WORK IN NORTHERN COUNTIES
"Al ogni uccello suo nido par bello"
- Italian Proverb.
"O my life! have we not had seasons
That only said, Live and rejoice?
That asked not for causes or reasons,
But made us all feeling and voice."
ON our arrival in England, we were delighted with our little Holmhurst, which we arranged to be as much like Lime as possible, while many of the plants and shrubs we had brought with us, were, in the garden, a perpetual reminder of our old home. To my mother, however, our return was greatly clouded by the loss of her only brother, my Uncle Penrhyn, who died at Sheen while we were at Mentone, passing away most peacefully, surrounded by his family. This uncle is one of the few figures connected with my childhood with whom I have no associations but those of unvarying kindness, and in later years we had been brought nearer to him in our long winter visits at Sheen, and we missed him greatly.
My Handbook (nominally Murray's) of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Berkshire had been published during our winter absence: my little book "A Winter at Mentone" appeared soon after our return. With Murray's Handbook I had taken as much pains as if it were to appear in my own name, and felt as strongly the responsibility of what Miss Edgeworth calls "irremediable words," once past the press. The "Winter at Mentone" fell perfectly flat, but Murray was so pleased with the laudatory notices which followed the appearance of the Handbook, that he asked me to select any other counties I liked. I chose Durham and Northumberland, and after the middle of July went there for three months. In undertaking these counties, I again assented to an arrangement by which I was never repaid for my work; but the work was one which I liked extremely, bringing me in contact with endless interesting persons, enabling me to be much with "Cousin Susan," who gave me a second home at Ridley Hall, and opening a field of historic study of the most interesting kind. On the way north I went to the Vaughans at Doncaster, of which Dr. Vaughan had lately become Vicar.
To MY MOTHER.
"Doncaster, July 24, 1861. - The people here are a perpetual amusement to Kate, they are so quaint and original. She spoke to one old woman the other day about her sinful ways and the necessity for amendment. 'Na, na, Mrs. Vaughan,' she replied, 'I be got too old for Mr. Satan noo; he canna hurt I noo.' Another old woman who was brought into the hospital swore dreadfully all night long, to the great annoyance of her neighbours; but when they complained she said, 'Wal, I niver did it afore I coomed here, but I be gettin' old, and I canna help it - and it's the will o' God, and I canna help it.'
"Kate said to an old man, 'What are you so low about, my man?' 'Why,' he said, 'what wi' faith, and gas, and balloons, and steam-ingines a-booming and a-fizzling through t' warld, and what wit' arth a going round once in twenty-four hours, I'm fairly muzzled and stagnated.'
"I have been to call on the daughters of 'Presence-of-mind Smith,' who was Dean of Christ Church, and to the close of his life used to tell this story of himself. 'In my life,' he said, 'there has been one most fortunate incident. A friend of mine persuaded me to go out with him in a boat upon a lake. I did not wish to go, but he persuaded me, and I went. By the intervention of Providence, I took my umbrella with me. We had not been long on the lake when the violence of the waves threw my friend out of the boat drowning, and he sank. Soon, as is the case with drowning persons, he came up again, and clutched hold of the side of the boat. Then such, providentially, was my presence of mind, that I seized my umbrella and rapped him violently on the knuckles till he let go. He sank, and I was saved.'"
When I arrived at Durham, I presented myself at once to my cousins the George Liddells, who lived at a dingy brick house in the suburb called Old Elvet. They had never seen me before, but welcomed me with the utmost kindness and hospitality, making me quite at home with them. I took a little lodging close by, but they made me dine with them almost every day, and I went constant expeditions with them, staying to dinner at the neighbouring houses, Elemore, Aldin Grange, &c. Durham itself I always found charming. The smoke only gave a picturesqueness of its own, and on Sunday there was a Sabbath of nature, for when the chimneys ceased smokmg, the birds began to sing, the flowers to bloom, and the sky to be blue. Sunday, however, was a severe day with the George Liddells, almost entirely spent in going to church, reading prayers, and listening to long sermons at home. Even on ordinary days, afier long morning prayers, we were expected to read all the Psalms and Lessons for the day, verse by verse, before we went out. But with all this, George Liddell was the very dearest and kindest of old men, and I was very fond too of his wife - "Cousin Louise" - who was most amusing and original.
Other cousins, who were intensely good to me at this time, were old Henry Liddell, brother of my great-uncle Lord Ravensworth, and his wife, who was daughter of Thomas Lyon of Hetton, my great-grandmother's youngest brother. I had known them first at Bath many years before, where they were kind to me when I had very few friends. With them lived their daughters Charlotte and Amelia, and their youngest son William, a very tall, very excellent, and very shy clergyman, who was his father's curate at Easington. Here I paid my first visit to them. It is an ugly village in the Black Country, but the Liddells' house was most comfortable, having the sea close by, with delightful sands and rocks, and many wooded "denes" running down to it, of which Castle Eden is especially beautiful.
I remember one day, after returning from Easington, dining with Dr. Phillpotts, the celebrated Bishop of Exeter, who had a Canonry at Durham. He was very old, and was obliged to have a glass of wine given to him to obtain strength to go in to dinner, and every one wished him good-night when he left the dinner-table. He was good enough also to send for me alone to wish success to my book, &c. It was my only sight of this kindly old man, though I knew his daughter well, and valued her many good qualities. They both died shortly afterwards. Amongst the company at the Bishop's were Mr. and Mrs. Johnson of Akeley Heads, whom I also visited at their own beautiful place, which is on a high terrace ovedooking Durham. It came to them in a curious way. Mr. Johnson was at school at Durham, and went out with his two elder brothers to spend the day with a rich old uncle who lived there. The eldest brother was his uncle's heir. They were sent to play in the garden, and seeing there a beautiful ripe peach upon the wall, they were unable to resist it, and ate it up. Soon the uncle came into the garden to look for that identical peach. "Where is my peach gone?" he said. The three boys were dreadfully frightened, and the two eldest denied knowing anything about it, but the youngest said, "We picked it and ate it up." The old man said nothing, but went home and altered his will that very afternoon, and when he was killed by an accident three weeks afterwards, this youngest nephew was found to be the heir of Akeley Heads.
I was frequently invited by Dean Waddington, who was a man of stately presence, "grand seigneur, fastueux, homme du monde," and had a great reputation for learning and cleverness; but in my acquaintance with him he seemed to care for nothing but his dinner, and his chief topic of conversation was his sherry of 1815, for which he gave £12 a dozen. "What with dinner à la Russe, crinoline, and pale sherry," he said one day, "England is fast going to the dogs."
To My MOTHER.
"Dilston, August 28. - The Greys gave me a warm welcome to Dilston Mr. Grey being agent for the Greenwich Hospital Estates there, and a great agriculturist. Dilston is lovely. The house stands on a terraced height, covered with hanging woods, beneath which flows the Devil's Water, the most beautiful of Northumbrian rivers, with trout dancing about in its transparent brown currents, and floating away over its crumpled-looking rocks. On the hilltop is the ruined castle of the Earl of Derwentwater, with his nursery, now overgrown by huge elder-trees, and the little chapel beneath which he was buried at night beside his ancestors. Below is the old grey pointed bridge, upon which, as he rode over, he repented of his rebellion and turned back to the castle, when his wife threw her fan at him, and calling him a coward, drove him forth to his destruction."
"Ridley Hall, Sept 1. 'How happily the days of Thalaba roll by' might be applied to all the dwellers at Ridley Hall; for 'Cousin Susan' is so truly genial to her many guests, that they cannot fail to enjoy being with her."
"Chillingham Castle, Sept. 6. - I went with Cousin Susan to spend two days at Matfen, Sir Edward Blackett's, a large modern Tudor house with a church beside it, looking into a great park, and entered through a stately gothic hall. Sir Edward and Lady Blackett have not been married many years, but four of his daughters by his first wife are now out. Lady Blackett also had another Northumbrian husband, Mr. Orde of Whitfield, and, as daughter of Sir Chafles Lorraine, was once thought a great beauty. Sir Edward drove me to see Aydon, a curious old castle which belongs to him.
"Yesterday I came to Chillingham from Belford, a beautiftil drive, over hills first, and then descending into moorland, purple with heather, and bounded by the Cheviots, which rose deep blue against the sunset sky. The castle, which is partly as old as King John, is built round a great courtyard, from which flights ot stone steps go up to the principal apartments. On the stairs I found Lord Tankerville, a handsome middle-aged man, with grey hair, romping with his children. He is quite charming, so merry and so courteous. He took me at once to my room, which is high up in one of the old towers, and at eight we dined. Lady Tankerville is sister of the Duke of Manchester, very pretty, and looks quite a girl, though her three boys must be eight, nine, and ten years old."
"Chillingham, Sept 8. - This park is quite as beautiful in its way as any scenery abroad, and much more so, I think, than any in Scotland. It is backed by the Cheviot Hills, and often broken into deep dells, with little streamlets rushing down them, and weird old oaks whose withered branches are never cut off, sheltering herds of deer. Great herds too of wild cattle, which are milk-white, and have lived here undisturbed from time immemorial, come rushing every now and then down the hillsides like an army, to seek better pasture in the valley. Deer of every kind are to be seen upon the hills, and Lady Tankerville hunts them furiously, tiring out twelve horses in succession, placed to await her at different points in the park. Nothing can be more lovely than the evening effects each day I have been here, the setting sun pouring streams of golden light into the great grey mysterious basins of the Cheviots, amid which Marmion died and Paulinus baptized the ancient Northumbrians.
"If the place is charming, the people are even more so. The family is the happiest and most united I have ever seen. Lord Tankerville is the best and kindest of human beings. Lady Tankerville, whose spirits are so exuberant she scarcely knows how to get rid of them, dotes on her 'Hossinun,' plays with her children, gallops on her horses, hunts her deer, and manages her household, with equal vivacity. She is the most amusing person possible, is never ill, laughs fine-ladyism to scorn, and scrambles about the park, regardless of colds and crinolines, in all states of the weathen The three little boys, Charlie, Georgie, and Peddie, are all quite as engaging in their different ways, and the two little girls are lovely little creatures.
"The prettiest story of an acceptance I ever heard of is that of Lord Tankerville. He was playing at billiards with Lady Olivia Montagu when he proposed, but she gave no definite answer. At last she said, 'I think we must go into the drawing-room now; we have been away long enough.' - 'But what may I think, what may I say?' he asked in agitation. 'Say that we have played our game, and that you have won,' she answered.
"Yesterday, as soon as luncheon was over, Lady Tankerville and I set off for a regular good sketching, in which she soon outstripped me, for her drawings are first-rate. In some she has been helped by Landseer, who is often here, and who has added beautiful misty backgrounds, and put herds of deer into her fern.
"In the park is a beautiful old Peel tower, the home of the Hepburns."
"Chillingham, Sept 10. - Lord Tankerville says, 'I do not see why any one should ever go away from a place as long as he can make himself happy there.' On that principle I should certainly never leave Chilliugham, which is the pleasantest place I ever was at. I feel as if I had known Lord and Lady Tankerville all my life, his kindness and her fun make one so entirely at home; and as for Charlie, Georgie, and Peddie, there never were such little boys.
"Yesterday I was awakened by the servant saying that an order had just come out to have breakfast ready in twenty minutes, as we were all going to Dunstanborough for the day. So we hurried down, and as soon as we had eaten our breakfast, set off in two little basket-carriages across the park and up the steep hills to the moors. At the top we found a larger carriage, packed with luncheon, and with plenty of wraps, for the day was most unpromising; but Lady Tankerville had quite made up her mind that it should be fine, and that we would enjoy ourselves; and so we most certainly did. The drive across the moorlands was charming, such sweeps of purple heather, with blue mountain distance. Then, after twelve miles, we descended through the comland to Dunstanborouigh, and walked through the sandhills covered with rye-grass and bloody cranesbill to the castle, on a reef of basaltic rocks overhanging the sea, which in one place roars up beneath in a strange cavern, known as the Rumbling Churn. Lady Tankerville and I drew Queen Margaret's Tower, where she was concealed after the battle of Hexham, and then we picnicked and rambled about. Coming home we told stories. A tremendous shower came on, and then the sky cleared for a golden sunset over the mountains, and a splendid descent into the old deer-park."
"Bamborough Castle, Sept. 12. - Yesterday, at four, we set off on a gipsy picnic from Chillingham - little 'Co' (Corisande) on a pony, with the tea-things in panniers; Lady Tankerville, a fat Mr. Athelstane from Portugal, Charlie, Georgie, Peddie, and I walking. The pouring morning turned into a beautiful afternoon, and we had a delightful scramble through the ferny glades of the park, and up the steep craggy hills to the moorlands. Here Lady Tankerville went off through the heather to look after her little girl, and I told the three boys the story of Littlecot Hall, till the Shetland pony, 'Piccolomini,' arrived by the longer path. Then we lighted a fire between two rocks, and Lady Tankerville and her children boiled a kettle and cooked omelets over a fire of heather and fern, and beautiful grapes, greengages, jam, and cakes unfitted us for the eight-o'clock dinner. Then we came down like bushrangers, breaking a path through the bracken, a great deal taller than ourselves, and seeing in the distance the herds of wild white bulls. One or two people came to dinner, but it was just the same simple merry meal as usual.
"The Tankervilles sent me here to-day - twelve miles - in their carriage."
"Bamborough Castle, Sept. 13. - It is very pleasant, as you will imagine, to be here again, and I have much enjoyed the delightful sands and the splendid green waves which came rolling in all yesterday afternoon. It was a lovely evening, warm enough to enjoy sitting out on the seat amongst the tall bent-grass, and to watch Holy Island quite distinct in the sunset, with all the little fleet of red-sailed herring-boats coming round fnom North Sunderland. Old Mrs. Liddell sits as usual in her deep window and looks through the telescope. Amelia wanders about with her black spaniel, and Charlotte rides furiously on the sands when out, and talks incessantly, though pleasantly, when in.
"Bamborough, Sept 16. - Yesterday I set off at 8 A.M. in a dogcart for Holy Island, one of the castle cart-horses being harnessed for the purpose, and the castle joiner going with me to find old wood for repairs. It was a wild morning, but gleams of light made the country picturesque, and Waren Bay looked very striking, backed by its angular purple hills, and strewn with pieces of wreck, over which sea-birds were swooping. Only one bit of sand was visible when we reached the ford, but the horse plunged gallantly in. Then we had a very rough crossing of a quarter of an hour in a boat through the great green waves to the island, where we landed on the yellow rocks. Close by, on the green hill, stand the ruins, so well described in 'Marmion,' of St. Cuthbert's Abbey, the old cathedral of Lindisfarne - rather small after descriptions, but beautiful in colour, and its massive round pillars, with patterns upon them, almost unique in England. Beyond, was the still blue harbour filled with fishing-boats, and the shore was lined with men and women packing herrings in barrels of salt. At one corner of the bay rises the castle on a conical hill like a miniature Mont St. Michel, and Bamborough and Dunstanborough are blue in the hazy distance."
"Sept 17. - Stephen Denison is here (my cousin by his marriage with Miss Fellowes1), and I have been with him to pay a long visit to Grace Darling's2 old father, an interesting man, with as much information as it is possible for any one to have who has lived since he was one year old on a desolate island rock tending a lighthouse. He lent us his diary to read, which is very curious, and an awful record of wrecks and misery."
ON ALLEN WATER, RIDLEY HALL.
"Ridley Hall, Sept. 19. - Cousin Susan and her old friend Miss Coulson, with 'the boys' (the dogs), were waiting to welcome me in the avenue, when I got out at the private station here. The house is quite full of people, to whom it is amusing to help to do the honours. Great is the autumnal beauty of the place. I have been with Cousin Susan up the Birky Brae, and down by the Craggy Pass and the Hawk's Nest - streams of sunlight falling upon the rocks and river, and lighting up the yellow and red leaves which now mingle with the green. The dogs walked with us to church to-day - Tarlie was allowed to enter with the family, and Bloomer with the maids, but Perette, Bianca, Fritz, and the Chowdy-Tow were sent back from the door!
