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Title: Margaret Fuller (Marchesa Ossoli)
Author: Howe, Julia Ward, 1819-1910
Language: English
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Famous Women.


_The next volumes in the Famous Women Series will be:_



ANNE BRADSTREET. By Helen Campbell.

_Already published:_

GEORGE ELIOT. By Miss Blind.

EMILY BRONTË. By Miss Robinson.

GEORGE SAND. By Miss Thomas.

MARY LAMB. By Mrs. Gilchrist.

MARGARET FULLER. By Julia Ward Howe.





_Copyright, 1883,_



The present volume bears the name of MARGARET FULLER simply, because it
is by this name that its subject is most widely known and best
remembered. Another name, indeed, became hers by marriage; but this
later style and title were borne by our friend for a short period only,
and in a country remote from her own. It was as Margaret Fuller that she
took her place among the leading spirits of her time, and made her brave
crusade against its unworthier features. The record of her brief days of
wifehood and of motherhood is tenderly cherished by her friends, but the
story of her life-work is best inscribed with the name which was hers
by birth and baptism, the name which, in her keeping, acquired a
significance not to be lost nor altered.




Childhood and Early Youth.--School-days                                1


Life in Cambridge.--Friendship of Dr. Hedge and James Freeman Clarke  19


Religious Beliefs.--Margaret's Early Critics.--First Acquaintance with
Mr. Emerson                                                           32


Art Studies.--Removal to Groton.--Meeting with Harriet Martineau.--Death
of Mr. Fuller.--Devotion to her Family                                44


Winter in Boston.--A Season of Severe Labor.--Connection with
Green-Street School, Providence, R. I.--Editorship of the
"Dial."--Margaret's estimate of Allston's pictures                    61


William Henry Channing's portrait of Margaret.--Transcendental
Days.--Brook Farm.--Margaret's visits there                           84


Margaret's love of children.--Visit to Concord after the death of Waldo
Emerson.--Conversations in Boston.--Summer on the Lakes              100


Farewell to Boston.--Engagement to write for the "New York
Tribune."--Margaret in her new surroundings.--Mr. Greeley's opinion of
Margaret's work.--Her estimate of George Sand                        128


Margaret's residence at the Greeley mansion.--Appearance in New York
society.--Visits to women imprisoned at Sing Sing and on Blackwell's
Island.--Letters to her brothers.--"Woman in the Nineteenth
Century."--Essay on American Literature.--View of contemporary
Authors                                                              140


Ocean voyage.--Arrival at Liverpool.--The Lake
Country.--Wordsworth.--Miss Martineau.--Edinburgh.--De Quincey.--Mary,
Queen of Scots.--Night on Ben Lomond.--James Martineau.--William J.
Fox.--London.--Joanna Baillie.--Mazzini.--Thomas Carlyle.--Margaret's
impressions of him.--His estimate of her                             170


Paris.--Margaret's reception there.--George
Sand.--Chopin.--Rachel.--Lamennais.--Béranger.--Chamber of
Deputies.--Berryer.--Ball at the Tuileries.--Italian Opera.--Alexandre
Vattemare.--Schools and Reformatories.--Journey to
Marseilles.--Genoa.--Leghorn.--Naples.--Rome.                        189


Margaret's first days in Rome.--Antiquities.--Visits to Studios and
Galleries.--Her opinions concerning the Old Masters.--Her sympathy with
the People.--Pope Pius.--Celebration of the Birthday of
Rome.--Perugia.--Bologna.--Ravenna.--Venice.--A State Ball on the Grand
Canal.--Milan.--Manzoni.--The Italian Lakes.--Parma.--Second visit to
Florence.--Grand Festival                                            205


Period of agitation in Rome.--Margaret's zeal for Italian Freedom.--Her
return to Rome.--Review of the Civic Guard.--Church Fasts and
Feasts.--Pope Pius.--The Rainy Season.--Promise of Representative
Government in Rome.--Celebration of this event.--Mazzini's Letter to the
Pope.--Beauty of the Spring.--Italy in Revolution.--Popular excitements
in Rome.--Pope Pius deserts the Cause of Freedom.--Margaret leaves Rome
for Aquila                                                           219


Margaret's marriage.--Character of the Marchese Ossoli.--Margaret's
first meeting with him.--Reasons for not divulging the
marriage.--Aquila.--Rieti.--Birth of Angelo Eugene Ossoli.--Margaret's
return to Rome.--Her anxiety about her child.--Flight of Pope Pius.--The
Constitutional Assembly.--The Roman Republic.--Attitude of France.--The
Siege of Rome.--Mazzini.--Princess Belgiojoso.--Margaret's care of the
Hospitals                                                            232


Siege of Rome.--Margaret's care of the sick and wounded.--Anxiety about
her husband and child.--Battle between the French and Italian
troops.--The Surrender.--Garibaldi's departure.--Margaret joins her
husband at his post.--Angelo's illness.--Letters from friends in
America.--Perugia.--Winter in Florence.--Margaret's domestic
life.--Aspect of her future.--Her courage and industry.--Ossoli's
affection for her.--William Henry Hurlbut's reminiscences of them
both.--Last days in Florence.--Farewell visit to the Duomo.--Margaret's
evenings at home.--Horace Sumner.--Margaret as a friend of
the people                                                           245


Margaret turns her face homeward.--Last letter to her mother.--The
barque "Elizabeth."--Presages and omens.--Death of the
captain.--Angelo's illness.--The wreck.--The long struggle.--The
end                                                                  265


Margaret Fuller's Literary Remains                                   280

INDEX                                                                293





The subject of the following sketch, Sarah Margaret Fuller, has already
been most fortunate in her biographers. Cut off herself in the prime of
life, she left behind her devoted friends who were still in their full
vigor of thought and sentiment. Three of these, James Freeman Clarke,
Ralph Waldo Emerson, and William Henry Channing, set their hand, some
thirty or more years ago, to the happy task of preserving for posterity
their strong personal impressions of her character and influence. With
these precious reminiscences were interwoven such extracts from her
correspondence and diary as were deemed fittest to supply the outline of
her own life and experience.

What, it may be asked, can such biographers have left for others to do?
To surpass their work is not to be thought of. But, in the turning and
perseverance of this planet, present soon becomes past, and that which
has been best said asks to be said again. This biography, so rich in its
suggestions and so valuable in its details, is already set in a past
light by the progress of men and of things. Its theme has lost none of
its interest. Nay, it is through the growing interest felt in Margaret
and her work that a demand seems to have arisen for a later word about
her, which cannot hope to be better or wiser than the words already made
public, but which may borrow from them the inspiration for a new study
and presentment.

According to the authorities already established, Sarah Margaret Fuller,
the child of Timothy Fuller and Margaret Crane, was born at
Cambridgeport, near Boston, on the 23d of May, 1810. She has herself
given some account of her early life in an autobiographical sketch which
forms the prelude to the work already published. Her father, she says,
"was a lawyer and a politician," the son of a country clergyman,
Harvard-bred both as to his college and his professional studies. She
remembers him chiefly as absorbed in the business and interest of his
profession, intent upon compassing the support of his family, and
achieving such distinction as might prove compatible with that object.
Her mother she describes as "one of those fair, flower-like natures,
which sometimes spring up even beside the most dusty highways of
life,--bound by one law with the blue sky, the dew, and the frolic
birds." And in the arduous labor of her father's life, his love for this
sweet mother "was the green spot on which he stood apart from the
commonplaces of a mere bread-winning, bread-bestowing existence."

The case between Margaret and her father is the first to be disposed of
in our consideration of her life and character. In the document just
quoted from she does not paint him _en beau_. Here and elsewhere she
seems to have been inclined to charge upon him the excessive study which
exaggerated her natural precocity of temperament, and the Puritan
austerity which brought her ungratified imagination into early conflict
with the circumstances and surroundings of her start in life. In a brief
preface to the memoir already published, a surviving brother of Margaret
characterizes this view of the father as inadequate and unjust.

Margaret herself called her sketch an autobiographical romance, and
evidently wrote it at a period of her life in which her personal
experience had thrown little light upon the difficulties which parents
encounter in the training of their children, and especially in that of
their eldest-born.

From the sketch itself we gather that the Fuller household, although not
corresponding to the dreams of its wonder-child, had yet in it elements
which were most precious for her right growth and development. The
family itself was descended from a stock deeply thoughtful and
religious. With the impulses of such kindred came to Margaret the strict
and thrifty order of primitive New England life, the absence of
frivolity, the distaste for all that is paltry and superficial. In after
years, her riper judgment must have shown her, as it has shown many, the
value of these somewhat stern surroundings. The little Puritan children
grew up, it is true, in the presence of a standard of character and of
conduct which must have seemed severe to them. The results of such
training have shown the world that the child so circumstanced will rise
to the height of his teaching. Started on a solid and worthy plane of
thought and of motive, he will not condescend to what is utterly mean,
base, and trivial, either in motive or in act. If, as may happen, he
fail in his first encounters with outside temptation, he will
nevertheless severely judge his own follies, and will one day set
himself to retrieve them with earnest diligence.

In the instance before us we can feel how bitter may have been the
contrast between the child's natural tastes and the realities which
surrounded her. Routine and restraint were burdensome to her when as yet
she could not know their value. Not the less were they of great
importance to her. The surroundings, too, which were devoid of artistic
luxury and adornment, forced her to have recourse to the inner sense of
beauty, which is sometimes lost and overlaid through much pleasing of
the eye and ear.

Childhood, indeed, insists upon having the whole heavenly life unpacked
upon the spot. Its to-day knows no to-morrow. Hence its common
impatience and almost inevitable quarrel with the older generation,
which in its eyes represents privation and correction.

The early plan of studies marked out for Margaret by her father was not
devised by any commonplace mind. Mr. Fuller had gained from his own
college life that love of culture which is valuable beyond any special
attainment. His own scholarship had been more than common, and it became
his darling object to transmit to his little daughter all that he
himself had gained by study, and as much more as his circumstances would
permit. He did indeed make the mistake, common in that day, of urging
the tender intellect beyond the efforts proper to its stage of growth.
Margaret says that the lessons set for her were "as many and various as
the hours would allow, and on subjects far beyond my age." These lessons
were recited to her father after office hours; and as these hours were
often prolonged, the child's mind was kept in a state of tension until
long after the time when the little head should have rested serenely on
its pillow. In consequence of this, it often rested very ill, and the
youthful prodigy of the daytime was terrified at night by dreams and
illusions, and disturbed by sleep-walking. From these efforts and
excitements resulted, as she says, "a state of being too active and too
intense, which wasted my constitution, and will bring me, although I
have learned to understand and to regulate my now morbid temperament, to
a premature grave."

This was unhappy, certainly. The keen, active temperament did indeed
acquire a morbid intensity, and the young creature thus spurred on to
untimely effort began to live and to learn at a pace with which the
slowness of circumstance was never able to keep abreast.

Even with the allowance which must be made for the notion of that time
as to what a child should be able to accomplish, it must grieve and
surprise us to find Margaret at the age of six years engaged in the
study of Latin and of English grammar. Her father "demanded accuracy
and clearness in everything." Intelligible statement, reasoned thought,
and a certainty which excluded all suppositions and reservations,--these
were his requirements from his young pupil. A certain _quasi_-dogmatic
mode of enunciation in later life, which may have seemed, on a
superficial view, to indicate an undue confidence and assumption, had
probably its origin in the decided way in which the little Margaret was
taught to recite her lessons. Under the controlling influence of her
father, she says that her own world sank deep within, away from the
surface of her life: "In what I did and said I learned to have reference
to other minds, but my true life was only the dearer that it was
secluded and veiled over by a thick curtain of available intellect and
that coarse but wearable stuff woven by the ages, common sense."

The Latin language opened for Margaret the door to many delights. The
Roman ideal, definite and resolute, commended itself to her childish
judgment; and even in later life she recognized Virgil as worthy to lead
the great Dante "through hell and to heaven." In Horace she enjoyed the
serene and courtly appreciation of life; in Ovid, the first glimpse of a
mythology which carried her to the Greek Olympus. Her study "soon ceased
to be a burden, and reading became a habit and a passion." Her first
real friends she found in her father's book-closet, to which, in her
leisure moments, she was allowed free access. Here, from a somewhat
miscellaneous collection, she singled out the works of Shakespeare,
Cervantes, and Molière,--"three great authors, all, though of unequal,
yet of congenial powers; all of rich and wide, rather than aspiring
genius; all free to the extent of the horizon their eye took in; all
fresh with impulse, racy with experience; never to be lost sight of or

Of these three Shakespeare was the first in her acquaintance, as in her
esteem. She was but eight years old when the interest of Romeo and
Juliet led her to rebel against the discipline whose force she so well
knew, and to persevere in reading before her father's very eyes a book
forbidden for the Sabbath. For this offence she was summarily dismissed
to bed, where her father, coming presently to expostulate with her,
found her in a strangely impenitent state of mind.

Margaret's books thus supplied her imagination with the food which her
outward surroundings did not afford. They did not, however, satisfy the
cravings of her childish heart. These presently centred around a human
object of intense interest,--a lady born and bred in polite European
life, who brought something of its tone and atmosphere to cheer for a
while the sombre New England horizon. Margaret seems to have first seen
her at church, where the general aspect of things was especially
distasteful to her.

"The puny child sought everywhere for the Roman or Shakespeare figures;
and she was met by the shrewd, honest eye, the homely decency, or the
smartness of a New England village on Sunday. There was beauty, but I
could not see it then; it was not of the kind I longed for.

"As my eye one day was ranging about with its accustomed coldness, it
was arrested by a face most fair, and well known, as it seemed at first
glance; for surely I had met her before, and waited for her long. But
soon I saw that she was an apparition foreign to that scene, if not to
me. She was an English lady, who, by a singular chance, was cast upon
this region for a few months."

This stranger seems to have been as gracious as she was graceful.
Margaret, after this first glimpse, saw her often, sometimes at a
neighbor's house, sometimes at her own. She was more and more impressed
by her personal charm, which was heightened in the child's eyes by her
accomplishments, rare in that time and place. The lady painted in oils
and played on the harp. Margaret found the greatest delight in watching
the growth of her friend's pictures, and in listening to her music.
Better still, they walked together in the quiet of the country. "Like a
guardian spirit, she led me through the fields and groves; and every
tree, every bird, greeted me and said, what I felt, 'She is the first
angel of your life.'"

Delight so passionate led to a corresponding sorrow. The lady, who had
tenderly responded to the child's mute adoration, vanished from her
sight, and was thenceforth known to her only through the interchange of

"When this friend was withdrawn," says Margaret, "I fell into a profound
depression. Melancholy enfolded me in an atmosphere, as joy had done.
This suffering, too, was out of the gradual and natural course. Those
who are really children could not know such love or feel such sorrow."
Her father saw in this depression a result of the too great isolation in
which Margaret had thus far lived. He felt that she needed change of
scene and, still more, intercourse with girls of her own age. The remedy
proposed was that she should be sent to school,--a measure which she
regarded with dread and dislike. She had hitherto found little pleasure
in the society of other girls. She had sometimes joined the daughters of
her neighbors in hard play, but had not felt herself at home with them.
Her retired and studious life had, she says, given her "a cold
aloofness," which could not predispose them in her favor. Despite her
resistance, however, her father persevered in his intention, and
Margaret became an inmate of the Misses Prescott's school in Groton,

Her experience here, though painful in some respects, had an important
effect upon her after life.

At first her unlikeness to her companions was uncomfortable both to her
and to them. Her exuberant fancy demanded outlets which the restraints
of boarding-school life would not allow. The unwonted excitement
produced by contact with other young people vented itself in fantastic
acts, and freaks amusing but tormenting. The art of living with one's
kind had not formed a part of Margaret's home education. Her nervous
system had already, no doubt, been seriously disturbed by overwork.

Some plays were devised for the amusement of the pupils, and in these
Margaret found herself entirely at home. In each of these the principal
part was naturally assigned her, and the superiority in which she
delighted was thus recognized. These very triumphs, however, in the end
led to her first severe mortification, and on this wise:--

The use of rouge had been permitted to the girls on the occasion of the
plays; but Margaret was not disposed, when these were over, to
relinquish the privilege, and continued daily to tinge her cheeks with
artificial red. This freak suggested to her fellow-pupils an intended
pleasantry, which awakened her powers of resentment to the utmost.
Margaret came to the dinner-table, one day, to find on the cheeks of
pupils and preceptress the crimson spot with which she had persisted in
adorning her own. Suppressed laughter, in which even the servants
shared, made her aware of the intended caricature. Deeply wounded, and
viewing the somewhat personal joke in the light of an inflicted
disgrace, Margaret's pride did not forsake her. She summoned to her aid
the fortitude which some of her Romans had shown in trying moments, and
ate her dinner quietly, without comment. When the meal was over she
hastened to her own room, locked the door, and fell on the floor in
convulsions. Here teachers and schoolfellows sorrowfully found her, and
did their utmost to soothe her wounded feelings, and to efface by
affectionate caresses the painful impression made by their inconsiderate

Margaret recovered from this excitement, and took her place among her
companions, but with an altered countenance and embittered heart. She
had given up her gay freaks and amusing inventions, and devoted herself
assiduously to her studies. But the offence which she had received
rankled in her breast. As not one of her fellow-pupils had stood by her
in her hour of need, she regarded them as all alike perfidious and
ungrateful, and, "born for love, now hated all the world."

This morbid condition of mind led to a result still more unhappy.
Masking her real resentment beneath a calm exterior, Margaret received
the confidences of her schoolfellows, and used their unguarded speech to
promote discord among them. The girls, naturally enough, talked about
each other, and said things which it would have been kind and wise not
to repeat. Margaret's central position among them would have enabled her
to reconcile their small differences and misunderstandings, which she,
on the contrary, did her utmost to foment, not disdaining to employ
misrepresentation in her mischievous mediation. Before long the spirit
of discord reigned throughout the school, in which, the prime mover of
the trouble tells us, "scarcely a peaceful affection or sincere intimacy
remained." She had instinctively followed the ancient precept, "Divide
et impera," and ruled for evil those who would have followed her for

This state of things probably became unbearable. Its cause was inquired
into, and soon found. A tribunal was held, and before the whole school
assembled, Margaret was accused of calumny and falsehood, and, alas!
convicted of the same.

"At first she defended herself with self-possession and eloquence. But
when she found that she could no more resist the truth, she suddenly
threw herself down, dashing her head with all her force against the iron
hearth, on which a fire was burning, and was taken up senseless."

All present were of course greatly alarmed at this crisis, which was
followed, on the part of Margaret, by days of hopeless and apathetic
melancholy. During these she would neither speak nor eat, but remained
in a sort of stupor,--the result of conflicting emotions. In the pain
which she now felt, her former resentment against her schoolmates
disappeared. She saw only her own offence, and saw it without hope of
being able to pass beyond it.

In this emergency, when neither the sorrow of her young companions nor
the entreaties of her teachers seemed to touch her, a single friend was
able to reach the seat of Margaret's distemper, and to turn the currents
of her life once more into a healthful channel.

This lady, a teacher in the school, had always felt a special interest
in Margaret, whose character somewhat puzzled her. With the tact of true
affection, she drew the young girl from the contemplation of her own
failure, by narrating to her the circumstances which, through no fault
of hers, had made her own life one of sorrow and of sacrifice.

Margaret herself, with a discernment beyond her years, had felt the high
tone of this lady's character, and the "proud sensibility" expressed in
her changing countenance. From her she could learn the lesson of hope
and of comfort. Listening to the story, she no longer repulsed the hand
of healing, but took patiently the soothing medicine offered by her

This story of Margaret's school life she herself has told, in an episode
called "Marianna," which was published in her "Summer on the Lakes," and
afterwards embodied in Mr. Clarke's contribution to the memoir already
published. We have already quoted several passages from it, and will
here give her account of the end of the whole matter.

"She returned to life, but it was as one who has passed through the
valley of death. The heart of stone was quite broken in her; the fiery
will fallen from flame to coal.

"When her strength was a little restored, she had all her companions
summoned, and said to them: 'I deserved to die, but a generous trust
has called me back to life. I will be worthy of the past, nor ever
betray the trust, or resent injury more. Can you forgive the past?'
And," says the narrative, "they not only forgave, but with love and
earnest tears clasped in their arms the returning sister. They vied with
one another in offices of humble love to the humbled one; and let it be
recorded, as an instance of the pure honor of which young hearts are
capable, that these facts, known to some forty persons, never, so far as
I know, transpired beyond those walls."

In making this story public, we may believe Margaret to have been
actuated by a feeling of the value of such an experience both in the
study of character and in the discipline of young minds. Here was a
girl, really a child in age, but already almost a woman in selfhood and
imagination. Untrained in intercourse with her peers in age, she felt
and exaggerated her own superiority to those with whom her school life
first brought her in contact. This superiority she felt impelled to
assert and maintain. So long as she could queen it over the other pupils
she was content. The first serious wounding of her self-love aroused in
her a vengeful malignity, which grew with its own exercise. Unable as
she found herself to command her little public by offices which had
seemed to her acts of condescension, she determined to rule through the
evil principle of discord. In a fortunate moment she was arrested in
this course by an exposure whose consequences showed her the reflection
of her own misconduct in the minds of those around her. Extreme in all
things, her self-reproach took the form of helpless despair, which yet,
at the touch of true affection, gave way before the courageous
determination to retrieve past error by future good desert.

The excellence of Margaret's judgment and the generosity of her heart
appear in the effect which this fortunate failure had upon her maturer
life. The pride of her selfhood had been overthrown. She had learned
that she could need the indulgence and forgiveness of others, and had
also learned that her mates, lightly esteemed by her up to that time,
were capable of magnanimous forgiveness and generous rehabilitation. In
the tender strength of her young mind, those impressions were so
received that they were never thereafter effaced. The esteem of Margaret
for her own sex, then rare in women of her order, and the great charity
with which she ever regarded the offences of others, perhaps referred
back through life to this time of trial, whose shortcoming was to be
redeemed by such brilliant achievements.

Margaret's school days ended soon after this time, and she returned to
her father's house, much instructed in the conditions of harmonious
relations with her fellows.



Dr. Hedge, a life-long friend of Margaret, has given a very interesting
sketch of her in her girlhood. He first met her when he was a student at
Harvard, and she a maiden of thirteen, in her father's house at
Cambridge. Her precocity, mental and physical, was such that she passed
for a much older person, and had already a recognized place in society.
She was at this time in blooming and vigorous health, with a tendency to
over-stoutness, which, the Doctor thinks, gave her some trouble. She was
not handsome nor even pretty, but her animated countenance at once made
its own impression, and awakened in those who saw her a desire to know
more of her. Fine hair and teeth, vivacious eyes, and a peculiarly
graceful carriage of the head and neck were points which redeemed her
from the charge of plainness. This face of hers was, indeed, somewhat
problematic in its expression, which carried with it the assurance of
great possibilities, but not the certainty of their fulfilment. Her
conversation was already brilliant and full of interest, with a
satirical turn which became somewhat modified in after life. Dr. Hedge
fixes her stay in the Groton school at the years 1824, 1825, and
mentions her indulgence in sarcasm as a source of trouble to her in a
school earlier attended, that of Dr. Park, of Boston.

In the year 1826 his slight acquaintance with her grew into a friendship
which, as we have said, ended only with her life. During the seven years
that followed he had abundant occasion to note her steady growth and the
intensity of her inner life. This was with her, as with most young
persons, "a period of romance and of dreams, of yearning and of
passion." He thinks that she did not at this time pursue any systematic
study. "She read with the heart, and was learning more from social
experience than from books." One leading trait of her life was already
prominent. This was a passionate love of all beauties, both in nature
and in art.

If not corresponding to a scholar's idea of systematic study, Margaret's
pursuit of culture in those years must have been arduous and many-sided.
This we may partly gather from the books named and the themes touched
upon in her correspondence with the beloved teacher who had brought her
such near and tender help in her hour of need. To this lady, in a
letter dated July 11, 1825, Margaret rehearses the routine of her daily

"I rise a little before five, walk an hour, and then practise on the
piano till seven, when we breakfast. Next I read French, Sismondi's
'Literature of the South of Europe,' till eight, then two or three
lectures in Brown's Philosophy. About half-past nine I go to Mr.
Perkins's school and study Greek till twelve, when, the school being
dismissed, I recite, go home, and practise again till dinner, at two.
Sometimes, if the conversation is very agreeable, I lounge for half an
hour over the dessert, though rarely so lavish of time. Then, when I
can, I read two hours in Italian, but I am often interrupted. At six I
walk or take a drive. Before going to bed I play or sing for half an
hour, and about eleven retire to write a little while in my
journal,--exercises on what I have read, or a series of characteristics
which I am filling up according to advice."

A year later she mentions studying "Madame de Staël, Epictetus, Milton,
Racine, and Castilian ballads, with great delight." She asks her
correspondent whether she would rather be the brilliant De Staël or the
useful Edgeworth. In 1827 we find her occupied with a critical study of
the elder Italian poets. She now mentions Miss Francis (Lydia Maria
Child) as her intended companion in a course of metaphysical study. She
characterizes this lady as "a natural person, a most rare thing in this
age of cant and pretension. Her conversation is charming; she brings all
her powers to bear upon it. Her style is varied, and she has a very
pleasant and spirited way of thinking."

Margaret's published correspondence with her dear teacher ends in 1830,
with these words:--

"My beloved supporter in those sorrowful hours, can I ever forget that
to your treatment in that crisis of youth I owe the true life, the love
of Truth and Honor?"

From these years of pedagogy and of patience we must now pass to the
time when this bud, so full of promise, unfolded into a flower rare and

The story of Margaret's early studies, and the wide reach of her craving
for knowledge, already mark her as a creature of uncommon gifts. A
devourer of books she had been from the start; but books alone could not
content this ardent mind, at once so critical and so creative. She must
also have life at first-hand, and feed her intelligence from its deepest
source. Hence the long story of her friendships, so many and various,
yet so earnest and efficient.

What the chosen associates of this wonderful woman have made public
concerning the interest of her conversation and the value of her
influence tasks to the utmost the believing powers of a time in which
the demon of self-interest seems to unfold himself out of most of the
metamorphic flowers of society. Margaret and her friends might truly
have said, "Our kingdom is not of this world,"--at least, according to
what this world calls kingly. But what imperial power had this
self-poised soul, which could so widely open its doors and so closely
shut them, which could lead in its train the brightest and purest
intelligences, and "bind the sweet influences" of starry souls in the
garland of its happy hours! And here we may say, her kingdom was not
_all_ of this world; for the kingdom of noble thought and affection is
in this world and beyond it, and the real and ideal are at peace within
its bounds.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the divided task of Margaret's biography it was given to James
Freeman Clarke to speak of that early summer of her life in which these
tender and intimate relations had their first and most fervent
unfolding. The Harvard student of that day was probably a personage very
unlike the present revered pastor of the Church of the Disciples. Yet we
must believe that the one was graciously foreshadowed in the other, and
that Margaret found in him the germ of what the later world has learned
so greatly to respect and admire.

The acquaintance between these two began in 1829, and was furthered by a
family connection which Margaret, in one of her early letters, playfully
characterized as a cousinship in the thirty-seventh degree.

During the four years immediately following, the two young people either
met or corresponded daily. In explaining the origin of this friendship,
Mr. Clarke modestly says:--

"She needed a friend to whom to speak of her studies, to whom to express
the ideas which were dawning and taking shape in her mind. She accepted
me for this friend; and to me it was a gift of the gods, an influence
like no other."

This intercourse was at first on both sides an entertainment sought and
found. In its early stages Margaret characterizes her correspondent as
"a socialist by vocation, a sentimentalist by nature, and a Channing-ite
from force of circumstance and of fashion." Further acquaintance opened
beneath the superficial interest the deeper sources of sympathy, and a
valued letter from Margaret is named by Mr. Clarke as having laid the
foundation of a friendship to which he owed both intellectual
enlightenment and spiritual enlargement. More than for these he thanks
Margaret for having imparted to him an impulse which carried him bravely
forward in what has proved to be the normal direction of his life.
Although destined, after those early years of intimate communion, to
live far apart and in widely different spheres of labor and of interest,
the regard of the two friends never suffered change or diminution.

And here we come upon a governing feature in Margaret's intercourse with
her friends. She had the power of leading those who interested her to a
confidence which unfolded to her the deepest secrets of their life. Now
came in play that unexplained action of one mind upon another which we
call personal magnetism, and which is more distinctly recognized to-day
than in other times as an element in social efficiency. It is this power
which, united with intellectual force, gives leadership to individual
men, and enables the great orator to hold a mighty audience in the
hollow of his hand.

With Margaret at the period we speak of the exercise of this power was
intensive rather than extensive. The circumstances of the time had
something to do with this. Here was a soul whose objects and desires
boldly transcended the sphere of ordinary life. It could neither wholly
contain nor fitly utter itself. Pulpit and platform were then
interdicted to her sex. The mimic stage, had she thought of it, would
have mocked her with its unreality. On single souls, one at a time, she
laid her detaining grasp, and asked what they could receive and give.
Something noble she must perceive in them before she would condescend to
this parley. She did not insist that her friends should possess genius;
but she could only make friends of those who, like herself, were seekers
after the higher life. Worthiness of object commended even mediocrity to
her; but shallow worldliness awakened her contempt.

In the exercise of this discrimination she no doubt sometimes gave
offence. Mr. Clarke acknowledges that she not only seemed, but was,
haughty and supercilious to the multitude, while to the chosen few she
was the very embodiment of tender and true regard.

It must also be acknowledged that this same magnetism which attracted
some persons so strongly was to others as strongly repellent. Where she
was least known this repulsion was most felt. It yielded to admiration
and esteem where acquaintance went beyond the mere recognition of
Margaret's air and manner, which made a stranger a little uncertain
whether he would be amicably entertained or subjected to a _reductio ad
absurdum_. As in any community impressions of personality are more
likely to be superficial than thorough, it is probable that a very
general misunderstanding which, at a later day, grew up between Margaret
and the great world of a small New England city had its origin in a
misconstruction of her manner when among strangers, or on the occasion
of a first introduction. To recall this shallow popular judgment of her
is not pleasant, but some mention of it does belong to any summary of
her life. With such friends as she had, she had no reason to look upon
herself as one who was neither understood nor appreciated. Yet her
heart, which instinctively sought the empire of universal love, may have
been grieved at the indifference and dislike which she sometimes
encountered. Those who know how, in some circles, her name became a
watchword for all that was eccentric and pretentious in the womanhood of
her day, will smile or sigh at the contrast between the portraitures of
Margaret given in the volumes of the memoir and the caricature of her
which was current in the mind of the public at large.

These remarks anticipate the pains and distinctions of a later period.
For the present let us confine our attention to the happy days at
Cambridge, which Margaret may not have recognized as such, but which
must have seemed bright to her when contrasted with the years of labor
and anxiety which followed them.

Mr. Clarke tells us that Margaret and he began the study of the German
language in 1832, moved thereunto by Thomas Carlyle's brilliant
exposition of the merits of leading German authors. In three months'
time Margaret had acquired easy command of the language, and within the
year had read the most important works of Goethe and Schiller, with the
writings also of Tieck, Körner, Richter, and Novalis. Extracts from her
letters at this time show that this extensive reading was neither hasty
nor superficial.

She finds herself happier in the companionship of Schiller than in that
of Goethe, of whom she says, "That perfect wisdom and merciless reason
seem cold after those seducing pictures of forms more beautiful than
truth." The "Elective Affinities" suggests to her various critical
questions, but does not carry her away with the sweep of its interest.
From "the immense superiority of Goethe" she finds it a relief to turn
to the simplicity of Novalis, "a wondrous youth, who has written only
one volume," and whose "one-sidedness, imperfection, and glow seem
refreshingly human" to her. Körner becomes a fixed star in the heaven of
her thought. Lessing interests her less. She credits him with the
production of "well conceived and sustained characters and interesting
situations," but not with any profound knowledge of human nature. "I
think him easily followed; strong, but not deep."

This was with Margaret, as Dr. Hedge has well observed, the period of
romance. Her superiority to common individuals appeared in the fact that
she was able to combine with intense personal aspirations and desires a
wide outlook into the destinies of the human race.

We find her, in these very days, "engaged in surveying the level on
which the public mind is poised." She turns from the poetic tragedy and
comedy of life to study, as she says, "the rules of its prose," and to
learn from the talk of common people what elements and modes of thought
go to make up the average American mind. She listens to George Thompson,
the English anti-slavery orator, and is led to say that, if she had been
a man, she should have coveted the gift of eloquence above all others,
and this for the intensity of its effects. She thinks of writing six
historical tragedies, and devises the plan for three of them. Tales of
Hebrew history it is also in her mind to compose. Becoming convinced
that "some fixed opinion on the subject of metaphysics is an essential
aid to systematic culture," she addresses herself to the study of
Fichte and Jacobi, of Brown and Stewart. The first of these appeared to
her incomprehensible. Of the second, she conjectures that his views are
derived from some author whom she has not read. She thinks in good
earnest of writing a life of Goethe, and wishes to visit Europe in order
to collect the material requisite for this. Her appreciation of Dr.
Channing is shown in a warm encomium on his work treating of slavery, of
which she says, "It comes like a breath borne over some solemn sea which
separates us from an island of righteousness."

In summing up his account of this part of Margaret's life, Mr. Clarke
characterizes self-culture as the object in which she was content to
lose sight of all others. Her devotion to this great end was, he says,
"wholly religious, and almost Christian." She was religious in her
recognition of the divine element in human experience, and Christian in
her elevation above the sordid interests of life, and in her devotion to
the highest standards of duty and of destiny. He admits, however, that
her aim, noble as it was, long remained too intensely personal to reach
the absolute generosity required by the Christian rule. This defect made
itself felt outwardly by a certain disesteem of "the vulgar herd," and
in an exaggerated worship of great personalities. Its inner effects
were more serious. To her darling desire for growth and development she
sacrificed "everything but manifest duty." The want of harmony between
her outward circumstances and her inward longings so detained her
thoughts that she was unable to pass beyond the confines of the present
moment, and could not foresee that true growth must bring her, as it
soon did, a great enlargement of influence and relation.



It was to be expected that in such a correspondence as that between
Margaret and James Freeman Clarke the chord of religious belief would
not remain untouched. From Margaret's own words, in letters and in her
journal, we clearly gather that her mind, in this respect, passed
through a long and wide experience. Fortunate for her was, in that day,
the Unitarian pulpit, with its larger charity and freer exegesis. With
this fold for her spiritual home, she could go in and out, finding
pasture, while by the so-called Orthodox sects she would have been
looked upon as standing without the bounds of all religious fellowship.

The requirements of her nature were twofold. A religious foundation for
thought was to her a necessity. Equally necessary was to her the
untrammelled exercise of critical judgment, and the thinking her own
thoughts, instead of accepting those of other people. We may feel sure
that Margaret, even to save her own soul, would not and could not have
followed any confession of faith in opposition to her own best judgment.
She would have preferred the hell of the free soul to the heaven of the
slave. To combine this intellectual interpretation of religious duty
with the simple devotion which the heart craves is not easy for any one.
We may be very glad to find that for her it was not impossible. Her
attitude between these two points of opposition is indeed edifying; for,
while she follows thought with the daring of a sceptic, and fearlessly
reasons concerning the highest mysteries, she yet acknowledges the
insufficiency of human knowledge for themes so wonderful, and here, as
nowhere else, bows her imperial head and confesses herself human.

One thing we may learn from what Margaret has written on this subject,
if we do not already know it, and this is, that in any true religious
experience there must be progress and change of attitude. This progress
may be first initiated by the preponderance of thought or by that of
affection, but, as it goes on, the partiality of first views will be
corrected by considerations which are developed by later study.
Religious sincerity is, in the end, justified in all its stages; but
these stages, separately considered, will appear more or less incomplete
and sometimes even irreligious.

When first interrogated by her correspondent, she says: "I have
determined not to form settled opinions at present. Loving or feeble
natures need a positive religion, a visible refuge, a protection, as
much in the passionate season of youth as in those stages nearer to the
grave. But mine is not such. My pride is superior to any feelings I have
yet experienced; my affection is strong admiration, not the necessity of
giving or receiving assistance or sympathy." So much for the subjective
side of the matter with Margaret at this time. The objective is
formulated by her in this brief creed: "I believe in Eternal
Progression. I believe in a God, a Beauty and Perfection to which I am
to strive all my life for assimilation. From these two articles of
belief I draw the rules by which I strive to regulate my life. Tangible
promises, well-defined hopes, are things of which I do not now feel the
need. At present my soul is intent on this life, and I think of religion
as its rule."

Those last words are not in contrast with the general tone of religious
teaching to-day, but when Margaret wrote them to James Freeman Clarke,
an exaggerated adjournment of human happiness to the glories of another
world was quite commonly considered as essential to a truly Christian

Even at this self-sufficing period of her life Margaret's journals were
full of prayer and aspiration. Here are some of the utterances of this
soul, which she herself calls a proud one: "Blessed Father, nip every
foolish wish in blossom. Lead me any way to truth and goodness, but if
it might be, I would not pass from idol to idol. Let no mean sculpture
deform a mind disorderly, perhaps ill-furnished, but spacious and

After hearing a sermon on the nature of duties, social and personal, she
says: "My heart swelled with prayer. I began to feel hope that time and
toil might strengthen me to despise the 'vulgar parts of felicity,' and
live as becomes an immortal creature. Oh, lead me, my Father! root out
false pride and selfishness from my heart; inspire me with virtuous
energy, and enable me to improve every talent for the eternal good of
myself and others."

Seasons of bitter discouragement alternated at this time with the
moments in which she felt, not only her own power, but also the
excellence of her aims in life.

Of one of these dark hours Margaret's journal gives a vivid description,
from which some passages may be quoted. The occasion was a New England
Thanksgiving, a day on which her attendance at church was almost
compulsory. This church was not to her a spiritual home, and on the day
now spoken of the song of thanksgiving made positive discord in her
ears. She felt herself in no condition to give thanks. Her feet were
entangled in the problem of life. Her soul was agonized by its
unreconciled contradictions.

"I was wearied out with mental conflicts. I felt within myself great
power and generosity and tenderness; but it seemed to me as if they were
all unrecognized, and as if it was impossible that they should be used
in life. I was only one-and-twenty; the past was worthless, the future
hopeless; yet I could not remember ever voluntarily to have done a wrong
thing, and my aspiration seemed very high."

Looking about in the church, she envied the little children for their
sense of dependence and protection. She knew not, she says, "that none
could have any father but God," knew not that she was "not the only
lonely one, the selected Œdipus, the special victim of an iron law."

From this intense and exaggerated self-consciousness, the only escape
was in fleeing from self. She sought to do this, as she had often done,
by a long quick walk, whose fatigue should weary out her anguish, and
enable her to return home "in a state of prayer." On this day this
resource did not avail her.

"All seemed to have reached its height. It seemed as if I could never
return to a world in which I had no place, to the mockery of humanities.
I could not act a part, nor seem to live any longer."

The aspect of the outer world was in correspondence with these
depressing thoughts.

