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Chapter 16:

The motives and causes which led Mr. Ticknor to decide on a third visit to Europe have been set forth, as well as the nature of the work he did during the thirteen months it covered. The marriage of his younger daughter to Mr. William Sohier Dexter, which took place in May, 1856, preceded his departure by a few weeks, and he sailed on the 18th of June, accompanied by Mrs. Ticknor, with their eldest daughter and a niece. The facilities for every mode of travelling had been improving with extraordinary rapidity in the twenty years since his last visit, and these introduced novelty and comfort, beyond his expectations, into this journey. The steamer voyage shortened the miseries of the sea, which, for the first time, Mr. Ticknor escaped in great measure; and at Liverpool, before they left the deck of the steamer, letters of welcome and invitations were placed in his hands, casting a most delightful atmosphere of genial feeling over the arrival.

This warm greeting was multiplied and continued wherever they went; the hands of old friends and new were extended to receive them at every point. In London a charming house in Knightsbridge was placed at their disposal—with servants and all appliances—in the absence of its owners, Mr.Twisleton and Mrs. Edward Twisleton,1 and from thence Mr. Ticknor wrote as follows:— [322]

To W. H. Prescott.

London, July 17, 1856.
my dear William,—You have heard, I dare say, of our safe arrival, and perhaps something more; for though I have had time to write only one letter,—it was to William Dexter,—enough has been written by the party to tell all that anybody can desire to know about us.

When the cars stopped, the first thing I saw was Lady Lyells charming face on the platform, to welcome us, and during the eighteen days that have followed since, we have had nothing but kindness and hospitality. Our old friends, adding to them those with whom I have had intercourse without personally knowing them, have filled up our whole time. Five invitations were waiting for us when we arrived.2 Lord Stanhope came the next morning, immediately after breakfast, and I gave him your letter.3 Stirling came in the afternoon, and so it has gone on ever since. After to-morrow I have declined all invitations, and begin to make my arrangements for Brussels, for which we shall set out as soon as we can get ready.

Your friends here are generally well, and remember you with sincere and affectionate interest, asking constantly whether you will not come again soon, to which I always answer in such a way as to put the burthen upon Susan, who, I suppose, will bear it contentedly rather than lose you. I delivered all your letters; most of them, however, I could not find time to deliver until after I had filled up my days with engagements, which we did in about four or five days after our arrival. . . . . The Ellesmeres, the Laboucheres,4 and Ford have been very kind, and invited us to dine, but we could not accept. I dined at the Duke of Argyll's, with a very brilliant party, and we talked much of you; but Anna was in Kent, on a visit to the Mild [323] mays and Stanhopes, where I was very glad to have her go for refreshment for a few days, and so missed this pleasure. . . . .

Macaulay is the lion. He has been asked to meet us seven times, so that it has got to be a sort of joke. But he is very agreeable, not in perfectly good health, and not, I imagine, talking so much for effect as he used to, or claiming so large a portion of the table's attention; but well enough to be out a great deal in the evenings, and with fresh spirits. I dined with him and Lord John, at Richmond at Lord Lansdowne's, and at the Duke of Argyll's. The rest were breakfasts, at Lord Stanhope's, Milman's, Van De Weyer's, etc., and at his own house. He lives in a beautiful villa, with a rich, large, and brilliant lawn behind it, keeps a carriage, and—as he told us—keeps four men-servants, including his coachman, and lives altogether in elegant style for a man of letters. . . . .

