Mid-Victorian Memories III.

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Chapter IV.

A VISIT TO BARON TAUCHNITZ


SINCE 1872 my works have regularly appeared from the Tauchnitz Press, greatly to my own advantage and, as I hope, not without amusement and instruction to Continental readers.  One fact let me affirm.  Had Baron Tauchnitz never paid English authors a penny, their gain would all the same have been immense.  He obtained for them a vast, an unimaginably vast, public.  No author, says "the wise-browed Goethe," should write unless he can count his readers by the million.  The Leipzig Press brings us our million!

    I was staying at Eisenach in 1880 when an invitation reached me from Schloss Kleinschocher.  Nothing could be more agreeable than the prospect of two or three days in a country house just then.  The season was June; woods and breezy walks lie within reach of Luther's town, but the place itself was becoming hot, crowded, and noisy.  Pianoforte practice rendered the hotel insupportable by day, and supper-parties in the gardens adjoining made sleep impossible till long past midnight.  At the Leipzig station Baron Tauchnitz met me, little changed since I had seen him just ten years before.  But for the slight accent of his otherwise excellent English, you might have taken the great publisher to be an English country gentleman.  Half an hour's drive through a pleasant country brought us to a mansion worthy of a more musical name.

    I was never, I wrote to a friend, in a more beautiful house: far and wide stretches a wooded park, whilst immediately around are flower-gardens and sweeps of turf so velvety as to recall our own lawns.  And everything is of a piece within.  We realise at once that we are not only in a most sumptuous home, but in one of the happiest and most cultured.  Not that luxury is allowed to lend a material aspect.  At Schloss Kleinschocher we breathe a literary atmosphere as completely as in the modest drawing-rooms of savants and littérateurs at Leipzig.  On the tables of salon and boudoir lay the latest and best works in English, French, and German.  The hostess, a grey-haired, tall, graceful lady, with very gentle manners, and her daughter, who welcomed me so kindly,—alas! with her parents this dearly-loved daughter is no longer among the living,—testified by their conversation to the widest culture.  When Baron Tauchnitz—then the younger—with his charming wife joined us at the two o'clock family dinner, we talked—and, of course, in English—of books, music, and the drama.  The drama, indeed, forms so important an element in German life that it may be said to be part of daily existence.  Baron Tauchnitz, with a smile, soon reminded me of this, and also of another fact—namely, of his excellent memory.

    "When you first stayed in Leipzig," he said (just ten years before), "you witnessed Lohengrin.  To-night, if agreeable, my daughter will accompany you to see Preciosa."

    True enough, a seat in the Tauchnitz opera-box had been placed at my disposal on my former visit, and in company of the Baron and his son I had then enjoyed a first-rate performance of Wagner's opera; but it surprised me to find the incident remembered by one so busy.  A stroll in the gardens, a visit from the grandchildren, tea, and the opera, filled that first pleasant day at Schloss Kleinschocher—Schloss Tauchnitz, I feel inclined to call it.

    "Now you shall see my library, the real Tauchnitz library," said my host next morning, leading me to a large, handsome room, devoted to the 3,040 volumes known under that name.  At the time I write of, the number was much less, but already made a goodly show, the little volumes being all neatly yet handsomely bound in maroon calf with gilt lettering and edges, and placed in a handsome bookcase reaching from floor to ceiling.  Truly the Baron has reason to be proud of his library—now doubled; what author of voluminous works more so?  No English-speaking person, least of all a contributor to the series, can gaze on this collection without feelings of pride and pleasure.

    There are two circumstances especially to be borne in mind when reviewing Baron Tauchnitz's achievement: first and foremost, the originality of the undertaking; secondly, the high principles on which it has ever been conducted.  When the felicitous notion of popularising English literature on the Continent first entered the Baron's mind, the only means of procuring an English book was to write to London for it.  No international copyright existed, consequently any foreign publisher could reissue works printed in this country without asking an author's permission, to say nothing of paying for the privilege.  Baron Tauchnitz entertained too much respect for literature in general, and for English literature in particular, to dream of such a system.  He preferred the open, the magnanimous course, thereby not only furthering the progress of international intercourse, but paving the way for international copyright.  The little Tauchnitz volume, so portable, so inexpensive, so well printed, forms a kind of literary currency: it prevents the English resident abroad from feeling exiled; it passes from hand to hand, spreading a knowledge alike of our classics and contemporary authors; lastly, it has been a powerful protest against the piratical principle, the notion that sharpness in business may well take the place of straightforward dealing.  To authors the gain has been twofold, the Baron not only adding very considerably to their incomes, but also establishing their reputation on the Continent.

    Hardly less interesting than his Tauchnitz library at Schloss Kleinschocher is my host's collection of portraits and autograph letters.  The photos of many English authors are here, whilst from all writers included in the Continental Series the Baron has received letters.

    Take the following Sterne-like line from Thackeray:


"Don't be afraid of your English; a letter containing £ s. d. is always in pretty style."


    Equally characteristic is the crabbed utterance of Carlyle:


"No transaction could be handsomer on your part. . . . The money account concerns me.  Please attend to that as already said.  Friendliness and help cannot be paid, but money can and always should."


How warm-hearted the frank sentences of Dickens:


"I have too great a regard for you and too high a sense of your honourable dealings to wish to depart from the custom we have already observed.  Whatever price you put upon the book will satisfy me."


The author of Lothair wrote with equal cordiality, but in a wholly different style:


"The sympathy of a great nation is the most precious reward of authors, and an appreciation that is offered us by a foreign people has something of the character which we attribute to the fiat of prosperity.  I accept your liberal enclosure in the spirit in which it is offered, for it comes from a gentleman whose prosperity always pleases me, and whom I respect and regard."


Here is an amusing extract from Longfellow:


"Your very generous addition to the original sum agreed upon between us is pleasant to me, less for the sum itself than for the trait of character it reveals in you and the proof of your liberal dealing.  The contingency you allude to—namely, of my employing another Continental publisher—is about as remote as that of one of Dickens's characters, who bought at an auction a brass door-plate with the name of Thompson on it, thinking it possible that her daughter might marry someone of that name!"


    The great publishing house familiar to every English-speaking traveller on the Continent is not to be confounded with an earlier and famous business of the same name.  So early as 1796 Christopher Tauchnitz set up a printing press in Leipzig, from which latter were issued the cheap and handy


"Little Greek books with the funny type
 They get up well at Leipzig,"


of which Robert Browning's Bishop Blougram speaks.  These classics are still published by the million.

    A nephew of this Christopher, Bernhard, first Baron von Tauchnitz, was destined to be not only a great publisher, but what the late Cotter Morison called "A moral inventor."  Born in 1816, following the trade of his uncle, he began his Continental Series in 1841, of which 2,600 had appeared in the following fifty years.  Ennobled in 1860, this prince of pioneers was created one of the few Saxon life-peers in 1877.  He died in 1895, surrounded by


"That which should accompany old age,
 As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends."


    Of the second Baron, alas! (1918) I cannot now get news.  In my desk lies one of those familiar registered notes dated Leipzig, July 24, 1914, sealed with a T and containing a cheque and an agreement for my penultimate novel From an Islington Window.  Thus runs the last sentence of a document that has almost a historic interest:

    "I am sorry to say," wrote the right hand and maybe partner of my old friend, "that the Baron has not yet recovered from the severe illness which had befallen him in (sic) Spring.  He is a little better, but the doctors cannot yet say when he will be completely restored to health. — With kind regards, yours sincerely, CURT OTTO."

    A few days later war was declared with Germany.  My book, of course, was never published, and Dr. Otto was soon fighting against us.  What became of him I do not know.

    The Tauchnitz Continental Series came to an abrupt end, and to this day I cannot get news of the Baron.  From his former English publisher and agents I obtain a similar reply.  They can tell me nothing, and "a letter from me to Leipzig would do him harm."

    Does he live still, and under what conditions?  Has his colossal and honourably amassed fortune been wrenched from him?  Perhaps none of his English friends will ever learn further news of their handsome, polished, affable host of the princely Schloss Kleinschocher.


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Chapter V.

AN AFTERNOON WITH LORD JOHN RUSSELL

"The chief political figure in fifty years of English history " (Lord Houghton to Lord Granville, Jan. 17, 1875).


IT was in 1865 that I spent a long afternoon in the company of the "Lycurgus of the Lower House," as Sydney Smith styled the statesman on whom devolved the memorable honour of proposing the first Reform Bill.

    From childhood I had been familiarised in Punch with the figure of "the little great man," almost dwarfed by his enormous hat, and who, like the great Sir Isaac Newton, was so diminutive at birth that he could be cradled in a quart pot!  Our rather rough but good-natured rector, who, like the great Ipswich Cardinal, was a butcher's son, used occasionally to get numbers of the famous Charivari founded in 1841, and he never failed to bring them for us to enjoy.  And just as willingly he would lend a pair of his own trousers to some needy parishioner unable to buy black for a funeral.

    Thus, having already written two or three novels, and travelled (rather lived) for a spell in Paris, Germany, and Vienna, I could fully appreciate the following invitation from Mrs. and Mr. (afterwards Sir Edwin) Chadwick: Would I lunch at Richmond the following day and afterwards accompany them with Lord and Lady Russell on a visit of inspection to the Poor Law School at Southall?

    The Chadwicks were friends of Madame Bodichon, and I had already made their acquaintance.  Nothing, therefore, could have been more agreeable than the proposed excursion.

    Punctually to the moment, hosts and guests reached our half-way rendezvous.  It had been arranged that the two carriages—in one, Lord and Lady Russell; in the second, my hosts and self—should meet at a certain spot in the Hammersmith Road; and true enough, there we were.  But it was not till we reached our destination that I stood face to face with Lord John Russell.

    Just ten years before, on the fall of the Derby Ministry, the outgoing Prime Minister had written to Lord Granville, saying, "I am very sorry that the country will lose one of the best Foreign Secretaries it ever had. . . . 'Tu Marcellus eris.'"

    I may as well take it for granted that some of my readers, like myself, have "small Latin and less Greek"; but Mr. Frederic Harrison, whose scholarship seems at his fingers' ends as in earlier days, enables me to explain the allusion.  "Ah, unhappy boy" (Virgil, Æneid, book vi. l. 884), "if you break the bitter fates, you will be Marcellus."

    Marcellus, the only son of Octavia the sister of Augustus and his destined heir, died when nineteen.  In Hades, Æneas was shown his ghost.  When Virgil read this to Octavia, she fainted.

    To return to my narrative.  Surely the four quarters of the globe could not have furnished a greater contrast than the pioneer of reform and the initiator, we may almost aver the inventor, of sanitation.

