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CHAPTER XXII.


Millais and other Artists; The Foggos ; Wornum ; Sibson ; Tom Landseer; George Cruikshank; Tennyson; Orsini; Kiallmark; Richard Lane; Flatou; Garth Wilkinson; Gilchrist; Linnell; Sykes.


    TO continue the catalogue of names of those whom I have known, more or less, before I left London for the North, or while I was living in the North, or at a time of some few years when I was seeking to establish myself again in London, I may add to the list already given of artist acquaintances or friends—Millais, whom I recollect as a young Apollo, supremely handsome; Whistler, always eccentric; Boughton; Madox Brown; Munro, Durham, and Patric Park, three sculptors; E. M. Ward, and his wife, also a painter and not inferior to her husband (she was the daughter of G. R. Ward, the mezzotint engraver); the two brothers Foggo, George and James, two gaunt Scotchmen, painters of large unsuccessful historical figure subjects, long since gone out of sight.  One of the brothers, I forget which, had a habit of twitching or wriggling his nose, a habit also noticeable in another gaunt Scotchman, Lord Brougham.  It was said that this Foggo and his lordship were once opponent speakers at a public meeting, and the noses of the two men, alike in general personal appearance, wagged against each other, to the great amusement of the beholders.  I only knew the Foggos, worthy men, I believe, if not successful painters, as rather captious members of the Institute of Fine Arts, at which we were often in collision.  Wornum, Scott's and Sibson's friend, I also knew there.  For a meeting of the Institute in the Rooms of the Society of Arts, Wornum had prepared a lecture on "Roman Coins"; but when the hour came was too modest or wanting in self-confidence to deliver it.  As a member of the Council, it fell to me to deliver it for him.  At another similar meeting I read a paper on Thomas Sibson, then recently dead, a paper partly my own, partly by Scott, and I then exhibited his designs for the History of England, the only time they have been seen in public.

    Tom Landseer, the engraver, I recollect as a short, broad-shouldered, deaf man, the eldest, and, to my thinking, the most talented of the three Landseer brothers, his Monkeyana, or " Men in Miniature," only etchings as they were, and his other etchings of animals, evincing more originality and vigour of drawing than is to be seen in the excellently painted pictures of the more famous Sir Edwin, the Sir Thomas Lawrence of animal life.

    George Cruikshank was a well-built, good-looking, good-natured, impulsive man, a bluff speaker who could call a spade a spade.  I had had a dispute with a publisher as to my charge for engraving one of Cruikshank's drawings, and it was thought that I might be influenced by a remark that Mr. Cruikshank deemed my price too high.  I replied that it was no business of his; but the next time I saw him I asked him why he had so interfered.  "My dear Linton," was his answer, "the publisher is a liar."  Once at the Artists' Annuity Fund, a society to which we both belonged, a meeting was held to consider the expulsion of a defaulting officer.  In the midst of a discussion as to whether the defaulter should be prosecuted, Cruikshank entered the room.  He had heard nothing of what had passed, but when he caught the drift of the argument, his pity for the delinquent, a man we had all liked as well as trusted, led him to protest against the intended action.  "We must not be hard on the poor man, and as to thinking him without means of defence, how did we know he was not supplied with our own moneys?"  The general laugh did not disconcert him.  It was as innocently uttered as the comment of the man at the Tichbourne trial—"He didn't care whether he was Sir Roger or not, but he could not bear to see a poor man robbed of his rights."  In his later years Cruikshank was a rigid teetotaler, devoting his artistic power to the advocacy of temperance.  It was not unfairly said that it was time for him to abstain, as he certainly had enjoyed a full man's share of drink.

    During my ownership of Brantwood, but while I was resident in London, Tennyson was for a summer at Coniston, with his family occupying "Tent Lodge," near the Waterhead, the house in which usually lived the Misses Romney.  Tennyson was reported to have had a cross chalked on the gate, that he might not miss it at night under the dark tree-shadows.  While I was living at Brantwood, a visit to Joseph Cowen at Blaydon made me acquainted with Orsini, at Cowen's, after his escape from an Austrian prison.  A fine-looking man, handsome, energetic, and pleasant in manner, I heard him lecture on Italy at the Blaydon Mechanics' Institute, and saw him again at my temporary lodging in London.  He called on me there to take leave, with one Dr. Bernard, a French socialist, whom I knew to be an extremist.  I seemed to forebode some unlucky adventure, little however supposing what were his intentions.  I take it, that his plan of action was motived not by any care not to endanger himself, but by a propensity to cleverness.  A brave man, thoroughly in earnest, he was not above a certain hankering for applause.  Returned to London, I had pleasant intimacy with the Kiallmarks, near neighbours: Mr. Kiallmark, a most amiable man, an accomplished musician and improvisatore on the piano, the son of a Danish composer.  I was also on friendly terms with the family of Richard Lane, the brother of Edward Lane, the Egyptologist.  Richard Lane was an excellent etcher, and known also for his lithographic portraits from the painting of Sir Thomas Lawrence.  The eldest of Lane's three fair daughters, a charming woman, was a first-rate flower-painter, her talent perhaps inherited from Gainsborough, to whom, either on the father's or the mother's side, she was related.  Woolner I once saw, in his studio.  Dining with Alexander Johnston, a painter after the fashion of Wilkie, I met a picture dealer named Flatou, who to his knowledge of pictures added a rare faculty of mimicry, and who was also a ventriloquist.  He entertained us at dinner with admirable specimens of various English dialects, and afterwards, taking his seat in the next room, gave a conversation between two lovers from Fra Diavolo, a piece then being acted at Fechter's Theatre, imitating Fechter's peculiar accent; and on coming into the drawing-room amused us with ventriloquism.  He had the wisdom, or it may have been from real love of Art, to insist on having the oil sketches of pictures he bought, and the sketches he kept for himself, a beautiful collection in his own house.  It was told of him, that one day going into the country for a first view of some artist's pictures, he telegraphed for a carriage to take him to the artist's house at some distance from the station.  At the station he found that a rival dealer already occupied the only conveyance, and refused to give up his place.  So they drove together to the artist's house, where Flatou was first to alight, sending in his card as "Mr. Flatou and friend."  The friend did not get sight of the pictures till Flatou had made his way.

    I have visited at the house of Marston, the playwright, the father of Philip Bourke Marston, the blind poet; and at that of De Morgan, the actuary, whose wife was a spiritualist, and had a craze of stones being thrown at her by the spirits as she passed a certain house.  Dr. Garth Wilkinson, the amiable physician, I knew well.  A Swedenborgian, he too had a touch of the spiritualist malady, which brought out a volume of inspired poems, outside the ordinary laws of poetic form.  I had to thank him for an introduction to Emerson, who, when in England, had been attracted by him.  With Gilchrist I worked on his Life of Blake, having to get up the illustrations.  So one Sunday I went with Gilchrist to see Linnell at his house near Red Hill.  The old man gave us dinner in a large, barely-furnished room at a long deal table—deal or oak, at which he and his wife and daughter and two of his three sons sat down at irregular intervals of time and place; and after dinner we were shown his Blake treasures, his portrait of Blake, the original drawings for the Book of Job, proof impressions of the plates, and Blake's designs for Dante,—taking care not to leave us alone with any.  The Dante designs, some mere scrawls, some highly finished and coloured, were drawn in a large book, which Linnell had given to Blake that he might make use of it in his last sickness, during which Linnell had provided for him.  It had the look of a speculation, a purpose of being repaid for services to the poor friend; but it did not appear that Linnell had ever attempted to make a profit of them, but kept them as valued mementos only.  A strange, dry, withered old man was the painter, quaint in speech, with strange utterance of strange opinions, a man who might have admired Blake as much for his literary incoherences as for his artistic imagination.  Beginning life as a picture cleaner and repairer, he had risen to be a great painter and fairly successful.  He had built himself a house on a high ridge of the Surrey country, overlooking an extensive weald.  The site was so commanding that some one suggested (it was during talk of a French invasion) that the house would certainly be taken as the headquarters of the French General.  "They can't do it, sir!" very positively answered Linnell, "they can't do it! it's against the law."

