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"How can a man learn to know himself? By reflection never, only by action. In the measure in which thou seekest to do thy duty shalt thou know what is in thee. But what is one's duty? The demand of the hour." - GOETHE.

"II est donné, de nos jours, a un bien petit nombre, meme parmi les plus delicats et ceux qui les apprécient le mieux, de recueillir, d'ordonner sa vie selon ses admirations et selon ses goûts, avec suite, avec noblesse." - SAINTE-BEUVE.

"Every man has a separate calling, an end peculiar to himself." - FREDERICK SCHLEGEL.

"The old lord-treasurer Burleigh, if any one came to the Lords of the Council for a licence to travel, he would first examine him of England if he found him ignorant, he would bid him stay at home and know his own country first." - HENRY PEACHAM, 1622, The Compleat Gentleman.


UPON returning to England in the winter of 1858, I felt more bitterly that ever the want of sympathy which had formerly oppressed me. Though I had the most idolatrous love for my dearest mother, and the most over-anxious wish to please her, there was then none of the perfect friendship between us, the easy interchange of every thought, which there was in later years; for she was still so entirely governed by her sisters-in-law as scarcely to have any individuality of her own. Often, often, did she pain me bitterly by suspecting my motives and questioning my actions, even when I was most desirous of doing right; and from the long habit of being told that I was idle and ignorant, that I cared for nothing useful, and that I frittered away my life, she had grown to believe it, and constantly assumed that it was so. Thus all my studies were embittered to me. I was quite sure that nothing I did would be appreciated, so that it never seemed worth while to do anything, and I became utterly deficient in that cheerfulness of disposition which is the most important element in all private success.

As I write this, and remember the number of delightful intimates by whom my after years have been surrounded, I find it difficult to realise that I had at this time no friends who, by mutual confidence, could help or cheer me. The best of them, Milligan, was now settled in London, being in full work in the Ecclesiastical Commission Office, and though always very kind to me, he had now fallen into a new set of acquaintances and surroundings, and had no time to bestow upon me individually. George Sheffield I seldom saw; and I had no other friends worth speaking of.

At this time all the intellectual impetus I received, and without which I should have fallen into a state of stagnation, came from the house of my aunt, Mrs. Stanley. Her grace, ease, and tact in society were unrivalled. At her house, and there alone, I met people of original ideas and liberal conversation. In this conversation, however, I was at that time far too shy to join, and I was so dreadfully afraid of my aunt, who, with the kindest intentions, had a very cold unsympathetic manner in private, that while I always appreciated her - I was unable to reap much benefit from her society. Perhaps my chief friend was my cousin Arthur Stanley, whom I was not the least afraid of, and whom I believe to have been really fond of me at this time; also, though he had a very poor opinion of my present powers and abilities, he did not seem, like other people, utterly to despair of my future.

By my mother's desire, Archdeacon Moore (an old friend of the Hare family) had written to Sir Antonio Panizzi,1 then the autocratic ruler of the British Museum Library, with a view to my standing for a clerkship there. But this idea was afterwards abandoned, and it was owing to the kindness of my cousin Arthur and that of Albert Way (our connection by his marriage with Emmeline Stanley) that I obtained from John Murray, the publisher, .the employment of my next two years - the "Handbook of Berks, Bucks, and Oxfordshire."


The commission to undertake this Handbook was one which I hailed with rapture. The work was in every respect welcome to me. I had an inner consciousness that I could do it well, and that while I was doing it I should be acquiring information and advancing my own neglected education. Besides, the people with whom the work would necessarily bring me in contact were just those who were most congenial. My principal residence would be Oxford, associated with some of my happiest days, and where it was now a real pleasure to be near Arthur Stanley; while, if my mother were ill or needed me in any way, there was nothing in my work which would prevent my returning to her, and continuing it at home. Above all, the fact of my having the work to do would silence the ceaseless insinuations to my mother as to my desire for an idle life of self-indulgence. I knew nothing then of the mercantile value of my labour. I did not know (and I had no one to inform me) that I was giving away the earnest work of two years for a pitiful sum,2 which was not a tenth of its value, and which was utterly insufficient to meet its expenses.

How well I remember my first sight of John Murray, when he came to dine at the Stanleys' house in Grosvenor Crescent - his hard, dry questions, his sharp, concise note afterwards, in which he announced the terms of our hardly-driven bargain, received by me as if it had been the greatest of favours. Perhaps, however, the very character of the man I had to deal with, and the rules he enjoined as to my work, were a corrective I was much the better for at this time. The style of my writing was to be as hard, dry, and incisive as my taskmaster. It was to be a mere catalogue of facts and dates, mingled with measurements of buildings, and irritating details as to the " E. E.," " Dec." or "Perp." architecture even of the most insignificant churches, this being the peculiar hobby of the publisher. No sentiment, no expression of opinion were ever to be allowed; all description was to be reduced to its barest bones, dusty, dead, and colourless. In fact, I was to produce a book which I knew to be utterly unreadable, though correct and useful for reference. Many a paper struggle did I have with John Murray the third - for there has been a dynasty of John Murrays in Albemarle Street - as to the retention of paragraphs I had written. I remember how this was especially the case as to my description of Redesdale, which was one of the best things I have ever done. Murray, however, was never averse to a contribution from one whose name was already distinguished either by rank or literature, and when Arthur Stanley contributed passages with his signature to my account of Oxford, they were gladly accepted, though antagonistic to all his rules.

Arthur Stanley had been made Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Oxford before we had gone abroad, and, while we were absent, a Canonry at Christ Church, attached to the professorship, had fallen in to him. The Canon's house was just inside the Peckwater Gate leading into Tom Quad, and had a stiff narrow walled garden behind, planted with apple-trees, in the centre of which Arthur made a fountain. It had been a trouble to the Canon that it was almost impossible in his position to make the acquaintance he wished with the young men around him, and in this I was able to be a help to him, and in some way to return the kindness which often gave me a second home in his house for many months together. His helpless untidiness, and utter inability to look after himself, were also troubles which I could at least ameliorate. I rapidly made acquaintances in Christ Church, several of which developed into friendships, and I was only too glad to accede to Arthur's wish that I should invite them to his house, where they became his acquaintances also. Of Christ Church men at this time I became most familiar with Brownlow,3 Le Strange,4 Edward Stanhope,5 Stopford,6 Addie Hay,7 and my second cousin, Victor Williamson.8 A little later, at the house of Mrs. Cradock, I was introduced to "Charlie Wood."9 I did not think that I should like him at first ; but we became intimate over an excursion to Watlington and Sherborne Castle, and he has ever since been the best and dearest of my friends. Very soon in constant companionship, we drew together in the Bodleian and Christ Church libraries, we read together at home, and many were the delightful excursions we made in home scenes, forerunners of after excursions in more striking scenes abroad. We also often shared in the little feasts in Mrs. Cradock's10 garden, where we used to amuse ourselves and others by composing and reciting verses.


I frequently left Christ Church for a week or two upon exploring raids into the counties on which I was employed, and used to bring back materials to work up in Oxford, with the help of the Bodleian and other libraries. Very early, in this time of excursions, I received an invitation (often repeated) from Jane, Viscountess Barrington, a first cousin of my real mother, to visit her at Beckett near Shrivenham. I had seen so little then of any members of my real family, that I went to Beckett with more shyness and misgivings than I have ever taken to any other place; but I soon became deeply attached to my dear cousin Lady Barrington, who began from the first to show an interest in me, which was more that of a tenderly affectionate aunt than of any more distant relation. Lord Barrington, the very type of a courteous English nobleman, was also most kind. Of their daughters, two were unmarried - Augusta, who was exceedingly handsome, brimful of very accurate information, and rather alarming on first acquaintance; and Adelaide, who was of a much brighter, gentler nature. I thought at this time, however, that Lina, Lady Somerton, was more engaging than either of her sisters. I often found her at Beckett with her children, of whom the little Nina - afterwards Countess of Clarendon - used to be put into a large china pot upon the staircase when she was naughty. Beckett was a very large luxurious house in the Tudor style, with a great hall, built by Thomas Liddell, Lady Barrington's brother. The park was rather flat, but had a pretty piece of water with swans, and a picturesque summer-house built by Inigo Jones. Much of the family fortune came from Lord Barrington's uncle, Shute Barrington, Bishop of Durham, who used to say he was the only licensed poacher in England - "I Shute, by the grace of God," &c. This old bishop, when his nephew brought his bride to visit him - a wedding visit - at Mongewell, filled all the trees with rare cockatoos and parrots, in the hope that when she heard them scream, she would think they were the native birds of that district. Lord and Lady Barrington took me, amongst other places, to see Mr. Aitkens of Kingston Lyle - "the Squire" in Tom Hughes's "Scouring of the White Horse," and also to see the creature itself, which is far more like a weasel than a horse. The kindness of Lord Barrington also secured my favourable reception at every other house in the county, and many were the visits I paid in Berkshire at places described in my Handbook.

Much kindness was also shown me by old Lady Stanley of Alderley,11 who was often very violent, indeed quite furious, about her own opinions; but full of the most sincere interest and kindness towards me for my mother's sake. Holmwood, near Henley, whither I went several times to visit her, was an enchanting place, with luxuriant lawn and flowers, fine trees, and beautiful distant views. A succession of grandchildren always filled the house, and found it most enjoyable, the two unmarried aunts - Rianette (Maria Margaret) and Louisa - being, as one of them (Lady Airlie) has often told me, "the good fairies of their childhood." Like most Stanleys, they were peculiarly subject to what that family calls "fits of righteous indignation" with all who differed from them; but nobody minded. Having had the most interesting youth themselves, during which their uncle (afterwards Bishop Stanley) and other relations were always inventing something for their amusement, they had a special gift for interesting others, so that those who went to visit them always felt that though they received many and often unmerited scoldings, their visit could never be dull. How well I remember still Louisa Stanley's graphic imitation of many people of her long-ago especially of old Mr. Holland, the Knutsford doctor,12 who would come in saying, "Well, Miss Louisa, and how are we to-day? We must take a little more rubbub and magnesia; and I would eat a leetle plain pudden with a leetle shugger over it!" and then, ringing the bell, "Would you send round my hearse, if you please?"

Lady Stanley herself had been the pupil of Gibbon at Lausanne, and had much to tell of past days; and the pertinacity with which she maintained her own opinions about them and everything else, rendered her recollections very vivid and amusing. All the family, including my mother, were so dreadfully afraid of Lady Stanley, that a visit to her always partook of the nature of an adventure; but it generally turned out to be a very charming adventure, and I always look back to her with affectionate gratitude, and feel that there was a great charm in the singleness, sincerity, and freshness of her character. When I was at Holmwood, I used to engage a little carriage and go out for long excursions of eight or ten hours into the country; and when I returned just before dinner, Lady Stanley was so anxious to hear my adventures, that she would not wait till I came down, but would insist upon the whole history through the bedroom door as I was dressing.

If people were not afraid of her, Lady Stanley liked them the better for it, and she always heartily enjoyed a joke. I remember hearing how one day at Alderley she raged and stormed because the gentlemen sat longer after dinner than she liked. Old Mr. Davenport was the first to come into the drawing-room. "Well now, what have you been doing?" she exclaimed; "what can you have found to talk about to keep you so long?" - "Would you really like to know what we've been talking about, my lady?" said Mr. Davenport. "Yes indeed," she stormed. "Well," said Mr. Davenport very deliberately, "we talked first about the depression in the salt (mines), and that led us on inadvertently to pepper, and that led us to cayenne, and that, my lady, led us . . . to yourself," - and she was vastly amused. One day her maid told her that there was a regular uproar downstairs about precedence, as to which of the maids was to come in first to prayers. "Oh, that is very easily settled," said Lady Stanley; "the ugliest woman in the house must always, of course, have the precedence," and she heard no more about it.

Another house which I was frequently invited to use as a centre for my excursions was that of my father's first cousin, Penelope, Mrs. Warren, who was living in the old home of Lady Jones at Worting, near Basingstoke. It was in a most dreary, cold, wind-stricken district, and was especially selected on that account by Lady Jones, because of its extreme contrast to the India which she abominated. Internally, however, the old red-brick house was very comfortable and charming, and Mrs. Warren herself a very sweet and lovable old lady, tenderly cared for by her sons and daughters, many of whom were always about her, though only one of the latter, Anna, was unmarried. Mrs. Warren had been the eldest of the daughters of Dean Shipley, and the only one who never gave her family any trouble, and who was invariably loved and honoured by its other members. Her character through life had been that of a peacemaker, and in her old age she seemed almost glorified by the effulgence of the love which had emanated from her, no single member of the family having a recollection of her which was not connected with some kindly word or unselfish action.13 That Lady Jones should bequeath Worting to her was felt by all the other nephews and nieces to have been most natural. "Who should it have been to, if not to Penelope?" She liked to talk of old times, and her reminiscences were most interesting. She was also very proud of her family, especially of the Mordaunts, and of our direct descent, through the Shipleys, from the youngest son of Edward I. It was on one of my early visits at Worting that I first made acquaintance with my cousin Harriet, Mrs. Thornton, niece of Mrs. Warren, and one of the daughters of Bishop Heber.14 She described the second marriage of her mother to Count Valsamachi in the Greek church at Venice, and the fun she and her sister thought it to walk round the altar with huge wedding favours in their hands. She was full of amusing stories of India, from which she was just returned: would tell how one day she was sitting next a Rajah who was carving a pie, and when he lifted the crust a whole flock of little birds flew out – "Whir – r – r - r!" said the Rajah as they flew all over the room; how, one day, being surprised that an expected ham was not brought in to dinner, she went out and found it lying in the court, with all the native servants round it in a circle spitting at it; and how one day at the Cape she was told that a woman was bitten by a venomous snake, and going out, found her eating a toad as a remedy. One of Mrs. Thornton's stories, which I have often repeated since, is so curious as to deserve insertion here.

"M. de Sartines had been brought up by an old friend of his family who lived in Picardy. The château of his old friend was the home of his youth, and the only place where he felt sure that all his failings would be overlooked and all his fancies and wishes would be considered.

"While he was absent from France on diplomatic service, M. de Sartines heard with great grief that his old friend was dead. In losing him, he lost not only the friend who had been as a second father, but the only home which remained to him in France. He felt his loss very much - so much, indeed, that for many years he did not return to France at all, but spent his time of leave in travelling in Italy and elsewhere.

"Some years after, M. de Sartines, finding himself in Paris, received a letter from the nephew of his old friend, who had succeeded to the Picardy property. It was a very nice letter indeed, saying how much he and his wife wished to keep up old family ties and connections, and that though he was well aware that it would cost M. de Sartines much to revisit the chateau so tenderly connected with memories of the dead, still, if he could make that effort, no guest would be more affectionately welcomed, and that he and his wife would do their utmost to make him feel that the friendship which had been held had not passed away, but was continued to another generation. It was so nice a letter that M. de Sartines felt that he ought not to reject the hand of friendship stretched out in so considerate and touching a manner, and though it certainly cost him a great effort, he went down to the château in Picardy.

"His old friend's nephew and his wife received him on the doorstep. Everything was prepared to welcome him. They had inquired of former servants which room he had occupied and how he liked it arranged, and all was ready accordingly. They had even inquired about and provided his favourite dishes at dinner. Nothing was wanting which the most disinterested solicitude could effect.

"When M. de Sartines retired to his room for the night, he was filled with conflicting emotions. The blank which he felt in the loss of his old friend was mingled with a grateful sense of the kindness he had received from the nephew. He felt he could not sleep, or would be long in doing so; but having made up a large fire, for it was very cold weather, he went to bed.

"In process of time, as he lay wakefully with his head upon the pillow, he became aware of the figure of a little wizened old man hirpling towards the fire. He thought he must be dreaming, but, as he listened, the old man spoke - 'Il y a longtemps que je n'ai vu un feu, il faut que je me chauffe.'

"The blood of M. de Sartines ran cold within him as the figure turned slowly round towards the bed and continued in trembling accents - 'Il y a longtemps que je n'ai vu un lit, il faut que je me couche.'

"But every fibre in M. de Sartines' body froze as the old man, on reaching the bed, drew the curtains, and seeing him, exclaimed - 'Il y a longtemps que je n'ai vu M. de Sartines, il faut que je l'embrasse.'

. "M. de Sartines almost died of fright. But fortunately he did not quite die. He lived to know that it was his old friend himself. The nephew had got tired of waiting for the inheritance; he had imprisoned his uncle in the cellar, and had given out his death, and had a false funeral of a coffin filled with stones. The invitation to his uncle's friend was a coup de théâtre: if any suspicions had existed, they must have been lulled for ever by the presence of such a guest in the château. But on the very day on which M. de Sartines had arrived, the old gentleman had contrived to escape from his cell, and wandering half imbecile about the house, made his way to the room where he remembered having so often been with his friend, and found there his friend himself.

"M. de Sartines saw the rightful owner of the castle reinstated, and the villainy of the wicked nephew exposed; but the old man died soon afterwards."