"It was a sad and sallow day of the late autumn. Slow processions of
clouds were passing over a cold blue sky; the hues of earth were dull
and gray and brown, with sickly struggles of late green here and there.
Sometimes a moaning gust of wind drove late, reluctant leaves across the
path--there was no life else." Driven from place to place by the
conflict within her, she sat down at last to rest "where the trees were
thick about a little pool, dark and silent. All was dark, and cold, and
still." Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds "with that transparent
sweetness, like the last smile of a dying lover, which it will use when
it has been unkind all a cold autumn day." And with this unlooked-for
brightness passed into her soul "a beam from its true sun," whose
radiance, she says, never departed more. This sudden illumination was
not, however, an unreasoning, unaccountable one. In that moment flashed
upon her the solution of the problem of self, whose perplexities had
followed her from her childish days. She comprehended at once the
struggle in which she had been well-nigh overcome, and the illusion
which had till then made victory impossible. "I saw how long it must be
before the soul can learn to act under these limitations of time and
space and human nature; but I saw also that it must do it. I saw there
was no self, that selfishness was all folly, and the result of
circumstance; that it was only because I thought self real that I
suffered; that I had only to live in the idea of the all, and all was
mine. This truth came to me, and I received it unhesitatingly; so that I
was for that hour taken up into God.... My earthly pain at not being
recognized never went deep after this hour. I had passed the extreme of
passionate sorrow, and all check, all failure, all ignorance, have
seemed temporary ever since."

The progress of this work already brings us to that portion of
Margaret's life in which her character was most likely to be judged of
by the world around her as already determined in its features and
aspect. That this judgment was often a misjudgment is known to all who
remember Margaret's position in Boston society in the days of her
lessons and conversations. A really vulgar injustice was often done her
by those who knew of her only her appearance and supposed pretensions.
Those to whom she never was a living presence may naturally ask of
those who profess to have known her, whether this injustice did not
originate with herself, whether she did not do herself injustice by
habitually presenting herself in an attitude which was calculated to
heighten the idea, already conceived, of her arrogance and overweening

Independently of other sources of information, the statements of one so
catholic and charitable as Mr. Emerson meet us here, and oblige us to
believe that the great services which Margaret was able to render to
those with whom she came into relation were somewhat impaired by a
self-esteem which it would have been unfortunate for her disciples to
imitate. The satirists of the time saw this, and Margaret, besides
encountering the small-shot of society ridicule, received now and then
such a broadside as James Russell Lowell gave her in his "Fable for
Critics." Of this long and somewhat bitter tirade a few lines may
suffice as a specimen:--

    "But here comes Miranda. Zeus! where shall I flee to?
     She has such a _penchant_ for bothering me, too!
     She always keeps asking if I don't observe a
     Particular likeness 'twixt her and Minerva.

           *       *       *       *       *

     She will take an old notion and make it her own,
     By saying it o'er in her sibylline tone;
     Or persuade you 'tis something tremendously deep,
     By repeating it so as to put you to sleep;
     And she well may defy any mortal to see through it,
     When once she has mixed up her infinite me through it.

           *       *       *       *       *

     Here Miranda came up and said: Phœbus, you know
     That the infinite soul has its infinite woe,
     As I ought to know, having lived cheek by jowl,
     Since the day I was born, with the infinite soul."

These remarks, explanatory and apologetic, are suggested partly by Mr.
Emerson's statements concerning the beginning of his acquaintance with
Margaret, and partly by the writer's own recollections of the views of
outsiders concerning her, which contrasted strongly with the feeling and
opinion of her intimates.

Mr. Emerson first heard of Margaret from Dr. Hedge, and afterwards from
Miss Martineau. Both were warm in their praise of her, and the
last-named was especially desirous to introduce her to Mr. Emerson, whom
she very much wished to know. After one or more chance meetings, it was
arranged that Margaret should spend a fortnight with Mrs. Emerson. The
date of this visit was in July, 1836.

To the description of her person already quoted from Dr. Hedge, we may
add a sentence or two from Mr. Emerson's record of his first impressions
of her:--

"She had a face and frame that would indicate fulness and tenacity of
life.... She was then, as always, carefully and becomingly dressed, and
of lady-like self-possession. For the rest, her appearance had nothing
prepossessing. Her extreme plainness, a trick of incessantly opening and
shutting her eyelids, the nasal tone of her voice, all repelled; and I
said to myself, we shall never get far."

But Margaret greatly esteemed Mr. Emerson, and was intent upon
establishing a friendly relation with him. Her reputation for satire was
well known to him, and was rather justified in his eyes by the first
half-hour of her conversation with him.

"I believe I fancied her too much interested in personal history; and
her talk was a comedy in which dramatic justice was done to everybody's
foibles. I remember that she made me laugh more than I liked."

Passing into a happier vein, she unfolded her brilliant powers of
repartee, expressed her own opinions, and sought to discover those of
her companion. Soon her wit had effaced the impression of her personal
unattractiveness; "and the eyes, which were so plain at first, swam with
fun and drolleries, and the very tides of joy and superabundant life."
He now saw that "her satire was only the pastime and necessity of her
talent," and as he learned to know her better, her plane of character
rose constantly in his estimation, disclosing "many moods and powers, in
successive platforms or terraces, each above each."

Mr. Emerson likens Margaret's relations with her friends to the wearing
of a necklace of social brilliants of the first water. A dreaded waif
among the merely fashionable, her relations with men and women of higher
tastes were such that, as Mr. Emerson says, "All the art, the thought,
and the nobleness in New England seemed at that moment related to her,
and she to it."

In the houses of such friends she was always a desired guest, and in her
various visitings she "seemed like the queen of some parliament of love,
who carried the key to all confidences, and to whom every question had
been referred."

Mr. Emerson gives some portraits which make evident the variety as well
as the extent of Margaret's attraction. Women noted for beauty and for
social talent, votaries of song, students of art and literature,--men as
well as women,--vied with each other in their devotion to her. To each
she assumed and sustained a special relation whose duties and offices
she never neglected nor confounded. To each she became at once a source
of inspiration and a court of appeal. The beneficence of her influence
may be inferred from the lasting gratitude of her friends, who always
remembered her as having wisely guided and counselled them.

Any human life is liable to be modified by the supposition that its
results are of great interest to some one whose concern in them is not a
selfish one. Where this supposition is verified by corresponding acts,
the power of the individual is greatly multiplied. This merciful, this
providential interest Margaret felt for each of her many friends. There
was no illusion in the sense of her value which they, all and severally,

Where, we may ask, shall we look to-day for a friendliness so wide and
so availing? We can only answer that such souls are not sent into the
world every day. Few of us can count upon inspiring even in those who
are nearest and dearest to us this untiring concern in our highest
welfare. But such a friend to so many it would be hard to find.

When we consider Margaret's love of literature, and her power of making
its treasures her own, we must think of this passion of hers for
availing intercourse with other minds as indeed a providential gift
which no doubt lavished in passing speech much that would have been
eloquent on paper, but which evidently had on society the immediate and
intensified effect which distinguishes the living word above the dead



Margaret's enthusiasm for art was in some measure the result of her
study of Goethe. Yet she had in herself a love of the beautiful, and a
sense of its office in life, which would naturally have led her far in
the direction in which this great master gave her so strong an
impulsion. In her multifarious reading she gave much time to the
literature of art, and in those days had read everything that related to
Michael Angelo and Raphael, Quatremère de Quincy, Condivi, Vasari,
Benvenuto Cellini, and others. The masters themselves she studied in the
casts of the Boston Athenæum, in the Brimmer Collection of Engravings,
and in the contents of certain portfolios which a much-esteemed friend
placed at her service, and which contained all the designs of Michael
and Raphael.

The delight which Margaret felt in these studies demanded the sympathy
of her elect associates, and Mr. Emerson remembers certain months as
having been "colored with the genius of these Italians." In 1839 Mr.
Allston's numerous works were collected for a public exhibition which
drew to Boston lovers of art from many distant places. In the same year
some sculptures of Greenough and Crawford were added to the attractions
of the Boston Athenæum.

In Margaret's appreciation of these works, if we may believe Mr.
Emerson, a certain fanciful interpretation of her own sometimes took the
place of a just estimate of artistic values. Yet he found her opinion
worthy of attention, as evincing her real love of beautiful things, and
her great desire to understand the high significance of art. He makes
some quotations from her notes on the Athenæum Gallery of sculpture in

Here she finds marble busts of Byron and Napoleon. The first, with all
its beauty, appears to her "sultry, stern, all-craving, all-commanding,"
and expressive of something which accounts for what she calls "the grand
failure of his scheme of existence." The head of Napoleon is, she says,
not only stern but ruthless. "Yet this ruthlessness excites no aversion.
The artist has caught its true character, and given us here the Attila,
the instrument of fate to serve a purpose not his own." She groups the
poet and the warrior together as having, "the one in letters, the other
in arms, represented more fully than any other the tendency of their
time; [they] more than any other gave it a chance for reaction." Near
these she finds a head of the poet Ennius, and busts also of Edward
Everett, Washington Allston, and Daniel Webster. Her comment upon this
juxtaposition is interesting.

"Yet even near the Ennius and Napoleon our American men look worthy to
be perpetuated in marble or bronze, if it were only for their air of
calm, unpretending sagacity."

Mr. Henry James, Jr., writing of Nathaniel Hawthorne, speaks of the
Massachusetts of forty or more years ago as poor in its æsthetic
resources. Works of art indeed were then few in number, and decorative
industry, in its present extent, was not dreamed of. But in the
intellectual form of appreciative criticism the Boston of that day was
richer than the city of our own time. The first stage of culture is
cultivation, and the art lovers of that day had sowed the seed of
careful study, and were intent upon its growth and ripening. If
possession is nine points of the law, as it is acknowledged to be, the
knowledge of values may be said to be nine points of possession, and
Margaret and her friends, with their knowledge of the import of art,
and with their trained and careful observation of its outward forms, had
a richer feast in the casts and engravings of that time than can be
enjoyed to-day by the amateur, who, with a _bric-a-brac_ taste and
_blasé_ feeling, haunts the picture-shops of our large cities, or treads
the galleries in which the majestic ghosts of earnest times rebuke his
flippant frivolity.

We have lingered over these records of Margaret's brilliant youth,
because their prophecies aid us greatly in the interpretation of her
later life. The inspired maiden of these letters and journals is very
unlike the "Miss Fuller" who in those very days was sometimes quoted as
the very embodiment of all that is ungraceful and unfeminine. How little
were the beauties of her mind, the graces of her character, guessed at
or sought for by those who saw in her unlikeness to the popular or
fashionable type of the time matter only for derisive comment!

It may not be unimportant for us here to examine a little the
_rationale_ of Margaret's position, and inquire whether the trait which
occasioned so much animadversion was not the concomitant of one of
Margaret's most valuable qualities. This we should call a belief in her
own moral and intellectual power, which impelled her to examine and
decide all questions for herself, and which enabled her to accomplish
many a brave work and sacrifice. This sense of her own power was
answered by the common confession of weakness which then was, and still
is, a part of the received creed of women on the level of good society.
Did not the prone and slavish attitude of these women appear to Margaret
as fatal to character as it really is?

"I am only a woman," was a remark often heard in that day, as in this,
from women to whom that "only" was not to be permitted! Only the
guardian of the beginning of life, only the sharer in all its duties and
inspirations? Culture and Christianity recognized as much as this, but
the doctrine still remained an abstract one, and equal rights were
scarcely thought of as a corollary to equal duties. Margaret never saw,
though she foresaw, the awakening and recognition of the new womanhood
which is already changing the aspect of civilized society. An eccentric
in her own despite, she had dared assume her full height, and to demand
her proper place. Her position was as exceptional as was her genius.
From the isolation of her superiority, was it wonderful that she should
consider it more absolute than it really was?

This exaggerated sense of power is perhaps nothing more than the
intensification of consciousness which certain exigencies will awaken in
those who meet them with a special work to do and a special gift to do
it with. It must be remembered that Margaret's self-esteem did not
really involve any disesteem of others. She honored in all their best
traits, and her only ground of quarrel with humanity at large was its
derogation from its own dignity, its neglect of its own best interests.
Such a sense of human value as she possessed was truly a Christian gift,
and it was in virtue of this that she was able to impart such
exhilaration and hopefulness to those who were content to learn of her.

But here, in our chronicle, the early morning hours are already over.
The inward conquest which was sealed by the sunbeam of that "sallow"
November day becomes the prelude to an outward struggle with
difficulties which tasked to the utmost the strength acquired by our
neophyte through prayer and study.

In the spring of 1833 Margaret found herself obliged to leave the
academic shades of Cambridge for the country retirement of Groton. Her
father, wearied with a long practice of the law, had removed his
residence to the latter place, intending to devote his later years to
literary labor and the education of his younger children. To Margaret
this change was unwelcome, and the result showed it, at a later day, to
have been unfortunate for the family. She did not, however, take here
the position of a malcontent, but that of one who, finding herself
removed from congenial surroundings, knows how to summon to her aid the
hosts of noble minds with which study has made her familiar. Her German
books go with her, and Goethe, Schiller, and Jean Paul solace her lonely
hours. She reads works on architecture, and books of travel in Italy,
while sympathy with her father's pursuits leads her to interest herself
in American history, concerning which he had collected much information
with a view to historical composition.

We find her also engaged in tuition. She has four pupils, probably the
younger children of the family, and gives lessons in three languages
five days in the week, besides teaching geography and history. She has
much needlework to do, and the ill-health of her mother and grandmother
brings additional cares. The course of study which she has marked out
for herself can only be pursued, she says, on three evenings in the
week, and at chance hours in the day. It includes a careful perusal of
Alfieri's writings and an examination into the evidences of the
Christian religion. To this she is impelled by "distressing sceptical
notions" of her own, and by the doubts awakened in her mind by the
arguments of infidels and of deists, some of whom are numbered among her

The following letter, addressed by Margaret to a much-admired friend,
will give us some idea of the playful mood which relieved her days of
serious application.

     "GROTON, 1834.


     "Are you not ashamed, O most friendshipless clergywoman! not to
     have enlivened my long seclusion by one line? Does the author of
     the 'lecture delivered with much applause before the Brooklyn
     Lyceum' despise and wish to cast off the author of 'essays
     contumeliously rejected by that respected publication, the
     "Christian Examiner"?' That a little success should have such power
     to steel the female heart to base ingratitude! O Ally! Ally! wilt
     thou forget that it was I (in happier hours thou hast full oft
     averred it) who first fanned the spark of thy ambition into flame?
     Think'st thou that thou owest naught to those long sweeps over the
     inexpressive realities of literature, when thou wast obliged to
     trust to my support, thy own opinions as yet scarce budding from
     thy heels or shoulders? Dost thou forget--but my emotions will not
     permit me to pursue the subject; surely I must have jogged your
     conscience sufficiently. I shall follow the instructions of the
     great Goethe, and, having in some degree vented my feelings,
     address you as if you were what you ought to be. Still remains
     enveloped in mystery the reason why neither you nor my reverend
     friend came to bid me good-by before I left your city, according to
     promise. I suspected the waiter at the time of having intercepted
     your card; but your long venomous silence has obliged me to acquit
     him. I had treasured up sundry little anecdotes touching my journey
     homeward, which, if related with dramatic skill, might excite a
     smile on your face, O laughter-loving blue-stocking! I returned
     home under the protection of a Mr. Fullerton, fresh from London and
     Paris, who gave me an entirely new view of continental affairs. He
     assured me that the German Prince[A] was an ignorant pretender, in
     the face of my assurances that I had read and greatly admired his
     writings, and gave me a contemptuous description of Waldo Emerson
     _dining in boots_ at Timothy Wiggin's, _absolument à faire mourir_!
     All his sayings were exquisite. And then a _sui generis mother_
     whom I met with on board the steamboat. All my pretty pictures are
     blotted out by the rude hand of Time: verily this checking of
     speech is dangerous. If all the matter I have been preserving for
     various persons is in my head, packed away, distributed among the
     various organs, how immensely will my head be developed when I
     return to the world. This is the first time in my life that I have
     known what it is to have nobody to speak to, _c'est à dire_, of my
     own peculiar little fancies. I bear it with strange philosophy, but
     I do wish to be written to. I will tell you how I pass my time
     without society or exercise. Even till two o'clock, sometimes
     later, I pour ideas into the heads of the little Fullers; much runs
     out--indeed, I am often reminded of the chapter on home education,
     in the 'New Monthly.' But the few drops which remain mightily
     gladden the sight of my father. Then I go down-stairs and ask for
     my letters from the post; this is my only pleasure, according to
     the ideas most people entertain of pleasure. Do you write me an
     excellent epistle by return of mail, or I will make your head ache
     by a minute account of the way in which the remaining hours are
     spent. I have only lately read the 'Female Sovereigns' of your
     beloved Mrs. Jameson, and like them better than any of her works.
     Her opinions are clearly expressed, sufficiently discriminating,
     and her manner unusually simple. I was not dazzled by excess of
     artificial light, nor cloyed by spiced and sweetened sentiments. My
     love to your revered husband, and four kisses to Edward, two on
     your account, one for his beauty, and one abstract kiss, symbol of
     my love for all little children in general. Write of him, of
     Mr. ----'s sermons, of your likes and dislikes, of any new
     characters, sublime or droll, you may have unearthed, and of all
     other things I should like.

     "Affectionately your country friend, poor and humble


In the summer of 1835 a great pleasure and refreshment came to Margaret
in the acquaintance of Miss Martineau, whom she met while on a visit to
her friend, Mrs. Farrar, in Cambridge. In speaking of this first meeting
Margaret says: "I wished to give myself wholly up to receive an
impression of her.... What shrewdness in detecting various shades of
character! Yet what she said of Hannah More and Miss Edgeworth grated
upon my feelings." In a later conversation "the barrier that separates
acquaintance from friendship" was passed, and Margaret felt, beneath the
sharpness of her companion's criticism, the presence of a truly human

The two ladies went to church together, and the minister prayed "for our
friends." Margaret was moved by this to offer a special prayer for Miss
Martineau, which so impressed itself upon her mind that she was able to
write it down. We quote the part of it which most particularly refers to
her new friend:--

"May her path be guarded, and blessed. May her noble mind be kept
firmly poised in its native truth, unsullied by prejudice or error, and
strong to resist whatever outwardly or inwardly shall war against its
high vocation. May each day bring to this generous seeker new riches of
true philosophy and of Divine love. And, amidst all trials, give her to
know and feel that thou, the All-sufficing, art with her, leading her on
through eternity to likeness of thyself."

The change of base which, years after this time, transformed Miss
Martineau into an enthusiastic disbeliever would certainly not have
seemed to Margaret an answer to her prayer. But as the doctrine that
"God reveals himself in many ways" was not new to her, and as her
petition includes the Eternities, we may believe that she appreciated
the sincerity of her friend's negations, and anticipated for her, as for
herself, a later vision of the Celestial City, whose brightness should
rise victorious above the mists of speculative doubt.

A serious illness intervened at this time, brought on, one might think,
by the intense action of Margaret's brain, stimulated by her manifold
and unremitting labors. For nine days and nights she suffered from
fever, accompanied by agonizing pain in her head. Her beloved mother was
at her bedside day and night. Her father, usually so reserved in
expressions of affection, was moved by the near prospect of her death
to say to her: "My dear, I have been thinking of you in the night, and I
cannot remember that you have any _faults_. You have defects, of course,
as all mortals have, but I do not know that you have a single fault."
These words were intended by him as a _viaticum_ for her, but they were
really to be a legacy of love to his favorite child.

Margaret herself anticipated death with calmness, and, in view of the
struggles and disappointments of life, with willingness. But the
threatened bolt was to fall upon a head dearer to her than her own. In
the early autumn of the same year her father, after a two days' illness,
fell a victim to cholera.

Margaret's record of the grief which this affliction brought her is very
deep and tender. Her father's image was ever present to her, and seemed
even to follow her to her room, and to look in upon her there. Her most
poignant sorrow was in the thought, suggested to many by similar
afflictions, that she might have kept herself nearer to him in sympathy
and in duty. The altered circumstances of the family, indeed, soon
aroused her to new activities. Mr. Fuller had left no will, and had
somewhat diminished his property by unproductive investments. Margaret
now found new reason to wish that she belonged to the sterner sex,
since, had she been eldest son instead of eldest daughter, she might
have become the administrator of her father's estate and the guardian of
her sister and brothers. She regretted her ignorance of such details of
business as are involved in the care of property, and determined to
acquaint herself with them, reflecting that "the same mind which has
made other attainments can in time compass these." In this hour of trial
she seeks and finds relief and support in prayer.

"May God enable me to see the way clear, and not to let down the
intellectual in raising the moral tone of my mind. Difficulties and
duties became distinct the very night after my father's death, and a
solemn prayer was offered then that I might combine what is due to
others with what is due to myself. The spirit of that prayer I shall
constantly endeavor to maintain."

This death, besides the sorrow and perplexity which followed it, brought
to Margaret a disappointment which seemed to her to bar the fulfilment
of her highest hopes. She had for two years been contemplating a visit
to Europe, with a view to the better prosecution of her studies. She had
earned the right to this indulgence beforehand, by assisting in the
education of the younger children of the family. An opportunity now
offered itself of making this journey under the most auspicious
circumstances. Her friends, Mr. and Mrs. Farrar, were about to cross the
ocean, and had invited her to accompany them. Miss Martineau was to be
of the party, and Margaret now saw before her, not only this beloved
companionship, but also the open door which would give her an easy
access to literary society in England, and to the atmosphere of
old-world culture which she so passionately longed to breathe.

With this brilliant vision before her, and with her whole literary
future trembling, as she thought, in the scale, Margaret prayed only
that she might make the right decision. This soon became clear to her,
and she determined, in spite of the entreaties of her family, to remain
with her careworn mother, and not to risk the possibility of encroaching
upon the fund necessary for the education of her brothers and sister.

Of all the crownings of Margaret's life, shall we not most envy her that
of this act of sacrifice? So near to the feast of the gods, she prefers
the fast of duty, and recognizes the claims of family affection as more
imperative than the gratification of any personal taste or ambition.

Margaret does not seem to have been supported in this trial by any sense
of its heroism. Her decision was to her simply a following of the
right, in which she must be content, as she says, to forget herself and
act for the sake of others.

We may all be glad to remember this example, and to refer to it those
who find themselves in a maze of doubt between what they owe to the
cultivation of their own gifts, what to the need and advantage of those
to whom they stand in near relation. Had Margaret at this time forsaken
her darkened household, the difference to its members would have been
very great, and she herself would have added to the number of those
doubting or mistaken souls who have been carried far from the scene of
their true and appointed service by some dream of distinction never to
be fulfilled. In the sequel she was not only justified, but rewarded.
The sacrifice she had made secured the blessings of education to the
younger members of her family. Her prayer that the lifting of her moral
nature might not lower the tone of her intellect was answered, as it was
sure to be, and she found near at hand a field of honor and usefulness
which the brilliant capitals of Europe would not have offered her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Margaret's remaining days in Groton were passed in assiduous reading,
and her letters and journals make suggestive comments on Goethe,
Shelley, Sir James Mackintosh, Herschel, Wordsworth, and others. Her
scheme of culture was what we should now call encyclopedic, and embraced
most, if not all, departments of human knowledge. If she was at all
mistaken in her scope, it was in this, that she did not sufficiently
appreciate the inevitable limitations of brain power and of bodily
strength. Her impatience of such considerations led her to an habitual
over-use of her brilliant faculties which resulted in an impaired state
of health.

In the autumn of 1836 Margaret left Groton, not without acknowledgment
of "many precious lessons given there in faith, fortitude, self-command,
and unselfish love.

"There, too, in solitude, the mind acquired more power of concentration,
and discerned the beauty of strict method; there, too, more than all,
the heart was awakened to sympathize with the ignorant, to pity the
vulgar, to hope for the seemingly worthless, and to commune with the
Divine Spirit of Creation."



Margaret's removal was to Boston, where a twofold labor was before her.
She was engaged to teach Latin and French in Mr. Alcott's school, then
at the height of its prosperity, and intended also to form classes of
young ladies who should study with her French, German, and Italian.

Mr. Alcott's educational theories did not altogether commend themselves
to Margaret's judgment. They had in them, indeed, the germ of much that
is to-day recognized as true and important. But Margaret considered him
to be too much possessed with the idea of the unity of knowledge, too
little aware of the complexities of instruction.

He, on the other hand, describes her "as a person clearly given to the
boldest speculation, and of liberal and varied acquirements. Not wanting
in imaginative power, she has the rarest good sense and discretion. The
blending of sentiment and of wisdom in her is most remarkable, and her
taste is as fine as her prudence. I think her the most brilliant talker
of her day."

Margaret now passed through twenty-five weeks of incessant labor,
suffering the while from her head, which she calls "a bad head," but
which we should consider a most abused one. Her retrospect of this
period of toil is interesting, and with its severity she remembers also
its value to her. Meeting with many disappointments at the outset, and
feeling painfully the new circumstances which obliged her to make
merchandise of her gifts and acquirements, she yet says that she
rejoices over it all, "and would not have undertaken an iota less."
Besides fulfilling her intention of self-support, she feels that she has
gained in the power of attention, in self-command, and in the knowledge
of methods of instruction, without in the least losing sight of the aims
which had made hitherto the happiness and enthusiasm of her life.

Here is, in brief, the tale of her winter's work.

To one class she gave elementary instruction in German, and that so
efficiently that her pupils were able to read the language with ease at
the end of three months. With another class she read, in twenty-four
weeks, Schiller's "Don Carlos," "Artists," and "Song of the Bell;"
Goethe's "Herman und Dorothea," "Götz von Berlichingen," "Iphigenia,"
first part of "Faust," and "Clavigo;" Lessing's "Nathan der Weise,"
"Minna," and "Emilia Galotti;" parts of Tieck's "Phantasus," and nearly
all of the first volume of Richter's "Titan."

With the Italian class she read parts of Tasso, Petrarch, Ariosto,
Alfieri, and the whole hundred cantos of Dante's "Divina Commedia."
Besides these classes she had also three private pupils, one of them a
boy unable to use his eyes in study. She gave this child oral
instruction in Latin, and read to him the History of England and
Shakespeare's plays in connection. The lessons given by her in Mr.
Alcott's school were, she says, valuable to her, but also very

Though already so much overtasked, Margaret found time and strength to
devote one evening every week to the _viva voce_ translation of German
authors for Dr. Channing's benefit, reading to him mostly from De Wette
and Herder. Much conversation accompanied these readings, and Margaret
confesses that she finds therein much food for thought, while the
Doctor's judgments appear to her deliberate, and his sympathies somewhat
slow. She speaks of him as entirely without any assumption of
superiority towards her, and as trusting "to the elevation of his
thoughts to keep him in his place." She also greatly enjoyed his
preaching, the force and earnestness of which seemed to her "to purge as
by fire."

If Margaret was able to review her winter's work with pleasure, we must
regard it with mingled wonder and dismay. The range and extent of her
labors were indeed admirable, combining such extremes as enabled her to
minister to the needs of the children in Mr. Alcott's school, and to
assist the studies of the most eminent divine of the day. If we look
only at her classes in literature, we shall find it wonderful that a
woman of twenty-six should have been able to give available instruction
in directions so many and various.

On the other hand, we must think that the immense extent of ground gone
over involved too rapid a study of the separate works comprised in it.
Here was given a synopsis of literary work which, properly performed,
would fill a lifetime. It was no doubt valuable to her pupils through
the vivifying influence of her enthusiastic imagination, which may have
enabled some of them, in after years, to fill out the sketch of culture
so boldly and broadly drawn before their eyes. Yet, considered as
instruction, it must, from its very extent, have been somewhat

Our dismay would regard the remorseless degree in which Margaret, at
this time, must have encroached upon the reserves of her bodily
strength. Some physicists of to-day ascribe to women a peculiar power of
concentrating upon one short effort an amount of vital force which
should carry them through long years, and which, once expended, cannot
be restored. Margaret's case would certainly justify this view; for,
while a mind so vigorous necessarily presupposes a body of uncommon
vigor, she was after this time always a sufferer, and never enjoyed that
perfect equipoise of function and of power which we call health.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the spring of the year 1837 Margaret was invited to fill an important
post in the Greene Street School, at Providence, R. I. It was proposed
that she should teach the elder girls four hours daily, arranging
studies and courses at her own discretion, and receiving a salary of one
thousand dollars per annum.

Margaret hesitated to accept this offer, feeling inclined rather to
renew her classes of the year just past, and having in mind also a life
of Goethe which she greatly desired to write, and for which she was
already collecting material. In the end, however, the prospect of
immediate independence carried the day, and she became the "Lady
Superior," as she styles it, of the Providence school. Here a nearer
view of the great need of her services stimulated her generous efforts,
and she was rewarded by the love and reverence of her pupils, and by the
knowledge that she did indeed bring them an awakening which led them
from inert ignorance to earnest endeavor.

Margaret's record of her stay in Providence is enlivened by portraits of
some of the men of mark who came within her ken. Among these was Tristam
Burgess, already old, whose baldness, she says, "increases the fine
effect of his appearance, for it seems as if the locks had retreated
that the contour of his strongly marked head might be revealed." The
eminent lawyer, Whipple, is not, she says, a man of the Webster class;
but is, in her eyes, first among men of the class immediately below, and
wears "a pervading air of ease and mastery which shows him fit to be a
leader of the flock." John Neal, of Portland, speaks to her girls on the
destiny and vocation of woman in America, and in private has a long talk
with her concerning woman, whigism, modern English poets, Shakespeare,
and particularly "Richard the Third," concerning which play the two
"actually had a fight." "Mr. Neal," she says, "does not argue quite
fairly, for he uses reason while it lasts, and then helps himself out
with wit, sentiment, and assertion." She hears a discourse and prayer
from Joseph John Gurney, of England, in whose matter and manner she
finds herself grievously disappointed: "Quakerism has at times looked
lovely to me, and I had expected at least a spiritual exposition of its
doctrines from the brother of Mrs. Fry. But his manner was as wooden as
his matter. His figures were paltry, his thoughts narrowed down, and his
very sincerity made corrupt by spiritual pride. The poet, Richard H.
Dana, in those days gave a course of readings from the English
dramatists, beginning with Shakespeare. Margaret writes:--

"The introductory was beautiful.... All this was arrayed in a garb of
most delicate grace; but a man of such genuine refinement undervalues
the cannon-blasts and rockets which are needed to rouse the attention of
the vulgar. His naïve gestures, the rapt expression of his face, his
introverted eye, and the almost childlike simplicity of his pathos carry
one back into a purer atmosphere, to live over again youth's fresh
emotions." Her _résumé_ of him ends with these words: "Mr. Dana has the
charms and the defects of one whose object in life has been to preserve
his individuality unprofaned."

Margaret's connection with the Greene Street School in Providence
lasted two years. Her success in this work was considered very great,
and her brief residence in Rhode Island was crowned with public esteem
and with many valued friendships.

Her parting from the pupils here was not without tears on both sides.
Although engaged to teach the elder girls, Margaret's care had extended
over the younger ones, and also over some of the boys. With all she
exchanged an affectionate farewell, in which words of advice were
mingled. To the class of girls which had been her especial charge she
made a farewell address whose impressive sentences must have been long
remembered. Here are some of them:--

"I reminded them of the ignorance in which some of them had been found,
and showed them how all my efforts had necessarily been directed to
stimulating their minds, leaving undone much which, under other
circumstances, would have been deemed indispensable. I thanked them for
the moral beauty of their conduct, bore witness that an appeal to
conscience had never failed, and told them of my happiness in having the
faith thus confirmed that young persons can be best guided by addressing
their highest nature. I assured them of my true friendship, proved by my
never having cajoled or caressed them into good. All my influence over
them was rooted in reality; I had never softened nor palliated their
faults. I had appealed, not to their weakness, but to their strength. I
had offered to them always the loftiest motives, and had made every
other end subservient to that of spiritual growth. With a heart-felt
blessing I dismissed them."

       *       *       *       *       *

In those days appeared Miss Martineau's book on America, of which we may
say that its sharply critical tone stirred the national consciousness,
and brought freshly into consideration the question of negro slavery,
the discussion of which had been by common consent banished from "good"
society in the United States. Miss Martineau dared to reprobate this
institution in uncompromising language, and, while showing much
appreciation of the natural beauties of the country, was generally
thought to have done injustice to its moral and social characteristics.

While Margaret regarded with indignation the angry abuse with which her
friend's book was greeted on this side of the Atlantic, she felt obliged
to express to her the disappointment which she herself had felt on
reading it. She acknowledges that the work has been "garbled,
misrepresented, scandalously ill-treated." Yet she speaks of herself as
one of those who, seeing in the book "a degree of presumptuousness,
irreverence, inaccuracy, hasty generalization, and ultraism on many
points which they did not expect, lament the haste in which you have
written, and the injustice which you have consequently done to so
important a task, and to your own powers of being and doing."

Among other grievances, Margaret especially felt the manner in which
Miss Martineau had written about Mr. Alcott. This she could not pass
over without comment: "A true and noble man; a philanthropist, whom a
true and noble woman, also a philanthropist, should have delighted to
honor; a philosopher, worthy the palmy times of ancient Greece; a man
whom the worldlings of Boston hold in as much horror as the worldlings
of ancient Athens did Socrates. They smile to hear their verdict
confirmed from the other side of the Atlantic by their censor, Harriet

Margaret expresses in this letter the fear lest the frankness of her
strictures should deprive her of the regard of her friend, but says, "If
your heart turns from me, I shall still love you, still think you

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1840 Margaret was solicited to become the editor of the "Dial," and
undertook, for two years, the management of the magazine, which was at
this time considered as the organ of the Transcendentalists. The "Dial"
was a quarterly publication, somewhat nebulous in its character, but
valuable as the expression of fresh thought, stimulating to culture of a
new order. Like the transcendental movement itself, it had in it the
germs of influences which in the course of the last forty years have
come to be widely felt and greatly prized. In the newness of its birth
and origin, it needed nursing fathers and nursing mothers, but was fed
mostly, so far as concerns the general public, with neglect and

Margaret, besides laboring with great diligence in her editorship,
contributed to its pages many papers on her favorite points of study,
such as Goethe, Beethoven, Romantic poetry, John Stirling, etc. Of the
"Dial," Mr. Emerson says: "Good or bad, it cost a good deal of precious
labor from those who served it, and from Margaret most of all." As there
were no funds behind the enterprise, contributors were not paid for
their work, and Margaret's modest salary of two hundred dollars per
annum was discontinued after the first year.

The magazine lived four years. In England and Scotland it achieved a
_succès d'estime_, and a republication of it in these days is about to
make tardy amends for the general indifference which allowed its career
to terminate so briefly.

Copies of the original work, now a literary curiosity, can here and
there be borrowed from individuals who have grown old in the service of
human progress. A look into the carefully preserved volumes shows us the
changes which time has wrought in the four decades of years which have
elapsed (quite or nearly) since the appearance of the last number.

A melancholy touches us as we glance hither and thither among its pages.
How bright are the morning hours marked on this Dial! How merged now in
the evening twilight and darkness! Here is Ralph Waldo Emerson, with
life's meridian still before him. Here are printed some of his earliest
lectures and some of the most admired of his poems. Here are the
graceful verses of Christopher P. Cranch, artist and poet. Here are the
Channing cousins, nephews of the great man by different brothers, one,
William Henry Channing, then, as always, fervid and unrelinquishing in
faith; the other, William Ellery, a questioner who, not finding himself
answered to his mind, has ceased to ask. Here is Theodore Parker, a
youthful critic of existing methods and traditions, already familiar
with the sacred writings of many religions. A. Bronson Alcott appears in
various forms, contributing "Days from a Diary," "Orphic Sayings," and
so on. Here are, from various authors, papers entitled: "Social
Tendencies," "The Interior or Hidden Life," "The Pharisees," "Prophecy,
Transcendentalism, and Progress," "Leaves from a Scholar's Journal,"
"Ethnic Scriptures," "The Preaching of Buddha," "Out-World and
In-World,"--headings which themselves afford an insight into the
direction of the speculative thought and fancy of the time. An article
on the Hollis Street Council presents to us the long-forgotten
controversy between Rev. John Pierpont and his congregation, to settle
which a conference of the Unitarian clergy was summoned. Another,
entitled "Chardon Street and Bible Conventions," records the coming
together of a company of "madmen, mad women, men with beards, Dunkers,
Muggletonians, Come-outers, Groaners, Agrarians, Seventh-day Baptists,
Quakers, Abolitionists, Calvinists, Unitarians, and Philosophers," to
discuss church discipline and the authenticity of the Bible. Among those
present were Dr. Channing, Father Taylor, Mr. Alcott, Mr. Garrison,
Jones Very, and Mrs. Maria Weston Chapman. The chronicler says that "the
assembly was characterized by the predominance of a certain plain,
sylvan strength and earnestness, while many of the most intellectual and
cultivated persons attended its councils. Mrs. Little and Mrs. Lucy
Sessions took a pleasing and memorable part in the debate, and _that
flea of Conventions_, Mrs. Abigail Folsom, was but too ready with her
interminable scroll." In the July number of the year 1842 many pages are
devoted to a rehearsal of "the entertainments of the past winter," which
treats of Fanny Elssler's dancing, Braham's singing, oratorios, symphony
concerts, and various lectures. Among these last, those of Mr. Lyell
(afterwards Sir Charles) are curtly dismissed as "a neat article," while
those of Henry Giles are recognized as showing popular talent.

Among Margaret's own contributions to the "Dial," the article on Goethe
and that entitled "The Great Lawsuit" are perhaps the most noteworthy.
We shall find the second of these expanded into the well-known "Woman in
the Nineteenth Century," of which mention will be made hereafter. The
one first named seems to demand some notice here, the fine
discrimination of its criticism showing how well qualified the writer
was to teach the women of her day the true appreciation of genius, and
to warn them from the idolatry which worships the faults as well as the
merits of great minds.

From a lover of Goethe, such sentences as the following were scarcely to
have been expected:--

"Pardon him, World, that he was too worldly. Do not wonder, Heart, that
he was so heartless. Believe, Soul, that one so true, as far as he
went, must yet be initiated into the deeper mysteries of soul.

"Naturally of a deep mind and shallow heart, he felt the sway of the
affections enough to appreciate their working in other men, but never
enough to receive their inmost regenerating influence."

Margaret finds a decline of sentiment and poetic power in Goethe, dating
from his relinquishment of Lili.

"After this period we find in him rather a wide and deep wisdom than the
inspirations of genius. His faith that all must issue well wants the
sweetness of piety; and the God he manifests to us is one of law or
necessity rather than of intelligent love.

"This mastery that Goethe prizes seems to consist rather in the skilful
use of means than in the clear manifestation of ends. Yet never let him
be confounded with those who sell all their birthright. He became blind
to the more generous virtues, the nobler impulses, but ever in
self-respect was busy to develop his nature. He was kind, industrious,
wise, gentlemanly, if not manly."

Margaret, with bold and steady hand, draws a parallel between Dante's
"Paradiso" and the second part of Goethe's "Faust." She prefers "the
grandly humble reliance of old Catholicism" to "the loop-hole redemption
of modern sagacity." Yet she thinks that Dante, perhaps, "had not so
hard a battle to wage as this other great poet." The fiercest passions
she finds less dangerous to the soul than the cold scepticism of the
understanding. She sums up grandly the spiritual ordeals of different
historical periods:--

"The Jewish demon assailed the man of Uz with physical ills, the Lucifer
of the Middle Ages tempted his passions; but the Mephistopheles of the
eighteenth century bade the finite strive to compass the infinite, and
the intellect attempt to solve all the problems of the soul."

       *       *       *       *       *

Among Margaret's published papers on literature and art is one entitled
"A Record of Impressions produced by the Exhibition of Mr. Allston's
Pictures in the Summer of 1839." She was moved to write this, she says,
partly by the general silence of the press on a matter of so much import
in the history of American art, and partly by the desire to analyze her
own views, and to ascertain, if possible, the reason why, at the close
of the exhibition, she found herself less a gainer by it than she had
expected. As Margaret gave much time and thought to art matters, and as
the Allston exhibition was really an event of historic interest, some
consideration of this paper will not be inappropriate in this place.

Washington Allston was at that time, had long been, and long continued
to be, the artist saint of Boston. A great personal prestige added its
power to that of his unquestioned genius.

