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Title: What I Remember, Volume 1

Author: Thomas Adolphus Trollope

Release date: December 26, 2018 [eBook #58542]
Most recently updated: January 24, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images available at The Internet Archive)






Printed in Paris
THOMAS ADOLPHUS TROLLOPE From a painting by Maria Taylor London: Richard Bentley & Son Printed in Paris
From a painting by Maria Taylor
London: Richard Bentley & Son






Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen

Richard Clay and Sons,
london and bungay.







D. D. D.




INDEX: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z397




I have no intention of writing an autobiography. There has been nothing in my life which could justify such a pretension. But I have lived a long time. I remember an aged porter at the monastery of the “Sagro Eremo,” above Camaldoli, who had taken brevet rank as a saint solely on the score of his ninety years. His brethren called him and considered him as Saint Simon simply because he had been porter at that gate for more than sixty years. Now my credentials as a babbler of reminiscences are of a similar nature to those of the old porter. I have been here so many, many years. And then those years have comprised the best part of the nineteenth century—a century during which change has been more rapidly at work among all the surroundings of Englishmen than probably during any other century of which social history has to tell.

Of course middle-aged men know, as well as we ancients, the fact that social life in England—or{2} rather let me say in Europe—is very different from what it was in the days of their fathers, and are perfectly well acquainted with the great and oftentimes celebrated causes which have differentiated the Victorian era from all others. But only the small records of an unimportant individual life, only the memories which happen to linger in an old man’s brain, like bits of drift-weed floating round and round in the eddies of a back-water, can bring vividly before the young of the present generation those ways and manners of acting and thinking and talking in the ordinary every-day affairs of life which indicate the differences between themselves and their grandfathers.

I was born in the year 1810 at No. 16, Keppel Street, Russell Square. The region was at that time inhabited by the professional classes, mainly lawyers. My father was a barrister of the Middle Temple to the best of my recollection, but having chambers in the Old Square, Lincoln’s Inn. A quarter of a century or so later, all the district in question became rather deteriorated in social estimation, but has, I am told, recently recovered itself in this respect under the careful and judicious administration of the Duke of Bedford. The whole region appeared to me, when I was recently in London, about the least changed part of the London of my youthful days. As I walked up Store Street, which runs in a line from Keppel Street to Tottenham Court Road, I spied the name of “Pidding, Confectioner.” I immediately entered the shop and{3} made a purchase at the counter. “I did not in the least want this tart,” said I to the girl who was serving in the shop. “Why did you take it, then?” said she, with a little toss of her head. “Nobody asked you to buy it.” “I bought it,” rejoined I, “because I used to buy pastry of Mr. Pidding in this shop seventy years ago.” “Lor’, sir!” said the girl, “did you really?” She probably considered me to be the Wandering Jew.

I remember well that my father used to point out to me houses in Russell Square, Bedford Square, and Bloomsbury Square in which judges and other notable legal luminaries used to live. But even in those days the localities in question, especially the last named of them, were beginning to be deserted by such personages, who were already moving farther westward. The occasion of these walks with my father through the squares I have named—to which Red Lion Square might have been added—was one the painful nature of which has fixed it in my memory indelibly.

“Infandam memoria jubes renovare dolorem.”

For the object of these walks was the rendering an account of the morning’s studies. I was about six years old, when under my father’s auspices I was first introduced to the Eton Latin Grammar. He was a Wykehamist, had been a fellow of New College, and had held a Vinerian Fellowship. And his great ambition was, that his eldest son, myself, should tread in his steps and pursue the same{4} career. Dîs aliter visum!—as regards at least the latter stages of that career. For I did become, and am, a Wykehamist, as much as eight years at Coll. B. M. Winton prope Winton can make me.

Of which more anon.

For the present I see myself alone in the back drawing-room of No. 16, Keppel Street, in which room the family breakfast took place—probably to avoid the necessity of lighting another fire in the dining-room below—at 7 A.M., on my knees before the sofa, with my head in my hands and my eyes fixed on the Eton Latin Grammar laid on the sofa cushion before me. My parents had not yet come down to breakfast, nor had the tea urn been brought up by the footman. Nota bene.—My father was a poor man, and his establishment altogether on a modest footing. But it never would have occurred to him or to my mother that they could get on without a man-servant in livery. And though this liveried footman served a family in which two tallow candles with their snuffer dish supplied the whole illumination of the evening, had the livery been an invented one instead of that proper to the family, the circumstance would have been an absurdity exciting the ridicule of all the society in which my parents lived. Tempora mutantur! Certainly at the present day an equally unpretending household would be burthened by no footman. But on the morning which memory is recalling to me the footman was coming up with the urn, and my parents were coming down to breakfast, probably simultaneously; and the{5} question of the hour was whether I could get the due relationship of relative and antecedent into my little head before the two events arrived.

And that, as I remember it, was the almost unvaried routine for more than a year or two. I think, however, that the walks of which I was speaking when this retrospect presented itself to me must have belonged to a time a little, but not much later; for I had then advanced to the making of Latin verses. We used to begin in those days by making “nonsense verses.” And many of us ended in the same way! The next step—Gradus ad Parnassum—consisted in turning into Latin verse certain English materials provided for the purpose, and so cunningly prepared as to fall easily and almost inevitably into the required form. And these were the studies which, as I specially remember, were the subject of rehearsal during those walks from Lincoln’s Inn to Keppel Street.

My father was in the habit of returning from his chambers to a five o’clock dinner—rather a late hour, because he was an industrious and laborious man. Well! we, that is my next brother (not the one whose name became subsequently well known in the world, but my brother Henry, who died early) and myself, used to walk from Keppel Street to Lincoln’s Inn, so as to arrive in time to walk back with my father. He was a fast walker; and as we trotted along one on each side of him, the repetition of our morning’s poetical achievements did not tend, as I well remember, to facilitate the difficulty of “keeping our wind.{6}

But what has probably fixed all this in my mind during nearly three quarters of a century was my father’s pat application of one of our lines to the difficulties of those peripatetic poetizings. “Muse and sound of wheel do not well agree,” read the cunningly prepared original, which the alumnus with wonderful sagacity was to turn into, “Non bene conveniunt Musa rotæque sonus.” “That,” said my father, as he turned sharp round the corner into the comparative quiet of Featherstone Buildings, “is exactly why I turned out of Holborn!”

I do not know whether children of eight years old, or thereabouts, would at the present day be allowed to range London so freely as we were. But our great amusement and delight was to take long exploring walks in as distant parts of the huge (though then comparatively small) city as could be compassed within the time at our disposition. One especially favourite excursion, I well remember, was to the White Horse Cellar in Piccadilly to see the coaches start or arrive. I knew all their names, and their supposed comparative speed. By this means, indeed, came my first introduction to English geography. Formal lessons on such a thoroughly “commercial academy” subject were not, of course, thought of for an aspiring Wykehamist. But for the due enjoyment of the White Horse Cellar spectacle it was necessary to know the whereabouts of the cities, their distance from London, and the routes by which they were reached. It thus came to pass that our geographical notions were of a{7} curiously partial description—tolerably copious and accurate as regards the south and west of England, far less so as regards the north. For the north country coaches did not start from Piccadilly. On the opposite side of the way to the White Horse Cellar there was another coaching inn, the White Bear, on which I remember we used to look with much contempt, from the belief, whether in any degree well founded I know not, that the coaches which stopped there on their way out of town, or arrived there, were mainly slow coaches.

One does not traverse well nigh four score years without having experienced longings for the unattainable on several occasions. But I have no remembrance of any such eager, craving longing as the chronic longing of those days to make one of the great-coated companies who were departing to their various destinations by those “Telegraphs,” “High-Flyers,” “Magnets,” and “Independents.” (The more suggestive names of the “Wonder,” and its rival the “No Wonder!” once celebrated on the north-western road, belonged to a later day.) Had I been offered a seat on any of these vehicles my choice would have been dictated solely by considerations of distance—Falmouth for choice, as the westward Ultima Thule of coaching experience. With what rapture should I have climbed, in my little round jacket as I was, and without a thought of any other protection, to the roof of the Falmouth mail—the mail for choice, the Devonport “Quicksilver” being then in the womb of the future—and{8} started to fetch a forgotten letter (say) of the utmost importance, with strict injunctions to bring it back by the returning coach! I don’t think my imagination had yet soared to the supreme glories of the box seat. That came later. To have been a booked passenger, that that horn should have sounded for me, that I should have been included in the guard’s final and cheery assurance, that at length all was “right”—would have been ample enough for an ecstasy of happiness. What an endless vista of ever-changing miles of country! What an infinite succession of “teams!” What a delicious sense of belonging to some select and specially important and adventurous section of humanity as we should clatter at midnight, or even at three or four o’clock in the morning, through the streets of quiet little country towns, ourselves the only souls awake in all the place! What speculations as to the immediate bestowal and occupation of the coachman, when he “left you here, sir!” in the small hours! What a delightful sense of the possible dangers of the undertaking as testified by many eagerly read narratives of the disasters of the road. Alas! I had no share in it all, save to stand on the curbstone amid the crowd of Jew boys selling oranges and cedar pencils sixpence a dozen, and hurrying passengers and guards and porters, and look on them all with envious longing.

Nota bene. On such an occasion at the present day—if it be possible to conceive such an anachronism—the Jew boys above referred to would be{9} probably Christian boys, and the object of their commerce, the evening papers. But I have no recollection of any such element in the scene at the White Horse Cellar some sixty-eight years since.

Occasionally when a holiday from lessons occurred—I am afraid most probably in consequence of my father being confined to his bed with headaches, which even at that early day, and increasingly, as years went on, afflicted him—we, my brother Henry and I, obtained permission for a longer ramble. I have no recollection that on these occasions either the parks (unless perhaps sometimes St. James’s Park), or Kensington Gardens, or Hampstead, or Highgate, or any of the places that might be supposed to be attractive had any attractions for us. Our faces were ever turned eastward. The city with its narrow mysterious lanes, and still more mysterious wharves, its quaint secluded churches, its Guildhall, and its Gog and Magog, the queer localities of the halls of its Companies, and specially the abstruse mystery of that venerable Palladium, the London stone, excited in those days an irresistible influence on my imagination. But above all else the grand object of a much-planned eastern pilgrimage was the Docks!—with the out-going ships bearing, tied to their shrouds, boards indicating their destinations. Here again was unsatisfied longing! But it was a longing more tempered by awe and uncertainty. I am not sure that I would, if it had been offered to me, have stepped on board an East Indiaman bound for Bombay as eagerly as I{10} would have climbed a coach starting for the Land’s End. But it was a great triumph to have seen with our own eyes the Agra (or some other) Castle majestically passing through the dock gates, while passengers on deck, men and women, whose feet would absolutely touch land no more till they stopped at far Bombay on the other side of the world, spoke last farewells to friends standing on the dock walls or even on the gates themselves.

But I can recall no less vividly certain expeditions of a kind which appeared to our imaginations to be—and which perhaps really were in some degree—fraught with a certain amount of peril. Stories had reached us of sundry mysteriously wicked regions, where the bandit bands of the great city consorted and lived outlaw lives under circumstances and conditions that powerfully excited our young imaginations. Especially accounts of a certain lane had reached us, where it was said all the pocket handkerchiefs stolen by all the pickpockets in London were to be seen exposed in a sort of unholy market. The name of this place was Saffron Hill. Whether any such place still exists, I know not. It has probably been swept away by the march of recent improvement. But it did in those days veritably exist. And to this extraordinary spot—as remote and strange to our fancy as the realms of Prester John—it was determined after protracted consideration by my brother and myself, that our next long ramble should be devoted. We had ascertained that the dingy land of our researches lay somewhat to the{11} westward of Smithfield—which had already been the object of a most successful, adventurous, and delightful expedition, not without pleasurable perils of its own from excited bullocks, still more excited drovers and their dogs—and by dint of considerable perseverance we reached it, and were richly rewarded for our toil and enterprise. Report had spoken truly. Saffron Hill was a world of pocket-handkerchiefs. From every window and on lines stretched across the narrow street they fluttered in all the colours of the rainbow, and of all sizes and qualities. The whole lane was a long vista of pennon-like pocket-handkerchiefs! We should have much liked to attempt to deal in this strange market, not so much for the sake of possessing any of the articles, as with a view of obtaining experience, and informing ourselves respecting the manners and customs of the country. But we were protected from the possibly unpleasant results of any such tentative by the total absence from our pockets of any coin of the realm. We doubtless had pocket-handkerchiefs, and I have no recollection of their having been stolen. Probably it was ascertained by the inhabitants that they were not worth their notice.

But the subject reminds me of an experience of the pocket-picking world which occurred to me some twenty years later. It was at Naples. People generally in those days carried silk pocket-handkerchiefs instead of the scraps of muslin which are affected nowadays. And five silk pocket-handkerchiefs were abstracted from my pockets{12} during my walks abroad in as many days. I then took to wearing very common ones, and lost no more! An American then at Naples, whose experiences of the proclivities of that population had been similar to mine, was not so fortunate in the result of the defensive measures he adopted. He sewed strongly into the interior of his pocket a large fish-hook. The result which he anticipated followed. The thief’s hand was caught, and the American, turning sharply, seized him by the wrist and held him in a grasp like a vice till he could hand him over to a gendarme. But within a fortnight that American was stabbed to the heart one night as he was going home from the theatre. The light-fingered fraternity, it would seem, considered that such a practice was not within the laws of the game; whereas my more moderate ruse did not offend their sense of justice and fair play.

My brother and I reached home safely enough after our expedition to thief-land; and were inexhaustible in our accounts of the wonders we had witnessed. For it formed no part of our plan, and would not have been at all in accordance with the general practice of our lives to conceal the facts from our parents. Probably we had a sufficient suspicion of the questionable nature of the expedition we contemplated to prevent us from declaring it beforehand. But our education and habits would have forbidden any dream of concealing it.

As far as my recollection serves me, our moral{13} and religious education led us to consider the whole duty of boy to be summed up in the two precepts, “obey,” and “tell no lies.” I think there was a perfunctory saying of some portion of the catechism on a Sunday morning. But I am very sure that in our own minds, and apparently in those of all concerned, the vastly superior importance of the Virgil lesson admitted of no moment’s doubt. But it must not be imagined from this that my parents were more irreligious people than their neighbours; still less that they were not most affectionately and indeed supremely solicitous for the well-being and education of their children. My father was the son of a priest of the Church of England, and my mother the daughter of another, the Rev. William Milton, Vicar of Heckfield, a New College living not far from Reading. Their associates were mainly barristers or clergy. My father was wholly and absolutely free from the prevailing vice of the time, and I never remember to have seen him in any slightest degree the worse for drink. And in the whole manière d’être of the house and home there was no note or symptom of any life save one of the most correct respectability and propriety, fully up to the average of the time. But my parents were by no means what was called in the language of the time “evangelicals.” And in the social atmosphere of those days, any more decided and marked amount of religious instruction and teaching would have unmistakably indicated “evangelical tendencies.” Moreover, though I cannot remember, and it is{14} exceedingly improbable, that any ideas were directly instilled into our minds on the subject, it certainly is the fact that I grew into boyhood with the notion that “evangelicalism” or “low churchism” was a note of vulgarity—a sort of thing that might be expected to be met with in tradesmen’s back parlours, and “academies,” where the youths who came from such places were instructed in English grammar and arithmetic, but was not to be met with, and was utterly out of place, among gentlemen and in gentlemanlike places of education, where nothing of the kind was taught.

All this to mark the change of tempora and mores, in these as in so many other respects, since George the Third was king.

Among the few surviving remembrances of those childhood’s years in Keppel Street, I can still recall to the mind’s eye the face and features of “Farmer,” the highly trustworthy and responsible middle-aged woman who ruled the nursery there, into which a rapid succession of brothers and sisters was being introduced in those years. Farmer, as I remember her, inspired more awe than affection. She was an austere and somewhat grim sort of body. And somehow or other the obscurely terrible fact that she was an Anabaptist (!) had reached the world of the nursery. I need hardly say that the accusation carried with it no sort of idea whatever to our minds. I don’t think we had any knowledge that the mystic term in question had reference to any forms or modifications of religious belief. But we were well{15} assured that it implied something mysterious and terrible. And I am afraid that we gracelessly availed ourselves of what we should have considered a misfortune, if we had at all known what it meant, to express on occasions of revolt against discipline, our scorn for an individual so disgraced by nature. I have still in my ear the lilt of a wicked chorus the burthen of which ran:—

“Old Farmer is an Anabaptist!
When she is gone, she will not be missed!”

I remember in connection with poor Farmer and her heresies, an incident which must have been ridiculous enough to the adult actors in it. Dr. Nott, one of the prebendaries of Winchester, was an old and intimate friend of my mother’s—had been such I believe, before her marriage. The mention of this gentleman recalls to my mind—but this recollection dates from a later day,—that it used to be said satirically, with what truth I will not attempt to guess, that there was a large Chapter at Winchester and Nott, one of them, a clergyman: the intention being to insinuate that he was the only properly clerical character among them. At all events, Dr. Nott was an exemplary dignitary of the Church, not only in character, tastes, and pursuits, but in outward presentment also. I remember well his spare figure, his pale and delicately cut features, his black gaiters to the knee, and his elaborate white neckcloth. He was a competent, and what would have been called in that day an “elegant” Italian scholar. It was{16} wholly under his supervision, that a few years subsequently the extensive restoration and repair of Winchester Cathedral was executed; a supervision which cost him, in consequence of a fall from a ladder in the nave, a broken leg and subsequent lameness for life. He had, if I mistake not, been one of the tutors of the Princess Charlotte.

Well, upon one occasion of a visit of Dr. Nott’s in Keppel Street, we children were summoned to the drawing-room for his inspection; and in reply to a variety of questions as to progress, and goodness in the nursery, etc., I, as the eldest, took courage to reply that if we were not always as good and obedient in the nursery as might be desired, the circumstance was to be attributed to the painful fact that our nurse was an Anabaptist! Whether Dr. Nott was selected as the recipient of this confidential communication because I had any vague idea that this disgraceful circumstance had any special connection with his department of human affairs, I cannot say. We were however told that the fact was no wise incompatible with Farmer’s character as an excellent nurse and good servant, and least of all could be considered as absolving us from the duty of obedience. I remember that I wondered then,—and I wonder still—what passed upon the subject between my mother and the Doctor after our dismissal to the nursery.

Another intimate friend of my mother’s and frequent visitor in Keppel Street was Lady Dyer, the wife, and subsequently widow of General Sir{17} Thomas Dyer. Sir Thomas resided on his estate of Ovington, near Winchester; and I take it that my mother’s intimacy with Lady Dyer had been brought about by the friendship existing between both ladies and Miss Gabell, the eldest daughter of Dr. Gabell, the Head Master of Winchester College. Lady Dyer, after several years of widowhood, married the Baron de Zandt; and I remember, very many years subsequently to the time that I am here writing of, visiting her with my mother at her schloss, near Bamberg, where she lived in the huge house alone after losing her second husband.

I fancy it was mainly due to her intimacy with my mother during those years in Keppel Street that the house was frequented by several Italians; exiles from their own country under stress of political troubles. Especially I remember among these General Guglielmo Pepe, subsequently the hero of the hopeless defence of Venice against the Austrians. Of course I was too young to know or see much of him in the Keppel Street days; but many years afterwards I had abundant opportunities of knowing Pepe’s genuine nobility of character, high honour, and ardent patriotism. He was a remarkably handsome man, but not a brilliant or amusing companion. I remember that his sobriquet among the three ladies mentioned together above was Gateau de Plomb! But none the less was he highly and genuinely respected by them. He had a kind of simple, dignified, placid manner of enunciating the most astounding platitudes, and replying to the{18} laughter they sometimes produced by a calm, gentle smile, which showed how impossible it was for his simple soul to imagine that his hearers were otherwise than delighted with his wit and wisdom. How well I can remember the pleasure his visits were wont to afford in the nursery by reason of the dried Neapolitan figs and Mandarin oranges, which he used to receive from his brother, General Fiorestano Pepe, and never failed to distribute among his English friends. His brother, when Guglielmo threw in his lot with the “patriots,” never forfeited his allegiance or quarrelled with the King of Naples. Yet the two brothers continued on affectionately fraternal terms to the last.

The quiet course of those Keppel Street years was, as I remember, once or twice broken by the great event of a visit to Heckfield to my maternal grandfather, the Rev. William Milton, a ci-devant Fellow of New College. He had at that time married a second wife, a Miss Partington, his first wife, a Derbyshire Gresley, my maternal grandmother, whom I had never seen, having died young. As my grandfather Milton was the son of a Bristol saddler (who lived to the age of ninety-nine), I suppose his marriage with a Gresley must have been deemed a mésalliance for the lady. But her death having occurred before my time, I never heard anything of this.

The vicar of Heckfield held the adjoining chapelry of Mattingly, at which place the morning service was performed on alternate Sundays. He was an ex{19}cellent parish priest after the fashion of his day;—that is to say he was kindly to all, liberal to the poor to the utmost extent of his means, and well beloved by his neighbours, high and low. He was a charming old man, markedly gentlemanlike and suave in his manner; very nice in his person; clever unquestionably in a queer, crotchety sort of way; and thoroughly minded to do his duty according to his lights in that state of life to which it had pleased God to call him. But he would have had no more idea of attempting anything of the nature of active parochial work or reform, as understood at the present day, than he would have had of scheming to pay the National Debt. Indeed, the latter would have been the more likely to occupy his mind of the two, for he was crotchety and full of schemes. Especially he was fond of mechanics, and spent much money and much labour during many years on a favourite scheme for obviating the danger arising from the liability of a stage coach to be upset. He published more than one pamphlet on the subject, illustrated—I can see the pages before me now—by designs of various queer-looking models. There was a large coach-house attached to the vicarage, and it was always full of the strangest collection of models of coaches. I remember well that they all appeared to me hideous, and as æsthetically inferior to my admired “Telegraphs” and “High-Flyers” as a modern ironclad seems to the three-decker of his youth in the eyes of an old sailor. But, as may be imagined. I never ventured{20} to broach any such heresy in my grandfather’s hearing! I should unquestionably have done so had it been my father. But lesser acquaintanceship and the venerable age of my grandfather checked my presumption.

There was—and doubtless is—a very pretty evergreen-embowered lawn at the vicarage, and on this also there always used to be some model or other intended to illustrate the principles of traction. One I especially remember which was called (not, it may seem, very grammatically) rotis volventibus. This machine consisted of two huge wheels, some ten feet high, joined together by a number of cross-bars at a distance of a foot or so from each other. It will be understood what a delightful amusement it must have been to creep into the interior of this structure, and cause it to roll over the smoothly shaven turf by stepping treadmill fashion on the cross-bars one after the other. But unfortunately in one part of the lawn there was a steep declivity, and one day, when the idea of making rotis volventibus descend this slope became irresistible, there was a tremendous smashing of the evergreen hedge, and a black-and-blue little body, whose escape without broken bones was deemed truly prodigious.

“Never, Tom,” said my grandfather, “put in motion forces which you are unable to control!”

The words remained implanted in my memory. But I do not suppose they carried much instruction with them to my mind at the time.

I believe my grandfather spent more money on{21} his mechanical fads than was quite prudent, and took out patents which were about as remunerative and useful as that which Charles the Second is said to have granted to a sailor who stood on his head on the top of Salisbury steeple, securing to him the monopoly of that practice!

I remember another eccentricity in which the vicar indulged. He said the contact of a knife’s edge with earthenware, or porcelain, was extremely disagreeable. He caused, therefore, a number of dinner plates to be made with a little circular depression some two inches in diameter and about as deep as a crown piece in the centre, and had some round pieces of silver to fit into these receptacles, on which he cut his meat.

He was withal a very popular man, a good scholar, with decidedly scholarly tastes, much of a mathematician, a genuine humourist, with a sort of Horatian easy-going geniality about him, which was very charming even to us boys.

My brother Henry was one year my junior; my brother Anthony, with whom the world subsequently became acquainted, was five years younger than I. Henry, therefore, was the companion of all the London rambles which have been mentioned. I think we were tolerably good boys, truthful and obedient to legitimate authority. I was, however, if nursery traditions of a somewhat later day may be accepted as embodying real facts, rather too much given to yielding obedience only on reason shown; to “argify,” as certain authoritarians are wont to call{22} it; and to make plenary submission only when consciously defeated in argument.

We had little or nothing of the “amusements” nowadays so liberally supplied to children. There was the pantomime at Christmas, intensely enjoyed. And I remember well pondering on the insoluble question, why my parents, who evidently, I thought, could if they chose it, go to the theatre every night of their lives, should abstain from doing so.

I do not remember any discontented longings for more or other amusements than we had. I was a thoroughly well constituted and healthy child, but without the smallest pretention to good looks, either in esse or in posse; sturdily built, with flaxen head, rosy cheeks, and blue eyes; broad of hand and foot; strong as a little pony—a veritable Saxon in type. I seem to my recollections to have been somewhat bravely ready to accept a life, in which the kicks might be more superabundant than the halfpence, not without complacent mental reference to the moral and physical breadth of shoulders, ready for whatever fate might lay on them. The nature of my childish mind, as I remember, was to place its ideas of heroism in capacity for uncomplaining endurance, rather than in capability for mastering others.

All the usual childish complaints and maladies touched me very lightly. I was as indifferent to weather, wet or dry, wind or shine, as a Shetland pony. Feet wet through had to remain in statu quo till they were dry again. Assiduously taught{23} by my mother, I read at a very early age. Her plan for teaching the letters was as follows. She had a great number of bone counters with the alphabet in capitals and small letters on either side printed on them; then having invited a charming little girl, the daughter of a neighbour—(Katie Gibbon, laid to rest this many a year under the yew tree in the churchyard of the village of Stanton, near Monmouth)—who was just my own age, she tossed the counters broadcast over the floor, instituting prizes for him, or her, who should in crawling races over the floor, soonest bring the letter demanded. Reading thus began to be an amusement to me at an unusually early age. I believe I gave early indications of possessing a certain quantum of brain power; but had no reputation for cleverness. Indeed, had my parents ever formed the opinion that any one of their children was in any way markedly clever, they would have carefully concealed it from the subject of it. I take it, I was far from being what is called a prepossessing child. I had, I well remember, a reputation for an uncompromising expression of opinion, which was not altogether admirable. My mother used to tell in after years how, when once I had been, at about four years old, attentively watching her dressing for dinner, while standing on a chair by the side of her dressing table, I broke silence when the work was completed to say very judicially, “Now you have made yourself as fine as poso—(possible)—and you look worse than you did when you began!{24}

I am tempted to insert here a letter to my father from Dr. Williams, my old Winchester master, which (amusingly to me) illustrates what I have here written of my nursery tendencies. It belongs to a later date, when I was within half a year of leaving Winchester. I had not found it among my papers when I wrote the passage to which it is now appended. But I place it here in homage to the dictum that the child is father to the man.

“I have the pleasure,” Dr. Williams writes, “to express my approbation of your son’s conduct during the last half-year. His firmness in maintaining what was right and putting down what was wrong was very conspicuous in the early part of that time; not that I imagine it was less afterwards, but occasion did not call it forth so much.”

What the occasion was I entirely forget; evidently he refers to some exercise of my power as a Prefect.

“I have remarked to you before that he is fond of having a reason assigned for every thing; but he must take care that this do not degenerate into captiousness. His temper is generally good, but a little too sensitive when he fancies a smile is raised at his expense.”

I feel no confidence that years have rendered me safe from the first fault which my excellent master thus warned me against; but I am sure they have cured me of the second.

I remember too, in connection with those Keppel Street days, to have heard my mother speak of an{25} incident which somewhat curiously illustrates the ways and habits of a time already so far left behind us by a whole world of social changes. It was nothing more than a simple visit to the theatre to hear Mrs. Siddons in Lady Macbeth. But this exploit involved circumstances that rendered it memorable for other reasons besides the intense gratification derived from the performance. In the first place “the pit” was the destination to which my father and mother were bound; not altogether, I take it, so much for the sake of the lower price of admission (though my father was a sufficiently poor and a sufficiently careful man to render this a consideration), as from the idea that the pit offered the best vantage ground for a thoroughly appreciative and critical judgment of the performance. For when we children were taken to see a pantomime we went, as I remember, to the boxes. But this visit to the pit involved the necessity of being at the theatre at two in the afternoon, and then standing in the crowd till, if I rightly remember, six in the evening! Of course food had to be carried. And each man there did his best to support and assist the lady under his charge. But the ordeal must have been something tremendous, and the amount of enthusiasm needed to induce a lady to face it something scarcely to be understood at the present day. My mother used to relate that sundry women were carried out from the crowd at the theatre door fainting.

Before closing this Keppel Street chapter of my{26} existence I may mention one or two circumstances of the family life there which illustrate the social habits of those days. The family dinner-hour was five. There were no dinner napkins to be seen; they were perhaps less needed by clean-shaven chins and lips. Two tallow candles, requiring to be snuffed by snuffers lying in a little plated tray ad hoc every now and then, partially illumined the table, but scarcely at all the more distant corners of the room. Nor were any more or better lights used during the evening in the drawing-room. The only alternative would have been wax lights at half-a-crown a pound—an extravagance not to be thought of. Port and sherry were always placed on the shining mahogany table when the cloth was withdrawn, and no other wine. Only on the occasion of having friends to dinner, the port became a “magnum” of a vintage for which my father’s cellar was famous, and possibly Madeira might be added.

Perhaps it may be worth noting here as an incident illustrating change of manners that I vividly remember my mother often singing to us children in Keppel Street an old song about an “unfortunate Miss Bayly,” who had been seduced by a “Captain bold of Halifax, who dwelt in country quarters.” Now a purer or more innocent-minded woman than my mother did not live, nor one less likely to have suffered aught that she imagined to be unfitted virginibus puerisque to reach the ears of her children. Nor do I suppose that we had the faintest notion of the nature of the evil inflicted on the unfortunate{27} Miss Bayly by the Captain bold, nor that we were in any degree scandalised by the subsequent incident of the parish priest being bribed by “a one pound note” to accord Christian burial to the corpse of a suicide, which he had previously refused to bury. It may be feared that quite as many “unfortunates” share the fate of Miss Bayly either in town or country quarters at the present day as in the early days of the century. But I take it that the old world ditty in question would not be selected for nursery use at the present day.

I could chatter on about those childish days in Keppel Street, and have been, I am afraid, too garrulous already. What I have said, however, is all illustrative of the social changes seventy years have wrought, and may at the same time serve to show that I started on my octogenarian career a sturdy, hardy little mortal, non sine Dîs animosus infans.{28}


These fragmentary recollections of our childish days may have served to suggest some hints of the changes which have made the London of the present day almost—perhaps quite—as different from the London of the second decade of this century as the latter was from “the town” in the days of George the First. But it is difficult for middle-aged people of the present day to form any vivid and sufficient conception of the greatness of them. Of course the mere material ameliorations and extensions have so metamorphosed the localities that I, on returning after long years to the London I once knew, topographically at least, so well, find myself in a new town of which the geography is in some parts strange to me, with just so much of the old landmarks remaining as serves to suggest false clues to the labyrinth and render the matter more puzzling. But the changes in ways and habits and modes of living and feeling and thinking are still greater and of much more profound significance.

To say that there were in those days no omnibuses and no cabs, and of course no railways, either{29} under ground or over it, is a simple matter, and very easily stated. But it is not easy to picture to oneself the whole meaning and consequences of their non-existence. Let any Londoner, with the exception of the comparatively small number of those who use carriages of their own, think what his life would be, and the transaction of his day’s work or of his day’s pleasure, without any means of locomotion save his own legs or a hackney coach, which, at a cost of about five times the cab hire of the present day, used to shut him up in an atmosphere like that of a very dirty stable, and jolt him over the uneven pavement at a pace of about four miles an hour. Dickens has given in his own graphic way more than one sketch of the old hackney coach. I do not think that I ever saw a hackney coach that had been built for the work it was engaged in as such. They were heavy, old-fashioned, rickety vehicles, which had become too heavy, too old-fashioned, too rickety to be retained in the service of the families to which they had once belonged. They were built for the most part with hammer cloths, and many of them exhibited huge and gorgeously-painted armorial bearings on the panels. (By the by, why did not the officials of the Inland Revenue come down on the proprietors of these venerable vehicles for the use of armorial bearings? I take it that the march of modern intelligence, acuens mortalia corda, would impel their successors of the present day to do so.) The drivers of those carriages were “in a concatenation accordingly{30}”—shabby, slow, stupid, dirty, and often muddled with drink. We hear occasionally nowadays of a cabman “driving furiously” when drunk. The wording of the charge smacks of another era. Not all the gin in London could have stimulated the old “Jarvey” to drive his skeletons of horses furiously. He was not often incapacitated by drink, but very frequently muddled. If it was necessary for him to descend from his hammer-cloth for the purpose of opening the door of his carriage, which the presence of the “waterman” of the stand for the most part rendered unnecessary, he was a long time about it, and a longer in clambering back to his seat, loaded as he generally was in all weathers with an immense greatcoat of many capes, weatherbeaten out of all resemblance to its original colour. The “watermen,” so-called, as we know from high authority, “because they opens the coach doors,” were nevertheless surrounded by their half-a-dozen or so of little shallow pails of water, as they stood by the side of the curbstone near a coach stand. They were to the hackney-coachman what the bricklayer’s labourer is to the bricklayer. And a more sorry sight can hardly be conceived than the “stand” with its broken-down carriages, more broken-down drivers, and most of all broken-down horses, which supplied us in the days when we “called a coach, and let a coach be called, and he that calls it, let him be the caller,” as it stands written in a page almost as much (but far less deservedly) forgotten as the hackney coach.

Already in my boyhood “Oxford Road” was{31} beginning to be called “Oxford Street.” But my father and his contemporaries always used the former phrase. At the end of Oxford Street was Tyburn turnpike; not a mere name, but a veritable barrier closing not only the continuation of the Oxford Road but also the Edgware Road, turning at right angles to the north of it. And there stood one turnpike-man to receive the toll and give tickets in return for the whole of the Oxford Street traffic! I can see him now, with his low-crowned hat, a straw in his mouth, his vigilant eye, and the preternatural quickness and coolness, as it seemed to me, with which, standing in the centre between his two gates, he took the halfpence and delivered the tickets. He had always an irreproachably clean white apron with pockets in the front of it, one for halfpence and one for tickets.

I have spoken of my delight in the spectacle of the coaches starting from and arriving at the White Horse Cellar in Piccadilly. But there were many other aspects of London life in the days before railroads in which the coaches made a leading feature. One of the sights of London for country cousins was to see the mails starting at 8 P.M. from the Post Office. To view it under the most favourable circumstances, one went there on the anniversary of the king’s birthday, when all the guards had their scarlet coats new, and the horses’ heads were all decked with flowers. And truly the yard around the Post Office offered on such an occasion a prettier sight than all the travelling arrangements of the{32} present day could supply. Of course I am speaking of a time a little subsequent to my earliest recollections. For I can remember when the huge edifice in Saint Martin’s le Grand was built; and remember well, too, the ridicule and the outcry that was raised at the size of the building, so enormously larger, it was supposed, than could possibly be needed! But it has now long since been found altogether insufficient for the needs of the service.

A journey on the box of the mail was a great delight to me in those days—days somewhere in the third decade of the century; and faith! I believe would be still, if there were any mails available for the purpose. One journey frequently performed by me with infinite delight was to Exeter. My business was to visit two old ladies living there, Miss Mary and Miss Fanny Bent. The Rev. John Bent, rector of Crediton, had married the sister of my grandmother, the Rev. William Milton’s wife. Miss Mary Bent was his daughter by a second wife; but her half-sister, Fanny Bent, as we and everybody else called her, was thus my mother’s first cousin, and the tie between Fanny Milton and Fanny Bent had always from their earliest years been a very close one.

And that is how I came on several occasions to find myself on the box of the Exeter mail. A new and accelerated mail service had been recently established under the title of the “Devonport Mail.” It was at that time the fastest, I believe, in England. Its performances caused somewhat of a{33} sensation in the coaching world, and it was known in those circles as “the Quicksilver Mail.” Its early days had chanced unfortunately to be marked by two or three accidents, which naturally gave it an increased celebrity. And truly, if it is considered what those men and horses were required to perform, the wonder was, not that “the Quicksilver” should have come to grief two or three times, but rather that it ever made its journey without doing so. What does the railway traveller of the present day, who sees a travelling post office, and its huge tender crammed with postal matter, think of the idea of carrying all that mass on one, or perhaps two, coaches? The guard, occupying his solitary post behind the coach, on the top of the receptacle called, with reference to the constructions of still earlier days, the hinder boot, sat on a little seat made for one, with his pistols and blunderbuss in a box in front of him. And the original notion of those who first planned the modern mail coach was, that the bags containing the letters should be carried in that “hinder boot.” The “fore boot,” beneath the driver’s box, was considered to be appropriated to the baggage of the three outside and four inside passengers, which was the mail’s entire complement. One of the former shared the box with the driver, and two occupied the seat on the roof behind him. The accommodation provided for these two was not of a very comfortable description. They were not indeed crowded as the four, who occupied a similar position on another coach, often were; but{34} they had a mere board to sit on, whereas the seats on the roof of an ordinary stage coach were provided with cushions. The fares by the mail were always somewhat higher than those by even equally fast, or in some cases faster, coaches; and it seems unreasonable, therefore, that the accommodation should be inferior. I can only suppose that the patrons of “the mail” were understood to be compensated for its material imperfections by the superior dignity of their position. The box seat, however, was well cushioned.

But if the despatches, which it was the mail’s business to carry, could once upon a time be contained in that hinder boot, such had ceased to be the case before my day. The bulk of postal matter which had to be carried was continually and rapidly increasing, and I have often seen as many as nine enormous sacks heaped on the coach roof. The length of these sacks was just sufficient to reach from one side of the coach to the other, and the huge heap of them, three or even four tiers high, was piled to a height which was sufficient to prevent the guard, even when standing, from seeing or communicating with the coachman. If to the consideration of all this the reader will add (if he can) a remembrance of the Somersetshire and Devonshire roads, over which this top-heavy load had to be carried at about twelve miles an hour, it will not seem strange to him that accidents should have occurred. Not that the roads were bad; they were, thanks to Macadam, good, hard, and smooth;{35} but the hills are numerous, and in many cases very steep.

But the journey, especially on the box seat, was a very pleasant thing. The whole of the service was so well done, and in every detail so admirable. It need hardly be said that the men selected for the drivers of such a coach were masters of their profession. The work was hard, but the remuneration was very good. There were fewer passengers by the mail to “remember the coachman,” but it was more uniformly full, and somewhat more was expected from a traveller by the mail. It was a beautiful thing to see a splendid team going over their short stage at twelve miles an hour! Of course none but good cattle in first-rate condition could do the work. A mot of old Mrs. Mountain, for many years the well-known proprietress of one of the large coaching inns in London, used to be quoted as having been addressed by her to one of her drivers: “You find whipcord, John, and I’ll find oats!” And, as it used to be said, the measure of the corn supplied to a coach-horse was his stomach.

It was a pretty thing to see the changing of the horses. There stood the fresh team, two on the off side, two on the near side, and the coach was drawn up with the utmost exactitude between them. Four ostlers jump to the splinter-bars and loose the traces; the reins have already been thrown down. The driver retains his seat, and within the minute (more than once within fifty seconds by the watch{36} in my hand) the coach is again on its onward journey.

Then how welcome was breakfast at an excellent old-world country inn—twenty minutes allowed. The hot tea, after your night’s drive, the fresh cream, butter, eggs, hot toast, and cold beef, and then, with cigar alight, back to the box and off again!

I once witnessed on that road—not quite that road, for the Quicksilver took a somewhat different line—the stage of four miles between Ilchester and Ilminster done in twenty minutes, and a trace broken and mended on the road! The mending was effected by the guard almost before the coach stopped. It is a level bit of road, four miles only for the entire stage, and was performed at a full gallop. That was done by a coach called the Telegraph, which was started some years after the Quicksilver, to do the distance from Exeter to London in the day. We left Exeter at 5 A.M., and reached London between nine and ten, with time for both breakfast and dinner on the road. I think the performance of the Exeter Telegraph was about the ne plus ultra of coach travelling. One man drove fifty miles, and then meeting the other coach on the road, changed from one box to the other and drove back again. It was tremendously hard work! I once remarked to him as I sat beside him, that there was not much work for his whip arm. “Not much, sir,” he replied; “but just put your hand on my left arm!” I did, and felt the muscle swollen{37} to its utmost, and hard as iron. “Many people think,” he said, “that it is easier work to drive such a coach and such a team as this, than to have to flog a dull team up to eight miles an hour. Nobody would think so that had ever tried both!”

I once persuaded my mother, who was returning with me from Exeter to London, to make the journey on the box of the Telegraph, while I sat behind her. She had been a good deal afraid of the experiment, but admitted that she had never enjoyed a journey more.

But having been led by my coaching reminiscences to speak of my visits to Exeter and to Fanny Bent, I must not turn that page of the past without dedicating a few lines to one to whom I had great cause to be gratefully attached, and whose character both in its high worth and its originality and singularity was a product of that day hardly likely to be reproduced in this.

Very plain in feature, and dressed with Quaker-like simplicity and utter disregard for appearance, her figure was as well known in Exeter as the cathedral towers. She held a position and enjoyed an amount of respect which was really singular in the case of a very homely-featured old maid of very small fortune. She affected, like some other persons I have known both in the far west and the far north of England, to speak the dialect of her country. Though without any pretension to literary tastes or pursuits, she was a fairly well-read woman, and was perfectly able to speak better English than many{38} a Londoner. But she chose when in Devonshire to speak as Devonshire folks spoke. She was a thoroughgoing Churchwoman and Conservative, though too universally popular with all classes to confine her sympathies within any party bounds. She had a strong native sense of humour, and despite the traditions and principles which taught her to consider “Peter Pindar” as a reprobate, she could not resist the enjoyment of his description of the king’s visit to Exeter. It was a treat to hear her read the verses in her own Devon vernacular. And I shall never forget her whispering to me as we walked up the nave of the cathedral, “Nate, nate! Clane, clane! Do ye mop it, mop it, Mister Dane?” And how Dane Buller replied, “In all our Ex’ter shops we do not meet with such long mops. Our mops don’t reach so high!” I quote possibly incorrectly from the recollections of some sixty years ago; and I have never studied Mr. Woolcott’s works since. But the very tones of the dear old lady’s voice, as she whispered the words, bursting the while with suppressed laughter, remain in my ears.

A pious Churchwoman of these improved days would not, I take it, select such a place and such a time for such whisperings. But I am sure it would be difficult to find a better or more sincere Christian than dear old Fanny Bent. And the anecdote may be accepted as one more illustration of change in manners, feeling, and decencies.


Then there were strawberry and cream parties at a place called, it I remember right, Hoopern Bowers, always with a bevy of pretty girls, for attracting whom my plain old spinster cousin seemed to possess a special secret; and excursions to Marypole Head, and drives over Haldon Down. When I revisited Exeter some months ago Hoopern Bowers seemed to have passed from the memory of man! And whether any one of the laughing girls I had known there was still extant as a grey-headed crone, I could not learn! Marypole Head too has been nearly swallowed up by the advancing tide of “villas” surging up the hill, though the look-down on the other side over Upton Pynes and the valley of the Exe is lovely as ever. And Haldon Down at all events is as breezy as of yore!

Dr. Bowring—subsequently Sir John—was at that time resident in Exeter with his two daughters. The doctor was hardly likely to be intimate with Fanny Bent’s Conservative and mainly clerical friends, but, knowing everybody, she knew him too, and rather specially liked his girls, who used to be of our Hoopern Bower parties. Lucy Bowring was some years my senior, but I remember thinking her very charming; she was a tall, handsome, dark-eyed girl, decidedly clever, and a little more inclined to be emancipée in matters ecclesiastical than were the others of the little world around her. Then there was gentle Rachel Hutchinson! How strangely names that have not been in my mind for half a century or more come back to me! Rachel was the daughter of a retired physician, a{40} widower, whom I recognised as a man of elegant and refined culture, somewhat superior to the majority of the local clergy among whom he lived. I can see him now, a slender, somewhat daintily dressed figure, punctiliously courteous, with a pleasant old-world flavour in his manner; with carefully arranged grey hair, double gold eye-glass, a blue swallow-tailed coat, nankin trousers and polished shoes. But he did not come to Hoopern Bowers. His daughter Rachel did; and was curiously contrasted with Lucy Bowring in every respect. She was a small sylph-like little figure, with blue eyes, blond hair, very pretty and very like an angel. She was also very, very religious after the evangelical fashion of that day, and gave me a volume of Low Church literature, which I preserved many years with much sentiment, but, I fear, no further profit. I think that the talks which Lucy and Rachel and I had together over our strawberries and cream must have had some flavour of originality about them. I do not imagine that Lucy thought or cared much about my soul; but I fancy that Rachel felt herself to be contending for it.

And now, all gone! Probably not one of all those who made those little festivities so pleasant to me remains on the face of the earth! At all events every one of them has many many years ago passed out of the circle of light projected by my magic lanthorn!

And how many others have passed like phantasmagoric shadows across that little circle of light!{41} It is one of the results of such a rolling-stone life as mine has been, that the number of persons I have known, and even made friends of for the time, has been immense; but they all pass like a phantom procession! How many! How many! They have trooped on into the outer darkness and been lost!

I suppose that during the half century, or nearly that time—from 1840 to 1886—that I knew little or nothing of England, the change that has come upon all English life has been nearly as great in one part of the country as another. But on visiting Exeter a few months ago I was much struck at its altered aspect, because I had known it well in my youth. It was not so much that the new rows of houses and detached villas seemed to have nearly doubled the extent of the city, and obliterated many of the old features of it, as that the character of the population seemed changed. It was less provincial—a term which cockneys naturally use in a disparaging sense, but which in truth implies quite as much that is pleasant, as the reverse. It seemed to have been infected by much of the ways and spirit of London, without of course having anything of the special advantages of London to offer. People no longer walked down the High Street along a pavement abundantly ample for the traffic, nodding right and left to acquaintances. Everybody knew everybody no longer. The leisurely gossiping ways of the shopkeepers had been exchanged for the short and sharp promptitude of London habits. I recognised indeed the well-remembered tone of the cathedral{42} bells. But the cathedral and its associations and influences did not seem to hold the same place in the city life as it did in the olden time of my young days. There was an impalpable and very indescribable but yet unmistakably sensible something which seemed to shut off the ecclesiastical life on one side of the close precincts from the town life on the other, in a manner which was new to me. I have little doubt that if I had casually asked in any large—say—grocer’s shop in the High Street, who was the canon in residence, I should have received a reply indicating that the person inquired of had not an idea of what I was talking about; and am very sure that half a century ago the reply to the same question would have been everywhere a prompt one.

The lovely garden close under the city wall on the northern side,—perhaps the prettiest city garden in England—with its remarkably beautiful view of the cathedral (which used to belong to old Edmund Granger, an especial crony of Fanny Bent’s) exists still, somewhat more closely shut in by buildings. We were indeed permitted to walk there the other day by the kindness of the present proprietor, merely as members of “the public,” which would not have been dreamed of in those old days when “the public” was less thought of than at present. But I could not help thinking that “the public” and I, as a portion and representative of it, must be a terrible nuisance to the owner of that beautiful and tranquil spot, so great as seriously to diminish the value of it.{43}

Another small difference occurs to me as illustrative of the changes that time and the rail have brought about. I heard very little of the once familiar Devonshire dialect. Something of intonation there may yet linger, but of the old idioms and phraseology little or nothing.

But I have been beguiled into all these reminiscences of the fair capital of the west and my early days there, by the quicksilver mail, itself a most compendious and almost complete illustration of the nature of the differences between its own day and that of its successor, the rail!

To the rail is due principally much of the changed appearance of London. Certainly the domestic architecture of the Georgian period has little enough of beauty to recommend it. It is insignificant, mean and prosaic to an extraordinary degree, as we all know. But it is not marked by the audacious, ostentatious, nightmare-hideousness of the railway arches and viaducts and stations of modern London. It is difficult to say whether the greatest change in the daily life and habits of a Londoner has been produced by gas, by Peel’s police, electric telegraphy, modern postal arrangements, or the underground railway. Can the present generation picture to itself what London was and looked like when lighted only by the few twinkling oil lamps which seemed to serve no other purpose save to make darkness visible? Can it conceive a London policeless by day, and protected at night only by a few heavily great-coated watchmen, very generally{44} asleep in their “boxes,” and equipped with a huge rattle in one hand and a large stable lanthorn in the other? The twopenny post was considered an immense boon to Londoners and their needs of quick communication between the different districts of their even then overgrown town. But what would they have thought of an almost hourly postal delivery, and of the insufficient quickness of that being supplemented by telegraphic messages, to be outstripped in their turn by telephony? And what would the modern Londoner think of doing without all these things?

But perhaps the underground railways have most of all revolutionised the London habits of the present day. Why, even to me, who knew cabless London, they seem to have become indispensable. I loathe them! The hurry-scurry! The necessity of “looking sharp!” The difficulty of ascertaining which carriage you are to take, and of knowing when you have arrived at your journey’s end! The horrible atmosphere! All strong against the deed! And yet the necessities of time and place in the huge overgrown monster of a town seem to compel me to pass a large portion of my hours among the sewers, when I find myself a dazed and puzzled stranger in the town I once knew so well.

Another very striking change in the appearance of London in the jubilee year of Queen Victoria as contrasted with the London of George the Third and the Regency, is caused by the preposterous excess of the{45} system of advertising. Of course the practice is deeply rooted in causes which profoundly affect all the developments of social life and modes of thought, as Carlyle well understood. But I am now speaking merely of the exterior and surface effect of the ubiquitous sheets of paper of all colours of the rainbow, with their monstrous pictorial illustrations. I know that to say that it vulgarises the town to a quite infinite degree may be thought to be mere meaningless cant, or illiberal affectation, itself truly vulgar. Yet surely the accusation must be allowed to be a just one. If brazen-faced self-assertion, frantically eager competition in the struggle for profit, and the persuasion that this can best be attained by the sort of assertions and inducements with which the walls are covered, be not vulgar, what is? And what of the public which is attracted by the devices which the experience of those who cater for it, teach them to employ? I miss in the London of the present day a kind of shop which was not uncommon in the days when I first knew the town—shops at which one description of article only was sold, and where that one was to be had notoriously of the best possible quality; shops that appeared to despise all the finery of glass and brass and mahogany; where prices were not cut down to the lowest possible figure by the competitive necessity of underselling, but where every article could be trusted to be what it pretended to be. Shops of this kind never advertised at all, but were content to trust for business to the reputation they had made for them{46}selves. I am told that everything is a great deal cheaper than it used to be, and truly find that such is the case. But I am not at all persuaded that I get better value for my money. To tell the truth, it seems to my old-fashioned notions and habits that in commercial matters we have arrived at the cheap and nasty stage of development. I am a poor man—far too poor a man to drink Lafitte Bordeaux. But that need not compel me to drink cheap claret or any abomination of the kind! Good ale is far better than bad wine, and good water better than bad beer! At least that is what the experience of well nigh four score years has taught me!

One of my earliest strolls in London revisited lately, was to the old haunts I had once known so well at Lincoln’s Inn. I had walked along the new embankment lost in wonder and admiration. The most incorrigible laudator temporis acti cannot but admit that nineteenth century London has there done something and possesses something which any city on this earth may well be proud of! And so I came to the Temple, and rambling through its renovated gardens and courts thought how infinitely more inviting they looked than anything in Belgrave Square, or Mayfair! Templa quam dilecta! Why, if only a wall could be built around the precincts high enough and strong enough to shut out London sounds and London smells and London atmosphere, one might be almost as well there as in Magdalen at Oxford!


And Alsatia too, its next door neighbour to the eastward, all ravaged and routed out, its mysterious courts and light-abhorring alleys exposed to the flouting glare of a sunshine baking a barren extent, devoted apparently to dead cats and potsherds! That Whitefriars district used to be a favourite exploring ground of mine after the publication of The Fortunes of Nigel. How the copper captains, if condemned to walk their former haunts, would slink away in search of the cover of darksome nooks no longer to be found! What would Miss Trapbois’s ghost, wandering in the unsheltered publicity of the new embankment, think of the cataclysm which has overwhelmed the world she knew!

Then, marvelling at the ubiquitous railway bridges and arches, which seem to return again and again like the recurring horrors of a nightmare dream, I passed westward, where the Fleet Prison is not, and where even Temple Bar is no more, till I came to Chancery Lane, which seemed to retain much of its old dinginess, and passed thence under the unchanged old gateway into Lincoln’s Inn Old Square, where my father’s chambers were, and where I used to go to him with my nonsense verses.

Old Square looks much as it used to look, I think. And the recollection darted across my mind—who shall say why?—of a queer-looking shambling figure, whom my father pointed out to me one day from the window of his chambers. “That,” said he, “is Jockey Bell, perhaps the first conveyancer in England. He probably knows more of the law of real property than any man breathing.” He was a rather short,{48} squab-looking, and very shabby figure, who walked, I think, a little lame. He came, I was told, from the north country, and spoke with a strong Northumbrian accent. “It is a dreadful thing to have to decipher an opinion of his,” said my father; “he is said to have three handwritings—one when he is sober, which he can read himself; one when he is drunk, which his clerk can read; and one next morning after being drunk, which no human being can read!”

And I looked for the little shabby stuffy court, in which I had so often watched Eldon’s lowering brow, as he doubted over some knotty point. My father had the highest opinion of his intellectual power and legal knowledge. But he did not like him. He used to say that his mind was an instrument of admirable precision, but his soul the soul of a pedlar. I take it Eldon’s quintessential Toryism was obnoxious to my father’s Liberalism. He used to repeat the following “report” of a case in the Court of Chancery:—

“Mr. Leech[A] made a speech;
’Twas learned, terse, and strong.
Mr. Hart on the other part,
Was neat and glib, but wrong.
Mr. Parker made it darker;
’Twas dark enough without!
Mr. Cook cited a book;
And the Chancellor said, I doubt.”

Una omnes premit nox!

Of course among the other changes of sixty years {49}language had changed. There had been a change especially in pronunciation, a little before my time. Only very old and old-fashioned people continued in my earliest years to say Room for Rome; gould for gold; obleege for oblige; Jeames for James (one of our chaplains at Winchester, I remember, always used to speak of St. Jeames); a beef-steek for a beef-steak; or to pronounce the “a” in danger, stranger, and the like, as it is in “man.” But it is a singular fact, that despite the spread, and supposed improvement of education, the literary—or perhaps it would be better to say the printed—language of the earlier decades of the nineteenth century was much more correct than that of the latter part of it. I constantly find passages in books and newspapers written with the sublimest indifference to all grammatical rules, and all proprieties of construction. A popular writer of fiction says that her hero “rose his head”! And another tells her readers that something happened when “the brunt of the edge had worn off”! There are certain words, such as “idiosyncrasy,” “type,” “momentary,” and many others which I cannot while writing recollect, which are constantly used, not by one writer only, but by many, to express meanings wholly different from those which they really bear. There is another word which is worth mentioning, because the misuse of it is rapidly becoming endemic. I mean the verb trouble; which it seems to me all the world before the birth of the present generation very well knew to be an active not a neuter verb. Now scarcely a day passes without my meeting with such phrases as{50} “he did not trouble,” meaning, trouble himself; “I hope you won’t trouble,” instead of trouble yourself. To old-fashioned ears it seems a detestable vulgarism. But as far as I can gather from observing books that have a greater, and books that have a lesser degree, of success, and from the remarks of the critical journals, a book is in these latter days deemed none the worse, nor is at all less likely to find favour with the public, because it is full of grammatical or linguistic solecisms. Now certainly this is an instance and indication of changed ideas; for it assuredly was not the case when George the Third was king.

Another difference between that day and this of very considerable social significance may be observed in the character and development of the slang in use. There was at the former period very little slang of the kind that may be considered universal. Different classes had different phrases and locutions that were peculiar to them, and served more or less as a bond of union and exclusiveness as regarded outsiders. The criminal classes had their slang. The Universities had theirs. There was costermongers’ slang. And there was a slang peculiar to the inner circles of the fashionable world, together with many other special dialects that might be named. But the specialities of these various idioms were not interchangeable, nor for the most part intelligible outside the world to which they belonged. Nor—and this difference is a very notable one—did slang phrases grow into acceptance with the{51} rapidity or universality which now characterises their advent—a notable difference, because it, of course, arises from the increased rapidity of communication and from the much greater degree in which all classes and all provincial and town populations are mixed together and rubbed against each other. It used to be said, and is still said by some old world folks, that the use of slang is vulgar. And the younger generation, which uses it universally, ridicules much the old fogey narrowness which so considers it. But the truth is, that there was in the older time nothing really vulgar in the use of the slang which then prevailed. Why should not every class and every profession have its own shibboleths and its own phrases? And is there not real vulgarity in the mind which considers a man vulgar for using the language of the class to which he really belongs? But the modern use of slang is truly vulgar for a very different reason. It is vulgar because it arises from one of the most intrinsically vulgar of all the vulgar tendencies of a vulgar mind—imitation. There are slang phrases, which, because they vividly or graphically express a conception, or clothe it with humour, are admirable. But they are admirable only in the mouths of their inventors.

