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Chapter 14:

To Mr. Elisha Ticknor.

Edinburgh, February 11, 1819.
I have received your letter, dearest father, to-day. It was very unexpected, but I have not been altogether overcome. Cogswell will tell you so. I do not think anybody has willingly deceived me, certainly the last persons in the world to have done it would have been either you, my dear, my only parent, or dear Eliza, or Savage. You were all deceived by your hopes, and if this prevented you from preparing me for the great calamity with which God is now afflicting us all, it is certainly not for me to complain that the blow has fallen so heavily. . . . . Cogswell will tell you I have been very calm, considering how small my fears were. . . .

I pray God to reconcile me altogether to his will. I have endeavored to do what seemed to me right and best,. . . . and even if I had embarked at Lisbon, where I received the first news that made me think her constitution had received a considerable shock, I should have arrived too late. . . . I see, dearest father, with what Christian resignation and firmness you meet the dreadful shock, and I pray continually that I may be enabled to follow your example. . . .

I cannot now make any plan, or think of my situation and circumstances coolly enough to be sure of myself, but of this you may be certain, that I will do nothing unadvisedly, and nothing that any of us will regret hereafter. Think of me, then, as trusting in Heaven, . . . . as supported by Cogswell's unwearied kindness, and as willing to make any sacrifice to attain the objects that are still attainable. If I could but see you one hour, the half of this bitterness would be removed; but it cannot be, and I submit.


To Mr. Elisha Ticknor.

Edinburgh, February 15, 1819.
It is only five days since I wrote you, my very dear father, but it seems a much longer time. Such sad hours, occupied only with cruel regrets, move but slowly. . . . . I had been in Edinburgh but one day when your letter arrived. Of course I had seen nobody, and had done nothing, and in the five days that have passed since, I have not had the spirit to go out of the house. I remembered, however, all your injunctions to go on, and accomplish the purposes for which I came to Europe, and as there remains really very little to do, I do not think but I shall accomplish it. It consists chiefly in seeing many different persons, learning their opinions, modifying my own, and, in general, collecting that sort of undefined and indefinite feeling, respecting books and authors, which exists in Europe as a kind of unwritten tradition, and never cones to us, because nobody ever takes the pains to collect it systematically, though it is often the electric principle that gives life to the dead mass of inefficient knowledge, and vigor and spirit to inquiry. Besides this, I desire to learn something of Scottish literature and literary history, and pick up my library in this department and in English. It is not a great deal; if it were, I might shrink from it.

I began this morning, recollecting that the longer I suffer myself to defer it, the longer I must be kept from you. The first person I went to see was Mrs. Grant. . . . . I had not yet seen her, but when she knew why I did not call, she sent me a note which touched me very deeply . . . The hour I passed with her was very pleasant to me.

Afterwards I called on Dr. Anderson, ‘the good old Doctor Anderson,’ as the ‘Quarterly Review’ calls him, and as everybody must think him to be who has seen him even once. He is the person, perhaps, of all now alive, who best knows English literary history, to say nothing of Scotch, which was, as it were, born with him. He received me with all the kindness I had been taught to expect from him, and to-morrow morning I am to breakfast with him and explain to him all I want to do and learn here, and get what information he can give me. He is a kind of literary patriarch, almost seventy years old, and I certainly could not have put myself into better hands. You see, my dear father, that I have already begun to do what you desired, and I shall go on until it is finished. In five weeks, I think nothing will remain to be done in Edinburgh, and then I shall go, by the way [275] of Oxford, to London, finish what I have to do there, and embark in the first good ship. . . . . Farewell.


The following passage was added to the Journal in the succeeding September:—

On the night of the 10th of February I reached Edinburgh. I entered no capital of Europe with a lighter heart and more confident expectations of enjoyment. .. . . . And yet it was there I was destined to meet the severest suffering my life had yet known. On the 11th I received letters announcing the death of my mother on the 31st of December. . . . The first anguish of the reflection that I was not with her was almost more than I could bear. It seemed to me that I had done wrong in going to Europe at all; and even now, that I write this, many months after the bitterness of the first suffering has gone by, it is a thought I cannot entirely drive from my mind. . . . . But all is in the hands of Him who has thus taken what was dearest to me in life, and who seems peculiarly to have reserved to Himself the consolation of sorrows which He alone can inflict; so that we may sometimes, at least, feel with persuading sensibility how entirely we are dependent upon Him.

To Mr. Elisha Ticknor.

Edinburgh, March 1, 1819.
Since I wrote you last, my dear father, I have not done much. I know not well what is the matter with me, but I have a kind of torpor and inefficiency in my faculties, which makes me pass my time here to very little purpose. This is by no means from the want of effort, for I do not think I ever made greater exertions in my life. I have been to see nearly, or quite, everybody that would have interested me, if I were in the proper state of mind to be interested.

In the main point I am likely to succeed well enough. I mean the literature peculiar to the country. I have received all the kindness and assistance possible in this, from the four persons in Edinburgh best qualified to give them, Walter Scott, Mr. Jamieson, Dr. Anderson, and Mr. Thomson. Mr. Jamieson comes to me every morning, and we have read Scotch poetry together, from the earliest times down to our own day, until it has become as easy to me as English. But I wish him to continue a week longer, for in every literature there are many things to be learnt besides the words and the language, [276] which can never be learnt but on the spot, because they are never preserved but as a kind of tradition, especially in cases like this, where the literature has not yet been fully elaborated and criticised. This, indeed, is the great advantage of the society of men of letters in Europe: it saves an immense amount of time; for a question, addressed to one who has thoroughly studied a subject you are just beginning to investigate, often produces an answer that is better than a volume, and perhaps serves as a successful explanation to half a dozen. There is a good deal of this society in Edinburgh, certainly, but not so much as I expected to find, or else I am not in a situation to understand or enjoy it. I know, however, all the principal persons who compose it, and meet them frequently, but there seems to be a great difficulty about it, or rather a great defect in it. When a number of persons are met together, as at a dinner, the conversation is rarely general; one person makes a speech, and then another, and finally it stops, nobody knows why, but certainly there is a kind of vis inertioe in it, which makes its tendency rather to stop than to go on. It is necessary, therefore, to take each person singly, and then, if you insist upon talking with him, it is most probable he will talk very well. I know of but two exceptions to this remark, and they are Prof. Playfair and Walter Scott, who under all circumstances must be delightful men.

To his sister

. . . . I build a great many castles in my head, and have many a waking and sleeping vision about a home, but all must remain uncertain and unsettled till we meet. For myself, the desire that prevails over all others is, that of returning the little I can, of the great debt my infancy and childhood, and indeed my whole life, has incurred to you and to our dear father. How this may best be done must be determined by yourselves, and my life will easily accommodate itself to it, as you are now its chief objects and highest duties.