"We have had a remarkable visit from an old Miss Clayton, an eccentric, strangely-attired, old, very old lady, who had travelled all the way from Chesters, on North Tyne, to see Staward Peel, and then had rambled on foot hither down the rocks by the Allen. Both she and her friend had fallen into the river in crossing the stepping-stones above the wood, and arrived, carrying a large reticule basket, and dripping with wet and mud, about five o'clock; yet, as soon as she had been dried and fed, she insisted on setting off again on foot to visit Haltwhistle and Bellister Castle before going home at night!"
"Streatlam Castle, Sept. 25. - I came with Cousin Susan to this curious p]ace, to which our cousin Mr. Bowes3 has welcomed us very cordially. The house is in a hollow - an enormous building of the last century, enclosing a mediaeval castle. I sleep in the ghost-room, looking most grim and weird from its black oak with red hangings, and containing a tall bed with a red canopy. Here the only existing local Handbook says that 'the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots expired in captivity.' I am afraid the next Handbook will be obliged to confess that she was beheaded at Fotheringay.
"The long galleries are full of family portraits - Hyltons, Blakistons, and Bowes's - one of whom, Miss Bowes of Streatlam, was Mrs. John Knox! More interesting to me is the great picture of Mary Eleanor, the unhappy Countess of Strathmore,4 walking in the gardens of Pauls-Walden. This house was the scene of her most terrible sufferings."
"Streatlam Castle, Sept. 27. - This is the oddest house I ever was in! Everything is arranged for you, from the moment you get up till the moment you go to bed, and you are never allowed to deviate from the rules laid down: I even write this in time stolen from the half-hour for dressing. We are called at eight, and at ten march in to breakfast with the same procession as at dinner, only at this meal 'Madame Bowes' does not appear, for she is then reclining in a bath of coal-black acid, which 'refreshes her system,' but leaves her nails black. After breakfast we are all set down to employments appointed for the morning. At twelve Madame appears, having painted the under-lids of her jet-black eyes with belladonna. At two the bell rings for luncheon, and we are fetched if not punctual to an instant. At three we are all sent out driving (the coachman having exact orders where to take us) immense drives (twenty-four miles to-day) in an open barouche and pair. At seven we dine in great splendour, and afterwards we sit in the oak drawing-room and talk about our ancestors!
"The town of Barnard Castle is most picturesque, with a ruined castle of the Baliols. Dickens, in early life, used frequently to come down and stay there with some young artist friends of his. The idea of 'Humphrey's Clock' first sprung from Humphrey, the watchmaker in the town, and the picture in the beginning of the book is of the clock over the door of his shop. While at Barnard Castle, Dickens heard of the school at Bowes which he afterwards worked up as Dotheboys Hall. Many of these schools, at £15 and £20 a year, existed at that time in the neighbourhood, and were principally used for the sons of London tradesmen, who, provided their sons got a moderate education, cared little or nothing what became of them in the meantime. Dickens went over to see the school at Bowes, and was carefully shown over it, for they mistook him for a parent coming to survey it, with a view of sending his son there. Afterwards the school was totally ruined. At one of Mr. Bowes's elections, the Nicholas Nickleby or former usher of the school, who was then in want of a place, wrote to him to say in what poverty he was. He 'had formerly been living with Mr. Shawe at Bowes, and they had been happy and prosperous, when Mr. Dickens's misguided volume, sweeping like a whirlwind over the schools of the North, caused Mr. Shawe to become a victim to paralysis, and brought Mrs. Shawe to an untimely grave.'"
"Morpeth Rectory, Oct 8. - My present host is Mr. Francis Grey, an old likeness of his nephew, Charlie Wood: his wife, née Lady Elizabeth Howard, is as sweet-looking as she is charming.
"Friday morning was pouring, with a thick sea-fog hiding the country. Nevertheless Mr. Grey did not think it too bad for a long expedition, and drove me in his little pony-carriage a dreary twelve miles to Wallington, where we arrived about half-past twelve. Wallington is a huge house of the elder branch of the Trevelyans, represented in the North by Sir Walter, who is at the head of teetotallers and Low Churchmen, while his wife is a great friend of Ruskin, Rossetti, and all the Pre-Raphaelites. It is like a French château, with tall roofs and chimneys, enclosing a hall, once a court, which Lady Trevelyan and her artists have covered in and painted with beautiful fresco studies of Northumbrian birds, flowers, and insects, while the intervening spaces are filled with a series of large pictures of the chief events in Northumbrian history - very curious indeed.
"Lady Trevelyan5 is a little, bright, black-eyed woman, who was charmed to see us, and more to see my drawings, which Mr. Grey had brought. Any good opinion of me, however, which they led her to entertain was quelched by my want of admiration for some wretched little scraps by Ruskin - very scratchy sketches, after his manner. After luncheon, which was as peculiar as everything else (Lady Trevelyan and her artists feeding solely on artichokes and cauliflowers), we went to the upper galleries to look at more pictures.
"Yesterday morning we went to the fine old Morpeth Church, which has been 'restored,' one of the stained windows having been put in by a poor old woman in the village. We saw her afterwards in her garden gathering cabbages, and I told her I had seen the window. 'Eh, hinnie,' she said, 'and ain't it bonnie? and I be going to case it i' marble afore I dee, to mak it bonnier.' And then she said, 'And noo come ben, hinnie, my dear, and see me hoose;' and she showed me her cottage.
"The Greys are one of the families who have a sort of language of their own. A bad cold the Greys always call a Shelley, because of a famous cold old Lady Shelley had when she came to stay with them. This was the Lady Shelley who, when her carriage, full of people, upset, and there was a great entanglement of legs, called out to the footman, who came to extricate them, 'John, the black ones are mine - the black ones are mine.'
"Warkworth, Oct 6. - It is very pleasant being here with my kind Clutterbuck cousins,6 and this old-fashioned house, though small, is most refined and comfortable, with its pervading smell of rose-leaves and lavender."
"The Rock, Alnwick, Oct 10. - I am now staying with the father of a college friend, Charles Bosanquet, in a pleasant old-fashioned house, an enlarged 'Peel tower.' The family are very united, genial and kind; are friends of the Arnolds, Gaskells, &c., and related to Mr. Erskine of Linlathen. I like Charlie Bosanquet so much in his own home, that I am quite ashamed of not having tried to cultivate him more when at Oxford. Yesterday he drove me to Craster Tower, the old castellated house of the Crasters, a very ancient Northumbrian family, now well represented by the old Squire and his wife, their three tall daughters, and seven stalwart sons, one of whom was at college with me. After luncheon we went over the tower, its vaulted cellars and thickly walled rooms, and then walked to the wild heights of Dunstanborough, with its ruins overhanging the waves, and large white gulls floating up from the 'caverned shore' of 'Marmion.' Then we went to Embleton to see one of the curious fortified rectories of the North - fortified against the Scots."
"Ford Castle, Oct. 15. - I enjoyed my visit at Rock increasingly, and we made interesting excursions to Falloden and Howick. At the former we dined with Sir George and Lady Grey. On Sunday the beautiful little Norman chapel at Rock was filled from end to end with the whole population of the village, all responding, all singing, and forty-three (in that tiny place) remaining to the Sacrament. Mrs. Bosanquet says they are truly a God-fearing people. They live (as all over Northumbria) bound by the year like serfs, close around the large farms. At Rock the people seem perfectly devoted to the Bosanquets, who are certainly quite devoted to them. 'My Missis herself can't feel it more than I do,' said the gamekeeper when he heard the sailor son was coming home.
"Yesterday morning I set off directly after breakfast with Charles Bosanquet, in the sociable, on a long expedition. It was a really lovely day, and the drive over the wild moorlauds, with the pink and blue Cheviot distances, was quite beautiful. At one we reached Hedgeley, where we had been asked to luncheon at the fine old house of the Carrs, looking up a mountain ravine, but a soldier-son first took us up to Crawley Tower, a neighbouring ruined Peel. At three we came on to Roddam, where an uncle and aunt of Charlie Bosanquet's live - a beautiful place, with a terraced garden almost overhanging the moor-lands, and a dene stretching up into the Cheviots. I had ordered a gig to meet me and take me to Ford, where I arrived about half-past six, seeming to be driving into a sort of gothic castle of Otranto, as we passed under the portcullis in the bright moonlight. I found Lady Waterford sitting with her charming old mother, Lady Stuart de Rothesay. . . . Her drawings are indescribably lovely, and her singing most beautiful and pathetic. Several people appeared at dinner, amongst them Lord Waterford (the brother-in-law), who sat at the end of the table, a jovial white-headed young-old man.
"Ford Castle, Oct. 17. - Being here has been most pleasant, there is so much to do and see both indoors and out. Lady Waterford is perfectly charming. . . . She is now occupied in putting the whole architecture of the castle back two centuries. Painting is her great employment, and all evening she makes studies for larger drawings, which she works upon in the mornings. She is going to make a 'Marmion gallery' in the castle to illustrate the poem.
FORD CASTLE, THE TERRACE.
"Yesterday we went to Palinsburn, where Paulinus baptized, and on to Branxton to see Mr. Jones, who is the great authority about the battle of Flodden, which he described to us till all the dull ploughed fields seemed alive with heroes and armies. He is coming to-night to talk about it again, for Flodden seems to be the great topic here, the windows of the castle looking out upon the battle-field. The position of the different armies and the site of Sybil's Well are discussed ten times a day, and Lady Waterford herself is still sufficiently a stranger here to be full of her first interest about it.
"To-day the pony-carriage took me part of the way to the Rowting Lynn, a curious cleft and waterfall in the moorland, with a 'Written Rock,' supposed to have been the work of ancient Britons. Thence I walked by a wild path along tile hills to Nesbitt, where I had heard that there was a chapel of St. Cuthbert, of which I found no vestiges, and on to Doddington, where there is a Border castle. If you look on the map, you will see that this was doing a great deal, and I was very glad to get back at five to hot tea and a talk with Lady Stuart."
"Roddam, Oct 20. - I had not promised to return here, and l was received almost rapturously, so welcome is any stray guest in this desolate place. . . . Sunday here was a curious contrast to that at Rock, for though there is a population of nine hundred, the Rector waited for us to begin afternoon service, as no one else came!"
"Roddam, Oct. 22. - Yesterday was terribly dark and cold, but we went a long expedition across the moorland to the Raven's Burn, a wild tumbling rivulet in a chaos of grey rocks, and thence by the farm of 'Blaw Weary' - picturesquely perched upon rocks which were covered with white goats, like a bit of Roman Campagna - to the 'Raven's Rock' in a rugged cleft of the moorland. To-day I have been to Linhope Spout, a waterfall at the end of a gorge, and tomorrow we go to the Three Stone Burn, where there are Druidical remains."
"Ripley Castle, Yorkshire, Oct. 25. - Lady Ingilby (who is sister of Mr. Bosanquet of Rock) kindly pressed my coming here on my way south, and here I am. It is a fine old castle added to, about four miles from Harrogate, with beautiful gardens and a lovely neighbourhood. At the head of the stairs is the portrait of a Nun, who is said to descend from her picture at night and tap at the bedroom doors, when, if any one says, 'Come in' - in she comes. Eugene Aram was the gardener here, and the Ingilbys have all his letters. Cromwell insisted on taking the castle, but the then Lady Ingilby, a staunch Royalist known as 'Trooper Jane,' would not let him have either food or rest there, and sat opposite him all the night through with two loaded pistols in her girdle."
"Hickledon Hall, Yorkshire, Oct. 27. - Sir Charles Wood's carriage was waiting at Doncaster for me and a very nice young Seymour.7 Charlie seems delighted to have me here, and I think Sir Charles quite charming, not a bit as if he had the government of all India upon his shoulders."
Many of the visits which I paid in 1861 laid the foundation of after friendships, but chiefly that to Ford, whither I went again and again afterwards, and where I have passed some of the happiest days of my life. Lord and Lady Tankerville, after a few years, passed out of my horizon - I never have quite known how or why. The Liddells, Mrs. Clutterbuck and her daughters, and the saintly Lady Ingilby, added much to my enjoyment for several years. This was especially happy for me, as I see by my journals of the time how in the following winter I felt more than ever depressed by the constant snubbing I received from different members of my immediate family. Such snubs are trifling in themselves, but, like constant dropping of water in one place, they wear away the spirit at last. All this time my sister was bravely exerting herself in cheering her mother and aunt, as well as in a clever (and eventually successful) scheme for the improvement of their fortunes. Miss Hughan (afterwards Lady John Manners) showed her at this time an unwearied kindness which I can never forget.
To MY SISTER.
"Holmhurst, Dec. 18, 1861. - I went to-day to see three ladies take the veil in the convent at Hastings. I had to get up in the cold early morning and be in the chapel by half-past eight. At nine the Bishop of Brighton arrived in a gold robe and mitre, and took his place with his back to the altar, leaning against it. Then a side door opened, and a procession came in singing - some nuns, and the three brides of Christ dressed in white watered silk, lace veils, and orange flowers. There were six little bridesmaids also in white veils and wreaths. The brides looked ghastly livid, and one of them would have fallen if a nun had not rushed forward to support her. The Bishop then made them an address, the point of which was that they were not going into a convent for their own benefit or that of the world, but for 'the consolation of Christ' - that was to be their work and duty through life - 'the consolation of Christ for the sins of the world.' Then he fixed his eyes upon them like a basilisk and cried, 'Venite.' They tottered, quivered, but scarcely moved; again in a louder voice he called 'Venite;' they trembled and advanced a few steps. Once more 'VENITE,' and they all three fell down prostrate at his feet.
"Then the most solemn music was played, the most agonising wailing dirges were sung, and the nuns coming behind with a great black pall, spread it over the prostrate figures. It was as if they were dead. The bridesmaids strewed flowers, rosemary and laurestinus, as they sang out of their books: the spectators cried and sobbed till they were almost hysterical; but nothing was to be seen but the sunlight streaming in upon a great black pall.
"Then all the saints of the monastic orders were invoked and responded to, and then the nuns closed in, so that no one could see how the three novices were hurried away, only to reappear in their nun's dress. Then they received the Sacrament.
"It is impossible to say how well this little Holmhurst seems suited to the mother. There is still a lingering of autumnal leaves and flowers, and the grey castle rises against a gleaming sea. Thinking of her, and of our home view as it is now, one cannot help recalling Keble's lines
'How quiet shows the woodland scene,
Each flower and tree, its duty done,
Reposing in decay serene,
Like weary men when age is won,
Such calm old age as conscience pure
And self-commanding heart ensure,
Waiting their summons to the sky,
Content to live, but not afraid to die.'"
VIEW FROM HOLMHURST.
"Holmhurst, Dec. 27. - It was on Monday, the 16th, that I was sitting in my study in the twilight, when the mother came in suddenly. She had been down to Hastings with Mrs. Colegrave and Miss Chichester to see Florence Colegrave at the convent, and there first heard the dreadful news of the event of Saturday. Seeing her so much agitated terrified me to the last degree . I thought that it was Arthur who was dead, and when I heard that it was the Prince Consort, the shock was almost as great. It seems impossible to realise that one will not be able to say 'the Queen and Prince Albert' any more: it is a personal affliction to every one, and the feeling of sympathy for the Queen is overpowering. The Prince sank from the time he read the letter about the deaths of the King and Princes of Portugal. Then they tried to persuade him not to see the messengers who returned from taking the letters of condolence: he insisted upon doing so, and never rallied. . . . From the first the Prince thought that he should not live, and from the Wednesday Sir Henry Holland thought so too, and wrote in the first bulletin, 'Hitherto no unfavourable symptoms,' to prepare the public mind; but the Queen came into the anteroom, saw the bulletin, and scratched out the 'hitherto:' she would entertain no idea of danger till the last.8 . . . When the Prince was dying, he repeated the hymn 'Rock of Ages.' . . . A letter from Windsor Castle to Mr. P. describes the consternation and difficulty as to how the Queen was to be told of the danger: no one would tell her. At last Princess Alice relieved them all by saying, 'I will tell her,' and took her out for a drive. During the drive she told the Queen that the Prince could not recover. When he died, the Queen gave one piercing, heart-rending scream, which echoed all over the castle, and which those who stood by said they could never forget, and threw herself upon the body. Then she rose and collected her children and spoke to them, telling them that they must rally round her, and that, next to God, she should henceforth look to them for support.
ENTRANCE TO HOLMHURST: "HUZ AND BUZ".