Of course it is an abuse of language to say that the beauty of a pretty girl strikes you with awe. But he who first said of some girl that she was “awfully” pretty, was abundantly justified by the half humorous half serious consideration of all the effects such loveliness may produce. But then, because{52} this was felt to be the case, and the mot was accepted, all the tens of thousands of idiotic cretins who have been rubbed down into exact similarity to each other by excessive locomotion and the “spread” of education—spread indeed after the fashion in which a gold-beater spreads his metal—imitate each other in the senseless use of it. They are just like the man in the Joe Miller story, who, because a laugh followed when a host, whose servant let fall a dish with a boiled tongue in it, said it was only a lapsus linguæ, ordered his own servant to throw down a leg of mutton, and then made the same remark!

There was an old gentleman who had a very tolerable notion of what is vulgar and what is not, and who characterised “imitators” as a “servile herd.” And surely, if, as we are often told, this is a vulgar age, the fact is due to the prevalence of this very tap-root of vulgarity, imitation. Of course I am not speaking of imitation in any of the various cases in which there is an end in view outside the fact of the imitation. The child in order to speak must imitate those whom it hears speaking. If you would make a pudding, you must imitate the cook; if a coat, the tailor. But the imitation which is essentially vulgar, the very tap-root, as I have said, of vulgarity, is imitation for imitation’s sake. And that is why I think modern slang is essentially vulgar. If it is your real opinion—right or wrong matters not—that any slang phrase expresses any idea with peculiar accuracy, vividness, or humour,{53} use it by all means; and he is a narrow blockhead who sees any vulgarity in your doing so. But for heaven’s sake, my dear Dick, don’t use it merely because you heard Bob use it!

Yet there is something pathetically humble too about a man so conscious of his own worthlessness as to be ever anxious to look like somebody else. And surely a man must have a painful consciousness of his inability to utter any word of his own with either wit or wisdom or sense in it, who habitually strives to borrow the wit of the last retailer of the current slang whom he has heard.

In some respects, however, this is, I think, a less vulgar age than that of my youth. Vulgar exclusiveness on grounds essentially illiberal was far more common. It will perhaps seem hardly credible at the present day that middle-class professional society, such as that of barristers, physicians, rectors, and vicars, should sixty years ago have deemed attorneys and general medical practitioners (or apothecaries, as the usual, and somewhat depreciatory term was) inadmissible to social equality. But such was the case. My reminiscences of half a century or more ago seem to indicate also that professional etiquette has been relaxed in various other particulars. I hear of physicians being in partnership with others of the same profession—an arrangement which has a commercial savour in it that would have been thought quite infra dig. in my younger day. I hear also of their accepting, if not perhaps exacting, payments of a smaller amount than the traditional{54} guinea. This was unheard of in the old days. An English physician is a member of the most generously liberal profession that exists or ever existed on earth. And it was an every-day occurrence for a physician to think more of the purse of his patient than of the value of his own services. But he did this either by refusing to accept any fee whatever, or by declining it on the occasion of subsequent visits: never by diminishing the amount of it. In some other cases professional dignity had to be maintained under circumstances that entailed considerable sacrifices on those who were called upon to maintain it. It was not etiquette, for instance, for a barrister going on circuit to travel otherwise than by a private conveyance. He might hire a post chaise, or he might ride his own horse, or even a hired one, but he must not travel by a stage coach, or put up at an hotel. I have heard it said that this rule originated in the notion that a barrister travelling to an assize town by the public coach might fall in with some attorney bound on a similar errand, and might so be led, if not into the sin, at least into temptation to the sin of “huggery.” I dare say many a young barrister of the present day does not know what huggery means or meant!

Among the sights and sounds which were familiar to the eye and ear in the London of my youth, and which are so no longer, may be mentioned the twopenny postman. Not many probably of the rising generation are aware, that in their fathers’ days the London postal service was dual The “twopenny{55} postman,” who delivered letters sent from one part of London to another, was a different person from the “general postman,” who delivered those which came from the country. The latter wore a scarlet, the former a blue livery. And the two administrations were entirely distinct. In those days, when a letter from York to London cost a shilling, or not much less, the weight of a single letter was limited solely by the condition that it must be written on one sheet or piece of paper only. Two pieces of paper, however small, or however light, incurred a double postage. I have sent for a single postage an enormous sheet of double folio outweighing some ten sheets of ordinary post paper. Of course envelopes were unknown. Every sheet had to be folded so that it could be sealed and the address written on the back of it.

Another notable London change which occurs to me is that which has come to the Haymarket. In my day it was really such. The whole right hand side of the street going downwards, from the Piccadilly end to the Opera House, used to be lined with loads of hay. The carts were arranged in close order side by side with their back parts towards the foot pavement, which was crowded by the salesmen and their customers.

I might say a good deal too about the changes in the theatrical London world and habits, but the subject is a large one, and has been abundantly illustrated. It is moreover one which in its details{56} is not of an edifying nature. And it must suffice, therefore, to bear my testimony to the greatness of the purifying change which has been brought about in all the habits of playgoers and playhouses mainly and firstly by the exertions of my mother’s old and valued friend Mr. Macready.{57}


I was, I think, about eight years old when my parents removed from Keppel Street to Harrow-on-the-Hill. My father’s practice, I take it, was becoming less and less satisfactory, and his health equally so. And the move to Harrow was intended as a remedy or palliation for both these evils. My father was a very especially industrious and laborious man. And I have the authority of more than one very competent judge among his professional contemporaries for believing that he was as learned a Chancery lawyer as was to be found among them. How then was his want of success to be accounted for? One of the competent authorities above alluded to accounted for it thus: “Your father,” he said to me many years afterwards, when his troubles and failures had at last ceased to afflict him, “never came into contact with a blockhead without insisting on irrefutably demonstrating to him that he was such. And the blockhead did not like it! He was a disputatious man; and he was almost in variably—at least on a point of law—right. But the world differed from{58} him in the opinion that being so gave him the right of rolling his antagonist in the dust and executing an intellectual dance of triumph on his prostrate form.” He was very fond of whist, and was I believe a good player. But people did not like to play with him. “Many men,” said an old friend once, “will scold their partners occasionally. But Trollope invariably scolds us all round with the utmost impartiality; and that every deal!”

He was, in a word, a highly respected, but not a popular or well-beloved man. Worst of all, alas! he was not popular in his own home. No one of all the family circle was happy in his presence. Assuredly he was as affectionate and anxiously solicitous a father as any children ever had. I never remember his caning, whipping, beating or striking any one of us. But he used during the detested Latin lessons to sit with his arm over the back of the pupil’s chair, so that his hand might be ready to inflict an instantaneous pull of the hair as the pœna (by no means pede claudo) for every blundered concord or false quantity; the result being to the scholar a nervous state of expectancy, not judiciously calculated to increase intellectual receptivity. There was also a strange sort of asceticism about him, which seemed to make enjoyment or any employment of the hours save work, distasteful and offensive to him. Lessons for us boys were never over and done with. It was sufficient for my father to see any one of us “idling,” i.e. not occupied with book work, to set us to work{59} quite irrespectively of the previously assigned task of the day having been accomplished. And this we considered to be unjust and unfair.

I have said that the move to Harrow was in some degree caused by a hope that the change might be beneficial to my father’s health. He had suffered very distressingly for many years from bilious headache, which gradually increased upon him during the whole of his life. I may say parenthetically that from about fifteen to forty I suffered occasionally, about once a fortnight perhaps, from the same malady, though in a much less intense form. But at about forty years old I seemed to have grown out of it, and since that time have never been troubled by it. But in my father’s day the common practice was to treat such complaints with calomel. He was constantly having recourse to that drug. And I believe that it had the effect of shattering his nervous system in a deplorable manner. He became increasingly irritable; never with the effect of causing him to raise a hand against any one of us, but with the effect of making intercourse with him so sure to issue in something unpleasant, that unconsciously we sought to avoid his presence, and to consider as hours of enjoyment only those that could be passed away from it.

My mother’s disposition on the other hand was of the most genial, cheerful, happy, enjoué nature imaginable. All our happiest hours were spent with her; and to any one of us a tête-à-tête with her was preferable to any other disposal of a holiday hour.{60} But even this under all the circumstances did not tend to the general harmony and happiness of the family circle. For of course the facts and the results of them must have been visible to my father; and though wholly inoperative to produce the smallest change in his ways, must, I cannot doubt, have been painful to him. It was all very sad. My father was essentially a good man. But he was, I fear, a very unhappy one.

He was extremely fond of reading aloud to the assembled family in the evening; and there was not one individual of those who heard him who would not have escaped from doing so, at almost any cost. Of course it was our duty to conceal this extreme reluctance to endure what was to him a pleasure—a duty which I much fear was very imperfectly performed. I remember—oh, how well!—the nightly readings during one winter of Sir Charles Grandison, and the loathing disgust for that production which they occasioned.

But I do not think that I and my brothers were bad boys. We were, I take it, always obedient. And one incident remains in my mind from a day now nearly seventy years ago, which seems to prove that the practice of that virtue was habitual to me. An old friend of my mother’s, Mrs. Gibbon, with her daughter Kate, mentioned on a former page as the companion of my lessons in the alphabet, were staying with us at Harrow. Mrs. Gibbon and Kate, and my mother and I were returning from a long country ramble, across some fields in a part of the{61} country my mother was not acquainted with. There was a steep grassy declivity, down which I and the little girl, my contemporary, hand in hand were running headlong in front of our respective parents, when my mother suddenly called out, “Stop, Tom!” I stopped forthwith, and came to heel as obediently as a well-trained pointer. And about five minutes later, my mother and Mrs. Gibbon, following exactly in the line in which we had been running, discovered a long disused but perfectly open and unfenced well!

If I had not obeyed so promptly as I did, I should not now be writing “reminiscences,” and poor “Katy ’Bon,” as I used to call her, would have gone to her rest some ten years earlier than she found it. My mother always said that she could in no wise account for the impulse which prompted her to call to me to stop!

The move to Harrow was as infelicitous a step in the economic point of view as it was inefficacious as a measure of health. My father took a farm, of some three or four hundred acres, to the best of my recollection, from Lord Northwick. It was a wholly disastrous speculation. It certainly was the case that he paid a rent for it far in excess of its fair value; and he always maintained that he had been led to undertake to do so by inaccurate and false representations. I have no knowledge of these representations, but I am absolutely certain that my father was entirely convinced that they were such as he characterised them. But he was educated to be{62} a lawyer, and was a good one. He had never been educated to be a farmer; and was, I take it, despite unwearied activity, and rising up early and late taking rest, a bad one.

To make matters worse moreover he built on that land, of which he held only a long lease, a large and very good house. The position was excellently chosen, the house was well conceived and well built, and the extensive gardens and grounds were well designed and laid out; but the unwisdom of doing all that on land the property of another is but too obvious.

The excuse that my father might have alleged was that he was by no means wholly dependent either on his profession or on his farm, or on the not inconsiderable property which he had inherited from his father or enjoyed in right of his wife. He had an old maternal uncle, Adolphus Meetkerke, who lived on his estate near Royston in Hertfordshire, called Julians. Mr. Meetkerke—the descendant of a Dutchman who had come to this country some time in the eighteenth century as diplomatic representative of his country, and had settled here—lived at Julians with an old childless wife—the daughter, I believe, of a General Chapman—and my father was his declared heir. He had another nephew, Mr. John Young, as flourishing and prosperous an attorney as my father was an unsuccessful and unprosperous barrister. John Young, too, was as worthy and as highly-respected a man as any in the profession. But my father, as settled long years{63} before, was to be the heir; and I was in due time shown to the tenantry as their future landlord, and all that sort of thing. I suppose my grandfather, the Rev. Anthony Trollope, of Cottenham in Hertfordshire, married an elder sister of old Adolphus Meetkerke, while the father of John Young married a younger one. And so, come what might of the Harrow farm and the new house, I was to be the future owner of Julians, and live on my own acres.

Again, Dîs aliter visum!

I well remember more than one visit to Julians with my parents about this time—visits singularly contrasted with those to my Grandfather Milton, the vicar of Heckfield. The house and establishment at Julians were on a far more pretentious scale than the home of the vicar, and the mode of life in the squire’s establishment larger and freer. But I liked Heckfield better than Julians; partly, I think, even at that early age, because the former is situated in an extremely pretty country, whereas the neighbourhood of the other is by no means such. But I please myself with thinking, and do really believe, that the main reason for the preference was that the old Bristol saddler’s son was a far more highly-cultured man than the Hertfordshire squire.

He was a good man, too, was old Adolphus Meetkerke; a good landlord, a kindly natured man, a good sportsman, an active magistrate, and a good husband to his old wife. But there was a sort of flavour of roughness about the old squire and his{64} surroundings which impressed itself on my observation even in those days, and would, I take it, nowadays be deemed almost clownish rusticity.

Right well do I remember the look and figure of my Aunt Meetkerke, properly great-aunt-in-law. She was an admirable specimen of a squiress, as people and things were in that day. I suppose that there was not a poor man or woman in the parish with whose affairs of all sorts she was not intimately acquainted, and to whom she did not play the part of an ever-active providence. She always came down to breakfast clad in a green riding-habit, and passed most of her life on horseback. After dinner, in the long low drawing-room, with its faded stone-coloured curtains and bookless desert spaces, she always slept, as peacefully as she does now in Julians churchyard. She never meddled at all with the housekeeping of her establishment. That was in the hands of “Mrs. Anne,” an old maiden sister of Mr. Meetkerke. She was a prim-looking, rosy-apple-faced, most good-natured little woman. She always carried a little basket in her hand, in which were the keys, and a never-changed volume of Miss Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, which she always recommenced as soon as she had worked her way to the end of it. Though a very precise sort of person, she would frequently come down to breakfast a few minutes late, to find her brother standing on the hearth-rug with his prayer-book open in his hand waiting for her arrival to begin prayers to the assembled household. He had a wonderfully strong{65} rasping voice, the tones of which were rarely modulated under any circumstances. I can hear now his reverberating, “Five minutes too late again, Mrs. Anne; ‘Dearly beloved brethren,’ ... etc., the change of person addressed, and of subject, having been marked by no pause or break whatever save the sudden kneeling at the head of the breakfast table; while at the conclusion of the short, but never missed prayers, the transition from “Amen” to “William, bring round the brown mare after breakfast” was equally unmarked by pause or change of voice or manner.

The parish in which Julians is situated is a small vicarage, the incumbent of which was at that time a bachelor, Mr. Skinner. The church was a very small one, and my great-uncle and his family the only persons in the congregation above the rank of the two or three small farmers and the agricultural labourers who mainly composed it. Whether there was any clerk or not I do not remember. But if any such official existed, the performance of his office in church was altogether not only overlaid but extinguished by the great rough “view-halloa” sort of voice of my uncle. He never missed going to church, and never missed a word of the responses, which were given in far louder tones than those of the vicar. Something of a hymn was always attempted, I remember, by the rustic congregation; with what sort of musical effect may be imagined! I don’t think my Uncle Meetkerke could have distinguished much between their efforts and the music{66} of the spheres. But the singers were so well pleased with the exercise that they were apt to prolong it, as my uncle thought, somewhat unduly. And on such occasions he would cut the performance short with a rasping “That’s enough!” which effectually brought it to an abrupt conclusion. The very short sermon—probably a better one for the purpose in hand than South or Andrews would have preached—having been brought to an end, my uncle would sing out to the vicar, as he was descending the pulpit stairs, “Come up to dinner, Skinner!” And then we all marched out, while the rustics, still retaining their places till we were fairly out of the door, made their obeisances as we passed. All which phenomena, strongly contrasted as they were with the decorous if somewhat sleepy performance in my grandfather’s church at Heckfield, greatly excited my interest. I remember that I had no dislike to attending service either at Heckfield or Julians, while I intensely disliked making one of a London congregation.

If I remember right there were two or three Dissenters and their families at Heckfield, generally considered by their neighbours much as so many Chinese settled among them might have been—as unaccountably strange and as objectionable. But nothing of the sort existed at Julians; and I take it, as far as may be judged from my uncle’s general tone and manner in managing his parish, that any individual guilty of such monstrous and unnatural depravity would at once have been consigned to the parish stocks.{67}

Mr. Meetkerke was, as I have said, an active magistrate. But only one instance of his activity in this respect dwells in my recollection. I remember to have seen, in the nondescript little room that he called his study, a collection of some ten or a dozen very nasty-looking pots, with some white pasty looking substance in each of them, and to have wondered greatly what mystery could have been attached to them. I learned from the butler’s curt word of information that they were connected with my uncle’s magisterial duties, and my mind immediately began to construct all kinds of imaginings about wholesale poisonings. I had heard the story of the “Untori” at Milan, and had little doubt that we were in the midst of some such horrible conspiracy. A few days later I learned that the nasty-looking pots were the result of a magisterial raid among the bakers, and contained nothing worse than alum.

These reminiscences of Julians and its little world recurred to me when speaking of my father’s financial position at the time he took a farm at Harrow and built a handsome house on another man’s land. He was at that time Mr. Meetkerke’s declared heir, and would doubtless have inherited his property in due time had childless old Mrs. Meetkerke lived. But one day she unexpectedly took off her green habit for the last time, and in a day or two was laid under yet more perennial green in the little churchyard! Mr. Meetkerke was at that time over sixty. But he was as fine an old man physically as anybody could wish to see. Before long he married a young wife,{68} and became the father of six children! It was of course a tremendous blow to my father, and never, as I can say from much subsequent information, was such a blow better or more bravely borne. As for myself, I cannot remember that the circumstance impressed me as having any bearing whatsoever on my personal fate and fortunes. In after years I heard it asserted in more than one quarter that my father had in a great measure himself to thank for his disappointment. He was a Liberal in politics after the fashion of those days, (which would make excellent Conservatism in these,) while Mr. Meetkerke was a Tory of the very oldest school. The Tory uncle was very far indeed from being an intellectual match for his Liberal nephew, and no doubt used to talk in his fine old hunting-field voice a great deal of nonsense which no consideration of either affection, respect, or prudence, could induce my father to spare. I fear he used to jump on the hearty old squire very persistently, with the result à la longue of ceasing to be a personâ gratâ to the old man. It may be that had it been otherwise he might have sought affection and companionship elsewhere than from a young wife. But ...!

My father, as I have said, struggled bravely with fortune, but as far as I have ever been able to learn, with ever increasing insuccess. His practice as a barrister dwindled away gradually till it became not worth while to keep chambers; and his farming accounts showed very frequently—every year, I suspect—a deficit.{69}

One of the reasons for selecting Harrow as his scene of rustication had been the existence of the school there. I and my brothers were all of us destined from our cradles to become Wykehamists, and it was never my father’s intention that Harrow instead of Winchester should be our definitive place of education. But the idea was, that we might, before going to Winchester, avail ourselves of the right to attend his parish school which John Lyon bequeathed to the parishioners of Harrow.

I went to Winchester at ten years old. The time for me to do so did not wholly depend on the will of my parents, for the admission in those days, as in all former days up to quite recent times, was by nomination in this wise. There were six electors:—1. the Warden of New College, (otherwise more accurately in accordance with the terms of Wykeham’s foundation, the College of St. Mary Winton prope Winton); 2. the Warden of Winchester College; 3. the Sub-Warden of Winchester; 4. the “Informator” or head master of Winchester; and 5. and 6. two “Posers” sent yearly by New College, according to a certain cycle framed ad hoc, to the Winchester election. It was at the election which took place in July that all vacancies among the seventy scholars, who together with the warden, fellows, two masters, chaplains, and choristers constituted the members of Wykeham’s foundation, were filled. The vacancies were caused either by the election of scholars to be fellows of New College, or by their superannuation at eighteen years of age, or by their withdrawal from{70} the school. The number of vacancies in any year was therefore altogether uncertain. The first two vacancies were filled by boys who came in as “College Founders,” i.e. as of kin to the founder. Of course the bishop’s kin could be only collateral; and I remember that “the best blood,” was considered to be that of the Twistletons. Originally there had been an absolute preference for those who could show such relationship. But as time went on it became apparent that the entire college would thus be filled with Founder’s kin; and it was determined that two such only should be admitted to Winchester every year, and two only sent out to fellowships at New College. Even so the proportion of fellowships at the Oxford College awarded to Founder’s kin was large, for it was reckoned in those days that the average vacancies at New College, which were caused only by death, marriage, or the acceptance of a college living, amounted to seven in two years, of which the Founder’s kin took four. And this rule operated with certain regularity. For the superannuation at eighteen did not apply to Founder’s kin, who remained in the school, be their age what it might, till they went to New College.

These two boys of Founder’s kin were admitted by the votes of the six electors. After them came the boy nominated by the Warden of New College; then the nominee of the Warden of Winchester; and so on till the eighth vacancy was filled by the nominee of the junior “Poser.” Then a ninth vacancy was taken by the Warden of New College’s second{71} nomination, and so on. Of course the vacancies for Winchester were much more numerous than those for the Oxford College; and it often happened that the “Poser’s” second or sometimes even third nomination had a very good chance of getting in in the course of the year. The cycle for “Posers,” which I have mentioned, allowed it to be known who would be “Poser” for a given year many years in advance; and the senior “Poser’s” first nomination for 1820 had been promised to me before I was out of my cradle. He was the Rev. Mr. Lipscomb, who subsequently became Bishop of Jamaica. It was written therefore in the book of fate that I was to go to Winchester in the year 1820, when I should be ten years old.

That time, however, was not yet; but was looked forward to by me with a somewhat weighty sense of the inevitability of destiny. And I can well remember meditating on the three fateful epochs which awaited me—to wit, having certain teeth taken out in the immediate future; going to Winchester in the paulo post futurum; and being married in the ultimate consummation of things. All three seemed to me to need being faced with a certain dogged fortitude of endurance. But I think that the terrors of the first loomed the largest in my imagination, doubtless by virtue of its greater proximity.

I remember, too, at a very early age maintaining in my own mind, if not in argument with others, that to be brave one must be very much afraid and act in despite of fear, and uninfluenced by it and{72} that not to fear at all, as I heard predicated of themselves by sundry contemporaries, indicated simply stupidity. And when the day for the dentist came my heart was in my boots, but they carried me unfalteringly to St. Martin’s Lane all the same.

At present, however, we are at Harrow getting into my father’s new house, and establishing ourselves in our new home. It was soon arranged that I was to attend the school, scarcely, as I remember, as a regular inscribed scholar attending the lessons in the school-room, but as a private pupil of the Rev. Mark Drury. I was about eight years old at the time; and I suppose should hardly have been accepted as an admitted member of the school.

At that time Dr. Butler, afterwards Bishop of Peterborough, was the head master. He was not the right man in the right place. He was, I take it, far more adapted for a bishop than a schoolmaster. Moreover, there were certain difficulties in his position not necessarily connected with the calling of a head master. He had succeeded Dr. Drury in the head mastership, and he found the school full of Drurys. Mark, the brother of Dr. Drury, was the second master; a Mr. Evans, a respectable quiet nonentity, was the third; Harry Drury, a son of the old doctor, was the fourth, and was the most energetic and influential man in the place; William Drury, the son of Mark, was the fifth; and two young men of the names of Mills and Batten were the sixth and seventh masters. They were all in priests’ orders, and all received as{73} many boarders as they could get. For the objectionable system, which made the fortunes of the masters far more dependent on their trade as victuallers than on their profession as teachers, had been copied from Eton, with the further evil consequence of swamping John Lyon’s parochial school by the creation of a huge boarding school. This, however eminently successful, has no proper claim to be called a “public school,” save by a modern laxity of language, which has lost sight of the fact that the only meaning or possible definition of a “public school” is, one the foundation of which was intended not for a parish or other district, but for all England. If merely success, and consequent size, be held to confer a claim to the title, it is clear that there is no “private” school which would not become a “public school” to-morrow if the master and proprietor of it could command a sufficient amount of success. And even then the question would remain, What amount of success must that be?

The world in general, however, dislikes accuracy of speaking. And Harrow was then, and has been since, abundantly large enough and successful enough to be called and considered a “public school” by the generality, who never take the trouble to ask themselves, What makes it such?

Dr. Butler was eminently a gentleman, extremely suave in manner, gentle in dealing with those under his authority, mild and moderate in his ideas of discipline, a genuinely scholarly man in tastes and{74} pursuits, though probably not what experts in such a matter would have called a profound scholar. But he had not the energetic hand needed for ruling a large school; and his rule was not a success. Mark Drury, though from the old Drury connection his house was always full of pupils, cannot be said to have exercised any influence at all on the general condition and management of the school by reason of the extraordinary and abnormal corpulence which kept him pretty well a prisoner to the armchair in his study. He had long since, at the time when I first knew him, abandoned the practice of “going up,” as it was technically called, i.e., of climbing the last portion of Harrow Hill through the village street. On this topmost part of the hill are situated the church, the churchyard, and the school-house, rebuilt, enlarged, beautified, since my day; and this “going up” had to be performed by all the masters and all the boys every time school was attended. But of this climb Mark Drury had been incapable for many years, solely by reason of his immense corpulence. Naturally a small delicately-made man, with small hands and feet, he had become in old age the fattest man I think I ever saw. He used to sit in his study, and there conduct the business of tuition, leaving to others the work of hearing lessons in school.

His house had the reputation of being the most comfortable of all the boarding houses—a fact due to the unstinting liberality, careful supervision, and {75}motherly kindness of “Mother Mark,” an excellent and admirable old lady, than whom it would be impossible to conceive any one more fitted for the position she occupied. The unstinting liberality, it is fair to say, characterised all the Drury houses; and probably the others also. But for truly motherly care there was but one “Mother Mark.” “Old Mark” was exceedingly popular, as indeed he deserved to be, for a more kindly-natured man never existed. He had an old-fashioned belief in the virtues of the rod; and though his bodily infirmity combined with his good nature to make him sparing in the application of it, a flogging was at his hands sufficiently disagreeable to make one desirous of avoiding it. “Your clock,” he would say, “requires to be wound up every Monday morning,” meaning that a Monday morning flogging was a good beginning of the week. But the rods were kept in a cupboard in the study—how well I remember the Bluebeard-closet sort of reputation which surrounded it!—and the cupboard was always kept locked. And very often it happened that somehow or other the key was in the keeping of Mrs. Drury. Then a message would be sent to Mrs. Drury for the key, and very probably the proposed patient was the messenger, in which case—and it is strange that the recurrence of the fact did not suggest suspicion to old Mark—it almost invariably happened that Mrs. Drury was very sorry, but she could not find the key anywhere! There never surely was a key so frequently mislaid as the key of that terrible cupboard!{76}

Well, it was arranged that I was to go every day to Mark Drury’s study, not, as I have said, as a regular member of the school, but to get such tuition as might be picked up from the genius loci, and from such personal teaching as the old man could bestow on me at moments unoccupied by his own pupils. And this arrangement, it must be understood, was entirely a matter of friendship—one incident of the many years’ friendship between my parents and all the Drurys. There was no question of any honorarium in the matter.

My father’s appetite for teaching was such that he would, I am very sure, have much preferred keeping my brother and myself under his sole tuition. But he used to drive up to London in his gig daily to his chambers in Lincoln’s Inn, for he still struggled to hope on at his profession. (I remember that these drives down in the dark winter evenings became a source of some anxiety when a messenger travelling with despatches for the French Minister, who at that time rented Lord Northwick’s house at Harrow, was mysteriously murdered and his despatches stolen.) And it thus became necessary that some means should be found for preventing us boys from making école buissonière in the fields and under the hedgerows.

I do not think I profited much by my attendance at old Mark’s pupil-room. The boys whose lessons he was hearing stood in a row in front of his armchair, and I sat behind him, supposed to be intently occupied in conning the task he had set me, in pre{77}paration for the moment, when, the class before him having been dismissed, he would have little me, all alone, in front of him for a few minutes, while another class was mustering.

How I hated it all! How very much more bitterly I hated it than I ever hated any subsequent school troubles! What a Pariah I was among these denizens of Mark’s and other pupil-rooms! For I was a “town boy,” “village boy” would have been a more correct designation; one of the very few, who by the terms of the founder’s will, had any right to be there at all; and was in consequence an object of scorn and contumely on the part of all the paying pupils. I was a charity boy. But at Winchester subsequently I was far more of a charity boy, for William of Wykeham’s foundation provided me with food and lodging as well as tuition; whereas I claimed and received nothing save a modicum of the latter at the hands of those who enjoyed and administered John Lyon’s bounty. Yet, though at Winchester there were only seventy scholars and a hundred and thirty private pupils of the head master, or “commoners,” there was no trace whatsoever of any analogous feeling, no slightest arrogation of any superiority, social or other, on the part of the commoner over the collegian. In fact the matter was rather the other way; any difference between the son of the presumably richer man, and the presumably poorer, having been merged and lost sight of entirely in the higher scholastic dignity of the college boy.{78}

I remember also, more vividly than I could wish, the bullying to which I and others were subjected at Harrow. There was much of a very brutal description. And in this respect also the difference at Winchester was very marked. The theory of the two places on the subject was entirely different, with the result I have stated. At Harrow, in those days—how it may be now I know not—no “fagging” was authorised or permitted by the masters. No boy had any legitimate authority over any other boy. And inasmuch as it was, is, and ever will be, in every large school impossible to achieve such a Saturnian state of things, the result was that the bigger and stronger assumed an authority supported by sheer violence over the smaller and weaker. At Winchester, on the other hand, the subjection of those below them in college to the “prefects” or upper class, was not only recognised but enforced by the authorities. It thus came to pass that many a big hulking fellow was subjected to the authority of a “prefect” whom he could have tossed over his head. It was an authority nobody dreamed of resisting; a matter of course; not a rule of the stronger supported by violence. And the result—contributed to, also, by other arrangements, of which I shall speak hereafter—was that anything of the nature of “bullying” was infinitely rarer at Winchester than at Harrow.

Despite old Mark’s invariable good-nature and kindness, my hours in his study were very unhappy ones; and I was hardly disposed to consider as a misfortune{79} a severe illness which attacked me and my brother Henry, and for the nonce put an end to them. Very shortly it became clear that we were both suffering from a bad form of typhus. How was such an attack to be accounted for? My father’s new house was visited, and examined, and found to be above suspicion. But further inquiry elicited the fact that we boys had passed a half hour before breakfast in watching the proceedings of some men engaged in cleaning and restoring an old drain connected with a neighbouring farm house. The case was clear! It would seem, however, that the proper mode of treatment was not so clear to the Harrow general practitioner—a village apothecary of the old school, who, strange as it may seem, was the only available medico at Harrow in those far off days. He treated us with calomel, and very, very nearly let me slip through his hands. It would have been quite, but for a fortunate chance. Among our Harrow friends was a Mrs. Edwards, the widow of a once very well known bookseller—not a publisher, but a scholarly, and indeed learned, seller of old books—who had, I believe, left her a considerable fortune. She was a highly cultured, and very clever woman, and a special friend of my mother’s. Now it so happened that a Dr. Butt, a physician, her brother, or brother-in-law, I forget which, paid her a visit just at the time we boys were at the worst. Mrs. Edwards brought him to our bedsides. I was altogether unconscious, and had been raving about masters coming in at the window to drag me off to the pupil-room. My{80} knowledge of what followed therefore is derived wholly from my mother’s subsequent telling. Dr. Butt, having learned the treatment to which we had been subjected, said only “No more calomel, I think. Let me have a glass of port wine immediately.” And with his finger on my wrist, he proceeded to administer a teaspoonful at a time of the cordial. A few more visits from Dr. Butt set us fairly on the way to recovery; and from that day, some sixty-eight years ago, to the present, I have never passed one day in bed from illness.{81}


Another incident of these boyish years of a very different complexion has made a far deeper impression on my memory. It must have been, to the best of my remembrance, about the same time, probably some six months later in the same year, that it was decided that I was to accompany my father and mother in a “long vacation” ramble which had long been projected. My father’s method of travel on this excursion, which was to include parts of Sussex, Hampshire, Wilts, Devon, Somerset, and Monmouth, was to drive my mother and myself in his gig, accompanied by a servant riding another horse, who was provided with a pair of traces to hook on as tandem whenever the nature of the road required such assistance. I think that this tour afforded me some of the happiest days and hours I have ever known. I can never forget the ecstasy of delight with which I looked forward to it, and the preparations I made—suggested probably, some of them, by the experiences of Robinson Crusoe. The distance and differentiation between me and other boys of my acquaintance which was caused by my destination{82} to this great adventure I felt to be such as that which may be supposed to exist between Livingstone and the stay-at-home mortals who read his books.

We started after breakfast one fine morning, “George,” the footman, turned into groom and courier, riding after the gig. I considered this a disappointingly tame proceeding. I had been up myself considerably before daylight, and considered that, looking to the arduous nature of the journey before us (we were to sleep at Dorking that night), we ought at least to have been on the road while the less adventurous part of the world were still asleep.

We had not proceeded many miles before an amari aliquid disclosed itself of a very distressing kind. I was seated on a little box placed on the floor of the gig between the knees of my father and mother, and was “as happy as a prince,” or probably much happier than any contemporaneous prince then in Christendom, when my father produced from out of the driving seat beneath him a Delphin Virgil, and intimated to me that our journey must by no means entail an entire interruption of my education; that our travelling was not at all incompatible with a little study; and that he was ready to hear me construe. It may be readily imagined how much such “study” was likely to profit me. Every incident of the road, every waggon, every stage coach we met, every village church seen across the fields, every milestone even, was a matter of intense interest to me. Had I been Argus-eyed every eye{83} would have been busy. I remember that my mother remonstrated, but in vain. And an hour or two of otherwise intense delight was turned into something which it is scarcely an exaggeration to call torture. I think, however, that my mother must have subsequently renewed her pleadings, for on the second day’s journey the Virgil was not brought out. It was reserved for the days when we were stationary, but no longer poisoned our absolute travel.

If I never became a distinguished scholar it was assuredly from no want of urgency in season and out of season on the part of my poor father. But not even Virgil himself, backed by an Eton Latin Grammar and a small travelling dictionary, could altogether destroy the manifold delights of that journey. I must not inflict on my reader all or a tithe of my topographical reminiscences: but I will relate one little adventure which went near to saving him not only from this volume but from all that half a century, and more, of subsequent pen-work may have inflicted on him. It was at Gloucester. My parents and I had gone to the cathedral about a quarter of an hour before the time for service on a Sunday morning. The great bell was being rung—an operation which was at that time performed by seven bell-ringers down in the body of the church. One large rope, descending from an aperture in the vault, was, at some dozen or so of feet from the pavement, divided into seven—one for each of the bell-ringers. Now it so happened that on that day one of the men was absent from his post, and one rope{84} hung loose and unoccupied. No sooner had I espied this state of things than I rushed forward and seized the vacant rope, intending to add my efforts to those of the six men at work. But it so happened that at the moment when I thus clutched the rope the men had raised the bell, and of course at the end of their pull allowed the ropes to fly upwards through their hands. But I, knowing nothing of bell-ringing, clung tightly to my rope, and was of course swung up from the pavement with terrific speed. Fortunately the height of the vault was so great as to allow the full swing of the bell to complete itself without bringing me into contact with the roof. The men cried out to me to hold on tight. I did so, and descended safely—so unharmed that I was very desirous of repeating the experiment, which, as may be supposed, was not allowed. I can pull a bell more knowingly now.

The charming old church at Gloucester was not kept and cared for in those days as it is now—a remark which is applicable, as recent visits have shown me, to nearly all the cathedral churches in England. I may observe also, since one object of these pages is to mark the social changes in English life since my young days, that the improvement in the tone and manner of performing the choral service in our cathedrals is as striking as the increased care for the fabrics. It used for the most part to be a careless, perfunctory, and not very reverent or decorous performance when George the Third was king. Those were the days when one minor canon could{85} be backed to give another to “Pontius Pilate” in the Creed, and beat him! Other times, other manners!

I think that the points in that still well-remembered tour, that most of all delighted me, were, first of all, Lynton and Lynmouth, on the north coast of Devon; then the banks of the Wye from Chepstow to Ross; and thirdly, Raglan Castle. I had already read the Mysteries of Udolpho, with more enjoyment probably than any other reading has ever afforded me. It was an ecstasy of delight, tempered only by the impossibility of gratifying my intense longing to start forthwith to see the places and countries described. And when I did in long after years see them! Oh, Mrs. Ratcliffe, how could you tell such tales! What! this the lovely Provence of my dreams? But I was fresh from The Mysteries, and full of faith when I went to Raglan, and strove to apply, at least as a matter of possibility, the incidents of the romance to the localities of the delightful ruin.

Nor was Raglan in those days cared for with the loving care now bestowed on it by the Duke of Somerset. I have heard people complain of the restrictions, and of the small entrance fee now demanded for admittance to the ruins, and regret the days when the traveller could, as in my time, wander over every part of it at will. All that was very charming, but the place was not as beautiful as it is now. The necessary expense for the due conservation of the ruins must be very considerable.{86} And when one hears, as I did recently at Raglan, that steam and bank-holidays have brought as many as fifteen hundred (!) visitors to the spot in one day, it may be easily imagined what the condition of the place would shortly become if careful restrictions were not enforced. Of lovely—ever lovely—Tintern, the same remarks may be made. Certainly there was a charm in wandering there, as I did when a boy, almost justified by the solitude in feeling myself to be the discoverer of the spot. Now there is a fine hotel, with waiters in black-tailed coats, and dinners à la carte! And huge vans pouring in “tourists” by the thousand. Between four and five thousand persons, I was told, visited Tintern in one August day! Scott tells those who would “view fair Melrose aright” to “visit it by the pale moonlight.” But I fear me that no such precaution could secure solitude, though it might beauty, at Tintern in August. But the care bestowed upon it makes the place more beautiful than ever. The guardians by dint of locked gates prevent the lovely sward from being defiled by sandwich papers and empty bottles, as the neighbouring woods are. But he who would view fair Tintern aright, had better not visit it on a bank holiday.

A similarly striking change between the England of sixty years since and the England of to-day may be observed at beautiful Lynmouth and Lynton. The place was a solitude when my parents and I visited it in, I think, 1818. We had a narrow escape in driving down from Lynton to the mouth{87} of the little stream. A low wall of unmortared stones alone protected the road from the edge of a very formidable precipice; and just at the worst point the horse my father was driving took fright at something, and becoming unmanageable, dashed at the low wall, and absolutely got his fore-feet over it! “George,” riding the other horse behind, was at an hundred yards or so distance. But my father, with one bound to the horse’s head, caught him by the bridle, and, by the sheer strength of his remarkably powerful frame, forced him back into the road. It was not a mauvais quart d’heure, but a very mauvais quart de minute—for it was, I take it, all over in that time. Now the road is excellent, and traversed daily in the summer season by some half dozen huge vans carrying “tourists” from Ilfracombe to Lynton.

At the latter place, too, there is a large and extremely prettily situated hotel, where, on the occasion of my first visit, I remember that we obtained a modicum of bread and cheese at a lone cottage. Even the Valley of Rocks is not altogether what it was, for the celebrated “Castle Rock” has now well contrived paths to the top of it. I wrote a few months ago in the book kept at the hotel, ad hoc that I had climbed the Castle Rock more than sixty years ago, and had now repeated the feat. But in truth, the “climb” was in those days a different affair. I remember my mother had a story of some old friend of hers having been accompanied by her maid during a ramble through the{88} Valley of Rocks, and having been told, when she asked the maid what she thought of it, that she considered it was kept very untidy! And truly the criticism might be repeated at the present day not altogether unreasonably, for the whole place is defiled by the traces of feeding.

Truly England, whether for better or worse, “non è più come era prima!

That was my first journey! Has any one of the very many others which I have undertaken since equalled it in enjoyment? Ah! how sad was the return to Harrow and lessons and pupil-room! And how I wished that the old gig, with me on the little box between my parents’ knees, could have been bound on an expedition round the world!

A leading feature, perhaps I should say the leading feature, of the social life of Harrow in those days consisted in a certain antagonism between the vicar, the Rev. Mr. Cunningham, and the clerical element of the school world, or perhaps it would be more correct to say, the Drury element. Mr. Cunningham was in those days rather a man of mark among the Low Church party. He was an ally of the Venns, of Daniel Wilson, and that school, and was well known in his day as “Velvet-Cushion Cunningham,” from a little book with that title which he had published. He was of course an “evangelical” of the evangelicals; and among the seven masters of the school there was not the slightest—I must not say taint, but—savour of any{89}thing of the kind. Dr. Butler probably would have found no difficulty in living in perfect harmony with the vicar; but the latter—he and his ways and his doctrines—were especially abhorrent to the Drurys. Of course they were not High Churchmen in the sense which the term has acquired in these latter days, for nothing of the kind was then known. They were of the old-fashioned sort, which had come to be somewhat depreciatingly spoken of as “high and dry”!—though in truth it is difficult to see with what justice the latter epithet could be applied to many of them.

Harry Drury, who was perhaps foremost in his feeling of antagonism to the vicar, was a man of decidedly literary tastes, though they shared his devotion with those of a bon vivant. He was a ripe scholar, and undoubtedly the vicar’s superior in talent and intellect. But he was essentially a coarse man, coarse in manner and coarse in feeling. Cunningham was the reverse of all this. He was, I believe, the son of a London hatter, but in external manner and appearance he was a more gentlemanlike man than any of the Harrow masters of that day, save Dr. Butler. He had the advantage, too, of a handsome person and good presence. But there was a something too suave and too soft, carrying with it a certain suspicion of insincerity which prevented him from presenting a genuine specimen of the real article. I believe his father purchased the living for him under circumstances which were not altogether free from suspicion of simony. I know{90} nothing, however, of these circumstances, and my impressions on the subject are doubtless derived from the flouts and skits of his avowed enemies the Drurys. There was, I remember, a story of his having, soon after coming to Harrow, in conversation with some of his new parishioners, attributed with much self-complacency his presentation to the living to his having upon some occasion preached before Lord Northwick!—a result which no Harrow inhabitant, clerk or layman, would have believed in the case of his lordship, then often a resident on his property there, if the preacher had been St. Paul. But again, Audi alteram partem! which I had no chance of doing, for we, though living on terms of neighbourly intercourse with the vicar, were of the Drury faction.

I remember well an incident which may serve to illustrate the condition of “tension” which prevailed during those years in the little Harrow world. Mark Drury had two remarkably pretty daughters. They were in all respects as thoroughly good and charming girls as they were pretty, and were universal favourites in the society. Now Mark Drury’s pew in the parish church, where of course he never appeared himself, for the reason assigned on a former page, was situated immediately below the pulpit. And on one occasion the vicar saw, or thought he saw, the two young ladies in question laughing during his sermon, and so far forgot himself, and was sufficiently ill-judged, indiscreet, wrong-headed, and wrong-hearted to stop in his{91} discourse, and, leaning over the pulpit cushion to say aloud that he would resume it when his hearers could listen to it with decency! The amount of ill-feeling and heart-burning which the incident gave rise to may be imagined. Harry Drury, the cousin of the young ladies, and, as I have said, Cunningham’s principal antagonist, never for a long time afterwards came within speaking distance of the vicar without growling “Brawler!” in a perfectly audible voice.

I well remember, though I suppose it must be mainly from subsequent hearing of it, the storm that was raised in the tea-cup of the Harrow world by the incident of Byron’s natural daughter, Allegra, having been sent home to be buried in Harrow Church. A solemn meeting was held in the vestry, at which the vicar, all the masters (except poor old Mark), and sundry of the leading parishioners were present, and at which it was decided that no stone should be placed to commemorate the poor infant’s name or mark the spot where her remains rested, the principal reason assigned being that such a memorial might be injurious to the morals of the Harrow schoolboys! Amid all this Cunningham’s innate and invincible flunkeyism asserted itself, to the immense amusement of the non-evangelical part of the society of the place, by his attempts to send a message to Lord Byron through Harry Drury, Byron’s old tutor and continued friend, to the effect that he, Cunningham, had, on reading Cain, which was then scandalising the world, “felt a profound{92} admiration for the genius of the author”! “Did you indeed,” said Harry Drury; “I think it the most blasphemous publication that ever came from the pen.”

The whole circumstances, object, and upshot of this singular vestry meeting were too tempting a subject to escape my mother’s satirical vein. She described the whole affair in some five hundred verses, now before me, in which the curiously contrasted characteristics of the debaters at the meeting were very cleverly hit off. This was afterwards shown to Harry Drury, who, though he himself was not altogether spared, was so delighted with it, that he rewarded it by the present of a very remarkable autograph of Lord Byron, now in my possession. It consists of a quarto page, on which is copied the little poem, “Weep, daughters of a royal line,” beginning with a stanza which was suppressed in the publication. And all round the edges of the MS. is an inscription stating that the verses were “copied for my friend, the Rev. Harry Drury.”

Of course all this did not tend much to harmonise the conflicting partisans of High and Low Church in the Harrow world of that day.

I may add here another “reminiscence” of those days, which is not without significance as an illustration of manners.

Among the neighbours at Harrow was a Mr. —— (well, I won’t print the name, though all the parties in question must long since, I suppose, have joined the majority) who had a family of daughters, the{93} second of whom was exceedingly pretty. One day this girl of some eighteen years or so, came to my mother, who was always a special friend of all the young girls, with a long eulogistic defence of the vicar. She was describing at much length the delight of the assurances of grace which he had given her, when my mother suddenly looking her straight in the eyes, said, “Did he kiss you, Carrie?”

“Yes, Mrs. Trollope. He did give me the kiss of peace. I am sure there was no harm in that!”

“None at all, Carrie! For I am sure you meant none!” returned my mother. “Honi soit qui mal y pense! But remember, Carrie, that the kiss of peace is apt to change its quality if repeated!{94}


Meanwhile the fateful year 1820, when I was to be translated from the world of Harrow, and know nothing more of its friendships, quarrels, and politics, was at hand. At the election of July in that year was to begin my Winchester life. I certainly looked forward to it with a feeling of awe approaching terror, yet not untempered by a sense of increased dignity and the somewhat self-complacent feeling of one destined by fate to meet great and perilous adventures, and acquire large stores of experience.

The sadness of departure was tempered also, as I remember, by the immediate delight of a journey to be performed. Certainly it was not the unmixed delight with which Rousseau contemplated his voyage à faire et Paris au bout. Something very different lay at the end of my voyage. Nevertheless, so intense was my delight in “the road” at that time (and to a great degree ever since), that the sixty miles journey to be performed was a great alleviation.

The expedition was to be made with my father in his gig. A horse was to be sent on to Guildford,{95} and by dint of starting at a very early hour, and there changing horses, the distance was to be performed in one day. We were to travel, not by the more generally used coach road by Hounslow and Bagshot, but over the district called the Hog’s Back from Guildford to Farnham—chiefly, as I remember, for the sake of showing me that beautiful bit of country. For to my father beautiful scenery was as great a delight as it has always been to myself.

At Farnham there was time, while the horse was being baited at “The Bush,” for us, after snatching a morsel of cold meat, to visit hurriedly the park and residence of the Bishop of Winchester. I, very contentedly trotting by the side of my father’s long strides, was much impressed by the beauty of the park. But, as I remember, my mind was very much exercised by the fact, then first learned, that the Bishop’s diocese extended all the way to London. And I think that it seemed somehow to my child’s mind that the dignity of my position as one of William of Wykeham’s scholars was enhanced by the enormous extent of the diocese of his successor.

We reached Winchester late in the evening of the day before the election, putting up, not at “The George,” or at “The White Hart,” as most people would have done, but at the “Fleur de Lys,” pronounced “Flower de Luce,” a very ancient, but then third-rate hostelry, which my father preferred, partly probably because he thought the charges might be less there, but mainly because it is situated in the vicinity of the college, and he had known and used{96} it of old. We spent the evening at the house of Dr. Gabell, the head master, an old friend of my father’s, where his eldest daughter, an intimate friend of my mother’s, who had often been a visitor in Keppel Street, made much of me.

And the next day I became a Wykehamist! And the manner of so becoming was in this wise. The real serious business of the six electors—three sent from New College, and three belonging to Winchester, as has been set forth on a previous page—consisted in the examination of those scholars, who, standing at the top of the school, were in that year candidates for New College. All the eighteen “prefects,” who formed the highest class in the school, were examined; but the most serious part of the business was the examination of the first half dozen or so, who were probably superannuated at the age of eighteen that year, and who might have a fair chance of finding a vacancy at New College (if there were not one at that present moment) in the course of the ensuing twelve months. And this was a very fateful and serious examination, for the examiners in “the election chamber” would, if the examination disclosed due cause, change the order of the roll as it came up to them, placing a boy, who had distinguished himself, before another, who had not done so. And as the roll thus settled was the order in which vacancies at New College were taken, the work in “the chamber” was of life-long importance to the subjects of it.


Very different was the “election” of the children, who were to go into Winchester. Duly instructed as to the part we were to play, we went marvelling up the ancient stone corkscrew stair to the mysterious chamber situated over the “middle gate,” i.e. the gateway between the outer court and the second quadrangle where the chapel, the hall, and the chambers are. The “election chamber” always maintained a certain character of mystery to us, because it was never opened or used save on the great occasion of the annual election. In that chamber we found the six solemn electors in their gowns waiting for us; especially the Bishop of Hereford, who was then Warden of Winchester College, an aged man with his peculiar wig and gown was an object of awe. No Bishop had in those days dreamed as yet of discarding the episcopal wig.

And then the examination began as follows: “Well, boy, can you sing?” “Yes, sir.” “Let us hear you.” “All people that on earth do dwell,’ responded the neophyte—duly instructed previously in his part of the proceeding—without attempting in the smallest degree to modify in any way his ordinary speech. “Very well, boy. That will do!” returned the examiner. The examination was over, and you were a member of William of Wykeham’s college, Sancta Mariæ de Winton prope Winton. “Prope Winton,” observe, for the college is situated outside the ancient city walls.

The explanation of this survival of the simulacrum of an examination is that the ancient statutes require{98} that candidates for admission as scholars must be competently instructed in plano cantu—in plain chant; the intention of the founder being that all his scholars should take part in the choral service of the chapel.

I and my fellow novices thus admitted as scholars in that July of 1820 were not about to join the school immediately. We had the six weeks holidays before us, the election taking place at the end of the summer half year. Election week was the grand festival of the Wykehamical year. For three days high feast was held in the noble old hall. The “high table” was spread on the dais, and all old Wykehamists were welcome at it. The boys in the lower part of the hall were regaled with mutton pies and “stuckling.” That was their appointed fare; but in point of fact they feasted on dishes or portions of dishes sent down from the abundantly-spread high table, and the pies were carried away for the next morning’s breakfast. I do not think anybody ate much “stuckling” beyond a mouthful pro formâ. It was a sort of flat pastry made of chopped apples and currants. And the specialty of it was that the apples must be that year’s apples. They used to be sent up from Devonshire or Cornwall, and sometimes were with difficulty obtained. Then there was the singing of the Latin grace, with its beautiful responses, performed by the chapel choir and as many others as were capable of taking part in it. The grace with its music has been published, and I need not occupy these pages with a{99} reprint of it. And then in the afternoon came the singing of “Domum” on the fives court behind the school, by the whole strength of the company.

Nine such election weeks did I see, counting from that which made me a Wykehamist in 1820 to that which saw me out a superannuate in 1828. I did not get a fellowship at New College, having narrowly missed it for want of a vacancy by one. I was much mortified at the time, but have seen long since that probably all was for the best for me. It was a mere chance, as has been shown at a former page, whether a boy at the head or nearly at the head of the school went to New College or not.

The interesting event of a vacancy having occurred at New College, whether by death, marriage, or the acceptance of a living, was announced by the arrival of “speedyman” at Winchester College. “Speedyman,” in conformity with immemorial usage, used to bring the news on foot from Oxford to Winchester. How well I remember the look of the man, as he used to arrive with all the appearance of having made a breathless journey, a spare, active-looking fellow, in brown cloth breeches and gaiters covered with dust. Of course letters telling the facts had long outstripped “speedyman.” But with the charming and reverent spirit of conservatism, which in those days ruled all things at Winchester, “speedyman” made his journey on foot all the same!

Of course one of the first matters in hand when{100} this fateful messenger arrived was to regale him with college beer, and right good beer it was in those days. In connection with it may be mentioned the rather singular fact, that, whereas all other supplies from the college buttery to the boys—the bread, the cheese, the butter, the meat—were accurately measured, the beer was given absolutely ad libitum. In fact it was not given out at all, but taken. Thrice a day the way to the cellar was open, a back stair leading from the hall to the superb old vaulted cellar, with its central pillar and arches springing from it in every direction. All around were the hogsheads, and the proper tools for tapping one as soon as another should be out. And to this cellar the boys—or rather the junior boys at each mess—went freely to draw as much as they chose.

And the beer thus freely supplied was our only beverage, for not only was tea or coffee not furnished, it was not permitted. Some of the prefects (the eighteen first boys in college) would have “tea-messes,” provided out of their own pocket money, and served by their “fags.” But if, as would sometimes happen, either of the masters chanced to appear on the scene before the tea-things could be got out of the way, he used to smash them all, using his large pass key for the purpose, and saying “What are all these things, sir? William of Wykeham knew nothing, I think, of tea!”

We used to breakfast at ten, after morning school, on bread and butter and beer, having got up at{101} half-past five, gone to chapel at half-past six, and into school at half-past seven. At a quarter to one we again went up into hall. It was a specialty of college phraseology to suppress the definite article. We always said “to hall,” “to meads” (the playground), “to school,” “to chambers,” and the like. The visit to hall at that time was properly for dinner, though it had long ceased to be such. The middle of the day “hall” served in my day only for the purpose of luncheon (though no such modern word was ever used), and only those “juniors” attended whose office it was to bring away the portions of bread and cheese and “bobs” (i.e. huge jugs) of beer for consumption in the afternoon.

Sunday formed an exception to this practice. We all went up into “hall” in the middle of the day on Sunday, and dined on roast beef, the noontide dinner consisting of roast beef on that day, boiled beef on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and baked plum pudding on Friday and Saturday. But the boiled beef, with the exception of certain portions reserved for the next morning’s breakfast of the seniors of the messes, or companies into which the “inferiors” (i.e., non-prefects) were divided, was not eaten, but given away. During the war Winchester had been one of the depots of French prisoners, and the beef in question was then given to them. When there were no more Frenchmen it was given to twenty-four old women who were appointed to do the weeding of the college quad{102}rangles. It must be understood that this arrangement was entirely spontaneous on the part of the boys, though it would have been quite out of the question for any individual to say that he for his part would eat his own beef. How all this may be now I know not. Probably the college, under the enlightened guidance of Her Majesty’s Commissioners, have seen the propriety of providing the youthful Wykehamists with table napkins and caper sauce, while the old women go without their dole of beef. On the Friday and Saturday the pudding was carried down out of hall by the juniors for consumption during the afternoon.

At about a quarter-past six, at the conclusion of afternoon school, we went up into hall for dinner—originally, of course, supper. This consisted of mutton, roast or boiled, every evening of the year, with potatoes and beer. But it was such mutton as is not to be found in English butchers’ shops nowadays, scientific breeding having improved it from off the face of the land. It was small Southdown mutton, uncrossed by any of the coarser, rapidly-growing, and fat-making breeds. And that it should be such was insured by the curious rule, that, though only a given number of pounds of mutton were required and paid for to the contractor, the daily supply was always to be one sheep and a half. So that if large mutton was sent it was to the loss of the contractor.

Furthermore it was the duty of the “prefect of tub” to see that the mutton was in all ways satisfactory. {103}The “prefect of tub” was one of the five boys at the head of the school; another was the “prefect of hall”; a third “prefect of school”; and the fourth and fifth “prefects of chapel.” These offices were all positions of emolument. That of the “prefect of tub” was far the most so, and was usually held by the senior college “founder,” or boy of “founder’s kin,” during his last year before going to New College. The titles of the other offices explain themselves, but that of “prefect of tub” requires some elucidation.

In the hall, placed just inside the screen which divided the buttery hatches from the body of the hall, there was an ancient covered “tub.” In the course of my eight years’ stay at Winchester this venerable tub—damnosa quid non diminuit dies?—had to be renewed. It was replaced by a much handsomer one; but, as I remember, the change had rather the effect on the popular mind in college of diminishing our confidence in the permanency of human institutions generally. The original purpose of this tub was to receive fragments and remains of food, together with such portions—“dispers” we called them—of the evening mutton supper as were not duly claimed by the destined recipient of them at his place at the table, that they might be given to the poor; and the “prefect of tub” was so called because it was part of his office to see that this was duly done. It was also his duty to preside over the distribution of the aforesaid “dispers”—not quasi dispars, as might be supposed by those who can appreciate the difference between a prime cut{104} out of a leg of mutton and a bit of the breast of a sheep, but “dispers” from dispertio. Now the distribution in question was effected in this wise. The joints were cut up in the kitchen always accurately in the same manner. The leg made eight “dispers,” the shoulder seven, and so on. The “dispers” thus prepared were put into four immense pewter dishes, and these were carried up into hall by four choristers under the superintendence of the “prefect of tub” and distributed among the fifty-two “inferiors”—i.e., non-prefects. The eighteen prefects dined at two tables by themselves. Their joints were not cut into “dispers,” but were dressed by the cook according to their own orders, paid for by themselves according to an established tariff drawn with reference to the extra expense of the mode of preparation ordered. The long narrow tables were six in number, ranged on either side of the noble hall, exactly as in a monastic refectory. The dais was left unoccupied, save at election time, when the “high table” was spread there. At the first two tables on the left hand side as one entered the hall, the eighteen prefects dined.

