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Title: A Literary Pilgrimage Among the Haunts of Famous British Authors
Author: Wolfe, Theodore F. (Theodore Frelinghuysen)
Language: English
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A LITERARY PILGRIMAGE

SEVENTH EDITION


      *      *      *      *      *      *

  _BY DR. WOLFE_

  Uniform with this volume

  LITERARY SHRINES
  THE HAUNTS OF SOME FAMOUS AMERICAN AUTHORS

  _Treating descriptively and reminiscently of the scenes amid which
  Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, Emerson, and many other American
  authors lived and wrote_

  223 pages. Illustrated with four photogravures. $1.25

  A LITERARY PILGRIMAGE AND LITERARY SHRINES

  Two volumes in a box, $2.50

      *      *      *      *      *      *


  [Illustration: CASTLE OF CHILLON]


A LITERARY PILGRIMAGE AMONG THE HAUNTS
OF FAMOUS BRITISH AUTHORS

by

THEODORE F. WOLFE
M.D. PH.D.

Author of Literary Shrines etc.



J. B. Lippincott Company
Philadelphia MDCCCXCVI

Copyright, 1895,
By
Theodore F. Wolfe.

Printed by J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, U.S.A.



PREFACE


The favor with which a few articles in the periodical press, similar to
those herewith presented, have been received induces the hope that the
present volume may prove acceptable. If some popular literary shrines
which are inevitably included in the writer's personal itinerary are
herein accorded but scant notice, it is for the reason that they have
been already so oft described that portrayal of them is therefore
purposely omitted from this account of a literary pilgrimage: even
Stratford-on-Avon here for once escapes description. However, the
initial paragraphs of these chapters lightly outline a series of
literary rambles which the writer has found measurably complete and
consecutive. The pilgrim is understood to make his start from London.

If these notes of his sojourns in the scenes hallowed by the presence of
British authors or embalmed in their books shall prove pleasantly
reminiscent to some who have fared to the same shrines, or helpfully
suggestive to others who contemplate such pilgrimage, then

                          "not in vain
  He wore his sandal shoon and scallop-shell."

The writer is indebted to the publishers of the _Home Journal_ for
permission to reproduce one or two articles which have appeared in that
periodical.

                                                                T. F. W.



CONTENTS
                                                                    PAGE

    LITERARY HAMPSTEAD AND HIGHGATE.

  _Haunt of Dickens--Steele--Pope--Keats--Baillie--Johnson--Hunt--
    Akenside--Shelley--Hogarth--Addison--Richardson--Gay--Besant--Du
    Maurier--Coleridge, etc.--Grave of George Eliot_                  13

    BY SOUTHWARK AND THAMES-SIDE TO CHELSEA.

  _Chaucer--Shakespeare--Dickens--Walpole--Pepys--Eliot--Rossetti--
    Carlyle--Hunt--Gay--Smollett--Kingsley--Herbert--Dorset--
    Addison--Shaftesbury--Locke--Bolingbroke--Pope--Richardson, etc._ 24

    THE SCENE OF GRAY'S ELEGY.

  _The Country Church-Yard--Tomb of Gray--Stoke-Pogis Church--
    Reverie and Reminiscence--Scenes of Milton--Waller--Porter--
    Coke--Denham_                                                     39

    DICKENSLAND: GAD'S HILL AND ABOUT.

  _Chaucer's Pilgrims--Falstaff--Dickens's Abode--Study--Grounds--
    Walks--Neighbors--Guests--Scenes of Tales--Cobham--Rochester--
    Pip's Church-Yard--Satis House, etc._                             49

    SOME HAUNTS OF BYRON.

  _Birthplace--London Homes--Murray's Book-Store--Kensal Green--
    Harrow--Byron's Tomb--His Diadem Hill--Abode of his Star of
    Annesley--Portraits--Mementos_                                    62

    THE HOME OF CHILDE HAROLD.

  _Newstead--Byron's Apartments--Relics and Reminders--Ghosts--
    Ruins--The Young Oak--Dog's Tomb--Devil's Wood--Irving--
    Livingstone--Stanley--Joaquin Miller_                             80

    WARWICKSHIRE: THE LOAMSHIRE OF GEORGE ELIOT.

  _Miss Mulock--Butler--Somervile--Dyer--Rugby--Homes of George
    Eliot--Scenes of Tales--Cheverel--Shepperton--Milly's Grave--
    Paddiford--Milby--Coventry, etc.--Characters--Incidents_          91

    YORKSHIRE SHRINES: DOTHEBOYS HALL AND ROKEBY.

  _Village of Bowes--Dickens--Squeers's School--The Master and his
    Family--Haunt of Scott_                                          106

    STERNE'S SWEET RETIREMENT.

  _Sutton--Crazy Castle--Yorick's Church--Parsonage--Where Tristram
    Shandy and the Sentimental Journey were written--Reminiscences--
    Newburgh Hall--Where Sterne died--Sepulchre_                     111

    HAWORTH AND THE BRONTËS.

  _The Village--Black Bull Inn--Church--Vicarage--Memory-haunted
    Rooms--Brontë Tomb--Moors--Brontë Cascade--Wuthering Heights--
    Humble Friends--Relic and Recollection_                          121

    EARLY HAUNTS OF ROBERT COLLYER: EUGENE ARAM.

  _Childhood Home--Ilkley Scenes, Friends, Smithy, Chapel--Bolton--
    Associations--Wordsworth--Rogers--Eliot--Turner--Aram's Homes--
    Schools--Place of the Murder--Gibbet--Probable Innocence_        136

    HOME OF SYDNEY SMITH.

  _Heslington--Foston, Twelve Miles from a Lemon--Church-Rector's
    Head--Study--Room-of-all-work--Grounds--Guests--Universal
    Scratcher--Immortal Chariot--Reminiscences_                      148

    NITHSDALE RAMBLES.

  _Scott--Hogg--Wordsworth--Carlye's Birthplace--Homes--Grave--
    Burns's Haunts--Tomb--Jeanie Deans--Old Mortality, etc.--Annie
    Laurie's Birthplace--Habitation--Poet-Lover--Descendants_        161

    A NIECE OF ROBERT BURNS.

  _Her Burnsland Cottage--Reminiscences of Burns--Relics--
    Portraits--Letters--Recitations--Account of his Death--Memories
    of his Home--Of Bonnie Jean--Other Heroines_                     181

    HIGHLAND MARY: HER HOMES AND GRAVE.

  _Birthplace--Personal Appearance--Relations to Burns--Abodes:
    Mauchline, Coilsfield, etc.--Scenes of Courtship and Parting--
    Mementos--Tomb by the Clyde_                                     194

    BRONTË SCENES IN BRUSSELS.

  _School--Class-Rooms--Dormitory--Garden--Scenes and Events of
    Villette and The Professor--M. Paul--Madame Beck--Memories of
    the Brontës--Confessional--Grave of Jessy Yorke_                 207

    LEMAN'S SHRINES.

  _Beloved of Littérateurs--Gibbon--D'Aubigné--Rousseau--Byron--
    Shelley--Dickens, etc.--Scenes of Childe Harold--Nouvelle
    Heloïse--Prisoner of Chillon--Land of Byron_                     226

    CHÂTEAUX OF FERNEY AND COPPET.

  _Voltaire's Home, Church, Study, Garden, Relics--Literary Court of
    de Staël--Mementos--Famous Rooms, Guests--Schlegel--Shelley--
    Constant--Byron--Davy, etc.--De Staël's Tomb_                    238



ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                                    PAGE

  Castle of Chillon                                      _Frontispiece._

  Stoke-Pogis Church and Church-Yard                                  45

  Newstead Abbey                                                      81

  Home of Annie Laurie                                               177



LITERARY HAMPSTEAD AND HIGHGATE

_Haunt of Dickens--Steele--Pope--Keats--Baillie--Johnson--Hunt--
  Akenside--Shelley--Hogarth--Addison--Richardson--Gay--Besant--Du
  Maurier--Coleridge, etc.--Grave of George Eliot._


The explorations which first brought renown to the immortal Pickwick
were made among the uplands which border the valley of the Thames at the
north of London: the illustrious creator of Pickwick loved to wander in
the same region through the picturesque landscapes he made the scenes of
many incidents of his fiction, and the literary prowler of to-day can
hardly find a ramble more to his mind than that from the former home of
Dickens or George Eliot by Regent's Park to Hampstead, and thence
through the famous heath to Highgate. The way traverses storied ground
and teems with historic associations, but these are, for us, lessened
and subordinated by the appeal of memories of the famous authors who
have loved and haunted this delightful region, and have imparted to it
the tenderest charm. The acclivity of Hampstead has measurably resisted
the encroachment of London, and has deflected the railroads with their
disturbing tendencies, so that this old town probably retains more of
its ancient character than any other of the near suburbs, and some of
its quaint streets would scarcely be more quiet if they lay a hundred
miles away from the metropolis. Off the highway by which we ascend the
hill, we find many evidences of antiquity, old streets lined by rows of
plain and sedate dwellings wearing an air of dignified sobriety which is
not of this century, and which is in grateful contrast with the pert
artificiality of the modern fabrics of the vicinage. Many old houses are
draped with ivy or shrouded by trees of abundant foliage; some are shut
in by depressing brick walls, over which float the perfumes of unseen
flowers. A few of the older streets lie in perpetual crepuscule, being
vaulted by gigantic elms and limes as opaque as arches of masonry.

[Sidenote: Baillie--Johnson--Kit-Kat Club]

[Sidenote: Keats]

Along the slope of Haverstock hill, where our ascent begins, we find the
sometime homes of Percival, Stanfield, Rowland Hill, and the historian
Palgrave. Near by is the cottage where dwelt Mrs. Barbauld, and the
Roslyn House, where Sheridan, Pitt, Burke, and Fox were guests of
Loughborough. Here, too, formerly stood the mansion where Steele
entertained the poet of the "Dunciad," with Garth and other famed wits.
On the hill-side a leafy lane leads out of High Street to the
picturesque church of the parish, whose tower is a conspicuous
landmark. Within this fane we find, against the wall on the right of the
chancel, the beautiful marble bust recently erected by American admirers
"To the Ever-living Memory" of the author of "Lamia" and "Hyperion."
Here, too, is the plain memorial tablet of the poetess Joanna Baillie,
who lived in an unpretentious mansion lately standing in the
neighborhood, where she was visited by Wordsworth, Rogers, and others of
potential genius. In the thickly tenanted church-yard she sleeps with
her sister near the graves of Incledon, Erskine, and the historian
Mackintosh. Below the church, on the westering slope, lies embowered
Frognall, once the home of Gay, where Dr. Johnson lived and wrote "The
Vanity of Human Wishes" in the house where the gifted Nichol now resides
with the author of "Ships that Pass in the Night" for a neighbor and
with the home of Besant in view from his study. Near the summit of
Hampstead stands a sober old edifice which was of yore the Upper Flask
tavern, where the famous Kit-Kat Club held its summer _séances_, when
such luminous spirits as Walpole, Prior, Dorset, Pope, Congreve, Swift,
Steele, and Addison assembled here in the low-panelled rooms which we
may still see, or beneath the old trees of the garden, and interchanged
sallies of wit and fancy over their cakes and ale. To this inn Lovelace
brought the "Clarissa Harlowe" of Richardson's famed romance, and here
Steevens, the scholiast of Shakespeare, lived and died. Flask Walk,
which leads out of the high street among old houses and greeneries,
brings us to the shadowy Well Walk, with its overarching trees and with
many living memories masoned into its dead walls. Here we see the little
remnant of the once famous well which for a time made Hampstead a resort
for the fashionable and the suffering. Among the fancied invalids who
once dwelt in Well Walk was the spouse of Dr. Johnson. Akenside,
Arbuthnot, and Mrs. Barbauld (editor of "Richardson's Correspondence")
have sometime lived in this same little street; here the mother of
Tennyson died, and here the sweet boy-poet Keats lodged and wrote
"Endymion." At a house still to be seen in the vicinage he was for two
years the guest of his friend Brown; here he wrote "Hyperion," "St.
Agnes," and the "Ode to a Nightingale," and here he wasted in mortal
illness, being at last removed to Rome only to die. Under the limes of
Well Walk is a spot especially hallowed by the memory of Keats: it was
the object and limit of his walks in his later months, and here was
placed a seat (which until lately was preserved and bore his name),
where he sat for hours at a time beneath the whispering boughs, gazing,
often through tears, upon the enchanting vista of wave-like woods and
fields, the valley with its gleaming lakelets, and the farther slopes
crowned by the spires of Highgate, which rise out of banks of foliage.
The view is no less beautiful than when Keats's vision lingered lovingly
upon it, although we must go into the open fields to behold it now.

[Sidenote: The Heath]

[Sidenote: Leigh Hunt--Jack Straw's Castle]

If we bestir ourselves to reach the summit of the heath before the
accustomed pall shall have settled down upon the great city, the
exertion will be abundantly rewarded by the prospect that greets us as
we overlook the abodes of eight millions of souls. Such a view is
possible nowhere else on earth: outspread before us lies the vast
metropolis with its seven thousand miles of streets, while without and
beyond this aggregation of houses we behold an expanse of landscape
diversified with vale and hill, copse and field, village and park,
extending for leagues in every direction and embracing portions of seven
of England's populous shires. We see the great dome of St. Paul's and
the tall towers of Westminster rising out of the mass of myriad roofs;
the Crystal Palace glinting amid its green terraces; across the city we
behold the verdured slopes of Surrey and, farther away, the higher hills
of Sussex; our eyes follow the course of the Thames from imperial
Windsor, whose battlements are misty in the distance of the western
horizon, to its mouth at Gravesend; yonder at the right is Harrow, set
on its classic hill-top, with its ancient church by which the boy Byron
idled and dreamed; northward we see pretty Barnet, where "Oliver Twist"
met the "Dodger;" nearer is romantic Highgate, and all around us lie the
green slopes and leafy recesses of the heath. Through these strode the
murderer Sykes of Dickens's tale, and from the higher parts of this
common we may trace the way of his aimless flight from the pursuing eyes
of Nancy,--through Islington and Highgate to Hendon and Hatfield, and
thence to the place of his miserable death at Rotherhithe. There are
hours of delightful strolling amid the mazes of the picturesque heath,
with its alternations of heathered hills and flower-decked dales, its
pretty pools, its braes of brambled gorse and pine, its tangle of
countless paths. One will not wonder that it has been the resort of
_littérateurs_ from the time of Dryden till now: Pope, Goldsmith, and
Johnson loved to ramble here; Hunt, Dickens, Collins, and Thackeray were
familiar with these shady paths; Nichol, Besant, James, and Du Maurier
are now to be seen among the walkers on the heath. A worn path bearing
to the right conducts to the turf-carpeted vale where, in a little
cottage whose site is now occupied by the inn, Leigh Hunt lived for
some years. Such guests as Lamb, Hazlitt, Coleridge, Hood, and Cornwall
came to this humble home, and here Shelley met Keats, the "Adonais" of
his elegy. Not far away lie the ponds of Pickwick's unwearied
researches; and in another corner of the common we find an ancient
tavern bowered with shrubbery, in whose garden Addison and Steele oft
sipped their ale of a summer evening, and where is still cherished a
portion of a tree planted by Hogarth. On an elevation of the heath
stands "Jack Straw's Castle," believed to mark the place of encampment
of that rebel chieftain with his mob of peasantry. It is a curious old
structure, with wainscoted walls, and was especially favored by Dickens,
who often dined here with Maclise and Forster and read to them his MSS.
or counselled with them concerning his plots. Out on the heath near by
was found the corpse of Sadlier the speculator, who, after bankrupting
thousands of confiding dupes, committed suicide here; his career
suggested to Dickens the Merdle and his complaint of "Little Dorrit."
Among the embowered dwellings beyond West Heath we find that in which
Chatham was self-immured, the cottage in which Mrs. Coventry
Patmore--the Angel in the House--died, the place where Crabbe sojourned
with Hoare. This vicinage has been the delight of artists from the time
of Gainsborough, and is still a favorite sketching ground: here lived
Collins and Blake, and Constable dwelt not far away. The author of
"Trilby," who has recently taken front rank in the literary profession,
long had home and studio in a picturesque ivy-grown brick mansion of
many angles and turrets, in a quiet street upon the other side of the
hill; here among his treasures of art he commenced a third book soon to
be published.

[Sidenote: The Spaniard's]

The highway which leads north from Jack Straw's affords an exhilarating
walk, with a superb prospect upon either hand, and brings us to the
historic Spaniard's Inn, a pleasant wayside resort decked with vines and
flowers, where pedestrians stop for refreshments. Dickens oft came to
this place, and here we see the shady garden, with its tables and seats,
where Mrs. Bardell held with her cronies the mild revel which was
interrupted by the arrest of the widow for the costs in Bardell _vs._
Pickwick. The quiet of this ancient inn was disturbed one night by a
fierce band of Gordon rioters, who rushed up the paths of the heath on
their way to Mansfield's house, and stopped here to drink or destroy the
contents of the inn-cellars,--an occurrence which is graphically
described by Dickens in the looting of the Maypole Inn of Willet, in
"Barnaby Rudge." Next to the Spaniard's once lived Erskine, and among
the grand beeches of Caen Wood we see the house of Mansfield, where the
daughter of Mary Montagu was mistress, and where illustrious guests like
Pope, Southey, and Coleridge were entertained.

[Sidenote: Home of Coleridge]

A farther walk through the noble wood brings us to the delightful suburb
of Highgate, where we now vainly seek the Arundel House where the great
Bacon died and find only the site of the simple cottage where Marvell,
the "British Aristides," lived and wrote. The last home of the author of
"Ancient Mariner" is in a row of pleasant houses on a shady street
called The Grove, a little way from the high street, which was in
Coleridge's time the great Northern coach-road from London. The house is
a neat brick structure of two stories, in which we may see the room
where the poet lodged and where he breathed out his melancholy life. A
pretty little patch of turf is in front of the dwelling, a larger
garden, beloved by the poet, is at the back, and the trees which border
the foot-walk were planted in his lifetime. To this cosy refuge he came
to reside with his friends the Gilmans; here he was visited by Hunt, who
once lodged in the next street, Lamb, Hazlitt, Wordsworth, Shelley, De
Quincey, and others of like fame; and here, for nineteen years,
"afflicted with manifold infirmities," he continued the struggle against
a baneful habit, which ended only with his life. His grave was made not
far away, in a portion of the church-yard which has since been overbuilt
by a school, among whose crypt-like under-arches we find the tomb of
stone, lying in pathetic and perpetual twilight, where the poet sleeps
well without the lethean drug which ruined his life. On this hill lived
"Copperfield" with Dora, and at its foot is the stone where Whittington
sat and heard the bells recall him to London.

[Sidenote: Grave of George Eliot]

On the slope toward the city is the most beautiful of the London
cemeteries, with a wealth of verdure and bloom. Within its hallowed
shades lie the ashes of many whose memories are more fragrant than the
flowers that deck their graves. In a beautiful spot which was beloved by
the sweet singer in life we find the tomb of Parepa Rosa, tended by
loving hands; not far away, among the mourning cypresses, lie Lyndhurst
and the great Faraday. A plain tombstone erected by Dickens marks the
sepulchre of his parents, and by it lies his daughter Dora, her
gravestone bearing now, besides her simple epitaph prepared by her
father, the name of the novelist himself and the names of two of his
sons. Here, too, is the grave of Rossetti's young wife, whence his
famous poems were exhumed. Among the many tombs of the enclosure, the
one to which most pilgrims come is that of the immortal author of
"Romola." On a verdant slope we find the spot where, upon a cold and
stormy day which tested the affection of her friends, the mortal part of
George Eliot was covered with flowers and lovingly laid beside the
husband of her youth. Wreaths of flowers conceal the mound, and out of
it rises a monument of gray granite bearing her name and years and the
lines

  "Of those immortal dead who live again
  In minds made better by their presence."

From the terraces above her bed we look over the busy metropolis, astir
with its myriad pulses of life and passion, while its rumble and din
sound in our ears in a murmurous monotone. As we linger amid the
lengthening shadows until the sunset glory fades out of the sky above
the heath and the lights of London gleam mistily through the smoke, we
rejoice that we find the tomb of George Eliot, not in the aisles of
Westminster, where some would have laid her, but in this open place,
where the winds sigh a requiem through the swaying boughs, the birds
swirl and twitter in the free azure above, and the silent stars nightly
watch over her grave.



BY SOUTHWARK AND THAMES-SIDE TO CHELSEA

_Chaucer--Shakespeare--Dickens--Walpole--Pepys--Eliot--Rossetti--
  Carlyle--Hunt--Gay--Smollett--Kingsley--Herbert--Dorset--Addison--
  Shaftesbury--Locke--Bolingbroke--Pope--Richardson, etc._


[Sidenote: The Tabard--White Hart--Marshalsea]

If our way to Southwark be that of the pilgrims of Chaucer's time, by
the London Bridge, we have on our right the dark reach of river where
Lizzie Hexam was discovered in the opening of "Our Mutual Friend,"
rowing the boat of the bird of prey; on the right, too, we see the Iron
Bridge where "Little Dorrit" dismissed young Chivery; and a few steps
bring us to a scene of another of Dickens's romances, the landing-stairs
at the end of London Bridge, where Nancy had the interview with "Oliver
Twist's" friends which cost the outcast her life. Here, too, the boy
Dickens used to await admission to the Marshalsea, often in company with
the little servant of his father's family who figures in his fiction as
the "orfling" of the Micawber household and the "Marchioness" of the
Brass establishment in Bevis Marks. In the adjacent church of St.
Saviour, part of which was standing when the Father of English poetry
sojourned in the near Tabard inn, is the effigied tomb of the poet
Gower, a friend of Chaucer; here also lie buried Shakespeare's brother
Edmund, an actor; Fletcher the dramatist, who lived close by; and
Lawrence Fletcher, coparcener of Shakespeare in the Globe Theatre, which
stood near at hand, on a portion of the site of the brewery which Dr.
Johnson, executor of his friend Thrale, sold to Barclay and Perkins. The
extensions of this establishment now cover the site of a church where
Baxter preached, and the sepulchre of Cruden, author of the
"Concordance." In near-by Zoar Street, Bunyan preached in a large chapel
near the Falcon tavern, which was a resort of Shakespeare. Of the Tabard
inn, whence Chaucer's Canterbury company set out, the pilgrim of to-day
finds naught save the name on the sign of the new tavern which marks its
site on Borough High Street; and the picturesque White Hart, which stood
near by--an inn known to Shakespeare and mentioned in his dramas--where
Jingle of "Pickwick," eloping with Miss Wardle, was overtaken and Sam
Weller discovered, was not long ago degraded into a vulgar dram-shop.
Near St. Thomas's Church in this neighborhood formerly stood the
hospital in which Akenside was physician and Keats a student. A little
farther along the High Street we come to a passage at the left leading
into a paved yard which was the court of the Marshalsea, and the high
wall at the right is believed to have been a part of the old prison
where Dickens's father was confined in the rooms which the novelist
assigns to William Dorrit, and where "Little Dorrit" was born and
reared. In this court the Dickens children played, and under yonder pump
by the wall Pancks cooled his head on a memorable occasion. Just beyond
is St. George's Church, where "Little Dorrit" was baptized and married,
with its vestry where she once slept with the register under her head;
adjoining is the church-yard, once overlooked by the prison-windows of
Dickens and Dorrit, where the disconsolate young Chivery expected to be
untimely laid under a lugubrious epitaph. Another block brings us to
dingy Lant Street--"out of Hight Street, right side the way"--where the
boy Dickens lived in the back attic of the same shabby house in which
Bob Sawyer afterward lodged and gave the party to Pickwick. Beyond the
next turning stood King's Bench Prison, where Micawber was incarcerated
by his stony-hearted creditors, and beyond this again we come to the
tabernacle where Spurgeon preached. Turning at the site of Micawber's
prison, the Borough Road conducts us, by the sponging-house where Hook
was confined, to the Christ Church of Newman Hall,--successor to Rowland
Hill: it is a beautiful edifice, erected largely by contributions from
America, its handsome tower being designed as a monument to Abraham
Lincoln and marked by a memorial tablet. A little way southward, we find
among the buildings of Lambeth Palace the library of which Green, the
historian of the "English People," was long custodian, and the ancient
room where Essex and the poet Lovelace were imprisoned.

[Sidenote: Thames-Side--Shop of Jenny Wren]

[Sidenote: Old Chelsea]

Recrossing Father Thames and passing the oft-described shrines of
Westminster we come to Millbank, the region into which Copperfield and
Peggotty followed the wretched Martha and saved her from suicide. Out of
Millbank Street, a few steps by a little thoroughfare bring us into the
somnolent Smith Square in which stands the grotesque church of St. John,
where Churchill once preached,--described in "Our Mutual Friend" as a
"very hideous church with four towers, resembling some petrified monster
on its back with its legs in the air." To this place came Charley Hexam
and his school-master and Wrayburn, for here in front of the church, at
a house near the corner, Lizzie Hexam--the best of all Dickens's
women--lodged with Jenny Wren. It was a little house of two stories, and
its dingy front room--the shop of the dolls' dress-maker--later was used
as a cheap restaurant, where we once regaled ourselves with a dish of
equivocal tea while we looked about us and recognized the half-door
across which Wrayburn indolently leaned as he chatted with Lizzie, the
seat in front of the wide window where Jenny sat at her work with her
crutch leaning against the wall, the corner to which she consigned her
"bad old child" in his drunken disgrace, the stairs which led to
Lizzie's chamber,--objects all noted by the observant glance of Dickens
as he peered for a moment through the door-way. Sauntering southward by
Grosvenor Road, where Lizzie walked with her brother and Headstone, we
have beside us on the left the river, glinting and shimmering in the
morning sunlight and alive with every sort of craft that plies for trade
or pleasure. It was along these curving reaches of the Thames that the
merry parties of the olden time, destined like ourselves to Chelsea,
used to row over the miles that then intervened between London and the
ancient village, and here, too, Franklin, then a printer in Bartholomew
Close, once swam the entire distance from Chelsea to Blackfriars Bridge.
The way along which we are strolling then lay in the open country, with
leafy lanes leading aside among groves and sun-flecked fields. But woods
and fields have disappeared under compact masses of brick and mortar,
and the quaint old suburb is linked to the city by continuous streets
and structures. Contact has not altogether destroyed the distinctive
features of the ancient suburb, and we know when our walk has brought us
to its borders. Few of its thoroughfares retain the dreamful quiet of
the olden time, few of its rows of sombre and dignified dwellings have
wholly escaped the modern eruption of ornate and staring architecture;
the old and the new are curiously blended, but enough of the former
remains to remind us that Chelsea is olden and not modern, and to revive
for us the winsome associations with which the place is permeated. The
suggestion of worshipful antiquity is seen in sedate, ivy entwined
mansions of dusky-hued brick, in carefully kept old trees which in their
saplinghood knew Pepys, Johnson, or Smollett, in quaint inns whose
homely comforts were enjoyed by illustrious _habitués_ in the long ago.

[Sidenote: Walpole]

Our stroll beyond the Grosvenor Road brings us to the famous "Chelsea
Physick Garden," presented to the Apothecaries' Society by Sloane, the
founder of the British Museum, who was a medical student here; it was to
this garden that Polyphilus of the "Rambler" was going to see a new
plant in flower when he was diverted by meeting the chancellor's coach.
At the adjoining hospital dwelt the gifted Mrs. Somerville, whose
husband was a physician there; and the ancient mansion of dingy brick,
in which Walpole lived, and where Pope, Swift, Gay, and Mary Wortley
Montagu were guests, is a portion of the infirmary,--the great
drawing-room in which the brilliant company met being a hospital ward. A
little way northward, by Sloane Street, we come to Hans Place, where, at
No. 25, the sweet poetess Letitia Landon ("L. E. L.") was born in a tiny
two-storied house; she attended school in a similar house of the same
row, where Miss Mitford and the authoress of "Glenarvon" had before been
pupils. Along the river again we find beyond the hospital a passage
leading to the place of Paradise Row, where, in a little brick house,
the witching Mancini was visited by Charles II. and poetized by the
brilliant Evremond. Here, at the corner of Robinson's Lane, Pepys
visited Robarte in "the prettiest contrived house" the diarist ever saw;
not far away a comfortable old inn occupies the site of the dwelling of
the historian Faulkner, in the neighborhood where the essayist Mary
Astell--ridiculed by Swift, Addison, Steele, Smollett, and Congreve--had
her modest home. Robert Walpole's later residence stood near Queen's
Road West, and its grounds sloped to the river just below the Swan
Tavern, near the bottom of the lane now called Swan Walk. It was at
this river inn that Pepys "got affright" on being told of an eruption of
the plague in Chelsea.

[Sidenote: Homes of George Eliot and Rossetti]

For a half-mile or so westward from the Swan, picturesque Cheyne
Walk--beloved of the _literati_--stretches along the river-bank. Its
many old houses, with their solemn-visaged fronts overlooking the river,
their iron railings, dusky walls, tiled roofs, and curious
dormer-windows, are impressive survivors of a past age. At No. 4, a
substantial brick house of four stories, with battlemented roof and with
oaken carvings in the rooms, are preserved some relics of George Eliot,
for this was her last home, and here she breathed out her life in the
same room where Maclise, friend of Carlyle and Dickens, had died just a
decade before. No. 16, a spacious dwelling with curved front and finely
wrought iron railing and gate-way, was the home of Rossetti for the
twenty years preceding his death. With these panelled rooms, which he
filled with quaint and beautiful objects of art, are associated most of
the memories of the gifted poet and painter. The large lower room was
his studio, where one of his last occupations was painting a replica of
"Beata Beatrix," the portrait of his wife, whose tragic death darkened
his life. Around the fireplace in this room a brilliant company held the
nightly _séances_ which a participant styles feasts of the gods.
Through the passage at the side the famous zebu was conveyed, and
reconveyed after his assault upon the poet in the garden. The rooms
above were sometime tenanted by Meredith, Swinburne, and Rossetti's
brother and biographer, who was also Whitman's editor and advocate.
Later, the essayist Watts, to whom Rossetti dedicated his greatest work,
resided here to cherish his friend. The garden, where Rossetti kept his
odd pets and where neighbors remember to have seen him walking in
paint-bedaubed attire for hours together, is now mostly covered by a
school. At first, many luminaries of letters and art came to him
here,--Jones, Millais, Hunt, Gosse, Browning, Whistler, Morris, Oliver
Madox Brown, whose death elicited Rossetti's "Untimely Lost," and others
like them; later, when baneful narcotics had sadly changed his
temperament, he dwelt in seclusion, exercising only in his garden and
seeing such devoted friends as Watts, Knight, Hake, "The Manxman" Hall
Caine, and the gifted sister, author of "Goblin Market," etc., who was
pictured by Rossetti in his "Girlhood of Mary Virgin," and who lately
died. In his study here he produced his best work; here he revised the
poems exhumed from his wife's grave and wrote "The Stream's Secret" and
other parts of the volume which made his fame and occasioned the battle
between the bards Buchanan and Swinburne; here he wrote the magnificent
"Rose Mary," "White Ship," etc., and completed the series of sonnets
which has been pronounced "in its class the greatest gift poetry has
received since Shakespeare."

[Sidenote: Carlyle's House--Smollett--Gay]

[Sidenote: Kingsley--Herbert--Dorset]

[Sidenote: Shaftesbury--Bolingbroke]

No. 18 was the famous coffee-house and barber-shop of Sloane's servant
Salter,--called "Don Saltero" by Gay, Evremond, Steele, Smollett, and
the other wits who frequented his place. On the Embankment by this
Cheyne Walk we find the statue of Carlyle; behind it is the dull little
lane of Cheyne Row, whose quiet Carlyle thought "hardly inferior to
Craigenputtock," and here at No. 5, later 24, a plain three-storied
house of sullied brick,--even more dingy than its neighbors,--the
pessimistic sage lived, wrote, and scolded for half a century. All the
wainscoted rooms are sombre and cheerless, but the memory-haunted study
seems most depressing as we stand at Carlyle's hearth-stone and look
upon the spot where he sat to write his many books. The garden was a
pleasanter place, with bright flowers his wife planted, and the tree
under which he loved to smoke and chat. Here Tennyson lounged with him,
devoted to a long pipe and longer discourse; here Froude oft found him
on the daily visits which enabled him to picture the seer, "warts and
all;" here Dickens, Maclise, and Hunt saw him at his best, and here the
latter wrote "Jenny Kissed Me,"--Jenny being Mrs. Carlyle. To Carlyle in
this sombre home came Emerson, Ruskin, Tyndal, and a host of friends and
disciples from all lands, and hither will come an endless procession of
admirers, for many Carlyle belongings have been recovered, and the place
is to be preserved as a memorial of the stern philosopher. Around the
corner Hunt lived, in the curious little house Carlyle described, and
here he studied and wrote in the upper front room. On the next block of
the same street stood the home of Smollett, which was removed the year
that Carlyle came to dwell in the vicinage. It was a spacious mansion
which had been the Lawrence manor-house. Smollett wrote here "Count
Fathom," "Clinker," and "Launcelot Greaves," and finished Hume's
"England." Here Garrick, Johnson, Sterne, and other starry spirits were
his guests, and here later lived the poet Gay and wrote "The Shepherd's
Week," "Rural Sports," and part of his comedies. In the cellars of some
of the houses at the top of Lawrence Street may be seen remains of the
ovens of the once famous Chelsea china-factory, where Dr. Johnson
wrought for some time vainly trying to master the art of
china-making,--his pieces always cracking in the oven: a service of
china presented to him by the factorymen here was preserved in Holland
House. A tasteful Queen Anne mansion with beautiful interior
decorations, not far from the Carlyle house, was a domicile of the poet
and æsthete Oscar Wilde. In the picturesque rectory of St. Luke's, a few
rods north from Cheyne Row, the author of "Hypatia" and his scarcely
less famed brother Henry, of "Ravenshoe," lived as boys, their father
being the incumbent of the parish. Henry Kingsley presents, in his
"Hillyars and Burtons," charming sketches of Chelsea as it existed in
his boyhood. Overlooking the river at the foot of the adjoining street,
we find Chelsea Church, one of the most curious and interesting of
London's many fanes, albeit partially disfigured by modern changes. In
its pulpit Donne, the poet-divine, preached at the funeral of the mother
of George Herbert; at its altar the dramatist Colman was married. Among
its many monuments we find the mural tablet of Sir Thomas More, a marble
slab with an inscription by himself which formerly described him as
"harassing to thieves, murderers, and heretics." Here lie the ancestors
of the poet Sidney, and in the little church-yard are the graves of
Shadwell the laureate, who died just back of the church, of the
publisher of "Junius," and of a brother of Fielding. Leading back from
the river here is Church Street, on which dwelt Swift, Atterbury, and
Arbuthnot, while Steele had a little house near by. The next street is
named for Sir John Danvers, whose house was at the top of the little
street: his wife was the mother of the poet Herbert, who dwelt here for
a time and wrote some of his earlier poems; Donne and the amiable angler
Izaak Walton were frequent guests of Herbert's mother in this place. The
adjacent street marks the place of Beaufort House, the palatial
residence of Sir Thomas More, where he was visited by his much-married
monarch; where the learned and colloquial author of "Encomium Moriæ,"
Erasmus, was sometime an inmate; and where, decades later, Thomas
Sackville, Earl Dorset, wrote the earliest English tragedy, "Gorboduc."
A time-worn structure between King's Road and the Thames was once the
home of the bewitching Nell Gwynne, and in later years "became (not
inappropriately) a gin-temple," as Carlyle said: this old edifice was
also sometime occupied by Addison. Back of King's Road we find the
venerable Shaftesbury House,--in which the famous earl wrote
"Characteristics," Locke began his "Essay," and Addison produced some of
his Spectator papers,--long transformed into a workhouse, in the grounds
of which we are shown the place of "Locke's yew," recently removed. The
Old World's End Tavern, by Riley Street, was the notorious resort of
Congreve's "Love for Love;" the once ill-famed Cremorne Gardens, just
beyond, were erst part of the estate of a granddaughter of William Penn,
who was related to the Penns of Stoke-Pogis, where Gray wrote the
"Elegy." A near-by little ivy-grown brick house, with wide windows in
its front and an iron balcony upon its roof, was long the home of
Turner, and in the upper room, through whose arched window he could look
out upon the river, he died. From the water-edge here we see, upon the
opposite shore, the old church where Blake was married and Bolingbroke
was buried, and from whose vestry window Turner made his favorite
sketches; near by is a portion of the ancient house where Bolingbroke
was born and died, where he entertained such guests as Chesterfield,
Swift, and Pope, and where the latter wrote part of the "Essay on Man."
Beyond Chelsea we find at Fulham the spot where lived and died
Richardson, who is said to have written "Clarissa Harlowe" here; and,
near the river, the place of the home of Hook, and his mural tablet in
the old church by which he lies, near the grave of the poet Vincent
Bourne. Our ramble by Thames-side may be pleasantly prolonged through a
region rife with the associations we esteem most precious. Our way lies
among the sometime haunts of Cowley, Bulwer, Pepys, Thomson, Marryat,
Pope, Hogarth, Tennyson, Fielding, "Junius," Garrick, and many another
shining one. Some of lesser genius dwell now incarnate in this
memory-haunted district by the river-side,--the radical Labouchère,
living in Pope's famous villa, Stephens, and the author of "Aurora
Floyd,"--but it is the memory of the mighty dead that impresses us as we
saunter amid the scenes they loved and which inspired or witnessed the
work for which the world gives them honor and homage; we find their
accustomed resorts, the rural habitations where many of them dwelt and
died, the dim church aisles or the turf-grown graves where they are laid
at last in the dreamless sleep whose waking we may not know.