    Outwardly there was the difference of breadth, bulk, and inches; the contrast of a stalwart middle-class gentleman in his prime and an undersized elderly scion of as noble and historic family as any in England.

    Did not, indeed, the great whig house of Russell trace its origin to Thor, the Hammerer and terror of giants?

    Sir Edwin Chadwick, Earl Russell's junior by ten years, came of lowlier stock.  Called to the Bar in 1830, his paper on Life Assurance had attracted the notice of no less an authority than Jeremy Bentham, and in 1883, on being named Secretary of the Poor Law Board, he devoted himself to the better administration of the Poor Law funds, public education, and especially to sanitation.  If ever any public benefactor deserved a niche in the Abbey it is he, and where is his statue?

    Drainage was one of his especial subjects, and some unkind wit prognosticated a sad old age for its devotee.  In his failing years Sir Edwin would fall a victim to a tragi-comic hallucination.  He would imagine himself transformed into a monster drain-pipe, its ramifications spread throughout the entire kingdom.

    No such calamity befell him.  Sir Edwin enjoyed a hale old age, and many a pleasant afternoon I have spent with his charming wife, amiable young daughter, and himself in their beautiful home at Richmond.

    Lady Russell accompanied us on the expedition in question, and, evidently shared her husband's interest in the Home and training of the boys, several hundreds in number.

    From the first moment my attention was held by the contrasted mental attitude of the two men.  Each saw everything from an absolutely different point of view.  Each set out from exactly opposite premises.  Each would be no more likely to assimilate the other's view than two parallel lines to meet.

    Sir Edwin Chadwick was an animated calculating machine, a walking squarer of the circle.  Earl Russell's concern was with generalities, with mankind in the gross, with the human side of everything.  Patiently he listened to our host as he expatiated upon figures, the cost to a farthing per head of every child in the school, and also of every item outside maintenance and instruction.  Meantime the inspection went on, and from dining-hall, schoolrooms, and lavatories we went upstairs.

    Here Sir Edwin's pride was really pathetic.  Each occupant of the enormous dormitory we now entered seemed dear to him as if of his own blood.

    It was now late in the afternoon, and the vast sleeping quarters were flooded with warm effulgence.  Almost blinding was the brilliance of the westering sun; one's unlidded eyes might as well have been exposed on a mountain top!

    Will it be believed?  From ceiling to floor stretched windows, unshuttered, uncurtained, without blinds, the children therefore being in the position of Norwegian sight-seers.  Hardly sunset, hardly sundown could be experienced here, from eight at night till eight in the morning, at this season of the year daylight prevailing.

    Lord Russell looked, listened, hum'd, haw'd whilst his exuberant host rattled on.  Who so hard to be stopped in his torrent of words as a propagandist?  At last he turned to Sir Edwin Chadwick with the remark:

    "But what about the children's eyes?"

    The remark betokened the man.  Just as in moments of national and political stress he had seen far beyond immediate results, he now recognised the stone blindness of benevolent reformers.  There flashed before his vision the blear-eyed, blinking, permanently injured young toilers to whom sight was their most precious possession, generation after generation thus handicapped in the struggle for daily bread.

    Whether the hint was taken, whether ophthalmia was stayed in its deadly course, I never heard.  On writing lately to the Board of Education for information on this and other points, I learned that the Southall School had long been closed.

    I shall never forget those hours spent in the company of the great Liberal leader, and afterwards regretted one omission on my part.  "Before you choke me with your praise, Madam," thundered Johnson to a fair enthusiast, "remember what your praise is worth."  I never venture to compliment my betters.  But might not a word or two as to Lord John's achievements in belles-lettres from an accredited authoress have here afforded pleasure?  How aptly would have come in, say, a quotation from one of his twenty works, above all from his romances or two tragedies!  I proudly recall the fact that my own works and those upon France were not unknown to him, and that I spent a long afternoon in the society of the great pioneer of reform, truly Reddest of Red-letter days in my calendar!

    The Life of Lord Granville, [p.98] 1815-1891, vividly recalls surely the most nicknamed, or shall I say pet-named, statesman in history. Johnny he always was, alike in the mouths of supporters or adversaries.  In 1859 Lord Clarendon wrote to Lord Granville that a closer acquaintance with the Italian imbroglio—not to mention other subjects—had, he fancied, "considerably abated the veni, vidi, vici sort of feeling with which Johnny had taken possession of that bed of roses, the Foreign Office."

    In 1867 Lord Coleridge wrote to a friend: "I had a very pleasant dinner with Lord John on Wednesday.  We were but seven. . . . Johnny remains as you left him—very cocky, restless, and physically strong."  And later on he adds: "I dined at Chesham Place on Wednesday—an education dinner.  Bright was to have been there but did not appear. . . . Lord Russell made a long speech giving us a history of popular education beginning with the time of Henry IV. (of France)."

    This memorable speech was far in advance of the time, and Lord Granville wrote to the Duke of Argyll that he spoke with more power and animation than he had ever heard him.  But it was a valedictory oration, and fainting fits were followed by signs of failing strength and diminished powers.

    The wonderful old man (he was now seventy-five) was far, however, from being an extinct volcano.  These volumes seem to bring his times very near our own.  We here find one politician writing to another "of the Manchester School and Reform agitators being quite satisfied with Johnny chief and Gladstone leader."  In 1868 Lord Granville wrote to Gladstone that "Johnny's proposed public dinner is a difficult one.  If he persists in giving one, I do not know how you can avoid giving another."  The difficulty was neatly got over.  Gladstone's house was being painted, and it was impossible for him to give a dinner to the Opposition leaders of the House of Commons at his own table.  Lord John decided that the "smell of paint being bad for friends at dinner would not be innocuous to friends in council," and the council was held.

    Lord John Russell's leading characteristic was unbounded faith in himself.  "The great little man was unshakably sure of his own judgment," as one of his biographers has said.  "He knew he was right gives the key to both his career and his character."

    It is pleasant to read that relaxation came in the way of so indomitable a worker.  In 1819 he travelled with Tom Moore in Italy, the latter having crossed the Channel to avoid arrest, despite the fact that he had lately received three thousand guineas for Llalla Rookh, a poem certainly not worth the money.  Lord John afterwards edited the poet's works in eight volumes, 1852-56.

    One of my own books is named in his biography.  This is Earl of Paris (Hurst & Blackett), in which is an account of the historic little town of St. Jean de Loyne in Upper Burgundy.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter VI.

HENRY JAMES

I.


DEAR Henry James!  My heart glows as I recall our long, warm friendship, from first to last not the faintest cloudlet casting a shadow.  We valued, I may say we loved, each other, with a brotherly, sisterly affection deeper, more sympathetic perhaps than are often these blood relationships.  On neither side was there exaggeration or conventionality.  Our respective literary achievements for the most part were not touched upon.  Indeed, the only direct criticism he ever passed on a novel of mine was the reverse of flattering.

    On June 9, 1913, he had written: "I am very glad to hear of the good fortune of your Lord of the Harvest" (just included in the Oxford World's Classics).  But alas! the gilt was soon taken off the gingerbread.  A little later he paid me a visit, and referring to the story, which he had read, "I should have liked more of a tangle," he said; and, as far as I remember, that was the only direct #allusion he made to any work of mine. Indirectly I learned from other sources that he especially valued my studies of French life and literature. And was not his friendship the highest of all compliments?

    Our meetings were arranged in this way.  I would get a telegram from Rye, answer prepaid, to this effect

    "Can you receive me at five o'clock this afternoon?" and of course the answer was always Yes.  At five precisely his cab would climb the hill, stopping short at a sharp curve of the road, many drivers refusing to attempt an ascent so difficult for their hacks.

    Thus it happened now, and well I remember how laborious and painful the footing of that hundred yards or so proved to my great visitor.  He had hardly passed his prime, but was ponderously built and moved with the heaviness of age.

    Once having regained breath in my little parlour on the ground floor—I never invited him to my study above, although there were many treasures there that would have interested him—he settled himself entirely to his satisfaction.  The first thing he did was to study the physiognomy of his hitherto unknown hostess.  Indeed, before opening his lips he looked me through and through with those large eyes that seemed to see below the surface of others.  Then, that rather staggering attention over, he glanced from the window with its matchless view, wide sweep of sea, red-roofed old town nestled amid verdant heights, high above the walls of the Conqueror's castle crowning the panorama.

    Next he looked immediately about him, and I never knew anyone so sensitive to surroundings.

    "What a chair is this!" he said.  "It has a positive psychology of its own."

    The chair in question was a present to me from India, of native cane, high-backed, its proportions exactly suited to the frame and well cushioned; it invited to repose but not inanition.

    Then, after a glance at the opposite wall, he added:

    "And those fine old engravings."

    These were heirlooms, views of my native Ipswich with its twelve churches and fine river and of Bury St. Edmunds with its noble Abbey Gate and ruined tower.

    "And yonder magnificent old oak chest?"

    "Ah!" I replied, "that is my most cherished heirloom."

    A bridal chest, perhaps destined for some noble bride imitating royal example, this curio had long been in the De Betham family, and had indeed served as my mother's linen chest.

    It is a most beautiful and highly elaborate specimen of English workmanship, highly-polished, its panels showing inlaid canaries and pomegranate, fruit and foliage, under the splendid lock inlaid the figures 1626.

    1626, the year of Charles the First's second Parliament, the year in which, on hearing that Eliot had branded his favourite Buckingham as Sejanus, he had uttered the threat, "If then he is Sejanus, I must be Tiberius"—which he tried to be to his cost!

    Henry James next examined the family portraits on the side wall, all three sitters of which have a place in Sir Sidney Lee's Dictionary of National Biography—the Rev. W. Betham, Sir William Betham, Ulster king-at-arms, and Matilda Betham.  And here I made an unlucky remark.

    "Yonder old cleric, my grandfather," I narrated, "a curate for the greater part of his life, lived to be ninety-two and without ever having lost his health or his temper.  A few days before his death, as he slowly paced the room leaning on my mother's arm, he made a pun: 'I am walking very slowly, Barbara, but I am going very fast.'"

    "A delightful record, but I could have wished without the pun," was my visitor's comment.

    I took no notes of those delightful monologues, nor was it necessary; they imprinted themselves on the memory.

    I remember well his description of Sarah Bernhardt's impersonation of Jeanne d'Arc, of the wonderful way with which she baffled her tormentors, keeping them at bay, foiling every trap, laid for her tongue.

    Of France and French subjects we talked much, and yet have Henry James's novels found favour in the land par excellence of crystal clear speech and logical expression?

