle-born and the refined. The labor and the taste of successive generations can alone create such an Eden. Primogeniture! I half forgive thee.

The various views of the castle from the bottom of the dell are perfectly beautiful. With all its internal refinement, it is still the warlike fortress at a little distance, and bartizan and battlement bring boldly back the days when Bruce was at Hawthornden (six miles distant,) and Lord Dalhousie’s ancestor, the knightly Sir Alexander Ramsay, defended the ford of the Esk, and made himself a man in Scottish story in the days of Wallace and the Douglasses. Dalhousie was besieged by Edward the first and by John of Gaunt, among others, and being the nearest of a chain of castles from the Esk to the Pentland Hills, it was the scene of some pretty fighting in most of the wars of Scotland.

Lord Dalhousie showed me a singular old bridle-bit, the history of which is thus told in Scott’s Tales of a Grandfather:

“Sir Alexander Ramsay having taken by storm the strong castle of Roxburgh, the king bestowed on him the office of sheriff of the county, which was before engaged by the knight of Liddesdale. As this was placing another person in his room, the knight of Liddesdale altogether forgot his old friendship for Ramsay, and resolved to put him to death. He came suddenly upon him with a strong party of men while he was administering justice at Harwick. Ramsay, having no suspicion of injury from the hands of his old comrade, and having few men with him, was easily overpowered; and, being wounded, was hurried away to the lonely castle of the Hermitage, which stands in the middle of the morasses of Liddesdale. Here he was thrown into a dungeon (with his horse) where he had no other sustenance than some grain which fell down from a granary above; and, after lingering awhile in that dreadful condition, the brave Sir Alexander Ramsay died. This was in 1412. Nearly four hundred and fifty years afterward, that is, about forty years ago, a mason, digging among the ruins of Hermitage Castle, broke into a dungeon, where lay a quantity of chaff, some human bones and a bridle-bit, which were supposed to mark the vault as the place of Ramsay’s death. The bridle-bit was given to grandpapa, who presented it to the present gallant earl of Dalhousie, a brave soldier, like his ancestor, Sir Alexander Ramsay, from whom he is lineally descended.”

There is another singular story connected with the family which escaped Sir Walter, and which has never appeared in print. Lady Dalhousie is of the ancient family of Coulston, one of the ancestors of which, Brown of Coulston, married the daughter of the famous Warlock of Gifford, described in Marmion. As they were proceeding to the church, the wizard lord stopped the bridal procession beneath a pear-tree, and plucking one of the pears, he gave it to his daughter, telling her that he had no dowry to give her, but that as long as she kept that gift, good fortune would never desert her or her descendants. This was in 1270, and the pear is still preserved in a silver box. About two centuries ago, a maiden lady of the family chose to try her teeth upon it, and very soon after two of the best farms of the estate were lost in some litigation—the only misfortune that has befallen the inheritance of the Coulstons in six centuries—thanks (perhaps) to the Warlock pear!

“The castle of Dalhousie upon the South-Esk, is a strong and large castle, with a large wall of aslure work going round about the same, with a tower upon ilk corner thereof.”—Grose’s Antiquities.



The nominal attraction of Scotland, particularly at this season, is the shooting. Immediately on your arrival, you are asked whether you prefer a flint or a percussion lock, and (supposing that you do not travel with a gun, which all Englishmen do,) a double-barrelled Manton is appropriated to your use, the game-keeper fills your powder and shot-pouches, and waits with the dogs in a leash till you have done your breakfast; and the ladies leave the table, wishing you a good day’s sport, all as matters of course.

I would rather have gone to the library. An aversion to walking, except upon smooth flag stones, a poetical tenderness on the subject of “putting birds out of misery,” as the last office is elegantly called, and hands much more at home with a goose-quill than a gun, were some of my private objections to the “order of the day.” Between persuasion and a most truant sunshine, I was overruled, however; and, with a silent prayer that I might not destroy the hopes of my noble host, by shooting his only son, who was to be my companion and instructor, I shouldered the proffered Manton and joined the game-keeper in the park.

Lord Ramsay and his man looked at me with some astonishment as I approached, and I was equally surprised at the young nobleman’s metamorphosis. From the elegant Oxonian I had seen at breakfast, he was transformed to a figure something rougher than his highland dependant, in a woollen shooting-jacket, that might have been cut in Kentucky, pockets of any number and capacity, trousers of the coarsest plaid, hob-nailed shoes, and leather gaiters, and a manner of handling his gun that would have been respected on the Mississippi. My own appearance in high-heeled French boots and other corresponding geer for a tramp over stubble and marsh, amused them equally; but my wardrobe was exclusively metropolitan, and there was no alternative.

The dogs were loosed from their leash and bounded away, and crossing the Esk under the castle walls, we found our way out of the park, and took to the open fields. A large patch of stubble was our first ground, and with a “hie away!” from the gamekeeper, the beautiful setters darted on before, their tails busy with delight and their noses to the ground, first dividing, each for a wall side, and beating along till they met, and then scouring toward the centre, as regularly as if every step were guided by human reason. Suddenly they both dropped low into the stubble, and with heads eagerly bent forward and the intensest gaze upon a spot, a yard or more in advance, stood as motionless as stone. “A covey, my lord!” said the game-keeper, and, with our guns cocked, we advanced to the dogs, who had crouched, and lay as still, while we passed them, as if their lives depended upon our shot. Another step, and whirr! whirr! a dozen partridges started up from the furrow, and while Lord Ramsay cried “Now!” and reserved his fire to give me the opportunity, I stood stock still in my surprise, and the whole covey disappeared over the wall. My friend laughed, the game-keeper smiled, and the dogs hied on once more.

I mended my shooting in the course of the morning, but it was both exciting and hard work. A heavy shower soaked us through, without extracting the slightest notice from my companion; and on we trudged through peas, beans, turnips, and corn, mudded to the knees and smoking with moisture, excessively to the astonishment, I doubt not, of the productions of Monsieur Clerx, of the Rue Vivienne, which were reduced to the consistency of brown paper, and those of my London tailor, which were equally entitled to some surprise at the use they were put to. It was quite beautiful, however, to see the ardor and training of the dogs; their caution, their obedience, and their perfect understanding of every motion of their master. I found myself interested quite beyond fatigue, and it was only when we jumped the park paling and took it once more leisurely down the gravel walks, that I realized at what an expense of mud, water, and weariness, my day’s sport had been purchased. Mem. Never to come to Scotland again without hob-nailed shoes and a shooting-jacket.

Rode over to Roslin castle. The country between Dalhousie castle and Roslin, including the village of Lasswade, is of uncommon loveliness. Lasswade itself clings to the two sides of a small valley, with its village church buried in trees, and the country seat of Lord Melvill looking down upon it, from its green woods; and away over the shoulder of the hill, swell the forests and rocks which imbosom Hawthornden (the residence of Drummond, the poet, in the days of Ben Jonson,) and the Pentland Hills, with their bold outline, form a background that completes the picture.

We left our horses at the neighboring inn, and walked first to Roslin chapel. This little gem of florid architecture is scarcely a ruin, so perfect are its arches and pillars, its fretted cornices and its painted windows. A whimsical booby undertook the cicerone, with a long cane-pole to point out the beauties. We entered the low side door, whose stone threshold the feet of Cromwell’s church stabled troopers assisted to wear, and walked at once to a singular column of twisted marble, most curiously carved, standing under the choir. Our friend with the cane-pole, who had condescended to familiar Scotch on the way, took his distance from the base, and drawing up his feet like a soldier on drill, assumed a most extraordinary elevation of voice, and recited its history in a declamation of which I could only comprehend the words “Awbraham and Isaac.” I saw by the direction of the pole that there was a bas relief of the Father of the Faithful, done on the capital—but for the rest I was indebted to Lord Ramsay, who did it into English as follows: “The master-mason of this chapel, meeting with some difficulties in the execution of his design, found it necessary to go to Rome for information, during which time his apprentice carried on the work, and even executed some parts concerning which his master had been most doubtful; particularly this fine fluted column, ornamented with wreaths of foliage and flowers twisting spirally round it. The master on his return, stung with envy at this proof of the superior abilities of his apprentice, slew him by a blow of his hammer.”

The whole interior of the chapel is excessively rich. The roof, capitals, key-stones, and architraves, are covered with sculptures. On the architrave joining the apprentice’s pillar to a smaller one, is graved the sententious inscription, “Forte est vinum, fortior est rex, fortiores sunt mulieres; super omnia vincit veritas.” It has been built about four hundred years, and is, I am told, the most perfect thing of its kind in Scotland.

The ruins of Roslin castle are a few minutes’ walk beyond. They stand on a kind of island rock, in the midst of one of the wildest glens of Scotland, separated from the hill nearest to the base by a drawbridge, swung over a tremendous chasm. I have seen nothing so absolutely picturesque in my travels. The North Esk runs its dark course, unseen, in the ravine below; the rocks on every side frown down upon it in black shadows, the woods are tangled and apparently pathless, and were it not for a most undeniable two-story farm house, built directly in the court of the old castle, you might convince yourself that foot had never approached it since the days of Wallace.

The fortress was built by William St. Clair, of whom Grose writes: “He kept a great court, and was royally served at his own table in vessels of gold and silver; Lord Dirleton being his master-household; Lord Borthwick his cup-bearer, and Lord Fleming his carver; in whose absence they had deputies to attend, viz: Stewart, Laird of Drumlanrig; Tweddie, Laird of Drumerline, and Sandilands, Laird of Calder. He had his halls and other apartments richly adorned with embroidered hangings. He flourished in the reigns of James the First and Second. His princess, Elizabeth Douglas, was served by seventy-five gentlewomen, whereof fifty-three were daughters of noblemen, all clothed in velvets and silks, with their chains of gold and other ornaments, and was attended by two hundred riding gentlemen in all her journeys; and, if it happened to be dark when she went to Edinburgh, where her lodgings were at the foot of the Black Fryar’s Wynd, eighty torches were carried before her.”

With a scrambling walk up the glen, which is, as says truly Mr. Grose, “inconceivably romantic,” we returned to our horses, and rode back to our dinner at Dalhousie, delighted with Roslin castle, and uncommonly hungry.



One of my most valued letters to Scotland was an introduction to Professor Wilson—the “Christopher North” of Blackwood, and the well known poet. The acknowledgment of the reception of my note came with an invitation to breakfast the following morning, at the early hour of nine.

The professor’s family were at a summer residence in the country, and he was alone in his house in Gloucester-place, having come to town on the melancholy errand of a visit to poor Blackwood—(since dead.) I was punctual to my hour, and found the poet standing before the fire with his coat skirts expanded—a large, muscular man, something slovenly in his dress, but with a manner and face of high good humor, and remarkably frank and prepossessing address. While he was finding me a chair, and saying civil things of the noble friend who had been the medium of our acquaintance, I was trying to reconcile my idea of him, gathered from portraits and descriptions, with the person before me. I had imagined a thinner and more scholar-like looking man, with a much paler face, and a much more polished exterior. His head is exceedingly ample, his eye blue and restless, his mouth full of character, and his hair, of a very light sandy color, is brushed up to cover an incipient baldness, but takes very much its own way, and has the wildness of a highlander’s. He has the stamp upon him of a remarkable man to a degree seldom seen, and is, on the whole, fine-looking and certainly a gentleman in his appearance; but (I know not whether the impression is common) I expected in Christopher North, a finished and rather over-refined man of the world of the old school, and I was so far disappointed.

The tea was made, and the breakfast smoked upon the table, but the professor showed no signs of being aware of the fact, and talked away famously, getting up and sitting down, walking to the window and standing before the fire, and apparently carried quite away with his own too rapid process of thought. He talked of the American poets, praised Percival and Pierpont more particularly; expressed great pleasure at the criticisms of his own works that had appeared in the American papers and magazines—and still the toast was getting cold, and with every move he seemed less and less aware of the presence of breakfast. There were plates and cups but for two, so that he was not waiting for another guest,—and after half an hour had thus elapsed, I began to fear he thought he had already breakfasted. If I had wished to have reminded him of it, however, I should have had no opportunity, for the stream of his eloquence ran on without a break; and eloquence it certainly was. His accent is very broadly Scotch, but his words are singularly well chosen, and his illustrations more novel and poetical than those of any man I ever conversed with. He spoke of Blackwood, returning to the subject repeatedly, and always with a softened tone of voice and a more impressive manner, as if his feelings were entirely engrossed by the circumstances of his illness. “Poor Blackwood,” he said, setting his hands together and fixing his eyes on the wall, as if he were soliloquising with the picture of the sick man vividly before him, “there never was a more honest creature, or a better friend. I have known him intimately for years, and owe him much; and I could lose no friend that would affect me more nearly. There is something quite awful in the striking down thus of a familiar companion by your side—the passing away—the death—the end forever of a man you have been accustomed to meet as surely as the morning or evening, and have grown to consider a part of your existence almost. To have the share he took in your thoughts thrown back upon you—and his aid and counsel and company with you no more. His own mind is in a very singular state. He knows he is to die, and he has made every preparation in the most composed and sensible manner, and if the subject is alluded to directly, does not even express a hope of recovery; yet, the moment the theme is changed, he talks as if death were as far from him as ever, and looks forward, and mingles himself up in his remarks on the future, as if he were here to see this and the other thing completed, and share with you the advantages for years to come. What a strange thing it is—this balancing between death and life—standing on the edge of the grave, and turning, first to look into its approaching darkness, and then back on the familiar and pleasant world, yet with a certain downward progress, and no hope of life, beyond the day over your head!”

I asked if Blackwood was a man of refined literary taste.

“Yes,” he said. “I would trust his opinion of a book sooner than that of any man I know. He might not publish everything he approved, for it was his business to print only things that would sell; and, therefore, there are perhaps many authors who would complain of him; but, if his opinion had been against my own, and it had been my own book, I should believe he was right and give up my own judgment. He was a patron of literature, and it owes him much. He is a loss to the world.”

I spoke of the “Noctes.”

He smiled, as you would suppose Christopher North would do, with the twinkle proper of genuine hilarity in his eye, and said, “Yes, they have been very popular. Many people in Scotland believe them to be transcripts of real scenes, and wonder how a professor of moral philosophy can descend to such carousings, and poor Hogg comes in for his share of abuse, for they never doubt he was there and said everything that is put down for him.”

“How does the Shepherd take it?”

“Very good humoredly, with the exception of one or two occasions, when cockney scribblers have visited him in their tours, and tried to flatter him by convincing him he was treated disrespectfully. But five minutes’ conversation and two words of banter restore his good humor, and he is convinced, as he ought to be, that he owes half his reputation to the Noctes.”

“What do you think of his Life of Sir Walter, which Lockhart has so butchered in Frazer?”

Did Lockhart write that?”

“I was assured so in London.”

“It was a barbarous and unjustifiable attack; and, oddly enough, I said so yesterday to Lockhart himself, who was here, and he differed from me entirely. Now you mention it, I think from his manner he must have written it.”

“Will Hogg forgive him?”

“Never! never! I do not think he knows yet who has done it, but I hear that he is dreadfully exasperated. Lockhart is quite wrong. To attack an old man, with gray hairs, like the Shepherd, and accuse him so flatly and unnecessarily of lie upon lie—oh, it was not right.”

“Do you think Hogg misrepresented facts willingly?”

“No, oh no! he is perfectly honest, no doubt, and quite revered Sir Walter. He has an unlucky inaccuracy of mind, however; and his own vanity, which is something quite ridiculous, has given a coloring to his conversations with Scott, which puts them in a very false light; and Sir Walter, who was the best natured of men, may have said the things ascribed to him in a variety of moods, such as no one can understand who does not know what a bore Hogg must sometimes have been at Abbottsford. Do you know Lockhart?”

“No, I do not. He is almost the only literary man in London I have not met; and I must say, as the editor of the Quarterly, and the most unfair and unprincipled critic of the day, I have no wish to know him. I never heard him well spoken of. I probably have met a hundred of his acquaintances, but I have not seen one who pretended to be his friend.”

“Yet there is a great deal of good in Lockhart. I allow all you say of his unfairness and severity; but if he were sitting there, opposite you, you would find him the mildest and most unpresuming of men, and so he appears in private life always.”

“Not always. A celebrated foreigner, who had been very intimate with him, called one morning to deprecate his severity upon Baron D’Haussez’s book in a forthcoming review. He did his errand in a friendly way, and, on taking his leave, Lockhart, with much ceremony, accompanied him down to his carriage. ‘Pray don’t give yourself the trouble to come down,’ said the polite Frenchman. ‘I make a point of doing it, sir,’ said Lockhart, with a very offensive manner, ‘for I understand from your friend’s book, that we are not considered a polite nation in France.’ Nothing certainly could be more ill-bred and insulting.”

“Still it is not his nature. I do believe that it is merely an unhappy talent that he has for sarcasm, with which his heart has nothing to do. When he sits down to review a book, he never thinks of the author or his feelings. He cuts it up with pleasure, because he does it with skill in the way of his profession, as a surgeon dissects a dead body. He would be the first to show the man a real kindness if he stood before him. I have known Lockhart long. He was in Edinboro’ a great while, and when he was writing ‘Valerius,’ we were in the habit of walking out together every morning, and when we reached a quiet spot in the country, he read to me the chapters as he wrote them. He finished it in three weeks. I heard it all thus by piecemeal as it went on, and had much difficulty in persuading him that it was worth publishing. He wrote it very rapidly, and thought nothing of it. We used to sup together with Blackwood, and that was the real origin of the ‘Noctes.’ ”

“At Ambrose’s?”

“At Ambrose’s.”

“But is there such a tavern, really?”

“Oh, certainly. Anybody will show it to you. It is a small house, kept in an out-of-the-way corner of the town, by Ambrose, who is an excellent fellow in his way, and had a great influx of custom in consequence of his celebrity in the Noctes. We were there one night very late, and had all been remarkably gay and agreeable. ‘What a pity,’ said Lockhart, ‘that some short hand writer had not been here to take down the good things that have been said at this supper.’ The next day he produced a paper called ‘Noctes Ambrosianæ,’ and that was the first. I continued them afterward.”

“Have you no idea of publishing them separately? I think a volume or two should be made of the more poetical and and critical parts, certainly. Leaving out the politics and the merely local topics of the day, no book could be more agreeable.”

“It was one of the things pending when poor Blackwood was taken ill. But will you have some breakfast?”

The breakfast had been cooling for an hour, and I most willingly acceded to his proposition. Without rising, he leaned back, with his chair still toward the fire, and seizing the tea-pot as if it were a sledge-hammer, he poured from one cup to the other without interrupting the stream, overrunning both cup and saucer, and partly overflooding the tea-tray. He then set the cream toward me with a carelessness which nearly overset it, and in trying to reach an egg from the centre of the table, broke two. He took no notice of his own awkwardness, but drank his cup of tea at a single draught, ate his egg in the same expeditious manner, and went on talking of the Noctes and Lockhart and Blackwood, as if eating his breakfast were rather a troublesome parenthesis in his conversation. After a while he digressed to Wordsworth and Southey, and asked me if I was going to return by the Lakes. I proposed doing so.

“I will give you letters to both, if you haven’t them. I lived a long time in that neighborhood, and know Wordsworth perhaps as well as any one. Many a day I have walked over the hills with him, and listened to his repetition of his own poetry, which of course filled my mind completely at the time, and perhaps started the poetical vein in me, though I cannot agree with the critics that my poetry is an imitation of Wordsworth’s.”

“Did Wordsworth repeat any other poetry than his own?”

“Never in a single instance, to my knowledge. He is remarkable for the manner in which he is wrapped up in his own poetical life. He thinks of nothing else. Everything is done with reference to it. He is all and only a poet.”

“Was the story true that was told in the papers of his seeing, for the first time, in a large company some new novel of Scott’s, in which there was a motto taken from his works; and that he went immediately to the shelf and took down one of his own volumes and read the whole poem to the party, who were waiting for a reading of the new book?”

“Perfectly true. It happened in this very house. Wordsworth was very angry at the paragraph, and I believe accused me of giving it to the world. I was as much surprised as himself, however, to see it in print.”

“What is Southey’s manner of life?”

“Walter Scott said of him that he lived too much with women. He is secluded in the country, and surrounded by a circle of admiring friends who glorify every literary project he undertakes, and persuade him in spite of his natural modesty, that he can do nothing wrong or imperfectly. He has great genius and is a most estimable man.”

“Hamilton lives on the Lakes too—does he not?”

“Yes. How terribly he was annoyed by the review of his book in the North American. Who wrote it?”

“I have not heard positively, but I presume it was Everett. I know nobody else in the country who holds such a pen. He is the American Junius.”

“It was excessively clever but dreadfully severe, and Hamilton was frantic about it. I sent it to him myself, and could scarce have done him a more ungracious office. But what a strange thing it is that nobody can write a good book on America! The ridiculous part of it seems to me that men of common sense go there as travellers, and fill their books with scenes such as they may see every day within five minutes’ walk of their own doors, and call them American. Vulgar people are to be found all over the world, and I will match any scene in Hamilton or Mrs. Trollope, any day or night here in Edinburgh. I have always had an idea that I should be the best traveller in America myself. I have been so in the habit of associating with people of every class in my own country, that I am better fitted to draw the proper distinctions, I think, between what is universal over the world or peculiar to America.”

“I promise you a hearty welcome, if you should be inclined to try.”

“I have thought seriously of it. It is, after all, not more than a journey to Switzerland or Italy, of which we think nothing, and my vacation of five months would give me ample time, I suppose, to run through the principal cities. I shall do it, I think.”

I asked if he had written a poem of any length within the last few years.

“No, though I am always wishing to do it. Many things interfere with my poetry. In the first place I am obliged to give a lecture once a day for six months, and in the summer it is such a delight to be released, and get away into the country with my girls and boys, that I never put pen to paper till I am driven. Then Blackwood is a great care; and, greater objection still, I have been discouraged in various ways by criticism. It used to gall me to have my poems called imitations of Wordsworth and his school; a thing I could not see myself, but which was asserted even by those who praised me, and which modesty forbade I should disavow. I really can see no resemblance between the Isle of Palms and anything of Wordsworth’s. I think I have a style of my own, and as my ain barn, I think better of it than other people, and so pride prevents my writing. Until late years, too, I have been the subject of much political abuse, and for that I should not have cared if it were not disagreeable to have children and servants reading it in the morning papers, and a fear of giving them another handle in my poetry, was another inducement for not writing.”

I expressed my surprise at what he said, for, as far as I knew the periodicals, Wilson had been a singularly continued favorite.

“Yes, out of this immediate sphere, perhaps—but it requires a strong mind to suffer annoyance at one’s lips, and comfort oneself with the praise of a distant and outer circle of public opinion. I had a family growing up, of sons and daughters, who felt for me more than I should have felt for myself, and I was annoyed perpetually. Now, these very papers praise me, and I really can hardly believe my eyes when I open them and find the same type and imprint expressing such different opinions. It is absurd to mind such weathercocks; and, in truth, the only people worth heeding or writing for are the quiet readers in the country, who read for pleasure, and form sober opinions apart from political or personal prejudice. I would give more for the praise of one country clergyman and his family than I would for the admiration of a whole city. People in towns require a constant phantasmagoria, to keep up even the remembrance of your name. What books and authors, what battles and heroes, are forgotten in a day!”

My letter is getting too long, and I must make it shorter, as it is vastly less agreeable than the visit itself. Wilson went on to speak of his family, and his eyes kindled with pleasure in talking of his children. He invited me to stop and visit him at his place near Selkirk, in my way south, and promised me that I should see Hogg, who lived not far off. Such inducement was scarce necessary, and I made a half promise to do it and left him, after having passed several hours of the highest pleasure in his fascinating society.



I was engaged to dine with Lord Jeffrey on the same day that I had breakfasted with Wilson, and the opportunity of contrasting so closely these two distinguished men, both editors of leading Reviews, yet of different politics, and no less different minds, persons, and manners, was highly gratifying.

At seven o’clock I drove to Moray-place, the Grosvenor-square of Edinburgh. I was not sorry to be early, for never having seen my host, nor his lady (who, as is well known, is an American,) I had some little advantage over the awkwardness of meeting a large party of strangers. After a few minutes’ conversation with Mrs. Jeffrey, the door was thrown quickly open, and the celebrated editor of the Edinburgh, the distinguished lawyer, the humane and learned judge, and the wit of the day, par excellence, entered with his daughter. A frank, almost merry smile, a perfectly unceremonious, hearty manner, and a most playful and graceful style of saying the half-apologetic, half-courteous things, incident to a first meeting after a letter of introduction, put me at once at my ease, and established a partiality for him, impromptu, in my feelings. Jeffrey is rather below the middle size, slight, rapid in his speech and motion, never still, and glances from one subject to another, with less abruptness and more quickness than any man I had ever seen. His head is small, but compact and well-shaped; and the expression of his face, when serious, is that of quick and discriminating earnestness. His voice is rather thin, but pleasing; and if I had met him incidentally, I should have described him, I think, as a most witty and well-bred gentleman of the school of Wilkes and Sheridan. Perhaps as distinguishing a mark as either his wit or his politeness, is an honest goodness of heart; which, however it makes itself apparent, no one could doubt, who had been with Jeffrey ten minutes.

To my great disappointment, Mrs. Jeffrey informed me that Lord Brougham, who was their guest at the time, was engaged to a dinner, given by the new lord advocate to Earl Grey. I had calculated much on seeing two such old friends and fellow-wits as Jeffrey and Brougham at the same table, and I could well believe what my neighbor told me at dinner, that it was more than a common misfortune to have missed it.

A large dinner-party began to assemble, some distinguished men in the law among them, and last of all was announced Lady Keith, rather a striking and very fashionable person, with her husband, Count Flahault, who, after being Napoleon’s aid-de-camp at the battle of Waterloo, offered his beauty and talents, both very much above the ordinary mark, to the above named noble heiress. I have seen few as striking-looking men as Count Flahault, and never a foreigner who spoke English so absolutely like a native of the country.

The great “Grey dinner” had been given the day before, and politics were the only subject at table. It had been my lot to be thrown principally among tories (conservatives is the new name,) since my arrival in England, and it was difficult to rid myself at once of the impressions of a fortnight just passed in the castle of a tory Earl. My sympathies in the “great and glorious” occasion were slower than those of the company, and much of their enthusiasm seemed to me overstrained. Then I had not even dined with the two thousand whigs under the pavilion, and as I was incautious enough to confess it, I was rallied upon having fallen into bad company, and altogether entered less into the spirit of the hour than I could have wished. Politics are seldom witty or amusing, and though I was charmed with the good sense and occasional eloquence of Lord Jeffrey, I was glad to get up stairs after dinner to chasse-café and the ladies.

We were all bound to the public ball that evening, and at eleven I accompanied my distinguished host to the assembly-room. Dancing was going on with great spirit when we entered; Lord Grey’s statesman-like head was bowing industriously on the platform; Lady Grey and her daughters sat looking on from the same elevated position, and Lord Brougham’s ugliest and shrewdest of human faces, flitted about through the crowd, good fellow to everybody, and followed by all eyes but those of the young. One or two of the Scotch nobility were there, but whigism is not popular among les hautes volailles, and the ball, though crowded, was but thinly sprinkled with “porcelain.” I danced till three o’clock, without finding my partners better or worse for their politics, and having aggravated a temporary lameness by my exertions, went home with a leg like an elephant to repent my abandonment of tory quiet.

Two or three days under the hands of the doctor, with the society of a Highland crone, of whose ceaseless garrulity over my poultices and plasters I could not understand two consecutive words, fairly finished my patience, and abandoning with no little regret a charming land route to the north of Scotland, I had myself taken, “this side up,” on board the steamer for Aberdeen. The loss of a wedding in Perthshire by the way, of a week’s deer-shooting in the forest of Athol, and a week’s fishing with a noble friend at Kinrara, (long-standing engagements all,) I lay at the door of the whigs. Add to this Loch Leven, Cairn-Gorm, the pass of Killicrankie, other sights lost on that side of Scotland, and I paid dearly for “the Grey ball.”

We steamed the hundred and twenty miles in twelve hours, paying about three dollars for our passage. I mention it for the curiosity of a cheap thing in this country.

I lay at Aberdeen four days, getting out but once, and then for a drive to the “Marichal College,” the Alma Mater of Dugald Dalgetty. It is a curious and rather picturesque old place, half in ruins, and is about being pulled down. A Scotch gentleman, who was a fellow-passenger in the steamer, and who lived in the town, called on me kindly twice a day, brought me books and papers, offered me the use of his carriage, and did everything for my comfort that could have been suggested by the warmest friendship. Considering that it was a casual acquaintance of a day, it speaks well, certainly, for the “Good Samaritanism” of Scotland.

I took two places in the coach at last (one for my leg,) and bowled away seventy miles across the country, with the delightful speed of these admirable contrivances, for Gordon Castle. I arrived at Lochabers, a small town on the estate of the Duke of Gordon, at three in the afternoon, and immediately took a post-chaise for the castle, the gate of which was a stone’s throw from the inn.

The immense iron gate surmounted by the Gordon arms, the handsome and spacious stone lodges on either side, the canonically fat porter in white stockings and gay livery, lifting his hat as he swung open the massive portal, all bespoke the entrance to a noble residence. The road within was edged with velvet sward, and rolled to the smoothness of a terrace walk, the winding avenue lengthened away before, with trees of every variety of foliage; light carriages passed me driven by ladies or gentlemen bound on their afternoon airing; a groom led up and down two beautiful blood horses, prancing along, with side-saddles and morocco stirrups, and keepers with hounds and terriers; gentlemen on foot, idling along the walks, and servants in different liveries, hurrying to and fro, betokened a scene of busy gayety before me. I had hardly noted these various circumstances, before a sudden curve in the road brought the castle into view, a vast stone pile with castellated wings, and in another moment I was at the door, where a dozen lounging and powdered menials were waiting on a party of ladies and gentlemen to their several carriages. It was the moment for the afternoon drive.



The last phæton dashed away, and my chaise advanced to the door. A handsome boy, in a kind of page’s dress, immediately came to the window, addressed me by name, and informed me that His Grace was out deer-shooting, but that my room was prepared, and he was ordered to wait on me. I followed him through a hall lined with statues, deers’ horns, and armor, and was ushered into a large chamber, looking out on a park, extending with its lawns and woods to the edge of the horizon. A more lovely view never feasted human eye.

“Who is at the castle?” I asked, as the boy busied himself in unstrapping my portmanteau.

“Oh, a great many, sir.” He stopped in his occupation, and began counting on his fingers. “There’s Lord Aberdeen, and Lord Claud Hamilton and Lady Harriette Hamilton (them’s his lordship’s two step children, you know, sir,) and the Dutchess of Richmond and Lady Sophia Lennox, and Lady Keith, and Lord Mandeville and Lord Aboyne, and Lord Stormont and Lady Stormont, and Lord Morton and Lady Morton, and Lady Alicia, and—and—and—twenty more, sir.”

“Twenty more lords and ladies?”

“No, sir! that’s all the nobility.”

“And you can’t remember the names of the others?”

“No, sir.”

He was a proper page. He could not trouble his memory with the names of commoners.

“And how many sit down to dinner?”

“Above thirty, besides the Duke and Dutchess.”

“That will do.” And off tripped my slender gentleman with his laced jacket, giving the fire a terrible stir-up in his way out, and turning back to inform me that the dinner hour was seven precisely.

It was a mild, bright afternoon, quite warm for the end of an English September, and with a fire in the room, and a soft sunshine pouring in at the windows, a seat by the open casement was far from disagreeable. I passed the time till the sun set, looking out on the park. Hill and valley lay between my eye and the horizon; sheep fed in picturesque flocks, and small fallow deer grazed near them; the trees were planted, and the distant forest shaped by the hand of taste; and broad and beautiful as was the expanse taken in by the eye, it was evidently one princely possession. A mile from the castle wall, the shaven sward extended in a carpet of velvet softness, as bright as emerald, studded by clumps of shrubbery, like flowers wrought elegantly on tapestry; and across it bounded occasionally a hare, and the pheasants feel undisturbed near the thickets, or a lady with flowing riding-dress and flaunting feather, dashed into sight upon her fleet blood palfrey, and was lost the next moment, in the woods, or a boy put his pony to its mettle up the ascent, or a gamekeeper idled into sight with his gun in the hollow of his arm, and his hounds at his heels—and all this little world of enjoyment and luxury, and beauty, lay in the hand of one man, and was created by his wealth in these northern wilds of Scotland, a day’s journey almost from the possession of another human being. I never realized so forcibly the splendid result of wealth and primogeniture.

The sun set in a blaze of fire among the pointed firs crowning the hills, and by the occasional prance of a horse’s feet on the gravel, and the roll of rapid wheels, and now and then a gay laugh and merry voices, the different parties were returning to the castle. Soon after a loud gong sounded through the gallery, the signal to dress, and I left my musing occupation unwillingly to make my toilet for an appearance in a formidable circle of titled aristocrats, not one of whom I had ever seen, the Duke himself a stranger to me, except through the kind letter of introduction lying upon the table.

I was sitting by the fire imagining forms and faces for the different persons who had been named to me, when there was a knock at the door, and a tall, white-haired gentleman, of noble physiognomy, but singularly cordial address, entered, with the broad red riband of a duke across his breast, and welcomed me most heartily to the castle. The gong sounded at the next moment, and, in our way down, he named over his other guests, and prepared me in a measure for the introductions which followed. The drawing-room was crowded like a soirée. The Dutchess, a very tall and very handsome woman, with a smile of the most winning sweetness, received me at the door, and I was presented successively to every person present. Dinner was announced immediately, and the difficult question of precedence being sooner settled than I had ever seen it before in so large a party, we passed through files of servants to the dining room.

It was a large and very lofty hall, supported at the ends by marble columns, within which was stationed a band of music, playing delightfully. The walls were lined with full length family pictures, from old knights in armor to the modern dukes in kilt of the Gordon plaid; and on the sideboards stood services of gold plate, the most gorgeously massive, and the most beautiful in workmanship I have ever seen. There were, among the vases, several large coursing-cups, won by the duke’s hounds, of exquisite shape and ornament.

I fell into my place between a gentleman and a very beautiful woman, of perhaps twenty-two, neither of whose names I remembered, though I had but just been introduced. The Duke probably anticipated as much, and as I took my seat he called out to me, from the top of the table, that I had upon my right, Lady ——, “the most agreeable woman in Scotland.” It was unnecessary to say that she was the most lovely.

I have been struck everywhere in England with the beauty of the higher classes, and as I looked around me upon the aristocratic company at the table, I thought I never had seen “heaven’s image double-stamped as man and noble” so unequivocally clear. There were two young men and four or five young ladies of rank—and five or six people of more decided personal attractions could scarcely be found; the style of form and face at the same time being of that cast of superiority which goes by the expressive name of “thorough-bred.” There is a striking difference in this respect between England and the countries on the continent—the paysans of France and the bontadini of Italy being physically far superior to their degenerate masters; while the gentry and nobility of England differ from the peasantry in limb and feature as the racer differs from the dray-horse, or the greyhound from the cur. The contrast between the manners of English and French gentlemen is quite as striking. The empressment, the warmth, the shrug and gesture of the Parisian, and the working eyebrow, dilating or contracting eye, and conspirator-like action of the Italian in the most common conversation, are the antipodes of English high breeding. I should say a North American Indian, in his more dignified phase, approached nearer to the manner of an English nobleman than any other person. The calm repose of person and feature, the self-possession under all circumstances, that incapability of surprise or dérèglement, and that decision about the slightest circumstance, and the apparent certainty that he is acting absolutely comme il faut, is equally “gentlemanlike” and Indianlike. You cannot astonish an English gentleman. If a man goes into a fit at his side, or a servant drops a dish upon his shoulder, or he hears that the house is on fire, he sets down his wine-glass with the same deliberation. He has made up his mind what to do in all possible cases, and he does it. He is cold at a first introduction, and may bow stiffly, (which he always does) in drinking wine with you, but it is his manner; and he would think an Englishman out of his senses who should bow down to his very plate and smile as a Frenchman does on a similar occasion. Rather chilled by this, you are a little astonished when the ladies have left the table, and he closes his chair up to you, to receive an invitation to pass a month with him at his country house, and to discover that at the very moment he bowed so coldly, he was thinking how he should contrive to facilitate your plans for getting to him or seeing the country to advantage on the way.

The band ceased playing when the ladies left the table, the gentlemen closed up, conversation assumed a merrier cast, coffee and chasse-café were brought in when the wines began to be circulated more slowly; and at eleven, there was a general move to the drawing-room. Cards, tea, and music, filled up the time till twelve, and then the ladies took their departure, and the gentlemen sat down to supper. I got to bed somewhere about two o’clock; and thus ended an evening which I had anticipated as stiff and embarrassing, but which is marked in my tablets as one of the most social and kindly I have had the good fortune to record on my travels. I have described it, and shall describe others minutely—and I hope there is no necessity of my reminding any one that my apology for thus disclosing scenes of private life has been already made. Their interest as sketches by an American of the society that most interests Americans, and the distance at which they are published, justify them, I would hope, from any charge of indelicacy.



I arose late on the first morning after my arrival at Gordon Castle, and found the large party already assembled about the breakfast table. I was struck on entering with the different air of the room. The deep windows, opening out upon the park, had the effect of sombre landscapes in oaken frames; the troops of liveried servants, the glitter of plate, the music, that had contributed to the splendor of the night before, were gone; the Duke sat laughing at the head of the table, with a newspaper in his hand, dressed in a coarse shooting-jacket and colored cravat; the Dutchess was in a plain morning-dress and cap of the simplest character; and the high-born women about the table, whom I had left glittering with jewels, and dressed in all the attractions of fashion, appeared with the simplest coiffure and a toilet of studied plainness. The ten or twelve noblemen present were engrossed with their letters or newspapers over tea and toast; and in them, perhaps, the transformation was still greater. The soigné man of fashion of the night before, faultless in costume and distinguished in his appearance, in the full force of the term, was enveloped now in a coat of fustian, with a coarse waistcoat of plaid, a gingham cravat, and hob-nailed shoes, (for shooting,) and in place of the gay hilarity of the supper-table, wore a face of calm indifference, and ate his breakfast and read the paper in a rarely broken silence. I wondered, as I looked about me, what would be the impression of many people in my own country, could they look in upon that plain party, aware that it was composed of the proudest nobility and the highest fashion of England.

Breakfast in England is a confidential and unceremonious hour, and servants are generally dispensed with. This is to me, I confess, an advantage over every other meal. I detest eating with twenty tall fellows standing opposite, whose business it is to watch me. The coffee and tea were on the table, with toast, muffins, oat-cakes, marmalade, jellies, fish, and all the paraphernalia of a Scotch breakfast; and on the sideboard stood cold meats for those who liked them, and they were expected to go to it and help themselves. Nothing could be more easy, unceremonious, and affable, than the whole tone of the meal. One after another rose and fell into groups in the windows, or walked up and down the long room—and, with one or two others, I joined the Duke at the head of the table, who gave us some interesting particulars of the salmon fisheries of the Spey. The privilege of fishing the river within his lands, is bought of him at the pretty sum of eight thousand pounds a year! A salmon was brought in for me to see, as of remarkable size, which was not more than half the weight of our common American salmon.

The ladies went off unaccompanied to their walks in the park and other avocations, those bound for the covers joined the gamekeepers, who were waiting with their dogs in the leash at the stables; some paired off to the billiard-room, and I was left with Lord Aberdeen in the breakfast room alone. The tory ex-minister made many inquiries, with great apparent interest, about America. When secretary for foreign affairs, in the Wellington cabinet, he had known Mr. McLane intimately. He said he seldom had been so impressed with a man’s honesty and straight-forwardness, and never did public business with any one with more pleasure. He admired Mr. McLane, and hoped he enjoyed his friendship. He wished he might return as our minister to England. One such honorable, uncompromising man, he said, was worth a score of practised diplomatists. He spoke of Gallatin and Rush in the same flattering manner, but recurred continually to Mr. McLane, of whom he could scarcely say enough. His politics would naturally lead him to approve of the administration of General Jackson, but he seemed to admire the President very much as a man.

Lord Aberdeen has the name of being the proudest and coldest aristocrat of England. It is amusing to see the person who bears such a character. He is of the middle height, rather clumsily made, with an address more of sober dignity than of pride or reserve. With a black coat much worn, and always too large for him, a pair of coarse check trousers very ill made, a waistcoat buttoned up to his throat, and a cravat of the most primitive négligé, his aristocracy is certainly not in his dress. His manners are of absolute simplicity, amounting almost to want of style. He crosses his hands behind him, and balances on his heels; in conversation his voice is low and cold, and he seldom smiles. Yet there is a certain benignity in his countenance, and an indefinable superiority and high breeding in his simple address, that would betray his rank after a few minutes’ conversation to any shrewd observer. It is only in his manner toward the ladies of the party that he would be immediately distinguishable from men of lower rank in society.

Still suffering from lameness, I declined all invitations to the shooting parties, who started across the park, with the dogs leaping about them in a phrensy of delight, and accepted the Dutchess’s kind offer of a pony phæton to drive down to the kennels. The Duke’s breed, both of setters and hounds, is celebrated throughout the kingdom. They occupy a spacious building in the centre of a wood, a quadrangle enclosing a court, and large enough for a respectable poor-house. The chief huntsman and his family, and perhaps a gamekeeper or two, lodge on the premises, and the dogs are divided by palings across the court. I was rather startled to be introduced into the small enclosure with a dozen gigantic blood-hounds, as high as my breast, the keeper’s whip in my hand the only defence. I was not easier for the man’s assertion that, without it, they would “hae the life oot o’ me in a crack.” They came around me very quietly, and one immense fellow, with a chest like a horse, and a head of the finest expression, stood up and laid his paws on my shoulders, with the deliberation of a friend about to favor me with some grave advice. One can scarce believe these noble creatures have not reason like ourselves. Those slender, thorough-bred heads, large, speaking eyes, and beautiful limbs and graceful action, should be gifted with more than mere animal instinct. The greyhounds were the beauties of the kennel, however. I never had seen such perfect creatures. “Dinna tak’ pains to caress ’em, sir,” said the huntsman, “they’ll only be hangit for it!” I asked for an explanation, and the man, with an air as if I was uncommonly ignorant, told me that a hound was hung the moment he betrayed attachment to any one, or in any way showed signs of superior sagacity. In coursing the hare, for instance, if the dog abandoned the scent to cut across and intercept the poor animal, he was considered as spoiling the sport. Greyhounds are valuable only as they obey their mere natural instinct, and if they leave the track of the hare, either in their own sagacity, or to follow their master, in intercepting it, they spoil the pack, and are hung without mercy. It is an object, of course, to preserve them what they usually are, the greatest fools as well as the handsomest of the canine species—and on the first sign of attachment to their master, their death warrant is signed. They are too sensible to live. The Dutchess told me afterward that she had the greatest difficulty in saving the life of the finest hound in the pack, who had committed the sin of showing pleasure once or twice when she appeared.

The setters were in the next division, and really they were quite lovely. The rare tan and black dog of this race, with his silky, floss hair, intelligent muzzle, good-humored face and caressing fondness (lucky dog! that affection is permitted in his family!) quite excited my admiration. There were thirty or forty of these, old and young; and a friend of the Duke’s would as soon ask him for a church living as for the present of one of them. The former would be by much the smaller favor. Then there were terriers of four or five breeds, of one family of which (long-haired, long-bodied, short-legged, and perfectly white little wretches) the keeper seemed particularly proud. I evidently sunk in his opinion for not admiring them.

I passed the remainder of the morning in threading the lovely alleys and avenues of the park, miles after miles of gravel walk, extending away in every direction, with every variety of turn and shade, now a deep wood, now a sunny opening upon a glade, here along the bank of a stream, and there around the borders of a small lagoon, the little ponies flying on over the smoothly-rolled paths, and tossing their mimicking heads, as if they too enjoyed the beauty of the princely domain. This, I thought to myself, as I sped on through light and shadow, is very like what is called happiness; and this (if to be a duke were to enjoy it as I do with this fresh feeling of novelty and delight) is a condition of life it is not quite irrational to envy. And giving my little steeds the rein, I repeated to myself Scott’s graphic description, which seems written for the park of Gordon castle, and thanked Heaven for one more day of unalloyed happiness.

“And there soft swept in velvet green,

 The plain with many a glade between

 Whose tangled alleys far invade

 The depths of the brown forest shade;

 And the tall fern obscured the lawn,

 Fair shelter for the sportive fawn.

 There, tufted close with copse-wood green,

 Was many a swelling hillock seen,

 And all around was verdure meet

 For pressure of the fairies’ feet.

 The glossy valley loved the park,

 The yew tree lent its shadows dark,

 And many an old oak worn and bare,

 With all its shivered boughs was there.”



The aim of Scotch hospitality seems to be, to convince you that the house and all that is in it is your own, and you are at liberty to enjoy it as if you were, in the French sense of the French phrase, chez vous. The routine of Gordon castle was what each one chose to make it. Between breakfast and lunch the ladies were generally invisible, and the gentlemen rode or shot, or played billiards, or kept their rooms. At two o’clock, a dish or two of hot game and a profusion of cold meats were set on the small tables in the dining room, and every body came in for a kind of lounging half-meal, which occupied perhaps an hour. Thence all adjourned to the drawing-room, under the windows of which were drawn up carriages of all descriptions, with grooms, outriders, footmen, and saddle horses for gentlemen and ladies. Parties were then made up for driving or riding, and from a pony-chaise to a phæton and four, there was no class of vehicle which was not at your disposal. In ten minutes the carriages were usually all filled, and away they flew, some to the banks of the Spey or the sea-side, some to the drives in the park, and with the delightful consciousness that, speed where you would, the horizon scarce limited the possession of your host, and you were everywhere at home. The ornamental gates flying open at your approach, miles distant from the castle; the herds of red deer trooping away from the sound of wheels in the silent park; the stately pheasants feeding tamely in the immense preserves; the hares scarce troubling themselves to get out of the length of the whip; the stalking gamekeepers lifting their hats in the dark recesses of the forest—there was something in this perpetual reminding of your privileges, which, as a novelty, was far from disagreeable. I could not at the time bring myself to feel, what perhaps would be more poetical and republican, that a ride in the wild and unfenced forest of my own country would have been more to my taste.

The second afternoon of my arrival, I took a seat in the carriage with Lord Aberdeen and his daughter, and we followed the Dutchess, who drove herself in a pony-chaise, to visit a school on the estate. Attached to a small gothic chapel, a few minutes’ drive from the castle, stood a building in the same style, appropriated to the instruction of the children of the Duke’s tenantry. There were a hundred and thirty little creatures, from two years to five or six, and, like all infant schools in these days of improved education, it was an interesting and affecting sight. The last one I had been in was at Athens, and though I missed here the dark eyes and Grecian faces of the Ægean, I saw health and beauty of a kind which stirred up more images of home, and promised, perhaps, more for the future. They went through their evolutions, and answered their questions, with an intelligence and cheerfulness that were quite delightful, and I was sorry to leave them even for a drive in the loveliest sun-set of a lingering day of summer.

People in Europe are more curious about the comparison of the natural productions of America with those of England than about our social and political differences. A man who does not care to know whether the president has destroyed the bank, or the bank the president, or whether Mrs. Trollope has flattered the Americans or not, will be very much interested to know if the pine tree in his park is comparable to the same tree in America, if the same cattle are found there, or the woods stocked with the same game as his own. I would recommend a little study of trees particularly, and of vegetation generally, as valuable knowledge for an American coming abroad. I think there is nothing on which I have been so often questioned. The Dutchess led the way to a plantation of American trees, at some distance from the castle, and stopping beneath some really noble firs, asked if our forest trees were often larger, with an air as if she believed they were not. They were shrubs, however, compared to the gigantic productions of the West. Whatever else we may see abroad, we must return home to find the magnificence of nature.

The number at the dinner-table of Gordon castle was seldom less than thirty, but the company was continually varied by departures and arrivals. No sensation was made by either one or the other. A travelling carriage dashed up to the door, was disburdened of its load, and drove round to the stables, and the question was seldom asked, “Who is arrived?” You were sure to see at dinner—and an addition of half a dozen to the party made no perceptible difference in anything. Leave-takings were managed in the same quiet way. Adieus were made to the Duke and Dutchess, and to no one else, except he happened to encounter the parting guest upon the staircase, or were more than a common acquaintance. In short, in every way the gêne of life seemed weeded out, and if unhappiness or ennui found its way into the castle, it was introduced in the sufferer’s own bosom. For me, I gave myself up to enjoyment with an abandon I could not resist. With kindness and courtesy in every look, the luxuries and comforts of a regal establishment at my freest disposal; solitude when I pleased, company when I pleased, the whole visible horizon fenced in for the enjoyment of a household, of which I was a temporary portion, and no enemy except time and the gout, I felt as if I had been spirited into some castle of felicity, and had not come by the royal mail-coach at all.

The great spell of high life in this country seems to be repose. All violent sensations are avoided as out of taste. In conversation, nothing is so “odd” (a word, by the way, that in England means everything disagreeable) as emphasis or startling epithet, or gesture, and in common intercourse nothing so vulgar as any approach to “a scene.” The high-bred Englishman studies to express himself in the plainest words that will convey his meaning, and is just as simple and calm in describing the death of his friend, and just as technical, so to speak, as in discussing the weather. For all extraordinary admiration the word “capital” suffices; for all ordinary praise the word “nice!” for all condemnation in morals, manners, or religion, the word “odd!” To express yourself out of this simple vocabulary is to raise the eyebrows of the whole company at once, and stamp yourself under-bred, or a foreigner.

This sounds ridiculous, but it is the exponent not only of good breeding, but of the true philosophy of social life. The general happiness of a party consists in giving every individual an equal chance, and in wounding no one’s self-love. What is called an “overpowering person,” is immediately shunned, for he talks too much, and excites too much attention. In any other country he would be called “amusing.” He is considered here as a mere monopolizer of the general interest—and his laurels, talk he never so well, shadow the rest of the company. You meet your most intimate friend in society after a long separation, and he gives you his hand as if you had parted at breakfast. If he had expressed all he felt, it would have been “a scene,” and the repose of the company would have been disturbed. You invite a clever man to dine with you, and he enriches his descriptions with new epithets and original words. He is offensive. He eclipses the language of your other guests, and is out of keeping with the received and subdued tone to which the most common intellect rises with ease. Society on this footing is delightful to all, and the diffident man, or the dull man, or the quiet man, enjoys it as much as another. For violent sensations you must go elsewhere. Your escape-valve is not at your neighbor’s ear.

There is a great advantage in this in another respect. Your tongue never gets you into mischief. The “unsafeness of Americans” in society (I quote a phrase I have heard used a thousand times) arises wholly from the American habit of applying high-wrought language to trifles. I can tell one of my countrymen abroad by his first remark. Ten to one his first sentence contains a superlative that would make an Englishman imagine he had lost his senses. The natural consequence is continual misapprehension, offence is given where none was intended, words that have no meaning are the ground of quarrel, and gentlemen are shy of us. A good-natured young nobleman, whom I sat next to at dinner on my first arrival at Gordon castle, told me he was hunting with Lord Abercorn when two very gentleman-like young men rode up and requested leave to follow the hounds, but in such extraordinary language that they were not at first understood. The hunt continued for some days, and at last the strangers, who rode well, and were seen continually, were invited to dine with the principal nobleman of the neighborhood. They turned out to be Americans, and were every way well-bred and agreeable, but their extraordinary mode of expressing themselves kept the company in continual astonishment. They were treated with politeness, of course, while they remained, but no little fun was made of their phraseology after their departure, and the impression on the mind of my informant was very much against the purity of the English language, as spoken by the Americans. I mention it for the benefit of those whom it may concern.



The days had gone by like the “Days of Thalaba,” and I took my leave of Gordon castle. It seemed to me, as I looked back upon it, as if I had passed a separate life there—so beautiful had been every object on which I had looked in that time, and so free from every mixture of ennui had been the hours from the first to the last, I have set them apart in my memory, those days, as a bright ellipse in the usual procession of joys and sorrows. It is a little world, walled in from rudeness and vexation, in which I have lived a life.

I took the coach from Elgin, and visited the fine old ruins of the cathedral, and then kept on to Inverness, passing over the “Blasted Heath,” the tryst of Macbeth and the witches. We passed within sight of Culloden Moor, at sunset, and the driver pointed out to me a lonely castle where the Pretender slept the night before the battle. The interest with which I had read the romantic history of Prince Charlie, in my boyhood, was fully awakened, for his name is still a watch-word of aristocracy in Scotland; and the jacobite songs, with their half-warlike, half-melancholy music, were favorites of the Dutchess of Gordon, who sung them in their original Scotch, with an enthusiasm and sweetness that stirred my blood like the sound of a trumpet. There certainly never was a cause so indebted to music and poetry as that which was lost at Culloden.

The hotel at Inverness was crowded with livery-servants, and the door inaccessible for carriages. I had arrived on the last day of a county meeting, and all the chieftains and lairds of the north and west of Scotland were together. The last ball was to be given that evening, and I was strongly tempted to go, by four or five acquaintances whom I found in the hotel—but the gout was peremptory. My shoe would not go on, and I went to bed.

I was limping about in the morning with a kind old baronet whom I had met at Gordon Castle, when I was warmly accosted by a gentleman whom I did not immediately remember. On his reminding me that we had parted last on Lake Leman, however, I recollected a gentlemanlike Scotchman, who had offered me his glass opposite Copet to look at the house of Madame de Stael, and whom I had left afterward at Lausanne, without even knowing his name. He invited me immediately to dine, and in about an hour or two after, called in his carriage, and drove me to a charming country house, a few miles down the shore of Loch Ness, where he presented me to his family, and treated me in every respect as if I had been the oldest of his friends. I mention the circumstance for the sake of a comment on what seems to me a universal error with regard to the Scotch character. Instead of a calculating and cold people, as they are always described by the English, they seem to me more a nation of impulse and warm feeling than any other I have seen. Their history certainly goes to prove a most chivalrous character in days gone by, and as far as I know Scotchmen, they preserve it still with even less of the modification of the times than any other nations. The instance I have mentioned above, is one of many that have come under my own observation, and in many inquiries since, I have never found an Englishman, who had been in Scotland, who did not confirm my impression. I have not traded with them, it is true, and I have seen only the wealthier class, but still I think my judgment a fair one. The Scotch in England are, in a manner, what the Yankees are in the Southern States, and their advantages of superior quickness and education have given them a success which is ascribed to meaner causes. I think (common prejudice contradicente) that neither the Scotch nor the English are a cold or an unfriendly people, but the Scotch certainly the farther remove from coldness of the two.

Inverness is the only place I have ever been in where no medicine could be procured on a Sunday. I did not want indeed for other mementoes of the sacredness of the day. In the crowd of the public room of the hotel, half the persons at least, had either bible or prayer-book, and there was a hush through the house, and a gravity in the faces of the people passing in the street, that reminded me more of New England than anything I have seen. I had wanted some linen washed on Saturday. “Impossible!” said the waiter, “no one does up linen on Sunday.” Toward evening I wished for a carriage to drive over to my hospitable friend. Mine host stared, and I found it was indecorous to drive out on Sunday. I must add, however, that the apothecary’s shop was opened after the second service, and that I was allowed a carriage on pleading my lameness.

Inverness is a romantic looking town, charmingly situated between Loch Ness and the Murray Firth, with the bright river Ness running through it, parallel to its principal street, and the most picturesque eminences in its neighborhood. There is a very singular elevation on the other side of the Ness, shaped like a ship, keel up, and rising from the centre of the plain, covered with beautiful trees. It is called, in Gaelic, Tonnaheuric, or the Hill of the Fairies.

It has been in one respect like getting abroad again, to come to Scotland. Nothing seemed more odd to me on my first arrival in England, than having suddenly ceased to be a “foreigner.” I was as little at home myself, as in France or Turkey, (much less than in Italy,) yet there was that in the manner of every person who approached me which conveyed the presumption that I was as familiar with every thing about me as himself. In Scotland, however, the Englishman is the “Sassenach,” and a stranger; and, as I was always taken for one, I found myself once more invested with that agreeable consequence which accompanies it, my supposed prejudices consulted, my opinion about another country asked, and comparisons referred to me as an ex parte judge. I found here, as abroad, too, that the Englishman was expected to pay more for trifling services than a native, and that he would be much more difficult about his accommodations, and more particular in his chance company. I was amused at the hotel with an instance of the want of honor shown “the prophet in his own country.” I went down to the coffee room for my breakfast about noon, and found a remarkably fashionable, pale, “Werter-like man,” excessively dressed, but with all the air of a gentleman, sitting with a newspaper on one side of the fire. He offered me the newspaper after a few minutes, but with the cold, half-supercilious politeness which marks the dandy tribe, and strolled off to the window. The landlord entered presently, and asked me if I had any objection to breakfasting with that gentleman, as it would be a convenience in serving it up. “None in the world,” I said, “but you had better ask the other gentleman first.” “Hoot!” said Boniface, throwing up his chin with an incredulous expression,—“it’s honor for the like o’ him. He’s joost a laddie born and brought up i’ the toon. I kenn’d him weel.” And so enter breakfast for two. I found my companion a well-bred man; rather surprised, however, if not vexed, to discover that I knew he was of Inverness. He had been in the civil services of the East India Company for some years (hence his paleness,) and had returned to Scotland for his health. He was not the least aware that he was known, apparently and he certainly had not the slightest trace of his Scotch birth. The landlord told me afterward that his parents were poor, and he had raised himself by his own cleverness alone, and yet it was “honor for the like o’ him” to sit at table with a common stranger! The world is really very much the same all over.

In the three days I passed at Inverness, I made the acquaintance of several of the warm-hearted Highland chiefs, and found great difficulty in refusing to go home with them. One of the “Lords of the Isles” was among the number—a handsome, high-spirited youth, who would have been the chivalrous Lord Ronald of a century ago, but was now only the best shot, the best rider, the most elegant man, and the most “capital fellow” in the west of Scotland. He had lost every thing but his “Isle” in his London campaigns, and was beginning to look out for a wife to mend his fortune and his morals. There was a peculiar style about all these young men, something very like the manner of our high bred Virginians—a free, gallant, self-possessed bearing, fiery and prompt, yet full of courtesy. I was pleased with them altogether.

I had formed an agreeable acquaintance, on my passage from London to Edinburgh in the steamer, with a gentleman bound to the Highlands for the shooting season. He was engaged to pay a visit to Lord Lumley, with whom I had myself promised to pass a week, and we parted at Edinboro’ in the hope of meeting at Kinrara. On my return from Dalhousie, a fortnight after, we met by chance at the hotel in Edinboro’, he having arrived the same day, and having taken a passage like myself for Aberdeen. We made another agreeable passage together, and he left me at the gate of Gordon castle, proceeding north on another visit. I was sitting in the coffee room at Inverness, pondering how I should reach Kinrara, when, enter again my friend, to my great surprise, who informed me that Lord Lumley had returned to England. Disappointed alike in our visit, we took a passage together once more in the steamer from Inverness to Fort William for the following morning. It was a singular train of coincidences, but I was indebted to it for one of the most agreeable chance acquaintances I have yet made.



We embarked early in the morning in the steamer which goes across Scotland from sea to sea, by the half-natural, half-artificial passage of the Caledonian canal. One long glen, as the reader knows, extends quite through this mountainous country, and in its bosom lies a chain of the loveliest lakes, whose extremities so nearly meet, that it seems as if a blow of a spade should have run them together. Their different elevations, however, made it an expensive work in the locks, and the canal altogether cost ten times the original calculation.

I went on board with my London friend, who, from our meeting so frequently, had now become my constant companion. The boat was crowded, yet more with dogs than people; for every man, I think, had his brace of terriers or his pointers, and every lady her hound or poodle, and they were chained to every leg of a sofa, chair, portmanteau, and fixture in the vessel. It was like a floating kennel, and every passenger was fully occupied in keeping the peace between his own dog and his neighbor’s. The same thing would have been a much greater annoyance in any other country; but in Scotland the dogs are all of beautiful and thorough-bred races, and it is a pleasure to see them. Half as many French pugs would have been insufferable.

We opened into Loch Ness immediately, and the scenery was superb. The waters were like a mirror; and the hills draped in mist, and rising one or two thousand feet directly from the shore, and nothing to break the wildness of the crags but the ruins of the constantly occurring castles, perched like eyries upon their summits. You might have had the same natural scenery in America, but the ruins and the thousand associations would have been wanting; and it is this, much more than the mere beauty of hill and lake, which makes the pleasure of travel. We ran close in to a green cleft in the mountains on the southern shore, in which stands one of the few old castles, still inhabited by the chief of his clan—that of Fraser of Lovat, so well known in Scottish story. Our object was to visit the Fall of Foyers, in sight of which it stands, and the boat came off to the point, and gave us an hour for the excursion. It was a pretty stroll up through the woods, and we found a cascade very like the Turtmann in Switzerland, but with no remarkable feature which would make it interesting in description.

I was amused after breakfast with what has always struck me on board English steamers—the gradual division of the company into parties of congenial rank or consequence. Not for conversation—for fellow travellers of a day seldom become acquainted—but, as if it was a process of crystallization, the well-bred and the half-bred, and the vulgar, each separating to his natural neighbor, apparently from a mere fitness of propinquity. This takes place sometimes, but rarely and in a much less degree, on board an American steamer. There are, of course, in England, as with us, those who are presuming and impertinent, but an instance of it has seldom fallen under my observation. The English seem to have an instinct of each other’s position in life. A gentleman enters a crowd, looks about him, makes up his mind at once from whom an advance of civility would be agreeable or the contrary, gets near the best set without seeming to notice them, and if any chance accident brings on conversation with his neighbor, you may be certain he is sure of his man.

We had about a hundred persons on board, (Miss Inverarity, the singer, among others,) and I could see no one who seemed to notice or enjoy the lovely scenery we were passing through. I made the remark to my companion, who was an old stager in London fashion, fifty, but still a beau, and he was compelled to allow it, though piqued for the taste of his countrymen. A baronet with his wife and sister sat in the corner opposite us, and neither saw a feature of the scenery except by an accidental glance in changing her position. Yet it was more beautiful than most things I have seen that are celebrated, and the ladies, as my friend said, looked like “nice persons.”

I had taken up a book while we were passing the locks at the junction of Loch Ness and Loch Oich, and was reading aloud to my friend the interesting description of Flora Macdonald’s heroic devotion to Prince Charles Edward. A very lady-like girl, who sat next me, turned around as I laid down the book, and informed me, with a look of pleased pride, that the heroine was her grandmother. She was returning from the first visit she had ever made to the Isle (I think of Skye,) of which the Macdonalds were the hereditary lords, and in which the fugitive prince was concealed. Her brother, an officer, just returned from India, had accompanied her in her pilgrimage, and as he sat on the other side of his sister he joined in the conversation, and entered into the details of Flora’s history with great enthusiasm. The book belonged to the boat, and my friend had brought it from below, and the coincidence was certainly singular. The present chief of the Macdonalds was on board, accompanying his relatives back to their home in Sussex; and on arriving at Fort William, where the boat stopped for the night, the young lady invited us to take tea with her at the inn; and for so improvised an acquaintance, I have rarely made three friends more to my taste.

We had decided to leave the steamer at Fort William, and cross through the heart of Scotland to Loch Lomond. My companion was very fond of London hours, and slept late, knowing that the cart—the only conveyance to be had in that country—would wait our time. I was lounging about the inn, and amusing myself with listening to the Gaelic spoken by everybody who belonged to the place, when the pleasant family with whom we had passed the evening, drove out of the yard, (having brought their horses down in the boat,) intending to proceed by land to Glasgow. We renewed our adieus, on my part with the sincerest regret, and I strolled down the road and watched them till they were out of sight, feeling that (selfish world as it is,) there are some things that look at least like impulse and kindness—so like, that I can make out of them a very passable happiness.

We mounted our cart at eleven o’clock, and with a bright sun, a clear, vital air, a handsome and good-humored callant for a driver, and the most renowned of Scottish scenery before us, the day looked very auspicious. I could not help smiling at the appearance of my fashionable friend sitting, with his well-poised hat and nicely-adjusted curls, upon the springless cross-board of a most undisguised and unscrupulous market-cart, yet in the highest good humor with himself and the world. The boy sat on the shafts, and talked Gaelic to his horse; the mountains and the lake, spread out before us, looked as if human eye had never profaned their solitary beauty, and I enjoyed it all the more, perhaps, that our conversation was of London and its delights; and the racy scandal of the distinguished people of that great Babel amused me in the midst of that which is most unlike it—pure and lovely nature. Everything is seen so much better by contrast!

We crossed the head of Loch Linnhe, and kept down its eastern bank, skirting the water by a winding road directly under the wall of the mountains. We were to dine at Ballyhulish, and just before reaching it we passed the opening of a glen on the opposite side of the lake, in which lay, in a green paradise shut in by the loftiest rocks, one of the most enviable habitations I have ever seen. I found on inquiry that it was the house of a Highland chief, to whom Lord Dalhousie had kindly given me a letter, but my lameness and the presence of my companion induced me to abandon the visit; and, hailing a fishing-boat, I dispatched my letters, which were sealed, across the loch, and we kept on to the inn. We dined here; and I just mention, for the information of scenery-hunters, that the mountain opposite Ballyhulish sweeps down to the lake with a curve which is even more exquisitely graceful than that of Vesuvius in its far-famed descent to Portici. That same inn of Ballyhulish, by the way, stands in the midst of a scene, altogether, that does not pass easily from the memory—a lonely and serene spot that would recur to one in a moment of violent love or hate, when the heart shrinks from the intercourse and observation of men.

We found the travellers’ book, at the inn, full of records of admiration, expressed in all degrees of doggerel. People on the road write very bad poetry. I found the names of one or two Americans, whom I knew, and it was a pleasure to feel that my enjoyment would be sympathized in. Our host had been a nobleman’s travelling valet, and he amused us with his descriptions of our friends, every one of whom he perfectly remembered. He had learned to use his eyes, at least, and had made very shrewd guesses at the condition and tempers of his visiters. His life, in that lonely inn, must be in sufficient contrast with his former vocation.

We had jolted sixteen miles behind our Highland horse, but he came out fresh for the remaining twenty of our day’s journey, and with cushions of dried and fragrant fern, gathered and put in by our considerate landlord, we crossed the ferry and turned eastward into the far-famed and much boasted valley of Glencoe. The description of it must lie over till my next letter.



We passed the head of the valley near Tyndrum, where M’Dougal of Lorn defeated the Bruce, and were half way up the wild pass that makes its southern outlet, when our Highland driver, with a shout of delight, pointed out to us a red deer, standing on the very summit of the highest mountain above us. It was an incredible distance to see any living thing, but he stood clear against the sky, in a relief as strong as if he had been suspended in the air, and with his head up, and his chest toward us, seemed the true monarch of the wild.

At Invarenden, Donald M’Phee begged for the discharge of himself and his horse and cart from our service. He had come with us eighty miles, and was afraid to venture farther on his travels, having never before been twenty miles from the Highland village where he lived. It was amusing to see the curiosity with which he looked about him, and the caution with which he suffered the hostler at the inn to take the black mare out of his sight. The responsibility of the horse and cart weighed heavily on his mind, and he expressed his hope to “get her back safe,” with an apprehensive resolution that would have become a knight-errant guiding himself for his most perilous encounter. Poor Donald! how little he knew how wide is the world, and how very like one part of it is to another!

Our host of Invarenden supplied us with another cart to take us down to Tarbot, and having dined with a waterfall-looking inn at each of our two opposite windows, (the inn stands in a valley between two mountains,) we were committed to the care of his eldest boy, and jolted off for the head of Loch Lomond.