THE SCENE OF GRAY'S ELEGY

_The Country Church-Yard--Tomb of Gray--Stoke-Pogis Church--Reverie
  and Reminiscence--Scenes of Milton--Waller--Porter--Coke--Denham._


[Sidenote: The Country Church-Yard]

Our visit to the country church-yard where the ashes of Gray repose amid
the scenes his muse immortalized is the culmination and the fitting end
of a literary pilgrimage westward from London to Windsor and the nearer
shrines of Thames-vale. Our way has led us to the sometime homes of
Pope, Fielding, Shelley, Garrick, Burke, Richardson; to the birthplaces
of Waller and Gibbon, the graves of "Junius," Hogarth, Thomson, and
Penn; to the cottage where Jane Porter wrote her wondrous tales, and the
ivy-grown church where Tennyson was married. Nearer the scene of the
"Elegy" we visit other shrines: the Horton where Milton wrote his
earlier works, "Masque of Comus," "Lycidas," "Arcades;" the Hallbarn
where Waller composed the panegyric to Cromwell, the "Congratulation,"
and other once famous poems; the mansion where the Herschels studied and
wrote. We have had the gray spire of Stoke-Pogis Church in view during
this last day of our ramble. From the summit of the "Cooper's Hill" of
Denham's best-known poem, from the battlements of Windsor and the
windows of Eton, from the elm-shaded meads that border the Thames and
the fields redolent of lime-trees and new-mown hay where we loitered, we
have had tempting glimpses of that "ivy-mantled tower" that made us wish
the winged hours more swift; for we have purposely deferred our visit to
that sacred spot so that the even-tide and the hour the curfew tolled
"the knell of parting day" across this peaceful landscape may find us
amid the old graves where "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." As
we approach through verdant lanes bordered by fields where the ploughman
is yet at his toil and the herds feed among the buttercups, the abundant
ivy upon the tower gleams in the light of the declining sun, and the
"yew-tree's shade" falls far aslant upon the mouldering turf-heaps. The
sequestered God's-acre, consecrated by the genius of Gray, lies in
languorous solitude, far removed from the highway and within the
precincts of a grand park once the possession of descendants of Penn.
Just without the enclosure stands a cenotaph erected by John Penn,
grandson of the founder of Pennsylvania; it represents a sarcophagus and
is ostensibly commemorative of Gray, but, as has been said, it
"resembles nothing so much as a huge tea-caddy," and its inscription
celebrates the builder more than the bard. Within the church-yard all
is rest and peace; the strife and fever of life intrude not here; no
sound of the busy world breaks in upon the hush that pervades this spot,
and "all the air a solemn stillness holds." Something of the serenity
which here pervades earth and sky steals into and uplifts the soul, and
the demons of greed and passion are subdued and silenced as we stand
above the tomb of Gray and realize all the imagery of the "Elegy." While
our hearts are thrilling with the associations of the place and the
hour, while the ashes of the tender poet rest at our feet and the
objects that inspired the matchless poem surround us, we may hope to
share in some measure the tenderer emotions to which the contemplation
of this scene stirred his soul. As we ponder these objects, upon which
his loving vision lingered, they seem strangely familiar; we feel that
we have known them long and will love them alway.

One must visit this spot if he would appreciate the absolute fidelity to
nature of the "Elegy:" its imagery is the exact reproduction of the
scene lying about us, which is practically unchanged since that time so
long ago when Gray drafted his poem here. Above us rises the square
tower, mantled with ivy and surmounted by a tapering spire whose shadow
now falls athwart the grave of the poet; here are the rugged elms with
their foliage swaying in the summer breeze above the lowly graves;
yonder by the church porch is the dark yew whose opaque shade covers the
site of the poet's accustomed seat on the needle-carpeted sward; around
us are scattered the mouldering heaps beneath which, "each in his narrow
cell forever laid," sleep the rustic dead. Some of the humble mounds are
unmarked by any token of memory or grief, but many bear the "frail
memorials," often rude slabs of wood, which loving but unskilled hands
have graven with "uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture," with the
names and years of the unhonored dead, and "many a holy text that teach
the rustic moralist to die." Some of these lowly graves hold the
forefathers of families who, not content with the sequestered vale of
life which sufficed for these simple folk, have sought on another shore
largesses of fame or fortune unattainable here. Among the names "spelled
by the unlettered muse" upon the stones around us we see those of
Goddard, Perry, Gould, Cooper, Geer, and many others familiar to our
American ears. The overarching glades of the woods which skirt the
sacred precinct were the haunt of the "youth to fortune and to fame
unknown;" the nodding beech, that "wreathes its old fantastic roots so
high" in the grove at near-by Burnham, was his favorite tree, as it was
that of Gray; afar through the haze of a golden after-glow we see the
"antique towers" of Eton, the stately brow of Windsor, with its royal
battlements, and nearer the wave of woods and fields and all the
dream-like beauty of the landscape upon which the eyes of Gray so often
dwelt, a landscape that literally glimmers in the fading light.

[Sidenote: Tomb of Gray]

A tablet set by Penn in the chancel wall beneath the mullioned window is
inscribed, "Opposite this stone, in the same tomb upon which he so
feelingly recorded his grief at the loss of a beloved parent, are
deposited the remains of Thomas Gray, author of the Elegy written in a
Country Church-yard." A few feet distant is the tomb he erected for his
mother, which now conceals the ashes of the gentle poet. It is of the
plainest and simplest, a low structure of brick, covered by a marble
slab. No "storied urn or animated bust" is needed to perpetuate the name
of him who made himself immortal; even his name is not graven upon the
marble. We are come directly from the splendors of the royal chapels of
Windsor, where costly sculpture, gilding, and superlative epitaphs mark
the sepulchres of some who were mediocre or mendicant of mind and
virtue, and we are, therefore, the more impressed by the fitting
simplicity of the poet's tomb among the humble dead whose artless tale
he told. At the grave of Gray, how tawdry seems the pomp of those kingly
mausoleums, how mean some of the lives the bedizened monuments
commemorate, of how little consequence that the world should know where
such dust is hid from sight! At the grave of Gray, if anywhere the wide
world round, we will correctly value the vanities, ambitions, and
rewards of earth. Gray's desire to be buried here saved him from what
some one has called the "misfortune of burial in Westminster." While the
pilgrim vainly seeks in that national mausoleum the tombs of
Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Gray, Wordsworth, Thackeray, Coleridge,
Eliot, and others of divine genius, and finds instead the graves of many
sordid and impure, entombment there may be a misfortune. Happily the
poet of the Elegy reposes in his church-yard, beside the beings he best
loved, on the spot he frequented in life and hallowed by his genius,
among those whose virtues he sang; here his grave perpetually emphasizes
the sublime teachings of his verse and affords a most touching
association. The only inscription upon the slab is the poet's tribute to
his aunt, Mary Antrobus, and to "Dorothy Gray, the careful and tender
mother of many children, of whom one alone had the misfortune to
survive her." It has been our pleasure on a previous day to seek out
amid the din of London the spot where, in a modest dwelling, this mother
gave birth to the poet, and where she and Mary Antrobus sold laces to
maintain the "many children."

  [Illustration: STOKE-POGIS CHURCH]

[Sidenote: The Ivy-Mantled Church]

Set upon a gentle eminence in the midst of this peaceful scene, the
church has a picturesque beauty which harmonizes well with its
environment. It is low and sombre, but age has given a dignity and grace
which would make it attractive apart from its associations. Overrunning
the walls, shrouding the crumbling battlements of the tower, clambering
along the steep roofs, clinging to the highest gables, and festooning
the stained windows, are masses of dark ivy, which conceal the inroads
of time and impart to the whole structure a beauty that wins us
completely. The tower is early English, the chancel is Norman, and the
newer portions of the edifice were already old when Gray frequented the
place. A path bordered by abundant roses leads from the gate-way of the
enclosure to the quaint porch of timbers and the entrance to the church.
Within, the light falls dimly at this hour upon the curious little
galleries of the peasantry, the great pew of the Penns, the humbler
place at the end of the south aisle where Gray came to pray, the huge
mural tablet and the burial vault where the son of William Penn and his
family sleep in death. In the park close by is the palace of the Penns,
and the mansion where Charles I. was imprisoned and where Coke wrote
some of his Commentaries and entertained his queen. Not far distant is
the house--now a fine abode--which Gray shared for some years with his
mother and aunt, and where his bedroom and study may still be seen.
Farther away are the Beaconsfield which furnished the title of the
gifted author of "Lothair," and the old church where Burke and Waller
await the resurrection.

[Sidenote: Discarded Stanzas]

In the twilight we hastily sketch Gray's "ivy-mantled tower," and then
sit by his tomb gazing upon the fading landscape and recalling the life
of this divine poet and the lines of the matchless poem which was
drafted here and with exquisite care revised and polished year after
year before it was given to the world. It may not be generally known
that he discarded six stanzas from the original draft,--among them this,
written as the fourth stanza:

  "Hark, how the sacred calm that breathes around
    Bids every fierce, tumultuous passion cease;
  In still small accents whispering from the ground
    A grateful earnest of eternal peace;"

this, from the reply of the "hoary-headed swain:"

  "Him have we seen the greenwood side along
    While o'er the heath we hied, our labor done,
  Oft as the wood-lark piped her farewell song
    With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun;"

and this, from the description of the poet's grave:

  "There scattered oft, the earliest of the year,
    By hands unseen, are showers of violets found;
  The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
    And little footsteps lightly print the ground."

We may judge what was the high standard of Gray, and what the
transcending quality of the finished poem from which its author could,
after years of deliberation, reject such stanzas. The Elegy is the
expression in divinest poetry of the best conceptions of a noble soul
upon the most serious topic on which human thought can dwell. No wonder
that the world has literally learned by heart those precious lines; that
they are the solace of the thoughtful and the bereft in every clime
where mortals meditate on death; that the brave Wolfe, on the way to his
triumphal death, should recite them in the darkness and declare he had
rather be their author than the victor in the morrow's battle; that the
great Webster, on his death-bed, should beg to hear them, and die at
last with their melody sounding in his ears.

As the glow fades out of the darkening sky, the birds in the leafy elms
one by one cease their songs, "the lowing herds wind slowly o'er the
lea" to distant folds, the "drowsy tinklings" grow fainter, the summer
wind sighing among the trees dies with the day, and the scene which
seemed still before is noiseless now. In this hush we are content to
leave this deathless poet and the spot he loved. We gather ivy from the
old wall and a spray from the boughs of his dreaming yew, and take our
way back to the busy haunts of men.



DICKENSLAND: GAD'S HILL AND ABOUT

_Chaucer's Pilgrims--Falstaff--Dickens's Abode--Study--Grounds--Walks--
  Neighbors--Guests--Scenes of Tales--Cobham--Rochester--Pip's
  Church-Yard--Satis House, etc._


[Sidenote: Gad's Hill House]

"To go to Gad's Hill," said Dickens, in a note of invitation, "you leave
Charing Cross at nine o'clock by North Kent Railway for Higham." Guided
by these directions and equipped with a letter from Dickens's son, we
find ourselves gliding eastward among the chimneys of London and, a
little later, emerging into the fields of Kent,--Jingle's region of
"apples, cherries, hops, and women." The Thames is on our left; we pass
many river-towns,--Dartford where Wat Tyler lived, Gravesend where
Pocahontas died,--but most of our way is through the open country, where
we have glimpses of fields, parks, and leafy lanes, with here and there
picturesque camps of gypsies or of peripatetic rascals "goin'
a-hoppin'." From wretched Higham a walk of half an hour among orchards
and between hedges of wild-rose and honeysuckle brings us to the hill
which Shakespeare and Dickens have made classic ground, and soon we see,
above the tree-tops, the glittering vane which surmounted the home of
the world's greatest novelist. The name Gad's (vagabond's) Hill is a
survival of the time when the depredations of highwaymen upon "pilgrims
going to Canterbury with rich offerings and traders riding to London
with fat purses" gave to this spot the ill repute it had in
Shakespeare's day: it was here he located Falstaff's great exploit. The
tuft of evergreens which crowns the hill about Dickens's retreat is the
remnant of thick woods once closely bordering the highway, in which the
"men in buckram" lay concealed, and the robbery of the franklin was
committed in front of the spot where the Dickens house stands. By this
road passed Chaucer, who had property near by, gathering from the
pilgrims his "Canterbury Tales." In all time to come the great master of
romance who came here to live and die will be worthily associated with
Shakespeare and Chaucer in the renown of Gad's Hill. In becoming
possessor of this place, Dickens realized a dream of his boyhood and an
ambition of his life. In one of his travellers' sketches he introduces a
"queer small boy" (himself) gazing at Gad's Hill House and predicting
his future ownership, which the author finds annoying "because it
happens to be _my_ house and I believe what he said was true." When at
last the place was for sale, Dickens did not wait to examine it; he
never was inside the house until he went to direct its repair. Eighteen
hundred pounds was the price; a thousand more were expended for
enlargement of the grounds and alterations of the house, which, despite
his declaration that he had "stuck bits upon it in all manner of ways,"
did not greatly change it from what it was when it became the goal of
his childish aspirations. At first it was his summer residence
merely,--his wife came with him the first summer,--but three years later
he sold Tavistock House, and Gad's Hill was thenceforth his home. From
the bustle and din of the city he returned to the haunts of his boyhood
to find restful quiet and time for leisurely work among these "blessed
woods and fields" which had ever held his heart. For nine years after
the death of Dickens Gad's Hill was occupied by his oldest son; its
ownership has since twice or thrice changed.

[Sidenote: Gad's Hill--House and Grounds]

[Sidenote: Dickens's Chalet]

Its elevated site and commanding view render it one of the most
conspicuous, as it is one of the most lovely, spots in Kent. The mansion
is an unpretentious, old-fashioned, two-storied structure of fourteen
rooms. Its brick walls are surmounted by Mansard roofs above which rises
a bell-turret; a pillared portico, where Dickens sat with his family on
summer evenings, shades the front entrance; wide bay-windows project
upon either side; flowers and vines clamber upon the walls, and a
delightfully home-like air pervades the place. It seems withal a modest
seat for one who left half a million dollars at his death. At the right
of the entrance-hall we see Dickens's library and study, a cosy room
shown in the picture of "The Empty Chair:" here are shelves which held
his books; the panels he decorated with counterfeit book-backs; the nook
where perched the mounted remains of his raven, the "Grip" of "Barnaby
Rudge." By this bay-window, whence he could look across the lawn to the
cedars beyond the highway, stood his chair and the desk where he wrote
many of the works by which the world will know him alway. Behind the
study was his billiard-room, and upon the opposite side of the hall the
parlor, with the dining-room adjoining it at the back, both bedecked
with the many mirrors which delighted the master. Opening out of these
rooms is a conservatory, paid for out of "the golden shower from
America" and completed but a few days before Dickens's death, holding
yet the ferns he tended. The dining-room was the scene of much of that
emphatic hospitality which it pleased the novelist to dispense, his
exuberant spirits making him the leader in all the jollity and
conviviality of the board. Here he compounded for bibulous guests his
famous "cider-cup of Gad's Hill," and at the same table he was stricken
with death; on a couch beneath yonder window, the one nearest the hall,
he died on the anniversary of the railway accident which so frightfully
imperilled his life. From this window we look out upon a lawn decked
with shrubbery and see across undulating cornfields his beloved Cobham.
From the parquetted hall, stairs lead to the modest chambers,--that of
Dickens being above the drawing-room. He lined the stairway with prints
of Hogarth's works, and declared he never came down the stairs without
pausing to wonder at the sagacity and skill which had produced the
masterful pictures of human life. The house is invested with roses, and
parterres of the red geraniums which the master loved are ranged upon
every side. It was some fresh manifestation of his passion for these
flowers that elicited from his daughter the averment, "Papa, I think
when you are an angel your wings will be made of looking-glasses and
your crown of scarlet geraniums." Beneath a rose-tree not far from the
window where Dickens died, a bed blooming with blue lobelia holds the
tiny grave of "Dick" and the tender memorial of the novelist to that
"Best of Birds." The row of gleaming limes which shadow the porch was
planted by Dickens's own hands. The pedestal of the sundial upon the
lawn is a massive balustrade of the old stone bridge at near-by
Rochester, which little David Copperfield crossed "foot-sore and weary"
on his way to his aunt, and from which Pickwick contemplated the
castle-ruin, the cathedral, the peaceful Medway. At the left of the
mansion are the carriage-house and the school-room of Dickens's sons. In
another portion of the grounds are his tennis-court and the
bowling-green which he prepared, where he became a skilful and tireless
player. The broad meadow beyond the lawn was a later purchase, and the
many limes which beautify it were rooted by Dickens. Here numerous
cricket matches were played, and he would watch the players or keep the
score "the whole day long." It was in this meadow that he rehearsed his
readings, and his talking, laughing, weeping, and gesticulating here
"all to himself" excited among his neighbors suspicion of his insanity.
From the front lawn a tunnel constructed by Dickens passes beneath the
highway to "The Wilderness," a thickly wooded shrubbery, where
magnificent cedars uprear their venerable forms and many sombre firs,
survivors of the forest which erst covered the countryside, cluster upon
the hill-top. Here Dickens's favorite dog, the "Linda" of his letters,
lies buried. Amid the leafy seclusion of this retreat, and upon the very
spot where Falstaff was routed by Hal and Poins ("the eleven men in
buckram"), Dickens erected the chalet sent to him in pieces by Fechter,
the upper room of which--up among the quivering boughs, where "birds and
butterflies fly in and out, and green branches shoot in at the
windows"--Dickens lined with mirrors and used as his study in summer. Of
the work produced at Gad's Hill--"Two Cities," "Uncommercial Traveller,"
"Mutual Friend," "Edwin Drood," and many tales and sketches of "All the
Year Round"--much was written in this leaf-environed nook; here the
master wrought through the golden hours of his last day of conscious
life, here he wrote his last paragraph and at the close of that June day
let fall his pen, never to take it up again. From the place of the
chalet we behold the view which delighted the heart of Dickens,--his
desk was so placed that his eyes would rest upon this view whenever he
raised them from his work,--the fields of waving corn, the green expanse
of meadows, the sail-dotted river.

Many friends came to Dickens in this pleasant Kentish home,--Forster,
Maclise, Reade, Macready, Leech, Collins, Yates, Hans Christian
Andersen, Mr. and Mrs. Fields, Longfellow and his daughters, Fechter and
his wife: some of them were guests here for many days together. The
master was the most genial of hosts, apparently the happiest of men,
with the hearty laugh which Montaigne says never comes from a bad heart.
After the morning task in library or chalet he gave the rest of the day
to exercise and recreation, often at games with his guests in the
grounds, but taking daily in rain or shine the long walks which made his
lithe figure and rapid gait familiar to all the cottagers and
field-laborers of the countryside. It is pleasant to hear the loving
testimony of these simple folk--many of them descendants of the "men of
Kent" who followed the standard of Wat Tyler from Blackheath to
London--concerning Dickens's uniform kindness, his helpful generosity,
his scrupulous regard of the rights of inferiors, the traits which won
their hearts. One rustic neighbor declares, "Dickens was a main good
man, sir: it was a sorry day for the neighborhood when he was taken
away." Near the gate of Gad's Hill House is a wayside inn, the "Sir John
Falstaff," which for more than two centuries has stood for remembrance
of that worthy's exploit at this place. Its weather-worn sign bears
portraits of Falstaff and Prince Hal and a picture of the "Merry Wives
of Windsor" putting Falstaff into the basket. The name of a son of the
recent keeper of this hostelry, Edward Trood, doubtless suggested the
title of the "Mystery" which must, alas! remain a mystery evermore.

[Sidenote: Scenes of Great Expectations]

[Sidenote: The Marshes]

From the inn a lane leads to a sightly summit surmounted by a monument
which Dickens called "Andersen's Monument," because it was the resort of
that illustrious author while a guest at Gad's Hill. Its far-reaching
prospect is indeed alluring: on every hand vast, wave-like expanses of
forest and orchard, moor and mead, sweep away to the horizon, while
northward, beyond great cornfields and market-gardens, we see twenty
miles of the Thames--"stealing steadily away to the ocean, like a man's
life"--bordered here by a wilderness of low-lying marsh. A walk beloved
of Dickens brings us to one of his favorite haunts,--a dreary
church-yard on the margin of this marsh. It lies in the dismal,
ague-haunted "hundred of Loo," a peninsula between the Thames and the
Medway having a broad hem of desolate fens along the river-banks--a
weird, little known region, whose ancient reputation was unsavory. A
wooden finger on a post directs us to Cooling,--Dickens makes Pip say
that this direction was never accepted, no one ever came,--a forlorn
hamlet which straggles about the ruins of Cooling Castle. This was an
ancient seat of the Cobhams; through a Cobham heiress it passed to
Oldcastle, leader of the Lollards, who shut himself up here and was
dragged hence to martyrdom. It is noteworthy that this Oldcastle has
been thought to be the original of Falstaff, the hero of Gad's Hill. Of
the stronghold little remains save the machicolated gate-way, flanked
with ponderous round towers bearing quaint inscriptions. The water of
the moat is green and stagnant, suggesting frogs and rheumatism, and the
space it encloses is occupied by the cottage of a farmer. The forge and
cottage of Joe Gargery are not found in the wretched village,--indeed,
we should be sorry to find that splendid fellow and the good Betty so
poorly housed,--but beyond the narrow street and at the verge of the
marshes we come to a low, quaint, square-towered old church, which rises
from a wind-swept, nettle-grown church-yard, the scene of the opening
chapter of "Great Expectations." Yonder mound, whose gravestone is
inscribed to George Comfort, "Also Sarah, Wife of the Above," stands for
the tomb of Pip's parents; and sunken in the grass at our feet is the
row of little gravestones whose curious shape led Pip to believe that
his little brothers (whose graves they marked) "had been born on their
backs, with their hands in their trousers pockets, and had never taken
them out in this stage of existence." Over this low wall which divides
God's-acre from the marshes the convict climbed, and we, standing upon
it, look across the scene of his chase and capture, which Pip witnessed
from Joe's back. On this sombre autumn afternoon of our visit the
landscape is startlingly like that the terrified boy beheld: we see the
same far-stretching waste of marshes, the intersecting dikes, the low,
leaden line of the river beyond, dark mists hanging heavy over all,
while the chill wind blows in our faces from its "savage lair" in the
sea. Upon yonder flat tombstone in the far corner of the church-yard
Dickens sat and lunched with Fields when he last walked to this place.
Hidden now in the mists, but not far distant, and reached by a foot-path
from the road to Chalk, is a dirty and dilapidated Thames-side inn,
whose creaking sign-board reads, "Ship and Lobster:" this is The Ship of
"Great Expectations," where Pip and his party slept the night preceding
their attempt to put Magwich on the steamer, and the open river below
the little causeway is the scene of their mischance and the transport's
recapture.

[Sidenote: Cobham]

[Sidenote: Cloisterham]

The walk which Dickens most enjoyed--the one which was his last before
he died--was to and around Cobham, the seat of his friend Darnley. We
follow the way once so familiar to his feet, through the noble park
which the Pickwick Club found "so thoroughly delightful," on a June
afternoon, by the stately old hall where lately stood Dickens's chalet,
and farther, through majestic forest and open glade, to the place whence
Pickwick--overcome by cold punch--was wheeled to the pound. Skirting the
park on our return, we come to Cobham village and the neat Leather
Bottle Inn to which the lovelorn Tupman retired to conceal his woe after
his discomfiture at Manor Farm, and where Dickens himself, rambling in
the neighborhood with Forster, lodged in 1841. Here is the little
church-yard where Pickwick walked with Tupman and persuaded him to
return to the world, and hard by the cottage of Bill Stumps, before
which Pickwick made the immortal discovery which was "the pride of his
friends and the envy of every antiquarian in this or any other country."
Another favorite walk of Dickens conducts us, past a quaint, rambling
mansion of dingy brick which served as the model for Satis House of
"Great Expectations," to Rochester, the Cloisterham of "Edwin Drood."
Here we find the Bull Inn,--"good house, nice beds,"--where the Pickwick
Club lodged, in rooms 13 and 19, and the ballroom, where Tupman and
Jingle (the latter in Winkle's coat) danced with the widow and enraged
little Slammer; the Watt's Charity of "The Uncommercial Traveller;" the
picturesque castle-ruin which Dickens frequented and has so charmingly
described. Here, too, is the gray old cathedral he loved, which appears
in many of his tales, from Jingle's piquant account of it in "Pickwick"
to that touching description of this ancient fane in the last lines of
the master, written within sound of its bells and but a few hours before
his death.

[Sidenote: Land of Dickens]

This region of sunny Kent, the scene of his earliest and latest years,
may fitly be called The Land of Dickens, so intimately is it associated
with his life and work. Here at near-by Chatham (whence he used to come
to gaze longingly at Gad's Hill House), in a whitewashed cottage on
Ordnance Place, he lived as a child; at yonder village of Chalk he spent
his honeymoon, its expenses being defrayed by the sale of the first
numbers of "Pickwick;" here were the habitual resorts of his holiday
leisure; here was his latest home; here he died, and here he desired to
be buried. This district was no less the life-haunt and home of his
imagination and genius. The scenes of his most effective romances are
laid here; into the fabric of many a tale and sketch his fancy has woven
the familiar features of town and hamlet, field and forest, marsh and
river, of the region he knew and loved so well; here his first tale
opens, here his last tale ends.



SOME HAUNTS OF BYRON

_Birthplace--London Homes--Murray's Book-Store--Kensal Green--Harrow--
  Byron's Tomb--His Diadem Hill--Abode of his Star of Annesley--
  Portraits--Mementos._


[Sidenote: London Homes]

Of the places in and about great London which were associated with the
brief life of Byron, the rage for improvement which holds nothing sacred
has spared a few, and the quest for Byron-haunts is still fairly
rewarded. Holles Street, where he was born, has not long been resigned
to trade: we have known it as a somnolent little street whose grateful
quiet--reached by a step from the tumult of De Quincey's "stony-hearted
step-mother"--made it seem like a placid pool beside a riotous torrent.
It is scarce a furlong in length, and from the shade of Cavendish Square
at its extremity we could look, between bordering rows of modest
dwellings, to the square where Ralph Nickleby lived and Mary Wortley
Montagu died. At our right, a little way down the street, stood a small,
plain, two-storied house of dingy brick, where the poet's mother lodged
in the upper front room at the time of his birth. This dwelling was No.
16, later 24, and has now given place to a shop. An unpretentious
tenement near Sloane Square was Byron's home during his pupilage with
Dr. Glennie.

In the house No. 8 St. James Street, nearly opposite the place where
Gibbon died, Byron had for some years a suite of rooms. Here he was
convenient to Almack's aristocratic ballrooms and St. James Theatre, and
was in the then, as it is now, centre of fashionable club-life. His
residence here began when he came to London to publish "Bards and
Reviewers," was resumed upon his return from the Levantine tour, and
continued during the publication of the early cantos of "Childe Harold"
and other poems written on that tour. In these rooms "Corsair," "The
Giaour," and "Bride of Abydos" were written, the latter in a single
night and with one quill. The last year of Byron's residence here was
the period of his highest popularity, when he was the especial pet of
London society queens, one of whom--who later wrote a book to defame
him--was recognized in bifurcated masculine garb in these chambers. On
the same street is the home of White's Club, the Bays' of "Pendennis,"
of which the present Lord Byron is a member, and on the site of the
Carlton Club, Pall Mall, stood the Star and Garter tavern, where, in
room No. 7 at the right on the first floor, the poet's predecessor
killed his neighbor Chaworth, grand-uncle of Byron's "star of Annesley."
Adjoining the Academy of Arts in Piccadilly is that "college of
bachelors," the Albany apartment house where Dickens lodged
"Fascination" Fledgeby and laid the scene of his flagellation by Lammle
and the dressing of his wounds with pepper by Jenny Wren. Here the
handsome suite A 2 was the abode of Byron for the year or so preceding
his hapless marriage, and here "Lara" and "Hebrew Melodies" were
written. The poet had passed the zenith of the social horizon, and the
"Byron-madness" was waning, when he came to the Albany; still, the
visits of fair admirers were vouchsafed him in these rooms. It was here
that the girl whose story Guiccioli adduces as evidence of Byron's
virtuous self-denial came to him for counsel. If the partiality of his
mistress has unduly praised his conduct at this time, it is a
thousandfold outweighed by the bitterness of another narrative--happily
discredited, if not disproven--which indicates this same period as being
that of the beginning of a _liaison_ with his sister. To these rooms
Moore was a daily visitant, and Canning then lodged on the second floor
adjoining the suite E 1, where Macaulay wrote the "History of England"
and many essays. Byron's last abode in London was a stately house in
Piccadilly, opposite Green Park and not far from the then London sojourn
of Scott. Byron's dwelling, now No. 139, belonged to the Duchess of
Devon, and was known as 13 Piccadilly Terrace. To this elegant home he
brought his bride after the "treacle-moon," and here passed the
remainder of their brief period of cohabitation. Here "The Siege of
Corinth," "Parisina," and many minor poems were penned, the MS. of some
being in the handwriting of his wife. Here Augusta Leigh was a guest
warmly welcomed by Lady Byron, despite her alleged knowledge of the
"shocking misconduct" of Byron and his sister in this house. Here Ada,
"sole daughter of his house and heart," was born, and from here, a few
weeks later, his wife went forth, never to see him again. Some letters
came from her to this home,--playful notes to Byron inviting him to
follow her, affectionate epistles to the sister, then a final letter
announcing her determination never to return. In the ten months during
which Byron occupied this house it was nine times in possession of
bailiffs on account of his debts. It has since been refaced and
repaired, but the original rooms remain. Hamilton Place now leads from
it to Hamilton Gardens, where stands a beautiful statue of Byron. To the
mansion of Sir Edward Knatchbull, No. 25 Great George Street, a site now
occupied by the Institute of Engineers, the corpse of Byron was brought
upon its arrival from Greece; and here in the great parlors, but a few
steps from the spot where the remains of Sheridan had lain eight years
before, Byron's body lay in state while his friends vainly sought
sepulture for it in Westminster.

[Sidenote: Murray's]

At No. 50 Albemarle Street, Piccadilly, not far from the Albany, is the
establishment of John Murray, whose predecessor, John Murray II.,
published "Childe Harold" and all Byron's subsequent poems to the
earlier cantos of "Don Juan." At this house the poet was a frequent and
familiar lounger. Here, in a cosy drawing-room which is handsomely
furnished and embellished, Murray used to hold a literary court, and
here Byron first shook hands with the "great Wizard of the North" and
met Moore, Canning, Southey, Gifford, and other _littérateurs_. Scott
afterward wrote, "Byron and I met for an hour or two daily in Murray's
drawing-room, and found much to say to each other." During his
residence in London, Byron was customarily one of the coterie of
authors--facetiously called the "four o'clock club"--which daily
assembled in this room. The _séances_ were frequented at one time or
another by most of the stars of English letters, embracing, besides
those above named, Campbell, Hallam, Crabbe, Lockhart, Disraeli, Irving,
George Ticknor, etc. We find the room little changed since their time.
Original portraits of that brilliant company look down from the walls
of the room they haunted in life, and the visitor thrills with the
thought that in some subtile sense their presence pervades it still. In
this room Ada Byron, kept in ignorance of her father until womanhood,
first saw his handwriting, and in yonder fireplace beneath his portrait,
four days after intelligence of his death had reached London, the
manuscript of his much-discussed "Memoirs" was burned at the desire of
Lady Byron and in the presence of Moore and Byron's executor, Hobhouse,
who had witnessed his hapless marriage. Until the death of Byron his
relations with Murray were most cordial, and the present John Murray
IV., grandson of Byron's publisher, possesses numerous letters of the
poet, some of which were used in Moore's "Life." Perhaps most
interesting of Byron's many rhyming epistles is the one commencing,--

      "My dear Mr. Murray,
      You're in a blanked hurry
  To set up this ultimate canto,"

which announces the final completion of "Childe Harold." Among many
mementos of Byron cherished in this famous room are the original MSS. of
"Bards and Reviewers" and of most of his later poems. With them are
other priceless MSS. of Scott, Swift, Gray, Southey, Livingstone,
Irving, Motley, etc. The Murray III. who used to show us these treasures
with reverent pride, and who could boast that he had known Byron, Scott,
and Goethe, died not long ago. When we ask for the Bible popularly
believed to have been given to Murray by Byron with a line so altered as
to read "now Barabbas was a _publisher_," we are told this joke was
Campbell's and was upon another publisher than Murray. Byron's
signet-ring has passed to the possession of Pierre Barlow, Esq., of New
York. _Littérateurs_ still come to "Murray's den," though not so often
as in the time when clubs were less popular: among those who may
sometimes be met here are Argyll, Knight, Layard, Dufferin, Temple,
Francis Darwin, etc. Murrays' was the home of the Review--"whose mission
in life is to hang, draw, and _Quarterly_," as one victim avers--to
which came Charlotte Brontë's burly Irish uncle with his shillalah in
search of the harsh reviewer of "Jane Eyre," and haunted the place until
he was turned away.

[Sidenote: Kensal Green--Harrow]

A most delightful outing is the jaunt from Byron's London haunts, past
Kensal Green, where we find the precious graves in which sleep
Thackeray, Motley, Cunningham, Jameson, Hood, Hunt, Sydney Smith, and
Mrs. Hawthorne,--the latter beneath ivy from her Wayside home and
periwinkle from her husband's tomb on the piny hill-top at Concord,--to
Harrow, the "Ida" of Byron's verse. Here is the ancient school of which
Sheridan, Peel, Perceval, Trollope, and others famous in letters or
politics were inmates; where Byron was for years "a troublesome and
mischievous pupil" and made the acquaintance of Clare, Dorset, and
others to whom some of his poems are addressed, and of Wildman who
rescued his Newstead from ruin: the present Byron and the son of Ada
Byron were also Harrow boys. Here may be seen some of the poet's worn
and scribbled books; his name graven by him upon a panel of the oldest
building; the Peachie tombstone--protected now by iron bars--which was
his evening resort, where some of his stanzas were composed, and whence
he beheld a landscape of enchanting beauty. Near this beloved spot,
where Byron once desired to be entombed, sleeps a sinless child of sin,
his daughter Allegra, born of Mrs. Shelley's sister. At Harrow, Byron
repaid help upon his exercises by fighting for his assistant; his
successes here were mainly pugilistic, but his battles were often those
of younger and weaker boys, and the spot where he fought the tyrants of
the school is pointed out with interest and pride.