    He would sit down to the tea-table, though rarely taking tea, and of course I could not help talking of his own books.  One I mentioned with great appreciation, the inimitable Three Meetings.  This was on the occasion of his second visit, whereupon he said quickly:

    "You shall have my new book."

    "No," I said, glancing at my faithful maid in attendance, "pray give her one instead."

    "Do you like reading?" he asked; and on her hearty reply in the affirmative, he said:

    "I will, I will, I will."

    True enough, the promise was kept, and some time after a copy of The Better Sort duly arrived, having on the fly-leaf the following inscription:


"To Emily Morgan, with all good wishes.

HENRY JAMES."

Jan. 5, 1912.


    And with it this letter to myself:


    "I can now tell you the sad story of the book for Emily Morgan, which I am having put-up to go to you with this, as well as explain a little my long silence.  The very day, or the very second after last seeing you, a change suddenly took place, under great necessity, in my then current plans and arrangements.  I departed under that stress for London, practically to spend the winter, and have come back but for a very small number of days, and I return there next week.

    "'But,' you will say, 'why didn't you send the promised volume to E. M. from London, then?  What matters to us where it came from so long as it came?'  To which I reply: 'Well, I had in this house a small row of books available for the purpose and among which I could choose.  In London I should have to go and buy the thing, my own production, while I leave two or three brand-new volumes, which will be an economy to a man utterly depleted by the inordinate number of copies of The Outcry which he has given away and of which he has had to pay for—his sanguinary (admire my restraint!) publisher allowing him half!'  'Why, then, couldn't you write home and have one of the books sent you, or have it sent to Hastings directly from your house?'  Because I am the happy possessor of a priceless parlour maid who loves doing up books and other parcels and does them up beautifully, and if the vol. comes to me here, to be inscribed, I shall then have to do it up myself, an act for which I have absolutely no skill and which I dread and loathe, and tumble it forth clumsily and insecurely.  Besides, I was vague as to which of my works I did have on the accessible shelf (and I only know I had some, and would have to look and consider and decide).  And the thing will be beautifully wrapped.  'That's all very well: but why, then, didn't you write and explain why it was that you were keeping us unserved and uninformed?'  Oh, because from the moment I go up to town I plunge, plunge into the great whirlpool of postal matters, social matters, etc."


    I do not give the rest.

    Note his redundancy—a couple of pages and dozens of words when two lines would have sufficed.

    His last note, dated August 13, 1914, thanked me for my welcoming him "into this ancient fold," i.e. his naturalisation as a British subject on the outbreak of the war.

    And his last visit—a most delightful one despite an inauspicious beginning—was paid in the autumn of that year.

    I have already explained that his cab always stopped just below High Wickham Terrace, drivers refusing to try their hacks' knees with the short, sharp upward hundred yards or so, and still more fearful of their nerves if putting them to the downward ordeal.  Hitherto my visitor had footed the corner without apparent difficulty.  This time he arrived breathless and almost in a state of collapse.  The intervening years and the war had aged him greatly.

    Fortunately, a physician was at hand.  My good friend and benefactor, Dr. Dodson Hessey, happened to call just before, and at my instance waited to renew an acquaintance that had previously proved highly agreeable to both.  "A nice man," had been Henry James's summing-up after their first meeting, and, as I have shown, no one was less addicted to compliments.  Vainly did the doctor now advise a cordial.  The very mention of brandy made the patient worse.  However, he did induce him to take a cup of tea and a slice of bread and butter, these very seldom indulged in when visiting me, and, gradually reviving, Henry James was himself again.  A genial, animated, and generous self he became, giving us of his best.

    Over an hour's tripartite conversation we enjoyed, turning upon literature and winding up with lady novelists of the day—Miss Braddon, Miss Broughton, and, gallantly added the author of Daisy Miller:

    "Miss Betham-Edwards, whom I love best of all."

    Had he dubbed me a second George Eliot on the spot, I could not have crowed more.

    I give one of the last letters I received from him.  The others appear in his Life.



LAMB HOUSE, RYE, SUSSEX,
August 16, 1911.

DEAR MISS BETHAM-EDWARDS,—All thanks for your kind note.  I am back in England, after a whole year's absence and terrible period of six or seven months of extreme and confining illness, mostly in my bed, for six or seven months before that.  I was spoiling for that dire collapse when we last communicated in the autumn of 1909.  I was to have gone over to see you then, but was in the event unable either to go or to make you a sign.  Then began the very bad time on which I hope my return to England now will have finally and strongly closed the gates.  I will make you with pleasure that so long-delayed visit, but I will, by your leave, wait till the "holiday" (God save the mark!) turmoil of communication between this and Hastings shall have somewhat abated.  It's a sorry squeeze now—and long drawn out with delays.  I rejoice to infer that you remain stalwart and patient and good-humoured—as I try withal to do—even if we neither of us emulate the surprising Hale White. [p.109]  This is disappointing of him—a false note in his fine figure.  However! I shall make you a sign by and by and appear; and am all faithfully yours,

HENRY JAMES.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter VII.

AMELIA BLANDFORD EDWARDS,
1831-1890

"A born Amalgam" [p.110]


THE foundress of the first chair of learning since the days of Dorothy Wadham was far and away the cleverest woman I ever knew.  Cousin on the paternal side, Cockney born and bred, and, in a creditable sense, precocious of the precocious, when ten years old she won the prize offered for a temperance story, and as she grew to womanhood showed a quite extraordinary capacity for assimilating knowledge without the drudgery of attaining it.

    "I can always teach myself anything better than I can learn it," she once said to me, and, as far as I know, she never had an hour's schooling or a governess at home.  Like Topsy, she "grow'd," and to a brilliant maturity.  If her powers of assimilation did duty for painstaking, so with her did intuition stand in the place of experience.

    Her mother was a lively Irishwoman of the Walpole family, her father a Peninsular officer, and she was born in that dreary cul-de-sac Westmorland Place, City Road, London, in 1830, thus being six years my senior.

    How it came about I know not that, unlike his brothers, my uncle Thomas did not become a farmer, but was presented with a commission.

    On his retirement on half-pay he obtained a post in the London and Westminster Bank, thenceforward spending his yearly fortnight's holiday with my own family near Ipswich.  The most taciturn of men, he would occasionally be drawn into a word or two about the battle of Corunna, at which he had been present, and as he spoke of a commanding officer "stepping into the shoes" of his fallen leader, I used to wonder how this could be, and how very unlikely it was that the shoes would fit at all comfortably!  Oddly enough, he had made friends with a foeman, and in token of good fellowship this French officer, at parting, presented him with ten guineas to be spent on a ring, which was done.  The ring, containing a single diamond, was left by Amelia to myself, and proudly I wear such a precursor of an Entente Cordiale as yet undreamed of by the most Utopian.

    That taciturnity of her father used to trouble Amelia.  "I fear I shall grow as silent as himself," she used to say; a prognostic that fortunately did not come true.  She only spoke one language, her own, but that one, as she wrote it, with exquisite purity and elocution, and, as we shall see, she became a highly appreciated lecturer in the United States.  Her talent for acting and love of the stage were stimulated by frequent visits to Sadler's Wells and other places of entertainment, euphemistically described by her mother as "minor theatres."

    How many careers invite the richly endowed!  How difficult is it for the non-gifted to find acceptance by any!  Literature, the stage, declamation were all well within the scope of this rarely gifted girl, who, although busiest of the busy, ever found time for frolic and escapade.  Nothing delighted her so much as camouflage—in other words, taking people in; as we Suffolkers say, making them look a gaby.

    When with her mother she stayed at our farmhouse she gave full play to her high spirits, and of course was allowed pranks.

    Thus on entering the schoolroom one day when we were at tea with our very demure governess, she took up a thick slice of bread and butter and exclaimed, "Who will dare me to throw this out of the window?"  No answer forthcoming, out went the bread and butter.

    Later, she loved to dress up in boy's clothes, and one day thus disguised frightened a homely neighbour almost out of her wits.  The comely farmeress was sipping her tea when, acting the spruce young Londoner, she suddenly flung herself on the floor with clasped hands, crying:

    "Mrs. Smith, I adore you!"

    Upon another occasion she had been for a ride with one of my brothers, and, looking very solemn and speaking under his breath, he said as he entered the entrance without her:

    "Poor Amy" (her pet name) "has had a bad fall, and I have come for wraps and cushions, and Dick " (our house lad) "to help me to bring her in."

    Hardly were the words out of his lips than followed a ringing laugh—oh, what a laugh she had!—and the culprit appeared, quite relishing the excitement she had created.

    But Amelia's days of sober work began early.  Before beginning her novels, which, once begun, followed each other in quick succession, she was the paid organist of a north London church and a teacher of harmony and counterpoint.  How, when, and where she acquired so much knowledge, Heaven knows!  Not only did she understand the theory of music, but was an accomplished musician, at home alike on piano, organ, and guitar.  To her I owe my first lessons on the piano, and introduction to the great masters.  Every afternoon she gave me a music lesson.  Fostered in after years, how much pleasure has this taste afforded me; and as I play favourite bits of Beethoven from memory during winter twilights, I gratefully recall that painstaking teacher.

    Her first novel, My Brother's Wife, appeared in 1855, and was quickly followed by a warmly welcomed series, all now accessible in cheap editions.  Earning money as she did, she could afford travel, and Italy was the lodestar.  It is to these Italian sojourns that we owe her crowning success, Barbara's History, 1864, which ought to figure in the World's Classics or some equally important set of Victorian chefs d'œuvre.

    The story had an immense success, winning a quite uncommon eulogium in the Times and elsewhere.  Translations into several European languages followed, and the authoress immediately became a persona grata in the eyes of publishers.  One firm lost no time in soliciting a new novel, and offered her eleven hundred pounds down for a speedy successor!

    Amelia proved a cruel stepmother to her literary offspring.  No sooner had Barbara's History filled her pockets and set her on a level with the best Victorian romancers than she turned her back on story-telling altogether and seemed not to care a jot what became of Barbara's History and its brethren.  Had she attained the Psalmist's three score and ten years, quite certainly her next passion, Egyptology, would have been thrown to the winds and one or two other subjects as enthusiastically taken up.  Who knows?  She might have thrown herself heart and soul into the Woman's Rights agitation, and by her brilliant lead and powers of elocution have antedated victory by a generation.  Not only might we have had in her a powerful stateswoman and party leader, but a lady Prime Minister.

    The fates willed otherwise; very enviably she died in the plenitude of intellectual powers, and was thus saved from that death in life—a vacant, inactive, and colourless old age.

