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   Chapter 6 MISS MITFORD.

Yesterdays with Authors By James Thomas Fields Characters: 221935

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:03

That portrait hanging near Wordsworth's is next to seeing Mary Russell Mitford herself as I first saw her, twenty-three years ago, in her geranium-planted cottage at Three-Mile Cross. She sat to John Lucas for the picture in her serene old age, and the likeness is faultless. She had proposed to herself to leave the portrait, as it was her own property, to me in her will; but as I happened to be in England during the latter part of her life, she altered her determination, and gave it to me from her own hands.

Sydney Smith said of a certain quarrelsome person, that his very face was a breach of the peace. The face of that portrait opposite to us is a very different one from Sydney's fighter. Everything that belongs to the beauty of old age one will find recorded in that charming countenance. Serene cheerfulness most abounds, and that is a quality as rare as it is commendable. It will be observed that the dress of Miss Mitford in the picture before us is quaint and somewhat antiquated even for the time when it was painted, but a pleasant face is never out of fashion.

An observer of how old age is neglected in America said to me the other day, "It seems an impertinence to be alive after sixty on this side of the globe"; and I have often thought how much we lose by not cultivating fine old-fashioned ladies and gentlemen. Our aged relatives and friends seem to be tucked away, nowadays, into neglected corners, as though it were the correct thing to give them a long preparation for still narrower quarters. For my own part, comely and debonair old age is most attractive; and when I see the "thick silver-white hair lying on a serious and weather-worn face, like moonlight on a stout old tower," I have a strong tendency to lift my hat, whether I know the person or not.

"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace

As I have seen in an autumnal face."

It was a fortunate hour for me when kind-hearted John Kenyon said, as I was leaving his hospitable door in London one summer midnight in 1847, "You must know my friend, Miss Mitford. She lives directly on the line of your route to Oxford, and you must call with my card and make her acquaintance." I had lately been talking with Wordsworth and Christopher North and old Samuel Rogers, but my hunger at that time to stand face to face with the distinguished persons in English literature was not satisfied. So it was during my first "tourification" in England that I came to know Miss Mitford. The day selected for my call at her cottage door happened to be a perfect one on which to begin an acquaintance with the lady of "Our Village." She was then living at Three-Mile Cross, having removed there from Bertram House in 1820. The cottage where I found her was situated on the high road between Basingstoke and Reading; and the village street on which she was then living contained the public-house and several small shops near by. There was also close at hand the village pond full of ducks and geese, and I noticed several young rogues on their way to school were occupied in worrying their feathered friends. The windows of the cottage were filled with flowers, and cowslips and violets were plentifully scattered about the little garden. Miss Mitford liked to have one dog, at least, at her heels, and this day her pet seemed to be constantly under foot. I remember the room into which I was shown was sanded, and a quaint old clock behind the door was marking off the hour in small but very loud pieces. The cheerful old lady called to me from the head of the stairs to come up into her sitting-room. I sat down by the open window to converse with her, and it was pleasant to see how the village children, as they went by, stopped to bow and curtsey. One curly-headed urchin made bold to take off his well-worn cap, and wait to be recognized as "little Johnny". "No great scholar," said the kind-hearted old lady to me, "but a sad rogue among our flock of geese. Only yesterday the young marauder was detected by my maid with a plump gosling stuffed half-way into his pocket!" While she was thus discoursing of Johnny's peccadilloes, the little fellow looked up with a knowing expression, and very soon caught in his cap a gingerbread dog, which the old lady threw to him from the window. "I wish he loved his book as well as he relishes sweetcake," sighed she, as the boy kicked up his heels and disappeared down the lane.

Her conversation that afternoon, full of anecdote, ran on in a perpetual flow of good-humor, and I was shocked, on looking at my watch, to find I had stayed so long, and had barely time to reach the railway-station in season to arrive at Oxford that night. We parted with the mutual determination and understanding to keep our friendship warm by correspondence, and I promised never to come to England again without finding my way to Three-Mile Cross.

During the conversation that day, Miss Mitford had many inquiries to make concerning her American friends, Miss Catherine Sedgwick, Daniel Webster, and Dr. Chancing. Her voice had a peculiar ringing sweetness in it, rippling out sometimes like a beautiful chime of silver bells; and when she told a comic story, hitting off some one of her acquaintances, she joined in with the laugh at the end with great heartiness and na?veté. When listening to anything that interested her, she had a way of coming into the narrative with "Dear me, dear me, dear me," three times repeated, which it was very pleasant to hear.

From that summer day our friendship continued, and during other visits to England I saw her frequently, driving about the country with her in her pony-chaise, and spending many happy hours in the new cottage which she afterwards occupied at Swallowfield. Her health had broken down years before, from too constant attendance on her invalid parents, and she was never certain of a well day. When her father died, in 1842, shamefully in debt (for he had squandered two fortunes not exactly his own, and was always one of the most improvident of men, belonging to that class of impecunious individuals who seem to have been born insolvent), she said, "Everybody shall be paid, if I sell the gown off my back or pledge my little pension." And putting her shoulder to the domestic wheel, she never nagged for an instant, or gave way to despondency.

She was always cheerful, and her talk is delightful to remember. From girlhood she had known and had been intimate with most of the prominent writers of her time, and her observations and reminiscences were so shrewd and pertinent that I have scarcely known her equal.

Carlyle tells us "nothing so lifts a man from all his mean imprisonments, were it but for moments, as true admiration"; and Miss Mitford admired to such an extent that she must have been lifted in this way nearly all her lifetime. Indeed she erred, if she erred at all, on this side, and overpraised and over-admired everything and everybody whom she regarded. When she spoke of Beranger or Dumas or Hazlitt or Holmes, she exhausted every term of worship and panegyric. Louis Napoleon was one of her most potent crazes, and I fully believe, if she had been alive during the days of his downfall, she would have died of grief. When she talked of Munden and Bannister and Fawcett and Emery, those delightful old actors for whom she had had such an exquisite relish, she said they had made comedy to her a living art full of laughter and tears. How often have I heard her describe John Kemble, Mrs. Siddons, Miss O'Neil, and Edmund Kean, as they were wont to electrify the town in her girlhood! With what gusto she reproduced Elliston, who was one of her prime favorites, and tried to make me, through her representation of him, feel what a spirit there was in the man. Although she had been prostrated by the hard work and increasing anxieties of forty years of authorship, when I saw her she was as fresh and independent as a skylark. She was a good hater as well as a good praiser, and she left nothing worth saving in an obnoxious reputation.

I well remember, one autumn evening, when half a dozen friends were sitting in her library after dinner, talking with her of Tom Taylor's Life of Haydon, then lately published, how graphically she described to us the eccentric painter, whose genius she was among the foremost to recognize. The flavor of her discourse I cannot reproduce; but I was too much interested in what she was saying to forget the main incidents she drew for our edification, during those pleasant hours now far away in the past.

"I am a terrible forgetter of dates," she used to say, when any one asked her of the time when; but for the manner how she was never at a loss. "Poor Haydon!" she began. "He was an old friend of mine, and I am indebted to Sir William Elford, one of my dear father's correspondents during my girlhood, for a suggestion which sent me to look at a picture then on exhibition in London, and thus was brought about my knowledge of the painter's existence. He, Sir William, had taken a fancy to me, and I became his child-correspondent. Few things contribute more to that indirect after-education, which is worth all the formal lessons of the school-room a thousand times told, than such good-humored condescension from a clever man of the world to a girl almost young enough to be his granddaughter. I owe much to that correspondence, and, amongst other debts, the acquaintance of Haydon. Sir William's own letters were most charming,-full of old-fashioned courtesy, of quaint humor, and of pleasant and genial criticism on literature and on art. An amateur-painter himself, painting interested him particularly, and he often spoke much and warmly of the young man from Plymouth, whose picture of the 'Judgment of Solomon' was then on exhibition in London. 'You must see it,' said he, 'even if you come to town on purpose.'"-The reader of Haydon's Life will remember that Sir William Elford, in conjunction with a Plymouth banker named Tingecombe, ultimately purchased the picture. The poor artist was overwhelmed with astonishment and joy when he walked into the exhibition-room and read the label, "Sold," which had been attached to his picture that morning before he arrived. "My first impulse," he says in his Autobiography, "was gratitude to God."

"It so happened," continued Miss Mitford, "that I merely passed through London that season, and, being detained by some of the thousand and one nothings which are so apt to detain women in the great city, I arrived at the exhibition, in company with a still younger friend, so near the period of closing, that more punctual visitors were moving out, and the doorkeeper actually turned us and our money back. I persisted, however, assuring him that I only wished to look at one picture, and promising not to detain him long. Whether my entreaties would have carried the point or not, I cannot tell; but half a crown did; so we stood admiringly before the 'Judgment of Solomon.' I am no great judge of painting; but that picture impressed me then, as it does now, as excellent in composition, in color, and in that great quality of telling a story which appeals at once to every mind. Our delight was sincerely felt, and most enthusiastically expressed, as we kept gazing at the picture, and seemed, unaccountably to us at first, to give much pleasure to the only gentleman who had remained in the room,-a young and very distinguished-looking person, who had watched with evident amusement our negotiation with the doorkeeper. Beyond indicating the best position to look at the picture, he had no conversation with us; but I soon surmised that we were seeing the painter, as well as his painting; and when, two or three years afterwards, a friend took me by appointment to view the 'Entry into Jerusalem,' Haydon's next great picture, then near its completion, I found I had not been mistaken.

"Haydon was, at that period, a remarkable person to look at and listen to. Perhaps your American word bright expresses better than any other his appearance and manner. His figure, short, slight, elastic, and vigorous, looked still more light and youthful from the little sailor's-jacket and snowy trousers which formed his painting costume. His complexion was clear and healthful. His forehead, broad and high, out of all proportion to the lower part of his face, gave an unmistakable character of intellect to the finely placed head. Indeed, he liked to observe that the gods of the Greek sculptors owed much of their elevation to being similarly out of drawing! The lower features were terse, succinct, and powerful,-from the bold, decided jaw, to the large, firm, ugly, good-humored mouth. His very spectacles aided the general expression; they had a look of the man. But how shall I attempt to tell you of his brilliant conversation, of his rapid, energetic manner, of his quick turns of thought, as he flew on from topic to topic, dashing his brush here and there upon the canvas? Slow and quiet persons were a good deal startled by this suddenness and mobility. He left such people far behind, mentally and bodily. But his talk was so rich and varied, so earnest and glowing, his anecdotes so racy, his perception of character so shrewd, and the whole tone so spontaneous and natural, that the want of repose was rather recalled afterwards than felt at the time. The alloy to this charm was a slight coarseness of voice and accent, which contrasted somewhat strangely with his constant courtesy and high breeding. Perhaps this was characteristic. A defect of some sort pervades his pictures. Their great want is equality and congruity,-that perfect union of qualities which we call taste. His apartment, especially at that period when he lived in his painting-room, was in itself a study of the most picturesque kind. Besides the great picture itself, for which there seemed hardly space between the walls, it was crowded with casts, lay figures, arms, tripods, vases, draperies, and costumes of all ages, weapons of all nations, books in all tongues. These cumbered the floor; whilst around hung smaller pictures, sketches, and drawings, replete with originality and force. With chalk he could do what he chose. I remember he once drew for me a head of hair with nine of his sweeping, vigorous strokes! Among the studies I remarked that day in his apartment was one of a mother who had just lost her only child,-a most masterly rendering of an unspeakable grief. A sonnet, which I could not help writing on this sketch, gave rise to our long correspondence, and to a friendship which never flagged. Everybody feels that his life, as told by Mr. Taylor, with its terrible catastrophe, is a stern lesson to young artists, an awful warning that cannot be set aside. Let us not forget that amongst his many faults are qualities which hold out a bright example. His devotion to his noble art, his conscientious pursuit of every study connected with it, his unwearied industry, his love of beauty and of excellence, his warm family affection, his patriotism, his courage, and his piety, will not easily be surpassed. Thinking of them, let us speak tenderly of the ardent spirit whose violence would have been softened by better fortune, and who, if more successful, would have been more gentle and more humble."

And so with her vigilant and appreciative eye she saw, and thus in her own charming way she talked of, the man whose name, says Taylor, as a popularizer of art, stands without a rival among his brethren.

She loathed mere dandies, and there were no epithets too hot for her contempts in that direction. Old beaux she heartily despised, and, speaking of one whom she had known, I remember she quoted with a fine scorn this appropriate passage from Dickens: "Ancient, dandified men, those crippled invalides from the campaign of vanity, where the only powder was hair-powder, and the only bullets fancy balls."

There was no half-way with her, and she never could have said with M-- S--, when a certain visitor left the room one day after a call, "If we did not love our dear friend Mr. -- so much, shouldn't we hate him tremendously!" Her neighbor, John Ruskin, she thought as eloquent a prose-writer as Jeremy Taylor, and I have heard her go on in her fine way, giving preferences to certain modern poems far above the works of the great masters of song. Pascal says that "the heart has reasons that reason does not know"; and Miss Mitford was a charming exemplification of this wise saying.

Her dogs and her geraniums were her great glories. She used to write me long letters about Fanchon, a dog whose personal acquaintance I had made some time before, while on a visit to her cottage. Every virtue under heaven she attributed to that canine individual; and I was obliged to allow in my return letters, that, since our planet began to spin, nothing comparable to Fanchon had ever run on four legs. I had also known Flush, the ancestor of Fanchon, intimately, and had been accustomed to hear wonderful things of that dog; but Fanchon had graces and genius unique. Miss Mitford would have joined with Hamerton in his gratitude for canine companionship, when he says, "I humbly thank Divine Providence for having invented dogs, and I regard that man with wondering pity who can lead a dogless life."

Her fondness for rural life, one may well imagine, was almost unparalleled. I have often been with her among the wooded lanes of her pretty country, listening for the nightingales, and on such occasions she would discourse so eloquently of the sights and sounds about us, that her talk seemed to me "far above singing." She had fallen in love with nature when a little child, and had studied the landscape till she knew familiarly every flower and leaf which grows on English soil. She delighted in rural vagabonds of every sort, especially in gypsies; and as they flourished in her part of the country, she knew all their ways, and had charming stories to tell of their pranks and thievings. She called them "the commoners of nature"; and once I remember she pointed out to me on the road a villanous-looking youth on whom she smiled as we passed, as if he had been Virtue itself in footpad disguise. She knew all the literature of rural life, and her memory was stored with delightful eulogies of forests and meadows. When she repeated or read aloud the poetry she loved, her accents were

"Like flowers' voices, if they could but speak."

She understood how to enjoy rural occupations and rural existence, and she had no patience with her friend Charles Lamb, who preferred the town. Walter Savage Landor addressed these lines to her a few months before she died, and they seem to me very perfect and lovely in their application:-

"The hay is carried; and the hours

Snatch, as they pass, the linden flow'rs;

And children leap to pluck a spray

Bent earthward, and then run away.

Park-keeper! catch me those grave thieves

About whose frocks the fragrant leaves,

Sticking and fluttering here and there,

No false nor faltering witness bear.

"I never view such scenes as these

In grassy meadow girt with trees,

But comes a thought of her who now

Sits with serenely patient brow

Amid deep sufferings: none hath told

More pleasant tales to young and old.

Fondest was she of Father Thames,

But rambled to Hellenic streams;

Nor even there could any tell

The country's purer charms so well

As Mary Mitford.

Verse! go forth

And breathe o'er gentle breasts her worth.

Needless the task ... but should she see

One hearty wish from you and me,

A moment's pain it may assuage,-

A rose-leaf on the couch of Age."

And Harriet Martineau pays her respects to my friend in this wise: "Miss Mitford's descriptions of scenery, brutes, and human beings have such singular merit, that she may be regarded as the founder of a new style; and if the freshness wore off with time, there was much more than a compensation in the fine spirit of resignation and cheerfulness which breathed through everything she wrote, and endeared her as a suffering friend to thousands who formerly regarded her only as a most entertaining stranger."

What lovely drives about England I have enjoyed with Miss Mitford as my companion and guide! We used to arrange with her trusty Sam for a day now and then in the open air. He would have everything in readiness at the appointed hour, and be at his post with that careful, kind-hearted little maid, the "hemmer of flounces," all prepared to give the old lady a fair start on her day's expedition. Both those excellent servants delighted to make their mistress happy, and she greatly rejoiced in their devotion and care. Perhaps we had made our plans to visit Upton Court, a charming old house where Pope's Arabella Fermor had passed many years of her married life. On the way thither we would talk over "The Rape of the Lock" and the heroine, Belinda, who was no other than Arabella herself. Arriving on the lawn in front of the decaying mansion, we would stop in the shade of a gigantic oak, and gossip about the times of Queen Elizabeth, for it was then the old house was built, no doubt.

Once I remember Miss Mitford carried me on a pilgrimage to a grand old village church with a tower half covered with ivy. We came to it through laurel hedges, and passed on the way a magnificent cedar of Lebanon. It was a superb pile, rich in painted glass windows and carved oak ornaments. Here Miss Mitford ordered the man to stop, and, turning to me with great enthusiasm, said, "This is Shiplake Church, where Alfred Tennyson was married!" Then we rode on a little farther, and she called my attention to some of the finest wych-elms I had ever seen.

Another day we drove along the valley of the Loddon, and she pointed out the Duke of Wellington's seat of Strathfieldsaye. As our pony trotted leisurely over the charming road, she told many amusing stories of the Duke's economical habits, and she rated him soundly for his money-saving propensities. The furniture in the house she said was a disgrace to the great man, and she described a certain old carpet that had done service so many years in the establishment that no one could tell what the original colors were.

But the mansion most dear to her in that neighborhood was the residence of her kind friends the Russells of Swallowfield Park. It is indeed a beautiful old place, full of historical and literary associations, for there Lord Clarendon wrote his story of the Great Rebellion. Miss Mitford never ceased to be thankful that her declining years were passing in the society of such neighbors as the Russells. If she were unusually ill, they were the first to know of it and come at once to her aid. Little attentions, so grateful to old age, they were always on the alert to offer; and she frequently told me that their affectionate kindness had helped her over the dark places of life more than once, where without their succor she must have dropped by the way.

As a letter-writer, Miss Mitford has rarely been surpassed. Her "Life, as told by herself in Letters to her Friends," is admirably done in every particular. Few letters in the English language are superior to hers, and I think they, will come to be regarded as among the choicest specimens of epistolary literature. When her friend, the Rev. William Harness, was about to collect from Miss Mitford's correspondents, for publication, the letters she had written to them, he applied to me among others. I was obliged to withhold the correspondence for a reason that existed then; but I am no longer restrained from printing it now. Miss Mitford's first letter to me was written in 1847, and her last one came only a few weeks before she died, in 1855. I am inclined to think that her correspondence, so full of point in allusions, so full of anecdote and recollections, will be considered among her finest writings. Her criticisms, not always the wisest, were always piquant and readable. She had such a charming humor, and her style was so delightful, that her friendly notes had a relish about them quite their own. In reading some of them here collected one will see that she overrated my little services as she did those of many of her personal friends. I shall have hard work to place the dates properly, for the good lady rarely took the trouble to put either month or year at the head of her paper.

She began her correspondence with me before I left England after making her acquaintance, and, true to the instincts of her kind heart, the object of her first letter was to press upon my notice the poems of a young friend of hers, and she was constantly saying good words for unfledged authors who were struggling forward to gain recognition. No one ever lent such a helping hand as she did to the young writers of her country.

The recognition which America, very early in the career of Miss Mitford, awarded her, she never forgot, and she used to say, "It takes ten years to make a literary reputation in England, but America is wiser and bolder, and dares say at once, 'This is fine.'"

Sweetness of temper and brightness of mind, her never-failing characteristics, accompanied her to the last; and she passed on in her usual cheerful and affectionate mood, her sympathies uncontracted by age, narrow fortune, and pain.

A plain substantial cross marks the spot in the old churchyard at Swallowfield, where, according to her own wish, Mary Mitford lies sleeping. It is proposed to erect a memorial in the old parish church to her memory, and her admirers in England have determined, if a sufficient sum can be raised, to build what shall be known as "The Mitford Aisle," to afford accommodation for the poor people who are not able to pay for seats. Several of Miss Mitford's American friends will join in this beautiful object, and a tablet will be put up in the old church commemorating the fact that England and America united in the tribute.

LETTERS, 1848-1849.

Three-mile Cross, December 4, 1848.

Dear Mr. Fields: My silence has been caused by severe illness. For more than a twelvemonth my health has been so impaired as to leave me a very poor creature, almost incapable of any exertion at all times, and frequently suffering severe pain besides. So that I have to entreat the friends who are good enough to care for me never to be displeased if a long time elapses between my letters. My correspondents being so numerous, and I myself so utterly alone, without any one even to fold or seal a letter, that the very physical part of the task sometimes becomes more fatiguing than I can bear. I am not, generally speaking, confined to my room, or even to the house; but the loss of power is so great that after the short drive or shorter walk which my very skilful medical adviser orders, I am too often compelled to retire immediately to bed, and I have not once been well enough to go out of an evening during the year 1848. Before its expiration I shall have completed my sixty-first year; but it is not age that has so prostrated me, but the hard work and increasing anxiety of thirty years of authorship, during which my poor labors were all that my dear father and mother had to look to, besides which for the greater part of that time I was constantly called upon to attend to the sick-bed, first of one aged parent and then of another. Few women could stand this, and I have only to be intensely thankful that the power of exertion did not fail until the necessity of such exertion was removed. Now my poor life is (beyond mere friendly feeling) of value to no one. I have, too, many alleviations,-in the general kindness of the neighborhood, the particular goodness of many admirable friends, the affectionate attention of a most attached and intelligent old servant, and above all in my continued interest in books and delight in reading. I love poetry and people as well at sixty as I did at sixteen, and can never be sufficiently grateful to God for having permitted me to retain the two joy-giving faculties of admiration and sympathy, by which we are enabled to escape from the consciousness of our own infirmities into the great works of all ages and the joys and sorrows of our immediate friends. Among the books which I have been reading with the greatest interest is the Life of Dr. Channing, and I can hardly tell you the glow of gratification with which I found my own name mentioned, as one of the writers in whose works that great man had taken pleasure. The approbation of Dr. Channing is something worth toiling for. I know no individual suffrage that could have given me more delight. Besides this selfish pleasure and the intense interest with which I followed that admirable thinker through the whole course of his pure and blameless life, I have derived another and a different satisfaction from that work,-I mean from its reception in England. I know nothing that shows a greater improvement in liberality in the least liberal part of the English public, a greater sweeping away of prejudice whether national or sectarian, than the manner in which even the High Church and Tory party have spoken of Dr. Channing. They really seem to cast aside their usual intolerance in his case, and to look upon a Unitarian with feelings of Christian fellowship. God grant that this spirit may continue! Is American literature rich in native biography? Just have the goodness to mention to me any lives of Americans, whether illustrious or not, that are graphic, minute, and outspoken. I delight in French memoirs and English lives, especially such as are either autobiography or made out by diaries and letters; and America, a young country with manners as picturesque and unhackneyed as the scenery, ought to be full of such works. We have had two volumes lately that will interest your countrymen: Mr. Milnes's Life of John Keats, that wonderful youth whose early death was, I think, the greatest loss that English poetry ever experienced. Some of the letters are very striking as developments on character, and the richness of diction in the poetical fragments is exquisite. Mrs. Browning is still at Florence with her husband. She sees more Americans than English.