We live, you know, in Twisleton's house. It is a very nice one, with four or five thousand volumes of first-rate books, in rich, full binding, scattered through its three principal rooms. It looks on Hyde Park in front, and has a series of gardens behind, so that few houses are more pleasantly situated. It is, too, filled with an abundance of rich furniture à l'anglaise. The Lewises——Sir George and Lady Theresa5—are near neighbors, and have been most abundant in kindness. We have breakfasted, lunched, and dined with them, the last being last evening, when we had Lord and Lady Clarendon, Lord Harrowby, Lord John Russell, Frederick Peel; and a most charming, cheerful, free time we made of it till near midnight. I talked a good deal with Lord Clarendon and Lord Harrowby, as well as with Cardwell and Sir George, about America,—three of them being of the Ministry,—and found, as I have uniformly found, a great desire to keep at peace with us. . . . . Thackeray has been to see us a good deal, but he is very poorly, and has troubles that may wear him out . . . . . Kenyon, too, is very ill with asthma, at the Isle of Wight, where he has taken a beautiful place, and on finding himself a little better asked us to come and see him for as long as we could stay. But it is not possible, or we should certainly go. Colonel Harcourt asked us, also, to the Isle of Wight, and at one moment I thought we might combine the two; but I must not be too late on the Continent, or my plans will be all spoiled. Stirling invites us to Keir, when we come back, and I shall try to go if I can. A dinner at his house in town was as recherche as anything that has happened to me of the sort; and his house, filled with curious [324] books, old silver, and objets d'art, is quite marvellous,—nearly all collected, he says, since you were here.

The breakfasts are very formidable. They have become dinners in disguise. . . . . But they are agreeable. Old Lord Lansdowne says he enjoys them more than any other form of society, and I have met him at them twice. Indeed, he goes out a great deal, and entertains as much as ever; large parties in Berkeley Square, and small ones at Richmond. He seems to me more amiable and agreeable than ever, and enjoys a green old age, surrounded with the respect of all, even of those most opposed to him in politics. I have met him as often as anybody, except Macaulay, and am to meet him again to-day.

To-morrow is our last day for society. We breakfast with the Milmans', lunch at Evelyn Denison's,6—who has become a man of much political consequence, and lives in a grand house on Carleton Terrace, —and we dine at Mr. T. Baring's. I am glad it is the last day. I never stood the exigencies of London society well, and I am so old that I am quite done up with the work now. And yet this is nothing to what they do themselves.

Lord Clarendon, yesterday, gave me the account of his mode of life for the last three years, including the war with Russia and the Conferences at Paris . . . . ‘But,’ I said, ‘do you never give yourself a holiday?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘I gave myself one holiday at Paris, and went to a great discussion and showy occasion at the Institute, but the next time I do it I will take chloroform.’ . . . . He has great spirits, and laughed and frolicked in the gayest manner, but looks much worn and very thin. On my telling him that I thought he would do better if he were to take his hardest work in the morning, when he is refreshed by sleep, he admitted it, but added, ‘I can get more out of myself, under this nervous, unnatural excitement, than I can in a more regular life; and if it does wear me out sooner, that is no matter, the work must be done.’ . . . .

But it is one o'clock at night, and I am imitating the great man in my small way without thinking of it. I will therefore stop, only adding my love to Susan and Elizabeth and all about you. . . . . Yours always,

G. T.

To Hon. E. Everett.

London, July 18, 1856.
my dear Everett,—Thank you for your agreeable note of the 2d inst. I am very glad to hear such good news of the Library, and [325] that Mr. Greenough is in your Board. I think you will find him a very efficient person. Things go on equally well here. Many books, as you are aware, have been despatched from Paris, and a considerable number will be sent by the steamer that takes this. Others will follow . . . .

Thus far my time has been much consumed by society, a good deal more than I intended it should be. But it has been inevitable, and after to-day we have refused all invitations, and I go seriously to work to finish the arrangements for the Library, and begin my preparations for the Continent, for which I hope to be off in a week.

I delivered your letter to Mr. Macaulay, and he has been extremely kind. I breakfasted with him at once, in his beautiful villa, meeting Panizzi, Senior, Van De Weyer, Lord Lansdowne, and three or four more; and I have met him five or six times since. . . . . So you see he is still the lion he was when you were here. But he is not, from what I hear, so exigeant in conversation. At any rate he is very agreeable, and people had rather listen to him than talk themselves. Like everybody else, I have been astonished at the resources of his memory. They are all but fabulous. He wants to know when you are coming again; and spoke to me of you, as have Lord Lansdowne, Lord Palmerston, Lord Clarendon, and all your old friends, with great interest, some with great affection.

I have seen most of the members of the government, and talked with them about our American affairs. They certainly show no desire to get into a quarrel with us. But John Bull is no doubt dissatisfied, and doubtful of the future. He thinks we are ill disposed towards him, that there is no use in making more concessions, and that, as we are growing stronger and more formidable, it is as well to meet the trial soon, as later. Those in power, however, seem to me to wish to put it off as long as they can.