Here is another story which Mrs. Thornton told, apropos of the benefits of cousinship: -

Frederick the Great was one day travelling incognito, when he met a student on his way to Berlin, and asked him what he was going to do there. 'Oh,' said the student, 'I am going to Berlin to look for a cousin, for I have heard of so many people who have found cousins in Berlin, and who have risen through their influence to rank and power, that I am going to try if I cannot find one too.' Frederick had much further conversation with him, and on parting said, 'Well, if you trust to me, I believe that I shall be able to find a cousin for you before you arrive at Berlin.' The student thanked his unknown friend, and they parted.

"Soon after he reached Berlin, an officer of the court came to the student, and said that he was his cousin, and that he had already used influence for him with the King, who had desired that he should preach before him on the following Sunday, but that he should use the text which the King himself should send him, and no other.

"The student was anxious to have the text, that he might consider his sermon, but one day after another of the week passed, and at last Sunday came and no text was sent. The time for going to church came, and no text had arrived. The King and the court were seated, and the unhappy student proceeded with the service, but still no text was given. At last, just as he was going up into the pulpit, a sealed paper was .given to him. After the prayer he opened it, and it was . . . blank! He turned at once to the congregation and showing them the two sides of the paper, said, 'Here is nothing, and there is nothing, and out of nothing God made the world ' - and he preached the most striking sermon the court had ever heard."

Mrs. Thornton described how old Mr. Thornton had been staying in Somersetshire with Sir Thomas Acland, when he heard two countrymen talking together. One of them said to the other, who was trying to persuade him to do something, "Wal, noo, as they say, 'shake an ass and go.'" Mr. Thornton came back and said to Sir Thomas, "What very extraordinary proverbial expressions they have in these parts. Just now I heard a man say 'shake an ass and go' - such a very extraordinary proverbial expression." "Well," said Sir Thomas, "the fact is there are a great many French expressions lingering in this neighbourhood: that meant 'Chacun à son goût!'"

Of the new acquaintances I made in Oxfordshire, those of whose hospitality I oftenest availed myself were the Cottrell Dormers, who lived at the curious old house of Rousham, above the Cherwell, near Heythrop. It is a beautiful place, with long evergreen shrubberies, green lawns with quaint old statues, and a long walk shaded by yews, with a clear stream running down a stone channel in the midst. Within, the house is full of old family portraits, and has a wonderful collection of MSS., and the pedigree of the family from Noah! Mr. and Mrs. Dormer were quaint characters he always insisting that he was a Roman Catholic in disguise, chiefly to plague his wife, and always reading the whole of Pope's works, in the large quarto edition, through once a year; she full of kind-heartedness, riding by herself about the property to manage the estate and cottagers, always welcoming you with a hearty "Well, to be sure, and how do you do?" She was a maitresse femme, who ruled the house with a sunshiny success which utterly set at nought the old proverb –

"La maison est misérable et méchante
Où la Poule plus haut que le Coq chante."

Mrs. Dormer was somehow descended from one of the daughters of Sir Thomas More, and at Cokethorpe, the place of her brother, Mr. Strickland, was one of the three great pictures by Holbein of the family of Sir Thomas More, which was long in the possession of the Lenthalls.15 Another place in the neighbourhood of Rousham which I visited was Fritwell Manor, a most picturesque old house, rented by the father of my college friend Forsyth Grant - "Kyrie." Fritwell is a haunted house, and was inhabited by two families. When the Edwardes lived there in the summer, no figure was seen, but stains of fresh blood were constantly found on the staircase. When the Grants lived there, for hunting, in the winter, there was no blood, but the servants who went down first in the morning would meet on the staircase an old man in a grey dressing-gown, bleeding from an open wound in the throat. It is said that Sir Baldwin Wake, a former proprietor, quarrelled with his brother about a lady of whom they were both enamoured, and, giving out that he was insane, imprisoned him till real madness ensued. His prison was at the top of the house, where a sort of large human dog-kennel still exists, to which the unfortunate man is said to have been chained.

I made a delightful excursion with "Kyrie" to Wroxton Abbey and Broughton Castle - Lord Saye and Sele's - where we were invited to luncheon by Mr. Fiennes and Lady Augusta, in the former of whom I most unexpectedly found 'Twisleton'16 - an old hero boy-friend of my Harrow school-days, whom I regarded then much as David Copperfield did Steerforth. The old castle is very picturesque, and the church full of curious monuments.


"Christ Church, Oxford, April 25, 1859. - Arthur and I dined last night at Canon Jelf's. He was for thirteen years tutor to the King of Hanover, and while at the court fell in love with Countess Schlippenbach, the Queen's lady-in-waiting, who married him. . . . Dr. Jelf told a great deal that was interesting about the King: how, as Prince George, he would insist upon playing at being his Eton fag, brush his clothes, make his toast, &c.: that he was with the Prince at the time of the fatal accident which caused his blindness, when, in the garden at Kew, having just given half-a-crown to a beggar, he was whisking his purse round and round, when the ring at the end went into his eye. A fortnight's anxiety followed, and then came the great grief of his dear Prince one day saying to him when out shooting, 'Will you give me your arm, sir? I don't see quite so well as I ought to do. I think we had better go home.' Afterwards, instead of murmuring, the Prince only said, 'Those who will not obey must suffer: you told me not to whisk my things about in that way, and I disobeyed: it is right that I should suffer for it.'

"He gave many beautiful pictures of the King's after life: how the dear blind King, who bears no outward mark of his misfortune, always turns to the sun, as if seeking the light: of his marriage with his cousin of Saxe-Altenbourg, a true love-match: that he, the old tutor, was never forgotten, and that on his last birthday, when he least expected it, a royal telegram announced - 'The King, the Queen, and the royal children of Hanover wish Dr. Jelf many happy new years.' The King always writes to Dr. and Mrs. Jelf on their wedding-day, which even their own family do not always remember, and on their silver-wedding he sent them a beautiful portrait of himself.

"Arthur, I imagine, rather likes having me here, though no outsiders would imagine so; but he finds me useful after a fashion, and is much annoyed if I allude to ever going into lodgings. He certainly does exactly what he likes when I am there, and is quite as unreserved in his ways as if nobody whatever was present. I am generally down first. He comes in pre-engrossed, and there is seldom any morning salutation. At breakfast I sit (he wills it so) at the end of the table, pour out his excessively weak tea, and put the heavy buttered buns which he loves within his easy reach. When we are alone, I eat my own bread and butter in silence; but if undergraduates breakfast with us, it is my duty, if I know anything about it, so to turn the conversation that he may learn what their 'lines' are, and converse accordingly. Certainly the merry nonsense and childlike buoyancy which cause his breakfast parties to be so delightful, make the contrast of his silent irresponsiveness rather trying when we are alone - it is such a complete 'you are not worth talking to.' However, I have learnt to enjoy the first, and to take no notice of the other; indeed, if I can do so quite effectually, it generally ends in his becoming pleasanter. In amiable moments he will sometimes glance at my MSS., and give them a sanction like that of Cardinal Richelieu - 'Accepi, legi, probavi.' After breakfast, he often has something for me to do for him, great plans, maps, or drawings for his lectures, on huge sheets of paper, which take a good deal of time, but which he never notices except when the moment comes for using them. All morning he stands at his desk by the study window (where I see him sometimes from the garden, which he expects me to look after), and he writes sheet after sheet, which he sometimes tears up and flings to rejoin the letters of the morning, which cover the carpet in all directions.17 It would never do for him to marry, a wife would be so annoyed at his hopelessly untidy ways; at his tearing every new book to pieces, for instance, because he is too impatient to cut it open (though I now do a good deal in this way). Meantime, as Goethe says, 'it is the errors of men that make them amiable,' and I believe he is all the better loved for his peculiarities. Towards the middle of the day, I sometimes have an indication that he has no one to walk with him, and would wish me to go, and he likes me to be in the way then, in case I am wanted, but I am never to expect to be talked to during the walk. If not required, I amuse myself or go on with my own work, and indeed I seldom see Arthur till the evening, when, if any one dines for whom he thinks it worth while to come out of himself, he is very pleasant, and sometimes very entertaining."

My mother spent a great part of the spring of 1859 at Clifton, whither I went to visit her, afterwards making a tourette by myself to Salisbury, Southampton, Beaulieu, and Winchester.

"Salisbury, April 12, 1859. - At 8½ I was out on bleak Salisbury Plain, where, as the driver of my gig observed, 'it is a whole coat colder than in the valley.' What an immense desert it is! The day, so intensely grey, with great black clouds sweeping across the sky, was quite in character with the long lines of desolate country. At last we turned off the road over the turf, and in the distance rose the gigantic temple, with the sun shining through the apertures in the stones. It was most majestic and impressive, not a creature in sight, except a quantity of rabbits scampering about, and a distant shepherd."

The latter part of June 1859 I spent most happily in a pony-carriage tour in Buckinghamshire and Berkshire with my friend George Sheffield, who had just passed his examination at the Foreign Office. It was on this occasion that, as we were driving under a park wall in Buckinghamshire, I said to George, "Inside that park is a very fine old house, and inside the house is a very fine old sundial. We will go to see the house, and we will take away the sundial;" and we did; though at that moment I did not even know the name of the people who lived there. The old house was the Vatche, which had belonged to my great-great-grandfather, Bishop Hare, who married its heiress in the reign of George II., and I had heard of the sundial from the churchwarden of Chalfont, with whom I had had some correspondence about my ancestor's tomb. It was made on the marriage of Bishop Hare with Miss Alston and bore his arms. The family of Allen, then living at the Vatche, allowed us to see the house, and my enthusiasm at sight of the sundial, which was lying neglected in a corner, so worked upon the feelings of Mrs. Allen, that she gave it me. It is now in the garden at Holmhurst.


"June 16. - I have enjoyed a visit to the Henry Leycesters at White Place, which lies low in the meadows, but has the charm of a little creek full of luxuriant water-plants, down which Henry Leycester punts his guests into the Thames opposite Clifden; and how picturesque are the old yew-trees and winding-walks of that beautiful place. Henry Leycester, to look upon, is like one of the magnificent Vandykes in the Brignole Palace at Genoa. Little Mrs. Leycester is a timid shrinking creature, who daily becomes terribly afraid of the domestic ghost (a lady carrying her head) as evening comes on. 'Imagine my feelings, Mr. Hare,' she says, 'my awful position as a wife and a mother, when my husband is away, and I am left alone in the long evenings with her.'"

"June 17, Christ Church. - Last week the Dean, with much imprudence, punished two Christ Church men most severely for the same offence, but one more than the other. The next night the Deanery garden was broken into, the rose-trees torn up and flower-beds destroyed, the children's swing cut down, and the name of the injured man cut in huge letters in the turf. It has created great indignation.

"My chief work, now I am at Oxford,. is in the Bodleian, where I have much to look out and refer to, and where everything is made delightful by Mr. Coxe, the librarian,18 who is not only the most accurate and learned person in the world, but also the most sympathetic, lively, and lovable. 'Never mind, dear boy,' he always says, the more trouble I give him. Anything more unlike the cut-and-dried type of Oxford Dons cannot be imagined. He has given me a plant (Linaria purpurea) from the tomb of Cicero.

"I should like to take my Master's degree, but the fees will be about £20. I could then vote at the election. I should certainly vote against Gladstone, though Arthur says he should vote for him 'with both hands and both feet.' . . . I have great satisfaction in being here now, in feeling that I can be useful to Arthur, in preparing drawings for his lectures, &c., also that he really prefers my presence to my absence."

"July 4. - I sate up till twelve last night preparing 'the bidding prayer' for Arthur (who was to preach the 'Act Sermon' to-day at St. Mary's) - immensely long, as the whole of the founders and benefactors have to be mentioned. Imagine my horror when, after the service, the Vice-Chancellor came up to Arthur and demanded to know why he had not been prayed for! I had actually omitted his name of all others! Arthur said it was all the fault of 'Silvanus.' In his sermon on Deborah, Arthur described how the long vacation, 'like the ancient river, the river Kishon,' was about to form a barrier, and might wash away all the past and supply a halting-place from which to begin a new life: that the bondage caused by concealment of faults or debts might now be broken: that now, when undergraduates were literally 'going to their father,' they might apply the story of the Prodigal Son, and obtain that freedom which is truth."

In July I paid a first visit to my cousins, the Heber Percys, at Hodnet Hall, in order to meet Countess Valsamachi (Mrs. Heber Percy's mother).19 The old Hodnet Hall was a long low two-storied house, like an immense cottage, or rather like a beehive, from the abundant family life which overcrowded it. The low dining-room was full of curious pictures of the Vernons, whose heiress married one of the Hebers, but when the pictures had been sent up to London to be cleaned, the cleaner had cut all their legs off . At this time a debt of £40,000 existed upon the Hodnet estate. Mr. Percy's father, the Bishop of Carlisle, had promised to pay it off when certain fees came in. At last the fees were paid, and the papers were in the house, only awaiting the signature of the Bishop. That day he fell down dead. When it was told to his children, they only said, "It is the will of God; we must not complain."


I had much conversation with Lady Valsamachi. Talking of religion, she spoke of an atheist who once grumbled at the dispensation of a gourd having such a slender stem, while an acorn was supported by an oak. "When he had done speaking, the acorn fell upon his nose; had it been the gourd, his nose would have been no more!"

We walked to where Stoke had been, so tenderly connected with past days. All was altered, except the Terne flowing through reedy meadows. It was less painful to me to see it than on my last visit, but cost me many pangs.

I joined my mother at Toft, where our dear cousin Charlotte Leycester was acting as mistress of the house, and gave us a cordial welcome to the old family home. Greatly did my mother enjoy being there, and the sight of familiar things and people. Especially was she welcomed by an old woman named Betty Strongitharm; I remember how this old woman said, "When I am alone, I think, and think, and think, and the end of all my thinking is that Christ is all in all . . . but I do not want to go to heaven alone; I want to take a many others along with me."


"When we left Toft, we went to our cousins at Thornycroft. At Thornycroft was a labourer named Rathbone. One winter day, when his wife was in her confinement, she was in great want of something from Macclesfield, which her husband undertook to get for her when he went to his work in the town, but he said that he must take his little girl of ten years old with him, that she might bring it back to her mother. The woman entreated him not to take the child, as the snow was very deep, and she feared that she might not find her way home again. However, the father insisted, and set off; taking his little girl with him. The purchase was made and the child set off to return home with it, but she - never arrived.

"When Rathbone reached home in the evening, and found that his child had not appeared, he was in an agony of terror, and set off at once to search for her. He traced her to Monk's Heath. People had seen her there, and directed her back to Henbury, but she seemed to have lost her way again. Rathbone next traced her to a farmhouse at Peover, where the people had had the barbarity to turn her out at night and direct her back to Henbury. Then all trace of her was lost.

"At last Rathbone was persuaded by his friends and neighbours to apply to a woman whom they called 'the White Witch' at Manchester, and to her he went. She told him to look into a glass and tell her what he saw there. He looked into the glass and said, 'I see a man holding up his hat.' 'Well,' she said, 'then go on with your search, and when you meet a man holding up his hat, he will tell you where your child is.' So he returned and went again to search, taking another man with him. At length, as they were going down a lane, Rathbone exclaimed, 'There he is!' - 'Who?' said the companion, for he only saw a man running and holding up his hat. That man told them that he had just found the body of a child under a tree, and there, near a pond, frozen to death, lay Rathbone's little girl.

"When we were at Thornycroft, Rathbone was still overwhelmed with contrition for what he considered the sin of having consulted the witch."

From Cheshire we went to the English Lakes. The curious old King's Arms Inn at Lancaster, described by Dickens, was then in existence, and it was a pleasure to sleep there, and walk in the morning upon the high terrace in front of the church and castle. From Ambleside, we spent a delightful day in making the round by Dungeon Ghyll and Blea Tarn, where we drew the soft grey peaks of Langdale Pikes, framed in dark heather-covered rocks, and in the foreground the blue tarn sleeping amid the pastures. From Keswick I ascended Skiddaw, and had a glorious view across the billows of mountains to the sea and the faint outlines of the Isle of Man. Another delightful day was spent with the mother and Lea in Borrowdale. One of the most beautiful effects I have ever seen was in crossing to Buttermere by Borrowdale Hawse, a tremendous wild mountain chasm, into which the setting sun was pouring floods of crimson light as we descended, smiting into blood the waters of the little torrent which was struggling down beside us through the rocks. We arrived at Buttermere very late, and found not a single room unoccupied in the village, so had to return in the dark night to Keswick.