March, 1819.—Edinburgh is certainly one of the beautiful cities of Europe. It is situated on the declivity of a hill ending with the bold rock on which the Castle stands, or, rather, is there broken by a bold ravine which divides the old town from the new. . . . . It is hardly necessary to be nice in the selection of particular points about Edinburgh. It is all beautiful, and it is enough to get upon a height [277] or a steeple, anywhere, and you are sure to be rewarded with a rich and various prospect. . . .

The society here is certainly excellent. . . . . In open-heartedness I imagine it is almost unrivalled, and what that virtue is, how completely it will cover a multitude of deficiencies and defects, one who has long been a stranger and obliged to make many strangers his friends, can alone know. It is a great thing, too, to have so much influence granted to talent as there is in Edinburgh, for it breaks down the artificial distinctions of society, and makes its terms easy to all who ought to enter it, and have any right to be there. And it is a still greater thing to have this talent come familiarly into the fashion of the times, sustained by that knowledge which must give it a prevalent authority, and at once receive and impart a polish and a tone which give a charm to each alike, and without which neither can become what it ought to be to itself or the world. This, I think, is the secret of the fascination of society at Edinburgh. . . .

I did not, of course, seek general society at Edinburgh; still, I knew a good many persons, most, indeed, whom I was desirous to know before I went there. . . . To Count Flahault's I went often. He is a Frenchman, an elegant man, bred in England and with English habits and feelings; and now married to a daughter of Lord Keith, a woman of a great deal of spirit, talent, and culture, who was the most intimate of the personal friends of the Princess Charlotte, and had more influence over her than almost anybody else. Her health was not good, and so they were always at home, and had more or less informal society every evening. Among the persons who came there, besides Lord Belhaven and Lord Elcho,—two of the most respectable young noblemen in Scotland,—were Cranston, the first lawyer there; Clerk, Thomson, and Murray, three more of their distinguished advocates; Sir Thomas Trowbridge, the same good-natured, gentlemanly man I had known at Rome; and Jeffrey, who, both here and in his own house and in all society, was a much more domestic, quiet sort of person than we found him in America.

There was a young lady staying there, too, who drew a great deal of company to the house, Miss McLane, the most beautiful lady in Scotland, and one, indeed, whose beauty has wrought more wonders than almost anybody's since the time of Helen; for she has actually been followed by the mob in the street, until she was obliged to take refuge in a shop from their mere admiration, and gave up going to the theatre because the pit twice rose up, and, taking off their hats to show it was done in respect, called upon her to come to the front [278] of the box where she sat, and stand up, that they might see her. For myself, I could not find her so very remarkable, though still I would not appeal from a decision like this, which is like the decision of a nation. She had a fine face, certainly, an open, radiant kind of beauty, an exquisite complexion, brilliant black eyes and hair, and a very graceful figure and manner. Her conversation, too, was light and pleasant and unaffected, and, what was most of all to her credit, though she had a perfect consciousness of her own beauty, which she took no pains to conceal, it was mingled with no conceit. It was like an historical fact to her. . . . . She had half the titles in Scotland at her feet. . . . .

I went quite as often to Mrs. Grant's, where an American, I imagine, finds himself at home more easily than anywhere else in Edinburgh. She is an old lady of such great good-nature and such strong good-sense, mingled with a natural talent, plain knowledge, and good taste, derived from English reading alone, that when she chooses to be pleasant she can be so to a high degree. Age and sorrow have fallen pretty heavily upon her. She is about seventy, and has lost several of her children, but still she is interested in what is going forward in the world, tells a great number of amusing stories about the past generation, and gives striking sketches of Highland manners and feelings, of which she is herself an interesting representative1 . . . . . Not a great deal of society came to her house, and what there was did not much interest me. I met there Owen of Lanark, who talked me out of all patience with his localities and universalities; Wilson, of ‘The Isle of Palms,’ a pretending young man, but with a great deal of talent2; Hogg, the poet, vulgar as his name, and a perpetual contradiction, in his conversation, to the exquisite delicacy of his Kilmeny. . . . . [279]

Mrs. Fletcher is the most powerful lady in conversation in Edinburgh, and has a Whig coterie of her own, as Mrs. Grant has a Tory one. She is the lady in Edinburgh by way of eminence, and her conversation is more sought than that of anybody there.3 I have heard Sir James Mackintosh and Brougham speak of it with enthusiasm, and regret that she does not live in London, where they might hear her every day. She is, indeed, an extraordinary person. She converses with fluency, and with an energy and confidence that would seem masculine, if she did not yield so gently and gracefully, and did not seem to seek always to become a listener; and she has an elegance and finish in the construction of her sentences which is uncommon even in practised speakers, and which I have hardly found in a lady before; and yet it is apparent it is done without effort. . . . . One of her daughters, Mrs. Taylor, is one of the sweetest, most beautiful, and most interesting creatures I ever beheld. Another, Miss Fletcher, will, I think, be as remarkable as her mother. This was, therefore, a delightful house to visit, and during the latter part of the time I was in Edinburgh I went there often.

Playfair is a most interesting man of seventy. I would rather be like him, in general temper, manners, and disposition, than like anybody of that age I know. To say nothing of the amount of his culture and the elegance of his mind, which does not seem to grow dim with age,. . . . he has a childlike simplicity of manner, a modesty which will bring a blush on his cheek like that of a boy of fifteen, and an open enthusiasm for all good knowledge, as great as if he were beginning life instead of closing it. . . . . I passed two or three afternoons with him. His conversation was always without effort or pretension, and yet full of knowledge, elegant, and producing a charming effect. I think he came nearer to my notion of the character of Mr. H., as Mackenzie has drawn the better parts of it, than anybody I ever met.

I breakfasted with Mackenzie one morning at Lady Cumming's. He is now old, but a thin, active, lively little gentleman, talking fast and well upon all common subjects, and without the smallest indication of the ‘Man of Feeling’ about him. . . . . While we were at breakfast Lord Elgin came in, a man about fifty, and as fat, round, stupid-looking a man as can well be found. The little he said justified what his appearance promised. . . . . There were other persons whom I knew and to whose houses I went,—Colonel Ellice and [280] the Earl of Wemyss among the fashionable people, and among the men of letters, Pillans, the schoolmaster,—‘the good old Dr. Anderson,’ as Southey calls him in the ‘Quarterly’; Jeffrey, who was everywhere, in all parties, dances, and routs, and yet found time for his great business, and was, on the whole, rather pleasant in his own house; Dr. Brown, Stewart's successor, an acute man, but foolishly affecting a dapper sort of elegance, and writing poetry just above thread-paper verses;4 Thomson, an elegant gentleman and scholar; and Morehead, at whose house I twice saw Dr. Alison, a dignified, mild, and gentlemanly man. Dugald Stewart was in Devonshire for his health, both mental and bodily; and, after him, I have but one person to mention, and him I must mention separately. I mean Walter Scott.