7 . . . .

To Hon. Edward Everett.

Brussels, July 30, 1856.
. . . . I began this letter at its date, at Brussels, but I was much crowded with work then, and now I finish it at Bonn.8 . . . . Welcker is here still fresh and active, and remembering you with great kindness. I find Brandes too, but nobody else surviving of the old time; [326] Niebuhr, Schlegel, and the rest are all gone. ‘Old, Master Shallow, old,’ I feel it. I felt it, too, in London, though the survivors there were numerous, and fresh acquaintance were added, in no small proportion, to the old. . . .

I saw your friend, Sir Henry Holland, and breakfasted with him. I need not tell you that he is coming to make you a visit, but you may be glad to know that he is unchanged, and as active as ever. He says he intends to go and see Mr. Buchanan. I hope he will. It may do good to have the relations they stood in maintained, if Buchanan becomes President, as I suppose he will . . . .

We have, as you will infer from what I have said, rather than from any details I have given, been very busy since I saw you last. Indeed, it seems incredible, that we have been absent from home only seven weeks, and yet have come so far, and done so much. London life seems to me to have become more oppressive than it ever was. The breakfasts, that used to be modest reunions of half a dozen, with a dish or two of cold meat, are now dinners in disguise, for fourteen to sixteen persons, with three or four courses of hot meats. Once we had wine. The lunches are much the same, with puddings, etc., added, and several sorts of wine; and the dinners begin at a quarter to half past 8, and last till near eleven. Twice, spiced wines were handed round with the meats, which I never saw before, and did not find nearly so savory as my neighbors did. Everything, in short, announced—even in the same houses—an advance of luxury, which can bode no good to any people. But the tide cannot be resisted.

I am not sure whether I told you, in my note from London, that I found Hallam much broken in strength, and with dangerous troubles. He was, however, very bright, and talked as fast as ever. He went to the country two or three days after we reached London, to stay with his daughter, who, as I heard, makes his declining years very happy. He inquired most kindly after you, and desired to be remembered to you. I think he felt it to be very doubtful whether he shall see me next spring, if I then go to England again. Certainly I did as I parted from him, and he said, ‘I am very old,’ and his eye spoke more than his words.

I am writing now just as we set off. Addio. Write me how the Presidential canvass goes on, and what is the prospect of things generally.

In a letter to Mr. George T. Curtis, written two weeks later, Mr. Ticknor tells the following anecdote:— [327]

The day but one before we left London, we accepted an invitation given in an uncommonly kind manner two days earlier, to dine at Lord Clarendon's. . . . . Just before dinner was announced, Lord Clarendon came up to me and said, with rather a peculiar manner, that attracted my attention at once, ‘Here is a gentleman who wishes to be introduced to you. He has been a good deal in the United States, and knows all about you, but has never seen you; and yet he is a pretty notorious man,—it is Mr. Crampton,’—and then he burst into a very hearty laugh, for which he is somewhat famous, and was joined by Sir Charles Wood, and one or two people near us, who enjoyed the joke to the full.9 I found Mr. Crampton very agreeable, and immediately noticed his great resemblance to his father, as I knew Sir Philip in 1835. ‘Yes,’ said a person to whom I mentioned it, ‘they still look so much alike that we call them the twins.’ . . . . The Ministry were, no doubt, partly responsible for the mistakes about the enlistment last summer,—more, perhaps, than they can well admit. They were too much engrossed by the Russian war, and the worrying arrangements for the peace before the negotiations began, to be able to give the American difficulty the degree of attention it needed. So I think Crampton will get a place and be contented with it.

To Mrs. William S. Dexter.

Heidelberg, August 8, 1856.
Dearest Lizzie,—I hardly know what I can write to you, your mother and Anna have written so much, except to renew to you expressions of my affection, which you feel as sure of without their repetition as with it. But I must write something; it is a want I feel to have intercourse with you. Only last night I looked over to the other side of the table, thinking to see you there; so entirely have you kept your place in my thoughts. And thus I miss you constantly. Give my love to your husband, and tell him I count upon his making up a great deal of my loss to me, since I give him so much of what is important and dear to my affections.