I have never happened to see a traveller who had seen Loch Lomond in perfectly good weather. My companion had been there every summer for several years, and believed it always rained under Ben Lomond. As we came in sight of the lake, however, the water looked like one sheet of gold leaf, trembling, as if by the motion of fish below, but unruffled by wind; and if paradise were made so fair, and had such waters in its midst, I could better conceive than before, the unhappiness of Adam when driven forth. The sun was just setting, and the road descended immediately to the shore, and kept close under precipitous rocks, and slopes of alternate cultivation and heather, to the place of our destination. And a lovely place it is! Send me to Tarbot when I would retreat from the world. It is an inn buried in a grove at the foot of the hills, and set in a bend of the lake shore, like a diamond upon an “orbed brow;” and the light in its kitchen, as we approached in the twilight, was as interesting as a ray of the “first water” from the same. We had now reached the route of the cockney tourists, and while we perceived it agreeably in the excellence of the hotel, we perceived it disagreeably in the price of the wines, and the presence of what my friend called “unmitigated vulgarisms” in the coffee room. That is the worst of England. The people are vulgar, but not vulgar enough. One dances with the lazzaroni at Naples, when he would scarce think of handing the newspaper to the “person” on a tour at Tarbot. Condescension is the only agreeable virtue, I have made up my mind.

Well—it was moonlight. The wind was south and affectionate, and the road in front of the hotel “fleck’d with silver,” and my friend’s wife, and the corresponding object of interest to myself, being on the other side of Ben Lomond and the Tweed, we had nothing for it after supper but to walk up and down with one another, and talk of the past. In the course of our ramble, we walked through an open gate, and ascending a gravel walk, found a beautiful cottage, built between two mountain streams, and ornamented with every device of taste and contrivance. The mild pure torrents were led over falls, and brought to the thresholds of bowers; and seats, and bridges, and winding paths, were distributed up the steep channels, in a way that might make it a haunt for Titania. It is the property, we found afterward, of a Scotch gentleman, and a great summer retreat of the celebrated Jeffrey, his friend. It was one more place to which my heart clung in parting.

Loch Lomond sat still for its picture in the morning, and after an early breakfast, we took a row-boat, with a couple of Highlanders, for Inversnade, and pulled across the lake with a kind of drowsy delightfulness in the scene and air which I have never before found out of Italy. We overshot our destination a little to look into Rob Roy’s Cave, a dark den in the face of the rock, which has the look of his vocation; and then pulling back along the shore, we were landed, in the spray of a waterfall, at a cottage occupied by the boatmen of this Highland ferry. From this point across to Loch Katrine, is some five miles, and the scene of Scott’s novel of Rob Roy. It has been “done” so often by tourists, that I leave all particular description of the localities and scenery to the well-hammered remembrance of readers of magazines, and confine myself to my own private adventures.

The distance between the lakes is usually performed by ladies on donkeys, and by gentlemen on foot, but being myself rather tender-toed with the gout, my companion started off alone, and I lay down on the grass at Inversnade to wait the return of the long-eared troop, who were gone across with an earlier party. The waterfall and the cottage just above the edge of the lake, a sharp hill behind, closely wooded with birch and fir, and, on a greensward platform in the rear of the house, two Highland lasses and a laddie, treading down a stack of new hay, were not bad circumstances in which to be left alone with the witcheries of the great enchanter.

I must narrate here an adventure in which my own part was rather a discomfiture, but which will show somewhat the manners of the people. My companion had been gone half an hour, and I was lying at the foot of a tree, listening to the waterfall and looking off on the lake, and watching, by fits, the lad and lasses I have spoken of, who were building a haystack between them, and chattering away most unceasingly in Gaelic. The eldest of the girls was a tall, ill-favored damsel, merry as an Oread, but as ugly as Donald Bean; and, after a while, I began to suspect, by the looks of the boy below, that I had furnished her with a new theme. She addressed some remark to me presently, and a skirmish of banter ensued, which ended in a challenge to me to climb upon the stack. It was about ten feet high, and shelving outward from the bottom, and my Armida had drawn up the ladder. The stack was built, however, under a high tree, and I was soon up the trunk, and, swinging off from a long branch, dropped into the middle of the stack. In the same instant I was raised in a grasp to which I could offer no resistance, and, with a fling to which I should have believed the strength of few men equal, thrown clear of the stack to the ground. I alighted on my back, with a fall of, perhaps, twelve feet, and felt seriously hurt. The next moment, however, my gentle friend had me in her arms (I am six feet high in my stockings) and I was carried into the cottage, and laid on a flock bed, before I could well decide whether my back was broken or no. Whiskey was applied externally and internally, and the old crone, who was the only inhabitant of the hovel, commenced a lecture in Gaelic, as I stood once more sound upon my legs, which seemed to take effect upon the penitent, though her victim was no wiser for it. I took the opportunity to look at the frame which had proved itself of such vigorous power; but, except arms of extraordinary length, she was like any other equally ugly, middle-sized woman. In the remaining half hour, before the donkeys arrived, we became the best of friends, and she set me off for Loch Katrine, with a caution to the ass-driver to take care of me, which that sandy-haired Highlander took as an excellent joke. And no wonder!

The long mountain glen between these two lakes was the home of Rob Roy, and the Highlanders point out various localities, all commemorated in Scott’s incomparable story. The house where Helen M’Gregor was born lies a stone’s throw off the road to the left, and Rob Roy’s gun is shown by an old woman who lives near by. He must have been rich in arms by the same token; for, beside the well-authenticated one at Abbotsford, I have seen some dozen guns, and twice as many daggers and shot-pouches, which lay claim to the same honor. I paid my shilling to the old woman not the less. She owed it to the pleasure I had received from Sir Walter’s novel.

The view of Loch Lomond back from the highest point of the pass is incomparably fine; at least, when I saw it; for sunshine and temperature, and the effect of the light vapors on the hills, were at their loveliest and most favorable. It looks more like the haunt of a robber and his caterans, probably, in its more common garb of Scotch mist; but, to my eye, it was a scene of the most Arcadian peace and serenity. I dawdled along the five miles upon my donkey, with something of an ache in my back, but a very healthful and sunny freedom from pain and impatience at my heart. And so did not Baillie Nicol Jarvey make the same memorable journey.



The cottage-inn at the head of Loch Katrine, was tenanted by a woman who might have been a horse-guardsman in petticoats, and who kept her smiles for other cattle than the Sassenach. We bought her whiskey and milk, praised her butter, and were civil to the little Highlandman at her breast; but neither mother nor child were to be mollified. The rocks were bare around, we were too tired for a pull in the boat, and three mortal hours lay between us and the nearest event in our history. I first penetrated, in the absence of our Hecate, to the inner room of the shieling. On the wall hung a broadsword, two guns, a trophy or two of deers’ horns, and a Sunday suit of plaid, philibeg and short red coat, surmounted by a gallant bonnet and feather. Four cribs, like the berths in a ship, occupied the farther side of the chamber, each large enough to contain two persons; a snow-white table stood between the windows; a sixpenny glass, with an eagle’s feather stuck in the frame, hung at such a height that, “though tall of my hands,” I could just see my nose; and just under the ceiling on the left was a broad and capacious shelf, on which reposed apparently the old clothes of a century—a sort of place where the gude-wife would have hidden Prince Charlie, or might rummage for her grandmother’s baby-linen.

The heavy steps of the dame came over the threshold, and I began to doubt, from the look in her eyes, whether I should get a blow of her hairy arm or a “persuader” from the butt of a gun for my intrusion. “What are ye wantin’ here?” she speered at me, with a Helen M’Gregor-to-Baillie-Nicol-Jarvie-sort of an expression.

“I was looking for a potato to roast, my good woman.”

“Is that a’? Ye’ll find it ayont, then!” and pointing to a bag in the corner, she stood while I subtracted the largest, and then followed me to the general kitchen and receiving-room, where I buried my improvista dinner in the remains of the peat fire, and congratulated myself on my ready apology.

What to do while the potato was roasting! My English friend had already cleaned his gun for amusement, and I had looked on. We had stoned the pony till he had got beyond us in the morass, (small thanks to us, if the dame knew it.) We had tried to make a chicken swim ashore from the boat, we had fired away all my friend’s percussion caps, and there was nothing for it but to converse à rigueur. We lay on our backs till the dame brought us the hot potato on a shovel, with oat-cake and butter, and, with this Highland dinner, the last hour came decently to its death.

An Englishman, with his wife and lady’s maid, came over the hills with a boat’s crew; and a lassie, who was not very pretty, but who lived on the lake and had found the means to get “Captain Rob” and his men pretty well under her thumb. We were all embarked, the lassie in the stern-sheets with the captain; and ourselves, though we “paid the Scot,” of no more consideration than our portmanteaus. I was amused, for it was the first instance I had seen in any country (my own not excepted) of thorough emancipation from the distinction of superiors. Luckily the girl was bent on showing the captain to advantage, and by ingenious prompting and catechism she induced him to do what probably was his custom when he could not better amuse himself—point out the localities as the boat sped on, and quote the Lady of the Lake with an accent which made it a piece of good fortune to have “crammed” the poem before hand.

The shores of the lake are flat and uninteresting at the head, but, toward the scene of Scott’s romance, they rise into bold precipices, and gradually become worthy of their celebrity. The Trosachs are a cluster of small, green mountains, strewn, or rather piled, with shrubs and mossy verdure, and from a distance you would think only a bird, or Ranald of the Mist, could penetrate their labyrinthine recesses. Captain Rob showed us successively the Braes of Balquidder, Rob Roy’s birth and burial place, Benledi, and the crag from which hung, by the well woven skirts of braidcloth, the worthy baillie of Glasgow; and, beneath a precipice of remarkable wildness, the half intoxicated steersman raised his arm, and began to repeat, in the most unmitigated gutterals:—

“High o’er the south huge Benvenue

Down to the lake his masses threw,

Crags, knowls, and mounds confusedly hurl’d

The fragments of an earlier wurruld!” etc.

I have underlined it according to the captain’s judicious emphasis, and in the last word have endeavored to spell after his remarkable pronunciation. Probably to a Frenchman, however, it would have seemed all very fine—for Captain Rob (I must do him justice, though he broke the strap of my portmanteau) was as good-looking a ruffian as you would sketch on a summer’s tour.

Some of the loveliest water I have ever seen in my life (and I am rather an amateur of that element—to look at,) lies deep down at the bases of these divine Trosachs. The usual approaches from lake to mountain (beach or sloping shore,) are here dispensed with; and, straight up from the deep water, rise the green precipices and bold and ragged rocks, over-shadowing the glassy mirror below with teints like a cool corner in a landscape of Ruysdael’s. It is something—(indeed on a second thought, exceedingly) like—Lake George; only that the islands in this extremity of Loch Katrine lie closer together, and permit the sun no entrance except by a ray almost perpendicular. A painter will easily understand the effect of this—the loss of all that makes a surface to the water, and the consequent far depth to the eye, as if the boat in which you shot over it brought with it its own water and sent its ripple through the transparent air. I write currente calamo, and have no time to clear up my meaning, but it will be evident to all lovers of nature.

Captain Rob put up his helm for a little fairy green island, lying like a lapfull of green moss on the water, and, rounding a point, we ran suddenly into a cove sheltered by a tree, and in a moment the boat grated on the pebbles of a natural beach perhaps ten feet in length. A flight of winding steps, made roughly of roots and stones, ascended from the water’s edge.

“Gentlemen and ladies!” said the captain, with a hiccup, “this is Ellen’s Isle. This is the gnarled oak,” (catching at a branch of the tree as the boat swung astern,) “and —— you’ll please to go up them steps, and I’ll tell ye the rest in Ellen’s bower.”

The Highland lassie sprang on shore, and we followed up the steep ascent, arriving breathless at last at the door of a fanciful bower, built by Lord Willoughby D’Eresby, the owner of the island, exactly after the description in the Lady of the Lake. The chairs were made of crooked branches of trees and covered with deer-skins, the tables were laden with armor and every variety of weapon, and the rough beams of the building were hung with antlers and other spoils of the chase.

“Here’s where she lived!” said the captain, with the gravity of a cicerone at the Forum, “and noo, if ye’ll come out, I’ll show you the echo!”

We followed to the highest point of the island, and the Highlandman gave a scream that showed considerable practice, but I thought he would have burst his throat in the effort. The awful echo went round, “as mentioned in the bill of performance,” every separate mountain screaming back the discord till you would have thought the Trosachs a crew of mocking giants. It was a wonderful echo, but, like most wonders, I could have been content to have had less for my money.

There was a “small silver beach” on the mainland opposite, and above it a high mass of mountain.

“There,” said the captain, “gentlemen and ladies, is where Fitz-James blow’d his bugle, and waited for the ‘light shallop’ of Ellen Douglas; and here, where you landed and came up them steps, is where she brought him to the bower, and the very tree’s still there—as you see’d me tak’ hold of it—and over the hill, yonder, is where the gallant gray giv’ out, and breathed his last, and (will you turn round, if you please, them that likes) yonder’s where Fitz-James met Red Murdoch that killed Blanche of Devon, and right across this water swum young Greme that disdained the regular boat, and I s’pose on that lower step set the old Harper and Ellen many a time a-watching for Douglas—and now, if you’d like to hear the echo once more—”

“Heaven forbid!” was the universal cry; and, in fear of our ears, we put the bower between us and Captain Rob’s lungs, and followed the Highland girl back to the boat.

From Ellen’s Isle to the head of the small creek, so beautifully described in the Lady of the Lake, the scenery has the same air of lavish and graceful vegetation, and the same features of mingled boldness and beauty. It is a spot altogether that one is sure to live much in with memory. I see it as clearly now as then.

The whiskey had circulated pretty freely among the crew, and all were more or less intoxicated. Captain Rob’s first feat on his legs was to drop my friend’s gun case and break it to pieces, for which he instantly got a cuff between the eyes from the boxing dandy, that would have done the business for a softer head. The Scot was a powerful fellow, and I anticipated a row; but the tremendous power of the blow and the skill with which it was planted, quite subdued him. He rose from the grass as white as a sheet, but quietly shouldered the portmanteau with which he had fallen, and trudged on with sobered steps to the inn.

We took a post-chaise immediately for Callender, and it was not till we were five miles from the foot of the lake that I lost my apprehensions of an apparition of the Highlander from the darkening woods. We arrived at Callender at nine, and the next morning at sunrise were on our way to breakfast at Stirling.



The lakes of Scotland are without the limits of stage-coach and post-horse civilization, and to arrive at these pleasant conveniences is to be consoled for the corresponding change in the character of the scenery. From Callander there is a coach to Stirling, and it was on the top of the “Highlander,” (a brilliant red coach, with a picture of Rob Roy on the panels,) that, with my friend and his dog, I was on the road, bright and early, for the banks of the Teith. I have scarce done justice, by the way, to my last mentioned companion, (a superb, thorough-bred setter, who answered to the derogatory appellation of Flirt,) for he had accompanied me in most of my wanderings for a couple of months, and his society had been preferred to that of many a reasoning animal on the road, in the frequent dearth of amusement. Flirt’s pedigree had been taken on trust by my friend, the dog-fancier, of whom he was bought, only knowing that he came of a famous race, belonging to a gentleman living somewhere between Stirling and Callander; and to determine his birthplace and get another of the same breed, was a greater object with his master than to see all the lakes and mountains of Caledonia. Poor Flirt was elevated to the highest seat on the coach, little aware that his reputation for birth and breeding depended on his recognising the scenes of his puppyhood—for if his former master had told truly, these were the fields where his young ideas had been taught a dog’s share in shooting, and his unconscious tail and ears were now under watchful surveillance for a betrayal of his presumed reminiscences.

The coach rolled on over the dew-damp road, crossing continually those bright and sparkling rivulets, which gladden the favored neighborhood of mountains; and the fields and farm houses took gradually the look of thrift and care, which indicates an approach to a thickly settled country. The castle of Doune, a lovely hunting seat of the Queen of Scots, appeared in the distance, with its gray towers half-buried in trees, when Flirt began to look before and behind, and take less notice of the shabby gentleman on his left, who, from sharing with him a volant breakfast of bread and bacon, had hitherto received the most of his attention. We kept on at a pretty pace, and Flirt’s tail shifted sides once or twice with a very decided whisk, and his intelligent head gradually grew more erect upon his neck of white-and-tan. It was evident he had travelled the road before. Still on, and as the pellucid Teith began to reflect in her eddying mirror the towers of Castle Doune—a scene worthy of its tender and chivalrous associations—a suppressed whine and a fixed look over the fields to the right, satisfied us that the soul of the setter was stirring up with the recognition of the past. The coach was stopped and Flirt loosed from his chain, and, with a promise to join me at Stirling at dinner, my friend “hied away” the delighted dog over the hedge, and followed himself on foot, to visit, by canine guidance, the birthplace of this accomplished family. It was quite beautiful to see the fine creature beat the field over and over in his impatience, returning to his slower-footed master, as if to hurry him onward, and leaping about him with an extravagance eloquent of such unusual joy. I lost sight of them by a turning in the road, and reverted for consolation to that loveliest river, on whose bank I could have lain (had I breakfasted) and dreamed till the sunset of the unfortunate queen, for whose soft eyes and loving heart it perhaps flowed no more brightly in the days of Rizzio, than now for mine and those of the early marketers to Stirling.

The road was thronged with carts, and peasants in their best attire. The gentleman who had provided against the enemy with a brown paper of bread and bacon, informed me that it was market day. A very great proportion of the country people were women and girls, walking all of them barefoot, but with shoes in their hands, and gowns and bonnets that would have eclipsed in finery the bevy of noble ladies at Gordon Castle. Leghorn straw-hats and dresses of silk, with ribands of any quantity and brilliancy, were the commonest articles. Feet excepted, however, (for they had no triflers of pedestals, and stumped along the road with a sovereign independence of pools and pebbles) they were a wholesome-looking and rather pretty class of females; and, with the exception of here and there a prim lassie who dropped her dress over her feet while the coach passed, and hid her shoes under her handkerchief, they seemed perfectly satisfied with their own mode of conveyance, and gave us a smile in passing, which said very distinctly, “You’ll be there before us, but it’s only seven miles, and we’ll foot it in time.” How various are the joys of life! I went on with the coach, wondering whether I ever could be reduced to find pleasure in walking ten miles barefoot to a fair—and back again!

I thought again of Mary, as the turrets of the proud castle where she was crowned became more distinct in the approach—but it is difficult in entering a crowded town, with a real breakfast in prospect and live Scotchmen about me, to remember with any continuous enthusiasm even the most brilliant events in history.

“Can history cut my hay or get my corn in?

 Or can philosophy vend it in the market?”

says somebody in the play, and with a similar thought I looked up at the lofty towers of the home of Scotland’s kings, as the “Highlander” bowled round its rocky base to the inn. The landlord appeared with his white apron, “boots” with his ladder, the coachman and guards with their hints to your memory; and, having ordered breakfast of the first, descended the “convenience” of the second, and received a tip of the hat for a shilling to the remaining two, I was at liberty to walk up stairs and while away a melancholy half hour in humming such charitable stanzas as would come uncalled to my aid.

“Oh for a plump fat leg of mutton,

   Veal, lamb, capon, pig, and cony,

 None is happy but a glutton,

   None an ass but who wants money.”

So sang the servant of Diogenes, with an exceptionable morality, which, nevertheless, it is difficult to get out of one’s head at Stirling, if one has not already breakfasted.

I limped up the long street leading to the castle, stopping on the way to look at a group of natives who were gaping at an advertisement just stuck to the wall, offering to take emigrants to New York on terms “ridiculously trifling.” Remembering the “bannocks o’ barley meal” I had eaten for breakfast, the haddocks and marmalade, the cold grouse and porridge, I longed to pull Sawney by the coat, and tell him he was just as well where he was. Yet the temptation of the Greenock trader, “cheap and nasty” though it were, was not uninviting to me!

I was met on the drawbridge of the castle by a trim corporal, who offered to show me the lions for a consideration. I put myself under his guidance, and he took me to Queen Mary’s apartments, used at present for a mess-room, to the chamber where Earl Douglas was murdered, etc. etc. etc., in particulars which are accurately treated of in the guide-books. The pipers were playing in the court, and a company or two of a Highland regiment, in their tartans and feathers, were under parade. This was attractive metal to me, and I sat down on a parapet, where I soon struck up a friendship with a curly-headed varlet, some four years old, who shouldered my stick without the ceremony of “by-your-leave,” and commenced the drill upon an unwashed regiment of his equals in a sunshiny corner below. It was delightful to see their gravity, and the military air with which they cocked their bonnets and stuck out their little round stomachs at the word of command. My little Captain Cockchafer returned my stick like a knight of honor, and familiarly climbed upon my knee to repose after his campaign, very much to the surprise of his mother, who was hanging out to dry, what looked like his father’s inexpressibles, from a window above, and who came down and apologized in the most unmitigated Scotch for the liberty the “babby” had taken with “his honor.” For the child of a camp-follower, it was a gallant boy, and I remember him better than the drill-sergeant or the piper.

On the north side of Stirling Castle the view is bounded by the Grampians and laced by the winding Teith; and just under the battlements lies a green hollow called the “King’s Knot,” where the gay tournaments were held, and the “Ladies’ Hill,” where sat the gay and lovely spectators of the chivalry of Scotland. Heading Hill is near it, where James executed Albany and his sons, and the scenes and events of history and poetry are thickly sown at your feet. Once recapitulated, however—the Bruce and the Douglas, Mary and the “Gudeman of Ballengiech,” once honored in memory—the surpassing beauty of the prospect from Stirling towers, engross the fancy and fill the eye. It was a day of predominant sunshine, with here and there the shadow of a cloud darkening a field of stubble or a bend of the river, and I wandered round from bastion to bastion, never sated with gazing, and returning continually to the points from which the corporal had hurried me on. There lay the Forth—here Bannockburn and Falkirk, and all bathed and flooded with beauty. Let him who thinks the earth ill-looking, peep at it through the embrasures of Stirling Castle.

My friend, the corporal, got but sixteen pence a day, and had a wife and children—but much as I should dislike all three as disconnected items, I envied him his lot altogether. A garrison life at Stirling, and plenty of leisure, would reconcile one almost to wife and children and a couple of pistareens per diem.



I was delighted to find Stirling rather worse than Albany in the matter of steamers. I had a running fight for my portmanteau and carpet-bag from the hotel to the pier, and was at last embarked in entirely the wrong boat, by sheer force of pulling and lying. They could scarce have put me in a greater rage between Cruttenden’s and the Overslaugh.

The two rival steamers, the Victory and the Ben Lomond, got under way together; the former, in which I was a compulsory passenger, having a flagelet and a bass drum by way of a band, and the other a dozen lusty performers and most of the company. The river was very narrow and the tide down, and though the other was the better boat, we had the bolder pilot, and were lighter laden and twice as desperate. I found my own spunk stirred irresistibly after the first mile. We were contending against odds, and there was something in it that touched my Americanism nearly. We had three small boys mounted on the box over the wheel, who cheered and waved their hats at our momentary advantages; but the channel was full of windings, and if we gained on the larboard tack we lost on the starboard. Whenever we were quite abreast and the wheels touched with the narrowness of the river, we marched our flagelet and bass-drum close to the enemy and gave them a blast “to wake the dead,” taking occasion, during our moments of defeat, to recover breath and ply the principal musician with beer and encouragement. It was a scene for Cooper to describe. The two pilots stood broad on their legs, every muscle on the alert; and though Ben Lomond wore the cleaner jacket, Victory had the “varminter” look. You would have bet on Victory to have seen the man. He was that wickedest of all wicked things, a wicked Scotchman—a sort of saint-turned-sinner. The expression of early good principles was glazed over with drink and recklessness, like a scene from the Inferno painted over a Madonna of Raphael’s. It was written in his face that he was a transgressor against knowledge. We were perhaps, a half-dozen passengers, exclusive of the boys, and we rallied round our Bardolph nosed hero and applauded his skilful manœuvres; sun, steam, and excitement together, producing a temperature on deck that left nothing to dread from the boiler. As we approached a sharp bend in the course of the stream, I perceived by the countenance of our pilot, that it was to be a critical moment. The Ben Lomond was a little ahead, but we had the advantage of the inside of the course, and very soon, with the commencement of the curve, we gained sensibly on the enemy, and I saw clearly that we should cut her off by a half-boat’s length. The three boys on the wheel began to shout, the flagelet made all split again with “the Campbells are comin’,” the bass-drum was never so belabored, and “Up with your helm!” cried every voice, as we came at the rate of twelve miles in the hour sharp on to the angle of mud and bulrushes, and, to our utter surprise, the pilot jammed down his tiller, and ran the battered nose of the Victory plump in upon the enemy’s forward quarter! The next moment we were going it like mad down the middle of the river, and far astern stuck the Ben Lomond in the mud, her paddles driving her deeper at every stroke, her music hushed, and the crowd on her deck standing speechless with amazement. The flagelet and bass-drum marched aft and played louder than ever, and we were soon in the open Frith, getting on merrily, but without competition, to the sleeping isle of Inchkeith. Lucky Victory! luckier pilot! to have found an historian! How many a red-nosed Palinurus—how many a bass drum and flagelet, have done their duty as well, yet achieved no immortality.

I was glad to see “Auld Reekie” again, though the influx of strangers to the “Scientific Meeting” had over-run every hotel, and I was an hour or two without a home. I lit at last upon a good old Scotchwoman who had “a flat” to herself, and who, for the sum of one shilling and sixpence per diem, proposed to transfer her only boarder from his bed to a sofa, as long as I should wish to stay. I made a humane remonstrance against the inconvenience to her friend. “It’s only a Jew,” she said, “and they’re na difficult, puir bodies!” The Hebrew came in while we were debating the point—a smirking gentleman, with very elaborate whiskers, much better dressed than the proposed usurper of his sanctum—and without the slightest hesitation professed that nothing would give him so much pain as to stand in the way of his landlady’s interest. So for eighteen-pence—and I could not prevail on her to take another farthing—I had a Jew put to inconvenience, a bed, boots and clothes brushed, and Mrs. Mac—to sit up for me till two in the morning—what the Jew himself would have called a “cheap article.”

I returned to my delightful quarters at Dalhousie Castle on the following day, and among many excursions in the neighborhood during the ensuing week, accomplished a visit to Abbottsford. This most interesting of all spots has been so minutely and so often described, that a detailed account of it would be a mere repetition. Description, however, has anticipated nothing to the visiter. The home of Sir Walter Scott would possess an interest to thrill the heart, if it were as well painted to the eye of fancy as the homes of his own heroes.

It is a dreary country about Abbottsford, and the house itself looks from a distance like a small, low castle, buried in stunted trees, on the side of a long, sloping upland or moor. The river is between you and the chateau as you come down to Melrose from the north, and you see the gray towers opposite you from the road at the distance of a mile—the only habitable spot in an almost desolate waste of country. From the town of Melrose you approach Abbottsford by a long, green lane, and, from the height of the hedge and the descending ground on which the house is built, you would scarce suspect its vicinity till you enter a small gate on the right and find yourself in an avenue of young trees. This conducts you immediately to the door, and the first effect on me was that of a spacious castle seen through a reversed glass. In fact it is a kind of castle cottage—not larger than what is often called a cottage in England, yet to the minutest point and proportion a model of an ancient castle. The deception in the engravings of the place lies in the scale. It seems like a vast building as usually drawn.

One or two hounds were lounging round the door; but the only tenant of the place was a slovenly housemaid, whom we interrupted in the profane task of scrubbing the furniture in the library. I could have pitched her and her scrubbing brushes out of the window with a good will. It is really a pity that this sacred place, with its thousand valuable and irreplaceable curiosities, should be so carelessly neglected. We were left to wander over the house and the museum as we liked. I could have brought away—and nothing is more common than this species of theft in England—twenty things from that rare collection, of which the value could scarce be estimated. The pistols and dagger of Rob Roy, and a hundred equally valuable and pocketable things, lay on the shelves unprotected, quite at the mercy of the ill-disposed, to say nothing of the merciless “cleanings” of the housemaid. The present Sir Walter Scott is a captain of dragoons, with his regiment in Ireland, and the place is never occupied by the family. Why does not Scotland buy Abbotsford, and secure to herself, while it is still perfect, the home of her great magician, and the spot that to after ages would be, if preserved in its curious details, the most interesting in Great Britain?

After showing us the principal rooms, the woman opened a small closet adjoining the study, in which hung the last clothes that Sir Walter had worn. There was the broad-skirted blue coat with large buttons, the plaid trousers, the heavy shoes, the broad-rimmed hat and stout walking-stick—the dress in which he rambled about in the morning, and which he laid off when he took to his bed in his last illness. She took down the coat and gave it a shake and a wipe of the collar, as if he were waiting to put it on again!

It was encroaching somewhat on the province of Touchstone and Wamba to moralize on a suit of clothes—but I am convinced I got from them a better idea of Scott, as he was in his familiar hours, than any man can have who has seen neither him nor them. There was a character in the hat and shoes. The coat was an honest and hearty coat. The stout, rough walking-stick, seemed as if it could have belonged to no other man. I appeal to my kind friends and fellow travellers who were there three days before me (I saw their names on the book,) if the same impression was not made on them.

I asked for the room in which Sir Walter died. She showed it to me, and the place where the bed had stood, which was now removed. I was curious to see the wall or the picture over which his last looks must have passed. Directly opposite the foot of the bed hung a remarkable picture—the head of Mary Queen of Scots, in a dish taken after her execution. The features were composed and beautiful. On either side of it hung spirited drawings from the Tales of a Grandfather—one very clever sketch, representing the wife of a border-knight serving up her husband’s spurs for dinner, to remind him of the poverty of the larder and the necessity of a foray. On the left side of the bed was a broad window to the west—the entrance of the last light to his eyes—and from hence had sped the greatest spirit that has walked the world since Shakspeare. It almost makes the heart stand still to be silent and alone on such a spot.

What an interest there is in the trees of Abbotsford—planted every one by the same hand that waved its wand of enchantment over the world! One walks among them as if they had thoughts and memories.

Everybody talks of Scott who has ever had the happiness of seeing him, and it is strange how interesting it is even when there is no anecdote, and only the most commonplace interview is narrated. I have heard, since I have been in England, hundreds of people describe their conversations with him, and never the dullest without a certain interest far beyond that of common topics. Some of these have been celebrated people, and there is the additional weight that they were honored friends of Sir Walter’s.

Lord Dalhousie told me that he was Scott’s playfellow at the high school of Edinboro’. There was a peculiar arrangement of the benches with a head and foot, so that the boys sat above or below, according to their success in recitation. It so happened that the warmest seat in the school, that next to the stove, was about two from the bottom, and this Scott, who was a very good scholar, contrived never to leave. He stuck to his seat from autumn till spring, never so deficient as to get down, and never choosing to answer rightly if the result was to go up. He was very lame, and seldom shared in the sports of the other boys, but was a prodigious favorite, and loved to sit in the sunshine, with a knot of boys around him, telling stories. Lord Dalhousie’s friendship with him was uninterrupted through life, and he invariably breakfasted at the castle on his way to and from Edinboro’.

I met Moore at a dinner party not long since, and Scott was again, (as at a previous dinner I have described) the subject of conversation. “He was the soul of honesty,” said Moore. “When I was on a visit to him, we were coming up from Kelso at sunset, and as there was to be a fine moon, I quoted to him his own rule for seeing ‘fair Melrose aright,’ and proposed to stay an hour and enjoy it. ‘Bah!’ said he, ‘I never saw it by moonlight.’ We went, however; and Scott, who seemed to be on the most familiar terms with the cicerone, pointed to an empty niche and said to him, ‘I think, by the way, that I have a Virgin and Child that will just do for your niche. I’ll send it to you!’ ‘How happy you have made that man!’ said I to him. ‘Oh,’ said Scott, ‘it was always in the way, and Madame S. is constantly grudging it house-room. We’re well rid of it.’

“Any other man,” said Moore, “would have allowed himself at least the credit of a kind action.”

I have had the happiness since I have been in England of passing some weeks at a country house where Miss Jane Porter was an honored guest, and, among a thousand of the most delightful reminiscences that were ever treasured, she has told me a great deal of Scott, who visited at her mother’s as a boy. She remembers him then as a good-humored lad, but very fond of fun, who used to take her younger sister, (Anna Maria Porter) and frighten her by holding her out of the window. Miss Porter had not seen him since that age; but, after the appearance of Guy Mannering, she heard that he was in London, and drove with a friend to his house. Not quite sure (as she modestly says) of being remembered, she sent in a note, saying, that if he remembered the Porters, whom he used to visit, Jane would like to see him. He came rushing to the door, and exclaimed, “Remember you! Miss Porter,” and threw his arms about her neck and burst into tears. After this he corresponded constantly with the family, and about the time of his first stroke of paralysis, when his mind and memory failed him, the mother of Miss Porter died, and Scott sent a letter of condolence. It began—“Dear Miss Porter”—but, as he went on, he forgot himself, and continued the letter as if addressed to her mother, ending it with—“And now, dear Mrs. Porter, farewell! and believe me yours for ever (as long as there is anything of me) Walter Scott.” Miss Porter bears testimony, like every one else who knew him, to his greatheartedness no less than to his genius.

I am not sure that others like as well as myself these “nothings” about men of genius. I would rather hear the conversation between Scott and a peasant on the road, for example, than the most piquant anecdote of his brighter hours. I like a great mind in dishabille.

We returned by Melrose Abbey, of which I can say nothing new, and drove to Dryburgh to see the grave of Scott. He is buried in a rich old Gothic corner of a ruin—fittingly. He chose the spot, and he sleeps well. The sunshine is broken on his breast by a fretted and pinnacled window, over-run with ivy, and the small chapel in which he lies is open to the air, and ornamented with the mouldering scutcheons of his race. There are few more beautiful ruins than Dryburgh Abbey, and Scott lies in its sunniest and most fanciful nook—a grave that seems divested of the usual horrors of a grave.

We were ascending the Gala-water at sunset, and supped at Dalhousie, after a day crowned with thought and feeling.



If Scott had done nothing else, he would have deserved well of his country for giving an interest to the barren wastes by which Scotland is separated from England. “A’ the blue bonnets” must have had a melancholy march of it “Over the Border.” From Gala-Water to Carlisle it might be anywhere a scene for the witches’ meeting in Macbeth. We bowled away at nearly twelve miles in the hour, however, (which would unwind almost any “serpent of care” from the heart,) and if the road was not lined with witches and moss-troopers, it was well macadamized. I got a treacherous supper at Howick, where the Douglas pounced upon Sir Alexander Ramsay; and, recovering my good humor at Carlisle, grew happier as the fields grew greener, and came down by Kendal and its emerald valleys with the speed of an arrow and the light heartedness of its feather. How little the farmer thinks when he plants his hedges and sows his fields, that the passing wayfarer will anticipate the gleaners and gather sunshine from his ripening harvest.

I was admiring the fine old castle of Lancaster, (now desecrated to the purposes of a county jail,) when our thirteen-mile whip ran over a phæton standing quietly in the road, and spilt several women and children, as you may say, en passant. The coach must arrive, though it kill as many as Juggernaut, and Jehu neither changed color, nor spoke a word, but laid the silk over his leaders to make up the back-water of the jar, and rattled away up the street, with the guard blowing the French horn to the air of “Smile again, my bonny lassie.” Nobody threw stones after us; the horses were changed in a minute and three quarters, and away we sped from the town of the “red nose.” There was a cool, you-know-where-to-find-me sort of indifference in this adventure, which is peculiarly English. I suppose if his leaders had changed suddenly into griffins, he would have touched them under the wing and kept his pace.

Bound on a visit to —— Hall in Lancashire, I left the coach at Preston. The landlady of the Red Lion became very suddenly anxious that I should not take cold when she found out the destination of her post-chaise. I arrived just after sunset at my friend’s lodge, and ordering the postillion to a walk, drove leisurely through the gathering twilight to the Hall. It was a mile of winding road through the peculiarly delicious scenery of an English park, the game visible in every direction, and the glades and woods disposed with that breadth and luxuriance of taste that make the country houses of England palaces in Arcadia. Anxious as I had been to meet my friend, whose hospitality I had before experienced in Italy, I was almost sorry when the closely-shaven sward and glancing lights informed me that my twilight drive was near its end.

An arrival in a strange house in England seems, to a foreigner, almost magical. The absence of all the bustle consequent on the same event abroad, the silence, respectfulness, and self-possession of the servants, the ease and expedition with which he is installed in a luxurious room, almost with his second breath under the roof—his portmanteau unstrapped, his toilet laid out, his dress shoes and stockings at his feet, and the fire burning as if he had sat by it all day—it is like the golden facility of a dream. “Dinner at seven!” are the only words he has heard, and he finds himself (some three minutes having elapsed since he was on the road) as much at home as if he had lived there all his life, and pouring the hot water into his wash-basin with the feeling that comfort and luxury in this country are very much matters of course.

The bell rings for dinner, and the new-comer finds his way to the drawing-room. He has not seen his host, perhaps, for a year; but his entrée is anything but a scene. A cordial shake of the hand, a simple inquiry after his health, while the different members of the family collect in the darkened room, and the preference of his arm by the lady of the house to walk into dinner, are all that would remind him that he and his host had ever parted. The soup is criticised, the weather “resumed,” as the French have it, gravity prevails, and the wine that he used to drink is brought him without question by the remembering butler. The stranger is an object of no more attention than any other person, except in the brief “glad to see you,” and the accompanying just perceptible nod with which the host drinks wine with him; and, not even in the abandon of after-dinner conversation, are the mutual reminiscences of the host and his friend suffered to intrude on the indifferent portion of the company. The object is the general enjoyment, and you are not permitted to monopolize the sympathies of the hour. You thus escape the aversion with which even a momentary favorite is looked upon in society, and in your turn you are not neglected, or bored with a sensation, on the arrival of another. In what other country is civilization carried to the same rational perfection?

I was under the hands of a physician during the week of my stay at —— Hall, and only crept out with the lizards for a little sunshine at noon. There was shooting in the park for those who liked it, and fox hunting in the neighborhood for those who could follow, but I was content (upon compulsion) to be innocent of the blood of hares and partridges, and the ditches of Lancashire are innocent of mine. The well-stocked library, with its caressing chairs, was a paradise of repose after travel; and the dinner, with its delightful society, sufficed for the day’s event.

My host was himself very much of a cosmopolite; but his neighbors, one or two most respectable squires of the old school among them, had the usual characteristics of people who have passed their lives on one spot, and though gentlemanlike and good-humored, were rather difficult to amuse. I found none of the uproariousness which distinguished the Squire Western of other times. The hale fox-hunter was in white cravat and black coat, and took wine and politics moderately; and his wife and daughters, though silent and impracticable, were well-dressed, and marked by that indefinable stamp of “blood,” visible no less in the gentry than in the nobility of England.

I was delighted to encounter at my friend’s table one or two of the old English peculiarities, gone out nearer the metropolis. Toasted cheese and spiced ale—“familiar creatures” in common life—were here served up with all the circumstance that attended them when they were not disdained as the allowance of maids of honor. On the disappearance of the pastry, a massive silver dish, chased with the ornate elegance of ancient plate, holding coals beneath, and protected by a hinged cover, was set before the lady of the house. At the other extremity of the table stood a “peg tankard” of the same fashion, in the same massive metal, with two handles, and of an almost fabulous capacity. Cold cheese and port were at a discount. The celery, albeit both modish and popular, was neglected. The crested cover erected itself on its hinge, and displayed a flat surface, covered thinly with blistering cheese, with a soupçon of brown in its complexion, quivering and delicate, and of a most stimulating odor. A little was served to each guest, and commended as it deserved, and then the flagon’s head was lifted in its turn by the staid butler, and the master of the house drank first. It went around with the sun, not disdained by the ladies’ lips in passing, and came to me, something lightened of its load. As a stranger I was advised of the law before lifting it to my head. Within, from the rim to the bottom, extended a line of silver pegs, supposed to contain, in the depth from one to the other, a fair draught for each bibber. The flagon must not be taken from the lips, and the penalty of drinking deeper than the first peg below the surface, was to drink to the second—a task for the friar of Copmanhurst. As the visible measure was of course lost when the tankard was dipped, it required some practice or a cool judgment not to exceed the draught. Raising it with my two hands, I measured the distance with my eye, and watched till the floating argosy of toast should swim beyond the reach of my nose. The spicy odor ascended gratefully to the brain. The cloves and cinnamon clung in a dark circle to the edges. I drank without drawing breath, and complacently passed the flagon. As the sea of all settled to a calm, my next neighbor silently returned the tankard. I had exceeded the draught. There was a general cry of “drink! drink!” and sounding my remaining capacity with the plummet of a long breath, I laid my hands once more on the vessel, and should have paid the penalty or perished in the attempt, but for the grace shown me as a foreigner, at the intercession of that sex distinguished for its mercy.

This adherence to the more hearty viands and customs of olden time, by the way, is an exponent of a feeling sustained with peculiar tenacity in that part of England. Cheshire and Lancashire are the stronghold of that race peculiar to this country, the gentry. In these counties the peerage is no authority for gentle birth. A title unsupported by centuries of honorable descent, is worse than nothing; and there is many a squire, living in his immemorial “Hall,” who would not exchange his name and pedigree for the title of ninety-nine in a hundred of the nobility of England. Here reigns aristocracy. Your Baron Rothschild, or your new-created lord from the Bank or the Temple, might build palaces in Cheshire, and live years in the midst of its proud gentry unvisited. They are the cold cheese, celery, and port, in comparison with the toasted cheese and spiced ale.



England would be a more pleasant country to travel in if one’s feelings took root with less facility. In the continental countries, the local ties are those of the mind and the senses. In England they are those of the affections. One wanders from Italy to Greece, and from Athens to Ephesus, and returns and departs again; and, as he gets on shipboard, or mounts his horse or his camel, it is with a sigh over some picture or statue left behind, some temple or waterfall—perhaps some cook or vintage. He makes his last visit to the Fount of Egeria, or the Venus of the Tribune—to the Caryatides of the Parthenon, or the Cascatelles of Tivoli—or pathetically calls for his last bottle of untransferable lachra christi, or his last côtelettes provençales. He has “five hundred friends” like other people, and has made the usual continental intimacies—but his valet-de-place takes charge of his adieus—(distributes his “p. p. c’s” for a penny each,) and he forgets and is forgotten by those he leaves behind, ere his passport is recorded at the gates. In all these countries, it is only as a resident or a native that you are treated with kindness or admitted to the penetralia of domestic life. You are a bird of passage, expected to contribute a feather to every nest, but welcomed to none. In England this same disqualification becomes a claim. The name of a stranger opens the private house, sets you the chair of honor, prepares your bed, and makes everything that contributes to your comfort or pleasure temporarily your own. And when you take your departure, your host has informed himself of your route, and provided you with letters to his friends, and you may go through the country from end to end, and experience everywhere the same confiding and liberal hospitality. Every foreigner who has come well-introduced to England, knows how unexaggerated is this picture.

I was put upon the road again by my kind friend, and with a strong west wind coming off the Atlantic, drove along within sound of the waves, on the road to Liverpool. It was a mild wind, and came with a welcome—for it was freighted with thoughts of home. Goethe says, we are never separated from our friends as long as the streams run down from them to us. Certain it is, that distance seems less that is measured by waters and winds. America seemed near, with the ocean at my feet and only its waste paths between. I sent my heart over (against wind and tide) with a blessing and a prayer.

There are good inns, I believe, at Liverpool, but the coach put me down at the dirtiest and worst specimen of a public house that I have encountered in England. As I was to stay but a night, I overcame the prejudice of the first coup d’œil, and made the best of a dinner in the coffee room. It was crowded with people, principally merchants, I presumed, and the dinner hour having barely passed, most of them were sitting over their wine or toddy at the small tables, discussing prices or reading the newspapers. Near me were two young men, whose faces I thought familiar to me, and with a second look I resolved them into two of my countrymen, who, I found out presently by their conversation, were eating their first dinner in England. They were gentlemanlike young men, of good education, and I pleased myself with looking about and imagining the comparison they would draw, with their own country fresh in their recollection, between it and this. I could not help feeling how erroneous in this case would be a first impression. The gloomy coffee room, the hurried and uncivil waiters, the atrocious cookery, the bad air, greasy tables, filthy carpet, and unsocial company—and this one of the most popular and crowded inns of the first commercial town in England! My neighbors themselves, too, afforded me some little speculation. They were a fair specimen of the young men of our country, and after several years’ exclusive conversance with other nations, I was curious to compare an untravelled American with the Europeans around me. I was struck with the exceeding ambitiousness of their style of conversation. Dr. Pangloss himself would have given them a degree. They called nothing by its week-day name, and avoided with singular pertinacity exactly that upon which the modern English are as pertinaciously bent—a concise homeliness of phraseology. They were dressed much better than the people about them, (who were apparently in the same sphere of life,) and had on the whole a superior air—owing possibly to the custom prevalent in America of giving young men a university education before they enter into trade. Like myself, too, they had not yet learned the English accomplishment of total unconsciousness in the presence of others. When not conversing they did not study profoundly the grain of the mahogany, nor gaze with solemn earnestness into the bottom of their wine-glasses, nor peruse with the absorbed fixedness of Belshazzar, the figures on the wall. They looked about them with undisguised curiosity, ordered a great deal more wine than they wanted (very American, that!) and were totally without the self-complacent, self-amused, sober-felicity air which John Bull assumes after his cheese in a coffee room.

I did not introduce myself to my countrymen, for an American is the last person in the world with whom one should depart from the ordinary rules of society. Having no fixed rank either in their own or a foreign country, they construe all uncommon civility into either a freedom, or a desire to patronise—and the last is the unpardonable sin. They called after a while for a “mint julep,” (unknown in England,) for slippers, (rather an unusual call also—gentlemen usually wearing their own,) and seemed very much surprised on asking for candles, at being ushered to bed by the chambermaid.

I passed the next morning in walking about Liverpool. It is singularly like New York in its general air, and quite like it in the character of its population. I presume I must have met many of my countrymen, for there were some who passed me in the street whom I could have sworn to. In a walk to the American consul’s, (to whose polite kindness I, as well as all my compatriots, have been very much indebted,) I was lucky enough to see a New York packet drive into the harbor under full sail—as gallant a sight as you would wish to see. It was blowing rather stiffly, and she ran up to her anchorage like a bird, and taking in her canvass with the speed of a man-of-war, was lying in a few moments with her head to the tide, as neat and as tranquil as if she had slept for the last month at her moorings. I could feel in the air that came ashore from her, that I had letters on board.

Anxious to get on to Cheshire, where, as they say of the mails, I had been due some days, and very anxious to get rid of the perfume of beer, beefsteaks, and bad soup, with which I had become impregnated at the inn, I got embarked in an omnibus at noon, and was taken to the railway. I was just in time, and down we dived into the long tunnel, emerging from the darkness at a pace that made my hair sensibly tighten and hold on with apprehension. Thirty miles in the hour is pleasant going when one is a little accustomed to it. It gives one such a contempt for time and distance! The whizzing past of the return trains, going in the other direction with the same velocity, making you recoil in one second, and a mile off the next—was the only thing which, after a few minutes, I did not take to very kindly. There were near a hundred passengers, most of them precisely the class of English which we see in our country—the fags of Manchester and Birmingham—a class, I dare say, honest and worthy, but much more to my taste in their own country than mine.

I must confess to a want of curiosity respecting spinning-jennies. Half an hour of Manchester contented me, yet in that half hour I was cheated to the amount of four and-six-pence—unless the experience was worth the money. Under a sovereign I think it not worth while to lose one’s temper, and I contented myself with telling the man (he was a coach proprietor) as I paid him the second time for the same thing in the course of twenty minutes, that the time and trouble he must have had in bronzing his face to that degree of impudence gave him some title to the money. I saw some pretty scenery between Manchester and my destination, and having calculated my time very accurately, I was set down at the gates of —— Hall, as the dressing bell for dinner came over the park upon the wind. I found another English welcome, passed three weeks amid the pleasures of English country life, departed as before with regrets, and without much more incident or adventure reached London on the first of November, and established myself for the winter.


Ship Gladiator, off the Isle of Wight,

Evening of June 9th, 1839.

The bullet which preserves the perpendicular of my cabin-lamp is at last still, I congratulate myself; and with it my optic nerve resumes its proper and steady function. The vagrant tumblers, the peripatetic teeth-brushes, the dancing stools, the sidling wash-basins and et-ceteras, have returned to a steady life. The creaking bulkheads cry no more. I sit on a trunk which will not run away with me, and pen and paper look up into my face with their natural sobriety and attention. I have no apology for not writing to you, except want of event since we parted. There is not a milestone in the three thousand four hundred miles I have travelled. “Travelled!” said I. I am as unconscious of having moved from the wave on which you left me at Staten Island as the prisoner in the hulk. I have pitched forward and backward, and rolled from my left cheek to my right; but as to any feeling of having gone onward I am as unconscious of it as a lobster backing after the ebb. The sea is a dreary vacuity, in which he, perhaps, who was ever well upon it, can find material for thought. But for one, I will sell at sixpence a month, all copyhold upon so much of my life as is destined “to the deep, the blue, the black” (and whatever else he calls it,) of my friend the song-writer.

Yet there are some moments recorded, first with a sigh, which we find afterward copied into memory with a smile. Here and there a thought has come to me from the wave, snatched listlessly from the elements—here and there a word has been said which on shore should have been wit or good feeling—here and there a “good morning,” responded to with an effort, has from its courtesy or heartiness, left an impression which will make to-morrow’s parting phrases more earnest than I had anticipated.—With this green isle to windward and the smell of earth and flowers coming to my nostrils once more, I begin to feel an interest in several who have sailed with me. Humanity, killed in me invariably by salt-water, revives, I think, with this breath of hawthorn.

The pilot tells us that the Montreal, which sailed ten days before us, has not yet passed up the channel, and that we have brought with us the first west wind they have had in many weeks. The sailors do not know what to say to this, for we had four parsons on board, and, by all sea-canons, they are invariable Jonahs. One of these gentlemen, by the way, is an abolitionist, on a begging crusade for a school devoted to the amalgam of color, and very much to the amusement of the passengers, he met the steward’s usual demand for a fee with an application for a contribution to the funds of his society! His expectations from British sympathy are large, for he is accompanied by a lay brother “used to keeping accounts,” whose sole errand is to record the golden results of his friend’s eloquence. But “eight bells” warn me to bed; so when I have recorded the good qualities of the Gladiator, which are many, and those of her captain, which are more, I will put out my sea lamp for the last time, and get into my premonitory “six feet by two.”

The George Inn, Portsmouth.—This is a morning in which (under my circumstances) it would be difficult not to be pleased with the entire world. A fair day in June, newly from sea, and with a journey of seventy miles before me on a swift coach, through rural England, is what I call a programme of a pleasant day. Determined not to put myself in the way of a disappointment, I accepted, without the slightest hesitation, on landing at the wharf, the services of an elderly gentleman in shabby black, who proposed to stand between me and all my annoyances of the morning. He was to get my baggage through the customs, submit for me to all the inevitable impositions of tide-waiters, secure my place in the coach, bespeak me a fried sole and green peas, and sum up his services, all in one short phrase of l. s. d. So putting my temper into my pocket, and making up my mind to let roguery take the wall of me for one day unchallenged, I mounted to the grassy ramparts of the town to walk off the small remainder of sea-air from my stomach, and admire everything that came in my way. I would recommend to all newly landed passengers from the packets to step up and accept of the sympathy of the oaks of the “king’s bastion” in their disgust for the sea. Those sensible trees, leaning toward the earth, and throwing out their boughs as usual to the landward, present to the seaward exposure a turned-up and gnarled look of nausea and disgust which is as expressive to the commonest observer as a sick man’s first look at his bolus. I have great affinity with trees, and I believe implicitly, that what is disagreeable to the tree can not be pleasant to the man. The salt air is not so corrosive here as in the Mediterranean, where the leaves of the olive are eaten off entirely on the side toward the sea; but it is quite enough to make a sensible tree turn up its nose, and in that attitude stands most expressively every oak on the “king’s bastion.”

The first few miles out of Portsmouth form one long alley of ornamented cottages—wood-bine creeping and roses flowering over them all. If there were but two between Portsmouth and London—two even of the meanest we saw—a traveller from any other land would think it worth his while to describe them minutely. As there are two thousand (more or less,) they must pass with a bare mention. Yet I became conscious of a new feeling in seeing these rural paradises; and I record it as the first point in which I find myself worse for having become a “dweller in the shade.” I was envious. Formerly, in passing a tasteful retreat, or a fine manor, I could say, “What a bright lawn! What a trim and fragrant hedge! What luxuriant creepers! I congratulate their fortunate owner!” Now it is, “How I wish I had that hedge at Glenmary! How I envy these people their shrubs, trellises, and flowers!” I wonder not a little how the English Emigrant can make a home among our unsightly stumps that can ever breed a forgetfulness of all these refined ruralities.

After the first few miles, I discovered that the two windows of the coach were very limited frames for the rapid succession of pictures presented to my eye, and changing places with William, who was on the top of the coach, I found myself between two tory politicians setting forth to each other most eloquently the mal-administration of the whigs and the queen’s mismanagement. As I was two months behind the English news I listened with some interest. They made out to their own satisfaction that the queen was a silly girl; that she had been caught in a decided fib about Sir Robert Peel’s exactions with respect to the household; and one of the Jeremiahs, who seemed to be a sturdy grazier, said that “in ’igh life the queen-dowager’s ’ealth was now received uniwersally with three times three, while Victoria’s was drank in solemn silence.” Her majesty received no better treatment at the hands of a whig on the other end of the seat; and as we whirled under the long park fence of Claremont, the country palace of Leopold and the Princess Charlotte, he took the pension of the Belgian king for the burden of his lamentation, and, between whig and tory, England certainly seemed to be in a bad way. This Claremont, it will be remembered by the readers of D’Israeli’s novels, is the original of the picture of the luxurious maison de plaisance, drawn in “the Young Duke.”

We got glimpses of the old palace at Esher, of Hampton Court, of Pitt’s country seat at Putney, and of Jane Porter’s cottage at Esher, and in the seventh hour from leaving Portsmouth (seventy-four miles) we found the vehicles thickening, the omnibuses passing, the blue-coated policemen occurring at short intervals, and the roads delightfully watered—symptoms of suburban London. We skirted the privileged paling of Hyde Park; and I could see, over the rails, the flying and gay colored equipages, the dandy horsemen, the pedestrian ladies followed by footmen with their gold sticks, the fashionable throng, in short, which, separated by an iron barrier from all contact with unsightliness and vulgarity, struts its hour in this green cage of aristocracy.

Around the triumphal arch opposite the duke of Wellington’s was assembled a large crowd of carriages and horsemen. The queen was coming from Buckingham palace through the Green park, and they were waiting for a glimpse of Her Majesty on horseback. The Regulator whirled mercilessly on; but far down, through the long avenues of trees, I could see a movement of scarlet liveries, and a party coming rapidly toward us on horseback. We missed the Queen by a couple of minutes.

It was just the hour when all London is abroad, and Piccadilly was one long cavalcade of splendid equipages on their way to the park. I remembered many a face, and many a crest; but either the faces had beautified in my memory, or three years had done time’s pitiless work on them all. Near Devonshire house I saw, fretting behind the slow-moving press of vehicle, a pair of magnificent and fiery blood horses, drawing a coach, which, though quite new, was of a color and picked out with a peculiar stripe that was familiar to my eye. The next glance convinced me that the livery was that of Lady Blessington; but, for the light chariot in which she used to drive, here was a stately coach—for the one tall footman, two—for the plain but elegant harness, a sumptuous and superb caparison—the whole turn-out on a scale of splendor unequalled by anything around us. Another moment decided the doubt—for as we came against the carriage, following, ourselves, an embarrassed press of vehicles, her ladyship appeared, leaning back in the corner with her wrists crossed, the same in the grace of her attitude and the elegance of her toilet, but stouter, more energetic, and graver in the expression of her face, than I ever remembered to have seen her. From the top of the stage-coach I looked, unseen, directly down upon her, and probably got, by chance, a daylight and more correct view of her countenance than I should obtain in a year of opera and drawing-room observation. Tired and dusty, we were turned from hotel to hotel, all full and overflowing; and finding at last a corner at Ragget’s in Dover street, we dressed, dined, and posted to Woolwich. Unexpected and mournful news closed our first day in England with tears.

I drove up to London the second day after our arrival, and having a little “Grub-street” business, made my way to the purlieus of publishers, Paternoster row. If you could imagine a paper-mine, with a very deep cut shaft laid open to the surface of the earth, you might get some idea of Ivy lane. One walks along through its dim subterranean light, with no idea of breathing the proper atmosphere of day and open air. A strong smell of new books in the nostrils, and one long stripe of blue sky much farther off than usual, are the predominant impressions.

From the dens of the publishers, I wormed my way through the crowds of Cheapside and the Strand, toward that part of London, which, as Horace Smith says, is “open at the top.” Something in the way of a ship’s fender, to save the hips and elbows would sell well, I should think, to pedestrians in London. What crowds, to be sure! On a Sunday, in New York, when all the churches are pouring forth their congregations at the same moment, you have seen a faint image of the Strand. The style of the hack cabriolets is very much changed since I was in London. The passenger sits about as high up from the ground as he would in a common chair—the body of the vehicle suspended from the axle instead of being placed upon it, and the wheels very high. The driver’s seat would suit a sailor, for it answers to the ship’s tiller, well astern. He whips over the passenger’s head. I saw one or two private vehicles built on this principle, certainly one of safety, though they have something the beauty of a prize hog.

The new National Gallery in Trafalgar square, not finished when I left England, opened upon me as I entered Charing Cross, with what I could not but feel was a very fine effect, though critically, its “pepper-boxity” is not very creditable to the architect. Fine old Northumberland house, with its stern lion atop on one side, the beautiful Club house on the other, St. Martin’s noble church and the Gallery—with such a fine opening in the very cor cordium of London, could not fail of producing a noble metropolitan view.

The street in front of the gallery was crowded with carriages, showing a throng of visiters within; and mounting the imposing steps, (the loftiness of the vestibule dropping plump as I paid my shilling entrance,) I found myself in a hall whose extending lines of pillars ran through the entire length of the building, offering to the eye a truly noble perspective. Off from this hall, to the right and left, lay the galleries of antique and modern paintings, and the latter were crowded with the fair and fashionable mistresses of the equipages without. You will not care to be bothered with criticism on pictures, and mine was a cursory glance—but a delicious, full-length portrait of a noble lady by Grant, whose talent is now making some noise in London, a glorious painting of Van Amburgh among his lions by Edwin Landseer, and a portrait of Miss Pardoe in a Turkish costume with her pretty feet coiled under her on a Persian carpet, by Pickersgill, are among those I remember. I found a great many acquaintances in the gallery; and I was sitting upon a bench with a lady, who pointed out to me a portrait of Lord Lyndhurst in his chancellor’s wig and robes—a very fine picture of a man of sixty or thereabouts. Directly between me and it, as I looked, sidled a person with his back to me, cutting off my view very provokingly. “When this dandy gets out of the way with his eyeglass,” said I, “I shall be able to see the picture.” My friend smiled. “Who do you take the dandy to be?” It was a well formed man, dressed in the top of the fashion with very straight back, curling brown hair, and the look of perhaps thirty years of age. As he passed on and I caught his profile, I saw it was Lord Lyndhurst himself.

I had not seen Taglioni since the first representation of the Sylphide, eight or nine years ago at Paris. Last night I was at the opera, and saw her in La Gitana; and except that her limbs are the least in the world rounder and fuller, she is, in person, absolutely unchanged. I can appreciate now, better than I could then (when opera dancing was new to me,) what it is that gives this divine woman the right to her proud title of La Déesse de la Danse. It is easy for the Ellslers and Augusta, and others who are said to be only second to her, to copy her flying steps, and even to produce by elasticity of limb, the beautiful effect of touching the earth, like a thing afloat, without being indebted to it for the rebound. But Taglioni alone finishes the step, or the pirouette, or the arrowy bound over the scene, as calmly, as accurately, as faultlessly, as she begins it. She floats out of a pirouette as if instead of being made giddy, she had been lulled by it into a smiling and child-like dream, and instead of trying herself and her a plomb (as is seen all other dancers, by their effort to recover composure,) it had been the moment when she had rallied and been refreshed. The smile, so expressive of enjoyment in her own grace, which steals over Taglioni’s lips when she closes a difficult step, seems communicated in an indefinable languor, to her limbs. You cannot fancy her fatigued when, with her peculiar softness of motion, she courtesies to the applause of an enchanted audience, and walks lightly away. You are never apprehensive that she has undertaken too much. You never detect as you do in all other dancers, defects slurred over adroitly and movements that, from their anticipating the music of the ballet, are known by the critical eye to cover some flaw in the step, from giddiness or loss of balance. But oh what a new relation bears the music to the dance, when this spirit of grace replaces her companions in the ballet! Whether the motion seems born of the music, or the music floats out of her dreamy motion, the enchanted gazer might be almost embarrassed to know.

In the new ballet of La Gitana, the music is based upon the Mazurka. The story is the old one of the child of a grandee of Spain, stolen by gipsies, and recovered by chance in Russia. The gradual stealing over her of music she had heard in her childhood was the finest piece of pantomimic acting I ever saw. But there is one dance, the Cachucha, introduced at the close of the ballet, in which Taglioni has enchanted the world anew. It could only be done by herself; for there is a succession of flying movements expressive of alarm, in the midst of which she alights and stands poised upon the points of her feet, with a look over her shoulder of fierté and animation possible to no other face, I think, in the world. It was like a deer standing with expanded nostril and neck uplifted to its loftiest height, at the first scent of his pursuers in the breeze. It was the very soul of swiftness embodied in a look! How can I describe it to you?

My last eight hours have been spent between Bedlam and the opera—one of those antipodal contrasts of which London life affords so many. Thanks to God, and to the Howards who have arizen in our time, a madhouse is no longer the heart-rending scene that it used to be; and Bedlam, though a place of melancholy imprisonment, is as cheering a spectacle to the humane as imprisonment can be made by care and kindness. Of the three hundred persons who are inmates of its wards, the greater part seemed quiet and content, some playing at ball in the spacious court-yards, some lying on the grass, and some working voluntarily at a kind of wheel arranged for raising water to their rooms.

On the end of a bench in one of the courts, quite apart from the other patients, sat the youth who came up two hundred miles from the country to marry the queen! You will remember the story of his forcing himself into Buckingham palace. He was a stout, sandy-haired, sad-looking young man, of perhaps twenty-four; and with his arms crossed, and his eyes on the ground, he sat like a statue, never moving even an eyelash while we were there. There was a very gentlemanlike man working at the waterwheel, or rather walking round with his hand on the bar, in a gait that would have suited the most finished exquisite of a drawing-room—Mr. Davis, who shot (I think) at Lord Londonderry. Then in an upper room we saw the Captain Brown who shook his fist in the queen’s face when she went to the city—really a most officer-like and handsome fellow; and in the next room poor old Hatfield who shot at George the Third, and has been in Bedlam for forty years—quite sane! He was a gallant dragoon, and his face is seamed with scars got in battle before his crime. He employs himself with writing poetry on the death of his birds and cats whom he has outlived in prison—all the society he has had in this long and weary imprisonment. He received us very courteously; and called our attention to his favorite canary, showed us his poetry, and all with a sad, mild, subdued resignation that quite moved me.

In the female wards I saw nothing very striking, except one very noble-looking woman who was standing at her grated window, entirely absorbed in reading the Bible. Her face expressed the most heart-rending melancholy I had ever witnessed. She has been for years under the terrible belief that she has committed “the unpardonable sin,” and though quiet all the day, her agony at night becomes horrible. What a comment on a much practiced mode of preaching the mild and forgiving religion of our Savior!

As I was leaving one of the wards, a young woman of nineteen or twenty came up to me with a very polite courtesy and said, “Will you be so kind as to have me released from this dreadful place?” “I am afraid I can not,” said I. “Then,” she replied laying her hand on my arm, with a most appealing earnestness, “perhaps you will on Monday—you know I’ve nothing to pack!” The matron here interposed, and led her away, but she kept her eyes on us till the door closed. She was confined there for the murder of her child.

We visited the kitchens, wash-houses, bakery, &c., &c.—all clean, orderly, and admirable, and left our names on the visitors’ book, quite of the opinion of a Frenchman who was there just before us, and who had written under his own name this expressive praise:—“J’ai visite certains palais moins beaux et moins bien entretenus que cette maison de la folie.

Two hours after I was listening to the overture of La Cenerentola, and watching the entrance, to the opera, of the gay, the celebrated, and the noble. In the house I had left, night had brought with it (as it does always to the insane) a maddening and terrific exaltation of brain and spirit—but how different from that exaltation of brain and spirit sought at the same hour by creatures of the same human family, at the opera! It was difficult not to wonder at the distribution of allotments to mankind. In a box on the left of me sat the Queen, keeping time with a fan to the delicious singing of Pauline Garcia, her favorite minister standing behind her chair, and her maids of honor around—herself the smiling, youthful, and admired Sovereign of the most powerful nation on earth! I thought of the poor girl in her miserable cell at Bedlam imploring release.

The Queen’s face has thinned and grown more oval since I saw her at a drawing-room four years ago, as Princess Victoria. She has been compelled to think since then, and such exigencies, in all stations of life, work out the expression of the face. She has now what I should pronounce a decidedly intellectual countenance, a little petulant withal when she turns to speak, but on the whole quite beautiful enough for a virgin queen. No particular attention seemed paid to her by the audience. She was dressed less gayly than many others around her. Her box was at the left side of the house undistinguished by any mark of royalty, and a stranger would never have suspected her presence.

Pauline Garcia sang better than I thought it possible for any one to sing after Malibran was dead. She has her sister’s look about the forehead and eyes, and all her sister’s soul and passionateness in her style of singing. Her face is otherwise very plain, but, plain as it is, the opera-going public prefer her already to the beautiful and more powerful Grisi. The latter long triumphant prima donna is said to be very unhappy at her eclipse by this new favorite; and it is curious enough to hear the hundred and one faults found in the declining songstress by those who once would not admit that she could be transcended on earth. A very celebrated person, whom I remembered, when in London before, giving Grisi the most unqualified eulogy, assured the gay admirers in her box last night that she had always said that Grisi had nothing but lungs and fine eyes. She was a great healthy Italian girl, and could sing in tune; but soul or sentiment she never had! Poor Grisi! Hers is the lot of all who are so unhappy as to have been much admired. “Le monde ne hait rien autant que ses idoles quand ils sont à terre,” said the wise La Bruyere.

Some of the most delightful events in one’s travels are those which afford the least matériel for description, and such is our séjour of a few days at the vicarage of B——. It was a venerable old house with pointed gables, elaborate and pointed windows, with panes of glass of the size of the palm of the hand, low doors, narrow staircases, all sorts of unsuspected rooms and creepers outside, trellised and trained to every corner and angle. Then there was the modern wing, with library and dining room, large windows, marble fireplaces, and French paper; and in going from your bedroom to breakfast you might fancy yourself stepping from Queen Elizabeth’s time to Queen Victoria’s. A high hedge of holly divided the smoothly-shaven lawn from the church-yard, and in the midst of the moss-grown headstones stood a gray old church with four venerable towers, one of the most picturesque and beautiful specimens of the old English architecture that I have ever seen. The whole group, church, vicarage, and a small hamlet of vine covered and embowered stone cottages, lay in the lap of a gently rising sweep of hills, and all around were spread landscapes of the finished and serene character peculiar to England—rich fields framed in flowering hedges, clumps of forest trees, glimpses of distant parks, country seats, and village spires, and on the horizon a line of mist-clad hills, scarce ever more distinct than the banks of low-lying clouds retiring after a thunder storm in America.