Beautiful in appearance, as much a poet as a painter, he really seemed
to belong to an order of beings who might be called

                "Too bright and good
    For human nature's daily food."

He had flown into the heart of Europe when few American artists managed
to get so far. He had returned to live alone with his dreams, of which
one was the nightmare of a great painting which he never could finish,
and never did. He had kept the vulgar world at a distance from his life
and thought, intent on coining these into a succession of pictures which
claimed to have a mission to the age. The series of female heads which
are the most admirable of his works appeared to be the portraits of as
many ideal women who, with no existence elsewhere, had disclosed
themselves to him at his dreamy fireside or in his haunted studio. The
spirit of the age, in its highest extreme, was upon him, and the wave of
supervital aspiration swept him, as it did Channing and Emerson, beyond
the region of the visible and sensible. At that day, and for ten years
later, one might occasionally have seen in some street of Boston a
fragile figure, and upon it a head distinguished by snowy curls and
starry eyes. Here was the winter of age; here the perpetual summer of
the soul. The coat and hat did not matter; but they were of some quaint,
forgotten fashion, outlining the vision as belonging to the past. You
felt a modesty in looking at anything so unique and delicate. I remember
this vision as suddenly disclosed out of a bitter winter's day. And the
street was Chestnut Street, and the figure was Washington Allston going
to visit the poet Richard H. Dana. And not long afterwards the silvery
snows melted, and the soul which had made those eyes so luminous shot
back to its immortal sphere.

But, to leave the man and return to the artist. Mr. Allston's real merit
was too great to be seriously obscured by the over-sweep of imagination
to which he was subject. His best works still remain true classics of
the canvas; but the spirit which, through them, seemed to pass from his
mind into that of the public, has not to-day the recognition and
commanding interest which it then had.

Margaret had expected, as she says, to be greatly a gainer by her study
of this exhibition, and had been somewhat disappointed. Possibly her
expectations regarded a result too immediate and definite. Sights and
experiences that enrich the mind often do so insensibly. They pass out
of our consciousness; but in our later judgments we find our standard
changed, and refer back to them as the source of its enlargement.

Margaret was already familiar with several of the ideal heads of which
we have spoken, and which bore the names of Beatrice, Rosalie, the
Valentine, etc. Of these, as previously seen and studied, she says:--

"The calm and meditative cast of these pictures, the ideal beauty that
shone through rather than in them, and the harmony of coloring were as
unlike anything else I saw, as the 'Vicar of Wakefield' to Cooper's
novels. I seemed to recognize in painting that self-possessed elegance,
that transparent depth, which I most admire in literature."

With these old favorites she classes, as most beautiful among those now
shown, the Evening Hymn, the Italian Shepherd Boy, Edwin, Lorenzo and

"The excellence of these pictures is subjective, and even feminine. They
tell us the painter's ideal of character: a graceful repose, with a
fitness for moderate action; a capacity of emotion, with a habit of
reverie. Not one of these beings is in a state of _épanchement_. Not one
is, or perhaps could be, thrown off its equipoise. They are, even the
softest, characterized by entire though unconscious self-possession."

The head called Beatrice was sometimes spoken of in those days as
representing the Beatrice of Dante. Margaret finds in it nothing to
suggest the "Divina Commedia."

"How fair, indeed, and not unmeet for a poet's love. But what she is,
what she can be, it needs no Dante to discover. She is not a lustrous,
bewitching beauty, neither is she a high and poetic one. She is not a
concentrated perfume, nor a flower, nor a star. Yet somewhat has she of
every creature's best. She has the golden mean, without any touch of the

The landscapes in the exhibition gave her "unalloyed delight." She found
in them Mr. Allston's true mastery,--"a power of sympathy, which gives
each landscape a perfectly individual character.... The soul of the
painter," she says, "is in these landscapes, but not his character. Is
not that the highest art? Nature and the soul combined; the former freed
from crudities or blemishes, the latter from its merely human aspect."

Allston's Miriam suggests to Margaret a different treatment of the

"This maiden had been nurtured in a fair and highly civilized country,
in the midst of wrong and scorn indeed, but beneath the shadow of
sublime institutions. Amid all the pains and penances of slavery, the
memory of Joseph, the presence of Moses, exalt her soul to the highest
pitch of national pride.

"Imagine the stately and solemn beauty with which such nurture and such
a position might invest the Jewish Miriam. Imagine her at the moment
when her lips were unsealed, and she was permitted to sing the song of
deliverance. Realize this situation, and oh, how far will this beautiful
picture fall short of your demands!"

To such a criticism Mr. Allston might have replied that a picture in
words is one thing, a picture in colors quite another; and that the
complex intellectual expression in which Margaret delighted is
appropriate to literary, but not to pictorial art.

Much in the same way does she reason concerning one of Allston's most
admired paintings, which represents Jeremiah in prison dictating to

"The form of the prophet is brought out in such noble relief, is in such
fine contrast to the pale and feminine sweetness of the scribe at his
feet, that for a time you are satisfied. But by and by you begin to
doubt whether this picture is not rather imposing than majestic. The
dignity of the prophet's appearance seems to lie rather in the fine
lines of the form and drapery than in the expression of the face. It was
well observed by one who looked on him, that, if the eyes were cast
down, he would become an ordinary man. This is true, and the expression
of the bard must not depend on a look or gesture, but beam with mild
electricity from every feature. Allston's Jeremiah is not the mournfully
indignant bard, but the robust and stately Jew, angry that men will not
mark his word and go his way."

The test here imagined, that of concealing the eyes, would answer as
little in real as in pictured life. Although the method of these
criticisms is arbitrary, the conclusion to which they bring Margaret is
one in which many will agree with her:--

"The more I have looked at these pictures, the more I have been
satisfied that the grand historical style did not afford the scope most
proper to Mr. Allston's genius. The Prophets and Sibyls are for the
Michael Angelos. The Beautiful is Mr. Allston's dominion. Here he rules
as a genius, but in attempts such as I have been considering, can only
show his appreciation of the stern and sublime thoughts he wants force
to reproduce."

Margaret is glad to go back from these more labored and unequal
compositions to those lovely feminine creations which had made
themselves so beloved that they seemed to belong to the spiritual family
of Boston itself, and to "have floated across the painter's heaven on
the golden clouds of fantasy."

From this paper our thoughts naturally revert to what Mr. Emerson has
said of Margaret as an art critic:--

"Margaret's love of art, like that of most cultivated persons in this
country, was not at all technical, but truly a sympathy with the artist
in the protest which his work pronounced on the deformity of our daily
manners; her co-perception with him of the eloquence of form; her
aspiration with him to a fairer life. As soon as her conversation ran
into the mysteries of manipulation and artistic effect, it was less
trustworthy. I remember that in the first times when I chanced to see
pictures with her, I listened reverently to her opinions, and endeavored
to see what she saw. But on several occasions, finding myself unable to
reach it, I came to suspect my guide, and to believe at last that her
taste in works of art, though honest, was not on universal, but on
idiosyncratic grounds."



It is now time for us to speak of the portrait of Margaret drawn by the
hand of William Henry Channing. And first give us leave to say that Mr.
Emerson's very valuable statements concerning her are to be prized
rather for their critical and literary appreciation than accepted as
showing the insight given by strong personal sympathy.

While bound to each other by mutual esteem and admiration, Margaret and
Mr. Emerson were opposites in natural tendency, if not in character.
While Mr. Emerson never appeared to be modified by any change of
circumstance, never melted nor took fire, but was always and everywhere
himself, the soul of Margaret was subject to a glowing passion which
raised the temperature of the social atmosphere around her. Was this
atmosphere heavy with human dulness? Margaret so smote the ponderous
demon with her fiery wand that he was presently compelled to "caper
nimbly" for her amusement, or to flee from her presence. Was sorrow
master of the situation? Of this tyranny Margaret was equally
intolerant. The mourner must be uplifted through her to new hope and
joy. Frivolity and all unworthiness had reason to fear her, for she
denounced them to the face, with somnambulic unconcern. But where high
joys were in the ascendant, there stood Margaret, quick with her inner
interpretation, adding to human rapture itself the deep, calm lessoning
of divine reason. A priestess of life-glories, she magnified her office,
and in its grandeur sometimes grew grandiloquent. But with all this her
sense was solid, and her meaning clear and worthy.

Mr. Emerson had also a priesthood, but of a different order. The calm,
severe judgment, the unpardoning taste, the deliberation which not only
preceded but also followed his utterances, carried him to a remoteness
from the common life of common people, and allowed no intermingling of
this life with his own. For him, too, came a time of fusion which
vindicated his interest in the great issues of his time. But this was
not in Margaret's day, and to her he seemed the palm-tree in the desert,
graceful and admirable, bearing aloft a waving crest, but spreading no
sheltering and embracing branches.

William Henry Channing, whose reminiscences of Margaret stand last in
order in the memoirs already published, was more nearly allied to her in
character than either of his coadjutors. If Mr. Emerson's bane was a
want of fusion, the ruling characteristic of Mr. Channing was a heart
that melted almost too easily at the touch of human sympathy, and whose
heat and glow of feeling may sometimes have overswept the calmer power
of judgment.

He had heard of Margaret in her school-girl days as a prodigy of talent
and attainment. During the period of his own studies in Cambridge he
first made her acquaintance. He was struck, but not attracted, by her
"saucy sprightliness." Her intensity of temperament, unmeasured satire,
and commanding air were indeed somewhat repellent to him, and almost led
him to conjecture that she had chosen for her part in life the _rôle_ of
a Yankee Corinne. Her friendships, too, seemed to him extravagant. He
dreaded the encounter of a personality so imperious and uncompromising
in its demands, and was content to observe her at a safe and respectful
distance. Soon, however, through the "shining fog" of brilliant wit and
sentiment the real nobility of her nature made itself seen and felt. He
found her sagacious in her judgments. Her conversation showed breadth
of culture and depth of thought. Above all, he was made to feel her
great sincerity of purpose. "This it was," says he, "that made her
criticism so trenchant, her contempt of pretence so quick and stern."
The loftiness of her ideal explained the severity of her judgments, and
the heroic mould and impulse of her character had much to do with her
stately deportment. Thus the salient points which, at a distance, had
seemed to him defects, were found, on a nearer view, to be the
indications of qualities most rare and admirable.

James Freeman Clarke, an intimate of both parties, made them better
known to each other by his cordial interpretation of each to each. But
it was in the year 1839, in the days of Margaret's residence at Jamaica
Plain, that the friendship between these two eminent persons, "long
before rooted, grew up, and leafed, and blossomed." Mr. Channing traces
the beginning of this nearer relation to a certain day on which he
sought Margaret amid these new surroundings. It was a bright summer day.
The windows of Margaret's parlor commanded a pleasant view of meadows,
with hills beyond. She entered, bearing a vase of freshly gathered
flowers, her own tribute just levied from the garden. Of these, and of
their significance, was her first speech. From these she passed to the
engravings which adorned her walls, and to much talk of art and artists.
From this theme an easy transition led the conversation to Greece and
its mythology. A little later, Margaret began to speak of the friends
whose care had surrounded her with these objects of her delighting
contemplation. The intended marriage of two of the best beloved among
these friends was much in her mind at the moment, and Mr. Channing
compares the gradation of thought by which she arrived at the
announcement of this piece of intelligence to the progress and
_dénouement_ of a drama, so eloquent and artistic did it appear to him.

A ramble in Bussey's woods followed this indoor interview. In his
account of it Mr. Channing has given us not only a record of much that
Margaret said, but also a picture of how she looked on that
ever-remembered day.

"Reaching a moss-cushioned ledge near the summit, she seated herself....
As, leaning on one arm, she poured out her stream of thought, turning
now and then her eyes full upon me, to see whether I caught her meaning,
there was leisure to study her thoroughly. Her temperament was
predominantly what the physiologists would call nervous-sanguine; and
the gray eye, rich brown hair, and light complexion, with the muscular
and well-developed frame, bespoke delicacy balanced by vigor. Here was a
sensitive yet powerful being, fit at once for rapture or sustained
effort. She certainly had not beauty; yet the high-arched dome of the
head, the changeful expressiveness of every feature, and her whole air
of mingled dignity and impulse gave her a commanding charm."

Mr. Channing mentions, as others do, Margaret's habit of shutting her
eyes, and opening them suddenly, with a singular dilatation of the iris.
He dwells still more upon the pliancy of her neck, the expression of
which varied with her mood of mind. In moments of tender or pensive
feeling its curves were like those of a swan; under the influence of
indignation its movements were more like the swoopings of a bird of

"Finally, in the animation yet _abandon_ of Margaret's attitude and look
were rarely blended the fiery force of Northern, and the soft languor of
Southern races."

Until this day Mr. Channing had known Margaret through her intellect
only. This conversation of many hours revealed her to him in a new
light. It unfolded to him her manifold gifts and her deep experience,
her great capacity for joy, and the suffering through which she had
passed. She should have been an acknowledged queen among the magnates of
European culture: she was hedged about by the narrow intolerance of
provincial New England.

In a more generous soil her genius would have borne fruit of the highest
order. She felt this, felt that she failed of this highest result, and
was yet so patient, so faithful to duty, so considerate of all who had
claims upon her! Perceiving now the ardor of her nature and the strength
of her self-sacrifice, Margaret's new friend could not but bow in
reverence before her; and from that time the two always met as

Mr. Channing's reminiscences preserve for us a valuable _aperçu_ of the
Transcendental movement in New England, and of Margaret's relation to

The circle of the Transcendentalists was, for the moment, a new church,
with the joy and pain of a new evangel in its midst. In the very heart
of New England Puritanism, at that day hard, dry, and thorny, had sprung
up a new growth, like the blossoming of a century-plant, beautiful and
inconvenient. Boundaries had to be enlarged for it; for if society would
not give it room, it was determined to go outside of society, and to
assert, at all hazards, the freedom of inspiration.

While this movement was in a good degree one of simple protest and
reaction, it yet drew much of its inspiration from foreign countries and
periods of time remote from our own. From the standpoint of the present
it looked deeply into the past and into the future. Its leaders studied
Plato, Seneca, Epictetus, Plutarch, among the classic authors, and De
Wette, Hegel, Kant, and Fichte, among the prophets of modern thought.
The _welt-geist_ of the Germans was its ideal. Method, it could not
boast. Free discussion, abstinence from participation in ordinary social
life and religious worship, a restless seeking for sympathy, and a
constant formulation of sentiments which, exalted in themselves, seemed
to lose something of their character by the frequency with which they
were presented,--these are some of the traits which Transcendentalism
showed to the uninitiated.

To its Greek and Germanic elements was presently added an influence
borrowed from the systematic genius of France. The works of Fourier
became a gospel of hope to those who looked for a speedy regeneration of
society. George Ripley, an eminent scholar and critic, determined to
embody this hope in a grand experiment, and bravely organized the Brook
Farm Community upon a plan as nearly in accordance with the principles
laid down by Fourier as circumstances would allow. He was accompanied in
this new departure by a little band of fellow-workers, of whom one or
two were already well known as literary men, while others of them have
since attained distinction in various walks of life.

While all the Transcendentalists were not associationists, the family at
Brook Farm was yet considered as an outcome of the new movement, and as
such was regarded by its promoters with great sympathy and interest.

Margaret's position among the Transcendentalists may easily be imagined.
In such a group of awakened thinkers her place was soon determined. At
their frequent reunions she was a most welcome and honored guest. More
than this. Among those who claimed a fresh outpouring of the Spirit
Margaret was recognized as a bearer of the living word. She was not in
haste to speak on these occasions, but seemed for a time absorbed in
listening and in observation. When the moment came, she showed the
results of this attention by briefly restating the points already
touched upon, passing thence to the unfolding of her own views. This she
seems always to have done with much force, and with a grace no less
remarkable. She spoke slowly at first, with the deliberation inseparable
from weight of thought. As she proceeded, images and illustrations
suggested themselves to her mind in rapid succession. "The sweep of her
speech became grand," says Mr. Channing. Her eloquence was direct and
vigorous. Her wide range of reading supplied her with ready and copious
illustrations. The commonplace became original from her way of treating
it. She had power to analyze, power to sum up. Her use of language had a
rhythmic charm. She was sometimes grandiloquent, sometimes excessive in
her denunciation of popular evils and abuses, but her sincerity of
purpose, her grasp of thought and keenness of apprehension, were felt

       *       *       *       *       *

The source of these and similar sibylline manifestations is a subtle
one. Such a speaker, consciously or unconsciously, draws much of her
inspiration from the minds of those around her. Each of these in a
measure affects her, while she still remains mistress of herself. Her
thought is upheld by the general sympathy, which she suddenly lifts to a
height undreamed of before. She divines what each most purely wishes,
most deeply hopes; and so her words reveal to those present not only
their own unuttered thoughts, but also the higher significance and
completeness which she is able to give to these thoughts under the seal
of her own conviction. These fleeting utterances, alas! are lost, like
the leaves swept of old from the sibyl's cave. But as souls are, after
all, the most permanent facts that we know of, who shall say that one
breath of them is wasted?

Young hearts to-day, separated from the time we speak of by two or three
generations, may still keep the generous thrill which Margaret awakened
in the bosom of a grandmother, herself then in the bloom of youth.
Books, indeed, are laid away and forgotten, manuscripts are lost or
destroyed. The spoken word, fleeting though it be, may kindle a flame
that ages shall not quench, but only brighten.

While, therefore, it may well grieve us to-day that we cannot know
exactly what Margaret said nor how she said it, we may believe that the
inspiration which she felt and communicated to others remains, not the
less, a permanent value in the community.

Having already somewhat the position of a "come-outer," Margaret was
naturally supposed to be in entire sympathy with the Transcendentalists.
This supposition was strengthened by her assuming the editorship of the
"Dial," and Christopher Cranch, in caricaturing it, represented her as a
Minerva driving a team of the new _illuminati_. Margaret's journals and
letters, however, show that while she welcomed the new outlook towards a
possible perfection, she did not accept without reserve the enthusiasms
of those about her. "The good time coming," which seemed to them so
near, appeared to her very distant, and difficult of attainment. Her
views at the outset are aptly expressed in the following extract from
one of her letters:--

"Utopia it is impossible to build up. At least, my hopes for our race on
this one planet are more limited than those of most of my friends. I
accept the limitations of human nature, and believe a wise
acknowledgment of them one of the best conditions of progress. Yet every
noble scheme, every poetic manifestation, prophesies to man his eventual
destiny. And were not man ever more sanguine than facts at the moment
justify, he would remain torpid, or be sunk in sensuality. It is on this
ground that I sympathize with what is called the 'Transcendental party,'
and that I feel their aim to be the true one."

The grievance maintained against society by the new school of thought
was of a nature to make the respondent say: "We have piped unto you, and
ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not wept." The
status of New England, social and political, was founded upon liberal
traditions. Yet these friends placed themselves in opposition to the
whole existing order of things. The Unitarian discipline had delivered
them from the yoke of doctrines impossible to an age of critical
culture. They reproached it with having taken away the mystical ideas
which, in imaginative minds, had made the poetry of the old faith.
Margaret, writing of these things in 1840, well says: "Since the
Revolution there has been little in the circumstances of this country to
call out the higher sentiments. The effect of continued prosperity is
the same on nations as on individuals; it leaves the nobler faculties
undeveloped. The superficial diffusion of knowledge, unless attended by
a deepening of its sources, is likely to vulgarize rather than to raise
the thought of a nation.... The tendency of circumstances has been to
make our people superficial, irreverent, and more anxious to get a
living than to live mentally and morally." So much for the careless
crowd. In another sentence, Margaret gives us the clew to much of the
"divine discontent" felt by deeper thinkers. She says: "How much those
of us who have been formed by the European mind have to unlearn and lay
aside, if we would act here!"

The scholars of New England had indeed so devoted themselves to the
study of foreign literatures as to be little familiar with the spirit
and the needs of their own country. The England of the English classics,
the Germany of the German poets and philosophers, the Italy of the
Renaissance writers and artists, combined to make the continent in which
their thoughts were at home. The England of the commonalty, the Germany
and Italy of the peasant and artisan, were little known to them, and as
little the characteristic qualities and defects of their own
country-people. Hence their comparison of the old society with the new
was in great part founded upon what we may call "literary illusions."
Moreover, the German and English methods of thought were only partially
applicable to a mode of life whose conditions far transcended those of
European life in their freedom and in the objects recognized as common
to all.

Those of us who have numbered threescore years can remember the
perpetual lamentation of the cultivated American of forty years ago. His
whole talk was a cataloguing of negatives: "We have not this, we have
not that." To all of which the true answer would have been: "You have a
wonderful country, an exceptional race, an unparalleled opportunity. You
have not yet made your five talents ten. That is what you should set
about immediately."

The Brook Farm experiment probably appeared to Margaret in the light of
an Utopia. Her regard for the founders of the enterprise induced her,
nevertheless, to visit the place frequently. Of the first of these
visits her journal has preserved a full account.

The aspect of the new settlement at first appeared to her somewhat
desolate: "You seem to belong to nobody, to have a right to speak to
nobody; but very soon you learn to take care of yourself, and then the
freedom of the place is delightful."

The society of Mr. and Mrs. Ripley was most congenial to her, and the
nearness of the woods afforded an opportunity for the rambles in which
she delighted. But her time was not all dedicated to these calm
pleasures. Soon she had won the confidence of several of the inmates of
the place, who imparted to her their heart histories, seeking that aid
and counsel which she was so well able to give. She mentions the holding
of two conversations during this visit, in both of which she was the
leader. The first was on Education, a subject concerning which her ideas
differed from those adopted by the Community. The manners of some of
those present were too free and easy to be agreeable to Margaret, who
was accustomed to deference.

At the second conversation, some days later, the circle was smaller, and
no one showed any sign of weariness or indifference. The subject was
Impulse, chosen by Margaret because she observed among her new friends
"a great tendency to advocate spontaneousness at the expense of
reflection." Of her own part in this exercise she says:--

"I defended nature, as I always do,--the spirit ascending through, not
superseding nature. But in the scale of sense, intellect, spirit, I
advocated to-night the claims of intellect, because those present were
rather disposed to postpone them."

After the lapse of a year she found the tone of the society much
improved. The mere freakishness of unrestraint had yielded to a
recognition of the true conditions of liberty, and tolerance was
combined with sincerity.



Among Margaret's life-long characteristics was a genuine love of little
children, which sprang from a deep sense of the beauty and sacredness of
childhood. When she visited the homes of her friends, the little ones of
their households were taken into the circle of her loving attention.
Three of these became so especially dear to her that she called them her
children. These were Waldo Emerson, Pickie Greeley, and Herman Clarke.
For each of them the span of earthly life was short, no one of them
living to pass out of childhood.

Waldo was the eldest son of Mr. Emerson, the child deeply mourned and
commemorated by him in the well-known threnody:--

    "The hyacinthine boy for whom
     Morn well might break and April bloom.
     The gracious boy who did adorn
     The world whereinto he was born,
     And by his countenance repay
     The favor of the loving Day,
     Has disappeared from the Day's eye."

This death occurred in 1841. Margaret visited Concord soon afterward,
and has left in her journals a brief record of this visit, in which she
made the grief of her friends her own. We gather from its first phrase
that Mr. Emerson, whom she now speaks of as "Waldo," had wished her to
commit to writing some of her reminiscences of the dear one lately

"Waldo brought me at once the inkhorn and pen. I told him if he kept me
so strictly to my promise I might lose my ardor; however, I began at
once to write for him, but not with much success. Lidian came in to see
me before dinner. She wept for the lost child, and I was tempted to do
the same, which relieved much from the oppression I have felt since I
came. Waldo showed me all he and others had written about the child;
there is very little from Waldo's own observation, though he was with
him so much. He has not much eye for the little signs in children that
have such great leadings. The little there is, is good.

"'Mamma, may I have this little bell which I have been making, to stand
by the side of my bed?'

"'Yes, it may stand there.'

"'But, mamma, I am afraid it will alarm you. It may sound in the middle
of the night, and it will be heard over the whole town. It will sound
like some great glass thing which will fall down and break all to
pieces; it will be louder than a thousand hawks; it will be heard across
the water and in all the countries, it will be heard all over the

"I like this, because it was exactly so he talked, spinning away without
end and with large, beautiful, earnest eyes. But most of the stories are
of short sayings.

"This is good in M. Russell's journal of him. She had been telling him a
story that excited him, and then he told her this: 'How his horse went
out into a long, long wood, and how he looked through a squirrel's eyes
and saw a great giant, and the giant was himself.'

       *       *       *       *       *

"Went to see the Hawthornes; it was very pleasant, the poplars whisper
so suddenly their pleasant tale, and everywhere the view is so peaceful.
The house within I like, all their things are so expressive of
themselves and mix in so gracefully with the old furniture. H. walked
home with me; we stopped some time to look at the moon. She was
struggling with clouds. He said he should be much more willing to die
than two months ago, for he had had some real possession in life; but
still he never wished to leave this earth, it was beautiful enough. He
expressed, as he always does, many fine perceptions. I like to hear the
lightest thing he says.

"Waldo and I have good meetings, though we stop at all our old places.
But my expectations are moderate now; it is his beautiful presence that
I prize far more than our intercourse. He has been reading me his new
poems, and the other day at the end he asked me how I liked the 'little
subjective twinkle all through.'

       *       *       *       *       *

"_Saturday._ Dear Richard has been here a day or two, and his common
sense and homely affection are grateful after these fine people with
whom I live at sword's points, though for the present turned downwards.
It is well to 'thee' and 'thou' it after talking with angels and
geniuses. Richard and I spent the afternoon at Walden and got a great
bunch of flowers. A fine thunder-shower gloomed gradually up and turned
the lake inky black, but no rain came till sunset.

"_Sunday._ A heavy rain. I must stay at home. I feel sad. Mrs. Ripley
was here, but I only saw her a while in the afternoon and spent the day
in my room. Sunday I do not give to my duty writing, no indeed. I
finished yesterday, after a rest, the article on ballads. Though a
patchwork thing, it has craved time to do it."

       *       *       *       *       *

We come now to the period of the famous conversations in which, more
fully than in aught else, Margaret may be said to have delivered her
message to the women of her time. The novelty of such a departure in the
Boston of forty years ago may be imagined, and also the division of
opinion concerning it in those social circles which consider themselves
as charged with the guardianship of the taste of the community.

Margaret's attitude in view of this undertaking appears to have been a
modest and sensible one. She found herself, in the first place, under
the necessity of earning money for her own support and in aid of her
family. Her greatest gift, as she well knew, was in conversation. Her
rare eloquence did not much avail her at her desk, and though all that
she wrote had the value of thought and of study, it was in living speech
alone that her genius made itself entirely felt and appreciated. What
more natural than that she should have proposed to make this rare gift
available for herself and others? The reasons which she herself gives
for undertaking the experiment are so solid and sufficient as to make us
blush retrospectively for the merriment in which the thoughtless world
sometimes indulged concerning her. Her wish was "to pass in review the
departments of thought and knowledge, and endeavor to place them in due
relation to one another in our minds; to systematize thought, and give a
precision and clearness in which our sex are so deficient, chiefly, I
think, because they have so few inducements to test and classify what
they receive." In fine, she hoped to be able to throw some light upon
the momentous questions, "What were we born to do, and how shall we do

In looking forward to this effort, she saw one possible obstacle in
"that sort of vanity which wears the garb of modesty," and which, she
thinks, may make some women fear "to lay aside the shelter of vague
generalities, the art of coterie criticism," and the "delicate disdains
of _good society_," even to obtain a nearer view of truth itself. "Yet,"
she says, "as without such generous courage nothing of value can be
learned or done, I hope to see many capable of it."

The twofold impression which Margaret made is to be remarked in this
matter of the conversations, as elsewhere. Without the fold of her
admirers stood carping, unkind critics; within were enthusiastic and
grateful friends.

The first meeting of Margaret's Conversation Class was held at Miss
Peabody's rooms, in West Street, Boston, on the 6th of November, 1839.
Twenty-five ladies were present, who showed themselves to be of the
elect by their own election of a noble aim. These were all ladies of
superior position, gathered by a common interest from very various
belongings of creed and persuasion. At this, their first coming
together, Margaret prefaced her programme by some remarks on the
deficiencies in the education given to women, defects which she thought
that later study, aided by the stimulus of mutual endeavor and
interchange of thought, might do much to remedy. Her opening remarks are
as instructive to-day as they were when she uttered them:--

"Women are now taught, at school, all that men are. They run over,
superficially, even _more_ studies, without being really taught
anything. But with this difference: men are called on, from a very early
period, to reproduce all that they learn. Their college exercises, their
political duties, their professional studies, the first actions of life
in any direction, call on them to put to use what they have learned. But
women learn without any attempt to reproduce. Their only reproduction is
for purposes of display. It is to supply this defect that these
conversations have been planned."

Margaret had chosen the Greek Mythology for the subject of her first
conversations. Her reasons for this selection are worth remembering:--

"It is quite separated from all exciting local subjects. It is serious
without being solemn, and without excluding any mode of intellectual
action; it is playful as well as deep. It is sufficiently wide, for it
is a complete expression of the cultivation of a nation. It is also
generally known, and associated with all our ideas of the arts."

In considering this statement it is not difficult for us at this day to
read, as people say, between the lines. The religious world of
Margaret's youth was agitated by oppositions which rent asunder the
heart of Christendom. Margaret wished to lead her pupils beyond all
discord, into the high and happy unity. Her own nature was both fervent
and religious, but she could not accept intolerance either in belief or
in disbelief. To study with her friends the ethics of an ancient faith,
too remote to become the occasion of personal excitement, seemed to her
a step in the direction of freer thought and a more unbiassed criticism.
The Greek mythology, instinct with the genius of a wonderful people,
afforded her the desired theme. With its help she would introduce her
pupils to a sphere of serenest contemplation, in which Religion and
Beauty had become wedded through immortal types.

Margaret was not able to do this without awakening some orthodox
suspicion. This she knew how to allay; for when one of the class
demurred at the supposition that a Christian nation could have anything
to envy in the religion of a heathen one, Margaret said that she had no
desire to go back, and believed we have the elements of a deeper
civilization; yet the Christian was in its infancy, the Greek in its
maturity, nor could she look on the expression of a great nation's
intellect as insignificant. These fables of the gods were the result of
the universal sentiments of religion, aspiration, intellectual action,
of a people whose political and æsthetic life had become immortal.

Margaret's good hopes were justified by the success of her undertaking.
The value of what she had to impart was felt by her class from the
first. It was not received in a passive and compliant manner, but with
the earnest questioning which she had wished to awaken, and which she
was so well able both to promote and to satisfy.

In the first of her conversations ten of the twenty-five persons present
took part, and this number continued to increase in later meetings. Some
of these ladies had been bred in the ways of liberal thought, some held
fast to the formal limits of the old theology. The extremes of bigotry
and scepticism were probably not unrepresented among them. From these
differences and dissidences Margaret was able to combine the elements of
a wider agreement. A common ground of interest was found in the range of
topics presented by her, and in her manner of presenting them. The
enlargement of a new sympathy was made to modify the intense and narrow
interests in which women, as a class, are apt to abide.

Margaret's journal and letters to friends give some accounts of the
first meetings. She finds her circle, from the start, devoutly
thoughtful, and feels herself, not "a paid Corinne," but a teacher and a
guide. The bright minds respond to her appeal, as half-kindled coals
glow beneath a strong and sudden breath. The present, always arid if
exclusively dwelt in, is enriched by the treasures of the past and
animated by the great hopes of the future.

Reports from some of Margaret's hearers show us how she appeared to

"All was said with the most captivating address and grace, and with
beautiful modesty. The position in which she placed herself with respect
to the rest was entirely lady-like and companionable."

Another writer finds in the _séance_ "the charm of a Platonic dialogue,"
without pretension or pedantry. Margaret, in her chair of leadership,
appeared positively beautiful in her intelligent enthusiasm. Even her
dress was glorified by this influence, and is spoken of as sumptuous,
although it is known to have been characterized by no display or
attempted effect.

In Margaret's plan the personages of the Greek Olympus were considered
as types of various aspects of human character. Prometheus became the
embodiment of pure reason. Jupiter stood for active, Juno for passive
will, the one representing insistence, the other resistance. Minerva
pictured the practical power of the intellect. Apollo became the symbol
of genius, Bacchus that of geniality. Venus was instinctive womanhood,
and also a type of the Beautiful, to the consideration of which four
conversations were devoted. In a fifth, Margaret related the story of
Cupid and Psyche in a manner which indelibly impressed itself upon the
minds of her hearers. Other conversations presented Neptune as
circumstance, Pluto as the abyss of the undeveloped, Pan as the glow and
play of nature, etc. Thus in picturesque guise the great questions of
life and of character were passed in review. A fresh and fearless
analysis of human conditions showed, as a discovery, the grandeur and
beauty of man's spiritual inheritance. All were cheered and uplifted by
this new outlook, sharing for the time and perhaps thenceforth what Mr.
Emerson calls "the steady elevation of Margaret's aim."

These occasions, so highly prized and enjoyed, sometimes brought to
Margaret their penalty in the shape of severe nervous headache. During
one of these attacks a friend expressed anxiety lest she should continue
to suffer in this way. Margaret replied: "I feel just now such a
separation from pain and illness, such a consciousness of true life
while suffering most, that pain has no effect but to steal some of my

In accordance with the urgent desire of the class the conversations were
renewed at the beginning of the following winter, Margaret having in the
mean time profited by a season of especial retirement which was not
without influence upon her plan of thought and of life. From this
interval of religious contemplation she returned to her labors with the
feeling of a new power. In opening the first meeting of this second
series, on November 22, 1840, Margaret spoke of great changes which had
taken place in her way of thinking. These were of so deep and sacred a
character that she could only give them a partial expression, which,
however, sufficed to touch her hearers deeply. "They all, with
glistening eyes, seemed melted into one love." Hearts were kindled by
her utterance to one enthusiasm of sympathy which set out of sight the
possibility of future estrangement.

In the conversations of this winter (1840-41) the fine arts held a
prominent place.

Margaret stated, at the beginning, that the poetry of life would be
found in the advance "from objects to law, from the circumference of
being, where we found ourselves at our birth, to the centre." This
poetry was "the only path of the true soul," life's prose being the
deviation from this ideal way. The fine arts she considered a
compensation for this prose, which appeared to her inevitable. The
beauties which life could not embody might be expressed in stone, upon
canvas, or in music and verse. She did not permit the search for the
beautiful to transcend the limits of our social and personal duties. The
pursuit of æsthetic pleasure might lead us to fail in attaining the
higher beauty. A poetic life was not the life of a _dilettante_.

Of sculpture and music she had much to say, placing them above all other
arts. Painting appeared to her inferior to sculpture, because it
represented a greater variety of objects, and thus involved more prose.
Several conversations were, nevertheless, devoted to Painting, and the
conclusion was reached that color was consecrate to passion and
sculpture to thought; while yet in some sculptures, like the Niobe, for
example, feeling was recognized, but on a grand, universal scale.

The question, "What is life?" occupied one meeting, and brought out many
differences of view, which Margaret at last took up into a higher
ground, beginning with God as the eternally loving and creating life,
and recognizing in human nature a kindred power of love and of creation,
through the exercise of which we also add constantly to the total sum of
existence, and, leaving behind us ignorance and sin, become godlike in
the ability to give, as well as to receive, happiness.

With the work of this winter was combined a series of evening meetings,
five in number, to which gentlemen were admitted. Mr. Emerson was
present at the second of these, and reports it as having been somewhat
encumbered "by the headiness or incapacity of the men," who, as he
observes, had not been trained in Margaret's method.

Another chronicler, for whose truth Mr. Emerson vouches, speaks of the
plan of these five evenings as a very noble one. They were spoken of as
Evenings of Mythology, and Margaret, in devising them, had relied upon
the more thorough classical education of the gentlemen to supplement her
own knowledge, acquired in a less systematic way. In this hope she was
disappointed. The new-comers did not bring with them an erudition equal
to hers, nor yet any helpful suggestion of ideas. The friend whom we now
quote is so much impressed by Margaret's power as to say: "I cannot
conceive of any species of vanity living in her presence. She distances
all who talk with her." Even Mr. Emerson served only to display her
powers, his uncompromising idealism seeming narrow and hard when
contrasted with her glowing realism. "She proceeds in her search after
the unity of things, the divine harmony, not by exclusion, as Mr.
Emerson does, but by comprehension, and so no poorest, saddest spirit
but she will lead to hope and faith."

Margaret's classes continued through six winters. The number of those
present varied from twenty-five to thirty. In 1841-42 the general
subject was Ethics, under which head the Family, the School, the Church,
Society, and Literature were all discussed, and with a special reference
to "the influences on woman." In the winter next after this, we have
notes of the following topics: Is the Ideal first or last, Divination or
Experience? Persons who never awake to Life in this World; Mistakes;
Faith; Creeds; Woman; Demonology; Influence; Roman Catholicism; The

In the season of 1843-44, a number of themes were considered under the
general head of Education. Among these were Culture, Ignorance, Vanity,
Prudence, and Patience.

These happy labors came to an end in April of the year 1844, when
Margaret parted from her class with many tokens of their love and
gratitude. After speaking of affectionate words, beautiful gifts, and
rare flowers, she says:--

"How noble has been my experience of such relations now for six years,
and with so many and so various minds! Life is worth living, is it not?"

Margaret had answered Mr. Mallock's question before it was asked.

       *       *       *       *       *

Margaret's summer on the Lakes was the summer of 1843. Her first records
of it date from Niagara, and give her impressions of the wonderful
scene, in which the rapids impressed her more than the cataract itself,
whether seen from the American or from the Canadian side.

"Slowly and thoughtfully I walked down to the bridge leading to Goat
Island, and when I stood upon this frail support, and saw a quarter of a
mile of tumbling, rushing rapids, and heard their everlasting roar, my
emotions overpowered me. A choking sensation rose to my throat, a thrill
rushed through my veins, my blood ran rippling to my fingers' ends. This
was the climax of the effect which the falls produced upon me."

At Buffalo she embarked for a voyage on Lake Erie. Making a brief stop
at Cleveland, the steamer passed on to the St. Clair River. The sight of
an encampment of Indians on its bank gave Margaret her first feeling of
what was then "the West."

"The people in the boat were almost all New Englanders, seeking their
fortunes. They had brought with them their cautious manners, their love
of polemics. It grieved me to hear Trinity and Unity discussed in the
poor, narrow, doctrinal way on these free waters. But that will soon
cease. There is not time for this clash of opinions in the West, where
the clash of material interests is so noisy. They will need the spirit
of religion more than ever to guide them, but will find less time than
before for its doctrine."

The following passage will show us the spirit which Margaret carried
into these new scenes:--

"I came to the West prepared for the distaste I must experience at its
mushroom growth. I know that where 'Go ahead!' is the motto, the village
cannot grow into the gentle proportions that successive lives and the
gradations of experience involuntarily give.... The march of peaceful,
is scarcely less wanton than that of war-like invention. The old
landmarks are broken down, and the land, for a season, bears none,
except of the rudeness of conquest and the needs of the day. I have come
prepared to see all this, to dislike it, but not with stupid narrowness
to distrust or defame. On the contrary, I trust by reverent faith to woo
the mighty meaning of the scene, perhaps to foresee the law by which a
new order, a new poetry, is to be evoked from this chaos."

Charles Dickens's "American Notes" may have been in Margaret's mind when
she penned these lines, and this faith in her may have been quickened by
the perusal of the pages in which he showed mostly how _not_ to see a
new country.

Reaching Chicago, she had her first glimpse of the prairie, which at
first only suggested to her "the very desolation of dulness."