As I travel about in places more or less familiar to me,—because [328] I have been in them at least twice before, and in some cases three times,—I feel a good deal as a professor emeritus does, who keeps the title, but does none of the work of his place. I call myself a traveller, but fulfil little of a travellers duty . . . .

I enjoy, however, seeing my old friends very much. Count Arrivabene, in his fine old castle at Gaesbeck,10 with its beautiful walks and environs, gave me great pleasure, but I did not go into the church of Ste. Gudule at Brussels, though I was near it many times. At Cologne I never knew anybody, or at least I never knew more than one person, and I forget his name; so I went only to the cathedral. But that was enough. I was astonished to find how much has been done towards finishing it, and begin to believe, what never seemed credible to me before, that it may yet be completed. . . . . But enough of the old city; it is in the main a nasty old place.

Bonn, on the contrary, is as neat as a new pin. But there, too, except one afternoon's delicious excursion up the river to the Godesberg and the Drachenfels, and a visit to the monument of Beethoven, I hardly once went out of the house. Your aunt Catherine,11 and the girls, and Charles were enough; but besides these, I had my old kind friend, Professor Welcker, every day, Pauli,—a very active, spirited young man who was secretary to Bunsen,—and Professor Gerhard, the last day, who was among those Lady Lyell wrote Anna she had seen at Berlin, and hoped we should see there, little thinking that he was an old acquaintance, and was coming right to us at Bonn.

Here it is much the same sort of thing. Dr. Pauli told me of an enthusiastic, scholar-like German, whom I had known at Rome, and who, after having been for some years private secretary to Prince Albert, is now living up in the old castle.12 He came this morning and left his card, inviting me to breakfast. It was too late, for we were just finishing that important meal. However, when we went up to the castle, we found him there showing about Captain H., a young man fresh from the Crimea, where he went through all the battles and sieges in a battalion which brought home less than half its numbers . . . . . Now he has a very agreeable, fine-looking wife, [329] to whom he has been married only a few weeks, the day but one, I believe, after he marched through London in that great show of the reception of the Guards by the Queen, which we were smuggled through the lines to see by Lord and Lady Ellesmere . . . .

Then I drove to see Mad. Bunsen, from whom I had a letter at Frankfort, telling me that her husband was in Switzerland. I found her very hearty in her welcome, and her two daughters very nice; all living in a pleasant house just outside of the town . . . . I liked so well that I think I shall go again this evening . . . .

Anna has just come down from the castle, and says your mother and H. mean to dine there under the trees. . . . . She, herself, goes to see her old friend Mad. B., and very likely I shall drive there with her and go and see Professor Mohl, brother of the one in Paris, and perhaps — if I am not too tired—call on Professor Mittermaier, the jurist. But I become easily fatigued. I did too much in London, and am but just getting over it. However, I am very well. So are we all, and stand our work remarkably. . . . .

Your affectionate father,

G. T.

The detailed accounts of pleasant experiences, at different points of these travels, will be found scattered irregularly through the letters, and do not, perhaps, lose their flavor by being delayed in chronology. On reaching Dresden, August 13, a halt was called, and the home-like place was made headquarters for six weeks. Those dear friends, Sir Charles and Lady Lyell, happened to be in Dresden at the time of the arrival of the party; and later a meeting was arranged there, with Mr.Twisleton and Mrs. Twisleton and her sister, that was delightful; besides which Dean and Mrs. Milman passed through about the same time. One pleasant afternoon, especially, this tripartite party of American and English friends spent with the charming family of the artist, Julius Hubner, looking over his drawings and enjoying his collections. This artist's home was genially opened to Mr. Ticknor and his family, in consequence of an introduction from Gerhard.

Mr. Forbes was still English Minister to the Saxon Court, and, on his return from an excursion, he resumed his old kind and familiar intimacy with Mr.Ticknor and Mrs. Ticknor. But, above all, [330] the friendship, which their correspondence had cherished and increased, between the King and Mr. Ticknor, was further strengthened by the warm and simple welcome which King John gave his American friend, desiring him to come to Pillnitz to see him without other form than at a private house, and summoning him repeatedly to dinner, on all which occasions he treated him with affectionate confidence.