    Amelia's good—and in one sense evil—genius was ever seducing her to fresh fields and pastures new.  And every new literary enterprise added to her laurels.  A Thousand Miles up the Nile, 1877, was the last turning-point of her career.  She became the foundress and honorary secretary of the Egyptian Exploration Fund, and devoted all her energies to Egyptology, contributing papers on the subject to European and American journals.  Her scholarship brought her several degrees from America, among these a doctorate from Columbia.  In 1889, not without misgivings on the part of her friends, she yielded to the solicitations of American admirers, and with a friend sailed for a lecturing tour in the United States.  The undertaking ended fatally.  In descending an ill-lighted flight of steps before a lecture, just before embarkation for home, she slipped down, and, despite the shock to her system and pain in her head, insisted upon not disappointing the expectant and immense audience.

    She reached England safely, but never recovered her health, and died in 1889 aged sixty years.  She rests in the churchyard of Westbury-on-Trym near Bristol, and was followed to the grave by more than one distinguished Egyptologist, thus showing her the last honour.

    Amelia B. Edwards reaped harvests in many fields, and among her titles of honour none is more deserved than that of scholarship.

    In 1879 Messrs. Longman issued two volumes from her pen—A Poetry-Book of Elder Poets and A Poetry-Book of Modern Poets, English and American—which for learning, critical acumen, and comprehensiveness rank with the best works of the kind in any language.  The abundant notes show how much care she gave to this labour of love.  Take the following Notes to the first series, p. 162

    Love-slain—Shakespeare:


"Come away, come away, Death,
 And in sad cypress let me be laid."


Sad cypress, meaning Cyprus lawn, of which shrouds were made
       and which was first made in the Isle of Cyprus.


    Also the following on Sir Walter Raleigh's line:


"Were her tresses angel-gold."


An angel was an old English coin worth about ten shillings and of a finer quality of gold than that known as crown gold.  Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing in his soliloquy about the sort of woman he could love says: "Fair or I'll never look on her, Mild or come not near me, Noble or not I for an angel."  The pun upon the two coins, the Noble and the Angel, seems to have escaped the observation of commentators.


    Now for the modern poets.  Here is a note upon J. Blanco White's famous sonnet Night and Death:


Coleridge pronounced this sonnet the best in the English language, and Leigh Hunt adds that "in thought it stands supreme, perhaps above all in any language."  Our admiration is almost exceeded by our wonder when it is remembered that the author was born and brought up in Spain, was no longer young when he came to England, and then spoke English like a foreigner.

Mrs. Hemans' line, "The Bowl of Liberty," is elucidated by Plutarch's striking account of the commemoration of Platæa when after a visit to the sepulchres the Souls of the Heroes were invited to the sacrificial feast, and the chief magistrate, filling a bowl, gave the toast:  "I drink to those who gave their lives for the liberties of Greece."


    No better school prizes than these two little volumes could be given in our Board schools, and it would be as well if both could be issued alike in more elaborate and in cheaper forms, illustrated editions for Christmas and other gift-books, and at the price of Mr. Dent's admirable library.

    Women are very disloyal to each other—I reiterate the words.  Neither Madame Bodichon, the noble foundress of Girton College, nor Amelia B. Edwards, the erudite explorer in recondite literary fields, to say nothing of their brimful lives, has found a biographer.  Thanks to the courtesy of Sir Sidney Lee, I have been permitted to pay each a humble tribute in his great Dictionary of Biography.  No other woman I could ever discover has ever put pen to paper for the purpose of recalling such exemplars.  No, in advancing years I am more and more struck with the littleness and self-seeking of my sex, and less and less desirous of seeing them either in Parliament or holding any public office of responsibility whatever.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter VIII.

AN HOUR WITH MISS BRADDON


A SIMPLE, dignified figure, sterling goodness evidenced by look, word, and slightest action, absolutely unspoiled by fame and "wealth beyond the dreams of avarice," such was my impression of the story-teller whose fifty volumes are popular in every civilised language.

    On learning that my great contemporary had settled at Bexhill for the summer, I wrote begging her to favour me with a visit.  Most cordial was her reply.  She had consulted her coachman; he in turn had consulted drivers familiar with the road, and her horses, they said, would never be able to climb to my terrace on the East Hill, still less would they have the nerve to descend so steep a bend.  Again and pro tem. a still graver obstacle stood in the way: her maid was away on holiday, and no one else could lift her, crippled as she was with rheumatism, in and out of the carriage.  Would I not give her the pleasure of my company to tea some afternoon instead?

    So on the day and at the hour fixed I duly reached the railway station, of course expecting to be met.  But no such thing.  Pampered darlings must they have been, that pair of horses, I presume, only put in harness once a day.  So after waiting a few minutes I hired a cab, with orders to be fetched in an hour and a half.

    Mrs. Maxwell was installed in a very handsome set of apartments fronting the sea.  On my name being announced, a momentary awkwardness preceded a genial hour.

    A tall lady, wearing rich black silk, rose from her seat with a puzzled, interrogatory look.  Then she turned to a young lady having a little boy by her side.  Who was I, and how came I to be there? her face said.  The pleasant daughter-in-law succeeded at last in making matters clear, tea was served, and over it we chatted in friendliest fashion.  Mrs. Maxwell had now attained a dignity not perhaps much coveted among ourselves but by Frenchwomen considered the highest her sex can attain.  An imperial crown, the literary reputation of a de Sévigné, the unmatchable beauty of a Ninon de Lenclos are a mere snap of the fingers compared to that enthronement—namely, the fact of being a grandmother.  To be a mother, all very well; but to be a grandmother!  One must hear a Frenchwoman pronounce the words Je suis grand'mère to realise what such a pinnacle of glory means to our friends over the water.  Miss Braddon—how can we call her by any other name?—seemed to know me best maybe only as a writer upon France and French subjects.  Almost pathetically she alluded to her own travels, sojourns at Swiss and other health resorts crowded in their season with cosmopolitan globe-trotters.

    "Ah!" I said, "could you only see as I have seen French schoolboys devouring your translated novels in the hour of recreation," and having drifted into French topics she liked to hear more.  It seemed so new a thing to her, that almost second nationality of mine, a country in which a good third of my working years have been spent.  One fact I ought to have told her.  By no means a deep psychologist, for the most part describing men and women as she found them, she would have learned with interest that my maternal grandmother was of French Huguenot stock, the family settling in England after the committal of the greatest and most atrocious crime in modern history—namely, the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

    But we chatted pleasantly enough, and all too soon came the hour of departure.  We never met again, but a little later Henry James told me how kindly she had received him at her Richmond home, and what gratification the visit had afforded himself.

    An endearing recollection, that meeting with an author whose very first stories—Ralph the Bailiff, and others—had charmed me two generations before.

    Why has this first-rate story-teller had no biographer?  Her long life is not without lessons alike to wise and simple literary aspirants.  Several circumstances are especially noteworthy in her career.  In the first place, she did not wake up to find herself famous like the authoresses of The Heavenly Twins and Robert Elsmere.  She did not win the crown without running the race.  And in the second, there was no falling-off in the quality of her work.  Her fiftieth novel was every bit as engrossing and as well put together as her first.  There were no second or third bests, no Count Robert of Paris to put Waverley to the blush.  And if, as has been written, her stories appeal to "that low vice, curiosity," would not humanity sink to the level of animals without it?  Wherein else does the higher differ from the lower in creation?

    A word or two about Mrs. Maxwell's early life and career.  The daughter of a solicitor, she was born in Soho Square in 1837, and when a mere child began to write stories and verses, getting poetic effusions, political squibs, and parodies into the Poet's Corner of provincial newspapers, later on contributing stories to Temple Bar and other popular monthlies.  Her comedietta called Loves of Arcadia was produced at the Royal Strand Theatre in 1860, but without success.  Nor was Garibaldi and other Poems that followed more fortunate.  But in 1862 her story of the golden-haired murderess, Lady Audley's Secret, made every publisher in London her liege lord.  In three months were sold no less than eight editions of the three-volume edition published at a guinea and a half.  Aurora Floyd, 1863, which was no less sensational, proved hardly less popular.

    One secret of such enormous and world-wide popularity is doubtless the wholesomeness and cleanness of Miss Braddon's stories.  Therein vice is never sugared.  No page, no sentence, tempts youthful readers to lift the forbidden veil, by hook or by crook to attain the knowledge that is as the poison of asps, "a stumbling-block before the children."  Can any writer desire a nobler epitaph?

    I add that following this happy afternoon came two charming reminders.  Shortly afterwards, and on separate occasions, I received by post carefully packed boxes of rare and beautiful hothouse flowers from Bexhill.  Another touch of a large, generous nature.

    I add her letter to me, just her kind unspoiled self in every line.  But what would she have made of C. P.?


WINCHESTER HOUSE,

Monday.


    M
Y DEAR MISS EDWARDS,—It is so kind of you to leave your eagle's nest and to give me and mine the pleasure of seeing you next Thursday afternoon.

    I hope the day may be as fine as it is at this hour—a lovely blue sky after a tropical storm last night. —À jeudi, yours most sincerely,


M
ARY MAXWELL.


    P.S.—I should have loved to know Coventry Patmore.  He was one of my lost opportunities, as I believe we were living near him in Hampshire for some years—off and on.  Alas! much of my life has been made of lost opportunities.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter IX.

A FRENCH TALK WITH LORD KITCHENER


WE Suffolkers have a quite touchingly clannish feeling.  It can no longer be said that two of my countryfolks chance-met on the top of a London bus would immediately recognise each other by their "Brant"—in other words, drawl; their instructions to the conductor, beginning at C major and ending two octaves higher, at once identifying them to the knowing.  School Boards and cosmopolitan habits for the most part have changed all this, but were I to-day colloguing with contemporaries in my native village near Ipswich I could "drant" with the best of them.

    I well remember an incident that occurred some years ago when revisiting native haunts with my cousin Amelia.  In her ever polished and ornate speech she asked of a hobbledehoy if we were on the right road to Bramford.  Had she spoken in the language of the Pharaohs, he could not have opened his mouth wider or looked more hopelessly bewildered.

    I immediately asked the way after his own fashion, raising my voice three gamuts, whereupon the lad's face brightened.  He told us we were all right and pulled his forelock, the local form of touching the hat, as he received thanks and twopence.