In Notts, _en route_ to Newstead, we lodge in an old mansion alleged to
have been the abode of the poet in his school-vacations; we have the
high authority of the landlord for the conviction that we occupy the
room and the very bed oft used by Byron; but the credulity even of a
pilgrim has a limit, and the agility of the fleas that now inhabit the
bed forbids belief that they too are relics of the poet. Better
authenticated are the Byron relics of a local society, among which are
the boot-trees certified by his bootmaker to be those upon which the
poet's boots were fitted. They are of interest as demonstrating that the
asymmetry of his feet was much less than has been believed; one foot was
shorter than its fellow, and the ankle was weak, but not deformed.

[Sidenote: Tomb of Childe Harold]

From Nottingham a winsome way along a smiling vale, with billowy hills
swelling upon either hand, conducts us to the village of Hucknall. By
its market-place an ancient church-tower rises from a grave-strewn
enclosure; we enter the fane through a porch of ponderous timbers, and,
traversing the dim aisle, approach the chancel and find there the tomb
of Childe Harold. A slab of blue marble, sent by the King of Greece and
bearing the word Byron, is set in the pavement to mark the spot where,
after the throes of his passion-tossed life, Byron lies among his
kindred in "the dreamless sleep that lulls the dead." One who, as a lad,
entered the vault at the burial of Ada Byron, indicates for us its size
upon the pavement and the position of the coffins; Byron, in a coffin
covered with velvet and resting upon benches of stone, lies between his
mother and the "sole daughter of his house and heart;" at his feet a
receptacle contains his heart and brain. His valet and the Little White
Lady of Irving's narrative sleep in the yard near by. A marble tablet on
the church wall describes Byron as the "Author of Childe Harold's
Pilgrimage;" this was erected by his sister, and near it we saw a
chaplet of faded laurel placed years ago by our "Bard of the Sierras."
Byron's tomb has never been a popular shrine, but such Americans as
Irving, Hawthorne, Halleck, Ludlow, Joaquin Miller, and William Winter
have been reverent pilgrims. Once Byron's "Italian enchantress," la
Guiccioli, was found weeping here and kissing the pavement which covers
the lover of her youth.

[Sidenote: Annesley Hall]

Above Hucknall the ancestral domain of the Byrons lies upon the right,
while upon the other hand extend the broad lands which were the heritage
of Mary Ann Chaworth, Byron's "star of Annesley." From the boundary of
the estates, where the poet sometimes met his youthful love, a stroll
across a landscape parquetted with grain-field gold and meadow emerald
brings us to the ancient seat of the time-honored race of which the
maiden of Byron's "Dream"--the "Mary" of many poems--was the "last
solitary scion left." It is now the property of her great-grandson. Most
of her married life was passed elsewhere, and Annesley fell into the
neglected condition which Irving describes. Mary's husband, the maligned
Musters, instead of hating the place and seeking to destroy its
identity, preferred it to his other property, and spent many years after
his wife's death in restoring and beautifying it, taking pains to
preserve the grounds and the main portion of the mansion in the
condition in which his wife had known them in her maidenhood. This
became the beloved home of his later years, and here he died. This
mansion of the "Dream" stands upon an elevation overlooking many acres
of picturesque park. It is a great, rambling pile of motley
architecture, obviously erected by different generations of Chaworths to
suit their varying needs and tastes, but the walls are overgrown with
clambering vines, which conceal the touch of time and impart to the
structure an aspect of harmonious beauty. The principal façade which
presents along the court is imposing and stately, but on every side are
pointed gables, stone balustrades, and picturesque walls. The interior
arrangement of the body of the house remains precisely as Mary knew it,
even the decorations of some of the rooms having been preserved by the
considerate love of her husband and descendants; and here, despite the
averment of a Byron-biographer that "every relic of her ancient family
was sold and scattered to the winds," the Chaworth plate, portraits, and
other belongings are religiously cherished. We were first invited to the
place to see these while they were yet displayed by the maid in whose
arms Mary died. Upon the walls of the great lower hall are many family
pictures, among them that of the Chaworth whom Byron's great-uncle had
slain. It was this portrait that Byron feared would come out of its
frame to haunt him if he remained here over-night. From the hall low
stairs lead to the apartments. At the right is Mary's sitting-room,
where Byron spent many hours beside her, listening entranced while she
played to him upon the piano which stood in the farther corner. It is a
pleasant apartment, its windows looking out upon the garden-beds Mary
tended, which we see now ablaze with the flowers known to have been her
favorites. In this room, which "her smiles had made a heaven to him,"
Byron, years afterward, saw Mary for the last time and kissed for its
mother's sake "the child that ought to have been his." On this occasion
she made the inquiry which prompted the lines, "To Mrs. Musters, on
being asked my reason for quitting England in the spring." This last
painful interview is recalled in the poems "Well, Thou art Happy" and
"I've seen my Bride Another's Bride." Above the hall is the large
drawing-room, where we see several portraits of Mary, which represent
her as a most beautiful woman, with a pathetically sweet and winning
face,--by no means the "wicked-looking cat" which Byron's jealous wife
described. Here, too, are pictures of her husband which fully justify
his popular sobriquet, "handsome Jack Musters." Physically they were an
admirably matched pair. Out of the drawing-room is the "antique oratory"
of the poem, a small apartment above the entrance-porch, pictured as the
scene of Byron's parting with Mary after her announcement of her
betrothal. Byron was cordially welcomed at Annesley; the family were his
relatives, and all of them, save that young lady herself, would gladly
have had him marry the heiress. Among the guest-chambers is one, called
of yore the blue room, which during one summer--after his fear of the
family portraits had been subdued by the greater fear of meeting
"bogles" on his homeward way--Byron often occupied. Here he incensed
Nanny the housekeeper by allowing his dog to sleep upon the bed and
soil her neat counterpanes. Another servant, "old Joe," tired of sitting
up at night to wait upon him, finally frightened him away by means of
some hideous nocturnal noises, which he assured the young poet proceeded
from "spooks out of the kirk-yard,"--Byron's superstition doubtless
suggesting the ruse.

[Sidenote: Annesley Park--Diadem Hill]

[Sidenote: Byron-Chaworth-Musters]

Giant trees overtop the chimneys and bower the walls of the venerable
mansion. The garden which Irving found matted and wild was long ago
restored by Musters to its former beauty of turf, foliage, and flower. A
grand terrace,--one of the finest in England,--with brick walls and
carved balustrades of stone mantled and draped with ivy, lies at the
right, with broad steps leading down to the garden where Byron delighted
to linger with Mary during the swift hours of one too brief summer.
Beneath the terrace is a door, carefully protected by Musters and his
descendants, which Byron daily used as a target and in which we see the
marks of bullets from his pistol. The grounds are extensive and
beautifully diversified by copses of great trees and grassy glades where
deer feed amid myriad witcheries of leaf and bloom. Half a mile from the
Hall is a shrine that will attract the sentimental prowler, Byron's
diadem hill. Projecting from the extremity of a long line of eminences,
it is a landmark to the countryside and overlooks the living landscape
which the poet depicted in lines throbbing with life and beauty. From
its acclivity we see much of his ancestral Newstead, the adjoining fair
acres of Annesley which he would have added to his own, the tower and
chimneys of the Hall rising among clustering oaks: beyond these darkly
wooded hills decline to the valley, along which we look--past parks,
villages, and the church where Byron sleeps--to the spires of the city.
As we contemplate the vista from the spot where stood the two bright
"beings in the hues of youth," we have about us a ring of dark firs, the
"diadem of trees in circular array" pictured in the "Dream," apparently
unchanged since the day the maiden and the youth here met for the last
time before her marriage. The Byron-writers have united in denouncing
Musters for denuding this hill-top in a splenetic endeavor to prevent
its identification as the scene of the interview described in the poem.
In truth, we owe the preservation of the features which identify this
romantic spot to the very hand which the author of "Crayon Miscellany"
avers is "execrated by every poetic pilgrim." When natural causes were
rapidly destroying the grove, Musters caused its removal and replaced
it by saplings grown from cones of the old trees, each fir of the
present beautiful diadem being sedulously rooted upon the site of its
lineal ancestor. Musters had much greater reason to regard this spot
with romantic tenderness than had the poet; here he enjoyed many stolen
interviews with his sweetheart, for he was forbidden to see her in her
home, and she, perverse and persistent in her passion for him, came here
daily with the hope of meeting him and watched for his approach along
the valley. Upon the very occasion the poem describes, she waited here,
"Looking afar if yet her lover's steed kept pace with her expectancy,"
and merely tolerated the company of the "gaby" boy Byron until Musters
might arrive. The latter had no reason for the irritable jealousy toward
Byron which has been attributed to him, and there is no evidence that he
evinced or entertained such a feeling. He freely invited the poet to his
house, rode and swam with him, preserved the few Byron mementos at
Annesley, and protected the tombs of Byron's ancestors at Colwick. So
much of untruth has been published anent the Byron-Chaworth-Musters
matter, and especially concerning the attitude of the lady toward Byron
and the conditions of her subsequent life, that it is pleasant, even at
this late day, to be able to record upon undoubted evidence that her
loving admiration for her husband ceased only with her life.

[Sidenote: Mary's Grave]

On the bank of the silvery Trent, three miles from Nottingham, is
Colwick Hall, where Mary's married life was spent. This was an ancient
seat of the Byrons, said to have been lost by them at the card-table.
Mary's home was an imposing mansion, with lofty cupola, balustraded
roofs, and stately pediments upheld by Ionic columns. From the front
windows we look across a wide expanse of sun-kissed meadow beyond the
river, while at the back rocky cliffs rise steeply and are tufted by
overhanging woods. The Hall was attacked and pillaged in 1831 by a
Luddite mob, from whom poor Mary escaped half naked into the shrubbery
and lay concealed in the cold wet night. The exposure and terror of this
event impaired her reason, and caused her death the next year at
Wiverton, another seat of the Chaworths, where her descendants reside.
Close by the mansion at Colwick, now a summer resort, was the old gray
church, with battlemented tower, where Mary was married, and where she
lies in death with her husband and his kindred, near the burial-vault of
the ancestors of the lame boy who linked her name to deathless verse. At
the side of the altar a beautiful monumental tablet, bearing a graceful
female figure and a laudatory inscription, is placed in memory of the
"star of Annesley," whose brightness went out in distraction and gloom.

To Byron's early passion and its failure we owe some of the sweetest and
tenderest of his songs; and it has been believed that the memory of that
defeat adapted his thoughts to their highest flights and gave added
pathos and beauty to his noblest work. Thus all the world were gainers
by his disappointment, and evidence is lacking that either the lady or
the lover was a loser.



THE HOME OF CHILDE HAROLD

_Newstead--Byron's Apartments--Relics and Reminders--Ghosts--Ruins--The
  Young Oak--Dog's Tomb--Devil's Wood--Irving--Livingstone--Stanley--
  Joaquin Miller._


[Sidenote: The Abbey]

However alluring other haunts of Byron may be found, the "hall of his
fathers" must remain paramount in the interest and affection of his
admirers. The stanzas he addressed to that venerable pile, the graphic
description in "Don Juan," the plaintive allusions in "Childe Harold,"
its own romantic history as a mediæval fortress and shrine, and its
association with the bard who inherited its lands and dwelt beneath its
battlements, render Newstead Abbey a Mecca to which the steps of
pilgrims tend. It came to the Byrons by royal gift, and in the middle of
the last century was inherited by the poet's predecessor the Wicked
Byron, who killed his neighbor of Annesley and so desolated the Abbey
that the only spot sheltered from the storms was a corner of the
scullery where he breathed out his wretched life. The poet occupied the
place at intervals for twenty years, and then sold it to Colonel
Wildman, who had been his form-fellow at Harrow, and to whom we are
mainly indebted for the restoration of the edifice and the
preservation of every memento of the poet and his race. At the death
of Wildman the Abbey became the property of Colonel W. F. Webb, a sharer
in Livingstone's explorations, who gathers here a brilliant circle of
authors, artists, travellers, and wits whose gayety dispels the hoary
and ghostly associations of the place.

  [Illustration: NEWSTEAD ABBEY]

[Sidenote: Chapel Ruin]

[Sidenote: Byron's Apartments]

From the boundary of the estate a broad avenue, lined with noble trees,
leads to an inner park of eight hundred acres, among whose sylvan
beauties our way lies, through verdant glades and under leafy boughs
whose shadows the sunshine prints upon the path, until we see, from the
verge of the wood, the noble pile rising amid an environment of lawn and
lake, grove and garden. It is a vast stone structure, composed of motley
parts joined "by no quite lawful marriage of the arts" into an
harmonious and impressive whole. The western façade is the one usually
pictured, because it contains the Byron apartments and best displays the
characteristic features of the edifice, having a castellated tower at
one extremity, while to the other is joined the ruined chapel front
which, as an example of its style, is rivalled in architectural value
only by St. Mary's at York. This Newstead fragment, retaining its
perfect proportions, its noble windows, its gray statue of the Virgin
and "God-born Child" in the high niche of the gable,--the whole draped
and garlanded with ivy which conceals the scars of Cromwell's
cannon-balls,--is a vision of unique beauty. From the Gothic door-way of
the mansion we are admitted to a gallery with a low-vaulted roof of
stone upheld by massive columns. This was the crypt of the abbot's
dormitory; it adjoins the cloisters, and, like them, was used by the
Wicked Byron as a stable for cattle. It is now adorned with the spoils
of African deserts, trophies of the mighty huntsman who now inhabits the
Abbey. One of these, the skin of a noble lion, is said to have belonged
to a beast which had mutilated Livingstone and was standing above his
body when a ball from Webb's rifle laid him low and saved the great
explorer. From the crypt, stone stairs lead to the corridors above the
cloisters: in Byron's time entrance was between a bear and a wolf
chained on these stairs and menacing the guest from either side. Out of
the corridor adjoining the chapel ruin a spiral stairway ascends to a
plain and sombre suite of rooms, once the abbot's lodgings, but
cherished now because they were the private apartments of Byron. His
chamber is neither large nor elegant, its walls are plainly papered, and
its single oriel window is shaded by a faded curtain. The room remains
as Byron last occupied it: his carpet is upon the floor; the carved
bedstead, with its gilt posts and lordly coronets, is the one brought
by him from college; its curtains and coverings are those he used; above
the mantel is the mirror which often reflected his handsome features. We
sit in his embroidered arm-chair by the window, overlooking lawn and
lake and the wood he planted, and write out upon his plain table the
memoranda from which this article is prepared. The tourist is told that
the chamber has never been used since Byron left it; but Irving occupied
it for some time, as his letters to his brother declare, and a few years
ago our Joaquin Miller lay here in Byron's bed, and saw, in the
moonbeams sharply reflected from the mirror into his face, an
explanation of the ghostly apparitions which Byron beheld in this glass.
In the adjoining room are a portrait of the poet's "corporeal pastor,"
Jackson, in arena costume, and a painting of Byron's valet, Joe Murray,
a bright-looking fellow of pleasing face and faultless attire. This room
was sometime occupied by Byron's pretty page, whom the housekeeper
believed to be a girl in masquerade: this page was introduced elsewhere
as the poet's younger brother Gordon, and an attempt has been made to
identify her with the mysterious "Thyrza" of his poems, and with
"Astarte" also. The third room of the suite, Byron's dressing-room and
study, was one of the haunts of the goblin friar who was heard stalking
amid the dim cloisters or in the apartments above. Byron's room here is
the Gothic chamber of the Norman abbey where "Don Juan" slept and
dreamed of Aurora Raby, and the corridor is the "gallery of sombre hue"
where he pursued the sable phantom and captured a very material duchess.
Directly beneath is a panelled apartment of moderate dimensions which
was Byron's dining-room and the scene of many a revel when the monk's
skull, brimming with wine, was sent round by the poet's guests. His
sideboard is still here, his heavy table remains in the middle of the
room, and the famous skull, mounted as a drinking-cup and inscribed with
the familiar anacreontic, is carefully preserved. The library is a
stately and spacious apartment: here, among many mementos of the poet,
Ada Byron first heard a poem of her father's; here Byron's Italian
friend la Guiccioli made notes for her "Recollections," and here
Livingstone penned portions of the books which record his explorations.
In the grand hall we see the elevated chimney-piece beneath which Byron
and his guests heaped so great a fire, on the first night of his
occupancy of the Abbey, that its destruction was threatened. This superb
apartment, the old dormitory of the monks, was used by the poet as a
shooting-gallery, and was one of the haunts of his "Black Friar." The
drawing-room of the mansion is palatial in dimensions and furnishing.
Its panels and grotesque carvings have been restored, and this ancient
room, once the refectory of the monks and later the hay-loft of the
Wicked Byron, is now a marvel of elegance. Here is the familiar portrait
of Byron at twenty-three, an earlier watercolor picturing him in college
gown, and a later bust in marble. Here by her desire the body of Ada
Byron lay in state, and from here it was borne to rest beside her father
at near-by Hucknall, more than realizing the closing stanzas of the
third canto of "Childe Harold."

[Sidenote: Relics]

In these stately rooms and in the adjoining corridors are numerous
priceless relics of the immortal bard; among them, the cap, belt, and
cimeter he wore in Greece; his foils, spurs, stirrups, and
boxing-gloves; a painting of his famous dog Boatswain; the bronze
candlesticks from his writing-table and the table upon which were
written "Bards and Reviewers," poems of "Hours of Idleness," "Hebrew
Melodies," and portions of his masterpiece, "Childe Harold." Preserved
here, with Byron's will, unpublished letters, and scraps of verse, are
papers which indicate that the poet's _chef-d'oeuvre_ was originally
designed for private circulation and was entitled "Childe Byron." An
interesting relic is a section of the noted "twin-tree" bearing the
names "Byron--Augusta" carved by the poet at his last visit to the
Abbey. Our own Barnum once visited the place and offered Wildman five
hundred pounds for this double tree (then standing in the grove),
intending to remove it for exhibition; the colonel indignantly replied
that five thousand would not purchase it, and that "the man capable of
such a project deserved to be gibbeted." Here, too, are the portrait of
the first lord of Newstead, "John Byron-the-Little-with-the-Great-Beard;"
the huge iron knocker in use on the door of the Abbey seven centuries
ago; a collection of mediæval armor and weapons; some personal
belongings of Livingstone, and many specimens of fauna and flora
gathered by him and Webb in the dark continent. One vaulted apartment
of exquisite proportions, erst the sanctuary of the abbot, and later
Byron's dog-kennel, is now the chapel of the household. Newstead has
been the abode of royalty, and holds rooms in which, from the time of
Edward III., kings have often lodged. We see the chamber occupied by
Ada Byron during her visit; another, adorned with quaint carvings and
once haunted by Byron-of-the-Great-Beard, was used by Irving. The noble
chambers contain richly carved furniture, costly tapestries, and beds of
such altitude that steps are provided for scaling them. The hangings of
one bed belonged to Prince Rupert, and its counterpane was embroidered
by Mary Queen of Scots.

[Sidenote: Court and Gardens]

In the centre of the edifice is the quadrangular court, surrounded by a
series of low-vaulted arcades, once the stables of the Wicked Byron and
long ago the "cloisters dim and damp" of the monks whose dust moulders
now beneath the pavement. One crypt-like cell which holds the boilers
for heating the mansion was Byron's swimming-bath. In the middle of the
court the ancient stone fountain, with its grotesque sculptures of
saints and monsters, graven by the patient toil of the monks, still
sends out sprays of coolness.

We spend delightful hours loitering in the ancient gardens of the friars
and about their ruined chapel. Through its mighty window, "yawning all
desolate," pours a flood of western light upon the turf that covers the
holy ground where congregations knelt in worship; while, amid the dust
of the priests and near the site of the altar where they "raised their
pious voices but to pray," Byron's dog lies in a tomb far handsomer than
that which holds his noble master. It was in excavating Boatswain's
grave that Byron found the skull afterward used as a drinking-cup. The
dog's monument consists of a wide pedestal, surmounted by a panelled
altar-stone which upholds a funeral urn and bears Byron's familiar
eulogistic inscription and the misanthropic stanzas ending with the
lines,--

  "To mark a friend's remains these stones arise;
  I never knew but one, and here he lies."

Other panels were designed to bear the epitaph of Byron, who directed in
his will (1811) that he should be buried in this spot with his valet and
dog; it is said to have been discovered that the poet had made careful
preparation for his entombment here, the stone trestles and slab to
support his coffin being in place upon the pavement, but the sale of
Newstead led to his interment elsewhere, and faithful Murray--who
declined to lie here "alone with the dog"--sleeps near his master.

[Sidenote: Grounds--Recollections]

The gardens of the Abbey lie about its ancient walls: here are the
fish-pools of the monks; the noble terrace; the "Young Oak" of Byron's
poem, planted by his hands and now grown into a large and graceful tree;
other trees rooted by Livingstone and Stanley while guests here. At one
side is a grove of beeches and yews, in whose gloomy recesses the Wicked
Byron erected leaden statues of Pan and Pandora, of which the rustics
were so afraid that they would not go near them after nightfall, and
which are still respectfully spoken of in the servants' hall as "Mr.
and Mrs. Devil." Before the mansion lies the lucid lake described in
"Don Juan:" the forest that shades its shore and sweeps over the farther
hill-side was planted by Byron to repair the spoliation of his uncle,
and is called the "Poet's Wood." Upon some of the farms of the domain
live descendants of Nancy Smith, whom Irving's readers will remember,
her son having married despite his mother's protest and reared a family.
One aged servitor claims to remember Irving's visit, and opines "the old
colonel [Wildman] thought him a very fine man--for an American." He
recounts some peccadilloes of Joe Murray, traditional among the
servants, which show that worthy to have been less precise in morals
than in dress. The ancient Byron estates were among the haunts of one
whose exploits inspired a book of ballads, and we here see Robin Hood's
cave and other reminders of the bold outlaw and his "merrie men in
Lyncolne greene."

Such, briefly, is the condition of Byron's ancestral home as it appears
nearly eighty years after he saw it for the last time. Besides the
charms which won his affection and made him relinquish the Abbey with
such poignant regret, it holds for us an added spell in that it has been
the habitation of a transcendent genius. Where Wildman's fortune failed
his wishes the present owner has supplemented his work, until the vast
pile now gleams with more than its ancient splendor; and, as we take a
last view through a glade whose beauty fitly frames the picture of the
restored mansion, we trust that somehow and somewhere Byron knows that
his hope for his beloved Newstead is accomplished:

  "Haply thy sun emerging yet may shine,
    Thee to irradiate with meridian ray;
  Hours splendid as the past may still be thine,
    And bless thy future as thy former day."



WARWICKSHIRE: THE LOAMSHIRE OF GEORGE ELIOT

_Miss Mulock--Butler--Somervile--Dyer--Rugby--Homes of George Eliot--
  Scenes of Tales--Cheverel--Shepperton--Milly's Grave--Paddiford--
  Milby--Coventry, etc.--Characters--Incidents._


Some one has said that to write about Warwickshire is to write about
Shakespeare. True, the transcending fame of the bard of Avon gives the
places associated with his life and genius pre-eminence, but the
literary rambler will find in this heart of England other shrines worthy
of homage. Inevitably our pilgrimage includes the Stratford
scenes,--from the birthplace and the Hathaway cottage to the fane where
all the world bows at Shakespeare's tomb,--but, resolutely repressing
the inclination to describe again these oft-described resorts, we fare
to less familiar shrines: to the birthplace of the author of "Hudibras"
and the haunts and tomb of Somervile, poet of "The Chase" and "Rural
Sports;" to the Rhynhill of Braddon's tale and the Kenilworth of Scott's
matchless romance; to Bilton, where Addison sometime dwelt, and the
Calthorpe home of Dyer, bard of "Grongar Hill" and "The Fleece," where
we find his garden and a tree he planted which shades now his
battlemented old church; to Rugby, where we see the dormitory of "Tom
Brown" Hughes, the class-rooms he shared with Clough, Matthew Arnold,
and Dean Stanley, the grave of the beloved Dr. Arnold in the "Rugby
Chapel" of his son's poem.

At Avonmouth we find the Norton Bury of "John Halifax," and the old inn
where Dinah Mulock lived while writing this her popular tale. The inn
garden holds the yew hedge of the novel, "fifteen feet high and as many
thick," and the sward over which crept the lame Phineas: sitting there,
we see the view the boy admired,--the old Abbey tower, the mill of Abel
Fletcher, the river where the famished rioters fought for the grains the
grim old man had flung into the water, the green level of the Ham dotted
with cattle, the white sails of the encircling Severn, the farther sweep
of country extending to the distant hills,--and hear the sweet-toned
Abbey chimes and the lazy whir of the mill which sounded so pleasantly
in Phineas's ears.

[Sidenote: Other Shrines--Loamshire]

[Sidenote: Birthplace and Home of George Eliot]

[Sidenote: Scenes of her Tales]

"John Halifax" was published simultaneously with another tale of
Warwickshire life, "Amos Barton." We are newly come from the London
homes of George Eliot and her grave on the Highgate hill-side, and now,
as we traverse sweet Avonvale, we gladly remember that Shakespeare's
shire is hers as well. A jaunt of a score of miles from Stratford
brings us to the scenes amid which she was born and grew to physical and
mental maturity. Our course by "Avon's stream," bowered by willows or
bordered by meads, lies past the noble park where Shakespeare did not
steal deer and the palace of his Justice Shallow where he was not
arraigned for poaching. (We find it as impossible to keep Shakespeare
out of our MS. as did Mr. Dick of "Copperfield" to keep Charles I. out
of the memorial.) Beyond Charlecote is storied Warwick Castle, with the
old mansion of Compton Wyniates, dwelling of the royalist knight of
Scott's "Woodstock," not far away. Beyond these again we come to the
Coventry region and the frontier of the "Loamshire" whose
characteristics are imaged and whose traditions, phases of life, and
scenery are wrought with tender touch into poem and tale by George Eliot
and so made familiar to all the world. Warwickshire scenery is not
sublime; Dr. Arnold characterized it as "an endless monotony of enclosed
fields and hedgerow trees." While its landscapes lack striking features,
theirs is the quiet, unobtrusive beauty which Hawthorne loved and which
for us is full of restful charm. Across sunny vales and gentle eminences
we look away to the far-off Malvern Hills, whose shadowy outlines bound
many a "Loamshire" landscape. We see vistas of low-lying meads with
circling "lines of willows marking the watercourses;" of slumberous
expanses of green or golden fields; of villages grouped about gray
church-towers; of groves of venerable woods,--survivors of Shakespeare's
"Forest of Arden" which erst clothed the countryside. We find it,
indeed, "worth the journey hither only to see the hedgerows,"--green,
fragrant walls of hawthorn which border lane and highway, bound garden
and field. With their gleaming boughs rayed by bright blossoms and
festooned with interlacing vines, these barriers are often marvels of
beauty and strength. Between miles of such hedgerows, and beneath lines
of overshading elms, a highway running northward from the town of Godiva
and "Peeping Tom" brings us to the great Arbury property of the
Newdigates, where we find the South Farm homestead in which Robert
Evans--newly appointed agent of the estate--temporarily placed his
family, and where, in the room at the left of the central chimney-stack,
at five o'clock on the morning of St. Cecilia's day, 1819, his youngest
child, Mary Ann, was born. It is a broad-eaved, many-gabled, two-storied
structure of stuccoed stone, with trim hedges and flower-bordered
garden-beds about it, a wider environment of lawn and woodland, and
colonnades of the elms which figure in her poems and were already
venerable when she saw the light beneath their shade. On the same
estate, near the highway between Bedworth and Nuneaton, is Griff House,
"the warm nest where her affections were fledged," to which she was
removed at the age of four months, and where her first score years of
life were passed. It is a pleasant and picturesque double-storied
mansion of brick, quaint and comfortable. Massy ivy mantles its walls,
climbs to its gables, overruns its roofs, peeps in at its tiny-paned
casements; doves coo upon its ridges. About it flowers shine from their
setting in the emerald of the lawn, and great trees open their leaves to
the sunshine and winds of summer. Spacious rooms lie upon either side of
the entrance: of the one at the left, the novelist gives us a glimpse in
"The Mill on the Floss." It is a home-like apartment, with low walls and
a pleasant fireplace; it was the dining-room and sitting-room also in
the days when "the little wench" Mary Ann was the pet of the household.
Here she acted charades with her brother Isaac and astonished the family
by repeating stories from "Miller's Jest Book," a treasured volume of
hers in that early time. We learn from Maggie Tulliver--in whose
childhood is pictured the author's inner life as a child--that Defoe's
"History of the Devil" was another of Mary Ann's juvenile favorites,
and her relatives preserve the worn copy she used to read here before
this fireplace with her father, containing the pictures of the drowning
witch and the devil which little Maggie explained to Mr. Riley in "The
Mill on the Floss." Here, years afterward, Mary Ann heard, from her
"Methodist Aunt Samuel," the thrilling story of the girl executed for
child-murder, which was the germ of the great romance "Adam Bede." The
aunt, who had been a preacher in earlier life, remained at Griff for
some time, and George Eliot has told us that the character of Dinah
Morris grew out of her recollections of this relative. It may be noted
that in real life Dinah married Seth Bede, Adam being drawn in
part--like Caleb Garth--from the novelist's father. In this same room,
but a few years ago, the "Brother" of the poem, who played here at
charades with little Mary Ann, suddenly expired in his chair but a few
minutes after his return from "Shepperton Church." The windows of Mary
Ann's chamber command a reach of the coach-road of "Felix Holt" and a
farther vista of woodlands and fields; in another chamber is the
mahogany bed beneath which she was once found hidden to avoid going to
school. In the roof is the attic which was Maggie Tulliver's retreat,
where she kept her wooden doll with the nails in its head, and here is
the chimney-stack against which that vicarious sufferer was ground and
beaten. The death of her mother, Mrs. Hackit of "Barton," made Mary Ann
mistress of Griff at sixteen. At Griff's gates stood the cottage of Dame
Moore's school, where the novelist began her education, and where years
after she used to collect the children of the vicinage for religious
instruction each Sabbath. A son of Mrs. Moore lately lived not far away,
and had more to say in praise of "Mary Hann" than of her surviving
kinsfolk, who seem ashamed of their relationship to the novelist. In a
shaded part of the garden lately stood a bower with a stone table, which
George Eliot doubtless had in mind when she described the finding of
Casaubon's corpse in the arbor at Lowick. The exhausted quarries in the
shale close by, a resort of Mary Ann's girlhood, are the "Red Deeps"
where Maggie met her lover; the "brown canal" of the poem winds through
the near hollow; and beyond it, on "an apology for an elevation of
ground," is the "College" workhouse to which Amos Barton walked through
the sleet to read prayers. Not far distant is Arbury Hall, seat of the
Newdigates, for whom the tenant of Griff was and is agent. This is the
Cheverel Manor of "Gilfil," an imposing castellated structure of gray
stone, with flanking towers and great mullioned windows of multishaped
panes, famous for its elaborately decorated ceilings. That George Eliot
had often been within this mansion is shown by her familiarity with the
arrangement and ornamentation of the rooms, accurately described as
scenes of many incidents of the tale. In the grounds, too, the imagery
of the "Love Story" may be perfectly realized: here are the lawn where
little Caterina sat with Lady Cheverel, and the shimmering pool, with
its swans and water-lilies, which was searched for her corpse the
morning of her flight; at a little distance we find "Moss-lands," and
the cottage of the gardener to which the dead body of Wybrow was
carried; and, farther away, the spot under giant limes where the poor
girl, coming to meet her recreant lover "with a dagger in her dress and
murder in her heart," found him lying dead in the path, his hand
clutching the dark leaves, his eyes unheeding the "sunlight that darted
upon them between the boughs." A touching incident in the life of a
former owner of Arbury was made the plot of Otway's tragedy "The
Orphan."

[Sidenote: Shepperton Church--Milly's Grave]

A mile northward from Griff is the quaint church of Chilvers Coton,
where Mary Ann was christened at the age of a week, where a little later
her "devotional patience" was fostered by smuggled bread-and-butter, and
where as child and woman she worshipped for twenty years. It is a
massive stone edifice with Gothic windows, one of them being a memorial
of the wife of Isaac Evans, and with a square tower rising above its low
roofs; at one corner, "a flight of stone steps, with their wooden rail
running up the outer wall," still leads to the children's gallery as in
the days of Gilfil and Amos Barton, for this is the Shepperton Church of
the tales. Within we see the memorials of Rev. Gilpin Ebdell (thought to
be Gilfil) and of the original of Mrs. Farquhar; the place where Gilfil
read his sermons from manuscript "rather yellow and worn at the edges,"
and where Barton later "preached without book." About the renovated fane
is the church-yard, with its grassy mounds and mouldering tombstones,
one of which, protected by a paling and shaded by leafy boughs, is
crowned by a funeral urn and marks the spot where Milly was laid,--"the
sweet mother with her baby in her arms,"--the grave to which Barton came
back an old man with Patty supporting his infirm steps. Its inscription
is to "Emma, beloved wife of Revd. John Gwyther, B.A.," curate here in
George Eliot's girlhood: during his incumbency the community felt
aggrieved for his wife on account of the prolonged stay at the parsonage
of a strange woman who, years after, was described as Countess Czerlaski
by one who as a child had seen her here. Not far from Milly's monument
the parents of George Eliot lie in one grave, with Isaac, the "Brother"
of her poem, sleeping near. By the church-yard wall stands the pleasant
ivy-grown parsonage to which Gilfil brought his dark-eyed bride, and
where, after brief months of happiness, he lived the long years of
solitude and sorrow. We see the cosy parlor--smelling no longer of his
or Barton's pipe--where the lonely old man sat with his dog, and above,
its pretty window overlooking the garden, the chamber where he tenderly
cherished the dainty belongings of his dead wife with the unused
baby-clothes her fingers had fashioned, and where, in another tale, is
laid one of the most affecting and high-wrought scenes in all fiction,
the death of Milly Barton.

[Sidenote: Milby--Liggins]

A half-mile distant lies the village of Attleboro, where, at the age of
five, Mary Ann was sent to Miss Lathorn's school; and a mile southward
from Griff, in a region blackened by pits, is the town of
Bedworth,--"dingy with coal-dust and noisy with looms,"--whose men "walk
with knees bent outward from squatting in the mine," and whose haggard,
overworked women and dirty children and cottages are pathetically
pictured in "Felix Holt." Obviously the changes of the half-century
which has elapsed since George Eliot knew its wretchedness have wrought
little improvement in this place, over which her nephew is rector: we
see pale, hungry faces in the streets, squalor in the poor dwellings,
proofs of pinching poverty everywhere. A little beyond Chilvers Coton we
find the market-town of Nuneaton, the Milby of the romances. The shaking
of hand-looms is less noticeable now than in George Eliot's school-days
here, factories having supplanted the cottage industry; but the dingy,
smoky town, with its environment of flat fields, is still "nothing but
dreary prose." Here we find, near the church, "The Elms" of her
girlhood, a tall brick edifice embowered with ivy; on its garden side,
the long low-ceiled school-room, with its heavy beams, broad windows,
and plain furniture, where she was four years a pupil; the dormitory
whence she beheld the riot which she describes in the election-riot at
Treby in "Felix Holt." Another vision of her girlhood here was a "tall,
black-coated young clergyman-in-embryo," Liggins by name, who afterward
claimed the authorship of her books and so far imposed upon the public
that a subscription was made for him. Mrs. Gaskell was one of the last
to relinquish the belief that Liggins was George Eliot. He spent most of
his time drinking, but did his own house-work, and was found by a
deputation of literary admirers washing his slop-basin at the pump. All
about us at Nuneaton lie familiar objects: the cosy Bull Inn is the "Red
Lion" where, in the opening of "Janet's Repentance," Dempser is
discovered in theologic discussion, and from whose window he harangued
the anti-Tyranite mob; the fine old church, with its beautiful oaken
carvings, is the sanctuary where Mr. Crewe, in brown Brutus wig,
delivered his "inaudible sermons," and where Mr. Elty preached later;
adjoining is the parsonage, erst redolent of Crewe's tobacco, where
Janet helped his deaf wife to spread the luncheon for the bishop, and
where, in the time of Elty, Barton came to the sessions of the "Clerical
Meeting and Book Society;" on this Church street, "Orchard Street" of
Eliot, a quaint stuccoed house with casement windows was Dempser's home,
whence he thrust his wife at midnight into the darkness and cold; the
arched passage near by is that through which she fled to the haven of
Mrs. Pettifer's house. A little way westward amid the pits is
Stockingford, "Paddiford" of the tale, and the chapel where Mr. Tyran
preached. A cousin of George Eliot's was recently a coal-master in this
vicinity.