This bloated aristocracy was supplied with plates to eat their dinner from. The populace—mere mutton consumere nati—the fifty-two inferiors, had only “trenchers,” flat pieces of wood about nine inches square. These fifty-two “inferiors” were divided into eight companies, and occupied the remaining four tables. But this division was so arranged that one of the eight seniors of the{105} “inferiors” was at the head of each company, and one of the eight juniors at the bottom of each, the whole body being similarly distributed. And each of these companies occupied a different table every day, the party who sat at the lowest table on Monday occupying the highest on Tuesday, and so on. So that when the “prefect of tub” entered the hall at the head of the procession of four choristers, carrying the four “gomers” (such was the phrase) of dispers, he proceeded first to the table on the opposite side of the hall to that of the prefects, and saw that the senior of the mess occupying that table selected as many of the most eligible dispers as there were persons present. If any junior were absent by authority of, or on the business of, any prefect, his disper was allowed to be taken for him. This senior of the mess, it may be mentioned obiter was called, for some reason hidden in the obscurity of time, the “candlekeeper.” Assuredly neither he nor his office had any known connection with the keeping of candles. Any dispers remaining unclaimed at the end of his tour of the hall belonged to “the tub.”

In return for the performance of this important office, the “prefect of tub” was entitled to the heads, feet, and all such portions of the sheep as were not comprised in legs, shoulders, necks, loins, and breasts, as well as to the dispers of any individuals who might from any cause be absent from college. Of course he did not meddle personally with any of these perquisites, but had a contract{106} with the college manciple, the value of which was, I believe, about £80 a year. Such was the “prefect of tub.”

Orderly conduct in hall generally, which did not imply any degree of violence, was maintained by the “prefect of hall,” the dignity of whose office, though it was by no means so profitable as that of the “prefect of tub,” ranked above that of all the other “officers.” No master was ever present in hall.

But the most onerous and important duty of the prefect of hall consisted in superintending the excursion to “hills,”—i.e. to St. Catherine’s Hill, which took place twice on every holiday, once on every half-holiday during the year, and every evening during the summer months. On these occasions the “prefect of hall” had under his guidance and authority not only William of Wykeham’s seventy scholars, but the whole of the hundred and thirty pupils of the head master, who were called commoners. The scholars marched first, two and two (with the exception of the prefects who walked as they pleased), and then followed the commoners. And it was the duty of the prefect of hall to keep the column in good and compact order until the top of the hill was reached. Then all dispersed to amuse themselves as they pleased. But the prefect of hall still remained responsible for his flock keeping within bounds.

St. Catherine’s Hill is a notably isolated down in the immediate neighbourhood of Winchester, and{107} just above the charming little village of St. Cross. There is a clump of firs on the top, and the unusually well marked circumvallation of a Roman (or British?) camp around the circle of the hill. The ditch of this circumvallation formed our “bounds.” The straying beyond them, however, in the direction of the open downs away from the city, and from St. Cross, was deemed a very venial offence by either the prefect of hall or the masters. But not so in the direction of the town. It was the duty of the three “juniors” in college—one of whom I was during my first half-year—to “call domum.” When the time came for returning to college one of those three walked over the top of the hill from one side to the other, while the other two went round the circumvallation—each one half of it—calling perpetually “Domum ... domum” as loudly as they could. All the year round we went to “morning hills” before breakfast, and to afternoon hills about three. In the summer we went, as I have said, every evening after “hall,” but not to the top of the hill, only to the water-meads at the foot of it, the object being to bathe in the Itchen.

Many of the Winchester recollections most indelibly fixed in my memory are connected with “hills.” It seems impossible that sixty years can have passed since I stood on the bank of the circumvallation facing towards Winchester, and gazed down on the white morning mist that entirely concealed the city and valley. How many mornings{108} in the late autumn have I stood and watched the moving, but scarcely moving masses of billowy white cloud! And what strange similitudes and contrasts suggested themselves to my mind as I recently looked down from the heights of Monte Gennaro on the Roman Campagna similarly cloud hidden! The phenomenon exhibited itself on an infinitely larger scale in the latter case, but it did not suggest to me such thick-coming fancies and fantastic imaginings as the water-mead-born mists of the Itchen!

There were two special amusements connected with our excursions to St. Catherine’s Hill—badger baiting and “mouse-digging,” the former patronised mainly by the bigger fellows, the latter by their juniors. There was a man in the town, a not very reputable fellow I fancy, who had constituted himself “badger keeper” to the college. It was his business to provide a badger and dogs, and to bring them to certain appointed trysting places at “hill times” for the sport. The places in question were not within our “bounds,” but at no great distance in some combe or chalk-pit of the neighbouring downs. Of course it was not permitted by the authorities; but I think it might easily have been prevented had any attempt to do so been made in earnest. It seems strange, considering my eight years’ residence in college, that I never once was present at a badger baiting. I am afraid that my absence was not caused by distinct disapproval of the cruelty of the sport, but simply by the fact that{109} my favourite “hill-times” occupations took me in other directions.

Nor, probably for the same reason, was I a great mouse-digger. Very many of us never went to “hills” unarmed with a “mouse-digger.” This was a sort of miniature pickaxe, which was used to dig the field-mice out of their holes. The skill and the amusement consisted in following the labyrinthine windings of these, which are exceedingly numerous on the chalk downs, in such sort as to capture the inmate and her brood without injuring her, and carry her home in triumph to be kept in cages provided ad hoc.

There was—and doubtless is—a clump of firs on the very centre and summit of St. Catherine’s Hill. They are very tall and spindly trees, with not a branch until the tuft at the top is reached. And my great delight when I was in my first or second year was to climb these. Of course I was fond of doing what few, if any, of my compeers could do as well. And this was the case as regarded “swarming up” those tall and slippery stems. I could reach the topmost top, and gloried much in doing so.

But during my later years the occupation of a hill morning which most commended itself to me was ranging as widely as possible over the neighbouring hills. Like the fox in the old song, I was “off to the downs O!” As I have said, the straying beyond bounds in this direction, away from the town, was considered a very light offence; but I was apt to make it a somewhat more serious one by not getting{110} back from my rambling, despite good running, till it was too late to return duly with the main body to college. It was very probable that this might pass without detection, if there were no roll-call on the way back. But it frequently happened that “Gaffer” (such was Dr. Williams’s sobriquet among us) on his white horse met us on our homeward march, and stopped the column, while the prefect of hall called names. As these escapades in my case occurred mainly during my last three years, I being a prefect myself owed no allegiance to the authority of the prefect of hall. But the roll-call revealing my absence would probably issue in my having to learn by heart one of the epistles of Horace. Prefects learned their “impositions” by heart, “inferiors” wrote them.

Every here and there the sides of these downs are scored by large chalk-pits. There is a very large one on St. Catherine’s Hill on the side looking towards St. Cross; and this was a favourite scene of exploits in which I may boast myself (’tis sixty years since!) to have been unrivalled. There was a very steep and rugged path by which it was possible to descend from the upper edge of this chalk-pit to the bottom of it. And it was a feat, in which I confess I took some pride, to take a fellow on my shoulders (not on my back), while he had a smaller boy on his shoulders, and thus with two living stories on my shoulders to descend the difficult path in question. And the boy in the middle—the first story—could not be a very small one, for it was{111} requisite that he also should hold and balance his burthen thoroughly well. I think I could carry one very little boy down now!

It was the “prefect of hall” who managed the whole business of our holidays—as they would be called elsewhere—which we called “remedies.” A “holiday” meant at Winchester a red-letter day; and was duly kept as such. But if no such day occurred in the week, the “prefect of hall” went on the Tuesday morning to the head master (Wiccamice “informator”) and asked for a “remedy,” which, unless there were any reason, such as very bad weather, or a holiday coming later in the week, was granted by handing to the prefect a ring, which remained in his keeping till the following morning. This symbol was inscribed “Commendat rarior usus.

But in addition to these important duties the “prefect of hall” discharged another, of which I must say a few words, with reference to the considerable amount of interest which the outside world was good enough to take in the subject a few years ago, with all that accurate knowledge of facts, and that discrimination which people usually display when talking of what they know nothing about.

It was the “prefect of hall,” who ordered the infliction of a “public tunding.” The strange phrase, dropped by some unlucky chance into ears to which it conveyed no definite meaning, seems to have inspired vague terrors of the most terrific kind. Very much nonsense was talked and printed at the{112} time I refer to. But the following simple and truthful statement of what a public tunding was, may enable those, who take an interest in the matter, to form some reasonable opinion whether the infliction of such punishment were a good or a bad thing.

At the conclusion of the evening dinner or supper, whichever it may be called, the “prefect of hall” summoned the boys to the dais for the singing of grace. Some dozen or so of boys, who had the best capacities for the performance, were appointed by him for the purpose, and the whole assembly stood around the dais, while the hymn, Te de Profundis, was sung. When all were thus assembled, and before the singers commenced, the culprit who had been sentenced to a tunding stepped out, pulled off his gown, and received from the hands of one deputed by the “prefect of hall,” and armed with a tough, pliant ground-ash stick, a severe beating. I never had a tunding; but I have no doubt that the punishment was severe, though I never heard of any boy disabled by it from pursuing his usual work or his usual amusements. It was judiciously ordered by the “prefect of hall” for offences deemed unbecoming the character of a Wykehamist and a gentleman, and only for such. Any such petty larceny exploits as the scholars at some other “seats of learning” are popularly said to be not unfrequently guilty of, such as robberies of orchards or poultry-yards or the like, would have inevitably entailed a public tunding. Any attempt{113} whatsoever to appropriate unduly either by fraud or violence anything sent to another boy from home—any portion of a “cargo,” as such despatches were called—and à fortiori any money or money’s value, would have necessitated a public tunding. The infliction was rare. Many half years passed without any public tunding having been administered. And my own impression is, that the practice was eminently calculated to foster among us a high tone of moral and gentlemanlike feeling.

These reminiscences of the penal code that was in vigour among ourselves are naturally connected with those referring to the subject of corporal punishment in its more official form.

On one of the whitewashed walls of the huge schoolroom was an inscription conceived and illustrated as follows: “Aut disce!” and there followed a depicted book and inkstand; “Aut discede!” followed by a handsomely painted sword, as who should say, “Go and be a soldier!” (offering that as an alternative for which no learning was needed, after the fashion of a day before examinations for commissions were dreamed of!); and then lastly, “Manet sors tertia cædi,” followed by the portraiture of a rod.

But this rod is of so special and peculiar a kind, and so dissimilar from any such instrument as used elsewhere, that I must try to explain the nature of it to my non-Wiccamical readers. A stick of some hard wood, beech I think it was, turned into{114} a shape convenient to the hand, about a yard long, and with four grooves about three inches long and as large as a cedar pencil, cut in the extremity of it, formed the handle. Into these four grooves were fitted four slender apple twigs about five feet long. They were sent up from Herefordshire in bundles, cut and prepared for the purpose, and it was the duty of the “prefect of school” to provide them. These twigs, fitted into the grooves, were fixed by a string which bound them tightly to the handle, and a rod was thus formed, the four-fold switches of which stood out some foot—or more than that towards the end—from each other.

The words “flog,” or “flogging,” it is to be observed, were never heard among us, in the mouth either of the masters or of the boys. We were “scourged.” And a scourging was administered in this wise. At a certain spot in the school—near the seat of the “informator,” when he was the executioner, and near that of the “hostiarius” or under master when he had to perform—in front of a fixed form, the patient kneeled down. Two boys, any who chanced to be at hand, stepped behind the form, turned the gown of a collegian or the coat tails of a commoner over his shoulders, and unbuttoned his brace buttons, leaving bare at the part where the braces join the trousers a space equal to the diameter of a crown-piece—such was the traditional rule. And aiming at this with more or less exactitude the master inflicted three cuts. Such was a “scourging.{115}

Prefects, it may be observed, were never scourged.

The “best possible instructors” of this enlightened age, who never treat of subjects the facts of which they are not conversant with, have said much of the “cruelty,” and the “indecency” of such infliction of corporal punishment, and of the moral degradation necessarily entailed on the sufferers of it. As to the cruelty, it will be readily understood from the above description of the rod, that it was quite as likely as not that no one of the four twigs, at either of the three cuts, touched the narrow bare part; especially as the operator—proceeding from one patient to another with the utmost possible despatch, and with his eyes probably on the list in his left hand of the culprits to be operated on—had little leisure or care for aiming. The fact simply was that the pain was really not worth speaking of, and that nobody cared the least about it.

The affair passed somewhat in this wise. It is ten o’clock; the morning school is over; and we are all in a hurry to get out to breakfast. There are probably about a dozen or a score of boys to be scourged. Dr. Williams, as well beloved a master as ever presided over any school in the world, has come down from his seat, elevated three steps above the floor of the school, putting on his great cocked hat as he does so. He steps to the form where the scourging is to be done; the list of those to be scourged, with the reasons why, is handed to him{116} by the prefect, charged for the week with this duty, together with the rod. He calls “Jones” ... swish, swish, swish!... “Brown” ... swish, swish, swish!... “Robinson” ... swish, swish, swish! as rapidly as it can be done. Each operation takes perhaps twenty seconds. Having got through the list, he flings the rod on the ground, makes a demi-volte so as to face the whole school, taking off his hat as he does so, and the “prefect of school” who has been waiting on the steps of the master’s seat, with the prayer-book open in his hand, instantly reads the short prayer with which the school concludes, while those who have been scourged stand in the background hurriedly readjusting their brace buttons so as not to be behind hand at the buttery hatch for breakfast. Of any disgrace attached to the reception of a scourging, no one had any smallest conception.

Of the cruelty of the infliction the reader may judge for himself. Of the indecent talk about indecency he may also know from the above accurate account what to think. The degree of “moral degradation” inflicted on the sufferers may perhaps be estimated by a reference to the roll of those whom Winchester has supplied to serve their country in Church and State.

The real and unanswerable objection to the infliction of “corporal punishment,” as it was used in my day at Winchester, was that it was a mere form and farce. It caused neither pain nor disgrace, and assuredly morally degraded nobody. I{117} have been scourged five times in the day; not because, as might be supposed, I was so incorrigible that the master found it necessary to go on scourging me, but simply because it so chanced. I had, say, come into chapel “tardè,” i.e. after the service had commenced; I had omitted to send in duly my “vulgus”; I had been “floored” in my Horace; I had missed duly answering “sum,” when on returning from “hills” “Gaffer” had met the procession on his grey horse and caused the “prefect of hall” “to call names,” the reason being that I had been far away over the downs to Twyford, and had not been able to run back in time; and an unlucky simultaneousness of these or of a dozen other such sins of omission or commission had occurred, which had to be wiped off by a scourging by the “hostiarius” at the morning school, and another by the “informator;” by a third from the former at “middle school,” when the head master did not attend; by a fourth from the “hostiarius” at evening school, and a fifth from the “informator” the last thing before going out to dinner at six. But this was a rare tour de force, scarcely likely to occur again. I was rather proud of it, and wholly unconscious of any “moral degradation.”

I have spoken of the “informator” putting on his cocked hat when about to commence his work of scourging. I am at a loss to account for his having worn this very unacademical costume. It was a huge three-cornered cocked hat very much like that of a coachman on state occasions; and must, I take{118} it, have been a survival from about the time of Charles the Second. It has, I believe, been since discarded.

The mention above of a “vulgus” requires some explanation. Every “inferior,” i.e. non-prefect, in the school was required every night to produce a copy of verses of from two to six lines on a given theme; four or six lines for the upper classes, two for the lowest. This was independent of a weekly “verse task” of greater length, and was called a “vulgus,” I suppose, because everybody—the vulgus—had to do it. The prefects were exercised in the same manner but with a difference. Immediately before going out from morning or from evening school, at the conclusion of the day’s lesson, the “informator” would give a theme, and each boy was expected then and there without the assistance of pen, paper, or any book, to compose a couple, or two couple, of lines, and give them vivâ voce. He got up, and scraped with his foot to call the master’s attention when he was ready; and as not above five or ten minutes were available for the business, a considerable degree of promptitude was requisite. The theory was that these compositions—“varying” was the term in the case of the prefects, as “vulgus” in that of the inferiors—should be epigrammatic in their nature, and that Martial rather than Ovid should be the model. Of course but little of an epigrammatic nature was for the most part achieved; but great readiness was made habitual by the practice. And sometimes the{119} result was creditable to something more than readiness.

I am tempted to give one instance of such a “varying.” It belonged to an earlier time than mine—the time when Decus et tutamen was adopted as the motto cut on the rim of the five-shilling pieces. The author of the “varying” in question had been ill with fever, and his head had been shaved, causing him to wear a wig. Decus et tutamen was the theme given. In a minute or two he was ready, stood up, and taking off his wig, said, “Aspicite hos crines! duplicem servantur in usum! Hi mihi tutamen nocte”—putting the wig on wrong side outwards; “Dieque decus,” reversing it as he spoke the words. The memory of this “varying” lives—or lived!—at Winchester. But I do not think it has ever been published, and really it deserves preservation. I wish I could give the author’s name.

When at the end of the summer holidays in that year, 1820, I returned to college, again brought down to Winchester by my father in his gig, I confess to having felt for some short time a very desolate little waif. As I, at the time a child barely out of the nursery, look back upon it, it seems to my recollection that the strongest sense of being shoved off from shore without guidance, help, or protection, arose from never seeing or speaking to a female human being. To be sure there was at the sick-house the presiding “mother”—Gumbrell her name was, usually pronounced “Grumble{120}”—but she was not a fascinating representative of the sex. An aged woman once nearly six feet high, then much bent by rheumatism, rather grim and somewhat stern, she very conscientiously administered the prescribed “black-dose and calomel pill” to those under her care at the sick-house. To be there was called being “continent;” to leave it was “going abroad”—intelligibly enough. Tea was provided there for those “continent” instead of the usual breakfast of bread and butter and beer; and I remember overhearing Mother Gumbrell, oppressed by an unusual number of inmates, say, “Talk of Job indeed! Job never had to cut crusty loaves into bread and butter!”

I saw the old woman die! I was by chance in the sick-house kitchen—in after years, when a prefect—and “Dicky Gumbrell,” the old woman’s husband, who had been butler to Dean Ogle, and who by special and exceptional favour was allowed to live with his wife in the sick-house, was reading to her the story of Joseph and his Brethren, while she was knitting a stocking, and sipping occasionally from a jug of college beer which stood between them, when quite suddenly her hands fell on to her lap and her head on to her bosom, and she was dead! while poor old Dicky quite unconsciously went on with his reading.

But I mentioned Mother Gumbrell only to observe that she, the only petticoated creature whom we ever saw or spoke with, was scarcely calculated to supply, even to the imagination, the feminine ele{121}ment which had till then made so large a part of the lives of ten-year-old children fresh from their mother’s knee.

Perhaps the most markedly distinctive feature of the school life was the degree in which we were uninterfered with by any personal superintendence. The two masters came into the school-room to hear the different classes at the hours which have been mentioned, also, when we were “in chambers” in the evening, either during the hour of study which intervened between the six o’clock dinner and the eight o’clock prayers in the chapel, or during the subsequent hour between that and nine o’clock, when all went, or ought to have gone, to bed; and subsequently to that, when all were supposed to be in bed and asleep, we were at any moment liable to the sudden unannounced visit of the “hostiarius” or second master. The visit was a mere “going round.” If all was in order, it passed in silence, and was over in a minute. If any tea-things were surprised, they were broken, as before mentioned. If beer, or traces of the consumption of beer, were apparent, that was all right. The supply of a provision of that refreshment was recognised, it being a part of the duty of the bedmakers to carry every evening into each of the seven “chambers” a huge “nipperkin” of beer, “to last,” as I remember one of the bedmakers telling me when I first went into college, “for all night.” The supply, as far as my recollection goes, was always considerably in excess of the consumption. If all was not in order, “the{122} prefect in course”—i.e. the prefect who in each chamber was responsible for due order during the current week—was briefly told to speak with the master next morning. And this comprises about all the personal intercourse that took place between us and the masters.

Not that it is to be understood that any hour of our lives was left to our own discretion as to the employment of it; but this was attained by no immediate personal superintendence or direction. The systematised routine was so perfect, and so similar in its operation to the movements of some huge irresistible machine, that the disposal of each one of our hours seemed to be as natural, as necessary, and as inevitable as the waxing and waning of the moon. And the impression left on my mind by eight years’ experience of such a system is, that it was pre-eminently calculated to engender and foster habitual conceptions of the paramount authority of law, as distinguished from the dictates of personal notions or caprices; of self-reliance, and of conscious responsibility in the individual as forming an unit in an organised whole. Of course the eighteen prefects were to a much smaller degree coerced by the machine, and to a very great degree active agents in the working of it. And I was a prefect during three years of my eight in college. But at first, when a little fellow of, say, ten years old, entered this new world, it was not without a desolate sensation of abandonment, which it needed a month or two’s experience to get the better of.{123}

All this, however, was largely corrected and modified by one admirable institution, which was a cardinal point in the Wiccamical system. To every “inferior” was appointed one of the prefects as a “tutor.” It was the duty of this tutor to superintend and see to the learning of his lessons by the inferior, and the due performance of his written “prose” and “verse tasks,” to protect him against all ill-usage or “bullying,” and to be in all ways his providence and friend. These appointments were made by the “informator.” The three or four senior prefects had as many as seven pupils, the junior prefects one or two only; and the tutor received from the parents of each pupil, by the hands of the master, two guineas yearly.

In order rightly to understand the working of all these arrangements, it must be explained that each individual’s place in “the school” and his place “in college” were two entirely different things. The first depended on his acquirements when he entered the college and his subsequent scholastic progress. The latter depended solely on his seniority “in college.” The junior in college was the last boy whose nomination succeeded in finding a vacancy in any given year; and he remained “junior” till the admission of another boy next year, when he had one junior below him, and so on. Thus it might happen, and constantly did happen, that a boy’s junior in college might be much above him in the school, either from having come in at a later age, or from being a better prepared or cleverer{124} boy. And all the arrangements of the domestic college life, the fagging, &c., depended wholly on juniority “in college,” and had no reference to the place held by each in the school. But all this seniority and juniority “in college” ceased to operate in any way as soon as the individual in question became a prefect. He had then equal authority over every “inferior,” whether such inferior were his senior or junior in college.

It is evident, therefore, that the prefect’s authority was frequently exercised over individuals older, bigger, stronger than himself; and for the due and regular working of this system it was necessary that the authority of the prefect should be absolute and irresistible. It was traditionally supposed in college that for an “inferior” to raise his hand against a prefect would be a case of expulsion. Whether expulsion would have actually followed, I cannot say, for during my eight years’ residence in college I never remember such a case to have occurred. I have heard my father and other old Wykehamists of his day declare that no such absolute authority as that of a prefect at Winchester existed in England, save in the case of the captain of a man-of-war. It should be observed, however, in modification of this, that any abuse of this authority in the way of bullying or cruelty would at once have been interfered with by that other prefect, the victim’s tutor. An appeal to the master would have been about as much thought of as an appeal to Jupiter or Mars.{125}


When I went into college in 1820, at ten years old, Dr. Gabell was the “informator,” and Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Williams the “hostiarius,” or second master. When I quitted it in 1828, Dr. Williams was head master, and Mr. Ridding second master. I do not know that Gabell was altogether an unpopular man, but he never inspired that strong affection that his successor did. His manner was disagreeable. In short, he was not so completely a gentleman as Williams was.

I am tempted to give here an anecdote that was currently told of Gabell—though I cannot say that it occurred within my knowledge—because it is at all events a very characteristic one.

Some boy or other—he was, I fancy, a “commoner,” or one of Dr. Gabell’s private pupils—was guilty of some small delinquency which had the unfortunate effect of especially angering the Doctor, who, in his rage, without giving a second thought to the matter, wrote off a hurried letter to the boy’s father, telling him that if his son continued his present conduct he was on the high road to ruin.{126}

Unfortunately, the parent lived in one of the far northern counties. In extreme distress he at once left home and posted to Winchester.

Rushing, in agitation and anxiety, into Gabell’s study, he gasped out, “What is it? Tell it me at once! What has my unhappy boy done?”

“What boy?” snorted Gabell. “What do you mean? I don’t know what you are talking about!”

The father, much relieved, but more amazed, pulls out the terrible letter which had summoned him, and puts it before the much crestfallen “informator.”

“I had forgotten all about it!” he was compelled to own. “The boy is a good boy enough. You had better go and talk to him yourself, and—and tell him not to miss answering his name again!” The parent’s feelings and his expression of them may be imagined.

It used to be said, I remember, that of the two masters of Winchester, one snored without sleeping (Gabell), and the other slept without snoring. Gabell was, in truth, always snorting or snoring (so to call it); but the accusation against Williams of sleeping was, I think, justified only by his peculiarly placid and quiet manner. He was a remarkably handsome man; and his sobriquet, among those of the previous generation rather than among us boys, was, “The Beauty of Holiness”—again with reference to the unruffled repose of his manner. We boys invariably called him “Gaffer.” Why, I know not.

Gabell, I think, had no nickname; but there was{127} a phrase among us, as common as any household word, which was in some degree characteristic of the man. Any conduct which was supposed likely to turn out eventually to the detriment of the actor was called “spiting Gabell;” and the expression was continually used when the speaker intended no more reference to Dr. Gabell than a man who orders a spencer has to the first wearer of that garment.

Mr. Ridding was not a popular master, though I do not know that he had any worse fault than a bad manner. It was a jaunty, jerky, snappish manner, totally devoid of personal dignity. It was said that in school he was not impartial. But by the time he became second master, on the retirement of Gabell, I had reached that part of the school which was under the head master, and have no personal knowledge of the matter. I do not think any boy would have gone to Ridding in any private trouble or difficulty. There was not one who would not have gone to Williams as to a father.

But in my reminiscences of the college authorities, I must not omit the first and greatest of all—the Warden. Huntingford, Bishop of Hereford, was Warden during the whole of my college career. He was an aged man, and somewhat of a valetudinarian. And to the imagination of us boys, who rarely saw him, he assumed something of the mystic, awe-inspiring character of a “veiled prophet of Khorassan.” The most awful threat that could be fulminated against any boy, was that he should{128} be had up before the Warden. I do not remember that any boy ever was. He alone could expel a boy; and he alone could give leave out from college; as was testified by the appearance every Sunday of a great folio sheet, on which were inscribed, in his own peculiar great square characters, each letter standing by itself, the names of those who had been invited by friends to dine in the town, and who were thereby permitted to go out from, I think, one to five. To go out of the college gates without that permission was expulsion. But it was a crime never committed. There were traditional stories of scaling of walls, but I remember no case of the kind.

There was one occasion on which every boy had an interview with the Warden—that of taking before him the “college oath,” which took place when we were, as I remember, fourteen. On a certain day in every year the “prefect of hall” made inquiry for all of that age who had not taken the oath, and required them to copy a sheet of writing handed to them. I cannot remember the words in which the oath was couched, but the main provisions of it were to the effect that you would never by word or deed do aught to injure the college or its revenues; that you would be obedient to the authorities; and that you would never in any way by word or deed look down on any scholar of the college, the social position of whose family might be inferior to your own. And I remember that there was appended to the oath the story of a{129} certain captain in Cromwell’s forces, who, when the Parliament troopers were about to invade, and probably sack, the college, so exercised his authority as to prevent that misfortune, being influenced thereto by the remembrance of his college oath. Before swearing, which we did with much awe, we had to read over the oath. And I well remember that if a boy in reading pronounced the word “revenue” with the accent on the first syllable (as it was already at that time the usual mode to do), the Warden invariably corrected him with, “Revènue, boy!” It was, I suppose, an exemplification of the dictum “No innovation,” which (with the “a” pronounced as in “father,”) was said to be continually the rule of his conduct.

Probably it did not occur to him that the Herefordshire people might have considered it an innovation that Herefordshire candidates for orders should be obliged to come to be ordained in Winchester College Chapel, as was the case, instead of finding their Bishop in his own cathedral church!

Bishop Huntingford was a notable Grecian, and had published a rudimentary book of Greek exercises, which was at one time largely used. I take it he was not in any larger sense a profound scholar. But I remember a story which was illustrative of his grammatical accuracy. The Dean of Winchester, Dr. Rennell, was an enthusiastic Platonist, and upon one occasion in conversation with the Warden and others, quoted a passage from Plato, in which{130} the adjective “παντων” occurred. Upon which the Bishop promptly denied that any such words were to be found in Plato. The controversy was said to have been remitted to the arbitrament of a wager of a dinner and dozen of port, when the Warden, who in fact knew nothing of the passage quoted, but knew that the Dean had said “παντων” in the masculine, when the substantive with which it was made to agree required the feminine, said, “No! no! πασων, Mr. Dean, πασων!” and so won his wager.

The Warden’s nickname, borne among sundry generations of Wykehamists, was Tupto (τυπτω), as we always supposed from that Greek verb used as the example in the Greek grammar. But I have heard from those of an earlier generation that it was quasi dicas “tiptoe,” from the fact of his father having been a dancing-master. The former derivation seems to me the more plausible.

“Tupto” very rarely came to college chapel, and when he did so in his episcopal wig and lawn sleeves, it was felt by us that his presence gave a very marked additional solemnity to the occasion. Though assuredly far from being a model bishop according to the estimate of these latter days, I believe him to have been a very good man. He lived and died a bachelor, having at a very early period of his life undertaken the support of a brother’s widow and family, who had been left unprovided for. And it was reported among Wykehamists of an earlier generation than mine{131} that never was husband so severely ruled by a wife as the Bishop was by his sister-in-law. “Peace to his manes,” as old Cramer, the pianist, used to say, always pronouncing it monosyllabically, “mains”! His rule of Winchester College was a long and prosperous one; and as long as it lasted he was able to carry out his favourite maxim, “No innovation!”

But when old Tupto went over to the majority, the spirit of innovation, so long repressed, began to exert itself in many directions. I am told for instance that it has been found too much for young Wykehamists of the present generation to wait for their breakfasts till ten in the morning, and that the excursion to “morning hills” before breakfast is declared to be too much for their strength. Well, I wish it may answer, as Sterne’s Uncle Toby said. But I do not think that the college during the latter years of our century can show better bills of health than it did in its earlier decades.

The dormitory arrangements are much changed, I believe, and it may be worth while to record a few reminiscences of what they were in my day.

The second or inner quadrangle of the college buildings was formed by the chapel and hall and kitchen on one side, and on the other three by the lodgings of the fellows and the “hostiarius” on the first floor, and the “chambers” of the scholars on the ground floor. These chambers were seven in number. They contained therefore on an average ten beds each. But they were by no means equal{132} in size. The largest, “seventh” (for they were all known by their numbers), held thirteen beds; the smallest, “fifth,” only eight. A few years before my time, that side of the quadrangle under which were situated the “first” and “second” chambers was burned. And the beds and other arrangements in these two chambers were of a more modern model. In the other five the old bedsteads remained as they had been from time immemorial. They were of solid oak of two to three inches thickness in every part, and were black with age. The part which held the bed was a box, about six feet and a half long, by three wide, with solid sides some six inches deep, and supported on four massive legs. But at the head for about eighteen inches or so these sides were raised to a height of about four or five feet, and covered in. The whole construction was massive, and afforded an extremely snug and comfortable sleeping place, which was much preferred to the iron bedsteads in the two new chambers. Older bones might perhaps have found the oak planking under the bed somewhat hard, but we were entirely unconscious of any such objection.

The door in every chamber was well screened from the beds. There was a huge fireplace with heavy iron dogs, on which we burned in winter large faggots about four feet long. Four of such faggots was the allowance for each evening, and it was abundantly sufficient. It was the duty of the bedmakers, whose operations were all performed when we were in school, to put four faggots in each{133} chamber, which we used at our discretion—i. e. at the discretion of the prefects in the chamber. As the eighteen prefects were distributed among the seven chambers, there were three prefects in each of the larger, and two in each of the smaller chambers. By the side of each bed was a little desk, with a cupboard above, which was called a “toys,” in which each boy kept the books he needed for work “in chambers,” and any other private property. For his clothes he had also by his bedside a large chest, of a make contemporary with the bedstead, which served him also for a seat at the desk of the “toys.” In the middle of the chamber was a pillar, around which were hung our surplices. Over the huge fireplace was an iron sconce fixed in the wall, in which a rushlight, called by us a “functure” was burned all night. And the “prefect in course” was responsible for its being kept duly burning. The nightly rounds of the “hostiarius” were not frequent, but he might come at any minute of any night. Suddenly his pass key would be heard in the door—for it was the rule that every chamber door should be kept locked all night; he came in with a lanthorn in his hand, and if all was right, i. e. if the functure was duly burning, every boy in his bed, and his candle put out, he merely looked around and passed on to another chamber. If otherwise, the “prefect in course” had an interview with him on the following morning. These chamber doors, which, as I have said, it was the rule to keep always locked during the night, were exceed{134}ingly massive, ironbound, and with enormous locks and hinges. Now there was a tradition in college that a certain former “senior prefect in third” (subaudi chamber) had carried the door of that chamber round the quadrangle. The Atlas thus remembered was a minor canon of the cathedral, when I was “senior prefect in third,” and the tradition of his prowess excited my emulation. So I had the door in question taken from its hinges and laid upon my bent back, and caused the door of “fourth” to be carefully placed on the top of it, and so carried both doors round the quadrangle, thus outdoing the minor canon by a hundred per cent. In due proportion the feat should surely have made me in time a canon! But it has not done so. I think, however, that I might challenge any one of my schoolfellows of the present generation, whose constitutions are cared for by the early breakfasts, which we did not get, to do likewise—supposing, that is, the old doors to be still in existence, and in statu quo. From seven to eight we were, or ought to have been, at work, seated at our “toys” in chambers. And during that hour no “inferior” could leave the chamber without the permission of the “prefect in course.” At eight we went into chapel—or rather into the ante-chapel only—for short prayers, and after that till nine we were free to do as we pleased. Some would walk up and down “sands,” as the broad flagstone pavement below the chapel wall was called.

Each prefect in the chamber had a little table, at{135} which he sat during the evening, and which in the morning served as a washing-stand, on which it was the duty of the “junior,” who was his “valet,” to place his basin and washing things. But all “inferiors” had to perform their ablutions at the “conduit” in the open quadrangle. In severe or wet weather this was not Sybaritic! But again I say that it would have been difficult to find a healthier collection of boys than we were.

The discipline which regulated that part of college life spent “in chambers,” must have been, I think, much more lax at a former day, than it was in my time, for I remember to have heard my father, who was in college under Dr. Warton, say that Tom Warton, the head master’s brother (and the well-known author of the History of Poetry) used frequently to be with the boys “in chambers” of an evening; that he would often knock off a companion’s “verse task” for him, and that the Doctor the next morning would recognise “that rascal Tom’s work.” Now in my day it would have been altogether impossible and out of the question for any outsider, however much an old Wykehamist, and brother of the master, to be with us in chambers.

There was an anecdote current I remember among Wykehamists of that generation respecting “that rascal Tom,” to the effect that he narrowly missed becoming head of Trinity, of which college at Oxford he was a fellow, under the following circumstances. There was a certain fellow of the college, whose name need not here be recorded,{136} rather famous among his contemporaries for the reverse of wisdom or intelligence. Upon one occasion, Tom Warton, sitting in his stall in chapel close to the gentleman in question, who was reading the Psalms, and when the latter came to the verse, “Lord, thou knowest my simpleness,” was so indiscreet as to mutter in an almost audible tone, “Ay! we all know that!” But it so chanced that not very long afterwards there was an election for the presidentship of the college, and Warton, who was a very popular man, was one of two candidates. The college, however, was very closely divided between them, and “that rascal Tom” had to apply to his “simple” colleague for his vote. “Not so simple as all that, Mr. Warton!” was the reply; and the story goes that the historian of poetry lost his election by that one vote.

And this college chapel anecdote reminds me to say, before concluding my Wiccamical reminiscences, a few words about our chapel-going in the olden time. In this department also very much of change has taken place, doubtless here at least for the better.

But it must be remembered that any change of this sort has been contemporaneous with change, at least as strongly marked in the same direction, in the general tone of English manners, sentiments, and habits. We English were not a devout people in the days when George the Third was king, especially as regards all that portion of the world which held aloof from evangelicalism and dissent. We were not altogether without religious feeling in{137} college, but it manifested itself chiefly in the form of a pronounced abhorrence for those two, as we considered them, ungentlemanlike propensities. For about three weeks at Easter time the lower classes in the school read the Greek Testament instead of the usual Greek authors, and the upper classes read Lowth’s Prælections on the Sacred Poetry of the Hebrews—a book unimpeachable in point of Latinity and orthodoxy, for was not the author a Wykehamist? But I do not remember aught else in the way of religious instruction, unless it were found in the assiduity of our attendances at chapel.

We went to chapel twice (including the short evening prayers in the ante-chapel) every day. On Fridays we went three times, and on Saturdays also three times; the service in the afternoon being choral. On Sundays we went thrice to chapel, and twice to the cathedral; on red-letter days thrice to chapel, and as often on “Founder’s commemoration,” and “Founder’s obit.” These latter services, as also those on Sundays and holidays, were choral. We had three chaplains, an organist, four vicars choral, and six choristers for the service of the chapel. The “choristers,” who were mentioned at a former page as carrying the “dispers” up into hall, though so called, had nothing to do with the choral service. They were twelve in number, were fed, clothed, and educated by a master of their own, and discharged the duty of waiting on the scholars as messengers, etc., at certain hours.

Our three chaplains were all of them also minor{138} canons of the cathedral. Very worthy, good men they were—one of them especially and exceptionally exemplary in his family relations; but their mode of performing the service in the chapel was not what would in these days be considered decorous or reverential. Besides the chaplaincy of the college, and the minor canonry of the cathedral, these gentlemen—all three of them, I believe—held small livings in the city. And the multiplicity of duty which had thus to be done rendered a decree of speed in the performance of the service so often a desideratum, and sometimes an absolute necessity, that that became the most marked characteristic of the performers. In reading, or rather intoning the prayers, the habit was to allow no time at all for the choir to chant their “Amen,” which had to be interjected in such sort that when the tones of it died away the priest had already got through two or three lines of the following prayer. One of our chaplains, who had the well-deserved character of being the fastest of the three, we called the diver. For it was his practice in reading or intoning to continue with great rapidity as long as his breath would last, and then, while recovering it, to proceed mentally without interruption, so that we lost sight (or hearing) of him at one point, and when he came to the surface, i.e., became audible again, he was several lines further down the page; and this we called “diving.” It was proudly believed in college that this was the gentleman of whom the story was first told, that he was ready to give any man to{139} “Pontius Pilate” in the Creed, and arrive at the end before him. But however worthy competitor he may have been in such a race, I have reason to believe that the chaplain of a certain college in Oxford was the original of the story.

Another of our three chaplains was a great sportsman. It was the practice that the lessons were always read in chapel by one of the prefects.

I remember by the bye (but this is parenthetical), that one of our number was unable to pronounce the letter “r,” and we used to scheme that it should fall to his lot to tell us that “Bawabbas was a wobber.”

Now the boy who read the lessons, sat, not in his usual place, but by the side of the chaplain who was performing the service. And it was the habit of the reverend sportsman I have referred to, to intercalate with the verses of the Psalm he was reading, sotto voce, anecdotes of his most recent sporting achievements, addressed to the youth at his side, using for the purpose the interval during which the choir recited the alternate verse.

As thus, on one twenty-eighth evening of the month, well remembered after some sixty years:

“Who smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Then aside, in the well-known great rolling, mellow voice (I can hear it now):

“On Hurstley Down yesterday I was out with Jack Woodburn” (this was another minor canon of the cathedral, but not one of our chaplains)....

“Sehon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever.”


“My black bitch Juno put up a covey almost at our feet.”

“And gave away their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

“I blazed away with both barrels and brought down a brace.”

“Who remembered us when we were in trouble: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

“But Jack fired too soon and never touched a feather.” And so on.

Now there would be no sort of interest in recording that we unfortunately chanced to have at one time a very graceless chaplain, if such had been the case, which it was not. The interest lies in the fact that the gentleman in question was a worthy and excellent man in all the relations of life; that he was absolutely innocent of intentional impropriety; and that, as far as I can remember, we had none of us the faintest idea that we ought to have been shocked or scandalised. Such was the state of things and men’s minds “sixty years since.”

The brother of this chaplain was the manciple of the college, and was known among us as “Damme Hopkins,” from the following circumstance. His manner was a quaint mixture of pomposity and bonhomie, which made a conversation with him a rather favourite amusement with some of us. Now the manciple was a very well-to-do man, and was rather fond of letting it be known that his independent circumstances made the emoluments of{141} the place he held a matter of no importance to him. “Indeed,” he would say, “I spoke to the Bishop [the Warden] a few months ago of resigning, but the Bishop says to me, ‘No, no, Damme Hopkins, you must keep the place.’ And I have no doubt that the deficiency of dramatic instinct which thus led the worthy manciple to transfer his own phraseology to his right reverend interlocutor rendered him quite unconscious of any inaccuracy in his narration.

We used to go twice every Sunday, as I have said, to the cathedral. But we did not attend the whole morning service. We timed our arrival there so as to reach the cathedral at the beginning of the Communion service, and to be present at that and at the sermon which followed it. We had no sermons in college chapel, save on certain special occasions, such as 5th of November, “Founder’s commemoration,” or “Founder’s obit.” On the former of these occasions a sermon used to be preached with which we had become familiar by the annual repetition of it during a succession of years. I wonder how many there are left who will remember the words, “A letter was sent, couched in the most ambiguous terms, and who so likely to detect it as the King himself?”

At the cathedral a series of benches between the pulpit and Bishop’s throne and the altar were reserved for us, so that the preacher was immediately in front and to the right of us. The surplice was used in the cathedral pulpit at the morning service, the Geneva gown at that in the afternoon. At the{142} former one of the prebendaries or the dean was the preacher, at the latter a minor canon.

I remember that we used to think a good deal of the dean’s sermons, and always attended to them—a compliment which was not often paid, to the best of my recollection, to the other preachers. Dean Rennell was a man of very superior abilities, but of great eccentricity, mainly due to extreme absence of mind. It used to be told of him that unless Mrs. Rennell took good care, he was tolerably certain, when he went up to his room to dress for a dinner-party, to go to bed. It will be understood from what has been said of the accommodation provided for us in the cathedral, that in order to face us, the preacher, addressing himself to the body of the congregation in the choir, must have turned himself round in the pulpit. And this Rennell would sometimes do, when he thought what he was saying especially calculated for our edification. He was, as I have already mentioned, a great Platonist, and when he alluded, as he not unfrequently did, to some doctrine or opinion of the Grecian philosopher, he would turn to us and say, in a sort of parenthetical aside, “Plato I mean.”

Among the stories that were current of Rennell I remember one to the effect that when upon one occasion he was posting from Winchester to London he stopped at Egham for luncheon. A huge round of boiled beef, nearly uncut, was placed upon the table. But the dean found it was, as he thought, far too much boiled; so without more ado he cut the{143} huge mass into four quarters and helped himself to a morsel from the centre! The landlady, when the mutilated joint was carried out, was exceedingly indignant, and insisted that a guinea should be paid for the entirety of it. The dean, much against the grain, as the chronicle goes, paid his guinea, but packed up the four quarters of the round and carried them off with him.

Further indication of his eccentricity might be seen, as I remember, in his habit of wearing in the cathedral pulpit in cold weather, not a skull cap, but a flat square of velvet on his head, with which occasionally he would in the heat of his discourse wipe his face, then clap it on his head again.

The cathedral, as I have had occasion to mention in a former chapter, had been undergoing a very extensive restoration, one operation in the course of which had been the removal of the organ from over the screen; and the question whether it should be replaced there or be transferred to the north transept was very earnestly, and, it was said, somewhat hotly debated by the chapter. The dean was exceedingly vehement in supporting the latter course, which was eventually adopted, it can scarcely be doubted by those who see the church as it now is, with entire judiciousness.

I could, not without gratification to myself, chatter much more about reminiscences of the years I passed at Winchester. But I feel that the only excuse for having yielded to the temptation as far as I have must be sought in the illustrations afforded{144} by what I have written of the large changes in habits, thoughts, customs, feelings that have been wrought in English society and English institutions by the lapse of some sixty years.

And now the time had come when I, having attained the age of eighteen, was superannuated at the election in the July of 1828. It was not at that time certain whether I should or should not succeed to a fellowship at New College, for that depended upon the number of vacancies that might occur in the year up to the election of 1829. Eventually I missed it by, as I remember, one only. One more journey of “Speedyman” before July, 1829, announcing the marriage or the death of a fellow of New College, or the acceptance of a college living by one of them, would have made me a fellow of New College. But “Speedyman” did not make his appearance.

I left Winchester a fairly good Latin scholar, and well grounded—I do not think I can say more—in Greek; and very ignorant indeed of all else. According to what I hear of the requirements at the present day, I had no scholarly knowledge whatever of my own language. I knew nothing whatsoever of Anglo-Saxon, or of mediæval English. I had never—have never, I may rather say—had any English grammar in my hand from my cradle to the present hour.

It is certain, however, that the enlarged requirements in this department, to which I have referred, have somehow or other failed to banish from the{145} current literature of the day a vast number of solecisms, vulgarisms, and grammatical atrocities of all sorts, which defile the language to a much greater degree than was the case at the time of which I have been writing, and which would have been as abhorrent to me when I left Winchester as they are now.

Of arithmetic I knew nothing—I should write “know”—and of all that arithmetic should be the first step to, à fortiori, still less. In the art of writing I received the best possible instruction, for I was licked by my tutor and scourged by the masters if my writing was illegible. Of less indirect tuition I had none.

There was a writing master—one Mr. Bower, Fungy Bower he was called, why, I know not—who sat at a certain low desk in the school during; school hours. I never received from him, or saw any one else receive from him, any instruction in writing. Nor did he, to the best of my knowledge and belief, form any part of William of Wykeham’s foundation. The only purpose his presence in school appeared to serve was to mend pens and make up the weekly account of marks received by each boy which regulated his place in the class.

The register containing the account of these marks was called the “classicus paper,” and was kept in this wise. All the members of each “class”—or “form” as it is called in other schools—continually changed places while proceeding with the lesson before the master, each, if able to answer{146} a question which those above him could not answer, passing up above them. And part of the punishment for failing altogether in any lesson, for being as the phrase was “crippled in Virgil,” or “crippled in Homer,” was to go to the bottom of the class. Thus the order in which the class sat was continually changed. And the first business every morning was for the two boys at the head of the class to take the “classicus paper,” and mark 1. against the name of the boy at the bottom, 2. against the next, and so on; so that the mark assigned to him at the head was equal to the number in the class. And this record of the marks was handed every week to Fungy Bower to be made up, so as to indicate the place in the class held by each member of it. But though this was done weekly the account was carried on during the whole half year, so that a boy’s final place in the class was the accurate result of his diligence and success during the whole “half.”

Of course I was a cricketer—we all were, and were indeed obliged to be, whether willingly or not, until we became prefects, when, of course, those only who loved the game continued to practise it. I never was a great cricketer, but have been “long stop” quite often enough to know how great is the nonsense talked by those of the present generation, who maintain that all the elaborate precautions against being hurt which are so abundantly taken by the players of these latter days are necessitated by the greater force of the bowling as now practised.{147} In simple truth this is all bosh! though I can hardly expect a generation in cute curandâ plus æquo operata to believe a very old batter and fielder when he tells them so!

My favourite game was fives. We had a splendid fives court, and the game was played in a manner altogether peculiar to Winchester; now I believe—like so much else—abandoned. We used a very small ball, hardly bigger than a good-sized walnut, and as hard as if made of wood, called a “snack.” And this was driven against the wall by a bat of quite peculiar construction. It was made, I think, of ash, and there were only two men, rivals, who could make it. It was about a yard long, the handle round, and somewhat less than an inch in diameter. It then became gradually thinner and wider, till at about the distance of six inches from the extremity it was perhaps an inch and a half wide, and not thicker than half-a-crown. Then it expanded and thickened again into a head somewhat of the shape of an ace of spades, some three inches across and half an inch thick. The thin part was kept continually well oiled—in such sort that it became so elastic, that the heavy head might almost be doubled back so as to touch the part nearer the hand. It will be understood both that the difficulty of striking a bounding ball with this instrument was considerable, and that the momentum imparted to the small hard ball by the blow was very great indeed. It is true that accidents occasionally, though very rarely, happened from a{148} misdirected blow. But it does not seem necessary that the old bat should be abandoned, for our judicious grandsons might play with great comfort and safety in helmets!

Of course I, like most of my contemporaries, left Winchester—and indeed subsequently left Oxford—as ignorant of any modern language, save English, as of Chinese! And as for music—though Oxford and Cambridge are the only universities in Europe which give degrees in music—it is hardly an exaggeration to say that, with very rare exceptions, to have taught an undergraduate, or a boy at a public school, music, would have been thought much on a par with teaching him to hem a pocket-handkerchief. And here the present generation has the pull to a degree which it perhaps hardly sufficiently recognises!

It was during my last year at Winchester that I made my first attempt at authorship. Old Robbins, the grey-headed bookseller of College Street, who had been the college bookseller for many years, had recently taken a younger partner of the name of Wheeler, and this gentleman established a monthly magazine, called the Hampshire and West of England Magazine, to which I contributed three or four articles on matters Wiccamical. I have the volume before me now—perhaps the only extant copy of that long since forgotten publication. The Rev. E. Poulter, one of the prebendaries of Winchester, who had a somewhat wider than local reputation as a wit in those days, was the{149} anonymous contributor of a poetical prologue of such unconscionable proportions that poor Wheeler was sadly puzzled what to do with it. It was impossible to refuse or neglect a reverend prebendary’s contribution, besides that the verses, often doggerel, had some good fun in them. So they were all printed by instalments in successive numbers, despite the title of prologue which their author gives them.{150}


I came back from Winchester for the last time after the election of 1828, to find a great change at home. My father, pressed more and more by pecuniary difficulties, had quitted Harrow, and established himself at Harrow Weald, a hamlet of the large parish in the direction of Pinner. He had not given up his farm at Harrow. He would have been only too glad to do so, for it involved an annual loss undeviatingly; but that he could not do, for his lease tied him to the stake. But he took another farm at Harrow Weald, on which there was an old farm-house, which had once been a very good one, and, living there, carried on both farms. How far this speculation was a wise one I have no means of judging. Doubtless he took the Harrow Weald farm upon very largely more advantageous terms than those which he had accepted from Lord Northwick for the farm at Harrow; but having been absent all the time at Winchester, I knew so little about the matter that I do not now know even who his Harrow Weald landlord was. Possibly I did know but have forgotten. But I think I remember to have heard my father say that the{151} Harrow Weald farm did in some decree alleviate the loss sustained by the larger farm at Harrow, and that, could he have got rid of the latter, the Harrow Weald farm might have paid its way. The excellent house he had built at Harrow was in the meantime let to Mr. Cunningham, the vicar.

The change from it to the old farm-house at Harrow Weald, as a home, was not a pleasant one; but a very far worse and more important change awaited my home coming, in the absence of my mother. She had gone to America.

Where, or under what circumstances, my parents had first become acquainted with General La Fayette I do not know. I myself never saw him; but I know that it was during a visit to La Grange, his estate in France, that my mother first met Miss Frances Wright, one of two sisters, his wards. I believe she became acquainted with Camilla Wright, the sister, at the same time.

It is odd, considering the very close intimacy that took place between my mother and Frances Wright, that I never knew anything of the parentage and family of these ladies, or how they came to be wards of General La Fayette. But with Miss Frances Wright I did become subsequently well acquainted. She was in many respects a very remarkable personage. She was very handsome in a large and almost masculine style of beauty, with a most commanding presence, a superb figure, and stature fully masculine. Her features both in form and expression were really noble. There exists—still findable, I suppose, in{152} some London fonds de magasin—a large lithographed portrait of her. She is represented standing, with her hand on the neck of a grey horse (the same old gig horse that had drawn my parents and myself over so many miles of Devonshire, Somersetshire, and Monmouthshire roads and cross roads—not that which so nearly made an end of us near Lynmouth, but his companion), and, if I remember rightly, in Turkish trousers.

But these particulars of her bodily form and presentment constituted the least remarkable specialties of her individuality. She was unquestionably a very clever woman. She wrote a slender octavo volume, entitled A Few Days in Athens, which was published by Longman. It was little more than a brochure, and it is many years since I have seen it, but the impression that it was very clever abides in my mind. I remember the fact that the whole edition was sold. And the mention of this book reminds me of a circumstance that seems to show that my parents must have become to a considerable degree intimate with these wards of General La Fayette at some period preceding the visit to La Grange, which exercised in the sequel so large an influence over my own, and my mother’s, and brothers’ future. This circumstance is that I recollect my father to have been in communication with the Longmans on behalf of Miss Wright in respect to her work.

Be this how it may, at the time of that visit to La Grange spoken of above, Miss Wright’s thoughts{153} and aspirations were directed with a persistent and indomitable enthusiasm, which made the groundwork of her character, to doing something for the improvement of the condition of the slave populations in the southern states of the great transatlantic republic. Both Frances and Camilla Wright were ladies of considerable fortune; and I believe that General La Fayette wished much to induce his ward Frances not to employ her means in the scheme she was now bent on. But she was of age,—I fancy some six or seven years more than that—and he had no authority to interfere with her purpose, with which besides, otherwise than as likely to be pecuniarily disastrous to her, he entirely sympathised.

Her purpose was to purchase a property in the valley of the Mississippi—in Alabama I think it was—with the slaves upon it, to free them all immediately, and to cultivate the estate by their free labour, living there with them in a sort of community, the principles and plan of which were, I fancy, very largely based upon the ideas and schemes of Mr. Owen of Lanark. His son, Robert Dale Owen, subsequently well known in Europe as the author of sundry works on spiritualism and political speculations, and as United States Consul at Naples and perhaps other cities, was a life-long friend of Miss Wright’s.

Now, my parents had taken with them to La Grange my next brother, Henry, who has been mentioned as the companion of my early London{154} rambles, and who was then rapidly approaching manhood without having found for himself, or having had found for him, any clear prospect of earning the livelihood which it was clearly enough necessary that he should earn in some way; and Miss Wright proposed to my mother to bring him to America to join in her projected establishment and experiment at “New Harmony”—such I believe to have been the name which Miss Wright gave to her property. The original name, I think, was Nashoba, but my knowledge of any of these matters is very imperfect. I know that the whole scheme ended in complete disappointment to all concerned, and entire failure. To Miss Wright it involved very considerable pecuniary loss, which, as I learned subsequently from my mother, she bore with the utmost fortitude and cheerfulness, but without any great access of wisdom as regarded her benevolent schemes for the political and economical improvement of human, and especially black, society. I never saw her again; but remember to have heard of her marrying a French teacher of languages at the close of a course of lectures given by her against the institution of matrimony. All that I heard from my mother and my brother of their connection with Miss Wright, of her administration of affairs at New Harmony, and her conduct when her experiment issued in failure and disappointment, left with me the impression of her genuinely highminded enthusiasm, her unselfishness, bravery, and generosity, but, at the same time, of her deficiency{155} in the qualities which can alone make departure from the world’s beaten tracks—mill-horse tracks though they be—either wise, profitable, or safe. She had a fine and large intelligence, but not fine or large enough for going quite unpiloted across country.

Whether my mother resided any time at Nashoba I am not sure, but I think not. At all events, very shortly after her arrival in America she established herself at Cincinnati. And when it became evident that there was no prospect of permanent work for my brother in the business of regenerating the negroes, it was determined—by the advice of what Cincinnati friends I know not—that he should join my mother there, and undertake the establishment and conduct of an institution which, as far as I was able to understand the plan, was to combine the specialities of an Athenæum, a lecture hall, and a bazaar! And it was when this enterprise had been decided upon, but before any steps had been taken for the realising of it, that I accompanied my father on a visit to America.

When I returned from Winchester in July, there were still many months before me of uncertainty whether I might get a vacancy at New College or not, and my father, having determined on going for a short visit to Cincinnati, proposed to take me with him. After what I have written in a previous chapter of my early tastes and proclivities, I need hardly say that the prospect of this travel was in the highest degree delightful to me. I am afraid{156} that, at the time, any call to New College, which should have had the effect of preventing it, would have been to me a very unwelcome one. Our departure was fixed for September, and the intervening time was spent by me in preparations for the great adventure, very much such as Livingstone may be supposed to have made on quitting England for the “dark continent.”

