Isabella Fyvie Mayo (4)

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CHAPTER VI.

MEMORIES OF INTERESTING PEOPLE.


I LIVED my younger days in a part of London full of varied interest.  Everybody passed before one's vision.  For instance, in our walks in the parks we constantly saw all the members of the then ruling Royal Family.  It must have been about the year 1848 that, in the Mall, somebody lifted me high that I might catch a glimpse of Queen Victoria, wearing a pink bonnet, and smiling.  We afterwards constantly saw her and the Prince Consort in their afternoon drives, sometimes accompanied by one of their children and a lady, sometimes only by two children.  The Prince Consort was punctilious in returning salutations when riding.  I have seen him check his horse to return individually an individual's bow.  I always thought the Princess Alice by far the prettiest and sweetest of the Royal daughters.  I remember once seeing her and the Princess Charlotte of Belgium, afterwards the ill-fated Empress of Mexico, driving along in fits of laughter, apparently over some joke perpetrated by the Count of Flanders, who was seated opposite them.

    When the Crown Prince of Prussia—or, as he was then, Prince Frederick William—came to woo the Princess Royal, he was but a sullen "down-looking" young man, with no promise of the noble and manly beauty he evolved as years passed by.  Prince Louis of Hesse, who married Princess Alice, was a much brighter and more hopeful-looking suitor, but I fear he belied the auguries of his youth.

    I remember seeing Prince Frederick William and his bride pass down the Strand, on their way to take ship for Germany.  There was an immense concourse of people to cheer them.  It was a bitter January day, with snow falling, but they drove in an open carriage, and the bride was quite candidly crying.

    I saw the King of the Belgians when he, too, was a young man.  His face was what might be called handsome, but the expression was sly and crafty.  All the Royal Family often drove out in low, simple victorias, so that in the Mall or on Constitution Hill pedestrians were brought quite close to them.

    Not many months before his death I saw the Duke of Wellington.  He was in Pall Mall, riding slowly eastwards, followed by a mounted groom.  As the Duke sat in his saddle, he looked very small and wasted.  His face was ashen and set, and its expression melancholic.

    Many years afterwards I was told a comical anecdote of one of the Iron Duke's famous "notes."  A certain Scotch advocate boasted that he had received a missive from the Duke of Wellington, to whom he had written "asking permission" to name his son after the great General.  As he did not show the note, his acquaintances presently gave signs of incredulity.  Thereupon he produced the missive.  It was couched in the Duke's usual form: "Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington presents his compliments, etc., and if Mr. X――"  Then followed space for about two lines, which had been carefully blocked out, and the document ended with the words, "may call his baby after him."  There was the note—no more doubt of that—and the erasure only intensified the interest and the sense of secrecy and awe.  Mr. X―― kept his secret.  Since "a cat may look at a king," and anybody was free to name a babe Arthur, possibly the Duke had expressed a slightly unflattering opinion of a correspondent whose vanity only could have led him to obtrude himself for such a permission.

    There is another funny story about this same Mr. X――.  He happened once to enter the dress-circle of an Edinburgh theatre at the very moment when Sir Walter Scott appeared in a box.  The audience cheered the arrival of the great novelist.  Mr. X――, who had just been "before the public" in some petty legal business, imagined that the ovation was given to him, and stood up, bowing veraciously from side to side.

    Leaning from the window of my own home, I saw the Duke of Wellington's funeral.  It took place in September, when the sun rises at about 5.30 a.m., but crowds had gathered in the streets long before daybreak, though the procession did not pass till midday.  The item of the cavalcade which most impressed me was his old charger, led along with drooping head.

    It was on that occasion that I first saw the morning star, as, owing to the noise of multitudes gathering in the street, we were all astir very early.

    I saw Benjamin Disraeli twice.  Once, when I took home some law-copying to the office of the Tory agent, I knocked as usual, and was bidden to "Come in."  Entering, I found a little group of gentlemen seated, evidently in close conference.  I do not know who the others were, but my eyes fell direct on the face of "Dizzy," so well known by many portraits.  He looked at the then unusual sight of a girl in an office, with slightly raised eyebrows and "Who is this?" expression.  I laid down my papers and fled in much consternation.

    The second time I saw him I looked down upon him from the dreadful "Ladies' Cage" in the House of Commons.  Earlier in the day he had been speaking, but when we arrived he was seated in a curious, drawn-together, humped-up, almost simian attitude.  Face and figure remained absolutely immovable all the time we stayed, which must have been for nearly two hours.  For any sign he gave, he might have been carefully listening to the other speakers, or he might have been absolutely deaf to every word.

    According to Mrs. S. C. Hall, the early days of Mrs. Disraeli's first marriage were very humble indeed.  But as soon as she inherited her fortune—unexpectedly, I think, from an almost unknown uncle, who had been lost to sight, I believe, in India—her ambitions developed.  She came up to London, resolved to take society by storm.  Mrs. S. C. Hall had it that it had been noticed as a coincidence that the debts of a certain Duke's daughter were suddenly discharged, and that this Duke's daughter presented Mrs. Wyndham Lewis at Court.

    I went to see General Garibaldi when he arrived in London on April 11, 1864.  The authorities had not realized the immense enthusiasm that would be evoked, and they had made but few of the policing arrangements usual on "procession days."  The streets from the railway-station to Stafford House (where the Liberator was to be the guest of the Duke of Sutherland) were simply packed with respectable-looking people, the rough element being conspicuously absent.  The General was expected early in the afternoon, but, owing to some accidental dislocation of travelling arrangements, he did not appear till after six.  The crowd waited patiently all those hours.  We waited too, but finally, owing to an appointment, had to leave before he arrived, and did not see him on that occasion.

    During his visit, however, we saw him several times.  He always wore his picturesque red shirt, his grey cloak over his shoulder, and a sombrero hat, though his unceasing response to salutations prevented its being often on his head.  His sons, who were both with him, wore ordinary dress.  The General himself was quite unlike the common British conception of an Italian.  His complexion was fresh and florid, his eyes grey, in his hair the chestnut still lingered among the silver, and the whole expression of his bearing and countenance was gentle and fatherly.  Both his sons were very dark, with black hair and flashing eyes—inheritance, probably, from their Spanish South-American mother.

    I happened to know the wife of a London Common Councillor, Mr. John Richardson, who was a member of Garibaldi's reception-committee.  Thus I heard something of what went on behind the scenes during the General's stay.  According to Mr. Richardson, the enthusiasm shown in Garibaldi's reception gave considerable annoyance in the very highest quarters.  He asserted that, to his own knowledge, Gladstone had called on Garibaldi at Stafford House, and had entreated him to curtail his visit to Britain.  Certain it is that, on the evening of the day when his visit is said to have been made, Garibaldi quitted Stafford House, and, as it were, the Court circle, and took up his abode with Mr. Seeley, M.P., in Prince's Gardens.  From that date, too, the General's projected tour through Britain was abandoned.  I believe that Gladstone was asked questions in the House as to his visit and its purpose, and that he denied everything.  Yet even at the time the general public "had its doubts."  One may note how Lord Morley slurs over this incident in his "Life of Gladstone," half admitting and half denying.

    This little experience has made me realize all my life that the assurances of Cabinet Ministers may often be too diplomatic to merit implicit confidence.

    Other matters also lay, as it were, open to the naked eye.  It had been announced that Garibaldi was to visit Windsor Castle, and it had been presumed that Queen Victoria herself might receive him in an informal way, as she had often done in the case of distinguished strangers—as she did afterwards with the poet Longfellow, to whom she offered her hand to be kissed, while he, with republican frankness, took it and shook it heartily!  But it was made known that Garibaldi was not to visit Windsor Castle.  Mr. Richardson declared that it had been notified to the General that he could visit the Castle, but only as an ordinary traveller, and that the Queen herself would not be visible.  Thereupon Garibaldi had retorted that he was not in the habit of visiting houses where he was not welcome to the owners, and had cancelled the arrangement.  One recognizes the difficulties of the position.

    Though she was a strong Royalist and a staunch Conservative, Mrs. S. C. Hall was enthusiastic about Garibaldi.  I recall her delighted excitement at being introduced to him at a reception at Mr. Seeley's, and her repetition of an aphorism he had used: "He who bends his back too low may not be able readily to straighten it again."

    There was often a glorious inconsistency about Mrs. S. C. Hall which enabled her to be practically right (according to some views) on many points where logically she should have been wrong.

    It was through this enthusiastic interest of hers that Mrs. Hall took me to visit Garibaldi's English friends, Colonel and Mrs. Chambers, then living at Putney House.  There I was bidden to put my hand on the Liberator's sword, which hung in the great oak dining-room, a gift from himself.  There, too, I saw a painted portrait of Garibaldi's Mother, a stately, austere old figure, who might easily have passed for a Scottish gentlewoman of the older school.

    In his motherless and crippled childhood, Ricciotti, Garibaldi's youngest son, had been taken in charge by Mrs. Chambers.  Her house was still regarded as his home in England.  Her little daughter, then a maiden of some thirteen summers, took me into the delightful old garden, and introduced me to two magnificent deerhounds, Ricciotti's possessions.  Mrs. Chambers herself was then busy with Garibaldian correspondence and Garibaldian propaganda, and her writing-room was literally ankle-deep in manuscripts and printed papers.

    I afterwards met Mrs. Chambers and Ricciotti Garibaldi at a small supper-party given by the Halls.  The infantile paralysis which had once threatened the General's youngest son with lameness had in reality left behind nothing but the slightest "drag" of one foot.  The young man was eager to be agreeable, bright, and animated, speaking English, of course, with perfect fluency, but with a fire of manner and a grace of gesture which, emphasized by his dark flashing eyes, were perhaps derived more from his Spanish-American mother than from his Italian father.

    It was on this occasion that Ricciotti Garibaldi told a Miss Tripp and myself a ghost-story of Caprera.  On one of the General's famous expeditions, he left the island in the sole occupancy of his daughter, an old man-servant, and a young maiden whose brother was one of his "band."  That same evening, as the two girls retired for the night, they saw the figure of this youth at the door of what had been his chamber.  He seemed to turn and enter it.  Their only thought was that he had been left behind, or had come back secretly.  But on going forward they found his room door wide open, and the apartment unoccupied.  They summoned the old man-servant, with eager demands that the whole place should be at once searched.  Everything was quiet and every place empty.  Then the sister cried out that something had befallen her brother.  "He must be killed!"  How can that be?" asked the old servant.  "They have not reached the guns yet.  They are safe at sea."  Yet the first news that returned from the voyagers was that this young man, a few hours after his departure, had accidentally fallen overboard and been drowned.  It is, of course, the commonest form of apparition.

    An enthusiastic admirer of General Garibaldi was this Miss Fanny Tripp, well known to botanists as the author of a monumental book on British mosses, which is, I believe, treated as the authority on that subject.  Miss Tripp illustrated her work herself, having great skill as an etcher.  She once gave me an exquisite pen-and-ink drawing of her father's church and rectory and the surrounding country, which I kept for many years among my treasures, and finally bestowed upon a young friend who was cultivating the same pursuits, both artistic and botanical.  Miss Tripp was a small woman—not one of those who shine in society, though she spoke with much precision and good sense.  She did not allow even her admiration of Garibaldi to betray her into approval of his rash letters and his wild literary effort, "The Rule of the Monk."  "I should like," she said, "to take Garibaldi's pen from his hand, and to drop it into the sea."

    When in London, Miss Tripp boarded with a lady who at that time kept a fashionable school in Kensington, and who delighted to give great "crushes," whereat the visitors overflowed down the staircase, through the hall, almost into the street.  At her house I met Arthur O'Shaughnessy, whom encyclopædias now describe as "a minor poet," but who had a considerable vogue in his day, though I own I never read anything he wrote, or, if I did, I have forgotten it.  He was a tiny person, good-looking in a small style, dainty and elaborate in dress, and possibly a little affected in manner, but also friendly and gracious.  Mr. S. C. Hall afterwards asked me: "Who was the petit-maître kind of person you were talking with?"

    In that house I also saw Julian Hawthorne and his sister Una.  She was a tall, slight girl, with a clear, marble-white complexion and fine yellow hair.  A literary man who had known the family intimately said that Una always struck him as the incarnation of all that was wistful and weird in her father's books, and that probably she was the outcome of the hereditary tension of nerves which had first manifested itself when the Hawthornes were found among the fiercest of the Puritan witch-burners.

    We were told that while Una was still a mere child her gifted father became aware of her strange mental perversions, but at cost of infinite agony to himself had managed to keep their secret from her mother, to whom, after his removal, they were an agonizing revelation.

    I may be pardoned for mentioning a curious little incident of the last time I saw her.  It was in a crowded reception in the Kensington Square house.  A young man who was talking to me said: "You may think I am crazy, but I feel as if something very terrible had just entered this room."  Behind him, the moment before, Una Hawthorne had passed through the door.  There was no mirror to reflect her figure.  He had never seen her, nor did he know her, nor aught of her history.  She was then but a wreck of her former delicate loveliness, and died not long afterwards.  All her days had been days of such transcendent woe as to put her far beyond reach of life's common sunshine, and her early death seemed the most fitting end.

    In that same Kensington house I met a quaint couple, the Chevalier Chatelain and his wife, who had won the Dunmow flitch of bacon when the old ceremony of its bestowal was revived in 1855.  I did not know about this when I met them.  But I noticed that the elderly gentleman hung about the elderly lady in a peculiarly fondling fashion, even giving a caressing touch to her smooth hair.  After I heard of the winning of the Dunmow flitch, somehow the romance faded.