"After sweeping over the vast monotony of the Lakes, to come to this
monotony of land, with all around a limitless horizon--to walk and walk,
but never climb! How the eye greeted the approach of a sail or the smoke
of a steamboat; it seemed that anything so animated must come from a
better land, where mountains give religion to the scene. But after I had
ridden out and seen the flowers, and observed the sun set with that
calmness seen only in the prairies, and the cattle winding slowly to
their homes in the 'island groves,' most peaceful of sights, I began to
love, because I began to know, the scene, and shrank no longer from the
encircling vastness."

Here followed an excursion of three weeks in a strong wagon drawn by a
stalwart pair of horses, and supplied with all that could be needed, as
the journey was through Rock River valley, beyond the regions of trade
and barter. Margaret speaks of "a guide equally admirable as marshal and
companion." This was none other than a younger brother of James Freeman
Clarke, William Hull Clarke by name, a man who then and thereafter made
Chicago his home, and who lived and died an honored and respected
citizen. This journey with Margaret, in which his own sister was of the
party, always remained one of the poetic recollections of his early
life. He had suffered much from untoward circumstances, and was
beginning to lose the elasticity of youth under the burden of his
discouragements. Margaret's sympathy divined the depth and delicacy of
William Clarke's character, and her unconquerable spirit lifted him from
the abyss of despondency into a cheerfulness and courage which nevermore
forsook him.

Returning to Chicago, Margaret once more embarked for lake travel, and
her next chapter describes Wisconsin, at that time "a Territory, not
yet a State; still nearer the acorn than we were."

Milwaukee was then a small town, promising, as she says, "to be, some
time, a fine one." The yellow brick, of which she found it mostly built,
pleased her, as it has pleased the world since. No railroads with
mysterious initials served, in those days, the needs of that vast
region. The steamer, arriving once in twenty-four hours, brought mails
and travellers, and a little stir of novelty and excitement. Going a
day's journey into the adjacent country, Margaret and her companions
found such accommodation as is here mentioned:--

"The little log-cabin where we slept, with its flower-garden in front,
disturbed the scene no more than a lock upon a fair cheek. The
hospitality of that house I may well call princely; it was the boundless
hospitality of the heart, which, if it has no Aladdin's lamp to create a
palace for the guest, does him still greater service by the freedom of
its bounty to the very last drop of its powers."

In the Western immigration Milwaukee was already a station of
importance. "Here, on the pier, I see disembarking the Germans, the
Norwegians, the Swedes, the Swiss. Who knows how much of old legendary
lore, of modern wonder, they have already planted amid the Wisconsin
forests? Soon their tales of the origin of things, and the Providence
that rules them, will be so mingled with those of the Indian that the
very oak-tree will not know them apart, will not know whether itself be
a Runic, a Druid, or a Winnebago oak."

Margaret reached the island of Mackinaw late in August, and found it
occupied by a large representation from the Chippewa and Ottawa tribes,
who came there to receive their yearly pension from the Government at
Washington. Arriving at night, the steamer fired some rockets, and
Margaret heard with a sinking heart the wild cries of the excited
Indians, and the pants and snorts of the departing steamer. She walked
"with a stranger to a strange hotel," her late companions having gone on
with the boat. She found such rest as she could in the room which served
at once as sitting and as dining room. The early morning revealed to her
the beauties of the spot, and with these the features of her new

"With the first rosy streak I was out among my Indian neighbors, whose
lodges honeycombed the beautiful beach. They were already on the alert,
the children creeping out from beneath the blanket door of the lodge,
the women pounding corn in their rude mortars, the young men playing on
their pipes. I had been much amused, when the strain proper to the
Winnebago courting flute was played to me on another instrument, at any
one's fancying it a melody. But now, when I heard the notes in their
true tone and time, I thought it not unworthy comparison with the
sweetest bird-song; and this, like the bird-song, is only practised to
allure a mate. The Indian, become a citizen and a husband, no more
thinks of playing the flute than one of the _settled-down_ members of
our society would of choosing the purple light of love as dyestuff for a

Of the island itself Margaret writes:--

"It was a scene of ideal loveliness, and these wild forms adorned it, as
looking so at home in it."

The Indian encampment was constantly enlarged by new arrivals, which
Margaret watched from the window of her boarding-house.

"I was never tired of seeing the canoes come in, and the new arrivals
set up their temporary dwellings. The women ran to set up the tent-poles
and spread the mats on the ground. The men brought the chests, kettles,
and so on. The mats were then laid on the outside, the cedar boughs
strewed on the ground, the blanket hung up for a door, and all was
completed in less than twenty minutes. Then they began to prepare the
night meal, and to learn of their neighbors the news of the day."

In these days, in which a spasm of conscience touches the American heart
with a sense of the wrongs done to the Indian, Margaret's impressions
concerning our aborigines acquire a fresh interest and value. She found
them in occupation of many places from which they have since been driven
by what is called the march of civilization. We may rather call it a
barbarism better armed and informed than their own. She also found among
their white neighbors the instinctive dislike and repulsion which are
familiar to us. Here, in Mackinaw, Margaret could not consort with them
without drawing upon herself the censure of her white acquaintances.

"Indeed, I wonder why they did not give me up, as they certainly looked
upon me with great distaste for it. 'Get you gone, you Indian dog!' was
the felt, if not the breathed, expression towards the hapless owners of
the soil; all their claims, all their sorrows, quite forgot in
abhorrence of their dirt, their tawny skins, and the vices the whites
have taught them."

Missionary zeal seems to have been at a standstill just at this time,
and the hopelessness of converting those heathen to Christianity was
held to excuse further effort to that end. Margaret says:--

"Whether the Indian could, by any efforts of love and intelligence, have
been civilized and made a valuable ingredient in the new State, I will
not say; but this we are sure of, the French Catholics did not harm
them, nor disturb their minds merely to corrupt them. The French they
loved. But the stern Presbyterian, with his dogmas and his task-work,
the city circle and the college, with their niggard conceptions and
unfeeling stare, have never tried the experiment."

Margaret naturally felt an especial interest in observing the character
and condition of the Indian women. She says, truly enough, "The
observations of women upon the position of woman are always more
valuable than those of men."

Unhappily, this is a theme in regard to which many women make no
observation of their own, and only repeat what they have heard from men.

But of Margaret's impressions a few sentences will give us some idea:--

"With the women I held much communication by signs. They are almost
invariably coarse and ugly, with the exception of their eyes, with a
peculiarly awkward gait, and forms bent by burdens. This gait, so
different from the steady and noble step of the men, marks the inferior
position they occupy."

Margaret quotes from Mrs. Schoolcraft and from Mrs. Grant passages which
assert that this inferiority does not run through the whole life of an
Indian woman, and that the drudgery and weary service imposed upon them
by the men are compensated by the esteem and honor in which they are
held. Still, she says:--

"Notwithstanding the homage paid to women, and the consequence allowed
them in some cases, it is impossible to look upon the Indian women
without feeling that they do occupy a lower place than women among the
nations of European civilization.... Their decorum and delicacy are
striking, and show that, where these are native to the mind, no habits
of life make any difference. Their whole gesture is timid, yet
self-possessed. They used to crowd round me to inspect little things I
had to show them, but never press near; on the contrary, would reprove
and keep off the children. Anything they took from my hand was held with
care, then shut or folded, and returned with an air of lady-like

And of the aspect of the Indian question in her day Margaret writes:--

"I have no hope of liberalizing the missionary, of humanizing the sharks
of trade, of infusing the conscientious drop into the flinty bosom of
policy, of saving the Indian from immediate degradation and speedy
death.... Yet, let every man look to himself how far this blood shall be
required at his hands. Let the missionary, instead of preaching to the
Indian, preach to the trader who ruins him, of the dreadful account
which will be demanded of the followers of Cain. Let every legislator
take the subject to heart, and, if he cannot undo the effects of past
sin, try for that clear view and right sense that may save us from
sinning still more deeply."

Margaret's days in Mackinaw were nine in number. She went thence by
steamer to the Sault Ste. Marie. On the way thither, the steamer being
detained by a fog, its captain took her in a small boat to visit the
island of St. Joseph, and on it, the remains of an old English fort. Her
comments upon this visit, in itself of little interest, are worth

"The captain, though he had been on this trip hundreds of times, had
never seen this spot, and never would but for this fog and his desire to
entertain me. He presented a striking instance how men, for the sake of
getting a living, forget to live. This is a common fault among the
active men, the truly living, who could tell what life is. It should not
be so. Literature should not be left to the mere literati, eloquence to
the mere orator. Every Cæsar should be able to write his own Commentary.
We want a more equal, more thorough, more harmonious development, and
there is nothing to hinder the men of this country from it, except
their own supineness or sordid views."

At the Sault, Margaret found many natural beauties, and enjoyed, among
other things, the descent of the rapids in a canoe. Returning to
Mackinaw, she was joined by her friends, and has further chronicled only
her safe return to Buffalo.

The book which preserves the record of this journey saw the light at the
end of the next year's summer. Margaret ends it with a little _Envoi_ to
the reader. But for us, the best _envoi_ will be her own description of
the last days of its composition:--

"Every day I rose and attended to the many little calls which are always
on me, and which have been more of late. Then, about eleven, I would sit
down to write at my window, close to which is the apple-tree, lately
full of blossoms, and now of yellow-birds.

"Opposite me was Del Sarto's Madonna; behind me, Silenus, holding in his
arms the infant Pan. I felt very content with my pen, my daily bouquet,
and my yellow-birds. About five I would go out and walk till dark; then
would arrive my proofs, like crabbed old guardians, coming to tea every
night. So passed each day. The 23d of May, my birthday, about one
o'clock, I wrote the last line of my little book. Then I went to Mount
Auburn, and walked gently among the graves."

And here ends what we have to say about Margaret's New England life.
From its close shelter and intense relations she was now to pass into
scenes more varied and labors of a more general scope. She had become
cruelly worn by her fatigues in teaching and in writing, and in the year
1844 was induced, by liberal offers, to accept a permanent position on
the staff of the "New York Tribune," then in the hands of Messrs.
Greeley and McElrath. This step involved the breaking of home ties, and
the dispersion of the household which Margaret had done so much to
sustain and to keep together. Margaret's brothers had now left college,
and had betaken themselves to the pursuits chosen as their life work.
Her younger sister was married, and it was decided that her mother
should divide her time among these members of her family, leaving
Margaret free to begin a new season of work under circumstances which
promised her greater freedom from care and from the necessity of
unremitting exertion.



When Margaret stepped for the last time across the threshold of her
mother's home, she must have had the rare comfort of knowing that she
had done everything in her power to promote the highest welfare of those
who, with her, had shared its shelter. The children of the household had
grown up under her fostering care, nor had she, in any flight of her
vivid imagination, forgotten the claims and needs of brothers, sister,
or mother. So closely, indeed, had she felt herself bound by the
necessity of doing what was best for each and all, that her literary
work had not, in any degree, corresponded to her own desires. Her
written and spoken word had indeed carried with it a quickening power
for good; but she had not been able so much as to plan one of the
greater works which she considered herself bound to produce, and which
could neither have been conceived nor carried out without ample command
of time and necessary conditions. In a letter written to one of her
brothers at this time, Margaret says:--

"If our family affairs could now be so arranged that I might be
tolerably tranquil for the next six or eight years, I should go out of
life better satisfied with the page I have turned in it than I shall if
I must still toil on. A noble career is yet before me, if I can be
unimpeded by cares. I have given almost all my young energies to
personal relations; but at present I feel inclined to impel the general
stream of thought. Let my nearest friends also wish that I should now
take share in more public life."

       *       *       *       *       *

The opening now found for Margaret in New York, though fortunate, was by
no means fortuitous. She had herself prepared the way thereunto by her
good work in the "Dial." In that cheerless editorial seat she may
sometimes, like the Lady of Shalott, have sighed to see Sir Lancelot
ride careless by, or with the spirit of an unrecognized prophet she may
have exclaimed, "Who hath believed our report?" But her word had found
one who could hear it to some purpose.

Mr. Greeley had been, from the first, a reader of this periodical, and
had recognized the fresh thought and new culture which gave it
character. His attention was first drawn to Margaret by an essay of
hers, published in the July number of 1843, and entitled "The Great
Lawsuit,--Man _versus_ Men, Woman _versus_ Women." This essay, which at
a later date expanded into the volume known as "Woman in the Nineteenth
Century," struck Mr. Greeley as "the production of an original,
vigorous, and earnest mind." Margaret's "Summer on the Lakes" appeared
also in the "Dial" somewhat later, and was considered by Mr. Greeley as
"unequalled, especially in its pictures of the prairies and of the
sunnier aspects of pioneer life." Convinced of the literary ability of
the writer, he gave ear to a suggestion of Mrs. Greeley, and, in
accordance with her wishes and with his own judgment, extended to her
the invitation already spoken of as accepted.

This invitation, and the arrangement to which it led, admitted Margaret
not only to the columns of the "Tribune," but also to the home of its
editor, in which she continued to reside during the period of her
connection with the paper. This home was in a spacious, old-fashioned
house on the banks of the East River, completely secluded by the
adjacent trees and garden, but within easy reach of New York by car and
omnibus. Margaret came there in December, 1844, and was at once struck
with the beauty of the scene and charmed with the aspect of the
antiquated dwelling, which had once, no doubt, been the villa of some
magnate of old New York.

If the outside world of the time troubled itself at all about the
Greeley household, it must have considered it in the light of a happy
family of eccentrics. Upon the personal peculiarities of Mr. Greeley we
need not here enlarge. They were of little account in comparison with
the character of the man, who himself deserved the name which he gave to
his paper, and was at heart a tribune of the people. Mrs. Greeley was
herself a woman of curious theories, and it is probable that Margaret,
in her new surroundings, found herself obliged in a certain degree to
represent the conventional side of life, which her host and hostess were
inclined to disregard.

By Mr. Greeley's own account there were differences between Margaret and
himself regarding a great variety of subjects, including the use of tea
and coffee, which he eschewed and to which she adhered, and the
emancipation of women, to which Mr. Greeley proposed to attach, as a
condition, the abrogation of such small courtesies as are shown the sex
to-day, while Margaret demanded a greater deference as a concomitant of
the larger liberty. Mr. Greeley at first determined to keep beyond the
sphere of Margaret's fascination, and to burn no incense at her shrine.
She appeared to him somewhat spoiled by the "Oriental adoration" which
she received from other women, themselves persons of character and of
culture. Her foibles impressed him as much as did the admirable
qualities which he was forced to recognize in her. Vain resolution!
Living under the same roof with Margaret, he could not but come to know
her, and, knowing her, he had no choice but to join the throng of her
admirers. To him, as to others, the blemishes at first discerned "took
on new and brighter aspects in the light of her radiant and lofty soul."

"I learned," says Mr. Greeley, "to know her as a most fearless and
unselfish champion of truth and human good at all hazards, ready to be
their standard-bearer through danger and obloquy, and, if need be, their

Mr. Greeley bears witness also to the fact that this ready spirit of
self-sacrifice in Margaret did not spring either from any asceticism of
temperament or from an undervaluation of material advantages. Margaret,
he thinks, appreciated fully all that riches, rank, and luxury could
give. She prized all of these in their place, but prized far above them
all the opportunity to serve and help her fellow-creatures.

The imperative drill of press-work was new and somewhat irksome to her.
She was accustomed indeed to labor in season and out of season, and in
so doing to struggle with bodily pain and weariness. But to take up the
pen at the word of command, without the interior bidding of the divine
afflatus, was a new necessity, and one to which she found it difficult
to submit. Mr. Greeley prized her work highly, though with some
drawbacks. He could not always command it at will, for the reason that
she could not. He found her writing, however, terse, vigorous, and
practical, and considered her contributions to the "Tribune" more solid
in merit, though less ambitious in scope, than her essays written
earlier for the "Dial." Margaret herself esteemed them but moderately,
feeling that she had taken up this new work at a time when her tired
faculties needed rest and recreation.

In a brief memorial of Margaret, Mr. Greeley gives us the titles of the
most important of these papers. They are as follows: "Thomas Hood,"
"Edgar A. Poe," "Capital Punishment," "Cassius M. Clay," "New Year's
Day," "Christmas," "Thanksgiving," "St. Valentine's," "Fourth of July,"
"The First of August"--which she commemorates as the anniversary of
slave-emancipation in the British West Indies.

In looking over the volumes which contain these and many others of
Margaret's collected papers, we are carried back to a time in which
issues now long settled were in the early stages of their agitation, and
in which many of those whom we now most revere in memory were living
actors on the stage of the century's life. Hawthorne and Longfellow were
then young writers. The second series of Mr. Emerson's "Essays" is
noticed as of recent publication. At the time of her writing, it would
seem that Mr. Emerson had a larger circle of readers in England than in
his own country. She accounts for this on the ground that "our people,
heated by a partisan spirit, necessarily occupied in these first stages
by bringing out the material resources of the land, not generally
prepared by early training for the enjoyment of books that require
attention and reflection, are still more injured by a large majority of
writers and speakers who lend all their efforts to flatter corrupt
tastes and mental indolence." She permits us, however, to "hail as an
auspicious omen the influence Mr. Emerson has obtained" in New England,
which she recognizes as deep-rooted, and, over the younger part of the
community, far greater than that of any other person. She is glad to
introduce Robert Browning as the author of "Bells and Pomegranates" to
the American public. Mrs. Browning was then Miss Barrett, in regard of
whom Margaret rejoices that her task is "mainly to express a cordial
admiration!" and says that she "cannot hesitate to rank her, in vigor
and nobleness of conception, depth of spiritual experience, and command
of classic allusion, above any female writer the world has yet known."
In those poems of hers which emulate Milton and Dante "her success is
far below what we find in the poems of feeling and experience; for she
has the vision of a great poet, but little in proportion of his classic

Margaret has much to say concerning George Sand, and under various
heads. In her work on Woman, she gives the _rationale_ of her strange
and anomalous appearance, and is at once very just and very tender in
her judgments.

George Sand was then in the full bloom of her reputation. The light and
the shade of her character, as known to the public, were at the height
of their contrast. To the literary merit of her work was added the
interest of a mysterious personality, which rebelled against the limits
of sex, and, not content to be either man or woman, touched with a new
and strange protest the imagination of the time.

The inexorable progress of events has changed this, with so much else.
Youth, beauty, sex, all imperial in their day, are discrowned by the
dusty hand of Time, and ranged in the gallery of the things that were.
George Sand's volumes still glow and sparkle on the bookshelf; but
George Sand's personality and her passions are dim visions of the past,
and touch us no longer. When Margaret wrote of her, the woman was at the
zenith of her power, and the intoxication of her influence was so great
that a calm judgment concerning it was difficult. Like a wild Bacchante,
she led her chorus of bold spirits through the formal ways of French
society, which in her view were bristling with pruriency and veiled with
hypocrisy. Like Margaret's, her cry was, "Truth at all hazards!" But
hers was not the ideal truth which Margaret followed so zealously. "So
vile are men, so weak are women, so ruthless is passion," were the
utterances of her sincerity. Mistress of the revels, she did indeed
command a new unmasking at the banquet, thoughtless of the risk of
profaning innocent imaginations with sad facts which they had no need to
know, and which, shown by such a master of art and expression, might
bear with them the danger fabled in the mingled beauty and horror of the
Gorgon's head.

George Sand was saved by the sincerity of her intention. Her somnambulic
utterances had told of her good faith, and of her belief in things truly
human and divine. Her revolutionary indignation was against the really
false and base, and her progress was to a position from which she was
able calmly to analyze and loftily to repudiate the disorders in which
she was supposed to have lost for a time the sustaining power of reason
and self-command.

To those of us who remember these things in the vividness of their
living presence, it is most satisfactory to be assured of the excellence
of Margaret's judgment. The great Frenchwoman, at the period of which we
write, appeared to many the incarnation of all the evil which her sex
could represent. To those of opposite mind she appeared the inspired
prophetess of a new era of thought and of sentiment. To Margaret she was
neither the one nor the other. Much as she loved genius, that of George
Sand could not blind her to the faults and falsities that marred her
work. Stern idealist as she was, the most objectionable part of Madame
Sand's record could not move her to a moment's injustice or uncharity in
her regard.

In "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" Margaret says:--

"George Sand smokes, wears male attire, wishes to be addressed as _mon
frère_. Perhaps, if she found those who were as brothers indeed, she
would not care whether she were brother or sister."

And concerning her writings:--

"This author, beginning like the many in assault upon bad institutions
and external ills, yet deepening the experience through comparative
freedom, sees at last that the only efficient remedy must come from
individual character.

"The mind of the age struggles confusedly with these problems, better
discerning as yet the ill it can no longer bear than the good by which
it may supersede it. But women like Sand will speak now, and cannot be
silenced; their characters and their eloquence alike foretell an era
when such as they shall easier learn to lead true lives. But though such
forebode, not such shall be parents of it. Those who would reform the
world must show that they do not speak in the heat of wild impulse;
their lives must be unstained by passionate error. They must be
religious students of the Divine purpose with regard to man, if they
would not confound the fancies of a day with the requisitions of eternal

So much for the woman Sand, as known to Margaret through her works and
by hearsay. Of the writer she first knew through her "Seven Strings of
the Lyre," a rhapsodic sketch. Margaret prizes in this "the knowledge of
the passions and of social institutions, with the celestial choice which
was above them." In the romances "André" and "Jacques" she traces "the
same high morality of one who had tried the liberty of circumstance only
to learn to appreciate the liberty of law.... Though the sophistry of
passion in these books disgusted me, flowers of purest hue seemed to
grow upon the dark and dirty ground. I thought she had cast aside the
slough of her past life, and begun a new existence beneath the sun of a
new ideal." The "Lettres d'un Voyageur" seem to Margaret shallow,--the
work of "a frail woman mourning over her lot." But when "Consuelo"
appears, she feels herself strengthened in her first interpretation of
George Sand's true character, and takes her stand upon the "original
nobleness and love of right" which even the wild impulses of her fiery
blood were never able entirely to oversweep. Of the work itself she

"To many women this picture will prove a true _consuelo_ (consolation),
and we think even very prejudiced men will not read it without being
charmed with the expansion, sweetness, and genuine force of a female
character such as they have not met, but must, when painted, recognize
as possible, and may be led to review their opinions, and perhaps to
elevate and enlarge their hopes, as to 'woman's sphere' and 'woman's



We have no very full record of Margaret's life beneath the roof of the
Greeley mansion. The information that we can gather concerning it seems
to indicate that it was, on the whole, a period of rest and of
enlargement. True, her task-work continued without intermission, and her
incitements to exertion were not fewer than in the past. But the change
of scene and of occupation gives refreshment, if not repose, to minds of
such activity, and Margaret, accustomed to the burden of constant care
and anxiety, was now relieved from much of this. She relied much, and
with reason, both upon Mr. Greeley's judgment and upon his friendship.
The following extract from a letter to her brother Eugene gives us an
inkling as to her first impressions:--

"The place where we live is old and dilapidated, but in a situation of
great natural loveliness. When there I am perfectly secluded, yet every
one I wish to see comes to see me, and I can get to the centre of the
city in half an hour. Here is all affection for me and desire to make me
at home; and I do feel so, which could scarcely have been expected from
such an arrangement. My room is delightful; how I wish you could sit at
its window with me, and see the sails glide by!

"As to the public part, that is entirely satisfactory. I do just as I
please, and as much and as little as I please, and the editors express
themselves perfectly satisfied, and others say that my pieces _tell_ to
a degree I could not expect. I think, too, I shall do better and better.
I am truly interested in this great field which opens before me, and it
is pleasant to be sure of a chance at half a hundred thousand readers."

The enlargement spoken of above was found by Margaret in her more varied
field of literary action, and in the society of a city which had, even
at that date, a cosmopolitan, semi-European character.

New York has always, with a little grumbling, conceded to Boston the
palm of literary precedence. In spite of this, there has always been a
good degree of friendly intercourse among its busy _littérateurs_ and
artists, who find, in the more vivid movement and wider market of the
larger city, a compensation, if not an equivalent, for its distance from
the recognized centres of intellectual influence.

In these circles Margaret was not only a welcome, but a desired guest.
In the _salons_ of the time she had the position of a celebrity. Here,
as elsewhere, her twofold magnetism strongly attracted some and repelled
others. Somewhat hypercritical and pedantic she was judged to be by
those who observed her at a distance, or heard from her only a chance
remark. Such an observer, admiring but not approaching, saw at times the
look of the sibyl flash from beneath Margaret's heavy eyelids; and once,
hearing her sigh deeply after a social evening, was moved to ask her
why. "Alone, as usual!" was Margaret's answer, with one or two pathetic
words, the remembrance of which brought tears to the eyes of the person
to whom they were spoken.

In these days she wrote in her journal:--

"There comes a consciousness that I have no real hold on life,--no real,
permanent connection with any soul. I seem a wandering Intelligence,
driven from spot to spot, that I may learn all secrets, and fulfil a
circle of knowledge. This thought envelops me as a cold atmosphere."

From this chill isolation of feeling Margaret was sometimes relieved by
the warm appreciation of those whom she had truly found, of whom one
could say to her: "You come like one of the great powers of nature,
harmonizing with all beauty of the soul or of the earth. You cannot be
discordant with anything that is true or deep."

Other neighbors, and of a very different character, had Margaret in her
new surroundings. The prisons at Blackwell's Island were on the opposite
side of the river, at a distance easily reached by boat. Sing Sing
prison was not far off; and Margaret accepted the invitation to pass a
Sunday within its walls. She had consorted hitherto with the _élite_ of
her sex, the women attracted to her having invariably been of a superior
type. She now made acquaintance with the outcasts in whom the elements
of womanhood are scarcely recognized. For both she had one gospel, that
of high hope and divine love. She seems to have found herself as much at
home in the office of encouraging the fallen, as she had been when it
was her duty to arouse the best spirit in women sheltered from the
knowledge and experience of evil by every favoring circumstance.

This was in the days in which Judge Edmonds had taken great interest in
the affairs of the prison. Mrs. Farnum, a woman of uncommon character
and ability, had charge of the female prisoners, who already showed the
results of her intelligent and kindly treatment. On the occasion of her
first visit, Margaret spoke with only a few of the women, and says that
"the interview was very pleasant. These women were all from the lowest
haunts of vice, yet nothing could have been more decorous than their
conduct, while it was also frank. _All passed, indeed, much as in one of
my Boston classes._"

This last phrase may somewhat startle us; but it should only assure us
that Margaret had found, in confronting two circles so widely
dissimilar, the happy words which could bring high and low into harmony
with the true divine.

Margaret's second visit to the prison was on the Christmas soon
following. She was invited to address the women in their chapel, and has
herself preserved some record of her discourse, which was
extemporaneous. Seated at the desk, no longer with the critical air
which repelled the timid, but deeply penetrated by the pathos of the
occasion, she began with the words, "To me the pleasant office has been
given of wishing you a happy Christmas." And the sad assembly smiled,
murmuring its thanks. What a Christ-like power was that which brought
this sun-gleam of a smile into that dark tragedy of offence and

Some passages of this address must be given here, to show the attitude
in which this truly noble woman confronted the most degraded of her sex.
After alluding to the common opinion that "women once lost are far worse
than abandoned men, and cannot be restored," she said:--

"It is not so. I know my sex better. It is because women have so much
feeling, and such a rooted respect for purity, that they seem so
shameless and insolent when they feel that they have erred, and that
others think ill of them. When they meet man's look of scorn, the
desperate passion that rises is a perverted pride, which might have been
their guardian angel. Rather let me say, which may be; for the rapid
improvement wrought here gives us warm hopes."

Margaret exhorts the prisoners not to be impatient for their release.
She dwells upon their weakness, the temptations of the outer world, and
the helpful character of the influences which are now brought to bear
upon them.

"Oh, be sure that you are fitted to triumph over evil before you again
expose yourselves to it! Instead of wasting your time and strength in
vain wishes, use this opportunity to prepare yourselves for a better
course of life when you are set free."

The following sentences are also noteworthy:

"Let me warn you earnestly against acting insincerely. I know you must
prize the good opinion of your friendly protectors, but do not buy it at
the cost of truth. Try to be, not to seem.... Never despond,--never say,
'It is too late!' Fear not, even if you relapse again and again. If you
fall, do not lie grovelling, but rise upon your feet once more, and
struggle bravely on. And if aroused conscience makes you suffer keenly,
have patience to bear it. God will not let you suffer more than you need
to fit you for his grace.... Cultivate this spirit of prayer. I do not
mean agitation and excitement, but a deep desire for truth, purity, and

Margaret visited also the prisons on Blackwell's Island, and, walking
through the women's hospital, shed the balm of her presence upon the
most hardened of its wretched inmates. She had always wished to have a
better understanding of the feelings and needs of "those women who are
trampled in the mud to gratify the brute appetites of men," in order to
lend them a helping hand.

The following extracts from letters, hitherto in great part unpublished,
will give the reader some idea of Margaret's tender love and care for
the dear ones from whom she was now separated. The letters are mostly
addressed to her younger brother, Richard, and are dated in various
epochs of the year 1845. One of these recalls her last impressions in
leaving Boston:--

"The last face I saw in Boston was Anna Loring's, looking after me from
Dr. Peabody's steps. Mrs. Peabody stood behind her, some way up, nodding
adieux to the 'darling,' as she addressed me, somewhat to my emotion.
They seemed like a frosty November afternoon and a soft summer twilight,
when night's glorious star begins to shine.

"When you go to Mrs. Loring's, will you ask W. Story if he has any of
Robert Browning's poems to lend me for a short time? They shall be
returned safe. I only want them a few days, to make some extracts for
the paper. They cannot be obtained here."

The following extracts refer to the first appearance of her book, "Woman
in the Nineteenth Century." Her brother Eugene had found a notice of it
in some remote spot. She writes:--

"It was pleasant you should see that little notice in that wild place.
The book is out, and the theme of all the newspapers and many of the
journals. Abuse, public and private, is lavished upon its views, but
respect is expressed for me personally. But the most speaking fact, and
the one which satisfied me, is, that the whole edition was sold off in a
week to the booksellers, and eighty-five dollars handed to me as my
share. Not that my object was in any wise money, but I consider this the
signet of success. If one can be heard, that is enough."

In August, 1845, she writes thus to Richard:

"I really loathe my pen at present; it is entirely unnatural to me to
keep at it so in the summer. Looking at these dull blacks and whites so
much, when nature is in her bright colors, is a source of great physical
weariness and irritation. I cannot, therefore, write you good letters,
but am always glad to get them.

"As to what you say of my writing books, that cannot be at present. I
have not health and energy to do so many things, and find too much that
I value in my present position to give it up rashly or suddenly. But
doubt not, as I do not, that Heaven has good things enough for me to do,
and that I shall find them best by not exhausting or overstraining

To Richard she writes, some months later:--

"I have to-day the unexpected pleasure of receiving from England a neat
copy of 'Woman in the Nineteenth Century,' republished there in Clark's
'Cabinet Library.' I had never heard a word about it from England, and
am very glad to find it will be read by women there. As to advantage to
me, the republication will bring me no money, but will be of use to me
here, as our dear country folks look anxiously for verdicts from the
other side of the water.

"I shall get out a second edition before long, I hope; and wish you
would translate for me, and send those other parts of the story of
'Panthea' you thought I might like."

The extract subjoined will show Margaret's anxious thought concerning
her mother's comfort and welfare. It is addressed to the same brother,
whom she thus admonishes:--

"She speaks of you most affectionately, but happened to mention that you
took now no interest in a garden. I have known you would do what you
thought of to be a good son, and not neglect your positive duties; but I
have feared you would not show enough of sympathy with her tastes and
pursuits. Care of the garden _is_ a way in which you could give her
genuine comfort and pleasure, while regular exercise in it would be of
great use to yourself. Do not neglect this nor any the most trifling
attention she may wish; because it is not by attending to our friends
in our way, but in _theirs_, that we can really avail them. I think of
you much with love and pride and hope for your public and private life."

       *       *       *       *       *

Margaret's preface to "Woman in the Nineteenth Century" bears the date
of November, 1844. The greater part of the work, as has already been
said, had appeared in the "Dial," under a different title, for which she
in this place expresses a preference, as better suited to the theme she
proposes to treat of. "Man versus Men, Woman versus Women," means to her
the leading idea and ideal of humanity, as wronged and hindered from
development by the thoughtless and ignorant action of the race itself.
The title finally given was adopted in accordance with the wishes of
friends, who thought the other wanting in clearness. "By man, I mean
both man and woman: these are the two halves of one thought. I lay no
especial stress on the welfare of either. I believe that the development
of the one cannot be effected without that of the other."

In the name of a common humanity, then, Margaret solicits from her
readers "a sincere and patient attention," praying women particularly to
study for themselves the freedom which the law should secure to them. It
is this that she seeks, not to be replaced by "the largest extension of
partial privileges."

"And may truth, unpolluted by prejudice, vanity, or selfishness, be
granted daily more and more, as the due inheritance and only valuable
conquest for us all!"

The leading thought formulated by Margaret in the title of her
preference is scarcely carried out in her work; at least, not with any
systematic parallelism. Her study of the position and possibilities of
woman is not the less one of unique value and interest. The work shows
throughout the grasp and mastery of her mind. Her faith in principles,
her reliance upon them in the interpretation of events, make her strong
and bold. We do not find in this book one careless expression which
would slur over the smallest detail of womanly duty, or absolve from the
attainment of any or all of the feminine graces. Of these, Margaret
deeply knows the value. But, in her view, these duties will never be
noble, these graces sincere, until women stand as firmly as men do upon
the ground of individual freedom and legal justice.

"If principles could be established, particulars would adjust themselves
aright. Ascertain the true destiny of woman; give her legitimate hopes,
and a standard within herself.... What woman needs is not as a woman to
act or rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to discern, as a
soul to live freely and unimpeded."

She would have "every arbitrary barrier thrown down, every path laid
open to woman as freely as to man." And she insists that this "inward
and outward freedom shall be acknowledged as a _right_, not yielded as a

The limits of our present undertaking do not allow us to give here an
extended notice of this work, which has long belonged to general
literature, and is, perhaps, the most widely known of Margaret's
writings. We must, however, dwell sufficiently upon its merits to
commend it to the men and women of to-day, as equally interesting to
both, and as entirely appropriate to the standpoint of the present time.

Nothing that has been written or said, in later days, has made its
teaching superfluous. It demands all that is asked to-day for women, and
that on the broadest and most substantial ground. The usual arguments
against the emancipation of women from a position of political and
social inferiority are all carefully considered and carefully answered.
Much study is shown of the prominent women of history, and of the
condition of the sex at different periods. Much understanding also of
the ideal womanhood, which has always had its place in the van of human
progress, and of the actual womanhood, which has mostly been bred and
trained in an opposite direction.

We have, then, in the book, a thorough statement, both of the
shortcomings of women themselves, and of the wrongs which they in turn
suffer from society. The cause of the weak against the strong is
advanced with sound and rational argument. We will not say that a
thoughtful reader of to-day will indorse every word of this remarkable
treatise. Its fervor here and there runs into vague enthusiasm, and much
is asserted about souls and their future which thinkers of the present
day do not so confidently assume to know.

The extent of Margaret's reading is shown in her command of historical
and mythical illustration. Her beloved Greeks furnish her with some
portraits of ideal men in relation with ideal women. As becomes a
champion, she knows the friends and the enemies of the cause which she
makes her own. Here, for example, is a fine discrimination:--

"The spiritual tendency is toward the elevation of woman, but the
intellectual, by itself, is not so. Plato sometimes seems penetrated by
that high idea of love which considers man and woman as the twofold
expression of one thought. But then again Plato, the man of intellect,
treats woman in the republic as property, and in the "Timæus" says that
man, if he misuse the privileges of one life, shall be degraded into the
form of a woman."

Margaret mentions among the women whom she considered helpers and
favorers of the new womanhood, Miss Edgeworth, Mrs. Jameson, and our own
Miss Sedgwick. Among the writers of the other sex, whose theories point
to the same end, she speaks of Swedenborg, Fourier, and Goethe. The
first-named comes to this through his mystical appreciation of spiritual
life; the second, by his systematic distribution of gifts and
opportunities according to the principles of ideal justice. The
world-wise Goethe everywhere recognizes the presence and significance of
the feminine principle; and, after treating with tenderness and
reverence its frailest as well as its finest impersonations, lays the
seal of all attraction in the lap of the "eternal womanly."

Nearer at hand, and in the intimacy of personal intercourse, Margaret
found a noble friend to her cause.

"The late Dr. Channing, whose enlarged and religious nature shared every
onward impulse of his time, though his thoughts followed his wishes with
a deliberative caution which belonged to his habits and temperament, was
greatly interested in these expectations for women. He regarded them as
souls, each of which had a destiny of its own, incalculable to other
minds, and whose leading it must follow, guided by the light of a
private conscience."

She tells us that the Doctor's delicate and fastidious taste was not
shocked by Angelina Grimké's appearance in public, and that he fully
indorsed Mrs. Jameson's defence of her sex "in a way from which women
usually shrink, because, if they express themselves on such subjects
with sufficient force and clearness to do any good, they are exposed to
assaults whose vulgarity makes them painful."

Margaret ends her treatise with a synopsis of her humanitarian creed, of
which we can here give only enough to show its general scope and tenor.
Here is the substance of it, mostly in her own words:--

Man is a being of twofold relations,--to nature beneath and
intelligences above him. The earth is his school, God his object, life
and thought his means of attaining it.

The growth of man is twofold,--masculine and feminine. These terms, for
Margaret, represent other qualities, to wit, Energy and Harmony, Power
and Beauty, Intellect and Love.

These faculties belong to both sexes, yet the two are distinguished by
the preponderance of the opposing characteristics.

Were these opposites in perfect harmony, they would respond to and
complete each other.

Why does this harmony not prevail?

Because, as man came before woman, power before beauty, he kept his
ascendency, and enslaved her.

Woman in turn rose by her moral power, which a growing civilization

Man became more just and kind, but failed to see that woman was half
himself, and that, by the laws of their common being, he could never
reach his true proportions while she remained shorn of hers. And so it
has gone on to our day.

Pure love, poetic genius, and true religion have done much to vindicate
and to restore the normal harmony.

The time has now come when a clearer vision and better action are
possible,--when man and woman may stand as pillars of one temple,
priests of one worship.

This hope should attain its amplest fruition in our own country, and
will do so if the principles from which sprang our national life are
adhered to.

Women should now be the best helpers of women. Of men, we need only ask
the removal of arbitrary barriers.

The question naturally suggests itself, What use will woman make of her
liberty after so many ages of restraint?

Margaret says, in answer, that this freedom will not be immediately
given. But, even if it were to come suddenly, she finds in her own sex
"a reverence for decorums and limits inherited and enhanced from
generation to generation, which years of other life could not efface."
She believes, also, that woman as woman is characterized by a native
love of proportion,--a Greek moderation,--which would immediately create
a restraining party, and would gradually establish such rules as are
needed to guard life without impeding it.

This opinion of Margaret's is in direct contradiction to one very
generally held to-day, namely, that women tend more to extremes than men
do, and are often seen to exaggerate to irrational frenzy the feelings
which agitate the male portion of the community. The reason for this, if
honestly sought, can easily be found. Women in whom the power of
individual judgment has been either left without training or forcibly
suppressed will naturally be led by impulse and enthusiasm, and will be
almost certain to inflame still further the kindled passions of the men
to whom they stand related. Margaret knew this well enough; but she had
also known women of a very different type, who had trained and
disciplined themselves by the help of that nice sense of measure which
belongs to any normal human intelligence, and which, in women, is
easily reached and rendered active. It was upon this best and wisest
womanhood that Margaret relied for the standard which should redeem the
sex from violence and headlong excitement. Here, as elsewhere, she shows
her faith in the good elements of human nature, and sees them, in her
prophetic vision, as already crowned with an enduring victory.