    One man very worthy of love and admiration whom I came to know in these later London days was Godfrey Sykes, Alfred Stevens' favourite pupil at Sheffield, the best of the artists employed at South Kensington Museum and School of Art, highly esteemed there, but starved on a low salary until, his health failing, the fear of losing him aroused a wiser and more careful generosity.  It was too late to save him from dying of consumption.  A man of genius, bright, witty, delicately handsome, and of most affectionate nature, it was a pleasure, not unmixed with the sadness of anxious fear, to know him for a few, too few years.  In his art he had followed worthily in the steps of "the master," as Stevens was always lovingly styled by him.


 
CHAPTER XXIII.

Alfred Stevens; Young Mitchell; Wehnert; The Wellington Monument.


    ALFRED STEVENS, the designer and maker of the Monument to the Duke of Wellington in St. Paul's Cathedral, was my very dear friend.  Born at Blandford in Dorsetshire in 1817, his father a decorative and heraldic painter, he almost before he had passed from childhood displayed a passionate love and more than aptitude for Art; and that fortunately recognised by a neighbouring clergyman, the Hon. and Rev. Samuel Best, he was through that gentleman's interest sent at the age of sixteen to travel and educate himself in Italy.  There he remained, studying incessantly, for nine years, somewhile at Naples, sometimes at Florence, copying frescoes in the churches and convents, so many that he would say he thought he had copied everything; then copying Titian's pictures; then working for Thorwaldsen, who had a great regard for him.  Returning to England in 1842, his first employment was as one of the masters in the Government School of Design at Somerset House, a position he held efficiently for four years, during that time also making his magnificent design for the doorway of the Jermyn Street School of Mines, a design worthy of comparison with the celebrated gates of Ghiberti.  Later on, in 1848 or '49, he went to Sheffield as designer to the iron works of Messrs. Hoole & Robson.  While there he greatly assisted, if only with advice, his friend, Mr. Young Mitchell in the School of Design.  Godfrey Sykes, John Gamble, Reuben Townroe, learned of him there, all afterwards holding positions at South Kensington, all looking to him as their master.  Not that Young Mitchell was inefficient; but the higher influence was also appreciated.  Mitchell, with whom I had been allied in the Institute of Fine Arts, before he had the appointment to Sheffield, had introduced me to Stevens, and before I went northward we had become close friends.  He would come and sit beside me when in after hours I sat engraving in one of my work-rooms at 85 Hatton Garden.  He was back again in London, after rather less than three years in Sheffield, and I was often with him during occasional visits to the South.

    In 1855 I came back to live in London, and after that I saw more of him.  Myself and Edward Wehnert (the water-colour painter) were, I think, his closest friends; we, with Elmore and Penrose, almost his only visitors at the house on Haverstock Hill, rising toward Hampstead, where he was preparing for his great work on the Monument and also for Mr. Holford's commission for a chimney-piece in Dorchester House, Holford's mansion in Park Lane.  Not only the chimney-piece (which alone Stevens lived to execute), but the whole room and its furniture were to have been of Stevens' design.  Engrossed with his work, he never went into society.  It was difficult to drag him out even to dine with his friend Wehnert's family, a brother and three sisters all fond of him; and having called on him with Wehnert to take him to dinner, I have known him turn back, when as the door was opened he saw an extra hat in the hall, with, "O Wehnert!  I forgot,"—that there was something to prevent his stay; and we had almost to force him in.  Not that he was averse to or unfit for conversation; it was only the shyness of a man who did not care to make new friends.  Incessantly at his work, I have gone in upon him at ten o'clock in the morning: "What, breakfasting so late as this?  Stevens!"  "My dear fellow, I breakfasted at four o'clock."  He would come in to dinner in the next house, a house in which he lived, adjoining his studio and opening from it; and before the dinner was placed on the table would be carving on a book-case or the edge of a sideboard.  The only relaxation he took was a few days' voyage in a west country friend's yacht, the sea greatly enjoyed by him.  A day at South Kensington with him and Sykes and Wehnert, to see the Raffaele Cartoons, removed there from the obscurity of Hampton Court to a sufficient light, is one of my pleasantest remembrances.  The Hogarths were the only pictures we cared to look at afterwards.  Another pleasant day was when we went together to see the boat-race, and after seeing it walked through acres (it seemed miles) of wall-flowers from Barnes to Richmond, where we dined, coming back to Haverstock Hill in the late evening.  Many happy times at his house, at my own, at the Wehnerts', and at the house of Sykes, should also have place among my recollections.  Not a great, but a good talker, with much to talk of,—Italy and Art,—he was a desirable companion.  And beyond all delight of companionship was the appreciation of his greatness as an artist and the simple worth of the man.

    Putting out of question the special excellences of our few great men, he stands forth as the most thoroughly accomplished artist we have ever had in England.  As a sculptor, with a knowledge also of architecture and of the sculptor's relation to that, we have no one to equal him.  As a painter, good in drawing, in composition, and in colour, he did enough to show that he would have taken a highest place, had his attention been more confined to that.  His few portraits were fine.  His designs for iron-work and pottery, and of general decoration, had a wide range and were of remarkable excellence.  His motto,—"I know but of one art,"—a motto borrowed from Michael Angelo, characterised his whole work, in which, for all its variety, there was nothing careless or inferior or unworthy of his powers.  He was so thoroughly conscientious in his art, so thoroughly conscious, too, of what was good, that though a sure and rapid worker, he was not easily satisfied.  This almost fastidiousness prevented a business-like punctuality in the performance of his commissions, and was the cause of considerable friction with his employers on the Monument, the Commissioners of the Board of Works, the governmental money-providers.  So he was worried by delay in payments; and when from too close application to work his health gave way, the worry became greater.  It helped indeed to kill him.  Other annoyances he had in the poor place given in the Cathedral to the Monument, and in the absurd objection of Dean Millman (the legal custodian of the Cathedral) to the completion of the Monument as originally designed with an equestrian statue of the Duke at the top.  From a slight attack of paralysis in 1873 he recovered sufficiently to bring his work virtually to completion; but on the 30th of April, 1875, an attack of apoplexy stayed the artist's hand.

    In person Stevens was rather below the average height, squarely built, showing considerable strength; once remarkably proved in Sheffield, where, attacked from behind by a garrotter, he stooped and flung the fellow over his head, only shaking himself as a dog might when, a few minutes later, he entered a friend's house and quietly told of the transaction.  His head was large, his face, while I knew him, clean-shaved, his features were expressive, he had keen eyes, a sensitive mouth, and a general look of cheerful calm strength and goodness.  He was neat in his person for all the usual carelessness of an artist, and in his dress looking like and often taken for a Catholic priest.  Gentle in his heart and in his demeanour, and, though conscious of his own ability, in no way self-assertive, he was a man to be both loved and admired.  It is something to know that, however undervalued in his life, his reputation has been steadily growing since his death.


 
CHAPTER XXIV.

Garibaldi in Sicily; The British Legion; Captain de Rohan.