He is, indeed, the lord of the ascendant now in Edinburgh, and well deserves to be, for I look upon him to be quite as remarkable in intercourse and conversation, as he is in any of his writings, even in his novels. He is now about forty-eight, fully six feet high, stout and well made, except in his feet, stoops a little, and besides that his hairs are pretty gray, he carries in his countenance the marks of coming age and infirmity, which, I am told, have increased rapidly in the last two years. His countenance, when at rest, is dull and almost heavy, and even when in common conversation expresses only a high degree of good-nature; but when he is excited, and especially when he is repeating poetry that he likes, his whole expression is changed, and his features kindle into a brightness of which there were no traces before. His talent was developed late. Clerk, the advocate, told me that Scott hardly wrote poetry in his youth, and, in fact, could not easily do it, for, as they had early been schoolfellows, he knew this circumstance well; and even when he was past two-and-twenty, and they were going over to Fife one day in a boat together, and tried a long time to make some verses, Scott finally gave up in despair, saying, ‘Well, it is clear you and I were never made for poets.’ [281]

He lives in a style of considerable elegance in the city5 . . . . . Sophia Scott is a remarkable girl, about eighteen or nineteen, with great simplicity and naturalness of manners, not a remarkable degree of talent, and yet full of enthusiasm; with tact in everything, a lover of old ballads, a Jacobite; and, in short, in all respects, such a daughter as Scott ought to have and ought to be proud of. And he is proud of her, as I saw again and again when he could not conceal it.

One evening, after dinner, he told her to take her harp and play five or six ballads he mentioned to her, as a specimen of the different ages of Scottish music. I hardly ever heard anything of the kind that moved me so much. And yet, I imagine, many sing better; but I never saw such an air and manner, such spirit and feeling, such decision and power. . . . . I was so much excited, that I turned round to Mr. Scott and said to him, probably with great emphasis, ‘I never heard anything so fine’; and he, seeing how involuntarily I had said it, caught me by the hand, and replied, very earnestly, ‘Everybody says so, sir,’ but added in an instant, blushing a little, ‘but I must not be too vain of her.’

I was struck, too, with another little trait in her character and his, that exhibited itself the same evening. Lady Hume asked her to play Rob Roy, an old ballad. A good many persons were present, and she felt a little embarrassed by the recollection of how much her father's name had been mentioned in connection with this strange Highlander's; but, as upon all occasions, she took the most direct means to settle her difficulties;. . . . she ran across the room to her father, and, blushing pretty deeply, whispered to him. ‘Yes, my dear,’ he said, loud enough to be heard, ‘play it, to be sure, if you are asked, and Waverley and the Antiquary, too, if there be any such ballads.’6

One afternoon, after I had become more acquainted with them, he asked me to come and dine, and afterwards go to the theatre and hear Rob Roy,—a very good piece made out of his novel, and then playing in Edinburgh with remarkable success. It was a great treat, for he took his whole family, and now saw it himself for the first time. He did not attempt to conceal his delight during the whole performance, and when it was over, said to me, ‘That's fine, sir; I think that is very fine’; and then looked up at me with one of his [282] most comical Scotch expressions of face, half-way between cunning and humor, and added, ‘All I wish is, that Jedediah Cleishbotham could be here to enjoy it!’

I met him in court one morning, when he was not occupied, and he proposed to take a walk with me. He carried me round and showed me the houses of Ferguson, Blair, Hume, Smith, Robertson, Black, and several others, telling, at the same time, amusing anecdotes of these men, and bringing out a story for almost every lane and close we passed; explained and defended more at large the opinion he has advanced in ‘Guy Mannering,’ that the days of these men were the golden days of Edinburgh, and that we live in the decline of society there. I am not certain we do not; but I was never less disposed to acknowledge it than at that moment.

Among other anecdotes, Mr. Scott told me7 that he once travelled with Tom Campbell in a stage-coach alone, and that, to beguile the time, they talked of poetry and began to repeat some. At last Scott asked Campbell for something of his own, and he said there was one thing he had written but never printed, that was full of ‘drums and trumpets and blunderbusses and thunder,’ and he did n't know if there was anything good in it. And then he repeated ‘Hohenlinden.’ Scott listened with the greatest interest, and when he had finished, broke out, ‘But, do you know, that's devilish fine; why, it's the finest thing you ever wrote, and it must be printed!’

On Monday, March 15, early in the morning, I left Edinburgh. I was not alone, for Cogswell came with me, and we had a pleasant drive of six or seven hours down into the Border country, and finally stopped at Kelso, a pleasant town on the beautiful banks of the Tweed. We went immediately to see the ruins of the old abbey. . . . .

March 16.—Two miles farther on [beyond Melrose] is the magician's own house,—Scott's, I mean, or the ‘sherrie's,’ as the postilion called him, because he is sheriff of the county,—as odd-looking a thing as can well be seen, neither house nor castle, ancient nor modern, nor an imitation of either, but a complete nondescript.8 The situation is not very good, though on the bank of the Tweed and opposite the entrance of the Gala, for it is under a hill and has little [283] prospect; but there is a kindness and hospitality there which are better than anything else, and make everything else forgotten. We had come down on an invitation to pass as much time with him as we could, and were received with the simple good-nature and good spirits which I have constantly found in his house. Mrs. Scott was not there, nor either of the sons. . . . The establishment, therefore, consisted of Mr. Scott, his two girls, Sophia and Anne, and Mr. Skeene, to whom he has dedicated one of the cantos of ‘Marmion.’

Mr. Scott himself was more amusing here than I had found him even in town. He seemed, like Antaeus, to feel that he touched a kindred earth, and to quicken into new life by its influences. The Border country is indeed the natural home of his talent, and it is when walking with him over his own hills and through his own valleys,. . . . and in the bosom and affections of his own family, that he is all you can imagine or desire him to be. His house itself is a kind of collection of fragments of history; architectural ornaments,—copies from Melrose in one part, the old identical gate of the Tolbooth, or rather the stone part of it, through which the Porteous mob forced its way, in another,—an old fountain before the house, and odd inscriptions and statues everywhere, make such a kind of irregular, poetical habitation as ought to belong to him. Then for every big stone on his estate, as well as for all the great points of the country about, he has a tradition or a ballad, which he repeats with an enthusiasm that kindles his face to an animation that forms a singular contrast to the quiet in which it usually rests.

Sophia shares and enjoys these local feelings and attachments, and can tell as many Border stories as her father, and repeat perhaps as many ballads, and certainly more Jacobite songs. She is, indeed, in some respects, an extraordinary person. There is nothing romantic about her, for she is as perfectly right-minded as I ever saw one so young; and, indeed, perhaps right-mindedness is the prevailing feature in her character. She has no uncommon talent, and yet I am sure he must have little taste or feeling who could find her conversation dull; she is not beautiful, though after seeing her several times in company with those handsomer than herself, I found my eye at last rested with most pleasure on the playful simplicity and natural openness of her countenance. . . . . Anne is younger, no less natural, and perhaps has more talent, and is generally thought prettier; but nobody, I think, places her in competition with her sister. . . . .