Early on Sunday morning we were awakened by the melody of the bells in the old towers; and with brief pauses between the tunes, they were played upon most musically, till the hour for the morning services. We have little idea in America of the perfection to which the chiming of bells is carried in England. In the towers of this small rural church are hung eight bells of different tone, and the tunes played on them by the more accomplished ringers of the neighboring hamlet are varied endlessly. I lay and listened to the simple airs as they died away over the valley, with a pleasure I can scarcely express. The morning was serene and bright, the perfume of the clematis and jasmine flowers at the window penetrated to the curtains of my bed, and Sunday seemed to have dawned with the audible worship and palpable incense of nature. We were told at breakfast that the chimes had been unusually merry, and were a compliment to ourselves, the villagers always expressing thus their congratulations on the arrival of guests at the vicarage. The compliment was repeated between services, and a very long peal rang in the twilight—our near relationship to the vicar’s family authorizing a very special rejoicing.

The interior of the church was very ancient looking and rough, the pews of unpainted oak, and the massive stone walls simply whitewashed. The congregation was small, perhaps fifty persons, and the men were (with two exceptions) dressed in russet carters’ frocks, and most of them in leather leggins. The children sat on low benches placed in the centre of the one aisle, and the boys, like their fathers, were in smock frocks of homespun, their heavy shoes shod with iron like horses’ hoofs, and their little legs buttoned up in the impenetrable gaiters of coarse leather. They looked, men and boys, as if they were intended to wear but one suit in this world.

I was struck with the solemnity of the service, and the decorous attention of men, women, and children, to the responses. It was a beautiful specimen of simple and pastoral worship. Each family had the name of their farm or place of residence printed on the back of the pew, with the number of seats to which they were entitled, probably in proportion to their tithes. The “living” is worth, if I remember right, not much over a hundred pounds—an insufficient sum to support so luxurious a vicarage as is appended to it; but, happily for the people, the vicar chances to be a man of fortune, and he unites in his excellent character the exemplary pastor with the physician and lord of the manor. I left B—— with the conviction that if peace, contentment, and happiness, inhabit one spot more than all others in a world whose allotments are so difficult to estimate, it is the vicarage in the bosom of that rural upland.

We left B—— at twelve in the Brighton “Age”—the “swell coach” of England. We were to dine thirty miles nearer London, at —— Park, and we did the distance in exactly three hours, including a stop of fifteen minutes to dine. We are abused by all travellers for our alacrity in dining on the road; but what stage-coach in the United States ever limited its dining time to fifteen minutes, and what American dinner of roast, pastry, and cheese, was ever dispatched so briefly? Yet the travellers to Brighton are of the better class; and whose who were my fellow passengers the day I refer to were particularly well-dressed and gentlemanly—yet all of them achieved a substantial dinner of beef, pudding, and cheese, paid their bills, and drained their glass of porter, within the quarter of an hour. John Bull’s blindness to the beam in his own eye is perhaps owing to the fact that this hasty meal is sometimes called a “lunch!”

The two places beside our own in the inside were occupied by a lady and her maid and two children—an interpretation of number two to which I would not have agreed if I could have helped it. We cannot always tell at first sight what will be most amusing, however; and the child of two years, who sprawled over my rheumatic knees with her mother’s permission, thereby occasioning on my part a most fixed look out of the window, furnished me with a curious bit of observation. At one of the commons we passed, the children running out from a gipsy encampment flung bunches of heath flowers into the coach, which the little girl appropriated, and commenced presenting rather graciously to her mother, the maid, and Mrs. W., all of whom received them with smiles and thanks. Having rather a sulky face of my own when not particularly called on to be pleased, the child omitted me for a long time in her distributions. At last, after collecting and redistributing the flowers for above an hour, she grew suddenly grave, laid the heath all out upon her lap, selected the largest and brightest flowers, and made them into a nosegay. My attention was attracted by the seriousness of the child’s occupation; and I was watching her without thinking my notice observed, when she raised her eyes to me timidly, turned her new boquet over and over, and at last, with a blush, deeper than I ever saw before upon a child, placed the flowers in my hand and hid her face in her mother’s bosom. My sulkiness gave way, of course, and the little coquette’s pleasure in her victory was excessive. For the remainder of the journey, those who had given her their smiles too readily were entirely neglected, and all her attentions were showered upon the only one she had found it difficult to please. I thought it as pretty a specimen of the ruling passion strong in baby-hood as I ever saw. It was a piece of finished coquetry in a child not old enough to speak plain.

The coachman of “the Age” was a young man of perhaps thirty, who is understood to have run through a considerable fortune, and drives for a living—but he was not at all the sort of looking person you would fancy for a “swell whip.” He drove beautifully, helped the passengers out and in, lifted their baggage, &c., very handily, but evidently shunned notice, and had no desire to chat with the “outsides.” The excessive difficulty in England of finding any clean way of making a living after the initiatory age is passed—a difficulty which reduced gentlemen feel most keenly—probably forced this person as it has others to take up a vocation for which the world fortunately finds an excuse in eccentricity. He touches his hat for the half crown or shilling, although probably if it were offered to him when the whip was out of his hand he would knock the giver down for his impertinence. I may as well record here, by the way, for the benefit of those who may wish to know a comparison between the expense of travelling hero and at home, for two inside places for thirty miles the coach fare was two pounds, and the coachman’s fee five shillings, or half a-crown each inside. To get from the post town to —— Park (two miles) cost me five-and-sixpence for a “fly,” so that for thirty-two miles travel I paid 2l. 10s. 6d., a little more than twelve dollars.

And speaking of vocations, it would be a useful lesson to some of our ambitious youths to try a beginning at getting a living in England. I was never at all aware of the difficulty of finding even bread and salt for a young man till I had occasion lately to endeavor to better the condition of a servant of my own—a lad who has been with me four or five years, and whose singular intelligence, good principle and high self-improvement, fitted him, I thought, for any confidential trust or place whatever.[2] His own ideas, too (I thought, not unreasonably,) had become somewhat sublimated in America, and he was unwilling to continue longer as a servant. He went home to his mother, a working woman of London, and I did my utmost, the month I was in town, inquiring among all classes of my friends, advertising, &c., to find him any possible livelihood above menial service. I was met everywhere with the same answer; “There are hundreds of gentleman’s sons wearing out their youth in looking for the same thing.” I was told daily that it was quite in vain—that apprenticeships were as much sought as clerkships, and that every avenue to the making of a sixpence was overcrammed and inaccessible. My boy and his mother at last came to their senses; and, consenting to apply once more for a servant’s place, he was fortunate enough to engage as valet to bachelor, and is now gone with his new master on a tour to France. As Harding the painter said to me, when he returned after his foreign trip; “England is a great place to take the nonsense out of people.”

When London shall have become the Rome or Athens of a fallen empire (qu. will it ever?) the termini of the railways will be among its finest ruins. That of the Birmingham and Liverpool track is almost as magnificent as that flower of sumptuousness, the royal palace of Caserta, near Naples. It is really an impressive scene simply to embark for “Brummagem;” and there is that utility in all this showy expenditure for arch, gateway, and pillar, that no one is admitted but the passenger, and you are refreshingly permitted to manage your baggage, &c. without the assistance of a hundred blackguards at a shilling each. Then there are “ladies’ waiting-rooms,” and “gentlemen’s waiting-rooms,” and attached to them every possible convenience, studiously clean and orderly. I wish the president and directors of the Utica and other American railroads would step over and take a sumptuary hint.

The cars are divided into stalls, i. e. each passenger is cushioned off by a stuffed partition from his neighbor’s shoulder, and sleeps without offence or encroachment. When they are crowded, that is an admirable arrangement; but I have found it very comfortable in long journeys in America to take advantage of an empty car, and stretch myself to sleep along the vacant seat. Here, full or empty, you can occupy but your upright place. In every car are suspended lamps to give light during the long passages through the subterranean tunnels.

We rolled from under the Brobdignag roof of the terminus, as the church of Mary-le-bone (Cockney for Marie la-bonne, but so carved on the frieze) struck six. Our speed was increased presently to thirty miles in the hour; and with the exception of the slower rate in passing the tunnels, and the slackening and getting under way at the different stations, this rate was kept up throughout. We arrived at Liverpool (205 miles or upward) at three o’clock, our stoppages having exceeded an hour altogether.

I thought toward the end, that all this might be very pleasant with a consignment of buttons or an errand to Gretna Green. But for the pleasure of the thing I would as lief sit in an arm-chair and see bales of striped green silk unfolded for eight hours as travel the same length of time by the railroad. (I have described in this simile exactly the appearance of the fields as you see them in flying past.) The old women and cabbages gain by it, perhaps, for you cannot tell whether they are not girls and roses. The washerwoman at her tub follows the lady on the lawn so quickly that you confound the two irresistibly—the thatched cottages look like browsing donkeys, and the browsing donkeys like thatched cottages—you ask the name of a town, and by the time you get up your finger you point at a spot three miles off—in short, the salmon well packed in straw on the top of the coach, and called fresh fish after a journey of 200 miles, sees quite as much of the country as his most intellectual fellow-passenger. I foresee in all this a new distinction in phraseology. “Have you travelled in England?” will soon be a question having no reference to railroads. The winding turnpike and cross-roads, the coaches and post carriages, will be resumed by all those who consider the sense of sight as useful in travel, and the bagmen and letter-bags will have almost undisputed possession of the rail-cars.

The Adelphi is the Astor house of Liverpool, a very large and showy hotel near the terminus of the railway. We were shown into rather a magnificent parlor on our arrival; and very hungry with rail-roading since six in the morning, we ordered dinner at their earliest convenience. It came after a full hour, and we sat down to four superb silver covers, anticipating a meal corresponding to the stout person and pompous manners of the fattest waiter I have seen in my travels. The grand cover was removed with a flourish and disclosed—divers small bits of second hand beefsteak, toasted brown and warped at the corners by a second fire; and, on the removal of the other three silver pagodas, our eyes were gratified by a dish of peas that had been once used for green soup, three similarly toasted and warped mutton chops, and three potatoes. Quite incredulous of the cook’s intentions, I ventured to suggest to the waiter that he had probably mistaken the tray and brought us the dinner of some sportsman’s respectable brace of pointers; but on being assured that there were no dogs in the cellar, I sent word to the master of the house that we had rather a preference for a dinner new and hot, and would wait till he could provide it. Half an hour more brought up the landlord’s apologies and a fresh and hot beefsteak, followed by a tough crusted apple-pie, custard, and cheese—and with a bottle of Moselle which was good, we finished our dinner at one of the most expensive and showy hotels in England. The manners and fare at the American hotels being always described as exponents of civilization by English travellers, I shall be excused for giving a counter-picture of one of the most boasted of their own.

Regretting exceedingly that the recent mourning of my two companions must prevent their presence at the gay festivities of Eglington, I put them on board the steamer, bound on a visit to relatives in Dublin, and returned to the Adelphi to wait en garçon for the Glasgow steamer of Monday. My chamber is a large and well-furnished room, with windows looking out on the area shut in by the wings of the house; and I must make you still more contented at the Astor, by describing what is going on below at this moment. It is half-past eight, and a Sunday morning. All the bells of the house, it seems to me, are ringing, most of them very impatiently, and in the area before the kitchen windows are six or eight idle waiters, and four or five female scullions, playing, quarrelling, scolding and screaming; the language of both men and women more profane and indecent than anything I have ever before chanced to hear, and every word audible in every room in this quarter of the hotel. This has been going on since six this morning; and I seriously declare I do not think I ever heard as much indecent conversation in my life as for three mortal hours must have “murdered sleep” for every lady and gentleman lodged on the rear side of the “crack hotel” of Liverpool.

Sick of the scene described above, I went out just now to take a turn or two in my slippers in the long entry. Up and down, giving me a most appealing stare whenever we met, dawdled also the fat waiter who served up the cold victuals of yesterday. He evidently had some errand with me, but what I did not immediately fathom. At last he approached—

“You—a—got your things, sir?”

“What things?”

“The stick and umbrella, I carried to your bedroom, sir?”

“Yes, thank you,” and I resumed my walk.

The waiter resumed his, and presently approached again.

“You—a—don’t intend to use the parlor again, sir?”

“No: I have explained to the master of the house that I shall breakfast in the coffee-room.” And again I walked on.

My friend began again at the next turn.

“You—a—pay for those ladies’ dinner yourself, sir?”

“Yes.” I walked on once more.

Once more approaches my fat incubus, and with a twirl of the towel in his hand looks as if he would fain be delivered of something.

“Why the d—l am I badgered in this way?” I stormed out at last, losing patience at his stammering hesitation, and making a move to get round the fat obstruction and pursue my walk.

“Will you—a—remember the waiter, if you please, sir?”

“Oh! I was not aware that I was to pay the waiter at every meal. I generally do it when I leave the house. Perhaps you’ll be kind enough to let me finish my walk, and trust me till to-morrow morning?”

P. S. Evening in the coffee-room.—They say the best beginning in love is a decided aversion, and badly as I began at Liverpool, I shall always have a tender recollection of it for the unequalled luxury of its baths. A long and beautiful Grecian building crests the head of George’s pier, built by the corporation of Liverpool, and devoted exclusively to salt-water baths. I walked down in the twilight to enjoy this refreshing luxury, and it being Sunday evening, I was shown into the ladies’ end of the building. The room where I waited till the bath was prepared was a lofty and finely proportioned apartment, elegantly furnished, and lined with superbly bound books and pictures, the tables covered with engravings, and the whole looking like a central apartment in a nobleman’s residence. A boy showed me presently into a small drawing-room, to which was attached a bath closet, the two rooms lined, boudoir fashion, with chintz, a clock over the bath, a nice carpet and stove, in short, every luxury possible to such an establishment. I asked the boy if the gentlemen’s baths were as elegant as these. “Oh yes,” he said: “there are two splendid pictures of Niagara Falls and Catskill.” “Who painted them?” “Mr. Wall.” “And whose are they?” “They belong to our father, sir!” I made up my mind that “our father” was a man of taste and a credit to Liverpool.

I have just returned from the dinner given to Macready at the Freemason’s tavern. The hall, so celebrated for public “feeds,” is a beautiful room of a very showy style of architecture, with three galleries, and a raised floor at the end, usually occupied by the cross-table. It accommodated on this occasion four hundred persons.

From the peculiar object of the meeting to do honor to an actor for his intellectual qualities, and for his efforts to spiritualize and elevate the stage, there probably never was collected together in one room so much talent and accomplishment. Artists, authors, critics, publishers and amateurs of the stage—a large body in London—made up the company. My attention was called by one of my neighbors to the singularly superior character of the heads about us, and I had already observed the striking difference, both in head and physiognomy, between this and a common assemblage of men. Most of the persons connected with the press, it was said, were present; and perhaps it would have been a worthy service to the world had some shorn Samson, among the authors, pulled the temple upon the heads of the Philistines.

The cry of “make way!” introduced the duke of Sussex, the chairman of the meeting—a stout, mild-looking, dignified old man, wearing a close black scull-cap and the star and riband. He was followed by Lord Conyngham, who, as grand chamberlain, had done much to promote the interest of the drama; by Lord Nugent (whom I had last seen sailing a scampavia in the bay of Corfu,) by Sir Lytton Bulwer, Mr. Sheil, Sir Martin Shee, Young, the actor, Mr. Milnes, the poet, and other distinguished men. I should have said, by the way, Mr. Macready followed next his Royal Highness.

The cheering and huzzas, as this procession walked up the room, were completely deafening. Macready looked deadly pale and rather overcome; and amid the waving of handkerchiefs and the stunning uproar of four hundred “gentlemen and scholars,” the Duke placed the tragedian at his right hand, and took his seat before the turbot.

The dinner was an uncommonly bad one; but of this I had been forewarned, and so had taken a provisory chop at the club. I had leisure, therefore, to look about me, and truly there was work enough for the eyes. M——’s head interested me more than any one’s else, for it was the personification of his lofty, liberal, and poetic genius. His hair, which was long and profuse, curled in tendrils over the loftiest forehead; but about the lower part of the face lay all the characteristics which go to make up a voluptuous yet generous, an enthusiastic and fiery, yet self-possessed and well-directed character. He was excessively handsome; yet it was the beauty of Massaniello, or Salvator Rosa, with more of intellect than both together. All in all, I never saw a finer face for an artist; and judging from his looks and from his works (he is perhaps twenty-four,) I would stake my sagacity on a bold prophecy of his greatness.

On the same side were the L——s, very quiet-looking men, and S—— the portrait-painter, a merry looking grenadier, and L—— B—— the poet, with a face like a poet. Near me was Lover, the painter, poet, novelist, song and music writer, dramatist, and good fellow—seven characters of which his friends scarce know in which he is most excellent—and he has a round Irish face, with a bright twinkle in his eye, and a plump little body which carries off all his gifts as if they were no load at all.—And on my left was S——, the glorious painter of Venice, of the battle of Trafalgar, the unequalled painter of the sea in all its belongings; and you would take him for a gallant lieutenant of the navy, and with the fire of a score of battles asleep in his eye, and the roughening of a hundred tempests in his cheek. A franker and more manly face would not cross your eye in a year’s travel.

Mr. J—— was just beyond, a tall, sagacious looking good humored person of forty-five. He was a man of very kind manners, and was treated with great marks of liking and respect by all about him. But directly opposite to me sat so exact a picture of Paul Pry as he is represented on the stage, particularly of my friend Finn in that character, that it was difficult not to smile in looking at him. To my surprise, I heard some one point him out, soon after, as the well-known original in that character—the gentleman, whose peculiarities of person, as well as manners, were copied in the farce of Mr. Poole. “That’s my name—what’s yours?” said he the moment after he had seated himself, thrusting his card close to the nose of the gentleman next him. I took it of course for a piece of fun between two very old friends, but to my astonishment the gentleman next him was as much astonished as I.

The few servants scattered up and down were deaf to everything but calls for champagne (furnished only at an extra charge when called for—a very mean system for a public dinner by the way,) and the wines on the table seemed selected to drive one to champagne or the doctor. Each person had four plates, and when used, they were to be put under the bench, or on the top of your head, or to be sat upon, or what you would except to be taken away, and the soup and fish, and the roast and boiled and all, having been put on together, was all removed at one fell swoop—the entire operation of dinner having lasted just twenty-five minutes. Keep this fact till we are recorded by some new English traveller as the most expeditious eaters in Christendom.

Here end my croakings, however, for the speeches commenced directly, and admirable they were. To the undoing of much prejudice got by hearsay, I listened to Bulwer. He is, beyond all comparison, the most graceful and effective speaker I ever heard in England. All the world tells you that he makes signal failures in oratory—yet he rose, when his health was drank, and, in self-possessed, graceful, unhesitating language, playful, yet dignified, warm, yet not extravagant, he replied to the compliments of His Royal Highness, and brought forward his plan (as you have seen it reported in the newspapers) for the erection of a new theatre for the legitimate drama and Macready. I remember once hearing that Bulwer had a belief in his future eminence as an orator—and I would warrant his warmest anticipations in that career of ambition. He is a better speaker than Sheil, who followed him, and Sheil is renowned as an orator. Really there is nothing like one’s own eyes and ears in this world of envy and misrepresentation.

D—— sat near Sheil, at the cross-table, very silent, as is his custom and that of most keen observers. The courtly Sir Martin Shea was near B——, looking like some fine old picture of a wit of Charles the second’s time, and he and Y—— the actor made two very opposite and gentlemanlike speeches. I believe I have told you nearly all that struck me except what was reported in the gazettes, and that you have no need to read over again. I got away at eleven, and reached the opera in time to hear the last act of the Puritani, and see the Elsslers dance in the ballet, and with a look in at a ball, I concluded one of those exhausting, exciting, overdone London days, which are pleasanter to remember than to enjoy, and pleasanter to read about than either.

One of the most elegant and agreeable persons I ever saw was Miss Jane Porter, and I think her conversation more delightful to remember than any person’s I ever knew. A distinguished artist told me that he remembered her when she was his beau-ideal of female beauty; but in those days she was more “fancy-rapt,” and gave in less to the current and spirit of society. Age has made her, if it may be so expressed, less selfish in her use of thought, and she pours it forth like Pactolus—that gold which is sand from others. She is still what I should call a handsome woman, or, if that be not allowed, she is the wreck of more than a common allotment of beauty, and looks it. Her person is remarkably erect, her eyes and eyelids (in this latter resembling Scott) very heavily moulded, and her smile is beautiful. It strikes me that it always is so—where it ever was. The smile seems to be the work of the soul.

I have passed months under the same roof with Miss Porter, and nothing gave me more pleasure than to find the company in that hospitable house dwindled to a “fit audience though few,” and gathered around the figure in deep mourning which occupied the warmest corner of the sofa. In any vein, and apropos to the gravest and the gayest subject, her well-stored mind and memory flowed forth in the same rich current of mingled story and reflection, and I never saw an impatient listener beside her. I recollect, one evening, a lady’s singing “Auld Robin Gray,” and some one remarking, (rather unsentimentally) at the close, “By-the-by, what is Lady ——, (the authoress of the ballad) doing with so many carpenters. Berkely square is quite deafened with their hammering.” “Apropos of carpenters and Lady ——,” said Miss Porter—“this same charming ballad writer owes something to the craft. She was better-born than provided with the gifts of fortune, and in her younger days was once on a visit to a noble house, when to her dismay, a large and fashionable company arrived, who brought with them a mania for private theatricals. Her wardrobe was very slender, barely sufficient for the ordinary events of a week-day, and her purse contained one solitary shilling. To leave the house was out of the question, to feign illness as much so, and to decline taking a part was impossible, for her talent and sprightliness were the hope of the theatre. A part was cast for her, and, in despair, she excused herself from the gay party bound to the country town to make purchases of silk and satin, and shut herself up, a prey to mortified low spirits. The character required a smart village dress, and it certainly did not seem that it could come out of a shilling. She sat at her window, biting her lips, and turning over in her mind whether she could borrow of some one, when her attention was attracted to a carpenter, who was employed in the construction of a stage in the large hall, and who, in the court below, was turning off from his plane broad and long shavings of a peculiarly striped wood. It struck her that it was like riband. The next moment she was below, and begged of the man to give her half a dozen lengths as smooth as he could shave them. He performed his task well, and depositing them in her apartment, she set off alone on horseback to the village, and with her single shilling succeeded in purchasing a chip hat of the coarsest fabric. She carried it home, exultingly, trimmed it with her pine shavings, and on the evening of the performance appeared with a white dress, and hat and belt ribands which were the envy of the audience. The success of her invention gave her spirits and assurance, and she played to admiration. The sequel will justify my first remark. She made a conquest on that night of one of her titled auditors, whom she afterward married.—You will allow that Lady —— may afford to be tolerant of carpenters.”

An eminent clergyman one evening became the subject of conversation, and a wonder was expressed that he had never married. “That wonder,” said Miss Porter, “was once expressed to the reverend gentleman himself, in my hearing, and he told a story in answer which I will tell you—and perhaps, slight as it may seem, it is the history of other hearts as sensitive and delicate as his own. Soon after his ordination, he preached once every Sabbath, for a clergyman in a village not twenty miles from London. Among his auditors, from Sunday to Sunday, he observed a young lady, who always occupied a certain seat, and whose close attention began insensibly to grow to him an object of thought and pleasure. She left the church as soon as service was over, and it so chanced that he went on for a year without knowing her name; but his sermon was never written without many a thought how she would approve it, nor preached with satisfaction unless he read approbation in her face. Gradually he came to think on her at other times than when writing sermons, and to wish to see her on other days than Sundays; but the weeks slipped on, and though he fancied she grew paler and thinner, he never brought himself to the resolution either to ask her name, or to seek to speak with her. By these silent steps, however, love had worked into his heart, and he had made up his mind to seek her acquaintance and marry her, if possible, when one day he was sent for to minister at a funeral. The face of the corpse was the same that had looked up to him Sunday after Sunday, till he had learned to make it a part of his religion and his life. He was unable to perform the service, and another clergyman present officiated; and after she was buried, her father took him aside, and begged his pardon for giving him pain—but he could not resist the impulse to tell him that his daughter had mentioned his name with her last breath, and he was afraid that a concealed affection for him had hurried her to the grave. Since that, said the clergyman in question, my heart has been dead within me, and I look forward only. I shall speak to her in heaven.”

London is wonderfully embellished within the last three years—not so much by new buildings, public or private, but by the almost insane rivalry that exists among the tradesmen to outshow each other in the expensive magnificence of their shops. When I was in England before, there were two or three of these palaces of columns and plate-glass—a couple of shawl shops, and a glass warehouse or two, but now the west end and the city have each their scores of establishments, of which you would think the plate-glass alone would ruin any body but Aladdin. After an absence of a month from town lately, I gave myself the always delightful treat of an after-dinner ramble among the illuminated palaces of Regent street and its neighborhood, and to my surprise found four new wonders of this description—a shawl house in the upper Regent’s Circus, a silk mercer’s in Oxford street, a whip maker’s in Regent street, and a fancy stationer’s in the Quadrant—either of which establishments fifty years ago would have been the talk of all Europe. The first-mentioned warehouse lines one of the quarters of the Regent Circus, and turns the corner of Oxford street with what seems but one window—a series of glass plates, only divided by brass rods, reaching from the ground to the roof—window panes twelve feet high, and four or five feet broad! The opportunity which this immense transparency of front gives for the display of goods is proportionately improved; and in the mixture of colors and fabrics to attract attention there is evidently no small degree of art—so harmonious are the colors and yet so gorgeous the show. I see that several more renovations are taking place in different parts of both “city” and “town;” and London promises, somewhere in the next decimals, to complete its emergence from the chrysalis with a glory to which eastern tales will be very gingerbread matters indeed.

If I may judge by my own experience and by what I can see in the streets, all this night-splendor out of doors empties the playhouses—for I would rather walk Regent street of an evening than see ninety-nine plays in a hundred; and so think apparently multitudes of people, who stroll up and down the clean and broad London sidewalks, gazing in at the gorgeous succession of shop-windows, and by the day-bright glare of the illumination extending nods and smiles—the street, indeed, becoming gradually a fashionable evening promenade, as cheap as it is amusing and delightful. There are large classes of society, who find the evenings long in their dingy and inconvenient homes, and who must go somewhere; and while the streets were dark, and poorly paved and lighted, the play-house was the only resort where they could beguile their cares with splendor and amusement, and in those days theatricals flourished, as in these days of improved thoroughfares and gay shops they evidently languish. I will lend the hint to the next essayist on the “Decline of the Drama.”

The increased attractiveness of London, from thus disclosing the secrets of its wondrous wealth, compensates in a degree for what increases as rapidly on me—the distastefulness of the suburbs, from the forbidding and repulsive exclusiveness of high garden walls, impermeable shrubberies, and every sort of contrivance for confining the traveller to the road, and nothing but the road. What should we say in America to travelling miles between two brick walls, with no prospect but the branches of overhanging trees from the invisible park lands on either side, and the alley of cloudy sky overhead?—How tantalizing to pass daily by a noble estate with a fine specimen of architecture in its centre, and see no more of it than a rustic lodge and some miles of the tops of trees over a paling! All this to me is oppressive—I feel abridged of breathing room and eyesight—deprived of my liberty—robbed of my horizon. Much as I admire high preservation and cultivation, I would almost compromise for a “snake fence” in this part of England.

On a visit to a friend a week or two since in the neighborhood of London, I chanced, during a long walk, to get a glimpse over the wall of a nicely-gravelled and secluded path, which commanded what the proprietor’s fence enviously shut from the road—a noble view of London and the Thames. Accustomed to see people traversing my own lawn and fields in America without question, as suits their purpose, and tired of the bricks, hedges, and placards of blacking and pills, I jumped the fence, and with feelings of great relief and expansion aired my eyes and my imagination in the beautiful grounds of my friend’s opulent neighbor. The Thames, with its innumerable steamers, men-of-war, yachts, wherries, and ships—a vein of commercial and maritime life lying between the soft green meadows of Kent and Essex—formed a delicious picture of contrast and meaning beauty, which I gazed on with great delight for—some ten minutes. In about that time I was perceived by Mr. B——’s gardener, who, with a very pokerish stick in his hand, came running toward me, evidently by his pace, prepared for a vigorous pursuit of the audacious intruder. He came up to where I stood, quite out of breath, and demanded, with a tight grasp of his stick, what business I had there. I was not very well prepared with an answer, and short of beating the man for his impudence, (which in several ways might have been a losing job,) I did not see my way very clearly out of Mr. B.’s grounds. My first intention, to call on the proprietor and apologise for my intrusion while I complained of the man’s insolence, was defeated by the information, evidently correct, that Mr. B—— was not resident at the place, and so I was walked out of the lodge gate with a vagabond’s warning—never to let him “catch me there again.” So much for my liberal translation of a park fence.

This spirit of exclusion makes itself even more disagreeably felt where a gentleman’s paling chances to include any natural curiosity. One of the wildest, as well as most exquisitely beautiful spots on earth is the Dargle, in the county Wicklow, in Ireland. It is interesting, besides, as belonging to the estate of the orator and patriot Grattan. To get to it, we were let through a gate by an old man, who received a douceur: we crossed a newly reaped field, and came to another gate; another person opened this, and we paid another shilling. We walked on toward the glen, and in the middle of the path, without any object apparently but the toll, there was another locked gate, and another porter to pay; and when we made our exit from the opposite extremity of the grounds, after seeing the Dargle, there was a fourth gate and a fourth porter. The first field and fee belonged, if I remember rightly, to a Captain Somebody, but the other three gates belong to the present Mr. Grattan, who is very welcome to my three shillings, either as a tribute to his father’s memory, or to the beauty of Tinnehinch and the Dargle. But on whichever ground he pockets it, the mode of assessment is, to say the least, ungracious. Without subjecting myself to the charge of a mercenary feeling, I think I may say that the enthusiasm for natural scenery is very much clipped and belittled by seeing it at a shilling the perch—paying the money and taking the look. I should think no sum lost which was expended in bringing me to so romantic a glen as the Dargle; but it should be levied somewhere else than within sound of its wild waterfall—somewhere else than between the waterfall and the fine mansion of Tinnehinch.

The fish most “out of water” in the world is certainly a Frenchman in England without acquaintances. The illness of a friend has lately occasioned me one or two hasty visits to Brighton; and being abandoned on the first evening to the solitary mercies of the coffee-room of the hotel, I amused myself not a little with watching the ennui of one of these unfortunate foreigners who was evidently there simply to qualify himself to say that he had been at Brighton in the season. I arrived late, and was dining by myself at one of the small tables, when I became aware that some one at the other end of the room was watching me very steadily. The place was as silent as coffee-rooms usually are after the dinner hour, the rustling of newspapers the only sound that disturbed the digestion of eight or ten persons present, when the unmistakeable call of “Vaitare!” informed me that if I looked up I should encounter the eyes of a Frenchman. The waiter entered at the call, and after a considerable parley with my opposite neighbor, came over to me and said in rather an apologetic tone, “Beg pardon, sir, but the shevaleer wishes to know if your name is Coopair.” Not very much inclined, fatigued as I was, for a conversation in French, which I saw would be the result of a polite answer to his question, I merely shook my head, and took up the newspaper. The Frenchman drew a long sigh, poured out his last glass of claret, and crossing his thumbs on the edge of the table, fell into a profound study of the grain of the mahogany.

What with dawdling over coffee and tea and reading half a dozen newspapers, I whiled away the time till ten o’clock, pitying occasionally the unhappy chevalier who exhibited every symptom of a person bored to the last extremity. One person after another called for a bedroom candle, and exit finally the Frenchman himself, making me, however, a most courteous bow as he passed out. There were two gentlemen left in the room, one a tall and thin old man of seventy, the other a short and portly man of fifty or thereabouts, both quite bald. They rose together and came to the fire near which I was sitting.

“That last man that went out calls himself a chevalier,” said the thin gentleman.

“Yes,” said his stout friend—“he took me for a Mr. Cooper he had travelled with.”

“The deuce he did,” said the other—“why he took me for a Mr. Cooper, too, and we are not very much alike.”

“I beg pardon, gentlemen,” said I—“he took me for this Mr. Cooper too.”

The Frenchman’s ruse was discovered. It was instead of a snuff-box—a way he had of making acquaintance. We had a good laugh at our triple resemblance (three men more unlike it would be difficult to find,) and bidding the two Messrs. Cooper good-night, I followed the ingenious chevalier up stairs.

The next morning I came down rather late to breakfast, and found my friend chipping his egg-shells to pieces at the table next to the one I had occupied the night before. He rose immediately with a look of radiant relief in his countenance, made a most elaborate apology for having taken me for Mr. Cooper (whom I was so like, cependant, that we should be mistaken for each other by our nearest friends,) and in a few minutes, Mr. Cooper himself, if he had entered by chance, would have returned the compliment, and taken me for the chevalier’s most intimate friend and fellow-traveller.

I remained two or three days at Brighton, and never discovered in that time that the chevalier’s ruse succeeded with any other person. I was his only successful resemblance to “Monsieur Coopair.” He always waited breakfast for me in the coffee room, and when I called for my bill on the last morning, he dropped his knife and asked if I was going to London—and at what hour—and if I would be so obliging as to take a place for him in the same coach.

It was a remarkably fine day; and with my friend by my side outside of “the Age,” we sped on toward London, the sun getting dimmer and dimmer, and the fog thicker and more chilly at every mile farther from the sea. It was a trying atmosphere for the best of spirits—let alone the ever depressed bosom of a stranger in England. The coach stopped at the Elephant and Castle, and I ordered down my baggage, and informed my friend, for the first time, that I was bound to a country-house six miles from town. I scarce knew how I had escaped telling him of it before, but his “impossible! mon ami!” was said in a tone and accompanied with a look of the most complete surprise and despair. I was evidently his only hope in London.

I went up to town a day or two after; and in making my way to Paternoster Row, I saw my friend on the opposite side of the Strand, with his hands thrust up to the wrists in the pockets of his “Taglioni,” and his hat jammed down over his eyes, looking into the shop-windows without much distinction between the trunkmaker’s and the printseller’s—evidently miserable beyond being amused by anything. I was too much in a hurry to cross over and resume my office as escape-valve to his ennui, and I soon outwalked his slow pace, and lost sight of him. Whatever title he had to “chevalier” (and he was decidedly too deficient in address to belong to the order “d’industrie”) he had no letter of recommendation in his personal appearance, and as little the air of even a Frenchman of “quality” as any man I ever saw in the station of a gentleman. He is, in short, the person who would first occur to me if I were to see a paragraph in the Times headed “suicide by a foreigner.”

Revenons un peu. Brighton at this season (November) enjoys a climate, which, as a change from the heavy air in the neighborhood of London, is extremely exhilarating and agreeable. Though the first day of my arrival was rainy, a walk up the west cliff gave me a feeling of elasticity and lightness of spirits, of which I was beginning to forget the very existence, in the eternal fogs of the six months I had passed inland. I do not wonder at the passion of the English for Brighton. It is, in addition to the excellence of the air, both a magnificent city and the most advantageous ground for the discomfiture of the common enemy, “winter and rough weather.” The miles of broad gravel walk just out of reach of the surf of the sea, so hard and so smoothly rolled that they are dry in five minutes after the rain has ceased to fall, are, alone, no small item in the comfort of a town of professed idlers and invalids. I was never tired of sauntering along this smooth promenade so close to the sea. The beautiful children, who throng the walks in almost all weathers, (and what children on earth are half as beautiful as English children?) were to me a constant source of pleasure and amusement. Tire of this, and by crossing the street you meet a transfer of the gay throngs of Regent street and Hyde Park, with splendid shops and all the features of a metropolis, while midway between the sea and this crowded sidewalk pours a tide of handsome equipages, parties on horseback, and vehicles of every description, all subservient to exercise and pleasure.

My first visit to Brighton was made in a very cold day in summer, and I saw it through most unfavorable spectacles. But I should think that along the cliffs, where there are no trees or verdure to be seen, there is very little apparent difference between summer and winter; and coming here with the additional clothing of a severer season, the temperature of the elastic and saline air is not even chilly. The most delicate children play upon the beach in days when there is no sunshine; and invalids, wheeled out in these convenient bath chairs, sit for hours by the seaside, watching the coming and retreating of the waves, apparently without any sensation of cold—and this in December. In America (in the same latitudes with Leghorn and Venice) an invalid sitting out of doors at this season would freeze to death in half an hour. Yet it was as cold in August, in England, as it has been in November, and it is this temperate evenness of the weather throughout the year which makes English climate, on the whole, perhaps the healthiest in the world.

In the few days I was at Brighton, I became very fond of the perpetual loud beat of the sea upon the shore. Whether, like the “music of the spheres,” it becomes at last “too constant to be heard,” I did not ask—but I never lost the consciousness of it except when engaged in conversation, and I found it company to my thoughts when I dined or walked alone, and a most agreeable lullaby at night. This majestic monotone is audible all over Brighton, in-doors and out, and nothing overpowers it but the wind in a storm; it is even then only by fits, and the alternation of the hissing and moaning of the blast with the broken and heavy plash of the waters is so like the sound of a tempest at sea (the whistling in the rigging, and the burst of the waves) that those who have been at Brighton in rough weather, have realized all of a storm at sea but the motion and the sea-sickness—rather a large, but not an undesirable diminution of experience.

Calling on a friend at Brighton, I was introduced casually to a Mr. Smith. The name, of course, did not awaken any immediate curiosity, but a second look at the gentleman did—for I thought I had never seen a more intellectual or finer head. A fifteen minutes’ conversation, which touched upon nothing that could give me a clue to his profession, still satisfied me that so distinguished an address, and so keen an eye, could belong to no nameless person, and I was scarcely surprised when I read upon his card at parting—Horace Smith. I need not say it was a very great pleasure to meet him. I was delighted, too, that the author of books we love as much as “Zillah,” and “Brambletye House,” looks unlike other men. It gratifies somehow a personal feeling—as if those who had won so much admiration from us should, for our pride’s sake, wear the undeniable stamp of superiority—as if we had acquired a property in him by loving him. How natural it is, when we have talked and thought a great deal about an author, to call him “ours.” “What Smith? Why our Smith—Horace Smith”—is as common a dialogue between persons who never saw him as it is among his personal friends.

These two remarkable brothers, James and Horace Smith, are both gifted with exteriors such as are not often possessed with genius—yet only James is so fortunate as to have stumbled upon a good painter. Lonsdale’s portrait of James Smith, engraved by Cousens, is both the author and the man—as fine a picture of him, with his mind seen through his features, as was ever done. But there is an engraved picture extant of the author of Zillah, that, though it is no likeness of the author, is a detestable caricature of the man. Really this is a point about which distinguished men, in justice to themselves, should take some little care. Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portraits, and Sir Joshua Reynolds’s, are a sort of biography of the eminent men they painted. The most enduring history, it has been said, is written in coins. Certainly the most effective biography is expressed in portraits. Long after the book and your impressions of the character of which it treats have become dim in your memory, your impression of the features and mien of a hero or a poet, as received from a picture, remains indelible. How often does the face belie the biography—making us think better or worse of the man, after forming an opinion from a portrait in words, that was either partial or malicious! I am persuaded the world would think better of Shelley, if there were a correct and adequate portrait of his face, as it has been described to me by one or two who knew him. How much of the Byronic idolatry is born and fed from the idealized pictures of him treasured in every portfolio! Sir Thomas Lawrence, Chalon, and Parris, have composed between them a biography of Lady Blessington, that have made her quite independent of the “memoirs” of the next century. And who, I may safely ask, even in America, has seen the nice, cheerful, sensible, and motherly face which prefaces the new edition of “The Manners of the American Domestics,” (I beg pardon for giving the title from my Kentucky copy) without liking Mrs. Trollope a great deal better and at once dismissing all idea of “the bazar” as a libel on that most lady-like countenance?

I think Lady S—— had more talent and distinction crowded into her pretty rooms last night, than I ever before saw in such small compass. It is a bijou of a house, full of gems of statuary and painting, but all its capacity for company lies in a small drawing-room, a smaller reception room, and a very small, but very exquisite boudoir—yet to tell you who were there would read like Colburn’s list of authors, added to a paragraph of noble diners-out from the Morning Post.

The largest lion of the evening certainly was the new Persian ambassador, a man six feet in his slippers; a height which, with his peaked calpack, of a foot and a half, super-added, keeps him very much among the chandeliers. The principal article of his dress does not diminish the effect of his eminence—a long white shawl worn like a cloak, and completely enveloping him from beard to toe. From the twisted shawl around his waist glitters a dagger’s hilt, lumped with diamonds—and diamonds, in most dazzling profusion, almost cover his breast. I never saw so many together except in a cabinet of regalia. Close behind this steeple of shawl and gem, keeps, like a short shadow when the sun is high, his excellency’s shadow, a dwarfishly small man, dressed also in cashmere and calpack, and of a most ill-favored and bow-stringish countenance and mien. The master and man seem chosen for contrast, the countenance of the ambassador expressing nothing but extreme good nature. The ambassador talks, too, and the secretary is dumb.

T—— H—— stood bolt upright against a mirror door, looking like two T—— H——s trying to see which was taller. The one with his face to me looked like the incarnation of the John Bull newspaper, for which expression he was indebted to a very hearty face, and a very round subject for a buttoned up coat; while the H—— with his back to me looked like an author, for which he was indebted to an exclusive view of his cranium. I dare say Mr. H—— would agree with me that he was seen, on the whole, at a most enviable advantage. It is so seldom we look, beyond the man, at the author.

I have rarely seen a greater contrast in person and expression than between H—— and B——, who stood near him. Both were talking to ladies—one bald, burly, upright, and with a face of immovable gravity, the other slight, with a profusion of curling hair, restless in his movements, and of a countenance which lights up with a sudden inward illumination. H——’s partner in the conversation looked into his face with a ready-prepared smile for what he was going to say, B——’s listened with an interest complete, but without effort. H—— was suffering from what I think is the common curse of a reputation for wit—the expectation of the listener had outrun the performance.

H—— B——, whose diplomatic promotion goes on much faster than can be pleasing to “Lady Cheveley,” has just received his appointment to Paris—the object of his first wishes. He stood near his brother, talking to a beautiful and celebrated woman, and I thought, spite of her ladyship’s unflattering description, I had seldom seen a more intellectual face, or a more gentlemanly and elegant exterior.

Late in the evening came in his Royal Highness the duke of C——, and I wondered, as I had done many times before, when in company with one of these royal brothers, at the uncomfortable etiquette so laboriously observed toward them. Wherever he moved in the crowded rooms, everybody rose and stood silent, and by giving way much more than for any one else, left a perpetual circular space around him, in which, of course, his conversation had the effect of a lecture to a listening audience. A more embarrassed manner and a more hesitating mode of speech than the duke’s, I can not conceive. He is evidently gene to the last degree with this burdensome deference; and one would think that in the society of highly-cultivated and aristocratic persons, such as were present, he would be delighted to put his highness into his pocket when the footman leaves him at the door, and hear no more of it till he goes again to his carriage. There was great curiosity to know whether the Duke would think it etiquetical to speak to the Persian, as in consequence of the difference between the Shah and the British Envoy the tall minister is not received at the court of St. James. Lady S—— introduced them, however, and then the Duke again must have felt his rank nothing less than a nuisance. It is awkward enough at any time, to converse with a foreigner who has not forty English words in his vocabulary, but what with the Duke’s hesitating and difficult utterance, the silence and attention of the listening guests, and the Persian’s deference and complete inability to comprehend a syllable, the scene was quite painful.

There was some of the most exquisite amateur singing I ever heard after the company thinned off a little, and the fashionable song of the day was sung by a most beautiful woman in a way to move half the company to tears. It is called “Ruth,” and is a kind of recitative of the passage in Scripture, “Where thou goest I will go,” &c.

I have driven in the park several days, admiring the queen on horseback, and observing the changes in the fashions of driving, equipages, &c., &c. Her Majesty seems to me to ride very securely and fearlessly, though it is no wonder that in a country where every body rides, there should be bolder and better horsewomen. Miss Quentin, one of the maids of honor, said to be the best female equestrian in England, “takes the courage out” of the Queen’s horse every morning before the ride—so she is secured against one class of accidents. I met the royal party yesterday in full gallop near the centre of Rotten Row, and the two grooms who ride ahead had brief time to do their work of making the crowd of carriages give way. On came the Queen upon a dun-colored, highly-groomed horse, with her prime minister on one side of her, and Lord Byron upon the other, her cortège of maids of honor and ladies and lords in waiting checking their more spirited horses, and preserving always a slight distance between themselves and Her Majesty. Victoria’s round and plump figure looks extremely well in her dark-green riding-dress, but I thought the man’s hat unbecoming. Her profile is not sufficiently good for that trying style, and the cloth riding-cap is so much prettier, that I wonder she does not remember that “nice customs courtesy to great queens,” and wear what suits her. She rode with her mouth open, and looked exhilarated with the exercise. Lord Melbourne, it struck me, was the only person in her party whose face had not the constrained look of consciousness of observation.

I observe that the “crack men” ride without martingales, and that the best turn-outs are driven without a check-rein. The outstretched neck which is the consequence, has a sort of Arab or blood look, probably the object of the change; but the drooping head when the horse is walking or standing seems to me ugly and out of taste. All the new carriages are built near the ground. The low park-phæton, light as a child’s plaything and drawn by a pair of ponies, is the fashionable equipage. I saw the prettiest thing conceivable of this kind yesterday in the park—a lady driving a pair of small cream-colored horses of great beauty, with her two children in the phæton, and two grooms behind mounted on cream-colored saddle-horses, all four of the animals of the finest shape and action. The new street cabs (precisely the old-fashioned sedan-chair suspended between four wheels, a foot from the ground) are imitated by private carriages, and driven with two horses—ugly enough. The cab-phæton is in great fashion, with either one or two horses. The race of ponies is greatly improved since I was in England. They are as well-shaped as the large horse, with very fine coats and great spirit. The children of the nobility go scampering through the park upon them, looking like horsemen and horsewomen seen through a reversed opera-glass. They are scarce larger than a Newfoundland dog, but they patter along with great speed. There is one fine lad of about eight years, whose parents seem to have very little care for his neck, and who, upon a fleet, milk-white, long tailed pony, is seen daily riding at a rate of twelve miles an hour through the most crowded streets, with a servant on a tall horse plying whip and spur to keep up with him. The whole system has the droll effect of a mixture of Lilliput and Brobdignag.

We met the King of Oude a few days since at a party, and were honored by an invitation to dine with his Majesty at his house in the Regent’s park. Yesterday was the appointed day; and with the pleasant anticipation of an oriental feast we drove up at seven, and were received by his turbaned ayahs, who took shawl and hat with a reverential salaam, and introduced us to the large drawing-room overlooking the park. The King was not yet down; but in the corner sat three parsees or fire worshippers, guests like ourselves, who in their long white linen robes, bronze faces, and high caps, looked like anything but “diners-out” in London. To our surprise they addressed us in excellent English, and we were told afterward that they were all learned men—facts not put down to the credit of the Ghebirs in Lalla Rookh.

We were called out upon the balcony to look at a balloon that was hovering over the park, and on stepping back into the drawing-room, we found the company all assembled, and our royal host alone wanting. There were sixteen English ladies present, and five white gentlemen beside myself. The Orient, however, was well represented. In a corner, leaning silently against a table, stood Prince Hussein Mirza, the King’s cousin, and a more romantic and captivating specimen of Hindoo beauty could scarcely be imagined. He was slender, tall, and of the clearest olive complexion, his night-black hair falling over his shoulders in profusion, and his large antelope eyes fixed with calm and lustrous surprise upon the half denuded forms sitting in a circle before him. We heard afterward that he has conceived a most uncontrollable and unhappy passion for a high-born English girl whom he met in society, and that it is with difficulty that he is persuaded to come out of his room. His dress was of shawls most gracefully draped about him, and a cap of gold cloth was thrown carelessly on the side of his head. Altogether he was like a picture of the imagination.

A middle-aged stout man, ashy black, with Grecian features, and a most determined and dignified expression of mouth, sat between Lady —— and Miss Porter, and this was the Wakeel or ambassador of the prince of Sutara, by name Afzul Ali. He is in England on business for his master, and if he does not succeed it will be no fault of his under lip. His secretary, Keeram Ali, stood behind him—the Wakeel dressed in shawls of bright scarlet, with a white cashmere turban, and the scribe in darker stuffs of the same fashion. Then there was the King’s physician, a short, wiry, merry looking, quick-eyed Hindoo, with a sort of quizzical angle in the pose of his turban: the high-priest, also a most merry-looking Oriental, and Ali Acbar, a Persian attaché. I think these were all the Asiatics.

The King entered in a few minutes, and made the circuit of the room, shaking hands most cordially with all his guests. He is a very royal-looking person indeed. Perhaps you might call him too corpulent, if his fine height (a little over six feet,) and very fine proportions, did not give his large size a character of majesty. His chest is full and round, and his walk erect and full of dignity. He has the Italian olive complexion, with straight hair, and my own remark at first seeing him was that of many others, “How like a bronze cast of Napoleon!” The subsequent study of his features remove this impression, however, for he is a most “merry monarch,” and is seldom seen without a smile. His dress was a mixture of oriental and English fashions—a pair of baggy blue pantaloons, bound around the waist with a rich shawl, a splendid scarlet waistcoat buttoned close over his spacious chest, and a robe of a very fine snuff-colored cloth something like a loose dressing gown without a collar. A cap of silver cloth, and a brilliant blue-satin cravat completed his costume, unless in his covering should be reckoned an enormous turquoise ring, which almost entirely concealed one of his fingers.

Ekbal-ood-Dowdah, Nawaub of Oude (his name and title) is at present appealing to the English against his uncle, who usurps his throne by the aid and countenance of the East India company. The Mohammedan law, as I understand, empowers a king to choose his successor from his children without reference to primogeniture, and the usurper, though an elder brother, having been imbecile from his youth, Ekbal’s father was selected by the then king of Oude to succeed him. The question having been referred to Lord Wellesley, however, then governor of India, he decided that the English law of primogeniture should prevail, or in other words—as the king’s friends say—preferred to have for the king of a subject province an imbecile who would give him no trouble. So slipped from the Nawaub’s hands a pretty kingdom of six millions of faithful Mohammedans! I believe this is the “short” of the story. I wonder (we are reproached so very often by the English for our treatment of the Indians) whether a counter-chapter of “expedient wrong” might not be made out from the history of the Indians under British government in the East.

Dinner was announced with a Hindostanee salaam, and the King gave his arm to Lady ——. The rest of us “stood not upon the order of our going,” and I found myself seated at table between my wife and a Polish Countess, some half-dozen removes from the Nawaub’s right hand. His Highness commenced helping those about him most plentifully from a large pillau, talking all the while most merrily in broken English, or resorting to Hindostanee and his interpreter whenever his tongue got into trouble. With the exception of one or two English joints, all the dishes were prepared with rice or saffron, and (wine being forbidden by the Mohammedan law,) iced water was served round from Indian coolers freely. For one, I would have compounded for a bottle of wine by taking the sin of the entire party on my soul, for, what with the exhaustion of a long London day, and the cloying quality of the Nawaub’s rich dishes, I began to be sorry I had not brought a flask in my pocket. His Majesty’s spirits seemed to require no aid from wine. He talked constantly, and shrewdly, and well. He impresses every one with a high estimate of his talents, though a more complete and undisguised child of nature I never saw. Good sense, with good humor, frankness, and simplicity, seem to be his leading qualities.

We were obliged to take our leave early after dinner, having other engagements for the evening, but while coffee was serving, the Hindostanee cook, a funny little old man, came in to receive the compliments of the company upon his dinner, and to play and dance for His Majesty’s amusement. He had at his back a long Indian drum, which he called his “tum tum,” and playing himself an accompaniment upon this, he sang two or three comic songs in his own language to a sort of wild yet merry air, very much to the delight of all the orientals. Singer, dancer, musician, and cook, the king certainly has a jewel of a servant in him.

One moment bowing ourselves out from the presence of a Hindoo king, and the next beset by an Irishman with “Heaven bless your honor for the sixpence you mean to give me!” what contrasts strike the traveller in this great heart of the world! Paddy lighted us to our carriage with his lantern, implored the coachman to “dhrive carefully,” and then stood with his head beat to catch the sound upon the pavement of another sixpence for his tenderness. Wherever there is a party in the fashionable quarters of London, these Tantaluses flit about with their lanterns—for ever at the door of pleasure, yet shivering and starving for ever in their rags. What a life!

One of the most rational and agreeable of the fashionable resorts in London is Kensington Gardens, on the days when the royal band plays, from five to seven o’clock, near the bridge of the Serpentine. Some twenty of the best instrumental musicians of London station themselves under the trees in this superb park—for though called “gardens,” it is but a park with old trees and greensward—and up and down the fine silky carpet stroll hundreds of the fashionables of “May Fair and Belgrave Square,” listening a little, perhaps, and chattering a great deal certainly. It is a good opportunity to see what celebrated beauties look like by daylight; and, truth to say, one comes to the conclusion, there, that candle-light is your true Kalydor. It is very ingeniously contrived by the grand chamberlain that this public music should be played in a far-away corner of the park, inaccessible except by those who have carriages. The plebeians, for whose use and pleasure it seems at first sight graciously contrived, are pretty well sifted by the two miles walk, and a very aristocratic and well-dressed assembly indeed is that of Kensington Gardens.

Near the usual stand of the musicians runs a bridle path for horsemen, separated from the greensward by a sunk fence, and as I was standing by the edge of the ditch yesterday, the Queen rode by, pulling up to listen to the music, and smile right and left to the crowd of cavaliers drawn up in the road. I pulled off my hat and stood uncovered instinctively, but looking around to see how the promenaders received her, I found to my surprise that with the exception of a bald-headed nobleman whom I chanced to know, the Yankee stood alone in his homage to her.

I can record—now fifteen years after—that, in six years from that time, he had become the conductor of a Scientific Review, in London.


That Irish channel has, as the English say, “a nasty way with it.” I embarked at noon on the 26th, in a magnificent steamer, the Royal Sovereign, which had been engaged by Lord Eglington (as per advertisement) to set down at Ardrossan all passengers bound to the tournament. This was a seventeen hours’ job, including a very cold, blowy, and rough night; and of the two hundred passengers on board, one half were so blest as to have berths or settees—the others were unblest, indeed.

I found on board several Americans; and by the time I had looked at the shape of the Liverpool harbor and seen one or two vessels run in before a slapping breeze, the premonitory symptom (which had already sent many to their berths) sent me to mine. The boat was pitching backward and forward with a sort of handsaw action that was not endurable. By foregoing my dinner and preserving a horizontal position I escaped all sickness, and landed at Ardrossan at six the next morning with a thirty-six hours’ fast upon me, which I trusted my incipient gout would remember as a per contra to the feast in the promised “banquet.”

Ardrossan, built chiefly, I believe, by Lord Eglington’s family, and about eight miles from the castle, is a small but very clean and thrifty looking hamlet on that part of the western coast of Scotland which lies opposite the Isle of Arran. Ailsa rock, famous in song, slumbers like a cloud on the south-western horizon. The long breakers of the channel lay their lines of foam almost upon the street, and the harbor is formed by a pier jutting out from a little promontory on the northern extremity of the town. The one thoroughfare of Ardrossan is kept clean by the broom of every wind that sweeps the Irish sea. A cleaner or bleaker spot I never saw.

A Gael, who did not comprehend a syllable of such English as a Yankee delivers, shouldered my portmanteau without direction or request, and travelled away to the inn, where he deposited it and held out his hand in silence. There was certainly quite enough said between us; and remembering the boisterous accompaniment with which the claims of porters are usually pushed upon one’s notice, I could well wish that Gaelic tide-waiters were more common.

“Any room, landlord?” was the first question. “Not a cupboard, sir,” was the answer.—“Can you give me some breakfast?” asked fifty others in a breath.—“Breakfast will be put upon all the tables presently, gentlemen,” said the dismayed Boniface, glancing at the crowds who were pouring in, and, Scotchmanlike, making no promises to individuals.—“Landlord!” vociferated a gentleman from the other side of the hall—“what the devil does this mean? Here’s the room I engaged a fortnight ago occupied by a dozen people shaving and dressing!”—“I canna help it, sir! Ye’re welcome to to turn ’em a’ out—if ye can!” said the poor man, lifting up his hands in despair, and retreating to the kitchen. The hint was a good one, and taking up my own portmanteau, I opened a door in one of the passages. It led into a small apartment, which, in more roomy times might have been a pantry, but was now occupied by three beds and a great variety of baggage. There was a twopenny glass on the mantel-piece, and a drop or two of water in a pitcher, and where there were sheets I could make shift for a towel. I found presently, by the way, that I had had a narrow escape of surprising some one in bed, for the sheet which did duty as a napkin was still warm with pressure of the newly-fled occupant.

Three or four smart-looking damsels in caps looked in while I was engaged in my toilet, and this, with one or two slight observations made in the apartment, convinced me that I had intruded on the dormitory of the ladies’ maids belonging to the various parties in the house. A hurried “God bless us!” as they retreated, however, was all either of reproach or remonstrance that I was troubled with; and I emerged with a smooth chin in time for breakfast, very much to the envy and surprise of my less-enterprising companions.

There was a great scramble for the tea and toast; but uniting forces with a distinguished literary man whose acquaintance I had been fortunate enough to make on board the the steamer, we managed to get places at one of the tables, and achieved our breakfasts in tolerable comfort. We were still eight miles from Eglington, however, and a lodging was the next matter of moment. My friend thought he was provided for nearer the castle, and I went into the street, which I found crowded with distressed looking people, flying from door to door, with ladies on their arms and wheelbarrows of baggage at their heels, the townspeople standing at the doors and corners staring at the novel spectacle in open-mouthed wonder. Quite in a dilemma whether or not to go on to Irvine (which, being within two miles of the castle, was probably much more over-run than Ardrossan) I was standing at the corner of the street, when a Liverpool gentleman, whose kindness I must record as well as my pleasure in his society for the two or three days we were together, came up and offered me a part of a lodging he had that moment taken. The bed was what we call in America a bunk, or a kind of berth sunk into the wall, and there were two in the same garret, but the sheets were clean; and there was a large Bible on the table—the latter a warrant for civility, neatness, and honesty, which, after many years of travel, I have never found deceptive. I closed immediately with my friend; and whether it was from a smack of authorship or no, I must say I took to my garret very kindly.

It was but nine o’clock, and the day was on my hands. Just beneath the window ran a railroad, built to bring coal to the seaside, and extending to within a mile of the castle; and with some thirty or forty others, I embarked in a horse-car for Eglinton to see the preparations for the following day’s tournament. We were landed near the park gate, after an hour’s drive through a flat country blackened with coal pits; and it was with no little relief to the eye that I entered upon a smooth and gravelled avenue, leading by a mile of shaded windings to the castle. The day was heavenly; the sun-flecks lay bright as “patines of gold” on the close-shaven grass beneath the trees; and I thought that nature had consented for once to remove her eternal mist veil from Scotland, and let pleasure and sunshine have a holiday together. The sky looked hard and deep; and I had no more apprehension of rain for the morrow than I should have had under a July sun in Asia.

Crossing a bright little river (the Lugton I think it is called) whose sloping banks, as far as I could see up and down, were shaven to the rich smoothness of “velvet of three-pile,” I came in sight of the castle towers. Another bridge over a winding of the same river lay to the left, a Gothic structure of the most rich and airy mould, and from either end of this extended the enclosed passage for the procession to the lists. The castle stood high upon a mound beyond. Its round towers were half concealed by some of the finest trees I ever saw—and though less antique and of a less frowning and rude aspect than I had expected, it was a very perfect specimen of modern castellated architecture. On ascending to the lawn in front of the castle, I found that it was built less upon a mound than upon the brow of a broad plateau of table-land, turned sharply by the Lugton, close under the castle walls—a natural site of singular beauty. Two Saracenic-looking tents of the gayest colors were pitched upon the bright green lawn at a short distance, and off to the left, by several glimpses through the trees, I traced along the banks of the river the winding enclosures for the procession.

The large hall was crowded with servants; but presuming that a knight who was to do his devoir so conspicuously on the morrow would not be stirring at so early an hour, I took merely a glance of the armor upon the walls in passing, and deferring the honor of paying my respects, crossed the lawn and passed over the Lugton by a rustic foot-bridge in search of the lists. A crosspath (leading by a small temple enclosed with wire netting, once an aviary, perhaps, but now hung around in glorious profusion with game, vension, a boar’s head, and other comestibles,) brought me in two or three minutes to a hill-side overlooking the chivalric arena. It was a beautiful sight of itself without plume or armor. In the centre of a verdant plain, shut in by hills of an easy slope, wooded richly, appeared an oblong enclosure glittering at either end with a cluster of tents, striped with the gayest colors of the rainbow. Between them, on the farther side, stood three galleries, of which the centre was covered with a Gothic roof highly ornamented, the four front pillars draped with blue damask, and supporting a canopy over the throne intended for the Queen of Beauty. A strongly-built barrier extended through the lists; and heaps of lances, gay flags, and the heraldic ornaments, still to be added to the tents, lay around on the bright grass in a picture of no little richness. I was glad afterward that I had seen thus much with the advantage of an unclouded sun.

In returning, I passed in the rear of the castle, and looked into the temporary pavilions erected for the banquet and ball. They were covered exteriorly with rough board and sails, and communicated by an enclosed gallery with one of the larger apartments of the castle. The workmen were still nailing up the drapery, and arranging lamps and flowers; but with all this disadvantage, the effect of the two immense halls, lined as they were with crimson and white in broad alternate stripes, resembling in shape and fashion two gigantic tents, was exceedingly imposing. Had the magnificent design of Lord Eglinton been successfully carried out it would have been a scene, with the splendor of the costumes, the lights, music, and revelry unsurpassed probably by anything short of enchantment.

Principal Day.—I was awakened at an early hour the morning after arriving at Ardrossan by a band of music in the street. My first feeling was delight at seeing a bit of blue sky of the size of my garret skylight, and a dazzling sunshine on the floor. “Skirling” above all other instruments of the band, the Highland bagpipe made the air reel with “A’ the blue bonnets are over the border,” and, hoisting the window above my head, I strained over the house-leads to look at the performer. A band of a dozen men in kilt and bonnet were marching up and down, led by a piper, something in the face like the heathen representations of Boreas; and on a line of roughly-constructed rail-cars were piled, two or three deep, a crowd resembling at first sight, a crushed bed of tulips. Bonnets of every cut and color, from the courtier’s green velvet to the shepherd’s homely gray, struggled at the top; and over the sides hung red legs and yellow legs, cross barred stockings and buff boots, bare feet and pilgrim’s sandals. The masqueraders scolded and laughed, the boys halloed, the quiet people of Ardrossan stared in grave astonishment, and, with the assistance of some brawny shoulders, applied to the sides of the overladen vehicles, the one unhappy horse got his whimsical load under way for the tournament.

Train followed train, packed with the same motley array; and at ten o’clock, after a clean and comfortable Scotch breakfast in our host’s little parlor, we sallied forth to try our luck in the scramble for places. After a considerable fight we were seated, each with a man in his lap, when we were ordered down by the conductor, who informed us that the Chief of the Campbells had taken the car for his party, and that, with his band in the succeeding one, he was to go in state (upon a railroad!) to Eglinton. Up swore half-a-dozen Glasgow people, usurpers like ourselves, that they would give way for no Campbell in the world; and finding a stout hand laid on my leg to prevent my yielding to the order to quit, I gave in to what might be called as pretty a bit of rebellious republicanism as you would find on the Mississippi. The conductor stormed, but the Scotch bodies sat firm; and as Scot met Scot in the fight, I was content to sit in silence and take advantage of the victory. I learned afterwards that the Campbell Chieftain was a Glasgow manufacturer; and though he undoubtedly had a right to gather his clan, and take piper and eagle’s plume, there might, possibly, be some jealous disapprobation at the bottom of his townsmen’s rudeness.

Campbell and his party presently appeared, and a dozen or twenty very fine-looking men they were. One of the ladies, as well as I could see through the black lace veil thrown over her cap and plumes, was a remarkably handsome woman, and I was very glad when the matter was compromised, and the Campbells distributed among our company. We jogged on at a slow pace toward the tournament, passing thousands of pedestrians, the men all shod, and the women all barefoot, with their shoes in their hands, and nearly every one, in accordance with Lord Eglinton’s printed request, showing some touch of fancy in his dress. A plaid over the shoulder, or a Glengary bonnet, or, perhaps, a goose-feather stuck jauntily in the cap, was enough to show the feeling of the wearer, and quite enough to give the crowd, all in all, a most festal and joyous aspect.

The secluded bit of road between the rail-track and the castle lodge, probably never before disturbed by more than two vehicles at a time, was thronged with a press of wheels, as closely jammed as Fleet street at noon. Countrymen’s carts piled with women and children like loads of market baskets in Kent; post-chaises with exhausted horses and occupants straining their eyes forward for a sight of the castle; carriages of the neighboring gentry with “bodkins” and over-packed dickeys, all in costume; stout farmers on horseback, with plaid and bonnet; gingerbread and ale carts, pony carts, and coal carts; wheelbarrows with baggage, and porters with carpet bags and hat boxes, were mixed up in merry confusion with the most motley throng of pedestrians it has ever been my fortune to join. The vari-colored tide poured in at the open gate of the castle; and if I had seen no other procession, the long-extended mass of caps, bonnets, and plumes, winding through that shaded and beautiful avenue, would have repaid me for no small proportion of my subsequent discomfort. I remarked, by the way, that I did not see a hat in the entire mile between the porter’s lodge and the castle.

The stables, which lay on the left of the approach (a large square structure with turret and clock, very like four Methodist churches, dos-à-dos,) presented another busy and picturesque scene—horses half-caparisoned, men-at-arms in buff and steel, and the gay liveries of the nineteenth century paled by the revived glories of the servitude of more knightly times. And this part of the scene, too, had its crowd of laughing and wondering spectators.

On reaching the Gothic bridge over the Lugton, we came upon a cordon of police who encircled the castle, turning the crowd off by the bridge in the direction of the lists. Sorry to leave my merry and motley fellow-pedestrians, I presented my card of invitation and passed on alone to the castle. The sun was at this time shining with occasional cloudings-over; and the sward and road, after the two or three fine days we had had, were in the best condition for every purpose of the tournament.

Two or three noble trees with their foliage nearly to the ground stood between me and the front of the castle, as I ascended the slope above the river; and the lifting of a stage-curtain could scarce be more sudden, or the scene of a drama, more effectively composed, than the picture disclosed by the last step upon the terrace. Any just description of it, indeed, must read like a passage from the “prompter’s book.” I stood for a moment, exactly where you would have placed an audience. On my left rose a noble castle with four round towers, the entrance thronged with men-at-arms, and comers and goers in every variety of costume. On the greensward in front of the castle lounged three or four gentlemen archers in suits of green silk and velvet. A cluster of grooms under an immense tree on the right were fitting two or three superb horses with their armor and caparisons, while one beautiful blood palfrey, whose fine limbs and delicately veined head and neck were alone visible under his embroidered saddle and gorgeous trappings of silk, was held by two “tigers” at a short distance. Still farther on the right, stood a cluster of gayly decorated tents; and in and out of the looped-up curtain of the farthest passed constantly the slight forms of lady archers in caps with snowy plumes, kirtles of green velvet, and petticoats of white satin, quivers at their backs and bows in their hands—one tall and stately girl (an Ayrshire lady of very uncommon beauty, whose name I took some pains to inquire,) conspicuous by her grace and dignity above all.