I was, as it seems to me now, still a very boyish boy, all ex-Wiccamical prefect as I was, and, I cannot help thinking, younger and more childish than the youngsters of equal age of the present generation.

The voyage, however, really was a bigger affair in those days than it has become in these times, for it was before the iron horse had been trained to cross the Atlantic. And my father made it a very much more serious business still by engaging for us berths in the steerage of a passenger ship. I hardly think that he would have done so had he been at all aware of what he was undertaking. It is true that he was undoubtedly hard pressed for money, though I have not now, and had not then any such knowledge of his affairs as to enable me to judge to what degree he was straitened. But there was also about my father a sort of Spartan contempt for comfort, and determination not to expend money on his own personal well-being, which was a prominent feature in his character, and which, I have no doubt, contributed to the formation of his resolution to make this journey in the least costly manner possible.{157}

But, as I have said, I think that he had no very clear notion of what a steerage passage across the Atlantic implied. As for me, if he had proposed to make the voyage on a raft I should have jumped at the offer! It was, in truth, a sufficiently severe experience. But, as I was then at eighteen, I should have welcomed the chance of making such an expedition, even if I had accurately realised all the accompaniments and all the details of it.

We went on board the good ship Corinthian, Captain Chadwick, bound for New York, in the September of 1828. Ship and captain were American.

I confess that my first feeling on entering the place which was to be my habitation during the next few weeks was one of dismay. It was not that the accommodation was rough. I cared little enough about that, and should have cared as little had it been much rougher. But it was the first time in my life that I had had any experience of the truth of the proverb that misfortune makes one acquainted with strange bedfellows! Of course there was in that part of the vessel allotted to the steerage passengers no sort of enclosure for the different berths, some dozen or score of them, in which the steerage passengers had to sleep. No sort of privacy either by day or by night was possible; add to which, the ventilation was very insufficient, and the whole place was, perhaps unavoidably, dirty to a revolting degree. My father almost at once betook himself to his berth, and{158} rarely left it during the entire voyage—indeed he was for the most part incapable of doing so, having been suffering from his usual sick headache more or less during the whole time. If the voyage was a bad time for me, it must have been far worse for him. Indeed I was scarcely ever below, except when attending on him.

Before the first night came, I declared my intention of making no use of the berth assigned to me. Where was I to pass the night then? I said I should pass it on deck. I had a huge great coat, a regular “dreadnought,” so called in those days, and made with innumerable capes; and with that I thought I should do well enough during the September night. My declared intention brought an avalanche of ridicule down on my head, not only from my fellow inhabitants of the steerage, but from the captain and his mates. A night on deck, or at the very most two, would make me glad and thankful enough for the shelter of my berth. I did not know what I was talking of, but should soon find out, &c.

Well, the first night passed! It was a fine moonlight. And I enjoyed it and the novelty of my surroundings keenly. I slept, wrapped in my capacious great coat, two or three hours at a time, and morning found me none the worse. The second night was less delightful! I was weary and began to feel the need of sleep after a fashion to which I was more accustomed. And then came bad weather, wet and cold! I got some shelter in an{159} erection on the deck called the “round house;” but the want of proper rest was beginning to tell upon me, and the fatigue was very severe. I think that, despite my horror of the steerage and the world that inhabited it, I should have succumbed and accepted its shelter, if my determination not to do so had been confined to my own breast; and no necessity had existed for triumphing over the ridicule and the unanimous prophecies of the other passengers and the ship’s officers. As it was, I was safe not to yield!

I did not yield! Our voyage was rather longer than an average one, and during all the thirty-eight days that it lasted, I never passed a night below, or went there at all save for the purpose of changing my clothes, or attending on my father, who lay sick and suffering in his berth during almost the whole time. It was a severer experience than it may seem probably to the imagination of those who never made a similar experiment. When I reached New York, I felt as if it would be heaven to go to sleep for a week.

We had one short spell of very bad weather; and were, as I subsequently learned, in considerable danger for an hour or so. We had been running all day before a fair wind exactly aft, which, continually increasing in violence, assumed at sun-down the force of a gale. Nevertheless Captain Chadwick, against the advice of an old English merchant captain, who was a passenger, could not prevail on himself to lose the advantage of so good a wind,{160} and determined to “carry on.” But as the night advanced the wind continued to increase and the sea to rise, till the danger of being “pooped,” if we continued to run before it, became too great to be neglected. But the danger of putting about, “broaching-to” I believe is the correct term, was also great.

It became necessary however to do this about midnight, and I was the only passenger on deck during the operation. The English merchant captain mentioned above kept running up for a few minutes at a time every now and then. But he had a wife and young children aboard, and would not remain long away from them. The good ship as she came round into the trough of the sea, lay down on her side to such a degree that my body as I clung to the bulwark on the weather-side swung away to the leeward in such sort that I was for a minute hanging from a hold above my head, instead of clinging to one at my side. And I saw and heard—very specially heard—every sail blown away from the yards. I heard, too, the shout of the men on the yards, “We can’t get an inch,” as they strove to reef. Much danger was occasioned to the men by the block at the foot of the mainsail remaining attached to the sail, which was blown about, before it could be secured, with a violence which knocked the cook’s galley to atoms.

And all this I saw to my great delight. For I considered a storm at sea as a part of the{161} experiences of a voyage which it would have been a great pity to have missed, and was altogether unaware that we were in any real danger. Towards daybreak the gale moderated, and before noon it was perfectly calm, and all hands were busy in bending a new suite of sails.

With all this I should have enjoyed the voyage immensely had it not been for the nature of the companionship to which I should have been condemned if I had not escaped from it in the manner I have described. The utter roughness of the accommodation, the scanty and not very delicate food, would all have signified to me in those days absolutely nothing. But I could not tolerate the companionship of the men and women with whom I should have lived. I could have no doubt tolerated it some twenty years later, but it was at that time too new to me. I take it that ill-luck had given us a rather specially bad lot as our destined companions in the steerage. I had seen quite enough of the labourers on the farm at Harrow to know what a man living with his family on a pound a week was like, and I could have managed to live if necessary with such men for a week or two without any insuperable repugnance. But some of the denizens of that steerage bolgia were blackguards of a description quite new to me.

Two figures among them are still, after nearly sixty years, present to my mental vision. One was a large, loosely-made, middle-aged man, who always{162} wore a long grey serge dressing-gown. He was accompanied by nobody belonging to him, and I never had the least idea what grade or department of life he could have belonged to. His language, though horrible, as regards the ideas conveyed by it, was grammatically far superior to that of most of those around him; and he was very clever with his hands, executing various little arrangements for his own comfort with the skill of a carpenter, and almost with that of an upholsterer. His face was thoroughly bad, with loose, baggy, flaccid, pale cheeks, and a great coarse hanging under lip. He always looked exceedingly dirty, but nevertheless was always clean shaved. He was always talking, always haranguing those who would listen to him; always extolling the country for which we were bound, and its institutions, and expressing the most venomous hatred of England and all things English. I used to listen to him during my hours of attendance on my father with an excess of loathing, which I doubt not I failed to conceal from him, and which, acting like a strong brine, has preserved his memory in my mind all these years.

The other was much less objectionable. He was a younger man, and called himself a farmer, but his farming had evidently run much to horse-dealing, and he dressed in a horsey style. He had a miserable sickly wife with him, who had once upon a time been pretty. She wore the remains of dresses that had once been smart, and was by far the most slatternly woman I ever saw. Her husband, so far as I{163} could observe, did not ill-treat her, but he was constantly saying unkind things in language which should have made her blush, if she had not left all blushes far behind her, and at which the other worse brute used to laugh with obstreperous approbation. He could sing too, as I thought at that time very well, and used to sing a song telling how “The farm I now hold on your honour’s estate, is the same that my grandfather held,” &c. &c. The tune of it runs in my head to this day; and I remember thinking that if the song related the singer’s own fortunes, “his honour” must have gained by the change of tenant, however many generations of ancestors may have held it before him.

By the time our voyage came to an end I was pretty nearly worn out by want of rest and night and day exposure to the weather. But to own the truth honestly, I was supported by a sense of pride in having sustained an amount of fatigue which none other in the ship had, and few probably could have, sustained, and which I had been defied to sustain. And after I had had a sleep “the round of the clock,” as the phrase goes, I was none the worse. Moreover, it was a matter of extreme consolation to me to think that I was accumulating a store of strange experiences of a kind which nothing in my previous life had seemed to promise me. But above all the approach to New York, and the sight of the bay, was, I felt, more than enough to repay me for all the discomfort of the voyage. I thought it by{164} far the grandest sight I had ever seen, as indeed it doubtless was.

I do not remember to have been much struck by the town of New York. I remember thinking it had the look of an overgrown colossal village, and that it was very different in appearance from any English city. It seemed to me too that there was a strange contrast between the roomy, clean, uncity-like appearance of the place, and the apparent hurry and energetic ways of the inhabitants. I remember also remarking the very generally youthful appearance of those who seemed to be transacting most of the business of the place.

We were received most kindly by an old friend of my parents, Mr. Wilkes, the uncle, I think, or perhaps great-uncle of him who as Commodore Wilkes of the Trent subsequently became known to the world, as having very nearly set his country and England by the ears! How and why old Mr. Wilkes was a friend of my father’s I do not know, but suspect that it was through the medium of some very old friends of my grandfather Milton, of the name of Garnet. Two very old ladies of that name, spinster sisters, I remember to have seen at Brighton some twenty or five and twenty years ago. I remember that Mr. Wilkes struck me as a remarkably courteous and gentlemanlike old man, very English both in manners and appearance, in a blue dress coat and buff waistcoat, and long white hair. I fancy that he was connected in some way (by old friendship only, I imagine,) with the Misses{165} Wright, and I gathered that he altogether disapproved of Frances Wright’s philanthropic Nashoba enterprise, and consequently of the share in it which my father and mother, on behalf of my brother Henry, had undertaken. Of the wisdom of his misgivings the result furnished abundant proof.

My recollections of the journey from New York to Cincinnati are of a very fragmentary description, those of so very many other journeys during the well nigh sixty years which have elapsed since it was performed have nearly obliterated them. I remember being struck by the uncomfortable roughness of all the lodging accommodation, as contrasted with the great abundance, and even, as it appeared to me, luxury of the commissariat department.

We passed by Pittsburg and crossed the Alleghany Mountains, the former remaining in my memory as a nightmare of squalor, and the latter as a vision of beauty and delight. We travelled long days through districts of untouched forest over the often described “corduroy” roads. I was utterly disappointed by the forests; all that I saw of them appeared to me a miserable collection of lank, unwholesome-looking, woebegone stems, instead of Windsor Forest on a vastly increased scale, which was, I take it, what I expected. I remember, too, being much struck by the performance of the drivers of the stages over the corduroy roads aforesaid, and often over boggy tracts of half reclaimed forest amid the blackened stumps of burned{166} trees. The things they proposed to themselves to accomplish, and did accomplish without coming to grief, other than shaking every tooth in the heads of their passengers, would have made an English coachman’s hair stand on end! To have seen them at their work over a decent bit of road would on the other hand have provoked the laughter and contempt of the same critics. Arms and legs seemed to take an equal part in the work; the whip was never idle, and the fatigue must have been excessive. I do not think that any man could have driven fifty miles at a stretch over those roads.

Cincinnati was reached at last. The journey to me had been delightful in the highest degree, simply from the novelty of everything. As things were done at that time it was one of very great fatigue, but in those days I seemed to be incapable of fatigue. At all events it was all child’s play in comparison with my crossing the ocean in the good ship Corinthian.

We found my mother and two sisters and my brother Henry well, and established in a roomy bright-looking house, built of wood, and all white with the exception of the green Venetian blinds. It stood in its own “grounds,” but these grounds consisted of a large field uncultivated save for a few potatoes in one corner of it; and the whole appearance of the place was made unkempt-looking—not squalid, because everything was too new and clean looking for that—by uncompleted essays towards the making of a road from the entrance-gate to the{167} house, and by fragments of boarding and timber, which it had apparently been worth no one’s while to collect after the building of the house was completed. With all this there was an air of roominess and brightness which seemed to me very pleasant. The house was some five or ten minutes’ walk from what might be considered the commencement of the town, but it is no doubt by this time, if it still stands at all, more nearly in the centre of it.{168}


My father and I remained between five and six months at Cincinnati, and my remembrances of the time are pleasant ones. In the way of amusement, to the best of my recollection, there was not much besides rambling over the country with my brother, the old companion of those London rambles which seemed to me then almost as far off in the dim past as they do now. But we were free, tied to no bounds, and very slightly to any hours. And I enjoyed those rambles immensely. I do not remember that the country about Cincinnati struck me as especially interesting or beautiful, and the Ohio, la belle rivière, distinctly disappointed me. But it was a new world, and every object, whether animate or inanimate, was for us full of interest.

Looking back to those Cincinnati days, I have to say that I liked the Americans, principally, I think, at that time, as far as my remembrances serve, because some quality in their manners and behaviour had the effect of making me less shy with them than with others. I was then, and to a great degree have never ceased to be, painfully shy.{169} How miserably this weakness afflicts those who suffer from it, how it disqualifies them and puts them at a disadvantage in circumstances constantly recurring, those who are free from it cannot imagine. And they glorify their superiority by saying all sorts of hard things of those who suffer from shyness—very unjustly in my opinion. Shyness proceeds in almost all cases, I should say probably in all, from diffidence. A man who thinks sufficiently well of himself is never shy. Did any one ever see a vain man shy? I do not think the Americans are an especially vain people; but there are specialties of their social condition which lead to every American citizen’s estimate of himself, from the cradle upwards, being equal to his estimate of any other man. And one consequence of this is a certain frank and unconstrained manner in their intercourse with strangers or new acquaintances which is invaluable to a shy man.

I remember an incident of my first year at Winchester, when I was between ten and eleven, which is illustrative of the misery which shyness may inflict. A boy about a year my senior, and taller than I, was constantly annoying and bullying me, and one day in the presence of a considerable number of onlookers challenged me to fight him. I refused, and naturally of course was considered a coward, and had to endure the jibes and taunts due to one. The explanation of my refusal of my enemy’s challenge however—never offered to mortal ear before the confiding of it to this page—was not that I{170} was afraid to fight, but was too shy to do so. It was not that I could not face all that his fists could do to me, as I shortly afterwards showed him; but I could not bring myself to face the publicity of the proposed contest—the formality of it, the ring, in the centre of which I should have to perform, and to be a spectacle, and have my performance criticised. All this was too absolutely intolerable to me. But early the next morning, chancing to catch my adversary “in meads” with only one or two others near him, I attacked him to his utter astonishment and dismay, and without very much difficulty gave him as good a pummelling as my heart desired.

Whether this incident originated the nickname “Badger,” which I bore at Winchester, as being one indisposed to fight, but likely to prove dangerous if “drawn,” I do not know.

It was during our stay at Cincinnati that my father and I paid a visit to an establishment of “Shaking Quakers,” as they were called, and I believe called themselves at Mount Lebanon, about five and twenty miles from Cincinnati. We were hospitably received, paying a moderate remuneration for our lodging and food. Both these were supplied of exactly the same kind and quality as used by the inmates of the establishment, and were, though very simple and plain, admirable in quality. The extensive farm, on which the Shakers lived, and which they cultivated by their own labour, was their own property, having been originally purchased at a time when land was of very small market value,{171} and brought under tillage by the labour of the members. But nothing in the nature of private property was held or retained by any one.

The number of women was about equal to that of the men. But there were no children. None were born in the establishment, and no man or woman joining it was allowed to bring any. Nor was marriage or connubial life in any sort recognised or permitted. And of course these conditions rendered the whole experiment wholly useless as an example for the conduct of any ordinary community, or for an indication of what may be economically accomplished for such.

We did not eat in company with the members, though faring, as I have said, exactly as they did, but we were present at their religious worship, or at what stood in the place of such. This consisted in a species of dance, if the uncouth jumping or “shaking” which they practised could be so called. The men and women were assembled and danced in the same room, but not together. They jumped and “shook” themselves in two divided bodies. Any spectator would be disposed to imagine that the whole object of the performance was bodily exercise. It seemed to be carried on to the utmost extent that breath and bodily fatigue would permit. Many were mopping the perspiration from their faces. No laughing or gladness, or exhilaration whatever appeared to accompany or to be caused by the exercise. All was done with an air of perfect solemnity.{172}

All the men and all the women seemed to be in the enjoyment of excellent health. Most of them seemed to be somewhat more than well nourished—rather tending to obesity. They were florid, round-faced, sleek and heavy in figure. I observed no laughter, and very little conversation among them. The women were almost all in the prime of life, and many young. But there was a singular absence of good looks among them. Some had regular features enough, but they were all heavy, fat, dull-looking, like well-kept animals. I could not spy one pair of bright eyes in the place. All, men and women, were quite simply but thoroughly well and cleanly dressed, not altogether, as I remember, in uniform, but with very great uniformity. Grey cloth of very fair quality was the prevailing material of dress for both sexes.

Various articles useful for country life of the simpler sort were manufactured by them for sale. And I learned that all the articles so made had throughout the country side a high reputation for excellence in their kinds. And there could be no doubt that the Shaker community was thriving and probably accumulating money. To what object they should do so seems a difficult question.

I heard of no sickness or infirmity among them. Such there must of course have been occasionally, and I presume that the infirm, the sick, and the dying must have been cared for.

These people lived in perfect equality; and their community proved that a community of men and{173} women (unburthened with children) could by an amount of labour by no means excessive, or even arduous, provide themselves with an ample sufficiency of all things needful for their material well-being and comfort. It is true that they paid no rent, but I am disposed to think, from what I heard, that they might have paid a moderate rent for the land they cultivated, and still continued to do well. But it was impossible to avoid the reflection that this well-being was merely that of well-kept animals. There was an air of unmistakable stupidity over the whole establishment. Nobody laughed. Nobody seemed to converse. There was excellent lodging, clothing, and food in plenty till they died! And that was all. Perhaps it may be fairly assumed that no one, save people of very mediocre powers and intelligence, had ever felt tempted to become a Shaking Quaker. But it can hardly be said that their experiment exhibited a very tempting sample of a world to be modelled after their fashion!

It has been said by some observers that this materially flourishing establishment has so many points of similarity with the conventual institutions of Roman Catholicism that it may be considered as supplying the same natural want to which those institutions are supposed to correspond, an asylum, that is to say, for those of either sex, who, from various circumstances of fortune, or of temperament, are unfitted for the struggles of the world, and find themselves left stranded on the{174} banks of the great social stream. The impressions I received from my visit to Mount Lebanon do not dispose me to accept any such explanation of the Shaking Quaker raison d’être. I saw no signs whatever, among either the men or the women, of individuals who had been tempest-tossed in any of the world’s maelstroms, or of temperaments for which the contemplative life might be supposed to have had greater attractions than the active life of the world. The characteristics which were most notably observable were of a diametrically opposed kind. One would say that they were men and women thoroughly and unanimously minded to make for themselves in the most judiciously contrived manner a comfortable and clean sty, with abundant and perennial supply of everything needed for their bodily wants. Whether love or hatred, as they are found to exist in monastic communities, existed among them, of course I had not sufficient opportunity for even guessing. But assuredly it may be said with some confidence of not being mistaken, that neither those nor any other passions had left any of their usual marks on those sleek bodies and placid meaningless faces. One would have said that the main and engrossing object of existence at Mount Lebanon was digesting.

I have recently learned that the community continues to exist under the same conditions as those under which I saw it.

I made acquaintance, I remember, at Cincinnati, with Mr. Longworth, who was, or became well{175} known throughout America for his successful efforts in viticulture. He was one of those men who, being by no means entertaining companions on any other subject, become so, if you will talk to them upon their own. I have often thought that the “sink the shop” maxim is a great mistake. If I had to pass an hour with a chimney-sweep, I should probably find him very good company if he would talk exclusively about sweeping chimneys. Mr. Longworth was extremely willing to talk exclusively on schemes for the introduction of the vine into the western states, and on that subject was well worth listening to. I find a note in a diary, written by me at that time, to the effect that he was then (1828) employing a large number of Germans on his estate at Columbia near Cincinnati at a little less than one shilling a day and their food. I remarked that this seemed scarcely in accord with the current accounts of the high price of labour in the states, and was answered that his—Mr. Longworth’s—bailiff had said to him the other day, “If those men get to Cincinnati they will be spoiled”—a little touch which rather vividly illustrates one phase of the difference made in all things by railway communication.

But the most remarkable acquaintance we made at Cincinnati was Hiram Powers, the subsequently well-known sculptor, with whom I again fell in many years afterwards at Florence, when he was living there with his large family, having just acquired a large and lucrative degree of celebrity by his statue{176} of “The Greek Slave,” purchased by an Englishman whom my mother had taken to visit his studio. I do not know by what chance she had first become acquainted with him at Cincinnati.

He was at that time about eighteen years old, much about my own contemporary; and my mother at once remarked him as a young man of exceptional talent and promise. He was at that time seeking to live by his wits, with every prospect of finding that capital abundantly sufficient for the purpose. There was a Frenchman named Dorfeuille at Cincinnati, who had established what he called a “museum,”—a show, in fact, in which he collected anything and everything that he thought would excite the curiosity of the people and induce them to pay their quarter dollars for admission. And this M. Dorfeuille, cleverly enough appreciating young Powers’s capabilities of being useful to him, had engaged him as factotum and general manager of his establishment. Powers, casting about for some new “attraction” for the museum, chanced one evening to talk over the matter with my mother. And it occurred to her to suggest to him to get up a representation of one of Dante’s bolgias as described in the Inferno, The nascent sculptor, with his imaginative brain, artistic eye, and clever fingers, caught at the idea on the instant. And forthwith they set to work, my mother explaining the poet’s conceptions, suggesting the composition of “tableaux,” and supplying details, while Powers designed and executed the figures and the necessary mise en scène.{177}

Some months of preparation were needed before the work could be accomplished, and Dorfeuille, I remember, began to have misgivings as to recouping himself for the not inconsiderable cost. But at last all was ready. A vast amount of curiosity had been excited in the place by preliminary announcements, and the result was an immense success. I have preserved for nearly sixty years, and have now before me, the programme and bill of the exhibition as it was drawn up by my mother. It is truly a curiosity in its kind, and I am tempted to reproduce it here. But it is too long, occupying four pages of a folio sheet. There are quotations from the Inferno, translated by my mother (no copy of any published translation being then and there procurable), explanations of the author’s meaning, and descriptions in very bugaboo style, and in every variety of type with capitals of every sort of size, of all the horrors of the supposed scene.

The success was so great, and the curiosity, not only of the Cincinnati world but of the farmers round about and their families, was so eager, that the press of spectators was inconveniently great, and M. Dorfeuille began to fear that his properties might be damaged by indiscreet desires to touch as well as see. So Powers arranged a slight metal rod as a barrier between the show and the spectators, and contrived to charge it with electricity, while an announcement, couched in terrible and mystic terms and in verse, by my mother, to the effect that an awful doom awaited any mortal rash enough to approach{178} the mysteries of the nether world too nearly, was appended to the doors and walls. The astonishment and dismay felt, and the laughter provoked, by those who were rash enough to do so, may be imagined!

Upon the whole those autumn and winter months passed pleasantly, and have left pleasant recollections in my memory. Doubtless there were many causes of anxiety for my elders; but to the best of my remembrance they touched us young people very lightly. We had many more or less agreeable acquaintances, and I have a vivid recollection of the pleasure I received from the fact that they all belonged to types that were altogether new to me—if indeed it could be said of people, to me so apparently unclassifiable, that they belonged to any type at all. The cleverest among them was a Dr. Price, a very competent physician with a large practice, a foolish friendly little wife and a pair of pretty daughters. He was a jovial, florid, rotund little man who professed, more even, as I remember, to my astonishment than my horror, perfect Atheism. His wife and daughters used to go to church without apparently producing the slightest interruption of domestic harmony. “La! the Doctor don’t think anything more of the Bible than of an old newspaper!” Mrs. Price would say; “but then doctors, you know, they have their own opinions!” And the girls used to say, “Papa is an Atheist,” just as they would have said of the multiform persuasions of their acquaintances, “Mr. This is a Baptist,” and “Mrs.{179} That is a Methodist.” And I remember well the confusion and displacement occasioned in my mind by finding that Dr. Price did not seem on the whole to be an abandoned man, and enjoyed to a high degree the respect of his townsmen.

The two pretty daughters, girls of eighteen or nineteen, used to have at their house frequent dances. We were constant and welcome guests, but alas! I was not—either then or ever since—a dancer; the reason being precisely the same as that which prevented my fighting at Winchester, as above recorded. I was too shy! In other words I had too low an opinion of myself, of my performance as a dancer, should I attempt it, and above all of my acceptability as a partner, ever to overcome my diffidence.

I was, as I have said when speaking of my earliest years, by no means a prepossessing child, and as a young man I was probably less so. I had never any sort of pretension to good looks, or to elegance of figure. I was five feet eight in height, and thick, sturdy, and ungainly in make, healthy and pure in complexion and skin as a baby, but with an “abbreviated nose”—as George Eliot says of me in finding me like a portrait of Galileo—and pale coloured lanky hair. All which would not have signified a button, if I could have been as ignorant of the facts in question as hundreds of my contemporaries, labouring under equal disadvantages, were in their own case; but I was not ignorant of these facts, and the consciousness of them constituted a most mischievous{180} and disqualifying little repast off the tree of knowledge. It has, among many other results, prevented me from ever dancing. I should have liked much, very much to do so. I was abundantly well disposed to seek the society of the other sex. Though I never had a very perfect ear for tune, I had a markedly strong perception of time, and feeling for rhythm, and therefore should probably have danced well. But the persuasion that any girl, whom I might have induced to dance with me, would have far rather been dancing with somebody else, was too much for me!

I should unquestionably have been a far happier young fellow, if I had undoubtingly believed myself to have been adapted in all respects to attract the favourable attention and conciliate the liking of all I met. But can I even now, looking back over the vista of sixty years, regret that I was able to see myself as others saw me, and wish that I had inhabited that fool’s paradise, which is planted with conceits in place of insights?

So I got no dancing with the Cincinnati girls. But there were theatricals, also at the house of Dr. and Mrs. Price, and in those I did not refuse to join. It may seem that this would have been at least as great a trial to a shy man as any other form of self-exhibition; but it was not so. I think, so far as I am able at this distance of time to examine my mind upon the subject, it would have been impossible for me to attempt the representation of any personage intended to be attractive to the spectator, or{181} such as to be confounded in his mind with my own personality. But it was proposed that I should act Falstaff in the Merry Wives of Windsor, and to this the difficulties referred to did not apply. I played Falstaff with immense success to an assuredly not very critical audience. My own impression however is, that I did it well. I think that I had reason to flatter myself, as I did flatter myself at the time, that all those, who heard me, understood the play, and enjoyed the humour of the situations better than they had done before.

I have played many parts since on various stages in different parts of the world, but that, I think, was my sole Shakesperian attempt. And the members of that merry and kindly theatrical company! They have made their last exit from the larger boards we are all treading, every man and woman, every lad and lass of them. Not one but the old Falstaff of the company remains to write this chronicle of sixty years since!

There were very few formal meetings among the notabilities of the little Cincinnati world of that time, but there was an amount of homely friendliness that impressed me very favourably; and there was plenty of that generous and abounding hospitality which subsequent experience has taught me to consider an especially American characteristic. I have since that time shared the splendid hospitality of splendid American hosts, and I have been under American roofs where there was little save a heartfelt welcome to offer. But the heart{182}warming effect produced by the latter was the same in both cases. How often have we all sat at magnificent boards where the host’s too evident delight consisted in giving you what you could not give him, and in the exulting manifestation of his magnificence. This is very rarely the feeling of an American host. He is thinking not of himself, but of you; and the object he is striving at when giving you of his best is that you should enjoy yourself while under his roof; that you should have, as he would phrase it, “a good time.” And upon my word he almost invariably succeeds.

Nor were the Cincinnati girls in 1829 like the New York belles of 1887. But there was much of the same charm about them, which arises from unaffected and unself-regarding desire to please. American girls are accused of being desperate flirts. But many an Englishman has been deceived by imagining that the smiles and cheerfulness and laughing chatter of some charming girl new to Europe were intended for his special benefit, when they were in truth only the perfectly natural and unaffected outcome of a desire to do her duty in that state of life to which it had pleased God to call her! Only beams falling, like those of the sun, upon the just and the unjust alike!

There is another point on which Americans, both men and women, are very generally called over the coals by English people, as I think somewhat unreasonably. They are, it is said, everlastingly talking about the greatness and grandeur of their{183} country, and never easy without extorting admissions of this. All this is to a great extent true—at least to this extent, that an American is always pleased to hear the greatness of his country recognised. But when I remember the thoroughness with which that cardinal article of an Englishman’s faith (sixty years ago!), that every Englishman could thrash three Frenchmen, was enforced with entire success on my youthful mind, I can hardly find it in my conscience to blame an American’s pride in his country. Why, good heavens! what an insensible block he would be if he was not proud of his country, to whose greatness, it is to be observed, each individual American now extant has contributed in a greater degree than can be said to be the case as regards England and every extant Englishman; inasmuch as our position has been won by the work of, say, a thousand years, and his by that of less than a century. Surely the creation of the United States as they now exist within that time is such a feat of human intelligence and energy as the world has never before seen, and is scarcely likely to see again. I confess that the expression of American patriotism is never offensive to me. I feel somewhat as the old Cornish wrestler felt, who said with immense pride, when he was told that his son had “whopped” the whole parish, “Ay, I should think so! Why, he has whopped me afore now!”

Yes! I liked the Americans as I first made acquaintance with them almost among the back{184}woods at Cincinnati sixty years ago; and I like them as I have since known them better. For I have seen a great deal of them; far more than an Englishman living at home would be likely to do, during my many years’ residence in Italy. The American “colony,” to use the common though incorrect phrase, is large both at Florence and in Rome—of late years fully as large, I think, as that from England. And not only do the two bodies associate indiscriminately with each other in perfect neighbourliness and good fellowship, but they do so, forming one single oasis in the midst of the surrounding continental life, in a manner which makes one constantly feel how infinitely nearer an American is to an Englishman in ideas, habits, ways, and civilisation, than either of them are to any other denizen of earth’s surface.

I was sorry when the time came for us to leave Cincinnati, though as usual with me, the prospect of the journey, which we were to make by a different route from that by which we had travelled westward, was a joy and a consolation. My father and I returned, leaving my mother, my two sisters still quite children, and my brother Henry at Cincinnati. The proposed institution—bazaar, athenæum, lecture-hall, or whatever it was to be, or to be called—had been determined on, and the site, to the best of my recollection, selected and purchased; but nothing had yet been done towards raising the building. Contracts had been entered into, and my father was on his return to London{185} to send out a quantity of goods for the carrying out of the commercial part of the scheme.

He did so. But I had no share in or knowledge of the operations undertaken for this purpose, and may therefore as well relate here the upshot of the ill-fated enterprise. I learned subsequently that very large quantities of goods were sent out, of kinds and qualities totally unfitted for the purpose. The building was duly raised, and I have been told by Americans who had seen it, that it was a handsome and imposing one. But the net result was disaster and ruin. My father having been educated to be a Chancery barrister, was a good one. He became a farmer with no training or knowledge necessary for the calling, and it proved ruinous to him. He then embarked on this commercial speculation, which, inasmuch as he was still more ignorant of all such matters, than he was even of farming, turned out still more entirely disastrous.

My father and I, as I have said, did not return from Cincinnati to New York by the same route by which we had travelled westward. We went by the lakes and Niagara, visiting also Trenton Falls en route. Had I written this page immediately after my journey, instead of sixty years after, I might have been justified in attempting—and no doubt should in any case have attempted—some description of the great “water privilege,” which I saw as it will never be seen again. The two great cataclysms which have occurred since that time, have entirely changed, and in a great measure{186} spoiled, the great sight. And now, I am told, this “so-called nineteenth century” (as I read the other day in the fervid discourse of some pessimist orator) intends before it closes to utilise the lake as a milldam and the fall as so much “power.”

I remember that I enjoyed Trenton most. It appealed much less, of course, to the imagination and the sense of wonder, but far more to one’s, appreciation of the beautiful.

Our Niagara visit was in great measure spoiled by my father’s illness. He was suffering from one of his worst sick headaches. He dragged himself painfully to the usual spot near the hotel whence the fall is commanded, and, having looked, got back to his bed. I had plenty of hours at my disposal for rambling in all directions, but, as usual with me, had not a coin of any sort in my pocket. The fall and its environs were not as jealously locked and gated and guarded as has been the case since; but I was assured that I should be very unwise to attempt to penetrate below and behind the fall without a guide, and I should have been most willing to employ one had I possessed the means. But to lose the opportunity of enjoying a sight to which I had so eagerly looked forward, was out of the question; and I did succeed in making my way by the slippery and rather terrible path behind the fall, rewarded by an effect of the sun on the sheet of falling water as perfect and admirable as if it had been ordered expressly for me, and none the worse for the enterprise save returning to the inn{187} as thoroughly drenched as if I had been dragged through the fall! Little enough I cared for that—in those days!

I may mention here one of those singular coincidences which, though in reality so frequently occurring, are objected to in a novelist’s pages as passing the bounds of credibility. Many years after the date of my visit to Niagara the mother of my present wife was there, and saw from the balcony of the hotel a boat with two rowers in it, who had incautiously approached too near the fall, carried over it! Her account of the horror of the sight, and of the sudden and evident despair of the frantically struggling rowers was very impressive, and hardly less so when I heard it for the second time from an American met by chance in Italy, who, sitting in that same balcony at that same hour, had witnessed the same catastrophe!

At New York we were again most kindly and cordially received by Mr. Wilkes, who gave my father much advice respecting his projected Cincinnati venture—advice wholly, as I take it, ignored.

Taught by experience, however, my father did not attempt a second steerage passage. We came back comfortably enough, and had an entirely prosperous voyage, the result being that my remembrances of it are very far less vivid than those of my steerage experience. We reached England in March, and again took up our abode at Harrow Weald, where I, with such very imperfect means{188} and appliances as were at my disposition, was to employ the abundant hours in preparing, in accordance with my own unassisted lights, for the university.

Bad, however, as my father’s circumstances were at this time, and little pleasant in any way as was our life in the farm-house at Harrow Weald, I remember an excursion made by him and me, the only object of which, I think, could have been amusement. My father had an old friend named Skinner (no relative of the vicar of my uncle Meetkerke’s parish of Julians, of whom I have spoken in a former chapter), who was the rector of a parish near Bath. He was a widower, living with an only daughter, and was, I remember, an enthusiastic student of ancient British history in connection with the localities around him. One of the two days we remained with him was devoted to a visit to Cheddar Cliffs. Mr. Skinner mounted us, and we rode a partie carrée, he and my father, Miss Skinner and I, some twelve or fourteen miles to Cheddar. She was a pretty, bright girl, and I found her a charming companion in a scramble to the top of the cliffs overlooking the gorge through which the road runs. We became, indeed, such good friends, that, on our homeward ride, we gradually drew away from our respective parents and reached home a good half hour before they did—which procured for us both a scolding for knocking the horses up.{189}

It was roughish riding, too, as I remember, for the road was very different from what I found it some months ago, when, revisiting Cheddar, I saw on the top of the hill a notice to bicycle riders that the descent is dangerous for them.{190}


As the year wore on without any prospect of a vacancy at New College, it became necessary to decide what should be done as regards sending me to the university. My father was very ill able to support the expense of this. But I had received from Winchester two exhibitions—all that the college had in its power to bestow—and he was very unwilling that I should be unable to avail myself of them.

Concomitantly with continued increase in the frequency and intensity of his headaches, my father’s irritability of temper had increased to a degree which made him a very difficult man to live with. For simple assent to his utterances of an argumentative nature did not satisfy him, he would be argued with. Yet argument produced irritability leading to scenes of painful violence, which I had reason to fear hastened the return of his suffering. But the greatest good, in his opinion, that could then be achieved for me, was, that I should have an university education; and this he was steadfastly{191} minded to procure for me at any cost of pressure and privation.

And then the question arose, at what college should I matriculate?

My father eventually selected Alban Hall—a singular and hardly a judicious choice in any case, but which under the circumstances, as they subsequently arose, proved a disastrous one. My father’s financial position was at the time such, that it would have seemed reasonable that he should have been in a great measure guided in his choice by the consideration of expense. But such was not the case. For Alban Hall was at that time by no means a specially inexpensive place of academical residence. No! the ruling motive was to place me under Whately, who had about four years previously been appointed by Lord Granville Principal of Alban Hall. My father, as I have mentioned, was a “Liberal,” and Whately’s Liberalism was the point in his character by which he was most known to the world in general. I do not think that any personal acquaintance, or even contact, had ever existed between my father and Whately. The connecting link I take to have been Whately’s friend Senior. Whately’s Liberalism certainly, and, I think I may say, my father’s also, would have made excellent Conservatism at the present day. But in those days the new Principal of Alban Hall stood out in strong contrast with the intellectual attitude and habits of thought of Oxford, And this was the leading motive of my father’s choice.{192}

I know not how the case may be now, but in those days it was a decided disadvantage socially and academically to belong to any one of the “halls,” instead of to a college. But of all this side of Oxford life, my father, who had been a New College man in the days when New College exercised its ancient privilege of presenting its members for their degree without submitting them to any examination in the schools, knew nothing. In his day the New College man before the Vice-Chancellor for his degree, instead of using the formula prescribed for every other member of the university to the effect that having satisfied the examiners he begged his degree (peto gradum), said, “Having satisfied my college, I demand my degree” (postulo gradum). This has long been voluntarily abandoned by New College, which on the enactment of the new statute for examinations of course saw that the retention of it necessarily excluded them from “honours.” But in the old day it had inevitably the effect of causing New College men to live very much in a world of their own.

Alban Hall had been, previously to Whately’s time, a sort of “refuge for the destitute” intellectually, or academically: as were for the most part the other halls at that period. This reproach Whately at once set himself to remove from Alban Hall, and had altogether removed by the time I joined the society. It would be difficult to say what generally operating influence had brought together the score or so of members who then constituted that society. They{193} were certainly not intellectually superior to the average undergraduate of the time. Neither were they in any wise inferior in general respectability. But there was no cohesion, no general prevailing character. We seemed like a collection of waifs thrown together by as many different sets of circumstances as there were individuals. I suppose all had been brought there by some personal connection with, or respect for, either Dr. Whately, or for Mr. Hinds, the excellent Vice-Principal, who subsequently became Bishop of Norwich. There was, I remember, a knot of some three or four West Indians, who formed some little exception to what I have said of a general absence of cohesion.

The time which I spent under Dr. Whately’s authority and tuition led me to form a very exalted opinion of his intellectual capacity, high principle, and lofty determination to do what he deemed to be his duty. But I do not think that he was the right man in the right place.

His daughter, Miss Jane Whately, in her excellent and most interesting life of the Archbishop, published some twenty years ago, writes:—-

“Teaching was indeed the occupation most peculiarly suited to his powers and tastes. He had a remarkable faculty of drawing out the mind of the learner, by leading him step by step, and obliging him to think for himself. He used to say that he believed himself to be one of the few teachers who could train a young person of retentive memory for words, without spoiling him. The temptation to the{194} student in such cases is to rehearse by rote the rules or facts he has learned, without exercising his powers of thought; while one whose powers of recollection were less perfect, would be forced to reflect and consider what was likely to be written or said on such or such a point by the writer, and thus to learn more intelligently and less mechanically. The cure for this tendency in young persons who learned quickly by rote he effected by asking them questions, substantially the same as those in the textbook, but which they must answer in their own words, making them draw conclusions from axioms already laid down. In this manner he was able successfully to teach mathematics to many who had been apparently unable to master the first principles, and often to ground them in the elements of Euclid, better than some mathematicians whose actual attainments were far beyond his own. Both in this branch and in logic, as in all other studies, he always commenced analytically and ended synthetically; first drawing out the mind of the learner, by making him give the substance of the right answer, and then requiring the exact technical form of it in words.”

This must strike all, who remember Whately’s teaching, as evidently true. But it in no wise leads me to modify the opinion above expressed as to his adaptation for the position in which I knew him. The style of teaching described by his biographer, if ever suitable at all for a college lecture-room, could only be so in the case of a collection of pupils{195} far superior intellectually to those, with whom (with one or two exceptions, notably that of Mr. Wall, whose subsequent career at Oxford did credit to his Alban Hall training) Dr. Whately had to deal. Miss Whately describes a teacher whose influence in tête-à-tête teaching over a clever pupil would be quite invaluable. But he was always firing far over the heads of his hearers; and I do not think that his method was adapted to driving, pushing, hustling an idle and very backward and unprepared collection of youths through their “little-go” and “pass,” quod erat in votis. Most of this necessary driving fell to the share of Hinds, who was fitted for far higher work, but was patient, kind, laborious, and conscientious to the utmost decree.

Miss Whately’s book, mainly by virtue of the great number of the Archbishop’s letters contained in it, succeeds in giving a very just and vivid notion of her father’s character and tone of mind. She is hardly justified, I think, by facts, in speaking of the “delicacy of his consideration for the feelings of others.” A little circumstance that I well remember scarcely seems to indicate the possession of any such quality. It was about the time when the then burning question of Parliamentary Reform was exercising the minds of all men. A large party of undergraduates were dining at Whately’s table—such invitations were usually given by him in every term—and Mrs. Whately at the head of the long table was asking the young man who sat next her what was the general opinion in the hall on the{196} Reform question, when Whately, who at the bottom of the table had overheard her, called out, “Why don’t you ask what the bedmakers think?” I have little doubt that the opinion of the bedmakers might have been ascertained with an equal, or perhaps greater, degree of profit. But I cannot think that the Principal showed much “delicacy of consideration” for the feelings of his guests.

Perhaps a degree of roughness akin to this, though hardly altogether of the same sort, contributed to increase that strong feeling of dislike for Whately which, outside his own Oriel, was pretty generally felt in Oxford, and which was mainly caused by more serious objections to his political, and in some degree religious, Liberalism.

I fear that I profited very little by his tuition at Alban Hall, doubtless chiefly from my own fault and idleness. But other causes contributed also to the result. The classical lectures were such as I had left a long way behind me. No study on my part was necessary to hold my own in the lecture-room by the side of my fellows in the team. Yet, of course, it was easy for such a teacher as Whately to perceive that I was trusting to Winchester work rather than to his instruction. And naturally this did not please him. I think too that he had a prejudice against public schools in general, and that for some reason or other he disliked Winchester in particular. I remember his saying to me once—though I totally forget on what occasion—“We don’t want any New College ways here, sir!” I{197} told him that I feared I did not deserve the compliment of being supposed capable of bringing any such there. And the reply failed to mollify him.

Those who are old enough to remember anything of the social aspects of Oxford at that day, and indeed any who have read the excellent biography of Archbishop Whately by his daughter, know that he was exceedingly unpopular among “the dons,” his contemporaries. This was due partly to the opinions he held on matters social, political, and religious, partly to those which prejudiced minds far inferior to his own supposed him to hold, but partly also to his own personal ways and manners. I think I know, and indeed I think I knew when I was his pupil, enough of the fibre and calibre of his mind to feel sure that he was greatly the intellectual superior to most of those of similar position around him. And I suppose that the world in general has by this time come to the conclusion that in respect of most of those opinions, which were then most obnoxious to the world in which he lived, Whately was right and his adversaries wrong. But he was not the man to win acceptance for new ideas in any society. The temper of his mind was in a high degree autocratical. He was born to be a benevolent and beneficent despot. His daughter, speaking of the painful experiences that awaited him when he became Archbishop of Dublin, says that “opposition was painful to his disposition.”

Doubtless the Principal of Alban Hall, thoroughly congenial to him as was at that time the social{198} atmosphere of the common room of his own Oriel, would have felt himself much out of his element in most of the common rooms of Oxford. I remember a dear old man, Dr. Johnson, of Magdalen, who was greatly beloved by his own society, and an universal favourite with all who knew him. He was a high, though not altogether dry, right divine man (divino rightly spelled, be it understood, and not with an “e,” as in jure de vino), and used to maintain that the lineal descendants of the last Stuarts were still the rightful sovereigns of England. Sometimes a knot of youngsters would cluster around him, with, “But now, Dr. Johnson, do you really and truly believe that the present Duke of Modena is your lawful sovereign?” “Well, boy,” the doctor would say when thus pressed, “after dinner I do.”

This was not the sort of man whom Whately would have tolerated, for though full of wit, as I have said, he was utterly devoid of any tincture of humour.

Those were the days when it used to be said that the rule at Magdalen respecting preferment tenable together with a fellowship, was, “Hold your tongue, and you may hold any thing else.”

It was supposed, I remember, at that day that there was to a certain special degree an antagonism and dislike between him and Dr. Shuttleworth, the Warden of New College. There was a story current to the effect that the brusquerie of the Principal of Alban Hall was upon one occasion exhibited in an offensive manner in the drawing-{199}room of the Warden of New College, when not only men but ladies were present. Whately had a habit of sitting in all sorts of uncouth postures on his chair. He would balance himself, while nursing one leg over the knee of the other, on the two hind legs of his chair, or even on one of them, and was indulging in gymnastics of this sort when the leg of the chair suddenly snapped, and he, a large and heavy man, rolled on the floor. He was a man of far too much real pith and aplomb to be unnecessarily disconcerted at such an accident. But the story ran that he manifested his disregard for it by simply tossing the offending and crippled chair into a corner, and taking another as he proceeded with what he was saying without one word of apology to his hostess.

If it was true that there was any such special feeling of antagonism between Whately and Shuttleworth it was a pity; for assuredly there were very few, if any, men among the heads of colleges of that day, better calculated by power and originality of mind, and in many respects by liberality of thinking, to understand and foregather with Whately than the Warden of New College.

Shuttleworth was, and had the reputation of being an especially witty man. And I consider Whately to have been the wittiest man I ever knew. But it is true that their wit was of a very different character. Whately was not a man fitted to shine in society, unless it were the society of those prepared by knowledge of and regard for him to recognise his undisputed{200} right to be the acknowledged leader of it. Shuttleworth was, on the contrary, eminently calculated to contribute more than his share to the most brilliant social intercourse. He had, with abundance of solid sweetmeat at the bottom of the trifle, a sparkling store of that froth of wit which is most accepted as the readiest and pleasantest social small change. Whately’s wit was not of the kind which ever set any “table on a roar.” It was of that higher and deeper kind, which consists in prompt perception, not of the superficial resemblances in dissimilar things, but in the underlying resemblances disclosed only to the eye capable of appreciating at a glance the essential qualities and characteristics of the matter in hand. I have heard Whately deliciously witty at a logic or Euclid lecture.

An admirable specimen of this highest description of wit is given—among dozens of others indeed—by his daughter in her biography of him, which delighted me much when I read it, and which may be cited because it is very brilliant and may be given shortly. It will be found at the 38th page of the first volume of Miss Whately’s work. The Archbishop, writing of the controversy respecting the observance of the Sabbath, says, “This is a case in which men impose on themselves by the fallacy of the thaumatrope. On one side are painted (to obviate the absurdity of a probable law) the plain, earnest, and repeated injunctions to the Jews relative to their Sabbath; on the other side (to obviate the consequence of our having to keep{201} the Jewish Sabbath) we have the New Testament allusions to the Christian assemblies on the first day of the week. By a repeated and rapid twirl these two images are blended into one picture in the mind. But a steady view will show that they are on opposite sides of the card.”

I remember a favourite saying of Whately’s to the effect that the difficulty of giving a good definition of anything increased in proportion to the commonness of the thing to be defined. And he would illustrate his dictum by saying “Define me a teacup!” A trial of the experiment will probably convince the experimenter of the correctness of Whately’s proposition.

Whether it may have been that any antagonism between Whately and Shuttleworth caused the former to be prejudiced against Wiccamical things and men, or whether the relationship of the two feelings were vice versâ, I cannot say. But I certainly thought and think still, that I suffered in his estimation from the fact that I was a Wykehamist. In writing on educational matters in or about 1830 (p. 79 of Miss Whately’s first volume), Whately says: “To compare schools generally with colleges generally may seem a vague inquiry, but take the most in repute of each—Eton, Westminster, Harrow, etc., v. Oriel, Brasenose, Balliol, Christchurch, etc., etc.” Now, I cannot but feel that so singular an omission of Winchester from so short a list of the schools “most in repute,” glaringly in contradiction as it was with all that the whole English world{202}—even the non-academical world—knew to be the fact, could have been caused only by preconceived and unreasoning prejudice. Of course to me the utterance above quoted comes only as a confirmation of what the personal observation of my undergraduate days led me to feel, for I knew nothing of it till I read Miss Whately’s volumes published in 1866.

Yet I do not doubt that I may have occasionally “rubbed Whately the wrong way,” as the phrase goes. He was, as I have said, a most autocratically minded man. And we Wykehamists, as the reader may have perceived from my Winchester reminiscences, were not accustomed to be ruled autocratically. We lived under the empire, and I might almost say, in an atmosphere of law, as distinguished from individual will. It was constantly in our minds and on our tongues, that the “informator” or the “hostiarius” could or could not do this or that. We lived with the ever-present consciousness that the suprema lex was not what this master or the other master, or even the Warden might say, save in so far as it coincided with the college statutes. And I doubt not that Whately perceived and understood the influence of this habit of mind in something or other that I might have said or done. It was probably something of the sort which led to his telling me that he wanted no New College manners at Alban Hall.

My “Winchester manners” however, enabled me I remember to understand him when some of his own{203} flock could not. He would at a Euclid lecture say, “Take any straight line,” scrawling, as he said the words, a line as far from straight as he could draw it, to the utter bewilderment of some among his audience, who, I believe, really thought that the Principal was a shocking bad draughtsman, while the despised Wykehamist perfectly understood that his object was to show that the process of reasoning to be illustrated in no wise depended on accuracy of lines or angles.

There is another passage in one of the letters published by his biographer, which illustrates Whately’s aversion from all Wiccamical men and things, and at the same time his utter ignorance of them. “It is commonly said at Oxford,” he writes, “at least it used to be, that it was next to impossible to make a Wykehamist believe that any examination could be harder than that which the candidates for New College undergo.” My reader has already been told in some degree what that examination was, and the nature of it. It was a real and serious examination, whereas that of candidates for admission to Winchester College was a mere form; and it was certainly a searching examination into the thoroughness with which schoolboys had done their schoolboy work. But the supposition that any New College man ever imagined his examination in election chamber to be of equal difficulty with the subsequent work at the university, or with that in the schools for honours, is an absolute proof that the person so{204} supposing never knew anything about them, or had come much into contact with them.

I have said that Whately’s reputation for a very pronounced Liberalism, certainly at that time unparalleled among his brother heads of houses at Oxford, had been my father’s reason for placing me at Alban Hall. And all that reached the undergraduate world in connection with him was of a nature to lead the academic mind to regard him as a phenomenon of Radicalism. And it is curious to recall such impressions, while reading at the present day such a passage as the following (Life of Whately, vol. i., p. 302). The Archbishop is writing about the schemes then in agitation for the application of a portion of the revenues of the Irish Church to the purposes of national education. The italics in the following transcription are mine.

“It is concluded, first, that in parishes where there is a very small or no Protestant population, the revenues of the Church will be either wholly or in part, as the case may be, transferred to the education board, as the incumbents drop, their life interests being reserved; secondly, that in the event of an increase of the Protestant population, such portion of the funds thus alienated, as may be thought requisite, shall be drawn from the education board, and restored to the original purpose; thirdly, that in the event of a further diminution of the Protestants, a further portion shall be withdrawn from the Church, and applied to the purpose of general education. This last supposition is{205} merely conjectural, but is so strictly the converse of the preceding, that every one at once concludes, and must conclude by parity of reasoning, that it must be contemplated. Now it will not be supposed by any one, who knows much of the state of Ireland, that we contemplate as probable any such increase of the Protestant population as to call for the restoration of a considerable portion of the alienated funds. In a few places, perhaps, attempts may be made, I fear with disastrous results, by some zealous Protestant landlords to increase with this view the proportion of Protestants on their estates; but on the whole we neither hope nor fear any such result. What alarms us is, the holding out the principle of such a system as the apportioning the revenues of the Church and of the education board to the varying proportions of the Roman Catholic population to the Protestant; and again the principle of making the funds for national education contingent upon the death of incumbents. The natural effect of the latter of these provisions must be to place the clergy so circumstanced in a most invidious, and in this country a most dangerous situation. No one who knows anything of Ireland would like to reside here surrounded by his heirs, on whom his income was to devolve at his death. And such would be very much the case with an incumbent, who was regarded as standing between the nation and the national benefit, viz., of provision for the education of their children. Then in respect of the other point, every Protestant{206} who might come to settle, or remain settled in any parish, would be regarded as tending towards the withdrawing or withholding, as the case might be, of the funds of the national education, and diverting them to the use of an heretical establishment.

The most harassing persecutions, the most ferocious outrages, the most systematic murders, would in consequence be increased fourfold. Bitter as religious animosities have hitherto been in this wretched country, it would be to most persons astonishing that they could be so much augmented, as I have no doubt they would be, by this fatal experiment. When instead of mere vague jealousy, revenge and party spirit, to prompt to crime and violence, there was also held out a distinct pecuniary national benefit in the extermination of Protestants, it would be in fact a price set on their heads, and they would be hunted down like wolves.... Better, far better, would it be to confiscate at once and for ever all the endowments held by the clergy, and leave them to be supported by voluntary contribution, or by manual labour. However impoverished, they and their congregations would at least have security for their lives.

To seek to pacify Ireland,” he writes a little further on, “by compliance and favour shown to its disturbers would be even worse than the superstitious procedure of our forefathers, with their weapon salve, who left the wound to itself, and applied their unguents to the sword which had inflicted it.{207}

Writing to his friend Senior on Parliamentary Reform he says that a system of £10 qualification “could not last, but must go on to universal suffrage.” His own plan would be universal suffrage with a plurality of votes to owners of property in proportion to the amount of it, and a system of election by degrees—parishes e.g. to elect an elector. “Some may,” he concludes, “perhaps think at the first glance that my reform is very democratical. I think that a more attentive mind will show that it is calculated to prevent in the most effectual way the inroads of excessive democracy. I can at least say that no one can dread more than myself a democratical government, chiefly because I am convinced it is the most warlike.”

Such were the utterances of an advanced Liberal in the first half of this century. Was I far wrong in saying that Whately’s Liberalism would have made very good modern Conservatism?

There was a story current, I remember, not long after Whately’s acceptance of the see of Dublin, which, as I do not think it has been told in print, and as it is very significant, I may tell here—observing that all I know is, that the story was current.

It was at the time when one of the great transatlantic passenger ships had been destroyed by fire with the loss of many lives. One of those saved was a Dublin clergyman of the Low Church school of divinity, who, returning to Dublin, and{208} finding himself the hero of many tea-tables, was wont to moralise down the great event of his life after the fashion of those who will have it, quand même, that the tower of Siloam did fall because of the wickedness of those whom it crushed. And one day, at one of those levées of which Miss Whately speaks, he was improving his usual theme, the centre of a knot gathered around him, when the Archbishop strolled up to the group, according to his fashion, and having heard, said: “Yes, truly Mr. ——, a most remarkable experience! But I think I can cap it” (a favourite phrase of Whately’s, who was fond of the amusement of capping verses). “It is little more than a month ago that I crossed from Holyhead to Kingston, and by God’s mercy the vessel never caught fire at all!”

I cannot bring to an end my reminiscences relating to so remarkable a man as Whately without relating a story, which he told me, as having been told him by his old and highly valued friend and protégé, Blanco White, once so well known a figure among all the Oriel set of that period. The story was introduced, I remember, as an illustration of a favourite (and doubtless correct) theory of Whately’s to the effect that the popular English “hocus pocus,” as applied to any sleight of hand deception, is simply a derisory corruption of the “hoc est corpus” used in the Romish liturgical formula for the consecration of the eucharistic elements. It may be that the story in question{209} has been told in print before now, but I have never met with it.

“A priest,” said Blanco White, “was for some heinous crime condemned to capital punishment at Seville. But of course before he could be delivered over to the secular arm for the execution of the sentence, a ceremonial degradation from his sacerdotal character had to be performed. And this was to be done at the place appointed for his execution immediately before that was proceeded to; and for the greater efficacy of the terrible example to be inculcated on the people, the market day at Seville had been chosen for the purpose.

“The criminal priest accordingly, as he was led to the place of execution, was still to all effects and purposes a priest, with all the tremendous powers inherent in that character, of which nothing save formal ecclesiastical degradation could deprive him. Now it so happened, or perhaps was purposely arranged, that the way from the prison to the place of execution lay through the market place, where all the provisions of all sorts for the Sevillians for that day were exposed. And as the yet undegraded, and it must be feared unrepentant, priest passed among all the various displays of food thus spread out before him, the devil, seizing an opportunity rarely to be matched, entered into the unhappy priest’s mind, and prompted him to deal one last malicious, and sacrilegious, blow at the population about to witness his miserable end.{210} Suddenly, in the mid-market, he stretched out his arms, and pronounced with a loud voice the uncancellable sacramental words, ‘Hoc est corpus!’ And all the contents of that vast market were instantaneously transubstantiated! All the food in Seville was forthwith unavailable for any baser than eucharistic purposes, and Seville had to observe the vindictive priest’s last day on earth as a very rigorous fast day!”