    IN 1860, when Garibaldi was gone upon his Sicilian expedition (planned by Mazzini, and successfully begun by Rosalino Pilo, who fell in the moment of victory as Garibaldi landed to pursue the work), word came to friends of Italy in England that it were well if we could send out an English contingent, to give help and to prove our sympathy.  A Committee, of which I was a member, was quickly formed, and measures were promptly taken to enrol volunteers for what was called an Excursion to Sicily, so called to keep clear of proved illegality, and so not to compel the interference of the Government.  We were not interfered with, and soon had a gathering, a gathering of a strange crowd, earnest men, men with selfish ends, men of good repute and not so good, the sort of mixture in all such enterprises.  Our work was mainly forwarded by a staunch Mazzinian, Captain De Rohan, a native of Jersey, who had made his mark in South America fighting for Peruvian independence, and who, like Garibaldi and so many of the Italian patriots, had returned to Europe for the cause of Italy.  De Rohan had already from his own means chartered the three steamships which took Garibaldi's force to Sicily; the "Washington," the "Franklin," and the "Oregon."  He helped us in the purchase of arms and organising, with advice and money, and as friend and agent of Garibaldi took general charge of the Expedition.  In twenty-three days we had enrolled and were ready to despatch a thousand men, armed and equipped.  I went with the main body of them by a night train to Harwich, where a steamer was provided to carry them to Sicily.  The first action on reaching Harwich was to hold a court-martial on one of the officers, a "Major" Hicks, of whom we had received most unsatisfactory accounts.  He was dismissed, and in an altercation forcibly ejected from De Rohan's room by an American who was with De Rohan.  Hicks then took out a warrant for assault, thinking to detain the expedition long enough to compel the Government to take notice of our proceedings.  The American sought refuge on board our steamer.  I was the only member of the Committee at Harwich except the Secretary, Mr. G. J. Holyoake, who had gone to bed tired after his night's journey, so I had to take command of the steamer, sending Hicks' baggage ashore and refusing to let him come on board to search for the American.  The policeman he brought alongside with him might come on board, but he might not, and the policeman not knowing the man, his quest would be in vain.  The captain recognised me as master, and would take no orders but from me.  There was a Government vessel in the harbour, but the captain of that was friendly with us, and when later in the day he came with Hicks I was willing to let the "Major" come on board to hunt for his man, by that time safely stowed away.  In the afternoon De Rohan had to appear before the local magistrate, who imposed a fine of five shillings and came on board with us to supper and to talk of the Expedition.  Late at night I went ashore again, to meet any men of the Legion who might have been delayed.  One of those arriving was a Welsh parson who wanted to go as army chaplain, and was terribly disappointed when I told him there was no place for him.  Letters came from the London Committee, which, our secretary being in bed, it was my business to read.  One of them was from Sicily, appointing Hicks to the command of the Legion.  I know not what interest he could have made to obtain this.  I put the letter in my pocket, and going on board again waited till everybody had retired except De Rohan, then handed the letter to him.  We kept our counsel.  He appointed a military officer who was among those enrolled to the command of the Legion, and the next morning, the Legion fairly started, we left them, he to travel overland to reach Sicily before the expedition, I to report to the Committee, with whom I found a duplicate of the letter with Hicks' appointment, of course too late to be acted upon.  Our judgment of the man had been right.  The next I heard of him was his appearance in a police-court on some not creditable charge.


"Grato in buoni servigi prestati dal Capno De Rohan alla causa Italiana nelle campagne di Napoli e Sicilia,

"G. GARIBALDI,"


was the Liberator's acknowledgment of De Rohan's services.  The Legion arrived in Sicily too late to be much needed, except as an expression of British sympathy, but its behaviour was good and it was honourably reported.

    Intimate with Mazzini, and devoted to him, De Rohan was his trusted envoy with Victor Emmanuel, whose respect and personal regard for Mazzini were very great, and who might have been influenced by him could there have been any escape from the influence of Cavour, whom the King, for personal reasons held in dislike.  "Je déteste mon métier," the King said once to De Rohan; and on another occasion showed him "the only money I ever earned," money given to his majesty for some help rendered by him on one of his hunting excursions, when his dress had prevented his recognition.

    I first met De Rohan on the Committee for this Sicilian Expedition.  I admired him much, a distinguished-looking man, tall, well built, handsome, and possessing great strength, the beau-idéal of a sea king.  We got to be very intimate; and years later he lived for months with me here at Hamden by New Haven.  His business in the States was, being a naturalised American, to persuade the Government through Mr. Marsh, who was then American Minister at Rome, to press the Italian Government for payment of the three steamships chartered by De Rohan for Garibaldi's use, the said steamships having been drafted into the Italian navy.  Time and patience were worn out in the delays and indifference of diplomacy, and no result obtained.  The man who had generously given of his means, disappointed and weary, was not diplomatic; at last, on a visit to Rome, he personally offended the Italian Minister, and all chance of redress was lost.  De Rohan died in poverty at Washington, and his three ships have not been paid for.


 
CHAPTER XXV.


The Theatres; Charles Kemble; Macready; Braham; Pasta; Grisi and Mario; Lablache; Straudigl; Schroeder Devrient ; The Keeleys; Mrs. Nesbitt; Mrs. Glover; Ellen Tree; Vestris; Tyrone Power; Charlotte Cushman; Jefferson; Edwin Booth; Modjeska; Amateur Acting; Barnard Gregory.


    IN my young days I was very fond of the theatre, not objecting to stint myself otherwise so as to afford the pleasure of witnessing a good dramatic performance or hearing a good singer.  A week to be particularly remembered was one in which I went five nights to Covent-Garden to see the last acting of Charles Kemble in his best characters—Hamlet, Falconbridge in King John, Mark Antony in Julius Cæsar, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing.  I have seen other actors in these parts, from Macready to Irving, and in America Edwin Booth; but the acting of Kemble, old as he then was, has seemed to me to be unsurpassed by any, my judgment perhaps influenced by the recollection of my young enthusiasm.  Braham, old also, I heard once; and Pasta once; not in their prime, but still great.  Grisi and her husband Mario I heard often, and beside their worth as singers remember that they were good Italians, friends of patriotism and Mazzini.  Great Lablache also I well remember, and Staudigl in Der Freischütz, and Madame Schroeder Devrient, heard once in Die Zauberflote, and Adelaide Kemble in Norma.  For the ballet I did not care.  It seems to me that I never saw dancing worthy of the name, except that of Taglioni, none others that I thought graceful.  Hers was the poetry of motion.  During the time that I was editor of Hetherington's paper I had admission to several theatres.  On the free list at Drury Lane under the management of Macready, I had only to sign my name to go in, for the whole of a play, or for half an hour or so as might please me.  Acis and Galatea and Purcell's King Arthur were repeated pleasures, not only for sake of the music, but the drop scene to Acis and Galatea was one of Stanfield's masterpieces, aided by the illusion of the sea ripples coming up the beach; and in the King Arthur it was worth noting that by the simple arrangement of the army sufficiently occupying the stage to give time for returns from behind the scenes to follow on, there was the fair appearance of an army of thousands.  It was but the adaptation of an old story of two men of equal height, and cloaked to appear alike, engaging a coach on a foggy night (a London fog), and when the coach stopped having both doors open, so that the first coming out had time to go behind the coach and re-enter while the second leisurely descended, the first then passing out as a third occupant, the second in the same way appearing as a fourth, and the game continued till the poor driver thought his coach was haunted.  It was perhaps the first time so very obvious an expedient was used on the stage, and it was very effective in the place of the three or four soidiers, "drum and colours," to be supposed an army. Macready was great in these scenic proprieties.  Great also as an actor, but rather from close and wise study than from such fire of natural genius as must have marked the elder Kean.  His Hamlet, his King John, his Lear, Shylock, Macbeth, Brutus and Julius Cæsar, Othello, and Benedick, were all excellent, if not at the topmost height.  Certainly his Romeo was not equal to that of Edwin Booth, nor to that of Charlotte Cushman, who was the best Romeo I ever saw, though she startled us on her first appearance in the character in London, by her likeness to Macready.  She gave me some friendly introductions when I came to America in 1866.  Liston I can almost recall to sight, and John Reeve also, an admirable comic actor, sober or drunk, always master of himself before the footlights, though unsoberly not fit to appear the minute before.  Admirable actors, too, were little Keeley and his wife, she a singer also, good in both capacities.  I remember her especially as the Blind Girl of Portici, in Bulwer's Last Days of Pompeii.  Then there was the bewitching Madame Vestris, the daughter of the famous engraver Bartolozzi, not beautiful, but fascinating, a fine actress and charming singer, great in her fairy tale Easter extravaganzas, and as great with the beautiful Mrs. Nesbitt in the School for Scandal, with Charles Matthews as Charles Surface.  There was acting in those days,—the acting of Farren, and Harley, and Buckstone, and Miss P. Horton, who played the Fool in Lear, Mrs. Glover, Ellen Tree, Helen Faucit, and little Miss Poole, the most cat-like White Cat in one of Vestris' extravaganzas; and that most accomplished of Irishmen, Tyrone Power, who was drowned in the "President"!  The only actor I have ever seen to compare with him for thorough identification with his impersonation is Joseph Jefferson in the part of Rip Van Winkle.  But in America I have had little opportunity, and not the same enthusiasm, for keeping up my love of the drama.  Chiefly to be noted by me in these later days is Edwin Booth, whom I had the honour and pleasure of seeing occasionally both on and off the stage, free of his theatre during his first performances in the one built by him in New York, free to speak with him behind the scenes, and meeting him sometimes at the Century Club in New York; a fine actor, a worthy gentleman, and an agreeable and attractive man.