On the 27th of August Mr. Ticknor took his family for a short visit to Berlin, where they remained together for six days, and where he outstayed his party. Rejoining the ladies in Dresden on the 7th of September, he again left them there on the 14th, and went to Berlin for another week. In Leipzig, where he stopped three times in his journeys to and fro, he was busy for the Library, and in Berlin he did a great deal of laborious work. But in Berlin, as in Dresden, he found old and new friends, and in subsequent letters he describes his enjoyment of daily intercourse with Humboldt,13 and the entertainment of a great Court dinner at Potsdam, on occasion of the arrival of the Grand Duke of Baden for his marriage with a princess of Prussia. This was Mr. Ticknor's only opportunity for conversation with the then reigning sovereign, Frederic William IV., whose varied accomplishments and versatile talent made a strong impression on him. Von Raumer and Count Raczynski, among old acquaintances, and the younger Schadow, among new ones, added to the pleasures of Berlin.

On finally leaving Dresden, September 25, Mr.Ticknor and Mrs. Ticknor had further proof of the constancy of those who had formerly been kind to them, in the warm and earnest welcome given to the whole party at Tetschen, where they stopped a few hours to see Count Thun and his daughters.14 Old memories were recalled,—some sadly and tenderly, for the Countess had [331] died,—and their kindness was, if possible, greater than ever. Additional instances of it occurred in Vienna, where Count Thun followed them, and where his sons, Count Franz and Count Leo,—the latter then a Cabinet Minister,—renewed all their former faithful and attractive courtesy; and in Italy, where Count Frederic, whom Mr. Ticknor had not before known, received him at Verona as an old friend of the family.

During his second short visit in Berlin Mr. Ticknor wrote as follows to Mrs. Ticknor:—

Berlin, Friday, September 19.
I cannot get back before Sunday evening, 6 o'clock. It is impossible. I have worked till twelve o'clock every night, and, though I am sixty-five years old, I have accomplished as much in the last five days, including Leipzig, as I ever did in any five days of my life.

Wednesday I passed all day at the Library, and in the booksellers' shops with Dr. Brandes, and wrote all the evening, except that I called twenty minutes at Varnhagen's. But the booksellers are very clumsy and slow; and kind Dr. Brandes scolds them in vain, and gets more out of patience with them than I do.

Yesterday I first arranged with Professor Dehn, of the Library,— where there are 95,000 works in music and on music,—to buy £ 100 worth to begin our Library with. Then I came home, and had a visit from Varnhagen and his niece, desperately agreeable, and I promised to take coffee with them this P. M. at five. Then I worked on books; then at two o'clock was off to Potsdam, to dine with the King, who sent his verbal commands by his Hofmarschal, about eleven o'clock, to that effect. Went out in the cars, and slept nearly the whole way, from sheer fatigue.

Dinner was very brilliant; the whole Court . . . . Had a jolly good time at table with forty odd people, but chiefly with an old general, who went to England when the affiancing took place there,15 and is now just back from the Russian coronation; the Prince of Prussia;16 and one of the dames d'honneur, of which I will give you an account. After dinner we were in the salon about an hour, and the King talked with me more than half the time; was truly agreeable, and sometimes scholar-like, urged me very much to stay to the fetes of the marriage next week, and took leave of me with a hearty shake [332] of the hand, and a heartier, ‘God bless you; come again to Sans Souci’ I said I hoped I might. ‘Mais malheureusement, nous n'aurons pas de mariage.’

I came in with the Minister at War, old General Nostitz,—Blucher's aide-de-camp,—and my general from the coronation,—name forgotten,—he amusing us with accounts of the ceremonies and ladies there. But I have neither room nor time to tell you details; but I will add, that Humboldt's kindness was consistent to the last moment, and in every possible way. When I came to town, being en grande tenue, I made a call on our Minister,—but did not tell him where I came from,—and then went to the Pertzes'. . . . . I stayed till after eleven, and had a first-rate time; came home and wrote till half past 12.

This morning I feel rested; but I have a good deal of work to do to-day; go at ten to see some rare Spanish books; at one to Humboldt; at five to Varnhagen; and fill the rest of the time with writing about books. To-morrow I settle accounts, pay up, and send off everything to Leipzig; and on Sunday, at six, expect to meet Alessandro [his courier] at the station.