We were much interested in Dumfries, in many ways one of the most foreign-looking towns in Britain, where we remained several days, making excursions to the exquisitely graceful ruins of Lincluden Abbey; to New Abbey (glorious in colour), founded by Devorgilda to contain the heart of John Baliol; to the Irongray Church, where Helen Walker, the original of Jeannie Deans, is buried, and where, on a rocky knoll under some old oaks, is a desolate Covenanter's grave; to Ellisland, the primitive cottage-home of Burns, overlooking the purple hills and clear rushing Nith; and to the great desolate castle of Caerlaverock near Solway Firth. The old churchyard of Dumfries reminded us of Père la Chaise in its forest of tombs, but was far more picturesque. Burns is buried there, with all his family. The exaggerated worship which follows Burns in Scotland rather sets one against him, and shows how many a saint got into the Calendar; for there are many there whose private lives would as little bear inspection as his. His son, formerly a clerk in Somerset House, had long been living at Dumfries upon a pension, and died there three years before our visit. Many are the old red sandstone gravestones in Dumfries and its neighbourhood bearing inscriptions to Covenanters, telling how they were "martyrs for adhering to the word of God, Christ's kingly government in his house, and the covenanted work of Reformation against tyrannie, perjury, and prelacie."

Amongst our Roman friends had been Mrs. Fotheringham of Fotheringham, whom we visited at the so-called Fotheringham Castle, a comfortable modern house, in Forfarshire. We went with her to spend a day with the charming old Thomas Erskine,20 author of the "Essays," and since well known from his "Letters." With him lived his two beautiful and venerable old sisters, Mrs. Stirling and Mrs. Paterson, and their home of Linlathen contained many noble Italian pictures. Another excursion was to visit Miss Stirling Graham at Duntrune, a beautiful place overlooking the blue firth and bay of St. Andrews. Miss Graham was the authoress and heroine of "Mystifications," intimately bound up with all the literary associations of Edinburgh in the first half of the nineteenth century. She was also the nearest surviving relation of Claverhouse, and Duntrune was filled with relics of him.21 She was a great bee-fancier and bee-friend, and would allow the bees to settle all over her. "My dear, where can you have lived all your life not to know about bees?" she said to a young lady who asked her some simple questions about them. At Fotheringham, the principal relic is a portrait of "the Flower of Yarrow" (said by Sir Walter Scott to have been such an ugly old woman at seventy), singing from a piece of music. The last cannibals in Scotland lived in a glen near Fotheringham, where carters and ploughmen were perpetually disappearing. The glen was known to be the abode of robbers, and at last a strong force was sent against them, and they were all killed, except one little girl of ten years old, whom it was thought a shame to destroy. She had not been with her preservers many days before she said, "Why do you never eat man's flesh? for if you once ate that, you would never wish to eat anything else again." My mother made an excursion from Fotheringham to see Panmure, where the housekeeper said to her that her Lord22 was "very bad, for he had not killed a single beast that year."


"August 22. - I went early by rail to Stonehaven, and walked to Dunottan The sea was of the softest Mediterranean blue, and the walk along the edge of the cliffs, through the cornfields, looking down first on the old town and then on the different little coves with .their curiously twisted and richly coloured rocks, most delightful. The castle is hidden by the uplands at first, but crowns the ridge of a magnificent rock, which runs far out into the sea, with a line of battered towers. In the depths are reefs covered with seaweed, between which the sea flows up in deep green pools.

"A narrow ledge of rock, of which you can scarcely make out whether it is natural or artificial, connects the castle with the mainland, and here through an arch in the wall you look down into a second bay, where the precipices, crested by a huge red fragment of tower, descend direct upon the water. High up in one of the turrets lives the keeper, a girl, who said that she was so used to climbing, that she could go anywhere where there was the least rest for the sole of her foot; that she did not care to have anything to hold on by, and had never known what it was to be giddy. The 'Whigs' Vault' is shown, in which a hundred and twenty Covenanters were chained, and, beneath it, the awfully close stifling dungeon in which forty-eight were confined, and many of them suffocated. The place still remains where they were let down from the more airy vault above, and also the hole through which their food was transmitted to them. On one side of the dungeon is the well of brackish water which is said (as in the prison of St. Peter) to have sprung up in one night to quench their thirst; on the other, the hole which, in their agonised desperation, they scratched with their hands through the wall, and by which five-and-twenty tried to escape, but were all dashed to pieces against the rocks or taken, except two; while, if the dark night had only allowed them to see it, there is a little footpath near, by which they might all have passed in safety. In the castle also are the chamber in which the Regalia of Scotland were concealed, and the well once supplied by pipes, the cutting of which by Cromwell caused the surrender of the garrison."

"August 23, Eccles Greig, Montrose. - This is a charming place belonging to Kyrie's23 father, and of which he is the heir. Miss Grant drove me to-day to Denfenella, a beautiful ravine of tremendous depth, where a lovely burn dashes over a precipice, and then rushes away to the sea through depths of rock and fern, amid which it makes a succession of deep shadowy pools. Endless are the Scottish stories about this place:

"That Queen Fenella - the fairy queen - first washed her clothes in the bright shining Morne, and then walked on the tops of the trees, by which means she escaped.

"That Queen Fenella, having murdered her husband, fled to Denfenella, where she flung herself over the rocks to escape justice.

"That Queen Fenella, widow of Kenneth III., after the death of her husband and her own escape from the Castle of Kincardine, fled to Denfenella, where she was taken and put to death.

"That Queen Fenella loved a beautiful youth, but that her enemies tried to force her to marry another; and that, rather than do so, she fled from her father's castle, which is at an immense distance from this, but, on reaching Denfenella, she felt that farther escape was hopeless, and let herself float down the stream and be carried away over the waterfall into the sea;

"All the stories, however, agree in one fact, that at midnight the beautiful Fenella still always walks in .the braes where she died, and still washes her clothes in the bright shining Morne.

"We went on to the 'Came of Mathers,' a wild cove on the seashore with a ruined castle on the farthest point of an inaccessible precipice, beneath which the green waves rush through deep rifts of the rock, which is worn into caves and arches. The Sheriff of these parts was once very unpopular, and the lairds complained to King James, who said in a joke that it would be a very good thing if the Sheriff were boiled and cut up and made into browse. When the lairds heard this, they beguiled the Sheriff to Gavoch, where they had a huge caldron prepared, into which they immediately popped him, and boiled him, and cut him up. Then, literally to carry out the King's words, they each ate a part of him. Having done this, they were all so dreadfully afraid of King James, that they sought every possible means of escape, and the Laird of Arbuthnot, who had been one of the most forward in boiling the Sheriff built this impregnable castle, where he lived in defiance of the King.

"Beneath the castle is a deep cleft in the rock, which seems endless. It is said to continue in a subterranean passage to Lauriston. The drummer of Lauriston once went up it, and tried to work his way through, but he never was seen again; and at night, it is said, that the drummer of Lauriston is still heard beating his drum in the cavern beneath."

Upon leaving Eccles Greig, I joined my mother, and went with her to St. Andrews, which I had always greatly desired that she should see. Even more than the wonderful charm of the place at this time was that of seeing much of the genial, witty, eccentric Provost, Sir Hugh Lyon Playfair. He first came up to me when I was drawing - an old man in a cloak - and invited me into his garden, whither we returned several times. That garden was the most extraordinary place, representing all the important facts of the history of the world, from chaos and the creation of the sun down to the Reform Bill, "whence," said Sir Hugh, "you may date the decline of the British Empire." On the same chart were marked the lengths of all the principal ships, while representations of the planets indicated their distance from the sun! No verbal description, however, can recall the genial oddity of the garden's owner. On Saturdays he used to open his garden to the public, and follow in the crowd to hear their opinion of himself. He said they would often say, "Ah! the poor Provost, he has more money than brains; he is sadly deficient here," pointing to the forehead. . . Once some of the people said to him, "We do so want to see the Provost; how would it be possible to see Sir Hugh?" "Oh," he answered, "I think you had better go and look in at the windows, and you will be sure to see him." So they all crowded to the windows, but there was no one to be seen. "Oh," he said, "I'll tell you why that is: that is because be is under the table. It is a way Sir Hugh has. He is so dreadfully shy, that whenever he hears any one coming, he always goes under the table directly." Presently, on going out, they met an official, who, coming up, touched his hat and said, "If you please, Sir Hugh, .I've spoken to that policeman, as you ordered me," and the horrified people discovered their mistake, to Sir Hugh's intense amusement.


"August 30. - A stormy day, but I went by train to Tynehead for Crichton. Two old ladies of ninety got into the carriage after me. An old gentleman opposite made a civil speech to one of them, upon which she tartly replied, 'I don't hear a word, for I thank Almighty God for all His mercies, and most of all that He has made me quite deaf; for if I heard I should be obliged to speak to you, and I don't want to speak to you.

"Crichton is a red ruined castle on a hill, with a distance of purple moorland, and inside is the courtyard so exactly described in 'Marmion.' With storm raging round it, it was awfully desolate. Close by is an old stumpy-towered thoroughly Scotch church."

After a visit to the Dalzels at North Berwick, my mother went south from Durham. I turned backwards to pay my first visit to Mrs. Davidson - the "Cousin Susan" with whom I was afterwards most intimate. "The beautiful Lord Strathmore," my great-grandmother's brother, so often painted by Angelica Kauffmann, who married "the Unhappy Countess," had two daughters, Maria and Anna. After Lady Strathmore was released from her brutal second husband, the one thing she had the greatest horror of for her daughters was matrimony, and she did all she could to prevent their seeing any one. But Lady Anna Bowes, while her mother was living in Fludyer Street, made the acquaintance of a young lawyer who lived on the other side the way, and performed the extraordinary acrobatic feat of walking across a plank suspended across the street to his rooms,24 where she was married to him. The marriage was an unhappy one, but Mr. Jessop did not survive long, and left Lady Anna with two young daughters, of whom one died early: the other was "Cousin Susan." Lady Anna was given a home (in a house adjoining the park at Gibside) by her brother, John, Lord Strathmore, and her daughters were brought up in sister-like intimacy with his (illegitimate) son, John Bowes. Susan Jessop afterwards married Mr. Davidson of Otterburn, who, being a very rich man, to please her, bought and endowed her with the old Ridley property - Ridley Hall on South Tyne.

Cousin Susan was an active, bright little .woman, always beautifully dressed, and with .the most perfect figure imaginable. No one except Mr. Bowes knew how old she was, and he would not tell, but she liked to be thought very young, and still danced at Newcastle balls. She was a capital manager of her large estate, entered into all business questions herself, and would walk for hours about her woods, marking timber, planning bridges or summer-houses, and contriving walks and staircases in the most difficult and apparently inaccessible places.

Ridley Hall was the most intense source of pride to Cousin Susan, and though the house was very ugly, the place was indeed most beautiful. The house stood on a grassy hill above the South Tyne Railway, with a large flower-garden on the other side, where, through the whole summer, three hundred and sixty-five flower-beds were bright with every colour of the rainbow. I never saw such a use of annuals as at Ridley Hall - there were perfect sheets of Colinsia, Nemophila, and other common things, from which, in the seed-time, Cousin Susan would gather what she called her harvest, which it took her whole evenings to thresh out and arrange. A tiny inner garden, concealed by trees and rockwork, would have been quite charming to children, with a miniature thatched cottage, filled with the smallest furniture that could be put into use, bookcases, and pictures, &c. Beyond the garden was a lovely view towards the moors, ever varied by the blue shadows of clouds fleeting across them. Thence an avenue, high above the river, led to the kitchen-garden, just where the rushing Allen Water, seen through a succession of green arches, was hurrying to its junction with the Tyne. Here one entered upon the wood walks, which wound for five miles up and down hill, through every exquisite variety of scenery - to Bilberry Hill Moss House, with its views, across the woods, up the gorge of the Allen to the old tower of Staward Peel - to the Raven's Crag, the great yellow sandstone cliff crowned with old yew-trees, which overhangs the river - and across the delicately swung chain-bridge by the Birkie Brae to a lonely tarn in the hills, returning by the Swiss Cottage and the Craggy Pass, a steep staircase under a tremendous overhanging rock.

During my first visits at Ridley Hall, words would fail to express my enjoyment of the natural beauties of the place, and I passed many delightful hours reading in the mossy walks, or sketching amongst the huge rocks in the bed of the shallow river; but at Ridley more than anywhere else I have learnt how insufficient mere beauty is to fill one's life; and in later years, when poor Cousin Susan's age and infirmities increased, I felt terribly the desolation of the place, the miles and miles of walks - kept up for no one else to enjoy them - the hours, and days, and weeks in which one might wander for ever and never meet a human being.

During my earlier visits, however, Cousin Susan would fill her house in the summer, especially in the shooting season. There was nothing particularly intellectual in the people, but a large party in a beautiful place generally finds sources of enjoyment: which were always sought on foot, for there was only one road near Ridley Hall, that along the Tyne valley, which led to Hexham on the east and Haltwhistle on the west. Constant guests and great friends of Cousin Susan were the two old Miss Coulsons - Mary and Arabella - of Blenkinsop, primitive, pleasant old ladies, and two of the most kind-hearted people I have ever known. Cousin Susan delighted in her denomination of "the Great Lady of the Tyne," and, in these earlier years of our intimacy, was adored by her tenantry and the people of the neighbouring villages, who several times, when she appeared at a public gathering, insisted on taking out her horses and drawing her home. With her neighbours of a higher class, Cousin Susan was always very exacting of attention and very apt to take offence.

But no account of Ridley Hall can be complete without alluding to the dogs, of which there were great numbers, treated quite as human beings and part of the family. An extra dog was never considered an infliction; thus, when Cousin Susan engaged a new servant, he or she was always told that a dog would be especially annexed to them, and considered to belong to them. When the footman came in to put on the coals, his dog came in with him; when you met the housemaid in the passage, she was accompanied by her dog. On the first day of my arrival, Cousin Susan said at dessert, "John, now bring in the boys," and when I was expecting the advent of a number of unknown young cousins, the footman threw open the door, and volleys of little dogs rushed into the room, but all white Spitzes except the Chowdy-Tow, a most comical Japanese. Church service at Ridley Hall was held at the Beltingham Chapel, where Cousin Susan was supreme. The miserable little clergyman, who used to pray for "Queen-Victori-a," was never allowed to begin till she had entered the church and taken her place in a sort of tribune on a level with the altar. Many of the dogs went to church too, with the servants to whom they were annexed. This was so completely considered a matter of course, that I never observed it as anything absurd till one day when my connections the Scotts (daughters of Alethea Stanley) came to the chapel from Sir Edward Blackett's, and were received into Cousin Susan's pew. In the Confession, one Miss Scott after another became overwhelmed with uncontrollable fits of laughter When I looked up, I saw the black noses and white ears of a row of little Spitz dogs, one over each of the prayer-books in the opposite seat. Cousin Susan was furiously angry, and declared that the Scotts should never come to Ridley Hall again: it was not because they had laughed in church, but because they had laughed at the dogs!

Upon leaving Ridley Hall, I paid another visit, which I then thought scarcely less interesting. My grandmother's first cousin, John, Earl of Strathmore (who left £10,000 to my grandfather), was a very agreeable and popular man, but by no means a moral character. Living near his castle of Streatlam was a beautiful girl named Mary Milner, daughter of a market-gardener at Staindrop. With this girl he went through a false ceremony of marriage, after which, in all innocence, she lived with him as his wife. Their only boy, John Bowes, was sent to Eton as Lord Glamis. On his deathbed Lord Strathmore confessed to Mary Milner that their marriage was false and that she was not really his wife. She said, "I understand that you mean to marry me now, but that will not do: there must be no more secret marriages!" and, ill as he was, she had every one within reach summoned to attend the ceremony, and she had him carried to church and was married to him before all the world. Lord Strathmore died soon after he re-entered the house, but he left her Countess of Strathmore. It was too late to legitimatise John Bowes.

Lady Strathmore always behaved well. As soon as she was a widow, she said to all the people whom she had known as her husband's relations and friends, that if they liked to keep up her acquaintance, she should be very grateful to them, and always glad to see them when they came to her, but that she should never enter any house on a visit again: and she never did. My grandmother, and, in later years, "Italima," had always appreciated Lady Strathmore, and so had Mrs. Davidson, and the kindness they showed her was met with unbounded gratitude. Lady Strathmore therefore received with the greatest effusion my proposal of a visit to Gibside. She was a stately woman, still beautiful, and she had educated herself since her youth, but, from her quiet life (full of unostentatious charity), she had become very eccentric. One of her oddities was that her only measurement of time was one thousand years. "Is it long since you have seen Mrs. Davidson?" I said. "Yes, one thousand years!" - "Have you had your dog a long time?" – "A thousand years." – "That must be a very old picture." - "Yes, a thousand years old."

Seeing no one but Mr. Hutt, the agreeable tutor of her son, Lady Strathmore had married him, and by her wealth and influence he became member for Gateshead. He was rather a prim man, but could make himself very agreeable, and he was vastly civil to me. I think he rather tyrannised over Lady Strathmore, but he was very well behaved to her in public. Soon after her death25 he married again.