Books here are sadly depreciated. Mr. Dyce's admirable edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, brought out two years ago at £6 12s. is now offered at £2 17s.

Adieu, dear Mr. Fields; forgive my seeming neglect, and believe me always most faithfully yours,


(No date, 1849.)

Dear Mr. Fields: I cannot tell you how vexed I am at this mistake about letters, which must have made you think me careless of your correspondence and ungrateful for your kindness. The same thing has happened to me before, I may say often, with American letters,-with Professor Norton, Mrs. Sigourney, the Sedgwicks,-in short I always feel an insecurity in writing to America which I never experience in corresponding with friends on the Continent; France, Germany, Italy, even Poland and Russia, are comparatively certain. Whether it be the agents in London who lose letters, or some fault in the post-office, I cannot tell, but I have twenty times experienced the vexation, and it casts a certain discouragement over one's communications. However, I hope that this letter will reach you, and that you will be assured that the fault does not lie at my door.

During the last year or two my health has been declining much, and I am just now thinking of taking a journey to Paris. My friend, Henry Chorley of the Athenaeum, the first musical critic of Europe, is going thither next month to assist at the production of Meyerbeer's Prophète at the French Opera, and another friend will accompany me and my little maid to take care of us; so that I have just hopes that the excursion, erenow much facilitated by railways, may do me good. I have always been a great admirer of the great Emperor, and to see the heir of Napoleon at the Elysée seems to me a real piece of poetical justice. I know many of his friends in England, who all speak of him most highly; one of them says, "He is the very impersonation of calm and simple honesty." I hope the nation will be true to him, but, as Mirabeau says. "there are no such words as 'jamais' or 'toujours' with the French public."

10th of June, 1849.

I have been waiting to answer your most kind and interesting letter, dear Mr. Fields, until I could announce to you a publication that Mr. Colburn has been meditating and pressing me for, but which, chiefly I believe from my own fault in not going to town, and not liking to give him or Mr. Shoberl the trouble of coming here, is now probably adjourned to the autumn. The fact is that I have been and still am very poorly. We are stricken in our vanities, and the only things that I recollect having ever been immoderately proud of-my garden and my personal activity-have both now turned into causes of shame and pity; the garden, declining from one bad gardener to worse, has become a ploughed field,-and I myself, from a severe attack of rheumatism, and since then a terrible fright in a pony-chaise, am now little better than a cripple. However, if there be punishment here below, there are likewise consolations,-everybody is kind to me; I retain the vivid love of reading, which is one of the highest pleasures of life; and very interesting persons come to see me sometimes, from both sides of the water,-witness, dear Mr. Fields, our present correspondence. One such person arrived yesterday in the shape of Doctor --, who has been working musical miracles in Scotland, (think of making singing teachers of children of four or five years of age!) and is now on his way to Paris, where, having been during seven years one of the editors of the National, he will find most of his colleagues of the newspaper filling the highest posts in the government. What is the American opinion of that great experiment; or, rather, what is yours? I wish it success from the bottom of my heart, but I am a, little afraid, from their total want of political economy (we have not a school-girl so ignorant of the commonest principles of demand and supply as the whole of the countrymen of Turgot from the executive government downwards), and from a certain warlike tendency which seems to me to pierce through all their declarations of peace. We hear the flourish of trumpets through all the fine phrases of the orators, and indeed it is difficult to imagine what they will do with their soi-disant ouvriers,-workmen who have lost the habit of labor,-unless they make soldiers of them. In the mean time some friends of mine are about to accompany your countryman Mr. Elihu Burritt as a deputation, and doubtless M. de Lamartine will give them as eloquent an answer as heart can desire,-no doubt he will keep peace if he can,-but the government have certainly not hitherto shown firmness or vigor enough to make one rely upon them, if the question becomes pressing and personal. In Italy matters seem to be very promising. We have here one of the Silvio Pellico exiles,-Count Carpinetta,-whose story is quite a romance. He is just returned from Turin, where he was received with enthusiasm, might have been returned as Deputy for two places, and did recover some of his property, confiscated years ago by the Austrians. It does one's heart good to see a piece of poetical justice transferred to real life. Apropos of public events, all London is talking of the prediction of an old theological writer of the name of Fleming, who in or about the year 1700 prophesied a revolution in France in 1794 (only one year wrong), and the fall of papacy in 1848 at all events.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

(No date, 1849)

DEAR MR. FIELDS: I must have seemed very ungrateful in being so long silent. But your magnificent present of books, beautiful in every sense of the word, has come dropping in volume by volume, and only arrived complete (Mr. Longfellow's striking book being the last) about a fortnight ago, and then it found me keeping my room, as I am still doing, with a tremendous attack of neuralgia on the left side of the face. I am getting better now by dint of blisters and tonic medicine; but I can answer for that disease well deserving its bad eminence of "painful." It is however, blessed be God! more manageable than it used to be; and my medical friend, a man of singular skill, promises me a cure.

I have seen things of Longfellow's as fine as anything in Campbell or Coleridge or Tennyson or Hood. After all, our great lyrical poets are great only for half a volume. Look at Gray and Collins, at your own edition of the man whom one song immortalized, at Gerald Griffin, whom you perhaps do not know, and at Wordsworth, who, greatest of the great for about a hundred pages, is drowned in the flood of his own wordiness in his longer works. To be sure, there are giants who are rich to overflowing through a whole shelf of books,-Shakespeare, the mutual ancestor of Englishmen and Americans, above all,-and I think the much that they did, and did well, will be the great hold on posterity of Scott and of Byron. Have you happened to see Bulwer's King Arthur? It astonished me very much. I had a full persuasion that, with great merit in a certain way, he would never be a poet. Indeed, he is beginning poetry just at the age when Scott, Southey, and a host of others, left it off. But he is a strange person, full of the powerful quality called will, and has produced a work which, although it is not at all in the fashionable vein and has made little noise, has yet extraordinary merit. When I say that it is more like Ariosto than any other English poem that I know, I certainly give it no mean praise.

Everybody is impatient for Mr. George Ticknor's work. The subject seems to me full of interest. Lord Holland made a charming book of Lope de Vega years ago, and Mr. Ticknor, with equal qualifications and a much wider field, will hardly fail of delighting England and America. Will you remember me to him most gratefully and respectfully? He is a man whom no one can forget. As to Mr. Prescott, I know no author now, except perhaps Mr. Macaulay, whose works command so much attention and give so much delight. I am ashamed to send you so little news, but I live in the country and see few people. The day I caught my terrible Tic I spent with the great capitalist, Mr. Goldsmidt, and Mr. Cobden and his pretty wife. He is a very different person from what one expects,-graceful, tasteful, playful, simple, and refined, and looking absolutely young. I suspect that much of his power springs from his genial character. I heard last week from Mrs. Browning; she and her husband are at the Baths of Lucca. Mr. Kenyon's graceful book is out, and I must not forget to tell you that "Our Village" has been printed by Mr. Bohn in two volumes, which include the whole five. It is beautifully got up and very cheap, that is to say, for 3 s. 6 d. a volume. Did Mr. Whittier send his works, or do I owe them wholly to your kindness? If he sent them, I will write by the first opportunity. Say everything for me to your young friend, and believe me ever, dear Mr. F-- most faithfully and gratefully yours, M.R.M.


(No date.)

I have to thank you very earnestly, dear Mr. Fields, for two very interesting books. The "Leaves from Margaret Smith's Journal" are, I suppose, a sort of Lady Willoughby's Diary, so well executed that they read like one of the imitations of Defoe,-his "Memoirs of a Cavalier," for instance, which always seemed to me quite as true as if they had been actually written seventy years before. Thank you over and over again for these admirable books and for your great kindness and attention. What a perfectly American name Peabody is! And how strange it is that there should be in the United States so many persons of English descent whose names have entirely disappeared from the land of their fathers. Did you get my last unworthy letter? I hope you did. It would at all events show that there was on my part no intentional neglect, that I certainly had written in reply to the last letter that I received, although doubtless a letter had been lost on one side or the other. I live so entirely in the quiet country that I have little to tell you that can be interesting. Two things indeed, not generally known, I may mention: that Stanfield Hall, the scene of the horrible murder of which you have doubtless read, was the actual birthplace of Amy Robsart,-of whose tragic end, by the way, there is at last an authentic account, both in the new edition of Pepys and the first volume of the "Romance of the Peerage"; and that a friend of mine saw the other day in the window of a London bookseller a copy of Hume, ticketed "An Excellent Introduction to Macaulay." The great man was much amused at this practical compliment, as well he might be. I have been reading the autobiographies of Lamartine and Chateaubriand, as well as Raphael, which, although not avowed, is of course and most certainly a continuation of "Les Confiances." What strange beings these Frenchmen are! Here is M. de Lamartine at sixty, poet, orator, historian, and statesman, writing the stories of two ladies-one of them married-who died for love of him! Think if Mr. Macaulay should announce himself as a lady-killer, and put the details not merely into a book, but into a feuilleton!

The Brownings are living quite quietly at Florence, seeing, I suspect, more Americans than English. Mrs. Trollope has lost her only remaining daughter; arrived in England only time enough to see her die.

Adieu, dear Mr. Fields; say everything for me to Mr. and Mrs. Ticknor, and Mr. and Mrs. Norton. How much I should like to see you!

Ever faithfully yours, M.R.M.

(February, 1850.)

You will have thought me either dead or dying, my dear Mr. Fields, for ungrateful I hope you could not think me to such a friend as yourself, but in truth I have been in too much trouble and anxiety to write. This is the story: I live alone, and my servants become, as they are in France, and ought, I think, always to be, really and truly part of my family. A most sensible young woman, my own maid, who waits upon me and walks out with me, (we have another to do the drudgery of our cottage,) has a little fatherless boy who is the pet of the house. I wonder whether you saw him during the glimpse we had of you! He is a fair-haired child of six years old, singularly quick in intellect, and as bright in mind and heart and temper as a fountain in the sun. He is at school in Reading, and, the small-pox raging there like a pestilence, they sent him home to us to be out of the way. The very next week my man-servant was seized with it, after vaccination of course. Our medical friend advised me to send him away, but that was, in my view of things, out of the question; so we did the best we could,-my own maid, who is a perfect Sister of Charity in all cases of illness, sitting up with him for seven nights following, for one or two were requisite during the delirium, and we could not get a nurse for love or money, and when he became better, then, as we had dreaded, our poor little boy was struck down. However, it has pleased God to spare him, and, after a long struggle, he is safe from the disorder and almost restored to his former health. But we are still under a sort of quarantine, for, although people pretend to believe in vaccination, they avoid the house as if the plague were in it, and stop their carriages at the end of the village and send inquiries and cards, and in my mind they are right. To say nothing of Reading, there have been above thirty severe cases, after vaccination, in our immediate neighborhood, five of them fatal. I had been inoculated after the old style, my maid had had the small-pox the natural way and the only one who escaped was a young girl who had been vaccinated three times, the last two years ago. Forgive this long story; it was necessary to excuse my most unthankful silence, and may serve as an illustration of the way a disease, supposed to be all but exterminated, is making head again in England.

Thank you a thousand and a thousand times for your most delightful books. Mr. Whipple's Lectures are magnificent, and your own Boston Book could not, I think, be beaten by a London Book, certainly not approached by the collected works of any other British city,-Edinburgh, for example.

Mr. Bennett is most grateful for your kindness, and Mrs. Browning will be no less enchanted at the honor done her husband. It is most creditable to America that they think more of our thoughtful poets than the English do themselves.

Two female friends of mine-Mrs. Acton Tindal, a young beauty as well as a woman of genius, and a Miss Julia Day, whom I have never seen, but whose verses show extraordinary purity of thought, feeling, and expression-have been putting forth books. Julia Day's second series she has done me the honor to inscribe to me, notwithstanding which I venture to say how very much I admire it, and so I think would you. Henry Chorley is going to be a happy man. All his life long he has been dying to have a play acted, and now he has one coming out at the Surrey Theatre, over Blackfriars Bridge. He lives much among fine people, and likes the notion of a Faubourg audience. Perhaps he is right. I am not at all afraid of the play, which is very beautiful,-a blank-verse comedy full of truth and feeling. I don't know if you know Henry Chorley. He is the friend of Robert Browning, and the especial favorite of John Kenyon, and has always been a sort of adopted nephew of mine. Poor Mrs. Hemans loved him well; so did a very different person, Lady Blessington,-so that altogether you may fancy him a very likeable person; but he is much more,-generous, unselfish, loyal, and as true as steel, worth all his writings a thousand times over. If my house be in such condition as to allow of my getting to London to see "Old Love and New Fortune," I shall consult with Mr. Lucas about the time of sitting to him for a portrait, as I have promised to do; for, although there be several extant, not one is passably like. John Lucas is a man of so much taste that he will make a real old woman's picture of it, just with my every-day look and dress.

Will you make my most grateful thanks to Mr. Whipple, and also to the author of "Greenwood Leaves," which I read with great pleasure, and say all that is kindest and most respectful for me to Mr. and Mrs. George Ticknor. I shall indeed expect great delight from his book.

Ever, dear Mr. Fields, most gratefully yours,


We have had a Mr. Richmond here, lecturing and so forth. Do you know him? I can fancy what Mr. Webster would be on the Hungarian question. To hear Mr. Cobden talk of it was like the sound of a trumpet.

Three-mile Cross, November 25, 1850.

I have been waiting day after day, dear Mr. Fields, to send you two books,-one new, the other old,-one by my friend, Mr. Bennett; the other a volume [her Dramatic Poems] long out of print in England, and never, I think, known in America. I had great difficulty in procuring the shabby copy which I send you, but I think you will like it because it is mine, and comes to you from friend to friend, and because there is more of myself, that is, of my own inner feelings and fancies, than one ever ventures to put into prose. Mr. Bennett's volume, which is from himself as well as from me, I am sure you will like; most thoroughly would like each other if ever you met. He has the poet's heart and the poet's mind, large, truthful, generous, and full of true refinement, delightful as a companion, and invaluable as a man.

After eight years' absolute cessation of composition, Henry Chorley, of the Athenaeum, coaxed me last summer into writing for a Lady's Journal, which he was editing for Messrs. Bradbury and Evans, certain Readings of Poetry, old and new, which will, I suppose, form two or three separate volumes when collected, buried as they now are amongst all the trash and crochet-work and millinery. They will be quite as good as MS., and, indeed, every paper will be enlarged and above as many again added. One pleasure will be the doing what justice I can to certain American poets,-Mr. Whittier, for instance, whose "Massachusetts to Virginia" is amongst the finest things ever written. I gave one copy to a most intelligent Quaker lady, and have another in the house at this moment for Mrs. Walter, widow and mother of the two John Walters, father and son, so well known as proprietors of the Times. I shall cause my book to be immediately forwarded to you, but I don't think it will be ready for a twelvemonth. There is a good deal in it of my own prose, and it takes a wider range than usual of poetry, including much that has never appeared in any of the specimen books. Of course, dear friend, this is strictly between you and me, because it would greatly damage the work to have the few fragments that have appeared as yet brought forward without revision and completion in their present detached and crude form.

This England of ours is all alight and aflame with Protestant indignation against popery; the Church of England being likely to rekindle the fires of 1780, by way of vindicating the right of private judgment. I, who hold perfect freedom of thought and of conscience the most precious of all possessions, have of course my own hatred to these things. Cardinal Wiseman has taken advantage of the attack to put forth one of the most brilliant appeals that has appeared in my time; of course you will see it in America.

Professor Longfellow has won a station in England such as no American poet ever held before, and assuredly he deserves it. Except Beranger and Tennyson, I do not know any living man who has written things so beautiful. I think I like his Nuremburg best of all. Mr. Ticknor's great work, too, has won golden opinions, especially from those whose applause is fame; and I foresee that day by day our literature will become more mingled with rich, bright novelties from America, not reflections of European brightness, but gems all colored with your own skies and woods and waters. Lord Carlisle, the most accomplished of our ministers and the most amiable of our nobles, is giving this very week to the Leeds Mechanics' Institute a lecture on his travels in the United States, and another on the poetry of Pope.

May I ask you to transmit the accompanying letter to Mrs. H--? She has sent to me for titles and dates, and fifty things in which I can give her little help; but what I do know about my works I have sent her. Only, as, except that I believe her to live in Philadelphia, I really am as ignorant of her address as I am of the year which brought forth the first volume of "Our Village," I am compelled to go to you for help in forwarding my reply.

Ever, my dear Mr. Fields, most gratefully and faithfully yours,


Is not Louis Napoleon the most graceful of our European chiefs? I have always had a weakness for the Emperor, and am delighted to find the heir of his name turning out so well.


February 10, 1851

I cannot tell you, my dear Mr. Fields, how much I thank you for your most kind letter and parcel, which, after sending three or four emissaries all over London to seek, (Mr. -- having ignored the matter to my first messenger,) was at last sent to me by the Great Western Railway,-I suspect by the aforesaid Mr. --, because, although the name of the London bookseller was dashed out, a long-tailed letter was left just where the "p" would come in --, and as neither Bonn's nor Whittaker's name boasts such a grace, I suspect that, in spite of his assurance, the packet was in the Strand, and neither in Ave Maria Lane nor in Henrietta Street, to both houses I sent. Thank you a thousand times for all your kindness. The orations are very striking. But I was delighted with Dr. Holmes's poems for their individuality. How charming a person he must be! And how truly the portrait represents the mind, the lofty brow full of thought, and the wrinkle of humor in the eye! (Between ourselves, I always have a little doubt of genius where there is no humor; certainly in the very highest poetry the two go together,-Scott, Shakespeare, Fletcher, Burns.) Another charming thing in Dr. Holmes is, that every succeeding poem is better than the last. Is he a widower, or a bachelor, or a married man? At all events, he is a true poet, and I like him all the better for being a physician,-the one truly noble profession. There are noble men in all professions, but in medicine only are the great mass, almost the whole, generous, liberal, self-denying, living to advance science and to help mankind. If I had been a man I should certainly have followed that profession. I rejoice to hear of another Romance by the author of "The Scarlet Letter." That is a real work of genius. Have you seen "Alton Locke"? No novel has made so much noise for a long time; but it is, like "The Saint's Tragedy," inconclusive. Between ourselves, I suspect that the latter part was written with the fear of the Bishop before his eyes (the author, Mr. Kingsley, is a clergyman of the Church of England), which makes the one volume almost a contradiction of the others. Mrs. Browning is still at Florence, where she sees scarcely any English, a few Italians, and many Americans.

Ever most gratefully yours.


(No date.)

Dear Mr. Fields: I sent you a packet last week, but I have just received your two charming books, and I cannot suffer a post to pass without thanking you for them. Mr. Whittier's volume is quite what might have been expected from the greatest of Quaker writers, the worthy compeer of Longfellow, and will give me other extracts to go with "From Massachusetts to Virginia" and "Cassandra Southwick" in my own book, where one of my pleasures will be trying to do justice to American poetry, and Dr. Holmes's fine "Astraea." We have nothing like that nowadays in England. Nobody writes now in the glorious resonant metre of Dryden, and very few ever did write as Dr. Holmes does. I see there is another volume of his poetry, but the name was new to me. How much I owe to you, my dear Mr. Fields! That great romance, "The Scarlet Letter," and these fine poets,-for true poetry, not at all imitative, is rare in England, common as elegant imitative verse may be,-and that charming edition of Robert Browning. Shall you republish his wife's new edition? I cannot tell you how much I thank you. I read an extract from the Times, containing a report of Lord Carlisle's lecture on America, chiefly because he and Dr. Holmes say the same thing touching the slavish regard to opinion which prevails in America. Lord Carlisle is by many degrees the most accomplished of our nobles. Another accomplished and cultivated nobleman, a friend of my own, we have just lost,-Lord Nugent,-liberal, too, against the views of his family.

You must make my earnest and very sincere congratulations to your friend. In publishing Gray, he shows the refinement of taste to be expected in your companion. I went over all his haunts two years ago, and have commemorated them in the book you will see by and by,-the book that is to be,-and there I have put on record the bride-cake, and the finding by you on my table your own edition of Motherwell. You are not angry, are you? If your father and mother in law ever come again to England, I shall rejoice to see them, and shall be sure to do so, if they will drop me a line. God bless you, dear Mr. Fields.

Ever faithfully and gratefully yours, M.R.M.

Three-mile Cross, July 20, 1851.