The back-ground was equally well composed—the farther side of the lawn making a sharp descent to the small river which bends around the castle, the opposite shore thronged with thousands of spectators watching the scene I have described; and in the distance behind them, the winding avenue, railed in for the procession, hidden and disclosed by turns among the noble trees of the park, and alive throughout its whole extent with the multitudes crowding to the lists. There was a chivalric splendor in the whole scene, which I thought at the time would repay one for a long pilgrimage to see it—even should the clouds, which by this time were coming up very threateningly from the horizon, put a stop to the tournament altogether.

On entering the castle hall, a lofty room hung round with arms, trophies of the chase, ancient shields, and armor of every description, I found myself in a crowd of a very merry and rather a motley character—knights half armed, esquires in buff, palmers, halberdiers, archers, and servants in modern livery, here and there a lady, and here and there a spectator like myself, and in a corner by one of the Gothic windows—what think you?—a minstrel?—a gray-haired harper?—a jester? Guess again—a reporter for the Times! With a “walking dictionary” at his elbow, in the person of the fat butler of the castle, he was inquiring out the various characters in the crowd, and the rapidity of his stenographic jottings-down (with their lucid apparition in print two days after in London) would in the times represented by the costumes about him, have burnt him at the stake for a wizard with the consent of every knight in Christendom.

I was received by the knight-marshal of the lists, who did the honors of hospitality for Lord Eglington during his preparation for the “passage of arms;” and finding an old friend under the gray beard and scallop shell of a venerable palmer, whose sandal and bare toes I chanced to stumble over, we passed in together to the large dining room of the castle. “Lunch” was on the long table, and some two hundred of the earl’s out-lodging guests were busy at knife and fork, while here and there were visible some of those anachronisms which, to me, made the zest of the tournament—pilgrims eating Périgord pies, esquires dressing after the manner of the thirteenth century diving most scientifically into the richer veins of pâtés de foie-gras, dames in ruff and farthingale discussing blue blanc-mange, and a knight with an over-night headache calling out for a cup of tea!

On returning to the hall of the castle, which was the principal place of assemblage, I saw with no little regret that ladies were coming from their carriages under umbrellas. The fair archers tripped in doors from their crowded tent, the knight of the dragon, who had been out to look after his charger, was being wiped dry by a friendly pocket-handkerchief, and all countenances had fallen with the barometer. It was time for the procession to start, however, and the knights appeared, one by one, armed cap-à-pie, all save the helmet, till at last the hall was crowded with steel-clad and chivalric forms; and they waited only for the advent of the Queen of Beauty. After admiring not a little the manly bearing and powerful “thewes and sinews” displayed by the array of modern English nobility in the trying costumes and harness of olden time, I stepped out upon the lawn with some curiosity to see how so much heavy metal was to be got into a demipique saddle. After one or two ineffectual attempts, foiled partly by the restlessness of his horse, the first knight called ingloriously for a chair. Another scrambled over with great difficulty; and I fancy, though Lord Waterford and Lord Eglinton, and one other whom I noticed, mounted very gallantly and gracefully, the getting to saddle was possibly the most difficult feat of the day. The ancient achievement of leaping on the steed’s back from the ground in complete armor would certainly have broken the spine of any horse present, and was probably never done but in story. Once in the saddle, however, English horsemanship told well; and one of the finest sights of the day I thought was the breaking away of a powerful horse from the grooms, before his rider had gathered up his reins, and a career at furious speed through the open park, during which the steel encumbered horseman rode as safely as a fox-hunter, and subdued the affrighted animal, and brought him back in a style worthy of a wreath from the Queen of Beauty.

Driven in by the rain, I was standing at the upper side of the hall, when a movement in the crowd and an unusual “making-way” announced the coming of the “cynosure of all eyes.” She entered from the interior of the castle with her train held up by two beautiful pages of ten or twelve years of age, and attended by two fair and very young maids of honor. Her jacket of ermine, her drapery of violet and blue velvet, the collars of superb jewels which embraced her throat and bosom, and her sparkling crown, were on her (what they seldom are, but should be only) mere accessaries to her own predominating and radiant beauty. Lady Seymour’s features are as nearly faultless as is consistent with expression; her figure and face are rounded to the complete fulness of the mould for a Juno; her walk is queenly, and peculiarly unstudied and graceful, yet (I could not but think then and since) she was not well chosen for the Queen of a Tournament. The character of her beauty, uncommon and perfect as it is, is that of delicacy and loveliness—the lily rather than the rose—the modest pearl, not the imperial diamond. The eyes to flash over a crowd at a tournament, to be admired from a distance, to beam down upon a knight kneeling for a public award of honor, should be full of command, dark, lustrous, and fiery. Hers are of the sweetest and most tranquil blue that ever reflected the serene heaven of a happy hearth—eyes to love, not wonder at, to adore and rely upon, not admire and tremble for. At the distance at which most of the spectators of the tournament saw Lady Seymour, Fanny Kemble’s stormy orbs would have shown much finer, and the forced and imperative action of a stage-taught head and figure would have been more applauded than the quiet, nameless, and indescribable grace lost to all but those immediately round her. I had seen the Queen of Beauty in a small society, dressed in simple white, without an ornament, when she was far more becomingly dressed and more beautiful than here, and I have never seen, since, the engravings and prints of Lady Seymour which fill every window in the London shops, without feeling that it was a profanation of a style of loveliness that would be—

——“prodigal enough

If it unveiled its beauty to the moon.”

The day wore on, and the knight-marshal of the lists, (Sir Charles Lamb, the stepfather of Lord Eglinton, by far the most knightly looking person at the tournament,) appeared in his rich surcoat and embossed armor, and with a despairing look at the increasing torrents of rain, gave the order to get to horse. At the first blast of the trumpet, the thick-leaved trees around the castle gave out each a dozen or two of gay-colored horsemen who had stood almost unseen under the low hanging branches—mounted musicians in silk and gay trappings, mounted men-at-arms in demi-suits of armor, deputy marshals and halberdiers; and around the western tower, where their caparisons had been arranged and their horse armor carefully looked to, rode the glittering and noble company of knights, Lord Eglinton in his armor of inlaid gold, and Lord Alford, with his athletic frame and very handsome features, conspicuous above all. The rain, meantime, spared neither the rich tabard of the pursuivant, nor the embroidered saddle cloths of the queen’s impatient palfrey: and after a half-dozen of dripping detachments had formed and led on, as the head of the procession, the lady archers—who were to go on foot—were called by the marshal with a smile and a glance upward which might have been construed into a tacit advice to stay in doors. Gracefully and majestically, however, with quiver at her back, and bow in hand, the tall and fair archer of whose uncommon beauty I have already spoken, stepped from the castle door; and, regardless of the rain which fell in drops as large as pearls on her unprotected forehead and snowy shoulders, she took her place in the procession with her silken-booted troop picking their way very gingerly over the pools behind her. Slight as the circumstance may seem, there was in the manner of the lady, and her calm disregard of self in the cause she had undertaken, which would leave me in no doubt where to look for a heroine were the days of Wallace, (whose compatriot she is) to come over again. The knight-marshal put spurs to his horse, and re-ordered the little troop to the castle; and regretting that I had not the honor of the lady’s acquaintance for my authority, I performed my only chivalric achievement for the day, the sending a halberdier whom I had chanced to remember as the servant of an old friend, on a crusade into the castle for a lady’s maid and a pair of dry stockings! Whether they were found, and the fair archer wore them, or where she and her silk-shod company have the tournament consumption, rheumatism, or cough, at this hour, I am sorry I cannot say.

The judge of peace, Lord Saltoun, with his wand, and retainers on foot bearing heavy battle axes, was one of the best figures in the procession; though, as he was slightly gray, and his ruby velvet cap and saturated ruff were poor substitutes for a warm cravat and hat-brim, I could not but associate his fine horsemanship with a sore throat, and his retainers and their battle axes with relays of nurses and hot flannels. The flower of the tournament, in the representing and keeping up of the assumed character, however, was its king, Lord Londonderry. He, too, is a man, I should think, on the shady side of fifty, but of just the high preservation and embonpoint necessary for a royal presence. His robe of red velvet and ermine swept the ground as he sat in his saddle; and he managed to keep its immense folds free of his horse’s legs, and yet to preserve its flow in his prancing motion, with a grace and ease, I must say, which seemed truly imperial.—His palfrey was like a fiery Arabian, all action, nerve, and fire; and every step was a rearing prance, which, but for the tranquil self-possession and easy control of the king, would have given the spectators some fears for his royal safety. Lord Londonderry’s whole performance of his part was without a fault, and chiefly admirable, I thought, from his sustaining it with that unconsciousness and entire freedom from mauvaise honte which the English seldom can command in new or conspicuous situations.

The Queen of Beauty was called, and her horse led to the door; but the water ran from the blue saddle cloth and housings like rain from a roof, and the storm seemed to have increased with the sound of her name. She came to the door, and gave a deprecating look upward which would have mollified any thing but a Scotch sky, and, by command of the knight-marshal, retired again to wait for a less chivalric but drier conveyance. Her example was followed by the other ladies, and their horses were led riderless in the procession.

The knights were but half called when I accepted a friend’s kind offer of a seat in his carriage to the lists. The entire park, as we drove along, was one vast expanse of umbrellas; and it looked from the carriage window, like an army of animated and gigantic mushrooms, shouldering each other in a march. I had no idea till then of the immense crowd the occasion had called together. The circuitous route railed in for the procession was lined with spectators six or seven deep, on either side, throughout its whole extent of a mile; the most distant recesses of the park were crowded with men, horses, and vehicles, all pressing onward; and as we approached the lists, we found the multitude full a quarter of a mile deep, standing on all the eminences which looked down upon the enclosure, as closely serried almost as the pit of the opera, and all eyes bent in one direction, anxiously watching the guarded entrance. I heard the number of persons present variously estimated during the day, the estimates ranging from fifty to seventy-five thousand, but I should think the latter was nearer the mark.

We presented our tickets at the private door, in the rear of the principal gallery, and found ourselves introduced to a very dry place among the supports and rafters of the privileged structure. The look-out was excellent in front, and here I proposed to remain, declining the wet honor of a place above stairs. The gentleman-usher, however, was very urgent for our promotion; but as we found him afterward chatting very familiarly with a party who occupied the seats we had selected, we were compelled to relinquish the flattering unction that he was actuated by an intuitive sense of our deservings. On ascending to the covered gallery, I saw, to my surprise, that some of the best seats in front were left vacant, and here and there, along the different tiers of benches, ladies were crowding excessively close together, while before or behind them there seemed plenty of unoccupied room. A second look showed me small streams of water coming through the roof, and I found that a dry seat was totally unattainable. The gallery held about a thousand persons (the number Lord Eglinton had invited to the banquet and ball,) and the greater part of these were ladies, most of them in fancy dresses, and the remainder in very slight demi-toilette—everybody having dressed apparently with a full reliance on the morning’s promise of fair weather. Less fortunate than the multitude outside the Earl’s guests seemed not to have numbered umbrellas among the necessities of a tournament; and the demand for this despised invention was sufficient (if merit was ever rewarded) to elevate it for ever after to a rank among chivalric appointments. Substitutes and imitations of it were made of swords and cashmeres; and the lenders of veritable umbrellas received smiles which should induce them, one would think, to carry half-a-dozen to all future tournaments in Scotland. It was pitiable to see the wreck going on among the perishable elegancies of Victorine and Herbault—chip hats of the most faultless tournure collapsing with the wet; starched ruffs quite flat; dresses passing helplessly from “Lesbia’s” style to “Nora Creina’s;” shawls, tied by anxious mammas over chapeau and coiffure, crushing pitilessly the delicate fabric of months of invention; and, more lamentable still, the fair brows and shoulders of many a lovely woman proving with rainbow clearness that the colors of the silk or velvet composing her head-dress were by no means ‘fast.’ The Irvine archers, by the way, who as the Queen’s body guard, were compelled to expose themselves to the rain on the grand staircase, resembled a troop of New Zealanders with their faces tattooed of a delicate green; though, as their Lincoln bonnets were all made of the same faithless velvet, they were fortunately streaked so nearly alike as to preserve their uniform.

After a brief consultation between the rheumatisms in my different limbs, it was decided (since it was vain to hope for shelter for the entire person) that my cloth cap would be the best recipient for the inevitable wet; and selecting the best of the vacated places, I seated myself so as to receive one of the small streams as nearly as possible on my organ of firmness. Here I was undisturbed, except once that I was asked, (my seat supposed to be a dry one) to give place for a lady newly arrived, who, receiving my appropriated rivulet in her neck, immediately restored it to me with many acknowledgments, and passed on. In point of position, my seat, which was very near the pavilion of the Queen of Beauty, was one of the best at the tournament; and diverting my aqueduct, by a little management, over my left shoulder, I contrived to be more comfortable, probably, than most of my shivering and melancholy neighbors.

A great agitation in the crowd, and a dampish sound of coming trumpets announced the approach of the procession. As it came in sight, and wound along the curved passage to the lists, its long and serpentine line of helmets and glittering armor, gonfalons, spear-points, and plumes, just surging above the moving sea of umbrellas, had the effect of some gorgeous and bright-scaled dragon swimming in troubled waters. The leaders of the long cavalcade pranced into the arena at last, and a tremendous shout from the multitude announced their admiration of the spectacle. On they came toward the canopy of the Queen of Beauty, men-at-arms, trumpeters, heralds, and halberdiers, and soon after them the king of the tournament, with his long scarlet robe flying to the tempest, and his rearing palfrey straining every nerve to show his pride and beauty. The first shout from the principal gallery was given in approbation of this display of horsemanship, as Lord Londonderry rode past; and considering the damp enthusiasm which prompted it, it should have been considered rather flattering. Lord Eglinton came on presently, distinguished above all others no less by the magnificence of his appointments than by the ease and dignity with which he rode, and his knightly bearing and stature. His golden armor sat on him as if he had been used to wear it; and he managed his beautiful charger, and bowed in reply to the reiterated shouts of the multitude and his friends, with a grace and chivalric courtesy which drew murmurs of applause from the spectators long after the cheering had subsided.

The jester rode into the lists upon a gray steed, shaking his bells over his head, and dressed in an odd costume of blue and yellow, with a broad flapped hat, asses’ ears, &c. His character was not at first understood by the crowd, but he soon began to excite merriment by his jokes, and no little admiration by his capital riding. He was a professional person, I think it was said, from Astley’s, but as he spoke with a most excellent Scotch “burr,” he easily passed for an indigenous “fool.” He rode from side to side of the lists during the whole of the tournament, borrowing umbrellas, quizzing the knights, &c.

One of the most striking features of the procession was the turn-out of the knight of the Gael, Lord Glenlyon, with seventy of his clansmen at his back in plaid and philibeg, and a finer exhibition of calves (without a joke) could scarce be desired. They followed their chieftain on foot, and when the procession separated, took up their places in a line along the palisade serving as a guard to the lists.

After the procession had twice made the circuit of the enclosure, doing obeisance to the Queen of Beauty, the jester had possession of the field while the knights retired to don their helmets, (hitherto carried by their esquires,) and to await the challenge to combat. All eyes were now bent upon the gorgeous clusters of tents at either extremity of the oblong area; and in a very few minutes the herald’s trumpet sounded, and the Knight of the Swan rode forth, having sent his defiance to the Knight of the Golden Lion. At another blast of the trumpet they set their lances in rest, selected opposite sides of the long fence or barrier running lengthwise through the lists, and rode furiously past each other, the fence of course preventing any contact except that of their lances. This part of the tournament (the essential part, one would think) was, from the necessity of the case, the least satisfactory of all. The knights, though they rode admirably, were so oppressed by the weight of their armor, and so embarrassed in their motions by the ill-adjusted joints, that they were like men of wood, unable apparently even to raise the lance from the thigh on which it rested. I presume no one of them either saw where he should strike his opponent, or had any power of directing the weapon. As they rode close to the fence, however, and a ten-foot pole sawed nearly off in two or three places was laid crosswise on the legs of each, it would be odd if they did not come in contact; and the least shock of course splintered the lance—in other words, finished what was begun by the carpenter’s saw. The great difficulty was to ride at all under such a tremendous weight, and manage a horse of spirit, totally unused both to the weight and the clatter of his own and his rider’s armor. I am sure that Lord Eglinton’s horse, for one, would have bothered Ivanhoe himself to “bring to the scratch;” and Lord Waterford’s was the only one that, for all the fright he showed, might have been selected (as they all should have been) for the virtue of having peddled tin-ware. These two knights, by the way, ran the best career, Lord Eglinton, malgré his bolter, coming off the victor.

The rain, meantime, had increased to a deluge, the Queen of Beauty sat shivering under an umbrella, the jester’s long ears were water-logged, and lay flat on his shoulders, and everybody in my neighborhood had expressed a wish for a dry seat and a glass of sherry. The word “banquet” occurred frequently right and left; hopes for “mulled wine or something hot before dinner” stole from the lips of a mamma on the seat behind; and there seemed to be but one chance for the salvation of health predominant in the minds of all—and that was drinking rather more freely than usual at the approaching banquet. Judge what must have been the astonishment, vexation, dread, and despair, of the one thousand wet, shivering, and hungry candidates for the feast, when Lord Eglinton rode up to the gallery unhelmeted, and delivered himself as follows:—

“Ladies and gentlemen, I had hoped to have given you all a good dinner; but to my extreme mortification and regret, I am just informed that the rain has penetrated the banqueting pavilions, and that, in consequence, I shall only be able to entertain so many of my friends as can meet around my ordinary table.”

About as uncomfortable a piece of intelligence to some nine hundred and sixty of his audience, as they could have received, short of a sentence for their immediate execution.

To comprehend fully the disastrous extent of the disappointment in the principal gallery, it must be taken into consideration that the domicils, fixed or temporary, of the rejected sufferers, were from five to twenty miles distant—a long ride at best, if begun on the point of famishing, and in very thin and well-saturated fancy dresses. Grievance the first, however, was nothing to grievance the second; viz. that from the tremendous run upon post-horses, and horses of all descriptions, during the three or four previous days, the getting to the tournament was the utmost that many parties could achieve. The nearest baiting-place was several miles off; and in compassion to the poor beasts, and with the weather promising fair on their arrival, most persons had consented to take their chance for the quarter of a mile from the lists to the castle, and had dismissed their carriages with orders to return at the close of the banquet and ball—daylight the next morning! The castle, every body knew, was crammed, from “donjon-keep to turret-top,” with the relatives and friends of the noble earl, and his private table could accommodate no more than these. To get home was the inevitable alternative.

The rain poured in a deluge. The entire park was trodden into a slough, or standing in pools of water—carts, carriages, and horsemen, with fifty thousand flying pedestrians, crowding every road and avenue. How to get home with a carriage! How the deuce to get home without one!

A gentleman who had been sent out on the errand of Noah’s dove by a lady whose carriage and horses were ordered at four the following morning, came back with the mud up to his knees, and reported that there was not a wheelbarrow to be had for love or money. After threading the crowd in every direction, he had offered a large sum, in vain, for a one-horse cart!

Night was coming on, meantime, very fast; but absorbed by the distresses of the shivering groups around me, I had scarce remembered that my own invitation was but to the banquet and ball—and my dinner, consequently, nine miles off, at Ardrossan. Thanking Heaven, that, at least, I had no ladies to share my evening’s pilgrimage, I followed the Queen of Beauty down the muddy and slippery staircase, and, when her majesty had stepped into her carriage, I stepped over ankles in mud and water, and began my wade toward the castle.

Six hours of rain, and the trampling of such an immense multitude of men and horses, had converted the soft and moist sod and soil of the park into a deep and most adhesive quagmire. Glancing through the labyrinth of vehicles on every side, and seeing men and horses with their feet completely sunk below the surface, I saw that there was no possibility of shying the matter, and that wade was the word. I thought at first, that I had a claim for a little sympathy on the score of being rather slenderly shod (the impalpable sole of a pattern leather boot being all that separated me from the subsoil of the estate of Eglinton;) but overtaking, presently, a party of four ladies who had lost several shoes in the mire, and were positively wading on in silk stockings, I took patience to myself from my advantage in the comparison, and thanked fate for the thinnest sole with leather to keep it on. The ladies I speak of were under the charge of a most despairing-looking gentleman, but had neither cloak nor umbrella, and had evidently made no calculations for a walk. We differed in our choice of the two sides of a slough, presently, and they were lost in the crowd; but I could not help smiling, with all my pity of their woes, to think what a turning up of prunella shoes there will be, should Lord Eglinton ever plough the chivalric field of the Tournament.

As I reached the castle, I got upon the Macadamised road, which had the advantage of a bottom somewhere, though it was covered with a liquid mud, of which every passing foot gave you a spatter to the hips. My exterior was by this time equally divided between water and dirt, and I trudged on in comfortable fellowship with farmers, coal-miners, and Scotch lasses—envying very much the last, for they carried their shoes in their hands, and held their petticoats, to say the least, clear of the mud. Many a good joke they seemed to have among them, but as they spoke in Gaelic, it was lost on my Sassenach ears.

I had looked forward with a faint hope to a gingerbread and ale-cart, which I remembered having seen in the morning established near the terminus of the railroad, trusting to refresh my strength and patience with a glass of anything that goes under the generic name of “summat;” but though the cart was there, the gingerbread shelf was occupied by a row of Scotch lasses, crouching together under cover from the rain, and the pedlar assured me that “there wasna a drap o’ speerit to be got within ten mile o’ the castle.” One glance at the railroad, where a car with a single horse was beset by some thousands of shoving and fighting applicants, convinced me that I had a walk of eight miles to finish my “purgation by” tournament; and as it was getting too dark to trust to any picking of the way, I took the middle of the rail-track, and set forward.

“Oh, but a weary wight was he

When he reached the foot of the dogwood tree.”

Eight miles in a heavy rain, with boots of the consistence of brown paper, and a road of alternate deep mud and broken stone, should entitle one to the green turban. I will make the pilgrimage of a Hadjii from the “farthest inn” with half the endurance.

I found my Liverpool friends over a mutton chop in the snug parlor of our host, and with a strong brew of hot toddy, and many a laugh at the day’s adventures by land and water, we got comfortably to bed “somewhere in the small hours.” And so ended (for me) the great day of the tournament.

After witnessing the disasters of the first day, the demolition of costumes, and the perils by water, of masqueraders and spectators, it was natural to fancy that the tournament was over. So did not seem to think several thousands of newly-arrived persons, pouring from steamer after steamer upon the pier of Ardrossan, and in every variety of costume, from the shepherd’s maud to the courtier’s satin, crowding to the rail-cars from Eglinton. It appeared from the chance remarks of one or two who came to our lodgings to deposite their carpet bags, that it had rained very little in the places from which the steamers had come, and that they had calculated on the second as the great day of the joust. No dissuasion had the least effect upon them, and away they went, bedecked and merry, the sufferers of the day before looking out upon them, from comfortable hotel and lodging, with prophetic pity.

At noon the sky brightened; and as the cars were running by this time with diminished loads, I parted from my agreeable friends, and bade adieu to my garret at Ardrossan. I was bound to Ireland, and my road lay by Eglinton to Irvine and Ayr. Fellow-passengers with me were twenty or thirty men in Glengary bonnets, plaids, &c.; and I came in for my share of the jeers and jokes showered on them by the passengers in the return-cars, as men bound on a fruitless errand. As we neared the castle, the crowds of people with disconsolate faces waiting for conveyances, or standing by the reopened ginger-bread carts in listless idleness, convinced my companions, at last, that there was nothing to be seen, for that day at least, at Eglinton. I left them sitting on the cars, undecided whether to go on or return without losing their places; and seeing a coach marked “Irvine” standing in the road, I jumped in without question or ceremony. It belonged to a private party of gentlemen, who were to visit the castle and tilting-ground on their way to Irvine; and as they very kindly insisted on my remaining after I had apologised for the intrusion, I found myself “booked” for a glimpse of the second day’s attractions.

The avenue to the castle was as crowded as on the day before; but it was curious to remark how the general aspect of the multitude was changed by the substitution of disappointment for expectation. The lagging gait and surly silence, instead of the elastic step and merry joke, seemed to have darkened the scene more than the withdrawal of the sun, and I was glad to wrap myself in my cloak, and remember that I was on the wing. The banner flying at the castle tower was the only sign of motion I could see in its immediate vicinity; the sail-cloth coverings of the pavilion were dark with wet; the fine sward was everywhere disfigured with traces of mud, and the whole scene was dismal and uncomfortable. We kept on to the lists, and found them, as one of my companions expressed it, more like a cattle-pen after a fair than a scene of pleasure—trodden, wet, miry, and deserted. The crowd, content to view them from a distance, were assembled around the large booths on the ascent of the rising ground toward the castle, where a band was playing some merry reels, and the gingerbread and ale venders plied a busy vocation. A look was enough; and we shaped our course for Irvine, sympathizing deeply with the disappointment of the high-spirited and generous Lord of the Tourney. I heard at Irvine, and farther on, that the tilting would be renewed, and the banquet and ball given on the succeeding days; but after the wreck of dresses and peril of health I had witnessed, I was persuaded that the best that could be done would be but a slender patching up of the original glories as well as a halting rally of the original spirits of the tournament. So I kept on my way.


There is an inborn and inbred distrust of “foreigners” in England—continental foreigners, I should say—which keeps the current of French and Italian society as distinct amid the sea of London, as the blue Rhone in Lake Leman. The word “foreigner,” in England, conveys exclusively the idea of a dark-complexioned and whiskered individual, in a frogged coat and distressed circumstances; and to introduce a smooth-cheeked, plainly-dressed, quiet-looking person by that name, would strike any circle of ladies and gentlemen as a palpable misnomer. The violent and unhappy contrast between the Parisian’s mode of life in London and in Paris, makes it very certain that few of those bien n’es et convenablement riches will live in London for pleasure; and then the flood of political émigrés, for the last half-century, has monopolised hair-dressing, &c., &c., to such a degree, that the word Frenchman is synonymous in English ears with barber and dancing-master. If a dark gentleman, wearing either whisker or mustache, chance to offend John Bull in the street, the first opprobrious language he hears—the strongest that occurs to the fellow’s mind—is “Get out, you —— Frenchman!”

All this, malgré the rage for foreign lions in London society. A well-introduced foreigner gets easily into this, and while he keeps his cabriolet and confines himself to frequenting soirées and accepting invitations to dine, he will never suspect that he is not on an equal footing with any “milor” in London. If he wishes to be disenchanted, he has only to change his lodgings from Long’s to Great Russell street, or (bitterer and readier trial) to propose marriage to the honorable Augusta or Lady Fanny.

Everybody who knows the society of Paris knows something of a handsome and very elegant young baron of the Faubourg St. Germain, who, with small fortune, very great taste, and greater credit, contrived to go on very swimmingly as an adorable roue and vaurien till he was hard upon twenty-five. At the first crisis in his affairs, the ladies, who hold all the politics in their laps, got him appointed consul to Algiers, or minister to Venezuela, and with this pretty pretext for selling his horses and dressing-gowns, these cherished articles brought twice their original value and saved his loyauté, and set him up in fans and monkeys at his place of exile. A year of this was enough for the darling of Paris, and not more than a day before his desolate loves would have ceased to mourn for him, he galloped into his hotel with a new fashion of whiskers, a black female slave, and the most delicious histories of his adventures during the ages he had been exiled. Down to the earth and their previous obscurity dropped the rivals who were just beginning to usurp his glories. A new stud, an indescribable vehicle, a suite of rooms à l’Africaine, and a mystery, preserved at some expense, about his negress, kept all Paris, including his new creditors, in admiring astonishment for a year. Among the crowd of his worshippers, not the last or least fervent, were the fair-haired and glowing beauties who assemble at the levees of their ambassador in the Rue St. Honore, and upon whom le beau Adolphe had looked as pretty savages, whose frightful toilets and horrid French accent might be tolerated one evening in the week—vu le souper!

Eclipses will arrive as calculated by insignificant astronomers, however, and debts will become due as presumed by vulgar tradesmen. Le beau Adolphe began to see another crisis, and betook himself to his old advisers, who were désolés to the last degree; but there was a new government, and the blood of the Faubourg was at a discount. No embassies were to be had for nothing. With a deep sigh, and a gentle tone, to spare his feelings as much as possible, his friend ventures to suggest to him that it will be necessary to sacrifice himself.

Ahi! mais comment!

“Marry one of these bêtes Anglaises, who drink you up with their great blue eyes, and are made of gold!”

Adolph buried his face in his gold-fringed oriental pocket-handkerchief; but when the first agony was passed, his resolution was taken, and he determined to go to England. The first beautiful creature he should see, whose funds were enormous and well-invested, should bear away from all the love, rank, and poverty of France, the perfumed hand he looked upon.

A flourishing letter, written in a small, cramped hand, but with a seal on whose breadth of wax and blazon all the united heraldry of France was interwoven, arrived, through the ambassador’s despatch box, to the address of Miladi ——, Belgrave square, announcing, in full, that le beau Adolphe was coming to London to marry the richest heiress in good society—and as Paris could not spare him more than a week, he wished those who had daughters to marry, answering the description, to be bien prévenus of his visit and errand. With the letter came a compend of his genealogy, from the man who spoke French in the confusion of Babel to le dit Baron Adolphe.

To London came the valet of le beau baron, two days before his master, bringing his slippers and dressing gown to be aired after their sea voyage across the channel. To London followed the irresistible youth, cursing, in the politest French, the necessity which subtracted a week from a life measured with such “diamond sparks” as his own in Paris. He sat himself down in his hotel, sent his man Porphyre with his card to every noble and rich house, whose barbarian tenants he had ever seen in the Champs Elysees, and waited the result. Invitations from fair ladies, who remembered him as the man the French belles were mad about, and from literary ladies, who wanted his whiskers and black eyes to give their soirées the necessary foreign complexion, flowed in on all sides, and Monsieur Adolphe selected his most mignon cane and his happiest design in a stocking, and “rendered himself” through the rain like a martyr.

No offers of marriage the first evening!

None the second!!

None the third!!!

Le beau Adolphe began to think either that English papas did not propose their daughters to people as in France; or, perhaps, that the lady whom he had commissioned to circulate his wishes had not sufficiently advertised him. She had, however.

He took advice, and found it would be necessary to take the first step himself. This was disagreeable, and he said to himself, “Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle”; but his youth was passing, and his English fortune was at interest.

He went to Almack’s, and proposed to the first authenticated fortune that accepted his hand for a waltz. The young lady first laughed, and then told her mother, who told her son, who thought it an insult, and called out le beau Adolphe, very much to the astonishment of himself and Porphyre. The thing was explained, and the baron looked about the next day for one pas si bête. Found a young lady with half a million sterling, proposed in a morning call, and was obliged to ring for assistance, his intended having gone into convulsions with laughing at him. The story by this time had got pretty well distributed through the different strata of London society;—and when le beau Adolphe, convinced that he would not succeed with the noble heiresses of Belgrave square, condescended, in his extremity, to send his heart by his valet to a rich little vulgarian, who “never had a grandfather,” and lived in Harley street, he narrowly escaped being prosecuted for a nuisance, and, Paris being now in possession of the enemy, he buried his sorrows in Belgium. After a short exile his friends procured him a vice-consulate in some port in the North Sea, and there probably at this moment he sorrowfully vegetates.

This is not a story founded upon fact, but literally true.—Many of the circumstances came under my own observation; and the whole thus affords a laughable example of the esteem in which what an English fox-hunter would call a “trashy Frenchman” is held in England, as well as of the travestie produced by transplanting the usages of one country to another.

Ridiculous as any intimate mixture of English and French ideas and persons seems to be in London, the foreign society of itself in that capital is exceedingly spiritual and agreeable. The various European embassies and their attachés, with their distinguished travellers, from their several countries, accidentally belonging to each; the French and Italians, married to English noblemen and gentry, and living in London, and the English themselves, who have become cosmopolite by residence in other countries, form a very large society in which mix, on perfectly equal terms, the first singers of the opera, and foreign musicians and artists generally. This last circumstance gives a peculiar charm to these reunions, though it imparts a pride and haughty bearing to the prima donna and her fraternity, which is, at least, sometimes very inconvenient to themselves. The remark recalls to my mind a scene I once witnessed in London, which will illustrate the feeling better than an essay upon it.

I was at one of those private concerts given at an enormous expense during the opera season, at which “assisted” Julia Grisi, Rubini, Lablache, Tamburini, and Ivanhoff. Grisi came in the carriage of a foreign lady of rank, who had dined with her, and she walked into the room looking like an empress. She was dressed in the plainest white, with her glossy haircut smooth from her brow, and a single white japonica dropped over one of her temples. The lady who brought her chaperoned her during the evening, as if she had been her daughter, and under the excitement of her own table and the kindness of her friends, she sung with a rapture and a freshet of glory (if one may borrow a word from the Mississippi) which set all hearts on fire. She surpassed her most applauded hour on the stage—for it was worth her while. The audience was composed, almost exclusively, of those who are not only cultivated judges, but who sometimes repay delight with a present of diamonds.

Lablache shook the house to its foundations in his turn; Rubini ran through his miraculous compass with the ease, truth, and melody, for which his singing is unsurpassed; Tamburini poured his rich and even fullness on the ear, and Russian Ivanhoff, the one southern singing-bird who has come out of the north, wire-drew his fine and spiritual notes, till they who had been flushed, and tearful, and silent, when the others had sang, drowned his voice in the poorer applause of exclamation and surprise.

The concert was over by twelve, the gold and silver paper bills of the performance were turned into fans, and every one was waiting till supper should be announced—the prima donna still sitting by her friend, but surrounded by foreign attachés, and in the highest elation at her own success. The doors of an inner suite of rooms were thrown open at last, and Grisi’s cordon of admirers prepared to follow her in and wait on her at supper. At this moment, one of the powdered menials of the house stepped up and informed her very respectfully that supper was prepared in a separate room for the singers!

Medea, in her most tragic hour, never stood so absolutely the picture of hate as did Grisi for a single instant, in the centre of that aristocratic crowd. Her chest swelled and rose, her lips closed over her snowy teeth, and compressed till the blood left them, and, for myself, I looked unconsciously to see where she would strike. I knew, then, that there was more than fancy—there was nature and capability of the real—in the imaginary passions she plays so powerfully. A laugh of extreme amusement at the scene from the high-born woman who had accompanied her, suddenly turned her humor, and she stopped in the midst of a muttering of Italian, in which I could distinguish only the terminations, and, with a sort of theatrical quickness of transition, joined heartily in her mirth. It was immediately proposed by this lady, however, that herself and their particular circle should join the insulted prima donna at the lower table, and they succeeded by this manœuvre in retaining Rubini and the others, who were leaving the house in a most unequivocal Italian fury.

I had been fortunate enough to be included in the invitation, and with one or two foreign diplomatic men, I followed Grisi and her amused friend to a small room on a lower floor, that seemed to be the housekeeper’s parlor. Here supper was set for six (including the man who had played the piano,) and on the side-table stood every variety of wine and fruit, and there was nothing in the supper, at least, to make us regret the table we had left. With a most imperative gesture and rather an amusing attempt at English, Grisi ordered the servants out of the room, and locked the door, and from that moment the conversation commenced and continued in their own musical, passionate, and energetic Italian. My long residence in that country had made me at home in it; every one present spoke it fluently; and I had an opportunity I might never have again, of seeing with what abandonment these children of the sun throw aside rank and distinction (yet without forgetting it,) and join with those who are their superiors in every circumstance of life in the gayeties of a chance hour.

Out of their own country these singers would probably acknowledge no higher rank than that of the kind and gifted lady who was their guest; yet, with the briefest apology at finding the room too cold after the heat of the concert, they put on their cloaks and hats as a safeguard to their lungs (more valuable to them than to others;) and as most of the cloaks were the worse for travel, and the hats were opera-hats with two corners, the grotesque contrast with the diamonds of one lady, and the radiant beauty of the other, may easily be imagined.

Singing should be hungry work, by the knife and fork they played; and between the excavations of truffle pies, and the bumpers of champagne and burgundy, the words were few. Lablache appeared to be an established droll, and every syllable he found time to utter was received with the most unbounded laughter. Kubini could not recover from the slight he conceived put upon him and his profession by the separate table; and he continually reminded Grisi, who by this time had quite recovered her good humor, that, the night before, supping at Devonshire house, the Duke of Wellington had held her gloves on one side, while His Grace, their host attended to her on the other.

E vero!” said Ivanhoff, with a look of modest admiration at the prima donna.

E vero, e bravo!” cried Tamburini, with his sepulchral-talking tone, much deeper than his singing.

Si, si, si, bravo!” echoed all the company; and the haughty and happy actress nodded all round with a radiant smile, and repeated, in her silver tones, “Grazie! cari amici! grazie!

As the servants had been turned out, the removal of the first course was managed in pic-nic fashion; and when the fruit and fresh bottles of wine were set upon the table by the attachés, and younger gentlemen, the health of the Princess who honored them by her presence was proposed in that language, which, it seems to me, is more capable than all others of expressing affectionate and respectful devotion. All uncovered and stood up, and Grisi, with tears in her eyes, kissed the hand of her benefactress and friend, and drank her health in silence.

It is a polite and common accomplishment in Italy to improvise in verse, and the lady I speak of is well known among her immediate friends for a singular facility in this beautiful art. She reflected a moment or two with the moisture in her eyes, and then commenced, low and soft, a poem, of which it would be difficult, nay impossible, to convey, in English, an idea of its music and beauty. It took us back to Italy, to its heavenly climate, its glorious arts, its beauty and its ruins, and concluded with a line of which I remember the sentiment to have been, “out of Italy every land is exile!

The glasses were raised as she ceased, and every one repeated after her, “Fuori d’Italia tutto e esilio!

Ma!” cried out the fat Lablache, holding up his glass of champagne, and looking through it with one eye, “siamo ben esiliati qua!” and with a word of drollery, the party recovered its gayer tone, and the humor and wit flowed on brilliantly as before.

The house had long been still, and the last carriage belonging to the company above stairs had rolled from the door, when Grisi suddenly remembered a bird that she had lately bought, of which she proceeded to give us a description that probably penetrated to every corner of the silent mansion. It was a mocking bird, that had been kept two years in the opera house, and between rehearsal and performance had learned parts of everything it had overheard. It was the property of the woman who took care of the wardrobes. Grisi had accidentally seen it, and immediately purchased it for two guineas. How much of embellishment there was in her imitations of her treasure I do not know; but certainly the whole power of her wondrous voice, passion, and knowledge of music, seemed drunk up at once in the wild, various, difficult, and rapid mixture of the capricious melody she undertook. First came, without the passage which it usually terminates, the long throat-down, gurgling, water-toned trill, in which Rubini (but for the bird and its mistress, it seemed to me,) would have been inimitable: then, right upon it, as if it were the beginning of a bar, and in the most unbreathing continuity, followed a brilliant passage from the Barber of Seville run into the passionate prayer of Anna Bolena in her madness, and followed by the air of “Suoni la tromba intrepida,” the tremendous duet in the Puritani, between Tamburini and Lablache. Up to the sky and down to the earth again—away with a note of the wildest gladness, and back upon a note of the most touching melancholy—if the bird but half equals the imitation of his mistress, he were worth the jewel in a sultan’s turban.

“Giulia!” “Giulietta!” “Giuliettina!” cried out one and another as she ceased, expressing in their Italian diminutives, the love and delight she had inspired by her incomparable execution.

The stillness of the house in the occasional pauses of conversation reminded the gay party, at last, that it was wearing late. The door was unlocked, and the half-dozen sleepy footmen hanging about the hall were dispatched for the cloaks and carriages; the drowsy porter was roused from his deep leathern dormeuse, and opened the door—and broad upon the street lay the cold gray light of a summer’s morning. I declined an offer to be set down by a friend’s cab, and strolled off to Hyde Park to surprise myself with a sunrise; balancing the silent rebuke in the fresh and healthy countenances of early laborers going to their toil, against the effervescence of a champagne hour which, since such come so rarely, may come, for me, with what untimeliness they please.


It has been said that “few men know how to take a walk.” In London it requires some experience to know where to take a walk. The taste of the perambulator, the hour of the day, and the season of the year, would each affect materially the decision of the question.

If you are up early—I mean early for London—say ten o’clock—we would start from your hotel in Bond street, and hastening through Regent street and the Quadrant (deserts at that hour) strike into the zig-zag alleys, cutting traversely from Coventry street to Covent Garden. The horses on the cab stand in the Haymarket “are at this hour asleep.” The late supper-eaters at Dubourg’s and the Café de l’Europe were the last infliction upon their galled wisthers, and while dissipation slumbers they may find an hour to hang their heads upon the bit, and forget gall and spavin in the sunshiny drowse of morning. The cabman, too, nods on his perch outside, careless of the custom of “them as pays only their fare,” and quite sure not to get “a gemman to drive” at that unseasonable hour. The “waterman” (called a “water-man,” as he will tell you, “because he gives hay to the ’orses”) leans against the gas-lamp at the corner, looking with a vacant indifference of habit at the splendid coach with its four blood-bays just starting from the Brighton coach-office in the Crescent. The side-walk of Coventry street, usually radiant with the flaunting dresses of the frail and vicious, is now sober with the dull habiliments of the early stirring and the poor. The town, (for this is town, not city) beats its more honest pulse. Industry alone is abroad.

Rupert street on the left is the haunt of shabby-genteel poverty. To its low-doored chop-houses steal the more needy loungers of Regent street, and in confined and greasy, but separate and exclusive boxes, they eat their mutton-chop and potato unseen of their gayer acquaintances. Here comes the half-pay officer, whose half-pay is halved or quartered with wife and children, to drink his solitary half-pint of sherry, and, over a niggardly portion of soup and vegetables, recall, as he may in imagination, the gay dinners at mess, and the companions now grown cold—in death or worldliness! Here comes the sharper out of luck, the debtor newly out of prison. And here comes many a “gay fellow about town,” who will dine to-morrow, or may have dined yesterday, at a table of unsparing luxury, but who now turns up Rupert street at seven, cursing the mischance that draws upon his own slender pocket for the dinner of to-day. Here are found the watchful host and the suspicious waiter—the closely-measured wine, and the more closely-measured attention—the silent and shrinking company, the close-drawn curtain, the suppressed call for the bill, the lingering at the table of those who value the retreat and the shelter to recover from the embarrassing recognition and the objectless saunter through the streets. The ruin, the distress, the despair, that wait so closely upon the heels of fashion, pass here with their victims. It is the last step within the bounds of respectability. They still live “at the West end,” while they dine in Rupert street. They may still linger in the Park, or stroll in Bond street, till their better-fledged friends flit to dinner at the clubs, and, within a stone’s throw of the luxurious tables and the gay mirth they so bitterly remember, sit down to an ill-dressed meal, and satisfy the calls of hunger in silence. Ah, the outskirts of the bright places in life are darker for the light that shines so near them! How much sweeter is the coarsest meal shared with the savage in the wilderness, than the comparative comfort of cooked meats and wine in a neighborhood like this!

Come through this narrow lane into Leicester Square. You cross here the first limit of the fashionable quarter. The Sabloniere hotel is in this square; but you may not give it as your address unless you are a foreigner. This is the home of that most miserable fish out of water—a Frenchman in London. A bad French hotel, and two or three execrable French restaurants, make this spot the most habitable to the exiled habitué of the Palais Royal. Here he gets a mocking imitation of what, in any possible degree, is better than the sacré biftek, or the half-raw mutton-chop and barbarous boiled potato! Here he comes forth, if the sun shine perchance for one hour at noon, and paces up and down on the side-walk, trying to get the better of his bile and his bad breakfast. Here waits for him at three, the shabby, but most expensive remise cab, hired by the day for as much as would support him a month in Paris. Leicester square is the place for conjurors, bird-fanciers, showmen, and generally for every foreign novelty in the line of nostrums and marvels. If there is a dwarf in London, or a child with two heads, you will see one or all in that building, so radiant with placards, and so thronged with beggars.

Come on through Cranbourne alley. Old clothes, second-hand stays, idem shawls, capes, collars, and ladies’ articles of ornamental ware generally; cheap straw bonnets, old books, gingerbread, and stationery! Look at this once-expensive and finely-worked muslin cape! What fair shoulders did it adorn when these dingy flowers were new—when this fine lace edging bounded some heaving bosom, perhaps, like frost-work on the edge of a snow-drift. It has been the property of some minion of elegance and wealth, vicious or virtuous, and by what hard necessity came it here? Ten to one, could it speak, its history would keep us standing at this shop-window, indifferent alike to the curious glances of these passing damsels, and the gentle eloquence of the Jew on the other side, who pays us the unflattering compliment of suggesting an improvement in our toilet by the purchase of the half-worn habiliments he exposes.

I like Cranbourne alley, because it reminds me of Venice. The half-daylight between the high and overhanging roofs, the just audible hum of voices and occupation from the different shops, the shuffling of hasty feet over the smooth flags, and particularly the absence of horses and wheels, make it (in all but the damp air and the softer speech) a fair resemblance to those close passages in the rear of the canals between St. Mark’s and the Rialto. Then I like studying a pawnbroker’s window, and I like ferreting in the old book-stalls that abound here. It is a good lesson in humility for an author to see what he can be bought for in Cranbourne alley. Some “gentle reader,” who has paid a guinea and a half for you, has resold you for two-and-sixpence. For three shillings you may have the three volumes, “as good as new,” and the shopman, by his civility, pleased to be rid of it on the terms. If you would console yourself, however, buy Milton for one-and-sixpence, and credit your vanity with the eighteen-pence of the remainder.

The labyrinth of alleys between this and Covent Garden are redolent of poverty and pot-houses. In crossing St. Martin’s lane, life appears to have become suddenly a struggle and a calamity. Turbulent and dirty women are everywhere visible through the open windows; the half-naked children at the doors look already care-worn and incapable of a smile; and the men throng the gin-shops, bloated, surly, and repulsive. Hurry through this leprous spot in the vast body of London, and let us emerge in the Strand.

You would think London Strand the main artery of the world. I suppose there is no thoroughfare on the face of the earth where the stream of human life runs with a tide so overwhelming. In any other street in the world you catch the eye of the passer-by. In the Strand, no man sees another except as a solid body, whose contact is to be avoided. You are safe nowhere on the pavement without all the vigilance of your senses. Omnibuses and cabs, drays, carriages, wheelbarrows, and porters, beset the street. Newspaper-hawkers, pickpockets, shop-boys, coal-heavers, and a perpetual and selfish crowd dispute the sidewalk. If you venture to look at a print in a shop-window, you arrest the tide of passengers, who immediately walk over you; and, if you stop to speak with a friend, who by chance has run his nose against yours rather than another man’s, you impede the way, and are made to understand it by the force of jostling. If you would get into an omnibus you are quarrelled for by half-a-dozen who catch your eye at once; and after using all your physical strength and most of your discrimination, you are most probably embarked in the wrong one, and are going at ten miles the hour to Blackwell, when you are bound to Islington. A Londoner passes his life in learning the most adroit mode of threading a crowd, and escaping compulsory journeys in cabs and omnibuses; and dine with any man in that metropolis from twenty-five to sixty years of age, and he will entertain you, from the soup to the Curacoa, with his hair-breadth escapes and difficulties with cads and coach-drivers.


A Londoner, if met abroad, answers very vaguely any questions you may be rash enough to put to him about “the city.” Talk to him of “town,” and he would rather miss seeing St. Peter’s, than appear ignorant of any person, thing, custom, or fashion, concerning whom or which you might have a curiosity. It is understood all over the world that the “city” of London is that crowded, smoky, jostling, omnibus and cab-haunted portion of the metropolis of England which lies east of Temple Bar. A kind of debatable country, consisting of the Strand, Covent Garden, and Tottenham Court road, then intervenes, and west of these lies what is called “the town.” A transit from one to the other by an inhabitant of either, is a matter of some forethought and provision. If milord, in Carlton Terrace, for example, finds it necessary to visit his banker in Lombard street, he orders—not the blood bay and the cane tilbury which he is wont to drive in the morning—but the crop roadster in the cab, with the night harness, and Poppet his tiger in plain hat and gaiters. If the banker in Lombard street, on the contrary, emerges from the twilight of his counting-house to make a morning call on the wife of some foreign correspondent, lodging at the Clarendon, he steps into a Piccadilly omnibus, not in the salt-and-pepper creations of his Cheapside tailor, but (for he has an account with Stultz also for the west-end business) in a claret-colored frock of the last fashion at Crockford’s, a fresh hat from New Bond street, and (if he is young) a pair of cherished boots from the Rue St. Honore. He sits very clear of his neighbors on the way, and, getting out at the crossing at Farrance’s, the pastry cook, steps in and indulges in a soup, and then walks slowly past the clubs to his rendezvous, at a pace that would ruin his credit irrevocably if practised a mile to the eastward. The difference between the two migrations is, simply, that though the nobleman affects the plainness of the city, he would not for the world be taken for a citizen; while the junior partner of the house of Firkins and Co. would feel unpleasantly surprised if he were not supposed to be a member of the Clubs, lounging to a late breakfast.

There is a “town” manner, too, and a “city” manner, practised with great nicety by all who frequent both extremities of London. Nothing could be in more violent contrast, for example, than the manner of your banker when you dine with him at his country house, and the same person when you meet him on the narrow sidewalk in Throgmorton street. If you had seen him first in his suburban retreat, you would wonder how the deuce such a cordial, joyous, spare-nothing sort of good fellow could ever reduce himself to the cautious proportions of Change alley. If you met him first in Change alley, on the contrary, you would wonder, with quite as much embarrassment, how such a cold, two-fingered, pucker-browed slave of Mammon could ever, by any license of interpretation, be called a gentleman. And when you have seen him in both places, and know him well, if he is a favorable specimen of his class, you will be astonished still more to see how completely he will sustain both characters—giving you the cold shoulder, in a way that half insults you, at twelve in the morning, and putting his home, horses, cellar, and servants, completely at your disposal at four in the afternoon. Two souls inhabit the banker’s body, and each is apparently sole tenant in turn. As the Hampstead early coach turns the corner by St. Giles’s, on its way to the bank, the spirit of gain enters into the bosom of the junior Firkins, ejecting, till the coach passes the same spot at three in the afternoon, the more gentlemanly inhabitants. Between those hours, look to Firkins for no larger sentiment than may be written upon the blank lines of a note of hand, and expect no courtesy that would occupy the head or hands of the junior partner longer than one second by St. Paul’s. With the broad beam of sunshine that inundates the returning omnibus emerging from Holborn into Tottenham Court road, the angel of port wine and green fields passes his finger across Firkins’s brow, and presto! the man is changed. The sight of a long and narrow strip of paper, sticking from his neighbor’s pocket, depreciates that person in his estimation, he criticises the livery and riding of the groom trotting past, says some very true things of the architecture of the new cottage on the roadside, and is landed at the end of his own shrubbery, as pleasant and joyous-looking a fellow as you would meet on that side of London. You have ridden out to dine with him, and as he meets you on the lawn, there is still an hour to dinner, and a blood horse spatters round from the stables, which you are welcome to drive to the devil if you like, accompanied either by Mrs. Firkins or himself; or, if you like it better, there are Mrs. Firkins’s two ponies, and the chaise holds two and the tiger. Ten to one Mrs. Firkins is a pretty woman, and has her whims, and when you are fairly on the road, she proposes to leave the soup and champagne at home to equalize their extremes of temperature, drive to Whitehall Stairs, take boat and dine, extempore, at Richmond. And Firkins, to whom it will be at least twenty pounds out of pocket, claps his hands and says—“By Jove, it’s a bright thought! touch up the near pony, Mrs. Firkins.” And away you go, Firkins amusing himself the whole way from Hampstead to Richmond, imagining the consternation of his cook and butler when nobody comes to dine.

There is an aristocracy in the city, of course, and Firkins will do business with twenty persons in a day whom he could never introduce to Mrs. Firkins. The situation of that lady with respect to her society is (she will tell you in confidence) rather embarrassing. There are very many worthy persons, she will say, who represent large sums of money or great interests in trade, whom it is necessary to ask to the Lodge, but who are far from being ornamental to her new blue-satin boudoir. She has often proposed to Firkins to have them labelled in tens and thousands, according to their fortunes; that if, by any unpleasant accident, Lord Augustus should meet them there, he might respect them like = in algebra, for what they stand for. But as it is, she is really never safe in calculating on a société choisie to dine or sup. When Hook or Smith is just beginning to melt out, or Lady Priscilla is in the middle of a charade, in walks Mr. Snooks, of the foreign house of Snooks, Son, and Co.—“unexpectedly arrived from Lisbon, and run down without ceremony to call on his respectable correspondent.”

“Isn’t it tiresome?”

“Very, my dear madam! But then you have the happiness of knowing that you promote very essentially your husband’s interests, and when he has made a plum——”

“Yes, very true; and then, to be sure, Firkins has had to build papa a villa, and buy my brother Wilfred a commission, and settle an annuity on my aunt, and fit out my youngest brother Bob to India; and when I think of what he does for my family, why I don’t mind making now and then a sacrifice—but, after all, it’s a great evil not to be able to cultivate one’s own class of society.”

And so murmurs Mrs. Firkins, who is the prettiest and sweetest creature in the world, and really loves the husband she married for his fortune; but as the prosperity of Haman was nothing while Mordecai sat at the gate, it is nothing to Mrs. Firkins that her father lives in luxury, that her brothers are portioned off, and that she herself can have blue boudoirs and pony-chaises ad libitum, while Snooks, Son and Co. may at any moment break in upon the charade of Lady Priscilla!

There is a class of business people in London, mostly bachelors, who have wisely declared themselves independent of the West End, and live in a style of their own in the dark courts and alleys about the Exchange, but with a luxury not exceeded even in the silken recesses of May Fair. You will sometimes meet at the opera a young man of decided style, unexceptionable in his toilet, and quiet and gentlemanlike in his address, who contents himself with the side alley of the pit, and looks at the bright circles of beauty and fashion about him with an indifference it is difficult to explain. Make his acquaintance by chance, and he takes you home to supper in a plain chariot on the best springs Long Acre can turn out; and while you are speculating where, in the name of the Prince of Darkness, these narrow streets will bring you to, you are introduced through a small door into saloons, perfect in taste and luxury, where, ten to one, you sup with the prima donna, or la première danseuse, but certainly with the most polished persons of your own sex, not one of whom, though you may have passed a life in London, you ever met in society before. There are, I doubt not, in that vast metropolis, hundreds of small circles of society, composed thus of persons refined by travel and luxury, whose very existence in unsuspected by the fine gentleman at the West End, but who, in the science of living agreeably, are almost as well entitled to rank among the cognoscenti as Lord Sefton or the “Member for Finsbury.”


You return from your ramble in “the city” by two o’clock. A bright day “toward,” and the season in its palmy time. The old veterans are just creeping out upon the portico of the United Service Club, having crammed “The Times” over their late breakfast, and thus prepared their politics against surprise for the day; the broad steps of the Athenæum are as yet unthronged by the shuffling feet of the literati, whose morning is longer and more secluded than that of idler men, but who will be seen in swarms, at four, entering that superb edifice in company with the employés and politicians who affect their society. Not a cab stands yet at the “Travellers,” whose members, noble or fashionable, are probably at this hour in their dressing-gowns of brocade or shawl of the orient, smoking a hookah over Balzac’s last romance, or pursuing at this (to them) desert time of day some adventure which waited upon their love and leisure. It is early yet for the Park; but the equipages you will see by-and-by “in the ring” are standing now at Howell and James’s, and while the high-bred horses are fretting at the door, and the liveried footmen lean on their gold-headed sticks on the pavement, the fair creature whose slightest nod these trained minions and their fine-limbed animals live to obey, sits upon a three-legged stool within, and in the voice which is a spell upon all hearts, and with eyes to which rank and genius turn like Persians to the sun, discusses with a pert clerk the quality of stockings!

Look at these equipages and their appointments! Mark the exquisite balance of that claret-bodied chariot upon its springs—the fine sway of its sumptuous hammercloth in which the un-smiling coachman sits buried to the middle—the exact fit of the saddles, setting into the curve of the horse’s backs so as not to break, to the most careless eye, the fine lines which exhibit action and grace! See how they stand together—alert, fiery, yet obedient to the weight of a silken thread; and as the coachman sees you studying his turn-out, observe the imperceptible feel of the reins and the just-visible motion of his lips, conveying to the quick ears of his horses the premonitory, and, to us, inaudible sound, to which, without drawing a hair’s breadth upon the traces, they paw their fine hoofs, and expand their nostrils impatiently! Come nearer, and find a speck or a raised hair, if you can, on these glossy coats! Observe the nice fitness of the dead-black harness, the modest crest upon the panel, the delicate picking out of white in the wheels, and, if you will venture upon a freedom in manners, look in through the window of rose-teinted glass, and see the splendid cushions and the costly and splendid adaptation of the interior. The twin-mated footmen fly to the carriage-door, and the pomatumed clerk who has enjoyed a tête-à-tête for which a Prince Royal might sigh, and an Ambassador might negociate in vain, hands in his parcel. The small foot presses on the carpeted step, the airy vehicle yields lightly and recovers from the slight weight of the descending form, the coachman inclines his ear for the half-suppressed order from the footman, and off whirls the admirable structure, compact, true, steady, but magically free and fast—as if horses, footmen, and chariot were but the parts of some complicated centaur—some swift-moving monster upon legs and wheels!

Walk on a little farther to the Quadrant. Here commences the most thronged promenade in London. These crescent colonnades are the haunt of foreigners on the lookout for amusement, and of strangers in the metropolis generally. You will seldom find a town-bred man there, for he prefers haunting his clubs; or, if he is not a member of them, he avoids lounging much in the Quadrant, lest he should appear to have no other resort. You will observe a town dandy getting fidgety after his second turn in the Quadrant, while you will meet the same Frenchman there from noon till dusk, bounding his walk by those columns as if they were the bars of a cage. The western side toward Piccadilly is the thoroughfare of the honest passer-by; but under the long portico opposite, you will meet vice in every degree, and perhaps more beauty than on any other pavé in the world. It is given up to the vicious and their followers by general consent. To frequent it, or to be seen loitering there at all, is to make but one impression on the mind of those who may observe you.

The two sides of Regent street continue to partake of this distinction to the end. Go up on the left, and you meet the sober citizen perambulating with his wife, the lady followed by her footman, the grave and the respectable of all classes. Go up on the other, and in color and mien it is the difference between a grass-walk and a bed of tulips. What proof is here that beauty is dangerous to its possessor! It is said commonly of Regent street, that it shows more beauty in an hour than could be found in all the capitals of the continent. It is the beauty, however, of brilliant health—of complexion and freshness, more than of sentiment or classic correctness. The English features, at least in the middle and lower ranks, are seldom good, though the round cheek, the sparkling lip, the soft blue eyes and hair of dark auburn, common as health and youth, produce the effect of high and almost universal beauty on the eye of the stranger. The rarest thing in these classes is a finely-turned limb, and to the clumsiness of their feet and ankles must be attributed the want of grace usually remarked in their movements.

Regent street has appeared to me the greatest and most oppressive solitude in the world. In a crowd of business men, or in the thronged and mixed gardens of the continent, the pre-occupation of others is less attractive, or at least, more within our reach, if we would share in it. Here, it is wealth beyond competition, exclusiveness and indifference perfectly unapproachable. In the cold and stern mien of the practised Londoner, it is difficult for a stranger not to read distrust, and very difficult for a depressed mind not to feel a marked repulsion. There is no solitude after all like the solitude of cities.

“O dear, dear London” (says the companion of Asmodeus on his return from France,) “dear even in October! Regent street, I salute you! Bond street, my good fellow, how are you? And you, oh, beloved Oxford street, whom the opium-eater called ‘stony-hearted,’ and whom I, eating no opium, and speaking as I find, shall ever consider the most kindly and maternal of all streets—the street of the middle classes—busy without uproar, wealthy without ostentation. Ah, the pretty ankles that trip along thy pavement! Ah! the odd country-cousin bonnets that peer into thy windows, which are lined with cheap yellow shawls, price one pound four shillings marked in the corner! Ah! the brisk young lawyers flocking from their quarters at the back of Holborn! Ah! the quiet old ladies, living in Duchess street, and visiting thee with their eldest daughters in the hope of a bargain! Ah, the bumpkins from Norfolk just disgorged by the Bull and Mouth—the soldiers—the milliners—the Frenchmen—the swindlers—the porters with four-post beds on their backs, who add the excitement of danger to that of amusement! The various shifting, motley group that belong to Oxford street, and Oxford street alone! What thoroughfares equal thee in the variety of human specimens! in the choice of objects for remark, satire, admiration! Besides, the other streets seem chalked out for a sect—narrow-minded and devoted to a coterie. Thou alone art catholic—all-receiving. Regent street belongs to foreigners, segars, and ladies in red silk, whose characters are above scandal. Bond street belongs to dandies and picture dealers. St. James’s street to club loungers and young men in the guards, with mustaches properly blackened by the cire of Mr. Delcroix; but thou, Oxford Street, what class can especially claim thee as its own? Thou mockest at oligarchies; thou knowest nothing of select orders! Thou art liberal as air—a chartered libertine; accepting the homage of all, and retaining the stamp of none. And to call thee ‘stony-hearted!’—certainly thou art so to beggars—to people who have not the wherewithal. But thou wouldst not be so respectable if thou wert not capable of a certain reserve to paupers. Thou art civil enough, in all conscience, to those who have a shilling in their pocket—those who have not, why do they live at all?”


It is near four o’clock, and in Bond street you might almost walk on the heads of livery-servants—at every stride stepping over the heads of two ladies and a dandy exclusive. Thoroughfare it is none, for the carriages are creeping on, inch by inch, the blood horses “marking time,” the coachman watchful for his panels and whippletrees, and the lady within her silken chariot, lounging back, with her eyes upon the passing line, neither impatient nor surprised at the delay, for she came there on purpose. Between the swaying bodies of the carriages, hesitating past, she receives the smiles and recognitions of all her male acquaintances; while occasionally a female ally (for allies against the rest of the sex are as necessary in society to women, as in war to monarchs)—occasionally, I say, a female ally announced by the crest upon the blinker of an advancing horse, arrives opposite her window, and, with only the necessary delay in passing, they exchange, perhaps, inquiries for health, but, certainly, programmes, comprehensive though brief, for the prosecution of each other’s loves or hates. Occasionally a hack cab, seduced into attempting Bond street by some momentary opening, finds itself closed in, forty deep, by chariots, britzas, landaus, and family coaches; and amid the imperturbable and unanswering whips of the hammercloth, with a passenger who is losing the coach by the delay, he must wait, will-he-nill-he, till some “pottering” Dowager has purchased the old Lord his winter flannels, or till the Countess of Loiter has said all she has to say to the guardsman whom she has met accidentally at Pluckrose the perfumer’s. The three tall fellows, with gold sticks, would see the entire plebeian population of London thrice-sodden in vitriol, before they would advance miladi’s carriage a step, or appear to possess eyes or ears for the infuriated cabman.

Bond street, at this hour, is a study for such observers, as, having gone through an apprenticeship of criticism upon all the other races and grades of men and gentlemen in the world, are now prepared to study their species in its highest fashionable phase—that of “nice persons” at the West End. The Oxford street “swell,” and the Regent street dandy, if seen here, are out of place. The expressive word “quiet” (with its present London signification,) defines the dress, manner, bow, and even physiognomy, of every true denizen of St. James’s and Bond street. The great principle among men of the Clubs, in all these particulars, is to subdue—to deprive their coats, hats, and manners, of everything sufficiently marked to be caricatured by the satirical or imitated by the vulgar. The triumph of style seems to be that the lines which define it shall be imperceptible to the common eye—that it shall require the difficult education which creates it to know its form and limit. Hence an almost universal error with regard to English gentlemen—that they are repulsive and cold. With a thousand times the heart and real politeness of the Frenchman, they meet you with the simple and unaffected address which would probably be that of shades in Elysium, between whom (we may suppose) there is no longer etiquette or concealment. The only exceptions to this rule in London, are, first and alone, Count D’Orsay, whose extraordinary and original style, marked as it is, is inimitable by any man of less brilliant talents and less beauty of person, and the king’s guardsmen, who are dandies by prescriptive right, or, as it were, professionally. All other men who are members of Brooks’s and the Traveller’s, and frequent Bond street in the flush of the afternoon, are what would be called in America, plain unornamental, and, perhaps, ill-dressed individuals, who would strike you more by the absence than the possession of all the peculiarities which we generally suppose marks a “picked man of countries.” In America, particularly, we are liable to error on this point, as, of the great number of our travellers for improvement, scarce one in a thousand remains longer in London than to visit the Tower and the Thames tunnel. The nine hundred and ninety-nine reside principally, and acquire all they get of foreign manner and style, at Paris—the very most artificial, corrupt, and affected school for gentlemen in the polite world.

Prejudice against any one country is an illiberal feeling, which common reflection should, and which enlightened travel usually does, entirely remove. There is a vulgar prejudice against the English in almost all countries, but more particularly in ours, which blinds its entertainers to much that is admirable, and deprives them of the good drawn from the best models. The troop of scurrilous critics, the class of English bagmen, and errant vulgarians of all kinds, and the industriously-blown coals of old hostilities, are barriers which an educated mind may well overlook, and barriers beyond which lie, no doubt, the best examples of true civilization and refinement the world ever saw. But we are getting into an essay when we should be turning down Bruton street, on our way to the Park, with all the fashion of Bond street and May Fair.

May Fair! what a name for the core of dissipated and exclusive London! A name that brings with it only the scent of crushed flowers in a green field, of a pole wreathed with roses, booths crowded with dancing peasant-girls, and nature in its holyday! This—to express the costly, the courtlike, the so called “heartless” precinct of fashion and art, in their most authentic and envied perfection. Mais, les extrêmes se touchent, and, perhaps, there is more nature in May Fair than in Rose Cottage or Honeysuckle Lodge.

We stroll on through Berkeley square, by Chesterfield and Curzon streets to the Park gate. What an aristocratic quiet reigns here! How plain are the exteriors of these houses:—how unexpressive these doors, without a name, of the luxury and high-born pride within! At the open window of the hall sit the butler and footman, reading the morning paper, while they wait to dispense the “not at home” to callers not disappointed. The rooks are noisy in the old trees of Chesterfield house. The painted window-screens of the probably still-slumbering Count D’Orsay, in his bachelor’s den, are closely drawn, and, as we pass Seymour place, a crowd of gay cabs and diplomatic chariots, drawn up before the dark-green door at the farther extremity, announce to you the residence of one whose morning and evening levees are alike thronged by distinction and talent—the beautiful Lady Blessington.

This short turn brings us to the Park, which is rapidly filling with vehicles of every fashion and color, and with pedestrians and horsemen innumerable. No hackney coach, street-cab, cart, or pauper, is allowed to pass the porters at the several gates: the road is macadamised and watered, and the grass within the ring is fresh and verdant. The sun here triumphs partially over the skirt of London smoke, which sways backward and forward over the chimneys of Park lane, and, as far as it is possible so near the dingy halo of the metropolis, the gay occupants of these varied conveyances “take the air.”