    Another visitor, both at the Halls' and in Kensington Square, was Mr. Joseph Edwards, a sculptor of modest repute, but who struck us as a singularly pure-hearted, simple-minded man.  We were always glad to meet him anywhere.  A piece of his work—an angel's bust, the hands holding out a scroll, inscribed, "Ever let love and truth prevail"—adorned one of the Halls' fireplaces and for many years formed the heading of the weekly parts of the Girl's Own Paper.

    A sculptor of considerable reputation was Joseph Durham, A.R.A., whose ideal of female loveliness, as manifest in his works, was to me singularly attractive.  He was a most kind-hearted, genial man, but, alas! not quite steady in his habits.  I remember once forming one of a little party, convened in the Halls' house (then at Upper Norwood), when some of the guests went out awhile to watch the fireworks going on at the Crystal Palace.  Among them was Joseph Durham, but, alas! he did not return till long after the rest of the party.

    For our homeward journey, Mr. Durham, my husband and I, and two ladies—one of them the Kensington schoolmistress—travelled in the same direction from the High Level Station, where there was then a platform at each side of the train.  The carriages were almost full, and, seeing one with several empty seats, my husband opened its door.  As he did so, two of its occupants, flashily dressed girls, opened the opposite door and jumped out.  Two very young men, visibly flushed with wine, were left behind, and had an altercation as to whether or not they should follow their female companions.  They remained.  There were five of our party, and only four vacant seats. The schoolmistress remarked this, whereupon one of the youths invited her to sit upon his knee!  We took no notice of this, but arranged ourselves, my husband placing himself on one of the arms.  Then a wrangle started between Mr. Durham and these youths, the schoolmistress exasperating the position by reminding the young man of the insolent remark he had made to her.  The quarrel was acute; walking-sticks were brandished, and peace was not regained till the youths arrived at their destination, when, in going out, they managed to twitch away Mr. Durham's staff, so that it fell beneath the train, and he lost it.  But as soon as peace was restored, Mr. Durham showed us how, beneath all his bemusement and irritation, the artist had still remained alert.  "That was a young blackguard," he said, "but all the while I could not help noticing that nothing could be finer than the line of his hair as it waved from his forehead behind his ear."

In 1869 I met John Ruskin. I had just received a very adverse review in the Pall Mall Gazette. Some sentences held up to ridicule there had been, however, quoted entire, and Mrs. S. C. Hall told me that one or two of those sentences had found such favour in the eyes of John Ruskin that she had received a hint that she might take me to lunch at Denmark Hill.

    Mrs. S. C. Hall was accompanied also by Miss Margaret Foley, a young American sculptor, who died all too soon not long afterwards.  We drove to that house on Denmark Hill into which the Ruskins had removed, about seventeen years before, from their earlier residence at Herne Hill.  This Denmark Hill house was that whose charms Mr. Ruskin recounted in "Præterita," with the significant addition: "But for all these things, we were never so happy again.  Never any more 'at home.'"

    The house—a modest "mansion"—lay far back from the road, from which I do not think even a chimney-stack was visible.  It seemed quite a drive through the grounds.  We were received by Mr. Ruskin himself and his cousin, now Mrs. Severn, but then Joan Agnew, a maiden of peach-bloom complexion and of most cordial and gracious manners, and by another damsel, whose name I forget—though I remember she was one of the little circle of the "Ethics of the Dust."  She wore a garment made sacque fashion, or, as we should now say, a "tea-gown," but such things were not known at that time!

    The whole aspect of the house was simple and dignified.  I remember pots of luxuriant flowers in the hall, and good old chintz hangings in a chamber where we deposited our heavier wraps.  We spent some time in a room which may have been a drawing-room or a morning-room.  It had a very delicate, well-cared-for look; there were no "heaps of things" in it.  The famous Turners hung there, and whether or not the elder Ruskins had ever insisted on these being covered up on "the Sabbath day," they were certainly covered up when we entered on our weekday visit.  The covering was a piece of fine canvas or cloth stretched on a square frame, fitting over the pictures like a box-lid.  Miss Agnew herself took them off, and we were told that they were kept on when nobody was in the room to enjoy the pictures, because the water-colours were so delicate that it was a pity to expose them needlessly to strong sunshine.  I cannot remember whether it was in that room or another that Mr. Ruskin showed us a water-colour work of his own, beautifully executed.

    The dining-room, to the right of the hall, was a stately apartment with dark walls, and two or three fine paintings in heavy frames.  I recall one in particular, the portrait of a Doge, concerning which Mr. Ruskin had much to say.

    Our meal was of the simplest seasonable food, and its accessories, though of the best and the most refined, were absolutely without any sign of luxury or "frippery."

    Mr. Ruskin, who wore his usual blue stock, harmonizing so well with his pure and fresh complexion, was very cheerful and communicative.  I think he decidedly liked Mrs. S. C. Hall, and he chatted merrily all through lunch, discussing pictures and books, and talking of Sherwood Forest.  He spoke, too, of sunsets, and of how few people watched them, teasing one of the young ladies, who "had not noticed" an exquisite glow on the preceding evening, because she had "been buying a dress."  I was only too happy in my belief that I had escaped all notice, till suddenly, after lunch was over, and we had retired to the other room, Mr. Ruskin, by a quiet remark, let me know that he remembered how I came to be there.  Then he added a few words—not of counsel nor of criticism, and certainly not of "compliment" as that is generally understood, but words which sank straight into my heart and made themselves at once into an aspiration and an inspiration whose power I have felt through all my life.  I am happy that I was afterwards able to thank him for those words.

    Mr. Ruskin's mother was living at that time, but she was an invalid, and remained in her own upper chamber.  Mrs. S. C. Hall told me that visitors were sometimes invited there to see her, but that she—Mrs. S. C. Hall—was rather in disgrace in the old lady's eyes, because the attention which the S. C. Halls had given to the phenomena of spiritualism made her regard them as dangerous acquaintances for her beloved son.

    John Ruskin and the two young ladies both came out on the steps to see us off, and were cordial and homely in every little attention.  We drove back, feeling that we had been admitted to the very ideal of household life, which, to be consummate, demands genius of some sort in its composition.

    Years later, while visiting in Edinburgh, I met one of Ruskin's great friends, "the Ladies of the Thwaite"—Miss Susannah Beevor—who was also visiting in the northern capital.  She was a tiny old lady, with a complexion as delicate and china-like as a girl's, bright hair, and the dainty manners of the "antique world."  Her love for animals and flowers was always at the front.  I remember on one occasion she came up to me in Princes Street, where I was surveying a shop-window full of "Scottish jewellery."  On one tray lay a collection of grouse-claws, mounted in silver for brooches.  "Oh, my dear," she said, "I hope you don't admire those—bits of death and destruction made into ornament!"  I assured her that I was altogether of her opinion.

    Dina Mulock, afterwards Mrs. Craik, had ever a strong personal attraction for me, for I never forgot the kindness which made her call upon me the moment my book, "The Occupations of a Retired Life," came out.  I saw her afterwards many times, both in her own house and at the S. C. Halls'.  They had been the friends of her girlhood, and she remained faithful.  Though she was not much more than forty when I first saw her, her hair was silvery, and she wore it crowned by a dainty lace cap.  I do not remember her in any other dress but black silk, plainly made.  She had always a prompt and genial sympathy with the romances of youth, and did not keep all her sentiment for her stories, when, perhaps, she had but too much!  After her marriage with Mr. Craik, who was many years her junior (he was the son of old friends, and she had nursed him through the disastrous results of a terrible railway accident), she lived in a pretty house at Beckenham, which had been built for herself.  She cordially accepted the conditions of suburban life, and planned afternoon receptions of her neighbours, striving, perhaps too formally, to make them interesting by proposing some subject for discussion—the debate, however, being conducted on such easy terms that "aside" conversations were quite possible.  The subject "for the next meeting" was always announced, so as to give the guests ample time for its consideration.  One such subject, I remember, was "Woman in her Physical, Mental, and Moral Relation to Man"!  I may add that, even in those days, one lady present had the courage to suggest the amendment that it should be rather "Woman in Relation to Herself," which struck me as a great improvement.  None of those present would have dreamed of suggesting "Man in his Physical, Mental, and Moral Relation to Women!"  Yet that would have been more original and arresting.

    Mrs. Craik loved nature tenderly, and would often lead us round the garden to see those "green things growing" of which she wrote so sweetly.  One summer evening she took us to a thicket, that we might listen to a nightingale singing there.  Do nightingales still sing at Beckenham? one wonders.

    Of Mrs. Craik's books, I preferred "A Life for a Life" and "Mistress and Maid" to others far more popular.  The poignant verses, "Douglas, Douglas, tender and true," appear in a collection of her poems, but until I saw them there I had always understood that they were written by Lady John Scott.  Quite lately, in a weekly journal, the same belief was given forth confidently.  One would like to know the exact truth.  The bare possibility of such uncertainties sheds light—or is it throws darkness?—on the uncertainties of ancient history!

    I came twice or thrice in contact with Geraldine Jewsbury, the friend of Mrs. Carlyle, but I had not seen her when Mrs. S. C. Hall submitted a story of mine for her criticism—she being then "Bentley's reader."  I own that when I heard this had been done I was startled, and I was not at all surprised at the criticisms I got!  I know they made me weep bitterly, not because they were too severe, but because I felt how terribly true they were.  I could not make Mrs. Hall understand this.  She was ready to accuse Miss Jewsbury of "cruelty" and "lack of sympathy."  But I could, even then, appreciate the kindness which would go through volunteered manuscripts, and take the trouble to write criticisms on them, no matter how scathing.  I can appreciate it much more now, when I can better realize the nature of the daily duties of "a publisher's reader."  Of course, I know this favour was extended to my 'prentice work only because Mrs. S. C. Hall asked it, and I can only hope that the sheer crudeness of my production lightened the lady's labour with a little hearty laughter.

    I had occasion afterwards to call on Miss Jews-bury, and saw her several times at the Halls' house.  When the day of my success came, Mrs. S. C. Hall was inclined to regard her friend with a pretty little air of triumph, but I knew that Miss Jewsbury's plain-speaking had contributed something to that success.

    Miss Geraldine Jewsbury was a slight, graceful woman of the "willowy" type, fair in complexion, and pleasing in countenance, though she could never have had any pretension to beauty.  In later years her eyes gave her much trouble, and she went about wearing a green shade.

    I owed her so much that I was quite prepared to like her, the more so as, when we met, she was especially kind in manner towards me.  But somehow I could not "draw" to her, and, since I have read her correspondence with Mrs. Carlyle, I think I can understand the reason why.

    She got a small Civil List pension—a very small one—from a Gladstone Government.  Mrs. Hall said it would have been larger but that Mr. Gladstone had not approved of Miss Jewsburys novel, "Zoe."  She also told me that Miss Jewsbury spent the greater part of the first instalment of this pension on a silk petticoat!

    One can never quite understand why people who have spent their lives in doing remunerative work of no national significance—who are even sometimes still doing it—should be eligible for State pensions.  Those pensions always hover between two reasons.  In some cases they are supposed to be "a mark of honour"; in others they are said to be bestowed upon pecuniary misfortune.  They are given to people still in the prime of life—Miss Mulock, for example, received hers when she was thirty-eight, seven years after she had written her successful novel, "John Halifax," and when, despite great family generosity, she had been able to make a secure provision for herself.  Another novelist of great popularity received her State pension when she was scarcely forty years of age, and if she passed her life, as it seems she did, in perpetual financial struggle, it was not through lack of large receipts, but through some mistake in expenditure.  But even less than fifty years ago it entered nobody's mind to question the justice of these arrangements.  When doubts flitted through my own thoughts, I repressed their utterance.  To Miss Mulock's honour, it may be told that, shortly after her marriage, she set her pension apart for the upkeep of a house at the seaside, to which she invited aged or sick literary women less fortunate than herself.  Granting the pension had once been accepted, and was not surrendered, this was perhaps the best she could do—and few of the other pensioners followed her example.

    I could never see what claim writers of fiction can have on public money.  Their very work is a pleasure; if it is not, it should not be done at all.  Its recompense is generally sufficient; if not so, other work should be sought.  The writer of fiction enjoys many privileges and can practise many economies which are denied to other professions.  As a fact, subsidies to such people, whether given as honour or aid, generally end less in joy or help to them than in furthering their maintenance of loafing relatives.  These are sometimes useless or dissolute women, but more often idle, incapable, or dissolute men—who are always inclined to hang upon any brain-worker, especially a woman, who is able to earn more than suffices for her own bare maintenance, and who fails to see that her truest kindness to such is to leave them to find their own level.  I know of one lady, whose name was celebrated a quarter of a century ago, and whose pen earned her £17,000, who is now reduced to depend on an eleemosynary pittance!  I remember feeling very much annoyed some years back when the late Sir Walter Besant pleaded for a State pension for a successful literary woman, on the score of the poor rewards of literature—a plea which he supported by some very misleading figures.  I knew that he had earned quite enough to secure her own independence and to fulfil all real duties, and it seemed unfair thus to belittle the literary profession, while it was not it which had failed, but sundry men in business whose broken pledges to a rather unworthy relative of hers this lady had fulfilled to her own detriment.  She might well deserve help, but scarcely on the score of the "inadequacy of literary remuneration."

    Possibly it was due to a forecasting and fearful nature, but from the first I never allowed myself to depend on my pen for daily bread.  Though I have never been a "boomed" or a sensationally paid writer, yet from 1868 until the present century I could have lived comfortably by my pen, had I chosen, and have arrived at a quiet independence in the end, precisely as a high-school mistress does.  Two reasons withheld me—first, I felt that a constant anxiety about money matters—the sense that this story would pay the rent, and that article the taxes—would in my case be fatal to imaginative work (it may not be so in all cases); second, that it seemed to me that varied contacts with the real world—a share in the rough and tumble of actual lifeis necessary both to feed the imagination and to keep the feelings warm and true.  For both these reasons I strongly deprecate the desire so many have to make literature a profession by which to stand or fall.  I admire most cordially the French poet Jasmin, who kept on his barber's shop while he wrote his lovely poems, and so, when he discovered his gifts as a reciter, could afford to devote those wholly to the service of others.  When literary aspirants have applied to me for advice or help, I have always asked them what they do besides literary work, and have advised them to combine the two.  I am not usually overwhelmed with gratitude for this invaluable council.