    From the butcher's great son Cardinald Wolsey downwards, Suffolk has shown a noble roll-call, and in 1895 was founded the London Society of East Anglians, its object being the promotion of good fellowship and pleasant intercourse among persons born in or connected with Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire. [p.126]

    The initiator, I believe, anyhow the warm supporter of the movement, was my distinguished friend and fellow-countyman, if I may coin the expression, Sir Arthur Spurgeon.  No relation, be it mentioned, is the head of the great publishing house of Cassell to the renowned preacher and wholesale converter of sinners, whom I have heard hold forth in melodramatic style to thousands in the Ipswich Corn Exchange.  Nor, it seems, have any ancestors of this name been recorded in history, a precedence always in some degree diminishing the fame of after generations.

    And now the East Anglian Society was to celebrate the greatest day in its history.

    On his triumphant return, the great Suffolker, vanquisher of the Mandi and hero of Khartoum, had accepted an invitation to a banquet offered him by its members.

    I was just then the guest of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Harrison in Westbourne Terrace.  In order not to disturb the household at a very late hour, also to save myself much fatigue, I engaged a bed at the great hotel facing the Thames, scene of the banquet.  I took care, of course, to be in good time, and after making my toilet was duly guided to the place reserved for me, near friends, in the enormous dining-hall.

    We were all in our places with bated breath awaiting the hero, and far too much on the qui rive to exchange whispers, when at last the tension came to an end, the band burst into God save the Queen, followed by See the conquering hero comes, and our guest appeared, a striking figure enough in himself, but made more so by decorations blazing on his breast.

    In his early prime, eminently handsome, tall of stature and magnificently proportioned, Lord Kitchener might say after French fashion that he had chosen his parents with the utmost discretion.  As he confronted us, graciously acknowledging burst after burst of tumultuous cheers, a glance told you that here was a man of iron indeed.  No one could behold that stern countenance without comprehending the terror it had inspired among subordinate races, and how, as before the Veiled Prophet of Khorassan, strong men had quailed before the gaze.

    How I wish I could describe the most wonderful eyes it has ever been my lot to behold and look into at leisure.  But I give up the task.  Wherein indeed lies the mystery, the whole man, the whole woman, but in the eye?

    We fortunate ones—that is to say, East Anglians—dined whilst admiring crowds looked on.  Just as Parisians gathered round the Tuileries to see Louis Philippe, his spouse, and numerous progeny fall to, which they good-humouredly did in public, by no means disliking the compliment, so we were gazed at as we ate and drank.  On each side of the hall ran a gallery, to-night filled with visitors of the hotel.  Not only had they the gratification of seeing Lord Kitchener eat, but of hearing Sir (then Mr.) Rider Haggard and one or two others respond to the regulation toasts.

    These very briefly over, we adjourned to the reception room, and here the guest of the evening held his court.  One by one all present had the honour of shaking hands with him, and, owing to happy circumstances, I was privileged beyond the rest.  I had whispered a word in Sir Arthur Spurgeon's ear.  I wanted a few minutes' conversation with the guest of the evening.  Could I obtain the privilege?

    No sooner was my favour asked than granted.

    "I was particularly anxious to have this opportunity, Lord Kitchener," I began, "of conveying to you the congratulations of a French colleague.  My old and valued friend, the late General Nicola, former Military Governor of Paris, learned from my letter of a few days back that I was to be here to-night.  But permit me to repeat his exact words."  I then went on in French, for I well knew Lord Kitchener's familiarity with the language.  "I rejoice, dear friend," the General wrote, "that you are to have the honour of meeting the great soldier whose achievements have added so splendid a page to the glorious history of British arms."

    Having glided into French, my interlocutor did the same, and for some minutes we chatted genially on—were we not both Suffolkers, knit together by an almost fraternal tie?  Lord Kitchener spoke French as to the manner born and without the faintest English accent, which perhaps is more than I could say of myself!

    Meantime we were the objects of quite legitimate curiosity and equally legitimate envy.  For I was the only guest to whom more than a mere exchange of compliments was granted.  But I felt bound to make room for others, so tore myself away, as I passed on a lady stopping me.

    "If not impertinent, may I ask what you were saying to Lord Kitchener?" she asked.  "He looked so gratified and smiled so pleasantly."

    "We talked of France," I replied, and hurried by.  Yes, I had made Lord Kitchener smile, had softened that stern visage as, I learned afterwards, children could soften it.

    A day or two later, a leading lady in London society entertained the lion of the hour at a garden party in Eaton Square.

    "Imagine it!" she told me afterwards.  "Some of the prettiest, most striking debutantes of the last London season were there, but Lord Kitchener had no eyes for these.  He devoted himself all the time to my quiet little Elizabeth, just twelve!  Fancy such a man being fond of children!  No 'catch of the season' is Lord Kitchener.  Vainly any feminine snare set in sight of such a bird!"

    After a triumph the usual swallowing of humble pie!

    Next day my good friend, the late Professor Beesly, lunched in Westbourne Terrace, and the topic of last night's banquet immediately cropped up.  "Did Lord Kitchener show you the Mandi's head?" Professor Beesly cruelly asked, evidently shocked at the fact that I should have countenanced such a celebration.

    The Positivists as a body had protested against the Soudan campaign.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter X.

RECOLLECTIONS OF VISCOUNT MORLEY

A GREAT BOOK [p.131]


THIS eagerly awaited work has not disappointed public expectation.  Deeply interesting as such a record was sure to be, it is educational in the literary sense of the word, epigrammatic, witty, and, last but not least, very entertaining.  Grave, momentous pages are relieved by delightful touches of humour, and the author does not hesitate to let his readers enjoy a smile at his own expense.

    It was in the early seventies that I first met Mr. John Morley at the house of his friend, the late distinguished Professor Beesly.  The guest of the evening had already attained a brilliant position in the world of letters.  Indeed, no writers outside imaginative literature stood higher.  His Edmund Burke, Voltaire, and Compromise had already appeared.  He was editor of The Fortnightly Review and of the "English Men of Letters" series.  Finest personalities are often the least describable.  Add to the type of an English gentleman and a scholar the qualities of reserve, adaptability to the circumstances of the moment, and an utter absence of attempts to shine, such was my dinner-table impression of Mr. Morley.

    Quite naturally the conversation of such a quartette turned upon books and authors.  I well remember with what enthusiasm the editor spoke of a recent work by Thomas Hardy, maybe the celebrated Far from the Madding Crowd.  I always play the part of listener when in good company, and I don't think that I had then read the story or I might have here had my innings.  Being a practical farmer I could have showed how, like Tom, Dick, and Harry, or the wisest, the novelist made himself ridiculous when talking of things he did not understand.  His heroine Bathsheba is described as offering her own wheat for sale in the Market Hall, precincts closed to women farmers as rigidly as the other sex are shut out of the harem!  Like my Suffolk neighbours, widows and spinsters having their names on their wagons, my samples of corn in little brown paper bags were shown by my headman, and among the more important of us by a farm-bailiff.  Hardy, by the way a writer much too Zola-esque to please me, and his pictures of farming life are exactly the opposite of my own and thoroughly practical experiences.

    The second time I met Mr. Morley was on the celebration of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, 1897.  Upon that occasion, a soirée was given by women writers, each being permitted to invite a guest of the other sex.  Some lady had been fortunate enough to secure Mr. Morley, then editor of The Pall Mall Gazette, Member for Blackburn, Irish Secretary, and close friend and supporter of Mr. Gladstone.  A short, very short conversation is my last recollection of one to whose editorial encouragement I owed much.  No one had taken more interest in my studies of French life, and we talked for just five minutes about Arthur Young, "that wise and honest traveller," as he had styled him, whose famous Travels in France I had edited for Bohn's Library.  No more.  But it was something.

    Although savouring of egotism I add a few pleasant memories.  Mr. Morley's editorial letters, of which I had many, were always short and to the purpose.  Of my novel, Love and Mirage (now published by Hutchinsons in their cheap series), he wrote "graceful, interesting, and pathetic," and he accepted for The Pall Mall Gazette and Macmillan's Magazine many of my sketches of French and German life.  Most of the former have since been incorporated in my recent volumes on French life and literature.  Of the latter I am about to reissue the series entitled, "Letters from an Island," giving an account of a summer sojourn in the island of Rügen, with some very poignant notes of German society and an anecdote of naval officers who landed and had a drinking bout on the shore.

    Memorable had been the intervening years in Mr. Morley's career, and more memorable still were to follow.

    In The Fortnightly Review for January of the present year another great Victorian has paid a noble tribute to his friend, without at the same time withholding a word of criticism regarding his Recollections as a literary work.  The title, urges Mr. Frederic Harrison, should be Recollections and Meditations.  "Half of the book," he writes, "is literature that may rank with that of our great essayists from Bacon to Burke.  Half of it is history interspersed with memories of our leading statesmen.  It is the political testament of a statesman who has held great offices in critical times and has been at the helm in many a storm.  Again, it is the lifelong study of literature by one who now for fifty years has had no superior in the prose-writing of this age."

    The "defect," he adds, "perhaps inevitable, of the volume is a certain discursiveness, of disjecta membra.  The narrative is not, as the French say, coulant; connecting links are wanting, we are too suddenly plunged from one subject into another.  At the same time, there is a charm in these incongruities."

    Thus when writing to Lord Minto, Viceroy in 1906, himself being Secretary of State for India, he rings the changes on grave political matters thus:


"I am the least of a sportsman that ever was born, and the sight of a tiger, except behind the bars of the Zoological Gardens, would frighten me out of my wits; but I do rejoice to think that you, who, I sincerely believe, are the most heavily burdened public servant in the Empire, are seeing the fresh life of the jungle, the Zemindars (land holders), and all the rest that you so very pleasantly describe."


    Perhaps the most valuable pages of Lord Morley's work are those in his second volume devoted to India.  Many chapters, it is hoped, will be translated into the vernacular.  Aristotle has named magnanimity as the crowning virtue, and certainly the very quality here needed.  Nobly did the Secretary of State protest against harsh and repressive measures.

    Lord Morley is, certes, no courtier.  Has he not in his first volume spoken of Queen Victoria's chilling reception of himself?  It is pleasant to find from jottings here and there that he was a persona grata at the court of the great Edward VII. and of his son.  Thus in the same year he writes:


"I'm bidden to Windsor for four days—very agreeble always, only not rest."


    Here is a gleaning from Lord Morley's sheaf of dicta, epigrams, and witticisms, many of these as certain to be incorporated into the English tongue as have been those of his great forerunners.  The "Time is money" of Franklin; the "Comparisons are odious" of Shakespeare; the "Enough is as good as a feast" of Heywood, to come to later times; the "Handsome is that handsome does" of Goldsmith; the "Chip of the old block" of Burke; the "Hand and glove" of Cowper; the "Keep your powder dry" of Colonel Blacker and of our Victorian age the "Muscular Christianity" of Kingsley; the "Rich in all—saving common sense" of Tennyson; the "Sweetness and light" of Swift, popularised by Matthew Arnold; and of the Georgians have we not goodly promise?