You will have thought me most ungrateful, dear Mr. Fields, in being so long your debtor for a most kind and charming letter; but first I waited for the "House of the Seven Gables," and then when it arrived, only a week ago; I waited to read it a second time. At sixty-four life gets too short to allow us to read every book once and again; but it is not so with Mr. Hawthorne's. The first time one sketches them (to borrow Dr. Holmes's excellent word), and cannot put them down for the vivid interest; the next, one lingers over the beauty with a calmer enjoyment. Very beautiful this book is! I thank you for it again and again. The legendary part is all the better for being vague and dim and shadowy, all pervading, yet never tangible; and the living people have a charm about them which is as lifelike and real as the legendary folks are ghostly and remote. Phoebe, for instance, is a creation which, not to speak it profanely, is almost Shakespearian. I know no modern heroine to compare with her, except it be Eugene Sue's Rigolette, who shines forth amidst the iniquities of "Les Mystères de Paris" like some rich, bright, fresh cottage rose thrown by evil chance upon a dunghill. Tell me, please, about Mr. Hawthorne, as you were so good as to do about that charming person, Dr. Holmes. Is he young? I think he is, and I hope so for the sake of books to come. And is he of any profession? Does he depend altogether upon literature, as too many writers do here? At all events, he is one of the glories of your most glorious part of great America. Tell me, too, what is become of Mr. Cooper, that other great novelist? I think I heard from you, or from some other Transatlantic friend, that he was less genial and less beloved than so many other of your notabilities have been. Indeed, one sees that in many of his recent works; but I have been reading many of his earlier books again, with ever-increased admiration, especially I should say "The Pioneers"; and one cannot help hoping that the mind that has given so much pleasure to so many readers will adjust itself so as to admit of its own happiness,-for very clearly the discomfort was his own fault, and he is too clever a person for one not to wish him well.

I think that the most distinguished of our own young writers are, the one a dear friend of mine, John Ruskin; the other, one who will shortly be so near a neighbor that we must know each other. It is quite wonderful that we don't now, for we are only twelve miles apart, and have scores of friends in common. This last is the Rev. Charles Kingsley, author of "Alton Locke" and "Yeast" and "The Saint's Tragedy." All these books are full of world-wide truths, and yet, taken as a whole, they are unsatisfactory and inconclusive, knocking down without building up. Perhaps that is the fault of the social system that he lays bare, perhaps of the organization of the man, perhaps a little of both. You will have heard probably that he, with other benevolent persons, established a sort of socialist community (Christian socialism) for journeymen tailors, he himself being their chaplain. The evil was very great, for of twenty-one thousand of that class in London, fifteen thousand were ill-paid and only half-employed. For a while, that is, as long as the subscription lasted, all went well; but I fear this week that the money has come to an end, and so very likely will the experiment. Have you republished "Alton Locke" in America? It has one character, an old Scotchman, equal to anything in Scott. The writer is still quite a young man, but out of health. I have heard (but this is between ourselves) that --'s brain is suffering,-the terrible malady by which so many of our great mental laborers (Scott and Southey, above all) have fallen. Dr. Buckland is now dying of it. I am afraid -- may be so lost to the world and his friends, not merely because his health is going, but because certain peculiarities have come to my knowledge which look like it. A brother clergyman saw him the other day, upon a common near his own house, spouting, singing, and reciting verse at the top of his voice at one o'clock in the morning. Upon inquiring what was the matter, the poet said that he never went to bed till two or three o'clock, and frequently went out in that way to exercise his lungs. My informant, an orderly person of a very different stamp, set him down for mad at once; but he is much beloved among his parishioners, and if the escapade above mentioned do not indicate disease of the brain, I can only say it would be good for the country if we had more madmen of the same sort. As to John Ruskin, I would not answer for quiet people not taking him for crazy too. He is an enthusiast in art, often right, often wrong,-"in the right very stark, in the wrong very sturdy,"-bigoted, perverse, provoking, as ever man was; but good and kind and charming beyond the common lot of mortals. There are some pages of his prose that seem to me more eloquent than anything out of Jeremy Taylor, and I should think a selection of his works would answer to reprint. Their sale here is something wonderful, considering their dearness, in this age of cheap literature, and the want of attraction in the subject, although the illustrations of the "Stones of Venice," executed by himself from his own drawings, are almost as exquisite as the writings. By the way, he does not say what I heard the other day from another friend, just returned from the city of the sea, that Taglioni has purchased four of the finest palaces, and is restoring them with great taste, by way of investment, intending to let them to Russian and English noblemen. She was a very graceful dancer once, was Taglioni; but still it rather depoetizes the place, which of all others was richest in associations.

Mrs. Browning has got as near to England as Paris, and holds out enough of hope of coming to London to keep me from visiting it until I know her decision. I have not seen the great Exhibition, and, unless she arrives, most probably shall not see it. My lameness, which has now lasted five months, is the reason I give to myself for not going, chairs being only admitted for an hour or two on Saturday mornings. But I suspect that my curiosity has hardly reached the fever-heat needful to encounter the crowd and the fatigue. It is amusing to find how people are cooling down about it. We always were a nation of idolaters, and always had the trick of avenging ourselves upon our poor idols for the sin of our own idolatry. Many an overrated, and then underrated, poet can bear witness to this. I remember when my friend Mr. Milnes was called the poet, although Scott and Byron were in their glory, and Wordsworth had written all of his works that will live. We make gods of wood and stone, and then we knock them to pieces; and so figuratively, if not literally, shall we do by the Exhibition. Next month I am going to move to a cottage at Swallowfield,-so called, I suppose, because those migratory birds meet by millions every autumn in the park there, now belonging to some friends of mine, and still famous as the place where Lord Clarendon wrote his history. That place is still almost a palace; mine an humble but very prettily placed cottage. O, how proud and glad I should be, if ever I could receive Mr. and Mrs. Fields within its walls for more than a poor hour! I shall have tired you with this long letter, but you have made me reckon you among my friends,-ay, one of the best and kindest,-and must take the consequence.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, Saturday Night.

I write you two notes at once, my dear friend, whilst the recollection of your conversation is still in my head and the feeling of your kindness warm on my heart. To write, to thank you for a visit which has given me so much pleasure, is an impulse not to be resisted. Pray tell Mr. and Mrs. Bennoch how delighted I am to make their acquaintance and how earnestly I hope we may meet often. They are charming people.

Another motive that I had for writing at once is to tell you that the more I think of the title of the forthcoming book, the less I like it; and I care more for it, now that you are concerned in the matter, than I did before. "Personal Reminiscences" sounds like a bad title for an autobiography. Now this is nothing of the sort. It is literally a book made up of favorite scraps of poetry and prose; the bits of my own writing are partly critical, and partly have been interwoven to please Henry Chorley and give something of novelty, and as it were individuality, to a mere selection, to take off the dryness and triteness of extracts, and give the pen something to say in the work as well as the scissors. Still, it is a book founded on other books, and since it pleased Mr. Bentley to object to "Readings of Poetry," because he said nobody in England bought poetry, why "Recollections of Books," as suggested by Mr. Bennett, approved by me, and as I believed (till this very day) adopted by Mr. Bentley, seemed to meet exactly the truth of the case, and to be quite concession enough to the exigencies of the trade. By the other title we exposed ourselves, in my mind, to all manner of danger. I shall write this by this same post to Mr. Bennett, and get the announcement changed, if possible; for it seems to me a trick of the worst sort. I shall write a list of the subjects, and I only wish that I had duplicates, and I would send you the articles, for I am most uncomfortable at the notion of your being taken in to purchase a book that may, through this misnomer, lose its reputation in England; for of course it will be attacked as an unworthy attempt to make it pass for what it is not....

Now if you dislike it, or if Mr. Bentley keep that odious title, why, give it up at once. Don't pray, pray lose money by me. It would grieve me far more than it would you. A good many of these are about books quite forgotten, as the "Pleader's Guide" (an exquisite pleasantry), "Holcroft's Memoirs," and "Richardson's Correspondence." Much on Darley and the Irish Poets, unknown in England; and I think myself that the book will contain, as in the last article, much exquisite poetry and curious prose, as in the forgotten murder (of Toole, the author's uncle) in the State Trials. But it should be called by its right name, as everything should in this world. God bless you!

Ever faithfully yours,


P.S. First will come the Preface, then the story of the book (without Henry Chorley's name; it is to be dedicated to him), noticing the coincidence of "Our Village" having first appeared in the Lady's Magazine, and saying something like what I wrote to you last night. I think this will take off the danger of provoking apprehension on one side and disappointment on the other; because after all, although anecdote be not the style of the book, it does contain some.

May I put in the story of Washington's ghost? without your name, of course; it would be very interesting, and I am ten times more desirous of making the book as good as I can, since I have reason to believe you will be interested in it. Pray, forgive me for having worried you last night and now again. I am a terribly nervous person, and hate and dread literary scrapes, or indeed disputes of any sort. But I ought not to have worried you. Just tell me if you think this sort of preface will take the sting from the title, for I dare say Mr. Bentley won't change it.

Adieu, dear friend. All peace and comfort to you in your journey; amusement you are sure of. I write also to dear Mr. Bennett, whom I fear I have also worried.

Ever most faithfully yours,



January 5.

Mr. Bennoch has just had the very great kindness, dear Mr. Fields, to let me know of your safe arrival at Genoa, and of your enjoyment of your journey. Thank God for it! We heard so much about commotions in the South of France that I had become fidgety about you, the rather that it is the best who go, and that I for one cannot afford to lose you.

Now let me thank you for all your munificence,-that beautiful Longfellow with the hundred illustrations, and that other book of Professor Longfellow's, beautiful in another way, the "Golden Legend." I hope I shall be only one among the multitude who think this the greatest and best thing he has done yet, so racy, so full of character, of what the French call local color, so, in its best and highest sense, original. Moreover, I like the happy ending. Then those charming volumes of De Quincey and Sprague and Grace Greenwood. (Is that her real name?) And dear Mr. Hawthorne, and the two new poets, who, if also young poets, will be fresh glories for America. How can I thank you enough for all these enjoyments? And you must come back to England, and add to my obligations by giving me as much as you can of your company in the merry month of May. I have fallen in with Mr. Kingsley, and a most charming person he is, certainly the least like an Englishman of letters, and the most like an accomplished, high-toned English gentleman, that I have ever met with. You must know Mr. Kingsley. He is very young too, really young, for it is characteristic of our "young poets" that they generally turn out middle-aged and very often elderly. My book is out at last, hurried through the press in a fortnight,-a process which half killed me, and has left the volumes, no doubt, full of errata,-and you, I mean your house, have not got it. I am keeping a copy for you personally. People say that they like it. I think you will, because it will remind you of this pretty country, and of an old Englishwoman who loves you well. Mrs. Browning was delighted with your visit. She is a Bonapartiste; so am I. I always adored the Emperor, and I think his nephew is a great man, full of ability, energy, and courage, who put an end to an untenable situation and got quit of a set of unrepresenting representatives. The Times newspaper, right as it seems to me about Kossuth, is dangerously wrong about Louis Napoleon, since it is trying to stimulate the nation to a war for which France is more than prepared, is ready, and England is not. London might be taken with far less trouble and fewer men than it took to accomplish the coup d'état. Ah! I suspect very different politics will enclose this wee bit notie, if dear Mr. Bennoch contrives to fold it up in a letter of his own; but to agree to differ is part of the privileges of friendship; besides, I think you and I generally agree.

Ever yours,


P.S. All this time I have not said a word of "The Wonder Book." Thanks again and again. Who was the Mr. Blackstone mentioned in "The Scarlet Letter" as riding like a myth in New England History, and what his arms? A grandson of Judge Blackstone, a friend of mine, wishes to know.

(March, 1852.)

I can never enough thank you, dearest Mr. Fields, for your kind recollection of me in such a place as the Eternal City. But you never forget any whom you make happy in your friendship, for that is the word; and therefore here in Europe or across the Atlantic, you will always remain.... Your anecdote of the -- is most characteristic. I am very much afraid that he is only a poet, and although I fear the last person in the world to deny that that is much, I think that to be a really great man needs something more. I am sure that you would not have sympathized with Wordsworth. I do hope that you will see Beranger when in Paris. He is the one man in France (always excepting Louis Napoleon, to whom I confess the interest that all women feel in strength and courage) whom I should earnestly desire to know well. In the first place, I think him by far the greatest of living poets, the one who unites most completely those two rare things, impulse and finish. In the next, I admire his admirable independence and consistency, and his generous feeling for fallen greatness. Ah, what a truth he told, when he said that Napoleon was the greatest poet of modern days! I should like to have the description of Beranger from your lips. Mrs. Browning ... has made acquaintance with Madame Sand, of whom her account is most striking and interesting. But George Sand is George Sand, and Beranger is Beranger.

Thank you, dear friend, for your kind interest in my book. It has found far more favor than I expected, and I think, ever since the week after its publication, I have received a dozen of letters daily about it, from friends and strangers,-mostly strangers,-some of very high accomplishments, who will certainly be friends. This is encouragement to write again, and we will have a talk about it when you come. I should like your advice. One thing is certain, that this work has succeeded, and that the people who like it best are precisely those whom one wishes to like it best, the lovers of literature. Amongst other things, I have received countless volumes of poetry and prose,-one little volume of poetry written under the name of Mary Maynard, of the greatest beauty, with the vividness and picturesqueness of the new school, combined with infinite correctness and clearness, that rarest of all merits nowadays. Her real name I don't know, she has only thought it right to tell me that Mary Maynard was not the true appellation (this is between ourselves). Her own family know nothing of the publication, which seems to have been suggested by her and my friend, John Ruskin. Of course, she must have her probation, but I know of no young writer so likely to rival your new American school. I sent your gift-books of Hawthorne, yesterday, to the Walters of Bearwood, who had never heard of them! Tell him that I have had the honor of poking him into the den of the Times, the only civilized place in England where they were barbarous enough not to be acquainted with "The Scarlet Letter." I wonder what they'll think of it. It will make them stare. They come to see me, for it is full two months since I have been in the pony-chaise. I was low, if you remember, when you were here, but thought myself getting better, was getting better. About Christmas, very damp weather came on, or rather very wet weather, and the damp seized my knee and ankles and brought back such an attack of rheumatism that I cannot stand upright, walk quite double, and am often obliged to be lifted from step to step up stairs. My medical adviser (a very clever man) says that I shall get much better when warm weather comes, but for weeks and weeks we have had east-winds and frost. No violets, no primroses, no token of spring. A little flock of ewes and lambs, with a pretty boy commonly holding a lamb in his arms, who drives his flock to water at the pond opposite my window, is the only thing that gives token of the season. I am quite mortified at this on your account, for April, in general a month of great beauty here, will be as desolate as winter. Nevertheless you must come and see me, you and Mr. and Mrs. Bennoch, and perhaps you can continue to stay a day or two, or to come more than once. I want to see as much of you as I can, and I must change much, if I be in any condition to go to London, even upon the only condition on which I ever do go, that is, into lodgings, for I never stay anywhere; and if I were to go, even to one dear and warm-hearted friend, I should affront the very many other friends whose invitations I have refused for so many years. I hope to get at Mr. Kingsley; but I have seen little of him this winter. We are five miles asunder; his wife has been ill; and my fear of an open carriage, or rather the medical injunction not to enter one, has been a most insuperable objection. We are, as we both said, summer neighbors. However, I will try that you should see him. He is well worth knowing. Thank you about Mr. Blackstone. He is worth knowing too, in a different way, a very learned and very clever man (you will find half Dr. Arnold's letters addressed to him), as full of crotchets as an egg is full of meat, fond of disputing and contradicting, a clergyman living in the house where Mrs. Trollope was raised, and very kind after his own fashion. One thing that I should especially like would be that you should see your first nightingale amongst our woody lanes. To be sure, these winds can never last till then. Mr. -- is coming here on Sunday. He always brings rain or snow, and that will change the weather. You are a person who ought to bring sunshine, and I suppose you do more than metaphorically; for I remember that both times I have had the happiness to see you-a summer day and a winter day-were glorious. Heaven bless you, dear friend! May all the pleasure ... return upon your own head! Even my little world is charmed at the prospect of seeing you again. If you come to Reading by the Great Western you could return later and make a longer day, and yet be no longer from home.

Ever faithfully yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, April 27, 1852.

How can I thank you half enough, dearest Mr. Fields, for all your goodness! To write to me the very day after reaching Paris, to think of me so kindly! It is what I never can repay. I write now not to trouble you for another letter, but to remind you that, as soon as possible after your return to England, I hope to see you and Mr. and Mrs. Bennoch here. Heaven grant the spring may come to meet you! At present I am writing in an east-wind, which has continued two months and gives no sign of cessation. Professor Airy says it will continue five weeks longer. Not a drop of rain has fallen in all that time. We have frosts every night, the hedges are as bare as at Christmas, flowers forget to blow, or if they put forth miserable, infrequent, reluctant blossoms, have no heart, and I have only once heard the nightingale in this place where they abound, and not yet seen a swallow in the spot which takes name from their gatherings. It follows, of course, that the rheumatism, covered by a glut of wet weather, just upon the coming in of the new year, is fifty times increased by the bitter season,-a season which has no parallel in my recollection. I can hardly sit down when standing, or rise from my chair without assistance, walk quite double, and am lifted up stairs step by step by my man-servant. I thought, two years ago, I could walk fifteen or sixteen miles a day! O, I was too proud of my activity! I am sure we are smitten in our vanities. However, you will bring the summer, which is, they say, to do me good; and even if that should fail, it will do me some good to see you, that is quite certain. Thank you for telling me about the Galignani, and about the kind American reception of my book; some one sent me a New York paper (the Tribune, I think), full of kindness, and I do assure you that to be so heartily greeted by my kinsmen across the Atlantic is very precious to me. From the first American has there come nothing but good-will. However, the general kindness here has taken me quite by surprise. The only fault found was with the title, which, as you know, was no doing of mine; and the number of private letters, books, verses, (commendatory verses, as the old poets have it), and tributes of all sorts, and from all manner of persons, that I receive every day is something quite astonishing.

Our great portrait-painter, John Lucas, certainly the first painter of female portraits now alive, has been down here to take a portrait for engraving. He has been most successful. It is looking better, I suppose, than I ever do look; but not better than under certain circumstances-listening to a favorite friend, for example-I perhaps might look. The picture is to go to-morrow into the engraver's hands, and I hope the print will be completed before your departure; also they are engraving, or are about to engrave, a miniature taken of me when I was a little girl between three and four years old. They are to be placed side by side, the young child and the old withered woman, -- a skull and cross-bones could hardly be a more significant memento mori! I have lost my near neighbor and most accomplished friend, Sir Henry Russell, and many other friends, for Death has been very busy this winter, and Mr. Ware is gone! He had sent me his "Zenobia," "from the author," and for that very reason, I suppose, some one had stolen it; but I had replaced both that and the letters from Rome, and sent them to Mr. Kingsley as models for his "Hypatia." He has them still. He had never heard of them till I named them to him. They seem to me very fine and classical, just like the best translations from some great Latin writer. And I have been most struck with Edgar Poe, who has been republished, prose and poetry, in a shilling volume called "Readable Books." What a deplorable history it was!-I mean his own,-the most unredeemed vice that I have met with in the annals of genius. But he was a very remarkable writer, and must have a niche if I write again; so must your two poets, Stoddard and Taylor. I am very sorry you missed Mrs. Trollope; she is a most remarkable woman, and you would have liked her, I am sure, for her warm heart and her many accomplishments. I had a sure way to Beranger, one of my dear friends being a dear friend of his; but on inquiring for him last week, that friend also is gone to heaven. Do pick up for me all you can about Louis Napoleon, my one real abiding enthusiasm,-the enthusiasm of my whole life,-for it began with the Emperor and has passed quite undiminished to the present great, bold, and able ruler of France. Mrs. Browning shares it, I think; only she calls herself cool, which I don't; and another still more remarkable co-religionist in the L.N. faith is old Lady Shirley (of Alderley), the writer of that most interesting letter to Gibbon, dated 1792, published by her father, Lord Sheffield, in his edition of the great historian's posthumous works. She is eighty-two now, and as active and vigorous in body and mind, as sixty years ago.