"C. W. sends an odd story about the King of Portugal. After his death, Princess Alice made a drawing of him lying dead, and, at the top of the drawing, the gates of heaven, with Queen Stephanie waiting to receive the spirit of her husband. A little while after, M. Lavradio sent the Queen a long account of the King's illness, in which it was said that when the King lay dying he fell into a deep sleep, and woke up after some little time saying that he had dreamt, and wished he could have gone on dreaming, that he lay dead, and that his spirit was going up to heaven, and that at the gates he saw 'Stephanie' waiting to welcome him in. Everything fresh that one hears of Prince Albert makes one realise, 'Le prince était grand, l'homme l'était d'avantage.'"9
In the course of the winter I was at Miss Leycester's house in Wilton Crescent, and saw there Miss Marsh and Sir Culling Eardley, both of whom told me much that was curious. I remember Sir Culling Eardley's saying, "I feel sure that the destruction of the temporal power will be the end of the Papacy, and I am also sure that there is one person who agrees with me, and that is Pio Nono!" He also told me that
"One morning Mrs. Pitcairn at Torquay told her husband that she had been very much disturbed by a dream. She said she had seen her little boy of four years old carried into the house dreadfully crushed and hurt, and that all the principal doctors in the town - Madden, Mackintosh, &c. - had come in one after the other to see him.
"Her husband laughed at her fears, but said, 'Whatever you do, don't tell this to the boy; it would only frighten him unnecessarily.' However, Mrs. Pitcairn did not promise, and when her husband was gone out, she called her little boy to her, and taking him on her knee, spoke to him very seriously, saying, 'If anything happened to you now, where would you be?' &c.
"That afternoon, the little boy went with his elder brother to see some new houses his father was buildmg. In crossing the highest floor, the ill-fastened boards gave way, and he fell, passing through all the floors, into the cellar. Half-an-hour afterwards his mother saw him carried into the house, and all the doctors come in to see him, one after another, in the exact order of her dream.
"The little boy recovered; but four years after, his elder brother, playing on the shore at Babbicombe, pulled down some rocks upon himself, and was killed upon the spot."
In March 1862 an event occurred which caused a great blank in our circle, and which perhaps made more change in my life than any other death outside my own home could have done - that of my aunt Mrs. Stanley.
"Holmhurst, March 23, 1862. - In March last year dear Uncle Penrhyn died. Aunt Kitty was with him, and felt it deeply. Now she also, on the same day of the same week, the first anniversary of his death, has passed away from us - and oh! what a blank she has left! She was long our chief link with all the interest of the outside world, writing almost daily, and for years keeping a little slate always hanging to her davenport, on which, as each visitor went out, she noted down, from their conversation, anything she thought my mother might like to hear.
"Five weeks ago Arthur went to join the Prince of Wales at Alexandria. He was very unwilling to leave
his mother, but he took the appointment by her especial request, and she was delighted with it. He took leave of her in the early morning, receiving farewells and blessings as she lay on the same bed, from whence she was unable afterwards to speak one word to her other children. When he went, my mother was very ill with bronchitis. Aunt Kitty also caught it, but wrote frequently, saying that 'her illness did not signify, she was only anxious about my mother' It did signify, however. She became rapidly weaker. Congestion of the lungs followed, and she gradually sank. The Vaughans were sent for, and Mary was with her. We were ready to have gone at any moment, if she had been the least bit better, but she would not have been able to have spoken to the mother, perhaps not have known her, so that I am thankful for my sweet mother's sake that she should have been here in her quiet peaceful home.
"There were none of the ordinary features of an illness. Aunt Kitty suffered no pain at all: it was a mere passing out of one gentle sleep into another, till the end.
"Kate wrote - 'What a solemn hour was that when we were sitting in silence round her bed, watching the gradual cessation of breathing - the gradual but sure approach of the end! Not a sound was heard but the sad wailing of the wind as her soul was passing away. She lay quite still: you would hardly have known who it was, the expression was so changed - Oh no, you would never have known it was the dear, dear face we had loved so fondly. And then, when all ceased, and there was stillness, and we thought it had been the last breath, came a deep sigh, then a pause - then a succession of deep sighs at long intervals, and it was only when no more came that we knew she was gone. Charles then knelt down and prayed for us, "especially for our dear absent brother, that he might be comforted and then we rose up and took our last look of that revered countenance.'
"When people are dead, how they are glorified in one's mind! I was almost as much grieved as my mother herself, and I also felt a desolation. Yet, on looking back, how few words of tenderness can I remember receiving from Aunt Kitty - some marigolds picked for me in the palace garden when I was ill at Norwich - a few acknowledgments of my later devotion to my mother in illness - an occasional interest in my drawing: this is almost all. What really makes it a personal sorrow is, that in the recollection of my oppressed and desolate boyhood, the figure of Aunt Kitty always looms forth as that of Justice. She was invariably just. Whatever others might say, she never allowed herself to be biassed against me, or indeed against any one else, contrary to her own convictions.
"I went with Mary and Kate to the funeral in Alderley churchyard. We all assembled there in the inner school-room, close to the Rectory, which had been the home of my aunt's happiest days, in the centre of which lay the coffin covered with a pall, but garlanded with long green wreaths, while bunches of snowdrops and white crocuses fell tenderly over the sides. 'I know that my Redeemer liveth' was sung as we passed out of the church to the churchyard, where it poured with rain. The crowds of poor people present, however, liked this, for 'blessed,' they said, 'is the corpse that the rain falls on.'
ALDERLEY CHURCH AND RECTORY.
During this sad winter it was a great pleasure to us to have our faithful old friend the Baroness von Bunsen at St. Leonards, with two of her daughters - Frances and Matilda. She had been near my mother at the time of her greatest sorrow at Rome, and her society was very congenial at this time. We were quite hoping that she would have made St. Leonards her permanent winter-home, when she was recalled to live in Germany by the death of the darling daughter of her heart - Theodora von Ungern-Sternberg - soon after giving birth, at Carlsruhe, to her fifth child.
In this winter I went to stay at Hurstmonceaux Rectory with Dr. Wellesley, who was never fitted to be a country clergyman, but who never failed to be the most agreeable of hosts and of men. In person he was very like the Duke of Wellington, with black eyes, shaggy eyebrows, and snow-white hair. His courtesy and kindness were unfailing, especially to women, be their rank what it might. A perfect linguist, he had the most extraordinary power of imitating Italians in their own peculiar dialects. Most diverting was his account of a sermon which he heard preached in the Coliseum. I can only give the words - the tone, the gestures are required to give it life. It was on the day on which the old Duke of Torlonia died. He had been the great enemy of the monks and nuns, and of course they hated him. On that day, being a Friday, the Confraternità della Misericordia met, as usual, at four o'clock, in SS. Cosmo and Damiano in the Forum, and went chanting in procession to the Coliseum. Those who remember those days will recall in imagination the strong nasal twang of "Sant' Bartolome, ora pro nobis; Santa Agata, ora pro nobis; Sant' Silvestro, ora pro nobis," &c. Arrived at the Coliseum, the monk ascended the pulpit, and began in the familiar style of those days, in which sermons were usually opened with "How do you do?" and some remarks about the weather.
"Buon giorno, cari fratelli miei. Buon giorno, care sorelle - come state tutti? State bene? Oh, mi fa piacere, mi fa molto piacere! Fa bell' tempo stasera, non e vero? un tempo piacevole - cielo sereno. Oh ma piacevole di molto!
"Ebbene, cari fratelli miei Ebbene, care sorelle - sapete cosa c' è di nuovo - sapete che cos' è successo stammattina in citta? Non lo sapete - maraviglia! Oh, non vi disturbate nò - nò - nò - non vi disturbate affatto - ve lo dirò, io ve lo spieghierò tutto.
"Stammattina stessa in città è morto qualcheduno. Fu un uomo - un uomo ben inteso - ma che specie d'uomo? Fu un uomo grande - fu un uomo ricco - fu un uomo potente - fu un uomo grandissimo, ricchissimo, potentissimo, magnificentissimo, ma morì! - morì, cari fratelli miei, quell' uomo così grande, così ricco, così potente - morì! - così passiamo tutti - così finisce il mondo - moriamo.
"E che fu quell' uomo così importante che è morto? Fu un Duca! un Duca, cari fratelli miei! E, quando morì, cosa fece? È montato sopra, montato sopra su alla porta del Paradiso, dove sta San Pietro, colle sue sante chiavi. Picchia il Duca. . . . 'Chi è là,' disse San Pietro. 'Il Duca di Torlonia!' - 'Ah, il Duca di Torlonia,' disse San Pietro, 'quel nome è ben conosciuto, ben conosciuto davvero.' Quindi si voltò San Pietro all' angelo custode che teneva il libro della vita, e disse, 'Angelo mio, cercate un pò se trovate quel nome del Duca di Torlonia.' Dunque l'angelo cercò, cercò con tanta pena, con tanta inquietudine, voltò tante pagine in quel libro cosi grande della vita, ma disse infine, 'Caro Signor San Pietro mio, mi rincresce tanto, ma quel nome lì non mi riesce di trovarlo.'
"Allora si voltò San Pietro, e disse, 'Caro Signor Duca mio, mi rincresce tanto, ma il suo nome non si trova nel libro della vita.' Rise ii Duca, e disse, 'Ma che sciocchezza! cercate poi il titolo minore, cercate pure ii titolo maggiore della famiglia, cercate il Principe di Bracciano, e lo troverete sicuramente.' Dunque l'angelo cercò di nuovo, cercò con sollecitudine, voltò tante tante pagine in quel libro così immenso - ma alla fine disse, 'Caro Signor San Pietro mio, mi rincresce tanto - ma quei nomi non si trovan qui, nè l'uno, nè l'altro.' Allora disse San Pietro, 'Mi dispiace tanto, Signor Duca mio - ma bisogna scendere più giù - bisogna scendere più giù.'
"Scese dunque il Duca - poco contento - anzi mortificato di molto - scese giù alla porta del Purgatorio. Picchia il Duca. 'Chi è là,' disse il guardiano. 'Il Duca di Torlonia' (piano). 'Ah, il Duca di Torlonia,' disse il guardiano. 'Anche qui, quel nome è ben conosciuto, molto ben conosciuto - ma bisogna scendere più giù - bisogna scendere più giù.
"Scese dunque il Duca. Ahimè! quant' era miserabile! come gridava, quanto piangeva, ma - gridando, piangendo scendeva - scendeva giù - alla porta dell' Inferno, dove sta il Diavolo. Picchia il Duca. 'Chi è là,' disse il Diavolo. 'Il Duca di Torlonia' (pianissimo). 'Ah, il Duca di Torlonia,' disse il Diavolo, 'oh siete il benvenuto, entrate qui, caro amico mio, oh quanto tempo siete aspettato, entrate qui, e restate per sempre.' Ecco cari fratelli miei, ecco care sorelle, quel ch' è successò quest' oggi, stammattina, in città, a quel povero Duca di Torloni-a!" &c.
I narrated this story afterwards to Mrs. F. Dawkins and her daughters, and they told me that some friends of theirs were at Rome on August 10, St. Laurence's Day which fell on a Friday that year - and St. Laurence, as all know, was roasted on a gridiron. That day, the monk began as usual
"Buon giorno, cari fratelli miei - buon giorno, care sorelle (sniff, sniff, sniff) - ma sento qualche cosa (sniff, sniff) - che cosa sento io (sniff) - sento un odore. E l'odore de che? (sniff, sniff, sniff) - è l'odore di carne (sniff). Chi specie di carne può essere? E l'odore di carne bollito? (sniff). Nò, nò, nò, non e bollito (sniff, sniff, sniff). Ah, lo vedo, è 1'odore di carne arrosto, è l'odore di carne arrostito - è 1'odore d'un santo arrostito - è 1'odore di San Lorenzo."
Lady Marian Alford used to tell a similar story. Lord Brownlow was at S. Agostino, when a monk, who was walking about, preaching, in the great pulpit there, said, "Che odore sento io? E l'odore di montone? - nò! È l'odore di presciutto? - nò! È l'odore delle anime che friggono nell' inferno."
I cannot remember whether it was in this or the preceding winter that I spent an evening with Dr. Lushington, the famous judge, who, having been born in the beginning of 1782, and preserving evergreen all the recollections of his long life, was one of the most delightful of men. I remember his describing how all the places ending in s in England take their names from people who have lived there. Leeds is so called from an old person called Leed or Lloyd, of whom the great city is now the only memorial. Levens is from Leofwin.
He said that "the Duchesse d'Angoulême never forgave the Court of Rome for not canonising her father." She always regarded Louis XVI. as a saint. Of her mother she spoke with less confidence - "she had faults," she said, "but they were terribly expiated."
Dr. Lushington said that when he was a very little child travelling alone with his father, the carriage stopped near a public-house, and the footman and coachman, with the license of those times, went in to drink. He was himself asleep in the corner of the carriage, when a pistol, directed at his father, came crashing in at the window, with a demand for money. Dr. Lushington distinctly remembered his father drawing out a long green silk purse, in which were one hundred guineas, and deliberately counting out twelve guineas into the man's hand, and saying, "There, take that, that is enough." "Well," said the man, "but I must have your watch." - ''No," said his father, "it is an old family watch, and I cannot give it to you." Upon this the man said, "Well, God bless you," and went away. Immediately after the servants came out of the inn, and hearing what had happened, said they were armed, they could pursue the highwayman, and they could easily take him. "No," said Dr. Lushington's father, "let him go. The man God-blessed me, and I'll be damned if I hang him."
At this time I took the opportunity of persuading Dr . Lushington to tell me himself the most celebrated of his stories, which I had already heard from his son Godfrey and from Arthur Stanley. I wrote it down at the time, and here it is, in the very words of the old judge.
"There was once, within my memory, an old gentleman who lived in Kent, and whose name, for very obvious reasons, I cannot mention, but he lived in Kent. He was a very remarkable old man, and chiefly because in the whole course of his very, very long life - for he was extremely old - he had never been known on any single occasion to want presence of mind; he had always done exactly the right thing, and he had always said exactly the right word, at exactly the right moment. The old gentleman lived alone. That is to say, he had never married, and he had no brother or sister or other relation living with him, but he had a very old housekeeper, a very old butler, a very old gardener - in fact, all the old-fashioned retinue of a very old-fashioned household, and, bound together by mutual respect and affection, the household was a very harmonious one.
"Now I must describe what the old gentleman's house was like. Upstairs, there was a very long passage, which ended in a blank wall. At the end of the passage, on the left, was a dressing-room, and on the right was a bedroom, the room in which the old gentleman himself slept. The bedroom was entered by a very heavy swing-door, which could only be opened from the inside - that is to say, the old gentleman carried the key upon his watch-chain, and let himself in and out. When he wished house-maids or other persons to go in or out, he left the door open; but when he was inside and shut the door, no one could come in unless he opened the door to them. People may say 'it was very eccentric;' it was very eccentric: but the old gentleman was very peculiar; it was the way he chose to live: at any rate, it was a fact. Through the bedroom, opposite the door into the passage, was another door which led into the plate-room. This was also a very heavy swing-door, which could only be opened from the outside, and very often in summer the old gentleman would set it open at night, because he thought it gave more air to the bedroom. Everything depends upon your attending to and understanding the geography of these rooms. You see they were all en suite cross-wise. If you stood in the plate-room, and all the doors were open, you would see the dressing-room, and vice versâ.
"One morning when the old gentleman came down to breakfast, he found upon his plate a note. He opened it, and it contained these words - 'Beware, you are in the hands of thieves and robbers.' He was very much surprised, but he had such presence of mind that he threw the note into the fire and went on buttering his toast, having his breakfast. Inwardly he kept a sharp look-out upon all that was going on. But there was nothing special going on whatever. It was very hot summer weather; the old gardener was mowing the lawn, the old housekeeper cooked the dinner, the old butler brought it in: no, there was nothing whatever especial going on.
"That night, when the old gentleman went to bed, he took particular care to examine his room, and to see that his heavy swing-door was well fastened, so that no one could come in to disturb him. And when he had done this, he went to bed and fell asleep, and slept very well till the next morning, for nothing happened, nothing whatever.