Let us stand by the railing a moment, and see what comes by. This is the field of display for the coachman, who sits upon his sumptuous hammercloth, and takes more pride in his horses than their owner, and considers them, if not like his own honor and blood, very like his own property. Watch the delicate handling of his ribands, the affected nonchalance of his air, and see how perfectly, how admirably, how beautifully, move his blood horses, and how steadily and well follows the compact carriage! Within (it is a dark-green calèche, and the liveries are drab, with red edgings) sits the oriental form and bright spiritual face of a banker’s wife, the daughter of a noble race, who might have been, but was not, sacrificed in “marrying into the finance,” and who soars up into the sky of happiness, like the unconscious bird that has escaped the silent arrow of the savage, as if her destiny could not but have been thus fulfilled. Who follows? D’Israeli, alone in his cab; thoughtful, melancholy, disappointed in his political schemes, and undervaluing his literary success, and expressing, in his scholar-like and beautiful profile, as he passes us, both the thirst at his heart and the satiety at his lips. The livery of his “tiger” is neglected, and he drives like a man who has to choose between running and being run against, and takes that which leaves him the most leisure for reflection. Poor D’Israeli! With a kind and generous heart, talents of the most brilliant order, an ambition which consumes his soul, and a father who expects everything from his son; lost for the want of a tact common to understandings fathoms deep below his own, and likely to drive in Hyde Park forty years hence—if he die not of the corrosion of disappointment—no more distinguished than now, and a thousand times more melancholy.[3]

An open barouche follows, drawn by a pair of dark bays, the coachman and footman in suits of plain gray, and no crest on the panels. A lady, of remarkable small person, sits, with the fairest foot ever seen, just peeping from under a cashmere, on the forward cushion, and from under her peculiarly plain and small bonnet burn, in liquid fire, the most lambent and spiritual eyes that night and sleep ever hid from the world. She is a niece of Napoleon, married to an English nobleman; and beside her sits her father, who refused the throne of Tuscany, a noble-looking man, with an expression of calm and tranquil resignation in his face, unusually plain in his exterior, and less alive than most of the gay promenaders to the bright scene passing about him. He will play in the charade at his daughter’s soirée in the evening, however, and forget his exile and his misfortunes; for he is a fond father and a true philosopher.

This picture of D’Israeli as he was, notwithstanding its erroneous prophecy, may not be uninteresting now.


If you dine with all the world at seven, you have, still an hour or more for Hyde Park, and “Rotten Row;” this half mile between Oxford street and Piccadilly, to which the fashion of London confines itself as if the remainder of the bright green Park were forbidden ground, is now fuller than ever. There is the advantage of this condensed drive, that you are sure to see your friends here, earlier or later, in every day—(for wherever you are to go with the horses, the conclusion of the order to the coachman is, “home by the Park”)—and then if there is anything new in the way of an arrival, a pretty foreigner, or a fresh face from the country, some dandy’s tiger leaves his master at the gate, and brings him at his Club, over his coffee, all possible particulars of her name, residence, condition, and whatever other circumstances fall in his way. By dropping in at Lady ——’s soirée in the evening, if you were interested in the face, you may inform yourself of more than you would have drawn in a year’s acquaintance from the subject of your curiosity. Malapropos to my remark, here comes a turn-out, concerning which and its occupant I have made many inquiries in vain—the pale-colored chariot, with a pair of grays, dashing toward us from the Seymour gate. As it comes by you will see, sitting quite in the corner, and in a very languid and elegant attitude, a slight woman of perhaps twenty-four, dressed in the simplest white cottage-bonnet that could be made, and, with her head down, looking up through heavy black eyelashes, as if she but waited till she had passed a particular object, to resume some engrossing revery. Her features are Italian, and her attitude, always the same indolent one, has also a redolence of that land of repose; but there has been an English taste, and no ordinary one, in the arrangement of that equipage and its dependants; and by the expressions, never mistaken in London, of the well-appointed menials, you may be certain that both master and mistress (if master there be,) exact no common deference. She is always alone, and not often seen in the Park; and whenever I have enquired of those likely to know, I found that she had been observed, but could get no satisfactory information. She disappears by the side toward the Regent’s park, and when once out of the gate, her horses are let off at a speed that distances all pursuit that would not attract observation. There is a look of “Who the deuce can it be?” in the faces of all the mounted dandies, wherever she passes, for it is a face which once seen is not easily thought of with indifference, or forgotten. Immense as London is, a woman of anything like extraordinary beauty would find it difficult to live there, incognito, a week; and how this fair incomprehensible has contrived to elude the curiosity of Hyde-park admiration, for nearly two years, is rather a marvel. There she goes, however, and without danger of being arrested for a flying highwayman, you could scarcely follow.

It is getting late, and, as we turn down toward the Clubs, we shall meet the last and most fashionable comers to the Park. Here is a horseman,[4] surrounded with half a dozen of the first young noblemen of England. He rides a light bay horse with dark legs, whose delicate veins are like the tracery of silken threads beneath the gloss of his limbs, and whose small, animated head seems to express the very essence of speed and fire. He is the most beautiful Park horse in England; and behind follows a high-bred milk-white pony, ridden by a small, faultlessly-dressed groom, who sits the spirited and fretting creature as if he anticipated every movement before the fine hoof rose from the ground. He rides admirably, but his master is more of a study. A luxuriance of black curls escapes from the broad rim of a peculiar hat, and forms a relief to the small and sculpture-like profile of a face as perfect, by every rule of beauty, as the Greek Antinous. It would be too feminine but for the muscular neck and broad chest from which the head rises, and the indications of great personal strength in the Herculean shoulders. His loose coat would disguise the proportions of a less admirable figure; but, au reste, his dress is without fold or wrinkle and no figurante of the ballet ever showed finer or more skilfully developed limbs. He is one of the most daring in this country of bold riders; but modifies the stiff English school of equestrianism, with the ease and grace of that of his own country. His manner, though he is rather Anglomane, is in striking contrast to the grave and quiet air of his companions; and between his recognitions, right and left, to the passing promenaders, he laughs and amuses himself with the joyous and thoughtless gayety of a child. Acknowledged by all his acquaintances to possess splendid talents, this “observed of all observers” is a singular instance of a modern Sybarite—content to sacrifice time, opportunity, and the highest advantages of mind and body, to the pleasure of the moment. He seems exempt from all the usual penalties of such a career. Nothing seems to do its usual work on him—care, nor exhaustion, nor recklessness, nor the disapprobation of the heavy-handed opinion of the world. Always gay, always brilliant, ready to embark at any moment, or at any hazard, in anything that will amuse an hour, one wonders how and where such an unwonted meteor will disappear.

But here comes a carriage without hammercloth or liveries—one of those shabby-genteel conveyances, hired by the week, containing three or four persons in the highest spirits, all talking and gesticulating at once. As the carriage passes the “beau-knot,” (as ——, and his inseparable group are sometimes called) one or two of the dandies spur up, and resting their hands on the windows, offer the compliments of the day to the old lady within, with the most earnest looks of admiration. The gentlemen in her company become silent, and answer to the slight bows of the cavaliers with foreign monosyllables, and presently the coachman whips up once more, the horsemen drop off, and the excessive gayety of the party resumes its tone. You must have been struck, as the carriage passed, with the brilliant whiteness and regularity of the lady’s teeth, and still more with the remarkable play of her lips, which move as if the blood in them were imprisoned lightning. (The figure is strong, but nothing else conveys to my own mind what I am trying to describe.) Energy, grace, fire, rapidity, and a capability of utter abandonment to passion and expression, live visibly on those lips. Her eyes are magnificent. Her nose is regular, with nostrils rimmed round with an expansive nerve, that gives them constantly the kind of animation visible in the head of a fiery Arab. Her complexion is one of those which, dark and wanting in brilliance by day, light up at night with an alabaster fairness; and when the glossy black hair, which is now put away so plainly under her simple bonnet, falls over her shoulders in heavy masses, the contrast is radiant. The gentlemen in that carriage are Rubini, Lablache, and a gentleman who passes for the lady’s uncle; and the lady is Julia Grisi.

The smoke over the heart of the city begins to thicken into darkness, the gas lamps are shooting up, bright and star-like, along the Kensington road, and the last promenaders disappear. And now the world of London, the rich and gay portions of it at least, enjoy that which compensates them for the absence of the bright nights and skies of Italy—a climate within doors, of comfort and luxury, unknown under brighter heavens.

Count D’Orsay.


“Instead of parboiling you with a soirée or a dinner,” said a sensible and kind friend, who called on us at Ryde, “I shall make a pic-nic to Netley.” And on a bright, breezy morning of June, a merry party of some twenty of the inhabitants of the green Isle of Wight shot away from the long pier, in one of the swift boats of those waters, with a fair wind for Southampton.

Ryde is the most American-looking town I have seen abroad; a cluster of white houses and summery villas on the side of a hill, leaning up from the sea. Geneva, on the Seneca lake, resembles it. It is a place of baths, boarding-houses, and people of damaged constitutions, with very select society, and quiet and rather primitive habits. The climate is deliciously soft, and the sun seems always to shine there.

As we got out into the open channel, I was assisting the skipper to tighten his bowline, when a beautiful ship, in the distance, putting about on a fresh tack, caught the sun full on her snowy sails, and seemed to start like an apparition from the sea.

“She’s a liner, sir!” said the bronzed boatman, suspending his haul to give her a look of involuntary admiration.

“An American packet, you mean?”

“They’re the prettiest ships afloat, sir,” he continued, “and the smartest handled. They’re out to New York, and back again, before you can look round, a’most. Ah, I see her flag now—stars and stripes. Can you see it, sir?”

“Are the captains Englishmen, principally?” I asked.

“No, sir! all ‘calkylators,’ sharp as a needle!”

“Thank you,” said I; “I am a calculator too!”

The conversation ceased, and I thought from the boatman’s look, that he had more respect than love for us. The cloud of snowy sail traversed the breadth of the channel with the speed of a bird, wheeled again upon her opposite tack, and soon disappeared from view, taking with her the dove of my imagination to return with an olive-branch from home. It must be a cold American heart whose strings are not swept by that bright flag in a foreign land, like a harp with the impassioned prelude of the master.

Cowes was soon upon our lee, with her fairy fleet of yachts lying at anchor—Lord Yarborough’s frigate-looking craft asleep amid its dependent brood, with all its fine tracery of rigging drawn on a cloudless sky, the picture of what it is, and what all vessels seem to me, a thing for pleasure only. Darting about like a swallow on the wing, a small, gayly-painted sloop-yacht, as graceful and slender as the first bow of the new moon, played off the roadstead for the sole pleasure of motion, careless whither; and meantime the low-fringed shores of the Southampton side grew more and more distinct, and before we had well settled upon our cushions, the old tower of the Abbey lay sharp over the bow.

We enjoyed the first ramble through the ruins the better, that to see them was a secondary object. The first was to select a grassy spot for our table. Threading the old unroofed vaults with this errand, the pause of involuntary homage exacted by a sudden burst upon an arch or a fretted window, was natural and true; and for those who are disturbed by the formal and trite enthusiasm of companions who admire by a prompter, this stalking-horse of another pursuit was not an indifferent advantage.

The great roof over the principal nave of the Abbey has fallen in, and lies in rugged and picturesque masses within the Gothic shell—windows, arches, secret staircases, and gray walls, all breaking up the blue sky around, but leaving above, for a smooth and eternal roof, an oblong and ivy-fringed segment of the blue plane of heaven. It seems to rest on those crumbling corners as you stand within.

We selected a rising bank under the shoulder of a rock, grown over with moss and ivy, and following the suggestion of a pretty lover of the picturesque, the shawls and cloaks, with their bright colors, were thrown over the nearest fragments of the roof, and every body unbonneted and assisted in the arrangements. An old woman who sold apples outside the walls was employed to built a fire for our teakettle in a niche where, doubtless, in its holier days, had stood the effigy of a saint; and at the pedestals of a cluster of slender columns our attendants displayed upon a table a show of pasties and bright wines, that, if there be monkish spirits who walk at Netley, we have added a poignant regret to their purgatories, that their airy stomachs can be no more vino ciboque gravati.

We were doing justice to a pretty shoulder of lamb, with mint sauce, when a slender youth, who had been wandering around with a portfolio, took up an artist’s position in the farther corner of the ruins, and began to sketch the scene. I mentally felicitated him on the accident that had brought him to Netley at that particular moment, for a prettier picture than that before him an artist could scarce have thrown together. The inequalities of the floor of the Abbey provided a mossy table for every two or three of the gayly-dressed ladies, and there they reclined in small and graceful groups, their white dresses relieved on the luxuriant grass, and between them, half-buried in moss, the sparkling glasses full of bright wines, and an air of ease and grace over all, which could belong only to the two extremes of Arcadian simplicity, or its high bred imitation. We amused ourselves with the idea of appearing, some six months after, in the middle ground of a landscape, in a picturesque annual; and I am afraid that I detected, on the first suggestion of the idea, a little unconscious attitudinizing in some of the younger members of the party. It was proposed that the artist should be invited to take wine with us; but as a rosy-cheeked page donned his gold hat to carry our compliments, the busy draughtsman was joined by one or two ladies not quite so attractive-looking as himself, but evidently of his own party, and our messenger was recalled. Sequitur—they who would find adventure should travel alone.

The monastic ruins of England derive a very peculiar and touching beauty from the bright veil of ivy which almost buries them from the sun. This constant and affectionate mourner draws from the moisture of the climate a vividness and luxuriance which is found in no other land. Hence the remarkable loveliness of Netley—a quality which impresses the visiters to this spot, far more than the melancholy usually inspired by decay.

Our gayety shocked some of the sentimental people rambling about the ruins, for it is difficult for those who have not dined to sympathize with the mirth of those who have. How often we mistake for sadness the depression of an empty stomach! How differently authors and travellers would write, if they commenced the day, instead of ending it, with meats and wine! I was led to these reflections by coming suddenly upon a young lady and her companion (possibly her lover,) in climbing a ruined staircase sheathed within the wall of the Abbey. They were standing at one of the windows, quite unconscious of my neighborhood, and looking down upon the gay party of ladies below, who were still amid the débris of the feast arranging their bonnets for a walk.

“What a want of soul,” said the lady, “to be eating and drinking in such a place!”

Some people have no souls,” responded the gentleman.

After this verdict, I thought the best thing I could do was to take care of my body, and I very carefully backed down the old staircase, which is probably more hazardous now than in the days when it was used to admit damsels and haunches of venison to the reverend fathers.

I reached the bottom in safety, and informed my friends that they had no souls, but they manifested the usual unconcern on the subject, and strolled away through the echoing arches, in search of new points of view and fresh wild-flowers. “Commend me at least,” I thought, as I followed on, “to those whose pulses can be quickened even by a cold pie and a glass of champagne. Sadness and envy are sown thickly enough by the wayside.”

We were embarked once more by the middle of the afternoon, and with a head wind, but smooth water and cool temperature, beat back to Ryde. If the young lady and her lover have forgiven or forgotten us, and the ghosts of Netley, frocked or petticoated, have taken no umbrage, I have not done amiss in marking the day with a stone of the purest white. How much more sensible is a party like this in the open air, and at healthy hours, than the untimely and ceremonious civilities usually paid to strangers. If the world would mend by moralising, however, we should have had a Utopia long ago.


One of Hazlitt’s nail-driving remarks is to the effect that he should like very well to pass the whole of his life in travelling, if he could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterward at home. How far action is necessary to happiness, and how far repose—how far the appetite for novelty and adventure will drive, and how far the attractions of home and domestic comfort will recall us—in short, what are the precise exactions of the antagonist principles in our bosoms of curiosity and sloth, energy and sufferance, hope and memory—are questions which each one must settle for himself, and which none can settle but he who has passed his life in the eternal and fruitless search after the happiest place, climate, and station.

Contentment depends upon many things within our own control, but, with a certain education it depends partly upon things beyond it. To persons delicately constituted or delicately brought up, and to all idle persons, the principal ingredient of the cup of enjoyment is climate; and Providence, that consults “the greatest happiness of the greatest number,” has made the poor and the roughly-nurtured independent of the changes of the wind. Those who have the misfortune to be delicate as well as poor—those, particularly, for whom there is no hope but in a change of clime, but whom pitiless poverty compels to languish in vain after the reviving south, are happily few; but they have thus much more than their share of human calamity.

In throwing together my recollections of the climates with which I have become acquainted in other lands, I am aware that there is a greater difference of opinion on this subject than on most others. A man who has agreeable society about him in Montreal, but who was without friends in Florence, would be very likely to bring the climate in for its share of the difference, and prefer Canada to Italy; and health and circumstances of all kinds affect, in no slight degree, our susceptibility to skies and atmosphere. But it is sometimes interesting to know the impressions of others, even though they agree not with our own; and I will only say of mine on this subject, that they are so far likely to be fair, as I have been blessed with the same perfect health in all countries, and have been happy alike in every latitude and season.

It is almost a matter of course to decry the climate of England. The English writers themselves talk of suicidal months; and it is the only country where part of the livery of a mounted groom is his master’s great-coat strapped about his waist. It is certainly a damp climate, and the sun shines less in England than in most other countries. But to persons of full habit this moisture in the air is extremely agreeable; and the high condition of all animals in England, from man downward, proves its healthfulness. A stranger who has been accustomed to a brighter sky, will, at first, find a gloom in the gray light so characteristic of an English atmosphere; but this soon wears off, and he finds a compensation, as far as the eye is concerned, in the exquisite softness of the verdure, and the deep and enduring brightness of the foliage. The effect of this moisture on the skin is singularly grateful. The pores become accustomed to a healthy action, which is unknown in other countries; and the bloom by which an English complexion is known all over the world is the index of an activity in this important part of the system, which, when first experienced, is almost like a new sensation. The transition to a dry climate, such as ours, deteriorates the condition and quality of the skin, and produces a feeling, if I may so express it, like that of being glazed. It is a common remark in England that an officer’s wife and daughters follow his regiment to Canada at the expense of their complexions; and it is a well-known fact that the bloom of female beauty is, in our country, painfully evanescent.

The climate of America is, in many points, very different from that of France and Great Britain. In the middle and northern states, it is a dry, invigorating, and bracing climate, in which a strong man may do more work than in almost any other, and which makes continual exercise, or occupation of some sort, absolutely necessary. With the exception of the “Indian summer,” and here and there a day scattered through the spring and the hot months, there is no weather tempered so finely, that one would think of passing the day in merely enjoying it, and life is passed, by those who have the misfortune to be idle, in continual and active dread of the elements. The cold is so acrid, and the heat so sultry, and the changes from one to the other are so violent, that no enjoyment can be depended upon out-of-doors, and no system of clothing or protection is good for a day together. He who has full occupation for head and hand (as by far the greatest majority of our countrymen have) may live as long in America as in any portion of the globe—vide the bills of mortality. He whose spirits lean upon the temperature of the wind, or whose nerves require a genial and constant atmosphere, may find more favorable climes; and the habits and delicate constitutions of scholars and people of sedentary pursuits generally, in the United States, prove the truth of the observation.

The habit of regular exercise in the open air, which is found to be so salutary in England, is scarcely possible in America. It is said, and said truly, of the first, that there is no day in the year when a lady may not ride comfortably on horseback—but with us, the extremes of heat and cold, and the tempestuous character of our snows and rains, totally forbid, to a delicate person, anything like regularity in exercise. The consequence is, that the habit rarely exists, and the high and glowing health so common in England, and consequent, no doubt, upon the equable character of the climate in some measure, is with us sufficiently rare to excite remark. “Very English-looking,” is a common phrase, and means very healthy-looking. Still our people last—and though I should define the English climate as the one in which the human frame is in the highest condition, I should say of America, that it is the one in which you could get the most work out of it.

Atmosphere, in England and America, is the first of the necessaries of life. In Italy, it is the first of its luxuries. We breathe in America, and walk abroad, without thinking of these common acts but as a means of arriving at happiness. In Italy, to breathe and to walk abroad are themselves happiness. Day after day—week after week—month after month—you wake with the breath of flowers coming in at your open window, and a sky of serene and unfathomable blue, and mornings and evenings of tranquil, assured, heavenly purity and beauty. The few weeks of the rainy season are forgotten in these long halcyon months of sunshine. No one can have lived in Italy a year, who remembers anything but the sapphire sky and the kindling and ever-seen stars. You grow insensibly to associate the sunshine and the moonlight only with the fountain you have lived near, or the columns of the temple you have seen from your window, for on no objects in other lands have you seen their light so constant.

I scarce know how to convey, in language, the effect of the climate of Italy on mind and body. Sitting here, indeed, in the latitude of thirty-nine, in the middle of April, by a warm fire, and with a cold wind whistling at the window, it is difficult to recall it, even to the fancy. I do not know whether life is prolonged, but it is infinitely enriched and brightened, by the delicious atmosphere of Italy. You rise in the morning, thanking Heaven for life and liberty to go abroad. There is a sort of opiate in the air, which makes idleness, that would be the vulture of Prometheus in America, the dove of promise in Italy. It is delicious to do nothing—delicious to stand an hour looking at a Savoyard and his monkey—delicious to sit away the long, silent noon, in the shade of a column, or on the grass of a fountain—delicious to be with a friend without the interchange of an idea—to dabble in a book or look into the cup of a flower. You do not read, for you wish to enjoy the weather. You do not visit, for you hate to enter a door while the weather is so fine. You lie down unwillingly for your siesta in the hot noon, for you fear you may oversleep the first coolness of the long shadows of sunset. The fancy, meantime, is free, and seems liberated by the same languor that enervates the severer faculties; and nothing seems fed by the air but thoughts, which minister to enjoyment.

The climate of Greece is very much that of Italy. The Mediterranean is all beloved of the sun. Life has a value there, of which the rheumatic, shivering, snow breasting, blue-devilled idler of northern regions has no shadow, even in a dream. No wonder Dante mourned and languished for it. No wonder at the sentiment I once heard from distinguished lips—Fuori d’Italia tutto e esilio.

This appears like describing a Utopia; but it is what Italy seemed to me. I have expressed myself much more to my mind, however, in rhyme, for a prose essay is, at best, but a cold medium.


“One-p’un’-five outside, sir, two p’un’ in.”

It was a bright, calm afternoon in September, promising nothing but a morrow of sunshine and autumn, when I stepped in at the “White Horse Cellar,” in Piccadilly, to take my place in the Tantivy coach for Stratford-on-Avon. Preferring the outside of the coach, at least by as much as the difference in the prices, and accustomed from long habit to pay dearest for that which most pleased me, I wrote myself down for the outside, and deposited my two pounds in the horny palm of the old ex-coachman, retired from the box, and playing clerk in this dingy den of parcels and portmanteaus. Supposing my business concluded, I stood a minute speculating on the weather-beaten, cramp-handed old Jehu before me, and trying to reconcile his ideas of “retirement from office” with those of his almost next door neighbor, the hero of Strathfield-Saye.

I had mounted the first stair toward daylight, when a touch on the shoulder with the end of a long whip—a technical “reminder,” which probably came easier to the old driver than the phrasing of a sentence to a “gemman”—recalled me to the cellar.

“Fifteen shillin’, sir,” said he laconically, pointing with the same expressive exponent of his profession to the change for my outside place, which I had left lying on the counter.

“You are at least as honest as the Duke,” I soliloquised as I pocketed the six bright and substantial half-crowns.

I was at the “White Horse Cellar” again the following morning at six, promising myself with great sincerity never to rely again on the constancy of an English sky. It rained in torrents. The four inside places were all taken, and with twelve fellow outsides, I mounted to the wet seat, and begging a little straw by way of cushion from the ostler, spread my umbrella, abandoned my knees with a single effort of mind to the drippings of the driver’s weather-proof upper Benjamin, and away we sped. I was “due” at the house of a hospitable Catholic Baronet, a hundred and two miles from London, at the dinner hour of that day, and to wait till it had done raining in England is to expect the millennium.

London in the morning—I mean the poor man’s morning, daylight—is to me matter for the most speculative and intense melancholy. Hyde park in the sunshine of a bright afternoon, glittering with equipages, and gay with the Aladdin splendors of rank and wealth, is a scene which sends the mercurial qualities of the blood trippingly through the veins. But Hyde park at daylight seen from Piccadilly through fog and rain, is perhaps, of all contrasts, to one who has frequented it in its bright hours, the most dispiriting and dreary. To remember that behind the barricaded and wet windows of Apsley house sleeps the hero of Waterloo—that under these crowded and fog-wrapped houses lie, in their dim chambers breathing of perfume and luxury, the high-born and nobly-moulded creatures who preserve for the aristocracy of England the palm of the world’s beauty—to remember this, and a thousand other associations linked with the spot, is not at all to diminish, but rather to deepen, the melancholy of the picture. Why is it that the deserted stage of a theatre, the echo of an empty ball-room, the loneliness of a frequented promenade in untimely hours—any scene, in short, of gayety gone by but remembered—oppresses and dissatisfies the heart! One would think memory should re-brighten and re-populate such places.

The wheels hissed through the shallow pools in the Macadam road, the regular pattering of the small hoofs in the wet carriage-tracks maintained its quick and monotonous beat on the ear; the silent driver kept his eye on the traces, and “reminded” now and then with but the weight of his slight lash a lagging wheeler or leader, and the complicated but compact machine of which the square foot that I occupied had been so nicely calculated, sped on its ten miles in the hour with the steadfastness of a star in its orbit, and as independent of clouds and rain.

Est ce que monsieur parle François?” asked at the end of the first stage my right-hand neighbor, a little gentleman, of whom I had hitherto only remarked that he was holding on to the iron railing of the seat with great tenacity.

Having admitted in an evil moment that I had been in France, I was first distinctly made to understand that my neighbor was on his way to Birmingham purely for pleasure, and without the most distant object of business—a point on which he insisted so long, and recurred to so often, that he succeeded at last in persuading me that he was doubtless a candidate for the French clerkship of some exporter of buttons. After listening to an amusing dissertation on the rashness of committing one’s life to an English stage-coach with scarce room enough for the perch of a parrot, and a velocity so diablement dangereux, I tired of my Frenchman; and, since I could not have my own thoughts in peace, opened a conversation with a straw-bonnet and shawl on my left—the property, I soon discovered, of a very smart lady’s maid, very indignant at having been made to change places with Master George, who, with his mother and her mistress, were dry and comfortable inside. She “would not have minded the outside place,” she said, “for there were sometimes very agreeable gentlemen on the outside, very!—but she had been promised to go inside, and had dressed accordingly; and it was very provoking to spoil a nice new shawl and best bonnet, just because a great school-boy, that had nothing on that would damage, chose not to ride in the rain.”

“Very provoking, indeed!” I responded, letting in the rain upon myself unconsciously, in extending my umbrella forward so as to protect her on the side of the wind.

We should have gone down in the carriage, sir,” she continued, edging a little closer to get the full advantage of my umbrella; “but John the coachman has got the hinfluenzy, and my missis wo’n’t be driven by no other coachman; she’s as obstinate as a mule, sir. And that isn’t all I could tell, sir; but I scorns to hurt the character of one of my own sex.” And the pretty abigail pursed up her red lips, and looked determined not to destroy her mistress’s character—unless particularly requested.

I detest what may be called a proper road-book—even would it be less absurd than it is to write one on a country so well conned as England.

I shall say nothing, therefore, of Marlow, which looked the picture of rural loveliness though seen through fog, nor of Oxford, of which all I remember is that I dined there with my teeth chattering, and my knees saturated with rain. All England is lovely to the wild eye of an American unused to high cultivation; and though my enthusiasm was somewhat damp, I arrived at the bridge over the Avon, blessing England sufficiently for its beauty, and much more for the speed of its coaches.

The Avon, above and below the bridge, ran brightly along between low banks, half sward, half meadow; and on the other side lay the native town of the immortal wool-comber—a gay cheerful-looking village, narrowing in the centre to a closely-built street, across which swung, broad and fair, the sign of the “Red horse.” More ambitious hotels lay beyond, and broader streets; but while Washington Irving is remembered (and that will be while the language lasts,) the quiet inn in which the great Geoffrey thought and wrote of Shakspere will be the altar of the pilgrim’s devotions.

My baggage was set down, the coachman and guard tipped their hats for a shilling, and, chilled to the bone, I raised my hat instinctively to the courtesy of a slender gentlewoman in black, who, by the keys at her girdle should be the landlady. Having expected to see a rosy little Mrs. Boniface, with a brown pinafore and worsted mittens, I made up my mind at once that the inn had changed mistresses. On the right of the old-fashioned entrance blazed cheerily the kitchen fire, and with my enthusiasm rather dashed by my disappointment, I stepped in to make friends with the cook, and get a little warmth and information.

“So your old mistress is dead, Mrs. Cook,” said I rubbing my hands with great satisfaction between the fire and a well-roasted chicken.

“Lauk, sir, no, she isn’t!” answered the rosy lass, pointing with a dredging-box to the same respectable lady in black who was just entering to look after me.

“I beg pardon, sir,” she said, dropping a courtesy; “but are you the gentleman expected by Sir Charles ——?”

“Yes, madam. And can you tell me anything of your predecessor who had the inn in the days of Washington Irving?”

She dropped another courtesy and drew up her thin person to its full height, while a smile of gratified vanity stole out at the corners of her mouth.

“The carriage has been waiting some time for you, sir,” she said, with a softer tone than that in which she had hitherto addressed me; “and you will hardly be at C—— in time for dinner. You will be coming over to-morrow or the day after, perhaps, sir; and then, if you would honor my little room by taking a cup of tea with me, I should be pleased to tell you all about it, sir.”

I remembered a promise I had nearly forgotten, that I would reserve my visit to Stratford till I could be accompanied by Miss Jane Porter, whom I was to have the honor of meeting at my place of destination; and promising an early acceptance of the kind landlady’s invitation, I hurried on to my appointment over the fertile hills of Warwickshire.

I was established in one of those old Elizabethan country-houses, which, with their vast parks, their self-sufficing resources of subsistence and company, and the absolute deference shown on all sides to the lord of the manor, give one the impression rather of a little kingdom with a castle in its heart, than of an abode for a gentleman subject. The house itself, (called, like most houses of this size and consequence in Warwickshire, a “Court,”) was a Gothic, half-castellated square, with four round towers, and innumerable embrasures and windows; two wings in front, probably more modern than the body of the house, and again two long wings extending to the rear, at right angles, and enclosing a flowery and formal parterre. There had been a trench about it, now filled up, and at a short distance from the house stood a polyangular and massive structure, well calculated for defence, and intended as a stronghold for the retreat of the family and tenants in more troubled times. One of these rear wings enclosed a catholic chapel, for the worship of the Baronet and those of his tenants who professed the same faith; while on the northern side, between the house and the garden, stood a large protestant stone church, with a turret and spire, both chapel and church, with their clergyman and priest, dependant on the estate, and equally favored by the liberal and high-minded baronet. The tenantry formed two considerable congregations, and lived and worshipped side by side, with the most perfect harmony—an instance of real Christianity, in my opinion, which the angels of heaven might come down to see. A lovely rural grave-yard for the lord and tenants, and a secluded lake below the garden, in which hundreds of wild ducks swam and screamed unmolested, completed the outward features of C—— court.

There are noble houses in England, with a door communicating from the dining room to the stables, that the master and his friends may see their favorites, after dinner, without exposure to the weather. In the place of this rather bizarre luxury, the oak-panelled and spacious dining-hall of C—— is on a level with the organ loft of the chapel, and when the cloth is removed, the large door between is thrown open, and the noble instrument pours the rich and thrilling music of vespers through the rooms. When the service is concluded, and the lights on the altar extinguished, the blind organist (an accomplished musician, and a tenant on the estate) continues his voluntaries in the dark until the hall-door informs him of the retreat of the company to the drawing-room. There is not only refinement and luxury in this beautiful arrangement, but food for the soul and heart.

I chose my room from among the endless vacant but equally luxurious chambers of the rambling old house; my preference solely directed by the portrait of a nun, one of the family in ages gone by—a picture full of melancholy beauty, which hung opposite the window. The face was distinguished by all that in England marks the gentlewoman of ancient and pure descent; and while it was a woman with the more tender qualities of her sex breathing through her features, it was still a lofty and sainted sister, true to her cross, and sincere in her vows and seclusion. It was the work of a master, probably Vandyke, and a picture in which the most solitary man would find company and communion. On the other walls, and in most of the other rooms and corridors, were distributed portraits of the gentlemen and soldiers of the family, most of them bearing some resemblance to the nun, but differing, as brothers in those wild times may be supposed to have differed from the gentle creatures of the same blood, nursed in the privacy of peace.


One of the first visits in the neighborhood was naturally to Stratford-on-Avon. It lay some ten miles south of us, and I drove down, with the distinguished literary friend I have before mentioned, in the carriage of our kind host, securing, by the presence of his servants and equipage, a degree of respect and attention which would not have been accorded to us in our simple character of travellers. The prim mistress of the “Red Horse,” in her close black bonnet and widow’s weeds, received us at the door with a deeper courtesy than usual, and a smile of less wintry formality; and proposing to dine at the inn, and “suck the brain” of the hostess more at our leisure, we started immediately for the house of the wool-comber—the birthplace of Shakspere.

Stratford should have been forbidden ground to builders, masons, shopkeepers, and generally to all people of thrift and whitewash. It is now rather a smart town, with gay calicoes, shawls of the last pattern, hardware, and millinery, exhibited in all their splendor down the widened and newer streets;—and though here and there remains a gloomy and inconvenient abode, which looks as if Shakspere might have taken shelter under its eaves, the gayer features of the town have the best of it, and flaunt their gaudy and unrespected newness in the very windows of that immortal birthplace. I stepped into a shop to inquire the way to it.

Shiksper’s ’ouse, sir? Yes, sir!” said a dapper clerk, with his hair astonished into the most impossible directions by force of brushing; “keep to the right, sir! Shiksper lived in the wite ’ouse, sir—the ’ouse, you see beyond, with the windy swung up, sir.”

A low, old-fashioned house, with a window suspended on a hinge, newly whitewashed and scrubbed, stood a little up the street. A sign over the door informed us in an inflated paragraph, that the immortal Will Shakspere was born under this roof, and that an old woman within would show it to us for a consideration. It had been used until very lately, I had been told, for a butcher’s shop.

A “garrulous old lady” met us at the bottom of the narrow stair leading to the second floor, and began—not to say anything of Shakspere—but to show us the names of Byron, Moore, Rogers, &c., written among thousands of others, on the wall! She had worn out Shakspere! She had told that story till she was tired of it! or (what, perhaps, is more probable) most people who go there fall to reading the names of the visiters so industriously, that she has grown to think some of Shakspere’s pilgrims greater than Shakspeare.

“Was this old oaken chest here in the days of Shakspere, madam?” I asked.

“Yes, sir, and here’s the name of Byron, with a capital B. Here’s a curiosity, sir.”

“And this small wooden box?”

“Made of Shakspere’s mulberry, sir. I had sich a time about that box, sir. Two young gemmen were here the other day—just run up, while the coach was changing horses, to see the house. As soon as they were gone I misses my box. Off scuds my son to the ‘Red Horse,’ and there they sat on the top looking as innocent as may be. ‘Stop the coach,’ says my son. ‘What do you want?’ says the driver. ‘My mother’s mulberry box—Shakspere’s mulberry box!—One of them ’ere young men’s got it in his pocket.’ And true enough, sir, one on ’em had the imperence to take it out of his pocket, and fling it into my son’s face: and you know the coach never stops a minnit for nothing, or he’d a’ smarted for it.”

Spirit of Shakspere! dost thou not sometimes walk alone in this humble chamber! Must one’s inmost soul be fretted and frighted always from its devotion by an abominable old woman? Why should not such lucrative occupations be given in charity to the deaf and dumb? The pointing of a finger were enough in such spots of earth!

I sat down in despair to look over the book of visiters, trusting that she would tire of my inattention. As it was no use to point out names to those who would not look, however, she commenced a long story of an American who had lately taken the whim to sleep in Shakspere’s birthplace. She had shaken him down a bed on the floor, and he had passed the night there. It seemed to bother her to comprehend why two-thirds of her visiters should be Americans—a circumstance that was abundantly proved by the books.

It was only when we were fairly in the street, that I began to realize that I had seen one of the most glorious altars of memory—that deathless Will Shakspere, the mortal, who was, perhaps (not to speak profanely) next to his Maker, in the divine faculty of creation, first saw the light through the low lattice on which we turned back to look.

The single window of the room in which Scott died at Abbotsford, and this in the birth-chamber of Shakspere, have seemed to me almost marked with the touch of the fire of those great souls—for I think we have an instinct which tells us on the spot where mighty spirits have come or gone, that they came and went with the light of heaven.

We walked down the street to see the house where Shakspere lived on his return to Stratford. It stands at the corner of a lane, not far from the church where he was buried, and is a newish un-Shaksperian looking place—no doubt, if it be indeed the same house, most profanely and considerably altered. The present proprietor or occupant of the house or site took upon himself some time since the odium of cutting down the famous mulberry tree planted by the poet’s hand in the garden.

I forgot to mention in the beginning of these notes that two or three miles before coming to Stratford we passed through Shottery, where Anne Hathaway lived. A nephew of the excellent baronet whose guests we were occupies the house. I looked up and down the green lanes about it, and glanced my eye round upon the hills over which the sun has continued to set and the moon to rise in her love inspiring beauty ever since. There were doubtless outlines in the landscape which had been followed by the eye of Shakespere when coming, a trembling lover, to Shottery—doubtless, teints in the sky, crops on the fields, smoke-wreaths from the old homesteads on the high hill-sides which are little altered now. How daringly imagination plucks back the past in such places! How boldly we ask of fancy and probability the thousand questions we would put, if we might, to the magic mirror of Agrippa? Did that great mortal love timidly, like ourselves? Was the passionate outpouring of his heart simple, and suited to the humble condition of Anne Hathaway, or was it the first fiery coinage of Romeo and Othello? Did she know the immortal honor and light poured upon woman by the love of genius? Did she know how this common and oftenest terrestrial passion becomes fused in the poet’s bosom with celestial fire, and, in its wondrous elevation and purity, ascends lambently and musically to the very stars? Did she coy it with him? Was she a woman to him, as commoner mortals find woman—capricious, tender, cruel, intoxicating, cold—everything by changes impossible to calculate or foresee? Did he walk home to Stratford, sometimes, despairing, in perfect sick heartedness, of her affection, and was he recalled by a message or a lover’s instinct to find her weeping and passionately repentant?

How natural it is by such questions and speculations to betray our innate desire to bring the lofty spirits of our common mould to our own inward level—to seek analogies between our affections, passions, appetites, and theirs—to wish they might have been no more exalted, no more fervent, no more worthy of the adorable love of woman than ourselves! The same temper that prompts the depreciation, the envy, the hatred, exercised toward the poet in his lifetime, mingles, not inconsiderably, in the researches so industriously prosecuted after his death into his youth and history. To be admired in this world, and much more to be beloved for higher qualities than his fellow-men, insures to genius not only to be persecuted in life, but to be ferreted out with all his frailties and imperfections from the grave.

The church in which Shakspere is buried stands near the banks of the Avon, and is a most picturesque and proper place of repose for his ashes. An avenue of small trees and vines, ingeniously overlaced, extends from the street to the principal door, and the interior is broken up into that confused and accidental medley of tombs, pews, cross-lights, and pillars, for which the old churches of England are remarkable. The tomb and effigy of the great poet lie in an inner chapel, and are as described in every traveller’s book. I will not take up room with the repetition.

It gives one an odd feeling to see the tomb of his wife and daughter beside him. One does not realize before, that Shakspere had wife, children, kinsmen, like other men—that there were those who had a right to lie in the same tomb; to whom he owed the charities of life; whom he may have benefited or offended; who may have influenced materially his destiny, or he theirs; who were the inheritors of his household goods, his wardrobe, his books—people who looked on him—on Shakspere—as a landholder, a renter of a pew, a townsman; a relative, in short, who had claims upon them, not for the eternal homage due to celestial inspiration, but for the charity of shelter and bread had he been poor, for kindness and ministry had he been sick, for burial and the tears of natural affection when he died. It is painful and embarrassing to the mind to go to Stratford—to reconcile the immortality and the incomprehensible power of genius like Shakspere’s, with the space, tenement, and circumstance of a man! The poet should be like the sea-bird, seen only on the wing—his birth, his slumber, and his death, mysteries alike.

I had stipulated with the hostess that my baggage should be put into the chamber occupied by Washington Irving. I was shown into it to dress for dinner—a small neat room, a perfect specimen, in short, of an English bedroom, with snow-white curtains, a looking-glass the size of the face, a well-polished grate and poker, a well-fitted carpet, and as much light as heaven permits to the climate.

Our dinner for two was served in a neat parlor on the same floor—an English inn dinner—simple, neat and comfortable, in the sense of that word unknown in other countries. There was just fire enough in the grate, just enough for two in the different dishes, a servant who was just enough in the room, and just civil enough—in short, it was, like everything else in that country of adaptation and fitness, just what was ordered and wanted, and no more.

The evening turned out stormy, and the rain pattered merrily against the windows. The shutters were closed, the fire blazed up with new brightness, the well-fitted wax lights were set on the table; and when the dishes were removed, we replaced the wine with a tea-tray, and Miss Porter sent for the hostess to give us her company and a little gossip over our cups.

Nothing could be more nicely understood and defined than the manner of English hostesses generally in such situations, and of Mrs. Gardiner particularly in this. Respectful without servility, perfectly sure of the propriety of her own manner and mode of expression, yet preserving in every look and word the proper distinction between herself and her guests, she insured from them that kindness and ease of communication which would make a long evening of social conversation pass, not only without embarrassment on either side, but with mutual pleasure and gratification.

“I have brought up, mem,” she said, producing a well-polished poker from under her black apron, before she took the chair set for her at the table—“I have brought up a relic for you to see, that no money would buy from me.”

She turned it over in my hand, and I read on one of the flat sides at the bottom—“geoffrey crayon’s sceptre.”

“Do you remember Mr. Irving,” asked my friend, “or have you supposed, since reading his sketch of Stratford-on-Avon that the gentleman in number three might be the person?”

The hostess drew up her thin figure, and the expression of a person about to compliment herself stole into the corners of her mouth.

“Why, you see, mem, I am very much in the habit of observing my guests, and I think I may say I knows a superior gentleman when I sees him. If you remember, mem,” (and she took down from the mantle-piece a much-worn copy of the Sketch-Book,) “Geoffrey Crayon tells the circumstance of my stepping in when it was getting late, and asking if he had rung. I knows it by that, and then the gentleman I mean was an American, and I think, mem, besides,” (and she hesitated a little, as if she was about to advance an original and rather venturesome opinion)—“I think I can see that gentleman’s likeness all through this book.”

A truer remark or a more just criticism was perhaps never made on the Sketch-Book. We smiled, and Mrs. Gardiner proceeded:—

“I was in and out of the coffee room the night he arrived, mem, and I sees directly by his modest ways and timid look that he was a gentleman, and not fit company for the other travellers. They were all young men, sir, and business travellers, and you know, mem, ignorance takes the advantage of modest merit, and after their dinner they were very noisy and rude. So, I says to Sarah, the chambermaid, says I, ‘That nice gentleman can’t get near the fire, and you go and light a fire in number three, and he shall sit alone, and it shan’t cost him nothing, for I like the look on him.’ Well, mem, he seemed pleased to be alone, and after his tea, he puts his legs up over the grate, and there he sits with the poker in his hand till ten o’clock. The other travellers went to bed, and at last the house was as still as midnight, all but a poke in the grate now and then in number three, and every time I heard it, I jumped up and lit a bed-candle, for I was getting very sleepy, and I hoped he was getting up to ring for a light. Well, mem, I nodded and nodded, and still no ring at the bell. At last I says to Sarah, says I, ‘Go into number three, and upset something, for I am sure that gentleman has fallen asleep.’—‘La, ma’am,’ says Sarah,’I don’t dare.’ ‘Well, then,’ says I, ‘I’ll go.’ So I opens the door, and I says, ‘If you please, sir, did you ring?’—little thinking that question would ever be written down in such a beautiful book, mem. He sat with his feet on the fender poking the fire, and a smile on his face, as if some pleasant thought was in his mind. ‘No, ma’am,’ says he, ‘I did not.’ I shuts the door, and sits down again, for I hadn’t the heart to tell him that it was late, for he was a gentleman not to speak rudely to, mem. Well, it was past twelve o’clock when the bell did ring. ‘There,’ says I to Sarah, ‘thank Heaven he has done thinking, and we can go to bed.’ So he walked up stairs with his light, and the next morning he was up early and off to the Shakspere house, and he brings me home a box of the mulberry tree, and asks me if I thought it was genuine, and said it was for his mother in America. And I loved him still more for that, and I’m sure I prayed she might live to see him return.”

“I believe she did, Mrs. Gardiner; but how soon after did you set aside the poker?”

“Why, sir, you see there’s a Mr. Vincent that comes here sometimes, and he says to me one day—‘So, Mrs. Gardiner, you’re finely immortalized. Read that.’ So the minnit I read it, I remembered who it was, and all about it, and I runs and gets the number three poker, and locks it up safe and sound, and by-and-by I sends it to Brummagem, and has his name engraved on it, and here you see it, sir—and I wouldn’t take no money for it.”

I had never the honor to meet or know Mr. Irving, and I evidently lost ground with the hostess of the “Red Horse” for that misfortune. I delighted her, however, with the account which I had seen in a late newspaper, of his having shot a buffalo in the prairies of the west; and she soon courtesied herself out, and left me to the delightful society of the distinguished lady who had accompanied me. Among all my many loiterings in many lands, I remember none more intellectually pure and gratifying, than this at Stratford-on-Avon. My sleep, in the little bed consecrated by the slumbers of the immortal Geoffrey, was sweet and light; and I write myself his debtor for a large share of the pleasure which genius like his lavishes on the world.


Once more posting through Shottery and Stratford-on-Avon, on the road to Kenilworth and Warwick, I felt a pleasure in becoming an habitué in Shakspere’s town—it being recognized by the Stratford post-boys, known at the Stratford inn, and remembered at the toll-gates. It is pleasant to be welcomed by name anywhere; but at Stratford-on-Avon, it is a recognition by those whose fathers or predecessors were the companions of Shakspere’s frolics. Every fellow in a slouched hat—every idler on a tavern bench—every saunterer with a dog at his heels on the highway—should be a deer-stealer from Charlecote. You would almost ask him, “Was Will Shakspere with you last night?”

The Lucys still live at Charlecote, immortalized by a varlet poacher who was tried before old Sir Thomas for stealing a buck. They have drawn an apology from Walter Savage Landor for making too free with the family history, under cover of an imaginary account of the trial. I thought, as we drove along in sight of the fine old hall, with its broad park and majestic trees—very much as it stood in the days of Sir Thomas, I believe—that most probably the descendants of the old justice look even now upon Shakspere more as an offender against the game-laws than as a writer of immortal plays. I venture to say, it would be bad tact in a visiter to Charlecote to felicitate the family on the honor of possessing a park in which Shakspere had stolen deer—to show more interest in seeing the hall in which he was tried than in the family portraits.

On the road which I was travelling (from Stratford to Charlecote) Shakspere had been dragged as a culprit. What were his feelings before Sir Thomas? He felt, doubtless, as every possessor of the divine fire of genius must feel, when brought rudely in contact with his fellow-men, that he was too much their superior to be angry. The humor in which he has drawn Justice Shallow proves abundantly that he was more amused than displeased with his own trial. But was there no vexation at the moment? A reflection, it might be, from the estimate of his position in the minds of those who were about him—who looked on him simply as a stealer of so much venison. Did he care for Anne Hathaway’s opinion then?

How little did Sir Thomas Lucy understand the relation between Judge and culprit on that trial! How little did he dream he was sitting for his picture to the pestilent varlet at the bar; that the deer-stealer could better afford to forgive him than he the deer-stealer! Genius forgives, or rather forgets, all wrongs done in ignorance of its immortal presence. Had Ben Jonson made a wilful jest on a line in his new play, it would have rankled longer than fine and imprisonment for deer-stealing. Those who crowd back and trample upon men of genius in the common walk of life; who cheat them, misrepresent them, take advantage of their inattention or their generosity in worldly matters, are sometimes surprised how their injuries, if not themselves, are forgotten. Old Adam Woodcock might as well have held malice against Roland Græme for the stab in the stuffed doublet of the Abbot of Misrule.

Yet, as I might have remarked in the paragraph gone before, it is probably not easy to put conscious and secret superiority entirely between the mind and the opinions of those around who think differently. It is one reason why men of genius love more than the common share of solitude—to recover self-respect. In the midst of the amusing travesty he was drawing in his own mind of the grave scene about him, Shakspere possibly felt at moments as like a detected culprit as he seemed to the gamekeeper and the justice. It is a small penalty to pay for the after worship of the world! The ragged and proverbially ill-dressed peasants who are selected from the whole campagna, as models to the sculptors of Rome, care little what is thought of their good looks in the Corso. The disguised proportions beneath their rags will be admired in deathless marble, when the noble who scarce deigns their possessor a look will lie in forgotten dust under his stone scutcheon.


Were it not for the “out-heroded” descriptions in the guide-books, one might say a great deal of Warwick castle. It is the quality of overdone or ill-expressed enthusiasm to silence that which is more rational and real. Warwick is, perhaps, the best kept of all the famous old castles of England. It is a superb and admirably-appointed modern dwelling, in the shell, and with all the means and appliances preserved of an ancient stronghold. It is a curious union, too. My lady’s maid and my lord’s valet coquet upon the bartizan, where old Guy of Warwick stalked in his coat-of-mail. The London cockney, from his two days’ watering at Leamington, stops his pony-chaise, hired at half-a-crown the hour, and walks Mrs. Popkins over the old drawbridge as peacefully as if it were the threshold of his shop in the Strand. Scot and Frenchman saunter through fosse and tower, and no ghost of the middle ages stalks forth, with closed visor, to challenge these once natural foes. The powdered butler yawns through an embrasure, expecting “miladi,” the countess of this fair domain, who in one day’s posting from London seeks relief in Warwick castle from the routs and soirées of town. What would old Guy say, or the “noble imp” whose effigy is among the escutcheoned tombs of his fathers, if they could rise through their marble slabs, and be whirled over the drawbridge in a post-chaise? How indignantly they would listen to the reckoning within their own port-cullis, of the rates for chaise and postillion. How astonished they would be at the butler’s bow and the proffered officiousness of the valet. “Shall I draw off your lordship’s boots? Which of these new vests from Staub will your lordship put on for dinner?”

Among the pictures at Warwick, I was interested by a portrait of Queen Elizabeth, (the best of that sovereign I ever saw;) one of Machiavelli, one of Essex, and one of Sir Philip Sidney. The delightful and gifted woman whom I had accompanied to the castle observed of the latter, that the hand alone expressed all his character. I had often made the remark in real life, but I had never seen an instance on painting where the likeness was so true. No one could doubt, who knew Sir Philip Sidney’s character, that it was a literal portrait of his hand. In our day, if you have an artist for a friend, he makes use of you while you call, to “sit for the hand” of the portrait on his easel. Having a preference for the society of artists myself, and frequenting their studios habitually, I know of some hundred and fifty unsuspecting gentlemen on canvass, who have procured for posterity and their children portraits of their own heads and dress-coats to be sure, but of the hands of other persons!

The head of Machiavelli is, as is seen in the marble in the gallery of Florence, small, slender, and visibly “made to creep into crevices.” The face is impassive and calm, and the lips, though slight and almost feminine, have an indefinable firmness and character. Essex is the bold, plain, and blunt soldier history makes him, and Elizabeth not unqueenly, nor (to my thinking) of an uninteresting countenance; but, with all the artist’s flattery, ugly enough to be the abode of the murderous envy that brought Mary to the block.

We paid our five shillings for having been walked through the marble hall of Castle Warwick, and the dressing room of its modern lady, and, gratified much more by our visit than I have expressed in this brief description, posted on to Kenilworth.


On the road from Warwick to Kenilworth, I thought more of poor Pierce Gaveston than of Elizabeth and her proud earls. Edward’s gay favorite was tried at Warwick, and beheaded on Blacklow hill, which we passed soon after leaving the town. He was executed in June; and I looked about on the lovely hills and valleys that surround the place of his last moments, and figured to myself very vividly his despair at this hurried leave-taking of this bright world in its brightest spot and hour. Poor Gaveston! It was not in his vocation to die! He was neither soldier nor prelate, hermit nor monk. His political sins, for which he suffered, were no offence against good fellowship, and were ten times more venial than those of the “black dog of Arden,” who betrayed and helped to murder him. He was the reckless minion of a king, but he must have been a merry and pleasant fellow; and now that the world (on our side the water at least) is grown so grave, one could go back with Old Mortality, and freshen the epitaph of a heart that took life more gayly.

As we approached the castle of the proud Leicester, I found it easier to people the road with the flying Amy Robsart and her faithful attendant, with Mike Lambourne, Flibbertigibbat, Richard Varney, and the troop of mummers and players, than with the more real characters of history. To assist the romance, a little Italian boy, with his organ and monkey, was fording the brook on his way to the castle, as if its old towers still held listeners for the wandering minstrel. I tossed him a shilling from the carriage window, and while the horses slowly forded the brook, asked him in his own delicious tongue, where he was from.

Son’ di Firenze, signore!

“And where are you going?”

Li! al castello.

Come from Florence and bound to Kenilworth! Who would not grind an organ and sleep under a hedge, to answer the hail of the passing traveller in terms like these? I have seen many a beggar in Italy, whose inheritance of sunshine and leisure in that delicious clime I could have found it in my heart to envy, even with all its concomitants of uncertainty and want; but here was a bright-faced and inky-eyed child of the sun, with his wardrobe and means upon his back, travelling from one land to another, and loitering wherever there was a resort for pleasure, without a friend or a care; and, upon my life, I could have donned his velveteen jacket, and with his cheerful heart to button it over, have shouldered his organ, put my trust in i forestieri, and kept on for Kenilworth. There really is, I thought, as I left him behind, no profit or reward consequent upon a life of confinement and toil; no moss ever gathered by the unturned stone, that repays, by a thousandth part, the loss of even this poor boy’s share of the pleasures of change. What would not the tardy winner of fortune give to exchange his worn-out frame, his unloveable and furrowed features, his dulled senses, and his vain regrets, for the elastic frame, the unbroken spirits, and the redeemable yet not oppressive poverty of this Florentine regazzo! The irrecoverable gem of youth is too often dissolved, like the pearl of Cleopatra, in a cup which thins the blood and leaves disgust upon the lip.

The magnificent ruins of Kenilworth broke in upon my moralities, and a crowd of halt and crippled ciceroni beset the carriage-door as we alighted at the outer tower. The neighborhood of the Spa of Leamington makes Kenilworth a place of easy resort; and the beggars of Warwickshire have discovered that your traveller is more liberal of his coin than your sitter-at-home. Some dozens of pony-chaises, and small, crop saddle-horses, clustered around the gate, assured us that we should not muse alone amid the ruins of Elizabeth’s princely gift to her favorite. We passed into the tilt-yard, leaving on our left the tower in which Edward was confined, now the only habitable part of Kenilworth. It gives a comfortable shelter to an old seneschal, who stands where the giant probably stood, with Flibbertigibbet under his doublet for a prompter; but it is not the tail of a rhyme that serves now for a passport.

Kenilworth, as it now stands, would probably disenchant almost any one of the gorgeous dreams conjured up by reading Scott’s romance. Yet it is one of the most superb ruins in the world. It would scarce be complete to a novel-reader, naturally, without a warder at the gate, and the flashing of a spear-point and helmet through the embrasures of the tower. A horseman in armor should pace over the drawbridge, and a squire be seen polishing his cuirass through the opening gate; while on the airy bartizan should be observed a lady in hoop and farthingdale, philandering with my lord of Leicester in silk doublet and rapier. In the place of this, the visiter enters Kenilworth as I have already described, and stepping out into the tilt-yard, he sees, on an elevation before him, a fretted and ivy-covered ruin, relieved like a cloud-castle on the sky; the bright blue plane of the western heavens shining through window and broken wall, flecked with waving and luxuriant leaves, and the crusted and ornamental pinnacles of tottering masonry and sculpture just leaning to their fall, though the foundations upon which they were laid, one would still think, might sustain the firmament. The swelling root of a creeper has lifted that arch from its base, and the protruding branch of a chance-sprung tree, (sown perhaps by a field-sparrow) has unseated the keystone of the next; and so perish castles and reputations, the masonry of the human hand, and the fabrics of human forethought; not by the strength which they feared, but by the weakness they despised! Little thought old John of Gaunt, when these rudely-hewn blocks were heaved into their seat by his herculean workmen, that, after resisting fire and foe, they would be sapped and overthrown at last by a vine-tendril and a sparrow!

Clinging against the outer wall, on that side of the castle overlooking the meadow, which was overflowed for the aquatic sports of Kenilworth, stands an antique and highly ornamental fireplace, which belonged, doubtless, to the principal hall. The windows on either side looking forth upon the fields below, must have been those from which Elizabeth and her train observed the feats of Arion and his dolphin; and at all times, the large and spacious chimney-place, from the castle’s first occupation to its last, must have been the centre of the evening revelry, and conversation of its guests. It was a hook whereon to hang a revery, and between the roars of vulgar laughter which assailed my ears from a party lolling on the grass below, I contrived to figure to myself, with some distinctness, the personages who had stood about it. A visit to Kenilworth, without the deceptions of fancy, would be as disconnected from our previous enthusiasm on the subject as from any other scene with which it had no relation. The general effect at first, in any such spot, is only to dispossess us, by a powerful violence, of the cherished picture we had drawn of it in imagination; and it is only after the real recollection has taken root and ripened—after months, it may be—that we can fully bring the visionary characters we have drawn to inhabit it. If I read Kenilworth now, I see Mike Lambourne stealing out, not from the ruined postern which I clambered through, over heaps of rubbish, but from a little gate that turned noiselessly on its hinges, in the unreal castle built ten years ago in my brain.

I had wandered away from my companion, Miss Jane Porter, to climb up a secret staircase in the wall, rather too difficult of ascent for a female foot, and from my elevated position I caught an accidental view of that distinguished lady through the arch of a Gothic window, with a background of broken architecture and foliage—presenting, by chance, perhaps the most fitting and admirable picture of the authoress of the Scottish Chiefs, that a painter in his brightest hour could have fancied. Miss Porter, with her tall and striking figure, her noble face (said by Sir Martin Shee to have approached nearer in its youth to his beau idéal of the female features than any other, and still possessing the remains of uncommon beauty,) is at all times a person whom it would be difficult to see without a feeling of involuntary admiration. But standing, as I saw her at that moment, motionless and erect, in the mourning dress, with dark feathers, which she has worn since the death of her beloved and gifted sister, her wrists folded across, her large and still beautiful eyes fixed on a distant object in the view, and her nobly-cast lineaments reposing in their usual calm and benevolent tranquillity, while, around and above her, lay the material and breathed the spirit over which she had held the first great mastery—it was a tableau vivant which I was sorry to be alone to see.

Was she thinking of the great mind that had evoked the spirits of the ruins she stood among—a mind in which (by Sir Walter’s own confession) she had first bared the vein of romance which breathed so freely for the world’s delight? Were the visions which sweep with such supernatural distinctness and rapidity through the imagination of genius—visions of which the millionth portion is probably scarce communicated to the world in a literary lifetime—were Elizabeth’s courtiers, Elizabeth’s passions, secret hours, interviews with Leicester—were the imprisoned king’s nights of loneliness and dread, his hopes, his indignant, but unheeded thoughts—were all the possible circumstances, real or imaginary, of which that proud castle might have been the scene, thronging in those few moments of revery through her fancy? Or was her heart busy with its kindly affections, and had the beauty and interest of the scene but awakened a thought of one who was most wont to number with her the sands of those brighter hours?

Who shall say? The very question would perhaps startle the thoughts beyond recall—so elusive are even the most angelic of the mind’s unseen visitants.

I have recorded here the speculations of a moment while I leaned over the wall of Kenilworth, but as I descended by the giddy staircase, a peal of rude laughter broke from the party in the fosse below, and I could not but speculate on the difference between the various classes whom curiosity draws to the spot. The distinguished mind that conceives a romance that enchants the world, comes in the same guise and is treated with but the same respect as theirs. The old porter makes no distinction in his charge of half-a-crown, and the grocer’s wife who sucks an orange on the grass, looks at the dark crape hat and plain exterior—her only standards—and thinks herself as well-dressed, and therefore equal or superior to the tall lady, whom she presumes is out like herself on a day’s pleasuring. One comes and goes like the other, and is forgotten alike by the beggars at the gate and the seneschal within, and thus invisibly and unsuspected, before our very eyes, does genius gather its golden fruit, and while we walk in a plain and commonplace world, with commonplace and sordid thoughts and feelings, the gifted walk side by side with us in a world of their own—a world of which we see distant glimpses in their after-creations, and marvel in what unsunned mine its gems of thought were gathered!


The usual directions for costume, in the corner of the court card of invitation, included, on the occasion of the Queen’s marriage, a wedding favor, to be worn by ladies on the shoulder, and by gentlemen on the left breast. This trifling addition to the dress of the individual was a matter of considerable importance to the milliners, hatters, etc., who, in a sale of ten or twelve hundred white cockades (price from two dollars to five) made a very pretty profit. The power of giving a large ball to the more expensive classes, and ordering a particular addition to the costume—in other words, of laying a tax on the rich for the benefit of the poor, is exercised more frequently in Ireland than in other countries, and serves the double purpose of popularity to the Lord Lieutenant, and benefit to any particular branch of industry that may be suffering from the decline of a fashion.

The large quadrangular court-yard of the castle rattled with the tramp of horses’ feet and the clatter of sabres and spurs, and in the uncertain glare of torches and lamps, the gay colors and glittering arms of the mounted guard of lancers had a most warlike appearance. The procession which the guard was stationed to regulate and protect, rather detracted from the romantic effect—the greater proportion of equipages being the covered hack cars of the city—vehicles of the most unmitigated and ludicrous vulgarity. A coffin for two, set on its end, with the driver riding on the turned-down lid, would be a very near resemblance; and the rags of the driver, and the translucent leanness of his beast, make it altogether the most deplorable of conveyances. Here and there a carriage with liveries, and here and there a sedan-chair with four stout Milesian calves in blue stockings trotting under the poles, rather served as a foil than a mitigation of the effect, and the hour we passed in the line, edging slowly toward the castle, was far from unfruitful in amusement. I learned afterward that even those who have equipages in Dublin go to Court in hack cars as a matter of economy—one of the many indications of that feeling of lost pride which has existed in Ireland since the removal of the parliament.

A hall and staircase lined with files of soldiers is not quite as festive an entrance to a ball as the more common one of alleys of flowering shrubs; but with a waltz by a military band resounding from the lofty ceiling, I am not sure that it does not temper the blood as aptly for the spirit of the hour. It was a rainy night, and the streets were dark, and the effect upon myself of coming suddenly into so enchanted a scene—arms glittering on either side, and a procession of uniforms and plumed dames winding up the spacious stairs—was thrilling, even with the chivalric scenes of Eglinton fresh in my remembrance.

At the head of the ascent we entered a long hall, lined with the private servants of Lord Ebrington, and the ceremony of presentation having been achieved the week before, we left the throne-room on the right, and passed directly to St. Patrick’s Hall, the grand scene of the evening’s festivities. This, I have said before, is the finest ball-room I remember in Europe. Twelve hundred people, seated, dancing, or promenading, were within its lofty walls on the night whose festivities I am describing; and at either end a gallery, supported by columns of marble, contained a band of music, relieving each other with alternate waltzes and quadrilles. On the long sides of the hall were raised tiers of divans, filled with chaperons, veteran officers, and other lookers-on, and at the upper end was raised a platform with a throne in the centre, and seats on either side for the family of the Lord Lieutenant, and the more distinguished persons of the nobility. Lord Ebrington was rather in his character of a noble host than that of Viceroy, and I did not observe him once seated under his canopy of state; but with his Aids and some one of the noble ladies of his family on his arm, he promenaded the hall conversing with his acquaintances, and seemingly enjoying in a high degree the brilliant gayety of the scene. His dress, by the way, was the simple diplomatic dress of most continental courts, a blue uniform embroidered with gold, the various orders on his breast forming its principal distinction. I seldom have seen a man of a more calm and noble dignity of presence than the Lord Lieutenant, and never a face that expressed more strongly the benevolence and high purity of character for which he is distinguished. In person, except that he is taller, he bears a remarkably close resemblance to the Duke of Wellington.

We can scarcely conceive, in this country of black coats, the brilliant effect of a large assembly in which there is no person out of uniform or court-dress—every lady’s head nodding with plumes, and every gentleman in military scarlet and gold or lace and embroidery. I may add, too, that in this country of care-worn and pale faces, we can as little conceive the effect of an assembly rosy with universal health, habitually unacquainted with care, and abandoned with the apparent child-like simplicity of high breeding, to the inspiring gayety of the hour. The greater contrast, however, is between a nation where health is the first care, and one in which health is never thought of till lost; and light and shade are not more contrasted than the mere general effect of countenance in one and in the other. A stranger travelling in our country, once remarked to me that a party he had attended seemed like an entertainment given in the convalescent ward of a hospital—the ladies were so pale and fragile, and the men so unjoyous and sallow. And my own invariable impression, in the assemblies I have first seen after leaving my own country, was a corresponding one—that the men and women had the rosy health and untroubled gayety of children round a May-pole. That this is not the effect of climate, I do most religiously believe. It is over-much care and over-much carelessness—the corroding care of an avid temerity in business, and the carelessness of all the functions of life till their complaints become too imperative to be disregarded. But this is a theme out of place.

The ball was managed by the Grand Chamberlain (Sir William Leeson,) and the aids-de-camp of the Lord Lieutenant, and except that now and then you were reminded by the movement around you that you stood with your back to the representative of royalty, there was little to draw your attention from the attractions of the dance. Waltz, quadrille, and gallop, followed each other in giddy succession, and “what do you think of Irish beauty?” had been asked me as often as “how do you like America?” was ever mumbled through the trumpet of Miss Martineau, when I mounted with a friend to one of the upper divans, and tried, what is always a difficult task, and nowhere so difficult as in Ireland, to call in the intoxicated fancy, and anatomize the charm of the hour.

Moore’s remark has been often quoted—“there is nothing like an Irish woman to take a man off his feet;” but whether this figure of speech was suggested by the little bard’s common soubriquet of “Jump-up-and-kiss-me[5] Tom Moore,” or simply conveyed his idea of the bewildering character of Irish beauty, it contains, to any one who has ever travelled (or waltzed) in that country, a very just, as well as realizing description. Physically, Irish women are probably the finest race in the world—I mean, taller, better limbed and chested, larger eyed, and with more luxuriant hair, and freer action, than any other nation I have observed. The Phœnician and Spanish blood which has run hundreds of years in their veins, still kindles its dark fire in their eyes, and with the vivacity of the northern mind and the bright color of the northern skin, these southern qualities mingle in most admirable and superb harmony. The idea we form of Italian and Grecian beauty is never realized in Greece and Italy, but we find it in Ireland, heightened and exceeded. Cheeks and lips of the delicacy and bright teint of carnation, with snowy teeth, and hair and eyebrows of jet, are what we should look for on the palette of Apelles, could we recall the painter, and re-animate his far-famed models; and these varied charms, united, fall very commonly to the share of the fair Milesian of the upper classes. In other lands of dark eyes, the rareness of a fine-grained skin, so necessary to a brunette, makes beauty as rare—but whether it is the damp softness of the climate or the infusion of Saxon blood, a coarse skin is almost never seen in Ireland. I speak now only of the better-born ranks of society, for in all my travels in Ireland I did not chance to see even one peasant girl of any pretensions to good looks. From north to south, they looked, to me, coarse, ill-formed, and repulsive.