    From Lord Morley's great book I quote the following many citations, of course belonging to the Edwardian period:


 "We talked away without saying anything, as men are so curiously apt to do."

"So-and-so looks as if he were well up in his business and as if he minded that before other things—the beginning of virtue in this world."

"What's the use of a historic sense if you don't recollect your history?"

"The proper memory for a politician is one that knows what to remember and what to forget."


Of a magazine article on himself:


"It was the ill-natured word for a defect when the good-natured word would have done quite as well."

"I'm always finding the commonplace is the true essential."

"All modern history and tradition associate empires with war."

"War ostracises, demoralises, brutalises reason."

"Certain people with a genius for picking up pins."

"People of good temper are not always kind people."


Philanthropists and agitators:


"Most of what is decently good in our curious world has been done by these two much-abused sets of folk."

"Our master, the Man in the Street."

"Time is one thing, and eternity is another."

"A shining day worth living for."

"Waste of public money is like the Sin against the Holy Ghost."

"That most tiresome of all things, an Act of Parliament."


Of Keir Hardie, 1907:


"Perhaps it is only these men with unscrupulous preconceptions—knocking their heads against stone walls—who force the world along."

"I demur, in the uplifted spirit of the Trodden Worm."


Concerning a stormy scene forthcoming in the House of Commons:


"I shall survive in some shape or another, and even if I don't, the sun will rise with his usual punctuality next morning."


Under similar conditions:


"We will not bid good-morrow to the Devil until we meet him."

"Do not count me a Slow Coach."


Concerning an emblazoned Indian inscription, 1909, promising Lord Ripon, Lord Minto, and himself a life in the Indian heart to all eternity:


"Time is quite enough for me, and you (Lord Minto) are welcome to my share of the other, as well as your own."

"Deep is history in man, even although he may be alive to it."

"The humane attraction of a hale old age."

"Dramas are not made by words but by situations."

"Loose logic is not enough to turn men somnambulists."

"Needs of life and circumstance are the constant spur."


Of the Victorian age:


"New truths were welcomed in free minds, and free minds make brave men."


Of his pet dog:


"My little humble friend squats on her haunches, looking wistfully up, eager to resume her endless hunt after she knows not what, just like the chartered metaphysician.  So to my home in the fading twilight."


    A most poetic ending to pre-eminently the book of 1917.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter XI.

"MARK RUTHERFORD"
(WILLIAM HALE WHITE)


DOUBTLESS with all the modesty of true genius, Mr. Hale White would have plumed himself more upon his comparatively unknown contribution to scholarship than to the 120,000th edition of Mark Rutherford.

    For this "walker by the way," gloveless, sunburnt, homely-looking, who at first sight one would set down as a farmer, before settling down a few doors from my dwelling, had translated Spinoza's famous Tractatus, adding to a most lucid rendering very valuable notes. [p.140]

    This is a beautiful book, and it is characteristic of the author that he allowed a woman to revise his work.  But littleness could not enter into the composition of such a man, and none more caustic in his deprecation of it in others.

    I well remember his disgust when shopping in Hastings one day.  A carriage and pair drew up, and straightway out flew the assistants, leaving himself, their customer, at the counter.  His time, of course, was of no consequence in their eyes, the idle loungers must not be kept waiting a single second.

    He could also be sardonically humorous.  One morning we happened to meet, his daughter being with him, at the Clock Tower, behind which lies a small open space.

    "If you or I had lived in times of burning alive for heresy, what crowds would be gathered there to behold the spectacle of us two at the stake," he said.  A few minutes later the West End omnibus we awaited arrived, and Miss White and myself were about to step in when a private carriage was driven up, and so closely to the pavement as to threaten our feet.

    "What the devil are you about?" broke forth the irate philosopher, and he gave the presumptuous lackeys the trouncing they so richly deserved.  Snobbery of this kind is not perhaps more conspicuous in Hastings than in other health resorts, but, Heaven knows, lick-spittling and sycophancy are rampant everywhere.  Will high and low, rich and poor, wise and simple acquire new standards of excellence, new mental and moral valuations after the great lessoning of the world's war?

    I always regretted that I could not find pleasure in, could hardly indeed wade through Hale White's novels, so-called.  He was by no means an uncheerful man, but his series of introspective studies are in the melancholy to morbidness.  Life to him was pictured as a long-spun-out threnody—Why was I born?  How much better not to have been born, one felt to be the underlying sentiment.  Perhaps the secret of his fabulously numerous—the great Sir Walter's did not go off more rapidly—editions is thus accounted for by a clever friend: "Folks are cheered up by finding how much worse off are many others than themselves," she said.  For myself, I consider that they are more likely by far to make people cut their throats or jump into the nearest pond handy—to get "anywhere, anywhere out of the world," as Hood's poem runs.  But there is no accounting for tastes—nor opinions—upon any mortal thing!


――――♦――――

 
Chapter XII.

A TRIO OF PIONEERS

"Pioneers! O pioneers!"—WALT WHITMAN.


THREE noble pioneers, each in a quite different field, each of whom at one time I saw much, here deserve many pages.  But the careers alike of Rose Davenport-Hill, Frances Power Cobbe, and Elizabeth Blackwell, M.D., have been already told and retold by more competent hands.  I will therefore only say of these good friends a very few words.

    Were any of my sex—except foreign opera singers—decreed a niche in the national Walhalla, the above-named trio should surely be there commemorated, Catherine Booth, the apostolic mother of the Salvation Army, and Josephine Butler, friend of the fallen, keeping them company.

    We must not hope for such recognition at the hands of Dean and Chapter.  Well might a Frenchwoman to whom I was introducing the Poets' Corner in 1896 exclaim with astonishment:

    "George Eliot, Charlotte Brontë, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, absent—the only woman of the Victorian epoch memorialised within these walls a foreign opera singer!"

    A benevolent, admirable woman in her way was "the Swedish Nightingale," and her voice was a goodly gift of nature.  But what tittle of a claim, she said, had Jenny Lind, afterwards Frau Goldschmidt, to a niche in Westminster Abbey? [p.144]

    The greatest thinker of the nineteenth century, one of its most illustrious novelists, a poet famous as those two, shut out of the national Pantheon! an alien prima donna being adjudged worthier of place therein than John Stuart Mill, Charles Reade, and countless others, by sacerdotal authorities!  What will posterity think of the anomaly?

    My almost lifelong friend, Rose Davenport-Hill, belonged to that innumerable clan of Hills, headed by their chieftain the great Sir Rowland.  Without tale are the public workers of this veritable tribe, and without tale—i.e. innumerable—are the family ramifications.  There are Davenport-Hills, Birkbeck-Hills, Berkeley-Hills, also Australian-Hills, these again subdivided by affixes.

    And one of the second dynasty, herself an indefatigable pioneer, is still among us.  Florence Davenport-Hill (daughter of the well-known eminent Recorder of Birmingham) will ever be remembered as the friend and champion of women's suffrage, of workhouse children, and later on as an active supporter of Children's Courts.

    To Florence Davenport-Hill, on her eighty-ninth birthday, 1918, and apropos of the Bill just passed according women the parliamentary vote, I sent the following quatrain:


"Dear champion of the children's cause,
 Amender of unrighteous laws,
 Years crown your efforts as they roll,
 Now you'll frisk gaily to the poll."


She also for many years filled the office of guardian of the poor.

    Her sister's work on the London School Board is too well known to educationists to need recapitulation.  One of several women elected to the first body, greatly to J. S. Mill's rejoicing (see his recently published Correspondence, 2 vols., 1911), she retained her seat for many years, aiding the cause of national education with unfailing devotion, ploddingness, and, marvellous to relate, gusto!

    Therein lay the gist of her career.  To this enthusiast came no disillusion.  The School Board remained dear and engaging to the last.  Day after day she would set out from Belsize Avenue, neither hail, rain, snow or blow, nor blackness Tartarean damping her ardour, returning to the seven o'clock dinner as alert as when starting, and ever with something piquant to relate.  The humour of routine and red tape would be delightfully brought out by one who nevertheless was herself a routinist.  No innovator, no inventor, was this loyal member; her business, as she used to say, was to support the policy of the Board.  This was ever done wholeheartedly and from high standpoints.

    Her wit would occasionally enliven very sleepy sittings.  As she never made unnecessary speeches, she used to put a piece of knitting in her bag, plying her needles whilst listening.  On being criticised for such unconventional proceeding, Miss Davenport-Hill remarked:

    "This is the first time that I ever remember hearing a woman reproached for using her tongue too little and her hands too much."

    As a constant visitor to the Brentford Industrial Schools, her work was more especially valuable.  And with what a glow she must have received the many tributes from "old boys" in after years!  Not many months before her death one of these wrote from the Colonies: "You have been as a mother to me, and my start in life and present well-being are your doing."  Could any fame or applause bring greater satisfaction to a public worker, especially to a Hill.

    Of Elizabeth Blackwell, for the past thirty years my Hastings neighbour and anteriorly my good friend, there is little new to say.  Her early struggles as a medical student are well known to all interested in the subject of women doctors, and have been modestly but tellingly told by herself in a volume well meriting reprint (Pioneer Work: Longmans).

    As has repeatedly been the case with her friend, Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, the laurels of her winning have been placed on other brows.  And now, "being very patient being dead," as Coventry Patmore beautifully wrote, unless her biographical record is very carefully prepared, the same mistakes are sure to recur.

    One incident of this most honourable career, perhaps new to many, I will mention.

    When, three-quarters of a century ago, a handsome Civil List Pension—I believe of £300 a year—was offered to Harriet Martineau, she made the dignified reply that, whilst most grateful to Her Majesty's Government, the labours of earlier years had enabled her to provide for her old age.  Elizabeth Blackwell, who began life as a teacher of the pianoforte, thereby supporting her younger sisters, in old age could have made an identical reply to similar overtures.  Retiring from practice soon after reaching her sixtieth year, she purchased a pretty little residence at Hastings, therein enjoying ease and dignity for yet another generation.  No woman of Victoria's reign has bequeathed a finer, more practical, more disinterested lesson to her younger sisters.

    The wise and witty "Bagshot" of The Westminster Gazette lately discoursed with much finesse and pertinence on "the happy ending."