    The great Polish actress Madame Modjeska I saw but once on the stage; but I prize among my correspondence a letter from her thanking me for a number of the Century Magazine, which I sent to her because in an article on European Republicans it chronicled some of her compatriots.

    Her letter is worth here giving:


NEW YORK, Jan. 20, 1888.

DEAR MR. LINTON:

    I thank you most sincerely for the honour and kindness you have done to me in sending me a copy of The Century containing your beautiful article.

    I should like to express to you equally my gratitude for the interest you take in the country of my birth and my heart, and for all the work you have done in its behalf; but words would only be idle. . . Poland has not many friends now; there is no political capital to be made nowadays by raising one's voice in her favour.  Few friends, but true ones, does our cause count abroad, and the only reward for them to which we may point is the realisation of the hope you expressed in your letter,—the resurrection of Poland, in which our belief shall last as long as our belief in God, and in the final victory of right over might, of good over evil.

    Please accept my deep felt regards, and believe me,

Respectfully yours,       
H
ELENA MODJESKA.


    Here I may tell how I narrowly escaped making my own debut on the boards.  Not that I presumed on any vocation that way, or that I had any ambition for histrionic fame.  But the Institute of Fine Arts had projected an amateur performance at the St. James' Theatre, for some art-benefit, the intended performers to be members of the Institute.  I forget what the principal play was to be, but there was in it a Yorkshire character which was appropriated to Topham (the water-colour painter), a Yorkshireman and likely, as was afterwards proved, to play the part successfully; but the afterpiece was to be Bombastes Furioso,—Franklin, a tall, personable Irishman, who affected a visage like that of Charles I., with a beard shaped accordingly, was to be the King,—and I, then slight and womanly-looking, with little whisker and no beard or moustache, was cast for Glumdalca, the one female character.  I would look the part well enough, the speeches were not difficult, and I might manage the one song.  However, in the course of discussion a dissension occurred.  Cruikshank would have the acting broadly comic.  Franklin and I insisted that as a burlesque it should be treated with perfect seriousness and in high heroic fashion.  We were out-voted and so relinquished our parts.  I think mine was taken by a professional actress.  Cruikshank had great applause for his buffoonery, and the success of the whole performance set the example of similar amateur theatricals, in which Dickens afterwards took the lead.

    One other theatrical matter of a very different kind I may here speak of.  On a certain morning London streets were placarded with the following notice:—


"GENTLEMEN OF LONDON!


    "Mr. Barnard Gregory, the editor of the Satirist, will appear to-night at Covent-Garden Theatre, in the character of

HAMLET."


    The placard had been put out by the Punch contributors, the object sufficiently obvious: to oppose Gregory, who was notorious as a rascally blackmailer.  John Leech called on me in the morning to tell me of their purpose and to ask me to go.  Of course I went, and took a friend with me; and we got forward seats in the pit.  Looking round, I saw a lot of rough fellows who, I concluded, were no doubt hired as claqueurs for Gregory, and was not without fear of a fierce conflict.  The curtain drew up, and the action of the play began in all serenity; but so soon as Hamlet made his appearance an outcry, a burst of execration, rose so suddenly, and was so general, that one saw at once no opposition could make head against it.  Hisses and hootings, cries of "Off! off!—Blackguard! scoundrel!" and the like were hurled at the actor; and the whole performance was stopped.  Nothing was thrown except the storm of vociferation.  Gregory faced it awhile, undauntedly impudent, then tried to make his voice heard in protest, but it was drowned in the roar of indignation.  I was but three seats from the orchestra, and I could not hear a syllable of his speech though I saw his lips move.  At length he gave in, and as the curtain came down he seemed to cower and crouch beneath.  Then the manager came forward to withdraw the piece, and the conspirators went out to moisten their parched throats.  Leech was hoarse for days.  Lynch law, as it was, it was well deserved, though the man was, it was said, a promising actor.  I forget what play was substituted, for a little while opposed by the minority who had come to support the Hamlet; but they had to give in, and the evening finished quietly.

    One of those most active in the storm was the Duke of Brunswick, who had been grossly assailed in the Satirist.  He had taken a stage box, from which he acted as fugleman to a party he had organised throughout the house, so giving us most unexpected help.  Gregory brought an action against him for conspiracy.  Jem Mace, a pugilist and publican living in the neighbourhood of the theatre, was, there was no doubt, one of those hired by the Duke, and prominently active.  He was summoned as a witness, and did not deny the part he had taken, but denied having been hired for the conspiracy.  He was asked: "What made you active in such a matter? what interest had you in it?"  His interest, he replied, in public morality; he could not help protesting against such a man disgracing the stage—his words not these exactly, but to such purpose.  The judge complimented him, and said he was glad to find so much public spirit in the parish in which he had his own residence.


 
CHAPTER XXVI.


George Francis Train; Bunker Hill; Herbert Spencer; Voyage to New York; Cooper Institute; Peter Cooper; A. S. Hewitt; Dr. Rimmer; Frank Leslie; Squier; Cluseret; Pelletier; Aaron Powell; Wendell Phillips; The Fosters; Theodore Parker; Edmund Davis; Kentucky Lands; Colonisation in Montana; Frederick Douglas; Negro Bones.


    GEORGE FRANCIS TRAIN I met in London.  He was busy with endeavour to have cars employed on tramways in London streets.  They became general enough in after time, but Train's immediate success was stopped by his running athwart some parochial interests which he did not care to consider.  He used to invite "twelve live men" to breakfast with him on Sunday.  I somehow got included in the invitations, but I did not go.  I went however, once, to a midday public breakfast to meet some fifty or sixty men, most of them newspaper men or otherwise connected with literature, to commemorate the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill.  Every one was expected to make a brief speech, not to exceed five minutes; and Train of course looked for sympathy with the North in the terrible fight then proceeding.  I am sorry to say the company almost all had good words only for the South.  A brother of Rudolph Lehman, the painter, and I were the only two who spoke heartily for the North.  [It was in such manner and from such men that the impression arose in America that the English people were in favour of the South,—an impression very far from correct: the feeling of the English people was not with the South.  Even in the factory districts, where the operatives were starving, out of work because the supply of cotton was stopped, a public meeting could not be had to express sympathy with the slaveholders.]  The speeches over, Train, as host, summed up, with no ill-taste or ill-feeling, very fairly rating his guests; then, turning pleasantly to those remaining gathered round one table, improvised in verse on each name in turn, finishing every stanza with a popular American chorus.  It was very clever, and well done.