    At Mrs. S. C. Hall's reception one often heard exceptionally good singing.  About one lady, whose exquisite performance was made a special feature, there hung a tragic history.  She was the only sister of a young man who, in a sudden access of bitterly-provoked wrath, slew a girl who had heartlessly played him false.  (The outlines of the story are to be found disguised in George Macdonald's novel, "Thomas Wingfold, Curate.")  The whole circumstances being well put before the jury, the youth escaped capital punishment, and was relegated to lengthy or lifelong imprisonment, which he presently ended by suicide.  The costs of his defence having wellnigh ruined his family, the sister bravely came forward to help by her singing.  When I heard her, she was accompanied by her father, and I was struck by the peculiar air of melancholy aloofness which hung about the pair.  When I knew their story I understood this.  I heard long afterwards that at the time of her brother's crime the sister had been happily engaged to be married, but as the strongest plea which could be put forward for the unhappy youth was that of mental instability, she had refused to go on to marriage, and so run risks of perpetuating such mental instability.  I remember that the medical student who told me this remarked: "A woman who could think and act like that need not have feared perpetuating mental instability, and might surely have married safely.  But then, if she had, you see, she wouldn't have been such a woman!"

    Among the contributors to Good Words and the Sunday Magazine was a gentleman whose stories and contributions appeared under a large variety of signatures.  He was Charles Camden, Edward Howe, Richard Rowe, "A City Man," and "A Curate," and, I think, one or two more.  His own name was the very name one would have least suspected of reality—i.e., Richard Rowe.

    All that Mr. Alexander Strahan told about him was that he had lived much in the Colonies, that he was married and had children, and that life was somewhat of a struggle with him.

    At a party at Eliot Lodge during the winter of 1868-69 a tall, cadaverous-looking gentleman, arriving rather late, was announced as "Richard Rowe."

    At that moment there flashed on my mind the recollection of a newspaper paragraph which I had read when I was a child of twelve or thirteen.  It was headed, "An Australian Editor Horse-whipped by a Lady," and related how Lola Montez, actress, dancer, King's mistress, and general adventuress, being affronted by something said of her in a certain Australian paper (I think the paper was named, but cannot be sure), had gone to the newspaper office and administered a sound thrashing to the editor.  Lola Montez left Australia in 1856.  At that time, of course, her name was quite unknown to me.  The paragraph was in an obscure corner of the paper, and I cannot understand why it had stayed in my memory.

    Presently Mr. Robert Strachan, my host's brother, who kept to the original spelling of the family name, and afterwards became Sheriff Strachan, made his way towards me.  We had not met very often (he lived in Edinburgh).  I do not think we had ever mentioned Richard Rowe; I am absolutely certain that we had never mentioned Lola Montez.  Mr. Strachan asked if I knew this stranger was Richard Rowe, adding, "He has been, I think, a good deal in Australia," to which I assented.  Mr. Strachan hesitated a moment, and then said: "Do you remember reading of the horse-whipping of an editor in Australia by some woman?  Oh, you can't remember it; it would be before your day.  It's years ago."  "But I do remember it," I said.  "The woman was Lola Montez."  "That's it—that's it," answered Mr. Strachan.  "It's strange how that story recurred to me the minute that man entered the room."  "I remembered it, too," I admitted.  "I'll go and have a talk with him," said he, "and see if he knows anything about it."  Presently I saw them deep in animated conversation.  By-and-by Mr. Strachan came back to me.  "Richard Rowe himself was the man who was horse-whipped," he whispered.  "I opened the subject by saying I heard he had lived in Australia, and he told me he had edited newspapers there.  I said doubtless he had had some rough times—editors were sometimes horse-whipped, I believed—and he straightway replied: 'Certainly.  I have been horsewhipped myself, and by a woman—the notorious Lola Montez.'"

    The word "telepathy" had never been uttered in those days.  In the recently published life of Lola Montez the editor she horse-whipped is called "Mr. Seekamp."  Did she horse-whip two, or was this another name of Richard Rowe's?

    Richard Rowe's work was very good.  Some of his stories, such as "My Lonely Landlady," haunt one's memory.  One wonders why he made no greater mark, for Mr. Strahan gave him every opportunity.  Mr. Rowe used to wander in the East End, catching inspiration for his stories.  I saw him once there, walking dreamily, with a little boy held in each hand.  He wrote a Christmas number called "The Star in the East," and a wag on Mr. Strahan's staff used to mock: "A Star in the East, eh! Rowe in the Slums."

    Another person often present at Eliot Lodge gatherings was Dr. Jacob de Liefde, a Dutch minister and writer, who had fallen from his own Church on account of some "heretical" views.  He was a small, simple-minded, lively man, the reverse of every vulgar idea of a Dutchman.  He amused us by telling his adventures in London when he was not adept in the English language.  Thinking to guide himself home, he had copied some printing which he had seen at the corner of the street where he lodged, but when he showed his tablet to people they roared with laughter, and he found out afterwards that he had taken down "Bill-stickers will be prosecuted"—the very blunder that was the subject of a music-hall song of the period.  Also he had puzzled many English friends by asking them what was meant by the word "Tuo," which he saw on so many doors.  It is, of course, "Out," seen backwards through a glass panel.

    I met my girlhood's correspondent, Jean Ingelow, at the Halls' house, when they were her neighbours in Holland Street.  She was a kind-looking, pleasant, middle-aged lady, with a fresh complexion and brown hair, who cannot be better described than by saying that she was very like her own writings.  She looked a thoroughly wholesome, practical person.  Dr. Japp said to me long afterwards that she had always seemed to him the very type of a country banker's maiden sister.  In the course of our conversation she said to me, with an air of solicitude, that she hoped I took care that my publishers were doing me justice.  She was a woman who hated personal publicity.  In advanced age, not very long before her death, she showed some impatience towards a publisher who was anxious to secure a new photograph of her.  Something of this reserve she must have carried into her private life, for one of her biographers has told us that nothing was ever known of the end of her one shadowy love-affair with a young naval officer.  Long before I heard this I had written that, whether or not it be true that every author's work is for ever haunted by one dominant idea, we might certainly say that the paramount note of Jean Ingelow's writing was of clinging love mysteriously severed.  Think of "Divided," of the creepy "House in the Dell," and of the thread underlying so many of the plots of her stories.

    Yet not even all Jean Ingelow's dignity and reserve could save her from intrusive gossip.  Some may remember that once it was freely whispered that she was likely to become the second wife of Robert Browning.  There were absolutely no grounds for this rumour, which, if it reached her, doubtless gave her pain, and is conceivably the reason why, as her biographer puts it, "the acquaintance between the two poets never ripened into intimacy."  While the rumour was current Mrs. S. C. Hall told me that Gerald Massey, who had felt as much admiration for the poet as for her poems, had offered her his hand, he being then a widower with a young family.  He confided to Mrs. Hall that Jean Ingelow had replied most kindly, but had assured him that her acceptance of his offer was "absolutely impossible."  "Now, nothing could make my offer impossible," said he naively, "save the existence of an already-accepted lover.  Who is visiting the Ingelow' house just now?  Why, Robert Browning has been seen there!  It must be he."  And so the rumour rose—an inference transformed into an assertion.

    Dean Kitchin, who knew the Ingelow family in their youth, says that he thinks "Jean" Ingelow was then but plain "Jane."

    At the celebration of the tercentenary of Edinburgh University I repeatedly saw Robert Browning.  During the afternoon performance of the "Fortunes of Nigel" by the students' dramatic society he occupied a box in company with the Lord Provost and Lord Iddesleigh, then Sir Stafford Northcote.  I was in the dress-circle.  The performance was very good, but fearfully long, as I understand to be always the case where amateur actors are concerned.  During one scene Robert Browning and his party left their box, and came round to the dress-circle to enjoy a full-front view of the stage.  He stood close beside me.  He was a well-set-up man, with an open countenance, and no mannerisms of dress, deportment, or expression.  If one had not known him, one would have guessed him to be a well-bred, well-cultivated banker or country gentleman.  Odd, this, in connection with Dr. Japp's impression of Jean Ingelow!  A day or two afterwards, at "the Students' Reception," I saw him on the platform.  When his name was called, amid tremendous applause he rose, bowed smilingly, and sat down.  He may have uttered a word or two, but certainly, amid the tumult, I heard none, nor did his lips seem to move.

    The American poet, James Russell Lowell, who was then Ambassador at the Court of St. James, was on the same platform with Browning.  His speech contained only two or three sentences, but they were so artistic and telling that I have never forgotten them.  They were to the effect that, while he had watched the students' torchlight procession which had perambulated the streets on the previous evening, it had struck him that the effect was that felt by a University professor (he had been one himself) as he stood at his academic post while a crowd of youths, emerged from an unknown past, came into the blaze of scholarship and culture, and, passing through it, disappeared into an unknown future.  It was emphatically a poet's speech, and it was delivered simply and earnestly, with a touch of emotion.

    Haeckel and other Continental scientific men who were present were not so sparing of words. The longest address, however, was that of Ferdinand de Lessees, then quite an old man, though he had not yet entered the cloud which obscured his later years. Even then he struck me as almost in dotage, recalling a portrait I had seen of Lamar-tine in his last days.

    Edinburgh people feared lest the students would not patiently endure long speeches in foreign tongues; but they remembered they were the hosts, and behaved with perfect gentleness.

    I was taken by neighbours of hers to call on Mrs. Elizabeth Charles, author of "The Schomberg Cotta Family," in the house which she had built for herself in her favourite district of Hampstead.  That was, I think, in the year 1883.  With us went a Miss Hart, a strenuous little person, deeply interested in the many schemes for the betterment of the labourer which were just then opening out, especially in the mutual benefit plans of M. Godin.  Mrs. Charles was a pleasant-looking woman, fair and fresh in colour, with a soft comfortableness of manner.  Miss Hart began to talk eagerly of the matters nearest her heart.  Mrs. Charles listened without sympathy—indeed, with something like disfavour.  She might have flatly contradicted some of Miss Hart's statements without showing half so much antagonism as was plain in her silence.  I think she was quite satisfied that social "castes" should remain absolutely as they are.  I almost wondered that a childless widow should have cared in later middle age to build for herself so elaborately beautiful a dwelling, and, in truth, she and her aged mother and their little dog were seated in one of its simplest rooms.  Mrs. Charles had been bereaved of an adored husband, and she had been through temporary loss of fortune; but I think she had never known the grind of hopeless poverty, the rough struggle of existence, nor any of its bitternesses.  If she had not stood always on the sunniest side of life, at least she had never been exposed to its wildest gales.  If Goethe's saying that the gaining of experience is one of the best things that life brings us has some truth in it, then any of us who are thus safely situated undoubtedly suffer some loss, and are, in smaller degree, severed from reality, as was the poor French Princess who, when she heard that people could not get bread, wondered why they were not satisfied with piecrust.

    I saw Bishop Colenso in the British Museum Reading-Room.  This was after the uproar produced by his criticism of Old Testament arithmetic.  I think it must have been early in 1865, just before his return to Africa.  As I sat reading, one of the library attendants—an elderly man—came up and whispered that I might like to know that Bishop Colenso was in the room, and he indicated a slim, silvery-haired man, with a beautiful refined face, bending over a catalogue.  The attendant added with fervour: "And they call him a heretic because he's a better Christian than any of them."  I have since had the privilege of meeting one of the Bishop's heroic daughters, who have certainly carried out the Bishop's practical Christianity.  She was gratified and touched to hear of the old librarian's enthusiasm for her father.

    Picturesque figures in the Museum Reading-Room were the two gentlemen known in society as the "last of the Stuarts."  (They were not strictly the last, for one of them had a son.)  I have forgotten through whom they traced their descent, but I know that Mrs. S. C. Hall had great faith in their pretensions, and so profound a reverence for anything appertaining to Royal blood that she said she would never dream of taking a seat in the presence of these gentlemen until they had indicated to her so to do.  This was not reverence for the old dynasty, but for royal blood; for she told me, at the same time, that Mr. S. C. Hall always took off his hat when he passed Buckingham Palace!  As for these two Stuart gentlemen, they were most modest and unassuming in their own manners.  Undoubtedly they had the Stuart features.  They were so much alike that it was a long time before I knew there were two of them, and to the end I differentiated them only because one brother wore spurs and the other never did.

I saw Arthur Sullivan long before he had taken even his first step towards fame.  His brother Frederick was a friend of friends of ours, and for a time boarded with them.  Our friends told us that the Sullivans had had a terrible struggle.  The father was a musician of a very humble kind.  I seem to recall that he was once member of a band that played in the "German bazaar" then maintained in Langham Place.  Frederick Sullivan was working in an architect's office, and was very industrious, constantly bringing home plans, etc., to arrange and copy after hours.  He was rather short and stoutly built, with quantities of jet-black curly hair and a very African cast of feature.  He sang comic songs splendidly, and with immense dramatic effect.  But privately he expressed his determination to have nothing to do with music as a profession, saying he had learned too well what it meant.  Nevertheless, he was very proud of the promise of his brother Arthur, then at the Royal Academy of Music, and had highest hopes of his future.  One hot summer evening, as we all sat in our friends' parlour, a voice addressed us through the open window.  It was Arthur Sullivan outside, who had caught sight of his brother Fred, and was inviting him to go to the hall door and admit him.  Frederick declined point-blank, telling him it was high time he was wending his way back to the Academy's boarding-house.  The two brothers held a short, playful colloquy, during which time Arthur was full in our view.  He was then a slim lad of sixteen, dark and foreign-looking, but not so dark and not quite so "African" as his brother; nor did his face or gestures have that touch of whimsical comedy which his brother's expressed.  He yielded to Frederick's adjurations and went away.  Knowing his brother's aspirations for him, one felt a little surprise when, in 1866, Arthur Sullivan turned from oratorios and cantatas, and gave himself wholly to the production of those comic operas by which fame and fortune were speedily achieved.  But evidently, in his brother's eyes, his great success gave grace to the change, for presently Frederick himself surrendered his original preference for practical professions, and was found playing the part of the judge in "Trial by Jury," brought out by Arthur Sullivan and W. S. Gilbert.