I noticed in St. Patrick’s Hall what I had remarked ever since I had been in the country, that with all their beauty, the Irish women are very deficient in what in England is called style. The men, on the contrary, were particularly comme il faut, and as they are a magnificent race (corresponding to such mothers and sisters) I frequently observed I had never seen so many handsome and elegant men in a day. Whenever I saw a gentleman and lady together, riding, driving, or walking, my first impression was, almost universally, that the man was in attendance upon a woman of an inferior class to his own. This difference may be partly accounted for by the reduced circumstances of the gentry of Ireland, which keeps the daughters at home, that the sons may travel and improve; but it works differently in America, where, spite of travel and every other advantage to the contrary, the daughters of a family are much oftener lady-like than the sons are gentleman-like. After wondering for some time, however, why the quick-witted women of Ireland should be less apt than those of other countries in catching the air of high breeding usually deemed so desirable, I began to like them better for the deficiency, and to find a reason for it in the very qualities which make them so attractive. Nothing could be more captivating and delightful than the manners of Irish women, and nothing, at the same time, could be more at war with the first principles of English high breeding—coldness and retenu. The frank, almost hilarious “how are you?” of an Irish girl, her whole-handed and cordial grasp, as often in the day as you meet her, the perfectly un-missy-ish, confiding, direct character of her conversation, are all traits which would stamp her as somewhat rudely bred in England, and as desperately vulgar in New York or Philadelphia.

Modest to a proverb, the Irish woman is as unsuspecting of an impropriety as if it were an impossible thing, and she is as fearless and joyous as a midshipman, and sometimes as noisy. In a ball-room she looks ill-dressed, not because her dress was ill-put-on, but because she dances, not glides, sits down without care, pulls her flowers to pieces, and if her head-dress incommodes her, gives it a pull or a push—acts which would be perfect insanity at Almack’s. If she is offended, she asks for an explanation. If she does not understand you, she confesses her ignorance. If she wishes to see you the next day, she tells you how and when. She is the child of nature, and children are not “stylish.” The niminy-piminy, eye-avoiding, finger-tipped, drawling, don’t-touch-me manner of some of the fashionable ladies of our country, would amuse a cold and reserved English woman sufficiently, but they would drive an Irish girl into hysterics. I have met one of our fair country-people abroad, whose “Grecian stoop,” and exquisitely subdued manner, was invariably taken for a fit of indigestion.

The ball-supper was royally sumptuous, and served in a long hall thrown open at midnight; and in the gray of the morning, I left the floor covered with waltzers, and confessed to an Irish friend, that I never in my life, not even at Almack’s, had seen the half as much true beauty as had brightened St. Patrick’s Hall at the celebration of the queen’s marriage.

The name of a small flower, common in Ireland.


The paradox of “the more one does, the more one can do,” is resolved in life at Washington with more success than I have seen it elsewhere. The inexorable bell at the hotel or boarding-house pronounces the irrevocable and swift transit of breakfast to all sleepers after eight. The elastic depths of the pillow have scarcely yielded their last feather to the sleeper’s head before the drowse is rudely shaken from his eyelids, and with an alacrity which surprises himself, he finds his toilet achieved, his breakfast over, and himself abroad to lounge in the sunshine till the flag waves on the capitol. He would retire to his chamber to read during these two or three vacant hours, but the one chair in his pigeon-hole creaks, or has no back or bottom, or his anthracite fire is out, or, is too hot for the size of the room; or, in short, Washington, from whatever cause, is a place where none read except those who stand up to a padlocked newspaper. The stars and stripes, moving over the two wings of the capitol at eleven announce that the two chambers of legislation are in session, and the hard working idler makes his way to the senate or the house. He lingers in the lobby awhile, amused with the button-hole seizers plying the unwilling ears of members with their claims, or enters the library, where ladies turn over prints, and enfilade, with their battery of truant eyes the comers in at the green door. He then gropes up the dark staircase to the senate gallery, and stifles in the pressure of a hot gallery, forgetting, like listeners at a crowded opera, that bodily discomfort will unlink the finest harmonies of song or oratory. Thence he descends to the rotunda to draw breath and listen to the more practical, but quite as earnest eloquence of candidates for patents; and passes, after a while to the crowded gallery of the house, where, by some acoustic phenomena in the construction of the building, the voices of the speakers come to his ears as articulate as water from a narrow-necked bottle. “Small blame to them!” he thinks, however; for behind the brexia columns are grouped all the fair forms of Washington; and in making his bow to two hundred despotic lawgivers in feathers and velvet, he is readily consoled that the duller legislators who yield to their sway are inaudible and forgotten. To this upper house drop in, occasionally, the younger or gayer members of the lower, bringing, if not political scandal, at least some slight resumer of what Mr. Somebody is beating his desk about below; and thus, crammed with the day’s trifles or the day’s business, and fatigued from heel to eyelid, our idler goes home at five to dress for dinner and the night’s campaign, having been up and on his legs for ten mortal hours.

Cold water and a little silence in his own room have rather refreshed him, and he dines at six with a party of from fifteen to twenty-five persons. He discusses the vital interests of fourteen millions of people over a glass of wine with the man whose vote, possibly, will decide their destiny, and thence hurries to a ball-room crammed like a perigord pie, where he pants, elbows, eats supper, and waltzes till three in the morning. How human constitutions stand this, and stand it daily and nightly, from the beginning to the end of a session, may well puzzle the philosophy of those who rise and breakfast in comfortable leisure.

I joined the crowd on the twenty-second of February, to pay my respects to the President, and see the cheese. Whatever veneration existed in the minds of the people toward the former, their curiosity in reference to the latter predominated, unquestionably. The circular pavé, extending from the gate to the White House, was thronged with citizens of all classes, those coming away having each a small brown paper parcel and a very strong smell; those advancing manifesting, by shakings of the head and frequent exclamations, that there may be too much of a good thing, and particularly of a cheese. The beautiful portico was thronged with boys and coach-drivers, and the odor strengthened with every step. We forced our way over the threshold, and encountered an atmosphere, to which the mephitic gas floating over Avernus must be faint and innocuous. On the side of the hall hung a rough likeness of the general, emblazoned with eagle and stars, forming a background to the huge tub in which the cheese had been packed; and in the centre of the vestibule stood the “fragrant gift,” surrounded with a dense crowd, who, without crackers, or even “malt to their cheese,” had, in two hours, eaten and purveyed away fourteen hundred pounds! The small segment reserved for the President’s use counted for nothing in the abstractions.

Glad to compromise for a breath of cheeseless air, we desisted from the struggle to obtain a sight of the table, and mingled with the crowd in the east room. Here were diplomates in their gold coats and officers in uniform, ladies of secretaries and other ladies, soldiers on volunteer duty, and Indians in war-dress and paint. Bonnets, feathers, uniforms, and all—it was rather a gay assemblage. I remembered the descriptions in travellers’ books, and looked out for millers and blacksmiths in their working gear, and for rudeness and vulgarity in all. The offer of a mammoth cheese to the public was likely to attract to the presidential mansion more of the lower class than would throng to a common levee. Great-coats there were, and not a few of them, for the day was raw, and unless they were hung on the palings outside, they must remain on the owners’ shoulders; but, with a single exception (a fellow with his coat torn down his back, possibly in getting at the cheese,) I saw no man in a dress that was not respectable and clean of its kind, and abundantly fit for a tradesman out of his shop. Those who were much pressed by the crowd put their hats on; but there was a general air of decorum which would surprise any one who had pinned his faith on travellers. An intelligent Englishman, very much inclined to take a disgust to mobocracy, expressed to me great surprise at the decency and proper behavior of the people. The same experiment in England, he thought, would result in as pretty a riot as a paragraph-monger would desire to see.

The President was down stairs in the oval reception room, and, though his health would not permit him to stand, he sat in his chair for two or three hours, and received his friends with his usual bland and dignified courtesy. By his side stood the lady of the mansion, dressed in full court costume, and doing the honors of her place with a grace and amenity which every one felt, and which threw a bloom over the hour. General Jackson retired, after awhile, to his chamber, and the President elect remained to support his relative, and present to her the still thronging multitude, and by four o’clock the guests were gone, and the “banquet hall” was deserted. Not to leave a wrong impression of the cheese, I dined afterward at a table to which the President had sent a piece of it, and found it of excellent quality. It is like many other things, more agreeable in small qualities.

Some eccentric mechanic has presented to the President a sulkey, made entirely (except the wheels) of rough-cut hickory, with the bark on. It looks rough enough, but has very much the everlasting look of old Hickory himself; and if he could be seen driving a high-stepping, bony old iron-gray steed in it, any passer-by would see that there was as much fitness in the whole thing as in the chariot of Bacchus and his reeling leopards. Some curiously twisted and gnarled branches have been very ingeniously turned into handles and whip-box, and the vehicle is compact and strong. The President has left it to Mr. Van Buren.

In very strong contrast to the sulkey, stood close by, the elegant phæton, made of the wood of the old frigate Constitution. It has a seat for two, with a driver’s box, covered with a superb hammercloth, and set up rather high in front; the wheels and body are low, and there are bars for baggage behind; altogether, for lightness and elegance, it would be a turn out for Long Acre. The material is excessively beautiful—a fine-grained oak, polished to a very high degree, with its colors delicately brought out by a coat of varnish. The wheels are very slender and light, but strong, and, with all its finish, it looks a vehicle capable of a great deal of service. A portrait of the Constitution, under full sail, is painted on the panels.


While the votes for president were being counted in the senate, Mr. Clay remarked to Mr. Van Buren with courteous significance:—

“It is a cloudy day, sir!”

“The sun will shine on the fourth of March!” was the confident reply.

True to his augury, the sun shone out of heaven without a cloud on the inaugural morning. The air was cold, but clear and life-giving; and the broad avenues of Washington for once seemed not too large for the thronging population. The crowds who had been pouring in from every direction for several days before, ransacking the town for but a shelter from the night, were apparent on the spacious sidewalks; and the old campaigners of the winter seemed but a thin sprinkling among the thousands of new and strange faces. The sun shone alike on the friends and opponents of the new Administration, and, as far as one might observe in a walk to the capitol, all were made cheerful alike by its brightness. It was another augury, perhaps, and may foretell a more extended fusion under the light of the luminary new risen. In a whole day passed in a crowd composed of all classes and parties, I heard no remark that the president would have been unwilling to hear.

I was at the capitol a half hour before the procession arrived, and had leisure to study a scene for which I was not at all prepared. The noble staircase of the east front of the building leaps over three arches, under one of which carriages pass to the basement-door; and, as you approach from the gate, the eye cuts the ascent at right angles, and the sky, broken by a small spire at a short distance, is visible beneath. Broad stairs occur at equal distances, with corresponding projections; and from the upper platform rise the outer columns of the portico, with ranges of columns three deep extending back to the pilasters. I had often admired this front with its many graceful columns, and its superb flight of stairs, as one of the finest things I had seen in the world. Like the effect of the assembled population of Rome waiting to receive the blessing before the font of St. Peter’s, however, the assembled crowd on the steps and at the base of the capitol heightened inconceivably the grandeur of the design. They were piled up like the people on the temples of Babylon, in one of Martin’s sublime pictures—every projection covered, and an inexpressible soul and character given by their presence to the architecture. Boys climbed about the base of the columns, single figures stood on the posts of the surrounding railings in the boldest relief against the sky; and the whole thing was exactly what Paul Veronese would have delighted to draw. I stood near an accomplished artist who is commissioned to fill one of the panels of the rotunda, and I can not but hope he may have chosen this magnificent scene for his subject.

The republican procession, consisting of the Presidents and their families, escorted by a small volunteer corps, arrived soon after twelve. The General and Mr. Van Buren were in the “constitution phæton,” drawn by four grays, and as it entered the gate, they both rode uncovered. Descending from the carriage at the foot of the steps, a passage was made for them through the dense crowd, and the tall white head of the old Chieftain, still uncovered, went steadily up through the agitated mass, marked by its peculiarity from all around it.

I was in the crowd thronging the opposite side of the court, and lost sight of the principal actors in this imposing drama, till they returned from the Senate Chamber. A temporary platform had been laid, and railed in on the broad stair which supports the portico, and, for all preparation to one of the most important and most meaning and solemn ceremonies on earth—for the inauguration of a chief magistrate over a republic of fifteen millions of freemen—the whole addition to the open air, and the presence of the people, was a volume of holy writ. In comparing the impressive simplicity of this consummation of the wishes of a mighty people, with the tricked-out ceremonial, and hollow show, which embarrass a corresponding event in other lands, it was impossible not to feel that the moral sublime was here—that a transaction so important, and of such extended and weighty import, could borrow nothing from drapery or decoration, and that the simple presence of the sacred volume, consecrating the act, spoke more thrillingly to the heart than the trumpets of a thousand heralds.

The crowd of diplomatists and senators in the rear of the columns made way, and the Ex-President and Mr. Van Buren advanced with uncovered heads. A murmur of feeling rose up from the moving mass below, and the infirm old man, emerged from a sick-chamber, which his physician had thought it impossible he should leave, bowed to the people, and, still uncovered in the cold air, took his seat beneath the portico. Mr. Van Buren then advanced, and with a voice remarkably distinct, and with great dignity, read his address to the people. The air was elastic, and the day still; and it is supposed that near twenty thousand persons heard him from his elevated position distinctly. I stood myself on the outer limit of the crowd, and though I lost occasionally a sentence from the interruption near by, his words came clearly articulated to my ear.

When the address was closed, the chief justice advanced and administered the oath. As the book touched the lips of the new President, there arose a general shout, and expression of feeling common enough in other countries but drawn with difficulty from an American assemblage. The sons, and the immediate friends of Mr. Van Buren, then closed about him; the Ex-President, the chief justice, and others, gave him the hand of congratulation, and the ceremony was over. They descended the steps, the people gave one more shout as they mounted the constitution carriage together, and the procession returned through the avenue, followed by the whole population of Washington.

Mr. Van Buren held a levee immediately afterward, but I endeavored in vain to get my foot over the threshold. The crowd was immense. At four, the diplomatic body had an audience; and in replying to the address of Don Angel Calderon, the President astonished the gold coats, by addressing them as the democratic corps. The representatives of the crowned heads of Europe stood rather uneasily under the epithet, till it was suggested that he possibly meant to say diplomatic.


There is a sagacity acquired by travel on the subject of forage and quarters, which is useful in all other cities in the world where one may happen to be a stranger, but which is as inapplicable to the emergencies of an arrival in Washington as waltzing in a shipwreck. It is a capital whose peculiarities are as much sui generis as those of Venice; but as those who have become wise by a season’s experience neither remain on the spot to give warning, nor have recorded their experiences in a book, the stranger is worse off in a coach in Washington than in a gondola in the “city of silver streets.”

It is well known, I believe, that when the future city of Washington was about being laid out, there were two large lot-buyers or land-owners, living two miles apart, each of whom was interested in having the public buildings upon the centre of his own domain. Like children quarrelling for a sugar horse, the subject of dispute was pulled in two, and one got the head, the other the tail. The capitol stands on a rising ground in solitary grandeur, and the President’s house and department buildings two miles off on another. The city straddles and stretches between, doing its best to look continuous and compact; but the stranger soon sees that it is, after all, but a “city of magnificent distances,” built to please nobody on earth but a hackney-coachman.

The new-comer, when asked what hotel he will drive to, thinks himself very safe if he chooses that nearest the capitol—supposing, of course, that, as Washington is purely a legislative metropolis, the most central part will naturally be near the scene of action. He is accordingly set down at Gadsby’s, and, at a price that would startle an English nobleman, he engages a pigeon-hole in the seventh heaven of that boundless caravansary. Even at Gadsby’s, however, he finds himself over half a mile from the capitol, and wonders, for two or three days, why the deuce the hotel was not built on some of the waste lots at the foot of Capitol hill, an improvement which might have saved him, in rainy weather, at least five dollars a day in hack-hire. Meantime the secretaries and foreign ministers leave their cards, and the party and dinner-giving people shower upon him the “small rain” of pink billets. He sets apart the third or fourth day to return their calls, and inquires the addresses of his friends (which they never write on their cards, because, if they did, it would be no guide,) and is told it is impossible to direct him, but the hackney-coachmen all know! He calls the least ferocious-looking of the most bullying and ragged set of tatterdemalions he has ever seen, and delivers himself and his visiting-list into his hands. The first thing is a straight drive two miles away from the capitol. He passes the President’s house, and getting off the smooth road, begins to drive and drag through cross lanes and open lots, laid out according to no plan that his loose ideas of geometry can comprehend, and finds his friends living in houses that want nothing of being in the country, but trees, garden, and fences. It looks as if it had rained naked brick houses upon a waste plain, and each occupant had made a street with reference to his own front door. The much-shaken and more-astonished victim consumes his morning and his temper, and has made, by dinner-time, but six out of forty calls, all imperatively due, and all scattered far and wide with the same loose and irreconcilable geography.

A fortnight’s experience satisfies the stranger that the same journey is worse at night than at morning; and that, as he leaves his dinner which he pays for at home, runs the risk of his neck, passes an hour or two on the road, and ruins himself in hack-hire, it must be a very—yes, a very pleasant dinner party to compensate him. Consequently, he either sends a “p. p. c.” to all his acquaintances, and lives incog., or, which is a more sensible thing, moves up to the other settlement, and abandons the capitol.

Those who live on the other side of the President’s house are the secretaries, diplomatists, and a few wealthy citizens. There is no hotel in this quarter, but there are one or two boarding-houses, and (what we had been lucky enough to secure ourselves) furnished lodgings, in which you have every thing but board. Your dinner is sent you from a French cook’s near by, and your servant gets your breakfast—a plan which gives you the advantage of dining at your own hour, choosing your own society, and of having covers for a friend or two whenever it suits your humor, and at half an hour’s warning. There are very few of these lodgings (which combine many other advantages over a boarding-house,) but more of them would be a good speculation to house-owners, and I wish it were suggested, not only here, but in every city in our country.

Aside from society, the only amusement in Washington is frequenting the capitol. If one has a great deal of patience, and nothing better to do, this is very well; and it is very well at any rate till one becomes acquainted with the heads of the celebrated men in both the chambers, with the noble architecture of the building, and the routine of business. This done, it is time wearily spent for a spectator. The finer orators seldom speak, or seldom speak warmly, the floor is oftenest occupied by prosing and very sensible gentlemen, whose excellent ideas enter the mind more agreeably by the eye than the ear, or, in other words, are better delivered by the newspapers, and there is a great deal of formula and etiquetical sparring which is not even entertaining to the members, and which consumes time “consumedly.” Now and then the senate adjourns when some one of the great orators has taken the floor, and you are sure of a great effort the next morning. If you are there in time, and can sit, like Atlas with a world on your back, you may enjoy a front seat and hear oratory, unsurpassed, in my opinion, in the world.

The society in Washington, take it all in all, is by many degrees the best in the United States. One is prepared, though I cannot conceive why, for the contrary. We read in books of travels, and we are told by everybody, that the society here is promiscuous, rough, inelegant and even barbarous. This is an untrue representation, or it has very much changed.

There is no city, probably no village in America, where the female society is not refined, cultivated, and elegant. With or without regular advantages, woman attains the refinements and tact necessary to polite intercourse. No traveller ever ventured to complain of this part of American society. The great deficiency is that of agreeable, highly-cultivated men, whose pursuits have been elevated, and whose minds are pliable to the grace and changing spirit of conversation. Every man of talents possesses these qualities naturally, and hence the great advantage which Washington enjoys over every other city in our country. None but a shallow observer, or a malicious book-maker, would ever sneer at the exteriors or talk of the ill-breeding of such men as form, in great numbers, the agreeable society of this place—for a man of great talents never could be vulgar; and there is a superiority about most of these which raises them above the petty standard which regulates the outside of a coxcomb. Even compared with the dress and address of men of similar positions and pursuits in Europe, however (members of the house of commons, for example, or of the chamber of deputies in France,) it is positively the fact that the senators and representatives of the United States have a decided advantage. It is all very well for Mr. Hamilton, and other scribblers whose books must be spiced to go down, to ridicule a Washington soirée for English readers; but if the observation of one who has seen assemblies of legislators and diplomatists in all the countries of Europe may be fairly placed against his and Mrs. Trollope’s, I may assert, upon my own authority, that they will not find, out of May Fair in England, so well-dressed and dignified a body of men. I have seen as yet no specimen of the rough animal described by them and others as the “western member;” and if David Crockett, (whom I was never so fortunate as to see) was of that description, the race must have died with him. It is a thing I have learned since I have been in Washington, to feel a wish that foreigners should see Congress in session. We are so humbugged, one way and another, by travellers’ lies.

I have heard the observation once or twice from strangers since I have been here, and it struck myself on my first arrival, that I had never seen within the same limit before, so many of what may be called “men of mark.” You will scarce meet a gentleman on the sidewalk in Washington, who would not attract your notice, seen elsewhere, as an individual possessing in his eye or general features a certain superiority. Never having seen most of the celebrated speakers of the senate, I busied myself for the first day or two in examining the faces that passed me in the street, in the hope of knowing them by the outward stamp which, we are apt to suppose, belongs to greatness. I gave it up at last, simply from the great number I met who might be (for all that features had to do with it) the remarkable men I sought.

There is a very simple reason why a Congress of the United States should be, as they certainly are, a much more marked body of men than the English house of commons or lords, or the chamber of peers or deputies in France. I refer to the mere means by which, in either case, they come to their honors. In England and France the lords and peers are legislators by hereditary right, and the members of the commons and deputies from the possession of extensive property or family influence, or some other cause, arguing, in most cases, no great personal talent in the individual. They are legislators, but they are devoted very often much more heartily to other pursuits—hunting or farming, racing, driving, and similar out-of-door passions common to English gentlemen and lords, or the corresponding penchants of French peers and deputies. It is only the few great leaders and orators who devote themselves to politics exclusively. With us every one knows it is quite the contrary. An American politician delivers himself, body and soul, to his pursuit. He never sleeps, eats, walks, or dreams, but in subservience to his aim. He cannot afford to have another passion of any kind till he has reached the point of his ambition—and then it has become a mordent necessity from habit. The consequence is, that no man can be found in an elevated sphere in our country, who has not had occasion for more than ordinary talent to arrive there. He inherited nothing of his distinction, and has made himself. Such ordeals leave their marks, and they who have thought, and watched, and struggled, and contended with the passions of men as an American politician inevitably must, cannot well escape the traces of such work. It usually elevates the character of the face—it always strongly marks it.

A-propos of “men of mark;” the dress-circle of the theatre at Power’s benefit, not long since, was graced by three Indians in full costume, the chief of the Foxes, the chief of the Ioways, and a celebrated warrior of the latter tribe, called the Sioux-killer. The Fox is an old man of apparently fifty, with a heavy, aquiline nose, a treacherous eye, sharp as an eagle’s, and a person rather small in proportion to his head and features. He was dressed in a bright scarlet blanket, and a crown of feathers, with an eagle’s plume, standing erect on the top of his head, all dyed in the same deep hue. His face was painted to match, except his lips, which looked of a most ghastly sallow, in contrast with his fiery nose, forehead, and cheeks. His tomahawk lay in the hollow of his arm, decked with feathers of the same brilliant color with the rest of his drapery. Next him sat the Sioux-killer, in a dingy blanket, with a crown made of a great quantity of the feathers of a pea-hen, which fell over his face, and concealed his features almost entirely. He is very small, but is famous for his personal feats, having, among other things, walked one hundred and thirty miles in thirty successive hours, and killed three Sioux (hence his name) in one battle with that nation. He is but twenty-three, but very compact and wiry-looking, and his eye glowed through his veil of hen feathers like a coal of fire.

Next to the Sioux-killer sat “White Cloud,” the chief of the Ioways. His face was the least warlike of the three, and expressed a good nature and freedom from guile, remarkable in an Indian. He is about twenty-four, has very large features, and a fine, erect person, with broad shoulders and chest. He was painted less than the Fox chief, but of nearly the same color, and carried, in the hollow of his arm, a small, glittering tomahawk, ornamented with blue feathers. His head was encircled by a kind of turban of silver-fringed cloth, with some metallic pendents for earrings, and his blanket, not particularly clean or handsome, was partly open on the breast, and disclosed a calico shirt, which was probably sold to him by a trader in the west. They were all very attentive to the play, but the Fox chief and White Cloud departed from the traditionary dignity of Indians, and laughed a great deal at some of Power’s fun. The Sioux-killer sat between them, as motionless and grim as a marble knight on a tombstone.

The next day I had the pleasure of dining with Mr. Power, who lived at the same hotel with the Indian delegation; and while at dinner he received a message from the Ioways, expressing a wish to call on him. We were sitting over our wine when White Cloud and the Sioux-killer came in with their interpreter. There were several gentlemen present, one of them in the naval undress uniform, whose face the Sioux-killer scrutinized very sharply. They smiled in bowing to Power, but made very grave inclinations to the rest of us. The chief took his seat, assuming a very erect and dignified attitude, which he preserved immovable during the interview; but the Sioux-killer drew up his legs, resting them on the round of the chair, and, with his head and body bent forward, seemed to forget himself, and give his undivided attention to the study of Power and his naval friend.

Tumblers of champagne were given them, which they drank with great relish, though the Sioux-killer provoked a little ridicule from White Cloud, by coughing as he swallowed it. The interpreter was a half-breed between an Indian and a negro, and a most intelligent fellow. He had been reared in the Ioway tribe, but had been among the whites a great deal for the last few years, and had picked up English very fairly. He told us that White Cloud was the son of old White Cloud, who died three years since, and that the young chief had acquired entire command over the tribe by his mildness and dignity. He had paid the debts of the Ioways to the traders, very much against the will of the tribe; but he commenced by declaring firmly that he would be just, and had carried his point. He had come to Washington to receive a great deal of money from the sale of the lands of the tribe, and the distribution of it lay entirely in his own power. Only one old warrior had ventured to rise in council and object to his measures; but when White Cloud spoke, he had dropped his head on his bosom and submitted. This information and that which followed was given in English, of which neither of the Ioways understood a word.

Mr. Power expressed a surprise that the Sioux-killer should have known him in his citizen’s dress. The interpreter translated it, and the Indian said in answer:—

“The dress is very different, but when I see a man’s eye I know him again.”

He then told Power that he wished, in the theatre, to raise his war-cry and help him fight the three bad-looking men who were his enemies (referring to the three bailiffs in the scene in Paddy Carey.) Power asked what part of the play he liked best. He said that part where he seized the girl in his arms and ran off the stage with her (at the close of an Irish jig in the same play).

The interpreter informed us that this was the first time the Sioux-killer had come among the whites. He had disliked them always till now, but he said he had seen enough to keep him telling tales all the rest of his life. Power offered them cigars, which they refused. We expressed our surprise; and the Sioux-killer said that the Indians who smoked gave out soonest in the chase; and White Cloud added, very gravely, that the young women of his tribe did not like the breaths of the smokers. In answer to an enquiry I made about the comparative size of Indians and white men, the chief said that the old men of the whites were larger than old Indians, but the young whites were not so tall and straight as the youths of his tribe. We were struck with the smallness of the chief’s hands and feet; but he seemed very much mortified when the interpreter translated our remark to him. He turned the little sallow fingers over and over, and said that old White Cloud, his father, who had been a great warrior, had small hands like his. The young chief, we were told by the interpreter, has never yet been in an engagement, and is always spared from the heavier fatigues undergone by the rest of the tribe.

They showed great good nature in allowing us to look at their ornaments, tomahawks, &c. White Cloud wore a collar of bear’s claws, which marked him for a chief; and the Sioux-killer carried a great cluster of brass bells on the end of his tomahawk, of which he explained the use very energetically. It was to shake when he stood over his fallen enemy in the fight, to let the tribe know he had killed him. After another tumbler of champagne each, they rose to take their leave, and White Cloud gave us his hand, gently, with a friendly nod. We were all amused, however, with the Sioux-killer’s more characteristic adieu. He looked us in the eye like a hawk, and gave us each a grip of his iron fist, that made the blood tingle under our nails. He would be an awkward customer in a fight, or his fixed lips and keen eye very much belie him.


The leaf that is lodged in some sunny dell, after drifting on the whirlwind—the Indian’s canoe, after it has shot the rapids—the drop of water that has struggled out from the phlegethon of Niagara, and sleeps on the tranquil bosom of Ontario—are faint images of contrast and repose, compared with a Washingtonian after the session. I have read somewhere, in an oriental tale, that a lover, having agreed to share his life with his dying mistress, took her place in the grave six months in the year. In Bagdad it might have been a sacrifice. In Washington I could conceive such an arrangement to make very little difference.

Nothing is done leisurely in our country; and, by the haste with which everybody rushes to the rail-road the morning after the rising of Congress, you would fancy that the cars, like Cinderella’s coach would be changed into pumpkins at the stroke of twelve. The town was evacuated in a day. On the fifth of March a placard was sent back by the inn-keepers at Baltimore, declaring that there was not so much as a garret to be had in that city, and imploring gentlemen and ladies to remain quietly at Washington for twenty-four hours. The railroad engine twice a day, tugged and puffed away through the hills, drawing after it, on its sinuous course, a train of brick colored cars, that resembled the fabulous red dragon trailing its slimy length through the valley of Crete. The gentlemen who sit by the fire in the bar-room at Gadsby’s, like Theodore Hook’s secretary, who could hear his master write “Yours faithfully” in the next room, learned to distinguish “Received payment,” from “Sundries,” by listening to the ceaseless scratch of the book-keeper. The ticket-office at the depot was a scene of struggle and confusion between those who wanted places; while, looking their last on these vanishing paymasters, stood hundreds of tatterdemalions, white, yellow, and black, with their hands in their pockets, and (if sincere regret at their departure could have wrung it forth) a tear in their eye. The bell rang, and the six hundred departures flocked to their places—young ladies, with long faces, leaving the delights of Washington for the dull repose of the country—their lovers, with longer faces, trying, in vain, to solve the X quantity expressed by the aforesaid “Sundries” in their bill—and members of congress with long faces, too—for not one in twenty has “made the impression” he expected; and he is moralizing on the decline of the taste for eloquence, and on the want of “golden opportunity” for the display of indignant virtue!

Nothing but an army, or such a concourse of people as collects to witness an inauguration, could ever make Washington look populous. But when Congress, and its train of ten thousand casual visiters are gone, and only the official and indigenous inhabitants remain, Balbec, or Palmyra, with a dozen Arabs scattered among its ruins, has less a look of desolation. The few stragglers in the streets add to its loneliness—producing exactly the effect sometimes given to a woodland solitude by the presence of a single bird. The vast streets seem grown vaster and more disproportionate—the houses seem straggling to greater distances—the walk from the President’s house to the capitol seems twice as long—and new faces are seen here and there, at the doors and windows—for cooks and inn-keepers that had never time to lounge, lounge now, and their families take quiet possession of the unrented front parlor. He who would be reminded of his departed friends should walk down on the avenue. The carpet, associated with so many pleasant recollections—which has been pressed by the dainty feet of wits and beauties—to tread on which was a privilege and a delight—is displayed on a heap of old furniture, and while its sacred defects are rudely scanned by the curious, is knocked down, with all its memories, under the hammer of the auctioneer. Tables, chairs, ottomans—all linked with the same glowing recollections—go—for most unworthy prices; and while, humiliated with the sight, you wonder at the artificial value given to things by their possessors, you begin to wonder whether your friends themselves, subjected to the same searching valuation, would not be depreciated too! Ten to one, if their characters were displayed like their carpets, there would come to light defects as unsuspected!

The person to whom this desolation is the “unkindest cut” is the hackney-coachman. “His vocation” is emphatically gone! Gone is the dollar made every successive half hour! Gone is the pleasant sum in compound addition, done “in the head,” while waiting at the doors of the public offices! Gone are the short, but profitable trips to the theatre! Gone the four or five families, all taken the same evening to parties, and each paying the item of “carriage from nine till twelve!” Gone the absorbed politician, who would rather give the five-dollar bill than wait for his change! the lady who sends the driver to be paid at “the bar;” the uplifted fingers, hither and thither, which embarrass his choice of a fare—gone, all! The chop-fallen coachy drives to the stand in the morning and drives home at noon; he creeps up to Fuller’s at a snail-pace, and, in very mockery of hope, asks the homeward-bound clerk from the department if he wants a coach! Night comes on, and his horses begin to believe in the millennium—and the cobwebs are wove over his whip-socket.

These changes, however, affect not unpleasantly the diplomatic and official colony extending westward from the president’s. The inhabitants of this thin sprinkled settlement are away from the great thoroughfare, and do not miss its crowds. The cessation of parties is to them a relief from night journeys, colds, card-leavings, and much wear and tear of carriage-horses. They live now in dressing-gowns and slippers, read the reviews and the French papers, get their dinners comfortably from the restaurateurs, and thank Heaven that the capitol is locked up. The attachés grow fat, and the despatches grow thin.

There are several reasons why Washington, till the month of May, spite of all the drawbacks in the picture delineated above, is a more agreeable residence than the northern cities. In the first place, its climate is at least a month earlier than that of New York, and, in the spring, is delightful. The trees are at this moment (the last week in March) bursting into buds; open carriages are everywhere in use; walking in the sun is oppressive; and for the last fortnight, this has been a fair chronicle of the weather. Boston and New York have been corroded with east winds, meantime, and even so near as Baltimore, they are still wrapped in cloaks and shawls. To those who, in reckoning the comforts of life, agree with me in making climate stand for nine-tenths, this is powerful attraction.

Then the country about Washington, the drives and rides, are among the most lovely in the world. The banks of Rock creek are a little wilderness of beauty. More bright waters, more secluded bridle-paths, more sunny and sheltered hill-sides, or finer mingling of rock, hill, and valley, I never rode among. Within a half-hour’s gallop, you have a sylvan retreat of every variety of beauty, and in almost any direction; and from this you come home (and this is not the case with most sylvan rides) to an excellent French dinner and agreeable society, if you like it. You have all the seclusion of a rural town, and none of its petty politics and scandal—all the means and appliances of a large metropolis, and none of its exactions and limitations. That which makes the charm of a city, and that for which we seek the country, are equally here, and the penalties of both are removed.

Until the reflux of population from the Rocky mountains, I suppose Washington will never be a metropolis of residence. But if it were an object with the inhabitants to make it more so, the advantages I have just enumerated, and a little outlay of capital and enterprise would certainly, in some degree, effect it. People especially who come from Europe, or have been accustomed to foreign modes of living, would be glad to live near a society composed of such attractive materials as the official and diplomatic persons at the seat of government. That which keeps them away is, principally, want of accommodation, and, in a less degree, it is want of comfortable accommodation in the other cities which drives them back to Europe. In Washington you must either live at an hotel or a boarding-house. In either case, the mode of life is only endurable for the shortest possible period, and the moment Congress rises, every sufferer in these detestable places is off for relief. The hotels are crowded to suffocation; there is an utter want of privacy in the arrangement of the suites of apartments; the service is ill ordered, and the prices out of all sense or reason. You pay for that which you have not, and you can not get by paying for it that which you want.

The boarding-house system is worse yet. To possess but one room in privacy, and that opening on a common passage; to be obliged to come to meals at certain hours, with chance table companions, and no place for a friend, and to live entirely in your bedroom or in a public parlor, may truly be called as abominable a routine as a gentleman could well suffer. Yet the great majority of those who come to Washington are in one or the other of these two categories.

The use of lodgings for strangers or transient residents in the city does not, after all the descriptions in books, seem at all understood in our country. This is what Washington wants, but it is what every city in the country wants generally. Let us describe it as if it was never before heard of, and perhaps some enlightened speculator may advance us half a century in some of the cities, by creating this luxury.

Lodgings of the ordinary kind in Europe generally consist of the apartments on one floor. The house, we will suppose, consists of three stories above the basement, and each floor contains a parlor, bedroom, and dressing-room, with a small antechamber. (This arrangement of rooms varies, of course, and a larger family occupies two floors.) These three suites of apartments are neatly furnished; bed-clothes, table-linen, and plate, if required, are found by the proprietor, and in the basement story usually lives a man and his wife, who attend to the service of the lodgers; i. e., bring water, answer the doorbell, take in letters, keep the rooms in order, make the fires, and, if it is wished, do any little cookery in case of sickness. These people are paid by the proprietor, but receive a fee for extra service, and a small gratuity, at departure, from the lodger. It should be added to this, that it is not infra. dig. to live in the second or third story.

In connexion with lodgings, there must be of course a cook or restaurateur within a quarter of a mile. The stranger agrees with him for his dinner, to consist of so many dishes, and to be sent to him at a certain hour. He gives notice in the morning if he dines out, buys his own wine of the wine-merchant, and thus saves two heavy items of overcharge in the hotel or boarding-house. His own servant makes his tea or coffee (and for this purpose has access to the fire in the basement,) and does all personal service, such as brushing clothes, waiting at table, going on errands, &c., &c. The stranger comes in, in short, at a moment’s warning, brings nothing but his servant and baggage, and finds himself in five minutes at home, his apartments private, and every comfort and convenience as completely about him as if he had lived there for years.

At from ten to fourteen dollars a week, such apartments would pay the proprietor handsomely, and afford a reasonable luxury to the lodger. A cook would make a good thing of sending in a plain dinner for a dollar a head (or more if the dinner were more expensive,) and at this rate, a family of two or more persons might have a hundred times the comfort now enjoyed at hotels, at certainly half the cost.

We have been seduced into a very unsentimental chapter of “ways and means,” but we trust the suggestions, though containing nothing new, may not be altogether without use. The want of some such thing as we have recommended is daily and hourly felt and complained of.









My Dear Morris.—All I have seen of England for the last twelve days, has been the four walls of a bedroom, and, as all I saw of the world for the twelve days previous, was the interior of a packet’s state-room, I may fairly claim, like the razor-grinder, to have “no story to tell.” You shall have, however, what cobwebs I picked from the corners.

If the ‘Britannia’ had burnt on the passage, and a phœnix had arisen from its ashes, the phœnix would have been a well compounded cosmopolite, for—did you ever see such variety of nation in one ship’s company as this?

Scotland,6West Indies,2
Ireland,3East Indies,3
Wales,1British Guiana,1
United States,12Denmark,1

Of the Germans, 2 were from Hanover, 2 from Hamburgh, 1 from Baden, 1 from Lubec, 2 from Bremen, and 1 from Heinault. Mr. Robert Owen was one of the Scotchmen, and he was the only one on board, I fancy, for whom fame had made any great outlay of trumpeting. Six clergymen (!!) served as our protection against the icebergs. I doubt whether the Atlantic, had, ever before such a broadwake of divinity drawn across it. Probably, the true faith was in some one of their keepings!

I wish to ask a personal favor of all the friends of the Journal who are in the offices of the American Custom Houses, viz: that they would retaliate upon Englishmen in the most vexatious manner possible, the silly and useless impediments thrown in the way of passengers landing at Liverpool. We dropped anchor with a Custom House steamer alongside, and our baggage lay on deck two hours, (time enough to be examined twice over) before it was transferred to the government vessel. We and our baggage were then taken ashore and landed at a Custom House. But not to be examined there! Oh, no! It must be put into carts, and carried a mile and a half to another Custom House, and there it would be delivered to us if we were there to see it examined! We landed at ten o’clock in the morning, and with my utmost exertions, I did not get my baggage till three. The cost to me, of porterage, fees, etc., was three dollars and a half, besides the theft of two or three small articles belonging to my child. I was too ill to laugh, and I therefore passed the matter over to my resentments.

During the four or five hours that I was playing the hanger-on to a vulgar and saucy custom house officer at Liverpool, one or two contrasts crept in at my dull eyes—contrasts between what I had left, and what was before me. The most striking was the utter want of hope in the countenances of the working classes—the look of dogged submission and animal endurance of their condition of life. They act like horses and cows. A showy equipage goes by, and they have not the curiosity to look up. Their gait is that of tired donkeys, saving as much trouble at leg-lifting as possible. Their mouths and eyes are wholly sensual, expressing no capability of a want above food. Their dress is without a thought of more than warmth and covering, drab covered with dirt. Their voices are a half-note above a grunt. Indeed, comparing their condition with the horse, I would prefer being an English horse to being an English working-man. And you will easily see the very strong contrast there is, between this picture, and that of the ambitious and lively working-men of our country.

Another contrast strikes, probably, all Americans on first landing—that of female dress. The entire absence of the ornamental—of any thing indeed, except decent covering—in all classes below the wealthy, is particularly English and particularly un-American. I do not believe you would find ten female servants in New-York without (pardon my naming it) a “bustle.” Yet I saw as many as two hundred women in the streets of Liverpool, and not one with a bustle! I saw some ladies get out of carriages who wore them, so that it is not because it is not the fashion, but simply because the pride (of those whose backs form but one line) does not outweigh the price of the bran. They wore thick shoes, such as scarcely a man would wear with us, no gloves of course, and their whole appearance was that of females in whose minds never entered the thought of ornament on week days. This trifling exponent of the condition of women in England, has a large field of speculation within and around it, and the result of philosophizing on it would be vastly in favor of our side of the water.

As this letter is written on my first day of sitting up, and directly against the doctor’s orders, you will give my invalid brain the credit of coming cheerfully into harness.


Having some delay in giving my little Imogen her first English dinner, we saved our passage by half a minute, and were off from Liverpool at 4 precisely. The distance to London is, I believe, 220 miles, and we did it in five hours—an acceleration of speed which is lately introduced upon the English railways. There are slower trains on the same route, and the price, by these, is less. There are also three or four different kinds of cars to each train, and at different prices. I chanced to light upon the first class, and paid £5 for two places—my nurse and child counting as one. I understand, since, that many gentlemen and ladies of the most respectable rank take the second-class cars—(as few Americans would, I am sorry to say, though there would be two degrees still below them.)

This travelling at forty odd miles the hour give one’s eyes hardly time to know a tree from a cow, but here and there I got a distant view in crossing a valley, and recognized the lovely rural beauty of England, the first impression of which lasts one, like an enchanted memory, through life. Notwithstanding the great speed, the cars ran so evenly on their admirable rails, that there was no jar to prevent one’s sleeping or being comfortable, and I awoke from a very pleasant dream to find myself in London.

As I was dressing to dine out on the following day, I stopped tying my cravat to send for a physician, and here, if you please, we will make a jump over twelve days, and come to a bright morning when I was let out for a walk in Regent-street.

It is extraordinary how little the English change! Regent-street, after four or five years, is exactly what Regent-street was. The men have the same tight cravats, coats too small, overbrushed whiskers, and look of being excessively wash’d. The carriages and horses exactly the same. The cheap shops have the same placard of “selling off” in their broad windows. The blind beggars tell the same story, and are led by the same dogs; but what is stranger than all this sameness, is that the ladies look the same! The fashions have perhaps changed—in the milliners’ shops! But the Englishing that is done to French bonnets after they are bought, or the English way in which they are worn, overpowers the novelty, and gives the fair occupants of the splendid carriages of London the very same look they had ten years ago.

Still there are some slight differences observable in the street, and among others, I observe that the economical private carriage called a “Brougham” is very common. These are low cabs, holding two or four persons, with a driver, and perhaps a footman in livery on the outside seat, and one horse seems to do the work as well as two. This fashion would be well, introduced into New York—that is to say, if our city is ever to be well enough paved to make a drive any thing but a dire necessity. The paving of London is really most admirable. Vast city as it is, the streets are smooth as a floor all over it, and to ride is indeed a luxury. The break-neck, hat-jamming and dislocating jolts of Broadway must seem to English judgment an inexcusable stain on our public spirit. And, apropos of paving—the wooden pavement seems to be entirely out of favor. Regent-street is laid in wooden blocks, and in wet weather (and it rains here some part of every day,) it is so slippery that an omnibus which has been stopped in going up the street is with difficulty started again. The horses almost always come to their knees, though the ascent is very slight, and the falls of cart and carriage-horses are occurring continually. Nothing seems to “do” like the McAdam pavement, and wherever you find it in London, you find it in as perfect order as the floor of a bowling-alley. I see that all heavy vehicles are compelled to have very broad wheels, and they rather improve the road than spoil it. A law to the same effect should be passed in New York, if it ever has a pavement worth preserving.

Observing Lady Blessington’s faultless equipage standing at the door of the Cosmorama, I went in and saw her Ladyship for a moment. She said she was suffering from recent illness, but I thought her looking far better than when I was last in England. Her two beautiful nieces were with her, and Lord ——; and the celebrated Vidocq (for this was what they had come to see,) was showing them the disguises he had worn in his wonderful detections of criminals, the weapons he had taken from them, and all the curiosities of his career—himself the greatest. I looked at the Prince of Policemen with no little interest of course, after reading his singular memoirs. He is a fat man, very like the outline of Louis Phillippe’s figure, and his head, enormously developed in the perceptive organs, goes up so small to the top, as to resemble the pear with which the King of the French is commonly caricatured. Vidocq’s bow to me when I came in was the model of elegant and respectful suavity, but I could not repress a feeling of repugnance to him, nevertheless.

I made a couple of calls before I went home. The chief topic of conversation at both houses was the charms and eccentricities of an American belle who had lately married into a noble family. She seems to have enchanted the exclusives by treating them with the most un-deferential freedom. A few evenings since, she chanced to be surrounded by a half-dozen high bred admirers, and conversation going rather heavily, she proposed a cock-fight. Dividing the party into two sides, she tied the legs of the young men together, and set them to a game of fisticuffs—ending in a very fair representation of an action between belligerent roosters! One of her expressions was narrated with great glee. She chanced to have occasion to sneeze when sitting at dinner between two venerable noblemen. “La!” she exclaimed, “I hope I didn’t splash either of you!” I have mentioned only the drolleries of what I heard. Several instances of her readiness and wit were given, and as those who mentioned them were of the class she is shining in, their admiring tone gave a fair reflection of how she is looked upon—as the most celebrated belle and notability of high life for the present season.


S—— Vicarage.

I took yesterday an afternoon’s country-drive to a neighboring town, with no idea of finding anything of note-worthy interest, but it strikes me that one or two little matters that made a mark in my memory, may be worth recording. England is so paved and hedged with matter to think about, that you can scarce stir without pencilling by the way.

I strolled towards a very picturesque church while the ladies of my party were shopping. The town (Abingdon) is a tumbled-up, elbowy, crooked old place, with the houses all frowning at each other across the gutters, and the streets narrow and intricate. The church was a rough antique, with the mendings of a century or two on the originally beautiful turrets and windows, but as I walked around it, I came upon the church-yard, hemmed in at awkward angles by three long and venerable buildings. Two of these seemed to have been built with proper reference to the climate, for the lower stories were faced with covered galleries, wherein the occupants might take the air, and yet be sheltered from the rain. Through the low arches of one of the galleries, I saw a couple of old men pacing up and down, and on inquiring of one of them, I found it was a poor-house, of curious as well as ancient endowment—the funds being devoted to the support of twenty-five widowers and as many widows. What else, (beside being left destitute) was necessary to make one a recipient of the charity, I could not learn of my informant. He ushered me, however, into his apartment, and a charming little rubbishy, odd-angled, confused cupboard it was! I could not but mentally congratulate him on the difference between his snuggery for one, (for each man had a niche to himself,) and the dreadfully whitewashed halls, like new churches that have never been prayed in, in which the poor are elsewhere imprisoned. He had old shoes lying in one corner, and a smoked print stuck against the wall, and things hung up and stuffed away untidily, here and there—in short, it looked like a home! The whole building was but a row of these single rooms—a long, one-storied and narrow structure, and behind was a garden with a portion divided off to each pensioner—his window so near that he could sit in-doors and inhale the fragrance from flowers of his own tending. I rather think every man was his own turnkey and superintendent.

But we visited in the course of the afternoon, a poor-house which was in direct contrast to this. Abingdon is distinguished for possessing the model work-house of the new Union System, which has diminished the burthensome cost of the poor, to the country, one half. It used to be customary to give the helpless paupers two shillings a week, and let them shift for themselves, if they preferred it. Now, the poor of half a dozen villages, more or less, are provided for in one “improved” work-house, and if they do not live in it, they can receive nothing. And, to live in it, they must work and submit to the discipline.

The new work-house was a building of three long wings, in the form of a Y; the superintendent’s room placed in the crotch, and his windows commanding a complete view of the two sides of each wing. The gardens and workshops were in the angles, and there was scarce an inch of the premises that was not overlooked from the centre. We were kindly shown over the different apartments. The cleanliness was enough to discourage a fly. A smell of soap-and-water’s utmost completely impregnated the atmosphere. The grain of the scrubbed tables stood on end. The little straight beds looked as if it must be a bold man who would crook his legs in them. The windows were too high for a child or a short person to look out. It was like an insane hospital or a prison. In one of the first rooms we entered, was a delicate and pretty child of seven or eight years of age, a new inmate. Her mother, who was her only relative, had just died in a neighboring village, and left her quite alone in the world. She was shut up in a room with an old woman, for by the “regulations,” she was to be separated some days from the other children, to make sure that she brought no disease into the work-house. But the sight of the poor little sobbing thing, sitting on the middle of a long clean bench, with no object to look at within the four white walls, except a table and a soured old woman, looked very little like “charity.” And the hopeless down-hill of her sob sounded as if she felt but little like one newly befriended. “She’s done nothing but cry all the day long!” said the old woman. Fortunately I had a pocket full of sweets, intended for a happier child, and I was able to make one break in her long day’s monotony.

In another room we found ten or twelve old women, who were too decrepid for work of any kind. But they had laps left![6] And in each one’s lap lay a baby. The old knees were trotting with the new-born of pauper mothers, and but for its dreadful uniformity—each old trunk grafted with a bud, and trunks and buds dressed and swathed in the poor-house uniform—this room full of life’s helpless extremities would have seemed the happiest of all. They cuddled up their druling charges as we approached the benches on which they sat, and chirruped their toothless “tsup! tsup! tsup!” as if each was proud of her charge. One of the old women complained bitterly of not being allowed to have a pinch of snuff. The reason why, was because the others would want it too, or demand an equivalent, paupers being cared for by system. The unhappy and improvident creature had educated a superfluous want!

The sick rooms were marked with the same painful naked neatness. Old people, disposed of to die, economically tucked up in rows against the wall, with no person to come near them except the one to nurse a dozen, form a dreadful series. Really, there should be some things sacred from classification. The fifth acts of dramas, like whole human lives, should not pass like the shelving of utensils that are one degree short of worthless. I stood looking for a minute or two at an old man whose only reply to “well, how are you now?” was a hopeless lifting and dropping of the eyelids, and I wondered whether a life was worth having, that had such possible terminations in its dark lottery.

The children’s school seemed under more genial charge, and there were prints hung upon the walls of their school-room. The weaving and spinning-rooms looked cheerful also. Some thirty boys singing hymns together while at work, and seeming contentedly employed. To the old of both sexes, however, this kind of poor-house is utterly repulsive, I was told, and the taking refuge in it is considered by the poor hardly better than starvation. One of the rules seems to bear very hard—married paupers (an old couple for instance,) being put into different wards, and only permitted to see each other once a week, and then in the presence of superintendents.

The flower-beds at the front door were in great splendor with the lillies in bloom. I called the door keeper’s attention to the inappropriateness of this particular ornament to the threshold of a work-house. “They toil not, neither do they spin,” etc., etc., etc.

Bloomers please take notice.


An excursion of fifty miles and back “to pass the day” at a place—setting off after breakfast, and getting home “before tea”—used to be done on a witch’s broom exclusively. People who are neither bewitched nor bewitching can do it now! Railroads have disenchanted the world. The secluded Vicarage of S——, is half way from London to Bath, in a village lying upon the route of the Great Western Railroad. I had never seen the Saratoga of England, and, chatting with my kind relatives, over the things that were to be seen in the neighborhood, I was rather startled to hear of the possibility of “passing the day at Bath.” Beau Nash and the Pumproom, rose up, of course, vividly and instantly. The scene of the loves and gayeties of the gayest age of England, was close at my elbow—near enough, at least, to visit without a carpet-bag. The opportunity was not to be lost.

By the “Express” train we might “do” the fifty miles in an hour, but we preferred the slow train to do it in two. We in-car-cerated ourselves, at 10 o’clock of the first fair day I have seen in a month, and were presently getting, (very literally indeed,) a bird’s eye view of the carpet-like scenery of Berkshire.

At the second or third station, we took in, for passengers, four idiots, under the care of an hospital-keeper. When taken out of the carriage in which they were brought, two of them collapsed to the ground, not having mind enough to stand on their legs, though apparently in perfect health. One minute thus and the next minute going at the rate of thirty miles an hour, is a contrast!

At Swindon, the junction between the Gloucester Railway and this, the station buildings are really unnecessarily splendid. The reception room, with its immense mirrors, velvet sofas, bronzes and waiting women in full dress, is as sumptuous as a royal palace. The windows are as large as doors, and of one pane of pier-glass. The room itself is as large and high as the gentlemen’s dining room at the Astor, and yet a room exactly corresponding is on the other side of the track—one to accommodate the “up train,” and the other the “down train.” The rustic inhabitants of the little village of Swindon must live in surprise at the magnificent wants of travellers—the curls and chemisettes of the waiting-girls behind the counter included!

At the little village of “Box,” (a snug name for a village, by the bye) commences the two mile tunnel under the chalk hills, and so suddenly do the cars dive into the darkness, that one’s eyes are at a loss to know what to do with the light left in the eyeballs. If a man ever threatens to “knock the daylight out of me” again, I shall have a glimmer of its having been done before—(at Box.) But I predict an awful smash in this tunnel, yet. Chalk and flint-stones are very friable neighbors, and hills are heavy, and the concussion of air, with a train going under ground at the rate of a mile a minute, is enough to sift away particles very speedily. A train might come out with a load of stone it never went in with, and there is gloomy time enough to anticipate it, while one is whizzing and thundering onwards toward the black dark of the Box tunnel.

The villages thicken, and the hills grow steeper as we approach Bath, and at last you are suddenly shot into a bowl of palaces and verdure—the bottom covered with gardens, and the sides with terraced crescents of architecture. I had just time to exclaim with wonder at the unexpected splendor of the hill-sides rounding us in, when the station roof slid over us like an extinguisher, and the conductor’s voice announced that we were at Bath.


Boys by dozens, offering to be our guides, and six or seven rival omnibusses begging us for the hotels.

Leaving cloak and shawl, and ordering dinner at three, at the hotel adjoining the station, we sallied forth to ramble the town over, with three good hours before us—the return-cars leaving at four. As I just now said, the bottom of this vase of hills is laid out in gardens, and we crossed to the other side upon a raised road which looks down upon a beautiful parterre of gravel walks and flowers, free to the public to look at. But the stranger stops at every second step, to gaze about and wonder. I had read very glowing descriptions of Bath, but my anticipation, even of its size, was three fourths less than the reality. Its picturesqueness is theatrical. No scene painter could cluster and pile up palaces, gardens and spires, with more daring extravagance. The abundant quarries of free-stone in the neighborhood, have furnished all their building materials, and every house that is not beautifully antique, is of ornamental architecture. I saw one or two beggars, but I did not see where they could live. Splendid squares, crescents, terraces and colonades, monopolize the town.

We made straight for the “Pump-Room,” of course. It lies behind a prodigally Gothic abbey, (one of the most ornate and beautiful specimens of the Gothic I ever saw,) and with a large paved court before it, surrounded by shops. It is merely one large room in a building, which is one of a block, and though it was doubtless a very splendid hall when first built, it is now outdone by the saloons of common theatres, and by the “refreshment rooms” of railroad stations. A semicircular counter projects from the wall on one side, studded with cake and glasses of chalybeate water, a large mirror hangs opposite, and the recess at one end is filled with seats and lounges for rest or gossip. Had I been the solitary traveller I usually am, I should have sat down in a corner and “put the screws” to the ghost of Beau Nash and the belles of his brilliant time and circle—but I had better company than my own imagination, and the old master of ceremonies had only a thought sent after him.



I could copy a new leaf from my memory that would be very interesting to you, for I dined yesterday in a party of admirable talkers, and heard much that I shall remember. But, though the brilliant people themselves, whose conversation we thus record, are far from being offended at the record—the critics (who were not so fortunate as to be there too) are offended for them. The giving the talk without naming the talkers would make common-place of it, I am afraid, just as taking the wooden labels from the large trees, in the botanical park at Kew, would make the exotic groves look indigenous—but we must submit to this noisy demand of the critics notwithstanding. In a world where one might, possibly, have a real fault to be defended for by his friends, it is a pity to put them to the trouble of defending them for nothing!

I hear much said of two of our countrymen who seem to have made a strong impression on society in England. Mr. Colman, the agriculturist, is one of them, and his strong good sense, and fresh originality of mind were well suited to be relished in this country. The other is a gentleman whose peculiar talent was never before brought to its best market, popular as it is in New York—“Major Jack Downing;” and of his power as a raconteur, I hear frequent and strong expressions of admiration. This, by the way, and similar talents, which are only used for the enlivening of private society, are, in our country, like gold ingots at the mine—scarce recognised as value till brought over the water and stamped. I know more than one man in America who has gifts from nature that would be most valuable to him in English society, and are of no value to him in ours.

To-night is Taglioni’s farewell performance, before quitting the stage, and I had made up my mind to go and see her, “on her last legs,” but a more tempting engagement draws me another way. I saw her a few nights since, when she was doing her best in honor of the approbation of the King of the Netherlands. It was in the new ballet of “Diana,” but though there were certainly some beautiful overcomings of “obedience to the centre of gravity,” it was dull’d in the memory by the dancing of Cerito who followed her. May this latter dancer live and stay pretty, till you see her, my dear General!

The presence of the King of the Netherlands was quite an event at the opera, accustomed as are stall and pit to royal company. You know, that, besides being a king, he is a distinguished man—(better known as the Prince of Orange who fought in the English army at Waterloo.) He looks like a person of superior talent. His face is cleanly chiselled, and his eye is keen. He was dressed in plain clothes, and wore a white cravat, and had the air of a high-bred barrister, or of one whose constant exercise of his intellect had made its mark on his physiognomy. He was received first in the box of the Duke of Cambridge, all the ladies in the box standing till he was seated. The Duke, who talks very loud, and who makes the audience smile several times every evening, with some remark audible all over the house, kept up a conversation with him, for a while, and His Majesty then made a visit to the adjoining box, where sat the superb and influential Lady Jersey, and her very beautiful daughter, Lady Clementina Villiers. (You have seen portraits of these ladies in the annuals.) I did not envy him his reception in the first box very particularly, though one would like very well to “see how it feels” to be a king—but his reception in the second box seemed a heaven that would reward one for a great deal of virtue.

Lady Morgan was present in widows’ weeds, and thereby very much improved in appearance—(as many women are!) I had not seen her ladyship for five or six years, but time seems to have been content with taking away Sir Charles. She looks well as in 1840—a long statu quo! She had with her a very fascinating niece, and a very large bouquet.

I write my letters so hastily that I digress as one does in conversation. I began with the intention of telling a curious story that I had from no less than second hand touching the King of the Netherlands and the Princess Charlotte. It was told me, a few days since by my neighbor at dinner, a distinguished person, a great admirer of his Majesty, and who prefaced it with a wonder at the caprice of taste. The Prince of Orange, as is well known, was originally chalked off, by the “high contracting powers,” to be the husband of the lovely English princess. It was of the first moment to him, then, that he should second Destiny in its kind endeavors, and succeed in winning her royal affections. He was, however, a prince, and princes in those days, drank hard. He had the misfortune to come in tipsy from the dinner-table, when rejoining the ladies after a party at which he met his designated future. The Princess took an invincible dislike to him on that occasion. The lady who told the anecdote (to her who told it to me) was in attendance on the princess when the prince called upon his return from a campaign in which he had distinguished himself. He was received very coldly. His uniform was a red coat with green feathers in his cap, and when he took his leave, the princess walked to the window to see him go down the avenue. “Aha!” thought the lady in waiting; “if she goes to look after him, the case is not so desperate, after all!” But the remark of the princess, as she looked at his red coat and green feathers, undid the momentary illusion—“How like a radish he looks!” said the royal Charlotte. A lady often hates the man she loves, but she seldom ridicules him. The princess was resolute in her aversion, and the “forked radish” (which we all resemble according to Shakspeare) was superseded by Prince Leopold.

This being the ‘town-talk’ (as is the Dutch king at present) revives all the defunct anecdotes, of course, and greatness has to take into account what it awakes, besides homage, when it makes the world take notice of its existence! (Alas, for drawbacks!)


Tired of visiting, dining out, and endless new acquaintances, I determined yesterday, to encounter, if possible, nobody who would need to be spoken to, but to see sights all day, and try what mere absorption would do in the way of mental refreshment. I began with what I presume, is the most varied show in the world, the Colosseum in the Regent’s Park. This is such an aggregation of wonders that the visitor must have very small compassion not to be sorry for everybody who has not been there, and very large confidence in his powers of description to undertake to describe it. How so much is represented in so small a compass is as puzzling as the miracles of clairvoyance. If one were conjured, bodily, indeed, for five minutes to the ruins of Athens, the next five minutes left lounging in a Moorish palace, then dropped into Switzerland, then held in an angel’s lap high over London—winding up with a wilderness of galleries, aviaries, conservatories, statuary and grottoes—it would, probably, be not a bit more astonishing than a visit to the Colosseum, and, of course, not near so agreeable. The guide-book, by the way, with drawings of everything, which one buys for a shilling at the door, is rather graphically written, and an extract from it may help me in conveying an idea of the place:—

“The conservatories are elaborately decorated in the Arabesque style. In the centre is the Gothic aviary, superbly fitted up with gilt carved work and looking-glass, such as Isabella of Castile might be supposed to have constructed amidst the relics of a Moorish palace; or Abu-Abdallah, with true Arabian gallantry, to have conjured up for the solace of some fair Christian captive, within the enchanted halls of his own Alhambra. But of the ingenious and tasteful combination of Moorish and Gothic architecture, and decoration of this spot, amidst the murmur of sparkling fountains, the songs of gaily-plumed birds, and the fragrance of exotic plants and flowers, may transport us in imagination to the country of the Cid and the borders of the Xenil, we have but to open the glass door which leads to the exterior promenade; and, in an instant, the still more picturesque and instructive sight of golden pinnacles and eastern domes, springing up amongst the marble columns and mouldering frescoes of ancient Greece and Rome, wafts us at once to the banks of the Bosphorus or the shores of the Mediterranean. In these days of steam-navigation, and overland journeys to India, when Parisian flâneurs are to be met among the ruins of Carthage, and Bond street loungers in the great desert of Sahara—when, in turning a corner of the great pyramid you may run against your London friend in a Chesterfield wrapper, or, in ascending Mount Lebanon, recognize a recent partner at Almack’s, in all the glory of her last new bonnet from Maradan’s, the reality of the scene before us is nowise impaired by the modern European costume of the visitors, and we may sit us down upon this mossy stone, and look upon them as the latest arrivals by “the Oriental,” via Malta and Alexandria, or by the “Dampschiff” from Vienna to the “Golden Horn.” It is perhaps more than half an hour since we flew from the top of St. Paul’s to the south of Spain, to the shores of the Mediterranean, to the verge of Christendom. We must hurry home by the shortest cut—through Switzerland—but not without halting for one moment to gaze from the windows of an Alpine cottage upon the never-trodden snow, and the hoar glaciers of Mont Blanc. We enter then the chalet, or Swiss cottage, guided by the roar of the mountain torrent, which, leaping over the nearest rocks, comes thundering down the precipices, and, after forming a small lake in front of the cottage windows, overflows its stony basin, and with a second fall, disappears in the gulf below.”

This flowery naming-over of the things one sees at the Colosseum is anything but adequate to the reality—the Swiss valley (which has a real waterfall, forty-feet high, and a real lake) being, particularly, a complete illusion. And there is another illusion quite as complete, which you would scarcely think possible—a view down upon London by night, with all the streets illuminated, the shop-windows glittering, the markets crowded, and the moon shining over all! I could not persuade myself that part of it, at least, was not a bit of real London let in to the view, and I believed in the moon till I had seen it for half an hour—just such a one being really outside. The guide-book says:—“We confidently state, that it is next to impossible that any person can lean over the balustrade for five or six minutes, and mark the fleecy clouds sailing steadily along, lighted as they come within the influence of the halo-encircled moon, which has just emerged from the smoke of the great city, and then fading from sight, or occasionally obscuring the stars that twinkle here and there in the apparently illimitable space—we say it is next to impossible that they can, after such contemplation, recall themselves immediately to the conviction that the scene before them is but an illusion. Add to this the reflection of the innumerable lights upon the bridges in the river, and that of the moon, as the flow of the tide occasionally causes the ripple to catch for a moment, again to be lost as speedily, the silvery beams of the rising luminary, the brilliancy of the shops in Cheapside, and on Ludgate Hill—the colored lights of the chemists in all directions—the flaring naked gas in the open stalls and markets—the cold, pale, moonlight on the windows of Christ Church Hospital, and other high and isolated buildings, and nothing short of reality can equal the amazing coup d’œil before us.”

I wanted some one to monosyllable-ize to—(for it is as bad to be astonished alone, as it is to be astonishingly tired of people) but with this one lack, the morning and the evening—(I returned in the evening,) were plenitudes of occupation. I felt afterwards, and feel now, as if I had been to the far countries represented, and up in air and down in caverns. Many a traveller earns the right really to wear the green turban, whose impressions and memories are less worth having.

One sight I saw, by the way, that was not “down on the bill.” The centre of the Colosseum is occupied by a circular gallery, carpeted and filled with lounges, and in many respects luxurious, besides exhibiting an admirable collection of statuary. I was standing before a bust of Mrs. Norton, (the poetess) and comparing its exquisite chiselling with my remembrance of her beautiful features, when a party of ladies with very refined, soft voices, approached a statue near by, and began criticising it. An instinctive feeling of delicacy forbad me to look around, at first, as the statue was the rude figure of a reclining woman, but a very masculine guttural following a critical remark, I ventured to turn my head towards the party. Three ladies, dressed with the most respectable elegance, one elderly, and the other two, apparently her daughters, and both pretty, stood in a patronizing tripod—surrounding a negro! It was a lad of nineteen or twenty, in a jacket and trowsers, entirely black, and as ugly and ill-shaped a negro as you could easily find. His hands showed that he had been used to hard work, and he had evidently newly arrived in London. The ladies were making a pet of him. One caught hold of his arm, and pointed to a bust, and another pulled him to see a statue, and they were evidently enjoying the sights, only through his astonishment. The figure of the naked saint, asleep, with the cross in her bosom, did not seem to shock the ladies, but did seem to shock the negro. These ladies were probably enthusiasts in anti-slavery, and had got a protégé who was interesting as having been a slave. At least, this was the only theory I could build to account for their excessive interest in him—but one need not be an American to wonder at their mode of amusing him. I see, daily, blacks, walking with white women, and occupying seats in the dress-circle of theatres, quite unnoticed by the English; but it was a degree too much to see a black boy in a fair way to have his taste corrupted by white ladies!

There is a superb bust of D’Orsay’s father in this collection—by the Count himself. It represents a magnificent man. My letter is getting long.


There is little need of widening the ditch of prejudice over which American books must jump, to be read in England, but one of the most original and readable books ever published in our country, (Mr. Poe’s Tales,) “is fixed,” for the present, on the nether side of popularity, by the use of a single Americanism. The word bug, which with us, may mean an honorable insect, as well as an unclean one, is hardly nameable in England, to ears polite. The first story opened to, in Mr. Poe’s book, is “The Golden Bug,” and the publisher informs me that his English brethren of the craft turn their backs upon it for this disqualification only. The work is too full of genius to be kept, finally, from English admiration, but a word on the first page which makes publishers shut the book without looking farther, will retard its departure from the shelf.