"I stand in the sunny noon of life. Objects no longer glitter in the
dews of morning, neither are yet softened by the shadows of evening.
Every spot is seen, every chasm revealed. Climbing the dusty hill, some
fair effigies that once stood for human destiny have been broken. Yet
enough is left to point distinctly to the glories of that destiny."

Margaret gives us, as the end of the whole matter, this sentence:--

"Always the soul says to us all, Cherish your best hopes as a faith, and
abide by them in action.... Such shall be the effectual fervent means to
their fulfilment."

In this sunny noon of life things new and strange were awaiting
Margaret. Her days among kindred and country-people were nearly ended.
The last volume given by her to the American public was entitled "Papers
on Art and Literature." Of these, a number had already appeared in
print. In her preface she mentions the essay on "American Literature" as
one now published for the first time, and also as "a very imperfect
sketch," which she hopes to complete by some later utterance. She
commends it to us, however, as "written with sincere and earnest
feelings, and from a mind that cares for nothing but what is permanent
and essential." She thinks it should, therefore, have "some merit, if
only in the power of suggestion." It has for us the great interest of
making known Margaret's opinion of her compeers in literature, and with
her appreciation of these, not always just or adequate, her views of the
noble national life to which American literature, in its maturer growth,
should give expression.

Margaret says, at the outset, that "some thinkers" may accuse her of
writing about a thing that does not exist. "For," says she, "it does not
follow, because many books are written by persons born in America, that
there exists an American literature. Books which imitate or represent
the thoughts and life of Europe do not constitute an American
literature. Before such can exist, an original idea must animate this
nation, and fresh currents of life must call into life fresh thoughts
along its shores."

In reviewing these first sentences, we are led to say that they partly
commend themselves to our judgment, and partly do not. Here, as in much
that Margaret has written, a solid truth is found side by side with an
illusion. The statement that an American idea should lie at the
foundation of our national life and its expression is a truth too often
lost sight of by those to whom it most imports. On the other hand, the
great body of the world's literature is like an ocean in whose waves and
tides there is a continuity which sets at naught the imposition of
definite limits. Literature is first of all human; and American books,
which express human thought, feeling, and experience, are American
literature, even if they show no distinctive national feature.

In what follows, Margaret confesses that her own studies have been
largely of the classics of foreign countries. She has found, she says, a
model "in the simple masculine minds of the great Latin authors." She
has observed, too, the features of kindred between the character of the
ancient Roman and that of the Briton of to-day.

She remarks upon the reaction which was felt in her time against the
revolutionary opposition to the mother country. This reaction, she
feels, may be carried too far.

"What suits Great Britain, with her insular position and consequent need
to concentrate and intensify her life, her limited monarchy and spirit
of trade, does not suit a mixed race, continually enriched (?) with new
blood from other stocks the most unlike that of our first descent, with
ample field and verge enough to range in and leave every impulse free,
and abundant opportunity to develop a genius wide and full as our
rivers, luxuriant and impassioned as our vast prairies, rooted in
strength as the rocks on which the Puritan fathers landed."

Margaret anticipates for this Western hemisphere the rise and
development of such a genius, but says that this cannot come until the
fusion of races shall be more advanced, nor "until this nation shall
attain sufficient moral and intellectual dignity to prize moral and
intellectual no less highly than political freedom."

She finds the earnest of this greater time in the movements already
leading to social reforms, and in the "stern sincerity" of elect
individuals, but thinks that the influences at work "must go deeper
before we can have poets."

At the time of her writing (1844-45) she considers literature as in a
"dim and struggling state," with "pecuniary results exceedingly pitiful.
The state of things gets worse and worse, as less and less is offered
for works demanding great devotion of time and labor, and the publisher,
obliged to regard the transaction as a matter of business, demands of
the author only what will find an immediate market, for he cannot afford
to take anything else."

Margaret thinks that matters were better in this respect during the
first half-century of our republican existence. The country was not then
"so deluged with the dingy page reprinted from Europe." Nor did
Americans fail to answer sharply the question, "Who reads an American
book?" But the books of that period, to which she accords much merit,
seem to her so reflected from England in their thought and inspiration,
that she inclines to call them English rather than American.

Having expressed these general views, Margaret proceeds to pass in
review the prominent American writers of the time, beginning with the
department of history. In this she accords to Prescott industry, the
choice of valuable material, and the power of clear and elegant
arrangement. She finds his books, however, "wonderfully tame," and
characterized by "the absence of thought." In Mr. Bancroft she
recognizes a writer of a higher order, possessed of "leading thoughts,
by whose aid he groups his facts." Yet, by her own account, she has read
him less diligently than his brother historian.

In ethics and philosophy she mentions, as "likely to live and be
blessed and honored in the later time," the names of Channing and
Emerson. Of the first she says: "His leading idea of the dignity of
human nature is one of vast results, and the peculiar form in which he
advocated it had a great work to do in this new world.... On great
questions he took middle ground, and sought a panoramic view.... He was
not well acquainted with man on the impulsive and passionate side of his
nature, so that his view of character was sometimes narrow, but always

Margaret turns from the great divine to her Concord friend as one turns
from shade to sunshine. "The two men are alike," she says, "in dignity
of purpose, disinterest, and purity." But of the two she recognizes Mr.
Emerson as the profound thinker and man of ideas, dealing "with causes
rather than with effects." His influence appears to her deep, not wide,
but constantly extending its circles. He is to her "a harbinger of the
better day."

Irving, Cooper, Miss Sedgwick, and Mrs. Child are briefly mentioned, but
with characteristic appreciation. "The style of story current in the
magazines" is pronounced by her "flimsy beyond any texture that was ever
spun or dreamed of by the mind of man."

Our friend now devotes herself to the poets of America, at whose head
she places "Mr. Bryant, alone." Genuineness appears to be his chief
merit, in her eyes, for she does not find his genius either fertile or
comprehensive. "But his poetry is purely the language of his inmost
nature, and the simple, lovely garb in which his thoughts are arrayed, a
direct gift from the Muse."

Halleck, Willis, and Dana receive each their meed of praise at her
hands. Passing over what is said, and well said, of them, we come to a
criticism on Mr. Longfellow, which is much at variance with his popular
reputation, and which, though acute and well hit, will hardly commend
itself to-day to the judgment either of the learned or unlearned. For,
even if Mr. Longfellow's inspiration be allowed to be a reflected rather
than an original one, the mirror of his imagination is so pure and
broad, and the images it reflects are so beautiful, that the world of
our time confesses itself greatly his debtor. The spirit of his life,
too, has put the seal of a rare earnestness and sincerity upon his
legacy to the world of letters. But let us hear Margaret's estimate of

"Longfellow is artificial and imitative. He borrows incessantly, and
mixes what he borrows, so that it does not appear to the best
advantage.... The ethical part of his writing has a hollow, second-hand
sound. He has, however, elegance, a love of the beautiful, and a fancy
for what is large and manly, if not a full sympathy with it. His verse
breathes at times much sweetness. Though imitative, he is not

In an article of some length, printed in connection with this, but first
published in the "New York Tribune," Margaret's dispraise of this poet
is in even larger proportion to her scant commendation of him. This
review was called forth by the appearance of an illustrated edition of
Mr. Longfellow's poems, most of which had already appeared in smaller
volumes, and in the Annuals, which once figured so largely in the
show-æsthetics of society. Mr. Greeley, in some published reminiscences,
tells us that Margaret undertook this task with great reluctance. He, on
the other hand, was too much overwhelmed with business to give the
volume proper notice, and so persuaded Margaret to deal with it as she

After formulating a definition of poetry which she considers "large
enough to include all excellence," she laments the dearth of true
poetry, and asserts that "never was a time when satirists were more
needed to scourge from Parnassus the magpies who are devouring the food
scattered there for the singing birds." This scourge she somewhat
exercises upon writers who "did not write because they felt obliged to
relieve themselves of the swelling thought within, but as an elegant
exercise which may win them rank and reputation above the crowd. Their
lamp is not lit by the sacred and inevitable lightning from above, but
carefully fed by their own will to be seen of men."

These metaphors no longer express the most accepted view of poetical
composition. It has been found that those who write chiefly to relieve
themselves are very apt to do so at the expense of the reading public.
The "inevitable lightning," with which some are stricken, does not lead
to such good work as does the "lamp carefully fed" by a steadfast will,
whose tenor need not be summarily judged.

These strictures are intended to apply to versifiers in England as well
as in America.

"Yet," she says, "there is a middle class, composed of men of little
original poetic power, but of much poetic taste and sensibility, whom we
would not wish to have silenced. They do no harm, but much good (if only
their minds are not confounded with those of a higher class), by
educating in others the faculties dominant in themselves." In this class
she places Mr. Longfellow, towards whom she confesses "a coolness, in
consequence of the exaggerated praises that have been bestowed upon
him." Perhaps the best thing she says about him is that "nature with
him, whether human or external, is always seen through the windows of

Mr. Longfellow did, indeed, dwell in the beautiful house of culture, but
with a heart deeply sensitive to the touch of the humanity that lay
encamped around it. In the "Psalm of Life," his banner, blood-red with
sympathy, was hung upon the outer wall. And all his further parley with
the world was through the silver trumpet of peace.

According much praise to William Ellery Channing, and not a little to
Cornelius Matthews, a now almost forgotten writer, Margaret declares Mr.
Lowell to be "absolutely wanting in the true spirit and tone of poesy."
She says further:--

"His interest in the moral questions of the day has supplied the want of
vitality in himself. His great facility at versification has enabled him
to fill the ear with a copious stream of pleasant sound. But his verse
is stereotyped, his thought sounds no depth, and posterity will not
remember him."

The "Biglow Papers" were not yet written, nor the "Vision of Sir
Launfal." Still less was foreseen the period of the struggle whose
victorious close drew from Mr. Lowell a "Commemoration Ode" worthy to
stand beside Mr. Emerson's "Boston Hymn."

In presenting a study of Margaret's thoughts and life, it seemed to us
impossible to omit some consideration of her pronounced opinions
concerning the most widely known of her American compeers in literature.
Having brought these before the reader, we find it difficult to say the
right word concerning them.

In accepting or rejecting a criticism, we should consider, first, its
intention; secondly, its method; and, in the third place, its standard.
If the first be honorable, the second legitimate, and the third
substantial, we shall adopt the conclusion arrived at as a just result
of analytic art.

In the judgments just quoted, we must believe the intention to have been
a sincere one. But neither the method nor the standard satisfies us. The
one is arbitrary, the other unreal. Our friend's appreciation of her
contemporaries was influenced, at the time of her writing, by
idiosyncrasies of her own which could not give the law to the general
public. These were shown in her great dislike of the smooth and
stereotyped in manner, and her impatience of the common level of thought
and sentiment. The unusual had for her a great attraction. It promised
originality, which to her seemed a condition of truth itself. She has
said in this very paper: "No man can be absolutely true to himself,
eschewing cant, compromise, servile imitation, and complaisance, without
becoming original."

Here we seem to find a confusion between two conceptions of the word
"original." Originality in one acceptation is vital and universal. We
originate from the start, and do not _become original_. But the power to
develop forms of thought which shall deserve to be called original is a
rare gift, and one which even conscience cannot command at will.

The sentences here quoted and commented on show us that Margaret, almost
without her own knowledge, was sometimes a partisan of the intellectual
reaction of the day, which attacked, in the name of freedom, the fine,
insensible tyranny of form and precedent. In its place were temporarily
enthroned the spontaneous and passionate. Miracles were expected to
follow this change of base, oracles from children, availing philosophies
from people who were rebels against all philosophy. Margaret's
passionate hopefulness at times carried her within this sphere, where,
however, her fine perceptions and love of thorough culture did not allow
her to remain.



The time had now come when Margaret's darling wish was to be fulfilled.
An opportunity of going abroad offered itself under circumstances which
she felt able to accept. On the 1st of August, 1846, she sailed for
Europe in the "Cambria," then the favorite steamer of the Cunard line,
with Captain Judkins, the most popular and best known of the company's
commanders. Her travelling companions were Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Spring,
of Eaglewood, N. J.

She anticipated much from this journey,--delight, instruction, and the
bodily view of a whole world of beauties which she knew, as yet, only
ideally. Beyond and unguessed lay the mysteries of fate, from whose
depths she was never to emerge in her earthly form.

Margaret already possessed the spirit of all that is most valuable in
European culture. She knew the writers of the Old World by study, its
brave souls by sympathy, its works of art, more imperfectly, through
copies and engravings. The Europe which she carried in her mind was not
that which the superficial observer sees with careless eyes, nor could
it altogether correspond with that which she, in her careful and
thoughtful travel, would discern. But the possession of the European
mind was a key destined to unlock for her the true significance of
European society.

The voyage was propitious. Arriving in England, Margaret visited the
Mechanics' Institute in Liverpool, and found the "Dial" quoted in an
address recently given by its director. Sentences from the writings of
Charles Sumner and Elihu Burritt adorned the pages of Bradshaw's
"Railway Guide," and she was soon called upon to note the wide
discrepancy between the views of enlightened Englishmen and the selfish
policy of their government, corresponding to the more vulgar passions
and ambitions of the people at large.

Passing into the Lake Country, she visited Wordsworth at Ambleside, and
found "no Apollo, flaming with youthful glory, but, instead, a reverend
old man, clothed in black, and walking with cautious step along the
level garden path." The aged poet, then numbering seventy-six years,
"but of a florid, fair old age," showed the visitors his household
portraits, his hollyhocks, and his fuchsias. His secluded mode of life,
Margaret learned, had so separated him from the living issues of the
time, that the needs of the popular heart touched him but remotely. She
found him, however, less intolerant than she had feared concerning the
repeal of the Corn Laws, a measure upon which public opinion was at the
time strongly divided.

In this neighborhood Margaret again saw Miss Martineau, at a new home
"presented to her by the gratitude of England for her course of
energetic and benevolent effort." Dean Milman, historian and dramatist,
was here introduced to Margaret, who describes him as "a specimen of the
polished, scholarly man of the world."

Margaret now visited various places of interest in Scotland, and in
Edinburgh saw Dr. Andrew Combe, Dr. Chalmers, and De Quincey. Dr. Combe,
an eminent authority in various departments of medicine and physiology,
was a younger brother of George Combe, the distinguished phrenologist.
He had much to say about his tribulations with the American publishers
who had pirated one of his works, but who refused to print an emended
edition of it, on the ground that the book sold well enough as it was.
Margaret describes Dr. Chalmers as "half shepherd, half orator, florid,
portly, yet of an intellectually luminous appearance."

De Quincey was of the same age as Wordsworth. Margaret finds his
"thoughts and knowledge" of a character somewhat superseded by the
progress of the age. She found him, not the less, "an admirable
narrator, not rapid, but gliding along like a rivulet through a green
meadow, giving and taking a thousand little beauties not required to
give his story due relief, but each, in itself, a separate boon." She
admires, too, "his urbanity, so opposed to the rapid, slang,
Vivian-Greyish style current in the literary conversation of the day."

Among Margaret's meditations in Scotland was one which she records as
"the bootless, best thoughts I had while looking at the dull bloodstain
and blocked-up secret stair of Holyrood, at the ruins of Loch Leven
Castle, and afterwards at Abbotsford, where the picture of Queen Mary's
head, as it lay on the pillow when severed from the block, hung opposite
to a fine caricature of Queen Elizabeth, dancing high and disposedly."
We give here a part of this meditation:--

"Surely, in all the stern pages of life's account-book there is none on
which a more terrible price is exacted for every precious endowment. Her
rank and reign only made her powerless to do good, and exposed her to
danger. Her talents only served to irritate her foes and disappoint her
friends. This most charming of women was the destruction of her lovers.
Married three times, she had never any happiness as a wife, but in both
the connections of her choice found that she had either never possessed
or could not retain, even for a few weeks, the love of the men she had
chosen.... A mother twice, and of a son and daughter, both the children
were brought forth in loneliness and sorrow, and separated from her
early, her son educated to hate her, her daughter at once immured in a
convent. Add the eighteen years of her imprisonment, and the fact that
this foolish, prodigal world, when there was in it one woman fitted by
her grace and loveliness to charm all eyes and enliven all fancies,
suffered her to be shut up to water with her tears her dull embroidery
during the full rose-blossom of her life, and you will hardly get beyond
this story for a tragedy, not noble, but pallid and forlorn."

From Edinburgh Margaret and her party made an excursion into the
Highlands. The stage-coach was not yet displaced by the locomotive, and
Margaret enjoyed, from the top, the varying aspect of that picturesque
region. Perth, Loch Leven, and Loch Katrine were visited, and
Rowardennan, the place from which the ascent of Ben Lomond is usually
made by travellers. Margaret attempted this feat with but one companion,
and without a guide, the people at the inn not having warned her of any
danger in so doing.

The ascent she found delightful. So magnificent was the prospect, that,
in remembering it, she said: "Had that been, as afterwards seemed
likely, the last act of my life, there could not have been a finer
decoration painted on the curtain which was to drop upon it."

The proverbial _facilis descensus_ did not here hold good, and the
_revocare gradum_ nearly cost Margaret her life. Beginning to descend at
four in the afternoon, the indistinct path was soon lost. Margaret's
companion left her for a moment in search of it, and could not find her.

"Soon he called to me that he had found it [the path], and I followed in
the direction where he seemed to be. But I mistook, overshot it, and saw
him no more. In about ten minutes I became alarmed, and called him many
times. It seems he, on his side, did the same, but the brow of some hill
was between us, and we neither saw nor heard one another."

Margaret now made many attempts to extricate herself from her dangerous
situation, and at last attained a point from which she could see the
lake, and the inn from which she had started in the morning. But the
mountain paths were crossed by watercourses, and hemmed in by bogs.
After much climbing up and down, Margaret, already wet, very weary, and
thinly clad, saw that she must pass the night on the mountain. The spot
at which the light forsook her was of so precipitous a character as to
leave her, in the dark, no liberty of movement. Yet she did keep in
motion of some sort through the whole of that weary night; and this, she
supposes, saved her life. The stars kept her company for two hours, when
the mist fell and hid them. The moon rose late, and was but dimly
discernible. At length morning came, and Margaret, starting homeward
once more, came upon a company of shepherds, who carried her, exhausted,
to the inn, where her distressed friends were waiting for news of her.
Such was the extent of the mountain, that a party of twenty men, with
dogs, sent in search of the missing one, were not heard by her, and did
not hear her voice, which she raised from time to time, hoping to call
some one to her rescue. The strength of Margaret's much-abused
constitution was made evident by her speedy recovery from the effects
of this severe exposure. A fit vigil, this, for one who was about to
witness the scenes of 1848. She speaks of the experience as "sublime
indeed, a never-to-be-forgotten presentation of stern, serene
realities.... I had had my grand solitude, my Ossianic visions, and the
pleasure of sustaining myself." After visiting Glasgow and Stirling,
Margaret and her friends returned to England by Abbotsford and Melrose.

In Birmingham Margaret heard two discourses from George Dawson, then
considered a young man of much promise. In Liverpool she had already
heard James Martineau, and in London she listened to William Fox. She
compares these men with William Henry Channing and Theodore Parker:--

"None of them compare in the symmetrical arrangement of extempore
discourse, or in pure eloquence and communication of spiritual beauty,
with Channing, nor in fulness and sustained flow with Parker."

Margaret's estimate of Martineau is interesting:--

"Mr. Martineau looks like the over-intellectual, the partially developed
man, and his speech confirms this impression. He is sometimes
conservative, sometimes reformer, not in the sense of eclecticism, but
because his powers and views do not find a true harmony. On the
conservative side he is scholarly, acute; on the other, pathetic,
pictorial, generous. He is no prophet and no sage, yet a man full of
fine affections and thoughts; always suggestive, sometimes

Mr. Fox appears to her "the reverse of all this. He is homogeneous in
his materials, and harmonious in the results he produces. He has great
persuasive power; it is the persuasive power of a mind warmly engaged in
seeking truth for itself."

What a leap did our Margaret now make, from Puritanic New England,
Roundhead and Cromwellian in its character, into the very heart of Old
England,--into that London which, in those days, and for long years
after, might have been called the metropolis of the world! Wonders of
many sorts the "province in brick" still contains. Still does it most
astonish those who bring to it the most knowledge. But the social
wonders which it then could boast have passed away, leaving no equals to
take their place.

Charles Dickens was then in full bloom,--Thackeray in full bud. Sydney
Smith exercised his keen, discreet wit. Kenyon not only wrote about pink
champagne, but dispensed it with many other good things. Rogers
entertained with exquisite taste, and showed his art-treasures without
ostentation. Tom Moore, like a veteran canary, chirped, but would not
sing. Lord Brougham and the Iron Duke were seen in the House of Lords.
Carlyle growled and imbibed strong tea at Chelsea. The Queen was in the
favor of her youth, with her handsome husband always at her side. The
Duchess of Sutherland, a beautiful woman with lovely daughters, kept her
state at Stafford House. Lord Houghton was known as Monckton Milnes. The
Honorable Mrs. Norton wore her dark hair folded upon her classic head,
beneath a circlet of diamonds. A first season in London was then a
bewilderment of brilliancy in reputations, beauties, and entertainments.
Margaret did not encounter the season, but hoped to do so at a later
day. For the moment she consoled herself thus:--

"I am glad I did not at first see all that pomp and parade of wealth and
luxury in contrast with the misery--squalid, agonizing, ruffianly--which
stares one in the face in every street of London, and hoots at the gates
of her palaces a note more ominous than ever was that of owl or raven in
the portentous times when empires and races have crumbled and fallen
from inward decay."

Margaret expresses the hope that the social revolution, which to her
seemed imminent in England, may be a peaceful one, "which shall destroy
nothing except the shocking inhumanity of exclusiveness." She speaks
with appreciation of the National and Dulwich Galleries, the British
Museum, the Zoölogical Gardens. Among the various establishments of
benevolence and reform, she especially mentions a school for poor
Italian boys, with which Mazzini had much to do. This illustrious man
was already an exile in London, as was the German poet, Freiligrath.

Margaret was an admirer of Joanna Baillie, and considered her and the
French Madame Roland as "the best specimens hitherto offered of women of
a Roman strength and singleness of mind, adorned by the various culture
and capable of the various action opened to them by the progress of the
Christian idea."

She thus chronicles her visit to Miss Baillie:

"We found her in her little, calm retreat at Hampstead, surrounded by
marks of love and reverence from distinguished and excellent friends.
Near her was the sister, older than herself, yet still sprightly and
full of active kindness, whose character she has, in one of her last
poems, indicated with such a happy mixture of sagacity, humor, and
tender pathos, and with so absolute a truth of outline. Although no
autograph hunter, I asked for theirs; and when the elder gave hers as
'sister to Joanna Baillie,' it drew a tear from my eye,--a good tear, a
genuine pearl, fit homage to that fairest product of the soul of man,
humble, disinterested tenderness."

Margaret also visited Miss Berry, the friend of Horace Walpole, long a
celebrity, and at that time more than eighty years old. In spite of
this, Margaret found her still characterized by the charm, "careless
nature or refined art," which had made her a social power once and

But of all the notable personages who might have been seen in the London
of that time, no one probably interested Margaret so much as did Thomas
Carlyle. Her introduction to him was from Mr. Emerson, his friend and
correspondent; and it was such as to open to her, more than once, the
doors of the retired and reserved house, in which neither time nor money
was lavished upon the entertainment of strangers.

Mr. Carlyle's impressions of Margaret have now been given to the world
in the published correspondence of Carlyle and Emerson. She had, long
before, drawn her portrait of him in one of her letters descriptive of
London and its worthies. The candid criticism of both is full of
interest, and may here be contrasted. Margaret says:--

"I approached him with more reverence after a little experience of
England and Scotland had taught me to appreciate the strength and height
of that wall of shams and conventions which he, more than any other man,
or thousand men,--indeed, he almost alone,--has begun to throw down. He
has torn off the veils from hideous facts; he has burnt away foolish
illusions; he has touched the rocks, and they have given forth musical
answer. Little more was wanting to begin to construct the city; but that
little was wanting, and the work of construction is left to those that
come after him. Nay, all attempts of the kind he is the readiest to
deride, fearing new shams worse than the old, unable to trust the
general action of a thought, and finding no heroic man, no natural king,
to represent it and challenge his confidence."

How significant is this phrase,--"unable to trust the general action of
a thought." This saving faith in the power of just thought Carlyle, the
thinker, had not.

With a reverence, then, not blind, but discriminating, Margaret
approached this luminous mind, and saw and heard its possessor thus:--

"Accustomed to the infinite wit and exuberant richness of his writings,
his talk is still an amazement and a splendor scarcely to be faced with
steady eyes. He does not converse, only harangues. It is the usual
misfortune of such marked men that they cannot allow other minds room to
breathe and show themselves in their atmosphere, and thus miss the
refreshment and instruction which the greatest never cease to need from
the experience of the humblest.... Carlyle, indeed, is arrogant and
overbearing, but in his arrogance there is no littleness or self-love:
it is the heroic arrogance of some old Scandinavian conqueror; it is his
nature, and the untamable impulse that has given him power to crush the

"For the higher kinds of poetry he has no sense, and his talk on that
subject is delightfully and gorgeously absurd.... He puts out his chin
sometimes till it looks like the beak of a bird; and his eyes flash
bright, instinctive meanings, like Jove's bird. Yet he is not calm and
grand enough for the eagle: he is more like the falcon, and yet not of
gentle blood enough for that either.... I cannot speak more nor wiselier
of him now; nor needs it. His works are true to blame and praise
him,--the Siegfried of England, great and powerful, if not quite
invulnerable, and of a might rather to destroy evil than to legislate
for good."

In a letter to Mr. Emerson, Margaret gives some account of her visits at
the Carlyle mansion. The second of these was on the occasion of a
dinner-party, at which she met "a witty, French, flippant sort of a man,
author of a History of Philosophy, and now writing a life of Goethe,"
presumably George Lewes. Margaret acknowledges that he told stories
admirably, and that his occasional interruptions of Carlyle's persistent
monologue were welcome. Of this, her summary is too interesting to be
omitted here:--

"For a couple of hours he was talking about poetry, and the whole
harangue was one eloquent proclamation of the defects in his own mind.
Tennyson wrote in verse because the schoolmasters had taught him that it
was great to do so; and had thus, unfortunately, been turned from the
true path for a man. Burns had, in like manner, been turned from his
vocation. Shakespeare had not had the good sense to see that it would
have been better to write straight on in prose; and such nonsense which,
though amusing enough at first, he ran to death after a while.... The
latter part of the evening, however, he paid us for this by a series of
sketches, in his finest style of railing and raillery, of modern French
literature. All were depreciating except that of Béranger. Of him he
spoke with perfect justice, because with hearty sympathy."

The retirement of the ladies to the drawing-room afforded Margaret an
opportunity which she had not yet enjoyed.

"I had afterward some talk with Mrs. Carlyle, whom hitherto I had only
seen,--for who can speak while her husband is there? I like her very
much; she is full of grace, sweetness, and talent. Her eyes are sad and

Margaret saw the Carlyles only once more.

"They came to pass an evening with us. Unluckily, Mazzini was with us,
whose society, when he was there alone, I enjoyed more than any. He is a
beauteous and pure music; also, he is a dear friend of Mrs. Carlyle. But
his being there gave the conversation a turn to progress and ideal
subjects, and Carlyle was fluent in invectives on all our 'rose-water
imbecilities.' We all felt distant from him, and Mazzini, after some
vain efforts to remonstrate, became very sad. Mrs. Carlyle said to me:
'These are but opinions to Carlyle; but to Mazzini, who has given his
all, and helped bring his friends to the scaffold in pursuit of such
subjects, it is a matter of life and death.'"

Clearly, Carlyle had not, in Margaret's estimation, the true gospel. She
would not bow to the Titanic forces, whether met with in the romances of
Sand or in his force-theory. And so, bidding him farewell with great
admiration, she passes on, as she says, "more lowly, more willing to be
imperfect, since Fate permits such noble creatures, after all, to be
only this or that. Carlyle is only a lion."

Carlyle, on his side, writes of her to Mr. Emerson:--

"Margaret is an excellent soul: in real regard with both of us here.
Since she went, I have been reading some of her papers in a new Book we
have got: greatly superior to all I knew before: in fact, the undeniable
utterances (now first undeniable to me) of a truly heroic mind;
altogether unique, so far as I know, among the writing women of this
generation; rare enough, too, God knows, among the writing men. She is
very narrow, sometimes, but she is truly high. Honor to Margaret, and
more and more good speed to her."

At a later day he sums up his impressions of her in this wise:--

"Such a predetermination to eat this big Universe as her oyster or her
egg, and to be absolute empress of all height and glory in it that her
heart could conceive, I have not before seen in any human soul. Her
'mountain me,'[B] indeed; but her courage, too, is high and clear, her
chivalrous nobleness _à toute épreuve_."

Margaret's high estimate of Mazzini will be justified by those who knew
him or knew of him:--

"Mazzini, one of these noble refugees, is not only one of the heroic,
the courageous, and the faithful,--Italy boasts many such,--but he is
also one of the wise,--one of those who, disappointed in the outward
results of their undertakings, can yet 'bate no jot of heart and hope,'
but must 'steer right onward.' For it was no superficial enthusiasm, no
impatient energies, that impelled him, but an understanding of what must
be the designs of Heaven with regard to man, since God is Love, is
Justice. He is one of those beings who, measuring all things by the
ideal standard, have yet no time to mourn over failure or imperfection;
there is too much to be done to obviate it."

She finds in his papers, published in the "People's Journal," "the
purity of impulse, largeness and steadiness of view, and fineness of
discrimination which must belong to a legislator for a _Christian_

Much as Margaret admired the noble sentiments expressed in Mazzini's
writings, she admired still more the love and wisdom which led the
eminent patriot to found, with others, the school for poor Italian boys
already spoken of. More Christ-like did she deem this labor than aught
that he could have said or sung.

"As among the fishermen and poor people of Judæa were picked up those
who have become to modern Europe a leaven that leavens the whole mass,
so may these poor Italian boys yet become more efficacious as
missionaries to their people than would an Orphic poet at this period."

At the distribution of prizes to the school, in which Mazzini and
Mariotti took part, some of the Polish exiles also being present, she
seemed to see "a planting of the kingdom of Heaven."

Margaret saw a good deal of James Garth Wilkinson, who later became
prominent as the author of the work entitled "The Human Body in its
Relation to the Constitution of Man." She found in him "a sane, strong,
and well-exercised mind, but in the last degree unpoetical in its
structure." Dr. Wilkinson published, years after this time, a volume of
verses which amply sustains this judgment.

"Browning," she writes, "has just married Miss Barrett, and gone to
Italy. I may meet them there." Hoping for a much longer visit at some
future time, and bewildered, as she says, both by the treasures which
she had found, and those which she had not had opportunity to explore,
Margaret left London for its social and æsthetic antithesis, Paris.



If the aspect of London society has changed greatly since Margaret's
visit there in 1846, the Paris which she saw that winter may be said to
exist no longer, so completely is its physiognomy transformed by the
events of the last thirty-seven years. Like London, Paris had then some
gems of the first water, to which nothing in the present day
corresponds. Rachel was then queen of its tragic stage, George Sand
supreme in its literary domain. De Balzac, Eugène Sue, Dumas _père_, and
Béranger then lived and moved among admiring friends. Victor Hugo was in
early middle age. Guizot was in his full prestige, literary and
administrative. Liszt and Chopin held the opposite poles of the musical
world, and wielded, the one its most intense, the other its broadest
power. The civilized world then looked to Paris for the precious
traditions of good taste, and the city deserved this deference as it
does not now.

The sense of security which then prevailed in the French capital was
indeed illusory. The stable basis of things was already undermined by
the dangerous action of theories and of thinkers. Louis Philippe was
unconsciously nearing the abrupt close of his reign. A new chaos was
imminent, and one out of which was to come, first a heroic uprising, and
then a despotism so monstrous and mischievous as to foredoom itself, a
caricature of military empire which for a time cheated Europe, and in
the end died of the emptiness of its own corruption.

Into this Paris Margaret came, not unannounced. Her essay on American
Literature, which had recently appeared in her volume entitled "Papers
on Literature and Art," had already been translated into French, and
printed in the "Revue Indépendante." The same periodical soon after
published a notice of "Woman in the Nineteenth Century." Margaret
enjoyed the comfortable aspect of the apartment which she occupied with
her travelling-companions at Hôtel Rougemont, Boulevard Poissonière. She
mentions the clock, mirror, curtained bed, and small wood-fire which
were then, and are to-day, so costly to the transient occupant.

Though at first not familiar with the sound of the French language, she
soon had some pleasant acquaintances, and was not long in finding her
way to the literary and social eminences who were prepared to receive
her as their peer.

First among these she mentions George Sand, to whom she wrote a letter,
calling afterwards at her house. Her name was not rightly reported by
the peasant woman who opened the door, and Margaret, waiting for
admittance, heard at first the discouraging words, "Madame says she does
not know you." She stopped to send a message regarding the letter she
had written, and as she spoke, Madame Sand opened the door and stood
looking at her for a moment.

"Our eyes met. I shall never forget her look at that moment. The doorway
made a frame for her figure. She is large, but well formed. She was
dressed in a robe of dark violet silk, with a black mantle on her
shoulders, her beautiful hair dressed with the greatest taste, her whole
appearance and attitude, in its simple and lady-like dignity, presenting
an almost ludicrous contrast to the vulgar caricature idea of George
Sand. Her face is a very little like the portraits, but much finer. The
upper part of the forehead and eyes are beautiful, the lower strong and
masculine, expressive of a hardy temperament and strong passions, but
not in the least coarse, the complexion olive, and the air of the whole
head Spanish." This striking apparition was further commended in
Margaret's eyes by "the expression of goodness, nobleness, and power"
that characterized the countenance of the great French-woman.

Madame Sand said, "C'est vous," and offered her hand to Margaret, who,
taking it, answered, "Il me fait du bien de vous voir" ("It does me good
to see you"). They went into the study. Madame Sand spoke of Margaret's
letter as _charmante_, and the two ladies then talked on for hours, as
if they had always known each other. Madame Sand had at that moment a
work in the press, and was hurried for copy, and beset by friends and
visitors. She kept all these at a distance, saying to Margaret: "It is
better to throw things aside, and seize the present moment." Margaret
gives this _résumé_ of the interview: "We did not talk at all of
personal or private matters. I saw, as one sees in her writings, the
want of an independent, interior life, but I did not feel it as a fault.
I heartily enjoyed the sense of so rich, so prolific, so ardent a
genius. I liked the woman in her, too, very much; I never liked a woman

To complete the portrait, Margaret mentions the cigarette, which her new
friend did not relinquish during the interview. The impression received
as to character did not materially differ from that already made by her
writings. In seeing her, Margaret was not led to believe that all her
mistakes were chargeable upon the unsettled condition of modern society.
Yet she felt not the less convinced of the generosity and nobleness of
her nature. "There may have been something of the Bacchante in her
life," says Margaret, some reverting to the wild ecstasies of heathen
nature-worship, "but she was never coarse, never gross."

Margaret saw Madame Sand a second time, surrounded by her friends, and
with her daughter, who was then on the eve of her marriage with the
sculptor Clésinger. In this _entourage_ she had "the position of an
intellectual woman and good friend; the same as my own," says Margaret,
"in the circle of my acquaintance as distinguished from my intimates."

Beneath the same roof Margaret found Chopin, "always ill, and as frail
as a snow-drop, but an exquisite genius. He played to me, and I liked
his talking scarcely less." The Polish poet, Mickiewicz, said to her,
"Chopin gives us the Ariel view of the universe."

Margaret had done her best while in London to see what the English stage
had to offer. The result had greatly disappointed her. In France she
found the theatre living, and found also a public which would not have
tolerated "one touch of that stage-strut and vulgar bombast of tone
which the English actor fancies indispensable to scenic illusion."

In Paris she says that she saw, for the first time, "something
represented in a style uniformly good." Besides this general excellence,
which is still aimed at in the best theatres of the Continent, the
Parisian stage had then a star of the first magnitude, whose splendor
was without an equal, and whose setting brought no successor. In the
supreme domain of tragic art, Rachel then reigned, an undisputed queen.
Like George Sand, her brilliant front was obscured by the cloud of doubt
which rested upon her private character,--a matter of which even the
most dissolute age will take note, after its fashion. And yet the
charmed barrier of the footlights surrounded her with a flame of
mystery. Whatever was known or surmised of her elsewhere, within those
limits she appeared as the living impersonation of beauty, grace, and
power. For Rachel had, at this time, no public sorrow. How it might fare
with her and her lovers little concerned the crowds who gathered
nightly, drawn by the lightnings of her eye, the melodious thunder of
her voice. Ten years later, a new favorite, her rival but not her equal,
came to win the heart of her Paris from her. Then Rachel, grieved and
angry, knew the vanity of all human dependence. She crossed the ocean,
and gave the New World a new delight. But in spite of its laurels and
applause, she sickened (Margaret had said she could not live long), and
fled far, far eastward, to hear in ancient Egypt the death-psalms of her
people. With a smile, the last change of that expressive countenance,
its lovely light expired.

Of the woman, Margaret says nothing. Of the artist, she says that she
found her worthy of Greece, and fit to be made immortal in its marble.
She did not, it is true, find in her the most tender pathos, nor yet the
sublime of sweetness:--

"Her range, even in high tragedy, is limited. Her noblest aspect is when
sometimes she expresses truth in some severe shape, and rises, simple
and austere, above the mixed elements around her." Had Margaret seen her
in "Les Horaces"? One would think so.

"On the dark side, she is very great in hatred and revenge. I admired
her more in Phèdre than in any other part in which I saw her. The guilty
love inspired by the hatred of a goddess was expressed with a force and
terrible naturalness that almost suffocated the beholder."

Margaret had heard much about the power which Rachel could throw into a
single look, and speaks of it as indeed magnificent. Yet she admired
most in her "the grandeur, truth, and depth of her conception of each
part, and the sustained purity with which she represented it."

In seeing other notabilities, Margaret was indeed fortunate. She went
one day to call upon Lamennais, to whom she brought a letter of
introduction. To her disappointment, she found him not alone. But the
"citizen-looking, vivacious, elderly man," whom she was at first sorry
to see with him, turned out to be the poet Béranger, and Margaret says
that she was "very happy in that little study, in presence of these two
men whose influence has been so great, so real." It was indeed a very
white stone that hit two such birds at one throw.

Margaret heard a lecture from Arago, and was not disappointed in him.
"Clear, rapid, full, and equal was this discourse, and worthy of the
master's celebrity."

The Chamber of Deputies was in those days much occupied with the Spanish
Marriage, as it was called. This was the intended betrothal of the
Queen of Spain's sister to the Duc de Montpensier, youngest son of the
then reigning King of the French, Louis Philippe. Guizot and Thiers were
both heard on this matter, but Margaret heard only M. Berryer, then
considered the most eloquent speaker of the House. His oratory appeared
to her, "indeed, very good; not logical, but plausible, with occasional
bursts of flame and showers of sparks." While admiring him, Margaret
thinks that her own country possesses public speakers of more force, and
of equal polish.

At a presentation and ball at the Tuileries Margaret was much struck
with the elegance and grace of the Parisian ladies of high society. The
Queen made the circuit of state, with the youthful Duchess, the cause of
so much disturbance, hanging on her arm. Margaret found here some of her
own country women, conspicuous for their beauty. The uniforms and
decorations of the gentlemen contrasted favorably, in her view, with the
sombre, black-coated masses of men seen in circles at home.

"Among the crowd wandered Leverrier, in the costume of an Academician,
looking as if he had lost, not found, his planet. He seemed not to find
it easy to exchange the music of the spheres for the music of fiddles."