The Duke of Saxe-Cobourg, who has taken half the hotel for the fetes of the marriage, arrived last night, while I was at the Pertzes', and the consequence is that the entries are full of livery-servants, and the porte-cochere is garnished with a guard of honor.

To Hon. E. Everett.17

Berlin, September 20, 1856.
. . . . Two evenings ago I was at Dr. Pertz's house, in a very brilliant and intellectual party, where were the Milmans and Horners from London, Ranke, Meineke,—the Grecian,—Ehrenberg, Encke, Lepsius, and others of the same sort, when a nice white-headed, charming old lady, with a very taking little Scotch accent, and who seemed much valued by all about her; spoke to me, and told me she was Miss Gibson, that pleasant, pretty little Scotch girl whom we knew at Dresden and Potsdam just forty years ago, and who tells me she has the handwriting of both of us in her album. I assure you I had a most pleasant talk with her. She is still Miss Gibson, living here much regarded, with a good fortune . . . . She is connected with the Sutherland family, by the beautiful Marchioness of Stafford, [333] whom I could hardly keep my eyes off of, as she sat opposite to me one day at dinner, in London. . . . .

But if I begin to gossip about people, I shall be in for two or three sheets more. I will only, therefore, say a word about changes. They are enormous. Berlin is a city of 450,000 souls, eminently prosperous, and full of monuments and collections in the arts. Dresden has improved in equal proportions, and has now a magnificent gallery for its magnificent collection of pictures, a finer and grander building, and one better fitted to its purposes, than any similar one in Italy or elsewhere. You must come here again, indeed you must. Before I tried the experiment I would not have said so. In truth, I came most reluctantly. But I find the improvements in travelling so great, that what used to cause me constant weariness and vexation now causes me neither; and, to my great surprise, I enjoy myself more—mainly in consequence of the ease and comfort with which I move about, and live—than I did in either of my other visits to Europe . . .

I am very glad that Congress has adjourned, and I shall be still more glad when the Ides of November are past. Nobody has said an unkind or unpleasant word to me about our country since I have been in Europe; but I feel, on all sides, that we stand in little favor or respect. Humboldt—whom I have seen every day, or had a note from him—is, I understand, very strong in his remarks sometimes, even to Americans. I cannot say that I am surprised. But I hope for the best, and always talk cheerfully. Mr. Fillmore left a most agreeable impression here. The King was delighted with him, and told me he would vote for him for President. I replied, that Buchanan would get the election, notwithstanding his Majesty's vote. ‘Well,’ he answered, ‘never mind, I am glad we are of the same party, and you may always count upon my vote, at any rate.’

We had been talking some time on American politics, and I had told him that I was of Fillmore's faction. En passant, let me say, that the King is one of the most agreeable men in conversation that I have ever talked with, and has that reputation here. But that is a very different thing from being a great or wise statesman.

Dresden, September 21.—I returned to Dresden last night, and this morning, when turning over my papers, I fell upon a memorandum about a new ordinance for the Library, concerning which we talked last March, and I gave you a sketch or outline, trusting that it would be done this autumn. Now is the time. Please give your thought to it. . . . .


To William S. Dexter.

Dresden, September 24, 1856.
my dear Dexter,—Thank you for your letter from Woods' Hole, dated August 24, just a month to-day. It is a great comfort to those who are so far off, and leave interests behind greater than they ever left before, to have such cheerful accounts, and to have them so often land so regularly . . . .

I need not tell you that we are all well. Nor need I tell you what we have been doing. You know more about it, from the time of our casting off from the wharf in East Boston, than I can now remember. But in general terms, I can say that we have had a much better time than I expected, and enjoyed much more than I thought we should. The travelling servants are much more accomplished, and better fitted to their business than they used to be . . . . When I was first in Europe, forty years ago, the species was hardly known, and the few that served were almost entirely real couriers, who rode ahead to order horses, and were fit for little else. Twenty years ago they were better, but their number was not fairly equal to the demand, and they presumed a good deal upon their consequence. Now they offer themselves to you in crowds, and competition makes them active, efficient, and even honest. How much such a state of things alleviates the troubles of travelling I need not tell you; but even this improvement is little, compared with the improvement in the hotels, and the hotel service, and the facilities and comforts offered by the railroads. The result in my own case is that, wholly contrary to my expectation, I enjoy travelling.