And, apropos—I see that our brilliant contributor “Fanny Forrester,” is about to collect her stories, letters, etc., into a volume. You will remember the confidence with which I hailed the advent of genius in the first letter we received from this now well-known pet of the periodicals. I saw, even in that hasty production, the rare quality of playfulness ever constant to good sense—a frolicsome gayety that was rememberable for its wisdom when the laugh had died away. The playfulness is common enough, and the good sense is common enough, but they are not often found together; and, apart, they form the two large classes of writers, the trivial and the heavy. With one quality to relieve the other, however, as is seen in all the productions of charming “Fanny Forrester,” a style is formed which is eminently captivating to the casual reader, and therefore the very best for a contributor to periodicals. But hers is a style, also, the charm of which is lasting. For the thoughts it is freighted with, are from one of the most gifted and most loveable of female natures—thoughts first schooled by heavenly purity and tenderness, and then loosed to play with the freedom of birds on the wing. I take no small pride in having been the first to pronounce the “Eureka” at the discovery of this bright star. And she has risen rapidly in the literary firmament, for it is but a year since “Fanny Forrester” was first heard of, through our columns, and there are few readers now in our wide country who do not know her well.

I have been shivering about town to-day, as usual, in a great-coat—scarce having seen a day this summer when I was comfortable without it. What do you mean by keeping the upper end of the thermometer all to yourselves? The English live in overcoats and under umbrellas, while you are recording the dropping down of people in the street with the heat of the weather! Among other pastimes I went over the river and spent a chilly hour in that vast village of wild beasts and birds, the Surrey Zoological Gardens. It is enough to give one the heart ache to see the many shapes of the agony of imprisonment undergone within these pretty shrubberies and hedges. The expression of distress by all manner of creatures except monkeys, is so painful, that I wonder it should be popular as a place of resort for ladies. But there they lounge out the day in great numbers, feeding the elephants, tormenting the monkeys, and gazing in upon the howling bears, tigers and lions, as if the poor creatures were as happy as parlor poodles. I saw, by the way, that most of the names upon the cages had the word American before them, which helps account for the common English wonder at seeing a white man from New York! I was very glad to get out of the “Gardens!” It would be better named a Hell of wild animals.

I see the dark complexions of the East Indies plentifully sprinkled among the beggars and street sweepers in London. People in turbans and Hindoo coats walk in the crowd unnoticed. The subjugated nations of this modern Rome, are represented among the wretched, though half the globe lies between their begging place and their home. These Asiatics are a symmetrical little people by the way, and their graceful Oriental touch to the turban, when they ask alms, looks strangely out of place amid a populace of such angular rudeness.

London for once, really looks deserted. It is often said to be, when there is very little sign of it to a stranger’s eye. But the Queen’s trip to Germany has taken off an unusual number to the land of beer, and Bond-street is gloomy.


London has been enshrouded to-day in what they call a ‘blight’—a blanket-like atmosphere which dulls the sun without the aid of clouds. By taking the pains to hold your arm close to your eye, on days like this you find it covered with small insects, and the trees, in the course of a week will show what is their errand from the morasses. Why these leaf-eaters did not come before, or why they did not stay longer where they were, seems to be a mystery, even to the newspapers.

I saw a new combination this morning—a whip and a parasol. A lady most unhappily plain, (whose impression, however, was very much mollified by the beautiful equipage she drove,) came very near running me down at the crowded corner of Oxford and Regent streets. She was driving a pair of snow-white ponies at a famous pace, and, as she laid the lash on very vigorously, in passing me by, I discovered that the whip was but a continuation of the handle of the parasol.—In holding up the protector for her own skin, therefore, she held up the terror of the skins of her ponies! It was like so many other things in this world, that I went on my way moralizing.

It should be recorded, by the way, that though one sees good-looking and cleanly-dressed women trundling wheelbarrows in the streets of London, one sees also that very many of the equipages of pleasure are driven by ladies—the usurpation covering the sunshiny and voluntary, as well as the shady and involuntary extreme of masculine pursuit. It really does somewhat modify one’s ideas of the fragile sex, however, to see some hundreds of them mounted on spirited blood horses every day, and every third carriage in the Park driven by the fingers that we are taught to press the like of, so very lightly. How far this near blending of pursuits, male and female, adds to the sympathy and rationality of their intercourse, or how far it breaks down the barriers that enshrine delicacy and romance, are questions that our friend Godey should settle in the “Lady’s Book.”

One does not very often see Americans in London, somehow, though one sees them by hundreds in Paris: but last night, I saw one or two distinguished country people at the opera. Mr. Bryant’s sachem-like head was in un-recognised contact with the profane miscellany of the pit. Mr. Reed, the able Philadelphia lawyer, (who made the capital speech, you will remember, at the dinner of the Historical Society a year ago) was with a party in the stalls. Mr. Colden of New York was present also. A very distinguished looking countryman of ours, as well as a very distinguished one, by the way, passed through London a few days since on his route to Vienna—Mr. Stiles, of Georgia, who was lately appointed our Charge to the capital of Austria. With this gentleman, I was delighted to meet, as he was a school-boy friend whom I had not seen for many years, and for the pleasure of joining him at Vienna, I have changed my plans, and given up my proposed wintering in Paris. Mr. Stiles was kind enough to confer upon me a very easily-given, but, at the same time, very useful addition to my passport, since as a Charge’s secretary and attaché, I may defy custom-houses and see courts—privileges denied to Mr.’s and editors! I shall leave London soon, and zig-zag it to Austria, visiting the intermediate cities in the centre of Europe, where you know I have never been, and in the police-ified and etiquettical atmosphere of which my embroidered passport, trifling as is the addition to it, will save me a deal of trouble.[7]

To return once more to the subject of the paragraph preceeding the last:—I have often remarked another interchange of male and female occupation, which, if not peculiar to England, is at least different from the habits of the sexes in our country. The men, of the middle and lower classes, share freely in the out-doors’ care of the children. Ten minutes ago, a handsome young soldier, a private of the Queen’s Guards—an elegant fellow, in a high bear-skin cap and full uniform—passed up Regent-street before my window, carrying a baby in his arms, very leisurely, and not at all remarked by the crowd, though no woman accompanied him. He was probably carrying “the child” home, having left the mother to shop or gossip; but what one of your private soldiers, my dear General, would quietly walk up Broadway in full uniform, with a baby in his arms? You could not take a walk in London, any pleasant day, without meeting a number of well-dressed men drawing children in basket wagons. They sit at shop-doors with them in their laps, or smoke their pipes while keeping the cradle going behind the counter. To any possibility of ridicule of such duties, the men of this country seem wholly insensible. In this and some other matters we have a false pride in America, which is both peculiarly American and peculiarly against nature.

And, apropos of children—I have taken some vain pains, the last day or two, to find in the London shops, India-rubber shoes for my little daughter. This article and suspenders of curled India-rubber, which I have also enquired for in vain, are two out of many varieties of this particular manufacture in which London still remains to be civilized, and for that step in civilization, the Queen (whose children go out in all weathers, and whose husband wears suspenders,) would probably be willing to thank our friend Day of Maiden-lane. Most of the uses to which the magical king of Caoutchouc has put his subject gum, would be novelties in England, I fancy, and he should be advised to set up a branch shop in Regent street, with his celebrated portable India-rubber canoe for a sign.

The Morning Post states that Frederika Bremer is on her way to our country. If ever there was a writer who sees things as every one wishes to, and nobody else can—whose eyes penetrate just to the right depth through the skin of human nature, neither too much nor too little—who describes people with an unequalled novelty and just-enough-ness, that is to say, and at the same time, invariably betters the heart of the reader, it is this Swedish authoress. I would rather see her than any woman living whom I have not seen, and I feel very much interested that our country should cherish her, and show her its appreciation of her womanly and yet wonderful genius.

I write with a pen keeping tune with some very indifferent music under my window. My lodgings look out upon Regent street, and they have but one objection—the neighborhood of a vender of beer who draws customers by giving some manner or other of music, nightly, in front of his shop. It is now ten o’clock, and six musicians are posted on the side-walk who play just well enough to entertain a street crowd of two or three hundred people—just well enough to bewitch a man’s pen, without making it worth his while to stop and listen. They are just now murdering the incomparable air to Mrs. Norton’s song of “Love not,” and, to one who has ever had his tears startled with it, (as who has not?) it is a desecration indeed. But what a tune to play to such an audience! The flaunting guilt that nightly parades the broad sidewalks of Regent-street is now embodied in one dense crowd listening attentively to the bitter caution of the song! It would be curious to know how many among them would be now on the other side of the possibility of profiting by it, had they been blessed with more careful example and education.

I went on Sunday to “the city,” to hear the poet Croly preach in the chapel of St. Stephen’s—a small church adjoining the mansion house of the Lord Mayor. Of Croly’s drama of “Cataline” and of his poems, I am (as you know by my frequent quoting from them,) a very great admirer. He is a fine scholar, and a man of naturally a most dramatic cast of mind—all his poems being conceived and presented to the reader with invariable stage effect, so to speak. I was curious to see him—for, to begin to know a man, mind-first, is like living in a house without having ever seen the outside of it. The church service was long—precisely two hours and a quarter before the sermon—and though there was a fine picture of the stoning of Stephen over the altar, and tablets to the memory of several worthy citizens on the walls and columns which it was profitable to read, I found the time pass heavily. Mr. Croly was shown into the pulpit at last. He is a tall powerfully built man of sixty—stern, gray, and more military than clerical in his look and manner. His voice, too, was very much more suited to command than to plead. He preaches extemporaneously, and he took the chapter from the morning service for his subject—the prophet’s triumph over the prophets of Baal. His sermon lasted half an hour, and it was, entirely and only, a magnificent painting of the sublime scene outlined in the Bible. It was done in admirable language, and altogether like a scholar-poet inspired with his theme—(its poetry, that is to say)—but very little like most efforts one hears in the pulpit. When he had pronounced his Amen, I suposed he had only laid out foreground of his sermon. Incidentally he expressed two sentiments—one, that God chose to have miracles prayed for, even when they were certain to come to pass, having been predicted by Himself. Second, that the popular voice (to which the prophet appealed to pass judgment on the trial between the Lord and Baal) was the only true test of everything! I thought this last rather a republican sentiment for the Lord Mayor’s chapel.

Dr. Croly would have made a modern Peter the Hermit, if a new crusade were to be preached up, but he is little likely to lead much faster to Heaven than they would otherwise go, the charity-school of girls who sit in the broad aisle of his chapel. I shall return to my ideal of him as a poet.

Of this and the opportunity of a similar appointment by Mr. Wheaton, our Minister at Berlin, I was unable to avail myself, from increasing illness.


If the water in Lake George were turned to meadow, and its numberless tall islands left standing as hills, it would be very like the natural scenery from Liege to Aix la Chapelle. The railroad follows the meadow level, and pierces these little mountains so continually, that it has been compared to a needle passing through the length of a corkscrew. Liege was a scene of Quentin Durward, you will remember, and at present is the gunsmithery of Europe, but it graces the lovely scenery around it, as a blacksmith in his apron would grace a ball-room, and I was not tempted to see much more of it than lay in the bottom of a bowl of soup. No bones of Charles the Bold, promised in the guide-book, nor tusk nor armour of the “Wild Boar of Ardennes.” Scott was never here, and his descriptions of town and castle were, of course, imaginary.

A river is much more of an acquaintance than a mountain, and I never see one for the first time, without a mental salutation, especially if I have heard of it before. The Vesdre would scarce be called a river in our country, but it is a lovely little stream, that has seen a world of romance, what with love and war, and it runs visibly dark from the closeness of the hill-sides to it, and with a more musical ripple (if you please,) for the spirits that haunt it. We got but a glimpse of the Meuse, crossing it at Liege, but we tracked the Vesdre for some distance by railroad. Of course it quite knocks a novel on the head to be dragged through its scenes by a locomotive, and if you care much for Quentin Durward, you had better not railroad it, from Brussels to the Rhine.

We were stopped an hour to show our credentials on the frontier of Prussia, and here (at Aix la Chapelle) I had intended to make a day’s halt. It rained in torrents, however. I pulled out my guide-book, and balanced long between staying dry in the rail-cars, and going wet to see the wonders. Here are to be seen the swaddling-clothes of our Saviour, the robe of the Virgin Mary, the shroud of John the Baptist, some of the manna of the Israelites in the wilderness, a lock of the Virgin’s hair, and the leathern girdle of the Saviour. Here, also, is to be seen (with more certainty) the tomb of Charlemagne. The church towers, which cover these marvellous sights, loomed up through the shower, but my usual philosophy of “making the most of to-day” gave way for once. Promising myself to see the wonders of Aix on my return, I ordered my baggage into the cars, and rolled away through the rain, to the fragrant-named city of Cologne.

I got my first glimpse of the Rhine through the window of an omnibus. From so prosaic a look-out, I may be excused for remarking, (what I might not have done, perhaps, from the embrasure of a ruined castle,) that it was a very ordinary looking river, with low banks, and of about the breadth of the Susquehannah at Owego. A party of beer-drinkers, bearded and piped, sitting under a bower of dried branches in front of a tavern, were all that I could see at the moment that looked either picturesque or poetical. This was on the way from the rail-road station to the Hotel at Cologne. As it was the only view I had of the Rhine that does not compel admiration, I seize the opportunity to disparage it.

In doing the curiosities of Cologne with a guide and a party, I found nothing not thrice told in the many books. Fortunately for the traveller, things newly seen are quite as enjoyable, though ever so far gone beyond a new description. I relished exceedingly my ramble through the narrow streets, and over the beautiful cathedral, and I puckered my lips with due wonder at the sight of the bones of the “Eleven Thousand Virgins” in the Convent of St. Ursula. Alas, that, of any thing loveable, such relics may have been a part! There was no choice, I thought, between the skulls—yet there must have been differences of beauty in the flesh that covered them.

I was lucky enough to bring the moonlight and my eyes to bear on the cathedral at the same moment—the half-filled horn of the Queen of Stars pouring upon the fine old towers, a light of beautiful tenderness, while I strolled around them once more in the evening. The cathedral of Cologne looks, indeed, a lovely confusion. And quite as lovely, I fancy, to eyes that have no knowledge of how window and pinnacle put their Gothic legs, ultimately, to the ground. I believe in Gothic. I am sure, that is to say, that these interlaced points and angles have a harmony in which lies architectural strength; and with this unexamined creed in my mind, like capital in bank, I give to impressions of beauty, unlimited credit. This is sometimes the kind of trust with which we admire poetry. There is many a strain of Byron’s, learned by heart for the music that it floats with, the meaning alone of which would not have immortalized it for a nameless poet.

“The castled crag of Drachenfels,”

for example. The noble Cathedral of Cologne, however, like others in Germany, stands knee-deep in common houses stuck against the wall—a pitiful economy that makes more of a blot on their national taste than all the “cologne” of “Jean Maria Farina” will ever wash away. And, apropos, it was easier to forget the proper sovereign of Cologne than the great prince of essences, and I stepped into his shop in passing, and breathed for once without a doubt, the atmosphere of the genuine “Farina.” It was a great warehouse of perfume—boxes and baskets piled up in pyramids of sweetness—the sight of so much, however, most effectually overpowering my desire for the single bottle. Luxuries, to be valuable in this world of small parcels, should be guardedly shown to the enjoyer.

After a little pondering upon the Rhine while sitting on one of the stone posts of the wharf, I started for a moonlight ramble through the streets. I felt somewhat lonely at that moment—in a city of 80,000 inhabitants without a soul to speak to—but I feel, now, as if there was a link of music between me and an unknown player at Cologne, for I stood under a window and listened to what seemed an improvisation upon the piano, but done by a hand that sought nothing from the instrument but melody in tune with sadness. Commonly, in listening long to music, one has to suspend his heart at intervals, and wait for a return to the chord from which the player has wandered; but in the varied and continuous harmonies of this unseen hand, there was no note or transition for which my mood was not instinctively ready. It was evidently a performer whose fingers syllabled his thoughts in music, and one, too, who had no listener but myself. The street was still, and all around seemed to be buried in sleep, not a light to be seen, except through the crack of the shutters which concealed the musician. A few minutes after twelve the sounds ceased and the light departed, but the music was apt and sweet enough to be remembered as an angel’s ministration.

The day that had, among its errands, the duty of showing me the Rhine, made its obeisance in sober grey, a half hour before sunrise. I arose unwillingly, as one does, so early, whatever is to befal; but the steamer was to start at 6, and steamers are punctual, even on the track of Childe Harold. Following my baggage to the water-side, I found myself on board a boat which would hardly pass muster as a ferry boat to Staten Island—decks wet, seats dirty, and all hands, apparently, smoking pipe while the passengers came on board. Many kinds of people were hurrying over the plank, however. A young man who chose to sit in his travelling carriage while it was drawn from the hotel by men’s hands, attracted some notice, and it was soon whispered about that he was Prince Napoleon, nephew to the Emperor. He was a pale discontented looking youth, apparently twenty-two or twenty-five, and his servants waited on him with an impassive doggedness of servility, that made its comment on the temper of the master. The cashmeres thickened, and spurs and moustaches, students’ caps and pedestrians’ knapsacks, soon crowded the decks in most republican condition. I looked around, of course, in the hope of seeing some one to whom I could say, of the beautiful scenery, “how beautiful,” and, as my fellow travellers had passed under my eye, I had mentally ticketed them as one generally does—possible acquaintances, probable or impossible. And, among those who looked to me both possible and desirable acquaintances, were three Englishmen, whose manners and countenances at once took my fancy, and who, on exchanging cards with me at night, gave me names that I had long been familiar with—three of the most distinguished young artists of England. Somehow, in all the countries where I have travelled and made chance acquaintances, artists have been, of all the people I have met, the most attractive and agreeable.

I was taking a turn on the wharf, for the sake of a few minutes of dry footing before the boat should draw in her plank, when, to my surprise, I heard my name, with a feminine ‘good morning,’ from a window overhead. Looking up, I spied a lady, leaning out in shawl and night-cap and smoking a cigar! I immediately recognised her as a handsome person whom I had chanced to sit beside at a table d’hôte, at Brussels, and who had the enviable gift of speaking two foreign languages, French and English, absolutely as well as her own. She was a German. From the soup to the pudding (two-thirds of a hotel-dinner) I had supposed I was listening to an English woman, and as we had French and Germans at table, and her German husband among them, her accomplishments as a practical linguist were put to the test and remarked upon. She certainly presented (to the rising sun and me) rather a startling tableau—one long lock of hair escaping from her cap, ribbons flying, et cetera—but she removed her cigar so carelessly for the convenience of smiling, and showed so little thought of caring about the impression she might make in such trying dishabille, that I rather admired my new view of her, on the whole. The same show from the window of the Astor hotel, in New York, would perhaps be thought odd.



Highland Terrace, Sept. 21, 1850.

Dear Madam—My delight at Jenny Lind’s First Concert is sandwiched between slices of rural tranquillity—as I went to town for that only, and returned the next day—so that I date from where I write, and treat to sidewalk gossip in a letter “writ by the running brook.” Like the previous “Rural Letters” of this series, the present one would have made no special call on your attention, and would have been addressed to my friend and partner—but, as he accompanied me to the concert, I could not with propriety write him the news of it, and I therefore address myself, without intermediation, to the real reader for whom my correspondence is of course always intended. Not at all sure that I can tell you anything new about the one topic of the hour, I will, at least, endeavor to leave out what has been most dwelt upon.

On the road to town there seemed to be but one subject of conversation, in cars and steamers; and “Barnum,” “Jenny Lind,” and “Castle Garden,” were the only words to be overheard, either from passengers around, or from the rabble at platforms and landing places. The oddity of it lay in the entire saturation of the sea of public mind—from the ooze at the bottom, to the “crest of the rising swell”—with the same un-commercial, un-political, and un-sectarian excitement. When, before, was a foreign singer the only theme among travellers and baggage porters, ladies and loafers, Irishmen and “colored folks,” rowdies and the respectable rich? By dint of nothing else, and constant iteration of the three syllables “Jenny Lind,” it seemed to me, at last, as if the wheels of the car flew round with it—“Jenny Lind,” “Jenny Lind,” “Jenny Lind” in tripping or drawling syllables, according to the velocity.

The doors were advertised to be open at five; and, though it was thence three hours to the beginning of the concert, we abridged our dinner (your other servant, the song-king and myself,) and took omnibus with the early crowd bound downwards. On the way, I saw indications of a counter current—(private carriages with fashionables starting for their evening drive out of town, and several ruling dandies of the hour strolling up, with an air of leisure which was perfectly expressive of no part in the excitement of the evening)—and then I first comprehended that there might possibly be a small class of dissenters. As we were in time to see the assembling of most of the multitude who had tickets, it occurred to me to observe the proportion of fashionables among them, and, with much pains-taking, and the aid of an opera-glass, I could number but eleven. Of the Five Hundred who give “the ton,” this seemed to be the whole representation in an audience of six thousand—a minority I was sorry to see, as an angel like Jenny Lind may well touch the enthusiasm of every human heart, while, as a matter of taste, no more exquisite feast than her singing was ever offered to the refined. There should, properly, have been no class in New York—at least none that could afford the price of attendance—that was not proportionately represented at that Concert. The songstress, herself, as is easy to see, prefers to be the “People’s choice,” and would rather sing to the Fifty Thousand than to the Five Hundred—but she touches a chord that should vibrate far deeper than the distinctions of society, and I hope yet to see her as much “the fashion” as “the popular rage” in our republican metropolis.

Sept. 21, 1851

Jenny’s first coming upon the stage at the Concert has been described by every critic. Several of them have pronounced it done rather awkwardly. It seemed to me, however, that the language of curtesies was never before so varied—never before so eloquently effective. She expressed more than the three degrees of humility—profound, profounder profoundest—more than the three degrees of simplicity—simple, simpler, simplest. In the impression she produced, there was conviction of the superlative of both, and something to spare. Who, of the spectators that remembered Steffanoni’s superb indifference to the public—(expressed by curtesies just as low when making her first appearance to sing the very solo that Jenny was about to sing)—did not recognize, at Castle Garden, that night, the eloquent inspiration there might be, if not the excessive art, in a curtsey on the stage? I may as well record, for the satisfaction of the great Good-as-you—(the “Casta Diva” of our country)—that Jenny’s reverence to this our divinity, the other night, was not practised before Kings and Courts. I was particularly struck, in Germany, with the reluctant civility expressed by her curtesies to the box of the Sovereign Grand Duke, and to the audience of nobles and gamblers. In England, when the Queen was present, it seemed to me that Jenny wished to convey, in her manner of acknowledging the applause for her performance of La Somnambula, that her profession was distasteful to her. In both these instances, there was certainly great reserve in her “making of her manners”—in this country there has, as certainly, been none.

The opening solo of “Casta Diva” was well selected to show the quality of Jenny Lind’s voice, though the dramatic effect of this passage of Bellini’s opera could not be given by a voice that had formed itself upon her life and character. Pure invocation to the Moon, the Norman Deity, as the two first stanzas are, the latter half of the solo is a passionate prayer of the erring Priestess to her unlawful love; and, to be sung truly, must be sung passionately, and with the cadences of love and sin. On Jenny’s lips, the devout purity and imploring worship and contrition, proper to the stanzas in which the Deity is addressed, are continued throughout; and the Roman, who has both desecrated and been faithless to her, is besought to return and sin again, with accents of sublimely unconscious innocence. To those who listened without thought of the words, it was a delicious melody, and the voice of an angel—for, in its pathetic and half mournful sweetness, that passage, on such a voice, goes straight to the least expectant and least wakeful fountain of tears—but it was Jenny Lind, and not Norma, and she should have the air set to new words or to an affecting and elevated passage of Scripture.

And it strikes me, by the way, as a little wonderful—Jenny Lind being what she is, and the religious world being so numerous—that the inspired Swede, in giving up the stage, has not gone over to sacred music altogether. It would have been worthy of her, as well as abundantly in her power, to have created a Sacred Musical Drama—or, at least, so much of one, as the singing the songs of Scripture, in costume and character. Had the divine music of Casta Diva, the other night, for instance, been the Lamentation of the Daughter of Jeptha, and had a background of religious reverence given to the singer its strong relief, while the six thousand listeners were gazing with moist eyes upon her, how immeasurably would not the effect of that mere Operatic music have been heightened! With a voice and skill capable of almost miraculous personation, and with a character of her own which gives her the sacredness of an angel, she might truly “carry the world away,” were the music but equal to that of the popular operas. Is it not possible to originate this in our country? With hundreds of thousands of religious people ready to form new audiences, when she has sung out her worldly music, will not the pure-hearted, humble, simple, saint-like and gifted Jenny commence a new career of Sacred Music, on this side the water? Some one told me, once, that he had heard her sing, in a private room, that beautiful song, “I know that my Redeemer liveth!” with feeling and expression such as he had never before thought possible. What a field for a composer is the Bible! For how many of its personages—Mary, Hagar, Miriam, Ruth—might single songs be written, that, sung in the costume in which they are usually painted, and with such action as the meaning required, would give boundless pleasure to the religious! The class is well worth composing for, and they are well worthy of the service of a sequestrated choir of the world’s best singers—of whom Jenny Lind may most triumphantly be the first.

That Jenny Lind sings like a woman with no weaknesses—that there is plenty of soul in her singing, but no flesh and blood—that her voice expresses more tender pity than tender passion, and more guidance in the right way than sympathy with liability to the wrong—are reasons, I think, why she should compare unfavorably with the impassioned sinners of the opera, in opera scenes and characters. Grisi and Steffanoni give better and more correct representations of “Norma,” both musical and dramatic, than she—and naturally enough. It is wonderful how differently the same music may be correctly sung; and how the quality of the voice—which is inevitably an expression of the natural character and habits of mind—makes its meaning! It is one of the most interesting events to have seen Jenny Lind at all—but, her character and her angelic acts apart, a woman “as is a woman” may better sing much of the music she takes from operas.

Of the “Flute Song” and the “Echo Song” the papers have said enough, and I will save what else I have to say of the great-souled maiden, till I get back to my quarters in the city and have heard her again.

Pardon the gravity of my letter, dear Madam, and believe me

Your humble servant.



New York Sept. 1850.

One prefers to write to those for whom one has the most to tell, and I have an ink-stand full of gossip about the great Jenny, which, though it might hardly be news to those who have the run of the sidewalk, may possibly be interesting where the grass grows. Nothing else is talked of, and now and then a thing is said which escapes the omniverous traps of the daily papers. Upon the faint chance of telling you something which you might not otherwise hear without coming to town, I put my ink-stand into the clairvoyant state, and choose you for the listener with whom to put it “in communication.”

Jenny has an imperfection—which I hasten to record. That she might turn out to be quite too perfect for human sympathy, has been the rock ahead in her navigation of popularity. “Pretend to a fault if you haven’t one,” says a shrewd old writer, “for, the one thing the world never forgives is perfection.” There was really a gloomy probability that Jenny would turn out to be that hateful monstrosity—a woman without a fault—but the suspense is over. She cannot mount on horseback without a chair! No lady who is common-place enough to love, and marry, and give her money to her husband, ever climbed more awkwardly into a side-saddle than Jenny Lind. The necessity of finding something in which she was surpassed by somebody, has been so painfully felt, “up town,” that this discovery was circulated, within an hour after it was observed, to every corner of the fashionable part of the city. She occupies the private wing of the New-York Hotel, on the more secluded side of Washington Place, and a lady eating an ice at the confectioner’s opposite, was the fortunate witness of this her first authenticated human weakness. Fly she may! (is the feeling now,) for, to birds and angels it comes easy enough—but she is no horsewoman! Fanny Kemble, whom we know to be human, beats her at that!

Another liability of the divine Jenny has come to my knowledge, though I should not mention it as a weakness without some clearer light as to the susceptibilities of the angelic nature. It was mentioned to a lady-friend of mine, that, on reading some malicious insinuations as to the motives of her charities, published a few days since in one of the daily papers of this city, she wept bitterly. Now, though we mourn that the world holds a man who would so groundlessly belie the acts of a ministering angel, there is still a certain pleasure in knowing that she, too, is subject to tears. We love her more—almost as much more as if tears were human only—because injustice can reach and move so pure a creature, as it can us. God forbid that such sublime benevolence, as this munificent singing girl’s, should be maligned again—but so might Christ’s motive in raising Lazarus have been misinterpreted, and we can scarce regret that it has once happened, for, we know, now, that she is within the circle in which we feel and suffer. Sweet, tearful Jenny! She is one of us—God bless her!—subject to the cruel misinterpretation of the vile, and with a heart in her angelic bosom, that, like other human hearts, needs and pleads to be believed in!

I made one of the seven thousand who formed her audience on Saturday night; and, when I noticed how the best music she gave forth during the evening was least applauded—the Hon. Public evidently not knowing the difference between Jenny Lind’s singing and Mrs. Bochsa Bishop’s, nor between Benedict’s composition and Bellini’s—I fell to musing on the secret of her charm over four thousand of those present—(allowing one thousand to be appreciators of her voice and skill, and two thousand to be honest lovers of her goodness, and the remaining four thousand, who were also buyers of five-dollar tickets, constituting my little problem.)

I fancy, the great charm of Jenny Lind, to those who think little, is, that she stands before them as an angel in possession of a gift which is usually entrusted only to sinners. That God has not made her a wonderful singer and there left her, is the curious exception she forms to common human allotment. To give away more money in charity than any other mortal and still be the first of primas donnas! To be an irreproachably modest girl, and still be the first of primas donnas! To be humble, simple, genial, and unassuming, and still be the first of primas donnas! To have begun as a beggar-child, and risen to receive more adulation than any Queen, and still be the first of primas donnas! To be unquestionably the most admired and distinguished woman on earth, doing the most good and exercising the most power, and still be a prima donna that can be applauded and encored! It is the combination, of superiorities and interests, that makes the wonder—it is the concentrating of the stuff for half-a-dozen heroines in one simple girl, and that girl a candidate for applause—that so vehemently stimulates the curiosity. We are not sufficiently aware, I have long thought, that the world is getting tired of single-barrelled greatness. You must be two things or more—a revolver of genius—to be much thought of, now. There was very much such a period in Roman history. Nero found it by no means enough to be an Emperor. He went on the stage as a singer. With the world to kill if he chose, he must also have the world’s willing admiration. He slept with a plate of lead on his stomach, abstained from all fruits and other food that would affect his voice, poisoned Britannicus because he sang better than himself, and was more delighted when encored than when crowned. So sighed the Emperor Commodus for a two-story place in history, and went on the stage as a dancer and gladiator. Does any one suppose that Queen Victoria has not envied Jenny Lind? Does Washington Irving, as he sits at Sunnyside, and watches the sloops beating up against the wind, feel no discontent that he is immortal only on one tack? No! no! And it is in America that the atmosphere is found (Oh prophetic e pluribus unum!) for this plurality of greatness. Europe, in bigotry of respect for precedent, forgets what the times may be ready for. Jenny Lind, when she gets to the prompt, un-crusted and foreshadowing West of this country, will find her six-barrelled greatness for the first time subject to a single trigger of appreciation. Queens may have given her lap-dogs, and Kings may have clasped bracelets on her plump arms, but she will prize more the admiration for the whole of her, felt here by a whole people. It will have been the first time in her career, (if one may speak like a schoolmaster,) that the heaven-written philactery of her worth will have been read without stopping to parse it. Never before has she received homage so impulsive and universal—better than that, indeed, for like Le Verrier’s planet, she was recognised, and this far-away world was vibrating to her influence, long before she was seen.

One wonders, as one looks upon her soft eyes, and her affectionate profusion of sunny hair, what Jenny’s heart can be doing, all this time? Is fame a substitute for the tender passion? She must have been desperately loved, in her varied and bright path. I saw a student at Leipsic, who, after making great sacrifices and efforts to get a ticket to her last concert at that place, gave it away, and went to stroll out the evening in the lonely Rosenthal, because he felt his happiness at stake, and could not bear the fascination that she exercised upon him. Or, is her rocket of devotion divided up into many and more manageable little crackers of friendship? Even that most impassioned of women, Madam George Sand, says:—“Si l’on rencontrait une amitié parfaite dans toute sa vie, on pourrait presque se passer d’amour.” Do the devoted friendships, that Jenny Lind inspires, make love seem to her but like the performance, to one listener, of a concert, the main portion of whose programme has hitherto been sufficient for so many? We would not be disrespectful with these speculations. To see such a heaven as her heart untenanted, one longs to write its advertisement of “To Let.” Yet it would take polygamy to match her; for, half-a-dozen poets, two Mexican heroes, several dry-goods merchants, and a rising politician, would hardly “boil down” into a man of gifts enough to be worthy of her. The truth is, that all “institutions” should be so modified as not to interfere with the rights of the world at large; and, matrimony of the ordinary kind—(which would bestow her voice like a sun dial in a grave)—would rob the Public of its natural property in Jenny Lind. But an “arrangement” could be managed with no unreasonable impoverishment of her husband; for, a month of her time being equal to a year of other people’s, her marriage contract might be graduated accordingly—eleven months reserved to celibacy and fame. It is a “Procrustes bed,” which cuts all love of the same length, and what “committee of reference” would not award a twelfth of Jenny Lind as an equivalent consideration for the whole of an average husband?

Doubting whether I should ever venture upon so delicate a subject again, I will make a good round transgression of it, by recording a little bit of gossip, to show you that the fond Public is capable of its little jealousy, like other lovers. There is a Swedish settlement in Michigan, which, on Jenny’s arrival, sent a committee of one—a young Swedish officer who had given up his epaulettes for the plough—to ask a contribution for the building of a church. Jenny promptly gave five hundred dollars, and the deputation was very contented with that—but added the trifling request for a doxology in the shape of a Daguerreotype of the donor. Willing as a child to give pleasure to the good, the sweet nightingale drove straight to Brady’s, allowed the happy sun to take her portrait, and gave it to her countryman. But now comes the part of it which the enamoured Public does not like—for, the Committee stays on! Instead of going home to set those carpenters to work, he is seen waiting to help Jenny into her carriage after the concerts, and, in the comments made upon this, his looks are pulled to pieces in a way that shows how any approach to a monopoly of her is jealously resented. Fancy the possibility of a small settlement in Michigan having such a “new settler” as Jenny Lind!

There is an indication that Providence intended this remarkable woman for a citizen of no one country, in the peculiar talent she possesses as a linguist. A gentleman who resided in Germany when she was there, told me yesterday that one of the delights the Germans found, in her singing and in her society, was the wonderful beauty of her pronunciation of their language. It was a common remark that she spoke it “better than a German,” for, with her keen perception and fine taste, she threw out the local abbreviations and corruptions of the familiar dialect, and, with her mastery of sound, she gave every syllable its just fulness and proportion. She is perfect mistress of French, and speaks English very sweetly, every day making rapid advance in the knowledge of it.

Several of our fashionable people are preparing to give large parties, as soon as the fair Swede is willing to honor them with her company, but she is so beset, at present, that she needs the invisible ring of Gyges even to get a look at the weather without having “an audience” thrown in. She can scarce tell, of course, what civilities to accept, or who calls to honor her or who to beg charity, but her unconquerable simplicity and directness serve to evade much that would annoy other people.



Dear Madam,—It is slender picking at the feast of news, after the Daily Papers have had their fill, and, if I make the most of a trifle that I find here or there, you will read with reference to my emergency. Put yourself in my situation, and imagine how all the best gossip of the village you live in, would be used up before you had any chance at it, if you were at liberty to speak but once in seven days!

The belated Equinox is upon us. Jenny Lind, having occasion for fair weather when she was here, the Sun dismissed his storm train, and stepped over the Equator on tiptoe, leaving the thunder and lightning to sweep this part of the sky when she had done with it. She left for Boston and the deferred storm followed close upon her departure, doing up its semi-annual “chore” with unusual energy. The cobwebs of September were brushed away by the most vivid lightning, and the floor of heaven was well washed for Jenny’s return. October and the New York Hotel are now ready for her.

Pray what do the respectable trees, that have no enthusiasms, think of our mania for Jenny Lind? The maniacs here, in their lucid intervals, moralize on themselves. Ready as they are to receive her with a fresh paroxysm next week, the most busy question of this week is, “what has ailed us?” I trust the leisurely observer of “The Lorgnette” is watching this analysis of a crazy metropolis by itself, and will give it us, in a separate number; for it will describe a curious stage of the formation of musical taste in our emulous and fast-growing civilization. I think I can discern an advanced step in the taste of my own acquaintances, showing that people learn fast by the effort to define what they admire. But, of course, there is great difference of opinion. The fashionables and foreigners go “for curiosity” to the Lind Concerts, but form a steady faction against her in conversation. The two French Editors of New York, and the English Editor of the Albion—(unwilling, perhaps, to let young and fast America promote to a full angel, one who had only been brevetted an angel in their older and slower countries)—furnish regular supplies of ammunition to the opposition. You may hear, at present, in any up-town circle, precisely what Jenny Lind is not—as convincingly as the enemies of the flute could show you that it was neither a clarionet nor a bass viol, neither a trombone nor a drum, neither a fife, a fiddle, nor a bassoon. The only embarrassment her dissecters find, is in reconciling the round, full, substantial body of her voice, with their declarations that she soars out of the reach of ordinary sympathy, and is aerially incapable of expressing the passion of the every day human heart. “She sings with mere organic skill, and without soul,” says one, while another proves that she sings only to the soul and not at all to the body. Between these two opposing battledoors, the shuttlecock, of course, stays where Barnum likes to see it.

The private life of the great Jenny is matter of almost universal inquisitiveness, and the anecdotes afloat, of her evasions of intrusion, her frank receptions, her independence and her good nature, would fill a volume. She is so hunted that it is a wonder how she finds time to remember herself—yet that she invariably does. Nothing one hears of her is at all out of character. She is fearlessly direct and simple in every thing. Though “The People” are not impertinent, the bores who push their annoyances under cover of representing this her constituency, are grossly impertinent; and she is a sagacious judge of the difference between them. A charming instance of this occurred just before she left Boston. Let me give it you, with a mended pen and a new paragraph.

Jenny was at home one morning, but, having indispensable business to attend to, gave directions to the servants to admit no visiters whatever. Waiters and maids may be walked past, however, and a fat lady availed herself of this mechanical possibility, and entered Jenny’s chamber, declaring that she must see the dear creature who had given away so much money. Her reception was civilly cold, of course, but she went into such a flood of tears, after throwing her arms round Jenny’s neck, that the nightingale’s heart was softened. She pleaded positive occupation for the moment, but said that she should be at leisure in the evening, and would send her carriage for her weeping admirer if she could come at a certain hour. The carriage was duly sent, but it brought, not only the fat lady, but three more female admirers, of most unpromising and vulgar exterior. They were shewn into the drawing-room, and, in a few minutes, Jenny entered from an adjoining room, followed by half-a-dozen professional persons, with whom she had been making some business arrangements.

“How is this?” said the simple Swede, looking around as she got into the room; “here are four ladies, and I sent for but one!”

They commenced an apology in some confusion.

“No, ladies! no!” said Jenny; “your uninvited presence here is an intrusion. I cannot send you away, because you have no escort; but your coming is an impertinence, and I am very much troubled with this kind of thing.”

The three intruders chose to remain, however, and taking seats, they stayed out their fat friend’s visit—Jenny taking no further notice of them till their departure. As they got up to go, the singer’s kind heart was moved again, and she partly apologised for her reception of them, stating how her privacy was invaded at all hours, and how injurious it was to her profession as well as her comfort. And, with this consolation, she sent them all home again in her carriage.

To any genuine and reasonable approach, Jenny is the soul of graciousness and kindness. An old lady of eighty sent to her the other day, pleading that she was about to leave town, and that her age and infirmities prevented her from seeing Miss Lind in public, but that she wished the privilege of expressing her admiration of her character, and of resting her eyes upon one so good and gifted. Jenny immediately sent for her, and, asking if she would like to hear her sing, sang to her for an hour and a half, with the simplicity of a child delighted to give pleasure. It is the mixture of this undiminished freshness and ingenuousness, with her unbending independence and tact at business, which show this remarkable creature’s gifts in such strong relief. Nature, who usually departs as Art and Honours come in, has stayed with Jenny.

Of course, the city is full of discontented stars that have been forced to “pale their intellectual fires” before this brighter glory, and lecturers, concert-singers, primas-donnas and dancers are waiting the setting of the orb of Jenny Lind. We are promised all sorts of novelties, at her disappearance, and of those, and of other events in this busy capital, I will duly write you.



New York, Nov. —, 1850.

Dear Madam,—Your note, of some weeks since requesting “a more particular account of Jenny Lind as a woman,” I threw aside, at first, as one I was not likely to have the means of answering. Overrun as she is, in her few leisure moments, by numberless visits of ceremony, as well as of intrusion and impertinent curiosity, I felt unwilling to be one of the unremembered particulars of a general complimentary persecution, and had given up all idea of seeing Jenny Lind except over the heads of an audience. Fortunate chance has enabled me to see a little more of her than a ticket entitles one to, however, and, as this “little more” rather confirms and explains to me the superiority of her gifts, I may be excused for putting it into print as a debt due from herself to her celebrity.

Jenny Lind’s reception, of the two or three intellectual men into the wake of whose visit I had been accidentally invited to fall, was not with such manners as would be learned in society. It was like a just descended spirit, practising politeness for the first time, but with perfect intelligence of what it was meant to express. The freshness and sincerity of thoughts taken as they rise—the trustful deference due a stranger, and yet the natural cordiality which self-respect could well afford—the ease of one who had nothing to learn of courtesy, and yet the impulsive eagerness to shape word and manner to the want of the moment—these, which would seem to be the elements of a simple politeness, were all there, but in Jenny Lind, notwithstanding, they composed a manner that was altogether her own. A strict Lady of the Court might have objected to the frank eagerness with which she seated her company—like a school girl preparing her playfellows for a game of forfeits—but it was charming to those who were made at home by it. In the seating of herself, in the posture of attention and disposal of her hands and dress—(small lore sometimes deeply studied, as the ladies know!)—she evidently left all to nature—the thought of her own personal appearance, apparently never once entering her mind. So self-omitting a manner, indeed, for one in which none of the uses of politeness were forgotten, I had not before seen.

In the conversation of this visit of an hour, and in the times that I have subsequently observed Jenny Lind’s intercourse with other minds, I was powerfully impressed with a quality that is perhaps the key to her character and her success in life—a singularly prompt and absolute power of concentration. No matter what the subject, the “burning-glass” of her mind was instantly brought to a focus upon it, and her question or comment, the moment after, sent the light through the matter, with a clearness that a lawyer would admire. Although conversing in a foreign language, she comprehended everything by the time it was half expressed, and her occasional anticipation of the speaker’s meaning, though it had a momentary look of abruptness, were invariably the mile-stones ahead at which he was bound to arrive. In one or two instances, where the topics were rather more abstract than is common in a morning call, and probably altogether new to her, she summed up the scope and bearing of them with a graphic suddenness that could receive its impulse from nothing but genius. I have been startled, indeed, with this true swift-thoughtedness whenever I have seen her, and have analyzed it afterwards, and I have no hesitation in saying that the same faculty, exercised through a pen, would be the inspiration of genius. Jenny Lind, I venture to believe, is only not a brilliant writer, because circumstances have chained her to the wheel of a lesser excellence. Perhaps a vague consciousness that the perfection of this smaller gift was not the destiny of which she was most worthy, prompted the devotion of its gains to the mission which compensates to her self-respect. Her charities are given out, instead of thoughts “the world would not willingly let die.” Blessings are returned, instead of a fame to her. She moves those within reach of her voice, instead of covering all distance with the magnetic net-work which will electrify while the world lasts. The lesser service to mankind is paid in gold, the higher in immortality—but, fated to choose the lesser, she so uses the gold that the after-death profit will be made up to her in heaven. Jenny Lind choosing between gold by her voice or fame by her pen, has been a tableau the angels have watched with interest—I fancy the “knockers” would rap twice to affirm!

But I doubt, after all, whether Sweden has yet lost the poetess or essayist that Song has thus misled or hindered. She says very frankly that she shall not sing much longer—only till this mission of benevolence is completed—and what then is to be the sphere of her spirit of undying activity? There is no shelf for such a mind. There is no exhaustion for the youth of such faculties. I am told she has a wonderful memory, and—for one work alone—fancy what reminiscences she might write of her unprecedented career! Having seen everything truthfully—estimated persons of all ranks profoundly—been intimate with every station in life, from the Queen’s to the cottager’s—studied human allotment behind its closest curtains, and received more homage than any living being of her time—what a book of Memories Jenny Lind might give us! If she were to throw away such material, it seems to me, she would rob the eye of more than she has given to the ear.

The more one sees of Jenny Lind, the more one is puzzled as to her countenance. One’s sight, in her presence, does not seem to act with its usual reliable discretion. Like the sinner who “went to scoff and remained to pray,” the eye goes to find her plain, and comes back with a report of her exceeding beauty. The expression, as she animates, positively alters the lines; and there is an expansion of her irregular features to a noble breadth of harmony, at times, which, had Michael Angelo painted her, would have given to Art one of its richest types of female loveliness. Having once seen this, the enchantment of her face has thrown its chain over you, and you watch for its capricious illuminations with an eagerness not excited by perpetual beauty. Of course, she never sees this herself, and hence her evident conviction that she is plain, and the careless willingness with which she lets painters and Daguerreotypists make what they please of her. I noticed, by the way, that the engraved likenesses, which stick in every shop-window, had not made the public acquainted with her physiognomy, for, in a walk of two or three miles in which I had the happiness of bearing her company, on a Sunday, and when the streets were crowded with the comers from church, there was no sign of a single recognition of her. It seemed the more strange, as many passed who, I knew, were among her worshippers, and any one of whom would confidently give a description of her features. So do not be sure that you know how Jenny Lind looks, even when you have seen her Daguerreotypes and heard her sing.

In reading over what I have hastily written, I find it expresses what has grown upon me with seeing and hearing the great Songstress—a conviction that her present wonderful influence is but the forecast shadow of a different and more inspired exercise of power hereafter. Her magnetism is not all from a voice and a benevolent heart. The soul, while it feels her pass, recognizes the step of a spirit of tall stature, complete and unhalting in its proportions. We shall yet be called upon to admire rarer gifts in her than her voice. Deference and honor to her, meantime!

And with this invocation, I will close!



The stars shine by the light their elevation still enables them to receive from the day that has gone past; and—though there would be a severity in limiting ordinary belles to shine in the evening only according to the lofty position given them by their course through the morning—it is but just that those whose mornings so lift them above us that they would shine in heaven itself, should at least be looked up to with that appreciating deference, which we give more to stars than to lights we can trim and brighten. We have expressed, in this similitude, why a late severe criticism of Jenny Lind’s manners and appearance at an evening party in New York society, seems to us as inappreciative and irreverent as it is inaccordant with our own observation of what it describes. Our friend M. de Trobriand, who wrote it, has, in many previous articles, expressed the same national pique and national want of sympathy with the Northern Songstress and Benefactress. She has refused to sing in Paris, it is true. She has openly avowed her distaste for French customs and standards. She knew, doubtless, when our friend was presented to her, that he was a Frenchman, and the editor of a French paper which had invariably disparaged and ridiculed her; and, when he spoke to her in three languages, (as he did,) and she answered only in monosyllables, (as was the case,) he could (reasonably, we think) have attributed it to something beside dullness. A fashionable belle might have put aside a national prejudice, to be agreeable to an elegant nobleman brought up at a Court—but it would have been very unlike honest and simple Jenny Lind. For the monosyllables to our friend it is easy to account, thus, without blame to her. For those she gave to others, there is still a better apology, if one were needed—but, let us precede what we wish to say of this, by translating the passage to which we are replying:—

“Jenny Lind danced very little—but once, if I remember rightly, and without evincing any of that ardor of movement which people had pleased themselves by gratuitously according to her. She talked as little, and, take it altogether, her celebrity would not have been so great, if her singing had been as disappointing as her personal appearance. We must be excused if we follow her, with pen in hand, even into the drawing-rooms, where she found herself in contact with a less numerous but more select, and if we put upon their guard for the future, those who believe, upon hearsay, in the brilliant sayings, the enchanting graces, the affable reception of courtesies, etc. etc. of Miss Lind, as seen by the naked eye, and without the illusion of an opera-glass. When she ceases to sing, and begins to converse, the celebrated Swede becomes extremely national again. She has, in her voice, but two favorite notes, which she never varies, they say, but for the privileged, and to which she adheres, with a persistence which ordinary martyrs cannot break through—and these two notes are Yes and No.”

In all the countries where she has been, Miss Lind has invariably avoided gay and fashionable society, dividing what leisure she could command, between a few friends chosen with reference to nothing but their qualities of heart, and the visits of charity to institutions or individuals she could benefit. Pleasure, as pursued in “the first society,” seems wholly distasteful to her. In New York, however, great dissatisfaction had been expressed at her refusals of invitations, her non-delivery of letters of introduction which were known to have been given to her in England, and her inaccessibility by “the first people.” This troubled her, for she feels grateful to our country for the love poured forth to her, and is unwilling to offend any class of its citizens, high or low. From a lady, therefore, with whom she had formed a very intimate and confiding friendship, she accepted an invitation to an evening party, to be given the day after her last concert in this city. It was at this party that M. de Trobriand describes her, in the article from which we have quoted above. The country villa at which it was given is the most tasteful and sumptuous residence in the neighborhood of New York, and a select company from the most refined circles of society was there to meet her. Before giving our own impression of how she appeared at this party, it may be, not only just but instructive, to tell how she had passed the day of which this was the evening.

It was the morning after her closing Concert, and among the business to be attended to, (in the winding up of a visit to a city where she had given away $30,000 in charity,) was the result certified to in the following report:

“The undersigned, a Committee named by Miss Lind to divide the appropriation of the sum of five thousand and seventy-three dollars and twenty cents, [$5,073 20] the proceeds of the Morning Concert recently given by that lady for charitable purposes, have distributed the said fund as follows:

New York. Nov. 26, 1850.

To the society for improving the condition of the poor,$1,000 00
To the society for relief of widows with poor children,300 00
To the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum,300 00
To the Female Assistance Society,300 00
To the Eastern Dispensary,250 00
To the Northern Dispensary,250 00
To the Eye and Ear Infirmary,250 00
To the Hebrew Benevolent Society,200 00
To the Home Branch of the Prison Association,200 00
To the Home for destitute children of Seamen200 00
To the Institution for education and care of homeless and destitute boys,100 00
To the relief of poor Swedes and Norwegians in the city of New York, per the Rev. Mr. Hedstrom,273 20
To the distribution of Swedish Bibles and Testaments in New York200 00
To the Brooklyn Orphan Asylum,250 00
To the relief of the poor of Williamsburgh,100 00
To the relief of the poor of Newark,100 00
To the relief of the poor of Jersey City,100 00
To the National Temperance Society, $200; to the relief of the poor at the Five Points, by the Temperance Association, Rev. Mr. Pease, President, $200; to the American Temperance Union500 00
To the St. George’s Society500 00
Total,$5,073 20

There was also another matter which formed an item in the “squaring up” of the New York accounts on that day. A paragraph had reached her, making mention of a Swedish sailor who had perished in endeavoring to save the lives of passengers, on the wreck of a vessel. Jenny Lind had sent to the Swedish Consul to make inquiries whether he had left a family. His widow and children were found by Mr. Habicht, and Jenny had sent him five hundred dollars for their use. This was mentioned by the Consul to a lady, who mentioned it to us, and by this chance alone it becomes public.

But, while all these sufferers were receiving her bounty, and she was settling with Banks and Managers for the payments—what else was her life made up of, on that day?

It was half-past nine in the morning, and three servants of the hotel, and two of her own servants, had been ordered to guard her rooms till she could eat her breakfast. Well-dressed ladies cannot be stopped by men servants, in this country, however, and her drawing-room was already half full of visiters “on particular business,” who had crowded past, insisting on entrance. Most of them were applicants for charities, some for autographs, some to offer acquaintance, but none, of course, with the least claim whatever on her pocket or her time. A lady-friend, who was admitted by her servant, saw the onslaught of these intruders, as she rose from her breakfast,—(fatigued and dispirited as she always is after the effort and nervous excitement of a concert)—and this friend was not a little astonished at her humble and submissive endurance.

First came a person who had sent a musical box for her to look at, and, as “she had kept it,” he wanted the money immediately. Jenny knew nothing of it, but the maid was called, who pointed to one which had been left mysteriously in the room, and the man was at liberty to take it away, but would not do it, of course, without remonstrance and argument. Then advanced the lady-beggars, who, in so many instances, have “put the screw to her” in the same way, that, without particularizing, we must describe them as a class. To such unexamined and unexpected applications, Miss Lind has usually offered twenty or thirty dollars, as the shortest way to be left to herself. In almost every instance, she has had this sum returned to her, with some reproachful and disparaging remark, such as—“We did not expect this pittance from you!” “We have been mistaken in your character, Madam, for we had heard you were generous!” “This from Miss Lind, is too little to accept, and not worthy of you!” “Excuse us, we came for a donation, not for alms!”—these and similar speeches, of which, we are assured, Jenny Lind has had one or more specimens, every day of her visit to New York! With one or two such visiters on the morning we speak of, were mingled applicants for musical employment; passionate female admirers who had come to express their raptures to her; a dozen ladies with albums; one or two with things they had worked for her, for which, by unmistakable tokens, they expected diamond rings in return; one who had come indignantly to know why a note containing a poem had not been answered; and constant messages, meantime, from those who had professional and other authorized errands requiring answers. Letters and notes came in at the rate of one every other minute.

This sort of “audience” lasted, at Miss Lind’s rooms, all day. To use her own expression, she was “torn in pieces”—and it was by those whom nothing would keep out. A police force would have protected her, but, while she habitually declined the calls and attentions of fashionable society, she was in constant dread of driving more humble claimants from her door. She submitted, every day, to the visits of strangers, as far as strength, and her professional duties, would any way endure—but, as her stay in a place drew to a close, the pressure became so pertinacious and overwhelming as to exceed what may be borne by human powers of attention, human spirits and human nerves. Her imperfect acquaintance with our language, of course, very materially increased the fatigue—few people speaking simply and distinctly enough for a foreigner, and the annoyance of answering half-understood remarks from strangers, or of requesting from them a repetition of a question, being a nervous exercise, for six or eight hours together, which the reader will easily allow to be “trying.”

But—though we have thus explained how there were excuse enough for ever so monosyllabic a reception of introductions, by Jenny Lind, that evening—our own impression of her address and manners was very different from that of the gay Baron. Let us tell, in turn, what we saw, though our discourse is getting long, and though our rule is never to put private society into print except as hominy comes to market—the kernel of the matter, with no clue to the stalk that bore it, or the field in which it grew.

The party was at a most lovely villa, ten miles from town on the bank of the Hudson, and the invitations were to an “At Home, at five P. M.” We were somewhat late, and were told, on reaching the drawing-room, that Jenny Lind had just danced in a quadrille, and was receiving introductions in a deep alcove of one of the many apartments opening from the hall. The band was playing delightfully in a central passage from which the principal rooms radiated; and, while the dance was still going on beyond, and the guests were rambling about in the labyrinths of apartments crowded with statuary, pictures, and exotic trees laden with fruits and flowers, there was a smaller crowd continually renewed at the entrance of the alcove which caged the beloved Nightingale.

Succeeding, after a while, in getting near her, we found her seated in lively conversation with a circle of young ladies, and, (to balance M. de Trobriand’s account of her monosyllabic incommunicativeness,) we may venture to add, that she received us with a merry inquiry as to which world we came from. This was apropos of the “spirit-knockings” which we had accompanied her to visit a few days before; and a remark of her own, a moment or two after, was characteristic enough to be also worth recording. We had made a call on the same “Spirit” since, and proceeded to tell her of the interview, and of a question we asked them concerning herself—her love of fun and ready wit commenting with droll interruptions as the narrative went on. We named the question at last:—“Has Jenny Lind any special talent which she would have developed but for the chance possession of a remarkable voice; and if so what is it?”

“And the spirit said it was making frocks for poor little children, I suppose,” was her immediate anticipation of the reply—uttered with an expression of arch earnestness, which confirmed us in the opinion we have gradually formed, that the love of the comic and joyous is the leading quality in her temperament.

Miss Lind complained repeatedly of great exhaustion and fatigue, during the evening, and, (as a lady remarked who had seen her frequently in private,) looked “as if she could hardly sustain herself upon her feet.” During the time that we remained near her, there were constant introductions, and she was constantly conversing freely—though, of course, when three or four were listening at a time, there must have been some who received only “monosyllables” of reply. We noticed one thing, however, which we had noticed before, and which we safely record as a peculiarity of Miss Lind’s—perhaps the one which has jarred upon the Parisian perceptions of our courtly friend. She is a resolute non-conformist to the flattering deceptions of polite society. She bandies no compliments. If a remark is made which has no rebound to it, she drops it with a “monosyllable,” and without gracing its downfall with an insincere smile. She affects no interest which she does not feel—puts an abrupt end to a conversation which could only be sustained by mutual pretence of something to say—differs suddenly and uncompromisingly when her sense of truth prompts her so to do—repels, (instead of even listening silently to,) complimentary speeches—in fact is, at all times, so courageously and pertinaciously honest and simple, that “society,” as carried on in “the first circles,” is no atmosphere for her. If she were an angel in disguise on a mission to this world, (which we are by no means sure she is not,) we should expect the elegant M. de Trobriand—l’homme comme il faut, belonging to a Court of Exiled Royalty—to describe her precisely as he does.

But our friend has written one more sentence, against which he must put a tableau en vis-à-vis. He says:—“Her celebrity would not have been what it is, very certainly, if her singing had ever produced as much disappointment as her personal appearance.” Let us conclude this very long discourse, (which we hope our friends have Niblo-fied with a “half hour for refreshment” at some convenient betweenity,) with a picture of Jenny Lind, as we saw her, a few minutes before she took leave, on the evening of the party:—

The dancing and drawing-rooms were deserted, and the company were at supper. Miss Lind, too tired to stand up with the crowd, had been waited on by one of the gentlemen of the family, and now sat, in one of the deep alcoves of the saloon farthest removed from the gay scene, with one of the trellised windows, which look out upon the park, forming a background to her figure. We sought her to make our adieux, presuming we should not see her again before her departure for the South, and chance presented her to our eye with a combination of effect that we shall remember, certainly, till the dawn of another light throws a twilight over this. An intimate friend, with kind attentiveness, was rather preserving her from interruption than talking with her, and she sat in a posture of careless and graceful repose, with her head wearily bent on one side, her eyes drooped, and her hands crossed before her in the characteristic habit which has been seized by the painters who have drawn her. There was an expression of dismissed care replaced by a kind of child-like and innocent sadness, that struck us as inexpressibly sweet—which we mentally treasured away, at the time, as another of the phases of excessive beauty of which that strong face is capable—and, as we looked at her, there suddenly appeared, through the window behind, half concealed by her shoulder, the golden edge of the just risen moon. It crept to her cheek, before she had changed the attitude in which she indolently listened to her friend, and, for a moment, the tableau was complete, (to our own eye as we stood motionless)—of a drooping head pillowed on the bosom of the Queen of Night. It was so startling, and at the same time so apt and so consistent, that, for an instant, it confused our thoughts, as the wonders of fairy transitions confuse realities in the perceptions of a child—but the taking of a step forward disturbed the tableau, and we could, then, only call her own attention and that of one or two gentlemen who had come up, to the bright orb lifting behind her. The moment after, she had said good-night, and was gone—little dreaming, in her weary brain, that she had been made part, by Nature, at one of the fatigued instants just past in a picture—than which an angel, thoughtfully reposing in heaven, could scarce have been more beautiful.

Parts of the foregoing, of course, we should never have unlocked from our casket of memories, but as a counter-balance to different impressions of the same admired object, recorded by a pen we are fond of. There is another purpose that portions of the article may serve, however—the making the Public aware how pretended charity-seekers, and intrusive visitors, persecute and weary the noble creature who is now sojourning in the country, and the showing through how much difficulty and hinderance she accomplishes her work. We would aid, if we could, in having her rightly understood while she is among us.


An engraving ordered upon the inside of a wedding ring—Otto Goldschmidt to Jenny Lind—gave the news of a certain event to “Ball, Tompkins & Black,” a week before it was telegraphed to the papers. Jewellers keep secrets. The ring went to its destiny, unwhispered of. Its spring—for it is fastened with a spring—has closed over the blue vein that has so oft carried to that third finger the news of the heart’s refusal to surrender. Jenny Lind loves. She who filled more place in the world’s knowledge and attention than Sweden itself—the Swede greater than Sweden—has acknowledged “the small, sweet need of woman to be loved.” Her star-name, which she had spent half a life, with energy unequalled, in placing bright and alone in the heaven of renown, is merged after all in the Via Lactea of common humanity. “Jenny Lind” is a wife.

A year or more ago, Jenny Lind stood by the cradle of a sleeping and beautiful infant. She looked at it, long and thoughtfully, stooped and kissed its heel and the back of its neck, (the Swedish geography, we believe, for a kiss with a blessing to a child) and, turning to its mother, said, with a deep sigh, “You have something to live for!” She was, at this time, in the busiest tumult of a welcome by half a world. Her ambition—so athirst from the first dawn of her mind that it seemed to have absorbed her entire being—had a full cup at its lips. She was, with unblemished repute, the most renowned of living women, and with the fortune and moral power of a queen. Yet, up from the heart under it all—a heart so deep down under pyramids of golden laurels—the outermost approach to which was apparently hidden in clouds of incense—comes a sigh over the cradle of a child!

At one of the concerts of Jenny Lind, at Tripler Hall—we forget just how long ago—a newly arrived pianist made his first appearance. There was little curiosity about him. The songstress, whom the thousands present had gone only to hear, sang—lifting all hearts into the air she stirred, to drop back with an eternal memory of her, when she ceased. And then came—according to programme—“Herr Otto Goldschmidt.” He played, and the best-educated musical critic in New-York said to a lady sitting beside him, “The audience don’t know what playing that is!” But the audience had another object for their attention. The side door of the stage had opened, and Jenny Lind, breaking through her accustomed rule of reserving her personal presence for her own performances, stood in full view as a listener. The eyes of the audience were on her, but hers were on the player. She listened with absorbed attention, nodding approbation at the points of artistic achievement, and, when he closed, (four thousand people will remember it,) she took a step forward upon the stage, and beat her gloved hands together with enthusiasm unbounded. The audience put it down to her generous sympathy for a modest young stranger; and so, perhaps did the recording angel—with a prophetic smile!

We are sorry we can give our far-away readers no assistance in their efforts to form an idea of the Nightingale’s mate. Ladies are good observers, and one who remembers to have looked to see the effect of Jenny Lind’s compliment, on the new-comer, tells us he was “a pale, thin, dreamy, poetical-looking youth.” He will soon be seen and described, however, if newspapers live; but, meantime, if we were to give a guess at the sort of man he is, we should begin with one probability—that he is the most unworldly, unaffected, and truth-loving, of all the mates that have ever offered to fold wing beside her. With what she has seen of the world and of the stuff for husbands, Jenny Lind has probably come round to whence she started—choosing, like a child, by the instinct of the heart. Her Otto-biography will show how wisely.

The interest in Jenny Lind’s marriage is as varied as it is tender and respectful. There is scarce a woman in the land, probably, who, if she felt at liberty to do so, would not send her a bridal token. But there is more than a sisterly well-wishing, in the general excitement among her own sex on the subject. The power, in one person, of trying, purely and to such completeness, the two experiments for happiness—love and fame—were interesting enough; but it is strange and exciting to see the usual order reversed—fame first, and love afterwards. To turn unsatisfied from love to fame, has been a common transit in the history of gifted women. To turn unsatisfied from fame to love—and that, too, with no volatile caprice of disappointment, but with fame’s most brimming cup fairly won and fully tasted—is a novelty indeed. Simple every day love, with such experience on the heart’s record before it, has never been pictured, even in poetry.

Jenny Lind has genius, and the impulses and sensibilities of genius are an eternal Spring. She is more right and wise than would seem probable at a first glance, in marrying one younger than herself. The Summer and Autumn of a heart that observes the common Seasons of life, will pass and leave her the younger. Her prospect for happiness seems to us, indeed, all brightness. The “world without” well tried, and found wanting—public esteem wherever she may be, and fortune ample and of her own winning—the tastes of both bride and bridegroom cultured for delightful appreciation, and the lessons of the school of adversity in the memory of both—it seems as if “circumstances,” that responsible committee of happiness, could scarce do more. Frau Goldschmidt will be happier than Jenny Lind, we venture to predict. God bless her!



The great Magyar’s first impression of Broadway—if he was cool enough to lay it away with tolerable distinctness—will be as peculiar material for future dream and remembrance as any spectacle in which he could have taken part. The excessive brilliancy of the weather made a novel portion of it, to him. They do not see such sunshine nor breathe such elastic air where the world is older. It was an American day, juicy and fruity—a slice, full of flavor, from the newly-cut side of a planet half eaten. But there were features in the pageant, beside, which were probably new to the Magyar. A town all dressed with flags and transparencies, and streets crowded with people, he may have been welcomed by, before. Poles and bunting are easily made enthusiastic, and so are the crowds afloat in a large city. We went out, for one, expecting these demonstrations only. What was new—what gave the Magyar a welcome unforeseen and peculiar—was the two miles of French bonnets and waving cambric pocket-handkerchiefs through which he passed—two miles of from three to six-story houses, and every window crowded with fair faces, and alive with gloved hands waving the perfumed white flags of individual admiration.

The ladies of America have received Kossuth as their hero—and this is not a trifle. It might readily have been foreseen, however. The dominant intellect and purpose that can control the mind of a nation, and the perseverance that can follow its cause to imprisonment and exile, make a statesman and patriot worth seeing—even if that were all. But Kossuth is, besides, “potent with sword and pen”—he is, besides, eloquent beyond all living men—he is, besides, heroic-looking, courteous and high-bred—and he is, besides all this, a faultless husband and parent. That he dresses picturesquely in furs and velvet, wears “light kid gloves” and a moustache, and has a carefully set feather in his hat, may be disparagements among the men—but not among the ladies. He is, to them, all that he could be or should be—nothing that he should not be. And when we remember what the ladies are, in our country—free to read, and expand in intellect, while their husbands and brothers drudge and harrow—we can safely repeat what we say above, that the lady-constituency which welcomed Kossuth to America, and will sustain him here, is by no means a trifle.

It was really curious, (to leave speculation and confine ourself to description, that is more amusing,) to be one in the crowd on the reception day, and observe the character of the enthusiasm. We followed the carriage of Kossuth, ourself, from the Astor House to Leonard street—half-a-mile—and can speak of Broadway for that much of his progress. In this country (where there is no window tax, and every house is as full of windows as a sieve is full of holes,) the houses look like flat-sided beehives, to a foreigner’s eye; and the sudden outbreak, apparently, of every brick with a pocket-handkerchief, as he rode along, must have seemed to Kossuth very extraordinary. The houses looked hidden in snowflakes of immense size. It was an aisle between walls of waving cambric—and, either from the oddity of this phenomenon, or from the attractive glimpses of the smiles behind them, all eyes were on the windows and handkerchiefs, none on the sidewalks and soldiers. As far as we saw, it was a show of elegantly-dressed ladies, throughout; and, of the beauty and taste of the city, the discriminating Magyar can have received no indifferent idea. We did not know, (or had “forgotten, in the press of business,”) that so much loveliness was around us, and we are very sure that Kossuth will never see so much assembled in any city of Europe.