The Italian Opera in Paris fell far short of Margaret's anticipations.
So curtly does she judge it, that one wonders whether she expected to
find it a true Parnassus, dedicated to the ideal expression of the most
delicate and lofty sentiment. Grisi appeared to her coarse and shallow,
Persiani mechanical and meretricious, Mario devoid of power. Lablache
alone satisfied her.

These judgments show something of the weakness of off-hand criticism. In
the world of art, the critic who wishes to teach, must first be taught
of the artist. He must be very sure that he knows what a work of art is
before he carps at what it is not. Relying on her own great
intelligence, and on her love of beautiful things, Margaret expected,
perhaps, to understand too easily the merits and defects of what she saw
and heard.

In Paris Margaret met Alexandre Vattemare, intent upon his project of
the exchange of superfluous books and documents between the public
libraries of different countries. Busy as he was, he found time to be of
service to her, and it was through his efforts that she was enabled to
visit the Imprimerie Royale and the Mint. He also induced the Librarian
of the Chamber of Deputies to show her the manuscripts of Rousseau,
which she found "just as he has celebrated them, written on fine white
paper, tied with ribbon. Yellow and faded, age has made them," says
Margaret; "yet at their touch I seemed to feel the fire of youth,
immortally glowing, more and more expansive, with which his soul has
pervaded this century."

M. Vattemare introduced Margaret to one of the evening schools of the
Frères Chrétiens, where she saw with pleasure how much can be
accomplished for the working classes by evening lessons.

"Visions arose in my mind of all that might be done in our country by
associations of men and women who have received the benefits of literary
culture, giving such evening lessons throughout our cities and
villages." Margaret wishes, however, that such disinterested effort in
our own country should not be accompanied by the priestly robe and
manner which for her marred the humanity of the Christian Brotherhood of

The establishment of the Protestant Deaconesses is praised by Margaret.
She visited also the School for Idiots, near Paris, where her feelings
vented themselves in "a shower of sweet and bitter tears; of joy at what
has been done, of grief for all that I and others possess, and cannot
impart to these little ones." She was much impressed with the character
of the master of the school, a man of seven or eight and twenty years,
whose fine countenance she saw "looking in love on those distorted and
opaque vases of humanity."

Turning her face southward, she thus takes leave of the great capital:--

"Paris! I was sad to leave thee, thou wonderful focus, where ignorance
ceases to be a pain, because there we find such means daily to lessen

Railroads were few in the France of forty years ago. Margaret came by
diligence and boat to Lyons, to Avignon, where she waded through the
snow to visit the tomb of Laura, and to Marseilles, where she embarked
for Genoa. Her first sight of this city did not disappoint her, but to
her surprise, she found the weather cold and ungenial:--

"I could not realize that I had actually touched those shores to which I
had looked forward all my life, where it seemed that the heart would
expand, and the whole nature be turned to delight. Seen by a cutting
wind, the marble palaces, the gardens, the magnificent water-view,
failed to charm." Both here and in Leghorn Margaret visited Italians at
their houses, and found them very attractive, "charming women, refined
and eloquent men." The Mediterranean voyage was extended as far as
Naples, which she characterizes as "priest-ridden, misgoverned, full of
dirty, degraded men and women, yet still most lovely." And here, after a
week which appeared to be "an exact copy of the miseries of a
New-England spring," with a wind "villanous, horrible, exactly like the
worst east wind of Boston," Margaret found at last her own Italy, and
found it "beautiful, worthy to be loved and embraced, not talked
about.... Baiæ had still a hid divinity for me, Vesuvius a fresh baptism
of fire, and Sorrento--oh! Sorrento was beyond picture, beyond poesy."

After Naples came Margaret's first view of Rome, where she probably
arrived early in May, and where she remained until late in the month of
June. We do not find among her letters of this period any record of her
first impressions of the Eternal City, the approach to which, before the
days of railroads in Italy, was unspeakably impressive and solemn.

Seated in the midst of her seven hills, with the desolate Campagna about
her, one could hardly say whether her stony countenance invited the
spirit of the age, or defied it. Her mediæval armor was complete at all
points. Her heathen heart had kept Christianity far from it by using as
exorcisms the very forms which, at the birth of that religion, had
mediated between its spirit and the dull sense of the Pagan world. It
was the nineteenth century in America, the eighteenth in England, the
seventeenth in France, and the fifteenth in Rome. The aged hands of the
grandam still held fast the key of her treasures. Her haughty front
still said to Ruin and Desolation,--

    "Here is my throne, bid kings come bow to it."

So the writer first saw Rome in the winter of 1843. Her walls seemed
those of a mighty sepulchre, in which even the new-born babe was born
into death. The stagnation of thought, the prohibition of question, the
denial of progress! Her ministers had a sweet Lethean draught with which
to lull the first clamors of awakening life, to quiet the first
promptings of individual thought. It was the draught of Circe, fragrant
but fatal. And those who fed upon it became pathetic caricatures of

Not so did Margaret find Rome in 1847. The intervening years had wrought
a change. Within the defiant fortress of superstition a divine accident
had happened. A man had been brought to the chair of St. Peter who felt
his own human power too strongly to consent to the impotence of the
traditional _non possumus_. To the timid questioning of Freedom from
without he gave the bold answer of Freedom from within. The Papal crown
had sometimes covered the brows of honest, heroic men. Such an one would
he prove himself, and his first message was to that effect. Fortunate,
fatal error! The thrones of the earth trembled at it. Crowned heads
shook with the palsy of fear. The enslaved multitudes and their despised
champions sent up a ringing shout to heaven, for the apocalyptic hour
had come. The sixth seal was broken, and the cannon of St. Angelo, which
saluted the crowning of the new Pontiff, really saluted the installation
of the new era.

Alas! many woes had to intervene before this new order could establish
itself upon any permanent foundation. The Pope forsook his lofty ground.
France, republican for a day only, became the ally of absolutism, and
sent an army to subdue those who had believed the papal promise and her
own. After a frightful interval of suffering and resistance, this was
effected, and Pius was brought back, shorn of his splendors, a Jove
whose thunderbolt had been stolen, a man without an idea. Then came the
confusion of endless doubt and question. What had been the secret of the
Pope's early liberalism? What that of his _volte-face_? Was it true, as
was afterwards maintained, that he had been, from the first, a puppet,
moved by forces quite outside his own understanding, and that the moving
hands, not the puppet, had changed? Or had he gone to war with mighty
Precedent, without counting the cost of the struggle, and so failed? Or
had he undergone a poisoning which broke his spirit and touched his

These were the questions of that time, not ours to answer, brought to
mind here only because they belong to the history of Margaret's years in
Italy, years in which she learned to love that country as her own, and
to regard it as the land of her spiritual belonging.



In this first visit to Rome, Margaret could not avoid some touch of the
disenchantment which usually comes with the experience of what has been
long and fondly anticipated. She had soon seen all that is preserved of
"the fragments of the great time," and says: "They are many and
precious; yet is there not so much of high excellence as I looked for.
They will not float the heart on a boundless sea of feeling, like the
starry night on our Western prairies." She confesses herself more
interested at this moment in the condition and prospects of the Italian
people than in works of art, ancient or modern. In spite of this, she
seems to have been diligent in visiting the galleries and studios of
Rome. Among the latter she mentions those of the sculptors Macdonald,
Wolff, Tenerani, and Gott, whose groups of young people and animals were
to her "very refreshing after the grander attempts of the present time."
She found our own Crawford just completing a bust of his beautiful wife,
which is to-day a household treasure among her relatives. Margaret
preferred his designs to those of Gibson, who was then considered the
first of English sculptors. Among American painters she found Terry,
Cranch, and Hicks at work. She saw the German Overbeck surrounded by his
pictures, looking "as if he had just stepped out of one of them,--a lay
monk, with a pious eye, and habitual morality of thought which limits
every gesture."

Among the old masters, Domenichino and Titian were those whom she
learned to appreciate only by the actual sight of their paintings. Other
artists, she thinks, may be well understood through copies and
engravings, but not these. She enjoyed the frescos of Caracci with "the
purest pleasure," tired soon of Guercino, who had been one of her
favorites, and could not like Leonardo da Vinci at all. His pictures,
she confesses, "show a wonderful deal of study and thought. I hate to
see the marks of them. I want a simple and direct expression of soul."
For the explanation of these remarks we must refer the reader back to
what Mr. Emerson has said of Margaret's idiosyncratic mode of judgment.
Raphael and Michael Angelo were already so well known to her through
engravings, that their paintings and frescos made no new impression upon
her. Not so was it with Michael's sculptures. Of his Moses she says: "It
is the only thing in Europe so far which has entirely outgone my hopes."

But the time was not one in which an enthusiast like Margaret could be
content to withdraw from living issues into the calm impersonality of
art. The popular life around her was throbbing with hopes and
excitements to which it had long been unaccustomed. Visions of a living
Italy flashed through the crevices of a stony despair which had lasted
for ages. The prospect of representative government was held out to the
Roman people, and the promise was welcomed by a torchlight procession
which streamed through the Corso like a river of fire, and surging up to
the Quirinal, where Pius then dwelt, "made it a mound of light." The
noble Greek figures were illuminated, and their calm aspect contrasted
strongly with the animated faces of the Italians. "The Pope appeared on
his balcony; the crowd shouted their _vivas_. He extended his arms; the
crowd fell on their knees and received his benediction." Margaret says
that she had never seen anything finer.

In this new enthusiasm the people agreed to celebrate the birthday of

"A great dinner was given at the Baths of Titus, in the open air. The
company was on the grass in the area, the music at one end; boxes filled
with the handsome Roman women occupied the other sides. It was a new
thing here, this popular dinner, and the Romans greeted it in an
intoxication of hope and pleasure." Many political exiles, amnestied by
the Pope, were present. The Marquis d'Azeglio, painter, novelist, and
diplomatist, was the most noted of the speakers. From this renewed,
regenerated Rome Margaret went on to visit the northern cities of Italy,
passing through Perugia on her way to Florence. In this neighborhood she
explored the churches of Assisi, and the Etruscan tombs, then newly
discovered. She was enchanted with the beauty of Perugia, its noble
situation, and its treasures of early art. Florence interested her less
than "cities more purely Italian. The natural character is ironed out
here, and done up in a French pattern; yet there is no French vivacity,
nor Italian either." The Grand Duke was at the time in an impossible
position between his allegiance to the liberalizing Pope and his fealty
to despotic Austria. Tuscany accordingly was "glum as death" on the
outside, but glowing with dangerous fire within.

Margaret, before leaving Florence, wrote: "Florence is not like Rome. At
first I could not bear the change; yet, for the study of the fine arts,
it is a still richer place. Worlds of thought have risen in my mind;
some time you will have light from all."

Here she visited the studios of her countrymen, Horatio Greenough and
Hiram Powers, and, after a month's stay, went on to Bologna, where she
greatly appreciated the truly Italian physiognomy of the city, and
rejoiced in the record of its women artists and professors, nobly
recognized and upheld by their fellow-citizens.

Thence she went to Ravenna, prized for its curious remains, its Byronic
memories, and its famous Pineta, dear to students of Dante. After this
came a fortnight in Venice, which, like Angelo's Moses, surpassed her
utmost expectations: "There only I began to feel in its fulness Venetian
art. It can only be seen in its own atmosphere. Never had I the least
idea of what is to be seen at Venice."

The city was, in those days, a place of refuge for throneless royalty.
The Duchesse de Berri and her son had each a palace on the Grand Canal.
A queen of another sort, Taglioni, here consoled herself for the quiet
of her retirement from the stage. Margaret had the pleasure of an
outside view of the _fête_ given by the royal Duchess in commemoration
of her son's birthday. The aged Duchesse d'Angoulème came from Vienna to
be present on the occasion.

"'Twas a scene of fairy-land, the palace full of light, so that from
the canal could be seen even the pictures on the walls. Landing from the
gondolas, the elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen seemed to rise from
the water. We also saw them glide up the great stair, rustling their
plumes, and in the reception-room make and receive the customary
grimaces." A fine band of music completed the attractions of the scene.
Margaret, listening and looking hard by, "thought of the Stuarts,
Bourbons, and Bonapartes in Italy, and offered up a prayer that other
names might be added to the list, and other princes, more rich in blood
than in brain, might come to enjoy a perpetual _villeggiatura_ in

From Venice Margaret journeyed on to Milan, stopping on the way at
Vicenza, Verona, Mantua, Lago di Garda, and Brescia. These ten days of
travel opened to her long vistas of historic study, delightful to
contemplate, even if hopeless to explore fully. No ten days of her
previous life, she is sure, ever brought her so far in this direction.
In approaching Milan her thoughts reverted to the "Promessi Sposi."
Nearly asleep for a moment, she heard the sound of waters, and started
up to ask, "Is that the Adda?" She had guessed rightly. The authorship
of this classic work seemed to her to secure to its writer, Manzoni, the
right of eminent domain in and around Milan. Writing to Mr. Emerson from
this city, she says:--

"To-day, for the first time, I have seen Manzoni. Manzoni has spiritual
efficacy in his looks; his eyes still glow with delicate tenderness. His
manners are very engaging, frank, expansive; every word betokens the
habitual elevation of his thoughts, and (what _you_ care for so much) he
says distinct, good things. He lives in the house of his fathers, in the
simplest manner."

Manzoni had, at the time, somewhat displeased his neighbors by a second
marriage, scarcely considered suitable for him. Margaret, however, liked
the new wife very well, "and saw why he married her."

She found less to see in Milan than in other Italian cities, and was
glad to have there some days of quiet after the fatigues of her journey,
which had been augmented at Brescia by a brief attack of fever. She
mentions with interest the bust of the celebrated mathematician, Maria
Gaetana Agnesi, preserved in the Ambrosian Library. Among her new
acquaintances here were some young Italian radicals, "interested in

The Italian Lakes and Switzerland came next in the order of her travels.
Her Swiss tour she calls "a little romance by itself," promising to
give, at a later date, a description of it, which we fail to find
anywhere. Returning from it, she passed a fortnight at Como, and saw
something of the Italian nobility, who pass their summers on its shores.
Here she enjoyed the society of the accomplished Marchesa Arconati
Visconti, whom she had already met in Florence, and who became to her a
constant and valued friend.

Margaret found no exaggeration in the enthusiasm expressed by poets and
artists for the scenery of this lake region. The descriptions of it
given by Goethe, Richter, and Taylor had not prepared her for what she
saw. Even Turner's pictures had fallen short of the real beauty. At
Lugano she met Lady Franklin, the widow of the Arctic explorer. She
returned to Milan by the 8th of September, in time for the great feast
of the Madonna, and finally left the city "with great regret, and hope
to return." In a letter to her brother Richard she speaks of her
radical friends there as "a circle of aspiring youth, such as I have not
known in any other city." Conspicuous among these was the young Marquis
Guerrieri Gonzaga, commended to her by "a noble soul, the quietest
sensibility, and a brilliant and ardent, though not a great, mind." This
gentleman has to-day a recognized position in Italy as a thoroughly
enlightened and intelligent liberal.

Margaret found among the Milanese, as she must have anticipated, a great
hatred of the Austrian rule, aggravated, at the time of her second
visit, by acts of foolish and useless repression. On the occasion of the
festivals attending the entry of a new archbishop, some youths (among
them possibly Margaret's radical friends) determined to sing the hymn
composed at Rome in honor of Pius IX. The consequence of this was a
charge of the armed Austrian police upon the defenceless crowd of people
present, who, giving way, were stabbed by them in the back. Margaret's
grief and indignation at this state of things made her feel keenly the
general indifference of her own travelling country-people to the
condition and fate of Italy.

"Persons who call themselves Americans,--miserable, thoughtless Esaus,
unworthy their high birthright ... absorbed at home by the lust of gain,
the love of show, abroad, they see only the equipages, the fine
clothes, the food. They have no heart for the idea, for the destiny of
our own great nation: how can they feel the spirit that is struggling in

The condition of Italy has been greatly altered for the better since
Margaret wrote these words, thirty-six years ago; but the American
traveller of this type is to-day, to all intents and purposes, what he
was then.

Margaret left Milan before the end of this September, to return to Rome.
She explored with delight the great Certosa of Pavia, and in Parma saw
the Correggio pictures, of which she says: "A wonderful beauty it is
that informs them,--not that which is the chosen food of my soul, yet a
noble beauty, and which did its message to me also." Parma and Modena
appear to her "obliged to hold their breath while their poor, ignorant
sovereigns skulk in corners, hoping to hide from the coming storm."

Before reaching Rome, Margaret made a second visit to Florence. The
liberty of the press had been recently established in Tuscany, under
happy auspices. This freedom took effect in the establishment of two
liberal papers, "Alba" ("The Dawn"), and "Patria," needless to
translate. The aim of these was to educate the youth and the working
classes, by promoting fearlessness in thought and temperance in action.

The creation of the National Guard had given confidence to the people.
Shortly before Margaret's arrival this event had been celebrated by a
grand public festival, preceded by a general reconciliation of public
and private differences, and culminating in a general embracing, and
exchanging of banners. She speaks of this as a "new great covenant of
brotherly love," in which "all was done in that beautiful poetic manner
peculiar to this artist-people." In this feast of reconciliation
resident Americans bore their part, Horatio Greenough taking the lead
among them. Margaret's ears were refreshed by continually hearing in the
streets the singing of the Roman hymn composed in honor of Pope Pius.
Wishing that her own country might send some substantial token of
sympathy to the land of its great discoverers, she suggests that a
cannon, named for one of these, would be the most fitting gift.[C] The
first letter from Rome after these days is dated Oct. 18, 1847.



The period in which Margaret now found herself, and its circumstances,
may best be described by the adjective "billowy." Up and down, up and
down, went the hearts and hopes of the liberal party. Hither and thither
ran the tides of popular affection, suspicion, and resentment. The Pope
was the idol of the moment. Whoever might do wrong, he could not. The
Grand Duke of Tuscany, described by Margaret as dull but well meaning,
yielded to pressure wherever it became most severe. The Austrian
occupation was cowardly and cruel, as ever. The minor princes, who had
been from their birth incapable of an idea, tried as well as they could
to put on some semblance of concession without really yielding anything.

The King of Sardinia was spoken of among the liberals as a worthless
man, without heart or honor, only likely to be kept on the right side by
the stress of circumstance. This judgment of him was reversed in after
years, when, behind Casa Guidi windows, Elizabeth Barrett Browning
wrote, with steadfast hand, "Yea, verily. Charles Albert has died well."

The royalty of Naples tried to quiet its tremors with blood, and
trembled still. And in the midst of all this turmoil, down comes Louis
Philippe from his throne, and France is shaken to her very centre.

To follow Margaret through all the fluctuations and excitements
consequent upon these events would be no easy task. She was obviously in
close relations with leading Italian liberals, and probably trusted
their statements and shared their hopes, fears, and resentments.
Constant always in her faith in human nature, and in her zeal for the
emancipation of Italy, the dissolving view before her could leave her no
other fixed belief. Her favorites, her beloved Italian people, even her
adored Rome, appeared to her at different times in very various lights.

Starting from the date given above, we will follow, as well as we can,
her progress through the constantly shifting scenes that surrounded her,
from whose intense interest she could not, for one moment, isolate

       *       *       *       *       *

Of her return to Rome, Margaret says: "All mean things were forgotten in
the joy that rushed over me like a flood." The difference between a
sight-seeing tour and a winter's residence in such a place is indeed
like that between a chance acquaintance and an intimate one. Settled in
a pleasant apartment on the Corso, "in a house of loving Italians,"
Margaret promised herself a winter of "tranquil companionship" with what
she calls "the true Rome."

She did not find the Italian autumn beautiful, as she had expected, but
she enjoyed the October _festas_ of the Trasteverini, and went with
"half Rome" to see the manœuvres of the Civic Guard on the Campagna,
near the tomb of Cecilia Metella.

To the music of the "Bolognese March" six thousand Romans moved in
battle array, in full sight of the grandiose débris of the heroic time.

Some sight-seeing Margaret still undertook, as we learn from a letter
dated November 17, in which she speaks of going about "in a coach with
several people," and confesses that she dissipates her thoughts on
outward beauty. Such was her delight, at this time, in the "atmosphere
of the European mind," that she even wished, for a time, to be delivered
from the sound of the English language.

The beginning of this winter was, as it usually is in Italy, a season of
fine weather. On the 17th of December Margaret rises to bask in
beneficent floods of sunlight, and to find upon her table the roses and
grapes which, in New England, would have been costly hot-house luxuries.
Her letter of this date is full of her delight in having penetrated from
the outer aspect to the heart of Rome, classic, mediæval, and modern.
And here we come upon the record of those first impressions concerning
which we latterly indulged in some speculation.

"Ah! how joyful to see once more this Rome, instead of the pitiful,
peddling, Anglicized Rome first viewed in unutterable dismay from the
_coupé_ of the vettura,--a Rome all full of taverns, lodging-houses,
cheating chambermaids, vilest _valets de place_, and fleas! A Niobe of
nations indeed! Ah! why (secretly the heart blasphemed) did the sun omit
to kill her too, when all the glorious race which wore her crown fell
beneath his ray?"

All this had now disappeared for Margaret, and a new enchantment had
taken the place of the old illusion and disappointment. For she was now
able to disentangle the strange jumble of ancient and modern Rome. In
this more understanding and familiar view, she says:--

"The old kings, the consuls and tribunes, the emperors, drunk with blood
and gold, return for us. The seven hills tower, the innumerable temples
glitter, and the Via Sacra swarms with triumphal life once more."

In the later Papal Rome she discerns, through the confusion of rite and
legend, a sense which to her marks the growth "of the human spirit
struggling to develop its life." And the Rome of that day was dear to
her in spite of its manifold corruptions; dear for the splendor of the
race, surviving every enslaving and deforming influence; dear for the
new-born hope of freedom which she considered safe in the nursing of
Pope Pius.

Most of the occasions chronicled by Margaret in her letters of this
period are of the sort familiarly known to travellers, and even to
readers of books of travel.

The prayers for the dead, early in November, the festival of San Carlo
Borromeo, the veiling of a nun, the worship of the wooden image called
"the most Holy Child," idolatrous, Margaret thinks, as that of the
Capitoline Jove, the blessing of the animals, the festival of the Magi
at the Propaganda,--these events are all described by her with much
good thought and suggestion.

She saw the Pope occasionally at the grand ceremonies of the Church, and
saw the first shadow fall upon his popularity, partly in consequence of
some public utterances of his which seemed to Margaret "deplorably weak
in thought and absolute in manner," and which she could not but
interpret as implying that wherever reform might in future militate
against sacerdotal traditions, it would go to the wall, in order that
the priest might triumph.

The glorious weather had departed almost as soon as she had sung its
praises, namely, on the 18th of December; after which time her patience
was sorely tried by forty days of rain, accompanied by "abominable
reeking odors, such as blessed cities swept by the sea-breeze never
know." We copy from one of her letters a graphic picture of this time of

"It has been dark all day, though the lamp has only been lit half an
hour. The music of the day has been, first, the atrocious _arias_ which
last in the Corso till near noon. Then came the wicked organ-grinder,
who, apart from the horror of the noise, grinds exactly the same
obsolete abominations as at home or in England, the 'Copenhagen Waltz,'
'Home, Sweet Home,' and all that! The cruel chance that both an English
my-lady and a councillor from the provinces live opposite, keeps him
constantly before my window, hoping for _bajocchi_.

"Within, the three pet dogs of my landlady, bereft of their walk, unable
to employ their miserable legs and eyes, exercise themselves by a
continual barking, which is answered by all the dogs in the
neighborhood. An urchin returning from the laundress, delighted with the
symphony, lays down his white bundle in the gutter, seats himself on the
curb-stone, and attempts an imitation of the music of cats as a tribute
to the concert.

"The door-bell rings. _Chi è?_ ('Who is it?') cries the handmaid. Enter
a man poisoning me at once with the smell of the worst possible cigars,
insisting I shall look upon frightful, ill-cut cameos and worse-designed
mosaics, made by some friend of his. Man of ill odors and meanest smile!
I am no countess to be fooled by you."

These passages give us some glimpses of our friend in the surroundings
which at first gave her so much satisfaction, and whose growing
discomforts were lightened for her by her native sense of humor.

In spite of this, however, "the dirt, the gloom, the desolation of Rome"
affected her severely. Her appetite failed, and with it her strength,
while nervous headache and fever conspired to make the whole season
appear, in review, "the most idle and most suffering" one of her life.

The most important public event of the winter in Rome seems to have been
the inauguration of a new Council, with some show of popular election,
said to have been on the whole satisfactory. As this was considered a
decided step in the direction of progress, preparations were made for
its celebration by the representatives of other Italian States, and of
various friendly nations. The Americans resident in Rome were aroused to
an unwonted degree of interest, the gentlemen subscribing funds for the
materials of a flag, and the ladies meeting to make it. To accompany
this banner, a magnificent spread eagle was procured. Everything was in
the height of preparation, when some counter-influence, brought to bear
upon the Pope, led him to issue an edict forbidding this happy concourse
of the flags of all nations, and allowing only that of Rome to be
carried in honor of the occasion. Margaret saw in this the work of the
Oscurantists, "ever on the watch to do mischief" to the popular cause.

Despite the disappointment of the citizens at this curtailment of their
show, the streets were decorated, and filled with people in the best
humor. Margaret was able to see nothing but this crowd, but found even
that a great pleasure. A ball at the Argentina Theatre terminated the
festivities of the day. Here were seen "Lord Minto; Prince Corsini, now
senator; the Torlonias, in uniform of the Civic Guard, Princess Torlonia
(the beautiful Colonna) in a sash of their colors, which she waved often
in answer to their greetings." The finest show of the evening, Margaret
says, was the native Saltarello, danced by the Trasteverini in their
gayest costumes. In this dance, which is at once very _naïve_ and very
natural, Margaret saw the embodiment of "the Italian wine, the Italian

In the course of this winter it became evident that the liberalism of
Pio Nono would not stand the test of any extensive practical
application. His position was, indeed, a very difficult one, the natural
allies and supporters of the Papacy being, without exception, the
natural enemies of the new ideas to which he had so incautiously opened
the door.

Margaret relates various attempts made by Austrians in Lombardy and by
Oscurantists in Rome to excite the people to overt acts of violence, and
thus gain a pretext for the employment of armed force. In Rome, on New
Year's day, an attempt of this sort was near succeeding, the governor of
the city having ungraciously forbidden the people to wait upon the Pope
at the Quirinal, and to ask for his blessing. Fortunately, instead of
rising in rebellion, they betook themselves to Senator Corsini, by whose
friendly interposition the Pope was induced to make a progress through
the city, interrupted only by the prayers of his subjects, who, falling
on their knees as he passed, cried out: "Holy Father, don't desert us!
don't forget us! don't listen to our enemies!" the Pope, in tears,
replying: "Fear nothing, my people; my heart is yours." And this
tender-hearted populace, seeing that the Pope looked ill, and that the
weather was inclement, begged him to return to the Quirinal, which he
did, the popular leader, Ciceruacchio, following his carriage.

A letter from Mazzini to Pope Pius, printed in Paris, had reached Italy
by this time, and was translated by Margaret for publication in the "New
York Tribune." Some passages of it will not be out of place here, as
showing the position and outlook of a man by far the most illustrious of
the Italian exiles, and one whose purity of life and excellence of
character gave to his opinions a weight beyond their intellectual value.

After introducing himself as one who adores God, Mazzini says that he
adores, also, an idea which seems to him to be of God, that of Italy as
"an angel of moral unity and of progressive civilization for the nations
of Europe."

Having studied the great history of humanity, and having there found
"Rome twice directress of the world, first through the Emperors, later
through the Popes," he is led to believe that the great city is destined
to a third and more lasting period of supremacy.

"I believe that another European world ought to be revealed from the
Eternal City, that had the Capitol and has the Vatican. And this faith
has not abandoned me through years, poverty, and griefs which God alone

One cannot help pausing here to reflect that in both historic instances
the supremacy of Rome was due to a superiority of civilization which she
has long lost, and is not likely to regain in this day of the world.

Mazzini says to the Pope: "There is no man this day in all Europe more
powerful than you; you then have, most Holy Father, vast duties."

He now passes on to a review of the situation:--

"Europe is in a tremendous crisis of doubts and desires. Faith is dead.
Catholicism is lost in despotism; Protestantism is lost in anarchy. The
intellect travels in a void. The bad adore calculation, physical good;
the good pray and hope; nobody believes....

"I call upon you, after so many ages of doubt and corruption, to be the
apostle of eternal truth. I call upon you to make yourself the 'servant
of all;' to sacrifice yourself, if needful, so that the will of God may
be done on earth as it is in heaven; to hold yourself ready to glorify
God in victory, or to repeat with resignation, if you must fail, the
words of Gregory VII.: 'I die in exile because I have loved justice and
hated iniquity.'

"But for this, to fulfil the mission which God confides to you, two
things are needful,--to be a believer, and to unify Italy."

The first of these two clauses is here amplified into an exhortation
which, edifying in itself, had in it nothing likely to suggest to the
person addressed any practical solution of the difficulties which
surrounded him.

Having shown the Head of Christendom the way to right belief, Mazzini
next instructs him how to unify Italy:--

"For this you have no need to work, but [only to] bless Him who works
through you and in your name. Gather round you those who best represent
the national party. Do not beg alliances with princes. Say, 'The unity
of Italy ought to be a fact of the nineteenth century,' and it will
suffice. Leave our pens free; leave free the circulation of ideas in
what regards this point, vital for us, of the national unity."

Here follow some special directions with regard to the several powers
to be dealt with in the projected unification. The result of all this,
foreseen by Mazzini, would be the foundation of "a government unique in
Europe, which shall destroy the absurd divorce between spiritual and
temporal power, and in which you shall be chosen to represent the
principle of which the men chosen by the nation will make the

"The unity of Italy," says Mazzini, "is a work of God. It will be
fulfilled, with you or without you. But I address you because I believe
you worthy to take the initiative in a work so vast; ... because the
revival of Italy, under the ægis of a religious idea of a standard, not
of rights, but of duties, would leave behind all the revolutions of
other countries, and place her immediately at the head of European

Pure and devout as are the sentiments uttered in this letter, the views
which accompany them have been shown, by subsequent events, to be only
partially just, only partially realizable. The unification of Italy may
to-day be called "a work of God;" but had it been accomplished on the
theocratic basis imagined by Mazzini, it could not have led either
Europe or Italy itself to the point now reached through manifold
endeavor and experience. Spirits may be summoned from the upper air as well
as from the "vasty deep," but they will not come until the time is ripe
for their work. And yet are prayer and prophecy of this sort sacred and
indispensable functions in the priesthood of ideas.

On March 29, 1848, Margaret is able to praise once more the beauty of
the scene around her:--

"Now the Italian heavens wear again their deep blue. The sun is
glorious, the melancholy lustres are stealing again over the Campagna,
and hundreds of larks sing unwearied above its ruins. Nature seems in
sympathy with the great events that are transpiring."

What were these events, which, Margaret says, stunned her by the
rapidity and grandeur of their march?

The face of Italy was changed indeed. Sicily was in revolt, Naples in
revolution. Milan, Venice, Modena, and Parma were driving out their
tyrants; and in Rome, men and women were weeping and dancing for joy at
the news. Abroad, Louis Philippe had lost his throne, and Metternich his
power. Margaret saw the Austrian arms dragged through the streets, and
burned in the Piazza del Popolo. "The Italians embraced one another, and
cried, _Miracolo!_ _Providenza!_ The Tribune Ciceruacchio fed the flame
with fagots. Adam Mickiewicz, the great poet of Poland, long exiled from
his country, looked on." The double-headed Austrian eagle was torn from
the front of the Palazzo di Venezia, and in his place was set the
inscription, "Alta Italia." By April 1st the Austrian Viceroy had
capitulated at Verona, and Italy appeared to be, or was for the time,
"free, independent, and one."

Poor Pope Pius, meanwhile, had fallen more and more into the rear of the
advancing movement, and finally kept step with it only as he was
compelled to do, secretly looking for the moment when he should be able
to break from the ranks which he himself had once led. On May 7th,
Margaret writes of his "final dereliction to the cause of freedom," by
which phrase she describes his refusal to declare war against Austria,
after having himself done and approved of much which led in that
direction. The position of the Pontiff was now most unhappy. Alarmed at
the agitation and turmoil about him, it is probable that he bitterly
regretted the acts in which he had been sincere, but of which he had not
foreseen the consequences. Margaret describes him as isolated in his
palace, guided by his confessor, weak and treacherous in his movements,
privately disowning the measures which the popular feeling compelled him
to allow, and secretly doing his utmost to counteract them.

In the month of May Margaret enjoyed some excursions into the environs
of Rome. She visited Albano, Frascati, and Ostia, and passed some days
at Subiaco and at Tivoli. On the 28th of the same month she left Rome
for the summer, and retired to Aquila, a little ruined town in the
Abruzzi Mountains, where, after so many painful excitements, she hoped
to find tranquillity and rest.



The story of this summer in the mountains Margaret never told, and her
letters of the previous winter gave no account of matters most personal
to herself. In continuing the narrative of her life, we are therefore
obliged to break through the reserves of the moment, and to speak of
events which, though occurring at this time, were not made known to her
most intimate friends until a much later period.

Margaret had been privately married for some months when she left Rome
for Aquila. Her husband was a young Italian nobleman, Ossoli by name,
whose exterior is thus described by one of her most valued friends[D]:--

"He appeared to be of a reserved and gentle nature, with quiet,
gentlemanlike manners; and there was something melancholy in the
expression of his face which made one desire to know more of him. In
figure he was tall, and of slender frame, with dark hair and eyes. We
judged that he was about thirty years of age, possibly younger."

Margaret had made the acquaintance of this gentleman during her first
visit to Rome, in the spring of the year 1847, and under the following
circumstances: She had gone with some friends to attend the vesper
service at St. Peter's, and, wandering from one point of interest to
another in the vast church, had lost sight of her party. All efforts to
rejoin them proved useless, and Margaret was in some perplexity, when a
young man of gentlemanly address accosted her, and asked leave to assist
her in finding her friends. These had already left the church, and by
the time that this became evident to Margaret and her unknown companion,
the hour was late, and the carriages, which can usually be found in
front of the church after service, had all disappeared. Margaret was
therefore obliged to walk from the Vatican to her lodgings on the
Corso, accompanied by her new friend, with whom she was able at the
time to exchange very little conversation. Familiar as she was with
Italian literature, the sound of the language was new to her, and its
use difficult.

The result of this chance meeting seems to have been love at first sight
on the part of the Marchese Ossoli. Before Margaret left Rome he had
offered her his hand, and had been refused.

Margaret returned to Rome, as we have seen, in the autumn of the same
year. Her acquaintance with the Marchese was now renewed, and with the
advantage that she had become sufficiently familiar with the Italian
language to converse in it with comparative ease. Her intense interest
in the affairs of Italy suggested to him also ideas of "liberty and
better government." His education, much neglected, as she thought, had
been in the traditions of the narrowest conservatism; but Margaret's
influence led or enabled him to free himself from the trammels of
old-time prejudice, and to espouse, with his whole heart, the cause of
Roman liberty.

According to the best authority extant, the marriage of Margaret and the
Marchese took place in the December following her return to Rome. The
father of the Marchese had died but a short time before this, and his
estate, left in the hands of two other sons, was not yet settled. These
gentlemen were both attached to the Papal household, and, we judge, to
the reactionary party. The fear lest the Marchese's marriage with a
Protestant should deprive him wholly, or in part, of his paternal
inheritance, induced the newly married couple to keep to themselves the
secret of their relation to each other. At the moment, ecclesiastical
influence would have been very likely, under such circumstances, to
affect the legal action to be taken in the division of the property.
Better things were hoped for in view of a probable change of government.
So the winter passed, and Margaret went to her retreat among the
mountains, with her secret unguessed and probably unsuspected.

Her husband was a member--perhaps already a captain--of the Civic Guard,
and was detained in Rome by military duties. Margaret was therefore much
alone in the midst of "a theatre of glorious, snow-crowned mountains,
whose pedestals are garlanded with the olive and mulberry, and along
whose sides run bridle-paths fringed with almond groves and vineyards."
The scene was to her one of "intoxicating beauty," but the distance from
her husband soon became more than she could bear. After a month passed
in this place, she found a nearer retreat at Rieti, also a
mountain-town, but within the confines of the Papal States. Here Ossoli
could sometimes pass the Sunday with her, by travelling in the night. In
one of her letters Margaret writes: "Do not fail to come. I shall have
your coffee warm. You will arrive early, and I can see the diligence
pass the bridge from my window."

In the month of August the Civic Guard were ordered to prepare for a
march to Bologna; and Ossoli, writing to Margaret on the 17th, strongly
expresses his unwillingness to be so far removed from her at a time in
which she might have urgent need of his presence at any moment. For
these were to her days of great hope and expectation. Her confinement
was near at hand, and she was alone, poor and friendless, among people
whose only aim was to plunder her. But Margaret could not, even in these
trying circumstances, belie the heroic principles which had always
guided her life. She writes to her doubting, almost despairing husband:
"If honor requires it, go. I will try to sustain myself."

This dreaded trial was averted. The march to Bologna was countermanded.
Margaret's boy saw the light on the 5th of September, and the joyful
presence of her husband soothed for her the pangs of a first maternity.

He was indeed obliged to leave her the next day for Rome. Margaret was
ill cared for, and lost, through a severe fever, the ability to nurse
her child. She was forced to dismiss her only attendant, and to struggle
in her helpless condition with the dishonesty and meanness of the people
around her. A _balia_[E] for the child was soon found, but Margaret felt
the need of much courage in guarding the first days of her infant's
life. In her eyes he grew "more beautiful every hour." The people in the
house called him Angiolino, anticipating the name afterwards given him
in baptism,--Angelo Eugene.

She was soon to find a new trial in leaving him. Her husband still
wished to keep his marriage a profound secret, and to this end desired
that the baby should be left at Rieti, in charge of "a good nurse who
should treat him like a mother." Margaret was most anxious to return to
Rome, to be near her husband, and also in order to be able to carry on
the literary labor upon which depended not only her own support, but
also that of her child.

Writing to Ossoli, she says: "I cannot stay long without seeing the boy.
He is so dear, and life seems so uncertain. It is necessary that I
should be in Rome a month at least, to write, and to be near you. But I
must be free to return here, if I feel too anxious and suffering for

Early in November Margaret returned to Rome. In a letter to her mother,
bearing the date of November 16, she says:--

"I am again in Rome, situated for the first time entirely to my mind....
I have the sun all day, and an excellent chimney. It [her lodging] is
very high, and has pure air, and the most beautiful view all around
imaginable.... The house looks out on the Piazza Barberini, and I see
both that palace and the Pope's [the Quirinal]."

The assassination of the Minister Rossi had taken place on the previous
day. Margaret describes it almost as if she had seen it:--

"The poor, weak Pope has fallen more and more under the dominion of the
cardinals. He had suffered the Minister Rossi to go on, tightening the
reins, and because the people preserved a sullen silence, he thought
they would bear it.... Rossi, after two or three most unpopular
measures, had the imprudence to call the troops of the line to defend
him, instead of the National Guard.... Yesterday, as he descended from
his carriage to enter the Chamber [of Deputies], the crowd howled and
hissed, then pushed him, and as he turned his head in consequence, a
sure hand stabbed him in the back."

On the morrow, the troops and the people united in calling upon the
Pope, then at the Quirinal, for a change of measures. They found no
audience, but only the hated Swiss mercenaries, who defeated an attempt
to enter the palace by firing on the crowd. "The drum beat to call out
the National Guard. The carriage of Prince Barberini has returned, with
its frightened inmates and liveried retinue, and they have suddenly
barred up the court-yard gate." Margaret felt no apprehension for
herself in all this turmoil. The side which had, for the moment, the
upper hand, was her own, and these very days were such as she had longed
for, not, we may be sure, for their accompaniments of bloodshed and
violence, but for the outlook which was to her and her friends one of
absolute promise.