"When the next morning came, he rang his bell for his hot water as usual, but nobody came. He rang, and rang, and rang again, but still nobody came. At last he opened his bedroom door, and went out down the passage to the head of the staircase, and called to the butler over the banisters. The butler answered. 'Why did you not attend to my bell?' said the old gentleman. 'Because no bell rang,' answered the butler. 'Oh, but I have rung very often,' said the old gentleman; 'go downstairs again, and I will pull the bell again; watch if it rings.' So the butler went downstairs, and the old man pulled the bell, hut no bell rang. 'Then,' said the old gentleman, 'you must send for the bell-hanger at once; one cannot live with broken bells; that sort of thing cannot he allowed to go on in the house,' - and he dressed and went down to breakfast.
"While he was eating his breakfast, the old gentleman found he had forgotten his pocket-handkerchief; and went up to his room to get it. And such was the promptitude of that old-fashioned household, that the village being close to the house, and the bell-hanger living in the village, the master's orders had already been obeyed, and the bell-hanger was already in the room, standing on a ladder, arranging the new wire of the bell. In old-fashioned houses, you know, the bell wires come through the wall and go round the top of the room, so that you can see them, and so it was in this house in Kent. You do not generally perhaps observe how many wires there are in your room, but it so happened that, as he lay in bed, the old gentleman had observed those in his, and there were three wires. Now he looked, and there were four wires. Yes, there was no doubt there were four wires going round his room. 'Now,' he said, now I know exactly what is going to happen,' but he gave no outward sign of having discovered anything, and he went down and finished his breakfast.
"All that day everything went on as usual. It was a dreadfully hot day in July - very sultry indeed. The old gentleman was subject to bad nervous headaches, and in the afternoon he pretended to be not quite so well. When dinner-time came, he was very suffering indeed. He spoke of it to the butler. He said, 'It is only one of my usual attacks; I have no doubt it is the weather. I shall be better to-morrow; but I will go to bed early.' And towards half-past nine he went upstairs. He left the door of the bedroom ajar, so that any one could come in; he set the door of the plate-room wide open, for the sake of more air to the bedroom, and he went to bed. When he was in bed, he rang the bell, the new bell that the bell-hanger had put up that morning. The butler came. The old gentleman gave some orders about horses for the next day, and then said, 'Do not disturb me in the morning. I had better sleep off my headache; I will ring when I want to get up. You can draw the curtains round the bed, and then shut the door.' So the butler drew the curtains round the bed, and went out, shutting the door after him.
"As soon as the old gentleman heard the footsteps of the butler die away down the passage, he dressed himself completely from head to foot; he took two loaded pistols and a blunderbuss, He stealthily opened the heavy swing-door of the bedroom. He let himself out into the dark passage. He shut to the bedroom door behind him. It fastened with a click; he could not go in himself any more, and he crossed the passage, and stood in the dark dressing-room with the door open.
"It was still very early, and eleven o'clock came, and nothing happened; and twelve came and nothing happened; and one o'clock came and nothing happened. And the old gentleman - for he was already very old - began to feel very much exhausted, and he began to say to himself; 'Perhaps after all I was wrong! Perhaps after all it is a hallucination; but I will wait till two o'clock.'
"At half-past one o'clock there was a sound of stealthy footsteps down the passage, and three figures passed in front of him and stood opposite the bedroom door. They were so near that he could have shot them every one; but he said to himself; 'No, I'll wait, I'll wait and see what is going to happen.' And as he waited, the light from the dark lantern which the first man carried fell upon their faces, and he recognised them. And the first figure was the butler, and the second figure was the bell-hanger, and the third figure, from having been long a magistrate on a London bench, he recognised as the most notorious ruffian of a well-known London gang. He heard the ruffian say to the butler, 'I say, it's no use mincing this kind of thing: no use doing this kind of thing by halves: better put him out of the way at once, and go on to the plate afterwards.' - 'Oh no,' said the butler, 'he has been a good master to me; I'll never consent to that. Take all he has; he'll never wake, not he; but you can't do him any harm; I'll never consent to that.' And they wrangled about it for some time, but at last the butler seemed to get the better, and the ruffian had to consent to his terms.
"Then exactly what the old gentleman had expected happened. The butler, standing on tiptoe, could just reach the four wires of the bells, which came through into the low passage above the bedroom door. As the butler reached the lowest of the wires, and by leaning his weight upon it, pulled it downwards, it was seen that the wire was connected with the bolt of the door on the inside; the bolt rolled up, and the heavy swing-door of the bedroom, of which the hinges were well oiled for the occasion, rolled open. 'There,' said the butler, as they passed into the room, 'master always sleeps like that. Curtains drawn all round the bed. He'll not hear anything, not he.' And they all passed in through the open door of the plate-room. The old man waited till they were entirely occupied with the plate-chest, and then he slipped off his slippers, and, with a hop, skip, and a jump, he darted across the room, and - bang! they were all caught in a trap. He banged to the heavy swing-door of the plate-room, which could only be opened from the outside.
"Having done that - people may believe it or not, but I maintain that it is true - the old man had such presence of mind, that he undressed, went to bed, and slept soundly till the next morning. Even if this were not so, till the next morning he did not send for the police, and the consequence was that when he did send for the police, and the door was opened, the following horrible scene revealed itself: The ruffian had tried to make a way of escape through the roof, had stuck fast, and was dreadfully mangled in the attempt: the bell-hanger had hung himself from the ceiling: and the butler was a drivelling idiot in the corner, from the horror of the night he had gone through."
Dr. Lushington had been employed in the inquiry which ensued, and had personal knowledge of all he narrated. I must record one more story which he told me - in his words: -
"I had a great-uncle, and as I am a very old man, you may imagine that my great-uncle was alive a very long time ago. He was a very eccentric man, and his peculiar hobby when in London was to go about to dine at all sorts of odd places of entertainment, to amuse himself with the odd characters he fell in with. One day he was dining at a tavern near St. Bride's in Fleet Street, and at the table opposite to him sat a man who interested him exceedingly, who was unusually amusing, and quaint, and agreeable. At the end of dinner the stranger said, 'Perhaps, sir, you are not aware that you have been dining with a notorious highwayman?' - 'No, indeed,' said my great-uncle, not the least discomposed. 'What an unexpected pleasure! But I am quite sure, sir, that you cannot always have been a highwayman, and that your story must be a very remarkable one. Can I not persuade you to do me the honour of telling it to me?' - 'Well,' said the stranger, 'we have had a very pleasant dinner, and I like your acquaintance, and I don't mind if I do tell you my story. You are quite right in thinking that I was in early life as free as you are, or indeed, for that matter, as I myself am now. But one day, as I was riding over Hounslow heath, I was surrounded by highwaymen. They dragged me from my horse, and then said, "We don't want your money, and we don't want your life, but we want you, and you we must have. A great many of us have been taken, and we want recruits; you must go with us." I protested in vain; I said it was impossible I could go with them; I was a respectable member of society, it was quite impossible that I could become a highwayman. "Then," they said, "you must die; you cannot be allowed to live, to go out into the world, and tell what has been proposed to you." I was in a terrible strait, and eventually I was obliged to promise to go with them. I was obliged to promise, but I made such difficulties that I was able to exact two conditions. One was that at the end of seven years I should be allowed to go free, and that I should never be recognised or taken by them again. The other was that in the seven years I was with them, no deed of actual cruelty should ever be committed in my presence.
"'So I rode with the highwaymen, and many strange things happened. I saw many people robbed and pillaged, and I helped to rob and pillage them, but no deed of actual cruelty was ever committed in my presence. One day, after I had been with the band four years, we were riding in Windsor Forest. I saw a carriage approaching down the long avenue. It was sure to have ladies in it; there was likely to be a disagreeable scene; it was not necessary that I should be present, so I lingered behind in the forest. Presently, however, I was roused by so dreadful a scream from the carriage that I could no longer resist riding forward, and I spurred on my horse. In the carriage sat a lady, magnificently dressed, evidently just come from Windsor Castle, and the highwaymen had torn the bracelets from her arms and the necklace from her neck, and were just about to cut off her little finger, because there was a very valuable diamond ring upon it, which they could not otherwise get off. The lady implored me to have pity upon her, to intercede for her, and I did. I represented that the highwaymen had made me a solemn promise that no deed of personal cruelty should ever be committed in my presence, that on that condition only I was with them, and I called upon them to keep their promise. They disputed and were very angry, but eventually they gave in, and rode off with the rest of their booty, leaving me alone with the lady.
"'The lady then said she owed me everything. She certainly owed me her life, for she was quite sure that she should never, never, have survived the loss of her little finger. She was quite sure, she said, that I could not like being a highwayman, and she entreated me to abandon the road and reform my life. "I can get you a pardon," she said, "I can set you up in life - in fact, I can do anything for you." Then I told her my story. I told her how the highwaymen had made a promise to me, and they had kept it; and I told her how I had made a promise to them, and I must keep it also. I had promised to go with them for seven years, and I had only been with them four; I must go with them for three years more. "Then," said the lady, "I know what will happen; I know what stringent measures are going to be enforced for the suppression of highwaymen. I am certain you cannot escape for three years: you will be taken, and you will be condemned to death. When this happens, send for me, and I will save your life. I am Mrs. Masham."
"'It was indeed Mrs. Masham, the great favourite of Queen Anne.
"'Before the expiration of the three years I was taken, I Was tried, and I was condemned to death. While I was lying in Newgate under sentence of death, I sent to Mrs. Masham, and Mrs. Masham flung herself at the feet of Queen Anne, and the Queen spared my life.'"
This was the story of Dr. Lushington's great-uncle's friend.
In April I returned to my work in the North. My first visit worth recording was one to the old house of Mainsforth in Durham, the home of Mrs. Surtees, widow of the genial and delightful historian, who was the intimate friend of Sir Walter Scott, though he offended him when it was discovered that he had himself written the glorious ballads which he had imposed upon Sir Walter as originals.10 He was also the author of many ballads of a simpler and more touching character, which have never attained to the position in English poetry which they surely deserve.
To MY MOTHER.
"Mainsforth, April 26, 1862. - This has been a most interesting visit, both the old ladies of the house so amusing, and so full of stories of the past, in which they are still living, having shut out the present ever since the death of Mr. Surtees, twenty years ago. Miss Robinson has lived with 'my Sister Surtees' for the last fifteen years, and thinks there is no place in the world like Mainsforth: and indeed it is a most pleasant old house, thoroughly unpretending, but roomy and comfortable, close to the road on one side, but a very quiet road, with a fringe of ancient trees and a rookery, and on the other looking out on the wide green lawn and broad terrace-walk, bordered by clumps of hyacinths and tall turncap lilies. My room has two low windows, which slide back like doors, and look down through glades of hollies, like a picture, to the silvery windings of the Skene. It is quiet, and stillness itself; no sound but the cawing of the rooks, and the ticking of the clock on the broad old staircase.
"Ever since an accident five years ago, 'my Sister Surtees' has sat on a sofa in a sitting-room covered with fine old prints pasted on the walls, with a large tapestry screen on one side of her, and during the three days I have been here, I have never seen her move from this place, to which she appears to he glued. 'My Sister Mary' does all the hospitalities of the house, in the heartiest, most cordial way, and both always keep open house at Mainsforth for every one who likes to come. University students from Durham are constantly here, and the house is a second home to all the poor clergy of the neighbourhood, who come whenever they want a good dinner, or ready interest and kindly sympathy. A new curate was appointed to the neighbouring church of Bishop Middleham, and was asked to stay here while he looked out for lodgings: he stayed on and on, till he never went away again: he stayed here three years! The students of Durham University have just put up two stained glass windows in the church here, in token of gratitude for the kindness they have received at Mains-forth. Imagine the students of Oxford doing such a thing!
"On Thursday I went by the early train to Darlington, and, after seeing the town, set off in a gig on a long round of country villages. I saw the 'Hell Kettles,' three pools which are supposed to be fathomless, and into which, if a sheep falls, it is believed to be always 'a going' to the end of all time: and at one o'clock came to Sockburne, a lovely peninsula on the Tees, where an old ruined chapel stands on the edge of the green lawn above the rushing river, and beside it 'the Wishing-Tree,' a chestnut 1100 years old, where everything wished for comes true. I had an introduction to Mrs. Blackett, the owner, who lives in a beautiful modern house with terraces above the river, and when I was shown in, I found with her, in three young ladies spinning, three friends of last year, daughters of Sir Edward Blackett of Matfen. After luncheon, though it rained, they all walked with me three miles along the lovely hanging woods by the Tees to 'the Leper's Bath.'
"Yesterday I went off again, before the family breakfast, to Stockton-on-Tees, a manufacturing town, celebrated for possessing the widest street in England. I dined at Greatham Hospital with Mr. Tristram, the Master. It seemed a most melancholy place morally, no one speaking to anybody else, every one quarrelling about their rights of way, the keys of their church, even about their interest in the poor old men of the Hospital. The country is now all blackened with coal-pits, and it is curious to hear my present hostesses describe it all trees and verdure, as it was in their youth. But the natives are still wonderfully simple and full of kind-heartedness. At Billingham a poor woman having spent half-an-hour in trying to find the keys of the church for me, said, when I begged her to give it up, 'Na, na, I'll try once again, if only to show a willin'.'"
"Mainsforth, April 24, 1862. - Sitting alone with Miss Robinson just now, she talked much of Sir Walter Scott.
"'I knew Sir Walter Scott very well: to hear him talk was like hearing history with all the disagreeable parts weeded out. I often dined with him in Edinburgh. I went with my Sister Surtees to his house just after his first paralytic seizure. We went to take him a book, and, not knowing of his illness, my Sister Surtees asked if he was at home. The servant said he did not know; so my sister told him just to give Sir Walter the book and say it was left by Mrs. Surtees of Mainsforth. But Sir Walter, who was sitting in his study, heard my sister's voice, and said, 'I am sure that is Mrs. Surtees of Mainsforth,' and sent to desire us to come in. We found him dreadfully altered, and he described to us all that had happened. "I was sitting with Sophy, when I was taken," he said (she is dead - they are all dead now), "and I could not speak; so I ran upstairs into the drawing-room, where there were several ladies in the room, and there I soon became insensible and could not be roused. I remember it as if it were to-day," he said; "they all began to beel, and they made such a tiran, you can scarcely imagine it. I did not wish to frighten them more, so I did not say what I felt, but I'll tell you what it was, Mrs. Surtees - I shook hands with death."
"'Lady Scott was brought up in France. She was a very frivolous person - very exceedingly. The first time I dined with them, I sat next to her, and she wore a brocaded silk gown which she told me cost two hundred guineas. "Dear me, Lady Scott," I said, "but is not that a very large price ?" "Yes," she replied, "but that's what my dressmaker charges me." People never knew what present to give to Sir Walter; so, when they wished to make a present, they gave ornaments to Lady Scott, and she would come down to a common dinner with her arm quite covered with bracelets. What more she could have worn if she went to court, I cannot imagine. She never entered into Sir Walter's pursuits at all.
"'Donald was the old piper, and a very fine-looking person he was. He used to walk about the gallery outside playing the pibroch on the bagpipes. He could not have done it in the room, it was so deafening. Even from outside, the noise was tremendous, but Sir Walter liked it because it was national.'"
"April 25. - I have had a long talk with Mrs. Surtees. I wish I could put down half she said about the Ettrick Shepherd.
"'Once we wanted to go to the Highlands. There were my sister and two other ladies: we were a party of four. Surtees would not go with us because he said we should be such a trouble to him; but he said, "What I advise you to do is, to go to Mr. Blackwood when you get to Edinburgh, and ask him to give you a tour." So when we got to Edinburgh, we went to Mr. Blackwood, and told him what Surtees said. "Oh dear, Mrs. Surtees," said Mr. Blackwood, "what a pity you were not here a minute ago, for Mr. Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, has only just gone out of the shop, and he would have been the very person to have told you all you wanted to know." Now you must know that Surtees had been very kind to Hogg, and I was very anxious to see him, so I said, "Oh dear, but can we not still see him?" - "Well," said Mr. Blackwood, "he is going out of town now, but he will be back in a short time, and if you like to leave your address, he will come and call upon you." So I was just going to write my name on a card, when who should come in again but the Ettrick Shepherd. "Oh, sir," said Mr. Blackwood, "I'm so glad to see you back, for this is Mrs. Surtees, and she wants you to give her a tour in the Highlands." - "Eh!" said the Shepherd, "coom awa then wi' me into th' back shop, and I'll do't."