Whether Blanco White told this as absolutely having occurred within his own knowledge, or only as a Seville legend, I do not know, but in any case the story is a good one.

I have said that when I entered Alban Hall I was not in a position to obtain much profit from the classical lectures, the main object of which was to drive those who attended them through the examination for the “little go.” I was better able to pass that examination when I first went to Oxford, than when the time came for my doing so. But the examination in question required that the candidate for passing should take up either logic or Euclid (four books only, as I remember), and of neither of these did I know anything. And there the Alban Hall lectures profited me. The admirably lucid logic lectures of both the Principal and Vice-Principal to my surprise soon rendered the rationale of the science perfectly comprehensible to me, and even Aldrich became interesting. I selected logic for my “little go,” and Whately made me abundantly able to satisfy the examiners.{211}

But, as I said a few pages back, my membership of Alban Hall was, for more reasons than those which have been already given, disastrous to me, and the disaster came about in this wise.

Whately was rightly and judiciously enough very particular in requiring that his men should return after vacation punctually on the day appointed for meeting. Now, unfortunately, my father on one occasion detained me until the following day. What the cause may have been I entirely forget, but remember perfectly well that it was in no way connected with any plans or wishes of mine. I returned a day late, and the penalty which Whately had enacted for this laches was the payment of a certain sum to his servant, the porter, buttery man, and factotum at the hall. What the amount of this penalty was, and whether it were large or small, I have entirely forgotten, if I ever knew, for the whole matter in dispute passed between my father and Whately. The former maintained, whether rightly or wrongly I have not the means of knowing, that the latter acted ultra vires in making any such motu proprio edict. There was no likelihood that Whately would yield in the matter—indeed it would have been out of the question that he should have done so. My father had quite as little of yielding in his nature, and kicked against the pricks determinedly. The result was, that I was one morning summoned to the presence of the Principal and told to take my name off the books! My father was at first disposed to forbid me to do so,{212} but the result of refusal would have been expulsion, which would have entailed ruinous consequences much worse than the already sufficiently injurious results of being compelled to quit the hall. I should immediately have lost the two valuable exhibitions which I held from Winchester, besides incurring the very damning stigma that through life attaches to a man who has been expelled. Eventually I took my name off the books under menace of expulsion if I did not.

The case attracted a good deal of attention in the university at the time, and I think the general feeling among the heads of colleges was that Whately was wrong. At all events, without going into the question as between my father and him, it was emphatically a case of Delirant reges, plectuntur Achivi. From beginning to end the whole matter passed over my head. I had neither fault nor option in the matter. And Whately knew perfectly well how very great was the injury he was inflicting on me. It was nearly impossible to get admission under the circumstances to any college. The great majority of them could not possibly, even if any one of them had wished to do so, receive a man at a minute’s notice, from absolute want of room, and the wrong that would have been done to others who were waiting for admission. But it would have been entirely contrary to the rules and practice of almost, if not quite, every one of them to receive a man compelled to leave another college, even with a formal bene decessit. And the{213} interval of a term (or even of a day, I take it in strictness) would have necessarily involved the forfeiture of my exhibitions. All which Whately also knew; but all which, as he might have fairly answered, my father knew also!

Eventually I was received at Magdalen Hall, which has since that day become Hertford College, of which Dr. Macbride was then Principal. Dr. Macbride was one of the kindliest and best men in the world, and he was one of those who most strongly felt that I was being very hardly used. It was with difficulty that it could be managed that I should be received into his society at a day’s notice; but looking to the urgency, as well as to the other circumstances of the case, it was managed somehow, and I became a member of Magdalen Hall.

But the mischief done to my university career was fatal! Magdalen Hall was at that time a general refuge for the destitute! Dr. Macbride, well known for his active benevolence and beneficence in various spheres of well-doing on the outside of his academical character, was hardly well adapted for the position he held in the university. Anything of the nature of punishment seemed impossible to the gentleness of his character; and I fancy he held theoretically that it was desirable that a place such as his hall should exist in the university to serve as a refuge for those who, without being black sheep, were for a variety of reasons pushed aside from the beaten tracks of the academical career.{214}

I made very little acquaintance with the men there; but I do not think there were many, though no doubt some, black sheep among them. There was another hall in the university at that time famous for the “fastness” of its inmates. But the “shadiness” of Magdalen Hall was of a different kind. There were many middle-aged men there—ci-devant officers in the army, who had quitted their profession with the intention of entering the Church; schoolmasters, who, having begun their career in some capacity which did not require a degree, were at a later day anxious to obtain one in order to better themselves. In general, the object of all there was not education or any other object save simply a degree needed for some social or economical purpose. “Honours” were of course about as much aspired to as bishoprics! And it was the business of Mr. Jacobson, the gentle, kindly, patient, and long-suffering Vice-Principal to secure “a pass” for as many of his heterogeneous flock as possible.

Of discipline there could hardly be said to have been any! When other men of the kick-over-the-traces sort told their stories of various surreptitious means of entering college at all sorts of hours, Magdalen Hall men used to say that their plan was to ring at the gate and have it opened for them! I remember upon one occasion, when I had shown myself in chapel only on the Sunday morning during an entire week, the Vice-Principal mildly remarked, “You have reduced it to a minimum, Mr. Trollope!” I suppose that in classical attain{215}ments I was much superior to any man in the place. There were many, it is true, who were never seen at lecture at all—not probably from idleness, but because they were obtaining from a private tutor a course of cramming more desperately energetic than even kindly, patient Jacobson’s elementary lectures could supply. For me the res angusta domi forbade all idea of employing a private tutor. But as for a “pass” degree, I was just as capable of taking it when I left Winchester (with the exception of logic, and what was called “divinity”) as when I did take it; and as regards logic, I was sufficiently capable when I left Whately’s hands. If my “divinity” examination had consisted of as searching an inquiry into my knowledge of the contents of the Old Testament as was required from many men, I should infallibly have been “plucked.” But, as it chanced, it consisted solely of construing two verses of the New Testament. I remember that the examiner had been hammering away at the man next before me for an inordinate time, and as I construed my Greek Testament glibly enough, he was glad to make up for lost time.

As for Jacobson’s lectures they were absolutely useless to me, and he never in the slightest degree pressed me to attend them. I remember, however, that he desired an interview with me on the morning I was to go into the schools, for the purpose of testing in some degree the probability of my passing. And it is a singular circumstance that—Horace having been one of the books I was taking up{216}—he put me on, as a trial, at the very passage selected for the same purpose by the examiner in the schools an hour or two later! Jacobson found me able enough to deal with the passage he selected. But had it been otherwise he would have secured my passing—as far as Horace was concerned—despite any amount of ignorance of the author, if only I had the wit to remember his cramming for an hour or two.

Eventually, though I had in no wise aimed at anything of the sort, a third class was awarded to me—wholly, as I was given to understand, on account of my Latin writing. The examiners had given—hardly judiciously—so stiff a passage from one of the homilies to be translated into Latin that the majority of the men could not understand the English; which to a certain extent interfered with their translation of it into another language. They were “pass men!” With the candidates for honours it would doubtless have been otherwise. But I did understand it, and I took it into my head to translate it twice—once into Ciceronian and once into Sallustian Latin. And this was rewarded by a third class. Valeat quantum!

And thus ended my academical career in a comparative failure, the conclusion of which seemed to have been rather a foregone one. I had no private tutor, and, with the exception of Whately’s logic lectures, no college tuition of any value to me at all. And in addition to all this I was pulled up by the roots and transplanted in the middle of my career. No doubt I was idle, and might have{217} done better. I read a good deal, but it was what I chose to read and not what I ought to have read with a view to the schools. I had no very unacademical pursuits save one. I used occasionally to hire with a friend a gig with a fast horse, drive out to Witney, dine there, wait till the up mail came through, and then run back to Oxford, tormenting the coachman and his team by continually running by him, letting him pass me, and then da capo. But these escapades were rare.

A great deal more wine, or what was supposed to be such, was drunk at Oxford in those days than was desirable, or than, as I take it, is the case now. But I never was much of a wine drinker. I think I have been drunk twice in my life, but not oftener. Very little credit, however, is due to me for my moderation, from the fact, which I do not think I ever met with in the case of any other individual, that the headache which to most others comes the next morning as the penalty of excess, always used to come to me, if I at all exceeded, séance tenante, and almost immediately. Nor did wine ever pleasurably raise my spirits, nor did my palate care for it. To the present day as a simple question of gourmandise I would rather drink a glass of lemonade than any champagne that was ever grown—lemonade, by the bye, not such liquid as goes by that name in this country, but lemonade made with lemons fresh and fragrant from the tree. Under these circumstances I can make small claim to any moral virtue for my sobriety.{218}

I used to be a good deal upon the water either alone or accompanied by a single friend with a pair of sculls. But I was a great walker, and cultivated in those days, and, indeed, during most of the many years that have passed since, a considerable turn of speed. In those days Captain Barclay was called the champion pedestrian of England, and had walked six miles within the hour. I hear people talk of eight and even nine miles having been done within the hour. But I absolutely refuse to believe the statement. I dare say that the ground may have been covered, but not at a fair walk—at what used to be called, and perhaps is called still, a toe-and-heel walk, i.e. a walk in performing which one foot must touch the ground before the other leaves it. I tried very hard to match Captain Barclay’s feat, but my utmost endeavours never achieved more than five miles and three-quarters—I could never do more; and of course that last quarter of a mile just made all the difference between a first-rate and a second-rate walker. The five and three-quarters I have often done on the Abingdon Road, milestone to milestone. And at the present day I should be happy to walk a match with any gentleman born in 1810.

The longest day’s walk I ever did was forty-seven miles, but I carried a very heavy knapsack, making, I take it, that distance fully equal to sixty miles without one. How well I remember walking one fair frosty morning from Winchester to Alresford, seven miles, before breakfast. I asked at the inn{219} at which I breakfasted for cold meat. They brought me an uncut loin of small Southdown mutton, of which I ate the whole. And I can see now the glance of that waiter’s eye, accusing me, as plainly as if he had spoken the words, of pocketing his master’s provisions! Eheu! fugaces, Posthume, Posthume, labuntur anni, and I never shall again eat a loin of mutton at one sitting!—partly though because scientific breeding has exterminated the good old Southdown mutton.

One other reminiscence occurs to me in connection with the subject of walking. While I was living with my parents at Harrow, my mother’s brother, Mr. Henry Milton, was living with his family at Fulham. And one Sunday morning I walked from Harrow to Fulham before breakfast on a visit to him. As may be supposed, I was abundantly ready to do ample justice to the very solid and varied breakfast placed before me, but, after having done so, was hardly equally ready to accompany my uncle’s family to Fulham Church to hear the Bishop of London preach. This, however, it behoved me to do, not without great misgiving as to the effect that the Bishop’s sermon might have on me after my twelve miles walk and very copious breakfast—especially as my uncle’s pew was exactly in front and in the vicinity of the pulpit! So, minded to do my best under the difficult circumstances, I stood up during the sermon. All in vain! Nature too peremptorily bade me sleep. I slept, with the result of executing an uninterrupted series of{220} profound bows to the preacher, the suddenness and jerky nature of which evidently betokened the entirety of my agreement with his arguments. I feared the reproaches, which I doubted not awaited me on my way home. But my uncle contented himself with saying, “When you go to sleep during a sermon, Tom, never stand up to do it!”

To sum up the story of my certainly unsuccessful, but not entirely profitless life at Oxford, I may say that I was not altogether an idle man, nor ever in any degree a sharer in any of the “faster” phases of academical life. I was always a reader. But what academical good could come to a man who was reading The Diversions of Purley, or Plot’s Oxfordshire, or Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, or Brown’s Vulgar Errors, when he ought to have been reading Aristotle’s Ethics? Among other reminiscences of the sort, my diary accuses me, for instance, for having taken from the library of Magdalen Hall (and read!) a volume called Gaffarel’s Curiosities. I suppose no other living man has read it! The work contains among other “curiosities,” a chapter “of incredible nonsense,” as my diary calls it, on the construction and proper use of Talismans!

Alas, no “honours” were granted for proficiency in such studies!{221}


Before quitting a phase of my life, which many, if not most, old men are wont to look back on as their happiest time, but which I, by so considering, should grievously wrong many a subsequent period, I may string together at random a few notes from my diaries, which may seem to contribute some touch or trait to the story of the way we lived sixty years since.

The way men lived in Germany at that date, I find given in a letter from the Baron de Zandt to my mother, as follows: “In many parts of Germany,” says the Baron, who, as I very well remember, understood what good living was, “a man may be boarded and lodged comfortably for £26 a year. If he prefers economy to comfort, it might be done for considerably less.”

From the journal of a walking tour in South Devon, performed in the year 1831, I take the well-nigh incredible statement, that no tobacconist ex professo could at that date be found in Plymouth! “I succeeded after some research,” says the diary, “in getting some tolerable tobacco from a chymist.{222}” Doubtless plenty of tobacco was to be had, if I had known where to look for it—at chandlers’ shops and taverns. But I have no doubt that the statement in the fifty-five-year-old “text” is correct. No tobacconist’s shop was then to be found in Plymouth.

In July, 1832, I was walking in Wales, and reaching Caermarthen in assize time (where Judge Alderson, as is recorded, was trying prisoners on the Crown side), found much difficulty in getting any accommodation for bed or even board. But at length a commercial gentleman at the Ivy Bush, the principal inn, “entering into conversation in a patronising sort of way, told me it was a herror to suppose that commercial men were hadverse to gentlemen making use of the commercial room provided they was gentlemen. For himself, he was always most ’appy to associate with gentlemen;” and, in fine, invited me to join their table, which I did at two o’clock. One of the assembled party—there were some fifteen or sixteen of them—was formally named president for the day, and took the head of the table. We were excruciatingly genteel. I, in my ignorance, asked for beer, but was with much politeness informed that malt liquor was not used at their table. Every man was expected to consume a pint of most atrocious sherry at 5s. 6d., which I suppose compensated the landlord for the wonderfully small price of the dinner. A dinner of three courses, consisting of salmon, chicken, venison, three or four made dishes, and pastry, was put{223} before us. I was surprised at the gorgeousness of this feast, and began to have alarming anticipations of the amari aliquid which must follow. But I was assured that this was the ordinary every-day fare of the “commercial gentlemen,” and the bill for the repast was two shillings! My diary records that the conversation at table in no wise savoured of trade in any of its branches. Shakespeare and Walter Scott were descanted on in turn, and one dapper little man, who travelled in cutlery, averred that Sir Walter had on one occasion been exceedingly polite to him, and he should always say to the end of his life that he was a gentleman.

At Dolgelly I was struck by the practice prevailing there of tolling, after the ringing of the curfew, a number of strokes on the biggest bell equal to the number of the days which had elapsed of the current month. I wonder whether they do so still?

I went out of my way, I find, in the course of the same journey, in order to go from Liverpool to Manchester by the new railway, which to me, as to thousands of others, was an object of infinite curiosity and interest. My diary notes that there were fifteen carriages attached to the engine, each carrying twelve passengers. Two of these were first-class, and the fare for the journey to Manchester in them was 5s.; in the others the fare was 3s. 6d. The train I was to travel by was called a second-class train. The first-class trains carried no second-class passengers, and did the journey of{224} fifty-two miles in one hour and a half. They stopped only once on the way. The second-class trains stopped frequently, and were two hours on the road. I estimated the speed at something over twenty-five miles an hour, and remark in my diary that “that immense rapidity was manifested to the senses only by looking at the objects passed.”

At Manchester I find myself to have been much scandalised at a scene which I witnessed in the Collegiate Church there. There were seventeen couples to be married, and they were all married at once, the only part of the service individually performed being the “I take thee,” &c. &c. I perfectly well remember at this distance of time the bustling about of the clerk among them to insure that every male should be coupled to the right female. “After this wholesale coupling had been completed,” says my diary, “the daily service was begun, and was performed in a more indecent and slovenly way than I ever before witnessed, which is saying a great deal! While the Psalms were being sung the priest, as having nothing to do, walked out, and returned just in time to read the Lessons.” Such were the manners and habits of 1832.

A few weeks later I find an entry to the effect that, “while my father was reading Grandison to us in the evening I got M. Hervieu (the artist who did the illustrations for my mother’s Domestic Manners of the Americans and other books, and{225} who chanced to be passing the evening with us en famille) to draw me a caricature illustrating the following passage of Beattie’s Minstrel:—

“And yet young Edwin was no vulgar boy;
Deep thought would often fix his youthful eye.
Dainties he heeded not, nor gaud, nor toy,
Save one short pipe!”

I possess this remarkable work of art to the present day!

At another page I stumble on the record of a conversation with the sexton of Leatherhead, whom, in one of my rambles, I found digging a grave in the churchyard there. Three shillings, I learned, was the price of a grave of the ordinary depth of five feet. Those, however, who could afford the luxury of lying deeper paid a shilling a foot more.

One more note from the diaries of those days I will venture to give, because it may be taken as a paraleipomenon to that Autobiography of my brother, which the world was kindly pleased to take some interest in:—

“Went to town yesterday [from Harrow], and among other commissions bought a couple of single-sticks with strong basket handles. Anthony much approves of them, and this morning we had a bout with them. One of the sticks bought yesterday soon broke, and we supplied its place by a tremendous blackthorn. Neither of us left the arena without a fair share of rather severe wales; but{226} Anthony is far my superior in quickness and adroitness, and perhaps in bearing pain too. I fear he is likely to remain so in the first two, but in the third I am determined he shall not.”

Thus says the yellow fifty-seven-year-old page!

And I have literally thousands of such pages; voluminous records—among other matters—of walking excursions in the home counties, in Devon, in Wales, in Gloucestershire, and the banks of the Severn and Wye, not a page of which fails to bear its testimony to the curiously changed circumstances under which a pedestrian would now undertake such wanderings. I find among other jottings—deemed memorabilia at the time—that I carried a knapsack weighing twenty-eight pounds over the top of Plinlimmon, because I considered seven and sixpence demanded by the guide for accompanying me, excessive.

But ohe! jam satis. I will inflict no more upon the patient reader—the impatient will have skipped much of what I have already given him.

Alas! the amari aliquid of these old records is the unblushing chronicle of intentions, enough to have paved all Acheron with a durability unachieved by any highway board! The only comfort for diarists so imprudently candid as to record such aspirations, and so yet more imprudent as to read them half a century after the penning of them, is the consideration that au bout des comptes the question is, not what one has done, but what one has become. If one could flatter oneself that one has the mens{227} sana in corpore sano at seventy-seven years, one might accept and condone the past without too much regret; and at all events it is something to have undeniably brought the latter to its seventy-eighth year.{228}


I came down from Oxford to find my mother and my two sisters returned from America, and living in that Harrow Weald farm-house which my brother Anthony, in his Autobiography, has described, I think, too much en noir. It had once been a very good house, probably the residence of the owner of the small farm on which it was situated. It certainly was no longer a very good house, but it was not “tumble-down,” as Anthony calls it, and was indeed a much better house than it would have been if its original destination had been that of merely a farmhouse. But it and “all that it inherited” was assuredly shabby enough, and had been forlorn enough, as I had known it in my vacations, when inhabited only by my father, my brother Anthony and myself.

But my mother was one of those people who carry sunshine with them! The place did not seem the same! The old house, whatever else it may have been, was roomy; and a very short time elapsed before my mother had got round her one or two nice girl guests to help her in brightening it.{229}

I may mention here a singular circumstance, which furnished me with means of estimating my mother’s character in a phase of her life which rarely comes within the purview of a son. Some years ago, not many years I think after my mother’s death, an anonymous stranger sent my brother Anthony a packet of old letters written by my mother to my father shortly before and shortly after their marriage. He never was able to ascertain who his benevolent correspondent was, nor how the papers in question came into his possession. There they are, carefully tied up in a neat packet, most of them undated by her, but carefully docketed with the date by my father’s hand. The handwriting, not spoiled as it afterwards became by writing over a hundred volumes, is a very elegant one.

There is a singularly old-world flavour about them. There is a staid moderation in their tone, which a reader of the present day, fresh from the perusal of similar literature, as supplied by Mr. Mudie, would probably call coldness. In the few letters which precede the marriage there are no warm assurances of affection. After marriage the language becomes more warm. I am tempted to transcribe a few passages that the girls of the period may see how their great-grandmothers did these things.

“It does not require three weeks’ consideration, Mr. Trollope”—thus begins the first letter, undated, but docketed by my father, “F. M. undated, received 2nd Nov., 1808”—“to enable me to tell{230} you that the letter you left with me last night was most flattering and gratifying to me. I value your good opinion too highly not to feel that the generous proof you have given me of it must for ever, and in any event, be remembered by me with pride and gratitude. But I fear you are not sufficiently aware that your choice, so flattering to me, is for yourself a very imprudent one.” And then follows a business-like statement of possessions and prospects, which the writer fears fall much short of what her suitor might reasonably expect.

But none of my father’s faults tended in the slightest degree to lead him to marry a millionnaire, whom he cared less for, in preference to a girl without a sixpence, whom he loved better.

“In an affair of this kind,” the letter I have cited goes on to say, “I do not think it any disadvantage to either party that some time should elapse between the first contemplation and final decision of it. It gives each an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the other’s opinion on many important points, which could not be canvassed before it was thought of, and which it would be useless to discuss after it was settled.”

Could Mrs. Chapone have expressed herself better?

I find in another letter, dated (by my father) 6th December, 1808, the following George-the-Thirdian passage: “The most disagreeable of created beings, Col. —— by name, by profession Sir ——’s led captain, is, while I am writing, talking in an animated strain of eloquence to Mrs. Milton” (my grandfather{231} the vicar’s second wife and the writer’s stepmother), “frequently seasoning his discourse with the polished phrase, ‘Blood and thunder, ma’am!’ so if I happen to swear a little before I conclude, be so good as to believe that I am accidentally writing down what he is saying.... Poor dear innocent Dr. Nott! His simplicity is quite pathetic! I am really afraid that he will be taking twopence instead of two pounds from his parishioners, merely because he does not know the difference between them. I cannot help feeling a tender interest for such lamb-like innocence of the ways of this wicked world. I dare say the night I saw him at the opera, he thought he was only” (note the distinction) “at the play, nay, perhaps believed they were performing an oratorio.”

In one letter of the 9th of April, 1809, I find a mention of “a frank” sent by Mr. Mathias with a translation by him into Italian of the “Echo Song” in Comus, of which the writer says that it is “elegantly done, but is not Milton.”

In another of the 18th of May, 1809—the last before the marriage took place—I find the following, which may interest some people. “I wish you could be here to-morrow,” she writes, “we are going to see the prisoners of war at Odiam (near Reading) perform one of Molière’s plays. Two years ago we attended several of them, and I never enjoyed anything more.”

More than a score of these faded eighty-year-old letters are before me; and I might perhaps have{232} gleaned from them some other little touches illustrative of men and manners when George the Third was king, but were I to yield to all the temptations of the sort that beset the path on which I am travelling, I should try my readers’ patience beyond all hope of forgiveness.

My mother had brought home with her the MS. of a couple of volumes on America; and the principal business on hand when I came home from Oxford was the finding a publisher for these. In this quest she was zealously and very energetically assisted by Captain Basil Hall, himself the author of a work on America and sundry other books, which at that time had made a considerable reputation. Basil Hall’s book on America did not take a favourable view of the Americans or their institutions; and it had been mercilessly attacked and accused of misrepresentation by all the critics of the Liberal party. For Hall’s book, and everything else concerning America, was in those days looked at from a political party point of view. America and the Americans were understood to be anti-everything that was dear to Conservatives. They were accordingly the pets of the Whigs (Radicals and Radicalism had not yet emerged into the ken of respectable folk, either Whig or Tory), and Hall’s book had been abused accordingly. He was very sore about the accusations of untruthfulness, and was delighted with a book which supported his assertions and his views. How my mother came to be introduced to him, and how it came to pass{233} that the MS. of her work was shown to him, I do not remember, but the result was that he was zealously eager for the publication of it. The title, if I recollect rightly, was proposed by him. The Domestic Manners of the Americans was published, and made an immediate and great success. It was emphatically the book of the season, was talked of everywhere, and read by all sorts and conditions of men and women. It was highly praised by all the Conservative organs of the press, and vehemently abused by all those of the opposite party. Edition after edition was sold, and the pecuniary results were large enough to avert from the family of the successful authoress the results of her husband’s ruined fortunes.

The Americans were made very angry by this account of their “domestic manners”—very naturally, but not very wisely. Of course, it was asserted that many of the statements made were false and many of the descriptions caricatured. Nothing in the book from beginning to end was false; nothing of minutest detail which was asserted to have been seen had not been seen; nor was anything intentionally caricatured or exaggerated for the sake of enhancing literary effect. But the tone of the book was unfriendly, and was throughout the result of offended taste rather than of well-weighed opinion. It was full of universal conclusions drawn from particular premises; and no sufficient weight, or rather no weight at all, was allowed to the fact that the observations on which the recorded judgments were{234} founded had been gathered almost entirely in what was then the Far West, and represented the “domestic manners” of the Atlantic states hardly at all. Unquestionably the book was a very clever one, and written with infinite verve and brightness. But—save for the fact that censure and satire are always more amusing than the reverse—an equally clever and equally truthful book might have been written in a diametrically opposite spirit.

No doubt the markedly favourable reception of the book was what mainly irritated our American cousins. But they certainly were angry far beyond what the importance of the matter would seem to have justified. I remember that Colley Grattan, whose fame as the author of Highways and Byways was then at its zenith, in writing to me from Boston, where he resided for many years as British Consul, inviting me to visit him there, went into the question of the reception I might be likely to meet with on that side of the Atlantic. “I think,” he wrote, “that to come over under a false name would be infra dig. But really I fear that if you come under your own, you may be in for a dig!”

Whether Grattan exaggerated the wrath of his Bostonian friends for the sake of his joke, I do not know. Unquestionably the Americans, even speaking of them as a nation, were made very angry by my mother’s book. But the anger was not of a very spiteful or rancorous description, for from that day to this I have never met with anything but kindness and cordial friendliness from all the{235} Americans I have known—and I have known very many.

The return of my mother, and the success of her book, produced a change in the condition and circumstances of affairs at home which resembled the transformation scene in a pantomime that takes place at the advent of the good fairy. Even the old farm-house at Harrow Weald was brightened up physically, and to a far greater degree morally, by her presence. But we did not remain long there. Very shortly she took us back to Harrow, not to the large house built by my father on Lord Northwick’s land, but to another very good house on the same farm—not above a stone’s throw from the previous one, which he had made (very imprudently) by adding to and improving the original farm-house—a very comfortable residence. This was the house which the world has heard of as “Orley Farm.”

And there my mother became immediately surrounded by many old friends and many new ones. I remember among the latter Letitia Landon, better known to the world as “L. E. L.” She was a petite figure, very insignificant-looking, with a sharp chin, turn-up nose, and on the whole rather piquante face, though without any pretension to good looks. I remember her being seated one day at dinner by the side of a certain dignitary of the Church, who had the reputation of being more of a bon vivant than a theologian, and who was old enough to have been her father; and on my asking her afterwards what they had been talking about so earnestly, as I had{236} seen them, “About eating, to be sure!” said she. “I always talk to everybody on their strong point. I told him that writing poetry was my trade, but that eating was my pleasure, and we were fast friends before the fish was finished!” Her sad fate and tragic ending, poor soul! attracted much attention and sympathy at the time. And doubtless fate and the world used her hardly; but she was one of those who never under any circumstances would have run a straight and prosperous course.

Another visitor whom I remember well at that and other times was the Rev. Henry Milman, the third son of Sir Francis Milman, who was, if I rightly recollect, physician to Queen Charlotte. I remember hearing him say (but this was long previously) that no man need think much about the gout, who had never had it till he was forty. His widow, Lady Milman, lived with her daughter many years at Pinner, near Harrow, and they were very old friends of my mother. She was a dear old lady with certain points of eccentricity about her. She used always to carry a volume of South’s sermons with her to church for perusal during the less satisfactory discourse of her more immediate pastor; and I am afraid was not sufficiently careful to conceal her preference. It must be over sixty years since, lunching one day at Pinner, I was much amused at her insisting that Abraham, the old one-eyed footman, who had lived in the family all his life, should kneel before the dining-room fire to warm her plate of pickled salmon! I remember{237} walking with her shortly before her death in the kitchen garden at Pinner, when Saunders, the old butler, who had developed into a sort of upper gardener, was pruning the peach trees. “Oh! don’t cut that, Saunders,” said my lady; “I want to see those blossoms. And I shall never see them another year!” “Must come off, my lady,” said Saunders inexorably, as he sheared away the branch. “He never will let me have my way,” grumbled the little old lady, as she resumed her trot along the gravel walk under the peach wall. My lady, however, could assert herself sufficiently on some occasions. I happened to be at Pinner one day when Mrs. Archdeacon Hodgson, a neighbour, called somewhat earlier in the day than the recognised hour for morning visits. “Very glad to see you, my dear,” said my lady, rising to meet her astonished visitor, who was at least twice as big a woman as herself, I mean physically, “but you must not do this sort of thing again!”

Her third son, Henry Milman, who, having begun his career as the author of perhaps the best “Newdegate” ever written, was famous during the earlier part of it as a poet and dramatist, and during the latter portion of it (more durably) as an historian, was, with his very beautiful wife, one of our visitors at this period. He was at that time certainly a very brilliant man, but I did not like him as well as I did his elder brother, Sir William. I give only the impressions of an undergraduate, who was, I think, rather boyish{238} for his age. But it seemed to me that the poet had a strain of worldliness in his character, and a certain flavour of cynicism (not incompatible, however, with serious views and earnest feeling on religious subjects), which were wholly absent from the elder brother, who wrote neither poems nor histories, but was to my then thinking a very perfect gentleman. “Nec vixit male qui natus moriensque fefellit.

I find recorded in a diary of that time (November, 1832) some notes of a conversation with Henry Milman one evening when I, with my parents and sister, had been dining with Lady Milman at Pinner, which are perhaps worth reproducing here.

I asked him in the course of a long after-dinner conversation what he thought of Shuttleworth’s book on the Consistency of Revelation with Itself and with Human Reason, which formed the second volume of the series called the “Theological Library,” and which I had recently been reading. He said the work had a great many faults, one of the principal of which was its great difficulty. On this point I find, from other entries in my diary, that my undergraduate experience fully coincided with his more valuable judgment. The reasoning in a great many places was, he said, false; and in that part which treated of the Mosaic account of the creation of the world, the great question was entirely blinked. The abstract of moral duties appeared to him, he said, to be by far the most{239} able part of the book. He considered Shuttleworth “a man of very limited reading.” And this perhaps he may have seemed to one of whom it used to be said jocosely in his own family that “Henry reads a book, not as other mortals do, line after line, but obliquely, from the left hand upper corner of a page to the right hand lower corner of the same!”

Milman, on the same occasion, spoke much of the decay of a love of learning in England generally, and particularly at Oxford. He said that no four men could be found there who were up to the European level of the day in any branch of learning—not even in theology. And speaking of England generally, he said that in no one public library in the country could the books requisite for a man, who wished to write a learned work on any subject whatever, be found. Germany was, and was, he thought, likely to remain, the great emporium of all learning.

As for the Church, he said that it would never be the profession that it had been—that it would not be his choice for a son of his; and that the law was the only profession for talent in these days. He observed that it was very remarkable that no change—no revolution—had ever passed over this country without adding power and wealth to that profession.

Here, also, I may record, if the reader will pardon the abruptness of a transition that hurries him from scholarly disquisition to antipodean regions{240} of subject and social atmosphere, an expedition I and my brother Anthony made together, which recurs to my mind in connection with those days. But I think that it must have belonged to the Harrow Weald times before the return of my mother from America, because the extreme impecuniosity, which made the principal feature of it, would not have occurred subsequently. We saw—my brother and I—some advertisement of an extra-magnificent entertainment that was to take place at Vauxhall; something of so gorgeous promise in the way of illuminations and fireworks, and all for the specially reduced entrance fee of one shilling each person, that, chancing to possess just that amount, we determined to profit by so unique an occasion. Any means of conveyance other than legs, ignorant in those days of defeat, was not to be thought of. We had just the necessary two shillings, and no more. So we set off to walk the (at least) fourteen miles from Harrow Weald to Vauxhall, timing ourselves to arrive there about nine in the evening. Anthony danced all night. I took no part in that amusement, but contented myself with looking on and with the truly superb display of fireworks. Then at about 1 A.M. we set off and walked back our fourteen miles home again without having touched bite or sup! Did anybody else ever purchase the delight of an evening at Vauxhall at so high a price?

I did, however, much about the same time a harder day’s walk. I was returning from Oxford{241} to Harrow Weald, and I determined to walk it, not, I think, on this occasion, deficiente crumenâ, but for pleasure, and to try my powers. The distance, I think, is, as near as may be, forty-seven miles. But I carried a very heavy knapsack—a far heavier one than any experienced campaigner would have advised. This was the longest day’s walk I ever achieved; and I arrived very tired and footsore. But the next morning I was perfectly well, and ready to have taken the road again. Upon this occasion I walked my first stage of twelve miles before breakfast; absolutely, that is to say, before breaking my fast. I think that not very many persons could do this, and I am sure that the few, who could do it, had much better not do so.

I have spoken of the immense change operated in the circumstances and surroundings of all of us by my mother’s return from America and the success of her first work, the Domestic Manners of the Americans. But, efficacious as this success was for producing so great a change, and sufficient as the continued success of her subsequent works was to rescue the whole of her family from the slough of ruin, in which my father’s farming operations, and to some extent, I suppose his injudicious commercial attempt at Cincinnati, had involved him, the results of this success were very far from availing to stem the tide of ruin as regarded his affairs. They were sufficient to relieve{242} him from all expenses connected with the household or its individual members, but not to supply in addition to all these, the annual losses on the Harrow farm. Hence the break-up described by my brother Anthony in his Autobiography, and my father’s exodus from Harrow as there narrated.{243}


Of all that Anthony there describes I saw nothing. I was attending the “divinity lectures” in Oxford. But as soon as the short course of them was completed, I left England to join my parents at Bruges. And here is the condensed record of the journey as performed in 1834. I suppose that I went by the Thames to Calais, instead of by Dover, as a measure of economy. I left Oxford by the “Rocket” at three in the morning on Tuesday, the 20th May, and on reaching London found that there was no packet to Ostend till the following Saturday. I determined, therefore, to go to Calais by that which left Tower Stairs on the Wednesday. It was the first time I had ever crossed the Channel. The times I have crossed that salt girdle subsequently must be counted by hundreds! I observe that having begun my journey at 3 A.M. did not prevent me from finding “Farren admirable” in both The Minister and the Mercer and in Secret Service, at Drury Lane that Tuesday evening. I slept at the Spread Eagle in Gracechurch Street that night, and{244} left Tower Stairs at 10 A.M. the next morning in the Lord Melville, Captain Middleton (names of ship and captain duly recorded), and had a rough passage of thirteen hours; all hands sick, “even I a little at last,” says the veracious chronicle. I was taken by the victor in a sharp contest with half a dozen rivals over my body, to the Hôtel de Londres, a clean, comfortable, and quiet, but, I suppose, quite second-rate inn. There was no conveyance to Dunkirk before one the next day. So, “after a delicious breakfast on coffee.” (Ah! how la belle France has dégringoléd in respect to coffee and some other matters since those happy days! Then coffee really was always good everywhere in France. Now England has no cause whatever to envy her neighbour in that respect.) I spent the intervening hours in going (of all things in the world) to the top of the church tower. The diligence brought me to Dunkirk in time for supper at the Tête de Flandres Hôtel, at which “a Frenchman, who sat next me, insisted on my sharing his bottle of vin de Bourdeaux, and would not hear of my paying my share of the cost, saying that he was at home in his own country.” I find that I went after supper “to the top of a fine tower” (my second that day! I had a mania, not quite cured yet, for ascending towers), and started at five the next morning for Nieuport “in a vile little barge, in company with two young pedestrianising Belgians,” and arrived there about noon, after a most tedious voyage, and changing, without bettering, our barge{245} three or four times. At Nieuport we found “a sort of immense overgrown gig with two horses, which conveyed eight of us to Ostend.”

There I was most kindly and hospitably received by Mr. Fauche, the English Consul, and his very lovely wife. Mrs. Fauche had been before her marriage one of my mother’s cohort of pretty girl friends, and was already my old acquaintance. She was the daughter of Mr. Tomkisson, a pianoforte manufacturer, who had married the daughter of an Irish clergyman. Their daughter Mary was, as I first knew her, more than a pretty girl. She was a very beautiful and accomplished woman, with one of the most delicious soprano voices I ever heard. I was anxious to join my mother at Bruges, who, despite her literary triumphs, had passed through so much trouble since I had seen her. But it needed the reinforcement of this anxiety by a sense of duty to enable me to resist Mrs. Fauche’s invitation to remain a day or two at Ostend.

I found my father and mother, and my two sisters, Cecilia and Emily, established in a large and very roomy house, just outside the southern gate of the city, known as the Château d’Hondt. It was a thoroughly good and comfortable house, and, taken unfurnished, speedily became under my mother’s hands a very pleasant one. Nor was it long before it became socially a very agreeable one, for the invariable result of my mother’s presence, which drew what was pleasant around her as surely as a magnet draws iron, showed itself in the collection of{246} a variety of agreeable people—some from the other side of the Channel, some from Ostend, and some few from Bruges.

All this made a social atmosphere, which with the foreign flavouring so wholly new to me, was very pleasant; but it seems not to have sufficed to prevent me from seizing the opportunity for a little of that locomotive sight-seeing, the passion for which, still unquenched, appears to have been as strong in me as when I hankered after a place on some one of the “down” coaches starting from the “Cellar” in Piccadilly, or gazed enviously at the outward bound ships in the docks. For I find the record of a little week’s tour among the Belgian cities, with full details of all the towers I ascended, observations of an ecclesiological neophyte on the churches I everywhere visited, and remarks on men and manners, the rawness of which does not entirely destroy the value of them, as illustrating the changes wrought there too by the lapse of half a century.

In one place I find myself tasting the contents of the library of a Carmelite monastery, and remarking on the strangeness of the sole exception to the theological character of the collection having consisted in a Cours Gastronomique, which appeared to me scarcely needed by a community bound by its vows to perpetual abstinence from animal food.

Some pages of the record also are devoted to the statement of “a case” which I lighted on in some folio on casuistry, on the question “whether it is lawful to adore a crucifix, when there is strong{247} ground for supposing that a demon may be concealed in the material of which it is constructed!”

It seems to me on reading these pages (for the first time since they were written), that I was to no small degree seductively impressed by the music, architectural beauties, and splendid ceremonial of the Roman Catholic worship, seen in those days to much better effect in Belgium, than at the present time in Rome. But amid it all, the sturdy Protestantism of Whately’s pupil manifests itself in a moan over the pity, the pity of it, that it should “all be based on falsehood.”

All the pleasant state of things at the Château d’Hondt at Bruges, described above, was of short duration however, for disquieting accounts of the health of my brother Henry, who had been staying at Exeter with that dear old friend, Fanny Bent, to whom the reader has already been introduced, began to arrive from Devonshire.

It was moreover necessary that I should without loss of time set my hand to something that might furnish me with daily bread. So on the 21st of June I “went on board Captain Smithett’s vessel the Arrow and had a quiet passage to Dover.” On arriving there I “hastened to secure my place on a coach about to start, and the first turn for having my baggage examined at the custom-house. This examination was rather a rigid one, and they made me pay 4s. 7d. for two or three books I had with me. We reached Canterbury about nightfall, breakfasted at Rochester, and arrived at Charing{248} Cross at six.” My diary does not say “six P.M.,” and it seems incredible that any coach—though on the slowest road out of London, as the Dover road always was—should have breakfasted at Rochester, and taken the whole day to travel thence to Charing Cross; but it is more incredible still that we should have stopped to breakfast at Rochester, and then reached London at 6 A.M.

It must have been 6 P.M.; but I read that “I started at once to walk to Harrow by the canal (!) where I was received with more than kindness by the Grants.”

I had come to London with the intention of giving classical teaching to any who were willing to pay about ten shillings an hour for it. I had testimonials and recommendations galore from a very varied collection of pastors, masters, and friends. Several of the latter also were actively eager to assist my object, foremost among whom I may name with unforgetting gratitude Dr. David Williams, my old master at Winchester, then Warden of New College. Thus furnished, pupils were not wanting, and money amply sufficient for my immediate needs seemed to come in easily. I did my best with my pupils during the short hours of my work; but much success is not to be expected from pupils the very circumstance and terms of whose tuition gives rise to the presumption that they are irremediably stupid or idle, and the hired “coach” a dernier resort. Such employers as I had to deal with, however, if they assigned you somewhat{249} hopeless tasks, appeared to be satisfied with an infinitesimal amount of results, and I believe I gave satisfaction in all cases save that of a lady, the widowed mother of an only son, a very elegant and fashionable dame in Belgrave Square, who complained once to the clergyman who had recommended me to her, that I had come to her house one Monday morning “in a very dusty condition.” I fear she might have said every Monday morning, for my custom was to walk up to my lesson from Harrow, where I had been spending the Sunday with the Grants, and “immer noch stäuben die Wege” hardly less on the Harrow road, than Goethe found them to do in Italy! I had to tell her that the dust on my shoes had not reached my brain, and that I had no pretension, and entirely declined, to be an exemplar to her son in the matter of his toilet. We parted very good friends however at the end of my engagement. When she said some complimentary words about my work with her son, I could not refrain from saying that I had done my best to prepare myself for it by having my shoes carefully blacked. She laughed, and said, “I could not find fault with your Latin and Greek, Mr. Trollope. And would it not be better if people always confined their criticism to what they do understand?”

I was living during these months in Little Marlborough Street, in a house kept by a tailor and his mother. It was a queer house, disconnected with the row of buildings in which it stood, a{250} survival of some earlier period. It stood in its own court, by which it was separated from the street. I found all the place transmogrified when I visited it a year or two ago. During the latter part of my residence there the lodgings were shared by my brother Anthony, who, as related by himself, had accepted a place in the secretary’s office in the Post Office. The lodgings were very cheap, more so I think than the goodness of them might have justified. We were the only lodgers; and the cheapness of the rooms was, I suspect, in some degree caused by the fact that the majority of young men lodgers would not have tolerated the despotic rule of our old landlady, the tailor’s mother. She made us very comfortable; but her laws were many, and of the nature of those of the Medes and Persians.

Meantime matters were becoming more and more gloomy in the Château d’Hondt, outside the St. Peter’s Gate, at Bruges. My brother Henry had returned thither from Devonshire; and his condition was unmistakably becoming worse. While I was still living in Little Marlborough Street, my mother came over hurriedly to London, bringing him and my sister Emily with her. They travelled by boat from Ostend to London to avoid the land journey, I take it poor Henry was led to suppose that the journey was altogether caused by the necessity of interviews between my mother and her publishers. But the real motive of it was to obtain the best medical advice for him and (as, alas! it began to appear to be necessary) for my sister Emily.{251}

All kinds of schemes of southern travel, and voyages to Madeira, &c., had been proposed for Henry, who, having himself, with the hopefulness peculiar to his malady, no shadow of a doubt of his own recovery, entered into them all with the utmost zest. A kind friend, I forget by what means or interest, had offered to provide free passages to Madeira. Alas! the first consultation with the medical authorities put an end to all such schemes. And my poor mother had the inexpressibly sad and difficult task of quashing them all without allowing her patient to suspect the real reason of their being given up.

She had to take him back to Bruges; and I accompanied them to the boat lying off the Tower, and remained with them an hour before it weighed anchor. And then and there I took the last leave of my brother Henry, I well knowing, he never imagining, that it was for ever.

And now began at Bruges a time of such stress and trouble for my mother as few women have ever passed through. The grief, the Rachel sorrows of mothers watching by the dying beds of those, to save whose lives they would—ah! how readily!—give their own, are, alas, common enough. But no account, no contemplation of any such scene of anguish can give an adequate conception of what my mother went through victoriously.

Her literary career had hitherto been a succession of triumphs. Money was coming in with increasing abundance. But these successes had not yet lasted{252} long enough to enable her, in the face of all she had done for the ruined household to which she had returned from America, to lay by any fund for the future. And though the proceeds of her labour were amply sufficient for all current needs, it was imperative that that labour should not be suspended.

It was under these circumstances that she had to pass her days in watching by the bedside of a very irritable invalid, and her nights—when he fortunately for the most part slept—in composing fiction! It was desirable to keep the invalid’s mind from dwelling on the hopelessness of his condition. And, indeed, he was constantly occupied in planning travels and schemes of activity for the anticipated time of his recovery, which she had to enter into and discuss with a cheerful countenance and bleeding heart. It was also especially necessary that my sisters, especially the younger, already threatened by the same malady, should be kept cheerful, and prevented from dwelling on the phases of their brother’s illness. This was the task in which, with agonised mind, she never faltered from about nine o’clock every morning till eight o’clock in the evening! Then with wearied body, and mind attuned to such thoughts as one may imagine, she had to sit down to her desk to write her novel with all the verve at her command, to please light-hearted readers, till two or three in the morning! This, by the help of green tea and sometimes laudanum, she did daily and nightly till the morning of the{253} 23rd of December of that sad 1834; and lived after it to be eighty-three!

But her mind was one of the most extraordinarily constituted in regard to recuperative power and the capacity of throwing off sorrow, that I ever knew or read of. Any one who did not know her, as her own son knew her, might have supposed that she was deficient in sensibility. No judgment could be more mistaken. She felt acutely, vehemently. But she seemed to throw off sorrow as, to use the vulgar phrase, a duck’s back throws off water, because the nature of the organism will not suffer it to rest there. How often have I applied to her the words of David under a similar affliction!

My brother died on the 23rd of December, 1834, and was buried at Bruges, in the Protestant portion of the city cemetery. Had his life been much prolonged, I think that that of my mother must have sunk under the burthen laid upon it. I hastened to cross the Channel as soon as I heard of my brother’s death, but did not arrive in time for his funeral.

A few days later I was, I find, consulting a Bruges physician, a Dr. Herbout, whom I still remember perfectly well, about the health of my father, which had recently been causing my mother some anxiety. Herbout was an old army doctor who had served under Napoleon. It is probable that he was more of a surgeon than a physician. His opinion was that my father’s condition, though not satisfactory, did not indicate any cause for immediate alarm.

I remained at Bruges till the first week in April.{254} That is to say, the Château d’Hondt was my home during those months, but the monotony of it was varied by frequent visits to Ostend, which Mrs. Fauche always found the means of making agreeable. One week of the time also was spent in a little tour through those parts of Belgium which I had not yet seen, in company with my old friend, and the reader’s old acquaintance, Fanny Bent. It was an oddly constituted travelling party—the young man full of strength, activity, and eagerness to see everything that indefatigable exertion could show him, and the very plain, Quaker-like, middle-aged old maid, absolutely new to Continental ways and manners and habits. Yet few people, I think, have ever seen the many interesting sights of the region we travelled over more completely than I and Fanny Bent. The number of towers (Antwerp among them) to the tops of which I took her, as recorded in my diary, seems preposterous. But Fanny Bent bravely stuck to her work, and where I led she followed. I have since squired many fairer and younger dames, but never one so bravely determined on doing all that was to be done. And very much we both enjoyed it.

Almost immediately after my return from this little excursion I received a letter from an old Wykehamist schoolfellow, the Rev. George Hall, of Magdalen, son of the head of Pembroke at Oxford, offering me a mastership in King Edward’s Grammar School, at Birmingham. The head master of that school was at that time Dr. Jeune, a Pembroke{255} man, and thence a close friend of George Hall, who himself held one of the masterships, which he was about to resign. The salary of the mastership offered me was 200l. a year, with, of course, prospects of advancement. I at once determined to accept it, and with the promptitude which in those days characterised me (at least in all cases in which promptitude involved immediate locomotion), I decided to leave Bruges for Birmingham on the morrow. I slept at Ostend the next night, and the following day crossed to Dover with my friend Captain Smithett, of the Arrow, “the only other passengers,” says my diary, “being a maniac and a corpse.”

Smithett was a remarkably handsome man, and the very beau-idéal of a sailor. For many years he was the man always selected to carry any royal or distinguished personage who had to cross the Channel from or to Dover. He was an immense favourite with all the little Ostend world—with the female part of it, of course, especially. I remember his showing me with much laughter an anonymous billet doux which had reached him, beginning, “O toi qui commandes la Flèche, tu peux aussi commander les cœurs,” &c., &c. I discovered the writer some time subsequently in an extremely pretty baigneuse, the wife, I am sorry to say, of a highly respected Belgian banker. Perhaps all his Ostend admirers did not know that he had a charming wife at Dover. He was all the more an object of our admiration from the singular contrast between him{256} and his colleague, a certain Captain Murch. Between them they did in those days the whole of the Ostend and Dover mail business. Poor Murch was much of an invalid, and, strange as it may seem, suffered invariably on every passage, from year’s end to year’s end, from sea sickness. Think of the purgatory involved in the combination of such a constitution with such a profession! The port of Ostend was at that time somewhat difficult to enter in heavy weather, and bad fogs were very frequent on that coast. Poor Murch was always getting into difficulties which involved “lying to,” and reaching his destination long after time; whereas we held that the dashing Arrow would go wherever the Flying Dutchman could. And indeed I have seen her come in when I could only remain at the pier-head by lashing myself to a post. So much for “le beau, Capitaine Smitète.”

Losing no time in London I reached Birmingham on the evening of Sunday the 5th, and found my friend Hall quite sure of my election by the governors of the school on the recommendation of his friend Jeune. But then began a whole series of slips between the cup and the lip! There appeared to be no doubt of their electing me if they elected anybody; but a part of the board wished, on financial grounds, to defer the election of a new master for a while. The governors at their meeting put off the decision of the matter to another meeting on the 24th. On the 24th the matter was again put off. I had left Birmingham{257} on the 12th, with the promise from Jeune, in whom on that, and on subsequent occasions, I found a most kind friend, that he would do all he could to urge the governors to a decision, and lose no time in letting me know the result. On the 24th the election of a new master was again “deferred” by the governors, and the prospect of their coming to a decision to elect one shortly seemed to become more uncertain. Many other meetings of the board took place with a similar result. On one occasion Jeune told me that, had he been in Birmingham at the time of the meeting, he felt sure that he could have induced them to come to an election; but he had unfortunately been absent. At another meeting I was told that I should have been elected had not Sir Edward Thomason, one of the governors who wished to elect a master, run away to a dinner party, thus leaving the non-content party in the majority.

Meantime I took my degree at Oxford on the 29th of April, which was needed for holding the appointment in question, and waited with what patience I could in London, dividing my time between the dear and ever kind Grants, and my brother Anthony, who was doing—or rather getting into continual hot water for not doing;—his work at the Post Office. He was, I take it, a very bad office clerk; but as soon as he was appointed a surveyor’s clerk became at once one of the most efficient and valuable officers in the Post Office.

Leaving Oxford on the night of the 29th I{258} returned to Birmingham, and was again tantalised by repeated inconclusive meetings of the school governors, till at last, on the 6th of May, Jeune told me that he thought that they would not come to an election till midsummer, but that in any case there was another of the masters whose resignation he had reason to believe would not be long deferred, and I should assuredly have his place. On this I returned to London, and on the 8th of May left it for Dover on my way to join my mother in Paris.

Having spoken of Anthony’s efficiency as an officer of the Post Office, I may, I think, in the case of so well known a man, venture to expend a page in giving the reader an anecdote of his promptness, of which, as of dozens of other similar experiences, he says nothing in his Autobiography. He had visited the office of a certain postmaster in the south-west of Ireland in the usual course of his duties, had taken stock of the man, and had observed him in the course of his interview carefully lock a large desk in the office. Two days afterwards there came from head-quarters an urgent inquiry about a lost letter, the contents of which were of considerable value. The information reached the surveyor late at night, and he at once put the matter into the hands of his subordinate. There was no conveyance to the place where my brother determined his first investigations should be made till the following morning. But it did not suit him to wait for that, so he hired a horse, and, riding hard, knocked up the postmaster whom he had interviewed, as related,{259} a couple of days before, in the small hours. Possibly the demeanour of the man in some decree influenced his further proceedings. Be this as it may, he walked straight into the office, and said, “Open that desk!” The key, he was told, had been lost for some time past. Without another word he smashed the desk with one kick, and—there found the stolen letter!

I have heard from him so many good stories of his official experiences, that I feel myself tolerably competent to write a volume of “Memoirs of a Post Office Surveyor.” But for the present I must content myself with one other of his adventures. He had been sent to South America to arrange some difficulties about postal communication in those parts which our authorities wished to be accomplished in a shorter time than had been previously the practice. There was a certain journey that had to be done by a mounted courier, for which it was insisted that three days were necessary, while my brother was persuaded it could be done in two. He was told that he knew nothing of their roads and their horses, &c. “Well,” said he, “I will ask you to do nothing that I, who know nothing of the country, and can only have such a horse as your post can furnish me, cannot do myself. I will ride with your courier, and then I shall be able to judge.” And at daybreak the next morning they started. The brute they gave him to ride was of course selected with a view of making good their case, and the saddle was simply an instrument of torture. He{260} rode through that hot day and kept the courier to his work in a style that rather astonished that official. But at night, when they were to rest for a few hours, Anthony confessed that he was in such a state that he began to think that he should have to throw up the sponge, which would have been dreadful to him. So he ordered two bottles of brandy, poured them into a wash-hand basin, and sat in it! His description of the agonising result was graphic! But the next day, he said, he was able to sit in his saddle without pain, did the journey in the two days, and carried his point.

But I must abstain from further anticipations of the memoirs above spoken of, the more especially as I left my own story at the point where I had before me, like Rousseau—and probably with no less rose-coloured anticipations—un voyage à faire, et Paris au bout, and that for the first time in my life!{261}


I observe that I left Calais in the banquette of the diligence at 6 P.M. on the Friday night, May 8th, 1835, and reached Paris at 3 A.M. on Sunday morning—thirty-three hours. I remember my great surprise at finding the entire way paved after the fashion that I had been accustomed to consider proper only for the streets of towns. We used for by far the greatest part of the way the unpaved spaces left on either side of the paved causeway. But the conductor told me that in winter they were generally obliged to keep on the latter the whole way. The horses, two wheelers and three leaders abreast, were almost—indeed I think quite—without exception grey. They were also all, or almost all, stallions. The style of driving struck me as very rough, awkward, violent, and inelegant, but masterful and efficacious. The driver was changed with every relay; and it seemed to me very probable that it was expedient that each man should know such cattle, not only on the road but in the stable.

We breakfasted at Abbeville, and dined at Beauvais. And I find it recorded that I contrived at{262} both places to find time for a flying visit to the cathedral, and was highly delighted with the noble fragment of a church at the latter city.

I went to bed on arriving at the Hôtel de Lille et d’Albion, which was in those days a very different place from its noisy, pretentious, and vulgar successor of the same name in the Rue St. Honoré. The old house in the Rue des Filles de St. Thomas has long since disappeared, together with the quiet little street in which it was situated. Like its successor it was almost exclusively used by English, but they were the English of the days when personally conducted herds were not. The service was performed by handmaidens in neat caps and white bodices over their coloured skirts. There were no swallow-tail-coated waiters, and the coffee was exquisite! Tempi passati, perchè non tornate più?

At ten the next morning I went to No. 6, Rue de Provence, where I found my parents and my sisters at breakfast.

The object of this Paris journey was twofold—the writing a book in accordance with an agreement which my mother had entered into with Mr. Richard Bentley, the father of the publisher of these volumes, and the consultation of a physician to whom she had been especially recommended respecting my father’s health, which was rapidly and too evidently declining. They had been in Paris some time already, and had formed a large circle of acquaintance, both English and French. I was told by my mother{263} that the physician, who had seen my father several times, had made no pleasant report of his condition. He did not apprehend any immediately alarming phase of illness, but said that had he been left to guess my father’s age after visiting him, he should have supposed him to be more than four score, the truth being that he was very little more than sixty.

This, my first visit to Paris, lasted one month only, from the 9th of May to the 9th of June, and many of the recollections which seem to me now to be connected with it very probably belong to subsequent visits, for my diary, re-opened now for the first time after the interval of more than half a century, was kept, I find, in a very intermittent and slovenly manner. No doubt I found very few minutes for journalising in the four-and-twenty hours of each day.