Gibside was a beautiful place. The long many-orielled battlemented house was reached through exquisite woods feathering down to the Derwent. A tall column in the park commemorates the victory of George Bowes (the father of the unhappy 9th Lady Strathmore, who married a Blakiston, the heiress of Gibside) over Sir Robert Walpole at a Newcastle election. There was a charming panelled drawing-room, full of old furniture and pictures. The house had two ghosts, one "in a silk dress," being that Lady Tyrconnel who died in the house while living there on somewhat too intimate terms with John, Earl of Strathmore. He gave her a funeral which almost ruined the estate. Her face was painted like the most brilliant life. He dressed her head himself! and then, having decked her out in all her jewels, and covered her with Brussels lace from head to foot, he sent her up to London, causing her to lie in state at every town upon the road, and finally to be buried in Westminster Abbey!


At the end of the garden was the chapel, beneath which many of my Strathmore ancestors are buried - a beautiful building externally, but hideous within, with the pulpit in the centre. During the service on Sundays a most extraordinary effect was produced by the clerk not only giving out the hymns, but singing them entirely through afterwards by himself, in a harsh nasal twang, without the very slightest help from any member of the congregation.

After we parted at Paris in the autumn of 1858, Mrs. Hare and my sister, as usual, spent the winter at Rome, returning northwards by the seat of the war in Lombardy. Thence Esmeralda wrote: -

"Turin, May 25, 1859. - Instead of a dolce far niente at Frascati or Albano, we have been listening to the roaring of cannon. The Austrians are said to be fourteen miles off; but there is no apparent excitement in the town. The juggler attracts a crowd around him as usual in the piazza, the ladies walk about with their fans and smelling-bottles, the men sing vivas. The town is guarded by the guardia civile; all the regular troops have left for the battlefield. The nobility are either shut up or walk about in the streets, for all their carriage and riding horses have been taken from them for the use of the army.

Bulletins are published twice a day, and give a short account of the engagements. The Piedmontese are confident of ultimate success: fresh French troops are pouring in every day. The lancers came in this morning with flying colours, splendidly mounted, and were received with thundering applause, the people shouting and clapping their hands, waving their handkerchiefs, and decorating them with bouquets and wreaths of flowers. I hear the Emperor has been waiting for the arrival of this regiment to begin war in earnest, and a great battle is expected on Monday. . . . We left Genoa at night, and came on by the ten o'clock train to the seat of war. The French were mounting guard in Alessandria, - the Zouaves and Turcos in their African dress lounging at the railway station. The Austrians had been repulsed the day before in trying to cross the river; the cannon had been rolling all day, but the officers were chatting as gaily as if nothing had happened, and were looking into the railway carriages for amusement. I longed to stop at Alessandria and go to see the camp, but Mama would not hear of it. There were troops encamped at distances all along the line. . . . We have had no difficulty in coming by land, though people tried to frighten us. We proceeded by vetturino to Siena: everything was quiet, and we met troops of volunteers singing 'Viva l'ltalia' - so radiant, they seemed to be starting for a festival. Five hundred volunteers went with us in the same train, and when we arrived at Pisa, more volunteers were parading the streets amid the acclamations of the people. At Genoa, hundreds of French soldiers were walking about the town, looking in at the shop-windows. Prince Napoleon Bonaparte was walking about the Via Balbi with his hands in his pockets, followed by great crowds.

"We packed up everything before leaving Palazzo Parisani, in case we should not be able to return there next winter. I will not think of the misery of being kept out of Rome; it would be too great. Perhaps you will see us in England this year, but it is not at all probable."

Alas! my sister did not return to Rome that year, or for many years after. "L'homme s'agite et Dien le mêne."26 Parisani was never again really her home. A terrible cloud of misfortune was gathering over her, accompanied by a series of adventures the most mysterious and the most incredible. I should not believe all that happened myself, unless I had followed it day by day; therefore I cannot expect others to believe it. As Lucas Malet says, "English people distrust everything that does not carry ballast in the shape of obvious dulness," and they are not likely, therefore, to believe what follows. But it is true nevertheless. In narrating what occurred, I shall confine myself to a simple narrative of facts as to the source of the extraordinary powers possessed by the lady who for some time exercised a great influence upon the fortunes of our family, I can offer no suggestion.

When Mrs. Hare and my sister arrived at Geneva in June 1859, though their fortunes had suffered very considerably by the Paul bankruptcy, they were still in possession of a large income, and of every luxury of life. To save the trouble of taking a villa, they engaged an excellent suite of apartments in the Hôtel de la Metropole, where they intended remaining for the greater part of the summer.

Soon after her arrival, Italima (Mrs. Hare) wrote to her banker for money, and was much astonished to hear from him that she had overdrawn her account by £150. Knowing that she ought at that season to have plenty of money in the bank, she wrote to her attorney, Mr. B. (who had the whole management of her affairs), to desire that he would pay the rest of the money due into Coutts', and that he would send her £ 100 immediately. She had no answer from Mr. B., and she wrote again and again, without any answer. She was not alarmed, because Mr. B. was always in the habit of going abroad in the summer, and she supposed that her letters did not reach him because he was away. Still, as she really wanted the money, it was very inconvenient.

One day, when she came down to the table d'hôte, the place next to her was occupied by an elderly lady, who immediately attempted to enter into conversation with her. Italima, who always looked coldly upon strangers, answered shortly, and turned away. "Je vois, Madame," said the lady, with a most peculiar intonation, "que vous aimez les princesses et les grandeurs." "Yes," said Italima, who was never otherwise than perfectly truthful, "you are quite right; I do." And after that - it was so very singular - a sort of conversation became inevitable. But the lady soon turned to my sister and said, "You are very much interested about the war in Italy: you have friends in the Italian army: you are longing to know how things are going on. I see it all to-morrow there will be a great battle, and if you come to my room tomorrow morning, you will hear of it, for I shall be there." – "Yes," said Esmeralda, but she went away thinking the lady was perfectly mad - quite raving.

The next morning, as my sister was going down the passage of the hotel, she heard a strange sound in one of the bedrooms. The door was ajar, she pushed it rather wider open, and there, upon two chairs, lay the lady, quite rigid, her eyes distended, speaking very rapidly. Esmeralda fetched her mother, and there they both remained transfixed from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. The lady was evidently at a great battle: she described the movements of the troops: she echoed the commands: she shuddered at the firing and the slaughter, and she never ceased speaking. At 3 P.M. she grew calm, her voice ceased, her muscles became flexible, she was soon quite herself. My sister spoke to her of what had taken place: she seemed to have scarcely any remembrance of it. At 6 P.M. they went down to dinner. Suddenly the lady startled the table d'hôte by dropping her knife and fork and exclaimlng, 'Oh, l'Empereur! l'Empereur! il est en danger." She described a flight, a confusion, clouds of dust arising - in fact, all the final act of the battle of Solferino. That night the telegrams of Solferino came to Geneva, and for days afterwards the details kept arriving. Everything was what the lady described. It was at the battle of Solferino that she had been.

When my sister questioned the landlord, she learnt that the lady was known as Madame de Trafford, that she had been née Mademoiselle Martine Larmignac (de l'Armagnac?), and that she was possessed of what were supposed to be supernatural powers. Esmeralda herself describes the next incident in her acquaintance with Madame de Trafford.

"One day when we were sitting in our room at Geneva, a lady came in, a very pleasing-looking person, perfectly gracieuse, even distinguée. She sat down, and then said that the object of her visit was to ask assistance for a charity; that Madame de Trafford, who was living below us, had given her sixty francs, and that she hoped we should not refuse to give her something also. Then she told us a story of a banker's family at Paris who had been totally ruined, and who were reduced to the utmost penury, and living in the greatest destitution at Lausanne. She entered into the details of the story, dwelling upon the beauty of the children, their efforts at self-help, and various other details. When she had ended, Mama said she regretted that she was unable to give her more than ten francs, but that she should be glad to contribute so much, and I was quite affected by the story, which was most beautifully told.

"Meantime, Madame de Trafford, by her second-sight, knew that she was going to be robbed, yet she would not forego her usual custom of keeping a large sum of money by her. She wrapped up a parcel of bank-notes and some napoleons in a piece of newspaper, and threw it upon the top of a wardrobe in which her dresses were hung. She told me of this, and said she had hidden the money so well that it was unlikely that any one could find it.

"In a few days, the lady came again to tell us of the improvement in the poor family, and she also went to see Madame de Trafford. She was alone with her, and Madame de Trafford told her about her money, and showed her the place where she had put it, asking her if she did not think it well concealed.

"Some days after, when we came up from dinner, we found the same lady, the quêteuse, walking up and down the gallery fanning herself. She said she had been waiting for Madame de Trafford, but had found her apartment so hot, she had left it to walk about the passage. We all went into the public sitting-room together, but Mama and I stayed to read the papers, whilst the lady passed on with Madame de Trafford to her room beyond, as she said she wished to speak to her. Soon she returned alone, and began talking to us, when . . . the door opened, and in .came Madame de Trafford, dreadfully agitated, looking perfectly livid, and exclaiming in a voice of thunder; 'On m'a volé,' and then, turning to the lady, 'Et voilâ la voleuse.' Then, becoming quite calm, she said coldly, 'Madame, vous étiez seule pendant que nous étions à table; je vous prie donc de vous . . . déshabiller.' - ' Mais, Madame, c'est inoui de me soupçonner,' said the lady, 'mais . . . enfin . . . Madame . . .' But she was compelled to pass before Madame de Trafford into the bedroom and to undo her dress. In her purse were ten napoleons, but of these no notice was taken; she might have had them before. Then Madame de Trafford gave the lady five minutes to drop the notes she had taken, and came out to us - 'Car c'est elle!' she said. In five minutes the lady came out of the room and passed us, saying, 'Vraiment cette Madame de Trafford c'est une personne très exaltée,' and went out. Then Madame de Trafford called us. 'Venez, Madame Hare,' she said. We went into the bedroom, and in the corner of the floor lay a bundle of bank-notes. 'Elle les a jeté,' said Madame de Trafford."

Of the same week my sister narrates the following: -

"One Sunday morning, the heat was so great, I had been almost roasted in going to church. In the afternoon Madame de Trafford came in. 'Venez, ma chère, venez avec moi à vêpres,' she said. 'Oh, non, il y a trop de soleil, c'est impossible, et je vous conseille de vous garder aussi d'un coup de soleil.' – 'Moi, je vais à l'église,' she answered, 'et aussi je vais à pied, parceque je ne veux pas payer une voiture, et personne ne me menera pour rien; il n'y a pas de charité dans ce monde.' And she went.

"When she came back she said, 'Eh bien, ma chère, je suis allé à vêpres, mais je ne suis pas allé à pied. Je n'étais que sorti de l'hôtel, quand je voyais tous ces cochers avec leurs voitures en face de moi. "Et que feras tu donc, Si tu trouveras la charité en chemin?" me disait la voix. "Je lui donnerai un napoléon." Eh bien, un de ces cochers, je le sentais, me menerait pour la charité: je le sentais, mais j'avançais toujours; et voilà que Pierre, qui nous avait ameni avec sa voiture l'autre journée, me poursuivit avec sa voiture en criant, "Mais, madame, où allez vous donc: venez, montez, je ne veux pas vous voir vous promener comme cela; je vous menerai pour rien." - "Mais, Pierre, que voulez vous donc," je dis. "Mais montez, madame, montez; je vous menerai pour rien," il repetait, et je montais. Pierre m'emmenait à l'église, et voila la voix qui me dit, "Et ton napd6on," parceque j'avais dit que Si je trouvais la charité en chemin, je lui donnerais un napoléon. Mais je n'ai pas voulu lui donner le napoléon de suite, parceque cela pouvait lui faire tourner la tête, et j'ai dit, "Venez, Pierre, venez me voir demain au soir. Vous avez fait un acte de la charité: Dieu vous recompensera."'

"Madame de Trafford always wore a miniature of the Emperor Napoleon in a ring which she had: the ring opened, and inside was the miniature. The next morning she showed it to me, and asked me to get it out of the ring, as she was going to send the ring to a jeweller to be repaired. I got scissors, &c., and poked, and thumped, and pulled at the picture, but I could not get it out of the ring: I could not move it in the least.

"In the morning Mama was with Madame de Trafford when Pierre came. I was not there. Pierre was a dull stupid Swiss lout of a cocher. 'Madame m'a commandé de venir,' he said, and he could say nothing else.

"Then Madame de Trafford held out a napoleon, saying, 'Tenez, Pierre, voilà un napoléon pour vous, parceque vous avez voulu faire un acte de la charité, et ordinairement il n'y a pas de charité dans ce monde.' . . . But as Madame de Trafford stretched forth her hand, the ring flew open and the portrait vanished. It did not slip out of the ring, it did not fall - it vanished! it ceased to exist! 'Oh, le portrait, le portrait!' cried Madame de Trafford. She screamed: she was perfectly frantic. 'Quel portrait?' said Pierre, for he had seen none: he was stupefied: he could not think what it all meant. As for Mama, she was so terrified, she rushed out of the room. She locked her door, she declared nothing should induce her to remain in the same room with Madame de Trafford again.

"I went down to Madame de Trafford. . She offered a napoleon to any one who would find the portrait. She was wild. I never saw her in such a state, never. Of course every one hunted, garçons, filles-de-chambre, every one, but not a trace of the portrait could any one find. At last Madame de Trafford became quite calm; she said, 'Je sens que dans une semaine j'aurai mon portrait, et je vois que ce sera un des braves du grand Napoléon qui me le rapportera.'

"I thought this very extraordinary, and really I did not remember that there was any soldier of the old Napoleon in the house. I was so accustomed to Félix as our old servant, it never would have occurred to me to think of him. The week passed. 'C'est la fin de la semaine,' said Madame de Trafford, 'et demain j'aurai mon portrait.'

"We had never told Victoire about the portrait, for she was so superstitious, we thought she might refuse to stay in the house with Madame de Trafford if we told her. But the next morning she came to Mama and said that a child who was playing in a garret at the top of the house had found there, amongst some straw, the smallest portrait ever seen, and had given it to Félix, and Félix had shown it to her, saying, 'Voilà c'est bien fait çà; çà n'est pas un bagatelle; çà n'est pas un joujoux çà!' and he had put it away. 'Why, it is the lost portrait,' said Mama. 'What portrait?' said Victoire. Then Mama told Victoire how Madame de Trafford had lost the portrait out of her ring, and Félix took it back to her. It was when Félix took back the portrait that l first remembered he had been a soldier of the old Napoleon, and was even then in receipt of a pension for his services in the Moscow campaign.

"Félix refused the napoleon Madame de Trafford had offered as a reward; but she insisted on his having it, so he took it, and wears it on his watch-chain always : he almost looks upon it as a talisman."

As Italima and Esmeralda saw more of Madame de Trafford, they learned that she was the second wife of Mr. Trafford of Wroxham in Norfolk. He did not live with her, because he said that when he married her he intended to marry Mademoiselle Martine Larmignac, but he did not intend to marry "Maricot," as she called the spirit - the "voice" - which spoke through her lips, and live with Maricot he would not. He showed his wife every possible attention, and placed implicit confidence in her. He left her entire control of her fortune. He constantly visited her, and always came to take leave of her when she set off on any of her journeys; but he could not live with her.

One day Italima received a letter from her eldest son Francis, who said that he knew she would not believe him, but that Mr. B. was a penniless bankrupt, and that she would receive no more money from him. She did not believe Francis a bit, still the letter made her anxious and uncomfortable: no money had come in answer to her repeated letters, and there were many things at Geneva to be paid for. That day she came down to the table-d'hôte looking very much harassed. Madame de Trafford said to my sister, "Your mother looks very much agitated: what is it?" Esmeralda felt that, whether she told her or not, Madame de Trafford would know what had happened, and she told her the simple truth. Madame de Trafford said, "Now, do not be surprised at what I am going to say; don't be grateful to me; it's my vocation in life. Here is £80: take it at once. That is the sum you owe in Geneva, and you have no money. I knew that you wanted that sum, and I brought it down to dinner with me. Now I know all that is going to happen: it is written before me like an open book, - and I know how important it is that you should go to England at once. I have prepared for that, and I am going with you. In an hour you must start for England." And such was the confidence that Italima and Esmeralda now had in Madame de Trafford, such was her wonderful power and influence, that they did all she told them: they paid their bills at Geneva with the money she gave, they left Félix and Victoire to pack up and to follow them to Paris, and they started by the night-train the same evening with Madame de Trafford.

That was an awful night. My sister never lost the horror of it. "Madame de Trafford had told me that extraordinary things often happened to her between two and four in the morning," said Esmeralda. "When we went with her through the night in the coupé of the railway-carriage, she was very anxious that I should sleep. Mama slept the whole time. 'Mais dormez donc, ma chère,' she said, 'dormez donc.' - ' Oh, je dormirai bientôt,' I always replied, but I was quite determined to keep awake. It was very dreadful, I thought, but if anything did happen, I would see what it was. As it drew near two o'clock I felt the most awful sensation of horror come over me. Then a cold perspiration broke out all over me. Then I heard - oh, I cannot describe it! a most awful sound - a voice - a sort of squeak. It spoke, it was a language; but it was a language I did not understand,27 and then something came out of the mouth of Madame de Trafford - bur-r-r-r! It passed in front of me, black but misty. I rushed at it. Madame de Trafford seized me and forced me back upon the seat. I felt as if I should faint. Her expression was quite awful. No one knows it but Mama. Some time after, Mr. Trafford spoke to me of a hunchback in Molière, who had a voice speaking inside him, over which he had no control, and then he said, 'What my wife has is like that.'