"'So we went into the backshop, and he told me where to go, and showed me all the route on a large map that was there; and when he had done he said, "Weel, Mrs. Surtees, an noo I've shown ye the route, I'd jist like to go wi' ye." - "Well," I said, "Mr. Hogg, we are only four ladies, but we would do all we could to make it agreeable to you, if you liked to go." "Eh," said the Shepherd, "but I could'na just leave the lammies."
"'So then he said, " Eh, Mrs. Surtees, but my wife's here, and I'm just a going to choose her a silk gown: will ye coom awa along wi' us an' help to choose it?" So I went with them (a very nice-looking woman too Mrs. Hogg was) and helped to choose the gown.
"'Once I met them at dinner at Sir Walter's. Sir Walter treated Mrs. Hogg very well, and thought her (as the poet's wife, you know) every bit as good as Lady Scott; but Lady Scott thought her very different, and she did not carry it off very well.
"'We were at Abbotsford when Washington Irving was there. When people went away, Sir Walter used to conduct all those he especially liked over the hill as far as a particular little wicket. When Mr. Irving went, he said, "Now I'll take you as far as the wicket." I walked with them, and when they parted, I so well remember Mr. Irving saying what a pleasant visit he had had, and all that kind of thing - and then Sir Walter's hearty, earnest "Coom again."'
"Mrs. Surtees had also much to say of Mrs. Siddons.
"'I used often to meet Mrs. Siddons at the house of the Barringtons when they lived at Sedgefield. She was always acting. I remember as if it were yesterday her sitting by me at dinner and asking George Barrington how Chinamen eat their rice with chopsticks. "Well, but I pray you, and how do they do it?" she said in a theatrical tone; and then, turning to the footman, she said, "Give me a glass of water, I pray you; I am athirst to-day." After dinner, Lord Barrington would say, "Well now, Mrs. Siddons, will you give us some reading?"
"'Her daughter was with her, who was miserably ill-educated. She could not even sew. The Miss Barringtons took her in hand and tried to teach her, but they could make nothing of her."'
"April 26. - Miss Robinson has been telling me, 'When we were in London, we went to a chapel in Bedford Place where Sydney Smith often used to preach, and we were shown into a pew; for, you know, in London you do not sit where you like, but they show you into pews - the women people that keep the church do. There was a strange lady in the seat, and I have never seen her before or since. It was not I that sat next to her - my Sister Surtees was the person. The service was got through very well, and when the preacher got up, it was Sydney Smith. I remember the sermon as if it were to-day. It was from the 106th Psalm. He described the end of man - the "portals of mortality." "Over those portals," he said, "are written Death! Plague! Famine! Pestilence!" &c., and he was most violent. I am sure the poor man that had read the service and was sitting underneath would rather have been at the portals of mortality than where he was just then, for Sydney Smith thumped the cushion till it almost touched his head, and he must have thought the whole thing was coming down upon him. The lady in the pew was quite frightened, and she whispered to my Sister Surtees, "This is Sir Sydney Smith, who has been so long in the wars, and that is what makes him so violent." - "Oh dear, no," said my Sister Surtees, "you are under a great mistake," &c.
"Miss Robinson described her youth at Houghton-le-Spring, now almost the blackest place in Durham.
"'Houghton-le-Spring was a lovely rustic village. There was not a pit in the neighbourhood, and the neighbourhood was the best that was known in England. Sixteen or seventeen carriages waited at the church-gate every Sunday. My father lived at Herrington Hall, and our family were buried in Bernard Gilpin's tomb, because they were related.
"'The Lyons11 of Hetton were a beautiful family, but Mrs. Fellowes was the loveliest. Jane and Elizabeth died each of a rapid decline. Mrs. Lyon embarked £60,000 in the pit at Hetton, lost it, and died of a broken heart. People used to say, 'Do you know where Mrs. Lyon's heart is? At the bottom of Hetton coal-pit.'"
After a visit to the George Liddells at Durham, I went on to Northumberland.
To MY MOTHER.
"Westgate Street, Newcastle, May 6, 1862. - Yesterday afternoon I came here, to the old square dark red brick house of the Claytons, who are like merchant-princes in Newcastle, So enormous is their wealth, but who still live in the utmost simplicity in the old-fashioned family house in this retired shady street. The family are all remarkable. First comes Mr. John Clayton of Chesters, the well-known antiquary of North Tyne, a grand, sturdy old man, with a head which might be studied for a bust of Jupiter;12 then there is his brother Matthew, a thin tall lawyer, full of jokes and queer sayings; then the venerable and beautiful old sister, Mrs. Anne Clayton (beloved far and wide by the poor, amongst whom she spends her days, and who are air devoted to 'Mrs. Nancy Claytoun'), is the gentlest and kindest of old ladies. And besides these, there is the nephew, George Nathaniel, a college friend of mine, and his wife, Isabel Ogle, whom we have often met abroad.
"Last night, Dr. Bruce13 dined, the leader of the 'Romanist' antiquarians in the county, in opposition to Dr. Charlton and the 'Mediaevalists.'"
"May 7. - How amused my mother would be with this quaintest of families, who live here in the most primitive fashion, always treating each other as if they were acquaintances of the day, and addressing one another by their full titles, as 'Miss Anne Clayton, will you have the goodness to make the tea?' - 'Mr. Town-Clerk of Newcastle, will you have the kindness to hand me the toast?' &c. Miss Anne is a venerable lady with snow-white hair, but her brother Matthew, who is rather older, is convinced that she is one of the most harum-scarum young girls in the world, and is continually pulling her up with 'Miss Anne Clayton, you are very inaccurate,' - 'Miss Anne Clayton, be careful what you say,' - 'Miss Anne Clayton, another inaccuracy,' - while the poor old sister goes on her own way without minding a bit.
"This afternoon we have been to Tynemouth, and most refreshing was the sea-air upon the cliffs, and the sight of that enchanting old ruin standing on its rocky height. The journey was very curious through the pit, glass, and alkali country.
"This evening old Mr. Matthew has been unusually extraordinary, and very fatiguing talking (or exactly two hours about his bootmakers, Messrs. Hoby & Humby, whence they came, what they had done, and how utterly unrivalled they were. 'Miss Anne Clayton,' he said at the end, 'I hope you understand all I've been saying. Now wait before you give an opinion, but above all things, Miss Anne Clayton, don't, don't be inaccurate.'"
"Dilston Hall, May 8, 1862. - I left Westgate Street this morning directly after breakfast, and getting out of the train at Blaydon, walked by Stella and Ryton to Wylam. Ryton was very interesting to me, because the church is full of monuments of my Simpson relations, including that of old Mrs. Simpson, the mother-in-law of Lady Anne, of whom we have a picture, and of her father, Mr. Andersen,14 from whom the property came. As I was going through the churchyard, the sexton poked up his head from an open grave to stare at me. 'Where can I get the church keys?' I said. 'Why, I'll tell you wherefrom you'll get them; you'll just get them out of my coat-pocket,' he answered, and so I did. It was a beautiful church, with rich stained windows, oak stalls, and tombs, and outside it lovely green haughs sloping down to the Tyne.
"Thence I walked on to see Bradley,15 the home of my great-grandmother Lady Anne Simpson. It is a charming place, with deep wooded glens filled with what Northumbrians call rowan and gane trees, and carpeted with primroses and cowslips.
"I arrived at Duston by tea-time, and afterwards we went out along the terraced heights, and I longed for you to see the view - the rich hanging woods steeped in gold by the setting sun, while behind rose the deep blue moorlands, and from below the splash of the Devil's Water came through the gnarled oaks and yellow broom."
"Old Elvet, Durham, May 4. - On Friday I drew in the lovely woods by the Devil's Water, and then walked, overtaken by a dreadful storm on the way, to Queen Margaret's cave in Deepden, where she met the robber. Yesterday a wild moorland drive took me to Blanchland,16 a curious place, with a monastic church and gateway, and a village surrounding a square, in the deep ravine of the Derwent. Then a still wilder drive brought me to Stanhope, whence I came here by rail to the kind Liddell cousins.
"George Liddell has been telling me how, when they lived out of the town at Burnopside, a poor woman lived near them at a place called 'Standfast Hill,' who used to have periodical washings, and put out all the things to dry afterwards on the bank by the side of the road. One day a tramp came by and carried them all off: when the daughter came out to take the things in, they were all gone, and she rushed back to her mother in despair, saying that they were all ruined, the things were all gone, &c.
"The Liddells went up to see that poor woman afterwards and to tell her how sorry they were; but she said, 'Yes, there's my poor Mary, she goes blearing about like a mad bull; but I say to hei; "Dinna' fash yersel, but pray to the Lord to have mercy on them that took the things, for they've paid far dearer than I ever paid for them."'
In June I was at Chartwell in Kent, when Mr. Colquhoun (who was one of the most perfect types of a truly Christian gentleman I have ever known), told me the following story, from personal knowledge both of the facts and persons: -
"On awaking one morning, Mr. Rutherford of Egerton (in Roxburghshire) found his wife dreadfully agitated, and asked her what was the matter. 'Oh,' she said, 'it is something I really cannot tell you, because you could not possibly sympathise with it.' - 'But I insist upon knowing,' he said. 'Well,' she answered, 'if you insist upon knowing, I am agitated because I have had a dream which has distressed me very much. I dreamt that my aunt, Lady Leslie, who brought me up, is going to be murdered; and not only that, but in my dream I have seen the person who is going to murder her: - I have seen him so distinctly, that if I met him in any town of Europe, I should know him again. - 'What bombastical nonsense!' said Mr. Rutherford; 'you really become more and more foolish every day.' - 'Well, my dear,' said his wife, 'I told you that it was a thing in which you could not sympathise, and I did not wish to tell you my dream.'
"Coming suddenly into her sitting-room during the morning, Mr. Rutherford found his wife still very much agitated and distressed, and being of choleric disposition, he said sharply, 'Now do let us have an end once for all of this nonsense. Go down into Fife and see your aunt, Lady Leslie, and then, when you have found her alive and quite well, perhaps you will give up having these foolish imaginations for the future.' Mrs. Rutherford wished no better; she put a few things into a hand-bag, she went to Edinburgh, she crossed the Firth of Forth, and that afternoon at four o'clock she drove up to Lady Leslie's door. The door was opened by a strange servant. It was the man she had seen in her dream.
"She found Lady Leslie well, sitting with her two grown-up sons. She was exceedingly surprised to see her niece, but Mrs. Rutherford said that having that one day free, and not being able to come again for some time, she had seized the opportunity of coming for one night; and her aunt was too glad to see her to ask many questions. In the course of the evening Mrs. Rutherford said, 'Aunt, when I lived at home with you, whenever I was to have an especial treat, it was that I might sleep in your room. Now I am only here for one night; do let me have my old child's treat over again: I have a special fancy for it;' and Lady Leslie was rather pleased than otherwise. Before they went to bed, Mrs. Rutherford had an opportunity of speaking to her two cousins alone. She said, 'You will be excessively surprised at what I ask, but I shall measure your affection for me entirely by whether you grant it: it is that you will sit up to-night in the room next to your mother's, and that you will tell no one.' They promised, but they were very much surprised.
"As they were going to bed, Mrs. Rutherford said to Lady Leslie, 'Aunt, shall I lock the door?' and Lady Leslie laughed at her and said, 'No, my dear; I am much too old-fashioned a person for that,' and forbade it. But as soon as Mrs. Rutherford saw that Lady Leslie was asleep, she slipped out of bed and turned the lock of the door. Then, leaning against the pillow, she watched, and watched the handle of the door.
"The reflection of the fire scintillated on the round brass handle of the door, and, as she watched, it almost seemed to mesmerise her, but she watched still. Suddenly the speck of light seemed to appear on the other side; some one was evidently turning the handle of the door. Mrs. Rutherford rang the bell violently, her cousins rushed out of the next room, and she herself threw the door wide open, and there, at the door, stood the strange servant, the man she had seen in her dream, with a covered coal-scuttle in his hand. The cousins demanded why he was there. He said he thought he heard Lady Leslie's bell ring. They said, 'But you do not answer Lady Leslie's bell at this time in the night,' and they insisted upon opening the coal-scuttle. In it was a large knife.
"Then, as by sudden impulse, the man confessed. He knew Lady Leslie had received a large sum for her rents the day before, that she kept it in her room, and that it could not be sent away till the next day. 'The devil tempted me,' he said, 'the devil walked with me down the passage, and unless God had intervened, the devil would have forced me to cut Lady Leslie's throat.'
"The man was partially mad - but God had intervened."
JOURNAL (The Green Book).
"Holmhurst, July 27, 1862. - A gorgeous beautiful summer day at length, and it is our last here. Tomorrow we go north. It has been a pleasant summer, and it will he a very bright one to look back upon. I have had the great delight of having Charlie Wood here for four days - days of endless conversations, outpourings of old griefs and joys, of little present thoughts and anxieties, of hopes and aspirations for the future, which I should not venture upon with any one else. And besides, we have had a succession of visitors, each of whom has enjoyed our home, whilst our little Holmhurst daily twines itself more and more round our own hearts. Sometimes I have a sort of inward trembling in thinking that I trace an additional or increasing degree of feebleness or age in my sweetest mother, but I do not think her ill now, and may go to the North with a confident feeling that it will be at the time which will suit her best, as she will have other friends with her with whom she would rather be alone. My sweet darling! what should I do without her? and how blank and black the whole world would seem! Yet even then I should bless God that this place, now consecrated by memories of her, would still be my home, and, in fulfilling her wishes, her designs, I should try to link the desolate present to the sunny past. I cannot be grateful enough for her power of bearing and rallying from great blows. The loss of Aunt Kitty in the spring, the impending loss of Aunt Esther, are furrows which God permits, but which He too smooths over. I have even the comfort of feeling that it would be thus in case of my own death, dreadful as that would be to her at the time."
Early in August I went with my mother for a long visit to Buntingsdale in Shropshire, the old pleasant friendly home of the Tayleurs. The master of the house, William Tayleur, had come very late into his property, after a long period of almost cruel repression during the life of his eccentric father; but, unlike most people, the late attainment of great wealth only made him full of anxiety that as many as possible should benefit by it, and he was the very soul of courtesy, hospitality, and generosity. With him lived his two delightful old sisters (already mentioned in the account of my childhood), emancipated when past fifty from a thraldom like that of the schoolroom. Of these, my mother's great friend, Harriet, was the younger - a most bright, animated, clever, and thoroughly excellent person, exceedingly popular in Shropshire society. The elder, Mary, was very delicate in health, but a very pretty, gentle old lady, who always wore an immense bonnet, ending in a long shade of the kind called "an ugly," so that people used to call her "the old lady down the telescope." Buntingsdale is one of the finest houses in Shropshire, a large red brick mansion, with very handsome stone mouldings and pillars, and a most splendid flower-garden, bordered by a high terrace overlooking the little shining river Terne and its pretty water-meadows. I have seldom known my mother happier than during this visit. It touched her so much to find how she was considered by these faithful old friends - how, after many years' absence, all the people she wished to see were asked to meet her, yet all arranged with thoughtful care, so as to cause her the least possible amount of fatigue and emotion.
We went to Stoke to visit my grandfather's grave, and any of his old parishioners who wished to see my mother were bidden to meet her in the churchyard. There we found fourteen poor women and three old men waiting. To the changed Rectory she never looked. Then we were for some days at Hodnet, where Lady Valsamachi17 was staying, and both at Hodnet and Hawkestone my mother was warmly welcomed by old friends. I was glad to have the opportunity of walking with her in the beautiful fields consecrated to her by recollections of her happy life long ago in intimacy with the Hebers. From Hodnet we went to spend a few days with Henry de Bunsen at Lilleshall Rectory, which had a charming garden, where all his parishioners were invited to walk on Sunday afternoons. Thence my mother returned home, and I went towards my northern work.
To MY MOTHER.