Nobody came to Abbotsford while we stayed there, and of course we had a happy time. The breakfast-hour was nine, and after that [284] we all walked out together and heard any number of amusing stories, for Mr. Scott has a story for everything; and so we continued walking about and visiting till nearly dinner-time, at half past 4. As soon as we were seated the piper struck up a pibroch before the windows, dressed in his full Highland costume, and one of the best-looking and most vain, self-sufficient dogs I ever saw; and he continued walking about, and playing on his bagpipes until the dessert arrived, when he was called in, received his dram, and was dismissed. Mr. Scott likes to sit at table and talk, and therefore dinner, or rather the latter part of it, was long. Coffee followed, and then in a neighboring large room the piper was heard again, and we all went in and danced Scotch reels till we were tired. An hour's conversation afterwards brought us to ten o'clock and supper; and two very short and gay hours at the supper-table, or by the fire, brought us to bedtime.

I delighted to talk with these original creatures about themselves and one another, for they do it with simplicity, and often make curious remarks. Mr. Scott gave me an odd account of the education of his whole family. His great object has always been, not to over-educate, and to follow the natural indications of character, rather than to form other traits. The strongest instance is his son Walter, a young man with little talent; ‘and so,’ said Mr. Scott, ‘I gave him as much schooling as I thought would do him good, and taught him to ride well, and shoot well, and tell the truth; and I think now that he will make a good soldier, and serve his country well, instead of a poor scholar or advocate, doing no good to himself or anybody else.’ Sophia, however, did not seem to be quite well satisfied with her father's system of education in some respects. ‘He's always just telling us our faults,’ said she, with her little Scotch accent and idiom, ‘but never takes such very serious pains to have us mend. I think sometimes he would like to have us different from other girls and boys, even though it should be by having us worse.’. . . .

But the visit that began so happily, and continued for two days so brightly, had a sad close. During the second night Mr. Scott was seized with violent spasms in his stomach, which could be controlled neither by laudanum nor bleeding. A surgeon was sent for, who continued with him all night,. . . . and the next morning the family was filled with the most cruel apprehensions, for though he has been subject to such attacks, none had come on with such violence. We therefore abruptly ended our visit a day sooner than we intended, and crossed to the main road at Selkirk, where I had a very sad parting from Cogswell [285]

March 18. . . . . Early the next morning I set off for Keswick, and in about twelve miles found myself already in the broken mountainous country that prepares an approach to the lakes. . . . . My drive, though through a country so interesting, had been sad, for I have now little that will cheer me when I am left in solitude, and I know not when I have been more deserted by all decent courage, than I was at the moment I entered Mr. Southey's door. The kindness of his reception gave me the first glad feeling I had had, from the time I left Cogswell at Selkirk.

Mr. Southey introduced me to Mrs. Coleridge, a good respectable-looking lady of five-and-forty, her daughter,9 a sweet creature of uncommon beauty and gentleness, not quite sixteen, and his own family of daughters, the eldest of whom, Edith, has some of his own peculiar rapidity of mind, and Isabella, the fourth, only six years old, who has a bewitching mischievous beauty, which came from I know not where. After dinner he carried me into his study, and spread out a quantity of his literary projects before me,—his ‘Life of Wesley,’ which is in the press, his ‘Brazil,’ to be finished in a month, his ‘Spanish War,’ to which he has prefixed an interesting preface on the moral state of England, France, and Spain, between 1789 and 1808; and, finally, a poem on the War of Philip,— not him of Macedon, but our own particular Philip, recorded by Hubbard and Church,—and as this is more interesting to an American than any other of the works, it is the one I most carefully followed, as he read me all he has written of it.10 He has, however, finished only six hundred of the six thousand lines that are to compose it, rhymed, and in various measure, but not so elaborately irregular as the versification of ‘Kehama,’ though the same principle is adopted of addressing the metre to the ear rather than to the eye. . . . . We sat up very late, and talked a great deal upon all sorts of subjects, especially America, Spain, and Portugal, for these, and particularly the last, are his favorite topics and studies.

The next morning he carried me to see the principal beauties of the neighborhood, and, among other things, the point where Gray stood when he enjoyed the prospect described in one of his letters, and the [286] island in the lake, from which our Franklin, who was then staying at the house of a gentleman here, made his first experiment of pouring oil on troubled waters. .. . . . Southey was pleasant during the walk and still more so at dinner and in the evening, talking with great rapidity; for the quickness of his mind expresses itself in the fluency of his utterance, and yet he is ready upon almost any subject that can be proposed to him, from the extent of his knowledge. In the evening he opened to me more great bundles of manuscript materials, his ‘History of Portugal,’ the work on which he thinks he can most safely rest his claims with posterity, his ‘History of the Portuguese East Indies,’ a necessary appendix and consequence of it, etc., etc.; in short, as he himself said, more than the whole amount of all he has published. He is certainly an extraordinary man, one of those whose character I find it difficult to comprehend, because I hardly know how such elements can be brought together, such rapidity of mind with such patient labor and wearisome exactness, so mild a disposition with so much nervous excitability, and a poetical talent so elevated with such an immense mass of minute, dull learning. He considers himself completely an author by profession, and therefore, as he told me, never writes anything which will not sell, in the hours he regularly devotes to labor. For this reason, his poetry has been strictly his amusement, and therefore, as he is forbidden early rising by his physician, he has taken the time before breakfast for his Muse,—which cannot be above half an hour or an hour,—and has not allowed himself any other. When I add that his light reading after supper is now in the fifty-three folios of the ‘Acta Sanctorum,’ I have given to myself an idea of industry such as I never saw but in Germany before.

After all, however, my recollections of Southey rest rather on his domestic life and his character as a man, for here he seems to me to be truly excellent. . . . . His family now consists of Mrs. Lovell; Mrs. Coleridge and her beautiful daughter, who is full of genius, and to whom he has given an education that enables her, in defiance of an alarming degree of modesty, to speak of Virgil, Cervantes, and Dante as familiar acquaintance; and his own excellent wife,11 with six fine children, who are half his occupation and more than half his pride and delight, all living in affection and harmony together, and all supported by the exercise of his talents, in a gentlemanlike establishment, where, besides an ample library, he has the comforts and a great many [287] of the luxuries of life. I have seen few men who I thought better fulfilled the character Heaven destined to them than Southey. . . . .