[Sidenote: Coventry--Birds Grove]

[Sidenote: Coventry Friends]

Eight miles from Griff is Coventry, where our companion is one who had
met Rossetti there forty years before. George Eliot was sometime a pupil
of Miss Franklin's school, lately standing in Little Park Street, and
saw there that lady's father, whom she described as Rev. Rufus Lyon of
Treby Chapel. His diminutive legs, large head, and other peculiarities
are yet remembered by some who were in the school; his home is
accurately pictured in "Felix Holt." In the Foleshill suburb we find the
stone villa of Birds Grove, which was the home of the novelist after
Isaac Evans had succeeded his father at Griff. The house has been
enlarged, but the apartments she knew are little changed: a plain little
room above the entrance, whose window looked beyond the tree-tops to the
superb spire of St. Michael's Church,--where Kemble and Siddons were
married,--was her study, in which, despite her tasks as her father's
housewife and nurse, she accomplished much literary work. At the right
of the window stood her desk, with an ivory crucifix above it, and here
her translation of Strauss's "Leben Jesu," undertaken through the
persuasion of her friends at Rosehill, was written. Some portions of
this work she found distressing; she declared to Mrs. Bray that nothing
but the sight of the Christ image enabled her to endure dissecting the
beautiful story of the crucifixion. Adjoining the study is her modest
bedchamber, and beyond it that of her father, where during many months
of sickness she was his sole attendant, often sitting the long night
through at his bedside with her hand in his. The grounds are little
changed, save that the occupant has removed much of the foliage which
formerly shrouded the mansion, but some of George Eliot's favorite trees
remain on the lawn. Half a mile away is the pretty villa of Rosehill,
whilom the home of Mrs. Bray and her sister Sara Hennel, who were the
most valued friends of the novelist's young-womanhood and exerted the
strongest influence upon her life. Her letters to these friends
constitute a great part of Cross's "Life." At Rosehill she met Chapman,
Mackay, Robert Owen, Combe, Thackeray, Herbert Spencer, and others of
like genius, and here she spent a day with Emerson and wrote next day,
"I have seen Emerson--the first _man_ I have ever seen." Sara Hennel
testifies that Emerson was impressed with Miss Evans and declared, "That
young lady has a serious soul." When he asked her, "What one book do you
like best?" and she replied, "Rousseau's Confessions," he quickly
responded, "So do I: there is a point of sympathy between us." After her
father's death she was for sixteen months a resident at Rosehill, and
there wrote, among other things, the review of Mackay's "Progress of the
Intellect." Financial reverses caused the Brays long ago to relinquish
this beautiful home, but some of this household were lately living in
another suburb of Coventry and receiving an annuity bequeathed by
George Eliot. Here, too, lately resided another old-time friend, the
Mary Sibtree of the novelist's Coventry days, to whom were addressed
some of the letters used by Cross.

In 1851 George Eliot left this circle of friends to become an inmate of
Chapman's house in London, returning to them for occasional visits for
the next few years; then came her union with Lewes, after which the
loved scenes of her youth knew her no more in the flesh; but the
allusions to them which run like threads of gold through all her work
show how oft she revisited them in "shadowy spirit form."



YORKSHIRE SHRINES: DOTHEBOYS HALL AND ROKEBY

_Village of Bowes--Dickens--Squeers's School--The Master and his
  Family--Haunt of Scott._


[Sidenote: Bowes--Dotheboys Hall]

From the familiar shrines of Cumberland, the lakeside haunts of
Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge, a journey across a wild moorland
region--from whose higher crags we see through the fog-rifts the German
Ocean and the Irish Sea--brings us into Gretavale, on the northern
border of great Yorkshire. In the upper portion of the valley, among the
outlying spurs of the Pennines, the storied Greta flows at the foot of a
bleak, treeless hill on whose summit we find the village of Bowes. This
was the Lavatræ of the Romans, who for three centuries had here a
station, and remains of great Roman works may still be traced in the
vicinage; but to the literary pilgrim Bowes is chiefly of interest as
representing "the delightful village of Dotheboys" described in
Squeers's advertisement of his school in "Nicholas Nickleby." The aspect
of the village is dreary and desolate in the extreme. A single street,
steep and straight, bordered by straggling houses of dull gray stone,
extends along the hill, which is crowned by the church and an ancient
castle: the dun moors decline steeply on every side, leaving the
treeless village dismal and bare and often exposed to a wind "fit to
knock a man off his legs," as Squeers said to Nicholas. In the midst of
the village stands a cosy inn, where Dickens for some time lodged and
was visited by John Browdie, and where we are shown the wainscoted
apartment in which some portion of "Nickleby" was noted. At the time of
Dickens's sojourn here, Bowes was the centre of the pernicious
cheap-school system which he came to expose, and half the houses of the
village were "academies" similar to that of Squeers: among them one is
pointed out as being the place where Cobden was a pupil. But most
interesting of all is the large house at the top of the hill which
Dickens depicted as Dotheboys Hall,--by which name it was long known
among the older dwellers of the place,--a long, heavy, two-storied,
dingy structure of stone, with many windows along its front, and
presenting, despite its bowering vines and trees, an aspect so chill and
cheerless that one can scarcely conceive of a more depressing domicile
for the neglected children who once thronged it. Through an archway at
one end could be seen the pump which was frozen on the first morning of
Nicholas's stay, and beyond it the garden which, by a surprising
mistake, Dickens represents a pupil to be weeding on a freezing winter's
day.

[Sidenote: Squeers]

A few residents of the neighborhood remember the "measther" of Dotheboys
Hall; his name, like Squeers's, was of one syllable and began with S; in
person he was not like Squeers, nor was he an ignorant man. A quondam
pupil of the school informed the writer that Johnny S. was fairly drawn
as Wackford Squeers, but Miss S. was a young lady of considerable
refinement and was in no sense like the spiteful Fanny of the tale.
Squeers had the largest of the schools, and, besides rooms in the
adjoining house, he hired barns in which to lodge his many pupils. A
farm attached to his house was cultivated by the scholars, whose food
was chiefly oatmeal: scanty diet and liberal flogging was the portion of
all who displeased the master. According to local belief, this school
was not so bad as some of its neighbors, and no one of the schools
realized all the wretchedness which Dickens portrays; yet, despite the
author's avowal that Squeers was a representative of a class, and not an
individual, the popular identification of this school as the typical
Dotheboys, and the odium consequent thereupon, wrought its speedy ruin
and the death of the master and mistress. The latter result is to be
deplored, for the reason that in the case of this pair the abhorrence
seems to have been not wholly deserved. Two charges, at least, which
affected them most painfully--that of goading the boys to suicide and
that of feeding them upon the flesh of diseased cattle--were, by the
testimony of their neighbors, unfounded so far as the proprietors of
this school were concerned. Relatives of Squeers lately occupied
Dotheboys Hall, which had become a farm-house, and other relatives and
descendants are respectable denizens of the vicinity. Dickens's exposure
of the schools led to their extinction and to the consignment of Bowes
to its present somnolent condition. In the village church-yard lie the
lovers whose simultaneous deaths were commemorated by Mallet in "Edwin
and Emma." At Barnard Castle, a few miles away, the prototype of Newman
Noggs is still traditionally known, and known as "a gentleman."

[Sidenote: Rokeby]

The abounding beauties of the Greta have been painted by Turner and sung
by Scott, both frequenters of this vale. From Bowes, a ramble along the
lovely stream, between steep tree-shaded banks where it chafes and
"greets" over the great rocks, and through mossy dells where it softly
murmurs its content, brings us to the demesne of Rokeby, where Scott
laid the scene of his famous poem. On every hand amid this region of
enchantment, in glade and grove, in riven cliff and headlong torrent, in
sunny slope and dingle's shade, we recognize the poetic imagery of
Scott. Every turn reveals some new vista, rendered doubly delightful by
the romantic associations with which the great poet has invested it. To
the poet himself Greta's banks were potent allurements, and they were
his habitual haunts during his sojourns in the valley. A descendant of
the friend whom Scott visited here and to whom the poem is inscribed,
points out to us a natural grotto, in the precipitous bank above the
stream, where the poet often sat, and where some part of "Rokeby" was
pondered and composed amid the scenery it portrays.



STERNE'S SWEET RETIREMENT

_Sutton--Crazy Castle--Yorick's Church--Parsonage--Where Tristram
  Shandy and the Sentimental Journey were written--Reminiscences--
  Newburgh Hall--Where Sterne died--Sepulchre._


At historic old York we are fairly in the midst of great Yorkshire:
standing upon the tower of its colossal cathedral, we overlook half that
ancient county. At our feet lie the quaint olden streets depicted in
Collins's "No Name," where erstwhile dwelt Porteus, Defoe, Wallis,
Lindley Murray, Mrs. Stannard, Poole of "Synopsis Criticorum," Burton
the author immortalized by Sterne as "Dr. Slop." Below us we see the
feudal castle where Eugene Aram was hanged, the ancient city wall with
its gate-ways and battlements, the ruins of mediæval shrine and of Roman
citadel and necropolis; abroad we behold the vale which Bunsen
pronounces the "most beautiful in the world (the vale of Normandy
excepted)," with its streams, its mosaics of green and golden fields and
sombre woods, its distant border of savage moors and uplands. The Ouse,
shining like a ribbon of silver, flows at our feet; we may trace its
course from the hills of Craven on the one hand, while southward we
behold it "slow winding through the level plain" on its way to the sea;
into its valley we see the Wharfe flowing from the lovely dale where
Collyer grew to manhood, and, farther away, the Aire emerging from the
dreary region where lived the sad sisters Brontë and wove the sombre
threads of their lives into romance. The Foss flows toward us from the
northeast, and our view along its valley embraces the region where dwelt
Sydney Smith, while rising in the north are the Hambleton Hills, which
shelter the vale where Sterne wrote the books that made him famous.
Indeed, this region of York is pervaded with memories of that prince of
sentimentalists: in the great minster beneath us we find the tomb and
monument of his grandfather, once archbishop of this diocese; in the
carved pulpit of the minster Sterne preached as prebendary, and here he
delivered his last sermon; his uncle was a dignitary of the old minster;
his "indefatigably prolific" mother was native to this region; his wife
was born here, and was first seen and loved by Sterne within sound of
the glorious minster bells; most of his adult life was passed within
sight of the minster towers.

[Sidenote: Crazy Castle]

[Sidenote: Sterne's Church]

At Sutton, Sterne's first living, the pilgrim finds little to reward his
devotion. Sterne's life here was obscure and, save in preparation,
unproductive. Skelton Castle was then the seat of his college friend
Stevenson, author of "Crazy Tales," etc., who was the Eugenius of
"Shandy," and to whom the "Sentimental Journey" was inscribed. Here
Sterne found a library rich in rare treatises upon unusual subjects, in
which, during his stay at Sutton, he spent much time and acquired a fund
of odd and fanciful learning which constituted in part his equipment for
his work. We find this castle nearer the stern coast which Yorkshire
opposes to the endless thunders of the North Sea. Once a Roman
stronghold, then a feudal fortress and castle of the Bruces, later a
country-seat, it has since Sterne's time been rebuilt and modernized out
of all semblance to the "Crazy Castle" of his letters. It is believed
that only a few of the rooms remain substantially as he knew them. A
tradition is preserved to the effect that during his visits here he
bribed the servants to tie the vane with the point toward the west,
because Eugenius would never leave his bed while an east wind prevailed.
A near-by hill is called Sterne's Seat, but time has left here little to
remind us of the sentimental "Yorick" who long haunted the place. It is
only at Coxwold, fourteen miles from York and in the deeper depths of
the shire, that we find many remaining objects that were associated with
his work and with that portion of his life which chiefly concerns the
literary world. A result of the publication of the first part of
"Tristram Shandy" was the presentation of this living to its author, and
his removal to this sequestered retreat, which was to be his home during
his too few remaining years. The hamlet has now a railway station, but
the usual approach is by a rustic highway which conducts to and
constitutes the village street. Within the hamlet we find a low-eaved
road-side inn, and by it the shaded green where the rural festivals were
held, and where, to celebrate the coronation of George III., Sterne had
an ox roasted whole and served with great quantities of ale to his
parishioners. Just beyond, Sterne's church stands intact upon a gentle
eminence, overlooking a lovely pastoral landscape bounded by verdant
hills. The church dates from the fifteenth century and is a pleasing
structure of perpendicular Gothic style, with a shapely octagonal tower
embellished with fretted pinnacles and a parapet of graceful design. One
window has been filled with stained glass, but Sterne's pulpit remains,
and the interior of the edifice is scarcely changed since he preached
here his quaint sermons. The walls are plain; the low ceiling is divided
by beams whose intersections are marked by grotesque bosses; the whole
effect is depressing, and to the sensitive "Yorick"--haunted as he was
by habitual dread that his ministrations might provoke a fatal pulmonary
hemorrhage--it must have been dismal indeed. Among the effigied tombs of
the Fauconbergs which line the chancel we find that of Sterne's friend
who gave him this living.

[Sidenote: Shandy Hall]

[Sidenote: Sterne's Parsonage--Study]

Beyond the church and near the highway stands the quaint and picturesque
old edifice where dwelt Sterne during the eight famous years of his
life. In his letters he calls it Castle Shandy, and in all the
countryside it is now known as Shandy Hall, shandy meaning in the local
dialect crack-brained. It is a long, rambling, low-eaved fabric, with
many heavy gables and chimneys, and steep roofs of tiles. Curious little
casements are under the eaves; larger windows look out from the gables
and are aligned nearer the ground, many of them shaded by the dark ivy
which clings to the old walls and overruns the roofs. Abutting the
kitchen is an astounding pyramidal structure of masonry--an Ailsa Craig
in shape and solidity, yet more resembling Stromboli with its emissions
of smoke,--which, beginning at the ground as a buttress, terminates as a
kitchen-chimney and imparts to this portion of the house an
architectural character altogether unique. Shrubbery grows about the old
domicile, venerable trees which may have cast their shade upon "Yorick"
himself are by the door, and the aspect of the place is decidedly
attractive. To Sir George Wombwell, who inherits the Fauconberg estate
through a daughter of Sterne's patron, we are indebted for the
preservation of the exterior of the house in the condition it was when
Sterne inhabited it; but the interior has been partitioned into two
dwellings and thus considerably altered. However, we may see the same
sombre wainscots and low ceiling that Sterne knew, and we find the one
room which interests us most--Sterne's parlor and study--little changed.
It is a pleasant apartment, with windows looking into the garden, where
stood the summer-house in which he sometimes wrote, and beyond which was
the sward where "my uncle Toby" habitually demonstrated the siege of
Namur and Dendermond. On the low walls of this room Sterne disposed his
seven hundred books,--"bought at a purchase dog-cheap,"--and here he
wrote, besides his sermons, seven volumes of "Tristram Shandy" and the
"Sentimental Journey." There is a local tradition that other MSS.
written here were found by the succeeding tenant and used to line the
hangings of the room. Sterne's letters afford glimpses of him in this
room: in one we see him "before the fire, with his cat purring beside
him;" in another he is "sitting here and cudgelling his brains" for
ideas, though he usually wrote facilely and rapidly; in another he shows
us a prettier picture, in which "My Lydia" (his daughter) "helps to copy
for me, and my wife knits and listens as I read her chapters;" and
later, after his estrangement from Mrs. Sterne, we see him "sitting here
alone, as sad and solitary as a tomcat, which by the way is all the
company I keep." In the repose of this charming place, and amid the
peaceful influences about him here in his pretty home, Sterne appears at
his best. And here for a time he was happy; we find his letters
attesting, "I am in high spirits, care never enters this cottage;" "I am
happy as a prince at Coxwold;" "I wish you could see in what a princely
manner I live. I sit down to dinner--fish and wild fowl, or a couple of
fowls, with cream and all the simple plenty a rich valley can produce,
with a clean cloth on my table and a bottle of wine on my right hand to
drink your health." But the melancholy days came all too soon; the
"bursting of vessels in his lungs" became more and more frequent, his
struggle with dread consumption was inaugurated, and now his letters
from the pretty parsonage abound with references to his "vile cough,
weak nerves, dismal headaches," etc. Now his "sweet retirement" has
become "a cuckoldy retreat;" he complains of its situation, of its
"death-doing, pestiferous wind." Returning to it from a sentimental
journey or from a brilliant season of lionizing in London, he finds its
quiet and seclusion insufferably irksome. Mortally ill, growing old,
hopelessly estranged from his wife, deprived of the companionship of his
idolized child, the poor master of Castle Shandy is "sad and desolate,"
his "pleasures are few," he sits "alone in silence and gloom." Such were
some of the diverse phases of his life which these dumb walls have
witnessed; in the dismalest, they have seen him at his desk here,
resolutely ignoring his ills and tracing the passages of wit and fancy
which were to delight the world. The incomplete "Sentimental Journey"
was written in his last months of life.

A mile from Sterne's cottage, and approached by a way oft trodden by him
and his "little Lyd," is Newburgh Hall, the ancient seat of Sterne's
friend. Parts of the walls of a priory founded here in 1145 are
incorporated into the oldest portion of the hall, and this has been
added to by successive generations until a great, incongruous pile has
resulted, which, however, is not devoid of picturesque beauty. Within
this mansion Sterne was a familiar guest: urged by the friendly
persistence of Fauconberg, he frequently came here to chat or dine with
his friend and the guests of the hall, his brilliant converse making
him the life of the company. Among the family portraits here are that of
his benefactor and one of Mary Cromwell, wife of the second Fauconberg,
who preserved here many relics of the great Protector, including his
bones, which were somehow rescued from Tyburn and concealed in a mass of
masonry in an upper apartment of the hall.

Sterne was not only popular with his lordly neighbor of Newburgh, but
also, improbable as it would seem, with the illiterate yeomen who were
his parishioners: although they understood not the sermons and found the
sermonizer in most regards a hopeless enigma, yet, according to the
traditions of the place, these simple folk discerned something in the
complexly blended character of the creator of "my uncle Toby" which
elicited their esteem and prompted many acts of love and service. In a
letter to an American friend, Arthur Lee, Sterne writes, "Not a
parishioner catches a hare, a rabbit, or a trout, but he brings it an
offering to me."

[Sidenote: Place of Sterne's Death and Burial]

As set forth by the inscription at Sterne's cottage, he died in London.
One autumn day we find ourselves pondering the sad event of his last
sojourn in the great city, as we stand upon the spot where his
"truceless fight with disease" was ended, barely a fortnight after the
"Sentimental Journey" was issued. His wish to die "untroubled by the
concern of his friends and the last service of wiping his brows and
smoothing his pillow" was literally realized. During the publication of
the "Journey" he lodged in rooms above a silk-bag shop in Old Bond
Street; here he rapidly sank, and in the evening of March 18, 1768,
attended only by a hireling who robbed his body, and in the presence of
a staring footman, the dying man suddenly cried, "Now it is come!" and,
raising his hand as if to repel a blow, expired. A few furlongs distant,
opposite Hyde Park, we find an old cemetery hidden from the streets by
houses and high walls which shut out the din of the great city. Here, in
seclusion almost as complete as that of the graveyard of his own
Coxwold, Sterne was consigned to earth. The spot is overlooked by the
windows of Thackeray's sometime home. An old tree stands close by, and
in its boughs the birds twitter above us as we essay to read the
inscription which marks Sterne's poor sepulchre. But, mean and neglected
as it is, we may never know that his ashes found rest even here; a
report which has too many elements of probability and which never was
disproved, avers that the grave was desecrated and that a
horror-stricken friend recognized Sterne's mutilated corse upon the
dissecting-table of a medical school. "Alas, poor Yorick!"



HAWORTH AND THE BRONTËS

_The Village--Black Bull Inn--Church--Vicarage--Memory-haunted
  Rooms--Brontë Tomb--Moors--Brontë Cascade--Wuthering Heights--Humble
  Friends--Relic and Recollection._


Other Brontë shrines have engaged us,--Guiseley, where Patrick Brontë
was married and Neilson worked as a mill-girl; the lowly Thornton home,
where Charlotte was born; the cottage where she visited Harriet
Martineau; the school where she found Caroline Helstone and Rose and
Jessy Yorke; the Fieldhead, Lowood, and Thornfield of her tales; the
Villette where she knew her hero; but it is the bleak Haworth hill-top
where the Brontës wrote the wonderful books and lived the pathetic lives
that most attracts and longest holds our steps. Our way is along
Airedale, now a highway of toil and trade, desolated by the need of
hungry poverty and greed of hungrier wealth: meads are replaced by
blocks of grimy huts, groves are supplanted by factory chimneys that
assoil earth and heaven, the once "shining" stream is filthy with the
refuse of many mills. At Keighley our walk begins, and, although we have
no peas in our "pilgrim shoon," the way is heavy with memories of the
sad sisters Brontë who so often trod the dreary miles which bring us to
Haworth. The village street, steep as a roof, has a pavement of rude
stones, upon which the wooden shoes of the villagers clank with an
unfamiliar sound. The dingy houses of gray stone, barren and ugly in
architecture, are huddled along the incline and encroach upon the narrow
street. The place and its situation are a proverb of ugliness in all the
countryside; one dweller in Airedale told us that late in the evening of
the last day of creation it was found that a little rubbish was left,
and out of that Haworth was made. But, grim and rough as it is, the
genius of a little woman has made the place illustrious and draws to it
visitors from every quarter of the world. We are come in the "glory
season" of the moors, and as we climb through the village we behold
above and beyond it vast undulating sweeps of amethyst-tinted hills
rising circle beyond circle,--all now one great expanse of purple bloom
stirred by zephyrs which waft to us the perfume of the heather.

[Sidenote: Black Bull Inn]

At the hill-top we come to the Black Bull Inn, where one Brontë drowned
his genius in drink, and from our apartment here we look upon all the
shrines we seek. The inn stands at the church-yard gates, and is one of
the landmarks of the place. Long ago preacher Grimshaw flogged the
loungers from its tap-room into chapel; here Wesley and Whitefield
lodged when holding meetings on the hill-top; here Brontë's predecessor
took refuge from his riotous parishioners, finally escaping through the
low casement at the back,--out of which poor Branwell Brontë used to
vault when his sisters asked for him at the door. This inn is a quaint
structure, low-eaved and cosy; its furniture is dark with age. We sleep
in a bed once occupied by Henry J. Raymond, and so lofty that steps are
provided to ascend its heights. Our meals are served in the
old-fashioned parlor to which Branwell came. In a nook between the
fireplace and the before-mentioned casement stood the tall arm-chair,
with square seat and quaintly carved back, which was reserved for him.
The landlady denied that he was summoned to entertain travellers here:
"he never needed to be sent for, he came fast enough of himsel'." His
wit and conviviality were usually the life of the circle, but at times
he was mute and abstracted and for hours together "would just sit and
sit in his corner there." She described him as a "little, red-haired,
light-complexioned chap, cleverer than all his sisters put together.
What they put in their books they got from him," quoth she, reminding us
of the statement in Grundy's Reminiscences that Branwell declared he
invented the plot and wrote the major part of "Wuthering Heights."
Certain it is he possessed transcending genius and that in this room
that genius was slain. Here he received the message of renunciation from
his depraved mistress which finally wrecked his life; the landlady,
entering after the messenger had gone, found him in a fit on the floor.
Emily Brontë's rescue of her dog, an incident recorded in "Shirley,"
occurred at the inn door.

[Sidenote: Church--Brontë Tomb]

The graveyard is so thickly sown with blackened tombstones that there is
scant space for blade or foliage to relieve its dreariness, and the
villagers, for whom the yard is a thoroughfare, step from tomb to tomb:
in the time of the Brontës the village women dried their linen on these
graves. Close to the wall which divides the church-yard from the
vicarage is a plain stone set by Charlotte Brontë to mark the grave of
Tabby, the faithful servant who served the Brontës from their childhood
till all but Charlotte were dead. The very ancient church-tower still
"rises dark from the stony enclosure of its yard;" the church itself has
been remodelled and much of its romantic interest destroyed. No
interments have been made in the vaults beneath the aisles since Mr.
Brontë was laid there. The site of the Brontë pew is by the chancel;
here Emily sat in the farther corner, Anne next, and Charlotte by the
door, within a foot of the spot where her ashes now lie. A former
sacristan remembered to have seen Thackeray and Miss Martineau sitting
with Charlotte in the pew. And here, almost directly above her
sepulchre, she stood one summer morning and gave herself in marriage to
the man who served for her as "faithfully and long as did Jacob for
Rachel." The Brontë tablet in the wall bears a uniquely pathetic record,
its twelve lines registering eight deaths, of which Mr. Brontë's, at the
age of eighty-five, is the last. On a side aisle is a beautiful stained
window inscribed "To the Glory of God, in Memory of Charlotte Brontë, by
an American citizen." The list shows that most of the visitors come from
America, and it was left for a dweller in that far land to set up here
almost the only voluntary memento of England's great novelist. A worn
page of the register displays the tremulous autograph of Charlotte as
she signs her maiden name for the last time, and the signatures of the
witnesses to her marriage,--Miss Wooler, of "Roe Head," and Ellen Nussy,
who is the E of Charlotte's letters and the Caroline of "Shirley."

[Sidenote: Brontë Parsonage--Apartments]

The vicarage and its garden are out of a corner of the church-yard and
separated from it by a low wall. A lane lies along one side of the
church-yard and leads from the street to the vicarage gates. The garden,
which was Emily's care, where she tended stunted shrubs and borders of
unresponsive flowers and where Charlotte planted the currant-bushes, is
beautiful with foliage and flowers, and its boundary wall is overtopped
by a screen of trees which shuts out the depressing prospect of the
graves from the vicarage windows and makes the place seem less "a
church-yard home" than when the Brontës inhabited it. The dwelling is of
gray stone, two stories high, of plain and sombre aspect. A wing is
added, the little window-panes are replaced by larger squares, the stone
floors are removed or concealed, curtains--forbidden by Mr. Brontë's
dread of fire--shade the windows, and the once bare interior is
furbished and furnished in modern style; but the arrangement of the
apartments is unchanged. Most interesting of these is the Brontë parlor,
at the left of the entrance; here the three curates of "Shirley" used to
take tea with Mr. Brontë and were upbraided by Charlotte for their
intolerance; here the sisters discussed their plots and read each
other's MSS.; here they transmuted the sorrows of their lives into the
stories which make the name of Brontë immortal; here Emily, "her
imagination occupied with Wuthering Heights," watched in the darkness to
admit Branwell coming late and drunken from the Black Bull; here
Charlotte, the survivor of all, paced the night-watches in solitary
anguish, haunted by the vanished faces, the voices forever stilled, the
echoing footsteps that came no more. Here, too, she lay in her coffin.
The room behind the parlor was fitted by Charlotte for Nichols's study.
On the right was Brontë's study, and behind it the kitchen, where the
sisters read with their books propped on the table before them while
they worked, and where Emily (prototype of "Shirley"), bitten by a dog
at the gate of the lane, took one of Tabby's glowing irons from the fire
and cauterized the wound, telling no one till danger was past. Above the
parlor is the chamber in which Charlotte and Emily died, the scene of
Nichols's loving ministrations to his suffering wife. Above Brontë's
study was his chamber; the adjoining children's study was later
Branwell's apartment and the theatre of the most terrible tragedies of
the stricken family; here that ill-fated youth writhed in the horrors of
_mania-a-potu_; here Emily rescued him--stricken with drunken
stupor--from his burning couch, as "Jane Eyre" saved Rochester; here he
breathed out his blighted life erect upon his feet, his pockets filled
with love-letters from the perfidious woman who wrought his ruin. Even
now the isolated site of the parsonage, its environment of graves and
wild moors, its exposure to the fierce winds of the long winters, make
it unspeakably dreary; in the Brontë time it must have been cheerless
indeed. Its influence darkened the lives of the inmates and left its
fateful impression upon the books here produced. Visitors are rarely
admitted to the vicarage; among those against whom its doors have been
closed is the gifted daughter of Charlotte's literary idol, to whom
"Jane Eyre" was dedicated, Thackeray.

[Sidenote: The Moors]

By the vicarage lane were the cottage of Tabby's sister, the school the
Brontës daily visited, and the sexton's dwelling where the curates
lodged. Behind the vicarage a savage expanse of gorse and heather rises
to the horizon and stretches many miles away: a path oft trodden by the
Brontës leads between low walls from their home to this open moor, their
habitual resort in childhood and womanhood. The higher plateaus afford a
wide prospect, but, despite the August bloom and fragrance and the
delightful play of light and shadow along the sinuous sweeps, the aspect
of the bleak, treeless, houseless waste of uplands is even now
dispiriting; when frosts have destroyed its verdure and wintry skies
frown above, its gloom and desolation must be terrible beyond
description. Remembering that the sisters found even these usually
dismal moors a welcome relief from their tomb of a dwelling, we may
appreciate the utter dreariness of their situation and the pathos of
Charlotte's declaration, "I always dislike to leave Haworth, it takes so
long to be content again after I return." We trace the steps of the
Brontës across the moor to the cascade, called now the "Brontë Falls,"
where a brooklet descends over great boulders into a shaded glen. This
was their favorite excursion, and as we loiter here we recall their many
visits to the spot: first they came four children to play upon these
rocks; later came three grave maidens with Caroline Helstone or Rose
Yorke; later came two saddened women; and then Charlotte came alone,
finding the moor a featureless wilderness full of torturing reminders of
her dead, and seeing their vanished forms "in the blue tints, the pale
mists, the waves and shadows of the horizon." Later still, during her
few months of happiness, she came here many times with her husband, and
her last walk on earth was made with him to see the cascade "in its
winter wildness and power."

[Sidenote: Wuthering Heights]

Above the village was the parsonage of Grimshaw and the original
"Wuthering Heights." It was a sombre structure; a few trees grew about
it, the moors rose behind; the apartments were like the oak-lined,
stone-paved interior pictured in the tale, while the inscription above
the door, H E 1659, was changed to Hareton Earnshaw 1500 by Miss
Brontë, who described here much of her own grandfather's early life and
suffering and portrayed his wife in Catherine Linton. It is notable that
the name Earnshaw and other names in the Brontë books may be seen on
shop-signs along the way the sisters walked to Keighley.

[Sidenote: Recollections of the Brontës]

Among the villagers we meet some who remember the Brontës with affection
and pride. We find them so uniformly courteous that we are willing to
doubt Mrs. Gaskell's ascriptions of surly rudeness. They indignantly
deny the statements of Reid, Gaskell, and others regarding the character
of Mr. Brontë. One whose relations to that clergyman entitle him to
credence assures us that Brontë did not destroy his wife's silk dress,
nor burn his children's colored shoes, nor discharge pistols as a
safety-valve for his temper: "he didn't have that sort of a temper." It
would appear that many charges of the biographers were made upon the
authority of a peculating servant whom Brontë had angered by dismissal.
Some parishioners testify that "the Brontës had odd ways of their own,"
"went their gait and didn't meddle o'ermuch with us;" "nobody had a word
against them." Charlotte's husband, too, became popular after her death,
perhaps at first because of his tender care of her father: "to see the
good old man and Nichols together when the rest were dead, and Mr.
Brontë so helpless and blind, was just a pretty sight." We hear more
than once of Brontë's wonderful cravat: he habitually covered it
himself, putting on new silk without removing the old, until in the
course of years it became one of the sights of the place, having
acquired such phenomenal proportions that it concealed half his head.
Many still remember hearing him preach from the depths of this cravat,
while the sexton perambulated the aisles with a staff to stir up the
sleepers and threaten the lads. Mr. Wood, a cabinet-maker of the
village, was church-warden in Brontë's incumbency and an intimate friend
of the family till the death of the last member: his loving hands
fashioned the coffins for them all. He was sent for to see Richmond's
portrait of Charlotte on its arrival, and was laughed at by that lady
for not recognizing the likeness; while Tabby insisted that a portrait
of Wellington, which came in the same case, was a picture of Mr. Brontë.
That clergyman often complained to Wood that Mrs. Gaskell "tried to make
us all appear as bad as she could." We find some survivors of
Charlotte's Sunday-school class among the villagers. From one, who was
also singer in Brontë's church choir, we obtain pictures of the church
and rectory as they appeared in Charlotte's lifetime and a photographic
copy of Branwell's painting of himself and sisters, in which the
likenesses are said to be excellent. Charlotte is remembered as being
"good looking," having a wealth of lustrous hair and remarkably
expressive eyes. She was usually neatly apparelled in black, and was so
small that when Mrs. F. entered her class, at the age of twelve, the
pupil was larger than the teacher. Another of Charlotte's class
remembers her as being nervously quick in all her movements and a rapid
walker; a third stood in the church-yard and saw her pass from the
vicarage to the church on the morning of her marriage wearing a very
plain bridal dress and a white bonnet trimmed with green leaves. A few
brief months later this person, from the same spot, beheld the mortal
part of her immortal friend borne by a grief-stricken company along the
same path to her burial. In the hands of another of Charlotte's pupils
we see a volume of the original edition of the poems of the three
sisters, presented by Charlotte, and a Yorkshire collection of hymns
which contains some of Anne's sweet verses.

[Sidenote: Branwell Brontë--Brontë Relics]

It is evident that, of all the family, the hapless Branwell was most
admired by the villagers. They delight to extol his pleasant manners,
his ready repartee, his wonderful learning, his ambidextrousness, his
personal courage. On one occasion restraint was required to prevent his
attacking alone a dozen mill-rioters, "any one of whom could have put
him in his pocket." Holding a pen in each hand, he could simultaneously
write letters on two dissimilar subjects while he discoursed on a third.
Wood thought him naturally the brightest of the family, and believed
that lack of occupation, in a place where there was nothing to stimulate
mental effort, accounted for his vices and failures. He came often with
his sisters to Wood's house, and would talk by the hour of his projects
to achieve fame and fortune. One of his associates preserved some
letters received from him while he was "away tutoring," in which he
shamelessly recorded his follies and referred to himself as a "Joseph in
Egypt." A local society has collected in its museum some Brontë
mementos: a relative of Martha, Tabby's successor in the household,
saved a few,--Charlotte's silken purse, her thimble-case and some
articles of dress, elementary drawings made by the sisters, autograph
letters of Charlotte and her copies of the "Quarterly" and other
periodicals in which she had read the reviews of "Jane Eyre." Among the
treasures Wood preserved were sketches by Emily and Branwell; a
signatured set of Brontë volumes presented by Brontë the day before his
death; Charlotte's worn history containing annotations in her
microscopic chirography; a copy of "Jane Eyre" presented by Charlotte
before its authorship was ascertained; an article on "Advantages of
Poverty," by Mrs. Brontë; a highly graphic tale and religious poems by
Mr. Brontë. Comment upon the latter reminded Wood that Brontë had shown
him some poems by an Irish ancestor Hugh Brontë, and that he had met at
the vicarage an irate relative who came from Ireland with a shillalah to
"break the head" of a cruel critic of "Jane Eyre." Most of the Brontë
belongings were removed by Mr. Nichols. He served the parish
assiduously, as the people declare, for fifteen years, and at Brontë's
death they desired that Nichols should succeed him; but the living was
bestowed upon a stranger, and Nichols removed to the south of Ireland,
where he married his cousin and is now a gentleman farmer. Martha Brown,
the devoted servant of the family, accompanied him, and Nancy
Wainwright, the Brontës' nurse, died some years ago in Bradford
workhouse: so every living vestige of the family has disappeared from
the vicinage.