    W. S. Gilbert I never saw, but I often met his father, W. Gilbert, who wrote novels and stories [Ed.―see The Undertaker's Man and A Stroke of Good Fortune].  He was particularly fond of studies of odd character or circumstance, and of prosecuting strange and interesting inquiries into the ways and means of public matters.  I remember his once asserting that the orders of nuns were very wasteful in their organization, since the time of one in four (I think he had it) must be taken up in preparing the starched caps and wimples of the rest!  He feigned to look askance at the frivolity of his son's work.  Whenever the father was introduced to a stranger, he always explained: "Now don't mistake me for my son; he is quite a different sort of person."  The senior Gilbert had been a doctor—I think an army doctor—and was always deeply absorbed in psychological questions.  He was a spare, upright man, with a military carriage, a ruddy cheek and frosted hair, and a manner of being keenly and actively interested in whatever was going forward.

    I met Dean Alford but once; he was a man of kind and genial ways, yet I remember only one remark he made.  The London Underground was just inaugurated, and he said it would save him much money in cabs, as "in his position" (proclaimed by knee-breeches and rose in hat) he could not use omnibuses !

    I met Sarah Williams, better known by her writing name of "Sadie," on my first visit to Eliot Lodge, Blackheath, and we saw a good deal of each other in the short time between our meeting at the close of 1867 and her death in the late spring of 1868.  She was under thirty when she died.

    Sarah Williams had a face which, without beauty, attracted and arrested one.  She had a quiet manner, often so strangely absent and withdrawn that when she responded one was surprised.  Her life had had the most unpoetic environment.  She was the only child of well-to-do parents living in the suburb of Kentish Town.  I think her father had been in business, and had retired, and though the family lived very simply, they had substantial possessions, and the daughter's education had been cared for according to the best lights of that period.  Yet I think all her external horizons had been narrow; I do not think even her reading had been especially varied.  But within these limits there burned a strong light of pure genius, and that had inevitably kindled intensity of feeling and of experience.

    Not till she was gone did any of us realize that none of her newer friends had ever seen her save under the shadow of her end.  Possibly the end was somewhat hastened by the shock of her adored father's death.  She and her mother then made arrangements for leaving London and retiring to Wales, her father's native land.  Then came the consciousness that, before she made this change, she must choose between a lingering death of agony or an operation, which might either preserve or swiftly destroy.  She chose the operation, facing it bravely and brightly, saying to her cherished friend, Bessie Palmer: "Bangor or Heaven, BessieBangor or Heaven."

    The intimation of the crisis through which she was passing first came to all her friends, save those of her innermost circle, in a letter from her cousin, announcing that the operation was over, and adding:


"She is very weak, and in a very precarious condition.  Our hopes sank very low indeed yesterday; to-day we feel a little more sanguine.  Her bearing both before and after the operation has been beyond all praise.  I am amazed at the courage and patience she has displayed on this trying occasion.  This envelope was addressed by herself on Friday, to enclose the 'Farewell' which I now forward."


    The envelope, with her dainty handwriting, lies before me as I write.  The "Farewell" was most subtly planned to meet either circumstance—death or departure.  I quote it in full:


"LONDON,                 
"April, 1868.


"City of many sorrows, fare-thee-well;
 Clasped in thy dusky arms, dear comrades dwell.
 Comfort them, mother, keep thou them this night;
 Breathe on them softly, let their cares lie light;
 And if they feel me watching through their sleep,
 Let them not see mine eyes as those that weep;
 Let me not bring to them one thought of pain,
 But calmly pass, like some far-distant strain
 Of rugged music, borne on summer wind,
 God's air between us—discords all refined
 To subtlest harmonies, while halting speech,
 Grown inarticulate, doth deeper reach.
 Tell them, O Mother City, monitress,
 That not defect of love, but love's excess,
 Doth hold me quiet now, doth still my heart,
 And teach me that true lovers never part.


"S
ADIE."


    A day or two afterwards Mr. Strahan, with that personal consideration which endeared him to his circle, sent me the notice: "'Sadie'—died this morning at quarter-past six," along with a proof of a poem of hers which was to appear in the May issue of the Sunday Magazine.  It was called "The Garden of God," and was singularly appropriate in coming as a last message, beginning with


"Good Lord, no strength I have, nor need;
     Within Thy light I lie,
 And grow like herb in sunny place,
     While outer storms go by,"


and ending with the lines:


"Who trusts, the Lord will surely guard,
     Who loves, the Lord will keep."


    For my own part, I think that if Sarah Williams had lived longer, she might have done work which would have won her a place in the same rank as Mrs. Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and Jean Ingelow.

    At the same receptions where the Halls had met Disraeli they had also met "L. E. L."—Lætitia Elizabeth Landon—whose poems were so extremely and unreasonably popular in the earlier half of last century.  She was their near neighbour, and afterwards became their intimate friend.  As L. E. L. died in 1838, she had been dead for five years before my birth, but I heard so much of her from Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall that it seems to me almost as if I had known her, and from their talk I got so vivid a presentment of the tragedy of her life that I think I may be permitted to allude to her.  As in the case of the poet Chatterton, her sad story is now far more remembered than are any of her verses.  One constantly sees references to "a cloud of calumny" that rested upon her, to a broken engagement, and finally to a strange, ill-assorted marriage, ending in violent death—whether by accident, suicide, or murder has been never decided—at Cape Coast Castle, West Africa.  But the "cloud of calumny" is left mainly in mystery.  In his "Memories," Mr. S. C. Hall mentions the now-forgotten name of Dr. William Maginn, and says: "She had written to that very worthless person a letter or letters containing expressions she ought not to have penned."  But on the following page he gives Miss Landon's own explicit contradiction.  Writing to Mrs. S. C. Hall about the slanders put in circulation, she says:


    "As to the idea of an attachment between me and Dr. Maginn, it seems to me too absurd even for denial.  The letters, however, I utterly deny.  I have often written notes as pretty and as flattering as I could make them to Dr. Maginn upon different literary matters, and one or two on business.  But how any construction but their own could be put upon them I do not understand.  A note of mine that would pass for a love-letter must either have been strangely misrepresented, or most strangely altered.  Dr. Maginn and his wife have my full permission to publish every note I ever wrote in The Age if they like.  I regret I ever allowed an acquaintance to be forced upon me of which I was always ashamed."


    In a note to the page of the "Memories" whereon Mr. S. C. Hall prints L. E. L.'s disclaimer, he adds: "In a letter to Mrs. Hall, written some time before the one I have printed, I find this passage: 'Who on earth do you think I had a long visit from on Sunday?  Dr. Maginn.'"

    Now, Mrs. S. C. Hall had told me that the infamous calumny which pursued L. E. L. to her grave originated in this very Sunday visit, when L. E. L. had received Dr. Maginn—as she received all her visitors—in the drawing-room of the ladies' school where she boarded.  A day or two after she wrote as above, alluding to this visit, and Mrs. S. C. Hall showed me her note, as Mr. Hall prints it, but with an additional clause: "Who on earth do you think I had a long visit from on Sunday?  Dr. Maginn, and, for once, sober."

    The calumny, it appears, was put into the mouth of Mrs. Maginn, and seems to have originated in something Dr. Maginn had told her about this visit, so insignificant in L. E. L.'s eyes.  Probably it was in the light of her husband's insinuation that the miserable wife of this worthless scamp put her evil construction on L. E. L.'s notes.

    Between 1830 and 1838 there appeared in Fraser's Magazine a series of illustrated papers called "A Gallery of Illustrious Literary Characters."  The portraits were all by Maclise; nearly all the letterpress was produced by William Maginn.  The tone of mind of the latter—possibly also the tone of his times—stands revealed wherever he has occasion to deal with a woman.  Of sane or respectful criticism or appreciation there is not one line.  Where he is not loathsomely "complimentary" he is grossly insulting, as in the case of Miss Martineau.  But it is a curious fact that 41 in this gallery—i.e., L. E. L.—is not from Maginn's pen.

    At the time of the calumny L. E. L. was engaged to John Forster, afterwards the biographer of Dickens.  She appears to have been wounded by certain inquiries he made (possibly by the manner of them—under such circumstances it is easy to wound!), and she broke off the match.  Some years afterwards there seems to have been a recrudescence of the slanders, and L. E. L.'s friends firmly believe that, in sheer weariness and disgust, she accepted the offer of Governor McLean as a way of escape.  Poor woman!  Mrs. S. C. Hall admitted to me that L. E. L. knew that Mr. McLean had had an African mistress—a King's daughter—and that she had borne him children, but added that L. E. L. "had believed that connection was ended."  In those days female judgment on masculine morality rarely went deeper than that.  Possibly, in certain circles, especially colonial circles, it still does not go much deeper.  I own that this fact always lessened my sympathy for L. E. L.  Surely she, in her own way, had suffered enough from vicious men to have had some sympathy for suffering sisters, even if "savage."

    William Maginn died in misery and want four years after L. E. L.'s sad end.  Edward Kenealy, the barrister, afterwards the advocate of the Tichborne Claimant, was Maginn's faithful friend, and wrote a gushing account of his funeral and grave.  John Gibson Lockhart demeaned himself to pen lines ending thus:


"Barring drink and the girls, I ne'er heard of a sin;
 Many worse, better few, than bright, broken Maginn."


Do people think what they are saying when they write thus?  What is the outcome of all this sad history? Surely it warns us that self-indulgent profligates are not wholesome members of societythat they are not so uniformly chivalrous and appreciative of virtue as certain writers of fiction would like us to imagine.  Neither the happiness nor the fair fame of any man or woman can be safe while he or she stands in any relation—social, business, or philanthropic—with men or women of evil lives and tainted minds.  If any woman allows such a man as Maginn to cross the border of her sphere of existence, even if it be but in her efforts to rescue his unhappy children from the curse of their heredity, let her do it, but as greatly daring, and fully prepared for martyrdom.

    Mrs. S. C. Hall always spoke of L. E. L. with tenderest pathos.  At one time they had seen each other almost daily.  "I loved her far more than she ever loved me," said my old friend.  L. E. L. had been, in all her loneliness, a devotedly dutiful daughter and sister.  Mrs. Hall said she once held out to her a pair of gloves with the remark that their purchase was all she had kept for herself out of a sum of £300 which she had just received for one of her novels.  I think many of L. E. L.'s traits are to be found in Mrs. Hall's "A Woman's Story," published in 1858.

    Mr. Hall, who was present at the ominous wedding-breakfast, said McLean was a repellent man.  When the health of the bride was proposed with words of admiration and affection, the grim bridegroom replied with a sneer "that if her friends valued her so much, he wondered they were allowing him to take her away!"

    I saw George Cruikshank twice.  The first time was at an evening party, where he made himself delightfully frank and friendly, and was as sprightly as a boy, though he was then fully eighty-three years of age.  Two or three ladies asked him for his autograph, which he gave with the utmost simplicity.  I own I should have liked one myself, but I forbore.  A few weeks afterwards we received an invitation to an afternoon reception at his snug, simple house in the Hampstead Road to celebrate the silver wedding of the great artist and his second wife.  Among the people I met that day was J. Forbes Robertson, literary man, and father of the famous actor.  I have seen him since in Aberdeen, where he annually visited a beloved sister.  By this time he was so blind that if he could see light and some blurred outline of form, he could certainly see no more.  But he went about alone, quite bravely, and with so little hesitation that nobody would have suspected his affliction.

    One day I found him standing before the Aberdeen railway bookstall scolding its keepers in no measured terms.  As my shadow wavered within his ken (he was quite beyond all power of personal recognition), he said sarcastically: "Now, madam, having said my say, I'll make way for you, and let me tell you, you must be prepared to find these two young men to be the most intelligent, attentive, and polite young men you have ever met."  With which ironical deliverance he walked off, highly satisfied.

    The sketch of George Cruikshank in "Malice's Portrait Gallery" is an excellent presentment of him, though it does not lack a touch of caricature, and one of his contemporaries said of him: "His face is an index of his mind.  There is nothing anomalous about him and his doings.  His appearance, his illustrations, his speeches, are all alike—all picturesque, artistic, full of fun, feeling, geniality, and quaintness.  His seriousness is grotesque, and his drollery is profound."  I quote this because it expresses and confirms my own impression.  The labours of George Cruikshank's life had been interminable.  Nearly all of them had been definitely dedicated to the cause of goodness, mercy, and progress.  When I saw him he had the air of one who has reached a happy holiday time, and is heartily enjoying it.  He died two years later.

    About the same time I met Mrs. Thorneycroft, the mother of Hamo Thorneycroft.  She was herself a sculptor of considerable merit, and in appearance and manner a noble specimen of sweet and gracious matronhood.  It was a pleasure to look at her, and a joy to sit beside her and join in her pleasant conversation.

    Gustave Doré I saw when he paid the S. C. Halls a morning call at their flat in Ashley Place.  He had a bright, pleasant face and a frank manner.  He presented Mr. S. C. Hall with a sketch of two forlorn figures crouching in a storm-beaten niche.  When I saw him he was in the height of his popularity.  I never cared for anything he did, save one Palestine landscape with a wonderful effect of slumbrous evening sunshine, and his picture "The Neophyte."  To me, these proved that he had powers beyond any that he showed in the works which brought him wealth and applause.