I well remember that my first impression of Lutetia Parisiorum—“Mudtown of the Parisians,” as Carlyle translates it—was that of having stepped back a couple of centuries or so in the history of European civilisation and progress. We are much impressed at home, and talk much of the vastness of the changes which the last fifty years have made in our own city, but I think that which the same time has operated in Paris is much greater. Putting aside the mere extension of streets and dwellings, which, great as it has been in Paris, has been much greater in London, the changes in the former city have been far more radical. Certainly there are{264} many quarters of London where the eye now rests on that which is magnificent, and which at the time when I knew the town well, presented nothing but what was, if not sordid, at least ugly. But to those who remember the streets of Louis Philippe’s city, the change in the whole conception of city life, and the manière d’être of the population, is far greater. With the exception of the principal boulevards in the neighbourhood of the recently completed “Madeleine,” and its then recently established flower market, the streets were still traversed by filthy and malodorous open ditches, which did more or less imperfectly the duty of sewers, and Paris still deserved its name of “Mudtown”. Wretched little oil lamps, suspended on ropes stretched across the streets, barely served to make darkness visible. Water was still carried at so much the bucket up the interminable staircases of the Parisian houses by stalwart Auvergnats, who came from their mountains to do a work more severe than the Parisians could do for themselves.

But another specialty, which very forcibly struck me, and which cannot be said to have been any survival of ways and habits obsolete on the other side of the Channel, was the remarkable manner in which the political life of the hour, with its emotions, opinions, and passions, was enacted, so to speak, on the stage of the streets, as a drama is presented on the boards of a theatre. Truly he who ran through the streets of Paris in those days might read, and indeed could not help reading, the{265} reflection and the manifestation of the political divisions and passions which animated the reign of the bourgeois king, and ended by destroying it.

And in this respect the time of my first visit to Paris was a very interesting one. The Parisian world was, of course, divided into Monarchists and Republicans, the latter of whom laboured under the imputation, in some cases probably unjust, but in more entirely merited (as in certain other more modern instances), of being willing and ready to bring their theories into practice by perpetrating or conniving at any odious monstrosity of crime, violence and bloodshed. The Fieschi incident had recently enlightened the world on the justice of such accusations.

But the Monarchists were more amusingly divided into “Parceque Bourbon,” supporters of the existing régime, and “Quoique Bourbon,” tolerators of it. The former, of course, would have preferred the white flag and Charles Dix; but failing the possibility of such a return to the old ways, were content to live under the rule of a sovereign, who, though not the legitimate monarch by right divine, was at least a scion of the old legitimate race. The “Quoique Bourbon” partisans were the men who, denying all right to the throne save that which emanated from the will of the people, were yet Monarchists from their well-rooted dread of the intolerable evils which Republicanism had brought, and, as they were convinced, would bring again upon France, and were therefore contented to{266} support the bourgeois monarchy “although” the man on the throne was an undeniable Bourbon.

But what made the streets, the boulevards, the Champs Elysées, and especially the Tuileries garden peculiarly amusing to a stranger, was the circumstance that the Parisians all got themselves up with strict attention to the recognised costume proper to their political party. The Legitimist, the “Quoique Bourbon” bourgeois, (very probably in the uniform of the then immensely popular National Guard) and the Republican in his appropriate bandit-shaped hat and coat with exaggeratedly large lappels, or draped picturesquely in the folds of a cloak, after a fashion borrowed from the other side of the Alps, were all distinguishable at a glance. It was then that deliciously graphic line (I forget who wrote it) “Feignons à feindre à fin de mieux dissimuler” was applied to characterise the conspirator-like attitudes it pleased these gentlemen to assume.

The truth was that Paris was still very much afraid of them. I remember the infinite glee, and the outpouring of ridicule, which hailed the dispersion of a Republican “demonstration” (the reader will forgive the anachronism of the phrase), at the Porte St. Martin, by the judicious use of a powerful fire-engine. The heroes of the drapeau rouge had boasted they would stand their ground against any charge of soldiery. Perhaps they would have done so. But the helter-skelter that ensued on the first well-directed jet of cold water from the pipe of a fire-engine furnished Paris with laughter for days afterwards.{267}

But, as I have said, Paris, not unreasonably, feared them. Secret conspiracy is always an ugly enemy to deal with. And no violence of mere speculative opinion would have sufficed, had fear been absent, to cause the very marked repulsion with which all the Parisians, who had anything to lose, in that day regarded their Republican fellow citizens.

Assuredly the Conservatives of the Parisian world of 1835 were not “the stupid party.” Both in their newspapers, and other ephemeral literature, and in the never-ending succession of current mots and jokes which circulated in the Parisian salons, they had the pull very decidedly. I remember some words of a parody on one of the Republican songs of the day, which had an immense vogue at that time. “On devrait planter le chêne,” it ran, “pour l’arbre de la liberté” (it will be remembered that planting “trees of liberty” was one of the common and more harmless “demonstrations” of the Republican party). “Ses glands nouriraient sans peine les cochons qui l’ont planté.” And the burthen of the original which ran, “Mourir pour la patrie, C’est le sort le plus beau le plus digne d’envie,” was sufficiently and very appositely caricatured by the slight change of “Mourir pour la patrie” into “Nourris par la patrie,” &c.

To a stranger seeing Paris as I saw it, and frequenting the houses which I frequented, it seemed strange that such a community should have considered itself in serious danger from men who {268}seemed to me, looking from such a stand-point, a mere handful of skulking melodramatic enthusiasts, playing at conspiracy and rebellion rather than really meditating it. But I was not at that time fully aware how entirely the real danger was to be found in regions of Paris, and strata of its population which were as entirely hidden from my observation, as if they had been a thousand miles away. But though I could not see the danger, I saw unmistakably enough the fear it inspired in all classes of those who, as I said before, had anything to lose.

It was this fear that made the National Guard the heroes of the hour. It was impossible but that such a body of men—Parisian shopkeepers put into uniform (those of them who would condescend to wear it; for many used to be seen, who contented themselves with girding on a sabre and assuming a firelock, while others would go to the extent of surmounting the ordinary black coat with the regulation military shako)—should afford a target for many shafts of ridicule. The capon-lined paunches of a considerable contingent of these well-to-do warriors were an inexhaustible source of not very pungent jokes. But Paris would have been frightened out of its wits at the bare suggestion of suppressing these citizen saviours of society. Of course they were petted at the Tuileries. No reception or fête of any kind was complete without a large sprinkling of these shopkeeping guardsmen, and their presence on such occasions was the subject of an unfailing series of historiettes.

I remember an anecdote excellently illustrative{269} of the time, which was current in the salons of the “Parceque Bourbon” society of the day. A certain elderly duchess of the vieille roche, a dainty little woman, very mignonne, whose exquisite parure and still more exquisite manners scented the air at a league’s distance, to use the common French phrase, with the odour of the most aristocratic salons of the Quartier St. Germain, was, at one of Louis Philippe’s Tuileries receptions, about to take from the tray handed round by a servant the last of the ices which it had contained, when a huge outstretched hand, with its five wide-spread fingers, was protruded from behind over her shoulder, and the refreshment of which she was about to avail herself was seized by a big National Guard with the exclamation, “Enfoncèe la petite mère!

Nevertheless, it may be safely asserted that the little duchess, and all the world she moved in, would have been infinitely more dismayed had they gone to the Tuileries and seen no National Guards there.

Among the many persons of note with whom I became more or less well acquainted during that month, no one perhaps stands out more vividly in my recollection than Chateaubriand. He also, though standing much aloof from the noise and movement of the political passions of the time, was an aristocrat jusqu’au bout des ongles, in appearance, in manners, in opinions, and general tone of mind. The impression to this effect immediately produced on one’s first presentation was in no{270} degree due to any personal advantages. He was not, when I knew him, nor do I think he ever could have been, a good looking man. He stooped a good deal, and his head and shoulders gave me the impression of being somewhat too large for the rest of his person. The lower part of his face too, was, I thought, rather heavy.

But his every word and movement were characterised by that exquisite courtesy which was the inalienable, and it would seem incommunicable, specialty of the seigneurs of the ancien régime. And in his case the dignified bearing of the grand seigneur was tempered by a bonhomie which produced a manner truly charming.

And having said all this, it may seem to argue want of taste or want of sense in myself, to own, as truthfulness compels me to do, that I did not altogether like him. I had a good deal of talk with him, and that to a youngster of my years and standing was in itself very flattering, and I felt as if I were ungrateful for not liking him. But the truth in one word is, that he appeared to me to be a “tinkling cymbal.” I don’t mean that he was specially insincere as regarded the person he was talking to at the moment. What I do mean is, that the man did not seem to me to have a mind capable of genuine sincerity in the conduct of its operations. He seemed to me a theatrically-minded man. Immediately after making his acquaintance I read the Génie du Chrétienisme, and the book confirmed my impression of the{271} man. He honestly intends to play a very good and virtuous part, but he is playing a part.

He was much petted in those days by the men, and more especially by the women of the ancien régime and the Quartier St. Germain. But I suspect that he was a good deal quizzed, and considered an object of more or less good-natured ridicule by the rest of the Parisian world. I fancy that he was in straitened circumstances. And the story went that he and his wife put all they possessed into a box, of which each of them had a key, and took from day to day what they needed, till one fine day they met over the empty box with no little surprise and dismay.

Chateaubriand thought he understood English well, and rather piqued himself upon the accomplishment. But I well remember his one day asking me to explain to him the construction of the sentence, “Let but the cheat endure, I ask not aught beside.” My efforts to do so during the best part of half an hour ended in entire failure.

He was in those days reading in Madame Récamier’s salon at the Abbaye-aux-Bois (in which building my mother’s friend, Miss Clarke, also had her residence), those celebrated Mémoires d’Outretombe, of which all Paris, or at least all literary and political Paris, was talking. Immense efforts were made by all kinds of notabilities to obtain an admission to these readings. But the favoured ones had been very few. And my{272} mother was proportionably delighted at the arrangement that a reading should be given expressly for her benefit. M. de Chateaubriand had ceased these séances for the nonce, and the gentleman who had been in the habit of reading for him had left Paris. But by the kindness of Miss Clarke and Madame Récamier, he was induced to give a sitting at the Abbaye expressly for my mother. This arrangement had been made before I reached Paris, and I consequently to my great regret was not one of the very select party. My mother was accompanied by my sisters only. I benefited however in my turn by the acquaintance thus formed, and subsequently passed more than one evening in Madame Récamier’s salon at the Abbaye-aux-Bois in the Rue du Bac.

My mother, in her book on Paris and the Parisians, writes of that reading as follows:—“The party assembled at Madame Récamier’s on this occasion did not, I think, exceed seventeen, including Madame Récamier and M. de Chateaubriand. Most of these had been present at former readings. The Duchesses de Larochefoucauld and de Noailles, and one or two other noble ladies, were among them. And I felt it was a proof that genius is of no party, when I saw a grand-daughter of General Lafayette enter among us. She is married to a gentleman who is said to be of the extreme coté gauche.” The passage of the Mémoires selected for the evening’s reading was the account of the author’s memorable visit to Prague to visit the{273} royal exiles. “Many passages,” writes my mother, “made a profound impression on my fancy and on my memory, and I think I could give a better account of some of the scenes described than I should feel justified in doing, as long as the noble author chooses to keep them from the public eye. There were touches that made us weep abundantly; and then he changed the key, and gave us the prettiest, the most gracious, the most smiling picture of the young princess and her brother that it was possible for pen to trace. And I could have said, as one does in seeing a clever portrait, ‘That is a likeness, I’ll be sworn for it.’

It may be seen from the above passage, and from some others in my mother’s book on Paris and the Parisians, that her estimate of the man Chateaubriand was a somewhat higher one, than that which I have expressed in the preceding pages. She was under the influence of the exceeding charm of his exquisite manner. But in the following passage, which I am tempted to transcribe by the curious light it throws on the genesis of the present literary history of France, I can more entirely subscribe to the opinions expressed:—

“The active, busy, bustling politicians of the hour have succeeded in thrusting everything else out of place, and themselves into it. One dynasty has been overthrown, and another established; old laws have been abrogated, and hundreds of new{274} ones formed; hereditary nobles have been disinherited, and little men made great. But amidst this plenitude of destructiveness, they have not yet contrived to make any one of the puny literary reputations of the day weigh down the renown of those who have never lent their voices to the cause of treason, regicide, rebellion, or obscenity. The literary reputations both of Chateaubriand and Lamartine stand higher beyond all comparison than those of any other living French authors. Yet the first, with all his genius, has often suffered his imagination to run riot; and the last has only given to the public the leisure of his literary life. But both of them are men of honour and principle, as well as men of genius; and it comforts one’s human nature to see that these qualities will keep themselves aloft, despite whatever squally winds may blow, or blustering floods assail them. That both Chateaubriand and Lamartine belong rather to the imaginative than to the positif class cannot be denied; but they are renowned throughout the world, and France is proud of them. The most curious literary speculations, however, suggested by the present state of letters in this country, are not respecting authors such as these. They speak for themselves, and all the world knows them and their position. The circumstance decidedly the most worthy of remark in the literature of France at the present time is the effect which the last revolution appears to have produced. With the{275} exception of history, to which both Thiers (?)[B] and Mignet have added something that may live, notwithstanding their very defective philosophy, no single work has appeared since the revolution of 1830 which has obtained a substantial, elevated, and generally acknowledged reputation for any author unknown before that period—not even among all the unbridled ebullitions of imagination, though restrained neither by decorum, principle, nor taste. Not even here, except from one female pen, which might become, were it the pleasure of the hand that wields it, the first now extant in the world of fiction,” (of course, Georges Sand is alluded to,) “has anything appeared likely to survive its author. Nor is there any writer, who during the same period has raised himself to that station in society by means of his literary productions, which is so universally accorded to all who have acquired high literary celebrity in any country.

“The name of Guizot was too well known before the revolution for these observations to have any reference to him.” (Cousin should not have been forgotten.) “And however much he may have distinguished himself since July, 1830, his reputation was made before. There are, however, little writers in prodigious abundance.... Never, I believe, was there any period in which the printing presses of France worked so hard as at present. The revolution of 1830 seems to have set all the minor spirits in motion. There is scarcely a boy so{276} insignificant, or a workman so unlearned, as to doubt his having the power and the right to instruct the world.... To me, I confess, it is perfectly astonishing that any one can be found to class the writers of this restless clique as ‘the literary men of France.’... Do not, however, believe me guilty of such presumption as to give you my own unsupported judgment as to the position which this ‘new school,’ as the décousu folks always call themselves, hold in the public esteem. My opinion on this subject is the result of careful inquiry among those who are most competent to give information respecting it. When the names of such as are best known among this class of authors are mentioned in society, let the politics of the circle be what they may, they are constantly spoken of as a pariah caste that must be kept apart.

Do you know ——?’ has been a question I have repeatedly asked respecting a person whose name is cited in England as the most esteemed French writer of the age—and so cited, moreover, to prove the low standard of French taste and principle.

No, madame,’ has been invariably the cold answer.


No; he is not in society.’


Oh, no! His works live an hour—too long—and are forgotten.’

Now, are the writers of French literature of the{277} present day, whose names will at once present themselves to every reader’s mind, to be deemed superior to those of Louis Philippe, who “lent their voices to the cause of treason, regicide, rebellion, or obscenity,” and were unrestrained by either “decorum, principle, or taste”? For it is most assuredly no longer true that the writers in question are held to be a “pariah caste,” or that they are not known and sought by “society.” The facilis decensus progress of the half century that has elapsed since the cited passages were written, is certainly remarkable.

There is one name, however, which cannot be simply classed as one of the décousus. Victor Hugo had already at that day made an European reputation. But the following passage about him from my mother’s book on Paris and the Parisians is so curious, and to the present generation must appear so, one may almost say, monstrous, that it is well worth while to reproduce it.

“I have before stated,” she writes, “that I have uniformly heard the whole of the décousu school of authors spoken of with unmitigated contempt, and that not only by the venerable advocates for the bon vieux temps, but also, and equally, by the distinguished men of the present day—distinguished both by position and ability. Respecting Victor Hugo, the only one of the tribe to which I allude who has been sufficiently read in England to justify his being classed by us as a person of general celebrity, the feeling is more remarkable still. I have never{278} mentioned him or his works to any person of good moral feeling or cultivated mind who did not appear to shrink from according him even the degree of reputation that those who are received as authority among our own cities have been disposed to allow him. I might say that of him France seems to be ashamed.” (My italics.) “Permit me to assure you,’ said one gentleman gravely and earnestly, ‘that no idea was ever more entirely and altogether erroneous than that of supposing that Victor Hugo and his productions can be looked on as a sort of type or specimen of the literature of France at the present hour. He is the head of a sect, the high priest of a congregation who have abolished every law, moral and intellectual, by which the efforts of the human mind have hitherto been regulated. He has attained this pre-eminence, and I trust that no other will arise to dispute it with him. But Victor Hugo is NOT a popular French author.’

My recollections of all that I heard in Paris, and my knowledge of the circles (more than one) in which my mother used to live, enable me to testify to the absolute truth of the above representation of the prevalent Parisian feeling at that day respecting Victor Hugo. Yet he had then published his Lyrics, Notre Dame de Paris, and the most notable of his dramas; and I think no such wonderful change of national opinion and sentiment as the change from the above estimate to that now universally recognised in France, can be met with in the records of European literary history. Is it not passing strange{279} that whole regions of Paris should have been but the other day turned, so to speak, into a vast mausoleum to this same “pariah,” and that I myself should have seen, as I did, the Pantheon not yet cleared from the wreck of garlands and inscriptions and scaffoldings for spectators, all of which had been prepared to do honour to his obsequies?

But it must be observed that the violent repulsion and reprobation with which he was in those days regarded by all his countrymen, save the extreme and restless spirits of the Republican party, cannot fairly be taken as the result and outcome of genuine literary criticism. All literary judgments in France were then subordinated to political party feeling, and that was intensified by the most fatal of all disqualifications for the formation of sound and equable estimates—by fear. All those well-to-do detesters of Victor Hugo and all his works, the “Quoique Bourbons” as well as the “Parceque Bourbons,” the prosperous supporters of the new régime as well as the regretful adherents of the old, lived in perpetual fear of the men whose corypheus and hierophant was Victor Hugo, and felt, not without reason, that the admittedly ricketty throne of the citizen king and those sleek and paunchy National Guardsmen alone stood between them and the loss of all they held dearest in the world. Nevertheless, the contrast between the judgments and the feeling of 1835 and those of fifty years later is sufficiently remarkable.

Much has been said, especially in England, of the{280} great writer’s historical inaccuracy in treating of English matters. But an anecdote which my mother gives in her book is worth reproducing for the sake of the evidence it gives that in truth Victor Hugo was equally ignorantly and carelessly inaccurate when speaking of home matters, on which, at least, it might have been thought that he would have been better informed.

“An able lawyer, and most accomplished gentleman and scholar, who holds a distinguished station in the cour royale” (in all probability Berryer), “took us to see the Palais de Justice. Having shown us the chamber where criminal trials are carried on, he observed that this was the room described by Victor Hugo in his romance, adding, ‘He was, however, mistaken here, as in most places where he affects a knowledge of the times of which he writes. In the reign of Louis XI. no criminal trials ever took place within the walls of this building, and all the ceremonies as described by him resemble much more a trial of yesterday than of the age at which he dates his tale.’

Georges Sand, certainly upon the whole the most remarkable literary figure in the French world at the time of my visit to Paris, vidi tantum. That I had an opportunity of doing on various occasions. She was a person on whom, quite apart from her literary celebrity, the eye of any observer would have dwelt with some speculative curiosity. She was hardly to be called handsome, or even pretty, but was still decidedly attractive. The large eyes{281} à fleur de tête, and the mobile and remarkably expressive mouth rendered the face both attractive and stimulative of interest. The features were unmistakably refined in character and expression, and the mouth—the most trustworthy evidence-giving feature upon that point—was decidedly that of a high-bred woman.

She was at that period of her varied career acting as well as writing in a manner which attracted the attention of Louis Philippe’s very vigilant and abnormally suspicious police. She had recently left Paris for an excursion in the tête-à-tête company of the well known Abbé de Lamenais, who was at that time giving much trouble and disquietude to the official guardians of the altar and the throne. His comings and goings were the object of vigilant supervision on the part of the police authorities; and it so happened by a strange chance that the report of the official observers of this little excursion, which reached the official head-quarters, reached me also. And all the watchers had to tell was that the abbé and the lady his companion shared the same bedchamber at the end of their first day’s journey. Now the Abbé de Lamenais was an old, little, wizened, dried-up, dirty—very dirty—priest. It is possible, but I have reason to think highly improbable, that economy was the motive of this strange chamber comradeship. But I was then, and am still, very strongly convinced that the sole purpose of it was to outrage the lady’s (and the priest’s) censors,{282} to act differently from everybody else, and to give evidence of superiority to conventionality and “prejudice.”

I wrote very carefully and conscientiously some few years subsequently a long article on Georges Sand in the Foreign Quarterly which attracted some attention at the time. I should write in many respects differently now. The lady in subsequent years put a considerable quantity of “water into her wine”—and though not altogether in the same sense,—I have done so too.

To both Guizot and Thiers I had the honour of being introduced. If I were to say that neither of them seemed to me to have entirely the manners and bearing of a gentleman, I should probably be thought to be talking affected and offensive nonsense. And I do not mean to say so in the ordinary English every-day use of the term. What I mean is that they were both of them very far from possessing that grand seigneur manner, which as I have said so markedly distinguished Chateaubriand, and many another Frenchman whom I knew in those days; by no means all of them belonging to the aristocratic caste, party, or class. Guizot looked for all the world like a village schoolmaster, and seemed to me to have much the manner of one. He stooped a good deal, and poked his head forwards. I remember thinking that he was, in manner, more like an Englishman than a Frenchman; and that it was a matter of curious speculation to me at the time, whether this effect might have been{283} produced by the fact that he was a Protestant, and an earnest one, instead of being a Roman Catholic. Possibly my impression of his schoolmaster-like deportment may have been the result of his manner to me. I was but a boy, with no claim at all to the honour of being noticed by him in any way. But I remember being struck by the difference of the manner of Thiers in this respect.

All my prejudices and all that I knew of the two men disposed me to feel far the higher respect for Guizot. And my opinion still is that I judged rightly, whether in respect to character or intellectual capacity. Not but that I thought and think that Thiers was the brighter and in the ordinary sense of the term the cleverer man of the two. There was no brightness about the premier abord of Guizot, though doubtless a longer and more intimate acquaintance than was granted to me would have corrected this impression. But Thiers was, from the bow with which he first received you to the latest word you heard from him, all brightness. Of dignity he had nothing at all. If Guizot might have been taken for a schoolmaster, Thiers might have been mistaken for a stockbroker, say, a prosperous, busy, bustling, cheery stockbroker, or any such man of business. And if Guizot gave one the impression of being more English than French, his great rival was unmistakeably and intensely French. I have no recollection of having much enjoyed my interview with M. Guizot. But I was happy during more than one evening spent in Thiers’s house in Paris.{284}

Of Madame Récamier I should have said the few words I have to say about the impression so celebrated a woman produced upon me, when I was speaking of her salon in a previous page. But they may be just as well said here. Of the beauty for which she was famed throughout Europe, of course little remained, when I saw her in 1835. But the grace, which was in a far greater degree unique, remained in its entirety. I think she was the most gracefully moving woman I ever saw. The expression of her face had become perhaps a little sad, but it was sweet, attractive, full of the promise of all good things of heart and mind. If I were to say that her management of her salon might be compared in the perfection of its tactical success with that of a successful general on the field, it might give the idea that management and discipline were visible, which would be a very erroneous one. That the perfection of art lies in the concealment of it, was never more admirably evidenced than in her “administration” as a reine de salon. A close observer might perceive, or perhaps rather divine only, that all was marshalled, ordered, and designed. Yet all was, on the part at least of the guests, unconstrained ease and enjoyment. That much native talent, much knowledge of men and women, and exquisite tact must have been needed for this perfection in the art of tenir salon cannot be denied. Finally it may be said that a great variety of historiettes, old and new, left me with the unhesitating conviction that despite the unfailing tribute to{285} an éclat such as hers, of malicious insinuations (all already ancient history at the time of which I am writing), Madame Récamier was and had always been a truly good and virtuous Christian woman.

Miss Clarke, also, as has been said an inmate of the Abbaye-aux-Bois, and a close friend of her celebrated neighbour, I became intimate with. She was an eccentric little lady, very plain, brimfull of talent, who had achieved the wonderful triumph of living, in the midst of the choicest society of Paris, her own life after her own fashion, which was often in many respects a very different fashion from that of those around her, without incurring any of the ridicule or anathemas with which such society is wont to visit eccentricity. I remember a good-naturedly recounted legend to the effect, that she used to have her chemises, which were constructed after the manner of those worn by the grandmothers of the present generation, marked with her name in full on the front flap of them; and that this flap was often exhibited over the bosom of her dress in front! She too was a reine de salon after her fashion—a somewhat different one from that of her elegant neighbour. There was, at all events, a greater and more piquant variety to be found in it. All those to be found there were, however, worth seeing or hearing for one reason or another. Her method of ruling the frequenters of her receptions might be described as simply shaking the heterogeneous elements well together. But it answered so far as to make an evening at her house unfailingly amusing{286} and enjoyable. She was very, and I think I may say, universally popular. She subsequently married M. Mohl, the well-known Orientalist, whom I remember to have always found, when calling upon him on various occasions, sitting in a tiny cabinet so absolutely surrounded by books, built up into walls all round him, as to suggest almost inevitably the idea of a mouse in a cheese, eating out the hollow it lived in.

Referring to my mother’s book on Paris and the Parisians for those extracts from it which I have given in the preceding pages, I find the following passage, the singular forecast of which, and its bearing on the present state of things in France, tempts me to transcribe it. Speaking in 1835, and quoting the words of a high political authority, whom she had met “at the house of the beautiful Princess B——” (Belgiojoso), she writes: “You know,’ he said, ‘how devoted all France was to the Emperor, though the police was somewhat tight, and the conscriptions heavy. But he had saved us from a Republic, and we adored him. For a few days, or rather hours, we were threatened again five years ago by the same terrible apparition. The result is that four millions of armed men stand ready to protect the prince who chased it. Were it to appear a third time, which Heaven forbid! you may depend upon it, that the monarch who should next ascend the throne of France might play at “le jeu de quilles” with his subjects and no one be found to complain.’ (My italics.) On the margin of{287} the page on which this is printed, my mother has written in the copy of the book before me, “Vu et approuvé. Dec. 10th, 1853. F. T.”

The mention of the Princess Belgiojoso in the above passage reminds me of a memorable evening which I spent at her house, and of my witnessing there a singular scene, which at the present day may be worth recounting.

The amusement of the evening consisted in hearing Liszt and the princess play on two pianos the whole of the score of Mozart’s Don Giovanni! The treat was a delightful one; but I dare say that I should have forgotten it but for the finale of the performance. No sooner was the last note ended than the nervous musician swooned and slid from his seat, while the charming princess, in whom apparently matter was less under the dominion of mind, or at least of nerve, was as fresh as at the beginning!

My month at Paris, with its poor thirty times twenty-four hours, was all too short for half of what I strove to cram into it. And of course I could please myself with an infinitude of recollections of things and places, and occasions, and above all, persons, who doubtless contributed more to the making of that month one of the pleasantest I have to look back on, than any of the celebrities whom I had the good fortune to meet. But it may be doubted whether any such rambling reminiscences would be equally pleasing to my readers.


There is one anecdote, however, of a well remembered day, which I must tell, before bringing the record of my first visit to Paris to a conclusion.

A picnic party—rather a large one, and consisting of men and women of various nationalities—had been organised for a visit to the famous and historic woods of Montmorenci. We had a delightful day, and my memory is still, after half a century, crowded with very vivid remembrances of the places and persons, and things done and things said, which rendered it such. But as for the places, have they not been described and re-described in all the guide books that were ever written? And as for the persons, alas! the tongues that chattered so fast and so pleasantly are still for evermore, and the eyes that shone so brightly are dim, if not, as in most instances, closed in their last sleep! But it is only with an incident that formed the finale of our day there that I mean to trouble the reader.

Thackeray, then an unknown young man, with whom I that day became acquainted for the first time, was one of our party. Some half-dozen of us—the boys of the party—thinking that a day at Montmorenci could not be passed selon les prescriptions without a cavalcade on the famous donkeys, selected a number of them, and proceeded to urge the strongly conservative animals probably into places, and certainly into paces, for which their life-long training had in no wise prepared them. A variety of struggles between man and beast ensued with divers vicissitudes of victory, till at last {289}Thackeray’s donkey, which certainly must have been a plucky and vigorous beast, succeeded in tossing his rider clean over his long ears, and as ill luck would have it, depositing him on a heap of newly broken stones. The fall was really a severe one, and at first it was feared that our picnic would have a truly tragic conclusion. But it was soon ascertained that no serious mischief had been done, beyond that, the mark of which the victim of the accident bore on his face to his dying day.

I think that when I climbed to the banquette of the Lille diligence to leave Paris, on the morning of the 7th of June, 1835, it was the first time that the prospect of a journey failed in any way to compensate me for quitting what I was leaving behind.{290}


I left Paris a day or two before my father, mother, and sisters, though bound for the same destination—Bruges. My object in doing so appears to have been to get a sight of some of the towns of French Flanders by the way. But I was not many days after them in reaching the Château d’Hondt, outside the Porte St. Pierre at Bruges; and there I remained, with the exception of sundry visits to Ostend, and two or three rambles among the Flemish cities, till the 3rd of October.

One used to go from Bruges to Ostend in those days by “Torreborre’s” barge, which was towed by a couple of horses. There was a lumbering but very roomy diligence drawn by three horses abreast. But the barge, though yet slower than the diligence, was the pleasanter mode of making the journey. The cost of it, I well remember, was one franc ten centimes, which included (in going by the morning barge, which started, if I remember rightly, at six A.M.), as much bread and butter and really excellent café au lait as the traveller chose to consume{291}—and I chose in those days to consume a considerable quantity. What the journey cost without any breakfast, I forget, if I ever knew. I fancy no such contingency as any passenger declining his bread and butter and coffee was contemplated, and that the charge was always the same whether you took breakfast or not. It was not an unpleasant manner of travelling, though specially adapted for the inmates of the Castle of Indolence. The cabin was roomy and comfortably furnished, and infinitely superior to the accommodation of any of the Dutch trekschuyts of the present day. One took one’s book with one. And a cigar on the well-seated cabin roof was in excellent keeping with the lazy smoothness of the movement, and the flat sleepy monotony of the banks.

And these visits to Ostend were very pleasant. Consul Fauche’s hospitable door was always open to me, and there was usually sure to be something pleasant going on within it—very generally excellent music. I have already spoken of Mrs. Fauche’s charming voice. Any pleasant English, who might be passing through, or spending the bathing season at Ostend, were sure to be found at the Consul’s—especially if they brought voices or any musical dispositions with them. But Mary Fauche herself was in those days a sufficient attraction to make the whitest stone evening of all that when no other visitor was found there. Noctes cœnæque Deûm!

But those pleasant Ostend days were before the summer ended overshadowed by a tragedy, which I{292} will not omit to record, because the story of it carries a valuable warning with it.

We had made acquaintance at Paris with a Mrs. Mackintosh and her daughter, very charming Scotch people. Mrs. Mackintosh was a widow, and Margaret was her only child. She was an extremely handsome girl, nineteen years of age, and as magnificent a specimen of young womanhood as can be conceived. “More than common tall,” she showed in her whole person the development of a Juno, enhanced by the vigour, elasticity and blooming health of a Diana. She and her mother came to Ostend for the bathing season. Margaret was a great swimmer; and her delight was to pass nearly the whole of those hot July days in the water. Twice, or even thrice every day she would return to her favourite element. And soon she began to complain of lassitude, and to lose her appetite and the splendour of her complexion. Oh! it was the heat, which really only the constant stimulus of her bath and swim could render tolerable. She was warned that excess in bathing, especially in salt water, may sometimes be as dangerous as any other excess, but the young naiad, who had never in her life needed to pay heed to any medical word or warning, would not believe, or would not heed. And before the September was over we followed poor Margaret Mackintosh to the little Ostend cemetery, killed by over bathing as decidedly as if she had held her head under water!

This sad tragedy brought to a gloomy end a{293} season which had been, if not a very profitable, a very amusing one. There was a ci-devant Don Quixote sort of a looking man, a Count Melfort, whose young and buxom wife boasted some strain of I forget what noble English blood, and who used to give the Consul good dinners such as he particularly affected, which his wife was neither asked nor cared to share, though the ladies as well as the gentlemen were excellent good friends. There was a wealthy Colonel Dickson who also used to give dinners, at one of which, having been present, I remember the host fussing in and out of the room during the quarter of an hour before dinner, till at last he rushed into the drawing-room with his coat sleeves drawn up to his elbows, horror and despair in his mien, as he cried, “Great heaven! the cook has cut the fins off the turbot!” If any who partook of that mutilated fish survive to this present year of grace (which, I fear, is hardly likely to be the case) I am sure they will recall the scene which ensued on the dreadful announcement. There was the very pretty and abnormally silly little banker’s wife, who supplied my old friend, Captain Smithett, with billets doux and fun, and who used to adapt verses sent her by a still sillier youthful adorer of her own to the purpose of expressing her own devotion to quite other swains.

It was a queer and not very edifying society, exceedingly strange, and somewhat bewildering to a lad fresh from Oxford who was making his first acquaintance with Continental ways and manners.{294} All the married couples seemed to be continually dancing the figure of chassée croisez, and I, who had no wife of my own, and was not yet old enough to know better, thought it extremely amusing.

When October came, and I had not heard anything from Birmingham of the appointment to a mastership in the school there, for which I had been all this time waiting, I thought it was time to look up my Birmingham friends and see how matters stood there. At Birmingham I found that the governors of King Edward’s School were still shilly-shallying; but I heard enough to convince me that no new master would be appointed till the very fine new building which now ornaments the town, but was then in course of construction, should be completed.

Having become convinced of this, in which it eventually turned out that I was right, it only remained to me to return to Bruges, with the assurance from Dr. Jeune and several of the governors that I and nobody else should have the mastership when the appointment should be made. I returned to Bruges, passing one day with the dear Grants at Harrow, and an evening with my brother Anthony in London by the way, and reached the Château d’Hondt on the 15th of October, to find my father very much worse than I had left him. He was in bed, and was attended by the Dr. Herbout of whom I have before spoken. But he was too evidently drawing towards his end; and{295} after much suffering breathed his last in the afternoon of the 23rd of October, 1835. On the 25th I followed his body to his grave, close to that of my brother Henry, in the cemetery outside the Catherine Gate of the town.

The duty was a very specially sad one. When I followed my mother to the grave at Florence many years afterwards my thoughts were far from being as painfully sad, though she was, I fear, the better loved parent of the two. She died in a ripe old age after a singularly happy, though not untroubled, life, during many years of which it was permissible to me to believe that I had had no small share in ministering to her happiness. It was otherwise in the case of my father. He was, and had been, I take it, for many years a very unhappy man. All had gone wrong with him; misfortunes fell on him, one on the back of the other. Yet I do not think that these misfortunes were the real and efficient causes of his unhappiness. I do not see what concatenation of circumstances could have made him happy. He was in many respects a singular man. Ill-health and physical suffering, of course, are great causes of an unhappy life; but all suffering invalids are not unhappy. My father’s mind was, I think, to a singular degree under the dominion of his body. The terrible irritability of his temper, which sometimes in his latter years reached a pitch that made one fear his reason was, or would become, unhinged, was undoubtedly due to the shattering of his nervous system, caused by the habitual use{296} of calomel. But it is difficult for one who has never had a similar experience to conceive the degree in which this irritability made the misery of all who were called upon habitually to come into contact with it. I do not think that it would be an exaggeration to say that for many years no person came into my father’s presence who did not forthwith desire to escape from it. Of course, this desire was not yielded to by those of his own household, but they were none the less conscious of it. Happiness, mirth, contentment, pleasant conversation, seemed to fly before him as if a malevolent spirit emanated from him. And all the time no human being was more innocent of all malevolence towards his fellow creatures; and he was a man who would fain have been loved, and who knew that he was not loved, but knew neither how to manifest his desire for affection nor how to conciliate it.

I am the more convinced that bodily ailment was the causa causans of most, if not of all, of this unhappy idiosyncrasy, that I have before me abundant evidence that as a young man he was beloved and esteemed by his cotemporaries and associates. I have many letters from college friends, fellows of New College, his cotemporaries, several of them thanking him for kindnesses of a more or less important kind, and all written in a spirit of high regard and esteem.

What so grievously changed him? I do not believe that he was soured by pecuniary misfortune,{297} though he had more than enough. His first great misfortune—the marriage of his old widower uncle, whose heir he was to have been—was, I have the means of knowing, borne by him well, bravely and with dignity. I believe that he was destroyed mind and body by calomel, habitually used during long years.

Throughout life he was a laborious and industrious man. I have seen few things of the kind with more of pathos in it than his persevering attempt to render his labour of some value by compiling a dictionary of ecclesiastical terms. He had quite sufficient learning and sufficient industry to have produced an useful book upon the subject if he had only had the possibility of consulting the, of course, almost innumerable necessary authorities. The book was published in quarto by subscription, and two or three parts of it had been delivered to the subscribers when death delivered him from his thankless labour and his subscribers from further demands on their purses. I do not suppose that any human being purchased the book because they wished to possess it. And truly, as I have said, it was a pathetic thing to see him in his room at Château d’Hondt, ill, suffering, striving with the absolutely miserable, ridiculously insufficient means he had been able with much difficulty to collect, to carry on his work. He was dying—he must, I think, have known that he was; he had not got beyond D in his dictionary; all the alphabet was before him, but he would not give up; he would{298} labour to the last. My mother was labouring hard, and her labour was earning all that supplied very abundantly the needs of the whole family. And I cannot help thinking that a painful but not ignoble feeling urged my poor father to live at least equally laborious days, even though his labour was profitless.

Poor father! My thoughts as I followed him to the grave were that I had not done all that I might have done to alleviate the burthen of unhappiness that was laid upon him. Yet looking back on it all from the vantage-ground of my own old age (some fifteen years greater than that which he attained) I do not see or think that any conduct of mine would have made matters better for him.

My father’s death naturally made an important change in my mother’s plans for the future. The Château d’Hondt was given up, adieus were said, not without many au revoirs, to many kind friends at Bruges, and more especially at Ostend, and we left Belgium for England. After some time spent in house-hunting, my mother hired a pleasant house with a good garden on the common at Hadley, near Barnet, and there I remained with her, still awaiting my Birmingham preferment, all that winter and the following spring. The earlier part of the time was saddened by the rapid decline and death of my younger sister, Emily. We knew before leaving Bruges that there was but a slender hope of saving her from the same malady which had been fatal to my brother Henry. But the medical men hoped{299} or professed to hope, that much might be expected from her return to her native air. But the mark of the cruel disease was upon her, and very rapidly after our establishment at Hadley she sank and painlessly breathed her last.

Poor little Emily! She was a very bright espiègle child, full of fun and high spirits. There is a picture of her exactly as I remember her. She is represented with flowing flaxen curls and wide china-blue eyes, sitting with a brown holland pinafore on before a writing-desk and blowing a prismatically-coloured soap-bubble. The writing copy on the desk lying above the half-covered and neglected page of copy-book bears the legend “Study with determined zeal!”

Her youngest child had ever been to my mother as the apple of her eye, and her loss was for the passing day a crushing blow. But, as usual with her, her mind refused to remain crushed, any more than the grass is permanently crushed by the storm wind that blows over it. She had the innate faculty and tendency to throw sorrow off when the cause of it had passed. She owed herself to the living, and refused to allow unavailing regret for those who had been taken from her to incapacitate her for paying that debt to the utmost.

And once again, as was usual with her, her new home became a centre of social enjoyment and attraction for all, especially the young, who were admitted to it. I do not remember that with the exception of the family of the rector, Mr. Thackeray,{300} we had many acquaintances at Hadley. I remember a bit of fun, long current among us, which was furnished by the reception my mother met with when returning the call of the wife of a wealthy distiller resident in the neighbourhood. The lady was of abnormal bulk, and when my mother entered the room in which she was sitting, she said, “Excuse me, ma’am, if I keep my chair, I never raise. But I am glad to see you—glad to see anybody,” with much emphasis on the last word. I wish every caller was received with as truthful an expression of sentiments.

Our society consisted mainly of friends staying in the house, or of flying visitors from London. As usual, too, my mother soon gathered around her a knot of nice girls, who made the house bright. For herself she seemed always ready to take part in all the fun and amusement that was going; and was the first to plan dances, and charades, and picnics, and theatricals on a small and unpretending scale. But five o’clock of every morning saw her at her desk; and the production of the series of novels, which was not brought to a conclusion till it had reached the hundred and fifteenth volume, though it was not begun till she was past fifty, never ceased.

The Christmas was, I remember, a very merry one. We were seeing a good deal of a young fellow-clerk of my brother’s in the secretary’s office at the Post Office, who was then beginning to fall in love with my sister Cecilia, whom he married not long afterwards. He was then at the beginning of{301} a long official life, from which he retired some years ago as Sir John Tilley, K.C.B. Among others of our little circle, I especially remember Joseph Henry Green, the celebrated surgeon, Coleridge’s literary executor, who first became known to us through his brother-in-law, Mr. Hammond, who was in practice at Hadley. Green was an immensely tall man, with a face of no beauty, but as brightly alive with humour as any I ever saw. He was a delightful companion in a walk; and I remember to the present hour much of the curious and out-of-the-way information I picked up from him, mainly on subjects more or less connected with his profession—for he, as well as I, utterly scouted the stupid sink-the-shop rule of conversation. I remember especially his saying of Coleridge, à propos of a passage in his biography which speaks of the singular habit (noticed by his amanuensis) that he had of occupying his mind with the coming passage, which he was about to dictate, while uttering that with which the writer was busy, that he (Green) had frequently observed the same peculiarity in his conversation.

Some few of our guests came to us from beyond the Channel, among them, charming Mrs. Fauche, with her lovely voice and equally lovely face, whose Ostend hospitalities my mother was glad to have an opportunity of returning.

Among these visitors from the other side of the Channel, I remember one elderly lady of the Roman Catholic faith, and a strict observer of its precepts, who was pleased to express a very strong{302} approbation of a certain oyster soup, which made its appearance one day at my mother’s table. She was charmed at the idea of being able to eat such soup for a maigre dinner, and begged that the receipt might be written out for her. “Oyster soup! Just the thing for a Friday!” So the mode of preparing the desired dainty was duly written out for her. But her face was a study for a physiognomist when she read the first line of it, to the effect that she was to “Take of prime beef” so much. Oyster soup, indeed!

It was a pleasant time—so pleasant that I am afraid that I did not regret perhaps so much as I ought to have done the continued delay of the Birmingham appointment for which I was all this time waiting. But pleasant as it was, its pleasantness was not sufficient wholly to restrain me from indulging in that propensity for rambling which has been with me the ruling passion of a long life-time.

It was in the spring following that merry Christmas that I found time for a little tour of about three weeks in Normandy. The reader need not fear that I am going to tell him anything of all I did and all I saw, though every detail of it seemed to me at the time worthy of minute record. But it has all been written and printed some scores of times since those days—by myself once among the rest—and may now be dismissed with a “See guide-books passim.” The expenses of my travel accurately recorded I have also before me. There indeed I might furnish some facts which{303} would be new and surprising to tourists of the present day, but they would only serve to make him discontented with his generation.

There is one anecdote, however, connected with this little journey, which I must relate. I was returning from southern Normandy and reached Caen without a penny in my pocket. My funds, carefully husbanded as they had been, had sufficed to carry me so far and no further. There were no such things as telegrams or railways in those days; and I had nothing for it but to go to an hotel and there remain till my application to Hadley for funds could be answered—an affair of some ten or twelve days as things then were. While I was waiting and kicking my heels about the old Norman city, from which I had already extracted all the interest it could afford me, I lounged into the shop of a bookseller, M. Mancel. I revisited him on a subsequent occasion, and find the record of this second visit in the first of two volumes which I wrote, and entitled A Summer in Brittany. There I find that M. Mancel is “the publisher of numerous works on the history and antiquities of Normandy.... M. Mancel has also an extensive collection of old books on Norman history; but the rarest and most curious articles are congregated into a most bibliomaniacal looking cabinet, and are not for sale.”

Well, this was the gentleman into whose very tempting shop I strayed with empty pockets. He was extremely civil, showed me many interesting things, and finding that I was not altogether an{304} ignoramus as regarded his specialty, observed ever and anon “That is a book which you ought to have!” “That is a work which you will find very useful!” till at last I said “Very true! There are two or three books here that I should like to have; but I have no money!” He instantly begged me to take any book or books I should like to buy, and pay for them when I got to London. “But,” rejoined I, “I don’t know when I shall get to London, for I have no money at all. I reached Caen with my purse empty, and am stranded here!” M. Mancel thereupon eagerly begged me to let him be my banker for my immediate needs, as well as for the price of any volumes I chose to purchase. And though he had never seen my face or heard my name before, he absolutely did furnish me with money to reach home, and gave me credit for some two or three pounds’ worth of books, it being arranged that I should on reaching London pay the amount to M. Dulau in Soho Square.

A few years ago on passing through Caen I went to the old book shop; but M. Mancel had long since gone to join the majority, and his place knew him no more. His successor, however, on my explaining to him the motive of my visit, remarked with a truly French bow, “My predecessor seems to have been a good physiognomist, monsieur!”

I returned to Hadley to find my mother eagerly occupied with the scheme of a journey to Vienna, and a book as the result of it. She had had, after the publication of her book on Paris and the{305} Parisians, some idea of undertaking an Italian tour, but that was now abandoned in favour of a German journey, whether on the suggestion of her publisher, or from any other cause of preference, I do not know. Of course I entered into such a scheme heart and soul. My only fear now was that news of my appointment to a mastership at Birmingham might arrive in time to destroy my hopes of accompanying my mother. But no such tidings came; on the contrary, there seemed every reason to suppose that no new master would be appointed till after the following Christmas holidays. My mother was as anxious as I was that I should be free to act as her courier, for in truth she could hardly dispense with some such assistance; and I alone remained who could give it to her. My sister Cecilia was to accompany my mother. She wished also to take with her M. Hervieu, the artist who illustrated her former books; and I obtained her permission to ask an Oxford friend to make one of the party. We were thus a party of five, without counting my mother’s maid, an old and trusted servant, the taking of whom, however, she subsequently considered so great a mistake that she never fell into it on any other occasion.

My delight at the prospect of such a journey was intense. I surrounded myself forthwith with an amazing supply of maps and guide-books, and was busy from morning to night with the thoroughly congenial task of studying and preparing our proposed route.{306}


That I started on this occasion even more than on any other with the greatest delight “goes without saying.” A longer and more varied journey than I had ever before enjoyed was before me. All was new, even more entirely new to the imagination than Paris; and my interest, curiosity, and eagerness were great in proportion. We travelled by way of Metz, Strasbourg, and Stuttgardt, and, after reaching the German frontier, by Lohnkutscher or vetturino—incredibly slow, but of all modes of travelling save the haquenée des Cordeliers the best for giving the traveller some acquaintance with the country traversed and its inhabitants.

A part of the journey was performed in a yet slower fashion, and one which was still richer in its opportunities for seeing both men and things. For we descended the Danube on one of those barges which ply on the river, used mainly for cargo, but also occasionally for passengers. When I look back upon that part of our expedition I feel some astonishment at not only the hardihood of my mother and sister in consenting to such an enter{307}prise, but more still at my own—it really seems to my present notions—almost reckless audacity in counselling and undertaking to protect them in such a scheme.

Whether any such boats still continue to navigate the Danube, I do not know. I should think that quicker and better modes of transporting both human beings and goods have long since driven them from their many time secular occupation. In any case it is hardly likely that any English travellers will ever again have such an experience. The Lohnkutscher with his thirty or forty miles a day, and his easy-going lotus-eating-like habitudes is hardly like to tempt the traveller who is wont to grumble at the tediousness of an express train. But a voyage on a Danube carrier barge would be relegated to the category of those things which might be done, “could a man be secure, that his life should endure As of old, for a thousand long years,” but which are quite out of the question in any other circumstances.

Here is the account which my mother gives of the boat on which we were about to embark at Ratisbon for the voyage down the river to Vienna.

“We start to-morrow, and I can hardly tell you whether I dread it or wish for it most. We have been down to the river’s bank to see the boat, and it certainly does not look very promising of comfort. But there is nothing better to be had. It is a large structure of unpainted deal boards, almost the whole of which is occupied by a sort of ark-like{308} cabin erected in the middle. This is very nearly filled by boxes, casks, and bales; the small portion not so occupied being provided with planks for benches, and a species of rough dresser placed between them for a table. This we are given to understand is fitted up for the express accommodation of the cabin passengers.”

In point of fact, we had, as I remember, no fellow passengers in any part of our voyage. I take it that nobody, save perhaps the peasants of the villages on the banks of the stream, for short passages from one of them to the other, ever thought of travelling by these barges even in those days. They were in fact merely transports for merchandise of the heavier and rougher sort. The extreme rudeness of their construction, merely rough planks roughly nailed together, is explained by the fact that they are not intended ever to make the return voyage against the stream, but on arriving at Vienna are knocked to pieces and sold for boarding.

“But the worst thing I saw,” continues my mother, “is the ladder which, in case of rain, is to take us down to this place of little ease. It consists of a plank with sticks nailed across it to sustain the toes of the crawler who would wish to avoid jumping down seven or eight feet. The sloping roof of the ark is furnished with one bench of about six feet long, from which the legs of the brave souls who sit on it dangle down over the river. There is not the slightest protection whatever at the edge{309} of this abruptly sloping roof, which forms the only deck; and nothing but the rough unslippery surface of the deal planks, of which it is formed, with the occasional aid of a bit of stick about three inches long nailed here and there, can prevent those who stand or walk upon it from gently sliding down into the stream.... Well! we have determined, one and all of us, to navigate the Danube between Ratisbon and Vienna; and I will neither disappoint myself nor my party from the fear of a fit of vertigo, or a scramble down a ladder.”

But if the courage of the ladies did not fail them, mine, as that of the person most responsible for the adventure, did! And I find that, on the day following that on which the last extract was written, my mother writes:

“At a very early hour this morning T. [Tom] was up and on board, and perceiving by a final examination of the deck, its one giddy little bench, and all things appertaining thereto, that we should inevitably be extremely uncomfortable there, he set about considering the ways and means by which such martyrdom might be avoided. He at last got hold of the Schiffmeister, which he had found impossible yesterday, and by a little persuasion and a little bribery, induced him to have a plank fixed for us at the extreme bow of the boat, which we can not only reach without difficulty, but have a space of some nine or ten feet square for our sole use, on condition of leaving it free for the captain about five minutes before each landing. This perch{310} is perfectly delightful in all respects. Our fruit, cold meat, wine, bread, and so forth are stowed near us. Desks and drawing books can all find place; and in short, if the sun will but continue to shine as it does now, all will be well.... Our crew are a very motley set, and as we look at them from our dignified retirement, they seem likely to afford us a variety of very picturesque groups. On the platforms, which project at each end of the ark, stand the men—and the women too—who work the vessel. This is performed by means of four immense oars protruding lengthwise [i.e. in a fore and aft direction], two in front and two towards the stern, by which the boat is steered. Besides these, there are two others to row with. These latter are always in action, and are each worked by six or eight men and women, the others being only used occasionally, when the boat requires steering. It appears that there are many passengers who work for their passage [but this I take to have been inference only], as the seats at the oars are frequently changed, and as soon as their allotted task is done, they dip down into the unknown region beyond the ark and are no more seen till their turn for rowing comes round again. I presume the labour, thus divided, is not very severe, for they appear to work with much gaiety and good humour, sometimes singing, sometimes chatting, and often bursting into shouts of light-hearted laughter.”

It was a strange voyage; curious, novel, and full of{311} never-failing interest; luxurious even in its way, in many respects; which may now be considered an old world experience; which probably has never been tried since, and certainly will never be tried again, however many wandering young Englishmen (of whom there are a hundred now for every one to be met with in those days) might fancy trying it. No danger whatever of the kind which my mother appears to have anticipated threatened any of the party. But the adventure was not without danger of another kind, as the sequel showed.

Of course all the people with whom we were brought into contact—the captain and crew of the boat, the riverside loungers at the landing-places, the hosts and households of the little inns in the small places at which the boat stopped every night (it never travelled save by daylight)—were all mystified, and had all their ideas of the proprieties and the eternal fitness of things outraged by the phenomenon of a party of English ladies and gentlemen—supposed by virtue of ancient and well recognised reputation to be all as rich as Crœsus, and who were at all events manifestly able to pay for a carriage—choosing such a method of travelling. Nor had English wanderers at that time earned the privilege since accorded to their numerousness, of doing all sorts of strange things unquestioned on the score of the well-known prevalent insanity of the race. All who came within sight of us were utterly puzzled at the unaccountableness of the phenomenon. And one does not mystify the whole{312} of a somewhat rude population without risking disagreeables of various sorts.

On looking back on the circumstances from my present lofty and calm observatory, I am disposed to wonder that nothing worse betided us than the one adventure of which I am about to speak. But, as I remember, the people generally were, if somewhat ruder and rougher than an English population of similar status, upon the whole very kindly and good-natured.

But at one place—a village called Pleintling—we did get into trouble, which very nearly ended tragically. The terms upon which we were to be housed for the night, and the price to be paid for our accommodation of all sorts had been settled overnight, and the consciousness that we were giving unusual trouble induced us to pay without grumbling such a price for our beds and supper and breakfast as the host had assuredly never received for his food and lodging in all his previous experience. But it was doubtless this very absence of bargaining which led our landlord to imagine that he had made a mistake in not demanding far more, and that any amount might be had for asking it from so mysterious a party who parted, too, so easily with their money. So as we were stepping on board the next morning he came down to the water’s edge, and with loud vociferation demanded a sum more than the double of that which we had already paid him. The ladies, and indeed all the party save myself, who was the paymaster, had{313} already gone on board, and I was about to follow, unheeding his demands and his threats, when he seized me by the throat, and dragging me backwards, declared in stentorian tones that he had not been paid. I sturdily refused to disburse another kreutzer. The other men, who had gone on board, jumped back to my assistance. But suddenly, as if they had risen from the earth, several other fellows surrounded us and dragged down my friends. The old landlord, beside himself with rage, lifted an axe which he had in his hand, and was about to deal me a blow which would probably have relieved the reading world of this and many another page! But my mother, shrieking with alarm, had meantime besought the captain of the boat to settle the matter by paying whatever was demanded. He also jumped on shore just in time, and released us from our foes, and himself from further delay, by doing so.

At the next place at which we could go on shore we made a complaint to the police officials; and it is not without satisfaction even after the lapse of half a century that I am able to say that a communication from the police in an Austrian town some days subsequently, and after we had crossed the Bavarian frontier, informed us that the old scoundrel at Pleintling had not only been made to disgorge the sum he had robbed us of, but had been trounced as he deserved. I suspect that he had imagined from the strangeness of our party, and our mode of travelling, that there were reasons why we should{314} not be inclined to seek any interview with the officers of the police.

With that sole exception our voyage from Ratisbon to Vienna was a prosperous, and on the whole, pleasant one, varied only by not unfrequently recurring difficulties occasioned by shoals and sandbanks, when all hands, save the non-working party in the bow, would take to the water in a truly amphibious fashion to drag the boat off.

But I must not be led by these moving accidents by flood and field to forget a visit paid to the sculptor Dannecker in his studio at Stuttgardt. There is in my mother’s book an etching by M. Hervieu of the man and place. I remember well the affectionate reverence with which he uncovered for us his colossal bust of Schiller, as described by my mother, and the reasons which he assigned (mistaken as they appeared to me, but it is presumptuous in me to say so) for making it colossal. Schiller had been his life-long friend, and these reasons, whether artistically good or not, were at all events morally admirable and pathetically touching as given by the old man, while looking up at his work with tears in his octogenarian eyes. I do not think the reproduction of the bust in M. Hervieu’s etching is a very happy one, but I can testify to the full-length portrait of the aged sculptor being a thoroughly life-like one. It is the old man himself. He died a year or two after the date of our visit.

Uhland too we visited, and Gustav Schwab. Of{315} the former I may say literally vidi tantum, for I could speak then no German, and very few words now, and Uhland could speak no other language. And our interview is worth recording mainly for the case of the noticeable fact that such a man, holding the position he did and does in the literature of his country, should at that day have been unable to converse in French.

Gustav Schwab, though talking French fluently, and, as I remember, a little English also, impressed me as quintessentially German in manner, in appearance, and ways of thinking. He was one of the kindliest of men, contented with you only on condition of being permitted to be of service to you, and at the end of half an hour making you somehow or other feel as if he must have been an old friend, if not in your present, at least in some former state of existence.

My journey among these southern Germans left me with the impression that they are generally a kindly and good-natured people. A little incident occurred at Tübingen which I thought notably illustrated this. The university library there is a very fine one; and while the rest of our party were busied with some other sight-seeing, I went thither and applied to the librarian for some information respecting the departments in which it was strong, its rules, &c. He immediately set about complying with my wishes in the most obliging manner, going through the magnificent suite of rooms with me himself, and pausing before the shelves wherever{316} he had any special treasure to show. All of a sudden, without any warning, just as we were passing through the marble jambs of a doorway from one room to another, my head began to swim; I lost consciousness, and fell, cutting my head against the marble sufficiently to cause much bloodshed. When I recovered my senses I found the librarian standing in consternation over me, and his pretty young wife on her knees with a basin of water bathing my head. She had been summoned from her dwelling to attend me, and there was no end to their kindness. I never experienced such a queer attack before or since. I suppose it must have been occasioned by too much erudition on an empty stomach!