The "good time coming" did then seem to have come for Italy. Her various
populations had risen against their respective tyrants, and had shown a
disposition to forget past divisions in the joy of a country reconciled
and united.

In the principal churches of Rome, masses were performed in
commemoration of the patriotic men who fell at this time in various
struggles with existing governments. Thus were honored the "victims" of
Milan, of Naples, of Venice, of Vienna.

Not long after the assassination of Rossi, the Pope, imploring the
protection of the King of Naples, fled to Gaeta.

"No more of him," writes Margaret; "his day is over. He has been made,
it seems unconsciously, an instrument of good which his regrets cannot

The political consequences of this act were scarcely foreseen by the
Romans, who, according to Margaret's account, remained quite cool and
composed, saying only: "The Pope, the cardinals, the princes are gone,
and Rome is perfectly tranquil. One does not miss anything, except that
there are not so many rich carriages and liveries."

In February Margaret chronicles the opening of the Constitutional
Assembly, which was heralded by a fine procession, with much display of
banners. In this, Prince Canino, a nephew of Napoleon, walked side by
side with Garibaldi, both having been chosen deputies. Margaret saw this
from a balcony in the Piazza di Venezia, whose stern old palace "seemed
to frown, as the bands each, in passing, struck up the _Marseillaise_."
On February 9th the bells were rung in honor of the formation of a Roman
Republic. The next day Margaret went forth early, to observe the face of
Rome. She saw the procession of deputies mount the Campidoglio
(Capitol), with the Guardia Civica for their escort. Here was
promulgated the decree announcing the formation of the Republic, and
guaranteeing to the Pope the undisturbed exercise of his spiritual

The Grand Duke of Tuscany now fled, smiling assent to liberal principles
as he entered his carriage to depart. The King of Sardinia was naturally
filled with alarm. "It makes no difference," says Margaret. "He and his
minister, Gioberti, must go, unless foreign intervention should impede
the liberal movement. In this case, the question is, what will France
do? Will she basely forfeit every pledge and every duty, to say nothing
of her true interest?" Alas! France was already sold to the counterfeit
greatness of a name, and was pledged to a course irrational and vulgar
beyond any that she had yet followed. The Roman Republic, born of high
hope and courage, had but few days to live, and those days were full of

Margaret had so made the life of Rome her own at this period, that we
have found it impossible to describe the one without recounting
something of the other. Her intense interest in public affairs could
not, however, wean her thoughts from the little babe left at Rieti.
Going thither in December, she passed a week with her darling, but was
forced after this to remain three months in Rome without seeing him.
Here she lay awake whole nights, contriving how she might end this
painful separation; but circumstances were too strong for her, and the
object so dearly wished for could not be compassed.

In March she visited him again, and found him in health, "and plump,
though small." The baby leaned his head pathetically against her breast,
seeming, she thought, to say, "How could you leave me?" He is described
as a sensitive and precocious little creature,--affected, Margaret
thought, by sympathy with her; "for," she says, "I worked very hard
before his birth [at her book on Italy], with the hope that all my
spirit might be incarnated in him."

She returned to Rome about the middle of April. The French were already
in Italy. Their "web of falsehood" was drawing closer and closer round
the devoted city. Margaret was not able to visit her boy again until the
siege, soon begun, ended in the downfall of the Roman Republic.

The government of Rome, at this time, was in the hands of a triumvirate,
whose names--Armellini, Mazzini, and Saffi--are appended to the official
communications made in answer to the letters of the French Envoy, M. de
Lesseps, and of the Commander-in-Chief, General Oudinot. The French side
of this correspondence presented but a series of tergiversations, the
truth being simply that the opportunity of reinstating the Roman Pontiff
in his temporal domain was too valuable to be allowed to pass, by the
adventurer who then, under the name of President, already ruled France
by military despotism. In the great game of hazard which he played, the
prospective adhesion of the Pope's spiritual subjects was the highest
card he could hold. The people who had been ignorant enough to elect
Louis Napoleon, were easily led to justify his outrageous expedition to

In Margaret's manifold disappointments, Mazzini always remained her
ideal of a patriot, and, as she says, of a prince. To her, he stands
alone in Italy, "on a sunny height, far above the stature of other men."
He came to her lodgings in Rome, and was in appearance "more divine than
ever, after all his new, strange sufferings." He had then just been made
a Roman citizen, and would in all probability have been made President,
had the Republic continued to exist. He talked long with Margaret, and,
she says, was not sanguine as to the outcome of the difficulties of the

The city once invested, military hospitals became a necessity. The
Princess Belgiojoso, a Milanese by birth, and in her day a social and
political notability, undertook to organize these establishments, and
obtained, by personal solicitation, the funds necessary to begin her
work. On the 30th of April, 1849, she wrote the following letter to

     "DEAR MISS FULLER,--You are named Superintendent of the Hospital of
     the _Fate Bene Fratelli_. Go there at twelve, if the alarm-bell has
     not rung before. When you arrive there, you will receive all the
     women coming for the wounded, and give them your directions, so
     that you are sure to have a number of them, night and day.

     "May God help us!




Margaret writes to Mr. Emerson in June: "Since the 30th of April I go
almost daily to the hospitals, and, though I have suffered, for I had no
idea before how terrible gun-shot wounds and wound-fever are, yet I have
taken great pleasure in being with the men. There is scarcely one who is
not moved by a noble spirit."

"Night and day," writes the friend cited above,[F] "Margaret was
occupied, and, with the Princess, so ordered and disposed the hospitals
that their conduct was admirable. Of money they had very little, and
they were obliged to give their time and thoughts in its place. I have
walked through the wards with Margaret, and have seen how comforting was
her presence to the poor suffering men. For each one's peculiar tastes
she had a care. To one she carried books; to another she told the news
of the day; and listened to another's oft-repeated tale of wrongs, as
the best sympathy she could give. They raised themselves on their elbows
to get the last glimpse of her" as she went her way.

Ossoli, meanwhile, was stationed, with his command, on the walls of the
Vatican,--a post of considerable danger. This he refused to leave, even
for necessary food and rest. The provisions sent him from time to time
were shared with his needy comrades. As these men were brought, wounded
and dying, to the hospitals, Margaret looked eagerly to see whether her
husband was among them. She was able, sometimes, to visit him at his
post, and to talk with him about the beloved child, now completely
beyond their reach, as the city was invested on all sides, and no sure
means of communication open to them. They remained for many days without
any news of the little one, and their first intelligence concerning him
was to the effect that the nurse with whom he had been left would at
once abandon him unless a certain sum of money should be sent in
prepayment of her services. This it seemed at first impossible to do;
but after a while the money was sent, and the evil day adjourned for a

Margaret's letters of the 10th of June speak of a terrible battle
recently fought between the French troops and the defenders of Rome. The
Italians, she says, fought like lions, making a stand for honor and
conscience' sake, with scarcely any prospect of success. The attack of
the enemy was directed with a skill and order which Margaret was
compelled to admire. The loss on both sides was heavy, and the
assailants, for the moment, gained "no inch of ground." But this was
only the beginning of the dread trial. By the 20th of June the
bombardment had become heavy. On the night of the 21st a practicable
breach was made, and the French were within the city. The defence,
however, was valiantly continued until the 30th, when Garibaldi informed
the Assembly that further resistance would be useless. Conditions of
surrender were then asked for and refused. Garibaldi himself was denied
a safe-conduct, and departed with his troops augmented by a number of
soldiers from other regiments. This was on July 2d, after it became
known that the French army would take possession on the morrow.
Margaret followed the departing troops as far as the Place of St. John
Lateran. Never had she seen a sight "so beautiful, so romantic, and so

The grand piazza had once been the scene of Rienzi's triumph: "The sun
was setting, the crescent moon rising, the flower of the Italian youth
were marshalling in that solemn place. They had all put on the beautiful
dress of the Garibaldi legion,--the tunic of bright red cloth, the Greek
cap, or round hat with puritan plume. Their long hair was blown back
from resolute faces.... I saw the wounded, all that could go, laden upon
their baggage-cars. I saw many youths, born to rich inheritance,
carrying in a handkerchief all their worldly goods. The wife of
Garibaldi followed him on horseback. He himself was distinguished by the
white tunic. His look was entirely that of a hero of the Middle
Ages,--his face still young.... He went upon the parapet, and looked
upon the road with a spy-glass, and, no obstruction being in sight, he
turned his face for a moment back upon Rome, then led the way through
the gate."

Thus ended the heroic defence of Rome. The French occupation began on
the next day, with martial law and the end of all liberties. Alas! that
it was not given to Margaret to see Garibaldi come again, with the
laurels of an abiding victory! Alas! that she saw not the end of the
Napoleon game, and the punishment of France for her act of insensate

It was during these days of fearful trial and anxiety that Margaret
confided to Mrs. Story the secret of her marriage. This was done, not
for the relief of her own overtasked feelings, but in the interest of
her child, liable at this time to be left friendless by the death of his
parents. Margaret, in her extreme anxiety concerning her husband's
safety, became so ill and feeble that the duration of her own life
appeared to her very uncertain. In a moment of great depression she
called Mrs. Story to her bedside, related to her all the antecedents of
the birth of the child, and showed her, among other papers, the
certificate of her marriage, and of her son's legal right to inherit the
title and estate of his father. These papers she intrusted to Mrs.
Story's care, requesting her, in case of her own death, to seek her boy
at Rieti, and to convey him to her friends in America.

To Lewis Cass, at that time American Envoy to the Papal Court, the same
secret was confided, and under circumstances still more trying. Shortly
before the conclusion of the siege, Margaret learned that an attack
would probably be made upon the very part of the city in which Ossoli
was stationed with his men. She accordingly sent to request that Mr.
Cass would call upon her at once, which he did. He found her "lying on a
sofa, pale and trembling, evidently much exhausted." After informing him
of her marriage, and of the birth and whereabouts of her child, she
confided to his care certain important documents, to be sent, in the
event of her death, to her family in America. Her husband was, at that
very moment, in command of a battery directly exposed to the fire of the
French artillery. The night before had been one of great danger to him,
and Margaret, in view of his almost certain death, had determined to
pass the coming night at his post with him, and to share his fate,
whatever it might be. He had promised to come for her at the Ave Maria,
and Mr. Cass, departing, met him at the porter's lodge, and shortly
afterward beheld them walking in the direction of his command. It turned
out that the threatened danger did not visit them. The cannonading from
this point was not renewed, and on the morrow military operations were
at an end.

Among our few pictures of Margaret and her husband, how characteristic
is this one, of the pair walking side by side into the very jaws of
death, with the glory of faith and courage bright about them!

The gates once open, Margaret's first thought was of Rieti, and her boy
there. Thither she sped without delay, arriving just in time to save the
life of the neglected and forsaken child, whose wicked nurse, uncertain
of further payment, had indeed abandoned him. His mother found him "worn
to a skeleton, too weak to smile, or lift his little wasted hand." Four
weeks of incessant care and nursing brought, still in wan feebleness,
his first returning smile.

All that Margaret had already endured seemed to her light in comparison
with this. In the Papal States, woman had clearly fallen behind even the
standard of the she-wolf.

After these painful excitements came a season of blessed quietness for
Margaret and her dear ones. Angelo regained his infant graces, and
became full of life and of baby glee. Margaret's marriage was suitably
acknowledged, and the pain and trouble of such a concealment were at
end. The disclosure of the relation naturally excited much comment in
Italy and in America. In both countries there were some, no doubt, who
chose to interpret this unexpected action on the part of Margaret in a
manner utterly at variance with the whole tenor and spirit of her life.
The general feeling was, however, quite otherwise; and it is gratifying
to find that, while no one could have considered Margaret's marriage an
act of worldly wisdom, it was very generally accepted by her friends as
only another instance of the romantic disinterestedness which had always
been a leading trait in her character.

Writing to an intimate friend in America, she remarks: "What you say of
the meddling curiosity of people repels me; it is so different here.
When I made my appearance with a husband, and a child of a year old,
nobody did the least act to annoy me. All were most cordial; none asked
or implied questions."

She had already written to Madame Arconati, asking whether the fact of
her concealed marriage and motherhood would make any difference in their
relations. Her friend, a lady of the highest position and character,
replied: "What difference can it make, except that I shall love you
more, now that we can sympathize as mothers?"

In other letters, Margaret speaks of the loving sympathy expressed for
her by relatives in America. The attitude of her brothers was such as
she had rightly expected it to be. Her mother received the communication
in the highest spirit, feeling assured that a leading motive in
Margaret's withholding of confidence from her had been the desire to
spare her a season of most painful anxiety. Speaking of a letter
recently received from her, Margaret says:--

"She blessed us. She rejoiced that she should not die feeling there was
no one left to love me with the devotion she thought I needed. She
expressed no regret at our poverty, but offered her feeble means."

After a stay of some weeks at Rieti, Margaret, with her husband and
child, journeyed to Perugia, and thence to Florence. At the former place
she remained long enough to read D'Azeglio's "Nicolò dei Lapi," which
she esteemed "a book unenlivened by a spark of genius, but interesting
as illustrative of Florence." Here she felt that she understood, for the
first time, the depth and tenderness of the Umbrian school.

The party reached Florence late in September, and were soon established
in lodgings for the winter. The police at first made some objection to
their remaining in the city, but this matter was soon settled to their
satisfaction. Margaret's thoughts now turned toward her own country and
her own people:--

"It will be sad to leave Italy, uncertain of return. Yet when I think of
you, beloved mother, of brothers and sisters and many friends, I wish to
come. Ossoli is perfectly willing. He will go among strangers; but to
him, as to all the young Italians, America seems the land of liberty."

Margaret's home-letters give lovely glimpses of this season of peace.
Her modest establishment was served by Angelo's nurse, with a little
occasional aid from the porter's wife. The boy himself was now in rosy
health; as his mother says, "a very gay, impetuous, ardent, but
sweet-tempered child." She describes with a mother's delight his visit
to her room at first waking, when he pulls her curtain aside, and goes
through his pretty routine of baby tricks for her amusement,--laughing,
crowing, imitating the sound of the bellows, and even saying "Bravo!"
Then comes his bath, which she herself gives him, and then his walk and
mid-day sleep.

"I feel so refreshed by his young life, and Ossoli diffuses such a power
and sweetness over every day, that I cannot endure to think yet of our
future. We have resolved to enjoy being together as much as we can in
this brief interval, perhaps all we shall ever know of peace. I rejoice
in all that Ossoli did (in the interest of the liberal party); but the
results are disastrous, especially as my strength is now so impaired.
This much I hope, in life or death, to be no more separated from

Margaret's future did indeed look to her full of difficult duties. At
forty years of age, having labored all her life for her father's family,
she was to begin a new struggle for her own. She had looked this
necessity bravely in the face, and with resolute hand had worked at a
history of recent events in Italy, hoping thus to make a start in the
second act of her life-work. The two volumes which she had completed by
this time seemed to her impaired in value by the intense, personal
suffering which had lain like a weight upon her. Such leisure as the
care of Angelo left her, while in Florence, was employed in the
continuation of this work, whose loss we deplore the more for the
intense personal feeling which must have throbbed through its pages.
Margaret had hoped to pass this winter without any enforced literary
labor, learning of her child, as she wisely says, and as no doubt she
did, whatever else she may have found it necessary to do. In the
chronicle of her days he plays an important part, his baby laugh "all
dimples and glitter," his contentment in the fair scene about him when,
carried to the _Cascine_, he lies back in her arms, smiling, singing to
himself, and moving his tiny feet. The Christmas holidays are dearer to
her than ever before, for his sake. In the evening, before the bright
little fire, he sits on his stool between father and mother, reminding
Margaret of the days in which she had been so seated between her own
parents. He is to her "a source of ineffable joys, far purer, deeper,
than anything I ever felt before."

As Margaret's husband was destined to remain a tradition only to the
greater number of her friends, the hints and outlines of him given here
and there in her letters are important, in showing us what companionship
she had gained in return for her great sacrifice.

Ossoli seems to have belonged to a type of character the very opposite
of that which Margaret had best known and most admired. To one wearied
with the over-intellection and restless aspiration of the accomplished
New Englander of that time, the simple geniality of the Italian nature
had all the charm of novelty and contrast. Margaret had delighted in the
race from her first acquaintance with it, but had found its happy
endowments heavily weighted with traits of meanness and ferocity. In her
husband she found its most worthy features, and her heart, wearied with
long seeking and wandering, rested at last in the confidence of a simple
and faithful attachment.

She writes from Florence: "My love for Ossoli is most pure and tender;
nor has any one, except my mother or little children, loved me so
genuinely as he does. To some, I have been obliged to make myself known.
Others have loved me with a mixture of fancy and enthusiasm, excited at
my talent of embellishing life. But Ossoli loves me from simple
affinity; he loves to be with me, and to serve and soothe me."

And in another letter she says: "Ossoli will be a good father. He has
very little of what is called intellectual development, but has
unspoiled instincts, affections pure and constant, and a quiet sense of
duty which, to me who have seen much of the great faults in characters
of enthusiasm and genius, seems of highest value."

Some reminiscences contributed by the accomplished _littérateur_,
William Henry Hurlbut, will help to complete the dim portrait of the

"The frank and simple recognition of his wife's singular nobleness,
which he always displayed, was the best evidence that his own nature was
of a fine and noble strain. And those who knew him best are, I believe,
unanimous in testifying that his character did in no respect belie the
evidence borne by his manly and truthful countenance to its warmth and
sincerity. He seemed quite absorbed in his wife and child. I cannot
remember ever to have found Madame Ossoli alone, on the evenings when
she remained at home."

Mr. Hurlbut says further: "Notwithstanding his general reserve and
curtness of speech, on two or three occasions he showed himself to
possess quite a quick and vivid fancy, and even a certain share of
humor. I have heard him tell stories remarkably well. One tale
especially, which related to a dream he had in early life, I remember as
being told with great felicity and vivacity of expression."

Though opposed, like all liberals, to the ecclesiastical government of
Rome, the Marchese appeared to Mr. Hurlbut a devout Catholic. He often
attended vesper services in Florence, and Margaret, unwavering in her
Protestantism, still found it sweet to kneel by his side.

Margaret read, this winter, Louis Blanc's "Story of Ten Years," and
Lamartine's "Girondists." Her days were divided between family cares and
her literary work, which for the time consisted in recording her
impressions of recent events. She sometimes passed an evening at the
rooms occupied by the Mozier and Chapman families, where the Americans
then resident in Florence were often gathered together. She met Mr. and
Mrs. Browning often, and with great pleasure. The Marchesa Arconati she
saw almost daily.

One of Margaret's last descriptions is of the Duomo,[G] which she
visited with her husband on Christmas eve:--

"No one was there. Only the altars were lit up, and the priests, who
were singing, could not be seen by the faint light. The vast solemnity
of the interior is thus really felt. The Duomo is more divine than St.
Peter's, and worthy of genius pure and unbroken. St. Peter's is, like
Rome, a mixture of sublimest heaven with corruptest earth. I adore the
Duomo, though no place can now be to me like St. Peter's, where has been
passed the splendidest part of my life."

Thus looked to her, in remembrance, the spot where she had first met her
husband, where she had shared his heroic vigils, and stood beside him
within reach of death.

The little household suffered some inconvenience before the winter was
over. By the middle of December the weather became severely cold, and
Margaret once more experienced the inconvenience of ordinary lodgings in
Italy, in which the means of heating the rooms are very limited. The
baby grew impatient of confinement, and constantly pointed to the door,
which he was not allowed to pass. Of their several rooms, one only was
comfortable under these circumstances. Of this, as occupied in the
winter evenings, Mr. Hurlbut has given a pleasant description:--

"A small, square room, sparingly yet sufficiently furnished, with
polished floor and frescoed ceiling; and, drawn up closely before the
cheerful fire, an oval table, on which stood a monkish lamp of brass,
with depending chains that support quaint classic cups for the olive
oil. There, seated beside his wife, I was sure to find the Marchese,
reading from some patriotic book, and dressed in the dark brown,
red-corded coat of the Guardia Civica, which it was his melancholy
pleasure to wear at home. So long as the conversation could be carried
on in Italian, he used to remain, though he rarely joined in it to any
considerable degree. If many _forestieri_[H] chanced to drop in, he
betook himself to a neighboring _café_,--not absenting himself through
aversion to such visitors, but in the fear lest his silent presence
might weigh upon them."

To complete the picture here given of the Ossoli interior, we should
mention Horace, the youngest brother of Charles Sumner, who was a daily
visitor in this abode of peace. Margaret says of him: "He has solid good
in his mind and heart.... When I am ill, or in a hurry, he helps me like
a brother. Ossoli and Sumner exchange some instruction in English and

This young man, remembered by those who knew him as most amiable and
estimable, was abroad at this time for his health, and passed the
winter in Florence. Mr. Hurlbut tells us that he brought Margaret, every
morning, his tribute of fresh wild flowers, and that every evening,
"beside her seat in her little room, his mild, pure face was to be seen,
bright with a quiet happiness," which was in part derived from her
kindness and sympathy.

This brief chronicle of Margaret's last days in Italy would be
incomplete without a few words concerning the enviable position which
she had made for herself in this country of her adoption.

The way in which the intelligence of her marriage was received by her
country-people in Rome and Florence gives the strongest proof of the
great esteem in which they were constrained to hold her. Equally
honorable to her was the friendship of Madame Arconati, a lady of high
rank and higher merit, beloved and revered as few were in the Milan of
that day. She was the friend of Joseph Mazzini, and shared with George
Sand and Elizabeth Barrett Browning the honors of prominence in the
liberal movement and aspiration of the time. But it is in her
intercourse with the people at large that we shall find the deepest
evidence of her true humanity. Hers was no barren creed, divorced from
beneficent action. The wounded soldiers in the hospital, the rude
peasants of Rieti, knew her heart, and thought of her as "a mild saint
and ministering angel."[I] Ferocious and grasping as these peasants
were, she was able to overcome for the time their savage instincts, and
to turn the tide of their ungoverned passions.

In this place, two brothers were one day saved from the guilt of
fratricide by her calm and firm intervention. Both of the men were
furiously angry, and blood had already been drawn by the knife of one,
when she stepped between them, and so reasoned and insisted, that the
weapons were presently flung away, and the feud healed by a fraternal
embrace. After this occurrence, the American lady was recognized as a
peace-maker, and differences of various sorts were referred to her for
settlement, much as domestic and personal difficulties had been
submitted to her in her own New England.

Among the troubles brought under her notice at Rieti were the constant
annoyances caused by the lawless behavior of a number of Spanish troops
who happened to be quartered upon the town. Between these and the
villagers she succeeded in keeping the peace by means of good counsel
and enforced patience. In Florence she seems to have been equally
beloved and respected. A quarrel here took place between her maid, from
Rieti, and a fellow-lodger, in which her earnest effort prevented
bloodshed, and effectually healed the breach between the two women. The
porter of the house in which she dwelt while in Florence was slowly
dying of consumption; Margaret's kindness so attached him to her that he
always spoke of her as _la cara signora_.

The unruly Garibaldi Legion overtook Margaret one day between Rome and
Rieti. She had been to visit her child at the latter place, and was
returning to Rome alone in a vettura. While she was resting for an hour
at a wayside inn, the master of the house entered in great alarm,
crying: "We are lost! Here is the Legion Garibaldi! These men always
pillage, and, if we do not give all up to them without pay, they will
kill us." Looking out upon the road, Margaret saw that the men so much
dreaded were indeed close at hand. For a moment she felt some alarm,
thinking that they might insist upon taking the horses from her
carriage, and thus render it impossible for her to proceed on her
journey. Another moment, and she had found a device to touch their
better nature. As the troop entered, noisy and disorderly, Margaret rose
and said to the innkeeper: "Give these good men bread and wine at my
expense, for after their ride they must need refreshment." The men at
once became quiet and respectful. They partook of the offered
hospitality with the best grace, and at parting escorted her to her
carriage, and took leave of her with great deference. She drove off,
wondering at their bad reputation. They probably were equally astonished
at her dignity and friendliness.

The statements of Margaret's friends touch us with their account of the
charities which this poor woman was able to afford through economy and
self-sacrifice. When she allowed herself only the bare necessaries of
living and diet, she could have the courage to lend fifty dollars to an
artist whom she deemed poorer than herself. Rich indeed was this
generous heart, to an extent undreamed of by wealthy collectors and



Return to her own country now lay immediately before Margaret. In the
land of her adoption the struggle for freedom had failed, and no human
foresight could have predicted the period of its renewal. Europe had
cried out, like the sluggard on his bed: "You have waked me too soon; I
must slumber again."

Margaret's delight in the new beauties and resources unfolded to her in
various European countries, and especially in Italy, had made the
thought of this return unwelcome to her. But now that free thought had
become contraband in the beautiful land, where should she carry her
high-hearted hopes, if not westward, with the tide of the true empire
that shall grow out of man's conquest of his own brute passions?

This holy westward way, found of Columbus, broadened and brightened by
the Pilgrims, and become an ocean highway for the nations of the earth,
lay open to her. From its farther end came to her the loving voices of
kindred, and friends of youth. There she, a mother, could "show her
babe, and make her boast," to a mother of her own. There brothers,
trained to noble manhood through her care and labor, could rise up to
requite something of what they owed her. There she could tell the story
of her Italy, with the chance of a good hearing. There, where she had
sown most precious seed in the field of the younger generations, she
would find some sheaves to bind for her own heart-harvest.

And so the last days in Florence came. The vessel was chosen, and the
day of sailing fixed upon. Margaret's last letter, addressed to her
mother, is dated on the 14th of May.

We read it now with a weight of sorrow which was hidden from her. In the
light of what afterwards took place, it has the sweet solemnity of a
greeting sent from the borders of another world.

     "FLORENCE, May 14, 1850.

     "I will believe I shall be welcome with my treasures,--my husband
     and child. For me, I long so much to see you! Should anything
     hinder our meeting upon earth, think of your daughter as one who
     always wished, at least, to do her duty, and who always cherished
     you, according as her mind opened to discover excellence.

     "Give dear love, too, to my brothers; and first, to my eldest,
     faithful friend, Eugene; a sister's love to Ellen; love to my kind
     and good aunts, and to my dear cousin E----. God bless them!

     "I hope we shall be able to pass some time together yet, in this
     world. But, if God decrees otherwise, here and hereafter, my
     dearest mother,

     "Your loving child,


Who is there that reads twice a sorrowful story without entertaining an
unreasonable hope that its ending may change in the reperusal? So does
one return to the fate of "Paul and Virginia," so to that of the "Bride
of Lammermoor." So, even in the wild tragedy of "Othello," seen for the
hundredth time, one still sees a way of escape for the victim; still, in
imagination, implores her to follow it. And when repeated representation
has made assurance doubly sure, we yield to the mandate which none can
resist, once issued, and say, "It was to be."

This unreasonable struggle renews itself within us as we follow the
narrative of Margaret's departure for her native land. Why did she
choose a merchant vessel from Leghorn? why one which was destined to
carry in its hold the heavy marble of Powers's Greek Slave? She was
warned against this, was uncertain in her own mind, and disturbed by
presages of ill. But economy was very necessary to her at the moment.
The vessel chosen, the barque "Elizabeth," was new, strong, and ably
commanded. Margaret had seen and made friends with the captain, Hasty by
name, and his wife. Horace Sumner was to be their fellow-passenger, and
a young Italian girl, Celeste Paolini, engaged to help in the care of
the little boy. These considerations carried the day.

Just before leaving Florence, Margaret received letters the tenor of
which would have enabled her to remain longer in Italy. Ossoli
remembered the warning of a fortune-teller, who in his childhood had
told him to beware of the sea. Margaret wrote of omens which gave her "a
dark feeling." She had "a vague expectation of some crisis," she knows
not what; and this year, 1850, had long appeared to her a period of
pause in the ascent of life, a point at which she should stand, as "on a
plateau, and take more clear and commanding views than ever before." She
prays fervently that she may not lose her boy at sea, "either by
unsolaced illness, or amid the howling waves; or if so, that Ossoli,
Angelo, and I may go together, and that the anguish may be brief."

These presentiments, strangely prophetic, returned upon Margaret with so
much force that on the very day appointed for sailing, the 17th of May,
she stood at bay before them for an hour, unable to decide whether she
should go or stay. But she had appointed a general meeting with her
family in July, and had positively engaged her passage in the barque.
Fidelity to these engagements prevailed with her. She may have felt,
too, the danger of being governed by vague forebodings which, shunning
death in one form, often invite it in another. And so, in spite of fears
and omens, too well justified in the sequel, she went on board, and the
voyage began in smooth tranquillity.

The first days at sea passed quietly enough. The boy played on the deck,
or was carried about by the captain. Margaret and her husband suffered
little inconvenience from seasickness, and were soon walking together in
the limited space of their floating home. But presently the good captain
fell ill with small-pox of a malignant type. On June 3d the barque
anchored off Gibraltar, the commander breathed his last, and was
accorded a seaman's burial, in the sea. Here the ship suffered a
detention of some days from unfavorable winds, but on the 9th was able
to proceed on her way; and two days later Angelo showed symptoms of the
dreadful disease, which visited him severely. His eyes were closed, his
head swollen, his body disfigured by the accompanying eruption. Margaret
and Ossoli, strangers to the disease, hung over their darling, and
nursed him so tenderly that he was in due time restored, not only to
health, but also to his baby beauty, so much prized by his mother.

Margaret wrote from Gibraltar, describing the captain's illness and
death, and giving a graphic picture of his ocean funeral. She did not at
the time foresee Angelo's illness, but knew that he might easily have
taken the infection. Relieved from this painful anxiety, the routine of
the voyage re-established itself. Ossoli and Sumner continued to
instruct each other in their respective languages. The baby became the
pet and delight of the sailors. Margaret was busy with her book on
Italy, but found time to soothe and comfort the disconsolate widow of
the captain after her own availing fashion. Thus passed the summer days
at sea. On Thursday, July 18th, the "Elizabeth" was off the Jersey
coast, in thick weather, the wind blowing east of south. The former mate
was now the captain. Wishing to avoid the coast, he sailed
east-north-east, thinking presently to take a pilot, and pass Sandy Hook
by favor of the wind.

At night he promised his passengers an early arrival in New York. They
retired to rest in good spirits, having previously made all the usual
preparations for going on shore.

By nine o'clock that evening the breeze had become a gale, by midnight a
dangerous storm. The commander, casting the lead from time to time, was
without apprehension, having, it is supposed, mistaken his locality, and
miscalculated the speed of the vessel, which, under close-reefed sails,
was nearing the sand-bars of Long Island. Here, on Fire Island beach,
she struck, at four o'clock on the morning of July 19th. The main and
mizzen masts were promptly cut away, but the heavy marble had broken
through the hold, and the waters rushed in. The bow of the vessel stuck
fast in the sand, her stern swung around, and she lay with her broadside
exposed to the breakers, which swept over her with each returning
rise,--a wreck to be saved by no human power.

The passengers sprang from their berths, aroused by the dreadful shock,
and guessing but too well its import. Then came the crash of the falling
masts, the roar of the waves, as they shattered the cabin skylight and
poured down into the cabin, extinguishing the lights. These features of
the moment are related as recalled by Mrs. Hasty, sole survivor of the
passengers. One scream only was heard from Margaret's stateroom. Mrs.
Hasty and Horace Sumner met in the cabin and clasped hands. "We must
die!" was his exclamation. "Let us die calmly," said the resolute woman.
"I hope so," answered he. The leeward side of the cabin was already
under water, but its windward side still gave shelter, and here, for
three hours, the passengers took refuge, their feet braced against the
long table. The baby shrieked, as well he might, with the sudden fright,
the noise and chill of the water. But his mother wrapped him as warmly
as she could, and in her agony cradled him on her bosom and sang him to
sleep. The girl Celeste was beside herself with terror; and here we find
recorded a touching trait of Ossoli, who soothed her with encouraging
words, and touched all hearts with his fervent prayer. In the calm of
resignation they now sat conversing with each other, devising last
messages to friends, to be given by any one of them who might survive
the wreck.

The crew had retired to the top-gallant forecastle, and the passengers,
hearing nothing of them, supposed them to have left the ship. By seven
o'clock it became evident that the cabin could not hold together much
longer, and Mrs. Hasty, looking from the door for some way of escape,
saw a figure standing by the foremast, the space between being
constantly swept by the waves. She tried in vain to make herself heard;
but the mate, Davis, coming to the door of the forecastle, saw her, and
immediately ordered the men to go to her assistance. So great was the
danger of doing this, that only two of the crew were willing to
accompany him. The only refuge for the passengers was now in the
forecastle, which, from its position and strength of construction, would
be likely to resist longest the violence of the waves. By great effort
and coolness the mate and his two companions reached the cabin, and
rescued all in it from the destruction so nearly impending. Mrs. Hasty
was the first to make the perilous attempt. She was washed into the
hatchway, and besought the brave Davis to leave her to her fate; but he,
otherwise minded, caught her long hair between his teeth, and, with true
seaman's craft, saved her and himself. Angelo was carried across in a
canvas bag hung to the neck of a sailor. Reaching the forecastle, they
found a dry and sheltered spot, and wrapped themselves in the sailors'
loose jackets, for a little warmth and comfort. The mate three times
revisited the cabin, to bring thence various valuables for Mrs. Hasty
and Margaret; and, last of all, a bottle of wine and some figs, that
these weary ones might break their fast. Margaret now spoke to Mrs.
Hasty of something still left behind, more valuable than money. She
would not, however, ask the mate to expose his life again. It is
supposed that her words had reference to the manuscript of her work on
Italy. From their new position, through the spray and rain they could
see the shore, some hundreds of yards off. Men were seen on the beach,
but there was nothing to indicate that an attempt would be made to save
them. At nine o'clock it was thought that some one of the crew might
possibly reach the shore by swimming, and, once there, make some effort
to send them aid. Two of the sailors succeeded in doing this. Horace
Sumner sprang after them, but sank, unable to struggle with the waves. A
last device was that of a plank, with handles of rope attached, upon
which the passengers in turn might seat themselves, while a sailor,
swimming behind, should guide their course. Mrs. Hasty, young and
resolute, led the way in this experiment, the stout mate helping her,
and landing her out of the very jaws of death.

And here we fall back into that bootless wishing of which we spoke a
little while ago. Oh that Margaret had been willing that the same means
should be employed to bring her and hers to land! Again and again, to
the very last moment, she was urged to try this way of escape,
uncertain, but the only one. It was all in vain. Margaret would not be
separated from her dear ones. Doubtless she continued for a time to hope
that some assistance would reach them from the shore. The life-boat was
even brought to the beach; but no one was willing to man her, and the
delusive hope aroused by her appearance was soon extinguished.

The day wore on; the tide turned. The wreck would not outlast its
return. The commanding officer made one last appeal to Margaret before
leaving his post. To stay, he told her, was certain and speedy death, as
the ship must soon break up. He promised to take her child with him, and
to give Celeste, Ossoli, and herself each the aid of an able seaman.
Margaret still refused to be parted from child or husband. The crew were
then told to "save themselves," and all but four jumped overboard. The
commander and several of the seamen reached the shore in safety, though
not without wounds and bruises.

By three o'clock in the afternoon the breaking-up was well in progress.
Cabin and stern disappeared beneath the waves, and the forecastle filled
with water. The little group now took refuge on the deck, and stood
about the foremast. Three able-bodied seamen remained with them, and one
old sailor, homeward bound for good and all. The deck now parted from
the hull, and rose and fell with the sweep of the waves. The final
crash must come in a few minutes. The steward now took Angelo in his
arms, promising to save him or die. At this very moment the foremast
fell, and with it disappeared the deck and those who stood on it. The
steward and the child were washed ashore soon after, dead, though not
yet cold. The two Italians, Celeste and Ossoli, held for a moment by the
rigging, but were swept off by the next wave. Margaret, last seen at the
foot of the mast, in her white nightdress, with her long hair hanging
about her shoulders, is thought to have sunk at once. Two others, cook
and carpenter, were able to save themselves by swimming, and might,
alas! have saved her, had she been minded to make the attempt.

What strain of the heroic in her mind overcame the natural instinct to
do and dare all upon the chance of saving her own life, and those so
dear to her, we shall never know. No doubt the separation involved in
any such attempt appeared to her an abandonment of her husband and
child. Resting in this idea, she could more easily nerve herself to
perish with them than to part from them. She and the babe were feeble
creatures to be thrown upon the mercy of the waves, even with the
promised aid. Her husband, young and strong, was faithful unto death,
and would not leave her. Both of them, with fervent belief, regarded
death as the entrance to another life, and surely, upon its very
threshold, sought to do their best. So we must end our questioning and
mourning concerning them with a silent acquiescence in what was to be.

       *       *       *       *       *

A friend of Margaret, who visited the scene on the day after the
catastrophe, was persuaded that seven resolute men could have saved
every soul on board the vessel. Through the absence of proper system and
discipline, the life-boat, though applied for early on the morning of
the wreck, did not arrive until one o'clock in the afternoon, when the
sea had become so swollen by the storm that it was impossible to launch
it. One hopes, but scarcely believes, that this state of things has been
amended before this time.

The bodies of Margaret and her husband were never found. That of Angelo
was buried at Fire Island, with much mourning on the part of the
surviving sailors, whose pet and playmate he had been. It was afterwards
removed to the cemetery at Mt. Auburn, where, beneath a marble monument
which commemorates the life and death of his parents, and his own, he
alone lies buried, the only one of Margaret's treasures that ever
reached the country of her birth.

Death gives an unexpected completeness to the view of individual
character. The secret of a noble life is only fully unfolded when its
outward envelope has met the fate of all things perishable. And so the
mournful tragedy just recounted set its seal upon a career whose
endeavor and achievement the world is bound to hold dear. When all that
could be known of Margaret was known, it became evident that there was
nothing of her which was not heroic in intention; nothing which, truly
interpreted, could turn attention from a brilliant exterior to meaner
traits allowed and concealed. That she had faults we need not deny; nor
that, like other human beings, she needs must have said and done at
times what she might afterwards have wished to have better said, better
done. But as an example of one who, gifted with great powers, aspired
only to their noblest use; who, able to rule, sought rather to counsel
and to help,--she deserves a place in the highest niche of her country's
affection. As a woman who believed in women, her word is still an
evangel of hope and inspiration to her sex. Her heart belonged to all of
God's creatures, and most to what is noblest in them. Gray-headed men of
to-day, the happy companions of her youth, grow young again while they
speak of her. One of these,[J] who is also one of her earlier
biographers, still recalls her as the greatest soul he ever knew. Such
a word, spoken with the weight of ripe wisdom and long experience, may
fitly indicate to posterity the honor and reverence which belong to the



The preceding narrative has necessarily involved some consideration of
the writings which gave its subject her place among the authors of her
time. This consideration has been carefully interwoven with the story of
the life which it was intended to illustrate, not to interrupt. With all
this care, however, much has been left unsaid which should be said
concerning the value of Margaret's contributions to the critical
literature of her time. Of this, our present limits will allow us to
make brief mention only.

Margaret so lived in the life of her own day and generation, so keenly
felt its good and ill, that many remember her as a woman whose spoken
word and presence had in them a power which is but faintly imaged in her
writings. Nor is this impression wholly a mistaken one. Certain it is
that those who recall the enchantment of her conversation always
maintain that the same charm is not to be found in the productions of
her pen. Yet if we attentively read what she has left us, without this
disparagement, we shall find that it entitles her to a position of honor
among the prose writers of her time.