    At one of Mrs. Hall's receptions I saw the famous dancer Taglioni when she was about seventy-two years of age.  She had then lost the fortune which she had earned by her early stage triumphs, and though her relatives would have been delighted to do everything for her, she preferred to keep her independence by giving lessons in dancing, which she was quite able to do, for her movements were as light and graceful as though she had been seventeen rather than seventy.  She had an olive complexion, and neat, regular features, and piercing black eyes.

    A famous actress whom I met in the same house was Miss Glyn.  Late one evening I was sitting with Mrs. Hall in her writing-room, when "Mrs. Dallas" was announced, and on the very heels of the maid entered a tall, dark lady, with little beauty of face, but with a wonderful force of tragic expression on her massive features.  I knew at once who she was, for Mrs. Hall had told me of the actress's miserable married life (her husband was Dallas, of the Times newspaper), and as I guessed the lady had come to pour forth her woes in my dear friend's sympathizing ears, I presently rose and made an excuse to take my departure.  Miss Glyn (to whom I had been introduced) gave me an impressive look—I am sure she understood my action and was grateful—which went right down into my soul, so that I remember her face—seen for less than five minutes—as I do not remember other faces with which I have been familiar for months.

    We heard Charles Dickens read in St. James's Hall.  One of the readings was from "David Copperfield," and the great novelist's assumption of the father of "little Em'ly" was wonderful!  One lost sight of the worn, slender gentleman in evening dress standing on the platform, and became conscious only of the voice, the air, the very presence of the old fisherman.  In the pauses between the readings, or just as they commenced, one did realize the man, and he impressed one as tired and unhappy.  There was a curious, indescribable "withdrawn" air about him, as if neither his heart nor his mind were quite with his body.  In this era of typewriters and private secretaries I cannot help recalling that, when Charles Dickens returned sundry trumpery verses of mine, the little "form" which accompanied them was filled in by his own hand, and some courteous word was added.

    On the day when Queen Victoria went to St. Paul's to return thanks for the Prince of Wales's recovery from dangerous illness, we were invited to witness the procession from 56, Ludgate Hill, the offices of Good Words and the Sunday Magazine.  We were then living in Devonshire Square, Bishopsgate, and we were advised that, as our way would be hampered both by crowds and barricades, we had better put in an early appearance.  So we arrived in Ludgate Hill soon after St. Paul's clock struck 6 a.m.  We were not at all too soon; the street was already full, and we heard afterwards that some of the people had taken up their positions the night before, and had come well provided with food!  Among the guests at our destination we were not the first.  A party of four was before us—three ladies and a gentleman.  We were unknown to each other, but, being shut up together in the otherwise empty room, it seemed only proper that we should exchange slight civilities, and accordingly my husband addressed the gentleman with some remark about the crowd.  The only answer was a growl, and we made no further advance.  This gentleman was a man of about thirty, wearing a short jacket and a soft rough hat, and he had his hands in his pockets.  One of the three ladies was decidedly elderly, plain in dress and appearance, and not conciliatory in demeanour.  The youngest lady was little more than a girl.  The intermediate lady had a sweet face and a gentle manner.  Such were the observations I made, not dreaming who these people were.  I was much interested when I learned that they were Robert Buchanan, his mother, wife, and sister-in-law.

    Afterwards, when the rooms filled with people—all artists or authors and their belongings—I did not see Robert Buchanan enter into conversation with anybody.  I saw his wife speak to one and another, and I heard his mother addressing Miss Strahan in a way that caused some of us to whisper to each other, with some secret rejoicing, that she was letting the publisher's sister know that she was the poet's mother!

    I own I was disappointed in the appearance and manners of Robert Buchanan, for whose work I had had an intense admiration ever since Mrs. S. C. Hall had lent me "Undertones," with its poignant dedication.  That dedication, "To David in Heaven" I had copied out and had preserved among my literary treasures.  My admiration had been increased by "London Poems," with their keen and fearless sympathy with what lies in the depths of human life.

    I had, however, heard from Mrs. S. C. Hall that Robert Buchanan was a young man of forbidding manners.  She knew him during his very brief time of struggle, when he and David Gray were living together.  He sent some poems to the St. James's Magazine, which she was then editing.  She told me that Mr. Maxwell, the proprietor of the magazine, had treated his young contributor with an inconsideration amounting almost to cruelty, and that, Robert Buchanan having appealed to her, she had spoken to the publisher very plainly. [Ed.various of Buchanan's poems and short stories appear in the 1866 collected edition of The Argosy.]

    With Pinwell, the artist, and his sweet young wife we had some very pleasant talk during those hours of waiting for the procession.  Mr. Pinwell had illustrated one or two of my stories, and some of his drawings had delighted me by their evidence of his comprehension of my "characters," often a very sore point as between writer and artist.  He was a pleasant-looking, genial man, well-built, with a healthy country complexion—the last man whom one would have thought destined to an early grave.

    Jean Ingelow was there, keenly interested to watch the crowd, and she actually persuaded two gentlemen (Dr. Donald MacLeod was one of them) to take her out into it, so thoroughly did she enjoy contact with happy, homely humanity.  She expressed herself as pained to see that Dr. George Macdonald's young daughters had brought play-books with them, which they read, instead of throwing themselves heart and soul into the humours of the animated scene before them.

    I was introduced that day to the Rev. H. R. Haweis.  We could not shake hands because he had been holding on to a chimney-pot, and was sooty.  His wife was with him, a petite, pretty woman, and it struck me that they were a very attached couple.  Afterwards we often went to his church in Westmoreland Street.  The building was always packed; often there was no standing room.  I remember on one occasion some heterodox community invited Mr. Haweis to preach before them.  The place appointed was the Unitarian Chapel in Finsbury.  Mr. Haweis accepted the invitation, and I went to hear him.  He preached an admirable sermon, going deep down to the heart of things—exactly the sermon to appeal both to the honest sceptic and the open-minded orthodox.  I felt something of a shock when, in the course of a few Sundays afterwards, he made a kind of apology for having accepted this invitation, and spoke of his motives for doing so in a different way from what he had done in accepting it.  But a Sunday or two yet later I heard him preach on Peter's denials of his Lord.  I heard him plead with his audience to try to understand Peter, to realize how a poor mortal, perhaps physically frail and weary, shrinks and fails in the presence of prosperous strength towering over him, accusing, calling on him to justify himself, till the poor wretch is goaded to say anything to escape, hating himself even while he does it.  It seemed to me that I could see into the sensitive heart of the man, and could find it sound and true beneath any weakness of the moment.

    Long afterwards—it must have been in 1887 or 1888I heard Mr. Haweis lecture in Aberdeen.  His subject was "Bells."  I was painfully struck by the change in his appearance.  It was not that made by advancing years.  He looked a defeated man—and, more, a man who has given up the struggle.  The lecture was full of forced jokes, of the kind that catch the ears of the groundlings; and as I heard these evoke the coarse guffaws of a certain Established Kirk minister, and thought of all Mr. Haweis had been, and of what help he had given to many struggling souls, I could not refrain from thinking of Samson making sport for the Philistines, and I own that my eyes filled with tears.  That was the last time I saw H. R. Haweis. [Ed.some of Haweis's writing appears in the 1866 collected edition of The Argosy.)

    If any of the critics of Martin Tupper are still living, let me assure them that they did not succeed in ruffling his quiet, steady self-satisfaction.  I met him on one or two occasions, a comfortable, sententious gentleman, audibly self approbative.  I think other poets have been as dull, escaping his obviousness only by falling into the incomprehensible.  He echoed the best things that commonplace people say to themselves —hence his popularity.  But there is another popularity which is equally an echo, but it is of what the worst commonplace people say and feel, and thus it may be that there is a commonplaceness drearier even than poor Martin Tupper's.  I may remark that his "Proverbial Philosophy" was at one time a favourite gift between lovers!

    Jeremy Bentham died in 1832, yet I saw Jim in 1874!  This sounds uncanny, but is simpler enough.  By his own directions his body was preserved, and is kept within University Collage, London.  At some reception there a young man connected with that institution offered to show us the gruesome relic.  We left the music and lights of the hall, and, stealing along various dim passages, illumined only by the guttering candle held by our guide, we climbed what I think must have been the heights of some lecturing-hall, for it was not easy to see beyond a very limited radius.  There our cicerone opened a door, and revealed the philosopher, seated in an easy-chair, in his ordinary garb.  I think a hat was on the head; I remember distinctly that the hands were concealed by gloves.  We must have made a weird picture, with our Rembrandtish light and the young figures in their finery, shrinking a little from the impassive form that confronted them.

    I never saw Maxwell (the publisher of the St. James's Magazine), to whom I have referred.  He had been married to an Irish lady with whom Mrs. Hall had been acquainted.  One day, on going to his office, she inquired after his wife.  Maxwell coolly replied: "She is defunct."  Mrs. Hall could not believe her ears, and repeated her question, only to receive again the reply: "She is defunct."  "Mr. Maxwell," she cried, surely you do not mean to say that your wife is dead?  "Madam," he returned, with a sardonic smile, "she is de-funct!"  The poor lady, broken in mind and body, was alive for years afterwards.  I have been told that the well-known essayist, Mr. Hain Friswell, had occasion to visit Maxwell's office, and, like many other authors, had his grievance against this publisher.  He wished to air this, nor was he prevented from doing so by the presence of a lady, seated in a corner, enjoying a cup of tea.  The altercation between publisher and author grew stormy—violent; I was told that it even went beyond words.  Presently they arrived at some sort of compromise, and quieted down.  Then Mr. Maxwell said, "Mr. Friswell, allow me to introduce you to this lady," naming her.  The lady rose, and, curtseying, said: "Have I the honour to meet the author of 'The Gentle Life'?"  Hain Friswell related this story himself.

    I met Dora Greenwell in the beginning of 1878, when, by her invitation, I called on her in a house at Westminster, where she was then living.  It was a chill, dismal January day.  Miss Greenwell and an old servant seemed the sole occupants of the establishment.  The latter, flat candlestick in hand, led me up a darksome staircase into a great gloomy room, where Miss Greenwell sat in the firelight.  The servant was instructed to leave her candlestick, and, placed upon the table, its light fell full on Miss Greenwell's fine countenance, the rest of the room being left in shadows, through which gloomed ghastly great white busts placed in brackets on the wall.  But Miss Greenwell needed only to speak for one to feel oneself at home, admitted to the heart of a woman who had loved and suffered.  I was a very sad soul at that time, beating helpless hands against the gates of Death that had closed across my life, and her sympathies came out to me at once.  In the course of our conversation she spoke of the innumerable methods even then proposed for the prolongation of maimed and withering existences.  "When such were published," said she, "my dear mother used to say, 'If that had been known in time, some of our darlings might have been spared a little longer'; but I always said, 'Mother dear, is there such gain in the artificial prolongation of a physical existence which is not genuine living?'"  When she said this, she was herself much of an invalid, and one felt that Death was being expected as a friend.

    Just then there was a general belief that Miss Greenwell was in very straitened circumstances.  This could not have been accurate.  A literary woman told me at the time that Mr. Samuel Smiles had informed her that no meat had been taken into Dora Greenwell's house for some months, a state of things which seemed to the kindly man so shocking that he proposed to send—and did send—a ten-pound note to her, enclosed "as a reader's only way of showing his gratitude for the beauty of her poems."  The truth was that Dora Greenwell was a vegetarian, but such an idea could not enter into the heads of outsiders in those days.  Vegetarianism was then regarded as a dangerous eccentricity.  Indeed, the only vegetarians I had ever heard of were a family of my school-fellows, named Donovan, and consequence their father was regarded as a mischievous crank.  Two of the daughters were my school-fellows, and, though they were tall, fine-looking girls, our governesses always shook their heads over their home diet.  Disasters reported as befalling vegetarians were attributed to their undue "sensitiveness" or "timidity," and held up as "warnings" to any who had vegetarian leanings.  It adds to the irony of the situation that such reports were often untrue!

    I saw Émile Zola when he was the guest of the Institute of Journalists in London.  That was before he had shown the indomitable courage which he displayed over the Dreyfus case.  M. Zola was a slight, elegant man, with a keen and rather sad expression of countenance.  In his later portraits it seemed to me that this expression had softened, and that the sadness had passed into solicitude.  I heard him deliver an address to the Journalists.  He spoke in French, with a clear calmness of intonation which made it quite easy to follow his speech.  To those who have formed certain ideas of Zola's work it may seem strange for me to say that in appearance he seemed to me to be personally the very embodiment of intense respectability.  I use the word in a good sense.  It must have been his determination to be true at any cost which forced him to draw such unflinching pictures of the ugliness of the social life about him, and possibly diverted his gaze from the brighter sides of human life.  I can never think that Zola's novels would "allure" to vice of any kind, for truly he shows it as a "monster of hideous mien," and his work is bathed in an atmosphere of lurid gloom.  One does not wonder that at times he tried to brighten it for himself and others by visionary Utopias placed on the edge of dawn.  It seems to me that Zola always made the fatal mistake of attributing human imperfection to certain evil institutions, instead of attributing those evil institutions to human imperfection.  There is an air of unmistakable truth about his picture of ecclesiastical machinations and suppressions and oppressions displayed in his novel "Write."  But, alas! such machinations and suppressions and oppressions are not peculiar, as he would seem to indicate, to the Romish Church, but are common to every human corporation or association which, starting with noble aims and efforts, becomes involved with "interests," financial, social, or sectarian.  It is only in the magnitude of its operations that the methods of the Papal Church differ from those of "societies," which may have been originally convened for the promotion of peace or of temperance.