Make my most affectionate love to my friend in the Avenue des Champs Elysées, and believe me ever, my dear Mr. Fields, most gratefully and affectionately yours,


(No date)

Ah, my dearest Mr. Fields, how inimitably good and kind you are to me! Your account of Rachel is most delightful, the rather that it confirms a preconceived notion which two of my friends had taken pains to change. Henry Chorley, not only by his own opinion, but by that of Scribe, who told him that there was no comparison between her and Viardot. Now if Viardot, even in that one famous part of Fides, excels Rachel, she must be much the finer actress, having the horrible drawback of the music to get over. My other friend told me a story of her, in the modern play of Virginie; she declared that when in her father's arms she pointed to the butcher's knife, telling him what to do, and completely reversing that loveliest story; but I hold to your version of her genius, even admitting that she did commit the Virginie iniquity, which would be intensely characteristic of her calling,-all actors and actresses having a desire to play the whole play themselves, speaking every speech, producing every effect in their own person. No doubt she is a great actress, and still more assuredly is Louis Napoleon a great man, a man of genius, which includes in my mind both sensibility and charm. There are little bits of his writing from Ham, one where he speaks of "le repos de ma prison," another long and most eloquent passage on exile, which ends (I forget the exact words) with a sentiment full of truth and sensibility. He is speaking of the treatment shown to an exile in a foreign land, of the mistiness and coldness of some, of the blandness and smoothness of others, and he goes on to say, "He must be a man of ten thousand who behaves to an exile just as he would behave to another person." If I could trust you to perform a commission for me, and let me pay you the money you spent upon it, I would ask you to bring me a cheap but comprehensive life of him, with his works and speeches, and a portrait as like him as possible. I asked an English friend to do this for me, and fancy his sending me a book dated on the outside 1847!!!! Did I ever tell you a pretty story of him, when he was in England after Strasburg and before Boulogne, and which I know to be true? He spent a twelvemonth at Leamington, living in the quietest manner. One of the principal persons there is Mr. Hampden, a descendant of John Hampden, and the elder brother of the Bishop. Mr. Hampden, himself a very liberal and accomplished man, made a point of showing every attention in his power to the Prince, and they soon became very intimate. There was in the town an old officer of the Emperor's Polish Legion who, compelled to leave France after Waterloo, had taken refuge in England, and, having the national talent for languages, maintained himself by teaching French, Italian, and German in different families. The old exile and the young one found each other out, and the language master was soon an habitual guest at the Prince's table, and treated by him with the most affectionate attention. At last Louis Napoleon wearied of a country town and repaired to London; but before he went he called on Mr. Hampden to take leave. After warm thanks for all the pleasure he had experienced in his society, he said: "I am about to prove to you my entire reliance upon your unfailing kindness by leaving you a legacy. I want to ask you to transfer to my poor old friend the goodness you have lavished upon me. His health is failing, his means are small. Will you call upon him sometimes? and will you see that those lodging-house people do not neglect him? and will you, above all, do for him what he will not do for himself, draw upon me for what may be wanting for his needs or for his comforts?" Mr. Hampden promised. The prophecy proved true; the poor old man grew worse and worse, and finally died. Mr. Hampden, as he had promised, replaced the Prince in his kind attentions to his old friend, and finally defrayed the charges of his illness and of his funeral. "I would willingly have paid them myself," said he, "but I knew that that would have offended and grieved the Prince, so I honestly divided the expenses with him, and I found that full provision had been made at his banker's to answer my drafts to a much larger amount." Now I have full faith in such a nature. Let me add that he never forgot Mr. Hampden's kindness, sending him his different brochures and the kindest messages, both from Ham and the Elysée. If one did not not admire Louis Napoleon, I should like to know upon whom one could, as a public man, fix one's admiration! Just look at our English statesmen! And see the state to which self-government brings everything! Look at London with all its sanitary questions just in the same state as ten years ago; look at all our acts of Parliament, one half of a session passed in amending the mismanagement of the other. For my own part, I really believe that there is nothing like one mind, one wise and good ruler; and I verily believe that the President of France is that man. My only doubt being whether the people are worthy of him, fickle as they are, like all great masses,-the French people, in particular. By the way, if a most vilely translated book, called the "Prisoner of Ham," be extant in French, I should like to possess it. The account of the escape looks true, and is most interesting.

I have been exceedingly struck, since I last wrote to you, by some extracts from Edgar Poe's writings; I mean a book called "The Readable Library," composed of selections from his works, prose and verse. The famous ones are, I find, The Maelstrom and The Raven; without denying their high merits, I prefer that fine poem on The Bells, quite as fine as Schiller's, and those remarkable bits of stories on circumstantial evidence. I am lower, dear friend, than ever, and what is worse, in supporting myself on my hand I have strained my right side and can hardly turn in bed. But if we cannot walk round Swallowfield, we can drive, and the very sight of you will do me good. If Mr. Bentley send me only one copy of that engraving, it shall be for you. You know I have a copy for you of the book. There are no words to tell the letters and books I receive about it, so I suppose it is popular. I have lost, as you know, my most accomplished and admirable neighbor, Sir Henry Russell, the worthy successor of the great Lord Clarendon. His eldest daughter is my favorite young friend, a most lovely creature, the ideal of a poet. I hope you will see Beranger. Heaven bless you!

Ever yours, M.R.M.

Saturday Night.

Ah, my very dear friend, how can I ever thank you? But I don't want to thank you. There are some persons (very few, though) to whom it is a happiness to be indebted, and you are one of them. The books and the busts are arrived. Poor dear Louis Napoleon with his head off-Heaven avert the omen! Of course that head can be replaced, I mean stuck on again upon its proper shoulders. Beranger is a beautiful old man, just what one fancies him and loves to fancy him. I hope you saw him. To my mind, he is the very greatest poet now alive, perhaps the greatest man, the truest and best type of perfect independence. Thanks a thousand and a thousand times for those charming busts and for the books. Mrs. Browning had mentioned to me Mr. Read. If I live to write another book, I shall put him and Mr. Taylor and Mr. Stoddard together, and try to do justice to Poe. I have a good right to love America and the Americans. My Mr. Lucas tells me to go, and says he has a mind to go. I want you to know John Lucas, not only the finest portrait-painter, but about the very finest mind that I know in the world. He might be.... for talent and manner and heart; and, if you like, you shall, when I am dead, have the portrait he has just taken of me. I make the reserve, instead of giving it to you now, because it is possible that he might wish (I know he does) to paint one for himself, and if I be dead before sitting to him again, the present one would serve him to copy. Mr. Bentley wanted to purchase it, and many have wanted it, but it shall be for you.

Now, my very dear friend, I am afraid that Mr. -- has said or done something that would make you rather come here alone. His last letter to me, after a month's silence, was odd. There was no fixing upon line or word; still it was not like his other letters, and I suppose the air of -- is not genial, and yet dear Mr. Bennoch breathes it often! You must know that I never could have meant for one instant to impose him upon you as a companion. Only in the autumn there had been a talk of his joining your party. He knows Mr. Bennoch.... He has been very kind and attentive to me, and is, I verily believe, an excellent and true-hearted person; and so I was willing that, if all fell out well, he should have the pleasure of your society here,-the rather that I am sometimes so poorly, and always so helpless now, that one who knows the place might be of use. But to think that for one moment I would make your time or your wishes bend to his is out of the question. Come at your own time, as soon and as often as you can. I should say this to any one going away three thousand miles off, much more to you, and forgive my having even hinted at his coming too. I only did it thinking it might fix you and suit you. In this view I wrote to him yesterday, to tell him that on Wednesday next there would be a cricket-match at Bramshill, one of the finest old mansions in England, a Tudor Manor House, altered by Inigo Jones, and formerly the residence of Prince Henry, the elder son of James the First. In the grand old park belonging to that grand old place, there will be on that afternoon a cricket-match. I thought you would like to see our national game in a scene so perfectly well adapted to show it to advantage. Being in Mr. Kingsley's parish, and he very intimate with the owner, it is most likely, too, that he will be there; so that altogether it seemed to me something that you and dear Mr. and Mrs. Bennoch might like to see. My poor little pony could take you from hence; but not to fetch or carry you, and if the dear Bennochs come, it would be advisable to let the flymen know the place of destination, because, Sir William Cope being a new-comer, I am not sure whether he (like his predecessor, whom I knew) allows horses and carriages to be put up there. I should like you to look on for half an hour at a cricket-match in Bramshill Park, and to be with you at a scene so English and so beautiful. We could dine here afterwards, the Great Western allowing till a quarter before nine in the evening. Contrive this if you can, and let me know by return of post, and forgive my mal addresse about Mr. --. There certainly has something come across him,-not about you, but about me; one thing is, I think, his extreme politics. I always find these violent Radicals very unwilling to allow in others the unlimited freedom of thought that they claim for themselves. He can't forgive my love for the President. Now I must tell you a story I know to be true. A lady of rank was placed next the Prince a year or two ago. He was very gentle and courteous, but very silent, and she wanted to make him talk. At last she remembered that, having been in Switzerland twenty years before, she had received some kindness from the Queen Hortense, and had spent a day at Arenenburg. She told him so, speaking with warm admiration of the Queen. "Ah, madame, vous avez connu ma mère!" exclaimed Louis Napoleon, turning to her eagerly and talking of the place and the people as a school-boy talks of home. She spent some months in Paris, receiving from the Prince every attention which his position enabled him to show; and when she thanked him for such kindness, his answer was always: "Ah, madame, vous avez connu ma mère!" Is it in woman's heart not to love such a man? And then look at the purchase of the Murillo the other day, and the thousand really great things that he is doing. Mr. -- is a goose.

I send this letter to the post to-morrow, when I send other letters,-a vile, puritanical post-office arrangement not permitting us to send letters in the afternoon, unless we send straight to Reading (six miles) on purpose,-so perhaps this may cross an answer from Mr. -- or from you about Bramshill; perhaps, on the other hand, I may have to write again. At all events, you will understand that this is written on Saturday night. God bless you, my very dear and kind friend.

Ever faithfully yours, M.R.M.

May 24, 1852.

Ah, dearest Mr. Fields, how much too good and kind you are to me always! ... I wish I were better, that I might go to town and see more of you; but I am more lame than ever, and having, in my weight and my shortness and my extreme helplessness, caught at tables and chairs and dragged myself along that fashion, I have now so strained the upper part of the body that I cannot turn in bed, and am full of muscular pains which are worse than the rheumatism and more disabling, so that I seem to cumber the earth. They say that summer, when it comes, will do me good. How much more sure that the sight of you will do me good, and I trust that, when your business will let you, you will give me that happiness. In the mean while will you take the trouble to send the enclosed and my answer, if it be fit and proper and properly addressed? I give you this office, because really the kindness seems so large and unlimited, that, if the letter had not come enclosed in one from Mr. Kenyon, one could hardly have believed it to be serious, and yet I am well used to kindness, too. I thank over and over again your glorious poets for their kindness, and tell Mr. Hawthorne I shall prize a letter from him beyond all the worlds one has to give. I rejoice to hear of the new work, and can answer for its excellence.

I trust that the English edition of Dr. Holmes will contain the "Astraea," and the "Morning Visit," and the "Cambridge Address." I am not sure, in my secret soul, that I do not prefer him to any American poet. Besides his inimitable word-painting, the charity is so large and the scale so fine. How kind in you to like my book,-some people do like it. I am afraid to tell you what John Ruskin says of it from Venice, and I get letters, from ten to twenty a day. You know how little I dreamt of this! Mrs. Trollope has sent me a most affectionate letter, bemoaning her ill-fortune in missing you. I thank you for the Galignani edition, and the presidential kindness, and all your goodness of every sort. I have nothing to give you but as large a share of my poor affection as I think any human being has. You know a copy of the book from me has been waiting for you these three months. Adieu, my dear friend.

Ever yours,


(July 6, 1852.) Monday Night, or, rather, 2 o'clock Tuesday Morning.

Having just finished Mr. Hawthorne's book, dear Mr. Fields, I shall get K-- to put it up and direct it so that it may be ready the first time Sam has occasion to go to Reading, at which time this letter will be put in the post; so that when you read this, you may be assured that the precious volumes are arrived at the Paddington Station, whence I hope they may be immediately transmitted to you. If not, send for them. They will have your full direction, carriage paid. I say this, because the much vaunted Great Western is like all other railways, most uncertain and irregular, and we have lost a packet of plants this very week, sent to us, announced by letter and never arrived. Thank you heartily for the perusal of the book. I shall not name it in a letter which I mean to enclose to Mr. Hawthorne, not knowing that you mean to tell him, and having plenty of other things to say to him besides. To you, and only to you, I shall speak quite frankly what I think. It is full of beauty and of power, but I agree with -- that it would not have made a reputation as the other two books did, and I have some doubts whether it will not be a disappointment, but one that will soon be redeemed by a fresh and happier effort. It seems to me too long, too slow, and the personages are to my mind ill chosen. Zenobia puts one in mind of Fanny Wright and Margaret Fuller and other unsexed authorities, and Hollingsworth will, I fear, recall, to English people at least, a most horrible man who went about preaching peace. I heard him lecture once, and shall never forget his presumption, his ignorance, or his vulgarity. He is said to know many languages. I can answer for his not knowing his own, for I never, even upon the platform, the native home of bad English, heard so much in so short a time. The mesmeric lecturer and the sickly girl are almost equally disagreeable. In short, the only likeable person in the book is honest Silas Foster, who alone gives one the notion of a man of flesh and blood. In my mind, dear Mr. Hawthorne mistakes exceedingly when he thinks that fiction should be based upon, or rather seen through, some ideal medium. The greatest fictions of the world are the truest. Look at the "Vicar of Wakefield," look at the "Simple Story," look at Scott, look at Jane Austen, greater because truer than all, look at the best works of your own Cooper. It is precisely the want of reality in his smaller stories which has delayed Mr. Hawthorne's fame so long, and will prevent its extension if he do not resolutely throw himself into truth, which is as great a thing in my mind in art as in morals, the foundation of all excellence in both. The fine parts of this book, at least the finest, are the truest,-that magnificent search for the body, which is as perfect as the search for the exciseman in Guy Mannering, and the burst of passion in Eliot's pulpit. The plot, too, is very finely constructed, and doubtless I have been a too critical reader, because, from the moment you and I parted, I have been suffering from fever, and have never left the bed, in which I am now writing. Don't fancy, dear friend, that you had anything to do with this. The complaint had fixed itself and would have run its course, even although your ... society has not roused and excited the good spirits, which will, I think, fail only with my life. I think I am going to get better. Love to all.

Ever most affectionately yours, M.R.M.

Tuesday. (No date.)

My Dear Friend: Being fit for nothing but lying in bed and reading novels, I have just finished Mr. Field's and Mr. Jones's "Adrien," and as you certainly will not have time to look at it, and may like to hear my opinion, I will tell it to you. Mr. Field, from the Preface, is of New York. The thing that has diverted me most is the love-plot of the book. A young gentleman, whose father came and settled in America and made a competence there, is third or fourth cousin to an English lord. He falls in love with a fisherman's daughter (the story appears to be about fifty years back). This fisherman's daughter is a most ethereal personage, speaking and reading Italian, and possessing in the fishing-cottage a pianoforte and a collection of books; nevertheless, she one day hears her husband say something about a person being "well born and well bred," and forthwith goes away from him, in order to set him free from the misery entailed upon him, as she supposes, by a disproportionate marriage. Is not this curious in your republic? We in England certainly should not play such pranks. A man having married a wife, his wife stays by him. This dilemma is got over by the fisherman's turning out to be himself fifth or sixth cousin of another English lord. But, having lived really as a fisherman ever since his daughter's birth, he knew nothing of his aristocratic descent. I think this is the most remarkable thing in the book. There are certain flings at the New England character (the scene is laid beside the waters of your Bay) which seem to foretell a not very remote migration on the part of Mr. Jones, though they may come from his partner; nothing very bad, only such hits as this: "He was simple, humble, affectionate, three qualities rare anywhere, but perhaps more rare in that part of the world than anywhere else." For the rest the book is far inferior to the best even of Mr. James's recent productions, such as "Henry Smeaton." These two authors speak of the corpse of a drowned man as beautified by death, and retaining all the look of life. You remember what Mr. Hawthorne says of the appearance of his drowned heroine,-which is right? I have had the most delightful letter possible (you shall see it when you come) from dear Dr. Holmes, and venture to trouble you with the enclosed answer. Yesterday, Mr. Harness, who had heard a bad account of me (for I have been very ill, and, although much better now, I gather from everybody that I am thought to be breaking down fast), so like the dear kind old friend that he is, came to see me. It was a great pleasure. We talked much of you, and I think he will call upon you. Whether he call or not, do go to see him. He is fully prepared for you as Mr. Dyce's friend and Mr. Rogers's friend, and my very dear friend. Do go; you will find him charming, so different from the author people that Mr. Kenyon collects. I am sure of your liking each other. Surely by next week I may be well enough to see you. You and Mrs. W-- would do me nothing but good. Say everything to her, and to our dear kind friends, the Bennochs. I ought to have written to them, but I get as much scolded for writing as talking.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

(No date.)

How good and kind you are to me, dearest Mr. Fields! kindest of all, I think, in writing me those.... One comfort is, that if London lose you this year I do think you will not suffer many to elapse before revisiting it. Ah, you will hardly find your poor old friend next time! Not that I expect to die just now, but there is such a want of strength, of the power that shakes off disease, which is no good sign for the constitution. Yesterday I got up for a little while, for the first time since I saw you; but, having let in too many people, the fever came on again at night, and I am only just now shaking off the attack, and feel that I must submit to perfect quietness for the present. Still the attack was less violent than the last, and unattended by sickness, so that I am really better and hope in a week or so to be able to get out with you under the trees, perhaps as far as Upton.

One of my yesterday's visitors was a glorious old lady of seventy-six, who has lived in Paris for the last thirty years, and I do believe came to England very much for the purpose of seeing me. She had known my father before his marriage. He had taken her in his hand (he was always fond of children) one day to see my mother; she had been present at their wedding, and remembered the old housekeeper and the pretty nursery-maid and the great dog too, and had won with great difficulty (she being then eleven years old) the privilege of having the baby to hold. Her descriptions of all these things and places were most graphic, and you may imagine how much she must have been struck with my book when it met her eye in Paris, and how much I (knowing all about her family) was struck on my part by all these details, given with the spirit and fire of an enthusiastic woman of twenty. We had certainly never met. I left Alresford at three years old. She made an appointment to spend a day here next year, having with her a daughter, apparently by a first husband. Also she had the same host of recollections of Louis Napoleon, remembered the Emperor, as Premier Consul, and La Reine Hortense as Mlle. de Beauharnais. Her account of the Prince is favorable. She says that it is a most real popularity, and that, if anything like durability can ever be predicated of the French, it will prove a lasting one. I had a letter from Mrs. Browning to-day, talking of the "Facts of the Times," of which she said some gentlemen were speaking with the same supreme contempt and disbelief that I profess for every paragraph in that collection of falsehoods. For my own part, I hold a wise despotism, like the Prince President's, the only rule to live under. Only look at the figure our soi-disant statesmen cut,-Whig and Tory,-and then glance your eye across the Atlantic to your "own dear people," as Dr. Holmes says, and their doings in the Presidential line. Apropos to Dr. Holmes you'll see him read and quoted when-and his doings are as dead as Henry the Eighth.-has no feeling for finish or polish or delicacy, and doubtless dismisses Pope and Goldsmith with supreme contempt. She never mentions that horrid trial, to my great comfort. Did I tell you that I had been reading Louis Napoleon's most charming three volumes full?

Among my visitors yesterday was Miss Percy, the heiress of Guy's Cliff, one of the richest in England, and, what is odd, the translator of "Emilie Carlen's Birthright," the only Swedish novel I have ever got fairly through, because Miss Percy really does her work well, and I can't read --'s English. Miss Percy, who, besides being very clever and agreeable, is also pretty, has refused some scores of offers, and declares she'll never marry; she has a dread of being sought for her money.....

God bless you, dearest, kindest friend. Say everything for me to your companions.

Ever most faithfully yours, M.R.M.

(No date)

Yes, dearest Mr. Fields, I continue to get better and better, and shall be delighted to see you and Mr. and Mrs. W-- on Friday. I even went in to surprise Mr. May on Saturday, so, weather permitting, we shall get up to Upton together. I want you to see that relique of Protestant bigotry. No doubt many of my dear countrymen would play just the same pranks now, if the spirit of the age would permit; the will is not wanting, witness our courts of law.

I have been reading the "Life of Margaret Fuller." What a tragedy from first to last! She must have been odious in Boston in spite of her power and her strong sense of duty, with which I always sympathize; but at New York, where she dwindled from a sibyl to a "lionne," one begins to like her better, and in England and Paris, where she was not even that, better still; so that one is prepared for the deep interest of the last half-volume. Of course her example must have done much injury to the girls of her train. Of course, also, she is the Zenobia of dear Mr Hawthorne. One wonders what her book would have been like.

Mr. Bennett has sent me the "Nile Notes." We must talk about that, which I have not read yet, not delighting much in Eastern travels, or, rather, being tired of them. Ah, how sad it will be when I cannot say "We will talk"! Surely Mr. Webster does not mean to get up a dispute with England! That would be an affliction; for what nations should be friends if ours should not? What our ministers mean, nobody can tell,-hardly, I suppose, themselves. My hope was in Mr. Webster. Well, this is for talking. God bless you, dear friend.

Ever most affectionately yours, M.R.M.

August 7, 1852.

Hurrah! dear and kind friend, I have found the line without any other person's aid or suggestion. Last night it occurred to me that it was in some prologue or epilogue, and my little book-room being very rich in the drama, I have looked through many hundreds of those bits of rhyme, and at last made a discovery which, if it have no other good effect, will at least have "emptied my head of Corsica," as Johnson said to Boswell; for never was the great biographer more haunted by the thought of Paoli than I by that line. It occurs in an epilogue by Garrick on quitting the stage, June, 1776, when the performance was for the benefit of sick and aged actors.

A veteran see! whose last act on the stage

Entreats your smiles for sickness and for age;

Their cause I plead, plead it in heart and mind,

A fellow-feeling makes one wondrous kind.

Not finding it quoted in Johnson convinced me that it would probably have been written after the publication of the Dictionary, and ultimately guided me to the right place. It is singular that epilogues were just dismissed at the first representation of one of my plays, "Foscari," and prologues at another, "Rienzi."

I have but a moment to answer your most kind letter, because I have been engaged with company, or rather interrupted by company, ever since I got up, but you will pardon me. Nothing ever did me so much good as your visit. My only comfort is the hope of your return in the spring. Then I hope to be well enough to show Mr Hawthorne all the holes and corners my own self. Tell him so. I am already about to study the State Trials, and make myself perfect in all that can assist the romance. It will be a labor of love to do for him the small and humble part of collecting facts and books, and making ready the palette for the great painter.

Talking of artists, one was here on Sunday who was going to Upton yesterday. His object was to sketch every place mentioned in my book. Many of the places (as those round Taplow) he had taken, and

K-- says he took this house and the stick and Fanchon and probably herself. I was unluckily gone to take home the dear visitors who cheer me daily and whom I so wish you to see.

God bless you all, dear friends.

Ever most affectionately yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, September 24, 1852

My Very Dear Mr. Fields: I am beginning to get very fidgety about you, and thinking rather too often, not only of the breadth of the Atlantic, but of its dangers. However I must hear soon, and I write now because I am expecting a fellow-townsman of yours, Mr. Thompson, an American artist, who expected to find you still in England, and who is welcomed, as I suppose all Boston would be ... People do not love you the less, dear friend, for missing you.