March 21.—An extremely pleasant drive of sixteen miles. . . . brought me to Wordsworth's door, on a little elevation, commanding a view of Rydal water. . . . . It is claimed to be the most beautiful spot and the finest prospect in the lake country, and, even if there be finer, it would be an ungrateful thing to remember them here, where, if anywhere, the eye and the heart ought to be satisfied. Wordsworth knew from Southey that I was coming, and therefore met me at the door and received me heartily. He is about fifty three or four, with a tall, ample, well-proportioned frame, a grave and tranquil manner, a Roman cast of appearance, and Roman dignity and simplicity. He presented me to his wife, a good, very plain woman, who seems to regard him with reverence and affection, and to his sister, not much younger than himself, with a good deal of spirit and, I should think, more than common talent and knowledge. I was at home with them at once, and we went out like friends together to scramble up the mountains, and enjoy the prospects and scenery. . . . . We returned to dinner, which was very simple, for, though he has an office under the government and a patrimony besides, yet each is inconsiderable. . . . .

His conversation surprised me by being so different from all I had anticipated. It was exceedingly simple, strictly confined to subjects he understood familiarly, and more marked by plain good-sense than by anything else. When, however, he came upon poetry and reviews, he was the Khan of Tartary again, and talked as metaphysically and extravagantly as ever Coleridge wrote; but, excepting this, it was really a consolation to hear him. It was best of all, though, to see how he is loved and respected in his family and neighborhood. . . . . The peasantry treated him with marked respect, the children took off their hats to him, and a poor widow in the neighborhood sent to him to come and talk to her son, who had been behaving ill. . . . .

In the evening he showed me his manuscripts, the longest a kind of poetical history of his life, which, in the course of about two octavo volumes of manuscript, he has brought to his twenty-eighth year, and of which the ‘Excursion’ is a fragment. It is in blank-verse, and, as far as I read, what has been published is a fair specimen of what remains in manuscript. He read me ‘Peter Bell, the Potter,’ a long tale, with many beauties but much greater defects; and another similar story, ‘The Waggoner.’. . . . The whole amused me a good deal; it was a specimen of the lake life, doctrines, and manners, more perfect than I had found at Southey's, and, as such, was very curious. [288] We sat up, therefore, late, and talked a great deal about the living poets. Of Scott he spoke with much respect as a man, and of his works with judicious and sufficient praise. For Campbell he did not seem to have so much regard; and for Lord Byron none at all, since,. though he admired his talent, he seemed to have a deep-rooted abhorrence of his character, and besides, I thought, felt a little bitterness against him for having taken something of his own lakish manner lately, and, what is worse, borrowed some of his thoughts. On the whole, however, he seemed fairly disposed to do justice to his contemporaries and rivals. . . . . In the morning early I recommenced my journey. . .

March 23.—At Birmingham I took a post-chaise and went on, and slept at Hatton,—old Dr. Parr's. This was another pleasant literary visit. The old gentleman received me with kindness, and recognized me at once. I had a letter to him, but it was not necessary, as he remembered me. Since I saw him, age has laid a heavy hand upon him, and he has bent under it. . . . . His mind, however, seems to have remained untouched. He is still as zealous as ever; dogmatizes in politics with all his former passion, and gives himself up, perhaps, rather more to his prejudices, which cling closer to his character, as the moss clings closer to the rock, until at last it seems to identify itself with it. He talked a great deal of the literary establishments in Great Britain; seemed to despise Edinburgh, where, he said, you would not get so much knowledge at a lecture as you would in the same time at an English gentleman's dinner-table; preferred Oxford to Cambridge, though he is a Cantabrigian; spoke with galling contempt of Monk; and, in short, seemed disposed to spare very little that came in his way.

His politics were even more outrageous. He still praised Bonaparte, and entered into a defence of General Jackson and his Indian warfare in Florida, and seemed equally discontented with the Ministry and the Opposition, at home. Yet there is evidently not a real bitterness in his feelings. He differs from most persons, even among his friends, but the reason is chiefly that he has lived so little in the world as hardly to be a part of it, and if he has any relationships, they are to an age that for us has gone by, of which he seems a rude but an imposing relic. . . . . Setting his learning aside,—where he still stands alone among English scholars,—there are two traits in his character which would redeem greater faults; I mean his kindness, and the prevalent sense of religion, which seems always to be upon him, even when he is talking in his angriest moods. I felt both when [289] I left him, and he said, ‘I wish you would stay some days with me. We should have a great deal of good talk together; but if you ever come into this country again, I claim a week from you. But I am old, very old; I shall probably be gathered to the great company of the dead, and, I trust, to a better company in heaven; so that all I may give you now is the blessing of an old man, who wishes you well with all his heart.’

To Mr. Elisha Ticknor.

London, April 3, 1819.
It is about a week, I think, since I wrote to you, my dear father, from Oxford. I passed only two days at the great university, for it is now important to me, above everything else, to be in London to make my purchases of English books, and finish all I have to do in Europe; and if I have any time left, I can stop at Oxford again on my way to Liverpool. . . . .

I am very busy, not with study,—for I have not pretended to study a word regularly since I left Scotland,—but in making all my last preparations for quitting Europe. Nobody can know how many last things are to be done at the finishing a great work that has continued four years, except one who has passed through it. I have two booksellers employed, and am all the time running about myself, and I think in a fortnight I shall have everything of this sort done; and, though it is a pretty close calculation, think I shall arrive in Liverpool on the first of May. If it be possible to get a good ship for Boston, I should much prefer it, but rather than wait I would embark in one of the regular New York packets, that are the finest vessels in the world. . . . . Six weeks, I learn, is the shortest time I can hope for, and I suppose fifty days is what we are to calculate upon. I mention all these facts, my dear father, that you may not make to yourselves a disappointment by expecting me too soon. . . . . This is among the last letters that I shall write to you. I count the days before I shall embark, and shall soon count the hours.



While I was in London this time, I saw a good deal of Sir James Mackintosh, who spent a part of the winter at Lord Holland's, the house I most frequented. In consequence of this, Sir James was kind enough to invite me to visit him at Haileybury, where he [290] has a comfortable and somewhat ample establishment, near the East India College, of which he is, as everybody knows, a professor. He is agreeable everywhere, but more so at home, I suspect, than anywhere else.

It was a small party in honor of the wedding of Sismondi, who had, a few days earlier, married a sister of Lady Mackintosh, Miss Allen, a cultivated lady, who, with her two sisters, I had seen often at Rome, and whom I felt that I already knew pretty well. Sismondi, too, I had known at Paris, in the society of the De Broglies and De Staels, during the preceding winter. To these were added Lord John Russell, and Malthus, who is attached to the same college with Sir James. It was, therefore, a party well calculated to call out each other's faculties and to interest a stranger. Lord John was more amusing than I had known him in London or at Woburn. Sismondi, with his newborn gallantry, very gracious but not very graceful, undoubtedly did his best, for he was brought into direct contact with Malthus, from whose doctrines he had differed in his own treatise on the same subject, recently published; while Sir James, who delights in the stir and excitement of intellectual discussion, seemed to amuse himself by beating round on all sides, now answering Lord John with a story of the last century, now repeating poetry to Mrs. Sismondi, and now troubling the discussion of the eminent political economists with his ponderous knowledge of history, statistics, and government, in short, the subjects on which all three were most familiar and oftenest differed. Malthus is, what anybody might anticipate, a plain man, with plain manners, apparently troubled by few prejudices, and not much by the irritability of authorship, but still talking occasionally with earnestness. In general, however, I thought he needed opposition, but he rose to the occasion, whatever it might be.