As they drew near Paris, Madame de Trafford began to describe her apartments to my sister. It was like a description of Aladdin's palace, and Esmeralda did not believe it. When they reached the station, Madame de Trafford said, "I have one peculiarity in my house: I have no servants. I used to have them, but I did not like them; so now, when I am at Paris, I never have them: therefore, on our way from the station, we will stop as we pass through the Rue St. Honoré, and buy the bread, and milk, and candles - in fact, all the things we want." And so they did.

The carriage stopped before a porte cochère in the Champs Elysées, where Madame de Trafford got a key from the concierge, and preceded her guests up a staircase. When she unlocked the door of the apartment, it was quite dark, and hot and stuffy, as closed rooms are, but when the shutters were opened, all that Madame de Trafford had said as to the magnificence of the furniture, &c., was more than realised - only there were no servants. Madame de Trafford herself brought down mattresses from the attics, she aired and made the beds, and she lighted the fire and boiled the kettle for supper and breakfast.

Of that evening my sister wrote: -

"I shall never forget a scene with Madame de Trafford. I had gone to rest in my room, but I did not venture to stay long. She also had been up all night, but that was nothing to her - paresse was what she could never endure. When I went into her room, she had the concierge with her, but she was greatly excited. She was even then contending with her spirit. 'Taisez-vous, Maricot,' she was exclaiming. 'Voulez .vous vous taire: taisez-vous, Maricot.' I saw that the concierge was getting very angry, quite boiling with indignation, for there was no one else present, and she thought Madame de Trafford was talking to her. 'Mais, madame, madame, je ne pane pas,' she said. But Madame de Trafford went on, 'Va-t'en, Maricot; va-t'en donc.' - ' Mais, madame, je suis toute prête,' said the concierge, and she went out, banging the door behind her."28

Madame de Trafford told my sister in Paris that her extraordinary power had first come to her, as it then existed, many years before in the Church of S. Koch. She had gone there, not to pray, but to look about her, and, as she was walking round the ambulatory, there suddenly came to her the extraordinary sensation that she knew all that those kneeling around her were thinking, feeling, and wishing. Her own impression was one of horror, and an idea that the power came from evil; but kneeling down then and there before the altar, she made a solemn dedication of herself; she prayed that such strange knowledge might be taken away, but, if that were not to be, made a vow to turn the evil against itself by using it always for good.

People suddenly ruined - whom Madame de Trafford called "the poor rich " - she considered to be her peculiar vocation, because in her younger life she had twice been utterly ruined herself Once it was in England. She had only a shilling left in the world, and, in her quaint way of narrating things, she said, "Having only a shilling left in the world, I thought what I had better do, and I thought that, as I had only a shilling left in the world, I had better go out and take a walk. I went out, and I met a man, and the man said to me, 'Give me something, . for I have nothing left in the world,' and I gave him sixpence, and I went on. And I met a woman, and the woman said to me, 'Give me something, for I have nothing whatever left in the world.' And I said, 'I cannot give you anything, for I have only sixpence left in the world, so I cannot give you anything.' And the woman said, 'But you are much richer than I, for you are well dressed; you have a good bonnet, a gown, and shawl, while I am clothed in rags, and so you must give me something.' And I thought, 'Well, that is true,' so I gave her the sixpence, and I went on. At the corner of the street I found a sovereign lying in the street. With that sovereign I paid for food and lodging. The next day I had remittances from an uncle I had long supposed to be dead, and who expressed the wish that I should come to him. He died and left me his heiress: money has since then always flowed in, and I go about to look for the poor rich." A presentiment would come to Madame de Trafford, or the voice of Maricot would tell her, where she would be needed, and she would set out. Thus she went to Geneva to help some one unknown. She moved from hotel to hotel until she found the right one; and she sat by person after person at the table-d'hôte, till she felt she was sitting by the right one; then she waited quietly till the moment came when she divined what was wanted.

The morning after their arrival in Paris Madame de Trafford stood by my sister's bedside when she awoke, ready dressed, and having already put away most of the things in the apartment. As soon as breakfast was over, a carriage came to take them to the station, and they set off for Boulogne, where Madame de Trafford set her guests afloat for England with £40 in their pockets. Thus they arrived on the scene of action.

Straight from London Bridge Station they drove to Mr. B.'s office. He was there, and apparently delighted to see them. "Well, Mr. B., and pray why have you sent me no money?" asked Italima. "Why, I've sent you quantities of money," said Mr. B., without a change of countenance. "If you write to Messrs. O. & L., the bankers at Geneva, you will find it's all there. I have sent you money several times," and he said this with such perfect sangfroid that they believed him. Italima then said, "Well now, Mr. B., I should wish to see the mortgages," because from time to time he had persuaded her to transfer £46,000 of her own fortune from other securities to mortgages on a Mr. Howell's estate in Cornwall. Mr. B. replied, "Do you know, when you say that, it would almost seem as if you did not quite trust me." - "That I cannot help," said Italima, "but I should wish to see the mortgages." - "There is no difficulty whatever," said Mr. B. ; "you could have seen them last year if you had wished: to-day you cannot see them because they are in the Bank, and the Bank is closed, but you can fix any other day you like for seeing them," - and they fixed the following Wednesday. Afterwards Mr. B. said, "Well, Mrs. Hare, you do not seem to have trusted me as I deserve, still I think it my duty to give you the pleasant news that you will be richer this year than you have ever been in your life. A great deal of money is recovered from the Paul bankruptcy, which you never expected to see again; all your other investments are prospering, and your income will certainly be larger than it has ever been before." Italima was perfectly satisfied. That evening she made my sister write to Mrs. Julius Hare and say, "We are convinced that Mr. B. is the best friend we have in the world. Augustus was always talking against him, and we have been brought to England by a raving mad Frenchwoman who warned us against him; but we will never doubt or mistrust him any more.

When the Wednesday came on which they were to see the mortgages, Italima was not well, and she said to my sister, "I am quite glad I am not well, because it will be an excuse for you to go and fetch the mortgages, when we can look them over quietly together." My sister went off to Lincoln's Inn, but before going to Mr. B., she called at the house of another lawyer, whom she knew very well, to ask if he had heard any reports about Mr. B. "I pray to God, Miss Hare, that you are safe from that man," was all he said. She rushed on to the office. Mr. B. was gone: the whole place was sotto-sopra: everything was gone there were no mortgages: there was no Mr. Howell's estate: there was no money: £6o,ooo was gone : there was absolutely nothing left whatever.

Never was ruin more complete! Italima and Esmeralda had nothing left: not a loaf of bread, not a penny to buy one - nothing. My sister said she prayed within herself as to how she could possibly go back and tell her mother, and it seemed to her as if a voice said, "Go back, go back, tell her at once," and she went. When she reached the door of Ellison's hotel, where they were staying, the waiter said a gentleman was sitting with her mother, but it seemed as if the voice said, "Go up, go up, tell her at once." When she went in, her mother was sitting on the sofa, and a strange gentleman was talking to her. She went up to her mother and said, "Mama, we are totally ruined : Mr. B. has taken flight: we have lost everything we have in the world, and we never can hope to have anything any more. The strange gentleman came in like a special intervention of Providence. He was a Mr. Touchet, who had known Italima well when she was quite a girl, who had never seen her since, and who had come that day for the first time to renew his acquaintance. He was full of commiseration and sympathy with them over what he heard; he at once devoted himself to their service, and begged them to make use of him: the mere accident of his presence just broke the first shock.

Lady Normanby was at Sydenham when the catastrophe occurred; she at once came up to London and helped her cousins for the moment. Then Lady Shelley, the daughter-in-law of Italima's old friend Mrs. Shelley (see chap. i.), fetched them home to her at Boscombe near Bournemouth, and was unboundedly kind to them. Sir Percy Shelley offered them a cottage rent-free in his pine-woods, but they only remained there three weeks, and then went to Lady Williamson at Whitburn Hall near Sunderland, where I first saw them.

Everything had happened exactly as Madame de Trafford had predicted. My sister wrote to me: -

"The most dreadful news. We are ruined. Mr. B. has bolted, and is a fraudulent bankrupt. Nobody knows where he is. We are nearly wild. God help us. I hardly know what I am writing. What is to become of Francis and William? We hardly know what we have lost. I fear B. has seized on Mama's mortgages. Pray for us."

We received this letter when we were staying at Fotheringham. We were very much shocked, but we said that when my sister talked of absolute ruin, it was only a figure of speech. She and her mother might be very much poorer than they had been, but there was a considerable marriage settlement; that, we imagined, B. could not have possessed himself of.

But it was too true; he had taken everything. The marriage settlement was in favour of younger children, I being one of the three who would have benefited. Some years before, Mr. B. had been to Italima and persuaded her to give up £2000 of my brother William's portion, during her life, in order to pay his debts. On her assenting to this, Mr. B. had subtly entered the whole sum mentioned in the settlement, instead of £2000, in the deed of release, and the two trustees had signed without a question, so implicit was their faith in Mr. B., who passed not only for a very honourable, but for a very religious man. Mr. B. had used the £2000 to pay William's debts, and had taken all the rest of the money for himself. About Italima's own fortune he had been even less scrupulous. Mr. Howell's estate in Cornwall had never existed at all Mr. B. had taken the £46,000 for himself; there had been no mortgages, but he had paid the interest as usual, and the robbery had passed undetected. He had kept Italima from coming upon him during the last summer by cutting off her supplies, and all might have gone on as usual if Madame de Trafford had not brought his victims to England, and Italima had not insisted upon seeing the mortgages.

The next details we received were from my aunt Eleanor Paul.

"Sept. 1,1859. - B. is bankrupt and has absconded. They think he is gone to Sweden. The first day there were bills filed against him for £100,000, the second day for £103,000 more, all money that he swindled people out of I have not suffered personally, as the instant I heard there was anything against him, I went to his house, demanded my securities, put them in my pocket, and walked away with them. But I fear B. has made away with all the mortgages your mother and sister were supposed to have, or that they never existed, as they are not forthcoming. It is supposed that he has also made away with all the trust-money, besides the £5000 left to your sister by her aunt. At this moment they are penniless. . . . Your mother went to B. as soon as she arrived and desired to have the mortgages. He promised to have them ready in a few days, and meantime he talked her over, and made her believe he was a most honourable man. Before the day came he had bolted. . .

I went from Gibside to Whitburn to be there when Italima arrived. Her despair and misery were terrible to witness. She did nothing ah day but lament and wail over her fate, and was most violent to my sister, who bore her own loss with the utmost calmness and patience. Nothing could exceed Lady Williamson's kindness to them. She pressed them to stay on with her, and cared for them with unwearied generosity during the first ten months of their destitution. Many other friends offered help, and the Liddell cousins promised an annual subscription for their maintenance; but the generosity which most came home to their hearts was that of their old Roman friend Mr. William Palmer, who out of his very small income pressed upon them a cheque for £150. In this, as in all other cases of the kind, those who had least gave most. One idea was to obtain admission for them to St. Catherine's Almshouses for ladies of good family, but this was unwisely, though generously, opposed by my Aunt Eleanor.

"I am inclined to quarrel with you for ever mentioning the word 'Almshouse.' I have lived with my sister during her richer days, and certainly do not mean to desert her in her distress. I only wish she could think as I do. We can live in a smaller domain very happily, and if the worst come to the worst, I have £300 a year, and if the Liddell family allow £150, that, with the colliery shares, would make up £500 a year between us: and I have every prospect of recovering at least a portion of my fortune, and if I do, shall have £200, perhaps £300 a year more, making £800. Knowing this, I think it wrong to make oneself miserable. Francis and William must work: they have had their share of the fortune. I am only waiting till something is settled with regard to my affairs, but desertion has never for a moment entered my brain, and I hope you never gave me credit for anything so barbarous."29

To MY MOTHER (before seeing Italima).

"Whitburn Hall Sept 13. - Nothing can exceed Lady Williamson's kindness about Italima. Though she can ill afford it, she at once sent them £110 for present necessities. . . . She does not think it possible they can ever return to Rome, but having to part with Félix and Victoire is the greatest of their immediate trials. In addition to her invalid husband and son, Lady Williamson, the good angel of the whole family, has since her father's death taken the entire charge of his old sister, Mrs. Richmond - 'Aunt Titchie.' Victor and I have just been paying a visit in her bedroom to this extraordinary old lady, who was rolled up in petticoats, with a little dog under a shawl by way of muff. She is passionately fond of eating, and dilated upon the goodness of the cook - 'Her tripe and onions are de-licious!' - 'I like a green gosling, and plenty of sage and stuffing, that's what I like.'

"She is a complete Mrs. Malaprop. 'I was educated, my dear,' she said, 'at a cemetery for young ladies;' but this is only a specimen. She is also used to very strong language, and till she became blind, she used to hunt all over the country in top-boots and leathern breeches, like a man. When her husband died, she went up from Mrs. Villiers' house at Grove Mill to prove his will. Adolphus Liddell met her at the station, and helped her to do it, and then took her to the 'Ship and Turtle' and gave her real turtle - in fact, a most excellent luncheon. He afterwards saw her off at Euston. She is blind, you know, and took no notice of there being other passengers in the carriage, and greatly astonished they must have been, as he was taking leave of her, to hear the old lady say in her deliberate tones, 'Capital turtle! de-elicious punch! Why, lor bless ye! I'd prove my husband's will once a week to get such a blow-out as that.'

"I thought this place hideous at first, but it improves on acquaintance, and has its availabilities, like everything else: there is a fine sea with beautiful sands, and the flower-garden is radiant."

"Sept. 15. - I long for you to know Lady Williamson. Of all people I have ever known, she has the most truly Christian power of seeing the virtues of every one and passing over their faults. She also has to perfection the not-hearing, not-seeing knack, which is the most convenient thing possible in such a mixed family circle.

"Charlie Williamson arrived yesterday, and, with the most jovial entertaining manner, has all his mother's delicacy of feeling and excessive kindness of heart. When he heard of the B. catastrophe, he went up at once from Aldershot to see Italima in London. 'Your mother was quite crushed,' he says, 'but as for your dear sister, there isn't a girl in England has the pluck she shows. She never was down for a moment, not she: no, she was as cheery as possible, and said, "Mama, it is done, and it is not our fault, so we must learn to make the best of it." People may say what they like, but she is real downright good, and no mistake about it.'

"I have been with Victor to Seaton Delaval - the 'lordly Seaton Delaval' of 'Marmion,' scene of many of the iniquities of the last Lord Delaval. It is a magnificent house, but the centre is now a ruin, having been burnt about eighty years ago, by the connivance, it is said, of its then owner, Sir Jacob Astley. There is a Norman chapel, full of black effigies of knights, which look as if they were carved out of coal, and in one of the wings is a number of pictures, including Lord Delavars four beautiful daughters, one of whom married the village baker, while another was that Lady Tyrconnel who died at Gibside.

"I hope I shall know all these cousins better some day. At present, from their having quite a different set of friends and associations, I always feel as if I had not a single thing to say to them, and I am sure they all think I am dreadfully stupid. . . . But I am enchanted with Charlie Williamson, his tremendous spirits and amusing ways."

"Sept. 17. - At 8½, as we were sitting at tea, Lady Williamson put her head in at the drawing-room door and said, 'Come down with me; they are arriving.' So we went to the hall-door just as the carriage drove tip, and Italima got out and flung herself into Lady Williamson's arms. . . . Both she and Esmeralda looked utterly worn-out, and their account was truly awful. . . . Lady Normanby came at once to their assistance - but what touched them most was the kindness of dear good Charlie Williamson, who came up directly from Aldershot, bringing them all he had - £50."

"Sept 18. - It has now come out that Mr. B. was the person who had Francis arrested, and he kept him in prison while he plundered his estate of £17,000. It has also transpired that when, on a former occasion, Sir J. Paul gave Mr. B. £1000 to pay Francis's debts, he never paid them, but appropriated the money. B. has robbed Italima of the whole of her own fortune besides her marriage settlement. Two years ago he arranged with the trustees and Italima to sell £2000 of the settlement fund to pay William's debts, and presented to the trustees, as they supposed, papers to sign for this purpose. They trusted to B. and did not examine the papers, which they now find empowered him to take possession not only of the £2000, but of the whole fund!"