I write to you this morning, because I have something to say and something to ask. In the first place, I am better. Mr. Harness, who, God bless him, left that Temple of Art, the Deepdene, and Mr. Hope's delightful conversation, to come and take care of me, stayed at Swallowfield three weeks. He found out a tidy lodging, which he has retained, and he promises to come back in November; at present he is again at the Deepdene. Nothing could be so judicious as his way of going on; he came at two o'clock to my cottage and we drove out together; then he went to his lodgings to dinner, to give me three hours of perfect quiet; at eight he and the Russells met here to tea, and he read Shakespeare (there is no such reader in the world) till bedtime. Under his treatment no wonder that I improved, but the low-fever is not far off; doing a little too much, I fell back even before his departure, and have been worse since. However, on the whole, I am much better.

Now to my request. You perhaps remember my speaking to you of a copy of my "Recollections," which was in course of illustration in the winter. Mr. Holloway, a great print-seller of Bedford Street, Covent Garden, has been engaged upon it ever since, and brought me the first volume to look at on Tuesday. It would have rejoiced the soul of dear Dr. Holmes. My book is to be set into six or seven or eight volumes, quarto, as the case may be; and although not unfamiliar with the luxuries of the library, I could not have believed in the number and richness of the pearls which have been strung upon so slender a thread. The rarest and finest portraits, often many of one person and always the choicest and the best,-ranging from magnificent heads of the great old poets, from the Charleses and Cromwells, to Sprat and George Faulkner of Dublin, of whom it was thought none existed, until this print turned up unexpectedly in a supplementary volume of Lord Chesterfield; nothing is too odd for Mr. Holloway. There is a colored print of George the Third,-a full length which really brings the old king to life again, so striking is the resemblance, and quantities of theatrical people, Munden and Elliston and the Kembles. There are two portraits of "glorious John" in Penruddock. Then the curious old prints of old houses. They have not only one two hundred years old of Dorrington Castle, but the actual drawing from which that engraving was made; and they are rich beyond anything in exquisite drawings of scenery by modern artists sent on purpose to the different spots mentioned. Besides which there are all sorts of characteristic autographs (a capital one of Pope); in short, nothing is wanting that the most unlimited expense (Mr. Holloway told me that his employer, a great city merchant of unbounded riches, constantly urged him to spare no expense to procure everything that money would buy), added to taste, skill, and experience, could accomplish. Of course the number of proper names and names of places have been one motive for conferring upon my book an honor of which I never dreamt; but there is, besides, an enthusiasm for my writings on the part of Mrs. Dillon, the lady of the possessor, for whom it is destined as a birthday gift. Now what I have to ask of you is to procure for Mr. Holloway as many autographs and portraits as you can of the American writers whom I have named,-dear Dr. Holmes, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, Prescott, Ticknor. If any of them would add a line or two of their writing to their names, it would be a favor, and if; being about it, they would send two other plain autographs, for I have heard of two other copies in course of illustration, and expect to be applied to by their proprietors every day. Mr. Holloway wrote to some trade connection in Philadelphia, but probably because he applied to the wrong place and the wrong person, and because he limited his correspondent to time, obtained no results. If there be a print of Professor Longfellow's house, so much the better, or any other autographs of Americans named in my book. Forgive this trouble, dear friend. You will probably see the work when you come to London in the spring, and then you will understand the interest that I take in it as a great book of art. Also my dear old friend, Lady Morley (Gibbon's correspondent), who at the age of eighty-three is caught by new books and is as enthusiastic as a girl, has commissioned me to inquire about your new authoress, the writer of --, who she is and all about her. For my part, I have not finished the book yet, and never shall. Besides my own utter dislike to its painfulness, its one-sidedness, and its exaggeration, I observe that the sort of popularity which it has obtained in England, and probably in America, is decidedly bad, of the sort which cannot and does not last,-a cry which is always essentially one-sided and commonly wrong....

Ever most faithfully and affectionately yours,


October 5, 1852.

DEAREST MR. FIELDS: You will think that I persecute you, but I find that Mr. Dillon, for whom Mr. Holloway is illustrating my Recollections so splendidly, means to send the volumes to the binder on the 1st of November. I write therefore to beg, in case of your not having yet sent off the American autographs and portraits, that they may be forwarded direct to Mr. Holloway, 25 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, London. It is very foolish not to wait until all the materials are collected, but it is meant as an offering to Mrs. Dillon, and I suppose there is some anniversary in the way. Mr. Dillon is a great lover and preserver of fine engravings; his collection, one of the finest private collections in the world, is estimated at sixty thousand pounds. He is a friend of dear Mr. Bennoch's, who, when I told him the compliment that had been paid to my work by a great city man, immediately said it could be nobody but Mr. Dillon. I have twice seen Mr. Bennoch within the last ten days, once with Mr. Johnson and Mr. Thompson, your own Boston artist, whom I liked much, and who gave me the great pleasure of talking of you and of dear Mr. and Mrs. W--, last time with his own good and charming wife and --. Only think of --'s saying that Shakespeare, if he had lived now, would have been thought nothing of, and this rather as a compliment to the age than not! But, if you remember, he printed amended words to the air of "Drink to me only." Ah, dear me, I suspect that both William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson will survive him; don't you? Nevertheless he is better than might be predicated from that observation.

All my domestic news is bad enough. My poor pretty pony keeps his bed in the stable, with a violent attack of influenza, and Sam and Fanchon spend three parts of their time in nursing him. Moreover we have had such rains here that the Lodden has overflowed its banks, and is now covering the water meadows, and almost covering the lower parts of the lanes. Adieu, dearest friend.

Ever most faithfully yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, October 13, 1852.

More than one letter of mine, dearest friend, crossed yours, for which I cannot sufficiently thank you. Nobody can better understand than I do, how very, very glad your own people, and all the good city, must feel to get you back again,-I trust not to keep; for in spite of sea-sickness, that misery which during the summer I have contrived to feel on land, I still hope that we shall have you here again in the spring. I am impatiently waiting the arrival of portraits and autographs, and if they do not come in time to bind, I shall charge Mr. Holloway to contrive that they may be pasted with the copy of my Recollections to which Mr. Dillon is paying so high and so costly a compliment. Now I must tell you some news.

First let me say that there is an admirable criticism in one of the numbers of the Nonconformist, edited by Edward Miall, one of the new members of Parliament, and certainly the most able of the dissenting organs, on our favorite poet, Dr. Holmes. Also I have a letter from Dr. Robert Dickson, of Hertford Street, May Fair, one of the highest and most fashionable London physicians, respecting my book, liking Dr. Holmes better than anybody for the very qualities for which he would himself choose to be preferred, originality and justness of thought, admirable fineness and propriety of diction, and a power of painting by words, very rare in any age, and rarest of the rare in this, when vagueness and obscurity mar so much that is high and pure. I shall keep this letter to show Dr. Holmes, tell him with my affectionate love. If it were not written on the thickest paper ever seen, and as huge as it is thick, I would send it; but I'll keep it for him against he comes to claim it. The description of spring is, Dr. Dickson says, remarkable for originality and truth. He thanks me for those poems of Dr. Holmes as if I had written them. Now be free to tell him all this. Of course you have told Mr. Hawthorne of the highly eulogistic critique on the "Blithedale Romance" in the Times, written, I believe, by Mr. Willmott, to whom I lent the veritable copy received from the author. Another thing let me say, that I have been reading with the greatest pleasure some letters on African trees copied from the New York Tribune into Bentley's Miscellany, and no doubt by Mr. Bayard Taylor. Our chief London news is that Mrs. Browning's cough came on so violently, in consequence of the sudden setting in of cold weather, that they are off for a week or two to Paris, then to Florence, Rome, and Naples, and back here in the summer. Her father still refuses to open a letter or to hear her name. Mrs. Southey, suffering also from chest-complaint, has shut herself up till June. Poor Anne Hatton, who was betrothed to Thomas Davis, and was supposed to be in a consumption, is recovering, they say, under the advice of a clairvoyante. Most likely a broken vessel has healed on the lungs, or perhaps an abscess. Be what it may, the consequence is happy, for she is a lovely creature and the only joy of a fond mother. Alfred Tennyson's boy was christened the other day by the name of Hallam Tennyson, Mr. Hallam standing to it in person. This is just as it should be on all sides, only that Arthur Hallam would have been a prettier name. You know that Arthur Hallam was the lost friend of the "In Memoriam," and engaged to Tennyson's sister, and that after his death, and even after her marrying another man, Mr. Hallam makes her a large allowance.

We have just escaped a signal misfortune; my dear pretty pony has been upon the point of death with influenza. Would not you have been sorry if that pony had died? He has, however, recovered under Sam's care and skill, and the first symptom of convalescence was his neighing to Sam through the window. You will have found out that I too am better. I trust to be stronger when you come again, well enough to introduce you to Mr. Harness, whom we are expecting here next month. God bless you, my dear and kind friend. I send this through dear Mr Bennoch, whom I like better and better; so I do Mrs. Bennoch, and everybody who knows and loves you. Ever, my dear Mr. Fields,

Your faithful and affectionate friend, M.R.M.

P.S.-October 17. I have kept this letter open till now, and I am glad I did so. Acting upon the hint you gave of Mr. De Quincey's kind feeling, I wrote to him, and yesterday I had a charming letter from his daughter, saying how much her father was gratified by mine, that he had already written an answer, amounting to a good-sized pamphlet, but that when it would be finished was doubtful, so she sent hers as a precursor.

Swallowfield, November 11, 1852.

I write, dearest friend, and although the packet which you had the infinite goodness to send, has not reached me yet, and may not possibly before my letter goes,-so uncertain is our railway,-yet I will write because our excellent friend, Mr. Bennoch, says that he has sent it off.... You will understand that I am even more obliged by your goodness about Mr. Dillon's book than by any of the thousand obligations to myself only. Besides my personal interest, as so great a compliment to my own work, Mr. Dillon appears to be a most interesting person. He is a friend of Mr. Bennoch's, from whom I had his history, one most honorable to him, and he has written to me since I wrote to you and proposes to come and see me. You must see him when you come to England, and must see his collection of engravings. Would not dear Dr. Holmes have a sympathy with Mr. Dillon? Have you such fancies in America? They are not common even here; but Miss Skerrett (the Queen's factotum) tells me that the most remarkable book in Windsor Castle is a De Grammont most richly and expensively illustrated by George the Fourth, who, with all his sins as a monarch, was the only sovereign since the Stuarts of any literary taste.

Here is your packet! O my dear, dear friend, how shall I thank you half enough! I shall send the parcels to-morrow morning, the very first thing, to Mr. Holloway. The work is at the binder's, but fly-leaves have been left for the American packet of which I felt so sure, although even I could hardly foresee its value. One or two duplicates I have kept. Tell Mr. Hawthorne that I shall make a dozen people rich and happy by his autograph, and tell Dr. Holmes I could not find it in my heart to part with the "Mary" stanza. Never was a writer who possessed more perfectly the art of doing great things greatly and small things gracefully. Love to Mr. Hawthorne and to him.

Poor Daniel Webster! or rather poor America! Rich as she is, she cannot afford the loss, the greatest the world has known since our Sir Robert. But what a death-bed, and what a funeral! How noble an end of that noble life! I feel it the more, hearing and reading so much about the Duke's funeral, which by dint of the delay will not cause the slightest real feeling, but will be attended just like every show, and yet as a show will be gloomy and poor. How much better to have laid him simply here at Strathfieldsaye, and left it as a place of pilgrimage,-as Strathfield will be,-although between the two men, in my mind, there was no comparison; the one was a genius, the other mere soldier,-pure physical force measured with intellect the richest and the proudest. I have twenty letters speaking of him as one of the greatest among the statesmen of the age. The Times only refuses to do him justice. But when did the Times do justice to any one? Look how it talks of our Emperor.

Your friend Bayard Taylor came to see me a fortnight ago, just before he sailed on his tour round the world. I told him the first of Bentley's reprinting his letters from the New York Tribune; he had not heard a word of it. He seemed an admirable person, and it is good to have such travellers to follow with one's heart and one's earnest good wishes.

Also I have had two packets,-one from Mrs. Sparks, with a nice letter, and some fresh and glorious autumnal flowers, and a collection of autumn leaves from your glorious forests. I have written to thank her. She seems full of heart, and she says that she drove into Boston on purpose to see you, but missed you. When you do meet, tell me about her. Also, I have through you, dear friend, a most interesting book from Mr. Ware. To him, also, I have written, but tell him how much I feel and prize his kindness, all the more welcome for coming from a kinsman of dear Mrs. W--. Tell her and her excellent husband that they cannot think of us oftener or more warmly than we think of them. O, how I should like to visit you at Boston! But I should have your malady by the way, and not your strength to stand it....

God bless you, my dear and excellent friend! I seem to have a thousand things to say to you, but the post is going, and a whole sheet of paper would not hold my thanks.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, November 25, 1852.

My Dear Friend: Your most kind and welcome letter arrived to-day, two days after the papers, for which I thank you much. Still more do I thank you for that kind and charming letter, and for its enclosures. The anonymous poem [it was by Dr. T.W. Parsons] is far finer than anything that has been written on the death of the Duke of Wellington, as indeed it was a far finer subject. May I inquire the name of the writer? Mr. Everett's speech also is superb, and how very much I prefer the Marshfield funeral in its sublime simplicity to the tawdry pageantry here! I have had fifty letters from persons who saw the funeral in St. Paul's, and seen as many who saw that or the procession, and it is strange that the papers have omitted alike the great successes and the great failures. My young neighbor, a captain in the Grenadier Guards (the Duke's regiment), saw the uncovering the car which had been hidden by the drapery, and was to have been a great effect, and he says it was exactly what is sometimes seen in a theatre when one scene is drawn up too soon and the other is not ready. Carpenters and undertaker's men were on all parts of the car, and the draperies and ornaments were everywhere but in their places. Again, the procession waited upwards of an hour at the cathedral door, because the same people had made no provision for taking the coffin from the car; again, the sunlight was let into St. Paul's, mingling most discordantly with the gas, and the naked wood of screens and benches and board beams disfigured the grand entrance. In three months' interval they had not time! On the other hand, the strong points were the music, the effect of which is said to have been unrivalled; the actual performance of the service,-my friend Dean Milman is renowned for his manner of reading the funeral service, he officiated at the burial of Mrs. Lockhart (Sir Walter's favorite daughter),-and none who were present could speak of it without tears; the clerical part of the procession, which was a real and visible mourning pageant in its flowing robes of white with black bands and sashes; the living branches of laurel and cypress amongst the mere finery; and, above all, the hushed silence of the people, always most and best impressed by anything that appeals to the imagination or the heart.

I suppose you will have seen how England is flooded, and you will like to hear that this tiny speck has escaped. The Lodden is over the park, and turns the beautiful water meadows down to Strathfieldsaye into a no less beautiful lake, two or three times a week; but then it subsides as quickly as it rises, so there is none of the lying under water which results in all sorts of pestilential exhalations, and this cottage is lifted out of every bad influence, nay, a kind neighbor having had my lane scraped, I walk dry-shod every afternoon a mile and a half, which is more than I ever expected to compass again, and for which I am most thankful. But we have had our own troubles. K-- has lost her father. He was seized with paralysis and knew nobody, so they desired her not to come, and Sam went alone to the funeral. After all, this is her home, and she has pretty well got over her affliction, and the pony is well again, and strong enough to draw you and me in the spring,-for I am looking forward to good and happy days again when you shall return to England.

Your magnificent present for Mr. Dillon's book was quite in time, dear friend. I had warned them to leave room, and Mr. Holloway and the binders contrived it admirably. They are most grateful for your kindness, and most gratefully shall I receive the promised volumes. I have not yet got "the pamphlet," and am much afraid it is buried in what Miss De Quincey calls her "father's chaos"; but I have charming letters from her, and am heartily glad that I wrote. You have the way (like Mr. Bennoch) of making friends still better friends, and bringing together those who, without you, would have had no intercourse. It is the very finest of all the fine arts. Tell dear Dr. Holmes that the more I hear of him, the more I feel how inadequate has been all that I have said to express my own feelings; and tell President Sparks that his charming wife ought to have received a long letter from me at the same moment with yourself. Mr. Hawthorne's new work will be a real treat. Tell me if Mr. Bennoch has sent you some stanzas on Ireland, which have more of the very highest qualities of Beranger than I have ever seen in English verse. We who love him shall have to be very proud of dear Mr. Bennoch. Tell me, too, if our solution of the line, "A fellow-feeling makes us wondrous kind," was the first; and why the new President is at once called General and talked of as a civilian. The other President goes on nobly, does he not?

Say everything for me to dear Mr. and Mrs. W-- and all friends.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, December 14, 1852.

O my very dear friend, how much too kind you are to me, who have nothing to give you in return but affection and gratitude! Mr. Bennett brought me your beautiful book on Saturday, and you may think how heartily we wished that you had been here also. But you will come this spring, will you not? I earnestly hope nothing will come in the way of that happiness. Before leaving the subject of our good little friend, let me say that, talking over our own best authors and your De Quincey (N.B. The pamphlet has not arrived yet, I fear it is forever buried in De Quincey's "chaos"),-talking of these things, we both agreed that there was another author, probably little known in America, who would be quite worthy of a reprint, William Hazlitt. Is there any complete edition of his Lectures and Essays? I should think they would come out well, now that Thackeray is giving his Lectures. I know that Charles Lamb and Talfourd thought Hazlitt not only the most brilliant, but the soundest of all critics. Then his Life of Napoleon is capital, that is, capital for an English life; the only way really to know the great man is to read him in the mémoires of his own ministers, lieutenants, and servants; for he was a hero to his valet de chambre, the greatness was so real that it would bear close looking into. And our Emperor, I have just had a letter from Osborne, from Marianne Skerrett, describing the arrival of Count Walewski under a royal salute to receive the Queen's recognition of Napoleon III. She, Marianne, says, "How great a man that, is, and how like a fairy tale the whole story!" She adds, that, seeing much of Louis Philippe, she never could abide him, he was so cunning and so false, not cunning enough to hide the falseness! Were not you charmed with the bits of sentiment and feeling that come out all through our hero's Southern progress? Always one finds in him traits of a gracious and graceful nature, far too frequent and too spontaneous to be the effect of calculation. It is a comfort to find, in spite of our delectable press, ministers are wise enough to understand that our policy is peace, and not only peace but cordiality. To quarrel with France would be almost as great a sin as to quarrel with America. What a set of fools our great ladies are! I had hoped better things of Lord Carlisle, but to find that long list at Stafford House in female parliament assembled, echoing the absurdities of Exeter Hall, leaving their own duties and the reserve which is the happy privilege of our sex to dictate to a great nation on a point which all the world knows to be its chief difficulty, is enough to make one ashamed of the title of Englishwoman. I know a great many of these committee ladies, and in most of them I trace that desire to follow the fashion, and concert with duchesses, which is one of the besetting sins of the literary circles in London. One name did surprise me, --, considering that one of her husband's happiest bits, in the book of his that will live, was the subscription for sending flannel waistcoats to the negroes in the West Indies; and that in this present book a certain Mrs. Jellyby is doing just what his wife is doing at Stafford House!

Even if I had not had my earnest thanks to send you, I should have written this week to beg you to convey a message to Mr. Hawthorne. Mr. Chorley writes to me, "You will be interested to hear that a Russian literary man of eminence was so much attracted to the 'House of the Seven Gables' by the review in the Athenaeum, as to have translated it into Russian and published it feuilletonwise in a newspaper." I know you will have the goodness to tell Mr. Hawthorne this, with my love. Mr. Chorley saw the entrance of the Empereur into the Tuileries. He looked radiant. The more I read that elegy on the death of Daniel Webster, the more I find to admire. It is as grand as a dirge upon an organ. Love to the dear W--s and to Dr. Holmes.

Ever, dearest Mr. Fields, most gratefully yours, M.R.M.


Swallowfield, January 5, 1853.

Your most welcome letter, my very dear friend, arrived to-day, and I write not only to acknowledge that, and your constant kindness, but because, if, as I believe, Mr. Bennoch has told you of my mischance, you will be glad to hear from my own hand that I am going on well. Last Monday fortnight I was thrown violently from my own pony-chaise upon the hard road in Lady Russell's park. No bones were broken, but the nerves of one side were so terribly bruised and lacerated, and the shock to the system was so great, that even at the end of ten days Mr. May could not satisfy himself, without a most minute re-examination, that neither fracture nor dislocation had taken place, and I am writing to you at this moment with my left arm bound tightly to my body and no power whatever of raising either foot from the ground. The only parts of me that have escaped uninjured are my head and my right hand, and this is much. Moreover Mr. May says that, although the cure will be tedious, he sees no cause to doubt my recovering altogether my former condition, so that we may still hope to drive about together when you come back to England....

I wrote I think, dearest friend, to thank you heartily for the beautiful and interesting book called "The Homes of American Authors." How comfortably they are housed, and how glad I am to find that, owing to Mr. Hawthorne's being so near the new President, and therefore keeping up the habit of friendship and intercourse, the want of which habit so frequently brings college friendship to an end, he is likely to enter into public life. It will be an excellent thing for his future books,-the fault of all his writings, in spite of their great beauty, being a want of reality, of the actual, healthy, every-day life which is a necessary element in literature. All the great poets have it,-Homer, Shakespeare, Scott. It will be the very best school for our pet poet.

Nobody under the sun has so much right as you have to see Mr. Dillon's book, which is in six quarto volumes, not one. Our dear friend Mr. Bennoch knows him, and tells me to-day that Mr. Dillon has invited him to go and look at it. He has just received it from the binders. Of course Mr. Bennoch will introduce you. I was so glad to read what looked like a renewed pledge of your return to England.