    Afterwards I met him in America.  I was to breakfast with my friend De Rohan at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and entering the breakfast-room, we stumbled upon Train, who was just finishing his meal.  He knew De Rohan and promptly laid hold of us, insisting that we should breakfast with or beside him.  We soon had a group of listening waiters at our end of the table.  Train was then posing as a candidate for the Presidency, and told us he was to lecture somewhere (I forget where) in Broadway that evening—his hundredth, or hundred and odd, lecture, canvassing for his election.  Having nothing better to do in the evening, I went to the meeting.  He spoke fluently and well, though with not much in his words.  He had the platform to himself.  During his speech he went to one end of the platform and, taking hold of his nose with one hand, ran across the platform to the other end, saying: "Let my nose alone!  That," he added, "is the Democratic Party!"  Then, taking his nose with the other hand, he ran back: "You, too, let my nose alone!  That is the Republican Party.  I don't mean to be led by the nose by either."  Another time, after some sentiment, he said: "There's my friend Mr. Linton who will agree with that."  Fortunately, he did not point at me; so I was able to turn round to see where his friend Linton might be sitting, and so escaped notice.  The audience had to wait to shake hands with the "future President" as they went out.

    Herbert Spencer, after his visit to America, was my fellow-voyager to England.  I had pleasant talks with him, rather from him, when he was well enough to be on deck.  He appeared to me a very full man, full of knowledge and sure of it, and not anxious for more from me, even if I had had it at his command, but I had not even on wood-engraving.  I was more attracted to his friend, Mr. Lott, a Derby stockbroker, who had special care of him, at whose house in the neighbourhood of Derby I afterwards spent a glad evening and a morning.

      In 1866 I had little occupation in England, and thought the opportunity good to see the new country, with no fixed intention of remaining.  So in November of that year I crossed the ocean to New York, with nothing before me except a commission to write some letters of my American impressions for the Manchester Examiner, and with a few introductions from Dr. Wilkinson, Miss Cushman, my old friend Wehnert, and Mazzini.  I was also strongly commended to the Temperance Party (though not belonging to them) by my friend Dr. Lees, the president of the party in England; and I had business introductions from the Fullartons of Edinburgh, who had a business in New York before the war.  These I had no occasion to use.   Wehnert's letter took me to Dr. Rimmer, the master of the School of Design at the Cooper Institute.  This brought me to acquaintance with Mr. Cooper, the philanthropic and venerable founder of the Institute, and with his son-in-law, Mr. Abram S. Hewitt, whose goodness I gratefully remember.  They induced me to undertake for a time the teaching of the Wood Engraving Class at the Institute.  Thought kindly of by the men of my profession, I had a supper given me by the Society of Wood Engravers, and was almost immediately taken hold of by Frank Leslie to work for his Illustrated News, and afterwards engaged by him to conduct the pictorial portion.

    My welcome seemed a sufficient reason for my contemplating a longer stay in the States.  I had only thought of remaining so long as might be necessary to organise a party for Italy, and to see something of the people and the country.  But the object of these recollections is not to speak of myself, but to tell what little I can of the more remarkable personages whom I have known, and of events in which I have been concerned or with which I have been connected.  Of the remarkable men, surely Peter Cooper was one.  Not deferring to do good work by legacies, he, after making a fortune by his industry, nearly ruined himself in building and endowing the Institute, a reading—room and free schools for the working classes of New York City, asking only to have it remembered as the gift of "Peter Cooper, Mechanic, of New York."  Both Mr. Cooper and Mr. Hewitt and their families were more than kind to me from my first acquaintance with them.

    Dr. Rimmer, a notable man, was also very promptly my good friend.  A good physician, and in good practice, the bent of his natural disposition took him to Art.  Without model he sculptured in granite a life-sized head of St. Stephen; and afterwards executed a figure of a Dying Gladiator, so admirably that, when it was exhibited in Paris, it was at first declared to be modelled from life, but was indeed of too heroic size for that.  As a teacher he was excellent, both in his school and as a lecturer, and on the black-board.  A Swedenborgian and a poet, I had much pleasant and cordial intercourse with him, at the school, and among his family, at his and my own lodgings in New York, and once for a few days at his house in Chelsea, by Boston.  He died within a couple of years of my coming to America.

    "Frank Leslie,"—the name he took in America,—an English engraver, who had come, many years before, to the States, and after hard and persistent effort had succeeded in establishing a weekly illustrated newspaper in rivalry of Harper's, was also very kind to me and made me welcome to his house, in which Mr. and Mrs. Squier were living with him.  Mrs. Squier, a beautiful and clever woman, was afterwards divorced from Squier, married Leslie, and since his death has conducted the paper.  Leslie was a man ill-spoken of because for years he had been struggling and impecunious; but he had his good points,—some love of Art, though not an artist, and much kindness and generosity when he had means.  I gave up my position on his paper after a brief holding because he also undertook another paper of a character I did not choose to be connected with.  Ephraim G. Squier was a man who ought to have earned a good repute, a man of ability and abundant energy, who had been a great traveller in Peru, and whose conversation, when I could be alone with him and get him to talk of Peru, was very entertaining.  Softening of the brain spoiled what should have been a life of much accomplishment.

    My purpose to aid, if possible, the cause of Italy, and my known sympathy with the Abolitionist Party, brought me in contact with many men: with Cluseret and Pelletier on republican ground, with Aaron Powell and Wendell Phillips and the Fosters and Edmund Davis and others of the anti-slavery people.  General Cluseret, a big Frenchman, with some talent as an artist, was much ill-spoken of in the New York Tribune, in other American papers, and in the Fortnightly Review in England, for his connection with the Fenians, but chiefly for being concerned with the Paris Commune, which the Tribune took special pains to confuse with Communism.  Knowing him personally in New York, and with some tracking of his after course, I have no reason to think of him as other than a brave, earnest, chivalrous, and perhaps somewhat too hot-headed and self-opinionated republican, true to his party, if not always what I might think wise in his course.  Claude Pelletier, by profession a printer, of Lyons, who had been member for Lyons in the French Constituent Assembly, in the brief republican interregnum after the Revolution of '48, the friend of Pierre Leroux and Ledru Rollin, was exiled from France by the Empire.  After some sojourn in England he came to New York.  For a living he engaged himself as a cook at a restaurant, and so occupied himself till he had saved money enough to bring his wife and two sons over, and to go into business as an artificial florist.  A good republican, good in himself, well informed, indeed of wide knowledge, an excellent writer, he left, only part printed, when he died, a Dictionary of Socialism after the method of Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary.  He was also author of a revolutionary drama—Le Savetier de Messine (the Cobbler of Messina)— of considerable merit.

    Cluseret and Pelletier I knew from the time of my arrival; Aaron Powell, the editor of the Anti-Slavery Standard, also, and from my first knowledge of him he only grew in my esteem as one of the most single-hearted and liberal-minded men I have ever met with: a liberal Quaker, and liberal albeit in his practice a strict temperance man, with a gentle-natured wife worthy of him.  He introduced me to Wendell Phillips at one of the many meetings which were still being held continuously, in order to make sure that the emancipation of the coloured people should be fairly carried out.  At this particular meeting Phillips had to take the chair, and asked me to wait till after the meeting he came out of the committee room.  I did so.  He came out with friends around him, warmly grasped my hand and held it as we went down the steps at the entrance of the hall, then leading me to dinner with him at the St. Denis Hotel.  The same heartiness always greeted me whenever we met, whether at a public meeting where, more than once, I had the honour of speaking from the same platform, or at the gatherings of the Radical Club at the Rev. Mr. Sargent's in Boston, or in his own house when I called upon him.  A man with a commanding presence, dignified in manner, with a frank look, and a benignant smiling mouth, from which one would no more expect sarcasm or invective than lightning from the clear sky.  Fierce indeed could be his denunciations of wrong, the utterances of a Jove, but a Jove who could be jovial, in all the familiar meaning of that word.  I have heard no orator with such various power, language so ready and so choice, calm and convincing in argument, or overwhelming all opposition with the torrent of his vehement passion.  His opponents must have admired him; his friends could not help but love him.  I was proud of the distinction of finding myself counted among the last.