    Père Hyacinthe (Charles Loyson) was in Jerusalem when I was there (1896).  He came to our hotel to visit some of our party, and I introduced myself as having been a friend of his old friend Dr. Guthrie.  Charles Loyson had his American wife with him.  At that time he was just seventy years of age, but he looked younger, with a jovial, merry face and a superabundance of force, physical and mental.  On Sunday evening he preached to the guests assembled in the saloon of the hotel.  His subject was "The Brotherhood of Man," the need of tolerance and respect for those of other creeds than our own, with a special warning to us to remember that there was much in professed Christendom which must shock and repel Moslem races, and that in the very matters wherein we held ourselves so superior we are so only in theory.  He spoke in French, with tremendous energy.  I could follow him easily until his peroration, when he rose to such fluent eloquence that I could catch but a word here and there.

    One very arresting personality with whom I was brought in contact was that of Caroline Martyn, the Socialist lecturer.  She was the daughter of a home and an environment typically English middle-class.  A little book written after her death by a relative reveals the limitations of her youthful culture, and shows how she rested completely content within these till she was twenty-three years of age, when, under the influence of her mother's sister, she passed through Radicalism into Socialism.  She had in turn belonged alike to the Primrose League, the Radical Club, and the Fabian Society.  In time she became a lecturer and organizer for the Independent Labour Party, developing very remarkable oratorical gifts.  I met her first only a year or two before her death.  She must have been about twenty-eight years of age, a tall, graceful figure, with well-formed head adorned with fine fair hair.  She was not beautiful in features or complexion, but so pre-eminently attractive as to possess far more than beauty.  From the very first she affected me with a sense of want of repose.  It seemed to me that her subject had grasped her, and that she had not yet grasped it, in sign of which she was quite unable to get away from it.  Her table-talk was "propaganda."  I used laughingly to tell her to spare herself from "preaching" to me, for I knew exactly what she was going to say, and that she might use our intercourse as a resting-place.  She was my guest on two occasions, the last time being only a few days before the onset of her fatal illness.  She spent a whole Sunday with me in utter quietness—indeed, I was struck by the sudden silence which seemed to have fallen on her.  She had "comrades" and acquaintances in Aberdeen, and, shrinking from absorbing her myself, I asked whom she would like me to invite to meet her.  "Just nobody," she said.  "Not this time.  I should like to be at rest."  And we spent the day under the July foliage of the garden.

    On that occasion, as once before, she expressed to me very strongly her dissatisfaction with her nomadic lecturing life.  That sense of futility which besets every worker with tongue or pen who allows himself, and especially herself, to drift apart from the simple practical duties of life, weighed heavily on her.  She longed to have a special habitation, and some work of the hands which would leave the contented consciousness of "something accomplished, something done."  She spoke on this matter with so much emphasis that, looking back, I should almost fancy that my memory had under-scored her words, but that I find she had expressed the same feeling with equal emphasis some time before, and in writing.  In a letter to a dear friend and relative she had remarked: "I am just a speaking-machine. . . . I envy you your busy round of life, your constant duties, and your responsibilities."

    Caroline Martyn loved needlework, and worked skilfully.  On each of her visits to me she went straight to my work-basket, took out whatever she found therein, and applied herself to it.  She had been a teacher, and she had succeeded in such literary work as she had ever undertaken.  For her there was certainly no advantage of pleasure or profit in the work to which she gave herself, then believing it to be her best method of serving her kind—a belief which, I think, wavered before her death.  In that work she was never at rest, and seldom more than a few days in any one place, and then only as making it a centre for lecturing excursions around.  Her long railway journeys were made in third-class carriages.  She seldom took more luggage than she could carry in her own hands, for, knowing the poverty of her cause and of most of its supporters, her one study was to keep down all expense at any cost to herself.  Cabs seldom took her to or from her platforms.  Through pouring rain or driving wind she tramped there and back in a long mackintosh.  "Hospitality" was usually proffered to eke out her modest fee—how modest, and how wholly dependent on the fortunes of those who sought her, some might find scarcely credible.  Such hospitality was often heartily rendered by poor folk with not too much room for their own families, and Caroline, after a long, rough journey and the fatigue of addressing a meeting in some ill-ventilated hall, had to get such rest as she could find in a bedroom shared by two or three children.  She did not complain.  She mentioned the matter only because she feared it sometimes made her less fit than she should be for her work.  Such work!  A few extracts from the little biography already mentioned tell its tale: "I am engaged to-night, three times on Sunday, and every evening next week except Friday."  "I received £2 2s. for my week's work."  "I will give you my programme for next week."  It runs: "Sunday.—Afternoon: P.S.A., 1,000 men attend; evening: West Derby I.L.P.  Monday.—Afternoon: meeting concerning industrial women; eight o'clock: lecture on Trades Unionism.  Tuesday.—Afternoon meeting.  Wednesday.—B.W.G.A. meeting: lecture on "Women's Wages"; 8 p.m.: lecture on Trades Unionism.  Thursday.—Lecture at eight. Friday.—Plans still forming.  Saturday.—A pause and a visit."  The intervals between these lectures were filled up by correspondence, by private discussions with interested antagonists or ill-informed supporters, while she had to be always ready to supply an article for any of the labour journals.  It is little wonder that she died, worn out, before she was thirty.

    She was thrown among all sorts of people and problems—was expected to cast a shield of friendliness over wild, sensational girls, too "advanced" to endure the legal marriage tie, but not too advanced to gain their living as clerks in bogus gold-mine offices—and it seemed to me that here and there, in her desire to be loyal to forlorn hopes and desperate adventurers, she was less than loyal to her own best instincts; for she wrote with apparent approval of some whom I know she despised and mistrusted, and concerning whom silence should have been her uttermost charity.  She had a ready sense of humour, which found a fine field among some of the communal groups which were so much in evidence in the early nineties.  Of one leader of this school she remarked "Why, if you asked him for a second cup of tea, he would look at you and say, 'What would Jesus do?'"

    A pathetic figure, more significant in herself than in all the work she did—a flower which, being thrown into a vortex, helps us to see its force.  One who worked with her and loved her has since said to me that such a career must involve some sort of destruction for either man or woman, and in a woman it was likely to come the more quickly, and to mean bodily death, whiled in men it might be delayed only to involve final mental or moral ruin.

    The name of Dr. Guthrie has already appeared in these pages.  I had met him first, as I have said, in our old Bedford Street counting-house, to which my mother severely restricted all editors and other masculine people who called on me concerning either literary or secretarial work—an aloofness which Dr. Japp told me long afterwards he had much wondered at and resented.  "She was so nice-looking," he said, "and yet so coldly devoid of all interest in me, though I was a young man from Scotland."  The first exception she ever made was on Dr. Guthrie's second visit, when he was accompanied by Mrs. Guthrie and Mrs. Herschell, the stepmother of Lord Chancellor Herschell.  On that occasion the whole party was ushered into the little drawing-room over the shop.  The same hospitality was actually extended to Dr. Norman MacLeod, alone, a few weeks afterwards!

    It was during his second visit that Dr. Guthrie  proposed that I should visit his family in their Highland retreat.  The idea would have startled me—it was as if an archangel beckoned me from a star—but that I felt it too good to be true.  I did not notice how I "took" it; I was too occupied in feeling how beautiful it would be, but how impossible it was.  Mrs. Herschell remarked to me long afterwards that she had been struck by my "coolness"—indifference, as it seemed to her.  "You said not a word," she observed, "but looked at your sister.  I thought how different it would have been when I was a girl.  The mere thought of Dr. Guthrie and the Highlands would have sent me into the seventh heaven of delight."  So we misjudge each other.  Yet to-day, looking back even on myself, I find it difficult to realize why it should have seemed so impossible.  My earnings during that year had been well over £400, and after devoting the rest to the terrible debts, I had ventured to put away £50 as my very first "savings"; for it must be remembered I had not only to try to pay the debt, but to prevent its increase.  To meet family difficulties I had had to snatch at some freedom, to overstep family limitations, and thwart family prejudices.  All this did not make me feel the less that I might not be "permitted" to accept this offered joy.  For "profit" I had had to rebel, but "pleasures" remained to be offered up, if required, at the family shrine, and I never dreamed of anything else.

    It is equally mysterious to me how in the end the proposed visit to Scotland did come about.  One thing worked with another, my own will seeming more passive than circumstances.  Miss Kate Ross from Tain, who had met me during a London visit, wrote inviting me to visit the family there.  Her brother and sister in London—the brother on Mr. Strain's business staff—volunteered to take me off in their charge.  Dr. Guthrie himself wrote a long letter pressing his invitation, both to the Highlands and to Edinburgh, going into details of the journey to make it seem easier to me.  My mother and my eldest sister thought it over till the idea became familiar to them, and in the end I started off on what was to me the truly awful night journey from King's Cross to Edinburgh.

    After paying my visit in Tain, I travelled via Inverness and Aberdeen—both cities with family associations for me—to Brechin, where I was hospitably received in the house of the Doctor's son James, banker there, and next day, in company with Charles and Helen Guthrie, I drove off to the Doctor's summer retreat, Inchgrundel, beside Lochlee.

    Inchgrundel was a small farm amid Lord Dalhousie's deer-forests.  The house stood on the edge of lovely Lochlee—a tiny low building, backed by mighty hills, one of striking shape, whose Gaelic name we rendered as "Maskeldie."  It was a perfect spot in the height of summer, but for many months of the year no sunshine reached it, and out of the very large family of the farmer who was its permanent occupant only one son survived.  I made a timid little sketch of the place, which Dr. Guthrie praised on the score of its truthfulness as to the size of the house in relation to its mountain surroundings.  "Other friends," said he, "have been so afraid of hurting my feelings that they have turned the cottage into a mansion, but you, lassie, give the plain truth."

    What a happy time we had!

    Dr. Guthrie said to me afterwards: "Lassie, I used to think there was nothing of you, and ye'd be blown away; but, lassie, I know better now.  You're wiry, lassie—wiry."

    Dr. Guthrie's household talk was remarkable for its racy vigour.  He had the keenest appreciation of the quiet virtues which really keep the world going.  He would point to this one or that one, and with just a hint of their history he would say, "That man is a hero," "That woman is a saint."  While I was at Inchgrundel, in the solitary family room of the establishment he not only carried on all his editorial and other correspondence, but prepared a sermon which I afterwards heard him preach on the road above the loch.  He could have found solitude in a bed-chamber had he wished, but somehow his work seemed part of the household business.  He would stop writing for a moment to tell us what he was writing, even to ask the general opinion concerning any view he was giving forth to the world.
 

Dr. Thomas Guthrie preaching at Lochlee.

Sir George Harvey, P.R.S.A., painted a picture of one of these Sunday afternoons.  It was presented by Fox Maul, Earl of Dalhousie, to New College, Edinburgh.  Among the farmers and shepherds sit the Earl, his sisters, and some members of the Guthrie family, Lord Guthrie as a little boy.  Behind the preacher is Hugh Miller and his daughter.


    At his "family worship" not only his own household and that of the farmer were present, but also any gillie who might be in the neighbourhood, or any poor tramps who were earning temporary shelter by a few days' harvest-work.  I remember two of these—a decent widow-woman and her little daughter.  They smartened themselves up for these occasions, and the Doctor received them and chatted with them in the friendliest way.  He said to me after: "Did you notice that yon lassie had put on a frill?"

    The silence around us was profound, never broken but by the bay of a hound or by a keeper's bagpipes. The letters once arrived in the moonlight, to the sound of that strange wild music. It was the fitting accompaniment to the opening out of a life's love which lay for me in that letter-bag.

    Calls were exchanged with the Earl of Dalhousie and Lady Christian Maule, his sister, who were staying at Invermark Lodge.  Both had an immense esteem for "the Doctor," who knew the trials they had endured in their earlier days.  Presently the Duke of Buccleuch became their guest.  He had been one of the fiercest opponents of Dr. Guthrie at the time of the Disruption.  Nevertheless, we were invited to join the Lodge party at lunch.  I remember the Doctor telling me that on one occasion he had Ministered to an open-air congregation, who had "come out" of its parish kirk, and as yet had no other.  There had been heavy rain in the night.  The ground was sopping.  Hard by lay a pile of planks.  The Doctor suggested that they should be put down for the worshippers to stand upon.  "Na, na," said they; "they belong to the Duke of Buccleuch, and he would not wish us to have them!"  I do not think Dr. Guthrie looked forward to the meeting with much pleasure.  His party had certainly conquered in the struggle, but he could scarcely forget all the sufferings which had been caused by intolerance.  However, on the day fixed there was a steady downpour of rain.  The whole length of the loch stretched between Inchgrundel and Invermark.  "Lassie, do you particularly wish to go?" asked the Doctor wistfully.  "Oh dear, no!" I said, with perfect sincerity.  "Neither do I," he rejoined; and an excuse was sent.

    My especial companions during that holiday were the youngest son and daughter, Charles and Helen.  Charles, now Lord Guthrie, was then but a lad of eighteen, but so full of dignity and character that it was hard to realize his youth.  I never knew anybody who has been so little changed by advancing years and gathering honours.  We took several rides together—the first (and last) time I was ever on horseback—and we discussed the deepest subjects in the most solemn and final manner.   Helen was a bright, bonnie girl, a charming companion, and in the background was always the kind, smiling face of the elder daughter, Clementine, then, as to her dying day, holding her own pleasure wholly in abeyance for the service of others.  Mrs. Guthrie was a small, pretty woman, growing elderly, quiet in society, but full of keen, pawky observation in private life.  She was a true helpmate to her husband, in every way doing him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.  It was from her, too, that her children all inherited a fine ear for music, which, when joined to the wide-compassed and melodious voice they derived from their father, made many of them notable singers.  An operatic manager, chancing to drop in at a village concert where one of the sons was singing, was so charmed that, not knowing who the singer was, he sent up an offer to give the young man a full training for the operatic stage.  Of course, the offer was politely declined.  That son was on the eve of leaving home to cross the world, and I remember that, though Mrs. Guthrie did not utter a single word of grief or anxiety, I often heard her quiet sigh as she busied herself with the stockings she was preparing for the traveller.