Our route to Vienna was a very devious one, including southern Bavaria, Salzburg, and great part of the Tyrol. But I must not indulge in any journalising reminiscences of it. Were I to do so in the case of all the interesting journeys I have made since that day how many volumes would suffice for the purpose! When calling the other day, only two or three months ago, on Cardinal Massaia at the Propaganda in Rome in order to have some conversation with him respecting his thirty-five years’ missionary work in Africa, on returning from which he received the purple from Leo XIII., he obligingly showed me the MS. which he had prepared from his recollection of the contents of the original notes, unfortunately destroyed during his imprisonment by hostile tribes in Africa, and{317} which is now being printed at the Propaganda Press in ten volumes quarto. His Eminence was desirous that it should be translated into English, and published in London with the interesting illustrations he brought home with him, and which adorn the Roman edition. But as the wish of his Eminence was that it should be published unabridged (!) I was obliged to tell him that I feared he would not find a London publisher. We parted very good friends, and on taking my leave of him he said, pressing my hand kindly, that we should shortly meet again in heaven—which, considering that he knew he was talking to a heretic, I felt to be a manifestation of liberal feeling worthy of note in a cardinal of the Church of Rome.

Will the kind reader, bearing in mind the recognised and almost privileged garrulity of old age, pardon the chronology-defying introduction of this anecdote here, which was suggested to me solely by the vision of what my reminiscences would extend to if I were to treat of all my wanderings up and down this globe in extenso?

The latter part of our voyage was especially interesting and beautiful, but tantalising from the impossibility of landing on every lovely spot which enticed us. Nevertheless, we at last found ourselves at Vienna with much delight, and our first glimpses of the city disposed us to acquiesce heartily in the burthen of the favourite Viennese folk-song, “Es ist nur ein Kaiserstadt, es ist nur ein Wien!{318}

I remember well an incident which my mother does not mention, but which seemed likely to make our first début in the Kaiserstadt an embarrassing one. There was in some hand-bag belonging to some one of the party an old forgotten pack of playing cards, which the examining officer of the customs pounced on with an expression of almost consternation on his face.

“Oh, well, throw them away,” said the spokesman of our party airily, “or, if the regulations require it, we will pay the duty, though we have not the least desire to retain possession of them.”

But this we soon found did not meet the case by any means. We had been guilty of a serious misdemeanour and offence against the law by having such things (undeclared too) amongst our baggage! There must be a report, and a written petition, setting forth with due contrition, and humble peccavi admissions, our lamentable ignorance, and perhaps the enormity might be condoned to a foreigner! After a little talk, however, and the incense of a little consternation on our faces, duly offered to the official Jove (who entirely spurned any offering of another sort), the said Jove wrote the petition for us himself, carried it somewhere behind the scenes, and shortly announced that it was benignly granted: as I believe, by himself! The accursed thing was ceremoniously destroyed before our eyes, and we were free to walk forth into the streets of the Kaiserstadt.

I revisited Vienna two or three years ago, and{319} found that “ein Wien” had become at least three! If the increase and changes of London and Paris have made my early recollections of those cities emphatically those of a former age, the changes at Vienna, though of course smaller in absolute extent, have yet more entirely metamorphosed the character of the place. The abolition of the wall, which used to shut in the exclusive little city, and placed between it and the suburbs not only a material barrier, but a gulf such as that which divided Dives from Lazarus, has changed the social habitudes and even the moral characteristics of the inhabitants.

In the days of my first visit, now just a little more than fifty years ago, nobody who was anybody would have dreamed of living on the outside of the sacred barrier of the wall, any more than a member of the fashionable world of London would dream of living to the eastward of Temple Bar. I think, indeed, that the former would have been more utterly out of the question than the latter. I remember that even in the case of foreigners like ourselves, it was deemed, in accordance with the best advice we could procure on the subject, necessary, or at least expedient, that we should find lodgings in the city, despite the exceeding difficulty and the high price involved in procuring them. The division of the society into classes, still more marked in Vienna than probably in any other city of Europe, at that time almost amounted to a division into castes; and in the case of the higher aristocracy{320} to have lived in any one of the suburbs would assuredly have involved a loss of social caste.

Mainly this arose of course from the inappellable law of fashion that so it should be. But in part also it probably arose from the little social inconveniences arising from mere distance. The society of Vienna at that day—society par excellence—was a very small one. Everybody knew everybody, not only their pedigree and all their quarterings (very necessary to be known), but the men and women themselves personally. I forget entirely what were the introductions which placed my mother and her party at once in the very core of this small and exclusive society. But we did find ourselves so placed, and that at once. Probably the general notion in England was then, and may be still, that the aristocratic society of Vienna would be less likely to open its doors to one who had no title whatever to enter them save a literary reputation, than the corresponding classes in any other European capital. But whatever was the “Open Sesame” my mother possessed, the fact was that all doors were open to her with the most open-handed hospitality. And, as I have said, to know one was, even in the case of a stranger, pretty nearly equivalent to knowing them all.

The by far greater number of this small society of nobles were, as was to be expected, wealthy men; some, more especially the Hungarians, were such even if estimated by English standards. But there were some among them who were very much the{321} reverse. And my opportunities of observation were abundantly sufficient to enable me to perceive without any fear of being mistaken, that the terms of intimacy and equality upon which these latter lived with their wealthier neighbours were no whit affected by their comparative impecuniosity. One single lady of very noble birth I well remember, who to a great pressure of the res angusta domi added no small spice of eccentricity; but there was no mansion so magnificent that did not open its doors very widely to her. No fête was complete without her. She always wore a turban, and always carried it about with her in her pocket. And I have seen her pause in the midst of a splendid entrance hall, with half a dozen lackeys standing around, while she took her turban from her pocket, adjusted it on her head, and changed her shoes.

The ladies of the grand monde in Vienna in those days had the queer habit of writing no notes. Their invitations and the answers to them, and the excuses, or any other communications arising from the social intercourse of the day, were all sent by word of mouth by footmen. Whether the highest bon ton required an affectation of not being able to write, I cannot say! But such was the practice.

Another specialty consisted in a practice of the young men of the same world. Every man of them retained in his special pay and service one of the (very excellent) hackney coaches of the city, which he always expected to find ready for his service, and the driver of which was trusted by him as much, or{322} more perhaps, than a man is in the habit of trusting his own servant.

The social division between the different castes—between the noble and the non-noble—was absolute in those days; and of course both parties were the losers in sundry respects by such separation. But the results were not bad in all respects. One was an exceeding simplicity and absence of any affectation of finery or morgue on the part of the noble class, and a corresponding easy-going freedom from the small forms of social ambition on the part of the non-noble. There was among the latter no attempt or thought of attempting to enter the noble society. It was out of the question; and as far as I could see such entry did not appear to be an object of ambition, or the impossibility of it to occasion either heart-burning or jealousy. In the case of the ladies of the deux mondes, the separation was absolute and without exception. But I was told that in some few cases the young men of the upper class might be seen in the houses of certain of their non-noble fellow-citizens, but never with any reciprocity of toleration. In respect of mere wealth and luxury in the manner of living, there were many bourgeois families on a par, and in many cases on far more than a par, with those of the nobles. And no doubt it frequently occurred that the social law which forbade all intercourse between the two septs, was felt to be as inconvenient and as much a matter of regret on one side of the barrier as on the other. But, noblesse oblige, and the law was not transgressed.{323}

In the case of foreigners, however, or at least of English foreigners, we were very soon given to understand that the law in question was not applicable. We were perfectly free to make acquaintances in either world, and some of the most valued friends we made in Vienna, and some of the pleasantest hospitalities we accepted, were found in bourgeois houses. I remember two different instances of a very amusing curiosity on the part of certain noble ladies, which prompted them to avail themselves of our chartered liberty in the matter, for the obtaining of tidings of the ways and manners of the inmates of certain houses, which there was no possibility of their ever having an opportunity of observing for themselves. But on ransacking my memory for instances of the kind, I must say that all that occur to me, refer to curiosity of the upper respecting the nether world; and that I do not recollect any vice versâ cases.

I have said that the rule of exclusion as regards all that part of the Vienna world not nobly born was absolute. But if absoluteness can be conceived as ever becoming more absolute, the social law did so in the case of Jewish families. These were numerous, and many of them in respect of wealth, and more in respect of culture, were on a par with the best and highest portion of the Viennese society. I remember one Jewish family in particular, consisting of a widow and her daughter and her niece, with whom we became intimately acquainted, and in whom and whose surroundings we found a level{324} of high culture (taking that word in its largest extension to all that goes to form the idiosyncrasy of a human being), far in advance of anything we met with among their social superiors.

In fact the grand monde of that far distant day in Vienna was frivolous, unintellectual, and, I am afraid I must say, uneducated to a remarkable degree. It had its own peculiar charm, which consisted in the most perfectly high-bred tone of manner combined with complete simplicity, the absolute absence of any sort of affectation whatever, and great good-nature. But in all my experience of them there was not to be found a salon among them of equal social attraction to that of my above-mentioned Jewish friends.

But all this refers to the social conditions of a day, which, as my recent visits to Vienna have shown me, is one passed away and gone. It belongs to the days when “Vater Franz” was, or, to be accurate, had only two years previously ceased to be, the idol of Austrian, and especially Viennese loyalty and affection. The most striking instances of the devotion of all classes of the population to their emperor were constantly narrated to me. I specially remember the tale of one occasion, when the emperor had remained shut up in the palace for three or four days—or perhaps the period was somewhat longer—because he had caught a cold. A cloud seemed to have passed over the blue Vienna sky. The occasion of his first drive through the streets of the city after his little indisposition was an ovation! The people filled the streets, and hung about his{325} carriage. Market women poked their faces in at the window to assure themselves that “Vater Franz” was restored to them none the worse for his confinement. It was, to the best of my remembrance, on every Thursday, at that time, that it had been the emperor’s practice to devote a certain number of hours in the day to receiving any one of his subjects who had notified in the proper quarter a desire to speak with him. But might not some socialist or nihilist, or other description of radical, have easily shot him at one of those entirely unguarded interviews? Aye! but I am writing of half a century ago, before such things and persons had appeared upon the scene. And assuredly the possibility of such a catastrophe had never entered into the brain of any man, woman, or child in the Kaiserstadt.

There was one among the many acquaintances we made at Vienna who belonged in nowise to any division of its society, but who was, like ourselves, to be met with among them all. This was old John Cramer the pianist. I took a great liking to him. The mingled simplicity, bonhomie, shrewdness, and old-world courtesy of the old man delighted me. He was full of old-world stories, generally ending any anecdote of some one of the many notable personages he had known with a sigh, and “Well, peace to his manes!” pronounced as one syllable, as I have mentioned in an earlier page. For old John Cramer had lived in the days before the schoolmaster had gone “abroad” so widely as in these{326} latter times. The old maestro had just written a monody to the memory of Malibran, then recently lost to the world of music prematurely. “It is full of feeling,” writes my mother, “and, as I listened to this veteran pianist, as he performed for me his simple and classic little composition, and marked the delicacy and finish of his style, unincumbered by a single movement in which the conceptions of a harmonious genius are made to give way before the meretricious glory of active fingers, I felt at the very bottom of my heart that I was rococo, incorrigibly rococo, and that such I should live and die.”

Another specialty, which in those days gave to Vienna much of the physiognomy which made it different in outward appearance from any other of the great capitals of Europe, and which would not be observed there at the present time, was caused by the heterogeneousness of the countries which compose the empire, and the very motley appearance of the specimens of all of them which might be found in the capital. A Parisian tells you in France that a provincial in the streets of Paris is as recognisable at a glance as if he were ticketed on the forehead. And so he may be to a Parisian. But the eccentricities of his appearance are not such as to impart any variety to the moving panorama in the streets of Paris as it appears to a stranger. The Breton, the Provencal, the Bearnais makes himself look, when he visits Paris, as much like a Parisian as he can, and flatters himself no doubt that he succeeds perfectly. But Croatians,{327} Bohemians, wild-looking figures from Transylvania might be seen in the streets of Vienna, precisely as they might have been seen in their own distant homes. Strange and not a little sinister looking groups of Hungarian gipsies, encampments outside and at the foot of the walls, of Bohemian waggoners, caftaned Jews from the distant parts of Galicia, all added to the strangeness and much to the picturesqueness of the city. I remember one especial group, the extreme barbarism of whose appearance, incredible filthiness, and wild, picturesque, but very forbidding physiognomies, particularly attracted my attention. I was told that they were gipsies from Croatia.

On the whole it is—or rather I should say was—evident that one has travelled far eastward to reach Vienna, and the whole physiognomy of the place is modified by that fact.

I am unwilling to close this chapter of my Vienna reminiscences without mentioning a lady, whose very exceptional histrionic talent had impressed me as vividly as it did my mother, who has given an honourable place in her volumes to Madame Rettich. I subsequently became intimate with her very charming daughter in Italy, and it is from her that I learned the fact that her mother had been the first actress to personate Goethe’s “Gretchen” on the stage. Considerable doubt had been felt as to the expediency of the attempt. But Madame Rettich made it—not for the first time at Vienna, but at some provincial theatre—with entire success.{328}


Of all my reminiscences of Vienna, and those I saw there, the most interesting are those connected with my introduction to Prince Metternich.

The present generation is perhaps hardly aware—or not habitually so—of the largeness of the space Metternich occupied in the political world half a century ago. It is not too much to say that Europe in those days thought as much about Metternich as it does in these days about Bismarck. Of course the nature of the two men, as of the circumstances with which they were called on to deal, is far as the poles asunder. But on the European stage—not, of course, on the English—no actor of that day could compete with Prince Metternich in the importance of the position assigned to him by the world in general, as no actor of this day can with Prince Bismarck.

It is hardly enough to say, as is said above, that the nature of the two men was as far as the poles asunder, it was singularly contrasted. To both of them the salus patriæ has ever been the suprema lex; and both of them, with increasingly accepted{329} wisdom; have sought that supreme end in the strengthening of the principle of authority. The history of human affairs has not yet sufficiently unfolded itself for it to be possible to say in this year of grace, 1887, whether they have done so with very different measures of success. But it is very curious to mark the similarity thus far existing between the two great ministers, chancellors, and statesmen, combined with such very marked (though perhaps in fact more or less superficial) differences between the two men.

Prince Bismarck has not been thought, even by those who have most thoroughly admired and applauded his fortiter in re, to have very successfully combined with it the suaviter in modo. The habit of clothing the iron hand with a velvet glove has not been considered to be among his characteristics. And these qualities were very pre-eminently those of the other all-powerful minister.

And the outward and bodily presentment of the two men was as contrasted and as expressive of this difference as that of two high-born gentlemen could well be. I saw recently in Berlin a portrait by Lembach of the great North German chancellor. It is one of those portraits which eminently accomplishes that which it is the highest excellence of every great portrait to achieve, in that it gives those who look at it with some faculty of insight not only that outward semblance of the man, which all can recognise, but something more, which it is the artist’s business to reveal to those who have not{330} the gift of reading it for themselves. That portrait, in common with most of those by the great masters in the art of portraiture, reveals to you, with an instantly recognised truthfulness, the interior and intrinsic nature of the man, with a luminousness which your own gaze on the living person would not achieve for you. I have also before me a portrait of Prince Metternich, made at the time of which I am writing by M. Hervieu in crayons for my mother. And without of course claiming either for the artist or for the style of work such power as belongs to the portrait of which I have been speaking, I may say that it does very faithfully and expressively give you the presentment of a man in whom strength of will, tenacity of purpose, and high intellectual power are combined with suave gentleness of manner and an air of high-bred courtesy.

That is the man whose lineaments I look on in the sketch, and that is the man with whom I had many opportunities of being in company, and had on several occasions the high honour of conversing. Whether it might be possible for a man devoid of all advantage of feature to produce on those brought into contact with him the same remarkable impression of dignity, the consciousness of high station, and perfection of courtly bearing combined with a pellucid simplicity of manner, I cannot say. But it is true that all this was rendered more possible in the case of Metternich by great personal handsomeness. He was, of course, when I saw him, what may be called an old man—a white-headed old{331} man—but I doubt if at any time of his life he could have been a better-looking man.

My mother notes in her book on Vienna and the Austrians, that as we were returning from a dinner at the house of the English ambassador, Sir Frederic Lamb, where we had just met Metternich for the first time, I observed that he was just such a man as my fancy painted Sir William Temple to have been, and that she thought the illustration a good one. And I don’t think that any subsequent knowledge or reflection would lead me to cancel it.

He was a man of middle height, slenderly made rather than thin, though carrying no superfluous flesh; upright, though without the somewhat rigid uprightness which usually characterises military training to the last, however far distant the training time may have been; and singularly graceful in movement and gesture. He must have been a man of sound body and even robust constitution, but he did not look so at the time of which I am speaking. Not that he had the appearance or the manner of a man out of health; but his extreme refinement and delicacy of feature seemed scarcely consistent with bodily strength. I remember a man—the old Dr. Nott spoken of in the first chapter of this book—who must have been about the same age with Metternich when I first saw him, who equalled him in clear-cut delicacy and refinement of feature, who was certainly a high-bred gentleman, not altogether ignorant of the ways{332} and manners of courts, and who was emphatically a man of intellectual pursuits and habits. But there all equality and similarity between the two men ends. Good, refined, elegant Dr. Nott produced no such impression on those near him as the Austrian statesman did. There must have been therefore a something in the latter beyond all those advantages of person and feature with which he was so eminently endowed. And this “something” I take to have been produced partly by native intellectual power, and partly by the long possession of quite uncontested authority.

Upon that first occasion I had no opportunity of hearing any word from Metternich save one gracious phrase on being presented to him. He took my mother in to dinner. I was seated at a far distant part of the huge round table, where I could see, but not hear. And it was the fashion in Vienna for people to leave the house at which they had been dining almost immediately after taking their cup of coffee. But before the party separated it had been arranged that we were to dine at the minister’s house on the following Monday.

But all this time I have said no word of the Princess Metternich, who also dined with Sir Frederic Lamb on that, to me, memorable day. In one word, she was one of the most beautiful women I ever looked on. She was rather small, but most delicately and perfectly formed in person, and the extreme beauty of her face was but a part, and not the most peerless part, of the charm of it.{333} To say that it sparkled with expression, and an expression which changed with each changing topic of conversation, is by no means enough. Every feature of her face was instinct with meaning and intelligence. The first impression her face gave me was that of a laughter-loving and mutine disposition. But my mother, who saw much of her—more, of course, than it was possible for her to see of the chancellor (especially while the princess was sitting for her portrait by M. Hervieu for her, during which sitting my mother, by her express stipulation, was always with her), and who learned to love her dearly, testified that there was much more behind; that her unbounded affection and veneration for her husband was not incompatible with the formation of thoughtful opinions of her own upon the questions which were then exercising the minds of politicians, as well as all the higher topics of human interest.

I dined at Metternich’s table on the day mentioned above as well as on sundry other occasions; on some of which I was fortunate enough to make one of the little circle enjoying his conversation. Of course the dinner parties at the prince’s house were affairs of much magnificence and splendour. But I had, on more than one occasion, the higher privilege of dining with him en famille.

On both and all occasions, whether it was a grand banquet of thirty persons or more, or a quite unceremonious dinner en famille, the prince’s practice was the same, and was peculiar.{334}

He did not in any wise partake of the spread before him. He had always dined previously at one o’clock. But he had a loaf of brown bread and a plate of butter put before him; and, while his guests were dining, he occupied himself with spreading and cutting a succession of daintily thin slices of bread and butter for his own repast.

Victor Emmanuel used similarly to dine in the middle of the day, and at his state banquets used to take no more active part than was involved in honouring them with his presence. But Metternich, I think, would not have said what my friend G. P. Marsh, the United States minister, once told me Victor Emmanuel said to him on one occasion. Mr. Marsh, as dean of the diplomatic body (it was before any of the great powers sent ambassadors to the court of the Quirinal), was seated next to his majesty at table. Innumerable dishes were being carried round in long succession, when the king, turning to his neighbour with a groan, said, “Will this never come to an end?” I have no doubt Marsh cordially echoed his majesty’s sentiments on the subject.

The words of men who have occupied positions in any degree similar to that of Prince Metternich are apt to be picked up, remembered, and recorded, when in truth the only value of the utterances in question is to show that such men do occasionally think and speak like other mortals! And my notebooks are not without similar evidences of gobemoucherie on my own part. But there is one subject on{335} which I have heard Metternich speak words which really are worth recording. That subject was the Emperor Napoleon Buonaparte.

Of course on such a topic the Austrian statesman might have said much that he was not at liberty to say; and there was also much that he might have said which could not have found place in one halfhour’s conversation. The particular point upon which I heard him speak was the celebrated interview, at which the emperor lost his temper because he could not induce Austria to declare war.

Metternich described the way in which the emperor, with the manners of the guard-room rather than those of the council-chamber, suddenly and violently tossed his cocked hat into the corner of the room, “evidently expecting that I should pick it up and present it to him,” said the old statesman; “but I judged it better to ignore the action and the intention altogether, and his majesty after a minute or two rose and picked it up himself.”

He went on to express his conviction that all this display of passion on the emperor’s part was altogether affected, fictitious, and calculated; and said that similar manifestations of intemperate violence were by no means infrequently used by the emperor with a view to produce calculated effects, and were often more or less successful.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that the most cynical observer could have detected the slightest shade of bitterness in the words or the manner of Prince Metternich. On that field of{336} battle at all events the honours did not fall to the share of Napoleon. And his aged adversary spoke of the encounter with the amused pleasantry and easy smile of a veteran who recounts passages at arms in which his part has been that best worth telling.

But with a graver manner he went on to say, that the most unpleasant part of the circumstance connected with dealing with Napoleon arose from the fact that he was not a gentleman in any sense of the word, or anything like one. Of course the prince, with his unblemished sixteen quarterings, was not talking of anything connected with Napoleon’s birth. And I doubt whether he may have been aware that Napoleon Buonaparte was technically gentle by virtue of his descent from an ancient Tuscan territorial noble race. Metternich, in expressing the opinion quoted, was not thinking of anything of the kind. He was speaking of the moral nature of the man. In these days, after all that has since that time been published on the subject, the expression of Metternich seems almost like the enunciation of an accepted and recognised truism. Nevertheless, even now the judgment on such a point, of one who had enjoyed (no, certainly not enjoyed, but we will say undergone) so much personal intercourse with the great conqueror, is worth recording.

My mother has given an account of the same conversation, which I have here recorded, in the second volume of her book on Vienna and the{337} Austrians. Her account tallies with mine in all essentials (I did not read it—in this half-century—till after I had written the above sentences); but she relates one or two circumstances which I have omitted; and she apparently did not hear what the prince said afterwards about Napoleon as a gentleman—or perhaps it was said upon another occasion, which I cannot assert may not have been the case.

One point of my mother’s narrative should not be omitted. Metternich, observing that it was impossible for any human being to have heard what passed between him and Napoleon, but that everybody had read all about it, said that Savary relates truly the incident of the hat, which must have been told him by Napoleon himself. This is very curious.

Another amusing anecdote recounted by Metternich one evening, when my mother and myself, together with only a very small circle of habitués were present, I remember well, and intended to give my own reminiscences of it in this place. But I find the story so well told by my mother, and it is so well worth repeating, that I will reproduce her telling of it.

“During the hundred days of Napoleon’s extraordinary but abortive restoration, he found himself compelled by circumstances, bon gré mal gré to appoint Fouché minister of police. About ten days after this arch-traitor was so placed, Prince Metternich was informed that a stranger desired{338} to see him. He was admitted, and the prince recognised him as an individual whom he had known as an employé at Paris. But he now appeared under a borrowed name, bringing only a fragment of Fouché’s handwriting, as testimony that he was sent by him. His mission he said was of the most secret nature, and in fact, only extended to informing the prince that Fouché was desirous of offering to his consideration propositions of the most important nature. The messenger declared himself wholly ignorant of their purport, being authorised only to invite the prince to a secret conference through the medium of some trusty envoy, who should be despatched to Paris for the purpose. The prince’s reply was, ‘You must permit me to think of this.’ The agent retired, and the Austrian minister repaired to the emperor, and recounted what had passed. ‘And what do you think of doing?’ said the emperor.

I think,’ replied the prince, ‘that we should send a confidential agent, not to Paris, but to some other place that may be fixed upon, who shall have no other instructions but to listen to all that the Frenchman, who will meet him there, shall impart, and bring us faithfully an account of it.’

“The emperor signified his approbation; ‘And then,’ continued the prince, ‘as we were good and faithful allies, and would do nothing unknown to those with whom we were pledged to act in common, I hastened to inform the allied sovereigns, who were still at Vienna, of the arrival of the{339} messenger, and the manner in which I proposed to act.’ The mysterious messenger was accordingly dismissed with an answer purporting that an Austrian, calling himself Werner, should be at a certain hotel in the town of Basle, in Switzerland, on such a day, with instructions to hear and convey to Prince Metternich whatever the individual sent to meet him should deliver. This meeting took place at the spot and hour fixed. The diplomatic agents saluted each other with fitting courtesy, and seated themselves vis-à-vis, each assuming the attitude of a listener.

May I ask you, sir,’ said the envoy from Paris at length, ‘what is the object of our meeting?’

My object, sir,’ replied the Austrian, ‘is to listen to whatever you may be disposed to say.’

And mine,’ rejoined the Frenchman, ‘is solely to hear what you may have to communicate.’

“Neither the one nor the other had anything further to add to this interesting interchange of information, and after remaining together long enough for each to be satisfied that the other had nothing to tell, they separated with perfect civility, both returning precisely as wise as they came.

“Some time after the imperial restoration had given way to the royal one in France, the mystery was explained. Fouché, cette revolution incarnée, as the prince called him, no sooner saw his old master and benefactor restored to power, than he imagined the means of betraying him, and accordingly despatched the messenger, who presented himself to Prince{340} Metternich. Fouché was minister of police, and probably all the world would have agreed with him in thinking that if any man in France could safely send off a secret messenger it was himself. But all the world would have been mistaken, and so was Fouché. The Argus eyes of Napoleon discovered the proceeding. The first messenger was seized and examined on his return. The minister of police was informed of the discovery, and coolly assured by his imperial master that he would probably be hanged. The second messenger was then despatched by Napoleon himself with exactly the same instructions as the envoy who met him from Vienna, to the effect that he was to listen to all that might be said to him, and when questioned himself, confess, what was the exact truth, that all he knew of the mission on which he came was that he was expected to remember and repeat all that he should hear.”

On the 30th of November in that year I witnessed the by far most gorgeous pageant I ever saw—for I was not in Westminster Abbey on the 21st of June, 1887—the installation of eleven Knights of the Golden Fleece. As a pageant, nothing, I think, could exceed the gorgeous and historic magnificence of this ceremony; but no “Kings of the Isles brought gifts,” nor was the imperial body-guard composed of sovereign princes or their representatives. In significance, that show and all others such, even the meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold itself, is eclipsed by the ever-memorable day which{341} England has just seen. But it was not only a very grand but a very interesting sight, the whole details of which may be found by those interested in such matters very accurately described in the volume by my mother which I have so often quoted.

On the very next day I saw another sight which I think it probable no subsequent sight-seer in Vienna during all the half-century that has elapsed since that day has seen, or any will see in the future. It was a sight more monstrously contrasted with the scene I had yesterday witnessed than it could well enter into the human mind to conceive. It was a visit to the vast, long-disused catacombs under the cathedral church of St. Stephen. It was then about sixty years, as I was told—now more than a hundred—since these vaults were used as a place of sepulture. Here, as in many other well-known instances, the special peculiarities of soil and atmosphere prevent all the usual processes of decay, and the tens of thousands of corpses which have been deposited there—very many uncoffined and unshrouded during the visitation of the plague in 1713—have become to all intents and purposes mummies. They retain not only the form of human beings, but in many cases the features retain the ghastly expression which was their last when the breath of life left them. The countless forms, which never apparently from the day they were deposited there had been subjected to any sort of arrangement whatever, lay in monstrous confused heaps, mingled with shattered remains of coffins. The skin in{342} every case had become of the consistency of very thick and tough leather, not quite so thick as that used for the sole of a stout shoe, but a good deal thicker than what is generally used for the upper leather even of the stoutest. There was not the slightest disagreeable odour in any part of the vaults. In the course of a long life I have seen very many strange sights, but never any one to match that in weird strangeness and impressive horror. If any sight on earth merits the degraded epithet “awful,” it must be that of those fearsome catacombs.

What I have written here conveys but a very imperfect notion of all that we saw and felt during our progress through that terrible succession of vaults. But I abstain from chronicling the sights of this charnel-house for the same reason that I refrained from any attempt at describing the cloth of gold and the velvets and the silks and satins of the previous day. The detailed description of them may all be found in my mother’s book, in the fortieth chapter of which the reader so inclined may sup full of horrors to his heart’s content. I will content myself with testifying to the perfect accuracy and absence of exaggeration in the account there given.

My mother expresses disapproval of the authorities who permit such an exhibition, and she is very vague as to the means by which we obtained admission to it. Nor does my memory furnish any clear information upon this point, but I have{343} a strong impression that it was all an affair of bribery, managed “under the rose” (what a phrase for such an exploit!) by backstairs influence in some way. I do not think that the first comer, with however large a fee in his hand, could have caused the door of that chamber of horrors to be opened to him. There are, it is true, sundry words and incidents in my mother’s account which seem to indicate that the showman guide, who attended us, was in the habit of similarly attending others; but I am persuaded that my mother was in error in supposing, if she did suppose, that to be the case. Unquestionably the man was at home in the gruesome place, and well acquainted with all the parts of it, but I have reason to be persuaded that his familiarity with it arose simply from the habit of pillaging the remains of the coffins for firewood!

Not long after this memorable expedition to the catacombs I received a communication from Birmingham which rendered it necessary for me to leave Vienna and turn my face homewards.{344}


I left Vienna by the carriage which carried the imperial mail, shortly before Christmas, in very severe weather. It would be impossible to construct a more comfortable carriage for the use of those to whom speed is no object. It carried only two passengers and the courier, and was abundantly roomy and well cushioned. It carried, of course, also all the mails from Hungary and from Vienna to the north and westward, including those to Munich and Paris and London. And to the best of my recollection all these despatches, printed as well as written, were carried in the hind boot of our conveyance. If they were not there I can’t guess where they were!

I remember that I was tremendously great-coated, having, besides my “box-coat,” a “buffalo robe,” which I had brought back with me from America, and I have no recollection of suffering at all from cold. We proceeded in very leisurely fashion; and I well remember the reply of the courier to my question, how long we were to remain at the place at which we were to dine, given with an air of mild surprise{345} at my thinking such a demand necessary. “Till we have done dinner!” said the courier—“Bis wir gespeist haben!” The words seem still to echo in my ears! To me, whose experiences were of the Quicksilver mail!

When we had done dinner, and he asked me with leisurely courtesy if I had dined well, he said, in answer to my confessing that I could have wished nothing more, unless it were a cup of coffee, if perchance there were one ready, “No doubt the hostess will make us one. It is best fresh made!” And so, while the imperial mail, and all the Paris and London letters, and the post-horses, waited at the door, the coffee was made and leisurely discussed!

I will upon this occasion also spare the reader all guide-book chatter, and pass on to the arrival of myself and the friend who was with me, at Dover, which arrival was a somewhat remarkable one.

We had travelled by Antwerp, which I wished to revisit for the sake of the cathedral, and crossed from Ostend, where also I was not sorry to pass a day.

We had a long and nasty passage, but at last reached Dover to find the whole town and the surrounding hills under snow, and to be met by the intelligence that all communication between Dover and London was interrupted! Even the boat which used to ply between Dover and the London Docks would not face the abominable weather, and was not running. There was nothing for it but to take{346} up our abode at the “King’s Head” (no “Lord Warden” in those days!), and wait for the road to be opened.

We waited one day, two days, with no prospect of any amelioration of our position. On the third day two young Americans who were in the house, equally weather-bound with ourselves, and equally impatient of their imprisonment, assured us that in their country the matter would speedily be remedied, and declared their determination of getting to Canterbury on a sledge. We had heard by that time that from Canterbury to London the road was open. The people at the “King’s Head” assured us that no such attempt had any chance of succeeding. But of course our American friends considered that to be a strictly professional opinion, and determined on starting. We agreed to share the adventure with them. Four of the best post-horses we could find in Dover were hired, a couple of postboys, whose pluck was stimulated by promises of high fees, were engaged, and a sledge was rigged under the personal supervision of our experienced friends.

On the fourth day we got ourselves and our respective trunks on to the sledge, and started among the ill-omened prognostications of our host of the “King’s Head” and his friends. I think the postboys did their utmost bravely, but at the end of about five miles from Dover they dismounted from their floundering horses and declared the enterprise an impossible one. It was totally out of the question, they said, to reach Canterbury. It would be{347} quite as much as they could do to get back to Dover.

What was to be done? The boys were so evidently right that the Americans did not attempt to gainsay their decision. A council of war was called, the upshot of which was that our two American allies decided to return to Dover with their and our baggage and wraps, while my friend and I determined at all risks to push on to Canterbury on foot. We had eleven miles of bleak country before us, which was simply one uniform undulating field of snow. The baffled postboys gave us many minute directions of signs and objects by which we were to endeavour to keep the road. We had started from Dover about nine o’clock in the morning. It was then not quite noon. The mail would leave Canterbury at ten at night for London, and we had therefore ten hours before us for our undertaking.

We thought that four, or, at the outside, five would be ample for the purpose, if we were ever to get to Canterbury at all. But we did not reach “The Fountain” in that much-longed-for city till past eight that evening!

It was a terrible walk. Of course at no conceivable rate of progression could we have been eight hours in walking eleven miles if we had continued to progress at all. But we lost the road again and again! sometimes got far away from it, and fought our way back to it by the directions obtained at farm-houses or labourers’ cottages, from people who{348} evidently deemed our enterprise a desperate one. Mostly we were struggling knee-deep in snow, once or twice plunging into and out of drifts over our waists. We were not on foot quite all the time; for once we rested in a hospitable cottage for an hour, when we were about six miles from Canterbury. Our host there, who was, I take it, a waggoner, strongly advised us to give it up, and offered to let us pass the night in his cottage. We were already very much beaten, and were sorely tempted to close with his proposal. Perhaps, if we had known that we should never, as was the case, see those Americans again, we should have done so. But much as our bodies needed rest, our souls needed triumph more! So we turned out into the snow again, and—by eight o’clock did reach the hospitable “Fountain”!

But we were in a sad plight, desperately wearied, a good deal bruised and knocked about, and as thoroughly wet through literally as though we had been walking in water instead of snow. Rest was delicious; a hot supper was such delight as no “gods” had ever enjoyed. Good beds would have been Elysium! But—the thought of the next morning gave us pause. We had no rag of clothing of any sort save the thoroughly soaked things on our backs. No boots or shoes! And how should we possibly put on again those on our feet if once they were taken off? In London, if once reached, all these troubles would be at an end!

Finally we decided to go on by the mail at ten{349} that night. But here a fresh disappointment awaited us. The mail was booked full inside! There were two outside places, those on the roof behind the driver, available. But we were dead beat, wet through to the bone, unprovided with any wrap of any kind, and it was freezing hard!

But on to the mail we climbed at ten o’clock. I believe the good hostess of “The Fountain” genuinely thought our proceeding suicidal, and the refusal of her beds absolutely insane.

That journey from Canterbury to London was by far the worst I ever made. It really was a very bad business. But at every change of horses I got down, and holding on by the coach behind ran as far as my breath and strength would allow me, and thus knocked a little warmth into my veins. I could not persuade my companion to do likewise. He seemed to be wearied and frozen into apathy. The consequence was that whereas I was after some twelve hours in bed not a jot the worse, he was laid up for a fortnight.

Shortly afterwards I assumed my new duties at Birmingham. The new building had been completed, and was—or rather is, as all the world may see to the present day—a very handsome one. The head master, whose assistant I specially was, was Dr. Jeune, who became subsequently Bishop of Peterborough. The second master, Mr. Gedge, had also an assistant named Mason. Our duties were to teach Latin and Greek to any of the sons of the inhabitants of Birmingham who chose to{350} avail themselves of King Edward’s benevolent foundation. None of the masters had anything to do with the business of lodging or victualling boys. The boys were all day boys, and our business was to teach them Latin and Greek during certain hours of every day.

I soon became aware by a strangely subtle process of feeling rather than observation that my eight years’ Winchester experience of schoolboy life and ways had not constituted a favourable preparation for my present work. I felt that I was working in an atmosphere and on a material that was new to me. It would be absurd to imagine that all those sons of Birmingham tradesmen were stupider or duller boys than the average of our Winchester lads. But it appeared to me that it was far more difficult to teach them with any fair amount of success. They were no doubt all, or nearly all, the sons of men who had never learned anything in their lives save the elements of a strictly commercial education. And I felt myself tempted to believe that the results of heredity must extend themselves even to the greater or lesser receptivity of one description of teaching instead of another. I suppose that the descendant of a long line of shoemakers would be more readily taught how to make a shoe than how to build a ship. And it may be in like manner that ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes comes more readily to a boy whose forefathers have for generations done the same thing than it would to the descendant of generations unmoulded by any such discipline!{351}

Corporal punishment was used, and naturally had to be resorted to much more frequently by me than by my superior, whose work was concerned with the older and better conducted portion of the boys. In fact as far as my recollection at the present day goes, it seems to me that hardly any morning or afternoon passed without the application of the cane. And this corporal castigation, though devoid of all the judicial formality which might have made our Winchester “scourging” a really moral punishment if the frequency of it and the prevailing sentiment upon the subject both of masters and scholars had been other than it was, was in truth a very much severer infliction as regards the absolute pain to be suffered by the patient. Three or four strokes with the cane over the palm of the hand would be very much worse than the perfunctory swishing with the peculiar Winchester rod. I do not remember that this caning was ever judicially used as a sentence to be executed at any future time, or that it was ever, for the most part, used to punish the idleness which had prevented a boy from learning his lessons at his home. It was used almost exclusively, as far as I remember, for the preservation of order and silence during the school hours, and the correction of the offender followed instantly on the commission of the offence.

And this necessity of enforcing order among a very undisciplined crew of some forty or fifty lads of ages varying from perhaps twelve to about fourteen or fifteen was by far the most irksome and{352} difficult part of my duty. I was accustomed to tuition. But the cumulation of the office of beadle with that of teacher was new to me, and I did not like it. And still less did I like the constant tendency of the urgent duties of the first office to encroach upon those of the second.

My scholastic experiences had accustomed me to a state of things in which idleness, violence, daredevil audacity, and neglect of duty had been common enough, but in which organised trickery and deception had been rarely seen. And I felt myself unfitted for the duties of a policeman among these turbulent Birmingham lads. I never saw the face of any one of them save during the school hours; and I remember thinking at the time that, had this been otherwise, I might have obtained a moral influence over at least some of them, which might have been more useful than all my efforts during school hours to force the rules and principles of syntax into unwilling brains, accustomed to the habitual defiance of them during all the remainder of their lives.

It appeared to me that I was engaged in the perpetual, and somewhat hopeless, task of endeavouring to manufacture silk purses out of sows’ ears; and I confess that I never put on my academical gown to go into school without feeling that I was going to an irksome, and, I feared, unprofitable labour. I tried hard to do my duty; but I fear that I was by no means the right man in the right place.

No preparation of any kind, beyond assuming my{353} gown and trencher cap, before going into school was needed, and I had, therefore, abundance of leisure, during which I did a considerable quantity of miscellaneous reading, not perhaps altogether so unprofitable as the advocates of regular study devoted to some well-defined end might suppose.

We endeavoured—my colleague Mason and I—I remember, to get up a debating society among the few—very few—young men, with whom we had become acquainted. But it did not succeed. Young Birmingham, intent on making, and on its way to make, “plums” in hardware, did not think that “debating” was the best way of employing the hours that could be spared from the counting-house.

There might, no doubt, have been found a better element of social intercourse in the younger clergy of the town; but they were all strongly “evangelical,” which was at that time quite sufficient to entail an oil-and-vinegar-like mutual repulsion between them and the young Wykehamist. And this, involving as it does a confession of a discreditable amount of raw young-man’s prejudice, I mention as an illustration of the current opinions, feelings, and mental habits of the time, for, after all, I was not more prejudiced and more stupid than the rest of the world around me.

In fact my life at Birmingham was for the most part a very solitary one. I used to come home tired and worn out to my lodgings with Mrs. Clements in New Hall Street; and the prospect of a lonely evening with my book, my teapot, and my pipe, was{354} not unwelcome to me, for it was, at least, repose and quiet after noise and turmoil. Every now and then I used to dine and pass the evening with Dr. Jeune; and these were my red-letter days. Jeune had married the daughter of Dr. Symonds, the Warden of Wadham. She was a tall and very handsome woman, as well as an extremely agreeable one. At first, I remember, I used to think that if she had been the daughter of anybody else than the “Head of a House,” one just emerging from statu pupillari might have found her more charming. But this soon wore off as we got to know each other better. And long talks with Mrs. Jeune are the pleasantest—indeed, I think I may say the only pleasant—recollections of my life at Birmingham.{355}


I held my mastership in King Edward’s School at Birmingham a year and a half—from shortly after the first day of 1837 to the 19th of June, 1838.

At the end of that time I went back to my mother’s house at Hadley. She had in the meantime returned from Vienna, had completed her two volumes on that journey, and published them with such a measure of success as to encourage her in hoping that she might vary her never-ceasing labour in the production of novels by again undertaking other journeys. But for this, and still more for the execution of other schemes, of which I shall have to speak further on, my presence and companionship were necessary to her. And after much consultation and very many walks together round the little quiet garden at Hadley, it was decided between us that I should send in my resignation of the Birmingham mastership, defer all alternative steps in the direction of any other life career, and devote myself, for the present at least, to becoming her companion and squire.

The decision was a very momentous one. As{356} might have been anticipated, the “deferring” of any steps in the direction of a professional career of any sort turned out eventually to be the final abandonment of any such. It could hardly be otherwise in the case of a young man of twenty-eight, which was my age at the time. I was the son of a father who had left absolutely nothing behind him, and I had no prospect whatever of any independent means from any other source. It is true that property settled on my mother before her marriage would in any case suffice to keep me from absolute destitution, but that was about all that could be said of it. And certainly the decision to which my mother and I came during these walks round and round the Hadley garden was audacious rather than prudent.

I have never regretted it during any part of the now well-nigh half a century of life that has elapsed since the resolution was taken. I have been, I have not the smallest doubt, a much happier man than I should have been, had I followed a more beaten track. My brother Anthony used to say of me that I should never have earned my salt in the routine work of a profession, or any employment under the authoritative supervision of a superior. I always dissented, and beg still to record my dissent, from any such judgment. But, as it is, I can say with sincerely grateful recognition in my heart, that I have been a very happy—I fear I may say an exceptionally happy—man. Despite this, I do not think that were I called upon to advise a young man{357} in precisely similar circumstances to mine at that time, I should counsel him to follow my example: for I have been not only a happy but a singularly fortunate man. Again and again at various turning points of my life I have been fortunate to a degree which no conduct or prudence of my own merited.

I was under no immediate obligation to work in any way, but I cannot say of myself I have been an idle man. I have worked much, and sometimes very hard.

Upon one occasion—the occasion was that of sudden medical advice to the effect that it was desirable that I should take my first wife from Florence for a change of climate, which I was not in funds to do comfortably—I planned and wrote from title-page to colophon and sold a two-volume novel of the usual size in four-and-twenty days. I had a “turn of speed” in those days in writing as well as walking. I could do my five miles and three-quarters in an hour at a fair toe and heel walk, and I wrote a novel in twenty-four days—it was written indeed in twenty-three, for I took a whole holiday in the middle of the work. Of course it may be said that the novel was trash. But it was as good as, and was found by the publisher to be more satisfactory than, some others of the great number I have perpetrated. And I should like those who may imagine that the arduous nature of the feat I accomplished was made less by the literary imperfection of the work to try the experiment of copying six hundred post octavo pages in the time. I{358} found the register of each day’s work the other day. The longest was thirty-three pages. It was no great matter to have written three-and-thirty pages in one day, but I am disposed to think that few men (or even women) could continue for as many days at so high an average of speed. My brother used to say that he could not do the like to save his life and that of all those dearest to him. And he was not a slow writer. Of course when my book was done I was nearly done too. But I do not know that I was ever any the worse for the effort. The novel in question was called Beppo the Conscript.

No, I have not been an idle man since the day when my mother and myself decided that I was to follow no recognised profession. The long, too long, series of works which have been published as mine will account for probably considerably less than half the printed matter which I am responsible for having given to the world. Nor can I say that I was driven to work “by hunger and request of friends.” During all my long career of authorship there was no period at which I could not have lived an idle man—not so well as I wished, certainly; but I was not driven by imperious necessity.

Yet I have a very pretty turn for idleness too. It is as pleasant to me “to smoke my canaster and tipple my ale in the shade,” as Thackeray says, as to any man. Anthony had no such turn. Work to him was a necessity and a satisfaction. He used often to say that he envied me the capacity for{359} being idle. Had he possessed it, poor fellow, I might not now be speaking of him in the past tense. And still less than of me could it be said of him that he was ever driven to literary work deficiente crumenâ. But he laboured during the whole of his manhood life with an insatiable ardour that (taking into consideration his very efficient discharge of his duties as Post Office surveyor) puts my industry into the shade.

Certainly we both of us ought to have inherited, and I suppose did inherit, an aptitude for industry. My father was, as I have said, a remarkably laborious, though an unsuccessful man, and my mother left a hundred and fifteen volumes, written between her fiftieth year and that of her death.

Shortly after my final return from Birmingham my mother had a bad illness. It could not have been a very long one; the record of her published work shows no cessation of literary activity. Whether this illness had anything to do with the resolution she came to much about the same time to change her residence, I do not remember, but about this time we established ourselves at No. 20, York Street.

Here, as everywhere else where my mother found or made a home, the house forthwith became the resort of pleasant people; and my time in York Street was a very agreeable one. Among other frequenters of it, my diary makes frequent mention of Judge Haliburton, of Nova Scotia, better known to the world as Sam Slick, the Clockmaker. He{360} was, as I remember him, a delightful companion—for a limited time. He was in this respect exactly like his books—extremely amusing reading if taken in rather small doses, but calculated to seem tiresomely monotonous if indulged in at too great length. He was a thoroughly good fellow, kindly, cheery, hearty, and sympathetic always; and so far always a welcome companion. But his funning was always pitched in the same key, and always more or less directed to the same objects. His social and political ideas and views all coincided with my own, which, of course, tended to make us better friends. In appearance he looked entirely like an Englishman, but not at all like a Londoner. Without being at all too fat, he was large and burly in person, with grey hair, a large ruddy face, a humorous mouth, and bright blue eyes always full of mirth. He was an inveterate chewer of tobacco, and in the fulness of comrade-like kindness strove to indoctrinate me with that habit. But I was already an old smoker, and preferred to content myself with that mode of availing myself of the blessing of tobacco.

“Highways and Byeways” Grattan we saw also occasionally when anything brought him to London. He also was, as will be readily believed, what is generally called very good company. He, too, was full of fun, and certainly it could not be said that his fiddle had but one string to it! His fault lay in the opposite direction. His funning muse “made increment of” everything. He was intensely Irish,{361} in manner, accent, and mind. He had a broken, or naturally bridgeless nose, and possessed as small a share of good looks or personal advantages as most men. He first urged me to try my hand at a novel. He had seen some of my early scribblings, but repeated that “Fiction, me boy, fiction and passion are what readers want!” But I did not at that time, or for many a long year afterwards, feel within myself any capacity for supplying such want.{362}


On the 17th of August, in 1838, as I find by my diary, “I went with Henrietta Skerret to see the Baron Dupotet magnetise his patients.” This was my first introduction to a subject, and to a special little world of its own, of which subsequently I saw a great deal, and which shortly began to attract an increasing amount of attention from the greater world around it. The Miss Skerret mentioned was the younger of two sisters, the nieces of Mathias, the author of the once well known, but now forgotten, Pursuits of Literature. Mr. Mathias and his sister, Mrs. Skerret, had been old acquaintances of my mother from earlier days than those to which any reminiscences of mine run back. And Maryanne and Henrietta Skerret were life-long friends of my mother’s and of mine. They were left at the death of their parents very slenderly provided for, and Maryanne, the elder, became by the interest of some influential person among their numerous friends, received into the service of the Queen in some properly menial capacity. But of all those in the immediate service of Her Majesty, it is{363} probable that there was not one, whether menial or other, equal to Miss Skerret in native power of intellect, extent of reading, and linguistic accomplishment. And this the Queen very speedily discovered, the result of which was that to her particular service, which I believe consisted in taking charge of the jewellery which the Queen had in daily use, was added that of marking in the volumes which Her Majesty wished to make some acquaintance with, those passages which she deemed worth the Queen’s attention. She remained with the Queen many years, till advancing age was thought to have entitled her to a retiring pension, which she was still enjoying when I saw her, a very old woman, two or three years ago. I know that she found her position in the household, as may be readily understood, an irksome and materially uncomfortable one. But of her royal mistress, and of every member of the royal family she came into contact with, she never ceased to speak with the utmost affection and gratitude.

The younger sister, Henrietta, died some years before her. I had of late years seen much more of her than of her sister; for of course the position of the latter cut her off very much from all association with her friends. Henrietta was as remarkably clever a woman as her sister, but very different from her. She was as good a linguist, but her natural bent was to mathematics and its kindred subjects rather than to general literature. And whereas Maryanne was marked by an exquisite{364} sense of humour, and was always full of fun, Henrietta was, I think, the most judicial-minded woman I have ever known. I have never met the man or woman whom I should have preferred to consult on a matter of weighing and estimating the value of evidence. She was for many years, as was my mother also, an intimate friend of Captain Kater, who was in those days well known in the scientific world as “Pendulum Kater,” from some application, I fancy, of the properties of the pendulum to the business of mapping, in which he had been engaged in India. Young, Woolaston, De Morgan, and others ejusdem farinæ, were all Miss Skerret’s friends, especially the last named. And I was brought into contact with some of them by her means.

This was the lady who, in 1838, invited me to accompany her to a séance at the house of Baron Dupotet, a Frenchman, whose magnetising theories and practice were at that time exciting some attention.

Here is an extract from my diary written the same evening.

“The phenomena I have witnessed are certainly most extraordinary and unaccountable. That one young woman was thrown into a convulsive state, is entirely undeniable. Her muscles, which we felt, were hard, rigid, and in a state of tension, and so remained for a longer time than it is possible for any person voluntarily to keep them so—for, I should say, at least twenty minutes. A little girl{365} became to all appearance somnambulous. This, however, might more possibly be imposture. When the little girl and the young woman were placed near each other, the effect on both was increased, and the girl instead of being merely somnambulous became convulsive. The little girl, as far as the CLOSE observation of the onlookers could detect [underlining in original], saw the colours of objects, &c., with her eyes closed. This, however, is evidence of a nature easily deceptive. When waked from her magnetic trance, she forgot, or professed to have forgotten, all that she had said or done when in it. But when again put into a state of trance or somnambulism, she again remembered and spoke of what had occurred in the former trance.

“After these patients were disposed of, two young men of the spectators offered themselves as subjects to the magnetiser. He said that they were not good subjects for it, and that it would be difficult to affect them, and would take a long time. He then tried me, and after a short space of time, I think not more than half a minute, he said that I was very sensitive to the magnetic influence, and that in two or three sittings he could produce ‘des effets extraordinaires’ on me; but that he was then tired, and that ‘rien ne coule plus’ from his fingers.”

It is not so stated in my diary, but I remember perfectly well that the general impression left on my mind by the Baron was not a favourable one. I find by my diary that I read his book, translated from the French by Miss Skerret, a few days{366} afterwards, and the result was to increase the above impression. But I was far from coming to the conclusion that his pretensions were all chimerical. As regards his dictum about my own impressionability, I may observe, that on various occasions at long distant times, I have been subjected to the experiments of several professing magnetisers of reputed first-rate power, but that never has the slightest effect of any kind whatever been produced upon me. Sometimes I was pronounced to be physically a bad subject; sometimes I was accused of spoiling the experiment by wilfully resisting the influence; sometimes the magnetiser was too tired.

I think I may as well throw together here the rest of my experiences and reminiscences in connection with this subject—or rather some selections from them, for I have at different times and places seen so much of it, that I might fill volumes with the reports of my observations.

On the 13th of February, 1839, my mother and I dined with Mr. Grattan to meet Dr. Elliotson, and on the following day we went by appointment to meet him at the house of a patient of his, a little boy in Red Lion Street. I saw subsequently a great deal of Dr. Elliotson, and I may say became intimate with him. It needed but little intercourse with him to perceive that here was a man of a very different calibre from Baron Dupotet. Without at all coming to the conclusion that the latter was a charlatan, it was abundantly evident to me that Elliotson was in no degree such. He was a gentle{367}man, a highly educated and accomplished man, and so genuinely in earnest on this subject of “animal magnetism,” as it was the fashion then to call it, that he was ready to spend and be spent in his efforts to establish the truthfulness and therapeutic usefulness of its pretensions.

Here is the account of what we—my mother and I—witnessed on that 14th of February, as given in my diary written the same day:—

“He put the little boy to sleep very shortly, then drew him by magnetic passes out of his chair, and caused him while evidently all the time asleep, to imitate him [Dr. Elliotson] in all his attitudes and movements. We both firmly believed that the boy was asleep. We then went to the house of another patient, Emma Melhuish, the daughter of a glazier, sixteen years old, and ill in bed from cataleptic fits.”

This was a very remarkable case, and had attracted considerable attention. Emma Melhuish was a very beautiful girl, and she was perhaps the most remarkable instance I ever witnessed of a singular phenomenon resulting from magnetic sleep, which has been often spoken of in relation to other cases—the truly wonderful spiritual beauty assumed by the features and expression of the patient during superinduced cataleptic trance, which has never, I believe, been observed in cases of natural catalepsy. I have seen this girl, Emma Melhuish (doubtless a very pretty girl in her normal state of health, but with nothing intellectually or morally special about{368} her), throw herself during her magnetic trance into attitudes of adoration, the grace and expressiveness of which no painter could hope to find in the best model he ever saw or heard of, while her face and features, eyes especially, assumed a rapt and ecstatic expressiveness which no Saint Theresa could have equalled. It was a conception of Fra Angelico spiritualised by the presence of the breath of life. Never shall I forget the look of the girl as I saw her in that condition! I can see her now! and can remember, as I felt it then, the painfulness of the suggestion that such an apparent outlook of the soul was in truth nothing more than the result of certain purely material conditions of the body. But was it such?

Here is my diary’s account of what I saw that first day:—

“We found her in mesmeric sleep, she having been so since left by Dr. Elliotson in that condition the day before. We heard her predict the time when her fits would recur, and saw the prediction verified with the utmost exactitude. We heard her declare in what part of the house her various sisters were at the moment, saying that one had just left the counting-house and had come into the next room, all which statements we carefully verified. My mother and myself came home fully persuaded that, let the explanatory theory of the matter be what it might, there had been no taint of imposture in what we had witnessed.”

On subsequent visits we assured ourselves of the entire truthfulness of statements to the effect{369} that Emma was conscious of the approach of Dr. Elliotson, while he was still in a different street, and to the punctuality with which she went to sleep and waked, at the hour she had named herself as that when she should do so.

I remember Dr. Elliotson relating to me, as an instance of the utility of the magnetic influence, a curious case to which he had been called. The brother of a young girl had, as a practical joke, suddenly fired off a pistol behind her head. She was of course painfully startled, with the result of becoming affected by a fit of hiccough so persistent, that no means could be found or suggested of making it cease. It was absolutely impossible for the girl to swallow anything. She was becoming exhausted, and the case assumed a really alarming aspect. It was at this conjuncture that Elliotson was called in. He succeeded in putting her into a magnetic sleep, with of course perfect calm, after which the hiccough returned no more.

But by far the most curious and interesting of Elliotson’s cases was one, of which a good deal was, I think, said and printed in those days, but of which very few persons, probably, saw as much as I did—the case of the two Okey girls. They were both patients, I believe for some form of catalepsy, in a hospital of which Dr. Elliotson was one of the leading physicians. Dr. Elliotson was obliged to throw up his position there, because those who were in authority at the hospital were bitterly opposed to his magnetising experiments and practice. And{370} about the same time, or shortly afterwards, the Okey girls were dismissed for a cause which seems grotesquely absurd, but the story of which is strictly true. These girls, of, I suppose, about thirteen and fourteen, being in the very extraordinary condition which a prolonged course of magnetising had produced (of which I shall speak further presently) were in the habit of declaring that they “saw Jack” at the bedside of this or that patient in the hospital. And the patients of whom they made this assertion invariably died! That the presence of such prophetesses in the hospital was undesirable is intelligible enough; but what are we to think of the motives, presentiments, instincts, intuitions of mental or physical nature which prompted such guesses or prophecies?