Changes I find on all sides; enormous, and sometimes startling. Many friends are gone, who used to be very important to us. Tieck, Tiedge, and Mad. de Luttichau among the first; but more remain, I think, than could have been reasonably expected, after the lapse of so many years, and we find them very kind. Like true Germans, they take us up just where they left us. This I say, thinking of Dresden; but at Berlin it was the same, and so it will be, I am sure, wherever we go in Germany, for the Germans are an eminently faithful people.

We all feel a little sorry and troubled at leaving Dresden. . . . . But the autumn is coming on, and we shall find milder skies and brighter days at the South. We set off, therefore, to-morrow for Vienna, hoping to be in Venice by the middle of October, and before Rome by December 1 . . . . . [335]

Give my best love to dear Lizzie. I am delighted to hear that she is so well. Let her keep gaining till I see her.

Yours very affectionately,

To Mrs. W. S. Dexter.

Milan, October 26, 1856.
Dearest Lizzie,—I thank your husband, through you, for a very kind and interesting letter that I received from him a few days ago, dated October 7. He writes to me always on important matters, which are rarely touched upon by my other friends, and never in a manner so satisfactory. I trust, therefore, that he will continue to tell me what he may be sure I should be glad to hear from anybody, and what I am particularly glad to learn from him. . . . .

We have done eminently well in our journeyings from Vienna to this place, and seen a great deal that interested us. Most of it was new to me, and much of it very remarkable. The passage of the Semmering—the first day after leaving Vienna—is one of the grandest things that can be seen anywhere. It almost-perhaps quite—proves that a railroad can be built over the Alps; and that people will go in four or five days to Rome from London,—a great matter for the Cockneys, who only care to be able to say they have been there, having little comprehension of what they see, and none at all of what they hear.

The journey by Gratz on the south side of the mountains—which was the counterpart to the one we made by Ischl and the Lakes, on the north side twenty years ago—was very fine. From Adelsberg to Venice, by Lend, through Friuli, was all new, likewise; and more than that, most of the way we travelled quite out of the reach of guide-books, and had a sense of discovery as we went along. It is a beautiful and very picturesque country, and we avoided, by passing through it, the passage in a steamboat from Trieste to Venice. . . . .

Since I wrote the two last pages I have been to high mass in the cathedral. The music was not much; but there must have been five thousand people at least present, and the scene was very grand and solemn, more so, I think, than the similar one is at St. Peter's. We had a very plain, good sermon on forgiveness of enemies, which, perhaps, half the audience could hear. But one thing I would desire to note on this occasion, viz. that, as I witnessed to-day, and have often witnessed before, the habit of spitting—with which we are so much [336] reproached in Yankeedom—is by no means an exclusively American habit. I find it common in Italy thus far. Well-dressed people all around me this forenoon, who paid for the chairs they occupied, spat on the marble floor of the church without ceremony. So did a man of science, Secretary of the Institute at Venice, who lived in a fine, beautiful, neat palazzo, that was once Cardinal Bembo's. . . . . In Germany they seemed a little more careful, but there was plenty of it there too . . . .

But let us talk of more agreeable things. Anna has not, I think, kept you in ignorance of Count Frederic Thun, the present civil governor of the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, or of his charming wife, or of the most agreeable dinner we had in his palazzo at Verona. When we left him, he told us he should soon be in Milan on business, and that very likely he should see us again. Last evening he came in at eight o'clock—just like an old friend in Park Street—and sat with us till bedtime. His English is excellent, and he talked with great frankness and power; about European politics generally, the troubles in Germany in 1848-49, and the present state of Italy. I have seldom been more interested . . . .

Radetzky, at ninety, is full of fire, rising at four in the morning, and working, with faculties unbroken by age, until evening, when he goes early to bed. This year, for the first time, his physicians told him that he could not any longer mount on horseback. For a moment it distressed him very much, and he wept. Even afterwards it continued to worry him, and he sent in his resignation, saying that he was no longer fit to command troops, at whose head he could no longer march. But the Emperor refused to accept his resignation with words so kindly and gracious, that he consented to keep his place, and has had a little carriage constructed in which he can review the troops quite to his mind; so that the Count says he is in better spirits, and oftener in the field, than for some years. That he is a most wonderful man for his age, there can be no doubt. . . . .