    Theodore Parker must have been a man of the same stamp.  I only knew him by his printed sermons, some of which he sent to me in England.  Some I reprinted.  When he passed through London on his way to Italy, a brief while before his death, I missed seeing him by half an hour, to my great regret.  Garrison, also, I never saw; but I had some correspondence with him through and in the Liberator, which before I left England he used to send to me.

    Among the best of the Abolitionist Party that I knew were Abby Kelly Foster and Stephen Foster, her husband: Mrs. Foster a little, frail-looking woman, but full of energy and the calmness of a never-failing courage.  At a certain meeting at which I was present, her tall, more impulsive husband insisted on pressing a motion for some question of woman's rights which, considering the purpose of the meeting, was quite out of order.  Impatient at his persistency, I thought to myself, O that some woman would answer him.  At last he sat down, and it was his wife who rose to reply.  Very quietly, with better logic, she put him fairly out of court.  But it was done with perfectly good taste and kindly, womanly feeling, the most satisfactory setting down that could be, whether for matter or manner, and the good husband, in spite of his opinion, must have been pleased with as well as proud of her.  Once at a lecture upon Abraham Lincoln, given by Emerson at the Radical Club in Boston, his praise of Lincoln seemed to me too exclusive, and, as each of the audience was asked to make some brief comment on the lecture, I ventured to suggest that John Brown should have place of honour beside the President.  Mr. Foster, who spoke next, supported me.  Among these best of American nobles whom I have known I must not forget Robert Purvis of Philadelphia, a man of dignified bearing, though with, I believe, negro blood in his veins, as handsome and aristocratic in appearance as the Irish patriot, Wm. Smith O'Brien, and of as chivalrous a character.  Neither must I forget Edmund Davis, also of Philadelphia, the husband of a daughter of Lucretia Mott.  I had to know a great deal of him, being at one time his agent in London, endeavouring to procure a purchaser for a hundred thousand acres of land in Kentucky, between the Cumberland River and the Tennessee border, near to Cumberland Gap, in the Cumberland Mountains, where some day may be a great central city.  With an artist friend and a young engineer, I went there to report, especially on the coal, and spent a week or more prospecting the land, camping out where we could.  I was led to undertake the agency for Davis from being baulked in a scheme for bringing out an English colony (which I hoped to make a republican nucleus) to Montana,—baulked by the failure of Jay Cooke and consequent deferral of the North Pacific Railroad.

    Frederick Douglas, the coloured orator, a natural orator, I heard once at a meeting in New York.  Several other coloured men, estimable, if not so notable, I have become acquainted with at public meetings and in private; and learned from them to believe in the possibility of their race yet playing a part in the world's history, outgrowing the disqualifications natural or consequent on generations of slavery.  I was once at a coloured ball at Washington, and could observe no difference but that of colour from the balls of society of the best of our middle classes.  I have hope of the race, notwithstanding the judgment of a very gentlemanly and I doubt not competent Southern editor, who assured me that the negro's configuration, even to his bones, is anatomically different from that of the white man, a creature indeed differing so essentially that, if Mr. Darwin's theory be right, he must have proceeded from a very inferior ape.


 
CHAPTER XXVII.


American Poets; Bryant; Stedman; Stoddard; Mrs. Stoddard; Bayard Taylor; Lowell; Longfellow; Whittier; Emerson; Alcott; Whitman; Mrs. Howe; Anthony; Bret Harte; Whipple; Fremont ; Agassiz ; Other Notables; Tilden ; Madame Blavatsky; A. T. Stewart; Cespedes and Cuba; General Butler; Sumner; Anderson; Adams; Page.


    WITH the poets of America I have had very pleasant opportunities.  Bryant was President of the Century Club, the best of clubs in New York or anywhere (though I did not please Sir Richard Temple by saying so when we encountered on our voyage to England), of which I had the honour and gratification of becoming a member almost immediately after my arrival in New York.  Richard Henry Stoddard and Edmund Clarence Stedman, also members of the Century, have been from soon after my arrival in America to this day my valued friends; Stoddard, indeed, a very close, I may say an intimate, friend, with whom I never fail to spend as much as possible of my time whenever I have occasion to visit New York, for meetings of the Century or otherwise.  Stoddard I believe to be the highest poetic genius now living in America, his work always good, always of the very highest character.  His wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Barstow Stoddard, has not written much verse, but what she has written would not be unworthy of her husband, and she is known as a clever novelist.  Their friendship counts among my great gains.  Bayard Taylor I met frequently at the Club.  To Lowell I was introduced at the University Press, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and had pleasant words from him afterwards.  Longfellow, whom I met at the same most excellent of printing offices, then conducted by Welch, Bigelow & Co., took me home with him to his house in Cambridge, and gave me very cordial welcome.  Whittier I met at the Sargents' (Mr. Sargent was the clergyman who first dared to admit Theodore Parker to his pulpit; and he and his wife were the centre of the abolitionists and other liberal people in Boston).  I had a letter from Whittier when for an American anthology (which I was editing with Stoddard) I wrote to him to ask the date of his birth: a letter from him strangely contradicting the generally, I may say the universally, received belief in the date of that day.  He wrote to me:—


"BEAR CAMP RIVER HOUSE,   
"West Ossipee, N. H.   
" 13, 9 mo., 1875.

"MY DEAR SIR:


    "My birthday was the very last of the year 1807.

    "I remember with pleasure meeting thee at the Radical Club meeting at Mr. Sargent's some two or three years ago.

    "I am stopping here for a month at a pleasant old inn among the mountains, in the hope to recruit my health.  The weather is delightful.  We seem both engaged somewhat similarly.  I am making a small collection of English & American Poets of the last 3 centuries.

"Very truly thy friend,

"J. G. WHITTIER.                                           "


    To Emerson I brought an introduction from Dr. Garth Wilkinson.  I was in the back room of the book-store of Messrs. Ticknor & Fields, Boston (who as publishers held much the same position with the American poets as Moxon held with English, and at whose daily lunch one met the best of literary men in Boston), when Emerson came into the store.  Mr. Ticknor asked me—Would I like to see him? "Most certainly; also I had a letter for him."  He came in, read the letter (the introduction which Dr. Wilkinson had given me), shook hands with me, and asked—Was I staying in Boston?  If so, I must come out to Concord next day to dine with him.  I regretted that I could not do so, as I had already an engagement for the morrow, and at Concord.  "With whom?"  I told him with the Austens (Mrs. Austen, a novelist of considerable repute, but lately dead, whom I had met and admired at New York).  "You will dine then with me."  I found my friends next day engaged to take me with them to Emerson's.  He and Mrs. Emerson and their daughter Ellen were all very cordial and attentive.  Emerson showed me his several photographs of Carlyle, and spoke to me of my friends the Scotts, David and William, speaking admiringly of William's poem, the Year of the World, on account of its unwonted truth to Indian thought and theosophy.  He inquired for the author of some paper in Punch, which had interested him; and there was some talk about printers' blunders.  He said they were not always in the wrong.  He had an instance when once he had used the expression, "going up a declivity."  His printer suggested "acclivity."  Said Emerson, "I did not know the word, and I had thought that if I could go down a declivity I could also go up."  His printer, Mr. Bigelow, of the University Press, told me afterwards the same story as an instance of Emerson's receptiveness.  The next time I was in Concord of course I called.  The family were all away.  I offered my card to the Irish servant.  "And what will I be doing with this?" she asked as she looked at it.  I said, "Give it to Mr. Emerson when he comes home!"  "I guess I'll give it to Miss Ellen."  "I dare say that will do," I rejoined.  There was no assumption of style about the Emerson family; they were simply well bred, cultured gentlefolk, not fashionable people.  In his later days Emerson's voice failed him for lecturing, and still later and more entirely his memory of words.  His hesitation for the right word had to be met by guesses.  At Longfellow's grave, having to speak of him, very touching was the failure—"Our dear friend, whose name at this moment I can not recall."  At Concord I saw and spoke with Bronson Alcott, a strange, mystical, gentle old philosopher, very gracious, very wordy, rather incomprehensible.  I have some vague remembrance of having, very early in England, met a tall, slight, gentle dreamer, Charles Lane, a somewhile partner and associate of Alcott.