But Sir James led in everything, and seemed more interested and more agreeable than I had seen him in London society. I suppose that, on the whole, I have never met with an Englishman whose conversation was more richly nourished with knowledge, at once elegant and profound, if I ever met with one who was his equal. What is best in modern letters and culture seems to have passed through his mind and given a peculiar raciness to what he says. His allusions to his reading are almost as abundant as Scott's, and, if they are not poured out so rapidly or with such wasteful carelessness, it is, perhaps, because he has an extraordinary grace in his manner of introducing them, and a sort of skilful finish in all he says.

Malthus, living in the neighborhood, went home at the end of the [291] evening; but the rest of us sat up late to listen to Sir James, who talked under excitement, to Lord John and Sismondi, of the time of Warren Hastings' trial, and of his acquaintance afterward with Burke, including his visit to Beaconsfield, with great interest and animation. Even after I went to bed these great names, with those of Windham and Sheridan, rang in my ears for a long time, and kept me awake till the daylight broke through my windows. The next morning I returned to London, taking in my post-chaise Mr. Sismondi, whom I saw more of in the following days, going with him, among other places, to Lord Holland's, where he enjoyed the society very much. . . . .

One show that I took some pains to see in London was, to be sure, very different from the others, but still very curious. Mr. Washington Irving and I went together to see the damning of a play called ‘The Italians,’12 which had been acted two nights, amidst such an uproar that it was impossible to determine whether the piece were accepted or not; and so it was now brought forward, avowedly for final adjudication. The house was filled; though, as a riot had been foreseen, few ladies were there. Before the curtain rose, Stephen Kemble, the manager,—a very respectable looking old man, with the marks of infirmity strong upon him,—came forward, but was received with such shouting and hooting by the pit, who thought the play ought to have been withdrawn, that he was not heard for a long time. At last his venerable appearance and humble manner seemed to have softened the hard hearts of the mob a little; and, after many bows, he was allowed, though not without several indecent interruptions, to read a short address, promising, if the play was condemned, that it should be immediately withdrawn, though still begging a fair hearing. Of the last there seemed to be some doubt.

The curtain rose and the actors began, but they were received with indignant cries and showers of orange-peels. They persisted, however, and the house grew quieter. The pit, indeed, seemed disposed to come to a compromise, and wait till the conclusion before it should enter into the exercise of its rights of condemnation. Still, it was apparent that the piece was already judged and sentenced, for every time that an actor said anything that could be forced to a bad sense, the audience took advantage of it. If he groaned, they groaned with comical dolorousness; if he complained, they complained most pertinaciously with him; and the words ‘'T is shameful,’ ‘'T is villanous,’ [292] were echoed several minutes by most of the pit, standing on the benches and swinging their hats, and crying out as loud as their voices would permit. In this way, perhaps about one third of what was spoken might have been heard during the three first acts; the rest passed only in dumb show, drowned in the universal uproar.

At the end of the third act the half-prices came in, as usual. They had not heard the address, and knew nothing of the tacit compact between the pit and the manager; or, if they did, they cared nothing about it. The moment the curtain rose for the fourth act, cries of ‘Off! Off!’ prevailed over all others, and half the time the body of the pit was jumping on the benches, and making an uproar that was almost sufficient to burst the ears of those in the boxes. The actors hurried on, skipped apparently half their parts, since not a syllable could be heard, and finally concluded in pantomime. When it was finished, the uproar, which I thought before as intense as it could be, seemed to be doubled. Several persons came forward to speak, but could not be heard. Hunt, who sat two boxes from us, collected a little audience and declaimed a few moments, but to very little purpose, for those more than ten feet from him were only spectators of his furious manner; and all parts of the house seemed about breaking forth into an outrageous riot. The only way anybody's opinion could be known was by placards, and many had come provided with them, and hoisted them on their canes or umbrellas. Some were, ‘Damn the Italians,’ ‘Are not three times enough, Mr. Manager?’ Others were in favor of the play; and one, alluding to Kean's steady opposition to it and bad behavior after its reception, was, ‘Will the justice of an English public permit a deserving author to be condemned, without a hearing, by a blackguard actor and his vulgar pot companions?’. . .

At length the venerable old manager appeared. He made a dozen of his humblest bows, but in vain. He stretched out his hand, as if beseeching to be heard, and was answered only by louder and more vulgar outcries,. . . . and he was obliged to go off without having pronounced an audible word, after standing before his inexorable masters in that awkward and degrading situation above a quarter of an hour. He was followed by a burst of indignation that made the house almost tremble. An instant afterwards the curtain rose and a blackboard was discovered, on which was written in chalk, ‘‘The Italians’ is withdrawn.’ A shout of exultation, that deserved to be called savage, succeeded, and the pit relapsed into a kind of hollow calm that ill concealed a busy brooding that lurked beneath. The party that had been defeated was determined not to yield. [293]

[The afterpiece was reduced to pantomime by tumult and orange-peels], and at midnight we still left the audience shouting, quarrelling, and tearing up the benches, all which, the newspapers the following day informed us, was continued some time, and was finally broken up by throwing pails of water from the gallery into the pit. . . . .

As we had passed so much of the evening with the mob, we thought we would finish the remainder of it with them, and went from the theatre to the Lord Mayor's ball. There were, I suppose, about three or four thousand people there; but, excepting Mr. Irving, with whom I went to see the show, and my bookseller, there was not a face I had ever seen before. The whole was a complete justification of all the satires and caricatures we have ever had upon city finery and vulgarity. At the head of one of the great halls, on a platform raised a couple of feet above the rest of the room, sat the Lord Mayor, dressed in full gala, and the Lady Mayoress, dressed in a hooped petticoat, a high headdress, long waist, and a profusion of jewelry. They were surrounded by what, under other circumstances, might have seemed a court, but now looked more like the candle-snuffers and scene-shifters on the stage. . . . They were fenced off from the rabble, and sat there merely for exhibition. And, in truth, the spectators were worthy of the show they came to witness. They were but a mob of well-dressed people, collected in fine rooms, crowding for places to dance,. . . . and gazing on the furniture in a manner that showed they had rarely or never seen such before, and almost fighting for the poor refreshments, as if they were half starved; and yet with that genuine air of city complacency which felt assured there was nothing in the world, either so elegant as the apartments, or so great as the Lord Mayor, or so well-bred as themselves. . . . .