"Sept. 19. - Italima's state is the most hopeless I ever saw, because she absolutely refuses to find hope or comfort or pleasure in anything, and as absolutely refuses to take any interest or bestir herself in any measures for the recovery of her lost fortune. . . . When any one tries to elicit what she recollects about the mortgages, she will begin the story, and then bury herself in the sofa-cushions, and say we are killing her by asking her questions, and that if we do not want her to die, she must be quiet. She is furious with me because I will not see that the case is quite hopeless, and quite acts up to her promise of never regarding me with the slightest affection. . . . The state of Italima is appalling, but my sister is perfectly calm. Lady Williamson is kindness itself; and as for Charlie, I never knew his equal for goodness, consideration, and generosity.

"I wish you could hear Lady Williamson sing; even when, she was a little girl, Catalani said that her voice was better than her own, and that if it were necessary for her to sing publicly, she would be the first singer in Europe."

"Sept 21. - Italima is daily more entirely woe-be-gone, and her way of receiving her misfortunes more bitter. . . . It seems a trouble to her even to see her cousins so prosperous, while she . . . ! The Normanbys are here and most kind, though much out of patience with her. . . . Old Mrs. Richmond, who has been very kind throughout, sent for my sister the . other day to her room, and gave her five pounds to buy winter clothes, and has sent for patterns to Edinburgh for a warm dress for her."

"Sandhutton Hall, Sept 24. - I left Whitburn yesterday, very sorry to part with the dear kind cousins, with whom I had a tender leave-taking - not so with Italima, who took no more notice of my departure than she had done of my visit."

The only event of our home-autumn was the death of the Rector of Hurstmonceaux, who had succeeded my uncle, and the appointment of the charming old Dr. Wellesley30 in his place. In November I was at Harrow with the Vaughans, meeting there for the first time two sets of cousins, Lord and Lady Spencer,31 and Sir John Shaw-Lefevre,32 with two of his daughters. With the latter cousins I made a great friendship. Then I returned to Oxford.


"Christ Church, Dec. 6,1859. - My whole visit here this time has been enjoyable. Arthur is always so very good and kind, so knowing in what will give one pleasure: which I especially feel in his cordiality to all my friends when they come here. Then it is so interesting and delightful being perpetually examined by him in different parts of history, and charming to feel that I can in a small way be useful to him in looking out or copying things for his lectures, &c. Victor Williamson and Charlie Wood come in and out constantly.

"Mr. Richmond the artist is here. I quite long to be Arthur, going to sit to him: he is so perfectly delightful: no wonder his portraits are always smiling."

In the winter of 1859-60 I made a much-appreciated acquaintance with Sir George Grey, author of "Polynesian Mythology."


"Dec. 15, 1859. - At the Haringtons' I met Sir George and Lady Grey. I was very anxious to make acquaintance, but much afraid that I should not have an opportunity of doing so, as I was never introduced. As they were going away, I expressed regret at having missed them before, and he hoped that we should meet another time. I suppose I looked very really sorry for not seeing more of him, for, after a consultation in the passage, he came back, and asked if I would walk part of the way with him. I walked with him all the way to Windmill Hill, where he was staying: he walked home with me: I walked home with him; and he home with me for the third time, when I was truly sorry to take leave, so very interesting was he, and so easy to talk to. We began about Polynesian Mythology - then poetry - then Murray, who, he said, had just paid Dr. Livingstone £10,000 as his share of the profits on his book - then of Lord Dillon, who, he said, had led them the most jovial rollicking life when he went to Ditchley to look over MSS., so that he had done nothing.

"Then he talked of the Church in the Colonies. He said that High Churchism had penetrated to the Cape to the greatest extent, and that the two or three churches where it was carried out were thronged as fashionable: that one of the views preached was, that religion was a belief in whatever you fancied was for your good, so that if you fancied that, our Lord being one with God, it would be well for you to have a mediator between yourself and Him, you ought then to believe in that mediator, and to invoke your guardian angel as the mediator most natural. Another tenet was that prayer was only 'a tracter' to draw down the blessings of God - that, as there were three kinds of prayer, so there were three kinds of tracters - that individual prayer would draw down a blessing on the individual, family prayer on a family, but that public prayer, as proceeding from the mouth of a priest, could draw down a blessing on the whole state. Sir George had heard a sermon on 'It is needful for you that I go away from you,' &c., proving that it was needful, because if not, Christ would have to have remained as an earthly king, have had to negotiate with other kings, meddle in affairs of state, &c. - also because he would have been made 'a lion' of - perhaps have become an object of pilgrimage, &c.

"Sir George said that the Wesleyan Methodists lived a holier, more spiritual life in the Colonies, but then it was because religion was there so easy to them; in London it would not be so; that London, the place in the world most unsuited to Christianity, lived on a great world of gambling-houses, brothels, &c., as if there were no God; no one seemed to care. He said what a grand thing it would be if; in one of the great public services in St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey, the preacher were to shout out as his awful text - 'Where art thou, Adam?' - and show how the Lord would look in vain for His in most parts of London - where, where had they hidden themselves?

"Sir George told me an ancedote of a dog in New Zealand - that two officers were walking by the shore, and that one of them said, 'You declare your dog will do everything. I'll bet you he does not fetch that if you tell him," and he threw his walking-stick into a canoe lying out at some distance in the shallow water, where the natives wade up to their waists to get into them, and where they are secured by strong hempen cords. The dog, when told, instantly swam out, but, as the man who made the bet had foreseen, whenever he tried to scramble into the canoe to get the stick, it almost upset, and at length, after repeated struggles, he was obliged to swim to shore again and lie down to rest. Once rested, however, without a second bidding, he swam out again, and this time gnawed through the cord, pulled the canoe on shore, and then got the stick out, and brought it to his master."33

I told Arthur Stanley much of this conversation with Sir George Grey. Some time after, he was very anxious that I should go to hear Dr. Vaughan preach in a great public service under the dome of St. Paul's. I went, and was startled by the text - "Where art thou, Adam?"

In January 1860 I paid a delightful visit to Sir John Shaw-Lefevre at Sutton Place, near Guildford, a beautiful old brick house with terracotta ornaments, which once belonged to Sir Francis Weston, Anne Boleyn's reputed lover. Besides the large pleasant family of the house, Lord Eversley and his daughter were there, and Sophia, daughter of Henry Lefevre, with Mr. Wickham, whom she soon afterwards married.


"Sutton Place, Jan. 8. - Lord Eversley has been talking of Bramshill, the old home of Prince Henry, where Archbishop Abbott shot a keeper by accident, in consequence of which it became a question whether consecration rites received at his hands were valid. Lord Eversley did not believe that the oak in the park, from which the arrow glanced (with the same effect as in the case of Rufus), was the real tree, because it was too old: oaks beyond a certain age, after the bark has ceased to be smooth, do not allow an arrow to glance and rebound.

"The Buxtons sent me a ticket for Lord Macaulay's funeral, but I would not leave Sutton to go. Sir John went, and described that, as often in the case of funerals and other sad ceremonies, people, by a rebound, became remarkably merry and amusing, and that they had occupied the time of waiting by telling a number of uncommonly good stories. The sight of Lady Holland34 and her daughters amongst the mourners had reproduced the bon-mot of Mrs. Grote, who, when asked how this Lady Holland was to be distinguished from the original person of the name, said, 'Oh, this is New Holland, and her capital is Sydney.'

"Apropos of Macaulay, Sir John remarked how extraordinary it was in growing age to see a person pass away whose birth, education, public career, and death were all within your memory.

"He said how unreadable 'Roderick Random' and 'Tom Jones' were now. A lady had asked to borrow 'Pamela' from his library, saying she well remembered the pleasure of it in her youth; but she returned it the next day, saying she was quite ashamed of having asked for anything so improper.

"Yesterday was Sunday, and I groped my way through the dark passages to the evening service in the Catholic chapel, which has always been attached to the house. An old priest, seated on the steps of the altar, preached a kind of catechetical sermon upon Transubstantiation - 'My flesh is meat indeed' - 'and the poor Protestants have this in their Bibles, and yet they throw away the benefit of the indeed.' The sight was most picturesque - the dark old-fashioned roof; only seen by the light of the candles on the richly decorated altar, and the poor English peasants grouped upon the benches. It carried one back to the time before the Reformation. In his discourse, the old priest described his childhood, when he sat in the east wing of the house learning his catechism, and when there were only two Catholics in Guildford; and 'what would these two solitary ones say now if they had seen the crowd in St. Joseph's Chapel at Guildford this morning? Yes, what would old Jem Savin say if he could rise up and see us now, poor man?'"

To MY MOTHER (after I had returned to my Handbook explorations).

"Aldermaston Hall, Berks, Jan. 14, 1860. - I came here from Newbury. The weather was so horrible, and the prospect of a damp lonely Sunday in an inn so uninviting, that I thought over all possible and impossible houses in the neighbourhood, and finally decided upon Aldermaston as the best, and have taken it by storm.

"It was the dampest and dreariest of mornings as I came from the station, but this place looked beautiful in spite of it - a wild picturesque park, and a large house, full of colour inside, like a restored French château. Mrs. Higford Burr (who seems to live more in Italy than here) wears a sort of Greek dress with a girdle and a broad gold hem. . . . I was at once, as I rather expected, invited to stay per l'amore d'Italia, and my luggage sent for. This afternoon Mrs. Burr, who is a most tremendous walker, has taken me to Upton Court, the home of Arabella Fermor (Pope's Belinda), a charming old house with a ghost, which the farm-people described as 'coming a clinkerin upstairs right upon un loike.'"

"Christ Church, Feb. 4. - I have had a terribly cold tour to Drayton-Beauchamp, Ashridge, Aylesbury, &c. The pleasantest feature was a warm welcome from Mrs. Barnard, wife of the great yeoman-farmer at Creslow Pastures, the royal feeding-grounds from the time of Elizabeth to Charles II., with a lovely and interesting old house overlooking Christ Low (the Christ's Meadow) and Heaven's Low (Heaven's Meadow). Thence I went to North Marston, where was the shrine of Sir John Shorne, a sainted rector, who preserved his congregation from sin by 'conjuring the devil into his boot' Buckinghamshire is full of these quaint stories.

"Arthur has just been making great sensation by a splendid Sermon at St. Mary's, given in his most animated manner, his energies gradually kindling till his whole being was on fire. It was on, 'Why stand ye here idle all the day long? - the first shall be last and the last first.' 'Why stand ye here idle, listless, in the quadrangle, in your own rooms, doing nothing; so that in the years to come you will never be able to look back and say, "In such a year, in such a term, I learnt this or that - that idea, that book, that thought then first struck me"? Perhaps this may be a voice to the winds, perhaps those to whom it would most apply are even now in their places of resort, standing idle: probably even those who are here would answer to my question, "Because no man hath hired us."'

"Then he described the powers, objects, and advantages of Oxford. Then the persons who had passed away within the year, leaving gaps to be filled up - the seven great masters of the English language,35 the German poets and philosophers,36 the French philosopher37 - 'and their praise shall go forth from generation to generation.' Then he dwelt on the different duties of the coming life to be prepared for, and he described the model country-clergyman (Pearson), the model teacher (Jowett), the model country-gentleman. Then came a beautiful and pictorial passage about the eleventh hour and the foreboding of the awful twelfth. The congregation was immense, and listened with breathless interest. When the signatures were being collected for the Jowett appeal, Arthur was hard at work upon them on Sunday when Mr. Jowett came in. Arthur said, 'You need not mind my being at work to-day, for I can assure you it is quite a Sunday occupation, a work of justice, if not of mercy.' - 'Yes,' said Jowett, 'I see how it is: an ass has fallen into a pit, and you think it right to pull him out on the Sabbath-day.'

Arthur Stanley used to see a great deal of Mr. Jowett during this year - far too much, my mother thought when she was staying with him at Oxford; for Jowett - kind and unselfish as a saint - was only "Christian" in so far that he believed the central light of Christianity to spring from the life of Christ. He occasionally preached, but his sermons were only illustrative of practical duties, or the lessons to be learnt from holy and unselfish lives. It was during this year, too, that the English Church recognised with surprise that it was being shaken to its foundations by the volume of - mostly feeble and dull - "Essays and Reviews." But to turn to a very different religious phase.


"Wantage, Feb. 21, 1860. - I came here yesterday over dreary snow-sprinkled downs. Wantage is a curious little town surrounding a great cruciform church in the midst of a desert. The Vicar (Rev. W. J. Butler38) welcomed me at the door of the gothic vicarage, and almost immediately a clerical procession, consisting of three curates, schoolmaster, organist, and scripture-reader, filed in (as they do every day) to dinner, and were introduced one by one. The tall agreeable Vicar did the honours just as a schoolmaster would to his boys. There was such a look of daily service, chanting, and discipline over the whole party, that I quite felt as if Mrs. Butler ought also to be a clergyman, and as if the two little girls would have been more appropriately attired in black coats and bands.

"After dinner, in raging snow and biting east wind, we sallied out to survey the numerous religious institutions, which have been almost entirely founded by the energy and perseverance of this Vicar in the thirteen years he has been at Wantage. The church is magnificent. There is an old grammar-school in honour of Alfred (who was born here), a National School painted with Scripture frescoes by Pollen, Burgon, &c., a training school under the charge of Mrs. Trevelyan, a cemetery with a beautiful chapel, and St. Mary's Home for penitents. At seven o'clock all the curates dispersed to various evening services, Mr. Butler went to St. Mary's Home, and Mrs. Butler and I to the church, where we sat in the dark, and heard a choir chant a service out of what looked like a gorgeous illumination.

"I was aghast to hear breakfast was at half-past seven, but as I could not sleep from the piercing cold, it did not signify. At seven a bell rang, and we all hurried to a little domestic chapel in the house, hung with red and carpeted with red, but containing nothing else except a cross with flowers at one end of the room, before which knelt Mr. Butler. We all flung ourselves down upon the red carpet, and Mr. Butler, with his face to the wall, intoned to us, and Mrs. Butler and the servants intoned to him, and all the little children intoned too, with their faces to the ground.

"Now there is to be full church service again, and then - oh! how glad I shall be to get away."39

The society of Mrs. Gaskell the authoress was a great pleasure during this term at Oxford. I made great friends with her, and we kept up a correspondence for some time afterwards. Everybody liked Mrs Gaskell.40 I remember that one of the points which struck me most about her at first was not only her kindness, but her extreme courtesy and deference to her own daughters. While she was at Oxford, the subject of ghosts was brought forward for a debate at the Union; she wished to have spoken from the gallery, and if she had, would probably have carried the motion in favour of ghosts at once. Here is one of her personal experiences: -

"Mrs. Gaskell was staying with some cousins at Stratford-on-Avon, who took her over to see Compton Whinyates. On their return she stayed to tea at Eddington with her cousins - cousins who were Quakers. Compton Whinyates naturally led to the subject of spirits, and Mrs. Gaskell asked the son of the house whether there were any stories of the kind about their neighbourhood; upon which the father, who was a very stiff, stern old man, reproved them for vain and light talking.

"After tea Mrs. Gaskell and her cousins went out to walk about the place with the younger Quaker, when the subject of the supernatural was renewed, and he said that their attention had lately been called to it in a very singular manner. That a woman who was a native of the place had many years ago gone as a lady's-maid to London, leaving her lover, who was a carter, behind hen While in London, she forgot her carter and married some one else, but after some years her husband died, leaving her a large competence, and she came back to spend the rest of her life in her native village. There she renewed her acquaintance with the carter, to whom, after a fortnight's renewal of courtship, she was married. After they had been married a few weeks, she said she must go up to London to sell all the property she had there, and come down to settle finally in the country. She wished her husband to go with her, and urgently entreated him to do so; but he, like many countrymen in that part, had a horror of London, fancied it was the seat of all wickedness, and that those who went there never could come back safe: so the woman went alone, but she did not return. Some time after her husband heard that she had been found in the streets of London – dead.

"A few weeks after this the carter husband was observed to have become unaccountably pale, ill, and anxious, and on being asked what was the matter with him, he complained bitterly, and said that it was because his wife would not let him rest at nights. He did not seem to be frightened, but lamented that his case was a very hard one, for that he had to work all day, and, when he wanted rest, his wife came and sat by his bedside, moaning and lamenting and wringing her hands all the night long, so that he could not sleep.

"Mrs. Gaskell naturally expressed a wish to see the man and to hear the story from his own lips. The Quaker said that nothing could be easier, as he lived in a cottage close by; to which she went, together with five other persons. It was like a Cheshire cottage, with a window on each side of the door, and a little enclosure, half-court, half-garden, in front. It was six o'clock in broad summer daylight when they arrived. The door was locked and the Quaker went round to try the back entrance, leaving Mrs. Gaskell and her friends in the enclosure in front. They all, while there, distinctly saw a woman, of hard features, dressed in a common lilac print gown, come up to the latticed window close by them on the inside and look out. They then saw her pass on and appear again at the window on the other side of the door, after which she went away altogether.