[Sidenote: Charlotte Brontë's Husband]

A resident of near-by Wharfedale lately possessed a package of
Charlotte's essays, written at the Brussels school and amended by "M.
Paul." Study of these confirms the belief that she was for a time
tortured by a hopeless love for her preceptor, husband of "Madame Beck,"
and that it was this wretched passage in her life, rather than the fall
of her brother, which "drove her to literary speech for relief." Her
marriage with Nichols was eventually happy, but her own descriptions of
him show that his were not the attributes that would please her fancy or
readily gain her love. In "Shirley" she writes of him as successor of
Malone: "the circumstance of finding himself invited to tea with a
Dissenter would unhinge him for a week; the spectacle of a Quaker
wearing his hat in church, the thought of an unbaptized fellow-creature
being interred with Christian rites, these things would make strange
havoc in his physical and mental economy." In a letter to E. Charlotte
writes, "I am _not_ to marry Mr. Nichols. I couldn't think of mentioning
such a rumor to him, even as a joke. It would make me the laughing-stock
of himself and fellow-curates for half a year to come. They regard me as
an old maid, and I regard them, _one and all_, as highly uninteresting,
narrow, and unattractive specimens of the coarser sex." Why then did she
finally accept Mr. Nichols? Was it not from the same motive that had led
her to reject his addresses not long before, the desire to please her
father?



EARLY HAUNTS OF ROBERT COLLYER: EUGENE ARAM

_Childhood Home--Ilkley Scenes, Friends, Smithy, Chapel--
  Bolton-Associations--Wordsworth--Rogers--Eliot--Turner--Aram's
  Homes--Schools--Place of the Murder--Gibbet--Probable Innocence._


[Sidenote: Early Home--School]

The factory-town of Keighley,--amid the moors of western Yorkshire,--to
which the Brontë pilgrimage brings us, becomes itself an object of
interest when we remember it was the birthplace of Robert Collyer. On a
dingy side-street resonant with the din of spindles and looms and
sullied with soot from factory chimneys, of humble parentage, and in a
home not less lowly than that of another Yorkshire blacksmith in which
Faraday was born, our orator and author first saw the light. Collyer
came to Keighley "only to be born," and soon was removed to the lovely
Washburndale, a few miles away. Here we find the place of the boyhood
home he has made known to us--the cottage of two rooms with whitewashed
walls and floor of flags--occupied by the mansion of a mill-owner, and
the Collyer family vanished from the vicinage. "Little Sam," the
kind-hearted father, fell dead at his anvil one summer day; the
blue-eyed, fair-haired mother, of whom the preacher so loves to speak,
died in benign age; and the boisterous bairns who once filled the
cottage are scattered in the Old World and the New. A little way down
the sparkling burn is the picturesque old church of Fewston, where
Collyer was christened, where Amos Barton of George Eliot's tale later
preached, and where the poet Edward Fairfax--of the ancient family which
gave to Virginia its best blood--was buried with his child who "was held
to have died of witchcraft." Near by was Collyer's school, taught by a
crippled and cross-eyed old fiddler named Willie Hardie, who survived at
our first sojourn in the dale and had much to tell about his pupil
"Boab," whom he had often "fairly thrashed." Collyer's school education
ended in his eighth year, and he was early apprenticed at Ilkley, in the
next valley, where he grew to physical manhood and attained to a measure
of that intellectual stature which has since been recognized.

[Sidenote: Companions]

[Sidenote: Collyer's Humble Friends--The Smithy]

At Ilkley we find some who remember when Collyer came first, a stripling
lad, to work in "owd Jackie's" smithy, and who in the long-ago worked,
played, and fought with him in the village or read with him on the
moors. One remembers that he was from the first an insatiable student,
often reading as he plied the bellows or switched the flies from a
customer's horse. His master "Jackie" Birch, who was native of Eugene
Aram's home, is recalled as a selfish and unpopular man, who had no
sympathy with the lad's studious habit, but tolerated it when it did not
interfere with his work. Collyer's love of books was contagious, and
soon a little circle of lads habitually assembled, whenever released
from toil, to read with him the volumes borrowed from friends or
purchased by clubbing their own scant hoards. A survivor of this group
walked with us through the village, pointing out the spots associated
with Collyer's life here, and afterward showed us upon the slopes of the
overlooking hills the nooks where the lads read together in summer
holidays. Collyer was especially intimate with the Dobsons: of these
John was best beloved, because he shared most fully Collyer's studies
and aspirations; between the two an affectionate friendship was formed
which, despite long separation and disparity of position,--for John
remained a laborer,--ended only with his death. When, thirty years ago,
Collyer--honored and famous--revisited the scenes of his early struggles
and was eagerly invited to opulent and cultured homes, he turned away
from all to abide in the humble cottage of Dobson, which we found near
the site of the smithy and occupied by others who were friends of
Collyer's youth. His associates of the early time--some of them old and
poor--tell us with obvious pleasure and pride of his visits to their
poor homes in these later summers when he comes to the place, and we
suspect he often leaves with them more substantial tokens of his
remembrance than kind words and wishes: indeed, he once made us his
almoner to the more needy of them, one of whom we found in the
workhouse. Some of his old-time friends recall the circumstances of his
conversion under the preaching of a Wesleyan named Bland, his own
eloquent and touching prayers, and his first timorous essays to conduct
the services of the little chapel to which the villagers were bidden by
the bellman, who proclaimed through the streets, "The blacksmith will
preach t'night." When he preaches at Ilkley now, the Assembly-rooms are
thronged with friends, old and new, eager to hear him. "Jackie" sleeps
with his fathers, and the smithy is replaced by a modern cottage, into
whose masonry many blackened stones from the old forge were
incorporated. One of Collyer's chums showed us the door of the smithy
which he had rescued from demolition and religiously preserved, and
presented us with a photograph which we were assured represents the
building just as Collyer knew it,--a long, low fabric of stone, with a
shed joined at one end, two forge chimneys rising out of the roof, and
the rough doors and window-shutters placarded with public notices.
Before the forge was demolished, the large two-horned anvil on which
Collyer wrought twelve years was bought for a price and removed to
Chicago, where it is still preserved in the study of Unity Church,
albeit Collyer long ago predicted to the writer, with a characteristic
twinkle and a sweet hint of the dialect his tongue was born to, "they'll
soon be sellin' _thet_ for old iron."

[Sidenote: Wharfedale Antiquities]

The health-giving waters of the hill-sides attract hundreds of invalids
and idlers, and the Ilkley of to-day is a smart town of well-kept
houses, hotels, and shops, amid which we find here and there a quaint
low-roofed structure which is a relic of the village of Collyer's
boyhood. Among the survivals is the chapel--now a local museum,
inaugurated by Collyer--where our "blacksmith" was converted and where
he labored at the spiritual anvil as a local preacher. He has told us
that for his labors in the Wesleyan pulpit during several years in
Yorkshire and America he received in all seven dollars and fifty cents;
he expounded for love, but pounded for a living. Another survival is the
ancient parish church, built upon the site of the Roman fortress Olicana
and of stones from its ruined walls, which preserves in its masonry many
antiquarian treasures of Roman sculpture and inscription. Standing
without are three curious monolithic columns, graven with mythological
figures of men, dragons, birds, etc., which give them an archæological
value beyond price. A doltish rector damaged them by using them as
gate-posts; from this degradation the hands of Collyer helped to rescue
them, and the same hands fashioned at the forge the neat iron gates
which enclose the church-yard.

[Sidenote: Scenery]

By the village and through the dale which Gray thought so beautiful
flows the Wharfe; winding amid verdant meads, rushing between lofty
banks, or loitering in sunny shallows, it holds its shining course to
the Ouse, beyond the fateful field of Towton, where the red rose of
Lancaster went down in blood. Ilkley nestles cosily at the foot of green
slopes which swell away from the stream and are dotted with copses and
embowered villas. Farther away the dim lines rise to the heights of the
Whernside, whence we look to the chimneys of Leeds and the towers of
York's mighty minster. Detached from Rumbald's cliffs lie two masses,
called "Cow and Calf Rocks," bearing the imprint of giant Rumbald's
foot: these rocks are a resort of the young people, and here Collyer and
his friends oft came with their books. From this point Wharfedale, domed
by a summer sky, seems a paradise of loveliness; its every aspect, from
the glinting stream to the highest moorland crags, is replete with the
beauty Turner loved to paint and which here first inspired his genius.
Ruskin discerns this Wharfedale scenery throughout the great artist's
works, bits of its beauty being unconsciously wrought into other scenes.
These landscapes were a daily vision to the eyes of Collyer in the days
when Turner still came to the neighborhood. This region abounds with
memorials of the mighty past, with treasures of Druidical, Runic, and
Roman history and tradition, but the literary pilgrim finds it rife with
associations for him still more interesting: here lived the ancestors of
our Longfellow, and the family whence Thackeray sprang; the fathers of
that gentle singer, Heber, dwelt in their castle here and sleep now
under the pavement of the church; a little way across the moors the
Brontës dwelt and died. Here, too, lived the Fairfaxes,--one of them a
poet and translator of Tasso,--and among their tombs we find that of
Fawkes of Farnley, Turner's early friend and patron, while at the
near-by hall are the rooms the painter occupied during the years he was
transferring to canvas the beauties he here beheld. Farnley holds the
best private collection of Turner's works, comprising, besides many
finished pictures, numerous drawings and color-sketches made here.

[Sidenote: Bolton Abbey]

A delightful excursion from Ilkley, one never omitted by Collyer from
his summer saunterings in Wharfedale, is to the sacred shades of Bolton
Abbey. The way is enlivened with the prattle and sheen of the limpid
Wharfe. A mile past the hamlet of Addingham, where Collyer preached his
first sermon, the stream curves about a slight eminence which is crowned
by the ruins of the ancient shrine. Some portions of the walls are
fallen and concealed by shrubbery; other portions withstand the ravages
of the centuries, and we see the crumbling arches, ruined cloisters, and
mullioned windows, mantled with masses of ivy and bloom and set in the
scene of restful beauty which Turner painted and Rogers and Wordsworth
poetized. Our pleasure in the ruin and its environment of wood, mead,
and stream is enhanced by the companionship of one who had, on another
summer's day, explored the charms of the spot with George Eliot, and who
repeats to us her expressions of rapturous delight at each new vista.
Wordsworth loved this spot, and the incident to which the Abbey owed its
erection--the drowning of young Romilly, the noble "Boy of Egremond," in
the gorge near by--is beautifully told by him in the familiar poems
written here.

[Sidenote: Nidderdale]

[Sidenote: Aram's Schools]

Another excursion, by Knaresborough and the deadly field of Marston
Moor, brings us into lovely Nidderdale, where stalks the dusky ghost of
the Eugene Aram of Bulwer's tale and Hood's poem amid the scenes of his
early life and of the crime for which he died. In the upper portion of
the valley the Nidd winds like a ribbon of silver between green braes
and moorland hills which rise steeply to the narrow horizon. From either
side brooklets flow through wooded glens to join the wimpling Nidd, and
at the mouth of one of these we find Ramsgill, where Aram was born. It
is a straggling hamlet of thatched cottages, set among bowering orchards
and gardens and wearing an aspect of tranquil comfort. The site of the
laborer's hut in which the gentle student was born is shown at the back
of one of the newer cottages of the place. Farther up the picturesque
stream is the pretty village of Lofthouse, an assemblage of gray stone
houses nestled beneath clustering trees, to which Aram returned after a
short residence at Skipton, in the dale of the Brontës. Here he wooed
sweet Annie Spence and passed his early years of married life; here his
first children were born and one of them died. At the church in near-by
Middlesmoor he was married; here his first child was christened, and in
the bleak church-yard it was buried. Near a sombre "gill" which opens
into the valley some distance below was Gowthwaite Hall, where Aram
taught his first pupils,--an ancient, rambling structure of stone, two
stories in height, with many steep gables and wide latticed windows.
Venerable trees shaded the walls, leafy vines climbed to and overran the
roofs, and a quaint garden of prim squares and formally trimmed foliage
lay at one side. We found these externals little changed since Aram was
tutor here. The partition of the mansion into three tenements had
altered the arrangement of the interior, but the wide stairway still led
from the entrance to the upper room at the east end, where Aram taught:
it was a large, lofty apartment, reputed to be haunted, changed since
his time only by the closing of one casement. Richard Craven was then
tenant of the Hall, and his son, the erudite doctor, doubtless received
his first tuition in this room and from Aram.

[Sidenote: Place of Murder]

Some miles down the valley is Knaresborough, to which Aram removed from
Lofthouse to establish a school, and where eleven years later the murder
was committed. Soon after, Aram removed from the neighborhood, and
during his residence at Lynn, where he was arrested for the crime, he
was some time tutor in the house of Bulwer's grandfather, a circumstance
which led to the production of the fascinating tale. A little way out of
Knaresborough, in a recess at the base of the limestone cliffs which
here border the murmuring Nidd, is the place where Clarke was killed
and buried. This impressive spot was long the hermitage of "Saint
Robert," who formed the cave out of the crag. In clearing the rubbish
from the place after the publication of Bulwer's tale, the remains of a
little shrine were found, and a coffin hewn from the rock, which proved
that the hermitage had before been a place of burial, as urged by Aram
in his defence. Upon a hill of the forest not far away the body of Aram
hung in irons, and local tradition avers that his widow watched to
recover the bones as they fell, and when she had at last interred them
all, emigrated with her children to America.

[Sidenote: Belief in Aram's Innocence]

It is noteworthy that belief in his innocence was universal among those
who knew him in this countryside. Incidents illustrating his
self-denial, patient forbearance, disregard for money, and care to
preserve even the lowest forms of life are still cherished and recounted
here as showing that robbery and murder were for him impossible crimes.
We were reminded, too, that at the time of Clarke's disappearance Aram
was husband of a woman of his own station, father of a family, and
master of a moderately prosperous school,--conditions of which Bulwer
could scarcely have been unaware, and which are inconsistent with the
only motives suggested as inciting Aram to crime. In the opinion of the
descendants of Aram's old neighbors in his native Nidderdale, Houseman
was alone guilty; and if Aram had, instead of undertaking to conduct his
own defence, intrusted it to proper counsel, the trial would have
resulted in his acquittal.



HOME OF SYDNEY SMITH

_Heslington-Foston, Twelve Miles from a Lemon-Church--Rector's Head--
  Study--Room-of-all-work--Grounds--Guests--Universal Scratcher--
  Immortal Chariot--Reminiscences._


[Sidenote: Heslington]

The metropolis of England holds many places which knew "the greatest of
the many Smiths:" dwellings he some time inhabited, mansions in which he
was the honored guest, pulpits and rostrums from which he discoursed,
the room in which he died, the tomb where loving hands laid him beside
his son. But it is in a remote valley of Yorkshire, where half his adult
years were passed in a lonely retreat among the humble poor, that we
find the scenes most intimately associated with the fruitful period of
his life. In the lovely dale of York, not far from one of the ancient
gates and within sound of the bells of the great minster, is the village
of Heslington, Smith's first place of abode in Yorkshire. His dwelling
here--lately the rectory of a parish which has been created since his
time, and one of the best houses of the village--is a spacious and
substantial old-fashioned mansion of brick, two stories in height and
delightfully cosy in appearance. Large bow-windows, built by Smith,
project from the front and rise to the eaves. The rooms are of
comfortable dimensions, and that in which Smith wrote is "glorified" by
the sunlight from one of his great windows, near which his writing-table
was placed. The house stands a rod or two from the highway, amid a mass
of foliage; an iron railing borders the yard, trees grow upon either
side, and at the back is an ample garden which was Smith's especial
delight, and which he paced for hours as he pondered his compositions.
It was here that the dignified Jeffrey of the _Edinburgh Review_ rode
the children's pet donkey over the grass. Smith's famous "Peter Plimley"
letters were produced at Heslington. He never felt at home here, because
he constantly contemplated removing. His own parish had no rectory, and
he was permitted by his bishop to reside here while he sought to
exchange the living for another: failing in this, he was allowed a
further term in which to erect a dwelling in his parish, consequently
Heslington was his home for some years. During this time he made weekly
excursions to his church, twelve miles distant, behind a steed which he
commemorates as Peter the Cruel, and in the year he built his parsonage
the excursions were so frequent that he computed he had ridden Peter
"several times round the world, going and coming from Heslington."

[Sidenote: Foston-le-Clay]

[Sidenote: Smith's Parsonage]

[Sidenote: Fields and Farmsteading]

In the remoter hamlet of Foston, "twelve miles from a lemon," we find
the church where he ministered for twenty years and the house which was
his home longer than any other. Our way thither--the same once so
familiar to Smith and his cruel steed--lies along the green valley
through which the wimpling Foss ripples and sings on its way to the
Ouse. In sun and shadow our road leads through a pleasant country until
we see the roofs of Smith's parsonage rising among the tree-tops. The
Rector's Head, as the wit delighted to call his home, stands among the
glebe-lands at a little distance from the highway, and a
carriage-drive--constructed by Smith after some of his guests had been
almost inextricably mired in their attempts to reach his door--conducts
from a road-side gate near the school through the tasteful and well-kept
grounds. Before we reach the rectory a second barrier is encountered,
Smith's "Screeching Gate," which, like the gate at "Amen Corner,"
remains just as it was when he bestowed its name. The mansion, of which
he was both architect and builder, described by him and his friend Loch
as "the ugliest house ever seen," presents a singularly attractive
aspect of cosiness and comfort. The edifice is somewhat improved since
the great essayist dwelt beneath its roof, but the original structure
remains,--an oblong brick fabric, of ample proportions and
unpretentious architecture, two stories in height, with hip-roofs of
warm-tinted tiles. A large bay-window struts from one side wall; a
beautiful conservatory abuts upon another side; a little porch,
overgrown with creepers and flowers, protects the entrance. The once
plain brickwork, which rose bare of ornamentation, is mantled with ivy
and flowering vines which clamber to the roofs and riot along the walls,
imparting to the "unparsonic parsonage" a picturesque charm which no
architectural decoration could produce. The bare field in which Smith
erected his house has been transformed into an Eden of beauty and bloom;
on every side are velvety lawns, curving walks, beds of flowers, patches
of shrubbery, and groups of woodland trees, forming a pretty park,
mostly planned by Smith and planted by his hand. Within, we find the
apartments spacious and cheerful: the windows are the same that were
screened by the many-hued patchwork shades designed by Smith and wrought
by the deft fingers of his daughters, the chimney-pieces of Portland
stone which he erected remain, but tasteful and elegant furniture now
replaces the rude handiwork of the village carpenter, which was disposed
through these rooms during Smith's incumbency. He blithely tells a
guest, "I needed furniture; I bought a cart-load of boards and got the
carpenter, Jack Robinson; told him, 'Jack, furnish my house,' and you
see the result." Some of the resulting furniture is still preserved in
the neighborhood and valued above price. From the bay-window of the
parlor the gray towers of York's colossal cathedral are seen ten miles
away; the room adjoining at the left is the memorable apartment which
was Smith's study, school-room, court, surgery, and what-not. Here his
gayly-bound books were arranged by his daughter, the future Lady
Holland, and here, when not applied to him, his famous "rheumatic armor"
stood in a bag in yonder corner. Here he wrote his sermons, his
brilliant and witty essays, the wise and effective disquisitions on the
disabilities of the Catholics, the coruscating and incisive articles for
the Review which electrified the English world. In this room he taught
his children and gave Bible lessons to the youth of the parish, some of
whom survive to praise and bless him; here, too, he prescribed for the
sick and dispensed mercy rather than justice to culprits haled before
him; for, as his letters declare, he was at once "village magistrate,
village parson, village doctor, village comforter, and Edinburgh
Reviewer." To these manifold avocations he added, despite his "not
knowing a turnip from a carrot," that of the farmer, and managed the
three hundred acres of glebe-lands which were so unproductive that no
one else would cultivate them. A door-way of the rectory overlooks most
of the plantation, and he suspended here a telescope and a tremendous
speaking-trumpet by means of which he could observe and direct much of
his operations without himself going afield. Behind the house, and
screened by trees which Smith planted, are the farmstead buildings he
planned; here are the stables and pens where he was welcomed by every
individual of his stock, whom he daily visited to feed and pet; here is
the enclosure where he found his fuddled pigs "grunting God save the
King about the sty" after he had administered a medicament of fermented
grains. In the adjoining field is the site of his "Universal
Scratcher,"--a sharp-edged pole having a tall support at one extremity
and a low one at the other, which so adapted it to the height of every
animal that "they could scratch themselves with the greatest facility
and luxury; even the 'Reviewer' [himself] could take his turn."

[Sidenote: Guests--Reminiscences]

Of Smith's life in this retirement his many letters and the memoirs of
his daughter give us pleasant pictures. Although he said his whole life
had "been passed like a razor, in hot water or a scrape," the years
spent here seem to have been happy ones. Even his removal to this house
while it was yet so damp that the walls ran down with wet and the
grounds were so miry that his wife lost her shoes at the door, was made
enjoyable. He writes to one friend, "I am too busy to be lonely;" to
another, "I thank God who made me poor that he also made me merry, a
better gift than much land with a doleful heart;" to another, "I am
content and doubling in size every year;" to Lady Grey, "Come and see
how happy people can be in a small parsonage;" to Jeffrey, "My situation
is one of great solitude, but I possess myself in cheerfulness." He had
expended upon his improvements here more than the living was worth,
therefore economy ruled the selection of the _personnel_ of this
establishment. Faithful Annie Kay was first employed as child's-maid;
later she was housekeeper and trusted friend, removed from here with her
loved master, attended him in his last illness, and lies near him in the
long sleep. A garden girl, made like a mile-stone, was hired by Smith,
who "christened her Bunch, gave her a napkin, and made her his butler."
Jack Robinson was retained as general factotum of the place, and Molly
Mills, "a yeowoman, with short petticoat, legs like mill-posts, and
cheeks shrivelled like winter apples," did duty as "cow-, pig-,
poultry-, garden-, and post-woman." Guests testify that good-natured
training had, out of this unpromising material, produced such efficient
servants that the household ran smoothly in the stress of much company.
For, despite the seclusion of Smith's retreat, his fame and the charm
and wit of his conversation drew many visitors to his house. Lords
Carlisle and Morpeth were almost weekly guests; Sir Humphry Davy and his
gifted wife were many times guests for days together; among those who
came less frequently were Jeffrey, Macaulay, Marcet, Dugald Stewart,
John Murray, Mackintosh, and Lord and Lady Holland, with many of less
fame; and we may imagine something of the scintillant converse these
rooms knew when the master wit entertained such company. Neither his
friends nor his literary pursuits were allowed to interfere with his
attentions to the simple rustics of his parish; in sickness and trouble
he was tireless in their service, furnishing medicines, food, and
clothing out of his slender means. During the prevalence of an
infectious fever he was constantly among them, as physician, nurse, and
priest. The oldest parishioners speak of him by his Christian name, and
testify that he was universally beloved. One lately remembered that
Sydney had cared for his father during a long illness and maintained the
family until he could return to his work. Another had been accustomed,
as a child, to run after Sydney on the highway and cling to him until he
bestowed the sugar-plums he always carried in his pockets. In one
portion of the glebe we found small enclosures of land stocked with
abundant fruit-trees and called Sydney's Orchards, which were planted by
him and given to the parishioners at a nominal rental.

[Sidenote: The Chariot]

Smith's solitary excursions through the parish were made astride a gaunt
charger, called by him Calamity, noted for length of limb and strength
of appetite, as well as for a propensity to part company with his rider,
sometimes throwing the great Smith "over his head into the next parish."
But when the rector's family were to accompany him, the ancient green
chariot was employed. This was believed to have been the first vehicle
of the kind, was purchased by Smith at second (or twenty-second) hand,
and was from time to time partially restored by the unskilled village
mechanics. Anent this structure the delightful Smith writes, "Each year
added to its charms: it grew younger and younger: a new wheel, a new
spring; I christened it the Immortal: it was known everywhere: the
village boys cheered it, the village dogs barked at it." To the ends of
the shafts Smith attached a rod so that it projected in front of the
horse and sustained a measure of grain just beyond his reach,--a device
which evoked a maximum of speed from the beast with the minimum of
exertion on the part of the driver, the deluded horse being "stimulated
to unwonted efforts by hope of overtaking the provender." We have talked
with some in the vicinage who remembered seeing Smith and his family
riding in this perennial chariot, drawn by a plough-horse which was
harnessed with plough-lines and driven by a plough-boy.

[Sidenote: Smith's Church]

A mile from the rectory, past the few straggling cottages of the hamlet,
we come to the quaint little church of Foston, one of the oldest in
England. It was already in existence in 1081 when Doomsday Book was
compiled, being then the property of Earl Allen: later it was conveyed
to St. Mary's Abbey, whose ruins--marvellously beautiful even in
decay--we find at the gates of York. It is noteworthy that this church
of Foston early contained an image of the Virgin of such repute that
people flocked to it in great numbers, and in 1313 the archbishop issued
an edict that they should not desert their own churches to come here.
Smith's church is prettily placed upon a gentle eminence from which we
look across a wave-like expanse of smiling fields to steeper slopes
beyond, a picture of pastoral peace and calm. Beneath the many
mouldering heaps of the church-yard sleep the rustic poor for whom Smith
labored, many of them having been committed to their narrow cells, "in
the certain hope of the life to come," by his kindly hands. Among the
graves stands the old church, the plainest and smallest of its kind. The
present venerable and reverend incumbent, to whom we are indebted for
many courtesies, has at his own expense restored the chancel as a
memorial of his wife, but the principal portion of the edifice remains
the same "miserable hovel" that Macaulay described in Smith's day. A
heavy porch shelters the entrance, and above this is a sculptured Norman
arch of great antiquity, a Scripture subject being graven upon each
stone, that upon the key-block representing the Last Supper. The bare
walls are surmounted by a dilapidated belfry, and the barn-like edifice
is desolate and neglected. We find the interior dismal and depressive,
and quite unchanged since Smith's time, save that the stove-pipe now
enters a flue instead of emerging through a window. The quaint old
pulpit, perched high in the corner opposite the gallery and beneath a
huge sounding-board, is the same in which he so often stood; its frayed
and faded cushions are said to be those that he belabored in his
discourses, and out of which, on one occasion, he raised such a cloud of
dust "that for some minutes he lost sight of the congregation." The
pewter communion plate he used is preserved in a recess of the wall.
Across the end and along one side of the church extends a gallery, in
which sat the children under Smith's sharp eye, and kept in order, as
some remember, by "a threaten-shake of his head." Along the front of
this gallery ugly wooden pegs are aligned, on which the occupants of the
pews hang their wraps, and so diminutive is the place that there are but
four pews between door and pulpit. The present rector, whose father
owned most of the parish and was Smith's firm friend, attended as a boy
Smith's ministrations here, and remembers something of the direct
eloquence of his sermons and their impressive effect upon the auditors.
Attracted by his fame, some came from far to hear him preach who
afterward became his ardent friends, among these being Macaulay and the
Mrs. Apreece whom de Staël depicted as "Corinne" and who subsequently,
as wife of Humphry Davy, was guest at The Rector's Head. In this shabby
little church Smith gave away his daughter Emily, the Archbishop of York
reading the marriage service; and not long after Smith removed to
Somerset, and Foston saw him no more.

The church contains no memorial of any sort in memory of Smith. The
decayed condition of this temple has long been a reproach to the
resident gentry. Since those whose property interests are most concerned
in the restoration of the church have declined to enter upon it, the
good rector contemplates undertaking it at his own charge. Not long ago
he was engaged upon the plans, and it may be that, by the time these
pages reach the reader, Foston church as Smith knew it will have ceased
to exist. The writer has a lively hope that some of the New World
pilgrims who have marked other Old World shrines which else had been
neglected, will set in these renovated walls an enduring memorial--of
pictured glass or sculptured stone or graven metal--in remembrance of
the illustrious author-divine who, during his best years, ministered in
this lowly place to a congregation of rude and unlettered poor.



NITHSDALE RAMBLES

_Scott--Hogg--Wordsworth--Carlyle's Birthplace--Homes--Grave--Burns's
  Haunts--Tomb--Jeanie Deans--Old Mortality, etc.--Annie Laurie's
  Birthplace--Habitation--Poet-Lover--Descendants._


[Sidenote: Carlyle's Birthplace--Grave]

From the "Heart of Mid-Lothian" and the many shrines of picturesque
Edinburgh, once the literary capital of Britain, our saunterings bring
us to other haunts of the "Wizard of the North:" to his oft described
Abbotsford,--that baronial "romance in stone and lime,"--with its
libraries and armories, its precious relics and more precious memories
of its illustrious builder and occupant, who here literally "wrote
himself to death;" to the dream-like, ivy-grown ruins of holy Melrose,
whose beauties he sang and within whose crumbling walls he lingered and
mused; to his tomb fittingly placed amid the ruined arches and
mouldering pillars of Dryburgh Abbey, embowered by venerable trees and
mantled by clinging vines. Strolling thence among the "Braes of Yarrow,"
the Yarrow of Wordsworth and Hamilton, through the haunts of Hogg the
Ettrick Shepherd, and passing the Hartfell, we come into the dale of
Annan, and follow that winsome water past Moffat, where lived Burns's
daughter, to historic Applegarth, and thence by Lockerby approach
Ecclefechan, the hamlet of Carlyle's birth and sepulture. Among the
lowly stone cottages on the straggling street of the rude village is a
double dwelling with an arched passage-way through the middle of its
lower story; this humble structure was erected by the stone-mason James
Carlyle, and the northern end of it was his home when his illustrious
son was born. Opening from the street is a narrow door; beside it is a
diminutive window, with a similar one above and another over the arch.
The exterior is now smartened somewhat,--the shillings of pilgrims would
pay for that,--but the abode is pathetically small, bare, and poor. The
one lower room is so contracted that the Carlyles could not all sit at
the table, and Thomas used to eat his porridge outside the door. Some
Carlyle relics from Cheyne Row--letters, portraits, pieces of china,
study-lamp, tea-caddy, and other articles--are preserved in the room
above, and adjoining it is the narrow chamber above the archway where
the great historian, essayist, and cynic was born. In this comfortless
home, and amid the dreary surroundings of this hard and rough village,
which is little improved since the days of border war and pillage, he
was reared. The stern savagery of the physical horizon of his boyhood
here, and the hateful and uncongenial character of his environment at
the most impressionable period of his life, may account to us for much
of the morose cynicism of his later years. Further excuse for his
petulance and his acerbities of tongue and temper is found in his
dyspepsia, and a very limited experience of Ecclefechan cookery suffices
to convince us that his indigestion was another unhappy sequence of his
early life in this border hamlet. In "Sartor Resartus" he has
vivaciously recorded some of the incidents and impressions of his
childhood here,--notably the passage of the Carlisle coach, like "some
terrestrial moon, coming from he knew not where, going he knew not
whither." A shabby cross-street leads to the village graveyard, which
was old a thousand years ago, and there, within a few rods of the spot
of his birth, the great Carlyle is forever laid, with his parents and
kindred. The yard is a forlorn enclosure, huddled with hundreds of
unmarked graves, and with other hundreds of crumbling memorials drooping
aslant among the brambles which infest the place. The tombstone of
Carlyle, within an iron railing, is a little more pretentious than those
about it, but his grave seems neglected; daisies and coarse grass grow
about it, and the only tokens of reverent memory it bears are placed by
Americans, who constitute the majority of the pilgrims to this place.
Not far from the kirk-yard is a lowly cottage, hardly better than a
hut, in which dwelt Burns's "Lass of Ecclefechan."

[Sidenote: Dumfries--Burns's Dwelling]

By a transverse road from Lockerby we come to the ruined Lochmaben
Castle of Bruce, and thence into Nithsdale and to Dumfries, the ancient
capital of southwestern Scotland. Here lived Edward Irving, and here
Allan Cunningham toiled as a common mason; but the gray town is
interesting to us chiefly because of its associations with Burns. Here
are the tavern, familiar to us as the "howff," which he frequented, and
where he made love to the bar-maid, "Anna of the Gowden Locks;" the
parlor where his wit kept the table in a roar; the heavy chair in the
"ingle neuk" where he habitually sat, and, in the room above, the lines
to "Lovely Polly Stewart" graven by his hand upon the pane. From the inn
a malodorous lane, named Burns Street, and oft threaded by the bard when
he "wasna fou but just had plenty," leads to the poor dwelling where
lived and died the poet of his country and of mankind. An environment
more repulsive and depressing, a spot more unworthy to be the home of a
poet of nature, can scarcely be imagined. Here not a flower nor a green
bough, not even a grass-blade, met his vision, not one beautiful object
appeased his poetic taste; he saw only the squalid street infested by
unwashed bairns and bordered by rows of mean cottages. How shall we
extol the genius which in such an uncongenial atmosphere produced those
exquisite poems which for a century have been read and loved in every
clime? His own dwelling, a bare two-storied cottage, is hardly more
decent than its neighbors. Within, we find a kitchen and sitting-room,
small and low-ceiled; above, a windowed closet,--sometimes used by the
poet as a study,--and the poor little chamber where he died, only
thirty-seven years after he first saw the light in the clay biggin by
his bonnie Doon.

[Sidenote: Tomb]

The interior of St. Michael's Church has been refitted, and the
sacristan can show us now only the site of Burns's seat, behind a great
pillar which hid him from the preacher, and that of the Jenny on whose
bonnet he saw the "crowlin'" pediculus. Through the crowded church-yard
a path beaten by countless pilgrims from every quarter of the globe
conducts to the place where he lies with "Bonnie Jean" and some of their
children. The costly mausoleum which now covers his tomb--erected by
those who had neglected or shunned him in his life--is to us less
impressive than the poor little gravestone which the faithful Jean first
placed above him, which now forms part of the pavement. The ambitious
statue, designed to represent Genius throwing her mantle over Burns at
the plough, suggests, as some one has said, that a bath-woman bringing a
wet sheet to an unwilling patient had served as a model. Oddly enough,
the grave of John Bushby, an attorney oft lampooned in Burns's verse,
lies but a few feet from that of the poet.