Mr. Bentley has sent me three several applications for a second series. At present Mr. May forbids all composition, but I suppose the thing will be done. I shall introduce some chapters on French poetry and literature. At this moment I am in full chase of Casimer Delavigne's ballads. He thought so little of them that he published very few in his Poésies,-one in a note,-and several of the very finest not at all. They are scattered about here and there. -- has reproduced two (which I had) in his Memories; but I want all that can be found, especially one of which the refrain is, "Chez l'Ambassadere de France." I was such a fool, when I read it six or seven years ago, as not to take a copy. Do you think Mr. Hector Bossange could help me to that, or to any others not printed in the Memories? ...Of course I shall devote one chapter to our Emperor. Ah, how much better is such a government as his than one which every four years causes a sort of moral earthquake; or one like ours, where whole sessions are passed in squabbling! The loss of his place has saved Disraeli's life, for everybody said he could not have survived three months' badgering in the House. A very intimate friend of his (Mr. Henry Drummond, the very odd, very clever member for Surrey) says that he had certainly broken a bloodvessel. One piece of news I have heard to-day from Miss Goldsmid, that the Jews are certain now to gain their point and be admitted to the House of Commons; for my part, I hold that every one has a claim to his civil rights, were he Mahometan or Hindoo, and I rejoice that poor old Sir Isaac, the real author of the movement, will probably live to see it accomplished. The thought of succeeding at last in the pursuit to which he has devoted half his life has quite revived him.

And now Heaven bless you, my very dear friend. None of the poems on Wellington are to be compared to that dirge on Webster. I rejoice that my article should have pleased his family. The only bit of my new book that I have written is a paper on Taylor and Stoddard. Say everything for me to the Ticknors and Nortons and your own people, the W--s.

Ever most faithfully and affectionately yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, February 1, 1853.

Ah, my dear friend! ask Dr. Holmes what these severe bruises and lacerations of the nerves of the principal joints are, and he will tell you that they are much more slow and difficult of cure, as well as more painful, than half a dozen broken bones. It is now above six weeks since that accident, and although the shoulder is going on favorably, there is still a total loss of muscular power in the lower limbs. I am just lifted out of bed and wheeled to the fireside, and then at night wheeled back and lifted into bed,-without the power of standing for a moment, or of putting one foot before the other, or of turning in bed. Mr. May says that warm weather will probably do much for me, but that till then I must be a prisoner to my room, for that if rheumatism supervenes upon my present inability, there will be no chance of getting rid of it. So "patience and shuffle the cards," as a good man, much in my state, the contented Marquess, says in Don Quixote.... I assure you I am not out of spirits; indeed, people are so kind to me that it would be the basest of all ingratitude if I were not cheerful as well as thankful. I think that in a letter which you must have received by this time, I told you how it came about, and thanked you for the comely book which shows how cosily America lodges my brethren of the quill. Dr. Holmes ought to have been there, and Dr. Parsons, but their time will come and must. Nothing gratifies me more than to find how many strangers, writing to me of my Recollections, mention Dr. Holmes, classing him sometimes with Thomas Davis, sometimes with Praed. If I write another series of Recollections, as, when Mr. May will let me, I suppose I must, I shall certainly include Dr. Parsons....

Has anybody told you the terrible story of that boy, Lord Ockham, Lord Byron's grandson? I had it from Mr. Noel, Lady Byron's cousin-german and intimate friend. While his poor mother was dying her death of martyrdom from an inward cancer,-Mrs. Sartoris (Adelaide Kemble), who went to sing to her, saw her through the door, which was left open, crouching on a floor covered with mattresses, on her hands and knees, the only posture she could bear,-whilst she with the patience of an angel was enduring her long agony, her husband, engrossed by her, left this lad of seventeen to his sister and the governess. It was a dull life, and he ran away. Mr. Noel (my friend's brother, from whom he had the story) knew most of the youth, who had been for a long time staying at his house, and they begged him to undertake the search. Lord Ockham had sent a carpet-bag containing his gentleman's clothes to his father, Lord Lovelace, in London; he was therefore disguised, and from certain things he had said Mr. Noel suspected that he intended to go to America. Accordingly he went first to Bristol, then to Liverpool, leaving his description, a sort of written portrait of him, with the police at both places. At Liverpool he was found before long, and when Mr. Noel, summoned by the electric telegraph, reached that town, he found him dressed as a sailor-boy at a low public-house, surrounded by seamen of both nations, and enjoying, as much as possible, their sailor yarns. He had given his money, £36, to the landlord to keep; had desired him to inquire for a ship where he might be received as cabin-boy; and had entered into a shrewd bargain for his board, stipulating that he should have over and above his ordinary rations a pint of beer with his Sunday dinner. The landlord did not cheat him, but he postponed all engagements under the expectation-seeing that he was clearly a gentleman's son-that money would be offered for his recovery. The worst is that he (Lord Ockham) showed no regret for the sorrow and disgrace that he had brought upon his family at such a time. He has two tastes not often seen combined,-the love of money and of low company. One wonders how he will turn out. He is now in Paris, after which he is to re-enter in Green's ship (he had served in one before) for a twelvemonth, and to leave the service or remain in it as he may decide then. This is perfectly true; Mr. Noel had it from his brother the very day before he wrote it to me. He says that Lady Lovelace's funeral was too ostentatious. Escutcheons and silver coronals everywhere. Lord Lovelace's taste that, and not Lady Byron's, which is perfectly simple. You know that she was buried in the same vault with her father, whose coffin and the box containing his heart were in perfect preservation. Scott's only grandson, too, is just dead of sheer debauchery. Strange! As if one generation paid in vice and folly for the genius of the past. By the way, are you not charmed at the Emperor's marriage? To restore to princes honest love and healthy preference, instead of the conventional intermarriages which have brought epilepsy and idiotism and madness into half the royal families of Christendom! And then the beauty of that speech, with its fine appeals to the best sympathies of our common nature! I am proud of him. What a sad, sad catastrophe was that of young Pierce! I won't call his father general, and I hope he will leave it off. With us it is a real offence to give any man a higher rank than belongs to him,-to say captain, for instance, to a lieutenant,-and that is one of our usages which it would be well to copy. But we have follies enough, God knows; that duchess address, with all its tuft-hunting signatures, is a thing to make Englishwomen ashamed. Well, they caught it deservedly in an address from American women, written probably by some very clever American man. No, I have not seen Longfellow's lines on the Duke. One gets sick of the very name. Henry is exceedingly fond of his little sister. I remember that when he first saw the snow fall in large flakes, he would have it that it was a shower of white feathers. Love to all my dear friends, the W--s, Mrs. Sparks, Dr. Holmes, Mr. Hawthorne. Ever, dearest friend, most affectionately yours,


(1st March, 1853.)

The numbers for the election of President of France in favor of Louis Napoleon were for against 7119791 1119

Look through the back of this against the candle, or the fire, or any light.

My Very Dear Friend: Having a note to send to Mrs. Sparks, who has sent me, or rather whose husband has sent me, two answers to Lord Mahon, which, coming through a country bookseller, have, I suspect, been some months on the way, I cannot help sending it enclosed to you, that I may have a chat with you en passant,-the last, I hope, before your arrival. If you have not seen the above curious instance of figures forming into a word, and that word into a prophecy, I think it will amuse you, and I want besides to tell you some of the on-dits about the Empress. A Mr. Huddlestone, the head of one of our great Catholic houses, is in despair at the marriage. He had been desperately in love with her for two years in Spain,-had followed her to Paris,-was called back to England by his father's illness, and was on the point of crossing the Channel, after that father's death, to lay himself and £30,000 or £40,000 a year at her feet, when the Emperor stepped in and carried off the prize. To comfort himself he has got a portrait of her on horseback, which a friend of mine saw the other day at his house. Mrs. Browning writes me from Florence: "I wonder if the Empress pleases you as well as the Emperor. For my part, I approve altogether, and none the less that he has offended Austria by the mode of announcement. Every cut of the whip on the face of Austria is an especial compliment to me, or so I feel it. Let him heed the democracy, and do his duty to the world, and use to the utmost his great opportunities. Mr. Cobden and the peace societies are pleasing me infinitely just now in making head against the immorality-that's the word-of the English press. The tone taken up towards France is immoral in the highest degree, and the invasion cry would be idiotic if it were not something worse. The Empress, I heard the other day from high authority, is charming and good at heart. She was brought up at a respectable school at Clifton, and is very English, which does not prevent her from shooting with pistols, leaping gates, driving four in hand, and upsetting the carriage if the frolic requires it,-as brave as a lion and as true as a dog. Her complexion is like marble, white, pale, and pure,-the hair light, rather sandy, they say, and she powders it with gold dust for effect; but there is less physical and more intellectual beauty than is generally attributed to her. She is a woman of very decided opinions. I like all that, don't you? and I like her letter to the press, as everybody must." Besides this, I have to-day a letter from a friend in Paris, who says that "everybody feels her charm," and that "the Emperor, when presenting her at the balcony on the wedding-day, looked radiant with happiness." My Parisian friend says that young Alexandre Dumas is amongst the people arrested for libel,-a thorough mauvais sujet. Lamartine is quite ruined, and forced to sell his estates. He was always, I believe, expensive, like all those French littérateurs. You don't happen to have in Boston-have you?-a copy of "Les Mémoires de Lally Tollendal"? I think they are different publications in defence of his father, published, some in London during the Emigration, some in Paris after the Restoration. What I want is an account of the retreat from Pondicherie. I'll tell you why some day here. Mrs. Browning is most curious about your rappings,-of which I suppose you believe as much as I do of the Cock Lane Ghost, whose doings, by the way, they much resemble.

I liked Mrs. Tyler's letter; at least I liked it much better than the one to which it was an answer, although I hold it one of our best female privileges to have no act or part in such matters.

Now you will be sorry to have a very bad account of me. Three weeks ago frost and snow set in here, and ever since I have been unable to rise or stand, or put one foot before another, and the pain is much worse than at first. I suppose rheumatism has supervened upon the injured nerve. God bless you. Love to all.

Ever faithfully yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, March 17, 1853

My Dear Friend: I cannot enough thank you for your most kind and charming letter. Your letters, and the thoughts of you, and the hope that you will coax your partners into the hazardous experiment of letting you come to England, help to console me under this long confinement; for here I am at near Easter still a close prisoner from the consequences of the accident that took place before Christmas. I have only once left my room, and that only to the opposite chamber to have this cleaned, and I got such a chill that it brought back all the pain and increased all the weakness. But when fine weather-warm, genial, sunny weather-comes, I will get down in some way or other, and trust myself to that which never hurts any one, the honest open air. Spring, and even the approach of spring, has upon me something the effect that England has upon you. It sets me dreaming,-I see leafy hedges in my dreams, and flowery banks, and then I long to make the vision a reality. I remember that Fanchon's father, Flush, who was a famous sporting dog, used, at the approach of the covering season, to quest in his sleep, doubtless by the same instinct that works in me. So, as soon as the sun tells the same story with the primroses I shall make a descent after some fashion, and no doubt, aided by Sam's stalwart arm, successfully. In the mean while I have one great pleasure in store, be the weather what it may; for next Saturday or the Saturday after I shall see dear Mr. Bennoch. We have not met since November, although he has written to me again and again. He will take this letter, and I trouble you with a note to kind Mrs. Sparks, who is about to send me, or rather who has sent me, some American cracknels, which have not yet arrived. To-day, too, I had a charming letter from Lasswade,-not the letter, the pamphlet one, but one full of kindness from father and daughter, written by Miss Margaret to ask after me with a reality of interest which one feels at once. It gave me pleasure in another way too; Mr. De Quincey is of my faith and delight in the Emperor! Is not that delightful? Also he holds in great abomination that blackest of iniquities --, my heresy as to which nearly cost me an idolator t'other day, a lady from Essex, who came here to take a house in my neighborhood to be near me. She was so shocked that, if we had not met afterwards, when I regained my ground a little by certain congenialities she certainly would have abjured me forever. Well! no offence to Mrs. --. I had rather in a literary question agree with Thomas De Quincey than with her and Queen Victoria, who, always fond of strong not to say coarse excitements, is amongst --'s warm admirers. I knew you would like the Emperor's marriage. I heard last week from a stiff English lady, who had been visiting one of the Empress's ladies of honor, that one day at St. Cloud she shot thirteen brace of partridges; "but," added the narrator, "she is so sweet and charming a creature that any man might fall in love with her notwithstanding." To be sure Mr. Thackeray liked you. How could he help it? Did not he also like Dr. Holmes? I hope so. How glad I should be to see him in England, and how glad I shall be to see Mr. Hawthorne! He will find all the best judges of English writing admiring him to his heart's content, warmly and discriminatingly; and a consulship in a bustling town will give him the cheerful reality, the healthy air of every-day life, which is his only want. Will you tell all these dear friends, especially Mr. and Mrs. W--, how deeply I feel their affectionate sympathy, and thank Mr. Whittier and Professor Longfellow over and over again for their kind condolence? Tell Mr. Whittier how much I shall prize his book. He has an earnest admirer in Buckingham Palace, Marianne Skerrett, known as the Queen's Miss Skerrett, the lady chiefly about her, and the only one to whom she talks of books. Miss Skerrett is herself a very clever woman, and holds Mr. Whittier to be not only the greatest, but the one poet of America; which last assertion the poet himself would, I suspect, be the very first to deny. Your promise of Dr. Parsons's poem is very delightful to me. I hold firm to my admiration of those stanzas on Webster. Nothing written on the Duke came within miles of it, and I have no doubt that the poem on Dante's bust is equally fine.... Mr. Justice Talfourd has just printed a new tragedy. He sent it to me from Oxford, not from Reading, where he had passed four days and never gave a copy to any mortal, and told me, in a very affectionate letter which accompanied it, that "it was at present a very private sin, he having only given eight or ten copies in all." I suppose that it will be published, for I observe that the "not published" is written, not printed, and that Moxon's name is on the title-page. It is called "The Castilian,"-is on the story of a revolt headed by Don John de Padilla in the early part of Charles the Fifth's reign, and is more like Ion than either of his other tragedies. I have just been reading a most interesting little book in manuscript, called "The Heart of Montrose." It is a versification in three ballads of a very striking letter in Napier's "Life and Times of Montrose," by the young lady who calls herself Mary Maynard. It is really a little book that ought to make a noise, not too long, full of grace and of interest, and she has adhered to the true story with excellent taste, that story being a very remarkable union of the romantic and the domestic. I am afraid that my other young poet, --, is dying of consumption; those fine spirits often fall in that way. I have just corrected my book for a cheaper edition. Mr. Bentley is very urgent for a second series, and I suppose I must try. I shall get you to write for me to Mr. Hector Bossange when you come, for come you must. My eyes begin to feel the effects of this long confinement to one smoky and dusty room.

So far had I written, dearest friend, when this day (March 26) brought me your most kind and welcome letter enclosed in another from dear Mr. Bennoch. Am I to return Dr. Parsons's? or shall I keep it till you come to fetch it? Tell the writer how very much I prize his kindness, none the less that he likes (as I do) my tragedies, that is, one of them, the best of my poor doings. The lines on the Duchess are capital, and quite what she deserves; but I think those the worst who, in so true a spirit of what Carlyle would call flunkeyism, consent to sign any nonsense that their names may figure side by side with that of a duchess, and they themselves find (for once) an admittance to the gilded saloons of Stafford House. For my part, I well-nigh lost an admirer the other day by taking a common-sense view of the question. A lady (whose name I never heard till a week ago) came here to take a house to be near me. (N.B. There was none to be had.) Well, she was so provoked to find that I had stopped short of the one hundredth page of --, and never intended to read another, that I do think, if we had not discovered some sympathies to counterbalance that grand difference-As I live, I have told you that story before! Ah! I am sixty-six, and I get older every day! So does little Henry, who is at home just now, and longing to put the clock forward that he may go to America. He is a boy of great promise, full of sound sense, and as good as good can be. I suppose that he never in his life told an untruth, or broke a promise, or disobeyed a command. He is very fond of his little sister; and not at all jealous either-to the great praise of that four-footed lady be it said-is Fanchon, who watches over the cradle, and is as fond of the baby in her way as Henry in his.

So far from paying me copyright money, all that I ever received from Mr. B-- was two copies of his edition of "Our Village," one of which I gave away, and of the other some chance visitor has taken one of the volumes. I really do think I shall ask him for a copy or two. How can I ever thank you enough for your infinite kindness in sending me books! Thank you again and again. Dear Mr. Bennoch has been making an admirable speech, in moving to present the thanks of the city to Mr. Layard. How one likes to feel proud of one's friends! God bless you!

Ever most faithfully yours, M.R.M.

Kind Mrs. Sparks's biscuits arrived quite safe. How droll some of the cookery is in "The Wide, Wide World"! It would try English stomachs by its over-richness. I wonder you are not all dead, if such be your cuisine.

Swallowfield, May 3, 1853.

How shall I thank you enough, dear and kind friend, for the copy of -- that arrived here yesterday! Very like; only it wanted what that great painter, the sun, will never arrive at giving, the actual look of life which is the one great charm of the human countenance. Strange that the very source of light should fail in giving that light of the face, the smile. However, all that can be given by that branch of art has been given. I never before saw so good a photographic portrait, and for one that gives more I must wait until John Lucas, or some American John Lucas, shall coax you into sitting. I sent you, ten days ago, a batch of notes, and a most unworthy letter of thanks for one of your parcels of gift-books; and I write the rather now to tell you I am better than then, and hope to be in a still better plight before July or August, when a most welcome letter from Mr. Tuckerman has bidden us to expect you to officiate as Master of the Ceremonies to Mr. Hawthorne, who, welcome for himself, will be trebly welcome for such an introducer.

Now let me say how much I like De Quincey's new volumes. The "Wreck of a Household" shows great power of narrative, if he would but take the trouble to be right as to details; the least and lowest part of the art, that of interesting you in his people, he has. And those "Last Days of Kant," how affecting they are, and how thoroughly in every line and in every thought, agree with him or not, (and in all that relates to Napoleon I differ from him, as in his overestimate of Wordsworth and of Coleridge), one always feels how thoroughly and completely he is a gentleman as well as a great writer; and so much has that to do with my admiration, that I have come to tracing personal character in books almost as a test of literary merit: Charles Boner's "Chamois-Hunting," for instance, owes a great part of its charm to the resolute truth of the writer, and a great drawback from the attraction of "My Novel" seems to me to be derived from the blasé feeling, the unclean mind from whence it springs, felt most when trying after moralities.

Amongst your bounties I was much amused with the New York magazines, the curious turning up of a new claimant to the Louis-the-Seventeenth pretension amongst the Red Indians, and the rappings and pencil-writings of the new Spiritualists. One should wonder most at the believers in these two branches of faith, if that particular class did not always seem to be provided most abundantly whenever a demand occurs. Only think of Mrs. Browning giving the most unlimited credence to every "rapping" story which anybody can tell her! Did I tell you that the work on which she is engaged is a fictitious autobiography in blank verse, the heroine a woman artist (I suppose singer or actress), and the tone intensely modern? You will see that "Colombe's Birthday" has been brought out at the Haymarket. Mr. Chorley (Robert Browning's most intimate friend) writes me word that Mrs. Martin (Helen Faucit, at whose persuasion it was acted) told him that it had gone off "better than she expected." Have you seen Alexander Smith's book, which is all the rage just now? I saw some extracts from his poems a year and a half ago, and the whole book is like a quantity of extracts put together without any sort of connection, a mass of powerful metaphor with scarce any lattice-work for the honeysuckles to climb upon. Keats was too much like this; but then Keats was the first. Now this book, admitting its merit in a certain way, is but the imitation of a school, and, in my mind, a bad school. One such poem as that on the bust of Dante is worth a whole wilderness of these new writers, the very best of them. Certainly nothing better than those two pages ever crossed the Atlantic.

God bless you, dear friend. Say everything for me to dear Mr. and Mrs. W--, to Dr. Holmes, to Dr. Parsons, to Mr. Whittier, (how powerful his new volume is!) to Mr. Stoddard, to Mrs. Sparks, to all my friends.

Ever most affectionately yours, M.R.M.

I am writing on the 8th of May, but where is the May of the poets? Half the morning yesterday it snowed, at night there was ice as thick as a shilling, and to-day it is absolutely as cold as Christmas. Of course the leaves refuse to unfold, the nightingales can hardly be said to sing, even the hateful cuckoo holds his peace. I am hoping to see dear Mr. Bennoch soon to supply some glow and warmth.

Swallowfield, June 4, 1853.

I write at once, dearest friend, to acknowledge your most kind and welcome letter. I am better than when I wrote last, and get out almost every day for a very slow and quiet drive round our lovely lanes; far more lovely than last year, since the foliage is quite as thick again, and all the flowery trees, aloes, laburnums, horse-chestnuts, acacias, honeysuckles, azalias, rhododendrons, hawthorns, are one mass of blossoms,-literally the leaves are hardly visible, so that the color, whenever we come upon park, shrubbery, or plantation, is such as should be seen to be imagined. In my long life I never knew such a season of flowers; so the wet winter and the cold spring have their compensation. I get out in this way with Sam and K-- and the baby, and it gives me exquisite pleasure, and if you were here the pleasure would be multiplied a thousand fold by your society; but I do not gain strength in the least. Attempting to do a little more and take some young people to the gates of Whiteknights, which, without my presence, would be closed, proved too far and too rapid a movement, and for two days I could not stir for excessive soreness all over the body. I am still lifted down stairs step by step, and it is an operation of such time (it takes half an hour to get me down that one flight of cottage stairs), such pain, such fatigue, and such difficulty, that, unless to get out in the pony-chaise, I do not attempt to leave my room. I am still lifted into bed, and can neither turn nor move in any way when there, am wheeled from the stairs to the pony-carriage, cannot walk three steps, can hardly stand a moment, and in rising from my chair am sometimes ten minutes, often longer. So you see that I am very, very feeble and infirm. Still I feel sound at heart and clear in head, am quite as cheerful as ever, and, except that I get very much sooner exhausted, enjoy society as much as ever, so you must come if only to make me well. I do verily believe your coming would do me more good than anything.