    Walt Whitman I first saw at his desk in the Treasury at Washington. Afterwards I called on him at his home (his brother's house) in Camden, over the river from Philadelphia. And I had some friendly correspondence and interchange of writings with him. I liked the man much, a fine-natured, good-hearted, big fellow, who must have been handsome in young days (as indeed an early portrait shows him) ; a true poet who could not write poetry, much of wilfulness accounting for his neglect of form, perhaps as fatal a mistake in a poet as in a painter. He was great, and greatly esteemed, as a volunteer nurse with the armies of the North during the war. They say that a regiment once presented arms to him in recognition of his honourable service and benevolent ministrations; and that Lincoln especially pointed him out for his noble work.

    Of many other notabilities, more or less notable, I can only speak as having met them a few times, or it might be only once, without much impress from them.  Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, the best war-lyric of the time of the conflict between North and South, the wife of Dr. Howe, the good physician of the deaf and dumb, I met occasionally in Boston.  Aldrich, poet, I used to meet in Boston at the house of my friend Anthony, a brotherly brother wood-engraver.  At his house, too, I dined once with Bret Harte and with Whipple, the clever essayist.  I spoke with General Fremont once on the floor of the House of Representatives at Washington; Agassiz I heard lecture in New York; Oliver Wendell Holmes I met once at the Century; John Fiske I at times met there, and Clarence King, and Professors Peirce and Pumpelly, and the Rev. Robert Collyer, and many others of equal estimation: among them the most genial of Irishmen, Chief Justice Daly, whom I may call my friend.  Tilden one evening came out with me from Peter Cooper's.  His house in Gramercy Park (next to that now occupied by the Players' Club) was close by, and, though late at night, he took me in to show me certain books in his library.  Madame Blavatsky and the dry-goods millionnaire, A. T. Stewart, I happened once to catch sight of in the studio of Le Clear, who was painting Stewart's portrait.  One sight of Madame was enough, a fat, vulgar-looking woman, not, one could not help thinking, at all likely to be mistaken for a prophetess, no sibyl but a veritable old witch, with nothing venerable about her.  There is a story of a Jew who, putting his son to school, was so particular in his directions that it could not but be remarked that he had said nothing about the lad's religious instruction.  Reminded of it, he replied, "Well, I think a North of Ireland Presbyterian is the man to make most money, bring him up to that."  Stewart was a North of Ireland Presbyterian of that stamp.  When he began business in New York, he had to put up his own shutters at night and carry home his own parcels of goods sold during the day, not even keeping an errand-boy.  When he had his two immense white marble dry-goods stores, whole sale and retail, and his marble palace on Fifth Avenue, it is said that he still coveted the business of small traders in the poorer districts.  He looked the character.  Surely it was a sort of poetic justice that ordered the stealing of his body, so to prevent his burial in the costly cenotaph he had built for himself.  Of good-natured Horace Greeley, the "self-made man who worshiped his Creator," I had only a passing glimpse one day as he rushed out of the Tribune Office to catch a street-car.

    General Ben Butler and the great Massachusetts Senator, Charles Sumner, I saw and spoke with at sundry times.  Cespedes' brave attempt for the freedom of Cuba, for its deliverance from Spain and for the emancipation of the slaves, had a promise of success.  And perhaps had not failed had Grant conceded belligerent rights, as he had promised to Rawlings.  Rawlings dead, the promise was not kept.  This was but a little while after my arrival in America.  I was led to interest myself in the Cuban struggle by Cluseret and another republican friend, Dr. Basora, a physician practising in New York.  Basora was born in one of the West Indian Islands, his father a slaveholder there.  When the father died, he left a large estate; but the son, then a young man, disdained to hold his fellow-men in bondage, and refused his inheritance.  He was active in the Cuban cause.  Strongly sympathising, I gave what help I could by writing for it; and when they wanted an American General, I was asked to see General Butler and get him to name a man good for the purpose.  Butler gave me an introduction to one whom he recommended as a brave and daring and capable man, who had served under him.  I called upon the man in Boston, and found him to be, instead of the expected fierce, grim warrior, a quiet-looking, smooth-faced, gentlemanly man, who "regretted," and seemed sincerely to regret, that he had settled down since the war as a man of peace, begun business as a lawyer, and could not be disturbed again.  Butler, who was very courteous to me and obliging, was a man to remember: not tall but portly, with a magnificent head which, if you were looking down from the gallery to the House of Representatives, at Washington, you would be attracted to, not merely for its baldness, but as the head of certainly a man of intellect and ability.  He had a good face, too, in spite of a curious obliquity in one eye, concerning which a good story is told.  He was cross-examining a witness, and browbeating him.  The culmination of his repeated questions was "Will you look me in the eye and swear to this?"  "In which eye? General!" was the retort.  Butler had bitter enemies, not undeserved if reports be true that he was not only harsh as military governor at New Orleans, but that he was also extortionate, making no scruple of feathering his nest in the conquered city.  Yet there was the praise for him that while he was in command there, New Orleans, owing to his sanatory strictness, was free from yellow fever.  Sumner, a large, handsome man, with courteous manner, I had also to see on some Cuban business, and was very graciously received.  His home in Washington was like a museum, full of statuettes and rare engravings.

    So many artists were members of the Century Club that I soon had a wide artistic acquaintance.  A closer brotherhood among artists appears to me to obtain in New York than in London; and the generous feeling was liberally extended to myself.  I helped in founding the Society of Painters in Watercolour in New York; was admitted as an Associate of the National Academy of Design, and in due time was elected a full member.  It might seem invidious to name individuals among those whom I knew when first here, twenty-seven years ago, many since dead, and those of to-day whom I may still call friends, but I may signalise two of the gone, because men of my own profession as engravers, and both men of mark,—Anderson and Adams.

    Alexander Anderson, born in 1775, is worthy of notice as the first engraver in wood in the United States of America.  His father being a copper-plate printer, the boy became acquainted with Hogarth's and other prints, and soon had an ambition to try his own hand.  He was only twelve years old when he got a silversmith to roll out some copper cents; then he himself made a graver of the back spring of a pocket-knife, and so started as an amateur engraver in copper.  After a while, a blacksmith made some tools for him, and he began to engrave in relief little cuts of ships, houses, and the like, for newspaper advertisements, becoming known for such work and earning money by it.  His father, however, having little faith in the business, placed him with a physician, and, at the age of twenty, he was licensed to practise on his own account, and for three years did practise with considerable distinction.  In 1798 the yellow fever was in New York, and Anderson's wife and infant son, his father and mother, his brother, and some other kin-folk, fell victims to it.  With no heart left for an active life, he retired into the quiet seclusion of an engraver's work, which, indeed, he had never entirely abandoned.  The early delight became his solace, his sole occupation, and, industriously followed, both in incised work and relief, in copper and type-metal, and afterwards in wood, gave him a living and reputation.  In 1802 he undertook the reproduction of Bewick's Quadrupeds, three hundred cuts for an American edition.  They were admirable copies, only reversed.  Other engravings by him, most of them copies from English work, are of equal fidelity, though he had no genius in design and even as an engraver was hardly to be called great.  The esteem of his contemporaries was shown by his election as an honorary member of the National Academy of Design in New York, in 1843.  I visited him at Williamsburg in 1867, soon after my first coming to America, and found him a hale old man of ninety-two, with his graver in his hand, pleasing himself with being still at work.  I believe he was "at work" to within a few days of his death, on the 17th of January, 1870, in the ninety-fifth year of his age.