The defects of her style are easily seen. They are in some degree the
result of her assiduous study of foreign languages, in which the pure
and severe idioms of the English tongue were sometimes lost sight of.
Among them may be mentioned a want of measure in expression, and also
something akin to the fault which is called on the stage "anti-climax,"
by which some saying of weight and significance loses its point by being
followed by another of equal emphasis. With all this, the high quality
of her mind has left its stamp upon all that she gave to the reading
public. Much of this first appeared in the form of contributions to the
"Tribune," the "Dial," and other journals and magazines. Some of these
papers are brief and even fragmentary; but the shortest of them show
careful study and conscientious judgment. All of them are valuable for
the admirable view which they present of the time in which Margaret
wrote, of its difficulties and limitations, and of the hopes and
convictions which, cherished then in the hearts of the few, were
destined to make themselves a law to the conscience of the whole

The most important of the more elaborate essays is undoubtedly that
entitled "Woman in the Nineteenth Century," of which some account has
already been given in the preceding pages. Of the four volumes published
in 1875, one bears this title. A second, entitled "Art, Literature, and
the Drama," contains many of the papers to which reference has been made
in our brief account of Margaret and her contemporaries. From a third
volume, entitled "At Home and Abroad," we have quoted some of her most
interesting statements concerning the liberal movement in Europe, of
which she was so ardent a friend and promoter. A last volume was
collected and published in 1859, by her brother, the Rev. Arthur B.
Fuller, who served as an army chaplain in the War of the Southern
Rebellion, and met his death on one of its battle-fields. This volume is
called "Life Without and Life Within," and is spoken of in Mr. Fuller's
preface as containing, for the most part, matter never before given to
the world in book form, and also poems and prose fragments never before

In this volume, two papers seem to us to ask for especial mention. One
of these is a review of Carlyle's "Cromwell," written when the book was
fresh before the public. It deserves to be read for its felicity of
diction, as well as for the justice of the thought expressed. If we take
into consideration the immense popularity of Mr. Carlyle in America at
the time when this work of his appeared, we shall prize the courage and
firmness with which Margaret applies to it her keen power of criticism.
The moral insufficiency of the doctrine of the divine right of force is
clearly shown by her; and her own view of Cromwell's character maintains
itself in spite of the vituperations with which Carlyle visits those who
will not judge his hero as he does. She even returns these threats with
the following humorous passage at arms:--

"Nobody ever doubted his [Cromwell's] great abilities and force of will;
neither doubt we that he was made an instrument, just as he proposeth.
But as to looking on him through Mr. Carlyle's glasses, we shall not be
sneered or stormed into it, unless he has other proof to offer than is
shown yet.... If he has become interested in Oliver, or any other pet
hyena, by studying his habits, is that any reason why we should admit
him to our pantheon? No! our imbecility shall keep fast the door against
anything short of proofs that in the hyena a god is incarnated.... We
know you do with all your soul love kings and heroes, Mr. Carlyle, but
we are not sure you would always know the Sauls from the Davids. We
fear, if you had the disposal of the holy oil, you would be tempted to
pour it on the head of him who is taller by a head than all his

Of Cromwell himself, the following is Margaret's estimate:--

"We see a man of strong and wise mind, educated by the pressure of great
occasions to the station of command. We see him wearing the religious
garb which was the custom of the times, and even preaching to himself as
well as others. But we never see Heaven answering his invocations in any
way that can interfere with the rise of his fortunes or the
accomplishment of his plans. To ourselves, the tone of these religious
holdings-forth is sufficiently expressive: they all ring hollow....
Again, we see Cromwell ruling with a strong arm, and carrying the spirit
of monarchy to an excess which no Stuart could surpass. Cromwell,
indeed, is wise, and the king he punished with death is foolish: Charles
is faithless and Cromwell crafty; we see no other difference. Cromwell
does not in power abide by the principles that led him to it; and we
cannot help, so rose-water imbecile are we, admiring those who do. To us
it looks black for one who kills kings to grow to be more kingly than a

The other paper of which we desire to speak in this connection, is one
treating of the French novelists prominent at the time, and in
particular of Balzac, Eugène Sue, and De Vigny. Of these three names,
the first alone retains the prestige which it had when Margaret wrote
her essay. De Vigny, remarkable mostly for purity of sentiment, finish
of style, and a power of setting and limiting his pictures, is a
_boudoir_ author, and one read only in boudoirs of studious refinement.
Sue, to whose motives Margaret gives the most humanitarian
interpretation, has failed to commend his method to posterity. His
autopsy of a diseased state of society is thought to spread too widely
the infection of the evils which he deplores. His intention is also too
humane for the present day. The world of the last decade and of the
present is too deeply wedded to the hard worship of money to be touched
by the pathos of women who perish, or of men who starve. The grievances
of the poor against the rich find to-day no one to give ear to them, and
few even to utter them; since those who escape starvation are too busy
with beggary and plunder to waste time in such useless musings. Of the
three here cited, Balzac alone remains a king among novelists; and
Margaret's study of him imports as much to us to-day as it did to the
world of her time.

She begins by commenting upon the lamentation general at that time, and
not uncommon in this, over the depravity of taste and of life already
becoming familiar to the youth of America through the medium of the
French novel. Concerning this, she says:--

"It is useless to bewail what is the inevitable result of the movement
of our time. Europe must pour her corruptions no less than her riches on
our shores, both in the form of books and of living men. She cannot, if
she would, check the tide which bears them hitherward. No defences are
possible, on our vast extent of shore, that can preclude their ingress.
Our only hope lies in rousing in our own community a soul of goodness, a
wise aspiration, that shall give us strength to assimilate this
unwholesome food to better substance, or to cast off its

In view of the translation and republication of these works, Margaret
remarks that it would be desirable for our people to know something of
the position which the writers occupy in their own country. She says,
moreover, what we would fain hope may be true to-day, that "our
imitation of Europe does not yet go so far that the American milliner
can be depended on to copy anything from the Parisian grisette, except
her cap."

Margaret speaks at some length of Balzac's novel "Le Père Goriot," which
she had just read. "The author," she says, "reminds one of the Spanish
romancers in the fearlessness with which he takes mud into his hands,
and dips his foot in slime. We cannot endure this when done, as by most
Frenchmen, with an air of recklessness and gayety; but Balzac does it
with the stern manliness of a Spaniard."

The conception of this novel appears to her "so sublime," that she
compares its perusal to a walk through the catacombs, which the reader
would not willingly have missed; "though the light of day seems stained
afterwards with the mould of horror and dismay."

She infers from much of its tenor that Balzac was "familiar with that
which makes the agony of poverty--its vulgarity. Dirt, confusion, shabby
expedients, living to live,--these are what make poverty terrible and
odious; and in these Balzac would seem to have been steeped to the very
lips." The skill with which he illustrates both the connection and the
contrast between the depth of poverty and the height of luxury
co-existing in Parisian life, is much dwelt upon by Margaret, as well as
the praise-worthy fact that he depicts with equal faithfulness the vices
developed by these opposite conditions. His insight and mastery appear
to her "admirable throughout," the characters "excellently drawn,"
especially that of the Père Goriot, the father of two heartless women,
for whom he has sacrificed everything, and who in turn sacrifice him
without mercy to their own pleasures and ambitions. Admirable, too, she
finds him "in his description of look, tone, gesture. He has a keen
sense of whatever is peculiar to the individual." With this acute
appreciation of the great novelist's merits, Margaret unites an equally
comprehensive perception of his fatal defects of character. His
scepticism regarding virtue she calls fearful, his spirit
Mephistophelian. "He delights to analyze, to classify. But he has no
hatred for what is loathsome, no contempt for what is base, no love for
what is lovely, no faith for what is noble. To him there is no virtue
and no vice; men and women are more or less finely organized; noble and
tender conduct is more agreeable than the reverse,--that is all." His
novels show "goodness, aspiration, the loveliest instincts, stifled,
strangled by fate in the form of our own brute nature."

Margaret did not, perhaps, foresee how popular strangling of this kind
was destined to become in the romance of the period following her own.

Contrasting Eugène Sue with Balzac, she finds in the first an equal
power of observation, disturbed by a more variable temperament, and
enhanced by "the heart and faith that Balzac lacks." She sees him
standing, pen in hand, armed with this slight but keen weapon, as "the
champion of poverty, innocence, and humanity against superstition,
selfishness, and prejudice." His works, she thinks, with "all their
strong points and brilliant decorations, may erelong be forgotten.
Still, the writer's name shall be held in imperishable honor as the
teacher of the ignorant, the guardian of the weak." She sums up thus the
merits of the two: "Balzac is the heartless surgeon, probing the wounds
and describing the delirium of suffering men for the amusement of his
students. Sue, a bold and glittering crusader, with endless ballads
jingling in the silence of night before the battle." She finds both of
them "much right and a good deal wrong," since their most virtuous
personages are allowed to practise stratagems, falsehood, and
violence,--a taint, she thinks, of the old _régime_ under which "La
belle France has worn rouge so long that the purest mountain air will
not soon restore the natural hues to her complexion."

Two ideal sketches, "The Rich Man" and "The Poor Man," are also
preserved in this volume, and are noticeable as treating of differences
and difficulties which have rather become aggravated than diminished
since Margaret's time. The "Rich Man" is a merchant, who "sees in
commerce a representation of most important interests, a grand school
that may teach the heart and soul of the civilized world to a willing,
thinking mind. He plays his part in the game, but not for himself alone.
He sees the interests of all mankind engaged with his, and remembers
them while he furthers his own." In regard of his social status, she

"Our nation is not silly in striving for an aristocracy. Humanity longs
for its upper classes. The silliness consists in making them out of
clothes, equipage, and a servile imitation of foreign manners, instead
of the genuine elegance and distinction that can only be produced by
genuine culture.... Our merchant shall be a real nobleman, whose noble
manners spring from a noble mind; his fashions from a sincere,
intelligent love of the beautiful."

Margaret's "Poor Man" is an industrious artisan, not too poor to be sure
of daily bread, cleanliness, and reasonable comfort. His advantages will
be in the harder training and deeper experience which his circumstances
will involve. Suffering privation in his own person, he will, she
thinks, feel for the sufferings of others. Having no adventitious aids
to bring him into prominence, there will be small chance for him "to
escape a well-tempered modesty." He must learn enough to convince
himself that mental growth and refinement are not secured by one set of
employments, or lost through another. "Mahomet was not a wealthy
merchant; profound philosophers have ripened on the benches, not of the
lawyers, but of the shoemakers. It did not hurt Milton to be a
school-master, nor Shakespeare to do the errands of a London playhouse.
Yes, 'the mind is its own place;' and if it will keep that place, all
doors will be opened from it." This ideal poor man must be "religious,
wise, dignified, and humble, grasping at nothing, claiming all; willing
to wait, never willing to give up; servile to none, the servant of
all,--esteeming it the glory of a man to serve." Such a type of
character, she tells us, is rare, but not unattainable.

The poems in this volume may be termed fugitive pieces, rhymes twined
and dropped in the pathway of a life too busy for much versification.
They somewhat recall Mr. Emerson's manner, but have not the point and
felicity which have made him scarcely less eminent in verse than in
prose. They will, however, well repay a perusal. In order that this
volume may not be wholly lacking in their grace, we subjoin two short
poems, which we have chosen from among a number of perhaps equal
interest. One of these apostrophizes an artist whose rendering of her
Greeks made him dear to her:--


    We deemed the secret lost, the spirit gone,
    Which spake in Greek simplicity of thought,
    And in the forms of gods and heroes wrought
    Eternal beauty from the sculptured stone,--
    A higher charm than modern culture won
    With all the wealth of metaphysic lore,
    Gifted to analyze, dissect, explore.
    A many-colored light flows from one sun;
    Art, 'neath its beams, a motley thread has spun;
    The prism modifies the perfect day;
    But thou hast known such mediums to shun,
    And cast once more on life a pure, white ray.
    Absorbed in the creations of thy mind,
    Forgetting daily self, my truest self I find.

The other poem interprets for us the significance of one of the few
jewels which queenly Margaret deigned to wear,--a signet ring, bearing
the image of Mercury:--

        MY SEAL-RING.

    Mercury has cast aside
    The signs of intellectual pride,
    Freely offers thee the soul:
    Art thou noble to receive?
    Canst thou give or take the whole,
    Nobly promise, and believe?
    Then thou wholly human art,
    A spotless, radiant ruby heart,
    And the golden chain of love
    Has bound thee to the realm above.
    If there be one small, mean doubt,
    One serpent thought that fled not out,
    Take instead the serpent-rod,--
    Thou art neither man nor God.
    Guard thee from the powers of evil,--
    Who cannot trust, vows to the devil.
    Walk thy slow and spell-bound way;
    Keep on thy mask, or shun the day,--
    Let go my hand upon the way.


Alcott, A. Bronson, his impressions of Margaret Fuller, 61, 62;
  a contributor to the "Dial," 72.

Allston, Washington, as a poet and painter, 77;
  Margaret Fuller's criticism of his paintings, 79-82.

Arago, Margaret's estimate of, 196.

Arconati, Marchesa Visconti, Margaret Fuller's acquaintance and
  friendship with, 212, 252, 261.

Baillie, Joanna, Margaret Fuller's admiration of, and visit to, 180, 181.

Balzac, Margaret Fuller's estimate of the works of, 285-289.

Belgiojoso, Princess, organizes the military hospitals at Rome, 243.

Ben Lomond, Margaret Fuller's ascent of, and adventure on, 175-177.

Béranger, 189;
  Margaret Fuller's mention of, 196.

Berry, Miss, Margaret Fuller's visit to, 181.

Berryer, M., Margaret Fuller's estimate of, 197.

Brook Farm Community, the, its origin and existence, 91, 97.

Brougham, Lord, 179.

Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 188, 217, 261.

Bryant, William Cullen, Margaret Fuller's estimate of, 164.

Burgess, Tristam, 66.

Carlyle, Thomas, 179;
  Margaret Fuller's intercourse with, and
  impressions of, 181-185;
  his impressions of Margaret Fuller, 186;
  Margaret Fuller's review of his "Cromwell," 282-284.

Cass, Lewis, American Envoy at Rome, 249.

Chalmers, Dr., 172.

Channing, Dr., Margaret Fuller's high appreciation of, 30;
  his intercourse with Margaret Fuller, 63.

Channing, William Ellery, 72.

Channing, William Henry, 72;
  his portrait of Margaret Fuller, 86-90.

Chopin, 189;
  Margaret Fuller's mention of, 193.

Clarke, James Freeman, early friendship of, with Margaret Fuller, 23, 24.

Clarke, William Hull, his intimacy with Margaret Fuller at the Lakes, 118.

Combe, Dr. Andrew, 172.

Cranch, Christopher P., 72.

Dana, Richard H., mention of, by Margaret Fuller, 67.

Dawson, George, 177.

De Balzac, 189.

De Quincey, Margaret Fuller's description of, 173.

De Vigny, 284.

"Dial," the, its life and death, 71, 72;
  its contributors and their contributions, 72-76.

Dickens, Charles, 178.

Dumas, Alexandre (_père_), 189.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, his acquaintance with Margaret Fuller, 40;
  his first impressions of her, 40, 41;
  his high appreciation of her social pre-eminence, 42;
  a contributor to the "Dial," 72;
  his estimation of Margaret Fuller as an art critic, 83.

Fox, William, Margaret Fuller's estimate of, 178.

Freiligrath, 180.

Fuller, Margaret Crane, Mother of Margaret, 2;
  some account of, 2, 3.

Fuller, Sarah Margaret, early biographical sketches of, 1;
  her childhood and early youth, 1-10;
  birth and birthplace of, 2;
  her early Puritanical training, 4;
  her early course of studies and its effect, 5-7;
  begins the study of the Latin authors, 7;
  her interest in the study of Shakespeare, 8;
  her earliest friendship, 8-10;
  leaves home for boarding-school, 11;
  anecdotes of her school life at Groton, Mass., 11-16;
  beneficial effect of her school life and its trials, 17;
  end of her school days, and her return home, 18;
  her girlhood as described by Dr. Hedge, 19, 20;
  her passionate love for the beautiful, 20;
  her systematic and arduous pursuit of culture, 20, 21;
  her portraiture of Miss Francis (Lydia Maria Child), 22;
  her friendship with James Freeman Clarke, 24-28;
  her magnetic influence upon the minds of others, 25, 26;
  the faulty appreciation of her character by the public, 27, 38, 39;
  her study and comparative estimate of the German authors, 28;
  her intense interest in self-culture and questions of public thought,
  29, 30;
  her desire for intellectual improvement the outgrowth of personal rather
  than religious motives, 30, 31;
  her religious beliefs, 32-38;
  anecdote relating her many doubts and trials in the matter of religion,
  her first acquaintance with Ralph Waldo Emerson, 40;
  satirical proclivities of, as mentioned by Mr. Emerson, 41;
  her beneficent influence upon friends and intimates, 42, 43;
  an enthusiastic and appreciative student of art, 44-47;
  notes on the Athenæum Gallery of Sculpture by, 45;
  self-esteem one of her most prominent and valuable qualities, 47-49;
  removal from Cambridge to Groton, 49;
  the literary activity of, in the seclusion of her Groton home, 50, 59;
  extract from her correspondence while at Groton, 51-54;
  her meeting with, and sincere friendship for, Harriet Martineau, 54, 55;
  her very serious illness, 55, 56;
  her grief at the death of her father, 56;
  the straitened circumstances of, attendant on her father's death, 56, 57;
  finds prayer a constant source of relief and support, 57;
  her devotion to her family, 57-59;
  her removal to Boston, 60, 61;
  a teacher in Mr. Alcott's school, 61;
  brief sketch of her labors while in Boston, 62-65;
  her connection with Greene Street School, Providence, R. I., 65;
  brief account of her life and acquaintances in Providence, 66, 67;
  extract from her farewell address to her pupils at Providence, 68, 69;
  her criticism of Harriet Martineau's book on America, 69, 70;
  accepts the editorship of the "Dial," 70;
  extract from her contributions to the "Dial," 74-77;
  her estimate of Washington Allston's pictures, 76, 79-83;
  her friendship with Mr. Emerson the outgrowth of mutual esteem rather
  than of personal sympathy, 84, 85;
  her relations with William Henry Channing, 86-90;
  her relation to the Transcendental movement in New England, 92-99;
  her visit to the Brook Farm Community, 97, 98;
  her love for little children, 100;
  her visit to Concord after the death of Ralph Waldo Emerson's son, 101;
  extracts from her journal, 101-103;
  her conversations in Boston, 104-115;
  the extraordinary success of her undertaking, 108;
  the second series of her conversations, 111, 114;
  variety of topics discussed in her conversations, 114;
  her summer on the Lakes, 115;
  extracts from her record of the journey, 115-125;
  her visit to, and impressions of, the Indians, 120-125;
  the composition of her "Summer on the Lakes," 126, 127;
  her engagement on the "New York Tribune," and consequent close of her
  New England life, 127;
  her intercourse with Horace Greeley, 130, 131;
  her contributions to the "Tribune," 133;
  remarks on some of her literary contemporaries, 134, 135;
  her criticism of George Sand, 137-139;
  her residence at the Greeley mansion, 130, 140, 141;
  her entrance into New York society, 142;
  her visits to the women's prison at Sing Sing, and address to its
  inmates, 143-146;
  visits Blackwell's Island, 146;
  letters of, to her brothers, 147-150;
  publication of her "Woman in the Nineteenth Century," 147, 149, 150;
  brief review of the work, 151-158;
  essay on American Literature, 159-167, 282;
  her criticism of contemporary authors, 162-167;
  concerning the justice of her criticism, 168, 169;
  her visit to Europe, 170-277;
  her anticipations of the journey, 170, 171;
  the voyage and arrival at Liverpool, 171;
  her visit to the lake country, 171, 172;
  impressions of her visit to Wordsworth, 172;
  renewal of her intercourse with Harriet Martineau, 172;
  her visit to Edinburgh and meeting
  with literary men, 172, 173;
  her impression of De Quincey, 173;
  her meditations on Mary, Queen of Scots, while in Scotland, 174;
  makes an excursion to the Highlands, 174;
  her ascent to Ben Lomond, 175-177;
  her comparison of George Dawson, William Fox, and James Martineau with
  Dr. Channing and Theodore Parker, 177;
  her remarks on the social condition of England, 179, 180;
  visits the different institutions of science, art, and benevolence in
  London, 180;
  mention of her visit to Joanna Baillie, 180, 181;
  her visit to Miss Berry, 181;
  her intercourse with Thomas Carlyle, 180-185;
  Thomas Carlyle's impressions of, 186;
  her high estimation of Mazzini and his work, 186-188;
  her visit to Paris and her reception there, 189, 190;
  her visit to and impressions of George Sand, 191-193;
  her acquaintance with Chopin, 193;
  her remarks on the French stage and its actors, 194-196;
  calls upon Lamennais, 196;
  her mention of Béranger, 196;
  visits the Chamber of Deputies, 197;
  attends a ball at the Tuileries, and the Italian opera in Paris, 197, 198;
  her acquaintance with Alexandre Vattemare, 198;
  her visits to places of interest in Paris, and her impressions of them,
  198, 199;
  her journey to Italy, 200, 201;
  visits Rome, 202;
  her visits to the studios and galleries of Rome, 206;
  her study of and remarks upon the old masters, 206, 207;
  her interest in the political condition of Italy, 207;
  impressions and reminiscences of her visits to Perugia, Bologna,
  Florence, Ravenna, Venice, Milan, and other cities of Northern Italy,
  her mention of a state ball on the Grand Canal at Venice, 210;
  her estimation of Manzoni, 211;
  visits the Italian lakes and Switzerland, 212;
  her grief and indignation at the unhappy political condition in Italy,
  213, 214;
  visits Pavia, Parma, and Modena, 214;
  revisits Florence on her way to Rome, 214;
  her zeal for Italian freedom, 217;
  her return to Rome, 218;
  reminiscences of her delightful experiences during her second visit to
  Rome, 218-220;
  her many discomforts during the rainy season, 221-223;
  leaves Rome for Aquila, 231;
  her marriage with Marchese Ossoli, 232;
  her first meeting and subsequent intimacy with him, 233, 234;
  leaves Aquila for Rieti, 235;
  birth of her son, Angelo Eugene Ossoli, 236;
  leaves her child at Rieti and returns to Rome, 238;
  extract from a letter to her mother, 238;
  her anxiety about her child, 241, 242;
  her intercourse with Mazzini, 243;
  her care of the hospitals, 244-246;
  her anxiety about her husband and child during the siege of Rome, 246;
  her mention of the bombardment and final surrender of Rome, 247, 248;
  has a severe sickness and confides the story of her marriage to Mrs.
  Story and Lewis Cass, 249, 250;
  joins her husband at his post, 250;
  the sickness of her child, 251;
  comment in both Italy and America attendant upon the acknowledgment of
  her marriage, 251, 252;
  extracts from her correspondence regarding her marriage, 252, 253;
  revisits Perugia with her husband and child, 253;
  passes the winter in Florence, 253;
  applies herself to writing a history of the Revolution in Italy, 255;
  the character of her husband and their devotion to each other, 256, 257;
  her literary occupation during her stay at Florence, 258;
  reminiscences of her visit to the Duomo at Florence, 258, 259;
  her home life and surroundings, 259, 260;
  her intimacy with Horace Sumner and estimate of him, 260, 261;
  anecdotes showing her love for and influence upon the people of Italy,
  her preparations for and anticipations of her return to America, 265, 266;
  extract from her last letter to her mother, 266, 267;
  engages passage in the barque "Elizabeth" from Leghorn, 267;
  her presentiment and foreboding of misfortune, 268, 269;
  death of the captain and subsequent sickness of her child, 269, 270;
  minor incidents of the voyage as related by Mrs. Hasty, 270;
  her calmness and care for her child at the time of the shipwreck, 272;
  her death, 274;
  brief testimony to her high character and aspirations, 278;
  the literary remains of, 280-292;
  brief criticism of her style, 281;
  "Woman in the Nineteenth Century," 282;
  "Life Without and Life Within," 282;
  extracts from her review of Carlyle's "Cromwell," 282-284;
  extracts from a paper on the prominent French novelists of her day, 284-289;
  her appreciation of the writings of Balzac, 286-288;
  her contrast of Balzac with Eugène Sue, 288, 289;
  mention of her "Rich Man," and "Poor Man," with extracts, 289-291;
  "Flaxman" and "My Seal-Ring," two short poems by, 291, 292.

Fuller, Timothy, father of Margaret, 2;
  some account of, 2;
  Margaret's estimation of, 3;
  his death, 56.

Garibaldi, his devotion to the cause of freedom in Italy, 247, 248.

Gonzaga, Marquis Guerrieri, 213.

Greeley, Horace, his interest in Margaret Fuller and subsequent
  engagement of her on the staff of the "Tribune," 129, 130;
  his acquaintance with and estimation of Margaret Fuller, 130-132.

Guizot, 189.

Gurney, Joseph John, 67.

Hasty, Mrs., a fellow-passenger of Margaret Fuller on the barque
  "Elizabeth," for America, 268;
  her account of the voyage and subsequent loss of the vessel, 270-274;
  her rescue from the wreck, 274.

Hedge, Dr., early friendship of, with Margaret Fuller, 19, 20.

Houghton, Lord, 179.

Hugo, Victor, 189.

Hurlbut, William Henry, his remarks upon the character of Marchese
  Ossoli and relations with his wife, 257, 258;
  his description of Margaret Fuller's home life and surroundings at
  Florence, 259, 260.

Iron Duke, the, 179.

Italy, the political condition of, in 1847, 207, 213, 216, 217, 223-230,
  popular revolt in, 229, 230.

Kenyon, John, 178.

Lamennais, Margaret Fuller's mention of, 196.

Leverrier, Margaret Fuller's mention of, 197.

Liszt, 189.

Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, Margaret Fuller's criticism on, 164-167.

Louis Philippe, 190.

Lowell, James Russell, his satire on Margaret Fuller in the "Fable for
  Critics," 39, 40;
  a criticism on, by Margaret Fuller, 167.

Manzoni, Margaret Fuller's estimate of, 211.

Mariotti, 188.

Martineau, Harriet, her efforts to introduce Margaret Fuller to Mr.
  Emerson, 40;
  publication of her book on America, 69;
  Margaret Fuller's visit to, while in Scotland, 172.

Martineau, James, Margaret Fuller's estimate of, 178.

Mazzini, his connection with works of benevolence, 180;
  Margaret Fuller's high estimation of, 186-188, 243;
  his letter to Pope Pius on the political condition of Italy, 225-228.

Mickiewicz, 193.

Milman, Dean, Margaret Fuller's description of, 172.

Moore, Thomas, 179.

Neal, John, 66.

Norton, Mrs., 179.

Ossoli, Marchese, the personal description of, 233;
  his first meeting with Margaret Fuller, 233;
  his marriage, 234;
  reasons for not making his marriage public, 234, 235;
  his zeal for the cause of freedom, 234, 235, 246;
  his personal character and love for his wife as described by William
  Henry Hurlbut, 257, 258;
  his calmness and forgetfulness of self at the time of the shipwreck, 272;
  his death, 274.

Paris, the city of, and its celebrities at the time of Margaret Fuller's
  visit, 189, 190.

Parker, Theodore, 72;
  Margaret Fuller's high estimation of, 177.

Peabody, Miss, the first of Margaret Fuller's conversations held at the
  rooms of, 105, 106.

Pius, Pope, 207;
  first symptoms of his unpopularity at Rome, 221;
  his desertion of the cause of freedom, 230;
  his flight from Rome, 239.

Rachel, the queen of the tragic stage at Paris, 189;
  Margaret Fuller's estimate of her dramatic powers, 195, 196.

Ripley, George, organizes the brook Farm Community, 91.

Rogers, Samuel, 178.

Rome, at the time of Margaret's visit in 1847, 202, 203;
  celebration of the birthday of, 208;
  celebration of the creation of the National Guard at, 215;
  review of the Civic Guard at, 218;
  evidence of political reform and celebration of the event at, 223, 224;
  the political situation and popular excitement at, 224, 225;
  opening of the Constitutional Assembly at, 240;
  universal enthusiasm at the formation of a Roman republic, 240;
  its relations with France, 242, 243;
  the siege of, 243-247;
  its surrender, 247, 248.

Sand, George, as a woman and a writer, 135-137;
  her literary supremacy in Paris, 189;
  Margaret Fuller's visit to, and portrait of, 191-193.

Smith, Sydney, 178.

Sue, Eugène, Margaret Fuller's estimate of his writings, 288, 289.

Sumner, Horace, his intimacy with Margaret Fuller at Venice, 260, 261, 268;
  his death, 274.

Sutherland, Duchess of, 179.

Taglioni, 210.

Thackeray, William M., 178.

Transcendentalism, its birth and development, 90, 91, 95.

Vattemare, Alexandre, Margaret Fuller's intercourse with, 198.

Wilkinson, James Garth, Margaret Fuller's estimate of, 188.

Wordsworth, William, Margaret Fuller's visit to, 172.

       *       *       *       *       *


WOMAN IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, and kindred papers relating to the
Sphere, Condition, and Duties of Woman. Edited by her brother, ARTHUR B.
FULLER; with an Introduction by HORACE GREELEY. In 1 vol. 16mo. $1.50.

ART, LITERATURE, AND THE DRAMA. 1 vol. 16mo. $1.50.

LIFE WITHOUT AND LIFE WITHIN; or, Reviews, Narratives, Essays, and
Poems. 1 vol. 16mo. $1.50.

AT HOME AND ABROAD; or, Things and Thoughts in America and Europe. 1
vol. 16mo. $1.50.

CHANNING, and JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE. With Portrait and Appendix. 2 vols.
16mo. $3.00.

_Margaret Fuller_ will be remembered as one of the "Great Conversers,"
the "Prophet of the Woman Movement" in this country, and her Memoirs
will be read with delight as among the tenderest specimens of
biographical writing in our language. She was never an extremist. She
considered woman neither man's rival nor his foe, but his complement. As
she herself said, she believed that the development of one could not be
affected without that of the other. Her words, so noble in tone, so
moderate in spirit, so eloquent in utterance, should not be forgotten by
her sisters. Horace Greeley, in his introduction to her "Woman in the
Nineteenth Century," says: "She was one of the earliest, as well as
ablest, among American women to demand for her sex equality before the
law with her titular lord and master. Her writings on this subject have
the force that springs from the ripening of profound reflection into
assured conviction. It is due to her memory, as well as to the great and
living cause of which she was so eminent and so fearless an advocate,
that what she thought and said with regard to the position of her sex
and its limitations should be fully and fairly placed before the
public." No woman who wishes to understand the full scope of what is
called the woman's movement should fail to read these pages, and see in
them how one woman proved her right to a position in literature hitherto
occupied by men, by filling it nobly.

The Story of this rich, sad, striving, unsatisfied life, with its depths
of emotion and its surface sparkling and glowing, is told tenderly and
reverently by her biographers. Their praise is eulogy, and their words
often seem extravagant; but they knew her well, they spoke as they felt.
The character that could awaken such interest and love surely is a rare

The above are uniformly bound in cloth, and sold separately or in sets.

Sold everywhere. Mailed, post-paid, by the Publishers,


_Messrs. Roberts Brothers' Publications._

       *       *       *       *       *




One vol. 16mo. Cloth. Price, $1.00.

"Miss Robinson has written a fascinating biography.... Emily Brontë is
interesting, not because she wrote 'Wuthering Heights,' but because of
her brave, baffled, human life, so lonely, so full of pain, but with a
great hope shining beyond all the darkness, and a passionate defiance in
bearing more than the burdens that were laid upon her. The story of the
three sisters is infinitely sad, but it is the ennobling sadness that
belongs to large natures cramped and striving for freedom to heroic,
almost desperate, work, with little or no result. The author of this
intensely interesting, sympathetic, and eloquent biography, is a young
lady and a poet, to whom a place is given in a recent anthology of
living English poets, which is supposed to contain only the best poems
of the best writers."--_Boston Daily Advertiser._

"Miss Robinson had many excellent qualifications for the task she has
performed in this little volume, among which may be named, an
enthusiastic interest in her subject and a real sympathy with Emily
Brontë's sad and heroic life. 'To represent her as she was,' says Miss
Robinson, 'would be her noblest and most fitting monument.' ... Emily
Brontë here becomes well known to us and, in one sense, this should be
praise enough for any biography."--_New York Times._

"The biographer who finds such material before him as the lives and
characters of the Brontë family need have no anxiety as to the interest
of his work. Characters not only strong but so uniquely strong, genius
so supreme, misfortunes so overwhelming, set in its scenery so forlornly
picturesque, could not fail to attract all readers, if told even in the
most prosaic language. When we add to this, that Miss Robinson has told
their story _not_ in prosaic language, but with a literary style
exhibiting all the qualities essential to good biography, our readers
will understand that this life of Emily Brontë is not only as
interesting as a novel, but a great deal more interesting than most
novels. As it presents most vividly a general picture of the family,
there seems hardly a reason for giving it Emily's name alone, except
perhaps for the masterly chapters on 'Wuthering Heights,' which the
reader will find a grateful condensation of the best in that powerful
but somewhat forbidding story. We know of no point in the Brontë
history--their genius, their surroundings, their faults, their
happiness, their misery, their love and friendships, their
peculiarities, their power, their gentleness, their patience, their
pride,--which Miss Robinson has not touched upon with conscientiousness
and sympathy."--_The Critic._

"'Emily Brontë' is the second of the 'Famous Women Series,' which
Roberts Brothers, Boston, propose to publish, and of which 'George
Eliot' was the initial volume. Not the least remarkable of a very
remarkable family, the personage whose life is here written, possesses a
peculiar interest to all who are at all familiar with the sad and
singular history of herself and her sister Charlotte. That the author,
Miss A. Mary F. Robinson, has done her work with minute fidelity to
facts as well as affectionate devotion to the subject of her sketch, is
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"Miss Thomas has accomplished a difficult task with as much good sense
as good feeling. She presents the main facts of George Sand's life,
extenuating nothing, and setting naught down in malice, but wisely
leaving her readers to form their own conclusions. Everybody knows that
it was not such a life as the women of England and America are
accustomed to live, and as the worst of men are glad to have them
live.... Whatever may be said against it, its result on George Sand was
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genius."--_New York Mail and Express._

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"This is a volume of the 'Famous Women Series,' which was begun so well
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"Altogether, George Sand, with all her excesses and defects, is a
representative woman, one of the names of the nineteenth century. She
was great among the greatest, the friend and compeer of the finest
intellects, and Miss Thomas's essay will be a useful and agreeable
introduction to a more extended study of her life and

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"The biography of this famous woman, by Miss Thomas, is the only one in
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with some trepidation as to the treatment of the erratic side of her
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It is the best production on George Sand that has yet been published.
The author modestly refers to it as a sketch, which it undoubtedly is,
but a sketch that gives a just and discriminating analysis of George
Sand's life, tastes, occupations, and of the motives and impulses which
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public. The difficulties encountered by the writer in describing this
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censure or ridicule what they are powerless to reach. George Sand, even
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ignorant social prejudices, but even the conservative world was forced
to recognize the matchless genius of these two extraordinary women, each
widely different in her character and method of thought and writing....
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has just contributed to the Famous Women Series. Darkly hinted at by
Talfourd in his Final Memorials of Charles Lamb, it became better known
as the years went on and that imperfect work was followed by fuller and
franker biographies,--became so well known, in fact, that no one could
recall the memory of Lamb without recalling at the same time the memory
of his sister."--_New York Mail and Express._

"A biography of Mary Lamb must inevitably be also, almost more, a
biography of Charles Lamb, so completely was the life of the sister
encompassed by that of her brother; and it must be allowed that Mrs.
Anne Gilchrist has performed a difficult biographical task with taste
and ability.... The reader is at least likely to lay down the book with
the feeling that if Mary Lamb is not famous she certainly deserves to
be, and that a debt of gratitude is due Mrs. Gilchrist for this
well-considered record of her life."--_Boston Courier._

"Mary Lamb, who was the embodiment of everything that is tenderest in
woman, combined with this a heroism which bore her on for a while
through the terrors of insanity. Think of a highly intellectual woman
struggling year after year with madness, triumphant over it for a
season, and then at last succumbing to it. The saddest lines that ever
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one occasion Mr. Charles Lloyd met them slowly pacing together a little
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them, that they were taking their solemn way to the accustomed asylum.'
What pathos is there not here?"--_New York Times._

"This life was worth writing, for all records of weakness conquered, of
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FIGURES OF THE PAST. From the Leaves of Old Journals. By Josiah Quincy
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DEFINITION OF BUMBLEPUPPY--Bumblepuppy is persisting to play whist,
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"Messrs. Roberts Brothers begin a series of Biographies of Famous Women
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in open type, and not only collects and condenses the main facts that
are known in regard to the history of George Eliot, but supplies other
material from personal research. It is agreeably written, and with a
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"Miss Blind's little book is written with admirable good taste and
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"Miss Blind's little biographical study of George Eliot is written with
sympathy and good taste, and is very welcome. It gives us a graphic if
not elaborate sketch of the personality and development of the great
novelist, is particularly full and authentic concerning her earlier
years, tells enough of the leading motives in her work to give the
general reader a lucid idea of the true drift and purpose of her art,
and analyzes carefully her various writings, with no attempt at profound
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grasp of those underlying psychological principles which are so closely
interwoven in every production that came from her pen."--_Traveller._

"The lives of few great writers have attracted more curiosity and
speculation than that of George Eliot. Had she only lived earlier in the
century she might easily have become the centre of a mythos. As it is,
many of the anecdotes commonly repeated about her are made up largely of
fable. It is, therefore, well, before it is too late, to reduce the true
story of her career to the lowest terms, and this service has been well
done by the author of the present volume."--_Philadelphia Press._

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THE WISDOM OF THE BRAHMIN. A Didactic Poem. Translated from the German
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"The Brahmin," says the translator, "is a poem of vast range, expressing
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SOCRATES. The Apology and Crito of Plato, and the Phædo of Plato.
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THE GREAT EPICS OF MEDIÆVAL GERMANY. An Outline of their Contents and
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"No student of modern literature, and above all no student who aims to
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MY HOUSEHOLD OF PETS. By Theophile Gautier. Translated from the French
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tone, which makes it fascinating. These household pets consisted of
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each of which has a character and story of its own. Illustrations and a
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PHYLLIS BROWNE. A Story. By Flora L. Shaw. Author of "Castle Blair" and
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Classic Series.

A collection of world-renowned works selected from the literatures of
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OF THE LAKE." The three poems in one volume.

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DEFOE'S "ROBINSON CRUSOE." With Illustrations by Stothard.


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MARIA EDGEWORTH'S "CLASSIC TALES." With a biographical Sketch by Grace
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LORD MACAULAY'S "LAYS OF ANCIENT ROME." With a Biographical Sketch and

BUNYAN'S "PILGRIM'S PROGRESS." With all of the original Illustrations in

CLASSIC HEROIC BALLADS. Edited by the Editor of "Quiet Hours."

CLASSIC TALES. By Anna Letitia Barbauld. With a Biographical Sketch by
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CLASSIC TALES. By Ann and Jane Taylor. With a Biographical Sketch by
Grace A. Oliver.


       *       *       *       *       *


[A] Pückler-Muskau.

[B] Quoted from Mr. Emerson's reminiscences.

[C] Cabot, a well-known Boston patronymic.

[D] Mrs. Story, wife of the eminent sculptor.

[E] Wet-nurse.

[F] Mrs. Story.

[G] Cathedral.

[H] Foreigners.

[I] Mrs. Story's reminiscences.

[J] James Freeman Clarke.

The following supposed typographical error has been corrected:

Beethoven, Romaic poetry => Beethoven, Romantic poetry

Herrman => Herman

Abroad and at Home => At Home and Abroad

[etext transcriber's note]

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