[Sidenote: Jeanie Deans--Carlyle's Craigenputtock]

Our ramble along the wimpling Nith lies for the most part in a second
Burnsland, so closely is it associated with his personality and poetry.
The beauties of the stream itself are celebrated in half a score of his
songs. Every seat and scene are sung in his verse; every neighborhood
and almost every house preserve some priceless relic or some touching
reminiscence of the ploughman-bard. A short way above Dumfries we come
to the picturesque ruin of Lincluden Abbey, at the meeting of the waters
of Cluden and Nith. The crumbling walls are enshrouded in ivy and
surrounded by giant trees, among which Burns loved to loiter. His
"Evening View" and "Vision" commemorate this ruin, and the poem
"Lincluden" was written here. In a tasteful cottage not far from the
Abbey sojourned the Mrs. Goldie who communicated to Scott the incidents
which he wrought into his "Heart of Mid-Lothian," and it was in the
little kitchen of this cottage that the lady talked with Helen Walker,
the original Jeanie Deans. In a poor little low-eaved dwelling, a mile
or two up the valley, that heroine lived, keeping a dame's school and
rearing chickens; and our course along the tuneful stream brings us to
the ancient and sequestered kirk-yard of Irongray, where, among the
grass-grown graves of the Covenanters, her ashes repose beneath a
tombstone erected by Scott himself and marked by an inscription from his
hand: "Respect the Grave of Poverty when associated with love of Truth
and dear Affection." Farther in this lovely region we come to ancient
Dunscore and the monument of Scott's "Old Mortality;" and beyond
Moniaive we find, near the source of the Cairn, Craigenputtock--the
abode where "Thomas the Thunderer prepared his bolts" before he removed
to London. This dreary place, "the loneliest in Britain," had been the
abode of many generations of Mrs. Carlyle's ancestors,--among whom were
"several black-guards but not one blockhead,"--and Carlyle rebuilt and
furnished the house here to which he brought the bride he had wedded
after his repulsion by his fair Rose-goddess, the Blumine of his
"Romance." It is a severely plain and substantial two-storied structure
of stone with steep gables. The entrance is under a little porch in the
middle of the front; on either side is a single window, with another
above it in the second story. There are comfortable and commodious rooms
at each side of the entrance, and a large kitchen is joined at the back.
Carlyle's study, a rather sombre apartment, with a dispiriting outlook,
is at the left; a fireplace which the sage especially loved is in one
wall, his writing-table stood near it, and here he sat and clothed in
virile diction the brilliant thoughts which had come to him as he paced
among his trees or loitered on the near hill-tops. The dining-room and
parlor are on the other side, looking out upon wild and gloomy crags.
Mrs. Carlyle's pen long ago introduced us to this interior, and,
although all her furniture, except perhaps the kitchen "dresser," has
been removed, we recognize the household nooks she has mentioned. The
kitchen, which was the scene of her tearful housekeeping trials, seems
most familiar; its chimney retains its abominable habits, but a recent
incumbent, instead of crying as did Mrs. Carlyle, declared the "chimla
made her feel like sweerin'." Great ash-trees, which were old when the
sage dwelt beneath them, overtop the house; many beautiful flowers--some
survivors of those planted by Carlyle and his wife--bloom in the yard.
In front a wide field slopes away to a tributary of the Cairn, but
sombre moorland hills rise at the back and cluster close about the
house on either side, imparting to the place an indescribably depressing
aspect: as we contemplate the desolate savagery of this wilderness, we
can understand why one of Carlyle's predecessors here killed himself and
others "took to drink."

The bare summit behind the house overlooks Carlyle's estate of a
thousand acres and, beyond it, an expanse of bleak hills and black
morasses. From the craggy brow on the left, the spot where Carlyle and
Emerson sat and talked of the immortality of the soul, we see Dunscore
and a superb vista of the valley towards Dumfries and the Wordsworth
country. The isolation of this place--so complete that at one time not
even a beggar came here for three months--was an advantage to Carlyle at
this period. He speaks of it as a place of plain living and high
thinking: life here appeared to him "an humble russet-coated epic," and
long afterward he referred to the years of their stay in this waste as
being "perhaps the happiest of their lives." This expresses his own
feeling rather than that of his wife, whose discontent finds expression
in many ways, notably in her poem "To a Swallow." Carlyle produced here
some of his best work, including the matchless "Sartor Resartus," the
essay on Burns, and several scintillant articles for the various reviews
which denoted the rise of a new star of genius; but the period of his
stay here was essentially one of study and thought, and, plenteous as it
was in production, it was more prolific in preparation for the great
work he had to do. To Carlyle in this solitude Jeffrey was a visitor, as
well as "Christopher North," Hazlitt, and Edward Irving: hither, "like
an angel from heaven," came Emerson to greet the new genius on the
threshold of its career and to enjoy the "quiet night of clear, fine
talk." Carlyle bequeathed this estate to the University of Edinburgh.

[Sidenote: Friars Carse--Burns's Ellisland]

Another day, our ramble follows the winding Nith northward from
Lincluden. As we proceed, the lovely and opulent dale, once the scene of
clannish strife, presents an appearance of peaceful beauty, pervaded
everywhere with the sentiment of Burns. In one enchanting spot the
stream circles about the grounds of ancient Friars Carse, now a tasteful
and pretty seat. It was erstwhile the residence of Burns's friend
Riddel, to which the poet was warmly welcomed: here he composed the poem
"Thou whom Chance may hither lead," and here he presided at the famous
drinking-match which he told to future ages in "The Whistle." It is
noteworthy that the first Scotch winner of the Whistle was father of
Annie Laurie of the popular song, and that the contest here was between
two of her grandnephews and her grandson,--the latter being victorious.
Burns celebrated his friend of this old hermitage in seven of his poems;
and the present proprietor carefully cherishes the window upon whose
pane the bard inscribed "Lines written in Friars Carse." A little way
beyond lies Druidical Holywood, where once dwelt the author of "De
Sphæra," and next we find the Nith curving among the acres which Burns
tilled in his happiest years, at Ellisland. Embowered in roses and
perched upon an eminence overhanging the stream is the plain little
dwelling which he erected with his own hands for the reception of his
bonnie Jean. It is little changed since the time he lived under its
lowly roof. We think the rooms dingy and bare, but they are better than
those of his abode at Alloway and Mossgiel, much better than those in
which he died at Dumfries. In the largest of the apartments, by a window
which looks down the dreamful valley, Burns had a rude table, and here
he penned some of the most touchingly beautiful poetry of our
language,--poems which he had pondered as he worked or walked afield.
Adjoining the house is the yard where he produced the exquisite lines
"To Mary in Heaven;" in this near-by field he met "The Wounded Hare" of
his verse; in yonder path along the murmuring Nith he composed the
immortal "Tam O'Shanter," laughing aloud the while at the pictures his
fancy conjured; and all about us are reminders of the bard and of the
idyllic life which here inspired his muse: it would repay a longer
journey to see the spot where the one song "John Anderson, my Jo" was
pondered and written.

[Sidenote: Annie Laurie--Early Home]

[Sidenote: Annie Laurie and her Lover]

A further jaunt amid varied beauties of woodland shade and meadow
sunshine, of gentle dale and savage scaur, brings us past historic
Closeburn to the neighborhood of Thornhill. Here at the Buccleuch Arms
the illegitimate daughter of Burns was for thirty years a servant, and
boasted of having had a chat with Scott among the burnished utensils of
her kitchen. Two miles eastward Scott found the Balfour's Cave and Leap
described in "Old Mortality." Middle Nithsdale expands into a broad
valley, commanded by lofty Queensberry and lower green hills and
diversified with upland brae, shadowy copse, sunny mead, and opulent
plantation. This lovely region, dotted with pretty hamlets, embowered
villas, and moss-grown ruins, and teeming with the charming associations
of history and sentiment, holds for us a crowning interest which has
drawn our steps into its romantic haunts: it was the birthplace and
life-long home of Annie Laurie. On the right of the Nith, among the
bonnie braes of the song, we find the ancient manor-house of Maxwelton,
where the heroine was born. The first of her race to reside here was her
great-grandfather, who in 1611 built additions to the old tower already
existing. The marriage-stone of Annie Laurie's grandparents, John Laurie
and Agnes Grierson, is set in the massive walls and graven with their
initials, crest, and date. This Agnes was daughter of the bloody
persecutor who figures in "Redgauntlet," and whose ashes lie in Dunscore
kirk-yard, not far distant. Another stone in the Maxwelton house
commemorates the marriage of Robert Laurie and Jean Riddel, the parents
of the heroine of the song,--this Robert being the champion of Bacchus
who won the Whistle from the noble Danish toper. In this ancient abode,
according to a record made by her father, "At the pleasure of the
Almighty God, my daughter Anna Laurie was born upon the 16th day of
Decr., 1682 years, about six o'clock in the morning;" here the bonnie
maiden grew to womanhood; here occurred the episode to which the world
is indebted for the sweet song; from here she married and went to her
future home, but a few miles away. In the last century much of the
venerable edifice was destroyed, but the older portion, which had been
part of a stronghold in the time of the border wars, remains intact
since Annie dwelt within. This part is still called The Tower, and
consists of a large rectangular structure, with a ponderous
semi-circular fabric abutting it at one end, its fortress-like walls
being five feet in thickness and clothed by a luxuriant growth of ivy.
Newer portions have been added in varying styles, and the mansion is now
an elegant and substantial seat. All about it lie terraced lawns, with
parterres of flowers, noble trees, and banks of shrubbery: lovely
grounds slope away from the house and command an enchanting view which
must often have delighted the vision of the fair Annie. Her boudoir is
in the second story of The Tower; it is a corner room, forming now an
alcove of the drawing-room; it has a vaulted ceiling of stone, and its
windows, pierced in the ponderous walls, look out through the ivy and
across an expanse of sward, flower, and foliage to the wooded braes
where she kept tryst with her lover. Among the treasures of the old
house is a portrait of the bonnie heroine which shows her as an
impressively beautiful woman, of lissome figure, large and tender eyes,
long oval face with Grecian features, wide forehead framed by a
profusion of dark-brown hair. Her hands, like her "fairy feet," were of
exceptional smallness and beauty. The present owner of Maxwelton, to
whom the writer is indebted for many courtesies, is Sir Emilius Laurie;
from him and from the lineal descendants of the widely-sung Annie who
still inhabit Nithsdale are derived the materials for this account of
that winsome lady. The lover who immortalized her was William Douglas of
Fingland, and she requited him by breaking "her promise true" and
marrying another man. Douglas is said to have been the hero of the song
"Willie was a Wanton Wag;" he was one of the best swordsmen of his time,
and his personal qualities gained him the patronage of the Queensberry
family and secured him social advantages to which his lower rank and
poverty constituted no claim. He and Annie met at an Edinburgh ball, and
seem to have promptly become enamoured of each other. To separate them,
Sir Robert quickly carried his family back to Nithsdale, but Douglas as
quickly followed, and lurked in the vicinage for some months,
clandestinely meeting his love among "Maxwelton's bonnie braes." Here the
pair plighted troth, and when Douglas returned to Edinburgh, to assist
in a projected Stuart uprising, he took with him the promise which he
celebrated in the tender melody. The song was published in an Edinburgh
paper and attracted much notice. Douglas's devotion to the Jacobites
cost him his sweetheart; his political intrigues being suspected, he was
forced to fly the country, and when, after some years passed in France,
he secured pardon and returned, she was the wife of another. After
giving "her promise true" to some other lovers, she married in 1709
Alexander Fergusson, a neighboring laird, who could not write poetry but
had "muckle siller an' lan'" and a genealogy as long as Leviticus.
Douglas and Annie never met again, and she makes but a single reference
to him in her letters: being told of his return, she wrote to her
sister, Mrs. Riddel, grandmother of Burns's friend, "I trust he has
forsaken his treasonable opinions and is content."

[Sidenote: Her Later Home]

A stroll of but a few miles along a delightful way, fanned by the sweet
summer winds, brings us to Craigdarrock, Annie Laurie's home for more
than half a century. It is a spacious and handsome edifice of three
stories, with dormer-windows in the hip-roof; a conservatory is
connected at one end, bow-windows project from either side, and
clambering vines cover the walls of the lower stories.

  [Illustration: HOME OF ANNIE LAURIE]

It is beautifully placed in a vale overlooking the winding stream, with
the rugged Craigdarrock looming steeply in the background. Most of the
mansion was built under the direction of Annie Laurie, and the gardens
were laid out by her in their formal style: a delightful walk beneath
the trees on the margin of the water was her favorite resort, and is
still known by her name. Within the spacious rooms are preserved many
of her belongings: curious furniture and hangings, quaint fineries of
dress, her porcelain snuff-box, her will, a package of her letters
written in the prim fashion of her time and signed "Anna." Through these
epistles we look in vain for indications of the wit and genius which one
naturally attributes to the possessor of the bright face which inspired
a deathless song. In this house she lived happily with her husband, and
was at once the Lady Bountiful and the matchmaker-in-ordinary for the
whole countryside; here she died, aged seventy-nine. This estate has
been handed down from father to son for fifteen generations, the present
urbane laird, Captain Cutlar Fergusson, being a great-great-grandson of
Annie Laurie and grandson of the hero of Burns's "Whistle." This famous
trophy--a plain object in dark wood--is preserved here at Craigdarrock,
and has not been challenged for since the bout which Burns witnessed.

[Sidenote: Burial-place]

In the now ruined church of Glencairn, hardly a mile from her
birthplace, and not far from her later home, Annie Laurie worshipped,
and in its yard, which has been a place of burial for a thousand years,
she was laid with her husband, among the many generations of his
kindred, by the gable-end of the ancient church. Her sepulchre was not
marked, and it is to be feared the bones of the erst beauteous lady have
been more than once disturbed in excavating for later interments in the
crowded plot. From the summit of Craigdarrock we look upon the wilder
beauty of the upper Nith, a region of moorland hills and dusky glens,
where we may find the birthplace of "the Admirable Crichton," and beyond
it the bleak domain where the poet Allan Ramsay first saw the light.
Beyond this, again, the sweet Afton "flows amang its green braes," and
we come to the Ayrshire shrines of Burns.

A few miles westward from Craigdarrock, and not so far from Carlyle's
lonely den, is Fingland farm, the birthplace and home of Annie's
poet-lover. It lies among sterile hills in the wild Glenkens of ancient
Galloway, near the source of Ken water. From neighboring elevations we
see Craigenputtock and the swelling Solway, and westward we look, across
the dark fens and heathery hills of the region "blest with the smell of
bog-myrtle and peat," almost to the Irish Sea. In this region Crockett
was reared, and he pictures it in his charming tales "The Raiders" and
"The Lilac Sunbonnet."

No trace of the peel-tower in which Douglas dwelt remains, but we know
that it stood within an enclosing wall twenty yards square and one yard
in thickness. The tower had projecting battlements; its apartments,
placed above each other, were reached by a narrow, easily defended
stair. In such a home and amid this most dismal environment Douglas grew
to manhood, his poetic power unsuspected until it was called forth by
the love and beauty of Annie Laurie. Later he wrote many poems, but
diligent inquiry among the families of Buccleuch and Queensberry shows
that few of his productions are now extant save the famous love-song. It
is notable that he did not "lay doun his head and die" for the faithless
Annie; instead, he made a runaway marriage with Elizabeth Clerk, of
Glenborg, in his native Galloway, subsided into prosy country life, and
reared a family of six children, of whom one, Archibald, rose to the
rank of lieutenant-general in Brittany.

[Sidenote: Annie Laurie--The Singer and the Song]

Douglas's song was revised by Lady Scott, sister of the late Duke of
Buccleuch, and published by her for the benefit of the widows and
orphans made by the Crimean War. Lines of the original, for which the
writer is indebted to a descendant of Annie Laurie, are hereto appended,
that the reader may appreciate how much of the tender beauty of the
popular version of the song is attributable to the poetic talent of Lady
Scott.

  "Maxwelton banks are bonnie,
    Where early fa's the dew,
  Where me and Annie Laurie
    Made up the promise true:
  Made up the promise true,
    And ne'er forget will I:
  And for bonnie Annie Laurie
    I'd lay doun my head and die.

  "She's backit like a peacock;
    She's breastit like a swan;
  She's jimp about the middle;
    Her waist ye weel may span:
  Her waist ye weel may span,--
    She has a rolling eye;
  And for bonnie Annie Laurie
    I'd lay doun my head and die."



A NIECE OF ROBERT BURNS

_Her Burnsland Cottage--Reminiscences of Burns--Relics--Portraits--
  Letters--Recitations--Account of his Death--Memories of his Home--Of
  Bonnie Jean--Other Heroines._


In the course of a summer ramble in Burnsland we had sought out the
homes, the haunts, the tomb of the ploughman poet, and had bent at many
a shrine hallowed by his memory or his song. From the cottage of "Bonnie
Jean" and the tomb of "Holy Willie," the field of the "Mountain Daisy"
and the church of the "Holy Fair," the birthplace of "Highland Mary" and
the grave of "Mary Morison," we came to the shrines of auld Ayr, beside
the sea. Here we find the "Twa Brigs" of his poem; the graves of the
ministers satirized in "The Kirk's Alarm;" the old inn of "Tam
O'Shanter," and the very room, with its ingle, where Tam and Souter
Johnny "got fou thegither," and where we may sip the nappy from the
wooden caup which Tam often drained. From Ayr a delightful stroll along
the highway where Tam made his memorable ride, and where William Burns
carried the howdie upon the pillion behind him on another stormy
winter's night when the poet was born, brought us to the hamlet of
Alloway and the place of Burns's early life. Here are the auld clay
biggin, with its rude stone floor and roof of thatch, erected by the
unskilled hands of his father, where the poet first saw the light, and
where he laid the scene of the immortal "Cotter's Saturday Night;" the
fields where his young hands toiled to aid his burdened sire; the
kirk-yard where his kindred lie buried, some of their epitaphs written
by him; the "auld haunted kirk,"--where Tam interrupted the witches'
dance,--unknown save for the genius of the lad born by its roofless
walls; the Burns monument, with its priceless relics; the ivy-grown
bridge, four centuries old, whose arch spans the songful stream and
across which Tam galloped in such sore peril, and its "key-stane," where
Meg lost "her ain gray tail" to Nannie, fleetest of the pursuers; the
enchanting "banks and braes of bonnie Doon," where Burns wandered a
brown-eyed boy, and later found the inspiration of many of his exquisite
strains. We have known few scenes more lovely than this in which his
young life was passed: long and delightful is our lingering here, for
interwoven with the many natural beauties are winsome memories of the
bard whose spirit and genius pervade all the scene.

[Sidenote: Miss Burns Begg--Bridgeside Cot]

[Sidenote: Recitations--Bonnie Jean]

Returning thence past the "thorn aboon the well" (the well is closed
now) and the "meikle-stane" to the ancient ford "where in the snaw the
chapman smoor'd," we made a détour southward, and came by a pleasant
way--having in view on the right the picturesque ruin of Greenan Castle
upon a cliff overhanging the sea--to Bridgeside cottage, the home of
Miss Isabella Burns Begg, niece of the poet and long his only surviving
near relative. We found a cottage of stone, from whose thatched roof a
dormer-window, brilliant with flowers, peeped out through the foliage
which half concealed the tiny homelet. The trimmest of little maids
admitted us at the gate and led along a path bordered with flowers to
the cottage door, where stood Miss Begg beaming a welcome upon the
pilgrims from America. We were ushered into a prettily furnished little
room, upon whose walls hung a portrait of Burns, one of his sister Mrs.
Begg, and some framed autograph letters of the bard, which the niece
"knew by heart." She was the daughter and namesake of Burns's youngest
and favorite sister, who married John Begg. We found her a singularly
active and vivacious old lady, cheery and intelligent, and more than
pleased to have secured appreciative auditors for her reminiscences of
her gifted uncle. She was of slender habit, had a bright and winning
face, soft gray hair partially concealed by a cap, and when she was
seated beneath the Burns portrait we could see that her large dark
eyes--now sparkling with merriment or misty with emotion, and again
literally glowing with feeling--were like those on the canvas. Among the
treasures of this room was a worn copy of Thomson's "Seasons," a
favorite book of Burns, which he had freely annotated; his name in it is
written "Burnes," as the family spelled it down to the publication of
the bard's first volume. In the course of a long and pleasant chat we
learned that Miss Begg had lived many years in the cottage, first with
her mother and later with her sister Agnes,--named for Burns's
mother,--who died before our visit and was laid beside her parents and
the father of Burns in the kirk-yard of auld Alloway, where Miss Begg
expected "soom day, please God an it be soon," to go to await the
resurrection, thinking it an "ill hap" that she survived her sister. She
innocently inquired if we "kenned her nephew Robert in America," and
then explained that he and a niece of hers had formerly lived with her,
but she had discovered that "they were sweetheartin' and wantin' to
marry, which she wouldna allow, so they went to America," leaving her
alone with her handmaiden. Most of her visitors had been Americans. She
remembered the visits of Hawthorne, Grant, Stanley, and Helen Hunt
Jackson,--the last with greatest pleasure,--and thought that "Americans
care most about Burns." She mentioned the visit of a Virginian maid,
who by rapturous praise of the uncle completely won the heart of the
niece. The fair enthusiast had most of Burns's poems at her tongue's
end, but insisted upon having them repeated by Miss Begg, and at parting
exclaimed, after much kissing, "Oh, but I always pray God that when he
takes me to heaven he will give me the place next to Burns." Apparently,
Robin still has power to disturb the peace of "the lasses O." Yet we can
well excuse the effusiveness of our compatriot: to have listened to the
old lady as she sat under his portrait, her eyes twinkling or softening
like his own, her voice thrilling with sympathetic feeling as she
repeated in his own sweet dialect the tender stanzas, "But pleasures are
like poppies spread," "My Mary! dear departed shade!" and "Oh, happy
love, when love like this is found," and others of like pathos and
beauty, is a rapture not to be forgotten. She spoke quickly, and the
Scottish accent kept one's ears on the alert, but it rendered the lines
doubly effective and melodious. Many of the poems were inspired by
special events of which Miss Begg had knowledge from her mother, which
she recalled with evident relish. She distinctly remembered the bard's
widow, "Bonnie Jean," and often visited her in the poor home where he
died. Jean had a sunny temper, a kind heart, a handsome figure, a fine
voice, and lustrous eyes, but her brunette face was never bonnie. While
she lacked intellectual appreciation of his genius, she was proud of and
idolized him, finding ready excuse and forgiveness for his failings.
When the frail "Anna with the Gowden Locks" bore him an illegitimate
child, Jean cradled it with her own, and loyally averred to all
visitors, "It's only a neebor's bairn I'm bringin' up." ("Ay, she must
'a' lo'ed him," was Miss Begg's comment on this part of her narrative.)
Jean had told that in his last years the poet habitually wore a blue
coat, with nankeen trousers (when the weather would allow), and his
coat-collar was so high that his hat turned up at the back. Her account
of the manner of his death is startling, and differs from that given by
the biographers. He lay apparently asleep when "sweet Jessy"--to whom
his last poem was written--approached, and, to remind him of his
medicine, touched the cup to his lips; he started, drained the cup, then
sprang headlong to the foot of the bed, threw his hands forward like one
about to swim, and, falling on his face, expired with a groan. Jean saw
him for the last time on the evening before his funeral, when his wasted
body lay in a cheap coffin covered with flowers, his care-worn face
framed by the wavy masses of his sable hair, then sprinkled with gray.
At his death he left MSS. in the garret of his abode, which were
scattered and lost because Jean was unable to take care of them,--a loss
which must ever be deplored.

[Sidenote: Reminiscences--Burns' Youth]

[Sidenote: Mossgiel--Recollections]

One of the delights of Miss Begg's girlhood was the converse of Burns's
mother concerning her first-born and favorite child, the poet, a theme
of which she never tired. Miss Begg remembered her as a "chirk" old lady
with snapping black eyes and an abundant stock of legends and ballads.
She used to declare that Bobbie had often heard her sing "Auld Lang
Syne" in his boyhood; hence it would appear that, at most, he only
revised that precious old song. Miss Begg more than once heard the
mother tell, with manifest gusto, this incident of their residence at
Lochlea. Robert was already inclined to be wild, and between visiting
his sweetheart Ellison Begbie--"the lass of the twa sparkling, roguish
een"--and attending the Tarbolton club and Masonic lodge was abroad
until an unseemly hour every night, and his mother or Isabella sat up to
let him in. His anxious sire, the priest-like father of the "Cotter's
Saturday Night," determined to administer an effectual rebuke to the
son's misconduct, and one night startled the mother by announcing
significantly that he would wait to admit the lad. She lay for hours
(Robert was later than ever that night), dreading the encounter between
the two, till she heard the boy whistling "Tibbie Fowler" as he
approached. Then the door opened: the father grimly demanded what had
kept him so late; the son, for reply, gave a comical description of his
meeting auld Hornie on the way home,--an adventure narrated in the
"Address to the De'il,"--and next the mother heard the pair seat
themselves by the fire, where for two hours the father roared with
laughter at Robert's ludicrous account of the evening's doings at the
club,--she, meanwhile, nearly choking with her efforts to restrain the
laughter which might remind her husband of his intended reproof.
Thereafter the lad stayed out as late as he pleased without rebuke. The
niece had been told by her mother that Burns was deeply distressed at
his father's death-bed by the old man's fears for the future of his
wayward son; and when his father's death made Robert the head of the
family, he every morning led the household in "the most beautiful
prayers ever heard;" later, at Ellisland and elsewhere, he continued
this practice, and on the Sabbath instructed them in the Catechism and
Confession. Mrs. Begg's most pleasing recollections of her brother were
associated with the farm-life at Mossgiel, where he so far gave her his
confidence that she was allowed to see his poems in the course of their
composition. He would ponder his stanzas during his labors afield, and
when he came to the house for a meal he would go to the little garret
where he and his brother Gilbert slept and hastily pen them upon a table
which stood under the one little window. Here Isabella would find them,
and, after repeated perusals, would arrange them in the drawer; and so
it passed that her bright eyes were the first, besides his own, to see
"The Twa Dogs," "Winter's Night," "The Bard's Epitaph," "The Cotter's
Saturday Night," the satirical poems, and most of the productions which
were published in his Kilmarnock volume. His sister testified that he
was always affectionate to the family, and that after his removal to a
home of his own he invariably brought a present for each when he
revisited the farm, the present for his mother being always, despite his
poverty, a costly pound of tea. Most of the receipts from his publishers
were given to the family at Mossgiel. Miss Begg intimated that Burns's
mother did not at first like his wife, because of the circumstances of
the marriage, but Jean's stanch devotion to her husband won the heart of
the doting mother, and they became warm friends and spent much time
together after Burns's death. The niece believed that the accounts of
his intemperance are mostly untrue. Her mother, who was twenty-five
years old at the time of his decease, always asserted that she "never
saw him fou," and believed it was his antagonism to the "unco' guid"
that made them ready to believe and circulate any idle report to his
discredit.

Mrs. Begg saw and liked "Highland Mary" at the house of Gavin Hamilton,
and knew Miss Dunlop, the blooming Keith of Burns's "New-Year Day."
Another of his heroines the niece had herself visited with her mother;
this was Mrs. Jessy Thompson, _née_ Lewars, who was a ministering angel
in his final illness, and was repaid by the only thing he could
bestow,--a song of exquisite sweetness, "Here's a health to ane I lo'e
dear." Our informant had seen in that lady's hands the lines beginning
"Thine be the volumes, Jessy fair," which the poet gave her with a
present of books within a month of his death. Many other reminiscences
related by the niece are to be found in the biographies of the bard, and
need not be repeated. The letters which hung upon her walls are not
included in any published collection. She assisted us in copying the
following to Burns's youngest brother:

[Sidenote: A Letter of Burns]

                                                 "ISLE, Tuesday Evening.

"DEAR WILLIAM,--In my last I recommended that valuable apothegm, Learn
taciturnity. It is certain that nobody can know our thoughts, and yet,
from a slight observation of mankind, one would not think so. What
mischiefs daily arise from silly garrulity and foolish confidence! There
is an excellent Scots saying that a man's mind is his kingdom. It is
certainly so, but how few can govern that kingdom with propriety! The
serious mischiefs in Business which this Flux of language occasions do
not come immediately to your situation, but in another point of
view--the dignity of man--now is the time that will make or mar. Yours
is the time of life for laying in habits. You cannot avoid it, tho' you
will choose, and these habits will stick to your last end. At
after-periods, even at so little advance as my years, 'tis true that one
may still be very sharp-sighted to one's habitual failings and
weaknesses, but to eradicate them, or even to amend them, is quite a
different matter. Acquired at first by accident, they by-and-by begin to
be, as it were, a necessary part of our existence. I have not time for
more. Whatever you read, whatever you hear of that strange creature man,
look into the living world about you, look to yourself, for the
evidences of the fact or the application of the doctrine. I am ever
yours,

                                                          "ROBERT BURNS.

"MR. WILLIAM BURNS, Saddler, Longtown."

The sentiment and style of this epistle are suggestive of the stilted
conversations of Burns, recorded in Hugh Miller's "Recollections." Miss
Begg was pleased by some account we could give her of American Burns
monuments and festivals; she seemed reluctant to have us leave, called
to us a cheery "God keep ye!" when we were without the gate, and stood
looking after us until the intervening foliage hid her from our sight.
As we walked Ayr-ward, while the sun was setting in a golden haze behind
the hills of Arran, we felt that we had been very near to Burns that
day,--had almost felt the thrill of his presence, the charm of his
voice, and had in some measure made a personal acquaintance with him
which would evermore move us to a tenderer regard for the man and a
truer appreciation of his verse, as well as a fuller charity for his
faults:

  We know in part what he has done,
    God knows what he resisted.

[Sidenote: Death of Burns's Niece]

For some months after our visit to Bridgeside, quaint letters--one of
them containing a portrait of the worthy occupant of the
cottage--followed us thence across the sea. These came at increasing
intervals and then stopped; the kindly heart of the niece of Burns had
ceased to beat on her eightieth birthday.

A recent pilgrim in Burnsland found an added line on the gravestone in
the old kirk-yard, to tell that Isabella Burns Begg rests there in
eternal peace. At Bridgeside, her once cherished garden is a waste and
her tiny cottage has wholly disappeared. "So do things pass away like a
tale that is told."



HIGHLAND MARY: HER HOMES AND GRAVE

_Birthplace--Personal Appearance--Relations to Burns--Abodes: Mauchline,
  Coilsfield etc.--Scenes of Courtship and Parting--Mementos--Tomb by
  the Clyde._


There is no stronger proof of the transcending power of the genius of
Burns than is found in the fact that, by a bare half dozen of his
stanzas, an humble dairy servant--else unheard of outside her parish and
forgotten at her death--is immortalized as a peeress of Petrarch's Laura
and Dante's Beatrice, and has been for a century loved and mourned of
all the world. We owe much of our tenderest poesy to the heroines whose
charms have attuned the fancy and aroused the impassioned muse of
enamoured bards; readers have always exhibited a natural avidity to
realize the personality of the beings who inspired the tender
lays,--prompted often by mere curiosity, but more often by a desire to
appreciate the tastes and motives of the poets themselves. How little is
known of Highland Mary, the most famous heroine of modern song, is shown
by the brief, incoherent, and often contradictory allusions to her which
the biographies of the ploughman-poet contain. This paper,--prepared
during a sojourn in "The Land o' Burns,"--while it adds a little to our
meagre knowledge of Mary Campbell, aims to present consecutively and
congruously so much as may now be known of her brief life, her relations
to the bard, and her sad, heroic death.

[Sidenote: Birthplace--Early Home]

She first saw the light in 1764, at Ardrossan, on the coast, fifteen
miles northward from the "auld town of Ayr." Her parentage was of the
humblest, her father being a sailor before the mast, and the poor
dwelling which sheltered her was in no way superior to the meanest of
those we find to-day on the narrow streets of her village. From her
birthplace we see, across the Firth of Clyde, the beetling mountains of
the Highlands, where she afterward dwelt, and southward the great mass
of Ailsa Craig looming, a gigantic pyramid, out of the sea. Mary was
named for her aunt, wife of Peter McPherson, a ship-carpenter of
Greenock, in whose house Mary died. In her infancy her family removed to
the vicinage of Dunoon, on the western shore of the Firth, eight miles
below Greenock, leaving the oldest daughter at Ardrossan. Mary grew to
young womanhood near Dunoon, then returned to Ayrshire, and found
occupation at Coilsfield, near Tarbolton, where her acquaintance with
Burns soon began. He told a lady that he first saw Mary while walking in
the woods of Coilsfield, and first spoke with her at a rustic
merry-making, and, "having the luck to win her regards from other
suitors," they speedily became intimate. At this period of life Burns's
"eternal propensity to fall into love" was unusually active, even for
him, and his passion for Mary (at this time) was one of several which
engaged his heart in the interval between the reign of Ellison
Begbie--"the lass of the twa sparkling, roguish een"--and that of
"Bonnie Jean." Mary subsequently became a servant in the house of
Burns's landlord, Gavin Hamilton, a lawyer of Mauchline, who had early
recognized the genius of the bard and admitted him to an intimate
friendship, despite his inferior condition. When Hamilton was persecuted
by the kirk, Burns, partly out of sympathy with him, wrote the satires,
"Holy Willie's Prayer," "The Twa Herds," and "The Holy Fair," which
served to unite the friends more closely, and brought the poet often to
the house where Mary was an inmate. This house--a sombre structure of
stone, little more pretentious than its neighbors--we found on the
shabby street not far from Armour's cottage, the church of "The Holy
Fair," and "Posie Nansie's" inn, where the "Jolly Beggars" used to
congregate. Among the dingy rooms shown us in Hamilton's house was that
in which he married Burns to "Bonnie Jean" Armour.

[Sidenote: Personal Appearance]

[Sidenote: Betrothal and Parting]

The bard's niece, Miss Begg, of Bridgeside, told the writer that she
often heard Burns's mother describe Mary as she saw her at Hamilton's:
she had a bonnie face, a complexion of unusual fairness, soft blue eyes,
a profusion of shining hair which fell to her knees, a _petite_ figure
which made her seem younger than her twenty summers, a bright smile, and
pleasing manners, which won the old lady's heart. This description is,
in superlative phrase, corroborated by Lindsay in Hugh Miller's
"Recollections:" she was "beautiful, sylph-like," her bust and neck were
"exquisitely moulded," her arms and feet "had a statue-like symmetry and
marble-like whiteness;" but it was in her lovely countenance that
"nature seemed to have exhausted her utmost skill,"--"the loveliest
creature I have ever seen," etc. All who have written of her have
noticed her beauty, her good sense, her modesty and self-respect. But
these qualities were now insufficient to hold the roving fancy of Burns,
whose "susceptibility to immediate impressions" (so called by Byron, who
had the same failing) passes belief. His first ephemeral fancy for Mary
took little hold upon his heart, and the best that can be said of it is
that it was more innocent than the loves which came before and after it.
Within a stone's-throw of Mary dwelt Jean Armour, and when the former
returned to Coilsfield, he promptly fell in love with Jean, and solaced
himself with her more buxom and compliant charms. It was a year or so
later, when his intercourse with Jean had burdened him with grief and
shame, that the tender and romantic affection for Mary came into his
life. She was yet at Coilsfield, and while he was in hiding--his heart
tortured by the apparent perfidy of Jean and all the countryside
condemning his misconduct--his intimacy with Mary was renewed; his
quickened vision now discerned her endearing attributes, her trust and
sympathy were precious in his distress, and awoke in him an affection
such as he never felt for any other woman. During a few brief weeks the
lovers spent their evenings and Sabbaths together, loitering amid the

  "Banks and braes and streams around
  The castle of Montgomery,"

talking of the golden days that were to be theirs when present troubles
were past; then came the parting which the world will never forget, and
Mary relinquished her service and went to her parents at Campbeltown,--a
port of Cantyre behind "Arran's mountain isle." Of this parting Burns
says, in a letter to Thomson, "We met by appointment on the second
Sunday of May, in a sequestered spot on the Ayr, where we spent the day
in taking farewell before she should embark for the West Highlands to
prepare for our projected change of life." Lovers of Burns linger over
this final parting, and detail the impressive ceremonials with which the
pair solemnized their betrothal: they stood on either side of a brook,
they laved their hands in the water and scattered it in the air to
symbolize the purity of their intentions; clasping hands above an open
Bible, they swore to be true to each other forever, then exchanged
Bibles, and parted never to meet more. It is not strange that when death
had left him nothing of her but her poor little Bible, a tress of her
golden hair, and a tender memory of her love, the recollection of this
farewell remained in his soul forever. He has pictured it in the
exquisite lines of "Highland Mary" and "To Mary in Heaven."