    On our way down to Brechin we met the postman, and I received the copy of the Athenæum containing that favourable review of my "Occupations" which first struck the note of praise, and secured me my little place as a literary woman.

    I remember Helen Guthrie telling me that in Brechin it would not do for her to touch the piano in accompanying a hymn on a Sunday.  Her own family did not share the feeling, but most of the townsfolk would then have regarded it as ungodly, and considered that she was shaming her parentage.

    At that time there stood near Dr. Guthrie's church, Free St. John's, Cowgate, a very fine, Picturesque old house.  It had descended to be the home of the very lowest people, and as I stood admiring it, Dr. Guthrie told me it was already doomed to demolition.  When I expressed my regret for this, he said to me: "Lassie, you should be made to live in it.  When such houses have been allowed to become what that is, those who wish them kept should be made to live in them!"  Those wise words have constantly reminded in, that antiquarian taste must be exercised in time if it is to be really useful.

    While I was on one of my early visits to Dr. Guthrie, we happened to hear that a distinguished novelist had sent her two fatherless sons to Eton.  Dr Guthrie shook his head.  "I fear she is sowing sorrow for herself," he said.  "That is not the best foundation for any future she can give the lads."  I understood afterwards that there may have been circumstances which made her venture less extravagant financially than it seemed.  Nevertheless, Dr. Guthrie's forecast was justified in the event.

    Dr. Guthrie's youngest daughter, my dear friend Helen, was sporting a huge specimen of the then fashionable chignon.  Said her father, humorously: "If I had had a child born with such a protuberance at the back of her head, how everybody would pity me!  Don't I need pity now that she has put it there herself?"

    The homeliest common sense and the highest ethical wisdom were always so mixed in the Doctor's daily talk that it was impossible to disentangle the two.  Some advices he gave me, derived from incidents passing before our eyes, have stuck firmly into my habits.

    "Never pass a crowd in the street without discovering what is the matter.  If you find that some competent person is giving due attention, go on your way at once.  If not, attend yourself.  Don't stay merely to increase the crowd."

    "The first thing you should do when you enter a railway carriage is to note its number.  Then, if in the course of the journey you have to leave the carriage, you can find it again without fluttering up and down the platform and putting in your head everywhere, as yonder poor woman is doing."

    "If you ever require to write to anybody on a matter which it is desirable should be strictly confidential, don't put 'Private' on the outside envelope.  That excites the very curiosity and inquiry you wish to avoid.  Take a second envelope, put your letter into that, and mark it 'Private,' so that the hint will meet only the eyes for which it is intended."

    Dr. Guthrie himself told me that on one occasion, as he sat in his study, he felt strongly impelled to go out and call on an aged and lonely member of his congregation.  He obeyed the impulse, but had not gone many yards before he met a clerical brother going in another direction, who urged him to join him, pleading that he could easily pay his pastoral visit to-morrow, or even a little later during that afternoon.  Dr. Guthrie yielded to these persuasions, but had not gone very far when he felt what he said he could only describe as something pulling him back to his original intention.  He explained to his friend that he really must go, and hurried off.  He found the old dame alone in her house, helpless in her armchair, her clothing already smouldering from a live coal which had fallen from the grate.  He was only just in time to save her.

    It may be added that I understood Dr. Guthrie to feel nothing but incredulity and contempt for the so-called "spiritualistic phenomena."

    I met Dr. Norman MacLeod only twice, and both those glimpses were enjoyed after his return from India, a journey which had been very wearisome and trying to a man of his ponderous physique.  Consequently I heard little of the humour and wit of which others had told me.  He was a man full of kindliness and of outstanding courage.  Parish minister, royal chaplain and courtier as he was, he never feared to speak out for any unpopular side, and to declare what he held to be the truth in the face of deeply-rooted prejudices or passions.  It cost a Highlander something to write his story, "The Starling," at the time he wrote it, though to-day that may seem almost incredible; and an equal fearlessness of expression on subjects of deeper import than Scottish Sabbatarianism can be traced throughout his writings.

    It is an interesting literary fact that Dr. MacLeod's story "Billy Buttons" was written and in the publisher's hands long before the production of Bret Harte's "Luck of Roaring Camp," though publishing delays caused it to seem an unwarrantable imitation of the latter.  In both stories the motif is the same—the influence of an innocent baby's presence on a community of rough men—the variations being only natural to the environment of the respective authors.  "Billy Buttons" is born on a sailing-vessel, while in the popular American's tale the babe is the "Luck" of a mining camp.

    It was in March, 1871, that I saw the famous African missionary, Robert Moffat.  My husband and I were together at some celebration at a church in the Clapham Road which he had known for a long time, so that he was acquainted with nearly all the people, and went about among them freely, while I sat with two or three to whom I had been newly introduced.  A few weeks earlier my husband had gone down to the West of England, employed legally in the sale of a family estate, which under happier circumstances should have been his own inheritance.  On the morning of this Church festival he had returned from finally completing the business.  To me he seemed in his usual cheerful spirits, because for me his face always wore a smile.  In the assembly-room there was an elderly Highland lady, a stranger in London.  She noticed my husband, as she thought, alone, though exchanging many greetings, and as she looked at him she had seemed to hear the lines of the old Scottish song


"On hills that were by richt his ain
     He wandered as a stranger."


In the course of that evening we both made her acquaintance, and then, with a smile, she told me of what she called her "mistake."  I knew at once how near it was to truth, but one does not always make confidences even to the kindliest strangers, and it was not till years had passed that she was told.

    The Rev. Robert Moffat was the guest of the evening—a tall, spare man of commanding presence, with lofty brow and dark, deep-set eyes.  When he spoke his voice was low and solemn, and of what he said I remember nothing, save his assertion that he had gone out to Africa only under conviction of the literal truth of that verse of the Psalmist's: "The heathen shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."  "Unless we carry the message," said he, "they must be lost for ever."  There was a thrill in his voice as he uttered the awful words.  I remember I turned to my husband, and whispered: "Why, Moffat is better than his idea of the God he worships!"

    Sir William Geddes, whom I knew well, and who, with his family, were very kind to me when, immediately after my widowhood, I arrived, a stranger, in Aberdeen, had long been Professor of Greek in the University of that city.  He was the son of a small farmer in Aberdeenshire, and for a time was parish schoolmaster near Gamrie, on whose interesting "Auld Kirk" he wrote some stirring verses.  In his later life, when I knew him, he was a handsome, stately gentleman, whose courtly formality of manner could not conceal his kindly heart.  He delighted to draw "parallels" between Greek periods and their literature and British periods and theirs.  It struck one as rather portentous when he paralleled the last Greek poet, Theocritus, with our Tennyson!  He invited ladies to his inauguration lectures long before any were admitted to University classes.  I have heard him say, in reference to the perkiness of those who delight to call themselves "self-educated": "Whoever is educated at all is self-educated."  He had a great belief in the vigour and strength of brain in "stocks" whose heredity had not been through the mill of the "schools."

    I frequently met George Macdonald at Eliot Lodge.  He was then living at Hammersmith, and as his homeward journey from Blackheath passed through the district of Charing Cross, I often enjoyed the kindly escort of himself and his wife.  George Macdonald was of noblest presence and kindliest manners.  He belonged by birth to Aberdeenshire, and was to my mind always at his best in his fiction, when he kept among pathetic scenery of his native place, and dealt with characters that had faced the hard realities of simple life.  Even his West Highland lairds were less convincing than his Aberdeen townsfolk, and country masons, and "guid wives."  It is possible that his revolt against the stern forms of the older Theology made him sometimes inclined to be intolerant, even unfair, in dealing with those who still clung to them, yet it must be remembered that he drew some of his noblest "characters" from their ranks, and demonstrated that human nature, when sweet and true, bears testimony to its Divine origin, despite any darksome dogmas in which it may have been bred.  Personally I never liked him better than at our last meeting in Aberdeen, at the house of a connection of his, a fine old gentleman who had spent his earlier life in going in whaling-ships to the far North Seas.

    Health drove George Macdonald to softer climes than his "bracing" native shire, but Dr. Japp always regretted that the poet had wandered farther south than the Hastings cottage, in which he did much of his best work.  "Alec Forbes of Howglen" "David Elginbrod," and "Robert Falconer" remain his masterpieces, and to some of us it has seemed as if the first signs of decadence appeared in the very book which made him "popular"—"The Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood."  I think his fame will finally rest on some of his verses.  [Ed.―some examples of George Macdonald's writing appear in the collected edition for 1866 of The Argosy.]

    I have a good story of Dr. Alexander Bain, the metaphysician—the better because she who told it was absolutely unaware of its psychological significance in his history.  Some years ago a friend of mine doing medical duty in a mining town in the North of England, came across an old woman from Aberdeen, who, on hearing that he, "the doctor's" new assistant, was fresh from that city, remarked: "Ye've got a mannie there ca'ed Alick Bain, havena ye?  Is na he something at one of the colleges?"

    "Yes," admitted the young assistant; "Dr. Alexander Bain certainly is 'something' at one of the colleges."

    "He was aye a queer chiel," mused the old dame.  "I lived beside his folk—weyvours they were, ye ken.  I mind his mother settin' him up on the deece, an' trying to mak' him say, 'Oor Feyther, which art in Heaven.'  But he wadna.  'Fat's the use o' saying that,' he said, 'when ye ken feyther's i' the schop?'" (shop).

    Dr. Bain's first wife was a very prim and precise little lady, who always wore white stockings and sandalled shoes.  She called her famous husband "Alick."  One frequent speech of hers was, "Alick has the brains, and I have the blood," for she had some pride of descent.  Another saying was, "I am Episcopalian—Alick is Presbyterian."  She had no children, but often had young relatives staying with her, was devoted to her little dog, and took much interest in poultry.  She gave great attention to the cleanliness of her house, and, if she met a guest in the hall, would direct her notice to the doormat.

    One story of her hauntings of the hall I heard her relate.  It was "examination time"; the Professor was working very hard, and she was anxious to spare him as much as possible, especially from the inroads of bewildered and explanatory students.  "If such come," she instructed her maid, "they must not see Dr. Bain.  I will see them."  A moment after, as she was crossing the hall, there came an excited ringing of the bell.  Mrs. Bain stepped behind the hall curtain and waited.  Sure enough, it was a breathless student.  "Can I see Professor Bain?" he demanded.  "No, sir," answered the servant; "but Mrs. Bain says" "Oh, d Mrs. Bain!" cried the naughty youth I want to see the Professor."  "I put the curtain aside," narrated Mrs. Bain, and stepped forward, and I said: 'Young man, if you had behaved in a gentlemanly way, I would have represented to the Professor whatever you may have to say, possibly to your advantage; but after your most improper language I shall certainly do nothing of the kind.'"  Exit student.  Nobody knows what he said outside!

    Dr. and Mrs. Bain frequently gave students' parties, and the students were astonished and almost shocked to note the domestic submissiveness of their doughty Professor.  Once, just as the whole party adjourned from dining-room to drawing-room, a live coal leaped from the grate and buried itself on a beautiful white sheepskin.  The little lady pointed to it, with the single word, "Alick!"  The Professor did not hear this appeal, and the young men were too flurried to rush to the rescue.  Mrs. Bain remained in the attitude she had struck—hand outstretched and finger pointing—and repeated, with still more emphasis and significance, "ALICK!"  This time the worthy husband flew to obey.  But those "Alicks!" were too dramatic for the students to forget, and a favourite diversion of the chartered libertinage of "capping days" was to cry "Alick!" in every varied intonation of entreaty and command.

    Perhaps that impertinence was pardonable, and doubtless only raised a smile in those whom it concerned.  But the students of Aberdeen covered their University with shame on the day when Dr. Bain, elected by themselves to be Lord Rector, was, in a scene of disgraceful riot, refused a hearing for his rectorial address.  One might differ from his views, and even in one's estimate of his intellectual position, but Alexander Bain remained precisely the type of man whom the Scottish student should have delighted to honour—a man redolent of Scottish soil and of all that is best in Scottish academic tradition, owing nothing to any man, but all to his own clear brain and determined character.

    Mrs. Bain told stories in a dry, humorous way.  I remember her narrating how she had remostated with some woman in her neighbourhood, whose dog was a great barker.  She was met by the rejoinder: "My dog has paid his tax, and is enteetled to bark as much as he likes!"

    She told of a cook she had had—a Yorkshire woman who put on unnecessary "h's," as Yorkshire people do, though it does not seem to bring on them the obloquy which covers the Cockney.  Once she had said to the cook: "Mrs.――, won't you say 'eggs,' not 'heggs'?"  The cook had replied indignantly: 'Heggs' I always have said, and 'heggs' I will always say!"  "Very well, cook," replied Mrs. Bain; 'heggs' they shall be."

    Acquaintances of mine who lived within sight of the Bains' house reported that when the Professor took his daily constitutional, his wife entrusted him with her little dog, held by a leading-string, but that when the husband had got round the corner, he let the dog go free, and did not again confine it till they were once more within sight of home.