I was much interested by your account of the poor English stage coachman. Ah, these are bad days for stage coachmen on both sides the Atlantic! Do you remember his name? and do you know whether he drove between London and Reading, or between Reading and Basingstoke?-a most useless branch railroad between the two latter places, constructed by the Great Western simply out of spite to the Southwestern, which I am happy to state has never yet paid its daily expenses, to say nothing of the cost of construction, and has taken everything off our road, which before abounded in coaches, carriers, and conveyances of all sorts. The vile railway does us no earthly good, we being above four miles from the nearest station, and you may imagine how much inconvenience the absence of stated communication with a market town causes to our small family, especially now that I can neither spare Sam nor the pony to go twelve miles. You must come to England and come often to see me, just to prove that there is any good whatever in railways,-a fact I am often inclined to doubt.

I shall send this letter to be forwarded to Mr. Bennett, and desire him to write to you himself. He is, as you say, an "excellent youth," although it is very generous in me to say so, for I do believe that you came to see me since he has been. Dear Mr. Bennoch, with all his multifarious business, has been again and again. God bless him! ...To return to Mr Bennett. He has been engaged in a grand battle with the trustees of an old charity school, principally the vicar. His two brothers helped in the fight. They won a notable victory. They were quite right in the matter in dispute and the "excellent youth" came out well in various letters. His opponent, the vicar, was Senior Wrangler at our Cambridge, the very highest University honor in England, and tutor to the present Lord Grey.

By the way, Mr. -- wrote to me the other day to ask that I would let him be here when Mr. Hawthorne comes to see me. I only answered this request by asking whether he did not intend to come to see me before that time, for certainly he might come to visit an old friend, especially a sick one, for her own sake, and not merely to meet a notability, and I am by no means sure that Mr. Hawthorne might not prefer to come alone or with dear Mr. Bennoch; at all events it ought to be left to his choice, and besides I have not lost the hope of your being the introducer of the great romancer, and then how little should I want anybody to come between us. Begin as they may, all my paragraphs slide into that refrain of Pray, pray come!

I have written to you about other kindnesses since that note full of hopes, but I do not think that I did write to thank you for dear Dr. Holmes's "Lecture on English Poetesses," or rather the analysis of a lecture which sins only by over-gallantry. Ah, there is a difference between the sexes, and the difference is the reverse way to that in which he puts it! Tell him I sent his charming stanzas on Moore to a leading member of the Irish committee for raising a monument to his memory, and that they were received with enthusiasm by the Irish friends of the poet. I have sent them to many persons in England worthy to be so honored, and the very cleverest woman whom I have ever known (Miss Goldsmid) wrote to me only yesterday to thank me for sending her that exquisite poem, adding, "I think the stanza 'If on his cheek, etc.,' contains one of the most beautiful similes to be found in the whole domain of poetry." I also told Mrs. Browning what dear Dr. Holmes said of her. The American poets whom she prefers are Lowell and Emerson. Now I know something of Lowell and of Emerson, but I hold that those lines on Dante's bust are amongst the finest ever written in the language, whether by American or Englishman; don't you? And what a grand Dead March is the poem on Webster! ...Also Mrs. Browning believes in spirit-rapping stories,-all,-and tells me that Robert Owen has been converted by them to a belief in a future state. Everybody everywhere is turning tables. The young Russells, who are surcharged with electricity, set them spinning in ten minutes. In general, you know, it is usual to take off all articles of metal. They, the other night, took a fancy to remove their rings and bracelets, and, having done so, the table, which had paused for a moment, began whirling again as fast as ever the contrary way. This is a fact, and a curious one.

I have lent three volumes of your "De Quincey" to my young friend, James Payn, a poet of very high promise, who has verified the Green story, and taken the books with him to the Lakes. God grant, my dear friend, that you may not lose by "Our Village"; that is what I care for.

Ever faithfully yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, June 23, 1853.

Ah, my very dear friend, we shall not see you this summer, I am sure. For the first time I clearly perceive the obstacle, and I feel that unless some chance should detain Mr. Ticknor, we must give up the great happiness of seeing you till next year. I wonder whether your poor old friend will be alive to greet you then! Well, that is as God pleases; in the mean time be assured that you have been one of the chief comforts and blessings of these latter years of my life, not only in your own friendship and your thousand kindnesses, but in the kindness and friendship of dear Mr. Bennoch, which, in the first instance, I mainly owe to you. I am in somewhat better trim, although the getting out of doors and into the pony-carriage, from which Mr. May hoped such great things, has hardly answered his expectations. I am not stronger, and I am so nervous that I can only bear to be driven, or more ignominiously still to be led, at a foot's pace through the lanes. I am still unable to stand or walk, unless supported by Sam's strong hands lifting me up on each side, still obliged to be lifted into bed, and unable to turn or move when there, the worst grievance of all. However, I am in as good spirits as ever, and just at this moment most comfortably seated under the acacia-tree at the corner of my house,-the beautiful acacia literally loaded with its snowy chains (the flowering trees this summer, lilacs, laburnums, rhododendrons, azalias, have been one mass of blossoms, and none are so graceful as this waving acacia); on one side a syringa, smelling and looking like an orange-tree; a jar of roses on the table before me,-fresh-gathered roses, the pride of Sam's heart; and little Fanchon at my feet, too idle to eat the biscuits with which I am trying to tempt her,-biscuits from Boston, sent to me by Mrs. Sparks, whose kindness is really indefatigable, and which Fanchon ought to like upon that principle if upon no other, but you know her laziness of old, and she improves in it every day. Well that is a picture of the Swallowfield cottage at this moment, and I wish that you and the Bennochs and the W--s and Mr. Whipple were here to add to its life and comfort. You must come next year and come in May, that you and dear Mr. Bennoch may hear the nightingales together. He has never heard them, and this year they have been faint and feeble (as indeed they were last) compared with their usual song. Now they are over, and although I expect him next week, it will be too late.

Precious fooling that has been at Stafford House! And our -- who delights in strong, not to say worse, emotions, whose chief pleasure it was to see the lions fed in Van Amburgh's time, who went seven times to see the Ghost in the "Corsican Brothers," and has every sort of natural curiosity (not to say wonder) brought to her at Buckingham Palace, was in a state of exceeding misery because she could not, consistently with her amicable relations with the United States, receive Mrs. -- there. (Ah! our dear Emperor has better taste. Heaven bless him!) From Lord Shaftesbury one looks for unmitigated cant, but I did expect better things of Lord Carlisle. How many names that both you and I know went there merely because the owner of the house was a fashionable Duchess,-the Wilmers ("though they are my friends"), the P--s and --! For my part, I have never read beyond the first one hundred pages, and have a certain malicious pleasure in so saying. Let me add that almost all the clever men whom I have seen are of the same faction; they took up the book and laid it down again. Do you ever reprint French books, or ever get them translated? By very far the most delightful work that I have read for many years is Sainte-Beuve's "Causeries du Lundi," or his weekly feuilletons in the "Constitutionnel." I am sure they would sell if there be any taste for French literature. It is so curious, so various, so healthy, so catholic in its biography and criticism; but it must be well done by some one who writes good English prose and knows well the literary history of France. Don't trust women; they, especially the authoresses, are as ignorant as dirt. Just as I had got to this point, Mr. Willmot came to spend the evening, and very singularly consulted me about undertaking a series of English Portraits Littéraires, like Sainte-Beuve's former works. He will do it well, and I commended him to the charming "Causeries," and advised him to make that a weekly article, as no doubt he could. It would only tell the better for the wide diffusion. He does, you know, the best criticism of The Times. I have most charming letters from Dr. Parsons and dear Mr. Whittier. His cordiality is delightful. God bless you.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

(No date.)

Never, my dear friend, did I expect to like so well a man who came in your place, as I do like Mr. Ticknor. He is an admirable person, very like his cousin in mind and manners, unmistakably good. It is delightful to hear him talk of you, and to feel that the sort of elder brotherhood which a senior partner must exercise in a firm is in such hands. He was very kind to little Harry, and Harry likes him next to you. You know he had been stanch in resisting all the advances of dear Mr --, who had asked him if he would not come to him, to which he had responded by a sturdy "no!" He (Mr. Ticknor) came here on Saturday with the dear Bennochs (N.B. I love him better than ever), and the Kingsleys met him. Mr. Hawthorne was to have come, but could not leave Liverpool so soon, so that is a pleasure to come. He will tell you that all is arranged for printing with Colburn's successors, Hurst and Blackett, two separate works, the plays and dramatic scenes forming one, the stories to be headed by a long tale, of which I have always had the idea in my head, to form almost a novel. God grant me strength to do myself and my publishers justice in that story! This whole affair springs from the fancy which Mr. Bennoch has taken to have the plays printed in a collected form during my lifetime, for I had always felt that they would be so printed after my death, so that their coming out now seems to me a sort of anachronism. The one certain pleasure that I shall derive from this arrangement will be, having my name and yours joined together in the American edition, for we reserve the early sheets. Nothing ever vexed me so much as the other book not being in your hands. That was Mr. --'s fault, for, stiff as Bentley is, Mr. Bennoch would have managed him..... Of a certainty my first strong interest in American poetry sprang from dear Dr. Holmes's exquisite little piece of scenery painting, which he delivered where his father had been educated. You sent me that, and thus made the friendship between Dr. Holmes and me; and now you are yourself-you, my dearest American friend-delivering an address at the greatest American University. It is a great honor, and one....

I suppose Mr. Ticknor tells you the book-news? The most striking work for years is "Haydon's Life." I hope you have reprinted it, for it is sure, not only of a run, but of a durable success. You know that the family wanted me to edit the book. I shrank from a task that required so much knowledge which could only be possessed by one living in the artist world now, to know who was dead and who alive, and Mr. Tom Taylor has done it admirably. I read the book twice over, so profound was my interest in it. In his early days, I used to be a sort of safety-valve to that ardent spirit most like Benvenuto Cellini both in pen and tongue and person. Our dear Mr. Bennoch was the providence of his later years. They tell me that that powerful work has entirely stopped the sale of Moore's Life, which, all tinsel and tawdry rags, might have been written by a court newsman or a court milliner. I wonder whether they will print the other six volumes; for the four out they have given Mrs. Moore three thousand pounds. A bad account Mr. Tupper gives of --. Fancy his conceit! When Mr. Tupper praised a passage in one of his poems, he said, "If I had known you liked it, I would have omitted that passage in my new edition," and he has done so by passages praised by persons of taste, cut them out bodily and left the sentences before and after to join themselves how they could. What a bad figure your President and Mr. -- cut at the opening of your Exhibition! I am sorry for --, for, although he has quite forgotten me since his aunt's book came out, he once stayed three weeks with us, and I liked him. Well, so many of his countrymen are over-good to me, that I may well forgive one solitary instance of forgetfulness! Make my love to all my dear friends at Boston and Cambridge. Tell Mrs. Sparks how dearly I should have liked to have been at her side on the Thursday. Tell Dr. Holmes that his kind approbation of Rienzi is one of my encouragements in this new edition. I had a long talk about him with Mr. Ticknor, and rejoice to find him so young. Thank Mr. Whipple again and again for his kindness.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

(No date.)

My Very Dear Friend: Mr. Hillard (whom I shall be delighted to see if he come to England and will let me know when he can get here)-Mr. Hillard has just put into verse my own feelings about you. It is the one comfort belonging to the hard work of these two books (for besides the Dramatic Works in two thick volumes, there are prose stories in two also, and I have one long tale, almost a novel, to write),-it is the one comfort of this labor that I shall see our names together on one page. I have just finished a long gossiping preface of thirty or forty pages to the Dramatic Works, which is much more an autobiography than the Recollections, and which I have tried to make as amusing as if it were ill-natured. That work is dedicated to our dear Mr. Bennoch, another consolation. I sent the dedication to dear Mr. Ticknor, but as his letter of adieu did not reach me till two or three days after it was written, and I am not quite sure that I recollected the number in Paternoster Row, I shall send it to you here. "To Francis Bennoch, Esq., who blends in his life great public services with the most genial private hospitality; who, munificent patron of poet and of painter, is the first to recognize every talent except his own, content to be beloved where others claim to be admired; to him, equally valued as companion and as friend, these volumes are most respectfully and affectionately inscribed by the author." I write from memory, but if this be not it, it is very like it, (and I beg you to believe that my preface is a little better English than this agglomeration of "its.")

Mr. Kingsley says that Alfred Tennyson says that Alexander Smith's poems show fancy, but not imagination; and on my repeating this to Mrs. Browning, she said it was exactly her impression. For my part I am struck by the extravagance and the total want of finish and of constructive power, and I am in hopes that ultimately good will come out of evil, for Mr. Kingsley has written, he tells me, a paper called "Alexander Pope and Alexander Smith," and Mr. Willmott, the powerful critic of The Times, takes the same view, he tells me, and will doubtless put it into print some day or other, so that the carrying this bad school to excess will work for good. By the way, Mr. --, whose Imogen is so beautiful, sent me the other day a terrible wild affair in that style, and I wrote him a frank letter, which my sincere admiration for what he does well gives me some right to do. He has in him the making of a great poet; but, if he once take to these obscurities, he is lost. I hope I have not offended him, for I think it is a real talent, and I feel the strongest interest in him. My young friend, James Payn, went a fortnight or three weeks ago to Lasswade and spent an evening with Mr. De Quincey. He speaks of him just as you do, marvellously fine in point of conversation, looking like an old beggar, but with the manners of a prince, "if," adds James Payn, "we may understand by that all that is intelligent and courteous and charming." (I suppose he means such manners as our Emperor's.) He began by saying that his life was a mere misery to him from nerves, and that he could only render it endurable by a semi-inebriation with opium. (I always thought he had not left opium off.).... On his return, James Payn again visited Harriet Martineau, who talked frankly about the book, exculpating Mr. Atkinson and taking all the blame to herself. She asked if I had read it, and on finding that I had not, said, "It was better so." There are fine points about Harriet Martineau. Mrs. Browning is positively crazy about the spirit-rappings. She believes every story, European or American, and says our Emperor consults the mediums, which I disbelieve.

The above was written yesterday. To-day has brought me a charming letter from Miss De Quincey. She has been very ill, but is now back at Lasswade, and longing most earnestly to persuade her father to return to Grasmere. Will she succeed? She sends me a charming message from a brother Francis, a young physician settled in India. She says that her sister told her her father was in bad spirits when talking to Mr. Payn, which perhaps accounts for his confessing to the continuing the opium-eating.

Mr. -- brought me some proofs of his new volume of poems. I think that if he will take pains he will be a real poet. But it is so difficult to get young men to believe that correcting and re-correcting is necessary, and he is a most charming person, and so gets spoiled. I spoil him myself, God forgive me! although I advise him to the best of my power. No signs of Mr. Hawthorne yet! Heaven bless you, my dear friend.

Ever faithfully yours, M.R.M.

October, 1853.

My Very Dear Friend: I cannot thank you enough for the two charming books which you have sent me. I enclose a letter for the author of this very remarkable book of Italian travel, and I have written to dear Mr. Hawthorne myself.

Since I wrote to you, dear Mr. Bennoch sent to me to look out what letters I could find of poor Haydon's. I was half killed by the operation, all my sins came upon me; for, lulling my conscience by carelessness about bills and receipts, and by answering almost every letter the day it comes, I am in other respects utterly careless, and my great mass of correspondence goes where fate and K-- decree. We had five great chests and boxes, two huge hampers, fifteen or sixteen baskets, and more drawers than you would believe the house could hold, to look over, and at last disinterred sixty-five. I did not dare read them for fear of the dust, but I have no doubt they will be most valuable, for his letters were matchless for talent and spirit. I hope you have reprinted the Life; if so, of course you will publish the Correspondence. By the way, it is a curious specimen of the little care our highest people have for poetry of the -- school, that Vice-Chancellor Wood, one of the most accomplished men whom I have ever known, a bosom friend of Macaulay, was with me last week, and had never heard of Alexander Smith.

I continue terribly lame, and with no chance of amendment till the spring, when you will come and do me good. Besides the lameness, I am also miserably feeble, ten years older than when you saw me last. I am working as well as I can, but very slowly. I send you a proof of the Preface to the Dramatic Works (not knowing whether they have sent you the sheets, or when they mean to bring it out). The few who have seen this Introduction like it. It tells the truth about myself and says no ill of other people. God bless you, dear friend. Say everything for me to all friends, not forgetting Mr. Ticknor.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, November 8, 1853.

My Very Dear Friend; Your letters are always delightful to me, even when they are dated Boston; think what they will be when they are dated London. In my last I sent you a very rough proof of my Preface (I think Mr. Hurst means to call it Introduction), which you will find autobiographical to your heart's content; I hope you will like it. To-day I enclose the first rough draft of an account of my first impression of Haydon. Don't print it, please, because I suppose they mean it for a part of the Correspondence when it shall be published. I looked out for those sixty-five long letters of Haydon's,-as long, perhaps, each, as half a dozen of mine to you,-and doubtless I have many more, but I was almost blinded by the dust in hunting up those, my eyes having been very tender since I was shut up in a smoky room for twenty-two weeks last winter. I find now that Messrs. Longman have postponed the publication of the Correspondence in the fear that it would injure the sale of the Memoirs, the book having had a great success here. By the enclosed, which is as true and as like as I could make it, you will see that he was a very brilliant and charming person. I believe that next to having been heart-broken by the committee and the heartlessness of his pupil --, and enraged by the passion for that miserable little wretch, Tom Thumb, that the real cause of his suicide was to get his family provided for. It succeeded. By one way and another they had £440 a year between the four; but although the poor father never complained, you will see by his book what a selfish wretch that -- was.....

My tragedies are printed, and the dramatic scenes, forming, with the preface, two volumes of above four hundred pages each. But I don't think they are to come out till the prose work, and that is not a quarter finished. I am always a most slow and laborious writer (that Preface was written three times over throughout, and many parts of it five or six), and of course my ill health does not improve my powers of composition. This wet summer and autumn have been terribly against me. I am lamer even than when Mr. Ticknor saw me, and sometimes cannot even dip the pen in the ink without holding it in my left hand. Thank God my head is spared, and my heart is, I think, as young as ever.

I had a letter to-day from Mr. Chorley; he has been staying all the autumn with Sir William Molesworth, now a Cabinet Minister, but he complains terribly about his own health, notwithstanding he has a play coming out at the Olympic, which Mr. Wigan has taken. Mrs. Kingsley, a most sweet person, has a cough which has forced them to send her to the sea. You shall be sure to see both him and Mr. Willmott if I can compass it; but we live, each of us, seven miles apart, and these country clergymen are so tied to their parish that they are difficult to catch. However, they both come to see me whenever they can, and we must contrive it. You will like both in different ways. Mr. Willmott is one of the most agreeable men in the world, and Mr. Kingsley is charming. I have another dear friend, not an author, whom I prefer to either,-Hugh Pearson. He made for himself a collection of De Quincey, when a lad at Oxford. You would like him, I think, better than anybody; but he too is a country clergyman, living eight miles off. Poor Mr. Norton! His letters were charming. He is connected in my mind with Mrs. Hemans, too, to whom he was so kind. You must say everything for me to dear Mrs. Sparks. I seem most ungrateful to her, but I really have little power of writing letters just now. Did I tell you that Mr. -- sent me a poem called --, which I am very sorry that he ever wrote. It has shocked Mr. Bennoch even more than it did me. You must get him to write more poems like --. A young friend of mine has brought out a little volume in which there is striking evidence of talent; but none of these young writers take pains. How very pretty is that scrap on a country church! Mrs. Browning is at Florence, but is going to Rome. She says that your countryman, Mr. Story, has made a charming statuette, I think of Beethoven, or else of Mendelssohn, which ought to make his reputation. She is crazy about mediums. She says (but I have not heard it elsewhere) that Thackeray and Dickens are to winter at Rome, and Alfred Tennyson at Florence. Mrs. Trollope has quite recovered, and receives as usual. How full of beauty Mr. Hillard's book is! thank him for it again and again. Did I tell you that they are going to engrave a portrait of me by Haydon, now belonging to Mr. Bennoch, for the Dramatic Works? God bless you, my very dear friend. Say everything for me to Mr. Ticknor and Dr. Holmes and Dr. Parsons, and all my friends in Boston. Little Henry grows a very sensible, intelligent boy, and is a great favorite at his school. He is getting on with French.

Once more, ever yours, M.R.M.


(January, 1854.)

My Beloved Friend: They who correspond with sick people must be content to receive such letters as are sent from hospitals. For many weeks I have been wholly shut up in my own room, getting with exceeding difficulty from the bed to the fireside, quite unable to stir either in the chair or in the bed, but much less miserable up than when in bed. The terrible cold of last summer did not allow me to gain any strength, so that although the fire in my room is kept up night and day, yet a severe attack of influenza came on and would have carried me off, had not Mr. May been so much alarmed at the state of the pulse and the general feebleness as to order me two tablespoonfuls of champagne in water once a day, and a teaspoonful of brandy also in water, at night, which undoubtedly saved my life. It is the only good argument for what is called teetotalism that it keeps more admirable medicines as medicine; for undoubtedly a wine-drinker, however moderate, would not have been brought round by the remedy which did me so much good. Miserably feeble I still am, and shall continue till May or June (if it please God to spare my life till then), when, if it be fine weather, Sam will lift me down stairs and into the pony-chaise, and I may get stronger. Well, in the midst of the terrible cough, which did not allow me to lie down in bed, and a weakness difficult to describe, I finished "Atherton." I did it against orders and against warning, because I had an impression that I should not live to complete it, and I sent it yesterday to London to dear Mr. Bennoch, so I suppose you will soon receive the sheets. Almost every line has been written three times over, and it is certainly the most cheerful and sunshiny story that was ever composed in such a state of helplessness, feebleness, and suffering; for the rheumatic pain in the chest not only rendered the cough terrible (that, thank God, is nearly gone now), but makes the position of writing one of misery. God grant you may like this story! I shall at least say in the Preface that it will give me one pleasure, that of having in the American title-page the names of dear friends united with mine. Mind I don't know whether the story be good or bad. I only answer for its having the youthfulness which you liked in the preface to the plays. Well, dearest friend, just when I was at the worst came your letter about the ducks and the ducks themselves. Never were birds so welcome. My friend, Mr. May, the cleverest and most admirable person whom I know in this neighborhood, refuses all fees of any sort, and comes twelve miles to see me, when torn to pieces by all the great folk round, from pure friendship. Think how glad I was to have such a dainty to offer him just when he had all his family gathered about him at Christmas. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me this great pleasure, infinitely greater than eating it myself would have been. They were delicious. How very, very good you are to me!