"Weeping Cross, Stafford, August 21, 1862. - Miss Sarah Salt met me at the Stafford station, and drove me here - a moderate-sized house, simply furnished, but with the luxury of a cedarwood ceiling, which smells delicious. Out of a window-seat in the low comfortable library rose the thin angular figure of Harriet Salt, speaking in the subdued powerless way of old. She had a huge cat with her, and an aunt - rather a pretty old lady. 'What is your aunt's name?' I said afterwards to Miss Sarah. 'Oh, Aunt Emma.' - 'Yes, but what is her other name? what am I to call her?' - 'Oh, call her Aunt Emma; she would never know herself by any other name.' - 'And what do you do when your Aunt Emma Petit is here too?' - 'Oh, she is only Aunt Emma, and this is the other Aunt Emma; so when Aunt Emma from Lichfield is here, and we want this one, we say, "Other Aunt Emma, will you come here?"'
"After luncheon, we went out round the domain - paddocks with round plantations, and a good deal of garden. Miss Salt rode a white pony, we walked. Then the aunt mounted the pony, and she and Miss Sarah and I went a longer round, Miss Sarah breaking down the fences and pulling the pony through after her. 'Will not the farmers be angry?' I said. 'Oh, no; I threatened to have them up before the magistrates for stopping up a road, so we compromised; they are to have their road, and I am to break down their fences and go wherever I like, whether there is a road or not.'
"At seven the clergyman and his wife came to dinner. I took in the aunt, a timid old lady, who seldom ventured a remark, and then in the most diffident manner. This was her first - 'I think I may say, in fact I believe it has been often remarked, that Holland is a very flat country. I went there once, and it struck me that the observation was correct.' In the evening Miss Sarah looked at my drawings, and said, 'Well, on the whole, considering that they are totally unlike nature, I don't dislike them quite so much as I expected.'
"We breakfasted this morning at half-past seven, summoned by a gong; Miss Sarah having said, 'At whatever hour of the day or night you hear that gong sound, you will know that you are expected to appear somewhere. 'She presided at the breakfast-table with a huge tabby-cat seated on her shoulder. 'Does not that cat often tear your dress?' I asked. 'No,' she replied, 'but it very often tears my face,' and went on pouring out the tea."
"August 22. -Yesterday was hot and steamy, without a breath of air. Miss Sarah drove me and the clergyman's wife to Cannock Chase, a wild heathy upland, with groups of old firs and oaks, extending unenclosed for fifteen miles, and surrounded by noblemen's houses and parks. Here we joined a picnic party of fifty people. English fashion, scarcely anybody spoke to anybody else, and the families sat together in groups. Afterwards the public played at 'Aunt Sally,' and I walked with Miss Salt and her friends Misses Anastasia and Theodosia Royd far over the moorlands. A ridiculous old gentleman went with us, who talked of 'mists, while they enhanced the merits of nature, obscuring the accuracy of vision.' He also assured us that whenever he saw a snake, he shut his eyes and cried 'Murder!' We mounted another hill for kettle-boiling and tea, and then danced country-dances to the sound of a fiddle. It was seven o clock and the mists were rolling up from the hollows when we turned to go home. Mr. Salt was heard blowing a horn in the distance, which his daughter answered by a blast on her whistle, and so we found the carriage."
I am sorry not to find any letters recording the visit I paid after this to Mr. Petit, the ecclesiologist. He lived at Lichfield in a house built by Miss Porter, Dr. Johnson's step-daughter. With him resided his three sisters and seven cats, who appeared at all meals as part of the family, and rejoiced in the names of "Bug, Woodlouse, Nebuchadnezzar, Ezekiel, Bezor, Rabshakeh, and Eva - 'the mother of all the cats.'" Mr. Petit was most extraordinary, but a very interesting companion. I had a capital sight of the cathedral with him, beautiful still, though sadly "jemmyfied" by Scott, who has added some immense statues in the choir which put everything out of proportion, and has put up a bastard - gothic metal screen. At the end of an aisle is Chantrey's monument of the two Robinson children. One of them was burnt to death in reaching to get from the chimney-piece the snowdrops represented in her hand; the other died of consumption caused by too much rowing. When I was at Lichfield their mother was still living there with her third husband.
We went up Borrow Copp, a charming mound near the town, crowned by a chapel-like summer-house. Here the three Saxon kings are supposed to be buried whose bodies are represented in the arms of Lichfield.
The Petits are Petits des Etampes, and were refugees from Caen. They had a valuable miniature of Mary Queen of Scots by Bernard Lens, from their family connection with the Guises. Far more extraordinary than any other house I have ever seen was their country place of - "Bumblekite Hall!"
To MY MOTHER,
"Ripley Castle, August 28, 1862. - In coming down to dinner, l found a tall distinguished-looking lady upon the staircase, with whom I made friends at once as Charlie Wood's aunt, Lady Georgiana Grey. This afternoon I went with her and Miss Ingilby to Knaresborough, a town with stone roofs on a height above the Nid, crowned by the ruins of the castle which contains the vaulted dungeon where the murderers of Thomas à Becket were confined. Below the castle is the public-house called 'Mother Shipton,' bearing her picture and the inscription
'Near to this petrifying well
I first drew breath, as records tell.'
Through the inn - kept by one 'Almeda Burgess' - is a walk by the wooded bank of the river to the petrifying well, which is highly picturesque. The water falls from an overhanging umbrella-like cliff into a deep basin. A chain of stuffed birds is hung up for petrifaction, taking from twelve to fifteen months to turn into stone: bird's-nests take twelve months.
"Also in the valley of the Nid, on the east of the town, is St. Robert's Cave, excavated, as the guide told us, by St. Robert) 'a gentleman who wished to live very retired.' This was the place where the body of Clarke was discovered, which led to the execution of Eugene Aram. It is a most curious story.
"Eugene was the son of Peter Aram, who was head-gardener at Ripley Castle, and very respectable. But, together with two others, Housman and Clarke, Eugene arranged a curious scheme of robbery. They gave out that they were going to give a grand supper, and borrowed a quantity of plate, which they made away with, and on the night of the supposed supper Eugene and Housman murdered Clarke, that it might be supposed, when he was not forthcoming, that he alone was the robber. Afterwards Eugene went at night to Housman's house and talked over what was to be done. Before they left he said, 'If your wife is in bed upstairs, she must have heard us; we must make this secure,' and they went up intending to murder her if she was awake, but they passed the candle before her eyes, and she bore it without flinching. Then they went down again and burnt the clothes of the murdered man. Only the buttons fell uninjured amongst the cinders, and were found next morning by the wife. Afterwards, whenever she had a quarrel with her husband, she frightened him by saying, 'How about those buttons?'
"Housman and Arani buried the body in St. Robert's Cave, which was then filled with earth. Brushwood and briars grew over it, and no trace was left; but the murderers had a perpetual dread that some day the Nid would rise and lay the body bare, and whenever there was a very high wind, Housman for years used to go to see that it was not uncovered.
"Eugene Aram went away to Norfolk, where he prospered exceedingly, and 'visited with the best families.' But fourteen years after the murder, some workmen digging in St. Robert's Cave found a skeleton. 'I shouldn't wonder if this were Clarke,' said one of them. 'No, it is not,' said one of his companions, and this led to his arrest. It was Housman. He then confessed to the murder, and said that Eugene Aram was his accomplice; but Eugene Aram was gone.
"It happened, however, that a Knaresborough pedlar, in his walks through Norfolk, accidentally recognised Eugene Aram in a garden. On his return home, he gave notice to the constables, who went to Norfolk and fetched him away, and he was executed. The murder took place in 1745, the execution in 1759. It is said that after the murder Eugene never gave his right hand to any one. After he was executed, the 'finger of scorn pointed at his family,' and they went to America. The mother of the old woman who showed us the cave knew Clarke's widow intimately.
"A letter of Eugene Aram is preserved at Ripley Castle.18 There were many letters there from Peter Aram, his father, but they were destroyed by the late Lady Ingilby, because they were 'so wicked and blasphemous.' The chief point against Eugene Aram was that, when he was discovered, a defence was found which he had written twelve years before: this is made use of in Bulwer's novel.
"In the evening something was said about many ghost-stories being the result of a practical joke. Lady Georgiana Grey, who had been sitting quietly, suddenly rose - awful almost with her white face and long black velvet dress - and exclaimed, 'If any one ever dared to play a practical joke upon me, all my fortune, all my energies, my whole life would be insufficient to work my revenge. And she swept out of the room. They say it is because of the Grey
story about a head. Lady Georgiana first saw the head, when she was in bed in Hanover Square, in the autumn of 1823. She rushed for refuge to her mother's room, where she remained all night. Lady Grey desired her on no account to mention what she had seen to her father. But a fortnight later Lord Grey came into the room where Lady Georgiana was sitting with her mother and sister, much agitated, saying that he had just seen a head roll towards him."
"Ripley Castle, August 30. - The old Ladies Ruthven and Belhaven came to-day. They appear to have spent their lives in an atmosphere of dukes, but are very simple great ladies, chiefly interested by art and artists, and draw well themselves. Lady Belhaven is allowed by her husband to be with her sister now because of the odd illness of the latter, an invincible sleeplessness, which makes her very peculiar, and gives her a habit of talking to herself in a low murmur, however many people are around her. Rather to my alarm, I had to take her in to dinner, and as she is very deaf, to talk to her the whole time at the pitch of my voice; but we got on very well notwithstanding, so well indeed, that before the fish had been taken away she had asked me to come to stay with her at her castle in Scotland. As soon as dinner was over she made me bring my portfolio and sit the whole evening talking to her about my drawings. However, I was very glad of it, as, when she went to bed, she said, 'I have been so very happy this evening.'"
"September 1. - Saturday was a dismally wet day. We sat in the oak parlour, drew, and told stories. Lady Ruthven has lived many years at Athens, and four years - winter and summer - at Rome, and in summer used to study 'Roma Adombrata,' which taught her how to walk in the shade. On Sundays she invited all the artists, who never went to church, to her house, and 'read them a sermon, poor things, for the good of their souls.'
"She used when at Rome to go to 'La toilette des pieds ' of Pauline Borghese. Regular invitations were issued for it. When the guests arrived, they found the Princess - supremely lovely - with her beautiful little white feet exposed upon a velvet cushion. Then two or three maids came in, and touched the feet with a sponge and dusted them with a little powder - 'ç'était la toilette des pieds.' The Duke of Hamilton used to take up one of the little feet and put it inside his waistcoat 'like a little bird.' . . . Lady Ruthven and all her household are still wearing mourning for Lord Ruthven, who died seven years ago.
"The people here are full of quaint character, especially two brothers 'Johnny and Jacky.' Said Johnny to Jacky the other day, 'I've found a sax-pence.' - 'That's moine,' said Jacky, 'for I've lost un.' - 'Had thoine a haule in it?' said Johnny. - 'Ees,' said Jacky. - 'Then this ain't thoine,' said Johnny, 'for there's na haule in't.'
"Mrs. Ingilby herself is perfection - so refined and agreeable. No one would believe, when they see how admirably and unaffectedly she manages the castle and £20,000 a year, that seven years ago she and her husband lived in a Lincoinshire cottage with only £300 a year of income.
"Lady Georgiana Grey told me a curious story of some friends of hers.
"Lady Pennyman and her daughters took a house at Lille. The day after they arrived they went to order some things from a warehouse in the town, and gave their address. 'What,' said the man, 'are you living there, ma'am? Did I not misunderstand you?' - 'Yes,' said Lady Pennyman, 'that is where I live. Is there anything against the place?'
"'Oh dear, no, ma'am,' said the warehouseman; 'only the house has been for a long time without being let, because they say it's haunted.' Going home, Lady Pennyman laughed to her daughters, and said, 'Well, we shall see if the ghost will frighten us away.'
"But the next morning Lady Pennyman's maid came to her and said, 'If you please, ma'am, Mrs. Crowder and me must change our rooms. We can't remain where we are, ma'am; it's quite impossible. The ghost, he makes such a noise over our heads, we can get no sleep at all.' - 'Well, you can change your room,' said Lady Pennyman; 'but what is there over your room where you sleep? I will go and see;' and she found a very long gallery, quite empty except for a huge iron cage, in which it was evident that a human being had been confined.
"A few days after, a friend, a lady living in Lille, came to dine with them. She was a very strong-minded person, and when she heard of the servants alarm, she said, 'Oh, Lady Pennyman, do let me sleep in that room; I shall not be frightened, and if I sleep there, perhaps the ghost will be laid.' So she sent away her carriage and stayed; but the next morning she came down quite pale and haggard, and said certainly she had seen the figure of a young man in a dressing-gown standing opposite her bed, and yet the door was locked, and there could have been no real person there. A few days afterwards, towards evening, Lady Pennyman said to her daughter, 'Bessie, just go up and fetch the shawl which I left in my room.' Bessie went, and came down saying that as she went up she saw the figure of a young man in a dressing-gown standing on the flight of stairs opposite to her.
"One more attempt at explanation was made. A sailor son, just come from sea, was put to sleep in the room. When he came down in the morning, he was quite angry, and said, 'What did you think I was going to be up to, mother, that you had me watched? Why did you send that fellow in the dressing-gown to look after me?' The next day the Pennymans left the house.
"Lady Georgiana also told me: -
"There was once a Bishop Thomas.19 His mother one day awoke, having dreamt that her husband had fought a duel and was killed. She was much frightened by her dream, and, having great influence over her husband, she persuaded him not to go out that day as usual, but to stay at home with her. They lived in Spring Gardens, and having stayed in all day, towards four o'clock Mr. Thomas began to repine, and to wish to go out and walk in the Park. Mrs. Thomas assented on condition of going with him, and they walked in the Park and enjoyed it very much. While they were out, they met an old Indian friend of Mr. Thomas, whom he had not seen for years, and was delighted to meet. They talked over old times and scenes with great avidity, and at last Mr. Thomas said that he would see his old friend back to his hotel. Mrs. Thomas, being tired, begged to be left at her own house on the way.
"Mrs. Thomas waited long for her husband's return. At last she heard a sound of many footsteps coming down the street, and a voice asking which was Mrs. Thomas's house. She rushed down saying, 'You need not tell me; I know what has happened,' and she found her dream realised. Mr. Thomas had gone back to the hotel with his friend. According to the custom of that time, they drank a good deal together: they quarrelled over their wine, they fought, and Mr. Thomas was killed. The child that was born afterwards was Bishop Thomas."
"Middleton in Teesdale, Sept. 3. - Yesterday I went with the party at Ripley to Brimham Rocks, a most curious place - the rocks clustered in groups of enormous and fantastic forms on the very top of the Yorkshire range, and with a splendid view over the country, even York Minster appearing in the hazy distance.
"I slept at Barnard Castle last night, and set out at eight this morning for the Fells. It was gloomy and dismal, with mists gathering black over the distance, and constant rain falling; but there was no alternative. The valley of Upper Teesdale is in some ways like a valley in the Alps, the glaringly white farmhouses scattered thinly over the brilliantly green meadows, the hedgerows and trees replaced by low rugged stone walls, 'the Grass of Parnassus springing up by the side of all the clear streams. The people are all 'kin' to one another, and are singularly honest and truthful. 'They are all sincere men in these parts, said the guide, 'and if they tell you a tale, you may know it's because they're deceived.' We met a man on a horse. 'What a long cloak that man has,' I said. 'Yes,' answered the driver, 'but he's a good man and a just, and he fears God rather than men.'
"The High Force is a truly grand waterfall, where the whole river tosses over a huge precipice in the black basaltic cliff. We left the gig at a little inn at Langdon Beck, whence we set out on a weary foot - pilgrimage - a most fatiguing walk of ten miles, over broken edges of scars, along the torrent-bed, through rushes and bogs and heather, and across loose slippery shale - all this too in ceaseless rain and wind, and with the burden of a thick Scotch cloak. But Cauldron Snout is a very curious waterfall, quite out in the desolate moorlands, with the Westmorland Fells looming behind it. I was completely wet through before we got there, and came back plunging from tuft to tuft of rushes in the boggy moorlands. At one time we took refuge in a shepherd's hut, where an old shepherd, with flowing white hair and horn spectacles, was reading the Bible to his grandchildren - a group like many pictures one has seen. Here my socks were dipped in hot water and put on again, the mountaineer s remedy against cold."