    It was during my first visit to Tain that I first met Dr. John Stuart Blackie.  He was the guest of a retired Free Church minister there—or, rather, of his daughters, for the father was so infirm and "doited" that he could be scarcely a host.  Professor Blackie was in grand form; he said out whatever came into his head, and very clever were some of those sayings.  I remember that, though I have forgotten most of them.  We all had tea in a little parlour opening upon the garden, and more than once during the meal Dr. Blackie sprang from his seat, took a stroll among the flower-beds, and then came back and resumed conversation as a matter of course.  Dr. Blackie tried to get from me my first impression of things Scottish, but I was too shy to give him much satisfaction, and naturally became shyer still in the presence of a celebrated University Professor, who said that a quiet little trimming on my dress could have been chosen only by a nice girl, and that I looked like some bird—he thought it was a water-wagtail!

    Dr. Pirrie, who was Professor of Surgery in Marischal College during my earlier life in Aberdeen, was a man of whom many stories were told—most of them quite true.  His students generally called him "Baron Pirrie," because, after a visit to the Continent, he had perpetually made reference to some celebrated German scientist as "my friend the Baron."  When Dr. Pirrie started a carriage and pair, he was very vain of a possession different from that of most of the local medical men.  It was said that he was fond of sending out a student to see if his equipage was waiting for him, and that on one of these occasions he bade the young man "just go and see if my conveyance is there.  It's nae a common cab, ye see; it's a horse and a pair of carriages!"

    The great surgeon—for such he undoubtedly was—made much show of orthodox and outward piety.  Yet his confusion of speech followed him even there.  Once, it is said, as he stood with his students round a bed, he saw that the patient was in the article of death.  "The man's dying, gentlemen," he cried.  "Gentlemen, won't one of ye put up a prayer—just the Lord's prayer?  What! not one of ye!  Don't ye know it?  Shame on ye!  I must do it mysel'.  'The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.'  Gentlemen, the man is gone!"

    He flattered his patients, especially the ladies, by allowing each to think herself a peculiar case, of absorbing interest to himself.  But this deception needed to be carried on with greater care than he always gave.  Once, when a lady patient entered his consulting-room, he received her with effusion, crying: "My dear madam, I have done nothing else but think over your case.  I could not get a wink of sleep all last night for thinking of you!"  The lady accepted all as "gospel truth," and, after some professional questions and answers, she innocently remarked: "Was it not a dreadful thunderstorm last night, Dr. Pirrie?"  "So I am told," he naively answered, "but I'm such a sound sleeper that I didna hear a clap o't!"

    Funny stories were also told about one of the Old Town divinity professors.  It was well known that he had desired to win for his second wife a well-placed, attractive, sprightly lady, young enough to be his daughter.  At every local gathering he used to be seen stumbling about, clumsily following her quick movements.  At last he married "another," but when somebody mischievously hinted that his attentions had been suspected to be directed to a different quarter, the old gentleman candidly replied: "But, you see, when we cannot get what we want, we have to take what we can get!"

    Another story went that this divine, who had an estate in the northern islands, had been invited to preside at the baptism of the last-arrived infant in the already crowded house of a minister.  The guest gave out for congregational singing a paraphrase (much favoured on such occasions).  "Let us," said he, "sing from the fifth paraphrase, beginning at the second verse: 'As sparks in close succession rise.'"

    To his consternation, the congregation giggled.  Afterwards, asking the "minister's man" what had been wrong, that functionary replied: "Ye see, Professor, the minister's name is Sparks, and yonder is his tenth bairn!"

    Professor Struthers, known by his students as "Johnnie," was a picturesque figure in Aberdeen University a few years ago.  He was the terror of all his students—the absolute horror of any idler or waster.  He himself used to say significantly: "But they all like me well enough when once they have passed."  He kept a little black book, in which he noted down anything amiss in the habits or conduct of his students, and his examinations were directed to make difficult the passing of any man of inferior character.  I remember once appealing to him for help in dealing with a young lad whom I knew to be wasting his (distant) parents' money and his own opportunities.  "I'll manage him—I'll manage him," he promptly responded.  "Don't you worry yourself any more.  It pains you; but I like it—I like it!"  In that case, as in many others, he spared no trouble; the lad was extricated from misleading associates, all outgoings were kept strictly paid, and pocket-money was doled out by sixpences.  The youth soon righted himself, and had the sound sense and good feeling to regard those who had thus disciplined him as his truest friends.  He had a sense of humour, too, for, when required to produce two "references as to character" previous to graduation, he named Dr. Struthers as one.  "How is this?" asked the astonished Professor.  "I thought it was only right, sir," was the youth's demure reply, "since you know the worst of me."  He got his reference.

    "Fleet Street," alas! always abounds in tragedies of wasted life and opportunities, and among the strangest and saddest of these was that of a man whose name can scarcely add interest to the drama of his life.  He was a wreck of genius, journalistic aptitude, and social magnetism.

    Dr. Guthrie was very fond of quoting a verse which ran:


"I live for those who love me,
 For those who know me true,
 For the heaven that smiles above me,
     And waits my coming too;
 For the wrong that needs resistance,
 For the right that needs assistance,
 For the future in the distance,
     And the good that I can do."


He did not know whose verse it was, and we found it occasionally imputed to some singer in whose works it was not to be found.  (I once saw it with Bernard Barton's name appended.)  It captivated me, not only for its own "ring," but for the memory of the venerated voice through which I had so often heard it.  As soon as I had a house of my own, I printed it as a centre to a wreath of maple-leaves sent me from the States.  At the time I had no copy of it, and in the result produced the following variation:


"I live for those who love me,
 For those who know me true,
 For the heaven that smiles above me,
 And the earth around me too," etc.,


which remains on my wall to this day.

    After Dr. Guthrie's death, when his sons David and Charles were writing his Life, they found this mysterious quotation in so many speeches and letters that they desired to discover its origin, and they asked if I could help them.

    Strangely enough, during the very week before their inquiry full information had reached me unsought.  The writer was no other than the unhappy man to whom I have referred, and the verse had appeared in a little-known volume published by him many years before.  It was one of life's little ironies that those lines, so favoured by the great temperance orator, had been written by one who was a bond-slave to alcohol!

    From that time we heard much of this man through a youth who was long befriended by G. L. B.'s poor little wife, herself a hard-working novelist, who produced books of considerable merit.

    This man's life was full of romantic episodes, so "like a story-book," as children say, that one might have been incredulous but for the verifications of his wife.

    Even as a boy he had been full of daring pranks.  Once, in his Manchester home, he, a lad, had awaited alone for the late return of an elder brother.  He had gone to the door, and, looking up the long street, brilliant with moonlight, had seen his brother advancing.  Quick as lightning, a resolve was formed.  He rushed back into the dining-room, snatched the white cloth from the table, wrapped himself in it, and was seen in this guise retreating through the back door as the brother entered by the front.  The mischievous lad "glided" down the garden among some trees, and gained the top of a high wall.  The cry was raised, "A ghost!"  Stones were hurled at the strange figure, which did not flinch.  ("None of them came near me," he was wont to comment.)  A gun was brought, and actually fired.  The ghost gave no heed.  ("I knew they would never hit," he said.)  The excitement grew intense.  All the neighbours came out.  Presently G. L. B. looked into the street at the other side of the wall, saw it was quite empty, and seized the opportunity to slip over the wall, folded the table-cloth tightly under his jacket, and, running round the corner, turned up in the crowd, clamorously demanding what was the matter, and straightway headed the pursuit.

    Here comes a quaint coincidence.  At the very moment when he climbed the wall an old neighbour at a door or two off passed from life.  The nurse, going to the window to arrange the curtains, looked out and saw the weird figure on the coping-stories.  Another moment, and the hue and cry was raised.  The nurse, awed and trembling, believed she had seen Mr.――'s ghost at the moment of his death.  The story lingered long in the neighbourhood, and so long as he was there G. never divulged his secret.

    I do not know when he began his actual career of self-indulgence, but from the first he had evidently been a difficult and troublesome husband.  When attending some convention or conference, he would suddenly invite all the members to his own house, and descend, with a party of twenty or thirty, on his little country cottage, and expect entertainment from his wife.  Something of the same thing is reported of Socrates.  Probably it explains Xantippe.  Possibly it might have been better for G. L. B. had he, too, married a Xantippe!

    At this time he was writing weekly verses and articles of rousing Radical nature, generally in North of England newspapers, and under a "writing name."  Suddenly he decided to try his fortunes in London.  He brought up his wife and children, deposited them in an hotel, and went off down Fleet Street.  There, following all precedent of literary adventurers, he turned into a coffee-house and ordered a meal.  In those days all such houses of refreshment had tables placed between two forms with backs so high that the occupants of each compartment were invisible to those in the next, though somewhat audible.  A group of men, vehemently talking politics, were in the section next to his.  Presently he heard his own pen-name, coupled with the remark: "I would give fifty pounds to see that man."  "I put my head round the corner," he narrated, and said: 'Sir, you can have that pleasure for nothing!'"  But the speaker, a wealthy cloth-merchant of Bishopsgate Without (I think his name was Pannell), proved ready to stand to his words.  He joined this portentous "man from the country," made him take him back to see his wife and family, and left him with a cheque certainly not smaller than that he had indicated.  From that time gifts and cheques never failed, till at last Mr. Pannell began fully to realize the weaknesses of his strange protégé; and, sending for the wife, he told her that he should settle an annuity of fifty pounds on her husband, and pay it to her, and this G. L. B. enjoyed as long as he lived.

    Sometimes in the street he would put half a sovereign on the pavement, and when a crowd of boys inevitably gathered round, he would tell them of some poor lad, who was penniless and starving, but came across a half-sovereign lying on the ground, "just as that is," and picked it up and "turned" it to such advantage that he died a millionaire—"and you may do the same!"  But when anybody in the crowd made a movement towards the coin, he waved them back.  "No, no!" and took care to restore it to its place in his own pocket.  So far as I ever heard, nobody had the humour to remark that he thus destroyed the point of his own narrative!

    He was a tall, stately man, and but for certain sad "traces" he would have been of the type called "venerable."  It was wonderful how much attention and interest he could command.  He could actually persuade Jewish pawnbrokers in Houndsditch to lend him money on his mere manuscripts, after they had been put in proof!

    He had the same compelling influence on very different people.  It was he who suggested to Charles Dickens to give those readings from his works which proved so financially successful to the great novelist.  G. L. B. had happened to hear Dickens speak at some public function of a society whereat he received a presentation.  Straightway the idea of these readings came into the journalist's restless brain.  But how was he to communicate with the great author, for it was late at night, and Dickens was leaving the place by an early morning train?  (I tell the story as I remember it after lapse of many years.) G. L. B. secreted the key of the casket containing the presentation, and then "found" it just in time to appear on the railway platform, and introduce himself by its means.  The novelist was prepossessed by the trouble taken in his interest, and ready to lend his ear to the flattering suggestion, which he presently carried out.

    It was in connection with another idea of his that I saw G. L. B.  He had been seized by a desire to found what he called "a waste-food kitchen" for the succour of the destitute.  He got two or three people interested, and straightway convened a public meeting in the great hall at Shoreditch.  I don't know what sort of circular he sent out, but among others he invited Lord John Manners (afterwards Duke of Rutland), and then Postmaster-General.

    G. L. B.'s own notion seemed to be the establishment of something like street-orderly boxes, wherein people could deposit their broken victuals, and even any crusts, etc., they might find in the streets, the contents of these receptacles to be daily collected, and converted into "soups" in a waste-food kitchen.  It was said that G. L. B. kept one crust which he had picked up suspended by a string above his desk.  But he really "builded larger" than he seemed to know, for great dealers from meat and fish markets, knowing the possibilities of their own trades, fell in with the idea, and presented themselves on his platform.

    The very memory of that meeting is like a nightmare.  We were all stopped at the door—an audience came flocking!—and told that we could not be admitted until the hire of the hall was paid in advance.  Presently G. L. B. and a satellite arrived, and heard the same thing.  Instantly there broke forth a volcanic stream of objurgation, before whose fiery syllables we retired to the other side of the street.  Then the orator seated himself on the steps of the hall, and took off his boots, that he might shake the dust from his feet against the hall's unworthy proprietors.  At this juncture a carriage, drawn by a spanking "pair," drew up, and in a few minutes the hall doors were opened, and people began to move in.  A wealthy "carcass-butcher" had arrived on the scene, and had laid down the necessary gold.  And G. L. B. resumed his boots.

    But G. L. B. was not appeased.  From the platform he issued a storm of words usually only indicated by dashes, applying them liberally to hall-proprietors, hall-keepers, and—one knew not the relevance—Bishops and Archbishops.  The platform, astounded, struggled bravely with its unruly leader.  A letter from Lord John Mariners was read, regretting inability to attend, but expressing his faith in and warm sympathy with the movement.  Meat and fish dealers made thoughtful little speeches, explaining how they felt that very much now deliberately wasted for trade purposes might be rescued and prepared for the poor.  But ever and anon G. L. B. broke out.  The "gallery" roared, and, considering the neighbourhood we were in, and the characters drawn into the audience by the queer scenes at the door, it is marvellous that there was not a riot.  The meeting ended in some confusion, and, of course, nothing came of the movement.

    The eccentricities of G. L. B. really amounted to insanity, but they were all rooted in intemperance, and when he could be induced to accept short spells of enforced sobriety they utterly disappeared, only, however, to reappear with constantly renewed self-indulgence.

    His poor little wife survived him for many years, though her face was deeply inscribed by suffering and care.  She went on with her literary work to the end, very happy in her daughters, and loving to surround herself with "young men and maidens."  She always spoke of her husband plainly, without any affectation that he was other than he was, but never with bitterness or reproach.  She was inclined to fix what seemed to some of us a quite exaggerated distance between his "gifts" and her "aptitudes."  His consummate vanity had had the cruelty to say to her, when he was under the roof she earned: "I have genius; you have only a poor little talent."  Her one retort was the meek assertion: "I am doing the best I can with what has been given me!"

    It is a "story of Fleet Street."  The "offices" could furnish many variations of its pitiful theme.



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