    Frances Power Cobbe's life-story is an illustration of the felicitous dénouement, the happy ending.  Most of us know how she devoted herself to the cause of helpless animals—in other words, the cause of anti-vivisection.  With indomitable courage and unshaken faith she pursued her way, having taken to heart the Platonic, the final lesson: "As you properly conceive light and sight to be like the sun but not to be the sun, so you must conceive knowledge and truth to be of the nature of the Supreme Good, but not either the one or other of them to be that Supreme Good" (Republic, book vi., Whewell's translation).  I have ever held this passage of Plato to be an unanswerable argument against vivisection in any form.

    Impaired health, loss of a beloved lifelong companion, diminished income, could not depress such a nature as hers, but "the happy ending" came welcomely all the same.

    One morning she opened a letter from an unknown solicitor, saying that a deceased client, like herself, an ardent anti-vivisectionist, had bequeathed her a handsome fortune.  So for the rest of her days, not only could she enjoy ease, comfort, and the luxury of benevolence, but also the power of propaganda.  The capital at her death was willed to the cause for which she had sacrificed so much.

    Not very long before the end I received an affectionate mid-winter invitation to her Welsh retreat, one of the many invitations, alas! most regretfully refused by me of late years.  North Wales in the season of snowfalls!  Not even the blazing logs and geniality of such a hostess could have warmed me there in December.

    But how happy we should have been together!  With what quips, cranks, and wanton wiles should I have been beguiled!  What interminable talks of old friends, old travel, and of the causes so dear to both!  And we appreciated each other—that being once said of intercourse, all is said!

    I cannot do better than precede my colophon with this noble life-story of "the happy ending."


――――♦――――

 
Chapter XIII.

MUDIE


FOREMOST among pioneers must be placed the founder of Mudie's Library, a name suggesting pleasant memories alike to high and low, rich and poor, Radical or Tory, from end to end of the British Dominions, i.e. a good third of the globe, and counting a fourth of its entire population.

    Between the years 1890 and 1900 I was staying with relations in North London, and used to shake hands with Mr. Mudie after exchanging books at New Oxford Street.  Every morning he drove past my brother-in-law's house on his way into town, and two little imps of nephews used to waylay the phaeton and get the treat of a lift.  Mr. Mudie rented a very handsome house standing in large grounds at Muswell Hill.  I do not remember that I was ever within its walls, nor have I a very definite remembrance of the courteous gentleman of the old school I often chatted with in his sanctum; it is a matter of regret to me that I never carried away any memorial of our friendship, neither a portrait nor autographed volume, nor anything in the shape of a memento, those keepsakes which are as capital letters to Saints' Days and Festivals in the Calendar.  I am indebted to his daughter-in-law, Mrs. Arthur O. Mudie, for the following account of him:


    "Charles Edward Mudie was born at 5 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, October 18, 1818, the youngest of many sons of a Scotch bookseller.  Among the habitués of his father's bookshop were the two Hazlitts, Madame D'Arblay, and Charles Lamb.  He was sent to a school kept by a retired officer who had lost a leg at Waterloo, and who was more successful as a disciplinarian than as an educator; but the boy's real education came from the mother who had taught him very early to read.  At seven years old he could just reach the 'S' shelf in his father's shop, and Charles Lamb coming in one day noticed the child sitting on the floor behind the counter, deep in a volume of Shakespeare. (Scott had already been sampled.)  My father well remembered the kindly pat on the head and the dark eyes that looked into his face when Lamb took him on his knee and asked him about the play he had been reading.

    "With so many elder brothers there was no place for him in his father's business, and before he was twenty he had opened a bookselling and stationer's business in King Street, Bloomsbury.  This was soon frequented by students of the newly founded London University, who told other young men of literary tastes that Mudie knew something of the inside of the books he sold.  Finding that needy scholars longed to study books they were too poor to buy, it struck him that a circulating library which could provide other literature than fiction, up to that time the only stock of such libraries, would be a boon to such readers.  He brought down his own private library and put the books in the window.  Within twenty-four hours every volume was in circulation, and he ventured on his first order from the publishers of 'select' books, this being then the trade term for history, travel, science, or belles-lettres.  This was in 1843.

    "The parlour from which the books had been fetched became a 'rendezvous' for many of these young men, and they held there a 'coffee symposium.'  Among the men who gathered there were Richard Hutton, Frederick Tennyson and Charles Tennyson Turner, David Masson, and, later, several of the Italian exiles then in London.

    "He had already published for the first time in England Emerson's Essay, to which he gave the title, Man Thinking.

    "In 1844 he published the first edition in England of James Russell Lowell's poems, and, with the audacity of six-and-twenty, he, in the same year, published for Mazzini his pamphlet on the Bandiera incident.

    "A few days before starting on his fatal Arctic expedition Sir John Franklin came in to choose books for the voyage, and among the earliest subscribers were Anna Swanwick, the Wedgwoods, Tom Hughes, and F. Denison Maurice.

    "His tastes were strongly for music and art, and he was the friend and earliest patron of many of the younger artists of his day.  He possessed the first exhibited pictures of Fred Walker, Albert and Henry Moore, Stacy Marks, and Vicat Cole.  In politics he was a Liberal; he was a brilliant chess player, but his chief recreation he found in travel.  As a young man he travelled over great parts of Britain on foot.  After his marriage in 1847 he seldom passed a year without visiting the Continent, chiefly Italy and the Mediterranean, was several times in Greece, travelled in Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, and made a visit to relations in a remote district of Asia Minor, in all regions making friends with the people and interesting himself in their life and customs.

    "With wife and children he was in Italy during the War of Liberation in 1859, which his warm sympathies with the cause of the Risorgimento made trebly interesting to him.

    "Of his intercourse with authors it would be impossible to give a concise account.  Of foreign librarians and publishers his most friendly connections were with Vieusseux of Florence, Von Gerold of Vienna, and Baron Tauchnitz of Leipzig.

    "He died, after a long illness from paralysis, in October 1890."


    His forefathers were Scandinavians, the patronymic Mudadi meaning bold, courageous.  The great librarian was eminently a domestic character, eschewing alike politics, officialism, and matters that would take him from his business and his family.  Foreign travel was his favourite relaxation, and on their travels in France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, Mr. and Mrs. Mudie were accompanied by their children and nurses.  It was not till the number of the little ones overpassed five that they left them behind, or, as his daughter expresses it, "made a selection."  Once, and once only, did the parents travel by themselves.  To celebrate their silver wedding they visited Egypt and Palestine.

    No more generous or thoughtful employer ever lived than the magnate of Muswell Hill, as in his last years Mr. Mudie might be called.  Patriarchal as a Scotch laird, his fine mansion resembled those ancestral halls we read of, in its precincts being housed several generations.  But his innate benevolence was pathetically attested by those to whom his only relation was that of employer and employed.  When his chief binder lay dying, his last request was that he should be buried as near as possible to his beloved chief.

    Here is another beautiful story.

    During a serious illness of Mr. Mudie it came to light that one of his messengers, an old Indian soldier, Irishman and Roman Catholic, had been for weeks paying for Masses at Brompton Oratory for his master's recovery, and on his return to business the good old man completely broke down, so overcome was he by joy.  Never was a "great captain of industry" more cherished by those to whom they were indebted for a start in life or a help by the way.

    I am gratified to find that although I have no vivid remembrance of my host and hostess at Muswell Hill, my visit is not forgotten by the present head of the house.

    "My memory is still good enough to remember your visit when I was quite a youngster," writes Mr. Arthur O. Mudie.  "I remember also the reverence and awe with which you were announced.  And I know quite well with what an amusing little blush my father would have heard of you naming him in your Victorian memories."

    He was one of those sensitive men who must blush at such tributes.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter XIV.

MR. JOHN MURRAY


IT is fitting that some pages should be devoted, rather should I say dedicated, to the head of the greatest publishing house in the world.  Next in rank to the firm in Albemarle Street stands that of Hachette, Paris, to whose members I am hardly less indebted.  My indebtedness to the first is twofold.  In the first place, the lucky accident that led to my revision of the famous Handbook to France brought me friends in every corner of "the splendid hexagon," rendering it for many years my second home.  In the second, those delightful sojourns and entrancing studies have won for me the recognition of the Third Republic and a title of honour I regard as one of the proudest I could receive.

    How it came about that I undertook to bring Murray's Handbook for Travellers in France, parts 1 and 2, up to date, I do not precisely remember.  I rather think that it was due to an account I sent Mr. Murray of Dijon—its celebrated gingerbread, the invention of a Duke of Burgundy, its equally celebrated mustard, pills, and other manufactures, and last but not least, the famous wine cellars of M. Paul Guillemot.  Be this as it may, Mr. Murray sent me a very handsome acknowledgment of the voluntary contribution, and on my return to England I called upon him at his request.  My first visit was followed by others, the result being that I undertook a task profitable and pleasant in the extreme.  A thorough revision of the original Handbook necessitated not only a comprehensive knowledge of French history but also of France itself.  I had, therefore, before me many wanderings, many in out-of-the-way regions.  Brittany I already knew, [p.157-1] also Auvergne, [p.157-2] also Nimes and Avignon, having French companions on the road, and at each stopping-place the welcome of a French roof.  Thus it came about that I had, so to say, the entire map of France in my pocket.  To co-ordinate and render permanently useful this mass of laboriously accumulated knowledge at first hand was precisely the opportunity that Mr. John Murray and no one else could give me, and with only one reservation he gave it.

    Naturally enough my name was not to appear on the title-page.  What were my claims to those of the originator of the Handbook?

    But let me begin my story at the beginning.  The first of the dynasty had chosen his parents with the utmost possible discretion, to cite a French phrase I love.  A charming portrait of John Murray the First accompanies his biography. [p.158]  Strange to say, the publishing house, which dates from 1768, was founded by a Lieutenant of Marines!  Having retired from the service that year on half-pay, John MacMurray purchased the bookselling business of William Sandby at the sign of the "Ship," No. 32 Fleet Street, opposite St. Dunstan's Church.

    John MacMurray was descended from the Murrays of Atholl.  His uncle, Colonel Murray, was "out" in the rising of 1715 under the Earl of Mar, served under the Marquis of Tullibardine, the son of his chief, the Duke of Atholl, and led a regiment in the abortive fight of Sheriffmuir.  After the rebellion, Colonel Murray retired to France, where he served under the exiled Duke of Ormonde, who had attached himself to the Stuart Court.  The Colonel's brother Robert followed a safer course.  He prefixed the "Mac" to his name, settled in Edinburgh, adopted the law as a profession, and became a Writer to the Signet.  He had five children, the youngest of whom was the John above mentioned, born in 1745.  He entered the Royal Marines, but after the Treaty of Paris, signed twenty years later, retired on half-pay, dropped the prefix "Mac," and announced himself to the public in the following terms:


    "John Murray, successor to Mr. Sandby (whose daughter he had married), Bookseller and Stationer at No. 32 over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street, London, sells all new Books and Publications. Fits up Public or Private Libraries in the neatest manner with Books of the choicest Editions, the best Print and the richest Bindings.  Also executes East India or foreign Commissions by an assortment of Books and Stationery, suited to the Market or Purpose for which it is destined: all at the most reasonable rates."