Has Mrs. Craig written to you to tell you of her marriage? I will run the risk of repetition and tell you that it is the charming Margaret De Quincey, who has married the son of a Scotch neighbor. He has purchased land in Ireland, and they are about to live in Tipperary,-a district which Irish people tell me is losing its reputation for being the most disturbed in Ireland, but keeping that for superior fertility. They are trying to regain a reputation for literature in Edinburgh. John Ruskin has been giving a series of lectures on art there, and Mr. Kingsley four lectures on the schools of Alexandria.

Nothing out of Parliament has for very long made so strong a sensation as our dear Mr. Bennoch's evidence on the London Corporation. Three leading articles in The Times paid him the highest compliments, and you know what that implies. I have myself had several letters congratulating me on having such a friend. Ah! the public qualities make but a part of that fine and genial character, although I firmly believe that the strength is essential to the tenderness. I always put you and him together, and it is one of the compensations of my old age to have acquired such friends.

Have you seen Matthew Arnold's poems? They have fine bits. The author is a son of Dr. Arnold.

God bless you! Say everything for me to my dear American friends, Drs. Holmes and Parsons, Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Whittier, Mrs. Sparks, Mr. Taylor, Mr. Whipple, Mr. and Mrs. Willard, and Mr. Ticknor. Many, very many happy years to them and to you.

Always most affectionately yours, M.R.M.

P.S. I enclose some slips to be pasted into books for my different American friends. If I have sent too many, you will know which to omit. I must add to the American preface a line expressive of my pleasure in joining my name to yours. I will send one line here for fear of its not going. Mr. May says that those ducks were amongst the few things thoroughly deserving their reputation, holding the same place, as compared with our wild ducks, that the finest venison does to common mutton. I cannot tell you how much I thank you for enabling me to send such a treat to such a friend. You will send a copy of the prose book or the dramas, according to your own pleasure, only I should like the two dear doctors to have the plays.

Swallowfield, January 23, 1854.

I have always to thank you for some kindness, dearest Mr. Fields, generally for many. How clever those magazines are, especially Mr. Lowell's article, and Mr. Bayard Taylor's graceful stanzas! Just now I have to ask you to forward the enclosed to Mr. Whittier. He sent me a charming poem on Burns, full of tenderness and humanity, and the indulgence which the wise and good can so well afford, and which only the wisest and best can show to their erring brethren. I rejoice to hear that he is getting well again. I myself am weaker and more helpless every day, and the rheumatic pain in the chest increases so rapidly, and makes writing so difficult, even the writing such a note as this, that I cannot be thankful enough for having finished "Atherton," for I am sure I could not write it now. There is some chance of my getting better in the summer, if I can be got into the air, and that must be by being let down in a chair through a trap-door, like so much railway luggage, for there is not the slightest power of helping myself left in me,-nothing, indeed, but the good spirits which Shakespeare gave to Horatio, and Hamlet envied him. Dearest Mr. Bennoch has made me a superb present,-two portraits of our Emperor and his fair wife. He all intellect,-never was a brow so full of thought; she all sweetness,-such a mouth was never seen, it seems waiting to smile. The beauty is rather of expression than of feature, which is exactly what it ought to be....


Swallowfield, May 2, 1854.

My Dear Friend: Long before this time, you will, I hope, have received the sheets of "Atherton." It has met with an enthusiastic reception from the English press, and certainly the friends who have written to me on the subject seem to prefer the tale which fills the first volume to anything that I have done. I hope you will like it,-I am sure you will not detect in it the gloom of a sick-chamber. Mr. May holds out hopes that the summer may do me good. As yet the spring has been most unfavorable to invalids, being one combined series of east-wind, so that instead of getting better I am every day weaker than the last, unable to see more than one person a day, and quite exhausted by half an hour's conversation. I hope to be a little better before your arrival, dearest friend, because I must see you; but any stranger-even Mr. Hawthorne-is quite out of the question.

You may imagine how kind dear Mr. Bennoch has been all through this long trial, next after John Ruskin and his admirable father the kindest of all my friends, and that is saying much.

God bless you. Love to all my friends, poets, prosers, and the dear --, who are that most excellent thing, readers. I wonder if you ever received a list of people to whom to send one or other of my works? I wrote such with little words in my own hand, but writing is so painful and difficult, and I am always so uncertain of your getting my letters, that I cannot attempt to send another. There was one for Mrs. Sparks. I am sure of liking Dr. Parsons's book,-quite sure. Once again, God bless you! Little Henry grows a nice boy.

Ever most affectionately yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, July 12, 1854.

Dearest Mr. Fields: Our excellent friend Mr. Bennoch will have told you from how painful a state of anxiety your most welcome letter relieved us. You have done quite right, my beloved friend, in returning to Boston. The voyage, always so trying to you, would, with your health so deranged, have been most dangerous, and next year you will find all your friends, except one, as happy to see and to welcome you. Even if you had arrived now our meeting would have been limited to minutes. Dr. Parsons will tell you that fresh feebleness in a person so long tried and so aged (sixty-seven) must have a speedy termination. May Heaven prolong your valuable life, dear friend, and grant that you may be as happy yourself as you have always tried to render others!

I rejoice to hear what you tell me of "Atherton." Here the reception has been most warm and cordial. Every page of it was written three times over, so that I spared no pains, but I was nearly killed by the terrible haste in which it was finished, and I do believe that many of the sheets were sent to me without ever being read in the office. I have corrected one copy for the third English edition, but I cannot undertake such an effort again, so, if (as I venture to believe) it be destined to be often reprinted by you, you must correct it from that edition. I hope you sent a copy to Mr. Whittier from me. I had hoped you would bring one to Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. De Quincey, but I must try what I can do with Mr. Hurst, and must depend on you for assuring these valued friends that it was not neglect or ingratitude on my part.

Mr. Boner, my dear and valued friend, wishes you and dear Mr. Ticknor to print his "Chamois-Hunting" from a second edition which Chapman and Hall are bringing out. I sent my copy of the work to Mr. Bennoch when we were expecting you, that you might see it. It is a really excellent book, full of interest, with admirable plates, which you could have, and, speaking in your interest, as much as in his, I firmly believe that it would answer to you in money as well as in credit to bring it out in America. Also Mrs. Browning (while in Italy) wrote to me to inquire if you would like to bring out a new poem by her, and a new work by her husband. I told her that I could not doubt it, but that she had better write duplicate letters to London and to Boston. Our poor little boy is here for his holidays. His excellent mother and step-father have nursed me rather as if they had been my children than my servants. Everybody has been most kind. The champagne, which I believe keeps me alive, is dear Mr. Bennoch's present; but you will understand how ill I am when I tell you that my breath is so much affected by the slightest exertion that I cannot bear even to be lifted into bed, but have spent the last eight nights sitting up, with my feet supported on a leg-rest. This from exhaustion, not from disease of the lungs.

Give the enclosed to Dr. Parsons. You know what I have always thought of his genius. In my mind no poems ever crossed the Atlantic which approached his stanzas on Dante and on the death of Webster, and yet you have great poets too. Think how glad and proud I am to hear of the honor he has done me. I wish you had transcribed the verses.

God bless you, my beloved friend! Say everything for me to all my dear friends, to Dr. Parsons, to Dr. Holmes, to Mr. Whittier, to Professor Longfellow, to Mr. Taylor, to Mr. Stoddard, to Mrs. Sparks, and above all to the excellent Mr. Ticknor and the dear W--s.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, July 28, 1854.

My Very Dear Friend: This is a sort of postscript to my last, written instantly on the receipt of yours and sent through Mr. --. I hope you received it, for he is so impetuous that I always a little doubt his care; at least it was when sent through him that the loss of letters to and fro took place. However, I enjoined him to be careful this time, and he assured me that he was so.

The purport of this is to add the name of my friend, Mr. Willmott, to the authors who wish for the advantage of your firm as their American publishers. I have begged him to write to you himself, and I hope he has done so, or that he will do so. But he is staying at Richmond with sick relatives, and I am not sure. You know his works, of course. They are becoming more and more popular in England, and he is writing better and better. The best critical articles in The Times are by him. He is eminently a scholar, and yet full of anecdote of the most amusing sort, with a memory like Scott, and a charming habit of applying his knowledge. His writings become more and more like his talk, and I am confident that you would find his works not only most creditable, but most profitable. I would not recommend you to each other if it were not for your mutual advantage, so far as my poor judgment goes. On the 25th my Dramatic Works are to be published here. I hope they have sent you the sheets.

I have not heard yet from any American friend, except your delightful letter and one from Grace Greenwood, but I hope I shall. I prize the good word of such persons as Drs. Parsons and Holmes and Professor Longfellow and John Whittier and many others. I am still very ill.

The Brownings remain this year in Italy. If it be very hot, they will go for a month or two to the Baths of Lucca, but their home is Florence. She has taken a fancy to an American female sculptor,-a girl of twenty-two,-a pupil of Gibson's, who goes with the rest of the fraternity of the studio to breakfast and dine at a café, and yet keeps her character. Also she believes in all your rappings.

God be with you, my very dear friend. I trust you are quite recovered.

Always affectionately yours, M.R.M.

Swallowfield, August 21, 1854.

My Dear Mr. Fields: Mr. Bayard Taylor having sent me a most interesting letter, but no address, I trouble you with my reply. Read it, and you will perhaps understand that I am declining day by day, and that, humanly speaking, the end is very near. Perhaps there may yet be time for an answer to this....

I believe that one reason for your not quite understanding my illness is, that you, if you have seen long and great sickness at all, which is doubtful, have seen it with an utter prostration of the mind and the spirits,-that your women are languid and querulous, and never dream of bearing up against bodily evils by an effort of the mind. Even now, when half an hour's visit is utterly forbidden, and half that time leaves me panting and exhausted, I never mention (except forced into it by your evident disbelief) my own illness either in speaking or writing,-never, except to answer Mr. May's questions, or to join my beloved friend, Mr. Pearson, in thanking God for the visitation which I humbly hope was sent in his mercy to draw me nearer to him; may he grant me grace to use it!-for the rest, whilst the intelligence and the sympathy are vouchsafed to me, I will write of others, and give to my friends, as far as in me lies, the thoughts which would hardly be more worthily bestowed on my own miserable body.

You will be sorry to find that the poor Talfourds are likely to be very poor. A Reading attorney has run away, cheating half the town. He has carried off £4,000 belonging to Lady Talfourd, and she herself tells my friend, William Harness (one of her kindest friends), that that formed the principal part of the Judge's small savings, and, together with the sum for which he had insured his life (only £5,000), was all which they had. Now there are five young people,-his children,-the widow and an adopted niece, seven in all, accustomed to every sort of luxury and indulgence. The only glimpse of hope is, that the eldest son held a few briefs on circuit and went through them creditably; but it takes many years in England to win a barrister's reputation, and the poorer our young men are the more sure they are to marry. Add the strange fact that since the father's death (he having reserved his copyrights) not a single copy of any of his books has been sold! A fortnight ago I had a great fright respecting Miss Martineau, which still continues. James Payn, who is living at the Lakes, and to whom she has been most kind, says he fears she will be a great pecuniary sufferer by --. I only hope that it is a definite sum, and no general security or partnership,-even that will be bad enough for a woman of her age, and so hard a worker, who intended to give herself rest; but observe these are only fears. I know nothing. The Brownings are detained in Italy, she tells me, for want of money, and cannot even get to Lucca. This is my bad news,-O, and it is very bad that sweet Mrs. Kingsley must stay two years in Devonshire and cannot come home. I expect to see him this week. John Ruskin is with his father and mother in Switzerland, constantly sending me tokens of friendship. Everybody writes or sends or comes; never was such kindness. The Bennochs are in Scotland. He sends me charming letters, having, I believe, at last discovered what every one else has known long. Remember me to Mr. Ticknor. Say everything to my Athenian friends all, especially to Dr. Holmes and Dr. Parsons.

Ever, dear friend, your affectionate M.R.M.

September 26, 1854.

My Very Dear Friend: Your most kind and interesting letter has just arrived, with one from our good friend, Mr. Bennoch, announcing the receipt of the £50 bill for "Atherton." More welcome even as a sign of the prosperity of the book in a country where I have so many friends and which I have always loved so well, than as money, although in that way it is a far greater comfort than you probably guess, this very long and very severe illness obliging me to keep a third maid-servant. I get no sleep,-not on an average an hour a night,-and require perpetual change of posture to prevent the skin giving way still more than it does, and forming what we emphatically call bed-sores, although I sit up night and day, and have no other relief than the being, to a slight extent, shifted from one position to another in the chair that I never quit. Besides this, there are many other expenses. I tell you this, dear friend, that Mr. Ticknor and yourself may have the satisfaction of knowing that, besides all that you have done for many years for my gratification, you have been of substantial use in this emergency. In spite of all this illness, after being so entirely given over that dear Mr. Pearson, leaving me a month ago to travel with Arthur Stanley for a month, took a final leave of me, I have yet revived greatly during these last three weeks. I owe this, under Providence, to my admirable friend, Mr. May, who, instead of abandoning the stranded ship, as is common in these cases, has continued, although six miles off, and driving four pair of horses a day, ay, and while himself hopeless of my case, to visit me constantly and to watch every symptom, and exhaust every resource of his great art, as if his own fame and fortune depended on the result. One kind but too sanguine friend, Mr. Bennoch, is rather over-hopeful about this amendment, for I am still in a state in which the slightest falling back would carry me off, and in which I can hardly think it possible to weather the winter. If that incredible contingency should arise, what a happiness it would be to see you in April! But I must content myself with the charming little portrait you have sent me, which is your very self. Thank you for it over and over. Thank you, too, for the batch of notices on "Atherton."....

Dr. Parsons's address is very fine, and makes me still more desire to see his volume; and the letter from Dr. Holmes is charming, so clear, so kind, and so good. If I had been a boy, I would have followed their noble profession. Three such men as Mr. May, Dr. Parsons, and Dr. Holmes are enough to confirm the predilection that I have always had for the art of healing.

I have no good news to tell you of dear Mr. K--. His sweet wife (Mr. Ticknor will remember her) has been three times at death's door since he saw her here, and must spend at least two winters more at Torquay. But I don't believe that he could stay here even if she were well. Bramshill has fallen into the hands of a Puseyite parson, who, besides that craze, which is so flagrant as to have made dear Mr. K-- forbid him his pulpit, is subject to fits of raving madness,-one of those most dangerous lunatics whom an age (in which there is a great deal of false humanity) never shuts up until some terrible crime has been committed. (A celebrated mad-doctor said the other day of this very man, that he had "homicidal madness.") You may fancy what such a Squire, opposing him in every way, is to the rector of the parish. Mr. K-- told me last winter that he was driving him mad, and I am fully persuaded that he would make a large sacrifice of income to exchange his parish. To make up for this, he is working himself to death, and I greatly fear that his excess of tobacco is almost equal to the opium of Mr. De Quincey. With his temperament this is full of danger. He was only here for two or three days to settle a new curate, but he walked over to see me, and I will take care that he receives your message. His regard for me is, I really believe, sincere and very warm. Remember that all this is in strict confidence. The kindness that people show to me is something surprising. I have not deserved it, but I receive it most gratefully. It touches one's very heart. Will you say everything for me to my many kind friends, too many to name? I had a kind letter from Mrs. Sparks the other day. The poets I cling to while I can hold a pen. God bless you.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

Can you contrive to send a copy of your edition of "Atherton" to Mr. Hawthorne? Pray, dear friend, do if you can.

October 12, 1854

My Very Dear Friend: I can hardly give you a greater proof of affection, than in telling you that your letter of yesterday affected me to tears, and that I thanked God for it last night in my prayers; so much a mercy does it seem to me to be still beloved by one whom I have always loved so much. I thank you a thousand times for that letter and for the book. I enclose you my own letter to dear Dr. Parsons. Read it before giving it to him. I could not help being amused at his having appended my name to a poem in some sort derogating from the fame of the only Frenchman who is worthy to be named after the present great monarch. I hope I have not done wrong in confessing my faith. Holding back an opinion is often as much a falsehood as the actual untruth itself, and so I think it would be here. Now we have the book, do you remember through whom you sent the notices? If you do, let me know. You will see by my letter to Dr. Parsons that -- dined here yesterday, under K--'s auspices. He invited himself for three days,-luckily I have Mr. Pearson to take care of him,-and still more luckily I told him frankly yesterday that three days would be too much, for I had nearly died last night of fatigue and exhaustion and their consequences. To-night I shall leave all to my charming friend. There is nobody like John Ruskin for refinement and eloquence. You will be glad to hear that he has asked me for a letter to dear Mr. Bennoch to help him in his schools of Art,-I mean with advice. This will, I hope, bring our dear friend out of the set he is in, and into that where I wish to see him, for John Ruskin must always fill the very highest position. God bless you all, dear friends!

Ever most affectionately yours, M.R.M.

Love to all my friends.

You have given me a new motive for clinging to life by coming to England in April. Till this pull-back yesterday, I was better, although still afraid of being lifted into bed, and with small hope of getting alive through the winter. God bless you!

October 18, 1854.

My Very Dear Friend: Another copy of dear Dr. Parsons's book has arrived, with a charming, most charming letter from him, and a copy of your edition of "Atherton." It is very nicely got up indeed, the portrait the best of any engraving that has been made of me, at least, any recent engraving. May I have a few copies of that engraving when you come to England? And if I should be gone, will you let poor K-- have one? The only thing I lament in the American "Atherton" is that a passage that I wrote to add to that edition has been omitted. It was to the purport of my having a peculiar pleasure in the prospect of that reprint, because few things could be so gratifying to me as to find my poor name conjoined with those of the great and liberal publishers, for one of whom I entertain so much respect and esteem, and for the other so true and so lively an affection. The little sentence was better turned much, but that was the meaning. No doubt it was in one of my many missing letters. I even think I sent it twice,-I should greatly have liked that little paragraph to be there. May I ask you to give the enclosed to dear Dr. Parsons? There are noble lines in his book, which gains much by being known. Dear John Ruskin was here when it arrived, and much pleased with it on turning over the leaves, and he is the most fastidious of men. I must give him the copy. His praise is indeed worth having. I am as when I wrote last. God bless you, beloved friend.

Ever yours, M.R.M.

December 23, 1854.

Your dear affectionate letter, dearest and kindest friend, would have given me unmingled pleasure had it conveyed a better account of your business prospects. Here, from what I can gather, and from the sure sign of all works of importance being postponed, the trade is in a similar state of depression, caused, they say, by this war, which but for the wretched imbecility of our ministers could never have assumed so alarming an appearance. Whether we shall recover from it, God only knows. My hope is in Louis Napoleon; but that America will rally seems certain enough. She has elbow-room, and, moreover, she is not unused to rapid transitions from high prosperity to temporary difficulty, and so back again. Moreover, dear friend, I have faith in you..... God bless you, my dear friend! May he send to both of you health and happiness and length of days, and so much of this world's goods as is needful to prevent anxiety and insure comfort. I have known many rich people in my time, and the result has convinced me that with great wealth some deep black shadow is as sure to walk, as it is to follow the bright sunshine. So I never pray for more than the blessed enough for those whom I love best.

And very dearly do I love my American friends,-you best of all,-but all very dearly, as I have cause. Say this, please, to Dr. Parsons and Dr. Holmes (admiring their poems is a sort of touchstone of taste with me, and very, very many stand the test well) and dear Bayard Taylor, a man soundest and sweetest the nearer one gets to the kernel, and good, kind John Whittier, who has the fervor of the poet ingrafted into the tough old Quaker stock, and Mr. Stoddard, and Mrs. Lippincott, and Mrs. Sparks, and the Philadelphia Poetess, and dear Mr. and Mrs. W--, and your capital critics and orators. Remember me to all who think of me; but keep the choicest tenderness for yourself and your wife.

Do you know those books which pretend to have been written from one hundred to two hundred years ago,-"Mary Powell" (Milton's Courtship), "Cherry and Violet," and the rest? Their fault is that they are too much alike. The authoress (a Miss Manning) sent me some of them last winter, with some most interesting letters. Then for many months I ceased to hear from her, but a few weeks ago she sent me her new Christmas book,-"The Old Chelsea Bun House,"-and told me she was dying of a frightful internal complaint. She suffers martyrdom, but bears it like a saint, and her letters are better than all the sermons in the world. May God grant me the same cheerful submission! I try for it and pray that it be granted, but I have none of the enthusiastic glow of devotion, so real and so beautiful in Miss Manning. My faith is humble and lowly,-not that I have the slightest doubt,-but I cannot get her rapturous assurance of acceptance. My friend, William Harness, got me to employ our kind little friend, Mr. --, to procure for him Judge Edmonds's "Spiritualism." What an odious book it is! there is neither respect for the dead nor the living. Mrs. Browning believes it all; so does Bulwer, who is surrounded by mediums who summon his dead daughter. It is too frightful to talk about. Mr. May and Mr. Pearson both asked me to send it away, for fear of its seizing upon my nerves. I get weaker and weaker, and am become a mere skeleton. Ah, dear friend, come when you may, you will find only a grave at Swallowfield. Once again, God bless you and yours!

Ever yours, M, R.M.

* * *


And Some Of His Friends.

"All, all are gone, the old familiar faces."


"Old Acquaintance, shall the nights

You and I once talked together,

Be forgot like common things?"

* * *

"His thoughts half hid in golden dreams,

Which make thrice fair the songs and streams

Of Air and Earth."

* * *

"Song should breathe of scents and flowers;

Song should like a river flow;

Song should bring back scenes and hours

That we loved,-ah, long ago!"


* * *

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