"When the Quaker appeared, unsuccessful in opening the back-door, they said, 'But there is some one who could have let you in, for there is a woman in the house.' They tried unsuccessfully, however, to make her hear. Then they went to the adjoining cottage, where the people assured them that the man was gone out for the day, and that there could not possibly be any one in the house. 'Oh,' said Mrs. Gaskell, 'but we have seen a woman in the house in a lilac print gown.' 'Then,' they answered, 'you have seen the ghost: there is no woman in the house; but that is she.'"

It was when I was at Beckett, just before Easter 1860, that I was first told that we should have to leave our dear home at Hurstmonceaux. Many years before, there had been an alarm, and my mother would then have bought the Lime property, but that the price asked was so greatly above its value, and no other purchasers came forward. So she was satisfied to go on renting Lime and the surrounding fields for a small sum, especially as she had a promise from those who had charge of the sale that no other offer should be accepted without giving her the preference. In the spring of 1860, however, Mr. Arkcoll, a rich old Hurstmonceaux farmer and churchwarden, died, leaving a large fortune to his nephew and a considerable sum of ready money to buy a house near his property. Lime had long been as Naboth's vineyard in the younger Mr. Arkcoll's eyes, and before we knew that the uncle was dead, we heard that the nephew was the purchaser of Lime, the promise to us having been broken.


My mother immediately offered Mr. Arkcoll a much larger sum than he had paid to save Lime, but not unnaturally he was inexorable.

Thus it was inevitable that at Michaelmas we must leave our dear home, and, though I had suffered much at Hurstmonceaux, and though our position there as a ruined family was often a dismal one, yet we felt that nothing could ever replace what Lime itself was, where every plant was familiar, and every tree had its own little personal reminiscence. And there also the great difficulty of finding a new home within our small means, and yet large enough to house our many books and pictures.

I met my mother at Bournemouth to talk over plans and possibilities for the future, and we went on to Weymouth, where we remained some weeks. It was bitterly cold weather, but I always liked Weymouth, and the pleasant walks in Sandyfoot Bay, and excursions to Bow and Arrow Castle, Corfe Castle, Abbotsbury, and Lyme Regis . In April I was again at Beckett.


"Beckett, April 8, 1860. - Yesterday I went with Lady Barrington and Lady Somerton to Ashdowne (Lord Craven's). It is a most awfully desolate place, standing high up on the bare downs. Four avenues approach the house from the four sides. It was built by a Craven who was Lord Mayor of London, and who, flying from the great plague, rode fiercely on and on, till upon this bleak down he saw a desolate farmhouse, where he thought that the plague could not penetrate, and there he rested, and there he eventually built. The four avenues, and the windows on every side, were intended to let the plague out in one direction if it came in at the other. Inside the house are great stag's horns which Elizabeth of Bohemia brought with her from Germany, and portraits of her, Prince Rupert, Prince Maurice, and the four princesses her daughters, painted by one of them. The young Ladies Craven showed us the house amid shouts of laughter at their own ignorance about it, which certainly was most dense.

"We went on by roads, which were never meant for a carriage, to a point whence Lady Barrington and I walked across the down to 'Wayland Smith's Cave,' a very small cromlech, in which Wayland could hardly have stood upright when he used it for a forge."

"Hendred House, April 15. - It is a proof how necessary it is for the writer of a Handbook to see himself all that he writes about, that I found East Hendred, of which I had heard nothing, to be one of the most romantic villages I ever saw - groups of ancient gable-ended houses, black and white or black and red, with turreted chimneys - a ruined moss-grown chapel dedicated to 'Jesus of Bethlehem' - a fine old grey church in a glen - and a beautiful Catholic chapel attached to this quaint old house, which contains a great Holbein of Sir Thomas More and his family, his cup, a portrait of Cardinal Pole, and the staff upon which Bishop Fisher leant upon the scaffold!

My next visit was to Dr. Hawtrey, the Provost of Eton, to whom I became much attached. Being in the house with him was a constant intellectual feast, he was so accomplished as well as learned. Beautiful and interesting books were produced to illustrate all he said, and it would be hard to say how much Latin or Italian poetry he daily read or repeated to me. It was impossible not to be perfectly at home with him, he was so easy and natural. Of the two old sisters who had resided with him, and who were known by Eton boys as Elephantina and Rhinocerina, only one was still living, in a gentle and touching state of childishness, keeping up all her old-fashioned habits of courtesy and politeness; the mind now and then taking in an idea like a flash of light, and immediately losing it again. The Provost's attention to this old sister was quite beautiful, and her affection for him. When she was going to bed she would "pack up" and carry off all the things upon the table - books, envelope-boxes, &c., which were soon sent downstairs again.

I went with the Provost to dine at New Lodge (Mr. Van de Weyer, the Belgian Minister's), and found there the Dean of St. Paul's and Mrs. Milman, he most bright and animated, she "icily bland and coldly amiable as ever." I was quite delighted with the Van de Weyers, especially the second son Albert (who afterwards died young). M. Sylvain Van de Weyer, through life the trusted friend and representative of Leopold I. of Belgium, had the expensive hobby of books, collecting rare editions and the earliest printed classics, a taste inherited from his father, who kept a circulating library at Louvain. When he showed us two shelves of books in his library he said, "I have read all these whilst waiting for dinner. I am always down punctually, and my guests are always late. From my library I see them arrive, and never join them till a good many are come: thus I have got through all these." Madame Van de Weyer was immensely fat. She had lately been with her husband to a concert at Windsor, and been much jostled, at which she was very indignant. "Why, they take us for pages," she said to her husband. "No, my dear," he replied; "they take me for a page, but they take you for a volume."

On the last occasion on which I saw the Provost Hawtrey before his death, he said to me that he knew I collected curious stories, and that there was one story, intimately connected with his own life, which he wished that I should write down from his lips, and read to him when I had written it, that he might see that it was perfectly correct.

Here is the story as he gave it: -

"In the time of my youth one of the cleverest and most agreeable women in Europe was Madame de Salis - the Countess de Salis - who had been in her youth a Miss Foster, daughter of the Irish Bishop of Kilmore. As a girl she had been most beautiful and the darling of her parents' hearts, but she married against their will with the Count de Salis. He was a Swiss Count, but he took her, not to Switzerland, but to Florence, where he hired a villa at Bellosguardo. There the life of Madame de Salis was a most miserable one: she had many children, but her husband, who cut her off from all communication with her friends, was exceedingly unkind to her. She was married to him for several years, and then she was mercifully released by his death. It was impossible for her to pretend to be sorry, and she did not pretend it: she hailed it as the greatest mercy that could have befallen her.41

"Madame de Salis went back to Ireland, where her parents, the old Bishop of Kilmore and Mrs. Foster, were still alive, and welcomed her with rapture. But she had left them a radiant, beautiful, animated girl; she returned to them a haggard, weird, worn woman, with that fixed look of anguish which only the most chronic suffering can leave. And what was worst was that her health had completely given way: she never slept, she never seemed able to rest, she had no repose day or night: she became seriously ill.

"All the best advice that could be procured was hers. There was a great consultation of doctors upon her case, and after it had taken place, the doctors came to the Bishop and said, 'The case of Madame de Salis is an extraordinary one; it is a most peculiar, but still a known form of hypochondria. She cannot rest because she always sees before her - not the horrible phantom which made her married life so miserable, but the room which was the scene of her suffering. And she never will rest; the image is, as it were, branded into her brain, and cannot be eradicated. There is only one remedy, and it is a very desperate one. It will probably kill her, she will probably sink under it, but it may have happy results. However, it is the only chance of saving her. It is that she should see the real room again. She can never get rid of its image: it is engraven upon her brain for life. The only chance is for her to connect it with something else.' When Madame de Salis was told this, she said that her returning to Florence was impossible, absolutely impossible. 'At any rate,' she said, 'I could not go unless my younger sister, Miss Foster, might go with me; then possibly I might think of it.' But to this Dr. and Mrs. Foster would not consent. The happiness of their lives seemed to have been extinguished when their elder daughter married Count de Salis, and if their beautiful younger daughter went abroad, perhaps she also would marry a foreigner, and then what good would their lives do them? However, Madame de Salis grew daily worse; her life was evidently at stake, and at last her parents said, 'Well, if you will make us a solemn promise that you will never, under any circumstances whatever, consent to your sister's marrying a foreigner, she shall go with you;' and she went.

"Madame de Salis and Miss Foster went to Florence. They rented the villa at Bellosguardo which had been the scene of the terrible tragedy of Madame de Salis's married life. As they entered the fatal room, Madame de Salis fell down insensible upon the threshold. When she came to herself she passed from one terrible convulsion into another: she had a brain fever: she struggled for weeks between life and death. But nature is strong, and when she did rally, the opinion of the Irish doctors was justified. Instead of the terrible companion of her former life and the constant dread in which she lived, she had the companionship of her beautiful, gentle, affectionate sister, who watched over her with unspeakable tenderness, who anticipated her every wish. . . . The room was associated with something else! Gradually, very gradually, Madame de Salis dawned back into active life. She began to feel her former interest in art, in time she was able to go and paint in the galleries, and in time, when her recovery became known, many of those who had never dared to show their sympathy with her during her earlier sojourn at Florence, but who had pitied her intensely, hastened to visit her; and gradually, as with returning health her brilliant conversational powers came back, and her extraordinary gift of repartee was restored, her salon became the most recherché and the most attractive in Florence.

"Chief of all its attractions was the lovely Miss Foster. When, however, Madame de Salis saw that any one especially was paying her sister attentions, she took an opportunity of alienating them, or, if there seemed to be anything really serious, she expressed to the individual her regret that she was unable to receive him any more. But at last there was an occasion on which Madame de Salis felt that more stringent action was called for. When a young Count Mastai, in the Guardia Nobile, not only felt, but showed the most unbounded devotion to Miss Foster, Madame de Salis did more than express to him her regret that untoward family circumstances prevented her having the pleasure of seeing him again; she let her villa at Bellosguardo, she packed up her things, and she took her sister with her to Rome.

"The reputation of the two sisters had preceded them, and when it became known that the Madame de Salis who had had so romantic a history was come to Rome with her beautiful younger sister, all that was most intellectual and all that was most remarkable in the old Papal capital gathered around them. But now the scene had changed. It was no longer Madame de Salis who was the invalid. Miss Foster grew pale and languid and unable to occupy herself; and gradually she became so pale and so changed, and the cause of it was so evident, that Madame de Salis felt that she must choose between two alternatives: she must either break her word to her parents and save the life of her sister, or she must keep her promise to her parents and see her sister sink into the grave.

"And she decided on the former course. She wrote two letters - one letter to Count Mastai, telling him that he might come back and see her sister again, and the other letter to the Bishop of Kilmore and Mrs. Foster. She said to her parents that she knew they measured a foreign marriage by her own dreadful life with Count de Salis: that in Count Mastai they must imagine the exact opposite of Count de Salis: that he was honourable, noble, chivalrous, generous, disinterested - in fact, that had she to seek through the whole world the person to whom with the greatest confidence she could commit her sister's happiness, she could not do otherwise than choose Count Mastai. This letter she sent too late to have the refusal which she knew it would bring. Count Mastai flew to the feet of the beautiful Miss Foster, and was accepted at once. The wedding-day was fixed, the wedding-dress was made, the wedding-feast was prepared.42

"When the day came, all the friends of Madame de Salis collected in the Church of San Luigi dei Francesi, where the marriage was to take place. According to the custom of brides in Rome, Miss Foster, accompanied by Madame de Salis, came first to the altar and waited for the bridegroom. He never came - he never came at all - he never, never, never was heard of again. . And that is the end of the first part of the story.

"The second part of the story is quite different. It was the time of the great famine and pestilence in the Basilicata. The misery was most intense, hundreds perished daily everywhere. Every one who could get away did; those who could went to Switzerland, others went to Sicily; bishops abandoned their dioceses, priests abandoned their flocks: there was a general stampede.

"But in that terrible time, as in all seasons of great national suffering, there were instances of extraordinary devotion and heroism. There was one young bishop of a Neapolitan diocese, who was absent in Switzerland at the time, who came back like San Carlo Borromeo over the Alps, who sold his library for the poor, who sold his carriages, who sold at last even his episcopal ring, who walked day and night in the hospitals, and by whose personal devotion many lives were saved, while thousands were cheered and encouraged by his example. The consequence was, that when the famine and the pestilence in the Basilicata passed away, at an early age - at a much earlier age than is usual - that young bishop was made a cardinal.

"The third part of the story is again quite different. It was when Pope Gregory XVI. lay upon his deathbed. There was the greatest possible difficulty about who should be his successor; one member of the Sacred College was too old, another was too young, another was too much bound up with the princely families: there seemed to be no one. The person who was of most influence at that time was Count Rossi, the French Ambassador, and he was very anxious for a liberal Pope, for some one who would carry out his own liberal views. One day as he was walking pensively, filled with anxieties, down the Corso, there passed by in a carriage that young bishop of the Basilicata, once Bishop of Imola, now Archbishop of Spoleto, who had been so distinguished during the famine. And when Count Rossi saw him, he felt that is the man - that is the man who would further my ideas and carry out my views. And by the wonderful influence of Count Rossi on separate individuals, and by his extraordinary powers of combination in bringing the mind of one person to bear upon another, that person was chosen Pope. And on the day on which he mounted the Papal throne as Pius IX., he revealed that he was the person who, as Count Mastai Ferretti in the Guardia Nobile, had been engaged to be married to the beautiful Miss Foster. He had belonged to a Jesuit family: he had been summoned on a Jesuit mission from which no one can shrink: his value to the Church had been estimated: he was sent off to the West Indies: letters were intercepted, and he was induced to believe that Miss Foster had ceased to care about him: he was persuaded to take Orders; he became bishop in the Basilicata, Bishop of Imola, Archbishop of Spoleto, Pope of Rome - and Miss Foster lived to know it.

"'Now,' said Dr. Hawtrey, 'if you ever tell that story, recollect to say that it is no mere story I have heard; it is part of my own life. Madame de Salis and her sister were my relations, and I was most intimate with them. I was there when Madame de Salis made her miserable marriage; I was there when she came back so terribly changed. I shared in the consultations as to whether her sister should go with her: I was with Dr. and Mrs. Foster when they received the letter about Count Mastai: I was there when they heard of the disappearance of the mysterious bridegroom: and I have lived to think of him as Pope.'"

I am surprised to find no letters recording the long and happy visit which I made during the latter part of April 1860 to Chequers, the beautiful old house of Lady Frankland Russell, to whom I had been introduced by Lady Sheffield, who was her cousin. With this most interesting old lady I made great friends and received the greatest kindness from her. Owing to the marriage of Sir John Russell of Chequers with Mrs. Rich, youngest daughter of Cromwell, the house was perfectly full of Cromwell relics, and in its grand old gallery hung portraits of the Protector, his mother, brother, his four daughters, two sons-in-law, secretary, &c. Here, also, enclosed in a cabinet, was a very awful mask taken from Cromwell's face after death, which Lady Frankland used to uncover with great solemnity. In the garden was a wonderful wych elm, said to have been planted by King Stephen, and behind rose the Chiltern Hills, the most beautiful point of which - Velvet Lawn, covered with indigenous box - was in the immediate neighbourhood.

All through the summer of 1860 we were occupied in considering our new home. We sent for all the London agents' lists of places to be let or sold south of the Humber, and many of these, in Kent, Surrey, Berks, Bucks, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, I went to see, either with or without my mother. If she were not with me, I wrote to her long accounts, always concluding with saying, "They are not like Holmhurst, not in the least like Holmhurst," - Holmhurst being the ideal place in the unwritten novels which my mother and I had been accustomed to narrate to each other in our long journeys abroad. My being difficult to satisfy gave the aunts an unusual handle for abuse, and plentifully did they bestow it upon me. "What can it signify whether you have a view or not? No one but you would care to waste your time in always looking out of the window," &c., &c. Especially was indignation roused by my refusing to consider an old house which the Stanleys were determined upon our taking in Oxfordshire,43 and which was to be had very cheap because no servants could be persuaded to stay there on account of a frightful apparition which was supposed to haunt it. At last we almost despaired of finding any place to suit us, and determined to take the farm of Belhurst at Hurstmonceaux to put our furniture in, and to go abroad till quite a different set of places were to be disposed of. Just then a neighbour sent us a Hastings paper with a very humble advertisement marked, "At Ore, a house, with thirty-six acres of land, to be let or sold." "What a horrible place this must be," I said, "for which they cannot find one word of description;" for the very ugliest places we had seen had often been described in the advertisements as "picturesque manorial residences," "beautiful villas with hanging woods," &c. But my mother rightly thought that the very simple description was perhaps in itself a reason why we should see it, and after breakfast we set off in the little carriage. It was a drive of about fourteen miles. Long before we could arrive at Ore, we passed under a grey wall overhung by trees. "It looks almost as if there might be a Holmhurst inside that wall," I said. Then we reached a gate between two clipped yew-trees, and a board announced, This house is to be let or sold." We drove in. It was a lovely day. An arched gateway was open towards the garden, showing a terrace, vases of scarlet geraniums, and a background of blue sea. My mother and I clasped each other's hands and simultaneously exclaimed – "This is Holmhurst!"