    The portrait of John Murray the First, which forms the frontispiece, is interesting.  No trace here of the gallant sailor who urged his friend Falconer of the Shipwreck to become his partner.  We should at once set down the sitter as a man of thought rather than of action, a scholar, a critic, a philosopher, anything indeed but one of those Mariners of England to whom "a wet sheet and a flowing sea and a wind that follows fast" have been their element.  In the reflective, expressive, and regular commanding features we see a striking likeness to the present head of this great house.

    Among the first books issued by the firm were new editions of Lord Lyttelton's Dialogues of the Dead and of his History of King Henry the Second, in stately quartos; also Walpole's Castle of Otranto.  What would not collectors give for these curios?

    Every page of these memoirs recalls some noteworthy event.  Here is one.  On December 20, 1784, a correspondent writes to the Rev. Mr. Whittaker: [p.160] "Poor Dr. Johnson's remains passed my door for interment this afternoon.  They were accompanied by thirteen mourning coaches with four horses each; after these a cavalcade of the carriages of his friends.  He was about to be buried in Westminster Abbey."

    To John Murray the Second, Lord Byron's "My Murray," the "Anax of publishers" and founder of the Quarterly Review, 1778-1843, succeeded, 1808-92, the founder of the famous Handbook.  Educated at the Charter House and Edinburgh University, he travelled all over Europe and wrote most of the European Handbooks, which were entirely original.  I do not believe, writes the present head of the house, that he copied a single page from any existing work.  He was a good Latin, Greek, German, and French scholar, and a special student of Geology and Architecture.

    I am tempted to dwell upon one or two phases of this fascinating volume, every page teeming with every page teeming interest.  To pick out the plums would be a hopeless task, so redundant are they.  Here is a jeu d'esprit of Tom Moore, apropos of this entry in his popular Diary: "Saw my 'Lord Edward Fitzgerald' as one of the articles to be abused of course; and this too immediately after my dinings and junketings with both editor and publisher."


THOUGHTS ON EDITORS

EDITUR AND EDIT


No!  Editors don't care a button
    What false and faithless thing they do,
They'll let you come and cut their mutton,
    And then, they'll have a cut at you.

With Barnes I oft my dinner took,
    Nay, met e'en Horace Twiss to please him; [p.161-1]
Yet Mister Barnes traduc'd my Book,
    For which may his own devils seize him!

With Dr. Bowring I drank tea,
    Nor of his cakes consumed a particle
And yet the ungrateful LL.D.
    Let fly at me, next week, an article.

John Wilson gave me suppers hot,
    With bards of fame like Hogg and Packwood; [p.161-2]
A dose of black-strap [p.161-3] then I got,
    And after, a still worse of Blackwood.

Alas! and must I close the list
    With thee, my Lockhart of the Quarterly?
So kind with bumper in thy fist,
    With pen, so very gruff and tartarly.

Now in thy parlour feasting me,
    Now scribbling at me from your garret,
Till 'twixt the two, in doubt I be,
    Which sourest is, thy wit or claret?


    Murray the Second's transactions with Byron threw the earnings of successful contemporaries into the shade.  For three cantos of "Don Juan" Mr. Murray paid £2,100!

    In 1826 Mr. Murray lost £26,000 through an unfortunate journalistic speculation, that of the Representative.  On this subject he wrote to Washington Irving: "One cause of my not writing to you during a whole year was my 'entanglement,' Lady G―― says, with a newspaper which absorbed my money, and distracted and depressed my mind; but I have cut the knot of evil, which I could not untie, and am now, by the blessing of God, returned to reason and the shop."

    One of the most appealing chapters in the book is that called "Sir Walter's Last Years," giving last glimpses of our beloved romancer.  Sad, indeed, perhaps the saddest in literary annals, is the final stage of his glorious career.  Southey's, indeed, is pitiable enough, as, worn out in body and mind, he fondled the books he could no longer read with understanding, but Sir Walter's touched the last note in tragedy, the pen dropping from his enfeebled hand, the dismal truth dawning on his mind that the wand was broken, the wizard's charm was gone.

    Most interesting is an account of Mr. Murray's literary levees in what he does not disdain to call "the shop," [p.163-1] and no less so the correspondence during the same period, 1830-43.  Here is a letter from the Countess Guiccioli, Byron's ladylove, who at this period visited London and received much kindness at the hands of Mr. Murray.  After her return to Rome she wrote a long letter thanking him for a beautifully bound volume of the landscape and portrait illustrations of Lord Byron's works.  She complained, however, of the portrait of herself by an artist named Brockedon. [p.163-2]  "It is not resembling, and to tell the truth, my dear Mr. Murray, I wish it was so, not on account of the ugliness of the features (which is also remarkable) but particularly for having this portrait (sic) an expression of stupidity and for its being molto antipatico, as we say in our language.  But perhaps it is not the fault of the painter, but of the original, and I am sorry for that.  What is certain is, that towards such a creature nobody may feel inclined to be indulgent; and if she has faults and errors to be pardoned for, she will never be so on account of her antipatia.  But please don't say so to Mr. Brockedon."

    In 1842 the health of this indefatigable worker, and one to whom English literature is so much indebted, began to fail.  On June 27, 1843, he passed away in his sleep at the age of sixty-five.  He left behind him a spotless reputation, and among the world-wide tributes to his memory none is more touching than that of "the American Hemans," Mrs. Lydia Sigourney, who wrote from Hartford, Connecticut: "Your father's death is a loss which is mourned on this side of the Atlantic.  His powerful agency on the patronage of a correct literature, which he was so well qualified to appreciate, has rendered him a benefactor in that realm of intellect which binds men together in all ages, however dissevered by political creeds or local prejudice."

    With this enviable In Memoriam I will take leave of a worthy subject of a delightful biography, a new edition of which is welcome to all lovers of literary history.


――――♦――――

 
Chapter XV.

POSTSCRIPT


AND now, to cite one of the most famous books of any time and in any language, "I have done with my island and all about it," may I with apology add a word?

    It is a source of the greatest gratification to me that these memorials should appear in the year of my diamond jubilee, and that a new handsome edition of my first work (The White House by the Sea, 1857), with biographical notes and illustrations, in commemoration of so rare a literary event, is to be brought out by the house of Collins, of London and Glasgow.


――――♦――――

 

 

FOONOTES

p.4

See his delightful monograph, Coventry Patmore.

p.5

"I will keep where there is wit stirring and leave the faction of fools."—Troilus and Cressida, Act II., Scene i.

p.20-1

Price of The Positivist Review.

p.20-2

But what is contemporary fame compared to the verdict of posterity?—M. B.-E.

p.21

1 Positivists, like Romanists but more Catholic, date their letters on saints' days.  Gerbert, Pope Sylvester II., a learned physicist and mathematician, was said to be in league with the Devil, 971, 1003.  The Positive saints are chosen from all religions, as befits the religion of Humanity.

p.22

The admirable Dent series of reprints.  But better fortune still befell that simple story of Suffolk farming days and mid-Victorian days.  It now figures in the Oxford "World's Classics."

p.30-1

The award of the title "Officier de l'Instruction Publique de France."

p.30-2

See at end.

p.33

No.  What else is the autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini and of Rousseau?

p.34-1

The famous story by R. L. Stevenson.

p.34-2

Except perhaps, like Lord Brassey, learning a new language, in his case that jaw-breaking German at the age of seventy.  What an exploit!  His father's, the great railway contractor, nothing to it.

p.40

But George Eliot knew better.  Did not Bishop Taylor write of "the fringes of repentance"?

p.42

The White House by the Sea, 1857; in 1918 existing in Collins' Clear Print Series issued at 6d,

p.44

Chloral was discovered by Liebig in 1831.  It was first used as an anæsthetic and hypnotic by Liebreich in 1869.

p.46

 In his two bulky volumes Herbert Spencer gives many interesting notes on George Eliot.  See his Autobiography (Williams & Norgate. London, 1904).  Unfortunately, the great philosopher who had mastered the knowable had not mastered Pope's maxim: "The greatest art of all, the art to blot."

p.58

Chambers's Encyclopædia, 1889, by Richard Holt Hutton.

p.63-1

See Recollections by Viscount Morley (Macmillan, 1917).

p.63-2

See Diary of Queen Victoria.

p.65

See Impressions of Dante and of the New World, by J. W. Cross (Blackwood, 1903).

p.69

Ed—this should read 'paternal grandfather'—see Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry for Barbara Bodichon.

p.98

 The Life of the Second Earl Granville, by Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice. Longmans, 1905.

p.109

Mark Rutherford, whose novels he admired.  I forget to what incident this remark refers.  Alas! I never saw him again.

p.110

"In many narrow passages of public life Lord Granville seemed a born amalgam."—Times Obituary Notice, April 16, 1891.

p.126

Offices: 10 Vineyard Hill, Wimbledon, S.W. 19.

p.131

Recollections by John Viscount Morley, O.M., Hon. Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.  In two volumes, sixth edition.  Macmillan, London.

p.140

Fisher Unwin, 1895, is the date of my edition.  Translated by W. Hale White.  Translation revised by Amelia Hutchinson Stirling, M.A. (Edin.).

p.144

Yes, she had a claim, for noble was the life of this so gifted woman, both as an artist and a citizen and a woman, but of course this was unknown to the outspoken Frenchwoman.

p.157-1

A Year in Western France, Longmans, 1875, recently reprinted.

p.157-2

"A Month in Auvergne," Macmillan's Magazine, about same date.

p.158

See A Publisher and his Friends, by the late Samuel Smiles, LL.D., new and revised edition. London, John Murray, 1910.

p.160

Probably the Rev. John Whitaker, antiquarian and divine, 1735-1808.

p.161-1

Writer and politician, 1786-1849.

p.161-2

I can find no one of this name in encyclopædias.

p.161-3

A mixture of spirituous liquor and molasses.

p.163-1

See Mrs. Bray's Autobiography, 1799-1883.  Her maiden name was Kempe, and she wrote a score or more of historical novels, popular in their day. A twelve-volume edition of her stories was issued in 1884.

p.163-2

William Brockedon, artist and lecturer.  See Reminiscences of a Literary Life, by Charles MacFarlane, with an introduction by John F. Tattersall.  John Murray, 1917.

 


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