[Sidenote: Mementos]

In the monument at Alloway--between the "auld haunted kirk" and the
bridge where Maggie lost her tail--we are shown a memento of the
parting; it is the Bible which Burns gave to Mary and above which their
vows were said. At Mary's death it passed to her sister, at Ardrossan,
who bequeathed it to her son William Anderson; subsequently it was
carried to America by one of the family, whence it has been recovered to
be treasured here. It is a pocket edition in two volumes, to one of
which is attached a lock of poor Mary's shining hair. Within the cover
of the first volume the hand of Burns has written, "And ye shall not
swear by my name falsely, I am the Lord;" within the second, "Thou shalt
not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths." Upon
a blank leaf of each volume is Burns's Masonic signet, with the
signature, "Robert Burns, Mossgiel," written beneath. Mary's
spinning-wheel is preserved in the adjoining cottage. A few of her
bright hairs, severed in her fatal fever, are among the treasures of the
writer and lie before him as he pens these lines.

[Sidenote: Coilsfield--Plans of the Lovers]

A visit to the scenes of the brief passion of the pair is a pleasing
incident of our Burns-pilgrimage. Coilsfield House is somewhat changed
since Mary dwelt beneath its roof,--a great rambling edifice of gray
weather-worn stone with a row of white pillars aligned along its façade,
its massive walls embowered in foliage and environed by the grand woods
which Burns and Mary knew so well. It was then a seat of Colonel Hugh
Montgomerie, a patron of Burns. The name Coilsfield is derived from
Coila, the traditional appellation of the district. The grounds comprise
a billowy expanse of wood and sward; great reaches of turf, dotted with
trees already venerable when the lovers here had their tryst a hundred
years ago, slope away from the mansion to the Faile and border its
murmuring course to the Ayr. Here we trace with romantic interest the
wanderings of the pair during the swift hours of that last day of
parting love, their lingering way 'neath the "wild wood's thickening
green," by the pebbled shore of Ayr to the brooklet where their vows
were made, and thence along the Faile to the woodland shades of
Coilsfield, where, at the close of that winged day, "pledging oft to
meet again, they tore themselves asunder." Howitt found at Coilsfield a
thorn-tree, called by all the country "Highland Mary's thorn," and
believed to be the place of final parting; years ago the tree was
notched and broken by souvenir seekers; if it be still in existence the
present occupant of Coilsfield is unaware.

[Sidenote: Burns's Regard for Mary--Her Death]

At the time of his parting with Mary, Burns had already resolved to
emigrate to Jamaica, and it has been supposed, from his own statements
and those of his biographers, that the pair planned to emigrate
together; but Burns soon abandoned this project and, perhaps, all
thought of marrying Mary. The song commencing "Will ye go to the Indies,
my Mary?" has been quoted to show he expected her to accompany him, but
he says, in an epistle to Thomson, that this was his farewell to her,
and in another song, written while preparing to embark, he declares that
it is leaving Mary that makes him wish to tarry. Further, we find that
with the first nine pounds received from the sale of his poems he
purchased a single passage to Jamaica,--manifestly having no intention
of taking her with him. Her being at Greenock in October, _en route_ to
a new place of service at Glasgow, indicates she had no hope that he
would marry her then, or soon. True, he afterward said she came to
Greenock to meet him, but it is certain that he knew nothing of her
being there until after her death. During the summer of 1786, while
she was preparing to wed him, he indited two love-songs to her, but
they are not more glowing than those of the same time to several
inamoratas,--less impassioned than the "Farewell to Eliza" and allusions
to Jean in "Farewell, old Scotia's bleak domains,"--and barely four
weeks after his ardent and solemn parting with Mary we find him writing
to Brice, "I do still love Jean to distraction." Poor Mary! Possibly the
fever mercifully saved her from dying of a broken heart. The bard's
anomalous affectional condition and conduct may perhaps be explained by
assuming that he loved Mary with a refined and spiritual passion so
different from his love for others--and especially from his conjugal
love for Jean--that the passions could coexist in his heart. The
alternative explanation is that his love for Mary, while she lived, was
by no means the absorbing passion which he afterward believed it to
have been. When death had hallowed his memories of her love and of all
their sweet intercourse,--beneficent death! that beautifies, ennobles,
irradiates, in the remembrance of survivors, the loved ones its touch
has taken,--then his soul, swelling with the passion that throbs in the
strains of "To Mary in Heaven," would not own to itself that its love
had ever been less.

Mary remained at Campbeltown during the summer of 1786. Coming to
Greenock in the autumn, she found her brother sick of a malignant fever
at the house of her aunt; bravely disregarding danger of contagion, she
devoted herself to nursing him, and brought him to a safe convalescence
only to be herself stricken by his malady and to rapidly sink and die, a
sacrifice to her sisterly affection. By this time the success of his
poems had determined Burns to remain in Scotland, and he returned to
Mossgiel, where tidings of Mary's death reached him. His brother relates
that when the letter was handed to him he went to the window to read it,
then his face was observed to change suddenly, and he quickly went out
without speaking. In June of the next year he made a solitary journey to
the Highlands, apparently drawn by memory of Mary. If, indeed, he
dropped a tear upon her neglected grave and visited her humble Highland
home, we may almost forgive him the excesses of that tour, if not the
renewed _liaison_ with Jean which immediately preceded, and the amorous
correspondence with "Clarinda" (Mrs. M'Lehose) which followed it.

Whatever the quality or degree of his passion for Mary living, his grief
for her dead was deep and tender, and expired only with his life.
Cherished in his heart, it manifested itself now in some passage of a
letter, now in some pathetic burst of song,--like "The Lament" and
"Highland Mary,"--and again in some emotional act. Of many such acts
narrated to the writer by Burns's niece, the following is, perhaps, most
striking. The poet attended the wedding of Kirstie Kirkpatrick, a
favorite of his, who often sang his songs for him, and, after the wedded
pair had retired, a lass of the company, being asked to sing, began
"Highland Mary." Its effect upon Burns "was painful to witness; he
started to his feet, prayed her in God's name to forbear, then hastened
to the door of the marriage-chamber and entreated the bride to come and
quiet his mind with a verse or two of 'Bonnie Doon.'" The lines "To Mary
in Heaven" and the pathetic incidents of their composition show most
touchingly how he mourned his fair-haired lassie years after she ceased
to be. It was at Ellisland, October 20, 1789, the anniversary of Mary's
death, an occasion which brought afresh to his heart memories of the
tender past. Jean has told us of his increasing silence and unrest as
the day declined, of his aimless wandering by Nithside at nightfall, of
his rapt abstraction as he lay pillowed by the sheaves of his
stack-yard, gazing entranced at the "lingering star" above him till the
immortal song was born.

[Sidenote: Her Grave]

Poor Mary is laid in the burial-plot of her uncle in the west kirk-yard
of Greenock, near Crawford Street; our pilgrimage in Burnsland may fitly
end at her grave. A pathway, beaten by the feet of many reverent
visitors, leads us to the spot. It is so pathetically different from the
scenes she loved in life,--the heather-clad slopes of her Highland home,
the seclusion of the wooded braes where she loitered with her
poet-lover. Scant foliage is about her; few birds sing above her here.
She lies by the wall; narrow streets hem in the enclosure; the air is
sullied by smoke from factories and from steamers passing within a
stone's-throw on the busy Clyde; the clanging of many hammers and the
discordant din of machinery and traffic invade the place and sound in
our ears as we muse above the ashes of the gentle lassie.

For half a century her grave was unmarked and neglected; then, by
subscription, a monument of marble, twelve feet in height, and of
graceful proportions, was raised. It bears a sculptured medallion
representing Burns and Mary, with clasped hands, plighting their troth.
Beneath is the simple inscription, read oft by eyes dim with tears:

    Erected Over the Grave of

          HIGHLAND MARY

              1842.

  "My Mary, dear departed shade,
    Where is thy place of blissful rest?"



BRONTË SCENES IN BRUSSELS

_School--Class-Rooms--Dormitory--Garden--Scenes and Events of Villette
  and The Professor--M. Paul--Madame Beck--Memories of the Brontës--
  Confessional--Grave of Jessy Yorke_.


We had "done" Brussels after the approved fashion,--had faithfully
visited the churches, palaces, museums, theatres, galleries, monuments;
had duly admired the windows and carvings of the grand cathedral, the
tower and tapestry and frescos and façade of the Hôtel de Ville, the
stately halls and the gilded dome of the Courts of Justice, and the
consummate beauty of the Bourse; had diligently sought out the naïve
boy-fountain, and had made the usual excursion to the field of Waterloo.

[Sidenote: The Park--Héger Mansion]

This delightful task being conscientiously discharged, we proposed to
devote our last day in the Belgian capital to the accomplishment of one
of the cherished projects of our lives,--the searching out of the
localities associated with Charlotte Brontë's unhappy school-life here,
which she has so graphically portrayed. For our purpose no guide was
needful, for the topography and local coloring of "Villette" and "The
Professor" are as vivid and unmistakable as in the best work of Dickens
himself. Proceeding from St. Gudule to the Rue Royale, and a short
distance along that thoroughfare, we reached the park and a locality
familiar to Miss Brontë's readers. Seated in this lovely
pleasure-ground, the gift of the Empress Maria Theresa, with its cool
shade all about us, we noted the long avenues and the paths winding amid
trees and shrubbery, the dark foliage ineffectually veiling the gleaming
statuary and the sheen of bright fountains, "the stone basin with its
clear depth, the thick-planted trees which framed this tremulous and
rippled mirror," the groups of happy people filling the seats in
secluded nooks or loitering in the mazes and listening to the music; we
noted all this, and felt that Miss Brontë had revealed it to us long
ago. It was across this park that Lucy Snowe was piloted from the bureau
of the diligence by the chivalrous Dr. John on the night when she,
despoiled, helpless, and solitary, arrived in Brussels. She found the
park deserted, the paths miry, the water dripping from the trees. "In
the double gloom of tree and fog she could not see her guide, and could
only follow his tread" in the darkness. We recalled another scene under
these same trees, on a night when the gate-way was "spanned by a flaming
arch of massed stars." The park was a "forest with sparks of purple and
ruby and golden fire gemming the foliage," and Lucy, driven from her
couch by mental torture, wandered unrecognized amid the gay throng at
the midnight concert of the Festival of the Martyrs and looked upon her
lover, her friends the Brettons, and the secret junta of her enemies,
Madame Beck, Madame Walravens, and Père Silas. The sense of familiarity
with the vicinage grew as we observed our surroundings. Facing us, at
the extremity of the park, was the palace of the king, in the small
square across the Rue Royale at our right was the statue of General
Béliard, and we knew that just behind it we should find the Brontë
school; for "The Professor," standing by the statue, had looked down a
great staircase to the door-way of the school, and poor Lucy on that
forlorn first night in "Villette," to avoid a pair of ruffians, had
hastened down a flight of steps from the Rue Royale and had come, not to
the inn she sought, but to the _pensionnat_ of Madame Beck. From the
statue we descended, by a series of stone stairs, into a narrow street,
old-fashioned and clean, quiet and secluded in the very heart of the
great city, and just opposite the foot of the steps we came to the wide
door of a spacious, quadrangular, stuccoed old mansion, with a bit of
foliage showing over a high wall at one side. A bright plate embellished
the door and bore the name Héger. A Latin inscription in the wall of
the house showed it to have been given to the Guild of Royal Archers by
the Infanta Isabelle early in the seventeenth century. Long before that
the garden had been the orchard and herbary of a convent and the
Hospital for the Poor.

[Sidenote: Characters of Villette]

[Sidenote: The Hégers]

We were detained at the door long enough to remember Lucy standing
there, trembling and anxious, awaiting admission, and then we too were
"let in by a _bonne_ in a smart cap," apparently a fit successor to the
Rosine of other days, and entered the corridor. This was paved with
blocks of black and white marble and had painted walls. It extended
through the entire depth of the house, and at its farther extremity an
open door afforded us a glimpse of the garden. We were ushered into the
little _salon_ at the left of the passage, the one often mentioned in
"Villette," and here we made known our wish to see the garden and
class-rooms, and met with a prompt refusal from the neat portress. We
tried diplomacy (also lucre) without avail: it was the _grandes
vacances_, M. Héger was engaged, we could not be gratified,--unless,
indeed, we were patrons of the school. At this juncture a portly,
ruddy-faced lady of middle age and most courteous of speech and manner
appeared, and, addressing us in faultless English, introduced herself as
Mdlle. Héger, co-directress of the school, and "wholly at our service."
In response to our apologies for the intrusion and explanations of the
desire which had prompted it, we received complaisant assurances of
welcome; yet the manner of our entertainer indicated that she did not
share in our admiration and enthusiasm for Charlotte Brontë and her
books. In the subsequent conversation it appeared that Mademoiselle and
her family hold decided opinions upon the subject,--something more than
mere lack of admiration. She was familiar with the novels, and thought
that, while they exhibit a talent certainly not above mediocrity, they
reflect the injustice, the untruthfulness, and the ingratitude of their
creator. We were obliged to confess to ourselves that the family have
reason for this view, when we reflected that in the books Miss Brontë
has assailed their religion and disparaged the school and the characters
of the teachers and pupils, has depicted Madame Héger in the odious duad
of Madame Beck and Mdlle. Reuter, has represented M. Héger as the
scheming and deceitful Pelet and the preposterous Paul, Lucy Snowe's
lover; that this lover was the husband of Madame Héger, and father of
the family of children to whom Lucy was at first _bonne d'enfants_, and
that possibly the daughter she has described as the thieving, vicious
Désirée--"that tadpole Désirée Beck"--was this very lady now so politely
entertaining us. To all this add the significant fact that "Villette"
is an autobiographical novel, which "records the most vivid passages in
Miss Brontë's own sad heart's history," not a few of the incidents being
transcripts "from the darkest chapter of her own life," and the light
which the consideration of this fact throws upon her relations with
members of the family will help us to apprehend the stand-point from
which the Hégers judge Miss Brontë and her work, and to excuse a natural
resentment against one who has presented them in a decidedly bad light.
How bad we realized when, during the ensuing chat, we called to mind
just what she had written of them. As Madame Beck, Madame Héger had been
represented as lying, deceitful, and shameless, as "watching and spying
everywhere, peeping through every key-hole, listening behind every
door," as duplicating Lucy's keys and secretly searching her bureau, as
meanly abstracting her letters and reading them to others, as immodestly
laying herself out to entrap the man to whom she had given her love
unsought. It was some accession to the existing animosity between
herself and Madame Héger which precipitated Miss Brontë's departure from
the _pensionnat_. Mrs. Gaskell ascribes their mutual dislike to
Charlotte's free expression of her aversion to the Catholic Church, of
which Madame Héger was a devotee, and hence "wounded in her most
cherished opinions;" but a later writer plainly intimates that Miss
Brontë hated the woman who sat for Madame Beck because marriage had
given to _her_ the man whom Miss Brontë loved, and that "Madame Beck had
need to be a detective in her own house." The death of Madame Héger had
rendered the family, who held her only as a sacred memory, more keenly
sensitive than ever to anything which would seem by implication to
disparage her.

[Sidenote: Recollections of the Brontës]

For himself, it would appear that M. Héger had less cause for
resentment; for, although in "Villette" his double is pictured as "a
waspish little despot," as detestably ugly, in his anger closely
resembling "a black and sallow tiger," as having an "overmastering love
of authority and public display," as playing the spy and reading
purloined letters, and in the Brontë epistles Charlotte declares he is
choleric and irritable, compels her to make her French translations
without a dictionary or grammar, and then has "his eyes almost plucked
out of his head" by the occasional English word she is obliged to
introduce, etc., yet all this is partially atoned for by the warm praise
she subsequently accords him for his goodness to her and his
disinterested friendship, by the poignant regret she expresses at
parting with him,--perhaps wholly expiated by the high compliment she
pays him of making her heroine fall in love with him, or the higher
compliment it is suspected she paid him of falling in love with him
herself. One who reads the strange history of passion in "Villette," in
conjunction with her letters, "will know more of the truth of her stay
in Brussels than if a dozen biographers had undertaken to tell the whole
tale." Still, M. Héger can hardly be pleased by having members of his
school set forth as stupid, animal, and inferior, "their principles
rotten to the core, steeped in systematic sensuality," by having his
religion styled "besotted papistry, a piece of childish humbug," and the
like. Something of the displeasure of the family was revealed in the
course of our conversation with Mdlle. Héger, but the specific causes
were but cursorily touched upon. She could have no personal recollection
of the Brontës; her knowledge of them was derived from her parents and
the teachers,--presumably the "repulsive old maids" of Charlotte's
letters. One teacher whom we saw in the school had been a classmate of
Charlotte's here. The Brontës had not been popular with the school.
Their "heretical" religion had something to do with this; but their
manifest avoidance of the other pupils during hours of recreation,
Mademoiselle thought, had been a more potent cause,--Emily, in
particular, not speaking with her school-mates or teachers, except when
obliged to do so. The other pupils thought them of outlandish accent and
manners, and ridiculously old to be at school at all,--being twenty-four
and twenty-six, and seeming even older. Their sombre and ugly costumes
were fruitful causes of mirth to the gay young Belgian misses. The
Brontës were not brilliant students, and none of their companions had
ever suspected that they were geniuses. Of the two, Emily was considered
to be the more talented, but she was obstinate and opinionated. Some of
the pupils had been inclined to resist having Charlotte placed over them
as teacher, and may have been mutinous. After her return from Haworth
she taught English to M. Héger and his brother-in-law. M. Héger gave the
sisters private lessons in French without charge, and for some time
preserved their compositions, which Mrs. Gaskell copied. Mrs. Gaskell
visited the _pensionnat_ in quest of material for her biography of
Charlotte, and received all the aid M. Héger could afford: the
information thus obtained was, we were told, fairly used. Miss Brontë's
letters from Brussels, so freely quoted in Mrs. Gaskell's "Life," were
addressed to Ellen Nussy, a familiar friend of Charlotte's, whose
signature we saw in the register at Haworth as witness to Miss Brontë's
marriage. The Hégers had no suspicion that she had been so unhappy with
them as these letters indicate, and she had assigned a totally different
reason for her sudden return to England. She had been introduced to
Madame Héger by Mrs. Jenkins, wife of the then chaplain of the British
Embassy at the Court of Belgium; she had frequently visited that lady
and other friends in Brussels,--among them Mary and Martha Taylor and
the family of a Dr. ---- (_not_ "Dr. John"),--and therefore her life here
need not have been so lonely and desolate as it was made to appear.

[Sidenote: The Garden]

[Sidenote: School]

The Hégers usually have a few English pupils in the school, but have
never had an American. American tourists have before called to look at
the garden, but the family are not pleased by the notoriety with which
Miss Brontë has invested it. However, Mdlle. Héger kindly offered to
conduct us over any portion of the establishment we might care to see,
and led the way along the corridor to the narrow, high-walled garden. We
found it smaller than in the time when Miss Brontë loitered here in
weariness and solitude. Mdlle. Héger explained that, while the width
remained the same, the erection of class-rooms for the day-pupils had
diminished the length by some yards. Tall houses surrounded and shut it
in on either side, making it close and sombre, and the noises of the
great city all about it penetrated only as a far-away murmur. There was
a plat of verdant turf in the centre, bordered by scant flowers and
gravelled walks, along which shrubs of evergreen were irregularly
disposed. A few seats were here and there within the shade, where, as in
Miss Brontë's time, the _externats_ ate the lunch brought with them to
the school; and overlooking it all stood the great pear-trees, whose
gnarled and deformed trunks were relics of the time of the convent.
Beyond these and along the gray wall which bounded the farther side of
the enclosure was the sheltered walk which was Miss Brontë's favorite
retreat, the "_allée défendue_" of her novels. It was screened by shrubs
and perfumed by flowers, and, being secure from the intrusion of pupils,
we could well believe that Charlotte and her heroine found here restful
seclusion. The coolness and quiet and, more than all, the throng of
vivid associations which filled the place tempted us to linger. The
garden was not a spacious nor even a pretty one, and yet it seemed to us
singularly pleasing and familiar, as if we were revisiting it after an
absence. Seated upon a rustic bench close at hand, possibly the very one
which Lucy had "reclaimed from fungi and mould," how the memories came
surging up in our minds! How often in the summer twilight poor
Charlotte had lingered here in solitude after the day's burdens and
trials with "stupid and impertinent" pupils! How often, with weary feet
and a dreary heart, she had paced this secluded walk and thought, with
longing, of the dear ones in far-away Haworth parsonage! In this
sheltered corner her other self, Lucy, sat and listened to the distant
chimes and thought forbidden thoughts and cherished impossible hopes.
Here she met and talked with Dr. John. Deep beneath this "Methuselah of
a pear-tree," the one nearest the end of the alley, lies the imprisoned
dust of the poor nun who was buried alive ages ago for some sin against
her vow, and whose perambulating ghost so disquieted poor Lucy. At the
root of this same tree one miserable night Lucy buried her precious
letters, and meant also to bury a grief and her great affection for Dr.
John. Here she leant her brow against Methuselah's knotty trunk and
uttered to herself those brave words of renunciation, "Good-night, Dr.
John; you are good, you are beautiful, _but you are not mine_.
Good-night, and God bless you!" Here she held pleasant converse with M.
Paul, and with him, spellbound, saw the ghost of the nun descend from
the leafy shadows overhead and, sweeping close past their wondering
faces, disappear behind yonder screen of shrubbery into the darkness of
the summer night. By that tall tree next the class-rooms the ghost was
wont to ascend to meet its material sweetheart, Fanshawe, in the great
garret beneath yonder sky-light,--the garret where Lucy retired to read
Dr. John's letter, and wherein M. Paul confined her to learn her part in
the vaudeville for Madame Beck's _fête_-day. In this nook where we sat
"The Professor" had walked and talked with and almost made love to
Mdlle. Reuter, and from yonder window overlooking the alley had seen
that perfidious fair one in dalliance with Pelet beneath these
pear-trees. From that window M. Paul watched Lucy as she sat or walked
in the _allée défendue_, dogged by Madame Beck; from the same window
were thrown the love-letters which fell at Lucy's feet sitting here.
Leaves from the overhanging boughs were plucked for us as souvenirs of
the place; then, reverently traversing once more the narrow alley so
often traced in weariness by Charlotte Brontë, we turned away. From the
garden we entered the long and spacious class-room of the first and
second divisions. A movable partition divided it across the middle when
the classes were in session; the floor was of bare boards cleanly
scoured. There were long ranges of desks and benches upon either side,
and a lane through the middle led up to a raised platform at the end of
the room, where the instructor's chair and desk were placed.

[Sidenote: M. Paul]

How quickly our fancy peopled the place! On these front seats sat the
gay and indocile Belgian girls. There, "in the last row, in the quietest
corner, sat Emily and Charlotte side by side, insensible to anything
about them;" and at the same desk, "in the farthest seat of the farthest
row," sat Mdlle. Henri during Crimsworth's English lessons. Here Lucy's
desk was rummaged by Paul and the tell-tale odor of cigars left behind.
Here, after school-hours, Miss Brontë taught Héger English, he taught
her French, and Paul taught Lucy arithmetic and (incidentally) love.
This was the scene of their _tête-à-têtes_, of his efforts to persuade
her into his religious faith, of their ludicrous supper of biscuit and
baked apples, and of his final violent outbreak with Madame Beck, when
she literally thrust herself between him and his love. From this
platform Crimsworth and Lucy and Charlotte Brontë herself had given
instruction to pupils whose insubordination had first to be confronted
and overcome. Here Paul and Héger gave lectures upon literature, and
Paul delivered his spiteful tirade against the English on the morning of
his _fête_-day. Upon this desk were heaped his bouquets that morning;
from its smooth surface poor Lucy dislodged and fractured his
spectacles; and here, seated in Paul's chair, at Paul's desk, we saw and
were presented to Paul Emanuel himself,--M. Héger.

[Sidenote: School Scenes]

It was something more than curiosity which made us alert to note the
appearance and manner of this man, who has been so nearly associated
with Miss Brontë in an intercourse which colored her subsequent life and
determined her life-work, who has been made the hero of her novels and
has been deemed the hero of her own heart's romance; and yet we _were_
curious to know what manner of man it was who has been so much as
suspected of being honored with the love and preference of the dainty
Charlotte Brontë. During a short conversation with him we had
opportunity to observe that in person this "wise, good, and religious"
man must, at the time Miss Brontë knew him, have more closely resembled
Pelet of "The Professor" than any other of her pen-portraits: indeed,
after the lapse of more than forty years that delineation still, for the
most part, aptly applied to him. He was of middle size, of rather spare
habit of body; his face was fair and the features pleasing and regular,
the cheeks were thin and the mouth flexible, the eyes--somewhat
sunken--were mild blue and of singularly pleasant expression. We found
him aged and somewhat infirm; his finely-shaped head was fringed with
white hair, and partial baldness contributed reverence to his presence
and tended to enhance the intellectual effect of his wide brow. In
repose his countenance showed a hint of melancholy: as Miss Brontë said,
his "physiognomy was _fine et spirituelle_;" one would hardly imagine it
could ever resemble the "visage of a black and sallow tiger." His voice
was low and soft, his bow still "very polite, not theatrical, scarcely
French," his manner _suave_ and courteous, his dress scrupulously neat.
He accosted us in the language Miss Brontë taught him forty years ago,
and his accent and diction honored her instruction. He was talking with
some patrons, and, as his daughter had hinted that he was averse to
speaking of Miss Brontë, we soon took leave of him and were shown other
parts of the school. The other class-rooms, used for less advanced
pupils, were smaller. In one of them Miss Brontë had ruled as monitress
after her return from Haworth. The large dormitory of the _pensionnat_
was above the long class-room, and in the time of the Brontës most of
the boarders--about twenty in number--slept here. Their cots were
arranged along either side, and the position of those occupied by the
Brontës was pointed out to us at the extreme end of the room. It was
here that Lucy suffered the horrors of hypochondria, so graphically
portrayed in "Villette," and found the discarded costume of the spectral
nun lying upon her bed, and here Miss Brontë passed those nights of
wakeful misery which Mrs. Gaskell describes. A long, narrow room in
front of the class-rooms was shown us as the _réfectoire_, where the
Brontës, with the other boarders, took their meals, presided over by M.
and Madame Héger, and where, during the evenings, the lessons for the
ensuing days were prepared. Here were held the evening prayers which
Charlotte used to avoid by escaping into the garden. This, too, was the
scene of Paul's readings to teachers and pupils, and of some of his
spasms of petulance, which readers of "Villette" will remember. From the
_réfectoire_ we passed again into the corridor, where we made our adieus
to our affable conductress. She explained that, whereas this
establishment had been both a _pensionnat_ and an _externat_, having
about seventy day-pupils and twenty boarders when Miss Brontë was here,
it was after the death of Madame Héger used as a day-school only,--the
_pensionnat_ being in another street.

[Sidenote: The Confessional]

The genuine local color Miss Brontë gives in "Villette" enabled us to be
sure that we had found the sombre old church where Lucy, arrested in
passing by the sound of the bells, knelt upon the stone pavement,
passing thence into the confessional of Père Silas. Certain it is that
this old church lies upon the route she would take in the walk from the
school to the Protestant cemetery, which she had set out to do that
afternoon, and the narrow streets which lie beyond the church correspond
to those in which she was lost. Certain, too, it is said to be that this
incident is taken from her own experience. Reid says, "During one of the
long holidays, when her mind was restless and disturbed, she found
sympathy, if not peace, in the counsels of a priest in the confessional,
who soothed her troubled spirit without attempting to enmesh it in the
folds of Romanism."

[Sidenote: The Cemetery]

Our way to the Protestant cemetery--a spot sadly familiar to Miss
Brontë, and the usual termination of her walks--lay past the site of the
Porte de Louvain and out to the hills beyond the old city limits. From
our path we saw more than one tree-shrouded farm-house which might have
been the place of Paul's breakfast with his school, and at least one
quaint mansion, with green-tufted and terraced lawns, which might have
served Miss Brontë as the model for La Terrasse, the suburban home of
the Brettons and the temporary abode of the Taylor sisters whom she
visited here. From the cemetery we beheld vistas of farther lines of
hills, of intervening valleys, of farms and villas, and of the great
city lying below. Miss Brontë has well described this place: "Here, on
pages of stone and of brass, are written names, dates, last tributes of
pomp or love, in English, French, German, and Latin." There are stone
crosses all about, and great thickets of roses and yews; "cypresses that
stand straight and mute, and willows that hang low and still;" and there
are "dim garlands of everlasting flowers." Here "The Professor" found
his long-sought sweetheart kneeling at a new-made grave under the
overhanging trees. And here we found the shrine of poor Charlotte
Brontë's many pilgrimages hither,--the burial-place of her friend and
school-mate, the Jessy Yorke of "Shirley;" the spot where, under "green
sod and a gray marble head-stone, cold, coffined, solitary, Jessy sleeps
below."



LEMAN'S SHRINES

_Beloved of Littérateurs--Gibbon--D'Aubigné--Rousseau--Byron--Shelley--
  Dickens, etc.--Scenes of Childe Harold--Nouvelle Heloïse--Prisoner of
  Chillon--Land of Byron._


[Sidenote: Haunts of Littérateurs]

A pilgrimage in the track of Childe Harold brings us from the shores of
Albion, by Belgium's capital and deadly Waterloo, along the castled
Rhine and over mountain-pass to "Italia, home and grave of empires," and
to the sublimer scenery of "Manfred," "Chillon," and the third canto of
the pilgrim-poet's masterpiece; to his "silver-sheeted Staubbach" and
"arrowy Rhone," "soaring Jungfrau" and "bleak Mont Blanc." We linger
with especial pleasure on the shores of "placid Leman," in an enchanting
region which teems with literary shrines and is pervaded with memories
and associations--often so thrilling and vivid that they seem like
veritable and sensible presences--of the brilliant number who have
here had their haunts. Here Calvin wrought his Commentaries; here
Voltaire polished his darts; here Rousseau laid the scenes of his
impassioned tale; here Dickens, Byron, and Shelley loitered and wrote;
here Gibbon and de Staël, Schlegel and Constant, and many another
scarcely less famous, lived and wrought the treasures of their knowledge
and fancy into the literature of the world. A lingering voyage round
the lake, like that of Byron and Shelley, is a delight to be remembered
through a lifetime, and affords opportunity to visit the spots
consecrated by genius upon these shores. At Geneva we find the inn where
Byron lodged and first met the author of "Queen Mab," the house in which
Rousseau was born, the place where d'Aubigné wrote his history, the
sometime home of John Calvin. Near by, in a house presented by the
Genevese after his release from the long imprisonment suffered on their
account, dwelt Bonnivard, Byron's immortal "Prisoner of Chillon," and
here he suffered from his procession of wives and finally died. Just
beyond the site of the fortifications, on the east side of the city, is
an eminence whose slopes are tastefully laid out with walks that wind,
amid sward and shrub, to the observatory which crowns the summit and
marks the site of Bonnivard's Priory of St. Victor, lost to him by his
devotion to Genevan independence. Not far away is the public library,
founded by his bequest of his modest collection of books and MSS. which
we see here carefully preserved. Here also is an old portrait of the
prisoner, which represents him as a reckless and jolly "good fellow"
rather than a saintly hero, and accords better with his character as
described by late writers than with the common conception of him.

[Sidenote: Byron at Villa Diodati]

Byron loved this Leman lake, and it is said his discontented sprite
still walks its margins; certain it is he remains its poetic genius; his
melody seems to wake in every breeze that stirs its surface. The Villa
Diodati, a plain, quadrangular, three-storied mansion of moderate
dimensions, standing on the shore a few miles from Geneva, was the
handsome "Giaour's" first home after his separation from Lady Byron and
his exile from England. It had been the residence of the Genevan
Professor Diodati and the sojourn of his friend the poet Milton.
Pleasant vineyards surround the place and slope away to the water, but
there is little in the spot or its near environment to commend it to the
fancy of a poet. Byron's study here was a sombre room at the back from
which neither the lake nor the snowy peaks were visible, and here he
wrote, besides many minor poems, "Manfred," "Prometheus," "Darkness,"
"Dream," and the third canto of "Childe Harold." Here also he wrote
"Marriage of Belphegor," a tale setting forth his version of his own
infelicitous marriage; but hearing that his wife was seriously ill, he
burned it in his study fire. From here, by instigation of de Stael, he
sent to Lady Byron ineffectual overtures for a reconciliation. His
companion at the villa was an eccentric Italian physician, Polidori, who
was uncle to the poet Rossetti, and who here quarrelled with Byron's
guests and wrote "The Vampire," a weird production afterward attributed
to Byron. Lovers of Byron owe much to his sojourn on Leman; he found in
the inspiring landscapes here, especially in the environment of
mountains, a power that profoundly stirred what his wife called "the
angel in him." His letters recognize an afflatus breathed upon him by
the "majesty around and above," and the quality of the poems here
produced shows his yielding and response to that benign influence; many
a gem of poetic thought was here begotten of lake and mount and
cataract, which otherwise had never been. The insincere stanzas of some
of his later poems would scarcely have been written on Leman. As we muse
in the spots he frequented--wandering on the entrancing margins or
floating on the crystal waters--and look thence upon the snow-crowned
peaks, resplendent in the sunshine or roseate in the after-glow, we
aspire to not only partake of his rapture in this sublime beauty, but to
appreciate the deeper feelings to which it moved him.

[Sidenote: Shelley]

A villa near Byron's, and reached by a path through his grounds,--Maison
Chapuis, of Mont Allegra,--was occupied that summer by the "impassioned
Ariel of English verse," with Mary Shelley and her brunette relative
Jane Clermont (the Claire of Shelley's journal), who after bore to
Byron a daughter called Alba by the Shelleys, but later named by Byron
Allegra, for the place where he had known the mother. At Mont Allegra
"Bridge of Arve," "Intellectual Beauty," and Mrs. Shelley's weird
"Frankenstein" were penned. Here Byron was a daily visitant, and the
Shelleys were the usual companions of his excursions upon the lake of
beauty, in a picturesque lateen-rigged boat which was the property of
the poets and the counterpart of which we see moored by the Diodati
shore, looking like a bit of the Levant transported to this tramontane
water. The "white phantom" observed by telescopists on the opposite
shore to sometimes embark with Byron, and which he gravely told Madame
de Staël was his dog, was doubtless the frail Claire. The admonitions of
de Staël anent his mode of life provoked Byron to take sure revenge by
being attentive to her husband, which the overshadowing wife always
resented as an affront upon herself. It is said the poet's observation
of this pair prompted the couplet of "Don Juan:"

  "But oh! ye lords of ladies intellectual,
  Inform us truly, have they not henpecked you all?"

[Sidenote: Voltaire--Gibbon--Dickens]

Passing for the present the shrines of Ferney and Coppet, we find in
picturesque Lausanne the quaint house in which Voltaire lived several
winters, and not far away the place where Secretan died a few months
ago. Gibbon's dwelling has been demolished, but we find the place of his
summer-house where the great history was completed, and of his famous
rose-tree where Byron gathered roses long ago. Madame de Genlis narrates
this incident of the great "Decliner and Faller" at Lausanne: he was
enamoured of the comely Madame Crousaz, and, finding her alone, he knelt
at her feet and besought her love. He received an unfavorable reply, but
remained in his humble posture until the lady, after repeatedly
requesting him to arise, discovered that his weight made it impossible,
and summoned a servant to assist him to regain his feet. His obesity
seems to have been a standing jest among his acquaintances: a sufferer
from indigestion, due to lack of exercise, was advised by a witty friend
to "walk twice around Gibbon before breakfast." Several decades later
another illustrious English man of letters sojourned in Lausanne. A
pretty cottage-villa, with embowered walls and flower-shaded porticos
which look from a mild eminence across the crescentic lake, was, in
1846, the dwelling of Dickens, who here wrote one of the matchless
Christmas stories and a part of "Dombey and Son." From the magnificent
slope of Lausanne the whole lake region is visible, with the dark Juras
rising to the western horizon, the Alps of Savoy, and "the monarch of
mountains with a diadem of snow" upholding the sky away in the south. At
the foot of this slope is the port-town of Ouchy, a resort of Byron's in
his sailing excursions; at the plain little Anchor inn near the _quai_
(Byron called it a "wretched inn") he lodged, and here, being detained
two days (June 26 and 27, 1816) by a storm which overtook him on his
return from Chillon and Clarens, he wrote the touching "Prisoner of
Chillon." In a parsonage not far from Lausanne was reared sweet Suzanne
Curchod, erst _fiancée_ of Gibbon, and later the mother of de Staël.