I found Hazlitt living in Milton's house, the very one where he dictated his ‘Paradise Lost,’ and occupying the room where, tradition says, he kept the organ on which he loved to play. I should rather say Hazlitt sat in it, for, excepting his table, three chairs, and an old picture, this enormous room was empty and unoccupied. It was whitewashed, and all over the walls he had written in pencil short scraps of brilliant thoughts and phrases, half-lines of poetry, references, etc., in the nature of a commonplace-book. His conversation was much of the same kind, generally in short sentences, quick and pointed, dealing much in allusions, and relying a good deal on them for success; as, when he said, with apparent satisfaction, that Curran was [294] the Homer of blackguards, and afterwards, when the political state of the world came up, said of the Emperor Alexander, that ‘he is the Sir Charles Grandsons of Europe.’ On the whole, he was more amusing than interesting, and his nervous manner shows that this must be his character. He is now nearly forty, and, when quite young, lived several years in America, chiefly in Virginia, but a little while at our Dorchester. . . .

Godwin is as far removed from everything feverish and exciting as if his head had never been filled with anything but geometry. He is now about sixty-five, stout, well-built, and unbroken by age, with a cool, dogged manner, exactly opposite to everything I had imagined of the author of ‘St. Leon’ and ‘Caleb Williams.’ He lives on Snowhill, just about where Evelina's vulgar relations lived. His family is supported partly by the labors of his own pen and partly by those of his wife's, but chiefly by the profits of a shop for children's books, which she keeps and manages to considerable advantage. She is a spirited, active woman, who controls the house, I suspect, pretty well; and when I looked at Godwin, and saw with what cool obstinacy he adhered to everything he had once assumed, and what a cold selfishness lay at the bottom of his character, I felt a satisfaction in the thought that he had a wife who must sometimes give a start to his blood and a stir to his nervous system.

The true way, however, to see these people was to meet them all together, as I did once at dinner at Godwin's, and once at a convocation, or ‘Saturday Night Club,’ at Hunt's, where they felt themselves bound to show off and produce an effect; for then Lamb's gentle humor, Hunt's passion, and Curran's volubility, Hazlitt's sharpness and point, and Godwin's great head full of cold brains, all coming into contact and conflict, and agreeing in nothing but their common hatred of everything that has been more successful than their own works, made one of the most curious and amusing olla podrida I ever met.

The contrast between these persons. . . . and the class I was at the same time in the habit of meeting at Sir Joseph Banks' on Sunday evening, at Gifford's, at Murray's Literary Exchange, and especially at Lord Holland's, was striking enough. As Burke said of vice, that it lost half its evil by losing all its grossness, literary rivalship here seemed to lose all its evil by the gentle and cultivated spirit that prevailed over it, and gave it its own hue and coloring. The society at Lord Holland's, however, was quite different from what it had been in January. Then he lived in St. James' Square, in town, and had almost none but men of letters about him. . . . . Now he lived at his [295] old baronial establishment, Holland House, two miles from London. Parliament was in full session and activity, and the chief members of the Opposition, especially Lord Grey and Earl Spencer, were much there. . . .There was more of fashion and politics than when I went there before, and I had two very interesting dinners with them, one when only Brougham and Sismondi were present. . . . . The very house has a classical value. . . . . Lord Holland told me, that in the gallery, which he has converted into a library, Addison, according to tradition, used to compose his papers, walking up and down its whole length, with a bottle of wine at each end, under whose influence he wrote, as Horace Walpole says. . . . Lord Grey is a consummate gentleman, and, besides being the leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords, is a good scholar. With all this, he is the affectionate father of thirteen children There are few men I have known that are more loved than he is; but in his general character, as he appears in mixed society, he is more a politician than anything else. . . . .

I13 had much known in Madrid Sir Henry Wellesley, ambassador there, and afterwards, as Lord Cowley, ambassador at Paris. He gave me important letters of introduction, and wrote besides to London, desiring me to be presented to his venerable mother. One morning, therefore, the Dowager Marchioness of Downshire took me, with her two charming, cultivated daughters, to make the visit. Lady Mornington was a person of a decided, dignified manner, not much infirm for her age, and with the air of a person accustomed to deference from her kinsfolk, however elevated, as well as from other people. She received me kindly, and we talked, as a matter of course, about Madrid, Sir Henry and Lady Wellesley, Lord Marcus Hill, and other persons there whom she knew; as well as of some, like the Tatistcheffs, the Duc de Montmorency, etc., of whom she had only heard. My English was without accent, and, as I was presented at the request of her son, she took me to be an Englishman. The Downshires, however, knowing me only as an American, began, after a few moments, to talk about America by way of making conversation. But we had not got far before old Lady Mornington broke in upon us: ‘By the way, talking of America, there are more letters come from Mary Bagot;14 and she says it is worse and [296] worse there; that the more parties she gives the more she may; that she never saw such unreasonable, ill-bred people as those Americans,’ etc., etc. It was not easy to stop her. But the embarrassment was soon apparent. Lady Downshire, who was a little formal, became very stiff and red, and her daughters, the Ladies Hill, who were very frolicsome, found it hard to stifle their laughter with their handkerchiefs. At last Lady Mornington herself perceived the difficulty, and feeling that it was too late to correct the mistake, she looked all round with a remarkably large and expressive pair of eyes, and simply said,

‘Ah, I see how it is, we will talk of something else.’ We did not, however, stop long, although the old lady did not permit the conversation to be broken up or interrupted; but when we were fairly in the carriage again, to make some other calls, we had a good laugh.

Mr. Ticknor used to describe the following incident as occurring at the same period.

After dining one day at Lord Downshire's he accompanied the ladies to Almack's. On this evening Lady Jersey was the patroness. She was then at the height of beauty and brilliant talent, a leader in society, and with decided political opinions.

Before going to the ball Lady Downshire called at Lady Mornington's, and Mr. Ticknor went in with her and her daughters. While they were there, the Duke of Wellington came in; and, being asked if he was going to Almack's, said ‘he thought he should look in by and by.’

A rule had lately been announced by the patronesses that no one would be received later than eleven o'clock. When the Downshires thought it time to go, the Duke said he would join them there later, on which his mother said to him, ‘Ah, Arthur, you had better go in season, for you know Lady Jersey will make no allowance for you.’ He remained, however.

A short time after the Downshire party had entered the ballroom, and had been received by Lady Jersey, Mr. Ticknor was still standing with her, and heard one of the attendants say to her, ‘Lady Jersey, the Duke of Wellington is at the door and desires to be admitted.’ ‘What o'clock is it?’ she asked. ‘Seven minutes after eleven, your ladyship.’ She paused a moment, and then said, with emphasis and distinctness, ‘Give [297] my compliments,—give Lady Jersey's compliments to the Duke of Wellington, and say she is very glad that the first enforcement of the rule of exclusion is such, that hereafter no one can complain of its application. He cannot be admitted.’