"Ridley Hall Sept.7. - Yesterday Cousin Susan sent me to Bonnyrigg, Sir Edward Blackett's place in the moors - an enchanting drive, out of the inhabited country into the purple heather-land, where the desolate blue Northumbrian lakes lie at the foot of their huge precipitous crags. Bonnyrigg itself is embosomed in woods, yet surrounded on all sides by rock and moorland, and with a delightful view of Greenlea Lough. The Scotts were staying there, and I walked with the General20 along the Roman Wall, high on the cliffs and running from crag to crag, as perfect in its 1600th year as in its first."
"Chesters, Hexham, Sept 10. - I came here yesterday. My aged hostess, the eldest sister of the Newcastle Clayton family, is of a most tall, weird figure, and speaks in an abrupt, energetic, startling manner, but she is the most perfect lady imaginable, both in feeling and manners, and her kindness and thoughtfulness and consideration for others make her beloved far and wide. Chesters is famous for its liberal unostentatious hospitality, and Miss Clayton always lives here, though it is her brother's place, and he resides at Newcastle. She reads everything, and is ready to talk on any subject, but her great hobby is Roman antiquities, and she is one of the best antiquarians in the North, which is only as it should be, as Cilurnum, one of the finest of the Roman stations, is here in the garden, where there is also a museum of Roman relics. This house is about the size of Hurstmonceaux Place,21 and most thoroughly comfortable, with wide well-lighted galleries on each storey, filled with water-colour drawings by Richardson, with Roman antiquities, and curiosities of all kinds.
"This morning we were called at six, breakfasted at seven, and at half-past seven in the bright cold morning Miss Clayton herself drove me down to the train at Chollerford. A delightful journey brought me to Kielder, where, under the heather-clad hills, close to the Scottish Border, is the Duke of Northumberland's favourite castle and the scene of the beautiful ballad of the 'Cout of Kielder.' I wandered through the valley: -
"Up to 'the bonny brae, the green,
Yet sacred to the brave;
Where still, of ancient size, is seen
Gigantic Kielder's grave.
'Where weeps the birch with branches green
Without the holy ground,
Between two old grey stones is seen
The warrior's ridgy mound.'
Coming back, I left the train at Bellingham, and walked to Hesleyside, the fine place of the Roman Catholic Charltons, where the celebrated Charlton spur is preserved, which the lady of the house, in time of Border raids, used to serve up at dinner whenever she wished to indicate that her larder needed replenishing."
"Chesters, Sept 13. - On Thursday Miss Clayton drove me in her Irish car up North Tyne to Chipchase Castle, a noble old Jacobean house on a height, with a Norman tower, and afterwards to Simonburn and Tecket Lynn - a most picturesque waterfall through fern-fringed rocks; a very artistic 'subject,' too little known. Mr. John Clayton and Dr. Bruce arrived in the evening, and Roman antiquities became the order of the next day. We set off in a hurricane of cold wind, in the Irish car, along the Roman Wall, and spent the whole day amongst Roman remains, lunching at Hotbank Farm, where the Armstrongs live - last relics of the great mosstrooping family - inspiring a sort of clannish attachment still, as, when the last farmer died in 1859, two hundred mounted Borderers escorted him across the moorland to his grave.
"The great Roman station of Housesteads (Borcovicus) is a perfect English Pompeii of excavated houses and streets. Hence we clambered across stone walls and bogs for several miles to Sewing Shields, where Arthur and Guinevere and all their knights lie asleep in a basaltic cavern. . . . The Claytons are indescribably kind, and spare no pains to amuse, interest, and instruct me, and their horses seem as untirable."
"Chesters, Sept. 15. - I am becoming increasingly attached to 'Aunt Saily,' who is always finding out all the good she can in her neighbours and guests, and doing everything possible to make the world bright and pleasant to them: being really so loving and gentle herself, she influences all around her. On Saturday she took me to Houghton Castle, one of the most perfect inhabited feudal fortresses in the county; and to-day to Fallowfield, where there is a Roman Inscription on a grey rock - 'the Written Rock' - in the moorland."
"Otterburn, Sept. 18. - I left the train at Bellingham, where I found no further means of locomotion except a huge chariot with two horses. So, after going on a vain search for a cart to all the neighbouring farmhouses, I was obliged to engage it; but then there was another difficulty, for the key of the coach-house was lost, and I had to wait an hour till a smith could be brought to break it open. At length I set off in the great lumbering vehicle across the roughest moorland road imaginable - mere blocks of stone, scarcely chipped at all, with gates at every turn, over hideous barren moorland, no heather, only dead moss and blackened rushes and fern. It was like the drive in 'Rob Roy.' At last, in the gloaming, we drove over a rude bridge and up to this gothic castle, with terraces in front sloping down to the sullen Reedwater and barren deserted Fells. My host, Mr. James, has nine sons, of whom the two youngest, Charlie and Christie, are here now, and scamper on two little ponies all over the country. The whole family are inclined to abundant rude hospitality, and delight to entice visitors into these deserts. They have taken me to Elsdon, a curious desolate village in the hills, where the Baillies are rectors, and live in a dismal old castle, built to fortify the rector in mosstrooping times. It is a place quite out of the world, so very high up, that the coming of any chance stranger is quite an event: its people live entirely by keeping sheep and rearing geese in large flocks."
"Matfen, Sept. 20. - We had a very long excursion from Otterburn on Thursday. In these high moorlands, thirty-five miles is thought nothing extraordinary, and we drove in a brilliant morning all up the course of the Reedwater, through rocky valleys and relics of ancient forest, and by the Roman station of High Rochester to the Scottish border, upon the famous Reedswire. Here we carried our baskets up the hills and picnicked just inside Scotland, looking over the Lammermoor Hills and the valley of Jedburgh to Edinburgh far in the hazy distance. I long for my mother in all these moorland scenes - such feasts of beauty to mind and eye. The next morning we walked to Troughend, the grim haunted house of the Border hero Percy Reed.22 Then I went with 'Christie' to Percy's Cross, where Percy fell in the battle of Chevy Chase, and Witherington fought upon his stumps.23 Altogether it is an enchanting neighbourhood, full of ballads and traditions. . . . I much enjoy, however, the comparative rest at Matfen, nine or ten hours being the least time I was out any day at Chesters or Otterburn. Lady Blackett has been telling me a very curious story - from her personal knowledge.
"Mrs. Bulman went up from Northumberland to London, taking her little child with her. The evening after she arrived at her London house, she had occasion to go downstairs, and at the foot of the stairs passed a man talking to her maid; at that time she happened to have a bank-note in her hand. Afterwards she went upstairs again, and put her child to bed. In a little while she went up to see if it was comfortable. When she went into the room, the child was in bed, but appeared to be in rather an excited state, and said, 'Mama, I feel quite sure that there is somebody under the bed.' Mrs. Bulman said, 'Nonsense, my dear; there is nothing of the kind: only you are over-tired; so go to sleep, and do not think of anything else foolish;' and she went downstairs.
"I don't know what the child did then, but when Mrs. Bulman went up again, there was no one under the bed, but the window was open, and the lock of the desk on the table had been tried.
"Many years afterwards, Mrs. Bulman had occasion to visit a London prison. When she was going away, the governor came to her and said that there was a man there who was under sentence of death, and that he could not account for it, but, having seen Mrs. Bulman pass as she went into the prison, he was exceedingly importunate to be allowed to speak to her, if it were only for a moment. 'Well,' said Mrs. Bulman, 'if it will be any comfort to the poor man, I am sure I shall be very glad to speak to him,' and she went to his cell. She did not recollect ever having seen the man before, but he said that as he was so soon to go into another world, it could not matter to him what he confessed now, and that he thought it might be some satisfaction to her to know what a very narrow escape she had once had of her life.
"He said he was in the house talking to her maid, having gone in to visit one of her servants, when she came downstairs with the bank-note in her hand, and that he could not say what tempted him, but that he had seized a knife and hidden himself behind a door till she passed on her way upstairs again. Then he found his way to her room and concealed himself under her bed. There he had heard her come in and put the child to bed and leave it, and then, amazed at the strangeness of his situation, he turned round. She came back, and he heard the child tell her that there was a man under the bed, and if at that moment she had looked under, he should have sprung out and murdered her. She did not, and afterwards hearing a noise downstairs, he thought it was better to make his escape, which he did by the window, leaving it open behind him."
"Wallington, Sept 24. - On the way here I stopped to see Belsay, the finest of the Border fortresses, a grand old gothic tower, standing in a beautiful garden and amongst fine trees.
"Opening from the enclosed courtyard, which now forms a great frescoed hall in the centre of this house of Wallington, are endless suites of huge rooms, only partly carpeted and thinly furnished with ugly last-century furniture, partly covered with faded tapestry. The last of these is 'the ghost-room,' and Wallington is still a haunted house: awful noises are heard all through the night; footsteps rush up and down the untrodden passages; wings flap and beat against the windows; bodiless people unpack and put away their things all night long, and invisible beings are felt to breathe over you as you lie in bed. I think my room quite horrid, and it opens into a long suite of desolate rooms by a door which has no fastening, so I have pushed the heavy dressing-table with its weighty mirror, &c., against it to keep out all the nasty things that might try to come in. Old Lady Trevelyan was a very wicked woman and a miser: she lived here for many years, and is believed to wander here still: her son, Sir Walter, has never been known to laugh.
"Sir Walter is a strange-looking being, with long hair and moustache, and an odd careless dress. He also has the reputation of being a miser.24 He is a great teetotaller, and inveighs everywhere against wine and beer: I trembled as I ran the gauntlet of public opinion yesterday in accepting a glass of sherry. Lady Trevelyan is a great artist. She is a pleasant, bright little woman, with sparkling black eyes, who paints beautifully, is intimately acquainted with all the principal artists, imports baskets from Madeira and lace from Honiton, and sells them in Northumberland, and always sits upon the rug by preference.
"There is another strange being in the house. It is Mr. Wooster, who came to arrange the collection of shells four years ago, and has never gone away. He looks like a church-brass incarnated, and turns up his eyes when he speaks to you, till you see nothing but the whites. He also has a long trailing moustache, and in all things imitates, but caricatures, Sir Walter. What he does here nobody seems to know; the Tre-velyans say he puts the shells to rights, but the shells cannot take four years to dust."
"Sept 26. - Such a cunous place this is! and such curious people! I get on better with them now, and even Sir Walter is gruffly kind and grumpily amiable. As to information, he is a perfect mine, and he knows every book and ballad that ever was written, every story of local interest that ever was told, and every flower and fossil that ever was found - besides the great-grandfathers and great-grandmothers of everybody dead or alive. His conversation is so curious that I follow him about everywhere, and take notes under his nose, which he does not seem to mind in the least, but only says something more quaint and astonishing the next minute. Lady Trevelyan is equally unusual. She is abrupt to a degree, and contradicts everything. Her little black eyes twinkle with mirth all day long, though she says she is ill and has 'the most extraordinary feels;' she is 'sure no one ever had such extraordinary feels as she has.' She never appears to attend to her house a bit, which is like the great desert with one or two little oases in it, where by good management you may possibly make yourself comfortable. She paints foxgloves in fresco and makes little sketches à la Ruskin in the tiniest of books - chiefly of pollard willows, which she declares are the most beautiful things in nature. To see pollard willows in perfection she spent six weeks last spring in the flattest parts of Holland, and thought it lovely - 'the willows so fine and the boat-life so healthy.' 'Well, you will go to the bad,' she said to me yesterday, because I did not admire a miserable little drawing of Ruskin: my own sketches she thinks quite monstrous.
"We went the day before yesterday to Capheaton, the home of the Swinburnes, a very curious old house, and Sir John Swinburne, a very pleasing young miser, is coming to dinner to-day. Yesterday we went through fog and rain to Camphoc, Kirk Whelpington, and Little Harle, a fine inhabited castle. Sir Walter made me wade through the Wansbeck as we came back!"
"Sept. 28. - The more one knows Sir Walter and Lady Trevelyan, the more one finds how, through all their peculiarities, they are to be liked and respected. Everything either of them says is worth hearing, and they are so full of information of every kind, that the time here has been all too short for hearing them talk.25 On Thursday, Miss Ogle, the authoress of that charming novel 'A Lost Love,' came. She has lived here a great deal, and says the Wallington ghost is a lady with her head under her arm, who walks about at night. She has heard all the extraordinary rappings very often, and says they cannot be accounted for in any way, but she has never seen the lady.
"The library here is delightful, full of old topographical books and pamphlets; and sleek Mr. Wooster, with whites of his eyes turned up to the skies, is always at hand to find for you anything you want.
"On Friday Sir Walter took me a long drive through the beautiful forest-land called the Trench, and by Rothley Crags to Netherwitton, where the Raleigh Trevelyans live. Mrs. Raleigh Trevelyan, a stately and beautiful old lady, is the direct descendant of the Witherington who fought upon his stumps. She has pictures of Lord Derwentwater and his brother, and one of her ancestors concealed Simon, Lord Lovat, in his house for months: the closet where he was hidden is still to be seen, and very curious. Then we went to Long Witton, to Mrs. Spencer Trevelyan, a great botanist and eccentric person, who breakfasts at six, dines at twelve, teas at four, and goes to bed at seven o'clock.
"Yesterday Miss Ogle and I went to Harnham, where Mrs. Catherine Babington, a famous Puritan lady who was excommunicated, is buried in the rock; to Shortflat Tower, the old peel castle of the Dents; and to the Poind and his Man, Druidical antiquities, and Shaftoe Crag, a beautiful wild cliff overgrown with heather. The country round this is singularly interesting - the view from the church (Cambo), where we have just been, quite beautiful over the endless waves of distant hill."
"Warkworth, Oct. 2. - My mother will like to think of me with the Clutterbucks in this charming sunny old house, the most perfect contrast to Wallington; but if Sir Walter saw his house papered and furnished like those of other people's, he would certainly pine away from excess of luxury. I have spent two days with the Ogles, whom we have often met abroad, with their dark handsome daughters - dark, people say, because their grandmother was a Spaniard. They are proud of their supposed Spanish blood, and when Isabel Ogle married George Clayton, all her sisters followed in long black lace veils. Near their modern house is the old moated family castle of Ogle."
WARKWORTH, FROM THE COQUET.
"St. Michael's Vicarage, Alnwick, Oct. 4. - I have been kindly received here by the Court Granvilles: he is a fiery, impetuous little man; she (Lady Charlotte) a sister of the Duke of Athole. The Duke of Northumberland sent for me to his hot room at the castle, where he sits almost immovable, fingers and toes swollen with gout, and talked a great deal about the importance of my work, the difficulty of getting accurate information, &c.; but I do not think he heard a word that I said in reply, for when he has the gout he is almost quite deaf. Then he sent for the Duchess, who good-naturedly knotted her pocket-handkerchief round her throat, and went through all the rooms to show me the pictures. We went again to dinner - only Sir Cresswell Cresswell, the famous judge, there, and Lady Alvanley, sister of the Duke of Cleveland. Sir Cresswell was most amusing in describing how, when a lady was being conveyed in a sedan-chair to a party at Northumberland House, the bottom fell out, and, as she shouted in vain to make her bearers hear, she was obliged to run as fast as she could all the way through the mire inside the shell of the chair."
"Blenkinsopp Castle, Oct. 11. - This is the castellated house of the Coulsons, in the upper part of South Tyne Valley - very large and comfortable. The owner, Colonel Coulson, is a great invalid, and his daughter-in-law, a daughter of Lord Byron, does the honours. We have made pleasant excursions to Gilsland Spa, and to Llanercost and Naworth, the latter - externally a magnificent feudal castle - the home of Belted Will Howard in mosstrooping times."
"Bamborough Castle, Oct 17. - How enchanting it is in this grand old castle looking out on the sea, with all the Fame Islands stretched out as on a map. I think even the Mediterranean is scarcely such a beautiful sea as this, the waves are so enormous and have such gorgeous colouring. I have had delightful walks with the dear old cousin on the sands, and to Spindleston, where the famous dragon lived."