The rest of the show—the troops, flags, arches and civic ceremonies—are over-described in the other papers; and, of Kossuth himself we omit any special mention till we have seen him closer and heard him speak. In our next number, perhaps, we shall be able to portray him for our distant readers, with some material for accuracy.

At the same time that the “greatest specimen of humanity” was thus passing in triumph on one side of the Park, the smallest specimen of humanity was comfortably lodged upon the other. We crossed over—partly to astonish the same ten minutes with a sight of the two extremes of human nature, (contrasts so help one to realize things,) and partly in the way of humble servant to our readers, for whom we are bound to take every means to be astonished—and called upon the Aztec Children, at the Clinton. We will precede our account of the visit, by a sketch of the facts concerning them, which we find in the Evening Post:

“The two children of the South American race, commonly called the Aztec Children, have recently been brought to this city. They are altogether the most remarkable specimens of the human species we have seen—decidedly human, yet so variant from the common type of our race, so peculiar in conformation of features, in size, attitude and gesture, that they impress one at first with a feeling for which surprise is hardly the true name. One can hardly help at first looking upon them as belonging to the race of gnomes with which the superstition of former times once peopled the chambers of the earth—a tradition which some have referred to the existence of an ancient race, of diminutive stature, dwelling in caverns, and structures of unhewn stones, which have long since disappeared.

“The race to which they appear to belong—with precisely the remarkable conformation of skull—has hitherto been thought to be extinct. That it did once exist, and was a numerous and populous race, is proved, not so much by the sculptures of Yucatan—though these furnish corroborative proof—as by the skulls found in the ancient burial places of Peru and Brazil. These skulls have much occupied the attention of ethnologists, to whom they have furnished arguments and difficulties in the controversy concerning the unity of the human race. Until now, however, it has been agreed that no living sample of this extraordinary variety was remaining on the surface of the globe.

“The manner in which these specimens of a race supposed no longer to exist have been procured, is related in a pamphlet just printed, entitled ‘A Memoir of an Eventful Expedition in Central America,’ partly compiled and partly translated from the Spanish of Pedro Velasquez, of San Salvador. Our readers will remember the account given in Stevens’s Travels in Central America, of a large city among the mountains of Central America, inhabited by a race which had never been subdued by the white man, and the inhabitants of which slew every white man who penetrated into their country.

“Two young men, Mr. Huertis, of Baltimore, and Mr. Hammond, a civil engineer, of Upper Canada, determined to visit this city. They landed at Balize, in the autumn of 1848, and proceeded to Copan, where they were joined by Velasquez, the author of the narrative. He accompanied them to Santa Cruz del Quiche, where the curate lived who gave Mr. Stevens the account of the mysterious and inaccessible city, the white limits of which he had seen from the mountains, glittering in the sun.

“They obtained a guide, climbed the mountains, and were rewarded with a view of the city—the city of Ivimaya. It was of vast dimensions, with lofty walls and domes of temples. They were not permitted to enter, however, without fighting for it, and an engagement took place between the inhabitants and the visiters, in which the former, who were without the use of fire-arms, were worsted, and consented to admit the strangers into the city.

“It was not expected, however, that the guests would ever leave the city, and accordingly they were carefully watched. Hammond died at Iximaya, but Huertis and Velasquez made their escape, carrying with them two orphan children—the children who are now in this city—of the ancient priestly race, who are described in the following paragraph—

“The place of residence assigned to our travellers, was the vacant wing of a spacious and sumptuous structure at the western extremity of the city, which had been appropriated, from time immemorial, to the surviving remnant of an ancient and singular order of priesthood, called Kaanas, which it was distinctly asserted, in their annals and traditions, had accompanied the first migration of this people from the Assyrian plains. Their peculiar and strongly distinctive lineaments, it is now perfectly well ascertained are to be traced in many of the sculptured monuments of the central American ruins, and were found still more abundantly on those of Iximaya. Forbidden, by inviolably sacred laws, from intermarrying with any persons but those of their own caste, they had dwindled down in the course of many centuries, to a few insignificant individuals, diminutive in stature, and imbecile in intellect. They were, nevertheless, held in high veneration and affection by the whole Iximayan community, probably as living specimens of an antique race so nearly extinct. Their position, as an order of priesthood, it is now known, had not been higher, for many ages, if ever, than that of religious mimes and bacchanals in a certain class of pagan ceremonies, highly popular with the multitude.”

Shown, unannounced, into a private room where these Aztec children were playing, we came upon them rather suddenly. The surprise was mostly on our own part, however. Two strange-looking little creatures jumped up from the floor and ran to shake hands with us, then darted quickly to a washstand and seized comb and hair-brush to give to the attendant, that they might be made presentable to strangers—and, with the entire novelty of the impression, we were completely taken aback. If we had been suddenly dropped upon another planet and had rang at the first door we came to, we should not have expected to see things more peculiar. There was nothing monstrous in their appearance. They were not even miraculously small. But they were of an entirely new type—a kind of human being which we had never before seen—with physiognomies formed by descent through ages of thought and association of which we had no knowledge—moving, observing and gesticulating differently from all other children—and somehow, with an unexplainable look of authenticity and conscious priority, as if they were of the “old family” of human nature, and we were the mushrooms of to-day. Their size and form—but we will save labor by copying a literal description of their appearance from the Journal of Commerce:—

“The race of priests to which they belong is supposed to have become Lilliputian by the degeneracy which results from limiting intermarriage to those of their own caste. The specimens brought here are perfect in form, though slight. Maximo, the boy, is only thirty-three inches in height, and Bartola, the girl, three or four inches shorter. Their ages can only be conjectured, but there are indications of maturity about the boy, that are seldom, if ever, witnessed at so early an age as twelve. The girl is supposed to be about nine. Their skin is of the Indian hue, hair and eyes jet black, the latter, large, brilliant and expressive. The hair is wavy and very beautiful. Their neat little figures were exhibited to great advantage, in black stockinet dresses, fitting closely to their bodies and limbs, and short fanciful tunics. They received us with easy gayety. Indeed, they seem to have perfect confidence in all who approach them. Nothing restrains their lively, juvenile propensities. They seemed to derive infinite amusement from their tin cups, presenting them, as in giving water, to all who were present, and finally to the cane on which they seemed to think it fun alive to ride horseback fashion. They are exceedingly docile and affectionate, and the little girl seemed quite emulous of receiving as much notice as her companion. Their heads are singularly formed—the forehead forming nearly a straight line with the nose, and receding to an apex which it forms with the back of the head—strikingly similar to the sculptured figures on Central American monuments. Nor are they less peculiar in their manners and carriage. In general, their attitudes exhibit perfect grace; but we noticed that whenever the boy sat upon the floor, as he frequently did, he invariably sat upon the inside of his legs and thighs, bending his knees outwards, and forming with his legs on the floor the letter W inverted. This attitude we have frequently seen exhibited in drawings from Egyptian sculptures.”

You do not charge to the original race, as you look at these little creatures, either their diminutive size, or their deficiency of room for brain. The type of a noble breed is in the aquiline nose and soft lustrous eye, and in the symmetrical frame and peculiar and indescribable presence; and, while you remember the intermarriage by which they have been kept sacred, and become thus homœopathic in size, you cannot but feel that the essence is still there, and the quality still recognizable and potent. With little intelligence, and skulls of such shape that no hope can be entertained of their being ever self-relying or responsible, they still inspire an indefinable feeling of interest, and a deference for the something they vaguely after-shadow.

We sat a half hour, studying these little wonders. The little girl, Bartola, held our hand, and looked us full in the eye with affectionate confidingness, while the boy backed in between the open knees of our partner, Gen. Morris, and signified his wish, with the careless authority of a little Emperor, to be taken into the lap. With no words of their own, they understood what the attendant said to them, and seemed to be relieved of their loneliness by our company. A band of music approaching while we were there, the little Aztecs showed the greatest excitement. We held the boy up to the window while the military company went by, and his little kitten frame trembled and jumped nervously to the measure of the march—music happily being of no language, and stirring brains of all stages of progress, from Kossuth’s, at the noon of a race’s developement, to the Iximayan’s, in its fading twilight.

Our readers will not expect, in our columns, the details of Kossuth’s Progress, nor a literal report of his speeches. They overwhelm even the double sheets of the daily papers. But we shall chronicle a distinct outline of his movements, and see that the readers of the Home Journal lose none of the ideas, either of his producing or suggesting. He has begun with magnificent frankness and boldness, and is unquestionably a magnanimous and admirable man, equal to, and embarked upon, a great errand. We wish him success—not with the legislators, but with the dollars of our country. Money enough will set Hungary free. We trust the enlistment of these gold and silver recruits will be organized and in progress while his eloquence is thundering an accompaniment. Many ways will be devised for raising contributions. Let us close our present remarks by proposing one—as a natural sequent to the peculiarity of which we have spoken in his reception. The Magyar’s lady constituency in America—each one giving but the price of a pair of gloves—a dollar from each of the fair admirers of Kossuth and his cause—might, almost of itself, secure the independence of Hungary. The dollars are willing and waiting—who can doubt? Will not some ruling spirit devise a way to reach and enrol them?


The eye has opinions of its own. Pour into the mind, by all its other avenues, the most minute and authentic knowledge of a man, and, when you see him, your opinion is more or less changed or modified. This is our apology for adding another to the numberless descriptions of Kossuth. Having been favored with an opportunity to stand near him during the delivery of one of his most stirring speeches, we found that our previous impression of him was altered, or, rather, perhaps, somewhat added to. Trifling as the difference of our view from that of others may be, Kossuth is a star about whom the astronomy can scarce be too minute; and our distant readers, who are in the habit of hearing of new planets from us, may be willing to see how also the Magyar looks, through the small telescope of our quill.

With our distant readers mainly in view, we shall be excused for describing Kossuth’s surroundings, as well as himself, with a particularity unnecessary for the city reader.

It has been difficult, without some official errand, to approach near enough to the Magyar to distinguish the finer lines of his face, and we were beginning to despair of this privilege when the Delegation arrived from Baltimore, and, from friends among them, we received an invitation to go in at the presentation of the silver book. This, we may anticipatorily explain, was the “freedom of the city” in a written address, of folio size, and bound between two leaves of massive silver; the whole enclosed in a case of red velvet. It was suitably and creditably magnificent; and its history would not all be told without mentioning that it received a kiss from Madame Kossuth—Mr. Brantz Mayer having mindfully and courteously presented it to that lady—the Governor’s Secretary insisting on taking charge of it—and she refusing to release it before pressing it to her lips. Baltimore’s blood will warm with the compliment.

On reaching the Irving House at the hour when the silver book was to be presented, we found the hotel in a state of siege, inside and out. Broadway was packed with people, and the staircases of the hotel were hardly passable. One Hungarian officer, in brilliant uniform, stood sentry at the drawing-room door, and here and there a Magyar hat, with its go-against-the-wind-looking black feather, wound through the crowd; but by the numerous “highly respectables” in body coats and important expressions of countenance, there were evidently uncounted Committees waiting to get audience within, while flags and bands of music indicated the more popular deputations whose hopes were on the balcony without.

There seemed little chance of any special reception by the Magyar, when Howard sent word that he could give the Baltimore Delegation his own private parlor, where Kossuth would presently come to them. We took advantage of the “presently” to get a look into the street, from one of the front windows. It was a sea of upturned faces, with hats all falling one way, like shadows—Kossuth the light. He stood on the balcony. The many colored flags of the “European Democracy” throbbed over the crowd—Italians, Germans, Frenchmen, Poles—the refugees of all nations standing gazing on the prophet of Liberty. It was a scene, and had a meaning, for history. Yet it was but the one hour’s event, in a day all occupied with such. A band of one hundred of the clergy had linked an imperishable testimonial to the hour before. The reply to the Baltimore Delegation contained truths that will radiate through all time from the hour after. Truly, a man’s life may be so high and so deep, that, to measure it by its length, is meaningless.

The Baltimoreans made their way to the room appointed, which was immediately crowded by privileged spectators, and reporters for the press, with a small party of ladies in the corner. We were kindly urged to take our place directly behind Judge Le Grand, who was the central figure of the Delegation group, and, as Kossuth stood but four or five feet distant, during his reply to the addresses, and with his eye upon the Judge almost unvaryingly, we were so fortunate as to see him with every advantage of the closest observation.

Madam Kossuth was presently introduced with Madam Pulzky, her companion, and seated a little in advance of the lady spectators. She is an invalid, pale and slightly bent—her figure fragile, and her expression of face a mingled imprint of bodily suffering and conscious belonging to greatness. Her countenance, we observed, though earnestly attentive, was profoundly tranquil, alike through the more even flow of her husband’s eloquence and its overwhelming and impassioned outbreaks.

The crowd near the door parted at last, and Kossuth entered. The gentleman on whose arm he leaned led him to the centre of the room, and presented him to the Delegation.

The reader must remember the tumultuous scene, of which Kossuth had been the centre a moment before, when we say that he entered and was presented to the Committee, with a face as calm as if he had just risen from his morning prayer. He bowed, with grave and deliberate deference, at each introduction. It had been communicated to the gentlemen in the room, that, from the injury of movement to his chest after the hemorrhage of the morning, he must be excused from shaking hands, and he bowed only—assuming the attitude of a listener, with an immediate earnestness which showed that he felt little strength for more than the main purpose of the interview. He stood in the centre of the room, motionless, and the reading of the Addresses proceeded.

The surprise of a man who had placed himself at a window to watch for the coming of a stranger, but discovers, after a while, that the stranger has been for some time enjoying the welcome of the household within, may vaguely express the feeling to which we awoke, after looking for five minutes at Kossuth. He had been, from the first instant, in full possession of our heart, and yet the eyes that we had set to scrutinize him had not noted a single feature. It was the strongest instance we had ever experienced, of what we knew to be true, by lesser examples, that the soul, with neighborhood only, makes recognitions of what could neither be painted nor sculptured, neither uttered nor written. His mere presence opened to him the door, told who he was, and set the heart, like Mary, to the washing of his feet. We loved and revered the man—why, or with what beginning or progress, we could not have explained. But—let us describe what we afterwards called upon the eye to take note of.

Kossuth is of medium height, with hollow chest and the forward-brought shoulders of a sedentary life. His head is set firmly, not proudly or aristocratically erect, upon his neck. He stood so long and so tranquilly immovable in single postures, that it raised a question in our mind whether he could be of the nervous construction which men of great intellect oftenest are; and, on looking at the hand, that tablet of nervous action, we saw that he was not. The broad smooth back of it was unwritten with needless suffering, and the thumb joint projected, like that of a man used to manual labor. It was a hand, had we seen its like elsewhere, from whose owner we should have expected nothing more poetical or heroic than a well-considered vote. We found a subsequent confirmation of this, we may mention, in the singular immovableness of the sockets, and lids of his eyes, during the eloquent outpourings of his heart which followed. When his lips were compressed, and a quivering movement in his chin showed that emotion was restrained with difficulty, his eye was immovably serene, and its largely spread lids were as tranquil as the sky around a moon unclouded. We were strongly impressed with these outer signs of the two natures of Kossuth. He has a heart like other men—his exquisitely moulded chin and lips of exceeding physical beauty and expression sufficiently show. But, from all that can reach these, his intellect is islanded away. The upper part of his face is calmly separate, not only from the movement, but from the look, of emotion. It is a mind unreachable by nerves—a brain that thinks on, as the sun pursues its way across the heavens, unhindered by the clouds that may gather beneath. A face, in the lower part of which, sensuous beauty is so remarkably complete—and, around the temples, and beneath the brow of which, is so stamped the divine impress of an intellect high above weakness and human by limit only—we had never before seen.

It was quite evident that Kossuth had entered the room, simply to fulfil a duty—feeling unequal to it, from his illness of the morning and the fatigues he had already undergone—and with no idea of making more than the briefest acknowledgment of courtesy for what he should hear from the Committee. Even his dress showed that he was not prepared for “an occasion.” He wore a brown cut-away coat, (which must have been selected for him by a waiter, sent to a ready made clothes shop with a verbal description of the gentleman to be fitted,) a black waistcoat buttoned to the throat, no shirt visible, and trousers of uninfluenceable salt-and-pepper. That the mien and bearing of an Oriental gentleman, as well as the dignity of a prophet, were as fully and impressively recognizable through these Edward-P.-Fox-ables, as through the braided cloak and under the black plume of the Magyar, is a standard, though a homely one, by which some may be helped to an estimate of the man.

We have seen repeated mention of the “perpetual smile” of Kossuth. This conveys a wrong impression. He may smile often and easily when receiving introductions or bowing to the cheers of a crowd; but it is a demonstration which, habitually, he keeps very much in reserve, and which, of all the visible weapons of his eloquence, is the most rarely and aptly introduced, the most captivating and effective. We are inclined to think his heavy mustache accidentally favors this, by aiding the unexpectedness of the smile, and by leaving its fading glow to the imagination—but, at moments when the lips of another orator would be cloud-wrapt in the darkest expression of solemnity, a gleam, like the breaking away for a transfiguration, comes suddenly over the lips of Kossuth—as beautiful and inspired a smile certainly as was ever seen on the face of a human being—and the effect is in the peculiar triumph that he achieves. Love irresistibly follows conviction.

As we said before, Kossuth had evidently no idea of making the speech which was drawn from him by the Baltimore Delegation—drawn from him, we think, by the superior cast of the gentlemen who formed it, and by the fitness, both of the manner and accompaniments of the honors they paid him. He spoke altogether extemporaneously, and with difficulty and hesitation, at first; but, with one or two brilliant and successful illustrations, his words grew more fluent, and, in the following passage, he became fully and gloriously aroused. It was the first mention he had yet made to the world of his intention to return to Hungary a soldier!

“As for the future, I shall devote my life to the resurrection of my native land. I will endeavor to wrest Hungary from the power of tyrants and despots, to procure for her her sovereign rights, and the fundamental rights which belong to every nation. Should Providence assign me a place in the accomplishment of these great designs, I will take care that they shall receive no injury from me. I will here remark that I have always been extremely anxious not to assume or take upon my humble shoulders any duty which I had not a positive conviction would not answer me, or which I could not perform. Though I was never in actual military service, I was ready to help my country in every way I could. I was not able to be in every place at the same time, and I had not the boldness to take the practical direction of the military operations because I feared I was not sufficiently familiar with military tactics to do so. I thought that if it so happened that any thing should go amiss, and my people be defeated, that I should not only be condemned by my countrymen, but that my conscience would torture me with the feeling, that if I had not undertook to do a thing which I did not understand, the fall of my country would not have taken place. This was my conviction. I was not master of the practice and strategy of war, and I gave the cause of my country thus far into other hands. I have seen that cause destroyed, and become a failure, and I weep for my country, not for my own misfortunes. Since I have been in exile I have endeavored to improve my intellect from the movements of the past, and to prepare myself for the future, and I rely on my people, whose confidence in me is not shaken by my misfortunes, nor broken by my calumniators, who have misrepresented me. I have had all in my own hands once, and if I get in the same position again, I will act. I will not become a Napoleon nor an Alexander, and labor for the sake of my own ambition, but I will labor for freedom.”

These are not his words, though they embody the sentiments expressed. His own language was as much finer, and as different from this, as a poem is from its story told in prose. The reporters are not to blame, taking their notes standing amid a crowd as they do—but, (let us say here,) the public should give Kossuth credit for incomparably more eloquent speeches than they read. An admirable passage, left out in what we have quoted, for instance, followed the allusion he made to his disappointment in Gœrgey, the traitor, the shock it gave to his belief in the power of one man to read the soul of another, and the lonely trust in himself only, to which it had driven him. To the words and the manner with which he repeated the declaration that he believed in himself, we do not think we shall ever hear the parallel for impressive eloquence. Those who heard it would believe in Kossuth—against the testimony of angels.

Kossuth is too heroic a man to be over-cautious; and, from the kind of freshly impulsive and chivalric energy with which he spoke of holding the army in his own hand on his return, we were impressed with the idea that this evidently unpremeditated giving of shape to his thought for the future had another element in its momentum. It was the reading aloud of a newly turned over leaf of his nature. In prison, he says, he prepared himself for the next struggle of Hungary by making “the science and strategy of war” a study. Profound and careful, of course, must be the theory of war—but its practice is with trumpet and banner; and ever so abstruse though the tactics are, they are tried even for the holiest cause, with those accompaniments, of personal daring and danger, which have, to all lofty minds, a charm irresistible. Of the statesman and hero united in Kossuth, the statesman has been more wanted, hitherto—but there is a call, now, for the hero—and, if he betrays joy and eagerness long suppressed, (as we mean to say he did,) in answering that he is ready, what American will “wish he had been more careful?”

In farther illustration of what we are saying, the reader will permit us to change the scene of our sketch, and speak of Kossuth as we saw him more recently—addressing the five thousand of our soldiery in the amphitheatre of Castle Garden. It was not, there, the pale, carelessly dressed, and slightly bent invalid of the few days before. Oh no! Neither in mien nor in dress would he have been recognized by the picture we have drawn of him, above. The scene was enough to inspire him it is true. Five thousand brilliantly equipped men—with but one thought under every plume and belt, and that thought the cause whose highest altar was in his own bosom—were marshalled beneath his glance, waiting breathlessly to hear him. His look, that night, will never be forgot, by those who saw it. He wore a black velvet frock with standing collar, and buttons of jet—the single ornament being the slender belt of gold about his waist, holding a sword gracefully to his side. The marked simplicity of this elegant dress made his figure distinguished among the brilliant uniforms of the officers upon the stage; but his countenance, as he became animated, and walked to and fro before that magnificently arrayed audience, was the idealization of a look to inspire armies. When Captain French (to whom we make our admiring compliments) rose in the far gallery, and insisted on being heard, while he offered a thousand dollars from the Fusileers to the cause, would any one have doubted that the life’s blood of those fine fellows would have come as easy, with opportunity?

We stop with this mere description. The Kossuth questions are discussed sufficiently elsewhere. Our object has been to aid the distant reader in imagining the personal appearance of the man whose thoughts of lightning reach them, gleaming gloriously even through the clouds of impoverished language on which they travel. We close with a prayer—God keep Kossuth to take the field for Hungary!


The Parisian correspondent of the London Morning Post thus makes the first mention of this unexpected event:—

“We have all been much shocked this afternoon by the sudden death of Lady Blessington. Her ladyship dined yesterday with the Duchess de Grammont, and returned home late in her usual health and spirits. In the course of this morning she felt unwell, and her homœopathic medical adviser, Dr. Simon, was sent for. After a short consultation, the doctor announced that his patient was dying of apoplexy, and his sad prediction was unhappily verified but too rapidly, as her ladyship expired in his arms about an hour and a half ago.”

We doubt whether a death could have taken place, in private life, in Europe, that would have made a more vivid sensation than this, or have been more sincerely regretted. Indeed, a possessor of more power, in its most attractive shape, could hardly have been named, in life public or private—for the extent of Lady Blessington’s friendships with distinguished men of every nation, quality, character, rank and creed, was without a parallel. Her friends were carefully chosen—but, once admitted to her intimacy, they never were neglected and never lessened in their attachment to her. She has a circle of mourners, at this moment, in which there is more genius, more distinction, and more sincere sorrowing, than has embalmed a name within the lapse of a century. Noblemen, statesmen, soldiers, church-dignitaries, poets and authors, artists, actors, musicians, bankers,—a galaxy of the best of their different stations and pursuits—have received, with tears at the door of the heart, the first intelligence of her death.

The deceased will have a biographer—no doubt an able and renowned one. Bulwer, who enjoyed her friendship as intimately, perhaps, for the last ten years of her life, as any other man, might describe her best, and is not likely to leave, undone, a task so obviously his own. Without hoping to anticipate, at all, the portraiture, by an abler hand, of this remarkable woman, we may venture to send to our readers this first announcement of her death, accompanied with such a sketch of her qualities of mind and heart as our own memory, of the acquaintance we had the privilege of enjoying, enables us easily to draw.

Lady Blessington, as her writings show, was not a woman of genius in the creative sense of the term. She has originated nothing that would, of itself, have made a mark upon the age she lived in. Her peculiarity lay in the curiously felicitous combination of the best qualities of the two sexes, in her single character as it came from nature. She had the cool common sense and intrepid unsubserviency which together give a man the best social superiority, and she had the tact, the delicacy and the impassioned devotedness which are essentials in the finest compounds of woman. She did not know what fear was,—either of persons or of opinions,—and it was as like herself when she shook her gloved fist in defiance at the mob in Whitehall, on their threatening to break her carriage windows if she drove through, as it was to return to London after her long residence on the continent, and establish herself as the centre of a society from which her own sex were excluded. Under more guarded and fortunate circumstances of early life, and had she attained “the age of discretion” before taking any decided step, she would probably have been one of those guiding stars of individualism, in common life, alike peculiar, admirable and irreproachable.

Lady Blessington’s generous estimate of what services were due in friendship—her habitual conduct in such relations amounting to a romantic chivalry of devotedness—bound to her with a naturalness of affection not very common in that class of life, those who formed the circle of her intimacy. She did not wait to be solicited. Her tact and knowledge of the world enabled her to understand, with a truth that sometimes seemed like divination, the position of a friend at the moment—his hopes and difficulties, his wants and capabilities. She had a much larger influence than was generally supposed, with persons in power, who were not of her known acquaintance, many an important spring of political and social movement was unsuspectedly within her control. She could aid ambition, promote literary distinction, remove difficulties in society which she did not herself frequent, serve artists, harmonize and prevent misunderstandings, and give valuable counsel on almost any subject that could come up in the career of a man, with a skill and a control of resources of which few had any idea. Many a one of her brilliant and unsurpassed dinners had a kindly object which its titled guests little dreamed of, but which was not forgotten for a moment, amid the wit and eloquence that seemed so purposeless and impulsive. On some errand of good will to others, her superb equipage, the most faultless thing of its kind in the world, was almost invariably bound, when gazed after in the streets of London. Princes and noblemen, (who, as well as poets and artists, have aims which need the devotion of friendship,) were the objects of her watchful aid and ministration; and we doubt, indeed, whether any woman lived, who was so valuable a friend to so many, setting aside the high careers that were influenced among them, and the high station and rank that were befriended with no more assiduity than lesser ambitions and distinctions.

The conversation, at the table in Gore House, was allowed to be the most brilliant in Europe, but Lady Blessington herself seldom took the lead in it. Her manners were such as to put every one at his ease, and her absolute tact at suggestion and change of topics, made any one shine who had it in him, when she chose to call it forth. She had the display of her guests as completely under her hand as the pianist his keys; and, forgetful of herself—giving the most earnest and appreciative attention to others—she seemed to desire no share in the happiness of the hour except that of making each, in his way, show to advantage. If there was any impulse of her mind to which she gave way with a feeling of carelessness, it was to the love of humor in her Irish nature, and her mirthfulness at such moments, was most joyously unrestrained and natural.

In 1835, when we first saw Lady Blessington, she confessed to forty, and was then exceedingly handsome. Her beauty, it is true, was more in pose and demeanor than in the features of her face, but she produced the full impression of great beauty. Her mouth was the very type of freshness and frankness. The irregularity of her nose gave a vivacity to her expression, and her thin and pliant nostrils added a look of spirit which was unmistakable, but there was a steady penetration in the character of her eye which threw a singular earnestness and sincerity over all. Like Victoria, Tom Moore, the Duke of Wellington and Grisi, she sat tall—her body being longer in proportion than her limbs—and, probably from some little sensitiveness on this point, she was seldom seen walking. Her grace of posture in her carriage struck the commonest observer, and, seated at her table, or in the gold and satin arm-chair in her drawing room, she was majestically elegant and dignified. Of the singular beauty of her hands and arms, celebrated as they were in poetry and sculpture, she seemed at least unconscious, and used them carelessly, gracefully and expressively, in the gestures of conversation. At the time we speak of, she was in perfect maturity portion and figure, but beginning, even then, to conceal, by a peculiar cap, the increasing fullness under her chin. Her natural tendency to plethora was not counteracted by exercise, and when we saw her last, two years ago, she was exceedingly altered from her former self, and had evidently given up to an indolence of personal habits which has since ended in apoplexy and death.

There is an ignorance with regard to the early history of this distinguished woman, and a degree of misrepresentation in the popular report of her life in later years, which a simple statement of the outline of her career will properly correct. Her death takes away from her friends the freedom of speaking carelessly of her faults, but it binds them, also, to guard her memory as far as Truth can do it, from injustice and perversion.

Lady Blessington’s maiden name was Margaret Power. She was born in Ireland, the daughter of the printer and editor of the Clonmel Herald, and up to the age of twelve or fourteen, (as we once heard her say) had hardly worn a shoe or been in a house where there was a carpet. At this age of her girlhood, however, she and her sister (who was afterwards Lady Canterbury) were fancied by a family of wealthy old maids, to whom they were distantly related, and taken to a home where they proved apt scholars in the knowledge of luxury and manners. On their return to Clonmel, two young girls of singular beauty, they became at once the attraction of a dashing English regiment newly stationed there, and Margaret was soon married to an officer by the name of Farmer. From this hasty connection, into which she was crowded by busy and ambitious friends, sprang all the subsequent canker of her life. Her husband proved to be liable to temporary insanity, and, at best, was cruel and capricious. Others were kinder and more attentive. She was but sixteen. Flying from her husband who was pursuing her with a pistol in his hand to take her life, she left her home, and, in the retreat where she took refuge, was found by a wealthy and accomplished officer, who had long been her admirer, and whose “protection” she now fatally accepted.

With this gentleman, Captain Jenkinson, she lived four years in complete seclusion. His return to dissipated habits, at the end of that time, destroyed his fortune and brought about a separation; and, her husband, meantime, having died, she received an offer of marriage from Lord Blessington, who was then a widower with one daughter. She refused the offer, at first, from delicate motives, easily understood: but it was at last pressed on her acceptance, and she married and went abroad.

Received into the best society of the continent at once, and with her remarkable beauty and her husband’s enormous wealth, entering upon a most brilliant career, she became easily an accomplished woman of the world, and readily supplied for herself, any deficiencies in her early education. It was during this first residence in Paris that Lord Blessington became exceedingly attached to Count Alfred D’Orsay, the handsomest and most talented young nobleman of France. Determined not to be separated from one he declared he could not live without, he affianced his daughter to him, persuaded his father to let him give up his commission in the army, and fairly adopted him into his family to share his fortune with him as a son. They soon left Paris for Italy, and at Genoa fell in with Lord Byron, who was a friend of Lord Blessington’s, and with whom they made a party, for residence in that beautiful climate, the delightful socialities of which are well described in her Ladyship’s “Conversations.”

A year or two afterwards, Lord Blessington’s daughter came to him from school, and was married to Count D’Orsay at Naples. The union proved inharmonious, and they separated, after living but a year together. Lord Blessington died soon after, and, on Lady Blessington’s return to England, the Count rejoined her, and they formed but one household till her death.

It was this residence of Lord Blessington’s widow and her son-in-law under the same roof—he, meantime, separated from his wife, Lady Harriet D’Orsay—which, by the English code of appearances in morals, compromised the position of Lady Blessington. She chose to disregard public opinion, where it interfered with what she deliberately made up her mind was best, and, disdaining to explain or submit, guarded against slight or injury, by excluding from her house all who would condemn her, viz:—her own sex. Yet all who knew her and her son-in-law, were satisfied that it was a useful and, indeed, absolutely necessary arrangement for him—her strict business habits, practical good sense, and the protection of her roof, being an indispensable safeguard to his personal liberty and fortunes—and that this need of serving him and the strongest and most disinterested friendship were her only motives, every one was completely sure who knew them at all. By those intimate at her house, including the best and greatest men of England, Lady Blessington was held in unqualified respect, and no shadow even of suspicion, thrown over her life of widowhood. She had many entreaties from her own sex to depart from her resolve and interchange visits, and we chanced to be at her house, one morning, when a note was handed to her from one of the most distinguished noble ladies of England, making such a proposal. We saw the reply. It expressed, with her felicitous tact, a full appreciation of the confidence and kindness of the note she had received, but declined its request, from an unwillingness to place herself in any position where she might, by the remotest possibility, suffer from doubt or injustice. She persevered in this to the end of her life, a few relatives and one or two intimates of her continental acquaintance being the only ladies seen at her house. When seized with her last illness, she had been dining with Count D’Orsay’s sister, the beautiful Duchess de Grammont.

Faulty as a portion of Lady Blessington’s life may have been, we doubt whether a woman has lived, in her time, who did so many actions of truest kindness, and whose life altogether was so benevolently and largely instrumental for the happiness of others. With the circumstances that bore upon her destiny, with her beauty, her fascination and her boundless influence over all men who approached her, she might easily, almost excusably, have left a less worthy memory to fame. Few in their graves, now, deserve a more honoring remembrance.


Well—how does Moore write a song?

In the twilight of a September evening he strolls through the park to dine with the marquis. As he draws on his white gloves, he sees the evening star looking at him steadily through the long vista of the avenue, and he construes its punctual dispensation of light into a reproach for having, himself a star, passed a day of poetic idleness. “Damme,” soliloquizes the little fat planet, “this will never do! Here have I hammered the whole morning at a worthless idea, that, with the mere prospect of a dinner, shows as trumpery as a ‘penny fairing.’ Labor wasted! And at my time of life, too! Faith!—it’s dining at home these two days with nobody to drink with me! It’s eyewater I want! Don’t trouble yourself to sit up for me, brother Hesper! I shall see clearer when I come back!

‘Bad are the rhymes

 That scorn old wine.’

as my friend Barry sings. Poetry? hum! Claret? Prithee, call it claret!”

And Moore is mistaken! He draws his inspiration, it is true, with the stem of a glass between his thumb and finger, but the wine is the least stimulus to his brain. He talks and is listened to admiringly, and that is his Castaly. He sits next to Lady Fanny at dinner, who thinks him an “adorable little love,” and he employs the first two courses in making her in love with herself, i. e., blowing everything she says up to the red heat of poetry. Moore can do this, for the most stupid things on earth are, after all, the beginnings of ideas, and every fool is susceptible of the flattery of seeing the words go straight from his lips to the “highest heaven of invention.” And Lady Fanny is not a fool, but a quick and appreciative woman, and to almost everything she says, the poet’s trump is a germ of poetry. “Ah!” says Lady Fanny with a sigh, “this will be a memorable dinner—not to you, but to me; for you see pretty women every day, but I seldom see Tom Moore!” The poet looks into Lady Fanny’s eyes and makes no immediate answer. Presently she asks, with a delicious look of simplicity, “Are you as agreeable to everybody, Mr. Moore?”—“There is but one Lady Fanny,” replies the poet; “or, to use your own beautiful simile, ‘The moon sees many brooks, but the brook sees but one moon!’ ” (Mem. jot that down.) And so is treasured up one idea for the morrow, and when the marchioness rises, and the ladies follow her to the drawing-room, Moore finds himself sandwiched between a couple of whig lords, and opposite a past or future premier—an audience of cultivation, talent, scholarship, and appreciation; and as the fresh pitcher of claret is passed round, all regards radiate to the Anacreon of the world, and with that sanction of expectation, let alone Tom Moore. Even our “Secretary of the Navy and National Songster” would “turn out his lining”—such as it is. And Moore is delightful, and with his “As you say, my lord!” he gives birth to a constellation of bright things, no one of which is dismissed with the claret. Every one at the table, except Moore, is subject to the hour—to its enthusiasm, its enjoyment—but the hour is to Moore a precious slave. So is the wine. It works for him! It brings him money from Longman! It plays his trumpet in the reviews! It is his filter among the ladies! Well may he sing its praises! Of all the poets, Moore is probably the only one who is thus master of his wine. The glorious abandon with which we fancy him, a brimming glass in his hand, singing “Fly not yet!” exists only in the fancy. He keeps a cool head and coins his conviviality; and to revert to my former figure, they who wish to know what Moore’s electricity amounts to without the convivial friction, may read his history of Ireland. Not a sparkle in it, from the landing of the Phœnicians to the battle of Vinegar Hill! He wrote that as other people write—with nothing left from the day before but the habit of labor—and the travel of a collapsed balloon on a man’s back, is not more unlike the same thing, inflated and soaring, than Tom Moore, historian, and Tom Moore, bard!

Somewhere in the small hours the poet walks home, and sitting down soberly in his little library, he puts on paper the half-score scintillations that collision, in one shape or another, has struck into the tinder of his fancy. If read from this paper, the world would probably think little of their prospect of ever becoming poetry. But the mysterious part is done—the life is breathed into the chrysalis—and the clothing of these naked fancies with winged words, Mr. Moore knows very well can be done in very uninspired moods by patient industry. Most people have very little idea what that industry is—how deeply language is ransacked, how often turned over, how untiringly rejected and recalled with some new combination, how resolutely sacrificed when only tolerable enough to pass, how left untouched day after day in the hope of a fresh impulse after repose. The vexation of a Chinese puzzle is slight, probably, to that which Moore has expended on some of his most natural and flowing single verses. The exquisite nicety of his ear, though it eventually gives his poetry its honied fluidity, gives him no quicker choice of words, nor does more, in any way, than pass inexorable judgment on what his industry brings forward. Those who think a song dashed off like an invitation to dinner, would be edified by the progressive phases of a “Moore’s Melody.” Taken with all its rewritings, emendations, &c., I doubt whether, in his most industrious seclusion, Moore averages a couplet a day. Yet this persevering, resolute, unconquerable patience of labor is the secret of his fame. Take the best thing he ever wrote, and translate its sentiments and similitudes into plain prose, and do the thing by a song of any second-rate imitator of Moore, one abstract would read as well as the other. Yet Moore’s song is immortal, and the other ephemeral as a paragraph in a newspaper, and the difference consists in a patient elaboration of language and harmony, and in that only. And even thus short, seems the space between the ephemeron and the immortal. But it is wider than they think, oh, glorious Tom Moore!

And how does Barry Cornwall write?

I answer, from the efflux of his soul! Poetry is not labor to him. He works at law—he plays, relaxes, luxuriates in poetry. Mr. Proctor has at no moment of his life, probably, after finishing a poetic effusion, designed ever to write another line. No more than the sedate man, who, walking on the edge of a playground, sees a ball coming directly towards him, and seized suddenly with a boyish impulse, jumps aside and sends it whizzing back, as he had not done for twenty years, with his cane—no more than that unconscious school-boy of fourscore (thank God there are many such live coals under the ashes) thinks he shall play again at ball. Proctor is a prosperous barrister, drawing a large income from his profession. He married the daughter of Basil Montague (well known as the accomplished scholar, and the friend of Coleridge, Lamb, and that bright constellation of spirits,) and with a family of children of whom, the world knows, he is passionately fond, he leads a more domestic life, or, rather, a life more within himself and his own, than any author, present or past, with whose habits I am conversant. He has drawn his own portrait; however, in outline, and as far as it goes, nothing could be truer. In an epistle to his friend Charles Lamb, he says:—

“Seated beside this Sherris wine,

 And near to books and shapes divine,

 Which poets and the painters past

 Have wrought in line that aye shall last,—

 E’en I, with Shakspere’s self beside me,

 And one whose tender talk can guide me

 Through fears and pains and troublous themes,

 Whose smile doth fall upon my dreams

 Like sunshine on a stormy sea,******”

Proctor slights the world’s love for his wife and books, and, as might be expected, the world only plies him the more with its caresses. He is now and then seen in the choicest circles of London, where, though love and attention mark most flatteringly the rare pleasure of his presence, he plays a retired and silent part, and steals early away. His library is his Paradise. His enjoyment of literature should be mentioned as often in his biography as the “feeding among the lilies” in the Songs of Solomon. He forgets himself, he forgets the world in his favorite authors, and that, I fancy, was the golden link in his friendship with Lamb. Surrounded by exquisite specimens of art, (he has a fine taste, and is much beloved by artists,) a choice book in his hand, his wife beside him, and the world shut out, Barry is in the meridian of his true orbit. Oh, then, a more loving and refined spirit is not breathing beneath the stars! He reads and muses; and as something in the pages stirs some distant association, suggests some brighter image than its own, he half leans over to the table, and scrawls it in unstudied but inspired verse. He thinks no more of it. You might have it to light your cigar. But there sits by his side one who knows its value, and it is treasured. Here, for instance, in the volume I have spoken of before, are some forty pages of “fragments”—thrown in to eke out the volume of his songs. I am sure, that when he was making up his book, perhaps expressing a fear that there would not be pages enough for the publisher’s design, these fragments were produced from their secret hiding-place to his great surprise. The quotations I have made were all from this portion of his volume, and, as I said before, they are worthy of Shakspere. There is no mark of labor in them. I do not believe there was an erasure in the entire manuscript. They bear all the marks of a sudden, unstudied impulse, immediately and unhesitatingly expressed. Here are several fragments. How evident it is that they were suggested directly by his reading:—

“She was a princess—but she fell; and now

 Her shame goes blushing through a line of kings.


    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


 Sometimes a deep thought crossed

 My fancy, like the sullen bat that flies

 Athwart the melancholy moon at eve.


    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

 Let not thy tale tell but of stormy sorrows!

 She—who was late a maid, but now doth lie

 In Hymen’s bosom, like a rose grown pale,

 A sad, sweet wedded wife—why is she left

 Out of the story? Are good deeds—great griefs,

 That live but ne’er complain—naught? What are tears?—

 Remorse?—deceit? at best weak water drops

 Which wash out the bloom of sorrow.


    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


                          Is she dead?

 Why so shall I be—ere these autumn blasts

 Have blown on the beard of winter. Is she dead?

 Aye, she is dead—quite dead! The wild sea kissed her

 With its cold, white lips, and then—put her to sleep:

 She has a sand pillow, and a water sheet,

 And never turns her head, or knows ’tis morning!


    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *


 Mark, when he died, his tombs, his epitaphs!

 Men did not pluck the ostrich for his sake,

 Nor dyed’t in sable. No black steeds were there,

 Caparisoned in wo; no hired crowds;

 No hearse, wherein the crumbling clay (imprisoned

 Like ammunition in a tumbril) rolled

 Rattling along the street, and silenced grief;

 No arch whereon the bloody laurel hung;

 No stone; no gilded verse;—poor common shows!

 But tears and tearful words, and sighs as deep

 As sorrow is—these were his epitaphs!

 Thus—(fitly graced)—he lieth now, inurned

 In hearts that loved him, on whose tender sides

 Are graved his many virtues. When they perish,

 He’s lost!—and so’t should be. The poet’s name.

 And hero’s—on the brazen book of Time,

 Are writ in sunbeams, by Fame’s loving hand;

 But none record the household virtues there.

 These better sleep (when all dear friends are fled)

 In endless and serene oblivion.”


    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *



This distinguished woman died recently at Bristol, England, at the age of seventy-four. We shall, doubtless, soon have an authentic biography of her, from some one to whom her papers and other materials will have been entrusted by the brother who survives her; but, meantime, let us yield to the tide of remembrance which her death has awakened, and arrest, ere they float by and are lost, the scattered leaf-memories that may recall the summers when we knew her. For the sixteen years that we enjoyed the privilege of her friendship, her correspondence with us was interrupted only by illness, and we hope yet to find the leisure to put some of those high-thoughted and invaluable letters into print—true reflex as they are of the lofty and true mind which made her fame. Our present memoranda will be brief, with a view to that better justice to the theme.

We first saw Miss Porter at the house of Lady S——, the sister of Lady Franklin, a few weeks after our first arrival in London, in 1834. It was at a large party, thronged with the scientific and literary persons who form the society of a man like Sir John Franklin. The great navigator, whose fate now excites so deep an interest, was present, and he was almost the only celebrity in the room whom we did not then see for the first time—Sir John having been in command of the English fleet in the Mediterranean, and Lady Franklin at Athens when we chanced to be there. The noble head and majestic frame of the fine old sailor showed in strong relief, even among the great men who surrounded him, and we well remember the confirmed impression, of his native dignity and superiority of presence, which we received at that time.

A very tall lady, apparently about fifty years of age, had arrested our attention early in the evening, and, whenever unoccupied, we found ourself turning to observe her, with a magnetism which we could not resist. She was dressed completely in black, with black lace upon the neck, and black feathers drooping over the knot of her slightly grey hair. Her person was very erect, and, though her conversation was evidently playful with all who spoke with her, there was an exceeding loftiness, and an air of unconscious and easy nobility, in her mien and countenance, which was truly remarkable. She was like the ideal which one forms of a Lady Abbess of noble blood, or of Queen Katharine. The deference with which she was addressed was mingled invariably with an affectionate cordiality, however, which puzzled our conjectures a little, for it is not common to see the two feelings inspired with equal certainty by the same presence. It chanced to be late in the evening before we had an opportunity of enquiring the name of this lady, and, when we heard who she was, we recognized at once that very unusual phenomenon—a complete fitness of the outer temple to the fame whose deathless lamp is enshrined within it. It was Jane Porter, and she looked as one would have expected her to look, who had conjured up her image by aid of magic, after being carried away by her enchantments of story.

We were presented to Miss Porter by Sir John Franklin, just before the breaking up of the party that evening, and, soon after, we were so fortunate as to be a guest, with her, at one of those English country-houses which are the perfection of luxury and refinement, and where there was the opportunity to see her with her proper surroundings. Of the impression received at that time, we have already made a slight record, which some of our readers may remember:—

“One of the most elegant and agreeable persons I ever saw was Miss Porter, and I think her conversation more delightful to remember than any person’s I ever knew. A distinguished artist told me that he remembered her when she was his beau ideal of female beauty; but in those days she was more “fancy-rapt,” and gave in less to the current and spirit of society. Age has made her, if it may be so expressed, less selfish in her use of thought, and she pours it forth like Pactolus—that gold which is sand from others. She is still what I should call a handsome woman, or, if that be not allowed, she is the wreck of more than a common allotment of beauty, and looks it. Her person is remarkably erect, her eyes and eyelids (in this latter resembling Scott) very heavily moulded, and her smile is beautiful. It strikes me that it always is so—where it ever was. The smile seems to be the work of the soul.

“I have passed months under the same roof with Miss Porter, and nothing gave me more pleasure than to find the company in that hospitable house dwindled to a “fit audience though few,” and gathered around the figure in deep mourning which occupied the warmest corner of the sofa. In any vein, and apropos to the gravest and the gayest subject, her well-stored mind and memory flowed forth in the same rich current of mingled story and reflection, and I never saw an impatient listener beside her. I recollect one evening a lady’s singing “Auld Robin Gray,” and some one remarking (rather unsentimentally,) at the close, “By-the-by what is Lady —— (the authoress of the ballad) doing with so many carpenters? Berkeley square is quite deafened with their hammering!” “Apropos of carpenters and Lady ——,” said Miss Porter, “this charming ballad-writer owes something to the craft. She was better-born than provided with the gifts of fortune, and in her younger days was once on a visit to a noble house, when, to her dismay, a large and fashionable company arrived who brought with them a mania for private theatricals. Her wardrobe was very slender, barely sufficient for the ordinary events of a week-day, and her purse contained one solitary shilling. To leave the house was out of the question, to feign illness as much so, and to decline taking a part was impossible, for her talent and sprightliness were the hope of the theatre. A part was cast for her, and, in despair, she excused herself from the gay party bound to the country town to make purchases of silk and satin, and shut herself up, a prey to mortified low spirits. The character required a smart village dress, and it certainly did not seem that it could come out of a shilling. She sat at her window, biting her lips, and turning over in her mind whether she could borrow of some one, when her attention was attracted to a carpenter, who was employed in the construction of a stage in the large hall, and who, in the court below, was turning off from his plane broad and long shavings of a peculiarly striped wood. It struck her that it was like riband. The next moment she was below, and begged of the man to give her half-a-dozen lengths as smooth as he could shave them. He performed his task well, and depositing them in her apartment, she set off alone on horseback to the village, and with her single shilling succeeded in purchasing a chip hat of the coarsest fabric. She carried it home, exultingly, trimmed it with her pine shavings, and on the evening of the performance appeared with a white dress, and hat and belt ribands which were the envy of the audience. The success of her invention gave her spirits and assurance, and she played to admiration. The sequel will justify my first remark. She made a conquest on that night of one of her titled auditors, whom she afterward married. You will allow that Lady —— may afford to be tolerant of carpenters.”

It was two years after this first meeting of Miss Porter at —— Park, that we accepted an invitation to meet her at the house of a Baronet in Warwickshire, and of that visit the following mention is made in Sketches of Travel already published:—

“I remembered a promise I had nearly forgotten, that I would reserve my visit to Stratford till I could be accompanied by Miss J. Porter, whom I was to have the honor of meeting at my place of destination; and promising an early acceptance of the landlady’s invitation, I hurried on to my appointment over the fertile hills of Warwickshire.

“I was established in one of those old Elizabethan country-houses which with their vast parks, their self-sufficing resources of subsistence and company, and the absolute deference shown on all sides to the lord of the manor, give one the impression rather of a little kingdom with a castle in its heart, than of an abode for a gentleman subject. The house itself (called, like most houses of this size and consequence in Warwickshire, a ‘Court,’) was a Gothic half-castellated square, with four round towers, and innumerable embrasures and windows; two wings in front, probably more modern than the body of the house, and again two long wings extending to the rear, at right angles, and enclosing a flowery and formal parterre. There had been a trench about it, now filled up, and at a short distance from the house stood a polyangular and massive structure, well calculated for defence, and intended as a stronghold for the retreat of the family and tenants in more troubled times. One of these rear wings enclosed a catholic chapel, for the worship of the baronet and those of his tenants who professed the same faith; while on the northern side, between the house and the garden, stood a large, protestant stone church, with a turret and spire, both chapel and church, with their clergyman and priest, dependant on the estate, and equally favored by the liberal and high-minded baronet. The tenantry formed two considerable congregations, and lived and worshipped side by side, with the most perfect harmony—an instance of real Christianity, in my opinion, which the angels of heaven might come down to see. A lovely rural grave-yard for the lord and tenants, and a secluded lake below the garden, in which hundreds of wild ducks swam and screamed unmolested, completed the outward features of C—— Court.

“There are noble houses in England with a door communicating from the dining room to the stables, that the master and his friends may see their favorites, after dinner, without exposure to the weather. In the place of this rather bizarre luxury, the oak-panelled and spacious dining-hall of C—— is on a level with the organ loft of the chapel, and when the cloth is removed, the large door between is thrown open, and the noble instrument pours the rich and thrilling music of vespers through the rooms. When the service is concluded, and the lights on the altar extinguished, the blind organist (an accomplished musician, and a tenant on the estate,) continues his voluntaries in the dark until the hall-door informs him of the retreat of the company to the drawing-room. There is not only refinement and luxury in this beautiful, arrangement, but food for the soul and heart.

“I chose my room from among the endless vacant but equally luxurious chambers of the rambling old house; my preference solely directed by the portrait of a nun, one of the family in ages gone by—a picture full of melancholy beauty, which hung opposite the window. The face was distinguished by all that in England marks the gentlewoman of ancient and pure descent; and while it was a woman with the more tender qualities of her sex breathing through her features, it was still a lofty and sainted sister, true to her cross, and sincere in her vows and seclusion. It was the work of a master, probably Vandyke, and a picture in which the most solitary man would find company and communion. On the other walls, and in most of the other rooms and corridors, were distributed portraits of the gentlemen and soldiers of the family, most of them bearing some resemblance to the nun, but differing, as brothers in those wild times may be supposed to have differed, from the gentle creatures of the same blood, nursed in the privacy of peace.”

Warwick Castle, Stratford-on-Avon, and Kenilworth, were all within the reach of what might be called neighborhood, and our hospitable host (in his eightieth year, and unable to accompany us,) had made the arrangements for our visit to these places. We were to be gone three days, but were to remain his guests in all respects. The carriage was packed with the books which might be needed for reference, the butler of the old Baronet was to go with us and provide post-horses and everything we could want at inns upon the road, and, under this kind and luxurious provision, we took seat beside Miss Porter, and visited Kenilworth, Warwick, and Stratford, with no thought or care which need divide our pleasure in her society. From the description of this journey (given without mention of the above circumstances,) let us copy one more passage:—

“I had wandered away from my companion, Miss Jane Porter, to climb up a secret staircase in the wall, rather too difficult of ascent for a female foot, and from my elevated position I caught an accidental view of that distinguished lady through the arch of a Gothic window, with a background of broken architecture and foliage—presenting, by chance, perhaps, the most fitting and admirable picture of the authoress of the “Scottish Chiefs,” that a painter in his brightest hour could have fancied. Miss Porter, with her tall and striking figure, her noble face (said by Mr. Martin Shee to have approached nearer in its youth to his beau idéal of the female features than any other, and still possessing the remains of uncommon beauty,) is at all times a person whom it would be difficult to see without a feeling of involuntary admiration. But standing, as I saw her at that moment, motionless and erect, in the morning-dress, with dark feathers, which she has worn since the death of her beloved and gifted sister, her wrists folded across, her large and still beautiful eyes fixed on a distant object in the view, and her nobly-cast lineaments reposing in their usual calm and benevolent tranquility, while, around and above her, lay the material and breathed the spirit over which she had held the first great mastery—it was a tableau vivant which I was sorry to be alone to see.

“Was she thinking of the great mind that had evoked the spirits of the ruins she stood among—a mind in which (by Sir Walter’s own confession) she had first bared the vein of romance which breathed so freely for the world’s delight? where the visions which sweep with such supernatural distinctness and rapidity through the imagination of genius—vision of which the millionth portion is probably scarcely communicated to the world in a literary lifetime—were Elizabeth’s courtiers, Elizabeth’s passions, secret hours, interviews with Leicester—were the imprisoned king’s nights of loneliness and dread, his hopes, his indignant, but unheeded thoughts—were all the possible circumstances, real or imaginary, of which that proud castle might have been the scene, thronging in those few moments of revery through her fancy? or was her heart busy with its kindly affections, and had the beauty and interest of the scene but awakened a thought of one who was most wont to number with her the sands of those brighter hours.

“Who shall say? The very question would perhaps startle the thoughts beyond recall—so illusive are even the most angelic of the mind’s unseen visitants?”

In another place we made the following memoranda of what we knew of her biography, etc.:—

“Miss Porter was the daughter of a gallant English officer, who died, leaving a widow and four children, then very young, but three of them destined to remarkable fame, Sir Robert Ker Porter, Jane Porter, and Anna Maria Porter. Sir Robert, as is well known, was the celebrated historical painter, traveller in Persia, soldier, diplomatist, and author, lately deceased. He went to Russia with one of his great pictures when very young, married a wealthy Russian princess, and passed his subsequent years between the camp and diplomacy, honored and admired in every station and relation of his life. The two girls were playmates and neighbors of Walter Scott. Jane published her “Scottish Chiefs,” at the age of eighteen, and became immediately the great literary wonder of her time. Her widowed mother, however, withdrew her immediately from society to the seclusion of a country town, and she was little seen in the gay world of London before several of her works had become classics. Anna Maria, the second sister, commenced her admirable series of novels soon after the first celebrity of Jane’s works, and they wrote and passed the brightest years of their life together in a cottage retreat. The two sisters were singularly beautiful. Sir Thomas Lawrence was an unsuccessful suitor to Anna Maria, and Jane was engaged to a young soldier who was killed in the Peninsula. She is a woman to have but one love in a lifetime. Her betrothed was killed when she was twenty years of age, and she has ever since worn mourning, and remained true to his memory. Jane is now the only survivor of the three; her admirable mother and her sister having died some twelve or fourteen years ago, and Sir Robert having died lately, while revisiting England after many years’ diplomatic residence in Venezuela.

“Miss Porter is now near seventy. She has suffered within the last two or three years from ill health, but she is still erect, graceful, and majestic in person and still possessed of admirable beauty of countenance. Her large dark eyes have a striking lambency of lustre, her smile inspires love in all who see her, and her habit of mind, up to the time we last saw her, (three or four years ago,) was that of reflecting the mood of others in conversation, thinking never of herself, and endeavoring only to make others shine, and all this with a tact, a playfulness and simplicity, an occasional unconscious brilliancy and penetration, which have made her, up to seventy years of age, a most interesting, engaging, and lovely woman. Considering the extent of her charm, over old and young, titled and humble, masters and servants, we sincerely think we never have seen a woman so beloved and so fascinating. She is the idol of many different circles of very high rank, and passes her time in yielding, month after month, to pressing invitations from the friends who love her. The dowager queen Adelaide is one of her warmest friends, the highest families of nobility contend for her as a resident guest, distinguished and noble foreigners pay court to her invariably on arriving in England, she has been ennobled by a decree of the king of Prussia, and with all this weight of honor on her head, you might pass weeks with her (ignorant of her history) without suspecting her to be more than the loveliest of women past their prime, and born but to grace a contented mediocrity of station.”

We know nothing more to the honor of the English nobility of this day, than that Jane Porter—such as she was—should have chosen and cherished the greater number of her friendships from among them. Utterly incapable of a servility or an obsequiousness as her gifted and lofty nature was always admitted to be, she still moved in the highest sphere of rank, with sympathies all expanded, and the imprint of congeniality, with all around her, stamped upon countenance and mien. Yet she had mingled, more or less, with all classes, and knew the world well. Had she found it necessary to sacrifice the slightest shadow of purity or independence to retain her position, or had she believed, or conjectured, that purer or simpler natures were to be found in the ranks below, she was not one to hesitate or compromise for an instant. But, with the intuitive perceptions of genius, and a disposition as open as the day, she chose this for her sphere, and lived in it as one who had no thought or need of managements, either to belong to, or to grace it. The class of society, in a country, with which simple and proud genius finds itself most at home, is its superior and true nobility; and, that England’s circles of high rank are so preferred, and so honored and brightened, by spirits like Jane Porter, is, we think, the evidence that proves most for England’s present civilization and glory.



Saddle, as, of course, we are, under any very striking event, we find ourselves bestridden, now and then, with a much wider occupancy than the plumb-line of a newspaper column. Ole Bull possesses us over our tea-table; he will possess us over our supper-table—his performance of Niagara equi-distant between the two. We must think of him and his violin for this coming hour. Let us take pen and ink into our confidence.

The “origin of the harp” has been satisfactorily recorded. We shall not pretend to put forward a credible story of the origin of the violin; but we wish to name a circumstance in natural history. The house-cricket that chirps upon our hearth, is well known as belonging to the genus Pneumora. Its insect size consists almost entirely of a pellucid abdomen, crossed with a number of transverse ridges. This, when inflated, resembles a bladder, and upon its tightened ridges the insect plays like a fiddler, by drawing its thin legs over them. The cricket is, in fact, a living violin; and as a fiddler is “scarce himself” without his violin, we may call the cricket a stray portion of a fiddler.

Ole Bull “is himself” with his violin before him—but without it, the commonest eye must remark that he is of the invariable build of the restless searchers after something lost—the build of enthusiasts—that is to say, chest enormous, and stomach, if anything, rather wanting! The great musician of Scripture, it will be remembered, expressed his mere mental affliction by calling out “My bowels! my bowels!” and, after various experiments on twisted silk, smeared with the white of eggs, and on single threads of the silk-worm, passed through heated oil, the animal fibre of cat-gut has proved to be the only string that answers to the want of the musician. Without trying to reduce these natural phenomena to a theory (except by suggesting that Ole Bull may very properly take the cricket as an emblem of his instinctive pursuit), we must yield to an ominous foreboding for this evening. The objection to cat-gut as a musical string is its sensibility to moisture: and in a damp atmosphere it is next to impossible to keep it in tune. The string comes honestly enough by its sensitiveness (as any one will allow who has seen a cat cross a street after a shower)—but, if the cat of Ole Bull’s violin had the least particle of imagination in her, can what is left of her be expected to discourse lovingly of her natural antipathy—a water-fall?

But—before we draw on our gloves to go over to Palmo’s—a serious word as what is to be attempted to-night.

Ole Bull is a great creature. He is fitted, if ever mortal man was, to represent the attendant spirit in Milton, who

“Well knew to still the wild woods when they roared

 And hush the moaning winds;”

but it seems to us that, without a printed programme, showing what he intends to express besides the mere sound of waters he is trusting far too rashly to the comprehension of his audience and their power of musical interpretation. He is to tell a story by music! Will it be understood?

We remember being very much astonished, a year or two ago, at finding ourself able to read the thoughts of a lady of this city, as she expressed them in an admirable improvisation upon the piano. The delight we experienced in this surprise induced us to look into the extent to which musical meaning had been perfected in Europe. We found it recorded that a Mons. Sudre, a violinist of Paris, had once brought the expression of his instrument to so nice a point that he “could convey information to a stranger in another room,” and it is added that, upon the evidence thus given of the capability of music, it was proposed to the French government to educate military bands in the expression of orders and heroic encouragements in battle! Hayden is criticised by a writer on music as having failed in attempting (in his great composition “The Seasons”) to express “the dawn of day,” “the husbandman’s satisfaction,” “the rustling of leaves,” “the running of a brook,” “the coming on of winter,” “thick fogs,” etc., etc. The same writer laughs at a commentator on Mozart, who, by a “second violin quartette in D minor,” imagines himself informed how a loving female felt on being abandoned, and thought the music fully expressed that it was Dido! Beethoven undertook to convey distinct pictures in his famous Pastoral Symphony, but it was thought at the time that no one would have distinguished between his musical sensations on visiting the country and his musical sensations while sitting beside a river—unless previously told what was coming!

Still, Ole Bull is of a primary order of genius, and he is not to wait upon precedent. He has come to our country, an inspired wanderer from a far away shore, and our greatest scenic feature has called on him for an expression of its wonders in music. He may be inspired, however, and we, who listen, still be disappointed. He may not have felt Niagara as we did. He may have been subdued where a meaner spirit would be aroused—as

“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”

(Seven o’clock, and time to go.)

*    *    *    *    *    *    *

(after the performance.)

We believe that we have heard a transfusion into music—not of “Niagara,” which the audience seemed bona-fide to expect, but—of the pulses of the human heart AT Niagara. We had a prophetic boding of the result of calling the piece vaguely “Niagara”—the listener furnished with no “argument,” as a guide through the wilderness of “treatment” to which the subject was open. This mistake allowed, however, it must be said that Ole Bull has, genius-like, refused to misinterpret the voice within him—refused to play the charlatan, and “bring the house down”—as he might well have done by any kind of “uttermost” from the drums and trumpets of the orchestra.

The emotion at Niagara is all but mute. It is a “small, still voice” that replies within us to the thunder of waters. The musical mission of the Norwegian was to represent the insensate element as it was to him—to a human soul, stirred in its seldom-reached depths by the call of power. It was the answer to Niagara that he endeavored to render in music—not the call! We defer attempting to read further, or rightly, this musical composition till we have heard it again. It was received by a crowded audience, in breathless silence, but with no applause.


We did not chance to hear Dr. Lardner’s excellent and amusing lecture on the “London literati,” etc., but the report of it in the “Republic” has scraped the moss from one corner of our memory, and we may, perhaps, aid in the true portraiture of one or two distinguished men by showing a shade or two in which our observation of them differed from that of the Doctor. We may remark here, that Dr. Lardner has been conversant with all the wits and scholars of England for the last two or three lustrums, and we would suggest to him that, with the freedom given him by withdrawal from their sphere, he might give us a book of anecdotical biography that would have a prosperous sale and be both instructive and amusing. We shall not poach upon the doctor’s manor, by the way, if we give our impression of one of these literati—himself—as he appeared to us, once in very distinguished company, in England. We were in a ball in the height of the season, at Brighton. Somewhere about the later hours, we chanced to be in attendance upon a noble lady, in company with two celebrated men, Mr. Ricardo and Horace Smith (the author of Brambletye House, and Rejected Addresses), Lady Stepney, authoress of the “New Road to Ruin,” approached our charming centre of attraction with a proposition to present to her the celebrated Dr. Lardner. “Yes, my dear! I should like to know him of all things!” was the reply, and the doctor was conjured forthwith into a magic circle. He bowed “with spectacles on nose,” but no other extraneous mark of philosopher or scholar. We shall not offend the doctor by stating that, on this evening, he was a very different looking person from his present practical exterior. With showy waistcoat, black tights, fancy stockings and small patent-leather shoes, he appeared to us an elegant of very bright water, smacking not at all, in manner no more than in dress, of the smutch and toil of the laboratory. We looked at and listened to him, we remember, with great interest and curiosity. He left us to dance a quadrille, and finding ourself accidentally in the same set, we looked at his ornamental and lover-like acquittal of himself with a kind of wonder at what Minerva would say! This was just before the doctor left England. We may add our expression of pleasure that the Protean facility of our accomplished and learned friend has served him in this country—making of him the best lecturer on all subjects, and the carver out of prosperity under a wholly new meridian.

But, to revert to the report of the Lecture:—

“The doctor gave some very amusing descriptions of the personal peculiarities of Bulwer and D’Israeli, the author of ‘Coningsby,’ observing that those who have read the works of the former, would naturally conclude him to be very fascinating in private society. Such, however, was not the case. He had not a particle of conversational facility, and could not utter twelve sentences free from hesitation and embarrassment. In fact, Bulwer was only Bulwer when his pen was in his hand and his meerschaum in his mouth. He is intimate with Count D’Orsay, one of the handsomest men of the day, and in his excessive admiration of that gentleman has adopted his style of dress, which is adapted admirably to the figure of the second Beau Brummell, but sits strangely on the feeble, rickety and skeleton form, of the man of genius.”

Now it struck us, on the contrary, that there was no more playful, animated, facile creature in London society than Bulwer. He seemed to have a horror of stilted topics, it is true, and never mingled in general conversation unless merrily. But at Lady Blessington’s, where there was but one woman present (herself), and where, consequently, there could be no têtes-à-têtes, Bulwer’s entrance was the certain precursor of fun. He was a brilliant rattle, and as to any “hesitation and embarrassment,” we never saw a symptom of it. At evening parties in other houses, Bulwer’s powers of conversation could scarce be fairly judged, for his system of attention is very concentrative, and he was generally deep in conversation with some one beautiful woman whom he could engross. We differ from the doctor, too, as to his style of dandyism. Spready upper works, trousers closely fitting to the leg, a broad-brimmed hat, and cornucopial whiskers, distinguished D’Orsay, while Bulwer wore always the loose French pantaloon, a measurable hat-brim, and whiskers carefully limited to the cheek. We pronounced the doctor’s astrology (as to the stars) based upon an error in “observation.”

The reporter adds:—

“D’Israeli he described as an affected coxcomb, with a restless desire to appear witty; yet he never remembered him to have said a good thing in his life except one, and that was generally repeated with the preface, ‘D’Israeli has said a good thing at last.’ ”

That D’Israeli is not a “bon-mot” man, is doubtless true. It never struck us that he manifested a “desire to appear witty.” He is very silent in the general melee of conversation, but we have never yet seen him leave a room before he had made an impression by some burst in the way of monologue—either an eloquent description or a dashing new absurdity, an anecdote or a criticism. He sits indolently with his head on his breast, taking sight through his eyebrows till he finds his cue to break in, and as far as our observation goes, nobody was ever willing to interrupt him. The doctor calls him an “affected coxcomb,” but it is only of his dress that this is any way true. No school-boy is more frank in his manners. When we were first in London, he was the immortal tenant of one room and a recess, and with manners indolently pensive. Three years after, returning to England, we found him master of a lordly establishment on Hyde Park, and, except that he looked of a less lively melancholy, his manners were as untroubled with affectation as before.



Numerous misspelled words and printer errors have been corrected. Where more than one spelling was used, the most frequent spelling was adopted throughout the book. French diacritics were corrected.

Inconsistencies in punctuation have been maintained.

A cover was created for this eBook by the Transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


[The end of Famous Persons and Places, by N.(Nathaniel) Parker Willis.]