Much about the same time my brother had a serious and dangerous illness, so much so that his medical attendants—of whom Dr. Elliotson was, I know not why, not one, though we were intimate with him at the time—were by no means assured respecting the issue of it. Now it is within my own knowledge that the Okey girls, especially one of them (Jane, I think, her name was), were very frequently in the lodgings occupied by my brother at the time, during the period of his greatest danger, and used constantly to say that they “saw Jack by his side, but only up to his knee,” and therefore they thought he would recover—as he did! I am almost ashamed to write what seems such childish absurdity. But the facts are certain, and taken{371} in conjunction with the cause of the girls’ dismissal from the hospital, and with a statement made to me subsequently by Dr. Elliotson, they are very curious. I may add that when cross-examined as closely as was possible as to what they saw, the girls said they did not know—that they did know that certain persons whom they saw were about to die shortly, and that was their way of saying it. They, on more than one occasion, on reaching our house by omnibus, said that they had seen “Jack” by the side of one of the passengers—of course I cannot say with what issue.

The statement referred to was as follows:—Elliotson having been in some sort the cause of the two girls being turned out of the hospital, and being anxious, moreover, to continue his observations on them, took them into his own house. There looking out one day from an upper window, they saw across the street at the opposite window three fine healthy-looking children. They were, said Elliotson, the children of a hairdresser, who had a shop below. “What a pity,” said Jane Okey, “that that child in the middle has Jack at him. He will die!” And so within a day or two—it might have been hours, I am not certain—the child did die! Believing, as I do, Dr. Elliotson to have been a truthful and habitually accurate speaker, I confess that it does not satisfy me to dismiss this story, especially when taken in conjunction with the other anecdotes I have related, as mere “coincidence,” though I have no shadow of a theory to offer in explanation of it.{372}

The purely physical experiments which were performed with these girls before my eyes were curious and interesting. I have seen those Okey girls, and they were slight small girls, lift weights, which it would be quite impossible for them to lift normally, not by applying the whole strength of the body and back to the task, but by taking the ring of an iron weight in the hand, and so lifting it in obedience to the “passes” of the magnetiser applied to the arm.

But decidedly the most singular and curious part of the case consisted in the abnormal condition of mind and intelligence in which they lived under magnetic influence for many weeks at a time. There were three conditions, or, as it might be said, three stages of condition in which I saw and studied them. Firstly—though it was lastly as regards my opportunities of observation—there was their normal natural condition. Secondly, there was a condition not of trance, or somnambulism, but of existence carried on according to the usual laws and conditions, but resulting apparently from the application of magnetism during prolonged periods of time, during which complete interruption of conscious identity seemed to have taken place. The third state was that of trance. In the first state they were much such as children of that age taken out of a workhouse, say, might be expected to be—awkward, shy, seemingly stupid, and unwilling to speak much when questioned. In the second state they were bright, decidedly clever, apt to be pert, and{373} perfectly self-confident. And in this condition they had no recollection whatsoever of any of the circumstances, persons, or things connected with their previous lives. It was in this state that they talked about “Jack,” and in this state that we—my mother and myself—knew them for weeks together. While in this state a very slight accident was sufficient to produce cataleptic rigidity and trance; often one without the other. I remember one of the girls dining once with us in the middle of the day. A dish of peas was handed round, the spoon in which, it being hot weather, was no doubt heated by the successive hands which had used it. When Jane Okey grasped it in her hand to take some peas her fingers became clenched around it, and she could not open them. But there ensued no trance or other manifestation of catalepsy. On another occasion she was in my mother’s house playing on the accordion, which she did very nicely in her magnetic state, but could not do at all in her normal state, and I, sitting at the other side of the room opposite to her, and reading a book, was moving my hand in time to the music, though not thinking of her or of it. Suddenly she fell back in a trance, magnetised unconsciously by me by the “passes” I was making with my hand. I have also produced a similar result by magnetising her intentionally behind her back, while she was entirely unconscious of what I was doing.

But perhaps the most singular and remarkable{374} scene connected with these girls was that which occurred when, their physical health having been very greatly, if not perfectly, restored, it became necessary to take them out of that “second state,” which has been above described, and to restore them to their former consciousness, their former life, and their parents. The scene was a very painful one. The mother only, as far as I remember, was present. Memory seemed only gradually, and at first, very partially, to return to them. The mother was a respectable, but poor and very uneducated woman, and of course wholly different in intelligence and manners from all the surroundings to which the girls had become habituated. And the expression of repulsion and dismay, with which they at first absolutely refused to believe the statements that were made to them, or to accept their mother as such, while she, poor woman, was weeping at what appeared to her this newly developed absence of all natural affection, was painful in the extreme.

Subsequently the daughter of one of these girls lived for some years, I think, with my brother’s family at Waltham, as a housemaid.

The next reminiscences I have in connection with this subject belong to a time a few years later.

We, my mother and I, had heard tidings from America of a certain Mr. Daniel Hume, of whom very strange things were related. It was no longer a question of physical specialties and manifestations,{375} which unquestionably did tend, apart from their medical value, to throw some gleams, or hopes of gleams of light on the mysterious laws of the connection between mind and matter. The new candidate for the attention of the world claimed (not to have the power, as was currently stated at the time but) to be occasionally and involuntarily the means of producing visitations from the denizens of the spirit world. And before long we heard that he had arrived in England, and was a guest in the house of Mr. Rymer, a solicitor, at Ealing. We lost no time in procuring an introduction to that estimable gentleman and his amiable wife, and were most courteously invited by him to visit him for the purpose of interviewing and making acquaintance with his remarkable guest. We went to Ealing, were most hospitably received, and forthwith introduced to Mr. Daniel Hume, as he was then called, although he afterwards called himself, or came to be called, Home. He was a young American, about nineteen or twenty years of age I should say, rather tall, with a loosely put together figure, red hair, large and clear but not bright blue eyes, a sensual mouth, lanky cheeks, and that sort of complexion which is often found in individuals of a phthisical diathesis. He was courteous enough, not unwilling to talk, ready enough to speak of those curious phenomena of his existence which differentiated him from other mortals, but altogether unable or unwilling to formulate or enter into discussion on any theory{376} respecting them. We had tea, or rather supper, I think. There were the young people of Mr. Rymer’s family about on the lawn, and among them a pretty girl, with whom, naturally enough, our young “medium” (for that had become the accepted term) was more disposed to flirt—after a fashion, I remember, which showed him to have been a petted inmate of the household—than to attend to matters of another world.

But other guests arrived, Sir David Brewster I remember among them, and Daniel had to be summoned to the business of the evening. This was commenced by our all placing ourselves round a very large and very heavy old-fashioned mahogany dining table, where we sat in expectation of whatever should occur. Before long little crackings were heard, in the wood of the table apparently. Then it quivered, became more and more agitated, was next raised first at one end and then at the other, and finally was undeniably raised bodily from the ground. At that moment Sir David Brewster and myself, each acting on his own uncommunicated impulse, precipitated ourselves from our chairs under the table. The table was seen to be for a moment or two hovering in the air, perhaps some four or five inches from the floor, without its being possible to detect any means by which it could have been moved.

I said to Sir David, as our heads were close together under the table, and we were on “all fours” on the floor, “Does it not seem that this table is raised by some means wholly inexplicable?” “Indeed it{377} would seem so!” he replied. But he wrote a letter to the Times the next day, or a day or two after, in which he gave an account of his visit to Ealing, but ended by denying that he had seen anything remarkable. But it is a fact that he did do and say what I have related.

This was the sum of what occurred. There was no pretence of the presence of any spiritual visitor. I may observe that although an ordinarily strong man might have lifted either end of the table while the other end remained on the ground, I am persuaded that no man could have raised it bodily, unless perhaps by placing his shoulders under the centre of it.

After the table exhibition Mr. Hume fell into a sort of swoon or trance. And it was then that he uttered the often-quoted words, “When Daniel recovers give him some bottled porter!” which was accordingly done! It may be observed, however, that he did appear to be much exhausted.

Various little fragments of experiences, and the increasing amount of attention, which the world was giving to the subject, had kept the matter in my mind, till some years afterwards I had an opportunity of inviting Mr. Hume to visit me in my house in Florence. He came, and stayed with us for a month. And during the whole of that time—every evening as it seems to my remembrance, though I have no diary which records the fact—we had frequent experiments of his “mediumship.”

Of course it is (happily for the reader) out of the question for me to attempt to give any detailed{378} record of the proceedings and experiences of those repeated séances. I can only select a few facts which appeared to me most striking at the time, and add the general result as to the impression produced on my mind.

All our Florentine friends and acquaintances were eager to have an opportunity of passing an evening with the already celebrated medium. We generally limited our number to about eight persons; but pretty regularly had as many as that every evening. The performance usually began by crackings and oscillations of the round table at which we sat. Then would come more distinct raps; then the declaration that a visitor from the spirit world was present, then the demand for whom the said visit was intended, to which a reply was “knocked out,” by raps indicating the letters required to form the desired name as the letters of the alphabet, always on the table, were rapidly run over. Sometimes a mistake was made, and an unintelligible word produced in consequence of too great haste in doing this. And then the process had to be gone through again. The medium never corrected any such mistake at the moment it was made, but seemed to await the completion of the process as the rest did.

One or more “spirits” came, to the best of my recollection, every evening. Nor could I detect any sort of favouritism, or motive of any sort for the selection of the parties said to be visited. This is the sort of thing that would occur: There was present a well known and much respected English banker,{379} established in Florence, a hale, robust, cheery sort of man, and a general favourite—the last man in the world one would say to be credited with nervous impressionability. A “spirit” was announced as having “come for him.” Who is it? A name was rapped out in the manner described. The elderly banker declared that he had never had any friend or relative of that name, and had never heard it before. A second time the name was spelled out while the banker sat thrashing out his recollections. Suddenly he struck his forehead with his hand, and exclaimed, “By Heaven! it is true! Nanny ——” (I forget the name.) “She was my nurse in Yorkshire more than half a century ago!” Of course those who do not understand that scepticism is frequently more credulous than faith, say at once that Mr. Hume, in the exercise of his profession, like the gipsies in the exercise of theirs, had made it his business to discover the former existence of Nanny ——, and her connection with the person he was bent on befooling. But taking into consideration the total severance of the old banker’s infancy both as to years and locality from any of his then surroundings; the fact that it was so long since he had heard the name in question mentioned, that he had himself entirely forgotten it; and the further fact that there was nobody in Florence who had any connection with him or his family in his early years, and the circumstance that he that evening saw Mr. Hume for the first time, I confess that it seems to me that the improbability of any proposed explanation of the mystery must be incalculably{380} great indeed, for a solution the improbability of which approaches so very near to impossibility to be preferably accepted.

Here is one other case, which I will give both because the person on whose testimony the value of it depends, was one on whose accurate veracity I could depend as on my own, and because it illustrates one specialty of Mr. Hume’s performances which I have not yet spoken of. This was a sensation of being touched, which was frequently experienced by many of those present. This touching almost invariably took the form of a knee being grasped under the table, or a hand being laid upon it. In the case I am about to relate this was experienced in a more remarkable manner.

A very highly valued old female servant, who had lived in my then wife’s family since her birth, and had followed her when she married me, had some months previously died in my house. The affection which had subsisted between her and my wife was a very old and a very strong one. Now there was, it would seem, an old nursery pet name, by which this woman had been long years before in the habit of calling my wife. I had never heard it, or of it. My wife herself had never heard it for very many years. She and the old servant had never for years and years spoken on the subject. But one evening this pet name was very distinctly spelled; and my wife declared that she at the same time felt a sort of pressure at her side, as she sat in the circle, as if some person or thing had been endeavouring to find a{381} place by her side. But for all that, my wife, though utterly mystified and incapable of suggesting any theory on the subject, was a strong disbeliever in all Mr. Hume’s pretensions. She strongly disliked the man. And were it not that, as we all know, her sex never permits their estimate of facts to be influenced by their feelings, it might be supposed possible that this biassed her mind upon the subject!

I could add dozens of cases to the above two, but they were all very similar; and it is sufficient to say that the same sort of thing occurred over and over again.

I may mention, however, that I observed that any question addressed to the supposed spirits bearing on theology and matters of creed were invariably answered according to the views of the questioner. Catholics, Protestants, materialists, were all impartially confirmed in the convictions of their diverse persuasions.

Also I should not omit to mention that my wife, taking her occasion from Mr. Hume’s complaints of his own weakness of lungs, spoke of my brother’s death in Belgium and of my life at Ostend, and at a sitting some few days afterwards asked if she could be told where I had last seen my brother on earth. The answer came promptly, “At Ostend.” But the truth is, as the reader knows, that I took my leave of him on board the Ostend steamer in the Thames.

My account of these sittings would not be as judicially accurate as I have endeavoured to make it,{382} however, were I to omit the statement that Mr. Hume on two or three occasions offered to cause “spirit hands” to become visible to us. The room was darkened for this purpose; and at the opposite side of a rather large table from that at which the spectators were sitting, certain forms of hands did become faintly visible. To me they appeared like long kid gloves stuffed with some substance. But I am far from asserting that they were such.

On the whole, the impression left on my mind by my month-long intercourse with Mr. Hume was a disagreeable one of doubt and perplexity. I was not left with the conviction that he was an altogether trustworthy and sincere man. Nor was I fully persuaded of the reverse. I saw nothing which appeared to me to compel the conclusion that some agency unknown to the ascertained and recognised laws of nature was at work. But I did hear many communications made in Mr. Hume’s presence in the manner which has been described, which seemed to me to be wholly inexplicable by any theory I could bring to bear upon them. It may be observed that no theory of thought-reading will serve the turn, for in many cases the facts, circumstances, or names communicated were evidently not in the thoughts of the persons to whom they were so communicated. Of course it may be answered, “Ah! but however ‘evident’ that may have seemed to you, the facts were in the thoughts of the parties in question.” To this I can only reply that to me, my very complete knowledge of the persons in question, and of their{383} veracity—one of them, as in the case above related, being my own wife—renders the explanation suggested absolutely inadmissible.

I have seen at various subsequent periods a great many professors of “mediumship,” and their performances. I was present at many sittings given by Mrs. G.——, a huge mountain of a woman, very uneducated, apparently good-natured and simple, but with a tendency to become disagreeable when her attempts at communication with the unseen world were declared to be failures.

I will give here the copy of a letter which I wrote to the secretary of “The Dialectical Society,” which had applied to me for my “experiences” on the subject. I cannot at the present day sum up any better the conclusions to which they led me.

Florence, 27th December, 1869.

Sir,—In reply to your letter of the 17th I can only say that I have but little to add to those previous statements of mine, of which you are in possession.

“With regard to the sittings with Mrs. G., I can only say that the greatest watchfulness on the part of those sharing in them failed to detect (as regards the physical phenomena), any trace of imposture. These phenomena, which took place in the dark, such as the sudden falling on the table of a large quantity of jonquils, which filled the whole room with their odour, were extraordinary, and on any common theory of physics unaccountable. The room in which this took place had been completely examined by me,{384} and Mrs. G.’s person had been carefully searched by my wife. With regard to metaphysical phenomena, an attempt to hold communication with intelligences other than those present in the flesh, was stated by a lady to whom a communication was addressed, to have been extraordinarily successful, and to have been proved by the event. In the case of myself and my wife all such attempts resulted in total failure.

“I have recently had a sitting with Dr. Willis of Boston. The physical manifestations (in the dark) were remarkable and perplexing. The attempts at spiritual communication were altogether failures.

“In short, the result of my experience thus far is this—that the physical phenomena frequently produced are, in many cases, not the result of any sleight of hand, and that those who have witnessed them with due attention must be convinced that there is no analogy between them and the tricks of professed ‘conjurors.’ I may also mention that Bosco, one of the most accomplished professors of legerdemain ever known, in a conversation with me upon the subject, utterly scouted the idea of the possibility of such phenomena as I saw produced by Mr. Hume being performed by any of the resources of his art.

“To what sort of agency these results are to be attributed I have no idea, and give no opinion; although (inasmuch as I consider that the word ‘supernatural’ involves a contradiction in terms) I hold that to admit that the phenomena exist, implies the admission that they are ‘natural,’ or in accordance with some law of nature.{385}

“With regard to the metaphysical phenomena, though I have witnessed many strange things, I have never known any that satisfactorily excluded the possibility of mistake or imposture.

“Your obedient servant,
T. Adolphus Trollope.”

If I am asked what, upon the whole, is my present state of mind upon the subject, I can only say that it is that unpleasant one expressed in Lord Chancellor Eldon’s often-quoted words, “I doubt.”

Before, however, quitting the subject, my gossip about which has run to a length only excusable on the ground of the very general interest that has been attracted by it, I will give two more excerpts from my recollections, which relate to cases respecting which I have no doubt. They both refer, however, to purely physical phenomena.

A French professor of “animal magnetism” came to Florence. His name, I think, was Lafontaine. He had a young girl with him, his patient. He brought her to my house, in which there was a long room, at one end of which he directed me to stand, then put the girl immediately in front of me, and told me to hold her, so as to prevent her from coming to him, when, standing at the further end of the room, he should draw her to him. I accordingly placed my arms around her waist, interlacing my fingers in front of her. She was a small, slight girl, and I was at that time a somewhat exceptionally strong man. The operator then standing at the distance of some{386} twenty feet or more made “passes” as it were, beckoning her with his hands to come to him. She struggled forwards. I held her back with all my force, but was dragged after her towards the magnetiser. This may be accepted as an absolutely accurate and certain fact.

This same Lafontaine had entirely failed in attempts to magnetise me, and in telling me, as he promised to do, what I in my house was doing at a given moment while he was absent.

My second excerpt concerns also my own experience, and shall be given with equally truthful accuracy.

My wife, my wife’s sister, and myself, had been spending the evening in the house of Mr. Seymour Kirkup, an artist, who, once well known in the artistic world, lived on in Florence to a great age after that world had forgotten him. A girl, his daughter by a servant who lived several years in his house, and who also had pretended to very strongly-developed spiritualistic powers, developed, as he asserted, similar powers in a very wonderful degree. And during his latter years the old man absolutely and entirely lived, in every respect, according to the advice and dictates of “the spirits,” as oracularly declared by Imogene, for that was her name. In short, she was a clever, worthless hussy, and he was a besotted old man. Our visit to his house was to witness some of Imogene’s performances. There was also present a Colonel Bowen, who was a convinced believer.{387}

I, my wife, and sister-in-law detected unmistakably the girl’s clumsy attempts at legerdemain, but knew poor old Kirkup far too well to make any attempt to convict her. But as we walked home with our minds full of the subject, we said, “Let us try whether we can produce any effect upon a table, since that seems the regulation first step in these mysteries; and, at least, we shall have the certainty of not being befooled by trickery.” So, on reaching home, we took a table—rather a remarkable one. It was small, not above eighteen or twenty inches across the top of it. But it was very much heavier than any ordinary table of that size, the stem of it being a massive bit of ancient chestnut-wood carving, which I had adapted to that purpose.

Well, in a minute or two the table began to move very unmistakably. We were startled, and began to think that the ladies’ dresses must have, unconsciously to them, pressed against it. We stood back therefore, taking care that nothing but the tips of our fingers touched the table. It still moved! We said that some unconscious exertion of muscular force must have caused the movement, and finally we suspended our fingers about an inch or so above the surface of the table, taking the utmost care to touch it in no way whatever. The table still turned, and that to such an extent that, entirely untouched, it turned itself over, and fell to the ground.

I can only observe of this, as the little boy said who was accused of relating an impossibility as a{388} fact, “I don’t say it is possible, I only say it is true!”

In Kirkup’s case his entire and never-varying conviction of the truthfulness of Miss Imogene’s material manifestations and spiritual revelations was the more remarkable in that he had for many years—for all his life, for aught I know to the contrary—entertained and professed the most thorough persuasion of the futility and absurdity of all belief that the soul of man survived material death. His tenets on this subject are the more strongly impressed on my memory by an absurd incident that occurred to my present wife in connection with his materialistic theories.

He and she were one day talking upon the subject, as they sat tête-à-tête on opposite sides of a table. Now Kirkup was very deaf—worse by a great deal than I am—and my wife failing to make him hear a question she put to him, and having no other writing materials at hand, hastily drew a card from her card-case, and pencilled on the back of it: “What are your grounds for assurance that the visible death of the body is the death of the spirit also?” He read, and addressed himself to reply, letting the card fall on the table between them, which she, thinking only of the matter in discussion, mechanically put back into her card-case, and—left at the next house at which she happened to be making a morning call!

Kirkup’s conversion to spiritualism was so complete that, as I have said, his entire life was{389} shaped according to the dictates which Miss Imogene chose to represent as coming from her spiritual visitors. The old man had lived for very many years in Florence. All the interests which still bound him to life were there, and he was much attached to the city in which so large a portion of his long life had been passed. But Imogene one day announced that “the spirits” declared that he must go and live in Leghorn! Of course the blow to the old man was a terrible one, but he meekly and unhesitatingly obeyed, and submitted to be uprooted when he was past eighty and packed off to Leghorn! I discovered subsequently—what I might have guessed at the time—that the good-for-nothing jade had a lover at Leghorn. Kirkup’s new faith in the existence of a soul in man, separable from his body, continued firm, I believe, till his death, which occurred shortly afterwards.

I have at various times and in various countries been present at the performances of spiritualistic mediums (a monstrous word, but one can’t write media), and always with an uniformly similar result in one respect. No non-material experience whatever has ever been vouchsafed to me myself. Material phenomena of a very surprising nature, and altogether unaccountable in accordance with any received physical theories, I have seen in great abundance. And I must in justice say that the performances of Messrs. Maskelyne and Cooke, which attracted so much attention in Piccadilly,{390} masterly as they were as exhibitions of legerdemain, did not by any means succeed in proving the imposture of the pretensions of Hume and others, by doing the same things. I think the Piccadilly performances did achieve this as regards the tying and loosening of knots in a dark cabinet. But when one of the performers above mentioned proceeded to “float in the air,” he only demonstrated the impossibility of doing by any means known to his art, that which Hume—or Home—was declared on the most indisputable testimony to have done. Mr. Maskelyne certainly “floated in the air” above the heads of the spectators, but I saw very unmistakably the wire by which he was suspended. It may not have been wire, but I saw the cord, thread, or whatever it may have been, by which he was suspended. Nor is it possible to doubt that the gentlemen, who saw, or supposed themselves to have seen, Mr. Hume floating in the air above them, would have failed to detect any such artifice as that by which the professor of legerdemain was enabled to do the same. And then we must not lose sight of the all-important difference between the two performances, arising from the fact, that the one performer has at command all the facilities afforded by a locale in which he has had abundant opportunity of making every preparation which the resources of his art could suggest to him; whereas the other exhibits his wonders under circumstances absolutely excluding the possibility of any such preparation.{391}

But I never saw Mr. Hume float in the air! The only physical phenomena which I saw produced by him consisted in the moving and lifting of tables—in some cases very heavy tables. But I have witnessed in very numerous cases, communications made by the medium to individuals who have declared it to have been absolutely impossible that Mr. Hume should by any ordinary means have known the facts communicated. And it has appeared to me, knowing all the circumstances, to have been as nearly impossible as can well be conceived without being absolutely so.

Here is one more remarkable case—one out of dozens of such. A middle-aged Italian gentleman of the Jewish persuasion, asked that the spirit of his father, who, it was stated by the medium, was present, should mention where he and his son, then communicating with him, last met on earth. It should be stated that the inquirer, having abandoned the faith of his fathers, professed entire disbelief in any existence of the soul, or any future life. The answer to his query was spelled out in the manner I have already described, a certain Italian city being named. I watched the face of the sceptical inquirer as the letters were “rapped out” and gradually completed the name required. And I needed no confession of the fact from him to know that the answer had been correctly given. I thought the man would have fallen from his chair. He became ghastly pale, and trembled all over. He was in truth very terribly impressed and affected, but—and{392} the phenomenon is a very curious, though by no means an uncommon one—a few days afterwards the impression had entirely faded from his mind. He continued fully to admit that the fact which had occurred was altogether inexplicable, but wholly refused to believe that it involved any supposition inconsistent with his strictly materialistic creed.

In the above case, as in that of the banker given above, it may of course be said that it was within the bounds of possibility that Mr. Hume should have previously ascertained the fact that he stated. It is, of course, impossible for me here to explain to the reader every detail of the circumstances that seem to me to render such an explanation wholly inadmissible. I can only say that to a mind as entirely open upon the subject as I think my mind is, the supposition in question appears so improbable, that it fails to impress me as a possibility.

On the other hand, I have to say that every attempt of a similar kind, whether by Mr. Hume or by any other so-called medium, in which I myself have been the subject of the experiment, has absolutely and wholly failed. Mr. Hume never, to the best of my remembrance, introduced or announced the presence of any spirit “for me.” I was like the boy at school whom no relative ever comes to see! The Mrs. G—— who has been mentioned at an earlier page, announced upon one occasion the presence of my mother, with results which would have sufficed to prove very satis{393}factorily that my mother’s spirit was not there, if I had previously fully believed the case to have been otherwise.

I once went to visit the then celebrated Alexis in Paris. He knew that I was a resident in Florence, and began operations by proposing to describe to me my house there. Of course such an experiment admitted of almost every conceivable kind of mystification and uncertainty. I told him that the proposed description would necessarily occupy more of his time than seemed to me needed for producing the conviction of the reality of his power, which I was anxious to acquire; and that it would be abundantly sufficient for that purpose if he would simply tell me the number composed of four figures which I had written on a piece of paper, and sealed in a (perfectly non-transparent) packet. He refused to make the attempt.

Many years subsequently I attended the séances of a gentleman in London, whose performances attracted a good deal of attention at the time—of an unfavourable description, for the most part—and whose chief specialty consisted in enclosing a piece of slate pencil loosely between two ordinary framed slates, securely tied together, and awaiting communications to be made by writing produced on the slate by the pencil thus enclosed acting automatically. I did see written words thus produced, where to the best of my observation there had been no words before the slates were (quite securely) tied together.{394} Nor could I form any theory or guess as to the manner in which this writing was produced under circumstances which seemed to make it perfectly impossible that it should be so produced. But the words so written conveyed no remarkable or surprising information—and indeed to the best of my recollection had little meaning at all.

Thus once again that portion of the performance which was, or might have been, of the nature of sleight of hand, was done so well as to cause much puzzlement and surprise; while what may be called the spiritual part of the promised phenomenon failed entirely.

I have witnessed the performances of sundry other mediums—I hate to write the word!—always with the same net result. That is to say, the strictly physical phenomena witnessed were in very many cases—not in all—utterly unaccountable and incomprehensible. The statement that the performances of many masters of legerdemain are also unaccountable and incomprehensible appears to me, while I fully admit the truth of it, to be of very little value. The phenomena produced by these professors are in almost every case totally different in kind, and are in every case placed in a wholly different category by the fact that the performers of them have the assistance of tools and means—the highly-skilled preparation and combination of which constitute a very important (if not the most essential) part of their professional{395} equipment—and of the resources of their own prepared locale. Furthermore, I cannot forget the testimony of that “prince of conjurors,” Bosco, to the effect that the phenomena, which I declared to him I had seen, were entirely unachievable by any of the resources of his art.

Above all I have the certain knowledge (resting not only on my own very perfect recollection, but on the unvarying testimony of the two other persons engaged in the experiment) that a table did move much and violently, as recorded above, while wholly and certainly untouched by any human hands or persons, and uncommunicated with—if I may use such an expression—save by the minds of the operators.

The net conclusion, therefore, of my rather extensive experience in the matter is, that as regards phenomena purely physical, such have been and are frequently produced by the practisers of “animal magnetism”—or by whatever name it may be preferred to call it—of a nature wholly inexplicable by any of the theories or suggestions which have been adduced for the explanation of them.

With regard to non-physical phenomena—that is to say, such as imply the abnormal exercise of intelligences, whether incarnate or disembodied, outside the intelligence of the individual experimenting—I have to testify that I have heard from many highly credible persons the statement{396} of their own experience of such communication with intelligences other than their own. And I have heard such statements immediately on the occurrence of the facts. But I have never in my own person received or been made the subject of any such.



A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, Y, Z


Abbaye-aux-Bois, at the, 271, 273
Abingdon Road, pedestrian feat on, 218
Academical career, my, a failure, 216
Acheron pavement, 226
Adventure on the Danube, 312, 313
Advertising, modern, 45
Alabama, Miss Wright’s property in, 153
Alban Hall, I matriculate at, 191
as it was under Whately, 192
membership of, disastrous to me, 211
cause of my quitting it, 211
Ale versus claret, 46
Alexis; thought-reader of Paris, 393
Alleghany Mountains, beauty of, 165
American stabbed at Naples, 12
Americans, my experience of, 168, 169, 181-183
rigging a sledge, 346
Amusements of childhood, 22
Anabaptist, 14, 15
Angelico, Fra, 368
Antwerp, from, to Dover, 345
Aristotle’s Ethics, 220
Arithmetic, ignorance of, 145
Atlantic, passage across, 156
Austen, Miss, 64
Austrian Empire, heterogeneousness of, 326
Authority of Prefects at Winchester, 124
Authorship, my first, 148
Autobiography, my brother’s, 228
Autograph of Byron, remarkable, 92
Auvergnats at Paris, 264

Badger baiting, Winchester, 108
“Badger,” my nickname at Winchester, 170
Bamberg, 17
Barclay, Captain, 218
Barge, from Bruges to Ostend, 290
Bathing, death from excessive, 292
Batten, Rev. Mr., 72
Beattie’s Young Edwin, illustrated, 224, 225
Bedford, Duke of, 2
Bedford Square, 3
Bedsteads at Winchester, 132
Beer Cellar at Winchester, 100
Belgian cities, tour among, 246
Belgiojoso, Princess, 286, 287
Belgium, tour with Fanny Bent in, 254
Bell, Jockey, 47
Bent, Fanny, 32, 37, 247, 254
Bent, Mary, 32
Bent, Rev. John, 32
Bentley, Mr. Richard, 262
Beppo the Conscript written in twenty-four days, 357, 358
[Pg 398]Berryer, 280
Birmingham, mastership at, offered me, 255
delays and disappointments
about it, 256, 258
continued disappointment, 294
I assume my duties at, 349
difficulties of them, 350, 352
my life at, 353, 354
I resign my position at, 355
Bismarck and Metternich, contrast between, 328, 329
Bismarck, Prince, 328, 329
Bloomsbury Square, 3
Boat on the Danube, description of, 308-310
Bohemian waggoners, 327
Bosco, the conjuror, 395
Bowen, Colonel, 386
Bower, Fungy, 145
Bowring, Lucy, 39
Bowring, Sir John, 39
Boy, whole duty of, 13
Brewster, Sir David, 376
Brittany, summer in, 303
Brown’s Vulgar Errors, 220
Bruges, I join my parents at, 242
return to, June, , 290
my mother quits, 298
Buller, Dean, 38
Bullying at Harrow, 78
Burial of Byron’s daughter at Harrow, 91
Burton’s Anatomy, 220
Butler, Rev. Dr., 72, 73, 89
Butt, Dr., M.D., 79, 80
Byron, Lord, 91, 92

Caen, bookseller at; anecdote of, 303, 304
Caermarthen in assize time, 222
Cain, Byron’s; Harry Drury and the Vicar on, 91
Calais, journey to, 243
journey from, to Ostend, 244
Calling “Domum” at Winchester, 107
Calomel, use of, 59
Camaldoli, Sagro Eremo, porter at, 1
Cane versus rod, 351
Canterbury, walk in snow to, 347
Carlyle, Thomas, 45, 263
Carmelite Monastery, library at, 246
Casuistry, extraordinary, 246
Catacombs at Vienna, 341
Cathedral service sixty years ago, 84, 85
Catherine’s, St., Hill, Winchester, 106, 107
Chadwick, Captain, 157, 159
Chalk pit on St. Catherine’s Hill, 110
Chambers at Winchester, 131
Chambers, discipline in, at Winchester, 133, 134
Chancery Lane, 47
Chancery report, extraordinary, 48
Changes, social, 25, 26, 28
Changing horses, coach, 35
Chapel-going at Winchester, 137
Chaplains at Winchester, 138
Chapman, General, 62
Chapone, Mrs., 230
Character from school, my, 24
Charity at Winchester and at Harrow, 77
Charles Dix, 265
Charlotte, Princess, 16
Charlotte, Queen, 136
Chateaubriand, 269, 271, 272, 274
Château d’Hondt at Bruges, 245
Cheddar Cliffs, excursion to, 188
Cincinnati, my mother’s house at, 166
country around, 168
Powers, Hiram, at, 176
life at, 178, 181
theatricals at, 181
plans at, 184
Claret versus ale, 46
Clarke, Miss, 271, 272, 285
Class third given me, 216
Classical lesson, giving, in London, 248
“Classicus paper” at Winchester 145
Clements, Mrs., 353
Clergyman’s escape from burning ship, 207
Coaches, names of, 7
Coachman, 35, 36
Cocked hat of master at Winchester disused, 117
Coincidence, singular, 187
Coleridge, S. T., 301
[Pg 399]College and Commoners at Winchester, 77
Columbia, near Cincinnati, Mr. Longworth’s estate, 175
“Commercial gentlemen,” dinner with, 222
Confectioner, revisited, 3
“Continent” at Winchester, 120
Conversation sixty years since, anecdote of, 230
“Corduroy” roads, 165
Corinthian, the ship, 157
Corporal punishment, objections to, 115, 116
Courage, my boyish notion of, 71, 72
Courier, Austrian, 344, 345
Cousin, 275
Cramer, John, 131, 325
Crediton, near Exeter, 32
Cricket, changes in, 146
Croatian gipsies, 327
Cross, St., near Winchester, 107
Cunningham, Rev. Mr., 88, 91, 151

Dannecker, sculptor, 314
Dante’s bolgia, representation of, at Cincinnati, 176, 177
Danube, boats on, 306, 307
Dean Rennell, a Platonist, 142
anecdotes of, 143
Debating Society at Birmingham, 353
Deck, nights on, 158
Degree, examination for my, 215, 216
I take my, 257
Delirant reges plectuntur Achivi, 212
Delirium, my, in typhus, 79
De Morgan, 364
Devonport Mail (Quicksilver), 32
Dialect, provincial affected, 37, 38
Devonshire, 43
Dialectical Society, letter to the, 383
Dickens, Charles, 29
Dickson, Colonel, 293
Dinner in Hall at Winchester, 104
Dinner with the Austrian Mail, 344, 345
Discipline by night at Winchester, 121
Dispers at Winchester, 103
Dissenters sixty years ago, 66
Distribution of rations at Winchester, 105
Divinity lectures at Oxford, 242
Docks, the, 9
Dolgelly, ancient custom at, 223
Dons, Oxford, disliked Whately, 197
Door of Fourth Chamber, anecdote, 134
Dorfeuille, M. 176, 177
Dormitories at Winchester, 131
Dover to London in , 247
under snow, 345
Driving in America, 165, 166
French, 261
Drury Lane in , 243
Drury, Mrs. Mark, 74, 75
Drury, Rev. Mark, 72, 74, 76, 78, 90
Drury, Rev. Harry, 72, 89, 91, 92
Drury, Rev. William, 72
Dulau, M., 304
“Dulce Domum,” 99
Dunkirk, journey to, 244
hospitable Frenchman at, 244
Dupotet, Baron, 364, 366
Dusty shoes, 249
Dyer, Lady, 16, 17
Dyer, General Sir Thomas, 17

Echo Song in Comus, translation of, 231
Edgware Road, 31
Edwardes, Mrs., 79
Eldon, Lord, 48, 385
Eliot, George, 179
Elliotson, Dr., 366-371
English language not taught, 144
Evangelicalism, 14
Evans, Rev. Mr., 72
Events in life dreaded by me, 71
Exclusiveness, social, less common than formerly, 53
Exe, valley of the, 39
Exemplum vitiis imitabile, 357
Exeter Cathedral, 38
changes in, 41, 42
garden in, 42
Expectations, my, disappointed, 68
[Pg 400]Experiences, new, 163

Fads, the Vicar’s, 21
Fagging at Harrow, 78
at Winchester, 78
difference between the two, 78
Falstaff, my impersonation of, 181
Farmer, Nurse, 14, 15
Farnham, “The Bush,” 95
Farren, the actor, 243
Fauche, Mr., 245, 291
Fauche, Mrs., 245, 291, 301
Fayette, La, General, 272
Fellow passengers in steerage, 157, 161
Fieschi, conspirator, 265
Fifth of November in College chapel, 141
Fighting at Winchester, anecdote, 169
Firs on St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester, 109
Fives at Winchester, 147
Fives bat, peculiar, 147
Flanders, French, visited, 290
Fleece, Golden, Installation of Knights, 340
Fleet Prison, 47
Flog, word not used at Winchester, 114
“Flower de Luce,” the, 95
Forest primeval disappoints me, 165
Fortunes of Nigel, 47
Fouché, police minister, 337-339
Founders’ Commemoration, 141
Founders’ Obit, 141
“Fountain” inn, Canterbury, at the, 347, 348
Franchise, the, Whately on, 207
Franz Vater, Austrian Emperor, 324, 325.
French prisoners, College dole to, 101
Fulham, walk to, 219

Gabell, Miss, 17
Gabell, Dr., 17, 96, 125, 126
Gaffarel’s Curiosities, 220
Gaffer Williams, 110
Galicia, peasants from, 327
Gastronomy and “L. E. L.,” 236
Gedge, Mr., 349
Gennaro, Monte, near Rome, 108
Geography, early studies in, 6
Germany, life in, 221
journey in, 306
South, impression of, 315
Gibbon, Mrs., 60, 61
Gibbon, Kate, 60, 61
Gig, Virgil lesson in the, 82
escape in the, 87
Gloucester, adventure at, 83
Goethe, 327
his Gretchen, first performance of, 327
Golden Fleece, Installation of Knights, 340
Gout, Sir F. Milman on, 236
Grammar, Latin, my introduction to, 4
Grandison, Sir Charles, readings in, 60
Grange, La, La Fayette’s estate, 151
Granger, Edmund, 42
Grant’s family, 257, 294
Granville, Lord, 191
Grattan, T. Colley, 234, 260, 366
Graves, price current of, 225
“Greek Slave,” Power’s statue of, 176
Green, Joseph Henry, 301
Gresley mésalliance, 18
Guard, National, in Paris, 268
Guildhall, 9
Guizot, 275, 282, 283
Gumbrell, Mother, 119, 120
Gumbrell, Dicky, 120

Hackney coaches, 29, 30
Hadley, my mother settles at, 298
life at, 300
in the garden at, 356
Haldon Down, 39
Haliburton (Sam Slick), 359
Hall, Captain Basil, 232
Hall, Prefect of, at Winchester, 106, 111
Hall, Rev. George, 254, 256
“Halls” and Colleges at Oxford, 192
Hammond, Mr., 301
[Pg 401]Hampstead, 9
“Harmony, New,” Miss Wright’s property, 154
Harrow, my father moves to, 61
farm at, 61
school, 69, 73, 77
masters, 72
my first appearance at, 72, 76
antagonisms at, 88, 89
vicarage of, 89, 90
scandal in parish church of, 90
extraordinary vestry meeting at, 91
my parents quit, 228
Weald, house at, 228
farm at, 150, 151
Haymarket, the, sixty years ago, 55
Heckfield vicarage, 13, 20
versus Julians, 63
Herbout, Dr., 253, 294
Heredity, question of, 350
Hereford, Bishop of, 97, 130
Hertford College, 213
Hertfordshire squire, a, sixty years ago, 63
Hervieu, M., 224, 305, 314, 320, 333
Highgate, 9
Hinds, Mr., 193, 195
Hoc est Corpus,” Blanco White’s anecdote of, 208
Hodgson, Mrs. Archdeacon, 237
Holborn, verse-making in, 6
Homilies, passage from, 216
Hoopern Bowers, 39, 40
“Hopkins, Damme,” 140
Hugo, Victor, 277-279
anecdote of his historical ignorance, 280
Hume (or Home), Daniel, 374, 375, 377, 379-382, 384, 390-392
Hungarian Gipsies, 327
Hungarians, 320
Huntingford, Bishop of Hereford, 127, 129, 130
Hutchinson, Rachel, 39

Ilchester to Ilminster, 36
Ilfracombe, from, to Lynton, 87
Indians, West, at Alban Hall, 193
Infra dig., or, in for a dig! 234
Innovations at Winchester, 131
Intentions, good, imprudence of registering them, 226
Ireland, Whately’s utterances on, 205, 206
Itchen water-meads, Winchester, 108

Jacobson, Mr., 214-216
Jamaica, Bishop of, 71
Jeune, Dr., 254, 256-258, 294, 349, 354
Jeune, Mrs., 354
Jews at Vienna, 323
Johnson, Dr., of Magdalen, 198
Journey in West of England, 81
from Vienna to England, 344, 345
Julians, visits to, 63

Kater, Captain, 364
Keppel Street, 2, 4, 5, 16-18, 24-27, 57
Kensington Gardens, 9
Key of the birch cupboard and “Mother Mark,” 75
“King’s Head” Inn, Dover, detention at, 346
Kirkup, Mr. Seymour, 386-389
Kiss of peace, the vicar’s, 93

La Fayette, General, 151, 152
Lafontaine, M., 385, 386
Lamartine, 274
Lamb, Sir F., 331, 332
Lamennais, Abbé de, 281
Landon, L. E., 235
Language, degradation of, 49
Larochefoucauld, Duchesse de, 272
Law, idea of, supremacy of, at Winchester, 202
Leatherhead, Sexton of, 225
“Leave out” at Winchester, 128
Lebanon, Mount, Shaking Quaker establishment, 174
Lectures, classical, Whately’s, useless to me, 196
[Pg 402]logic, Whately’s wit at, 200
Lembach, portrait painter, 329
Leo XIII., 316
Lesson giving in London, 248
Lessons in chapel, extraordinary, 139
Letters, single and double, 55
Librarian at Tübingen, 316
Lincoln’s Inn, 2, 5, 46, 47
Linguistic solecisms, modern, 50
Lipscomb, Rev. Mr., 71
Liszt, 287
Literary judgments of Paris in , 275-277
Little Marlbro’ Street, Lodgings in, 249
Liverpool and Manchester railroad, 223
Livery servant, 4
Livingstone, 82
Lohnkutscher, German, 306
London, changes in, 28, 29, 43, 44
Longworth, Mr., 174, 175
Louis XI., 280
Louis Philippe, 264, 269, 277, 281
Lowth, Dr., 137
Lynmouth as it was, 86
Lynton, sixty years ago, 86, 87
Lyon, John, 69, 73, 77

Macbride, Dr., 213
Mackintosh, Mrs., 292
Margaret, 292
Macready, Mr. 56
Magdalen College, 46, 198
Magdalen Hall, 213
society at, 214
anecdotes of, 214
Magisterial duties, 67
Magnetism, animal, 364, 365
experiences of, with Baron Dupotet, 365
with Dr. Elliotson, 366-371
with Daniel Hume, 374-382
with Mrs. G——, 383, 384
with Dr. Willis, 384
with M. Lafontaine, 385
with Seymour Kirkup, 386
with my wife and sister-in-law, 387
with Alexis, 393
with performer with slates and pencils, 393
Magnetism, performances of Messrs. Maskelyne & Cooke, 389
general impression left on my mind, 395
Mail coaches, 33, 34
racing the, 217
from Canterbury to London, 349
Malibran, 326
Mancel, M., 303, 304
Manchester, marriages at, 224
Manciple and Bishop, anecdote of, 141
Marriage Service extraordinary, 224
Marsh, G. P., 334
Maskelyne and Cooke, Messrs., 389, 390
Mason, Mr., 349, 353
Massaia, Cardinal, 316
Mathias, Mr. 362
Mattingley near Heckfield, 18
Matriculation, my, 191
Meetkerke, Adolphus, 62, 63, 67, 68
Mrs., 64, 67
Mrs. Anne, 64
Melfort, Count, 293
Melhuish, Miss Emma, 367
Mémoires d’Outretombe, Chateaubriand’s, 271
readings from, 272
Metternich and Bismarck contrasted, 328, 329
Metternich, personal appearance of, 330, 331
his habit at dinner, 333
his account of his interviews
with Napoleon, 335
his story of Fouché, 337
Princess, 332
Metz, 306
Middle Temple, 2
Middleton, Captain, 244
Mignet, M., 275
Milan, “Untori,” 67
Mills, Rev. Mr. 72
Milman, Lady, 236
Milman, Rev. H., 236-238
Milman, Sir William, 237
Milman, Sir. Francis, 236
Milton, Henry, 219
Milton, Mrs., 231
[Pg 403]Milton, Rev. William, 13, 18, 63
Mohl, M., 286
Molière, 231
Montmorenci, picnic at, 288
Mountain, Mrs., 35
Mouse digging at Winchester, 109
Mudie, Mr., 229
Murch, Captain, 256
Music never taught, 148
Mutton at Winchester, 102
loin of, anecdote of a, 219

Naples, King of, 18
pocket-picking at, 12
Napoleon, 337, 340
Narrow escape, my, in typhus fever, 79
Nashoba, Miss Wright’s property at, 154
New College, 18
election to, from Winchester, 96
privilege now abandoned, 192
New York, first impressions of, 164
Niagara, visit to, 185, 186
Nieufort, gig monstre, 245
Noailles, Duchesse de, 272
“No innovation!”, 129
Normandy, tour in, 302
Northwick, Lord, 61, 76, 90, 150
Nott, Dr., 15, 231, 331, 332

Oath, College, at Winchester, 128
Obedience, anecdote of, 61
Odiam, theatricals at, 231
Offices of Prefects at Winchester, 103
Ogle, Dean, 120
Okey, two sisters, 369-373
Oratorio, Dr. Nott at an, 231
Ordinations by Bishop of Hereford, 129
Oriel College, Whately popular at, 196
Orley Farm, my brother Anthony’s, 235
Ostend, society at, anecdotes of 255
pleasant days at, 291
tragedy at, 292
society at, 293
Ovington, 17
Owen, of Lanark, 153
Owen, Dale, 153
Oxford Road, 30, 31
Street, 31
Oxford, my life at, 217, 220
general habits at, 217
Oyster soup, anecdote, 301

Pantomime, 22
Parceque, and Quoique Bourbon, 265
Paris, first visit to, 263
changes in, 263, 264
Parish Church, sixty years ago, 65
Parodies and jibes ridiculing the Republicans, 267
Partington, Miss, 18
Passenger ship, burning of, 207
Passengers in steerage, 157
Paved roads in France, 261
Pedestrianism, my, 218, 219, 241
in Wales, 226
Pepe, General Fiorestano, 18
Pepe, General Guglielmo, 17
Personal appearance, my, in youth, 22, 23
Personal superintendence, little, at Winchester, 121
Piccadilly, 6, 7
Picnic at Montmorenci, 288
Pidding, confectioner, 3
Pindar, Peter, 38
Pinner, Lady Milman’s house at, 236
Pittsburg, squalor of, 165
Pleintling, on the Danube, adventure at, 312, 313
Plinlimmon pedestrianism, 226
Plot’s Oxfordshire, 220
Plymouth, no tobacconist in, 221
Politics al fresco, 264
at Paris in , 265
Postman, twopenny, 54
Post Office, at the, 31
Poulter, Rev. E., 148
[Pg 404]Powers, Hiram, 175-177
Practitioner, country, sixty years ago, 79
Prayer, family, sixty years ago, 64
Prefects, authority of, at Winchester, 124
Prefect’s table at Winchester, 104
Prester John, 10
Price, Dr., 178
Price, Mrs., 178, 180
Professional etiquette sixty years ago, 54
Pronunciation, changes in, 49
Propaganda, Roman, visit at, 316, 317
Provence, Rue de, at Paris, 262
Purley, Diversions of, 220

Quakers, Shaking, visit to, 170-174
Quicksilver mail, 33, 36
Quirinal, anecdote of dinner at, 334

Raglan Castle, 85, 86
Railway, new, Liverpool to Manchester, 223
Ratcliffe, Mrs., 85
Rations at Winchester, 101
Ratisbon, 307, 309
Reading, early lessons, 23
Récamier, Madame, 271, 272, 284, 285
Red Lion Square, 3
Religious education, 13
at Winchester, 136, 137
indifferentism at Cincinnati, 178
Remedy ring at Winchester, 111
Rennell, Dean, 129, 142, 143
Republicans, Parisian, in , 266
feared, 267
Rettich, Madame, 327
Return to England from America, 187
Ridding, Mr., 125, 127
Robbins, Mr., 148
Rocks, Valley of, 87
Rod, Mark Drury and the, 75
the Winchester, 113
Rotis volventibus, 20
Route through Germany, 316
Russell Square, 3
Rymer, Mr., 375

Sabbath observance, Whately on, 200
Saffron Hill, expedition to, 10, 11
St. Catherine’s Hill, Winchester, 106
St. James’s Park, 9
St. Martin’s-le-Grand, 32
St. Martin’s Lane, pilgrimage to, 72
St. Stephen’s at Vienna, catacombs under, 341
Salisbury, 21
Sand, Georges, 275, 280, 282
Saunders, butler at Pinner, 237
Schiller, 314
School, public, what constitutes a, 73
Schools versus colleges, Whately on, 201
Schwab, Gustav, 315
Scott, Sir W., 86, 223
Scourging, practice and method of, at Winchester, 115
Self-knowledge, disadvantage of, 179
Seniority in college at Winchester, 123
Sermons at the Cathedral, Winchester, 141, 142
Sermon by Bishop of London, 219
Severn, banks of, visited, 226
Seville, anecdote of scene at, 209
Shaking Quakers, visit to, 170-174
Shakespeare, 223
Shopkeepers, Parisian, 268
Shops, non-advertising, obsolete, 45
Shuttleworth, Warden of New
College antagonism with Whately, 198, 199, 201
his wit, 200, 238, 239
Shyness, my, 179
Siddons, Mrs., 25
Simon, Saint, 1
Singlestick practice with Anthony, 225
Skerret, Miss Henrietta, 362-365
Skerret, Mrs., 362
Skerret, Miss Maryanne, 362, 363
[Pg 405]Skinner, Rev. Mr., 65, 66
Skinner, Rev. Mr., of Bath, 188
Skinner, Miss, 188
Slang, modern, 50
progress of, 51
when vulgar, 51;
and why, 52
humility in the use of it, 53
Sledge journey from Dover, 346
Smithett, Captain, 235, 247, 293
Snobbishness, absence of, among the Viennese, 321
anecdote on this subject, 321
Sobriety, my, 217
Somerset, Duke of, 85
Speedyman at Winchester, 99
Spiting Gabell at Winchester, 127
Squire, country, sixty years ago, 64
Squiress sixty years ago, 64
Stage coaches, plans for improving, 19
Stanton, near Monmouth, 23
Steerage passage across the Atlantic, 156
Store Street, 2
Storm at sea, 159
Strasbourg, 306
Stuttgardt, 306
Superannuation at Winchester, 144
Symonds, Dr., 354
Systematic law, force of, at Winchester, 122

Tabula legum at Winchester, 113
Tea-things at Winchester, 100
“Telegraph,” Exeter coach, 36
Temple, the, 46
Temple Bar, 47
Temple, Sir William, 331
Thackeray, Rev. Mr., 299
Thackeray, William M., 288, 358
Thames Embankment, 46
Theatre, visit to, to hear Siddons, 25
Theatres sixty years ago, 55
reforms in, 56
Theatricals at Cincinnati, 181
Theresa, Saint, 368
Thiers, Ad., 275, 282, 283
Thomason, Sir Edward, 257
Tilley, Sir John, 300
Tintern Abbey, 86
Tomkisson, Mr., 245
Torreborre’s barge, 290, 291
Tottenham Court Road, 2
Traffic between Dover and Canterbury
stopped, 345
Trapbois, Miss, 47
Travel in West of England, my father’s mode of, 81, 82
Trenton Falls, visit to, 185, 186
Trollope, Thomas Anthony, my father, 2-5, 13, 20, 57, 59-62, 67, 68, 76, 82, 87, 150, 156, 168, 184, 185, 190, 191
at the whist table, 58
his mode of teaching, 58
his expectations disappointed, 62
his dispute with Whately, 211
no fortune hunter, 230
his failures, 241
at Bruges, 245
consultations with French physicians, 263
his declining health, 294
his death, 295
his Ecclesiastical Dictionary, 297
his great industry, 297
his New College friends, 296
his unhappy life, 295
his peculiar temperament, 296
Trollope, Frances, my mother, 59, 83
journey from Exeter with, 37
at Cincinnati, 176
her letters to my father before marriage, 229
her book on America, 232
its truthfulness, 232
its faults, 234
at Harrow Weald, 235
effects of her success, 241
at Bruges, 245
her terrible time there, 251-253
her estimate of Chateaubriand, 273
her Paris and the Parisians, 273
her wonderful recuperative faculty, 299
her industry, 300
her account of Danube boat, 307, 308
consultations with me, 355
her illness, 359
[Pg 406]settles in York Street, 359
Trollope, Henry, my eldest brother, 21, 79, 153, 166, 184, 250, 251
his illness, 247, 250, 251
my last parting with him, 251
Trollope, Anthony, my younger brother, 21, 240, 242, 243, 250, 260, 294
his autobiography, 228
at the Post Office, 257
in Ireland, 258
in South America, 259
his judgment of me, 356
work a necessity to him, 358
his industry, 359
his illness, 370
Trollope, Cecilia, my elder sister, 245, 300, 305
Trollope, Emily, my younger sister, 245, 250, 298, 299
Trollope, Rev. Anthony, my grandfather, 63
Tub, Prefect of, at Winchester, 103, 105
Tübingen, adventure at, 315, 316
Tuileries, ball, anecdote, 269
Tunding at Winchester, 111, 112
Tupto, Warden’s nickname, 130
Turbot, mutilated, 293
Tutor and pupil at Winchester, 123
Twistleton family, 70
Tyburn turnpike, 31
toll man at, 31
Typhus fever, I am attacked by, 79

Udolpho, Mysteries of, and Raglan Castle, 85
Upland, 314, 315
Upton Pynes, 39

Vacancies at New College, 99
Varying at Winchester, 119
Vauxhall, excursion to, 240
Verses, nonsense, 5
Vice-Principal’s examination, curious coincidence, 215
Victor Emmanuel, 334
Vienna, journey to, planned, 304,
arrival at, 317
Custom House, adventure at, 318
changes in, 319
from, to England, 344, 345
Viennese Society, 319
exclusiveness of, 320
habits of, 321, 322, 324
loyal feeling of, anecdote of, 324
Vinerian Fellowship, 3
Voyage down the Danube, 311-313
“Vulgus” at Winchester, 118

Wager between Bishop and Dean, 129
Wall, Mr., 195
Warton, Dr., 135
Warton, Tom, 135, 136
Ways, the parting of the, 356
Whately, Archbishop of Dublin, his liberalism, 191, 204, 207
purges Alban Hall, 192
biography of, by Miss Jane Whately, 193, 195, 197
his methods of teaching, 194
anecdotes of, 195, 199, 203, 207, 208
disliked by the Oxford dons, 196
I did not please him, 196
his despotic temper, 197
antagonism with Shuttleworth,
warden of New College, 199
his wit, 200;
specimen of it, 200
his dislike of Winchester and Wykehamists, 201, 203
I rubbed him the wrong way, 202
his remarkable utterances on state of Ireland, 205
his logic lectures, 200, 203, 210
his “Liberalism,” good modern “Conservatism,” 207
his treatment of me, 212
[Pg 407]Whately, Miss Jane, 193, 195, 200, 202, 208
Whately, Mrs., 195
Wheeler, Mr., 148
Whipcord and oats, 35
White Bear Inn, 7
White, Blanco, 208-210
Whitefriars, 47
White Horse Cellar, 6, 31
scene at, 8, 9
Wilkes, Mr., 164, 187
Williams, Dr. David, 24, 110, 115, 125-127, 148
Willis, Dr., of Boston, 384
Wilson, Rev. Daniel, 88
Winchester, Cathedral, chapter of, 15
restoration of, 16
my first journey to, 94
college electors, 69
election, manner of, 69, 70, 97
founders kin, 70
election chamber, 97
festivities, 98
phraseology, 101
rations, 101
Witney, drives to, 217
Woodburn, Rev. Jack, 139
Woolaston, Dr., 364
Work hard, 357
Wright, Camilla, 151, 153
Wright, Frances, 151, 152, 154, 165
Writing master at Winchester, 145
Wye, the, from Chepstow to Ross, 85
banks of the river, 226
Wykehamists, Whately’s dislike for, 196, 201-203

York Street, my mother’s house in, 359
Young, Dr., 364
Young, John, 62, 63

Zandt, Baron de, 17, 221




[A] Subsequently Master of the Rolls.

[B] My query.