"Winton Castle, Tranent, Oct 17, Evening. - As my mother will see, I have come here for holidays, and shall be glad of a day or two in which the mind is not kept in perpetual tension. I heard from Lady Ruthven that I was to meet Lord Belhaven at Prestonpans station, and had no doubt which was he - an old gentleman in a white hat with white hair and hooked nose. We drove here together, and very pleasant it was to exchange the pouring rain without for the large, low, old-fashioned drawing-room, with a splendid ceiling and sculptured chimney, thick Indian carpets, and fine old pictures and china. Soon Lady Ruthven and Lady Belhaven came in, calling out 'welcome' as they entered the room. The other guests are Lady Arthur Lennox and her youngest daughter, who looks, as Lady Ruthven says, 'just like a Watteau;' also Lord Leven, cousin of our hostess, and Miss Fletcher of Saltoun."
"Winton Castle, Oct 20. - When I awoke on Saturday, I was surprised to see a fine old tower opposite my windows, with high turrets and richly-carved chimneys and windows; but the castle has been miserably added to. Lady Ruthven is most original, with a wonderfully poetical mind, and is very different from her regal-looking sister, Lady Belhaven, who, still very handsome, sweeps about the long rooms, and for whom 'gracious' is the only befitting expression. All the guests are pushed together by Lady Ruthven in a way which makes it impossible that they should not be intimate. For instance, as we went in to breakfast on Saturday, she said, 'Now, Mr. Hare, you are to sit next to Lord Leven, for you will not see any more of him; so mind you devote yourselves to one another all breakfast time.'
"On Saturday we all went to luncheon at Saltoun, the great place of the neighbourhood, where Mr. Fletcher lives, whose wife, Lady Charlotte, is one of Lady Ruthven's nieces. It is a large, stately, modern castle, containing a fine library and curious MSS. The tables were loaded with 'loot' from the Summer Palace in China.
"Yesterday we all went at twelve o'clock to the Presbyterian church at Pencaitland, one of the oldest in Scotland. The singing was beautiful, and we had an admirable sermon from the minister, Mr. Rioch, who came in the evening and made a very long exposition 'to the servants."
"Oct 21. - The Mount-Edgecumbes and I went to-day with Lady Ruthven to Gosford - her nephew Lord Wemyss's place, near the sea. I walked for some time in the shrubberies with Lady Mount-Edgecumbe, till we were sent for into the house. There we found old Lady Wemyss with her daughter, Lady Louisa Wells, and her daughter-in-law, Lady Elcho. The last is a celebrated beauty, and has been celebrated also for fulfilling the part of 'Justice' in a famous tableau. In ordinary life she is perfectly statuesque, with a frigid manner. She was very kind, however, and took us over the house, full of works of art, of which we had not time to see a tenth part, but there is a grand Pordenone."
"North Berwick, Oct. 23. - It has been charming to be here again with dear Mrs. Dalzel. . . . What a quaint place it is. Formerly every one who lived in North Berwick was a Dalrymple: there were nine families of Dalrymples, and seventeen Miss Dalrymples, old maids: the only street in the town was Quality Street, and all its houses were occupied by Dalrymples. North Berwick supported itself formerly upon its herring-fishery, and it is sadly conducive to strict Sabbatarianism that the herrings have totally disappeared, and the place become poverty-stricken, since an occasion in the spring when the fishers went out on a Sunday."
"King's Meadows, Oct. 25. - This comfortable house of kind old Sir Adam Flay is close to Peebles. 'As quiet as Peebles or the grave,' is a proverb. The Baillie, however, does not think so. He went to Paris, and when he came back, all his neighbours were longing to know his impressions. 'Eh, it's just a grand place, but Peebles for pleasure,' he said. Ultra- Sabbatarianism reigns supreme. An old woman's son whistled on a Sunday. 'Eh, I could just put up wi' a wee swearing, but I canna thole whistling on the Sabbath,' she lamented. Another woman, being invited to have some more at a dinner given to some of the poor, answered, 'No, thank ye, mum, I won't have any more, mum; the sufficiency that I have had is enough for me.'"
"Wishaw House, Motherwell, Oct. 27. - When I came here, I found Lord and Lady Belhaven alone, but a large party arrived soon afterwards, who have since been admirably shaken together by their hostess. The place is almost in the Black Country, but is charming nevertheless. A rushing river, the Calder, dashes through the rocky glen below the castle, under a tall ivy-covered bridge, and through woods now perfectly gorgeous with the crimson and golden tints of autumn. Above, on either side, are hanging walks, and in the depth of the glen an old-fashioned garden with a stone fountain, clipped yew-trees, and long straight grass walks.
"We have been taken to Brainscleugh, a wonderful little place belonging to Lady Ruthven - a sort of Louis XIV. villa, overhanging the river Avon by a series of quaint terraces, with moss-grown staircases and fountains more like something at Albano than in Scotland. Miss Melita Ponsonby, Sir Charles Cuffe, and I walked on hence to the old Hamilton Chase, full of oaks which have stood there since the Conquest, and part of the forest which once extended across Scotland from one sea to the other. It poured with rain, but we reached the place where the eighty wild milk-white cattle were feeding together. Then we pursued the rest of the party to Hamilton Palace, which is like a monster London house - Belgrave Square covered in and brought into the country. There are endless pictures, amongst them an awful representation of Daniel in an agony of prayer in the lions' den. 'It is no wonder the lions were afraid of him,' the Duchess of Hamilton overheard one of the crowd say as they were being shown round. In the park is a huge domed edifice something like the tomb of Theodoric at Ravenna. It was erected by the last Duke for himself; his son, grandson, and his nine predecessors. 'What a grand sight it will be,' he said, 'when twelve Dukes of Hamilton rise together here at the Resurrection!' He lies himself just under the dome, upon a pavement of coloured marbles and inside the sarcophagus of an Egyptian queen, with her image painted and sculptured outside. He had this sarcophagus brought from Thebes, and used frequently to lie down in it to see how it fitted. It is made of Egyptian syenite, the hardest of all stones, and could not be altered; but when dying he was so haunted by the idea that his body might be too long to go inside the queen, that his last words were, 'Double me up! double me up!' The last drive he took had been to buy spices for his own embalming. After he was dead, no amount of doubling could get him into the mummy-case, and they had to cut off his feet to do it!26 The mausoleum is a most strange place, and as you enter mysterious voices seem to be whispering and clamouring together in the height of the dome; and when the door bangs, it is as if all the demons in the Inferno were let loose, and the shriekings and screamings around you are perfectly terrific. Beneath lie all the house of Hamilton in their crimson coffins, which you survey by the light of a single tallow candle.
"Yesterday I went to Dalzell, the old fortified house of the Hamiltons, and we have also been taken to the Falls of the Clyde at Stonebyres, which were magnificent, the river tossing wildly through woods which now have all the gorgeous colouring of an Indian autumn."
"Ford Cottage, Nov. 5. - This is a charming little house, nestling at the foot of the castle-hill, and it has been an amusement to Lady Waterford to fit it up temporarily with the most interesting contents of the castle. The walls are hung with beautiful pictures and the rooms furnished with ivory and ebony cabinets, quantities of old china, tall glasses piled with ferns and flowers, old-fashioned tables and deep velvet arm-chairs. She will be here for another year probably, and thoroughly enjoys the life, saying that she never knew what it was to have a garden before.
"Dear old Lady Stuart is here in her deep mourning, and Lady Waterford, now her only remaining child, has been more closely united to her mother than ever since Lady Canning's death.27
THE CHEVIOTS, FROM FORD.28
"Lady Waterford is indeed perfectly delightful - brimming with originality and enthusiasm, and with the power - which so few people have - of putting all her wonderfully poetical thoughts into words, and so letting others have the benefit of them. Sometimes she will sit down to the pianoforte and sing in the most thrilling way - Handel or Beethoven, or old Spanish ballads - without having the music or words before her. At others she will draw, suddenly and at once, the beautiful inspirations which come to her. Last night it was a lovely child crowned and sporting with flowers, and four other sweet little maidens dancing round her with garlands; it was from the childhood of Mary Queen of Scots and her four Maries. She is never tired of hearing of people; she says she sees so few and knows so little of them now - places she does not care to hear about.
"In the afternoon we went up to the castle, which is entirely changed since I saw it last, having gone back from a gingerbread gothic house to the appearance of an ancient building. The drawing-room is beautiful, with its ceiling and ornaments copied from that at Winton. Lord Durham was drilling his volunteer corps before the castle, and a mock siege was got up, with a storming of the new bridge over the dene. Then we walked to a new lodge which is building. All around are improvements - church restored, schools built, cottages renewed, gardens made, and then the castle."
"Nov. 5 (Evening). - The hard frost last night preluded a bright beautiful day. Lady Waterford let me have the pony-carriage with two white ponies to go where I liked, and I went to a ruined peel at Howtell Grange, and then through hollows in the Cheviots to Kirk-Newton, where Paulinus baptized his Northumbrian converts. 'Oh! if my Lady were only here, for it is quite lovely!' exclaimed the coachman, as we turned the corner of the mountains. He told me about Lord Waterford's death, how he was riding by his side over the mountain when his horse stumbled. He got up safely, and then somehow overbalanced himself and fell from the saddle upon his head. They could not believe that he was hurt at first, for he lay in his hunting-coat quite unbruised and beautiful; but when they raised him up, his head fell down, for his neck was broken and he was dead. 'Then there was an awful wail,' said the man, 'though we could none of us believe it. Dr. Jephson rode on to break it to my Lady, and he met her driving her two white ponies up to the door, all gay and happy, and told her at first that my Lord had broken his thigh-bone and was very much hurt; but she saw by his face that it was worse than that, and said so, and he could not speak to her. Then she went away to her own room and locked herself in. When my Lord had been brought home and night came on, she ordered every one away from her, and she looked on his face once more, but what my Lady did that night we none of us knew.'
"She cannot bear a horse now: she has only this little pony-carriage.
"This afternoon I have been with her to her school. She is covering it with large pictures which have the effect of frescoes. All the subjects are Bible stories from the lives of good children. In the first, of Cain and Abel, the devout Abel is earnestly offering his sacrifice of the lamb; while careless Cain, attracted by the flight of some pigeons, looks away and lets his apples fall from the altar. All the children are portraits, and it was interesting to see the originals sitting beneath the frescoes, slates and pencils in hand.
"It seems to me as if Lady Waterford had become strangely spiritualised this year since Lady Canning's death. She is just what she herself describes Miss Boyle to have become, 'A calm seeker after good, in whatever way she may find it.'"
"Falloden, Nov,. 7, 1862. - I have been most kindly received by Sir George and Lady Grey. . . He has the reputation of being the most agreeable 'gentleman' in England, and certainly is charming, so cordial and kind and winning in manner. . . . We have been this evening to Dunstanborough - most lovely, the tall tower in the evening light rising rosy-pink against a blue sea."
"Roddam, Nov. 13. - I have been with Mrs. Roddam at Eslington, a large grey stone house on a terrace, with a French garden and fine trees. Hedworth Liddell received us, and then his many sisters came trooping in to luncheon from walking and driving. 'We are sure this is our cousin Augustus Hare: we saw you through the window, and were sure it was you, you are so like your sister.' . . . They were much amused at my delight over the portraits of our ancestors."
"Chillingham, Nov. 14. - There is a large party here, including Captain and Mrs. Northcote, a very handsome, distinguished-looking young couple, and my hitherto unknown cousins, Lord and Lady Durham.29 He has a morose look, which does him great injustice; she is one of Lord Ahercorn's charming daughters-excessively pretty, natural, and winning."
"Nov. 15.-Each evening we have had impromptu charades, in which Lord Durham acts capitally. Yesterday we went to a review of his volunteer corps on Milifield Plain, and afterwards to tea at Copeland Castle, an old Border fortress on the Till, which the Durhams are renting. You would be quite fascinated by Lady Durham - 'the little Countess,' as Lady Tankerville calls her. Lord Durham does not look a bit older than I, though he has seven children. They have given me a very cordial invitation to stay with them."
"Morpeth, Nov. 16. - We dispersed yesterday evening. Lord Tankerville wished me to have stayed, and it was very pleasant at the end of an enchanting visit to have one's host say, 'I am so very sorry you are going; and, though the Greys are very nice people, I quite hate them for taking you away from us.' They sent me in one carriage, and my luggage in another, to meet the coach at Lilburn. I had three-quarters of an hour to wait, and took refuge in a shepherd's hut, where the wife was very busy washing all her little golden-haired children in tubs, and putting them to sleep in box-beds."
"Morpeth, Nov. 19. - On Monday I got up in pitch darkness and went off at half-past seven by coach to Rothbury, a lonely little town amid moorland hills with sweeping blue distance. There I got a gig, and went far up Coquetdale to Harbottle, a most interesting country, full of peel towers and wild rocky valleys. Coming back, I stopped at Holystone, where a tall cross and an old statue near a basin of transparent water mark the place where Paulinus baptized three thousand Northumbrians. Then, in the gloaming, I saw the fine old Abbey of Brinkburn, close upon the shore of Coquet, celebrated in many old angling songs.
"To-day I have been with the Greys to Cresswell, the largest modern house in the county, with an old peel tower where an ancestress of the family starved herself to death after seeing her three brothers murder her Danish lover upon the shore."
Several more visits brought me home at the end of November, with an immense stock of new material, which I arranged in the next few months in "Murray's Handbook of Durham and Northumberland" - work for which neither Murray nor any one else gave me much credit, but which cost me great labour, and into which I put my whole heart.
Susan, 5th daughter of Thomas Lyon of Hetton, married the Rev. J. Fellowes of Shottesham.
The heroine of the wreck of the Forfarshire, Sept. 5, 1838.
Only son of John, 10th Earl of Strathrnore, and Mary Milner.
Mary Eleanor Bowes, 9th Countess of Strathmore.
Paulina, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Jermyn.
Mrs. Clutterbuck was Marianne, youngest daughter of the Hon. Thomas Lyon of Hetton, my great-grandmother's youngest brother.
Afterwards Lord Wilfred Seymour.
Arthur Stanley's account
Notably the ballad of "Featherstonhaugh," which Sir Walter inserted as ancient in his "Border Minstrelsy," introducing one stanza in the poem of "Marmion" itself.
My great-great-uncle, Thomas Lyon of Hetton, younger brother of the 9th Earl of Strathmore, married Miss Wren (grand-daughter of Sir Christopher), heiress of Binchester.
Mr. John Clayton survived till July 1890, leaving personalty valued at £728,000, and real property supposed to be worth £20,000 a year. The last member of his generanon, the universally beloved Mrs. Anne Clayton, died October 30, 1890.
Rev. J. Collingwood Bruce, author of "The Roman wall," &c. He lived till 1893, and is commemorated by a tomb in St. Nicholas, Newcastle.
Mr. Andersen had two daughters, my great-great-grandmother Mrs. Simpson, and the Marchesa Grimaldi, great-grandmother of Stacey Grimaldi, who was at this time trying to establish his claims to the Principality of Monaco.
Bradley was inherited and sold by Lord Ravensworth, and its pictures removed to Eslington.
The living of Blanchland was afterwards given by the Governors of Bamborough to Mr. Gurley on his marriage with my cousin, Mary Clutterbuck.
The widow of Reginald Heber.
The curious old muniment room at Ripley is now modernised, indeed destroyed.
Dr. John Thomas, Bishop of Peterhorough, and afterwards of Salisbury - some time tutor to George III.
General Scott had married the Hon. Alethea Stanley, sister of Mrs. Marcus Hare.
It was rebuilt on a large scale in 1893.
Well known from the ballad of "The Death of Parcy Reed."
See the ballad of "Chevy Chase."
Sir Charles Trevelyan, Sir Walter's cousin and heir, who read this, asked me to acid a note, and to say that though it is quite true that Sir Walter was a miser, he was only a miser for philanthropic purposes. He gave £60,000 at once for a railway which he thought would benefit the district in which he lived, and his charities, though eccentric, were quite boundless.
Paulina, Lady Trevelyan, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Jermyn, died in 1866. Sir Walter married afterwards a Miss Loft, and survived till 1879, hut I never saw him again.
1888. - Alas that I should have to add a note to say that the mummy-case has been since discovered not to have belonged to a queen at all, but to the court-jester!
Charlotte, eldest daughter of Lord Stuart de Rothesay, married (1835) Charles John, afterwards Viscount and Earl Canning and Governor-General of India, and died at Calcutta, Nov. 18, 1861.
From "The Story of Two Noble Lives."
His great-grandmother, Lady Susan Lyon and my great-grandmother, Lady Anne were sisters.