     Joseph Alexander Adams, born in 1803, came to meet me at a supper given to me on occasion of my arrival in New York at the end of 1866, by the Society of Wood Engravers.  I had the pleasure of meeting him occasionally afterwards, and also had correspondence with him, enabling me to give account of his life and works in my History of Wood Engraving in America, published by Estes & Lauriat, Boston, in 1882.  I had also from him the friendly gift of a number of his best proofs now safely preserved in the Museum of Fine Arts at Boston, Mass.  Self-taught in engraving like Anderson, he was likewise a careful art-student, sufficiently accomplished to be elected an Associate of the National Academy of Design, though when I there inquired concerning him I could learn nothing of him.  Having withdrawn from Art, his name had somehow been dropped from the Academical list.  I recollect seeing his work even during my own apprenticeship.  He was in England in 1831, and already could show work which might fairly compare with the best of a similar character of our great engraver, John Thompson.  Here in America he was most known for sixteen hundred engravings from drawings by J. G. Chapman, in Harper's Bible (1843), which, however, are nearly all the work of his pupils.  The profits of that book gave him means for travel and a competence for life.  He spent nearly eight years in Europe, and returning home, gave up Art and applied himself to scientific pursuits.  Adams' most excellent hand-press is of his invention.

    One other name, that of William Page, sometime President of the National Academy of Design, must yet be chronicled, not only because of the esteem in which his memory is held by his fellow-artists and my own admiration of the painter's art, in which he was singularly great, but also out of love of the man for his rich and generous nature.  I had the happiness of being very much in his company and in very close friendship with him, and I regretted his death as I would that of a very dear elder brother.


 
CHAPTER XXVIII.


Late Years; British Museum; Austin Dobson; Excursions; Paris and Oxford; B. F. Stevens; Closing Words.


    IN very latest years, during several visits to England, I had the satisfaction of adding new friends to the friends of old time still living.  Among the old were my oldest friend, W. B. Scott, who during my last visit was sick at Penkill Castle in Ayrshire; my good old physician and friend, Dr. Philip Brown, still in practice at Blaydon but residing near by, at Wylam on Tyne; my three Brantwood helpers on the English Republic, all holding affectionately to me; my old pupil, Walter Crane; other old pupils, and several of my fellow-engravers, who retained their old regard, notably two who sat beside me in days of apprenticeship.  I may call an old friend Dr. George Bullen, the genial and ever courteous keeper of the Printed Books at the British Museum, as I had reason to know him in very early days when I was a reader at the Library; but in later visits had to know more of him, and to be more and more indebted to him for his unstinted help.  For such help also I had to be indebted to Dr. Garnett, who on Dr. Bullen's retirement took his place in the Museum.  As principals there I can but speak prominently of them; but the same friendly help was rendered me through many years by Mr. Reid, keeper of the Prints, and afterwards by Professor Colvin, who succeeded him; and indeed by every one connected with the Museum, Library, and Print Room during the years in which I was engaged in researches for The Masters of Wood Engraving, or for a collection of English Verse (published in five volumes by Messrs. Scribner of New York), for which my friend, R. H. Stoddard, wrote the Introductions in each volume.  The English Verse brought me into some correspondence, for leave to publish in England, with Browning, Swinburne, Buchanan, and other English poets.  Buchanan I met once at the Century in New York.  Arthur J. Munby I met at Scott's, before Scott left Chelsea for Ayrshire, and I had the pleasure of meeting him several times beside.  I had the pleasure, too, of friendly intercourse with Austin Dobson, whose charming verse and prose reflect the cheerful, genial nature of the man.  Here I can not resist the temptation to insert some lines by him, written on the fly-leaf of his Thomas Bewick and his Pupils, which he sent to me in 1884, dedicating the book to me as "Engraver and Poet, the steadfast apostle of Bewick's white line":


"Not white thy graver's path alone;
 May the sweet Muse with whitest stone
 Mark all thy days to come, and still
 Delay thee on Parnassus Hill.

"AUSTIN DOBSON."


    The white line refers of course to the peculiar method of engraving followed by Bewick and his best pupils, Clennell and Nesbit, and which, my life through, I have sought to maintain as the only artistic method of engraving in wood.

    I was in England at the end of 1867, and went to Paris to the Exposition; again in England in 1872-3; again in the latter part of 1882, during 1883 and the first half of 1884, and again at the close of 1887, through the whole of 1888 and 1889, and to the end of May, 1890.  During these last two visits I made several excursions, twice for a few days' stay with my friend W. J. Hennessy, the American painter, at St. Germain, near Paris, and during my last visit twice for a few days with W. B. Scott, in Ayrshire; once to my Brantwood printer at Cheltenham; once to my good old Dr. Brown at Wylam; once to Earl Spencer's library at Althorp, near Northampton; twice to Oxford, for the first time with my friend Arthur Bullen, the able editor of Elizabethan Lyrics, the son of Dr. Bullen of the Museum, the second as the guest of Mr. C. J. Firth, each time having the opportunity of seeing the old halls, more than once dining in hall.  "See Venice and die!" says the proverb, and an Englishman should not die without some acquaintance with the venerable beauty of Oxford.

    Coming to England in 1882, I brought an introduction from Mrs. Page, the wife of the painter, to her two Vermont brothers, Henry Stevens, the Bible bibliographer, and Benjamin Franklin Stevens, the Despatch Agent of the United States in London.  By both (Mr. Henry is since dead) I was most friendlily received.  More than ordinary friendliness I had from Mr. B. F. Stevens when I again came to England in October, 1887.  For some months I was his guest at his home in Surbiton, and to his wise counsel and generous help I owe the being able to produce and bring out the work for which I had been for many years preparing material, and which resumes all I would care to say on my own art,—The Masters of Wood Engraving.  Probably it is for this book that the neighbouring (in New Haven) University of Yale has honoured me by conferring on me the degree of Master of Arts.

    During twenty-seven years, since I first came to America, I have had constant experience of kindly regard for me as an Englishman, not merely on personal grounds, and rejoicingly I seem to perceive everywhere a growing attachment to the Old Country, which I believe to be heartily reciprocated.  I close these recollections, not at all written as an autobiography, with the hope that I may not be without some influence, however small, in promoting this good feeling between the two peoples, whose good understanding and close alliance is of so much importance to the world's welfare and progress.  I would fain hope that I have not failed to do what little lay in my power as a man's duty toward the land I have so long lived in, though loyalty to the place of my birth has forbidden my becoming an American citizen.  In young days I believed that an Englishman was bound to help not only toward the freedom and welfare of his own country, but toward the freedom and welfare of the world.  I have not lost that belief, nor given up my faith that republicanism has yet to be the universal rule, the republicanism not merely of a mere unkingliness or of democratic and anarchical self-seeking, but the only true republicanism of a generous recognition of equality of rights and the fraternal exercise of religious duty.

HAMDEN BY NEW HAVEN, CONN., U. S. A.
Feb. 20, 1894.

 



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