The fashionable part of my life in London was so laboriously dull in itself that I will not describe it. . . . . But there was one place where I went several times, which was so unlike the others that it should not be mentioned with them,—I mean Mr. Wilberforce's. He lives at Kensington. . . . Everything in his house seemed to speak of quiet and peace. . . . . He is about sixty years old, small, and altogether an ordinary man in his personal appearance. His voice has a whine in it, and his conversation is broken and desultory. In general, he talks most and is most attentive to those who talk most to him,. . . . for his benevolence has so long been his governing principle, that he lends his ear mechanically to all who address him. Yet now and then he starts a subject of conversation, and pursues it with earnestness, quotes Horace and Virgil, and almost rattles with a gay good-humor and vivacity, which strongly and uniformly mark his character. But, in general, he leaves himself much in the hands of those about him, or, if he attempts to direct the conversation, it is only by making inquiries to gratify his curiosity. . . . .

In general, the persons I met at Mr. Wilberforce's were pleasant people; and Sismondi, whom I carried there one evening, was as much delighted as I was, so that I do not think I was deceived by my prejudices or carried away by the mere quiet of a house, which seemed to me a kind of refuge from the wearisome gayety of the town. . . . . . I always came away with regret, because I felt that I had been in the midst of influences which ought to have made me better.

I felt no such regret, however, when at last, on the 26th April, I left London. As I bade Mr. Williams farewell,15 whose kindness had followed me all over Europe, and turned from his door, I was assured that my face was now finally set to go home. . . . . My journey to Liverpool was as rapid as I could make it,. . . . and I arrived there on the morning of the 28th. . . . . I desired to see nobody but Mr. Roscoe, and with him I had the pleasure of passing an evening, and finally [298] met him at dinner the last day I spent in Europe. His circumstances have changed entirely since I passed a day with him at Allerton, on my first arrival from America, four years ago. He now lives in a small house, simply and even sparely, but I was delighted to find that poverty had not chilled the warmth of his affections, or diminished his interest in the world and the studies that formerly occupied him. He spoke of his misfortunes incidentally, of the loss of his library, with a blush which was only of regret; but still he was employed in historical and critical researches, and talked of a new edition of his ‘Lorenzo,’ in which he should reply to what Sismondi has said of him in his ‘History of the Republics of Italy.’. . . .

Mr. Ticknor's voyage home in a ‘regular New York packet’ was prosperous and smooth, occupying but thirty-seven days. It was rendered cheerful and pleasant by the company of William C. Preston, of South Carolina, ‘an admirable fellow, of splendid talent and most eloquent, winning conversation,’ whom he had already seen at Edinburgh, where Preston was a great favorite with Mrs. Grant; and that of Wickham, of Richmond, Virginia, son of the great lawyer,16 ‘a young man of fine manners and an unalterable sweetness of temper.’ These young men, with Professor Griscom, ‘a Quaker chemist of New York, an excellent old gentleman with no small knowledge of the world,’ bivouacked on the deck around the sofa of ‘Mrs. B., of New York, a beautiful young creature of talent and culture,’ and all these five, having known each other before, kept themselves apart from the other passengers, and passed the days in reading, talking, and laughing.

As they neared the land the wind was unfavorable, and the captain relieved Mr. Ticknor's impatience by putting him on board a pilot-boat off Gay's Head, by which he was taken, in six or seven hours, to New Bedford. By this unpremeditated ‘change of base’ he landed on his native shores without money, of which a supply would have met him in New York; but his eagerness to be at home made this of no consequence, and he liked to describe his mode of meeting the difficulty and the kindness it called forth. Going to the best hotel in the town, [299] he asked the landlord who was the richest man in New Bedford, and being told it was Mr. William Rotch, he went immediately to him and stated his case. Mr. Rotch, without hesitation, lent him the money he asked; and, thus provided, he hired a chaise, in which he started at about ten in the evening, drove all through the warm summer night, under a full moon, and reached his father's house at seven in the morning, on the 6th of June.

1 Extract from a letter of Mrs. Grant to a friend in America, dated June 24, 1819: ‘The American character has been much raised among our literary people here, by a constellation of persons of brilliant talents and polished manners, by whom we were dazzled and delighted last winter. A Mr. Preston of Virginia [South Carolina] and his friend from Carolina, whose name I cannot spell, for it is French [Hugh S. Legare], Mr. Ticknor, and Mr. Cogswell were the most distinguished representatives of your new world. A handsome and high-bred Mr. Ralston, from Philadelphia, whose mind seemed equal to his other attractions, left also a very favorable impression of transatlantic accomplishments. These were all very agreeable persons, Mr. Ticknor pre-eminently so, and I can assure you ample justice was done to their merits here.’—Memoirs of Mrs. Anne Grant, of Laggan.

2 John Wilson, ‘Christopher North,’ whose chief acknowledged production at this time was the ‘Isle of Palms,’ a poem.

3 An interesting autobiography of Mrs. Fletcher, with selections from her letters, etc., has been published by her family.

4 Dr. Brown sometimes in his lectures introduced passages of poetry, which he recited so beautifully that the students applauded, and this vexed him, because they did not equally applaud the lecture. In telling this, Mr. Ticknor would add, as another instance of students' whims, that, when Germany was impoverished by the wars with Napoleon, if a professor at Jena appeared in his lecture-room with a new waistcoat, the students applauded him; and the old professor at Gottingen, who spoke of this, on being asked by Mr. Ticknor what occurred if a new coat made its appearance, exclaimed, ‘Gott bewahre! such a thing never happened!’

5 Whatever passages, in the account of his intercourse with Scott, have been omitted, contain facts made familiar by Lockhart's ‘Life of Scott,’ or statements afterwards withdrawn by Mr. Ticknor in a note.

6 The authorship of the novels was not yet acknowledged, of course, though generally believed.

7 This anecdote was dictated by Mr. Ticknor in later years.

8 It was still a cottage in dimensions, very different from the later erection.

9 Afterwards Mrs. Henry Nelson Coleridge.

10Oliver Newman’ was left unfinished. Mr. Southey promised Mr. Ticknor the autograph manuscript of this poem when it should have been published, and this promise was remembered and redeemed, after the poet's death, by his children. Mr. Ticknor had a pleasant correspondence with him for some years, and some of the letters from Southey appear in his Memoirs.

11 Mr. Ticknor did not see Mrs. Southey, her infant son, whose cradle was in his father's library at this time, being only three weeks old.

12 ‘The Italians; or, The Fatal Accusation,’ a tragedy by Mr. Bucke.

13 This anecdote was written out later by Mr. Ticknor, and added to the Journal.

14 Lady Mary, wife of Sir Charles Bagot, then Minister at Washington, a granddaughter of Lady Mornington.

15 Mr. Samuel Williams, a banker in London, and a member of a well-known Boston family.

16 See ante, p. 33.

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