[Sidenote: Rousseau]

Eastward is "Clarens, birthplace of deep love," whose "air is the breath
of passionate thought, whose trees take root in love;" about it lies the
charming region which Rousseau chose for his fiction and peopled with
affections, and where Byron, Houghton, and Shelley loved to linger. Here
the latter first read "Nouvelle Héloïse" amid the settings of its
scenes; here Byron wrote many glowing lines, inspired by the beauty and
romantic associations around him. From the vine-clad terraces which
cling to the heights we behold the view which enraptured the poet,--a
broad expanse of lacustrine beauty and Alpine sublimity, embracing the
Leman shores from the Rhone to the Juras of Gex, the entire width of the
"_bleu impossible_" lake and Alp piled on Alp beyond. Back of Clarens we
find the spot of Rousseau's "Bosquet de Julie," and, at a little
distance among embowering trees, the birthplace of a woman stranger than
any fancied character of his fiction, the Madame de Warens of his
"Confessions."

[Sidenote: Prison of Chillon]

Between Clarens and Villeneuve, on an isolated rock whose base is laved
by Leman's waters, which "meet and flow a thousand feet in depth below,"
stands the grim prison of Chillon, the scene of Byron's poem. The
fortress is an irregular pile of masonry, and, with its massive walls,
loop-holed towers, and white battlements, is a picturesque object seen
across wide reaches of the lake. The present structure is a hoary
successor to a stronghold still more ancient: the prehistoric
lake-dwellers here had a fortress and were succeeded by the Franks and
Romans. Of the present structure, the Romanesque columns and the range
of dungeons are known to have been in existence in 830, when Count Wala,
a cousin of Charlemagne, for alluding to the wife of Louis the Debonair
as "that adulterous woman," was incarcerated here. Thus Judith's
reputation was vindicated and the earliest certain date of this fortress
fixed. The present superstructure remains unchanged since the
thirteenth century. It is now connected with the shore by a wooden
structure which spans the moat and replaces the ancient drawbridge.
Through a massive gate-way we enter a roughly-paved court, whence a
bluff Savoyard conducts us through the romantic pile. Among the
apartments of the ducal family we see the banqueting-hall where the
dukes held roistering wassail; the kitchen on whose great hearth oxen
were roasted whole; the Chamber of Inquisition where hapless prisoners
were tortured to extort confession, this room being near the chamber of
the duchess, into which--despite its thick wall--the shrieks of the
tortured must have sometimes penetrated and disturbed Her Serene
Highness. Outside her door is a post to which the wretches were bound,
and it is scored by marks of the irons which cauterized their flesh; in
a near corner stood a rack which rent them limb from limb. The crypt
beneath, with its low arched vaults and its graceful pillars rising out
of the rock, is the most interesting portion of the fortress. Referring
to their architectural perfection, Longfellow once said these were the
"most delightful dungeons he ever saw," but as we stand in their
twilight gloom the horrors of their history weigh heavily on the heart.
During this century the castle has been used as an arsenal, but
occasionally also as a prison, and Byron found some of these "chambers
of sorrow" tenanted at the time of his visits. One contracted cell is
that in which the condemned passed their last night of life chained upon
a rock, near the beam upon which they were strangled and the opening
through which their bodies were thrust into the lake. Another vault
contains a pit or well, with a spiral stair down which poor dupes
stepped into a yawning depth and--eternity. A third chamber, so dark
that its grotesque carvings are scarcely discernible and no missal could
be read by daylight, was the chapel of the fortress. Traversing the
succession of dungeons, we come to the last and largest, and reverently
stand beside the column where Byron's prisoner was chained. This
"dungeon deep and old" lies not beneath the level of the lake, as Byron
believed, yet it is sufficiently dank and dismal to be the appropriate
scene of the touching and tragic story which he located here. It is a
long, crypt-like apartment, whose vaulted roof of rock is upheld by the
"seven pillars of Gothic mould" aligned along the middle. It is dimly
lighted by loop-holes pierced in the ponderous walls for the feudal
bowmen; through these narrow apertures, where the prisoner "felt the
winter's spray wash through the bars when winds were high," we look out,
as did he, upon the distant town, "the lake with its white sails," the
"mountains high," and the little Isle de Paix--"scarce broader than the
dungeon floor"--gleaming like an emerald from a setting of amethyst.
Here is Bonnivard's chain, scarce four feet long, and in the central
pillar the ring which held it. The light, falling aslant "through the
cleft of the thick wall" upon the floor, shows us the pathway worn in
the rock by the pacing of the prisoner during the weary years, and
reveals--graven on the column-stone by the poet's hand--the name Byron.

At Chillon we are in the midst of a region pervaded by the sentiment of
the pilgrim-poet. The Byron path leads from the shore to the broad
terraces of the Hôtel Byron, whence we behold as in a picture the
romantic scene his poetry portrays,--the "mountains with their thousand
years of snow," the shimmering water of "the wide long lake," the dark
slopes of the Juras terraced to their summits, the "white-walled towns"
upon the nearer hill-sides. Directly before us--bearing its three tall
trees--"the little isle, the only one in view," smiles in our faces from
the bosom of the water; on the right we see sweet Clarens and the
picturesque battlements of Chillon; on the left, the glittering peaks of
Dent du Midi and the Alps of Savoy, with the "Rhone in fullest flow"
between the rocky heights; while from the farther shore rise the cliffs
of Meillerie, at whose base Byron and Shelley, clinging to their frail
boat, narrowly escaped a watery grave on the very spot where St. Preux
and Julia of "Nouvelle Héloïse" were rescued from the same fate.

[Sidenote: Rousseau and Byron scenes]

Our farewell view of this Land of Byron is taken on a cloudless summer
night, when the radiance of the harvest moon exalts and glorifies all
the scene; the grim prison of Bonnivard is transformed into a snowy
palace of peaceful delights, the white mountain-peaks gleam with the
chaste lustre of pearls, the vine-embowered village on the shore seems
an Aidenn of purity and light, and the sheen of the tremulous water is
that of a sea of molten silver. Surely, on all her round, "Luna lights
no spot more fair."



CHÂTEAUX OF FERNEY AND COPPET

_Voltaire's Home, Church, Study, Garden, Relics--Literary Court of
  de Staël--Mementos--Famous Rooms, Guests--Schlegel--Shelley--
  Constant--Byron--Davy, etc.--De Staël's Tomb._


A literary pilgrimage on Leman's shores that did not include Ferney
among its shrines would be obviously incomplete. No matter how widely we
may dissent from his opinions or how much we may deplore some of his
utterances, the brilliant philosopher who for so many years inhabited
that spot and made it the intellectual capital of the world commands a
place in letters which we may neither gainsay nor ignore, and the
Château Voltaire is to many visitors one of the chief objects of
interest in the neighborhood of Geneva.

[Sidenote: Voltaire's Church--Mansion]

Beneath a summer sky a delightful jaunt of a few miles, among orchards
and vineyards and past the ancestral home of Albert Gallatin, brings us
to Voltaire's domain in Gex. The mansion and town of Ferney were alike
the creation of the _genius loci_; he was architect and builder of both.
The town and its factories were erected to give shelter and employment
to hundreds of artisans who appealed to him against oppressive
employers at Geneva. The place has obviously degenerated since his time;
an air of shabbiness and thriftlessness prevails, and ancient smells by
no means suggestive of "the odors of Araby the blest" obtrude upon the
pilgrim. At the public fountain stout-armed women were washing family
linen manifestly long unused to such manipulation. Near by dwell
descendants of Voltaire's secretary Wagnière. Upon a verdant plateau
farther away, in the heart of one of the most beautiful regions of
earth, "girdled by eighty leagues of mountains that pierce the sky," was
Voltaire's last home. By its gate is the little church he built, bearing
upon its gable his inscription "Deo Erexit Voltaire." Here he attended
mass with his niece, and, as _seigneur_, was always incensed by the
priest; here he gave in marriage his adopted daughters; here he preached
a homily against theft; and here he built for himself a tomb, projecting
into the side of the church,--"neither within nor without," as he
explained to a guest,--where he hoped to be buried. The church was long
used as a tenement, later it has been a storage- and tool-house. The
cháteau is a spacious and dignified three-storied structure of Italian
style, attractive in appearance and well suited to one of Voltaire's
tastes and occupations. The exterior has been somewhat altered, but the
apartments of the philosopher are essentially unchanged. The late
proprietor preserved the study and bedroom nearly as Voltaire left them
when he started upon his fatal visit to Paris. They are small, with high
ceilings, quaint carvings, faded tapestries, and are obviously planned
to facilitate the work of the busiest author the world has known, who
here, after the age of threescore, wrote a hundred and sixty works. Many
of these assailed the church authorities, who had shown themselves
capable of punishing mere difference of opinion by the rack and the
stake, but "the religion of the Sermon on the Mount and the character of
men of good and consistent lives" they did not attack: some of the books
were cursed at Rome, some at Geneva, others were burned at both places.

[Sidenote: His Rooms--Furniture]

Disposed in Voltaire's rooms we have seen his heavy furniture; his
study-chair standing by the table upon which he wrote half of each day;
his beautiful porcelain stove, a gift from Frederick the Great; a draped
mausoleum bearing an inscription by Voltaire and designed by his
_protégé_ to contain his heart; many paintings presented by royal
admirers,--Albani's "Toilet of Venus," Titian's "Venus and Love," a
picture of Voltaire's chimney-sweep, portrait of Lekain who acted so
many of Voltaire's tragedies, portraits of that philosopher, a fanciful
deification of him by Duplessis; on the same wall, coarse engravings of
Washington and Franklin. Franklin was the firm friend of Voltaire, and
it was his letters which first brought to Ferney news of the Declaration
of Independence. The discolored embroidery of Voltaire's bed and
arm-chair was wrought by his niece Madame Denis, "the little fat woman
round as a ball." Habitually complaining of illness in his last years,
he spent more than half his time in this quaint bed. He had a desk,
containing writing materials, suspended above the bed so that he could
write here day or night, and the amount of work he thus accomplished is
astounding: in the last four years of feeble life he wrote thirty works
varying in size from a pamphlet to a ponderous tome. His breakfast was
served in bed, and here he habitually attended to his correspondence,
which included most of the sovereigns of Europe and the learned and
great of all climes. In this bed he once lay for weeks feigning mortal
illness, and thus induced the priest to give him the _viaticum_. This
bedroom, too, was the scene of many quarrels with his niece regarding
her extravagances, but as we sit in his chair by his bedside we prefer
to recall more pleasing incidents the room has witnessed; here he
dictated to Marie Corneille the ardent words which brought reparation
to many a cruelly wronged family; this was the scene of his many
pleasantries with the house-keeper "Baba," and of the loving
ministrations of his sweet ward "Belle et Bonne."

Many of Voltaire's belongings have been removed and his estate has been
shorn of its vast dimensions, but much remains to remind us of the
genius of the place. Here are the gardens, lawns, and shrubberies he
planted; on this turf-grown terrace beneath his study windows he paced
as he planned his compositions, and here, at the age of eighty-three, he
evolved "Irene" and parts of "Agathocles;" near by are his fount, his
arbored promenade, the shaded spot where he wrote in summer days, the
place of the lightning-rod made for him by Franklin. Long reaches of the
hedge were rooted by him, many of the trees are from the nursery he
cultured, the cedars were raised from seeds sent to him by the Empress
Catherine. A venerable tree in the park was planted by Voltaire's own
hands: when we point to a blemish upon its trunk and ask our guide,
whose family have dwelt on the estate since the time of Voltaire, if
that is the effect of lightning, as has been averred, he indignantly
declares the only damage the tree ever sustained has been from visitors
who, to secure souvenirs of the illustrious philosopher, would destroy
the whole tree were he not alert to protect it.

[Sidenote: An Intellectual Capital--Reminiscences]

For twenty years this home of Voltaire was the centre and pharos of the
intellectual world. To this court kings sent couriers with proffers of
honors and assurances of esteem; hither came legions of _littérateurs_,
academicians, politicians, eager to hail the savant or to secure his
commendation. "All roads then led to Ferney as they once did to Rome,"
and the hospitalities of the château were so taxed that Voltaire
declared he was innkeeper for all Europe. He habitually complained of
the climate here, "Lapland in winter, Naples in summer;" during some
seasons "thirty leagues of snow were visible from his windows;" but on
the July day of our visit the atmosphere is exquisitely delightful and
Voltaire's "desert" seems a paradise. Behind us rise the vine-clad
slopes of Jura, below lies the lake like an amethystine sea, afar gleam
the snow-crowned peaks, and about us in the old gardens are the golden
sunshine, the incense of flowers, the twitter of birds, and all the
charm of sweet summer-time. As we linger in the spots he loved it is
pleasant to recall the good that mingled in the oddly composite nature
of the daring old man who inhabited this beautiful scene and created
much of its beauty; to remember that dumb creatures loved him and fed
from his hand; that the destitute and oppressed never vainly applied to
him for succor or protection; that in varying phrase he solemnly
averred, in letters of counsel to youthful admirers in his own and other
lands, "We are in the world only for the good we can do."

Of the galaxy of _littérateurs_ who had home or haunt by Leman's margins
Madame de Staël, by her long residence and many incidents of her career,
seems most closely associated with this region of delights. The château
of Coppet has for two centuries belonged to her family; here some
portion of her girlhood was passed; here she found asylum from the
horrors of the French Revolution and residence when Napoleon banished
her from his capital. Later her son Auguste dwelt here, and the place is
now the property of her great-granddaughter. Literary and social
associations render this mediæval château one of the most interesting
spots on earth. Exiled from the society of Paris, de Staël erected here
a court which became the centre of intellectual Europe. Coppet was in
itself a lustrous microcosm whose attraction was the conversation of its
hostess and queen, which allured the wit and wisdom of a continent,
making this court not only a literary centre, but a political power of
which Napoleon, by his proscriptions, proclaimed his fear. The great
number of illustrious courtiers who came to Coppet caused the priestess
of its hospitalities to aver she needed "a cook whose heels were
winged."

[Sidenote: Home of de Staël]

The darkly-verdured terraces of Jura on the one hand, the blue waters
and the farther snowy peaks on the other, fitly environ the enchanting
scene in the midst of which was set the abode of the greatest woman of
her time. From Geneva a charming sail along the lake conveys us to her
home and sepulchre. We approach the château between rows of venerable
trees beneath which de Staël loitered with her guests. The stately
edifice rises from three sides of a court, whence we are admitted to a
large hall on the lower floor which she used as a theatre. These walls,
which give back only the echo of our foot-falls, have resounded with the
applause of fastidious auditors when the queen of Coppet, with her
children and Récamier, de Sabran, Werner, Jenner, Constant, Von Vought,
or Ida Brun acted upon a stage at yonder end of the room. The
composition of plays for this theatre was sometime de Staël's principal
recreation: these have been published as "Essais Dramatiques." But more
ambitious dramas were presented; the matchless Juliette acted here with
Sabran and de Staël in "Semiramis;" Werner assisted in the first
presentation of "Attila," which was written here; Constant's
"Wallenstein" was composed here and first produced on this stage, as was
also Oehlenschläger's "Hakon Jarl." De Staël was an efficient actress,
her lustrous eyes, superb arms, and strong and flexible voice
compensating for deficiencies of training. A broad stair leads from the
silent theatre to the principal apartments, among which we find the
library where Necker wrote his "Politics and Finance," the grand salon
and reception-rooms,--all of imposing dimensions and having parquetted
floors. Arranged in these rooms are many mementos of the daughter of
genius who once inhabited them,--hangings of tapestry; antique
spindle-legged furniture carved and gilded in quaint fashion; the
cherub-bedecked clock that stood above her desk; her books and inkstand;
the desk upon which "Necker," "Ten Years of Exile," "Allemagne," and
many minor treatises were written. Upon the wall is her portrait, by
David, which pictures her with bare arms and shoulders, her head crowned
by a nimbus of yellow turban which she wore when costumed as "Corinne:"
the features are not classical, but the brunette face, with its splendid
dark eyes, is comely as well as intellectual, and obviously contradicts
Byron's declaration, "She is so ugly I wonder how the best intellect of
France could have taken up such a residence." Schäffer's portrait of
her daughter hangs near by, displaying a face of striking beauty, and a
picture of Madame Necker, de Staël's mother, represents a sweet-faced
woman who smiles upon the visitor despite the discomfort of a painfully
tight-fitting dress of white satin. Here also are portraits of Necker,
of de Staël's first husband, of her son Auguste, of Schlegel, and of
other literary _confrères_, a statue of her father, by Tieck, and a bust
of Rocca, her youthful second husband. The latter represents a
finely-shaped head and a winning face. Byron thought Rocca notably
handsome, and Frederica Brun testified, "he had the most magnificent
head I ever saw." He was so slender that one of de Staël's courtiers
wondered "how his many wounds found a place upon him:" these wounds,
received in the Peninsula, won for him the sympathy of de Staël, which
deepened into love.

[Sidenote: Memorable Rooms--Mementos]

As we wander through the rooms, waking the echoes and viewing the
souvenirs of the illustrious dead, as we ponder their lives, their aims,
their works, it seems, amid the vivid associations of the place, to
require no supernal effort of the fancy to repeople it with the
brilliant company who were wont to assemble here. Of these apartments,
the salon, from whose wall looks down the portrait of Corinna, will
longest hold the pilgrim. It was the throne-room of this court: here
resorted a throng of the best and noblest minds, _littérateurs_,
scientists, men of largest thought, of highest rank. Here Récamier was a
frequent guest: yonder mirror, with its multipanes framed in gilt metal,
often reflected her lovely face. In this room she danced for the delight
of de Staël her famous gavotte, which had transported the _beau monde_
of Paris, and was rewarded by its celebration in "Corinne." Some who
came to this court remained as residential guests: for fifteen years
Sismondi worked here upon his "Literature of Southern Europe," etc.;
here the sage Bonstetten wrote many of his twenty-five volumes; here
Schlegel, the great critic of his age, who is commemorated in "Corinne"
as Castel-Forte, was installed for twelve years and prepared his works
on dramatic literature; here Werner, author of "Luther," "Wanda," etc.,
wrote much of his mystic poetry; here the Danish national poet composed
his noblest tragedies, "Correggio" being a souvenir of Coppet; here
Constant penned many dramas. Among the frequenters of this salon were
Madame de Saussure, famous for her books on education; Frederica Brun,
with her daughter Ida who is imaged in "Allemagne;" Sir Humphry and Lady
Davy, the latter being the realization of "Corinne;" Madame de
Krüdener, author of "Valérie," from whom Delphine was mainly drawn;
Barante the critic; Dumont, editor of Jeremy Bentham. Of those who came
less often were Cuvier, Gibbon, Ritter, Lacretelle, Mirabeau, Houghton,
Brougham, Ampère, Byron, Shelley, Montmorency, Wynona, Tieck, Müller,
Candolle, de Sergey, Prince Augustus, and scores of others.

[Sidenote: Literary Court and Courtiers]

This room, where that galaxy assembled, has witnessed the most wonderful
intellectual _séances_ of the century. We may imagine something of the
brilliancy of an assembly of such minds presided over by de Staël,--what
gayety, what coruscations of wit, what displays of wisdom, what keenness
of discussion were not possible to such a circle! For some time
religious tenets were frequently under consideration. Every shade of
belief, doubt, and agnosticism had its defenders in the company.
Sismondi was corresponding with Channing of Boston, whose views he
espoused, and the arrival of each letter caused the renewal of the
argument in which de Staël was the principal advocate of the spiritual
motive of Christianity as against a system of mere well-doing. All
questions of literature, art, ethics, philosophy, politics, were
considered here by the most capable minds of the age, the discussions
being oft prolonged into the night. But that there may be too much
even of a good thing is naïvely confessed by Bonstetten, one of the
lights of these _séances_, in his letters: "I feel tired by surfeit of
intellect: there is more mind expended at Coppet in a day than in many
countries in a year, but I am half dead." Scintillant converse was
interspersed with music from the old harpsichord in yonder
corner,--touched by fingers that now are dust,--with recitations and
reading of MSS. It was the habit of de Staël to read to the circle, for
their criticism, what she had written during the morning, and to discuss
the subsequent chapters. Guests who were writing at the château then
read their compositions--Bonstetten's "Latium" often put the company to
sleep--and eagerly sought de Staël's suggestions; "the lesser lights
were glad to borrow warmth and lustre from the central sun."
Châteauvieux declares, "She formed my mental character; for twenty years
my sentiments were founded upon hers." Sismondi says, "She determined my
literary career; her good sense guided my pen." Bonstetten, Schlegel,
Werner, and others bear similar testimony to the value of her counsel.

[Sidenote: Byron, Shelley, etc.]

The place was never more animated than in the last summer of her life,
when Byron and Shelley used to cross the lake to join the circle in this
room. De Staël had met Byron in London during the ephemeral
"Byron-madness," and now, in his social exile, her doors were freely
open to him: his letters testify "she made Coppet as agreeable as
society and talent can make any place on earth." Here he first saw
"Glenarvon," a venomous attack upon him which seems to have served no
purpose save to illustrate the aphorism about "a woman scorned," its
authoress having been notoriously importunate for Byron's favor, even
attempting, it was said, to enter his apartments in male attire. In this
salon Mrs. Hervey, the novelist, feigned to faint at Byron's approach:
from the balcony outside these windows, where de Staël and her father
stood and saw Napoleon's army cross the Swiss frontier, Byron looked
upon the scene which inspired some of his divinest stanzas. The château
was a busy place in those years: a guest writes from here, "In every
corner one is at a literary task; de Staël is writing 'Exile,' Auguste
and Constant a tragedy, Sabran an opera, Sismondi his 'Republics,'
Bonstetten a philosophy, and Rocca his 'Spanish War.'"

One noble chamber hung with dim tapestries is that erst occupied by
Récamier: it had before been the sick-room of Madame Necker and the
scene of her husband's loving care of her, which de Staël so touchingly
records. The chamber of de Staël is near by, its windows overlooking
her sepulchre: here she wrote the books which made her fame; here she
instructed her children, their Sabbath lessons being from the devout
treatises of her father and à Kempis's "Imitation of Christ," the book
she read in her own dying hours. A smaller room, looking out upon the
park, the terraces of Jura, and the white walls of Lausanne, was shared
by Constant and Bonstetten. In the tower above have been found letters
written by Gibbon to his _fiancée_, who became the mother of de Staël:
they have been published by the grandson of de Staël, and show that the
conduct of the great "Decliner and Faller" toward the then poor girl was
thoroughly selfish and unscrupulous.

[Sidenote: Tomb of Necker and de Staël]

The rooms are renovated and the place is offered for rent, but nothing
is destroyed. The formal park at the side of the château is little
changed: along yonder wooded aisle and upon this _allée_ between prim
patches of sward the de Staël walked with her guests in the summers of
long ago; upon the seat beneath this coppice, beside this placid pool,
or on the margin of yonder brooklet from the top of Jura, they lingered
in brilliant converse till the stars came out one by one above the
darkening mountains. These--the mute, soulless inanimates--remain, while
the illustrious company that quickened and glorified them all has
vanished from human ken. Some rods distant from the château, shaded by
a sombre grove and bounded by a hoary wall, is the picturesque chapel in
which Necker is laid with his wife, to whose tomb he, for many years,
daily came to pray. In the same crypt the mortal part of de Staël rests
at his feet; the portal was walled up at her burial and eye hath not
since seen her sepulchre. A stone which marks the grave of her son
Auguste, and lies on the threshold of that sealed portal, is fittingly
inscribed, "Why seek ye the living among the dead?"

Beyond the closed gate we pause for a parting view of the scene, now
flooded with sunshine, and as we leave the place we carry thence that
resplendent vision embalmed in a memory that will abide with us forever.
As I write these closing lines I see again that summer sky, cloudless
save for the fleece floating above Jura like that which the bereaved
Necker fancied was bearing the soul of his wife to paradise. I see again
the glimmering water; the mountains with their tiaras of snow, sending
back the sunbeams from their shining peaks like reflections from the
pearly gates that enclose the Celestial City; and, amid this sublime
beauty, the gleaming sycamores that sway above the tomb of "the
incomparable Corinna."



INDEX


  Abbotsford,--Scott,--161.

  Addison, 15, 19, 30, 36, 91.

  Akenside, 16, 25.

  Andersen, Hans Christian, 55, 57.

  Annesley Hall and Park, 71-77.

  Aram, Eugene;
    Scenes, 111, 144-147.

  Arbuthnot, 16, 36.

  Arnold, Dr. and Matthew, 92.

  Astell, Mary, 30.


  Bacon, 21.

  Baillie, Joanna, 15.

  Barbauld, Mrs., 14, 16.

  Besant, 15, 18.

  Bolingbroke, 37.

  Bolton Abbey, 143.

  Bonnivard, Francis, 227.

  Bowes, Dotheboys, 106.

  Braddon, Miss, 38.

  Brontës, The, 68;
    Brussels, 134, 207;
    Haworth, 121;
    Scenes and Characters of Tales, 121, 124, 126, 127, 129, 135,
      207-225.

  Brown, Oliver Madox, 32.

  Brussels,--Villette,--Brontë Scenes, 207.

  Bulwer,--Eugene Aram,--144-147.

  Burns;
    Alloway, 181;
    Dumfries, 164;
    Ellisland, 171;
    Grave, 165;
    Haunts,--Scenes of Poems,--164, 165, 166, 170, 171, 178, 181, 196,
      200, 205;
    Heroines, 185, 190, 194;
    Niece, 183.

  Butler, Samuel, 91.

  Byron;
    Annesley, 71;
    Coppet, 250;
    Harrow, 69;
    Newstead, 80;
    Leman, 226-237;
    London, 62;
    Scenes of Poems, 69, 72-77, 80-90, 226, 232, 233, 251;
    Tomb, 70.


  Caine, Hall, mentioned, 32.

  Campbell, 66, 68.

  Canning, 64.

  Carlyle, Birthplace, 162;
    Homes, 33, 162, 167;
    Sepulchre, 163.

  Chaucer, 24, 25, 50.

  Chaworth, Mary Ann, 71-79.

  Chelsea, 29-37.

  Chillon, 233.

  Clarens,--Rousseau,--232.

  Coleridge, 19, 106;
    Grave, 22;
    Home, 21.

  Collyer, Robert, Early Haunts, 136.

  Colwick Hall,--Chaworth-Musters,--78.

  Congreve, mentioned, 15, 30, 37.

  Constant, 245, 246, 248, 251, 252.

  Cooling,--Great Expectations,--57.

  Coppet,--Madame de Staël,--244.

  Coventry,--George Eliot,--102.

  Coxwold,--Sterne,--113.

  Crabbe, mentioned, 19, 66.

  Craigenputtock,--Carlyle,--167.

  Crockett, S. R., 178.

  Cunningham, Allan, 164.


  Davy, Sir Humphry, mentioned, 155, 159, 248.

  Denham, mentioned, 40.

  De Quincey, mentioned, 21, 62.

  De Staël, 159, 228, 230;
    Home and Sepulchre, 244.

  Dickens, 13, 19, 20, 24, 28, 34, 230;
    Gad's Hill, 49;
    Scenes of Tales, 18-20, 22, 24-28, 54, 57-61, 64, 106.

  Donne, John, 35, 36.

  Dorset,--Shaftesbury,--15, 36.

  Dotheboys,--Nicholas Nickleby,--106.

  Douglas, Poet of Annie Laurie, 175-179.

  Du Maurier, 18, 20.

  Dumfries,--Burns,--164.

  Dyer, 91.


  Ecclefechan,--Carlyle,--162.

  Eliot, George, 31, 143;
    Birthplace, Early Homes, 93;
    Grave, 23;
    Scenes and Characters of Fiction, 93, 95-103.

  Emerson, 34, 104, 169, 170.

  Erasmus, mentioned, 36.


  Fairfax, Edward, 137, 142.

  Falstaff, 50, 55, 56, 58.

  Ferney,--Voltaire,--238.

  Fields, James T., 55, 59.

  Foston,--Sydney Smith,--149.

  Froude, 33.


  Gad's Hill,--Dickens, Shakespeare,--49.

  Gaskell, Mrs., 101, 130, 131, 215, 223.

  Gay, 15, 30, 33, 34.

  Geneva, 227.

  Gibbon, 39, 63;
    On Leman, 231, 232, 249, 252.

  Goldsmith, mentioned, 18.

  Gray,--Scene of Elegy,--39.


  Hampstead, Literary, 13.

  Harridan, Mrs., 15.

  Harrow,--Byron,--18, 69.

  Haworth,--The Brontës,--121.

  Hawthorne, 68, 71, 184.

  Hazlitt, mentioned, 19, 21, 170.

  Herbert, George, 36.

  Heslington,--Sydney Smith,--148.

  Highgate, Literary, 21.

  Highland Mary,--Homes, Scenes, Grave,--195.

  Hogarth, 19.

  Hogg, mentioned, 161.

  Hood, mentioned, 19, 68.

  Hook, Theodore, 26, 37.

  Hunt, Leigh, 18, 19, 21, 34, 68.


  Ilkley,--Collyer, etc.,--137.

  Irving, Edward, mentioned, 164, 170.

  Irving, Washington, 66, 71, 72, 76, 83, 86, 89.


  Jackson, Helen Hunt, mentioned, 184.

  Jeanie Deans, 167.

  Jeffrey, Francis, 149, 154, 155, 170.

  Johnson, Dr., 15, 18, 25, 34.


  Keats, 15, 16, 19, 25.

  Keighley,--Brontë, Collyer,--121, 136.

  Kensal Green, Graves of Literati, 68.

  Kingsley, 35.

  Kit-Kat Club, 15.


  Lake Leman,--Literary Shrines,--226-253.

  Lamb, mentioned, 19, 21.

  Landon, Letitia E., 30.

  Laurie, Annie, Birthplace and Homes, 172, 176;
    Grave, 177;
    Song, 180.

  Lausanne,--Gibbon, Dickens, etc.,--230.

  Livingstone, 81, 82, 84, 86.

  Loamshire of George Eliot, 93.

  Locke, 36.

  London, 13, 17, 24, 45, 62, 119, 148.

  Longfellow, alluded to, 55, 142, 234.


  Macaulay, 64, 155, 158, 159.

  Maclise, 19, 31, 34, 55.

  Marvell, 21.

  Maxwelton,--Annie Laurie,--173.

  Melrose,--Scott,--161.

  Miller, Joaquin, 71, 83.

  Milton, 39, 228.

  Mitford, Miss, mentioned, 30.

  Montagu, Mary Wortley, 21, 31, 62.

  Moore, 64, 67.

  Mulock, Miss,--John Halifax Scenes,--92.

  Murray, John,--Drawing-Room,--66.


  Newburgh,--Sterne,--118.

  Newstead Abbey,--Byron,--80.

  Nidderdale,--Eugene Aram,--143.

  Niece of Burns, 183;
    quoted, 196, 204.

  Nithsdale,--Burns, Scott, Carlyle,--164.

  Nuneaton,--Milby of Eliot,--101.


  Pepys, 30, 31.

  Pope, 14, 15, 18, 21, 30, 37, 38.

  Porter, Jane, 39.


  Ramsay, Allan, 178.

  Richardson, 16, 37.

  Rochester,--Dickens,--54, 60, 61.

  Rogers, mentioned, 15, 143.

  Rokeby,--Scott,--109.

  Rossetti, 23, 229;
    Home and Friends, 31, 32.

  Rousseau, 227;
    Scenes of Fiction, 232, 233, 237.

  Rugby,--Hughes, Arnold,--92.

  Ruskin, mentioned, 34.


  Schlegel, 248.

  Scott;
    Abodes and Resorts, 64, 66, 109, 161, 172;
    Scenes and Characters, 109, 161, 167, 172.

  Shakespeare, 25, 50, 91, 92, 93.

  Shelley, 19, 21;
    Leman, 227, 229, 232, 237, 250.

  Shepperton Church and Parsonage, 98.

  Smith, Sydney, 68;
    Yorkshire Homes and Church, 148.

  Smollett, 30, 33, 34.

  Somervile, 91.

  Somerville, Mrs., 29.

  Southey, mentioned, 21, 106.

  Southwark,--Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens,--24.

  Stanley, H. M., 88, 184.

  Steele, 14, 15, 19, 30, 33, 36.

  Sterne, 34;
    Grave, 120;
    Home and Study, 112, 113, 115;
    Resorts, 113, 118.

  Stoke-Pogis,--Gray,--39.

  Swift, 15, 30, 36, 37.

  Swinburne, 32, 33.


  Tennyson, 33, 39.

  Thackeray, 18, 68, 104, 120.

  Turner, 37, 142, 143.


  Voltaire, Château and Study, 238.


  Waller, 39, 46.

  Walpole, 15, 30.

  Walton, mentioned, 36.

  Watts, Theodore, 32.

  Wilde, Oscar, 35.

  Wordsworth, 15, 21, 106, 143, 161.

  Wuthering Heights, 129.


  York,--Sterne, etc.,--111.

  Yorkshire Shrines, 106, 111, 121, 136, 148.


THE END.



  LITERARY SHRINES:

  THE HAUNTS OF SOME FAMOUS AMERICAN AUTHORS.


  BY THEO. F. WOLFE, M.D., Ph.D.,

  Author of "A Literary Pilgrimage," etc.

  Illustrated with four photogravures.
  12mo. Crushed buckram, gilt top, deckel edges, $1.25;
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  CONTAINS, AMONG OTHERS, CHAPTERS TREATING OF

  CONCORD: A Village of Literary Shrines.

  THE OLD MANSE.

  THE HOMES OF EMERSON AND ALCOTT.

  HAWTHORNE'S "WAYSIDE."

  THE WALDEN OF THOREAU.

  IN LITERARY BOSTON.

  OUT OF BOSTON: Cambridge--Elmwood--Mt. Auburn--"Wayside Inn"--Brook
  Farm--Webster's Marshfield--Homes of Whittier, Hawthorne's Salem,
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  IN BERKSHIRE WITH HAWTHORNE: The Graylock Region--Middle and Lower
  Berkshire--Haunts of Hawthorne, Thoreau, Bryant, Melville, Sedgwick,
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  A DAY WITH THE GOOD GRAY POET.


  UNIFORM WITH "A LITERARY PILGRIMAGE."


  J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY, Publishers,

  PHILADELPHIA.



  BY CHARLES CONRAD ABBOTT.


  THE BIRDS ABOUT US.

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  TRAVELS IN A TREE-TOP.

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  PHILADELPHIA.



  BY ANNE HOLLINGSWORTH WHARTON.


  THROUGH COLONIAL DOORWAYS.

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  feasting and dancing, of which there seemed to be no limit. And this
  little book tells us about the belles of the Philadelphia
  meschianza, who they were, how they dressed, and how they flirted
  with Major André and other officers in Sir William Howe's wicked
  employ."--_Philadelphia Record._


  COLONIAL DAYS AND DAMES.

  With numerous Illustrations. 12mo. Cloth, $1.25.

  "In less skilful hands than those of Anne Hollingsworth Wharton's,
  these scraps of reminiscences from diaries and letters would prove
  but dry bones. But she has made them so charming that it is as if
  she had taken dried roses from an old album and freshened them into
  bloom and perfume. Each slight paragraph from a letter is framed in
  historical sketches of local affairs or with some account of the
  people who knew the letter writers, or were at least of their date,
  and there are pretty suggestions as to how and why such letters were
  written, with hints of love affairs, which lend a rose-colored veil
  to what were probably every-day matters in colonial
  families."--_Pittsburg Bulletin._


  J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY,

  PHILADELPHIA.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber's note:

  Inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation have been retained from
    the original.





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