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[2183]

Joanna Baillie.—Howitts.—Smith.

I have mentioned with satisfaction seeing some persons who illustrated the past dynasty in the progress of thought here: Wordsworth, Dr. Chalmers, De Quincey, Andrew Combe. With a still higher pleasure, because to one of my own sex, whom I have honored almost above any, I went to pay my court to Joanna Baillie. I found on her brow, not, indeed, a coronal of gold, but a serenity and strength undimmed and unbroken by the weight of more than fourscore years, or by the scanty appreciation which her thoughts have received. We found her in her little calm retreat, at Hampstead, surrounded by marks of love and reverence from distinguished and excellent friends. Near her was the sister, older than herself, yet still sprightly and full of active kindness, whose character and their mutual relations she has, in one of her last poems, indicated with such a happy mixture of sagacity, humor, and tender pathos, and with so absolute a truth of outline.

Mary and William Howitt are the main support of the People's Journal. I saw them several times at their cheerful and elegant home. In Mary Howitt, I found the same engaging traits of character we are led to expect from her books for children. At their house, I became acquainted with Dr. Southwood Smith, the wellknown philanthropist. He is at present engaged in the construction of good tenements, calculated to improve the condition of the working people.

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