The house was let then, and we were refused permission to see the inside, but my mother bought the property at once: she was as sure as I was that we should never like any other place as well.

We found that the name of the place was Little Ridge. There were six places called Ridge in the neighbourhood, and it was very desirable to change the name, to prevent confusion at the post-office and elsewhere. Could we call it anything but Holmhurst? Afterwards we discovered that Holmhurst meant an ilex wood, and our great tree is an ilex.

On September 24 my mother left Lime. The day before was Sunday, and very sad - so many tearful farewells, so many poor women crying in the churchyard as we passed through. I stayed at Lime to pack up and arrange everything. On October 6, in the gloaming of the autumn evening, while the sunlight was streaming through the diminishing leaves of the old abele trees, and throwing long shadows upon the green lawn and bright flower-beds, we took a last farewell of our dear Hurstmonceaux home. Lea delivered up the keys, and we walked away (to the Rectory) up the drive, our drive no longer.


"Holmhurst, Oct 8, 1860. - This morning we left Hurstmonceaux Rectory directly after breakfast, good old Dr. Wellesley quite affected, and Harriet Duly, and even begging Mrs. Havendon, crying bitterly on taking leave of Lea. We met a smart carriage with two white horses going to fetch the Arkcolls, who made a triumphal entry to Lime just after our departure. Winchester drove us, in order to bring back the horse - John and Romo (the dog) on the box: Lea and I with Julietta (the cat) and her kitten inside, and no end of provisions under the seats. We stopped first at Mrs. Taylor's farm, and she gave Lea a new loaf and some cheese to begin housekeeping with, and me some excellent cakes. Lea thought the drive charming. I walked up all the hills and we arrived about one o'clock. It was impossible to enter the gates on account of the waggons of the outgoing tenants, but Joe and Margaret Comford from the lodge hailed us with the joyful news that they had themselves departed a few hours before."

"Oct 9. - We began work at six, a lovely morning, and the view exquisite as I opened my window, the oak-trees with which the meadows are studded casting long shadows on the grass, the little pond glittering in the sun, and the grey castle rising against the softest blue sea beyond. John is awed by the magnitude of the grounds. . . Julietta cries to go home, and would certainly set off, if it were not for little black pussy. I think the winding walks and obscure paths are enchanting, and the fir-woods are really large enough for you to 'inhale the turpentine air' as at Bournemouth."


My mother came to Holmhurst in about ten days, but not to stay, as we had arranged to break the transition between our two homes by spending the winter at Mentone. We took the route to the south by Orleans (whence I made a most interesting excursion to Notre Dame de Clery), Bourges, and then lingered at Oranges, Avignon, &c. I have always looked back upon the earlier part of this journey with remorse, as one in which I took my mother a longer way, in cold weather, simply to gratify my own wishes.

The dear mother, however, was very well, and this winter was therefore perhaps the happiest of the many we have spent abroad. Mentone consisted then only of the old, town on a promontory above the sea, ending in a little island-tower, and clambering up the sides of the hill to the castle and cemetery. On either side were a very few villas scattered amid the olive and orange groves. In one of these,44 above the terrace which led from the eastern gate of the town to the little chapel of St. Anne, we rented the first floor. On the ground floor lived our worthy landlord, M. Trenca, and his Swiss wife, with whom we made much acquaintance. In the neighbouring villas also we had many friends, and often gave little parties, - for the tiny society was most simple and easily pleased. We all enjoyed Mentone, where we had no winter, and breakfasted with windows wide open at Christmas. Our old servants, Lea and John, amused themselves by collecting roots of anemones and other plants; I drew, and sought materials for my little book "A Winter at Mentone;" and my mother was always gay and happy, betaking herself every morning with her camp-stool to draw in some sheltered nook, and returning proud of having discovered some new pathlet, or some fresh bank of rare flowers in the olive groves ; and in the afternoons often going to sit with and read or sing to some of the invalid visitors.


"Dec. 1860. - Our apartment has a bright salon looking towards the garden, with glass doors opening on a balcony. All the rooms except one overlook a vast expanse of blue sea, above groves of magnificent olivetrees, and from the garden a fresh scent of flowers is wafted up, even in December. From this garden the peaks of the Berceau are seen rising above the thickets of oranges and lemons, and beyond is a chain of rose-coloured rocks descending in an abrupt precipice to the blue waters of the bay, while on the farthest promontory Bordighera gleams white in the sunshine.

Twice a day a lovely fairy vision salutes us; first, when, in the sunrise, Corsica reveals itself across the sapphire water, appearing so distinctly that you can count every ravine and indentation of its jagged mountains, and feel as if a boat would easily take you to it in an hour; and again in the evening, when, as a white ghost, scarcely distinguishable from the clouds around it, and looking inconceivably distant, it looms forth dimly in the pink haze of sunset.


"We were here a very little while before several donkey-women presented themselves to secure our custom. We engaged ourselves to a wild Meg Merrilies figure in a broad white hat, with a red handkerchief tied underneath, and a bunch of flowers stuck jauntily in the side of her hair, who rejoices in the name of Teresina Ravellina Muratori de Buffa! With her we have made many excursions. It is impossible for anything to be more beautiful than the variety of green in the valleys: the blue-green of the gigantic euphorbias, which fringe the rocks by the wayside, the grey-green of the olives, the dark green of the old gnarled carouba trees, and the yellow-green of the canes and the autumnal vineyards. The walls are beautiful with their fringe of mesembryanthemum - 'Miss Emily Anthem' as the servants call it. Most of the paths are a constant 'excelsior,' and beginning with the steep yellow tufa rocks behind the town, gradually enter the pine-woods, and ascend towards the blue peaks of Sant' Agnese, which are always visible through the red stems of the pine-trees, and across the rich foreground of heath and myrtle. The trees are full of linnets, which the natives call 'trenta cinque' from the sound of their note, and the air resounds with the cries of the donkey-drivers - 'Ulla' - go on, and 'Isa' - for shame."

"Jan. 11, 1861. - We have been climbing up to Grimaldi, whose broad sunny terrace is as Italian a scene as any on the Riviera, for it is crossed by a dark archway, and lined on one side with bright houses, upon whose walls yellow gourds hang in the sun, with a little church, painted pink and yellow, while the other side is overshadowed by old olive-trees, beneath which is seen the broad expanse of sea, here deep blue, there gleaming silver white in the hot sunshine. Children in bright handkerchiefs and aprons were playing about, and singing 'Tanta di gioja, tanto di contento,' while we were drawing.

"Beyond Grimaldi the path becomes intensely steep, but we were repaid for going on when we reached to the top of the hills, as the scenery there is almost Alpine in its bold rocky foregrounds, beneath which yawns the deep black chasm of St. Louis, with a huge cliff towering above. On the scorched rock is Ciotti Superiore, a quaint cluster of houses, while the church, quite separated from the village, stands farther off, on the highest ridge of the mountain. Behind the church, the sea view is magnificent, embracing the coast, with its numerous bays, as far as the Estrelles, which turn golden and pink in the sunset; the grand mountain barriers, with all the orange-clad valleys running up into them; and S. Agnese rising out of the blue mist on its perpendicular cliff. . . . And, even in this high situation, lovely narcissus and pink carnations were blooming in January.

"People here are unconventional. When it began to rain on Tuesday, as we were going to a picnic, the coachman said 'Ah! le bon Dieu a oublié que c'est un jour de fêtes.'"

It was a great delight during our winter at Mentone that Lady Mary Wood and her family were spending the winter at Nice with old Lady Grey, so that my friend Charlie and I often met, and became greater friends than ever, entirely sympathising in all we did and saw. I went to Nice to spend some days with the Woods, and they came to Mentone for Easter, when we saw the Mentonais assemble to "grind Judas's bones," and many other of their strange ceremonies.


"Good Friday, 1861. - When Charlie and I went to S. Michele at eight o'clock in the evening, we found the church crowded from end to end with people chanting the Miserere, and radiant with a thousand waxlights. In the choir, under a canopy, upon a raised bier surrounded by a treble row of tall tapers, lay the body of Christ, for which the whole service was a funeral celebration. Soon after we arrived, a sudden hush in the crowd showed that something important was going to happen, and a huge friar's lanthorn carried in by a boy preceded the celebrated 'Pilgrim Preacher of the Riviera,' a Capuchin monk with a long white beard, who exercises his wonderful gift of preaching all along the Riviera during Lent. His sermon was short, but very graphic and striking. He began by describing a dreadful murder which people had committed upon the person of their kindest friend, with the horror it excited; and then, pointing to the white corpse which lay before him amid the blazing candles, he declared that those around him were themselves the perpetrators of the crime, and that the object of it was no other than their Saviour, whose image they saw there pale and bleeding before their eyes. Then, snatching the crucifix from the support by his side, he held it aloft to urge repentance by the sufferings there portrayed. As he concluded, soldiers filed into the church, and, amid rolling of drums and blowing of trumpets which intermingled with the chanting, the body was taken up and carried three times round the church by the Black Penitents, Mentonais nobles supporting a canopy over the bier."

With Charlie Wood, also, I went to Dolceacqua, which will always come back to me as one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, with its forest-clad mountains, its tall bridge, its blue river Nervia, and the palatial castle of the Dorias on a cliff, with sunlight streaming through its long lines of glassless windows. Almost equally picturesque were Peglia and Peglione, the latter on the top of a conical rock, with tremendous precipices and extraordinary mountain forms all around.


In the spring we went for a few days to S. Remo, accompanied by several friends. With them, when my mother returned to Mentone, I travelled farther along the Riviera, an excursion which was most amusing, as we bargained for a little carriage from place to place, giving ridiculously small sums, and living entirely like Italians. We went on to many-towered Albenga, to Savona, and eventually to Genoa, making all the excursions belonging to each place. From Genoa we joined Mr. and Mrs. Strettel in an excursion to Porto Fino. When we returned, it was too late to reach Mentone before Sunday, and my companions refused to travel on that day, so we employed the interval in going to Piacenza, Parma, and Modena! Thence we were obliged to telegraph to Mr. Strettel (then chaplain at Genoa) to send us some money to get home with, which we did in a series of little carriages as we had come, but travelling all day and night, driving in the moonlight along the Riviera roads, or often walking for miles at night upon the sands by the sea.


Mr. Petit, the famous ecclesiologist,49 spent some time at Mentone afterwards, and was very kind in taking me sketching excursions, as a fourth in the carriage with his sister, Miss Emma Petit, and his niece, Miss Salt. Mr. Petit was extraordinarily clever, especially as an artist, but most eccentric. He covered the backs of his pictures with caricatures of goblins, &c., representing the events of each day on which the pictures were done. When they travelled, this extraordinary family used to keep what they called "the Petit count:" if they met a cat, it counted for so much - a black goat for so much more, and so on but if they met a royal prince, it annihilated the whole of the Petit count, and the party would consequently go a whole day's journey out of their way to evade a royal prince. Mr. Petit was most striking in appearance, with a great deal of colour and snow-white hair and beard. I remember the start which our donkey-boy Francois gave when he first saw him, and his exclaiming, "Je crois, Monsieur, que c'est le frère du Père Eternel!" One day I had gone with Mr. Petit and Miss Salt to Ventimiglia, and we were returning at a most alarming speed (with their horses, from Toulon, unaccustomed to the road) along the edge of an almost unguarded and perpendicular precipice. Suddenly the horses made a great dash, and I felt, rather than saw, that they were leaving the road. I threw myself out instantly over the side of the carriage. As I picked myself up, I had the horror of seeing the horses over, hanging in the branches of an olive-tree which overhung the sea at a tremendous height, and on the tiny plateau on which it grew. The carriage was swaying to and fro on the wall, which it had broken down, and which was rapidly giving way altogether. "Uncle, shall I get out?" said Miss Salt, as coolly as if nothing was going on. "Yes," he said - and they both got out. A crowd of men came and rescued the horses with ropes from their perilous position, and we walked home.


As usual, in our return to England, we lingered much by the way. The railway then only reached as far as Aix in Provence, and we joined it there after a long vetturino journey; then, after visiting the wonderful deserted town of Les Baux near Arles and Vaucluse near Avignon, we went to S. Laurent du Pont and the Grande Chartreuse, greatly enjoying the beauty of the spring flowers there, as well as the scenery.

1 A year afterwards I had occasion to visit Panizzi upon other business, and I shall never forget the sharpness with which the astute old man, recollecting the Archdeacon's letter, and entirely refusing to recognise any other claim upon his time, turned upon me with, "well now, what do you know? - how many languages? what? - answer at once;" and I could with difficulty make him understand that I did not want the clerkship. Sir A. Panizzi died April 8, 1879. It was this Antonio Panizzi who had the honour of being hanged in effigy by the Government of Modena, after having escaped from an imprisonment (which would doubtless have ended in his corporeal execution), for his efforts for the regeneration of Sicily. He was declared liable for all the expenses of the process, and the Cabinet of Modena, in all simplicity, wrote to him in his security at Liverpool calling upon him to pay them!

2 Ten guineas for a sheet, containing twenty-four pages of the close double-columned type of Murray's Handbooks.

3 John, 2nd Earl Brownlow.

4 Of Hunstanton, eldest son of Mrs. Wynne Finch.

5 Second son of the 5th Earl Stanhope.

6 Now Sackville of Drayton Manor.

7 Fourth son of Sir Adam Hay of King's Meadows.

8 Fourth son of Sir Hedworth Williamson of Whitburn, and of the Hon. Anne, 2nd daughter of the 1st Lord Ravenswocth.

9 Eldest son of Sir Charles Wood, M. P., afterwards viscount Halifax, and of Lady Mary, 5th daughter of the 2nd Earl Grey.

10 Hon. Mrs. Cradock, wife of the Principal of Brazenose - formerly a Maid of Honour.

11 Maria Josepha, daughter of the 1st Earl of Sheffield, and widow of the first Lord Stanley of Alderley.

12 Grandfather of the first Lord Knutsford.

13 Mrs. Pelham Warren died in Nov. 1865.

14 Mrs. Thornton, a most kind and admirable person, died Jan. 1889.

15 Mrs. Dormer went to live at Flamborough in Yorkshire after the death of her husband, and died there, Oct. 1892.

16 Afterwards 14th Baron Saye and Sele.

17 His handwriting was so illegible, that printers charged half-a-crown a sheet extra for setting up each sheet of his "copy."

18 The universally beloved Henry Octavius Coxe, Bodley's librarian and Rector of Wytham, born 1811, died July 8, 1881.

19 The Countess Valsamachi, formerly Mrs. Reginald Heber, was one of the three daughters of Dean Shipley, and first cousin to my father.

20 Mr. Thomas Erskine died March 28, 1870, having survived both his sisters.

21 Miss Clementina Stirling Graham died at Duntrune, August 23, 1877, aged ninety-five.

22 Earl of Dalhousie.

23 My college friend Frederick Forsyth Grant.

24 This is described in Lord Auckland's Correspondence.

25 In May 1860.

26 Fénélon.

27 The voice which passed the lips of Madame de Trafford was often like the voices of the Irvingites.

28 Sometimes Madame de Trafford spoke of her spirits as "Les Maricots."

29 "L'asciar l'amico!
Lo Seguitai felice
Quand' era il cielo sereno:
Alle tempeste in seno
Voglio seguirlo ancor:
Ah cosi vil non sono." - METASTASIO

30 Principal of New Inn Hall at Oxford.

31 Our cousins through the Shipleys and Mordaunts.

32 Grandson of Helena Selman, my great-grandmother's only sister.

33 I wrote to Sir George Grey several times after this meeting, hot never saw him again till 1869 in Miss Wright's rooms in Belgrave Mansions.

34 Sydney Smith's daughter.

35 Prescott, Washington Irving, Sir J. Stephen, Leigh Hunt, De Quincey, Macaulay, Hallam.

36 Ritter, Hurnboldt, Arndt.

37 De Tocqueville.

38 Afterwards Dean of Lincoln.

39 The Rev. W. J. Butler, then Dean of Lincoln, and his wife, died within a few weeks of each other in Jan. 1894

40 Wife of the Rev. William Gaskell, Unitarian minister of the Chapel in Cross Street, Manchester. He died June 1884, aged eighty. She died very suddenly in Nov. 1865.

41 It is right to say that a very different account of Count de Salis is given by many of his descendants from that which I wrote down from the narrative of Dr. Hawtrey.

42 Mrs. Fane de Salis told me (in 1891) that her mother-in-law had described to her being with Miss Foster on thc Pinejo when the handsome guardsman, Count Mastai, came courting.

43 Hazeley Court.

44 Maison Helvetia.

45 From "South-Eastern France."

46 From "South-Eastern France."

47 From "Northern Italy."

48 From "South-Eastern France."

49 Rev. J. L. Petit.

50 From "Northern Italy."