Count Thun is as energetic as he. And the power and resources of both are wanted here, for no position in the Empire is more important or more beset with difficulties than theirs.

While your mother was at the Lake of Como I spent my days in the libraries here, and with three or four men of science and letters. But one evening I went to the theatre, attracted by the annunciation of a comedy of Goldoni, ‘La Sposa Sagace,’—The Discreet Bride. . . . . The price of the best seat in the house was about twenty-seven cents, but the stage and all the accessories were very good, the acting [337] admirable, and the audience decent and well behaved. Few paid so dear as I did for a place, none more, and the great body of the audience which about half filled the theatre—went in their work-day clothes, and seemed to consider it a very domestic way of spending the evening. . . . . I noticed a man and his wife, who looked like modest shopkeepers, or, perhaps, respectable mechanics, who had a little son between them, so young, that, not being able to enjoy the play, he had been permitted to bring his cat to amuse him. . . . . It was capital; genuine, popular Venetian characters, set forth in the purest and simplest Italian verse, and, as I said before, all admirably performed. Get the play; it will amuse you. . . . . I should not wonder if you read a good many of the plays, and if you do, you may always remember that they are perfectly true to Venetian life and manners, and relished for that reason by all classes of society in the North of Italy. . . . .

Addio, carissima. Off at eight to-morrow, for Firenze la bella.

1 Hon. Edward Twisleton, a man of remarkable cultivation, much beloved and respected in the best society of England, had recently married a favorite niece of Mrs. Ticknor, Miss Ellen Dwight. Mr. Ticknor, too, was very fond of Mrs. Twisleton, and, before there had been any question of this marriage, Mr. Twisleton had been much liked by him and all his family. These interesting and highly valued persons are now dead, and their loss has been deeply felt on either side of the ocean, for both had made themselves loved in the new circles they had entered by their marriage.

2 In the letter to W. S. Dexter of July 4, mentioned above, he says, after being four days in London: ‘Thus far I am in for eight dinners and four breakfasts, all of which promise to be very agreeable, but will make heavy drafts on my resources of all sorts, and will probably do me up. But vogue la galere; for I have always thought a regular London life little better than that of a galley-slave.’

3 Mentioned before as Lord Mahon. See ante, p. 259.

4 See Vol. I. p. 408.

5 See Vol. I. p. 407, note, and ante, p. 180.

6 See Vol. I. p. 408, note.

7 There were complaints about enlistments in the United States during the Crimean War. See ante, p. 295.

8 Parts of this letter were given in the preceding chapter.

9 Mr. Crampton had been recently recalled from Washington, where he was British Minister, on complaints of our government. Mr. Ticknor says elsewhere: ‘Thackeray, who has a strong personal regard for him, was outrageous on the matter, and cursed the Ministry by all his gods for making him, as he said, their scape-goat.’ As Mr. Ticknor expected, he was soon sent Minister to Hanover, and afterwards to St. Petersburg and Madrid.

10 Count Arrivabene, formerly the guest of the Arconatis at Gaesbeck, now lived there alone, and the enchantment of a summer's day, in the interesting old chateau and among the labyrinthine beech alleys of its beautiful woods, was all enhanced by his really affectionate mode of making his friends feel at home, and feel that he valued and wished to prolong their visit.

11 Mrs. Norton returning from Italy.

12 Herr Carl Meyer von Rinteln.

13 Mr. Ticknor writes to Mr. Prescott, after this visit: ‘Humboldt was much changed, as might be anticipated; for the difference between sixty-seven and eighty-seven is always much greater than between forty-seven and sixty-seven: these being, respectively, the intervals of my acquaintance with him. But his faculties seem as active, and his pursuit of knowledge as eager as ever; while, at the same time, his benevolence seems to grow with his years.’

14 See Vol. I. p. 505 et seq.

15 Of the Princess Royal.

16 The present Emperor.

17 parts of this letter have appeared in the preceding chapter.

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